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ReaderCON 28

This is my Readercon 28 (2017) Conference update.  The latest posts are at the top, so start at the bottom to get the full picture. 

No. I don’t know why I do it that way. 

Sunday, July 16th 11:05 PM

Final thoughts-Readercon was the first writing conference I ever attended, starting 8 years ago. I have met so many inspirational people, made so many friends. The Con is changing–and that is a good thing. There were many more younger writers in attendance this year than I remember from years past. There were a few more panels on horror this year–a testament to the resurgence of that genre.  Multiple writing groups were reciting their art (and I want to join them all), and overall there is a greater sense of inclusiveness.  It’s not perfect, but it is better.

I think the management team has done wonders with their code of conduct and safety regs. in the years since the “troubles” and I hope Readercon will continue to enforce its stated safety policies.

Above all, continuing the thought-provoking conversations and ideas brought up in literature is the fundamental joy of this conference for me. In the nearly ten years I’ve been attending, I feel personally that I’ve grown and learned…and continue to ask questions.

My late father used to say “every day you learn something is a good day.”

Before I close the post for 2017, I wanted to say a special thanks to a couple people who make Readercon amazing for me every year. My Guinness pal, Glenn Skinner, along with Melissa Burkart and Deanna Rice. The most wonderful James & Kathy Morrow, who have been mentors and an inspiration for some time, and Scott Edelman who is charming, funny and full of energy.

This year especially I loved chatting with Liz Hand, Paul Tremblay, Peter Straub, John Langan, Eric Mulder, Cam Roberson, The Boston Speculative Fiction Writers and the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers…

So many others.

I missed a few people who couldn’t make it this year–namely Peter Dube, Yves Meynard and Allen Steele specifically.

I know I’m waxing on ad infinitum, but when I finally hit “post,” it means the end of ReaderCon 28.

“All Good Things,” I guess…

Bring on Readercon 29. See you at Boskone 55 and StokerCon2018…

Peace,

RBWood

Sunday, July 16th 11:05 PM

7:35 PM Munching on the traditional post-ReaderCON Chinese takeaway, my lovely wife by my side, it’s time for the final notes for The last day of Readercon…

Grimlight: Life after Grimdark Martin Cahill (leader), John Kessel, Alena McNamara, Nnedi Okorafor, Wes RistGrimdark stories in fantasy and science fiction openly deal with themes of abuse, war, pain, and death. These themes can be used to revitalize one-dimensional genres in which heroes have unrealistically easy adventures, but over time, readers may nd that all the destruction and misery becomes debilitating or boring. Grimlight fiction, a term coined by Emily Wagner in late 2016, strikes a balance between acknowledging life’s sorrows and finding sources of optimism. Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death and Max Gladstone’s Craft sequence certainly don’t shy away from the bleakness and tragedy of life, but the characters and readers can stare into the heart of the bleakness and still come out with hope. This panel will examine stories that balance pain with cheer and perhaps take a stab at constructing a first draft of a grimlight canon.

An interesting panel discussion that–instead of drafting a definition of “Grimlight”–came up with a total of five nuanced genre’s within the Grimdark umbrella. I still feel that these genre definitions are applied “after the fact” by some marketing dude somewhere…I think writing is a product of the times. Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, for example, was a direct result of the fear felt during the “Great Recession” of the last decade.

Shirley Jackson Awards

(From the SJA Website): In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

NOVEL

Winner: The Girls, Emma Cline (Random House)

Finalists

  • Foxlowe, Eleanor Wasserberg (Fourth Estate-UK/Penguin Books-US)
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Iain Reid (Gallery/Scout)
  • Lily, Michael Thomas Ford (Lethe)
  • Mongrels, Stephen Graham Jones (William Morrow)
  • The Wonder, Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown)

NOVELLA

Winner: The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com)

Finalists:

  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com)
  • Maggots,” Nina Allan (Five Stories High)
  • Muscadines, S.P. Miskowski (Dunhams Manor)
  • The Sadist’s Bible, Nicole Cushing (01 Publishing)
  • The Warren, Brian Evenson (Tor.com)

NOVELETTE

Winner: “Waxy,” Camilla Grudova (Granta))

Finalists:

  • “Andy Kaufman Creeping Through the Trees,” Laird Barron (Autumn Cthulhu)
  • “Angel, Monster, Man,” Sam J. Miller (Nightmare Magazine)
  • “Breaking Water,” Indrapramit Das (Tor.com)
  • “The Night Cyclist,” Stephen Graham Jones (Tor.com)
  • “Presence,” Helen Oyeyemi (What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours)

SHORT FICTION

Winner: “Postcards from Natalie,” Carrie Laben (The Dark)

Finalists:

  • “Animal Parts,” Irenosen Okojie (Speak, Gigantular)
  • “The Apartments,” Karen Heuler (Other Places)
  • “Postcards from Natalie,” Carrie Laben (The Dark)
  • “Red,” Katie Knoll (Masters Review)
  • “Things With Beards,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION

Winner: A Natural History of Hell, Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer Press)

Finalists:

  • Almost Insentient, Almost Divine, D.P. Watt (Undertow)
  • Furnace, Livia Llewellyn (Word Horde)
  • Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt (Shock Totem)
  • We Show What We Have Learned, Clare Beams (Lookout)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY

Winner: The Starlit Wood, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Saga Press)

Finalists:

  • Autumn Cthulhu, edited by Mike Davis (Lovecraft eZine Press)
  • The Madness of Dr. Caligari, edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (Fedogan and Bremer )
  • Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories, edited by Kelsi Morris and Kaitlin Tremblay (Exile Editions)
  • An Unreliable Guide to London, edited by Kit Caless and Gary Budden (Influx Press)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS AWARD to Ruth Franklin in recognition of the biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life.

Congrats to all the winners & finalists!

Sororal Friendships in Fantasy Greer Gilman, Naomi Novik, Julia Rios (leader), Tui Sutherland, Fran Wilde.

One of the central relationships in Guest of Honor Naomi Novik’s novel Uprooted is between the heroine and her best friend. Agnieszka and Kasia were raised together and have a deep bond that is explored throughout the novel. This depiction of female friendship is unusual in fantasy fiction and gave rise to much discussion (and no small amount of fan c from fans who either wanted to see more of the friendship or felt it ought to have been a romance). This panel explores sororal friendships in fantasy and the ways they can alter or comment on familiar tropes such as the maiden in the tower and the questing band of brothers.

Kaffeeklatsch – James Morrow & Steve Berman

It’s always good to see Jim and to hear about his latest and greatest works in progress (he had read from Lazarus is Waiting just the other day). However, the ‘klatsch became a serious discussion of gender tropes and marginalized people (with via skin color, sexual orientation, what have you)in the industry. This stemmed from the announcement of the “13th Doctor” to be played by Jodie Whittaker and the subtle inference of lesbianism in the recent “Wonder Woman” movie. Passions blossomed in this discussion. As a Heterosexual white middle-aged male, it was inferred that I could not understand nor celebrate the diversity in both the BBC choice of Doctor nor the lake of a sexualized Wonder Woman. However, as neurologically challenged, handicapped person, I certainly have experienced significant bias and marginalization first hand in the past two years. No, I’ll never know what it’s like to be a gay man nor a woman in a society that seems to negate both, but as a writer, I feel I have to at least try and understand these feelings and my friend’s perspectives.

Needless to say…it was a lively discussion. And I never got my Jim Morrow books signed.

Saturday, July 15th 10:40 PM (Saturday Part 2)

10:40ish PM The evening is done as is day 3. I can not believe the con is almost over at this point. A couple panels and a marvelous group reading to report on, so let’s get to it!

A Technology Not Traveled Inanna Arthen, John Chu, Chris Gerwel, Jeff Hecht, Sioban Krywicki

Alternate history and historical fantasy often engage with technologies that once seemed like the way of the future: airships, clockwork, mechanical computing. There’s a certain dreamy wonder around many modern depictions of early industrial inventions. Why are we fascinated with what became technological dead ends? There are many magical fantasies where wizards can’t use computers; is this a different expression of the same anxieties about modern gadgets? Is there really a possible timeline where clockwork became ascendant while electronics never took off, or is it all just an excuse for some gorgeous cosplay?

Deep Time Glenn Grant, Jeff Hecht, Sioban Krzywicki (leader), Tom Purdom, Vandana Singh, Ian Strock

With so many planets discovered in “habitable zones” around other stars, why haven’t we encountered evidence of other civilizations? Could it just be a matter of scale? Civilization is short, while space and time are vast, so perhaps we simply haven’t overlapped with alien civilizations yet? The universe is vastly old and we’ve only been able to detect some possible forms of transmissions from other civilizations for less than a century? Alistair Reynolds has explored the idea that the slowing of time at relativistic speeds could enable civilizations to meet one another. Panelists will discuss this enticing possibility and what we might find in the far, far future.

REALLY interesting discussions around time travel, relativistic speeds, impact on societies and the definition of ‘civilization.’

Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers Group Reading

Marcy Arlin, Adanze Asante, S.A. Chakraborty, Teri Clarke, Randee Dawn, Elliotte Harold, Puloma Mukherjee, Bradley Robert Parks, J.M. Plumbley, Cameron Roberson, Sam Schreiber, Essowe Tchalim, Marcus Tsong

 

 

 

 

12 snippets in an hour. An incredibly wide range of story beginnings, and I wanted to hear how they all ended! A very active group that makes me miss New York. They are also the producers of the most marvelous Kaleidocast which they are running a kickstarter for their second season

 

Saturday, July 15th 1:55 PM (Saturday Part 1)

1:55 PM Going to try and breakup the notes for day into a couple of parts so it makes it a bit easier and (quite frankly) I’ve been invited to have a few adult bevies with a couple horror writers whose work I enjoy.  It’s always nice to find folks with the same irreverent sense of humor you employ on a daily basis!

But that’s pretty much true of all the people I hang out with at ReaderCON…and my wife’s wit and jokes fit right into that mold as well.

But I digress.  Here’s a bit about the morning:

The Life-Changing Magic of Outlining Your Novel. Daryl Gregory, Elaine Isaak (leader), Yoon Lee, Mark Oshiro, Terence Taylor

Developing a novel outline can be nearly as complex a process as writing the novel itself. Our panel of plotters will discuss the many techniques they’ve used for developing the skeletons of books, and consider which outline creation skills and tools lend themselves to particular genres and styles of writing. Hybrid methods of outlining and making decisions on the y will also be discussed.

This was an amazingly fun panel, for a) a dry subject and b) 10:00 AM. And it wasn’t all “Scrivener is great go buy it!”

One of my difficulties post-strokes has been the organization and mapping out of complex plotting. Short stories up to 6 or 7k words is one thing. Whereas I used to be able to keep all the elements of a 100k novel in my head, my brain just doesn’t work that way anymore. So I’m finding whatever workarounds I can to makeup for the damaged noggin.

I wasn’t disappointed. Yes, Scrivener was discussed. So was the use of MS Word (with macros) and MS Excel. But Mind-mapping, the “Snowflake method” and even the old fashioned use of index cards to create pert diagrams were discussed. I have a lot of notes and things to try once I’m back home.

Reading – Scott Edelman

I’ve enjoyed Scott’s work since I was old enough to really pay attention to the writing credits on Marvel comics. His writing is descriptive and fun, and his storylines are very interesting and many times surprising. He read (and then signed a copy for me) from his latest zombie collection of novellas called Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them. He read from the first story in the collection (Only Humans can Lie) which is the story of Tim, owner of a vegan restaurant in a small southern town during the beginnings of the zombie apocalypse.

It’s always good to see Scott, and I know he recorded a few episodes of his podcast Eating the Fantastic (no, it’s not a zombie podcast) while at ReaderCON. He interviews various writer’s during lunch, breakfast or other meal. I know he was chatting with James Patrick Kelly…and another show with George RR Martin is around the corner as well.

Kaffeeklatsch – Paul Tremblay

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the closet I’ve ever been to a hangout-klatsch. Paul was relaxed, despite and evening of hoops and chats that ended around 3:00 AM. We discussed his upcoming book The Four which he read from yesterday, some of the thoughts and insight from bothHead Full of Ghosts and Devil’s Rock and Vampires with fangs coming out of their eyes (in fairness to Paul, that last bit was John Langan’s fault).

 


 

Friday, July 14th 11:50 PM

Wow. It’ll be past midnight when I finally get to bed. Eighteen hours of personal ReaderCON goodness to report on so let’s get to it:

6:00 AM Dear Alarm Clock: Suck it.

5:50 AM The Caffeine is racing through the system. Showered. checked into social media and will write for a couple hours. Finalizing my selectionsfor the panels, readings and kaffeeklatsches  I will be attending. Thinking about a few people I won’t see at the con this year for various reasons–miss them (Peter Due, Yves Maynard, Allen Steele, Mike & Anita Allen, Shira & Adam Lipkin).

But there will be others to see…and new friendships to make. The Thursday night program is the free portion of the convention. Friday morning is when things really get moving in earnest.

One more sip of coffee, double-check to see if I’m wearing pants…ready!

1:55 PM Holy time warp Batman! That went fast. A bit of what the morning events were:

The Politics of Villains. Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Darcie Little Badger, Hillary Monahan, Naomi Novik, Cameron Roberson, Gregory Wilson.The villains of speculative fiction (and fiction in general) often reflect the biases of their times. Race, sexuality, disability, and gender have all been and continue to be used as shorthand for evil; some supposedly villainous physical traits, such as hooked noses on witches, have been around for so long that many modern authors don’t even realize they’re rooted in bigoted stereotypes. In response, some authors have deliberately created villains who stand in for oppressive power structures. This panel will dig into the concept of a villain, a person who embodies evil or wrongness, and discuss whether it can ever really be separated from the writer’s culture-infuenced understanding of which categories of people are most likely to be villainous.

As you can imagine, the talk of this panel (and of the con so far) surrounded our current political environment. Really interesting discussions of “Rich White Guys” (who are the current favorite villains) verses the signifiers and stereotypes of the past.

Reading – Paul Tremblay

I like Paul very much. He’s a native to the Boston area, an educator and a connoisseur of fine beers. And he writes scary shit. What more could one ask? He read from his upcoming book The Four. I finished Devil’s Rock about a month ago…He has a way to build a “subsonic” type of tension into his books that grows into terror slowly…inevitably. From the snippet we heard, sounds like The Four will be a wonderful read!

Reading – Gregory Wilson

Was really excited to see Greg. He has the second book of his Gray Assassin Trilogy coming out (The first of which was Grayshade), and I was hoping he would read a bit of book two. I was delighted when he read from the first bit of Renegade! He and I chatted a bit about academia and he wished me well with the MFA starting in the fall. He–like many others I met through out the day–had asked hoe my health was doing. It’s always amazing to me how writers of any level and notoriety seem to be genuinely good people. Greg also has a podcast called Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans, which I highly recommend you check out.

Our DystopiaSusan Bigelow (leader), Cameron Roberson, Tui Sutherland, Gordan Van Gelder, Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Since the election, many on the left have been calling attention to George Orwell’s 1984 as a missed warning. Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor said in a radio interview that she believes Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower is a more appropriate dystopia for our current climate. Orwell’s Animal Farm, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and other books have also warned of surreal authoritarianism. Do they map to our current world or are we projecting? What other books have warnings for us that we might heed?

I’ll be that many of you can guess the main topic here…but I wanted to attend specifically because I’m taking a course this fall in Dystopian literature and i wanted to hear the recommended works that the panelists would have. I wasn’t disappointed as I’m now armed with a few more gems to add to my studies beyond what’s mentioned in the course description. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Uglies by Scott Westerfield and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We were discussed as well.

7:05 PM Writing this at the start of my 7:00 panel…so I’ll be quick.  A Kaffeeklatsche, more readings and a meeting with a few of the Boston Speculative fiction writers is next…

Kaffeeklatsch – Elizabeth Hand

It’s no secret that adore the writings and the humor of Elizabeth Hand. Liz is one of the reasons I chose to go for my MFA, as she works with the MFA program for  Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. We and a few others sat down for a chat and discussed, among other popular concerns, the environmental impacts and her with with the US Government on the story and planing for megafires of the future. Google it. It’s terrifying.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this would lead to the piece Liz would use for her reading later. We discussed the “hinted at supernatural” in her Case Neary series and upcoming works.

Reading – James Morrow

Like Liz, Jim has been a major influence for me over the years. He agreed to be one of my references for my MFA application (something I found out just this weekend from his wife Kathy that he almost never does) and has kicked me in the backside when I needed it. He is one of my favorite literary writers and Shambling Towards Hiroshima is still one of my books I love to reread every few years. I thought he might read from The Asylum of Dr. Caligari this year as it was just released, but I was in for a different treat when he pulled a few pages from his upcoming Timetraveling story Lazurus is Waiting. Filled with his normal wit and satire, for 30 minutes Jim delivered his patently dry, sophisticated wit to the audience.

One note…I went up and spoke to him afterwards, thanking him again for his reference, when he asked me to sign a copy of Offbeat: Nine Spins on Song. He new it was the first story I had published after my strokes.

Having one of your heroes ask you for an autograph is kind of amazing…and incredibly humbling.

Reading – Elizabeth Hand

Liz read to us a captivating short story called “Fire,” from a recent collection of short stories and essays of the same name. Based on Liz’s real-life experience as a participant in a governmental climate change think tank, it follows a ragtag cadre of scientists and artists racing to save both civilization and themselves from fast-moving global fires.

Reading – Boston Speculative Fiction Writing Group Andrea Corbin, Gillian Daniels, Eric Mulder, Emily Strong, Rachel Zakuta

Five members of this local writing group read stories in progress (or about to be published). An eclectic range of tales entertained the audience–from a necromancer trying to us her magic to get the NYC subway system up and running in a post Cthulhu world, to an alien world birthday trip and a purple “muppet-like” alien. Good, crazy group and I was delighted to speak with a few of them, including the president of BSFWG Lyndsay Ely. The seem funny, smart and very nice and I might have the opportunity to join this group in the future, so stay tuned.

Also, they provided snacks.

The Commonalities of Magic and Science. Erik Amundsen, David Bowles, Rosemary Kirstein, Naomi Novik (leader), Nnedi Okorafor

Specialized and secret fields of knowledge create barriers to understanding and can become mechanisms of cultural control. They can also be foundations for resistance. They can support or destroy communities and instill gratitude or resentment. All these things could be said of both magic and science, and the wielders thereof. The tradition of pitting magic and science against each other goes back to Tolkien’s anxieties about industrialization, but today’s speculative works have moved beyond it to recognize that the two can coexist and are often used similarly as metaphors. We’ll examine Guest of Honor Naomi Novik’s mix of historical technology and dragons, Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor’s mix of futuristic technology and sorcery, and other successful amalgamations and integrations.

It was wonderful to finally have the opportunity to see and hear this year’s GoH Need Okorafor speak! I lively discussion of fantastical magic and sciences and how they could be used in various societal situations for good or ill.

11:55 PM That’s it..I’m done for the day. Haven’t checked this portion of the post for typos etc., but maybe tomorrow.  It’s been amazing so far…tomorrow should be even better!

 

 


Thursday, July 13th 10:30 PM

This is the second year I’m actually staying at the conference. I spent two days packing and unpack then repacking. See, this year I brought some books I want to get signed.

Along with a dozen copies of Off Beat: Nine Spins on Song to dole out. If you want one, give a shout out in the comments or find me during the Con.

The ex-Marine Uber driver with the semi-automatic strapped to his waist very kindly helped me load and unload his Infinity. And he didn’t shoot me, so the day started pretty well.

Pictured: My Gear and Books. Not Pictured: “Jorge” and his Beretta.

Got settled in, had dinner with Glenn Skinner, and am typing up some notes from  the two free panels I attended this evening before bed.

No, I do not believe any of the panelists were armed.

Footsteps in the Dark: The Sensory Range of Horror. F. Brett Cox (leader), John Langan, Darcie Little Badger, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Paul Tremblay.

 

Horror is frequently thought of as a visual medium, and is often adapted for film and television. However, other senses are vitally important to the development of horror stories, and the experience of fear for the reader. Consider Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, which erased sight for the main characters, or the pounding in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Consider also the recent uptick in films with disabled characters, such as the Deaf writer in Hush and the blind antagonist in Don’t Breathe. This panel will explore these and other works of multisensory horror, and address how writers can create vivid horror experiences for readers.

This was a lively panel discussion about sensory range in horror–Josh Malerman’s Birdbox (the story of supernatural entities driving people mad and to suicide if they see them–the reader follows survivors who wear blindfolds) was discussed briefly with more emphasis on Shirley Jackson’s most marvelous The Haunting of Hill House. The point was made that only two senses can bee utilized in movies (sight and sound) while all five can be used in the written narrative. Patrick Susskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murder  and The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Up for a 2017 Shirley Jackson award for best novella) were also referenced.

Highway to the Weirder Zone. Samuel R. Delany, Max Gladstone, Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Chandler Klang Smith, Marissa Lingen.

Surrealism, magical realism, paranormal romance, and other genres of the weird have different methods for getting the reader to suspend disbelief and acclimate as the roses rain down and the protagonist turns into a cockroach. Can authors of less-weird science fiction and fantasy borrow those tricks to ease reader’s dislocation, or is dislocated exactly what a reader should be? Are there different approaches that work for a phantasmagoria of ideas or a phantasmagoria of sensory impressions? And what problems arise from applying the assumptions and techniques of one genre or subgenre to another?

This intro evening to ReaderCON was a marvelous starter and tiny taste of what is to come. Back up in the room now after saying hello to some old acquaintances, eating a meal, and enjoying time at the bar with an old friend…Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

 


 

Reflecting the week before ReaderCON 28

Next week is ReaderCON 28.

It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by.

In the picture above, there are seven badges–seven years since I started on this writing journey. First as a hobbyist, more recently taking the curveball life gave me and turning it into something new and marvelous.

My first ReaderCON (Readercon 21) is sort of my starting point for my writing exploits. I had no idea what I was doing back then. Still don’t, but I’m learning all the time.

So before the conference each year, I like to take stock of where I am as a writer, refresh the short & long term goals and reflect on the generally positive things that have happened since last year’s (and my first) ReaderCON.

First, I’ve published six short stories since last year’s conference. Ink Washed Cat as a part of the Once Upon a Cursed Time anthology, Poison Pen in The Unforgiven Anthology, The Glass Bauble in Christmas Nightmares, Thanksgiving in the Park as a part of Off Beat: Nine Spins on Song, and Fine Print–a story I wrote for Richard Thomas’ Contemporary Dark Fiction class was picked up by Sick Lit Magazine a couple months ago.

I currently have nine stories out for submission…wait. Eight. Just got a rejection from Apex. I’ll put it in the file with the other 2 dozen.

Second, I’ve been accepted by Emerson College into their MFA program for Popular Fiction…and they threw a lot of money at me to attend. The online program is for three years, but I’m going to finish it in two.

2014-07-11_10.04.52Third, while I’m only up to short stories at this point…I have ideas for full-length novels.  Continuations of my series (I plan on revisiting the first book as a task for my MFA and using that as a stepping stone to seek out the right agent), and a couple new ideas rattling around. More on those at a later date.

2012-07-15_11.41.08Fourth, I continue to meet some amazing, talented writers in the past year who are more than willing to not only read/critique my stuff, but help with general writing craft tips and shoulders to lean on occasionally. Specifically I’m talking about Richard Thomas, Becca Borawski Jenkins, S. L. Coney, Dona Fox, Matthew Munson, Emmett Spain, Maria Haskins, Eden Baylee and Bill Kirton among many, many others.

Most importantly, the limitless support of my partner and best friend, Tina Lampropoulos.

IMG_1754I think that is a lot of wonderful things to focus on, don’t you? Writing continues my rehabilitation post strokes…and I’m learning work-arounds for this cognitive functions that have been permanently lost.

It has been a hard few years–but I am blessed. Something I’ve very recently come to understand and embrace.

Which brings me full circle to ReaderCON.

meandjimI will be seeing and catching up with friends I’ve made through the years at the con. There are amazing panels that I’m planning on digging into. There is a stack of books I want to get signed.

There is fiction to read.

My normal daily updates will be posted as usually. Look for them to start next Thursday (July 13th).

Until then,

Peace, love and hair grease.

RB


Past ReaderCON Posts:

ReaderCON 27

 ReaderCON 26

ReaderCON 25

ReaderCON 24

ReaderCON 23

ReaderCON 22


 

Life Finds a Way

It has taken me nearly 18 months to make peace with the fact that my brain has permanently, and irreversibly changed.

It has also taken me 18 months to realize how truly blessed I am because of the changes.

Weird. I feel blessed because of  30 strokes.

Well, I’m still around. And I have most of my physical abilities. My cognition when it comes to things like strategy, numbers and logic has been annihilated, however. And I gave up my car and driving for the time being.

Blessed. Truly.

I can no longer do the work I’ve been doing for thirty-two years. That career has been shattered. I won’t lie to you, I was in a pretty bad funk about that fact. But life finds a way.

I started writing again in rehab back in November 2015 at the insistence of one of my therapists.  I could barely walk or speak, let alone hold a pencil.

I hated her for making me write, back then. My first journal entry was three words, scrawled almost illegibly:

“Fuck this shit.”

Now? Eighteen months later? Well, let me quote Stephen King:

 “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

And so it goes.

Last Friday, I was surprised and shocked to receive an acceptance letter to Emerson College–to their MFA program in Popular Fiction writing. They also threw a massive scholarship at me, to which I am eternally grateful.

The application was a bit of a lark–and like everything else lately, I had a load of help with the admission process. My wife, who is the most exquisite human to ever walk this earth, has been at my side–always encouraging, always helping.

I received four brilliant references from wonderful authors who I both respect and admire ( Matthew Munson and Dr. Bill Kirton from my show The Word Count Podcast, my friend, instructor and mentor, Richard Thomas, and World Fantasy and Nebula award-winning author, James Morrow). I submitted samples of my published work and an essay (the story of my writing rebirth after surviving trauma).

Four days after submitting my application, I was accepted.

This has been the culmination of recovery, acceptance, and a desire to take this “new cognitive me” out for a spin.

For all those who have helped me, I am forever in your debt. Know that I will do you proud during this next adventure.

Welcome to the class of ’19, you brain-damaged old man. You are truly blessed.

 

OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song

Inspired by favorite songs, nine fantasy and science fiction authors spin tales of adventure, intrigue, mystery, and horror.

I love release days!

And I adore the authors at Wicked Ink Books.

Last year, after WIB’s award-winning anthology TICK TOCK was released, the seven authors opened up submissions for their next anthology. I submitted my story, Thanksgiving in the Park inspired by the Guns ‘n’ Roses song November Rain.

Months of edits, proofing and communications later, you can now read what we have all been working toward.

I hope you will pick up a copy–and look into other works by these talent folks.

A little blurb about each story

  • A boy follows his girlfriend’s suicide note to its disturbing conclusion.
  • A man must pass on an ancient curse of immortality before his time finally runs out.
  • Two lost beings fight for life, for each other, and to find a way home.
  • A serial killer from the future, banished to present day, must control her homicidal urges in order to survive.
  • A thief and a sex worker find their paths unexpectedly entwined in ways that threaten both of their lives.
  • For a caged girl, one hand gives, but the other takes away all she’s ever known.
  • To gain their freedom, quarreling townsfolk must find a way to cross a bottomless ravine.
  • A man interrupts a monster at work and is determined to entertain the creature long enough to stay alive.
  • When his father’s ghost appears, a businessman is forced to reflect on his life.

The eBook is available right now at AMAZON, and the paperback will be available shortly.

In the meantime, here is a bit about my 8 compatriots:

Calypso Kane

Calypso Kane lives in the cooking heart of Texas. She writes fantastical fictions about the fey, the fanciful, and the fiendish. Her short stories have been published in anthologies such as The Odd and the Bizarre, Strange Little Girls, and Her Dark Voice 2. Between submissions she enjoys picking absently at her own stories, hibernating, and telling herself she’ll get around to her growing tower of unread new books eventually.

 

Corinne O’Flynn

I am a native New Yorker living in Colorado, and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. I love writing fantasy and mystery, and experimenting with short fiction. I am a self-proclaimed scone aficionado, a professional napper, and I have an entire section of my kitchen devoted to tea. When I’m not writing, I can be found hanging with my husband and our kids, playing board games, knitting, reading, or binge watching some fabulous shows (while sipping tea).

A.G. Henley

A.G. Henley is a contributor to Wicked Ink Books’ anthologies, OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song and TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time, and the author of the Brilliant Darkness series. The first book in the series, THE SCOURGE, was a Library Journal Self-e Selection and a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award. A.G. is also a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colorado. She promises not to analyze you… much.

Sue Duff

Sue Duff was born in Chicago, IL but grew up in Phoenix, AZ. She dreamed of dragons and spaceships before she could read and combines Fantasy and SciFi in her breakout series, The Weir Chronicles. When she’s not saving the world, one page at a time, she’s walking her Great Dane, getting her hands dirty in the garden or cooking up something delicious in her kitchen.

Wendy Terrien

Wendy Terrien received her first library card at age two, and a few years later started writing her own stories. Her debut novel, The Rampart Guards (February 2016), earned a Kirkus starred review and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016. The novel is a #1 regional bestseller, and is the first in her intriguing urban fantasy series.

Wendy graduated from the University of Utah (go Utes!) and transplanted to Colorado where she completed her MBA at the University of Denver. She focused her marketing expertise on the financial and technology industries until a career coach stepped in and reminded Wendy of her passion for writing. Wendy began attending writers conferences, workshops, and retreats.

She regularly participates in two critique groups and is the Secretary of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and a member of Pikes Peak Writers. In 2014, Wendy was a finalist in the San Francisco Writer’s Contest.

Wendy lives in the Denver area with her husband, Kevin, and their three dogs: Maggie, Shea, and Boon. All of her dogs are rescues, and Wendy is passionate about promoting shelter adoptions. If you’re in Colorado, you may even be able to spot her by her “Adopt a Shelter Pet” license plates.

Kristi Helvig

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy writer. You can find her musing about space monkeys, Star Trek, and other random topics on her blog. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, kids, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor is the indie author of ASCENDANT, winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Award and a Library Journal National Self-e Select title; MIDHEAVEN; THE EXQUISITE AND IMMACULATE GRACE OF CARMEN ESPINOZA, and her latest release, and RWA RITA Finalist, AFFECTIVE NEEDS.

She obtained her BA in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado, Denver, and her Ed.S in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to writing, she works as a school psychologist and teaches at Regis University in their MFA program.

She lives with her husband, two children, three dogs, and two tortoises in Denver, Colorado. She loves to travel and spends probably too much time on the interwebs planning trips. When she’s not planted in front of her keyboard, she likes to watch movies on Netflix, camp, read, do jigsaw puzzles, hike, drink tea, snow ski, swim in the ocean, watch people, eat peanut butter, run miles to nowhere on a treadmill, troll bookstores, stare into the abyss, and worry that she should probably be writing instead.

Shawn McGuire

Colorado-based author Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next installment to come out so wrote her own. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. Her young adult novels deal with harder issues—dating violence, death of a family member, bullying, and teen suicide. Since those topics can be hard to handle, she infuses a good bit of humor as well because she believes that laughter can help you get through just about anything.

Off Beat:Nine Spins on Song – COVER REVEAL!

Oh, this is delicious! Been waiting a while to tell you guys about this one.

Last year, while at ReaderCON, I read a few books, one of which was an anthology called TICK TOCK:  Seven Tales of Time. It was published by Wicked Ink Books. Most of the authors in the anthology I hadn’t heard of (shame on me–I’ve since corrected that) but I read all seven stories in about an hour.

Very different, but very, very good.

For 2017, the good people at WIB were putting together another anthology. There would be seven stories from the original authors (Corinne O’Flynn, Kristi Helvig, Rebecca Taylor, Sue Duff, Shawn McGuire, Wendy Terrien, and A.G. Henley) plus two additional stories picked from a series of submissions.

The theme for the “new nine” would be stories inspired by song.

I decided to send in something that I’d been toying with since the 90’s–a story called “Thanksgiving in the Park.”

Long story, short: My story and one by Calypso Kane were accepted.

So. The cover. May I introduce OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song available for preorder on Amazon:

FOM THE BACK COVER:

Inspired by favorite songs, nine fantasy and science fiction authors spin tales of adventure, intrigue, mystery, and horror.

  • A boy follows his girlfriend’s suicide note to its disturbing conclusion.
  • A man must pass on an ancient curse of immortality before his time finally runs out.
  • Two lost beings fight for life, for each other, and to find a way home.
  • A serial killer from the future, banished to present day, must control her homicidal urges in order to survive.
  • A thief and a sex worker find their paths unexpectedly entwined in ways that threaten both of their lives.
  • For a caged girl, one hand gives, but the other takes away all she’s ever known.
  • To gain their freedom, quarreling townsfolk must find a way to cross a bottomless ravine.
  • A man interrupts a monster at work, and is determined to entertain the creature long enough to stay alive.
  • When his father’s ghost appears, a businessman is forced to reflect on his life.

I’m excited about this one…proud to have a story of mine picked to stand with some very talented authors. I would be much obliged if you decided to preorder a copy today. And while you’re at it, check out Wicked Ink Books.

Peace

BOSKONE 54

Note that older posts under this thread are further down. Look for the time/date stamps for section breaks.

Also note that there are all sorts of Typos. Sorry about that. Typing on an iPad with large fingers is rather difficult.


19FEB 4:00 PM

I always find myself running out of time on the last day of a con to speak with everyone I want to. Struggled as i did to find folks, I wanted to take a second before the final posting of this year’s Experience to thank people who took time themselves from their schedules to chat with me. In no particular order:

John Chu, Jeanne Cavelos, C. S. E. Cooney (Claire), Carlos Hernandez, Phil Merkel, Walter & Margo Williams, Milton Davis,
Paul Di Filippo, Allen Steele, Max Gladstone, Theodora Goss, Jim Kelly, J. M. McDermott, Brandon Sanderson, and Paul Tremblay.

Also an incredible shout-out to Melanie Meadors and Cerece Rennie Murphy for the laughter and the kindness.

And Erin Underwood who is a rock star.

This conference feels like the extremely well organized hippy cousin to ReaderCON–which is strange, since Boskone is older and actually spawned ReaderCON back in the day. I liked the variety of activities and the diversity of the programming. I liked the venue–way more than the Quincy Marriott ReaderCON has moved to. It felt as though the authors really wanted to connect to their fans, to meet upstart writers like myself and to make genuine new friends. In many ways, this was way better than I’d expected.

I think I’ll go back next year.

But let us away to Sunday’s program (my bit of it, anyway) before I reduce us all to uncontrollable sobbing.

(Return of) The Ten Worst Ideas in SF and Fantasy
Vincent Docherty (M), Daniel P. Dern, Paul Di Filippo, Cerece Rennie Murphy, Julie C. Day

We barely scratched the surface from the list of bad/overused ideas in Fantasy and Science Fiction before the panel ended. From the “Christ figure”–especially the white Christ figure through to invading aliens and the damsel in distress (and scantily-clad metal bikini-wearing princesses), each topic spun off more bad ideas. I’d like to point out here that when the metal-bikini-wearing shot was taken at Princess Leia, I pointed out that she (so far) is the ONLY Skywalker not to be tempted to the dark side and who ISN’T an asshole…also:she’s a freakin’ GENERAL. But I digress.

Horror and the Happy Ending
Jack M. Haringa (M), Paul Tremblay, Hillary Monahan, James Moore, Grady Hendrix

  Are you giggling at the title? We all were. However, the discussion was around use of the “Hollywood ending” in horror and had nothing to do with illicit massage parlors nor cash-only services. Putting aside the seemingly endless number of inappropriate questions I had, the discussion around all media (not just books) was fascinating–real inside into how to either give the reader/listener/viewer hope, or to destroy what would have been a good horror story. King’s preference for the “happy ending” was discussed, as were Jessica Jones, The Alien movies, Mist, Cujo and a dozen others. I was able to bring up Josh Malerman’s Bird Box which fit the discussion nicely and I’d just written an analysis for in my Contemporary Dark Fiction class with Richard Thomas.

I scheduled a reading next, as I’ve found that I can cognitively deal with only two panels before I need something different. Fortunately at this time,  Cerece Rennie Murphy (who is one of the funniest, sweetest folks I met for the first time at Boskone) was scheduled.

Although she didn’t read from herOrder of the Seers trilogy, she did read from To Find You, which I went out and bought from Amazon right after.

I was done with panels and scheduled programming after that–I though the marvelous scenes Cerece read were a perfect way to end  my first Boskone. I spent the next hour saying goodbye the the friends I could find, then Ubered home. My wife and I will be making brownies today and I will type up my notes, as they are and leave typos and all for you to enjoy. Thanks for reading!


18FEB 11:40 PM

Yes. It’s that late. Tina and I had dinner with friends last night–I think it was her way to distract me from the “overwhelming” which I have now decided to call any crowd experience from now on.

Bare with me. I had three martinis. I feel all 1950’s “Mad Men” now.

So .  The last part of my day two adventure began with a reading by one of my favorites: Allen Steele.

Allen read, not from his upcoming Avengers of the Moon throw-back Sci-Fi Captain Future story available from Tor, but from a soon to be published short from his Arkwright  tome.

I have no idea why, but Allen’s work always makes me feel like I did when I first discovered H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. He’s a great guy and a wonderful storyteller.

Massachusetts Men with Beards…

I continued a day of attending readings by joining Theodora Goss and was incredibly excited when she (as I had hoped) read from her upcoming The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.  She has written a wonderful tale from the point of view of the daughters of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau…and others. Trust. You will want this one when it comes out in June!

So. Loved Allen’s reading, ‘Dora is ALWAYS a delight. How could I top that?

Ladies and Gentlemen–I give you Carlos Hernandez.

I thought he might read from The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria. Which made me happy and sad, as my copy won’t arrive until after #Boskone is over and I wanted to get it signed.I mentioned the delay after the reading and Carlos reached into his backpack, signed a copy, and gave it to me right then and there.
Then he even offered to help me out with a story I’m writing that takes place at CUNY in the 80’s (he is a professor there).

I can’t even tell you how grateful and overwhelmed I am right now.

But the reading. Yes, he read from a hysterical YA work in progress. I’ll admit it now…I pee’d a little. That’s how funny the two chapters he read were.

Next was a jaunt through the art exhibit…then to a discussion of the Odyssey Workshop by Jeanne Cavelos.

 

 

 

 

From Jeanne: Since its inception in 1996, the Odyssey Writing Workshop has become one of the most highly respected workshops for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in the world. Top authors, editors and agents have served as guests at Odyssey. Fifty-nine percent of graduates go on to professional publication, and among Odyssey’s graduates are New York Times bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, and award winners. The workshop, held annually on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, runs for six weeks, and combines an intensive, advanced curriculum with in-depth feedback on students’ manuscripts.

I dunno. I’m not, after all the research and excitement, sure I can do this…interesting crisis of faith in my abilities. This is new for me.

18FEB 1:30 PM

Started the day with a brunch with Melanie Meadors. What a marvelous conversation about the industry and the state of publicist and writing in general. Energized for the morning.

And by energized, I mean lit on Espresso Martinis…

I’m thinking seriously of sending in my application for the Odyssey Workshop this year More on this later–but my first session today is a general discussion on Getting Ready for a Workshop
given by Victoria Sandbrook

After a good sessions that left me, I feel, ready for the discussion with Jeanne Cavelos of Odyssey–I headed for my first panel.

The Magic of Magical Realism in Literature
Carlos Hernandez (M), Cerece Rennie Murphy, Richard R. Horton, J. M. McDermott, Gillian Daniels

Carlos, as a CUNY professor, was perfect to moderate this panel of varying opinions on the definition of Magical Realism, realizing that the original has become more of a watered down and debased “marketing term.” When it first came into use to describe the work of certain Latin American writers, and then a small number of writers from many places in the world, it had a specific meaning that made it useful for critics. If someone made a list of recent magical realist works, there were certain characteristics that works on the list would share. The term also pointed to a particular array of techniques that writers could put to specialized use. Now the words have been applied so haphazardly that to call a work “magical realism” doesn’t convey a very clear sense of what the work will be like.

If a magazine editor these days asks for contributions that are magical realism, what she’s really saying is that she wants contemporary fantasy written to a high literary standard—fantasy that readers who “don’t read escapist literature” will happily read. It’s a marketing label and an attempt to carve out a part of the prestige readership for speculative works.

Unfortunately, I asked my question about horror and magical realism rather late in the discussion–at which point the panelists agreed “it” should be discussed at greater lengths than time allowed.

 


17FEB 8:15 PM

Long day–and I left before half of it was done (There was a late night screening of Deadpool. I was SO tempted…but I never would have made day two)

So. Where was I?

Yes. Panels, Readings and such.

First, let me say that the logistics around Boskone were handled superbly. There are way more things going on here then at ReaderCON. The Dealer room is massive. There is a game room where hundreds of board games, card games and video games can be played. There are video screening rooms. There are art exhibitions. This felt more like one of the bigger conventions–not quite a ComicCON, but still quite large.

Yet, somehow, it felt less crowded. Maybe today it will be different, but Friday was pretty tame, professional and fun!

Wizards, Warlocks, and Witches
E.J. Stevens, Jane Yolen, Cerece Rennie Murphy, Adam Stemple, Bruce Coville (M)
So, the strike-thoughs are not typos. Only Jane (who I adore), Adam (Jane’s son and who is a bit of a kindred spirit) and the lovely Cerece Rennie Murphy were at the panel.

And it was awesome.

There was some talk about witches and how women who have power were thought to have been way more evil then warlocks, Yoda, writing, politics and general stream of consciousness. I laughed for an hour–then more when I chatted with Jane and Adam in the lobby later. And even more when I caught up with Cerece in the dealer room.

Using History in SF and Fantasy
Bradford Verter, Jo Walton, Mark L. Olson (M), Dana Cameron, Ada Palmer

From alternate history to vaguely familiar settings in a unique story world, history is a great resource for inspiration. What are some of the most creative uses of history in fiction? How much research is needed before writing and fleshing out the story? Panelists discuss examples of how history has enriched some of our favorite novels. But can sticking to history hobble your creative instincts? When should we deviate from historical truths and strike out into the creative unknown?

More of a traditional panel–and was rightfully crowded. I must admit I left part-way through as the crowd was a bit much.

Some of the artwork on display
Ok. Here is a picture of Brandon. Quiet down, you heathens. Milton was WAY more accessible!

At 5-ish or so, I wandered down to the dealer room where Brandon Sanderson and Milton Davis were signing autographs. As you can imagine, the line for Brandon, as guest of honor for Boskone, was huge…I was never going to get to meet him in time to make CSE Cooney’s reading–and there was no way I was going to miss Claire (although Carlos wasn’t there—hopefully I’ll see him on Saturday)

But I digress.

Milton was at a table near Brandon, but there was no line for him–so I took the opportunity to speak with him What a charming, intelligent and funny author! I’m going to make time on Saturday to pick up a book or two of his and chat some more–fascinating man who writes fantasy series NOT based on white European cultures. Great stuff.

Reading by C.S.E. Cooney

There are a lot of writers I have met through the years whether via writing groups, conferences of classes. Claire Suzanne Elizabeth (CSE) Cooney and her partner in crime Carlos Hernandez are two of my favorites that I was introduced to as a part of the whole Mike/Anita Allen Clockwork Phoenix/Mythic Delirium team of AWESOME.

Claire’s Bone Swans collection of stories have won lovely awards and is worth a read. Or two. Just amazing stuff and she was good enough to sign my copy!

She read a short story last night–the name of which I can’t remember 9DESPITE asking for the title specifically–then I refused to write it down, apparently) that was so funny my sides hurt from laughing. I love the way Claire paints such surreal worlds in her writing.

AND she left us hanging! Somebody better pick up the story soon because I need to find out how it ends!

 

 

I know it’s early…but I head back to the train and home. Day two awaits and I must prepare to deal with the crowds…

17FEB 1:45 PM

Boskone Day One.

A Train ride. A mile walk in freezing temperatures.

An Irish pub (And those of you who know me KNEW I’d find an Irish pub).

Panels. Laughter. Lines. New People. Old friends.

I photoshopped out the frostbite

That’s the summary for day one at Boskone. This conference is wicked awesome, to use a Boston colloquialism.

I got to the Westin Waterfront in Boston and picked up my badge with 3 minutes to spare before the first panel. No chances to explore until later—I dove right in.

Steam’s Rising: A Proliferation of Punks

James Moore, KT Bryski (M), Victoria Sandbrook, Melanie Meadors

I arrived, breathless, and sans coffee (despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon, my body was craving caffeine). As it was the first scheduled panel of the free portion of the day, there weren’t, as of yet, a lot of people milling about. I knew that would change.

My friend, writer, and former Ragnarok associate editor Melanie Meadors was on this panel and I wanted to be there to support her. Moderator KT Bryski kicked it all off with introductions and the discussion began.

Steampunk, of course is the most well known of the “punks” (transgressive stories about rebellion with technological aesthetics of Victorian-era London). The integration, technology and cosplay typical of fans in this space were discussed. “Gaslamp” Punk, Deco (or “Flapper”) Punk, Diesel Punk, Solar Punk, Cyber Punk, and Dread punk were all touched upon with one question hanging over the panel—when do all these “punks” merge to be labeled just so?

Extra points for Melanie for wearing a 1920’s hat and costume to the panel!

Boskone 54 -The Pregame

So.

Tomorrow I will be attending the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) Boskone convention for the first time. Normally, I just do ReaderCON each year…but I’ve been told by many a folk that this convention is a good one.

I shall dutifully document my experience at the con right here over the next few days. Will it be worth it? Has my stroke-induced crowd anxiety subsided enough to enjoy the experience? Will they have cake?

We’ll find out, dear sinners.

Check out the program here: Boskone 54

Peace

And so it begins…

No, this is NOT a throw-back Thursday picture of me...
No, this is NOT a throw-back Thursday picture of me…

It was five minutes after the last dish had been scrubbed on Thanksgiving when Christmas made itself known in our home.

“Ah, there it is. My house. And good old Cleveland Street. How could I ever forget it? And there I am, with that dumb round face and that stupid stocking cap. But no matter. Christmas was on its way.

Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas…around which the entire kid year revolved.”

The first, of what will be MANY showings of A Christmas Story had begun.

Spent the last few days relaxing–my children (although at 20 and 16 years old, they can hardly be called children any more) were in Boston for a week.  No writing got done–but there was a ukulele concert given by my daughter and we all saw Dr. Strange (awesome) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (also awesome–author Anton Stout posted on FB that “Fantastic Beasts was the best Doctor Who episode he’d ever seen” and my son and I agreed).

Doctors appointments–the “Never Ending Saga of Pain”–continued as well.

So Today (Tuesday) is catch up on business, chores and finally getting back to he writing.  I have some work on Scoundrels to do for Emmett and of course I need to finish up Act 2 of Empress. The final edits for my Christmas Nightmares story are done and that anthology comes out in two weeks.

sm_10830_the_ironhorse_heist

Holidays are always wonderful, but it’s now time to get back to the writing. Two deadlines loom in December…and they seem way closer this side of Thanksgiving.

Peace

NaNoWriMo 2016 and Visitors

image1-3
Holy Crap! Here be children!!

Word Count: 54,014

Haven’t updated you all in a couple of days so I thought I’d post a quick few words. So the #NaNoWriMo goal I set for myself has been achieved. Over 50k words before the American Thanksgiving holiday. Interestingly enough, I’m only about 3/4 of the way through Act 2.  The key will be making the habit of NaNo stick through to the end of Empress.

A few other things going on…Emmett and I are still going back and forth on Scoundrels and it’s an awesome thing. We are tossing ideas at each other and the story is nearly there. We expect to have it ready for an editor in December (It’ll be a 40k Steampunk/heist story Novella) so I’ll need to hit up the network to see if anyone has a bit of editing time near the Christmas holiday. After a week of self-doubt, I sent Ink Washed Cat (originally published this year in Once Upon a Cursed Time) in for jury consideration by the Horror Writer’s Association. Just taking the step to submit the story was huge; whether or not it goes beyond the consideration stage is another story entirely.

The as-of-yet-untitled ghost story hums along.  It’ll be a short one–2,000 words or so.  I’d like to have it ready for submission to Gamut when their window opens again December 1st, but we’ll see. I’ll get Richard to take on one of my stories yet!

A few months ago, I mentioned that Thanksgiving in the Park was accepted into an anthology coming out in early 2017 with Wicked Ink Books.  I’ve just put the final edits in place for the publisher and at long last that story is locked.

What a nice sequel into Thanksgiving–my children arrived last night for the holiday. It’s the first time I’ve seen them both together since last years hospital stay…so I admit I became rather emotional when I saw them at Logan airport last night. We are all heading out to see Doctor Strange shortly so more in tomorrow’s holiday post.

Peace

PS  Oh yeah. At 50k, I “won” Nano:

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 14

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Ending Word Count: 30,118

Mondays are hard. Three hours of cognitive rehab sessions leave me drained…and there is always a mad scramble to get all my preform organized and ready for the sessions.

Working toward the end of the first act and the excitement at what’s planned kept me going today. It will have to care me through tomorrow as well.

img_0031
Couldn’t we have a little peril?

See, tomorrow is the first anniversary of my death. But to paraphrase Monty Python *SPOLER ALERT* I got better. The rest of tonight and tomorrow is for reflection. For counting my blessings.

For using this gift of additional time to write stories.

Tomorrow is a big day. Glad I’m still here to share it with you.

Once I finish Act One tomorrow, I’ll post a much longer blurb. But for now, be at peace.