30 May 2011

Why Do You Write? The story of Janelle

 Cross-posted to Black Gate.

“Why did you become a writer?” or “Why do you like to write?” These are variants of the same question—one that most writers, whether career authors, part-timers, or hobbyists, encounter many times. The simplest questions are the trickiest to answer, as the Tao Te Ching points out: “Straightforward words sometimes seem paradoxical.”

Here are my straightforward words to answer both these questions: I enjoy telling stories by using words in interesting ways.

Now, to confuse the issue and make it paradoxical, allow me to tell you about a girl named Janelle.

Writers of the Future Vol. XXVII pre-order on Amazon

Writers of the Future Volume XXVII, featuring “An Acolyte of Black Spires” and twelve other amazing science-fiction and fantasy stories, is now available for pre-order from Amazon. (It will be available June 20, although the site doesn’t currently indicate that.)

28 May 2011

TOC for Candle in the Attic Window

Innsmouth Free Press has posted the complete contents for their upcoming shivery volume, Candle in the Attic Window, a collection of new Gothic fiction and poetry. I don’t normally think of myself as a “horror” writer, more of a “weird story” writer. But Gothic horror is definitely something I get excited about, and the moment I heard about this anthology I was on fire to pay homage to my favorite of the “weird fictioners,” Algernon Blackwood. My resulting story, “The Shredded Tapestry,” emerged as something a touch different from Mr. Blackwood’s work, but his fingerprints are still there. Two of the John Silence stories, “Ancient Sorceries” and “Secret Worship,” influenced me. I was thrilled to find out the story was accepted for the anthology, and I look forward to reading the other poems and stories when Candle in the Attic Window comes out in print and ebook in September.

Here is the complete TOC, including both prose and poetry. (At 7,300 words, my story is probably one of the lengthier ones.)

  • “Dark Epistle,” Jim Blackstone
  • “Obsessions,” Colleen Anderson
  • “Stone Dogs,” Paul Jessup
  • “The Victorians,” James S. Dorr
  • “Liminal Medicine,” Jesse Bullington
  • “Nightmare,” Wenona Napolitano
  • “The Shredded Tapestry,” Ryan Harvey
  • “Desideratum,” Gina Flores
  • “The Seventh Picture,” Orrin Grey
  • “Housebound,” Don D’Ammassa
  • “Elizabeth on the Island,” Josh Reynolds
  • “At the Doorstep,” Leanna Renee Hieber
  • “The Ba-Curse,” Ann K. Schwader
  • “Broken Notes,” Maria Mitchell
  • “I Tarocchi dei d’Este,” Martha Hubbard
  • “The Malcontents,” Mary E. Choo
  • “Frozen Souls,” Sarah Hans
  • “New Archangel,” Desmond Warzel
  • “The Ascent,” Berit K. N. Ellingsen
  • “Nine Nights,” Theresa Sanchez Bazelli
  • “Vodka Attack,” Meddy Ligner
  • “The Forgotten Ones,” Mary Cook
  • “The City of Melted Iron,” Bobby Cranestone
  • “A Fixer-Upper,” Amanda C. Davis
  • “The Snow Man,” E. Catherine Tobler
  • “In His Arms in the Attic,” Alexis Brooks de Vita
  • “Hitomi,” Nelly Geraldine GarcĂ­a-Rosas

24 May 2011

Writers of the Future: I got an illustration and an interpretive dance!

Cross-posted to Black Gate.

When I started to write with the aim of publication—I don’t remember the exact moment when my love of writing began to seem like a possible profession, but it occurred about fifteen years ago—I liked to imagine a time when a professional artist would make an illustration of one of my books or stories. However, I never imagined that professional acrobats and dancers would create an interpretive dance of one of my stories as well.

I received many great gifts from my time at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Workshop in Hollywood last week. Some are the tangibles like publication in a major anthology, a gala awards ceremony, my first official book signing, and payment. Some gifts are social, like a new network with the other winners as well as with the many celebrated writers and illustrators who make up the judging panel and the workshop teachers. All of us at the workshop will carry away a lifetime’s worth of advice, on everything from story construction to the best way to avoid getting a cold while on a book-promotion tour, give to us from people such as Tim Powers, Robert J. Sawyer, Gregory Benford, K. D. Wentworth, Eric Flint, Dr. Yoji Kondo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Kevin J. Anderson, Dave Wolverton, Rebecca Moesta, and Mike Resnick.

There’s plenty for me to say about the experience of the workshop and getting published in Writers of the Future Vol. XXVII, and I will say more in future posts. But for this post, I am going to delve into the purely emotional and personal high points: the picture, and the dance. The first I knew was coming—and it was better than I could have imagined. The second I did not expect—and no surprise could have been more sublime.

18 May 2011

Watch now: Writers of the Future Ceremony

Here it is, the complete broadcast of the Twenty-Seventh Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards, held at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood on 15 May 2011. The following video contains the part of the ceremony where I and Fred Jordan receive our awards, and it starts with the interpretive dance for my story “An Acolyte of Black Spires.”
Of course I encourage you to watch the whole ceremony—embeded below—since there are many wonderful moments throughout. Brennan Harvey, my “adopted brother,” is particularly moving, and illustrator M. O. Muriel gave the funniest speech of the evening!
I took some video captures of the streaming. Later I’ll have the official professional photographs that were taken the event. Photos after the jump.

17 May 2011

Writers of the Future Vol. XXVII on sale now

The Writers of the Future Vol. XXVII, is already available for order through the publisher, Galaxy Press. Purchase here. And remember, my story “An Acolyte of Black Spires”—the first published of The Tales of Ahn-Tarqa, starts on pg. 163! (Of course, all the other stories are worth reading as well.) I will post a link to the Amazon order page when it comes up next month,

Writers of the Future Vol. XVII: The Trailer!

I’m back from The Writers of the Future workshop—an incredible and intense week of education and celebration. I have a lot to process right now, and I’ll present posts about the experience, along with photos and videos as they become available. (The contest is putting together a huge photo package for each of the winners, containing the numerous publicity photos taken during the week. This will also include a jpeg of Fred Jordan’s illustration for my story.)

For right now, I can give you a quick fix: please enjoy this trailer for Writers of the Future Vol. 27, which will be available on Amazon and in bookstores in about a month.

08 May 2011

Off to The Writers of the Future workshop

Hello . . . I must be going. . . .

Tomorrow is the start of the Writers (and Illustrators) of the Future workshop week, which will culminate in the awards ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Sunday the 15th, with a book-signing the day after. I’ll have more details on the signing later, so if any of you readers live in Los Angeles, please stop by. I’m leaving tomorrow morning to make the epic six-mile drive to the hotel to join the other winners from across the globe.

The awards ceremony will stream live, at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) on the 15th. Go to this site to find the link to the streaming. Not only will you get to see me in a tux, but the event will also publicly reveal the illustration for my story “An Acolyte of Black Spires."

I probably won’t be posting a running series of blog entries about the workshop; some of the winners plan to, but the week will be so crammed with events and activities, and trying to squeeze in running commentary will probably not happen for me.

So, after more than a year of anticipation (I found out I was finalist in the contest in March of 2010), the Big Event is finally here: the biggest moment in my writing career so far. I am trying to stay calm. I am not succeeding.

I’ll get back to you soon. Stay tuned.

02 May 2011

How I Spoiled My Own Bad Guys with Unexpected Success

. . . not that I mind, really.

Cross-posted to Black Gate.

I’m getting prepared to go on vacation in my own hometown, staying in a hotel a mere five miles from my current apartment. That’s what you get when you win a free trip to Hollywood . . . and you live in Century City (a.k.a. “Beverly Hills Adjacent”).

I am getting good mileage out of that joke, believe me. For this year’s Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future workshop and award ceremony, people are being flown into Los Angeles from as far away as Perth in Western Australia and Johannesburg in South Africa. As for me: a right turn, a left, another right, another left. With good traffic, sixteen minutes, or so declares the Lords of MapQuest. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten to Hollywood in under sixteen minutes, but I tend to travel there during peak hours.

But what’s this post really about, since I imagine most of you do not dial into my site to hear my driving reports?

First, it is to explain why I might not have a post up next Tuesday at Black Gate as I usually do, which is the start of the workshop week for winners of the Writers of the Future Contest. Second, it is to shamelessly plug the upcoming Writers of the Future Vol. 27, in which I’ll be making my professional fiction-writing debut with my story “An Acolyte of Black Spires.” The anthology’s unveiling will be on Sunday, May 15, but the book won’t be on sale at bookstores and online outlets until the next month. None of the writing contributors have even seen the cover yet, nor have we seen the illustrations for our individual stories. (There’s apparently a special procedure for that.) The ceremony on the 15th at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will stream live through the Writers of the Future website, in case anybody cares to see what I look like in a tux. Also, I have a few people on the Black Gate team I plan to mention in my speech. So, John, Howard, and Bill . . . you might want to tune in. Just saying.

But what I really want to talk about is the bizarre nature of “short story order.” When I first set out to write short stories in a series, I knew I would not have much control over the order in which they appeared. I’ve read enough on pulp history to understand how that works. However, 1) I never expected to sell any of these stories; and 2) I would never have imagined that this particular one would be the first in the series to appear.