Carol Berg

MisCon 30 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:

Scheduled Panels and Presentations:

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


  • panel Fri 2:00 - 2:50 PM, Book Signing: General Session, Pavilion (1)
    Moderator: Justin Barba; Panelists: Carol Berg, Jim Butcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis (Di), Robin Hobb, Todd Lockwood

    This signing is moderated, and we will maintain a STRICT 3 item maximum per person--zero exceptions. In order to keep the lines moving, Robin and Jim can only personalize one item per person per trip through the line.

  • Break Fri 2:50 - Fri 4:00
  • panel Fri 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Joining Plot & Character Arc, Ballroom B
    Moderator: Peter Orullian (Rock Lord); Panelists: Carol Berg, Randy Henderson, Robin Hobb, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord)

    So you've outlined your plot and you know the changes your character will experience--but how do you join these into one coherent and cohesive arc? In this panel we'll hear from the experts.

  • panel Fri 5:00 - 5:50 PM, Build an Empire on the Fly, Tent By the Trees (1)
    Panelists: Kevin J Anderson, Carol Berg, Rob Carlos, Brenda Carre, Robin Hobb, Brian Rathbone

    We're once again building an empire! 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.

  • Break Fri 5:50 - Fri 7:00
  • panel Fri 7:00 - 7:50 PM, Opening Ceremonies, Pavilion (1)
    Panelists: Word Fire Press , Kevin J Anderson, Justin Barba, Carol Berg, Jim Butcher, C.J. Cherryh, Dragon Dronet, Robin Hobb, Todd Lockwood, Jeff Sturgeon, Chad Volpe (The Fin), Peter Wacks (pjwacks)

    Of all the gin joints in the city, you had to wander into this one. Well, come on in, grab a seat, and find out what's in store for you at MisCon 30. We'll meet our GoHs, hand out some Golden Squid Awards, and have a little fun. Our seers, scientists, and sages tell us this will likely only run about half an hour unless the forces of chaos make us go longer. If the weather doesn't allow, we'll move into Ballrooms B&C in the hotel.

  • Break Fri 7:50 - Sat 11:00
  • panel Sat 11:00 - 11:50 AM, The Role of Stories, Gallatin
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Rhiannon Held, Meradeth Houston

    Every culture might interpret the same story in vastly different ways (Ex: Hamlet). Unique cultures can also independently create startlingly similar stories. What is it about stories that make them such an entrenched part of human culture? Why is the morality tale the preferred way to instruct youth in societal norms? Is it possible that stories are the key to understanding what it means to be human?

  • panel Sat Noon - 12:50 PM, Worst Panel Ever Panel, Ballroom B
    Moderator: Peter Wacks (pjwacks); Panelists: Carol Berg, Robin Hobb, Christopher Paolini, Peter Wacks (pjwacks)

    Veteran panelists will share stories of some of the most harrowing and funny experiences they have had on panels.

  • Break Sat 12:50 - Sat 3:00
  • panel Sat 3:00 - 3:50 PM, The Evil Monologue, Ballroom B
    Moderator: Kyle Elliott (Big Kyle); Panelists: Carol Berg, Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, Todd Lockwood

    Why do villains feel the need to monologue? Is imparting the full impact of the scheme rewarding in itself despite the risks that the hero could subvert such carefully laid plans? Would the victory be somehow less complete if no one knew the villain's true genius? Do monologues serve other purposes? Should your villain give one? What about a hero's monologue?

  • Break Sat 3:50 - Sat 6:00
  • moderator Sat 6:00 - 6:50 PM, Fiction Slam Reading, Tent By the Trees (1)
    Moderator: Carol Berg; Panelists: Carol Berg, Randy Henderson, Peter Wacks (pjwacks)

    Come hear your favorite pro read a selection of their work.
    1800: Randy Henderson
    1820: Peter Wacks
    1840: Carol Berg

  • Break Sat 6:50 - Sun 10:00
  • panel Sun 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Meet/Greet: CJ Cherryh, Jane Fancher, & Carol Berg, Hotel Lobby of Doom
    Panelists: Carol Berg, C.J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher

    Meet a few of our authors, get signatures, and see what they're up to these days.

  • moderator Sun 11:00 - 11:50 AM, Conflict, Tension, and Other Gnarly Bits, Ballroom B
    Moderator: Carol Berg; Panelists: Kevin J Anderson, Jim Butcher, Randy Henderson, Robin Hobb, Todd Lockwood

    Aspiring writers are bombarded with advice: tension on every page, more internal conflict, more external conflict, make it personal, make it organic. Let's make sense out the twists and turns that hook readers and hold them until the end.

  • Break Sun 11:50 - Sun 1:00
  • panel Sun 1:00 - 1:50 PM, The Grand Scheme, Ballroom B
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Jim Butcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis (Di), Peter Orullian (Rock Lord), Brooke Stanley

    Every great villain needs a masterpiece scheme in order to realize their ambitions and force the hero to their knees, as well as to set themselves apart from every other nefarious criminal. Learn what elements make every grand scheme extraordinary and how to construct the plan that will give your mastermind their edge.

  • Break Sun 1:50 - Mon 11:00
  • panel Mon 11:00 - 11:50 AM, Write a Story on the Fly, Pavilion (1)
    Moderator: Krista Wallace; Panelists: Carol Berg, S. A. Bolich, Diana Pharaoh Francis (Di), Krista Wallace

    In this panel, the panelists will improv a story on the fly, one sentence at a time. It will be written down as they go, and will be read aloud at the end. Promises to be a rolickin’ good time!

  • panel Mon Noon - 12:50 PM, Making Characters Resonate, Ballroom B
    Panelists: Carol Berg, Todd Lockwood, Peter Orullian (Rock Lord), Patrick Rothfuss

    Howe do you make characters resonate with your audience?

Note: Guest and pro biographical information may have been updated since MisCon 30.

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