Wednesday, February 29, 2012

City of Teeth Finished

I wrote for about four hours yesterday and clocked in 7,000 words (a record for me!) to finish book #5, CITY OF TEETH.

Word count: 88,000
Days until completion: 55*

A great thing about word clouds is that they show you all the words you use
far too often that you really should not be using far too often ;)

And, of course, my wannabe soundtrack:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

If you haven't heard #14, Blow Me Away by Breaking Benjamin, please listen to it! It was made for Halo (Reach, I think), but I recently decided it would make a decent theme song to my book.

Onto the next project! It's basically (and apparently, as my friend told me) a rip-off of Rainbow Brite. Go me.

*Another record for me. Before the fastest I'd ever finished a draft was three months, in the case of THE DAY THE SKY FELL. But this one I finished in under two months :D I started chapter 1 on January 3rd.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Managing Info Dumps

If you're a writer, you've dealt with these.

If you're a reader, you've likely skipped through them.

The extraneous, cursed, clump o' info dump.

So, how do you deal with avalanches of information in your writing? First, ask yourself three questions:

Would the Character Really Think This at This Moment?

The scene is set: your protagonist's father has been murdered in his living room. You, your mother, and your good-looking neighbor from next door all heard the gunshot and rush to the scene at once. Your protagonist is in shock, of coursehe loved his father. Shock, grief, and he falls to his knees by the body, sobbing and cursing God. The neighbor hovers nearby, hand over her mouth. She can't believe this is happening.

She looks so beautiful when she's surprised, thinks protagonist. She hasn't looked so surprised since her 12th birthday, when I gave her that seashell bracelet. Back when we were still friends. I remember the day she forgot about me, wrote me off like a shipment of expired milk...

Obviously the reminiscing doesn't fit into this scene. So when facing an info dump, ask yourself: would my character really be thinking about this right now?

Does the Reader Need to Know This at This Moment?

How much of the information pertains to that scene, specifically? Perhaps the new technology allowing your Elven* troops to cross the river is fundamental to later chapters, but if the scene is dealing with Gandolf's personal struggle with public speaking and his dire need to impress Aragorn, it might not be the best place to mention steamboats.

Why Am I Including This?

Maybe the Elven steamboat is ridiculously awesome, but you don't need it until book three. Or at all. Is it really worth interrupting Gimli's battle plans to mention it?

Once you've diagnosed your info dump, consider the following treatments:

Less is More

The reader doesn't always need to know every detail for the story to work. That said, readers are generally smart people; they can put two and two together without you spelling it out for them. Sometimes more details only muddle the picture. Often a few choice words will convey all the information you need.

A Sentence Here, a Sentence There

Have you looked over your info dump and determined all the information is relevant? Don't type it in as a block chunk; break it up with dialogue, action, plot, or other character interaction. Slip it in a little at a time so the reader has time to absorb. Like morphine.


*Please, please don't write a book about Elves. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homestretch for CITY OF TEETH

Check this out.

Are we looking at that? Eh? Eh? 95 PERCENT. I have two chapters left, basically the end battle and the epilogue. Because I rocked 3k today and finished Chapter 39.

I've been writing since I was a teenager and have been married for 1.5 years, but I still get wriggly whenever I write romance scenes. Even if it's a paragraph. I go nuts. Took me 30 minutes to write 20 words of it, I swear.

But it's almost done, and I'm at 81K so far. (Remember my guestimate that it would be 68K? WRONG.)

So excited.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Link Blitz

I am four chapters away from finishing the first draft of CITY OF TEETH. So exciting! Definitely will meet my unofficial March deadline. Then I must forfeit it to death by writing group. Huzzah!

Meanwhile, I LOVE The Wheel of Time so far, can't believe it took me so long to get into it! (Wait, yes I can. It's freaking 15 BOOKS LONG.) And relatives-slash-friends who have already savored the goodness of Robert Jordan are more than willing to let things slip about the story. :/ I already know who Mat ends up with in book 10 and I'm not even half way through book one!

So to all of those WoT fans who read this/talk to me on a regular basis, keep it to yourselves ;)

Writer's Potpourri:

Ten Simple Keys to Plot Structure

The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues

How to Research Your Novel

Expert Tips on How to Get a Literary Agent & Impress Publishers and Editors

Foil Narratives and Fairytales

Author Websites: Layering Yours with Sticky Extras

Where Can I Get Ideas? That's the Wrong Question

Other Babble:

Ann Patchett on the Colbert Report

The Kitty Canon (game, and not one for cat lovers!)

A Game of Thrones: Interactive eBook Demo:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Notes from LTUE 2012: Pitching, Writing, and Epic Fantasy

I thought I'd share the key lessons I took home from LTUE this year--hopefully something here will be useful to one of you! (If you missed my post on mapmaking, see it here.)

On Pitching:
  • The more excited you are about your book, the more excited others will be
  • What makes your book different? Your hero different? ("Different" is the key word, here.)

Writers on Writing:
  • Don't write around it, write it!
  • Read from ALL fields, even if you only write in one
  • Book recommendation: On Writing by Stephen King
  • Ask yourself this: How many books are you willing to write without ever being published? (This is a hard one for me to answer! I'd rather not know the number!)

Epic Fantasy:
  • Idea for creating a story: take a standard epic fantasy plot idea (like the quest to save the world), and then add something the protagonist is dealing with that's completely unrelated. Tie them together.
  • Avoid adding new subplots and characters in the last one-fourth of the book.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate-banana Lunchbox Cake

I had a lot of free time on Saturday. Had a few things planned that got cancelled for one reason or another, husband had a lot of computer programming homework to do, and then he got called into work (yay money). So after a few chapters of The Eye of the World, reading writing group submissions, and doing some word count, I got bored. Very, very bored.

So I cleaned. I even rearranged my living room closet.

Then I started cooking.

One of the things I made to pass the time came from a "healthy"* dessert cookbook my dear sister gave me for Christmas: chocolate-banana lunchbox cake. (Why it's called "lunchbox" cake, I do not know.) Basically it's like super banana bread. But I liked it, and I thought sharing the recipe would be more interesting that typing up more LTUE notes. :)

Chocolate-banana Lunchbox Cake

2 cups sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 small bananas)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (I used almonds and no one died)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Pre-dusted cake
Personal note: I tweaked the recipe a bit to reduce calories. First, I only put in about a half cup (maybe a little less) of brown sugar, then put in maybe a teaspoon-worth of stevia extract (yes, I have that at my house.) I used about an eighth cup of corn syrup and made up the rest with honey. Also, instead of buttermilk, I used skim milk and vinegar, about 4:1 ratio. Had I still had coconut oil in the cupboard, I would have swapped out the canola oil for that, but alas. Coconut oil is friggin' expensive!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil an 8-by-12-inch or 7-by-11 inch baking pan, or just coat it with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a mixing bowl, which flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk mashed banana, buttermilk, brown sugar, corn syrup, oil, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the banana mixture; mix with a spoon or rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients and moistened.

3. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan, dust with confectioners' sugar, and cut into squares. Serves 12.

Post-dusted cake

*Healthier, yes, but not healthy. If you want mucho healthy desserts, check out I recommend the chocolate cake with a secret, but I'll let you know now it tastes WAY better after sitting in the fridge overnight.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Link Blitz

Tonight I am watching The Scarlet Pimpernel with the husband. We tried watching the BBC version Tuesday night (Nothing says "Valentine's Day" like the French Revolution), but neither of us liked it very much. Which is surprising, since it's BBC! Sink me.

Have a great weekend! :D

Writers' Potpourri

February Requests: The Note (Responding to requests for partial/full MSs)

Cultivate Creativity in Your Day Job and Down Time

My Favorite Writing Advice: Failing on the Page

Why Your Novel Characters Need Real Flaws

Things You Should Know about Protagonists

3 Core Components of a Blockbuster Blog

Query Wednesday (A look at writing a query, with example)

How to Write Successful Endings

Editing to Life--Characterization

Do Fiction Writers Need Social Media?

Other Babble:

I didn't stumble across anything particularly interesting outside of writing this time around, so enjoy these snippets of The Scarlet Pimpernel movie (1982 version) instead. :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Someday Stars: Angela Brown

What’s your name, and where are you from?

I am Angela Brown and though I’m originally from Little Rock, AR, I consider myself from “around the way” like the LL Cool J song (yes, I totally wanted to believe that when he mentioned my name in that song, he was talking to me).

How long have you been writing?

Seems I’ve been writing forever. I started in elementary with a gifted and talented class that put together a hodge-podge book of fables and stories. I’ve no idea where I lost that thing. I mostly journaled and did poetry for a while, but came back to story writing around 2001. Been getting much more serious since I attended my first writer’s conference in 2006.

What genre(s) do you write?

My focus is YA fantasy/sci-fi and the wonderful subgenres included.

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?

Sure. I’d love to. My current WiP is called MINGLED, a YA post-apocalyptic paranormal. Seventeen-year-old Macie is the odd-girl out in the revamped collective of New Festus. Her only true friend is also her big crush, Thane. One evening of breaking the rules brings a demon spawn and rescue by vampire, but her real problems begin when she is selected as a Special, something coveted by all registered citizens, except Macie. See, she has a bone to pick with the whole Special system given her parents were selected and disappeared six years ago. She fears repeating their fate. Little does she know what’s in store for her, the easiest part being she discovers her true fae heritage.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?

My current paying gig is a time-drain in the telecommunications industry. It pays the bills so I limit my complaints, sort of, sometimes . . . well, not really, but when I pay my rent on time every month I don’t have a complaint about my job. But if I could afford to stay home and write all day, OMG, I would so be on that!!

Who is your favorite author?

Tolkien and Lewis have been battling it out for my fave title. Right now, Lewis is winning. I adore Narnia and everything about it, the idea of being transported to a fantastical place and time. Le sigh.

Favorite book?

The entire Narnia series and LOTR series and Ender’s Game. Sorry, so hard to pick just one lol!!!

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?

Crikey! Other than taking care of my daughter and reading with all my bookworm might, I’m checking out anime shows. Yes, I said anime lol!!! Don’t know what that is??? Goodness, go check out Bleach or Moribito. You’re missing some good stuff.

What is something unique about yourself?
Hmmmm…something unique about me? That’s a hard question for me. I’m not exactly the best at tooting my own horn. Well, I’ll go with something slightly embarrassing. Ever since I was 13, I would get calls from silly hormonal boys so they could hear my voice. I’ve been told on many occasions that I should be on the radio or doing voice acting as some sexy villainess. Okay, embarrassing moment over now that my cheeks are flaming from blushing.

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?
Why yes, yes I do. Angela Brown in Pursuit of Publishness is where I chatter with readers and writers three times a week about the happenings of my writing journey, books I read, and other authors I enjoy supporting. I’m @Pearldragonfang on Twitter. My fave hashtag is #writemotivation. Love to the #writemotivation tweeps.

Thank you so much for having me. Still squee-ing because I’m tinkled pink and honored. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Future Projects (Subtitle: Me Being Long-winded)

So initially, after I had completed City of Teeth (back when that seemed forever away and now it's on my front porch), I had intended to revisit my second book, Circus Soul Heiress, and rewrite it to make it stronger. I planned to rename it "Dead Dog's Circus" and strengthen both plot line and characters, probably completely replace the villain. I still really like the idea of circus terrorists and the magic system in that story, but now, I've lost my previous oomph for it. Like finally taking notes on the rewrite just snuffed my candle, at least for now.

Image stolen from
I've played around with the idea of taking the magic system from Edradorn's Hammer (short story, for those who don't know) and putting it into its own novel. It would be a character-driven book instead of plot-driven, and I'd go all out in making it super epic. That book may still happen.

After LTUE on Saturday, though, I started thinking about book #3--Weirs. Weirs is a standalone, but with standalones like to play the what-would-the-sequel-be-like-game anyway. I also had thought up an idea for a prequel--taking one of the side characters (and let's face it, he was way more interesting than anyone else in that story, especially the protagonist) and telling his tale. And then I thought, "You know, Charlie, it wouldn't take much effort to take that prequel and make it its own, standalone book."

So that's on the plate now, too. I love this character (the man pictured here*), enough that I've actually recycled him twice. He started out as an RPG character (Yes, I RPGed), then became a side character in book #1 (The Oracle Seals), and again in Weirs. Maybe he's trying to tell me something. ("Hey, Charlie, I'm supposed to be the protagonist." Except he can't talk. That will be great fun.)

To make a lengthy blog post even longer, I mentioned on Twitter that my husband had come up with an elevator pitch for me for CoT. It ain't too shabby, but I'm definitely ready and willing to take any advice on how to make it better!

"Armaze is a city where five nobles war for the throne of a dead king. Lanterne is a Scion, a woman with the ability to spawn teeth anywhere on her body at will. Trained as a protector for one of the nobles, Lanterne will discover an enemy more powerful than rich men and their Scion--a priest who will bring an ageless city to its knees."

*Art by my friend Sarah.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Notes on Mapmaking (Taken from Isaac Stewart at LTUE 2012)

As you know, I had the pleasure of going to LTUE this last weekend (and added Mary Robinette Kowal and David Farland's signatures to the back of my Kindle). At the convention, I also met Isaac Stewart, the man who draws the maps (and other illustrations) for Sanderson's--and many other authors'--books.

Case and point:

Map from THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson
I'd seen Isaac twice before, when I bought The Way of Kings and The Alloy of Law, since he attended the signing with Brandon. Isaac did a panel Thursday evening on mapmaking--a panel I almost didn't attend due to a headache, but I'm so glad I did! His had to be the most interesting panel of the convention. And, since world building is often the first step of writing fantasy/sci-fi novels, it applies more to us writerly-but-not-artistly folks than we think. That being said, I thought I'd share a few of the notes I scribbled into the back of my CoT composition book.

1. Make the coastlines.
2. Determine your high ground and your low ground, including mountains. There are several types of mountains:

  • Volcanic
  • Fault-block
  • Complex/folded
  • Erosional
  • Upward

3. Add rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Remember that water will always take the path of least resistance, and flows from high ground to low ground (I had never considered this--all my rivers always connected to an ocean, but they can start on mountain peaks as well. So good to know!)

  • Lakes have many inlets, but only one outlet
  • Rivers "fork" where two rivers merge into one
  • Also consider floodplains and rain shadows 

4. Add cities. Cities are always near a water source. Isaac also mentioned that fewer people usually means cities will be farther apart.

Other notes:

  • Less technology=more unclaimed land
  • Straight borders are modern

For the full PDF of Isaac's mastermind mapping skills, click here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Shadow's Lure by Jon Sprunk

Shadow's Lure is the second book in Jon Sprunk's Shadow Saga. (For my review on his first book, Shadow's Son, click here.) I have to really like a first book to read the rest of the series, since series=a lot of devoted time. And, I admit, I wasn't initially planning on reading book #2. 

But then the cover art gets to me and I shimmy off to the library for a copy.

Overall, I'm really glad I read Shadow's LureA lot of series have the problem of diminishing quality with each additional book (ie The Hunger Games), but this one gets better. I liked this book more than the first (It got an extra star on Goodreads). I enjoyed the characters more (Josey especially has grown since book 1), and Sprunk does a good job of raising the stakes for Caim. 

Cool things about this book included the blood-hungry sword, Caim's growing knowledge of his powers/identity, and the fact that he's not strictly tied to Josey, which I found fitting of his character. There's some good angst in there, too.

The not-so-cool things are rather small: every now and then the pacing gets a little off, or I don't quite believe a character's emotions. As a side note, one character's hair color changes depending on what chapter you're in. ;)

A good series, so far. I'm eager to read book #3, which should say enough regarding the story. I was rather upset when I found out it doesn't actually come out until March.

Until then, feast on its cover art below. Definitely the best art of all three books:

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New Problem

Once upon a time I was a lengthy writer.

It started with a 96-chapter fanfiction (I was 15) that went on and on and on and had its own sequel. (Which is funny, since the purpose of the fanfiction was to create a sequel.)

Then I finished my first original book at 169,000 words. Even being epic fantasy, it's about 60k too long to be published under a newb's name.

Fortunately, at this time, I learned to condense, to stick to the real story and focus. My books started popping out between 95k and 108k. Perfect.

But, where I am now, I fear I've overcorrected the problem, and therefore have created a new problem.

I realize this as I reach the third act in CoT. The book is too short. WAY too short. As of right now, I'm guessing it will fall at 68k.

68K. My goal was 90k.

Prose revisions will, of course, lengthen the novel. I'll actually care about what I'm describing and put more effort into it, and that usually adds on a couple thousand words. But still, too short.

So, I'm compiling a list of tactics I could use to bring the book up to par. I may have to add in an entirely new viewpoint or weave in a new subplot (which would have to actually contribute to the story. Severe brainstorming ensues.) I don't plan on taking any action until after I've sent the book to my alpha readers and gotten some feedback. Heck, they might find some bizarre plot hole that an extra subplot could fix right up!

Granted, Vickie Motter did say once that an adult fantasy could be as low as 70,000 words. A number that surprised me, since I had always been told to aim for 120k. Still, I feel like I'm copping out as an epic fantasy author if my fifth novel is only 70k.

On the bright side, bookstores tend to like smaller novels. Saves on space.

What do you think?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Link Blitz

So yesterday I almost got into my first car accident.

I was driving toward the freeway entrance when a big white truck decided it wanted to go into my lane RIGHT NOW. Big truck + little Hyundai Accent = not so great for the Hyundai Accent.

Being against the barrier, all I could do was slam on my brakes and honk. Fortunately, this was effective (despite my car's horn sounding like one of these guys), and the truck pulled back into his lane literally just in time. I was non-exaggerating-seriously two inches away from having my pretty little gas-savvy car totaled in the middle of traffic.

I turned up my "Learn Japanese!" CD in attempts to get over it. It helped, a little. ケエキは食べたくがありません。I learned/relearned how to say that today.*

Writer's Potpourri:

4 Writing Routines You Can Live With

How to Become a Literary Agent

The Periodic Table of Storytelling (Clever)

January Query Time: FAQs

5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Articles and Blog Posts through Social Media

On Quirky Character Names

The Secret to Writing a Standout Picture Book

10 Tips to Avoid Cliches in Writing

Other Babble:

Book Giveaway Contest (Pyr)

Cello Wars

*Translation being "I do not want to eat the cake." Yeah, I'm super pro at this.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Someday Stars: Adam Meyers

What’s your name, and where are you from?
I'm Adam Jared Meyers, from Sioux City, IA. Currently living in Provo, Utah while my wife goes for her Masters and I write and take care of kids. 

How long have you been writing?
It's something I always wanted to do, but only did bits and pieces before college. I guess you could say I was the perpetual amateur until I took Brandon Sanderon's class a few years ago and got serious. I've been writing ever since.

What genre(s) do you write?
Mostly Sword and Sorcery and Epic Fantasy. I'm sure I could do others, but I'm sticking to what I know best until I've got a few books worked out. 

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?
When I was first getting serious about writing, I realized that all my ideas seem to take place in the same four worlds. Currently I'm working on one of them, Seraphuul, and a Sword and Sorcery tale of the prophet Karn and the thieves Aevan and Torr.

Seraphuul is a campaign setting using the Pathfinder RPG rules. I dabble in game design, and the idea is to create integrated stories: to turn Seraphuul into both a series of novels and a working campaign setting to publish (I'm a Felicia Day fan, and following her example I'm making integrated worlds that work in multiple mediums. One of the side effects of being a writer, an actor, and a GM.)

Karn is an old war vet who, almost against his will, has become the prophet of a minor god looking to expand his influence in the world. Now he's got a mission: unite the land, expulse the spirits and prevent a civil war, which is a tall order when any of his priests could be a double agent possessed by the enemy. His solution? Put his trust in two people he knows aren't possessed: two thieves who tried and failed to rob him the night before.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?
Stay-at-home dad and film actor. Acting doesn't really interfere with writing, but wrestling two boys under the age of three definitely does. It's wonderful and I'm getting experiences that will make some great books in the future, but it definitely takes up a lot of writing time. For me the secret is just to not stop: think about the books during the day, then find time at the end of the day to write them down.

Who is your favorite author?
That's hard to say since I'm a classic book guy. For modern books, anything by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Go back a bit and I'd say the Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare, with Virgil and Homer bringing up the end of the Western timeline as we know it, so I'll stop there.

Favorite book?
Oh gosh... the Aeneid's great if you really understand it. Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (if you count plays, which I do,) and for recent books... The Wheel of Time, particularly book 2, but since Brandon hasn't finished the series yet, the position of best book in the series is still up for grabs.

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?
I'm a SAFD certified actor combatant, so I do a lot of stage combat (rapier/dagger, broadsword, hand-to-hand.) I'm also an old Tae Kwon Do guy who's recently done a bit of Wing Tsun. I also Ballroom Dance and have been known to give private lessons occasionally, and of course video games and tabletop RPGs. 

What is something unique about yourself?
A lot of what I listed above I guess, plus there's my business plan. I'm not just writing books. My end goal is to take the company I'm starting, Drop Dead Studios, and use it to publish books, Pathfinder supplements, video games, Web series, and everything else I choose to do with my properties.

It's not about fear of publishing or wanting to go “indie” (I'd take a publishing deal in a heartbeat), but I've found I really admire those who hold onto all their IPs and turn them into amazing cross-platform stories. So, unless something changes, that's what I'm going to do with Seraphuul: make something great from it across all platforms.

Do you have a blog, twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?
My blog is, where I talk not just about life and writing, but try to step into the space between mediums where we're dealing with story itself instead of one form of storytelling. My work in progress will be at, and my company will be at when they're both finished.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Hugo Nominations

Since I attended Renovation (WorldCon) last year, I was able to vote for this year's Hugo nominations. I readily admit that I don't read in every category (especially fanzines), but I wanted to mention a few of the things/people that I think deserve the award.

The #1 person who I want to go home with a Hugo is Raymond Swanland. I didn't know who he was until I read Blackdog, but his art is AMAZING.

Art by Raymond Swanland

Art by Raymond Swanland

Hello? Are we all looking at these?

Just in case, here's another one:

Art by Raymond Swanland
I didn't read a large number of NEW books in 2011, though I hear a lot of people nominated Patrick Rothfuss's The Wise Man's Fear. I nominated the last two books I read in 2011--The Black Prism and The Alloy of Law. (I severely doubt the latter will make the ballot though, just because it's a book #4, but who knows?)

I also nominated Lou Anders for best editor, long form. He won the hugo last year. I've gained a higher appreciation for Pyr over the last six months or so, and have been reading more of their novels (I'm getting toward the end of Shadow's Lure by Jon Sprunk, currently).

With Girl Genius officially withdrawn from the race, Howard Tayler's Schlock Mercenary might stand a chance at winning. But as I have no interest in the story (and therefore have never read more than a few panels), I did not nominate it. Nor did I put my beloved Writing Excuses on the ballot. Just wasn't feeling it.

Unfortunately, as I don't plan to attend WorldCon this year (too expensive... even though I TOTALLY GOT A RAISE YESTERDAY BOOYA), I won't be able to vote for the official nominees. But I shall be watching...