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About fireflyz

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    Reading and Writing
  1. I'll be there and I'm hoping akoebel (another forum member and accomplished writer) will be coming as well.
  2. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I highly recommend attending cons if you're serious about becoming a published author and in it for the long haul. The community is small enough that if you attend a few times and speak with same agents/authors they will remember you and that can only help.
  3. Hi--sorry I just saw this post. I don't know if you're still intending on going to WFC, but as someone whose been there before I'm happy to help answer any questions you have. WFC is definitely more industry-centered than some of the larger fan cons (think Worldcon/Dragoncon). The good news is that there will be a high concentration of editors and agents AND authors with a smaller number of fans. If you want to talk to authors there is a large signing generally on Saturday evenings where everyone shows up, but you can also go to panels they are on and then ask them afterwards if they have time to talk "some time". The "some time" is what I picked up from the Writing Excuses episode mentioned above. A lot of authors will have engagements planned with agents/editors as well as networking with other authors and additional panels so mobbing them right away is a losing strategy. But a lot of authors will be happy to meet up later in the bar or at another "party" in the con hotel. For agents/editors, you can search the attendee list on WFC's site, then look at the panels and find out where they will be. You won't be the only aspiring author there, so as soon as the panel is done make your way up there and do the same thing: introduce yourself, you're an aspiring author, and you'd like to know if they have time to talk "some time". I did this with several agents at WFC and they all let me know when they would be in the bar area. Then you just meet up with them there, re-introduce yourself (again, you won't be the only one so you have to be a little forward and expect they might not really remember you). I suggest having a few questions to ask them: what's the business like these days with amazon, etc., what projects are they working on currently, what has them excited, how did they get started, what clients are here, etc. At some point they will ask you what you write (they know you aren't there just for the polite conversation) and this is where you hit them with your pitch. First give a very brief background on yourself, your writing history. Then, follow the WE episode advice, but really you need a 15 second pitch (probably won't use this) and a 30-60 second elevator pitch. I'd probably plan to have an "out" if you finish and they don't ask to see something, but really I didn't have that problem. Most of the aspiring authors I saw ignored all the WE advice and cornered agents and talked for 30 minutes about their novel. DONT DO THAT! Give your pitch on why this is unique, but awesome/exciting and if you've practiced it enough beforehand (make it natural not a speech), you'll likely get a request for partial/ full submission. Then you can talk a little longer and thank them and move on to the next. Few last bits of advice: make sure your novel is perfect--you have no more edits. You will likely get requests because instead of being #103 of 200 queries that day you are #3 of 20 for the whole weekend; so if you can't deliver you've just started off on a bad foot. I don't have an agent yet, but I do get routine requests for full ms's and I have a core group I always query and two of them remember me and my past books and it goes all the way back to that first conversation over a beer. Which is another bit of advice, if you don't drink that's fine just grab a coke or water, if you do drink only have one because your adrenaline will be through the roof and if you have a few it's going to go downhill quickly. So in summary: ask them if they have time to talk some time, have your pitch perfected, and have a great time! I love WFC, I enjoyed it much more than Worldcon. Let me know if there are any other questions, I'm happy to help.
  4. Hi all, So I'm wondering if anyone is going to LTUE? I have a fairly serious favor that I'd like to ask for, but given the people that frequent the forums I think someone might be willing to help me out. I follow Dan Wells and his agent on Twitter (because I like Dan's books and Dan as a person, met him at World Fantasy and because I'm an aspiring author). Anyway, she posted a cover of his book The Hollow City which comes out this summer. I asked him if there were any chance I could snag a copy earlier and he said he would most likely bring some copies. The problem is I live on the East Coast. Would anyone be up for me sending them money prior to LTUE? I trust the people on here and it'd only be $30 or so. If anyone is going and wouldn't mind picking a copy up for me and mailing it, that would be awesome. If not, I totally understand. Please let me know if you think you can help me out and we can iron out the details over PMs. Thanks in advance! :-)
  5. I have to agree with most of this. I liked Variant. The writing is above average and didn't trip me up once as some new authors can do. It has strong characters and an interesting plot. The issue I had is that I bought the ebook for 9.99 and only got 2/3 of a book. It has the first two acts. That's it. I felt that Robinson (does he go by Rob?) did a great job setting things up and then suddenly bam! We're rushing at break neck speed ignoring a lot of details and then it's into the acknowledgments. There were some similarities to the Mazerunner, but that didn't bother me. It's sufficiently unique to stand on its own. Pacing and the ending. I hope the next book is not the same way. If it is I'm not sure that I'll read any more of his books until the entire series is out. Also, *SPOILER* I didn't even consider that Benson might be a robot. That's an interesting notion. *SPOILER* As a sidenote, I feel that all of his friends went to Amazon and posted favorable reviews for him. There's like 27 reviews in the first week and with one exception they are all 4 and 5 stars. Plus if you read them they all gush with how great the book is, many saying it's the best of 2011. Obviously, this is subjective, but while Robinson's writing is good, more than good, it's not brilliant. The story is more than good but the ending sweeps it's legs out from beneath him. I have heard Robinson on Writing Excuses and I don't for a second believe he asked people to sugarcoat reviews for him on Amazon. Most likely it's people that want to see him succeed, but if I didn't know who he was and read those reviews and then the book I would be very turned off. I like honest, fair assessments, even if it hurts. My honest assessment is that the first half of the book is 4, but the ending lowers it to a 3. All new authors make mistakes and evolve. Most screw up characters and/or the writing. This can make me stop reading future books. Robinson didn't screw up either. He just messed up the ending. I'm still looking forward to reading the next one and seeing his writing/plotting evolve and grow. My two cents...
  6. Just wanted to provide an update on my NYCC experience. First off, a lot of fun. If you've never been to a Comic Con it's worth going just to see the crazy outfits. We got there right as it opened at 10am. First stop was the TOR booth to try to score some AoL posters. Unfortunately, they were already out of them. I did pick up a couple of the newspaper pieces that Brandon made. Very cool, btw. NYCC is not really the place to try to find and pitch to agents/editors because there are a million people crammed into one convention center. It wasn't too crowded at first, but by the time 2pm rolled around it was elbow to elbow. Brandon had two signings. I showed up at the first about 30 min early. I was talking with my fiance and not paying attention and somehow a line formed 15 minutes before the signing and I ended up being in the middle. Brandon was a little late (couldn't help thinking of that WoT moment where Rand is late to appear in Tear and Moiraine says he's learned the first rule of kings: making people wait). Once he showed up the signing got underway. There was a couple in front of us with Mistborn cloaks and he took their picture with his phone. I had guessed that he would spend more time at the TOR signing so I didn't want to take up too much of his time. I chatted with him about Writing Excuses and shared with him how much the podcast has advanced my writing. He commented (positively) on a few of the agents that are looking my MS. Unfortunately, I went a little fanboy and froze when he asked me if I had any writing questions. I completely underestimated the second signing. Apparently, even if fans don't follow Brandon on Twitter they do follow TOR. We showed up 30 min. early again, but this time there was a huge line. I was number 45 and I think it went back to 75. Brandon showed up early this time and got right down to business. TOR was giving away a lot of free books from some great authors. They gave away 50 copies of Mistborn (paperback) to the first 50 people. I already have a hardcover copy and I'd purchased a paperback for the first signing so I passed my copy back to some first timers and decided to get the newspapers signed for some friends back home. They also raffled off 3 copies of AoL and one audiobook. This time I was prepared and asked Brandon how he was able to portray the atheist character in WoK so well as he is LDS. Honestly, when reading that character I've always wondered if there were parts that Brandon believed because it was THAT convincing. He explained that he actually went out and interviewed atheists as well as studying several popular atheist blogs to understand their world view. We chatted for a few more minutes and that was that. Brandon offerred to play MAGIC afterwards for an hour before his panel. I was sorely tempted, but my fiance hates MAGIC and it was already a long day. All told, we went through 3 states using 3 forms of transportation and took 15 hours to get there and back, so she had had enough. Now, where were the agents and editors in all of this? Well, I follow a lot of agents on twitter and last year it seemed like a lot showed up to NYCC. This year they either didn't go or didn't tweet about it. I discovered a few days afterwards that one of the women behind the TOR booth was in fact an editor. She was an editor I had searched for at World Fantasy last year and couldn't find. Well, she was there but her picture looks nothing like she does and I never connected the dots. It's a shame because I've never pitched to an editor before and was looking forward to trying. Ah well. Moral of the story? NYCC is great for seeing cool things and getting writing advice from your favorite authors. Networking and meeting agents/editors? Stick to World Fantasy and WorldCon. Pics are available on my Twitter account from my meeting with Brandon if you're interested. He wore a suit jacket and everyone kept asking him why he was so dressed up. He explained that his wife dressed him and my fiance said he was a wise man. Great author, great times.
  7. For those of you who don't follow along on Twitter, Dan's wife gave birth to their baby early this morning. So congratulations, Dan and family!
  8. Luckily my fiance was able to get her boss to let her leave her convention early so she's going with me and my brother on Saturday. Haha, so lucky to have her. She's really not into fantasy too much. Her main loves are Rowling and King. For all that she went with me to World Fantasy last year even thought it was her birthday weekend. Due to deployments I'd missed the last two of hers and she still followed me to Ohio. So NYC is still on :-) @Yados/anyone interested: We'll be at the con most of the day, but after Brandon's panel (6:30) we'll be looking to get something to eat. If you're free/interested let me know and maybe we can try to meet up. I may be meeting with an agent, but it's still up in the air. That aside, should be a fun time to meet fellow fans!
  9. Thanks for this! A lot of fond memories seemingly back from the dead.
  10. I'll admit the first few pages with Keats I was wondering if he was going to get old. But soon I was laughing at some of his sentences. I liked him and Dan's rhymes. I wonder how long it took him to write some of those scnes. Good stuff
  11. I read two books this past week, both excellent though completely different. The first was Dan Wells's Night of Blacker Darkness. This was just a fun read. There was a lot of situational humor. I won't go into too much detail, but if you've been through high school english classes or love the classics then you will find a lot of cool references/appearances throughout the novel. I can see why Dan had trouble marketing this book. It's definitely in between niches, but I love that he put it out there anyway. I'm not a huge fan of self publishing as I think it's rare that you'll find a self published author who is just as good if not better than those who found a market in the traditional way. Having said that, I think established authors throwing out side projects, novellas, or books that seemingly aren't "marketable" by epubbing is a great development. For $4.99 this book is a steal, highly reccomended if one is looking for a quick, enjoyable, and whimsical read. The second book I read was What it's like to go to War by Karl Marlantes. Marlantes is a decorated Vietnam Vet who served in the Marines as a 2nd lieutenant. He wrote another book that is historical fiction based closely on his own experiences called Matterhorn. He's also a Yale graduate and Rhodes Scholar. This book is basically his way of showing what it's like to go to war as a combat soldier and the ways to mentally and spritiually handle what you will experience. I don't want to go into my personal experienceswith serving in Afghanistan (6 years in the infantry, 3 as a sergeant). But this has helped me tremendously. I've been home for nearly three years and been out of the military for almost one and I can honestly say that it's rare for a day to go by without me thinking about it in some way, even if just a minute or two. And I had nowhere near the experience that Karl did. If you're a writer and want to know what it's like psychologically to deal with combat, pick up this book. If you're in the military under a combat MOS, pick up this book. If you know someone who is, buy them this book. It's that good. As a note, for writers I reccomend this over On Killing by Lt. Col. Iforgethisname. I know Howard Tayler reccomends his book, but it's complete fiction. There is a small segment of the population who can kill without compunction, but there is a larger segment that can and will kill. The idea that all SF or infantry or police are "good" sociopaths is a lie. There's a reason why infantry basic involves ramming bayonets into human dummies while screaming at them to die. There's a reason why machine gun trigger squeezing to get off controlled sprays of 9-12 rounds can be accomplished by thinking "die, insurgent, die." It's because a lot of us can be conditioned to kill. As Karl points out, 18-22 year olds are not known for their introspection and that makes them good killers. There is a threshold when it comes to pulling the trigger...the military lowers that threshold...eventually combat situations remove it entirely. I remember coming home from Benning as a 19 year old and one of the first things I told my Mother when she asked what my job was that "I'm a paid killer." That's the mindset instilled...and it's not restricted to a small portion of civilization. Anyway, rant over. Good reading and if a lot of Karl's policies were adopted by the military I think a lot of post deployment problems would be mitigated if not eliminated.
  12. I just watched The Tillman Story. It's a documentary about Pat Tilman's fratricide, the ensuing cover up, and his families journey to discover the truth. Very moving. I knew the story (vaguely) when I was over there and visited the Pat Tilman USO while passing through Bagram (they have internet...sometimes). What really bothers me is that something like this only came out because his family wouldn't go away. What else has happened that we don't know about? It reminded me of the whole Jessica Lynch story. (which is discussed in the film). Anyway, Pat seemed like an exceptional individual, even if he's not the person the media wanted him to be. Highly reccomended (R content for those concerned, both with violent descriptions and language).
  13. Good to hear, Hubay. I would've been freaking out if I were you. I too, back up my files periodically, but it's never the same if the whole system goes down. Glad that didn't happen to you. Now I'm going to go backup my files again.
  14. I saw on twitter yesterday that Brandon invited any interested readers to play MAGIC with him at a midnight pre-release party. That's pretty awesome. If you live in Utah, I'm jealous. On the other hand I'm not a very good MAGIC player so maybe that's for the best. I think once WOT is done his fan interaction is likely to improve as well. I can't imagine the pressure he's under with that.
  15. I know that early on Brandon didn't feel that he was ready for Way of Kings. IIRC he originally sold Elantris and WOK to TOR but switched it to Mistborn instead. I'm trying to remember, but I think on the blog he says a few months before the WOT announcement that instead of doing a Warbreaker sequel right away he's going to begin another, long running series. I don't believe he expliciitly said it was WOK but he didn't say it was Dragonsteel either. Then WOT happened. Regardless, you're right of course. There's no way that writing several hundred thousand words for WOT didn't improve his writing for WOK.