I’ve been trying to get back into a groove, what with the new job (nearing a month being here and it’s been great!) and how that will affect my writing calendar. We’ve managed to get in a steampunk tea in Shepherdstown, West Virginia (photos from S4 by Bruce Press Photography are available for viewing and purchase) and a fantastic weekend at Steampunk unLimited (thank you to everyone who stopped by and said “Hi!”), all of which has kept me from getting back to the blog. My wife-of-infinite-awesome may need a cooler title, as Pip is keeping me in check with a variety of things, and finally I stole a pocket of time to talk to you about one of them. We’ve got some great news coming down the pike; but last week we were (pleasantly) surprised by our publisher-of-infinite-awesome, Ace/Roc Books, as they revealed to the world the next cover in the adventures of Books and Braun.
The 2014 World Fantasy Convention is fast approaching (Yeah, I know, it’s not until November but when you think that next week, it’ll be August. The season of pumpkinfying everything will soon be upon us!) and is a very different experience compared to other cons. In fact, calling World Fantasy a “con” is innacurate. Sure, there are panels, Guests of Honor, readings and signings, and even a few fun get-togethers, but this convention is a place where business, serious networking takes place, and where new novels find a home.
Representing your novel, along with showing how marketable your novel could be, you think would be easy for writers. After all, writers can put words to thoughts, weave then into gripping stories and engaging characters, and easily create heroes, villains, societies, and worlds where readers happily lose themselves.
But pitching a book? It might surprise you how many writers can’t do this. Continue reading
Four days of Photoshop. Eight lessons with a few bonus skills added into the mix. I have to work a bit on Day One of Level 2; but once I took a lesson from Kacy Catanzaro and took a steadier pace, Day Two more than made up for my stumble.
Did you see this woman rock the American Ninja course? #MightyKacy indeed.
So the people behind Snowpiercer‘s Facebook page put that image online this morning. It’s a stitch, especially when you consider the film. Lot of “in” jokes here, so kudos to the fan who created it. Inspired works like that just remind me of how incredibly talented people are everywhere, and I’m lucky enough to get to share my stories. I’m gearing up to do it again, too. The edits for The Diamond Conspiracy arrived today, so it’s time to level up and work on the next adventure of Books & Braun. We are dealing with a lot in this one, so I look forward to returning to that world…
First, I need a nap. A really big one. Photoshop is a demanding mistress.
So Monday was the snap-back from my return to Richmond — RavenCon. It was a great weekend with an additional bonus of Pip and myself hijacking award-winner Elizabeth Bear to show her a few sights from my hometown. We left the con at 2 o’clock and didn’t return her until 6:15.
What did we do in four hours?
It was not only quality time with a friend, but a good sampling of what Richmond had to offer.
I plan to write about the weekend — especially on the exceptional KidsTrack which followed a S.H.I.E.L.D. Training theme — but presently I am looking ahead to this coming weekend: the Silver Edition of DemiCon. I’m feeling the butterflies kick as I’ll be reuniting with old friends, meeting new ones for the first time, and fulfilling a role I’ve never held before at a convention.
Following my first year experiencing the con scene, I made the GoH distinction one of those “That would be cool…” goals in my career. Why? It would have been an indication that to the organizers and staff of a particular convention, my stories held a special place. Not a bad benchmark to reach for, I figured. After a few years of con-hopping, I assumed my first GoH would be an event I frequented. Maybe? Then, on going full time in writing, the notion fell to the bottom of my priorities list, beaten out by other items like new title development and paying bills.
Imagine my surprise when it was DemiCon, an event I attended only once, that would be the first to extend this distinction to me. Imagine my surprise growing when I found out it would be for their 25th anniversary.
No pressure there, Morris. Continue reading
As you all know, I’m always game for something new online, and last week I got an invite for something new—a blog meme. The concept is I go on and share with you all what’s happening in my writing life. I then introduce two people where, next week, they post their own answers to these questions. Hence the blog meme—from my answers, you jump to two new authors who will take you along on their journey.
While our intern-of-awesome K.T. Byski had a hand in making this happen, the invitation come from author Emily Swartz, a recent graduate from USM’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She has a work-in-progress called The Midnight Thief, a drama set in Appalachian Kentucky, but a freelance writer’s life is peppered with experience and it is that experience she brings to her work.
Thanks, Emily, for this invitation. This should be fun. Continue reading
I rank this question up along with “How do you learn all those lines?” when I was the actor. It was a question actors dreaded, but I rarely think we were asked it when we had a “Meet & Greet” with the audience. It’s a fair enough question, though; and since I never got it when I was an actor, I’ll answer it here. “Rehearsal and repetition.” That’s the key in learning your lines, be it for a play, a presentation, or for a very important one-on-one you have on your books.
Now, as a writer, the ideas question tends to be the one that earns an eye-roll, but I don’t think it’s fair. People are genuinely curious how authors come up with what they put down on paper. Maybe it’s because they wonder how someone can think up Victorian secret agents investigating the unknown, or a dwarf-detective solving crimes in the Prohibition Era; and it’s a sincere question. I know that when I’ve read books I love, or enjoyed an episode of Almost Human or True Detective, I marvel at the air tight dialogue or incredible situations these talented writers come up with and wonder what drives them. It’s good to know where ideas come from and what makes them happen because inspiration keep you busy as a writer.
If there was a magic bullet in finding great ideas, it actually ties back to a trick I had with acting: Pay attention. The world around you is teeming with ideas, and inspiration can happen at any time. With technology, jotting ideas down has been made insanely easy, so now instead of carrying around the writer’s notebook, journal—or ledger as The Taxman does—you can whip out the smartphone and take notes. What’s key though in finding inspiration is paying attention to what’s around you. Many times, that’s all you need to get an idea going.
Case in point, today the third season of Tales from the Archives launched; and I’m particularly proud of this story that Pip and I put together as it came from the unlikeliest of places: church. Now church is probably not the place where I should be in “Writer’s Mode” but Trinity Episcopal of Manassas prides itself on being a different kind of church. This particular day, Dennis Reid, was giving a sermon on Judas Iscariot; but not the kind of sermon you would think. He said something that struck me hard: Continue reading
Yes, the blog has been quiet, just like the podcast. I hate it when things like that happen, and this time it was for reasons good and bad.
Instead of delving into the bad (which was all the chatter on my Facebook, if you were curious), I want to hold on to the good. Oh now, don’t you worry — I will always have room for a good, old-fashioned rant here, but this blogpost is more about rising to challenges and keeping a hold of what works…
This blogpost is also to welcome those of you new to my side of the blogosphere. S’up?
Yes, I’m on board at the opening of this new year with a blog tour aimed to introduce myself to new reader, be they readers of my blog or readers of my works. And what a day to introduce myself to people — on the ninth anniversary of the MOREVI podcast going live. Where did the time go?
But I digress. Let me start from the beginning. Introductions? By all means…
This summer was a bit of a blur. The afterburners kicked in at the end of June when I got a phone call from the agent of awesome, Laurie McLean. I received an opportunity to write for properties from Valiant Comics as part of Kindle Worlds from Amazon. This would be my first foray into media tie-in’s so I had to bone up on my lore behind several properties: Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Bloodshot.
As this writing gig centered around comic books, I asked myself “WWBD?” or “What would Batman do?” Well, if Bats needed help, he’d ping Oracle. In Batman’s world, that’s Barbara Gordon.
In mine, it’s Jared Axelrod.
This novella is one or two fruits of my summertime labors from a long “at the feet of a master” session with Jared, purchasing a fistful of comics from my local comic book (and gaming) store, and downloading even more for my iPad. “What’s in a Code Name” found its inspiration from two pages of Harbinger Wars # 2, just after Toyo Harada gets served (and served hard) by a savage attack from Bloodshot. Those two pages sent me back to the beginning of the Harbinger story arc to dig deeper into the Harbinger Institute, assemble my cast of characters, and—as odd as it may sound—better understand and practice school protocols. Continue reading
Are you in the Washington D.C. are this weekend? Because if you are, Pip and I are going to be out and about at Capclave, on Friday and Saturday at the Hilton of 620 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877.
And yes, short fiction is an art. You might not think it with my releases this year, but short stories have always been a challenge for me. It’s only been recently I’ve felt comfortable writing short stories, and Capclave is a rare event indeed as short stories take center stage. Discussions range between the challenges of the market to the big question “Is there still a market for short stories?”
Oh yeah, and did I mention George R R Martin is the Guest of Honor this year?
Now for anyone who thinks I’m going to corner him, take him down with a Hapkido throw, jam my boot in his throat, and demand that he gets me an audience with Peter Dinklage, I’m just going to say for the record that I’m not going to corner him.
So, yeah, that.
But if you are looking to corner me at Capclave, you’ll get your chance here… Continue reading
I am not a fan of reality television. There are few exceptions that keep my attention; and with friends I have in the reality television business, some of the scripting and direction behind supposed slice-of-life docudramas is just painful to watch.
But enough about Amish Mafia. I want to talk about the latest reality show that has gotten many a geek and especially that sub-culture within the subculture that I love supporting — cosplayers — into a close-on-rabid uproar. I speak of SyFy’s latest offering, Heroes of Cosplay. Continue reading