The blog lives!

It’s been a hot minute (or year) since I’ve updated this thing.

(blows off the dust)


This is getting to be an unfortunate habit.

So what’s new?

On the fantasy end of the writer ‘verse, I’m very pleased to say that my story “A Conspiracy of Cartographers” is now up at GigaNotoSaurus! Opera composers! Magical maps! A title stolen from some Tom Stoppard dialogue!

And on the horror end of things, on October 8 I’ll be participating in Storycrafting Sessions: Horror, a free one-day virtual conference hosted by Weeknight Writers. I’ll be on the 2:30 p.m. EST panel, “Crossroad Blues: Exploring the Boundary Between Life and Death.”

Hopefully I will have more news and ramblings to come in the near future instead of disappearing again.

In the meantime, I should probably be writing.

Virtual Philcon 2020

Next weekend I’ll be participating in Virtual Philcon 2020. While there’s a lot to miss about in-person cons, one plus side of Philcon being online this year: you can attend for free! (Though if you’re willing and able, they do ask for a donation in lieu of membership fees.)

Here’s my schedule:

Friday, November 20, 8:30 pm EST

I’ll probably be reading a couple flash pieces for this one.

Panel: Heinlein’s Third Rule of Writing
Saturday, November 21, 10:00 am EST

“You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.” How useful is this advice? Why do some people swear by it, and others swear that the best thing you can do is ignore it?

Panel: How Many Different Modes of Editing Are There?
Sunday, November 22, 11:30 am EST

Checking for mistakes in grammar or spelling is one obvious focus of editing your work; looking at potential problems with pacing and plot-holes another. But what about edit passes for tone, and examining how your word choices and sentence structures impact the feel of a scene? Or the value of doing a draft that looks solely at removing anything unnecessary?

2016 Philcon Schedule

I’m going to be at Philcon next weekend (Nov. 18-20), and there’s a shiny programming schedule posted on their site now to prove it!

Stepping Over the Bechdel Test
Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)
Barbara A. Barnett (mod), Victoria Janssen, L Hunter Cassells, Anthony Dobranski, Sally Wiener Grotta

“Two women who talk to each other about something besides a man” was intended to be literally the lowest bar you could set for decent female representation in a story, and yet many authors seem to have taken this metric as the sole requirement for being considered feminist. Let’s talk about the myriad of ways we can do a better job of writing female individuals and female groups.

Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Readings
Sat 4:00 PM in Executive Suite 623
April Grey (mod), Elizabeth Crowens, Elektra Hammond, Roberta Rogow, Barbara A. Barnett, D.L. Carter

A group reading by members of Broad Universe, an international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women.

Giving and Receiving Criticism
Sun 11:00 AM in Plaza II (Two)
Oz Drummond (mod), James Chambers, Andi O’Connor, Barbara A. Barnett, Ken Altabef, Brian Koscienski

What’s the difference between constructive and destructive criticism? What should a new writer listen to and learn from, either in a workshop critique, or in an editorial rejection? What kind of advice is actually helpful, and how does the framing of feedback impact what an author takes away from it?

Philcon Schedule

Hot on the heels of a shenanigans-filled weekend at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, I now have me a schedule for this year’s Philcon. I’m particularly excited to get both a solo reading and a chance to geek out about Muppets.

Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza II (1 hour)
[Panelists: Suzanne Rosin (mod), Michael McAfee, Christine Norris, Barbara A. Barnett, Alyce Wilson, Matt Black]

Created in 1955, these characters have been in our lives on various TV shows and movies. Now they are back in a new “sitcom”. Chat with panelists about your favorite muppets, and their shows. Was it Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Rigel in Farscape, Dinosaurs, The Muppet Show, the movies, the YouTube videos? Bring your coffee, wear your pjs, and have a good time.

Sat 1:00 PM in Executive Suite 623 (1 hour)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Barbara A. Barnett, April Grey, Sally Wiener Grotta, Elektra Hammond, Anne E. Johnson, Gail Z. Martin, Christie Meierz, Roberta Rogow

A group reading by members of Broad Universe, an international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women.

Sat 5:30 PM in Executive Suite 623 (½ hour)

At which I will read…something. Maybe a short story, maybe an excerpt from my current novel-in-progress. I’ll make up my mind eventually!

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
[Panelists: Hildy Silverman (mod), Alex Shvartsman, Barbara A. Barnett, Neil Clarke, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Robert E. Waters]

So you have finally finished a story. What are the main markets? Who do you want to avoid?

Sun 2:00 PM in Plaza V (1 hour)
[Panelists: Diane Weinstein (mod), Anne E. Johnson, Barbara A. Barnett]

A panel discussing the value of scary stories and how reading about fighting monsters can prepare young minds for facing conflicts in the real world.

Philcon Schedule

Even though I’m dreadfully bogged down with work and school and other stuff, I decided that Philcon was close enough that I could afford a touch more over-commitment. That was, of course, before Hurricane Sandy knocked out my power last week and put me even further behind on things. Nonetheless, here’s my schedule, and I’m sticking to it:

Sat 5:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
[Panelists: Oz Drummond (mod), Barbara Barnett, D.L. Carter, KT Pinto, A.C. Wise]
Regardless of the historical period that they are borrowing from, female protagonists in fantasy are typically strong and feminist and having mindsets that would be at home from the 1970s on. Is this required for modern readers, and is this becoming a cliche?

Sat 11:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
[Panelists: Rock Robertson (mod), Timothy Binder, Tony Finan, Jonah Knight, Patricia Wake, Barbara Barnett]
You Bring It, We discuss and play it. And we play our own stuff too. A DJ will be present at all times for your convenience.

The State of the Barb

I know I keep threatening to return to a regular blogging routine, but life seems intent on not letting that happen. Nevertheless, here’s the state of me:

* School is keeping me busy, but I’m enjoying it a lot more than I ever did grant writing. This whole getting my MLIS thing? Good damn decision, I think.

* Speaking of life keeping me busy, there will be a distinct lack of con attendance on my part for the rest of the year. I had been hoping to attend Sirens and Capclave this month, but there’s just too much else going on for me to swing either one. And I’d normally do Philcon in November since it’s practically right in my backyard, but I’ll be off in Austin that weekend.

* Writing progress! Well, at least there was progress until a damn cold sidelined me yesterday (it’s hard to focus or stare at a computer screen for too long when it feels like you have a head full of gauze-wrapped bricks). But before then, I got my short story “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen” revised and sent out the door, and now I’m working on revisions for “Demon Dreams.” And when that’s done, I think I’ll dive back into the never-ending My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel revisions.

* And last but certainly not least: I can haz zombie art? The awesome-looking title spread (with art by Dave Senecal) for my story in issue 25 of Black Static, which should be coming out this month: