05 May 2013

Calling all Gamers! And Writers! And Readers!

Calling all Gamers! And Writers! And Readers!
For over a decade the Wookie and I have been attending the Origins Game Fair in Columbus OH in the summer. The date usually coincides with our wedding anniversary so it's a great way for us to celebrate both our love for each other and have a faboo time with other people who enjoy the same things we do - mostly games!
Recently the convention expanded to include a literary track (The Library)  with some great authors not only offering panels and seminars, but also available in the Dealers' Room to sell and autograph their books!
... and yes, I iz one! I'll be there with signed copies of "Blaze of Glory", "Heroes Without, Monsters Within" and LIMITED edition copies of "Blood of the Pride" along with discount coupons for ebooks!
This year the theme is Superheroes! And not only are there going to be panels dedicated to discussing superheroes but there's also going to be a limited-run short story anthology with such great authors as Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn adding their short stories to the rest of ours.
Me? I've contributed "By The Seat of Your Pants", a pre-"Blaze of Glory" story dealing with Jo Tanis before the disaster that changed her life forever.
Here's a short excerpt:
The rules said that all civilians had to be evacuated from the performance area. The police swept it clean, based on a tip that there'd be some sort of superhero face-off happening in the area. There wasn't supposed to be anyone around to get caught in the brawl, letting us grind out the routine without any distractions or worrying about collateral damage.
All of which did nothing to explain the eight-year old boy staring up at me as I hovered a few feet above the ground, waiting for my cue. He wore a light blue dress shirt and black pants, obviously on his way to or from some event with his family. How he'd gotten away from them and slipped through the police barricade was a mystery and one I really didn't have the time to solve.
"Damn," I whispered into my link.
"What's up?" Mike, my Guardian/sidekick/captor replied, sounding like he was standing next to me and not a half-block away. The choreography set-up had Mike coming in for backup after our first confrontation with the super villain. After all, he wasn't the main draw.
I was. Surf, the fabulous flying super who could warp electromagnetic fields to her will.
I’m also the one who made a darned hot pinup poster babe, despite my constant complaining that I didn't want to be portrayed like that. The Agency called the shots and they loved the income from the posters.
"Hi there," I said to the youngster. "Where's your mom and dad?" I tried to ignore the blinking red light on a camera sitting atop the light post. In two minutes we’d be live and on the air, broadcasting around the world. Right on cue I'd flown in expecting to be confronting a super villain in a few minutes and brawling in the streets for millions of eager viewers who loved to see the good guys win.
Instead I was playing babysitter to a wide-eyed kid who didn't know he'd stolen the scene and we were running out of time.
The dark-haired boy clutched a Metal Mike action figure to his chest, sizing me up. The battered robot had been well-loved, the metallic paint worn off his arms and legs. He scowled at me, the tiny face scrunching up into an annoyed glare.
I obviously wasn't his super of choice.
"Where are your parents?" I asked again.
"Away." His eyes were wide as he watched me.
"Woman, we're going to be active in two minutes," Mike said over the link. "Get rid of the kid—can't be putting him in the line of fire."
"You need to go into there." I pointed at a nearby store. "I'll go find someone to come and take care of you."
I couldn't tell the kid we were about to play out a choreographed fight; villain on hero with the outcome already decided. We were the good guys and we always won.
The moppet looked at the empty grocery store with a puzzled expression before turning back to me. "I can't go in there."
"Why?" I could hear the imaginary clock ticking away. In a minute Wild Billy Bully was coming around that corner tossing cars left and right as he came at me. The Agency could call him off but it'd be problematic. We'd already trained for two weeks for this televised brawl and rescheduling it would be a hassle.
"My mom told me to never go anywhere without an a-adult." He stuttered on the last word. "She'll be mad at me."
I bit back the obvious question—how had he gotten here without an adult in the first place?
"Jo—do something," Mike growled in my ear. I imagined him on the other line with the Agency reps, running through possible scenarios to get the kid out of the way without making it too obvious. Calling the show off wasn't an option. I didn't have the authority; neither did Mike. The Agency could but it was pretty plain with every passing minute they weren't about to exercise that right.
Even so, the Agency prided itself on never having a civilian die at one of their fights.
Right now that record weighed heavy on my shoulders.

There's only going to be a few hundred copies of this anthology printed so if you're not going to Origins you'll be able to purchase it online after the convention - but not for long!
If you're going to be in the Columbus area from June 12-16th consider dropping by the Convention Center and meeting some fabulous gamer folk - and some faboo authors as well! The seminars are going to be great - including mine listed below!

2013 Seminar Descriptions


11am – Crafting the Love Scene: Regardless of the genre you write in, chances are you’ll put a love-interest in it. How do you blend a touch of romance into your story, and how explicit should you be? Learn how romance can strengthen your story and make your characters more real and interesting.
Noon – Superheroes and Sidekicks: Superheroes, sidekicks, and villians--their stories have been told for years. How can you use these tropes in your fiction, make them fresh, and oh, yeah, make them fun?


11am – Writing the Trilogy: Is there more to your story than can fit into one book? Or is it the other way around—do you have too much material for your tale and need to cut a few hundred pages? Our panelists will tackle trilogies and open-ended series, including how to approach writing the multi-part saga and how to market it.


11am – To Market, To Market: You've written either a short story or a novel. You've run it through your writing group and you've polished it. Now what? We tell you how to find the markets to sell your work.
As you can see, there's something for everyone - along with great artwork, games and costumes that'll knock your socks off! So if you're looking for something to do in June that'll stir your creative juices bigtime or just looking for something different why not consider dropping by the Origins Game Fair and visiting?
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