Carol Berg

MisCon 29 Attending Professional

Carol Berg’s fifteen epic fantasy novels have won the Prism Award, the Geffen Award, and multiple Colorado Book Awards. Her duology, Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone, won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Carol is a regular panelist/presenter at writers conferences and science fiction conventions and is a two-time Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year. All amazing to one who majored in math at Rice University and computer science at the University of Colorado to avoid writing papers. Her latest novel is Ash and Silver from Penguin Random House. A former software engineer, she calls writing “the hobby that ate my life.” She lives in Colorado.

I am a writer of epic fantasy novels: twelve published, one in progress, and several more in the process of bubbling up from wherever the ideas come from. So, where did I come from? Though my home is at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, my roots are in Texas in a family of teachers, musicians, and railroad men. What can I say - I loved school. A real grade grubber. But mostly I loved reading. Hot Texas summers were perfect for reading science fiction authors Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, as well as classics, mysteries, spy thrillers, and historicals by the likes of Jane Austen, Len Deighton, Charles Dickens, Dorothy Sayers, Mary Renault, and Mary Stewart. I always had a soft spot for mythology and "otherworld" stories like Alice in Wonderland and adventure stories. I even read westerns when I didn't have anything else. Mysteries and historicals remain among my favorite reading. (See my favorites for some books that I can't stop reading no matter how many times I turn the pages.)

Inspired by the US space program, I charged off to Rice University, determined to have a career in science and engineering. But I also chose to take every English course offered that listed novels on the syllabus - just so I would have time to keep reading. I graduated with a degree in Mathematics and a pot full of hours in English and History of Art. And it was my college roommate that loaned me the copy of Lord of the Rings that changed my life...eventually. (It is so cool that she reads my books now!)

After teaching high school math for several years, I stayed home to raise three sons, finding time to teach childbirth classes, camp, hike, bike, read a lot of books - including a lot of fantasy - and get another degree, this time in computer science from the University of Colorado. For seventeen years I worked as a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard Company - a great company that gave me the elbow room to pursue this writing thing as it began to take more and more of my time. A few years into the engineering career, a good friend of mine teased me into writing fiction. The hobby got out of control and in 1999, I sold three novels to New American Library/Roc

Web site: http://www.sff.net/people/carolberg/

Scheduled Panels and Presentations:

Key: panel=On a Panel moderator=Moderating game=GMing

(Tentative)

  • panel Fri 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Writers' Workshop Meet and Greet, Great Hall (Upstairs)
    Panelists: Josie Beaudoin, Carol Berg, Larry Bonham, M. H. Bonham (Maggie), Brenda Carre, Ann Gimpel, James Glass, Rhiannon Held, Andrea Howe, C.L Norman (Candi), J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Patrick Swenson

    Participants and Critiquing Authors get together to meet and discuss how the workshop works. They'll also discuss workshops in general, and how to take criticism. Open to anyone interested in the Writers' Workshop.

  • panel Fri 5:00 - 5:50 PM, Build an Empire on the Fly, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Moderator: Kyle Elliott (Big Kyle); Panelists: Carol Berg, Rob Carlos, Steven Erikson, Chris Organ, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord), Eldon Thompson

    Starting with the Wasteland as a clean slate, our panelists will create an empire from the ground up and see how far they get in 50 minutes. They’ll design everything they can think of: geography, races, culture, laws, history, etc, while our moderator will toss problems (like insurgent dissidents and earthquakes) their way. Artist Rob Carlos will sketch out things on the whiteboard as they go.

  • panel Fri 6:00 - 6:50 PM, Kickass Women, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Moderator: Peter Orullian (Rock Lord); Panelists: Carol Berg, Terry Brooks, Ann Gimpel, J.A. Pitts

    Bryn Ohmsford, Cersei Lannister, the Ilse Witch. What constitutes a kickass female character? Not taking any crap from anyone? Being able to literally kick some ass? Speaking and acting like a man? Is femininity retained in that case? Can a woman have the ability to kick ass and still be a "lady?"

  • Break Fri 6:50 - Sat 11:00
  • panel Sat 11:00 - 12:50 PM, Writers' Workshop, Programming Tent 1 (The Tent)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Larry Bonham, M. H. Bonham (Maggie), Brenda Carre, Ann Gimpel, James Glass, Rhiannon Held, Andrea Howe, C.L Norman (Candi), J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Patrick Swenson

    MisCon's Galaxy-Famous Writers' Workshop. Submit your writing to us a month before MisCon, show up at the hotel, and meet with our professional critiquing authors and editors. They'll help improve your writing.

  • Break Sat 12:50 - Sat 2:00
  • panel Sat 2:00 - 2:50 PM, The Price of Power, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Terry Brooks, Brenda Carre, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord)

    As Terry Brooks once said, "A civilization once destroyed by misuse of power is a bit wary the second time out about what new power can do." Magic, money, modern technology, political power: all these things have consequences, both good and bad. This panel will take a look at the double-sided nature of power. How can writers realistically work this into their work? What are some pop culture examples of this in action?

  • Break Sat 2:50 - Sat 6:00
  • panel Sat 6:00 - 6:50 PM, Reading: Carol Berg, Upstairs Programming 3 (261)
    Panelists: Carol Berg

    Carol will read from one of her recent works.

  • Break Sat 6:50 - Sun 10:00
  • panel Sun 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Author Book Signing, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Moderator: Justin Barba; Panelists: Dave Bara, Carol Berg, S. A. Bolich, Larry Bonham, M. H. Bonham (Maggie), Terry Brooks, Brenda Carre, C.J. Cherryh, Steven Erikson, Jane Fancher, Ann Gimpel, James Glass, Rhiannon Held, David Keck, Todd Lockwood, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord), L.F. Patten (Laurey), John Picacio, J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Shawn Speakman, Patrick Swenson, Mark Teppo, Eldon Thompson

    All authors are invited. Terry Brooks's signing is moderated, and we will maintain a STRICT 3 item maximum per person--zero exceptions. In order to keep the line moving, Terry can only personalize one item per person per trip through the line.

  • Break Sun 10:50 - Sun 3:00
  • panel Sun 3:00 - 3:50 PM, Plotting Backfires, Thunderdome Left (Big Room Left)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Brenda Carre, Ann Gimpel

    What happens when your plot backfires? What can you do about it? Re-write? Start over? Brainstorm? Just go with it and hope the problems will vanish?

  • Break Sun 3:50 - Sun 5:00
  • panel Sun 5:00 - 5:50 PM, Family in Fiction, Upstairs Programming 3 (261)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Rhiannon Held, L.F. Patten (Laurey), Beth Stoops

    The apocalypse is a great way to kill off everyone related to your protagonist, but is that really the best idea? When is having your character's relations show up on the page useful, and when is it distracting? What benefits can family members of characters bring to stories?

  • Break Sun 5:50 - Mon 11:00
  • panel Mon 11:00 - 11:50 AM, The Building Blocks of Backstory, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Brenda Carre, Rhiannon Held, Andrea Howe

    How do you create sufficient character backstory? Do minor characters need backgrounds, as well? How do you keep them straight? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you give your readers this information without resorting to info dumps?

  • panel Mon Noon - 12:50 PM, Building Anticpation, Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Steven Erikson, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord), J.A. Pitts

    The best stories make us wonder what happens next (and stay up half the night reading). Learn how to build anticipation, expectation, and pull your reader along from scene to scene, and from book to book.


Note: Guest and pro biographical information may have been updated since MisCon 29.


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