mmerriam: (Hide)
I've been attending Convergence since 2002. I've watched it grow and morph, watched it struggle and triumph over those struggles. Watched it become the nearly 7000 member convention it has become. Convergence has been pretty good to me, having me as an invited participant for the last few years and hosting several of my book release parties. I sell twice as many books at Convergence as I do at any other Twin Cities convention.

And now I have to walk away.

It has simply become too much for the blind writer and fan to deal with. Too much noise, too much crowds, too much drunken twenty-somethings. Just…too much.

For the last few years, I've struggled more and more at Convergence. Just the logistics of packing and preparing for Convergence is stressful. The line to pick up badges seems to be getting longer and slower every year. The load into the hotel is always hot and sweaty (The con is over July 4th weekend) and the load out takes forever because of the elevator problems. Ask me about the night I climbed 22 flights of stairs. Ask me how faster, younger able bodied people would happily charge forward and cram into the thing before those of us with canes or chairs can even start forward, squeezing us out in their mad dash to get aboard. Tough luck, gimp.

But it's the crowds that finally killed the convention for me.

Crowds are a fact of life at larger conventions, but it's something I struggle to deal with to the point of sometimes getting so overwhelmed that I give up and go up to the room to hide. Now granted, I'm an introvert and at conventions I try to be "on" as much as possible--smiling, chatting, being social--which is exhausting to me. So I dive back into the room to recharge.

But the crowds, oh the crowds.

People at conventions don't pay attention to their surroundings, they’re too busy talking and looking at all the shiny and at Convergence they are packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the hallways and it doesn't matter if I'm using the cane, all I'm doing is hitting people who glance at the cane and then move on as I hit some other oblivious con-goer. Any moment I'm in the hallways and trying to get around on my own is fraught with peril -- near-misses, people tripping over the cane, and accidentally body-checking strangers into walls. It is especially bad with small children, who tend to dash one direction while looking the other, often right under my feet. I don't even go into the dealer's room at Convergence. It presents all the same problems as above, now with bonus narrow aisles and displays lying in ambush, waiting for the hapless blind guy to stumble into them. Going into the dealer's room (or art show) without assistance is impossible and with assistance still too difficult to manage.

The final thing the crowds tend to do is "blind" me. I'm already struggling with not being able to see much of anything in a rapidly changing environment, but the noise--especially around the party rooms (which I've learned to avoid)--basically leaves me without my other primary way of telling me what is happening around me. If I can't see clearly, and I can't hear clearly, what chance do I have? I've had to drop out of some things I wanted to do, simply because it became too hard on me in those situations to deal with the environment. There have been several moments where I quite literally froze in place because I lost my bearings and could not navigate my surroundings safely. It is a frustrating thing. It has gotten so bad that the year before last, I froze up in a crowd to the point that I simply couldn't move—couldn't even pull my cellphone and call for help—was trapped by both a crowd induced panic attack and the unending press of humanity. I had pulled my cane in and was standing still as the crowd broke like a wave around me. I finally had to be rescued by one of the roving convention hosts.

I have tried to talk about this stuff at conventions. There was some disability programming a couple of years ago, panels I pushed for about Disability in SF. Sadly, even this was problematic as Convergence put us in a space that was too small and difficult to access for our disabled fans in wheelchairs.

Last year, it was bad enough that I simply couldn't move around on my own. If I had to be on programming or some other event someone had to be with me, helping me as a sighted guide to move around the convention. It's the only convention I attend where I need a sighted guide, and I hate it. Hate the loss of independence. Hate that I have to take someone's time away from the convention because I can't function anymore: hated that if I wasn't being led around the convention from one programming item to the next, I had to retreat to the room because I can't managed to walk around the con on my own. If I was going back this year—if I ever go back—it is obvious I'll need a personal care assistant to help me with Convergence. And I hate that idea as well. I know. I know I'm a blind broken gimp and I shouldn't be so reticent to get the help I need and can legally ask for, but it takes all the enjoyment of the con away.

When it came time to try and get a room for Convergence, I was already thinking this might be my last year. Then came the day of trying to get a room; a day of more stress and frustration as once again the system crashed, some people seemed to have access to a backdoor and then all the room in the main hotel were gone, despite that fact I had done everything right and in a timely manner. It wasn't until this last weekend that we even knew if we could get a room in the hotel. By then, the decision to stop going to Convergence had been made.

I realized this year I was hating the idea of going to any of the 7 to 10 book festivals and conventions I attend every year. Not just Convergence, but all of them. That I just wanted to stay home all year. Hiding. The thought of going to conventions had me wanting to curl up with my confused cat and hide under the bed-covers. After talking it over with several people, I figured out it was just Convergence. I was so stressed at the very idea of dealing with Convergence that it was spoiling all the other conventions for me. Convergence comes at the end of my convention season and having it lurking out there in the horizon makes me anxious and angry and takes all the fun out of the other conventions.

A part of me hates to stop attending, especially this year. The theme is Urban Fantasy, which seems a slam-dunk for me as an author. I am a freakin' Urban Fantasy Author fer-cryin'-out-loud. I have two new books I haven't tried to sell at Convergence. Scott Lynch, one of the Guests of Honor, is my friend and another GoH, Emma Bull, is someone I like quite a bit. It has always been my best convention for sales. To walk away from such a great marketing opportunity seems silly.

And I don't have anything personally against Convergence. It is the convention it is, and thousands of people seem to enjoy being squeezed into the hotel with thousands of other con-goers. For many people, this is their favorite event of the year. Their vacation. The biggest bestest badest party ever.

Bless them. Bless them all.

But I just can't. I can't even.

Just the thought of Convergence makes me exhausted.

So it is time to stop.

And now I feel nothing but relief.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I had a pretty good Minicon this year. The two panels I was on were well attended and had both excellent panelists and thoughtful audiences. I played music three nights in a row, which was a little tough on my hands, but worth it. My reading was reasonably well attended and I sold a few books and signed a few more.

10277096_10152328791850138_7346936324522975136_n
*Photo courtesy of Baron Dave Romm

The three panels I attended were pretty good as well, though I had to sit on my hands and bit my tongue a couple times at the first one. I only made it to one reading this year, Cat Valente's, but I loved her story and reading-style. Made friends with some visiting musicians and got to help take them out for Malaysian food. On Saturday, three different people gave me three different types of cupcakes. It is a mystery as to why this happened, but I am not complaining. I mean, cupcakes!

But mostly what made it a great convention was hanging out with people--too many to name here--but Minicon felt more like a family reunion this year, maybe because I learned how to make my own fun at conventions. I am planning to return next year for the 50th Minicon celebration.

I didn't hardly work at all at the convention, which says something about how engaged I was, but I did work a little and even a little more yesterday.

1. Completed the first draft of the 1979 section
2. Added small scenes to the 1979 section to seed other sections
3. Made notes and started outlining 1929 section
4. Search for and added 1920s music to playlist.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ghosts Of the Places We Live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
FRIDAY, APRIL 18

Navigating the World of Small Press Publishing - 8:30-9:30PM - Veranda 7/8 (K)


SATURDAY, APRIL 19

Local References in Urban Fantasy - 11:30AM-12:30PM - Veranda 7/8 (K)

Reading - 3:30-4:30PM - Veranda 1/2

Signing - 5:00-5:30PM - Ballroom Foyer
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
These are the programming items I will be on at MarsCon this weekend.

Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam - Atrium 2 (Re(a)d Mars) - Friday 06:00pm
I will be reading from my new short story collection, Whisper in Space, and either from Old Blood's Fate or the soon to be released Dark Waters.

Mass Autographing - Exec Lounge (Krushenko’s) - Saturday 05:00 pm
Get your books and stuff signed by our Author and Science GOHs, and other pros.
With: Esther Friesner, Bridget Landry, Cynthia Booth, Roy C. Booth, Stryder Dancewollfe, Patrick W. Marsh, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan.

Time is Key for Artists! - Atrium 2 (Re(a)d Mars)- Saturday 06:00 pm
Finding time in your busy life to practice your art. Most of us in the arts community, whether writers, actors, visual artist, or musicians, need to at least work part-time to pay the bills and most of us work full-time while pursuing our artist careers. Come discuss strategies for carving our time to work on the thing that nourishes your soul.
With: Michael Merriam, mod.; S.N. Arly, Haddayr Copley-Woods, Stryder Dancewolffe

Rockstar Storytellers - Atrium 4 (Mainstage) - Saturday 10:00 pm
Modern day stories told with a rockstar flair.
With: Rob Callahan, Phillip Low, Courtney McLean, Laura Bidgood and guest Michael Merriam.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
This appears to be my schedule at CoreCon V, May 3-5, 2013at the Days Inn of Moorhead. As always, things are subject to last minute change.

Friday

Opening Ceremonies – 3:00 pm –Woods Room.

Artemis Panel – 5:00 pm - Woods Room.
A demo of the Artemis bridge simulator. I will be on the crew. Rumor is Joseph Scrimshaw will be our Captain.

Reading and Signing – 7:00 pm – Courtneys Room.
Just what the title says. I will read from my works and sell some books.

Saturday

Works of Michael Merriam – 5:00 pm – Woods Room.
This is my Q&A session.

Spoken Word Panel – 6:00 pm – Woods Room.
Joseph Scrimshaw and I will be giving a small performance, discussing spoken word and storytelling performing, and taking questions from the audience.

Sunday

Advice for Writers – 2:00 pm – Woods Room.
I suspect this will be something akin to a Writing/Publishing 101 panel with some Q&A.

Closing Ceremonies – 3:00pm – Woods Room.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Kimiko - Science)
I am taking it much easier at Minicon this year than in years past.
SAT - 3:00-4:00 Veranda 1/2
READING: Michael Merriam
Michael will read from his new short story collection, "Whispers in Space."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SAT - 5:00-5:30 2nd floor foyer
SIGNING: Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, Michael Merriam
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SUN - 2:00-3:00 Veranda 1/2
Rapid-Fire Readings - MINNSPEC
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I will also probably bring my bass guitar and sit on the music circle Saturday night. For the most part, I plan to hang out, go to readings, and chat with friends.

Big News!

Jan. 29th, 2013 06:57 pm
mmerriam: (Last Car)
Now that it is up on the website and all official and stuff, I am pleased as can be to announce that I have been invited to be Author Guest of Honor at CoreCon V.

CCVposterfrontpage

CoreCon is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and anime convention in Fargo-Moorhead and it looks like a bundle of fun. Other Guest of Honor include Patricia Tallman, best known as Lyta Alexander from Babylon 5; the always charming and funny Joseph Scrimshaw; and SF/fantasy/comic book artist and illustrator Terence Brown II.

While I am cheerfully looking forward meeting as many people in Fargo-Moorhead fandom as possible, I'd love it if some familiar faces were there as well. Registration is currently a mere $35. They are still taking room requests, so you could totally drive up and stay at the hotel all weekend.

I am thrilled. And honored. And a little freaked out because this is my first Guest of Honor invitation and I have no idea what to expect. But mostly I'm thrilled.

I hope to see some of you at the convention. Come up and say hello. I'm pretty easy to spot, being a 6' 2" blind man wielding a 56" white cane.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Default)
Thursday:
The move in was stupid hot, as the whole day was stupid hot. Luckily we were able to score a bellman’s cart to help with the move in, so it only took two trips instead three. The bad news was, the room (the brand-new just remolded room) had a broken shower, which forced us to clean up in the sink until maintenance was able to come and repaired the damage.

I went to the “Who Mourns the Villains?” panels, which had some pretty good discussion about creating believable and sympathetic villains.

I had dinner in the hotel room, visited the registration desk for attending professionals and picked up my card showing what programming I was scheduled for, and then wandered around the convention until I was on “Escaping the Slush Pile.” This panel had four editors and slush-readers actually read aloud the first few pages of audience member submitted manuscripts, then discuss them. It went really well, actually, and the courageous submitters seemed to appreciate the advice from the panelists.

Cut Because The Report Is Long And I Am Merciful )
mmerriam: (Default)
This is my schedule for Convergence, subject to last minute change.

Thursday, July 5

11:30pm - Escaping the Slush Pile - Bloomington Room - A panel of experienced slush readers will take the first five pages of manuscripts submitted by audience members, and identify the point at which they would stop reading, if any, and why. Panelists: Adam Whitlatch, Michael Merriam, Scott Lynch, Jennie Goloboy, Patrick Tomlinson

Friday, July 6

11:00am - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam and Dana Baird Signing - Autograph Table - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of "The Worker Prince," will be available to sign his work. Dana has just released "Broken Legacy." Michael's newest release is "Sky Tinted Waters." Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam

3:30pm - Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest Ceremony - Vista Suite - Past winners of the annual GPS Writing Contests read from their winning work. This year’s winners are announced. Panelists: George Richard, Hilary Moon Murphy (I’m not officially on the panel, but I am judging this contest, so I will be there)

5:00pm - Minn-Spec Meeting - Cabana 201 - Come and learn about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member-strong organization. Panelists: Michael Merriam (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Tyler Tork

8:30pm - Diversity in Steampunk - Atrium 4 - Does all steampunk have to be Victorian England? Certainly not! And it isn’t. Join a discussion of race, gender, class, and religion in this diverse genre. Hosted by the Red Ribbon Society (a.k.a Steam Century). Panelists: Alexandra Howes, Sarah McDole, Michael Merriam, Amy Williams-Scott, Kevin Borchers

10:00pm - So You've Sold a Novel: Now What Happens? - Atrium 7 - Congratulations --you sold your novel. Now comes the hard part: rewrites, editorial comments, cover art, marketing, promotions, and making sense of the royalty statement. Come ask established novelists questions about what happens after the sale. Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam, Doug Hulick, Kelly McCullough, Dana Baird

Saturday, July 7

12:30pm - Is Urban Fantasy just Romance for Geeks? - Atrium 7 - Of course it isn't. Discuss the breadth of work that fits into this popular sub-genre. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, James Turnbull, Michael Merriam, Paul Cornell, Brandy Snyder

5:00pm - SF Writing Groups: The 2012 Scene – Room 2201 - This annual (since 1986) get-together of the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Alliance lets speculative fiction groups link with authors who are looking for a critique group. Panelists: Eric Heideman

Sunday, July 8
11:00am - Michael Merriam Reading - Cabana 201 - The author of "Last Car to Annwn Station" reads from his newest release, "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn." Panelists: Michael Merriam

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Default)
This is my tentative schedule for Convergence. This is, off course, subject to change.

Thursday, July 5

11:30pm - Escaping the Slush Pile - Bloomington Room - A panel of experienced slush readers will take the first five pages of manuscripts submitted by audience members, and identify the point at which they would stop reading, if any, and why. Panelists: Adam Whitlatch, Michael Merriam, Scott Lynch, Jennie Goloboy, Patrick Tomlinson

Friday, July 6

11:00am - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam and Dana Baird Signing - Autograph Table - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of "The Worker Prince," will be available to sign his work. Dana has just released "Broken Legacy." Michael's newest release is "Sky Tinted Waters." Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam

3:30pm - Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest Ceremony - Vista Suite - Past winners of the annual GPS Writing Contests read from their winning work. This year’s winners are announced. Panelists: George Richard, Hilary Moon Murphy (I’m not officially on the panel, but I am judging this contest, so I will be there)

5:00pm - Minn-Spec Meeting - Cabana 201 - Come and learn about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member-strong organization. Panelists: Michael Merriam (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Tyler Tork

8:30pm - Diversity in Steampunk - Atrium 4 - Does all steampunk have to be Victorian England? Certainly not! And it isn’t. Join a discussion of race, gender, class, and religion in this diverse genre. Hosted by the Red Ribbon Society (a.k.a Steam Century). Panelists: Alexandra Howes, Sarah McDole, Michael Merriam, Amy Williams-Scott, Kevin Borchers

10:00pm - So You've Sold a Novel: Now What Happens? - Atrium 7 - Congratulations --you sold your novel. Now comes the hard part: rewrites, editorial comments, cover art, marketing, promotions, and making sense of the royalty statement. Come ask established novelists questions about what happens after the sale. Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam, Doug Hulick, Kelly McCullough, Dana Baird

Saturday, July 7

12:30pm - Is Urban Fantasy just Romance for Geeks? - Atrium 7 - Of course it isn't. Discuss the breadth of work that fits into this popular sub-genre. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, James Turnbull, Michael Merriam, Paul Cornell, Brandy Snyder

Sunday, July 8
11:00am - Michael Merriam Reading - Cabana 201 - The author of "Last Car to Annwn Station" reads from his newest release, "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn." Panelists: Michael Merriam
mmerriam: (Default)
The steampunk spy-thriller novella is delivered to the publisher, so there is a big load off my mind. Dark Water Blues, has been rewritten and resubmitted to my editor, so another project down. I've been working on rewrites of Dead Brew and finishing the first draft of my still untitled contemporary coming of age novella (can you tell I've fallen in love with the novella length work?). Plans are still afoot to try my hand a screenwriting.

I've also started finalizing and lining up my programming at various conventions for 2012, and I'm looking at doing a few out-of-state readings and signings later this year. Website updates are in the works.

Over on a message board I frequent, we've been talking about Plot vs. Story vs. Characterization, though it is not the epic battle royale it sounds from that description. No one is being bashed over the head with adverbs and tossed out with a form rejection stapled to their foreheads or anything like that.

I've found it interesting watching the folks who only write short fiction and the folks who are writing novels discuss their different perspectives concerning plot. The general consensus is that in short fiction a single plot is preferable, while longer works such as novels, novellas, feature scripts, and long plays, should (and frankly, these days are expected to) have subplots. Of course I could point out examples of short stories with two or even three plots running, and I can point to successful novels that only have the main plot and nothing else, the general consensus stated about does seem to be the norm.

In genre fiction (SF/F/H/M/W/R/Thr and others) plot tends to be the emphasis, with characters and setting next in importance, while in what critics call contemporary, literary, or mainstream fiction, character and story tends to rule over plot. This is also a generalization, and of course some "genre" writers focus more on characterization or world-building, while I've seen some lovely plots in post-modern contemporary novels.

From a personal perspective as a writer, I like to write deep characterization first, plot and sub-plot second (grown from the character's desires and conflicts), and deal with world-building very little, hence I tend to write contemporary and urban fantasy with a smattering of magical realism and steampunk/supernatural westerns/supernatural Victoriana where I can use a "real world" setting and short hand the world-building.

I think that in short fiction everything, from paragraph to punctuation, has to advance the story in some way, either moving the plot or developing the characters, hopefully while deepening the sense of scene and place. I think you have more room to digress and get away with long descriptions in novels, though it should be used sparingly.

As always, your mileage may vary.
mmerriam: (Default)
The steampunk spy-thriller novella is delivered to the publisher, so there is a big load off my mind. Dark Water Blues, has been rewritten and resubmitted to my editor, so another project down. I've been working on rewrites of Dead Brew and finishing the first draft of my still untitled contemporary coming of age novella (can you tell I've fallen in love with the novella length work?). Plans are still afoot to try my hand a screenwriting.

I've also started finalizing and lining up my programming at various conventions for 2012, and I'm looking at doing a few out-of-state readings and signings later this year. Website updates are in the works.

Over on a message board I frequent, we've been talking about Plot vs. Story vs. Characterization, though it is not the epic battle royale it sounds from that description. No one is being bashed over the head with adverbs and tossed out with a form rejection stapled to their foreheads or anything like that.

I've found it interesting watching the folks who only write short fiction and the folks who are writing novels discuss their different perspectives concerning plot. The general consensus is that in short fiction a single plot is preferable, while longer works such as novels, novellas, feature scripts, and long plays, should (and frankly, these days are expected to) have subplots. Of course I could point out examples of short stories with two or even three plots running, and I can point to successful novels that only have the main plot and nothing less the general consensus stated about does seem to be the norm.

In genre fiction (SF/F/H/M/W/R/Thr and others) plot tends to be the emphasis, with characters and setting next in importance, while in what critics call contemporary, literary, or mainstream fiction, character and story tends to rule over plot. This is also a generalization, and of course some "genre" writers focus more on characterization or world-building, while I've seen some lovely plots in post-modern contemporary novels.

From a personal perspective as a writer, I like to write deep characterization first, plot and sub-plot second (grown from the character's desires and conflicts), and deal with world-building very little, hence I tend to write contemporary and urban fantasy with a smattering of magical realism and steampunk/supernatural westerns/supernatural Victoriana where I can use a "real world" setting and short hand the world-building.

I think that in short fiction everything, from paragraph to punctuation, has to advance the story in some way, either moving the plot or developing the characters, hopefully while deepening the sense of scene and place. I think you have more room to digress and get away with long descriptions in novels, though it should be used sparingly.

As always, your mileage may vary.
mmerriam: (Default)
Home from Convergence. Convergence fell the weekend after 4th Street Fantasy Convention this year, leaving me a little exhausted. Despite that, I had a great time at both conventions, though they are almost exact opposites in tone.

4th Street is small and intimate, and it was great to spend a lot of time in conversations with friends old and new. I walk away from 4th Street happy, pleased at the chance to catch up and renew friendships. There was (as is almost always the case) deep discussion about writing and reading and fantasy. There was a strong showing from MinnSpec writers, especially those of use who are early in our careers.

I moderated a panel, “It’s a Secret to Everyone” which had a lively and engaged crowd. I felt like I barely kept control of the panel, and I struggled to make sure everyone in the audience got their questions and comments in, working as I was with one malfunctioning eye. I was also on the “Novelty, Complexity, and Mass Appeal” panel. I thought this panel went really well, with all the panelist and audience bring up some great ideas.

Convergence, on the other hand, is a monster. 5000 or so attendees this year. It’s four days long, which is almost one day too many for me (the more so coming off 4th Street). I was on a lot of programming items and was drafted into a panel as well. Still, I had a good time. There was plenty of hanging out with friends, a nice venture out to dinner, and most of my programming went well enough. Seanan McGuire tried to kill me with humor a couple of times, and I got a little overwhelmed by all the (fantastic!) academic conversation on another panel. My reading was well attended, and we recorded it. We also recorded the MinnSpec group reading. I gave away lots of postcards for my two eBooks.

I might come back and talk about these conventions some more as my brain comes back online and I catch up on my rest. I’m still processing lots of stuff from both, and considering what conventions I plan to attend next year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station is available in ebook format at Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon U.S., and Amazon U.K. and in audio format at Audible.

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.
mmerriam: (Default)
Michael’s Schedule

eBooks - Books & Publishers: 12:30pm – Friday July 1st – Atrium 7
The realities of the new eBook market. What do authors want, what do publishers want and is there a way for all of them to get it?
Panelists: Anya Bast, Richard Ristow, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, Michael Zecca.

Signing: 2:00pm – Friday July 1st
I’ll be signing books and postcards with Dana Baird.

Ask a Writer: 3:30p m– Friday July 1st -- Bloomington Room.
Always wanted to know how a novel is born? How does a writer structure their day? Is it all glittering parties and intelligent company? Come ask a panel of working writers anything.
Panelists: Dana Baird, Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Seanan McGuire, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks.

MinnSpec Meeting: 5:00pm – Friday July 1st -- Cabana 118 / Krushenko’s.
Come and learns about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member strong organization.
Panelists: Michael Merriam and other MinnSpec members.

Into the Woods: Creating Fairy Tales: 9:30am – Saturday July 2nd – Bloomington Room.
How do we create modern fairy tales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairy tales in a modern era?
Panelists: Lisa Blauersouth, Michael Levy, Michael Merriam, Catherynne Valente, MontiLee Stormer, Kristin Livdahl.

Happy Writers and Fast Writers: 12:30 pm – Saturday July 2nd – Bloomington Room.
There are any number of writers who talk about the agony of writing, both in terms of how long it takes them and how miserable it makes them. But that's not the only side of the story. A lot of writers love what they do -- that's why they do it.
Panelists: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Michael Merriam, Seanan McGuire, David Wilbanks, David Walbridge.

Michael Merriam Reading: 5:00pm – Saturday July 2nd – Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
Michael Merriam, author of Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep and The Horror at Cold Springs, reads from his new novel, Last Car to Annwn Station.
Panelists: Michael Merriam.

MinnSpec Reading: 2:00pm – Sunday July 3rd -- Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
MinnSpec Reading
Panelists: Eli Effinger-Weintraub and other MinnSpec members.

Careswen’s Schedule

I'm Your GM, Not Your Therapist: 10:00pm – Thursday June 30th -- Atrium 3
When personal issues spill over into your gaming group.
Panelists: Beth Kinderman, Sherry L.M. Merriam, James Turnbull, Rachel Kronick.

Do Superheroes Need Therapy? 11:00am – Saturday July 2nd – Atrium 2
Let's face it; Bruce Wayne would not be Batman if someone had sent him to therapy when he was a kid. Would Superman be the man of steel if he wasn't dealing with parental rejection issues? Super Heroism as a means of dodging what's really bugging you.
Panelists: Daniel Wallace, Jonathan Palmer, Sherry L.M. Merriam, Daren Johnson, Kevin Horner.
mmerriam: (Default)
Michael’s Schedule

eBooks - Books & Publishers: 12:30pm – Friday July 1st – Atrium 7
The realities of the new eBook market. What do authors want, what do publishers want and is there a way for all of them to get it?
Panelists: Anya Bast, Richard Ristow, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, Michael Zecca.

Signing: 2:00pm – Friday July 1st
I’ll be signing books and postcards with Dana Baird.

Ask a Writer: 3:30p m– Friday July 1st -- Bloomington Room.
Always wanted to know how a novel is born? How does a writer structure their day? Is it all glittering parties and intelligent company? Come ask a panel of working writers anything.
Panelists: Dana Baird, Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Seanan McGuire, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks.

MinnSpec Meeting: 5:00pm – Friday July 1st -- Cabana 118 / Krushenko’s.
Come and learns about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member strong organization.
Panelists: Michael Merriam and other MinnSpec members.

Into the Woods: Creating Fairy Tales: 9:30am – Saturday July 2nd – Bloomington Room.
How do we create modern fairy tales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairy tales in a modern era?
Panelists: Lisa Blauersouth, Michael Levy, Michael Merriam, Catherynne Valente, MontiLee Stormer, Kristin Livdahl.

Happy Writers and Fast Writers: 12:30 pm – Saturday July 2nd – Bloomington Room.
There are any number of writers who talk about the agony of writing, both in terms of how long it takes them and how miserable it makes them. But that's not the only side of the story. A lot of writers love what they do -- that's why they do it.
Panelists: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Michael Merriam, Seanan McGuire, David Wilbanks, David Walbridge.

Michael Merriam Reading: 5:00pm – Saturday July 2nd – Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
Michael Merriam, author of Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep and The Horror at Cold Springs, reads from his new novel, Last Car to Annwn Station.
Panelists: Michael Merriam.

MinnSpec Reading: 2:00pm – Sunday July 3rd -- Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
MinnSpec Reading
Panelists: Eli Effinger-Weintraub and other MinnSpec members.

Careswen’s Schedule

I'm Your GM, Not Your Therapist: 10:00pm – Thursday June 30th -- Atrium 3
When personal issues spill over into your gaming group.
Panelists: Beth Kinderman, Sherry L.M. Merriam, James Turnbull, Rachel Kronick.

Do Superheroes Need Therapy? 11:00am – Saturday July 2nd – Atrium 2
Let's face it; Bruce Wayne would not be Batman if someone had sent him to therapy when he was a kid. Would Superman be the man of steel if he wasn't dealing with parental rejection issues? Super Heroism as a means of dodging what's really bugging you.
Panelists: Daniel Wallace, Jonathan Palmer, Sherry L.M. Merriam, Daren Johnson, Kevin Horner.
mmerriam: (Default)
The programming is up for 4th Street Fantasy Convention. This small convention (membership capped at 250) has single track of programming. 4th Street Fantasy is intimate, literate, smart, and the best little fantasy convention on the block. These are my programming items for the year:

It's a Secret to Everyone - 10:00am – 11:00am Saturday
What makes secrets work in fiction, and what are some ways they can be mishandled? How much of a difference does it make when the reader is in on the secret? What's the difference between a surprise that will make the reader remember a book for years to come, and a twist that will leave them feeling cheated?
Panelists: Anne Gwin, Michael Merriam (Moderating), Will Shetterly, Patricia C. Wrede

Novelty, Complexity, and Mass Appeal – 10:00am -- 11:00am Sunday
Readers of popular fantasy series often see them as groundbreaking in ways that experienced readers don't. Similarly, the nuances that appeal to the latter group can disorient and disconcert the former. How important is the perception of novelty in a series having breakout appeal, and what kinds of novelty matter? What sorts of complexity are audiences willing to put up with immediately, and which kinds wouldn't work in a stand-alone work but might in an ongoing series?
Panelists: Alec Austin (Moderating), Emma Bull, Scott Lynch, Michael Merriam, Sherwood Smith
mmerriam: (Default)
The programming is up for 4th Street Fantasy Convention. This small convention (membership capped at 250) has single track of programming. 4th Street Fantasy is intimate, literate, smart, and the best little fantasy convention on the block. These are my programming items for the year:

It's a Secret to Everyone - 10:00am – 11:00am Saturday
What makes secrets work in fiction, and what are some ways they can be mishandled? How much of a difference does it make when the reader is in on the secret? What's the difference between a surprise that will make the reader remember a book for years to come, and a twist that will leave them feeling cheated?
Panelists: Anne Gwin, Michael Merriam (Moderating), Will Shetterly, Patricia C. Wrede

Novelty, Complexity, and Mass Appeal – 10:00am -- 11:00am Sunday
Readers of popular fantasy series often see them as groundbreaking in ways that experienced readers don't. Similarly, the nuances that appeal to the latter group can disorient and disconcert the former. How important is the perception of novelty in a series having breakout appeal, and what kinds of novelty matter? What sorts of complexity are audiences willing to put up with immediately, and which kinds wouldn't work in a stand-alone work but might in an ongoing series?
Panelists: Alec Austin (Moderating), Emma Bull, Scott Lynch, Michael Merriam, Sherwood Smith
mmerriam: (Coffee)
My venerable (for a computer) HP Pavilion kicked the bucket after 8 good years of service. Considering the lifespan of most electronics, I really can’t complain. I didn’t lose anything, since we keep all of our doc, pics, and music on the network drive and back it all up regularly to the laptop. That said, I’m thinking about signing up for DropBox. I will working on the laptop for the time being, though we are considering buying a laptop with a docking station so that I can work at my more ergonomically correct desk and use my huge (seriously huge) monitor.

In happier news, I sold my short story “Steadfast” to Flagship. This is a space opera retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. I’m pleased to have sold it.

And a reminder that I will be at Paganicon (http://tcpaganpride.org/paganicon/) this weekend. I will be doing a reading/storytelling event on Sunday, where I plan to present “Four Minnesota Fantasy Tales.” There are also some other author events that I will probably see attending on Saturday and Sunday.
mmerriam: (Coffee)
My venerable (for a computer) HP Pavilion kicked the bucket after 8 good years of service. Considering the lifespan of most electronics, I really can’t complain. I didn’t lose anything, since we keep all of our doc, pics, and music on the network drive and back it all up regularly to the laptop. That said, I’m thinking about signing up for DropBox. I will working on the laptop for the time being, though we are considering buying a laptop with a docking station so that I can work at my more ergonomically correct desk and use my huge (seriously huge) monitor.

In happier news, I sold my short story “Steadfast” to Flagship. This is a space opera retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. I’m pleased to have sold it.

And a reminder that I will be at Paganicon (http://tcpaganpride.org/paganicon/) this weekend. I will be doing a reading/storytelling event on Sunday, where I plan to present “Four Minnesota Fantasy Tales.” There are also some other author events that I will probably see attending on Saturday and Sunday.
mmerriam: (Default)
Here is a list of conventions and other events I will attend. If anyone wants to come up to me and say hello, I'm easy to spot: I'm the large man with the white cane. I'd love to visit with you.

Speculations Reading with Michael Merriam
Friday, February 4, 2011 6:30 PM
DreamHaven Books
2301 E 38th St
Minneapolis MN 55406

Con of the North -- February 18th-20th, 2011. The Twin Cities' longest running games convention, held at the Holiday Inn St. Paul East.

MarsCon -- March 4th-6th, 2011. Held at the Airport Hilton, Bloomington, MN.

Paganicon -- March 25th-27th, 2011. Held at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel, St. Louis Park, MN.

Minicon -- April 22nd-24th, 2011. The Grand Dame of Minnesota SF&F Conventions. This Con is held at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

4th Street Fantasy Convention -- There hasn't been an announcement of dates yet.

CONvergence -- June 30th--July 3rd 2011. CONvergence is at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, MN. This convention hosts the Tales of the Unanticipated magazine release party.

Diversicon -- July 29th–31st, 2011. A Twin Cities convention that celebrates and explores the connections between speculative fiction and diversity.

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