My CONfusion 2019 Schedule

Hey friends,

I’ll be attending CONfusion 2019 next week in Michigan, and will be attending and speaking on panels. There’s some fun things in programming I’ll be checking out, and I’m looking forward to a great time.

Autograph Session
Saturday, TBD, Eerie Ballroom
Join the attending authors at CONfusion and get your books signed! I’ll be bringing bookplates if you don’t want to drag any of my books to the reading.

How Fears Shape Superstitions
Sunday, 11:00 AM, Allen Park
From black cats-as-familiars to the number 13 being bad, all modern beliefs are rooted in folklore and ancient traditions that have been affected by political and social mores. Panelists will share examples and then discuss whether or not these powerful beliefs are harmful or helpful.
Panelists: Steve Buchheit (M), Lucy A. Snyder, Sarah E. Gibbons, Nino Cipri, Monica Valentinelli

Author Reading
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Rotunda Reading
Authors: Nino Cipri, Stacey Filak, Monica Valentinelli

Expanding The Definition of Witchcraft
Sunday, 2:00 PM, Southfield
Witchcraft in fiction often taps into real world tragedies, myths and folklore, spiritual practices, sexuality and gender treatment through the lens of Western occultism. Witchcraft, however, is more than riding brooms or dancing naked. Panelists will explore the definition of witch and then provide examples of witches through underrepresented lenses.
Panelists: Monica Valentinelli (M), Josef Matulich, Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears

My WisCon 42 Schedule and Reading

Hello everyone!

I am excited to share my WisCon 42 schedule with you today. The guests of honor are Saladin Ahmed and Tananarive Due. I hope you will join me for my reading on Sunday!

Saturday, May 26 2:30-3:45 p.m. Geekiness and Productivity University B
Moderator: Rachel Kronick. With Becky Allen, Catherine Krahe, Allison Morris, Monica Valentinelli

Capitalism tells us that we are only worthwhile when we produce or when we consume. As a result, many of us end up justifying everything we do, whether for work or pleasure, in terms of “productivity”: “I’m useful to society because I make widgets.” “My crafting/stargazing/gaming/reading/writing make me work better and consume more.” “That person is a better geek than me because they spend more money on their hobbies.” These kinds of framing buy into and reinforce capitalism. Are there ways of framing geeky pursuits that don’t buy into a capitalist framework? Are there ways of justifying our geeky pursuits that don’t commodify them? Are there ways to avoid needing to justify our geeky sides at all?

Sunday, May 27 1:00-2:15 p.m. Smash the Patriarchy Reading at Michaelangelo’s
Naomi Kritzer, David D. Levine, Monica Valentinelli, LaShawn M. Wanak

Powerful stories can move mountains and shatter glass. This reading is not for the faint-of-heart. The stories will unsettle you, make you uncomfortable, force you to think and feel. Come for the stories. Leave with possibilities.

Note: I will have swag bags at my reading that will include this! You’ll have to come to find out why!

Sunday, May 27 2:30-3:45 p.m. Why Do Gender Neutral Things In Games Get Gendered As Masculine?
Moderator: Rachel Kronick. With Kel Bachus, Tanya D., Jack Evans, Jed Hartman, Monica Valentinelli

Watch a “let’s play” and you’ll soon see a lot of gamers gendering non-gendered things — humans with non-declared genders, fish, trees, basically anything or anyone that moves — as “guys” or “he”. NPCs in tabletop RPGs quickly get gendered as masculine if the GM doesn’t explicitly declare them otherwise (and a lot of GMs forget that non-masculine genders exist). A lot of gamers generally tend to fall into masculine-default mindsets while gaming. Why does this happen, and how do we stop it?

Monday, May 28 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The SignOut Capitol/Wisconsin

Saladin Ahmed, Becky Allen, Eleanor A. Arnason, K. Tempest Bradford, Sue Burke, Kristi Carter, Nino Cipri, Loren W Cooper, Meredith Dillman, Timmi Duchamp, Tananarive Due, Anthony W. Eichenlaub, Jack Evans, Rhea Ewing, Karin Gastreich, Andrea D. Hairston, Alex Iantaffi, Vylar Kaftan, Naomi Kritzer, Rebecca Kuang, David D. Levine, Dale Cameron Lowry, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nancy Jane Moore, Pat Murphy, Beth Plutchak, Cath Schaff-Stump, Nisi Shawl, Sheree Renée Thomas, Amy Thomson, Monica Valentinelli, LaShawn M. Wanak, Sunny Moraine

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.

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