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Free Prize Drawing for Next Superstars Writing Seminar

Published January 29, 2012 in Writing - 0 Comments

Only about three months until the next Superstars Writing Seminar—at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas!  We’ve just launched a new prize drawing, open to all interested writers, with no entry fee.

First prize: free tuition for the next seminar ($1499 value)
Second prize: complete set of MP3 audios of both the 2011 and 2010 sessions ($300 value)
Third prize: complete set of DVDs of the 2010 seminar ($200 value).

Sign up to enter at Superstars Prize Drawing.  Deadline is February 9; winners will be announced on Feb. 10.

The Superstars Writing Seminar is unlike most other writing workshops. The sessions are devoted to the intricate nuts-and-bolts of the writing and publishing business, with the focus on teaching serious authors, both aspiring and professionals, how to manage a career.

Superstars is taught by five phenomenally successful writers, all international bestsellers—Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint, and David Farland. The three-day curriculum is packed with detailed, practical insider information on the economics of commercial publishing, dealing with editors, pitching to Hollywood, developing your work into an intellectual property, understanding eBook publishing, networking and self-promotion, advances, copyright, productivity, agents, book contracts, and other topics that all serious authors need to know.

Previous guest instructors have included bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy Hickman, graphic novelist Howard Tayler, and TV producers Steven L. Sears and Marc Scott Zicree. This year’s guest instructors include well-known authors, editors, and commentators, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

The third Superstars Writing Seminar will be held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas from April 30-May 2.  Previous seminars have been held in Pasadena and Salt Lake City.  The contest is currently open and runs through Feb 9. Winners will be announced on Feb 10.  Curriculum, testimonials, and sample videos are available on the Superstars website.

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Remembering Curie

Published January 13, 2012 in Writing - 7 Comments

We just lost our beloved cat Curie, a Russian blue, who gave us eighteen years of happiness and precious company.  For those of you who have pets, I don’t need to explain how terribly painful it is; for those who don’t have pets, there’s no way I can explain it.

Curie was old, had arthritis, and liked nothing more than to spend hours curled up on my lap. She could be quite insistent about it: if I was trying to use my laptop or read a magazine, she would come up beside me and reach out with her paw in a very human gesture, nudging me again and again, “Hey, this is my laptime.”

She had been losing weight recently, sleeping more and more.  When I left on my book tour, on an early morning flight, I made sure to pet her and say goodbye, but I didn’t give a thought to the fact that it would be the last time I ever saw her.  Curie had been in our lives for so long.

We got her as a kitten from the Humane Society. After six months we had a scare when a routine test indicated that she had been exposed to feline leukemia in the shelter. Because we had other cats, the vet recommended we put her down immediately before she infected the others, but we had him run a second test—only to find that it was a false positive.  No leukemia after all.

Curie loved catnip more than any of our other felines, getting herself all dopey as she rolled around with catnip toys.  For some reason, she was fascinated with shoes and liked to stick her face in my tennies or hiking boots when I left them by the door.  She also dominated the cat post by the window, as she spent hours watching “bird TV” outside.

One morning of my book tour, I flew into another city and Rebecca called me on the cell phone as I was walking to the baggage claim after getting off the plane. Curie had taken a serious turn for the worse. When she got up that morning she found Curie in the floor in her room, breathing heavily, barely able to move.  Rebecca rushed her to the vet, and called me again with the grim update that Curie had a large tumor, her systems were shutting down, and that she had only hours left to live.  I talked with the vet, who said that with superhuman efforts we might be able to keep Curie alive for another day or two…but almost certainly not until I could get back home. And she was clearly suffering.

Rebecca and I reached the only decision we could. Rebecca held Curie on her lap while I was on the speakerphone, hoping she could hear and recognize my voice.  And as I sat crying in a bookstore parking lot very far from home, the vet sent Curie away from her suffering.

Then I had to pull myself together and do a booksigning fifteen minutes later.  That was a very rough day.

It saddens me beyond measure that my travels denied Curie her precious laptime in the last week of her life.  When I came home from tour yesterday, we picked up Curie’s remains from the vet and Rebecca and I buried her on the hill behind our house.  We looked through our pictures of her, remembering all her funny quirks, how much we loved having her around.  She warmed our laps as much as she warmed our hearts.

Curie demonstrates her signature “Hey, where’s my lap?” nudge

Enough room on the lap for Curie and Harrison

CURIE
1994–2012

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SISTERHOOD OF DUNE tour wrapup

Published January 12, 2012 in Writing - 0 Comments

I’m sitting in the Houston airport, waiting to board the plane home after doing SISTERHOOD OF DUNE talks and appearances in nine cities.  The hotels were nice, the many fans were wonderful…but home is awfully nice, too.

After Atlanta, I flew to Orlando—my first official signing in Florida in many years.  I had a nice crowd and a good turnout from the Florida garrison of the 501st Legion, and afterward I went to dinner with some friends and fans. I stayed in a suite in a gorgeous resort in Disney World…for about 7 hours, then I was off to Dallas at sunrise the next morning.  Even though I got to the airport early in the morning, the plane didn’t seem to want to leave Orlando.  first delayed by two hours, then cancelled, and I had to wait in standby for another flight (which was full), then had a confirmed seat on an afternoon flight that got me in to Dallas with very little time before my evening event.  Nothing like a little excitement.

Meanwhile, Brian had made his way down the coast to Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach and then Vroman’s in Pasadena, also drawing nice crowds. In Pasadena he met a fan who had named his daughter Alia.

My crowd in Dallas was the largest on the tour so far, about 80 people, and I went out with some alumni from the Superstars Writing Seminar for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.  A terrific turnout from the Star Garrison of the 501st (I was even wearing one of their shirts).  Next day, off to Houston for a day of bookstore visits, stock signings, and an evening event out at the gigantic Woodlands Mall.

In late afternoon I received word from our agent that SISTERHOOD OF DUNE had hit the New York Times bestseller list—and that marks my fiftieth national or international bestseller over the course of my career.  (Yes, definitely cause for a second beer late that night.)

In the true spirit of Texans insisting on doing everything *bigger* the crowd in Houston was even larger than the one in Dallas, the largest turnout on the tour, at 97 people.  I had planned to go out to dinner at a well-known local BBQ joint afterward, but there were so many people we didn’t get out of the bookstore until 10 PM, and the restaurants were all closed. We did manage to find a Cheesecake Factory that stayed open until 11, and had a nice dinner there.

I haven’t received a report yet on Brian’s signing last night at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. He still has two more appearances in the next few days up in Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC.

And now, up early and checked in at the airport for the home flight.  Thanks for all of you who came out to see either Brian or myself, and a round of applause for all the 501sters who came out to troop at my signings (they were present at all but two of my events).  I hope you enjoy SISTERHOOD OF DUNE.

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