Capclave 2015 Schedule and UFO4 Launch Party

October 8, 2015

I had three boxes of UFO4 books ship directly to the hotel so we’d have them in time for Capclave! My first time holding one of those babies will be tomorrow. You can be among the very first to get your hands on it as well as receive two free e-books: Funny Science Fiction and H. G. Wells: Secret Agent. That’s right, free. I will give those two e-books to everyone who attends the launch party.

The launch party will take place at Capclave, in the Gaighersburg Hilton Hotel Suite 1209 this Saturday 5pm-7pm. Authors Fran Wilde, Lawrence B. Schoen and Andrew Kaye will be on hand to read from their works published in UFO and Funny Science Fiction volumes. Copy editor Elektra Hammond and I will talk about the editorial side of things at UFO and, of course, answer any questions folks might have. And there will be books!

I’m doing readings, signings, MCing an award ceremony and otherwise planning to have a great time at Capclave. Here’s where you can find me this weekend:

Friday 5:00 pm: Crowdfunding & Alternative Funding for Writers (Ends at: 5:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke, Barbara Krasnoff, Alex Shvartsman (M)
Traditionally, publishers gave authors an advance on royalties in exchange for the completed manuscript. Today, some writers are receiving alternate revenue streams including crowdfunding of anthologies and novels in advance by the public, serialization in which the author releases a chapter (or story) as long as readers continue to fund it, and electronic self-publishing. What methods have you used and what works? What new methods do you see in the future? How will this change the creation of books?
Friday 7:00 pm: Translating Speculative Fiction (Ends at: 7:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Neil Clarke, Jim Freund (M), Shahid Mahmud, Alex Shvartsman
Many non-English countries get much of their science fiction in translation. And English readers are finally being given access to more Chinese, Japanese and other non-English works. Why is this happening now? What are some of the special challenges with translating genre works? How do translators cope with invented words and concepts? What about different storytelling methods and literary techniques?
Saturday 1:00 pm: Reading – Alex Shvartsman (Ends at: 1:25 pm) Frederick
Author:Alex Shvartsman
Saturday 4:00 pm: Non-Western Influences In Fantasy (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Salon B/C
Panelists:Day Al-Mohamed, Ann Chatham, Alex Shvartsman, Michael Swanwick (M)
Traditionally, most fantasy has been based on Western folklore, usually with a medieval-inspired setting. However, alternative settings and concepts are becoming more common with writers mining Asian, African, Native American, and Middle Eastern sources. What writers do this most effectively? How do you decide what traditions/concepts to adopt and how do research/use them? Is it cultural appropriation when writers incorporate themes from other traditions, and how do you so appropriately?
Saturday 5:00 pm: Book Launch – Alex Shvartsman (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Suite 1209
Author:Alex Shvartsman
Unidentified Funny Objects 4
Saturday 9:00 pm: WSFA Small Press Awards (Ends at: 9:55 pm) Salon A
Presenter:Alex Shvartsman
The WSFA Small Press Award winner will be announced. The Guest of Honor Gifts will also be presented.
Saturday 10:00 pm: Fiction With A Laugh Track (Ends at: 10:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Brenda W. Clough, Andrew Fox (M), Larry Hodges, Alex Shvartsman
What are the tips and tricks in writing humorous SF and fantasy? What can an author do to avoid the obvious pitfalls, and spot the not-so-obvious ones? How do you maintain a reputation for writing humorous SF or fantasy, and what is the benefit of doing so?
Sunday 11:00 am: Is the Anthology Dead? (Ends at: 11:55 am) Bethesda
Panelists:Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Bill Campbell (M), Bernie Mojzes, Alex Shvartsman
DAW used to put out an anthology a month, now they seem much less common. What happened? Did the themes get too esoteric or were too many stories mediocre? Why are they more common among small press and Kickstarter books? Have online magazines taken their place?
Sunday 12:00 pm: What To Do After The Rejection Letter (Ends at: 12:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Sunny Moraine, Alex Shvartsman, Allen Wold (M)
You’ve written the best thing ever. But the editor sent it back rejected. Now what?
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WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction

October 14, 2014

WSFAAward

I won! Eeeee!

OK, now that I got that out of my system, let’s try again:

This Saturday, at the award ceremony held at Capclave, I won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. I won it for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma,” which also makes this a win for Intergalactic Medicine Show, its editor Edmund Schubert and his staff, because they accepted and published this story!

Small Press means everybody but the major publishers. So while Tor.com may be out, it still includes top-notch markets like Clarkesworld and Lightspeed (both of which had stories represented this year). The stories the  board considers are also read blind, so the author’s name won’t sway them–which makes it more likely the award finalists would be selected on merit rather than popularity.

I was very excited to be nominated but didn’t seriously expect to win. I mean, humorous short stories don’t win award any more often than comedies win the Oscars.  I’m incredibly thrilled and very thankful to the WSFA members who proved me wrong and voted for my story.

I was already having a great time at Capclave, which is rapidly becoming my favorite convention. It is relatively small and laser-focused on fiction (it doesn’t really have an anime track or a costuming track or much gaming, things that go hand-in-hand with science fiction conventions at most cons). Instead, you get a very distilled group of fans and professionals who love genre fiction.  Not that fiction is the only subject of merit. This past weekend I got to talk psychology with Lawrence Schoen, geopolitical implications of the Russia/Ukraine conflict with Chuck Gannon, and whether it is sin or virtue that hypothetically makes a soul more attractive to Satan with Max Gladstone (true story!). There were many other conversations like this, and seeing old friends, and making new ones. But, you can imagine, how I was having even more fun, clutching at the award!

When I got the nomination it took me about a week to come down. There’s no telling how long it will take now. That’s why I’m rambling incoherently in this blog post, instead of employing the level of snark you’re normally accustomed to. Seriously, I’m elated, and exhausted, and still a little sleep-deprived. But I wanted to post something before too long, and here it is.

I should also add that “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” can still be read for free at IGMS, so if you haven’t read it yet, check it out!

#SFWAPro

 


An Overflowing Basket of Awesome

September 8, 2014

I’ve been so busy lately with getting the UFO3 print files ready, working on the short story collection, posting Kickstarter updates and other various things, I’ve been neglecting the blog. Again. Sorry about that. I know (or at least totally assume) that you missed me.

So, here is the run-down of extremely cool things that have been happening lately.

* The Kickstarter campaign for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories” has funded, raising over 250% of the initial goal! There will be an e-book, an audio book, a paperback and a hardcover published in February, and a separate novella-length book released in August of 2015. Watch this space!

* My urban fantasy noir story “The Fiddle Game” has been accepted at InterGalactic Medicine Show and will appear really soon–in fact, later this month!

* Daily Science Fiction picked up two of my flash stories: “Letting Go” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” They also recently published their September table of contents, and one of my strongest-ever stories, “Icarus Falls” will appear later this month. I’ll be sure to post a link!

* I received permission from the Russian author Tatiana Ivanova to translate into English her hilarious novelette “Impress Me, Then We’ll Talk About the Money.” I’m almost done with the translation and hope to help it find a great home in the coming months.

* Speaking of translations, I managed to knock off two items off my writer bucket list simultaneously–my first commissioned story and my first Chinese translation. The difference between a solicited story and a commissioned story is that, with the latter, you get paid  when you turn in your work. A solicited story might still get rejected if the editor doesn’t like it. So, naturally, commissions are rare as they indicate a significant level of faith on the part of the editor. In this case, it’s for a super-cool contest in China. My story will be translated and published in Chinese first — the English version can be published sometime next year. I’ll write a separate blog post about this later this year because the contest it’s for is anonymous and I don’t want to give away any details about my entry.

* And as far as solicited stories go, I was invited to submit to a near-future space exploration anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Baen books. This morning Bryan announced the final TOC and my story “The Race for Arcadia” (about the rekindled space race between the US, Russia, and India, told from the perspective of the Russians) will appear in it alongside an all-star cast that includes such awesome writers as Mike Resnick, Bob Silverberg, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, and James Gunn, among others.

* On a regular day, making it into what might be the highest-profile TOC anthology of my career to date, would be the best writing-related news of the day. But not today. Today I got home from an extra-tough day at work to find a message of congratulations in my Twitter feed. Apparently, I’ve been nominated for the WSFA Small Press Award!

WSFA

WSFA is the Washington Science Fiction Association, the fine folks who run Capclave. My story “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” has firmly cemented its place as my most successful piece of writing thus far, by becoming one of eight short stories nominated for the award this year! Here’s the press release.

There’s some incredibly tough competition, but I’m super thrilled to be considered. This story was the finalist in the IGMS 2013 Reader Poll, and it was on Tangent Online’s 2013 Recommended Reading list, but this is the first time I’ve ever been nominated for an actual, honest-to-God writing award.  And I must say, I like it very much.

So that’s my basket of awesome. I promise to update the blog more often this month. Until then, if you need me, I will be floating somewhere in the vicinity of Cloud Nine.

#SFWAPro