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've slowed down at CONvergence this year, having only six programming items, as opposed to the eight to ten I usually end up doing. CONvergecne is barely controlled chaos and a serious challenge for me to navigate, so if you see me and want to talk please just step up and say hello. I'm easy to spot with the white cane.

Friday, July 5
7:00pm - Minn-Spec Meeting
Come and learn about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 400+ member-strong organization.
Panelists: Hilary Moon Murphy, Michael Merriam - Sofitel Dijon

Saturday, July 6
11:00am - Reading - Michael Merriam
Michael will read from his new novel, "Old Blood's Fate" and his new short story collection, "Whispers in Space."
Panelists: Michael Merriam - 2201

12:30pm - Geek Chi, Tai Chi for Geeks (Description: Michael Merriam)
The newest and possibly geekiest member of the Geek Physique family is the creation of Instructor Sherry Merriam. Sherry has studied and developed a Tai Chi curriculum that combines mindful movement with a vast array of Sci-Fi/Fantasy examples.
Panelists: Michael Merriam, Sherry L. M. Merriam - Garden Court Southwest

2:00pm - Beyond SF 101 (Description: Michael Merriam)
There's a lot of advice out there for the beginning writer, this panel is for those of you who have moved beyond that point.
Panelists: John Klima, Scott Lynch, Peter Hautman, Michael Merriam, Monica Valentinelli - Atrium 2

Sunday, July 7
9:30am - Kids Intro to Classic SF&F (Description: Michael Merriam)
Yes! The field did exist before Harry Potter. What are good books from long ago (well, over 40 years) that still hold up for kids (under 12) to read now?
Panelists: Michael Merriam, Vetnita Anderson, Michael Levy, Sean M. Murphy - Atrium 3

11:00am - Signing - Dana Baird/Michael Merriam/Tim Lieder
Dana Baird, Michael Merriam and Tim Lieder will all be available to sign their work. Panelists: Dana Baird, Tim Lieder, Michael Merriam - Autograph Table


Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Quantum Cat)
Hi everyone.

I know it has been kind of quiet around her lately. In fact, I haven't posted since just after CoreCon. There has been a lot going on over the last month, and I promise to explain, at least in part, the long silence. That post will happen next week, right after 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

Which brings me to this post: I realized I'm going to be at a couple of convention over the next few weeks and have a few other bits of news to share. So here comes the sharing.

This weekend I will be at 4th Street Fantasy Convention. I will be moderating a panel Friday evening, Short Fiction, with a crowd of really talented authors. After that I will be part of the ongoing discussion that is 4th Street Fantasy Con. More info about programming here: http://www.4thstreetfantasy.com/2013/programming/

On the 2nd of July I will be competing in the second semi-final round of StorySlamMN. The storytelling starts at 8pm and is at Kieran's Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Come down and hear me compete with some of the finest storytellers in the Midwest. http://slammn.org/storyslam

And of course, over the 4th of July weekend I will be at CONvergence. I'll post more about my schedule closer to the convention, but in truth, I've dialed it back this year, going down to a mere six programing items, as opposed to the eight to twelve I typically get involved in.

Finally, my new short fiction collection, Whispers in Space will be available in the next few weeks to sale, More information there as I have it.

And I promise, there will be a big update and post after the convention. Promise.

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)
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)
ETA: One of our friends has made an offer of a loan of a DVC.

[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I need to borrow a digital video camera, preferably with a stand, for a week or so, for some work projects. We'll record my reading at CONvergence (4th of July weekend), and some other stuff to support both our work. Can anyone help us out with a loaner?
mmerriam: (Default)
ETA: One of our friends has made an offer of a loan of a DVC.

[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I need to borrow a digital video camera, preferably with a stand, for a week or so, for some work projects. We'll record my reading at CONvergence (4th of July weekend), and some other stuff to support both our work. Can anyone help us out with a loaner?
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)
I have been writing on Dead Brew II (title pending). I’m about to the middle of the book and finally have the shape of the thing clear in my head. What I need to focus in now is writing the synopsis for Dead Brew and get it sent out.

Speaking of sent out, I submitted three new pieces to Anthology Builder. I have more pieces to submit to them, but I thought I would start with these three and once a decision was made, submit three more. If I can get all the stories on Anthology builder I would like, that would be 12 pieces. I also sent out a query on a small short fiction collection of my space opera pieces. The publisher in question has told me he is looking for more SF and space opera, so I have high hopes.

Attempts to integrate Belyn—aka Temp-to-Perm Kitty—with the Reverend Selena have been mixed. It would help if Belyn would read her signals (which are pretty obvious, considering how vocal she is) and back off when she’s angry. I wonder if the male inability to read signals a female is sending is a universal thing.

He is still very cute and we are patient. Belyn really wants to make friends with Selena. She is not all that interested right now. I think she might be willing to ignore him, if he would stop getting in her face.

Snippet four of Last Car to Annwn Station is more character and relationship development, with an indication that Jill is about to be drawn into the metaphysical mystery that Mae is dealing with.

I received my postcards and 8x10 prints from Carina Press for Last Car to Annwn Station. They are lovely, and I will have them to give away at 4TH Street Fantasy Convention, Convergence, and Diversicon if I attend.

Snippet #4 Behind the Cut )
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th. Pre-Order at Carina Press, Amazon U.S., and Amazon U.K.

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com
mmerriam: (Default)
I have been writing on Dead Brew II (title pending). I’m about to the middle of the book and finally have the shape of the thing clear in my head. What I need to focus in now is writing the synopsis for Dead Brew and get it sent out.

Speaking of sent out, I submitted three new pieces to Anthology Builder. I have more pieces to submit to them, but I thought I would start with these three and once a decision was made, submit three more. If I can get all the stories on Anthology builder I would like, that would be 12 pieces. I also sent out a query on a small short fiction collection of my space opera pieces. The publisher in question has told me he is looking for more SF and space opera, so I have high hopes.

Attempts to integrate Belyn—aka Temp-to-Perm Kitty—with the Reverend Selena have been mixed. It would help if Belyn would read her signals (which are pretty obvious, considering how vocal she is) and back off when she’s angry. I wonder if the male inability to read signals a female is sending is a universal thing.

He is still very cute and we are patient. Belyn really wants to make friends with Selena. She is not all that interested right now. I think she might be willing to ignore him, if he would stop getting in her face.

Snippet four of Last Car to Annwn Station is more character and relationship development, with an indication that Jill is about to be drawn into the metaphysical mystery that Mae is dealing with.

I received my postcards and 8x10 prints from Carina Press for Last Car to Annwn Station. They are lovely, and I will have them to give away at 4TH Street Fantasy Convention, Convergence, and Diversicon if I attend.

Snippet #4 Behind the Cut )
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th. Pre-Order at Carina Press, Amazon U.S., and Amazon U.K.

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com
mmerriam: (Default)
The writing has been going slowly the last couple of weeks, swallowed up in computer woes and a new kitten. I’m hoping to get back on track by writing a little this afternoon.

Belyn, aka Temp-to-Perm cat, has been neutered and given a clean bill of health by the veterinarian. He and the Reverend Selena have seen each other through a screen. The Reverend Selena made a sound like an air raid siren before settling down to glare malevolently at Belyn. For his part, Belyn’s noise was something more akin to an agitated teakettle, though he quickly became bored and continued his quest to escape the crafting room.

The release date for Last Car to Annwn Station has been moved back to June 27th (One month! OMG!). I should have postcards to give away at 4th Street Fantasy Convention and CONvergence.

Snippet #2 Behind the Cut )
mmerriam: (Default)
The writing has been going slowly the last couple of weeks, swallowed up in computer woes and a new kitten. I’m hoping to get back on track by writing a little this afternoon.

Belyn, aka Temp-to-Perm cat, has been neutered and given a clean bill of health by the veterinarian. He and the Reverend Selena have seen each other through a screen. The Reverend Selena made a sound like an air raid siren before settling down to glare malevolently at Belyn. For his part, Belyn’s noise was something more akin to an agitated teakettle, though he quickly became bored and continued his quest to escape the crafting room.

The release date for Last Car to Annwn Station has been moved back to June 27th (One month! OMG!). I should have postcards to give away at 4th Street Fantasy Convention and CONvergence.

Snippet #2 Behind the Cut )
mmerriam: (Default)
Writing continues at Merriam Manor. I have started taking Dark Water Blues apart one last time, this time to bring it inline with the continuity I am building in my Twin Cities urban fantasy setting. I’ve made the continuity fit, and now I need to go over it one more time to make sure I didn’t break something.

Most of my writing focus has been on the second novel in the monster-hunting barista series. In the last few days I’ve pounded out 3600 words, all of it in a vampire scene, which finished with vampires feeding and then a squicky sex scene. It was an uncomfortable scene to write, but I think that’s a good thing. You really need to be able to write scenes that make you uncomfortable, that leave you feeling out of sorts and a little unhappy. The next scene should be easier for me to deal with, though I do have to come up with the exact wording of a curse that is pivotal to the plot.

And speaking of vampires, it seems that all I need to do now is write a “Little Magic Shop” story and I can stand up and yell, “BINGO!” I’ve done zombies, elves, unicorns, talking cats, helpful animals, etc. I might have missed one or two, but if I have, I’d be surprised. ETA: [livejournal.com profile] timprov hit me with one I missed on the first comment. What have the rest of you got?

I’m still a little disbelieving about Last Car to Annwn Station and I suspect I will be until I get the author copies. Carina / Harlequin has promised me postcards, which I should have by CONvergence, maybe even by 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

In non-writing news, I had an interview last week for a part-time, mostly work from home position as a grant writer, with some copywriting, proofreading, and social networking tossed in for good measure. I think I’m a pretty good fit for the position. They told me they would be doing second interviews this week, so I’m hoping to get the call.

I’m going to try to be more active here on LJ again. I’ve let Facebook seduce me for awhile, but I’ve missed the more substantive posts and conversations you can have here on LJ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th.

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com
mmerriam: (Default)
Writing continues at Merriam Manor. I have started taking Dark Water Blues apart one last time, this time to bring it inline with the continuity I am building in my Twin Cities urban fantasy setting. I’ve made the continuity fit, and now I need to go over it one more time to make sure I didn’t break something.

Most of my writing focus has been on the second novel in the monster-hunting barista series. In the last few days I’ve pounded out 3600 words, all of it in a vampire scene, which finished with vampires feeding and then a squicky sex scene. It was an uncomfortable scene to write, but I think that’s a good thing. You really need to be able to write scenes that make you uncomfortable, that leave you feeling out of sorts and a little unhappy. The next scene should be easier for me to deal with, though I do have to come up with the exact wording of a curse that is pivotal to the plot.

And speaking of vampires, it seems that all I need to do now is write a “Little Magic Shop” story and I can stand up and yell, “BINGO!” I’ve done zombies, elves, unicorns, talking cats, helpful animals, etc. I might have missed one or two, but if I have, I’d be surprised. ETA: [livejournal.com profile] timprov hit me with one I missed on the first comment. What have the rest of you got?

I’m still a little disbelieving about Last Car to Annwn Station and I suspect I will be until I get the author copies. Carina / Harlequin has promised me postcards, which I should have by CONvergence, maybe even by 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

In non-writing news, I had an interview last week for a part-time, mostly work from home position as a grant writer, with some copywriting, proofreading, and social networking tossed in for good measure. I think I’m a pretty good fit for the position. They told me they would be doing second interviews this week, so I’m hoping to get the call.

I’m going to try to be more active here on LJ again. I’ve let Facebook seduce me for awhile, but I’ve missed the more substantive posts and conversations you can have here on LJ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th.


Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com
mmerriam: (Grace)
I have my schedule for CONvergence:

Friday July 1st

12:30: eBooks - Books & Publishers: 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?
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Richard Ristow, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, Michael Zecca. Atrium 7

2:00: Book Signing with Dana Baird.

3:30: Ask a Writer: 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. Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks. Bloomington Room.

5:00: MinnSpec Meeting: Come and learns about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member strong organization.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Michael Merriam. Cabana 118 / Krushenko’s.


Saturday July 2nd
9:30: Into the Woods: Creating Fairy Tales: How do we create modern fairy tales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairy tales in a modern era?
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Lisa Blauersouth, Michael Levy, Michael Merriam, MontiLee Stormer, Kristin Livdahl. Bloomington Room.

12:30: Happy Writers and Fast Writers: 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.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, David Walbridge. Bloomington Room.

5:00: Michael Merriam reading: 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.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Michael Merriam. Vista Suites / Lit Lounge


Sunday July 3rd
2:00: MinnSpec Reading.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Eli Effinger-Weintraub. Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
mmerriam: (Grace)
I have my schedule for CONvergence:

Friday July 1st

12:30: eBooks - Books & Publishers: 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?
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Richard Ristow, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, Michael Zecca. Atrium 7

3:30: Ask a Writer: 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. Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks. Bloomington Room.

5:00: MinnSpec Meeting: Come and learns about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member strong organization.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Michael Merriam. Cabana 118 / Krushenko’s.


Saturday July 2nd
9:30: Into the Woods: Creating Fairy Tales: How do we create modern fairy tales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairy tales in a modern era?
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Lisa Blauersouth, Michael Levy, Michael Merriam, MontiLee Stormer, Kristin Livdahl. Bloomington Room.

12:30: Happy Writers and Fast Writers: 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.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Anya Bast, Kelly McCullough, Michael Merriam, David Wilbanks, David Walbridge. Bloomington Room.

5:00: Michael Merriam reading: 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.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Michael Merriam. Vista Suites / Lit Lounge


Sunday July 3rd
2:00: MinnSpec Reading.
Speaker/Artist(s) Info: Eli Effinger-Weintraub. Vista Suites / Lit Lounge
mmerriam: (Default)
Line edits on Last Car to Annwn Station are finished and returned to Editor Melissa at Carina Press. It should be a couple of weeks before the CEM arrives. I have a week to finish that, then the manuscript will be complete and delivered. There will be a final proof galley, then at last a book. I can’t wait.

My reading at DreamHaven Books was a success. I started off reading too fast, but got my footing and by the time I read from Last Car to Annwn Station I had settled in. Everyone seemed to enjoy the reading, and several folks said they are looking forward to the novel coming out this summer. We had a great crowd, 41 people by our count.

Super Bowl party was fun, with about 20 people at my house, some of whom cared about the game, many of whom did not, and everyone having fun. There was lots a good food and great company.

Had a nice night out with some other local writer folks. Good conversation, goods people, and a smashing beer and scotch selection at The Muddy Pig in St. Paul.

Speaking of food, we have a new Japanese restaurant in Hopkins, Aji. There is nice review here: http://www.weeklynews.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=8267&SectionID=49&SubSectionID=110&S=1

We went with some friends and found everything cooked to perfection and the sushi bar well presented, with a good selection of excellent and flavorful sushi.

We went to see Bill W. and Dr. Bob (http://www.illusiontheater.org/events/bill-w-dr-bob) at the Illusion Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. This show is well worth seeing, and the discussion after the show with the director and actors was great fun.

The MinnSpec meeting today was a presentation about giving presentations and being on panels. There was some really good stuff, though I feel like we focused a little too much on PowerPoint stuff. I know some people really dig the PowerPoint, but I don’t use it. There was also good discussion about what to do in difficult situations (a cellphone goes off, crying children, that one person in the audience who tries to hijack the panel, that one expert in the audience who asks you the one question you don’t know the answer to, that sort of thing). We talked about different things you can do the make your public speaking better, including joining Toastmaster and taking some basic acting and voice classes. Over all a very positive meeting, plus we figured out the topics for the next couple of meetings.

Getting gear up for Con of the North this weekend. I will be spending my birthday at the Con.

I sent in my panel picks for CONvergence. We shall see what happens.

Speaking of panels, I have my schedule for MarsCon:

Friday, March 4:
6:00-6:45 PM--Krushenko's/Concierge (Room 1332)
Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam

Saturday, March 5:
6:00-6:45 PM--Re(a)d Mars/Taylor (2nd Floor)
Panel: The Woods Are Lovely
How do we create modern fairytales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairytales in a modern era?
Michael Merriam, mod.; PMF Johnson, Naomi Kritzer

Sunday, March 6:
11:00-11:45 AM--Re(a)d Mars
Panel: Ask a Writer
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!
Michael Merriam, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Catherine Lundoff, Anna Waltz

1:00-1:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: The Western as Fantasy
Myths about the Old West began before the West was old, making it one of the first shared worlds in American culture. We'll discuss the rise and fall of the Old West mythology, and how it has influenced and lent its energy to current genres including fantasy and science fiction.
David Christenson, mod.; Eric M. Heideman, Michael Merriam

2:00-2:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: Writing in a Series: Harmonies and Discords
Writers who have done multiple novels or stories about continuing characters and/or a linked world share their experiences, positive or negative, and their advice to aspiring series writers.
Michael Merriam, mod.; Lois McMaster Bujold, Naomi Kritzer

I’ve acquired shooting scripts from several televisions shows and one from a motion picture. I plan to read and study these, watch several episodes of Being Human, Eureka and Warehouse 13, and then create spec scripts. I am also outlining a feature movie script.

My counselor at State Services for the Blind has, in support of my quest for a part-time job, hooked me up with Lifetracks in St. Paul. My worker there has already sent out my resume to a potential employer that looks to be a good fit for me, except it might be too much travel by bus. Still, if they can find me a possible position before I’ve ever had a meeting with them, I’m impressed.

Tomorrow night I will cook Valentine dinner for my Bunnee. We stay in and avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day. There will be good food and small gifts.

Also, still sick. This is the start of week three. I suppose I should go see a doctor.

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