Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

GenCon 50 Writers’ Symposium Wrap-up

Last week I attended for the first time the GenCon Writers’ Symposium, which runs as auxiliary programming at the world-famous GenCon gaming convention. Now that I’ve had a couple of days at home to catch up on emails, bills, and life in general, I’m excited to share my post-convention thoughts.

First, I apologize for the general lack of photos. I was kept pretty busy at GCWS, and most of the time I was having so much fun that taking photos rarely occurred to me. That said, I will remark that I found downtown Indianapolis to be quite a lovely place:

For those not familiar with GCWS, it is a comprehensive program of panels, workshops, and seminars designed to offer something of value to everyone from novice writers, authors of moderate experience, and even grizzled literary veterans. There are tracks of programming devoted to the writer’s craft, the writer’s lifestyle, the business of writing, and much more. Its participants include authors, editors, and agents, and its team of dedicated moderators are truly exceptional at their jobs.

David Mack, Charlaine Harris
Sitting beside me? That’s mega-bestselling author (and truly delightful lady) Charlaine Harris. Behind her are Mary Robinette Kowal and Brandon Sanderson.

Without exception, I found the symposium’s roughly 2,300 attendees to be knowledgeable in their questions, keenly engaged with the subject matter, and serious about improving their craft. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many attendees were not only familiar with but were genuine fans of my work, both for and outside of Star Trek. They were also very receptive to the pitch for my upcoming original novel The Midnight Front—we gave away 72 advance reader copies of the book at the show.

It also didn’t suck that my fan traffic remained steady even while I was signing beside fantasy publishing titans Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Charlaine Harris.

The Symposium’s sponsors, WorldBuilders and Archivos, were generous enough to underwrite a welcome meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Archivos) and snacks at the authors’ Saturday-evening hangout in The Rock Bottom Brewery (WorldBuilders). I’m also grateful to the convention’s bookseller, Half Price Books, who took a chance on stocking three of my Star Trek titles (of which we sold nearly every copy they brought, in part thanks to some hard-core hand-selling I did from their table on Saturday afternoon).

The people whose labor made all of this possible were the Symposium’s volunteers, and most importantly its director, Marc Tassin, who after this year will be moving on to new challenges and placing the Symposium into the very capable hands of new co-directors Kelly Swails and Melanie Meadors.

As for my personal experience? I was most blown away by how many wonderful new friends I met among the other Symposium participants. It was a genuine pleasure getting to meet and/or know folks like Monica Valentinelli, Elizabeth Vaughn, Kelly Swails, Jerry Gordon, Raj Khanna, Susan Morris, Dave Robison of Archivos, Anton Strout, Steve Drew, John Helfers, Beth Cato, and Maxwell Alexander Drake.

GCWS participants, from left: (unknown man), Beth Cato, Susan Morris, and Ilana C. Myer.

I also had the pleasure of spending quality time with such friends as Ilana C. Myer, Aaron Rosenberg, Marco Palmieri, Matt Forbeck, and Gregory Wilson.

authors at dinner
Ilana C. Myer and Aaron Rosenberg, at Shula’s Steakhouse.

As much as I could gush about the Symposium’s programming and events, ultimately what I loved best about GCWS was the people I met. There was just a wonderful vibe to this event. I felt the eagerness of the attendees to learn, and the willingness of the participants to share all that they could. For years I’ve heard great things about GCWS from Aaron Rosenberg and Marco Palmieri; I’m glad I finally heeded their advice and committed to this event.

This was one of the most enjoyable and emotionally rewarding convention experiences I’ve ever had, and I hope that the fine folks at GCWS will want to invite me back for many more Symposiums in the years to come.

That’s my rhyme. Peace out.

#SFWApro

Shore Leave 39: My Schedule at the Convention

It’s that magical time of year again, Trek fans — time for my favorite yearly event, the Shore Leave Convention in lovely Hunt Valley, Md.!

Once again, for reasons surpassing understanding, the fine folks at Shore Leave have deigned to invite me as an author guest and put me on programming for their attendees’ collective amusement and edification.

Whether you’re a fan or a cyberstalker looking to make that transition into meatspace harassment, here’s everything you’ll need to find me at this weekend’s Shore Leave!


Friday, July 7

10pm–Midnight
Meet the Pros — Hunt Valley Corridor
Come down to the lower level of the Hunt Valley Inn, buy some books, and spend a couple of hours chatting with authors and having them autograph books for you.


Saturday, July 8

Noon–1pm
“Does Fiction Go Too Easy on Evil?” — Chase Room
In reality, evil is often boring, ugly, and stupid. But compelling villains in fiction are often stylish, intelligent, and competent. Is fiction doing society a disservice by giving evil a good name?
David Mack (M), Jenifer Rosenberg, Mary Fan, Richard C. White, Glenn Hauman

2pm–3pm
“The Art of Secondary Characters” — Chase Room
Supporting characters can fade into the background or steal a story. Our authors discuss how to know which is appropriate, and the craft to making such players come alive when the story needs them.
David Mack (M), Heather E. Hutsell, Richard C. White, Dave Galanter

5pm–6pm
Upcoming Star Trek Books — Belmont Room
A preview of forthcoming Star Trek novels from Simon & Schuster, with some of their authors as well as other Trek-related titles due out this fall and into 2018.
Scott Pearson (M), David Mack, Christopher L. Bennett, Dayton Ward


Sunday, July 9

10am–11am
“Friendship Is Magic” — Chase Room
In SF/F, heroes have friends and companions; villains have only minions. Our authors examine how cultural narratives about heroism, sex, gender, class, and community influence how we depict being alone and being connected.
David Mack (M), Mary Fan, Michael Critzer, Amy Imhoff, TJ Perkins

11am–Noon
“Where No Tale Has Gone Before” — Chase Room
After more than 50 years, how can there still be fresh stories to tell in Star Trek’s shared universe? Our panel of Trekspert storytellers discuss what they think makes for solid new Star Trek tales.
David Mack (M), Dayton Ward, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher L. Bennett, Scott Pearson


And that’s the sum of my programming activity for the weekend. If you’re trying to catch up with me on Sunday, make sure to come to my panels, because as soon as they’re over, I’ll be looking to get on the road and head for home.

See you at the con, folks!

Long Shot back on the Locus list

seekers3_largeI’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all my readers who helped put my latest Star Trek novel, Seekers #3 – Long Shot, back on the Locus Magazine bestseller list for January 2016. Update your scorecards: This marks my 22nd appearance on the Locus list since December 2004.

I also want to congratulate fellow Star Trek scribes Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, whose Seekers novel All That’s Left also made the list (above my book); and James Swallow, whose Star Trek Titan novel Sight Unseen landed higher still.

Last but not least, heartfelt kudos to Chuck Wendig for topping the media-related category for the second consecutive month with his Star Wars novel Aftermath.

My trip to Germany & FedCon XX

Well, I’m back from my long-anticipated trip to Deutschland, and Europe’s largest Star Trek/SF convention, FedCon — and what a fantastic trip it was!

First off, I need to thank my German publisher, Cross Cult, and one of its top executives, Andreas Mergenthaler, for inviting me to attend FedCon as their guest, for paying my airfare and hotel costs, feeding me and buying me drinks for five days, and for helping me to really enjoy my first visit to Germany.

The rest of this post is going to be rather long, so I’ll put it behind the cut to spare the disinterested. (more…)

A wee bout of “The Paradise Syndrome”

The wait is over! (Okay, it’s only been seven days, but it was still a wait. Kind of.) The latest installment of the Tor.com Star Trek Re-watch, by myself and Dayton Ward, is now live. See what we think of the third-season TOS episode The Paradise Syndrome.” (You know, the one where Kirk goes and lives with the Indians? “Dances with Obelisks”? Yeah, that one.)

In a new feature, I will present here two uncensored versions of paragraphs from our column that were expurgated by the eminently tasteful folks over at Tor, with the censored bits in boldface type:

#1:

The trio seeks out the nearest group of life-forms, who appear to be Native Americans—a colony comprising traits of the Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware tribes, according to Spock’s expert eye (and online subscription to Naughty Squaws magazine).

#2:

On the planet, Kirk—excuse me, Kirok—gets cut in a knife fight with Salish, who growls, “Behold a god who bleeds!” Never mind that—behold a grown man who can’t get over a bad breakup. Someone get this jackass a mug of fire water and send him on a vision quest before he hurts himself.

Good cuts or bad cuts? I’ll leave that call to the readers. Go read the full article and decide for yourself!

Looking for holiday gift ideas?

The Calling by David Mack (cover)So, here we are once again: it’s Thanksgiving, and time to start thinking about Christmas. Many of us put off our holiday shopping until “Black Friday,” and some of us don’t even know what to get for people yet.

Well, here’s a suggestion: if you know someone who enjoys reading books, and who likes urban fantasies, mysteries, or thrillers, give them a copy of my first original novel The Calling, which currently is listed on bookreporter.com‘s 2009 “What to Give, What to Get” guide for book-lovers!

Want to give an autographed copy? Order now from my site’s online store!