Knave Progress Update: Friday’s Desk

I’m into the hard-copy polish phase of THE KNAVE OF SOULS.

That means I print a chapter, I read it for flow and economy of writing, mark it, type in corrections, and DONE!

Target Release Date: Thanksgiving!


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.
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!


*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, 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


This is the week to get WRITERS OF THE FUTURE for Summer Reading!

THIS IS THE BEST WEEK TO BUY Writers of the Future!

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If you’ve been waiting to get yours, this is the week that helps us most — our Bestseller Week.” 
(Little-known fact: Bestseller lists measure velocity of sales over one week, Sun-Sat. So this is our week to urge sales that fund next year’s contest and maybe give it Bestseller status.)
So, please buy before Sunday! At any book store or online:
Thanks again for your support!

Days 2 & 3 – Writers of the Future Workshop

off the grid for 24 hours

When last I posted, we’d all been assigned the task of writing a short story in 24 hours. I was given a random object (a 38 Special shell casing) and told to go interview someone on the street, and then use these things to inspire and craft a story.

And that’s what we did for the last day. I didn’t come up for air for basically fourteen hours (in two 7 hour chunks), which is why I didn’t post the schedule for yesterday

A first

But I did it! I wrote a 5K story in a day, and it has all the bones of a decent story. It’s a rough draft, sure, but it has all the bones. There were valuable lessons in that for me. Perhaps the most valuable lesson of this exercise was to see that I could in fact do this from scratch, with random inspirations; the other was that I could do that in a 24-hour window. That makes me feel good.

So here’s what we’ve been doing: 


You’ll notice the right-hand column is the schedule of the Illustrator’s track.

the illustrators arrived today

The Illustrators got here yesterday, and we just met them today and saw for the first time the illustrations they did for the stories that will appear in the anthology. I’ll get a close-up of the illustration for my story. The artist (as you can see in the picture) is a young woman; her name is Maricella, and she is from Mexico.


2016 Writers of the Future Workshop – Fri & Sat Schedule

3 Days left! Larry niven, Mike resnick, nancy kress…

Fri & Sat

NANCY KRESS: “Develop writing rituals to train the ‘Little Man in the Basement.'”

LARRY NIVEN: “If Lucifer’s Hammer gets humanity to do something about this threat, I’ll feel my life was justified.” 🙂

MIKE RESNICK: “You sell your first 3 books on promise. You sell your 4th on record.”

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.


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.

First Morning of Writers of the Future week!

Woke to a lovely day in LA. Our hotel is right on the walk of stars, and wouldn’t you know it, certain members of my family are into American Idol and the American Idol contestants are staying here too?

IBut I saw the Hollywood sign: if you look closely in the picture below, you can see it on the hill behind the palms. This place reminds me of Vegas.


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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




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! : )




Ready thy 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