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Niagara Falls and EerieCon 12

Published April 29, 2010 in Conventions , Travel & Appearances - 0 Comments

Last weekend, Rebecca and I were guests of honor at EerieCon 12, a small and friendly SF convention in Niagara Falls, NY.  We traveled with Tim and Diane Jones, who helped us man the table in the dealer’s room.  We came Thursday afternoon and the con activities didn’t start until Friday night.  After dinner at a nice Indian restaurant, Tim, Diane, and I went for a sunset walk on the American side of the Falls (Rebecca’s foot was still hurting a little, not quite recovered from the surgery a couple of months ago).  We saw beautiful scenery, clear skies, through twilight and then nighttime where the Falls were lit up.


The next morning, also bright and clear, all four of us went over the Rainbow Bridge to the Canadian side to see the larger Horseshoe Falls and to see the American Falls from across the river.  The scenery was truly spectacular.  While we ate lunch in the Rainforest Cafe, we received a call from Tim and Diane’s daughter, reporting that back home in Colorado we had just received 20 inches of snow.

Kevin and Rebecca at the Falls.

One of the Maid of the Mist boats heads toward Horseshoe Falls

American Falls from the Canadian side.  Hard to believe 20″ of snow was being dumped on Colorado at the same time!

After we got back to the hotel it was time to set up the table in the Dealer’s room, meet the con staff, get our badges and program books. I had a panel at 10 PM, where James Alan Gardner interviewed me and other guest authors.  Several members of the Rochester 501st Garrison came to say Hi, and I spent time with the fans and other authors in the Con suite (which had good beer on tap all weekend provided for the Con attendees).

Next day Rebecca and I had breakfast with Robert J Sawyer, then we participated in several panels and book signings, then a great game with all the guest author, What Line’s Mine?, where the emcee read random lines from the authors’ novels, and we had to guess who had written what.  Then a very nice dinner at a local inn with Rob Sawyer and wife Carolyn Clink, other authors Ann Bishop, James Alan Gardner, Josepha Sherman, and their guests.

James Alan Gardner stops by the table to browse books.

Writer and tarot reader Sephera Giron lures victims…er, customers.

For my reading, I read the new short story I had cowritten with Janis Ian for Blood Lite 2, and I also read the first chapter of Hellhole, my new novel with Brian Herbert.  Former Writers of the Future students of mine David Sakmyster and Carl Frederick also stopped by to chat.

Kevin and Dave Sakmyster, with Dave’s novel Silver and Gold.

Carl Frederick shows off some of his magazine appearances.

After the con ended on Sunday, we packed up and took a late flight from Buffalo to Washington, DC, but bad weather delayed us (yes, the same storm that had dumped all that snow on Colorado two days earlier), so we missed the connection and spent the night sprawled on benches at Dulles airport for a 6 AM flight.  But we did make it home eventually and have managed to recharge our batteries.

Write Good or Die

Published April 19, 2010 in Writing - 0 Comments

I contributed a reprint article to a new writing advice book edited by Scott Nicholson, Write Good or Die.  The book also contains entries by Heather Graham, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, J.A. Konrath, and many others.

Scott has made the book available for free download on most platforms (99¢ on Kindle).

I have also attached the poster for the Colorado Book Awards (if you look hard, you can see The Edge of the World on top of the stack of nominated books).  In the photo, the two prominent mountains are the famous Maroon Bells, both over 14,000 ft, near Aspen, Colorado.  I have climbed both peaks, two of the hardest Fourteeners in the state (but don’t plan to do it again).

“Barricade” from New Terra Incognita CD

Published April 18, 2010 in Lyrics , Roswell Six , Terra Incognita - 0 Comments

“Barricade” is the first track on the new Terra Incognita CD, A Line in the Sand, a hard-driving symphonic rock epic with lyrics by Rebecca and myself, music by Henning Pauly, and vocals by Steve Walsh of Kansas fame.  The CD will be officially released next month to accompany the publication of the second novel in the trilogy, The Key to Creation.  Book 1, The Edge of the World, was just reissued in a mass-market paperback.

I have also just learned that The Edge of the World has been nominated for the Colorado Book Award for best novel of 2009 written by a Colorado author.

Here’s the story of “Barricade.”  You can listen to the sample track (and preorder a copy) at the ProgRock Records website.  The initial preorders will receive an autographed page from the novel manuscript.

BARRICADE

Lead Vocals—Steve Walsh

Backing Vocals—Alex Froese

Ishalem, an ancient city sacred to the world’s two great religions, has become a battleground.  The followers of Urec and the followers of Aiden fought over the city, accidentally burned it down, and then fought over the ashes.  The spreading war has lasted for decades, but the underlying hatred has endured for generations.

In a bold military move, Soldan-Shah Omra, leader of Uraba, captured the remnants of Ishalem, killed or evicted all of the Aidenists, and rebuilt the city entirely for the faithful—his faithful.  He constructs a towering wall, God’s Barricade, to keep the infidels out…and to keep his own people inside.

A line in the sand,

A wall to the sky . . .

**********

We don’t need your kind with us,

So just stay on your side.

Every time you get too close,

Our principles collide.

We don’t need you to agree,

Our faith is true and tried.

We will never think like you,

The gap is just too wide.

**********

Brick by brick

Stone by stone

We build the wall

To protect us all.

The faith that I had is all gone

**********

Maybe you can’t see the truth—

It makes no difference now,

We made a choice to still your voice,

Can’t live with it somehow.

We don’t need a better view,

We’ve got the one we chose,

It may take ten thousand years,

To dam where the river flows.

**********

Brick by brick

Stone by stone

We build the wall

To protect us all.

The hope that I had is long gone

**********

One more brick, one more row

We see less the higher we go.

One more brick, one more row

We don’t need to look when we already know.

**********

Don’t try to reconcile with us—

Let’s end this masquerade,

Can’t hear you shout when you’re locked out

Behind this barricade.

**********

Brick by brick

Stone by stone

We build the wall

To protect us all.

The love that I had is long gone

Writers of the Future Contest—25 Year Retrospective

Published April 9, 2010 in Business , Publicity , Writing - 0 Comments

Since 1995 I have been a judge for the Writers of the Future Contest, an avid supporter for much longer than that . . . and even a contestant in the early years (before I became disqualified by earning my chops as a professional writer).  Last year marked 25 years of the contest — a quarter century of amazing success in introducing and encouraging new writers in the genre.

I’ve spent the past week (and will spend the next several) sifting through archives, contacting many of the winners and judges, to put together a lavish coffee-table book, a retrospective of 25 years of the contest that is science fiction’s equivalent to American Idol.  I’m working with a whole team of dedicated researchers and compilers at Author Services and Galaxy Press.

Here you can view a video blog showcasing the flurry of work currently going on to put this book together.  (Jason isn’t the only one helping, by the way.)

The list of winners who have become big name, best-selling, and/or award-winning authors is impressive, including Dean Wesley Smith, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, David Zindell, Karen Joy Fowler, Leonard Carpenter, Howard V Hendrix, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Dave Wolverton/David Farland, Jo Beverly, KD Wentworth, Stephen Baxter, James Alan Gardner, Valerie Freireich, Stephen Woodworth, Nicholas diChario, Stoney Compton, Sean Williams, Eric Flint, Jim C. Hines, Scott Nicholson, Tobias Buckell, Kelly David McCullough, Patrick Rothfuss, David Levine, Carl Frederick, Steve Savile, Jay Lake, Ken Scholes, Diana Rowland, Aliette de Bodard, and Jeff Carlson.

In my years as a judge, I have had the pleasure of helping to instruct many of these prize winners and watch their careers take off.  The list of my fellow judges who have served the contest over the years speaks for itself: Roger Zelazny, Gene Wolfe, Jack Williamson, John Varley, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, Charles Sheffield, Robert J Sawyer, Tim Powers, Jerry Pournelle, Frederik Pohl, Andre Norton, Larry Niven, C. L. Moore, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Hal Clement, Orson Scott Card, Ramsey Campbell, Algis Budrys, Ben Bova, Gregory Benford, among others.

I am greatly enjoying this project, reviewing the years of the event, the awards ceremonies held at the United Nations, the Kennedy Space Center, the Science Fiction Museum and Space Needle in Seattle, the Houston Space Center, the CalTech Robotics lab, Hollywood, the Air and Space Museum, and all of the talented writers who have come out of this.  I hope you’ll peruse the book when it’s released next August at the 26th annual Writers of the Future Awards ceremony.

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