Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A brief update

So, I missed my post last week and I considered skipping a post this week.

Why?

We have a brand new baby in the house. Her name is Valkyrie and she's great.

Naming tiny humans is a much harder thing to do than naming characters, and I find naming characters to be one of the hardest parts of a story for me. But I know that if I'm at any point dissatisfied with a name, I can find+replace the old name and insert a new one.

With a kid, it's fairly permanent.

Valkyrie was on a long list of names and it's the one that seemed to match what we wanted the most and came out on top of the compromise. That's the other thing about naming characters versus children. Unless you're collaborating with someone, you have the final say in what your character's names are.

While I'm taking some time off from other forms of work because of the new baby, I'm not taking time off from writing and I've been chugging along on a new novel and short story, as well as continuing revisions on The Aeronaut.

As for some new things: my latest piece for Huffington Post is up. It's about why Star Wars: Rebels is Must-See TV. 

I also published the newest installment in my "Cinema Behind Star Wars" series, this time I drew the parallels between Star Wars and Citizen Kane.

That's about it for this week.  As far as my work outside of these things: I remain busy for Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith. 

As a reminder, you can get tickets to Stuff You Missed in History Class's first live episode in New York in October (which, coincidentally, will feature me) right here.

And don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Monsters! and an Origins Recap...

 "Monsters" is the new fiction anthology from Silence in the Library and I have a story in the main book, as well as the companion, "Soothe the Savage Beast." "Monsters" was edited by Kelly Swails, I edited "Soothe the Savage Beast."

 I'd highly recommend you check it out. The stories in these books are cool, the artwork in both books is great. You're going to want them both. There are stories by Michael Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, and dozens of other writers you like, even if you haven't yet heard of them yet.

You can click over to the kickstarter here directly. $7 will get you an eBook and your name in the back, $10 gets you the eBook of both books. It's an offer you can't refuse.

This collection began as the convention exclusive from Origins Game Fair last year and so I was able to reconnect with a lot of the authors whose work stands next to mine in the collection. It's quite an august group and I'm proud of the fact that they keep asking me to come back every year.

One of the things I love is being able to talk to other writers about their process, even if it's just in the context of a panel we share. Even though I was there to impart my wisdom, I can't think of a single seminar I sat in on where I didn't learn something from one of the other presenters–even if it was an example of how not to handle myself.

The convention was a great refresher for me, too. I came back creatively recharged. I talked a lot about the theory of stories, I talked about the problems I'm having in manuscripts, and I helped other writers diagnose their problems. I spent a lot of time imparting what little bits of information I've accrued, sure, but it's highway robbery. I got far more than I gave and they're all too satisfied by my answers to know it.

One thing I did a lot while I was out of town was writing. I made sure to keep to my writing schedule while I was there and come home with a few thousand words of new material that I didn't have before and I did it in the usual manner. I got up before everyone else, grabbed some coffee, and went to the convention center early. I didn't lose any momentum on my work and I actually feel pretty good about the work I did, proving to myself that it's possible to write every day, even when I'm busy at a convention.

While I was there, I also got a bit of good news. Upper Deck published a game that I did a modestly small amount of work for:


Back when it was being developed, I was asked by my friend Max Holliday from Ginger Ale Games to write some flavor text for the rulebook. They had the game and the skin for it, but they didn't quite have the story for the game. That's where I came in. On the front of the rulebook is a three paragraph introduction to the world I wrote. When they sold the game to Upper Deck I just assumed my work would get swept away, but it's all in tact. They gave me a copy of the game and who knows what other game work might come of it.

If you're interested in buying a copy, the only option at the moment is to preorder it from Upper Deck here. If there are more ways to do it in the future, I'll be sure to let you know. I had a lot of fun working on the game, but much more fun playing it.

I love playing board games, and I love writing. So would it come as any surprise that I'm designing my own game as well? I've written a rule book and am working on a prototype for playtesting. When there's something there to talk about, you'll hear more about it.

As for my normal writing, I'm still just working on drafting my fantasy novel and a sci-fi novella. As far as revisions, I'm about to dive back into revisions on "The Aeronaut" based on the latest round of notes from the editor. I'll be damned if this isn't a book I'm going to be proud of.



As for other work that's come out, my piece on Jar Jar Binks hit newsstands today in the new issue of Star Wars Insider (Issue 158), so be sure to check it out. It made Jonathan Wilkins' highlights for the issue on StarWars.Com as well...

And then, my most recent column for StarWars.com is about the Battleship Potemkin and its influence on the Star Wars saga. You can read that piece here. 

One bit of work you might not know that I do: as part of my day job, I write, voice, and edit historic documentaries on the Salt Lake City area. The most recent one was a lot of fun and if you're at all interested, I'll post them here as they come out.



That's about it for this week.  As far as my work outside of these things: I remain busy for Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith. 

As a reminder, you can get tickets to Stuff You Missed in History Class's first live episode in New York in October (which, coincidentally, will feature me) right here.

And don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Update and off to Origins!

I'm heading off to Origins Game Fair tomorrow (you can see my panel schedule here) and will be there until Sunday. My panels are all focused on writing and they're always highly informative and a lot of fun.

I find conferences and conventions an invaluable source of inspiration and contacts for freelancers across the board. In fact, most writing gigs I've landed have been a direct result of meeting and interacting with editors and fellow writers at conventions. Origins, San Diego Comic-Con, Star Wars Celebration, Salt Lake Comic Con, those and many more have been a great place to network.

They're great not just for networking, though, they're great for learning, too. Getting different perspectives, and meeting people that you wouldn't ordinarily come in contact with, and talking to people is a great thing. And it'll expose you to all kinds of writing you might not otherwise pick up. It was after two different conventions of meeting Patrick Rothfuss that I finally decided to pick up his Kingkiller Chronicle and I feel incredibly stupid that I hadn't read them when I talked to him. (I thought to myself, "Why is this guy being treated as such a big deal?" and then I read the books and I got it. Instantly.)

So my advice to other writers is to go out and meet other writers. Talk to them. Learn from them. You'll almost never regret it.

On the writing front of my own, I started the untitled novella that will be a part of September's short story collection (that is tentatively titled Escape Vector.) I also plugged along on my fantasy novel and after I broke through the first 5,000 words, I'm having much, much more fun with it.

I also published a piece in Salt Lake City Weekly about the treatment in female audiences and I think it's sort of a must read. You can find it here. But the bottom line for those of you who are writers is this: include more women in the casts of your stories. Half the population is female, so should the casts of your stories. Especially if we want more readers. Women are readers too and they want to see themselves represented in fiction. I've learned this first hand from my daughter and I'm trying to take it to heart.

I also have a new article in the new issue of Star Wars Insider... It's all about the thematic elements Jar Jar brings to the Star Wars universe. I think it's a really fun think piece and you'll all love it. You can catch that on newsstands everywhere by next week.

As far as my work outside of these things: I remain busy for Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith. 

As a reminder, you can get tickets to Stuff You Missed in History Class's first live episode in New York in October (which, coincidentally, will feature me) right here.

And don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!