Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Calamity Release!

Last week Tuesday I got to volunteer at the release for Calamity. The final in The Reckoners series. I love volunteering at these events!

Some volunteers end up on book prep. Which means you flap all the books. If it is a numbered event you line them up and add the number. They get signed before the event start and it's amazing how quickly this happens. There is a bit of lifting and moving. From the box to the shelf and eventually to an eager fan. You may have noticed the volunteers were running around in the  Reckoners shirts.

1 of 3 carts.

The great thing about going to these events is the other fans. I hear the best fan theories, questions and ideas bounce around the room. There are always a few clever costumed fans. There were a couple of Prof.'s with some impressive glowing glove setups. There was a fan wearing a bridge four temporary tattoo. Really a cool group of people discussing awesome things.

Despite being sick.

If you have been at any of the tour events for Calamity you may have notice that Brandon Sanderson has intermittently had a voice.  The reading from the Stormlight Archive had to happen over the Barnes and Noble PA system. The thoughts for the evening focused on choices and decision making.

Volunteering also includes line duty. If you were there I was that lady with the loud obnoxious voice calling 1,2,3 for pictures. There were some great questions that I would've never thought to ask. I love listening to what people ask about. The majority of my focus though was spent on keeping the line moving.

One kid who stood out to me was in line for his brother. He was such a trooper and waited about two hours. When he did get to the top of the line his mother happened to have his brother on the phone. Sanderson took a moment to talk to him. Every interaction is genuine. It's wonderful. 

After last call for signing there was another great moment. A former student of Brandon Sanderson's came up he had signed a three book deal with Hyperion he had a galley copy of his book. The book was called, "Jed and The Junkyard War."  

I love book releases!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

LTUE Symposium Day 2 & 3.

LTUE DAY 2 & 3

Wow. Day 2&3 of LTUE were amazing. It has taken me a couple of days to gather my thoughts. The panels were excellent. The information was exactly what I had been wondering about. Also it was amazing to be around other creators that were as excited about fantasy and science fiction as I was. I've made some new friends.

My big takeaway from the conference was this...
I should be writing. 

The experience was amazing. I plan on going next year. But it could be so easy to get distracted by everything that goes into being a writer. If you are serious about writing I think you need to be putting words on the page daily. On a good day (schedule allowing) I'll put down about 1'000 to 2'000. On a bad day I'm lucky to manage a sentence. But I'm writing. Even a blog entry is better than nothing. I found myself in these panels of awesome thinking, I should be writing.

Also the other idea I found myself dwelling on was Idea vs. person. In the world we become impassioned over an idea or topic. Doesn't matter if it's political, creative, religious or fandom. Sometimes the passion for these ideas can be taken to an extreme. Internet forums, social media are filled with examples of this. I think when we move into a position of defense we lose sight of the human in front of us. We look at that person as if they are the idea we are fighting against. In that moment we lose sight of who they are. Another human. We strip them of what unites us. Whether we are right or wrong in our ideals. We can not lose sight of that precious truth. That doesn't mean give up the good fight or stop talking about important issues. But to accept where someone is at with the concept. Whether that is acceptance or rejection. 
Writers have to be extremely careful. We need to be aware of what we are presenting to the world. During the conference the term "unconscious bias" came up. We need to look at the biases we have and ask ourselves is this how we want to shape the world? 

One of the Keynote speaker's was Kevin J. Anderson. Who not only has a prolific history of best selling books, but also runs WordFire Press. I was really impressed with his Popcorn address. You have to keep working and cultivating new ideas. Doing so keeps you writing and creating. If you have a chance to see the address it is well worth it. Listening to him speak you know he is a master storyteller.
I also saw how important it was to have a good crew. Anderson's flight got redirected twice on it's way to Utah. On the third trip tomato juice was spilt on him. The crew at WordFire Press had everything taken care of from the table to all the other responsibilities involved. I also got to help out and learn how a good crew operates. 

Thanks to anyone who participated in the panels. The panels I attended were fun and insightful. Left me with a lot to think about. 
Thank-You LTUE for putting on the conference and making it all happen.
And a big Thanks to WordFire Press for the great swag bag and all the useful info.

Awesome experience. I learned a lot that I'm already applying to my writing.  I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Note; I will be adding links to LTUE and other panelists and authors in the next day or so.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Life The Universe and Everything Symposium Day 1

This conference is amazing. LTUE is the annual Symposium for Fantasy and Science Fiction with the focus being on creators. Today I got to interact with some of my favorite writers and met some amazing people from the industry. I think for once I managed to keep being star struck down to a minimum.

Wordfire Press has put together a great swag bag for attendees. Including a copy of Mythica A Quest for Heroes. In the dealer room many of the authors are also present to talk and discuss their books.

A sample of panels I attended today;

Tolkien Won a Marvel NO-Prize
Dragons of Myth and Legend
Third Person P.O.V
Marketing on a Budget
Unfinished Business
Selling Short Stories
Writing Action Sequences

Reoccurring piece of advice, write. I love this conference because everyone there is either a creator or a fan of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

If you are in the Provo area there are two more days of LTUE. They have day registration. If not plan on it for next year because it's amazing.

Need sleep. What a great day.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Read All the Books! Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

     I finished up the Mistborn trilogy at the beginning of this year. These were well crafted, engaging with characters I found myself crying over. 
     Bonus due to the fact that I live near BYU now I get to go to the occasional midnight release for Brandon Sanderson Novels. I love listening to the questions that come up. if I wait long enough normally one fan or another will ask the question that I've been wondering about myself. There is normally a reading for a unreleased book and a mini update about what's ahead.
     One of the best things to happen so far this year was that I got to volunteer at the Bands of Mourning midnight release. DragonSteel is an amazing company to volunteer with, you feel like you are apart of the crew. You get to help make an awesome experience for all the other amazing fans. Also if you have any sort of love for The Cosmere or Sanderson novels you get to be around like minded people. 
Spoilers Ahead!


     Mistborn is our introduction to a world where ash falls from the sky, the idea of green grass is foreign, and there is a incredible magic system based off folks ability to burn metals. Your lucky if you can burn one. If you can burn them all you are known as Mistborn. Burning the metals can give you different abilities strength, influence over emotions, increase physical abilities etc... 

     Then there is the social setup of the world. You have the Steel Ministry, the nobles and the Skaa. The Steel Ministry handles all the bureaucracy. This group also contains the unnatural Inquistors. The caste system continues with the nobles. Then finally the Skaa who are slaves for the nobles. This has all been setup by the Lord Ruler, who by the way doesn't die. 

     The first book in the series brought me Kelsier who I loved and adored. He is one of my new favorite characters in fantasy. Although he was mistborn. He was human and had he's strengths, prejudices and flaws. I'll probably mention this more than once, Sanderson builds characters, the characters are relatable and have flaws! 

     Unfortunately Kelsier played the part of the wizened old man to Vin. For those of you familiar with archetypes you realize this means he is removed from the equation so the young hero can come into their own. Vin I will write about in just a moment.

     Kelsier's crew is another element I love in these books. The friendship! I loved these guys. They all brought a different strength to the team. Why does Kelsier bring them all together? To overthrow the Lord Ruler the unbeatable supreme leader. Any rebellion that has happened is crushed. Also wordplay bonus. Club's house, is the clubhouse for the crew while they are planning the heist. 
    Vin has this amazing character arc that we watch develop. She is by no means perfect, which I love. There is a trend in some fantasy to either have women be a paragon or an object. Sanderson writes characters gender enhances the characters instead of being the sole focus of who they are.
     Also for those of you who are fans of the Cosmere. Hoid sighting! Who I've become convinced is the trickster figure of this universe. 

     When I watch a show I can normally call which way it's heading. It annoys my husband to no end. Once I dealt with the stunt that Kelsier pulled the crew does go on to defeat the Lord Ruler. I thought how is there going to be another two books? Lo and behold there is a whole other storyline that we don't really become aware of until the next book. However once we find out about there things all through the first book that make sense. Including the Lord Ruler's cryptic last words. 

    Mistborn Trilogy is a great read if you are a fantasy fan. If you love a great magic system. And if you have a love for great story arc and character development. 

Next time on Read All the Books! My favorite book in the Mistborn Trilogy. The Well of Ascension.