I keep getting 7 books that impact me, and 10 albums I love from facebook friends. So now that I’m in Vancouver, I thought I’d open with my lists of Josh this year. I’ll talk about them in Part 2, but I thought I’d touch on my goals for this year in my writing and podcasts here in Part 1.
Just Joshing (The Interview List)
So this is who I’m chasing. And yes, there are some big names on here. But I figure, why not?
Bonus two: Heidi Heilig, Kripparian, Diane Birch
The podcast is expanding already this year. I interviewed my first streamer and have some amazing guests already interviewed heading into Just Joshing 350 but these are the people I want to interview this year. Brandon Sanderson is the man, and I want to have a magic match with him. Lights is someone I’m a big fan of. I really dug Skin and Earth and listen to her music often when I write. Gail Simone would just be fun, but the one I’m secretly hoping on this list I finally get to?
Samantha Beiko. I’m a big fan of Sam. I became one two years ago at the Auroras. Scion of the Fox is on my reading pile right now, and I just dig her comic Krampus is my Boyfriend. She is a one of a kind talent who shines no matter what platform she appears. I want to sing something terribly on stage with Sylvain Neuvel. I met him in Ottawa and he is cool beans man. Youtube wing and a prayer on Youtube. It’s amazing. I may fly to montreal just to do it.
People I want to interview again
By Your Leave
I want to interview Fonda again because she’s done comics now and I’m more jealous. She’s also an amazing writer period, and I can’t help saying nice things about her. Sofia Evangelina gives me no excuses not to succeed. I feel like I could have done better by Kate Heartfield and I really like her books, and By Your Leave was definitely a fun experience.
Chris Marrs? Because I know there’s more to her and I want to hear that story.
I want to definitely write more this year. Last year I wrote a lot but wasn’t as productive as the year before. I’m close to finishing draft one of Phoenix Grand Prix and have started Cloud Diver 2. I have big goals for both this year. But first..
Release the Cloud Diver.
It’s really, really close. We’re finalizing the internal stuff right now, and I got some ISBNs to buy and copyrights to finish. That’s it. This bad boy is ready to fly.
There’s a little spoiler about Just Joshing 300 I have to say. I have two amazing conversations with Calvin Jim and Jessica Renwick live at When Words Collide. I like talking to Calvin, and I’m looking forward to a full conversation with Jessica down the road. But what makes me really excited about this, is the last ten minutes.
I’m going to say it. I believe in you.
No really, I do.
Not just because of what you do, but because of how you changed me. This podcast has been a journey, and honestly, each and every one of you has made me better. Let’s go back to the beginning shall we?
Most things that happen well within my life are things I do not plan. Rather, they kind of come from the aether after I have the vaguest of ideas what I’m doing. I finally got a smartphone. I have been doing interviews by memorizing them and writing them down before handing them to the people interviewed to make sure I misquoted them. It was fun, but it was a lot of work.
Now I’d have the opportunity to record and transcribe. A lot easier to do. My first interview at When Words Collide where I’m debuting this? Robert J. Sawyer.
We have a pretty good back and forth. But what I remember the most is after. Rob met up with someone who asked him what he was doing, and he mentioned that he was being interviewed for a podcast. In my head, something clicked.
I could do a podcast. And so the journey began.
How many people say their first interview recorded was Robert J. Sawyer?
This has been the biggest perk of the whole journey. That all said, there are some key people I want to bring up in this. Very early on in the show I’ve met some amazing people who made a huge impact on my life. Also, some of these people have become great friends.
I have to start with Vanessa Cardui. Vanessa is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. She has a very beautiful voice, but is also an incredibly sharp, sincere, tough and very giving person. I remember meeting her for the first time for the podcast. We ended up going downtoan to this little cafe on 8th and 6th in Calgary, all the while she walked and talked with me through Kensington as we sought a place. I’ve had the pleasure to be in her life off and on throughout the years, but this first conversation was a big leap of faith, and I thank Vanessa for doing so.
Suzy Vadori I met at my second when words collide. She was having a good time and getting into all kinds of mischief as we all do on the second night of the conference. Suzy is someone I treasure. I admire her drive so much. She’s a great writer, and has a great future in front of her. But for all that, she’s one of the very few people I have no doubts at all.
We have to mention a legendary individual as well. GW Renshaw is one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met. Sharp as a blade, but also just one of the kindest, gentlest men I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with. We ended up chattting one When Words Collide all night. Just a fun conversation.
But I can’t help but mention my chat with Adam Dreece. Adam is an amazing human being. This conversation is still memorable to me just because this was the genesis to a great friendship. Adam is one of the few that I can go to, and he’s done a lot of amazing things. I can’t wait until he makes the plunge with his next series. As is, I feel for me, this conversation was life changing.
The show’s quality improved with some key suggestions here and there as well. John Fleming was the one that recommended I cut back the intros to something less than two minutes. For the most part, I keep to his advice. Listen to any episode post episode 100 and you will hear it.
Also, I ditched the music as well. I think this show is best bare bones. I’ve dabbled with the idea here and there to make a jingle. But for now, I like the raw tone.
It’s amazing what a lack of budget at the beginning forced. Necessity does indeed make the mother of invention. I don’t have the money to rent a studio space, and while it’s now possible for me to reserve quieter rooms (thank you Calgary Public Library) the show’s atmosphere is different with each and every episode. The most common background is Skype as a lot of my guests are abroad, but there are a few memorable ones I’m putting below. Episode 40 involved me and Brendon doing an interview while I was being driven to Winnipeg airport. It’s probably my favorite of the early interviews and I encourage a listen.
The other is a recent chat I had with Konn Lavery. It’s amazing how lettling in little bits of chaos makes the conversation feel that much realer. In this case, you can hear us literally go from a diner to a cafe and all the steps in between, including the dead air. It feels realer this way, and maybe just maybe even when I can regularly do a studio that I won’t. This made this show genuine, and I don’t want to lose that.
I feel I can say that without the podcast, I’m not sure I would have fixed the teeth as fast as I did. I probably still did it a bit too late to be honest, but where I wanted to go with the show required me to make changes. I’m still a work in progress, but it definitely was something that I’ve improved and it’s amazing to think about where I was as a person, then.
What Success Feels Like
So yeah, throughout this journey I’ve been rewarded time and time again. It’s as though I’m meant to do this. This podcast one the 2018 Aurora for best fan related work, and is a finalist this year once again. Even if I don’t win, this has far and away grown beyond my wildest dreams.
It was appropriate that I found out about my victory at episode 198 when I was about to air this. Liz hadn’t known she was going to win, and it was an interesting chat, as Liz and I reversed roles for the purpose of this interview. I was the one that was asked questions and I was the one that answered. I couldn’t think of a better episode to air my results than this one. Both of us deserved it. Liz is great.
What I’ve learned
This has been my journey. Ultimately the guest may be why people come to listen, but the only reason the show has lasted as long as it has is me. I have now 300 episodes in the rear view and about 30 more to use going forward. But it’s all my journey. It’s about where I have been and where I’m going.
I started as a guy willing to do anything to get interviews. In order to do that I had to learn to open myself to the world. Everyone is different, and unique, and that meant that in order to get the people I want to, I have to get people to come aboard. I needed to open up, even if I disagreed. I welcomed everybody and everything. I have interviewed not just writers, but comedieans, comic book creative teams, musicians, politicians, rock bands, and more.
Thank you all. But I want you to know that I believe in you. Not becauseo f just who you are, but who you made me. Someone more open, someone willing to learn, and work with others to succeed.
I’ve learned not just to be motivated but inspired. I’m always looking forward to listening to the next story, because it changes mine. I’ve learned so much, and I couldn’t thank you enough for being there for me.
You’re awesome. I’m looking forward to where your story goes from here. I want you to know, I am rooting for you. I am your fan. I see how amazing you are. Thanks for making me a better person. Here’s to 300 more.
So did you enjoy the Sparkle Sparkle? I hope so. I’m really proud of the shirt and I’m really thankful for how it all turned out. Kayla Lynn did a fantastic job and once again, you should check her out at @abstractazure . She’s bad ass.
But we’re not going to talk about T-Shirts today. (After inserting the random Redbubble link here for your viewing pleasure. Go on. This will still be here.) I want to talk about why I made it and where it’s going to go from here.
About three years ago I attended my first IFWA meeting. IFWA stands for the Imaginative Fiction Writer’s Association in Calgary, where every month on the first thursday of the month they meet up and do business and have authors read works and be critiqued. It was an interesting process, and being eager and crazy I volunteered to have my story read for the following month.
Only I hadn’t written a story yet. I really had to rush to get something in. In my desperation, an idea formed in my mind about a man named Johnny and his daemon named Stevie Y. As the story developed this world came to me in regards to the cloud today. Today lots of people store information on the cloud. What would it be tomorrow? A conversation with Ron Friedman on my podcast gave me the thought that the digital cloud today would become the archeology of the world tomorrow. We live in a unique time where everything is seen and recorded from start to end. Whole lives could be watched and recorded by future generations to come.
I love that idea, but I also wanted to add some love to video games. I love classic video games. Final Fantasy VII, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, and double dragon was the entertainment I grew up on. So what if I could take this archeology concept and present the book in a way that felt like a video game? The Matrix meets Indiana Jones or some such. Ideas trickled in my head and I wrote a very rough draft to be read the following month.
To my surprise, people liked it. I had the crowd laughing at one scene in particular involving a count to five and a gun to the head. It made me think that I was on to something.
So I kept going. I had a simple, crazy, kooky story that flew out of my head. wrote it. I had a lot of input from people ranging from my sister to Sarah Johnston and others that gave little suggestions to carve the story the way it needed to go. This story was incredibly fun to write as well, as the first draft was cobbled together in six weeks. The next draft took longer, and the following draft took longer. After that, I thought it would be ready and presented the story to who was then a friend. She encouraged me and initially edited the process. I owe a tremendous debt to that individual. Hopefully someday I will get that opportunity to repay it.
It was then that the real work started to happen. I found an amazing editor in Ellen Michelle and an amazing cover designer in Lance Buan. Ellen won me over with her passion. Ellen is an incredible professional and is a very top notch editor. She is someone whom I would work with again anytime, anyplace. She made me better. I know she made me better when she took one of my favorite scenes in the book and not only made it better, but solved a problem in a future book at the same time.
I also finally got the chance to work with Lance Buan. Lance is one of the most talented individuals I’ve ever had the chance to work with. He is just an incredible, as you will see at the bottom here. I was very lucky to get the chance to work with someone this gifted. I am blown away by the cover and can’t wait to show you more, as he designed the interior as well.
Lastly, I want to give a special thank you to Adam Dreece. Adam has been a mentor and friend and he’s been gracious with both his time and latitude. He was the original model for the villain in the story. Obviously the Adam in the Cloud Diver is much different than Adam Dreece the man, but if it wasn’t for Adam tweeting about Mr. Biggleworth, I never would have come up with the kind of villain Johnny needed in Book one. So Adam, thanks for your kindness.
It’s nearly ready to come out.
Here’s the cover.
Look for the Cloud Diver to be available on all digital platforms everywhere in October. I can’t wait for all to see this. I’m really proud of this.
This book is about me. I have no problems being regarded as a podcaster. But I wanted to prove that I could put together an amazing book for everyone to enjoy. I feel like I accomplished that here.
Before I begin with the topic I’m blogging about today, I thought I’d post some of the chaos and mayhem I’ve been a part of since 2019 began. First off, my column at First Comics is back up and running. You can click here to read the latest buzz. Not only that, but my friend the Great Colleen Anderson had me do a guest blog on how my career has pretty much gone, and how I started a podcast and what I learned from it. Read it here, if you’d like to learn about happy accidents.
I’ve talked about self worth in the past. I’m not covering what I have before. Instead, I’m going to look at it from the point of view of products. In short, what you offer.
I don’t focus on that enough. Part of the reason is that my podcast tends to focus a lot about my guests and who they are. Having a clear sense of who you are is important. If you don’t know who you are, you don’t really have an idea of what you can offer. That’s not quite the same thing as talking about what you really do offer, and that is what I want to tackle here.
I’ve had a lot of different opportunities come my way since I won the Aurora. I’ve got a lot of cool guests I otherwise wouldn’t have as a result, that noteriety has allowed me to hit one of my bucket lists goals as an author and get into a science fiction magazine. I got three books out, and my fourth and fifth are going to launch soon, including my first novel.
What is that worth?
I actually had to put a number to that recently. I had an unexpected request for something that made me think about it in detail. What do I offer? How much do I believe that is worth? What will I really get for it? If there is a topic that screams imposter syndrome, it would be this one. Writers and artists in general dismiss their own work (me included) because it’s something on some levels we take for granted.
We know on some level it’s good. We may not have a way to quantify that good thing, but we know we’ve created something from nothing with a book, or added signal to the noise with a new podcast. That time you’ve spent working on it has got to count for something right?
I had to believe that when I started the podcast. I have to believe that when I write something. I have to believe in me.
There is nothing like a pay check for something you create. Nothing. Your work, your effort being rewarded in a quantifiable way that can put food on the table or pay a bill or your rent (or much. much more). There is nothing like it. If you’re even half serious about this, this is why you do this. Because on some level, you want to be appreciated for it, and you want to see yourself rewarded. It takes a certain kind of audacity to want that and make it happen.
And you know what? You need that kind of ego. A little megalomania is a necessity when you are going to sell your product, and to a lesser extent, yourself. It’s healthy. You need that self worth and value and you need to project that to your clients and readers that you can do the job required.
That does take a little chutzpah. But I don’t care who you are in any field. You have to believe in yourself to do the task in front of you. That confidence translates, even if you have no real idea what you are doing.
Could you imagine what a working union could do if their workers believed they were worth every penny and more that a company would pay for? That faith would move mountains, and probably inspire places for more profit.
As I get farther along with another book coming out (more on that next blog) I become more and more comfortable with who I am and what I do offer to publishers and more. As a writer and a podcaster, I know what I can do. I know what that’s worth. And I won’t budge.
That also takes some stones. A friend that I had coffee with a while ago was appalled at the idea of people asking them to do work they make a living with for free or for exposure. They refuse. I came out of that coffee with even more respect for this person than when I walked in. They model for a living, and for all their beauty, know their worth. You can see it in how they carry themselves. That refusal to sell themselves short adds something to them.
But this will happen all the time. People will ask you to do things and offer exposure as a payment. Very rarely is it worth it. I was looking to get on a podcast not too long ago to keep growing my brand, but they insisted that I sponsor the podcast in order to do this. Now this may work for them on some level, I have no idea, but the reality is I don’t feel I should be paying for a commercial.
Is there any situation where exposure pays? Some for sure, but the reality is that if they have the kind of platform that people are looking at, you can bet that they can pay for it.
You cannot sell yourself short with anybody or anything. You can’t seem uncompromising either, so to steal from an old friend, you need to figure out where your resentment meter is. The resentment meter works like this. Ask yourself a question when you hear an offer. Would you resent doing the job for the amount being done? If the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t do the job, you’ll resent it.
Simple right? So you calculate the proper amount in your head where you won’t resent any of the headaches and possible problems you can foresee. If that amount is reached, you can put your resentment aside. Always start higher than what you’d do the work for. That way if you get it, great, but if not, you can negotiate. But never ever deviate from whatever that baseline is. Ever.
Selling yourself short is probably the greatest sin artists do. Artists are not as respected as a lot of other talents. Every bit of value you get for yourself you have to fight for. You are worth whatever you set in your mind. So always aim high and to go higher.
Remember what you offer. If they really care, they will meet what you are worth.
That’ll do it.
Here’s a podcast to listen to. I’ll be back in a week to count to zero.
So I’ve listed my writing goals and podcast goals with Betting on Me Parts 1 and 2 and All In Parts 1 and 2.
So what’s left to talk about? The pipedreams and the big stuff. I really hate the word real. Real is a frustrating word. It doesn’t really mean anything. To quote one of my favorite movies “if real is nothing more than what we can see, smell, touch and test, than real is nothing more than stimulation.” I hate that definition. I mean real has to be more than that right? Otherwise, nothing is real, because senses can be manipulated.
And I never liked the word real when it was told to me in the classroom. I was always told I should set realistic goals and have realistic expectations. I had no idea what the hell that was supposed to mean either. Realistic, and real from what I’ve seen in this life, most people look at those words and see some kind of mediocrity. We need to have realistic jobs, or realistic expectations.
You need to have some out there stuff. Stuff you shouldn’t necessarily expect to happen, but stuff you’d like to happen and put your name into the hat.
So what are my goals now that I’ve hit the beginning of this wild journey.
Get a big 5 book deal – This one is the big one. It’s not impossible. I have a lot of friends that do have deals. I’d like to be one of them at this point. I have a novel I’ve been writing that I’ve had to put off as a result of the last month. I’m working on it again. I’m going for it. Let’s see if I can make this happen.
Redacted – this one has already come true. Stay tuned Thursday.
Hit 10000 listeners per week – this one may become more ahem… “realistic” as time goes on. Right now it’s out there.
I have more but that’s the point. There’s a lot of things that are possible. They just need to be asked for. I’m’ asking for them. Heck, one of them has already come true. Another one may happen in a couple of years.
But, there is this “real” part. Some of this is out of my control. All I can control, is my integrity. I’m going to show up and do my thing. What will happen will happen. But I will put myself in the position to succeed.
And that’s my wish for everyone that has read this this year. Thank you very much for your support. I’m going all in and I hope you do too. You’re worth it. Don’t let anyone else’s real, get in the way. Find what makes you find your inner happiness and go for it. You only got one life. Stay true to you and follow where it may lead.
Take chances, don’t fear failure or mistakes, learn and grow and just keep going. You can do it. I know you can.
So there is one last thing I want to announce here. I’m starting a write club. But it’s not going to be like any other write club out there. Write club for those of you that don’t know is a club where writers come together and create. It’s a cool idea, you can talk to awesome people and learn from each other. It’s great in theory. I am however a bit of a wanderer by nature. One spot isn’t exactly what I want to do.
One of the other things that is going with me this year is that a lot of my friends have cleared out. My sister is leaving alberta, and a few other friends are disappearing. I want to meet new people. I want to keep opening doors.
So I will not have a set location. Every Saturday at 6:30 pm, I will be somewhere creating. Most of the time it will be in Calgary somewhere. Thursday I will announce where I’ll be. If people want to come, come. If not, that’s fine. I’m going to be expanding my horizons either way. I can’t control the outcome, but I can put the invitation out there. So this is the Wandering Writing Group. Feel free to join the caravan.
Looking forward to doing this:
The best is yet to come. Stay inspired and Happy New Year.
So I have been very very busy at the day job, and now that it’s nearly through the blitzkrieg, I want to talk about what my podcast has taught me this year before going into 2019. Just Joshing exceeded all my goals this year. My viewership went way up, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some incredible individuals, and I’ve achieved credibility I never thought I had.
All I did was post an episode, and then two episodes, each week. I sought out people to talk to, I got to talk to them. And that momentum just kept building and building and building.
But it got me thinking. If that is what my podcast could achieve, what about my writing? Don’t get me wrong, if I am more known as a podcaster than a writer, I am more than okay with this. I’m proud of my podcast.
I haven’t done the writing like I’ve done the podcast. I’ve put in a lot of work in that department as well, but not with the consistency as I have with the podcast. That is about to change.
One of the big reasons I’m going part time is that I want to have more time to concentrate on the all the opportunities coming my way this coming 2019. I have three books just about ready to go. Now that the holidaze is just about over, I can get back to that novel I’m working on.
So for this particular blog I’m going to focus on the first book coming out next year.
I got a request from Colleen Anderson about two years ago to do an epic poem about Lewis Carroll. I didn’t know Carroll outside of Alice In Wonderland and for the life of me, I was flabbergasted. What was I going to say about Alice that hasn’t been said before?
Then I met a girl with a gorgon tattoo. A gorgon knight appeared in my head, slaying shadows in a forgotten forest, saving Alice from the darkness. It clicked something in my brain, and suddenly I knew exactly what Alice said to me.
Writing it was a dream. It was wonderland as I never imagined before. Alice as Pandora seemed to fit like a glove…and it did. Alice opens the box the Queen of Hearts gives her and now has a certain Cheshire passenger inside of her. I was happy with the initial draft, and it just didn’t make the final cuts for that anthology. Colleen encouraged me to do something with this. So I want to acknowledge Colleen for putting me on this path. Thank you very much.
And this project has grown and evolved and I have so much more up the road planned for this. In many ways, this in the long form may be the boldest thing I ever do. Time will tell. I did some rewriting, and I want to take a moment to thank Vanessa Cardui for her input in the draft and where it’s going from here. Vanessa’s insights were invaluable and I wouldn’t have thought of some of things I did without her. Thank you very much.
Alice Zero is a prologue, but a complete story in itself. Alice has opened the box, and is now trapped inside an asylum, with playing cards as her wardens. Here is where Alice rediscovers herself, and move on from the calamity she has created.
It will be available end of January/Early February. I’ll have more details in a couple weeks, but before I go, I thought I’d do a cover reveal.
Much like everything else in my career, the best things are accidental. I’ve been aware of Mackenzie Carr as a person for a while. I met her at Myth Games playing her significant other Magic the Gathering. She was impressed I’ve written books and we’ve kept in touch on and off ever since.
What I didn’t know was that she as an amazing artist. I saw her drawings on her instagram and I told her she was awesome. Our conversation led to me asking her if she wanted to do this as a project and She said sure.
This is Alice Zero. I hope you are as excited as I am. That will do it for Part one. Next blog before new year’s, I will preview book two coming out next year as well as the amazing Lance Buan.
So I can honestly say this has been a great year. I fixed my teeth first and foremost, and in the process exorcised quite a few demons out of myself.
Look at that smile. Isn’t that awesome?
Then I just kept writing and podcasting. On the writing front, all seems quiet. You haven’t seen a new book from me this year. It does look like you will three next year at least, but this year was more about developing new things and continuing what was happening from the year prior. I did finally do a book launch at Owl’s Nest books that was also a live podcast. I ended up setting myself to do more shows next year.
Sweet and Sultry Summer was a lot of fun for me. I ended up becoming more acclimated with the Romantic writing communities. It was a lot of fun and once again I want to thank M. Jane Colette for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special that she created. It was a blast to do and I hope I get a shot to do it again this year.
Shortly after this event I got an email that said that I was a finalist for The Grand Prix Aurora awards. I won.
That’s a hell of a year right there. But all in all I’ve been feeling like there’s been a swell of momentum heading down this direction. I’ve had doors open up, and to my humbling surprise, it seems like this podcast of mine is influencing and inspiring people.
Now, it’s no secret that I’ve been wanting out of my day job forever. It’s the dream right? One of the things about my day job though is the flexibility it has. My goals are pretty much well known, and I’m given the opportunity to push forward on my dreams. I’d be a fool not to be grateful for that.
I’m not getting younger. I have my dreams and my goals in front of me still, and it feels like there are things in reach. Doors have opened, cool things keep happening to me, and at some point you have to ride the momentum.
You have to bet on you. I have to bet on me. I think I’m onto something here. I’ve said in my social media that you have to go to it. It’s time to go for it. Let’s see what happens when I take things even more seriously.
Success is work. Bottom line. I have to take my podcast more seriously, and I have to take my writing more seriously.
If anything I’ve learned this year is that if I focused on my writing as much as my podcast, who knows what I can accomplish? So now is the time and opportunity to create that chance.
I don’t know if reading this, you are stuck on going for it, you need to. At some point, you can’t stay safe. You have to leap. And it’s okay to fail. I know I still have long days ahead on the day job. Even going part time, there will be moments I’ll have to work more. I may have a week here or a month there, but it’s going to be less.
My dreams will take precedence more. At the end of the day, you have to decide what you want. You have to make the decision of who you want to be. We all do what we want to do. So what do you want?
It’s been a crazy weekend. Almost a perfect one. My vacation had been great because of catching up with friends and family throughout a very crazy travel schedule. I found myself heading back to Vancouver for V Con. I was looking forward to checking out the Auroras, hoping that I’d win, but also cool if I didn’t. Sam Beiko and Clare Marshall have an amazing podcast, Kraken not Stirred has a decent album. With that bit of cautious optimism, I was off.
First off, I got upgraded to V Con via Westjet to their first class. This happened on the way back too. I could get used to water and space. I left the snowy tundras of Calgary and arrived into rainy Richmond (Vancouver). And it wasn’t the only upgrade. Once I arrived and had breakfast, I found myself getting called by my hotel and I got an upgrade there too. Nice. Seemed things were going good.
V Con is a small but fun show as I walked in. It was great to see Graham Darling, Pat Flewelling, Sandra Wickham and others as I settled into the show. It was nice to see Hayden and Liz Trenholm there as well. I got them and Pat to be interviewed and proceeded to enjoy the show.
Once I got the lay of the land, I realized that I might as well enjoy myself. I was on vacation, so I might as well enjoy a show.
Plus, friday night is the Aurora pinning ceremony. This would have been fun enough. It wasn’t that I got pinned, but rather the people around me that did.
Liz Trenholm in particular to me, awesome. If anyone besides me got made this weekend, it was her. She had worked very hard for this nomination and she like me enjoyed every minute of the journey.
Then Spider Robinson walked by.
Yeah. THAT Spider Robinson. He got his new pin, and I got kind of star struck, and so did half the room. Did not expect to see him, and it was cool to actually meet him. I shook his hand. (Yes, I’m a fanboy. Have you listened to my podcast?)
I had two interactions with Spider beyond this. The first was just passing him by as he was on his way to his beatles tribute concert (which was awesome) I tried to talk to him, and then realized very quickly that this performance was on his mind and politely excused himself.
I walked into the concert later and heard him and company kill some beatles classics like “Hard Days Night” and “Eight Days a week.” If anything I got how skilled the beatles was. Spider plays a great guitar but some of the chords on quite a few beatles songs are intricate. Kudos to all of them for this.
So I’m going to bring up Charles Stross before my second interaction. I had asked Charles at the beginning of the show if he wanted to be interviewed and said sure. It didn’t happen. The reason this kind of resonated was that I ran into Spider the next day on his way out. He was looking for directions which I helped him with, and then I went for it. I asked him if he’d like to do the podcast.
So right this minute I am looking at his email and his number to do the interview. The email is sent as of this writing. To say I’m stoked is an understatement. Wow. I got a chance to interview Spider Robinson.
I got some other great interviews as well. Hayden Trenholm and I finally got a chance to do a proper conversation. Our first interview was unfortunately cut short, so this time we got a chance. I enjoyed it as I did Liz and Pat.
I saw some great panels with Susan Forest, Hayden and Liz Trenholm, as well as Sandra Wickham, JM Landels and TG Shepherd before the Aurora Awards.
My category was first off. I gave myself hope. And you know what?
The most surreal thing about the night was hearing my name. I didn’t believe it. I mean, I thought I was good enough to believe I could win, but I didn’t expect to hear my name. I heard it though. I went up and spoke a very brief speech that showed my gratitude and sat down, still in shock.
I mean I’m looking at it right now and I still don’t believe it. I mean, it’s mine. Then I got congratulated. Gerald Brandt was the first person to congratulate me online. Others followed. I had conversations with Fonda Lee, Brent Nichols, and others. I actually paused typing this.
Somehow my life has become filled with people who are doing incredible things. I do believe magic as described in books on some levels is quite real. That said, this pales in comparison to the magic of just going in and doing what I’ve done. All I’ve done is give a platform for people to tell their stories. I’ve been touched by the lives of people that have given me this opportunity. And I cannot thank you all enough. So, yeah, thank you all.
I celebrated. I had a drink for Fonda and the others who could not be there. It was a very cool night.
My con ended after my early interviews. I headed into downtown Vancouver to talk to Sofia Evangelina and her mom, and we talked. Sofia has a very bright future ahead of her. And you should listen to my conversation with her to see why I feel that way. I got a chance to see what they are up to, and get interviewed. It was a great way to conclude an amazing weekend.
It’s Wednesday and I still feel charged. I’m back to work. The one thing about success that a lot of people need to realize is that it never stops. You have to keep going and do the things that brought you to the dance. I’m back at it.
What blows me away is that I’m still getting congratulations and notice. I think the one that gets me smiling the most is my high school peers. In some cases, I’ve wandered off the beaten path of many of them. And just to see a few of them just congratulate me is awesome. To my friends from my high school days, I hope you are doing just as well in your endeavors.
This is a hell of a birthday present. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I met legends, got recognized by my peers, traveled the country, and even now, doors are opening. Thank you each and every one for your thanks, and for your belief in me. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
I posted this on my facebook. Thought it would be a great read here.
At the party I was at last night I was asked. “Don’t you feel alone?” I was asked that because we were talking about self worth and the choices I made. We went down other avenues, but she got me thinking.
I’m a storyteller who loves stories. If you understand that, you can understand everything I do.
I have expectations and attachments. I care. I’m passionate. I’m driven. I seek to try to create something from my dreams and imagination. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun. I’m by myself scribbling madly at a scene involving a nineteen year old prodigy about to fly again for the first time in ten years. Awesome scene.
Sometimes it’s a struggle. I still am figuring out how to make this a living. I have to find readers, listeners, and I have to do all this while promoting myself and putting in the late nights and work while others of my friends are starting families, living in nice places. If we go by material goods, a lot of people might see me a failure.
Lots of friends are starting families and settling down. I’m still beating down this path.
But this is who I am. I’m a storyteller who loves stories, trying to get to the point where I can just do this all the time.
There’s no clear path today. More than ever everything is in flux. The future has to be created and there is no clear way to a happy ending. On top of that, people don’t believe their worth. One friend always loves to tell me that when we talk that they were taught to shoot for the moon and they can make anything happen. What he and a lot of people don’t mention is the clause that was instituted. You can have what you want…IF you’re good enough.
That good enough clause is why a lot of people don’t pursue their passions. What is good enough? Do you need permission from someone to say you can do this? I’ve never let not knowing what I’m doing stop me. You have to go for it. Otherwise you get nothing in this life.
More than ever, today is a world of ideas. Technology combined with imagination has given us all the ability to build a world we wish. At the end of the day, we all do what we want to. All of us have the power to create a life we choose.
But that’s work. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. You will be rejected. Chasing your dreams, going for big stuff, requires a thick skin. It doesn’t require permission. It just requires you going out on a limb.
And it’s lonely sometimes too. Not enough of us do this.
So this Monday morning as you read this, I hope you’re motivated. I want to see caring, moving forward human beings doing the best they can to express that higher calling they have inside them. There will be lows, but there will also be incredible highs.
Be creative, unconventional, exceptional and motivational. Have a great week and kick some ass.
I have a bunch of projects upcoming here. This one started a little differently.
One year ago Colleen Anderson asked me to submit an epic poem into her anthology called Alice Unbound. Initially, I had no idea what I was going to say about Wonderland. I mean, everyone has done a Wonderland story right? What could I possibly say about Wonderland that hasn’t been said?
It turns out, quite a lot. Around this time I met a very pretty woman with a gorgon tattoo on her arm she designed herself. I was captivated by her, and we became friends. With her as an inspiration I had an angle on Alice in Wonderland that I thought was unique and fresh.
It turns out, I had a ton of fun writing it. And it was good. Colleen said it was good. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the final cut for the anthology. It happens.
That said, this is a pretty cool anthology and you can check it out here. Colleen is everything an editor can ask for. She is encouraging and wanted me to do something with this piece.
What to do with it though? I liked it, and didn’t really want to cut this down. I wasn’t sure that this poem could be lengthened up. It was a prologue to a larger story in my head. With the Watcher series concluded, I needed to do another poetry epic. I believe that this has legs. (And it turns out, I’m right.)
But I didn’t want to just rehash the Watcher. I wanted to create a different experience, not just with the story, but with the presentation.
I thought that Snakes and Ladders was an appropriate metaphor for the story I was telling. Alice and games, particularly this one, fits not only her narrative, but also the nature of the story itself.
Yeah, that’s right. I’d do a board game fantasy world map. That would be cool, right? Right, I told myself. So I found this and imagined all the worlds in my Wonderland saga and smiled. Yes, this fits. I know this is going to work.
Then I asked myself the question that doomed me to the nth degree.
How do you play this game?
The moment I asked that, the basic rules of the game came into my brain. Honestly, it felt like they were beamed into my brain. Strangely enough, after thinking about it, I thought that maybe there was legs to this game.
That my friends is how you accidentally invent a board game. I don’t feel bad admitting it. The best things I’ve ever done has been done by just doing things. One door leading to another and another.
So yeah, I’m constructing a board game with a snakes and ladders motif.
Or was I?
When I started designing the board, I obviously considered homaging the Snakes and Ladders concept, but thought about trying something different. I liked the circular motion of this idea. But after looking at it carefully, I nixed this idea. It was too eyeball like for starters. Also, it just didn’t have the feel I wanted. The only way to make a board like this work would be if I was using star constellations. But with the nature of the story that seemed very blah.
Okay. Let’s try something else then.
First off, this looks way to much like the letter E. And while a labyrinth does play a role in the story, it shouldn’t be the whole board. I had other, more inventive ways to travel in this game.
Still, I threw this in here because it’s always good to experiment and try different things. Even though I’m not going to go this way, it did give me some thoughts about secret pathways and other neat things that could go on the board in the future. In the end though, this concept would just not do.
But this was definitely the right track.
I went with the one hundred square board. It fits the whole snake and ladders homage, which I think is going to be a necessity to the game, but it also with the way I positioned it, it gave me context not only to the shape of the board, but also the shape of the story. I know now the number of books, and how many worlds are going to be featured in my saga.
All because of this little weird number grid. Cool huh?
I still got a lot of work to go. The bristol board and board game design is going to be tricky. I’m buying a few pieces to get the whole concept nailed down in rough. It’s going to look very hodge podge as I get into testing the basic concepts of the game and the story down in the next couple of weeks.
And really, I have no idea if this is the right way to do it. That’s part of the fun to be honest. I’ve never let not knowing what the heck I was doing get int the way of trying something different. You may be able to follow along with the basic ideas I’m working on here. Maybe not. I’ve tried to be clear, but not too clear.
That said, this is going to be a very ambitious way to do this project. I don’t know a lot of variables. The basic idea may change as I move forward with the concept. Then again, it may just be perfect. Who knows?
I don’t know.
A lot of people get afraid of I don’t know for some reason. Truth is, there’s a lot of things I don’t know. I don’t know how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and I barely know what’s going to happen today. All I know for sure is that I can try.
Really, that’s all any of us can do. I may be an imposter and this might fail
So what though? In my experience, failure leads to more unexpected doors being open. I encourage you all to go off the beaten path and try something a little different. Maybe designing a board game isn’t for you. But I bet there are other things in your life that are worth exploring and doing.