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

THE #WORDCOUNTPODCAST EPISODE 63 IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Well.  The new prompt and podcast format was rather fun last month, wasn’t it?

I know the “Irregulars” liked it!

First, I must beg you all to get your friends to like the #WordCountPodcast Facebook page. I’ll be posting some new content there shortly, exclusively for fans of the show who liked the page.

Telling you what I’ll be posting would be playing fair. Stay tuned!

But here’s the link to the page. Spread the word won’t you? We have a goal of 1000 likes this season!

 

The Word Count Podcast

 

So, then. Episode 63.

Since it seemed to work well, we shall once again split the prompt thusly:

  • A Picture (below)
  • Use the month of February in your setting.

So the visual prompt:

Oooooh!  What happens next! That, dear sinners, is up to you!

Thinking of writing something for the show? Please do! All submissions are welcome!

If you want to listen to past (free) shows, the links below will take you to them:

LIBSYN

or

iTUNES

There are Sixty-two shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT PODCAST – EPISODE 63 “February Rose”

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Friday 17 February 2017 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story based on the picture above and the month of “February.”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN 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 (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • 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.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 20 January 2017. 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.

***NOTE: I will NOT accept stories that are discriminatory in ANY WAY (whether it be by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.) or that include rape. ***

Peace

The Word Count Podcast-Episode 62

Well, it’s a New Year. Time to sober up from the holidays and get on with the next season of the #WordCountPodcast!

In the off-season, a few of the irregulars (what the participants of the show call themselves) and I discussed were a few tweaks to the show.  I thought we’d try them out to see how things go.

Don’t worry! The podcast is still free and free of ads!

The first change is that we will be using different sort of prompts for the show. First, is a picture. For this month:

Next we will be using the month the show is produced in, in this case January.

Now for the last bit. I’m trying out a new format for the recording of the show. I’m using AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) in stead of the old “Audio-Only” MP3 encoding for the podcast. This allows me to add photos and chapters (among other things) to the podcast. I’ll still post the audio-only version on the site, but I want to see what the feedback is. After all…we are using a visual prompt.

So please, give the show a listen and let us know what your experience is. I’m still getting the “technology hang” of this new format…so apologies in advance for any growing pains.

You can listen to the show via iTunes or Libsyn. Here is an embedded player, if you prefer:


 

Show Notes:

Episode 62: Tidal Pool in January

Maria Haskins – “The Weight of the Sea”

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and certified translator. She writes speculative fiction and poetry, and debuted as a writer in Sweden. Since 1992 she lives in Canada, just outside Vancouver, with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.

Website: https://mariahaskins.wordpress.com
Twitter: @mariahaskins

C. Thomas Smith – “The Wasteland”

C. Thomas Smith is the author of hundreds of short stories (99% have never left his hard drive) and over half a dozen unpublished novels (50% cowardice / 50% self-doubt). He is a fan of common sense, free speech, noticing the truth in the absurd and caffeine. He sort of likes cats. He lives in Ireland with his partner, two and a half children, a mortgage and a cat he doesn’t trust.

At present, Chris is writing a series of novels (adult dark comedy set in medieval Ireland that may include a token Leprechaun) and editing a second series (Dark Fantasy). Along the way, he hopes not to starve to death or be mauled in his sleep by a shifty-eyed cat.

Website: www.infinity-forge.com

Twitter: @KRSTVR

 

Cameron Garriepy – “By the Sea”

Cameron Garriepy thinks Eartha Kitt was the best Catwoman, and misses Hampton Beach on days like today. In April of 2015, Cameron released Damselfly Inn, the first full-length novel in her Thornton Vermont series. The sequel, Sweet Pease is coming soon from Bannerwing Books.

Website: http://camerondgarriepy.com

Twitter: @camerongarriepy

 

John A. McCaffrey – “Clamming in January”

John A McCaffrey grew up in Rochester, New York, attended Villanova University, and received his MA from the City College of New York. His stories have appeared regularly in literary journals and anthologies. He is also a playwright, an original member of the Lone Star Theater Troupe, and a creative writing teacher. His published works include The Book of Ash (October, 2013) and Two Syllable Men (April 2016).

Website: http://jamccaffrey.squarespace.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.mccaffrey.984 and https://www.facebook.com/twosyllablemen/

Twitter: @jamccaffrey

Bill Kirton & Eden Baylee – “Selfie Love”

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,  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 published a novel for children called The Loch Ewe Mystery, and his latest publication is a satirical novella about online gaming and the real and virtual worlds.

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. It’s also been optioned by a film company in Los Angeles.

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

Website: www.bill-kirton.co.uk

Twitter: @carver22

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ SPRING INTO SUMMER, FALL INTO WINTER, and HOT FLASH.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton–a psychological mystery/suspense called STRANGER AT SUNSET. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her stories–A SNAKE IN PARADISE and SEAL OF A MONK can be found on Kindle Worlds.

Website: http://edenbayleebooks.com

Blog: https://edenbaylee.com/blog/

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

Twitter: @edenbaylee

 

The #WordCountPodcast Episode 62 is OPEN for Submissions!

 A New Year. Let’s hope 2017 is less traumatic, shall we?

It’s time to dust off the recording equipment, practice my vocalizations, and update all my studio software.

It’s time for a new #WordCountPodcast.

 You know we have a Facebook page, right? I’m guessing not as we have over 1500 downloads per episode and only 93 followers. To you 93, I say “Huzzah!” Now that I have scared my cat, I will actually post the link for the Word Count Podcast Facebook page. Give it a like?

The Word Count Podcast

We get to a 1000 likes this season and one lucky follower with become the subject of a future show! Weird? Yep. Aggressive? Yep. We like it weird and aggressive here.

So, then. Episode 62.

We are going to do things a little bit different to start the year. Yes, we are soliciting stories as usual. But for the January podcast, we ask that you write a story based on TWO (2) criteria:

  • A Picture (below)
  • Use the month of January in your setting.

So the visual prompt:

Oooooh!  What happens next! That, dear sinners, is up to you!

Thinking of writing something for the show? Please do! All submissions are welcome!

If you want to listen to past (free) shows, the links below will take you to them:

LIBSYN

or

iTUNES

There are Sixty-one shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT PODCAST – EPISODE 62 “January”

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Friday 20 January 2017 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story based on the picture above and the month of “January.”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN 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 (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • 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.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 20 January 2017. 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.

***NOTE: I will NOT accept stories that are discriminatory in ANY WAY (whether it be by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.) or that include rape. ***

Peace

Happy 2017

I spent last night watching as 2016 sucked in its last breath. A death rattle many around the world were glad to hear.

So much pain and horror…so many celebrities that us regular folk held in high esteem left us (Bowie, Rickman, Wilder, Lenny, Carrie…loads more. The full list is HERE).

My father left us. Left me.

For fifty years or so, I would always turn to my dad when life became overwhelming. As a child, it was advice when dealing with bullies or–in quiet whispers on the eve of my first day in 1st grade–sharing a fear that I might not be able to ever read. Later, I sought his wisdom on girls or career decisions or corporate politics. I remember his calming voice and reasonable, measured, language whenever the next crisis happened.

Vietnam. Reagan shot. Challenger and later Columbia. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

9/11.

He had thoughts on the Russian Civil war of the 90’s and Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine. He thought that 80’s fashions were stupid (no comment from former mullet-boy here). He thought George W. Bush was an idiot, but loved O’Reilly on Fox.

He was afraid Trump could win the whole thing. And he was right.

But dad missed that.

It was right after the election that I received a call from my daughter. She was in tears over the outcome. Boys in her school were…inappropriate…about the Trump victory (a fact I explained in no uncertain terms to said boys and to their parents, but that’s another story).

I spoke to my girl. We talked through the crisis. I calmed her down. We spoke about what she could do to make a difference. I used reasonable, measured language.

And that’s when it hit me. For all that was 2016, all the negative election crap, the rise of “Alt-Right” and “Post-Truth,” something amazing happened.

I became my father.

The darkness that was 2016 had a glimmer—the slightest jewel—of hope.

And, as I’ve been told, rebellions are built on hope.

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

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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 – Days 18 & 19

img_0008

Word Count: 42,038

Crossed the 40k word count mark…in the home stretch as far as NaNo is concerned.  But I’m just halfway through the second act. The Prodigal’s Foole was just a hair under 90,000 words and I expect the same for The Empress’ Curse.

The second act is having some issues…and I’ll need to go back and fix them at some point.  It’s dragging…and I’m not sure if it’s just me trying to info-dump or what.

One of the criticisms I received in the first book was the lack of explanation of how the magic system worked.  I did that deliberately–Symon was coming back into a world he thought he knew, but it was very different then he’d been taught.  That discovery was to happen more in book 2…brilliant idea except for the fact it’s taken me 5 years and counting to get it out there.

So I’m working through that.  Anyway, thought I’d share a flashback scene with you this week–although I’m reasonably sure this might become one of the “discarded” chapters.   This first bit It takes place in the mid 80’s on the frozen planes of Antartica. Tomorrow, a bit from Christmas future. Enjoy!

     AUTHOR’S NOTE: The American team in this snippet are from McMurdo base and had arrived in time to see a large, transport take off.

For you purists...this is actually the modern Antarctic Belgian base
For you purists…this is actually the modern Antarctic Belgian base

The Vostok teams were nowhere to be found.

     The Americans followed the rail and came to a natural amphitheater, illuminated by heavy work lights. The room was massive—fifty feet high and nearly two hundred feet around.

     But it wasn’t the chamber that caught everyone’s attention. It was the bodies.

Soviet soldiers in heavy winter gear lay dead over the floor. There were dozens of them. Each had an AK-47 or similar automatic rifle lying on or near their bodies. Upon inspection, it was obvious that the weapons had been fired…continuously.

   There were bullet holes everywhere and the entire chamber smelled of death and gun powder.

   “Jesus H. Christ,” said Rivers. “What the hell happened?”

   “Looks like they were all firing at this,” called one of rivers men. Stevenson looked and the man and saw what he’d missed upon arriving amidst the carnage. A large carved box, a sarcophagus maybe, sat in shadow near the middle of the chamber. The work lights that had been near it had all been smashed and glass mixed with the frozen blood of the Soviet military men. Dr. Stevenson hurried over to take a closer look. He knelt down a saw that there were intricate carvings on the outside of the box, chipped away by high caliber weapons fire. The top of the sarcophagus lay ten feet away and the inside was smooth and very empty.

     “What were they shooting at?” mused Stevenson. But before he could think any more about it, Rivers called to him from the left.

   “Doc, come here.”

Stevenson hurried over, his brain still trying to wrap around the chaos and mystery. Rivers was kneeling at one of the bodies.

   “Yuri,” muttered Stevenson.

   “L-T!” called one of the SEALS “We need to get out of here!”

   Both Rivers and Stevenson swung around toward the voice. The lieutenant was looking at a point about ten feet off the ground. The light from his gun-mounted torch illuminated a grayish rectangle mounted on the wall. There was a little blinking red light.

   “The place is wired!”

   “Out,” shouted Rivers “Now!”

   “But Rivers…”

   “No time doc. We have to move!”

The men ran for the elevator. Once they’d all scrambled inside, Rivers slammed the button and the lift began to rise. They never made it. There was a blinding flash, a roar of sound and tons of rock collapsed, flattening the elevator and the men inside.

   The Australians arrived an hour later to find an abandoned American plane, an empty Russian base and a smoldering scar in the rock face that might have been an entrance to a mine. It would take the Americans, Soviets and Australians three months to find the bodies. All the archeological treasures in the amphitheater had been obliterated in the blast and subsequent cave in. No one knew about the sarcophagus, or the Soviet transport that had escaped with the tomb’s occupant.

 

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 16 & 17

img_0008

Current Word Count: 34,510

Sorry about no post last night.  Thought I’d do two to make up for it.

Crushed it yesterday with over 4,000 words–best day in a long, long time. Really excited going into Act 2, very pleased with the draft of Act 1 now completed. There will be editing…but that’s a December thing.  For now, propelling the story forward is the goal.  So let me give you a taste of what’s been written over the past few days…

   I awoke in a dark, damp…space. I had no idea the size of the room, as the darkness was so complete, it didn’t really matter if my eyes were open or shut.

   A dirt floor lay beneath me, and the coolness of it felt wonderful against my temple. Somewhere in the distance I could hear the slow, echoing reverberations of water dripping at a constant rate–three seconds between drips, I counted. I sat up, and regretted it immediately as my headache spiked. I sat, rocking for a few minutes as the pain subsided to a dull ache, willing the urge to vomit from the pain to recede with headache. Finally, I was able to move. I felt around and came upon a rock wall.  It felt fairly smooth, as if it had been mostly carved from the bedrock, but never finished.

   “Not sure if this is real, or another dream,” I muttered aloud.  My voice sounded slurred, like I’d finished half a bottle of Jack.

   There was and electrical sound–a pop and hiss. “This is real Symon. Sorry for the accommodations, but bringing you here hadn’t been the original plan. And we were followed…”

Second Chances

I know I promised you all a #NaNoWriMo update today. I have something a little more important on my mind, and I hope you’ll bear with me.

See, a year ago today I died.

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Weird, right?  I mean if I were still dead it would be kind of hard to use an iPad to make this blog post.

I’ve been in recovery mode for nearly a year–people who don’t really know me that well have been saying things like:  “This is a big week…it might be tough. Are you ready?”

Fuck yeah, I’m ready.

I got a second chance at life. Of course I’m fucking ready. I don’t have time to wallow in self pity.

I got to see my son’s first year a college and my daughter participate in Water Polo at Harvard. I got to say “I love you” to my wife quite a few hundred more times. I quit cigarettes. I got to learn more about writing  and to actually write–publishing three stories with two more already under contract for 2017. I read 65 more books. I lost 30 pounds. I spent more time with my family. I played with my cats. I worked at a shelter. I hugged a lot of people.

I got to see my dad one last time before he left us in March.

In short, I lived. Probably more than I have in years.

Yes, there are still challenges both physically and neurologically.

But I’m getting better.

So many people have been a part of this recovery…the list would go on for pages. Twenty doctors worked (and are still working on) my case, family and friends visited and encouraged me, work colleagues stayed in touch, author-friends who have been my inspiration…

…thank you all. You have no idea how grateful I am to have you in my life.

Today I celebrate the first anniversary of my passing.

May there be many more anniversaries in the future.

Back to writing.

Peace

Writer of Things. Podcaster.