My Dragon*Con 2012 Schedule

Once again, Labor Day weekend will find me in Atlanta for the annual Dragon*Con science fiction and fantasy conention. I don’t have very many official events, so along with my work responsibilities I’ve filled my schedule with some fun things and some service opportunities.

(Dragon*Con logo.)

Friday, 31 August
1 p.m. — Setting up for the Baen authors’ signing at the Larry Smith Booksellers booth (numbers 309-311 in the Marquis Ballroom in the Marriott) … first up at 1:30, Les Johnson & Timothy Zahn
5 p.m. — Holding down the fort at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America table (wherever that happens to be)
7 p.m. — Filk and Cookies (Baker Room in the Hyatt)
11:30 p.m. — Open Filk (Baker Room in the Hyatt)

Saturday, 1 September
9:30 a.m. — Setting up for the Baen authors’ signing … first up at 10, John Ringo & Travis Taylor
1 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Slide Show (Regency V in the Hyatt)
7 p.m. — Chick Fil-A Kickoff Game, Clemson Tigers vs. the like-named team from Auburn (Georgia Dome)
(Tentative) 11:30 p.m. — Open Filk (Baker Room in the Hyatt)

Sunday, 2 September
10 a.m. — Helping lead worship at the Fans for Christ worship service (Augusta Room in the Westin)
2:30 p.m. — Singing one of my original filk songs at Alethea Kontis‘s “Sideshow” (Edgewood Room in the Hyatt)
(Tentative) 7 p.m. — Open Filk (Baker Room in the Hyatt)

Monday, 3 September
10 a.m. — Holding down the fort again at the SFWA table

In between all that, I’ll try to catch some friends on their panels, swing through Barfly Central, and find the occasional quiet (!) spot to hang out. And, if I’m really conscientious, I’ll work on a short story or two, and maybe a song.

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Yes, You Can Nominate for the Pegasus Awards … But Not For Long

Nominations for the Pegasus Awards close in less than two weeks!

The Pegasi are annual awards for filk — generally, folk music with science fiction or fantasy elements — given by the Ohio Valley Filk Fest. Categories include Best Song, Best Classic Song, Best Writer/Composer, and Best Performer, plus two special categories for this year: Best Gaming Song and Best Travel Song.

(Pegasus Award logo.)

I submitted my nominations yesterday. Here’s the online nomination form, if you’re ready to go.

Unsure whether you can nominate? You probably can.

First, you don’t need to be a member of the filk festival itself to nominate or vote. That said, according to the official rules “the purpose of the Nominating process is to poll members of the filk community for their independent opinions of each category.”

Unsure whether you’re a member of the filk community? The rules cover that, too:

Anyone who exhibits an interest in the filk community can be considered a filker. Exhibiting interest can be shown by, but is not limited to:

  • Filking at sf/fantasy conventions
  • Attending filk conventions
  • Attending house sings
  • Participating in online boards/discussions/mail lists/webrings pertaining to filk
  • Discussing filk and filk related issues with other filkers

That last category is pretty broad, but if you and I ever discussed filk in one way or another then it seems as if you’re in.

Curious about what songs, songwriters, and performers are available to be nominated? The friendly folks at OVFF ran a “Brainstorming Poll” to take suggestions for each category; check it out for recommendations, or just to get a feel for the wide variety of filk and filkers. (Something of a shameless plug: As I blogged when the brainstorming results came out, my original song “The Monster Hunter Ballad”* was suggested in the “Best Song” category. Surprisingly, I was also suggested in the “Best Performer” category.)

Who did I nominate? I don’t usually nominate-and-tell (or vote-and-tell), so I won’t go into it category-by-category here on the blog. I will say it was hard to narrow down the choices! In the end, I nominated a number of different people, and some more than once, including Danny Birt, Alex Boyd, Tally Dueshane, Jonah Knight, Michael Longcor, Mikey Mason, Madison Roberts, Carla Ulbrich, and Scott & Kirsten Vaughan (aka The Blibbering Humdingers). Contact me directly and I’ll tell you exactly who I nominated for what.**

So, ready to nominate now? Once again, here’s the online nomination form. You have until midnight on July 29th — go for it!

*Inspired by the series of books by Larry Correia. (Full disclosure: I work for Baen Books, which publishes the Monster Hunter novels.)
**And, if you ask nicely, I might also tell you which of my other songs fit the special categories.

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'The Monster Hunter Ballad' Made the Pegasus Award 'Brainstorming Poll'

My first original filk* song made it onto the “Brainstorming Poll” of the annual filk awards!

It’s not an official nomination, but it’s something.

(Pegasus Award logo.)

“The Monster Hunter Ballad”, inspired by the books by Larry Correia, made the poll in the “Best Song” category.

Nominations are open from now until the end of July.

*Folk music with science fiction or fantasy elements.

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My ConCarolinas Schedule

My summer science fiction & fantasy convention schedule starts the first weekend of June, when I’ll be at ConCarolinas at the Charlotte Hilton University Place (in Charlotte, of course).

(ConCarolinas program cover by Artist Guest of Honor Robert Luedke)

In addition to “Filking the Night Away” Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m., I’ll be on several panels and will also help out at Allen Wold’s writing workshop:

Friday, June 1

Saturday, June 2

Sunday, June 3

Should be fun!

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Filk Award Brainstorming is Open

If you like filk — generally, folk music with science fiction or fantasy themes — you may be interested to know that the Brainstorming Poll for the 2012 Pegasus Awards is now available on-line.

(The Pegasus Award Emblem.)

As the site says, the Brainstorming Poll is not an awards ballot. It’s “a poll to help generate ideas for the 2012 Pegasus Awards.”

The filk-related Pegasus Awards* are presented by the Ohio Valley Filk Fest, which is “the world’s largest fan-run filk convention.” (The Blibbering Humdingers, who also live in my current hometown of Cary, NC, are the Interfilk guests this year.)

You don’t need to be a member of the OVFF convention to nominate and vote, but you do need to be part of the filk community, which is broadly defined as “anyone with an interest in filk.” Do you enjoy songs with science fiction or fantasy references? Then you probably qualify.

The OVFF folks will compile the results of the Brainstorming Poll and attach them to the Nominating Ballot, which they will release sometime next month. The nominating period runs for a few weeks, and then the Final Ballot will be released during the summer.

The Brainstorming Poll will close on May 5th.

// Shameless Plug Follows //

This post has been brought to you by “The Monster Hunter Ballad.”

*There is also a set of “Pegasus Awards” for non-broadcast media (video) production. Those awards haven’t even been around for 10 years yet, while the OVFF Pegasus Awards started in 1984.

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New Songs at StellarCon

What a difference a year makes!

At the time of StellarCon last year, I had written a grand total of one filk song, which I sang (a year ago today, in fact) at the DeepSouthCon 50 party: “The Monster Hunter Ballad.”

Fast forward to this past weekend at StellarCon 36, and my filk repertoire had grown to the point that I debuted two songs on Friday night: the Firefly tribute song “Finding Serenity,” and “Don’t Cry When You Get Rejected” (to the tune of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”).

But that wasn’t enough. Saturday afternoon I finished a Hobbit song I’d been working on, so that night I debuted “Thorin Oakenshield” (to the tune of “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer”). And even that wasn’t enough: I had started writing another new song at the con on Friday, and by Saturday night I had a couple of verses and a chorus for “Steampunk Pirates.” So the filk circle on Saturday also heard me sing my work-in-progress.

What is this craziness?

Whatever it is, it’s fun.

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My illogiCon Schedule

This coming weekend I’ll be at the newest local SF&F convention, illogiCon. The Guest of Honor is Hugo- and Nebula-Award winning author Joe Haldeman.

(The illogiCon mascot, Professor Schroedington.)

They’ve got me pretty busy, probably to keep me from getting in too much trouble.

On Friday the 13th I have one panel and a reading:

  • 4:00 PM – Do We Need a New Definition of Literacy?
  • 8:00 PM – Reading (along with Tony Daniel, the newest editor at Baen Books) — and, there may be singing of a filkish nature
  • Later – Filk

Saturday should be interesting:

  • 11:00 AM – Science Fiction and Ethics
  • Noon – The Day Job With Writing at Night
  • 1:30 PM – Baen Traveling Slideshow
  • 8:00 PM – The Golden/Silver/Bronze Ages of Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Later – Filk

And Sunday’s panels all focus on science-y topics:

  • 10:00 AM – Interstellar Transportation
  • 2:00 PM – The Future From Now
  • 3:00 PM – Is the United States Still #1 in the Space Race?

All the festivities take place at the Brownstone Inn — a.k.a. the Doubletree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone-University — on Hillsborough Street. Hope to see you there!

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Hugos, and Nebulas, and Pegasi, Oh, My!

I’ve seen quite a few “Hugo Nominations” blog posts since the turn of the new year — because the nomination period is now open — and a few other awards-related posts way back in late 2011. I even wrote an awards post back in early December, asking for reading suggestions for the Nebula Awards.

So, as yet another exercise in self-promotion, here’s my most detailed awards season post ever.

First, if you don’t care what the Hugo Awards are, or the Nebula Awards, or the Pegasus Awards, then thanks for reading this far anyway! If you think you might care, but just don’t know what they are, I’ll give a brief run-down of each.

The Hugos and Nebulas are Science Fiction & Fantasy awards. By analogy to film awards, the Hugos are roughly equivalent to the Golden Globes, and are given out at every World Science Fiction Convention; the Nebulas are roughly equivalent to the Academy Awards (since they’re voted on by members of the profession), and are given out at a special weekend event held by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

I have two stories eligible for these awards:

  • In the short story category: “The Tower,” published in Crossed Genres Quarterly in June 2011. This is a “swords and sorcery” fantasy, in which there are swords and something resembling sorcery.
  • In the novelette category: “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curve Balls,” published in Analog Science Fiction & Fact in September 2011. This is the story of a boy in a freak show who retreats into mathematics for comfort and sanity.

To nominate and vote for the Hugos, you have to be a member of WorldCon. A supporting membership (i.e., that gets you voting rights and usually an electronic package full of the nominated stories and artwork) is $50, so it’s not a trivial matter. If you think you might actually want to attend, this year’s WorldCon is at Chicon in Chicago. But to nominate and vote for the Nebulas, you have to be a member of SFWA, and that’s a big deal to some of us.

In contrast to the Hugos and Nebulas, the Pegasus Awards are “filk” awards, i.e., awards for science fiction & fantasy-related folk singing. (What can sometimes be confusing is that there are also other Pegasus Awards for video production.) The Pegasus Awards are given out every year by the Ohio Valley Filk Fest. They give awards in several categories, including Best Filk Song, Best Writer/Composer, Best Performer, and “Baddest-Ass” Song.

Pegasus Award nominations are made “by the people of the filk community,” whatever that means, although “voting is open to anyone with an interest in filk music.” The nomination period begins around Memorial Day and continues through July, then voting is open until Labor Day. More details about nomination submissions and such are yet to come; however, in the interest of planning ahead, I sang two songs around filk circles last year that should be eligible to be nominated:

  • “Saving Throws,” a Dungeons & Dragons-related song to the tune of “Edelweiss”
  • “The Monster Hunter Ballad”, inspired by the series of books by Larry Correia*

And thus concludes my shameless plug for the day.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: Larry’s Monster Hunter books are published by Baen Books, and I’m one of Baen’s contractors.

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Hello, 2012

I spent the last few days of 2011 in Myrtle Beach, finishing several projects that I’d left undone through the year. Now, it seems appropriate to start 2012 with a “year in review” post.

Happy New Year 2012! by Creativity103, on Flickr

My biggest news of 2011 was having “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curve Balls” published in the September 2011 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact.

In other 2011 news, I got involved in filk, which is fannish folk singing — i.e., writing and performing folk songs with a science fiction or fantasy focus. A few of my meager efforts are now on YouTube, and they’ve generally been well-received … especially “The Monster Hunter Ballad”.

As for the goals I set myself in 2011, I had mixed results:

  • I continued searching, though not very diligently, for a willing publisher for my novel. It’s still on the waiting list at a couple of houses.
  • I did not begin a new novel.
  • I completed four short stories, and revised a couple of old “flash fiction” pieces along the way.
  • I maintained this blog and my web site, including my series of occasional “space history” items.
  • I revised one of my unpublished nonfiction manuscripts.
  • I kept my Baen Books job, and succeeded in eliminating the backlog of electronic slush (with the exception of a goodly number of better submissions held for special review). In addition, one of my recommendations was contracted for publication.
  • I kept my NC State job, in which I still primarily write for the IES Executive Director.
  • I continued to plan and present praise and worship at North Cary Baptist Church.
  • I completed my term of service on the Town of Cary Public Art Advisory Board.

In general, in 2011 I tried to achieve an overall goal of “less pressure, more fun.” Unfortunately, the daily/weekly/monthly grind of juggling multiple jobs, various church functions, and other responsibilities made that a bit difficult. In the end, while I didn’t exactly fail at it, I certainly didn’t succeed … so I call it even.

And now I suppose I should put together some goals for 2012.

Hope your old year was good and your new year is better!

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Space History, 11.21: The Time Dilation Song

This isn’t the usual “multiple of 5”-year space anniversary I usually post, but it’s too good not to include. On this date in 1975 — according to Wikipedia, the official source for everything that might be true — Queen released the album A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

What does that have to do with space history, you ask? Because, in the fine tradition of such songs as “Rocketman” and “Major Tom,” this album included a song about space travel: “’39.” Written and sung by Brian May — the astrophysics student who stopped working on his doctorate to pursue music but eventually earned his PhD in in 2007 — the song involves the time dilation effect of traveling at near-relativistic speeds. A science fiction song by someone who knows science.

And that’s today’s space history, kids. Now, back to your regularly-scheduled browsing.

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