MarsCon 2021!

MarsCon 2021: Forces of Darkness is virtual, free, and it starts today, March 12. Programming will run on Zoom, YouTube, and Discord.

When I’m not on or attending programming, you’ll probably find me in Krushenko’s Lounge on Discord running and participating in writing sprints. 

Scheduled Events

Times are Central Time, USA, so convert appropriately!

Friday, March 12

8:30 pm – Apocalypse Crafting

Saturday, March 13

10 am – Writers and Their Pets
11:15 am – Assistive Technology in Science Fiction
1:30 pm – Reading (chapters 5-7 of Something Familiar)
10:00 pm – Writing Craft: World Building – Hard vs Soft

Sunday, March 14

11:30 am – Cut the Boring Parts

I’ll be wrapping up my MarsCon attendance at about 2:30 on Sunday so I can run a 3:00 Girl Scout meeting

What Large Teeth

This is also posted at Curious Fictions, if that is a preferable viewing platform.


There was once a great wolf who lived in a lush green forest. He was much like other wolves, embracing the freedom of night runs and enjoying routine meals of hare and the occasional deer. As a youth, he had left his pack to find his fortune in the wide world. Many of the woodland villages boasted the position of a town wolf, but time and again he was turned down. He was told he lacked the necessary qualifications or skill set, his personality wouldn’t mesh with the other staff, or in the few honest cases, he was just too damn big. Disillusioned, he settled under the canopy of green where he didn’t have to interact with many humans.

His nearest neighbor was an old woman who insisted that everyone simply call her Grandma. She was a witch, rapidly approaching retirement, and feared nothing and no one. To her credit, she was able to see past the fur, canine teeth, and impressive stature to appreciate the wolf as another of the forest’s valuable inhabitants. She welcomed her wild neighbors, both near and far, for polite conversation, meals, and the exchange of favors. Wolf had made a habit of fetching supplies from greater distances to save her arthritic joints the long journey. In return, she provided routine medical treatment and advice.

Grandma’s granddaughter dwelt in a nearby town with her parents and three younger siblings, though she often traveled the forest path. The ability to learn and perform magic skipped every other generation, making the granddaughter the next witch in the family. Her training under Grandma had been progressing along the usual lines, though Grandma expressed concern over what she had perceived as a cruel nature housed within a charming and adorable countenance.

Continue reading What Large Teeth

Capricon Days 1 & 2 (Thursday & Friday)

Capricon is a new convention for me, totally made possible by the fact that it is virtual. After I had kids, we had to pare down our convention-going to three for childcare and money reasons, and we picked three that were pretty local. The pandemic is giving me a chance to check out the programming and general feel for other conventions, and that’s actually kind of nice. Obviously it’s not entirely the same as an in-person experience. But I’m really glad that creators and fans of speculative fiction content have found a way to make this work.

Capricon 2021 – Structure

I started off Capricon by moderating a panel on YA. While I’ve been moderating for years, and I’ve participated as a panelist at a virtual convention, I was a little worried how I’d manage both the panel discussion and getting audience questions. I like to make sure I’m really attentive to my panelists, and managing tech on top of conversation is not a strong suit (I also can’t pfutz with the radio while I’m driving, but I digress). Fortunately, the very clever folks at Capricon had a plan to make this really effective.

When possible, there is a Zoom co-host who feeds Discord chat questions to the moderator/panel, so the moderator can focus on the other panelists and the conversation. The Discord server has a number of useful channels. Each programming “room” has both a live and a hallway channel. The live channel is used for audience discussion and questions while the panel, presentation or reading is happening. The hallway channel is where folks convene afterward for post panel conversation and follow up.

This structure works very well, but it also means that there are a lot of volunteers working behind the scenes. Way to go Capricon volunteers! You have made this a delightful event to participate in.

Events/Activities

In addition to my own panel, I’ve attended panels on writing in dark times, the future of conventions, publicity and marketing, diversity and inclusion in creative spaces, and the economics of art. I’ve also attended delightful readings by Kathryn Sullivan and Catherine Lundoff (she has a new book coming out and I’m very excited about that). I’ve also spent a not insignificant time assembling digital jigsaw puzzles in the cafe.

All in all, it’s a good time and I look forward to enjoying the next few days. It’s sort of like a vacation from the day to day pandemic life stuck at home.

Capricon 2021 (Feb 4-7)

Capricon is coming up in a few hours, and I can attend since it’s gone virtual this year. Getting to check out some cons that I normally can’t afford to attend has been an unexpected positive in the pandemic.

Here’s my schedule, I hope to see some friendly faces (or names if your cameras are off) in the audience.

The Young Shall Inherit the Earth:Wondrous Worlds of YA – Panel – Moderator
Thursday, February 4; 5-6pm (central time)
Other panelists include Kathryn Sullivan, Donna J.W. Munro, and Cindy Matthews

Something Familiar – Reading
Saturday, February 6; 11:30am-12:00 noon (central time)
I will read the first few chapters of Something Familiar, which will also be available on the virtual freebie table.

Future of Accessibility – Panel – Panelist
Sunday, February 7; 12-1pm (central time)
Our moderator will be W A (Bill) Thomasson and Miss Chief will be our other panelist.

It’s not too late to register to attend Capricon. The rate is a very affordable $10, and if that would be a hardship, you can actually register for $0, because organizers know times are tough

Book Sale at Lulu!

If you’re holding out on picking up a print copy of Something Familiar, it’s sequel It Sounds Familiar, or one of my short story collections for a good deal, you can get 15% all print orders at Lulu through January 29, 2021.

Use coupon code WRITER15

Something Familiar is a young adult novella about a  Parisian witch looking for a familiar, and a shapeshifter who has run  away from home. Its sequel, It Sounds Familiar, picks up where the first book left off.

Magic, Mischief & Mayhem is a collection of fantasy short stories suitable to teens and young adults.

Practice to Believe is a collection of short stories  that twists fairy and folk tales and expectations for a new look at  some familiar (and some less familiar) stories.

Black Friday Through Cyber Monday Sale at Lulu

If you’re shopping for a teen reader of fantasy (or someone who enjoys reading YA fantasy), all my print books are 30% off at Lulu, through Monday, November 30.

Something Familiar is a young adult novella about a Parisian witch looking for a familiar, and a shapeshifter who has run away from home. Its sequel, It Sounds Familiar, picks up where the first book left off.

Magic, Mischief & Mayhem is a collection of fantasy short stories suitable to teens and young adults.

Practice to Believe is a collection of short stories that twists fairy and folk tales and expectations for a new look at some familiar (and some less familiar) stories.

Speed Writing #16 – The Dragon at the Party

“Zoua!” I heard my name shouted over the din of music and too many voices talking.  “Zoua, there’s a dragon at the door!”

I poked my head out of the kitchen and looked into the living room, crowded with friends and acquaintances.  My sister was across the room at the door, encouraging someone to come in.  Grabbing my beer bottle, I carefully moved around the group aggressively playing Boggle at the coffee table to the front door.

“No,” I heard her whine a little.  “You have to come in.  She’s going to love it.”

A young man in an amazing dragon costume stood in the doorway, clearly conflicted about something.  He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him.

Continue reading Speed Writing #16 – The Dragon at the Party

Deputy Death

This is also posted at Curious Fictions, if that’s a preferable viewing platform for longer work.


A tingle started in the middle of Liz’s head, spreading down into her teeth. It was an odd sensation, but not unpleasant. She thought of it as her death sense, because when it kicked in, she was sure to find the body of some dead animal. The bizarre ability had yet to prove remotely useful, though it put her social life in critical condition. She looked up from her six-page, AP English paper, due tomorrow. Her eyes went to the window just as the sunshine-yellow Pontiac Aztek slowed, then stopped across the street. It was a weird looking car, not the sort of thing that belonged in this neighborhood with its green carpet lawns, evenly manicured hedges, and sport utility vehicles in the fashionable colors of hunter and maple. Each house was painted one of three approved shades of beige. Fortunately spring was far enough along that the landscape wasn’t completely bland, despite the developers’ best efforts.

It was sheer luck that she’d felt something dead in time to see this outsider, though she’d have to find whatever had died nearby before continuing to work on her paper. She could only ignore the tingling for so long before it became too distracting.

The driver’s side door swung open, and a tall thin man stepped out. He was pale, with light brown hair, and there wasn’t so much as a hint of khaki about him. He wore a shiny metallic blue, long sleeved shirt, tucked into snug black jeans. Liz briefly wondered if he might be gay, what with all the color, but decided he was probably just from the city. She’d heard urban people were flamboyant, and only the usual percentage of them were gay. He looked sort of like the people in her German textbook, foreign, so maybe that was his deal.

Continue reading Deputy Death

Tulgey Wood

This is also posted on Curious Fictions, if you prefer that interface for reading stories.


“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe; all mimsey were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe…”

“Is that all she says?”

“Yes. Over and over. Same thing.”

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!”

“What sort of rubbish is that? It doesn’t even sound like English.”

“Well it is, and it isn’t. It’s Jabberwocky. You know. The poem by Lewis Carroll?”

“That the guy who wrote about the magical wardrobe?”

“Not even close. What the hell kind of childhood did you have anyway? Didn’t you ever read Through the Looking Glass?”

“Irrelevant. Does she say anything else? Anything at all.”

“Well… not really.”

“You hesitated there. What is it?”

“Sometimes it’s as if she’s gotten stuck. She’ll repeat the same word over and over like she can’t remember the next line.”

“And then?”

“After a while she just kicks back in as if she’d never hit a glitch.”

“And what is this Jabberwocky…”

They think I can’t hear them, they think I don’t see what’s two feet away. Catatonic, they say. But I’m just ignoring them. They don’t know anything, and they’ll leave the room eventually. They always do.

Continue reading Tulgey Wood