COVER TRENDS – 11PM / Chase Room -What are the latest trends in science fiction, fantasy and horror covers? How are the new media changing the rules? What’s next? Moderator: Walt Boyes / Panelists: Jean Marie Ward; Phil Giunta
SATURDAY – 25 MAY
CRAZY 8 PRESS PRESENTS – 10AM / Parlor 1041 - We will launch ReDeus: Beyond Borders! Bob Greenberger will also discuss what's to come from the prolific writers at Crazy 8 Press!
PLOTTERS vs. PANTSERS – 9PM / Parlor 1041 - Do you plan your stories in advance with an outline or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants? A round table discussion of writers will discuss their methods. Moderator: Phil Giunta / Panelists: D. H. Aire, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Charles E. Gannon, Paula S. Jordan, Justin R. Macumber, T. C. McCarthy
SUNDAY – 26 MAY
WRITING, SELLING, PUBLISHING HUMOROUS SF/F – 9AM / Salon C - Panelists discuss how writing humor differs from "straight stuff", both in the writing process and in the submission/marketing process. Moderator: Alex Shvartsman / Panelists: Sarah Pinsker, Stephanie Burke, Phil Giunta
NOBODY BECAME SOMEBODY AND TOOK OVER! – 10AM / Salon D - So, for the first 5 chapters this one character was clearly minor background noise. Now you're starting to see the character in light of other characters behaviors and the turns the story is taking, and you're not so sure… Suddenly you're seeing the whole story through this minor character! Now what? Panelists discuss this literary quirk. Moderator: TBA / Panelists: Brenda Clough, Kat Otis, Phil Giunta, Jeff Young
FIREBRINGER PRESS PRESENTS – 2PM / Salon B - Steve Wilson and I will chat about our upcoming projects to be released under the Firebringer banner.
AUTOGRAPH SESSION – 4PM / Hallway
READING – 9PM / Location TBA
MONDAY – 27 MAY
WHY GOOD WRITING MATTERS – 11AM / Belmont - We seem flooded with not just vanity-press crap these days but professional crap, e.g. the works of Dan Brown, some of which is very successful indeed. So, why should anyone bother to learn to write well? Why should anyone bother to seek out well-written reading material when there is plenty of junk food for the mind available? Moderator: Leona Wisoker / Panelists: Michael D'Ambrosio, Phil Giunta
This week, David Pogue of the NY Times examines Tor's experiment with eBook piracy. David Gaughran and Jami Gold address scam publishing services such as Author Solutions. On the craft of writing, Writers Digest offers "how-to's" for adding suspense and tension in your novel while James Scott Bell uses a 50's noir novel to provide examples for making your story a page-turner. Kristen Lamb discusses showing your characters' true colors and August Wainwright passes along tips from Ernest Hemingway.
And as we approach the release of ReDeus: Beyond Borders, series co-creator and editor Bob Greenberger and cover artist Lorraine Scheleter chat up their contributions.
The E-Book Piracy Debate, Revisited by David Pogue
5 Ways to Make Your Novel More Suspenseful by Hallie Ephron
How to Create Tension Through Misdirection by William Noble
Lorraine Schleter Envisions Beyond Borders via Bob Greenberger/Crazy 8 Press
Bob Greenberger Walks with the Gods Beyond Borders by Bob Greenberger
The Author Exploitation Business by David Gaughran
Is This the New Breed of Vanity Publishers? by Jami Gold
Social Media for Writers: A Kool-Aid Drinking Cult? by Jody Hedlund
Quitting the Day Job by Keri English
Would You Rather? An Exercise for Creating Max Conflict in Fiction by Kristen Lamb
How to Write Better Prose According to Ernest Hemingway by August Wainwright
11 Ways to Make a Novel a Page Turner by James Scott Bell
Leaping from Fantasy to Military SF, you’ve also contributed to the anthology series, Defending the Future, edited by your husband Mike McPhail. Had you written Military SF previously? Did you initially find it challenging to move across genres?
You know…I am convinced that my muse is schizophrenic. I did not have a problem hopping genres because I’ve always read both and I’ve also been an active gamer in my husband’s Alliance Archives Martial Role-Playing system. Since many of his play-testers were former military, it gave me a lot of insight into military science fiction well before I even tried my hand at it. Movies help, as does living with a former military personnel. Besides, it’s been said that technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic…which means I have a LOT of room to play with J
In the end, really, my stories are character-driven, so it doesn’t matter the setting so much as those I populate it with. The tech or the magic supports the characters I’ve come to love. Now true, the scenarios are very distinctly different, but I don’t really find it difficult to shift gears. I love the wonder and magic of words and playing with concepts I then have to sell the reader on.
Ironically enough, I have a better success rate with my science fiction than I do my fantasy. I’ve [knocks on wood] sold every single piece of sci fi I’ve ever finished. I would likely be a wealthy woman if I could say the same thing about my fantasy ;)
I understand that there is a second book pending in your Legends of a New Age series called Eternal Flame. What can you tell us about the series? Do you have a release date for book two?
Remember what I said about turning expectations on their ear? Well, we are putting our own spin on the traditional legends. See, everyone “knows” that dragons are drawn to virgins or gems or…whatever your cultural legends tell you, but they don’t say why. In Dragon’s Lure, the first book in the series we put our own spin on the “why”. Eternal Flame is along the same lines, but we are looking at Phoenixes and other eternal flame creatures. It’s been back-shelved a while due to health issues I had in 2011, but as soon as we are done with Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental, this one’s being dusted off. It probably won’t release until late 2014, though.
What can readers expect from you next?
Well, Dark Quest just released The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, so that’s good for some immediate gratification J Here’s the blurb:
The Hunt Is On!
When strength becomes weakness…
And hope becomes doubt…
As the past collides with the future…hard…
Can Suzanne—Wild Hunt biker chick and one-time member of the fae High Court—stand strong as her world falls apart? She survived an assault by redcaps, an all-out battle with the High King’s armies, and her first encounter with roller derby… but how will she fare against her inner demons? Caught in the midst of a transformation she scarcely realizes and does not understand, her hard-won convictions are tested as never before.
Suzanne is left with only one question—what if those convictions are wrong?
The truth could mean the difference between saving her sanity and losing her soul…
In the more distant future I’m told I have to start working on The High King’s Fool, the sequel to Redcaps’ Queen. Also I have to put together my solo Fantasy collection: On Darkness and Light. Beyond that, I’m working on a Daire’s Devils novel in my predominant military sf universe, and an unconventional vampire novel that is currently unnamed. I could keep going…but who knows how long it will take me to get that much done.
What does Danielle Ackley-McPhail do when she isn’t writing?
Groan! This entry could be longer than all the others put together. Let’s just say, oversleeping isn’t one of those things.
I typeset and do promotional work for Dark Quest Books, I sew and make costume horns, I work for a medical publisher for my day job, and I torment my husband endlessly. Whenever I’m not doing any of those, I read or play Words with Friends or Scramble with Friends.
To say that Danielle is busy would be an understatement, but I'm thrilled that she took the time to chat with me about her career.
First, where can we find you online?
I’m all over the place, but here are my official sites.
Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-Mc
What conventions do you typically attend throughout the year?
There is some variation, but my regular conventions are Mysticon (Roanoke, VA), Lunacon (Rye Brook, NY), Ravencon (Richmond, VA), The Maryland Faerie Festival (Darlington, MD), Balticon (Hunt Valley, MD), Capclave (Rockville, MD), Philcon (Cherry Hill, NJ), and Darkover (Timonium, MD). I do other random conventions as the opportunity arises, and I also do a lot of one-day or local events. Book Fairs and stuff like that. The two big ones I do are the Collingswood Book Festival and the Baltimore Book Festival. I’m hoping to return to Farpoint (Timonium, MD), which I attended for the first time this year, and I’m looking for a few new events to fill in gaps in my schedule. I’m also hoping Confluence (Pittsburgh, PA) returns next year. This year’s event had to be cancelled due to problems with the hotel being sold.
What attracts you to the Urban Fantasy genre?
I have always loved things that are reality one step to the left. I could write about the most mundane things and find some unexpected twist to make it magical. I love to let my imagination out to play. Sometimes it doesn’t wait for an invitation! I can’t complain, though…often when the muse grabs the bit is when things get truly amazing. Those stories tend to be my performance pieces. They are always a bit surreal, but they have a voice of their own that resonates with the reader (or listener). For those who want examples of what to look for, some of those stories are: A Legacy of Stars (A Legacy of Stars, Dark Quest Books 2012), "Ruby Red" (Of Darkness and Light, Dark Quest Books 2014), and "Consigned to the Sea" (Sails and Sorcery, Fantasist Enterprises, 2007)
On the flipside, I also enjoy deconstructing myths and legends…thinking of plausible situations that could have led to those beliefs. This has given me an understanding of how to construct my own legends, which is always a handy thing for an author!
You recently released Today’s Promise, the third book in your Eternal Cycle series. Could you provide a blurb about the series and also tell us what inspired it?
Today’s Promise (Book Three in the Eternal Cycle Series)
Never before had Kara O'Keefe had cause to doubt in any of these,
and yet she was now called to defend all three or lose them for all time.
Though the Battle of the Knock was counted a victory, the war--as they say--was not won. Carman's Children have resurface after millennia and have reunited against their common foe once more. These adversaries from the ancient history of the Tuatha de Danaan have one goal: dominate all.
Kara and the Sidhe Fianna must find a way to end this threat forever
or find themselves and all humanity shackled to the will of evil demigods.
As this journey of self discovery comes to an end, will Kara find herself
and retain her freedom, or will all be lost for eternity?
I used to work with a number of great authors on a writer’s site hosted on AOL. When we weren’t “working” we would head to a chatroom and just talk. My supervisor was one of those in this group and he had plenty of stories of various odd jobs he’d held over the years, including pawnbroker. Now his chosen writing style is very dark so knowing his writing personality and hearing about the pawnbroker position, my mind just went running with the concept of what would happen if you pawned something that was actually linked to your soul? How would the ruthless take advantage of that? That kernel morphed into a benevolent pawnbroker seeking to safeguard such things. At first that was all it was. A character portrait about a girl giving up more than the cherished heirloom she thought she was pawning. It was popular enough when I posted excerpts that I just kept going. That led to research into Irish mythology, which expanded the story even more as I encountered random bits of legend that dovetailed perfectly into the story.
Definitely love the title, Bad-Ass Faeries! How did the anthology series come about and are there future installments planned?
This series is our attempt to de-Disneyfy the faerie. Basically the concept came out of a chance encounter with an artist and a failed author event. I met Ruth Lampi at Albacon, where she showed me her sketches for warrior faeries. They were just pencil drawings, many of them on lined paper, but they were really good. I ended up commissioning Ruth to work on a number of projects with me. We had a local event at a friend’s store and the timing was bad. It conflicted with some other event going on and not many people showed up. We sat there for most of the day entertaining each other. During the conversation the question came up of how we met. That topic lead to speculating about the sad state of faeries in fiction, which lead to an anthology proposal of tough faeries that were more in line with the actual legends. From that, Bad-Ass Faeries was born!
Currently there are three anthologies (Bad-Ass Faeries, Just Plain Bad, and In All Their Glory) and three novels (The Halfling’s Court, The Redcaps’ Queen, and James Chambers’ Three Chords of Chaos) based on the Bad-Ass Faeries concept. We are currently working on the fourth anthology, It’s Elemental. It should be out sometime in 2014. We are also planning which authors to tap for the A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale novella series. The concept behind that is a series of novellas or novels based on story universes that appeared in the anthologies. Basically, we’ve taken a look at what stories resonate with readers and reviewers and expand on them.
Continue to Part Two...
ReDeus: Beyond Borders will launch at BaltiCon 47 over Memorial Day weekend in Hunt Valley, MD and then will become available in trade paperback and ebook the last week in May.
Beyond Borders will be a 450-page collection of short stories that continues the theme of the first book, Divine Tales, which premiered in August 2012. What if the mythological gods from every culture on Earth returned today? How would they deal with human advancements in technology--cars, planes, computers, smartphones? How would humans deal with pantheons that once again demand our worship? Which of them will be beneficent toward us...and which will not?
Returning authors include Lawrence M. Schoen, Scott Pearson, Steve Wilson, Dave Galanter, Phil Giunta, William Leisner, and Allyn Gibson. Joining for the first time are Kelly Meding, Janna Silverstein, David McDonald, Steve Lyons, and Lorraine Anderson. Series creators Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg and Paul Kupperberg will once again have stories in the book as well.
Three more of my fellow ReDeus authors chat up their stories for the upcoming second volume in the anthology series, Beyond Borders!
The Future is No Fun: Self-Publishing is the Worst by Ted Heller
Authors Sue Author Solutions via Indie Reader
James Patterson: Prototypical Indie Author by Linda Messina
Konrath on Patterson by Joe Konrath
Three Tips for Better Storytelling and Why is Storytelling Ability So Important? by Jami Gold
Do Free eBooks Really Hook New Readers? and Why Writers Shouldn't Rush into Publication by Jody Hedlund
The Three Types of Character Arc: Change, Growth and Fall by Veronica Sicoe
What Novelists Should Know About Short Fiction by Suzannah Windsor Freeman
Beginning and Ending by Donald Maass
The New Era of Self-Publishing by Allison Winn Scotch
Let's Talk About Anxiety and the Creative Process by Dan Blank
The 4 Best Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers by Joel Friedlander
Kelly Meding Dives Beyond Borders while Jenna Silverstein Faces History Beyond Borders and Steven Lyons Sees Spirits Beyond Borders!
Balticon 47: May 24-27, 2013. Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, MD. Guests include SF writer Joe Haldeman, artist and production designer Rick Sternbach and about a hundred writers, artists, and musicians. For my third year as a writer guest, I will be joining Robert Greenberger and Steven H. Wilson as we launch the second volume in the ReDeus series, Beyond Borders!
Wizard World Philly: May 30 - June 2. Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Guests include Adam Baldwin, John Barrowman, Brandon Routh, Shawn and Aaron Ashmore, Steve Guttenberg, Lauren Holly, Stan Lee, William Shatner, Ray Park, Lou Ferrigno, Summer Glau, Henry Winkler, Charisma Carpenter and more. Arist and writer guests include Dave Bullock, Jim Calafiore, Howard Chaykin and many more. I will be sharing a table with artist Laura Inglis who created the wonderfully eerie cover images for By Your Side and the second edition of Testing the Prisoner.
Shore Leave 35: August 2-4. Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, MD. Guests include William Shatner, Amanda Tapping, Julie Caitlin-Brown. Writer guests include David Weber, Peter David, Kathleen David, Lorraine Anderson, Greg Cox, Ann Crispin, Dave Galanter, Donna Galanti, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Michael Jan Friedman, Glenn Hauman, Phil Giunta, Steven H. Wilson, Allyn Gibson, William Leisner, Lawrence Schoen, Kelly Meding and many more!
Just wanted to share some pics of a few cool celebs I just met today at Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey. First up was the legendary David Warner (Time After Time, The Omen, Time Bandits, TRON, various Star Trek roles).
Then I got the business from Back to the Future's Mr. Strickland, James Tolkan. He wasted no time in reminding me what a "slacker" I am. :)
Finally, the lovely Debbie Gibson, 80s pop-star-turned-actress. Everyone was friendly and easy going. It was yet another truly wonderful convention experience.