Tag Archives: james a owen

Anthologies

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile you have probably heard of Superstars Writing Seminars. Each of us Fictorians participated in the seminars and as such are considered Tribe Members. Not only did we get to spend several days rubbing shoulders with the greats like Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, James A. Owen and many other top notch authors, we also have had the chance to meet one another.

Through Superstars I met my crit group. I also met the fine folks that started the Fictorians and through my association was invited to join. Another perk is the opportunity to participate in an annual anthology.

A few years ago, I hadn’t attended the most recent Superstars (usually in February, in Colorado). I followed a thread on Facebook introducing an anthology about purple unicorns. I couldn’t understand why, of all the awesome things to write about, would such a talented group of writers put out an anthology about purple unicorns. It seemed rather silly to me and I didn’t participate.

Later, I learned that the idea stemmed from a part of the seminar discussing the submission of what an editor/agent/publisher was looking for. If they want purple unicorns don’t write about dragons, even if they’re purple dragons. And don’t write about pink unicorns. Give them the best story you possibly can about purple unicorns.

When several of my friends and fellow tribe members were selected to participate in the anthology, I realized what I had missed. They were published by WordFire Press alongside Peter S. Beagle, Todd McCaffrey, Jody Lynn Nye and others. I kicked myself for not at least trying. Then I read the fantastic compilation of stories, one more unique than the next, each about a purple unicorn. It was incredible.

The next year, I didn’t hesitate to submit a story to the anthology about red unicorns. Even though I didn’t make the cut, the process was educational and worthwhile. I ended up selling my story to another anthology that will hopefully be released soon.

This past year I worked extra hard. The anthology went a different direction, dealing with dragons. It also took on a charitable purpose, named after a fellow tribe member who passed away. All profits support The Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund, providing tuition to Superstars for those who are awarded funds by other tribe members. About 6 scholarships were awarded last year.

This time I made the cut. My story, HIS GREATEST CREATION, was selected alongside some incredible writers including Brandon Sanderson.

And now, in 2017, we are anxiously waiting the results of another Anthology, this one dealing with underwater sea creatures. My story, THE SHARK KING, has so far made the first cut.

Because of Superstars and WordFire Press, I can claim the status of a published author. It has been fantastic to participate in the process and learn from incredible people like Lisa Mangum who has edited all of the anthologies thus far. And each of the anthologies has been illustrated by James A. Owen.

So, if you want to write and you hope to get published, Superstars is the way to go. Not just for the anthology opportunity but because of all the training and awesome people you’ll meet in the process.

Jace KillanI live in Arizona with my family, wife and five kids and a little dog. I write fiction, thrillers and soft sci-fi with a little short horror on the side. I hold an MBA and work in finance for a biotechnology firm.

I volunteer with the Boy Scouts, play and write music, and enjoy everything outdoors. I’m also a novice photographer.

You can read some of my works by visiting my Wattpad page and learn more at www.jacekillan.com.

SSWS Writing Scholarship: Should YOU Apply?

We’re taught in school to always ask the questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Today, let’s start with why.

job_huntHave you ever wanted to have one-on-one conversations with experienced, best-selling authors and be able to ask them anything? Have you ever wanted to meet a New York editor, an acquiring editor for one of the most successful small presses in the nation, or find qualified indie editors? Have you ever felt like having a larger community of dedicated writers around you might help improve your writing skills and your writing career? Does the business side of writing–working with agents, contracts, hiring artists and editors, marketing, etc–seem a bit overwhelming at times? Could you use information from people who know what they’re doing to help in your writing career?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you NEED to apply to the Superstars Writing Seminar (SSWS) scholarship. Here’s the link: http://superstarswriting.com/scholarships/ Seriously, go look at it right now.

2010 SuperstarsOkay, as for the other questions. What is SSWS? The most amazing writing seminar you will ever attend. I’m not just saying that, and no, I’m not being paid to say that. I attended the first SSWS in 2010. If it was mediocre or repetitive, I’d have only gone once. I’ve been three times. I plan on attending again. It is worth every penny, but if you earn the scholarship, your tuition will be free. Here’s what it says on the website: “The only focus at Superstars is to teach you how to have a successful writing career by sharing how those at the top of the industry manage their careers.” Take a look at the past classes, and I can only tell you that each year somehow manages to get even better.

Superstars Presenters April 2010Who? Anyone who hasn’t attended SSWS in past years is eligible to apply for the scholarship. The instructors are Kevin J. Anderson, James A. Owen, Rebecca Moesta, David Farland, and Eric Flint. To list their credentials would take the rest of this post. Guests include Toni Weisskopf (Baen books), Christine Monroe (the US Manager for Self-Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo), Todd McCaffrey, and Jody Lynn Nye. Again, I can’t list all their credentials. It’s just too much. Nope, I’m not done throwing out names. Past and recurring attendees include our very own David Carrico (author of 1636: The Devil’s Opera) and Brad R. Torgersen (multiple award nominee and winner) This is what Brad had to say, “This is not a craft class nor is it a critique workshop. It’s a no-holds-barred crash-course in how to perform and conduct yourself as a professional fiction author.” There are more quotes where those came from and you can find them on youtube, too.

When? The scholarship application is due by November 22nd. That’s this Saturday! The seminar will happen in February. colorado springsThat’s the perfect time so you’re somewhat recovered from Christmas, have your tax refund on its way, and are in need of a short vacation. The exact date for 2015 is February 5-7th.

Where? Apply to the scholarship from the website, but give yourself time to write a short essay and get a couple of referrals. The people involved in making this opportunity take it seriously. They want to give it to you, but you have to show that you really want it and are willing to do the work. The seminar takes place in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a great place to visit, and airfare is reasonable.

unikarkadan2How? For the full story on how this scholarship came to exist, I encourage you to read the introduction to One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology. It still gives me a warm feeling every time I scan over the story again. Once the idea took root to fund a scholarship so aspiring writers could attend SSWS, people pitched in. The cover artist, the publisher, the editor, and the famous and not-so-famous writers all volunteered time and work for the sake of helping other writers find their dream. And even though SSWS attendees were competing with one another for slots in the book, we cheered each other on, critiqued stories to help one another, and as often happens with this group, we did all we could to help our writing friends succeed. opportunity knocksThat is a rare camaraderie to have with a group this size, but it’s there and it’s precious.

In conclusion: If you’re serious about writing, take the time, do the work, and apply for this scholarship. Hurry! You’ve only got a few days to change the rest of your life. Opportunity is banging at the door.

Superstars Writing Seminar – worth attending again

SuperstarsSuperstars Writing Seminar will be held February 6–8 in Colorado Springs, CO. It is the premier seminar on the business of writing, period. I attended the first seminar, held in 2010 in Pasadena, CA, and I’m eagerly anticipating attending again this year.

I’m not the only alumni of the seminar to sign up for another year, and honestly I would have loved to have gone last year. This Fictorians group was formed from alumni of the Superstars seminar, and members have begun publishing and making their mark as writers. In the near future, we’ll only see that trend increasing, thanks in part to knowledge gained through Superstars.

You may ask yourself why we’re so eager to spend the hundreds of dollars required to invest in another seminar when we learned so much the last time we went.

It’s precisely because we learned so much last time.

This seminar is different than any other writer’s seminar I know of. It’s taught by bestselling authors, top editors, and publishers, but more than that what makes this seminar stand apart is the content. This is a crash course in the business of writing, where successful writing professionals share what they do and how they manage their career. For writers who are serious about their writing career, be they newbie authors who have yet to complete their first novel, or published writers looking to reach the next level, this seminar imparts a wealth of information that I have not found anywhere else.

You can view a high level description of the curriculum here which includes contracts, agents, indie publishing, traditional publishing, intellectual properties, and much more.

The seminar in 2010 was a career-changing experience for me. I arrived as an eager, wannabe writer with lots of enthusiasm and one manuscript completed. I left even more energized and armed with the knowledge I needed to move into the next stage of my career as a writer. Given the constantly moving target which is publishing these days, the specifics of what is taught each year is adjusted accordingly, so I expect this year’s content to be different from what I saw just four years ago.

What I learned four years ago is still fresh in my mind. Some favorite memories include Brandon Sanderson relating how he landed his first agent; Kevin J. Anderson’s popcorn theory; Eric Flint’s detailed discussion of contracts; and the discussion of how prolific an author really needs to be to succeed.

On top of the top-rate content, this seminar provides other fantastic benefits. Not only did we form the Fictorians from alumni of the seminars, but the instructors have remained available and engaged with the group. We have a private Facebook group where we can all post questions and comments and get advice or feedback from each other and from the instructors. The networking benefits of the seminar are proving an invaluable long-term benefit.

This year I approach the seminar from a slightly different point. I have four novels completed, with four more in various stages of outlining, one novel e-published and an agent working on deals with others. This time I have different needs, and I fully expect to gain the knowledge I need to make even greater strides forward in my career.

So is Superstars worth attending again?

Absolutely.

If you’ve never heard of Superstars, check it out. I guarantee it’s worth the investment.

 

Everything I learned about the business of being a writer I learned at Superstars Writing Seminar . . .

supserstars button

Three years ago my life changed.

Before dismissing that statement as being melodramatic, just hear me out.

It was 2010 and I was thinking that I might actually be interested in maybe someday pursuing a writing career. I was receiving Dave Farland’s Daily Kicks, and he mentioned he was putting together this seminar-thing (okay, he was far more eloquent than that) with a bunch of other top-notched and top-selling fantasy writers about everything you needed to know about the publishing industry, but no one was willing to tell you. The other instructors–Kevin J. Anderson, Eric Flint, Rebecca Moesta and James Owen–all have equally impressive resumes. The seminar-thingy was the Superstars Writing Seminar. I figured what the heck, I’d been going to “skills” seminars for about five years now, maybe it was time to get an insider’s look at the industry I wanted to be part of.

Best (professional) decision of my life.

Why?

The information and insight into the publishing market, including the self-publishing v. traditional publishing debate, was invaluable. Knowing the risks inherent for a publisher in taking on a new writer, I understood (and could work to circumvent) the barriers to publishing.

The time with the instructors was unprecedented. Remember that I said I’d been attending seminars for five years. Even with instructor-intense workshops, there wasn’t a whole lot of out-of-class time with the instructors. Superstars blew that distance out of the water. We went to lunch with the instructors. We went out drinking with Kevin Anderson. If you wanted a few minutes of their time, all of them where happy to oblige.

The instructor time ties in with a very important point. They are some of the nicest and most open people you could ever want to meet. They genuinely want to help other writers succeed. They are James Owen and Iinvested in helping them do so. They have a wealth of information on many disparate topics and are more than happy to share that knowledge, whether it’s publishing, queries, hiking, micro-brew beers, mafia, European history or whatever. For the price of asking, they gave us hours of their time to help us Superstars attendees move forward in our careers. And the guest speakers are just as open and wonderful as the regular instructors.

Then, of course, there’s the connections you form with the other attendees. The Superstars attendees are as amazing as the instructors. A group of the 2010 Superstars alums formed the writing group that grew into Fictorians. The picture to the right is of some of us at World Fantasy 2012. In addition to Fictorians, Superstars alums have an active Facebook group. We encourage and commiserate with each other. We are our own best cheerleaders. That network of people going through exactly what you are going through is invaluable. It’s also how I found my publisher.

Most of all, what Superstars did for me was give me the confidence to say, “I am going to be a professional writer.” It’s not a crazy dream. It’s a goal. Superstars gave me an understanding of the business side of the industry that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Seriously folks, if you are interested in a writing career or maybe you’re already pursuing one, you are doing yourself a disservice by not attending Superstars. I highly recommend you attend Superstars Writing Seminar, which will be held May 14-16, 2014 in Colorado Springs, Colorado this year. Prices go up on May 1, 2013, so sign up now.

I hope to see you there.

If you’re still on the fence, check out another great posts on this site about the Superstars Experience:

Q&A with the Superstars: Part I