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)!

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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

 

 

Ready thy snickersnee!

snickersnee

The commander of the sloop was hurrying about and giving a world of orders,which were not very strictly attended to, one man being busy in lighting his pipe,and another in sharpening his snicker-snee.

               – Washington Irving, Bracebridge Hall, 1882

 

Oh never shall I

Forget the cry,

Or the shriek that shriekèd he,

As I gnashed my teeth,

When from its sheath

drew my snickersnee !

                 – W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado, 1885

 

From Dictionary.com

Do People Get Colds in Fantasy Land?

Rough Guide to Fantasy Land is the This is Spinal Tap of Fantasy.

It’s also a humorous guidebook of cliches to avoid when writing fantasy. Here’s a fun review of it from a funny reviewer, Barb Taub.

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Tough Guide to Fantasyland – Cover

Leper Life

Leper Party Sleigh

Leper Party Sleigh

You might think lepers had it rough in the old days.

But you would be wrong. If you were a leper, most of the time you were forbidden to enter the city, but once a year they put you in a wooden sled and dragged it through the city.

Leper Party Sled

You got to hold out a plate for donations and they gave you these wooden party clappers to make noise with!

Good times.

Would You Let Your Kids?

Medieval Bladder Toy

Medieval Bladder Toy

Before there were balloons, there were pig-bladders! Ask nicely, kids, and the butcher will grab one from the offal bin! Hours of fun!

My First Book Group Invite was a Blast

In January, the Ashworth Avenue Book Group picked The Jack of Souls for their next novel and asked if I’d come to their meetup to chat with them. Last night we met at my good friend Jeanne’s home, and I had a blast with them–some not even fantasy readers!–talking about the book, the characters, the process of writing.

They had a lot of fun questions, tangents, ideas, comments, wine, pizza, quiche, wine.

Thanks, Ashworth Book Group!  I had a great time. 🙂

(L>R) Mary, Pegge, Heidi, Alex, Denise, Shannon, Alice, Barb. (Front-Me and Jeanne)

(L>R) Mary, Pegge, Heidi, Alex, Denise, Shannon, Alice, Barb. (Front-Me and Jeanne)