Post-Convention Thoughts and Reimagining

Image of Jupiter from a moon's mountain range

quotes and lessons from MileHiCon 50, a literary speculative fiction convention

Image of Jupiter from a moon's mountain range
The gas giant Jupiter from a moon (artist’s rendering) © AlexAntropov86

Modeling the World in Fiction

There’s a quality of fiction that’s modeling–that’s showing a model of the world.

Author Paolo Bacigalupi said this last Friday during a panel discussion. His line is one of the best things I heard at the convention. That’s one of my favorite uses of fiction: the modeling.

The World of Horror

Bacigalupi shared a showcase slot with another author, Lawrence Watt-Evans, a former president of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). He explained that Horror has gone through cycles since the late 17th century. The “Horror” genre label developed in the 1970s.

Do you remember when I was trying to figure out if I write horror stories?

We’re calling it Dark Fantasy now. Because people don’t know they don’t like that.

I really should’ve asked Watt-Evans more questions about what counts as a dark fantasy while I had the chance. Since that opportunity has past–Do you agree? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments about the Dark Fantasy and Horror connection.

Imagining Fiction for the World

There’s a question I repeatedly asked myself at last weekend’s convention.

Why am I not sitting on panels?

I can often answer audience questions. I’ve been watching the publishing world that long. Of course that isn’t enough. My uninspiring author’s bio is a problem.

Where do I see myself…?

One of my writing dreams since my first MileHiCon (ten years ago?) has been to sit on an authors’ discussion panel. I imagine sitting at table with professionals, facing a room full of people willing to listen to our thoughts about storytelling. Someone else is the moderator the first time, so I’m only responsible for playing the part of a panelist.

Roundtables and in-person writing group meetups are incredible; however, that’s not that aspect of performance that I miss every season or so.

With the type of luck woven into my life, I’m fairly certain I’d face more than a healthy dose of challenges my first time. The other panelists would likely pick a fight, one audience member would interrupt every few minutes, an emergency would divert everyone into defensive mode, or something of the kind would happen.

I would gratefully accept the risks.

So, I’ve decided to try harder to sit on a author’s panel at an upcoming MileHiCon or the closest event I feel worthwhile.

I need credentials in publishing or a related subject. Why should anyone care what I say? (Why do you?) For credentials, I need more experience.

This selfish reason is what drove me to reconsider setting aside a short story I love, but one that’s been cycling through readers and rewrites for as long as I’ve been dreaming of sitting on a panel. I’m publishing that short story (under my Blacklyn byline).

Upcoming eBook Release

“Grotesquery” is a melancholy fantasy about a wizard, a grotesque stone guardian, and their medieval-fort city. The story is also social commentary about today’s world.

So, my goals are (1) learn more about Amazon Kindle Direct to test out features I might need for longer works, if self-publishing, and (2) share this fantasy story with more people.

Please help spread the word to any readers who might like literary short fantasy.


Thank you for being a reader of Shadows in Mind.

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