ConTemporal 2014: Day One

ConTemporal 2014 is underway, and there’s even more mood-setting decorations throughout the hotel, music playing, costumes everywhere. Here’s a few photos, including of the massively expanded high tea room:

It wouldn't be a NC sf convention without Allen Wold, here looking quite dapper. Be warned: he's carrying a badge.

It wouldn’t be a NC sf convention without Allen Wold, here looking quite dapper. Be warned: he’s carrying a badge.

I admit it. I jumped just a little bit when this little trike's animatronic motors kicked into life.

I admit it. I jumped just a little bit when this little trike’s animatronic motors kicked into life.

Luckily for all concerned, this guy doesn't move.

Luckily for all concerned, this guy doesn’t move.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Quick Updates: ConCarolinas, The Manly Wade Wellman Award, Carolina Book Beat, MakerFaire, and more

Friday, May 30, 2014: Whew! A sold-out ConCarolinas is upon us, and quite a few folks are heading to Charlotte to see George R.R. Martin, Tommy Lee Edwards, Faith Hunter, David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Misty Massey, and too many others to list. I’ll see people bright and early on Saturday at the 9 AM Breakfast and Books panel — do bring some “show and tell” for the new books you’d like to recommend!

Meanwhile, nominating ballots have finally started going out (and coming back in) for the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award. Due to delays getting this first year set up, the nomination period has been extended through Friday, June 13, so there’s still time to register and make your voice heard.

In other news, I’ve finally made it easier (i.e. not “in person”) to sign-up to the monthly Bull Spec Newsletter. There’s still some bits to take care of (putting the form on the site, Facebook, etc.) but hopefully this lets people discover and sign-up (and unsubscribe etc.) more painlessly going forward.

Lastly, if I survive ConCarolinas (please, nobody invite George R.R. Martin to officiate any weddings of any kind) this weekend, on Monday morning at 10 AM I’ll be hosting  Carolina Book Beat with guest Monica Byrne for an on-air/Internet radio interview on WCOM-FM. Later on in June? Plenty, from Maker Faire NC next weekend through ConTemporal to close out the month. See you out and about!


PS: Here’s the latest event flyer and the next week of upcoming events:



JUNE 2014

2 (Monday) 6:30 pm — James Maxey and Nathan Kotecki’s “First Monday Classics” series at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough continues with Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, with guest panelist Edmund Schubert. More info:

4 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Asheville’s Malaprop’s Bookstore hosts Durham author Monica Byrne for her debut post-apocalyptic novel The Girl in the Road. More info:

4 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm — At Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall, the North Carolina Symphony presents “Video Games Live: Bonus Round”, a new show building off the success of last year’s “Video Games Live”. This one features MegaMan, Silent Hill 2, Metroid, Shadow of the Colossus, Journey, God of War, Mass Effect, StarCraft II, Dota 2, Beyond Good & Evil, Destiny, Final Fantasy, and Warcraft. “Call 919.733.2750 and mention the promo code PLAYNOW to buy your tickets for $48 (regularly $65).” More info:

6-22 — Raleigh Little Theatre presents Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” at Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. “ A novelist invites an eccentric medium and clairvoyant to his house to conduct a séance for research for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his temperamental first wife.” More info:

7 (Saturday) — Maker Faire North Carolina at the NC Fairgrounds Exhibition Center. More info:

Carolina Book Beat preview: Gray Rinehart, Lex Wilson, and Jen McConnel

Monday, April 28, 2014: Today’s speculative fiction focus on Carolina Book Beat (WCOM 103.5 FM and online, 10 AM Eastern Time) is a special 2-hour episode! I’m very excited about this one as we really have a fantastic show planned.

Gray Rinehart is an editor, author, and musician — and if everything goes as planned he’ll be performing live in the studio from his new album Truth and Lies and Make-Believe. We’ll also talk about some of his short stories (such as “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curveballs”) and some “deeclassified” stories from his work as “Slushmaster General” for Baen Books, where he is a contract editor reading unsolicited novel manuscript submissions.

Gray Rinehart presents Truths & Lies & Make-Believe

Lex Wilson is a writer and actor, award-winning in both comic book scripting (an Eagle Award for “The Time of Reflection”) and short fiction (a Writers of the Future winner for “Vestigial Girl”) with TV roles including “Revolution” and (along with Gray and myself, who have bit parts) in Baen Books’ forthcoming radioplay adaptation (by Tony Daniel) of Eric Flint’s novella “Islands”.

And Jen McConnel is an author of the new adult novel The Secret of Isobel Key (out from Bloomsbury Spark) and most recently of Daughter of Chaos, a young adult novel just released from Month9Books.


I’m looking forward to it!

UPDATE: The episode podcast is now live!

2014 East Coast Game Conference, Day 1

April 23, 2014, Durham, NC: Thanks to a generous last-minute press pass, I had a chance to stop by day one of ECGC – the East Coast Game Conference – this morning at the Raleigh Convention Center. I’ve been to a half-dozen? conventions of various kinds (science fiction, health and fitness, anime, etc.) at this venue and each has taken advantage of the space in different ways. Here, the ECGC is well-laid-out, with branding stickers on the (many!) glass-surfaced entrances into the convention space and plenty of room and people to handle registration without fuss or backups.

IMG_6789 IMG_6790

After registering I headed straight for the Expo, which starts as an in-hallway affair before expanding into the Expo Hall Proper. Here, schools pitch their programs and specialties and game companies pitch both their projects and open positions as well as their engines and platforms. In the hall, the two which most caught my eye — though “swag of the day” goes to the Magic 8-ball from Insomniac Games — were Wake Tech’s Simulation and Game Development program as well as a “Goat Simulator” game showcasing Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine. Getting hands-on with the goat simulator, I was encouraged to perform a backflip, but instead got carried away with running my goat forward for a hard stop to force a pretty nice “skid stop” animation; this eventually led to darting my goat out of an alley and into a street just in time to be killed and thump-thump-thump run-over by a very large truck. (I think I earned some bonus points, somehow, for this spectacular method of demise.) Read the rest of this entry »

Whispersync Deal Roundup: Night Shade Books, the Baen Free Library, and The Shambling Guide to New York City


There’s actually a significantly large number of local and regional authors in this roundup of ebook/audiobook deals:

Originally posted on The AudioBookaneers:

Thursday, February 27, 2014: I didn’t see a particular Kindle Daily Deal title to feature today, so I’ll take the time to write up a few more “general” cases. First up, because I understand this to be a limited time offer (though my inquiries as to how long have not yet made it through the aether and spam filter and inbox queue yet, or, most likely, didn’t look to be worth answering) is from Night Shade Books , which has put a pretty sizable crop of its titles on sale. (BUT WHERE IS MY JM McDERMOTT ? MY KAMERON HURLEY ? MY ELI MONPRESS ?! NIGHT SHADE BOOKS I ASK YOU. Er. Sorry. I now return you to our regularly scheduled program.)

I mentioned Teresa Frohock’s Miserere: An Autumn Tale in my last big roundup of Whispersync deals, and it’s still on sale for $2.99, plus a $3.99 upgrade to…

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The Latest from Carolina Book Beat


The podcast for my talk a week ago with Tommy Lee Edwards on Carolina Book Beat is up!

Originally posted on Carolina Book Beat:


Vandroid by Tommy Lee Edwards (broadcast 2-3-2014) After studying film and illustration at the Art Center College of Design, Tommy Lee Edwards took the comics industry by storm with his illustrations on such titles as The Question, Marvel 1985, Batman, and Turf (with co-creator Jonathan Ross).  Proving to be one of the most respected and versatile artists working today, he has also designed the video games  Command and Conquer, James Bond, and Prey. 

Beyond illustrating countless pieces for books, merchandise, magazines, and posters, Tommy perhaps feels most at home putting his imagination and storytelling flare to the test as a conceptual designer, storyboard artist, and director for film.  He’s collaborated with the Hughes Brothers as the concept artist on their Denzel Washington epic The Book of Eli, and has also contributed to the design of many productions including Akira, Masters of the Universe, Harry Potter, Superman Returns, Star…

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Carolina Book Beat preview: Tommy Lee Edwards

So tomorrow morning (Monday, Feb 3, 10 AM) I’ll be talking with illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards on Carolina Book Beat on WCOM-FM. It’s the first time we’ve tried an illustrator as a guest, so I wanted to put up some links to visual aids here before the show.

We’re mainly planning to talk about his forthcoming Vandroid project(s) which include a short film [with trailer], a soundtrack, and, set for a late February release, the first of five monthly issues of a comic book series. What is Vandroid? Well… it purports to be a “lost” 1980s sci-fi action movie about an advanced AI which inhabits … a high-end conversion van. There’s an extensive preview up at Crave Online, and you can already pre-order issues both in the US and the UK.

The lost 1980's movie turf_195556_20100711182658_large

I’m also hoping to talk about Tommy’s previous mini-series, the Jonathan Ross-authored Turf, “set in 1920s Prohibition-era New York and featuring period typical gangsters alongside vampires and aliens.” As well as some of his other work, such as his striking concept art for The Book of Eli and the award-winning “The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator”, and his growing involvement with NC Comicon.

You can explore Tommy’s work at his website, or check out the (not 100% complete, but pretty good) databases of his comic work at Comic Book DB (Penciller, Inker, Colorist, Cover Artist) and ISFDB (cover art and interior art for prose books).

Book Harvest collecting children’s book donations on Monday for their annual MLK drive

On Monday, January 20, 2014, from 1 to 4 pm, Book Harvest is having a children’s book drive at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. “10,000 Books for Kids (10KBK) is Book Harvest’s annual community-wide book drive on MLK Day and a celebration of diversity, literacy, and book ownership for all kids.  Help us bring in 10,000 books in a single afternoon! Everyone! Round up your new and gently used children’s books – and those of your neighbors, friends, classmates, and coworkers – and bring them to us at the Carolina Theatre on the afternoon of MLK Day.  Working together, we can ensure that all our children have books! Durham Mayor Bill Bell will kick off the festivities at 1:00 p.m.  Also joining us will be: Wool E Bull; the Only Burger truck; musicians Matt Phillips and John Marshall; a pop-up store from Letters Bookshop; and local author “celebrity volunteers”, including Sarah Dessen, Daniel Wallace, Randall Kenan, Stephanie Greene, John Stanley, j.j. Johnson, Kristyn Kusek Lewis, Frances O’Roark Dowell, and John Claude Bemis.” [Facebook event]


The Odyssey Writing Workshop’s Summer Session

Another press release of interest to pass along. The key data bits here:

  • The program is held on Saint Anselm College’s beautiful campus in Manchester, NH; This summer’s workshop runs from JUNE 9 to JULY 18, 2014.
  • The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular admission deadline is APRIL 8.
  • This year’s writer in residence is Melanie Tem; Lecturers for the 2014 workshop include some of the best teachers in the field:  authors Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Alexander Jablokov; and editor Gordon Van Gelder.

So, yeah, if anyone wants to sponsor me… and create a clone to go to work for me that will totally not end up turning evil and trying to kill me and take over my life…


Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust


Clay and Susan Griffith’s “Tribute: Nelson Mandela” comic to be released this week

Via local writer Sharon Stogner, a press release of interest to pass along. Note that the writers on the project are Raleigh authors Clay and Susan Griffith:


Bluewater Productions is releasing a new tribute comic book biography on the iconic Nelson Mandela.  Tribute: Nelson Mandela is being released this week digitally and in print.


The 32-page comic book chronicles his life in pictures, one of the late 20-century’s most influential people.  The comic book is  written by Clay & Susan Griffith, illustrated by famed artist Pablo Martinena.

Nelson Mandela of South Africa is one of the most important figures of the last century. He was symbol of the struggle against racial and political oppression, and a model for sustaining that struggle with grace and decency. Born into an elite family of the Thembu people, Mandela could have had an elevated place under European control, but he chose a different route. He became a successful lawyer, political activist, national leader, fugitive guerrilla, and finally a prisoner of South Africa’s brutal white supremacist apartheid regime. Read the rest of this entry »


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