I often wonder what other writers are working on and what’s in the pipeline for publication, so I applied the rule “write what you want to read” and added a work-in-progress page. Here ’tis.
I just added ConnectiCon to the summer schedule for July 11-14. I’ve never attended this con, but the website lists an impressively varied assortment of activities.
Panel discussions are as central to the con experience as geek t-shirts. Here are the topics in which I’ll be participating:
Worldbuilding in Fantasy & Scifi
Have an awesome idea for a story or comic, but don’t know where to start with building your world or universe? Or maybe you have one already and just want some tips on making it seem more real and diverse. Wherever you are in the worldbuilding stage, our panelists are here to help! (Margaret Killjoy; Brandon Sanderson; Bryce Moore; Elaine Cunningham)
The Changing Face of Publishing
You’ve written a book. Now what? In this panel, we discuss the influences of self-publishing and the pros and cons of self-publishing vs the traditional publishing route, as well as the steps you as an author will need to take to get published, no matter which path you choose. (Margaret Killjoy; Brandon Sanderson; Elaine Cunningham)
Starting out with a Bang
The importance of the first line, paragraph, and page and how to catch your reader’s attention and not let them go. Volunteers from the audience are encouraged to bring the first paragraph of their current work for critique from fellow participants and panelists alike. (Brandon Sanderson; Shana Mlawski; Elaine Cunningham)
Last Dance with MarySue: Writing Great Characters
“Mary Sue” is a commonly used term for characters who are simply too good to be true. In this panel, learn how to spot common problems in character creation and make your own characters memorable, well-rounded and realistic. (Brandon Sanderson; Shana Mlawski; Bryce Moore; Elaine Cunningham)
In addition to the panel discussions, I’ll be offering several half hour manuscript critique sessions. The sign-up info will be on the website shortly, but here are the basics: I get a 20-page (maximum!) excerpt ahead of time, we sit down together for a half hour for feedback and questions. There’s no fee, but there is one limitation: The excerpt must be set in a world of your own creation–no stories in licensed settings, please. There are all manner of legal issues attending licensed settings; for example, if your excerpt is from a work that’s under contract with the license-holding publisher, I’d have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before I could read it. And I don’t read unofficial stories set in any licensed setting, because that can go wrong in more ways than I care to count.
Hope to see you in Hartford next month!
Here’s a sketch of Timar Dharn, the protagonist of my story in the upcoming anthology A Knight in the Silk Purse. For some non-spoiler background info on the Timar, here’s a link to the daily Kickstarter blog by editor Scott Taylor.
The story is rooted in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths. Anyone who has read the story of Blodeuwedd and pays attention to mythic themes knows that Nothing Good Happens when someone attempts to create the perfect woman.
A while back, I saw this gorgeous cover by Todd Lockwood and was immediately filled with Anthology Envy. You know what I’m talking about–that moment when you see or hear of a nifty short fiction project and think, “Crap! Wish I could’ve been part of that.”
Well, it turns out that I can. Editor Scott Taylor is following up with a second anthology in the same setting, and I was invited to play.
Tales of the Emerald Serpent is notable for several things. First, it’s Todd Lockwood’s fiction debut, and I was not surprised to learn that this wonderful visual storyteller can also paint a darn good tale with words. Second, it’s old-school fantasy inspired by Thieves World. Third, while each story stands alone, they’re all connected. And finally, lots of good people are playing in the particular sandbox. Many of the original authors are returning for the second volume, A Knight in the Silk Purse, which focuses on a murder investigation in the infamous Black Gate district. If you’ve read and enjoyed Tales of the Emerald Serpent, you’ll be pleased to see the return of several characters.
In addition to threads that run through the entire anthology, more connections will be added by pairing writers into “teams.” I’ll be working with Dave Gross, fellow Pathfinder and Forgotten Realms author. Plans, we have them!
The Kickstarter begins today. Click on this link for more info.
The stories in the 2011 anthology When the Hero Comes Home examine what happens when the battle is won (or lost) and life returns to normal. Except that it doesn’t.
The anthology was so well received that editors Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood decided to do a second collection. Hero 2 will be released in August, 2013. To see a table of contents, follow this link.
My story, “Vasilissa’s Doll,” returns to one of my favorite sources of inspiration: Slavic folklore and myth. The story is narrated by the title character. Hope you enjoy!
OFFICIAL MUNCHKIN® COMPANION COMING FROM SMART POP BOOKS
By gently—and sometimes not so gently—mocking the fantasy dungeon crawl and the sacred cows of pop culture, the Munchkin® card game has stabbed and sneaked and snickered to the pinnacle of success. Along the way, the game has sold millions of copies, been translated around the world, and spawned more than two dozen sequels and supplements. Now it has its sights set on your bookshelf.
Smart Pop, the pop culture imprint of BenBella Books, and legendary publisher Steve Jackson Games are pleased to announce The Munchkin Book for fall 2013. The book is a lighthearted and suitably snarky celebration of all things near and dear to the munchkin heart, with game-legal rules included for each essay.
Contributors will include the game’s designer, Steve Jackson; its signature artist, John Kovalic; SJ Games chief operating officer, Philip Reed; and Munchkin brand manager, Andrew Hackard; as well as such notable mavens of geek culture as Dave Banks (Wired GeekDad), Bonnie Burton (Girls Against Girls), David Ewalt (Forbes), Jennifer Steen (Jennisodes), and Rob Wieland (The Onion AV Club); authors Elaine Cunningham (Star Wars: Dark Journey) and Matt Forbeck (Dangerous Games); game designers Monica Valentinelli (Worlds of the Dead) and John Wick (Houses of the Blooded); author/comedian Joseph Scrimshaw (Comedy of Doom); and the star of TV’s Spartacus, Liam McIntyre. New York Times bestselling author and game design giant Ed Greenwood will provide the foreword. Directing The Munchkin Book will be award- winning author and editor James Lowder, whose previous Smart Pop projects include Beyond the Wall and Triumph of The Walking Dead.Leah Wilson, editor-in-chief of Smart Pop, says: “Our mission at Smart Pop is to entertain but also to enrich our readers’ experience of the pop culture they love. Between the behind-the-scenes stories from Steve Jackson Games, the smart, funny commentary from all our contributors, and the exclusive game rules, this book should enhance both readers’ game play and their appreciation of what makes Munchkin so great. At the very least, it’s way more useful than a Chicken on Your Head.”
“We’re big fans of the Smart Pop essay collections at SJ Games,” says line developer Andrew Hackard. “We’re both proud and humbled that Munchkin will be part of their catalog. (Yes, both proud AND humbled. That’ll probably be a Munchkin card soon.)”
When contacted for comment, Steve Jackson’s reaction was more direct: “Munchkin is going to have its own book! This means we go up a level, right?”
About Steve Jackson Games
Steve Jackson Games, based in Austin, Texas, has been publishing games, game books, and magazines since 1980. Its best-selling game is Munchkin, with well over 3 million copies of the games and supplements in print worldwide. Other top sellers are GURPS (the Generic Universal RolePlaying System), Zombie Dice, and Illuminati. Past hits have included Car Wars and Toon. Steve’s very first game, Ogre, drew almost a million dollars’ worth of Kickstarter support in 2012 for a super-deluxe edition to be released in late summer 2013. The company news page, the Daily Illuminator (sjgames.com/ill/), is the oldest continuously running blog on the Internet. For more about Steve Jackson Games, visit us at www.sjgames.com.
About Smart Pop
Smart Pop is the pop culture imprint of Dallas-based publisher BenBella Books, publishing smart, fresh nonfiction titles on television, books, film, and more. You can find us online at smartpopbooks.com.