18. May 2016 09:19
When I first got home from StokerCon, I wrote:
Home from StokerCon. I did not win a stoker award for my YA novel, NEVER LET ME SLEEP. John Dixon did for his, and he is a complete sweetie. But, I didn't walk away empty-handed. I got to see old friends like Lucy A. Snyder and Jonathan Maberry, meet new friends, pitch the Melissa Allen series to a producer, have an in-depth conversation with an agent, meet Gini Koch, got asked to write a short story, and finished red lining my Shadowrun novel. It was a good convention.
My thoughts haven’t changed. It was a good convention. It was the first time I’ve been thanked by a winner of a major award during their acceptance speech. Lucy gave me a shout out and I appreciate it.
However, I hate the Vegas strip. I can’t say I hate Vegas. I spent time with my friend Drake in the north end of Vegas and it was lovely, if hot and dry. You can buy a lot of house for a lot less money than you can in the Seattle area.
That said, I won’t ever move out of the Pacific Northwest if I can help it. Monday, when I was taking out the trash, I had an honest-to-goodness “Calvin and Hobbes Trash Moment.” I dropped the trash in the can, then stopped and realized how quiet it was. I could only hear birdsong. Not even cars at that moment. The sky was filled with light grey clouds, bringing a depth the world around me. I could actually fill the moisture in the air. After 5 days in Vegas, it was exactly what I needed to truly appreciate where I live.
I’m home now. I’m catching up on email and other notices.
Here’s a really great review of NEVER LET ME from Amazon. This is the kind of review that makes my heart sing.
Also, my location supplement, Colonial Gothic: Roanoke Island, has been nominated for d-Infinity Independent Game Awards for best RPG supplement. I’m not going to win. It’s one of those click to vote popularity things but I’m happy to have been nominated.
22. March 2016 08:49
Bubble and Squeek is full of all kinds of good news. It helps me get over this terrible throat thing ("acute pharyngitis") I've been dealing with. Thank goodness for antibiotics. I am no longer contagious and will be at Norwescon.
Article: Never Let Me Sleep got a shout out in this article: 13 Horror Books that Might Be the Next Hit Movie. Can I just say, "Yes, please."?
Audible: All three Melissa Allen books (Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die) are available for pre-order on Audible! My first audiobook series. This is thrilling and terrifying.
Award: I’ve won 2nd place in the 2016 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award Contest! The thing I really like about this contest (besides that it is free to enter) is the fact that it is a blind read. It is the story that won. Not the author’s rep or connections.
Pre-Order: The Usual Path to Publication edited by Shannon Page. My own essay, "No One True Way," has three different examples of how I sold something to be published.
Release: Happy book release day to me. The Karen Wilson Chronicles ebook and paperback omnibus! It has all four KWC novels, every Kendrick story written (even the ones not in the four KWC books), and a new John Corso story. It’s pretty hefty and can be used as a bludgeoning instrument. I am so proud of this book!
Release: Speaking of the Karen Wilson Chronicles omnibus, it is also available in a Signed, Limited Edition Hardback form. We will only sell these at conventions (like Norwescon) and on the AIP website. Once they are gone, they are gone.
Reminder: I will be at Norwescon this weekend and here is my schedule. Hope to see you there.
21. January 2016 09:54
From last night: I'm stupidly excited I've been listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot! Once for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming and once for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for Never Let Me Sleep.
Now that the excitement of being listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot has died down, I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.
Also, I can enjoy the success of my friends and peers. In particular, I am super happy for Seanan McGuire who has been listed in the Long Form category for her spectacular story, “Resistance,” from The End Has Come anthology. And for Peter Clines who has been listed in the Novel category for his amazing novel The Fold.
I’m also pleased to see “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley (Long Fiction), “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Short Fiction), “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Short Fiction), “Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb” (Screenplay), Midian Unmade by Del Howison and Joseph Nassie (Anthology), and Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth by Michael Knost (Non-Fiction).
In my own two categories, I’m pleased to be going head-to-head against Samuel Sattin and The Silent End for Young Adult Novel. Also against both Lucy A. Snyder and Gary Braunbeck for Fiction Collection. What company to be in!
The competition is tough this year for the Bram Stoker Awards. I’ve read most of the entries listed and I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and comparing before I vote.
I want to wish to congratulate everyone who was listed on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot. Good luck to one and all.
29. December 2015 10:34
When it comes to year in review posts, there’s two ways for me to look at it: What did I do? Did I enjoy myself? The short version answer to these two questions is: A lot. Yes.
Being a full-time freelancer, I need personal metrics that keep me going. To let me know I didn’t just spin my wheels. To know that I have done good. I can’t rely on money to tell me whether or not I’ve been productive. The publishing industry is so weird about money and timing. It’s feast or famine… mostly famine. Even if you’re working all the time.
So, to answer the second question first. Did I enjoy myself? On the whole, yes. I’m happier that I’ve ever been. Yes, there were hard times. Yes, I really do understand “leveling up to a better (harder) class of problem” thing. And yes, not everything was a success. But, by and large, I had the best time.
As for the first question of: What did I do? I keep a daily summary log. I need to. I must schedule myself and I must know what I’ve done and when I did it. Thus, I can quantify my freelance year like so:
- Writing: I wrote 110,000 words of new fiction. This does not count any blog posts or articles written.
- Editing: I edited 10 novels, 4 novellas, 1 anthology, and 90 EGM.Shorts flash fiction pieces.
- Submissions: I had 5 of 9 short stories accepted. Not bad. Just didn’t have a lot of time to submit short fiction around.
- Published: 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 fiction collection, 1 anthology, and 5 short stories. That is a lot. A whole lot.
- Email: Answered email 320 days out of the year. This is much worse than last year. I answered email 268 days in 2014. I had hoped to do less email. I failed.
- New Positions: Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and voted in as a SFWA Director-at-Large. I am still the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.
- Awards: I had 4 nominations (Scribe x2, an ENnie, and a Hugo). 1 win (Scribe for best YA tie-in novel for The Nellus Academy Incident).
- Reading: I read 41 novels (mostly for pleasure). Not bad, given my schedule.
- Vacation: Took 23 days off to do nothing. This is better than I did last year. This averages 2 days off a month. Though, most of these came in the last third of the year.
Honestly, reading this list makes me both proud and tired. I already know I will be doing a lot less of some and a lot more of another in 2016 but that’s for another post in a week, next year.
4. August 2015 11:08
I am home from Gen Con. It was a very good and busy time. I did not win the ENnie for Best Related RPG Product but with the caliber of the competition, it really was an honor to be nominated.
This year I was both part of the Writers Symposium (run by Marc Tassin) and one of the Industry Insider Featured Presenters. I got to do a lot of panels that were both valuable and hard. Fortunately, my two most daunting panels, Diversity in Gaming and Women in Gaming After Gamergate, both went off without a hitch. I like to think this was because we all did our homework and prepared and we had excellent moderation.
Like most conventions, there’s too much to tell. Here are some of the highlights:
• Chatting with Wesley Chu in the dealers room about working at conventions. This spawned the quote, “It’s all push-ups and prose.” from Wes.
• Sitting in the authors lounge area watching Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes be themselves. I have pictures…
• Actually sitting down to game with Erik Scot de Bie and Brian Cortijo. I’d not played D&D 5 yet. It’s a good system. Also, I kinda love the dwarf warrior I was playing.
• Having a number of people come to my “office hours” to follow up on panels and to ask me about my writing. Doc Wagon 19 and Discordance (my first Valdemar short story) were highlights.
There were two standout events that made Gen Con awesome for me.
The first is Ingress. I started playing about 3 weeks ago and I was told there was a mission day happening at Gen Con. I had no idea what a mission day was but I was game. I sent out a call for someone to come walk with me because I really have no sense of direction. I was fortunate enough to be answered to by Sarah Babe, Host of Plot Points Podcast. The two of us banded and bonded together to do this thing called Gen Con Mission Day.
It was 13 missions. Walking around, hacking 5-7 portals per mission and answering questions. We started about 8:45pm at night. We ended the last mission at about 1:30am. It was hot, tiring, and sweaty. By the end of it, both of us had blisters and were finishing the quest out of malicious spite. But it was still awesome. I got a bunch of digital badges, leveled up, and despite shredding my feet (30,000 steps that day – 20,000 on the mission day quests), I had a great time. Sarah and I hit it off so well. I look forward to meeting up with her at GameholeCon in November.
The second is my friend Monte. I haven’t seen Monte in years. One of my favorite GMs and friends from the Bay Area, he made it out to Gen Con. Monte is one of those people that I click with. We can go for months without talking, but when we do, it’s like no time has passed.
He decided to introduce me to The Mountain Witch. We played with Albert and Nancy (also friends from the Bay Area who now live in Canada). It was the best time. Sparse on rules. Heavy on the roleplay. Awesome for narrative storytelling. Honestly, this game, with these people, made Gen Con worth it. I will be thinking about this game for a long time to come. I just bought a copy of The Mountain Witch from IPR.
It was a very good time. I’m glad I went. I’m also very happy to be home with the Husband and the kitties.
22. July 2015 09:18
This is the Scribe Award. I’m in love with this little statuette. Right now, it’s my most favorite award of all-time. Not because of what it is for—though I’m very proud of my YA Battletech novel—but because of what it represents.
On a professional level, it means a jury of my peers, who read and write tie-in fiction, judged it worthy of the award. That means a lot. On an personal level, it means I’m not a hack. I can write and affect readers. I do know what I’m doing. On an emotional level, it means I didn’t lose four awards in a row. No matter what happens with the ENnies and Hugos, I’m still an award winner in 2015.
I didn’t realize just how much was riding on the Scribe Award. It was the one I had the least stress about and was the award I was absolutely certain I would not win. I had already prepared myself to congratulated the winners and move on. Then I won and I felt 90% of the pressure from the ENnies and Hugos just melt away. The feeling is amazing and startling. I can relax now. I’d won one of the awards I was up for. Hurrah!
Sometimes, the littlest things mean the most.
This is what I wrote to accept the award for The Nellus Academy Incident. I’m really glad Matt Forbeck got to read it:
“Having grown up a military brat, I wanted to give Battletech fans an idea of where hard-bitten warriors come from. The military is a way of life and that starts when you’re a young dependent. Military kids grow up fast. I wanted to show this with The Nellus Academy Incident. I think I succeeded. Thank you to my editor, John Helfers, and to Jason Schmetzer who pushed me out my comfort zone. Thank you to my Battletech Thinktank group who helped me get the details of the story right. And thank you to the jury for this award. It is an honor.”
It looks good up there. I like it.
9. July 2015 15:56
Tomorrow, the Scribe Awards happen at SDCC. This is not a convention I ever intend to go to. I’m not sure how I would deal with the crowds. However, it’s got me thinking about awards again. I’m up for four awards with three different styles of nominations and voting for the win.
The Scribe Awards is a juried nomination and awarding system. Both of my nominated works were sent into the jury who decided on whether or not it should be nominated. Then that same jury chose the winner. This way is probably the smallest number of people to nominate and vote on the win.
The ENnie Awards is a juried nomination system followed by a popular vote. My work, Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It, was sent in to the jury who decided on which works should be nominated. From July 4-14, anyone and everyone can vote in the ENnies. You do not have to vote, nor are you expected to vote, on every category. Chicks Dig Gaming is listed under Best RPG Related Product. If you are going to vote in the ENnies, I’d appreciate any love you could throw my way.
The Hugo Award is a limited popular vote for the nomination and a limited weighted vote system for the win. Only people who were at/supported the previous world con or are going to/supporting the current worldcon can nominate. Only the people who are going to/supporting the current worldcon can vote in the Instant Runoff System.
Three very different types of voting systems for three different types of awards. I’m really not sure which one I like better. Awards are a strange thing. They can be something you shoot for. Or something that you are surprised with. Or, something some people dread. Other people don’t care one wit about them.
I do care. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. I’d love to win at least one of these awards but, realistically, the nomination is all the honor I will enjoy.
They are all honors. I think my favorite part of the whole award process is the notification you’ve been nominated. It’s like lightening from the blue. 90% of the time, you can’t tell anyone for a couple of weeks. That’s the feeling I try to keep in the forefront of my mind as the ceremonies go on with or without me. That's what I recommend anyone who is nominated keep to the forefront.
I won’t be at the Scribe Awards. I will be at the ENnies and the Hugo Awards. Despite the nervousness that comes with being in attendance, I’m looking forward to both.
30. June 2015 10:13
I am home now from five weeks of travel and events (3 conventions, 2 readings, 1 wedding). I ended with LepreCon in Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it was hot. Really hot. Like 110+ degrees hot. However, it was a great convention. Highly recommended. Small, enthusiastic, and great guests of honor.
In particular, I was pleased to meet Dayton Ward, whom I know from IAMTW, and David Gerrold (most famous for “Trouble with Tribbles.”), who soothed all my fears about the Sasquan Hugo Awards ceremony. After talking with him about my concerns (David is the host), I feel like I can relax and just enjoy the ride. That’s a huge deal for me.
Also, I got to meet my Shadow Minion, Sarah Hendrix, who is as awesome in person as she is online. She took to being my in-person assistant like, well, my shadow. She got me to where I needed to be (Seriously, I have the direction sense of a stoned newt. I couldn’t find my room even once without her.), made me eat, even when I was cranky, found out all the answers, and even played in my Big Demons in Little China game. There’s already an offer on the table to bring the both of us to an LA convention.
Then, on the way to the airport, I discovered that Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It has been nominated for an ENnie award for Best RPG Related Product. Ya’ll have no idea just how happy I am about this. I joke that this means I have four awards (2 Scribes, 1 ENnie, 1 Hugo) to lose over the next two months, but I really am honored by the nomination. We worked hard on the anthology and it deserves some love and recognition. So, yay!
Now, I have a month to whip NEVER LET ME DIE into shape while fielding the edits of other projects from various publishers. Then, off to Gen Con as part of the Writers Symposium and as one of the Industry Insider Featured Presenters.
20. May 2015 16:01
It's been an amazing couple of weeks. Really amazing.
Awards: I've been nominated for two different Scribe Awards. One for best tie-in short story. One for best tie-in YA novel.
Conventions: I've been named one of Gen Con's Industry Insider Featured Presenters. I'm really excited about this.
Election: I've been voted in as one of the new Directors-at-Large for SFWA along with Matthew Johnson. I will take office on July 1, 2015.
Interview: I've been interviewed by Katie Teller, focusing on my Dark Quest Books anthologies.
Review: Thomas Gondolfi of Scifimonkeys.com reviewed CALLER UNKNOWN and gave it an "Unexpected A-". He had some interesting points to make.
18. May 2015 19:56
The Hugo Voting Packet is now available for those people who are eligible to vote in this year’s Hugo Awards. In 2014, I had four anthologies published. (Blog post about my Hugo nomination.) I knew that Baen Books was going to have Shattered Shields put into the packet because both Bryan and I were nominated for Best Editor (Short Form).
I chose to have Bless Your Mechanical Heart added as well because it was diametrically opposed to Shattered Shields—which is military fantasy. Bless Your Mechanical Heart is pure science fiction and is still one of my favorite anthologies.
I thought the two anthologies would give Hugo voters a good look at my range. I hope everyone who reads them enjoys them.
Also, in other interesting news, I’ve been nominated for a Scribe Award for two categories. The first is my Valdemar tie-in, “Written in the Wind,” for Best Short Story. The second is my Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident for best Young Adult Novel.
I’m so pleased to discover this. I enjoy both stories and am proud of them. I’m really happy that they’ve been nominated.