January is here and that means TBRcon21 is on its way. TBRcon21 is a free, streaming Speculative Fiction convention hosted by FanfiAddict with over 85 authors involved on 15 panels. It’s going to be streamed on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook.

As stated above the convention is free but you are encouraged to check out the following charities and consider a donation instead of buying a ticket.

Attending conventions in person has obviously been impossible this year and with no real end in sight, TBRcon21 is the perfect opportunity to participate without turning us all into a ship full of plague rats. Instead, sit back, enjoy, and participate at a distance.

TBRcon21 spans six days with two to four panels and events per day. I’ll be a part of the author panel titled World-Building and Your Place with fellow authors Angela Boord, Brian D. Anderson, Angus Watson, Dale Lucas, and Travis M. Riddle. It takes place on January 25th at 5:00pm EST/4:00 CST or for me and those of us in Euhrope, 11:00PM CET. I can’t wait to take part and hope you’ll join us.

For the full schedule click here and stay up to date by following FanfiAddict on Twitter or heading over the TBRcon21 page on their site.

Earlier this week my friend and author of the outstanding Lovecraftian urban fantasy series The Bell Forging Cycle, K.M. Alexander, interviewed me for the inaugural installment of his author interview series Prose Palaver. We took a deep dive into my process while writing RADIO, how living abroad and travel influenced my writing, some literary, musical, and mythological influences for the story, and more. Click below to check it out.

I really love beta reading.

Yes, it’s work. Yes, it’s time consuming. Yes, it can be stressful. Telling your friend, family member, or acquaintance that they’ve made mistakes is tough. The thing is, it’s all worth it. Why? Because beta readers are better writers.

I’m currently beta reading my eighth book. These eight have come from three different authors, each with their own unique style, in disparate genres, and I have learned from them all. I am better for having done the work and the reason for that is distance.

The Benefit of Distance

“Practice makes perfect,” but we all know how blinded we can become to our own work. The proper phrase should be, “accurate practice makes perfect,” and it’s hard to be accurate after the umpteenth pass through your own manuscript. “We’re too close Goose, we’re switching to guns,” or rather, someone else’s work.

Reading your buddy’s stuff is beneficial because there’s a distance there. When we flex our critique muscles on someone else’s work, it separates our abilities as writers and our abilities as analysts. We can practice these skills, accurately, with out all of the baggage we bring with us into our own writing. With each successive book I’ve beta read, I’ve honed my skills and after each book, I’m able to slice through my own work with more precision.

How to Beta Read

The first rule of beta reading is that you are not proofreading. The second rule of beta reading is that you are not proof reading. (more…)