DC Area Storytellers

The DC Area Storytellers are a group of authors of multiple genres residing in or near the Washington, DC area. Published within the fields of romance, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, fiction and non-fiction, this diverse group of authors offers a wide range of works for readers to savor.

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My 2010 Dragon*Con Images Are Live

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Cruxshadows Dancers at the band's September 5 Dragon*Con performance.

I've posted a Thursday Thirteen of pictures for my monthly blog at Beyond the Veil. But be warned, those shots are just the teaser. To see the rest of the photos you'll need to follow the link at the end of the article. Enjoy!
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Con Report: ReConStruction 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010
It was the opposite of Dragon*Con. ReConStruction, the tenth occasional North American Science Fiction Convention held in Raleigh August 5-8, was the definition of low-key. Preliminary counts put attendance at only a little over six hundred. But that only meant a glorious lack of queues.

There were no lines for Raleigh’s famous rickshaw taxis when Jana Oliver and I strolled out of our hotel the day before the con. Or for the restaurants or the small museums which dotted downtown Raleigh. Or the panels and exhibits, which sometime seemed dwarfed by their facilities. This gave the proceedings a very relaxed feel and, as Lee Martindale pointed out in her entry “Con Trails”, encouraged folks to make things work in spite of glitches and unexpected hotel issues.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Raleigh, NC (photo by Jean Marie Ward)

Lots of stand-out memories remain, even after the six weeks it took me to post this. Ada Milenkovic Brown organized the con’s Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading and a pre-reading get together at the appropriately named Flying Saucer bar. The saucers, though, had more to do with beer than little green men. The saucers lining the walls were awarded for drinking a thousand beers at the bar. While we were there, a gentleman was awarded his third. Hmm, maybe little green men were involved after all…riding to the rescue on pink elephants.

My panels included a one-on-one with con toastmaster and Baen editor Toni Weiskopf (“Urban Fantasy make-over”), and Susan and Clay Griffith, the husband and wife writing team whose The Greyfriar will be released in early November (“Writing with someone close to you”). Fan guest of honor Juanita Coulson recounted the most wonderful stories about collaborating in SF’s Golden Age on the Writing in Collaboration panel with Chuck Gannon and me. But “Worst panel ever” will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only did my fellow panelists (Michael D’Ambrosio, Chris Garcia, James Daniel Ross and Lawrence M. Schoen) reduce me to tears of laughter, but a member of the audience later greeted me with the words: “Worst Panel Ever—best panel ever!” Music to this panel moderator’s ears.

The RFR boasted a large audience and eight accomplished writers. Everyone read at their best, too. Afterwards, most of us decamped to the party of the con: the launch party for Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey. The party featured the author in picture perfect Regency dress, scented fan souvenirs and a musical performance by Mary’s father Ken Harrison on the saw. Yes, you read that right. He played the saw, the same carpentry implement most of us use to cut wood, and he made it sing. Mary called it “an analog theremin”, and that’s a very good description of the sound. The eerie vibrato tone lent a special magic to the selection of traditional tunes he played. Unfortunately, your reporter neglected to pack her notebook to record the titles, but I did get pictures.

Ken Harrison (left) and Mary Robinette Kowal at the launch party
for Mary's Shades of Milk and Honey. (photo by Jean Marie Ward)

Regular roomies (Jana and Gail, I am looking at you) know that I can’t go to a new city without cruising the restaurants. Jana and I stumbled on bu*ku, an elegant bistro specializing in “global street food” after our rickshaw ride, and we ate more than one meal at Sitti, a friendly but sophisticated Lebanese café. The city saved its most unique dining experience for last, however—with a little help from fellow “Broad” and Samhain author Marcia Colette.

Marcia brought me to Spize, a café run by a friend and colleague. Imagine divine Asian fusion sandwiches on the best baguettes you ever ate. The owner, an IT superstar who founded the café during a brief sabbatical, has the bread flown in from New York. Yet the café is both unpretentious and green. There’s something decidedly fantastical about that, too.

(Glutton for pun--er, want more? Click here for the rest of my ReConStruction photos.)
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Cover dance of glee for Hellebore & Rue

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Remember my little ugly duckling of a story that no one loved because my heroine happened to be lesbian...and a sorceress...and totally unapologetic about any of it? Well, it's official, "Personal Demons" has turned into a swan, thanks to the kind offices of editors Catherine Lundoff and JoSelle Vanderhooft and the good folks at Drollerie Press. Look at the line-up "Personal Demons" will be sharing page space with. Heck, look at the cover. Even Greg, who's an artist in his own right, is in awe. Con crud? What con crud? Watch me dance! ;-)

Jean Marie
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A little bit of Intervention

Michael "Mookie" Terracciano, creator of the fantasy
webcomic "Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire", mugs
for your pestilential reporter.

It may seem backwards to post my photos of Intervention Con, the brand new Washington DC-area webcomics convention, first but it's only fair. Although I was pencilled into the program for two days, the horrors of Con Crud (my first-ever unwelcome souvenir of Dragon*Con) will keep me from playing on today's panels. I only hope I didn't spread my plague to the other attendees.

There was a lot to like at Intervention 2010. The organizers were friendly and helpful, and the attendees were thrilled at the chance to promote an artform they love to DC and the world. Guest Relations Chair Gloria Chapa deserves special thanks for dealing with my unexpectedly diminished schedule. But everyone I dealt with, from PR maven Brian Lynch to hotel liaison Colette Fozard (of the fabulous cat ears) to the dread photographer/videographers Wes Mason and Isaiah Beard, were first-rate folks.

Another special shout-out needs to go to Chris "Kilika" Malone (New Jersey's premier surfer and creator of Blue and Blond) and fellow DC Area Storyteller Anthony Stevens for helping to make Greg's (aka the Spouse Person and IV Caffeine's chief squirrel wrangler) first ever con as vendor and guest a success. Thanks guys! My only regret is I was too spacey to get Chris's picture. My reportorial instincts were obviously out to lunch all day long.

Oh well, with any luck they'll do it again next year. I'll be better then. Promise!

Jean Marie Ward
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Intervention Schedule

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No, not that kind of intervention. This is Intervention capitalized, a very new webcomic convention gracing the Hilton DC/Rockville, Maryland, September 10-12. Yes, the con starts tomorrow, and yes, I do have panels. So do DC Area Storytellers' very own Anthony Stevens, as well as Greg, the darling spouse and squirrel wrangler of Intravenous Caffeine. This will be Greg's first con as a participating artist and guest, so come on by and show some con love. Our schedule is:

Friday, September 10
1 p.m.
Okay, I Finished My Story. What Happens Next?
How does your story get from your keyboard to into a reader’s hands? What’s the editorial process? Why does it take so long?
Panelists: Elaine Corvidae, Jean Marie Ward

7 p.m
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Publishing, But Didn’t Know You Had to Ask.
Writers at all points in the publishing food chain share their experiences, good and bad. Panelists will discuss the various advantages of NY publishers, small press and self-publishing. Along the way you’ll learn what publishers really look for in a book, how to get your project noticed in a good way, and how to spot potential warning signs of trouble. (I had hoped to lure Ben Bova into this one, but alas, he had the flu and had to cancel. But trust me, Elaine and I have lots of experiences to share, good, bad, our own and others’.)
Panelists: Elaine Corvidae, Jean Marie Ward

9 p.m.
Free Is a Good Place to Start.
Do you have big dreams, but a minuscule budget? Never fear; our panelists can show you the path to Freedonia. This panel is a short seminar with hand-outs highlighting free word processing, graphics, audio and video programs, and free web site templates. (This is Greg’s first panel ever. Drop by and show him some con love.)
Panelists: Anthony Stevens, Chris Impink, Ryan Thompson, Greg Uchrin, Jean Marie Ward

10 p.m.
The Economies of Small Scale.
Just because your dreams are big doesn’t mean that you’ll be forced to break the bank. This panel deals with posting a comic on the cheap, a word about copyright, and the real costs of self-publishing in ink and paper.
Panelists: Anthony Stevens, Greg Uchrin

Sunday, September 12
11 a.m.
How to Use Social Media Without Inadvertently Seeming like a Jerk.
Social Media has changed the industry dramatically. Gone are the days when creators had little to no contact with their fans. Which services are worth using? How do we use them? What are some common mistakes? What are some creative promotional techniques?
Panelists: Chris Flick, Illya Kuryakin, Christiann MacAuley, Ben McCormick, Jean Marie Ward

1 p.m.
Creating Three-Dimensional Characters.
When writing an adventure or a story, having characters that the readers can get into is half the battle. If the readers or players become intrigued by the characters, then the rest of the story will fall into place. Join our panelists as they discuss creating characters that are non-flat and can intrigue.
Panelists: Pete Abrams, Chezhnian Angelus, Garth Graham, Michael Terracciano, Jean Marie Ward

And that’s just our panels. The con boasts three full-time tracks, workshops, a club (with dances) and a video room. See you there!

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Animal Attraction (Halle Pumas Anthology 2)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Look what I made!
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