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Norwescon 39

My Norwescon 39 Schedule

Norwescon 39 is just around the corner (57 days!) and yesterday I received my tentative schedule! Last year I ran my table and had a blast. But this year, things are going to be a lot busier. As before, I’ll be back with another table among Writer’s Row, plus I’ll also be participating on panels, and I’ll be doing a reading on Saturday night. It’s going to be fun.

Full details are below. I tried to link to the blogs or twitter accounts for the panel’s moderators and my fellow panelists. I’m honored to be sitting next to such talented folks. I’m excited to hang out with everyone again. Listing all this out got me excited, I can’t wait.


THURSDAY, MARCH 24th

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row
Details: Once again I’ll be headquartering myself at a table. Of course, I’ll bring along copies of all The Bell Forging Cycle books and, like last year, I’ll also have a bunch of free swag: stickers, buttons, and bookmarks galore. Stop on by, say hello. I’ll sign your books. We can talk cosmic horror, indie publishing, cover design, world building, weird fiction, Lovecraft, and pretty much whatever else you feel like.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM — Horror’s Fantasy Roots

Location: Cascade 10
Moderator: Logan L. Masterson
Panelists: Jason Vanhee, Nathan Crowder, K. M. Alexander
Details: Join Logan L. Masterson, the other panelists, and myself as we discuss a time when the darkness was fought back with swords and sorcery as we explore the roots and the muddy line between fantasy and horror.

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row


FRIDAY, MARCH 25th

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writers Row

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM — Horror Influences

Location: Cascade 9
Moderator: Nina Post
Panelists: Morgue Anne, Alex C. Renwick, Lisa Bolekaja, K. M. Alexander
Details: Join Nina Post as she talks with myself and the other panelists on who inspired us to write and create horror and on what scares us. Should be a good time.

1:00 PM – 7:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row


SATURDAY, MARCH 26th

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM — SF/Fantasy Battle Royale

Location: Cascade 9
Moderator: Matt Youngmark
Panelists: Erik Scott de BiePeter Orullian, K. M. Alexander
Details: Who would win in a fight? A fast-paced, bracket-style, breathtakingly unscientific showdown to determine this year’s Ultimate Fictional Champion. Ready…? Fight! This will be fun.

9:00 PM – 9:30 PM — Reading: K. M. Alexander

Location: Cascade 1
Moderator: K. M. Alexander
Details: Hey, look at this, I’m doing a reading! Before you hit up a room party or turn in for the evening why not come by and let me read you a creepy excerpt from one of my books. Which one… well, I’m not sure yet! (I might have a little poll to decide. Stay tuned.)


SUNDAY, MARCH 27th

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM — Horror As a Mirror

Location: Cascade 13
Moderator: Jeremy Zimmerman
Panelists: Jude-Marie GreenKate Jonez, K. M. Alexander
Details: What does the horror genre tell us about the culture in which it was written? What does today’s horror tell us about modern society? And as a creator, how do we craft stories that have a greater impact by reflecting on things that resonate more deeply with our audiences? Join us for this thought-provoking panel.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM — Location: Horror’s Unsung Character

Location: Cascade 10
Moderator: Laura Anne Gilman
Panelists: Lisa Bolekaja, Arinn Dembo, Logan L. Masterson, K. M. Alexander
Details: Where a story is set lends itself to the impact of that story. Whether you set your story in a crumbling castle, a small town in Maine, or a sleek office tower, how do writers craft a setting with staying power? Come for favorite examples and ways to build your own and play against expectations to greater effect.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM — Writer’s Row

Location: Writer’s Row

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM — Level Up Your Self-Publishing Skills

Location: Cascade 12
Moderator: Elliott Kay
Panelists: Matt Youngmark, Ryan Macklin, K. M. Alexander
Details: Elliot Kay leads us in a discussion on self-publishing. How do you find a good editor or cover artist? What’s your pricing strategy? Does free work? What are the best keywords to use? How do you get reviews? We’ll discuss the best practices for putting out a professional product and the current strategies for finding success.


You can preregister for Norwescon 39 here and get passes to all four days for only $70. There’s also a lot of information at Norwescon.org including details on this year’s guests of honor, The Philip K. Dick Awards, Doubletree hotel information, and a lot more. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

Last year, I published a post summing up my 2014 In Ten Awesome Photos. It was a fun challenge because a lot of stuff happened and it was a good way for me to reflect on the year. Going forward, I want to make this post a regular thing, I like the idea of a yearly recap of the ups and downs of my year condensed into ten pictures.

Going back through these photos has made my 2015 seem so much longer. Since I have made the decision to focus on my writing in my free time, I’ve noticed that time for me has slowed down. It feels like ages since I launched The Stars Were Right, but the reality is that it has only been three years. Losing myself to the creative process has forced me to enjoy the moment so much more, as Ze Frank says in An Invocation for Beginnings, “life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.” For me, the journey has become as engaging as the destination.

So let’s take a look at ten stops in my 2015 together…


2015_01Like every year, Kari-Lise, myself, and some friends started the year off with a hike. This photo was taken on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at a National Historic Reserved named Ebey’s Landing. It’s also a great place to see incredible views of both the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Baker. The first hike of the year has become a right of passage for Kari-Lise and me, and it’s a good way to start the year out right. I wonder where we’ll end up in 2016.

2015_02In February, I put The Stars Were Right on sale for 99¢ and promoted it through BookBub. The result was astounding, I sold hundreds and hundreds of copies, and the book was propelled to the top of the Amazon Bestseller List for a day. I wrote a whole post about it.

The Stars Were Right hanging next to Hugh Howey's Wool

There’s always a bit of nervous excitement when this happens, but overall I was excited to see how many new readers loved the story and continued on to Old Broken Road.


2015_03Kari-Lise and I went down to San Diego for the opening of her show Inflorescence. The show was fantastic, and we were able to spend some time exploring the city and its environs. While there we made the trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. I haven’t visited this stretch of desert in over a decade, and the return was purifying in a way you can only experience in a desert.


2015_04In March, I went to Norwescon 38. It was incredible. I sold out of books. I met a lot of amazing people, and I was threatened by Rorschach! I had so much fun that I’m doing it again in 2016. Norwescon 39 here I come!


2015_05After Norwescon, I hit up CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. It was great to gather together with so many fellow mythos fans. There was short films, tons of books, great panels, amazing art, and so much more. The show was a big success, and I was able to not only participate in a reading of The Stars Were Right, but I also sat on the “Creating a Mythos” panel moderated by Ross Lockheart. Like Norwescon, I met some great people along the way, and I’m hoping to return this year.


2015_07In the summer, I was asked to be a best man at the wedding of Steve and Sarah, easily two of the best people I know. The weekend was centered around a group camp and held at Dash Point State Park here in Washington. It was a fun weekend, and that’s coming from a guy who isn’t generally much of a camper. The wedding was incredible, and it was touching to see Steve and Sarah share their love in front of a whole bunch of pretty amazing friends and family. I was so glad I attended and honored to be a small part of it.


Remembering JakeSadly, this summer my friend Jake Rogers lost his battle with cystic fibrosis. Jake was one of the kindest, caring, and supportive people I’ve known. He has been an inspiration to me and many others, and he is and will always be missed. (I didn’t take this photo, but I needed to include Jake in this list.)


2015_08At the end of the summer, Kari-Lise and I went to Iceland. It was a quick trip (only a week) but we saw a lot of the country and we’re plotting a return. Getting out into the world with Kari-Lise has had a fundamental impact on both our lives and my writing. I’m glad that we’re able to do it together. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are many ways to explore this beautiful world. Do it. You’ll thank me later.


2015_09In September, we traveled to San Francisco for the opening of Kari-Lise’s second solo show of the year, A Lovelorn Theft. The opening was terrific and like her previous show, it did really well. It was great to see so many fans coming out to support her and check out the work in person.


Red Litten WorldIn October, we returned to Lovat when I launched The Bell Forging Cycle, Book III: Red Litten World. It was my largest book launch yet, and the book continues to do well. People seem to really enjoy Waldo Bell’s latest adventure that makes me happy. With its release The Bell Forging Cycle has become a trilogy!  You can buy it right now!


Behold my 2015! There’s a lot in those ten photos, but there is so much I left out: Mariners games, Seahawk games, Kari-Lise’s documentary, book research, I finished another manuscript, I took more pictures of Iceland, I spent more time in the mountains, I went to other conventions, I took pictures of my dogs, I explored my city, and so much more. I gleaned a lot of these images from my Instagram account which I like to keep as a running record of my life (and I’ll occasionally talk about my books.)

As before, why not keep this ten awesome photos thing going? Post ten awesome photos of your own on your blog and leave a link in the comments below so others can see what happened in your year. I’ll even update this post to include links to your ten photos!

Cthulhu the Wimp

Cthulhu The Wimp

At Norwescon, I was happy to meet fellow writer and Seattle Geekly alumni, Michael G. Munz. Michael is another Seattle-based speculative fiction author. While we were at the con he asked me if I’d be interesting writing a geeky guest post for his blog. He left it open to anything I wanted and mentioned something Lovecraftian would be nice. I was more than happy to oblige and had the perfect idea. Hence my post for his Guest Geek section, where I pick on everyone’s favorite elder god, Cthulhu the Wimp. Here’s how the post starts:

We see Cthulhu everywhere. In art, he’s usually rising from the ocean on the back of his ruined city. His narrow glowing eyes stare at the viewer. His face draped with writhing tentacles. Membranous wings stretch from his expansive back. It’s an engaging image and it has seeped into pop culture. From fan art to toys, from toys to plushies, from plushies to video games, Cthulhu is everywhere. His terrifying visage has certainly ubiquitous among Lovecraft’s creations. He’s the de facto and beloved mascot for the mythos. But, what if all this love and terror is based on false presumptions? What if I was to tell you that Cthulhu wasn’t all that terrifying. That he’s more a product of good marketing and overzealous rumormongering? What if Cthulhu is, in fact, a wimp?

You can read the rest of my post over at Michael’s blogI had a lot of fun writing it. Check it out and tell me what you think. Am I right? Is ‪Cthulhu‬ a wimp or am I completely off base? Leave a comment, I want to know!

Also, be sure to check out Michael’s books including his latest: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure (which is currently sitting on my nightstand) and his ongoing near future sci-fi series the New Aeneid Cycle.

Signed Copies Of The Stars Were Right Is Now Back In Stock

Signed Copies Of The Stars Were Right Are Now Back In Stock

Boxes arrived yesterday. Fresh copies of The Stars Were Right are now back in the store and ready to be signed. Thanks everyone for your patience. I hadn’t expected to run out at Norwescon (a good problem to have, not going to lie) and there was some slight delays with printing, but they’re here!

Grab your signed copy today →

Stick around. I am still planning on doing a reading of The Stars Were Right today here on the ol’ internet but I’ll have more on that a little later.

Friday Link Pack 04/10/2015

It’s Friday! That mean it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough jibba-jabba, let’s get to it…

The Hugos & Puppygate:

I am not going to spend any time commenting on this as the internet doesn’t need another block of text to sift through. But, since it’s “rocking” the sci-fi/fantasy world, I feel that I’d be remiss not to at least mention a few articles. Basically it’s about what you’d expect:

Writing:

The Hermit Life: The Isolation Of Writing And The Necessity Of Others
Fellow writer and my good friend J. Rushing explores our consistently lonely existence as writers and his solutions on injecting a bit of human interaction into his life. (You should also subscribe to his blog.)

Sorry, Ebooks. These 9 Studies Show Why Print Is Better
“Better,” for now. Look, I don’t care how you read. Just read. Still, interesting information. Wonder how long it’ll remain valid. I think we’ll see a fundamental shift in the near future.

10 Twenty-First Century Bestsellers People Tried to Ban (and Why)
The stories behind people trying to ban books is always fascinating to me. History has proven that when one tries to impose prohibition the effect is usually opposite of the intent. What was it Mark Twain said? Oh yeah: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”

A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit
When it comes to marketing, a lot of writers listen to experts and are frustrated with results. Angela Ackerman brings some advice about setting expectations when it comes book marketing.

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing
Last weekend I attended Norwescon in SeaTac, Washington. In this post I breakdown all the stuff I experienced. Spoiler: I had a great, if not somewhat exhausting, time.

Art:

The Art of Sandeep Karunakaran
Since I spend a lot of time immersed in the Lovecraft fandom I occasionally come across some great artists. Recently I found the work of illustrator Sandeep Karunakaran and fell in love. I’ll probably feature him in a Visual Inspiration post in the future.

Science Fiction And Fantasy In The Marvel Universe
Seventies nostalgia blog, Diversions of the Groovy Kindhighlights a 1978 article from FOOM magazine featuring some incredible art. The cover alone is worth seeing.

Michael Tunk, Collages
It’s no secret I love westerns. (Hell, just read Old Broken Road.) So when I found this western/modern collages by Michael Tunk I fell in love. They’re both fascinating and evocative. See more on Tunk’s tumblr.

Random:

Two Medieval Monks Invent Bestiaries
Admit it, you always wanted a glimpse at the hilarious conversations going on behind the scenes as monks illustrated their illuminated manuscripts. Thankfully The Toast is here for you. Two Medieval Monks is now a whole series, so don’t forget to check out Two Medieval Monks Invent Dinner Parties and Two Medieval Monks Invent Maps. [Thanks to Emily for sharing this.]

Own Your Own Submarine Pits
For the small price of twenty-one million dollars you to can own your own private submarine pits used during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What’s twenty-one million these days? [Insert your favorite San Francisco housing-price joke here.] Seems like a bargain for land that will be underwater in the few decades.

The DEA Has Trippy Looking Patches That Make You Kinda Want To Do Drugs
I love patches. So when my friend Tara shared this link I was all over it. The title isn’t lying, these are some trippy looking patches. I mean, that’s a scorpion wearing headphones. [Thanks to Tara for sharing this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

Bloop
“Fox’s hunch is that the sound nicknamed Bloop is the most likely to come from some sort of animal, because its signature is a rapid variation in frequency similar to that of sounds known to be made by marine beasts. There’s one crucial difference, however: in 1997 Bloop was detected by sensors up to 4800 kilometres (2982.582 miles) apart. That means it must be far louder than any whale noise, or any other animal noise for that matter. Is it even remotely possible that some creature bigger than any whale is lurking in the ocean depths? Or, perhaps more likely, something that is much more efficient at making sound?”

Of course, we mythos fans already know the answer…

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Statement of Randolph Carter
The main character from Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle attempts to explain to police why he was found wandering a swamp in shock and what happened to his friend Harley Warren.

Gif of the Week:

I could not stop laughing.

Norwescon 38 + K. M. Alexander

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing

This weekend I wrapped up my second convention. That means it’s time for a con debrief! (See the last debrief here.) I spent four amazing days hanging out with the good people of Norwescon 38 in SeaTac, Washington. There’s something very awesome about small sci-fi/fantasy conventions. Everyone is always warm and friendly, and there is a lot of support from fellow attendees, the whole place feels a bit like a family reunion.

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing

The convention was four days. I arrived on Thursday afternoon. I took what pictures I could but I didn’t get nearly enough. (There’s a few more on Instagram.) Unlike other dealers a guy with a couple of books doesn’t take long to setup. So I was ready to go pretty quick. Before the dealer room even opened I had already sold a few books.

Unlike SpoCon, I solo’d Norwescon. Not sure I’d do that again. I spent most of Friday and Saturday on my feet 11+ hours straight. Evenings involved me returning home, killing a martini, and then crashing out. That said, the exhaustion was worth it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

My biggest news: by the end of the con I sold every copy of The Stars Were Right that I had on hand. I even had to bring in my last box for Saturday. Everyone was excited to pick up the series and honestly I hadn’t expected such enthusiasm. I hope everyone enjoys the beginning of Wal’s story. There’s a lot more to come and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing

Okay, to the highlights:

  • Obviously, selling out of The Stars Were Right and most of my stock of Old Broken Road. I never expect this. (You can still get paperbacks from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I’ll have more copies soon.)
  • Meeting Ace, Rob, Dizzy, Xoie, Jennifer, Friday, Michael, Little Bear, Lee, other Michael, and all you other wonderful folks who I either missed or whose names I forgotten. You made a guy feel pretty darn great. Thank you. <3
  • The cosplay. Oh, my stars and garters, the cosplay! It was all so good. You all outdid yourselves.
  • Hearing from folks who had started my books before Norwescon was even over. I love it when folks are that excited. Thanks for stopping by and telling me that you were enjoying them.
  • The official Norwescon social media stream. Seriously, follow them on Instagram and Twitter, they’re awesome.
  • The Philip K. Dick Awards — Congrats to the winner, Meg Elison and to the special citation winner, Jennifer Marie Brissett. Well deserved.
  • Seeing Matt and Shannon from Seattle Geekly. Great people.
  • The name tag ribbons, no… seriously. I had no idea.
  • Ace’s resonate reading of the first page of The Stars Were Right. (Seriously, dude, consider VO work. Say it with me: “In a world…”)
  • Meeting the badass Michael G. Munz. Go buy his book: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure.
  • Having folks who attended SpoCon swing by to tell me they loved The Stars Were Right and were eager to dive into Old Broken Road.
  • Finally meeting Lee French in person. We’ve followed each other on Twitter for a while. There’s a pic of us smiling over on her wrap-up post. I recommend checking it out.
  • Whoever was playing the violin on Sunday. It was lovely.
  • Having an entire group of roommates buy copies of my books. (Instant book club! I’m sorry I can’t remember everyones names.)
  • Talking hiking with a con attendee. I learned about some hot spring in the Olympics I never knew existed. Now to find time to go hike to them.
  • George R. R. Martin taking his picture on the Iron Throne with fans.
  • Did I mention I SOLD OUT of The Stars Were Right? I need to hustle to get fresh copies for the next con!
  • Everyone person who offered to spell me (especially you Diz, Ace, and Friday) your willingness to help me out meant a lot. I owe you one.
  • I met the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa! He was as charming as you’d expect and also happened to be one of Norwescon’s founders.
  • The diversity and openness and acceptance between attendees. Everyone was super considerate and really encouraging.

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing
I’m still dealing with the comedown portion of the con. It was surreal going back to a world where folks didn’t wear steampunk costumes and didn’t dress like elven princesses every day. (Seriously, what’s wrong with the world today?) Sunday night I arrived home exhausted, feeling very accomplished, and missing all you crazy people. I’m glad I went.

There’s no rest for the wicked. Work had been crazy this week and I’m already waist deep in preparing for my next outing. After all, CthulhuCon is coming.