Giveaway Signup

<== Click to join my mailing list and receive a free copy of my short story Crystal Servants, delivered through MyBookCave. Learn about some of the major players in my novel Crystal King and its sequels Crystal Queen and Crystal Empire.

Adrian, a spy for the King, sees a nobleman murder a servant. His desire for truth is pitted against the dangers of a high-stakes political game. When his friend Draken insists on pursuing justice, Adrian must protect those he cares about as the political games of powerful men alter the lives of everyone around him.


Presentations by John M Olsen

I've presented, been a panelist, and moderated at several events, including the following:
  • Salt Lake Comic Convention (
    • 2016 A Celebration of Steampunk (panelist)
    • 2016 From Shibboleths to Shoggoth: The Language of Geekdom and Nerd Nomenclature (panelist)
    • 2018 KidCon Minecraft panel (moderator)
    • 2018 (several others)
  • Life, the Universe, and Everything (
    • 2017 Can You Hack It? Hacking, Data Breaches, and Encryption (panelist)
    • 2018 Andre Norton: Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy (panelist)
    • 2018 Writing Science Fiction Tropes (panelist)
    • 2018 Writing Steampunk (panelist)
    • 2019 Kill Your Darlings (moderator)
    • 2019 Homesteading the Moon (moderator)
    • 2019 The Multidisciplinary Creator (moderator)
    • 2019 Developing for Consoles vs. PC (moderator)
    • 2019 Writing LDS Themes in Mainstream Fiction (moderator)
    • 2019 Short Fiction: Making Every Word Count (moderator)
    • 2019 How to Get Selected for an Anthology (panelist)
    • 2019 Pokemon Go and Other Games That Create Community (moderator)
  • Salt City Steamfest
    • 2016 A Gentleman's Guide to Steampunk
    • 2016 Victorian Weaponry
  • League of Utah Writers Spring Conference (
    • 2017 Why Write Short Stories?
  • League of Utah Writers Fall Conference/Quills (
    • 2016 Analysis of Writing: Numbers can tell you cool things about words
    • 2016 Do's and Dont's of Presenting Yourself as an Author (panelist)
    • 2017 The Matrix is Here: The Reality of Virtual Reality (team teach with Jay Barnson)
  • ConDuit
    • 2015 Geek Parenting (panelist)
  • FyreCon (
    • 2017 Cat Saving for Fun and Profit: Various Story Structures (panelist)
    • 2017 Adapting Timeless Stories (moderator)
    • 2017 The Future of Steam Punk and Cyber Punk (panelist)
    • 2017 Beginning Calligraphy (a hands-on beginner class, also taught 2018 and 2019)
    • 2017 The Short Story Submission Machine (team teaching with Julie Frost)
    • 2019 Senses Beyond the Big Five (presenter)
    • 2019 The Future of VR and Video Games (panelist)
    • 2019 Making Infinite Worlds in Finite Time (presenter)
    • 2019 Robots, Androids, and AI (panelist)
    • 2019 Surviving the Slush Pile (team teach with Lyn Worthen)
  • Snake River Comic Con
    • 2017 Virtual Reality
  • LDS Beta Readers Online Conference (
    • Short Story Preparation and Submission (available on YouTube)
  • MisCon ( in Missoula, MN)
    • 2018 Senses involved in Violence (panelist)
    • 2018 (on other panels as well)
  • Wasatch Writers Fellowship
    • 2019 Creating a Second Draft (moderator)
  • Eagle Mountain Arts Con
    • 2019 Why Write Short Stories (presenter)
  • Spike Con (Westercon 72, NASFiC 2019, 1632 Minicon, & Manticon 2019)
    • 2019 Cats in Speculative Fiction (panelist)
    • 2019 Crafting on the Final Frontier (panelist)
    • 2019 Artificial Intelligence & Privacy: Is Privacy Dead? (panelist)
  • Wizarding Days, Sandy, UT
    • 2017-2018 Beginning Calligraphy (hands-on class)
  • Wizarding Days, Logan, UT
    • 2019 World Building 201: Histories & Languages (moderator)
    • 2019 So, You Want to be a Writer (panelist)
Here are some notes from a few of the things I've talked about (or will be talking about) at some of these events.

The Short Story Submission Machine

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. An alternate title was "The Trials (and Joys) of Short Story Submission." 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.

Hands-on Calligraphy Workshop

I had an opportunity at Fyrecon to break out some old skills and teach a calligraphy class. I've got some supplies ranging from nearly new to older than me, and it was cool to dig them out and work with a class to share a love for text as art.

More to Come

As I prepare for conference presentations, I'll add things here.

No comments:

Post a Comment