LTUE 30

I spent the last weekend at the 30th annual Life, The Universe, and Everything writing symposium. This year it was at Utah Valley University instead of its regular spot at BYU. I didn’t really notice much difference in the venue change except that this time the cafeteria had caffeinated beverages.

I’ve been a panelist at LTUE for the last four years. I always have a good time. LTUE is a great chance to for the writers to hang out with other writers, for aspiring writers to learn stuff, and for everybody to network. It is three days of panels, discussion, hanging out, and goofing off.

I mostly go for the goofing off.

So Thursday I did my big panel on Writing Action. I do this one every year. I kind of have a rep for being good at that topic for some reason. Go figure. I believe it went really well, and was very well attended. I normally also do a panel with Super Author John Brown about developing story ideas, but John couldn’t make it this year, so bummer. That one is always a blast.

But more importantly than teaching stuff is the goofing off. So Thursday night I went out to all you can eat sushi with a bunch of other writers. i.e. MonkeySlothCon II.  It was good to see many old friends. I ate too much sushi, then went back to the hotel and crashed into raw fish shock.

Speaking of the hotel, I stayed at the Super 8 in Provo. It was not Super. The room itself was okay. But the shower was awful. I travelled to 11 states last year. I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels in my life. This Super 8 didn’t just have the worst shower of any hotel, it had the worst shower IN AMERICA. The temperate started at 200 degrees Celsius, and then would randomly switch to the core of Europa. Burnfreezeburnfreezeburnfreeze. Don’t try to adjust it. That will just make it angry. Then it will burn, burn, burn, and as your skin is boiling off you think that you can live with this long enough to use soap, but then you get lathered up, it laughs and you have been deceived it pelts you with ice water. You can deal with one misery or the other, but MAKE UP YOUR FREAKING MIND!

Friday I was on several panels. I did one about how you do different types of magic systems in different types of fantasy novels. Then there was another one about marketing and how to do effective book signings. My last one of the day was about book bombs, at topic which I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for.

I want to talk about the book bomb panel. Book bombs are a relatively new phenomena. They are just another cool tool for marketing a book. Mine have been a bit more effective than most, with a couple of them being downright crazy. You guys know, you’ve been here for them. I told the audience during the panel to not come and ask me to do one for them, but I still got about twenty requests for book bombs.

The issue is that I can only do them so often. I figure about once a month, and any more than that I start to dilute their effectiveness. Next, they need to be books that I think that the Monster Hunter Nation would really like. I can’t just do them because I’m friends with the writer. One of the reasons you guys like my book bombs is because you trust my opinion enough to take a chance on a book. I knew that I was going to get a ton of requests, and it always makes me feel bad when I can’t do it, but it is what it is.

Also on Friday, Bob Defendi, man mountain of awesomeness, brought me this:

That is a 3×4 foot map of Rokugan, which is the fictional empire setting of Legend of the Five Rings. For those of you that have been reading the Friday serial, this is the place Writer Nerd Game Night plays in. Bob made this for his own personal use, and then printed an extra copy to give me as a gift. I’m getting this thing framed.  

Between panels I spent a lot of time hanging out in the hallway just talking with and answering questions for aspiring writers. I always enjoy that part. Many of these people feel like they are bugging the authors, but honestly I love helping out and sharing whatever knowledge I can.

I recorded an episode of the Writing Excuses podcast that day. It will be out in a couple of months and the topic is Writing GUNS. Before we started, Brandon Sanderson asked me if I could talk for about 5-7 minutes about things that writers get wrong about guns… Multiply that number by ten and I would just be getting warmed up. Overall I think the session went pretty good. The audiobook pick of the week was Spellbound, which will be available on Audible.com on February 21st.

Okay, helpful writing stuff out of the way, back to the important business of goofing off. (don’t laugh, cons are about the only time I actually take time off) Friday night I went over to Howard Tayler’s house to play some Warmachine/Hordes. Howard even cooked steak. Jordan Sanderson, knowing that I’ve been building a miniature samurai themed army even brought me a couple very cool minis he’s found. Thanks, Jordo.

Then the best part of LTUE weekend, my Skorne army defeated Howard Tayler’s Trolls. Kevin was MVP and punched many trolls in their big blue faces. It was a lot of fun. (in the other game, Dan Wells Khador was defeated by Jordan Sanderson’s Cygnar. The night was a bloodbath of tiny painted men) 

In actuality, the only reason I didn’t get my ass kicked was because Howard’s friend Alan came over, and Alan knows how to play Skorne and offered me helpful advice every time I went to do something really stupid.

Saturday was a lazy day (which was good because all of that troll killing meant that I went to bed late). I didn’t have much scheduled as far as official con business until late in the afternoon, so I mostly hung out and shot the bull with people. But then I got drafted to play a game of Star Trek: Fleet Captains board game. I’m not a Trekkie, but it had strategy, combat, and little ships. I’m a sucker for little ships that fight. Me and Dave Butler were the Klingons and Dan Wells and Eric James Stone were the Federation. Four writers enter only two will leave. Let the death match commence!

I’ve played board games with Dave before, and I know that he’s one of those very analytical, super-strategic, good at winning types. Neither of us had played, and Dan Wells is also a hard core gamer (who had played), but I figured me and Dave could pull it off. But little did I realize that it isn’t just Nebula award winner author Eric James Stone that we were facing… It is Captain Eric James Stone of the USS Sutherland, Starfleet hero, and he got his Kirk on and whooped our Klingon asses. Curse you, Captain Stone, you magnificent bastard.

My last thing to do was a reading. However they scheduled my reading at the same time as Dan’s reading. Which meant that we’d have to compete against each other. Which extra sucks since many of the people there are fans of both of us. So we just combined it. I didn’t want Dan’s self esteem to get hurt when my room was way fuller. (on a serious note, Dan’s novel Partials is the next book bomb. He read from it, and it is awesome).

Once it was over I went to dinner with Paul Genesse and a bunch of friends. It was the second time I managed to eat Thai food in one day. Then I drove the two hours back to Yard Moose Mountain.

All in all, it was a really fun weekend.

21 Responses

  1. Woo hoo! Next time we’ll gut the Federation cowards and leave them floating in space…

  2. The shower was just trying to temper your skin into the steel hide it should be.

  3. did you bother explaining to sanderson why a revolver skipping two chambers is ridiculous?

    • wow, I’d like to hear that story. How could anyone think a revolver could skip two chambers?
      What book or story was it in? I feel so out of the loop, and likely am.
      Job hunting, collating my notes for writing [nothing to compete with any of our favorite writers, just technical, cyberwar, geopolitical scenarios, AI how-to detect fraud or anomalies booklets to self publish on Amazon]

    • Hey, at least Sanderson is interested in educating himself. Wish we could say the same for a lot of others,

    • I haven’t read Alloy of Law. However, during the podcast Brandon did mention fan reaction when you get gun stuff wrong, so I’m assuming somebody did. :)

      • As I’ve only been shooting (and owned) guns for a little less than year, I don’t really know that much about their internal mechanical operation or ballistics. However, I am pretty sure and 8 chamber revolver that skips two chambers until a certain level is pulled is impossible. Also, Wax -the protagonist in alloy of law- used steel jacketed bullets. While this is important to the plot (allomancy) I’m fairly certain this would destroy gun barrels.

        Alloy of Law is a very entertaining book. Really, you only notice things like this if you have a fairly good background knowledge of the subject. While it is a little annoying, it is fairly easy to overlook. Hopefully, he learned something and the next one will be that much better.

        On a less related note, it’s your fault I ever got involved with firearms and even realized these were errors. While I shot a bit in Boy Scouts, i didn’t grow up in a 2nd amendment friendly house. After reading MHI, (and a shots fired incident a block from my apartment if im being entirely honest) I bought my first firearm. took my CCW last saturday. Rust and Ruin this hobby is expensive.

      • No, weapons are cheap. WOMEN are expensive.

  4. Larry, have you seen the upcoming War Room app from Privateer? It looks like it will be an app that replaces the use of the cards in the game for those who want. Also, last week Privateer announced the Collossals. Seach for them on youtube if you haven’t seen them already.

    And when can I read a novel set in Immoren written by my favorite author?

    I was kinda bummed when I heard that LTUE was last weekend. I have to be in Provo for a wedding in two weeks and I would have loved to get the two to overlap.

    • I watched the videos. Holy crap awesome.

      As for a novel set in Immoren, I’d be glad to as soon as they gave me a gigantic check full of money. :D

      • They also posted a video for their RPG revamp that’s coming up later this year. It sounds like the rules are proprietary and are somewhat in sync with the rules for Warmahordes.

        And did you catch that last little tease at the end of the Colossal video of the troll? I’m guessing Hordes will have their own equivalent before the year is out. As another Skorne player I’m hoping to see something a whole lot more impressive than the dinosaur with a howdah that we got for our battle engine.

        I’ll send Privateer an email telling them that until they send you one of those giant Publishers Clearing House-style checks that I will only buy the first four books of their new RPG. That will show ‘em.

  5. It’s really great to hear about professionals of integrity working together to make theirs customers [readers] happy, produce good products, not shill just because of the buddy-schmooze factor, but because it’s a quality product.
    I wish more, if not all, lines of work operated with such high standards. I’ve been flat out told that my maintaining high standards limits my marketability and how far I can go. I asked back, what, I have to lie, cheat and steal to get ahead? They started spinning like a liberal caught in a lie on “The Factor” by Mr. O’Reilly. I am surprised their body could stand the spin forces.
    Then there’s the fun factor. Why can’t one have fun making a living? Let robots shovel crap. That’s why we make machines.
    Glad you had fun.
    Now write some more books, please, kind sir.

  6. Getting big checks out of anyone for any kind of work now is incredibly difficult. I think a modest up front check with a % of the action is the only viable approach nowadays.

  7. My reply yesterday seems to have disappeared. Anyway, it was fun to meet you again at LTUE and hear about updates and MHI news. Your presentation on action was well done and I appreciated how well you handled the “interesting” person that kept interrupting you. I promised to get you a link to the wargame miniatures store in Sandy… it’s http://www.gajominis.com/. No Warmachine, but they do have GW and a VAST quantity of historical wargames and minis. They also carry the Wargames Factory 28mm Ashigaru, both pole-armed and missile troops, and Samurai. Great figs, even if they need assembly, and you can’t beat the price.

  8. Hey Larry,

    Is there any video available online from LTUE this year?

    -Scott

  9. LTUE was seriously awesome. If there are any aspiring writers in the Monster Hunter Nation, and I’m sure there are a few. LTUE is worth checking out.

    Thanks for letting me crash your dinner party. ;-)

  10. Hey! That map of Rokugan is awesome! Is there any possible chance of being able to get a digital version of the map?

    • That would definitely be awesome. At least based on what I can see, it looks like one of the better maps out there for the game.

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