A few weeks ago I recorded a demo version of a new song about stargazing, and put it on Bandcamp for anyone who’s interested. Part of the song was inspired by a conversation I had with my children many years ago, but it’s mostly about something I wish I’d done with them when they were at specific ages: specifically, taken them out on special nights to see special stars.
If you have young children, or know someone who does, you could do it now; for instance, when they’re eight years old
… we’ll mark the time by the “dog star” Sirius
And we can celebrate your “sweet sixteen” with old Altair from afar
And I hope you’ll come to marvel at this wondrous universe
Because so much of what we are was made in the hearts of former stars
You can listen to the whole thing for free by clicking the player below, or visiting my Bandcamp page if the player isn’t available. (You can also download the song for a buck, if that’s your thing.*)
I told my newsletter readers about the song when I first recorded it, and they gave me some good feedback and encouragement. (If you’re not subscribed to my newsletter you can do so in the sidebar to the right or at this link.)
As a demo, it’s nothing grandiose — just me and my guitar — but I hope to put a fuller version of the song with other instruments and backing vocals and such on my next CD, whenever I get to the point of recording it. (I have more than enough songs for a new CD, but I don’t have the funds to cover production costs — maybe next year!)
Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a listen, and I hope something in the song speaks to you.
*Or for more than a buck, if you feel so inclined!
Once again I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, where I will spend the weekend with thousands of my closest friends — at least 80 thousand, I believe — at Dragon Con, one of the largest science fiction and fantasy conventions in the world. This year I get to kick off the Filk Music Track’s concert series; I’m playing music twice for Art Show patrons; and I’m part of several other shows as well!
Here’s my schedule, at least as it exists right now:
10:00 am: What is Filk? / Meet, Greet, Filk (Hyatt Hanover F/G)
7:00 pm: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow, with Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund, and Mikey Mason (Marriott A707)
10:00 am: Art Show music (Hyatt Grand Hall East)
2:30 pm: Baen BooksTraveling Slide Show & Prize Patrol, with Toni Weisskopf, James Minz, Christopher Ruocchio, and many more (Hyatt Regency V)
5:30 pm: Panel, “Tooting Your Own Horn: Marketing Yourself,” with John Hartness, Cecilia Dominic, Courtland D Lewis, Quincy J Allen, and Matthew Kressel (Hyatt Embassy A/B)
7:00 pm: Peter S. Beagle & Authors Perform (Hyatt International North) … I’ll open this show, then head over to …
7:00 pm: World of Harry Potter Tribute Show, with Brobdingnagian Bards, Hawthorn & Holly, Nick Edelstein, Toucan Dubh, Foot Pound Force, Mikey Mason, and Misbehavin’ Maidens (Hyatt Hanover C/D/E)
On Sunday, my only official event is at 5:30 pm, when I’ll be giving a reading and special guest Nick Edelstein will play some music. If I can arrange it, I may have some other guests, too! That will be in the Hyatt’s Marietta Room.
As usual, when I’m not performing or working I’ll probably be attending concerts by my musical friends, or hanging out with my writerly friends or Baen Barflies. Or trying to catch a little bit of sleep!
If you’re in the area, I hope I get to say hello — but whatever you’ve got going on this weekend, I hope it goes well!
Of course there are plenty of other things going on as well: ConGregate is a great little con, and since it’s hosting DeepSouthCon 55 this year I expect it to be better than ever. At least, I intend to do my best to help!
Most science fiction and fantasy fans know the name Baen Books — or at least know the names of some of our authors! Here’s a tribute song to Baen Books* and its founder, Jim Baen, from my album, Distorted Vision.
Hope you like it!
*Full Disclosure: I’m a Contributing Editor for Baen. But I figure that’s all the more reason to do a tribute song!
I don’t have any updates on my novel, so today I thought I’d share my schedule for LibertyCon, which takes place this weekend in Chattanooga. We’ll be celebrating science fiction and fantasy, and the freedom we have to enjoy them!
My convention schedule is heavily weighted toward Friday events, which will leave me time later in the con to relax:
1 p.m. — Reading
2 p.m. — Panel: How to Approach Publishers
5 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies
7 p.m. — Author’s Alley
8 p.m. — Concert
11 a.m. — Panel: Space Debris and the Issues of Satellite Survivability
This weekend we’ll be celebrating science fiction and fantasy in Charlotte — at the Hilton Charlotte University Place, specifically — for ConCarolinas. ConCarolinas is always a fun convention, and the Guests of Honor this year are pretty amazing:
Music and Artist GOH, Aurelio Voltaire
Writer GOH, bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon
Science GOH, Stephanie Osborn
Gaming GOHs, Clint and Jodi Black
In addition, Baen Books’ Publisher Toni Weisskopf is the Literary Special Guest, and the Music Special Guests include my friends The Blibbering Humdingers, Mikey Mason, and Valentine Wolfe.
I don’t have any solo events — no concert, no reading, no signing — but I have a few panels and other fun things that will get me into trouble:
Do you like music related to science fiction or fantasy? Then you can nominate your favorite songs for the annual Pegasus Awards for Excellence in Filking — which is, as you might guess, writing and performing music often related to SF&F and other nerdy, geeky topics.
(Pegasus Award Logo.)
In case you’re wondering, anyone who has an interest in filk is considered part of the “filk community” and can nominate candidates (and vote, later!). Since very few people make it to every convention or hear every performer, the award includes a “brainstorming” phase which wrapped up a few weeks ago; you can head to the brainstorming results for suggestions in each category.
What are the categories? The Pegasus Awards are given out in four permanent categories, as well as two categories which rotate from year-to-year:
Best Filk Song — any filk song that has not previously won a Pegasus
Best Classic Filk Song — any well-known filk song at least 10 years old that has “entered filk community public consciousness”
Best Performer — any filk performer who has not won this Pegasus in the past 5 years
Best Writer/Composer — any writer/composer of filk songs who has not won this Pegasus in the past 5 years
2017 Rotating Category: Best Horror Song — any song that “elicits horror”
2017 Rotating Category: Best Perky Song — kind of self-explanatory
If you have some favorites you’d like to nominate — and you can nominate up to five songs or people in each category — fill out the 2017 Pegasus Nominating Ballot. Nominations are open until the end of July.
Let your voice be heard, and have fun with it! (And let me know if you need some suggestions….)
___ If you’re really not sure whether you’re eligible to nominate, the award by-laws define “exhibiting interest” using examples such as filking at SF&F conventions, attending filk conventions or “house sings,” taking part in related on-line forums, and just “discussing filk and filk related issues with other filkers.” So, if you read this whole post, you can probably claim to have exhibited interest and therefore would be qualified to participate in the Pegasus Award process. (However, this is just barracks lawyering and does not constitute legal advice or any official rules determination.)
Over Labor Day weekend I’ll be in Atlanta, Georgia, with 70 or 80 thousand of my closest friends at the Dragon Con science fiction and fantasy convention. The Author Guest of Honor is Jim Butcher, the Artist GOH is Stephan Martiniere, and many of my friends are also guests, attending professionals and performers at the convention.
I’m giving a solo concert (4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon — add it to your schedule now) and participating in a number of other events. If you’re there, I hope I get to see you!
Here’s a rundown of all my events:
4:00 p.m. — Art Show “Concert-that’s-not-a-concert” — playing and singing for the art patrons
7:00 p.m. — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow — I’ll be narrating a live-action “fairytale rant” version of “The Little Mermaid,” and performing one of my filk songs — hosted by Alethea Kontis, with Leanna Renee Hieber, Mari Mancusi, E.C. Meyers, and special musical guest S.J. Tucker — always a fun time!
2:30 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show and Prize Patrol — with a whole cadre of Baen authors!
4:00 p.m. — Panel, “Short or Long? How Do You Know?” — on short stories versus novels, with Sharon Ahern, Jaym Gates, Mike Resnick, Anne Sowards, Fran Wilde, and Timothy Zahn
10:00 a.m. — “Ecumenifilk” — I’m hosting a session of music focused on spiritual themes
11:30 a.m. — Baen Books information and author signing booth, in association with The Missing Volume bookstore — I’ll be stationed there (Booth 1301 in Americas Mart Building 2) until 2:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. — Decisions, decisions … attend the first-ever Dragon Awards, or the Doubleclicks’ concert? Anyone have a Time Turner I can borrow?
1:00 p.m. — Another turn at the Baen Books information and author signing booth, this time until 4:00 p.m.
At off hours, you might find me attending concerts by my musical friends, chatting with Baen Barflies in Barfly Central, hanging out in the bar with my writerly friends — or quite probably wandering around looking dazed. Be sure to stop and say hello if you get the chance!
This weekend is the ConGregate science fiction and fantasy convention in High Point, North Carolina. The Author Guest of Honor is Steven Barnes, the Artist GOH is Lindsey Look, the Special Writer Guest is my friend A.J. Hartley, and the Special Musical Guests are the incomparable Valentine Wolfe.
Even though I’m not the Master of Ceremonies at this convention, and don’t have any readings or panel discussions on my schedule, I’m going to be fairly busy — and doing a lot of music!
5:30 p.m. — Concert
10:30 p.m. — “Campfire Songs” — a fannish singalong!
2:00 p.m. — “Songs and S’mores” — kid-friendly songs and yes, I understand actual s’mores will be served
4:00 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show and Prize Patrol — see what new releases Baen has coming out, and possibly score a free book!
8:00 p.m. — “Confronting the Publishing Gatekeeper” Workshop — known at other conventions as “Face-to-Face with the Slushmaster General”
9:30 p.m. — “Camp ConGregate: the Final Jam” — a musical roundtable “from filk to gothic and everything in between”
9:00 a.m. — Nondenominational Prayer (and Praise) Service
11:00 a.m. — Filking Workshop
I was pleased to be part of the first ConGregate two years ago, and it’s gotten better every year. I expect the trend to continue, and I’ll do my best to help ConGregate be its best!
I’m on the road again today, this time to the 29th annual LibertyCon science fiction and fantasy convention! The Author Guest of Honor is Jonathan Maberry, the Artist GOH is Todd Lockwood, the Science GOH is Dr. Ben Davis, and the Special GOH is artist Melissa Gay.
If it’s not obvious from the title, I’m the Master of Ceremonies for this convention. Here’s what I’ll be doing:
1:00 p.m. — Face to Face Critiques from the Slushmaster General
4:00 p.m. — Reading
5:00 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies
9:00 p.m. — Concert
10:00 a.m. — Autograph Session (with GOH Jonathan Maberry and Chuck Gannon)
12:00 noon — Horror-themed Luncheon Banquet and Guest of Honor Speeches
2:00 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show and Prize Patrol
10:00 p.m. — Filk Sing!
10:00 a.m. — Kaffeeklatsch
2:00 p.m. — Panel, “Changes in the World of Publishing”
My two big ceremonies to master are, of course, the Opening Ceremonies today and the Luncheon tomorrow. I will make the rounds of some other panels and events, though, and expect to make an appearance at the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday as well!