Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, and the forthcoming School for Sidekicks — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star — part of an NSF-funded science curriculum — and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited — funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+

Friday Cat Blogging

October 17, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Move the food closer thumb-monkey, my feet are cold.


Ooh, excellent plan. Bring me my dinner thumb-monkey!


And then, dance for me! Dance thumb-monkey, dance!


I am so embarrassed for you all…but I do kind of want to see the thumb-monkey dance.


I have seen the thumb-monkeys dance. You do NOT want to see it.


YOU are NOT my thumb-monkey, and I do NOT want dancing with my dinner.


I am noble cat! Take my photo thumb-monkey. Make me as famous as I deserve.


Stupid thumb-monkey gave me a pill…though he did feed me. So I guess he’ll do.


Cats, why did it have to be cats?


Extra dogs and cats courtesy of the Kuchta, Little household, and Castle Gaiman.

ConClave 38 GoH Con Report

October 13, 2014 in About Kelly, Events/Appearaces

I got home from my Guest of Honor appearance at ConClave 38 late last night and then went down hard for about 12 hours. I’ve now had a good long soak in the hot tub and some time to process a really fantastic con experience. So, here are my recollections in no particular order.

First, I had a great time, and I’d like to thank the whole ConCom for taking such good care of me. The whole process for this convention was super smooth for me, from the invite, through handing them off to my travel agent to make the plane arrangements, getting my schedule sorted, my pick up at the airport, the con itself, and my return to the airport and flight home. This is me in the official (not really) GoH wall niche, on Friday.


I had a total of nine programming items. That included a laid back meet and greet with hot beverages provided by the con and time to sit down and really chat with fans, which was lovely, and a reading + Q&A session where I read a bit of Drawn Blades and talked with folks about writing and the industry and my own work. My other seven items were part of the lit track panels and I got to have some great discussions about writing.

I’m not going to name all the folks I had fun with on programming, as I will inevitably forget someone, and I hate doing that, but should note here that I spent a lot of time paneling with M. Keaton who is an absolute delight as a panelist as well as the writer of an awful lot of published fiction. I also went to his children’s reading as several people told me I had to hear him read his short humorous story for children: Troll Snot. They were not wrong. It’s a fun story and the reading was a blast. I will note for the record that it’s criminal that no one has yet picked this story up for publication. It would go well in a magazine or antho focused on trolls or goblins, or as a stand alone illustrated children’s book. Someone, do something about that. There’s money to be made there, and I will cheerfully buy the first copy off the press.

Laura modeling the “I met Kelly McCullough at ConClave ribbons” they gave me to hand out.



Another highlight included a round of me learning just how badly out of practice I am with knife throwing, on Saturday night with the Sal Sanfrantello and some of the other folks at Aegis Consulting, who teach various sorts of western European martial arts. They gave me a lovely set of Aegis throwing gears and a fresh resolve to dig my old throwing knives out of the toy box and set up a target somewhere. I was quite good at it once upon a time back in the ’80s and early ’90s.


The program had one of my favorite pictures of me and Laura on it as the centerpiece—taken a couple of years ago by the marvelous Matt Kuchta—with the covers of my first ten novels flanking, which was cool and surreal. Hey, look, I’m on the cover of a con program! How the hell did that happen? Also, my first ten novels…I don’t even. I lead a rather surreal life these days. Basically, I’ve grown up to be pretty much exactly what nine year old me would have wanted me to grow up to be. Well, inasmuch as I’ve grown up. I am incredibly fortunate. Thanks to Jennifer Dye for the cover and for all the cool stuff on the interior including box quotes from a number of my books scattered throughout.


I got to indulge my inner magpie at Amber Fox Jewelry in the dealers room where I picked up two sets of stud earrings in amber and two in jet—I’ve four pierces on the left side. We also got a tiny and adorable knitted xmas cthulhu. I only briefly got to chat with Tom Barber who ran the dealers room and had all of my books ready to sign at the first available opportunity.


I met a bunch of enthusiastic fans and made a few new ones. That included a really lovely and ego boosting chat with some folks from the Dorsai Irregulars.

I didn’t get to see any of what the folks from the Intrigue Factory were doing, but it all looked like a lot of fun and I did get to do a group photo with them after not closing ceremonies. I would love to bump into them again at a con somewhere when I have a bit more time. Oh, and that’s Con Chair Jody Harrow there to my right in the teeshirt with the silver image on the front.


Sue Stahl, who ran programming, was great at getting me the programming I wanted and not overloading me. Thanks also to her and her husband who played chauffeur for us coming and going.

The few times I made into the con suite, Susan Harris and Patricia Altergott were wonderful hosts.

An enormous and entertaining man who goes by the name of Ox very politely kissed the top of my head—for luck I think.

I signed about a zillion books, a couple of badges, and at least one book plate.

There was a big shiny gift basket waiting for us in the room when we checked in.


We missed the Regency dancing due to schedule conflicts and much to Laura’s dismay.

I got a shiny polychromatic GoH ribbon for my badge.


And a ConClave GoH mug that is now up on the shelf with my CONvergence GoH trophy—not the skull, that’s unrelated bric-a-brac.


An incredibly sweet woman named Kimba (last name unknown) adopted Laura as a celiac buddy and kept her plied with all kinds of gluten free goodies while she was off grading and being a G0H con widow.

I’d like to give special thanks to Jody Harrow the con chair, who kept taking time out from the usual chair job of solving all of everybody’s problems to make extra sure that I was all right and that Laura was getting fed properly—always a concern with her celiac issues. On that front Jody arranged a special sit down with the hotel chef, Guillermo (I think—I’m terrible with names) who kept good track of us and had special cards made up for Laura to give the staff whenever she ate in the hotel restaurant.  I only got to chat with Jody a few times given our mutual schedules but I had fun when we did.

On the way home we stopped and took some video of the super fancy fountain in the Detroit airport. You can’t see it here, but the water projectors do a pulsed release thing that sent discrete packets of water moving around in an intricate pattern.


Also at the airport, we stopped at the Irish pub for dinner and drink. Jameson for me Strongbow for my lovely spouse.


And I think that’s all I’ve got for now, but I reserve the right to add things later as they occur. I will inevitably have forgotten to thank someone I ought or note something really cool that I got to do, because I am terrible that way. My apologies if the cool or wonderful person I forgot was you.

First P.S. I forgot the tee-shirt… If you ever wanted a tee-shirt featuring me, this may be your one and only chance…

ConClave 2014 V3

That’s sooooo surreal…

Friday Cat Blogging

October 10, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Oh, WHERE is my monkey? Oh, WHERE is my monkey?


Back there is your monkey!


Back there is your monkey!


Back there is MY monkey! Paws off!


How much will you give me for the monkey’s wallet?


ConClave Schedule

October 3, 2014 in About Kelly, Readings and Signings

In one week I will be Guest of Honor at ConClave in Detroit. Here’s my schedule:



Friday Cat Blogging

October 3, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Right, dis week I duz captions!


Dis cat don’t live here & he’s a doof.


Dis is da “Princess” she’s a spoiled old prissy pants.


Dis one came here in the same box with me…also a doof.


I call dis one “butthead.”


This is one of my pet thumb monkey—the crazy one.


I want dis. It will bring me fissies!*


Dis is Ashbless, da smartest, prettiest, most wonderfullest cat in da whole world!


Belated thanks to Matt Kuchta for his kitty diving bell illustration.

ConClave is Imminent

September 30, 2014 in About Kelly, Events/Appearaces

I will be Guest of Honor at ConClave 38 in Detroit October 10-12. 

Friday Cat Blogging

September 26, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

It is the east and Juliet, the sun…and she’s way too bright.


I am round like the sun, but not as bright…


I’m a dog.


What the hell…


That was my dog.


I like dogs…they are almost as delicious as my feet.



Friday Cat Blogging

September 19, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging

My lap. Mine. My own. My precious…


Not so sure about the precious, but the lap is mine.


Probably a better plan than these feet…


Ashbless has no lap. Ashbless needs no lap.


I could swear there was a lap here when I went to sleep…




People like stuff that you don’t. Get over it.

September 15, 2014 in About Kelly, Musings, rant

This is a rant that grows out of the whole anti/pro steampunk kerfuffle that the f&sf genresphere has been aflutter with of late in which many on the two sides are flinging great gobs of words at each other like punctuation-laden poo. It’s not pretty and in many cases it seems to be a mix of sour grapes and tribalism, and it looks just like every other variation of this argument we’ve had for the last fifty years. The only real difference being what sub-genre/genre/literary sensibility we’re arguing about.

One of the things that we as a genre community seem to be most vulnerable to is the idea that our personal favorite type of writing is the only type of writing that other people should love and pay attention to, and that anyone who disagrees that our pet subgenre is the one true form of worthwhile writing is a poo-poo head. This tends to be expressed in one of two ways:

1) I want more of my stuff, and why isn’t everyone writing and publishing that? “Waaaaah!” *POUT* It is often accompanied by the stomping of rhetorical feet and tearing of hair. It mostly looks like highly articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

2) How can anyone believe that XXXXX is worthy of their attention and dollars? XXXXX is immoral and anti-intellectual or just plain bad. The people who read/write it are dupes/exploiters or simply uncultured. If people really understood the underlying dynamic of XXXXX they’d realize that and come over and read YYYYY which is the one true way. It mostly looks like even more articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

People, get a freaking grip! Not everyone likes what you like, and that’s okay. In fact it’s wonderful and healthy and necessary for the survival of a culture. Diversity of thought and idea and taste is one of the single most important parts of our ongoing survival as a species. It’s what drives us to try that funny looking new fruit, or accept that those who don’t look and think like us are people too, or take a long walk over the hill and find out there’s cool stuff over there.

The tendency of people to act as though stuff they don’t like is awful and bad for the culture if not downright immoral is one of the human tribal reactions that I find least attractive. It’s genre fundamentalism and it’s ugly and petty and basically unhealthy, both for the culture and for the head of bile it builds up within the person in question.

Does this mean I’m immune to the impulse? Of course not. There are sub-genres I think are stupid or hateful or bad for people. When my stuff doesn’t sell as well as somebody else’s stuff I get a little jealous and pouty. Hey, I’m human. However, I really do try to throttle it down because it’s bad for me and indulging the impulse is bad for the culture. And I sure as hell don’t throw a public tantrum about it.

If you were a geek in school (and if you’re reading this, the odds are pretty good) you remember what it was like to have the cool kids looking down on you for loving Star Trek or Dr. Who or reading those funny Lord of the Rings books. This impulse to say my genre/subgenre good = your genre/subgenre bad is the exact same shit. Do you really want to be doing that?

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Novemeber 10 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Friday Cat Blogging Belatedly

September 14, 2014 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging



Where’s the mute button…


I think I found the mute…


I don’t even…


Soggy doggy has no mute button. Soggy doggy needs no mute button.


Hey, Thumb-Monkey, why you mucking around with cat blogging and not petting me?