ARCHON 40 SCHEDULE, Sept. 28 through Oct. 2


Here’s my schedule for ARCHON 40 in St. Louis, at the Collinsville, IL Convention Center, Friday September 30 – Sunday, October 2, 2016. Guests of Honor include Ellen Datlow, John Picacio, and Claudia Christian.

I am not sure if anyone else will carry my books but usually Larry Smith and Glen Cook have a few in the dealer’s room. I will have my own and sell them on my autographing time Saturday for sure.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt Fri 5:00 PM GC Marquette B Advice For New Writers
Mark W. Tiedemann (M), Ellen Datlow, Lynn Rosen, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Richard C. White
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Sat 12:00 PM GC Marquette B Editing 101
Ellen Datlow (M), Julia S. Mandala, Christine Amsden, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Claire Ashgrove
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Sat 2:00 PM GC Signing Table Autographs with Angie Fox, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and Ethan Nahté
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Sat 4:00 PM GC Salon 4 Classic Sci-Fi TV
Marella Sands (M), Van Allen Plexico, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, David Phelps
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Sun 10:00 AM GC Illini A Libraries of the Future
Susan Baugh (M), Paul Hahn, Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Sun 11:00 AM GC Marquette B The First Five Pages: How to Hook Your Reader
Cindy Matthews (M), Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michales Joy, Shawntelle Madison, Jimmy D. Gillentine

My MidAmeriCon II Schedule (WorldCon)

August 18-21, 2o16 — Kansas City Convention Center/Bartle Hall

Here’s when and where to find me officially. I will be at the WordFire table signing at other times throughout the convention, so you will also find me there in the Dealer Room–booths 4, 5, and 6.

Dealer Room Hours:


Wednesday Aug 17th 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday Aug 18th 10:00am – 6:00pm

Friday Aug 19th 10:00am-6:00pm

Saturday Aug 20th 10:00am-6:00pm

Sunday Aug 21st 10:00am-3:00pm

Thursday Aug 18, 2016


Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Moderator), Robin Wayne Bailey, Christine Taylor-Butler, Jennifer Boles

Friday Aug 19, 2016


George Lucas set Star Wars in a Galaxy far, far away, but also a long time ago.  What is the importance of setting his saga in the distant past?  How would our perceptions of it have been different if it were set in our time in a galaxy far, far away or if it had been set in the future?

Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Moderator), Kevin J. Anderson, Matthew S. Rotundo, Anna Raftery


Come join Baen Executive Editor Jim Minz and an assortment of Baen authors for the Baen Traveling Road Show. Learn about their new and upcoming releases. See the pretty covers. Win fabulous prizes. There will be free books for a lucky few…

Jim Minz (Moderator), Dr. Charles Gannon, Joelle Presby, others–I will be attending in case my books are discussed and to sign free copies given away


Saturday Aug 20, 2016


  • Kaffeeklatsch: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  • Downtown Marriott, Lobby-2nd level

I am offering my own unofficial kaffeeklatsch and will be giving away signed books and cover flats, maybe even a couple manuscripts. Sign up here.


Sunday Aug 21, 2016


Professionals talk shop about editing and publishing anthologies. What does it take to craft an anthology that people actually want to read? What are the dos and don’ts when pulling together stories into a single book? We’ll identify some examples of well-done anthologies and how the editing process differs between anthologies. Join us for an indepth discussion and find out what our panelists enjoy most when working with anthologies.

Ellen Datlow (Moderator), Erin Underwood, Jonathan Strahan, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Kathryn Cramer

SASQUAN- WORLD CON SCHEDULE – 2015 Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Here’s my schedule for the World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan, in Spokane, Washington, August 18-23, 2015. I look forward to seeing some of you there. I will be at the WordFire Party, Wednesday night, the Baen Books Party, Thursday Night, the Fairwood Press Party, Friday and the Hugo Loser’s Party, Saturday. Beyond that, I will be wandering and at the WordFire Press table in the Dealer’s Room.

Thursday, August 20th

PANEL: The Work of Being a Writer, Thursday 9:00 – 9:45, Bays 111A (CC)

Writers write, but there’s more to being a writer than writing.  Come learn how to work with editors, agents, other writers, marketers, and fans.  Can writers’ groups and social media make you or break you?  Learn about all the work involved in being a writer and some strategies for success.

Randy Henderson (M) , Brenda Cooper, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Susan Palwick


Friday, August 21st

PANEL: Kaffee Klatche – Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Friday 12:00 – 12:45, 202A-KK1 (CC)

Join a panelist and up to 9 other fans for a small discussion.  Coffee and snacks available for sale on the 2nd floor. Requires advance sign-up.

PANEL: The Changing Role of the Editor, Friday 3:00 – 3:45, Bays 111B (CC)

With the various ways that fiction is published (print/online/audio/self-published), how is the role of editor changing?  Does the editor need to be more technician than tweaker?  Is self-publishing making the editor’s job obsolete?

Gordon Van Gelder (M), Scott H. Andrews – Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Hugo Nominee, Yanni Kuznia – Subterranean Press , Wendy S. Delmater – Abyss and Apex – Hugo Nominee, Bryan Thomas Schmidt – Hugo Nominee

Saturday, August 22nd

Autographing – Jeffrey A. Carver, David Hartwell, Esther Jones, David Peterson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Saturday 10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)

Jeffrey A. Carver, Esther Jones, David Peterson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, David Hartwell

Hugo Pre-Reception, Saturday 6:00 – 8:00, Integra Telecom Ballroom 100A (CC)

Hugo Awards Ceremony, Saturday 8:00 – 10:30, INB Performing Arts Center (CC)

The 2015 Hugo Awards promises to be one of the most memorable ceremonies in years. Come be a part of history. Your Masters of Ceremony will be Sasquan Guest of Honor David Gerrold and Tananarive Due, and they’ve both promised an entertaining ceremony.

Tananarive Due (M), David Gerrold (M)



OsFest Agenda: Bryan Thomas Schmidt – July 31st-August 2, 2015

OsFest8 Agenda – Bryan Thomas Schmidt

OsFest Logo

Friday, July 31st

Pantsers vs. Planners – A panel of writers discuss two different approaches to writing, the advantages and disadvantages, varied approaches, etc.

Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Travis Heermann, Matthew Rotundo, Jason Bougger

5:00 p.m., Room TBA


Saturday, August 1st

Editor AMA: Bryan Thomas Schmidt – Hugo nominated editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt who edits anthologies for companies like Baen Books and EDGE and novels for Wordfire Press will be on hand to answer everything you’ve wanted to know about editors. What do they do? How do they do it? Does it hurt? You name it.

Panelist: Bryan Thomas Schmidt       Room: Colorado B      10:00 a.m.

Reading – Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from the Author’s Definitive Edition of his critically praised debut novel, The Worker Prince, releasing October 2015 from WordFire Press.

Panelist: Bryan Thomas Schmidt       Room: Wyoming     11:00 a.m.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Anthologies – Learn everything from how to create and sell.anthologies to how to find them and submit your stories to how they work behind the scenes. A Hugo nominated editor for Baen Books leads the discussion.

Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jason Bougger       Room: Colorado B             1:00 p.m.

Swimming in Slush: What Editors See – A panel discussion of what editors and agents experience in a typical day, sure to include a long list of dos and don’ts for writers of every skill level. What is it like to sift through a hundred manuscripts and query letters a day? And how does the writer leverage this knowledge in the best possible ways?

Panelists: Travis Heermann, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jason Bougger       Room: Colorado B         6:00 p.m.


Sunday, August 2nd

It Ain’t the Writing, It’s the Rewriting: The Power of Revision – Rewriting and revising are arguably the most important part of the writing process. These experienced authors talk about revision techniques to make your story shine, without polishing the shine right back off again. How do you find your invisible weaknesses? How do you work around those weaknesses?

Panelists: Travis Heermann, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Matthew Rotundo         Room: Nebraska A  12:00 p.m.

Editing 101 For Writers – Key techniques for self-editing writers need to know taught by a Hugo nominated editor.

Panelist: Bryan Thomas Schmidt       Room: Nebraska A     1:00 p.m.

My Schedule: ConQUEST 46 May 22-24, 2015

As usual, I am attending our local Convention, ConQuest Memorial Day weekend. I am moderating and participating on some great panels.  Here’s a list.


CQ 46 logo

ConQuesT 2015




  5:00pm –  6:00pm W World Building – Religion and Magic

*Count Basie Ballroom A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Kathleen Collins
Panelists: Gera L. Dean, Brandon Sanderson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Thomas Trumpinski


 11:00am –  12:00pm W Editing 101 For Writers

Julia Lee A/B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Claire Ashgrove

  1:00pm –  2:00pm L Brandon Sanderson Interview

*Count Basie Ballroom A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Brandon Sanderson

  2:00pm –  3:00pm L Space Opera: Then and Now

Jay McShann B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Lou Antonelli, Robin Wayne Bailey, Rich Horton, Jim Yelton

  4:00pm –  5:00pm L Anthologies: The Art Of Collaboration

Bennie Moten A/B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Steven x Davis, Sean Demory, Marshall Edwards, Rich Horton, Lezli Robyn


 10:00am –  11:00am L Sports and Science Fiction

Lester Young A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Brent Bowen, Ai Ling Chow

 12:00pm –  1:00pm W Editors Are Not The Enemy

Jay McShann A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Lou Antonelli, Claire Ashgrove, Robin Wayne Bailey, Chris Gerrib

Look forward to seeing some of you there. I am also throwing a party Friday night at 8 p.m. with Robin Wayne Bailey. We will be signing copies of SHATTERED SHIELDS, the Baen fantasy anthology for which co-editor Jennifer Brozek and I are nominated for Hugos this year and in which Robin has a story. And Jenn has signed them, too. You can get the for $14, no shipping and $1 off. My other anthologies will be available as well.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is a critically praised author and Hugo nominated editor whose works include THE SAGA OF DAVI RHII space opera trilogy (Wordfire Press, 2015), GALACTIC GAMES (Baen, 2016), MISSION: TOMORROW (Baen, 2015), SHATTERED SHIELDS (Baen, 2014), BEYOND THE SUN (Fairwood Press, 2013), RAYGUN CHRONICLES (Every Day, 2013) and many more. His debut novel, THE WORKER PRINCE, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011. He regularly hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat on Twitter under hashtag #sffwrtcht and can be found on Twitter as @BryanThomasS or via his website at

MyOryCon Schedule

Well, I am off Thursday for my second trip to OryCon in Portland, Oregon at the Lloyd Center Doubletree.  It’s a fun con with lots of friends in attendance and a fairly laid back atmosphere. Jennifer Brozek and I will be having our SHATTERED SHIELDS Book Launch in Suite 1570 Saturday night, too, and then we’ll attend SF AuthorFest at Powell’s Beaverton Sunday afternoon to sign along with contributors Wendy Wagner and Annie Bellett and a ton of authors.

Meanwhile, though, here’s where to find me at the Con. Hope to see some of you!

Fri Nov 7 2:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 3:00:pm
Revision: Path to Better Writing or Way to Never Finish?

Endless revisions can kill good writing, but everyone says polish your work. Besides, the first draft is usually bad, right? How to navigate through the apparent contradictions without going crazy.

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, SD Perry, Bruce Taylor, Manny Frishberg, K.C. Ball

Fri Nov 7 3:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 3:30:pm
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Reading (30min)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his own works.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Fri Nov 7 4:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 5:00:pm
Religion in Fantasy

Gods? Goddesses? Just pretend religion doesn’t exist?

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Devon Monk, Jack Whitsel, Joan Gaustad, Karen Azinger

Fri Nov 7 5:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 6:00:pm
I Quit My Job to Be a Writer! WHAT HAVE I DONE?

What the full-time writing life is like, how to stay focused when you’re all by yourself, the realities of making a living via the written word, and techniques for forcing yourself to get dressed and leave the house.

Richard A. Lovett, Matthew Hughes, (*)Mary Rosenblum, Mike Moscoe, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Sat Nov 8 11:00:am
Sat Nov 8 12:00:pm
Planners vs. Pantsers

Some writers have everything outlined and plotted before they put their fingers on the keyboard. Others insist on flying by the seat of their pants. If you’re one, come learn the techniques of the other, and why you should pay attention.

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Anna Sheehan, J. A. Pitts, Dean Wells, Steve Perry

Sat Nov 8 12:00:pm
Sat Nov 8 1:00:pm
Surviving the Edit

Sometimes it feels as if editors are out to crush your soul, when they’re really there to save the soul of your book (or they should be). Learn how to choose an editor, how to take your lumps–and when you should ignore what the editor says.

Colleen Anderson, SD Perry, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jason V Brock

Sat Nov 8 4:00:pm
Sat Nov 8 5:00:pm
Social Media and the Modern Writer

Websites, Facebook fan pages, email lists, contests, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, ads, blogs and that annoying thing called a “platform”: what works, what doesn’t, and why you need to care (spoiler: you do).

Theresa (Darklady) Reed, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Erik Wecks, MeiLin Miranda

Saturday Nov. 8 :00 pm     Shattered Shields/Baen Launch Party
Suite 1570                               Alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and more. Come win signed artwork and books or buy some. Join Jennifer Brozek, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Wendy N. Wagner and Annie Bellett.

Sun Nov 9 1:00:pm
Sun Nov 9 2:00:pm
Crowdfund Your Project

You’ve got a book, a comic, a film, a game–something awesome! Your fans want it. How do you raise the funds to get it to them? Let them pre-order it via Kickstarter or the other crowdfunding sites. We’ll discuss best practices, when not to crowdfund, backer rewards people want, fulfillment nightmares and successes, and handling the haters (they gonna hate).

MeiLin Miranda, Erik Wecks, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jake Richmond

GlitchCon Schedule August 1st-3rd, 2014



Well, another Con has arrived. From Friday through Sunday, I’ll be in Springdale, Arkansas at the Holiday Inn Conference Center for GlitchCon with the lovely Claire Ashgrove, my best bud and editing partner in Finish The Story, Jonathan Maberry and David Farland and several others. Here’s a full schedule of programming. See participants at the website at

FRIDAY, August 1

3:00 – 3:50 pm Creating Comics and Graphic Novels (Jonathan M. /

David F. / Kyle / *Tommy) (Steam Room)

5:00 OPENING CEREMONIES  (John Q. Hammons Hall)

6:00 – 6:50 pm Pulp Fiction (Jonathan M. / David F. / Tommy / Bryan

Bryan and David Farland

S. / Phillip D.)(Steam Room)

6:00 – 8:00pm Story In A Bag, lead by Dyann Love Barr & Claire A. (Anime & Cosplay)

7:30 p.m.   — David F. / Jonathan M. / Claire / Bryan to dinner


SATURDAY, August 2

10:00 – 10:50 — Collaboration (Sue S. / Bill A. / Brad S. / Dyann)   (Steam Room)

12:00 – 12:50 — Series Writing (Saranna D. / David F. / Jonathan

M. / Bill A. / Claire A. / Dyann LB) (Anime & Cosplay)

1:00 – 1:50 — Writing 101 (David F. / Phillip D. / Sue S. / Dyan LB

/ Claire A. /  Saranna D. / Bryan S. (MOD)) (Steam Room)
2:00-2:50 – Old School Monsters (Jonathan M.)(Steam Room)
3:00 – 3:50  pm  Horror – Then and Now (Jonathan M. / David F.

/ Brad S./ Saranna D.)

4:00 – 4:50 — The Fantasy Allure (Jonathan M / David F. / Bryan S.

/ Brad S. / Claire A. / Saranna (MOD))(Steam Room)

7:00 – 7:50 — World Building (Sue S. / Bill A. / Dyann LB / Bryan

S. / Claire / Saranna, John W.) (Steam Room)

Bryan & Claire
Bryan & Claire



SUNDAY, August 3

10:00 – 10:50 – Story In A Bag Winners Announced

3:00-4:20 – CLOSING CEREMONIES (John Q. Hammons Hall)

Conquest 45 Noir Schedule and Details Updated

Conquest 45 logoWell, for the third year in a row I am a panelist and moderator at CONQUEST 45, the local Kansas City Con on Friday May 23rd through Sunday May 25th. Well attended, with, as usual, a great lineup of guests and panelists, CONQUEST is the largest local Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror convention. And it’s always a blast, but also always hectic for locals like me, especially those of us who are members of the local fan club KacSFFS.

This year’s Guests of Honor are Glen Cook (Author GOH), David Lee Pancake (Artist GOH), Bridget Landry (Science GOH), Ray and Barbara Van Tillburg (Fan GOH), and also Caroline Spector (Toastmistress).  Also attending (besides myself) are local professionals like Robin Wayne Bailey, Kij Johnson, Rich Horton , K.D. McEntire, Mark W. Tiedemann, Rob Chilson, Selina Rosen, Claire Ashgrove, Bradley Denton, H.G. Stratmann and Chris McKitterick. A full list can be found here.

Returning to downtown this year, CONQUEST 45 takes place at the Downtown Marriott, just off the famed Power and Light District, pretty much the center of Kansas City’s nightlife.

Room assignments are not final, but here’s the panels, panel descriptions and list of panelists in which I’ll be participating. As you’ll see, it’ll be a really hectic weekend for me. I also hope to have books on sale at Glen Cook’s dealer table, and we are working on a possible Raygun Chronicles party. When details on room assignments and the party are final, I’ll do another post, closer to the Con.

Here’s the schedule as it stands now:

Friday – May 23, 2014

Reading (Big Joe Turner A)
Friday 1400

Author/Editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his forthcoming epic fantasy series The Dawning Age.

SpecNoir (Count Basie Ballroom A)

Friday 1700

Speculative fiction and noir mix particularly well in many subgenres and forms. What is noir and what are some examples of who’s writing what and good reads out there?

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Glen Cook, Mark W. Tiedemann

Raygun Chronicles Launch Party
Friday 2130 (Room 619)

Authors Todd Hunter and Robin Wayne Bailey join me to celebrate our pulp-style space opera anthology, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For A New Age. Party with snacks, drinks and giveaways.


Saturday – May 24th, 2014

Military Fantasy (Lester Young A)
Saturday 1000

What is it? Who’s writing it? How does it differ from high fantasy? What are some examples?

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Glen Cook, Kij Johnson, Robin Wayne Bailey

What makes a hero/heroine? (Jay McShann A)

Saturday 1200

A discussion of what defines heroism today and what qualities we want to see in our heroes and heroines that make them heroic. And how are definitions evolving in the modern age.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Dennis Young, Gera Dean, Kij Johnson

Writing for younger audiences (Jay McShann B)

Saturday 1300

Writing for adults and writing for YA, MG and Children differ. Authors and Editors discuss the differences, the approaches, and fine examples.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Chris McKitterick, Deanna Sjolander, K. D. McEntire


KID’S READING: Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Big Joe Turner A)
Saturday 1500

Children’s author Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his chapter book series ABRAHAM LINCOLN DINOSAUR HUNTER, a humorous, action adventure, alternate history for all ages.

Self-Editing 101 For Writers With Finish The Story (Mary Lou Williams A/B)
Saturday 1600

Editorial team Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Claire Ashgrove discuss tips for basic editing of manuscripts, how to get perspective, common issues, and more.

Moderators/Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Claire Ashgrove

Sunday – May 25th, 2014

GOH Interview: Glen Cook (Count Basie Ballroom A)
Sunday 1000

Come here me do a live SFFWRTCHT-style interview with the amazing Glen Cook. And you can ask questions, too!

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelist: Glen Cook

Editors are not  the  Enemy (Mary Lou Williams A/B)

Sunday 1100

What editors do, why it matters to writers, and why writers should consider them an asset not an enemy. An exploration of author-editor relationships.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Claire Ashgrove, Deanna Sjolander, Rich Horton, Selina Rosen

Self-Publishing — Taking the Leap! (Mary Lou Williams A/B)

Sunday 1300

Considering self-publishing your novel?  It isn’t as easy as publishing a book and reaping the royalties, nor is it for every author.  Discover pros and cons of the Indie market, tips to launching a successful book, and whether you’re prepared for the business demands.

Moderator: Claire Ashgrove
Panelists: Karin Gastreich, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Brett Williams


Hope to see some of you there. Be sure to come by and say hello!

Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut science fiction novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011, and was followed by two sequels The Returning and The Exodus (forthcoming). His children’s books include 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter–Land Of Legends. Schmidt has edited edited anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6Beyond The SunRaygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age and, with Jennifer Brozek, coedited military high fantasy original anthology, Shattered Shields. Several more anthologies are under contract and forthcoming. Schmidt hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

My Agenda: OryCon 35 Nov. 8-10, 2013

OryCon 35 Launch party CoversWell, I’m off to Portland Thursday. My first time in Oregon. And I’m looking forward to it. While I was disappointed to not be included in ORYCON programming for the first time ever at a Con in three years, I do have two key events I’ll be a part of.

BOOK LAUNCH – Brenda Cooper/John A. Pitts/Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Saturday, November 9th @ 8:00 pm SUITE 1569, Portland Doubletree Presidential Suite

Brenda Cooper, John A. Pitts and I combine forces with publisher Patrick Swenson for a 3 book launch, THE party of Saturday night at OryCon. Beer, wine and snacks will be served. We will launch Brenda’s “The Diamond Deep,” book two of her terrific “Ruby’s Song” Scifi trilogy from PYR Books, John’s collection “Bravado’s House of Blues” from Fairwood (who published Beyond The Sun) and “Raygun Chronicles” my third anthology as editor, contemporary space opera in retro pulp style.

Join us if you dare!

THEN, on Sunday:


Sunday, November 10th @ 4:30pm Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323

A starfleet of science-fiction and fantasy authors descends for one galactic booksigning event. Attending authors include:
Camille Alexa
Claude Lalumiere
Alma Alexander
Patricia Briggs
Brenda Cooper
Diana Pharoah Francis
Jay Lake
David Levine
Louise Marley
Andy Mangels
Devon Monk
Mike Moscoe/Shepherd
Phyllis Irene Radford
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Dean Wesley Smith
Ken Scholes
Brent Weeks
Daniel H. Wilson
Anne Bishop
J.A. Pitts
Kay Kenyon
Rhiannon Held
Eldon Thompson
Adrian Phoenix
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Lilith Saintcrow
Ian Doescher
Steve Perry
Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Jason Hough
and the Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion

So  come on out and join us!

Announcing My Schedule For Archon 2013 in St. Louis, October 4-6

100_3440This weekend, I will be attending ARCHON 37 in St. Louis, my first time there. I had to cancel last year due to unforseen circumstances and despite living in St. Louis from 2000-2009, this will be my first time attending. (I know, for shame, for shame.) Once you get over booing me, there are some very cool guests coming including:

Writer GOH: David Weber
Aritst GOH: Donato Giancola
Toastmistress: Lee Martindale

And such SFF luminaries as: Glen Cook, Angie Fox, Laura Resnick, Dr. Charles Gannon, Michael Z. Williamson, Rich Horton, Sharon Shinn, Mark Tiedemann and my favorite artist collaborator Mitch Bentley and friends Sherry Dean, Allison Stein and Guy Anthony DeMarco, amongst many others. Full list here.

ARCHON 37 is taking place at Collinsville Convention Center, just over the river in Illinois from downtown Saint Louis at Gateway Center Drive – Collinsville, IL – 62234 with a few events, as noted on the schedule here, at nearby hotels.

I’m doing a number of panels, and I hope local folks will come say hi, as my schedule is lighter than usual and I’ll be hanging out a lot. Glen Cook will also have my books on sale in the dealer room, so I’ll likely be hanging with him a l0t.

My agenda:

Friday, October 4, 2013

5:00 PM GATEWAY CENTER Illini Author Readings A trio of Authors give a short reading and allow for comments and questions. (In order) Lee Martindale, Mark Tiedemann, Bryan ThomasSchmiDoubleTree Hotel
8:30 PM GATEWAY CENTER West Hallway Autographs Please restrict your requests to three items at a time. Thank you. Laura LeHew, Van Plexico, Bryan Thomas SchmiDoubleTree Hotel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

11:10 AM


Marquette A

Writers Workshop

Closed to Public. Open only for those who sent in manuscripts. Mark Tiedemann, R.J. Carter, Kristin Bailey, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

3:50 PM



The Future of Space Opera

Are today’s stories enough to make a series? How has space opera changed over the decades? What might it’s future look like? Bryan Thomas Schmidt (m), David Weber, Charles Gannon, Rich Horton

5:00 PM



Editors are not the Everything (Enemy)

The collaboration between editors and writers. Bryan Thomas Schmidt (m), Charles Gannon, Rich Horton

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I’ll hang around the dealer room and common areas for part of the day and take off mid-afternoon to be with family.

Well, that’s where you can find me. If you plan to be there and want an extra way to reach me, message me for my cell number. I promise not to lose it this time (fingers and toes crossed).

Look forward to seeing everyone. I will have sneak peek copies of Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age available if you want a peek.

Beyond The Sun revised coverBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013), and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age  (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and is working on Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website or Facebook.



My Top 12 Memorable Moments From ChiCon 7

I know, I’ve made two Recap posts already on ChiCon, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few special moments I’ll always remember from the experience. Both touching and humorous, they combined to enrich the experience and the memories I carry forward from it. I think you’ll see why. I present them chronologically.

1) Surviving A New Cabbie’s First Fare. Somehow, upon arriving 90 minutes late on Amtrak, 90 minutes before my reading I might add, I wound up in the taxi of a man whose driving was an adventure. Not only did make some odd lane changes but then entered the Hyatt the wrong way and had to turn around, driving across the sidewalk and scattering the bellboys in the process. “It’s my first time,” he said, “I’m new.” I didn’t argue, just handed him the money and hurried to escape the cab.

2) Black Gate Crew Attends My First World Con Reading. I am not a big fan of doing readings. It’s just something I’ve always felt nervous and awkward about. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending how you look at it) my crowds have always been small. But this time not only did my crowd size increase but it was packed with fellow writers, many of whom were Black Gate staff. Seeing fellow successful authors like Howard Andrew Jones, James Enge and Chris Kastensmidt and a successful editor like John O’Neill not only make time to attend but express encouragement at my performance really started the Con on a great note and leant the feeling that I was on the right track as a writer. I’m grateful,

3) Recognized By Robert J. Sawyer at Thursday Dinner. My first dinner, my first night at the Con, and I run into Robert J. Sawyer at the restaurant. He recognizes me, double checks my name badge to be sure, and then introduces me to his wife and companions, inviting me to stop by the bar later and chat more. I had never met Rob and only interviewed him via Twitter, but we have interacted on Facebook a bit. Still, it was a good feeling to be recognized by someone of that caliber and it was an event that repeated itself throughout the Con as several others recognized me as well and said “I know your name, sure” as they shook my hand. For a small fish, it was a big splash.

4) David Brin Thanking SFWA Volunteers. On Friday morning, I spent two hours with SFWA Secretary Ann Leckie and Edge Editor Victoria Strauss volunteering at the SFWA table. While several people dropped by, David Brin made a point to shake our hands and kindly thank us for volunteering. It was a classy move and greatly appreciated since I have always found Brin’s snarky outspoken comments on Facebook a bit offputting and since he is “David Brin” (intimidating in itself). That graciousness won me over. What a class act.

5) Meeting and Being Teased by Robert Silverberg. In many ways, Silverberg is my Tolkien. I’ve told him so. He insists that I call him ‘Bob,” to which I replied: “I don’t know if I can.” But our first face-to-face was at his signing after I’d waited around 40 minutes in line. My quota of 3 books were the original Majipoor trilogy, and a couple were used hardbacks I’d tracked down, since I prefer getting hardbacks signed for longevity. Glancing inside one, Silverberg notes the ‘Property Of Margene’ stamp. “So, what happened to Margene? And how did you get her book?” he teases. I fumbled a bit then said I’d bought it at a library sale. He smiles, shooting me a cockeyed look. “Please give Margene my best if she survived the exchange.” I couldn’t help but laugh, he smiled, we chatted a bit more, and I left hoping he really was just teasing. I swear, I don’t know Margene.

6) A fan arrives at my signing with my book. Okay, yes, my books have been out a while. But this is really the first time someone already had one when they came to a signing to get it signed. Before they’ve bought them from me, then had me sign. So it was memorable and special to know my babies are making their way out in the world and that booksellers are being supported in the process. I only wound up signing 5 books that day, while watching Seanan McGuire’s never-ending line next to me and George R.R. Martin’s before her, but it was a nice feeling to be known before hand.

7) Moderating My First World Con Panel Ever. Not only was it my first World Con panel, but the room was packed t0 standing room only, with people waiting outside wanting to get in. On top of that, my fellow panelists included Nancy Kress, Jay Lake and Charles Stross. The lofty topic: Moral Ambiguity In Science Fiction. Having Nancy Kress, whose writing books have taught me so much, look at me for permission to talk almost made me laugh with embarrassment. Of course, that was just her showing respect to the moderator and it wound up being a delightful panel and one I’ve heard good things about from many since. In fact, we recorded it for an upcoming podcast, so you’ll get the chance to hear it soon enough.

8 ) Mitch Bentley’s Art Show Award. Despite my friend and frequent cover artist Mitch Bentley being the first to greet me upon my arrival at the hotel, I didn’t make it to the art show until Sunday, my first free day of the Con. Imagine my delight when I found Mitch’s booth and discovered a cover I had commissioned for my ebook release of the Davi Rhii prequel story “Rivalry On A Sky Course” had won him a Judge’s Choice Award. Mitch’s art has always moved me. I knew I wanted him to do my book cover from the minute I first saw it at ConQuest 41 in Kansas City, May 2010. Since then we’ve collaborated on two novels and this ebook with more in the works. More over, the covers are inspired by the stories and scenes within them, so I am thrilled to see Mitch recognized for his work, especially stuff my own work inspired.

9) Resnick’s Recognition. I had seen Resnick in passing several times and even-handed him some Brazilian coffee grounds I’d brought for him, but apparently he was so exhausted he didn’t recognize me (many had this issue due to my new Sellect ‘stache I learned) until I handed him a signed copy of the novel he blurbed. Then he did an “of course, I hadn’t realized that was you” thing and we spent a delightful 45 minutes hanging out. Resnick has been a good friend and mentor to me and I had not expected to get much time with him at a Con where he was GOH, let alone “alone” time, so it was a delight. But the priceless look on his face when my identity connected was a highlight for sure.

10) Listening In As Silverberg and Dave Kyle Reminisce. Spotting Silverberg in the Dealer’s Room Sunday, I brought over a few more books I had not gotten him to sign and overheard a comparing notes of two long time SFF community members discussing Cons, books, life, genre and much more. It was the kind of moment that one loves being a fly on the wall. Then Silverberg saw the Ace Double I was carrying and commented: “Look Dave, this book is almost as old as you are.” Kyle quipped: “It’s in far better condition.” We all laughed and then Silverberg signed it. Their discussion though could have been a panel in and of itself.

11) An Accidental Anthology Pitch. One friend I managed to run into a lot was Jamie Todd Rubin, who gathered a bunch of us Sunday afternoon in the bar to hang out. Patrick Swenson was there, along with Kay Kenyon, Louise Marley, Jennifer Brozek, Jay Werkheiser, and later Tod McCoy. It was a fun group and we found all kinds of stuff to talk about. But somewhere along the way we happened to discuss sports, and I–off the cuff–mentioned I hoped to do a Space Sports themed anthology one day. Next thing I knew I had three very excited writers pitching their stories. Two of them would be reprints. And they were talking it up. I hadn’t intended to make it a project immediately, as I already have three in the development hopper, but Champions: Spec Sports is now in the works and I found myself gathering ideas and writers the rest of the evening. A memorable way to start an anthology project for sure.

12) Watching Friends Accept Hugos. John DeNardo won for SFSignal to which I contribute, and Kij Johnson and Ursula Vernon won for Novella and Graphic Novel. Cat Valente and Seanan McGuire were amongst Podcast winners for SF Squeecast. Of the five, I know John the best but it was still a delight to see people I have chatted with multiple times and respect get such recognition. The fact that I helped contribute with my votes was a bonus.

As I stated in my Recaps, it felt a lot like I’d come of age and transitioned from fan/wannabe on the sidelines to full fledged community member and that an encouraging feeling only aided by moments like these ten. If you went to World Con, what were your most memorable moments? I’d love to hear about them.

For what it’s worth…

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, both forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.


WorldCon Recap, Part 2–A Family Reunion & Coming Of Age

In yesterday’s recap, part 1, I talked about the things I did during WorldCon. Today’s post may interest no one but myself, yet since I found WorldCon to be profoundly moving on several levels as an experience, I still want to talk about that aspect as well. In many ways, for me, ChiCon 7 fell somewhere between a coming of age and a family reunion. It was a business trip, too, yes, but felt instead more like a gathering of family and old friends, reunited to celebrate their commonalities and enjoy their common passions, and, in my view, that’s exactly what a good con should be.

Part of this was the result of having peers who are up and coming alongside me or just a step ahead nominated for Hugos. It’s hard to measure who’s at what level, I suppose, and these are people with whom I have struck up close friendships. But watching guys like John DeNardo and Brad R. Torgersen and Patrick Hester be nominated for awards was personally moving. Regardless of that fact that one won and two lost, it was like an endorsement that our generation is welcome to the party, and I shared a sense of pride with them and achievement in that, though I had little to with Brad and Patrick’s work (I do regularly contribute to SFSignal).

Another part was having writers whose names I recognized but whom I’d never interacted with telling me they recognized my name and knew of my chat, etc. It was affirming to know that I’m more established than I realized and the respect given made me feel like I’d transitioned to one of the gang rather than a fandboy/wannabe/outside looking over the windowsill. Oh sure, standing next to Robert J. Sawyer and Robert Silverberg and such was a bit fanboy-inducing and probably always will be. Both have suggested I call them by their first names now and my internal voice keeps saying: “I don’t know if I can.” But they were both incredibly friendly and kind and it’s an honor to count them peers and friends.

It was also really exciting to be treated as an equal on panels with the likes of Charles Stross, Jay Lake, and Nancy Kress. For newcomers Lissa Price and myself, it could have been intimidating to share a panel with them, but I was assigned to moderate and all three treated me as if I were an equal. Nancy and Jay even went out of their way to compliment my efforts, which was quite kind. Full disclosure, Jay and I had lunch before the panel and have struck up a friendship over several years despite this being our first face-to-face encounter. And I have bought a story tentatively from Nancy for an anthology. But the next panel with Kay Kenyon and Carol Berg went much the same. And it was a feeling extended throughout encounters with numerous luminaries in the field.

There’s a voice inside most authors, I think, that constantly suggest we’re not good enough, not worthy. That calling ourselves an author alongside those greats we admire is far too presumptuous, perhaps, or that we have to earn our way a bit more first. For me, while I consider humility both healthy, advisable and a sign of maturity, it still is nice to feel accepted as a peer by such people. And it’s an honor I hope to live up to so they never come to regret it, if that makes any sense. It felt like I came of age from fan/wannabe to full on member of the club, as a result, and that was emotionally rewarding after some very hard months and years on a personal and professional level.

I was also honored and quite pleased when artist and ASFA president Mitchell Bentley won one of eight Judge’s Choice Awards at the World Con Art Show from judges including Irene Gallo for his cover of “Rivalry On A Sky Course,” my Davi Rhii prequel story. I commissioned it on a very thin budget and gave him a percentage of books sold in  exchange. He’d done beautiful covers for the books, and I wanted to maintain the look of the series. Plus, I enjoy collaborating with Mitch a lot. I am so pleased for him at the recognition for his fine work and, on top of that, for the fact that the Judges recognized its quality and the Con Chair bought the piece, rewarding him in yet another way. Congrats to Mitch! And gratitude!

Were there disappointments at WorldCon? Being ignored by a couple of people I once called friends for some unknown offense was a bit offputting, yes. So was missing connections with some people I really wanted to meet and never seem to encounter at Cons. The Hugo after parties shutting out of friends from the celebration annoyed me. And there were some lines and priceyness issues from time to time. I also wish my book sales had been a bit better. Three books out of 60 was a smaller ratio than I would have liked.

But those complaints are overshadowed by the magic I experienced with all the wonderful people I met. Truly it was like Schmidt Family Reunions we hold every three years that I’ve attended in that past. Meeting online friends like Jamie Todd Rubin, Howard Andrew Jones, James Enge, Madison Woods, Tim Ward, Brad Torgersen, Annie Bellett, Jay Lake, Cat Rambo, Barb Galler-Smith, Matt Forbeck and more for the first time and reuniting with old friends I hadn’t seen in a while like Saladin Ahmed, Mike Resnick, John O’Neill, Chris Kastenschmidt, and more. Add to that meeting so many past #sffwrtcht guests, including luminaries like Silverberg and Sawyer, and it was a really good experience for networking and family building. Howard Andrew Jones and I commiserated tonight on FB about how much we’d bonded with people online, making face-to-face encounters rather natural and not awkward. It’s amazing what social media has created for networking and relationship building.

And then I arrived home riding the waves of these emotions and highs and found these waiting for me:

Yeah, I know, “you got mail”– big deal, right? BUT the Locus contains a mention and my name’s on the cover of Talisman. Because Locus mentions my new book, The Returning, and my 3rd short story ever, written in 2009-10 then revised and sold in 2011, finally made it to print in Tales Of The Talisman, becoming my first print magazine appearance as a fiction author. It also is my first illustrated short story, not counting the cover for “Rivalry On A Sky Course’s” ebook, of course. “LaMigra’s” alien monster comes to life. Based on my time in El Paso, it’s the story of a culture clash that happens when two Mexican illegals get taken by aliens they mistake for Border Patrol.  As each side reacts differently than expected, it’s a fun examination of setting and culture on the border. But I’m biased as the writer, of course.

It’s a good feeling to achieve yet two more successes on the heels of a great Con. How was your World Con?

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, both forthcoming. Beyond The Sun and Spec Sports anthologies are also in the works. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.





ChiCon 7 Recap, Part 1–What Happened During The Con

It’s hard to wrap my mind around all that happened for the past four days in Chicago. For me, this turned out to be the best Con experience ever on all levels. I’m so happy I decided to go in spite of my financial struggles and very grateful to the support and encouragement shown me from so many corners.

The highlight of any Con is usually relationship and networking but I think it was doubly true of Chicon 7 because I had the chance to meet so many people I’ve gotten to know strictly online the past few years, all for the first time. Jamie Todd Rubin, Jean Johnson, Jason Sizemore, Maurice Broaddus, Janet Harriett, Jay Lake, Brad Beaulieu, Cat Rambo, Madison Woods, Stina Leicht, David Boop, James Enge, Howard Andrew Jones, Chuck Gannon, Brad Torgersen, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, Myke Cole, John Helfers, Lissa Price, Nancy Kress, Tim Akers, Adam Christopher, Charles Stross, Jason Waltz, Courtney Schafer, Barb Galler-Smith, Cat Valente, Nancy Fulda, Randy Henderson, Michael Flynn, Nnedi Okorafor, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, John Picacio, Annie Bellet, Alastair Mayer, Matt Forbeck, Tim Ward, Brad Wheeler and Jack McDevitt were all new face to face encounters. (I likely forgot some too). Plus I renewed and built acquaintance with many I’d met before. With some I talked business, with others just chit chat on all kinds of topics. With some, I panelled. With others, I moderated. With others, I drank and ate. And with almost all, I laughed.

My first ever WorldCon panel was a reading that took place 90 minutes after I arrived on severely delayed Amtrak train and after a scary taxi ride which involved sidewalk and wrong way driving and which the driver explained with the comment “I am new.” The reading, however, went very well. I had listened to Nancy Fulda and another reading prior to that. And I read two passages I have read before. Authors and editors made up the audience and complimented my reading for days after, which made me feel good. I really don’t like readings and they make me nervous. It was good to know that I might actually be better than some at it.

Volunteering at the SFWA table brought new encounters with David Brin, who impressed me with his kind consideration, Edward Lerner, Alan Dean Foster and many others. The SFWA Suite with its relaxed atmosphere and free provisions was a godsend and privilege. The Green Room and Con Suite also came in very handy in this regard. 15 meals over 5 days, I paid for 7 and four of those were during train trips. Pretty amazing blessing. My roommates, Don Mead and David Steffen, also turned out to be easy to get along with and fun. Don and I had met before but David was new. They took me to the Codex breakfast Saturday which was a nice opportunity as well, since I have been interested in Codex for a while.  My signing Friday with Nnedi, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Mike Flynn, Seanan McGuire and others was quiet but did sell three books and an ebook and have one person who already owned the book come to get it signed. Book Universe sold at least one more copy and Larry Smith also had copies which I got Jean Johnson, Mike Resnick and Patrick Hester to sign.

Friday lunch was with Maurice Broaddus, then later I did the signing and attended Saladin Ahmed’s packed reading before Friday night dinner with the Black Gate folks, including editor John O’Neill, Howard Andrew Jones, James Enge, and also Rich Horton and Jason Waltz of Rogue Blades. Great people, great conversation, and a lot of fun. Then had Bar Con time with Cat Rambo, Brenda Cooper, Tom King, Matt Forbeck, John Helfers, Madison Woods and several others and also attended the Night Shade Party and met some former and future sffwrtcht guests, caught up with Jeremy Lassen, etc.

Saturday was lunch with Jay Lake, a friend I’d never met face to face, then my first group panel ever for WorldCon–Moral Ambiguity in Science Fiction–was also my first time moderating at WorldCon and was a fabulous experience. With names like Nancy Kress, Charles Stross and Jay Lake on the panel, I was prepared to just keep to myself and ask questions but all deferred to me to lead them and our interactions were a lot of fun. The standing-room-only audience seemed to enjoy it and we got many compliments after. Recorded it for a possible future podcast. Then I went to moderate Vivid Character Building which had Kay Kenyon, Carol Berg, Teresa Frohock, and Randy Henderson and I waxing about how we create characters. Fun but challenging to cover in such a format with broad strokes. Also recorded.

That pretty much wore me out for Saturday so I went back for a brief nap then hung in the bar with Jamie Todd Rubin, Kay Kenyon, Louise Marley, Jay Werkheiser, Lisa Montoya, Patrick Swenson, Tod McCoy, Jennifer Brozek and some others, a great time. Somehow in the midst of it my Space Sports anthology idea became more than just an idea and I now have a fourth antho in the works. Then on to Pink and Blue Party to celebrate and the TOR party as well. Sunday, my free day, I slept in then hung with Jean Johnson and her mum, Madison Woods, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, Robert Silverberg, David Kyle, David Boop, Brenda Cooper, Nancy Kress, Cat Rambo, Patrick Swenson, Jennifer Brozek, Glen Cook and others. I also attended the only panel I got to in which I didn’t participate and which was a GOH panel and wound up hanging out after with Mike Resnick who had failed to recognize me like so many others due to my mustache despite speaking with me several times, one of which I’d given him gifts. It was a funny moment of recognition and we had some good laughs after. He introduced me to Jack McDevitt at long last and a few others as we walked the dealer’s room together and chatted.

Sunday night was the Hugos and it was an emotional night despite my seat in the back row boonies and a packed crowd. Having peers who are friends and coming up alongside nominated and win was touching and exciting. It added to the feeling I got from other encounters there that I had come of age and graduated from fan/wannabe into a pro member of the group. When writers whose names you know also know your name, even those you have not spoken with, its humbling and encouraging. All the more so when you become friends. Was happy with several friends’ wins including Ursula Vernon, John DeNardo, Ken Liu, Jim Hines, Charlie Jane Anders, and Cat Valente, amongst others. It was a typical award ceremony but fun to be in the room for the first time.

The after parties were a disappointment. They made it private for a while first and had rude security and for those of us with travel and early panels, it became a bust. I did finally run into a few winners and congratulate them, including E. Lily Yu, Betsy Wollheim, Liza Trombi and the Locus gals, John DeNardo and JP Frantz. Then hung with DeNardo, his wife, daughter and Patrick Hester for a bit after before bed.

Monday’s early Faith In SFF panel, which, ironically, I proposed, turned out a disappointment. Someone else moderated despite knowing I’d proposed the panel and allowed it to turn negative in ways that I don’t think were helpful. It also became more of a survey than fruitful discussion in many ways. Michael Flynn was a surprise addition and I felt he contributed some of the most helpful comments if there were any. Altogether, if I had it to do over, I would not have proposed doing that panel with others and just led it on my own with a few invited participants or at least would have skipped out on this version. Oh well. Between Sunday night’s party fiasco and that panel then low book sales and a rush to leave, Monday was mostly a bust but did get to sit down and chat a while with Jack McDevitt, who’s fantastic.

Also, Mitch Bentley’s cover from my Davi Rhii prequel ebook Rivalry On A Sky Course won Judge’s Choice Award in the ChiCon 7 Art Show so that was pretty thrilling for all involved.

That’s pretty much what went on from my perspective. Another post will go up tomorrow on some thoughts and feelings about the World Con experience.  You can find that post now here:

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, both forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.


World Con Schedule – ChiCon 7

Well, my first WorldCon is looking good. I’d hoped to make Reno last year but then life fell apart and I had to sell my memberships to Patrick Hester and Jeremy Tolbert. I’m glad they could use them,  but this year, I’m going, and here’s my agenda. The boxed items are ones I will be a panelist for. The rest, events I am planning to attend, for those wanting to find me. I look forward to it very much. It’s an honor be included in Programming.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

3:00 -6:00 p.m. Arrival/Checkin

Thu Aug 30 7:00:pm Thu Aug 30 7:30:pm Reading: Bryan Thomas Schmidt reading from The Worker Prince and The Returning
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

8-10:30 p.m. First Night at Adler Planetarium


Friday, August 31st, 2012

9-10:00 a.m. Dealer’s Room (Book Universe will be carrying my books throughout the Con & I’ll be at the SFWA table 10-12)

12:30 p.m. Howard Andrew Jones Reading (Dusable)

1 p.m. Lunch with Maurice Broaddus

2:00ish-3:00 p.m. Autograph Sessions (Crystal B/Autograph Table) featuring Mike Resnick, Brad Torgersen, Catherine Asaro, Connie Willis, David Brin, Eric Flint, Gardner Dozois, Harry Turtledove, Jack McDevitt, James Patrick Kelly, Kay Kenyon, Kij Johnson, Laura Resnick, Nancy Kress, Nick DiChario, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, Sheila Williams, Steven H. Silver (I’ll be bringing books for several of these people to sign)

Fri Aug 31 3:00:pm Fri Aug 31 4:30:pm Autograph Session 5
Autograph Tables
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Geoff Ryman Hugh Howey Jacqueline Carey Jacqueline Lichtenberg Mike Flynn Nnedi Okorafor Seanan McGuire Vylar Kaftan

4:30-6:00 PM – I may attend Mike Resnick’s Interview. I’d like to but it depends how tired I am from everything else and if I need to just sit at the bar. I will be doing one or the other here and stop by Dealer’s Room (Book Universe) to sign if needed

5:30 p.m. – Saladin Ahmed Reading (Dusable)

6:00 p.m. – Dinner with Howard Andrew Jones and James Enge

7:00 p.m.-ish -NightShade Night Bazaar Party

9:00-10:30 p.m. – Guest of Honor speech: Mike Resnick (Columbus KL)


Saturday, September 1st, 2012

9 a.m. – SFWA Business Meeting/light breakfast (Comiskey)

10-11:00 a.m. Dealer’s Room (Book Universe) or hanging to  network

11-1:00 p.m. Lunch With Jay Lake (i.e. Hanging Out)

Sat Sep 1 1:30:pm Sat Sep 1 3:00:pm Moral Ambiguity in SF (I am Moderator)
Buckingham Is there still room for moral structure in SF societies and worldbuilding? How does moral ambiguity represent or fail to capture the real world? What are its pitfalls
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Charles Stross Jay Lake Lissa Price Nancy Kress
Sat Sep 1 3:00:pm Sat Sep 1 4:30:pm Vivid Character Building (I am Moderator)
Columbus CD How do you create vivid characters who pop off the page? How do you avoid archetypes/stereotypes and predictability? Join a panel of writers discussing their techniques and tricks and ask questions of your own.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Carol Berg Kay Kenyon Randy Henderson Teresa Frohock

4:30-6:00 p.m. Dealer’s Room (Book Universe)

7-? p.m. Bar Con/Parties/Dinner

8 p.m. Cat Rambo/Stina Leicht Party

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Free Day

I will hang out in public areas a lot, may go to a panel but mostly just network

7:00 p.m. Find seat at Hugos

8:00 p.m. Hugo Awards Ceremony

After Parties


Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Mon Sep 3 9:00:am Mon Sep 3 10:30:am Faith in Science Fiction & Fantasy
Field Faith can take many forms besides organized worship of a Higher Being, and yet, not a single Earth culture known to us exists absent a faith system in some form. What is the importance of faith in motivating human beings and in creating realistic worlds? What are the things people put their faith in? Magic? Science? Laws? Government? Wealth? Fame? Not a debate of the validity of ideas but a discussion of their value and use as motivators for all of us.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Dennis Y. Ginoza Isabel Schechter Randy Smith

10:30-12:00 p.m. Dealer’s Room (Book Universe) and hanging out

12-1:00 p.m. Pack/Checkout

1:30 p.m. to Amtrak for home (3:00 train)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011  Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines.  He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. A freelance editor, he’s edited novels and nonfiction and also hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

Write Tip: Top 10 Writer Lessons Learned From Cons & Appearances

Love it or hate it, for the modern author Conventions and Appearances come with the job. These can be a great deal of fun or  a great deal of stress or both. I’ve done 9 Cons since 2010, 5 since March 2012.  (You can check out my appearances here.) I’ve enjoyed them all for different reasons and yet some were better than others. Still, overall, the contact with fellow creatives and the public is a stimulant to creativity even if it drains time away from writing while I’m there. The biggest strain, of course, is budget. Cons are not cheap. But still, if you take the time to learn how to maximize them, there can be great benefits. Here are Ten Lessons I’ve learned from Cons and Appearances so far:

1) Selling Books Is Hard. A good signing/appearance tends to be around 12-13 books for me so far. As a new, relatively unknown author, it’s really hard to get people to try out your stuff. You do readings at which 4 attendees is a good turnout. You do bookstore appearances/signings and are happy if three people an hour actually stop to talk. At Cons, you do tons of panels and hand out info cards and are happy if people take them with any enthusiasm. In dealer’s rooms, if 5% of those who stop to look buy your book, you’ve done well. If you are a writer thinking selling the book is the easy part, think again. It’s hard. I don’t know how this compares with those whose publishers have thousands to spend promoting their books, but for micropress writers like me with promotion coming from my own time and money, selling books is hard.

2) Face-To-Face Matters. I realize many authors are socially awkward. We spend so much time alone by ourselves writing that social skills are not being developed. And many of us started out socially awkward in the first place. Thus, public appearances can be nerve-wracking and stressful. Still, nothing gets people’s interest like a face-to-face encounter. If you’re nice, funny, interesting, etc., people take notice. They realize you might be someone whose voice they’d like to spend time with listening. And this leads to sales and word of mouth. It’s a slow process, in my experience, but I’ve definitely seen it enough to know it’s true.

3) Most of Your Sales Come After Cons Online Or In Stores.  No matter how few or many books sell at a Con or appearance, I always know more a week or two later by looking at online sales and Author Central. Almost always we see numbers increase from people who met me or saw me at a distance and went to buy my books. I don’t know if this is because they don’t trust buying from you, worry about pressure sales if they approach or what. PayPal is secure, people. Whatever the reasons, I do see most sales coming from online or stores, even when I offer discounts through my website store, which I still can’t figure out.

4) Partnering With Dealers Has Advantages And Disadvantages. If you’re going to a Con, it’s always good to check out the dealers and see if you can find someone to either order copies of your book to sell or accept them from you on consignment. You will be expected to offer 25-40% of the price to the vendor, but I have still been able to sell books at a slight discount off retail when doing this. The bigger issues come from expectations. One, you should expect the vendor to display your books in a way that customers will see them, but not necessarily center stage and upstaging the vendor’s own wares. Two, pairing with a bookseller for books is better than pairing with another type of vendor. Vendors selling gadgets and toys will get customers who are easily distracted from books by their other wares. Clothing vendors have customers who aren’t looking for books. And so on. Booksellers are the best bet, but regardless of the vendor’s product, all of them expect you to get people to the table and come by to help sell your book. Working with booksellers makes this easier because they know how books sell, even those by unknown authors. Their expectations will therefore be appropriate. A toy vendor I worked with complained that I didn’t jump up and run out to pitch every customer who touched my book. My experience is that having a table between you is less intimidating than standing next to them on the sales side of the table and that being pushy is less effective than being casual and nice. Offer to answer questions, tell them a little about it, and even offer to sign it, yes, but being pushy is something to do at your own risk. Vendors don’t always understand because you are taking table space from their wares and sometimes the stuff they sell is sold well with a bit of push.

5) Plan Time To Be In The Dealer Room. If you have product for sale, it’s a really good idea to plan time to be at the dealer table greeting customers, signing, etc. Not just because of what I said in item 4 but because not everyone will see you at panels, readings, etc., and sometimes knowing the author is there makes buying a book more enticing. So check out the dealer room hours, compare it to your schedule for panels, etc., and plan some time. Remember: dealer rooms keep daytime hours. They will close at night, even when panels are still ongoing, so if you can, use the gaps during dealer room hours to be present and save your alone time, etc. at night for the much needed breaks. One good way to do this is to plan to bring carryout food to eat in the Dealer’s Room and eat behind the table so you can jump up and greet, etc. when customers stop by. Also, be sure and help sell the vendor’s other items, too. It shows a commitment to team and partnership that vendors will really appreciate.

6) Learn To Set Limits. Cons and appearances are tiring. You can only do so much. Overcommit at your own peril.I’d say 2-3 panels a day is a pretty good chunk, especially if you have readings and signings on top of that. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you wind up doing two morning panels and then two late a night, you will realize your day has gotten really long quick. Also, being on panels requires a lot of focus. You have to be cheerful and nice and smiling, and you also have to try and give intelligent output, which also requires energy. Plus, banter with fellow panelists is also important. I did 4 programming items a day at the last Con and after the first day felt like I’d done the whole Con already. I was so tired. And I still had another day and a half to go. Some have more energy than others. But this applies especially if you are staying at a cheaper off-site hotel and you don’t have a room to run back to for a nap or recharge. Big Cons, especially, have no quiet corners for that much needed Introvert recharge either. So you can find yourself stuck in crowded, noisy areas for whole days with no real breaks and it wears you out. Also, if you actually plan to attend panels, parties, etc., the more tired and overcommitted you are, the less able you will be to not only participate in those activities but enjoy them.

7) Preparation Saves Stress. Think up questions which you might ask on a panel or might be asked and practice answers. They won’t come out exactly the same way at the time, but at least you’ll have some coordinated, coherent thoughts already floating in your head to pull out and use. If you do get asked to moderate, you’ll have some idea how to approach it. With readings, you need to practice reading slow, at a good pace. If you can read with some character voice changes, it makes it far more interesting than reading with the Ben Stein-drone. At least know which passages you plan to read and how long it takes to read them. And have an idea what you’ll say to introduce the scenes and your book as well as yourself for panels and readings. Keep it short but don’t be afraid to highlight your credentials. And if you’re new, holding up a copy of a book or two is perfectly fine. It creates a visual memory for panel attendees who might later see it in the dealer room and consider buying it.

8 ) Spread Them Out. Doing a Con every weekend may sound fun in theory if you like Cons, but in practical fact, besides being expensive, it’s quite tiring and stressful. Sometimes it will be unavoidable. But most of the time, you can alternate Cons with local signings, readings, etc. in such a way to give yourself time to rest and recover in between. I also think you benefit from geographically spreading out appearances. I blocked out a number of driving distance cons this year and prioritized based on location, cost, guest list, expected attendance, etc. to determine which I should aim for and which I could skip or leave for “if I have time.” If you have books to promote, you can’t really show up last minute and expect to do signings, readings or panels. But if you’re well known or just going to network and participate as a fan, you can definitely just make last minute choices. I like to vary Cons in size a bit but generally Cons of large attendance numbers are easier to get lost and forgotten in than smaller Cons. You also have better chances to do panels at smaller cons, although there are exceptions.

9) Take Pictures.If you have publicists you work with, they will constantly nag you about this. My publicist friend does. If you don’t have that, you should remember and find people to take pictures for you. In every panel, if you get there before hand, you can find a fan who’d be willing to take a few pics. Remember, you get what you get. If you’re anal about pictures and how they’re framed, etc., it’s better to bring your personal photographer along. Otherwise, ask them to shoot several and hope you get something you can use. But pictures are helpful for blogs, PR, websites, and more, so having them is really helpful and if you’re by yourself, you want to be in them, so you’ll need help.

Here Dana, Michael and Doug demonstrate how tired we all feel, while Kelly and I fake alertness as we answer a question. Beware overcommitment–10 p.m. Panel Friday night, 12 hours after Dana, Michael & I started our day at a signing

10) Take Handouts. Have business cards, info postcards, book sell sheets, etc. and make use of the free literature tables scattered throughout Cons. Some have one, most have several. Put your stuff out and stop by from time to time to see if anyone’s taking them or to replenish the stack. Be sure and pick up extras before you leave, although I always leave a few behind for last minute people to take in case. Business cards will be helpful for fellow authors, editors, artists, etc. Postcards with book cover info, your website, a few blurbs, a small bio, etc. are good to hand to fans at panels, signings, etc. I use sell sheets at my book tables for people to take even if they don’t buy the book on the spot. Many people come back Sunday to make their purchases, browsing first to decide where they want their limited funds to go. So don’t miss the chance to give them something which might bump your book up on the list.

I’m sure I’ll do plenty more Cons and appearances this year and beyond, as my career is only just beginning (I hope). So there’ll be more lessons learned by this time next year, but for now, I hope these are helpful. Love to hear your thoughts and lessons learned in comments, too. For what it’s worth…

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines.  He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction.  He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.


Agenda For ConStellation NE This Weekend – Lincoln, NE

Well, my first Con of the year has finally arrived. I’m attending the third annual ConStellation Con in Lincoln, Nebraska, April 13-15 at Guest House Inn on Cornhusker Highway in North Lincoln. So if you’re in the area, come on out!

Guest of Honor is Elizabeth Bear, a Hugo nominee for the podcast she does with fellow writers called SFSqueecast. She’s also the author of a number of novels and her stories have appeared in Asimov’s, amongst other places. Her latest novel, Range Of Ghosts, just released last month from TOR.

Artist Guest of Honor is W.J. Hodgson and Jim C. Hines and Brandon Sanderson are past GOH authors.

A full programming schedule can be found here. And my agenda is below.

When not involved in panels or readings, I will be hanging in the dealer room with Sam’s Dot Publishing’s Tyree Campbell, who has graciously agreed to stock my books on his table.  The specific events I’ll be doing are 3 panels and a reading as follows:

Character Building – Saturday, 11 a.m., Deneb Room

What makes a good character? How do you name characters? What are the aspects of character one must consider when creating characters for a story? How deep do you go? An examination of character creation and more.

Author Reading- Saturday, 2 p.m., ConSuite

I’ll be reading from Space Battles and The Worker Prince and perhaps even a passage from The Returning which comes out in June.

Faith in Science Fiction and Fantasy-
Sunday at 1 p.m., Vega Room

A discussion of the importance of faith as a motivator for humankind. Not a debate about the validity or value or religions, but rather a discussion of how faith drives all of us in some way. What do you put your faith in? What drives you toward your elusive life long goals? Why is faith an indelible, essential element for world building in speculative fiction? We’ll discuss these questions and much more.

Great Reads – Sunday at 2 p.m., Vega Room
What are the best books you’ve read in the past year? How do they compare to ones you’ve read in years past? Which forthcoming books are you most excited about and why? A discussion of books we love and why we love them and our quest for more.

I will have copies of Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, my ebook Rivalry On A Sky Course, as well as print and ebooks of The Worker Prince. I also plan to have a few copies of The North Star Serial, Part 1 and Of Fur And Fire, edited by Dana Bell, which features my first published fantasy story, “Amelie’s Guardian.”

Hope to see you there. I look forward to a fun weekend!

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, The Returning (forthcoming), the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and the kids book 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids from Delabarre Publishing. he edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 which he edited for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick and has stories in several anthologies and magazines (some forthcoming). As  a freelance editor, he’s edited a novel for author Ellen C. Maze (Rabbit: Legacy), a historical book for Leon C. Metz (The Shooters, John Wesley Hardin, The Border), and is now editing Decipher Inc’s WARS tie-in books for Grail Quest Books.  He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SF Signal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

19 5-star & 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $4.99 Kindle or Nook $14.99 tpb

Write Tips: 5 Tips For Writers On Planning Their Con Season

For most writers, Conventions and Author Appearances are of huge importance for both selling books and networking with industry professionals. Although Conventions and events can occur year round, you may not be able or willing to travel the entire year. Whatever the case, it’s never too early to start identifying Cons and planning for the coming year. If you’ve never done it, approaching and identifying potential Cons for author appearances might be daunting. Here’s some tips I’ve used which have helped me succeed at planning a Con schedule:

1) Identify The Priority Cons First– Con lists are everywhere. You can find them in the backs of zines like Asimov’s and Analog. You can search the web for places like or or by city and state or region. Once you have a list though, the first step is to identify the Cons you want to hit and the Cons you need to hit. What determines your need? Why are you going? If you’re going to promote yourself and your work, you should look at the themes of the Cons, the past locations, and past attendance. Since many conventions cater to returning fans, try and identify cons which cater to those sharing interest in the types of genres and books you write. Are authors similar to yourself going? How many? You don’t want to many, but there can also be advantages to not being the only one. Do they focus on media guests? Literature guests? or a combination? Is the theme something you can speak to on panels or at your reading? Is the Con well attended? Unless you’re just trying to get your feet wet and need a low profile place to do your first reading and panel, you want Cons large enough to expose you to lots of people. Not too big, if you’re small. You don’t want to be lost in the shuffle, but big enough that you can get the word out to a decent spectrum.

Once you’ve identified the Cons you want to prioritize, check the locations. Look at things like the cost, who’s coming, the hotel, travel arrangements, dealers, etc. Then decide if the expenses and difficulties getting there are worth it or not. I always google the Con hotel and search for nearby hotels to see if there are cheaper options. After all, Cons are expensive and often thrown in the most expensive hotels. Yes, it’s fun to stay in those hotels, but unless your publisher is paying for it, consider whether you can reasonably hope to recoup your costs. If you pay for a membership, which many Cons require, housing, food, and travel, it can add up to several hundred dollars quick. Will you sell enough product to pay for that? I doubt it. There’s also product cost, too.

2) Contact Programming–Panels are a key opportunity to see and be seen as well as prove your value to readers and fellow professionals in a way that doesn’t involve self-praise or pushy sales tactics. I usually consider programming as I determine which Cons to put on my list for the following year. Contact Programming early on and find out if they would promote you as a guest. Do they offer discounts for participants? Can you be on panels or do a reading? Is there any interest? Knowing this may help you narrow down your list to the final choices.

Once you’ve identified the Cons you want to attend, be sure and contact programming. There’s usually a link or email address on the website. Send your bio and tell them which books/products you’d promote. Offer panel suggestions and ask to do a reading. Be sure and consider their theme when suggesting panels.  I have never had anyone turn me away. Most are very happy to have another creative professional headed their way. And they are more than happy to have volunteers to up the value of programming. [NOTE: If you’re nervous about panels, here’s 12 Tips For Preparing For Author Panels. I really find them quite fun, especially when other authors participate.]

3) Find A Dealer–If the Con’s website lists dealer attendees, try and find one to carry your books if you come. Paying for your own dealer table can be expensive and, more than that, can keep you from promoting yourself by locking you down at a table for the whole Con. Unless you’re an expert salesman, you’ll want to promote yourself in subtler ways: doing panels, doing a reading, schmoozing and hanging with fans. Standing by a table trying to start a conversation with anyone who passes can make for a long weekend. Especially if you want to enjoy the Con while you’re there, this is not always the best option. Unless you have someone who can go along to man the table when you’re out, and especially if you have only a few books or items to sell, finding another dealer who will take a cut to sell your stuff on consignment is really the best way to get product out there. You can help bring people to their table and they get attention from having attendee’s books on their table. It’s often a win-win. I usually encourage people to buy from the dealer even at my readings, etc. And if I do sell books elsewhere in the Con, I give the dealer a cut. Unless they’ve already sold enough of my product that they’ll feel justified in helping me out. Fair is fair. You are taking space they could have used for other merchandise so be sure and do your best to make it worth their while by not just verbal thanks but letting them show some profit from the enterprise.

If the Con site does not list dealers, you can track them down. Some Con dealer reps will offer to put you in touch, but some won’t. You can search dealers and their appearance calendars, or, better yet, contact people you know who have attended the Con and might remember who was there.

4) Cutting Down Expenses– Many Cons offer discounts for members of professional groups like SFWA. Be sure and ask. Discounts can be given for those who participate in a certain number of panels or do readings. You can also get discounts if you’re a dealer, etc. It’s good and perfectly acceptable to ask questions and explore all the options. Some Cons will pay for your housing and meals, but usually that only applies to those on the invited guest lists or billed as headliners. There are other ways to cut costs: hotels usually occur in clusters. Check neighboring hotels for cheaper rates. You can often get a deal and still be near enough to stay up late and party withotu needing to drive or pay a cabbie. Visit the Con’s site and FB page and post about needing a roommate. Sharing a room is a great way to cut costs. I even offered to guard the dealer room at a Con and was invited to sleep in that room for free. You can also map out restaurant options. Does the hotel have in-room fridges or kitchens? Microwaves? This can help with cost savings too.  You can pack cereal, snacks, popcorn, etc. to use as fillers between meals and cut down on your appetite. You can also find nearby places with much better prices than an in-hotel restaurant. Explore your options.

Another option is car pooling. With airfares on the increase, finding Cons within driving distance can be a real advantage, particularly if you plan to stay offsite for cheaper lodging. No need to worry about transportation when you’re there, and no need for luggage fees or concerns when hauling product. You can also bring a microwave and food or a mini-fridge if you want. In the end, since it’s a business write off on taxes, paying for gas can wind up being a cheaper, more practical option. Even better, if other people want to go, you can ride together. Sharing driving time and expenses can make it even more affordable. Lots of people like to hit as many local Cons as they can. Often they need a ride or prefer to carpool for the same reason. It may even be you catching a ride with someone else.

5) List Your Appearances On Your Website–My Con schedule is listed on the Appearances page on my website. I list the date, time, location, Con name and link to the website. I also list if I am going to be a pro guest or just showing up on my own. That way people know whether to look for me on panels, etc. As I get a schedule for the Con, I do blog entries listing my schedule, panels and outlining my plans. I mention other guests and link to their websites if I can and I encourage people to come. If I know of discounts, cheaper hotels, etc., I mention that, too. The more people who come out to see you, the more value you are to the Con and the more product you move. It’s better for everyone.

Anyway, that’s how go about planning my author Con schedule. I try and vary the locations of Cons when I can to try out Cons I’m unfamiliar with and meet new people. Once I’ve been at this a few more years, I’ll likely identify a few Cons I want to attend regularly while switching up others. But in any case, I hope these tips give you ideas and assist in making the process simpler and more pleasant for you. How do you plan your Con schedule? If you have tips I didn’t mention, we’d love to have you share in comments. For what it’s worth…

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, andThe Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines. His children’s book 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids from Delabarre Publishing along with the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 which he edited for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As  a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction.  He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

19 5-star & 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $4.99 Kindle or Nook $14.99 tpb



Conclave 36 Launch Report

Well, it’s Monday and I’m supposed to post, right?I know. It’s my usual day. Some of you come here looking for an interesting post to start your week, so here I am. I’ve been lying on bed post whirlwind Con Launch trip, trying to motivate myself to write and feeling overwhelmed. But I’ll do my best.

The Con itself brought many opportunities.

It began when I registered and dropped books with Larry Smith and Sally Kobee, the friendly dealers who graciously agreed to carry my books despite my ignorance of proper percentages and pretty much everything else. They had a huge table and I was honored to have them allow me any space. Thank goodness I finally had a few sales to give them something for their kindness! (Yes the photo is badly out of focus but stupid me forgot to take another in my rushing insanity of talking with readers so it’s the best I have. Apologies.) Sally and Larry frequent 36 cons a year and I remembered them from World Fantasy 2010 in Columbus.


1) My first panel as an Author. That was titled “The Death Of The American Author” and was supposed to cover the changing face of publishing, which we did. But we couldn’t decide if the title really was relevant to our beliefs about where publishing is going. My fellow panelists were new writer Gary W. Olson, whose debut novel is coming in December from Damnation, the same people who publish Realms Of Fantasy in its latest incarnation; Jim C. Hines, DAW author of seven fantasy novels about goblins, princesses and more; and L. Warren Douglas, author of 8 novels in the 90s and 2000s from Del Rey and other sources. To add to the pressure, Hines decided my first panel was the perfect spot to make me moderator. I, not wanting to fail to prove my mettle, took his challenge and rose to the occasion fairly successfully from what I could tell (and was later told). I don’t know that we solved any problems but the discussions was interesting.

After that, Hines, Olsen and I stayed put for the panel “Self Promotion and Marketing” with Hines moderating. This was an interesting discussion on self-promotion through social media, blogging, and other means as well as networking strategies and why it’s important at all to do it, but also to be true to yourself and your comfort zone. After all, bad publicity can be harmful and counter its opposite so working outside your comfort zone is not something to undertake without care.

Next, my first exposure to filk came with Seanan McGuire’s concert. The filk band Wild Mercy backed her. And unfortunately, late due to the panel, I then saw only about 20 minutes before my publisher texted to say he’d arrived with a shipment of my book, which I had not seen an actual final copy of yet. So naturally (and understandably to Seanan who later forgave me instantly upon hearing the reason), I rushed out the door to get my hands on those!

It was fun to meet Tim Ambrose, who’d accepted and suggested I make a series of my “North Star” space opera stories at Digital Dragon Magazine and

Next, on the free table, I discovered some real finds in great condition and snatched those up. These included Asimov and Leiber mint condition paperbacks from 1957 and A March 1967 and June 1968 issues of Analog featuring stories from the likes of Ben Bova, Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson and edited by John W. Campbell. Yes, that’s right, I said FREE!

Saturday began with “Keeping In Character,” a panel on techniques for characterization where Seanan nominated me to moderate, and so I again did. This panel had Emmy Jackson, a new fantasy novelist, Christian Klaver, and J. Warren Douglas on it in addition to Guest of Honor Seanan McGuire and myself, and devolved quickly with Mr. Douglas’ poorly chosen examples of points he tried to make which made the GOH wish to strangle him along with many attendees. To make matters worse, he proceeded then to continue trying to explain himself because “if we’d just understand him all would be fine.” Moderating such a situation is challenging to say the least but it did make for the most talked about panel at the Con, which I moderated, so I get that feather in my cap, I suppose.

Next, I had lunch with my publisher, Tim Ambrose and we discussed sequels, future projects, contracts and the con at a local middle eastern restaurant where our waitress vocalized her disappointment at my choice of Fish N Chip rather than middle eastern cuisine which 1) was what I was in the mood for and 2) would have meant choosing something I was unsure about and chancing dissatisfaction when Tim was paying and I was in dire need of my first meal of the day. So no thanks.

After that, I hung out in the dealer room a bit before joining Jim Hines, Emmy Jackson and Joe Ponepinto for a panel on “Writing Groups” wherein we gave insider tips on how to find a group, when you need a group, how groups operate, problems with groups, etc. Attending were such fun people as Charles Zaglanis and Christine Purcell from Elder Signs Press and Con security friend Laura (she and her husband Bill were a lot of laughs, especially the time I tested Bill’s security training by pick pocketing him).

Then it was rush back to my room and prepare time as I had a reading. I read through the passage again twice, ate a quick bite, and rushed back to the Con to await my most feared moment which then proceeded to go very well and wound up with everyone present except my unsupportive publisher (wink wink) buying a copy. I mean, gees, Tim, support your writers already… This led to my first autograph request, as opposed to earlier when I’d run through the Dealer Room signing every book in sight with the author’s name as a “courtesy” to future buyers. Despite Dealer’s complaints, I really do think those autographs were later a hit.

After that I hung out until Saladin (sal-uh-deen) Ahmed did a great reading from Chapter 3 of his forthcoming “Throne Of The Crescent Moon,” which he’d also read from at World Fantasy. And then hung with Saladin, Jim Hines, Christian Klaver, Tim Ambrose, and Seanan by the bar for a while. Here’s a picture of us pretending we actually like each other at Jim’s suggestion.

On Sunday, I pretty much hung out in the dealer room, after a nice breakfast with Charles Zaglanis and Christine Purcell, and spending time with Serena, my Brazilian website programmer, who came by just to see me and make sure I got to the airport. I think the city decided they’d had enough of my antics and wanted to be sure I left. Not sure. I do know that as soon as I got through security, they called my row and I had to bored so I was left little time for further mischief locally. And that was Conclave and the book launch of THE WORKER PRINCE, my novel debut.

Write Tip: Top 10 Reasons You Should Go To SFF Conventions

If you’re like me, you may have been a long time fan who rarely or even never went to Cons. So much of the mainstream publicity surrounding Cons leaves it kind of mysterious about what’s going on. Panels? Is that lectures? Who wants to pay for that. I had enough in college, thanks. Or even scarier–strange people dressed up as aliens who insist you call them “Zorg” all weekend. I have nothing against CosPlay but no, I don’t think I’m calling you “Zorg.” If you recognize those reactions, let me tell you why I changed my mind about Cons and why I think you should, too.

1 ) You Are Not Alone– If you’re a fan of speculative fiction movies, TV shows and books, Cons are congregations of people like you. Oh sure, some may be a bit more extreme than you, like Zorg, but you have a lot in common. You don’t have to like or agree with everyone on politics and religion to be part of this community. Since I got actively involved again in fandom, only twice have I felt rejected for my beliefs and political differences. The majority of people I know in the SFF community don’t share my points of view but couldn’t care less. We have too much else in common for it to matter.  We can spend hours chatting about all kinds of topics and never get to politics and religion. And the conversations are passionate and fun because we each love what we’re talking about so much.

2 ) Networking– In addition to connecting with like-minded people, you can connect with like-minded people who might become important career contacts. This is true for writers, editors and illustrators, of course, but it’s also true for others. I know people who have made all kinds of business contacts through Con friendships. Cons are about having fun and building relationships and friendship is full of opportunities. Many Con friendships last a lifetime.

3 ) Meet Heroes– Authors, Editors, Actors, etc. come to Cons for one reason: to meet fans and each other.  They are like-minded people, too, and they enjoy the conversations, socializing and celebrating of genre fiction as much as anyone. Most are really accessible and available, especially at smaller Cons. From getting books signed to picking your favorite’s brains, there are lots of opportunities to chat you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

4 ) Swag– Cons vary in the swag you get but both dealers and Cons give away everything from books to food to collectibles. World Fantasy, for example, sends every member home with a stack of new books donated by publishers. Vendors in dealer rooms, authors and others often have samples and special gifts or even bargain deals to offer. Every attendee who wants to has many chances to load up the suitcase with goodies. And many items are hard to find or unavailable anywhere else. ComicCon and DragonCon, for example, often have items custom made for distribution at that year’s Con by various vendors.

 5 ) Parties– Like free food and drink? Like to dance? Like to party? Cons are full of opportunities to do just that. From publishers to fan groups, everyone’s throwing parties. You can move from room to room until the wee hours of the morning if you want. And most provide a great spread of food and beverages along the way at no cost to you. Just attending a party often makes the price of your membership a bargain.

6) Sneak Peaks– Publishers and filmmakers and more use Cons to launch books, movies, etc. and also to tease upcoming ones. You can get first looks at books, movies, tv shows and more just by attending a Con. Part of being in the right place at the right time, after all, is just knowing where to hang out, and Cons are the place to take advantage of Sneak Peaks for specfic fans.

 7 ) Great Art– Love book covers? Cons are a chance to not only see the work of those artists and more up close but to meet and chat with the artists themselves. Almost every Con out there has an art show and art sale. So you can even walk home with framed copies of your favorites.

 8 ) Cushy Digs– One criticism by many of Cons is that they always pick expensive, fancy hotels for their host sites. On the other hand, if you rarely get the chance to stay in such fancy hotels, the reduced Con rate may be a great excuse. After all, being at the center of the action does have its advantages. Especially for those late night parties. And on top of that, most hotels love Cons and usually go out of their way to treat Con attendees with special care. So spoiling yourself with a Con has added benefits.

9 ) Cosplay– Costume Play, if you’re into that, is a huge advantage of Cons. Some people take a different outfit for each day, like my friend Scribe. Others wear the same outfit the whole time (don’t get too close in case they smell). Still, if you like dressing up and need an excuse outside of once a year at Halloween, Cons are a tailor made opportunity for you. People who like that will compliment you on your outfit and creativity and those who don’t won’t stare.

10 ) PhotoOps– You get great opportunities at Cons to take pictures not just with celebrities but with other fans in costumes, set pieces from TV and movies, great locations near where the Cons take place, etc. Cons are full of PhotoOps. And, after all, the number one rule of Cons is: if there’s no photos, it didn’t happen. So take your camera!

So, if you’re a fan of Science Fiction or Fantasy, there’s ten great reasons to join your fellow fans at Cons. What are you waiting for?

For what it’s worth…

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, the collection The North Star Serial, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. He’s also the host ofScience Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.

World Fantasy Report

I keep putting this off but I have to blog something this week and I really don’t know why I haven’t just gotten down to it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to acknowledge that World Fantasy Con is over.  So fantastic an experience was it that I wish it could have gone on much longer than it did.  As much as I did in those four days, it passed like a flash, and looking back it wasn’t long enough.

Unlike many cons, World Fantasy is a literary convention focused on writers, editors, publishers and artists.  It leans heavily toward pros, semi-pros and aspiring pros, and it is all about one thing:  networking.  Sure, they have the World Fantasy awards.  Sure, they have panels.  But the heart of this convention is community.  And I felt a part of the community of Science Fiction and Fantasy in a special way.  I met some people I have long admired and wanted to meet, and I met others who are just getting started just like me.  Some of those were friends I’d already met on Twitter and Facebook.  Some were new faces.  Either way, it was a delight to be able to finally say “yes, I know these people.”

I spent a lot of time just meeting as many people as I could.  In some cases, I used the excuse of books to get signed.  In others, I used my position with Tangent.  At no time did I try to sell anyone my work.  Instead, I focused on just making a good impression and getting to know them.  In the end, I found people often asked me about myself in turn.  One person at the TOR party, upon hearing my dream of one day being a TOR author, introduced me to Tom Doherty himself as a great new writer.  Mind you, this was someone who had never read my work.  Doherty asked me what I was working on and who I was going to send it to, then suggested I send it directly to one of his editors.  I could have pinched myself.

Another time, I got to chat with editor John Joseph Adams, who happens to date a friend of mine.  JJ is a really nice guy and I enjoyed picking his brain about editing and his approach as well as anthologies.  I pitched him an idea of my own to get his opinion and he thought it was a good idea, then suggested some potential markets.  I already have one publisher interested and want to approach another just in case.

I also spent several hours with Mike Resnick, one of my writing heroes.  I’ve befriended him on FB and Twitter, and though I didn’t remind him of his promise to buy me a drink, instead we talked about my novel and how to market and he introduced me to several people who came by — Kay Kenyon, Gordon Van Geller, and others since Mike knows everyone.

Lastly, I spent several hours chatting with Jeremy Lassen and the publisher of Brilliance Audio about publishing and other topics.  They were very kind to this ignorant neophyte and explained things, offering the wisdom of their experience.

I also got the chance to give out some copies of my book “The North Star Serial, Part 1.”  Mostly to friends, including Mike Resnick, as a thank you for their support.   I attended readings of friends like John Remy, Sandra Wickham, JJ Adams, and Saladin Ahmed.  And I got autographs and brief chats with luminaries like Paolo Bacigalupi, John Scalzi, Peter Straub, David Drake, Gene Wolfe, David Hartwell, Gordon Van Gelder, and others.

With all the free food in the Con Suite and the free books, I was in unemployed person’s heaven.  I still spent a bit of money on a few books and meals and luggage costs, but overall, I just got the chance to hang out and relax.  The two or three panels a day I managed to attend were informative and enjoyable.  And downtown Columbus turned out to be a great experience as well.

For me, as I prepare to release my first book, I got a better sense of what a con might run like, which can help me prepare to participate more fully as a writer next year.  And I got a lot of brochures on various cons to help me learn about what’s out there.  Truly a memorable experience.  I’m so glad I went.

To Simon, Livia, Blake, Sam, Sandra, Erika, John, Christie, JJ, Saladin, Brenda, John, and the other new friends who let me hang out with them, such a pleasure.  I look forward to doing it again.

For what it’s worth…

World Fantasy Con, Columbus, Ohio

World Fantasy is still a whirlwind for me, and I am in definite withdrawal.  I will post more reflections on this as I have time to process, but I will say that 30 minutes chatting with Tom Doherty in which he asked “when are you going to send us something,” 2 hours chatting with Mike Resnick and being introduced to all of his contacts as well as getting his advice on marketing, publishing, etc., and an hour picking John Joseph Adams’ brain on editing definitely justified the cost of the event.  Add to that meeting so many wonderful people from my Twitter and Facebook feeds and many new ones as well, just made me feel like a part of a big family and that’s really encouraging.

More on the panels later, but they were wonderful, even though there were many I wished I could attend but didn’t make it because of balancing sleep, panels, and networking.  The parties were fun, the free food unexpected, and the travel smooth.  I am so glad I got to go, and I so look forward to the next one.

Thanks to all who helped make the time so enjoyable and productive. Here’s some pics of the relative people:;=1085393457&l;=10d94d796c

For what it’s worth…

World Fantasy Con, Columbus, Ohio

In another day, I will be departing for World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio to meet up with 950 or so other authors, editors, publishers, artists and fans in the professional speculative fiction business.  This is only my second con and my first major con, so, naturally, I am very excited, but most exciting of all is the chance to meet people who have become dear friends via Twitter and Faccebook.  Some are well known like @ResnickMike and @PauloBacigalupi or @blakecharlton and @SamSykesSwears.  But others are up and coming like me:  @inkhaven @sandrawickham @johnremy @erikaholt @saladinahmed @inkgorilla @mosessiregar @johnklima and more.  I’ll see my friend Eric Reynolds of Hadley Rille Books, and meet some new people, too, including, hopefully some editors who have worked on favorite books of mine and perhaps a few agents.

This convention is much more industry focused, so the panels and attendees tend to have stronger ties to the publishing side itself and be less general fans.  So it’s a real opportunity for me to network.  I have postcards about my books to hand out, including URLs for this blog and my website.  I also have a few copies of “The North Star Serial, Part 1” to give away, and I hope to replace them with tons of books we are to be given free when we register at the convention.  Hopefully it’s stuff I don’t already have.

Dave Truesdale has asked me to extend his greetings to many people and Mike Resnick swore he’d introduce me to the rest.  It should be a great time.  And I hope to come away refocused and inspired to start a new project in November for National Novel Writing Month.  I really need to get back on the horse of my daily writing routine.  It’s been pretty much since May that I did that, which is a lot of wasted time.  I did write in the interim, continuing to work on the first draft of “Sandman,” and writing short stories as well as outlining some other projects and revising “The Worker Prince” in bits and pieces.  But what I need is to get back to the dedication I had before and churn out the pages.  I need to shake off this depression and anxiety and focus on my dream.  Being in the process of applying for MFA programs is helpful, and I think feeling a part of a larger community and making stronger connections with people who already support and encourage me will also be good.

Whatever the case, you know I’ll report on it here with pictures and notes.  Maybe I’ll even find time to blog a bit while I’m there.  Meantime, if you’re going to be there, be sure and look me up.  I look forward to meeting you.

For what it’s worth…

ConQuest 41

I got back yesterday from my first ever Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention, ConQuest 41, in Kansas City, Missouri. There are many reasons I’ve never attended a convention before. Most related to either money or the fact that I was uncomfortable with someone dressing up as an alien and expecting me to call them “Zorg” all weekend. Happy to report this convention was not only economical, but “Zorg” free. There were people in costumes (mostly steampunk per the theme), but most were dressed in ordinary clothes just like me.

The convention gave me a taste of how beneficial such experiences can be. The first panel, helpfully, was an introduction to conventions in general with suggestions for how to make the most of them and a breakdown of the various types and what kind of attendees they cater to.

There were typically panels from 10 am to 5 pm in three rooms simultaneously while readings occurred in another room. There was Live Action Role Play gaming and video gaming as well as writer’s workshop activities.

I focused mostly on panels catering to writers which covered such topics as how to schmooze, the science in science fiction, what is steampunk, the changing face of publishing, and other related topics. Unfortunately, I only saw one reading featuring the authors of Hadley Rille Books. I enjoyed it and would have liked to see more, but my goal of building relationships got in the way as the people I needed to connect with always seemed to be available during the readings I wanted to attend.

I did get critiques of 50 pages each of my two novels which were helpful in thinking about how to make them better, and I also entered the “Story In A Box” writing contest which required you to draw from a bag your first line, setting, a character, a prop, and timeframe. My story required a steam powered vehicle, swimming in dangerous waters, and a bad angel in the future. It’s included below this post.

I did meet some publishers, writers and others. I gave out 25 teaser copies of my new book, and picked up some other books I have been looking for at the various dealers. I also got a number of autographs as well as photos with George RR Martin, Toni Weiskopf and Michael Swanwick.

I definitely enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to others. I can’t wait to do it again.

Here’s my story from “Story In A Bag.”


The stars went out one by one leaving Bia alone in the dark. Damn him! She knew she shouldn’t have listened. She knew and yet the same as always, his smile had been all it took to convince her to ignore her reservations and climb aboard his steam ship.

Another relic from the past to feed Jax’s endless fascination with history. He’d spent two years researching the parts needed to fix it and making them in his shop. “A spacecraft mechanic can fix anything,” he’d bragged.

She remembered the glow in his eyes when he told her he’d finished. A working steam ship, and he wanted her to go with him on its’ maiden voyage. The thing didn’t even look seaworthy to her. Besides, no one sailed on actual water anymore. It was unnecessary with all the abundant shuttle craft and air taxis. They could get you across any body of water in minutes, so why bother? It was the twenty-third century, for heaven’s sake. She cursed Jax again for his stupid obsession with the past.

To make matters worse, when it went down, he hadn’t even stayed with her.

“A captain goes down with his ship,” he’d said. Some stupid quote he’d read in an old story or fable. She hadn’t really thought he meant it. Her last memory of him was Jax kneeling on the deck, hands deep inside a compartment, struggling to figure out what went wrong and repair it. All he cared about was saving his ship.

“What about me?!” she screamed to the stars. “If you loved me so much, why wasn’t I more important than that stupid ship?!” She sighed.

No one could hear her anyway. At least, no one who could answer. Besides, she was in dangerous waters full of all sorts of creatures she didn’t even want to think about. What if one of them heard her? No more yelling, Bia. You’ve got to not panic and stay in control if you want to live. And she desperately wanted to live. Never had she been so grateful for her mom’s insistence that she learn how to swim.

“No one swims, Mom!” she’d protested. “I don’t even like water!”

“Swimming used to be very popular,” her Mom insisted. “Remember Grandma’s stories? You never know when a skill like that might come in handy.”

Her mother was right again, damn it. She hated when that happened. She’d tried swimming for a while after the ship had disappeared, but she couldn’t continue for long. Her arms weren’t used to it. I have wimpy arms, crying out at me with every stroke! She blamed her Mom for that, too.

“Men are the ones who do the heavy labor, Bia,” her Mom’s voice echoed through her mind with such clarity that she almost expected to see her mother floating nearby. “Women take care of the softer, finer things.”

So she’d grown up shirking physical exercise as something for men. With four bothers and a father, she hadn’t needed to do it, and after she’d grown, she’d had boyfriends and friends to take care of those things requiring physical endurance.

I fell into a stereotype! My God! I hate stereotypes! Too lazy to live by my own principles! Maybe I deserve to drown out here.

A white glow floated across the water to the east, drawing her eyes to it. It seemed to float along across the water. She watched it approaching until a face appeared, and then a long white gown. Were those actually wings she was seeing? She hated clichés even more than stereotypes. The angel-like creature stopped above her and looked down, smiling.

“Hello, Bia,” he said in a soft, tenor voice.

“What are you, some kind of angel?”

He laughed. “Something like that, I suppose. I’m whatever you want me to be. I appear differently to each person who meets me.”

“What are you doing here? I don’t exactly have time for light conversation.”

He laughed again. “Keeping your sense of humor, even at a time like this. That’s a good sign.”

She frowned. “Look, either help me or go away.”

“What if I told you your swimming is a waste of time?” he said. “The shore’s too far away. You’ll never make it. Not in the shape you’re in.”

She cursed to herself and sneered. “Is that why you came here? To tell me something I’d already guessed?” She started swimming again, hoping to get away from him, but he floated along above her, never losing the position he’d held when he first arrived.

“That’s it. Wear yourself out. It will make it easier when you go down,” he said.

“Look, I thought angels were supposed to help humans, but you’re not helping at all,” she said between breaths as she swam. “So shut up.”

The angel chuckled and shrugged. “I’m not that kind of angel.”

“What are you then? A bad angel?”

“Perhaps to some.”

She ignored him and kept swimming. “Fine. Enjoy your last moments, Bia.” He watched her a moment, then disappeared into the blackness as if he’d never been there.

Her arms were already tired. Maybe he was right, she couldn’t even see the shore from here. “Jax, you idiot! Why do I always choose the losers?”

She realized she might die out here, but if she was going to go, it was going to be her way. I will not just lie her and drown, damn it! The thought made her swim harder, stroke after stroke, doing her best to ignore the emptiness of the horizon in front of her.

After she’d struggled on for what seemed like an hour, another white glow appeared on the horizon, moving toward her. Not another angel. God’s mocking me, just like those religious fanatics at university did. Okay, so I have no faith in fairy tales. It’s my right. Freedom of choice and all that.

The white glow moved faster than the bad angel had. Within moments, it was upon her. A shuttle craft? She blinked. Her eyes weren’t lying. She stopped swimming and began waving frantically. “Over here! Please God, let them see me!”

God? Why am I calling him? Stupid expression! Another thing she’d gotten from her mother.

She spun in the water as she continued to wave. I don’t think they saw me. But then the shuttle turned, moving back toward her. She saw the pilot’s eyes as he leaned toward the window and peered down at her with surprise. Yes! He saw me!

The shuttle turned again and hovered over her. She saw the door slide open and the ladder drop. Even angels can be wrong? She laughed. I can’t wait to tell my mother.