Tag Archives: When Words Collide

How to Create an Award Winning Convention; An Interview with Randy McCharles

An interview with Randy McCharles.

We all attend writer conventions, but what if you wanted to start one? Where do you start? What makes a con good? How do you draw in the big literary names?  

Author Randy McCharles founded When Words Collide, A Readers and Writers Festival (WWC) in 2011. Held in Calgary Alberta, which is Western Canada’s hub of genre and literary writing,

I had the pleasure of asking Randy for his tips and insights into establishing a successful writing convention. There’s a link for some special content at the end of the interview so please don’t miss that!

WWC’s tagline is A Reader’s and Writer’s Festival. Why this branding rather than simply making it a writers’ convention or a writers’ and fan convention?

If you are a writer, you will know that there are numerous writers conferences out there, even in western Canada. When looking to start a literary event in Calgary, I didn’t want to start an event like one I could already go to, but something different. I did want to provide a networking opportunity for writers and publishers, but I also wanted to create an opportunity for readers to meet authors they might have read as well as discover new authors. The tag line is a very good description of our event. We chose the word ‘festival’ over ‘convention’ because it is more apt to what we are about. Though we are educational, we are also fun. Smiles and laughter are encouraged.

Our demographics show that almost half of our attendees consider themselves readers. We attract readers by offering inexpensive passes ($45-$55 for a weekend pass, depending on when it is purchased), while most writers conferences cost much more. Inexpensive passes are common to speculative fiction fan conventions that are designed primarily for non-professionals. Very few readers will spend $100-$300, not even to see their favourite author (especially as we also provide several free events where the public can meet our guests.)

Though many conferences and festivals are genre-specific, it has always been my feeling that genres have more in common than differences. Most readers, also, read across multiple genres. The speculative fiction convention model is not common outside of SF&F, but we wanted to see if other genres as well as literary readers & writers would give it a try, so we invited them. To our delight, they came. We now try to have representatives for each genre an well as literary and poetry on our organization board.

There is a very dynamic dealer’s room at WWC. Writers congregate, presses sell books, writers and presses are talking business and making book deals, all the while books are being sold by writing groups, book sellers, and publishers.

Many conferences (and book stores) offer a range of non-book products. Our Merchants Corner is a book-only room, though we do include some art. Our most unique table is the Shared Authors Table, where attending authors not represented by other vendors may have their books sold. This table typical does over $2,500 worth of sales over the weekend. As far as I am aware, we did it first back in 2011, though I have seen the concept more recently at other events.

We also have a hotel-provided snack bar and seating area in the Merchants Corner where people can get drinks, soup, sandwiches, and salads. Something I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Randy explains the rules for Live Action Slush

For a convention to have a good reputation, several factors must come together from programming, to guests of honour, attendee packages, and advertising. I’d like to talk about some of these aspects so that we can understand what it takes for them to work well.

Any event must decide on a mission statement and a business model. Our mission statement is: to bring readers and writers together in a celebration of the written word. Our business model is a fusion of best practices I’ve taken from other events I have attended. A few important concepts are:

  • Inclusive and inexpensive to attend.
  • 100% volunteer run.
  • Multi-track so attendees always have something of interest going on.
  • A safe and fun environment.

Since an event will fail if no one shows up, let’s begin with advertising. While we do have a modest marketing budget and place posters and pamphlets in book stores, word-of-mouth is by far the best advertising. When we started in 2011 we made sure to promote our new event by speaking to writers groups and placing marketing literature in books stores. Even so, we budgeted for 150 people showing up. 280 did, so we were off to a good start, growing each year until we are now peaked out at 750 people. Most people found out about us from a friend. We have no desire to grow past 750 attendees as I find larger events too impersonal.

Guest speakers are tricky as no one can agree on who to invite. If we receive 100 feedback forms from attendees we will receive 100 guest suggestions. Each year we try to invite guests that cover a range of disciplines who are good speakers. If we need to reduce our budget somewhere, we look to the guest budget first (example: finding guests closer to home).

Our attendee package is very simple and economical: a plastic name badge on a string, a 5.5” x 8.5” stapled program book, and a single sheet quick guide. We don’t have a welcome bag, though book bags and fancy badge holders are available.

Our venue, the Delta Calgary South, has meeting space for as many as 15 concurrent events, giving attendees lots to choose from during the weekend. This means our program has over 200 different sessions to plan. Again, using the speculative fiction model, we open the program to attending professionals, encouraging them to speak, take manuscript pitches (if they are acquisition editors), and participate in our Blue Pencil Café, all on a volunteer basis. Each year around 150 attending experts join with our 5 or 6 festival guests to provide a dynamic and diverse program for the attendees.

There are other aspects to the festival, including a hospitality suite, a mass autograph session, a banquet, and even awards ceremonies as we sometimes host awards. As you can imagine, all of this requires a large number of volunteers putting in time and effort. We also try to do things efficiently with the lowest demand on volunteer time as possible.

On the topic of programming, in WWC 2017, there were ~80 panels on craft and business, blocks of time with guests of honour, blue pencil cafes, and pitching sessions. There is a variety of topics which appeal to both readers and writers and this can be seen by the packed rooms at many of the panels. How do you assess and what is needed and then deliver it?

The short answer is: we don’t. Like our staff, our presenters are volunteers. We ask them what they would like to present, and then we try to accommodate them. We do let them know what types of programming, such as what you listed above, we are looking for. This approach has some drawbacks, but in the end I believe it has more advantages. Presenters come up with all sorts of brilliant ideas we would never think of. This approach also greatly reduces demand on volunteer effort to put the program together.

Guests of Honour Guy Gavriel Kay, Diana Gabaldon, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Jack Whyte, Kevin J. Anderson, David B. Coe, Robert J. Sawyer, Ian Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Anthony Bidulka, Kelly Armstrong, Sam Hiyate (The Rights Factory), and Sally Harding (Cooke Agency) are a few of the big selling authors and agents who have come to WWC. Some continue to come back as festival attendees because, as I’ve heard them say, it’s an awesome experience.

Since we are a 100% volunteer event, we do not budget for speakers fees. While we do cover travel and hotel for our festival guests, they, like everyone else, are donating their time and talents to participate at our festival. People need to understand that the business model of many speakers does not include speaking at events such as ours on a voluntary basis. Many of our invitations have been turned down. No hard feelings. That’s just the way it is. The outcome, however, is that speakers who do accept our invitations enjoy events such as ours and regularly accept invitations such as ours. And yes, we are fortunate that many of our guests choose to return when they can.

The main reason that guests return, I believe, is that we are different from most other conventions. We chose to call ourselves a festival rather than a conference or convention, because we want our event to be a party. While many writers do network and learn from each other, they also attend our festival because it is fun. People are having a good time. Our guests have a good time.

The other reason guests return is because we treat them well. Each guest is assigned a liaison to handle transportation and any needs they may have. We provide our guests breakfast and banquet tickets and take them out to dinner a couple of times. They each receive a welcome basket with souvenirs and goodies. In other words, we give them the respect they deserve for agreeing to join us on their own time.

I must say, that attendees really appreciate how accessible the guests have been, not only with their readings and key note speeches, but some hold workshops and most are willing to chat informally with readers and writers.

One of the things that makes us different from other conventions is that we don’t have a presenter green room. I never understood the point of separating the speakers from the people who have come to see them. Our guests usually spend their free time in the Merchants Corner, the Hospitality room, or the bar where they can mingle with attendees.

We also give our guests the option of holding a master class so that a smaller group of attendees can spend several hours with them. I, for one, very much enjoy attending master classes whenever I can.

In 2011 WWC had 282 people attend. 2017 had 750 attendees. WWC has been nominated for the Aurora Award for best volunteer-run organization every year and has won the award 6 times. Incidentally, for those who aren’t aware, the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association’s Aurora Award is a fan appreciation award so being nominated and winning is a great vote of confidence. Obviously, you have a lot of happy customers! What have they told you why they like WWC so much and what does your volunteer core do to ensure their satisfaction?

We are thrilled to be nominated for the award each year and to have won so often. As you say, the award is for fan-run events (meaning volunteer-run), such as CanCon in Ottawa, VCon in Vancouver, and numerous other volunteer-run events across Canada, ranging from international conventions that are sometimes hosted in Canada to various public reading series.

All volunteer-run events, no matter the size, are limited by the ability of the organizers to put something together. For free. In their spare time. When Words Collide is fortunate in that we have a board of 20+ volunteers to plan each year’s festival. We also rely on an addition 50+ on-site volunteers during the festival. Even so, there is only so much we can do, so we try to make sure that whatever we do looks, from the outside at least, amazing and flawless. We are regularly asked by attendees why we don’t add something to the festival. My reply is always the same. It would require more manpower than we have. This might be a good time to ask your readers if they are interested in joining our board or participating as an on-site volunteer. J We can always use more help.

What tips do you have for anyone wishing to start a convention in their community?

First off, a convention is big. Very big. WWC costs around $40,000 to put on. When Creative Ink (Burnaby, BC) asked for advice getting started, I suggested they do a 1-day event to get their feet wet, which they did in 2015. They learned a lot and went to a full weekend in 2016. Here are some quick tips to consider:

  1. Attend other events to see what they do, what you like, and what you don’t like.
  2. Do what you want to do, not what others want, even if it is totally different (like WWC was in 2011).
  3. Find some good help.
  4. Start small and set the bar low. Grow as circumstances allow.
  5. Spend money wisely and build a modest rainy day fund.
  6. Make sure you have fun doing it.

Something to know is that people are happy to be helpful. If you are unsure about anything, ask around and you’ll get lots of advice. If something sounds like it will work, problem solved.

Any special announcements for 2018?

Our 2018 festival is 11 months away and we have already sold 25% of the passes. We are typically sold out in June, so don’t wait too long to get your pass. The only thing I’d like to say at this time is that we have an amazing line-up of festival guests next year: Peter V. Brett, Harold Johnson, Erin Lindsey, Deanna Raybourn, and Arthur Slade. If you are unfamiliar with these authors, you will want to change that. Literary agent Sam Morgan of Foundry Media is also joining us. Several of our past guests are returning. I’m looking forward to yet another excellent festival.

And now for the SPECIAL LINK: WWC has a variety of podcasts available on it’s website and they’re awesome! Check them out here! Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to come to When Words Collide in 2018.

RANDY MCCHARLES is a full-time author of speculative and crime fiction.
He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction) and in 2013 his short story Ghost-B-Gone Incorporated won the House of Anansi 7-day Ghost Story Contest. Randy’s most recent publications include the 2016 Aurora Award shortlisted novel Much Ado about Macbeth from Tyche Books, the short story Murder at the Mall from Coffin Hop Press, and the 2017 Aurora Award shortlisted novel The Day of the Demon. In addition to writing, Randy organizes various events including the award-winning When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. To learn more about Randy and his books, go to www.randymccharles.com.

 

 

What Kind of Year Has It Been?

So what kind of year has it been? A year of transitions—although that may not be saying much since it increasingly seems that all years are transitioning to and from one thing or another. The idea I once held in my imagination of a stable life and career seems more far-fetched every day.

The reality is that I didn’t make much overall progress on my fiction in 2016, although the business of my writing life is a different story. After a four-year absence, I dove back into the convention pond (I attended two, When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta and World Fantasy in Columbus, Ohio) and emerged with some excellent prospects. I had a very good year in my writing-adjacent day jobs, as a newspaper owner/editor and freelance book editor. I broke ground on a novel which I expect to be my most challenging and ambitious project to date; it’s the sort of project that keeps you up at night for the sheer excitement of plotting it out.

And yet I didn’t actually do very much writing, an ugly truth which I must stare down. In the face of this, it can be small consolation that I’ve greatly strengthened the infrastructure of my life. I must do better in 2017. It’s as simple as that.

Let me talk about those convention appearance, which I came back from energized to produce more and better work. Every time I attend a convention, it solidifies my certainty that there’s a market for my writing. That’s the value of conventions, but they are really hard.

Well, maybe they’re not hard for everyone. For me they’re nigh impossible. Gone are the halcyon days when I went to my first conventions and filled my days with programming. It didn’t take long to realize that the panels are mostly doesn’t come at all naturally to me. You need the ability to walk up to strangers, or near-strangers, and find something to talk about instantly—without seeming needy and pushy. This is quite a tightrope.

Because that’s what you’re there for. You’re generally not there to listen to a panel of novelists talk about the importance of map-making in fantasy literature, nor are you there to listen to well-established professionals wax eloquent about their decades-long careers and the generally pretty unrelatable logistics of publishing fifteen-volume epics. Those are definitely perks, but eventually you’ll realize that those panels are more or less all the same, and they don’t get you from A to B. You could get a similar result from an afternoon browsing YouTube clips.

I spent the first evening of World Fantasy returning periodically to my hotel room to steal precious alone time, breaks from the stress of wandering through the convention halls looking desperately for people to talk to, like a feral animal.

At one point, a friend of mine said to me that most of the people there were just like me and they were wildly faking their smiles and easy-going manners. He pointed out that a majority of writers are probably introverted shut-ins, which explains why they would be attracted to a field where so much of the work happens when you’re, well, very much alone.

But anyway, you don’t spend hundreds (thousands) of dollars on convention fees and airfare and hotel rooms and pub food only if you’re going to actually dive into that pond. So when the second day dawned, I pulled on some swimwear and got wet. The water was excruciatingly cold at first, and only slightly warmer by the end when I finally crawled onto shore like a beached whale, but damn it I came away with a couple of manuscript critiques and some short story anthology opportunities. (One of those opportunities came when an editor inadvertently dumped his entire beer all over me, a soggy mess which ultimately paid off handsomely by weekend’s end.)

It’s not comfortable, and it’s not my favorite part of the job, but I’ve already booked a couple of conventions for 2017 and hopefully it won’t take me so long to acclimate this time.

Evan BraunEvan Braun is an author and editor who has been writing books for more than ten years. He is the author of The Watchers Chronicle, a completed trilogy. In addition to writing science fiction, he is the managing editor of The Niverville Citizen. He lives in Niverville, Manitoba.

Six Great Take-aways from When Words Collide (2015)

A con is only as good as what you take away from it. When Words Collide 2015 had a fantastic line up of guests and panels to serve it’s 600 attendees. The 2015 guests included Diana Gabaldon (historical), Daniel Abraham (fantasy), C.J. Carmichael (romance), Faith Hunter/Gwen Hunter (urban fantasy/thriller) and Brandon Mull (young adult) as well as literary agents and small/medium press publishers.

Between the workshops and the panels, it was a great weekend to boost the little grey cells. Here are six things I found interesting:

1) On using pen names
Writing is about meeting reader expectations and as a writer you need to be transparent when you set those expectations. So if you use your real name when you write urban romance, it’s best if you use a different name when you write in a different genre like science fiction. Why? Because each name tells the reader what to expect. If they buy a book expecting to read a romance and it’s science fiction, you’ll have one angry fan and you don’t want that. However, each name you use doesn’t need a separate website. Your readers will accept that you have different lines under different names. Beware though, that if you’re writing for vastly different genres, like children’s picture books and erotica, not only are different names appropriate but a different website would be too!

2) Subtext provides depth and foreshadowing
The best foreshadowing is done through subtext. Done well, subtext makes future events more believable, creates mood and adds resonance. Subtext is implied, not said or told. It is the implicit undertone that reinforces an unspoken idea. This whisper campaign plants the seeds of underlying emotions, plots, and things to come in the subconscious mind and gives us deeper levels of hidden meanings within a story. Objects, symbols, actions and character traits are a few ways in which to create subtext.

3) Agents are human!
Whether you’ve got five minutes or two to make your pitch, you still need to start with pleasantries and not simply barrel into the pitch. Make sure you’ve done your research on the agent or publisher you’re pitching to so you can say what’s special about that agency or publishing house and why you think you’d be a good fit with them. Above all, be aware that it’s not just the book they’re assessing, but also if you’d make an adequate partner. The book industry is a team sport but always, the writing has to be great.

4) The business of being published
There are three main areas: Writer (product creation); Marketing (distribution, sales, promotion, platform); and Business (financial, legal, taxes). The key being successful is to know who you are as an individual and to understand how much time you want to spend on each of the three areas. For example, how much strength does your personality have to market? Understand your weaknesses and get help in those areas. Neglect any one and your business suffers BUT above all else, your product is the priority because without a good product, the rest won’t work.

5) Tricks for a successful mystery
This list was long, but here are a few of my favorites: Limit the sleuth’s options by giving him a weaknesses such as emotional, relationship, or physical impairment; tighten the pace with imposed deadlines; raise the stakes, threaten characters; allow characters to make mistakes; understand that the victim is the key catalyst for the story happens because of that person and he is the solution to the crime; readers want to solve the crime with the sleuth so have fun placing and revealing those secrets, clues and red herrings to make the investigation interesting.

6) Those critical first pages
Whether the first page uses the dialogue, narrative style or action, every good opening must contain: an event that will prove pivotal later but isn’t finished; characters in conflict; a writing style that sets the tone of the story; strong, active verbs and words; immediacy or the tension of knowing that something is about to happen; and the bait of a great opening line. In the first five pages, start an event and then don’t finish it – that creates a story within a story such as an internal conflict hinted at and an external conflict implied. Offer a thread of information or evidence to the reader and force the reader to deduce its relevance. Above all else, you will never go wrong by opening with conflict.

Check this con out at: http://www.whenwordscollide.org/

When Words Collide

When Words Collide: A Must-go-to Festival for Readers and Writers

 
When Words Collide is one of my favorite events. It’s a dynamic, cross genre (science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, literary, young adult, horror, urban fantasy, horrors and more), readers and writers festival. There is a variety of panels ranging from homicide, criminal psychology, taxes, play writing, transhumanism, writing dirty scenes, adapting the novel to script, indie versus traditional publishing to name a few. Coffee clutches along with readings and key note addresses provide great opportunities to hear your favorite authors. Previous years have seen guests such as Patricia Briggs (fantasy and urban fantasy), Michael Cassutt (TV/Film Scriptwriter and Sci Fi), Barbara Fradkin (Mystery), David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson (Fantasy, historical fantasy), Adrienne Kerr (Editor Penguin Canada), Kevin J. Anderson (Science Fiction), Anthony Bidulka (Mystery) and Rachel Caine (Cross-genre). I spoke with festival Chair, Randy McCharles about the event.

WWC is billed as a festival for readers and writers, not a conference. Why is this?
Writers conferences provide content for writers, usually those still learning the basics of the business. More established authors as well as editors and agents are the speakers, and 100% of the content is structured to help new writers enter the game. Readers festivals are mostly opportunities for readers to purchase books and have them signed by the authors, as well as listen to a number of authors read and perhaps speak on discussion panels. When Words Collide is relatively unique in that it addresses both these demographics and provides content for more advanced writers as well. One of the most enjoyable things over all three years was meeting new and interesting people, many of whom I continue to associate with throughout the year. The festival is, after all, a social event where readers and writers gather to meet like-minded people and discuss their interests.

Why a readers and writers conference?What will readers get from it?
When we started When Words Collide, we had no idea who would be interested in attending, but desired to be as inclusive as possible. As it turned out. Everyone was interested. For the first 3 years we collected registration demographics, which indicate that 50% of attendees classify themselves as readers. When we put together each year’s program, we work to include quality content for beginning writers, established writers, and for readers. Some of the reader content includes readings by festival guests and attending authors, an autograph session, a merchants area for popular and hard to find books, and nonstop panels discussions by authors and avid readers on topics of interest to readers. Many readers are also interested in the writing process and attend presentations and discussion geared for writers, especially if authors they enjoy are speaking.

Who are the guest speakers for 2014?
Our editor guest is Mark Leslie, Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo Canada. Kobo is a major player in Canada’s publishing community and Mark has vast expertise in the area of how to be published both traditionally and through self-publishing. We also have four big name authors. Diana Gabaldon is an award-winning author of Historical Fiction whose Outlander series is currently being made into a TV series. Jacqueline Guest is an international award-winner of Young Adult and Historical Fiction. D. J. McIntosh is the author of the internationally bestselling Mesopotamian Trilogy mystery. Brandon Sanderson is a bestselling author of Epic Fantasy, for his own work as well as the final three books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

Tell us about the pre-festival workshops you’ve added this year.
We have several workshops ranging from 3 hours to 1 day. The workshops offer a deeper look at the subject matter by masters in their fields and are a great compliment to the more relaxed, shorter events during the festival. More information can be found online.

  • Adrienne Kerr (Penguin Canada) is returning for her 3rd year and will teach 2 1-day workshops on manuscript critiques.
  • Mark Leslie (Kobo Canada) is offering 2 half-day presentations: one on how authors can promote themselves and the other is on the pros and cons of traditional and indie publishing.
  • D. J. McIntosh has a workshop on how to get published based on her own overnight sensation experience. Jacqueline Guest is also teaching a workshop on producing and promoting your book.
  • Jack Whyte is returning to conduct the popular SIWC (Surrey International Writers Conference) master class workshop, Manuscript Strengths & Weaknesses.
  • Alberta Romance Writers Association has a workshop: Monochrome or Tapestry – Engineering your stories for texture and depth.
  • Brandon Sanderson had hoped to provide a pre-festival workshop, but his schedule won’t permit, so he is giving a 2 hour presentation as part of the weekend festival instead.

What are some of the features which set WWC apart from other conferences?
We have brought together several events:

  • The Blue Pencil is a short sit down with and editor or author (who does a lot of editing) to receive some feedback on a piece of your manuscript. The Pitch Session is where you pitch your novel idea to agents and editors. Alberta is not overflowing with agents, so we often have authors stand in who can still give excellent feedback on your pitch and possibly refer you to appropriate agents. We do have several acquisition editors at WWC and they do request manuscripts.
  • The Live Action Slush has grown very popular in recent years. It may have started at SIWC (Surrey International Writers Conference) as Writer Idol, but we changed the name to be more reflective of what it actually is. Essentially, members of the audience submit anonymous first pages to be read and listened to by a panel of editors. Editors raise their hand when they would have stopped reading and rejected the manuscript. The editors then comment on why they stopped. This is a great experience, not just for those who submit pages, but for the entire audience as a great insight into how books are rejected or selected by publishers. Many readers also enjoy these session. It is so popular that WWC holds several sessions focused on different genres.
  • The 50 Minute Workshops are also very popular. In 2014 we will run more than 40 of them. Essentially an instructor gives a presentation or hands-on workshop to a smaller audience (less than 30 people). These may be on any topic of interest to readers or writers.
  • Our Friday Keynotes are also unique. Most conferences have sessions with 1 keynote speaker, as do we. But we also have a 2 hour session where all of the festival guests speak for 15-20 minutes on any subject. The range and mix of profoundness is my favorite part of the festival.
  • One of the most enjoyable things is meeting new and interesting people, many of whom I continue to associate with throughout the year. The festival is, after all, a social event where readers and writers gather to meet like-minded people and discuss their interests.

Where and when is WWC happening?
When Words Collide is always on the second week of August. This year it’ll be held from August 8-10 at The Carriage House Inn in Calgary, Alberta.

How can you make all this happen with a registration fee of $60 at the door or $45 if people register before April 1st?
Attending 3 days at When Words Collide costs $40-$60 (depending on when memberships are purchased), making it a bargain for writers and affordable for readers. We limit invited speakers to 5 or 6, usually 1 editor and 4 or 5 authors working in a range of genres for whom we cover travel expenses and provide an honorarium. Last year we had 150 volunteer presenters (professionals, writers and readers). All organizers and staff are also volunteers some of whom work tirelessly on grant requests, which greatly subsidize our costs. The festival is very much a labor of love. We are always on the lookout for new presenters we may be unaware of, and encourage people to contact us. Unlike most events, we publish our schedule online as it is being developed so that attendees can see our progress throughout the year.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
If you are interested in reading or writing, be it literary or genre fiction, poetry, or even non-fiction, When Words Collide is the one event in Canada that you want to attend. We expect over 500 attendees in 2014 from across Canada and from the US. Each hour of the day has 10 different activities to choose from. You will meet authors, make new friends, and learn as much about literature in Canada as you like. You can even watch our schedule develop online through the year as invited guests and attending presenters confirm their activities. Links to information about previous years are also available.

Randy McCharlesRandy McCharles is active in Calgary, Alberta’s writing community with a focus on speculative fiction, usually of the dark and humorous variety. In 2009 he received Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction, the Aurora Award, for the novella Ringing in the Changes in Okotoks, Alberta which appeared in Tesseracts 12 (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and was also reprinted in Year’s Best Fantasy 9 (David Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer, ed). When not making up tall tales, Randy organizes literary events, including chairing the When Words Collide festival for Readers and Writers. Information on Randy’s published works can be found on his website.