Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

17 Reasons Why DragonCon Is a Regency Country House Party

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 | Author: jmward14 | DragonCon | Comments Off

Would I lie to you? Well, not about this

Posted 9 years, 5 months ago at 11:27 am.

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Forget Necessity

Saturday, July 25th, 2009 | Author: jmward14 | Blog, DragonCon | Comments Off

Desperation is the mother of invention in this house.
I was trying to line up the August blogs I owe to blog sites other than my own. The goal was to get it all over with now, so I’d have more time to write next month. They were all playing nicely except my August 22 Samhain blog. Given the date, I’d be a fool not do something related to DragonCon, but what? The program schedules are almost never finalized until the week before Labor Day, and I was pretty sure I’ve written everything there is to write about the con.
Should I do something about the balls? The Masquerade? The guests? My costume changes?
Then it hit me: Sixteen Ways DragonCon Is Like a Regency Country House Party.
The weird thing is, it works.
‘Til later…

Posted 9 years, 6 months ago at 1:49 am.

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DragonCon Whoops

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

That’s whoops as in “cheers”, not the kind you say when you drop something. Derek Tatum, the chair of the DragonCon Dark Fantasy track, has posted his preliminary guest list, and look who’s on it:

Michelle Belanger
Doug Bradley
Elizabeth Donald
John Everson
Allan Gilbreath
Christopher Golden
Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Charlaine Harris
Raven Hart
Mark Henry
Stacia Kane
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Jackie Kessler
Caitlin Kittredge
Alethea Kontis
Rosemary Laurey
J.F. Lewis
Jonathan Maberry
Marianne Mancusi
Richelle Mead
Mike Mignola
Scott Nicholson
Cherie Priest
Kat Richardson
Stephen H. Segal
Jeanne Stein
Jean Marie Ward
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Can you tell I’m grinning from ear to ear? :D
Cheers and smiles,

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 8:56 pm.

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DragonCon, here I come

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 | Author: jmward14 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

My name is listed on the DragonCon Guests Page, and they’ve given me a biography of my very own.  So it’s official, I will be adding my own special brand of madness to DragonCon, September 4-7.  Not only that, they’ve added a new track featuring everybody’s favorite new genre, Steampunk.  Okay, now you have Lois McMasters Bujold, Charlaine Harris and ME–plus that brand new Steampunk track–on the schedule.  Why haven’t you bought your membership yet?  ;-)

Posted 9 years, 11 months ago at 9:01 pm.

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DragonCon Debrief

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

All right.  I admit it.  I was a DragonCon Bunny.  

The Press Room Gang: (from the left) Randi, Dorie, Dave (aka Silent Bob), me and Leigh.

You should be glad I didn’t look like this guy.

The Bunny who wasn’t me.

After seven panels (thank you 

and Nancy!) and an autographing session (someone actually wanted me to sign her book—and I didn’t even know her!) it’s a small miracle I didn’t.  Not that I would’ve cared too much.  I had a blast as usual.

For me, DragonCon 2007 offered a wonderful combination of old friends and serendipitous discoveries.  For example, I expected to have a great time when I learned Josepha Sherman was on the “Effective Tools for Making That First Sale” panel with me.  But I never expected sharing a panel with a military SF writer like John Ringo would be such a hoot.  If you’re ever a con where he’s speaking don’t walk, run to his panels.  He’ll be the guy in the kilt.  Word.

Star Roberts and the media liaison staff touched my heart by setting up a memorial to 

in the Press Room.  As Mel Boros said when we raised a glass of Apple Pie in her honor Sunday night, “Teri wasn’t the center of attention, but she was central.”  And sorely missed.  

On a much happier note, “the Press Room Gang” also included me in their costume nights.  The Bunnies came out to play on Friday night.  Saturday night, we transformed doctors and nurses (and somehow neglected to get photos).  Sunday night, we were pirates.  And good thing too—we probably couldn’t have gotten into the Pirate Gathering or the Secret Room Pirate Rave if we weren’t.

Dorie (right) and me Sunday night in the Hyatt Lobby.

Then there was the music.  Emerald Rose and the Lost Boys set the perfect “Pre-Con” tone with their exuberant sets Thursday night.  Voltaire is a DragonCon favorite for his Goth presence and gloriously geeky lyrics, but his shows always made me twitch.  It’s hard to dance to a solo troubadour.  This year, however, he brought a band and Friday night, as he promised, he rocked the house.  Caught a little bit of Ghoultown and a whole lot of Lost Boys on Saturday night—and went away with even more CDs to load on my iPod.

Voltaire (center, in vest) rocked the Hyatt’s Centennial Ballroom Friday night, August 31.

The Sunday night Cruxshadows capped their current tour and was the last show for Rachel McDonnell, their awesome violinist.  The show ran nearly two hours…and it wasn’t nearly long enough.

Rogue, lead singer for the Cruxshadows.

I didn’t spend as much time as I would’ve liked in the Art Show, which seemed smaller than it had in years past.  Was it really?  I don’t know.  The Grand Hall at the Hyatt feels smaller than the Marriott Marquis’ Imperial Ballroom.  But some things were definitely bigger—the smiles on everyone’s faces when we learned DragonCon regular Laura Reynolds won the 2007 Chesley Award for best 3-D work.  WTG, Laura!  

WTG, everyone involved—especially 

(SFLit Track), Nancy Knight (Writing Track) and Cathy Bowden (Star Wars Track).  My pictures, as many as there are on my Flickr page, just don’t do you justice.  Can’t wait until next year!

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago at 10:25 pm.

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My DragonCon Schedule

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Sorry to be so last minute about this, but better late than never.  Especially since the DragonCon programming gods have been particularly kind, showering me with seven panels and an autograph session also featuring Chip Coffey, Elonka Dunin, Christopher Jones and Maggie Shayne.  The schedule is:


* Those We Love to Hate, Villains in SF and fantasy; who are our favorites and why?  Friday, August 31, 5:30 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* I Love the Smell of Paper in the Morning, Print books vs. e-books…or should we even care?  Friday, August 31, 7 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Effective tools for making that first sale, Saturday, September 1, 2:30 p.m, Manilla/Singapore Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (Writing)

* The Past is the Future, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and contemporaries; are they truly the basis for our current genre?  Saturday, September 1, 4 p.m., Fairlie Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Women in SF, Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, James Tiptree—is it any better now?Saturday, September 1, 5:30 p.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Wanted Alive…or Dead, Readership of sf is declining in favor of fantasy.  Is it the cool factor?
Sunday, September 2, 11:30 a.m., Greenbriar Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (SF/Fantasy Literature)

* Non-fiction for SF and Fantasy, Sunday, September 2, 1 p.m., Manilla/Singapore Conference Room, Hyatt Regency (Writing)

Autograph Session

* Monday, September 3, 2:30 p.m., Imperial Ballroom, Atlanta Hilton

Hope to see you there.  And yes, there will be chocolate at the signing.  I’m a firm believer in candy bribes.

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago at 4:14 am.

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Just Added to the DragonCon Guest List

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

I’m official.  My name and novel now appear on the DragonCon Guest List.  Thanks, gang!  I am so looking forward to the Labor Day weekend.  Can’t wait to see everyone there…and to raise a glass and a heart to the dear ones who aren’t.
Happy fireworks!
Jean Marie

Posted 11 years, 7 months ago at 1:46 am.

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New Vanyr (sort of)

Sunday, February 25th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

In a fit of temporary insanity, Samhain decided to unlock my cage and let me blog again.  The ostensible purpose was to allow the print authors an opportunity to flog their new paper releases.  I think the boadroom chatter went something like this:
“I hate to say it, but she’s got a point.  We let the ebook authors promo their books with excerpts and stuff on their release date, why not the print authors?”
“Yeah, but that means turning Jean Marie loose again.  Remember what she did the last time.”
(Collective shudder.)
“C’mon, she can’t pull something like that out of her ass every time.  We’ll give her a date a little back in the schedule.  Lead off with folks who know the drill.  They’ll post excerpts and flog their contests.  She’ll be stuck.”
I think they forgot I’ve got 165,000 words to choose excerpts from, not just the 120K that made it to the book.  Mwahahahahaha!
So if you decide to follow the Promo Brick Road to today’s Samhain blog you’ll find some of the scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor.  There’s a little bit of Michael Ryan (the actor who plays Deryk and one of the biggest spears on the Vanyr wall), more on the inspiration for Jagger (Ruth Thompson has a lot to answer for, LOL) and even more of the madness that is Dragon*Con.  And it closes with my favorite never-before seen morning-after scene.  

Posted 11 years, 11 months ago at 12:21 pm.

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Post DragonCon Posting — With Pics!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Finally flopping around on dry land after a total immersion weekend at DragonCon, my favorite summer camp for wayward adults.  And there were a lot of us this year.  *g*

Got to meet LJ friends <quietselkie> (aka Nina Merrill) and <lilithsaintcrow>, and their friend Christina, a super photojournalist.  Roomed with <qnotku>, <hundakleptsis> and Bree (their granddaughter unit).  Hung a little with another wonderful photographer, Milow, whose photos will be form the bulk of Crescent Blues’ 2006 DragonCon feature.  Shared one of my panels with FF&P’s Sue Kearney and another with Samhain author Rosemary Laurey.  Also chatted briefly with FF&P list mates Mary and Marcia.  Didn’t see any other FF&P listies or Samhellions.  Of course, in a stew of around 35,000 wildly partying people, we could’ve just missed each other.
I’ll cover the con in more detail for Crescent Blues <> in a month or so.  For now, suffice it to say the con was big.  As big as I’ve ever seen it.  Registration lines were around the block in front of the Hyatt mid-day Saturday and Sunday.  People reported four-hour waits for tickets.  Crissy Brashear, Samhain’s publisher managed to get into the back door of the con hotel Saturday afternoon, saw the lines and headed out again.
Although Crissy didn’t make it, the pens, business cards and flyers she sent did–and were much appreciated.  Qnotku spent four of her five Writing Track panels in her Samhain acquisitions editor persona, and interest was high.  Especially after Tor editor <claireeddy> described the Hell of Unsolicited Manuscripts on towering, industrial strength shelving she and her staff have to sift through on a regular basis.  Qnotku ran through all the Samhain business cards and wound up writing her contact info on every one.
In addition to my usual running around and taking pics for the upcoming Crescent Blues feature, I managed to sit on four panels in almost as many personas.  In my Writing Track panels, I either played fledgling Samhain author or crusty Crescent Blues editor. 
The odd panel out was Web Comics, where I was waaaaay out of my depth.  My dh runs his own political cartoon web site <>, but what do I know from web comics?  So I did what any good little journalist would do.  I appointed myself moderator and asked other people questions.  Seemed to work too.  J.P. (aka Xsarthis), editor of the subculture web site All Zombies Must Die <>, didn’t ream me a new one.  Of course, it helped that I’m almost as snarky as he is.  Almost. 
Speaking of the panels though, big thank yous need to go out to Ray Rappaport of the Comics Track and Nancy Knight of the Writing Track.  It’s always a privilege working with the programming tracks at DragonCon.  They frequently surprise you, but they never screw you.  And they’re all volunteers–like everyone else working the con.  Much appreciated, folks!
Since one good turn deserves another, I’m going to interrupt your regularly scheduled con report for a brief plug.  Nancy and photographer David Horton have a new book out, Exposing America: Photographs from August 1, 1864 through July 31, 1866.  During those two years, the U.S. imposed a revenue tax on all photos.  As a result, they now have a philatelic interest as well as historical and photographic.  Beautiful book and an amazing resource.  Check it out at <>.
Back from the break and you’re wondering who the heck I saw and what I did that was INTERESTING.  Geez, Lili and qnotku, hundakleptsis and Xsarthis aren’t enough for you?  Oh, all right.
The Brobdignagian Bards provided random filking in the Press Room Thursday night.  Queen of Comic Fantasy Esther Friesner told fortunes by Hamster-mancy in the Green Room Saturday night.  (Yes, you will have to read Crescent Blues to find out more.  I am that evil.  There will be visuals too.)
The Press Gang invited me to share in their group costuming event Saturday and Sunday, so “Madame Esther” wound up telling the fortune of “Miss Jeannie”, saloon girl.  Of course telling “Miss Jeannie’s” fortune wasn’t nearly as bad as lacing her into the requisite corset.  That dubious honor went to qnotku.  I expect to hear about it for years.  (No jpgs yet.  I’m hoping Milow will send a couple.  Alternately, I may scan one of the Press Room pics.  Bree did a great job with the make-up.)
No, I didn’t get lost in the corset…this time.
Sunday night’s harem girl group was uber popular.  Don’t think I’ve ever been stopped for so many photos–even when I wore The Dress in 2000.  The true fangirl moment of the con happened while I was wearing that outfit too.  I was at the table–with Shannon Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Roc editor Anne Sowards and friends–when Jim Butcher caught his first glimpse of the raw dub of the SciFi Channel show based on his Harry Dresden series.
You never saw anyone so happy in your life.  For Jim, it was Christmas, Fourth of July and Halloween all rolled into one.  I think Ed, one of the other writers at the table whose last name, alas, I never caught, said it best: “January is too long to wait.”

Kevin Sorbo at his solo panel on Friday.  Because qnotku promised to beat me if I didn’t post a photo, bad though it might be.

(From left to right) Derek Ruthven, Lili, vampire expert Michelle Bellanger and bestselling author Susan Sizemore used the Goth Track panel “Vampire: the Eternal Archetype” to discuss the different roles vampires play in fiction–from “Other” to metaphor. 

Tomak Baksik of NetherCraft Statuary created a life-sized Jabba the Hut for the Motor Lobby of the Hyatt.  It quickly became a con landmark–and THE spot to find the con’s many lovely “Slave Leias”.

Qnotku’s granddaughter Bree as a saloon girl.  Believe it or not, she’s only 14 and so pretty qnotku and hundakleptsis have to beat guys away with a stick.    

The panel title was “I Am Woman–Hear Me Roar”, and they did.  Panelists (from left to right): FF&P member Sue Kearney, Susan Goggins, Samhain author Rosemary Laurey, Writers Track chair Nancy Knight, Deb Dixon, Ace & Roc editor Anne Sowards, and Eric Griffin.

Milow (left) and Peggy Mitchell pause for a moment’s reflection in a Saturday evening Writers Track panel.

The old saloon never looked so good: Press Gang bud Dorie and her friend Scott before Saturday night’s Cruxshadows concert.

For the finale of Saturday night’s Cruxshadows concert, the band invited everyone in the standing-room only crowd onto the stage.  A lot of them made it too.  You can barely glimpse lead singer Rogue, in the white-splashed band shirt front and center on the stage.

Jim Butcher (left), Sherrilyn Kenyon and Ed at the Sunday night Goth Track panel “Down and Out with Harry Dresden”.

For those of you with an interest in blackmail, here’s the harem shot.  Everyone but yours truly works media liaison–and more–in the DragonCon Press Room.  Left to right: Randi, Dorie, Andrew, Leigh and (sigh) me.

Monday at the hotel room–This was the first and only time I could get the group to hold still.  And they only gave in because they couldn’t fight me any more.  Lili and Bree are the ones doing the sprawl on the bed. More or less upright (left to right): qnotku, hundakleptsis, quietselkie and Christina.

Posted 12 years, 5 months ago at 2:58 pm.

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