S-S-S-S-S-uper Macro! At Olbrich.

Took a break yesterday and went to Olbrich Gardens to see the flowers before they dried up in the heat of summer. Discovered we have a pottery workshop not to far from the house. MORE MESSES! Um… Anyway, here are some pics. (Notice I have a crush on the super macro setting on my camera.) Was lovely to see greenery before the storms today. See also: cleaning my office suxx0rs.

Confetti Flowers

I am a leaf on the wind

Photobombness

Gold Leaf Detail Redux

Squirtle the Turtle or Fred If You Like

Origami Orange

WisCon 2011 Panels

Hi everyone,

Wanted to drop in and provide you my panels for WisCon 2011. This year the guest of honor is Nisi Shawl, a fine author who often gives workshops on writing the other. She also likes to smile. A lot. What’s not to like?

Attendance is capped at 1,000 people, so if you’re thinking about going, I’d register now.

Monica’s Panels at WisCon


Living In The Long Tail: Forging A Path To Your Audience Through The Internet Friday
Time: 4:00–5:15 p.m. Location: Conference 5
Moderator: Heather Whipple.
Panelists: Heather Whipple, Lori Devoti, Jennifer K. Stevenson, Monica Valentinelli

    “The Long Tail” refers to the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities. Much of Amazon’s success relies on exploting this strategy. What are the possibilities of authors and artists marketing their own works directly to audiences through the Internet? Does the Internet represent a medium of exchange that can bring creators together with audiences who are hungry for works that represent and speak to them? How can we find each other?

Group Reading: 11 Up – Cycles of Life. Salacious, sacrificial, silly, sentimental and severe.
Time: Saturday 2:30–3:45 pm Location: Michelangelo’s Coffee Shop
Liz Argall, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Margaret Ronald, Monica Valentinelli

Self-Publishing: Should You? Could You?
Time: Sunday 10:00–11:15 am Location: Senate B
Moderator: Susan Ramirez.
Panelists: Susan Ramirez, Anna Black, Alexandra Erin, Neesha Meminger, Monica Valentinelli

    A variety of websites and services make publishing your own e-books and paper books simpler and less expensive than ever. What are some of the best? What are some to avoid? What are the benefits and drawbacks of becoming an indie writer? What tips do you have to help other indie writers self-publish successfully?

Cooperative Promotion
Sunday: 1:00–2:15 pm Location: Room 634
Moderator: Jacqueline Houtman.
Panelists: Jacqueline Houtman, Lori Devoti, Howard Andrew Jones, Alexandra Erin, Monica Valentinelli

    Authors need to do more and more of their own promotion. This panel will focus on ways that authors can work together to help promote their books, whether formally (via 2K Classes, Tenners and Elevensies, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and other organizations) or informally, such as social networking. What about group websites or blogs? Group giveaways? Group presentations, signings, and other events? We will present some ideas and work together to come up with more.

Thank You, OddCon!

A "Cultist" Says Thank YouOver the weekend, I attended OddCon here in Madison, Wisconsin and moderated a bunch of panels. This convention also gave me the chance to sit down and chat with familiar faces and get to know new people, too.

On the industry side, folks included the illustrious and fabulous: Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Matt Forbeck, Steven H. Silver, Sarah Monette, LaShawn Wanak, Jim Frenkel, Alex Bledsoe, Kenneth Hite, Will Hindmarch, Jason L. Blair, John Kovalic, Bill Bodden, Matt McElroy (DriveThruRPG.com, DriveThruComics.com and FlamesRising.com), Kelly McCullough, Robin Laws, John Jackson Miller, Lori Devoti, Richard Chedwyk and so many more.

I had a really good time this year and felt everyone was incredibly friendly and open. My moderation style was a bit more crazy on Saturday than Sunday, due to an unforeseen impromptu illness that affected my thought-linking connection. This convention was good for me on many levels, and I’d like to give a shout out to Paul Wiesner who did a great job coordinating the events and panel schedule this year.

The panels were really good this year and I felt that John Jackson Miller was an incredible attention to the line-up. Not only is he knowledgeable about comics and the literary process, he’s also a successful tie-in writer, too. (In short, I think John is made out of awesome.) I was happy to have other, very knowledgeable individuals on the panels with me. Robin Laws was an excellent choice for guest-of-honor because yep, he is that smart and yes, he’s a fine author to boot. He read his short story from Stone Skin Press‘s upcoming anthology Shotguns V. Cthulhu.

The three best surprises I had this year were:

    Surprise Number One: My Reading – Having a full room for my reading with LaShawn Wanak. If you may recall, I mentioned I was going to read Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs from The Zombie Feed, Volume 1. Not only did people like my story, they asked me if there was going to be a chance to see more of Officer Francis in either a novel or a continuing tale. How awesome is that? Then LaShawn brought down the house with her reading of She’s All Light, which you can read for free at Daybreak Magazine. It’s a science fiction story set in a believable future. For those of you who follow my blog that love Eclipse Phase, I think you’d really dig this story!!!

    Surprise Number Two: Our Cthulhu Panel – For our Cthulhu panel on Sunday, I brought along some prizes for the audience including an autographed hardcover copy of Shadows Over Filmland and a few Nox Arcana CDs. The best part, though, was that Kenneth Hite crashed the panel. Chicago-based, Ken is extremely knowledgeable about Lovecraft and has written books like Cthulhu 101 and Tour de Lovecraft. So many people in this crowded room were not aware of how this unique American author became so ingrained in our contemporary culture. He was a fine addition to the panel and the audience had a great time.

    Surprise Number Three: BARCON! – The bartender at the Radisson was my kind of guy. He was incredibly entertaining and really made the weekend soooooo much fun. Barcon was a blast. We playtested a new game from John Kovalic — of course Robin won — exchanged stories, had a Final Fantasy moment (Thank you, Laura. You rock!), got to tell a few of my more embarrassing college drinking stories, talked shop and heard the Smelt Festival recap.

Overall, OddCon XII was an absolute blast, which is probably why I’m so tired today. I was really happy to see so much gaming going on this year and was sad I didn’t get the chance to play Midnight Munchkin.

Special thanks to Richard Russell, Brian Curley, Paul Wiesner, Sean McConkey and so many others for your enthusiasm and your smiles. Happy people makes for some great convention time and you really highlighted my weekend.

So thank you, OddCon!

Winter Got you Down? Things to do in Madison to Cheer You Up!

Lakeshore Path in Madison, WisconsinWell, the snow has been really intense this year and as several of my friends have pointed out — it’s been a long winter. Yes, we probably were due for one and with all this cold and wintry weather, the upside is that it has to be great for the farmers. I’m very much looking forward to farmer’s market this year. With snow on the ground, though, it’s really easy to get the winter blahs. I’ve been pretty crabby lately, and I know from reading other people’s blogs it’s pretty much been afflicting everyone. So whether or not you have seasonal affective disorder may be a diagnosis left up to the doctors, but we all could use a bit of cheer when we’re cooped up inside.

Here’s my top 5 list of things to do in Madison to “think spring” and cheer up:

Read More…




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