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Are you a member of GoodReads? Want a chance at some free books? I’m giving away copies of all my current titles, and all you have to do click.
This weekend will mark my second foray into the insanity of DragonCon. 80,000+ frothing geeks–cosplayers, gamers, nerds, readers, comics fans, SF fans, Whovians, stormtroopers, sharknadoes–egads!
I will be joining with several authors, such as C.L. Wilson, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, E.C. Ambrose, and Alethea Kontis, in the Tairen’s Lair booth at various times over the weekend.
My only panel is on the YA Literature track on The Future of the Potterverse, which will take place on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
The craziness is just beginning, and it ain’t gonna stop till Tuesday!
This weekend, June 13-15, I’ll be appearing on an avalanche of panels at Denver Comic Con. Of course, my inner twelve-year-old nerd is buzzing with anticipation like a phaser set to overload.
In addition to my panel schedule, I’ll be hanging out with the likes of Guy Anthony De Marco, Quincy J. Allen, and Vivian Caethe at the Evil Brain Trust booth in the Exhibit Hall (Booth #1013).
12:15 p.m. – Authors vs. Fans: The Throwdown
1:30 p.m. – Character Building
4:00 p.m. – Realities of Crowdfunding for Indie Authors
5:15 p.m. – Flash Fiction: Writing at the Speed of Light
11:00 a.m. – Marketing for Writers and Artists
2:45 p.m. – Unlocking the Story Within
11:00 a.m. – What’s the Difference between Sword & Sorcery and Epic Fantasy?
1:30 p.m. – How NOT to Get Published
So get your Geek on. And look me up when you get there and let us frolic.
Jay Lake passed away today. It was no surprise to anyone aware of who he was. His long, losing struggle with cancer was well known throughout the universe of speculative fiction writers and readers, and I am among many thousands who will mourn his passing as a friend, a colleague, one of the best men they have ever known.
At my very first big SF convention, Denvention 3, otherwise known as World Con 2008, I met a host of amazing, talented writers, most of whom were farther down the path than I was. Among them was Jay Lake, a long-haired, fast-talking punster with a shirt that looked like it was on fire. Over drinks and conversation, he discovered that I was living in Omaha at the time, a destination to which his day job took him about once a month, and he was gracious enough to invite me into his circle of Omaha friends. Each of his trips to Omaha would include a pizza get-together that was known as the Omaha Beach Party, and it was there that I got to know him.
Even then, more than five years ago, he was fighting through one of his first bouts of cancer.
Having dinner with Jay Lake meant being on one’s toes. The puns and witticisms flew so fast that you could take a moment to cut your calzone and be left two or three jokes in the dust.
His was one of the sharpest, most incisive minds I have ever encountered. He was one of those people who operate in gears a few orders of magnitude beyond most other people, and that is reflected in his fiction, which tears along at breakneck pace and just dares you to try to keep up.
He was one of those writers who could sneeze and three thousand words would hit the page, good words, the kind of productivity that leaves the vast majority of other writers suppressing their envy.
At World Fantasy in San Jose, California in 2009, Jay was the toastmaster, and it was there that I was introduced to his Guerilla Cheese Party, a phantom event he hosted at various conventions that featured hosts of exotic cheeses. He called it “guerilla” because it could show up anywhere at an undisclosed location. At that party, I was treated to the musical stylings of Ken Scholes, Jay’s good friend and fellow writer, with his guitar and harmonica. The pinnacle of that performance was Ken’s rendition of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” sang as if in duet by Queen Elizabeth II and Bob Dylan. Ken and Jay are the perfect example of how great men often come together. I can only imagine the anguish Ken has felt over the years of Jay’s long struggle.
In spring of 2012, I invited Jay to my Science Fiction Literature class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and he was gracious enough to take time out from his job to come to class, where we spoke at length of fiction writing and time travel stories, and he charmed my students just like he charmed everyone who met him. He also showed them his tattoos, inscribed on his flesh as badges of honor for how many times he had faced cancer and survived.
It was soon after that the cancer came roaring back for the final battle it would ultimately win.
Last year, I had the honor of attending Jay’s birthday party in Omaha, hosted by the Omaha Beach Party. It became an event I will never forget, complete with Darth Vader, an escort of stormtroopers and an Imperial Guard from the 501st Legion, who all jumped at the chance to honor Jay at what was likely his last birthday party. One would never know from looking at him–recently regrown hair notwithstanding–that there was anything at all wrong with him, except for the inevitable onset of weariness. It was the most strangely joyous and sad and bittersweet event I have ever attended.
Jay was my friend and an inspiration to me as a writer, and this is how he touched my life. The world is less worthy place without him in it.
New York Times Bestselling Author Kelley Armstrong is a born storyteller, one of those kids that invariably dismayed her teachers. “If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls,” she says. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed. Even now, today, she is locked away in her writing dungeon, spinning tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves. You know, the fun stuff.
With four books, three novels and an anthology, being released in 2014, she is cranking out the word count, and still found time to talk to us.
I first heard of Grammar Girl via her podcast some years ago. As an English geek, I immediately took to its straightforward explanations mixed with her engaging, entertaining style. Since those early days, Grammar Girl has become a New York Times best-seller.
Grammar Girl was created by Mignon Fogarty, a magazine writer, technical writer, and entrepreneur. She has served as a senior editor and producer at a number of health and science web sites and has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.
Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. She strives to be a friendly guide in the writing world. Her arch enemy is the evil Grammar Maven, who inspires terror in the untrained and is neither friendly nor helpful. Using the Fountain Pen of Niceness and the Shield of Dictionarium, she keeps the Grammar Maven at bay, while still finding time to talk to us.
My good friend, Colette Black, tagged me as part of The Writing Process blog tour. She’s a talented writer with her first novel The Noble Ark recently released, plus a collection of short stories called The Black Side.
So, here are the questions, and my answers:
1. What are you working on?
I’m working on a science fiction-noir novel best described as Gladiator meets Pro Wrestling. It’s an expansion of a short story called “The Hammer”, which I wrote at the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2009, and which was subsequently published in OG’s Speculative Fiction. I had been itching to take the main character and give him a novel, so that’s what I decided to do for NaNoWriMo last year. And now, the first draft is almost finished.
2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
That’s hard to say. I’ve never heard of a mash-up of this particular type before. As the book has progressed, I realize that it’s getting at some things relevant right now, which I suppose is what all the best SF does.
And thus far, I have yet to settle on a particular genre. I have a historical fantasy series, a swashbuckling adventure novel, a YA supernatural thriller, and short stories and screenplays all over the genre map.
3. Why do you write what you write?
I get an idea. I get a lot of ideas. Some of them I write down for later. Some of them stick in my brain with little barbs like fish hooks that won’t let me forget them until they’re written. That idea that just. won’t. go. away. is the book that gets written next.
Another way to answer this is that I want to tell stories that I enjoy, books I would want to read, and once I get going on something, I often don’t know how it will end until I write it. Apparently my subconscious likes to explore dark corners, with larger-than-life characters and lots of action and romance along the way.
I suppose it’s plausible that I’ll someday write a story filled with rainbows, puppies, and unicorns, but the puppies might be rabid, the leprechauns hiding under the rainbow are nasty little buggers, and the unicorns, well, they do have that horn as a weapon.
4. What is your writing process?
It varies, it seems, with whatever I’m working on. Ideally, I shoot for about 1,500-2,000 words a day, and then each day I will go back and revise and edit what I wrote the day before, as a way to get started. So it’s a recursive process. I also occasionally have ideas pop into my head like popcorn, with things to add on my work-in-progress, and I’ll go back and add those in. If I don’t grab them immediately, they fall through the floor drain, never to be heard from again.
So, in turn, I now tag four more writers whose work is worthy of your attention.
Quincy Allen is a self-proclaimed cross-genre author. What that really means is that he’s got enough ADHD to not stick with any single genre and, like his cooking, prefers to mix and match to suit his tastes of the day. He has been published in multiple anthologies, online and print magazines. He’s written for Internet radio and his novel Chemical Burn—a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Writers Association Colorado Gold Writing Contest—was is due out in 2014 in a newly revamped edition from Word Fire Press. His new novel Jake Lasater: Blood Curse, is also due out this year as well as a military sci-fi novel from Twisted Core Press. He works part-time as a tech-writer to pay his bills, does book design and eBook conversions for Word Fire Press by night, and lives in a lovely house that he considers his very own sanctuary.
Betsy Dornbusch is the author of a dozen short stories, three novellas, and three novels. In addition to speaking at numerous conventions every year, she also is an editor with the speculative fiction magazine Electric Spec and the longtime proprietress of Sex Scenes at Starbucks. She splits her time between Boulder and Grand Lake, Colorado.
Susan Ee is the bestselling author of the Penryn & the End of Days series which takes place in the San Francisco bay area. The first book, ANGELFALL, is being translated into 20 languages around the world. The second book, WORLD AFTER, was recently released in Nov. 2013 to international acclaim. The film rights to the series have been optioned by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Good Universe. Susan used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and a 2013 Hugo Award Winner. He writes science fiction and fantasy (mostly), and his Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards and the SFSignal podcast was nominated in 2012, 2013 and 2014 for Hugo Awards. Patrick also produces ‘I Should Be Writing‘, the podcast for wannabe fiction writers created/hosted by 2013 Campbell Award Winner Mur Lafferty. He writes for his website, All Things from My Brain, SFSignal.com, FunctionalNerds.com and KirkusReviews.com. His fiction appears in the various anthologies and eBooks available via Amazon.com
Lori Handeland is a New York Times, USA Today, Waldenbooks and Bookscan Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal (BLUE MOON) and Best Long Contemporary Romance (THE MOMMY QUEST), a Romantic Times Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A SOLDIER’S QUEST), the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, the Write Touch Readers Award, the National Readers Choice Award and the Prism Award. Her published genres include–historical, contemporary, series and paranormal romance, as well as urban fantasy and historical fantasy, and her publishers are a Who’s Who of romance and urban fantasy–Dorchester, Kensington, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Harper-Collins, Simon and Schuster and Penguin/Putnam. She also publishes gritty, sexy western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.
Despite all that, she still graciously made some time to talk to us.
I am delighted to announce the release of Cthulhu Passant, a collaborative project that includes two Bram Stoker nominees, Peter J. Wacks and Guy Anthony De Marco, plus the talents of Vivian Caethe and Sam Knight.
Strange things can happen at conventions.
A group of writers can be sitting around in the bar talking about writing, talking about the composition process, talking about challenges, talking about Lovecraft, talking about chess, and then suddenly we’ve challenged each other to write a Lovecraftian story with chess as a principal element.
And then we’ll put them all together into an anthology and publish it for charity!
So what charity? How about programs to benefit battered women? Perfect! Let’s do this!
So we did it. And here it is.
The intricacies of chess meet the matchless Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Stories of doors, of passages, of patterns. Squares and threats, moves and counter-moves. Forbidden knowledge and cosmic horrors.
… Two young lovers and the hand that plays them
… A man trapped with an unwholesome companion uncovers the secret of a cosmic struggle
… A professor and his protégé find themselves pawns on an ancient chessboard
… A young Soviet boy’s chess match holds the fate of his nation in the balance
… A battered woman seeks safety in a shelter, only to find there might be no safety anywhere
All proceeds from this book go to benefit programs for women suffering from domestic violence.
Available everywhere in print and ebook. However, if you want to maximize your charitable support, buy directly from the publisher here.
Jeanne Stein’s writing epitomizes the urban fantasy genre. Her character, Anna Strong, is that iconic butt-kicking, powerful female that has come be associated with what we call urban fantasy nowadays, and now, seven books along in the series, they’re as popular as ever. She has shared anthology pages with other luminaries of genre: Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, and Kelley Armstrong. And on top of all that, she is an exceedingly gracious lady. How far will Anna Strong go? That remains to be seen, but if you corner her at a convention, she might confide that she wants to write more mysteries.
I met Aaron Michael Ritchey at Mile Hi Con in 2012, in one of those author mixer venues. At a room party at the con, there were about half a dozen writers standing around drinking and conversing, and the topic of conversation went toward religion and spirituality. In a world that bears the odiousness of the Taliban, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals, it was easy for most of us to get pretty snarky on the subject of religion. And then Aaron asked the question of all of us: “Do you think religion has, cumulatively, a positive or a negative effect on the world?” The reply was a unanimous “negative.” Except for Aaron. And what followed was a thoughtful, civil discussion (how often does that happen around this topic?) about religion’s place and usefulness in the modern world, a discussion that left all of us thinking a little more deeply about things.
Aaron Michael Ritchey is a questing soul who likes to ask the hard questions–in real life and in his fiction. Last week marked the official launch of his YA novel Long Live the Suicide King, and reviews are good. This book seems to ask some of those hard questions.
Quincy Allen is one of those writers whose persona follows him around conventions. You’re just as likely to see him in full steampunk regalia, complete with mohawk and monocle, as in leather sport jacket and looking almost normal. The bottom line, however, is still all about the hard work, and here’s a guy who works hard. With one novel under his belt, and several short stories, he’s still near the beginning of his career, but I suspect he’s going to be around for a while. I also happen to know he’s not a bad poker player.