Tonight! “Winter Tales” in Hillsborough!

This evening (Thursday, Dec 13) at 6 pm the Orange County Main Library in downtown Hillsborough will host the storytelling event of the winter season, “Winter Tales” [Facebook], featuring original stories, poetry, and songs composed for the event by five local authors. (Along with cookies and hot cider!)

“Join authors Mur Lafferty, Alex Granados, Gray Rinehart, Becca Gomez Farrell and James Maxey for an celebration of the holiday season with original stories, poetry, and song.”


Friday Quick Updates: Nov 9th

First, this is something I’ve been meaning to talk more at length about all week: Raleigh journalist Zack Smith’s first published comic “The Stars Below” just hit digital shelves, with art by Portland artist Rich Ellis:

Zack first showed this to me over a year ago, and right away I was blown away by this powerful and actually moving story, told without words from a pigeon’s perspective in New York. I’m very glad it is out for a wider audience. It’s just a buck from Comixology, and of the list of impressive reviews he’s already accumulated, here’s one I think which takes the cake: “Here is the quintessential New York survivor’s story, told with warmth, humor and vibrancy.  And there’s even a chase scene.” Junot Díaz (Drown, This is How You Lose Her, Pulitzer Prize Winner, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao).

Second, some great local publishing news as Angry Robot Books announced that it has signed local author Jay Posey to a 2-book deal for his Duskwalker Cycle set in a post-apocalyptic America. Congrats, Jay!

Lastly, some event reminders over the weekend and next week:

  • November 9 (Friday) — Granados at The Storytellers Bookstore in Wake Forest, during the town’s Art after Hours event.
  • 9-12 (Friday to Monday) — The Rocky Horror Show at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, presented by Pauper Players. Tickets:
  • 10 (Saturday) 11 am — McIntyre’s Books hosts Ilie Ruby for her second novel, The Salt God’s Daughter, “Imbued with a traditional Scottish folktale and hints of Jewish mysticism”. More info:
  • 12 (Monday) 7 pm — Durham author Nathan Kotecki visits The Regulator Bookshop for a reading and signing of The Suburban Strange. More info:
  • 12 — Local author new novel: J.L. Hilton’s Stellarnet Prince, sequel to January’s Stellarnet Rebel, to be published by Carina Press.
  • 13 (Tuesday) 7:30 pm — Granados at Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books.
  • 15 (Thursday) 7 pm — Granados at Durham’s The Regulator Bookshop.
  • 16 (Friday) 6:30 pm: (Non-genre event) McIntyre’s Books hosts bestselling Norwegian thriller novelist Jo Nesbo. More info:
  • 17 (Saturday) 3 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Morgan Keyes for a reading and signing of new “ages 10 and up” fantasy novel, Darkbeast. More info:
  • 17 (Saturday) 8 to 10 pm — Pittsboro’s Davenport and Winkleperry hosts a book release party for “A Steampunk’s Guide to Sex” with local contributors:
  • 17-18 (Saturday and Sunday) — NC Comicon at the Durham Convention Center with a long list of guests:
  • 19 (Monday) 6:30 pm — Local author Mark L. Van Name will host a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) related writing workshop at the Cameron Village Library.

The Hardest Part: Alex Granados on Cemetery Plot

Out just in time for Halloween, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing has published Cemetery Plot, the debut novel by local writer, North Raleigh News columnist, and WUNC “The State of Things” director Alex Granados. I first met Alex through a pre-interview phone call, and before long he had joined the Bull Spec team as an associate fiction editor, helping me decide on stories, offer some story edits here and there, and contributing an article here and there as well. I’ve been very excited to start reading, and to start reading about, his post-apocalyptic novel of a planet overcrowded with cemeteries.

By Alex Granados: The Hardest Part?

SOME PEOPLE MAY SAY writing, editing or some other part of the creative process. Perhaps just coming up with ideas is a struggle for many. But the hardest part about writing is trying to get someone to pay attention.

I started writing when I was in elementary school. Accolades came easy. When nobody around you is interested in anything much beyond recess or snack time, creating a short story gives you serious teacher credit.

It was Halloween and I wrote some schlock about zombies attacking people holed up in a house or something like that. In any other setting it would have been considered crap. But as a fourth grader in a disinterested elementary school class, it was award-winning stuff. At least as far as the teacher and the other students were concerned.

Same thing in middle school and high school. People are quick to credit your talent when everybody around you is asleep at their desk. But trying to be a writer in the real world — that’s a different thing.

I would say we are “a dime a dozen,” but clichés are bad writing, and besides, I think we’re even more plentiful than that. Just try sending out a short story to five, 10, 50, 100 different websites, magazines, blogs, agents, etc, and prepare yourself for two things: constant rejection or silence. All those venues are inundated with proposals by writers who think, or hope, they are moments away from stardom. You almost have to think that in order to keep plugging away. But we can’t all be right.

Short stories are bad enough, but try writing a novel. Slog away for months, living with wild mood swings, alternately thinking that you are creating either the next “Ulysses” (when you are in a good mood) or the next “insert name of worst novel ever here” (when you feel like giving up). Then, at the end, having used up time better spent with loved ones, watching television or eating cake, send out queries to hundreds of agents. Wait. Silence. More silence. Rejection. More rejection. Maybe every once in a while an agent will say something nice before telling you “no thanks.” More often, you just get a form letter. You don’t even warrant a personalized “get bent.”

My first novel came out October 31st. It’s being put out by a great indie press called Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. Meanwhile, I have a stack of other novels that I’m shopping around to the void of silence and rejection, hoping that one day, some more acceptance will slip through.

That is the hardest part.


“The Hardest Part” is hardly the first stop on the Granados guest blog tour to launch his book. He’s already had a TBR interview and a Character Interview by Sarah J Carr.  So far the book is only available through Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle. But it should be available from other stores and in other formats soon, along with several opportunities to catch Alex at a reading event in November (see below). [Goodreads]



4 (Sunday) 2 pm — Alex Granados reading and signing Cemetery Plot at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village in Pittsboro. (See above for book info.)

9 (Friday) — Granados at The Storetellers Bookstore in Wake Forest, during the town’s Art after Hours event.

13 (Tuesday) 7:30 pm — Granados at Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books.

15 (Thursday) 7 pm — Granados at Durham’s The Regulator Bookshop.


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