May newsletter: Cory Doctorow, FCBD, The Writers Coffeehouse, Ursula Vernon, Renée Ahdieh, GeekCraft Expo, Moogfest, and more

Vol 7 No 3. Thursday, May 4, 2017: This month sees readings with Cory Doctorow, Ursula Vernon,  Renée Ahdieh, and Daniel Wallace, along with Free Comic Book Day this weekend, a new monthly writers networking group, and the international music/art/technology festival/conference Moogfest.

But before I turn to the events, I want to urge one last round of participation in this year’s Manly Wade Wellman Award nominations. Voting is open until Monday, May 22, and this will set the lineup of finalists to be announced at ConCarolinas. If you have lost your ballot email (searching your mail archives for “CIVS Wellman” should turn it up) a reminder can be sent, or if you have not yet registered to vote, there’s still time! And if you have any such questions or issues, or if the lengthy eligibility list makes the ballot confusing, don’t hesitate to reach out. I suppose I had better make my own final rankings and submit my own ballot as well!



Cory Doctorow visits Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books tomorrow (Friday!) at 7 pm, where he’ll be joined in conversation by Durham author Mur Lafferty. Doctorow’s new book Walkaway is an “optimistic disaster novel” which sees a near-future movement of “walkaways” abandoning the artificial scarcity of cities and nations for an abundance fueled by open source software, drones, and 3D printing. Last week, Mur and I had the opportunity to talk with Doctorow on Carolina Book Beat, as the first half of a two-guest program which also featured Raleigh author John Kessel, talking about his new novel The Moon and the Other.

Then, on Saturday, it’s “Free Comic Book Day”, covered quite well by The Herald Sun writer Anna Johnson in an article highlighting the goings-on at the Ultimate Comics Durham-Chapel Hill (the annual “Comics for a Cure” run, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, among other comics guests) and Durham’s Atomic Empire (superhero novel authors James Maxey and Samantha Bryant, among others). Also on Saturday, Durham’s Living Arts Collective hosts “The Mesoplanets” at 7 pm, a a movement/sound/video/science dance journey to Pluto and beyond.

On Sunday from 4 pm to 7 pm, The Barnes & Noble at the Streets at Southpoint hosts the inaugural meeting of a new monthly Raleigh-Durham writers networking event, The Writers Coffeehouse, described by instigator Gray Rinehart as informal, free, basically “a bunch of writers sitting around talking about writing … with coffee.”



Among everything else going on this month, in the full listings below, I wanted to highlight two author events that are new to this newsletter:

And… that’s all I really have time to put together this month. I really should mention that advance tickets are on sale for this year’s “Can’t Stop the Serenity” event in July (details below), as if you do want to make the annual charity screening of the Firefly movie at the Raleighwood, tickets do tend to sell out.


I’m disappointed to see that Duke University graduate Gerry Canavan’s fine book of scholarship on Octavia E. Butler didn’t make the Hugo Award finalist list, but ecstatic to see three North Carolina authors there: Congratulations to Mur Lafferty (best fancast, “Ditch Diggers”). Ursula Vernon (best novelette, “The Tomato Thief”), and Alyssa Wong (best novelette, “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” and best short story, “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”) on their works being announced as Hugo Award finalists!



May 5 (Friday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Cory Doctorow, in conversation with Mur Lafferty, 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.”

May 6 (Saturday) — FCBD = Free Comic Book Day at comic shops around the world, including Durham/Chapel Hill’s Ultimate Comics, which also hosts a superhero-themed “Comics for a Cure” charity 5K and costume contest, and Durham’s Atomic Empire, which welcomes authors James Maxey and Samantha Bryant who will be signing their superhero novels as well.

NEW-NEW: 6 (Saturday) 7 pm — Durham’s Living Arts Collective hosts The Mesoplanets, “a movement/sound/video/science dance journey to Pluto and beyond.”

NEW: May 7 (Sunday) 1 pm to 5 pm — Spring Steampunk Picnic at the North Carolina Museum of Art. “Steampunk attire is not obligatory, just encouraged.”

NEW: May 7 (Sunday) 4 pm to 7 pm — The Barnes & Noble at the Streets at Southpoint hosts the inaugural meeting of a new monthly Raleigh-Durham writers networking event, The Writers Coffeehouse, described by instigator Gray Rinehart as informal, free, basically “a bunch of writers sitting around talking about writing … with coffee.”

NEW-NEW: May 11-20 (Thursday to Sunday) — Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern presents “Hunchback”, a devised musical entertainment about disfigurement and desire, showing at Walltown’s Children’s Theater.

NEW: May 14 (Sunday) 11 am to 6 pm — The Durham Armory hosts GeekCraftExpo RDU 2017, a “curated craft market featuring awesome handmade geek goods created by local artisans.”

NEW: May 18 (Thursday) 6 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Ursula Vernon discusses her middle-grade novel Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble. “A magical beanstalk leads to a GIANT surprise in book four of Ursula Vernon’s critically acclaimed Hamster Princess series.”

NEW: May 18-21 (Thursday to Sunday) — Music/art/technology festival/conference Moogfest in Downtown Durham. “Since 2004, Moogfest has brought together artists, futurist thinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, scientists, and musicians. By day, Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation. This mind-expanding conference attracts creative and technology enthusiasts for three days of participatory programming in Durham, North Carolina. By night, Moogfest presents cutting-edge music in venues throughout the city. Performing artists include early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists of today.”

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.”

NEW: May 24 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Renée Ahdieh discusses her new YA novel Flame in the Mist. “From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.”

NEW: May 25 (Thursday) 6 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Middle-grade author Michael Buckley and The Sisters Grimm 10th Anniversary Tour.

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 2-4 (Friday to Sunday) — ConCarolinas at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Guests of honor include author Sherrilyn Kenyon, artist and musician Aurelio Voltaire, editor Toni Weisskopf, and more.

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

June 6 — NC author book release day for Lord of Monsters: Out of Abaton, Book 2 by John Claude Bemis (Disney-Hyperion).

NEW-NEW: June 10 (Saturday) 4 pm — Book release celebration for LORD OF MONSTERS by John Claude Bemis, in downtown Hillsborough, NC.

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.”

NEW: 20 (Sunday) 6 pm to 10 pm — 12th annual Can’t Stop the Serenity benefit, a charity screening of the Firefly movie organized by the Raleigh Browncoats. “Happy to announce that its time for the 12th annual Can’t Stop the Serenity here in Raleigh NC! The event will be held Sunday July 30th at the wonderful Raleighwood Cinema Grill. As in years past we will be raising funds for Equality Now. In addition to Equality Now we will be raising funds to honor our dear Ron Glass’s charity, the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center. We will have a raffle and costume contest before showing our Big Damn Movie Serenity! Doors open at 6:00 and we encourage you to arrive early and enjoy food and drink with your fellow Browncoats. Movie will start at 8:00 p.m. after we have had our traditional costume contest and raffle! Advance tickets, on sale through ETIX, are strongly encouraged. This event has Sold Out the last several years in advance.”


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.”

NEW: August 20 (Sunday) 10 am to 5 pm — Charlotte Comicon‘s summer show at the Concord Convention Center.


September 5 — NC author book release day for Uncanny by Wilmington author David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow Press).

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.”

NEW: 23 (Saturday) — Crystal Coast Con in Cape Carteret, NC. “We are Eastern North Carolina’s premier Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention. The Sci-Fi, fantasy and gaming experience will be a one day wondrous event held on September 23, 2017. Door prizes, fanboy flair, costume contests, very special sci-fi vendors and give-aways galore will prove a good time for all! From celebrity guests, to great Sci-Fi food and drinks, to special secret side shows, the Crystal Coast Con is getting better every year, so the Seventh Annual Con should blow you out of your socks.” Guests include Denise Crosby (“Tasha Yar”), Kris Holden-Ried (“Dyson”, “Sir William Compton”), Rick Mora (“Ephraim Black”), and more.


NEW: October 5 (Thursday) 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.”

October 27-29 (Friday to Sunday) — Military science fiction convention HonorCon 2017 at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown. “Join us as the 5th year of HonorCon Celebrates The Royal Manticoran Navy’s Tenth year Anniversary!” Guests include David Weber, Marko Kloos, Chris Kennedy, and Larry Correia.


NEW: November 10-12 (Friday to Sunday) — NC Comicon Bull City at the Durham Convention Center.


NEW: January 12-14 (Friday to Sunday) — Illogicon at the Embassy Suites RDU with author guest of honor Alyssa Wong.

APRIL 2017

NEW: April 17-19 (Tuesday to Thursday) — East Coast Game Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center.

– END –

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