“Isis” Explained at InConJunction; Instigation Showcase Interview Touted on Horror Society; Guest Writers’ Lens Blog Set for Wednesday

InConJunction is a relatively small science fiction convention that’s been held every Fourth of July weekend in Indianapolis for the past thirty-three years.  So this Saturday I and friends made the trip (old InConJunction hands, we, but budgets — mine depleted by World Horror Con, for more on which see June 19 — dictated commuting for a one-day-only visit) where I had a chance to wave the flag for THE TEARS OF ISIS, among other things.  Actually I was on four different panels, the first called “Writers Roundtable:  Poetry” with Matt Betts and Frida Westford, local poet Frida being one of our commuter party.  It would be nice to say it was a great success, but due to several factors, e.g. being at noon and people going to lunch, a printer’s error which left out the page of the program book it was supposed to have been described on (printing instead a second image of what was to be the following page), nobody came.  So the three of us made it a seminar and discussed poetry, changing markets, editors’ foibles, and such like amongst ourselves.

Better attended was my 6 p.m. panel on “Worldbuilding:  Characters” where John Allen, Sara Miller, Mark Wandrey, Nicole Cushing (moderator), and I discussed character vs. setting (you need both, but which is prominent may depend on what you’re trying to accomplish); which comes first and, in general, how one goes about creating a lived-in science fiction/fantasy world; and just plain writing fiction (again, with me being perhaps somewhat the scold here, with some emphasis on character and the need to experience a world through its residents’ unique perceptions).  In this, my own “built world” example was that of the “Tombs,” my far-future dying Earth setting, which allowed me to bring at least a mention of THE TEARS OF ISIS via the three “Tombs” stories (out of fourteen or so currently published) that appear in the collection.  And, also well-attended, was the 9 p.m. “How to Put Together a Short Story Collection” with Guest of Honor Cherie Priest who, being primarily a novelist herself (although having written some short fiction to markets I might dream about), gave me most of the floor time to discuss the process from genesis to publication using, as my primary example, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  Then this was followed by a 10 p.m. CANDLELIGHT HORROR reading by Matthew Barron, R. J. Sullivan, Eric Garrison, and me, that garnered at peak some sixteen listeners, where the story I presented was “River Red” from (are you still with me here?) THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Part of the interest though was also schmoozing with fellow writers in the dealers’ room and elsewhere, including a con suite which, if not sumptuous, was stocked all day with (at a minimum) chips and salsa, soft drinks and coffee, do-it-yourself oatmeal mix (left over from breakfast), and, when available, assorted raw vegetables and dip, and strawberries and shortcake (but the latter, alas, missing the whipped cream to glue the ingredients together).*  Among other things we talked of reviews, particularly with another “home town” writer Tammy Jo Eckhart, and social media, and getting the word out including the note that readers can help too — that is, if you’ve read a book that you liked, by all means please send in an honest review to Amazon and elsewhere.  In fact, even if you dislike a book or think it has flaws, consider reviewing it anyway if you feel it’s worth the notice, to help induce others to join the discussion.

One of the books we discussed, needless to say, was THE TEARS OF ISIS (ahem) which, have I mentioned?, can be obtained from Amazon by clicking here for just $2.99 for the Kindle edition, or currently an even $12.00 for the trade paperback.  (That’s a slight rise from what it was selling for in June, at least for the paperback edition, though still a discount from the publisher’s list price.  But Amazon may be giving the hint that they’d like you to hurry.)

Then two short non-InConJunction notes:

The first is that I recently saw, to my delight, that the mini-interview I did for Michael A. Arnzen for INSTIGATION SHOWCASE (cf. March 16) is still up, on the use of two of his horror prompts for the story “Girls Gone Dead” subsequently published in the Post Mortem Press anthology NEW DAWN FADES.  So, having recently joined THE HORROR SOCIETY on Facebook, I passed the word, with a link, on to them.  Now it occurs in the spirit of reciprocity that I might recommend THE HORROR SOCIETY to readers here, as a possible source of news and occasional markets, etc., aimed toward horror writers (one warning, though, they have lots of postings that can sometimes come in large clumps if you tend to be frazzled by “to-read” email lists suddenly enlarging in dramatic fashion).  To give THE HORROR SOCIETY a look, just press here.

Finally, I received an announcement a couple of days back from Teresa Schnellmann (cf.  May 29) that a guest post I did for her THE WRITERS’ LENS on marketing advice has been scheduled for this Wednesday, July 10.  More on that when it’s actually posted, but if you’d like an early taste of Teresa’s blog, click here.


*And then there was also the Cupcake Workshop at 2 p.m., held in the con suite, a hands on exercise in frosting and decoration, combined with a contest for best effort.  I didn’t win, but I did get to eat my entries afterward 😀 .


  1. James – it was great to meet you! Too bad our panel didn’t work out. It was still a fun conversation. My poetry workshop on Sunday only did slightly better!


  2. All sounds just fine –sorry about that one panel that nobody knew much about and thus was not attended thanks to the program flaw! Great for all the plugs for TEARS OF ISIS! I’d have enjoyed that Cupcake Workshop! Yum!

  3. Poetry (alas) doesn’t hold much interest at fan con’s. We stopped going to two different con’s here in FL even though we were always comped as invited guests. (Not GOH Poet (Bruce), that was at HWA’a WHC & Stoker Weekend in NOLA! And we did get a good attendence there at our panel, right, Jim?)

    • The InConJunction ones in the past would often get three or four people, sometimes more, with space for people to read their poetry too if they want to, so I think the bobbled program book may have had a lot to do with. Also a few years back, one of the guests of honor wrote some poetry too and was signed on the panel as one of the presenters, which brought attendance up considerably that year (that he was young and relatively good looking may not have hurt much either, judging from some comments I’d heard).

      WHC’s poetry panel was phenomenal for its attendance, part of which undoubtedly had to do with Bruce being a Guest of Honor (and being quite well known too), but I also think there is a contingent of poets in the HWA who take it very seriously, while general fans (I suspect) look at poetry more as a pleasantry that separates the stories in magazines. Yet to the point that poetry-only publications survive, there is an indication that hard-core interest is out there. (At cons in general, of course, the poetry panel is competing too with whatever is scheduled in the same time slot [in our case, lunch 🙂 ], so attendance can have an environmental factor.)

      Just some thoughts.

      • Definitely certain factors can influence attendence at any sort of panel, poetry most notable –to the fans, as you say, as being filler rather than fiber of magazines. Since you didn’t say it this time–I’ll mention again that at WHC IF we’d had a Con suite or Hospitality suite that offered something more than water, perhaps the lunchtime factor wouldn’t be as important. Next time, if permitted by the hotel, we’ll have snacks provided by volunteers.

  4. Hi Matt, it was great to meet you too — and an interesting conversation, as you say, even if the potential audience missed it! I could only be there for Saturday only, unfortunately, or I might have popped in to the poetry workshop Sunday too.

    Marge, yes, if only WHC had thought to punctuate the days with Cupcake Workshops (does making it “educational” get you around hotel regulations?). We could have also had Jambalaya Workshops, Gumbo Workshops. . . . And a Beignet Workshop conjoined to Bruce’s coffee session — with maybe a hotel-supplied runner to take our orders down to that hotel’s coffee stand at its going price of $4.00 a cup — would have been wonderfully instructive! Just a note to future WHC con committees : )=

  5. So we’ve never heard of starving artists (or writers)? 🙂

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