Finn Fancy Knitomancy: Gnome Hat Edition!

I think this counts as my first fan art!  Heather Seevers of NW Handspun Yarns knitted a Finn Fancy gnome hat!  And she created a pattern so you can do the same! :)

Heather Seevers of NW Handspun Yarns knits a Finn Fancy gnome hat!

Here’s the knitting pattern:

Finn Fancy Gnome Hatsy knitting pattern

I know that Heather’s also working with some folks on a new line of yarn specifically dyed in geek-friendly colors, like Police Box Blue, or based off of comic book colors, etcetera, so if you knit, keep a lookout for those!

There’s definitely some special knitting that goes on in Bigfootloose.  So I would LOVE for others to knit gnome hats and send me pictures of them. :)  Or, if you want to get crazy, you could knit a Bigfoot I suppose.  But they probably don’t look as nice on your head.


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Important Update: All the Awards I’m Going to Win in 2016!

It’s award nomination time!  AND THANK GAWD, I don’t need to ask you fine folks to nominate or vote for me or anything, because I already know all the awards I’m going to win this year.  The people behind the people behind the scenes have told me I’m a shoe-in.  So here’s the list.  Don’t be jealous.

 

2016 Locus Award for “Best Use of Magical 80’s Tech versus PTA Blood Witches”: (magical Casio calculator watch) from Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.

2016 Locus Awardish Finn Fancy Necromancy

 

 

2016 Ricky for Best Line to Read in an Alan Rickman Voice*: “Bloody Mary, and make it as spicy as Shakira shaking her hips in a jalapeño field, please.” From Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.

2016 Ricky Award

 

2016 Nebula for: Depiction of Gnomes Almost Awesome Enough to Make Us Forget the Travesty that was Gnomeo and Juliet:  Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.

2016 Nebula Award Finn Fancy Necromancy

 

The 2016 Ziggy Award for Four Completely Random Lines of Dialogue from a Novel Best Sung Together like a Ziggy Stardust Song:

“Feet too, Stormer,” I said.  “You’re a loner, a rebel.”

“He drew me close and snuffled my head, surrounding me with his musky cedar scent.”

“I like that you look at me like I’m still that girl who didn’t know The Clash from The Cure.”

And Petey said,

“I took your Pacman watch.”

All lines from: Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

2016 Ziggy Award for Best Novel Lines

 

2016 Hugo for Best Novel Idea about Use of a Hugo: “Condom demonstration prop in sexual education class for cyborgs“, submitted by Randy Henderson, author of Finn Fancy Necromancy.**

2016 Hugo

 

Now I suppose if you have an empty slot after you realize that City of Stairs was 2014, and All the Birds in the Sky is 2016, you can actually add Finn Fancy Necromancy to your nomination ballot.  Not that I have any expectation of winning but oh boy could I have some fun pretending like I might for that brief month or so.

 

Or if not me, you can add your deserving-writer-friend-whose-book-you-haven’t-read-yet-because-let’s-face-it-it-just-isn’t-your-thing-and-you-have-so-much-to-read-already-but-you’re-sure-they-are-a-great-writer-and-wonderful-human-being.  That’s cool too.  That’s what I’ll probably do with that last slot on my own ballots.

(On a completely unrelated note, I define “deserving-writer-friends…” as folks who have eligible works for award nomination and happen to take me to a delicious meal and/ or offer a really good neck and shoulder massage.  Just saying.  No reason.)

 

There.  Done.  Phew.  Now I don’t have to do all that uncomfortable promotiony stuff about awards for the next several months.

 

PS:  All joking and Finn Fancy aside, you really should nominate the stuff you read and liked in 2015.  Those folks worked hard, are no doubt mired in Imposter Syndrome, and it really makes them feel good to have that work validated by nominations.

 

Ending Soonish Nomination details:

If you are a SFWA member, you can nominate for the Nebula Award until February 15th. Note the word-counts when nominating.  And you can also nominate for the Andre Norton award for YA books as well.

If you’re a member of the 2015, 2016, or 2017 WorldCons, you can nominate for the Hugo awards.  You’ll need your membership number (emailed to you by MidAmeriCon if you’re registered for 2016, or by Sasquan if you went 2015 but not going 2016).  And you’ll need a PIN, emailed to you by MidAmeriCon (and if you haven’t received it by Feb 5th you’re supposed to email them at hugopin@midamericon2.org).

 

Have fun!  And good luck to all the amazing authors who really do deserve an award.  I’ll probably list a few suggestions when I find the time again.

 

Cheers!

 

*You know you tried it.

**EDIT NOTE: I realized upon re-reading my post that the Hugo bit may be seen as me devaluing or desecrating the Hugo, a sensitive topic after last year.  Just wanted to say that’s not the case, I think the Hugos are awesome, and hope truly great works and good folks win the awards this year.  Left the joke though.  :)


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Book Club Finn Fancy Fun!

I’m having a blast visiting book clubs to discuss the Finn Fancy series.  Here’s a couple of photos (more to come):

Tacoma SFF Book Club

Greater Tacoma Scifi/ Fantasy Book Club

 

Bellingham SFF Bookclub

Bellingham Scifi/Fantasy Concern Bookclub

 

Seattle Book Club

Other Realms Book Group, Seattle

 

If you are in a book club, might I humbly suggest this is a great time for you to pick Finn Fancy to read? Here’s why:

* Reviews describe it as a fast paced and fun read full of laughs, laughs and more laughs — a great way to stave off those post-holiday winter blues!

* It came out in paperback January 5th!  Or you can get the Hardback for nearly the same price with all the deep discounts — WHAT A DEAL!  But wait, there’s more … 😉

* The sequel, BIGFOOTLOOSE AND FINN FANCY FREE, comes out February 16th!  So no long wait to see what happens next!

* If your book club is within reasonable driving distance, I’ll happily come join your discussion of the book if you’d like, and answer any questions you have!

* If your book club is in distant lands, or is online, I will happily participate in any online Ask Me Anything-style discussion you set up (e.g. via Skype, Google Hangouts, or invite me to your Meetup group or email thread, etc).

So when you all go to vote for what to read in next month, might I humbly suggest that Finn Fancy Necromancy (or Bigfootloose) is, if not the best choice, then the even besterest choice!

Finn Fancy Necromancy

Finn Fancy Tor US Cover

 

Bigfootloose Cover


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On “City on Fire” and Mocking Bad Writing

In my social media feed, a lot of people were sharing this post about City on Fire, a book with sentences so bad they are funny (much like entries into the Bulwer-Lytton “Dark and Stormy Night” contest but not intentionally so).

I laughed.  Then I learned about the author, and the history of the book.

I think we can learn a lot from this example, but not just about bad sentences.

City on Fire

WHEN I FIRST READ THE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE SENTENCES:

First, yes, these sentences are pretty bad.  As in, this is a master class in bad sentences. I think an annotated version of this list that breaks down just why each is so bad would be very helpful for writers.

The examples range from pretty common writer errors like:

“But that was where the drawing ended. Below was just white space.” The problem here is stating something so redundant and obvious that it becomes ridiculous. So we can take this, and learn from it to make sure, for example, you don’t write something like “His heart beat in his chest,” because if you are human, where else would it be beating?

To a wide range of other issues as in these examples:

“Just then, a horripilating Scaramouche appeared at her elbow.”

Or

“Breasts like bronzed mangoes.”

In fact, there appears to be a lot of bad breast descriptions in the book.

 

 

HOWEVER:

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Some Finn Fancy Love Time

“So, this is your apartment?  Nice.  Where can I slip into something more comfortable?”

“Right over there, in the door past that copy of Finn Fancy Necromancy.  Oh my gosh, have you read it?  It’s REALLY exciting and funny an — uh, like you.  I’ll get the wine.”

 

Why do I give this fine example of Finn Fancy love?  Well, let’s play a quick Choose Your Own Finnventure:

You come across a dark and quirky contemporary fantasy series that features lots of humor, magic, action, romance, sasquatches, gnomes, Fey, social unrest, family drama, 80s and 90s references, and more. 

If you find that uninteresting, fair enough, turn back to page Facetweet and have an awesome day.

If you think it might be cool for the series to continue past book 3, continue reading.

The Finn Fancy series is not in trouble, but it has reached its first critical test.  Whether or not Tor wants to publish more Finn Fancy books will likely be based on sales of book 1 and pre-sales of book 2 over the next few weeks. Just because that’s how the industry works.

What this is:  Me asking you to take a few minutes to support Finn Fancy if you’ve read and enjoyed it, OR if dark and quirky contemporary fantasy is something that interests you and you MIGHT read it someday.  Or if you are just feeling generous toward me and want to support my dream, I suppose.

So if you DO want to help guarantee more Finn Fancy books, here’s what you can do, in rough order from most impact to least.  I’ve tried to make it easy:

1) BUY THE BOOKS.  You can buy Book 1: FINN FANCY NECROMANCY, and/or Book 2: BIGFOOTLOOSE AND FINN FANCY FREE in your preferred format at any of the links below.  Or if you plan to attend one of my readings for Bigfootloose and intend to buy the book, pre-order from that bookstore and let them know.

Finn Fancy Necromancy:

Barnes & Noble 

University Bookstore

Powell’s

Borderlands  

Mysterious Galaxy

Amazon 

Kobo 

iTunes

 

Bigfootloose Available for Pre-Order (Releases February 16, 2016):

Barnes & Noble

University Bookstore

Powell’s

Mysterious Galaxy 

Amazon

iTunes

 

2) PROMOTE THE BOOKS on your social media.  Here’s some images and sample 140 character text you can copy/paste and then tweak to make your own, or you can of course just let the inspiration flow.

I loved Finn Fancy Necromancy, and so excited for Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free! If you like fun, funny fantasy:

Finn Fancy Necromancy Bigfootloose Cover

 

3) REVIEW THE BOOKS.  If you’ve read them, give them honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes (at the same links as listed above for purchasing), and Goodreads (links below).  (I can’t give you words to copy/paste here, that would feel wrong.  And not in a good way.).

Goodreads for Bigfootloose

Goodreads for Finn Fancy Necromancy

 

4) TELL PEOPLE in live conversations that you enjoyed/ are interested in the Finn Fancy series.  In addition to the fine example in the opening of this post, here’s a couple more:

Example 1:
“Read anything good lately?”

“Yes, Finn Fancy Necromancy!  It was really fun and funny, you should totally read it!”

 

Example 2:

“Where do you want to eat tonight?”

“Someplace with good light for reading.  I just can’t put this book, Finn Fancy Necromancy, down!  It’s so good!  Just like Greek Pizza, full of exiting and rich flavors, yet also pretty cheesy.”

“Soooo … pizza then?”

 

Example 3:

“Honey, what safe word should we use?”

“‘Finn Fancy.’  Because it’s a really exciting and adventurous series that isn’t afraid to explore pain and laughter, but sets clear boundaries and expectations.”

“Ummm …”

 

Well, you get the idea.

What this is not: desperation, or me asking folks to save my series just because, or me not knowing what I’ll do if Tor doesn’t buy more.  I think book 1 sold pretty well*, and if not I’ll be fine if they don’t buy book 4.  I’ve been incredibly blessed to be published as is, and I love writing the Finn Fancy books, but if the series ends I will write other things.  And Finn will be fine — he can quit getting into danger and drama and go write video games on his Commodore 64 in the Heaven of Retired Characters.

But all the feedback I’ve received is that readers loved Finn Fancy Necromancy, and I’d hate for Finn Fancy to die not because of a lack of interest, but rather just because I dislike doing the self-promotion thing too much**.  Especially when there is a very specific sales period like this that can really matter.

So thank you if you’ve taken any of these actions, and thanks so much to all of the readers, booksellers, librarians, and friends who’ve helped Finn Fancy and my writerly dreams live and shine bright.

 

Footnotes (that might be of informativational interest to writerly types):

*Book 1 sold decently in hardback — “decently”  being defined (with my complete lack of previous experience or context in these matters) as enough to sell through its advance and a bit more, but it didn’t require multiple printings or anything — and is now out in Trade Paperback.  So while I’m hopeful that Tor isn’t exactly disappointed, I’m also sure they’re not leaping up like meerkats, impressed by this hot new author or anything).  I’m in that uncertain area of thinking it is very possible they’ll want more but also very possible they won’t.  I honestly believe sales in the next month will be very important in this decision.  Book 2 comes out February 16th.  Because of the long publishing cycle, Tor really can’t wait and see how books 2 and 3 actually sell over time before deciding whether to contract book 4.  The constraints of linear time and temporal integrity directives can be so annoying sometimes.  Or to put it another way, I would need to have book 4 written before book 3 even comes out.  Traditional publishing cycles are funky that way.

**While Finn ended up on personal fave lists, I didn’t do the work of reminding people about my books as the big names/sites were compiling their 2015 Year’s Best lists or their 2016 Most Anticipated lists or nominating books for awards etc.  Not to imply it would have definitely gotten on such lists if I had, yet weirdly, I felt bad for Finn.  He deserved better of me.  I know it is a perfectly legit and necessary part of the promotion game, but I just didn’t feel comfortable doing so.  Which in the end perhaps does the series a disservice, and could harm the potential of more books in a series people seem to enjoy.  It’s such a weird circular dance.  So I’m biting the bullet and being self-promotiony about this, because this at least is just a direct and meaningful act of reader democracy: if you like the books (or think you might), you can vote with your support to continue the series.


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The Benefits of a Con Where Few People Came

Rustycon 2016 lights out

When the lights went out in the room due to the lack of bodies, we had to laugh.

 

I was a panelist at Rustycon this weekend, a lovely small local con run by very dedicated and passionate volunteers.   Unfortunately, several factors led to smaller than expected turnout — horrible Friday weather and traffic, every other person in the State apparently having the flu, and a Seahawks game on Sunday among them.  As a result, my panels all had two to five attendees.  The Guest of Honor’s had maybe fifteen.   I was lucky enough to have a handful of people at my reading, but several writers had nobody show.

I’m glad I went.

Like a lot of people, I’ve been crazy busy of late, essentially three-full-time-jobs level busy.  So there are those who might question whether a con where only a handful of people attended my panels might be seen as a “waste of time.”

But here’s why I don’t feel it was:

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The Fate of Grimdark the Grimdarian and the Rise of Shiny Fantasy

Like most people I think, I read by both taste and mood.  Sort of like how I eat.  Or make lo — uh, make the food I eat.

 

While I enjoy dark fantasy and so-called “grimdark” (official term and sponsor of the 2000’s Stuff Nobody Agrees What the Official Term Should Be For-athon), it feels like heavy lifting to me, as it is often filled with a sense of hopelessness, of fear, of pain, etc. that, even when cut with the occasional moment of joy, can still feel draining to read (at least for me).   I have to take my dark in small doses, like absinthe, or Carrot Top, or the awareness of my inevitable death.

Grimdark Hamlet

Swallow My Darkness!!!

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I think that Shakespeare guy has a real future with those crazy dark tragedies of his.  And when done well, “grimdark” can be satisfying reading in the sense that you feel these complex and sometimes uncomfortable emotions evoked by the work, and feel rewarded for that heavy lifting.  It also is able to explore deep and difficult themes and subjects in a more focused way than other fantasy, topics such as the darker side of human nature, moral ambiguity, torture, the origins of cruelty, etc.

 

In the words of that wise bard Trent Reznor, “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.”

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Con Jobs January Edition

I’ll be teaching a 90 minute workshop at Radcon in February, and before that on a number of panels at Rustycon at the end of January!  Come hang out with me and exchange thoughts on the joys and challenges of writing.  There are limited seats for the workshop, but both the workshop and of course the panels are free if you’re registered for the relevant convention.

goonies

The Goonies look on in amazement as Randy reads from his novel

 

FOOLSCAP WRITING WORKSHOP – LEVEL UP AS A WRITER

Friday, February 5, 2016, 1:30 pm

This “kitchen sink” presentation will cover everything from beginning writer mistakes to advanced plotting techniques, and the common evolutionary stages many writers go through from aspiring writer to published pro. Whatever stage you are at, you will hopefully learn something to help you level up as a writer. With handouts! And exercises! But not the sweaty kind of exercises.

Note that this is just one part of an all day writing workshop with additional classes by Cory Skerry (Writing In and About a Diverse World) and Jennifer Brozek (Planning a Book Series).

To Register: http://www.foolscap.org/workshops/

 

RUSTYCON PANELS – JAN 15-17, 2016

What I Would Have Liked to Know? (Fri Jan 15 4:00 PM)

Tips from pros. What we really would have liked to know when we started out. Things that we would have liked to have someone tell us 30 years that would have made a world of difference to where we are now.

Elizabeth Guizzetti Jeremy Zimmerman Kelli Stasi, Randy Henderson

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Setting Your Goals for 2016

Happy New Year!

Rather than simply share events from my past year, I thought I’d again offer a bit of encouragement and advice to help with the coming year.  While this is aimed primarily at my fellow writers, the same advice can also, I think, be applied to most any goal or creative pursuit, and to life in general.

This weekend, I encourage you to sit down and do three things:

1) Create a calendar/schedule for your goals and tasks.

2) Create, or update, your list of goals and tasks.

3) BELIEVE, and do what makes you happy.

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Finn Fancy Trade in the Wild!

TODAY IS TRADE PAPERBACK DAY!  Finn Fancy Necromancy is being released in Trade Paperback today, January 5th!

So if you’re in your local bookstore and spot Finn Fancy Necromancy (US paperback version) on the shelf, do me a huge favor and snap a photo and post it to Facebook or Twitter and tag me, or send me an email and let me know?  Or if you want to be fancy, you can post it in the comments below using a basic IMG tag: <img src=”url of your image here“>

I’ll send an Advanced Reader Copy of book 2: Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free, to the first two people to post pics of FFN trade edition in the wild. :)

Bigfootloose comes out officially on February 16th :)

Finn Fancy Tor Cover

Here are just some of the bookstores where you might spot it:

University Bookstore

Powell’s

Borderlands

Mysterious Galaxy

Liberty Bay Bookstore

Barnes & Noble

 


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