Appearances

I’m findable at online readings, conventions, and open mics and available for more at the drop of a … microphone. Scroll down a bit if you’re hunting for this month’s open mics!

A Black Friday Special Event
Nov 26th 2:00-5:00 pm PST

An Afternoon with Fairy Princess Lolly

The inimitable FPL is planning a Black Friday get-together so you can connect with lots of authors (as in her Author Reads series) AND crafters (Homemade Home Shopping). There will be a half-dozen storytellers to read to you and a half-dozen crafters to introduce you to fine hand-crafting. My reading is at 3:00 pm (PST), but come for the show! (Too busy on the 26th? No worries, subscribe to her channel, so you’ll be sure to watch the show later. Most deals run through Black Friday Weekend!)

Digital editions of my book are available at ALL THESE PLACES for 99 cents from RIGHT NOW through November 29th!

The SWSW Holiday Extravaganza
December 12 9am-3pm PST

Games, live readings, improv, stories, giveaways

There are more things going on at this party than will fit in this space. I will be “competing” in Speed-Date a Book at 11 am PST, the online scavenger hunt runs all day (some of your targets are right on this website), you can compete in MY part of the Twitter microfiction contest on DECEMBER 5th!!, collect book-related recipes (including Ansegwe’s favorite cookies), find me at the SWSW Facebook page for a pop-up party (prizes!). There’s even a madcap improvisational-theater-like event you can enjoy. Just sign up, get all the details, and partake of all the bits that please you!

In December, I’ll be (virtually) on-site at the World Science Fiction Convention, DisCon III. I’ll be roving the virtual halls and hanging out in the dealers room. Water Dragon Publishing is planning lots of special activities there, like we had at Readercon in August! See you there!

Octocon has posted videos of most of the panels on Twitch and will transition them to YouTube in a few weeks. Check it out: we all had a grand time, and so can you! Be inspired by the optimism and forward thinking, as well as the good humor of the participants. Thank you, Octocon, for letting me play!

Isekai: Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Go Home Anymore?

On the anime track at Octocon 2021

Anime fan? Laugh at my errors as I learn about isekai from a streamer/producer who’s simultaneously running the show, a horrible goose (and isekai grandmaster), a Russian expert in crossworld escapes, plus an SFF author planning a new life as a villainess.

Featuring: Sakura Perez, Faranae, Ann Gry, and S.L. Dove Cooper

Global Optimistic Futures

On the science & technology track at Octocon

With all that’s happened, can you imagine a hopeful future? Take the leap with these forward-thinking authors, activists, and futurists. We’ve got a human rights activist, an international publisher and anthologist, the author of “A Short Hopeful Guide to Climate Change,” and an author with steampunk/solarpunk credits to brighten your perspectives.
Featuring: Oisín McGann, Janet O’Sullivan, Francesco Verso, and Fabio Fernandes

Orbital Tidy Towns Committee

On the comedy (?) track at Octocon

Well, I’m well-satisfied with this month’s committee meeting, though my former friend Sharon, that scheming, interfering, gossipy so-and-so, has some exciting news coming to her on a thrilling new job involving sharks in spacesuits. Take that, all you fictional bothersome former friends! Lookin’ forward to all the great improvements to our orbital community.
Completely outclassed by: James Brophy, MaryBrigid Turner, James Shields, Russell A. Smith, Dav Waldron, and Declan Meenagh

A Solar Panel: Building a Hopeful Future

Back on the science track at Octocon

We started out talking about powersats, but went far beyond that, looking into the complexities of our energy supply future across the world. What a fantastic group: a moderator who should have been a panelist, a researcher in systems science, a electricity grid modeller (like me!), an educator and writer with the power to reach the next generation, and this overeducated energy engineer.

Featuring: Máire Brophy, Oisín McGann, Noelle Jenda, Harun Šiljak

Below the open mic connection here, you’ll find video links (where available) and chat about my most recent appearances.

Welcome to Open Mic Night!

Open mic events are a great way to meet new authors, try out your own material, or just hang out with other people who love stories and poetry. Right now, you can take advantage of all the on-line and hybrid events and wander far without ever leaving the comforts of home. I host an open mic event once a month for the California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch and I’m also the “techie” for the twice-monthly open mics hosted by CWC South Bay Writers. Join us!

South Bay Writers

First Friday: 7:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Everyone gets 10 minutes to read an excerpt, a short story, a few poems, an essay, or memoir. It’s also OK to read a piece by a favorite author.

Please keep content “G-rated” – children are welcome to attend and participate at this open mic.

South Bay Writers

Third Friday: 7:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Everyone gets 10 minutes to read whatever they like. At this event, you may choose more adult content that may not be suitable for children. (Parents may attend with children with the understanding that some readings may contain profanity, sexual situations, violence, and other R-rated material.)

CWC-SF Peninsula

Fourth Tuesday: 7:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Depending on how many are attending, you may choose to read 5-8 minutes of your material. Works in progress or published works are welcome, in any genre or style. Keep in mind the audience may be mixed; read the room and be prepared to flex your selections if children are present.


In August, I was part of a wonderful reading program hosted by Strong Women, Strange Worlds, featuring science fiction, fantasy, and horror from women and non-binary authors. They meet twice a month, the show’s online, and there are opportunities to chat with the authors and enter giveaways! The programs will eventually be on YouTube, but for now, you click the image below to find the schedule and register for the next gathering.

Engage with these wonderful storytellers on Twitter: @_TerriBruce, @janecesther, @MGarnet_Author, @BespokeChaos, @AlmaAlexander, @teffeau. (Also, please follow me, too, @CometaryTales). You’ll find Kathryn Sullivan on the FB. And Anne Nydam? If you click the image, you will also be on her webpage!

A Zoom image array: heading of Strong Women, Strange Worlds in blues and purples, and nine women/nonbinary authors in their zoom boxes below.

This past summer, I took part in a special event celebrating the California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch and their partnership with the San Mateo County Fair. The club hosts a literary competition every year (except, alas, 2020), under the auspices of the California State Fair system. Anyone can participate, judging is blind, and excerpts of winning entries are displayed at the Fair. As part of the celebration, the club hosted an online reading from event participants. I read from my short story, “Coke Machine.” (Secret news: the story will be appearing from an unnamed publisher in early 2022!) You don’t need a time machine to enjoy the poetry, memoir, and storytelling of that afternoon–it’s available for all, online. If you want to jump right to the sci-fi, leap to the one-hour mark, to catch Doug Baird’s UFO story, right before my spaceship-engineer-in-deep-trouble story.


Another fun read was chatting with the inimitable Fairy Princess Lolly, the public face of Fae Productions, which in normal times produces fantastic in-person festival events. During Covid times, FPL expanded her online presence, including adding an Author Reads program. It was super-fun! I read from my published book and from the one I’m querying— Lidian’s Promise—and we talked and talked about writing ideas, characters, all the good stuff. Plus, we had TWO giveaways!

Remember to like and subscribe!

YouTube video from FaeProductions: Author Reads with Vanessa MacLaren-Wray

A screenshot showing a sand-dune scene with a blue sky, mostly hidden by the planned program of a BayCon mini-con, with Vanessa MacLaren-Wray and G. David Nordley at 12:45 pm, with Carrie Sessarego and Lilian Csernica presenting Romands in the time of COVID, Wanta Kurtcuand Bradford Lyau on A global approach to genre literature, Steve Libbey and Derek McCaw on Movie industry and streaming, Galen Dara, Cody Parcell, and Keliana on Cover art, Cory Doctorow and Howard Davidson on How do we survive social engineering, and M. Todd Gallowglas on In defense of Brevity in genre fiction.

I’m a regular participant at BayCon, our San Francisco Bay Area science fiction/fantasy convention. Usually, I get to take part in the science-y panels, because … I know stuff, I guess.

The BayCon crew launched a series of mini-cons to make up for having to cancel the convention last year and this year. The most-recent one had a technical track, so I had the opportunity to take part in a panel that I’d proposed for BayCon 2020! G. David Nordley and I discussed Who Is Going to Own Space?

With so many countries and private entities jumping into space activities, the topic has returned as to who has rights in space, what the constraints are, and where we may be falling behind in forming (and enforcing) international agreements. My launching point was how Elon Musk’s project to put up thousands satellites essentially gives him ownership of those orbits. We’re at 1:45 in the recording of the event. It’s a Zoom recording, so you need the passcode: v&L@oar7 and then the link.