When I started this blog I had the good intention of posting here often but perhaps you've heard what the road to Hell is paved with- at least I can one day take pleasure in a smooth ride knowing that I contributed so much. lol
So, now that more than a year has gone by I'll hit the highlights.
First up, my novelette Riders of the Three-Toed Horse was chosen for the 2009 Locus Recommended Reading List! Seeing my lil' ole name in a list with the likes of Peter S. Beagle, Tanith Lee, Lucius Shepard and other such literary heroes of mine sent me over the moon! I must have stared at the page for an hour after I found out about it just thinking "Oh my God that's ME!!". I'm really pleased people like that story so much, and yes, I am working on more- a lot more.
In more 'Riders' news, I was excited to have long time friend and fellow madman Birke Duncan adapt the novelette into a pulse pounding radio play! It has been aired on a variety of radio stations across the country and has gotten some great reviews! I designed the covers and the play features some amazing voice talents, including celebrated Northwest story tellers and actors Bob McAllister and Birke Duncan! Go get one, Now!
This year very sadly saw the final issue of Jim Baen's Universe, a pioneer in the world of web based magazines. Alas, alas, it was a wonderful thing but the fates were against it, despite a very dedicated staff's wishes to keep it going, JBU closed its doors April, 2010. I very much enjoyed writing for it, as well as illustrating- I did the cover art from October 2008 to the end and artwork for two stories, my own and Ben Bova's Moon Race. I was asked to fill in as Universe's art director for the last three issues, and did the artwork for all the stories in the final issue myself. I volunteered since there was no money to pay anybody else to do it and I am really a pretty nice guy (sucker) for all my outward ogre-ness! We have layers! It was all good, being art director for two magazines looks swell on the old artsy resume.
For the final issue's cover I portrayed the title being pulled down into a black hole-symbolizing how awful I felt to see the magazine end but also with a glimmer of hope for a rebirth in some other universe. To some extent that has happened!
The Other Magazine I serve as art director for, the Grantville Gazette has started publishing one Universe story per issue in the new Universe Annex! I'm loving this, as much as I enjoy trying to come up with fun mixes of 20th century and 17th century images every two months (if you haven't tried the Gazette yet go do so now, it's too hard to explain!) I now get to do at least one wild card piece of SF or fantasy art per issue that is not related to Eric Flint's unique 163X-verse, variety is the spice of life.
Here is my fave Annex art I've done so far, for Jason K. Chapman's exciting tale of life amongst the asteroids, The Long Fall. I've decided to make Universe Annex art look like book covers from this point forward with the hopes that Baen Books will one day wake up and realize that I can make them book covers, fast and cheap! lol
There were a couple of super bright spots this year in which I got to meet some of my SF and Fantasy novelist heroes in person. In August I had the very extreme pleasure of meeting Eric Flint in person at the The 10th Occasional North American Science Fiction Convention in Raleigh South Carolina, ReConStruction in which Eric Flint was Guest of Honor and we held a 1632 Minicon. It was fun to finally meet the guy who signs my checks! Eric is a very genial fellow and possibly the most intelligent being I have ever met, scary smart that one! I think he was impressed that I bothered to come all the way from Bangkok Thailand to be there, I wouldn't have missed it for the world! I was also overjoyed to finally get to meet the rest of the Grantville Gazette staff and many of our writers, what a great group! I followed our Editor Paula Goodlett around like a puppy dog for the whole con, she is pretty basically The Best Boss Ever and a heck of a lot of fun to hang out with! Everybody was very supportive, they knew I had huge butterflies about giving my first ever convention panel (on art for the Grantville Gazette) and were very much there for me- it turned out fine and I was glad my peers got to see some inside skinny on how I do (the often incredibly weird!) things I do to make art for the magazine. I hope to be able to fly across the big pond and do that again one day!
The other HUGE highlight of this year was getting to meet SF and fantasy goddess CJ Cherryh in person! She is wonderful!!!!! An incredibly talented and gracious person, she was kind enough to answer my (sweat soaked, scribbled) list of 'how to' questions, something I will treasure forever! I was also exceptionally fortunate to meet artist and novelist Jane Fancher, who in addition to doing amazing work is more fun than a barrel of monkeys and an open bar, what a hoot! CJ and the Shejidanites are among the nicest people on the planet, seldom have I felt so welcome by total strangers! It was like we had all known each other for years! Gush, gush, I don't care, feel the love!!!! :-D
The other big event in my professional life this year was finishing and selling my first novel! At first I didn't even realize I had done it, the thing started out as a short story but just kept growing and growing! It's set in the 163X-verse and revisits my characters who live there, Pam the birdwatcher and her stalwart companions Gerbald and Dore, who have left Grantville to sail around Africa to Mauritius on a mission to save the helpless dodo from extinction! It's being presented as a serial, so by all means please check out Second Chance Bird, Episode One in Volume 32 of the Grantville Gazette!
So, that about wraps up 2010. I'm working on the latest Gazette as well as a brand new 163x-verse story, something quite different from what I've done so far. I intend to have those finished well before Christmas, the twelve days of which I intend to spend pleasantly pickled under the Christmas tree with my wonderful wife Mochi. It will be time to relax and reflect on a year that was one of the craziest yet, some for ill, most for good. I am very much looking forward to 2011, I have set it as The Year in which I really take off, friends, you ain't seen nothing yet! Ideas, boy have I got ideas, and best of all I find myself landed in the perfect time and place to do them! I wish all of you who take the time to read this a a fantastic New Year- see you there!
Garrett W. Vance
December 6th, 2010.