April Newsletter: The Festival of Legends and Oak City Comicon, readings from Fred Chappell, Ernest Cline, and Felicia Day, Welcome to Night Vale “live”, new books, news, and more

Vol 6 No 4. Friday, April 8, 2016: Well, March may have been a bit of a quiet month as far as events go, but April is just absolutely packed, with big events from The Festival of Legends this weekend, Oak City Comicon next weekend, the East Coast Gaming Conference’s Expo Day, and the nearly month-long North Carolina Science Festival, to readings from North Carolina’s legendary storyteller Fred Chappell with his first fantasy novel in almost 50 years, bestsellers Ernest Cline and Felicia Day, comics signings, regional science fiction play premieres, and an entire shelf of new books. It’s quite a month, and Saturday alone is packed, with two multi-author comics signings, the first of two days at Optimist Farm in Apex for The Festival of Legends, the launch party for John Claude Bemis’ new novel The Wooden Prince in Hillsborough, and another performance of The Nether at Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater.

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Add to that that in each of the next three weeks we’ll have three authors whose appearances are on the level of a highlight of the year, with Fred Chappell (hosted by Quail Ridge Books at St. David’s School’s Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 12, by The Regulator Bookshop on Tuesday, April 19, and by McIntyre’s Books on Saturday, April 23), Ready Player One author Ernest Cline (at Flyleaf Books on Tuesday, April 19), and The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog star Felicia Day (presented by Flyleaf Books at Cat’s Cradle on Wednesday, April 27) and this month may require you to make some hard choices on how to spend your time!


Do check out the full listings, with additional highlights this month including the Oak City Comic Show Comicon on Saturday, April 16, which this year expands from its usual Hilton North Raleigh location to the Raleigh Convention Center (and at which I’ll be exhibiting my North Carolina Speculative Fiction collection and welcome some guest authors to stop by and chat!), and the East Coast Game Conference, which has long had a robust narrative track, and this year again includes a much more casual-and-wallet-friendly “community day” on Tuesday, April 19, with expo hours from 3-6 pm. There’s also the second Zine Machine Printed Matter Festival, a new “maker” scene event being called the GeekCraft Expo, and on Wednesday April 20 at 8 pm, Welcome to Night Vale presents a live show “Ghost Stories” at Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall. And! On April 23 (Saturday) from 11 am to 5 pm, Durham County’s Main Library (300 N Roxboro St) hosts its first Teen Lit Festival with authors Nathan Kotecki, J.J. Johnson, Jen McConnel, and John Claude Bemis (among others).

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And there’s even more going on; as usual check the full listings at the end of the newsletter.


  • We lost a dear pillar of the Triangle’s book community with the passing of long-time Quail Ridge Books owner Nancy Olsen; the memorial services at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh were a true celebration of her life’s work, more full of laughter and nodding and shaking of heads than tears, but tears there were, also. She gave many, many North Carolina authors a “big push” and a place to call home for now more than 30 years, and I personally owe her a debt of gratitude I can only repay by paying it forward.
  • I just missed passing along Dan Campbell’s story “Where Sea and Sky Kiss” in the last newsletter, as it appeared at Digital Fiction Pub; it’s also already in Quickfic Anthology 1: Shorter-Short Speculative Fiction.
  • Tommy Lee Edwards provides a sneak peek at the new DC Comics character he’s created with writer Gerard Way; in Rolling Stone, Way talks about the new imprint in which Edwards’ work will come to print
  • John Claude Bemis appeared on WUNC’s Morning Edition to talk about The Wooden Prince, his alchemical/Steampunk retelling of Pinocchio; among other things you may learn of his inclusion of Prester John in the story…
  • Charlotte’s Falstaff Books has issued a call for submissions for a‪#‎WeAreNotThis‬ charity anthology to benefit ‪#‎HRCNC‬: “Looking for writers with a strong connection to North Carolina to provide a 5,000 word or less story featuring an LGBTQ character for a fundraising anthology. Reprints accepted. Non-Exclusive print and digital rights requested. All proceeds donated to the NC Human Rights Campaign. Not accepting erotica. No other restrictions on genre. Poetry and non-fiction also accepted. Send submissions or queries to anthology@falstaffbooks.com. Word Doc, 12 Pt. Standard MSS format. No RTF files. Deadline – June 1, 2016.” (To hear more about this, listen to the latest Carolina Book Beat podcast, linked below.)


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Grits, Guns & Glory Performance Year One Audiobook The Max Porter Box Set, Volume 1 Audiobook
Fighting Iron Audiobook Shadow and Flame Audiobook


Well… Since the March newsletter went out, there’s been precisely one new article at bullspec.com, Angela and Gerald Blackwell’s “The Exploding Spaceship” column continued its reviews of Tor.com Publishing’s line, with a review of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I do have a few “Hardest Part” essays queued up, and Paul Kincaid’s next “From the Other Side” ready to go as well. And there’s of course more in the works, but slow progress on mostly all fronts. There is a new Carolina Book Beat “Focus on Speculative Fiction” episode, with Charlotte authors John G. Hartness and Gail Z. Martin joining the program by phone. See you out and about this month for sure! And though I’m reasonably sure I’ll have the May newsletter out in time to remind you, don’t miss either Jay Posey’s book launch at the Southpoint Barnes & Noble for his new science fiction novel Outriders on Saturday, May 7, or the nominations deadline for the Manly Wade Wellman Award, which is Monday, May 16!



NEW-NEW: 7-23 — Durham’s Manbites Dog Theatre presents the regional premiere of Jennifer Haley’s The Nether, a “disturbing sci-fi thriller about technology and human desire. In the near future, the internet has become The Nether, a completely immersive virtual reality. But in its secret recesses, where nothing is true and everything is permitted, beauty and horror walk hand in hand.” Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and directed by Jules Odendahl-James, the play features Michael Brocki, Michael Foley, Marleigh Purgar McDonald, Lazarus Simmons, and Caitlin Wells. In the IndyWeek calendar preview, Byron Woods says the questions the play asks “might have you looking at that Oculus Rift in a different light.”

NEW-NEW: 8 (Friday) 8 pm — The Carrboro ArtsCenter’s Strange New Worlds Film Series presents Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

8-10 (Friday to Sunday) — Festival of Legends returns, with a new location (Optimist Farm in Apex) and this year’s theme of “rebirth”. Jousting, mead, performances, and more. “The Festival of Legends is a celebration of the mythic arts and the magic of life itself. It is a playground for the imagination – for children as well as adults – and an escape from the mundane world. It is a journey to the romantic by-gone eras that never were, and an exploration of the fantastical realms that have always been. The natives are magicians and musicians, acrobats and comedians, artists and crafters, proud knights and fairytale creatures. Step into the Festival of Legends, and step into a place of wonder.”

NEW: 8-24 — The NC Science Festival at locations across North Carolina. Triangle events include biographer Quincy Whitney, applied toy mathematician Tadashi TodiekaNC BioNetwork’s Sci-Fi Movie Myth Buster on April 15, Sci-Fi Book Talk: Ernest Cline discusses Armada on April 19, and the Triangle SciTech Expo on April 23 in Raleigh.

NEW-NEW: 9 (Saturday) 10 am to 5 pm — Ultimate Comics (6120 Farrington Rd, Chapel Hill, 10 am to 12 pm, and 1301 Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, 2 pm to 5 pm) hosts an X-Men ’92 Signing. “Come meet Chad Bowers and Chris Sims at this in-store signing event for X-Men ’92 #1! They’ll be at the Ultimate Comics Durham location signing your books from 10am to noon. Then, at 2pm, the Raleigh store will be hosting a writing workshop where you can ask YOUR questions! After the panel, signing will continue until 5pm.”

NEW-NEW: 9 (Saturday) 11 am to 4 pm — Chapel Hill Comics hosts a signing with local creators Max Dowdle, Gabriel Dunston, and Chris Wharton: “Chapel Hill Comics will be hosting three awesome local creators on April 9th! Max Dowdle (Shattered with Curve of Horn), Gabriel Dunston (Purgatory Pub), and Chris Wharton (Giant!) will be signing in the shop from 11am-4pm!”

NEW: 9 (Saturday) 3 pm — Book release celebration for John Claude Bemis after the March publication of his latest novel Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince from Disney Hyperion, at the Eno River Farmer’s Market in Downtown Hillsborough (144 E Margaret Ln). If you’ve been at his previous launch events, expect music and other shenanigans, this time with an Alchmical Steampunk Pinnochio twist.

NEW-NEW: 10 (Sunday) 10 am to 4 pm — Raleigh Comic Book Show at the Hilton Garden Inn Crabtree (3912 Arrow Dr, Raleigh). Free admission.

NEW: 10 (Sunday) 2 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Jeff Zentner discusses his debut YA novel The Serpent King. (YA fiction.)

12 — NC author book release day for A Shadow All of Light by Fred Chappell (Tor Books).

NEW: 12 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts (at St. David’s School’s Performing Arts Center, 3400 White Oak Rd, Raleigh) Fred Chappell – ‘A Shadow All of Light’.  “It would take quite a while to list all the awards Fred Chappell has received, among them NC Poet Laureate from 1997 – 2002 and two-time World Fantasy Award winner.  We’re delighted to welcome back this poet and novelist on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 pm with his latest novel, A Shadow All of Light.  He has a deft touch for comedy and for capers, and his witty, elegant prose shows a poet’s deep love for words.  Shadow is a picaresque tale of Falco, an apprentice in the shadow trade in the lushly imagined Italianate city of Tardocco. Here, shadows are stolen, bought, and sold, and a person can surrender their shadow and don a different one for a special purpose.  Under his master’s tutelage, Falco grows from country bumpkin to a roguish shadow.”

NEW: 15 (Friday) 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm — The Durham Performing Arts Center hosts Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science. ““Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science,” the follow-up to the smash “Edible Inevitable” tour, will hit the road in 2016. Fans can expect all-new everything including songs, multimedia presentations, talk-show antics, and bigger and better potentially dangerous food demonstrations.”

16 (Saturday) — Oak City Comic Show at the Raleigh Convention Center with Howard Chakin (Star Wars and dozens more), Tommy Lee Edwards, Rico Renzi (Spider-Gwen, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), and more, including the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation’s exhibit of North Carolina science fiction and fantasy.

NEW-NEW: 16 (Saturday) 11 am to 7 pm — Second annual Zine Machine Printed Matter Festival at the Durham Armory. “Durham’s only zines, comics and printed matter festival. Free and open to the public! 70+ tablers!”

17 (Sunday) — The Durham Armory hosts the GeekCraft Expo, which “will offer a convention-like space for crafters to display and sell a dazzling variety of pop-culture wares, with an emphasis on supporting local artisans and economies.”

NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm — As part of NC Science FestivalFlyleaf Books hosts Ready Player One author Ernest Cline for the paperback tour of his novel Armada. “Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don t get chosen to save the universe. And then he sees the flying saucer.”

NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Durham’s The Regulator Bookshop hosts Fred Chappell, “A Shadow All of Light” as legendary Greensboro poet and author Chappell returns to the Triangle with a fantasy novel from Tor Books.

19-21 (Tuesday to Thursday) — East Coast Game Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center, with a community day ($15, Tuesday), keynote speaker Warren Spector, multiple programming tracks, an expo hall, and more.

20 — Local author book release day for Change of Life by Samantha Bryant (Curiosity Quills, April 20), the sequel to Going Through the Change.

NEW-NEW: 20 (Wednesday) 8 pm — Welcome to Night Vale presents a live show “Ghost Stories” at Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall.

NEW: 21 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Award-winning novelist Robert Morgan reads from his new novel, Chasing the North Star. (Historical fiction.)

NEW-NEW: 21 (Thursday) 6 pm — The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W Jones St, Raleigh) hosts a Drink and Draw Night with illustrator Max Dowdle and writer Morrow Dowdle with their new graphic novel An Unlikely Refugee, which tells the story of “a Burmese python who is rescued by U.S. Army Special Forces and becomes an unofficial member of their unit before immigrating under secret circumstances to the United States.”

NEW-NEW: 23 (Saturday) 11 am to 5 pm — Durham County’s Main Library (300 N Roxboro St) hosts its first Teen Lit Festival with authors Nathan Kotecki, J.J. Johnson, Jen McConnel, and John Claude Bemis (among others). “Participate in author talks and workshops. There will be food and swag!” [Facebook]

NEW: 23 (Saturday) 2 pm — Fearrington Village’s McIntyre’s Books hosts World Fantasy Award winner Fred Chappell for his new fantasy novel A Shadow All of Light. [Facebook]

NEW-NEW: 23 (Saturday) 3 pm — Steel Strings Brewery (106 S Greensboro St, Carrboro) hosts Craft Beer & Comic Pairing presented by Chapel Hill Comics.

NEW-NEW: 24 (Sunday) 8 pm — The Baxter (108 N Graham St, Chapel Hill) hosts a Game of Thrones watching party for the premiere of Season 6: “Game of Thrones Seson 6 comes back and we will be here showing it on the big screen. Come out for a night of celebration to one of the most popular shows. Drink specials, free pizza, prizes and more! Stay tuned for more info.”

26 — NC author book release day for Los Nefilim by T. Frohock (Harper Voyager, April 26) in ebook and paperback, collecting Frohock’s trilogy of Los Nefilim novellas.

NEW: 27 (Wednesday) 6 pm — Flyleaf Books presents (at Cat’s Cradle) Felicia Day for her memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). “The instant New York Times bestseller from queen of the geeks Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world. Showcasing Felicia’s engaging and often hilarious voice, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now–  even for a digital misfit.”

NEW-NEW: 30 (Saturday) — Independent Bookstore Day 2016 at (among others) Quail Ridge Books, The Regulator Bookshop, and more.

NEW-NEW: 30 (Saturday) — International TableTop Day at (among others) Durham’s Atomic Empire.

NEW: 30 (Saturday) 8 pm — The Durham Performing Arts Center hosts Carolina Ballet Presents Macbeth, with a Sunday 2 pm performance as well.

MAY 2016

NEW-NEW: 1 (Sunday) 3 pm — The Orange County Public Library hosts Change of Life Book Launch Party with author Samantha Bryant: “Come celebrate the release of book 2 of the Menopausal Superhero series with the author. There will copies for sale, readings, and cookies!”

3 — Local author book release day for Outriders by Jay Posey (Angry Robot Books, May 3)  the start of a new Military SF series.

3 — NC author book release day for The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers), the sequel to her debut novel, The Wrath and the Dawn.

NEW-NEW: 7 (Saturday) 4 pm — The Barnes and Noble Streets at South Point hosts Durham author Jay Posey for Outriders. “In celebration of Jay’s newest novel OUTRIDERS, he’ll be hanging out at the Southpoint Mall Barnes and Noble in Durham, signing books and pretending to be famous! The book will be released on Tuesday, May 3rd, but the signing is on Saturday, May 7th, and copies will be available for purchase at the event (unless they sell out, which would be awesome. At least for Jay.) Come out and say hi and let him write his pretend-famous name on your not-pretend books!”

NEW-NEW: 7 (Saturday) — Free Comic Book Day at (among others) Ultimate Comics, Atomic Empire, and Chapel Hill Comics.

NEW-NEW: 7 (Saturday) 10 am to 5 pm — Rutherfordton, NC’s “Mayfest” hosts a Fantasy/SF literature panel with John G. Hartness, J. Matthew Sanders, Brian Rathbone, Beth Revis, Jake Bible, Gail Z. Martin, and Darin Kennedy, at Great Expectations Books and Cafe.

10 — Local author book release day for A Rebel’s Stone by P.T. McHugh (Glass House, May 10, 2016).

NEW-NEW: 15 (Sunday) 1 pm — The North Carolina Museum of Art hosts its Spring Steampunk Picnic: “It’s time for an afternoon of well-mannered frivolity. Dress in your Steampunk best, bring a picnic, perhaps a game, and lounge out in the beautiful art museum park. Lady Farrow would like to invite you to participate in a Steampunk Spring Fashion Show! If you would like to enter this little show just send me an email at LadyFarrow@arrowsreach.com The show will happen at 3 pm, anyone and all are encouraged to be a part of it!!!”

16 — Local author book release day for Divine Descendant by Jenna Black (Pocket Star) marking her return to her Nikki Glass / Immortal Huntress series.

24 — NC author book release day for The Hunt (The Cage, Book 2) by Megan Shepherd (Balzer+Bray, May 24).

27-29 (Friday to Sunday) — Animazement 2016 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

JUNE 2016

3-5 (Friday to Sunday) — ConCarolinas 2016 with author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, artist Ursula Vernon, and special author guest Christie Golden.

7 — Local author book release day for Death’s Bright Day by David Drake (Baen), the latest in his RCN series.

14 — NC author book release day for Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley (Tor Teen) — “The book follows 17 year old Anglet Sutonga as she is drawn into a web of murder and intrigue surrounding the theft of a strange and priceless artifact. Anglet is the steeplejack of the title, one of the marginal street urchins who works the chimneys, towers and other high, dangerous places in the city of Bar-Selehm.”

14 — NC author book release for The Shadowed Path: A Jonmarc Vanhanian Collection by Gail Z. Martin.

JULY 2016

5 — Local author book release day for The Dragon Hammer by Tony Daniel (Baen), beginning a new young adult fantasy series, in which “the sixteen-year-old third son of a duke in an alternate Viking-like medieval America must face invasion by confederates of a colonial Roman empire based on vampiric blood slavery.”

15-17 (Friday to Sunday) — ConGregate 2016 in High Point with guests of honor Steven Barnes and A.J. Hartley.

NEW: 18 (Monday) — Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre hosts Flight of the Conchords.

19 — NC author book release day for A World Without You by Beth Revis (Razorbill).

20 — Local author book release day for The Chronos Files: Time Trial, a comic book adaptation in Cary author Rysa Walker’s The Chronos Files series.


2 — Local author book release day for the 20th Anniversary Edition of Redliners by David Drake (Baen, August 2) with an all-new introduction by the author.

5-7 (Friday to Sunday) — The Carolina Theatre of Durham’s Retro Film Series presents a special screening series of the original Star Wars Trilogy.

16 — NC author book release day for Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty (Disney Hyperion), sequel to Beatty’s Biltmore-set debut Serafina and the Black Cloak.

NEW-NEW: 21 (Sunday) 10 am to 4 pm — Raleigh Comic Book Show at the Hilton Garden Inn Crabtree (3912 Arrow Dr, Raleigh). Free admission.


NEW: 9 (Friday) 8 pm — The Durham Performing Arts Center hosts “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s “The Mandatory World Tour”.


11 — NC author book release day for The Perilous Journey of the Much Too Spontaneous Girl by Leigh Statham (Month9Books, October 11), a follow-on to The Perilous Journey of the Not So Innocuous Girl.

15 (Saturday) — The Charlotte Mariott City Center hosts Carolina Book Fest 2016 with a huge author lineup, followed by the annual “Monster Mash” dance party.

NEW: 20 (Thursday) 7:30 pm — The Durham Performing Arts Center hosts astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, presented in partnership with UNC’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

25 — NC author book release day for Into the Fire (Night Prince) by Jeanine Frost (Avon).

TBD — Local author book release day for Six Wakes by Mur Laffert (Orbit Books).


11-13 (Friday to Sunday) — NC Comicon 2016 at the Durham Convention Center.


NEW-NEW: 4 (Sunday) 10 am to 4 pm — Raleigh Comic Book Show at the Hilton Garden Inn Crabtree (3912 Arrow Dr, Raleigh). Free admission.


NEW: TBA (Friday to Sunday) — illogiCon with author guest of honor Daniel Jose Older.

MAY 2017

23-28 (Tuesday to Sunday) — The Durham Performing Arts Center presents Finding Neverland, which “tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan.  Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers.”

JUNE 2017

1 — NC author book release day for The Sweetest Burn (A Broken Destiny Novel) by Jeanine Frost (HQN Books).

– END –

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One Response to April Newsletter: The Festival of Legends and Oak City Comicon, readings from Fred Chappell, Ernest Cline, and Felicia Day, Welcome to Night Vale “live”, new books, news, and more

  1. Pingback: May Newsletter: Jay Posey’s Outriders, Free Comic Book Day, Gabriel Dunston’s Purgatory Pub, Animazement, Manly Wade Wellman Award nominations deadline, and more | Bull Spec

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