I will be putting out another blog tomorrow (Thursday, February 19, 2015) about the upcoming novel in the Exodus Universe, due to be released on Friday. But today I wanted to get back to my impressions of this year’s Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado Springs, while they are still fresh in mind. Next week I will post Part 3, about the attendees, many of who have become friends and colleagues.
One of the most amazing things about the seminar were the professionals who were on hand. People who not only taught the courses, but also took meals with the attendees and talked with them between sessions. There was plenty of time to talk with these people, even if there were almost a hundred other people clambering for their attention. Kevin J Anderson knew everyone there, or, if they were a first time attendee, knew them by the end of the seminar. He actually named everyone in the room during the farewell session in order.
It all starts with Kevin, who, with his wife Rebecca, is the heart and soul of the seminar. Kevin always seemed to have time for a couple of words with everyone. He took people to Garden of the Gods the day before the seminar started, and hung out with Dean Wesley Smith in the lobby after the close. His productivity is amazing, and you still see him at just about every con around. My most salient memory of Kevin this year was when I bought his book, Martian War, and brought it to him to get signed. His eyes were aglow and there was a smile on his face as he signed the book, telling me the whole while about both that book and one he had written about Captain Nemo. I told him about the animated movie on Netflix in which Teddy Roosevelt fights the Martians, and Kevin showed himself what he is at heart. A fan, who went into writing science fiction because of his love for it.
Rebecca, of course, is also a permanent fixture, and is always kind and gracious to everyone at the seminar. She teaches several of the sessions with the other professionals, and her knowledge of publishing, both from her own career and being right there alongside Kevin during his is amazing as well.
Eric Flint is one of the other stalwart regulars. Eric comes off as a curmudgeon, but is another writer who both loves the field and the people in it. I talked with him just a few minutes, telling him how much I enjoyed his newest collaboration with David Weber. That brought a smile to his face, and I realized no matter the stature of the author, they still like to hear people tell them how much they like their work. I sat at Erik’s table for last year’s VIP dinner, and was heartened by the story of a man with a degree in history who worked most of his life in a factory until he won a contest, Writers of the Future.
Dave Wolverton (David Farland) is another regular, and a man who had helped innumerable writers to success. I saw Dave last year, then took a workshop from him in Atlanta, before appearing on Podcast with he and Kevin. I would have liked to talk with him more, but didn’t want to monopolize his time when there were so many others who wanted his attention. Dave is someone I hope to have much more communication with in the future.
James Artemis Owens is the last of the regulars, also back from last year. James is an artist as well as a writer, and the complete comics enthusiast. Toward the end of the seminar, James showed me some art he had finished for a project he was working on. It was amazing, with so much detail in a pencil drawing that it has to be seen to be believed. James’ strength as an instructor is his demonstrated perseverance, coming back from a hand injury that should have left him unable to draw, and now producing master works like I saw at the seminar.
I took Jody Lynn Nye’s Writing Workshop at Dragon Con in 2013, which was really the start of my networking with such amazing people. I have seen her at Liberty Con 2014, and visiting the Dragon Con Workshop again in 2014, and every time I saw her it was like seeing an old friend.
All the above people are also friends on Facebook, so I get to see so much that is going on in their lives, while they get a peek into mine at the same time.
I had dinner with Toni Weisskopf, and as related in the last post, it was an amazing experience. Three hours of talking to the publisher and chief editor of Baen Books. Baen is one of the few companies I would want to write for, but the dinner, for the most part, was not about that. It was conversation about some of the greats in the field, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Howard. I told her about meeting Nancy Springer in Tallahassee, and the discussion turned for a short while to Robert Adams. A completely enjoyable evening.
Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch were people I didn’t know at all except by email and Facebook. I got to meet them, and am looking forward to getting to know them better at their workshop coming up. Last impression of the last day was Dean and Kevin sitting and talking in the lobby, and Kevin telling Dean he didn’t know how I did it with my horrible covers and such. And Dean saying I must be doing something right.
I met Todd McCaffrey at two Dragon Cons and Liberty Con. Haven’t spent much time talking to him at either event, something I may have to rectify in the future.
And this is the reason you go to an event like this. The instruction is first rate, the things you learn can change your life. But the opportunity to meet and network with such stellar professionals is what really brought me back this year.