2015 Panels

2016 Suggestions

Panel Name: The Freelancer's Dilemma
Suggested by Russ Colchamiro
Panel Description: As a freelancer, it's Feast or Famine—sometimes you have no work at all and sometimes you have more work than you can shake a stick at. But the second option can be just as bad as the first if you're not careful. Find out why, and how to avoid the trap that could doom you.

Panel Name: Superhero TV -- Scorecard
Suggested by Russ Colchamiro
Panel Description: Superheroes have taken TV by storm. Which shows are bringing the awesome? Which ones are not? Are there great characters on weak shows, or great shows with a weak character? Do certain characters deserve their owns shows? Let's discuss!

Panel Name: Why We Love SciFi
Suggested by Russ Colchamiro
Panel Description: Science fiction spans generations and mediums, yet we all seem to love it. Whether hard science fiction or soft, whether robots, aliens, time travel, or alternate Universes, there's a compelling quality about science fiction that keeps us coming back for more. Books, TV, movies, and more. (FYI ... I've moderated this panel before; always seems to be a big hit).

Panel Name: Wrapping a Trilogy/Wrapping a Series
Suggested by Russ Colchamiro
Panel Description: Writing one book is it's own challenge, but how about wrapping a series? Does each book need to stand alone, or do readers need to dive into them all? Authors discuss the challenges and successes in wrapping a series, and refer to other series that have either set the standard, and/or provided a road map for pitfalls to avoid.

Panel Name: Staying Connected with Readers in the Modern World
Suggested by Russ Colchamiro
Panel Description: How does the modern reader consume their fiction? And how (or are we) keeping up? Authors discuss their experience navigating the challenges of getting fiction into the hands of readers who have more choices than ever -- including more ways to access the content.

Panel Name: Weird Westerns
Suggested by Greg Cox
Panel Description: In books, comics, games, movies, and TV, mixing old-fashioned westerns with science fiction, fantasy, and horror (and often a touch of steampunk) has never been more popular. What is it about the Old West that lends itself to such cross-genre mashups, and why it is that modern audiences seem to prefer their westerns to feature zombies or dinosaurs these days?

Panel Name: Collaborations: Writing as a Team Sport
Suggested by Greg Cox
Panel Description: The challenges and advantages of joint writing projects. (Note: Dave Mack, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, and I just completed a four-way collaboration, so we'd all probably be up for this panel, but we can open it up to other writers as well.)

Panel Name: The Librarians: Filing Evil Under History
Suggested by Greg Cox
Description: A discussion of the ongoing TV series, which is currently filming its third season. And, oh, did I mention that there's going to be a line of tie-in novels as well?

Panel Name: Women Kick-Ass Heroes
Suggested by: Deborah (aka Rigel)
Panel Description: Why does the "exceptional" almost always have to be the "exception" as well? The "everyman" hero is a tried-and-true trope. "Everywoman"? Apparently nonexistent. Fiction, particularly genre fiction, often challenges the status quo. Why not when it comes to gender roles? ("Kick-ass" can be literal, but doesn't have to be so limited. Dr. Beverly Crusher or Kai Opaka Sulan count every bit as much as Captain Kira Nerys.)

Panel Name: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds--Where it Started and What it Hath Wrought
Suggested by: Paula M. Block
Panel Description: The 1st volume of Pocket Books' SNW series appeared in 1998, creating a professional venue where unpublished Trek writers had the opportunity to be discovered by an audience. This year, for Trek's 50th, Pocket will release a brand new volume of stories. Would love to pull together anyone who appeared in the books, including the recently announced winners. (These contributors will be at Shore Leave 38: Dayton Ward, Rigel Ailur, Lorraine Anderson, Jim Johnson and Scott Pearson. I was one of the judges for all 11 volumes.)

Panel Name: original e-books/e-novellas: We write 'em--does anybody read 'em?
Suggested by: Paula Block and Terry Erdmann
Panel Description: We're talking about stories first published as e-books--not paperbacks later converted to e-books. Is there an audience for them? Speaking for the two of us (Paula and Terry), they're fun to write. Are they equally fun to read? Or is the digital format a barrier to wider readership?

Panel name: Writing Behind-the-Scenes Books: the Making-of Movies and TV Shows
Suggested by: Terry Erdmann and Paula Block
Panel Description: How these nonfiction books are done, how they come into existence, how they differ from fiction writing, etc. Is the audience shrinking for such books?We've written BTS books on Star Trek, Monk, The Last Samurai, The 4400, and contributed to ones on The West Wing and CSI. Would love participation from others who've written such books!

Panel name: Buckaroo Banzai: the Good, the Bad, and the Weird Truth
Suggested by: Silver Fox (Terry Erdmann)
Panel Description: Everything you’ve ever wondered about this wonderful failed—yet eternally brilliant —motion picture.

Panel Name: Crazy 8 Press
Suggested by: Aaron Rosenberg
Panel Description: Talk with the authors of Crazy 8 Press, find out what we've been working on, what's coming next, and why exactly we do what we do.

Panel Name: IAMTW
Suggested by: Deborah (aka Rigel)
Panel Description: The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. This august, eclectic group of writers seeks to raise the profile of the diversity of tie-in work, and of the often overlooked and underrated estimation of the talent needed to successfully write in someone else's universe. The field presents unique challenges as well as unique rewards.

Panel Name: Wonder Woman
Suggested by: Deborah (aka Rigel)
Panel Description: The character's appearance in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice exceeded the hype. Can she maintain her upward trajectory?

Panel Name: Rey
Suggested by: Deborah (aka Rigel)
Panel Description: A worthy successor to Padmé and Leia? It all depends on what happens next. The auspicious start bodes well. Leia fulfilled her potential. Padmé's was, tragically, wasted.

Panel Name: Pitching
Suggested by: Andrew Hiller
Panel Description: discuss what makes a good pitch for different media/outlets.

Panel Name: Publishing in 2016
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: There are many options for writers seeking to publish these days, from self publishing to micropress to traditional. What are the pros and cons of each avenue, and what pitfalls can be avoided?

Panel Name: Firebringer Press Book Launch
Suggested by: Phil Giunta
Panel Description: A one-hour panel for Firebringer Press to discuss new books launched at Shore Leave, future projects, and perhaps do a reading or two if time allows. Panelists include Steven H. Wilson, Phil Giunta, Lance Woods, Michael Critzer, Daniel Patrick Corcoran, Susanna Reilly, and Stuart Roth.

Panel Name: Fan-into-Pro
Suggested by: Roberta Rogow
Panel Description: how to turn your Fan-fic into Pro-Prose that works for a non-Fan audience.

Panel Name: World-building
Suggested by: Roberta Rogow
Panel Description: Where to start, how far do you go, when do you stop world-building and start writing.

Panel Name: How to survive your first SF/Media con
Suggested by: Roberta Rogow
Panel Description: Tips, tricks, and best practices for getting through your first genre convention.

Panel Name: Cross-genres
Suggested by: Roberta Rogow
Panel Description: Mystery/Romance Plot in Fantasy/SF setting

Panel Name: Myths about Writing
Suggested by: Aaron Rosenberg
Panel Description: Share some of your favorite myths about writing and writers--like "the first page is the hardest" and "most writers only have one good story in them" and "sell one novel and you can quit your day job" and "you just write the book, your publisher will do the rest"--and find out which are true and which aren't!

Panel Name: Why You Have a File at the NSA
Suggested by: Aaron Rosenberg
Panel Description: As a writer, you wind up having to research the darnedest things. And good luck explaining to the NSA why you were looking up nukes and the Chunnel and the layout of the Paris Stock Exchange! Find out what strange searches our panelists have done--and why.

Panel Name: Step One: Writing! Step Three: Published!
Suggested by: Aaron Rosenberg
Panel Description: You wrote the book. Yay! It got bought. Double yay! Then it got published. But wait, what happened in between? Find out what happens to a book once it leaves the author's hands—and how you can help the process along.

Panel Name: Where Do Writers Start?
Suggested by: Aaron Rosenberg
Panel Description: You finally decide to bite the bullet and start writing. You sit down at your computer, open a blank document--and freeze. Because you have absolutely no idea what to do next. Don't worry, we're here to help! Listen to the panelists offer tips on how to start your story--and how to think about it before you even type the first word.

Panel Name: Does Author Gender Matter?
Suggested by: Susan O.
Panel Description: Can authors authentically write the opposite sex? Do readers prefer stories by someone of the same gender?

Panel Name: Upcoming Star Trek Books
Suggested by: Scott Pearson
Panel Description: There are a lot of novels and other Trek books coming out for the 50th anniversary and into 2017. Let's take a look at what's coming down the pike. Several of the guests have forthcoming books and e-books on this list. 

Panel Name: Crossing Genres
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: Are you a sci-fi writer aiming to cross into fantasy? An adult fiction writer who wants to cross into YA or children's lit? Or are you looking to write a noir/sci-fi mash-up? This panel will discuss genre switch-ups, whether you're aiming to try something new or writing a story that doesn't fit into a traditional category.

Panel Name: Working with Editors
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: Whether you're aiming to hire a freelancer or wondering what it's like behind-the-scenes at a traditional publishing house, this panel will discuss how authors and editors collaborate to improve stories.

Panel Name: Fan Fiction
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: The Internet has made fan fic more easily shared and accessed than ever, but it's been around far, far longer. Just what counts as fan fic? What is its appeal--to both writers and readers? Is there a difference between fan fic (which is often looked down upon) and retellings (which are generally respected)?

Panel Name: The Rise of Geek Culture
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: Hollywood blockbusters like the Avengers films and the new Star Wars are bringing geek culture into the mainstream. How does this affect the world of fandom, and is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Panel Name: Writing White Characters
Suggested by: Mary Fan
Panel Description: Much has been said about the need for diversity in entertainment, and many writer conferences feature panels on how to write diverse characters when you're a white person. But what about the reverse?

Panel Name: Star Trek at 50
Suggested by: Jim Johnson
Panel Description: Star Trek's golden anniversary! Where's it been, where it is, where's it going?

Panel Name: What if halfway through Book 2, your protagonist turns out to by gay? Writing LGBT Characters for a Straight Audience
Suggested by: David Harten Watson
Panel Description: Albus Dumbledore stayed closeted, but what are your other options when midway through writing a sci-fi or fantasy series, your protagonist realizes that he's gay, or you as the author finally realize it? Can Book 2 have an LGBT character without scaring off straight fans of Book 1?

Panel Name: Writing Believably About the Military in Sci-Fi & Fantasy (Common Mistakes to Avoid)
Suggested by: David Harten Watson
Panel Description: Whether your characters use swords, crossbows, or phased plasma rifles, writing military sci-fi or fantasy requires understanding military culture.  A panel of veterans discuss how military culture has remained constant through the centuries, how to write believably about the military, authors who've done it well, and how to avoid embarrassing mistakes that will be noticed by tens of millions of veterans.

Panel Name: Rules writing instructors insist you follow, and why always following them is a terrible idea!
Suggested by: David Harten Watson
Panel Description: Some writing rules may sound catchy, but if followed religiously can lead to disaster, e.g. "Never use adjectives or adverbs", "Kill your darlings", "Show, don't tell", "Write what you know," and "Your first novel is just for practice, so throw it in a trunk and start the second one before attempting to get published."

Panel Name: Building your novel: The Outline Process
Suggested by: Jeff Lang
Panel Description: What methods do different writers use to outline a novel (or novels)? What's the optimum balance between detail and "making it up as you go along?" Do different kinds of projects require different kinds of outlines?

Panel Name: The Twelfth Doctor
Suggested by: Dave Galanter
Panel Description: The hit panel from Shore Leave 37 regenerates with a new face as your favorite authors discuss the pros and cons, ups and downs, and general wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff of Peter Capaldi's portrayal of the iconic Timelord.

Panel Name: Military SF
Suggested by: Mike McPhail
Panel Description: What do writers get right, what do they get wrong, and why is it important. (NOTE: Helpful to have some veterans on the panel.)

Panel Name: Turning a Game into a Novel
Suggested by: Mike McPhail
Panel Description: Games can be great fodder for story ideas, but how to those the experience translate? What should authors keep in mind when trying to turn RPG game campaigns into fiction.

Panel Name: Doing Research
Suggested by: Mike McPhail
Panel Description: The dos and don'ts of researching details for your fiction.

Panel Name: Building an Anthology
Suggested by: Mike McPhail
Panel Description: What are the steps and stages of developing an anthology project from concept to completion.

Panel Name: Meeting eSpec Books
Suggested by: Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Panel Description: Meet the publisher, authors, and editors of eSpec Books, learn what we have done and what we're looking for. Panel to include Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Peter David, Kathleen David

Panel Name: The Whole Package
Suggested by: Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Panel Description: With the growing trend for self-publishing and start-up small presses panelists discuss what visually makes a good book, and what elements give the beginners away when they haven't done their homework beforehand.

Panel Name: Self-Promotion 101
Suggested by: Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Panel Description: Authors share their advise about promoting your work and building a following.