The Word Count Episode 32

Welcome to Episode 32 of “The Word Count” podcast!

The show is a bit delayed due to my attendance at ReaderCON24 – Hijinks of which you can read about HERE.

The theme our writers used for the show this week is:

 

Being Dead Can be Quite Liberating

 

But before we introduce our writers, a bit about the show:

What is The Word Count Podcast?

It is a free broadcast by writers for writers.  Simply put, a theme for each show is announced via this site, Twitter and Facebook and writers are given a week or two to write AND RECORD their stories based on said theme.

Why?

Why not, says I.  It’s a great way to practice writing and public speaking.  It’s another way for writers to get their work “out there.”  And I love to meet fellow authors and have a blast putting the show together.  It’s just that simple.

 

Okay.  Where can I find it?

 

You can listen to the latest podcast below, subscribe via iTunes or listen at the show’s site.

 

 

Direct: http://thewordcount.libsyn.com/webpage

 

iTunes (and remember, iTunes takes their sweet time in posting.  If you don’t see it yet, keep trying!): http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-word-count/id392550989

 

Our guests this week:

bill_KirtonBill Kirton “Just Another One”

Before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer, Bill Kirton was a lecturer in French at the University of Aberdeen. He’s written stage and radio plays, short stories, novels, skits and songs for revues, and five non-fiction books aimed at helping students with their writing and study skills. His five modern crime novels, Material Evidence, Rough Justice, The Darkness, Shadow Selves and Unsafe Acts are set in north east Scotland and his historical crime/romance novel, The Figurehead, is set in Aberdeen in 1840. The Darkness won the silver award in the mystery category of the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards and his spoof mystery, The Sparrow Conundrum, was the winner in the humor category.

He’s had radio plays broadcast by the BBC and the Australian BC.  His short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including three of the CWA’s annual collections, and one was chosen by Maxim Jakubowski for his 2010 anthology of Best British Crime Stories.

Writing as Jack Rosse, he’s published a novel for children called The Loch Ewe Mystery.

He’s been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews.

Twitter: @carver22

Website: www.bill-kirton.co.uk

Blog: www.Livingwritingandotherstuff.blogspot.com

 

Krstvr_White_IC. Thomas Smith “A Whiff of Spirit”

As a bio; a frog in the pot is worth being sick over, or so the old French adage goes. But what do we really know about frogs? One survey I recently made up says that eighty-three per cent of most average frogs –goliath frogs don’t count because they are scary as all heck— would rather get squished beneath the wheel of a cheap Russian car driven by a man with overly pointed ears, potato breath and red hair rather than waste their poop in Justin Bieber’s mouth (though rumour has it that’s where his hairstyle originated). Another made up number is fifty-six. That’s right, fifty-six! Now consider what Dan Rather said, “If frogs had side pockets, they’d carry handguns.” That is pretty mental, where would they keep their loose change. It seems obvious to me that we really don’t know much about frogs. Where do they come from, where do they go when we can’t see them? If a frog had a Masters in architecture, would it build the Hubble Telescope?

You see just more questions.

In the end we should treat frogs like unicorns, yeti’s, honest politicians and David Beckham. Let’s move on and deal with real-world issues like, where do toads go when we can’t see them. If a toad had a B.A. in the arts would it draw its dole in sweatpants or a stylish beret? If four toads walked into an undertakers singing, could you say they croaked it? Either way, bear in mind, fifty-six. It’s even higher than forty-two.

Twitter = @KRSTVR

Web = krstvr.com

 

rbwoodR. B. Wood “A Greaser’s Request”

It’s rather self-serving for me to put my bio here as it’s my site. Putting my name here just gave me an excuse to post a picture of me wearing my Hannibal Lecter hat.

Website: http://www.rbwood.com

Twitter: @rbwood

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rbwoodwriter

 

 

MJKINGM. J. King “Property of Afterlife, Incorporated”

When not answering the demands of wanderlust, M. J. King can be found in the woods of coastal Maine plotting world domination. She numbers among her many obsessions cats, and coffee, and corsets; languages; books (of course), theater, dance, and storytelling in all its forms.

Website: http://mjkingwrites.wordpress.com

 

 

eden_at_benmcnallyEden Baylee “Blessings of Life and Death”

Eden Baylee writes literary erotica and infuses erotic elements into many of her stories. Incorporating some of her favorite things such as travel, culture, and a deep curiosity for what turns people on, her brand of writing is both sensual and sexual.

Her latest release is a book of erotic flash fiction and poetry called HOT FLASH.

SPRING INTO SUMMER is her second collection of erotic novellas and the companion piece to her first book, FALL INTO WINTER.

Connect with her via her websiteblogtwitter @edenbayleefacebook

 

 

Back to the Word Count…

111GhostWith less than a week ago and ReaderCON 24 fading into the sunset (For my full con post, go HERE), I wanted to ‘remind’ folks that I’m still accepting submissions for episode 32 of The Word Count.  Eden Baylee and Bill Kirton have sent in thier stories already…

Now I want to hear from you!

Repost below…

Once again the polling has surprised me!

I really think I love seeing what people want to hear our Word Count Irregulars put together.  Awkward sentence, yet SO bloody true.  And speaking of bloody, let’s anounce our prompt for the next show!

“Being dead can be quite liberating…”

Allow me to provide a little background about the show. I put together the podcast to feature writers (new and “old hands,” famous and just starting) as a way to get YOUR writing out there.  The show is simple: based on a prompt; you create an original short story and then record yourself reading it.  

That’s it. No ads, no hard sell.  Just a podcast with great stories.

Why do I do it?  It’s a hobby.  And I’ve been meeting wonderful authors through the show.  It’s all about networking and friendships.The show has been downloaded over 15000 times since it started, an average of about 500 per episode.  

Listen to past shows HERE or you can download/subscribe via iTunes.

Easy, fun and you’ll pick up a few more fans. So…you’ll be needing the guidelines then.  Right

THE WORD COUNT EPISODE 32

Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by FRIDAY 19 JULY, 2013 (I’m giving you all an extra week as I will be attending ReaderCON the weekend of the 13th).

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original work based on the prompt (“Being dead can be quite liberating…”). Do NOT exceed ten minutes. As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 19 July 2013. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case.I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story. 

Peace

ReaderCON 24

Readerconlogo

 

CLOSING NOTES: Below you’ll find my annual ReaderCON post…it’s a bit disjointed and there are typos everywhere.  I’d start at the bottom of the post and work your way to the top.  Eventually, I’ll edit the blog–but for now, here is the raw form.  I want to say a BIG thank you to those who made ReaderCON an amazing experience for me (again) this year:

Mike & Anita Allen, John Clute, John Crowley, Paul DiFilippo, Peter Dubé, Scott Edelman, Theodora Goss, Liz Hand, Jim Kelly, Mikki Kendall, Melissa King, Shira Lipkin, Yves Meynard, Jim & Kathy Morrow, Allen Steele, Peter Straub, Gregory A. Wilson and so many others who make the ReaderCON experience amazing.  The panels were fantastic this year and I’m already looking forward to Readercon 25 in 2014.

Special shout out to my dear friend and co-conspirator, Glenn Skinner.

And Steve–for five years you’ve been my bartender at the Marriott.  Thanks for always making sure my glass was never empty.

I hope you enjoy what follows.  

Peace.

RBW

 

===========================

starbucks-barista3:31 PM 07/14/13 (Close of the Con)

Arrived just in time (HAD to stop at Starbucks this morning…I wonder why?) for my first planned activity.

2013-07-14_09.31.21Reading: Allen Steele

 

Hugo award winning author and fellow Massachusetts import Allen Steele was the first author I recognized and spoke with at length at my first ReaderCON (does anyone remember the “Rich didn’t recognize Scott Edelman, so the newbie asked Scott to take a picture of Allen and I” incident?  No?  Good.  Let’s never speak of it again).  He has a new alternate history novel—V-S Day—coming out next February and he read us the first chapter and shared the cover art.  Last year he read from Apollo’s Outcasts which was a fun YA read and I just adore his Coyote series.  The fun bit of trivia is that V-S Day is a throw back to his first short so technically his new novel was 26 years in the making.

 

 

2013-07-14_10.06.50Workshopping as a Lifestyle

Jedediah Berry, Richard Butner, Craig Shaw Gardner, Theodora Goss (leader), Nicholas Kaufmann, Gregory A. Wilson

I was looking very-much forward to this panel.  One of the things I’ve been wrestling with is continuing my writing education—do I want to go after an MFA or do I want to participant in intense workshops (assuming I’d be accepted to either)?  I was hoping to gather a bit more data and the panel did not disappoint.

Since there were two professors on the panel (Jedediah Berry at UMass Amherst and Gregory Wilson at St. John’s in New York) I wanted a balanced view of the intense atmosphere of the workshop verses the classroom. What I learned was a lot more complex and appealing.

Yes, workshops can be intense—I spoke to a couple of fantasy authors who have just finished the Odyssey Workshop (Class of 2013) about their experience—but it doesn’t have to be. Although Theodora thought she might be the only dissenting vote on the pitfalls of the workshop, a balance was struck between the cautionary tales and the glowing reviews.  I took additional notes on a range of resources and will be spending some serious research time in the coming months on next steps.

 

2013-07-14_13.04.53Crowdfunding: The Glory and the Peril

Mike Allen (leader), Kevin E.F. Clark, Matthew Kressel, Ken Schneyer, Cecilia Tan.

 

I sat with Gregory Wilson and Anita Allen (Mike’s wife) and this talk which centered on sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo (which we used successfully to raise funds for author Max Cynn’s son under the ‘IndiesUnite4Joshua’ banner) and how they can be used effectively to raise funds for individual and collaborative projects.  On a side note, Dr. Wilson’s own Kickstrter campaign, Time Traveled Tales: A Speculative Fiction Anthology finished just a short time ago and they raised nearly four times their goal of $7,500.  I may, or may not have rushed to donate as I’d meant to back in June…

But Mike and team supplied some common sense, but critical tips –something to consider for the next Orange Karen Anthology perhaps…

2013-07-14_14.03.52Stranger Danger: Secrets and Discoveries in Urban Settings

Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Maria Dahvana Headley, Stacy Hill, Patricia A. McKillip, JoSelle Vanderhooft

 

Every ReaderCON, there is always some discussion about Urban settings verses the old time forest or natural settings of fairy tales of the past.  This year’s panel spent more time on the ‘under cities’ such as that of Seattle, Chicago and Paris.  And enjoyable panel, if for no other reason then the number of stories mentioned that I HAVEN’T read.  Yet.

 

 

7:30 AM 07/14/13 (Sunday Morning)

Need to jump in the shower shortly and drive up to Burlington for a 9:30 Reading, but I wanted to do a quick post from last night.

2013-07-13_19.02.25Worldbuilding by Worldseeing.

John Crowley (leader), Sarah Smith, Romie Stott, Harold Vedeler.

Kipling’s Kim, Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, Dickens’s “sketches”… who is writing about the present day this way, and what can worldbuilders learn from these Victorian-era worldseers?  

Many of the core fantasy themes in the panels I attended on Saturday revolved around or had discussion points or realism in fantasy.  As an Urban Fantasy writer, I’ve set my stories in Boston.  I have a scene in the upcoming The Young Practitioner that takes place on a Green line train–and instead of looking at a map for the setting, I road the train a couple of times to get the feel of the scenery outside, the smells on the train (important point–don’t eat before hand) and observation of some of the regular writers.

The point here is that your fantasy can be more effective if there are realistic components that have been truely vetted and observed by the writer.

I’m not saying you should become a murderer to experience that for your book–nor can I help you if your story takes place on a gas giant planet–but do your research. Give the reader just that much more.  Otherwise, you’ll get letters.

2013-07-13_20.06.21A Most Readerconnish Miscellany.

I’m going to be honest about this one and remember–this is MY perception.  I completely encourage new things to keep the ‘con fresh.  I also support (both in concept and moniterily) the two charities this program was meant to support: Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Operation Hammond.  A LOT of people worked hard on the show, and there was love definately in the air for the the performers and donators alike.  But it didn’t work for me. This program took the place of the old mainstay and program favorite, the “Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition.”

Bring back Kirk Poland.  There are other ways to raise money for worth causes–with the ReaderCON firepower of talent, build an anthology that is to be released each year at the con with proceeds split between the two organizations (you could do readings and tie-in panels).

Please.  Fix this for RC25.

Meanwhile, the rest of the evening was spent with fellow writers in the make-shift bar.  

2013-07-13_20.46.51

 

 

 

4:49 PM 07/13/13 (Saturday pre-dinnertime)

2013-07-13_12.54.42The Bookstore

One of my very favorite spots to hide and indulge myself is the bookstore in Salon E at the convention.  It is a place of rare finds, populist gems and serious credit card accidents. Looks like I’ll be bringing my lunch to work.  For a decade.

 

2013-07-13_13.01.40Architects and Gardeners

Dale Bailey, Peter Dubé, Stacy Hill, James Patrick Kelly (moderator), Cecilia Tan, Gregory A. Wilson.

“Girls.  Boys.  What does it matter as long as you’re fabulous?”

The Architect vs. Gardener (or plotter vs. pantser in the Indie world) question is explored in detail with each panelist discussing their approach to the craft.  Very quickly, each of the pros dismissed a strict adherence to ANY approach as the method of writing is as individual as the writers themselves.

Instead, a stance was taken on how these different styles—or really tool sets—can assist in the over all development of stories on a project-by-project basis.

2013-07-13_14.11.58The Relationship of Reality and Fantasy

Scott H. Andrews, Andrea Hairston (leader), Anil Menon, James Morrow, Julia Starkey.

 

In a 2012 essay titled “PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical,” Foz Meadows addressed the notion that “deliberately including POC, female and/or LGBTQ characters can only ever be a political action.” She demonstrated that history, the historical record, and commonly accepted historical narratives are in fact three distinct things, and pointed out the irony of fans who accept magic and dragons in their fantasy but balk at the idea of female pirates or a black Lancelot because they’re “unrealistic.”

An intellectual panel on realism and perception and the impact of the dominant form (realism) on the 21st century stories.  For example, a story with dragons (which are not real, yet have been written about quite a bit) would be accepted far quicker than a story about, say, a black Lancelot.

Now a bit of fun–off to a Koream Barby with some friends…

 

11:35 AM 07/12/13 (Saturday Late Morning)

COFFEE

“Yeah.  I’m Good.”

2013-07-13_09.03.32The Work/Work Balance

Dale Bailey, Kevin E.F. Clark (leader), Resa Nelson, Tom Purdom, Bud Sparhawk.

One of my most serious struggles as a “part time” author is the balancing act between work, family, writing and life in general.  I was looking forward to this discussion since I first read the program schedule.

SPEAKING of life balance…

2013-07-13_06.54.20Those of you who follow me on twitter and/or Facebook may have noticed some posts a few days ago regarding a series of power failures at the house.  The result was that the main circuit board on our ‘fridge blew out—the replacement of which arrived last night.  So in order to make the 9:00 panel—I was up at 5:30 to feed the animals and to get the new circuit board installed.  All were successful and my poor wife is now transferring food and frozen good back to the main refrigerator.

This anecdote dove tails nicely into the gist of the first panel—namely life choices and discipline are the keys to balance.  Fellow artists spoke about the time to write—and I think, in a nutshell, my fundamental problem is I’ve set unachievable goals–for myself and my writing–in conjunction with life’s necessities.  I’ll need to revisit this with my very supportive wife and work out something that is doable.

2013-07-13_10.03.35Making Love Less Strange: Romance for SF/F Writers

E.C. Ambrose, Paula Guran, Victoria Janssen (leader), Natalie Luhrs, JoSelle Vanderhooft

I’m not the best romantic scene writer.

I have many friends who write romance or erotica.  And I certainly know the difference between good and bad scenes and stories in these genres.  But I need to get better at relationship, romance and yes, sex scenes.

This panel filled with romance authors discussed methods and structure for romantic scenes within Science Fiction and Fantasy stories.  The complexities of relationships and depth of character are critical to the success of any relationship scenes; whether sexual or not.  And Fantasy–especially with the ‘world building’ that’s needed often are a great setup mechanism for a romantic scene or scenes.

2013-07-13_11.01.27A Visit from the “Suck Fairy”: Enjoying Problematic Works

John Benson, Cathy Butler, Barbara Krasnoff (leader), Yoon Ha Lee, Adrienne Martini, Kate Nepveu.

A discussion of works where things such as bigotry, sexism or homophobia—problematic areas—are prevalent.  Taken from a historical or a cultural perspective, perhaps these things can be overcome in favorite works.  Examples from Little House on the Prairie to the works of Orson Scott Card and H. P. Lovecraft are dissected and examined.

 

 

 

2013-07-12_19.32.295:05 AM 07/13/13 (Saturday Morning)

Got in well after midnight last night.  Why up at this ungodly hour is a hairraising story involving pussy…three in fact, all wanting to be fed.  And I figured the missus could us a bit of a lie-in this morning.

Besides, I get to take a bit of time over my thoughts and comments regarding the last few hours of Friday.

Glenn Skinner and I ate at the bar (show of hands — anyone shocked at this staement?) and we shuffld off to our next panel

2013-07-12_18.45.35Formatting for E-books – LJ Cohen

I have to be honest – Lisa did a great job walking through the tools she uses and her workflow process for developing properly formated eBooks for any platform.  And she passed around a series of devices that had a particularly tricky sort of style and it was perfect.

However, as a Mac and Scrivener user, the tech she used revolved around Open Office, Calibre and other tools which work extremely well for her based on the output Glenn and I saw.  It just didn’t address the tool set I’ve already invested in.

2013-07-12_20.08.11The Magic of the ‘Hood

Mikki Kendall (leader), Daniel José Older, John Shirley

Mikki Kendall is an absolute treasure and I thought this panel was amazing.  I attended with Melissa King and the conversation focused on the community, family and customs that make the ‘hood (the projects) a unigue and quite frankly a magical place.  Mikki is from Chicago (do NOT ask her about Jim Butcher’s representation of the ‘hood in his The Dresden files) and was raised by her grandmother and told stories not only of her upbringing that exampled the closeness of the community, but the traditions and beliefs she was brought up with.

Fascinating study and I could have listened to this panel for a few more hours.

 


Kaffeeklatsch – Shira Lipkin.

This late klatsch started off with a bang as a bottle of rum may–or may not–have been brought in for the attendees to sip while discussing the writings of this flsh fiction and poetry talent.  Shira is also local in Massachusetts and is a friend.  In typical fashion, the group spoke about everything from Shira’s novel (work in progress) that she read from earlier in the day, through to her flash fiction, a crazy superhero anthology in progress (she asked me to do a Bat Mite story–wheels turning) and just life in general.  The was laughter and drinking and it felt more like a group of friends sitting in the living room catching up.  And it was glorious. 🙂

2013-07-12_18.58.22

Meet the PRO(se) Party.

The ballroom was the setting for the met the prose party.  I find myself covered in stickers–quotes from author’s stories.  The goal is to collect as many as you can while drinking and meeting people. It’s a party, folks…and it was a good one.

2013-07-12_22.20.02 2013-07-12_22.15.17 2013-07-12_22.33.48 2013-07-12_22.27.05

 

 

 

 

 

5:55 PM 07/12/13 (Friday Evening)

Starving, but have a couple of things I wanted to participate in first—

2013-07-12_13.04.20The Silent History: A Killer Serial

Samantha Henderson, Maureen F. McHugh, David G. Shaw (leader), Graham Sleight.

 

The Silent History is a unique story experience utilizing media (iOS devices), serialization and a ‘geocache-like’ ability to enhance the story via fan-fic and a GPS.

It’s absolutely a brilliant use of new media and you can learn more and enjoy the fully completed story by heading over to http://www.thesilenthistory.com.  Discussion centered on the quality of the arc and the technology involved.  Fantastic insight from the team who were virtually spoiler-free in their review, interpretation and discussion points.

I’ve got a copy on my iPad now.  I seriously suggest you pic this up as it is one of the first use of the eCodex I’ve seen that I liked—the format, movie and intactive fan-fic aspect just works.

2013-07-12_14.01.45Reading: Peter Dubé

What, I’m going to miss one of my favorite people at the con reading a different scene from The City’s Gates?  I think not!

2013-07-12_15.06.49Reading: Shira Lipkin.

Shira read from her upcoming novel—a brilliant scene between her main character and a dancer she had been observing at the club.  The use of 2nd person—while difficult—is used to perfection here.  And the cadence of the passage is written so you feel the nightclub ‘thump thump thump’ backbeat as the scene unfolded.

 

2013-07-12_16.01.04Kaffeeklatsch with James Morrow.

Another favorite author and a true intellectual and satirest—the hour long session with Jim had me crying with laughter.  We spoke about his ever-present work on Darwin and his upcoming The Buck Rogers Stuff.  I just adore the man, his writing and his outlook on life.

 

Break time.  Food, a drink then back to it.

 

 

 

 

2013-07-12_10.43.5512:50 PM 07/12/13 (Friday Afternoon)
 

Registration was a raucous and hilarious affair, despite the fact that I arrived an hour early.  The good news is I got through it and had time to grab a coffee and grab a seat with Glenn Skinner and Peter Dubé for the first panel of the day—and it was a good one.
 

21st-Century Fey

Steve Berman, Richard Bowes, Elizabeth Hand (moderator), Patricia A. McKillip, Kathryn Morrow.
 


2013-07-12_11.06.17I always love listening to Kathy Morrow at ReaderCON—she adds a passion and scholarly take into any discussion.  And Liz Hand lead a marvelous panel discussing fairies, the fey and the various forms they take.  The panel bantered about many different takes on the fey—from the Tolkien-esque high-browed elves to the cruel and nasty fairies of Holly Black. 

 

A lively debate on the origin of the fairy courts and the creatures that inhabit them.  I know enough now to realize that I need to research some of the scholarly works on the unseelie.
 

Of Gods and Goddesses

Richard Bowes, Lila Garrott (leader), Greer Gilman, Sandra Kasturi, Patricia A. McKillip, Sonya Taaffe.
 

2013-07-12_12.04.58Gods.  

In fantasy—especially Urban Fantasy, the genre I write in—are more and more prevalent.  Gods behaving badly is a constant through out history and the discussions focused on (initially) Greek mythos and focused more on modern works such as Gaiman’s American Gods or Discord’s Apple.  The panelists, again, were brilliant—especially Sonya, Sandra and Lila.
 

This linked nicely with the first panel as the debate continued with a discussion of the potential overuse of both fairies and Gods in modern fantasy writing—are they interchangeable or is it a result of one trope becoming overused, so the ‘next set’ of ‘more powerful than mortal’ creatures are used.
An interesting theory was proposed that the proliferation of stories with the Gods as characters are a direct result of the Gods themselves make sure us mortals remember them.
 

A personal note: There was a woman in front of me knitting and I was reminded that my dear friend Leah Petersen isn’t here this year…

 

5:24 AM 07/12/13 (Friday Morning)

The cats have woken both the missus and I up.  She’s getting ready for work and I’m updating the blog.

Today, is of course, the first FULL day of ReaderCON.  Last night was the primer—two hours of free-to-the-public programming.  Multiple readings and panels offered up to wet the appetite and to get people in “Con mode”

khaaaanAs opposed to “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” Mode. Um.  Ahem.

Forgive me, it was a late night.

Thursday evening started off scary.  The old Irish pub—a mainstay of ReaderCON’s over the years—was closed for renovations.  I could almost hear the ominous organ chords of an old timey horror flick playing in the background.

Where once had been a lobby along with the pub, now a bare white wall with a “pardon our appearance whilst we screw with ReaderCON” banner stood.
I exaggerated that last bit.  Nobody uses “whilst” anymore.

           Pictured: Angels Weeping

2013-07-11_19.41.56

Anyway, I went to the restaurant, which thankfully has its own little bar, and had a quick drink before attending my first panel.

Have You Seen Me?: The Absent Children of Urban Fantasy
Toni L. P. Kelner, Shira Lipkin (leader), Natalie Luhrs, Veronica Schanoes, Romie Stott.

Sitting in the first row, I could hear and see the excitement for this panel as I arrived a few minutes early.  I especially wanted to listen to this discussion as children characters were in The Prodigal’s Foole and they play a role in the next book along with the future of the series.  I don’t remember if it was Shira who mentioned something about rum first, with Veronica adding “with something sweet,”  but I found myself on an entertaining mission to find both rum and coke for a panel of five beautiful and intelligent writers.

I missed the first half of the panel, which was sad—but scored a bottle of Bacardi and a two-liter Coke and placed it on the table for the team.
 

Without missing a beat, the ladies poured while continuing the discussion.

2013-07-11_19.58.11The Q&A commentary was already in full swing, and it ranged from Grimm’s original tales through to a discussion of the new child actor rules impacting how we perceive children on TV. My personal take is that children are used—in many instances as a plot device to ratchet up the tension, as a red herring or as a ‘hand-off’ for the next generation.  I have a different set of plans for the “Hell-spawn” children rescued in my first book.

A very relaxed and professional panel that was fun to participate in.

 

 

 

2013-07-11_21.05.28The Nuances of POV
John Chu, Eileen Gunn, James Patrick Kelly (moderator), Darrell Schweitzer, John Stevens.

I have a conundrum.

I want to write a book from completely different points of view.  The Arcana Chronicles is a first person series told from the Symon Bryson’s perspective.  However, I want to use a plot device where we hear Symon’s thoughts, but also hear the titular character’s thoughts from my protagonist’s perspective.  Can I do a first and third POV novel?  I settled in next to friend and fellow fantasy author Glenn Skinner to find out.

And I wasn’t the only one interested in this panel.  Yves Meynard was there (we exchanged greetings—he is one of the nicest people I’ve met at the con) as were dozens of other participants.

Including Scott Edelman, who missed his first ReaderCON ever last year.  But I’ll get back to Scott in a moment.
This panel was suggested by John Stevens and PHD candidate Meriah Crawford (who was unable to attend).  Meriah is actually finishing her thesis on Point of View, so I was expecting strong opinions.

Back to Scott.  Jim Kelly (who was in great form) used Scott as the example in discussions mostly around first and third person.  The panel agreed rather quickly that, while in use, second person is a rare device used in writing today.

Although the premise of this panel states “When writing genre fiction, many authors begin with the approach that first-person point of view (POV) is useful for horror and heroic quests to bring immediacy to the story; third-person is necessary for epic world-building; and second-person is too confusing and best avoided.”  Although the last point was basically agreed to—they rejected the statements about first and third person except to say that those perspectives are expected in that genre.
 

I was at first heartened to hear that a couple of the panel members started in one point of view then switched mid-manuscript.  But that was a change that impacted the entire story.  Although Tolkien used something called ‘third person omniscient’ allowing him to (rather successfully) head-hop, no one really recommended changing POV.  The advice I received was basically “try it and see.”  Perhaps this explains my struggles with The Young Practitioner.

2013-07-11_21.05.41

Two panels behind me, Glenn and I shared a drink in the bar and discussed both our works in progress.  Glenn’s WIP (Book 5 of The Keya Quests) is building and realizing what’s been built before. It’s exciting stuff as he was kind enough to send me the first four in the series which I devoured (Yes, I know Glenn.  I owe you a couple of reviews).

On the way out, we ran into Shira Lipkin who was in process of sharing the rum I’d purchased for her with a group of friends.  I ended up staying an hour or so longer than expected—enjoying conversations about family, children, life and of course laughing until tears streamed from my eyes.

And now I need to find the anthology I have that has one of Shira’s short stories…I know it’s around here somewhere.

Seems like the lack of the old pub won’t impact the fun after all.

Peace

Planning for ReaderCON

rbwood2013Picking out the panels and things I want to do at ReaderCON is a bit like a good war plan.  As soon as the action starts, the plan is out the window.

The Thursday evening program is free to the public and usually I take the opportunity to listen to a few readings.  But this year there are two panels that have caught my eye.

Namely The Absent Children of Urban Fantasy (led by the rather talented Shira Lipkin—someone, after reading a few of her short stories, I’m looking forward to meeting), and The Nuances of POV (led by James Patrick Kelly whose Strangeways mag is worth a read).

But, after a long day consulting, I’ll probably show up at the pub (assuming it’s open as construction has been threatened) run into a friend or two and end up ‘pinting the night away.’

Pinting.  I just made that up. It’s royalty free, ladies and germs.

I love this conference—and I love how this weekend inspires writing for months to follow.  That’s the plan anyway.

More to follow.

Peace, love and hair grease.

ReaderCON 24 – It’s Coming…

ReaderconlogoIn less than a week’s time I’ll be attending the only writerly conference I’ll be able to get to this year.

I’m talking about, of course, ReaderCON.  ReaderCON 24, to be exact.

I’ll be writing my daily semi-streaming blog during the con (for past con coverage see here and here).

2012-07-15_11.41.08I love getting together with writers—we are a weird bunch and it is the only time out of the year where I can embrace what I want to be—a full time storyteller.

In past ReaderCONs, many friends have joined me.  Leah Petersen has actually stayed with my wife and I a couple of times in order to attend.  And two years ago a group of the old ‘Pubwrite’ team descended on the con—inclusive of the lovely Karen Delabar to whom the ‘Orange Karen’ anthology I was a part of was dedicated to.

Old friends will be back—Peter Dubé, Liz Gorinsky, Yves Meynard, Glenn Skinner, James Morrow, and many others will be on hand and I can already taste the bourbon and hear the laughter.

It is, for the most part, a wonderful experience.  Last year’s issues have been corrected—and addressed.  At least to the point that I look forward to this and future ReaderCONs.

meandjimThat aside—the excitement builds.  I’ve checked off the panels and parties I want to attend and maybe—just maybe—I’ll find my writer mojo again and get my next book out this year.

After the blog, there is the blurb from The Young Practitioner (Book 2 of The Arcana Chronicles) so make sure you hound me to finish…

Anyway—next weekend I get to be a writer fulltime.  I like those weekends.

Peace.

 

THE YOUNG PRACTITIONER: A NOVEL OF THE ARCANA CHRONICLES

 

Fame is a deadly mistress.

Symon Bryson has rejoined his magic practitioner friends, only to find himself in virtual lockdown after multiple assassination attempts from unknown assailants.

While members of his team are traveling the world in search of Lucifer’s whereabouts, Symon is left to deal with a mother and her young son seeking the sanctuary of the Church.  But when the boy shows signs of dangerous and formidable magic, the search for clues to the source of the child’s power will take Symon on a dark and deadly journey from the sands of World War II Libya through to the boardrooms of the 21st century.

When all that stands between Heaven and Hell is magic, more than faith will be tested.

Young_Practitioner_Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUBMISSIONS now OPEN! The Word Count Podcast Episode 32

the-lost-boys-originalOnce again the polling has surprised me!

I really think I love seeing what people want to hear our Word Count Irregulars put together.  Awkward sentence, yet SO bloody true.  And speaking of bloody, let’s anounce our prompt for the next show!

“Being dead can be quite liberating…”

Allow me to provide a little background about the show. I put together the podcast to feature writers (new and “old hands,” famous and just starting) as a way to get YOUR writing out there.  The show is simple: based on a prompt; you create an original short story and then record yourself reading it.  

That’s it. No ads, no hard sell.  Just a podcast with great stories.

Why do I do it?  It’s a hobby.  And I’ve been meeting wonderful authors through the show.  It’s all about networking and friendships.The show has been downloaded over 15000 times since it started, an average of about 500 per episode.  

Listen to past shows HERE or you can download/subscribe via iTunes.

Easy, fun and you’ll pick up a few more fans. So…you’ll be needing the guidelines then.  Right. 

THE WORD COUNT EPISODE 32

Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by FRIDAY 19 JULY, 2013 (I’m giving you all an extra week as I will be attending ReaderCON the weekend of the 13th).

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original work based on the prompt (“Being dead can be quite liberating…”). Do NOT exceed ten minutes. As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 19 July 2013. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case.I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story. 

Peace