Kevin J. Anderson’s Blog

i write. i make up stuff. i adventure hard, so you don’t have to.
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  • October 2014
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    Things that Go Bump in the Night—Urban Fantasy Bundle

    Posted By on October 15, 2014

    It’s that time of year to feast on great spooky stories—and Halloween means FUN as well as SCARY.  So, a batch of Urban Fantasy novels is just the ticket.

    I’m curating a new Urban Fantasy bundle for storybundle.com, a remarkable collection of ten terrific novels by bestselling, legendary authors and rising stars. As always, at storybundle, you name your own price—whatever you feel the books are worth, and a portion of the proceeds goes to charity (in this case, the Challenger Centers for Space Science Education, Mighty Writers, and Girls Write Now).

    The Urban Fantasy bundle contains my original Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. collection WORKING STIFF, seven cases featuring everybody’s favorite dead detective—a special sneak preview, because the book itself will not be released until January!

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    And the bundle includes a new Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher—WORKING FOR BIGFOOT, all three of Harry Dresden’s Bigfoot cases, never before collected. This book is not available anywhere else.  AND, Vicki Pettersson presents an original, never-released work THE REORDERING, which is not available elsewhere.  AND AND Carole Nelson Douglas put together a brand new collection of her popular Delilah Street Urban Fantasy stories, just for this bundle.

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    Other New York Times bestselling authors include David Farland with his novel NIGHTINGALE, Michael A. Stackpole has TRICKNOMANCY, and P.N. Elrod delivers THE DEVIL YOU KNOW.  Want more? Elizabeth Bear offers WHISKEY AND WATER, a novel of the Promethean Age, Rhiannon Paille has VILLAINS from her Ferryman and the Flame series, and Peter J. Wacks delivers HAIR OF THE WOLF.

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    For Storybundle, you decide what price you want to pay.  For $5 (or more, if you feel generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any eBook format—WORLDWIDE.  If you pay $14 (or more, if you feel generous), you’ll get the five bonus books as well.

    The Urban Fantasy bundle runs for three weeks only. This is a great deal, and a great way to pick up a batch of books for those chilly autumn nights—and you’ll be able to get the Dan Shamble WORKING STIFF, Vicki Pettersson’s THE REORDERING, and the Harry Dresden WORKING FOR BIGFOOT books, which are not available anywhere else.

     

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    Nanowrimo Writing Tools bundle—12 books for $15

    Posted By on October 6, 2014

    I’ve curated many novel bundles before, but this one is a very special toolkit for writers.  Storybundle.com has put together a massive batch of useful books that will help you survive—and thrive—during National Novel Writing Month. Twelve books on writing craft, productivity, and business—by eight bestselling writers, a TV producer, and more.  And you name your own price.

    The NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle is a treasure chest of books vital to your success not only in writing your novel in a month but in launching your long-term career as a successful writer. This is a toolkit, a drill sergeant, a mentor, and a cheerleading section, all in one.

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    To help you write, and keep writing, there’s Million Dollar Productivity by Kevin J. Anderson, 500 Ways to Write Harder by Chuck Wendig, and A Novel in 21 Days by Mike Stackpole.

    To hone your craft as a writer, there’s Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland, The Pursuit of Perfection (and How It Harms Writers) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing by David Farland, Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler, and The Non-User-Friendly Guide for Aspiring TV Writers by XENA producer Steven L. Sears.

    To understand the business of writing and to build your career, there’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith, The Freelancer’s Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Million Dollar Professionalism for Writers by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and Charisma +1: A Convention Etiquette Guide for Writers, Geeks, and the Socially Awkward by Jessica Brawner.

    At storybundle.com, you name your own price and receive either the basic bundle of six books (minimum $5 bid) or all 12 books (minimum $15 bid) which are vital books to hone your writing skills and your business acumen in the writing and publishing industry. Available in all eBook formats, and *worldwide*.  In other words, pay $5 (or more) and get the first six; pay $15 (or more) and get the whole batch. And a portion of the proceeds goes to two worthy literacy charities.

    It’s something to read when you’re not writing!

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    Concerts and Aspens

    Posted By on October 2, 2014

    It’s been a fun two days, from loud music and crowds to utter silence and mountain beauty—and I loved both.

    On Tuesday, thanks to the efforts of our friends David Boop and Peter J. Wacks, we got tickets and backstage passes to see the Dandy Warhols in the legendary Bluebird Theater on Colfax Ave in Denver.  The Dandy Warhols had been on the edge of my musical radar, but we were happy to see the concert; I spent the afternoon listening to a lot of their YouTube tracks, getting familiar with the music. As a point of connection, Peter and David had written a Veronica Mars novel, FAST TIMES AT NEPTUNE HIGH, which WordFire Press published through Kindle Worlds—and the Dandy Warhols did the VERONICA MARS TV theme music.

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    We enjoyed the concert and afterward we all went back to chat with the band members (in a veritable dungeon beneath the Bluebird!)  Lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor and keyboardist Zia McCabe were both fans of our books, both big readers.

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    Courtney Taylor-Taylor tries to enjoy PAUL OF DUNE in the dungeon

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    Peter J. Wacks with Zia McCabe and Courtney Taylor-Taylor

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    And David Boop with Zia and Courtney

    Rebecca and I got home late, crashed…and the next morning I headed out for a nice hike, wanting to get in some more mountains before the weather turned wintry. Unfortunately, a winter storm was indeed on the way, so I couldn’t go up to climb the mountain peaks I had expected.  Instead, I did a great hike in lower mountains with a spectacular view of Pike’s Peak. With all that wilderness and inspiration, I did a chapter and a complete story in CLOCKWORK LIVES—and some great stuff it was, too!  (I am really enjoying this book…it is wonderful to be back in Albion with old friends like the Watchmaker, Mrs. Courier, and others…)

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    Teaser Tuesday: MILLION DOLLAR PROFESSIONALISM FOR THE WRITER

    Posted By on September 30, 2014

    Over the past twenty years, Rebecca Moesta and I have given our workshop  ”Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting out” to thousands of writing students. In preparation for Nanowrimo next month, and also for the upcoming Superstars Writing Seminar in February, we put all that knowledge down on paper, including a lot of new sections that we never have time to cover in person.  This book won’t teach you how to write—it will teach you how to be a professional writer.

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    The print version will be released next week. Available now in all eBook formats for $6.99

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    If you want to be treated as a professional writer, you need to act like a professional. Take yourself and your career seriously. Behave in a way that you would expect a professional to behave.

    When you see a doctor, lawyer, banker, or business executive, you expect certain standards—that they are mature, reliable people you’d want to do business with.

    You’ve probably seen writers portrayed on TV or film as eccentric, ditzy, pompous, or curmudgeonly, as if that’s the norm for a writer. They shrug. “Eh, creative people. What can you do?”

    You can be professional.

    When Kevin sold his first novel in 1987, he received an author questionnaire from the publisher’s publicity department, asking about his interests, his areas of expertise, and his background in doing interviews and public appearances. Before the pub-lisher turned him loose on book signings or set up media interviews, Kevin naïvely assumed that some-one would train him. Since the publisher had a vested interest in their author making a good public impression, shouldn’t they go over a list of guidelines or standards of behavior to make sure he was ready for prime time? After all, as an author representing their publishing company, he had their reputation as well as his own on the line. Surely they gave their authors some kind of code of conduct to keep them from shooting themselves in the foot, putting their foot in their mouths, or any other foot metaphor you prefer. When he asked about it, they told Kevin, “You should just know what to do.”

    Unfortunately, many authors have no idea what to do.

    After a successful career spanning more than a quarter of a century, with over 125 books published and 50+ national or international bestsellers, Kevin has spent a lot of time learning how to be profess-sional.

    He and his wife Rebecca—also an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of dozens of books—have given lectures and workshops for thousands and thousands of writers.

    They have presented their seminar “Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting Out” for two decades, often to standing-room-only crowds.

    Finally, they decided it was time to put that information in writing. The need for business knowledge and professional behavior is greater than ever. With more authors choosing the indie publishing route, they are forced to be front and center—producing and promoting their books, meeting fans, talking to bookstores. No longer can socially inept authors safely tuck themselves away in a cabin so they can write, while someone else does all the legwork.

    With the explosion of social media, blogs, and discussion boards, where writers have direct interact-tions with readers—not to mention the potential for unfortunate flame-wars—it is imperative that writers learn to be professional, to stand out above the crowd of amateurs and be taken seriously.

    The authors hope this book helps. They’ll be watching.

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    Anniversar-Week—23 years!

    Posted By on September 27, 2014

    On September 14, Rebecca and I celebrated 23 years of marriage.   In 1991, in the back yard of our house in Livermore, CA, we had a wedding ceremony surrounded by friends, with “Best People” Doug Beason and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

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    Rather than picking one thing to do to celebrate our anniversary, Rebecca and I have instituted “anniversar-week.” We each put down things on an anniversary bucket list, places we wanted to see, favorite restaurants, fun activities, movies to watch. Small but fun things that we do together. And then we spend the week doing as many of them as we can.

    We went out to dinner at Tajine Alaimi, our favorite local Moroccan restaurant; one night we made fondue for two at home; we went out to see Guardians of the Galaxy in the theater, and RedBox rented Spider-Man 2, RoboCop, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (all of which we had missed in the theaters).  We went to a Saturday morning breakfast at the Egg and I, went to another dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery.  We took a few weekend hours at the local Farmer’s Market, which we had always wanted to do.  We went to the amazing outdoor wonderland Bass Pro Shop (never been there), which could only be one-upped by another one in Denver, Cabela’s Outdoor World—so we did that, too.  We drove up to Denver to have lunch at Fogo de Chao, our favorite Brazilian Steakhouse, then on the way back, stopped at the Godiva Chocolate store. Another night we had a lovely tapas-style feast with cheeses, meats, veggies, dips, fruits, olives, prosciutto, and chocolate.

    We toured the Cave of the Winds, which we haven’t done in more than ten years, after which we had dinner at an historic Mexican restaurant at creekside. (And after her back surgery, Rebecca did terrific all week.)

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    Finally, we had dinner at Il Vicino–wood-fired pizza and microbrewery, with Jonathan and Jessica and grandsons Harrison and Xavier (does it get any better).  On Sunday, for the very last part of anniversar-week, Rebecca and I are driving to Pagosa Springs, an amazing hot springs resort in the Colorado Mountains.

    Then we’ll need to start compiling our list for next year!

     

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    Rushcon 14—a Headlong Flight

    Posted By on September 15, 2014

    When I do appearances and travel, sometimes I’m just a guest author. Sometimes I fit right in.  The Rushcon folks are definitely my people.

    I was invited to be a guest at Rushcon 14 in Toronto, August 22-24, so I could talk about CLOCKWORK ANGELS the novel and the new comic series being released by BOOM! Studios. It’s always good to have any excuse to go up to Toronto, and I gladly accepted the invitation.

    I flew out a day early to spend time with Mark Leslie LeFebvre from Kobo Writing Life, since my WordFire Press does so much direct work with Kobo. Of course it was business-related, but since Mark is also a big microbrew fan (and Rush fan, too) we spent the previous evening together hitting (crawling) the local pubs, and I even had my obligatory poutine at a pub—which was far superior to any other one I’d had previously.

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    Mark Leslie LeFebvre, poutine, and beer: three essential items for a visit to Toronto

    After spending the night in Mark’s guest bedroom, we headed out Friday morning to a meeting at the main offices of Wattpad, a vastly popular reading-sharing site, where we meet with the Wattpad people to talk about my experiences as an indie author and how WordFire Press could work with them. Wattpad is also a sponsor of next year’s Superstars Writing Seminar. We had a great brainstorming session with a lot of exciting ideas, and then Mark took me to check into my hotel for Rushcon—and then it was off to the main Kobo offices, where I met many of the staff then spent an hour behind closed doors with their development team to discuss how they could work more closely with WordFire Press, and we came up with some great ideas. After such productive talks with Wattpad and Kobo, someone remarked, “How many big traditional publishers would bring in one of their authors for meetings on how everybody could work better for the mutual benefit of all?”

    Kobo held a reception, talk, and autographing for me. I gave a talk for about an hour, answered questions, signed autographs. Fans came from all around Toronto, and each attendee received Kobo copies of one of my books.  Kobo also gave me a high-end Kobo Aura eReader loaded with CLOCKWORK ANGELS and my story “Drumbeats” with Neil Peart as a door prize for Rushcon.

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    Then back to the Chelsea Eaton hotel to switch from my Author/Publisher persona to Rushcon Author persona—and the Rushcon VIP reception. I picked up my badge, program book, met up with the fabulous JILLIAN who is the goddess of Rushcon and a fine person, and hung out with a lot of other fans, with my table of Team Presto for a trivia game (which we didn’t win, despite my team’s outstanding performance). A good time was had by all…and we were just starting!

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    with Jillian Of Rushcon

    As part of Team Presto, I also met Elaine Kosteva, who took the rest of the terrific photos—posted below with her permission, and my great thanks!

    Saturday, I worked in the room that morning, editing BLOOD OF THE COSMOS, and then met up with friend and fan (and invaluable assistant) Jonathan Flamm, and we hauled my books over to the Rushcon venue, The Great Hall. We set up our table with many copies of CLOCKWORK ANGELS in both hardcover and trade paperback, RESURRECTION, INC (my first novel, also inspired by a Rush album), the BOOM! comic issues, and other Rush ephemera, as well as some Dan Shamble books (which the Rush fans also love).  ECW Press had arranged to deliver copies of the books, and the publisher, David Caron, would come to hear my talk on Sunday.  Apart from a bit of frantic panic when we discovered that my Square credit card reader decided not to work in Canada, we had a great morning in the dealer’s room.

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    During the afternoon trivia game, I presented the Kobo Reader prize to one of the winners, and also made one of two promised “big announcements”—that I would be editing a new anthology, along with John McFetridge, of stories inspired by Rush songs, to be published by ECW Press…and that I am doing an original novella titled “2113.”  [A title sure to send a tingle through every Rush fan.]

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     with Elaine

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    I had dinner with one of my former writing students, Stephen Kotowych, got back to the room and did a little more editing (I missed the concert by the Rush tribute band Lotus Land, alas). Next day, Sunday, was my big day.  I gave my hour-long talk on the main stage in front of the full crowd. Just before I started the speech, David Caron, the publisher of ECW, arrived (and I was glad, because I wanted him to hear my second surprise “big announcement.”)  I talked about my life growing up inspired by Rush, how I had gotten to know Neil Peart through my first novel RESURRECTION, INC., which ECW had just reissued, how that led to the wildly successful CLOCKWORK ANGELS novel and comics. And then I paused and delivered the news that I had kept a close secret all along—that Neil and I were working on a sequel, CLOCKWORK LIVES, and that we’re about 1/3 of the way finished. That was greeted with a nice long round of applause!

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    After the talk, we sold completely out of RESURRECTION, INC as well as most of the copies of CLOCKWORK ANGELS. My time was tight, and after a quick lunch with Jonatan Flamm and David Caron (who was quite happy to hear of a new CLOCKWORK novel), David took me off to the Toronto airport—YYZ, of course—and I flew home.  A headlong flight indeed, and I enjoyed myself a lot.

    I just might have to come back next year, with two new Rush-related books under my belt!

    A REMINDER:  Right now, we have a big Cyberpunk Storybundle running—13 cutting-edge science fiction novels, including RESURRECTION, INC.  Name your own price to get the whole batch.  Go to Storybundle.com, or read my previous blog entry for full details.

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    Massive cyberpunk storybundle: 13 novels!

    Posted By on September 10, 2014

    Announcing another storybundle,  this one crammed with gritty, cyberpunk novels—including my first novel RESURRECTION, INC. (inspired by the Rush album “Grace Under Pressure”), and HIGH OPP, a previously unpublished Dystopian SF novel by Frank Herbert, author of Dune.

    The important details: Name your own price at storybundle.com, get seven complete novels in your preferred eBook format for as little as $3 (minimum bid); if you pay $15 or more, you get an additional six complete novels.  Thirteen novels for fifteen bucks? And the offer is good WORLDWIDE.

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    A quick visit to Wikipedia will confirm that “cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a near-future setting. Noted for its focus on “high tech and low life,” it features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.” But for me it’s always been about the radical change in social order over the high tech. It’s been about hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth that’s absolutely dystopic, not some far-future setting in a galaxy far far away. What’s important is the extraordinary cultural impact of the technology being twisted in ways its creators could never have imagined. And, thanks to Blade Runner, it will always have the echo of film noir inside my head.

    It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s exciting and the books included in this bundle are designed to showcase that very trend, available September 10th through October 1st. You’ll find a vast and dizzying array of ideas here—important ideas, because that’s what this kind of science fiction is all about. There’s social commentary. There’s angst. Heartbreak. Heroes. It’s a grim near future we’re facing. We see it in the news every day. So it’s hardly surprising that some of our best writers have taken this bleak future and laid it bare.

    StoryBundle’s Cyberpunk bundle is curated by bestselling author Steven Savile, a man who certainly understands the genre. His brand new novel, as yet unreleased (it’s debuting here in StoryBundle first, a month before it will be available anywhere else for sale!) is a heartbreaking example of a future you wouldn’t want to live in, brought about by choices no man should have to make. He’s just written a cyberpunk computer game for a major studio, too. Joining him are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, Kevin J Anderson, David Farland, Kindle sensation Michael Bunker (whose Pennsylvania will challenge the way you think about SF), Rob MacGregor and his writing partner, Billy Dee Williams – none other than Lando Calrissian himself!), Melissa Scott & Jo Graham (with a collaborative novel and a solo novel from Melissa), brilliant British novelist Keith Brooke and one of the founding fathers of science fiction, Frank Herbert. There’s a complete trilogy of incredible novels from David Bischoff and something really special, a debut novel from an exciting new writer who David Farland describes thus: “If Wordsworth had written cyberpunk he might have done something like this.” That’s Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus, by Milo Behr.

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    Says Savile, “Some of these writers are among my favourites in any genre. I can honestly say I adore each and every one of the books in this bundle. I’m incredibly excited to share them with you, especially the opportunity to help launch what I think will be a dazzling career for Milo, one of David Farland’s students. Why do I think you should pay attention? David’s other students include Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, oh, and Stephanie Meyer. He knows a thing or two. More than anything, I think the books here do a fantastic job of showcasing the dark cities and darker edges of where this world is going and can’t help but capture your imagination in the same way that Philip K Dick and other great writers captured mine. I really hope you enjoy them.”

    The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $3 to purchase) are:

    • Resurrection, Inc. by Kevin J. Anderson
    • Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham
    • The Infinite Battle (Star Hounds: Book 1) by David Bischoff
    • PSI/NET by Billy Dee Williams and Rob MacGregor
    • The Accord by Keith Brooke
    • On My Way to Paradise by David Farland

    If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you’ll get another six books, including the next two books in the Star Hounds series!

    • Immortal by Steven Savile
    • High-Opp by Frank Herbert
    • Pennsylvania by Michael Bunker
    • Dreamships by Melissa Scott
    • Galactic Warriors (Star Hounds: Book 2) by David Bischoff
    • The Macrocosmic Conflict (Star Hounds: Book 3) by David Bischoff
    • Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus by Milo Behr

    The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books, but after the three weeks are over, the bundle is gone forever!

    It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

    Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

    • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
    • Pay what you want (minimum $3): You decide how much five fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of thrilling titles.
    • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
    • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. We’re currently featuring the ALS Association, Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.
    • Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you’re not just getting seven books, you’re getting thirteen!

    StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

     

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    DragonCon autographing and panel schedule

    Posted By on August 27, 2014

    Rebecca and I have attended DragonCon for about the past 20 years—it is one of our favorite conventions all year.  This year, I’ve got a packed schedule, as well as three big tables in the Dealer’s Room.  Look for us under the listing WordFire.

    Here’s my DragonCon autographing schedule for the Dealer’s Room.

    Friday
    12:30–2:15 PM

    Saturday
    10 AM–12:30 PM
    2:30–6 PM

    Sunday
    11:30 AM–2 PM
    4–5 PM

    Monday
    10–11 AM
    1:30–4 PM

    And here’s my panel schedule.  (Don’t miss my reading on Sunday at 10AM, where I’ll read a brand new Dan Shamble story!)

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    11:00-Noon Writing Workshop with Jody Lynn Nye  Hyatt: Marietta  (with Rebecca)
    2:30 PM  New York Times bestselling authors Hyatt Regency VI-VII
    4:00—6:30 PM  Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me  Hyatt: Embassy D-F  (with Rebecca)

    Saturday
    1 PM  Magnificent Men of Fantasy Fiction

    Sunday
    10 AM Reading  Dan Shamble “Role Model” story   Hyatt: Edgewood
    2:30 PM Star Wars EU authors Marriott A706  (with Rebecca)
    5:30 PM Remembering Aaron Allston & Ann Crispin Hyatt: International North
    8:30 PM  X-Track Anthology  Marriott M106-107
    10 PM  Humor in Horror  Westin Chastain ED

    Monday
    11:30 AM  Ask Me Anything  Hyatt Centennial I

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    Teaser Tuesday: MILLION DOLLAR PRODUCTIVITY

    Posted By on August 19, 2014

    I’ve long established myself as a very prolific writer, and I’ve given countless talks and workshops on productivity over the years. Finally, I’ve put together all the most important advice I have to share, in a book just released by WordFire Press, MILLION DOLLAR PRODUCTIVITY.  Available in all eBook formats for $4.99, or in trade paperback for $9.99.

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    Life is crazy and hectic for most of us. We’re surrounded with personal and family obligations, jobs, fitness programs, virtual mountains of email, not to mention videogames, TV, smartphones, social networking, and millions of things to check out on the web.
    With all those distractions, how does an aspiring author find time to write?
    And when you do find the time, how do you make the most of it?

    Award-winning and #1 international bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson is one of the most prolific authors in the business. He has published over 125 novels—an average of five novels a year, every year, for the past quarter century. Anderson has taught numerous writing seminars and lectured on productivity, and here he shares his tips on how to find the time to write, and how to make the most of that time.

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    Introduction

    Back in the heyday of pulp fiction magazines, when freelancers struggled to pay the bills by writing stories for half a cent per word (at most), they had to produce, produce, produce. Their motto was “Be prolific or starve.” Armed only with manual typewriters and carbon paper, the most popular and productive writers managed to crank out entire novels in only a few days, stories and novelettes in a single sitting.

    Today, with an arsenal of writing tools that includes word processors, email, scanners, internet research, lightning-fast printers, digital recorders, and voice-recognition software, it must be easy for modern authors to be even more prolific than their “prehistoric” predecessors. Right?

    Life is crazy and hectic for most of us. We’re surrounded with personal and family obligations, jobs, fitness programs, virtual mountains of email, not to mention videogames, TV, smartphones, social networking, and millions of things to check out on the web.

    With all those distractions, how does an aspiring author find time to write?

    And when you do find the time, how do you make the most of it?

    That’s what I’ll show with this book. You don’t have to be manically productive (though some of us consider that to be fun), but you will learn ways to get more writing out of every available moment.

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    Flophouses and Fourteeners

    Posted By on August 19, 2014

    Every year for the past seventeen years since I’ve lived in Colorado, I have climbed at least one Fourteener, or 14,000-ft peak in the state. I’ve summited all 54 of them, so now I’m going back to do some of my favorites, climbing from different sides.

    This year, I set my sights on Mt. Lincoln, 14, 236 ft, highest peak in Park C0unty and 11th highest peak in the continental US. It’s an impressive-looking peak as seen from Hoosier Pass, just south of Breckinridge. I had climbed it before, but this time I wanted to climb from a different side, on a little used trail.

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    In order to get an early start on the trail, and thus avoid early-afternoon thunderstorms, I decided to stay overnight near the trailhead. On previous drives through the area, I had been intrigued by a tiny town right at the foot of Mount Lincoln, Alma CO, population Not Many, with a handful of buildings … something I called a “zombie town”—a ghost town that won’t admit it’s dead.  I was charmed by the handful of “necessary businesses”—general store, feed store, liquor store, and a most intriguing little place called (this is its exact name) Alma’s Only Bar and Hotel.  Of course I had to stay there.

    I called ahead, but they didn’t take reservations. “Just come in, we’ll find a room for ya, don’t worry.”  $50 per night. So I drove in, arrived in the middle of the afternoon to find a sign on the closed door of the hotel “See bartender for room.”  I found the bartender, and she rummaged among a tray of keys behind the bar, took my credit card, and said “You have room number one.”  Then gave me set of complicated directions through a maze of doors and staircases to get to my room.  Fortunately, she had two kids out of school who were very excited to have a lodger, and they went off on a great adventure with me to find my room.  Up at the top of the stairs, we found #1.

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    It was a real flophouse, a room not much larger than the bed and a little dresser, torn bedspread, one lamp, creaky floors, and a communal bath.  Even a little more rustic than my usual “off the beaten path discoveries.” But I had my laptop, a cooler with a growler of microbrew IPA, and a place to work. I edited a few chapters in BLOOD OF THE COSMOS that afternoon before wandering off to the saloon to get a burrito for dinner, made a call to Rebecca (with very poor cell reception). When I made my way out of the hotel, one of the other lodgers bumped into me in the hall, a single man who was sharing the room with his two dogs.  He said, “Oh, you’re in room number one–you know that’s the haunted room!  I stayed there for ten days, but I never heard anything.”

    After dinner I came back to the room (mind you, it was not much bigger than the bed and the dresser), crawled onto the bed, took out my laptop…and my screen was going crazy. Menus going down and up, random characters scrolling across the screen, cursor blinking.  Huh?  I managed to shut down and restart, but the screen was still going haywire. Haunted room, indeed!  How was I supposed to get editing done?  Of course, I discovered that I had left my bluetooth remote keyboard in my computer case, which was on its side pressing against the keys, hence creating the mayhem on the screen. So much for ghosts. I got another several chapters edited then went to bed—I had a Fourteener to climb the next morning, ghosts or no ghosts.

    Next morning, alarm set for 5:30 AM, I got up, took a shower in the shared bath, used the Keurig I had brought along for a cup of coffee (good thing, because nothing in Alma was open), ate a granola bar, filled my backpack with water, and hauled everything out of the haunted room. I drove off through a maze of dirt roads, winding up into the foothills around Mount Lincoln in search of the trailhead. Part of the road was a real horror, the type where you have to stop the car, walk ten feet ahead and figure out the best spots for the tires to go, then drive ten feet, and do the whole thing again. But I got to the trailhead, parked off the road, and started heading uphill.

    It was a beautiful hike. Now this was worth it! On the way up I reveled in the scenery, didn’t even do any writing (I saved that for the hike down).  Up winding rugged roads, past mining ruins, higher and higher. This was not at all the standard route up Mt Lincoln, and I had the trail ALL to myself.

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    By the time I reached the summit, however, it was an entirely different story. Crowds had come from the popular Kite Lake Trail, and I shared the top with 28 people.  I didn’t stay long after I got my picture taken.

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    I trudged back down (hard on the knees!), got back to my car, toiled and struggled my way—driving ten carefully assessed feet at a time—back to the main road…and home!  I did manage to write two new inserted chapters in BLOOD OF THE COSMOS, tying up loose threads, all with another Fourteener under my belt.

     

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