authors

The Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction

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We officially hit our first 100° day here in the desert this weekend, so you know what that means.

Summer.

electronThis morning I was updating my events calendar, and it struck me how cool this summer is going to be. For the last…I don’t even remember how many years…I’ve been jetting off to Los Angeles at the end of July for the SCBWI conference (which is completely awesome). But this year, I’m doing something a little different. I’ll be heading east instead of west, and attending The Schrodinger Sessions at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland!

That’s right. I’m getting a crash course in quantum physics for science fiction authors. How crazy is that?! Apparently they received 100 or so applications, and chose 15. Mine was one of them. I can’t wait. I have no idea what to expect, but I just know it’s going to be awesome. I’ll be blogging and tweeting and status updating during the workshop, so stay turned.

Here are some links if you want to follow me on the interwebs:

Twitter: @amyknichols
Facebook: Amy K. Nichols
Tumblr: Amy K. Nichols
Instagram: authoramyknichols

Oh, and May the 4th be with you, always.

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I finally made it to the Tucson Festival of Books! And it was awesome.

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For years I’ve heard my friends rave about the Tucson Festival of Books, but always had something else booked (ha) for the weekend.

Until this year. I finally made it. And all I can say is, wow.

Much like San Diego Comic-con, my friends had warned me how big an event it was; but until I got there and saw it with my own eyes, I really had no idea.

It was huge.

And they brought in a whole bunch of incredible authors to talk about books, writing, publishing, promoting…all kinds of good stuff.

While there I met a ton of awesome authors. Chuck Wendig. Anne Perry. Cornelia Funke. Lois Lowry. Nicole McInnes. Page Morgan. Matt de la Peña. Suzanne Young. Sam Sykes. Kevin Hearne. Kristen Lamb.

I also got to meet fellow Class of 2k14 member Christine Kohler. How cool is that?!

Don’t even ask how much money I spent on books.

One of my favorite moments was getting to hear  Rebecca Eaton talk about producing Masterpiece. Let me start by saying: Rebecca Eaton is a class act. So knowledgeable, well-spoken and gracious. The audience was full of Downtown Abbey fans. When she mentioned Sherlock, I was the only one who clapped. Okay, it was actually more of a squeal. *cringe* I couldn’t help it–it’s like a reflex. The audience laughed when I squealed, and then laughed again when Rebecca pointed at me and said, “Oh! A Cumberbunny!” She then told everyone what Benedict Cumberbatch fans call themselves (if you don’t know, google it) which, of course, led to more laughter.

Still, I think I did the Cumber Collective proud when, during the Q&A portion, I thanked her for bringing Sherlock to the US and for shortening the time between the UK and US airing dates. I then asked her if she could talk about how that timing works and if she had any information about Sherlock season 4.

She said there’s a lot of thought and planning behind when the seasons air. If they go with a September air date in the US, they get trounced by the network shows starting up at the same time. This is why there’s been that long delay in the past: they were trying to find the right spot for Sherlock (and Downton) to get good attention here in the states. She said she thinks they’ve found the sweet spot with the January airings, with Sherlock following Downton. She agreed it is frustrating and that she’s aware of the piracy problems, adding that piracy always gives lousy quality. Finally, she said she’d love to tell me when series 4 would start but that she doesn’t know yet. It will depend on Benedict’s schedule, as well as Steven Moffat’s.

At the end I shook her hand and thanked her. It was one of the best sessions I went to during the festival. Her book, Making Masterpiece, looks really interesting.

Here are some pics from the festival. If you ever have the chance to attend, go! It is an incredible event. Best of all, it’s free.

Keepin’ It Real

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Two posts in one day?!

Crazy.

I wrote something a while ago — a long while ago — but I never posted it (though I did touch on it in Wednesday’s post at The Parking Lot Confessional). It felt like an angry letter, the kind you write and then sit on until you feel better and then never end up sending.

But then I read this post today by Maureen Johnson: Manifesto. And I shouted, “AMEN!” Okay, well, I thought “Amen”. And then, encouraged by Maureen’s words, I decided to post this thing that I’d sat on for so long.

Keepin’ It Real

Lately, it seems everywhere I turn someone’s telling me how to write a blog, how not to write a blog, how to build my platform, how if I don’t build my platform I’m doomed, how to have a writing career, how to blow a writing career, how to write, sell, pitch, land an agent, how to lose an agent, how to use social networking, how not to use social networking, etc.

Ugh. It’s all making me a bit ill.

I know as an author I need to be building a platform, but I’m interested in PEOPLE. Real people. I’m interested in you. Who are you? What makes you tick? Do we have ideas and beliefs in common? What stories do you have to share?

No, no, wait. Stop. Don’t tell me about your product. Tell me about YOU.

Are we really all so desperate to be noticed that we have to be promoting all the time? Where is the line between being authentic and being obnoxious? Is it possible to promote without being the equivalent of a car salesman?

I don’t want to be a product. A brand. I want to be real.

I understand the need for promotion, especially with the changes in today’s publishing market. But when all I hear is someone promoting, I find myself wondering if there is any depth there. Any substance. There’s a certain desperation in all the Look at me! chatter.

Of course not everyone I meet is like this. There are some very cool, very real people in Cyberland. I’ve met some of them, and they’re very cool and very real people in person, too. They use social networking to build connections, community. And when they post information, I read it.

These are the people I’m interested in following, friending, tweet-chatting, retweeting.

Interestingly enough, most of the professional, “big league” authors I meet are more interested in learning about you than they are talking about themselves and promoting their own work.

One example: At a conference last summer, I was walking to dinner with a group of writers. I knew who most of them were, but a few I hadn’t yet met. One fellow asked my name, what I write, etc. I answered, and he continued to ask me about my projects and whatnot. “What about you?” I finally asked him. “What are you working on?” He then told me what he wrote, and…well…he’s a big time author.

Go ahead, laugh. Yes, I should have recognized him. To my defense, I didn’t see his name lanyard, but I knew who he was as soon as he said the title of his book. (OK, so I don’t know everyone’s faces yet. I’ll get there.)

The point is, he had confidence and depth. He was making conversation, making connections. He was interested in other people. He wasn’t doing somersaults to get attention or sell his books. He was genuine. Authentic. Am I more likely to read his future books as a result? You bet.

That’s the kind of author I want to be. That’s the kind of person I want to be.

I’m all for keepin’ it real. Who’s with me?

Combo post: Stuff I Love, Pics of the Day

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I’ve been at the Phoenix Comicon all weekend. Right now I’m in a room waiting for a session to start, and listening to two other attendees debate whether or not Peter Jackson made the right choices in his Lord of the Rings movies. Mostly, they’re lamenting the absence of Tom Bombadil.

Which brings me to today’s combination post of Saturday’s and Sunday’s topics. Stuff I love, shown in photos.

Cuz here’s the deal: turns out I kind of love the Con thing. I can hear my husband snickering even as I type. Seriously, this weekend has made my geeky heart squee with joy. It’s akin to the feeling I got when I went to my first writers conference. Like, Hooray, I’m surrounded by a bunch of neurotic writers! My people, I have found you! Here at Phoenix Comicon, I can indulge my inner geek to whatever extent I’m comfy with, and there is no judgment. If there is any judgment, it’s probably that I am easily and quickly out-geeked by just about everyone here. And that, I think, is awesome.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting some really good info on social networking. But for now, Here are some pics from the Phoenix Comicon. Some of them suck. But still, you might see some familiar faces.