Upcoming Steampunk Reading and Discussion

Steampunk Reading and Discussion Logo

I will be part of a virtual steampunk reading and discussion on the 24th at 2:00 pm as part of virtual CONvergence.

CONvergence Online brings CONvergence squee to you—wherever you are! All CONvergence Online events are FREE. Panelists will read from and discuss steampunk.

Panelists:
Catherine Lundoff, publisher of swashbuckling steampunk adventure Wireless and More Steam-Powered Adventures by Alex Acks

Michael Merriam, author of Weird West steampunk novella in the Sixguns & Sorcery universe.

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, author of post-apocalyptic steampunk novel A Circus of Brass and Bone

Tyler Tork, author of newly released steampunk mystery The Deep End.

(Free) Registration Here: https://convergence-con-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sz53PUPiSFulsXmrogwI-Q

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Possibly My Only Public Appearance of the Year

I am a last minute addition to Cream and Amber’s Fall Mini-Market this Saturday from 10am to 2pm at Cream And Amber 1605 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343! Come out and buy items from local crafters, authors, etc in a safe and socially distanced event. I will be there wearing a mask and selling my books! There will deals and specials just for this event. I am sure Cream and Amber will have coffee and food and of course books inside the store. Check the website for how they are handling book shopping (I think it’s limited numbers in the store at one time)

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2019 Artist’s Year in Review

Since I’m pretty sure last night’s show was last thing happening this year and nothing else will shake loose this late, I think it is okay to do my annual artist year in review post and close the books on 2019.

Of course, I once received 4 rejections on Christmas Eve while sitting in a shitty hotel room, so maybe I shouldn’t tempt the universe. But since I’m not traveling this year and it’s no fun for the universe to kick a guy if he can just go home, hug his cat and his wife, and pour himself a stiff drink, I think I’m pretty safe.

First, the basic stats –

Submissions: 36
Sales: 1 (a piece of flash fiction)
Rejections: 32
Publications: 0
Productions: 0
Performances: 8 (6 Literary readings and 2 spoken-word performances)
New Pieces Written: 12 (1 novel, 1 screenplay, 1 flash fiction piece, 2 spoken word pieces, 7 poems)

On the surface it isn’t one of my best years, but I did complete two large projects with that novel and screenplay, and most of my rejections are for the novel I have out on agent submission. I also did appearances at Twin Cities Book Festival, Midwest Comic Book Association Fall Comic Con 2019, The Loft Word Play Event, GPS Holiday Emporium, and 13 Gears Steampunk Expo, and book and reading events at Bingley’s Teas, Cream and Amber Books and Coffee, and DreamHaven Books and Comics, which were all fun events.

I think the two most important things this year brought were that I joined a new writers group with some really strong and talented writers who I feel I can trust, and for the first time since the car accident in 2017, I felt like I was getting back to normal/settling into the new normal. The writing seemed to going at a solid pace and my public appearances were progressively stronger as the year wore on, culminating with last night’s performance where I felt in command on stage again after over 2 years of feeling shaky at best and disappointed at worst with my readings and spoken-word performances.

So there’s the year in review.

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Tonight! Not-So-Silent Planet Open Mic

This is your reminder that I will be a special guest performer at the Not-So-Silent Planet SpecFic Open mic tonight. This also your reminder that, due to some heating issues at Red Stag, tonight’s Not-So-Silent Planet is moving out to:

Strike Theater
824 18th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

I know it still says Red Stag on the graphics, but trust me, we will be at Strike Theater. FYI – I don’t know if there is food and drink available at the Theater (I think there are vending machines in the building), so plan accordingly.

The evening’s theme is “Celebration!” Open-mic sign-up starts at 7:20 pm. If selected, performers have up to 7 minutes of stage time. Anything goes as long as it’s speculative fiction. First-time performers are guaranteed stage time. For December’s Sentence Challenge, the performer who can most seamlessly or creatively fit the following line into their performance, as determined by the audience, will win a prize: “We couldn’t remember anything.” Or, alternatively: “They couldn’t remember anything.” Like the theme, this challenge is also optional.

I hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/454390995261545/

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Small Business Saturday!

Hey Everyone! It is Small Business Saturday. Because I hand-sell my small press and Indie book titles, as well as hand out promotional material for my two Harlequin/Carina Press titles at various bookfairs, conventions, readings, and other events (such as the upcoming GPS Holiday Emporium! Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/872963226437877/), that makes me a Small Business.

If you are interested in my books, stories, plays, poems, and other art career endeavors, you should head on over to my website at http://michaelmerriam.com/. My books for sale can be found in my bibliography (http://michaelmerriam.com/bibliography/) where they are listed by what setting. All full book titles are also available for Kindle and other e-readers. Physical and electronic books make great Christmas gifts!

If you are a producer or director looking for short one-act plays, they’re listed here (http://michaelmerriam.com/storytelling/playwright/) and I’d be happy to discuss sending you a copy of the script and my licensing fees.

If you’re not sure about any of this, you can get a taste at my Free Stuff page (http://michaelmerriam.com/free-media/) where you can find stories to read online, audio of select spoken-word performances, links to videos of readings at DreamHaven books, and stories that have appeared in podcasts or as radio dramas.

If you want to see me in person and buy a book directly from me, come out to the GPS holiday Emporium I mentioned above. I’d be happy to chat and sign your book.
Finally, like me, many of your favorite authors and storytellers also are small business, so if you have a favorite, I suggest you also stop by their websites and show a little love.

#SmallBusinessSaturday

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MCBA Fall Comic Con

This Saturday I will be appearing at MCBA Fall Comic Con at the same table as Catherine Lundoff and Queen of Swords Press. We will have books for sale, specials on said books, free chocolate, and good cheer! Come by and see us. $10 admission, $1 off with a donation of a non-perishable food item.

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Murder, Airships, and Tea!

This is a reminder that Catherine Lundoff of Queen of Swords Press and I will be reading steampunk fiction and selling books this Saturday at Bingley’s Teas. Which means there will also be tea! And there will be costumes!

Details Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/933478440337467/

From the event –
Join authors Catherine Lundoff and Michael Merriam for an afternoon of steampunk readings from their own works and those of author Alex Acks at Bingley’s Tea Salon, Saturday, September 28th, 2-4.

Tasty teas and books will be available for purchase. There will also be light munchies. Free admission and steampunk costumes encouraged!

118 East 26th Street, Minneapolis (2nd floor – accessible only by stairs). For more information, call 612-822-7321.

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A Bunch of New Appearances on the Schedule!

Hello Friends and Readers

I have a number of new appearance and events I will be at this fall and one extra special event next August!

First up: Murder, Airships, and Tea! A steampunk literature reading with Catherine Lundoff of Queen of Swords Press – September 28th – 2pm to 4pm at Bingley’s Teas, 118 East 26th Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404. It is on the 2nd Floor and accessible by stairs only. We will have steampunk novels and story collections, tea, and chocolate! There might be costumes!

MBCA Fall ComicCon 2019. October 5th – 10am to 6pm – MN State Fairgrounds Education Building. I will have all my books for sale at this event and free chocolate to keep your spirits and energy up!

Twin Cities Book Festival With Queen of Swords Press. October 12th – 10am to 5 pm – MN State Fairgrounds – Progress Center. For the third year in a row I will be sharing table space with Queen of Swords Press. This year I plan to focus on selling my short fiction and poetry collections.

The big news is I will be Guest of Honor at Diversicon 28 – August 7th through the 9th, 2020 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. I am super-excited about being the GoH at this convention focused on diversity and disability in Science Fiction and Fantasy literature and fandom. More details to follow!

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Worldcon and the Hugo Awards

Now that Worldcon and the Hugo Awards are over, I’d like to talk to you, the Science Fiction and Fantasy author/writers who: 1: Couldn’t go to Worldcon in Ireland this year, watched from afar (or at least on the screen of your electronic device) and felt left out/sad/driven to the margins as the rest of SFF fandom/pro-dom celebrated and B: Watched the Hugo Awards with the sure knowledge that your work will never ever ever never be even remotely considered worthy of even any consideration for this award and you know in your darkest heart of hearts you will never stand on that podium, rocket ship in hand.

Wouldn’t it have been great to go to Ireland for WorldCon? Yes, it would have been great. But for most of us, that was simply not a viable option, whether for financial, personal, or life reason. And remember this: some of those folks who attended started saving money to attend by eating ramen and Kraft Mac & Cheese 15 meals a week the moment this Worldcon was announced. Some of those folks made a decision that this would be their one big trip/vacation for the year, maybe the next couple of years. Some of those folks took on unsecured credit card debt to pay for the privilege of attending Worldcon. We all make decision, and while it is perfectly normal to be a little sad and yes, even jealous YOU couldn’t attend, remember that we all had perfectly good reasons (even if those reasons were sadly beyond our control) for going or not going.

The Hugo Awards. Here is the thing. Maybe you read a bunch of the nominated stories and novels and such and here you are saying to yourself, “Self, I’ll never be as good/as talented/in the same class of these luminous supernatural beings of the written word and I should just quiet.” Maybe you are saying to yourself, “Self, I can out-write these hacks with one hand, what the hell even?” Probably you are somewhere between these extremes of hyperbole.

My dear writer friends, please remember this. The only thing you control is the writing. That’s it. No matter where you fall in the above spectrum, remember that the only thing you control is the writing. Also remember that editorial and reader tastes change over time. Editors, agents, and other “gatekeepers” change with time. Maybe what you write right now isn’t to their taste. Maybe it will be to the next editor/agent/reader. Okay, I will allow that networking and making connections can help, but in the end what matters is the story. Awards and novel contracts and bestseller lists and meager fame and fortune all come out of the one thing you control. The story.

In the end, what matters is the story.

So, congrats to all the Hugo Winners. And all the Hugo losers. And all the Not Appearing on Any Hugo List Ever authors. Congrats to you mid-listers out there grinding it out. Congrats to you on your 100th sale or your 1st. Congrats to you who just finished the thing, be it a novel, screenplay, short story, poem, article, or whatever because you, my friend have done the thing so so many cannot: you finished creating a piece of art. Congrats on your publication with the Big 5 or the Not-So Big 5 or a small press or the indie published thing you are willing to fling out into the big cold world. Congrats to all of us who keep working away with words, keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep entertaining.

Cool? Okay. Let’s get back to writing.

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35 DEAD IN…

BANG
A gunman opened fire today…
BANG
Information is sketchy…
BANG
Armed with an AR-15…
BANG
Mass confusion, police on the scene…
BANG
Our thoughts and…
BANG
Let’s not politicize this tragedy…
BANG
Guns don’t kill people…
BANG
The problem is violent video games…
BANG
The problem is mental health…
BANG
He was such a kind and quite…
BANG
We stand in solidarity…
BANG
It’s time to hold our representatives accountable…
BANG
An NRA spokesman today said…
BANG
If you outlaw guns…
BANG
Among the victims…
BANG
Candlelight vigil…
BANG
Our God-given rights under the 2nd…
BANG
It’s the gays…
BANG
But is it really an assault rifle…
BANG
White male lone wolf killer who…
BANG
So senseless…
BANG
But actually, what about black on black…
BANG
Well, what about Chicago…
BANG
The mother…
BANG
The father…
BANG
The brother…
BANG
The sister of the victim…
BANG
Never another shooting…
BANG
I heard it was a bunch crisis actors…
BANG
Investigators found disturbing materials…
BANG
I guess we’ll never know why…
BANG
On this solemn occasion…
BANG
We’ve turned away for God…
BANG
Nothing we can do…
BANG
A gunman opened fire today…
BANG

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