My New, 2-Year-Old Fan

A couple of weeks ago I woke up to a message that made my day, my week, and really, my month! The fellow gave me permission to share it, so here goes:

Hello Gray,

I was flipping through a Star Wars book with my 2-year-old this morning (The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, a collection of concept art for the original trilogy) and she was very interested in the tauntauns on Hoth.

In the car on the way to daycare, she started crying and saying “Want tauntaun song please … want tauntaun song … tauntaun song please!” I tried explaining to her there is no tauntaun song. Then, I tried making up my own (it was … not good) and I think she actually stopped loving me for a few minutes.

Finally, I went to Spotify (don’t worry, I was stopped in traffic) and found “Tauntauns to Glory.” We listened to it three times.

So, anyway, thanks for writing a song about tauntauns!

How about that? I thought that was marvelous.


(Image: “Luuk (sic) on Tauntaun,” by Anton Van Dort, on Deviant Art under Creative Commons.)

And if you don’t know what all that fuss was about, you can queue up “Tauntauns to Glory” on Spotify or listen free at this link!

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Thursday is the New Friday at Dragon Con

Okay, technically Thursday has been the new Friday for a few years now when it’s Labor Day weekend in Atlanta! At least, it has at Dragon Con, one of the world’s biggest and best science fiction and fantasy conventions.

I missed Dragon Con last year, because I was in the midst of moving — I spent the weekend filling a shipping container with some of my worldly goods — so I’m going to make the best of being back! Here’s my schedule, unless something changes:

Thursday

  • 7:00 pm: Geeky Sea Shanties (Hyatt Hanover C/D/E)

Friday

  • 11:30 am: Panel, “What is Filk?” (Hyatt Hanover F/G)
  • 1:00 pm: Panel, “Filk & Cookies — Meet, Greet, Filk!” (Hyatt Hanover F/G)
  • 2:30 pm: Panel, “Music of the Spheres: Using Music in SF” (Hyatt Embassy A/B)

Saturday

  • 12:00 pm: Baen Books Info & Author Signing Booth (Americas Mart) (until 2:00 pm)
  • 2:30 pm: Baen Books Traveling Roadshow & Prize Patrol, with Toni Weisskopf et al (Hyatt International North)
  • 5:30 pm: Group Sing: Dungeons & Dragons! (Hyatt Hanover C/D/E)

Sunday

Monday

  • 9:00 am: Baen Books Info & Author Signing Booth (Americas Mart) (until 11:00 am)

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 few winks of sleep!

If you’re at the con, I hope we get a chance to connect — but whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope it goes well!

___
Related Items of Interest:
Taking You Out to See the Stars is still my newest album, and still available on Bandcamp and streaming services like Spotify
– Here are The Gray Man’s Recommendations for Near-Future, Near-Space SF Novels
– Watch the music video of “Tauntauns to Glory

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LibertyCon! and, DeepSouthCon!

I’m so glad to get to go to LibertyCon again! My lady Lisa and I will be driving to Chattanooga — a shorter trip than it used to be, since the move — for the 35th iteration of the best fannish family reunion, which this year is also the host site of DeepSouthCon 61! The convention officially starts Friday, though I hope to get in a game of Terraforming Mars Thursday evening.


LibertyCon!

Here’s my official schedule:

Friday:

  • 5 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies — at which I will sing my newest LibertyCon song
  • 6 p.m. — Give Me LibertyCon! and Onward LibertyCon! Roundtable and Mass Autograph Session
  • 11 p.m. — Open Filk — come join in!

Saturday:

  • 10 a.m. — Brunch Banquet — always a fun time listening to the Guests of Honor!
  • 2 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show & Prize Patrol
  • 5 p.m. — Authors/Artists Alley — come by and chat!
  • 11 p.m. — Open Filk — more nerdy music fun!

Sunday:

  • 9 a.m. — Nondenominational Prayer Service
  • 10 a.m. — Kaffeeklatsch — which for me involves tea or the like
  • 11 a.m. — Panel, “Tales from Mission Control / Space Operations” — in which I try to remember what I used to do in the Air Force …
  • 2 p.m. — Reading — with my friend Karl Gallagher!

In between I’ll be attending other events, hanging out here or there, maybe even wandering a bit around town. I know it’ll be a grand time, though — it always is! — so let’s have some fun!

___
Related Items of Interest:
– Watch the music video of Tauntauns to Glory
– Listen to Taking You Out to See the Stars, Distorted Vision, or Truths and Lies and Make-Believe

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I’m Just a Poe Boy, Going to RavenCon

That’s right, this weekend I’ll be at the RavenCon science fiction and fantasy convention in Richmond, Virginia, which pays homage in its name to the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve enjoyed attending and serving as a guest at RavenCon for many years. It’s a great convention!

Once again, I’m not doing any concerts 😕, but I have a few different panels to keep me busy. Here’s my schedule, if you’re going to be around:

Friday:

  • 4 pm — Open Filking
  • 5 pm — Guests Meet and Greet
  • 7 pm — Opening Ceremony
  • Midnight — Open Filking

Saturday:

  • 10 am — Panel: “Conversation with the Editors” (Moderator)
  • 1:30 pm — Baen Books Traveling Road Show & Prize Patrol
  • 3 pm — Panel: “How to Handle Rejection”
  • 4 pm — Reading
  • Midnight — Open Filking

Sunday:

  • 9 am — Non-Denominational Worship Service
  • 10 am — Panel: “Does Science Fiction Still Affect How We Think About the Future?”
  • 11 am — Panel: “Writing Believable Aliens” (Moderator)

What should I read at my reading this year? The opening of the novel I’m struggling to write, or the opening of the story that Analog Science Fiction and Fact bought but hasn’t published yet? Maybe I’ll let the audience decide, if there is one.

Let’s have some geeky fun!

___
Related Items of Interest:
– Listen to any of my albums for free at Bandcamp — Taking You Out to See the Stars, Distorted Vision, and Truths and Lies and Make-Believeyou can also buy them there
– Watch the music video of Tauntauns to Glory

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Album Release: Taking You Out to See the Stars

The new album is live on Bandcamp at this link!

And check out the cover art put together by my son, Christopher:

As of now, it’s only available on Bandcamp, but as we get the interior artwork finished we’ll produce a few physical CDs, and over the next couple of weeks we’ll submit the album for inclusion on streaming services like Spotify.

Hope you’ll give it a listen, and that something you hear will resonate with you! (And if it does, tell your friends!)

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It’s Almost Time for RavenCon!

This weekend I’ll be at the RavenCon science fiction and fantasy convention, which is returning to Richmond, Virginia. RavenCon is a great convention, run by wonderful people, and I’ve enjoyed attending and serving as a guest at it for many years.

I wasn’t asked to play any concerts this year – 😔 – so it’s primarily panels for me. Here’s my schedule, if you’re trying to track me down:

Friday:

  • 5 pm — Guests’ Meet and Greet
  • 7 pm — Opening Ceremony
  • 11:30 pm — Open Filking

Saturday:

  • 9 am — Panel: “Influences In Our Writing”
  • 11 am — Panel, “Writing the Alien”
  • 12:25 pm — Reading
  • 4:00 pm — Baen Books Traveling Slide Show & Prize Patrol
  • 7 pm — Panel, “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble: Combat in SFF” (Moderator)
  • Midnight! 🥱 — Open Filking

Sunday:

  • 10 am — Panel: “Energy Sources in Speculative Fiction” (Moderator)

For my reading slot, I’m trying to decide whether to read from a story that’s coming out in an anthology later this year, or from a story that’s slated for an upcoming issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. I’ll probably let the audience decide (if anyone shows up!). And I guess I should give a little thought to the panels I’m moderating…. And pack — I should definitely pack.

Looking forward to it!

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Coming Soon(ish): Taking You Out to See the Stars

After being postponed last year, we’re back at it for my third album of original music, which (like my first two) will contain some truths, some lies, and some make-believe—but it’s safe to say that Taking You Out to See the Stars will be my most personal project by far.


(As of 27 January 2022, all we have is a placeholder for the cover art.)

To mark the arrival of the James Webb Space Telescope at its designated orbit on Monday, I put up the title song (which you can listen to for free at the link). I’m not sure what the final running order will be or if we might swap out a song or two, but the current lineup of songs is:

  • “Another Space and Time”
  • “Midnight”
  • “Questions”
  • “Remembrance”
  • “My Bonnie Lies Over an Ocean of Stars”
  • “Safely Through the Storm (Legend of the Gray Man)”
  • “Alice Flagg”
  • “On the Prowl”
  • “Prayer for an Epiphany”
  • “Taking You Out to See the Stars”
  • “All That is Gold”
  • “When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted”
  • “How Fair, How Far”

Over the next few months, as we finish additional songs, we’ll upload them until the album is complete. That’ll give me something to blog about once in a while, though I may provide more insight in my newsletter. But if you’re of a mind, the album is available for preorder here!

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This Weekend: ConGregate!

How nice it is to be going to science fiction and fantasy conventions once again! This weekend’s gathering, ConGregate, has consistently been one of the best-run of all the conventions I attend. This year it’s moved from High Point to Winston-Salem, NC, and is playing host to the 59th DeepSouthCon — which should make it even better than usual!

And, I just might have a surprise in store for my concert!

Here’s what I have going on:

Friday:

  • 5:30 p.m. — Open Filking
  • 7:00 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies: E Como Mai
  • 9:00 p.m. — Panel, “What is Filking?”

Saturday:

  • 11:00 a.m. — Open Filking
  • 3:00 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Slide Show & Prize Patrol
  • 5:30 p.m. — Concert — the usual mix of silly and serious songs, possibly featuring a special guest!
  • 9:00 p.m. — Panel, “Writing Outside the Lines”

Sunday:

  • 9:00 a.m. — Prayer & Praise Service
  • 1:00 p.m. — Round Robin Filking

I wouldn’t be too surprised if we found some additional time for filking, and I hope to attend some of my friends’ concerts, but as it is the schedule looks both manageable and enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I won’t make it back to the Raleigh area in time for Sunday afternoon’s Research Triangle Writers Coffeehouse, but it will go on as scheduled under the watchful eye of another local science fiction author!

Let’s have some fannish fun, friends!

___
Related Items of Interest:
– Watch the music video of Tauntauns to Glory
– Listen to Distorted Vision and Truths and Lies and Make-Believe
– Visit Gray’s Online Store

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We Will Congregate at ConGregate

Here we go, NC folks! The ConGregate science fiction and fantasy convention runs Friday through Sunday in High Point, with all the usual festivities! It’s a small but extremely well-run convention, full of fun and friendly people — plus me! 😂

Here’s what I have going on:

Friday:

  • 1:00 p.m. — “Science Fiction Writer’s Showcase”
  • 3:00 p.m. — Open Filk
  • 4:00 p.m. — Solo Concert!
  • 8:00 p.m. — Reading

Saturday:

  • 11:00 a.m. — Open Filk
  • 1:30 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Slide Show & Prize Patrol
  • 4:00 p.m. — More Music (in the “Cantina”)
  • 6:00 p.m. — Open Filk
  • 9:00 p.m. — Panel, “How Much Science Should a Science Fiction Writer Know?”

Sunday:

  • 9:00 a.m. — Prayer & Praise Service
  • Noon — Open Filk
  • 1:00 p.m. — Round Robin Music Fest

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the Research Triangle Writers Coffeehouse on Sunday, but a friend volunteered to moderate that session so it will go on as scheduled!

Here’s looking forward to a lot of fun with my fannish friends!

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Ground Control to LibertyCon …

Ground Control to LibertyCon …
Take your bourbon shots
And put your Jayne hats on …

It’s that time of year again! The fannish family reunion known as LibertyCon starts today!

LibertyCon Illustration by Todd Lockwood
(Illustration by Todd Lockwood, from the year I was the LibertyCon MC.)

I’ll be busy right out of the gate, and tonight is packed:

Friday:

  • 1 p.m. — Author’s & Artist’s Alley — come by and chat!
  • 4 p.m. — Autograph Session — again, come by and chat!
  • 5 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies — at which I will sing, so beware
  • 6 p.m. — CONCERT (or, “LibertyConcert”) — at which I will sing more, almost certainly including “LibertyCon Oddity” (quoted above)
  • 8 p.m. (until 10:30) — Terraforming Mars — playing the game in front of an audience
  • 11 p.m. — Open Filk — at which I will sing even more, and hopefully other folks will, too!

Saturday:

  • Noon — Banquet — always a fun time!
  • 2 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show
  • 4 p.m. — Panel, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Writing Advice” — and remember what free advice is worth …
  • 11 p.m. — Nerd Music Free-for-all — like Open Filking, but nerdier? (is that even possible?)

Sunday:

  • 10 a.m. — Kaffeeklatsch — which for me involves something other than coffee
  • 1 p.m. — Reading — with my friend David B. Coe!

I played my first game of Terraforming Mars last night, and had a lot of fun, so the convention’s already started well for me! If the rest of the weekend goes as well, it’ll be a fine time. Let’s make it so!

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