March newsletter: Mur Lafferty, Renee Ahdieh, Samantha Shannon, John Scalzi, Roshani Chokshi, Oak City Comicon, more events, awards news, writing camps, and more

Vol 7 No 2. Monday, March 6, 2017: Thankfully February was a short month again this year, so I hope you’ll forgive me for not having a newsletter out last month. Unfortunately I must ask your further indulgence for still not including a full “news and notes” or even “new books and audiobooks” section in this newsletter, even as (especially) publication notes begin to pile up to the ceiling! But enough of my groveling, let’s jump right in and talk about some upcoming events:


The big event this week is actually tonight, March 7 (Tuesday) at 7 pm as Flyleaf Books hosts Durham author Mur Lafferty to discuss her new books Six Wakes: A Novel and the first collected volume of Bookburners.

Later this month sees events with Renée Ahdieh (Quail Ridge Books, Monday March 13), Samantha Shannon (Flyleaf Books, Tuesday March 14), Asheville author Robert Beatty (Quail Ridge Books, Sunday March 19), John Scalzi (Quail Ridge Books, Wednesday March 22, and Flyleaf Books, Thursday March 23), and Roshani Chokshi and Ryan Graudin (Flyleaf Books, Thursday March 30), along with an even more “bigger” Oak City Comicon, this year called NC Comicon Oak City, on March 18 and 19 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Looking further ahead, there are a few more new events since the last newsletter:


Scott Westerfeld’s Quail Ridge Books appearane was rescheduled for Monday April 17, for his new young adult science fiction novel Horizon; Flyleaf Books announced that Cory Doctorow’s book tour for his new novel Walkway would be making a stop in Chapel Hill on Friday May 5; and there’s also a newly listed second local event for Raleigh author John Kessel in support of the publication of his forthcoming novel The Moon and the Other. For further details, see the full events listings!

All right, while I said that I don’t have a full news and publication notes roundup yet again, there is some big awards news to pass along this month:

A Shadow All of Light Cover The Rose & the Dagger Cover The Last Great American Magic Cover

  • The 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List includes NC writers Fred Chappell (A Shadow All of Light, Fantasy Novel), Renée Ahdieh (The Rose and the Dagger, Young Adult Book), Alyssa Wong (“You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Novelette, and “A First of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Short Story), and Dale Bailey (“I Was A Teenage Werewolf”, Short Story). And while the list of other books there is long and wonderful, I want to also single out former NC writers Gerry Canavan, whose book Octavia E. Butler is listed for Non-Fiction, Roshani Chokshi, for her first novel The Star-Touched Queen, and Kij Johnson, for her novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe. This list also serves as the non-write-in choices for the annual Locus Poll and Survey, which decide the Locus Awards, for which anyone can vote. The deadline for ballots is April 15, 2017.
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the nominees for the 51st Annual Nebula Awards, which also includes Alyssa Wong’s novelette “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” and short story “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”.
  • Underground Book Reviews named as its Editor’s Choice Novel of the Year The Last Great American Magic by Durham author L.C. Fiore, calling it “more than just an American epic. Historic fiction with a mythical twist, this exquisitely written novel is both thought-provoking and page-turning.”

Speaking of Chappell’s A Shadow All of Light, Ahdieh’s The Rose and the Dagger, Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen, and Fiore’s The Last Great American Magic, these are 4 of the 118 books on the final eligibility list for the 2017 Manly Wade Wellman Award, just announced yesterday. Nominations are and will remain open until Monday, May 22, and ballots have gone out to all previously registered voters. To register to place a nominating ballot, please submit a voter registration form; the only requirement is that you are or will be be a member of one of the North Carolina science fiction and fantasy conventions.

The last section of the newsletter, before the full events calendar of course, is focused on some regional summer writing camps.

For teens, Shared Worlds 2017 will be held July 16-29 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Visiting authors this year include Gwenda Bond, Tobias S. Buckell, N.K. Jemisin, Kathe Koja, Terra Elan McVoy, Sofia Samatar, Ekaterina Sedia, and editor-in-residence Ann VanderMeer, along with camp co-director Jeff VanderMeer and assistant director Will Hindmarch. It’s a fantastic opportunity for creativity and writing, and registration is now open. Financial aid is also available, so if you are or know a rising 8th-12th grade student with a passion for writing stories of the fantastic, let them know about this camp!

Closer to home, and also for teens, the Duke Young Writers’ Camp has three 2-week sessions for both residential and day camp, across June 18 to August 4. There’s an absolutely huge staff (across the 3 sessions), workshops, readings, lectures, and more activities besides.

For my fellow grown-ups, Frostburg State University (in Frostburg, Maryland) hosts its summer Nightsun Writers Conference on July 27-30. The writing track of interest to me, and I suspect anyone reading this, is, of course, the speculative fiction track under Andy Duncan, featuring workshops and craft sessions. “The conference is designed to generate new material for publication, hone the craft of creative writing, and initiate a larger writing community for participants.” The cost for participation is $350 plus accommodations and some meals, and I would be completely lying to you if I said I hadn’t already looked up and found a very inexpensive 8-bedroom house for rental that long weekend…

All right. Before I let you go, and this may seem almost like cheating or favoritism, but it’s worth it, I do want to at least mention the two most recent of the many, many NC authored books to have been published already this year:

Wothwood: A Broken Cities Novella by [Barron, Natania] The Stravinsky Intrigue (Fugue & Fable Book 2) by [Kennedy, Darin]

Wothwood: A Broken Cities Novella is by (for now) Durham author Natania Barron, just published by Charlotte’s Falstaff Books. “For time out of mind, the Brezhian people have protected the Wothwood, their lore passed down for generations to each clan. While rumors of a lost city within the wood pervade their mythology, none dare enter the sacred grove, the living grave of their goddess, Noduuoret. But when the Therian army arrives, intent on learning the Wothwood’s secrets, three heroes arise to challenge the threat: Lon, the warrior in exile; Glannon, the young ruler who left him to die; and Aoda, the woman of science, disfigured but unbent. Together, they enter the Wothwood. Drawn by revenge. Drawn by desire. And drawn by the thirst for knowledge.”

The Stravinsky Intrigue by Charlotte author Darin Kennedy picks up after the events of his 2015 novel The Mussorgsky Riddle. “Nine months have passed since psychic Mira Tejedor last walked the halls of Anthony Faircloth’s adolescent mind. All but family now, Mira is relocating to Charlotte, NC, not only for a much-needed change of scenery, but to further her burgeoning relationship with Dr. Thomas Archer. On the eve of her move, however, a new threat emerges. Young girls from every corner of Charlotte are falling catatonic, a condition eerily similar to the illness from which Mira rescued Anthony the previous fall. Mira reluctantly agrees to help Detective Calvin Sterling with the case and soon finds herself pulled into a new pair of fantasy worlds, both borne from the brilliant mind of Igor Stravinsky.”

And, lastly, for quite a few back episodes I haven’t mentioned in the newsletter yet, check out the Carolina Book Beat podcast. I’ve had the chance to talk with Rysa Walker, Brent Winter, Ursula Vernon, Joe McDermott, and (of course, as she’s my co-host) Mur Lafferty in recent months. Enjoy!




NEW: March 7 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Durham author Mur Lafferty to discuss her new books Six Wakes: A Novel and Bookburners.

March 7 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Charlie Lovett – ‘The Lost Book of the Grail’. “It takes a bibliophile to know one.  An English professor’s passion for ancient manuscripts, his Cathedral, and all things to do with the Holy Grail comes under threat in Charlie Lovett’s The Lost Book of the Grail.  Charlie (The Bookman’s Tale) returns on Tuesday, March 7, at 7 pm with a story of medieval mysteries, modern technological threats, and perhaps a bit of romance.”

NEW: March 13 (Monday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger), Natalie C. Anderson (City of Saints & Thieves), Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne), and Lesley Livingston (The Valiant), for “Penguin Teen on Tour – Four Fantastic YA Authors in One Night”.

March 14 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts London author Samantha Shannon for her new novel The Song Rising. “On the eve of a new decade, after two hundred years of Scion rule, a rebellion is stirring. Its unlikely cradle is the clairvoyant underworld in London, and even a shattering betrayal within the community cannot stop it. Paige Mahoney is now Underqueen in London, determined to fight for her fellow clairvoyants against overwhelming odds. Her tentative alliance with the Ranthen is tested, and her rule is threatened by a technology so powerful it could destroy the world as she knows it. Racing against the clock, Paige goes north in search of a solution—but with a new enemy pulling the strings, and war on the horizon, she will have to make dangerous sacrifices to protect the ones she loves.”

March 18-19 (Saturday and Sunday) — Oak City Comicon 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

NEW: March 18 (Saturday) 11 am to 2 pm — Charlotte’s Park Road Books hosts a launch party for two new books by Darin Kennedy, The Stravinsky Intrigue & Pawn’s Gambit.

NEW: March 19 (Sunday) 2 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Asheville author Robert Beatty for a preview of his forthcoming novel Serafina and the Splintered Heart. “Asheville author Robert Beatty created a true nation-wide sensation with his fantasy set around the Biltmore Estate, begun with Serafina and the Black Cloak. The first Serafina received the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, and has been on the NC Battle of the Books list. The sequel, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, is now available. Join us on Sunday, March 19, at 2 pm when Robert joins us for Staff, and previews Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Book 3, due out July)! Ages 9+. We’ll have some light refreshments to make it extra special.”

March 22 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts John Scalzi for his new science fiction novel The Collapsing Empire. “The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.​”

NEW-NEW: March 22 (Wednesday) 7 pm to 8:30 pm — Charlotte’s Park Road Books hosts a multi-author book signing for Cinched: Imagination Unbound recently published by Falstaff Books. “Join Falstaff Books Publisher John G. Hartness and a host of amazing authors as they sign copies of Cinched: Imagination Unbound and their other works! Joining us will be Nico Serene, Gail & Larry Martin, Misty Massey, and Dave Harlequin! Cinched is a great multi-genre anthology centered around that most alluring of garments – the corset! From horror to humor to fantasy to steampunk, these authors weave tales that will leave you spellbound!” [Facebook]

March 23 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts John Scalzi for his new science fiction novel The Collapsing Empire. “The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.​” [Facebook]

NEW-NEW: March 25 (Saturday) 11 am to 1 pm, and 3 pm to 5 pm — “Authors in Your Back Yard” at Cameron Village Regional Library. Among other authors appearing, S.M. Ishida will be part of the event from 11 am to 1 pm. “Join distinguished author Daniel Wallace as he welcomes local authors in a celebration of writing talent. Daniel Wallace will give a keynote talk on writing, followed by author readings and a networking reception.” For the 3 pm to 5 pm event: “Join distinguished author Suzanne Adair as she welcomes local authors in a celebration of writing talent. Suzanne Adair will give a keynote talk on writing, followed by author readings and a networking reception.” If you have any questions about the event, email

March 28 — Local author book release day for Arrow: A Generation of Vipers by Clay and Susan Griffith (Titan Books).

NEW: March 30 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Roshani Chokshi discusses her new YA novel, A Crown of Wishes, with Ryan Graudin. “Roshani Chokshi discusses her new YA novel A Crown of Wishes, a beautiful, lush fantasy from the author of The Star-Touched Queen. Featuring a panel with Ryan Graudin, author of The Walled City and Wolf By Wolf.”

APRIL 2017

April 4 — Raleigh author novel release day for The Moon and the Other by John Kessel (Saga Press, April 4, 2017) — “John Kessel, one of the most visionary writers in the field, has created a rich matriarchal utopia, set in the near future on the moon, a society that is flawed by love and sex, and on the brink of a destructive civil war.”

April 7 (Friday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts John Kessel for his first new novel in some time, The Moon and the Other forthcoming from Saga Press. “Welcome to the Moon of the 22nd century where politics, rival city—states, and a matriarchal society collide. Passions, both sexual and warlike, come to a boil as the players must decide what really matters to them.”

NEW: April 17 (Monday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Scott Westerfeld for his new young adult science fiction novel Horizon. “He’s one of the most fascinating speakers we’ve had, as well as one of the most inventive writers in YA fantasy today. Scott Westerfeld returns with Horizon, the start of a new supernatural series for slightly younger readers. Imagine Survivor on steroids. Eight young people crash in the Arctic. But instead of an icy landscape, they find themselves in a forbidding jungle, with impossibly bizarre flora and fauna. Survival means banding together, which may be equally impossible.”

NEW: April 18 (Tuesda) 7 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts John Kessel, “The Moon and the Other”. “Welcome to the Moon of the 22nd century where politics, rival city—states, and a matriarchal society collide. Passions, both sexual and warlike, come to a boil as the players must decide what really matters to them.”

MAY 2017

NEW: May 5 (Friday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Cory Doctorow for his new novel Walkaway. “Cory Doctorow’s first adult novel in eight years: an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death. Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza—known to his friends as Hubert, Etc—was too old to be at that Communist party. But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be—except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society—and walk away. After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter—from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system. It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down.”

May 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.”

May 30 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Kij Johnson for her new novel The River Bank: A sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows forthcoming from Small Beer Press. “Kij Johnson has won the major awards for fantasy (Sturgeon, World Fantasy, Hugo). Now Johnson turns to the most elemental of fantasies – the fairy tale – as she lovingly re-creates Kenneth Grahame’s world, and expands upon it.”

NEW: May 30 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Daniel Wallace Launches his new novel Extraordinary Adventures. “From the New York Times bestselling author of Big Fish comes a novel about the world’s most ordinary man and his quest to find true love. Edsel Bronfman works as a junior executive shipping clerk for an importer of Korean flatware. He lives in a seedy neighborhood and spends his free time with his spirited mother. Things happen to other people, and Bronfman knows it. Until, that is, he gets a call from operator 61217 telling him that he’s won a free weekend at a beachfront condo in Destin, Florida. But there’s a catch: the offer is intended for a couple, and Bronfman has only seventy-nine days to find someone to take with him.”

JUNE 2017

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

June 6 — NC author book release day for Firebrand by A.J. Hartley (Tor Teen), sequel to Steeplejack.

JULY 2017

July 4 — Raleigh author book release day for A Rebel’s Stone by P.T. McHugh (Glass House) Book 2 in his “Stone Ends” series after Keeper of the Black Stones.

July 14-16 (Friday to Sunday) — DeepSouthCon 55 at ConGregate 4 in High Point, NC with author guest of honor Barbara Hambly, artist guest of honor Alan Pollack, special guests Toni Weisskopf, Michael A. Stackpole, and Timothy Zahn, and the presentation of the 2016-17 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy.

July 14-16 (Friday to Sunday) — Raleigh SuperCon at the Raleigh Convention Center. “Supercon is 3 days of fun featuring celebrity guests, comic book creators, voice actors, industry guests, cosplayers, artists, writers, panels, Q&A’s, films & shorts, costume & cosplay contests, vendors, parties, anime, workshops, video gaming and more! Supercon is for fans of pop culture, superheroes, science fiction, anime, cartoons, video games, and more. Dress up in costume or come as you are for this family friendly event. Kids 9 and under are free with a paying adult.”


August 5 (Saturday) 10 am to 4 pm — One-day mini-convention For the Love of Books Raleigh at the Raleigh Marriott City Center: “With each of our events our goal is to create a more intimate setting so that authors have more time with their fans and readers have more time discovering authors they haven’t read yet. By creating a smaller event, (about 20-25 authors,) we will be able to concentrate on all of the extras that make a signing fun, memorable, and relaxing.”


September 12 — Local author book release day for Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (Crown Books for Young Readers). “Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.”

– END –

This entry was posted in newsletter. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *