Revived is Finally Revised

My first novel, The Wolfglen Legacy: Revived, has finally been revised. Once I give it time to breathe (leaving it alone for 3-4 weeks) and then do a final polish, it will be ready to send off to an agent. Almost every necessary tweak and critique has been done, and it’s ready to go. I still can’t believe I actually pulled this off.

[EDIT: I should add that my deadline for December 3rd had to be pushed back to the 6th, thanks to my laptop crashing on me. But the point is that I finished on time, and now I can go see The Hobbit with some friends on opening night! Yay!]

In celebration, I’d like to share the theme song from The Avengers. You know, because it sounds very triumphant.

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Pikes Peak Writers Conference: Coming Up Fast

Well, as I have stated before, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference is coming up fast. Slightly under two weeks until we are there. Right now, it costs about $450, but I’m passing along the word that it’s one of the top ten writers conferences in the country, and is the friendliest overall. Seriously, a Marriott with a great view of Pikes Peak, you’re surrounded by professionals – writers and agents and editors with years of experience – and quality dining and service from the hotel. What’s not to love about that idea?

There’s still time to register. If you are a writer who wants to expand their career, make connections in the business, and meet with hundreds of other writers, this is the place to be.

With people like Robert Crais, Jeffrey Deaver, Donald Maass, Susan Wiggs, Kevin J. Anderson, Bree Ervin, Ronald Cree, Angel Smits, etc., there will be hundreds of fellow writers, either going for the first time to give their professional careers a shot of adrenaline, or returning veterans who have stayed with the conference since it was formed twenty years ago. And you will be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant city to hold an event like this.

Hope to see you there!

The End of Days…for a Scholarship! Info for Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Fellow writers, a chance to pitch, agents and editors to rub shoulders with, famous authors, a gorgeous hotel...and all of it in the view of a beautiful mountain. What's not to like?

Today is the last day you can sign up for the scholarship for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, being held April 19-22 at the Marriott in Colorado Springs, CO. In honor of the conference’s 20th anniversary, there will be a plethora of excellent presenters for all of your writing needs, including agent Donald Maass, Editor Bree Ervin, and authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Robert Crais, Angel Smits,  Jeffrey Deaver, Susan Wiggs, and a whole host of others, plus hundreds of aspiring writers. You even get a chance to pitch to an editor or agent for your work, and receive feedback and critique for your manuscript. If you’re ready to get serious as a writer (and make connections in the writing world), all accounts I’ve gathered state that this is an excellent place to start.

A very favorable review of the conference from romance/mystery author Terry O’Dell can be found here:

http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/beyondherbook/?tag=pikes-peak-writers-conference

If you want to go but just don’t have $400 to spare to pay for presentations, materials, and meals, the scholarship (which closes after today) is your chance for Pikes Peak Writers to take care of that for you. (Note on the meals: the Marriott accommodates for vegetarians and food allergies!) Go ahead and sign up for it. Here’s the link where you figure out how to apply for a scholarship via email:

http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/html/scholarships.html

Here’s where you can register online, if you are okay with paying the full amount. There’s also a terrific lineup of guests, some of the available workshops, agents and editors who will listen to pitches, and which meals are paid for:

http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=972508

And here’s where you can find out more about the conference itself:

http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/html/ppwc.html

I hope all of you will have an opportunity to go! It will be my first time, but most of my close writing friends have gotten to attend it beforehand, and they absolutely love the experience.

In any case, I will keep promoting the conference on the blog, and will try to not be annoying about it. You’ve noticed I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m excited for this opportunity to meet other storytellers from across the country, further my own craft, give and receive feedback, and get my feet wet in the world of professional novel-writing.

Keep writing, everyone. I hope to see you in Colorado!

Physical Books vs. Kindles — Your thoughts?

Carrying on the spirit of my last post, I wanted to post some thoughts, then ask you to weigh in on that famous cultural wrestling match: Kindle vs. Book. I guess you can include e-readers in general, but Kindle seems to be their poster child at the moment.

“In this corner, weighing a few ounces, storing thousands of books and accessing them at the touch of a button, it’s the e-reader! And in this corner, at the weight of the Library of Congress, written by thousands of hands over the centuries, it’s the physical book!” In some wings of the internet, the fight has gotten nasty, a tooth-loosening, nose-breaking brawl of convenience and quick gratification against nostalgia and history.

And small wonder. Books, thank God, are still igniting passion in our hearts. We know that much from Philip Pullman and many other Brits coming unhinged at the U.K.’s recent bureaucratic treatment of libraries, threatening to close down most of them for the government to save a few quid. They are right to be upset. Books are too valuable to lose or abandon; they have carried ideas and words to generations of people, handing down the worthwhile thoughts of men and women long after they have been lain to rest in the earth.

When e-readers started popping up a few years ago, I confess I had my doubts about them. Sometimes I acted like the stereotypical book snob. Why trade the crinkle of pages and the smell of paper for a sterile white screen that doesn’t let you feel the book itself? I thought.

Sometimes our instincts are more powerful than we realize. Tradition is a hard thing to abandon. And we have loved the almighty Book for thousands of years. Those tomes of paper, ink, and binding are almost alive, in a sense. Once they are read, they carry seeds of characters, of thought, of story, of personal accounts, to germinate in new minds. And in an almost reproductive act, some of those new minds will go on to produce books of their own. But it’s not just writers who produce and live off of books. Whether they be generals or artists, poets or politicians or academics, world-changing thinkers cannot thrive unless their minds are pollinated with the written words of others.

Then came the digital revolution. E-readers asked us to adopt a new model of reading, hundreds of works able to be digitally stored on a fancy little device that we still were unfamiliar with. I am not surprised people got defensive of paper books, as if the extra effort in reading “the old-fashioned way” made them better than those who hopped on the Kindle wagon. Heck, for a while I was one of them.

(“Kindle wagon.” Huh. Nice term. I’ll have to hang on to that.)

And then, just for kicks I got the Kindle app on my new smartphone, and I saw what all the hype was about.

Kindles are the newer medium, so it’s difficult to say how they stack up against physical books. (Get it? Books getting stacked? Yeah, when online I have about as much of a sense of humor as a badger deprived of his morning coffee.) But for now, I can already report that my reading picked up because of that app. Since November, I have made great progress on many of that app’s offerings, and already read through Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Invisible Man. Both books are awesome and exciting, but it was a double-hitter of classic science fiction which, based on my slow reading habits, would have likely taken me a year to finish if they were physical books in my hand.

I offer you the idea that in a digital age, where distractions abound and attention spans vanish into the fog of cyberspace, we need e-readers. The Kindle and Nook might not be able to replicate a real book in your hands (which is a fantastic sensation), but they do let me get through books faster, absorbing them quicker than my ADHD brain will allow with a stack of bound paper. Both of them have inestimable value to me, and both will surely play a pivotal role in my reading life in decades yet to come.

How about you? Have you tried the e-readers yet? Do you prefer them over paper books, or do you find yourself drawn to that scent of old paper and the crinkle of a page when you turn it?