Since 1996 I’ve been a judge and guest instructor for the annual Writers of the Future Contest; Rebecca became a judge in 2007. It’s one of the most gratifying things we do each year—teaching a dozen or so of the best new writers to emerge from the many thousands of submissions received each quarter. Recently, as I described in previous blogs, I worked with Galaxy Press to put together a heavily illustrated, comprehensive coffee-table book celebrating the first 25 years of the Contest. (You can see more about the anniversary book at the Writers of the Future website.)
The week-long workshop for the Contest winners took place at the end of August in Hollywood, California. Rebecca and I gave our guest lecture and workshop on August 27. Even when we weren’t on stage we enjoyed relaxing and talking with the winners and fellow judges, including Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, Eric Flint, Dave Wolverton, Steven Savile, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Tim Powers, and Dr. Jerry Pournelle. On Friday, Doug Beason and I also had a lunch meeting with Harry Kloor and a production company, who are developing our disaster novel Ill Wind for film.
Rebecca and Kevin teaching at the Writers of the Future workshop, Hollywood
The awards ceremony itself took place Saturday night at the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, right on the walk of fame, in the Blossom Room, where the Academy Awards were once held. After an imaginative opening Cirque du Soleil-style dance performance, June Scobee Rodgers, the founder of the Challenger Centers for Space Science Education (and our co-creator on the new Star Challengers series) was the keynote speaker.
Challenger Center President Dan Barstow and I presented an award to new writer Brent Knowles; Rebecca, along with actor/comedian Jim Meskimen, presented an award to Scott W. Baker. I also gave a speech and presentation of the 25-Year anniversary book.
Presenting an award
Kevin J. Anderson (judge), Brent Knowles (Writers of the Future winner), Dan Barstow (President, Challenger Centers for Space Science Education)
Actor Jim Meskimen, winner Scott W. Baker, judge Rebecca Moesta
You can watch the full event at www.writersofthefuture.com. In particular, listen to June Rodgers’s compelling speech (begins at about 21 minutes) about the Challenger disaster. My own speech is toward the end, within the last 15 minutes.
Writers of the Future attending judges: Standing—Dr. Yoji Kondo, Mike Resnick, Eric Flint, Ron Lindahn, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Robert J. Sawyer, Doug Beason, Stephen Hickman. Seated—Larry Niven, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Tim Powers, K.D. Wentworth, Val Lakey-Lindahn, Rebecca Moesta, Laura Brodian Freas, Dave Wolverton, Kevin J. Anderson
In the reception following the awards, all the winners autographed copies of the new paperback containing all their stories and illustrations, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Vol. XXVI.
Reception following the awards ceremony
Rebecca and Kevin with June Scobee Rodgers
Winners sign their first copies of the annual anthology.
The following day, winners and judges were all taken from Hollywood out to the Borders in Pasadena for a mass book-signing.
While putting together the 25th Anniversary coffee-table book for the Writers of the Future Contest, we selected more than a thousand images to highlight the various workshops, guest speakers, celebrity presenters, and awards events. Here are just a few teasers that my fans might enjoy:
Kevin and Rebecca at the banquet on the Seattle Space Needle observation deck (2005).
Kevin presents an award in Hollywood (2009)
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle talk to the winners’ workshop.
Book signing of new anthology (winners and judges) at the Science Fiction Museum
Kevin with astronaut Col. Rick Searfoss and actress Marisol Nichols at the San Diego Aerospace Museum
Rebecca and Kevin teaching at the Writers of the Future workshop, Author Services, Hollywood.
Tim Powers and Anne McCaffrey prepare to announce the Gold Award winner
Larry Niven and Kevin with award-winner Eric James Stone
Legends: DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz, artist Frank Kelly Freas, and Ray Bradbury
Algis Budrys launches the ceremonies
Kevin with Doug Beason and shuttle astronaut Janice Voss
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.
The first Superstars Writing Seminar at the Pasadena Convention Center was a rousing success. Bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, and Kevin J. Anderson spent three days giving lectures on the economics of publishing, developing an intellectual property, how editors look at manuscripts, balancing the real world and a writing career, literary agents, networking, self-promotion, collaboration, e-books and self-publishing, social media, and writing productivity. Guest speakers included producers and scriptwriters Steven L Sears (Xena, Sheena) and Marc Scott Zicree (The New Twilight Zone, Sliders), and T. Duren Jones (Promomania promotional products) and Joni Labaqui (Writers of the Future contest).
The next seminar is tentatively scheduled for January 2011 in Salt Lake City. To sign up to receive updates on the next event, go to the Superstars website.