Saturday, November 28, 2009


50,163 words. Two days ahead of time. Whew.
Thoughts on it later. Bed now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IlluXCon 2

Earlier this month, on November 11-14th, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it was my great privilege to be flown out in my capacity as Pyr Art Director to attend IlluXcon2, a gathering of some of the best sf/fantasy artists in the world for a four-day weekend, exhibiting their art and hanging out with hardcore collectors, art directors, and sf/fantasy art afficionados. This is a rather special convention, the brainchild of Pat and Jeannie Wilshire, and quite impressive for an event only in its second year. It is also somewhat exclusive.  The con featured about 50 artists (who I believe are all there only by invitation), some 80-100 art students, several art directors, and a number of high end collectors. I flew in with a student who was coming from Huntsville, Alabama and rode in with a collector who had come in all the way from Kent, England.

The space itself is a gorgeous gallery, adjacent to a student center (where the panels and demos were held), and diagonal from a Bistro that very kindly opened its doors to host the portfolio reviews and be a general meeting destination throughout the weekend. There's not much else around, and the con is hampered by not having a hotel in the area, so there is a lot of shuttling back and forth and grumbling over same. But what it results in is an intimate weekend that is really a tremendous experience.

During the weekend, I got to hang out with some of the greatest living fantasy artists, participate in an art director panel with folks from Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard and elsewhere, and spent about eight hours doing portfolio reviews. It was an exhausting weekend, but one of the most rewarding con experiences of my career to date. Spending a weekend entirely in the company of artists taught me how much I enjoy artists' company, and really reinforced in a way I'd never quite considered just how fulfilling the "art director" part of my job at Pyr is to me. And being forced to quantify my opinions in the portfolio reviews taught me a lot about my own preferences. I get multiple portfolio submissions a week at Pyr, but am never called upon to say much more than "thank you, but this doesn't fit the style of our line." Having to quantify and articulate my response to students who had paid good money to attend the show and were expecting helpful feedback forced me to examine what I know intuitively in ways I hadn't done before. I think I learned a great deal and only hope the students did.

Meanwhile, as to the artists themselves... In addition to talking to childhood heroes Michael Whelan and Boris Vallejo, and spending real time with old friends John Picacio and Dave Seeley, it was wonderful to be in the company of such stellar talents as Caniglia, Dan Dos Santos, Vincent Villafranca, Bob Eggleton, Eric Fortune, Bruce Jensen, Daren Bader, Donato Giancola, Julie Bell, John Jude Palencar, Brom, Justin Gerard, Justin Sweet, Lucas Graciano, Michael Hayes, Scott Altmann, and many more.

Of particular fun/value, late night conversations with Cyril Van Der Haegen and David Palumbo, and meeting fellow AD Jon Schindehette. Also, keep your eye on this one.

Meanwhile, I still haven't come down off my IlluXcon high, and I imagine IlluXcon is here to stay, and may be one of the premiere events of the year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OryCon and Powell's SF Authorfest III Booksigning

This weekend I'll be Editing Guest of Honor at OryCon31, Oregon's Premier Science Fiction Convention, held November 27-29, 2009 at the Portland DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland OR 97232. I'll be joining Author Guest of Honor Patricia Briggs, Artist Guest of Honor Lubov, Filk Guest of Honor Jeff Hitchin, and Special Guest Chris Lester. Then at the end of the weekend, I'll be appearing at Powell's massive SF Authorfest III Booksigning at the Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. Here is my con schedule and Powell's signing information:

1:00PM- 2:00PM
"Exploring the mystique of costumed vigilantes" – Exploring the mystique of Batman, The Phantom, Daredevil and other costumed vigilantes from the golden age of comics and how they have evolved through the passage of time. (Michael Ehart, Lou Anders, Carl Cook)

4:00PM - 5:00PM
"Behind the curtain of publishing" How publishing works, what goes on to turn a
manuscript into a book, industry trends, and why readers should care about this stuff. (Lou Anders, Doug Odell, Patricia Briggs)

"Opening Ceremonies"
The Not Ready For Patricia Briggs,  Sidereal Time Players present... (Lou Anders, Runa, Christopher Lester, Lubov)

"Coffee with Lou" - Meet and chat with Lou Anders over coffee.

12:00PM-  1:00PM
"Building a balanced mythos" - How to balance the mortal, immortal, mythical, legendary and cultural elements when world building. (Rebecca Neason, Lou Anders, Mary Robinette Kowal, Alma Alexander, Robin Hobb)

1:00PM- 2:00PM
"Drowning in slush" - The best and worst of slush. How does slush reading work and who does it? What makes a story stand out from the slush pile? Is there any way around the pile? Are agents now the new slush readers, and how is that working out for the publishing industry? (Colleen Anderson, Maggie Jamison, Deb Taber, Camille Alexa, Lou Anders)

2:00PM- 3:00PM
"Editing 101: Are Editors Human?" - Editors are notorious for being critical. Being judgmental is, after all, an important component of their job. Knowing what they do, and why they do it can help a writer prepare their work for the editors steely gaze. Both experienced authors and editors offer their opinions. (Grá Linnaea, Lou Anders, Louise Marley/Toby Bishop, Deb Taber)

3:00PM- 4:00PM
"Lou Anders Presents" - Lou Anders: A Pyr Presentation. See art for upcoming book covers. This is a premiere event, never before seen by the public. Don't miss this wonderful presentation by our editor Guest of Honor.

10:00AM -10:30AM
"Coffee with Lou" - Meet and chat with Lou Anders  Lou Anders over coffee.

"3 Aliens and a Human by Friday: Lou Anders, Artist/Editor Relationship" - How and when editors edit words on a page is pretty clear, but how do things work with editors
and artists? Enquiring minds want to know!

2:00PM- 3:00PM
"Gravity defying bosoms" - What art directors ask for in covers, what authors want, and what readers pick up sometimes come into conflict, especially when it comes to half-naked women. Marketability, feminism, and other issues related to cover art discussed and explained.
(Lou Anders, Blake Hutchins, Deb Taber, Kristin Landon)

3:00PM- 4:00PM
"A touch of Farmer, a pinch of LeGuin"
- Panelists discuss their biggest influences and what books have changed the recent landscape in SF/F/H literature.(Edward Morris, David W. Goldman, Lou Anders, Karen L.)

And then...
Sunday, November 29th @ 4:00PM
Sci-Fi Authorfest III Booksigning
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323
They say...
"More science fiction authors than you can shake a light saber at! Guests include:

Lilith Saintcrow (Flesh Circus, Orbit)
Thomas Harlan (Land of the Dead, Tor)
David Levine (Space Magic, Wheatland Press)
Brent Weeks (Beyond the Shadows, Orbit)
Camille Alexa (Push of the Sky, Hadley Rille Books)
Barb and J. C. Hendee (In Shade and Shadow, Roc)
Devon Monk (Magic in the Shadows, Roc)
Brenda Cooper (Wings of Creation, Tor)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Diving into the Wreck, Pyr)
Dean Wesley Smith (numerous Star Trek novels)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Fall of Light, Ace)
Mike Shepherd (Undaunted, Ace)
A. M. Dellamonica (Indigo Springs, Tor)
Timothy Zahn (Odd Girl Out, Tor)
Alma Alexander (Cybermage, Harper Teen)
Louise Marley (the Singers of Nevya series)
Ru Emerson (the Bard's Tale series)
....and Pyr senior editor Lou Anders.

We are also pleased to welcome the Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion."

Looks like it's going to be a very fun, very busy weekend.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Favorite Books

I'm interviewed at My Favorite Books today. Here's a taste:

Lately, I've been acquiring titles that I am thinking of as "post-steampunk," or rather, steampunk that has migrated out of Victorian settings into fantasy, urban fantasy, and other alternate historical settings. We'll have books in this category out in 2010 from Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mike Resick, Tim Akers, George Mann and the writing team of Clay and Susan Griffith.

Those aren't post steampunk covers pictures. I just like the art.