Highlights from LTUE 2015: Why I Love Writing Conferences!

As a writer, I’ve learned to love the conference scene. Actually, I’m completely drained by large social gatherings–evidence that I am a legitimate introvert. But here’s why I have evolved to deem conferences worthy of the energy expenditure!

This list is in context of a few highlights from Life, the Universe, and Everything 2015 (LTUE), a symposium for speculative fiction authors, which was absolutely awesome this weekend. I woke up today wired with so many ideas for my works in progress. Pretty epic for a Monday morning…!

LTUE Symposium 2015

1. The People (and Aliens, Supernaturals, Superheroes…)

I meet so many interesting writers and other creative people, which is a treat. Case in point, props to author Adam Jordan’s approach to putting a writer’s group together. Awesome!

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Yes, it’s a relief to get away from that intensity but for a few days there’s just something about having at least some instant rapport and understanding with people. I loved this past weekend’s Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium for this very reason.

2. The Social Challenge

That’s not to say I don’t feel awkward 50% of the time. Conferences are a nice place to reconnect with talking to real people!

Conferences are also full of organized ways to team up or participate with others. I loved this campaign at LTUE put on by “The Secret Door Society“. To include bathroom stall doors. 🙂

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3. The Practice (Pitch or Crit Sessions)

Speaking of challenge, I love how LTUE and other conferences offer the opportunity to book “pitch or critique sessions” with publishers and agents. It’s terrifying, yes. But it makes you get that stinking elevator speech, outline, summary, or manuscript done.

It’s the best kind of practice, in my book, because it’s not practice. It’s the real thing–well, with training wheels, I suppose. Because everyone I’ve pitched to has been understanding, encouraging, and constructively helpful to me getting better at it. I advocate taking advantage of this at conferences! It’s worth the $10-20 sign-up fee. Even though those 10 minutes will cause you days of anxiety, as they definitely do to me.

I got so much awesome feedback from my pitch to Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books. It’s pretty cool to have access to this kind of coaching and input.

4. The Creative Inspiration

The writing panel topics are inspiring, and I especially like productivity-focused presentations. I get re-inspired on how to be disciplined about my writing. This weekend, I loved Johnny Worthen’s presentation on writing a novel in 90 days. His energy and sense of humor is so infectious!

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And the character sourcing is inspiring, too. I get so many ideas just from observing other attendees. If you think airports are great for people watching, you haven’t been to a fantasy or science fiction conference.  It really is like a creativity energy-shot.

5. The Intersection with Other Art Forms

Even conferences focused on writing, like LTUE, draw other artistic forms and I love seeing those creations. Like this fabulous steampunk dragon by J. Scott Savage!

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So if you’re a writer, start finding your way to conferences! Even if it’s a stretch.

And thanks to my fellow panelists in the Madeleine L’Engle and E. E. “Doc” Smith – Space Travel – Warp Speed vs Tesseract discussion. We covered the far reaches of the galaxy with that one. I loved the audience participation and hope it sparked some creative ideas for everyone. Afterwards, I thought about how we touched on the line between hard science fiction realism and daring to broach the more speculative non-realistic. I know I’m always trying to balance those myself. It’s a fine but fun line to venture along!

Have a fantastic week…!

My Panelist Schedule for Comic Con 2015 #FanX15 in SLC

Comic Con FanX 2015

I am super excited to be a panelist at next week’s Comic Con 2015: Fan Experience in Salt Lake City, Utah. The last couple have been an absolute blast! 

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For all you writers, my book about how to save your poor wrists while amplifying your hourly word count came out a month ago: HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015. The first book in my middle grade series HULDUSNOOPS is also available, for those of you needing some Icelandic fantasy / sci fi in your lives (this should be all of you).

13 Advantages to Dictating Your Writing and What a Writing Walkabout Looks Like

Here is my panelist schedule, though you can also search for my name on the main event site or download the app. Please come up and say hi!

Friday January 30, 2015

2:00 pm: Writing and Health, Ballroom C

8:00 pm: Equality in Speculative Fiction, Ballroom C

I love going to Cons. The energy you get from being around that much nerdiness and creativity is palpable. And in the words of Stan Lee:

Comic Con Stan Lee Quote

So. Whether you are local or need to make the trip, it sounds like this is where you should be next weekend!!

But if you can’t make it, I’ll be posting about epic costumes and miscellany on Instagram which feeds to the right on this blog. 

My Writing Panelist Schedule for Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Courtesy of Comic

Participating as a panelist at the SLC Comic Con Fan Experience (FanX) 2014 earlier this spring was a blast, as was speaking at Fantasy Con 2014 mid-summer. 

Now the geekery continues with the autumnal Salt Lake Comic Con 2014, at which I’ll also be a panelist. Basically, Utah creates enough demand to justify a nerd conference once a season. . .at least. Winter? The awesome Life the Universe, and Everything (LTUE 2015) Sci Fi & Fantasy Symposium of course!

I am so excited. I learn so much and meet awesome people at these things. I’ll be contributing on topics of writing productivity, writing skills, fantasy, and science fiction in general, and likely relative to my two series, HulduSnoops (mystery and fantasy) and The Salt Sheen Paradox (time travel science fiction thriller).

I’ll be participating all three days, on the following panels:

Thursday September 4, 2014

6:00 pm – Comic Con Writer’s Retreat Part 1: Planning and Outlining Your Novel, Making Time to Write – Room 255C

Friday September 5, 2014

5:00 pm – Magic, Myths, Legends, Archetypes and the Supernatural: What Writers of Speculative Fiction Have to Work With – Room 255E

Saturday September 6, 2014

2:00 pm – Why We Love Time Travel  – Room 255E

If you’ve never been to one of these conferences, maybe consider this or something like it closer to you. As with previous conferences, I’ll be posting pics of my favorite costumes to social media. I know there will be so, so many…

My Schedule for FantasyCon 2014 in SLC – #JoinTheAdventure

Fantasy Con

I have the opportunity to be a panelist at next week’s FantasyCon 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Naturally, I’m so excited!!

My panel centers around my travel and research for HULDUSNOOPS, a middle grade fantasy and mystery series about the Icelandic Huldufólk or “Hidden People” many Icelanders believe in to this day.

The first book in the series, THE CASE OF THE SMELLULAR PHONE, is available on Amazon!

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“Iceland’s Influence On Fantasy” – Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 6 PM – 6:50PM room 150 DEF

Iceland’s compelling landscape alone is enough to inspire fantasy writers, filmmakers, and other creatives. But did you know this country’s Viking history, Icelandic Sagas, and unique culture influenced Jules Verne, J. R. R. Tolkien, and others?

Embark on this visual journey to find out more about the dragons, trolls, elves, and other beings that inspired works such as “Lord of the Rings”, including the Huldufólk or “hidden people” many Icelanders still believe in to this day. 

You may find yourself inspired to plan your own inspiring adventure to the Land of Fire and Ice!

If for whatever illegitimate reason 🙂 you can’t make it to FantasyCon in SLC, I’ll be making the rounds and posting pics. But hopefully you can #JoinTheAdventure and attend the conference.

I’ll also be posting my presentation in one form or another so check back if you’re interested (I mean, it’s awesome, it’s Iceland!).

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Iceland Cover 6

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My Schedule for Comic Con 2014: Fan Experience in SLC

Comic Con 2014

I am super excited to be a panelist at next week’s Comic Con 2014: Fan Experience in Salt Lake City, Utah.

You’ll notice my participation spans a couple genres. That’s just how I roll. 

For example, my series THE SALT SHEEN PARADOXis a sci fi time travel mystery with a fair dose of romance. The first book in the series, AVIATRIX, is available on Amazon.

I’ll keep you posted!

Thursday April 17, 2014

1:00 pm: Women Warriors and Female Shamans—How to Avoid Stereotypes in Writing

3:00 pm: The Female Superhero: Fighting Crime in Pearls and Heels

Friday April 18, 2014

10:00 am: Writing Software Showdown: The Best Tools for Writing Novels, Screenplays & Comics

2:00 pm: Lovecraft and Poe: What Influence do They Have on Modern Horror?

4:00 pm: No Girls Allowed? Not Anymore: Girls who Make Sci-Fi/Fantasy Chic

6:00 pm: 39 Steps to Bates Motel: Why Hitchcock Still Resonates

Saturday April 19, 2014

4/19 10:00 am: Downton Abby: How a Stuffy British Drama Became One of TV’s Most Addictive Shows

4/19 4:00 pm: Self-Publishing, Indie Publishing and Traditional Publishing: Which One is Right for You?

If you have never been to a con, you should definitely consider it. Even if you can’t make it, I’ll be posting about epic costumes…and anything else epic that crosses my path. It’s going to be a blast!