Finland, Finland, Finland!



I am happy to announce that I am a guest of honor at Ropecon in gorgeous Helsinki, Finland in July.

From the Ropecon website: “Ropecon is the largest non-commercial role-playing convention in Europe. Each year it brings together both enthusiasts as well as professionals in the field of role-playing games. The theme for year 2017 is classics.”

I am thrilled to be heading over to Finland for the first time. The convention website is awesome! Check out the pictures from Ropecon, which includes a lovely set of cosplayers. The work they put into dressing up never ceases to amaze me–there are some fantastic photos!

Can’t wait to share more details with you as the planning comes together. See you in Finland! Don’t forget your dice!

Mark Your Calendar for WisCon

I am pleased to announce that my next convention will be WisCon at the end of May. The guests of honor are Amal El-Mohtar and Kelly Sue DeConnick. I am participating and moderating several panels, and I am anxious to hear what this year’s stellar speakers have to say. Hope to see you at the show!

Tropes In SF Novels, Comics, and Video Games
Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm Location: Conference 1
Kate M Lansky (M), Jake Casella, Monica Valentinelli
SF is a genre that crosses media — novels, poetry, comics, video games, movies, and TV. How do SF stories differ from medium to medium? What tropes does each medium use and why? What kinds of stories are in vogue in each medium? Are there SF tropes that are better used in novels? In games? And why?

Portraying Resistance: Fiction Media and News Media
Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Location: Assembly
Monica Valentinelli (M), Nino Cipri, Ian K. Hagemann
How are resistance movements portrayed in speculative fiction? While some forms of fiction glamorize resistance movements (Star Wars comes to mind) there is a wide gap between this and how news media portrays, for example, the Ferguson movement. Are the only safe resistances fictional (or historical) ones? How do we get from “riots” to “heroic uprisings”? Fictional resistances are also able to gloss over the problematic details of committee meetings, arguments between members, lack of funds, trying to feed crowds, unequal division of labor, and trying to come to consensus. Are there fictional resistances that deal with these details and with sexism, racism, homophobia? Can we learn from fiction how to portray real resistance movements as heroic?

Why Is “Casual” a Dirty Word in Gaming?
Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Location: University C
Monica Valentinelli (M), Katherine Cross, Ann Lemay, Katherine Olson (Kayjayoh), Beth Plutchak, Katie Sapede
Video gaming is set to become a 99.6 billion dollar industry and is cemented into the mainstream. Why are “casual gamers” still a hated group? Why do we need to separate them from “hard-core gamers”? Let’s explore why some in the gaming community hold on tightly to excluding “casual gamers.”

Worldbuilding Through Profanity
Sun, 4:00–5:15 pm Location: Caucus
Monica Valentinelli (M), Dylan Edwards, Benjamin Rosenbaum
Swearing is something that comes naturally to people. Swearing is also highly cultural. ‘Damn!’ only works if a culture has the concept of damnation. Short versus long invocations, it all goes together. How do you construct a swearing culture for a new people? How does it vary by social class? Let’s find out.

Registration is capped, so if you’re interested in attending be sure to visit the WisCon website.

Withdrawing as a GOH from Odyssey Con

I am posting this today, as a public notice of my withdrawal as the gaming/literary guest of honor from Odyssey Con in Madison, Wisconsin. I feel I owe it to my readers and players to address the reason why I am withdrawing, and hope that this serves as a lesson for other women who find themselves in my position.

I was invited to be a guest of honor in 2016. At the time, a known harasser was working at the con. I, personally, had several uncomfortable interactions with this individual and I did not feel safe around him. At first, this individual was my guest liaison, and I had considered pulling out of the convention as a result. Thankfully, my point of contact was changed and I never had to speak with this individual again. I assumed that he was no longer working at the convention following this act.

Yesterday, I found out that I was scheduled to be on programming with him and he was still part of the concom. I also learned that peers and friends were uncomfortable with his role at the show, and they had decided to avoid the convention altogether. His involvement with the con meant that I would have to interact with him, especially as a guest of honor, and I do not feel safe around him nor would I want to put any of my friends, peers, or fans in that situation either.

To resolve this, I sent the concom an e-mail. I told them that I, personally, had several problematic experiences with him, and that if he was still working the convention that I would have to withdraw. The response I received was incredibly dismissive of not only me, but of past reports as well. The e-mail went on to say how this individual was a long-time close friend of the concom, and I should judge his behavior for myself.

I have judged his behavior for myself, and I do not feel safe being in the same room with him let alone the same hotel. This blatant disregard of my concerns also worries me that should any new harassment complaints arise, that they would not be dealt with appropriately. I am extremely disappointed that a member of the concom would be more valued that an invited guest, and though I recognize the the invitation is an honor I cannot and do not find this resolution acceptable.

Because my personal safety and the safety of other attendees is my highest priority, I must unfortunately withdraw as a guest of honor from the convention. I apologize to my fans who were hoping to see me at the show, and to the other guests who are still planning on attending. I understand that this is disruptive, and I promise I will make it up to you at some point in the future.

Please note that this situation has been developing. This account on Pretty Terrible cover’s what has happened since.

On Outlines and Distractions

You're An Idiot, Starscream

I fell off the proverbial horse yesterday, because I made the mistake of going down the rabbit hole of politics. (Two cliches in one sentence!) A lot has happened, and it feels weird. On the one hand, we have politicians who are blatantly lying; on the other, life marches on regardless. At a bare minimum: bills still come every month, meals still need cooked, house still needs to be cleaned, cats still need to be fed. In my case, I have to be vigilant about how I use my time; I’ve long since learned why it’s important to know how fast I write, how deadlines are crucial to my sanity, and how calendars aren’t just this pretty, little grid with pictures hanging on the wall.

Except, it’s an inevitable truth that shit happens. I get sick, company drops in, the internet goes down, I get distracted by politics (as I did yesterday), I lose a file, a deadline shifts, etc. All the planning and organizing in the world doesn’t get words down on the page, but what it does do it help mitigate disasters.

Take, for example, a novel. If I don’t work on the manuscript every day, which is not realistic for me to do, then a natural gap occurs from when I last worked on it. When I pick it back up again, I have to remind myself where I’m at in the work. That creates lost time that I’ll never get back. If I could, I would shut everything down and pound out a novel in a month or two. But, my reality doesn’t allow me to do that(1), at least right now.

Enter outlining as a solution. I’ve already been using them for bigger projects like non-fiction books and tabletop games, but I haven’t been drawn to them for fiction because they seem too mechanical. Once I’m immersed in writing a story, it’s impossible for me to get out of that mindset. I don’t have to think about what I’m writing, because I’m in that character’s head and thinking about the story from their POV.

The only problem with being resistant to outlines is that if I get interrupted–which is almost a certainty–then I lose that momentum. I cannot control that natural “flow”, but I can plan for distractions. Now, I’m starting to embrace outlining as a solution, because it allows me to jump back in faster than if I were to re-read everything I wrote.

I haven’t quite sorted out which outlining method I want to use and adapt to my own needs yet. LitReactor has a neat little article called 8 Ways to Outline a Novel that collates some of my thoughts on this. Right now, I’m neck deep in getting everything organized and setting aside time to, uh, track my worldbuilding efforts and read more.

I’m not sure if this would be a solution for you, but some form of tracking is definitely something to think about–especially if you are interrupted umpteen million times throughout the day like I am.

(1) That’s part of the reason why I cannot afford to go to long workshops like Clarion. Besides the cost of attendance, it’s time away from work that I desperately need right now.

    Mood: Winter is still here.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Quadruple
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Half an hour
    In My Ears: DREDD soundtrack
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Pacific Rim
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!



Save the Date! Reddit Fantasy AYA for Worldbuilders Charity

reddit-logo
I am happy to announce that I will be participating in an “Ask You Anything” on Reddit to support awareness for Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders charity fundraiser on Tuesday, November 29th.

What is the Worldbuilders mission?

From the website: “Worldbuilders is a charity founded by author Pat Rothfuss in order to use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to make the world a better place. During the Worldbuilders fundraiser, Pat blogs about the cool book donations we receive from authors and publishers (and all the other cool swag from artists, webcomics, etc.) Everyone who donates to Heifer International through our Team Heifer page is eligible to receive one or more of those cool books and swag at the end of the fundraiser.”

Although I am only participating on Tuesday, this event will take place each day from Monday, November 28th through Friday, December 2nd and will include several other authors, artists, editors, and publishers. It will be hosted by the r/Fantasy community over at www.reddit.com/r/fantasy to support awareness of Worldbuilders. Hop on over each day and see what questions we have to ask you. Then, let’s kick some ass and raise some funds for an awesome charity!

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