Peer Reviewed, by Nathan Lowell

SPEAKING OF PEER REVIEW

The prolific science fiction writer Nathan Lowell recently reviewed The Jack of Souls on his blog, PEER REVIEWED.  nATHAN 3

 

 

If you’re a reader who appreciates help sifting the multitude of novels out there, check out his blog. He gives clear and unpretentious reviews of scifi and fantasy. Click my review image below to see his blog.

Ever since I met Nathan at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference, he’s proven to be an extremely knowledgeable and generous guide. Check out his full website, including links to his many space opera scifi books.

THE KNAVE OF SOULS – Progress Update

SORRY FOR THE LONG GAP IN POSTINGS

I posted like mad over my November retreat, but stopped during winter break, and though I’be been writing since, I haven’t posted. I was in France for some of that. Here is a terrifying picture of my family and I at 13,000 feet in a glass box over an icy crag of the Alps. 

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SO! ENOUGH FOOLSHNESS! AN UPDATE! 

I’m sending Chapter 52 (The End) for peer crit this Saturday! Feels great, too. I’m pretty happy with it. PLUS, for those of you who agree with me that 2.5 years to write a book is too long, it’s coming in at about 160K words, which is 30K words more than the first book, so, hopefully that 20% more Harric, Caris, Sir Willard, Ambassador Brolli, and Father Kogan will make up for some of the wait.

Below, some of the crit notes from the Chapter 51 peer crit session. I love scribbles. I find beauty in these artifacts. Hope I don’t become a hoarder.

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Writers of the Future, Volume 32 is on Sale!

Recall the short story prequel I wrote for The Jack of Souls?

It won a place in this year’s Writers of the Future anthology, and that anthology is on sale for a buck in the Kindle store!

Original stories and original art for a buck. Sweet! 

Knave Update: Finishing Battle Scene Revision

Forgot to post yesterday, but think of this post as a two-day post, as both days are on the same chapter, what I’m calling the Battle Scene. Today at Cafe Fiore!

(Actually more like Chapter 16)

(Actually more like Chapter 16)

For the record, I did get my minimum of 4 hours in yesterday on the Battle Scene. Also attended a Writers Cramp meeting for a critique of Chapter 21. As always, Cramp raises the bar for me to another level. Thanks Crampies!

Today, an 8-hour day: Goal after Battle Scene: I finish up the Battle Scene and Dive into the Post-Battle Scenes.

SF Mind Meld: Favorite SciFi Futures

Sean Williams and four us 2016 Writers of the Future writers explain our very different picks in this special valedictory SF Mind Meld. 

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/category/interviews/mind-meld/
In Memoriam

(If you havent heard, our beloved SF Signal, which used to host SF Mind Meld, recently went defunct. Happily, James Aquilone re-functed it on his website, and invited me to be part of its last glorious funct.)

Special Midnight Free Book Offer!

Buy a copy of this year’s Writers of the Future before Midnight tonight and I’ll joyfully ship you a first-edition paper, hardback,* eBook or audiobook of The Jack of Souls!

BUY BY MIDNIGHT

*First come first served on the paper and hardbacks (I think I have a dozen of each). No limit (except midnight) on The Jack of Souls eBooks and audio.
How Does This Work? 
Simple! Just send me a receipt/photo of you and your WOTF to stephenmerlino@hotmail.com, along with your preference of paper, hard, ebook or audio, plus your address, and I’ll put it in the mail.  Thank you!
 
Buy at a local book store or online. Here are the links:
Amazon US (paperback | Kindle)         < $11.52 paperback, $6.99 Kindle
Barnes & Noble (paperback | Nook)    < $ 11.63 paperback, $6.49 Nook
Kobo
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
Walmart
Target

 

Win a free eBook of THE JACK OF SOULS!

eBook-Slot-Machine GIVEAWAY!

Click the image for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Jack of Souls on Amazon!

eBook Slot Machine blue

Give it a whirl, and share this link with friends! Good luck!

 

Day 1 Program – WOTF Workshop

This program was a closely guarded secret until we arrived

In fact, before we came, I searched the internet for one of these from previous years, to no avail. Now that we’ve all got a copy and permission to share, I can post mine. I’ll post one every day this week.

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And yes, you see that right: 8 hours today with David Farland and Tim Powers, talking plot construction, characters, theme, conflict, etc., and hearing stories about bar-hopping with Phillip K. Dick. Fantastic. Such a wonderful opportunity.

Below, David and Tim, after they distributed story props to all of us. In the foreground is the prop that is to inspire a story I write tomorrow. In case you’re not familiar, that’s a 9 mm shell casing, which makes my job easy.There are lots of those in fantasy.
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THE JACK OF SOULS is up for preorder on Audible!

The audiobook for The Jack of Souls is up for preorder on Audible, and it’s freaking fantastic!  I am so pleased!

Here’s an audio file of the opening pages. The actor, Alex Wyndham, went with an English accent—probably because of the lofty material, 😉 –and he rocks it! Turns out he’s a great character actor.

JOS - Audiobook

Even in the first minute I love what he did with the barman. II can’t wait to hear how he did Caris and Willard and Brolli and Bannus’s voices.

I shall have to subject my kids to it on the road trip to the mountains this weekend. Mwa-hahaha!

 

This year it’s “Steampunk Formal”

Steampunk Formal – to Goggle or Not to Goggle

Building on the steampunk theme of this year’s Writer of the Future cover, the gala in April is “steam punk formal.” That means instead of renting a regular tux I can wear some kind of hybrid Victorian dinner jacket top-hat thingy with sword-cane and gyro-boots.

I’m excited. It’s like Halloween in April.

Anyone have accessories I can borrow?vict_mens_02_full

Steampunk-Empire-Opera-Coat-with-Tails

Steampunked

   Announcing the cover for  this year’s Writers of the Future Anthology (vol. 32)!

coverS

I love this cover. In my opinion it is the best in all 32 years. I think Steampunk lends itself well to this kind of whimsy. And such colors!

What’s in the Anthology?

The anthology, which includes all twelve of this year’s winning short stories (including mine) as well as stories by Brandon Sanderson and Dave Wolverton, is now available for preorder on Amazon.

 

 

More in the Anthology

The anthology also features essays on writing by Tim Powers (who wrote On Stranger Tides, from which Pirates of the Caribbean was made), and others.

Final Edits

My story is now in final edits. I got to work with the fabulous Dave Farland (Dave Wolverton), who will also be at the conference. How lucky was I that my spring break coincides with the week-long conference and gala? Can’t wait.

WRITERS OF THE FUTURE Contest Winner!

 

WOTF CONTEST WINNERSunday night, I got a call from Joni Labaqui, the Writers of the Future contest director…

Since I was a finalist already, I knew this was either going to be good news (that I didn’t place in the contest, but I could be happy to be a finalist), or astounding news (that I’d placed).

“Are you ready?” she said. “Your story is one of the winners!”

I’m not sure what she said after that. Something about this being the biggest quarter in the history of the contest (8,000 plus submissions?) and how they were flying me and the other eleven winners (three for each quarter) to LA in April for an all-expense-paid week of workshops and parties and classes with instructors like Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth, and guests like Larry Niven, Ken Scholes, Robert Sawyer and Mike Resnick.

I’m still stunned just thinking about it. And yes, I’m incredibly excited.

I couldn’t get to sleep that night. I had to step out for a walk. I felt, and still feel, overwhelmingly grateful. I am so thankful that something in my story caught someone’s eye. I know how subjective story judging is. There were surely stories better written, funnier, smarter, sexier. But someone noticed something in mine that set it apart, and I thank my good angels for that.

The Conference is the Real Prize

Yes, there is a generous cash prize, and yes, they publish the twelve winning stories in an anthology. But the real prize is the conference and the intangibles of learning and exposure that week.

A 2010 Winner Explains the Benefits of the Contest and Conference

Brad Torgersen wrote a complete breakdown of the value of the contest and all of its intangibles on his website, here.

Thank you, Writers of the Future! : )

 

 

 

Comics as Literature!

Professor Tom Foster at University of Washington in Seattle argues for comics as literature. Click image below to read the article.

Professor Tom (Comics) Foster - UW Seattle

Professor Tom (Comics) Foster – UW Seattle

A Wonderful Opening Passage – from Douglas Adams

Here’s a humorous treat for you: the opening passage to an essay by Douglas Adams, titled “DNA / Riding the Rays.”

Riding the Rays, by Douglas Adams

Every country is like a particular type of person. America is like a belligerent, adolescent boy, Canada is like an intelligent, 35 year old woman. Australia is like Jack Nicholson. It comes right up to you and laughs very hard in your face in a highly threatening and engaging manner. In fact it’s not so much a country as such, more a sort of thin crust of semi-demented civilisation caked around the edge of a vast, raw wilderness, full of heat and dust and hopping things.

Tell most Australians that you like their country and they will give a dry laugh and say ‘Well, it’s the last place left now isn’t it?’, which is the sort of worrying thing that Australians say. You don’t quite know what they mean but it worries you in case they’re right.

Just knowing that the place is lurking there on the other side of the world where we can’t see it is oddly unsettling, and I’m always looking for excuses to go even if only to keep an eye on it.

For the whole article:  http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/980707-08-a.html