I'm currently on my way home from World Fantasy in Columbus, Ohio, one of the bigger conventions for speculative fiction professionals, including writers, editors, and agents. It was fun, but exhausting. Most nights, there are parties going on until 3 am or so, and the hotel bar is where most of the networking is going on.
On this convention, I met John O'Neill, the man behind Black Gate. John was fun to talk to, and introduced me to many of the people involved in Black Gate, including Howard Andrew Jones, Ryan Harvey, and James Enge. I also got a chance to participate in my first Con reading with them. I read an excerpt from A Phoenix in Darkness, which will be coming out in Issue 17. I'm not great at readings, but I think it went pretty well. At least, a lot of people remarked that the image of little girls cutting up dead bodies will be sticking with them . . .
I also got an opportunity to chat briefly with Dan Wells, the author of I am not a Serial Killer and Mr. Monster. I complimented him also on the work he does on Writing Excuses, the writing podcast. He did ask me whether it was still helpful when applied to short stories. It is, but as I told him, you have to do more in less time in a short story, and that's often a challenge. In fact, I'd say the hardest thing to do in a short story is wold building. How do you create a unique, secondary world, when you only have six thousand words to do that, while still telling a story with interesting characters? It's an interesting question, and may be worth pursuing.
I met lots of other interesting people, but it's hard to type up long posts on my iPhone, so I'll wrap this up for now.