Friday, December 13, 2013

Frostborn (Thrones and Bones) available for pre-order

Links and pages for my forthcoming middle reader novel, Frostborn, are beginning to show up around the web.  The novel will be released on August 5, 2014.  The amazing cover is by Justin Gerard.

Meanwhile here is the Goodreads page, the page for the hardcover on Amazon, the hardcover on B&N (which sadly isn't taking preorders yet), and the page for the Audio CD on Amazon. Here's Indiebound. And here's the book's page at Random House and on Random House Kids.

UPDATE: There isn't much there at all yet, but here's a Tumblr page and there's a Twitter account at @ThronesandBones . When news breaks, that's where it will break first.

From the book description:

Fantasy fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series will embrace this first novel in an adventure-filled, Viking-inspired series by a debut author.

Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

Readers will embark on a sweeping epic fantasy as they join Karn and Thianna on a voyage of discovery.

Antics and hair-raising escapades abound in this fantasy adventure as the two forge a friendship and journey to unknown territory. Their plan: to save their families from harm.

Debut novelist Lou Anders has created a rich world of over twenty-five countries inhabited by Karn, Thianna, and an array of fantastical creatures, as well as the Thrones and Bones board game.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lou Interview on Diabolical Plots

I am interviewed today by Carl Slaughter on his blog Diabolical Plots. We talk about the criteria that goes into selecting manuscripts for Pyr books, how my admittedly rather diverse media background prepared me for editing science fiction and fantasy, and my philosophy in anthology editing. Thanks to Carl for conducting this interview. Here's a sample, but please check the whole thing out.

You’ve also been nominated several times for anthology editor.  Give us a thumbnail sketch of your vision for anthologies, past, present, and future.
LA:  Well, I don’t know if I’m going to do any more anthologies in the future. I’ve turned my attention to my own fiction, and given the copious amounts of free time I don’t have, any and all snatches of personal time I have that is not claimed by my family goes into my own creations. But when I did anthologies, my goal was to never simply present reprint collections of themed stories, but to ask questions of where I thought the genre was, where it was going next, and where it should be. Each of my nine anthologies are attempts to engage the dialogue of speculative fiction in a moment, whether that was my frustrations with the limits of post-cyberpunk fiction in Live Without A Net, or my desire to explore the intersection of sword and sorcery values with modern, “realistic” fantasy in Swords & Dark Magic(co-edited with Jonathan Strahan). Every anthology is a question put to the field and hopefully a collection of answers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Picture Books Matter: A Guest Post by Sandra Tayler

A few years ago at DeepSouthCon 50, I had the privilege of meeting Sandra Tayler,  who kindly gave my children an autographed copy of her picture book Hold on to Your Horses (written with illustrator Angela Call). My daughter loves the book, and we have read it together many times. So I was very excited to see that Sandra has just launched a Kickstarter for the sequel, The Strength of Wild Horses. I'm a backer, and I strongly encourage you to check out and consider supporting this deserving project. Meanwhile, I asked Sandra if she'd drop by Bowing to the Future and give us her thoughts on Why Pictures Books Matter. (Hint: They do!).

Why Picture Books Matter 
by Sandra Tayler

Advocates of reading are quick to tell you that picture books are very important, that they are the beginning of literacy. Which is true. Studies have shown that children, who are read to, have an easier time learning how to read later. Experts also say that picture books teach children the shapes of sentences, the sounds of language. Reading time creates bonds between children and their care givers. But picture books do something much more subtle and important; picture books teach story.

Human beings use stories to explain our lives and our history. Cultures have pervasive stories that define them. For example America thrives on the story that anyone can succeed if they apply themselves. It is the American Dream told over and over again in movies, books, and songs. Japan has stories about balance and living in harmony with nature. Other cultures have stories of obedience or strength. As children are read picture books they begin to partake in these cultural stories. They begin to understand what they can expect from the world and how they should fit into it.

This happens on a smaller scale too. The stories that parents choose for their children are expressions of their family culture. They can choose stories that emphasize competition and triumph, or stories that speak of cooperation and sharing. They pick stories that express their values and beliefs, and the children begin understanding “this is who we are” and “these are the things that we do.”

Most parents don’t realize they are doing these things when the pick up Where The Wild Things Are or Make Way for Ducklings. They just want that moment of snuggling and the sharing of a charming story. Or perhaps they’re hoping that the toddler won’t find that one favorite book that mom is sick of reading out loud. However the book that mom hates, tells something to the toddler. When a child loves a book, it is an opportunity for parents to peek inside that child’s life. In Kindergarten my son loved Where’s My Teddy, a story of a boy who wanders in the dark wood seeking his comforting bear. The boy meets with a surprising twist which makes us laugh and then ends the book safe in his own bed. My son loved that twist moment, when everything that was set up in the first part of the book was transformed into something surprising, but completely fitting. And he loved that the book ended in a safe place. Those facets of the book expressed my son’s personality. Through the book, I understood him better.

For me one of the greatest powers of a picture book is to give a child the story they need when they are struggling. The child who is fearful at bedtime can learn to laugh by reading The Nightmare in My Closet. Ish can help a child who wants to do everything perfectly. Three Cheers for Tacky can help the child who doesn’t quite fit in with peers. All of these stories empower the kids who struggle. The kids can imagine themselves being as triumphant as the characters they read about. When my children are struggling, I try to find a book that speaks to them. On the occasions that I couldn’t find one, I wrote one. Because stories matter. Stories change how people see themselves and once people see themselves differently, they become capable of more. This is true for young people as well as adults. That is how the world changes, through stories, even short rhyming stories with pictures.


Sandra Tayler is a writer of children's fiction, speculative fiction, and blog entries. She has sold stories to anthology markets, and her blog won an AML award for online writing. Sandra spends much of her time as the publication and distribution half of the Schlock Mercenary comic business. Sandra’s current project is a Kickstarter to fund her latest picture book, The Strength of Wild Horses. Please stop by and take a look.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Donato Giancola: From Middle Earth to Outer Space and Beyond

Today I traveled to Huntsville, Al to visit the Huntsville Museum of Art for the opening ceremonies of a new exhibition entitled Donato Giancola: From Middle Earth to Outer Space and Beyond.

Donato was on hand for the opening, and took the (considerable) crowd through each of the four rooms given over to some sixty examples of his work, speaking in each room about one or two of the paintings on display. The collection is arranged along four themes: Middle-Earth, Mythological Realism, Science Fiction, and Space/Astronauts, with a room set aside for each.

Obviously, we saw amazing work, from The Doors of Obernewtyn to Shaman's Loss, to his cover for The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic, to art for Star Wars and Marvel comics, to the phenomenal personal piece (and Spectrum Gold winner) Prometheus (picked left).

Donato Giancola: From Middle Earth to Outer Space and Beyond runs from November 16, 2013 until January 19, 2014. If you are anywhere near Huntsville, AL or can be, you owe it to yourself to check out this show. It is a once in a life time opportunity to view such a wealth of work from one of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy art.

November 16, 2013 - January 19, 2014
opening reception Sunday, November 17th,  2-4pm
Huntsville Museum of Art
300 Church Street S
Huntsville, AL  35801

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

World Con Report

This past weekend was LoneStarCon 3, the 71s World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas. I love San Antonio, which I've only visited once (for John Picacio's wedding) and have been wanting a good excuse to visit again.

Sam Sykes at the Pyr Presents Panel
I got in on Thursday, having bumped into Scott Lynch on the plane, and arrived in time to have lunch, register, wander around, and still make my Literary Beer by 5pm. And by the way, Literary Beers are a great idea and starting cons with them even better. Then it was off for a (long) walk down the Riverwalk to Acenar. I dined here years ago and am so glad to say it was everything I remembered. As far from the convention center as it was, it was odd when Scott Lynch was seated at the next table five minutes after I arrived. (Was he following me?) Then I spent the night in the Marriott Rivercenter bar with many, many friends until very late.

Tower of the Americas
Picacio wins 2 Chesleys

Friday began with a panel on the relationship between writers and editors, then the Pyr Books Presents panel, and then a panel on New Trends in Sword & Sorcery. Afterwards I hit the opening of the Penguin Random House Party atop the Tower of the Americas, where I caught up with Melinda Snodgrass, but had to leave early to present the first category at the Chesley Awards, where it was my privilege to see John Picacio win twice, once for the cover of Brenda Cooper's The Creative Fire,which I art directed.

Saturday began with an hour long Stroll With the Stars along the Riverwalk, followed by an art portfolio review, then a lunch with Liza Trombi of Locus. In the afternoon, I did my ScriptTips presentation, the talk I have been giving for several years now about how to use my preferred method of screenwriting as a tool for novel outlining. The room was packed, the response was phenomenal, and quite a few people had some very nice things to say about it afterwards.
Writers of the Future

That evening I went out to dinner with John Picacio, his assistant Tara, George R R Martin, his wife Paris, his two assistants and one of their boyfriends (who turned out to be from my hometown). George wanted authentic barbeque, so we hired a van and drove an hour to Lockhart for the Kreuz Market and Barbeque. Unfortunately, when we got there, they were out of everything but beef shoulder and some sausage. All the pork and chicken was long gone, and as I don't eat red meat -- well, I dined on sauerkraut, mac and cheese, and white bread. But I had a lovely conversation with everyone, especially Paris McBride, and the company made up for the lack of edible (for Lou) food. Afterwards, John, Tara, and I made the tail end of the "Drinks with Authors" event at Ernie's Bar, and then I sat up until 3am with some smart young writers who were Writers of the Future winners.
Looking good for Hugos:
Anders, Tayler, Cornell and Picacio

Sunday I had a photo shoot with Locus magazine, a panel on Using Art Briefs, a "Who Painted That?" panel, and drinks with the JABberwocky Literary Agency. And then, the Hugos!
Hartwell and Picacio

Paul Cornell did an amazing job as Toastmaster, bringing a real dignity to the event that I wish every Hugo ceremony had. He was just the right amount of funny vs sincere, and even the slight politicizing went towards making the event feel like what it should be -- the Oscars of science fiction. Also, at one point during the ceremony, they had a tribute to all of the people in science-fiction or important to science-fiction that we had lost in the last year. They played music and showed all the names. This range from famous writers like Iain M. Banks to people like film critic Roger Ebert who has written for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and was an outspoken fan of written science fiction as well. I was very gratified to see the founder of my parent company, Dr. Paul Kurtz, listed on the screen.

Consolation d20 Lollipop
The highlight of the Hugos, of course, was watching my friend John Picacio win for the second time. Then it was the Hugo Losers Party (where I broke out the amazing d20 lollipop that Sara Felix brought for me!) and spent some time commiserating with Toni Weisskopf and hanging with John Picacio. 

I really enjoyed hanging with Saladin Ahmed, Paolo Bacigalupi, Myke Cole, John DeNardo, Irene Gallo, Dave Gross, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mur Lafferty, Scott Lynch, John Picacio,  John Scalzi, Sam Sykes, Howard Tayler, Liza Trombi, Vincent Villafranca, Sandra Wickham, and many, many others. Even so, there were friends present like Jess Nevins and Michael Rowley that I didn't even see. I saw Michael Swanwick once from a distance and never got close enough to say hello. I could have used another week just to hang with people.
Airport Viking

Still, this was a fairly low-key World Con for me. I had a LOT of programming and a lot of meetings, and I fought to carve out space for my friends and family, but it wasn't as high energy as running a DragonCon booth, or as stressful as some convention programming can be. This weekend had a different energy. In fact, my highlight was different from any other year. It was taking my son to meet Steve Jackson and spending an hour with him creating a branching track in Jackson's big Steampunk Chaos machine. My boy is a Munchin fan and meeting Jackson was a thrill for him, and the big marble maze was pretty incredible. If I could relive one moment from the entire con again, that would be the one. A close second would be another dinner with my family at Acenar.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

LoneStarCon 3: My Schedule

Later this week, I will be attending LoneStarCon 3, the 71s World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas. I'll be appearing on several panels, giving my usual Pyr Books Presents! presentation, and also giving my ScriptTips presentation (for the first time at a WorldCon). Here is my schedule for those interested:

Literary Beer
Exh A - Literary Beers (Convention Center)
The Relationship Between Writers and Editors
101B (Convention Center)
Pyr Books Presents!
007CD (Convention Center)
The State of Sword & Sorcery: New Trends
006B (Convention Center)
Art Portfolio Review (Anders)
003B (Convention Center)
Screenplay Structure for Novelists: From the Screen to the Printed Page
101B (Convention Center)
Using Art Briefs
101A (Convention Center)
Who Painted That!
006B (Convention Center)

Wik'13 (Writing & Illustrating for Kids)

There's a short interview up with me today at YA Sleuth, the blog of Middle Grade author F. T. Bradley, concerning my talk at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Wik (Writing & Illustrating for Kids) conference this October 11-12.

Thank you, F.T. Bradley. Now everybody go order her book, Double Vision.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DragonCon and WorldCon

Pyr Books will have a presence this coming weekend at both LoneStarCon 3, the 71s World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas and DragonCon, in Atlanta, Georgia. I (Lou Anders) be giving the Pyr Books Presents! panel at LoneStarCon 3, along with several attending Pyr authors, and my editorial assistant, Rene Sears, will be hosting her first panel at DragonCon at the exact time in Atlanta, also with attending authors. These are two different panels - no simulcasting or multiplexing going on - but lots of never before seen cover art at both. Please come by if you are attending either con. And if you can somehow attend both, we'd really like to meet you.

World Con
3:00 PM, Friday
Pyr Books Presents!
Room: 007CD (Convention Center)

Lou Anders with Ari Marmell, Chris Willrich, Sam Sykes

4:00 PM Friday*
Pyr Rising
Room: Regency V (Hyatt)

Rene Sears with Clay & Susan Griffith, Gabrielle Harbowy, E.C. Myers, Mike Resnick, Joel Shepherd

*Since Atlanta is an hour ahead of San Antonio, these two panels will be happening simultaneously.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Other Man of Steel

Years ago, in a galaxy far far away, I co-wrote and co-directed a short, hopefully but not necessarily comedic, black-box theater in a crack neighborhood in Chicago. The theater was called The Playwrights' Center, it was about a block or two south of the Green Mill, and when we left late at night to catch the L home we'd see the lines of folks cuing up for drugs at the local crack houses. Good times.

There was a young kid named Michael in our plays. He slept on my couch more than once, we've played drinking games, etc... For about six months I directed him in a serialized story called The Cafe with No Name. He played the son of the cafe owner who happened to be bionic.

In one episode--I'd like to think one of the better ones--we had him fight the cafe owner's first born, the Evil Bionic Man (because, you know, that's what bionic people do). We turned on a strobe light and the two bionic people fought in slow motion, making the Steve Austin sound effects themselves, going "nnnna....nnnna....nnnnnaaa....nnnnnaaaa" as they punched each other with agonizing slowness.

It was fun. But it was amateurish, horribly written, best forgotten stuff. We often had more people on stage than in the audience.

But I've always wondered what happened to Michael. He was really talented, maybe the most talented person I worked with.

A few weeks ago, my friend journalist Eric Spitznagel messaged me to say he was interviewing a certain famous, Oscar-nominated actor and did I remember any details about when he acted for us in Chicago.

I looked him up on IMDB. And suddenly the penny dropped.

Eric told me after the interview that it turns out those Chicago days were formative for Michael. It was a time when he was seriously considering leaving acting, and the small, black box work he did renewed his faith in the craft and his ability.

I'm thrilled to see that the person I identified as the most talented really was, and did well by that talent. I'm honored to think I had a hand in keeping him on the path of acting. Mostly though, I'm chuffed that decades before Zack Snyder, I directed Michael Shannon in a super hero battle.

So yeah, it's kind of all my fault.

Here is Eric's interview with General Zod.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GenCon 2013

There's a first time for everything they say, and last week/weekend was my first ever GenCon, the "best four days in gaming," held at the Indiana Convention Center, August 15th to 18th, in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was a participant in the GenCon Writer's Sumposium, but also there as a fan and a curious former (and now I suppose it's time to admit renewed) gamer. My interest in RPGs has been growing over the past few years. I've acquired two shelves worth of new manuals. I count dozens of friends in the RPG industry. Pyr has published an RPG tie-in novel. I'm backing quite a few RPG Kickstarters... It just seemed like a good thing to go and do.

So, I arrived on Wednesday where good friend Howard Andrew Jones (The Desert of Souls, Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows) picked me up at the airport. We checked into the Omni, then checked out the convention center, where we ran into friend James L. Sutter, Fiction Editor at Paizo, and New Friend Wesley Schneider, Paizo Editor-in-Chief. Then it was off to the Old Spaghetti Factory, for the Writer's Symposium dinner, where I got to meet Bradley P. Beaulieu who I've only ever known online, among others. Afterwards was the Diana Jones Award party, where I met Monte Cook, Matt Forbeck, and Wil Wheaton. The night ended in a long discussion in the lobby of the Omni with Paizo Publisher and good friend Erik Mona.

Thursday I had lunch with Wolfgang Baur of Kobold Press, who I've known online for a while but never met face to face. Really good guy, who makes really good game product and publishes some really good How To books (every fantasy author should read the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.) Afterwards, I had most of the day to walk the floor, where I met Rick Meints and got to congratulate him on the success of The Guide to Glorantha Kickstarter.

That night, I got to sit down at the table and play an RPG run by Howard Andrew Jones, alongside Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon), Dave Gross (Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns), Scott Lynch (The Republic of Thieves), and Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary: The Sharp End of the Stick,Extraordinary Zoology). My friend and author Joel Shepherd (recently returned from New Delhi) was there was well, as part of a three con tour in support of his just-released 23 Years on Fire. (Joel and I haven't seen each other in the flesh since 2006, so spending so much time together was fantastic.) I also got to spend  a little time with Mary Robinette Kowal, who came in that evening.

Friday things kicked into high gear with four panels on the symposium, starting with back to back 8 and 9am panels! I was on a 2pm "Magic and Mysticism" panel with Brandon Sanderson, when afterwards, Rachel Feld, Director of Retail & Consumer Marketing came up to me. She was the one person I didn't get to meet a few weeks ago when I flew up to NYC a few weeks ago to meet everyone in Sales, Marketing & Publicity working on my book, there with Brandon, and so we were both thrilled to discover the other at GenCon. And Friday night roommates Howard Andrew Jones and Scott Lynch and I, along with Joel Shepherd, got, off-campus to Bosporus Istanbul Cafe, where the stuffed eggplant was incredible!

A word on the Writer's Symposium. I had no idea such an enormous and valuable symposium existed. Over 50 authors took part, including heavy hitters like James Dashner, David Farland, Mercedes Lackey, Patrick Rothfuss, and the aforementioned Sanderson. With over 110 hours of programming and so many talented panelists, I would be surprised if there is a larger and more star-studded genre writers symposium anywhere in the US. Marc Tassin deserves incredible kudos for pulling this off, as does his helper Molly Findley and everyone on his team who worked to make this happen. The symposium has apparently been growing every year. I hope GenCon knows what a valuable side-track they have running! 

Amazingly, the 8 and 9am panels had over 100 attendee (the room held 200 and often looked full) while the afternoon panels sometimes (though not always) had fewer. Marc explained that this is because the game rooms open at 10, so unlike other cons, early morning is prime time here. This about killed me. I lost my voice entirely, but still managed to give my solo "ScripTips" screenwriting for novelist talk on Saturday. I got my voice back for it, but the effort ragged me out completely.

Saturday afternoon I met up with good friends Matt Wilson (Chief Creative Officer, Privateer Press) and Miles Holmes (Gameloft game designer, but look for his Road/Kill Kickstarter coming September 9th!). Then we were joined by John Scalzi (The Human Division) and Liz Smith (Dammit Liz Productions). Then it was off to a dinner with Pierce Watters, Erik Mona, Chris Self from Paizo, Tom Doherty (founder Tor books) and Tom Doherty Jr., and some folks from Margaret Weis Productions. A wonderful time, which finished with Tom Doherty telling me stories about the crazy days of Chicago magazine distribution.

One last night of drinks with the Writer's Symposium, one final Sunday morning panel, one last coffee with Scott Lynch, then Howard Andrew Jones and I rode away into the sunset, though he had to lend me a suitcase to get all the RPG manuals I'd bought home!

You were a great con GenCon. I'll definitely be back! Not sure if I'll be there next year or if it will be the year after. Let me roll for initiative.

Monday, August 19, 2013

PW Children's Bookshelf

I was out of town last week, but as I got on the airplane last Wednesday, I had this nice surprise. My recent good news made Publishers Weekly's Children's Bookshelf newsletter:

Phoebe Yeh has also acquired Frostborn by Lou Anders, book one in a three-book middle grade fantasy adventure series called Thrones and Bones, inspired by Norse myth and folklore. The book introduces Karn, who would rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones, and Thianna, half-frost giant, half-human, who team up when they are chased by wyverns, a dead Viking sea captain, and a 1200-year-old dragon. Publication is slated for 2014; Joe Monti of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency brokered the deal for world English rights.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Deal of the Day at Publishers Marketplace!

News of my recent three book deal was selected as the Deal of the Day at Publishers Marketplace!

Children's: Middle grade: Nebula, World Fantasy, Hugo and Chelsea Award editorial finalist Lou Anders's FROSTBORN, the first in a series beginning with the brave frost giant's daughter who befriends a cunning boy in a land inspired by Norse folklore as they become embroiled against warriors, wyverns, and the past, and FROSTFORGED, to Phoebe Yeh at Crown Children's, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in August 2014, by Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary(World English).

Film: Eddie Gamarra at The Gotham Group

I should point out that the credit list isn't quite accurate. I've actually won the Hugo and Chesley awards, but never been nominated for a Nebula (though I have been nominated for a Locus, a PKD, 6 more Hugos, 5 more Chesleys, and 3 WFC awards). Also the title of book two is probably changing. But I am grateful for such good exposure! And deeply grateful to my agent, editor, and publisher.

But if anybody wants to repeat this news (with my thanks!), a more accurate wording would be:

Children's: Middle grade: Hugo and Chelsea Award winning editor/art director Lou Anders's FROSTBORN, the first in a series beginning with the brave frost giant's daughter who befriends a cunning boy in a land inspired by Norse folklore as they become embroiled against warriors, wyverns, and the past, and two sequels, to Phoebe Yeh at Crown Books for Young Readers, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in August 2014, by Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary(World English).

Film: Eddie Gamarra at The Gotham Group

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Now It Can Be Told...

I've been sitting on some news for a month, not allowed to talk until this press release, and just bursting at the seams. But now I can speak. And so, I'm tickled pink to tell you that...

Drum roll please...

I've sold a book. And not just a book, but three books, to Phoebe Yeh, newly crowned vice president and publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers, a brand new imprint from Random House Children's Books. It's a middle reader fantasy that I'm very proud of, and it kicks off a series. The series is called Thrones and Bones, and the first book is titled Frostborn.

Joe and Lou take Manhattan
Obviously, I'm enormously grateful to my new editor Phoebe, to Barbara Marcus, RHCB president and publisher, and to my agent, the extraordinary Joe Monti. I'm thrilled to be working with them all. Recently, I was in New York City, where I got to sit down with seven people from Random House' sales and marketing departments, and I'm excited to work with them as well and very confident that I am in great hands. And the opportunity to be part of the first list from a brand new, prestigious imprint from the largest publishing house... oh my!

Frostborn is slated for an August 2014 debut. Watch this space, Facebook, and my Twitter account (@LouAnders) for updates.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Convergence 2013

Last weekend, July 4th to 7th, was CONvergence 2013, a convention held in Bloomington, MN that I've been hearing good things about for several years now. I had the privileged of being a Guest of Honor, and the double-thrill of having my good friends John Picacio, Paul Cornell, Melinda Snodgrass, and Charlie Jane Anders all there as Guests of Honor as well!

Attendance at the convention was apparently a record-breaking 6,789 persons, who somehow all fit inside the Double Tree hotel. And not only did they fit - the Double Tree has a large indoor courtyard and attendees rent rooms with patios opening on to it, strip the rooms of furnishings, and convert them into elaborately constructed party palaces. My son loved the Japanese Tea House, so every evening we stopped by for a different tea and biscuits. I probably went through half-a-hundred fruit smoothies at the Space Lounge. And while I didn't sample "Green" nor "Orange" in the Enterprise, I did get to stand on a teleporter and and pose as a communications officer on a Star Trek: TOS set.

It's hard to communicate the energy and enthusiasm at this show--even the
hotel staff are wearing CONvergence t-shirts throughout the weekend - or the friendliness and professionalism of the con. We were all of us very impressed by the opening ceremonies. When I heard I was going to be interviewed by a puppet mascot, I confess to a feeling of dread. Instead, the opening puppet show was of professional puppeteer quality - though how could it not be when Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot) and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) are regular guests? It was a blast. And now my son is in love with robot mascot Connie and her virtual evil twin.
Comic book artist Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Batman Strikes!) is one of the founders of CONvergence, and kindly drew a unique badge for each one of the attendees. Mine is taking from my 2011 Hugo Award win. I'm 40 lbs heavier in that picture than I am now, but I'm also holding a glowing rocket, so hey. Really, I was just grinning and showing off my badge for hours after they gave it to me. Being animated by such a great artist was really something else. And speaking of something else...

My wrangler Andrew McKay was extraordinaire too, giving us a tour of the Mall of America--which everyone should see once. Actually, the aquarium is quite nice and the mirror maze was fantastic. The roller coasters looked amazing but - alas! - no one in my family does roller coasters but me. Also, I've never been able to sit still for a game at a con - too much to see and do - but my son was very curious about Munchkins and we weren't sure if it was age appropriate, so Andrew rounded up a game and ran one for us. We loved it and Steven Jackson has scored another customer. 

Thursday night John Picacio, his assistant Tara Smith, and I snuck out to a dinner at Republic in downtown Minneapolis, where I had some great fish and chips, grilled vegetables with one of the spiciest habanero peppers I've had in a long while, and a fantastic (and fantastically named) beer called Dragon's Milk, which was rich, thick, and had the sort of bite you'd expect from a beer so called. The bartender was delighted that an appreciative audience had come from so far away and kept sending me free samples of his other wares all night too. Great place, great food and drink, great company. Highly recommended.

The whole weekend was marvelous, especially for being able to spend time with so many friends, the aforementioned guests, as well as Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, new friend Peter Lee (of WotC), and many more. I also got to put faces on some blogger's names and see some folk I haven't seen in a long while.

Huge thanks to Guest Co-Head Tanya Brody, Director Michael Lee, artist in residence and founding member Christopher Jones, my excellent wrangler Andrew McKay, programming head Craig Finseth, Picacio's wrangler Carly Buchanan who also helped me out a time or two and everyone working in front of and behind the scenes who made this such a magnificent time!  You're a great con CONvergence. I hope to come back!