WhimsyCon Announcement

WhimsyCon is fast approaching! Steampunk aficionados from all around are dusting off their bowlers, drinking tea, polishing their goggles, and wondering if a dram of the Green Fairy is in order for these tempestuous times.

I’ll be there, opening the convention on Friday night with a musical performance on the Main Events stage from 5:30 to 6:20. I’ll also be on literary panels throughout the con, so please check my schedule below for anything you might want to attend.

WhimsyCon takes place on March 1-3, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency – Denver Tech Center location, and is run by Shiny Garden, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting fandom and diversity.

Schedule

Friday, March 1, 2019
5:30 PM-6:20 PM — Musical performance by Stace Johnson (Main Events)

Saturday, March 2, 2019
Sat, 5:00 PM-5:50 PM — Steampunk Poetry Slam (Mesa Verde A)
Sat, 7:00 PM-7:50 PM — Geek Songwriting (Wind Star B)
Sat, 9:00 PM-9:50 PM — Creating Multi-Cultural Steampunk Characters (Mesa Verde A)

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Sun, 2:00 PM-2:50 PM — How To Support Small Artists (Mesa Verde C)

Denver Comic Con 2018 Recap and General Update

My first Denver Comic Con as a panelist has come and gone, and I enjoyed myself immensely. Thanks to the efforts of superwoman Shannon Lawrence, I was able to participate in five panels over the three days of the convention. Here are some personal highlights.

Art

I picked up this beautiful piece of artwork by Chaz Kemp, one of my favorite local artists. Nearly every aspect of this piece has personal meaning to me, and I’m honored to own it.

 

"Insight" by Chaz Kemp

“Insight” by Chaz Kemp

 

I also stopped by the VisiColors booth and picked up some very cute stickers for my girlfriend.

 

VisiColors Stickers

VisiColors Stickers

 

Inspiration

I was lucky enough to get in the front row for Frank Miller’s Q&A session, though I couldn’t afford an autograph. Miller is by far my favorite comic book writer thanks to his incredible “Born Again” run in Daredevil. His economy of language and ability to tell a gripping story in so few words is inspirational to me. It’s no secret to people who have known me for a while that even though I haven’t collected comics for a long time, Daredevil is my favorite superhero, and seeing the man behind The Man Without Fear speak is a bucket list item I can now check off.

 

Comic book legend Frank Miller

Comic book legend Frank Miller

 

Also, after fighting my way through the throngs of people in the exhibitor hall, I finally found Connie Willis‘s signing table and she signed my personal copy of Edward Bryant’s Sphere of Influence. I’m honored to have a story in the same book as her, especially since it’s my first fiction sale. (I also got a free copy of Crosstalk, which she also personalized for me!)

 

Connie Willis personalization on the Prologue page of Edward Bryant's Sphere of Influence

Connie Willis personalization on the Prologue page of Edward Bryant’s Sphere of Influence

 

Artistic Growth and Exposure

After fighting through a writing slump in recent months, I feel like I’m finally moving again. With another recent sale to Martian Magazine (to be published online the week of July 23rd), I’m feeling motivated again, and event submitted a piece of flash fiction to Postcard Poems and Prose from my phone while at Comic Con. There’s a lot of my dad in that story, so it’s fitting that I submitted it over Father’s Day weekend, and I hope it does well in their “Clutch” contest.

I attended a panel on geeky songwriting (“I Sing and I Know Things”) featuring my friends Losing Lara and Seth Phillips, and Lara was kind enough to give me a shoutout about my upcoming Westercon 71 / MALCon 6 concert on Sunday, July 8th at 2 PM. Watch this space for a more detailed announcement about that con appearance, coming soon.

 

Seth Phillips, Will Plumb, and Losing Lara

Seth Phillips, Will Plumb, and Losing Lara

 

Big Audiences without Anxiety

I’ve been participating on panels at SF conventions for over 15 years, and I’ve helped organize them as far back as 1987. But Denver Comic Con is an order of magnitude larger than any other convention where I’ve appeared, so the panel attendees were an order of magnitude larger, as well. Here’s a shot of the audience for my final panel, on “Black Mirror and the Evils of Technology.” DeAnna Knippling did a masterful job moderating the panel, and the time flew by.

Audience for "Black Mirror and the Evils of Technology"

Audience for “Black Mirror and the Evils of Technology”

Even better, when I saw the size of the line before the panel and the number of people streaming in, I barely got nervous at all. The only time this introvert’s social anxiety really kicked in was when I was trying to thread my way through the exhibit hall during its busiest times. For me, that’s a major win.

 

General Update

My life has become very busy lately, between convention appearances, musical gigs, stories published, and everyday work and relationships. Add to that the fact that I’m currently displaced from the room I rent and living out of boxes because the owners of my home are renovating the basement where I live, and I would normally be freaking out. But I’ve realized that I’ve changed a lot in the last couple of years, and the positive changes are mostly due to things I have put in place myself. I told a colleague last September that I really wanted to focus on my writing and music, and good things are coming from that. Even the displacement has had positive effects; it has disrupted my normal routine enough that I’ve broken out of some habits that were taking too much of my time and reducing the quality of my sleep.

However, there have also been some challenges because of these positive changes. I’ve had to erect some boundaries in order to stay on track and not get behind. One of these is in the area of computer consulting. I’ve done consulting on the side for years, but I’ve never done it with a monetary focus; it’s always been about helping people resolve problems inexpensively. But if I want to keep up the momentum on my creative endeavors, I can’t accept any new clients, and I have to be judicious about helping existing clients. That means I’ve had to say “No” to some people who have wanted my help recently, and that’s a new — and difficult — thing for me.

Sometimes I wish I could clone myself so that I could have WriterStace, PoetStace, MusicStace, FriendStace, and ConsultingStace for various tasks. When it comes down to it, though, MeStace is my default setting; I don’t need to create him, and he takes precedent over all others, perhaps for the first time in my life.

This just in … (Updated 5/31/2018)

DCC Logo

In addition to the appearance at Denver Comic Con that I wrote about a few days ago, I am now going to be on a total of five panels! Please see below for my appearance schedule. DCC takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, June 15-17, 2018.

I’m excited to be on my first Comic Con panels! HUGE thanks to Shannon Lawrence for including me.

Friday, June 15, 2018
Favorite Horror Tropes
Horror is full of common tropes, for good or ill. Let’s talk favorites. Which tropes are the best, the ones that stand out and make us beg for more? Which ones do we revisit over and over in books, television shows, and movies? We’ll discuss the horror tropes that make us shriek, shudder, and shake in fear. And the ones that make us think long into the night, while we peer into the shadows … and our own psyches.
Coast City – Mile High Ballroom DCCP4, 4:00 pm – 4:50 pm
Panelists: Melissa Sauer Locy (Moderator), Veronica R. Calisto, DeAnna Knippling, Emily GodhandShannon Lawrence, Stace Johnson

Saturday, June 16, 2018
Creating Believable Monstors
The more believable the monster, the more frightening it’ll be. But how do you take creatures of fantasy and make them real to the reader? What about when the monster is human? What details must be addressed to form a fully realized creature to creep and slash its way through your fiction?
Room 405, 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm
Panelists: Matt Bille (Moderator), Veronica R. Calisto, DeAnna KnipplingShannon LawrenceFleur BradleyStace Johnson

Not Just Novels — Writing Different Lengths
You frequently hear about novels, but writing comes in many lengths, from one sentence stories to flash fiction, short stories to novellas, and everything in between. Do some genres work better in short form? Are there some genres that don’t work in short form? What are some of the benefits of writing shorter works? Is the dynamic different?
Room 405, 5:30 pm – 6:20 pm
Panelists: DeAnna Knippling (Moderator), Jason Dias, Fleur Bradley, Carolyn Kemp, and Shannon Lawrence, Stace Johnson

Sunday, June 17, 2018
First Steps in Self Publishing
More authors are taking their careers into their own hands, whether going exclusively indie or going forward as hybrid authors. But what does it take to self-publish? What are the first steps? We’ll go over the initial elements that need to be addressed in order to get started with self-publishing.
Room 405, 10:30 am – 11:20 am
Panelists: Marla Newbrough Bell (Moderator), Patrick Hester, Melissa Sauer Locy, Andy BurnsShannon Lawrence, Stace Johnson

Black Mirror and the Evils of Technology
Black Mirror addresses the dark aspects of technological advancement in a time where technology is rapidly taking over our lives, from our bank accounts to our social and online presence. Why should we be afraid of technology? Where does it end? What topics haven’t they discussed yet?
Room 605, 4:30 pm – 5:20 pm
Panelists: DeAnna Knippling (Moderator), David R. Slayton, Veronica R. CalistoShannon Lawrence, Stace Johnson

w00t!

MALCon 2017 Panel Schedule

Myths & Legends Con 2017 hits the Ramada in Northglenn, CO on Friday,  August 4th, and wraps up on Sunday, August, 6th. Here is my official MALCon panel schedule. The room names are in parentheses.

Friday, August 4, 2017
5:00 PM: Unsung Villainesses and Heriones of Fandom (Serenity)
Bryan Fields, Tonya L. De Marco, Stace Johnson
Starting with Professor McGonagall, who are some of the great unsung heroines and villainesses of fandom?.

10:00 PM: Building and Cultivating Your Creative Community (Helms Deep)
Melanie Unruh, Sarin Tatroe (Sariochan Arts), Veronica Calisto, Stace Johnson
How do you find people with shared creative energies to build community that inspires and helps you grow as an artist, author, musician, crafter, etc? Learn how others have found and built safe, creative communities with a spirit of helping one another thrive.

—- —- —-

Saturday, August 5, 2017
2:00 PM: Wish You Were There: Worldbuilding (The Shire)
Amalie Howard, Sean Patrick Fannon, Veronica Calisto, Stace Johnson
There are two kinds of worldbuilding: the kind that describes the story’s world, and the kind that makes you wish you were there. Authors discuss the difference, and offer tips and techniques to help you bring your own fictional worlds to life.

4:00 PM: Serenity vs. Firefly: The Audience Quiz Bowl Game (Helms Deep)
Ana MacDonel, Pam Walker, Stace Johnson
Do you know more about Serenity and Firefly than your friends? Now is your chance to find out how much you know in this family-friendly and fun game where deep knowledge is pitted against recall speed.

6:00 PM: Verse in the ‘Verse: Poetry and the Firefly Universe (Kings Landing)
Stace Johnson, Bryan Fields
Readings of fan poetry, impromptu Firefly poetry, and any poetry based on Firefly topics. Bring your material to share or provide prompts to the panelists.

7:00 PM: Relationship, Sexual, and Gender Diversity in Fandoms (Helms Deep)
Catherine Winters, Layman Kingsford, Veronica Calisto, Stace Johnson
Sometimes representation of diverse relationships styles, sexualities, and genders is overt in fandoms, and other times they are fan created. What are some examples of non-cis/heterosexual/monoamorous relationships we see and are these characters authentic and fairly represented?

9:00 PM: Epic Rap Battles of Literature! (Helms Deep)
Jason Henry Evans, Thomas A. Fowler, Stace Johnson
Two teams go head to head in a rap battle where the topics are Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, Lord of the Rings, and more. Fight!

—- —- —-

Sunday, August 6, 2017
10:00 AM: Polyamory and Non-monogamy in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Terre d’Ange)
Jacqueline Koyanagi, Vivian Caethe, Stace Johnson
Panelists will review SFF genre fiction throughout the decades with non-monogamous and polyamorous themes and how they have influenced current lifestyle trends.

11:00 AM: Lord of the Rings: Myth or Mythopoetic (Helms Deep)
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Andrew Hallam, Stace Johnson
Tolkien’s works are often referred to as modern myth, but are actually mythopoetic. Our panelists explain the difference and how Tolkien fits into each.

MileHiCon 48 Schedule

It’s that time again! MileHiCon 48 is taking place at the usual place (Hyatt Regency Hotel – Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver CO, 80237) on the weekend of October 28-30, 2016. I’m on six panels this year, and I intend to defend my Hold ‘Em poker championship on Saturday night. C’mon out! I hope to see some familiar, friendly faces over the course of the weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2016
3:00 PM: The Ship: Close Environment, Set Characters (Mesa Verde C)
Nathan Beauchamp, C.A. Hartman, Sourdough Jackson, Stace Johnson (Moderator), Marc MacYoung

Unlike other environments, a shipboard setting is limited in place and characters – how do you handle this well? How do you create tension and excitement?

5:00 PM: Creativity Salon Roundtable (Bristlecone/Other)
Chaz Kemp (Moderator), Stace Johnson, Corinne O’Flynn, Ronnie Seagren, et al

What is creativity, how important is it to productivity in art/writing/other creative pursuits, how can you get into/stay in a creative mood, how can everyone bring more creativity into their everyday life? Join the discussion!

— — —

Saturday, October 29, 2016
12:00 PM: Agent Carter / Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan Forum (Bristlecone)
Stace Johnson (Moderator), Sherry Ficklin

Let’s talk about the highly competent women of S.H.I.E.L.D. from Agent Carter through Agent May and beyond (and of course, the men of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well).

2:00 PM: David Bowie & SF (Wind River A)
Boom Baumgartner, J.L. Forrest, Jason Heller (Moderator), Stace Johnson, Carrie Vaughn

David Bowie is the only rock star who has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Celebrate the life, music, and film work of Ziggy Stardust, the Man Who Fell to Earth.

3:00 PM: Cybersecurity: Reality vs. Paranoia (Wind River C)
John Barnes, Dr. Andrew Burt, Cynthia Felice, Stace Johnson (Moderator), Wendy Terrien

Omniscient governments, corporations, and hackers: they will know everything, from your credit card to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) massive data breach.(Is Mr. Robot overblown, or scratching the surface?)

— — —

Sunday, October 30, 2016
4:00 PM: Can AIs Have Souls? (Wind River C)
Michael Lee Burgess, Jim Gunderson, Louise Gunderson (Moderator), Stace Johnson, Dr. Rob S. Rice, Tim Simpson

Once we can answer the question, “Is there artificial intelligence?” with yes, it just opens up more questions. Does a self-aware artificial intelligence have a soul? How could we tell?