Archive for Clarion West

Why You Should Virtual-Hug A Writer (aka it’s Write-a-Thon Time)


Let’s talk for a second about dreams, and passions, and the need for art that provokes speculative thinking and deep Feels — and the insane masochistic lives of the writers driven to provide that.

Clarion West Write-a-thon

There are a lot of folks out there working hard to create for us the stories that we deeply crave and need, even when we don’t realize we crave or need them.  Stories that take use into fantastical worlds to escape our Darkest Timeline for a while.  Stories that explore social, psychological, political and technological problems and stimulate our thinky organs and inspire future solutions.  Stories that fill us with the Feels and help us to explore experiences unlike our own.

This act of creation is hard work.  And lonely work.  And often masochistic and depressing and ego-shredding work, because like all art it requires a lot of time and effort to become good at and then there is still no guarantee that anyone will appreciate or pay for it.  Writing, like so many professional arts, is facing constant rejection and not quitting.

Each hour spent writing is glorious agony, and the difficult resistance of a thousand tempting distractions.

Each story completed is a big middle finger to screaming self-doubt and the whispers of futility that haunt them as they write.

These folks continue to write despite the sacrifice and rejection and doubts because it is their passion.  They themselves have sought escape and inspiration and growth in the works of others, and were so deeply affected by the experience that they wish to do the same for us, to participate more fully in the genres and the artforms that have given to them, and in doing so they give of themselves to you.

There are many ways you can give back and help a writer get through the struggles and doubts and hours of staring alone at words on a screen.  Send them a quick message saying you admire their passion and believe in them.  If you have read something of theirs and enjoyed it, let them know, and certainly let others know through word of mouth, posts, and reviews.

And right now, you can also let one group of emerging authors know you support them and their art by donating to Clarion West in their name.  Clarion West is a workshop for up-and-coming genre writers, with a mission to support diversity in voices and content.

It is a huge sacrifice for many of these authors to attend the workshop.  Some travel from far away.  All must be apart from their loved ones and their source of income for six weeks in order to go “all in” on their dream of being a writer.  Donating to the workshop helps provide scholarships to these, your future favorite authors, among other things.

Go to to select writers and donate in their name.

If you’re thinking of donating $20, feel free to spread it around between a few of them.  Donating $5 in a writer’s name to the Clarion West write-a-thon may seem like a small thing, but you would be surprised at how much it means to the writer that you showed belief not only in this workshop, but in them.


Write-a-Thon and Sammy Story Excerpt

All, I have been shamefully neglectful in asking for donation to the Clarion West write-a-thon. Please, go to the website and donate a little something. It supports the creation of a wonderful diversity of amazing future authors. And I’m offering a prize. And now, a snippet from a Finn Fancy-related short story I’ve been writing during the write-a-thon, featuring Finn’s sister Sammy and set in 2003:

Sammy paced the small waiting room between the small sofa and the wall-mounted television, less than eager to confront Bishop Freedom. A unicorn posing as a televangelist. What a frakked up world she lived in.

Of course they had the TV going full volume, the power cord inaccessible and the control panel apparently super-glued shut. Sammy watched Freedom strutting about on stage with his white hair helmet and perfectly even smile.

“… again, what is the greater sin?” Bishop Freedom demanded. “To allow a condom, or to allow easily preventable disease and death? What is the greater sin, to …”

It annoyed Sammy to the point of pissed-offedness that Bishop Freedom used arguments she actually agreed with, given that his true motives were hardly noble.
Sammy pulled out her Palm Pilot, slid an infrared beamer into the SD slot, programmed the PDA as a remote and shut the damn TV off.

It wasn’t that she disagreed with his message, but rather his motives. Unicorns, witches and several other feybloods were well known for feeding somehow on virgins, but less known was that women who’d simply never gotten preggers served them nearly as well. Something about conception, not to mention STDs, changed whatever energy in a woman such creatures fed upon. And two things that had been proven to cause a hell of a lot of pregnancy and disease were bans on contraception, and telling a bunch of horny teenagers to “just say no”. So of course Bishop Freedom condemned the religions and politics that promoted such frakked up policies, but he didn’t do so because they were morally wrong or bass-ackwards in their thinking, and certainly not out of concern for the women; he did so because they screwed with his food source.


Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2015 Edition

It’s that time again!

You want great fantasy and science fiction? Help support the development of future writers. Knock knock. Hello. My name is Randy Henderson. I’m asking for donations to Clarion West, a totally awesome intensive writing workshop for speculative fiction that has been called a “boot camp for writers.”

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. For the first 10 people who register with the Carl Brandon Society (at as a paying member), announce it and let me know about it, I will donate $10 each to the Clarion West write-a-thon on your behalf. The Carl Brandon Society supports and increases the representation of diversity in our genre’s content, creators, and fans, and offers a scholarship every year to an attendee of Clarion West, so it is a great way to ensure your donation dollars produce the maximum benefit.


My Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2013 Pitch

I am participating in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. You must give them your spare change by clicking Donate on my page. Here is why:
1) I have a Procrastination Ray and I’m not afraid to point it at George RR Martin if my demands are not met.
pee-wee doll2) I will send a picture of me shirtless kissing a creepy (and oddly stained) Pee Wee Herman doll to my highest bidder. This is not because I think I’m all that. It is because such blackmail material will only increase in value over time as I achieve fame and fortune, making this a wiser economic investment than stocks or real estate.
3) For my second-highest bidder, I will name an annoying little dog character after anyone you wish.

4) Oh yeah, and it helps to fund one of the best dang writing workshops out there. Your money will help to launch the careers of future fantasy, scifi and horror writers so that you are not stuck choosing between warmed over Twilight fan fiction or historical figures battling Disney-fied monsters.


Locus Award Weekend

Randy with William F Nolan and Connie Willis at Locus Awards 2012

Had a great weekend. Attended the Locus Awards,  got to meet William F. Nolan (author of Logan’s Run) and make jokes with the amazing Connie Willis.  And yes, I did stroke Nolan’s flocked shirt.  Now, fight that urge to insert the obvious joke about being flocked and “lei’d”.  I know you can do it.

And of course I got to hang out with many amazing writer friends old and new, as well as meet the Clarion West class of 2012 before their brains turn to mush (for baseline comparison in the coming weeks).




“Surviving the eBookalypse” Live on Escape Pod

Escape PodMy story “Surviving the eBookalypse”, a satire about the future for books and their authors, is now live on Escape Pod:

I wrote this story during Clarion West, partly as a response to a doom and gloom speech I heard on the future of the publishing industry. But folks like Mary Robinette Kowal and Cory Doctorow reaffirm my belief that we who create or consume the fiction, we have power to affect the course of things.  eBooks are really not so different from paperbacks if we push for the right to truly own what we purchase.  Books as objects can return to being lovingly crafted pieces of art, to be collected and displayed proudly in order to impress your date/guests.  Er, I mean, to show your love of the written word.  And in the end, all of us time-conscious readers will still want someone to filter out the good from the ocean of crap for us and will pay a little extra for that service.  Sparkly vampires aside.  So I believe the future of the written word remains bright.  And if I’m wrong, I will happily accept patronage offers.


Interesting note: the recorded pod cast is actually from an earlier version of the story, and the online text is from the updated version, which I see as a happy accident because A) I went back and forth over the beginning and am still not sure which I like better (though the printed version is tighter), and B) it is a record I think of how my writing (or at least editing) improved over the time between versions.  Although the very beginning of the story is the main difference, there are also a number of small differences that demonstrate opportunities to eliminate unneeded words and poor sentence structures.  The story synchs up pretty quickly (once Andre enters the library) so if you listen and follow along with the text, you’ll spot the differences.

Thank you to Roberto Suarez for his podcast reading.

Cheers, and I hope you enjoy it.


Clarion West Write-A-Thon Final Plea

I have horribly failed to pimp myself for the Clarion West write-a-thon, and it ends this week.  Time to donate in my glorious name if you haven’t already, por favor.  Your donation will go to help nurture and create future writers.

I have been doing my part, I swear, writing like crazy. Clarion West Writeathon Literally, writing like crazy. I wear a tinfoil hat and talk to myself a lot as I write since it is the only way to keep the bad voices from taking control of my stories.

Granted, I was down for two weeks with a nasty virus thingy (the slime was entirely from my nose, don’t listen to Shelly’s claims of pods under the bed or how I’m “different” somehow), but I am back now, and on task.

So please go to my profile on the Clarion West write-a-thon page and click the shiny Donate button.  Throw in just $5 even, the cost of a single cheap paperback or fine bottle of screwtop wine, and watch it magically result in hundreds of future stories and books.

Crying FairyRegarding the 36 fairies I was holding captive in exchange for donations, I’m afraid they have mostly died due to my neglect these past weeks.  There are now only four, and they’re looking rather Winehouse Lohan.  But their fate is still in your hands.


Sponsor Me or (and?) these Fairies Suffer

Crying FairyI have caught 37 fairies in a jar.  Unless you sponsor me in the Clarion West writeathon, I will place the jar in front of a television playing nothing but Jersey Housewives.  Or, if you are not a fan of fairies, then IF you sponsor me I will force the fairies to read the Myspace breakup poetry of goth tweens. Basically, the more you sponsor me, the more you control the fates of these 37 fairies.

Oops.  Make that 36 fairies.  Our kitten is way too clever at getting that lid open.

The Clarion West writeathon is a fundraiser for the Clarion West workshop, a writing “boot camp” that helps to produce future writers of quality genre fiction so that you will have something to read and watch tomorrow that doesn’t suck.

So go to my page and click on the shiny DONATE button to sponsor me as I write stuff, and feel like a real patron of the arts.


Let it Be Known, Clarion West Write-a-thon Approacheth

Clarion West Write-a-ThonStarting in late June, I will be channeling reality-altering energies in an attempt to discombobulate speculativentropic forces. There may be casualties, scandals, men weeping, women dancing, and spontaneous generation of new life that realizes its true purpose just before being turned into a new flavor of pudding. Won’t you sponsor the chaos?

All proceeds go to incubation pods for future speculative fiction writers (or financial assistance for Clarion West, I can never remember which):