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Andrew and Jake signing books for fans at SDCC.

Check Out How SD Comic Con Welcomed Writers of the Future

Over 500 Comic Con attendees had an opportunity to meet Writers of the Future Volume 33 winners Jake Marley and Andrew L. Roberts to get an autographed copy of volume 33 and the beautiful poster of the cover art, Crimson Dawn, painted by Larry Elmore.

We thought we would let Jake and Andy tell you in their own words what it was like. Here is Jake’s overview of the event

“Getting to sign copies of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future at the San Diego ComicCon was a dream come true. The last time I was in San Diego for the con was eight years ago, and I promised myself I wouldn’t return until I was a professional sitting on the other side of the table.

“Galaxy Press not only got us a pro-badge, but we had a non-stop signing that lasted until we ran out of copies of the book to sell! I’m delighted to know that so many new readers have copies of my story on their shelf. I can’t think of any other possible way my first published story would’ve ever brought me to SDCC, let alone give me the kind of opportunity to meet so many amazing people.

“Once our books were sold out, Andrew L. Roberts and I walked around the enormous convention and managed to find ourselves talking with folks at Simon & Schuster and Penguin/Random House about the contest and our experience as newly published authors.

“There is no other contest that will provide you with the opportunities that Writers of the Future does. You’re part of a group when you win, so you can meet up and go to signings together, you can get tips from some of the biggest pros in the industry, and you can have the confidence to take the next step in your publishing career. The lessons I’ve learned from Writers of the Future are going to help me to achieve all of my writing goals, and they’ve inspired me to dream even bigger.

“Thanks again to everyone at Galaxy Press for making this possible. I had an AMAZING time and if you ever have any other venues you’d like me to hop aboard, let me know and I’ll do my darnedest to make it. I love hanging out with all of you, and I appreciate this more than you can know!” –Jake

Here are Andrew’s thoughts on the signing—

“Jake makes it easy! I learned more from him on the fly than I ever expected. He has a terrific talent when it comes to connecting with people, but more importantly, he really makes the effort to push things to the next level—and he succeeds!

“I think it helped too that he and I click because we are genuine friends, but anyone who signs with Jake is likely to grow and get better at this aspect of being a writer.

“Ultimately though, what really made the event work so well was having the support and energy of the whole Galaxy Press crew. Everyone who was there was a vital part of the process, from our barkers handing out posters and bringing folks in, to Sarah talking to the people one on one in the line and prepping them for us, and finally with Emily who took care of the actual sales—they did the real work so that all Jake and I had to do was happily engage, sign books and be good ambassadors for the Contest. We had the easiest part and the funnest.

“From this experience and from my previous experiences signing with Doug (Souza) and Sean (Hazlett) I have become convinced that signing in pairs or threes is the best way to go. It keeps the energy positive. But man! Having a whole support team was golden.

“I really hope you do this again at other conventions as well as Comic Con. And if you do I hope you include some of the artists as well as the writers, because Jake and I always asked each customer if they were writers or artists and then made a point of promoting both aspects of the contest. We were also quick to express gratitude when the customers identified themselves as ‘readers.’ Because we only get to be writers so long as there are readers.” —Andy

In addition to Jake and Andrew, past winner Steve Pantazis (author of “Switch,” Writers of the Future Volume 31) and his wife came by to congratulate them and wish them well with their signing.

 

Mike Resnick (L) presenting Sean Hazlett with his Writers of the Future award

Sean Hazlett, author of “Adramelech”

If you want something done, as the old saw goes, give it to a busy person. This probably goes a long way toward describing Sean Hazlett. He’s ex-military, having spent time driving tanks in the army. He’s got a pair of degrees from Stanford, and another pair from Harvard. He now works in the world of corporate finance, and lives with his wife and their three kids. On top of that he finds time to write, a practice that yielded “Adramelech,” the story that has now been published in the 33rd annual volume of the Writers of the Future anthology.

Author, Sean Hazlett

Author, Sean Hazlett

His story’s bio says he was successful on his 17th submission to the contest.

As we talked early in the week, I asked how many rejections he’s had. I’ve always seen rejection count as a badge of courage. The number he quotes back is staggering. It also goes a very long way to defining who Sean Hazlett is.

He is persistent. He knows what he wants and he goes to get it.

There is no such thing as hard work—only steps that lead to achievement. Again, this is a trait I’ve always thought enabled my own success. Never give up. But Sean’s level of focus is so far off the chart that I can barely even make it out.

The story in this volume is just as intense as Sean is.

It’s a dark piece of psychological horror with a pulp sensibility that would probably be right at home with some of what the contest’s namesake wrote in his heyday. Sean’s story is totally enjoyable in a dark and graveyard creepy kind of way.

Bottom line from me: you can expect to see Sean Hazlett’s name in the near future. Not just because he’s decided he’s going to succeed (which for a guy like Sean is probably enough on its own), but because the guy’s paid his dues. Like everyone else here this week, he’s done his hard-work practice.

“Adramelech” proved beyond a doubt that he can really write.

Anyone who digs stuff on a darker edge would be well served to keep their eye out for his next story.

As an aside, you can meet him in person at the Barnes & Noble Stevens Creek Blvd store in San Jose. He will be there on April 15, along with fellow authors from Volume 33, Andrew L. Roberts and Doug Souza. They will be signing copies of their stories in Writers of the Future Volume 33 between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. For information about author book signings, visit the Writers & Illustrators of the Future facebook page.

 


Ron Collins

Ron Collins

Guest blogger, Ron Collins.
Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com

Author Andrew L. Roberts listening guest speaker, Kevin J. Anderson, at the Writers Workshop

Andrew L. Roberts, author of “Tears for Shulna”

It doesn’t take long after meeting Andrew L. Roberts to know that this is a man who looks for layers in life. He’s a man of gratitude, and a guy who can find meaning in everything that happens, and then be able to talk about it in a framework that makes sense. He knows people.

Andrew L. Roberts

Andrew L. Roberts

When you talk with him you get the feeling that he loves people, too, which gives color to the fact that he’s made his living working as a material manager in manufacturing environments—a place where dealing with people and the stresses of deadlines are vital. He’s also a die-hard fantasy fan with a science fiction underbelly.

He understands a lot of the history that’s gone on in our field.

I think I’m on to him, though.

Despite all that, after spending a full week together at the workshop I’ve determined that the truth that sits at the heart of Andrew L. Roberts is that he’s really an out-of-time bard, a musician and a poet with a passion for putting that essence into stories.

You can see this in “Tears for Shülna,” his short story published in the 33rd annual Writers of the Future anthology. Not to get into specifics here, but it’s a delicate tale told around hearty people that touches on sacrifice, eternal love, and well … more. It’s hard to get that kind of emotional content into such a short piece, but Andrew makes it work.

Reading it made me smile.

Scanning through it again on the plane ride home made me flash on conversations with him throughout the week. (Aside: If you see Andrew at a convention or a signing, ask him about how he learned to play the bagpipes by going to the cemetery!)

His next project is a fantasy set in seventeenth century Japan.

I’m completely going to read the heck out of that.

I think you should, too.

If you are going to be in the San Jose area this weekend, you can meet Andrew, shake his hand and also get him to autograph his story for you. Andrew, along with two of his writer winner friends from Vol 33 (Doug Souza and Sean Hazlett), will be at the Barnes & Noble on Stevens Creek Blvd in San Jose on April 15, between 1:00 and 4:00 pm, signing copies of Writers of the Future Volume 33. When you see him, be sure to ask about the bagpipes.

For information about author book signings, visit the Writers & Illustrators of the Future facebook page.

 


Ron Collins

Ron Collins

Guest blogger, Ron Collins.
Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com