Rob’s Ramblings: Superstars AAR

Howdy

This past week, I went to the Superstars Seminar. For those who don’t know, this is a seminar for writers and publishers of all levels and genres. It is designed to help us all level up.

For me, I can tell you it worked. Wow.

To start with, part of the process, and honestly in some ways my favorite part, are the opportunities for publishers like myself to have authors pitch their stuff to us. I really enjoyed this because, without fail, all the authors I spoke to had a great, professional focus. Most won’t get published by New Mythology, but they’ll do well as a group, I think.

While I won’t publish most of them, I did add several new authors to our team. I can’t tell you how excited I am about what they’ll bring to New Mythology and I thought I’d introduce them.

Class of 2022
Class of 2022 (L to R: Chris Kennedy, Trisha Wooldridge, Philippa Werner, J.T. Evans, myself, and Brock Kolby)

First, is J.T. Evans. You all might remember him from his story “The Empty House” from Talons & Talismans I. Courage takes many forms, and this story is a perfect, strong example of standing up for what’s important. J.T. tends to darker fantasy, and I have to wonder if the horrific car crash he was in at 15 where they had to to reattach his arm might be one reason. Anyway, we hope to publish a trilogy in his setting starting late fall.

Oh, and as publisher, I’d better give you the link for Talons & Talismans I. You can find it here: amazon.com/dp/B09HQZDR4W.

Next is Philippa Werner who you’ re going to love. She has a host of writing experience, so much so, she’s already pushing me to up my game as publisher. She’s written under the pen names of Moira Katson and Natalie Grey. As you can see from those two links, she’s already done a bunch of great stuff and we’re ecstatic to have her.

Her first job, by the way, was at an apple orchard, and she still loves unusual types of apples and goes crazy for a really GOOD cider (none of that pasteurized crap). So, if you’re going to a con where she’s at and you have a great local cider, you might remember that. Just sayin’.

But wait, there’s more! She’s also building up a cool tool for writers called Scribe Count. You can find this here: scribecount.com/

Trisha Wooldridge is next. She, too, is pushing me to up my game. She loves writing awesome characters and then putting them into positions where if she were to meet them in real life, they’d want to throat-punch her.

See? I told you all she’d be a fit for New Mythology.

I have to add, her story about her and her husband’s courtship is hilarious. He proposed to her using a rubber chicken. I wish I’d been smart enough to do that. That’s just wonderful.

Finally, there’s Brock Kolby. He’s very interested in the myth and magic of the Indian subcontinent, which, it turns, is also one of my interests. There’s a good chance he’ll write in Amaranth in the Eldros Legacy, and then also his own setting.

I’m calling these guys the Class of 2022. Obviously, I’m looking for new, great authors all the time, but like I mentioned earlier, there are so many writers at Superstars who are talented pros. I don’t know if I’ll walk away with this much awesomeness each year, but I’m certainly going to try.

Whew. Where were we. Oh, yeah, talking about the seminar, not just the superstars who are joining the team.

I got there on Monday with the intent of helping set up on Tuesday starting at noon. Arrived at the con site at about 12:30 after running errands to find out the others who’d gotten there earlier had already done it all. Marie Whittaker, who ran the con along with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, did a fantastic job of organizing things, and this is a perfect example.

So, I was able to nest and relax a bit before socializing that night at Jack Quinn’s, a nice Irish bar. Had a great time chatting with a variety of awesome folk, which also was an example of the week.

Wednesday is Craft Day, and I chose to take the seminars from Jonathan Maberry on pacing and the one on cover art from James Artimis Owens.

In both, I had sort of the best learning experience one could have. I’ve been fumbling along based on instincts  and I discovered that many of my instincts are good, they just need to be turned into skills. Also, I was able to find a number of new sets of questions I can investigate, questions I didn’t know enough until taking these sessions to even be able to ask.

I’m already introducing some of Maberry’s techniques into The Door Into Winter and the results are very promising.

Wednesday night was more socializing. The truth is, a bunch of the work that gets done is hanging out with a variety of new people. In this particular case, Eldros Legacy hosted a party, which was a great success. Thanks especially Chris Mandeville for bartending!

I had more than a few great conversations at the party, but the most productive was with Dan Bridgwater. He and I are going to collaborate on the Rick Blaine thread from The Feeding of Sorrows. That thread didn’t get explored in The Ravening of Wolves for the basic reason that his investigation of intrigue and conspiracy in the Galactic Union took too long. Each jump from system to system takes something like two weeks, depending on entry and exit points. In any case, we ran through a bunch of character motivations.

I also gave him a fun idea for a fantasy setting and character. Hopefully, he can find time to write that, too.

On Thursday, there were a bunch of good panels and things to do, but honestly, I really wanted to write after listening to Maberry. Plus, I had some other work so I sat in the main bar area and got words written, the work done, and had a number of great conversations.

Thursday evening we hung out at the hotel bar until very late. Side note: I’m not as young as I used to be and altitude affects things.

Friday was, in many ways, the start of my con. It began with a panel on creating a shared world with all five Eldros Legacy founders. This panel went great, I thought, especially since we presented Kevin J. Anderson with a custom-made Kevin the Unkillable t-shirt. Yes, it said “Kevin,” not “Khyven.”

Lunch was excellent, not the food really, but getting a chance to sit next to Craig Martelle and chat with him. I am very much looking forward to 20Booksto50K this year. He’s an impressive guy who’s got a bunch to teach me.

Then I accepted pitches from a number of new authors during the afternoon. That’s where I started gathering the Class of 2022 I started this post with. Again, I found the authors to be, without exception, professional and talented. They’re going to do some great stuff.

Friday night was the VIP dinner. If you’re trying to build up in this game, the cost for the VIP dinner was totally worth it. It’s a normal process. They put a VIP at each table, then fill the table with others, and that means you have a chance to really talk. In my case, our VIP was Nick Thacker, and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. He’s very impressive.

Getting home from the Pinery on the Hill, a great restaurant, was an adventure, though. Shockingly, the place was on a hill. Great view overlooking Colorado Springs… while the snow fell. The four people riding with me in my car literally gave a great cheer when I drove into the parking garage.

Saturday, I started with a set of pitches, with a second set later in the afternoon. I was also on a panel about writing short stories. I was, by far, the least experienced person on the panel, but I think I did well. At least, one of the others, who happens to be a big part of the Writers of the Future, enjoyed having me there.

Then came closing ceremonies, where they raised a bunch of money for the Dave Farland Memorial Scholarship. This is a huge scholarship, especially given that Superstars is not a cheap seminar, so if you’re interested, I encourage you to apply.

After that, we had a passel go to Oskar Blues. There was the whole class of 2022, Chris, myself, and a bunch of others. It was a fantastic time to get the new authors seeing just how awesome our team really is.

Finally, there was the end of the con hanging out at the hotel bar. I ended up with another pitch session, some more cool networking, laughing and carousing, and wishing for more.

As I said, I leveled up. I’ve been excited about where New Mythology Press is going ever since I took over, but man, this was one of those times that just push that excitement to a new level.

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