Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Talk About Heroic Literature in the Age of Grit

There is some debate over the benefits of being traditionally published. And when I chose that route, it was for specific goals, all of which I’ve succeeded in obtaining, and yet as with any endeavor  there are unexpected surprises. One of those was that people have been asking me to speak at conventions, libraries, and other functions.

One woman was almost giddy when I said yes to talking at her library, then stopped and softly mentioned. “How much do you charge?  We don’t have a lot of money to spend.”

I had to cover the phone so she didn’t hear me laughing. When I composed myself I promptly demanded as my fee, the loftily sum of one bottle of water, but if that was too much I could bring my own. She didn't seem to believe me at first, then mentioned that the session was usually forty-five minutes and asked if I could talk that long. I explained the problem was usually getting me to shut up.

This sort of "celebrity status" invitations didn’t used to happen, and never spontaneously. Now I get calls from the strangest of places asking if I would be so kind as to grace them with my presence. And it was no big deal until I was contacted by Helen Hester-Ossa. She wanted me to come talk at her library too, another forty-five minute chat followed by a Q&A session. Only Helen doesn’t work at the local county branch where they have children’s readings in the morning and adult education classes in the evenings.

Helen works at the Library Of Congress.

That little place down at 101 Independence Avenue, with the cupola capped dome that looks about the size of the capitol building.  The one with the over abundance of marble that houses more books than the library at Alexandria. In fact, the largest most prestigious library in the world.

Helen had seen an article about me in the Fairfax County Times (another unexpected development) and after visiting this website thought I would be a great choice for guest speaker in their Science Fiction/Fantasy forum.

The topic I’m to speak on is: “Traditional Heroic Fantasy vs Current Trends Toward the Gritty & Dark.” The whole thing being sponsored by the library of Congress Professional Association, part of the What If…Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum.

It will be held at the Pickford Theater, Library of Congress, Madison Building (LM-302), 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20559  at Noon tomorrow, February 16th.

I’m no formal speaker. I know even less about talking publically than I do about writing, but I’ll give it a shot. Hopefully people will ask questions I know the answers to, or at least be forgiving of a man who spends most of his time locked in a small room.

I was asked to speak at the Library of Congress.


  1. Awesome! Congrats, thats gotta be exciting!

    How is the event supposed to work? Could totally sneak away from work for it...Is it free? Can anyone go?

    Thanks for all your hard work

  2. Yes it is free and open to the public - (although I venure that the vast majority of attendees actually work at the LoC). There will also be a book signing - you can bring your own, or pickup up some there.

  3. A discussion and signing at the Library of Freaking Congress?

    You are living the Dream, Michael. :)

  4. That's great Michael, congratulations. By the way, thoroughly enjoying Theft of Swords and hope to have it completed and a review up over the weekend.

  5. Another awesome opportunity. I bet you never even dreamed of such an opportunity when you first took up the pen. It's constantly amazing how unexpected our lives can be... like Bilbo said, beware when you step outside your door, for who knows where the path might lead. "Hands and feet inside the car, ladies and gentlemen. And hold on for the ride is about to start."

  6. Thta is really cool michael. good for you. I always thought you would make it and here you are getting bigger and bigger. When do we get to see some more novels? and when do we get to see some more of the book covers you make?

  7. It was an excellent talk, sir. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the copy of "Theft of Swords" that I picked up afterwards.

  8. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books! Congratulations, that is a wonderful opportunity and you deserve it! I put your books on my library's request list here in Houston. They are wonderful. Do you have any other books you are working on?

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