Life, The Universe and Everything (LTUE) (see my previous post for links to LTUE's website)
I was a guest at LTUE, a fantastic writing symposium on science-fiction and fantasy yesterday. It’s been held at BYU in Provo, Utah for the past 28 years, and is still going strong. It’s my favorite conference by far and I really had a great time yesterday. I was on four panels and they went really well. Seeing my writer friends and some of my fans was great too. It’s free and is going today, Friday Feb. 12 and tomorrow Feb 13. Swing by, the parking is free as well . . .
Here’s a little more detail on what went on . . .
Thursday, February 11
- Fantasy without Magic
(Paul Genesse, Brandon Sanderson, Robert J Defendi, Lary Correia)
This panel was really good, and not just because I was the moderator. (grin) Brandon Sanderson, the author of the new Wheel of Time books, was excellent and very informative. We talked a lot about George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, which are amazing, and there is almost no magic in them. Fantasy without magic is so cool and I’ve written one story like that, the lead story in DAW Books’ Fellowship Fantastic anthology, titled, Almost Brothers. It’s my homage to George R.R. Martin and I hope to write a novel based on that story someday.
- Creating a wizard that isn’t another Gandalf, Merlin, Dumbledore, etc.
(Brandon Sanderson, Paul Genesse, Dan Willis, Scott, Parkin, Aleta Clegg)
Another great panel and we covered this topic extremely well in my humble opinion. I spoke about various things, and also mentioned the wizard in my Iron Dragon books, Dabarius, who is very unlike any other wizard I’ve read about. He’s a martial artist and is physically stronger and taller than any one else in the group. Dabarius is a ladies man with a “live for the moment philosophy.” He’s young, powerful, and incorporates his magic into his martial arts. Overall, he’s a bad-ass wizard, and the opposite of the white-bearded wise old man type that we’ve seen too much. He first appears in book two, The Dragon Hunters.
I had lunch with Tom Carr and his friend Doug. Tom is the founder of Wasatch Paranormal, a ghost hunting group in Utah. Tom is a great guy and recently wrote his first book. I’m so proud of him. I also learned about his invitation by a famous film producer to go to the Atlantic Ocean and do a ghost hunt on the water above the wreck of The Titanic. Then they’re going to investigate the cemetery where most of the bodies were buried in Nova Scotia (I think Nova Scotia). Anyway, Tom is one of the best ghost hunters in American and was chosen to be part of this really interesting project. I’m planning on going with him on a ghost hunt in March. I went once before and it was really fascinating.
- Writing Strong Female Characters
(Aleta Clegg, Paul Genesse, Ami Chopine, Laura Card, Lesli Muir Lytle, Karen Hooper)
Five strong female authors and me, the moderator. We had a good panel and covered the topic pretty well, giving the large crowd a lot of good tips on how to create a strong female character—and characters in general. I got to talk about my latest strong female character, Queen Sahdi in the story The Nubian Queen, an alternate history steampunk story that should be coming out from DAW Books. I picture Queen Sahdi as looking like Tyra Banks, but having Oprah’s force of will. She’s awesome.
No More Dead Dogs (or moms): Why do mothers and dogs always die in children's literature? How do we pull at the heartstrings and give child characters independence without killing off dogs and moms? (Paul Genesse, Stacy Whitman, Clint Johnson, Julie Wright)
This was the best panel of the day that I was a part of. We had such a good time, and kept the crowd laughing and entertained just about the entire time. Stacy Whitman was a good moderator and her editorial experience is fabulous. She’s heading to New York soon as her publishing company is taking off. Congrats to Stacy!! Anyway, another panelist, Clint Johnson needs to write a book about writing. He is so smart and eloquent on panels—plus he fills the air with cogent remarks that are so applicable to improving your writing. It’s always a treat to be on a panel with him. Julie Wright was witty and brilliant as we explored this interesting topic and gave ideas on why you should try to leave the character’s parents alive, and should (almost never!) kill the dogs. I did admit to killing a dog in a short story once, and of course I admitted to tormenting the two dogs that accompany my main character in my Iron Dragon Series. I’ve had so many fans tell me how much they loved the dogs in my books, and they’ve threatened me to never kill the dogs. We’ll see what happens . . .
Now I’m off to LTUE. I’ve only got a book signing today, Feb. 12, 2010, at 12:00 noon with several cool authors listed below. We’ll be in the BYU bookstore. The authors signing at noon are:
Steven C. Walker, James Dashner, Clint Johnson, Larry Correia, Laura Bingham, Nathan Hale, Karen Hoover Wilcox, Julie Wright, Bryan Beus, Paul Genesse.