Nick Mamatas is no stranger to writing whatever he wants, damn the torpedoes. And as Mamatas writes here about his latest novel — the Trotskyist/Crowley/Long Island noir Love is the Law — for “The Hardest Part”, writing can be the easy part. “If there was any difficulty in writing the novel at all, it was in writing the book so that it could end up in a bookstore somewhere.”
THE HARDEST PART: Love is the Law
By Nick Mamatas:
Actually, writing Love is the Law was pretty easy.
I’m not the kind of writer, or reader, who falls for the well-worn trick of a single-sentence paragraph, but there you go. It was a breeze.
It was a breeze. Read the rest of this entry »
Whew. Even though I’ve been updating the 2013 book preview during the course of the year, there were still quite a few things I learned about only recently here in late 2013, and of course plenty I missed ahead of time and during the year. So! Like I’ve done in 2012, 2011, and 2010…, here is my run-down of 2013 in regional science fiction and fantasy, and as always, let me know of the (likely many) omissions and errors, and! in a first this year, come by the 2013 Bull Spec regional author holiday book expo on Saturday, December 7, at Durham’s Atomic Empire from 3 pm to 8 pm, where a score of the authors below will be gathered to personalize books, chat, and there will also be comics, books, games, collectibles, and indeed beer on hand as well. And! The trusty Underwood manual typewriter which has made a few appearances over the years will be in attendance for a special community holiday fiction project. Enjoy!
The Office of Mercy: A Novel by Ariel Djanikian (Viking Adult and Tantor Audio, February 21) — Debut novel for this new Chapel Hill author, recommended for readers who have aged up from The Hunger Games and are looking for something just a bit more meaty. “Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure, The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction. Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five—a high-tech, underground, utopian settlement where hunger and money do not exist, everyone has a job, and all basic needs are met. But when her mentor and colleague, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s allegiances to home, society, and above all to Jeffrey are tested. She is forced to make a choice that may put the people she loves most in grave danger and change the world as she knows it.” (Chapel Hill)
Friday Quick Updates: Local Black Friday and Small Business Saturday alternatives; another Carolina Book Beat focus on local sf on Monday; and the latest on the regional author holiday book expo next Saturday!Posted: 29 November, 2013
Friday November 29, 2013: While I’m probably somewhere in between the sentiment offered by Shimmer and the most commercial of line-up offerings at the big box stores, I did want to send out a roundup of what’s going on this weekend, along with some other news.
Friday Quick Updates: MACE, Chapel Hill Comics hosts Ed Piskor, and 3 days remain to kickstart Purgatory PubPosted: 15 November, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013: All recovered from NC Comicon last weekend? While in the Triangle the sole event this weekend is the Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family Tree) Chapel Hill Comics signing on Saturday, for folks further West, Steve Long is among those heading to MACE, “The Carolinas’ Best Gaming Con”, in Charlotte this weekend, which boasts Paizo Publishing’s Jason Bulmahn along with a trio from Pinnacle Entertainment Group as its guests of honor, and also involves Davey Beauchamp, so there is a high likelihood of some manner of shenanigans.
Meanwhile in local news, Mur Lafferty’s novel The Shambling Guide to New York City was nominated for Best Urban Fantasy Novel of 2013 by RT Book Reviews! and! in news that should delight both fans of Princeless and My Little Pony, local writer Jeremy Whitley was tabbed to write issue 2 of new 2014 IDW title My Little Pony: Friends Forever. More details: “(W) Jeremy Whitley (A) Tony Fleecs (CA) Amy Mebberson — The Cutie Mark Crusaders have done everything they can think of to get their cutie marks. But there’s one creature of chaos who might have some ideas they would never think of… Discord! When our pint-sized heroines start working with the unpredictable trickster, the results are bound to get unusual! Will Ponyville be able to survive their friendship? In Shops 2/14. Preorder in December!”
Lastly, there’s just 3 days to go in Bull Spec art director Gabe Dunston’s Kickstarter for his graphic novel Purgatory Pub, and he’s just $800 short of his $3500 goal. I’ve had the chance to work with Gabe on a few projects now, and this guy:
Is a guy you can trust to deliver the goods as promised. Best of luck, Gabe, in pushing over the finish line, and I look forward to checking out book one!
UPCOMING EVENTS, NOVEMBER 2013
15-17 (Friday to Sunday) — MACE, “The Carolinas’ Best Gaming Con”, in Charlotte this weekend, which boasts Paizo Publishing’s Jason Bulmahn along with a trio from Pinnacle Entertainment Group as its guests of honor, and also involves Davey Beauchamp, so there is a high likelihood of some manner of shenanigans.
16 (Saturday) 6-9 pm — Chapel Hill Comics hosts Ed Piskor for a signing of his newest graphic novel Hip Hop Family Tree: Volume 1. More info: http://www.chapelhillcomics.com/content/?p=3259
22 (Friday) — UNC’s Morehead Planetarium hosts a science education benefit, The Jupiter Ball. “The Jupiter Ball is a benefit gala for Morehead Planetarium and Science Center supporting science education for North Carolina schoolchildren. We are thrilled to announce that Dr. William E. Thornton, North Carolina’s first astronaut, will be our honored guest for the 2013 Jupiter Ball. As a member of the Skylab support crew, a veteran of two space flights on the shuttle Challenger and a holder of more than 35 patents, Dr. Thornton fully understands the importance of inspiration and innovation.” More info: http://moreheadplanetarium.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&filename=jupiter_ball.html
24 (Sunday) — Quail Ridge Books hosts Elizabeth Langston – ‘Whisper Falls’.
[As always check the latest newsletter for the full list of events and such.]
Monday miscellany: call for winter short stories for charity; the Odyssey workshop announces winter classes; and the Piedmont Laureate Program seeks candidates for its short fiction awardPosted: 11 November, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013: Here I’m just going to put out three unrelated things that I’ve been meaning to write about but just haven’t found the time or space to do so.
1. TRIANGLE RADIO READING SERVICE ISSUES CALL FOR LOCAL WRITERS WINTER STORIES
First, and this one’s a long, long time in coming, with a hat tip to Pete Wood for sending along this call for stories, on behalf of Triangle Radio Reading Service:
Triangle Radio Reading Service is planning a “Local Writers’ Christmas/Winter Stories” program. Our readers are all volunteers; our listeners are all print-and-visually-impaired. Stories must be twenty minutes or less and “for some reason appropriate to be read on or about December 25.” Multiple one-hour episodes with be recorded and aired one or more times on-and-around December 25. Writers must be willing to allow stories to be read this year and in the future.Send stories to (or address questions to) firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the service at trianglereadingservice.org.
I know there’s quite a few local folks with stories of this nature, so if anyone’s interested, please contact Kurt at TRRS. I did send some of my own questions to Kurt on 5/28 about deadlines and also previously podcast stories and he promptly got back to me, at which time I promptly neglected to do anything further with them:
Addressing your questions:
1. Deadlines: I can start collecting stories now and can continue to collect until the end of November. At that point, I should be “calling it” and determining just how many stories we have, thereby establishing how many shows I can put together.
2. Previously recorded stories: Yes! It would certainly save time and trouble on this end. I listened to the link you sent, however, and I would want to ask permission to edit some of the “extraneous” information before inserting such a story into one of our shows. We normally just have the reader’s name and that of the author. Information to share with potential contributors: We will be broadcasting each show that I “cobble-together” one or more times during the month of December. They will also be available in podcast. And we do re-broadcast holiday programs in following years. Examples of previous Christmas Story programs (note that these are not “local originals”):
Other podcasts of ours are here: http://www.ibiblio.org/trrs/
I know I’m planning to beg Tina Connolly to lend her reading of my own Bad Elf for this, which I hope there’s still time to squeeze in.
2. ODYSSEY WRITING WORKSHOPS CHARITABLE TRUST ANNOUNCES WINTER 2014 ONLINE CLASSES
Second, the folks at the Odyssey Writing Workshop wrote to announce their Winter 2014 online classes, adding that “Odyssey’s winter 2014 courses focus on key issues for writers”. Here they are in brief:
- Powerful Dialogue in Fantastic Fiction — Course Meets: January 2 – 30, 2014; Instructor: Jeanne Cavelos; Application Deadline: December 7, 2013
- The Heart of the Matter: Bringing Emotional Resonance to Your Storytelling — Course Meets: January 6 – February 3, 2014; Instructor: Barbara Ashford; Application Deadline: December 10, 2013
- The Secrets of a Satisfying Short Story — Course Meets: January 23 – February 20, 2014; Instructor: Nancy Holder; Application Deadline: December 27, 2013
3. PIEDMONT LAUREATE PROGRAM SEEKS CANDIDATES FOR ITS SHORT FICTION AWARD
Lastly, the NC Laureate folks wrote to let me know that “The Piedmont Laureate program is accepting applications from writers of short fiction to serve as the 2014 Piedmont Laureate. Would you be kind enough to help us spread the word? Authors must be residents of Wake, Alamance, Durham or Orange counties. The selected Piedmont Laureate will serve from March 1 to December 31, 2014. Laureate activities include presenting readings and workshops, encouraging creative writing and promoting literature at public events. Typical appearances last between twenty minutes and one hour. Honorarium: $6,500. Application Deadline: January 9, 2014.“
Guidelines and Application: http://piedmontlaureate.com/guidelinesapplication.html
Piedmont Laureate website: www.piedmontlaureate.com
I know John Claude Bemis has enjoyed his turn as the Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Fiction; here’s hoping that the area gets a fantastic representative among its collection of fantastic short fiction writers for this posting.
A very happy release day indeed to Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss!
“This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.”
I’ve collected a nice slate of excerpts and highlights and early reviews and appreciations and other materials about the book, and today the book’s official companion website, WonderbookNow.com, launched with a Welcome to Wonderbooknow.com post, along with an extensive selection of web extras, exercies, interviews, and (something I’ve been looking forward to in particular) an editors roundtable which presents the same story manuscript “marked up” by eight fantastic editors: Paula Guran, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Liz Gorinsky, James Patrick Kelly, Nick Mamatas, Ann VanderMeer, and Sheila Williams. And! There’s a Facebook page with links and images to flip through and enjoy as well. More? Of course. There’s already a review up on the book’s Goodreads page, and! Tor.com has a giveaway sweepstakes with 10 (TEN!) signed copies. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday, August 30, 2013: Wow, what a week. Readings from Wilton Barnhardt, Marisha Pessl, Jason Mott, and (last night) Richard Kadrey, and now it seems the area is emptying of its creative critical mass as people head variously to DragonCon (Clay and Susan Griffith, Gail Z. Martin, Natania Barron, Laura Haywood-Cory, AJ Hartley, Gray Rinehart, Glennis LeBlanc, Davey Beauchamp, John Hartness, Jay Requard, and Bull Spec’s own The Exploding Spaceship, Gerald and Angela Blackwell, among many others), WorldCon (Mur Lafferty, up for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, John Kessel, Mark Van Name, and Warren Buff, among others), and PAX (Richard Dansky among others). If you’re out at one of these conventions, check your programs!
Meanwhile there’s been a huge amount of local and regional publishing news to share:
- I missed seeing this last month, and now need to scramble to pick up an August issue of Asimov’s which includes a new novelette, Stone to Stone, Blood to Blood by Durham author Gwendolyn Clare — Asimov’s will also be publishing another local author, Raleigh’s Peter Wood, in an upcoming issue
- Southeastern NC author Mott’s The Returned was published on Tuesday, and it continues to collect great reviews and editor’s picks, most recently being named a 4-star “People’s Pick” from People Magazine
- Lauren Harris published Exorcising Aaron Nguyen (The Millroad Academy Exorcists) in ebook, available on Smashwords and in Kindle, among other places
- Angelic Knight Press published an anthology Manifesto UF with stories from a list of fantastic writers including NC author Teresa Frohock, along with fellow contributors Lucy A. Snyder, Jeff Salyards, William Meikle, Zachary Jernigan, Betsy Dornbusch, and more
- Tor Books released an all-original anthology Shadows of the New Sun which honors the work of Gene Wolfe; in the star-studded list of contributors (Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, David Brin, Nancy Kress, Michael Swanwick, Todd McCaffery, and Wolfe himself, among others) is Pittsboro author David Drake, with a new story “Bedding” — see an excerpt from the foreward and the table of contents posted at Tor.com
- Zack Smith, who does so much for the Triangle area’s creative community through his coverage at the Independent Weekly and other online venues — see his fantastic recent interview of Richard Kadrey — is the lead story writer in the new issue of the Regular Show comic book, #3, now out in stores from “Kaboom!” comics — check it out and then let Kaboom! know what you think via their contact form
- Gray Rinehart’s stories have been appearing with increasing regularity in places like Analog and Asimov’s, and his new filk album Truths and Lies and Make-Believe is out, both in digital and excellent-looking physical CD formats (cover design by Christopher Rinehart, using photo by Paul Cory, see below)
- The cover for Durham author Monica Byrne’s debut novel The Girl in the Road (Crown, May 2014) has been released (see below)
- And! the latest issue of The Blotter (“The South’s Unique, Free, International Literature and Arts Magazine”) is out, with stories and poetry and art and more, including a little Bull Spec independent bookstore events calendar spot
- UPDATE: And a new novella from Lewis Shiner, “Doctor Helios“, out in Subterranean Magazine
Whew! In terms of new upcoming events, I did add a few to the September newsletter, notably the September 9-15 Escapist Film Festival at The Carolina Theatre of Durham. Immediately upcoming, this Saturday (tomorrow) sees two of the Triangle’s best comics stores continue their month-long anniversary celebrations, with Ultimate Comics hosting an 11 am “memorial” service for “The Death of Ultimate Al” and Chapel Hill Comics hosting a joint signing event with Lisa Hanawalt and Brian Ralph from 6 to 9 pm.
Next week kicks off with Pittsboro author David Drake, who (1) will be interviewed at 10 am on Monday on Carolina Book Beat, (2) will be interviewed in the noon hour on Tuesday on WUNC’s The State of Things, and (3) launches his new Books of the Elements novel Monsters of the Earth on Tuesday night at the Cary Barnes & Noble. Then on Wednesday September 4th, Quail Ridge Books hosts Susan Cooper, the Newbury Medal Award winning author of The Dark is Rising series.
See you next week!
UPCOMING EVENTS, AUGUST 2013 Read the rest of this entry »
Friday Quick Updates: Shared Worlds authors in Asheville this weekend; Jay Posey (Tuesday); and next weekend’s Bull Spec Summer Speculative Fiction Reading!Posted: 26 July, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013: For those following along from nearer Asheville and points in the western half of North Carolina (and further) there’s a spectacular event this weekend (Sunday, July 28) at Asheville’s Malaprop’s Bookstore, featuring six sf/f authors: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shared Worlds Reading & Signing. Beginning at 3 pm, the event features Karen Lord, Robert V.S. Redick, Will Hindmarch, Nathan Ballingrud, and Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.
If those names seem familiar, which they should!, it’s nearly the same authorial lineup as next weekend’s Bull Spec Summer Speculative Fiction Reading, which adds Durham author Mur Lafferty (The Shambling Guide to New York City) and is at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books on Saturday, August 3, from 7 to 9 pm, followed by a reception at the Raleigh Review Writers’ Loft. I’ve been working pretty darned hard at getting the word out for this event, but can use all the help you can give me, whether it’s handing out event flyers (see below) or inviting your friends to the Facebook event or sharing the link, whatever you can come up with. Help wanted!
Between the two Shared Worlds events which neatly bookend both the region and the week, there are some other upcoming events as well (see below, please!) including Tuesday’s book launch signing at the B&N of Southpoint for Jay Posey’s post-apocalyptic debut novel Three and this Sunday’s “Can’t Stop the Serenity” charity screening of the Firefly movie, which is (once again) sold out in advance.
In addition to the long list of new events added to the long-term calendar last week (Susan Cooper! Emily Croy Barker! James Dashner!) There’s another pair of new late August events, as Fantasy writer Richard Kadrey discusses Kill City Blues, his latest Sandman Slim novel at Flyleaf Books on Thursday, August 29, and Chapel Hill Comics hosts a double-signing on Saturday, August 31 with Lisa Hanawalt and Brian Ralph.
UPCOMING EVENTS, JULY 2013
27 (Saturday) 8 pm – Urban Garden Performing Arts presents Richard Butner’s “Vogue Men’s Fashions” at 213 Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. More info at the Facebook event. “Vogue Men’s Fashions is not a play. It’s about a man who has come to 213 Fayetteville Street with a problem, a camera, and a lot of memories. Join him on his journey through a psychic landscape populated by Ewoks, turtles, and executioners. This show contains adult language and is recommended for mature audiences.”
28 (Sunday) — The annual NC Browncoats “Can’t Stop the Serenity” charity screening of Serenity at the Raleighwood Cinema Grill. Note that this is a ticketed event and tends to sell out completely in advance. More info: http://www.ncbrowncoats.com/2013/01/blog-post.html
30 (Tuesday) 7 to 9 pm — The Barnes & Noble of the Streets at Southpoint hosts Durham author Jay Posey for a “meet and greet” signing for his debut post-apocalyptic novel, Three. More info: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4468621
3 (Saturday) 3 pm — At the Durham County Library’s Main Branch (downtown, Roxboro St), children’s author, educator & musician, John Claude Bemis, the region’s 2013 Piedmont Laureate, will present a program celebrating the art of writing, including his traveling road show of fantasy for young readers, The Nine Pound Hammer, a magically folkloric retelling of the Legend of John Henry.
3 (Saturday) 7 to 9 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts the annual Bull Spec summer speculative fiction event. This year it is an absolutely fantastic lineup with Karen Lord, Nathan Ballingrud, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Robert V.S. Redick, and Will Hindmarch all coming up from the Shared Worlds Teen Writing Camp at Wofford College, being joined locally by Durham author Mur Lafferty. We had a blast hosting Ann and Jeff back in 2011 and it’s sure to be another great evening. And! From 9 pm to late, The Raleigh Review is hosting an after-reading “meet the authors” reception (also free and open to the public) at their Writers’ Loft. And! See below for more info on additional events with Karen Lord while she is in the Triangle area. More info: http://bullspec.com/2013/03/29/announcement-the-third-annual-bull-spec-summer-speculative-fiction-event/
4 (Sunday) 3 pm — The Orange County Library hosts Karen Lord for a meet the author event at its main branch in downtown Hillsborough. More info: http://engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=6923&EventID=177489
5 (Monday) 4 pm — The newly renovated Chapel Hill Library hosts Karen Lord for a “meet the author tea” event. Refreshments served at 3:30 pm ahead of the event. More info: http://chapelhillpubliclibrary.org/txp/?s=News&id=896
5 (Monday) 7 pm — Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books hosts Karen Lord for a reading and signing of her deep future anthropological sf novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds. More info: http://www.flyleafbooks.com/event/karen-lord-caribbean-speculative-fiction-bull-spec
Reminder: Jenna Black at Flyleaf Books and Lydia Netzer at Quail Ridge Books tomorrow, Thursday, July 25Posted: 24 July, 2013
As I mentioned in the last Friday Quick Update, tomorrow (Thursday, July 25) sees two readings of note in the Triangle area; pick one and head out! (Because picking both would be hard…)
First up, at 7 pm: Flyleaf Books hosts local author Jenna Black for her new novel Replica, first in a new series set in near-future NYC. More info: http://www.flyleafbooks.com/event/jenna-black-discusses-replica
Next, at 7:30 pm: Quail Ridge Books hosts author Lydia Netzer for the new paperback edition of Shine Shine Shine. More info: http://www.quailridgebooks.com/event/lydia-netzer-shine-shine-shine
Black has been doing a blog tour, and recently authored a guest post on her publisher’s Tor/Forge blog, “Identity Crisis”, concerning her new novel. Check it out: http://torforge.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/identity-crisis/