Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Conventions! Audiobooks! Exclamation Points!

Gosh, it's been a while since I updated, huh? Guess I've been a bit busy! Lots of news to relate here.

First things first: If you're in the Seattle-ish area, I'll be making my first convention appearance as a panelist at Norwescon from April 2 - 5. This year's Author Guest of Honor is kind of a big deal (George RR Martin), so it's looking to be a bigger-than-usual con. I'm told selection for panelists & such was pretty competitive this year, so I'm excited to have been chosen!
My schedule for the con has me on the following panels:

Name All the Things!
Thu 5:00pm-6:00pm - Evergreen 1&2
Dean Wells (M), Frances Pauli, Erik Scott de Bie, Brenda Carre, Elliott Kay

One-on-One Combat for Writers
Fri 10:00am-11:00am - Evergreen 3&4
GregRobin Smith (M), Norman K. Moss, Bill Gruner, A.M. Brosius, Ogre Whiteside, Michael 'Tinker' Pearce, V Whitlock, Ann Schilling, Alan Paulsen
(I'm not on the published schedule for this one, but the track lead invited me this weekend and I jumped at the chance. This is a great panel.)

Writing About the Military
Fri 4:00pm-5:00pm - Cascade 7&8
Russell Ervin (M), Bart Kemper, S. A. Bolich, Jennifer Brozek, Joseph Malik, Elliott Kay

Level Up Your Indie Skillset
Sat 6:00pm-7:00pm - Cascade 9
Matt Youngmark (M), Annie Bellet, Luna Lindsey, Elliott Kay

Beyond Insert Tab A Into Slot B
Sat 9:00pm-10:00pm - Cascade 6
18+ Only, please

Zap! Pow! Bam!
Sun 3:00pm-4:00pm - Cascade 9
Grant Riddell (M), Elliott Kay, Erik Scott de Bie, Craig English

Norwescon has been an annual event for me since I arrived in Seattle ten years ago. I've been a regular attendee, I've been a vendor('s boyfriend), I've found myself in after-hours room parties until far too late at night, and now I'm an attending pro! Hooray, progress!

But if you're on my blog here, you're probably wondering what I've been up to since my last update. I've been focused on my sci-fi books for the last couple of months. Some of my efforts have been drawn off by edits and proofreads of Poor Man's Fight and Rich Man's War in preparation for its publishing re-launch through Skyscape, but for the most part I've been hard at work writing the still-not-titled Book Three in the series. As I may have noted elsewhere, there's a lot of world-building to do for this one. Tanner is at the end of his enlistment term, with major decisions to face for his life while Archangel, the Kingdom of Hashem, the big corporations and the rest of the Union brawl their way toward a new status quo.

Additionally, I have some more good news if you're a lover of Audiobooks: Audible.com and I have reached a deal for producing audio versions of Good Intentions, Natural Consequences and Days of High Adventure! I can't offer much in the way of details there except for the fact that the papers are signed and I have received word from Audible that the process is underway. We don't have a narrator chosen or a release date yet, but I'm told it should all be a matter of just a few months.

I hope to have more news soon, and if you're at Norwescon, please come say hi!


  1. Hi Elliott! Any advice for someone who's going to be attending for the first time of things to absolutely not miss? We'll be commuting to the con and likely only there Friday / Saturday..

    1. The "One-on-One Combat for Writers" panel that I noted above is super fun. Everyone on that panel except me is a Legitimate Bad Ass in one way or another (martial arts instructors, military, competitive sword-fighters), and what they do is help writers in the crowd work out their fight scene. So you basically say, "I've got two dudes attacking my lady hero and she has a sword and [blah] complication, what should she do?" and they choreograph it out. It's a lot of fun just to watch even if you're not a writer.

      If you ARE a writer, I also highly recommend the panel that immediately follows, called "Universal Rules of the Fight." I still keep the handout from that one on my desk.

      Anything with Lee Moyer (who does all my cover art) is definitely a good call. He's doing a panel on the Hawkeye Initiative on Saturday at 5pm, which should be entertaining as hell.

      Similarly, anything with G. Willow Wilson (writer of the Ms. Marvel comic) will likely be delightful. I'm a huge fan.

      After-hours room parties are hit and miss. People are generally pretty friendly -- random con-goers wandering in and out is kind of how it all works, so don't feel weird about that. Some are dull, others are great. Depends on your tastes.

      As much as I hate to say it -- in ten years of going to this convention, I've never once been to the bigger events like the Masquerade Ball. They're a big draw, so there's probably something to them, but I've always, always been busy with other things.

      If you're at one of my panels, feel free to say hi afterwards! I'm still always shocked and amazed when real live people tell me they've read my stuff!

    2. Sadly I'll only be able to make it on Saturday, but I'll come up and say hello after your 6PM or 9PM panels!

    3. Assuming that passes haven't sold out by the time I get there, that is!

  2. Not yet titled... What happened to "Well That Escalated Quickly" - I could be making this up but thought that was the working title.
    Also any update re whether with the update/relaunch we will keep the originals or get the new ones with new character names?

    1. WTEQ is a working title, sure, but if I drop it too often we all might get attached to it. :)

      I have fired your question off to my editor(s). Thanks for reminding me. It had completely slipped my mind.

  3. The more I hear of Seattle, the more awesome the city seems to become. Home to some of my favourite book heroes and authors, good weather (I define rain as good) and conventions. I really do hope I'll have the chance to visit it sometime... and preferably in time for Norwescon. That would've probably been the time to finally get my copies of your books signed as well.
    And speaking of those, I really, REALLY oughtta finally buy the books I'm missing (as of yet), before the re-publish. Not that I won't buy the republished ones as well, I just have a thing for first verions and original releases (one of the reasons I regret to never have copied AD&D from Lit for my private library).
    Speaking of AD&D: I don't know if you've watched Agents of Shield or not... but recently (recently aired over the pond) they had a character called Lorelei in the show (not gonna say more about that), and I had a "wait, what?" moment. Talk about coincidents, at least in terms of names. Or maybe it's not a coincidence at all, and someone high up in the production reads your books. Now, that would be pretty cool, wouldn't it be?

  4. I have noticed that SCI-FI authors don't really understand how horifically expensive a warcraft in space will be. Just think of the price of a warship/commercial airliner and multiply by at least 10. Possibly 100.

    The closest we have is probably nuclear submarines.

    There would be no pirates. Nobody can afford it. Too little return on the investment. IF you can find someone who want to invest.

    You will have to be a very major power to be able to afford it. And run it. If we get cheap fusion reactors, that might allow more powers to the table.

    And they would have to be stealthed beyond belief. Otherwise they would not survive long. Speed will not help at all because the acceleration would be hideously expensive and slow. You can probably bring some mass (water) to use for emergency acceleration, but not that much.

    Even today's fire control system would have no problem with anything that is found in any space opera.

    Missiles could be interesting. Highly visible when the accelerate unless launced by magrail. But they might be visible when they maneuver due to gas emissions. And they will be discovered if they obscure any stars.

    On the other hand we could get new and interesting armour. Perhaps based on aerogels?

    I hope we will get alcubierre drives before I keel over.

  5. Tarjei, for an interesting discussion of the expenses and energies involved, check out John Ringo's "Troy Rising" series - the energies you're discussing (as well as the difficulties in locating and destroying missiles in flight) are discussed at length, and yes - you're talking truly mind-blowing energies - terawatts per second expenditures to maintain even reasonable accels. Ringo has started consulting with real physicists on his books (since he got spanked after his "Into the Looking Glass" debut), and his maths have gotten simply brilliant. Talking about the needs of moving large, heavy, things around, or pushing coherent light beams through them (laser battles), or missiles and Kinetic Energy Weapons (terrifying!) - he's gotten VERY good at it.

  6. The 1000 trillion ton battle station in the blurb quenched any desire for reading those books.

  7. Tarjel: it would seem to mess with your head (the scale of the battle station), but it was a rather low-tech station - no lifting out of gravity wells. They started with a nickel-iron asteroid, and inflated it (and, messed up in the inflation, too). There were false starts, and missteps along the way, problems with how to get there from here, what the cost of launch is, etc.

    It may seem off-putting from the title, but the science is surprisingly realistic, and the costs of dealing with masses like that are actually a point of discussion in the story - "No, we can't just turn this ball of metal into a rocket, it weighs too much. Here's how much it would cost...[long discussion]. So, you're the accountant, you do the math."

    "That's insane. You're making it up."

    "Come on, it's MATH!"

    (She stormed off, because she thought the (female) gunnery sergeant was making fun of her [they were], and one of the men had to find a new date)

    Well written, and actually good physics and economics - including what a sudden, massive, influx of wealth can do to a civilization. Kinetic energy weapons dropped from high orbits, why you can't turn a km-long space ship on a dime (without tearing it to shreds), what happens when very large things run into each other (bad things), and general space warfare issues.

    It's a good series, if you like a lot of questions about, "how do you bootstrap a civilization into REAL space travel?" (as opposed to just lobbing cans into Low Earth Orbit).