This is it! Tonight is the big chance for all 12 of us winners of Writers of the Future, vol. XXVI to put on the ritz! We’ve got a very brief time on the stage to thank people and say words, and I am discovering there are far more people I want to thank than I can possible name in 30 seconds, so I am going to try to do it here.
Thanks to Kendall Jackman and Scott Howard and everyone else who was with Searcher & Stallion back in 1992. It was while working with these gentleman on this local Utah science fiction audio production that I got a first taste of being able to write “for real” and get in front of an audience, and I am grateful these guys let me have my shot when I was super brand new.
Thanks to (the late) Chris Bunch and his writing partner Allan Cole. Mr. Bunch was a Vietnam veteran and respected military science fiction author, who along with Mr. Cole produced some my most favorite books from my teenaged years, including the epic STEN series and also the Pulitzer-nominated, A Reckoning For Kings. Allan especially was very kind in the 90s for taking time to encourage a hopefully child. It took me awhile to ramp up to take-off speed, but now that the wheels are leaving the tarmac, I like to give Allan a lot of credit.
Speaking of credit, huge thanks to Kristine Kathryn Rusch and her husband Dean Wesley Smith. Since I first entered the Strange New Worlds anthology contest in 1996, Dean has been an encourager. And when in 2007 the Strange New Worlds line ended, Dean’s direct advice was: don’t be a chump, send your work to Writers of the Future! Well, it’s paid off. And will hopefully keep paying off. And I can’t thank Kris and Dean enough for their advice and encouragement and guidance over the last three years. Truly excellent writers, and excellent people. ETA: following the gala event there was a massive book signing event in the Roosevelt hotel lobby. When it was all said and done, I wiped the sweat off my brown — apologies in advance to everyone who got a book signed and who can’t read my craptastic handwriting — and picked up a copy of the volume. My story appears roughly amidships, and is directly preceeding the writing advice article by none other than… Dean Wesley Smith. Holy shit. Dean and I are shoulder-to-shoulder in the book! I’m just… I’m just…. Oh my goodness.
Thanks to Eric James Stone, Dave Wolverton, Tim Powers, and Kathy Wentworth, all writers and all judges or winners (or both) who have taken their time over the past two years — and during the last week especially — to impart wisdom, insight, and drive home the idea that while publishing can be a rough, tough enterprise, for those with the mettle and the drive to go the distance, it really is the most fun you can have and still get paid for it.
Thanks to Larry Correia and John Brown, Paul Genesse and Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells, Dan Willis and Tracy Hickman and everyone else who composes the robust, thriving Utah science fiction and fantasy writing community. When I moved back to Utah in 2007 I had no idea at all that there were so many top-notch, world-class writers working and living in the state. It’s a humbling honor to be able to join them on the Utah totem pole, and along with (the above mentioned) Dave Wolverton and Eric James Stone, help keep the Utah end up in the SF&F publishing universe.
Thanks to Amanda McCarter, Laurie Gailunas, Dave Stephen, Jeff Lyman, Alastair Mayer, and Annie Bellet, people who aren’t just my Alpha Readers, but who have also become my friends. Much obliged to you all for your help and for lending an ear when I’ve need to not only celebrate, but commiserate.
Thanks to Dr. Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog Science Fiction & Fact, who enthusiastically purchased my other Writers of the Future Finalist, “Outbound.” I was crushed when that story didn’t win for 1st Quarter of vol. 26, but it became a double win for me when Dr. Schmidt liked it and took it, after Dave Wolverton said he liked it and thought it was winner material all the way. Now, I have a double debut! Eric James Stone brought his subscriber’s copy of Analog, November 2010, and I was able to see (literally) both stories in print, and gorgeously illustrated, at the same moment. Astounding and wonderful.
Thanks to all the other contest winners and judges who have been here in Hollywood this week to help us newbies along our way. Including, but not limited to, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Doug Beason, Eric Kotani, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Robert Sawyer, Eric Flint, Mike Resnick, Steven Savile, and Jordan Lapp. The amount of information and wisdom packed into these final three days is worth every lick of effort it took over several years to win. It’s been like the best of a super-panel at a convention mixed with the best of a super-workshop, and all I had to “pay” for this was time, effort, and never quitting. Having experienced the past week I cannot express enough to all potential WOTF entrants was a tremendous thing this Contest is. I will post next week about the content and experience itself, suffice to say that I think this has been a marvelous time for all participating winning writers, and it’s something I’m damned sure going to remember as a huge milestone in my (nascent) career as a writer.
Thanks (huge!) to Jingxuan Hu of Singapore. Her artwork was… Well, what can I say? “Exanastasis” began as a single image. No story, just a picture in my head. Jingxuan pulled out that image and incorporated it into the artwork in a very impressive way that I did not expect, and the resultant final graphic is so startlingly emotional and has such impact — okay, I am biased, but still I think this piece of artwork is incredibly — that I just had to gush with thanks and gosh-wow, over and over, upon the unveiling of the artwork for all of us authors. ETA: Jingxuan wasn’t the only one who pulled out that image from my story! The dance choreographers for the night all pulled out the same image, and I got to see that image rendered on the stage during the pre-show and after the gala, and I was speechless. It’s one thing to see an image in your mind, write a story about it. Okay. It’s another to have a superb visual arts person render that same image from her imagination, then have half a dozen dance artists render that same image again in physical movement form. Just… Oh my goodness. So gratifying. Not sure I will ever get to have a one-two punch like that in my entire writing life.
It’s almost time to get my duds on. Hope everyone who hasn’t won yet, is getting material in for the latest quarter. Again, it’s worth it, every bit.
Oh, and check out the webcast if you’re so inclined!