I’ve been appearing on panels at conventions since my first World Horror Convention in 2000, when I was on a panel with Michael J. Straczynski. I’ve never pulled all those panels together — and this will probably be of no interest to anyone but me — but as I pitch panels to conventions, I often wonder what exactly I’ve been on before. So I’m pulling that information together.
I’ve only been keeping track of panels and their descriptions since I started attending my local Bay Area conventions in 2016. Since then, I’ve been on 25 panels. So there’s a lot to keep track of!
Anyway, this is going to be a work in progress. At least I’ve finally made a start.
2019 Convention Panels:
Debut Author Lessons
Friday, March 8, 2019 at 3pm
I joined Vylar Kaftan, Tina LeCount Myers, and Tyler Hayes to talk what we learned — or wish we’d known — as beginning writers.
How do you sign books? What’s the etiquette when talking to bookstores? Join our panel of authors, some brand new, others with several books behind them, as they discuss the things every debut author needs to know, from signing contracts to signing books.
Down to Earth: The Future of Green Burial
Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 9 am
Moderated by M. Kennedy, with E.M. Markoff, Terry Weyna, and me.
“We’re not detached from Earth. We turn *into* earth.” Inspired by Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few, this panel is a discussion of death customs in science fiction and an introduction to existing environmentally conscious burial methods. How can human decay be a catalyst for helping forests flourish, or repopulate coral reefs, or nurture a family garden? What resources exist for people like Kip, who want to care for the bodies of loved ones without prior formal education? Readers inspired by the work of Caretakers like Chambers’ Eyas may be interested to learn that several organizations in the Bay Area not only specialize in providing green burials, home funerals, and death midwifery, they actively seek to train volunteers to provide this care for their own communities.
2018 Convention Panels:
Fan Fiction: A Stepping Stone or a Waste of Time?
Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 10 am
Moderated by Denise Tanaka, with me and David Coronado.
Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series, started building her fan base by writing serious Harry Potter fan fiction. The novel Fifty Shades of Gray started out as Twilight fan fiction. The panel will discuss and debate the pros and cons of writing unauthorized media tie-in fiction. Can a beginning writer gain any worthwhile skills in plotting, dialogue, or narrative exposition by writing in an established franchise?
On Beyond Rey
Sunday May 27, 2018 at 11:30 am
I moderated, with Carrie Sessarego and Denise Tanaka.
Now that women are central to the new Star Wars movies (other than Solo), what are some more female-centered projects that should come to the big screen? Bonus points for older works that should be rediscovered.
Master Class: Getting Out of the Slush Pile
Sunday May 27, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Emerian Rich and I talked about all we’ve learned about how to pitch, how to submit, and how to behave so you’re invited to submit again.
Fiction Set in or around the Bay Area
Monday May 28, 2018 at 11:30 AM
Moderated by Chad Peterman, with Fred Wiehe, Jennifer McGaffey, Katharine Kerr, and me.
Come talk about your favorite hometown books and maybe get some new ideas for your reading list.
What Turns People on to Horror?
Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 3 pm
San Jose Convention Center
E.M. Markoff moderated, with Fred Wiehe, Scott Sigler, Richard Kadrey, me, and LS Johnson.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. Roller coasters and skydiving, horror movies and dark fiction, mythology and folklore: what scares us and why are we drawn to it? Members of the Bay Area chapter of the Horror Writers Association share their first experiences with horror and discuss how their fears inspire their work. Audience members are encouraged to share their own experiences.
2017 Convention Panels:
Social Media for Writers and Authors
Friday, March 10 at 3 pm
I moderated a well-attended panel about the variety of social media available to help writers connect with readers. Joining me were Rebecca Gomez Farrell, Valerie Frankel, Phyllis Holliday, and Heather Rose Jones.
Pitches, Presentations and Proposals: making your point without resorting to kidnapping your boss
Saturday, March 11 at 4:30 pm
I participated in a panel moderated by Karen Brenchley, with Marie Metivier-DeMasters and Alfred Nash. We each brought different skills to the topic, from pitching panel topics to selling books, articles, and columns. The highlight was when we threw open the second half of the panel and let the audience pitch their books to us. Not only was it fascinating, it felt like we were being extremely useful.
Girls Will Be Girls
Saturday, May 27 at 4 pm
Why are so many YA dystopias centered on young women? What about this particular genre is so appealing to (or inclusive of) young women and what does it say about our society? I moderated, with Teresea Edgerton, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Linden Tarr, and Carrie Sessarego participating as panelists.
Women Of Horror
Sunday, May 28 at 11:30 am
Emerian Rich of HorrorAddicts.net led a discussion between me and Pat MacEwen about the stereotypes, expectations, and discrimination involved with writing in this mostly man-dominated genre.
Dystopian Space Opera from Ancillary Justice to Rogue One
Sunday, May 28 at 1 pm
I moderated again, with Juliette Wade, Douglas Berry, Andrew Clark, and Chuck Serface as panelists. What is it about galactic empires that turns the future into a dystopia? We’ll discussed fiction, television, and film and tried to figure out what form of galactic government would make everyone happy.
Harry Potter and Dystopian Fantasy
Sunday, May 28 at 4 pm
The final panel I moderated, with Jean Batt, Colin Fisk, and Linden Tarr participating, looked at dystopia in fantasy. What’s a main character to do when the government (whether the Ministry of Magic or the Empire of Melnibone, the Head of the White Council or rightful King of Westeros) will use magic and lies to keep the populace in line?
The Dreaded Outline
Monday, May 29 at 10 am
Technique discussion about outlining and other pre-work that helps keep writers motivated to the finish line. Tip-focused rather than memoir, it really highlighted all the different ways writers do the advance work (or in my case, outline once I get stuck in the middle). Moderated by Margaret McGaffey Fisk, with me, Jay Hartlove, Maya Kathryn Bohnhoff, and J. L. Doty.
2016 Convention Panels:
From Caterpillar to Butterfly
Friday, March 11 at 4:30–5:45 pm
With Jamie L. Henderson, Ashley Christina, Theresa Mecklenborg, Colleen T. O’Rourke, and me.
We talked about strange biologies on earth and how those could inspired aliens. Everyone else was a scientist, so I got to hold down the literary end of the conversation. And I got to talk about how octopi inspired Vezali in the Templar books.
Friday, May 27 at 9-10:15 pm
Moderator: Rebecca Holden
Panelists: Alex Jennings, Justine Larbalestier, Loren Rhoads, Kristine Smith, Brooke Wonders
Whether it’s a steampunk fairytale or an end of the world love story between science and magic or a Hong Kong-style revenge space opera, stories are spilling over the edges of genre.
Living into Dying
Sunday, May 29, 1-2:15 pm
Moderator: R. Elena Tabachnick
Participants: Kate Carey, Loren Rhoads, and Nadia Hutton
In this panel we will discuss how to live with death: the challenges of dying, the gifts we receive from it, and the stories that get us through.
Where’s Rey? Female Characters and Merchandise
Friday, August 19 at 4 – 5 pm
Kansas City Convention Center
With Leo d’Entremont, Jenifer Boles, and Loren Rhoads
Unfortunately, it is all too common for female characters to be left out of promotional material. We discuss the reasons for, the implications of, and possible solutions to this.
When does Fanfic become Pro Work?
Friday, September 30 at 3 – 4:30 pm
With Loren Rhoads (moderator), Shael Hawman, and Valerie Estelle Frankel
Classic Scary Stories: Shelley, Poe, and others
Friday, September 30 at 5 – 6:30 pm
With Chuck Serface (moderator), Tyler Hayes, Loren Rhoads, and Sarah Stegall
Looking back on some of the classics of literary monster-makers and scary storytellers.
The Monsters of Star Wars
Friday, September 30 at 8 – 9:30 pm
With Stacy Meyn (moderator), Loren Rhoads, Drew Morris, JC Arkham, and Jean Batt
Some of them live in pits. Some of them have vast underwater cities. Some of them will keep you warm through a cold Hoth night.
Devilishly Daring: Demonic Monsters
Saturday, October 1 at noon – 1:30 pm
With Laurel Anne Hill (moderator), Chuck Serface, Loren Rhoads, Emerian Rich, and J. L. (Jim) Doty
We’ll discuss the devils, demons, succubi, and lords of the underworld that feature in our genre fiction.
Authors: Going to That Dark Place
Saturday, October 1 at 3 – 4:30 pm
With Fred Wiehe (moderator), Loren Rhoads, Melissa Snark, Deborah J. Ross, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, and Anne Bishop
If you want the monstrous element to be truly horrifying, you sometimes have to dig to a dark place to write it believably.
Sunday, October 2 at 10 – 11:30 am
With Emerian Rich (moderator), Loren Rhoads, Laurel Anne Hill, and Sumiko Saulson
Chat with the authors who comprise HorrorAddicts.net and find out their monster favorites!
The Monster is the Hero
Sunday, October 2 at 2 – 3:30 pm
With Ric Bretschneider (moderator), Jay Hartlove, Chad Peterman, and Loren Rhoads
Panel discussion of our favorite bits in which the monstrous element ends up being the hero and Man is the enemy.