August Newsletter: Mur Lafferty wins the Manly Wade Wellman Award; events with Charles Soule, Lev Grossman, and John Scalzi; more news and links; and an announcement on the future of Bull Spec

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August Newsletter: Mur Lafferty wins the Manly Wade Wellman Award; events with Charles Soule, Lev Grossman, and John Scalzi; more news and links; and an announcement on the future of Bull Spec

Posted on 2014-08-14 at 13:26 by montsamu

Vol 4. No 8. August 14, 2014: Well, it was bound to happen. In about a year of monthly guest hosting on Carolina Book Beat, I hadn't had a podcast fail. Well, it happened in early July, as guests Wilton Barnhardt and Jeff VanderMeer were really quite fantastic, but if you didn't catch it live, you missed it. Mea culpa.

July was a banner month for events, with Barnhardt, Jay Posey, VanderMeer, Lydia Netzer, Deborah Harkness, D.B. Jackson a.k.a. David B. Coe, and Mur Lafferty all holding events, not to mention new sf convention ConGregate in Winston-Salem with guests of honor Larry Correia and Toni Weisskopf, where Lafferty was awarded the first Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy for her novel The Shambling Guide to New York City. Lafferty writes, "It was a huge honor to win, and an even bigger honor to be the first recipient."At the same awards ceremony, Rich Sigfrit won the Cornerstone Award for his 10+ years of contributions to Carolinas fandom.


Speaking of awards, Natania Barron (for her Pilgrim of the Sky Live video reading series) and Tony Daniel (as host for Baen Free Radio Hour) were nominated for Parsec Awards, along with Bull Spec "alum" Tina Connolly (for her Toasted Cake speculative fiction podcast). Honoring excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, the awards will be presented at Dragon*Con.

Speaking of sf/f audio, July brought a small pile of new audiobooks from David Drake (Night & DemonsAll the Way to the Gallows, and Starliner) and Stuart Jaffe (Southern Bound: Max Porter, Book 1) all in digital audio, and a new physical audiobook edition of Lewis Shiner's Glimpses from Blackstone Audio. In print, Allen Wold released a new book in paperback/ebook, Stroad's Cross. While August appears to be a quiet month for new local books -- with the exception being a print edition of Henry Vogel's Scout's Honor: A Planetary Romance -- coming in September are: Tony Daniel and David Drake's The Savior, Jenna Black's The Gifted Dead, Jason Mott's The Wonder of All Things (already optioned for a feature film by Lionsgate), and! Shadow of the Ancient Secrets, the third volume in French author Pierre Grimbert's The Secret of Ji, translated by Durham's Matt Ross.


How have I gotten this far into the newsletter and not started overflowing with excitement about an absolutely fantastic last half of August? We've got comics writer Charles Soule (She-HulkInhumanTDeath of Wolverine) at Ultimate Comics for both a writer's workshop (Friday August 15) and signing (Saturday August 16), and! then! we've got both John Scalzi (Quail Ridge Books, Thursday August 28 and Flyleaf Books, Friday August 29) and newly-crowned NY Times #1 Bestseller Lev Grossman (Flyleaf Books, Thursday August 28) to close out the month. Each time these authors have been to the area the readings have been very well-attended, highly enjoyable events, very much not to be missed. See the event flyer and full listings below for way, way more things going on this month and next than I can mention at length up here.

Two more items of interest for you, first, local comics writer Jeremy Whitley's Illegal Kickstarter has already raised nearly $5,000 of the $6,000 goal towards a 15-issue limited comic book series, illustrated by Heather Nunnelly, pitched as: "In the future, every move you make will be tracked by a microchip under your skin. And you'll do anything to get one."

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Second, a big announcement from the Piedmont Laureate program: "The Piedmont Laureate program is accepting applications from authors of speculative fiction for 2015. Authors must be residents of Wake, Durham or Orangecounties. The deadline to apply is September 19, 2014 at 4 p.m. Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, weird fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction and alternate history in literature. The primary goal of the Piedmont Laureate program is to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region. The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens. The program focuses each year on a different literary form. For example, the 2013 Piedmont Laureate was children’s literature author John Claude Bemis; the 2014 Laureate is author of short fiction Carrie Knowles.

"The 2015 Piedmont Laureate will be selected by a committee appointed by the sponsoring agencies. The Laureate will receive a stipend of $5,500 and serve for one year (January 1 to December 31, 2015). Laureate activities will include presenting readings and workshops, encouraging creative writing, and promoting literature at public events. The Piedmont Laureate 2015 program sponsors are the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County. Additional information on the Piedmont Laureate program, including guidelines and the application form, is available at or on the websites of the sponsoring agencies. For more information, contact Martha Shannon, Orange County Arts Commission, at [email protected] or 919/968-2011."

Lastly... Well, this is hard to write, to put down in black-and-white in final, public terms. As I've just let Natania, Eric, Dan, Alex, and Gabe know, I released the fiction contributors to "Bull Spec #X" from their contracts. There's much more to do -- settle up with the poetry contributors, contact the (few) remaining subscribers, and figure out some kind of solution for the Kickstarter backers, for starters -- but this is, in effect, the end of Bull Spec as a print magazine. We'll still be here at, blogging, reviewing, interviewing, covering, reporting, and "newslettering" but I just can't keep the full magazine going any longer, and it wasn't fair to the contributors to keep indefinitely holding their stories and work from finding publication elsewhere. Thank you so much for all of your support over the nearly 5 years that I've poured into the magazine, for all the new friendships, for everything. I'll see you out and about, and online.





NEW-NEW: 15 (Friday) 8 pm -- Michael D. Acosta's film Devolve Babylon to show at Geeksboro Cinema in Greensboro. Recently selected into the Eastern North Carolina Film Festival, DVDs are available at:

NEW: 15 (Friday) 5:30 pm -- Comics writer Charles Soule will hold a writing workshop at Ultimate Comics, ahead of:

16 (Saturday) 11 am to 3 pm — Comics writer Charles Soule at at Ultimate Comics: “The writer of Letter 44, Superman Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Red Lanterns , She Hulk, Inhuman, 27, as well as the upcoming Death of Wolverine mini series will be in the store signing! Mark your calendar now! Don’t miss your chance to meet one of the newest superstars in comics!” More info:

NEW: 17 (Sunday) 1 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts Teen Author Summer Slam (panel and signing) with authors Vanessa Barger, Brynn Chapman, Nicole Conway, AJ Matthews, Jen McConnel, Leigh Statham, Pab Sungenis, Vicki L. Weavil, and Heather Young-Nichols. Snacks, giveaways, and more.

NEW: 18 (Monday) 7 pm -- Internationalist Books and Community Center hosts "The Honest Courtesan" Maggie McNeill for her mixed-genre short story collection Ladies of the Night. [Facebook]

NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm -- Flyleaf Books hosts Maggie McNeill discusses her short story collection Ladies of the Night. "Though popular blogger Maggie McNeill is best known for her perceptive, witty and razor-sharp essays on the facts about and issues surrounding sex work, her short fiction has also been highly praised. This book, her first published collection, contains thirty-seven stories ranging from fantasy to reality and from comedy to horror, whose heroines are all quite different from one another but have one thing in common: membership in the world's oldest profession. But what makes them interesting isn't entirely bound up in their work; in fact, you may find that, with a few notable exceptions, they aren't all that different from other women you may know, either in fiction or in real life. The strange and fantastic situations they find themselves in, however, are another matter entirely..."

NEW-NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm -- The RTSFS book club discusses John Scalzi's Redshirts at the B&N at Southpoint. "I'm sure we will be [also] discussing who won the Hugos this weekend. For Sept Half a King by Joe Abercrombie and for October Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey."

NEW-NEW: 21 (Thursday) 7 pm -- Durham County Southwest Library's Sub-Genre-O-Rama Book Club discusses Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis, an "Amish-vampire-police procedural romance novel". More info:

25 (Monday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Jon Scieszka – ‘Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor. (Kids.)

NEW-NEW: 27 (Wednesday) 7 pm -- At NC State's Hunt Library, alumni Andrew Martin and Kieran Moreira bring their new independent film Harbinger for a free screening open to the public: "HARBINGER is a live-action, fantasy-drama, seen through a child’s perspective that showcases Raleigh and North Carolina as a premier filmmaking location. The story follows Harold, an adopted ten year-old boy, who climbs to the top of an oak tree in hopes of catching his unborn baby brother falling from space. Martin (Producer) and Moreira (Director) will be on hand for a post-film discussion. Runtime approximately 30 minutes."

28 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Lev Grossman discusses his novel The Magician’s Land.

28 (Thursday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts John Scalzi for his forthcoming sf novel Lock In.

29 (Friday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts John Scalzi for his forthcoming sf novel Lock In.

NEW-NEW: 29 (Friday) 10 pm -- Durham author Mur Lafferty will be the guest for "Mr. Diplomat" at DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill. Free. More info:

NEW-NEW: 29-30 (Friday and Saturday) -- Durham's Common Ground Theatre hosts Monster Camp: an Exploration of Frankenstein: " This devised theatre piece looks at themes from the novel Frankenstein such as creation, culpability, loneliness, and, of course, monsters. Using text, music, dance and images, this experimental piece features local artists Nicola Bullock, Flynt Burton, Sylvia Freeman, Amanda Hahn, Carissa Johnson, Tamara Kissane, Rachel Klem, Dierdre Shipman, Laurie Siegel, and Amber Wood. " More info:

30-31 (Sat-Sun) — Cosplay America -- “The First East Coast Cosplay-Centric Con” -- with guests StayXXXX, Jez Roth, and Bill Mulligan, being held at the Raleigh-Durham Embassy Suites at 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd in Cary, NC. More info:


2 — Local author book release day for The Savior (The General) by Tony Daniel and David Drake (Baen, Sep 2) — “Sequel to The Heretic, Book 10 in the nationally best-selling General series.”

NEW: 4 (Tue) 6:30 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts (at the Chapel Hill Library) Margaret Stohl for her YA sf novel Idols. “I love this book. It’s raw and riveting, a scorched-Earth future vision that feels frighteningly real. It’s full of passion and deep truths and the kind of power that people only find when they’re driven far, far past their limits.”—Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians. More info:

NEW: 4-7 (Thursday to Sunday) Bookmarks Festival in Winston-Salem, NC with Lev Grossman, Tiphanie Yanique, Maggie Stiefvater, Morowa Yejidé, and many more including keynote speaker James Patterson, with most festival events on Saturday the 6th. Free. More info:

NEW-NEW: 4-20 -- Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern presents "HMLT: a version of Shakespeare's Hamlet" at the Cordoba Center for the Arts (923 Franklin Street in Durham) -- "With a focus on the disintegration of two powerful families, Little Green Pig brings its signature intensity to Shakespeare’s masterpiece about the pathology of denial." Trailer: and: Tickets:

NEW-NEW: 5 (Friday) 7 pm -- DSI Comedy hosts a superhero-themed night of improv battle: "This Friday, six courageous comedians (Power Up!) will face their arch-nemeses Pantie Raid in an epic Cage Match battle! Using a super power based on YOUR suggestions, watch as they soar to new heights of comedy. Will our heroes emerge victorious in their fight against their lingerie-loving foes? Only YOU can decide." More info:

NEW-NEW: 5 (Friday) 8 pm -- The Carolina Theatre of Durham presents John Hodgman: "John Hodgman is a writer, humorist, geek celebrity, former professional literary agent and expert on all world knowledge. He was the bumbling PC in Apple's long-running "I'm a Mac; I'm a PC" ad campaign." More info:

NEW: 5-7 (Friday to Sunday) — The Escapist Expo returns as “tiltExpo” — “Triangle Game Initiative (TGI), producer of the East Coast Game Conference – will bring a new consumer event, tiltExpo, to the Durham Convention Center this September 5th, 6th, and 7th.”. More info:

NEW: 8 (Monday) 7 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts Tony Earley, “Mr. Tall: a Novella and Stories”. (More info below.)

NEW: 9 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Tony Earley for his new collection Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories. “He leads us on a journey from contemporary Nashville to a fantastical land of talking dogs and flying trees, teaching us at every step that, even in the most familiar locales, the ordinary is never just that.” More info:

NEW-NEW: 9 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm -- The Barnes & Noble of Brier Creek hosts Margaret Peterson Haddix, Lisa McMann:Island of Legends. (Young readers.)

NEW-NEW: 9 (Tuesday) 7:30 pm -- ERIC SCHLOSSER at the NCSU Hunt Library, presented in tandem with Quail Ridge Books, the author of Fast Food Nation, discusses his new book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety, an in-depth look at the management of America's nuclear arsenal. (Non-Fiction.)

NEW-NEW: 10 (Wednesday) -- Flyleaf Books hosts Margaret Peterson Haddix & Lisa McMann discuss their middle grade fantasy novels Revealed and Island of Legends.

11 (Thursday) 7 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts Stuart Rojstaczer, “The Mathematician’s Shiva”. (Fiction.)

12 (Friday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Kim Harrison for The Witch with No Name, “the triumphant conclusion to Kim Harrison’s #1 New York Times bestselling Hollows series.”

NEW-NEW: 13 (Saturday) 11 am -- McIntyre's Books hosts Katy Simpson Smith – The Story of Land and Sea. Smith is also at Flyleaf Books (Monday Sep 15, 7 pm), The Regulator (Tuesday Sep 16, 7 pm), and Quail Ridge Books (Wednesday Sep 17, 7:30 pm).

16 -- Local author book release day for Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. As part of his national tour (from New York to San Francisco, including events with John Hodgman and Robin Sloan) he has two local events in September (see below).

18 (Thursday) 7:30 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts John Darnielle, “Wolf in White Van” at Durham's Motorco Music Hall. “As the creator of “Trace Italian”—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, and are explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called on to account for it.” (Fiction.)

NEW-NEW: 19-22 (Friday to Monday) -- The Escapism Film Festival at Durham's Carolina Theatre: "Your favorite childhood movie heroes are back: Jack Burton, Buck Rogers, Admiral Kirk, Snake Plissken, Kermit the Frog, Indiana Jones and so many more.  Escapism captures the magic of your favorite fantasy and adventure movies from the late seventies and early eighties. The ones you remember watching with your friends at Saturday afternoon matineees during summer vacations. Timeless examples of what movies do best of all - fantasy and adventure, epic in scale, heroic in concept, and imaginative in execution.  They're fun movies. They're meant to be."

NEW: 20 (Saturday) -- SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Carolinas Fall Conference in Charlotte, NC. More info:

22 (Monday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts John Darnielle – ‘Wolf in White Van’. (Fiction.)

23 -- Local book release day for Shadow of the Ancient Secrets by Pierre Grimbert, translated from the French by Durham's Matt Ross.

23 -- Local author book release day for The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black (Durham).

NEW-NEW: 24 (Wednesday) 7 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts Scott Westerfeld - 'Afterworlds'. "You may know him best for his alternate history Leviathan Trilogy, or The Uglies science fiction series.  Now Scott Westerfeld brings us his new novel, Afterworlds, on Wednesday, September 24, at 7 p.m. It's a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel about the parallels between a young writer and the heroine of her story. When Scott visited here a few years ago for Leviathan, he did a mesmerizing program. Strong and brilliant writing, for ages 14+."

NEW-NEW: 27 (Saturday) 6 pm -- Flyleaf Books hosts Gregg Cusick discusses his short story collection My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible, with complimentary refreshments.

30 -- Regional author book release day for The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott (Wilmington).


NEW-NEW: 1 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts Wilmington author Jason Mott - 'The Wonder of All Things'. "From critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author of The Returned, Jason Mott, comes a spellbinding tale of love, sacrifice and the power of miracles. In The Wonder of All Things, Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until a public tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight."

NEW-NEW: 3 (Friday) 7 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts Kami Garcia & Carrie Ryan - 'Unmarked'. (Teen+.)

NEW-NEW: 3-4 (Friday and Saturday) -- The Carolina Theatre of Durham hosts a theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. "From the producers of the stage hit, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS comes the highly anticipated theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ THE GREAT DIVORCE.  In this dantesque celestial journey from Hell to Paradise, Lewis draws some of the most fiercely funny characters he ever created.  This is C. S. Lewis at his imaginative best." More info:

NEW-NEW: 6 (Monday) 6:30 pm -- First Monday Classics at the Orange County Library with James Maxey and Nathan Kotecki: "It's the Halloween edition of First Monday Classics! Dracula and Frankenstein are pop cultural icons by now, but have you dusted off your copies of these classic works of literature and remembered all the ways these monsters have evolved from their original texts? These discussions are for everyone - whether you've read the books or not." More info:

8 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Marie Lu discusses her new young adult novel The Young Elites.

NEW-NEW: 18 (Saturday) -- 4th Annual Crystal Coast Con in Cape Carteret, NC. This year's guests are Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5) and Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) as well as many others.

25 (Saturday) — 2014 Geek Gala in Charlotte, hosted by The Charlotte Geeks. “The Geekiest Halloween Party in the Carolinas” with magicians, sketch comedy, music, costumes, a short film festival, games, etc. More info:

24-26 (Friday to Sunday) — 24th annual South Carolina Writers’ Workshop (SCWW) conference at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort. More info:

NEW: 28 (Tuesday) 7 pm -- Durham's Motorco Music Hall hosts "A Night of Local Horror" 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. $5. Doors open at 6 pm. More info:

NEW: 31-(Nov) 2 (Friday to Sunday) — 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  October 31 – November 2, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina.” At the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown.

TBD -- Local author book release day for Bad Wizard by James Maxey (Hillsborough).


6-9 (Thursday to Sunday) – World Fantasy Con, Washington, DC with Guest of Honor Guy Gavriel Kay, Toastmaster Jane Yolen, and many, many more members including David Drake and Mark L. Van Name. More info:

NEW-NEW: 7 (Friday) 7 pm -- The Barnes & Noble of Cary hosts Lauren Kate: Waterfall. (Teen.)

NEW-NEW: 7 (Friday) 7:30 pm -- The Regulator Bookshop hosts William Gibson for his new novel The Peripheral. More details TBD.

11 -- Local author book release day for Revolution by Jenna Black, the latest in her Tor Teen "Replica" series.

NEW-NEW: 11 (Tuesday) 7 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts CHRIS VAN ALLSBURG. "Celebrate the holidays with the multiple award-winning author of The Polar Express, Jumanji and other beloved, occasionally traumatic picture books, who is promoting his latest, The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie." (via Indy Week)

14-16 (Friday to Sunday) — AtomaCon in North Charleston, SC; a “family-friendly” Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Science and Technology convention. Literary guest of honor: John Jackson Miller, author of Star Wars: Kenobi. At the Charleston Plaza Hotel. More info:

15-16 (Saturday and Sunday) — NC Comicon at the Durham Convention Center and Comiquest Film Festival at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. More info:


NEW: 3 (Wednesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts John Flanagan for Scorpion Mountain, book 5 in his Brotherband Chronicles series for young readers following on his Ranger’s Apprentice series. More info:

NEW-NEW: 5 (Friday) 7 pm -- The Regulator hosts Julia Elliott--The Wilds, her genre-bending collection from Tin House. "At an obscure South Carolina nursing home, a lost world reemerges as a disabled elderly woman undergoes newfangled brain-restoration procedures and begins to explore her environment with the assistance of strap-on robot legs. At a deluxe medical spa on a nameless Caribbean island, a middle-aged woman hopes to revitalize her fading youth with grotesque rejuvenating therapies that combine cutting-edge medical technologies with holistic approaches and the pseudo-religious dogma of Zen-infused self-help. And in a rinky-dink mill town, an adolescent girl is unexpectedly inspired by the ravings and miraculous levitation of her fundamentalist friend's weird grandmother."


9-11 (Friday to Sunday) illogiCon (“illogiCon iv: How Schrödington Got His Groove Back”) with guests of honor Jacqueline Carey and Chris Garcia at the Empassy Suites RDU. [Facebook Event]


27 to (March) 1 (Friday to Sunday) — MystiCon in Roanoke, VA with author guest of honor Alan Dean Foster, at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood. More info:

MARCH 2015

NEW: 13-15 (Friday to Sunday) — Wizard World Comic Con at the Raleigh Convention Center with featured media guests William Shatner and James Marsters. More info:

APRIL 2015

24-26 (Friday to Sunday) — RavenCon 10 in Richmond, VA with writer guest of honor Allen Steele and special guest Lawrence M. Schoen. At the DoubleTree by Hilton Richmond Midlothian. More info:

MAY 2015

NEW: 29-31 (Friday to Sunday) — ConCarolinas in Concord, NC with guest of honor John Scalzi and science guest of honor Catherine Asaro at the Embassy Suites Concord.

JUNE 2015

NEW: 24-26 (Friday to Sunday) — ConTemporal 2015: “ConTemporal is an experiential Steampunk convention being held June 24-26, 2015 at the Hilton North Raleigh-Midtown in Raleigh, NC. No sooner had the idols been recovered then they were stolen by a mysterious figure! Meanwhile, Lt. Com. Julius Cosgrove is trapped in 1632, near the location of the Grantville temporal incursion caught between the cultists and the Germans fighting the Thirty Years’ War.”


8-11 (Thursday to Sunday) Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh. Bouchercon is the annual World Mystery Convention, and this is the first Bouchercon ever (in its nearly 50-year history) to be held in the American South.

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