Writers of the Future at Vromans
August 30, 2009

What fun! Bill and I arrived at one of our favorite independent bookstores last Sunday, not really knowing what to expect. It was wicked hot and smoky to boot due to the now famous Station Fire blazing away in the Los Angeles Forest. What we walked into was a delightful smörgåsbord of writers, judges and illustrators in Vroman’s cool, air conditioned upstairs area.

Bill was like a kid in a candy store (kinda reminded me of the Iron Giant in the metal junk yard). Yes, yes, fun and all, but YOU try and keep up with him. Fast and furious, Bill was diving in and out of the tables, meeting new people, saying hi to old friends, getting his books signed, while I tried desperately to get a good shot of each and every one of them. (And after the fact, OMG what a zoo puzzling out the photos!!) But I did it… after a lot of reconstructing who was who (as they sat in no particular order), the photos in our gallery more or less follow a counter-clockwise pattern around the tables starting with writer Gold Winner Emery Huang and ending with our favorite funny guy and judge, Tim Powers. Sorry to say that for the illustrator Gold Winner Oleksandra Barysheva my photo was blah, so I swiped this great one of her off the Writers of the Future website so you can see how gorgeous as well as talented she is. I also seemed to have missed AR Stone… so check their website for more great photos.

So what WAS this crazy event? You can read the history on their site, but in a nut shell Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future hold an annual contest, and short stories from the winners are selected around the world and published in the annual Writers of the Future anthology with kick ass illustrations by budding artists.

Not all the judges were there, unfortunately, that included my buddy Larry Niven who injured his back body surfing (yep, that’s Larry), but they are: Kevin J. Anderson, Doug Beason, Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, Sean Williams, Brian Herbert, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Eric Kotani, Anne McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Jerry Pournelle, Tim Powers, Robert Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, Steve Savile, Dave Wolverton, and KD Wentworth. Ron Lindahn was the only illustrator judge we saw.

The winning writers for this years anthology were: Gold Award winner, Emery Huang, Matthew S. Rotundo, Gary Kloster, Fiona Lehn, Donald Mead
, Mike Wood, Gra Linnaea, Jordan Lapp
, C L Holland
, Schon M. Zwakman, Heather McDougal and Krista Hoeppner Leahy.

The winning illustrators were: Gold Award winner, Oleksandra Barysheva, Tobias A. Fruge, A R Stone, Aaron Anderson, Mark Payton, Joshua J. Stewart, Ryan Behrens, Douglas Bosley, Evan Jensen, Luke Eidenschink, Brianne Hills and Jamie Luhn.

After Bill was done with the signing, he whipped out his L Ron Hubbard playing cards and began doing magic tricks for Tim and Serena Powers. We all had a blast. Hard to believe, but this was only the first of two events this group would attend that day… they were due at the Barnes and Nobel in Burbank at 3 pm! Bill and I said our good-byes (we’ll see the Powers soon at LosCon!) and made our way outside in the 100+ degree weather and immediately had trouble breathing again…. here’s a couple shots of the Station Fire smoke from the Vroman’s parking lot… UGH. A week later, as I am writing this, that freaking fire is still burning. Of course where we live near the ocean the air is a lot better, but I could still see and smell smoke all this week at UCLA.

Congratulations to this years contest winners! Thank you judges for your excellent choices and mentoring the rising talent. What an awesome anthology you’ve created for us all to enjoy.

Until our next smoke filled adventure…

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