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Rosemary Williams Posts

Fan Expo Denver

The con starts up in 2 days! I’ll be there, flailing about from the sellers’ side of Table A1702.

I’m on a couple of panels as well! Here’s my schedule:

Saturday, 10:30am — Wakanda On Your Block: Envisioning Futures We Want to Live In
We all know the ways things could go wrong, courtesy of dystopian fiction. But how could things go right? Come to this panel and find out! We’ll be discussing hopeful narratives and positive futures in fiction and fact. Participants will leave the talk with a book list of works showcasing better worlds.

Saturday, 2:30pm — Just Trying to Help
Giving and receiving constructive criticism is essential for authors and those helping authors work through drafts, so let’s talk about the best way to go about it.

Yep, both my panels are on Saturday. Coincidentally, that is also the day I plan to cosplay Vi. This should be exciting.

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2023 Conventions

Last weekend, I co-Chaired ConQuesT here in Kansas City. It was a whirlwind of shenanigans and tomfoolery, along with an actual indoor flood (which, happily, was mitigated before it could damage anything), and I’m still kind of tired from it. The month before that, I was at JordanCon (which I attend every year), where somehow I managed to wrangle a guest badge using the Four Raccoons In A Trenchcoat method.

I should probably get better about talking about the conventions I’m going to before they happen, right?


So here’s the current slate for the rest of the year:

June 30 – July 2: Fan Expo Denver. I’ll actually be vending at this con, astoundingly enough! I have anthologies what carry my stories, and I’m not afraid to sell them! Hopefully I’ll make it onto a few panels, too. Exciting stuff.

October 26 – 29: World Fantasy. I’m co-Chairing this one, too. I know. You’re right. I’m hopeless.

November 20 -21: Dragonsteel 2023, where my 17th Shard moderator & podcaster flags will be flying high.

There’s technically enough room for me to shove something else in between FX Denver and WFC, but dangit, I’m co-running that second one. I have a lot to do, and I still have to make time to write.

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FIRST Robotics

At the end of March, I had the pleasure of judging at a robotics tournament.

Now, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) is an amazing program for kids. They cover elementary through high school (though what I judged was a tournament for the high school aged kids). The entire program operates around a concept of “Gracious Professionalism” and the kids are encouraged and even rewarded for being kind to each other.

In short, I love this program for the shot of faith-in-humanity boost it gives me. These kids are amazing.

Every year, a different corporate sponsor creates a game. The rules of the game are released to everyone at the same time, and the kids have 6 weeks to design, build, test, and perfect a robot that can play the game. Games vary from year to year, but usually involve manipulating game pieces or balls into a specific space, and an extra spatial positioning challenge for the robots at the end of the match.

Each match is played between two coalitions of three teams each, making it so six robots are on the playing field in a given game. During the qualifiers, the teams switch up constantly. The robot you’re playing against in this match might just be on your coalition in your next one! The teams get to know and respect one another. They help each other. And one thing I’ve noticed when interviewing the teams, if you ask them who they helped, they’ll hem and haw. If you ask them who helped them, and suddenly you’re bombarded with information.

For this particular tournament, I found out that the hosting team had reached out to every school that was going to attend, so they could make sure their Robot Rescue program could have spare parts available for anyone, should their robots break down mid-competition.

Like I said, amazing.

I’ll leave you with my favorite anecdote from the tournament: on Friday, one of the kids approached me, looking nervous. Which is underestandable, I was wearing a judge’s polo, and that marked me as An Adult Wot’s In Charge Of Something, so kudos to her bravery. She said, “Excuse me, this might sound like a really weird question, but…were you cosplaying Vi from Arcane at Comicon last week?”

“Why, yes! I was.” (My hair is cut and dyed for that cosplay, which makes me very identifiable right now.)

Turns out she was in the Arcane photoshoot with me that day at con. It’s a small nerd world. 🙂

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Convention Season Comes to a Close

I probably should have done this in multiple posts, but that would have required me actually writing something directly after Worldcon, and…well, I didn’t. Bad me.

Chicon 8 was my second Worldcon, and like the weird little overachiever I am, I leaped head-first into staff. I was part of the Programming team that helped untangle the schedule. (It took a lot of people a lot of hours to make that thing work, and kudos to Nchanter for wrangling us all so well.)

After that, I had a bit of a break, in which I had two short story acceptances come in! One was for the anthology Hidden Villains: Arise, which will be launching a Kickstarter in the next couple of months. I’ll bother people about it. Probably in all of the places I am since, heh, I have no idea whether any non-bot entities are looking at this website right now. 🙂

The first half of November was a marathon of Things. I attended the World Fantasy Convention in New Orleans and worked as staff, getting experience for co-Chairing it in KC in 2023. It was a whirlwind of happenings, and I met so many people and attended so many delightful panels. Special shout-out to artist Iris Compiet, whom I Guest Liaised during the con.

After WFC, I went home for 3 days, then jetted right back off, this time to Salt Lake City for Dragonsteel Expo 2022. It was a freakin’ blast. I was on a couple of panels and attended yet more, got to hang with my fellow 17th Shard staff and Sanderson betas (those two groups are a Venn diagram), and generally had an awesome time.

I will say, though, getting recognized so widely at the con was a surreal experience. I do podcasting with 17th Shard (Shardcast, SpanReads, Diceborn), and so I kept having these moments of someone zooming up to me, squeaking out, “Are you Kaymyth?!” or, “Are you a Shardcaster?!” I’d say yes, and then they’d skitter off again, excited like they’d met some kind of celebrity. It was very strange, and left me wishing they’d stuck around to chat with me for a few minutes instead of running away like they thought they shouldn’t bother me or something. No! Come back! Talk to meeee!

There were also some seeds planting of potentially bigger things to come, but I won’t get into details there. No point in counting my ducklings before they’ve hatched.

DSX wrapped up my convention season, so I now have five (!) entire months to rest and write! My next thing will be JordanCon in April, where I somehow managed to land a guest spot, so expect to see me on panels, flouncing around in costume, and generally shananiganning my way around the place.

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Stuff of Nightmares

When I was in high school, my bedroom was the only one on the second floor of the house. I shared the space with a storage room and eaves closets full of spiders.

Some of those spiders were brown recluses. I got really paranoid about being bitten; I’d check my bed every night. Once I picked up a shoe to squash a spider, and a tiny recluse came skittering out over my hand. It was enough to give a girl a bit of an arachnophobic complex.

But I never got bitten, and in fact the idea of a spider in my bed biting me was the source of a lifetime of nightmare fuel.

Fast forward (twentymumble) years, and today I live in suburbia, in a nice house, with a bedroom far from the eaves or attic space. I share that bed with a spouse and two dogs. It’s quite full. No room for spiders.

That didn’t stop one from (near as I can tell) crawling into the bed a week ago, where I rolled over on it in my sleep and got bitten. The spider apparently escaped, as I never found its corpse. I simply woke up with some itchy red welts on my back.

For several days, I thought the culprit was a mosquito. Ha.

Around Friday, a freckle appeared in one of the bites that quickly grew into a black spot – necrosis. One of the others developed a blister that popped itself, looked to be clean for a while, but yesterday started to turn as well.

Surprise! I’d been bitten by a brown recluse. And not just once, but at least three times, which almost never happens. I finally got to the doctor, confirmed the diagnosis, and have some meds prescribed that should help mitigate the damage, but there’s no getting around the fact that these are going to scar.

And an added wrinkle – the bites are all on top of or around an old keloid chicken pox scar that I’ve had since I was eight. I’m going to have divot scars on top of mountain-shaped scars – volcano scars! Which is pretty cool, actually. I’ll name them Mount Skin Helens and Recluvius.

But here we are, back at finally experiencing the thing that gave me the heebie-jeebies throughout my entire adult life, and all the emotional reaction I can seem to summon is, “Well, I guess that happened.”

Sometimes the Worst Possible Thing turns out to be anticlimactic, but hey, at least it’ll leave some cool scars.

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I’ve sent in two submissions in as many months; one for a novel, the other (just moments ago) for a short story. Given that I’ve been absurdly lucky with my story submissions thus far, chances are the odds are finally going to settle out and one of these will be my first rejection.

Before anyone goes into a super-supportive tizzy, rejections are this milestone of authordom that literally every writer experiences. The fact that I haven’t had one yet is weird. (Or maybe just indicative of me being super cautious about what I write and submit to.) It’s bound to happen sooner or later. I am prepared!

Another piece of this is that I’m learning how much I dislike writing cover letters. I’ll yammer all damn day about characters storylines and magic systems, but the instant I start having to talk about myself the gears in my creative brain suddenly decide they’re too coated in rust to go on. Could they have some oil? Maybe a nap? Maybe their very own Scottish engineer to yell at me when I ask them to do something so preposterous?

The answers: no, no, and haha no. I wrote the cover letters. I did my little About Me sections and I’m at least semi-pleased with how they came out, just please ignore all the flailing it took for me to get there.

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“Hidden Villains” Anthology

On sale now, paperback available immediately, ebook version to be released tomorrow! This anthology features a story by the wonderful David Farlane, whose august company I’m not quite sure I deserve, but will gladly accept.

My story, “The Ghost of House Grey,” tells the story of a ghost hunt gone a bit wrong. Also features are all of the members of the Fireside Critique Group, which is the writing group that has had a profound effect in the fostering of my development as a writer.

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2023 JordanCon Anthology

So, I think there’s some evidence here that they might like me:

I’m still a little discombobulated at actually making the cover mentions on this thing, but it’s pretty damn cool.

If you’re a regular JordanCon attendee and want a copy of this thing, the pre-orders are up here:

If you are not a JordanCon person, I have good news! These anthologies will be available on Amazon in both ebook and print-on-demand formats. The convention happens in April; I’ll be sure and post up a link when it’s available.

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There’s a lot of variance out there in the author world when it comes to opinions on fanfiction. Some love it, some hate it, some are merely okay with it. I tend towards the “love it, but don’t ever ask me to read any you wrote on my own stuff because down that road lies Trouble.”

Why do I love it? Well, I got started as a writer on fanfiction.

Actually, that might not be entirely true. Technically, I got my start in “writing” in online text-based RPG games known collectively as MUSHes. I was always that idiot who overflowed the Character Background attribute’s character maximum…four or five times. And, of course, I put serious effort into writing the actual RP poses.

I credit MUSHing with getting most of my traditional Million Words of Crap out of my system. The extra special beauty of this is that all of those words? Gone, like smoke, when those MUSH games slowly died off. Nobody will ever see them again, and the few who have will probably never connect me with my younger self. Which is good, because my younger self was a hot mess and I’d just as soon have a little distance from that.

…back to fanfiction.

My first full-length novel was Mistborn Era 2 fanfiction, starring my own original characters. There are a number of reasons I went this route. First and foremost, I assumed that my first novel would be absolute crap, and that playing in fanfiction where I could still get useful feedback would be a good plan. Using original characters in an established universe meant that I could focus on plot and character development without getting caught up in the dreaded Worldbuilders’ Disease. Finally, and this is key, reading The Alloy of Law literally transformed my brain. Brandon Sanderson somehow hid some kind of secret Konami Code in the text that worked specifically on me and turned me into a Writer. He doomed me.

Well, funny story, I got a writing group, and then I decided to get their feedback on that fanfiction novel. A few chapters in, and one of them said, “Um, is there any way you could make this not fanfic? Because it’s really good.”

It took several months and Jody Lynn Nye’s writing workshop at DragonCon to convince me this was true.

I am now finally close to finishing the de-fanfiction draft of this thing. Changing up the world and the magic system had some interesting effects. Some scenes managed to remain virtually unchanged, while others got flipped entirely on their heads. Certain plot elements got retooled. Some of the action scenes, in particular, have been bent, folded, and mutilated into only the barest resemblance of their original forms. All in all, the book is unequivocally better than it was before, which is fantastic.

It’s also longer, which is…less so. The first place I intended to submit to has a pretty hard upper limit of wordcount thanks to binding limitations. I’m sure an editor can trim me down, but from 140k to 110k is a pretty tall order. I’m gonna have to think on it while this runs through another beta, but it appears I’ve simply read too much epic fantasy and it’s affected the way plots grow in my brain.

All this to say, no, I’m not posting the fanfiction version of this anywhere. Sorry. But can I offer you a lovely consolation prize?

I’m a My Little Pony fan. Yes, it’s true; I was a little girl in the 80s. And then they rebooted the show with Friendship is Magic and my reaction was, “Holy crap! They brought back my childhood and they infused it with quality!” So naturally I watched the series. All nine seasons. Yes. Every episode. Do not judge me.

So, there’s an episode in season 5 called “Tanks for the Memories” where Twilight Sparkle (the primary protagonist of the series) rattles off a quote that sounds suspiciously like she might have recently read “A Game of Thrones”. Part of the fandom kind of lost its shit over it. I found it hilarious. But I got to wondering, what if she had read the books? How could that have happened? And the answer came to me:

Obviously, Discord (a sort of chaos god amalgam creature who started off as a villain in the series and eventually reformed and redeemed) went on vacation and brought back souvenir gifts for the ponies.

And so I wrote “Clear and Present Discord” which you can find and read here if you are so foolishly inclined:

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I have very recently been diagnosed with adult ADHD.

This was not even remotely a surprise; I’ve known I have a lot of the hallmarks for a while. I can look back at my childhood and see the symptoms of inattentive-type popping up all over the place. But at the time, nobody had any idea. I certainly never had a clue; my younger brother had the hyperactive-type ADHD, and so I thought that’s what it looked like for everyone. It wasn’t until decades later I learned more, thanks to having a number of people in my friendgroup who also have it, and talked about it freely.

It was a revelation, albeit one I didn’t know what to do with for a while. I’ve also since learned that a lot of creative-types tend to fall somewhere in the ADHD realm of neurodivergence, which made me realize that having this thing really wasn’t an excuse for not getting shit done. I just needed to figure out how.

Most ADHDers will tell you that there’s one really good way to motivate us: give us a looming deadline. This essentially gives us a huge stress response that overloads the screwed-up dopamine processors in our brains and puts us into DANGER WILL ROBINSON hyperfocus mode. It’s very effective. It’s also an absolutely wretched way to live.

I am finally seeing a therapist and really gathering together the information I need to figure out how to work around the oddities in my brain wiring. I’ve finally worked out how to trick my brain into productiveness without kicking myself into stress overdrive.

See, the thing that works for me is Other People’s Expectations. I joined into some writing sprints run by a friend of mine for a while, and I found that having her tell me it’s time to write made my brain believe it. Magic! But they weren’t at the best time for my schedule, and she eventually had to stop doing them. I floundered for a while, using my writing group’s meetings as mini-deadlines, but 2k words a week is not gonna cut it, kids. The unexpected death of another good friend in early August left me reeling. I took a few weeks to breathe and grieve.

But dammit, I had deadlines looming.

I finally hit upon the solution: why couldn’t I run writing sprints myself? I’m a moderator on a particularly popular author’s official fansite, and we’ve got a lot of writers kicking around in that fandom. One of the other mods had the same idea, so we’ve partnered for running 3 hours of sprints every weekday. I now have an unknown number of people who expect me to be there, at this time, in this place, and expect me to write. And if they’re not there at the beginning, they could join at any time.

In other words I have harvested the power of peer pressure in order to fuel my writing. And it’s working.

We started last week. Several members joined in with enthusiasm. I had the most productive week of writing…probably ever. I edited, formatted, and submitted a 6400-word short story — and that was just last Monday. The rest of the week, I dug through 9500 words of my novel rewrite. Today kicked off with another excellent day, which gives me a good data point that suggests this thing is going to work in the longer term.

Hot damn, y’all, I can do this thing.

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