Archive for February, 2013

Story Sale!

My story “Voice of the Martyrs” was accepted for Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s anthology, Beyond the Sun.  Here’s the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Bryan Thomas SchmidtBeyond the Sun
  • Acknowledgements by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  • “Flipping The Switch” by Jamie Todd Rubin
  • “Migration” by Nancy Kress
  • “Parker’s Paradise” by Jean Johnson
  • “Respite” by Autumn Rachel Dryden
  • “The Bricks of Eta Cassiopeiae” by Brad R. Torgersen
  • “Inner Sphere Blues” by Simon C. Larter
  • “Rumspringa” by Jason Sanford
  • “The Far Side Of The Wilderness” by Alex Shvartsman
  • “Elsewhere, Within, Elsewhen” by Cat Rambo
  • “Dust Angels” by Jennifer Brozek
  • “Voice Of The Martyrs” by Maurice Broaddus
  • “One Way Ticket” by Jaleta Clegg
  • “The Gambrels Of The Sky” by Erin Hoffman
  • “The Dybbyk of Mazel Tov IV” by Robert Silverberg
  • “Chasing Satellites” by Anthony R. Cardno
  • “A Soaring Pillar Of Brightness” by Nancy Fulda
  • “The Hanging Judge” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • “Observation Post” by Mike Resnick
  • Backers List

Adjusting to the Next Level

InsecureWritersSupportGroupaka, Insecure Writer is Insecure

Writers are an insecure lot.*  So when I was at Killercon, I showed up at my reading a few minutes early, figuring I’d catch the end of the previous slot’s reader.  Well, no one was reading.  I slipped into the nearest row.  People were sitting there waiting.  I asked the woman I sat down next to what everyone was waiting on.

“We’re here to hear you read.”

That moment when you realize the room of people are there to see you.  That moment when you realize it’s not just your wife and best friends making up the audience (ftr, my wife was off riding roller coasters).  That moment when you sit down at the autograph table and people actually line up.  There’s no real comfortable way to talk about the adjustment without sounding like a world class douche canoe, so I’ll just jump in.

I know that’s what we as writers dream of happening and work towards happening, but let’s face it, life rarely lives up to the dream.  One of the reasons I eschew signings and readings is because I didn’t want to be “that writer” who sits at the table with a stack of books, lonely and desperate, eyes begging each passer-by to at least stop by and validate me with some casual interest in the product of my intense labor.

Okay, the reality is that no one escapes being “that writer,” it’s part of the deal.  There’s no point in playing things “safe” as you’ve already done the bulk of the risky stuff:  pouring yourself onto the page.  But we live in the shadow of our dreams:  of fans lining around the corner to see you, of producing work that people respond to.  The reality is that after going through the motions endless hyping of themselves, calling themselves the next “Stephen King”, they are confronted with no one at their table signing almost always sparse to empty book signings, especially for the first few years.  But we go out, talking to that one fan who shows up (or in my case, I end up fixing them dinner in a fit or inappropriate gratefulness).

Adjusting to rising popularity tends to screw with that image.  It’s hard enough saying (admitting) that I have fans without bursting into laughter at the ridiculousness of the idea.  I’m glad I have friends like Brian Keene and Wrath James White who continue to challenge me and push me out of my  comfort zone (even if their idea of “pushing” looks a lot like being smacked upside the head or being thrown onstage naked).

In the meantime, the hardest book deal to get after your first is your second.  So I’ll keep working away, dreaming of that breakout novel.

 

 

 

 

*I sooooo wanted to say a superstitious lot

2013 Appearance Schedule

Here is a tentative list of where you can find me this year:CONNEWS

Marcon – March 29 – 31
Columbus, OH

Mo*Con – May 3 – 5
Indianapolis, IN

Readercon – July 11 – 14
Burlington, MA

Gencon – Aug 15 – 18
Indianapolis, IN

Worldcon – Aug 29 – Sept 2
San Antonio, TX

Christian Community Development Association – Sept 11 – 14
New Orleans, LA

Context – Sept 28 – 30
Columbus, OH

Upcoming Workshops and Classes

The next worIMG_1162kshops that I’ll be leading is through the Indiana Writers Center.  This will be on World Building, but I have another one coming up March 23rd called “Adventures in Spec Fic” that will talk about the real life of being a profession spec fic writer so be on the lookout for that one, too.  Here are the details:

 

World Building

Instructor: Maurice Broaddus

Saturday, February 16
1-4 p.m..

Members $39, Nonmembers $57, Student, Teacher, Senior Members $33

Setting is an important part of any story. More particular to the speculative fiction writer is the world-building aspect of setting. Our job is to out-imagine our readers. The writer needs to make sure that their world operates within a consistent system. We will develop a basic checklist of items to think through as you build the universe for your characters to play in. 

Register on-line or download a registration form.
Click here to see the Faculty Bio for Maurice Broaddus   

WCI Classroom 

 

2) I’ve been named Writer in Residence at Snack’s Crossing Elementary School.  Sponsored by Second Story, I’ll be doing an eight week intensive with some of their students from February through March.  That’s right, I’m shaping young minds!  This is a double treat for me since working with their students inspired the Middle Grade detective novel that I just sent to my agent.

3) I’ll be picking up the ViewFinder Project on Saturdays in February down at A New Way of Life.  I know, I know, you think “what does Maurice know about teaching photography?”  Well, the answer is not much, which is why I’m partnered with the LYN House (any excuse for me to post that pic of me working with some of the kids of LYN House) to do the instruction.  This is gearing up for our fundraiser/art gallery event, Telling Our Stories (and I do know something about telling stories).  More on this later.

Quick Marketing Tip – Captive Audience

KnightsOfBretonCourt-300dpiNot too long ago, Angry Robot came out with an omnibus edition of my Knights of Breton Court trilogy.  (And this thing is beast!  I can stop muggers with this brick of a book.  In fact, I’m thinking about writing them off my taxes somehow as a security expense).  They shipped my batch of complimentary copies and after using them like Legos for a while (if you’ve never played in a book fort…You. Haven’t.  Lived!), I realized I had a quandary.

I had accumulated about 50-100 copies or so of the individual editions of my trilogy.  Copies I’d purchased or received for book signings and such, suddenly were orphaned (because I wasn’t going to tow them around in addition to the omnibus).   Remaindered books are just a part of the writer’s life.  Eventually you reach the end of your shelf life and then  somewhere there is a garage full of books on your hands.  So here’s what I ended up doing with them:  donated them.

I have a friend who’s in prison who I’ve been corresponding with for over two decades now.  When my books first came out, I sent him copies of them.  He loved them and passed them around the cell block, which also proved to be a big hit.  That gave me the inspiration to donate the rest of my books to those who are incarcerated.  I chose the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project.

One, I love their mission:  The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project is an all-volunteer effort that strives to encourage self-education among prisoners in the United States. By providing free reading materials upon request, we hope to promote rehabilitation and reintegration rather than punishment, and to stimulate critical thinking behind bars.  Two, this can be seen as self-serving marketing: it’s not like a prisoner gets all three books, so if they like it, they’d have to order the omnibus to get the rest of the story!

In the thank you letter, they pointed this out:  “Many of the facilities we send mail to restrict the kinds of books their inmates can receive.  One of the more frequent mailing restrictions is “no hardcovers” followed closely by “no used books” – this second one is particularly troublesome as all of our books are donated to us.  It was a special help, then, to get such a large number of books which were not only paperback, not only new, but also in the urban fantasy genre, which is one for which we have been receiving more and more requests.”

Banner - Trilogy

Seriously, it’s something for my fellow spec fic writers to consider as an option for your remaindered or extra books.  RIP King Maker, King’s Justice, and King’s War. May you find good homes.

Rejecting Papa SMOFs

dawn richard medieval 615Diddy ex-affiliate Dawn Richard’s fantastic full-length debut, Goldenheart, follows in the unheralded tradition of black musicians drawing emotional power from Tolkien tropes.

 

Okay, this article is all kinds of awesome.  I’ve accidentally been following Dawn Richards career for quite awhile (as I watched the hypnotic train wreck that was the Making the Band series).  Long had friends of mine tried to interest me in the prog rock ways, with many of the groups I quickly dubbed Middle Earth Metal, but this is the first I’d seen, well, a black geek princess incorporating her love of fantasy into R&B.  I can’t imagine her journey/struggle to be able to pull this off.

I don’t really consider myself a fan of much.  Admittedly, certain people—Neil Gaiman, Spike Lee, Public Enemy—have reduced me to a 15 year old every time I’ve met them (think that scene in Community when Troy meets Levar Burton).  That’s about the only time I can even begin to understand the mentality that can have you waiting in line for three hours not to ride a roller coaster, but to get to a John Landis tired of autographing stuff.

I’ve never fit in comfortably in fandom circles.  Fandom is this strange, double edged sword.  It’s this seeking out of your tribe—I like this “stuff” and you like the same “stuff” and no one else is around to make fun of us—and finding a place of belonging.  The thing is, people are tribal by nature, and one odd reaction to being collectively squeezed out of the cool kids table is to run off and set up their own cool kids table.  Thus we get people running around as Supreme Masters of Fandom and other such nonsense.

Growing up black in fandom was a double isolation.  You have to be a closet nerd or face possible ostracizing from our own community or you end up running in circles where we’re the lone POC at the table.  There was a certain amount of social cluelessness, and it is tempting to write some offensive behavior off as fans not being the most socially adjusted folks to begin with.  On the one hand, some of the guys in one of my early D&D circles couldn’t understand why dressing in full regalia to go LARP-ing for/as vampires wouldn’t be a good idea in my neighborhood (seriously?  In ANY neighborhood outside the comfort of GenCon).

On the other hand, some of them didn’t know how to act with a black person at the table.  I mean, it was like they were aware of black “in theory”, but to actually have one in person, playing Magic: the Gathering, was mind-blowing.  The common instinct was to ignore race:  at the table, you were just another behind to kick.  Unfortunately, this left the door open for a couple to occasionally drop the n-bomb under the “I don’t mean you” or “you’re not like them,”as if owning my own d20 endows me with a new cultural identity that makes me “not one of them.

Sorry, I get enough casual racism in the rest of my life.  I don’t have time for it when I’m participating in the things that I love.  And just like in the rest of my life, too often people don’t know how to be around “one of them” without our complete assimilation to becoming “one of us.” (I’d like to believe this was fairly isolated, but then I recall Balgoun’s story about racism in role-playing.)

Being a fan means that you’re passionate and passion’s great.  In fact, fans of mine are great (though, let’s be straight: as egotistical as I may be, it’s a little weird being thought of as the object of fan attention).  I understand that every group has that faction of it that makes them look bad, the radical/hardcore branch of them (not that I’m equating LARPers/Filkers/Furries to Tea Partiers).  But the Grand Wizards or Supreme Masters or whatever they’re calling themselves amount to gatekeepers of exclusion.  The Nerdier Than Thou crew who set themselves as the standard bearers able to vet your bona fides.  They are the kind of fan who view The Big Bang Theory as a mainstreaming of their culture and identity, a threat even, as opposed to a loving tribute and recognition of their mainstream impact.  They come across as inbred (incestuous as fandom communities tend to be), gray hairs who end up wringing their hands wondering why their conventions are shrinking.

So don’t be surprised when or wonder why all the black nerds all sit together at the convention cafeteria, listening to Dawn Richards and being proud of one of our own.