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March 10 Newsletter

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Hello, Artistic Phoenixes and Writerly Dragons!

With Fyrecon four months away, we wanted to give you some important updates.

Rob Carlos Master Guest

Preston Stone


Master Class: Convincing Creature Design

Rob Carlos got his start illustrating for the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” card game in 1998, and has been working with book and game publishers ever since.

We had a Q&A with Rob so that you can get to know him:

Fyrecon: You emphasize dragons and fantasy in your art. Do you have any experiences where you were commissioned outside your comfort zone?

RC: Oh, of course! So many times. One of the trickiest ones I’ve done involved a pair of dragons on top of someone’s house. Architecture isn’t my strength, but because of that, I had to fight twice as hard to get it right, and the client loved it once it was done. It took longer than expected, though!

Oh, it was also tricky because it needed to be an oil painting. If I could have done it digitally it would have been done in a day or two instead of two weeks!

Fyrecon: What is your advice to artists who feel like they are failing or can’t succeed in the art industry?

RC: It takes a long time to get to where you’ve stopped worrying about failing. Even after years of attaining some measure of success, many artists never stop questioning their work. Which can be a really good thing… we are always going to be our own toughest critics, as it should be. Without that, there’s no drive to improve. Success is measured differently by everyone. The question is: what do you consider successful? A big commission, or sale? A hundred Facebook likes? A thousand? A sweet job with a big Hollywood IP? Heck, a lot of artists consider success being able to pay the rent this month! Stop thinking like success is a point, and remember that it’s a sliding scale. Once you do that, it helps to free you up to create your best work possible at this point.

Fyrecon: A lot of your students will be enrolling with some experience under their belts. What can they look forward to learning in this 4-hour course?

RC: Good question! This is going to be a master class in creature design. As you said, I’m recognized for dragons and fantasy. All of those fantasy creatures have to come from something based in reality, or your viewer won’t be able to suspend their disbelief. So we will be examining in depth how real world references and anatomy can be applied to a myriad of fantastical creatures, and how the decision affects what the audience’s assumptions will be about the resulting creature.

Fyrecon: Not many people would think you’d have to rely so much on reality to create a fantasy. But I guess that’s what helps really sell that awesome world you’re building.

RC: Oh absolutely, and what real world references are chosen has a huge impact. Imagine, for example, two dragons. One based on a lion’s anatomy, and another based on a wasp’s. Which one is more likely to be your friend, and which is nothing but terrifying?

Fyrecon: A wasp dragon just gives me the chills. A lion dragon makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside by comparison.

RC: Exactly! But that wasp Dragon might have a bunch of weak spots, and you certainly don’t want to see the lion one angry.

Fyrecon: What are some resources you’d recommend to aspiring artists who aren’t able to attend your class?

RC: There is a book I will have with me on class day called “Principles of Creature Design: Creating Imaginary Animals” by Terryl Whitlach. It’s an amazing look at this subject with some of the prettiest illustrations you can imagine. A must for anyone diving into the realm of fantasy art!

Killer Elevator Pitches

Pitching your idea to an agent or editor can be nerve wracking. Practice pitching skills in a low-stakes game available only at Fyrecon! We’ll give you the ideas, and you’ll come up with a pitches to present to editors in different rounds.

The best pitches will continue in the game until the winner ends up with the coveted Killer Elevator prizes.

Sign up here!

Fyrecon Hotel Info

Need a place to stay while attending Fyrecon?

Holiday Inn Express
1695 Woodland Park Dr.
Layton, Utah
84041 United States

Call (801) 773-3773 or 1-888-HOLIDAY

or Click Here
Enter in the dates and click more options
The Room block code is FYR

The room rate is $109 per night

Scholarships Available

Need some help attending Fyrecon? Apply for a scholarship. We’re giving away 1 scholarship per Master Class and 4 General Admission scholarships. Just submit a needs statement and write an author blurb or create a crossroad sign.

For detailed rules and to apply, click here.

Art Show Submissions

Looking to show and sell your art? Submit to be in Fyrecon’s art show. Submissions are due by May 15, 2018 and must consist of sample of 1-3 art pieces. Art work must relate to science fiction and fantasy. The show will be during Fyrecon 2, June 21-23, 2018.

Click here to apply!

Food Review

Preston Stone
Let’s talk about one of our favorite things: food. Or, more exactly, tacos. If you’ve ever dreamed of eating all of the tacos you can consume before you explode, check out El Paisa Grill in Ogden. They have a full menu and, more importantly, an all you can eat taco bar, complete with tiny tacos! And they’re delicious.

Early Bird Pricing

Sign up for Fyrecon before May 10th to receive Early Bird Pricing! Get a 3-day pass for just $40, a Thursday-only pass for $18, Friday for $20, or Saturday for $24.

Prices go up after May 10th, so sign up now!

Upcoming Events

Support your local dragons and phoenixes at upcoming events!

  • Scott Tarbet has a signing at Fortis College on April 11th
  • The Kickstarter for Jemma Young’s Children of Eldair Book 2 is going on now. Be sure to pledge for this comic. Find more information here.
  • John M. Olson has a signing at Marissa’s Books on April 21st from 1-4. Don’t miss him live on YouTube explaining submissions for LDSBR on April 7th.
  • Support 13 spellbinding authors with this kickstarter, which backs a special soundtrack with both stories and music. Check it out here!
  • Brandon Mull, James Riley, and Kevin Sands will be doing an author visit hosted by The King’s English Bookshop. March 19 at 7 PM – 9 PM at the Viridian West Jordan Library & Event Center
David Farland Master Guest


Master Class: Writing From A to Z

David Farland is an award-winning, bestselling author with over 50 novels in print. He is best known for his NYT bestselling series The Runelords

We had a Q&A with Dave to introduce you to him:

Fyrecon: Publisher’s Weekly named you a “wizard at storytelling.” If you were a wizard, what sort of powers would you like to have? What would be your wizard name?

DF: Ah, seriously, there is nothing that I would want to be more than what I am. As a wizard of storytelling, I love to create entire worlds out of nothing more than words and thin air, then lead people through grand adventures in those worlds so that they are delivered safe to their doorsteps when we are finished, only wiser for the trip and changed for the better from the adventure. As far as what my name would be, I long ago abandoned my birth name and changed it to Farland. I am what I am–a humble hedge-wizard who likes what he does and doesn’t have any further ambitions.

Fyrecon: Why do you think attending conventions like Fyrecon is important for new and aspiring writers?

DF: There is a lot that can be learned at the workshops and classes of course, but you’ll also meet some great people who will become lifelong friends, companions on the road, so to speak, as you make your way into the publishing world. And of course, there are mentors to be found there, people who have scouted out the path before you and can point out all of the dangers and traps–things like literary agents and contracts and that sort of nonsense.

Fyrecon: You’re teaching Writing from A-Z at Fyrecon. Can you give us a taste? What are the top three skills that writers will learn in this class?

DF: I wanted to focus on the writing process in this class, so we will get into the guts of what it takes to write–everything from brainstorming a novel, to plotting it out, to learning to get into a productive creative state so that you can do a first draft, work with an editor to revise, and then we will go into how to plan a career and bring it all together. What are the top three of those skills? I think that it depends in part on which ones you need to learn. For most people, I think that learning to get into the creative groove is very difficult. It’s a mindset, almost a trance, and it is like learning to meditate. But then again, understanding the pitfalls of the business is very important. I hate seeing authors start off into careers only to face setbacks that could have easily been avoided. And in the section on writing enchanting prose, you’ll learn more in a one-hour class than you will realize for many, many long years.