Authors’ Salon 2020

Panels and Presentations will be held this year in Sandpebble Room A

Friday, March 20th


Marvelous Indie Book Promotion: Achievable Reality or Oxymoron?

Hosts: Shelley Adina, Laurel Anne Hill, Michael Schulkins, Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Whether you self-publish or publish through an indie establishment, you will need to promote yourself and your book in order to generate significant sales. When should you start promoting yourself and/or your book, and how? What are the chances of success?


Character Creation for Writers and Cosplayers

Hosts: BJ Sikes, Michelle Lowe, Kristin Baker

Characters are the heart of every story. Are you a cosplayer wanting to explain why you’re wearing that nifty costume? A writer looking to deepen your characterization? Come learn about compelling characters. Everyone will have an opportunity to workshop their own character.


Steampunk Architecture

Host: Mike Tierney

Victorian Era builders incorporated features that today would be considered steampunk: functional, yet beautiful structures, sometimes with the aesthetic almost, but not quite, overpowering the functionality. This presentation will show many examples of both historic and modern steampunk architecture.


Airships, Gears, and Moxie: YA Steampunk

Hosts: Shelley Adina, Trevor Dutcher, Kristin Baker

Find out why today’s young readers are so enchanted by the whimsical adventures of steampunk, as well as how the underlying themes of steampunk speak to our society.


Where Do Ideas Come From?

Hosts: Sparky McTrowell, Dover Whitecliff, AJ Sikes

Ideas are everywhere! Panelists will work through pictures provided by the moderator, generating (hopefully creative and original) storytelling ideas. Panelists will also share their own slice-of-life pictures for story idea generation.


World-Building with Harry Turtledove

Hosts: Harry Turtledove, Laurel Anne Hill, Michael Schulkins, Michelle Lowe

The perennial dilemma: You have a sci-fi/fantasy idea. But the world is so different from our own, you feel lost. How and where do you start? What to include and what to leave out? Join our cast of historians, writers, and occasional ne’er-do-wells for a World Building Workshop and Q&A.


Handling Different Viewpoints

Hosts: Patricia Wrede, Dover Whitecliff, BJ Sikes

Panelists will discuss the importance of viewpoint in storytelling within a variety of genres, from romance to adventure to deep-space science fiction, or all three at once. Attendees will receive a helpful handout explaining the differences between 1st, 2nd, and the multiple varieties of 3rd-person narration.

Saturday, March 21st


Fiber Arts in Fantasy

Hosts: Patricia Wrede, Kij Greenwood

From the Three Fates, who spin, weave, and cut the threads of life, to Rumplestiltskin spinning straw into gold, to the Lady of Shallot weaving in her tower, to the elaborate costumes of your favorites steampunk adventurers, treasure hunters, and villains, fiber arts have been a part of humanity’s concept of magic, even as they have been critical to different cultures historically. Why does clothing, cloth, and the making of it turn up so often in fantasy? What are some examples, past and present? How and why do authors use various fiber arts in their work?


Plot Breaking

Hosts: Anthony Francis, Trevor Dutcher, Shelli Frew

Whether you’re writing a young adult novel, a comic book series, or a fantasy epic, the plot of anything longer than a short story can get hairy! In this workshop, we’ll demonstrate a technique called plotbreaking, which can get your story out of your head and into the open so you can debug it.


Anatomy of a Sword Fight

Hosts: David Drake, AJ Sikes

It’s more than parry and thrust. Authoring a sword fight that keeps the reader enthralled and engaged, as well as entertained, takes skill. Our panel of authors will arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to describe your duels with a flourish.


Science of Airships

Host: Anthony Francis

Steampunk is more than brown, boots, and buttons: our adventurers must travel the world in style! Learn about the science behind the leviathans of the skies. From how they stay up to how they crash down, explore how the physics of flight gives distinctive shapes to airships past, present, and future!


Alternate History Master Class

Hosts: Patricia Wrede, Harry Turtledove, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Shelley Adina

Join these accomplished and expert authors to discuss the tipping points of history: those moments where changing one thing changes everything. Bring your own ideas and questions to banter with the panel.


StoryMakers for Kids, Big and Small

Hosts: Dover Whitecliff, BJ Sikes, Trevor Dutcher, Kristin Baker

Let’s tell a story together in a workshop for kids and kid-like adults. We’ll provide story prompts, you provide the imagination.


Hot Potato School of Writing

Hosts: Sparky McTrowell, David Drake, Harry Turtledove, Shelli Frew

The authors of “The Adventures of Drake & McTrowell” will lead featured author Harry Turtledove, Shelli Frew, and the audience in a madcap improvisational writing game show, with their signature “Hot Potato” team writing style.

Sunday, March 22nd


Avoiding Anachronistic Pratfalls

Hosts: David Drake, Shelli Frew, Mike Tierney

Yes, Virginia, there was a Victorian Santa Claus. But, no, there were no tighty whities. Neither were there hooligans, at least not until the late 19th-Century. This panel roots out historical inaccuracies that sometimes creep into our writing.


World-Building with Patricia Wrede

Hosts: Patricia Wrede, Anthony Francis, Kristin Baker, Madeleine Holly-Rosing

As genre writers, we need to create the world where our characters live. We will discuss the nuts and bolts of world-building. Does it start with your character or with your story? And does it need a “universal truth” to anchor it and make the unbelievable believable.


Correctly Using Military Details in Your Fiction

Hosts: AJ Sikes, Dover Whitecliff, Harry Turtledove

If you write military fiction, but haven’t been in the service or know anyone who has, then this session is for you. We’ll talk shop, decipher the alphabet soup, drop slang—and possibly f-bombs—and help you get your writing ship shape and fit for formation.


Victorian Engineers – Building Victoria

Hosts: Mike Tierney, Anthony Francis

The 19th-Century was a time of audacious engineering endeavour, and the most interesting engineers and scientists. A combination of imaginative builders, new materials, and scientific discoveries led to unprecedented building projects, from transatlantic cables to cross-continental railroads, and towering skyscrapers to chasm spanning bridges.