Links to Favorite Places


Writing

Writers often work in an information vaccuum, unsure of the market, ignorant of helpful resources, and unaware of the predators with smiling eyes. Not only is there not a secret handshake requried to get published, there are some great organizations who want to help. Writing is also an interesting profession in that, for the most part, it's not competetive. Most established authors are delighted to help point budding writers in the right direction, and many authors have taken the time to post some excellent advice to their web sites.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
If you're interested in writing science fiction, fantasy or horror bookmark this site now. The science fiction and fantasy writers of america (SFWA) is the best resource and staunchest ally you have. They're set up primarily as a professional group, and you need some publishing credits to join officially, but many of their resources are freely available.
Writer Beware
This is actually part of the aforementioned SFWA site, but it's important enough to warrant it's own entry. Every author has a dream, and people with dreams are willing to pay for them. For every optimist with a dream, there's a scoundrel with a plan, willing to promise you the world and take your money. This site is a lighthouse -- steering the wise safely away from dangerous shores.
Baen's Bar
A very active web-board dedicated to Baen's books. It also has several areas where non-baen Books and general interest items are welcomed.
Baen Free Library
Speaking of Baen, here's a treasure trove for you to plunder. Jim Baen is a smart man, and he's willing to take risks that make the bean-counters at other publishing houses shudder. He's released a large number of titles for download. Free. We're not talking teasers, sample chapters, or derelict manuscipts that weren't worth publishing. Full books, by leading authors just sitting there waiting for you to grab them. Go Jim!Holly Lisle
On her site Forward Motion Holly has many excellent articles for authors of all levels. She's done wonderful of distilling her wisdom into bite-site pieces, and she's a very smart person. Bon Apetit!
Jeffrey A. Carver
Jeffrey has written several articles about writing, including several offering advice to new authors.
Orson Scott Card
Orson's Writing Class -- great stuff. By the way, Orson Card's book on writing science fiction and fantasy was my reference to getting my first book published.
Tri-City Writers
Writing can be a lonely profession, and without feedback it's hard to honestly evaluate your own work. Writer's groups offer you an opportunity to meet with other authors, share your troubles, and get some valuable encouragement and insight. This is an excellent group in the Tri-Cities area, run by a dear friend of ours, Bob Brown. Patty's not attending any longer, but it's highly reccommended.


Music

I like to listen to music while I write, it sets the mood and helps me focus. Musical tastes vary, but here's some of the groups I like to listen to.

Three Rivers Folklife Society
Those of you living in or near the Tri-Cities area owe it to yourselves to join the Three Rivers Folklife Society. This is one of the most fun and joyful groups around. They sponsor a wide array of folk singers and concerts, and have a monthly sea-chanty sing-a-long that was a permanant fixture on our calendars. They also sponsor the Tumbleweed music festival -- with non-stop music for three days on a number of stages. We drive over from Montana every year to attend; it's that good!
Hank Cramer
Hank's powerful bass voice and guitar are enchanting. He does mostly shanties and maritime music, but includes many original compositions, folk music and a dash of celtic in his repertoire.
Telynor
John and Anna Peekstock: Folk music from many lands and times, masterfully performed on period instruments -- rocking Hurdy-Gurdy!
Pint & Dale
Dynamic and incredible duo with exotic instruments. Folk songs, sea shanties and original compositions.
The Cutters
Phillip and Teresa Morgan, family and friends combine to make The Cutters, a maritime musical group doing tradional and original sea-shanties and folk songs. Banjo, guitar, pennywhistle and vocals combine beautifully.
Gaelic Storm
A mix of traditional and modern celtic with a modern twist. This is not your daddy's celtic band!
Great Big Sea
Strong instrumentation, varied styles and tight harmony are the hallmarks of this group. More importanly, somehow they just sound they're having a ball, and you help but want to join in.
Blackmores Night
Ritchie Blackmore, previously a hard-rocking guitar hero, now plays some amazing renaissance-themed music. The long, melodic passages of traditional music are beautifully combined with modern techniques and effects, topped off with some etherial vocals by Candice Night. The effect is haunting, powerful, and memorable.


Art:

Our walls are covered with art. Not high-priced collector's items, but inexpensive prints bought at various conventions. Art can open windows to the imagination, and let us see worlds our eyes will never behold. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that may be selling the artist short. This art pulls me in to other lands, and other times, and my mind begins telling stories . . .

Michael Whelan
One of the best-known fantasy artists, and one of my personal favorites. His early works were stongly science-fiction and fantasy based, frequently cover art. Later works are more experimental -- still beautiful but not rockets and aliens.
J. P. Targete
An amazing fantasy artist. I've been lucky enough to have several covers painted by him!
Frank Wu
Frank Wu is amazing. I've met him at several conventions, and the art reflects the man. Brilliant and unconventional. In all honesty, there aren't many of his pieces that would go well in my living room, but then that's not the measure of great art. His pieces are bold, almost stark, and challenge your perceptions of reality.
Bob Eggleton
The definitive master of space-art. Space has never looked so beautiful, and he somehow captures a sense of scale that should be impossible on a piece of canvas. Every time I see his art, I want to buy a spaceship.
Boris Valejo and Julie Bell
Legends of fantasy artwork. Their work is classic, and somehow always reminds me of the pulp covers of years gone by, only better. A bit camp, perhaps, but strapping heros, gorgeous ladies and terrifying monsters never go out of fashion!
Daniel Dos Santos
A rising star in fantasy illustration, Daniel Dos Santos has done some amazing cover work, including the covers for my Mercy series.
Stephen Hickman
One of my early favorites, Stephen Hickman is another painter that just blows me away. He paints in an old master style, and it looks awesome. The multiple layers of tinting give a depth and glow to his artwork that's hard to describe.


Miscellaneous Links

Open Office
Ready to write that novel, but don't have a good word processor? Try Open Office. It's a free office suite that can read and write most common formats (including Microsoft's various flavors).
SourceForge
Want some great software at an unbeatable price? Head to SourceForge, the biggest repository of FOSS (free and open source software) available. The best things in life are free!
Wikipedia
An amazing encyclopedia written by the common man. A huge wealth of information, that's updated much more frequently than that ancient set of encyclopedia in your basement. Don't like an article? Then change it!Fedora Linux
Want to upgrade your operating system for free? Linux has long been "too geeky" for the mainstream, but not anymore. Fedora is a free linux distribution offered by the same folks who produce the commercial Red Hat Linux. Good stuff!
Ubuntu Linux
Not sure you're ready to commit to Linux? How about a live CD that will autodetect your hardware and boot you into a Linux environment without overwriting your disk. Give it a few hours, and I'll bet you're hitting the install button!