July newsletter: Paul Tremblay, Clay and Susan Griffith, John Scalzi, Michael Swanwick, the Oak City Comic Show, Kim Harrison, Christopher Moore, and the latest NC books and news

Vol 5 No 5. Saturday, July 25, 2015: From scifi films on the radio to this year’s Manly Wade Wellman Award, I’ve got a lot to get to in this newsletter. But first! Some upcoming event highlights:


  • July 26 (Sunday) 4 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Paul Tremblay discusses his novel A Head Full of Ghosts. “A chilling domestic drama that blends psychological suspense with a touch of modern horror from a new, brilliantly imaginative master.”
  • August 6 (Thursday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Vampire Empire authors Clay and Susan Griffith for their “Crown & Key” trilogy (The Shadow RevolutionThe Undying Legion, and The Conquering Dark).
  • August 12 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Hugo Award winning and bestselling author John Scalzi for his new novel The End of All Things, set in his Old Man’s War universe.
  • August 13 (Thursday) — “Noir at the Bar” at Durham’s 106 Main, with: Eric Beetner (CA), Steve Weddle (VA), Greg Barth (TN), Eryk Pruitt (DUR), SA Cosby (fantasy/crime from VA), and a local artist who is about to publish his first sci-fi crime novel, Geraud Staton.
  • August 13 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts NC poet and author Valerie Nieman for a reading from her new book of (sometimes speculative) poetry Hotel Worthy. Nieman is the author of Neena Gathering, a 1988 post-apocalyptic novel. Introduction by Richard Krawiec.
  • August 15 and 17 (Saturday and Monday) 7 pm — On Saturday August 15, Quail Ridge Books hosts Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winning author Michael Swanwick for his new “Darger and Surplus” novel Chasing the Phoenix. Swanwick will visit Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books on Monday August 17.
  • August 16 (Sunday) 10 am to 5 pm — Oak City Comic Show at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown with Tommy Lee Edwards, Richard Case, Dale Mettam, Jeremy Whitley, and much more.

As you can see we’ve got a pretty packed few weeks ahead, and there’s still more to come with September readings from Kim Harrison and Christopher Moore, and the next SFWA Southeast Reading series event on Thursday, September 17 with authors Gail Z. Martin, Alyssa Wong, Ursula Vernon, Delilah Dawson, and Monica Byrne. And! Though November is a long way off, tickets for a special Welcome to Night Vale: An evening with Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor & John Darnielle event on November 3 at Chapel Hill’s Varsity Theater are on sale at Flyleaf Books.

Speaking of Wong and Vernon, though, gives me an opportunity to segue over to awards news: Read the rest of this entry »

June newsletter: Darin Kennedy, Stacey Cochran, Karissa Laurel, Brian Posehn, “Noir at the Bar”, the Manly Wade Wellman Award nominees, and more

Vol 5 No 4. Saturday, June 6, 2015: Well, maybe this is turning into a bimonthly thing instead of monthly, as I didn’t manage a newsletter in May, either. Since late April we’ve seen plenty of local writers have stories, books, and audiobooks published, added a pile of new events to the upcoming readings calendar, and! found out this year’s nominees for The Manly Wade Wellman Award.

As usual, let’s start with some highlights from events that are right around the corner:

June 7 (Sunday) 2 pm -- Flyleaf Books hosts Darin Kennedy for his paranormal thriller The Mussorgsky Riddle. June 18 (Thursday) 6:30 pm -- Noir at the Bar with Nathan Ballingrud, David Terrenoire, John Saunders, Eryk Pruitt, Eric B. Martin, Jeremy Hawkins, Bryan Gilmer, and more, at 106 Main in Durham.

  • June 6 (Saturday) 8:15 pm — Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater presents the last performance in the opening run of the world premiere adaptation of Nick Cave’s Australian/Southern Gothic/cult novel And the Ass Saw the Angel.
  • June 7 (Sunday) 2 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Darin Kennedy discusses his paranormal thriller The Mussorgsky Riddle. “Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind.”
  • June 13 (Saturday) 11 am to 2 pm — Raleigh’s Event Horizon Games hosts a multi-author book signing event for Garner-based publisher Red Adept along with publisher Lynn McNamee. Among those appearing will be local author Karissa Laurel, whose debut novel Midnight Burning is forthcoming from Red Adept.
  • June 13 (Saturday) 1 to 3 pm — Chapel Hill Comics hosts comedian and Deadpool comics writer Brian Posehn for an in-store signing.
  • June 18 (Thursday) 6:30 pm — Noir at the Bar with (among others) Nathan Ballingrud (The Visible Filth), Eryk Pruitt (Hashtag), Jeremy Hawkins (The Last Days of Video), and more, at 106 Main in Durham.

And there are more readings, panels, discussions, and even writing workshops going on next week — check the full listings below. But while I’m in “highlights” mode, how about a few picks from the newly listed events: Read the rest of this entry »

April newsletter: SFWA Southeast reading series kicks off April 24; lots of award news including Hugo, Tiptree, Gemmell, and Wellman updates; and! in May: Mary Robinette Kowal and Marie Brennan visit Quail Ridge Books

Vol 5 No 3. Tuesday, April 21, 2015: No, you didn’t miss a newsletter in March; I did. We didn’t have too much going on in terms of readings, and then all of a sudden, every time I thought I was about ready to send out the newsletter, another huge piece of news would roll in, or a new event would come across the wire, and here we are mid-April with all kinds of fantastic things coming right up! Let’s start with what’s on the immediately upcoming EVENTS calendar:

sfwa-southeast-2015-04-08-page001-vertical-logo The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent, #3)

  • April 24 (Friday) 7 pm — The SFWA Southeast Reading Series presents a panel on science fiction and technology with authors Mark Van Name, Mur Lafferty, Richard Dansky, Jay Posey, Justin Achilli, and (via Skype) Tiffany Trent, moderated by M. David Blake, hosted by Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at The Edge, on the first floor of Duke University’s Bostock Library. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. [Facebook]
  • April 25 (Saturday) 2 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts the book release party for Samantha Bryant’s “menopausal superhero novel” Going Through the Change.
  • April 25-26 (Saturday and Sunday) — Chapel Hill’s Storybook Farm hosts The 4th Annual Festival of Legends: Spirit Animals. “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.”
  • May 15-17 (Friday to Sunday) — Durham Central Park hosts Read Local Book Festival & Exhibitor Fair. “This weekend-long event takes place May 15-17, 2015 and will feature a kick-off Cookbook Rodeo, writing workshops, author dinners, a daytime exhibition in Durham Central Park, children’s activities, local celebrities reading outside their comfort zones, a lightning reading open mic event, and much more. Come celebrate reading local with us!” A buffet of authors dinner with Mur Lafferty, Monica Byrne, James Maxey, and Clay and Susan Griffith is set for May 16th.
  • May 18 (Monday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Mary Robinette Kowal & Marie Brennan – Historical Fantasy Reigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the first and last bullets in that list. On the first, it’s a big deal to be launching the third regional SFWA reading series (after the Pacific Northwest and Southern California series) and Jaym Gates has put together a fantastic panel of authors to kick things off. On the second, any time Kowal comes “home” to Raleigh is cause for excitement, and we’re in for an extra special treat this time as her frequent co-book-tour-partner Brennan is making the trip as well. In between, we’ve got an exciting local book launch, the annual Festival of Legends, and a new local book festival. Not too shabby, eh? Read the rest of this entry »

February newsletter: Monica Byrne, Zine Machine, Oak City Comics Show, Wake County Library’s “Let’s Talk Sci-Fi” series, James Maxey named Piedmont Laureate, Read Across Durham, new books, news, and more

Vol 5 No 2. February 16, 2015: Well, the month is half over and the ice storm is here, so no time like the present to finally get the February newsletter out, right? I’ve got some news, upcoming events, and the monthly avalanche of new books to tell you about, so let’s get started.


First, while there is still a lot of seasoning left in this year’s award season, NC authors have already been on the receiving end of a long and lengthening list of nods. The 2014 Locus Recommended Reading List includes Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road in its First Novel list, as well Lewis Shiner’s novella “The Black Sun” and novelettes from both Dale Bailey (“The End of the End of Everything”, easily one of my favorite short reads of the year) and Nathan Ballingrud (“Skullpocket”), not to mention bullspec.com columnist Paul Kincaid for his non-fiction collection Call and Response. Speaking of Byrne, The Girl in the Road is also on the shortlist for the Kitschies Award’s Golden Tentacle award for best debut; meanwhile Bailey has another short story, “Sleep Paralysis”, on the Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot which also lists Boone author Scott Nicholson’s young adult novel Intentional Haunting. And! The audiobook of Charlotte author A.J. Hartley’s novel (with David Hewson) Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is an Audie Award nominee for best Original Work.

 Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel | [A. J. Hartley, David Hewson] The End of the End of Everything DALE BAILEY illustration by VICTO NGAI (Tor.com)

This year’s Manly Wade Wellman Award last month announced the opening of its nominations period, which continues through Monday, May 18. The nominating “jury” is comprised of the entire combined memberships of illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, and ConGregate; to register to place a nominating ballot, please submit a voter registration form; ballots have already gone out to all voters already registered. Last year’s inaugural award was in the news in late 2014 and early 2015, with articles in The Chapel Hill NewsThe Durham News, and The News & Observer. Read the rest of this entry »

January newsletter: illogiCon preview, Kickstarter roundups, and Manly Wade Wellman Award coverage

Vol 5 No 1. January 3, 2015: Happy New Year! Since the November/December newsletter, we’ve had some fantastic events, seen a pile of new books and audiobooks, and! remembered that Bull Spec turned 5 years old in early November as well.

Let’s start with a bit of an illogiCon preview, as in just less than a week the convention will open on Friday with a 3 pm Opening Ceremonies, with guests of honor Jacqueline Carey and Christopher J Garcia, and a fantastic panel of local, regional, and further-afield authors, illustrators, and other creators, including new (to me at least!) guests Clay Gilbert, Garth Graham, Ray Haggerty, Chris Holmquist, Chris Kennedy, Cheralyn Lambeth, Ian J. Malone, Lynn McNamee (publisher of Garner-based Red Adept Publishing), Raulie Raulerson, Terri-Lynne Smiles, and Scott Smith and many familiar faces from across NC including Michael G. Williams, Jeremy Whitley, Mark Van Name, Fraser Sherman, Ed Schubert, Gray Rinehart, James Maxey, Misty Massey, Gail Z. Martin, Debra Killeen, John Kessel, J.L. Hilton, Clay and Susan Griffith (who have four novels coming out in 2015!), Tera Fulbright, Bill Ferris, Richard Dansky, Tony Daniel, Betty Cross, Ada Milenkovic Brown, Natania Barron, and more. Throughout the weekend there’s plenty of panels and readings, as well as a film festival, a Mikey Mason performance, a Nerdvana show, the dealer’s room, and more to explore as well.


Quite a few of that last big list of names are included in the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award preliminary eligibility list announcement and already a few updates are in ahead of the final eligibility list’s announcement at illogiCon. Unfortunately several of those updates weren’t in time to make the Carolina Book Beat podcast episode focusing on the list, but if you want to hear a one-minute description of each of the 80 or so books, there you go. Speaking of Carolina Book Beat, Mur Lafferty and I talked with Ursula Vernon at length about her Danny Dragonbreath books and her writing for adults as T. Kingfisher on the previous episode.

Next, since time is of the essence for these, I wanted to roundup some ongoing local- and regional-interest Kickstarter campaigns: Read the rest of this entry »

November newsletter: Garth Stein and NC Specualtive Fiction Night, and (in December) Julia Elliott and Fred Chappell

Vol 4. No 11. November 19, 2014: Whew! Already this month has seen William Gibson at Motorco and NC Comicon at the Durham Convention Center, and there’s more yet in store with Garth Stein at Quail Ridge Books (tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 20) and with the return of the NC Speculative Fiction Night reading series this Saturday (Nov. 22) with “From the Trenches to the Stars” featuring military science fiction (War Stories, The Savior) and interstellar fantasy (Enoch the Traveler). Then in December we’ll be treated to visits by Julia Elliott (The Wilds, Friday December 5 at The Regulator) and Fred Chappell (Familiars, at Quail Ridge Books, Flyleaf Books, and The Regulator).

More on these and other events in the listings below, but first, a big pile of news and links to send your way:

 Purgatory Pub (Book 2)'s video poster

  • Stacey Cochran’s novel Eddie & Sunny has been featured in the Kindle Scout program all month, continuing through November 27, with reader votes determining whether it will receive a $1,500 advance and publishing contract: “Eddie and Sunny have never had much of value in life, save for each other’s love. For months they’ve lived in a car with their young son. A tragedy on the road one night turns the couple into fugitives of the law, separates them, and eventually leads each to believe that the other has died and all hope is lost.” The listing has remained marked “hot” and I wish Cochran the best of luck!
  • Speaking of luck, Gabe Dunston (who art designed Bull Spec #7 and #8) might need a little bit, as his Kickstarter campaign for Purgatory Pub Book 2 is about $1200 short of his goal, with 6 days to go. “This project will only be funded if at least$3,500 is pledged by Tue, Nov 25 2014 11:59 PM EST.” Book one is fantastic, which you might have had a chance to hear about if I’d configured my microphone correctly when trying to video review it, and he really does come through for his backers, as this time lapse video demonstrates.
  • M. David Blake has issued a call for submissions to the next Campbellian Anthology, so if your first professional publication was in 2014 or 2013, let him know! Meanwhile, his anthology STRAEON is imminent, and! he’s announced the reprint sale of “Absinthe Fish” (in Bull Spec #5 and on the Locus Award shortlist) to Rose Lemberg for An Alphabet of Embers. Congrats!
  • Speaking of congrats, Cynthia Sheppard (cover illustrator for Bull Spec #8, a Chesley Award finalist) just unveiled her second cover illustration for Tor Books, for Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory, due out in February 2015.
  • Speaking of covers, Gail Z. Martin asks: “Have you seen the new cover for War of Shadows — the 3rd book in my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga with Blaine McFadden?”
  • Mur Lafferty announced the completion of Afterlife VI: Stones. Meanwhile, her Ghost Train to New Orleans podcast continues as well.
  • Speaking of Mur, she and I interviewed James Maxey about his new novel Bad Wizard for Carolina Book Beat.
  • Eryk Pruitt announced the publication date and cover art for his next crime novel, Hashtag, due in Spring 2015 from 280 Steps.
  • Speaking of crime novels, Nathan Ballingrud’s The Visible Filth is up for pre-order from This Is Horror.
  • A new local arts website has launched, www.raleighartsplan.com which asks: “We need to hear from all citizens on how you want to live creatively and how that can shape Raleigh as the Southern Capital of Arts and Culture.”

Read the rest of this entry »

October Newsletter: A Night of Local Horror, HonorCon, and (in November) William Gibson, NC Comicon, and NC Speculative Fiction Night

Vol 4. No 10. October 27, 2014: Well, this newsletter is coming quite a bit late in the month, but we’ve got plenty to show for it, both in the rear-view and coming up in late October and early November including visits from Timothy Zahn, John Barrowman, and William Gibson, and! the first NC Speculative Fiction Night event in quite a while. First, a quick look at some highlighted upcoming events:

Tuesday, Oct 28, Motorco Music Hall hosts "A Night of Local Horror" featuring 10 local short films. 7 pm. 

Tuesday, October 28, Durham’s Motorco Music Hall hosts A Night of Local Horror [Facebook] featuring 10 short horror films from local authors including the local premiere of “Disengaged,” the follow-up to FOODIE and the world premiere of Roger Paris’ “The Vampire”. Tickets are $5 and the doors open at 6 pm.

October 31 through November 2, sf convention HonorCon in Raleigh with guests David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Keith DeCandido, and Emmett Plant. “Celebrating Military Science Fiction Literature and Honor Harrington’s 21st Birthday.” At the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown. Per a Facebook update, “Ticket Sales have been extended through Sunday, October 26th until 11:30pm! There is still time to get your tickets, so sign up! We have David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Keith DeCandido, and some people from Baen books who will be bringing up the Baen Road Show!”


Read the rest of this entry »


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