Category Archives: DragonCon

Dragon Con 2019 After Action Report

Been super busy since I got back from Dragon Con this year, but I’ve finally got a minute to post this. Morgon and I have been going to Dragon Con together for a long time now. If I’m remembering correctly, we’ve only missed it twice since 2008. This year, however, was a radically different year for us than any previous year. And it’s probably the best time I’ve ever had at the con.

This was my first year going as an Attending Professional rather than just as a regular con-goer. I sat on (actually moderated) three panels for the Fantasy Literature at Dragon Con track. One of our books from Silver Empire (Matt Ligon’s The King’s Regret) was up for a Dragon Award this year. We didn’t win, but we got to meet some great folks at the awards ceremony.

I’d like to put out a special thanks to a number of folks this year. First of all, Cisca Small, Melissa Witt, and David MacDonald for doing such an AMAZING job running the Fantasy Lit track – and for having me on this year. I can’t thank the three of you enough for all of your hard work, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year.

I’d also like to thank James Hunter for taking the time to introduce me to Melissa at the con and help get us on the list for next year’s Fantasy Lit Gathering – and also just for all the other times we chatted this year. I learned a lot from talking with you, James, and from watching and listening. Also, James is truly one of the nicest guys in fantasy publishing. Glad to see you again, and looking forward to meeting up again at future cons.

Thanks to Jonathan Maberry for taking so much time this weekend to talk to a newish writer and fellow martial artist like me. And an extra thanks for letting me know where all the cool authors hang out for drinks at the con. I can’t wait to see that Joe Ledger show get made!

To all the authors and publishers I already knew and got to catch up with – Matt Ligon, Declan Finn, Michael J. Allen, Chris Kennedy, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Ann Margaret Lewis, Jason Rennie, and Ben Wheeler – it was great to see you. To all the new authors I met – Amy J. Murphy, KM Herkes, Ruthanna Emrys, Trisha J. Woolridge, Anya Martin, and Marc Edelheit, it was great to meet you.

To my oldest friends, Daniel Baker and Beth Sawyer – y’all are still more than half the reason I go to Dragon Con every year. Always great to catch up, and it’s always fun!

And last but probably actually the most important of all, a very special thanks to Ed Forbes for holding things down at the dojo and Maurie Nicora for taking care of the kids so that we COULD go. None of this would’ve even been possible otherwise.

And to anybody I missed (I’m sure there’s someone) I’m terribly sorry about the oversight, I loved catching up with you, too!

Until next year, friends!

My 2019 DragonCon Panel Schedule

Heading to DragonCon this year? Come and see me! I’ll be there all weekend. And this year I’m not just attending, I’m not just on panels, I’m moderating three panels!

Magic Taking Wing: The Magical & Fantastic Birds

Sat 10:00 am / Embassy EF – Hyatt

Fantasy birds are so much cooler than chickens! Let’s talk about these magical birds of a feather, what makes them so special? How much inspiration is pulled from their mundane counter parts? From the phoenix to bond birds, it’s all game!

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea why they even put me on this panel. I don’t really have any birds in my books. So I’m gonna talk about my the Peluda dragon from War Demons instead, because it flies and it has quills so it’s kinda-not-really-at-all-like-a-bird, right?

Is It Simply Dark or Horror?

Sat 07:00 pm / Embassy EF – Hyatt

The great debate! Some claim that horror simply means there is no happy ending–could it really be that simple? Is there more to the Darkness than just being scary? Just how scary is dark fantasy before we hit horror? What makes you read a book with ALL the lights on?

This one actually sounds like a lot of fun, and dovetails nicely with my works. Because what genre are they really? Horror? Urban fantasy? Supernatural suspense? They’re kind of all three, and kind of not all three.

Meet the Dragon Awards

Sun 04:00 pm / Embassy EF – Hyatt

We are going to have a mix of past Award Winners & Finalists from this year & years past. So many good books, so many great authors!

This one should be fun. We’ve got a number of previous and current Dragon Award nominees coming, and several are Silver Empire authors.

Come and see me at any or all of these panels! Bring a book and I’ll sign it, and I’ll even have a few to give away!

Amazon tried to stop it, but it got a Dragon Award Nomination anyway!

A few weeks ago I shared the tale of our trials and tribulations in getting Philip Ligon’s The King’s Regret published on Amazon. They gave us the runaround for a full month, and it almost seemed as if they were trying to keep us from publishing it.

Despite that, the excellence of Mr. Ligon’s work has shown through. Yesterday DragonCon announced the finalists for the 2019 Dragon Awards. I’m super excited to add Mr. Ligon to the ranks of Silver Empire’s Dragon Award nominated authors! The King’s Regret received the nomination for Best Young Adult Novel.

This book really is pretty fantastic, and you should check it out. It’s also currently sitting at #3 in YA Steampunk. Because it’s that good. If you haven’t tried this one out yet, you should give it a shot. You won’t regret it. Oh, and to thank all of the fans who helped us get here, we’ve put the book on sale! The Kindle edition is currently only $0.99 (or free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription). The paperback is $9.99, and the hardcover is only $19.99! These prices are good through the end of the day on Monday, August 12th. And the print sale prices are good only at our own online store.

Mr. Ligon and I would like to thank all of you for your support against the incompetence of big business. And we’d also like to ask you to please consider voting for The King’s Regret for this year’s Dragon Award.

2019 Dragon Award Nominations close TODAY!

Nominations for the 2019 Dragon Awards end today, friend! The best part about these epic and prestigious awards are that they’re chosen by you, the fans! You can nominate works for this year’s awards here, and I highly recommend that you do so – even if your votes are completely different from mine! Your voice deserves to be heard, friend!

Here are some of my own recommendations this year:

Best Science Fiction Novel

Heroes Fall by Morgon Newquist.

If I were a better man I’d admit to you that my wife’s first novel is better than my own. Thankfully, I’m not that guy!

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

Woe for a Faerie by Bokerah Brumley.

Fallen angels. There you go. Oh, and this book is free on Amazon today.

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

The King’s Regret by Philip Ligon

Every young man I know who’s read this book has loved it. Loved it. A book that gets boys reading again deserves recognition!

Best Military Sci-Fi or Fantasy Novel

A Place for War by Daniel Humphreys

I don’t even like zombie stories and I love this series. That’s how good it is.

Best Alternate History Novel

The Brave and the Bold by Hans Schantz

Hans writes in the best tradition of Michael Crichton and Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi thrillers. This series is fantastic and deserves a nod.

Best Horror Novel

Hell Spawn by Declan Finn

There’s a reason Finn is a 3x Dragon Award nominee already – and a reason he deserves the 4th. This book is also free on Amazon today.

Best Graphic Novel

Flying Sparks by Jon Del Arroz.

Heroes and Villains in love!

Nominations end today so vote now!

Happy Frogs 2018 Dragon Award Recommendations

The excitable amphibians that compose the Happy Frogs crack book recommendation team have been hard at work this year putting together their suggestions for the 2018 Dragon Awards! There are a ton of great recommendations this time around, and I heartily suggest that you check them all out for yourselves.

Robert Kroese’s Dream of the Iron Dragon takes their fantasy recommendation – and really, how can you go wrong with Vikings in space? Trick question – you can’t, so don’t even try to answer. They also suggest a masterpiece in alternate history: A Rambling Wreck by my friend Hans Schantz. Imagine a world in which Al Gore won the 2000 election and a secret conspiracy tries to rewrite the very nature of science. It’s awesome, even if it is about Georgia Tech (#GoDawgs!). And what can I say about The Orville? If you haven’t been watching it, drop everything and start now. It’s that good.

I’m also humbled to find that my own supernatural thriller War Demons has made the list for best horror novel. It’s an honor to be in this kind of company! The full list is below, or you can find it on the official Happy Frogs site.

Remember: the best part about the Dragon Awards is that you get to nominate and vote! Don’t forget to make sure your voice is heard – nominate for the 2018 Dragon Awards today!

  • Best Science Fiction Novel
  • Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
  • Best Military SF Novel
  • Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel
  • Best Alternate History Novel
  • Best Media Tie-In Novel
  • Best Horror Novel
  • Best Comic Book  & Best Graphic Novel
    • Timothy Lim – My Hero MAGAdemia #1
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series, TV or Internet
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
    • Bright
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
    • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
    • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Best Board Game Best Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
    • Star Wars: Destiny – Fantasy Flight Games

[Cross posted to]

2017 Dragon Awards Final Vote Recommendations

The deadline for your final votes for the 2017 Dragon Awards rapidly approaches. The finalist list this year contains a fantastic summary of amazing works in science fiction and fantasy over the last year. I can highly recommend a huge number of the entries. They’ll prove well worth your time.

With that said, each of us can only vote for one of them. In some categories, that means difficult choices. Here’s how I’m voting this year. As it happens, my vote lines up entirely with the Happy Frogs suggestions. There’s a good reason for that. Someone over there has great taste.

Best Science Fiction Novel

Once again I have to choose between not only several great novels but also two good friends – Richard Paolinelli and Brian Niemeier. They’re both fantastic works, as are several others on the list (I confess, I have not yet read them all). But in the end, my vote goes to Brian. If you’re not up on the Soul Cycle series, you should be. And now you can get Secret Kings on Kindle Unlimited!

Best Fantasy Novel

  • Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi

Once again there’s a hard choice here. The Correia/Ringo MHI collaboration is great (see my review). I haven’t finished Beast Master yet, but I’m enjoying it. But this one has to go to A Sea of Skulls. Vox Day’s Acts of Dark and Light series is simply one of the most interesting things going on in the SciFi/Fantasy world right now. Also, Correia asked to bow out. I know he’s relented a little since he’d share it with Ringo… but he’s still right that he’s already been duly recognized. Ringo will have plenty of other chances.

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

I don’t read a ton of young adult. But once again I’m forced to choose between two amazing works that also happen to be written by friends. Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland is a delightful read, and John C. Wright honored me with the very great privilege of a work-in-progress version of Swan Knight’s Son as a Christmas gift. This husband and wife pair are not only good friends, but Ms. Lamplighter also edited my own upcoming novel, War Demons. However, they made the choice easy for me by declaring their own wish that fans of either author vote for John. I could have gotten behind either book easily, but I’m happy to support their choice.

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

When I made my nomination list, I hadn’t yet read any Mil SF this year. Since then, I have had a chance to catch up on a few. I can easily recommend Star Realms: Rescue Run by my friend Jon Del Arroz.

Side note: if they’re going to break out Mil SFF as its own category, there are several other subgenres that should be broken out. Paranormal is the first that comes to mind, including both SciFi and Fantasy (as Mil does).

Best Alternate History Novel

Kai Wai Cheah (also credited in some instances as Cheah Kai Wai, due to the confusion between Asian and Western surname customs) is one of the most interesting new writers out there. We have two of his short stories running on Lyonesse, and they’re easily two of the best we’ve got. No Gods, Only Daimons is a fantastic debut novel. Keep an eye on this author.

Best Apocalyptic Novel

With respect to my friend Declan Finn, A Place Outside the Wild is one of the best books I’ve read all year – and I don’t even like zombie books. That’s how good it is. Get it, even if you, too, don’t like the genre. You won’t regret it.

Best Horror Novel

There’s some good stuff in this category, but you really should check out Declan Finn’s vampire romance series. It’s worth the time.

Best Comic Book

I picked this one up after seeing it on the Happy Frogs list. Good choice.

Best Graphic Novel

Precisely zero of my friends or fans will express surprise that I picked Butcher here.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

This category was easy. Everything else on this list either always sucked or has taken a serious nose dive in the last season or three. Stranger Things, hands down. This is the sole category where I diverge from the Happy Frogs slate, and I can only assume that’s because the frogs haven’t actually seen the show.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

There are still too many films on this list I haven’t seen. I’m working to rectify that. And for the rest of the categories, I’ve been out of gaming for too long. I defer to the fine folks at Happy Frogs for suggestions.

Remember – get out and vote!