Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Big Events at the League of Utah Writers

THE FINGER TRAP won the DIAMOND QUILL Award from the League of Utah Writers last Saturday at the annual Fall Conference. I was blown away. The Diamond Quill is the highest award the league offers for published work. It represents the highest score given by third-party judges across all categories, young adult, non-fiction, fiction —all of it. There’s only each year and this year, Tony Flaner (and I) got it.

THE FINGER TRAP is my most personal. It was the book that convinced me to try to become a professional author. This was the shove off the cliff, the character that dragged me into the dream. Its existence completes its theme, this award is the crown upon that idea. This is validation the likes of which I never imagined I would see. Yeah, I’m pretty happy about this.

CELESTE won a RECOMMENDED READ QUILL, kind of a third place Bronze Medal in the Young Adult category. Not bad for the middle book of a trilogy I thought. Eleanor continues to amaze me.

And for my sins, I was made President Elect of the League of Utah Writers. I’ll follow the wonderful Jared Quan who took the gavel this year from Chris Todd Miller. President is a three year commitment; elect, president and past president. I’ve joined this group and will wield ultimate power over the organization in 2018 where I plan to use its resources to possibly build a monster insect to take over the world and make me king or something else. Plans are still in flux.

Founded in 1935, at 81 years old, The League of Utah Writers is Utah’s oldest and foremost writing organization. It provides education and opportunities to its members and community involvement across the state. It has been very good to me, as you can see above. Also it has linked me with some of the the coolest, most generous, fellow writers and sufferers on the planet.

When I began this journey into art and publishing, I did so with a list of ideas that would help me survive and navigate the rough waters of I was entering. One of those rules was to the idea that to achieve your dreams you must help others achieve theirs. Other rules, corollaries to this perhaps, were the idea to “give back” and to “say yes” to opportunities.

These all come together in this chance to be part of a great organization with vision and enthusiasm. It is a reward unto itself.

The key to happiness is gratitude. The poorest man can be happy if grateful, the richest miserable for thanklessness. This goes to the heart of mental health, a struggle I and many artists wrestle with creatively and personally. I can say though that I am, this day, truly grateful for the many great things that are happening to me and which I can share.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Classes

The fools at the University of Utah Lifelong Learning Center have given me more chances to corrupt the population. I'm teaching two classes come October: one a practical writing class, the other a cultural movie thing just in time for Halloween.

Follow the links below to sign up. They're going to be freakin' awesome! Fun, informative and full of brightly colored shirts and enthusiasm.

LITERARY QUERYING - The Art of Rejection: a hard-core six week class on Querying. Brush up your manuscript, assemble your pieces and go to battle with the gatekeepers of literature. I'll show you what you need, where to attack. Tricks and plans.

POPULAR HORROR AS CULTURAL MIRROR: What are we afraid of? Drawing mostly from film and visual arts, we will survey popular horror in western culture. From Dracula to The Zombie Apocalypse, we’ll break down recurring themes and villains, associate them historically to take the pulse of a culture, its changing trends and deepest fears as shown in its darkest fiction.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

LUW 2016 Fall Conference

It's just over a week away and I'm getting so stoked for this year's League of Utah Writers Fall Conference. I've been involved in the planning and construction of this year's event and promises to be the most ambitious event the League of Utah Writers has ever put on.

It's a two day event, Friday and Saturday, September 23-24th at the Provo Marriott. Here's the link: LUW Fall 2016

Beyond being behind the curtain, I'll be taking pitches for Omnium Gatherum -  looking for the next new cool dark fiction masterpiece. I'll be teaching several classes and sitting in some awesome panels. Here's my schedule.

Friday September 23, 2016

11:00 a.m. –12:00 noon 
NEBO room

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Panel: Panel: How to Scare Your Audience (Horror)

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Presentation: Layering: Writing That Does More - Me & Callie Stoker

Saturday, September 24, 2016

9:00 a.m. –10:00 a.m.
Presentation: A Glimpse of Horror

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Panel: Books You Should Have Read

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Presentation: Mystery Theory

5:30 p.m. – 6: 30 p.m.
Panel: LUW Progress and Visions - Getting the Most from your Membership 

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Panel: The Do's and Don'ts of Presenting Yourself as an Author 

Wow, I didn't know how much I had to do until I just put it up, just now. I'll be a busy boy. And this doesn't even include bar-con.

Come join me and the cream of Utah's writing community.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Salt Lake Comic Con 2016

Awesome new vest!
Salt Lake Comic Con is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s a family reunion of geeks and authors, celebrities and fans. It is an experience not wholly unlike a Dead show - full of sights and sounds, experiences and knowledge. It’s a sensory overload, taxing on the body and soul Three days later and I’m still recovering; the gleam of the event is still bright in my mind.

I mixed things up a bit this year at Salt Lake Comic Con— I decided to actually hang out at my booth instead of wandering around, or rather, hang out more at my booth. As such, I got to see a lot more costumes, meet a lot more fans and sell a lot more books. I sold out of DAVID every day and now I don’t have a copy left for my shelf until resupply arrives. This is partially my underestimating my great fans, but mostly due to the support of my great fans! Thanks guys!

I took a lot of pictures, but not nearly enough. Here a few of the better ones.

At the Mark Hammil event

My son getting "Crazy Eyes" from watching Mark Hammil

Hanging with David Powers

Don't Starve


By Hades those are great costumes

Never give up! Never surrender.

Believe it or not, this is my publicist.

Some old time religion

Making friends

Meeting fans

More fans

Small bug problem


Surprisingly terrifying

The teletubby formerly known as Prince



With Tyler Whitesides

Spreading the good words