BayCon Is Back in July 2022

My favorite local convention returns on the weekend of July 4th in the Bay Area, California, at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport location. The Guests of Honor are author Steven Barnes, artist Galen Dara, and Jean Batt representing the fan community. Bonnie Gordon is this year’s toastmaster. The convention is requiring full COVID precautions in all public spaces, a mandatory policy that makes it possible for me, and many of you, to attend. I hope you’ll join me for a weekend of fascinating panels, a dealer’s room full of curiosities, wondrous creations in the art show, and more.

I’ve been invited to participate as a panelist. Check out my panel schedule at the end of this post.

I will also be at the Liminal Fiction table in the dealers room on and off during the convention, so if you’re interested in a copy of one or more of my books, please drop by. We’ll have many interesting titles to peruse.

Don’t forget you can add the panels you’re interested in to your profile on Grenadine, the mobile and online con schedule app. You can find more than just those panels I’m on in Grenadine, but to save your choices, I believe you must register for the con here: https://baycon.org/ . Both weekend and day passes are available.

Time Zone: (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Friday 1 July, 2022

The Office Space of the Future is a HoloDeck 

1 hour 15 minutes, 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM in Synergy 4

Panelists: DrWanda Kurtcu, SJSU (Moderator); Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing; and Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, RPG Power Systems

What’s work really going to be like in the future, now that workers have learned the benefits—and disparities—of the work-from-home modality? What does that mean for the workplace of the future, in the stories we read and tell and in the world we’re designing for ourselves? Panelists discuss how changing our perceptions of a “workplace” may affect our culture long term.


Saturday 2 July, 2022

Creative Tools as Lifesavers 

1 hour 15 minutes, 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM in Engage

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Colin Fisk; DrWanda Kurtcu, SJSU; and Katharine Kit Kerr (Panelist)

Panelists discuss which of their creative tools helped them survive the pandemic so far. The category includes creative techniques, physical tools, software, and mental tricks using their creativity. Join them to pick up a few tips to help you weather the last few months or years, whatever it turns out to be.

The “Art” of Backstory 

1 hour 15 minutes, 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM in Synergy 1

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Fred Wiehe; and Colin Fisk (Panelist)

Panelists will accept suggestions from the audience and craft backstories on the fly, either as a group or taking turns. These will be quick, but telling, elements that demonstrate the value of backstory while offering a chuckle. Bring your best one-sentence character descriptions and see what the skilled hands of the panelists can do.


Monday 4 July, 2022

Technological Solutions Save the Day 

1 hour 15 minutes, 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM in Engage

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Galen Dara; Kimberly Unger; and Q Fortier

Many options previously declared impossible were implemented when businesses, organizations, and governments had to figure out a way for society to continue during lockdown. We don’t yet know whether they’ll remain available after the pandemic. Panelists discuss various examples, exploring the limitations, benefits, and how this proof of concept might affect the post-pandemic future.

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The Two of Hearts by Patricia Loofbourrow

(Part 7 of the Red Dog Conspiracy)

The Two of Hearts by Patricia Loofbourrow


The story starts out at a run. It picks up from where Part 6 ends and amps the tension immediately with an attempt on Jacqui’s life. This style is very much a return to the earlier books. There’s a mystery that touches a little too close, intrigue including the revelation of something I’ve suspected for some time, and Jacqui considering her relationships through new perspectives.

Speaking of characters, the series connections showed more clearly here as Jacqui crossed paths with people from other books, especially those where she wasn’t the lead. It strengthens the sense of building to something bigger than Jacqui and yet explicitly bound to her. And if you’ve been following my reviews on the series, it sure looks like the steam generators and the city’s design is in the middle of everything.

This book is not a standalone, and certain events relate closely to what happened in the previous book. I had to shake clear some cobwebs, but the clues are there to remind the attentive reader. Jacqui faces some of her biases she’s been blind to, which only makes me like her more, and yet don’t think she puts aside all her false beliefs. She gains some unexpected answers that throw her whole sense of self in question while she’s not the only character to experience growth when it hadn’t seemed possible. I quite enjoyed the maturation of characters in this book.

Many of Jacqui’s major growth moments involve her connections with others. She still assumes everything happens to torment her but seems surprised when other characters find the same link. Personally, I think it’s a little of both–a bigger picture we can’t see and playing Jacqui like the card she is rather than the one she believes herself to be.

The seeding of events works well, and I had fun building the pieces of the puzzle. The reader’s attention is drawn to things for which the book often provides plausible explanations, but I still had lingering doubts. I found myself growing suspicious of many a mention, probably too many. I’m not sure where everything that happened in this book is headed, if anywhere, but I’m certainly eager to find out.

P.S. I received this Advanced Reader Copy from the author in hopes of a review.


Note: I know I’ve been absent for a while. My father has always been supportive of my creative enterprises and inspired me to become a storyteller long before I could write. His absence weighs on me, but he would want me to keep working on everything. I do plan to get back to where things were. For the time being, though, I have great books to review (including this one) and waiting to be read. I may post more reviews than before, and these may appear where other topics did for a bit. I hope you stick with me and find some Tales to Tide You Over.

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A Pause

Real life has taken its toll in this moment and I will not be able to keep up my posting schedule. I will be back (and may post haphazardly before then), so don’t take this lull as a deafening silence that will never end.

Hug your loved ones, whether humanoid or other, and remember to treasure each day as it comes to you.

A cat lounging on the sofa.
Who says I need to stand on two legs to be a couch potato?

Posted in Kids and Cats, Life | 2 Comments

Things That Make Me Smile No. 250: Traditional Foods

This short video offers a glimpse of the food enjoyed by indigenous Zapotecs in pre-colonial Mexico thanks to the efforts of world-famous chef Abigail Mendoza. She keeps Zapotec traditions and philosophies alive in her restaurant, which her sisters also staff.

The chef does everything using traditional manual techniques dating from thousands of years ago. The restaurant is a celebration of the Zapotec culture and helps preserve these techniques when cultural education has neglected them.

Posted in Foodie, History, Smiles | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

5 Interesting Links for 04-09-2021

Note: Videos may auto start with sound so be prepared.

Surrealism (Art)

Russian digital artist Andrew Ferez brings to life surreal and fantastical worlds on his Wacom tablet. The link from My Modern Met offers more information about him and his techniques, but https://russianambience.com/bleak-surrealistic-paintings-by-russian-artist-andrew-ferez/ provides broader examples. Click the “Show More Pictures” button at the bottom twice to see all those included. (Via @steampunktendencies)
https://mymodernmet.com/andrew-ferez-surreal-digital-illustrations/

Protection (Batteries)

There are several techniques that can help extend the life of your device batteries. This article talks about a few of them. Always check the specifications for your specific device, though, as it may be designed differently.
https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2021/battery-life.html

Technique (Editing)

It’s possible to adopt the methods suggested by Marie Kondo, a popular decluttering expert, when assessing your writing. Her approach is all about keeping only what brings you joy, and the same applies to writing, with the focus not on you but on your readers. The article lays out specific editing targets similar to how she tackles an overflowing closet.
https://blog.bookbaby.com/2019/02/what-marie-kondo-can-teach-writers-about-reducing-clutter/

Fabric (History)

This is a fascinating article about a delicate ancient fabric that shook the world round with its translucency. The process to make Dhaka muslin is still in use, but British colonialism in Bangladesh wiped the muslin out of existence. This fabric came not just from a technique but also a specific plant and a coordination of efforts between villages and generations that is hard to imagine in modern times.
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210316-the-legendary-fabric-that-no-one-knows-how-to-make

Fantasy (Short Fiction)

Walk into a world not so much different from our own, but where fantastic elements cross over to mundane concerns. This is a powerful story about expectation, obligation, and responsibility. Enjoy.
https://www.tor.com/2021/03/24/masquerade-season-pemi-aguda/

Trainee, Seeds Among the Stars, Book 2, Twitter Sharable
Posted in Art, Music, Crafts, etc., Editing, History, Interesting Links, Reading, Reviews, Short Stories, Short Story Reviews, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment