This fall, I’ve launched a new program at the Straw Dog Writers Guild: Straw Dog Writes. Modeled on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association Writing Date, I offer a Zoom session where Straw Dog members can come for some light socializing and two 45-minute writing sessions. I’ve found this as a really useful way to enforce a little productivity and networking. I’ll be offering these at least through mid-December and then we’ll decide whether to continue the program into the new year.

Recently on Mastodon there have been several interesting daily prompts for writers: #WritersCoffeeClub, #WordWeavers, and #PennedPossibilities. During the academic year, when my professional responsibilities give me limited time for writing, these are a fun way to reflect on my writing and let me feel like I’m still engaged.

I also write a lot short fragments on Mastodon, some of which find their ways into finished works. I credit writing the fragments with helping me improve my sense of story structure: writing a complete story in 500 characters really forces you to cut the story down to its essential elements. It reminds me of when I was a graduate student and writing haiku was a way to keep doing Esperanto in a small way. I have a lot of fun with the fragments and they often give me ideas for larger stories. I often post mine using the hashtag #vss365.

In mid-September, I delivered the final manuscripts for the Better Angels anthology: Tour de Force. It’s like a TRIPLE entendre. We spent a long time workshopping titles. I had been inclined toward “The Better Angels and Sixteen Seriously Sweet and Significantly Sanguinary Stories Set on the Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy.” My publisher said, “Oh, great. Well, at least with that title we won’t need to worry about cover art.” The anthology should be out by mid-December.

I’m also working on the fix-up edition of Revin’s Heart. This will include the seven novelettes, but also three side-stories that tell stories where Revin isn’t present: Where There’s a Will (about how Will and Grip meet and fall in love), Curtain’s Rise (how Will and the Baron originally met), and Riva’s Escape (Revin’s transition). I’m currently writing pieces that will bridge between the novelettes. It’s giving me a chance to expand on things that readers have asked about, or expressed interest in.

I’ll be appearing in a local holiday market on November 18 at the Mill District in Amherst. I’ll have not only my own books, but also a selection of other books suitable as gifts. There are discussions about a winter market I may also attend. Stay tuned.

I’m hoping to appear at several upcoming conventions. But the current surge in COVID cases requires that I be cautious.

I had planned to attend LOSCon, but it’s looking less and less likely that I’ll be able to attend. The aren’t committed to masking and I had applied to be a participant, but they haven’t gotten back to me. time is getting short to buy plane tickets and secure housing.

I’ve applied to be a participant at Arisia (which is close by) and they’ve already committed to requiring masks. So, with any luck at all, I’ll be able to attend.

I’m hoping to attend Boskone this year. Last year, I was hospitalized and wasn’t able to make it. But, hopefully, this year will be different. I still haven’t heard that they’re requiring masks, however.

I will plan to apply to be a participant at Baycon. It’s fun to attend a conference that so many of my fellow Water Dragon authors can attend.

I’ve signed up to volunteer for Readercon. I will also apply to be a participant. I applied last year, but wasn’t accepted. Maybe by volunteering, I’ll get greater consideration.

I’ve already signed up to attend WorldCon in Glasgow in 2024. I’ve just filled out the survey to agree to be considered for participation. I had a great time at the WorldCon in Chicago and I’m super excited about going to Scotland.

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