Podcast: Balticon 50: Queering the Feed

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A panel discussion on podcasts with LGBTQ content recorded live at Balticon 50

Click HERE to listen

Moderator: Jared Axelrod


A F Grappin,J R Blackwell, Hugh J O’Donnell, Ruth Lampi.

This podcast was originally posted on June 13, 2016 at Planetx.libsyn.com.

Thank you for listening.

Drabble-Beers in the Night

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Here’s the second drabble I wrote for this year’s “Dueling Drabbles” panel at Balticon 48.  The prompts for this one were:  San Francisco, A Private Eye, and a bottle opener.  Enjoy!


The detective huddled into his coat and stepped out into the chilly July night. San Francisco winter. He was searching for a needle in a city of haystacks. He passed darkened storefronts and seedy alleys. Dive bars and the kind of places where a man found salvation, and lost his soul. He kept searching. That wasn’t what he was looking for tonight. He thought about his client, a dame with the kind of looks that made a fireman play with matches. She was waiting for him.

Finally, he came back and gave her the bottle opener. “Next time, buy cans.”

Drabble: The Goodbye Party

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Here’s one of the two drabbles I wrote at this year’s Dueling Drabbles panel at Balticon.  This story’s prompts were:  Antarctica, A Colonel, and A Palm Tree.  Enjoy!


The Colonel stared at the banner and frowned.  ‘Bon Voyage’ was scrawled across it in cheerful rainbow letters.  He wasn’t sure, but he suspected the font was comic sans.

“You don’t like it,” his sister said.  She had promised she wasn’t throwing him a surprise party.

“it’s not that,” he said, even though it was.  “But you do remember where they are sending me, right?”

“Oh,” she said.  “I had thought you said Antigua.”  She had decided to make it a beach party.  Plastic palm trees, beach balls, the works.  He tried to relax.  Tomorrow, he was flying to Antarctica.

Balticon and the State of the Hugh-nion

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Another Balticon has come and gone, and once again, I’m left with a heady mix of thoughts and feelings. I saw caught up with old friends, some of whom I met for the first time, learned a lot, and of course ate and drank my fill. In a lot of ways Balticon feels like a ‘home’ convention, even though it’s a seven hour drive away.

I think that sense of community was especially true this year. A lot of folks who missed last year’s festivities returned this time, although there were still some absences. Felt and yarn did their best, but I missed seeing Nathan Lowell, The Clockwork Doctor, and Cynical Woman, amongst others. Having a nice, big Flash Mob presence was great, though.

This was my fourth Balticon, and I can track my growth across those years as a podcaster and as a professional writer. My first was in 2011. I came down with my friend Mackenzie Lambert. He was good company, and we did some events together, but we were often at opposite ends of the con. Him there for the indie-horror vibe as I was there to learn to be a better podcaster. I tried to network as well, but that year I was way too overwhelmed by the whole experience. Everyone I did meet was incredibly nice and welcoming, but I mostly hung around and breathed the air around the creative pioneers I saw as giants, unable to think of what to say to the faces behind the voices.

The next year, I was ready to be a bit more involved in the community. After having dipped my toe in the first year, I had become more active, and that year I stayed with two other podcasters, Tony Miller and James Keeling. By this year, my podcast game was improving. I even was able to take part in the reading of a great story for The Drabblecast B-Sides. I was coming out of my shell a bit.

Last year was another crazy Balticon. 2013 saw a lot of the old guard podcasters called away with family commitments and other professional engagements. It was also my first year as a guest. I had never been a guest at a convention before, and I probably overtaxed myself. I was running around all weekend, but I still had an excellent time. That year I celebrated my first semi-pro sales as a writer. I was going places, and Balticon was helping me get there.

Which brings me to this year. After four years, I think I’m starting to get a feel for the rhythm of the convention. I scrambled to get ready for this one, but the social and professional anxiety that had shadowed me in the past was gone. Maybe part of it was having attended the Smoky Writers retreat in Tennessee earlier this year. Working alongside a selection of my favorite writers, and sharing our work at the draft stage helped to dispel a lot of my doubts. I felt ready this year.

If my schedule wasn’t quite as full as it was last year, I still had a lot on my plate this year. I moderated some panels on Podcasting Basics and Drabble-Writing, once again hosted the infamous Podcasters Against Humanity, and I even launched the Freelance Hunters series alongside Paul E. Cooley‘s twisted muppet noir, The Street.

If I listed every memory from this year’s Con, or paused to thank every friend I saw there, this post would be a novel. There will be more content from Balticon coming, both here and in the feed for The Way of the Buffalo. But I’d like to say two things now. My thanks to Patrick Scaffido, and everyone else who keeps the Rube Goldberg device of Balticon running. You oil the gears and feed the boilers. I just show up and party. We all wouldn’t have this without you, so thank you for everything.

And to the readers, and listeners: 2014 is just getting started. And I am, to steal a phrase from Stephen Granade, the most excited I have ever been. Stay tuned, because things are going to get awesome around here.


The Freelance Hunters Launch Party!

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Are you going to Balticon next weekend?

On Sunday Night, I’ll be teaming up with the Fiendmaster himself, Paul E. Cooley, for a Freelance Hunters/The Street launch party!

I’m not exactly sure what Paul’s got up his sleeve, but it’s going to be epic!  I’ll be announcing some Freelance Hunters news, previewing an upcoming story with the vocal talents of the one and only Lauren ‘Scribe’ Harris, and giving away fabulous prizes:  A one-of-a-kind bookmark and pendant from Black Unicorn Wood, and a hand-crafted medieval board game from The Goblin Parlor!  There might even be snacks!  So come celebrate the release of “Glory’s Gauntlet” with me, and find out where the series is headed!

Balticon Schedule 2014

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I’ll be returning as a guest to Balticon 48!  Here’s where you can find me:

  • Podcasting 101 (Panel) (Participant), Fri 19:00 – 19:50, Derby (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Conducting Podcast Interviews (Panel) (Participant), Sat 11:00 – 11:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • GLBT Issues in YA Fantasy and SF (Panel) (Participant), Sat 18:00 – 18:50, Parlor 1026 (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Podcasters Against Humanity (Panel) (Moderator), Sat 23:00 – 23:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Dueling Drabbles (Panel) (Moderator), Sun 14:00 – 14:50, Parlor 1041 (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Storytelling in Video Games (Panel) (Participant), Sun 17:00 – 17:50, Derby (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Social Media Promotion (Panel) (Participant), Sun 20:00 – 20:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • The Street/Freelance Hunters Launch (Panel) (Moderator), Sun 22:00 – 23:50, Parlor 1041 (Hunt Valley Inn)

I’ll be blogging about Balticon in more depth as the Con gets closer.  I hope to see you there!

Balticon 2013 schedule

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Hey folks!

Balticon, also known as “Podcaster New Year” is a week and a half away!  This year I’m going to be a panelist, and boy, do I have a full schedule!  Keeping in mind that this is all subject to change, here’s where you’ll be able to find me this year:


11 am NM-3 New media Artists Take On Film with James Durham, Justin Timpane, and Zan Rosin
1 pm NM-54 Promoting Your Podcast with A Kovacs, Alicia Goranson, Jay Smith, and Allison Gamblin
5 pm NM-49 Kickstarter with John Mierau, Betsy Riley, and Mur Lafferty

8 pm NM-51 Podcast Editing with Chris Snelgrove, Chris ester, PG Holyfield, and PC Haring


1 pm NM-25 Talk to Me: How To Conduct Podcast Interviews with Stephen Granade, Tim Dodge, John Mierau, Chris Lester, and Alex White
2 pm Nanowrimo with Starla Huchton, Doc Coleman, Pamela Gay, PG Holyfield, and Allison Gamblin
5 pm Metamor City Live Show with Nobilis Reed, Veronica Giguere, Renee Chambliss, Patrick Scaffido, Doc Coleman, Chris Lester, and Mildred Cady
6 pm Reading with Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Lauren Harris

10 pm Podcasters Against Humanity-Come see voices from around the podosphere playing “Cards against Humanity,” and join in the fun!  This is going to be a 18+ panel, and we won’t mean anything we say.  Honest.

10 am NM-31 Introvert’s Guide To Social Media
11 am NM-35 Dueling Drabbles-I’ll provide some topics, keywords and maybe even some fabulous prizes!  Who can write the best story in 100 words and just a few minutes?