After more than a year away from the convention scene, I’ll be at ConFusion in Novi this weekend. My schedule is relatively light, which is probably for the best:


  • 10 a.m. – Evolving Visions of Toxic Masculinity (with Jason Sanford, Marsalis, Kameron Hurley, and Brandon O’Brien)
  • 3 p.m. – Mass Autographing
  • 7 p.m. – Reading (with Cherie Priest and Anthony W. Eichenlaub)

My son is coming with my this year. I’ll probably be splitting my free time between catching up with all of my SF/F friends and showing him around the convention. My main goal is just for both of us to have a fun, relatively laid-back time. And of course, to catch up on more than a year’s worth of hugs from everyone!


ConFusion last weekend was amazing and wonderful and energizing and inspiring, as always.

Sadly, it was also ConTagious. I don’t think I caught the full-blown flu like some folks did, but I definitely caught some sort of con-crud. So this week has been a little less productive than I’d hoped. Apologies if I owe you emails or responses and haven’t gotten to them yet. I’m currently prioritizing a couple of deadlines and trying to catch a little extra rest.

Got to see and hang out with some great people, but as always, there wasn’t time to see and catch up with everyone I’d hoped to spend time with.

Naturally, I spent some of the con running around taking pictures. I’ve posted those over on Facebook. I think that should be a public album that anyone can see.

And that’s about it for now. Stay healthy, my friends!

ConFusion Schedule

ConFusion is one of my favorite cons, and I try to make it every year. They’ve got a lot of great people running the con, and they bring in so many wonderful writers and fans. I’ll be attending again this coming weekend, and looking forward to seeing everyone.

I was hoping to have some print copies of “Imprinted” available, but despite having ordered them a week ago, CreateSpace is saying they probably won’t arrive until February. Grumble…

Anyway, here’s where you can catch me on official panel-type things. (They’ve got the full schedule on their website.)


  • 6 pm, Saugatuck:Visions of Positive Masculinity. With David Anthony Durham, Jason Sanford,
    John Chu, and Pablo Defendini.


  • Noon, Big Top: Interviewing Guest of Honor Nisi Shawl. (That’s right, I get to interview Nisi Shawl! I love my life.)
  • 1 pm, Charlevoix: Reading with Jim C. Hines, John Chu, Annalee Flower Horne
  • 4 pm, St. Clair: Autograph Session
  • 6 pm, Charlevoix: Robots vs. Fairies Reading. With Dominik Parisien, John Scalzi, Max Gladstone, Navah Wolfe, Sarah Gailey, Delilah Dawson, and Annalee Newitz.


  • 11 am, Charlevoix: Heroes and Mental Health. With Dominik Parisien, Mishell Baker, Mur Lafferty, Sarah Gailey, and Shweta Adhyam.

Some of these panels should be amazing!

I hope to spend most of my free time hanging out and doing the social thing. Please don’t hesitate to say hi!


Back from ConFusion

Despite the fog that descended upon Michigan some time on Saturday, I made it home from ConFusion 43: Friendship is ConFusion. It was an amazing and wonderful weekend, as always. And as always, my biggest frustration is that there just wasn’t enough time to talk to and catch up with so many cool people.

A few random highlights…

  • Doing the Steven Universe Discussion Squee panel with Amal El-Mohtar
  • Nabbing copies of books by Kameron Hurley and Mishell Baker
  • Reading a bit of Terminal Alliance and having the audience laugh in the right places. (And not laugh at the other parts.)
  • Lots of hugs!

The hardest part of the weekend was the loss of Larry Smith, a convention book dealer who passed away unexpectedly on Friday. I met Larry and his wife Sally when I was first starting out as a writer, more than ten years ago now. He was a great bookseller, always doing his best to make sure he stocked up on titles by guests and attendees, and very knowledgeable about the field. Midwest conventions aren’t going to be the same without him.


I also put the new Canon 6D through its paces. I had a little bit of focus trouble with the new lens, but the camera did much better in the low-light environment, which is what I was hoping for. I could take higher ISO shots that would have been far too noisy on the old camera. And I got to do author photo shoots for two friends, which was fun.

Pics are up on Flickr. Here are a few of my favorites…

Mishell Baker Cherie Priest Navah Wolve and Amal El-Mohtar Vacation Santa and Hellboy Delilah Dawson


My thanks as always to everyone who works to make such a fun, welcoming, well-organized convention happen year after year.

ConFusion Schedule

I’ll be at ConFusion in Detroit this weekend. It’s one of my favorite cons, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone. (Even though I know I won’t get to see everyone, and I’ll come away on Sunday being frustrated that I didn’t have time to chat with Person X, and only saw Person Y in passing, and hoping they all know it wasn’t a deliberate slight or anything…)

They’ve posted the programming schedule in several formats. If you’re looking for me (or looking to avoid me), here’s where I’ll be.


  • Nothing! I’ll just be hanging out and socializing LIKE A BUM!!!


  • 10 a.m. – Social Media Tips & Tricks for Authors
  • 11 a.m. – Steven Universe discussion with me and Amal El-Mohtar!
  • 5 p.m. – Autograph Session
  • 7 p.m. – Reading with me, Mishell Baker, and Janet Harriett


  • Noon – Here’s What They Did to My Baby! (I think Baby = Book, but you never know…)

Who else is going to be there?

ConFusion Report

ConFusion has become one of my favorite conventions. I remember years ago talking to one of the volunteers about how they were working to make this one of the premiere literary SF/F conventions, deliberately seeking out and inviting more writers and professionals, and generally just doing a lot of long-term work to create something special.

As usual, I was lugging the camera around. This time, I forced myself to do everything in Manual mode — setting shutter speed, ISO, f-stop, white balance, etc. This was purely to help me learn more about what the camera can do. The resulting pictures — the ones that turned out — are on Flickr.

The convention is now at the point where a large group signing isn’t enough; they had to schedule two full-room autographing blocks, one after the other, in order to get to all of the writers.

Now, if you’re not there for the writers and the literary side of things, it might not be the convention for you, but I love it. It’s the one time each year I get to catch up with a lot of old friends, as well as meeting new people and people people I’ve only known online:

Amal el-Mohtar and Marko Kloos

Amal el-Mohtar and Marko Kloos

Natalie Luhrs

Natalie Luhrs

Navah Wolfe

Navah Wolfe

If you’re wondering about the crown and tiara, we all had them as part of our Princess panel, courtesy of Merrie Haskell.

I will say that as someone who’s on the more introverted side of the spectrum, I tended more toward the small groups than the huge mob of folks at the bar. That’s just a bit too much noise, and burns out my batteries faster than smaller groups and one-on-one chats. But I got to see and spend at least a little time with almost everyone I’d hoped to see, which is pretty darn good.

I also love that ConFusion is trying to make the convention more inclusive and welcoming to all. A couple of visible examples include designating service animal areas in the consuite, setting up unisex bathrooms, and setting up handicap-accessible seating and areas for wheelchairs and scooters.

Handicap seating

This isn’t to say that the convention is perfect. No con is. But from what I can see, ConFusion is listening and taking steps to do better each year. It makes me proud of Michigan fandom, and grateful to everyone working to put on the convention year after year.

Let’s see, what else…pretty much everyone I ran into commented on the beard. (Generally quite positively.) Professional instigator John Scalzi suggested I do a moustache-related fundraiser of some sort. I’m considering the possibilities there. Also, I played my very first game of Cards Against Humanity, thanks to Alex Kourvo (who I learned had pulled the racist cards from the decks beforehand, thank you).

And then it was time to come home and collapse, because no matter how wonderful a convention might be, it still wipes me out afterward.

A few related links:

ConFusion Schedule

I’ll be at ConFusion this weekend, along with a ridiculously long list of cool people. When I’m not doing panels, I suspect I’ll be spending all my free time meeting and catching up with folks. (With occasional introvert breaks where I retreat to my hotel room to recover for a few minutes.)

My official schedule looks like so:

Saturday, 1/22

  • 11 a.m. So grim. Much serious. Wow. (Moderating)
    • Humor and light-hearted adventures have a storied history in science fiction and fantasy. Yet it seems modern work is focused on the darker elements of story telling. Is genre too po-faced outside the work of certain specifically ‘comedy’ writers? Why do so many writers steer clear of overt fun?
  • Noon. Novel Gazing.
    • The Male Gaze is often discussed in relation to how women are objectified in fiction. Less common is the Female Gaze, which is often confused as a direct opposite to its Male counterpart. What are the Male and Female Gaze? How are they different? And how is the Female Gaze changing fiction for the better?
  • 3 p.m. The Princess Problem.
    • Are princesses actually the problem? Does shaming the idea of princesses and the femininity they represent push girls out of the narrow marketing confines of the pink aisles, or does it harm them in other ways? What about girls of color who so rarely see themselves represented as princesses, or cis boys who want to be Elsa, or trans girls who want to see themselves, too? How do we combat the confining box that is “princess culture” without shaming kids who enjoy princesses and the positive traits they’ve come to represent?
  • 4 p.m. Autographing Session.
  • 6 p.m. Cover Art: The Good, The Bad, and the WTF.
    • No genre places more emphasis on stunning cover art than science fiction and fantasy. It often goes right, but not always. With powerful visual projection, the panelists will observe a series of good, bad, and WTF covers from science fiction and fantasy, provide commentary, both in praise and… not.

Sunday, 1/23

  • 10 a.m. Fanwriting in the 21st Century
    • Before there were SF conventions, there were fanzines. Fanzines are still around (one of our panelists won a Hugo for hers) but now there are blogs and podcasts and fanfic too. Our panelists talk about what fanwriting is and why it’s as important as ever in the 21st century.

This is one of my favorite conventions. I can’t wait to see everyone there!

ConFusion Wrap-Up

ConFusion in Dearborn is one of my favorite conventions. I’ve been attending for years, and it seems to just keep getting better. I missed it last year, because I was doing a Guest of Honor gig at MarsCon, which was also cool. But I was happy to get back to Fusion, too.

And not just because it meant I got to play D&D with a bunch of awesome authors … though that’s definitely a bonus. Here you see the party in miniature, setting out to explore a maze of twisty passageways, all alike. Three guesses as to which mini Sam Sykes was using:


Trouble was, I think we may have entered into an alternate universe where the laws of probability no longer applied. I mean, I can understand bad dice luck. I’ve rolled plenty of poorly timed 1s on the d20. But when our party rolled three 1s in a row during combat, it got weird. And then we rolled a fourth … a fifth … and finally six 1s in a row, which ended with Diana Rowland accidentally slaying the party magic user. Oops!

Diana Rowland

Saturday was pretty much a nonstop day, from Author D&D to panels to a book launch with ConFusion Guest of Honor Karen Lord, which was awesome. I read and loved her first book, Redemption in Indigo. Well, Karen is as smart and lovely a person as she is a writer, and I came away with autographed copies of The Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game, both of which I’m looking forward to reading.

Oh, and I read from and moved some copies of Unbound, too.

The mass autographing went really well, but my favorite part was when Tegan showed up and gave me a beaded Smudge she had made. I love it!

Tegan gave me a Smudge!

ConFusion attracts a lot of awesome people, and I loved getting to just hang out and chat with people. I knew going in that there wouldn’t be enough time for me to catch up with everyone I wanted to, but I did the best I could, and I had a blast.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early on Sunday. My wife had texted me on Saturday to remind me that we had tickets to the Blue Man Group, which I had somehow managed to not add to my calendar. The show was fun, but I’m bummed to have lost the extra time to hang out.

There’s only one thing to do. I’ll just have to go back again next year to catch up with everyone I missed!

I’ve posted the rest of my photos on Flickr, in the ConFusion 2015 album. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I’m still very much an amateur photographer, but I feel like I’m learning a bit more each time.

I hope the rest of you had as good a weekend as I did!

ConFusion Schedule

ConFusion is one of my favorite conventions. I missed it last year, since I was busy being Guest of Honor at Marscon. (Which is, you know, pretty darn cool too.) But I’m very excited about getting back to ‘Fusion this weekend.

Friday, 1/16

  • 5 pm: Dumb Questions 2015. Michigan – Big Top. A panel where the sillier the question, the better. Please show up ready to try to stump the panel with goofball queries, or just set up a good joke to see what is done with – or to – it.
  • 6 pm: Whose Cartoon Is It Anyways? Allen Park. I’m MCing a cartoonist face-off — the audience gives the panel of cartoonists a situation to draw. Cartoonist #1 draws half of it – Cartoonist #2 finishes it and adds a punchline!

Saturday, 1/17

  • 9 am – Noon: Author D&D. Great Room. Come watch as some of your favorite authors join together in a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons. During the game we ask that you refrain from interjecting or disrupting the players.
  • Noon: I Suck. Erie. A panel of authors play “dueling suck” with their own works, trying to see who can best generate a vacuum.
  • 1 – 3 pm: Galaxy Game/Unbound Book Launch. Michigan – Big Top. A shared book launch with me and author guest of honor Karen Lord.
  • 3 pm: Mass Autographing Session. Huron—Ontario—Erie.
  • 7 pm: Writers as Fans, Fans as Critics, Critics as Writers and Fans. Southfield. Reviews are not for authors, they’re for fans. But many authors are engaged, critical fans. How can authors engage with fans without creating a chilling effect on criticism?

Sunday, 1/18

  • Sleeping in, hanging out, and whatever else I feel like doing.

ConFusion has turned into a very author-friendly convention, with a lot of author guests. I’m already bummed because I know I won’t have enough time to see and talk to and hang out with everyone, but I’m really looking forward to the chance to catch up with so many amazing people.

Hoping to see some of you there!

ConFusion Schedule

I have my tentative schedule for ConFusion next weekend:

  • Friday 7:00:00 PM Inclusion in an Expanding Fandom
  • Saturday 10:00:00 AM Author D&D
  • Saturday 3:00:00 PM Aicardi Syndrome Foundation Fundraiser: Group Cover Pose Unveiling
  • Saturday 4:00:00 PM Lady Voldemort
  • Saturday 5:00:00 PM Mass Autograph Session
  • Sunday 10:00:00 AM Reading: Jim C. Hines & Diana Rowland
  • Sunday 12:00:00 PM Dumb Questions

I may also be participating in a skit on Saturday night, which should be fun.

I’m excited about a lot of the programming this time. The inclusion in fandom panel is something I feel strongly about, and I love that we’ll be starting off the convention with a conversation about how to make the experience more inclusive. Because it’s nice that conventions are comfortable for me as a straight white male author, but it would be even nicer if we could work harder to make them comfortable for everyone.

The Saturday Group Cover Pose panel will be the unveiling of the collaborative efforts of myself, John Scalzi, Mary Kowal, Pat Rothfuss, and Charlie Stross, photographed by the wonderful Al Bogdan. Please note that the actual photoshoot will not be public. (I’m told there had been some questions about this.) My plan is to talk about Aicardi Syndrome and the fundraiser, about sexism in book covers and the genre, and then reveal the AWESOMENESS of our group cover. There may also be something special to auction or raffle off at the end of the panel 😉

Then there’s the Lady Voldemort panel, which started from a question I posed online. On Twitter, I think. I asked how the Harry Potter series would have been different had Voldemort been female. And not just Harry Potter, but how does gender affect the way we write villains in general? How would the evil and horror of Sauron have been different? How did the White Witch being female affect the way she came across in the first Narnia book? It led to a fascinating discussion online, and I expect the panel to be equally good.

And then there’s author D&D and reading with Diana and talking about dumb questions and seeing a ridiculous number of my friends and fellow authors.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to this con!

Jim C. Hines