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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

LITA Talk: We Are the Sum of Our Stories

I was graciously invited by the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) to give the LITA President’s Talk on June 25th. The talk was recorded and will be shared publicly in the next few weeks.

Until then, here is the full text of the talk (minus my asides, of course).

Thank you so much to LITA President Aimee Fifarek for the invitation (and to N.K. Jemisin for the NYT review that brought Geek Feminist Revolution to Fifarek’s attention!) and everyone involved in coordinating the event. Thanks also to the Tor team, in particular Kathleen Doherty and Zohra Ashpari, for all of their support in ensuring this event went smoothly. It was lovely, and I felt honored to be there.



So, this talk was described a bit disingenuously. And I apologize for that. What I’m actually here to talk to you about today are llamas.

Yes, I’m going to tell you a story about llamas.


On the surface, it’s pretty easy being a llama. I mean, all you want to do is eat, and poop, have sex sometimes, maybe raise some babies, and die old. These are desires that pretty much every llama shares. It’s something they can collectively agree on, and have collectively agreed on since there were llamas.

What they can’t agree on is what the point is of being a llama, anyway. Who made them? What’s the point of all this sex and pooping? They also can’t agree on if bigger llamas should be able to get access to more to eat, even if it means that other llamas may get less. Should little llamas have to poop in one part of the pen but big llamas poop where they want?

These are important llama questions. Pooping is serious business when you’re a llama.

These differences in such philosophical questions posed by herd life caused the llamas to all break up into divisive groups based on these different stories created around the facts of being a llama.

As divisions among the llamas escalated, they didn’t notice that sometimes there were some sheep dogs and leopards wandering among them, agreeing with their stories and planting new alternative facts into their heads, that not all llamas poop, not all llamas eat, so what do llamas really have in common anyway?

But leopards eat llamas, you might be saying, why on earth would llamas be listening to leopards, and I’d say #NotAllLeopards, why don’t you just hear both sides?

Pretty soon these llamas no longer stayed in the same herd together. They formed smaller herds. They started trusting no one but their own immediate families. The llamas could not form a shared reality, a shared story, about the state of the herd and the world around them. Soon, even their own families became suspect.

At some point, the llamas contaminated their grazing spaces. Many died of dysentery and ecoli. Some starved. But most were simply picked off one by one by the leopards who had helped nurture the stories that drove them into these little, more easily murdered groups.

The llamas all sat around blaming each other until there weren’t any more llamas left. The leopards got very fat.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

Oh, you want a moral to the story. A purpose? Why share a story, if it doesn’t tell us something about ourselves, the way that stories are supposed to?

Well, I guess the moral of the story is…. Thank goodness we’re not llamas.


It’s certainly easier to talk about the folly of llamas and their warring versions of reality than it is to face and understand our own shortcomings. We like to believe that we are rational creatures. But as someone with a deep background in storytelling and over a decade of marketing experience, I know the ugly truth. We are not rational creatures at all. We are driven purely by emotion. And those emotional drives are most powerful when communicated through narrative.

Story is absolutely central to our understanding of ourselves and our reality. There is a theory that human consciousness begins with story. Our awareness of the world hinges on our ability to form narrative. This is why most of us don’t have any clear memories until we’re two or three years old. Before we are able to construct our own consciousness, we must be able to form narrative. It is story that makes us human.

It means we can be shaped and altered entirely by the stories we tell, the stories we are told, and the stories we choose to believe about ourselves.

Scary, right?


My 6-year-old nephew thrives on rules and facts. Household rules, social rules, give him a baseline template by which to measure the world. It soothes his anxiety to know exactly how people are supposed to act. When rules are broken, he loses his mind.

I like to tell him wild stories that aren’t true. When he was four I convinced him that dinosaurs weren’t extinct, just nocturnal, Which was super funny until he corrected his kindergarten teacher, during a class on dinosaurs, by announcing loudly: “DINOSAURS AREN’T EXTINCT THEY’RE NOCTURNAL.”

I know, I’m a terrible Aunt.

Before then, he was happy to believe whatever story I told him. Now he hesitates and interrogates on the assumption that NOTHING I tell him his true. “Auntie Kamo that’s not TRUE.” And when I assert it is he looks for other sources, asks his mom, his uncle, “Is that REALLY true?” in an attempt to find a consensus.

He has learned to think critically (I have turned him into a critical thinker! Mission accomplished!). He’s learning who the best sources of information are. (not me). If only those llamas could learn to think as critically as a 6-year-old.


The way our behavior is shaped by story has been known by prophets, governments, and marketers (for millennia. It’s why religious books are largely written as a series of parable and stories. I still remember the Bible story where the King determines which woman is the true mother of a child by threatening to cut the kid in half! Memorable stuff.

For 15 years I’ve been working in an industry that was able to convince people that tobacco was cool, and then that it wasn’t. We got people to wash their hair every day instead of every week, so we could sell more shampoo. The “tradition” of the diamond engagement ring can be traced directly back to a 1930’s ad campaign by De Beers, in which a copywriter like me came up with the phrase “diamonds are forever” and started convincing celebrities to show off diamond engagement rings.

Everything we do is made up. It’s all driven by stories.


Even our sense of ourselves as a nation is simply a story, one many of us learn when we’re about… six. It is a carefully crafted story of manifest destiny and independence, in which a collection of European immigrants went out into a largely unpopulated continent and tamed it to their will and gave freedom and equality to all.

The only way to stick to this sense of ourselves is to willfully ignore the fact that the country was also built through the use of genocide, slavery, and oppression. We were, for nearly two hundred years, a democracy only in the sense that Athens was a democracy, a democracy that didn’t include women, foreigners, or slaves.

Yet even here there is some truth to the story we tell ourselves, at least. This is a country of immigrants. Together we have built some great things. We have also, collectively, done and continue to do some very terrible things. These are facts we can all agree on. It’s the story around it that changes.

Hijacking the American story is much easier than we’d like to think. Because, like my nephew, we all learned these stories when we were very young, we reject much of what we learn we when are older. We don’t want to believe entire nations of people had to be murdered and forcibly relocated for this country to be what it is. We want to believe they all died of a plague. White people in this country, in particular, don’t want to believe that enslaved hands helped build our White House. We want to believe all slaves were treated well and slavery “wasn’t so bad.” It soothes our sense of ourselves.

But that doesn’t make those things true.

Stories and truth aren’t the same thing.


Much has been made of the rise of the internet and its power in fracturing our sense of ourselves and our stories.

But our mass media is simply a reflection of our true selves and the culture at large. It’s like a carnival fun house where we are constantly confronted with all the best and darkest and most twisted versions of our reality as individuals and a nation.

Technology has simply made abuse and misinformation easier. I get yelled at and harassed on the street constantly when I lived here in Chicago. While walking my dogs last week in Dayton, Ohio I had a guy follow me in his car, espousing my physical virtues while demanding to know if I had a boyfriend. I’m regaled by street preachers about their views of apocalypse and salvation. On trains here in Chicago I’d also encounter wandering folks who insisted we were being controlled by aliens, or…whatever.

Online, it’s simply easier for people like Todd in his boring corporate cubicle to engage in this behavior of abuse and misinformation – quickly and infinitely.

For more than two decades, we have allowed bullying and abuse online and off, on playgrounds and by our sons and daughters, by our police forces, on our college campuses, in our streets, and we have allowed it in ourselves. To achieve this, we have built elaborate stories about why this abuse isn’t really abuse. We talk about how “boys we be boys” and “women are just asking for it,” and “if people just respected people with guns they wouldn’t get shot.” And we have allowed our media to serve us entertainment and call it news.

These stories aren’t solving these problems.


Story has power no matter how it’s communicated. Consider an example less close to home. One without the internet.

After an airplane carrying the then president of Rwanda was shot down in 1994, members of the political elite in Rwanda launched a campaign to encourage the Hutu majority to murder their Tutsi neighbors. Checkpoints and barricades were erected to screen those with Tutsi ethnic classification. One of the most powerful tools of the genocide, however, was the radio. On an extremist radio station, Hutu civilians were encouraged to take up whatever arms they had at hand, murder their Tutsi neighbors, and take their property. Over the course of about 100 days, Hutus murdered somewhere between 500,000 to 1 million of their own friends and neighbors.

A 2014 study estimated that 51,000 perpetrators, or approximately 10% of the overall violence, could be attributed directly to the propaganda espoused by a single radio station. The station was established several years before with a clear mission of promoting Hutu dominance in the region, and shared racist jokes and urged civilians to violence. More damning, the study also found that the station had not only directly influenced behavior in the villages within reception but also indirectly increased participation in neighboring villages through social interactions. In short, mass media can and does affect participation in violence due to both direct and indirect exposure to propaganda.


I bet you relaxed and felt much more comfortable when I was talking about faraway Rwanda than Todd in his cubicle. It’s easier to say we aren’t responsible for dealing with Rwanda. A lot harder to admit that Todd has problems and those problems are American problems.

For decades we have called the rise of misinformation and propaganda in this country entertainment. But it’s becoming increasingly clear what they really are.

Russian chess grand master Garry Kasperov recently tweeted, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking. To annihilate truth.”

Sometimes the only way to share the truth about ourselves is by giving it some distance. The closer it is to us, the more it hurts to see it. It’s like looking at our reflection. All we want to do is break the mirror.


Does truth still exist?

I have seen the attempted annihilation of truth in other countries, and I can tell you the general story of how it happens. But you already know by now, don’t you? You are encouraged to not think critically about media, but to reject it outright. You watch your government state a stance in one sentence and deny they ever said it in the second. When they are called out on this, governments then prevent themselves being filmed, so ordinary people have only the word of the already discredited media on what the government is saying. You see the pervasive spread of radio programs and Facebook pages influenced by foreign governments and bros looking to make a buck who actively spread false stories.

These are things we have witnessed. What remains to be seen is how each of us crafts the stories of these truths to shoehorn them into our internal story of the country we live in, and the people we are.

Because we would rather figure out a way to do that than confront what is really happening. The splintering of our stories of ourselves and our countries feels too much like dying.

So the leopards get fat.


If we can agree the world is confusing, and we often feel that we’re dying, we can, at least, ask ourselves… what happens next?

Now that so much in the world has been discredited and maligned, where do we turn? It turns out that there’s still one shining institution in America that has yet to be tarnished with the “fake news” label. It still holds a place in the public mind as an authority on fact and truth. That last bastion of truth is, of course, our libraries.

They’ve gone after your funding, sure. They don’t want to educate the populace because then they think critically. Authoritarian governments, corporations, people who want to retain power by crushing others, don’t want you to show the public how to really critically interrogate the information they consume.

But we’re not dead yet!

Children still come to libraries, young people still come to libraries, adults still come to libraries, looking for objective truth. In my hometown in Dayton, Ohio we just funded a massive new downtown library space with meeting spaces, cafes, and three floors of books. We still believe in libraries.

We unleashed firehouse of the internet on our countries without giving people the tools they need to navigate that information in a critical way. We assumed that somehow, magically, people would just figure out what was true and what wasn’t.

To help patrons, it’s not enough to show them where the information is, but also to teach them how to think critically about it. Incorporate guidelines for critical thinking in every how to use the library talk, every discussion about the internet. Hell, put up posters there along the computer banks, “Think before you click!” “Think before you share!” That sounds simplistic, but put those messages into the form of stories told by llamas who are making poor decisions, and it becomes powerful.

When I teach copywriting classes, I give my students handy green, yellow, red caution designations for common news sources and sites. It’s not that they can’t or shouldn’t see that information, no! But it urges them to think more critically about what the source is, what their motive may be, and gives them guidelines on how to navigate the vast trove of information. It invites them to take personal responsibility for the information they create, share, like, and broadcast. I teach them about hyperlinks, and clicking back, always to check the original source of a news item buried eight blogs deep. I tell them to take note of the author of the information and think about what biases that person may have. I teach them all to be little mini-historians, using the same training I was given when I pursued my degree.

Most importantly, again, I urge you to share this information about how to uncover the truth in the form of stories and fables, not bullet points. If you want people to remember the importance of critical thinking and their part in spreading misinformation… tell them about the llamas.

We unconsciously examine the biases of our own family members every day. Today, we must all be that studious 6 year old, shaping and reshaping reality, examining sources, doubting, always, but knowing the truth is, as ever, out there.


So finally, I realized that some of the problems I had in crafting this speech is that I was trying to tell you how to save the world with the power of story in…. 30 minutes. What can I say, I’m ambitious. What I’m going to do instead is share with you the story that is getting me through this difficult time in our history.

I tell myself that we all still have more in common than we have been led to believe. We all just want to eat and poop. Occasionally, we may want to have sex or at least have strong human relationships, we all want to live a life where we are comfortable and loved. We all want to die old.

I also have to believe there is a future. I often imagine that it’s 30 years from now, and the world here in America is amazing. We have tackled income inequality. We no longer wake up anxious in the middle of the night about medical bills or how to pay for our children’s medications, because we have all decided that we are only as healthy as the least healthy among us. We don’t worry about how to provide for our parents, or ourselves, in old age, because we have all decided to take care of each other from birth to death, just like a herd of llamas.

Our story, as a nation, has changed from one of The Hunger Games who can kill or rob more people faster than anyone else – to one of sharing for the common good. We have learned how to be kinder. Less angry. The story we tell ourselves now is that we all need each other to be here. I need other people to live because they make my shoes, my medications, they pave my roads, they fund the library that helped me learn to read, they regulate the safety of the food I eat. We all understand and value that, now. Thirty years from now.

I understand that sometimes it takes the very worst happening for us to get to that future. Sometimes, as in Europe, it takes a terrible war. Hard times. Terrible times. I tell myself that we are just beginning to enter those times.

So in this future, I’m an old woman living in an off-grid adobe hut in the middle of the desert, not because it’s the apocalypse and I’m drinking my own urine, but because it’s hot and sunny and when I’m old I want that! And I imagine these students tracking me down. And they come to me and they say, “How did you survive this terrible time in history and get through to the other side? How did you keep up hope when it looked like America had lost its story and was going to tear itself apart, with a foreign war or even a civil war?

And I tell them what I’m telling you now, and that is that I persevered because I could see the future on the other side. I could see us coming together. I had hope for this future. I could see them, these students and their shiny faces. I could see the future I built for them, and all of us. And I told that story to others.

No matter how horrible things got, so matter how divisive we were all encouraged to be, I remembered our collective story.

We all want to poop. We all want to eat. We all want to die old.

And I hope that as we go forward, there is some solace and hope for you in that as well. We are not all going to make it to that future. And that itself is a tragedy. It’s a tragedy to be here. But I believe in that future. And that is my story. That’s the real story I wanted to share with you today.

So, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, those llamas sure have a lot of problems. I hope they can work things out.

I want to thank you all for coming to story time today.

I wish you the very best.


On Kindness and Conventions

I want to talk a little about kindness.

We like to think that geeks are kind, that geeks understand what it is to be outsiders, and so we open up our circles and are super inviting to everyone. But what happens more often is that once we find our groups, we jealously defend them to keep outsiders away. Once we’ve created an “us” we work even harder to define the “them.” This is one of the reasons that conventions have always been so excruciatingly difficult for me.

Last year at ConFusion in Detroit I came in when everyone else was already glommed up into their little circles and went straight back to the bar and got a drink with my spouse. He was like, “Why aren’t you saying hi to people?” and I was like, “I’m afraid. What if they don’t talk to me? What if I’m interrupting someone? What if somebody says something mean to me? If people want to talk to me, I will wait for them to come to me, then I know for sure they want to talk to me.”

Yes, for real. Last January.

And that didn’t change for me until WorldCon last August, when for the first time ever, fans literally squee’d and shouted and cheered when I walked into a room. I had folks tearing up and saying, “OMG it’s such an honor to meet you” and “OMG YOU’RE KAMERON HURLEY!” and all of a sudden after slogging away for nearly twenty years writing and submitting stories, people outside a small group of authors knew who I was, and I realized something had changed. I wasn’t on the outside anymore, even if I sure as fuck felt like a nobody.

I have argued with authors for years about the power imbalance between authors and fans. By the very fact that you’re an author, that you’ve had worked published, it puts you in a position of perceived power, even if you don’t feel powerful. And what you do with that power is important. But first you need to realize, and accept, that you have it and people have given it to you.

I went to my first convention in 2001, and had such a terrible time, and felt like such an outsider, that I didn’t go again until Wiscon in 2004. It was at Wiscon that I did finally find my people. And though those first couple conventions were tough, I eventually got to know more folks so that I knew a few people every time I went and usually had some folks to talk to. The icebreaker was generally my blog; people knew me for that. That said, most conventions remained a little cliquish. It’s tough to approach circles of people who all clearly know each other, or to say hi to people you aren’t sure even care about or remember you from the conversation you had the night before. I know how difficult conventions have been for me, and after WorldCon, I realized that I was in a place where I finally knew enough people that I could start to pay it forward. I didn’t feel powerful, but people perceived me that way, and it was time for me to start walking the talk I’d been spewing at authors for a decade.

So this weekend at ConFusion, I did what my spouse suggested I do, which is to wave and acknowledge folks as I passed them, even and especially when they didn’t respond. If someone didn’t wave back, I tried very hard to dismiss it and not take it personally. Most of the time, it’s because they didn’t see me, didn’t remember me, or were tired or otherwise goal-focused. I know I had to stop and turn and say hello back to people who I didn’t recognize at first. There was only one instance where I said hello to someone and I felt like I was ignored on purpose, but that dude is pretty weird anyway.

Most importantly, though, when I was out at parties, or in the bar, I opened up the conversation circle to people. This is probably the most important thing you can do at either of these events. There is nothing worse than hanging on outside the circle hoping to try and get someone to invite you in. Here are these people who’ve known each other for years, and you’ve been told to socialize at the bar because it’s so great to network! and all you’re doing is standing outside these circles of people with a drink, feeling stupid.

I have done that more years that I care to admit.

In fact, another author came up to a circle I was in at a party one night, and I widened the conversation circle to welcome him in, as I’d been doing with others all night, and he looked surprised and said “Thank you.”

“For what?” I said.

“For opening the circle,” he said. “Most people tighten up the circle when other people come up.”

“Are you serious?” I said.

“Oh yeah,” he said.

Unless you’re involved in a heated private conversation, please don’t do that, folks, especially if you’re an author here to meet new folks. Don’t close the circle unless you are seriously meaning to keep someone out who’s a known jerk or something. We’re all at these things to have fun. We have all been that person on the outside of the circle, and you fucking know what it feels like. Don’t do that to people.  I know it’s all terrifying. Just introduce yourself. Encourage everyone else to introduce themselves. Remember what it was like when you didn’t know anyone.

As my spouse often says, kindness costs you nothing. And it means the world to someone else. It’s the difference between having a welcoming and open community and a cliquish, closed community that does not grow and diversify. And if you’re talking the talk about building that better community, then you need to take the tough actions that will help you build that, even if it scares you.

There were, of course, plenty of things I messed up. I made a joke on a panel at the expense of another panelist, not realizing that we had no previous rapport and it might hit him the wrong way. I was saving a seat at a table at breakfast for someone and had to turn someone else away, when in fact what I should have done is pull another table together with ours to make the table bigger.  I can go on. And I did, of course, like we always do, jerking awake from a sound sleep Sunday morning in a panic that I’d committed a thousand social faux pas for which I would never be forgiven.

But, you know: you get up again. You plow forward. You apologize when necessary. You move on. You do better.

I have talked a lot of talk over the last decade. It’s my turn to pay it forward, and to help build the community I’d like to see, instead of just complaining about how shitty things are elsewhere.

Because there is no greater joy than seeing the reactions of people who’ve had their first amazing convention, and who tear up all the way home because in a single weekend they’ve found their people, they feel included, they felt like part of something bigger than themselves.

Be the change you want to see, right? I need to act like the author I always wished I would have encountered when I was twenty-one years old at my first convention. Every time I talk to some new person, especially those at their first convention, I imagine that I’m talking to somebody who is going to come up fighting through here just like me. I’m holding out the hand I didn’t get that first time. I’m opening up the circle.

ConFusion 2016 Appearances

Still a little shocked that I somehow survived 2015 long enough to arrive more-or-less whole at my first convention of 2016, which will be what is becoming the annual writer gathering at ConFusion just outside Detroit.

It’s a nice centralized con, just a couple hours by plane from either coast and a three-hour drive from my digs here in Ohio. The low-cost-of-living Midwest writing contingent is pleased with this. Most of my programming is Saturday. I’ll also have plenty of books that you can buy during the autograph session as well.

If you can’t make it to Michigan this year, no worries. I’ll be at ICFA in Orlando in March, ReaderCon in July, Gencon in August, and possibly NYCC in October if the money (and my sanity) hasn’t run out. I’m also working on trying to put together a little


ConFusion Schedule: January 21-24, 2016


Saturday 10:00:00 AM The Fiction of Political SFF

Most “political” science fiction doesn’t really deal with politics, it deals with the setting out of ideologies. In other words, it tells stories that have little to do with running a government. The result is a debate of ideas where the political is described by greed and corruption, but never the merely bureaucratic. Why are these tropes recycled time and again? How can politics be approached in a more authentic way and remain compelling?

Kameron Hurley, Patrick Tomlinson, Justin Landon (M), Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone


Saturday 12:00:00 PM Lionizing the Status Quo

Genre novels are often about restoring the status quo. Repel the aliens! Defeat the Dark One! Frodo just wants to go back to the Shire and get high. How have these kinds of narratives impacted the way we relate to the world? Should we be more concerned with narratives that do the opposite and seek to overturn the traditional order of the world?

Elizabeth Shack, Douglas Hulick, Ferrett Steinmetz (M), Kameron Hurley, Brigid Collins


Saturday 4:00:00 PM Autograph Session 1


Saturday 6:00:00 PM It’s the Economy Stupid

National economies are complicated. Far more complicated than Dark Lords and Evil Queens. Nevertheless, books like James SA Corey’s The Expanse series and Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor manage to use economic pressures to create compelling motivations and narrative tension. What are the essential parts for a story built around economics? What’s appealing about these kinds of stories and do the resonate more today than they did a decade ago?

Carl Engle-Laird, Max Gladstone, Kameron Hurley, Ann Leckie, Brent Weeks


Saturday 7:00:00 PM Colonialism and Post-Colonialism

Novels of invasion and colonization often end with the glorious liberation. But what happens next? How deep does the impact of colonization go–culturally, politically, economically, socially–and how long does it really take to recover from its consequences? In what ways is the colonizer, too, changed by the experience? In a larger sense, are science fiction and fantasy beginning to repudiate colonialist narratives?

Stina Leicht, Kameron Hurley, Tobias S. Buckell, DongWon Song, Matt Pearson
Sunday 12:00:00 PM The Business of Rejection

Writing is a business built around rejection. Almost every writer in the industry has experienced it at some point, and many experience it constantly. Come learn how working writers deal with rejection, move past it, and embrace it for what it is.

Amy Sundberg, Kameron Hurley, Greg van Eekhout, Mur Lafferty (M), Gwenda Bond

WorldCon Schedule

It’s going to be the drunkest con of the year!

I was put on a few panels at Worldcon, which I admit still surprises me.

Compared to my nine or twenty panels at Gencon, this will be a fairly relaxing affair as long as nobody crashes into their own face during the Writing Diverse Characters panel, which folks are weirdly wont to do on this sort of panel, especially at the core SFF cons. I MEAN LOOK AT THE OPENING DESCRIPTION OF THE PANEL MY GOD.

I will try and keep a lid on the mad as best I can as moderator, and try even harder not to be the one who walks into my own face.


Writing Diverse Characters

Thursday 16:00 – 16:45, Spokane Falls Suite A/B (Doubletree)

There was a time when most science fiction writers were geeky white guys with military experience (KAMERON NOTE: NO THERE WAS NOT), so most of their characters tended to be geeky, white guys with military experience…including often the aliens (KAMERON NOTE: NO THE REASON WAS WHITE MALE SUPREMACY).  What are some of the tricks to creating diverse characters? (KAMERON NOTE: THEY MEAN HOW TO WRITE CHARACTERS WHO ARE NOT GEEKY WHITE MEN WITH MILITARY XP MY GOD MY GOD HOW LIMITING IS THAT ONE??). What are some better examples of fiction with diverse, well-written characters? (I THINK WE CAN THINK OF A FEW WHY DID NO ONE ON THE COMMITTEE CATCH THIS ONE THESE ARE NOT TRUE THIIIIIIINGS AND THEY ARE PART OF NARRATIVE OF ERASURE THAT IS THE WHOLE EFFING PROBLEM!!??)

Kameron Hurley (M) , Randy Henderson, Mary Soon Lee , Grá Linnaea , Walidah Imarisha



Writing About SF: Yesterday and Today

Friday 11:00 – 11:45, Bays 111A (CC)

From Knight and Blish, through Delany and Le Guin, to the critics of today, SF has had an active (and sometimes contentious) history of criticism.  What is the role of a critic? Who are the great critics, and why?

Gary K. Wolfe (M), David Hartwell , Rich Horton, Michelle Sagara , Kameron Hurley


Self-publishing — How to Market Your Work

Saturday 16:00 – 16:45, 303A (CC)

Your manuscript is done, you’ve found your printer, uploaded your files, and your book is done. Now how the heck do get people to buy it? Successful self-published authors share their methods.

Sarina Dorie, Doug Farren , Kameron Hurley , Annie Bellet

Gencon 2015 Schedule

Gencon is coming at the end of the month! Holy hell. Time fucking flies.

I will have ALL MY BOOKS available for sale at the Indy Reads Books booth. I also hope to have postcards available with the EMPIRE ASCENDANT cover and possibly a sampler, though we are still too far out to have ARCs available.

I have TWO: count them, TWO signings, on Friday and Saturday, so there’s no excuse about why you can’t make one of them.

NO EXCUSE. Bring whisky. And friends.

Here’s where you can find me at the con:


9:00 a.m. : Business of Writing 101

10:00 a.m. :The Business of Writing: How to Talk About Your Book

11:00 a.m. :Early Stage Writing Career: What to Expect

1:00 p.m. :The Business of Writing: Networking

2:00 p.m. :Writing Craft: High Fantasy Without the Cliches

5-7:00 p.m.: Author MEGACAST with the Once & Future Podcast


FRIDAY July 31st

9:00 a.m. :Writer’s Craft 101

 4:00 p.m.: Signing at Indy Reads Books Booth

(bring friends and whisky)


SATURDAY August 1st

9:00 a.m. :Character Craft 101

10:00 a.m.: Character Craft: Character Voice

2:00 p.m.: Signing at the Angry Robot Books Booth!

(friends, whisky)

6:00 pm: Character Craft: Writing the Other


My BEA/Bookcon Schedule

I’ll be driving over to NYC in three weeks for Book Expo America, followed by Bookcon, and then off to Denver for the Launchpad Astronomy Workshop.

Must be con season.

I’ll be re-posting this for folks as it gets nearer the date. In the meantime, if, like me, your calendar is already filling up, here’s where you can find me if you’re in NYC at either or both of these events:



PANEL: State of Blogging and Books – KEYNOTE
Date: Wednesday, May 27
Time: 9:00-9:50 a.m.
Room: 1A06/1A07/1A08

Moderator: Thea James, Co-founder, Editor, Book Reviewer, The Book Smugglers

Speakers: Patty Chang Anker, Author, Blogger and Speaker; Ron Hogan, Literary Evangelist; Kameron Hurley, Author and Blogger


PANEL: We Need Diverse Books Presents In Our World and Beyond
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM12:00 PM
Location: 1A Panel Room

Speakers: Nnedi Okorafor, Kameron Hurley, Daniel José Older, Joe Monti, Ken Liu, Miranda Paul, Marieke Nijkamp

SIGNING: Saturday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the BookCon autographing area.

If you can’t make either of these events, find the bar where the most SFF authors are drinking, and you’ll find me there.

Looking forward to seeing folks!