February 16th, 2015
Dropping in quickly to highlight a new development at Ad Astra, the local convention, which it’s a privilege to be part of: Friday workshops!
This year’s programming team has arranged a double handful of attendance-capped workshops for the Friday of the con (April 10th), and they cover a whole lot of ground: How to design games, prop weaponry that rocks, mold making, costumers’ makeup, and of course, writing workshops. Michael Matheson, Julie Czerneda, Ed Greenwood, and I are doing a really comprehensive track of writing workshops through the day, covering everything from the business side to worldbuilding to good self-editing strategies. It’s a tiny professional development conference in a jar.
The workshop I’m running? Writing Diversity Well.
We need diverse books! (We do.) Diversity in both adult SFF—and genre YA—is a big conversation, and representing yourself, others, and your characters well deserves the extra attention.
Join author Leah Bobet for a two-hour workshop about resources, tools, processes to use—and the questions to ask yourself—to write diverse characters well, and what a diverse book means—and doesn’t mean—when it comes time to sell your work. This workshop is open to writers of any and all backgrounds, orientations, levels of physical ability or neurodiversity, or identifications. Come prepared for a respectful, open environment where we’ll learn from each other.
It’s running at 1pm on Friday, April 10th, at the Ad Astra hotel space, and there’s a fee discount for con attendees (or vice versa: there’s a discount on badges for workshop attendees). The workshop signups are available only in advance, so if there’s something you like there, enroll early and often.
Hope to see you there — and hoping this is the first year of something really great!
December 27th, 2014
Now that we’re past Christmas and looking right to 2015, my first convention of the year is coming up fast: ConFusion 2015 in Dearborn, MI! Just before the holidays I got my weekend schedule, and…voila.
Saturday, January 17
12:00 pm Diversity in _____________
Issues of race, class, gender, identity, orientation, generation and geography are among the most important conversations being had today both within and across in a broad range of fandoms (SFF, comics, gaming, cosplay, etc.). How do we navigate these discussions in a way that is useful and inclusive in increasingly diverse and global fandoms?
3:00 pm Mass Autograph Session
5:00 pm Effective Role Playing (TEEN FUSION)
How do you stay in character during a RPG so that the game progresses and you have fun at the same time?
6:00 pm What Should I Read Next?
Suggestions of what to read next, based on what you just read and loved
Sunday, January 18
10:00 am Post-Colonial SF
Can our world’s own colonization history help us write the stories of future colonizations? What were the pitfalls? And how can we avoid them? Or are we just doomed to repeat history…
2:00 pm Bobet/Sanford Reading
It’ll be my first ConFusion, and I’m pretty excited. Hope to see you there!
September 1st, 2014
Slightly to the side of publication news: Author and editor Michael Matheson and I are running a workshop next Sunday, at Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto, on how to write effective grant applications! If you’re a writer at any level, please come on down for a two-hour workshop on tips, best practices, and what grants are available for writers in Toronto!
Tickets are available here from EventBrite for $10, and you get a 10% discount on anything at Bakka-Phoenix Books on the same day for workshop attendance.
July 3rd, 2014
Happy summer! As has been mentioned on the Appearances page, next week I’ll be heading down to the sunny Americas to attend both Readercon in Boston and DetCon in Detroit, with a small Boston chillout in between.
That means I bring you not one, but two (2) convention schedules today!
Thursday, July 10
8:00 PM F Many Things Worry You, but Nothing Frightens You: Outgrowing Horror. Leah Bobet, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Hand (moderator), Kit Reed, Graham Sleight, Sonya Taaffe. In the Nightmare Magazine essay “The H Word: The Failure of Fear,” Dale Bailey wrote about enjoying horror despite no longer finding it horrifying. How does what scares us change as we age? How does horror written for children differ from horror written for adults? Can you outgrow horror, or are adults and children simply frightened by different things?
9:00 PM CO Where Is Clarion for Editors?. Leah Bobet, Ellen Datlow, Liz Gorinsky, Bart Leib, Julia Rios, Cecilia Tan (leader). The speculative fiction field has many workshops for writers, such as the various Clarions, Odyssey, and Viable Paradise, not to mention MFA programs like Stonecoast where one can do genre work. But where’s the “Clarion for Editors”? Some of the most vital work being done in our field is coming from web magazines, small publishers, digital publishers, and others who are largely forced to learn to edit “on the job.” This discussion, led by Cecilia Tan, will examine the need for a structured workshop for aspiring and established editors, and propose ways that such a workshop might be made to happen.
Friday, July 11
11:00 AM G This Whole Situation Is Monstrous!: Supernatural Excuses for Abusive Behavior. Leah Bobet (leader), Liz Gorinsky, Catt Kingsgrave, Natalie Luhrs, Veronica Schanoes, Peter Straub. Paranormal romance for adults and teens often provides supernatural excuses for abusive behavior. For example, in Cassandra Clare’s The City of Lost Souls, a character’s abusive behavior as a teenager stems from his confusion over being turned into a werewolf. Years later the teens reunite, explanations are given, and the boy’s redemption story briefly takes center stage in the narrative. Instead of focusing on abusers’ redemption through human aspects overcoming monstrous aspects, and obscuring the unpleasant truth that abuse is a very human behavior, is there a better way to use the supernatural to talk about abuse?
7:00 PM ENL Emotion, Archives, Interactive Fiction, and Linked Data . Leah Bobet (leader), Toni L.P. “Leigh Perry” Kelner, Sarah Smith, Walt Williams. In a 2013 blog post, archivist Mx A. Matienzo drew a line between the “linked data” of interactive fiction (IF) and the connections within an archive of materials and works. Matienzo suggested creating a hybrid of the two that would bolster the emotional impact of fiction with links to relevant factual information—or, from the other side, that would bolster the intellectual weight of nonfiction with more nebulous but equally important information about feelings, thoughts, and experiences.How else can archivists, authors, and others collaborate on hybrid storytelling that brings these disparate components together?
9:00 PM E Autographs. Leah Bobet, Rick Wilber.
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM CO How to Write for a Living When You Can’t Live Off Your Fiction. Leah Bobet, Barbara Krasnoff (leader), Adam Lipkin. You’ve just been laid off from your staff job, you can’t live on the royalties from your fiction writing, and your significant other has taken a cut in pay. How do you pay the rent? Well, you can find freelance work writing articles, white papers, reviews, blogs, and other non-SFnal stuff. Despite today’s lean journalistic market, it’s still possible to make a living writing, editing, and/or publishing. Let’s talk about where and how you can sell yourself as a professional writer, whether blogging can be done for a living, and how else you can use your talent to keep the wolf from the door. Bring whatever ideas, sources, and contacts you have.
2:00 PM F Becoming a Better Reader. Marc Abrahams, Robert Jackson Bennett, Leah Bobet, Michael Dirda, Yoon Ha Lee, Resa Nelson (leader). In a 2013 Twitter comment, Caitlín R. Kiernan wrote, “Too often, the problem isn’t that an author needs to be a better writer, but that a reader needs to be a better reader.” As readers, we can sometimes tell whether we liked a book, but it’s much harder to step outside and evaluate ourselves as ideal readers and how our pleasure/displeasure in a work relates to what the author was trying to do. How can we become different readers, or better readers? What makes one reader better than another, in the context of a given work or in general? Is there even such a thing as a better reader, or are there only readers who are more or less prepared for a particular book?
Sunday, July 13
11:00 AM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Leah Bobet, James Morrow.
1:00 PM EM Reading: Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet reads “Mountaineering”, which is a short story forthcoming in Exile Editions’ Start A Revolution: QUILTBAG Fiction Vying for Change.
Friday, July 17
12:00 PM KaffeKlatsch 1 Kaffeklatsch: Leah Bobet. A small group discussion led by author Leah Bobet. Your opportunity for a more informal discussion with one of our participants.
Saturday, July 18
12:00 PM Nicolet A The State of the Science Fiction Magazine Market. Scott H. Andrews (moderator), Leah Bobet, Neil Clarke, Michael Haynes. Our panelists give their views on the current state of the science fiction magazine market. Is this another golden age? What various business models are in play? How is digital transforming the field? This is a Detention-inspired panel. In 1959 the panelists included editors of Astounding Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Fantastic Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Fantastic Universe.
1:00 PM Mackinac West Sexuality and SFF. Gregory Gadow (moderator), Mark Oshiro, Bernadette Bosky, Leah Bobet, Traci Castleberry, David Sklar. Science fiction and fantasy are genres with great opportunities to explore ideas and concepts without the constraints of current reality. How have these genres explored the complex and multifaceted subject of human sexuality?
2:00 PM Mackinac East Cross-Platform Narrative: Multimedia on Steroids. Forest Handford (moderator), Dan Berger, Leah Bobet, Tony Daniel, Marc Tassin. Our panel discusses the pros and cons of integrating various forms of production/performance to deliver a narrative. Comics & music, web & stage, TV & video games—what combinations have we seen and what else could be tried? To what extent are large scale franchises that cross formats integrated cross-platform narratives? How can it be done on a smaller scale?
5:00 PM Ambassador Salon 1 Current Voices: YA Literature. Aurora Celeste (moderator), Joshua Kronengold, Sarah Zettel, Leah Bobet. What are the recent trends in YA SF and fantasy? Which writers are currently active in the field? What are the hot new titles? What works do our panelists particularly recommend?
Sunday, July 20
11:00 AM Joliet A Reading: Acks/Bobet. Rachael Acks and Leah Bobet read from their work.
And that’s the ballgame! If you’ll be at either convention, I look forward to seeing you!
July 10th, 2013
This kind of sucks the worst, but:
I regret to announce I won’t be appearing at Readercon in Burlington, MA, this weekend.
I’m pretty sick, guys. In that “can’t stand up long enough to take a whole shower” and “had to go to the hospital” and “other adults taking whole days off work to caretake me” way. And while it’s getting gradually better, getting on a plane right now would 1) be blatantly irresponsible; 2) worry, badly, the people I love.
I am really sorry to those who were looking forward to spending some time — I was looking forward to spending time with you too! I am snarly at this whole not-doing-that prospect! I just have to focus on getting the body back to doing its job right now. And I promise I’ll make it up to you. And to me.
June 26th, 2013
As promised in my last post!
Readercon (aka, Most Wonderful Time of the Year) goes down in a few weeks in Burlington, MA. Behold the schedule!
Thursday, July 11
Friday, July 12
Saturday, July 13
Suggested by Leah Bobet.
June 13th, 2013
Now that that draft is done, I will be going out places again! Some of them may be near you!
- First and foremost, I’ll be reading from Above at the Cat Sass Norwood Literary Night this Saturday, June 15 at 5pm, alongside novelist Shane Joseph and poet Wes Ryan. If you’re in the area, come by for three writers and a bit of Q&A!
- Secondly, I’ll be at Readercon in Burlington, MA from July 11-14, 2013. There will be a panel schedule and possibly a reading attached to this, but it’s still forthcoming.
See you there!
April 24th, 2013
Spring’s finally sticking around here, and I am daring to leave my writer cave. Which means: A bucket of upcoming public appearances! Behold the list of them!
- If you’re interested in hearing about the writing process, Toronto’s underground spaces, and the secrets of cities, I’m doing a Keep Toronto Reading event on just those things on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 7pm, at the Kennedy/Eglinton branch of the Toronto Public Library. There will be books for sale at this one, if only a handful!
- The Apocalypse Tour is riding again, with a few Southern Ontario dates! On Thursday, May 2, 2013, we’ll be at Essa Public Library’s Angus Branch in Angus, Ontario at 4pm — and by we, we mean Megan Crewe, Adrienne Kress, Maureen McGowan, and Cheryl Rainfield.
- On May 4 at 2pm, Megan, Maureen, Cheryl, and I will descend upon Chapters South London to answer questions, sign books, and terrorize the populace. There’s a Facebook event page here if you’re minded to RSVP, and it’ll be Maureen’s birthday, so a good round of the happy birthday song is welcomed and encouraged!
- On May 5 at 2pm, Megan, Maureen, Cheryl, and Courtney Summers will finish this mini-leg of the Apocalypse Tour without me at Chapters Oshawa, because I am flaking to lead a Jane’s Walk that afternoon.
- Finally, I will be at the Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, CA, from May 16-19, 2013. I plan to have a kicky awards dress and a minimum of jet lag.
And that’s the news!
October 23rd, 2012
The weekend after next is the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Richmond Hill, ON, and I’m going to be there! World Fantasy restricts attendees to one panel or reading, and here’s mine:
Thursday, November 1
2:00 pm – The Windigo and Others– David Nickle (M), Leah Bobet, Robert Knowlton, Ursula Pflug, Hayden Trenholm.
From isolated characters slowly going mad, to sublime nature as the monster, and on through First Nations/Inuit myth and folklore, a distinct northern aspect of the genre has developed. The panel will examine these influences on Northern Gothic.
Friday, November 2
8:00 pm — Autograph Reception
Meet, talk, and get your books signed!
It’s the opening panel, so I’m excited; as for the rest of the time? I’ll likely be behind the Bakka-Phoenix Books table in the dealer’s room, or floating about the con, seeing some people I haven’t had a chance to talk to for a while now. Will you be there? Come say hi!
June 26th, 2012
I’m going to be at Readercon in Burlington, MA, on July 12-15 — probably my favourite convention all year long! — and the program schedule is live today. If you’re attending, here’s where I’m going to be:
Friday, July 13
11:00 AM NH Group Reading: Mythic Poetry. Mary Agner, Mike Allen, Erik Amundsen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Gwynne Garfinkle, April Grant, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso, Julia Rios, Darrell Schweitzer, Sonya Taaffe. Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, and the now-defunct Journal of the Mythic Arts showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come to the reading and hear new and classic works from speculative poetry’s trend-setters.
1:00 PM G Through a Glass, Dystopianly. Leah Bobet, Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Haringa (leader), Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shira Lipkin. Millions of words have been written on the current dystopian trend in young adult literature; the consensus seems to be that dystopias are a reflection of the state of being a modern teenager, feeling trapped and uncertain of who you are. Fair enough. But given that the teen years are often when people first become engaged with wider world concerns—and given that these books are written by adults aware of those concerns—perhaps there are also particular anxieties about the current state of society and the world feeding the popularity of books like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games or Ali Condie’s Matched. The Hunger Games, for example, can be read as commentary on the issues surrounding the Occupy protests, with those in power controlling resources as a way of maintaining order at the cost of tremendous collateral damage to the innocent. Is this a useful way of reading these stories? Are there similar issues we can discern in other recent young adult fictions? And what issues might we expect to see reflected in future YA works?
3:00 PM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Leah Bobet, James Morrow.
6:00 PM F Speech Patterns. Judith Berman, Leah Bobet, Greer Gilman, Sarah Smith (leader), Vinnie Tesla. Writers can adopt the convention that people in the future (or past) speak just as they do now. Or they can take contemporary speech patterns and tweak them to suggest the different time or place. Or they can go for verisimilitude (historical or imagined). Why do we see more tweaking of speech patterns in stories set in the past than the future? Is altering speech patterns to give a flavor of the future an underused technique, or does it present more difficulties (see Riddley Walker, A Clockwork Orange, or Ambient)? Some writers the altered speech pattern for the aliens reserve, as a way of underscoring their different psychology. What other techniques are available?
8:00 PM F Reimagining Protagonist Agency. Nathan Ballingrud, Leah Bobet (leader), John Clute, Scott Lynch, Jo Walton. Historically, the bulk of SF&F has dealt with protagonists taking direct physical (or cognitive) action to solve problems. They were brilliantly competent men and women, or destined healers of a wounded land: their agency in their story was obvious and indisputable. Recently, a number of authors have been depicting protagonists with more subtle types of agency. Many readers and critics have reacted by labeling such protagonists, negatively, as passive. Our panelists discuss why and how they’ve tried to expand the limits of what is popularly considered to be agency, and lessons they’ve learned for effectively communicating these ideas to readers.
Saturday, July 14
12:00 PM E Autographs. Leah Bobet, Jo Walton.
2:00 PM G The City and the Strange. Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Stacy Hill, Ellen Kushner, Howard Waldrop. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs writes, “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.” N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy demonstrates that epic-feeling fantasy can still take place entirely within the confines of a single city. Fictional metropolises such as Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris, China Miéville’s New Crobuzon, and Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest are entire worlds in themselves, and the fantasy cities of Lankmar and Ankh-Morkpork shine as centers of intrigue and adventure. In what other works, and other ways, can cities be stand-ins for the lengthy traveling quest of Tolkienesque fantasy?
3:00 PM NH Group Reading: Ideomancer Speculative Fiction. Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Amanda Downum, George Galuschak, Claire Humphrey, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Kenneth Schneyer, Sonya Taaffe. Authors and poets read work from Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, one of the longest-running speculative fiction webzines still publishing.
Sunday, July 15
10:30 AM NH Reading. Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet reads from an upcoming novel.
1:00 PM F When Non-Fantastic Genres Interrogate Themselves. Leah Bobet, Lila Garrott (leader), Liz Gorinsky, Ed Meskys, Delia Sherman. When other genres interrogate themselves, the results are often fantastika. Works such as China Miéville’s The City & The City, Jedediah Berry’s The Manual of Detection, and Kelly Link’s “The Girl Detective,” for example, are in some ways interrogations of the building blocks of crime fiction: criminals, crimes, detectives. To what extent is it useful to read paranormal romance as a result of traditional romance interrogating itself; or alternate history—or steampunk—as a result of historical fiction interrogating itself? Is this something modern fantasy is especially good at? Is it even part of what modern fantasy is, a space that permits such interrogations? And if so, what happens when fantasy interrogates itself?
It’s a full schedule, and I’m really excited. So, do I see you there?