Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ready for Miscon

Well, a couple of days in the hospital last week set me back a whole week in my preparation for Miscon, the world's most fun science fiction convention, but I'm almost caught up now. It's held in Missoula, Montana every Memorial Day weekend, and if you're in the area I urge you to stop by. Here's my schedule:

Sat 11:00 - 11:50 AM, Fiction Slam Reading, Tent By the Trees (1)
I'll be reading a humorous short story at 11:20.

Sun 1:00 - 1:50 PM, Not Your Average Short Story Panel, Glacier
Panelists: S. A. Bolich, Dean Wells
If you’re tired of hearing the same old advice on short stories, this is the panel for you. Let’s delve deep into what makes a short story work. Is it like writing the last chapter of a book? Or more like a vignette? Does it include the same ups and downs as a novel? How do you know when it’s done?

Sun 3:00 - 3:50 PM, You Got Military in my Sci Fi, Gallatin
Panelists: S. A. Bolich, Larry Bonham
How does military SFF parallel our current geo-political situation? How does it differ?

Sun 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Current Trends in Sci/Fi, Fantasy, and Horror, Pavilion (2)
Moderator: S. A. Bolich; Panelists: S. A. Bolich, Manny Frishberg, Andrea Howe, Frog Jones
Let’s discuss the current trends in genre. Are we finally leaving grim dystopia behind? Is it possible for SF to imagine hopeful futures again? Is message fiction our future, or is there still room for silly fun? This will be an audience-participation panel where we talk about what people really want to see/read, as opposed to what the media and the big houses are focused on.

Mon 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Maps and Stories, Ballroom C
Panelists: S. A. Bolich, Brenda Carre, Vandy Hall, Todd Lockwood, Laurey Patten
How can storytelling and cartography influence each other?

Mon 11:00 - 11:50 AM, Write a Story on the Fly, Pavilion (2)
Moderator: Krista Wallace; Panelists: Carol Berg, S. A. Bolich, Diana Pharaoh Francis (Di), Krista Wallace
In this panel, the panelists will improv a story on the fly, one sentence at a time. It will be written down as they go, and will be read aloud at the end. Promises to be a rolickin’ good time!

I hope to see you there!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Fate's Arrow Gets New Covers!

Sometimes the progress of a book to publication is uneven and hits some significant bumps along the way. Sometimes the best intentions of all parties can't overcome the quixotic sense of humor the universe brings to creation. In the case of my Fate's Arrow series, the cover artist who originally signed on could not continue after the first book. I loved working with him; he gave me ideas about the world that were subsequently incorporated into the books because they were so logical and right, arising from how he interpreted the words on the page into visuals. But, alas, he had scheduling conflicts and so the publisher needed to find someone else.

That resulted in a rather large visual disconnect between the style of the first artist and the style of the second artist. For a series, that's a problem. A visual "brand" is very important to both the writer and the works. Fans can find a author's books on the shelf, or a particular series they're looking for, much more easily if the books are similar in appearance, using the same fonts, the same sort of visuals, etc. I have a whole series of Anne McCaffrey books in my library that hardly need her name on the cover. I know at a glance they're hers, and I can identify them from across the room.

Such is the power of branding.

Long story short, a wonderful artist, Fiona Jayde, undertook the job of bringing the covers visually into a thematic whole. And here is the result. I love them. She has done a superb job of capturing certain scenes and giving the covers the "fantastical" feel so necessary for conveying the genre to the audience. These books have a strong SF underpinning, but at heart they are epic fantasy, and she has conveyed that well.

So what do you think? Are they keepers? I think so. And the next three books will be coming soon! They are:

The Wrath of God, coming in Summer 2016
Alarion Aravon, eagerly awaiting his brother's wedding, followed closely by his own, must investigate the possibility that his old enemy Stoneshaker, god of earthquakes, may be reviving down in the province of An-Utah. But there's an earthquake of a different kind awaiting him.

The Judgement of God (Fall/Winter 2016)
The fallout from Alarion's journey to An-Utah is more intense than anyone could have imagined . . . even the gods.

The Hand of God (Spring 2017)
The conclusion to Fate's Arrow brings gods, believers, and skeptics alike to a fateful final confrontation among the strange, redstone pillars of the most powerful place on Ariel.

I look forward to seeing what Fiona comes up with next!

You can find out a lot more about these books and the world of Ariel, including maps, glossaries, concept art, and sneak peeks at the opening chapters, at the Extras page on my website. And if you like listening to authors read their own works, you can also listen to me acting out the opening chapters. It's not Oscar-worthy, but I did have fun. All those voices in my head, you know...