Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Dream Realized

Ah, friendly friends. Today is a strange kind of book-birthday. Amazon is apparently out of stock, and there's no resolution for that while both the publisher and the distributor are closed for the holidays. (My author-copies are similarly AWOL, or I would offer up something from that supply.) There is no fanfare on the blogosphere, because holidays, but also because I have been behind on writing guest blogs. At this rate, we may or may not have copies for the party on Saturday - it is in the gods' hands now.

But you know what? It is still a really, really good book-birthday. Dreams of the Eaten is still a damn fine book, given life and shape by damn fine people. My Twitter feed is blowing up with love from all quarters. Saturday is going to be a baller time, no matter what. And more than that... like, today marks the day when the end of the story is officially made real. You can download the e-book right now and put it in your face (and I would love it if you did!) And that can't be undone. It is safe. It exists. Even if the physical copies all get burned up in a warehouse fire. Even if the book tanks and goes out of print. Finally, after 17 years, the whole entire story is written and made available to the world, and if I get hit by a bus today, there will still be a piece of me out there living its own little life - complete and unkillable - and I will have paid my Earthly rent.

I am so proud of this book, y'all - this series, this story-world. And while I reserve the right to collapse back into fits of author-angst the next time I get a shitty depressing royalty statement, please feel free to remind me that I wrote every word of this post and meant it. And that I would never have had such wonderful problems without first having such wonderful people.

Thanks for seeing me through, y'all. It wouldn't mean a thing without you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ANNOUNCING: The Great Pre-Apocalyptic New Year's Eve Launch Party, Book Bazaar, and Fruitcake Amnesty of 2016!

Y'all. It is only seven days - one magical, fleeting week - until Dreams of the Eaten takes flight into the world. And it is no good having a book launch without a book launch party!

ANNOUNCING the Great Pre-Apocalyptic New Year's Eve Launch Party, Book Bazaar, and Fruitcake Amnesty of 2016! Local author and notorious ruckus-raiser TEX THOMPSON is celebrating the launch of DREAMS OF THE EATEN, the final book in her epic fantasy Western series. Join us for a release party like no other!  SEE a smorgasbord of local authors showcasing their work. BRING your finished books and unwanted holiday treats for the swap table. (Win a prize for the "best" fruitcake!) ENJOY refreshments, giveaways, and a booktacular good time!  SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31st from 11AM to 1PM at the Irving Public Library, South Branch (601 Schulze Drive in Irving). RSVP and find out more at www.TheTexFiles.com
Click to embiggen!

It's going to be a barnstormer of a time, y'all. We got a book-swap table, where you can swap out your old books and pick up some new ones. We got a goodie gulag, where you can bring your leftover holiday treats (and snack on other people's) before you start that Jan 1 diet. (And yes, I'm giving a special prize for the most egregious fruitcake. Give me your worst. I ain't scared.) Most excitingly, we have suckered sweet-talked no less than FIFTEEN local authors into coming out to showcase their freshest, finest work. If you don't leave this party with a full belly and an even fuller bookbag, I will eat my hat.

SO. We're throwing down at the South Irving Public Library. The party starts at 11AM on Saturday, December 31st. Bring your unwanted books, leftover sweets, and all your favorite friends - and be sure to RSVP on Facebook or the official events page  so we can fete and feed you in fine style. Be there or be missed!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stealing Fire: An Ask, and an Offer

EDIT: The DFW Writers Workshop is currently reviewing funding for its programs. The Writers Bloc will continue uninterrupted, but this Patreon drive is on hold for now. (I'm leaving the post up, because I'm proud of it.)

Friday, November 25, 2016


Y'know, back when my grandparents were living, we made the four-hour drive to Houston to visit them for all the big holidays. I have vivid memories of Game Boys and apple-juice boxes in the backseat, and waving to the big statue of Sam Houston as we passed, and a dog or two that always woke up and whined whenever we got off the freeway.

But I also remember Mom and Dad explaining that there were some things we talked about at home that we weren't going to talk about in Houston, because it would upset Nana and Pawpaw. I'm sure my sister and I messed that up a few times, but overall it was the most natural thing, the understanding we had through our whole lives: our parents were liberal, and our grandparents were conservative, and that meant that there were some things we wouldn't agree on. It never kept us from playing gin rummy or making flapjacks or watching Nana cry when we played Leontyne Price's "O Holy Night" on Christmas Eve. (EVERY time, y'all. Every time.)

It was only later, as a teenager, that I realized that what our family did was not universal - that lots of families couldn't enjoy each other's company at all - and only MUCH later, as an adult, that I realized that there were legitimate reasons for that - that some people just can not control their emotions or behavior, and are not safe to be around. So I will never question or criticize anyone who chooses not to visit their family.

But y'all - this year, of all years, I am more grateful than ever that our parents went the extra mile to make sure we did not miss out on having grandparents. I am so, so glad that they made sure we spoke thoughtfulness as a first language. And for all you guys who are doing that same work this weekend - choosing your words carefully, focusing on the things you CAN do and discuss together, taking care to make the time enjoyable for everyone at the table - you have my deepest appreciation. We need you now, maybe more than ever before. And the values you're living right now will last longer and reach farther than you know.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Edge

This is a crosspost of the newsletter that I write for my friend Kristen.

You know, it’s funny what travelling does to you. You understand intellectually that there are billions of people in the world and no two exactly alike – and yet it’s not until you actually walk in to the Super 8 motel on the south side of Toledo and actually meet the young man behind the counter that he stops being a hypothetical person and becomes Justin W., your bespectacled, soft-bodied, keycard-programming fellow human. He’s still a stranger, but now you have to save him if there’s a fire.

Kristen and I thought about what we would like to say in this newsletter. It’s the last one before the US election, which absolutely everyone is sick of. So we would like to have a different kind of discourse here.

You know that we have strong feelings about the failures of the workers’ compensation system here in Texas. That large businesses and insurance companies have used the Texas legislature to sew up the system so tightly that it’s almost impossible for wounded workers to access fair treatment and compensation. You can probably guess that that pits us firmly against our state’s status quo.

Unfortunately, we have to vote on candidates, not individual issues – and this is far from the only issue on the table.

So let’s step back and picture the table itself for a minute.

It’s big and round, glass-bottomed, and there are a bunch of little people on it. All of them can look down through the glass and see how awful it would be to fall off, what a long drop there is between them and the floor – but some of them are closer to the edge than others. Some are so close that one jostle, one bump, will push them right over.

That’s not so bad, most of the time. There’s enough room for all of them, and for the most part they can be neighborly. But sometimes the table gets bumped by a huge unseen thing far below, and that scares everyone. They push and shove to get closer to the center of the table, where it’s safe – and the people in the center start pushing back.

The bump was bad, but the fighting that follows it is tremendously worse. Everyone is so focused on who does or doesn’t deserve to be in the center that they stop looking outward. They don’t notice the people who are getting pushed off the edge in the chaos, maliciously or by accident. People fall off, and they aren’t missed. Nobody ever saw them slip. (This is something Kristen frequently remarks on. “Before my injury, I had no idea that this could happen to people. I had no idea that the system had gotten so bad.”)

And what’s really unfortunate is that most of it is preventable. Bumps will always happen. Some tablefolk will always be closer to the center than others. But if they stopped pushing and started pulling – if every one of them took hold of just one person who was dangerously close to the edge – it would be so much harder for anyone to fall... and downright impossible for it to happen unnoticed.

So that is our wish for you, our fellow denizens of Floorland. We are bigger than the Tabletopians. We can make better choices. And even though our media urges our attention relentlessly toward the center – to the politicians, athletes, celebrities, and headline-writers who live and die according to our attention span – it is our moral imperative to look back to the edge. Look to the edge, where we have always found the best in ourselves. Look to the edge, where everything truly exceptional about our country was born. Vote with one hand, and give the other to someone who’s standing at the brink of the abyss, and you will never wonder whether you made the right choice – because you will have chosen more than yourself.


P.S. If you're wondering who this Kristen person is, start here.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Infiltrating Yankeedom: The Great November Con-a-Thon

It's getting real, y'all. As I type this, I'm on a flight to Ohio, kicking off the first leg of this year's grand tour. Can we do three and a half weeks with nothing but a yellow backpack, a red hat, and a blue jean jacket? There's only one way to find out.

Not a celebrity author rock-star. Just a black-belt carry-on badass.

So here's what's on the itinerary - please let me know if I'm hitting close enough to your neck of the woods for a hang-out hoedown!

World Fantasy Con - Columbus, OH - Oct 27-30

Winter Wheat - Bowling Green, OH - Nov 3-5
presenting "The Seven Deadly First-Page Sins"

(I'll mosey up through Cleveland at this point. Have rental car, will carouse.)

Writer Unboxed Unconference - Salem, MA - Nov 7-11

WindyCon - Chicago, IL - Nov 11-13
writers workshop instructor; panelist

Wake Up and Write Writers Retreat Workshop - Haverford, PA - Nov. 14-19

After that, there'll be a couple more days of Phillyandering before I fly home on the 21st.

And seriously, y'all. Do hit me up if you want to do something. I like playing these away games, but they are notoriously short on familiar faces - and yours would be more than welcome.

Okay? Okay. And for those of you on the home-front: please be good to my dude and my cat while I'm gone. They take good care of each other, but there's more to life than shotgunning beer, kibble, and Cops.

Another night on the road - another sold-out show...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fighting the Fugue

Dear diary,

Yesterday was my last day to be 33. Today I am 34.

So far they don't look very different. Yesterday I moderated an author panel at the library, dashed off a critique, and started writing a presentation for next week. Today I’ll do my dialogue workshop, meet with an editing client, go over next weekend's event details with my colleague-buddy, and have lunch with my mom. Really looking forward to lunch with my mom.

That’s pretty much how it’s been for months now, and it’ll be the same for at least a couple months more. Events, email, travel, editing, teaching, email, conventions, housework, projects, even more email. I enjoy most of those things, most of the time (except for the email). But lately I can’t even tell whether I’m having fun or not. It all just “is”.

No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater... than an empty inbox.

I thought of a metaphor for this, by the way. Carving out a creative career is like running a marathon with a bag over your head. You hear people cheering and hollering, and you know you must be going some kind of distance – but there is no dang telling whether you’re gaining ground on anyone, much less how far you still have to go. You just run your best, and try not to think too much about the rest.

The rest is creeping up on me, though. For one thing, I have been a less-than-fantastic wife and friend this year – missing messages and visits like I never did before. Everybody has been kind and understanding, but it’s not fair of me to keep flaking out. And for another thing, those thirty-odd pounds I managed to kick off last year have all come back. More pounds means more snoring. More snoring means more nights on the couch – not the end of the world, but it wears on you. I’m not too sure how to fix that. I do all right when I’m cooking for myself at home, but I’ve been out of town 82 days this year, with another 39 still to go. Hard to hold on to a healthy routine when you don’t have a routine.

Life in morse code: traveling-dots and appointment-dashes.
But I am going to try. I DO like doing these conventions and events, even with all the extra time and expense they incur. Being out in the world with people makes sense in a way that e-anything doesn’t, at least to me. And if I want to get to keep traveling and doing, I need to not turn into a couchbound pizza-yeti. (I am noticing this more as I do more events: we geek-people seem to have more health/lifestyle problems than the general population, and I do not like where the ghost of Christmas future is leading me.)

So that is the goal, at least for the remainder of 2016. Career-wise, there’s nothing I can do but to keep running the race. Writing-wise, I’ll showcase the upcoming book and start banging out the next one. But health-wise, and friend-wise, and partner-wise, this what I’m doing has to become sustainable. Crashing and burning is not an option when you’re sprinting full-tilt with a bag over your head.

Especially not when this dude is waiting for you back home.
So that’s what I’m going to work on: getting sustainable by the end of the year. But since it’s my birthday, I will also treat myself to just a little pride: 33 came and went, and I used up every bit of it.

Now get over here, 34 – you look positively delicious.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dear Future-Self

Please tell me this turns out to be worth it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dreams of the Eaten ARC Giveaway

All right, y'all. It's three months to the day until Dreams of the Eaten drops - which makes today the perfect day to give away three advanced copies of the book.

And oh, what a book it is.

After trials by fire and thirst, Appaloosa Elim's quest to bring home the body of the crow prince is finally nearing its end. 

But the coffin is missing, the funeral party is hopelessly scattered, and the fishmen are hell-bent on revenge. Worse yet, the pilgrimage has disturbed an ancient power – and the earth is crumbling in its grip.

As the ground shakes and the crows gather, the final reckoning promises to unite the living and the dead in a battle for the land itself. One way or another, blood debts will come due, Elim will face his judgment, and the World That Is will be forever changed.

I know, right? Prepare your face now, lest it be rocked clean off. Then and only then will you know what to do.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until midnight on Monday to stake your claim. Go, click, win!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Surviving History

Y'know, I'm one of the older vanguard of millennials. Graduated high school in the year 2000. Got a little less than a year of legal adulthood under my belt before 9/11. I'm only just now realizing what a rare treat it was to grow up in the late 80's and 90's - after the duck-and-cover drills, before the active shooter drills. My cohort is the last one to remember life before the Internet.

It does feel like we're teetering on the brink of something huge right now, and not in a good way. But I've spent so much time worrying about all the grim possibilities that it just now occurred to me to think: what generation ever did get to live out an entire human lifespan without enduring some kind of great global convulsion? Two World Wars - a flu pandemic - Great Depression - Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War - Cold War, arms race - energy crisis - Great Recession - 9/11 - rise of ISIS - and most of that still within living memory.

So maybe the adult thing to do here is not to lie awake worrying about whether or when the Next Dire Thing will happen. Dire things keep rolling off the conveyor belt of history with depressing regularity, and fear leaves us vulnerable to manipulation by the Powers That Be. Maybe the better thing is to plan for the worst, push hard for the best, and start holding on tight to our people - the ones already living at the edge, the ones who can't easily weather a national tempest.

I haven't been an Earth-person for very long, comparatively speaking, but I have studied history. I see that we've endured great trials over and over again, and survived every one. But I also notice that the periods of our greatest shame, the things we don't like to commemorate or discuss - Jim Crow, Japanese internment, McCarthyism, et al - are the times when we turned against our neighbors. I have no doubt that we will survive the Next Dire Thing, whatever it may be. The bigger question is what we'll be able to say for ourselves in its wake.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Directions to the Writers Bloc

The time is nigh. The great convergence comes now upon us. What convergence, you ask?

The great one.

So here you are - on your way at last! Here's how to get to Sesame Street the Writers Bloc. (The images below are thumbnails - click to embiggen.)

1. The thing to know about North Lake College is that it has two entrances - one on MacArthur and one on Walnut Hill. Take whichever one your heart and/or GPS desires. (For the record, that's 5001 N. MacArthur Blvd in Irving, 75038.)

2. Whichever way you get to campus, make sure you park in the north lot. This is the best way to access the A building, where our classroom is. (The map below is helpfully oriented so that north is west. Thanks, Kimye.)

Here's what that actually looks like from ground level. Can you see the F building to the left, and the A building on the right? Then you're good. (Notice the giant white Martian dome on the far left there. That's the pool - and that's how you know you're in the right ballpark.)

3. On your way in, head for that big green A. Remember: A stands for awesome. What are you? Awesome.

SO awesome. No stairs, no hills - just the first entrance on your right.

4. Now you're inside. Which way do you go? If you said "left", you're right! Head down the long, apparently endless hallway to your left. No stairs, no elevators.

So... endless... (This part is a metaphor for the writers journey: it takes forever, and feels like you're getting nowhere.) When you get to the Blazer store, you're halfway there. Keep going! Don't give up! Do or die - death or glory!

Keep going! Keep going! Keep - oh, did you get to the art gallery? You went too far. Back up about ten feet. We're in A206.

And what does this A206 look like, you ask? Oh, just you wait, Henry Higgins... just you wait!

Remember, y'all: it's about the journey, not the destination. But the destination is pretty freakin' rad. See you there!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Earning My Clownshoes

I shouldn't be writing this. I'm so tired, and I have ten thousand things to do.

But there was a convention two years ago that had me crying for days on the back end, because I knew even then that it was a singular, amazing, never-to-be-repeated event. I tripped over another one this weekend, and it has knocked my emotional teeth out.

On the face of it, it was a pretty straightforward exercise. Fly up to Portland, stay with my legendary lifemate Jennie, and together she and I would go to the Willamette Writers Conference. They set me up to teach one two-part class on Sunday, and the rest of the time was free. So Jennie and I decided to do some volunteering. It was all set up to be a fun, productive time.

This part was decidedly more fun than productive.
It started out pretty ordinary. We did the volunteer orientation on Wednesday night, and then I got to help with pitch desk setup on Thursday while she was at work. We were supposed to work in the bookstore together for most of the weekend.

Then they needed an emcee for one of the "Pitch for the Prize" events on Thursday night, so I signed up for that. (It was a blast - gave me an excuse to reprise the 'world's worst pitch' from DFWcon 2015.) Then on Friday morning they asked if I would work the pitch corral. You know how every flight you take requires a flight attendant to first give the schpiel about how to buckle your seat belt and where the emergency exits are?  This was that, but for a roomful of writers waiting to go in and pitch to an agent. The main difference is that instead of being ignored by people on their smartphones, you're talking to thirty desperate creatives on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

And somehow that became my entire weekend. Every ten minutes on the dot, we started the pep rally all over again.

Welcome to the Hunger Games, career introvert edition! Who's here to pitch to a film or TV agent? Excellent - District 1, head to the right. Who's here for a literary agent? District 2, to the left! You will enter here, through the Door of Destiny. When your time is up, you will exit to the left, through the Portal of Glory, smeared with the blood of your enemies and the last burning shreds of your self-doubt. Take a moment to prepare yourself: fly-check, cry-check, phone-on-silent-check. Good? Good. Now rise up to meet your destiny, word-warriors - your time begins as soon as this door opens. No shame, no surrender, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

It was fun in the moment - fun to talk to people about their story or listen to their Texas jokes or see pictures of the dogs or kids waiting for them back home. We joked about turning this whole pitch thing into a drinking game and shared horror stories about the wild speed-dating scrums from other conferences. And when someone came back waving a business card and vibrating with giddy disbelief, they wafted their good luck all over the people still waiting to go in. It was an incredible rush - the kind of wire-tight camaraderie you get among people who are all waiting to parachute out of an airplane. As the weekend wore on, the hugs and thank-yous piled up.

Then during Sunday's lunch, Jennie texted to say that they needed me in the ballroom ASAP. I thought something had gone seriously pear-shaped. In hindsight, I should have known better.

As usual, the only pear-shape was me.

The thing I want to emphasize here is that there was no awards presentation going on. This was not part of some kind of pre-planned ceremony. There were the usual lunch announcements - room changes, deadline reminders - and then I was up on stage, being named "sheriff" of the Willamette Writers Conference, and getting my badge pinned with a Portland flag.

I'm siting here groping for a way to keep this post from becoming an exercise in self-congratulation. That's really not what I'm trying to say. I keep thinking about what a fantastically fun, well-organized event this was, and how warmly the conference committee bent the rules and folded Jennie and I into the tribe (technically only WW members can volunteer), and how glad we both are that they took a risk on us. This conference has catapulted both of us forward in our respective life-goals.

Chief among them: finding hot sauce in barrel-mounted spigot-pail form.
But like... I do a lot of conferences and conventions. I'm used to teaching classes and moderating panels and getting compliments on my work. I think what makes this feel so revolutionary is that it's the first time I've gotten to be with someone during a potentially pivotal moment in their life and say with the voice of experience,"don't worry - you got this." I know it's small compared to what a delivery nurse or a crisis hotline operator does, but right now, today, it's the biggest thing in my world. Who would have thought that being the rodeo clown could be more fun than actually riding the bull?

And what REALLY gets me is that it almost didn't happen. I almost said, "I can't afford to give away 40 hours for the fun of it - I'll just sit in a corner and catch up on work." (Makes you think about how many insanely talented people aren't getting heard because they really, literally can't afford that time... but that's a separate rant.)

And to think: I nearly missed out on meeting Benedict Cumberbatch!
So I'm going to take this as a sign that I'm moving in the right direction - that if I keep dumping passion out into the world and looking for the places where it's reciprocated, good things will keep happening - that "audacious generosity" really can be a valid career strategy. (And if you're sitting there thinking "How could you have any doubt about any of that?", all I can say is, it's easy to beat up on yourself when you're four months out from a book launch and still haven't gotten around to planning for it.)

So... thank you for everything, Willamette friends - for an incredible conference, a fantastic initiation rite, and a sorely-needed spiritual affirmation. You've wrecked me in all the best ways, and since there's no riding off into the sunset when you're already out on the west coast, you better believe I'll be back.

Remember, y'all - it's a trash CAN, not a trash CAN'T.

Friday, July 29, 2016

One Night in Sixes - The Annotated Edition!

Yes, today is Friday. And that deserves a shout-out. But I'm celebrating extra hard today, because it's ALSO the two-year anniversary of One Night in Sixes' release. I could write a whole post about what I've learned in that time - and maybe I will!

But again: today is Friday. A day for classroom cupcakes, cutting out of work early, and staying up late. So let me pile on to your already-awesome weekend plans with a special goodie. Today, I'm giving away...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yep - you read that right. This here is the real deal - a copy of the book hand-annotated by yours truly, with notes and Easter Eggs and translations galore. Here's a few spoiler-free sneak previews:

Are you excited? I'm excited. My good friend Jodi Thompson even helped me set this up so that there's multiple ways to enter - and the biggest fans have the best odds. Go, click, enter - you have one magical week to maximize your fanhood before we pick a winner!

The eyes of the a'Krah lit up at the mention of horses. Vuchak tried to hide it, nodding in reserved contemplation, but Weisei clapped his hands to his knees in thunderstruck enthusiasm.

"Afvik," he said with a tipsy bright smile, "do you like to play games?"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The First and Only EdCon

I was getting ready to go to a memorial service today when I noticed this weird, bitter taste in my mouth. I brushed again, drank water, chewed gum - nothing helped.

So naturally, I thought "well, it probably means I'm about to stroke out and die. I should hurry up and get to the service so someone can call 9-1-1 for me." (If anyone's looking for the secret sauce of my life, there it is: gratuitous anxiety + can-do pragmatism.)

Anyway, the service was for Ed Dravecky, the much-beloved confather of WhoFest, FenCon, ORAC, and more fannish organizations than you can shake a sonic screwdriver at. The memorial was called EdCon (of course!), and it truly was a grand convention: food, panels, open mic, wonderful tributes all around. Over 150 people packed in to every corner - standing room only. (Let me tell you: you haven't seen nerd-love until you've seen a man so overcome that he gives up eulogizing with one hand over his eyes, and the other lifted in a "live long and prosper" Vulcan salute.)

And like... you guys. I'll never be as infinitely knowledgeable as Ed, or as well-read, or as massively in love with indoor soccer. His accomplishments can't belong to anyone else. But my god, I want to be that good. I want to be that inspiring, that well-remembered - I want to be a uniter and a doer and a big-hearted, infinitely-patient touchstone of human warmth and kindness. *I want to be that guy.*
The real shame is that Ed didn't get nearly enough innings. He was only 47. If I make it as long as he did, that gives me 14 more years to live up to his example.

Challenge accepted.


(Also, the weird taste in my mouth is gone now. No guarantees, but I reckon I have at least a 50-50 chance of surviving the night.)

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Different Kind of Call Goes Out

Okay, so you know the “this is my 2AM phone call” post from a few months back?

This is not that. This is not an emergency or a crisis or a disaster. This is a state-of-my-union address, and... let’s say a casting call.

Today is June 27th. Six months exactly until Dreams of the Eaten comes out. And the almost-perfect halfway point of 2016.

This is how I've spent my time this year, in hours.
I’ve worked hard this year, and with good results. So far, I have:
  1. Started a “secret” coalition of DFW-area writers groups. We have seventeen in the fold so far, with more still to add – and we are beginning to do great things.
  2. Begun a new program for the DFW Writers Workshop, called the Writers Bloc – a fledgling once-per-month education and social group, free and open to the public. It’s still a work in progress, but we’ve had great response so far.
  3. Taught at my first paid gig – a writers retreat – and been invited to another one (which is going to be awesome - you should come!)
  4. Led a three-month "speakers workshop" to prepare new instructors to teach at DFWcon 2016 - which is always one of the highlights of my year
  5. Started teaching for the Writers Path at SMU here in Dallas. I’m having such a good time – this is one of my proudest professional accomplishments to date.
  6. Helped Kristen stay in her house. (Actually, you-all have done that – I’m just banging the gong)
  7. Initiated a partnership with the Dallas County Community College District - too early and still too tentative to call a win, but one that has the potential to change the entire DFW literary scene
  8. Started teaching my own one-day writing workshops – irregularly, but to great enthusiasm
  9. Formed a crew of convention ambassadors from the DFW Writers Workshop – a bad-ass panelist posse if there ever was one
  10. Finished the edits for Dreams of the Eaten... almost.
And I haven't even gotten rolling yet. I haven't even started putting together the fan-swag and writer-merch I want to sell - still want to create a booth-sharing con-going author-coalition - am determined to get this "Page it Forward" free first chapters project off the ground.

You notice, though, how many of those list items up there start with the word “started,” “begun”, etc. – and the one “finished” thing isn’t even finished yet.

And what I’ve learned in the first half of 2016 is that I’m not going to make it through the second if I keep this up. I’m pushing hard because these are things I want to do for a living – things I want to spend my life doing. And if I’m going to stay in the game for the next 30 or 40 or 50 years (and I plan to!), I need my health. My friends. My marriage. All of which have been back-burnered for months now – none of which can afford to stay there.

This is not my to-do list.
This is one of my ten to-do lists.
But the other thing I learned, while we were making the big push for Kristen, is that it's not always a selfish thing to ask for help. Sometimes it's the hardest, bravest, kindest, most generous thing you can do - for yourself and for the people you're asking.

So this is me, taking the plunge, asking for help. Here in approximate order of urgency are the things I need.
  1. A digital me. A carnival barker – promoter – cyber-bard – whatever you want to call it. I am an organizer, teacher, motivator, and thoroughly analog human. I am not a promoter or an e-socializer. I need someone who can tweet, face, blog, and email so that the rest of the world can find out about these great deeds-in-progress. Maybe two someones (one for my books, and one for my writer-doings). And I’m happy to pay for that, but I don’t want to dig up some rando out of the phone book. I would much rather work with somebody who’s already drunk the Kool-Aid – who’s as excited about this stuff as I am. (You can buy a person’s time, y’all, but enthusiasm is a priceless, unsellable treasure.)

  2. Book reviews. The kind you write yourself, on Amazon and Goodreads, and the kind book bloggers write on their websites. This is the one kind of promotion I can't (ethically) buy or barter for myself. Getting Sixes past the 50-review mark on Amazon would be terrific. Getting Medicine to 25 would be fantastic. And getting *any* book blogger of size to pick up this series would be unutterably wonderful.
  3. Stockpiling pre-orders for this one would be good too.
  4. Speaking opportunities. I want to be on your podcast, at your conference, in your bookstore. Anything that involves speaking out loud, in real time (in person or online) is 100% my jam - and travel and expense may not be the barriers you think they are. Hit me up. Connect me. We’ll figure it out.
  5. Press. Publicity. Especially the kind that doesn't involve me having to sit down and gin up a 1,000-word blog post on my own initiative. (I can do those. I will do those - especially if your name is the Mary Sue, io9, John Scalzi, or Cracked. But they take a lot out of me, and I don't have the juice to do guest posts on the regular anymore.) If you can do the chronicling, I will provide all the insightful, hilarious, Textacular content you can handle.
  6. To date, I have not been on TV. But I've definitely been near TV.
  7. An artist - one who has enjoyed my books. Again, I will happily pay for time and talent - but it would be really great to have enthusiasm come pre-installed.
  8. Website help - especially someone who knows their way around a shopping cart. (And Shawn, Jonathan: thank you so much for putting yourselves forward for the Droughtworld website. I'm absolutely going to take you up on it. This bat-signal is for the events/workshops side of things.)
  9. Classroom/workshop spaces in DFW. They need to be suitable for video presentations (I can provide all the A/V equipment), ideally able to seat up to 25, available nights and weekends, and - here is the critical part - okay with me accepting money on the premises. I'm happy to give a percentage of what I make - so if you have an office or big back room that's going unused after-hours and want to see if we can help each other out, please hit me up.
  10. An A/V pro in DFW. Someone we can hire to help us to create professional-quality recordings of our Writers Bloc classes (one Saturday a month in Irving.)
Yeah, I know - it's a hell of a list. And the delicious irony of all this communal ruckus-raising I've been doing over the past couple years is that I've surrounded myself with people who are as driven as I am - who are stretching themselves to the max to chase their own dreams. It makes for a fantastic friends-circle, but doesn't leave any of us with much room to help each other out.

So for all of you wonderful people who would walk through fire and brimstone for me if only you could find five spare minutes to fire up the coals - don't worry. And don't let your chronic altruism sucker you into overcommitting yourself. I need your friendship more than anything on this list - and in that, you've already given me a great gift.

Including but not limited to the gift of shenanigans.

But if you do see something here that gets your inner overachiever all fired up ("Ooh! Me! Pick me!"), and you genuinely do have the bandwidth for it - please let me know. Here or email (tex at thetexfiles.com) or smoke signals or a brick through my front window. And when you do, let me know how this will fit into your bigger picture - because so often we can do for each other what we can't do for ourselves, and I would love to be part of your success, too.

My name is Alexander Hamilton
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait - just you wait...

Friday, June 3, 2016

Con or Bust or Else

Okay, time for a happy one.

So I went to ConQuest this past weekend, which proceeded to treat me and everyone else like nerdy superstars. (Seriously, it's a terrific con. If you want aggressively welcoming bookish SFF, go.)

Per my usual custom, I waited until the last minute to figure out bunking arrangements, and asked on the ConQuest FB page if anyone needed a roommate. Carol Cao answered the call. We got to talking, and I asked her what took her all the way up to Kansas City. She said, "well, I applied for funding through this organization that provides assistance for fans of color to attend conventions, and -"

"- oh, you mean Con or Bust, right?!" (Me, gleefully interrupting)

"Yes! You know about it?"

"DO I." (NB: I do. It's my main charity.)

And it was the most aptly-timed conversation ever, because that was the last day to enter something in the annual Con or Bust auction, and I was seriously considering bailing this year. Don't have time, ruinously tired, need to stop adding more stuff to my plate, etc.

But here was a CoB recipient, offering me hotel space after my own total lack of forethought or planning. And you can't let generosity end there.

So now I have a new friend (she's going to Italy in a week, y'all! Cheer her on!) And now YOU have 48 hours to bid on these wonderful things:
  • an ARC of my third book, Dreams of the Eaten
  • a "director's cut" author-annotated edition of my second book, Medicine for the Dead
  • a "personal training session" for writers
All right here, right now.

And just in case you were wondering - yes, those are our excited faces.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Requiem for a Dane

Once upon a time, like five years ago, my mom lost 100 pounds. Not 10. 100.

Obviously, you have to celebrate big for a thing like that. So Allison and I agreed to meet up at Party City and go buy some of those special number balloons. I walked, since it was right behind my apartment, and she drove.

So we went in, got the balloons (huge shiny things!), and went back out to her car. Whereupon I discovered that she had filled up the ENTIRE back seat with Pete the Wonder-Dane. (Because Pete, I guess, but mostly because Al.)

That was when we discovered that Pete was deeply, deeply not okay with balloons. (We thought nothing could possibly be scarier than plastic bags and empty pizza boxes. We were wrong.)
So I held the balloons out the passenger side window while Allison drove at like ten miles an hour. Picture it, y'all: a tiny white Toyota clown-car making its own parade route down the street, sharing its bobbly silver "100" joy with the world while our harlequin Marmaduke farted anxiously in the back.

But despite our best efforts, the balloon strings broke and we lost them. So we went back to the store to buy new ones.

And I guess when you're a professional party-balloonist and the same two customers come back in the space of twenty minutes to order the same three balloons, you wonder about it. And when you ask, and we tell you the story, and you immediately have to rush out to meet the dog in question... well, when the dog in question is Pete, apparently there's nothing else you can do but give us a new set of balloons, free-gratis. It's probably just as well he didn't know that his own adorable melty Dali face prompted that second round of helium anxieties.

And that was Pete the nebbish adventure-dog. He walked parades and went shoe-shopping with Dad. He hiked and man-bonded with Alex. He moved up to Oklahoma with Al, and commuted back home with her every weekend like gassy clockwork. When she rescued Ripley, Pete helped teach him how to dog. And when she got married, Pete ran down the aisle after her, two rings secured in a drool-proof silk sachet around his neck.

Pete went on his last adventure today. 8 is a pretty good number for a dane, although of course we wish it were another shiny silver 100. And the thing I keep thinking about is something that Al and I decided a few years back: that pets are exercise for your emotions – especially the ones that don't get enough play in your everyday life. It's good that we remember how to roll in the monkey grass and run away from the vacuum cleaner and greet our favorite people with a full-throated, vociferous moo. And even though we don't enjoy it, it's good for us to invite this great, inevitable sadness into our lives – to know that the price for that big-footed puppy in the laundry basket will be a tremendous, piercing grief, and bring him home anyway, because we've already decided that we would rather lose a friend than miss out on one.

So here's to Pete, the Rick Moranis of dogs. Here's to Al, the greatest dog-mom I know. And here's to the love and friendship and carpet-stains that live on beyond our earthly tenure, and bring out the best in all of us.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Sisterhood of the Unravelling Plans

It's a hell of a thing, having a sister.

First you fight like cats and dogs, and if you're not getting in trouble for knocking her teeth out, you're yelling at her for eating all of the (insert literally anything here) even when you'd told her not to. And you just know she'll be your annoying, exasperating nemesis forever.

Then she turns fifteen and she's dating boys and gone ALL the time, and one time you stay up literally all night long to keep her from sneaking out of the house, and she's wicked pissed at you. And you just know that as soon as she's out of high school, she'll be gone for good and you won't be a family anymore.

Then at twenty-three, she decides she's going to be a vet. She gets a degree in biology. She takes all of the classes, gets all of the grades, applies to all of the vet schools – and keeps getting rejected. For four years.

Then she gives up on the dream. She says she's not going to be a vet, and you wonder what she could possibly do instead, because you've never tried and failed that hard at anything in your life. And you just know she's never going to make it.

Then – by which I mean now, yesterday, this weekend – her charming ubermensch of a husband drives your whole family up to Oklahoma to watch her walk across the stage and receive her Masters in International Agriculture, which is officially becoming a PhD in Veterinary Biomedical Science. She's not going to spend her life neutering cats and dogs. She's going to cure equine diabetes. She's going to replenish the oceans with tuna. She's going to save the goddamn world.

And this is why I don't believe in happily ever after – because it implies there's no more story left to tell. It erases all of the messy middles, the hard, unrewarded work, the life-changing chokepoints that force you to revise yourself and move forward.

Give me long enough and I'll find a new thing to worry about, a new reason why everything is hopeless. But I won't wish for a straight, easy road. When you're related to Allison, there's no such thing as happily ever after. There is only boldly forward – usually in a cloud of dog hair and fruity shampoo. And I just know it's going to be a hell of a ride.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Running Up the Down Escalator

All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was the first night of DFWcon, and there was nothing but a downward escalator standing between me and the party upstairs. Who's going to let a little workout get between them and cake?

Here's a little-known fact about escalators, though: they don't stand still. And when you get about three-quarters of the way up and your thighs catch wise to your cardio-treachery, your oxygen-starved brain starts thinking, "hey, that's all right - I'll just rest for a second."

And that's when true cost of your little escalark becomes clear.

It wasn't pretty, but I made it. #noregrets
That's about where I am these days. I've been charging hard up the stairs for a couple months now, and I'm so ruinously tired - but I'm not there yet, and there's no quitting without losing the progress I've made so far.

I got Kristen's Patreon launched, but still need to find another $450/month to cover her bases.

I did DFWcon - maybe better to say that DFWcon did me - but still need to turn that momentum into finally, actually running my own classes.

I got the Writers Bloc started (with a whole lot of help from my partner in organizational crime), but still need to find it a permanent home, and a new set of speakers for the summer.

I turned in Dreams of the Eaten, but still need to revise it, clean it up, and add the various bells and whistles (map, index, etc) before the end of the month.

I made this great plan to promote it when it comes out at Christmas, but none of that is going to mean bupkis if I don't actually start submitting, applying, and travel-planning pronto.

(And if you're wondering what in the hell is the Writers Bloc, or since when Eaten got a release date, that is because I am doing a lousy job of promoting any of this.)

And man, you guys. I am just so tired. It's mostly happy-tired, of course. None of these projects are disasters or tragedies; I threw myself at all of them voluntarily, and so far they're all bearing fruit.

I just miss the other parts of life. Cooking and going for walks and catching up with my friends. Doing things with the Dude. Sleeping through the night. Some things really are backsliding down the escalator - diet, physical therapy, all that good stuff - and I really need to pick them back up before they hit bottom.

So I'm sitting here at 4:30 on a Sunday morning, eating a reheated cheeseburger and writing this tiny little testament to the overclocked life. No, it's not healthy. No, it's not long-term sustainable. But there's party-cake waiting upstairs, and damn it, I'm going to get me some. Onward and upward, y'all.

You don't find your calling. You fight for it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Indispensable Word

You know, one of the best, most vexing things about Latin is that it is so dang ambiguous.

Take the word pes or pedis, for example. It's where we get pedestrian, pedestal, pedal, and so many other foot-related words. But for the Romans, the term encompassed the whole lower leg generally - there wasn't a special word for things like "calf" or "shin". (How this became the language of medicine is really beyond me.)

But the wonderful thing about this ambiguity is that it let Latin speakers enjoy multiple meanings simultaneously. We do this in English too, to a much lesser degree. "Season" can mean the time of year, or spicing your food. "Mine" can mean an excavation, or something that belongs to you. So much of the most beautiful Latin poetry really can't be translated, because putting it into English requires choosing just one of a word's multiple meanings, and destroying the others.

So gratia seems like a good word for today. It means grace, for one thing. You hear it in phrases like Maria, gratia plena (Mary, full of grace). It also means "for the sake of" - which you invoke every time you use the abbreviation e.g. (exempli gratia, or "for the sake of example"). It's also thankfulness (gratitude), pleasure (gratifying), kindness (graciousness), and something freely given (gratis, gratuity). The phrase in gratiam even means "friendship".

Tecum in gratiam fui et semper ero.
This is something I did not appreciate at the time. Let me tell you: when it's already midnight and you have thirty more lines to translate before 9AM, ambiguity is not your friend.

But after this week, I am revisiting that.

English is by many counts a million-word language - a fact I've enjoyed and extolled to my students. After all, we don't just have a foot. We have a foot, ankle, heel, arch, ball, shin, calf, toes - some of us even have cankles! With so many words, it's easy not to get attached to any particular one. So if the word "diversity" gets too loaded, for example, we'll move on to "inclusiveness" or "multiculturalism" with no trouble. Because when you have a surfeit of anything, no single one is very valuable. When you have a million words, or a million workers, you might not even notice when a few of them get damaged or thrown away.

This is the dark side of plenty - one that we as a culture are seriously struggling with. We have more than at any time in our history - more people, more freedoms, more entertainments, more possibilities - and yet we've never felt worth less.

And I think in Latin we see the remedy for that. This old, sacred language carries old, sacred values. It was born from a time when people were precious, though not all well-treated - when everybody was valuable, because every body was valuable. It's been enshrined in a faith that says we are more than what we do, that we have worth beyond our works. And it lives on in us today, in our mouths and thoughts, as we go on blithely speaking daisy-chains of Latin children and grandchildren. This enduring language does not lose words easily. You can't cut out a word like gratia without leaving a bleeding hole in the lexicon.

So maybe it's not too late. Maybe our culture can re-learn to value its people the same way a language values its words - by giving them more than one meaning. Kristen was a disposable nonentity as long as she was a case number, a patient file, an unfortunate statistic. She has all too easily fallen through the cracks. But when you-all got to see her as a teacher, as a terrible-cat-lover, as a roommate and a friend and an underdog success story, she became real and precious to you - as multifaceted and meaningful as the Latin gratia. And now she can't be lost or forgotten about, because she is too many things to too many people.

So that's it, you guys. That's my plan. When we're well, we can be our own presenters. We can share as much of ourselves as we choose to. But when we're sick or hurt or grieving, we need someone else to communicate us - and if you're reading this right now, you have that power. You can be someone's avatar - communicate a person we otherwise wouldn't see or care about. This is how we can stay real to each other. This is how we make sure we don't get crushed by the engine of plenty.

Kristen is my indispensable word - my gratia, my grace. And now you-all are hers.

P.S.: If you haven't been able to sponsor her on Patreon but still want to get updates, please get me your email address (here, Twitter, Facebook, or tex at thetexfiles.com), and I'll be happy to include you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fix Your Con Panels By Using This One Weird Old Trick

Man, you guys. You know that feeling you get when you're so pumped you're actually punch-a-wall angry?


Okay, let me back up.

I rounded up a few members of the DFW Writers Workshop and ran panels with them at All-Con this weekend. This was a good plan for several reasons: it gave us a chance to promote our workshop and conference, gave them a chance to practice public speaking without any one person having to solo in the spotlight, and gave me a chance to spread the joy of con-dom (heh) to writers who hadn't visited a fan convention before. We had a huge range of genres and experience levels represented, and a tremendous variety of interests.

Jennie Komp, for example, was interested in the inflatable T-Rex.
And y'all. Seriously. They KILLED it out there. This crew was just so head-and-shoulders above anything I expected, and honestly, above 80% of the panels I've done with published professionals. They were prepared. They were enthusiastic. They endured heroic commutes and ludicrous parking costs. They sat in on each others' panels, passed the ball to each other and to the audience, and rolled gracefully with every logistical punch the weekend threw at them. In short, they treated the convention experience like the pleasure and the privilege that it is.

And like... I don't need to build them up by tearing other people down, but this is SUCH a change from what I've come to expect from the convention panel format. Patrice Sarath said it better than I could. Short version: if you are LUCKY enough to have even a single person seek you out and sit in a room to hear your opinions on whatever given subject, you owe them your absolute best. Yes, cons can be exhausting. Yes, it's hard when you're sick or haven't had much sleep. But if you aren't going to bring your A-game, do the rest of us a favor and don't show up. Nobody in that audience came to hear about how tired you are, how drunk you got, how you don't know why you're on the panel or how we're lucky you're even talking to us at 9AM on a Sunday. You're (allegedly) a professional. Go hard or get out.

Okay, rant over. But to the con organizers of the world - let me lay something on you.

The DFW workshop crew aren't just magically a superior breed of human (though they are pretty dang fabulous.) They rock because they know how to play as a team. Like, they worked on this project together for literally weeks before the con. They came up with panel topics and descriptions, sorted themselves into teams, collaborated on questions, chose their own moderators... basically, they ran this thing from soup to nuts. More importantly - and here is the key difference, I think - they weren't just in this for themselves. They came to represent the workshop - to ride for the brand, as it were.

While they were at it, they also represented Ripley, Rey, Captain America, and Cosima Niehaus.
And that's what I think we're missing at our conventions. When I go to AggieCon next month, I'll be representing myself. I want people to think I'm cool and buy my books, so I will do my very best. And I happen to be a team player-type, so I will put the interests of the panel/discussion ahead of my own - but you can't count on people to do that. Given the choice between hogging the mic and maybe making a book sale off it, or passing it to the rando next to them and making the discussion more interesting... a whole lot of people are going to go with Option A. So you end up with a panel full of people playing air-time tug-of-war, talking themselves up at the expense of the conversation. It's the tragedy of the nerd-commons.

But if you "subcontract" some of your panels out to other organizations - then the dynamic changes. If everyone on the panel is from the same writers group, the same podcast, the same publisher or anthology or whatever, then suddenly it's in all our best interests to play for the team. We have sharper banter, better chemistry, the warmer atmosphere that comes from already knowing each other - and more importantly, our personal interests now align with the group interests. In improving the discussion, we improve our collective image. And that's good for everyone.

And yes, I will totally take credit for our sweet matching name tents.
I've seen this work well at other cons already. The Gentlemen Nerds put on a great show at ConDFW last month. The Redheads of the Apocalypse always do. And those names - those "brands" - are becoming a recognizable staple of Texas con programming: you don't have to know what the panel is about to know what kind of time you're going to have when you get there.

We need to do more of that, y'all. We have tons of terrific authors and artists on the con circuit, and wonderful things can happen when they land on the long side of a table together. But we also have some amazing collectives, too - and if you give them the freedom to choose their own team and run their own show, I promise you will see results.

No, better than promise - I challenge you. Book the DFW Writers Workshop con-squad for your next convention, and we'll put the 'pro' in your programming.

P.S.: All-Con was AMAZING. DFWcon will be too! For a good time, use discount code ALLCON2016


Thursday, March 3, 2016


I haven't been blogging much lately. I promise I'm not lazy, but I've been taking a real hard look at all the things I do that don't make me money or increase my audience. (Because let me tell you: there are a whole lot of ways you can give away all your time and energy without actually accomplishing either of those goals.)

But Pam decided to celebrate World Book Day by calling my ass up at 9 in the morning to tell me to tweet more. So I did.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Guest Post: How Dinosaurs Can Fix Your Wedding

Funny story, actually. I was at my very first-ever convention, all the way back in 2013. The phenomenal Jennie Goloboy had just plus-one'd me into the SFWA party suite, and I was keen to flex my neonatal networking muscle - so I asked her what she was trying to sell.

"Well," she said. "I have this one client, Dan Bensen. He's written this time-travel romance called Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen, and..."

I don't actually remember anything she said after that. The mere mention of that title shut my brain down like an EMP going off in the middle of Manhattan. 

And now, three years later, it is actually, really a real book: written, illustrated (ILLUSTRATED!), printed, and published. And here, today, the Tyrannosaur Groom himself will expound on - what else?

How Dinosaurs Can Fix Your Wedding
by Daniel Bensen

Trals Scarback, war leader of the Ethlek, has an opportunity and a problem.

The opportunity is a weapon of otherworldly power that fell out of the sky.

The problem is Andrea, who claims to be a soldier from the tomorrow of tomorrows. The weapon, her powersuit, will only work for her. Plus, she has killed several of Trals's men.

Trals's tribe is of two minds: either the foreign woman is war booty or she is an enemy warrior and should be killed, her hair flown from the poles of the tents of the women of the sons she killed. If Trals wants the use of Andrea's powersuit, she must officially join the tribe, so she is no longer an enemy. And there is really only one way to join an Eethlek tribe.

The following is a description of an Eethlek marriage ceremony.

If the woman is foreign, she must apply to the Leader of the tribe, the one who leads its triceratops herd who commands raiding and gathering parties beyond the boundaries of the camp. If he (leaders are almost always men) agrees that his warrior deserves to be a husband and father, the marriage proceeds. If not, the woman if free to choose some other man in the tribe. Then the Driver, the one who drives the herd from behind and governs within the boundaries of the camp, must agree that the tribe has enough resources to support a new member. The woman gives up her possessions to the tribe, and in return gets all the necessities to start a new life with her husband: a tent, a pot-sack, heating-stones, leather robes, metal tongs if she's lucky, and a triceratops, chriostenotes, or raptor egg depending on the season. Then the tribe's Revalatee holds a public trance, and its Sayer interprets the revelation for the congregation (it's almost always a blessing for the marriage).

Expert paleyarntologists have reconstructed
one of the dinosaurs in question.
There is then a recitation of the saga describing the historical event that separated the tribe of the husband from the tribe of the wife. If you happen to be a time-traveling soldier from the 21st century and had never heard of the Ethlek before a week ago, the saga is the origin myth of the Ethlek themselves. You will learn that long ago there was a city on the floodplains that are The Face of God. That city was Megga, and its people died when the salty tears of God killed the crops they had foolishly planted. In the chaos the followed the fall of Megga, everyone died or scattered except for a small band of people who followed a Driver who taught them how to drive the triceratops before them and a Leader who taught them how to steal food from the tyrannosaur. Soon, all people who lived on the Face of God were the children of this Driver and this Leader, and they were They who Talk Alike.  Ey-Thke-Lek

Finally, each newlywed cuts off a lock of their hair and braids it into the hair of the other. They retire to their new tent, where they summon the angels of the heavens to take up residence on the Face of God. And that's where babies come from.

About the book:

Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen is a time-travel romance with dinosaurs.

Former soldier Andrea Herrera isn’t happy with where her life’s taken her. Specifically, to Hell Creek, Montana, 65 million years before the present. As far as careers go, making sure the dinosaurs don’t eat her paleontologist clients comes in a pretty dismal second choice to serving her country. But when their time machine malfunctions, Andrea and her team are trapped in a timeline that shouldn’t exist with something a hell of a lot more dangerous than terrible lizards: other humans.

Need more help? Well, look no further - because dinosaurs can fix your everything!


The Kingdoms of Evil



TV Tropes




Deviant Art

Monday, February 8, 2016

ConDFW Schedule

So I recently heard the most phenomenal, life-changing bit of advice, from my amazing particolored pal Darusha. It seriously blew my mind. Are you ready? Here it is:

"Because everything flies by at the speed of light, no one knows you're not around a lot. They think they just missed you. So you can not tweet or blog or facebook or whatever for ages, then so long as you don't start with a big long "sorry I haven't been here," no one will notice that it's been a while."

Where have I been? No, pal - where have YOU been?!

Well, I'll tell you where I'm GOING to be - at ConDFW this weekend! Rumor has it there'll be a couple of other cool folks there - something something Scalzi? So if you haven't put the finishing touches on your Twilight Sparkle costume and poured out some kibble for the kids... might wanna get on that.  See you there!

Interstellar Archaeology: Part One – Initial Findings 
Friday, 5PM - Madison
Panelists: John DeLaughter (M), Michelle Muenzler, Tex Thompson, Michael Ashleigh Finn, Rachael Acks, Linda Donahue
The first of two panels where we inflict discover startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin and our esteemed (and indeed, TRAINED) archeologists in turn tell us what the artifacts are. Light hearted fun, and bring ear plugs! This year we will visit Jakku in Star Wars VII. ROOOOOOAR!

Friday, 6PM - Adams
Tex Thompson, Martha Wells

Return of the Lone Western 
Saturday, 11AM - Hamilton
Panelists: Sabine Starr (M), Scott A. Cupp, Tex Thompson, Linda Donahue, Patrice Sarath, Bill Crider
Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight brought signature Western back to the cinemas this past month. Is it a sign the Western is back? Or is it just a fanboy’s dream? Our panelists talk about cinematic Westerns and their effect on writing Westerns in today’s world.

Escape from the Slush Pile
Saturday, 12PM - Hamilton
Panelists: Julia S. Mandala (M), Lillian Stewart Carl, Tex Thompson, Adrian Simmons, William Ledbetter
The perennial panel returns at a new time as we tantalize people with mistakes and errors you should try to avoid. Beware: someday you may end up here if you do not learn from your mistakes. Come and learn from our editors what to avoid so you don’t end up on – the slush pile.

Broke Down and Out of Gas... in Space 
Saturday, 4PM - Madison
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Paul Abell, Martha Wells, KM Tolan, Chris Donahue, T.M. Hunter
Because even Furiosa occasionally gets a flat. Let's talk about all the fun you can have when spaceships break and flux capacitors blow – and how our favorite characters MacGyver their way back into action!

Artemis: Guys vs Gals 
Saturday, 5PM - Jackson
Guys: Michael Ashleigh Finn, Mark Finn, Aaron de Orive, Stephen Patrick, Adrian Simmons, Stephen Sanders
Gals: Mel White, Linda Donahue, Rachael Acks, Julie Barrett, Kathy Turski, Tex Thompson
An idea proposed by the Gentlemen Nerds while they were talking to some Redheads we know, then floated to Programming. Who will prove to be the superior gender? We will find out!

Researching the Technology Tree
Sunday, 11AM - Hamilton
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Scott A. Cupp, S. Boyd Taylor, Larry Atchley Jr., Stina Leicht
The Technology Tree is the path that humans take to find out technology. In other words, you need to learn how to make steel before you can make really good swords. Guns won’t fire if you haven’t learned the recipe for gunpowder – and that’s before learning the difference between corned powder and serpentine powder. Where in the technology tree is your world? How do you find out? Our alternate history experts talk about this and more. 

Money Makes the Multiverse Go Round
Sunday, 3PM - Hamilton
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Frances May, Melanie Fletcher, K.B. Bogen, Stephen Sanders
Whether you trade in credits, simoleons, rupees, or Flanian Pobble Beads, one thing is clear: money doesn't grow on trees (unless you're Donkey Kong), and you're not going to get very far without it. Come enjoy a rousing discussion of the weird, wild, and often ridiculous workings of our favorite fictional economies – guaranteed to be worth every woolong!