. . . is no news. For me anyway. But some of my friends have been doing good stuff.
J Kathleen Cheney, a friend from WotF 24, made the Nebula Awards ballot with her story Iron Shoes! It came out in the fabulous Alembical 2, the anthology of novellas from Paper Golem Press. Edited by Laurence Schoen, who will be the Guest of Honor at Lunacon in a couple of weeks.
Ian McHugh, another mate from WotF, has his latest story, Boumee and the Apes, in the May 2011 issue of Analog. On newsstands NOW -- so get yourself a copy before they're all sold out.
And if you prefer audio books over antholgies or magazines, give the Erin Cashier (yes, another pal from WotF) storyCrucigar a listen over at Escape Pod.
Well, its taken awhile, but Vol 24 is now available at Amazon and Borders.
What's inside? Glad you asked:
First up in this overview is Laura Rede, my “twin”
from the workshop who writes some of the best YA stuff around. Check out her
story “Smacking Back" at the e-zine Coyote Wild – winning the WotF
award was no fluke. Her WotF story, “Epiphany,” features circus
freaks, murder, and general mayhem. And that’s just the first two pages.
Be sure to read the whole tale, it gets even better.
Next up is Dr. Philip Kaldon, or “Dr. Phil” as
he is known in the on-line world. Dr. Phil, a physics teacher in the real
world, was the sole published finalist in Vol 24 and his story “A Man in
the Moon” not only asks what will happen when mankind lives and
dies on the moon, answers it. Check out his latest story in the current issue of Analog.
Ian McHugh, my roommate at WotF, won the Gold award with his
story “Bitter Dreams.” But this story of Outback zombies and shadow
magic doesn’t end here. He has both a graphic novel of the story and novel
in the same setting in the works. He has upcoming stories in ASIM and Asimov’s.
“A Warbird in the Belly of the Mouse” by David
Parish-Whittaker features time travel, World War I dogfights, and the ultimate
amusement park – but it’s a character story too! David flies airplanes
for a living, so expect true-to-life aerobics, I mean aerobatics in this story.
Read about the ultimate e-book in JD Everyhope's story "Circuit."
It has all the critically acclaimed literature ever written, offers
commentary, translation and analysis. But wait -- there's more! It's
intelligent and talks to you.
Hope it's available on Amazon soon.
Sonia Helbig takes us to a post-apocalypse Australian outback to meet a teacher with a very tough job: She tests her children with a "Crown of Thorns" to see who can save them all.
Is an avatar just copy? Does it have any legal rights? If you give it an inch, will it savor freedom and start "Taking a Mile?" J. Kathleen Cheney tackles this question with her story of a clone with a limited lifespan.
Steampunk's not all difference engines, gas light and zeppelins. Sarah Edwards tells of an inventor, haunted by his own past, who tries to perfect his creations in "Simulacrum's Children."
With great power -- like the power to create and destroy a world -- comes great responsibility. Erin Cashier 's story of Duxa, the AI planet builder on the way to the planet "Cruciger"
has tough decisions to make. Luckily, she has mindmaps of humans and
all of Earth's history, science and entertainment. But that doesn't
make her choice any easier.
When "The Bird Reader's Granddaughter" leaves home after tragedy, she enters a new world of fortune telling, love and war. Kim Gillett's tale of Catia brings to light the problems of knowing the future, and when to tell a person's fortune.
When you're about to die, you've got limited options. "Snakes and Ladders" from Paula Stiles spins a story of a life-changing internal struggle.
The Anthology closes out with Al Bogdan's story of Ektela, "The Girl Who Whispered Beauty."
In a world where a whisper girl has the power to bestow life and
beauty, can she keep some for herself or must her mistress take it all?
I won't say anything about my story except to show the fantastic illustration from the multi-talented Robert Castillo. He had a short film accepted
for the Nickelodeon Animation Festival last
October and does storyboards for shows like the Sopranos in addition to all his illustration work.
In fact, all of the illustrations for this year's book are top
notch, but don't take my word for it. You can download them from the
On newsstands now, look in the May Issue of Analog for Dr Phil's story "The Brother on the Shelf."
If you don't have the time to run out to the nearest bookstore, try a Podcast of Ian McHugh's story "The Greatest Adventure of All," available at Pseudopod. This story shows what happens when scientists step over the edge -- the edge between life and death.
If you can't make up your mind between reading and listening, Beneath Ceaseless Skies gives you both. You can read Sarah L Edwards' "The Last Devil" online or listen to the mp3 audio version. Make your choice here.
And while you're at BCS, be sure to check out "Hangman" by Erin Cashier here, and "The Dragon's Child" by J Kathleen Cheney here.
And be sure to visit Beneath Ceaseless Skies in a couple of weeks. The next issue will feature a new story from KD Wentworth, "The Orangery."
This was the last day of the workshop and the start of the whirlwind. We had a critique session of the 24 hour stories, and then Tim and KD gave us some "final advice."
Now we could relax, for a bit. Kevin J Anderson and Rebbecca Moesta gave a presentation on "What I wished some pro had told me." Basically, it was "How to be a professional" and a few "dirty secrets." Next up was Charles Brown of Locus magazine, who talked about the art of writing and the business of writing. Some bad news -- I'm too old to be a writer! I'll just have to act young. Sean Williams gave a talk on the 10 and a half commandments of writing. The entire talk is contained in episode 62 from the pod-cast Adventures in SciFi Publishing, available here. Eric Kotani started his talk off with an 11th commandment (if you break a commandment, don't get caught). We then had a talk from Steve Savile and Eric James Stone. Now came the unveiling of the illustrations. Each of the winners of the Illustrators of the Future contest received a story to illustrate for the book. This would be used to determine the Gold award winner, so each and every one of them did an outstanding job. All the writers loitered outside the hospitality suite until everything was ready (they had to move some of the artwork inside because it had started raining) and then we went in and had to find the illustration for our story. I found mine quickly, because I had already met Robert. I was very impressed with his illustration, and the large enlargement looks fantastic. Robert Castillo, Joel, and me.
When I wrote the story, I had a very definite image of what the narrator looked like. But when Robert did his illustration, he drew it from Gina's point of view, so we see what she sees. Something I had not thought about at all, and I love his interpretation. The industrious technician is sitting at his workstation, coffee cup nearby, while fighters prep for launch in the background. Amazingly, the original illustration is way smaller than this enlargement, yet it is filled with details.
Next up was a talk from John Goodwin, the publisher of Galaxy Press. He gave tips for book signings, interviews and publicity in general. Great practical advice, which I haven't had a chance to use just yet.
Then it was back to the workshop, where Robert J Sawyer gave us a quiz on point of view. To close out the day, we had Larry Niven, followed by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
For dinner we had a banquet at the hotel with all the judges. I was faced with the very difficult choice of sitting next to Larry Niven, Fred Pohl or Jerry Pournelle. I wound up sitting next to Jerry, and we talked about old PC hardware,Inferno (which has just come out in a new addition), and his column from BYTE magazine. After dinner I ran back to my room and got my copies of Inferno and Ringworld and had them autographed.
That night, Charles Brown had had a party in his suite. A lot of fun, good company and great conversations.
Today was the 24 hour story day. I had breakfast with Ian, then headed down to the workshop room (coffee! chocolate! quiet!) to get the story done. I've done Nanowrimo a few times, so I knew that just steady pounding on the keyboard wouldn't work. I would write for about an hour, then take a 15-20 minute break. It was disheartening to run into people outside who were already done (or "Done enough!" as Erin put it), but a few of us took it right now to the final seconds. I was surprised that no one threw up their hands and said "I can't do it." We all managed to finish a story in 24 hours.
I reached "the end" around 2pm with about 5500 words and got my story printed at the front desk. Whew! Now I could relax. And since the judges had started arriving, hanging out in the lobby got a lot more fun. If you ever need relaxing after a hard day writing, go find a table with Tim Powers, Kevin J Anderson, Sean Williams, Fred Pohl, KD Wentworth, Charles Brown and Steve Savile.
After the deadline, Tim and KD selected three stories at random for us to critique that night. We also got some advice on critiques. Then we all headed off to dinner a few miles away at a Chinese restaurant (the name escapes me). And we had ice cream before the Hotel van picked us up for the return trip. Some of us tried to do our critiques in the lobby, but the general atmosphere wasn't very conducive for concentration. As it turns out, I went to sleep relatively early, but woke around 4am and was unable to get back to sleep. So I was able to re-read the stories and finish up my critiques before breakfast.
No wonder I drew a blank about Tuesday's dinner (it was Dr Phil in the Hotel restaurant, BTW). At the WotF workshop, you work. We had the assignment to write a story in 24 hours, and we had from about 5pm Tuesday until 5pm Wednesday to complete a story. But its not written off the top of your head. We had our "object" to start with, there was research to do, and then "stranger in the afternoon." Late morning Tuesday we left the hotel for a short walk to the library, where we were supposed to do some random research to spark ideas. I took a bunch of notes on books I leafed through. One was a book on Feng Sui, and I copied down a list of principals. For stranger in the afternoon, we were supposed to find a stranger and start a conversation, get to know them a bit, try to find a story idea. After the library, no one want to go out to lunch, so I wandered away toward where I thought there was a shopping district. I found a stranger right away. Across the road were a bunch of police cars and ambulances, and a gaggle of bicycle riders. As I found out from my stranger, one of them took a spill. We talked for a bit, and the guy seemed more interested in me and the workshop, and before I could talk much his lunch hour was over. So I took a long walk to the next crossover, and found a few shops. I talked to a few people before heading back, and ran into a Jennette near the hotel. "Have you seen any strangers?" we both asked each other. The hotel was not in a densely populated area, we both agreed. We wound up hitting the nearby stores. So I never found any one particular interesting stranger, but I did talk to a bunch of people. Once we got the go ahead to start our stories, everyone rushed off to get started, with no plans for dinner. So Dr Phil and I ate at the hotel restaurant. But before I started I did some brainstorming and outlining. My object was a pink flamingo swizzle stick, and I could have use the obvious idea of a drink, or a flamingo. Instead, I did the 20 things exercise. You start off with your basic idea, then try to think of another idea, or a related idea, and you keep going until you have 20 things. After about ten things, my flamingo led to "why is it pink?" Which led to "why do birds have mating displays?" which led to "what if aliens had mating displays like flamingos?" So my story was about an alien race that had intricate mating displays, and how that affected one character who was just maturing, and I stuck in a little philosophy from Feng Sui. I sat down and started typing about 12:30. Only 17 hours to go, but I had a much better story to write than one about a cocktail! I wrote until about 2am, then went to sleep.
Here's where things confusing. So much going on, so many people to meet, so many things to do. Hopefully I'll get the days straight.
On the first day we received our "object" that was supposed to be used as inspiration or a trigger for our 24 hour stories. I got a pink flamingo swizzle stick. More on that later.
We got the assignment to read a L Ron Hubbard book. On checking in, we got a large package filled with reprints and audio book CD's. My roommate and I found these very helpful. I also picked up a few paperbacks. I read the novel Fear, which was very different from most pulp fiction. I'm a fan of "Old Time Radio" on XM, and I enjoyed the audio books.
We had more discussions, about research, what to read and hints on writing a first sentence. KD also left me with a great image -- Writing is exquisite torture. But it's fun too!
Our guest lecturer was Fred Pohl. He told us about his collaboration with Arthur C Clarke. He also talked about some of his books, like Gateway, one of my favorites. I had brought my SFBC copy, and had him autograph it.
I guess there was lunch and dinner in there somewhere, but right now I can't remember who, where, when.
I wanted to get some exercise before breakfast, so I set my travel alarm to 6 am, after setting the local time. I got up right away and went down to the exercise room (the hotel had two) and hit the stationary bike. I was watching coverage of the Olympics, and after about ten minutes I saw the clock on the wall and thought, gee, that's really far off. Then when I flipped to CNN, I saw the ticker on the bottom say 3:35 PST. Huh? Turns out my clock is atomic and automatically re-adjusted the time to Eastern standard. You're not supposed to set the time, you set the time-zone. I finished exercising and tried to get back to sleep, but this set the tone for the rest of the week -- very little sleep each night, culminating Saturday night, where I didn't go to bed at all, since I had an early morning flight. The workshop started promptly at nine, but before that I had a chance to discuss the reading assignment with my writing twin, Laura. We were given a book of writing essays by L. Ron Hubbard, and the assignment was to read one of them. The idea of a writing twin is to have one particular person to discuss the assignment, rather that trying to talk to everyone about them. The workshop room was very helpfully stocked with coffee, and Dr Phil provided the chocolate. There were also WotF posters on the walls, to touch up the bland decorating. Tim and KD started off with manuscript formating, and from there we covered many writing topics over the course of the next couple of days. We also had guest lecturers, and our first was Pat Rothfuss. Erin and I had lunch with him that day, and he was a great guy to meet (I knew I was going to like him, he had a Girl Genius book with him). Pat and the other guests, like Steve Savile, Eric Jame Stone, and Sean Williams were great to just hang out with, and we learned a lot about the publishing world and being a pro from them. We had a full afternoon in the workshop, and then we all went to dinner across the street. When we got back to the hotel, it turned out that most of the winners of the Illustrators of the future had arrived and were hanging out in the lobby, and all the writers and illustrators got to know each other. I met Robert Castillio, who did the illustration for "Hangar Queen." He's a multi-talented artist, who does animated movies and storyboarding in addition to illustrations. Hopefully we'll work together again. The rest of the evening was . . . you guessed it -- hanging out and talking late into the night.
I had a great time at the WotF workshop, but really haven't posted any details. So here's the first day:
Arrived in LA safe and sound, after a connection in Memphis, which was celebrating Elvis week. Makes me wonder, isn't every week in Memphis Elvis week?
After I got my luggage, I looked for the WotF van, which would be waiting "outside." No sign of it outside, or anywhere up or down the terminal. I eventually found the driver and the photographer, who had parked instead of waiting at the curb. So back to the baggage carousel for some photos of me picking up my bags, me standing with a WotF sign, me standing with the driver. I felt kind of silly, even though I had been expecting this. There would be many more photographs taken during the week, so this was a good introduction. We then went to the van, and drove to another terminal. There doesn't seem to be any central parking area for the LA airport, nor any convenient way to get from terminal to terminal. So we went from terminal to terminal, but the people we were supposed to pick up (Sonia and Sarah, I think, who wound up arriving last) had delayed flights, so we picked up the next two arrivals, Jemma and Ian. Even though I had never met her, I spotted Jemma at the curb. She was standing there with a book under her arm. "That must be a writer," I told the driver. After Jemma's photo shoot, we had a long wait for Ian's flight. He had come from Worldcon in Denver, and his plane had spent several hours on the tarmac, so he was not in the best of moods, but cheerfully submitted to his obligatory "arriving at the airport" photo.
After checking in, we went down to the lobby where all the writers and Tim and KD were hanging out. Jennette had set up a livejournal group of all the writers she could find, so I knew many of them on-line, and it was great to meet them in person. I was looking forward to going out to dinner, but the workshop was about to start! We had an orientation meeting, got assigned "writing twins" and got some homework. Wow! No slacking off at the WotF workshop. The work starts day zero! Wound up having dinner at the hotel with Ian, Erin, Jemma and Dr Phil. We then had a road trip to Whole Foods in the WotF van. When we got back, Sonia and Sarah were in the lobby, with Patrick Rothfuss, a former WotF winner and best selling novelist. This was one of the best things about WotF. Just hanging out with other writers, Tim and KD, the judges and former winners, being treated like "a pro."