Presentations by John M Olsen

I've spoken at or am scheduled to present or be a panelist at several events, including the following:
  • Salt Lake Comic Con (
    • A Celebration of Steampunk (panelist)
    • From Shibboleths to Shoggoth: The Language of Geekdom and Nerd Nomenclature (panelist)
  • Life, the Universe, and Everything (
    • Can You Hack It? Hacking, Data Breaches, and Encryption (panelist)
  • Salt City Steamfest
    • A Gentleman's Guide to Steampunk
    • Victorian Weaponry
  • League of Utah Writers Spring Conference (
    • Why Write Short Stories?
  • League of Utah Writers Fall Conference (
    • Analysis of Writing: Numbers can tell you cool things about words
    • Do's and Dont's of Presenting Yourself as an Author (panelist)
  • ConDuit
    • Geek Parenting (panelist)
  • FyreCon (
    • The Trials (and Joys) of Short Story Submission
    • (Still working out details on a workshop)
Here are some notes on a few of the things I've talked about (or will be talking about) at some of these events.

The Trials (and Joys) of Short Story Submission

This presentation is a team-teaching exercise with Julie Frost, queen of short story submissions and a winner of the Writers of the Future contest in 2016. First presented at Fyrecon 2017. Some of the topics included are:
  • How to tell when you’re ready to submit for publication.
  • Coping mechanisms for rejection.
  • How to figure out where to send your story
  • What do you do once you sell something?
  • What do you need to keep track of?
  • Why might you get rejected? (some reasons specified above, but duplicates here are fine)
  • Standard Manuscript Format
  • What about submissions that require a fee?

Self-Editing Tricks

Here is a link to my PowerPoint slides for this presentation.

I talk about several things you can do on your own to improve your writing through word processors, other tools, and cool methods to catch bad writing and improve good writing. It's a short version of the "Analysis of Writing" presentation.

Analysis of Writing

Numbers can tell you cool stuff about words

The PowerPoint slide show is here.
This is a presentation about how statistical analysis can improve your writing, help you find your target market, and teach you about the industry.

Geek Parenting

I was a panelist at ConDuit 2015 with Tom Carr on how you can tell if you're doing it right. From my prepared notes:

Credentials for geek parenting

  • 5 kids of my own plus 3 nieces and a nephew. Level 50 cleric in Everquest. Computer programmer (games and simulation). 4+ Minecraft accounts running in the house. Kids with LAN parties capable of nearly melting an extension cord. Regularly 10+ devices hooked to the net.


  • Books. Have books available on a host of subjects, not just SFF.
  • Artwork. Cover your walls with something besides paint.
  • Music. A broad exposure gives kids more to draw on.
  • Computer Games. It’s a social experience. Play with them.
  • Board games. Collect a closet full. They can turn a gang of bored teens into a party.
  • Social media. Be aware. Be connected. Be involved. Have fun with it.


  • Limits on screen time.
  • Priorities – jobs first, then fun as a reward.
  • Web filters.
  • Internet and social media time restrictions. Everyone deserves some downtime.


  • Attending conventions, fairs, bazaars.
  • Reenactment / reimagining.
  • Movies as a family, at opening, or at home.


  • Costuming.
  • Crafts.
  • Art.
  • Writing.
  • Collecting.
  • Play music. Instruments range from free to kilobucks.
  • Costuming.
  • Medieval dance.


  • Some classes, clubs, and activities let you fly your geek flag. Art, music, etc.

Victorian Weaponry

I gave a presentation at Salt City Steamfest on Victorian weaponry with a steampunk twist (August 12, 2016). This includes a lot of reference to cosplay, costuming, and a few points on general safety. I brought out my arsenal of knives, swords, and other assorted weapons including some squirt guns mid-conversion to become steampunk weapons. I also brought along my repeater rubber band pistol.

It was a lot of fun because earlier this summer I visited Napoleon's Tomb and the museum there, and got some really cool pictures including a fifteen-foot long rifle, a shoulder-mounted cannon, and a few other choice items like a breastplate that took a direct cannon hit.

Here are the slides I used.

Panel: The Do's and Don'ts of Presenting Yourself as an Author

A panel at the League of Utah Writers Fall conference on Sept 24, 2016.

Can You Hack It? Hacking, Data Breaches, and Encryption

Examples of real-life hacking and what to do about it. A discussion of how media often gets hacking wrong and how to get it right.

Why Write Short Stories?

First presented at the 2017 League of Utah Writers Spring Conference. There are lots of reasons to write short fiction. What's yours? A review of why you might write short fiction for various skill levels and publishing experience from first-timer to mega-author.

There is a lot of crossover here with "The Trials (and Joys) of Short Story Submission" but the focus is more on the benefits at various stages of the career rather than the process.

Rather than include a lot of detail here, I'll link to my slides for the presentation. The slides themselves don't have a lot of info, but there are a lot of notes attached.

Click here for the slides. Let me know if you want to borrow anything from them.

More to Come

As I prepare for conference presentations, I'll add things here. One that's a little bit different is a hands-on beginning calligraphy workshop. That will be lots of fun.

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