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Information card for Jan's reading

My first original video

What more auspicious day to post my first original video on my own YouTube channel, than on Star Wars Day

What’s my first original video about?

It’s a reading, of the kind I love to do–and attend–at science fiction conventions (Ah! Remember back when it was safe to hold science fiction conventions in person?). The video is about 27 minutes long. It features me, reading Chapter One of The Other Side of Fear.

Alongside a picture of the cover, this information card says, "Jan S. Gephardt reads Chapter 1, 'Planet-Bound,' from her novella 'The Other Side of Fear.' Story  © 2020 by Jan S. Gephardt. Cover artwork  © 2020 by Lucy A. Synk. Published by Weird Sisters Publishing LLC."
Here’s the information that accompanies my video reading.

I owe Virtual DemiCon, and the amazing Joe Struss, a lot of thanks. They premiered this video during their event

They also got me off my butt! I’ve known I probably should do a video reading for a long time, but it’s hard to get off “square one.” Especially when it’s your first foray into a new medium. They provided the needed motivation. Thanks very much! You guys are awesome.

While Virtual DemiCon is still available, please do yourself a favor! Check in, then take in as many of the events as still remain online!

This T-shirt design from Virtual DemiCon has a black background and neon-colored words that read, "Welcome to a world without heroes . . .", "CONTAMINATED," "Legions of DemiCon," and  "HA HA" to suggest an evil laugh.
Thank you to DemiCon for this image.

What makes Star Wars Day appropriate?

The original Star Wars movie made a huge impression on me when it came out in theaters in 1977. I may have lived in Kansas City for more than 40 years, but I didn’t move here till my marriage in 1978. So I managed to miss MidAmeriCon I in 1976, where there was a big display and all the stars came to talk about this movie they were making.

In 1977 I lived and taught in tiny Lockwood, MO. I’d watched and enjoyed Star Trek reruns on TV by then. My soon-to-be husband had turned me on to Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the librarians at the Ash Grove Library had by then gotten me intrigued in science fiction stories from Poul Anderson and Isaac Asimov.
But I had never seen anything like like that movie before

I paid the at-the-time-exorbitant price of $3.00 for a ticket multiple times to see it over and over again (No VHS, no Betamaxnot on my horizon till years later! No Blockbuster Video, and certainly no NetflixHulu, or Disney Plus, back in those ancient days!).

I didn’t go back again and again for the plot. I didn’t go to critique the space physics. No, I went to bask in the spectacle (Artist. Visual creature. I drank it in.)

And not long after that, I started writing my first science fiction novel. I still have the typescript somewhere–typed on a manual Underwood in the evenings, after I finished my lesson plans for the day. It’s horrifying dreck, but it’s the first novel-length fiction I ever actually finished.

A gray 1952 Underwood "Rhythm Touch" manual typewriter like the one I used. Many thanks to Machines of Loving Grace for this photo.
A 1952 Underwood “Rhythm Touch,” like the one I used. Many thanks to Machines of Loving Grace for this photo.

Does that make me a “Warrior,” not a “Trekkie”?

Well, no. As time went on, I came to enjoy lots of different science fiction stories, shows, and films. I love Star Trek, too. And–sorry, diehard “Warriors”–a lot of the Star Wars movies make little to no “real-world” sense (don’t get me started on things I find cringeworthy). 

But the visuals, the droids, other-world creatures, the exotic vistas, the sheer spectacle of the Star Wars moviesthose, I still enjoy. They attracted me in formative ways, during my early days of writing sf. And they bring a nostalgic smile to my lips to this day (well, some of them. Give me Darth Vader in a TIE fighter, but leave Jar-Jar in the closet where he belongs).

So my first original video–my own “mini movie”–that opens a glimpse of my science fictional world, is an appropriate thing to release on Star Wars Day. It’s not too long on spectacle. But I hope you enjoy it, nonetheless.

Here's the villainous Darth Vader in his iconic TIE fighter, hot on Luke Skywalker's tail.
Give me that quintessential villain Darth Vader in his TIE fighter! Many thanks ImgFlip.

IMAGE CREDITS

My video may be found on my YouTube channel.  I created the information card with the Cover for The Other Side of Fear,  plus copyright information, etc. Many thanks to Virtual DemiCon for the “CONTAMINATED” design, to Wikipedia, for the original 1977 Star Wars movie poster image, and to Machines of Loving Grace for the photo of the 1952 Underwood “Rhythm Touch” manual typewriter.  Many thanks also to ImgFlip, for the photo of Darth Vader in his TIE fighter.

Jonathan Brazee with books.

Authors everywhere

 There seemed to be authors everywhere at Capricon 40. I’ve already introduced several of them in the “Capricon Project” posts “Detectives in the Wild” and “Indie Author Speed-Dating.” But there were yet more!

the Capricon 40 header
(image courtesy of Capricon 40 website)

Personal experiences

These Capricon Project posts focus only on authors I met and interacted with personally at the con. My apologies to all the other authors who were there. If I didn’t encounter you in a meaningful way at the con, I didn’t include you.

I did also video-record a series of short interviews with Indie authors with tables in the Capricon 40 Dealers’ Room. I’m still working on those. I need to learn how to use Premiere Pro to edit them. I hope to produce them for posting during the spring months.

Yes, there were authors everywhere at Capricon 40. Let me mention a few more here.

Jonathan P. Brazee

Jonathan P. Brazee at the Indie Author Speed-Dating event at Capricon 40 (Photo by Jan S. Gephardt)
Jonathan P. Brazee at the Indie Author Speed-Dating event at Capricon 40 (Photo by Jan S. Gephardt)

I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with Jonathan Brazee since we met in Puerto Rico in 2017. He is a prolific, successful Nebula Award-nominated, Dragon Award-winning author who mostly writes military science fiction. I included a short profile of him in one of my post-Capricon articles last year, but he’s expanded several of his series since then.

He wrote his 2020 novel Gemini Twins in honor of his own twin daughters. Other recently-completed series include Ghost Marines and The Navy of Humankind-Wasp Squadron.

Books by Jonathan P. Brazee from right to left: the Navy of Humankind-Wasp Squadron series, Gemini Twins, and the Ghost Marines series. (Book cover images courtesy of Amazon).
Books by Jonathan P. Brazee from right to left: the Navy of Humankind-Wasp Squadron series, Gemini Twins, and the Ghost Marines series. (Book cover images courtesy of Amazon).

Dorothy Winsor

I shared a reading time-slot with Dorothy Winsor at Capricon 40. She read a wonderful short story. I believe she said it’s unpublished to date, but it deserves to be seen and read! She writes mostly middle-grade and Young Adult fantasy. 

The book she promoted most at Capricon was The Wind Reader. It’s a story about a young boy who tells fortunes on the street to earn a living. Then he tells a fortune for prince that later actually comes true(!) Next he’s compelled to come to the castle to be the royal fortune teller–a role for which he’s not prepared.

At right is Dorothy Winsor, just before her reading at Capricon 40. At left, her current novel, The Wind Reader. (photo by Jan S. Gephardt. Book covers are courtesy of Amazon).
At right is Dorothy Winsor, just before her reading at Capricon 40. At left, her current novel, The Wind Reader(photo by Jan S. Gephardt. Book covers are courtesy of Amazon).

Lance Erlick

I stayed for the readings that followed mine and Dorothy’s. This gave me the opportunity to hear an excerpt from Lance Erlick’s book RebornIt’s the first of his Android Chronicles books. Interesting and well written, it probably ought to come with trigger warnings

Erlick’s android protagonist “Synthia Cross is a state-of-the-art masterwork of synthetic human design—and a fantasy come true for her creator.” She shows enough alarming signs of emergent behavior, however, that her creator wipes her memory each day to keep her in control. He has his nefarious reasons, but she’s already learning how to leave herself clues so she can reconstruct her past–and reveal her creator’s true intentions.

Lance Erlick listens to Kristine Smith’s reading at Capricon 40, before it’s his turn. At right are three books of the Android Chronicles. (photo by Jan S. Gephardt. Book covers are courtesy of Amazon).

Kristine Smith

Kristine shared the reading time-slot with Lance. A winner of the John W. Campbell Award, she’s been writing the Jani Kilian Chronicles for several years. Its multiple volumes tell the story of a struggle for understanding and peace between humans and an exo-terrestraial species called the idomeni.

The title character is a former captain with powerful enemies and a body that’s been expensively repaired after traumatic injuries that allowed her death to be faked. Kilian subsequently forms a friendship with the idomeni ambassador. Smith’s reading selection this time was an excerpt from the most recent Jani Kilian book. She also writes the Lauren Reardon series, under the name of Alex Gordon.

Kristine Smith reads from part of the Jani Kilian series at Capricon 40. (photo by Jan S. Gephardt. Book covers courtesy of Amazon).
Kristine Smith reads from part of the Jani Kilian series at Capricon 40. (photo by Jan S. Gephardt. Book covers courtesy of Amazon).

Donna J. W. Munro

I shared an autographing table with Donna J. W. Munro, who primarily writes dark fantasy horror, YA fiction, and science fiction. She is a prolific writer of short fiction, including two stories, “Death’s Day Off,” and “My Forever Love,” in the anthology Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths, Vol. II

According to her blog, the first of a series about zombies, called the Poppet Series (“about tamed zombies and the girl who wants to save them”), will be available in May 2020.

Donna J. W. Munro and one of the anthologies in which her short fiction is published. (photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt; book cover image courtesy of Amazon.)
Donna J. W. Munro and one of the anthologies in which her short fiction is published. (photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt; book cover image courtesy of Amazon.)

W. A. Thomasson

W. A. (Bill) Thomasson (photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt)
W. A. (Bill) Thomasson
(photo: Tyrell E. Gephardt)

Like Jonathan Brazee, I met Bill Thomasson in Puerto Rico in 2017, and we’ve bumped into each other at conventions ever since. Bill has been working on a sword and sorcery novel for some time. He’d hoped that The Whip of Abadur would be available in time for Capricon 40, but it’s still in production (indeed, there’s no cover yet!). 

He describes the story this way: “In an ancient Fertile Land that is not quite the one we know, the cat burglar Teema is hired to retrieve a demon-god’s stolen symbol of power and return it to its proper temple. But she quickly learns that meddling in the affairs of gods and demons is more dangerous than she had thought.”

As you can see, Capricon 40 featured authors everywhere! I hope you’ve enjoyed one more small tour through some of the exotic and interesting worlds they’ve created, in this final episode of the Capricon Project.

IMAGE CREDITS:

The photos of Jonathan Brazee, Dorothy Winsor, Lance Erlick, and Kristine Smith all were taken at Capricon 40 by Jan S. Gephardt with the subjects’ knowledge and consent. If you wish to re-use or reblog any of these photos, please credit Jan as the photographer and if possible include a link back to this post. 

The photos of Donna J. W. Munro and W. A. (Bill) Thomasson were taken by Tyrell E. Gephardt, also at Capricon 40, and also with the subjects’ knowledge and consent. Please observe the same courtesy of including an attribution and link back, if you use these photos.

The Capricon 40 header is courtesy of Capricon 40’s website. All of the book cover images are courtesy of Amazon (see captions for individual links).

This is the header for Capricon 40. Its bright, tropical colors and lettering reflect this year's theme "The Tropics of Capricon."

The Capricon Project

Let me tell you about The Capricon Project. As I noted on this blog Feb. 1, I’m planning to attend Capricon 40 this week (God and the weather willing).  While I’m there, my publishing company and I hope to join forces (and blogs) to cover the event.

As you may know, I’m the Weirdness Manager for Weird Sisters Publishing LLC (I’m half of the partnership. The other half is my sister, G. S. Norwood).  As Weirdness Manager, I also write most of our posts for The Weird Blogand I’m in charge of preparing and posting all of them. But I can only split “me” into so many fragments. 

This is the header for Capricon 40. Its bright, tropical colors and lettering reflect this year's theme "The Tropics of Capricon."

What is The Capricon Project?

Artdog Adventures and The Weird Blog will join forces for The Capricon Project. I propose to take lots of photos and do a lot of things at the convention (followers of Artdog Adventures are familiar with my process). 

I like to highlight things I’ve seenpeople I’ve metand panels I’ve attended or helped present. We plan to cross-post the short profiles, photos, and other items I generate, to both blogs and some of our social media.

What’s the plan?

I have a pretty ambitious schedule for Capricon 40. I’m scheduled for eight programming events, including five panel discussions (three of which I moderate), an autograph session, a reading, and the Indie Author Speed-Dating event. 

This photo shows Jan S. Gephardt's Art Show display at Archon in Collinsville, IL as it looked October 6, 2019.
Photo by Jan S. Gephardt. This is my Art Show display at Archon in Collinsville, IL as it looked October 6, 2019.

I also have two display panels reserved at the Art Show. I’ll have a few copies of What’s Bred in the Bone with me, available for sale at the con (reduced at-con price is $13, or almost $2 off the regular trade paperback price).

I also plan to attend other panels and readings, and tour the Dealers’ Room. If they agree, I’ll take pictures or short videos of dealers whose work I can recommend, and post them on my social media (Artdog Studio is on Facebook and PinterestJan S. Gephardt-Author is on Facebook and Twitter, and Weird Sisters Publishing is on Facebook), as well as collect them for possible blog posts.

I hope you’ll follow my posts, and see how well The Capricon Project turns out!

IMAGE CREDITS:

The half-header for Capricon 40 is courtesy of the Capricon Website

The photo of my book display at the May 24, 2019 “Mad Authors’ Salon” at ConQuesT 50 is by Ty Gephardt, and used with his permission.

One among the panels and readings at SpikeCon, this is a photo of the "Write what you don't know" panel.

Panels and readings at SpikeCon

Panels and readings are among my favorite things to do at science fiction conventions

This is a screen capture of the opening images from the SpikeCon website's homepage. It includes the list of four different conventions that came together in Layton Utah July 4-7, 2019, and shows photos 15 headliner guests, including authors, artists, editors, fans, and others. Many of them did both panels and readings.

Yes, I know this makes me “sercon” (oldstyle fan-speak for “too serious to be any fun”). But I’ve decided I’m just gonna have to “own it.” Diss me if you must, but I like going to panels and readings where I can get new ideas and listen to interesting stories more than I like going to parties where I can’t hear what anyone is saying and most of the people are drunk.

This is the "Editing vs. Beta Reading" panel at SpikeCon. Yes, there is a massive difference, and it was well explored by the panelists. They are, L-R: Multimedia author Dan Wells, Headliner Editor Susan Chang, freelance editor Melissa Meibos, author C.H. Hung, and author/freelance editor Joe Monson.
This is the “Editing vs. Beta Reading” panel at SpikeCon. Yes, there is a massive difference, and it was well explored by the panelists. They are, L-R: Multimedia author Dan WellsHeadliner Editor Susan Changfreelance editor Melissa Meibosauthor C.H. Hung, and author/freelance editor Joe Monson.

I’m happy to report that there were some excellent panels and readings at SpikeCon this year. As I sometimes do, I discovered that I kept bumping into some of the same interesting people over and over at this convention. Of course, that’s partially because many of us have similar interests, and partially because, although some 1,100 memberships were sold to SpikeCon, for a variety of reasons only about 850 people showed up.

The "Privilege and Passing in Genre Fiction" panel at SpikeCon provided a lively and informative discussion of the ways in which characters in our genres reflect (or sometimes misrepresent) issues faced by many people in real life. The knowledgeable and wise panelists are, L-R: Inez Aguilar R., Aften Brook Szymanski, Jayrod P. Garrett, C.H. Hung, and B. Daniel Blatt.
The “Privilege and Passing in Genre Fiction” panel at SpikeCon provided a lively and informative discussion of the ways in which characters in our genres reflect (or sometimes misrepresent) issues faced by many people in real life. The knowledgeable and wise panelists are, L-R: Inez Aguilar R.Aften Brook SzymanskiJayrod P. Garrett, C.H. Hung, and B. Daniel Blatt.

This explains why several of the people in some these pictures are the same people as the ones in other pictures! In fact, the identical same group was scheduled together for two different panels I attended. Lucky for their growing group of devoted followers, they had a range of different things to say each time.

Here's the "Write What You Don't Know" panel at SpikeCon, and no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is the exact same group of panelists from the picture above. Some of them traded seats just to mess with us. But they were every bit as wise and interesting when they talked about doing your research and seeking new understandings as they were on the previous panel. For the record, they are, L-R: Aften Brook Szymanski, C.H. Hung, Jayrod P. Garrett, Inez Aguilar R., and B. Daniel Blatt.
Here’s the “Write What You Don’t Know” panel at SpikeCon, and no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is the exact same group of panelists from the picture above. Some of them traded seats just to mess with us. But they were every bit as wise and interesting when they talked about doing your research and seeking new understandings as they were on the previous panel. For the record, they are, L-R: Aften Brook SzymanskiC.H. HungJayrod P. GarrettInez Aguilar R., and B. Daniel Blatt. 
This was possibly the most valuable panel I attended at SpikeCon."After the Action" discussed the trauma writers inflict on their characters in terms of realism in fiction and the effects of trauma on real people. The discussion also quickly ranged into the effect of our fiction on real people--our readers, who may themselves be trauma survivors or have loved ones or associates who are. The uniquely qualified panelists are: L-R: Amy White, an author, librarian, and puppeteer with a trauma survivor in her family; Retired Marine Col. Jonathan P. Brazee, prolific author of military sf; psychologists and social workers Cerin Takeuchi and Anna Marasco; and author and sworn law enforcement officer Griffin Barber.
This was possibly the most valuable panel I attended at SpikeCon.”After the Action” discussed the trauma writers inflict on their characters in terms of realism in fiction and the effects of trauma on real people. The discussion also quickly ranged into the effect of our fiction on real people–our readers, who may themselves be trauma survivors or have loved ones or associates who are. The uniquely qualified panelists are: L-R: Amy White, an author, librarian, and puppeteer with a trauma survivor in her family; Retired Marine Col. Jonathan P. Brazee, prolific author of military sf; psychologists and social workers Cerin Takeuchi and Anna Marasco; and author and sworn law enforcement officer Griffin Barber.

I was on several panels, myself, but you’ll notice they aren’t featured here. I don’t have pictures of panels I was on, or of my reading at SpikeCon (though it was gratifyingly well-attended! Thank you!!).

I may not have a picture from my own reading at SpikeCon, but I did get photos of the authors who read before and after me. Mike Substelny, L, read his as-yet-unpublished but wildly funny and satisfying time travel story, "Plan Madison."
At R, Erika Kuta Marler read a story from an anthology in the Eden's Outcast universe.
may not have a picture from my own reading at SpikeCon, but I did get photos of the authors who read before and after me. Mike Substelny, L, read his as-yet-unpublished but wildly funny and satisfying time travel story, “Plan Madison.”
At R, Erika Kuta Marler read a story from an anthology in the Eden’s Outcast universe.

This is largely because it’s hard to photograph oneself in such situationsTyrell Gephardt, my son and regular convention partner who usually photographs my events when possible, was almost invariably scheduled on his own panels at the same times. 

But trust me. They were brilliant. And there’s always a chance the topics of some of those panels and readings will turn up someday as the subjects of blog posts in the future.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SpikeCon’s homepage for the graphic gestalt of when, where, and who were headliner guests. All other photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, with the permission of their subjects. If you wish to re-post or use them, please include an attribution to me as the photographer, and if possible include a link back to this page. Thanks!

A cartoon-style rendering by Matt Frank of a person in fantasy armor, or possibly an anime-style mecha is part of the SoonerCon 28 header image used to promote the June 2019 science fiction convention.

Other readings at SoonerCon 28

Authors, Reading–Part Three

In the last two weeks I’ve published photos and information about readings I attended at SoonerCon 28.

Part One profiled science fiction, alternate history, and fantasy readings.

Part Two spotlighted two fantasy and two alternate history writers.

Today’s authors include one each who write fantasy, science fiction, and middle-grade whimsical “creepy stories.” Since each brought a physical copy of their book and was kind enough to hold it up for me, I did composites of each person.

In this composite photo, at right, fantasy author and Fantasy Writers Asylum imprint editor Julia S. Mandala shows the cover of her epic fantasy Blood Songs. At left, she reads an excerpt from it. Author Laura J. Underwood sits in the background and listens.
Fantasy author and Fantasy Writers Asylum imprint editor Julia S. Mandala shows the cover of her epic fantasy Blood Songs at right. At left, she reads an excerpt from it. Author Laura J. Underwood listens in the background.
In this two-part photo composite, at left author Lou Antonelli reads an excerpt from his novel "Another Girl, Another Planet," while David Carrico listens in the background. At right, Lou holds up his book to show the cover.
At left science fiction author Lou Antonelli reads an excerpt from his novel Another Girl, Another Planet, while David Carrico listens in the background. At right, Lou holds up his book to show the cover.
In this composite photo Middle-grade "creepy stories" writer Kim Ventrella shows off her latest book, "Bone Hollow." At left she reads an excerpt. At right she holds up the cover to the camera.
Middle-grade “creepy stories” writer Kim Ventrella shows off her latest book, Bone Hollow. At left she reads an excerpt from the beginning. At right she shows us the cover. Her earlier middle-grades book, Skeleton Tree, dealt with similar themes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this three-part “book tour” of Soonercon 28, via photos of some of the authors who did readings there.

Going to readings is a great way to learn about interesting new books you may never have heard of. It’s also a fantastic way to meet authors and interact with them in a small-group setting.

Next time you go to a science fiction convention, I strongly recommend that you try going to some of the readings!

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SoonerCon 28, and artist Matt Frank, for the header image. All other photos were taken by me at SoonerCon 28, June 7-9, 2019, with the express permission of the persons being photographed.If you wish to reblog or use them, please include an attribution to Jan S. Gephardt as the photographer, and if possible provide a link back to this post. Thank you!

A cartoon-style rendering by Matt Frank of a person in fantasy armor, or possibly an anime-style mecha is part of the SoonerCon 28 header image used to promote the June 2019 science fiction convention.

More readings at SoonerCon 28

Authors, Reading–Part Two

Last week I posted about several authors whose readings I attended and enjoyed at SoonerCon 28. But wait! There are more!

I hope you enjoy this series of posts. Wherever I could, I’ve linked the authors’ names to their websites and/or books, so you can learn more about any who interest you.

Catherine Cooke-Montrose reads an excerpt from a fantasy work in progress, on an iPad at SoonerCon 28.
Catherine Cooke-Montrose reads from a fantasy work-in-progress, inspired by the Byzantine era. She’s recently been republishing her Mask of the Wizard Trilogy (formerly published by Tor Books) on Amazon under the author name Catherine Cooke.
Adam J. Whitlatch reads an excerpt from his novel "War of the Worlds: Goliath," at SoonerCon 28.
Here is Adam J. Whitlatch, reading from his book War of the Worlds: Goliath,
Jeff Provine holds up a smartphone to show an illustration from the selection he was reading. It was a post on his "This Day in Alternate History" blog.
Blogger Jeff Provine read from This Day in Alternate History, a fascinating concept for a blog, in my opinion.
Laura J. Underwood reads part of her story, "The Demon of Mallow" at SoonerCon 28.
Laura J. Underwood read from her 2011 story The Demon of Mallow, set in the same mythical land as her 2013 book, The Lunari Mask.

I have one more “Authors, Reading” collection to share next week. I hope you’re enjoying this series.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SoonerCon 28, and artist Matt Frank, for the header image. All other photos were taken by me at SoonerCon 28, June 7-9, 2019, with the express permission of the persons being photographed.If you wish to reblog or use them, please include an attribution to Jan S. Gephardt as the photographer, and if possible provide a link back to this post. Thank you!

A cartoon-style rendering by Matt Frank of a person in fantasy armor, or possibly an anime-style mecha is part of the SoonerCon 28 header image used to promote the June 2019 science fiction convention.

Readings at SoonerCon 28

Authors, Reading–Part One

I’m apparently weird, but I enjoy going to readings. I attended a lot of them at SoonerCon 28, and thought you might enjoy seeing the photos I took of the authors. You may have heard of some or all of them.

SoonerCon 28tried to group their readings thematically–but sometimes the authors didn’t get the memo, so we had kind of a nice smorgasbord. I hope you enjoy this series of posts. Wherever I could, I’ve linked the authors’ names to their websites and/or books, so you can learn more about any who interest you.

Author Brian Trent poses with a copy of his book "Ten Thousand Thunders," before reading an excerpt for it.
Author Brian Trent poses with a copy of his science fiction book Ten Thousand Thunders, before reading an excerpt from it.
Marguerite Reed shares an excerpt from a new short story at her reading. Fellow author Brian Trent listens in the background.
Marguerite Reed, author of Archangel and many shorter works, shares an excerpt from a new short story at her reading. Fellow author Brian Trent listens in the background.
Susan P. Sinor reads from her alternate history novel, "The Hunt for the Red Cardinal," while her co-author-husband Bradley H. Sinor listens.
Susan P. Sinor reads from her alternate history novel, The Hunt for the Red Cardinal (associated with Eric Flint’s 1632 series), while her co-author-husband Bradley H. Sinor listens.
Author David Carrico reads his short story, "The Hair of the Dog", set in the alternate universe of Eric Flint's 1632 Series.
Author David Carrico reads his short story, “The Hair of the Dog”, set in the alternate universe of Eric Flint’s 1632 Series.
Dennis McDonald reads from his short fiction “Moon and Shadow,” from the magazine "Morpheus Tales."
Dennis McDonald reads from his short fiction “Moon and Shadow,” from the magazine Morpheus Tales.

These weren’t the only readings I attended at SoonerCon 28. I’ll profile more authors in future posts.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SoonerCon 28, and artist Matt Frank, for the header image. All other photos were taken by me at SoonerCon 28, June 7-9, 2019, with the express permission of the persons being photographed. If you wish to reblog or use them, please include an attribution to Jan S. Gephardt as the photographer, and if possible provide a link back to this post. Thank you!

Glimpses of Archon 42

Halloween? No, just an active costuming contingent!

I enjoyed my return to Archon, a St. Louis-area convention I’d often attended when it was scheduled in the summer (I know: back in ancient days!). In more recent decades, this convention has become a major event for restaurants and hotels near the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. The one I’m writing about here was held October 12-14, 2018.

I enjoyed the costumes–but what I managed to catch in photos are a far cry from their full extent. For a better glimpse of what tends to wander the halls of Archon, there’s a great photo lineup from #41, by Thomas Crone in St. Louis Magazine onlineand the Masquerade has a Facebook page you also may enjoy. Here’s another rather comprehensive look at the convention you also may enjoy.

One thing about Archon at the Gateway Center: you walk a lot. Even the main convention hotel, the Doubletree, isn’t attached to the Gateway Centerso you’re walking wherever you stay (we stayed at the just-as-nearby Fairfield Inn, which was sung and well-kept). The other thing about the Doubletree is that it books up each year in a flash. It wasn’t the best of weather for trekking though the landscape, this year. I was glad I’d brought my trench coat.

Of course, I always want to display my artwork at conventions I attend. Here’s my Archon 42 Art Show display.

I also love to be on, and also attend, panels. I have photos from several enjoyable ones, below. This year, I also have put a particular emphasis on my readings, as a way to both learn what other authors are writing, and to give people an advance glimpse of my to-be-released-this-winter science fiction novel What’s Bred in the Bone.

The programming staff mostly put me on Art Track panels, rather than the writing ones I’ve become used to lately, so I had a chance to do things such as dust off my art teacher skills for Basic Drawing and geek out with Rachael Mayo about art supplies, quality, and when/how you can afford to go with a cheaper option.

Rachael Mayo (seated at left) brought samples of different kinds of both paper and colored pencils (some cheap, some top-grade professional, some in between), for the audience to test at the end of the Saturday panel titled Crayola is Fine, Right?: Art on a Budget.”
One of the first programming items I attended on Friday of the convention was one of their three-person Author Readings, this one featuring, L-R: Donna J.W. MunroMarella Sands, and Christine Nobbe, who read a science fiction story she often shares with her gifted classes.
The “Diversity in Speculative Fiction” panel on Friday night of the con explored long-overdue changes developing as sf becomes more inclusive. L-R Participants: Jennifer Stolzer, Kathleen KayembeCamille Faye, and Debbie Manber Kupfer, who moderated.
The Sunday afternoon “Alternate Paths to Publishing” panel had such an engaged audience that we overshot our scheduled stop-time, and missed Closing Ceremonies. L-R, George Sirois (“SEAR-oy”) moderated; Brad R. Cook, Camille Faye, and Debbie Manber Kupfer added a variety of thoughts and reflections on their experiences.

Archon 43 will be held in Collinsville again next year, Oct. 4-6, 2019. But don’t expect to book a room in the Doubletree. It’s already full up.

IMAGES: All of the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, at Archon 42, between October 12-14, 2018. You may freely re-post or reblog them, but in all fairness please include an attribution to me, and a link back to this post. The cover art for What’s Bred in the Bone is a color comp by Jody A. Lee; she promises the finished art is coming soon.

Re-Re-Revised

Jan S. Gephardt at the keyboard. Photo by Colette Waters.

Did you ever have one of those projects you thought was just about done . . . except you needed to adjust this one thing.

And then that one thing led logically to another. And after that you discovered an excellent new technique and it would apply to this current project, so now if you just revamp these bits . . . .

Eventually it HAS to end. In this case I’m talking about the novel I am THIS CLOSE to having completely ready to start productionON or before September 3, 2018, it shall be done (or else).

For reals. mean it. Friends who know me will point, laugh, and say, “Got THAT right!” when I tell you I am not a fast writer. For all my ongoing efforts to be a well-organized, methodical “plotter,” the “pantser” in my soul frequently takes me walkabout, as a way to open up whole new projects through the “discovery method.”

Here’s the color comp for the cover of What’s Bred in the Bone, created by one of my favorite artists, Jody A. Lee, based on a scene from the book.

may not live long enough to finish all of the projects I already have in my files (partially developed through said “discovery method” and mostly set in the same fictional universe), but by God I’ll have fun writing them. I also hope people will have fun reading them–which necessitates finishing them, and publishing them.

That’s my current task: sternly striving not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and working on finishing a final, publishable version of What’s Bred in the Bone.

The world I currently inhabit for as many of my waking hours as possible these days is the one I’ve been writing about (and in which I’m making the aforementioned revisions).

Set in an indeterminate future era which I call the Twenty-Fourth-and-a-Half Century, most of the action takes place on Torus Two of Rana Habitat Space Station, through the eyes of an XK9: an enormous, genetically-engineered, cybernetically-enhanced police dog named Rex, as well as his mate Shady and his human partner Charlie.

Readings from What’s Bred in the Bone that I’ve done at science fiction conventions, such as DemiCon 29 and SoonerCon 27, have been met with enthusiasm, which is encouraging. Most of my beta-readers have been enthusiastic, too. If you’ll be at Worldcon 76, I have a 30-minute reading scheduled there on Monday, Aug. 20, 11:00 a.m. in Room 211A. I hope to see you there!

IMAGES: Many thanks to the talented Colette Waters for the enhanced reality represented by her photo of me, and to the amazing Jody A. Lee, for the color comp of the cover-art-that-will-be for What’s Bred in the Bone.

Over and con too soon!

I’m freshly back from SoonerCon 27, and what an excellent convention it was! They had some great guests, excellent programming and fun special events. One blog post (or even several) couldn’t do justice to it, but here’s a small taste of what I enjoyed most.

SoonerCon 27’s lineup of featured guests included: L-R: Lloyd Lee BarnettGlenn GarlandJerry BennettCarrie VaughnJohn PicacioStan LoveLarry Nemecek, and Selina RosenHere they are at Opening Ceremonies on Friday, June 22, 2018.

One last time at the Reed Center in Midwest City

As ever, the people-watching at SoonerCon 27 was delightful, whether one was on the upper-level concourse, at the Artists Alley on the lower level, or in the Dealers Room.

Some of the many talented people who showed up in costumes at SoonerCon 27.
Some of the action in the Artists Alley at SoonerCon 27.
One corner of the Dealers Room–pardon, the Exhibitors Hall–at SoonerCon 27.

This was SoonerCon’s final year at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City, OK. Next year they’ll shift to the first weekend in June (oh, goody! Back-to-back with ConQuesT!) and relocate to the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Norman, OK.

The Art Show and “World Peace Through Chocolate” Artists Reception

I hope they can give the SoonerCon Art Show, capably run this year by Marcia Bull and her excellent crew, more room at the Embassy Suites, because we were really crammed in there pretty good, despite having both Reed Center Ballrooms A and B.

The “World Peace Through Chocolate” Artists Reception was pretty crowded inside the Art Show itself, but maybe they’ll have more room next year. Photo taken with permission of the Art Show Staff.
The artwork of John Picacio, the Artist Guest of Honor, was the first thing you saw when you stepped inside the SoonerCon 27 Art Show. During the reception, a whole lot of people stepped inside! Photo taken with permission from the Art Show Staff and John Picacio.

The Friday night “World Peace Through Chocolate”Artists Reception spilled out of the Art Show into the ConSuite area, dubbed “Ten Forward.” The chocolate very quickly disappeared, of course. But we all stayed peaceful.

Panels and Readings 

There were way too many interesting panels and readings to see everything I wanted to! I had a reading and five panels (to my delight, I got to moderate ALL of them! Yes!), and yes, I enjoy staying busy at an sf con, so that was just fine by me. I don’t have pictures of my own events, but here are glimpses of some others I did have a chance to attend and enjoy.

I didn’t have as many chances to listen to author readings as I like, but I did enjoy the trio of Urban Fantasy readings on Saturday morning by (L-R) Trakena PrevostSeth Skorkowskyand Rosemary Clement-Moore.
It would’ve been lovely if the “Black Panther and Intersectionality” panel had been scheduled for two hours and the biggest ballroom–but we had a fascinating discussion, and the room was packed. Panelists, L-R: Kimber ChessmoreTrakena PrevostShai FenwickVickey Malone KennedyJeff ProvineTyrell Gephardt, and Dan Erickson.
The “Because, Aliens!” panel discussion ranged far and wide, from the gradual thinning of hominid species in prehistory, through cryptozoology, genitalia, and would you believe . . . Torah? Panelists, L-R: Tim FrayserTyrell GephardtGloria OliverSelina RosenLinda L. Donahue, and Mark Alfred.
Scheduling the “Do Cons Still Matter?” panel at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday of the convention probably skewed the bias of the audience and participants just a tad, but it was fun to get perspectives from individuals of several different generations, who participate in several different subgenres of fandom. Fielding questions from an engaged audience were (L-R) panelists James MurrayTim FrayserSummer Rain Cosplay, and Caleb Haldane.

Like all good things, eventually the weekend had to end. The magic, along with the costumes and propsgame paraphernaliaart show, and panel discussions, went back into their boxes till next time.

Lowering the “boo” during tear-down and pack-up after the con. This skeleton had spent the weekend suspended over an Artists Alley display, beneath a simulated Pit of Sarlacc. How often do you get to see that?

I thoroughly enjoyed SoonerCon 27. Kudos to Con Chair Aislinn Burrows, the SoonerCon Committee, and the Future Society of Central Oklahoma! You put on a GREAT convention. I’m already looking forward to SoonerCon 28!

IMAGES: All photos were taken by me (Jan S. Gephardt), with appropriate permissions. If you wish to re-post any of them, please do so with an attribution to me as the photographer, and a link back to the post, if possible. Many thanks, and I hope you enjoyed them!

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