Monday, April 30, 2012

Class Lecture on Characterization + Updates

Right now I'm in Las Vegas for this year's edition of the Superstars Writing Seminar where I'm an instructor. I posted about this several times over the last few months, so I hope it's not a surprise to anyone!

Hal-Con in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been added to my events calendar for October this year. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of Canadian readers! That should be my final convention for 2012, and then will come the book tour in January, which is in the planning stages. For my current schedule as it stands, see the previous link.

The most recent Writing Excuses podcast episode is another one that was recorded in front of a live audience at Life, the Universe & Everything. It features James A. Owen talking with Dan, Mary, Howard, and me about discovering your voice.

This week's ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers one of my favorite chapters, number eleven. It's the one where Alcatraz talks about how authors like to torture people. But that's not what makes it one of my favorites.

Also, in case anyone missed it last week when I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook, has put up the excerpt of the prologue to A MEMORY OF LIGHT that Harriet read recently at JordanCon. As for the rest of the book, we are still hard at work on revisions.

My former student Scott Ashton posted another of my class lectures. This one is about characterization. There's also an email group for people who want to recreate the entire class experience online.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Magic with Brandon and Dan: Avacyn Restored

Hey, all! This weekend is the Avacyn Restored prerelease, and as with the previous two sets, Dan and I are going to head up to Epic Puzzles & Games for their midnight release party. We're hoping you are all interested in playing with us again, because as long as we have a small crowd, Epic will rent us our own room to play in again.

We won't be participating in the Helvault promotion, as that is a closed thing that only a certain number of people can join. (And I'm sure it's full already.) As is normal for us, we're kind of deciding this at the last minute. But it will still be fun. We'll probably do a kind of two-headed giant format as we did last time, so feel free to bring a friend! We'll have our own tournament, with prizes. And, like last time, if you beat Dan and me you will be able to steal cards out of our decks. Sweet, eh?

Details are below. If you want to be guaranteed a spot, please call Epic Puzzles & Games and sign up, leaving your phone number. This will also let us know how many people we're going to have ahead of time. (We'll want at least sixteen, which is about what we've been getting at these things.) Also, note that it will probably be one of your last chances to see Dan before he moves away to Germany for a year.

Day: The night of Friday the 27th of April
Time: Midnight (so technically this starts on Saturday the 28th)
What: 18-person sealed deck two-headed giant tournament, with special games against Brandon and Dan
Where: Epic Puzzles & Games
3612 W 4700 S #4
Salt Lake City, UT 84820
How: Preregister by calling this number: (801) 982-0167

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mary Robinette Kowal Signing in SLC Tonight

Just a quick note that my good friend and Writing Excuses cohost Mary Robinette Kowal will be appearing tonight in Salt Lake at Weller Book Works. This is Sam Weller's new store in Trolley Square, where there's actually parking unlike at their old location. Go see her and get your copy of GLAMOUR AND GLASS signed!

Location: Weller Book Works
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT
Reading, Signing, & Shadow Puppet Show
7:00 p.m. April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Creative Writing Class Lectures + Updates

I arrived home from Australia yesterday to find that yet another surprise home makeover had taken place. (The previous one was after my New York Comic-Con trip.)

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Larry Correia joins Mary, Howard, Dan, and me in front of a live audience at Life, the Universe & Everything to talk about guns in fiction. If you don't know much about guns and want to use them in your writing, give it a listen.

While I was in Australia, I did an interview for ABC Radio. You can find it here. My assistant has also uploaded a new Twitter posts archive.

The most recent ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers chapter ten, where I torture the reader some more by interrupting cliffhangers.

One of my students has started releasing my creative writing class lectures from this year online. Eventually you'll be able to find them all on this page.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Gold Coast Schedule, JordanCon, Superstars Writing Seminar

Supanova Gold Coast 2012

Date: April 20–22, 2012
Address: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
2684 Gold Coast Highway
QLD 4218, Australia

6:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Signing at Dymocks booth #67
1:50–2:35 p.m.: Panel in Filmink Features room B
3:10–5:30 p.m.: Signing at Dymocks booth #67

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Signing at Dymocks booth #67
1:30–2:15 p.m.: Panel in Filmink Features room B
2:50–5:30 p.m.: Signing at Dymocks booth #67

The official schedule lists my panel topics as "Wheel of Time" on Saturday and "Warbreaker!" on Sunday. Since I'm the only one on each panel, I will probably switch things up and do a reading, Q&A, or something else. See you there!

Note that JordanCon in Atlanta is also this weekend, and I'm unfortunately not attending due to being on the wrong continent. But I'm sending my assistant Peter in my place, and all of Team Jordan will be there, as well as Author Guest of Honor Mary Robinette Kowal and Artist Guest of Honor Sam Weber, among other luminaries. You can see their schedules here.

And a reminder that I will be in Las Vegas for the Superstars Writing Seminar on April 30th through May 2nd. You can see all of my upcoming events on my events page.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sydney Signing + Updates

This week's Writing Excuses continues our discussion of Mary Robinette Kowal's outline of a middle-grade novel she planned back in 2003. At twenty-five minutes it's a lot longer than our typical episode, but if you're wondering about outlining, a listen will be worth your while.

My assistant has put up another of my annotations for ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS. This one covers chapter nine, when the talking dinosaurs show up.

He also put up another Twitter posts collection. If you're in Sydney and aren't following me on Twitter or Facebook, you missed my announcement about a Tuesday night Magic draft at my hotel. Should be fun.

A reminder that I'll be signing in Sydney on Wednesday night. Details are below. I'll also be in Gold Coast for Supanova this weekend; I'll post my schedule later this week.

Dendy Opera Quays, Sydney, Australia

Date: 04.18.12 Time: 6:30 pm-9:30 pm
Place: Dendy Cinemas Opera Quays
Address: Shop 9
2 East Circular Quay
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Phone: (02) 9956 6771
Type: Presentation/Signing
Notes: Event organized by Dymocks North Sydney. Includes a talk, reading, and Q&A. There is a $20 entry fee; call Dymocks at the number above for more details.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Melbourne Schedule; Sydney & Gold Coast Next Week

Supanova Melbourne 2012

Date: April 13–15, 2012
Address: Melbourne Showgrounds
Epsom Road
Ascot Vale
Victoria 3032 Australia

6:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Signing
1:30–3:30 p.m.: Signing
4:10–5:00 p.m.: Panel in the Supanova Seminar Room

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Signing
1:30–2:00 p.m.: Signing
2:20–3:05 p.m.: Panel in the Supanova Seminar Room
3:45–5:30 p.m.: Signing

Now, you may ask what the panel topic is on both days. It looks like each will be a solo panel, so I may do a reading, Q&A, or something else. See you there!

And a reminder that I will be in Sydney and Gold Coast next week. You can get details on my events page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GLAMOUR IN GLASS, Suvudu Cage Match Finals, ALCATRAZ Annotation

Today marks the release of Writing Excuses cohost Mary Robinette Kowal's novel GLAMOUR IN GLASS, which you should read. On this week's podcast episode, Mary offers up an outline from 2003 (of a middle-grade fantasy Mary was planning) for us to dissect, and it's an educational process.

The most recent ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers chapter eight. It explains why elevators are more primitive than stairs, and talks about the hidden continents that the Librarians don't want you to know about.

In the Suvudu Cage Match, you voted Moiraine into the final match, against Kylar Stern from Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy. If you're interested, vote for who you think would win.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Mistborn Movie Update and Hugo Nomination

Two big updates today!

First off, we at Writing Excuses are proud to be Hugo nominated in the Best Related Work category for our second year in a row. Huzzah! Thank you to all who nominated. (You can see the other nominees in all categories here, and you can also watch recordings of the live announcement here. If you want to vote on the Hugos, buy at least a supporting membership to Worldcon here.)

Secondly, I figured I'd give you all an update on the status of the Mistborn film. Years have passed since I mentioned it had been optioned, and those years have not been spent in vain. The producers, Paloppa pictures, have done numerous drafts of a screenplay. They showed me each one, asking for input, and this latest screenplay is just fantastic. I'm very excited. It stays true to the soul of the story, yet at the same time adapts that story in a way that works better on film. I'm extremely excited.

Now that we have a great screenplay, we face a greater challenge: pitching the story to studios. I picked a smaller production studio when selling the rights because of their passion and their willingness to let me be part of the process. That means, however, that we face an uphill battle getting the film into production.

What can you do to help? Well, right now, the best thing to do is have a look at the "mood trailer" Paloppa has released. Note that this is not a true trailer, but more of a "fan trailer"-style clip. They've cut up different films and stitched them together in an effort to show what kind of film they want to make. It's pretty cool. If you feel like sharing it and showing it off, I'm certainly not going to complain!

Otherwise, keep your fingers crossed for me and stay tuned. Paloppa is going to be pitching the film to studios during the next few months. (And, you know, if your uncle happens to be the head of Warner Brothers Pictures or is second cousin to Christopher Nolan and you want to give them the screenplay, feel free to drop me an email . . .)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Google+ Hangout on April 18th

I'll be hanging out on Google+ from the Google offices in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m. Australian EST. (In US Eastern Time, that's 11:00 p.m. on April 17th.) If you would like to join the Hangout, post a question in the comments of this post on Google+ and let me know what you'd like to hear about in the Hangout. The best questions win a place in the Hangout, with preference going to my Australian readers.

Don’t worry if you miss out—this will be a Hangout on Air, which means you can tune in to watch the discussion. Make sure you’ve added me to a circle, and then watch your stream starting just before 1:00 p.m. on April 18th for details.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Swancon $1 Gold Coin Day Friday in Perth

All! I just wanted to give an extra shout-out for Swancon this weekend, particularly for what's happening this Friday. The convention has been given a grant to run Friday as a "gold coin day" where you get into the convention for the day by paying a single dollar. (I think it's normally $75 for a day pass, or thereabouts. So this is a real discount.)

By all accounts, this is an excellent convention full of great things to do. So, if you live near Perth, come by and say hello this weekend. My schedule for the convention is as follows:



Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New military SF story with Ethan Skarstedt in ARMORED

When editor John Joseph Adams invited me to contribute a story to his ARMORED anthology focused on power armor, I naturally thought of Ethan Skarstedt, a friend in my writing group who specializes in military science fiction and has the combat experience to back it up—he's served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. So we collaborated on a short story that appears in the anthology, which is out now. An excerpt is below.

You can buy the print version from the usual places; the ebook is available directly from the publisher, Baen.

Heuristic Algorithm and Reasoning Response Engine

by Ethan Skarstedt and Brandon Sanderson

A lone dropship passed across the face of Milacria's gibbous bulk, a pinhead orbiting a beachball. From its launch portals streamed a hundred black motes—each one a mechanized infantry unit clinging tightly to the underside of its air support craft, whose broad armored back served as a heatshield. They torched down through the hazy cloud-speckled atmosphere in precise formation, trailing thick ropes of smoke and steam, a forest of uncertain fingers pointing back up to the ship, the MarsFree.

Within his mech's cockpit on the western edge of the formation, Karith Marvudi hunkered in a loose cocoon of straps. He caught himself watching the grip indicators. If those failed, his mech come unhooked from the underside of Nicolette's airship. He'd burn in from too high and Nicolette's agile but flimsy airship—deprived of the thickly armored protection of his five meter tall mech—would tear apart and burn up in the atmosphere.

He stretched, spread-eagled, suspended by the feedback straps. His fingers and does just brushed the edges of his movement space within the torso cavity. Perfect. The faint scent of his own body, mingled with that of plastic, electronics, and faux leather, swirled in the canned air.

He was surprised at the trepidation he felt. He felt a certain amount of fear every time he dropped, but this time was different. This was like . . . No, not as bad as his first drop. Maybe his fifth or sixth. He hadn't felt this jittery in more than two hundred planetfalls.

He wondered if Nicolette felt the same way.

He pushed at the fear, shoving it down where it could be ignored. It pushed back. Maragette's face flashed into his mind, smiling next to the squinting white bundle they'd named Karri, after her grandmother.

"You about ready to shunt some of that heat up to me, Karith?" Nicolette's voice was as buttery as ever, not a hint of tension.

"Maybe if you ask me politely." Karith overrode the mic on the common circuit. "Harry, we about full?"

The baritone voice of his mech's AI filled the cabin. "Ninety-three point seven percent, sir. Shall I route fifty percent of the sink product to Captain Shepard's power banks?"

"Make it seventy-five; Nic needs it. Show me what it looks like out there: focus on the D-Z."

Nic's voice came again from the cockpit speakers. "Politely? Oh, it's manners you want now, is it? We'll see how you like it when all my lasers can deal out is a bit of a sunburn. I—Ah, there we are." She had seen the power surging into her ship. Her voice changed to a purr. "Karith, you shouldn't have."

Karith let out a loud patient sigh over the mic. She giggled.

HARRE said on the private circuit, "Is Captain Shepard displeased, sir?"

"Nope. That's sarcasm, Harry."

"Noted. I must point out, sir, doctrine states that the mechanized infantry unit in an entry pair has priority on power collection."

"It does say that, doesn't it." Karith frowned at the 3D representation of the area around his drop zone that HARRE was feeding into his HUD.

Nicolette's voice slipped into the cockpit again. "I can't believe I let you and Maragette talk me into transferring out of RGK with you. I'm about ready to fall asleep up here with no anti-air fire."

HARRE spoke, his deep voice mechanically precise. "Captain Shepard, had the Self-Replicating Machine Infestation evolved to a stage with anti-aircraft weaponry on this planet, your former comrades in the Recon Group-Kinetique would have been inserted, not a line infantry unit with you for advisors."

Silence filled the circuits for a moment, until Karith chuckled. "That's right, HARRE, Captain Shepard has obviously forgotten . . ."

"Well, well, don't we have a fine grasp of the obvious," Nicolette interrupted, voice dripping honeyed acid. "I don't remember him talking this much, Karith. You screw up his settings?"

"No. He lost a lot in the reset."

"Hmmph. I suppose I owe him some slack since he was wounded."

"Especially since we were saving your ass, Nick."

"That was a hairy mess, wasn't it?"

That's just the beginning, and the anthology features stories from over twenty other prominent authors as well. Check it out.

This is only the first of my short fiction releases this year. Here's what you can expect at various times throughout the year:

  • LEGION, a novella coming this summer/fall from Subterranean Press (available for preorder now)
  • "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell," a novella appearing in the anthology DANGEROUS WOMEN, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (release date not set)
  • THE EMPEROR'S SOUL, a Cosmere novella coming out from Tachyon Publications, currently scheduled for December (preorder not yet available)
  • And two novelettes that I'm still deciding what to do with.

Since A MEMORY OF LIGHT is set for January 8, 2013, it looks like I don't have any novels coming out this year, but it's a bumper year for short fiction.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Writing Excuses, ALCATRAZ annotation, CNN's Geek Out

Just a quick update for today. I'm currently flying to Australia.

Yesterday's Writing Excuses episode is all about writing excuses—all those handy tricks that the great authors use to prevent themselves from finishing any book before its time.

There are a couple of quotes from me in an article on CNN's Geek Out about media adaptations of fantasy.

The most recent ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers chapter seven. I discuss crossbreeding Summa Theologica with Little Women, and Alcatraz making a girl's shirt fall off.