I’m coming up for air after finishing a large literary project and will (hopefully) have time to blog a little more again. During these past two weekends, I attended two conferences. The first was the Queens Book Festival, held at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens. Moderator Jennifer Marie Brissett did a great job herding us, the panelists Steve Vera, Elizabeth Crowens, and myself. The panel was supposed to begin at 11 am, but as this was the first-annual Queens Book Festival there were a few bumps and they didn’t start letting people in until 11:40 or so. But this was a non-issue for moderator Jennifer, who vamped like a pro. We spoke about our geek influences and favorite books, TV shows, and films to a small group until the audience arrived, totaling around 50-60 people. We spoke about where we would like to see the SF field head and took some good questions from the audience. After, I wandered around the many publisher booths and bought a book called Necessary Evil by Kareem Hayes, a fictionalized version of her former life in prison. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems fascinating. Despite the bright sun, I had a great time and would definitely do the festival again.

Here’s a picture courtesy of panelist Elizabeth Crowens:

Steve Vera, Elizabeth Crowens, Jennifer Brisset, Matthew Kressel (me!)

Steve Vera, Elizabeth Crowens, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Matthew Kressel (me!)

Then tis past weekend I participated in the Writer’s Digest Conference, held at the Hilton Hotel on 53rd Street & 6th Avenue in Manhattan. Saturday night I signed books with David Mack, well known for his many Star Trek novelsand author Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. We had a lot of fun just talking geek for a couple of hours as people came to check us out and have books signed. Then, Sunday, I was on a panel called “The Art and Science of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Moderated by Tor editor Diana Gill, this panel included David Mack, Elizabeth Crowens, Jeff Somers, and Debbie Dadey, and I have to say was one of the most enjoyable panels I’ve ever done. All the panelists had intelligent things to say, Diana Gill did a superb job moderating, and the audience asked excellent questions that kept us all on our toes, in a good way. You could really feel the energy in the room.

Here’s a photo also courtesy of Elizabeth Crowens:

David Mack, Matthew Kressel (me again!), Elizabeth Crowens, Jeff Somers, Debbie Dadey, Diana Gill

David Mack, Matthew Kressel (me again!), Elizabeth Crowens, Jeff Somers, Debbie Dadey, Diana Gill

I finished off the conference by listening to Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, give the closing keynote speech. Despite her great success, her authenticity and humility shone through her speech, and I was definitely impressed by her (and her novel, which is brilliant). All in all, it’s been a busy, but rewarding couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to showing you all the fiction I’ve been working so hard on soon.