I attend a lot of science fiction and fantasy conventions, frequently as one of the featured guests. This is a lot of fun, and something that I enjoy immensely, but it requires a new bio be written for each convention's program book. Since I don't really feel like writing ninety biographies, I tap my friends to do it for me. My friends are very creative, somewhat unnerving people, and they rise to the challenge with excellence, verve, and disturbing enthusiasm.
This page features some of the best of the bios that have been written for me by people crazy enough to agree to this little exercise. I love them dearly, which is lucky for them, given some of the things they choose to say. I hope you enjoy them, or at least entertained for a few moments.
My Seanan: Let Me Show You Her
|by Michelle Dockrey, 2009|
Let me introduce you to my friend Seanan McGuire.
She's a blogger, an advocate, an advice columnist, a businesswoman. She's a dreamer, a philosopher, an artist, a madwoman. She's an award-winning composer and performer, a lifelong poet, and, sooner than she can really quite believe, a published author.
She creates art that can convey great depth of emotion, exquisite beauty, and delighted laughter in a few effortless strokes. She composes songs of haunting melody and wickedly clever lyrics as though she were taking dictation directly from the Muse—which, she'll tell you candidly, is exactly what she's doing. She writes poetry with the deft wordplay and apparent ease that befits one who began writing sonnets at the age of six. She writes novels that will draw you in and deprive you of sleep in more ways than one. She'll offer hard-headed advice about the business of writing, and in the next breath she'll have you breathless with laughter talking about zombies and squid.
Seanan's rapid-fire wit and limitless creative energy might make even the most prolific of her fellow artists tend to say to themselves, "I just can't keep up!"
It might—if she weren't pretty much a Muse in her own right.
Seanan somehow has the ability to corral increasingly large numbers of her fellow musicians—almost as challenging as cats—in ever more intricate patterns to bring her music to life. The result is never short of wonderful. When you work with her, Seanan brings out your best, a better best than you ever dreamed you had. She is both inspiring and inspired; new songs and poems and stories chase each other back and forth around Seanan and her friends like a flock of magpies. She sees beauty everywhere, especially in her friends, and she encourages it to grow.
Ah, but that's no surprise from a woman who finds delight in roadside blackberries and street pennies. Who would be equally happy dressing up like a princess in a prom dress and wearing that same prom dress to catch frogs in a swamp. Who adores the elegance of a Siamese cat and the ichor of a Lovecraftian monster with like enthusiasm and devotion. Whose most-often used blogging tag, by far, is "good things". The world is full of beauty, expected and unexpected, and nobody is more ready to tell you about it than my friend Seanan.
This is whose world you're about to enter.
(Did I mention that she creates worlds?)
The world is full of beauty, expected and unexpected, and nobody is more ready to tell you about it than my friend Seanan.
And boy does she tell you about it! Seanan is one of the most incredibly prolific writers I know, a modern-day Scheherazade with far more than 1001 tales to spin. She's got multiple series of novels brewing in diverse genres (don't ask how many in each series; she's...not entirely sure); keep an eye out for her name on the new release shelves next year, because I guarantee you'll want to own them all. Her third CD has just been released; each of her three albums is a delightful mix of tales you want to hear again and again. She's often known more for her funny songs, for her wicked mad science songs, but there are so many facets to what her music can be. She can make you cry with laughter and she can break your heart, and no matter how many stories she sings, you're always left wanting more.
I've known Seanan for...neither of us is entirely quite sure, really. Long enough to laugh and be laughed at, cry and be cried with, lean and be leaned on. Long enough to admire, envy, and learn from her. Long enough to know that she is something truly special.
So please, take good care of my Seanan. There's nobody else like her in the world.
Photo by Phil Parker.
Let Me Tell You A Story
|by Tanya Huff, 2010|
Caution, attempting to describe Seanan McGuire can result in infomercial tendencies as you find yourself announcing to all and sundry, "But that's not all!" while listing the full catalogue of her interests and accomplishments. Art, music, poetry, folklore, humor, horror, comics, television, politics, cats, spiders, reptiles, zombies, the vectors of infectious diseases both past and potential...
But it doesn't have to be that complicated. I can sum her up in one word.
Seanan is a Storyteller.
Sometimes she tells stories with line and color and shading, sending a friend riding a T-Rex rampaging through Toronto. As a non specific example...
Sometimes she tells stories with melodies that creep in under your skin and creep out again while you stand in line at grocery stores and banks
Sometimes she tells stories with a smile and a wickedly raised eyebrow.
But mostly, she tells stories with words. Hundreds of thousands of uncountable numbers of words, shaped into blogs and books and poetry and songs. Joy and injustice. Pretty little dead girls still driving. Politics and heartbreak and horror and hope. Metaphor and magic and mystery.
When the melody and the words combine, Wicked Girls get a voice and the Rose-Owl flies and Sarah Tapper will always love Harry Marshall. Word of warning though, Seanan's torch songs tend to come with actual torches, her laugh is an evil laugh, and exposing your mechanic to the black death may cause delays when it comes time to pay the bill.
The CDC knows her name. If you're lucky, maybe she'll tell you the story.
Because sometimes, Seanan tells stories the old fashioned way, weaving words in the air, painting verbal pictures of ravens and microwaves and plumbing and Alice and Lilly, and, occasionally, over lunch at Wendy's, about how parasitic infections are being used to control severe food allergies. Sometimes the stories don't get finished because friends won't let her explore abandoned cement factories even if she's found a way in—but that's okay because she'll always have more stories to tell.
Storytellers hold up mirrors made of words so we can see ourselves more clearly. They take truth and give back Truth. They entertain. They teach. Sometimes they rip out their bleeding hearts and offer them on platters so, sometimes, be gentle with them.
Seanan tells us/draws us/writes us/sings us stories. Reflective, Truthful, entertaining, bleeding stories. If the world ended, I'd want her sitting at my campfire.
But that's not all!
Sometimes, there's chainsaws.
|by Brooke Lunderville, 2009|
VAT-GROWN PUMPKIN CLONE HIVEMIND INVADES DUCKON. Film at 11. And the film is "Body Snatchers."
This is not a tabloid headline. This is a very serious warning. Duckon's 2009 Filk Guest of Honor is much, much more than you, the concom, and local authorities have bargained for. She writes. She sings. She composes. She draws. Does she ever freaking SLEEP? Is her real name Mary Sue? But I know her dark secret. No one person could do all the things she does, let alone do them all with such superlative skill and grace. And no one person does, for Seanan McGuire is actually an army of very, very talented clones.
A FIELD GUIDE TO SEANAN McGUIRE'S CLONE ARMY:
Clone body #1 is the amazing performer you're about to hear in concert. Her sultry voice would make the phonebook sound like honey-wine. Her captivating stage presence is being investigated for possible military applications. Her magnetic personality has assembled a backup band of some of the finest musicians in or out of fandom. If you've never heard her live, you are in for a treat. And if you have—well, you're already in line for a seat, aren't you?
Clone bodies #2 and 3 spend all of their time writing songs for Clone #1 to sing. If you think this could all be done by one person, let me introduce you to exhibit A: the THREE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN songs in the online songbook on her website. (The Beatles only wrote 194. And there were four of them.) From startlingly beautiful melodic ballads to Schoolhouse rock about the black plague, her songs will move you to dance, to tears, to laughter, and possibly to Boise under the witness protection program.
Clone body #4(j) is in the recording studio right now working on Seanan's 4th album. Clone bodies #4 (a) through (i) were destroyed in the production of the first three albums. The live album—Pretty Little Dead Girl—blew the audience away, not to mention most of Ohio. Stars Fall Home, her impossibly lush first studio album, is not technically illegal in this jurisdiction. Red Roses and Dead Things, her collection of mad science songs, has not been conclusively linked to dissolving the brains of its listeners. The clone bodies exhausted to make these delicious albums are lost forever, not to mention illegal to approach within fifty yards, but you can buy all three albums in the dealers' room. Then you just have to decide which clone-Seanan should autograph your copies.
Clone body #5 is a published novelist. Rosemary and Rue, the first October Daye novel, published by DAW Books, is being released September 1st, 2009. The sequels, A Local Habitation and An Artificial Night will follow in 2010 and beyond. Hard-boiled detective novel meets fairyland. Your eyeballs will be glued to the page—clone body #5 is GOOD.
Clone bodies #6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 through 17, and 33 are also novelists. Seanan has another ten novels she is actively writing and revising, and don't worry, there's more where that came from—the clone vats are always ready. Clone body #34 keeps the machetes sharp and prevents the proofreading team from being unleashed on the unsuspecting population of the Bay Area.
Clone body #11 writes short stories. If you can't wait until September to get your hands on her fiction—and why should you?—you can find her stories published in the Ravens in the Library anthology, the Grants Pass anthology, and online at www.seananmcguire.com.
Clone bodies #12, 18, and 19 write poetry. In addition to her two limited-edition chapbooks, she has published over 3000 poems online.
Clone body #20 is a cartoonist. Clone body #21 is a fine artist. Clone body #22 protects the art supplies from her Siamese and Maine Coon cats.
Clone body #24 is all that is holding the pandemic back. Clone body #25 feeds the velociraptors. Clone body #26 has a fan club at the Centre for Disease Control. Clone body #27 knows you think I'm joking and is laughing at you.
Clone body #36 works a day job in California. Someone has to.
What do clone bodies 23, 28—32, 35, and 37 do? Well, some things you'll just have to learn in person. Clone appetit, Duckon.
|by Zander Nyrond, 2007|
There is a world where everything works. There is a world where everyone is multi-talented, where everyone can write, sing, versify, draw, dance, sew, and turn their hands to anything you care to name. There is a world where it's not necessary to add "an it harm none" to "do what ye will," because it would quite simply never occur to anyone that harming another was in any way good or useful. There is a world where it's good, it's admirable, to be passionate about anything and everything, whether it's small plush ponies with big boggly eyes or the correct sequence of line-endings in a sestina.
Seanan McGuire has come, at great personal cost, from this world, to live among us. We are enriched thereby.
Based in California (where else?), she has been sighted all over the planet at unpredictable intervals: it has been theorized that, according to quantum theory, so many people know who she is that it has become almost impossible for anyone to know where she is going to be. The most likely place to find her (apart from, of course, here, this weekend) is on LiveJournal, where she posts songs, diatribes, encomia and general chat at a rate which leads one to wonder how she finds the time to do all the things she writes about. She is a soon-to-be-published author, and I guarantee her stories will blow your socks off, assuming you're wearing socks. Some don't. She has been known to take on all comers at poetry-writing and win, though I have heard that she has been doing less of that since the day when someone behind her drawled "Go fer yer scansion!" and she turned round and there was this kid... And, of course, there is the singing, as you will hear.
I had intended, when Harper asked me for this bio, to come up with some extravagant fantasy about Seanan's origin and early life, and I spent a long time trying to do so. The fact is that no fantasy could be more exotic or more delightful than the reality, and to make up stories about this lady would be to demean the truth of her existence. Besides, she can do it much better herself.
Seanan McGuire, ladies and gentlemen. They don't come much better.
Photo by Carolyn Billingsley.