Michael’s CONvergence Schedule

Geeks vs Sportsball: Why the adversarial relationship between geeks and sports? After all the mocking geeks have endured, why is okay to mock someone else’s interests? Why are some sports–like derby–okay but other not? A panel for fans, geeks, athletes, and geeky athletes. Panelists: Ozgur Sahin, Brian Salisbury, Michael Merriam, Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPC, Dave Kingsley – Thursday July 2, 2015 5:00pm – 6:00pm DoubleTree Atrium 4
 
Signing: Michael Merriam will be available for autographs. – Friday July 3, 2015 11:00am – 12:00pm DoubleTree Autograph Table A
 
Evolution of the Publishing Industry: From print to e-books to online publishing, how have these changes affected the industry? How have writers, graphic artists, editors, and others involved in book publishing adapted, and what remains the same no matter what format a book takes? Panelists: Laura Zats, Toni Weisskopf, Dawn Frederick, Michael Merriam, Martha Wells – Friday July 3, 2015 3:30pm – 4:30pm DoubleTree Atrium 7
 
Reading: Michael Merriam will read from his own work. Saturday July 4, 2015 3:30pm – 4:30pm DoubleTree 2201
 
SF Writing Groups – The 2015 Scene: This annual (since 986) get-together of the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Alliance helps science fiction/fantasy writing groups link with writers who are looking for a critique group. Panelists: Eric M. Heideman (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Michael Merriam – Sunday July 5, 2015 2:00pm – 3:00pm DoubleTree Plaza 3

Bus Tale #I Don’t Even Know

I’m riding the buses to meet some friends for cocktails and snacks after a long and kind of not-so-great Saturday at work. I take my typical #12 Bus to Uptown and get on the #23 at Hennepin and Lagoon, out in front of the Uptown Theater. This is the longest stretch I have to ride, so I settle in read email on my phone for the next half hour.

She gets on near the Uptown Animal Clinic. Late 20s or early 30s. Red hair, black knee-length dress, boots. She looks like she’s heading for a night on the town, to be honest. She has a purse over her shoulder, but is clutching a small drawstring bag in her hand. She scans the bus, which is mostly empty, then walks to where I am sitting behind the back door, settles next to me, puts her head on my shoulder and sniffs.

“I had to put my cat down last week. These are her ashes,” she says softly.

“I’m sorry. I am so sorry for your loss. I’m Michael, by the way.”

She sniffs a couple of more times, but doesn’t say another word, just sits next to me with her head on my shoulder, clutching the little drawstring bag that must hold the ashes of her pet. As we near 38th and Portland she pulls the cord for a stop and gets off. I watch her walk down 38th until the bus pulls too far ahead.

I don’t know who you are, miss. But I’m sorry for your loss.

The Minicon Schedule.

Yes, I will be at Minicon this weekend. Yes, I will be on a couple panels and doing a couple of events. Yes, I would love to chat with you. Yes.

Friday 8:30 pm – Why Are We Still Having This Panel? – Veranda 5/6
There are panels that have been done a thousand times (you know the ones we mean) – which ones are still necessary? Which will we gouge our eyes out it we see again? (Moderator)

Saturday 2:30pm – Artistic Bravery – Veranda 3/4
Releasing your work into the wild can be the scariest part of the artist process. If you want people to see your work, you have to take the first steps and share it. Hear stories from writers and artists detailing the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to sharing.

Saturday 3:30pm – Mass Signing – Garden Court

Saturday 6:00pm – Reading – Veranda 1/2

Saturday 6:30pm – MinnSpec Reading – Veranda 1/2

Today’s Cat Tale

In today’s adventures with Belyn and Llyr, Llyr was half-asleep in the cat bed in front of the patio door when the Butler-The-Neighbor-Cat ambled up to the screen door. Spotting the large, strange cat, Lly startles, jumps from the bed, runs a few feet away before turning and (unimpressively) puffing up and making a squeaky little noise between a growl and a meow. He sounded more startled and frightened than ready to fight.

This, however, woke up Belyn, who was sleeping next to me on the couch. Belyn jumped across the room, landing between Llyr and Butler, went all (rather impressively) Halloween Cat, and made a noise like an angry Harley Davison powered by a nuclear reactor before slamming into the screen with both his front paws, claws extended, still growling and hissing.
Butler fled like shot.

Belyn and Llyr are now on the couch with me. Belyn spent several minutes aggressively grooming his kitten before they both went to sleep next to me.

It’s funny, because they were wrestling earlier and Llyr was all over Belyn, tackling him, knocking him over, chasing him around, but when the strange cat showed up, it was all Belyn.

Every Body’s Doing It, Doing It! The Marscon Schedule!

Marscon is this weekend, March 6th through 8th at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Hotel. This year’s theme is “Heroes and Wizard and Fey.”

I always have a lot of fun at Marscon, and look forward to seeing people I only see during convention season. If you’d like to come up and say hello, please do. I’m on the programming events below, so I should be hard to find.

How Come Nobody’s Heard Of Me, Dammit!!
Room 419 (Krushenko’s) — Friday 04:00 pm
Let’s figure out all the things we did wrong! With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Rachel Gold, Michael Merriam.

Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Saturday 10:00 am
Michael Merriam reads from his latest novel and possibly from something upcoming. With: Michael Merriam.

Storytelling vs Story Writing
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Sunday 01:00 pm
Is there a difference between these two arts, and if so, what is it? While they are often lumped together, are they really that closely related? What skills are absolutely essential to storytelling but useless to story writing and vice versa? What is the difference between the markets these two arts aim for? What are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other? What tools or methods are out there for refining your storytelling skills, and how do they differ from writing? Skill, talent, both, neither? With: S.N.Arly, mod.; Haddayr Copley-Woods, Michael Merriam, Susan Woerhle.

Convoluted Quests: The Modern Writing Career
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Sunday 03:00 pm
Book contracts, self-publishing, short fiction, editing… writing careers these days are often made up of a patchwork of options. Join GoH Lyda Morehouse and other professional writers to talk about how they’ve dealt with current publishing realities. With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan.

Thoughts On A New Year

Here we are in February and this is my first post of the year on my poor neglected blog.

I opted to skip the annual year in review post. 2014 was mixed bag.

I had a reasonably okay year as a stage storyteller with good shows at Minnesota Fringe and as a quest of the Rockstar Storytellers.

As a fiction writer it was a tough year. There were disappointments and rough patches, enough that I realized I need to change the way I do certain things, which I am changing. The only reason I don’t count the year as a complete disaster is that I managed to finish the first draft of novel that challenged me as a writer.

I started dipping my toes into play and script writing, which has been an interesting experience and one I intended to pursue. My sparse, dialogue driven writing style lends itself to script writing quite well.

So yeah, kind of a downer post for kind of a downer year.

And yet, I move into 2015 enthusiastic and hopeful that I can turn that bad year around with effort and focus.

And Draft. And Year.

I had hoped that I would finish the first draft of Ghosts of the Places We Live before the end of the year and I managed to hit the end on Christmas day. I think that’s a nice Christmas present to myself. Now I shall let it sit for a month or so while I work on other projects.

Speaking of other projects: the next MinnSpec anthology By Polaris Bright is still on track for publication by Minicon 50 in 2015. I am pretty damned thrilled by this.

I have pulled out my weird west novella There Are Not Enough Midnights and given it a read. There are some structural problems and a couple of plot problems, but nothing large or insurmountable.

So, what does 2015 hold for me? I have no idea. We’ll just have to see what happens together.

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Ghosts of the Places We Live

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Purveyor of Fictions and Truths