Category Archives: Conventions

Kal’s July Writing Updates

I’m pleased to announce that Echo of the High Kings is on schedule to be released on 1 August 2014.  Echo of the High Kings is an epic fantasy novel that I’ve been working on, through multiple iterations, for a long while.  It is the first book of the Eoriel Saga, which will be a long series.  In the next couple weeks leading up to it’s release, I’ll have sample sections and other goodies.  It will be exclusive to Amazon and will be part of their Amazon Select program.

I’ll be working on Wrath of the Usurper, the sequel to Echo of the High Kings, in August and September, with a goal to release it in the winter.

In other news, work on The Shattered Empire continues.  I’m doing some of the final bits on it and will have it out to my alpha readers in the next couple weeks.  If all goes well and I feel that the final product is ready for it, I’ll try to have it out in early to mid September.

For fans of The Renegades series, I’ll be working on Renegades: Out of the Cold during the fall.  Renegades: Out of the Cold will follow the crew of the Gebnyr as they reach human civilization once again.  The release date for Renegades: Out of the Cold will probably be in the December/November timeframe.

Lastly, it’s not writing news, but I’ll be at Myths and Legends Con in Denver on 8-10 August 2014.  I will be on at least one panel and for those who want a book signed or want to get a (discounted) print copy, feel free to talk with me after a panel or in the halls.

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Starfest Denver 2014

Boba Fett and Han Solo discuss their plans for Starfest.
Boba Fett and Han Solo discuss their plans for Starfest.

 

 

I had the opportunity to attend Starfest last weekend as an author and participant.  It was a great time, all in all, with the highlight being the Combat in Science Fiction and Fantasy Panel.  We had a great turnout for that panel (almost standing room only) and excellent audience participation.  Sunday was May the 4th, which is Star Wars Day.  So there was a huge turnout of Star Wars fans as well.

A Star Wars Rebel Steampunk Pilot
A Star Wars Rebel Steampunk Pilot

It was a great opportunity for me to meet folks, both writers, editors, and readers.  I had some great conversations with people and really enjoyed myself.

The highlight for me, as I said, was being on several panels, especially the Combat in SF & F one that I organized.  We talked about a number of things, to include pet peeves as readers and viewers, awesome scenes in the genre, as well as writing tips and techniques for doing a combat scene.  The other two panels were pretty awesome as well, and I really had a great time overall.

Fortunately there were first responders on hand in case of any health issues or zombie breakouts.
Fortunately there were first responders on hand in case of any health issues or zombie breakouts.

Denver Starfest 2014

I’ll be attending Starfest 2014 in Denver, CO this coming weekend (May 2-4).  This will be my first convention as a participant, so I’m  pretty excited about it.  As of yet, it looks like I’ll be on three panels.  May 2nd at 7pm I’ll be on “You Got Your Reality in My Fantasy.” May 3rd at noon I’ll be moderating a panel “Combat in Science Fiction and Fantasy” and May 3rd at 3pm I’ll be at “Alternate History in Fantasy and Science Fiction.”  For those interested, I’ll have some extra copies of my books.

I’ll be wandering the halls for most of the event.  It’ll be my first time at Starfest, so I’d like to see what it’s all about.  I hear there’s a lot of Klingons…

Update: Click here for how it went.

Anomaly Con Denver Review

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I went to Anomaly Con this past weekend.  It’s a smaller Fan Convention in Denver, Colorado.  The general theme is steampunk and alternate history, though there was certainly guests, panels, and events linked to science fiction, traditional fantasy, and even urban fantasy as well.  I’ll cover the highlights for those interested.

Tracy Hickman was there, talking about his new game Sojourner Tales, which looks to be a lot of fun, check it out here.  He also hosted his Killer Breakfast event, though that had a depressingly low turnout.  It was still a lot of fun, and I got to be slain multiple times..  For those who haven’t heard of it, typically several hundred people are killed in a 2 hour session, mostly whenever their characters cease to entertain.  My favorite part was when I used my long underwear as a parachute, then rolled a natural 20 as a success, leaving Tracy Hickman literally speechless.  It even has a website, apparently, find that here.

Author Carrie Vaughn was there.  Most famous for the Kitty Norville books, she is an excellent panelist, and she had a lot of good info, is always very organized, and she kept on topic as well as answering any questions from the audience.  All in all, she’s a friendly author, and seems to be a great person.  If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you should check her out.  I’ve read a number of her books, and they are an excellent example of urban fantasy, and more original than most.  Check out her website here.

Also present was Quincy Allen.  He’s a ‘hybrid’ author, who started out self published and has since gotten involved in small press.  He’s a Colorado author, an all around interesting fellow, and fun to talk with.  His novel, Chemical Burn, will be re-released under Kevin J Anderson’s Word Fire Press.  Check it out here from Amazon, and Word Fire Press here.

I didn’t have the opportunity to set on any panels, but I did have some fun conversations with a variety of folks there at the conference.  I also found a very cool John Crichton Farscape-style vest and jacket, just out of my price range at the moment.  Of course, if my book sales pick up a bit, I suppose I can work buying it in the future.  Check out their website here.  They’ve got a lot of cool stuff.

Just out of reach.  Monetarily and height-wise.... sometimes I hate being short.
Just out of reach. Monetarily and height-wise…. sometimes I hate being short.

 

All in all, it was an interesting weekend.  Anomaly Con is a quirky little convention.  I don’t know that I’ll attend next year, but it was an experience this year.

World SF Convention, Hugos, and You

Last year I purchased a membership to the World SF Convention.  I ended up going to Dragon*Con instead, but I still voted for the Hugos.

For those who don’t know, the Hugos are the awards for the ‘best’ new stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Why is this important?  Well, it’s a combination popularity contest and kudos for authors.  While selling well is nice, it’s also good to know that your peers like your work.  Of late, however, the Hugos have often gone to people with messages, books that are more about causes and politics than about what we all got into SF&F in the first place: being entertained.

Larry Correia writes quite a bit on the subject, and if you haven’t read his take on it all, you should.  It’s highly entertaining, if nothing else.  I personally beleive that ‘best’ in Science Fiction and Fantasy should mean “well written” and “entertaining” and maybe even “fun.”   I don’t think I’m alone in that regard.  As a disclaimer, I am eligible for two catagories, so I’m pitching my hat in the ring.

Luckily, because I bought membership last year, I get to vote this year as well.  Seeing as I hope to attend next year, I’ll be voting next year too.

Without further ado, here’s my nominations, they’re all books I’ve enjoyed (well, I enjoyed writing mine, ok?)

Best Novel:

A Few Good Men, Sarah Hoyt, Baen

Grand Central Arena, Ryk Spoor, Baen

Warbound, the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia, Baen

Best Novella:

Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption, Kal Spriggs, Sutek Press

Best Short Story:

Skyspark, Ryk Spoor, Baen

Best Editor:

Toni Weisskoph

Best Graphic Novel:

Schlock Mercenary, Howard Taylor

Campbell Award (For a new author)

Kal Spriggs

Frank Chadwick

 

Why does this matter to you?  Well, you might be like me and have a membership lying around from last year.  Might as well use it, right?  Vote for the books and authors you enjoyed and let’s make the Hugo awards into something we can enjoy again.

 

Of Dragons and Cons

I’ve just returned from my fourth Dragon*Con. As always, it’s been an experience. Dragon*Con is, in my opinion, a very unique genre convention. One thing that always hits me is the size. Five years ago, it was around twenty thousand people and spread over four hotels. This year they had five hotels and a convention center, and while numbers aren’t yet completed, I’d estimate over fifty thousand people, much like last year. They have a number of big events that occur throughout the time, to include musical concerts, film stars and directors, and of course, massive costume contests.Image

 

All the same, Dragon*Con has a very small feel to it, in some aspects. The writing panels are typically in small side rooms away from the main corridors. The is the same for the reading panels and other similar subgenre ‘tracks’. More popular events might require long lines and a bit of a wait to get in (and you’re not allowed to form a line prior to one hour before an event), but depending on your interests, someone might spend the entire time in small rooms away from the crowds.

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I have to admit, I have a certain level of nostalgia about Dragon*Con. It was my first convention, and I went there by myself, not really knowing anyone. I spent most of those four days wandering around in something of a daze and feeling a bit like a lonely ping-pong ball that needed a break. I’ve since developed some connections and have met a few people. Would I recommend Dragon*Con to others as their first? Not really, especially if they’re going it alone. It’s very easy to be quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of events to attend. I’ve seen plenty of people who looked like zombies by day three, burned out from trying to see everything. Also, there are easier ways to see the same things in other cons. Local conventions can be talked down on, but they often offer the same things, if smaller in scale. The important thing, in my opinion, is going with some kind of idea of what you want to see and pacing yourself. You won’t see much of Dragon*Con from the hospital if you collapse from exhaustion.

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Still, I like Dragon*Con. It’s big, it’s loud, and there’s always something to do. Unlike events such as Comic Con, it’s not commercialized and is still mostly fan driven and organized. Will I attend next year? I plan on it. There’s nothing quite like it.Image