MileHiCon 50 Thoughts

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 at MileHiCon, a literary speculative fiction convention. His line is one of the best things I heard at the convention. That’s one of my favorite uses of fiction: the modeling.

Bacigalupi shared a showcase slot with another author, Lawrence Watt-Evans, a former president of the Horror Writers Association. 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.


Why am I not sitting on panels?

Here’s a question I repeatedly asked myself at last weekend’s convention. Despite my unimpressive author’s bio, I can often answer audience questions. I’ve been watching the publishing world that long.

One of my writing dreams since my first MileHiCon (…ten years ago?) has been to sit on a 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. That way, 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.

I’m fairly certain that because of the persistence of my dream, my first time will be terrible. The other panelists will yell at me, the same audience member will interrupt every few minutes, an emergency will divert everyone into defensive mode, or whatever else. That doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I’ve decided to try harder to sit on a good panel at either next year’s MileHiCon or the closest event in feel that I can attend.

I need credentials in publishing or a related subject. For those, I need more experience.

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

Come out, come out, for Halloween!

“Grotesquery” is a melancholy fantasy about a wizard, a grotesque guardian, and their city. You may preorder it now, wait for its release this Sunday, or opine that my marketing (the cover, blurb, timing, or whatever) could use more work.

My goals are (1) learn more about Amazon Kindle Direct and (2) share this fantasy story with more people. Please spread the word to any readers who might like “literary” short fantasy.

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