Monday, September 22, 2014

Imaginarium Convention - A Review

Over the weekend I had the honor and privilege of being a guest at the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. In my opinion, this was a wonderful event springing from the respect and love the staff, guests, and vendors have for one remarkable man. But before I go on, a little background....

A few years ago there was an event in Louisville which came to be known in our writers' community as "SweatFest". I won't go into the details about this debacle except to say that were it not for the efforts of one man and his team of capable and efficient people, it would have been simply the most horrible experience I have ever had in my 20 years of convention-going. They literally made a silk purse from a sow's ear that year. The following year they again rose to the challenge and salvaged that same event from being a mistake of massive proportions. To this day, I am amazed at how they could do it. In spite of that, however, I have determined to skip that event from now on. I understand this last year the literary track did very well and I have no doubt it is because the rest of the concom finally allowed those who knew what they were doing to take it over.

Somewhere between then and this last weekend, it was determined that Louisville could do better for its creative community. Out of that came Imaginarium and I cannot applaud the creators and staff enough for what they have accomplished.

Am I gushing about this convention? Yes. And I don't gush often. But to see how this convention was organized, laid out, formatted, and run rank it as one of the best I have ever attended.

If you are an inveterate convention attendee or guest, you know the things that can and do go wrong. And I'm sure they did go wrong at Imaginarium but there was so little evidence of it, it may as well have gone perfectly. Of course, there was the odd cancellation and programming changes, but those were plainly posted in two places at registration. The staff were magnificent, hard-working, and ever-present when you needed them. The Author GOH did not appear, apparently due to a sudden illness (?), but we were content to have the other Imaginators (GOHs) there and things progressed smoothly. This was no mean feat. With over 100 guests and a programming track that would make a mathematician have nightmares in its complexity, they effectively herded the cats... er.. writers and got it done with admirable aplomb. For our part, every writer, filmmaker, and comic book artist worked just as hard to make sure we got to our respective panels, signings, showings, and readings on time. It was truly a joint effort as I have never seen before.

And I'm back to the beginning of my post. This was, indeed, a most heartfelt thank you to the man and his most capable staff who saved Louisville's writers' conventions. To Stephen Zimmer, Susan Roddey, Robin Blankenship, Frank Hall, all the staff and volunteers who worked so long and hard to make this come about, I salute you. You have created something that should and will be the forerunner of great things to come.

Find out more about the convention, guests, and programming, from its website at

In parting, I want to say I really enjoyed meeting up with old friends and making new ones. There are too many to list here (with over 100 of you, where would I start?) but I especially want to mention D. A. Adams, Amy McCorkle, Kay Iscah, and Jerry Benns. So glad you could make it. The rest of you -- my SSP friends, the people of Dark Oak, the Pro Se crazies, and the distinguished members of the Literary Underworld -- see you next time!

Til then, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ongoing Blog Tour and Upcoming Convention

A bit late, but here is the itinerary for the blog tour.

Tour Schedule and Activities
9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~  Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee’s Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow’s Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)

Next week I'll be heading to Louisville, KY for the Imaginarium Convention. I hope to see you there. For more information on the convention, check out their website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The August from Hell

August is gone. At last!

I spent the majority of the month on crutches after a bout with tendonitis degenerated into a full-fledged battle. From a wheelchair in July to crutches for most of August to a cane and back to crutches when the other foot decided it had worked enough and wanted a break... I had a brief period in the middle of the month where I actually thought I might get back on both feet at the same time but it turned out to be a mirage. I'm done with this.

I still managed to attend the River City Comic Expo in Little Rock. It was a great event and I'm glad I could make it. My daughter Herika Raymer did most of the heavy lifting. Thanks, Herika! I got to see the preliminary artwork for the cover of the upcoming Velvet Wasp series from Pro Se Press. I must say, it looks fantastic. Can't wait to see it in print. It should be out soon. Kimberly Richardson of Dark Oak Press took pictures of my hands. Strange, huh? More about that later.

I finally finished the steampunk story for submission to Dark Oak Press' next Dreams of Steam anthology. I was able to keep it under 10,000 words by sheer force of will. I hope it came out as a steampunk story. I kept getting lost between western and scifi somewhere in the middle there. I have written several steampunk tales now and, truth to tell, I'm still not sure I know what steampunk is. All I can do is try to channel Jules Verne and HG Wells as I write and hope for the best.

Finished several editing jobs for Pro Se Press and Hermit Studios Press.  They each have their particular ways of doing things, so keeping that straight is a third job there. The deadline for NovoPulp's next anthology passed but I was able to get my submission in before the end. Hopefully it will make the cut.

August 17th my mother had a birthday and August 24th was my wedding anniversary, two bright spots in an otherwise trying series of weeks. My Facebook page passed 18,000 likes on August 28th, the latest milestone showing it's possible my work may still be entertaining. A lot of people have been complaining about Facebook's advertising and privacy policies. Odd, since in spite of what a lot of people maintain, using social media is tacit permission to expose your posts to the public at large. Private messaging is different from status updates but people seem to think they are the same.

Before I go, just a reminder that links to my latest work are live at my website. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Vacation on Crutches

Well, the majority of July has been a major pain personally. Somewhere along the line early in the month I contracted acute tendonitis of the Achilles. For a week I was confined to a wheelchair. I learned a lot about how difficult it is to get around in them and gained a renewed respect for those tied to them for life. For another two weeks I will be on crutches, trying to finally heal the last little bit so I can start walking again. I spent the entire time with the family in Florida inside the beach house while the rest went down to the beach and out to eat. I didn't mind that too much. It was the stumbling around in the beach house on the crutches that annoyed me. Plus the couple times I nearly fell, further aggravating the tendon.

I did get a chance to do some writing, though. At least that wasn't too badly affected by my injury. I received an editing assignment from Pro Se Press the day before I left for Florida. It was to content edit three short stories before the end of the month. Content editing is much quicker than copy editing, still, it's going to be tight.

In spite of it all, I have been working to complete my writing projects. Encouragement came in the form of contributor's copies of The Martian Wave 2014 and Rat-a-tat: Short Bursts of Pulp! It's always good to be able to look at one of my stories in print, reminding me that I'm still entertaining enough to convince publishers my work should be presented to their readers.Someday I hope to have enough prestige as a writer to actually be a guest of honor at a literary convention or that one of my novels (preferably one of the Angelkiller Triad) would catch the fancy of the producer of major motion pictures.

Everyone has dreams. I started out wanting to be a published author. Done. Someday...

Anyway, that's all for now. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Seventh Night by Iscah - A Book Review

Title: Seventh Night
Author: Iscah
Hardcover: 260 pages
Publisher: Amoeba Ink co. (November 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983551944
ISBN-13: 978-0983551942

There's a plot to prevent the treaty between Cordance and Tivin, but the identity of the conspirator is a mystery. When the marriage between the princess of Tivin and the prince of Cordance is interrupted by an attempt on the prince's life, things begin to heat up in this delicious fable. A beautiful princess, a magician's apprentice, a mysterious sorceress, and a surfeit of princes lead to a convoluted but enjoyable tale of intrigue, magic, betrayal, adventure, and true love.

Iscah's Seventh Night is reminiscent of a cross between The Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn. Her writing is clear, crisp, and precise. Her mastery of the ideas presented in the fable is obvious, and her story flows easily from page to page. Would that my own writing was so clear.

I have been writing and editing for more than four decades and seldom have I seen a new writer with so much evident talent. I was privileged to meet Iscah at a recent event and she is as charming in person as her princess in the novel. I wish her every success and, if this novel is any indication, she will certainly get it.

You can pick up a copy from Amazon at

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Heat

June is nearly gone and so many projects have come to fruition. Beside problems with the house, things in general have been quite satisfactory.

I attended Hypericon 9 and had a great time. My friend Sam Flegal was the artist guest of honor. The con itself is one of the friendliest I attend and the committee treat their guests very well. Kudos to the entire staff for a job well done! I got to reconnect with the inimitable Stephen Zimmer, the vivacious Elizabeth Donald, the unstoppable Jimmy Gillentine (hope you're recovering well) and met Iscah, a talented up-and-coming fantasy writer. The panels were well-attended on the whole and the audience was engaged and participated sometimes more readily than the panelists. I was delighted to be invited back and am looking forward to next year.

On the writing front, I was notified of several acceptances and a couple of rejections. Pro Se Press released Rat-a-tat! Short Bursts of Pulp, containing my two short stories A Last Riddle and No More Running. Dark Oak Press announced the impending release of the Realms of Imagination anthology (Kimberly Richardson, editor) which contains my short story Stolen Thunder. And I received notice that Alban Lake Publishing was accepting my short stories The Price of Immortality for their Bloodbond Magazine November 2014 issue and Uncle Bill's Boys for their Disturbed Magazine December 2014 issue. I continue to work on several story calls. I have a new James Mayberry adventure for the next Dark Oak Press Dreams of Steam anthology, a dark humor piece for the Seventh Star Press Gothic Gnome anthology, continue to work on the novel for Alban Lake Press, as well as the second Velvet Wasp Case for Pro Se Press.

All in all, a full schedule in writing. But there is also another side to this summer.

I have completed several editing assignments for both Pro Se Press and Hermit Studios Press. I expect to hear more from them as time goes along. I edit general projects for Pro Se, including story collections, novellas, and such. For Hermit Studios, my duties are around the upcoming NovoPulp 2014/2015 Anthology. I am also editing a short novel for my friend Micha Fire. I don't usually do personal editing, but this one intrigued me and so I accepted the assignment. It has proved a most interesting story, not my usual cup of tea. I hope Micha finds my editing and revision to be useful.

The editing assignments keep coming. They keep me busy as well. Which is fine by me. Editing not only helps me hone my skills, but shows me what is currently accepted by editors in general.

My next convention isn't until August 16th, when I will be in Little Rock at the invitation of Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Press. I will be vacationing with the family in Florida next month, something I am especially looking forward to, as we haven't be able to get everyone together for a very long time.

After the August convention it will be off to Kentucky for the Imaginarium convention. This is Stephen Zimmer's brainchild and I will do everything I can to help make it a great success.

Well, that's about it for this time. Look forward to seeing everyone in Little Rock and in Louisville. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer's Here and Writing's Heating Up

May is almost gone and with it the temperatures outside are rising. My writing has begun to pick up pace accordingly as the dreariness of the hard winter subsides. Beside the editing jobs I've assumed for Pro Se Press here in the US and Hermit Studios Press in Denmark, I have been working on my own writing. The manuscript for the first of the Velvet Wasp Cases has gone to the publisher for editing and final approval. I look forward to seeing that series start in August.

I received acceptance for my story Stolen Thunder for Dark Oak's Realms of Imagination anthology (Kimberly Richardson, editor). This is a reprint. It originally appeared on the web back in 2003. I'm glad it will see actual print and that DOP thought it deserved to be presented to their readership.

Two original stories, No More Running and A Last Riddle, will be appearing in the upcoming Rat-a-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp anthology from Pro Se Press. I expect it to appear before fall.

Lastly for now, my story The Price of Immortality, another reprint, will appear in the November issue of Bloodbond from Alban Lake Press. This is one of my rare vampire stories, so don't miss it. I don't write vampire fiction that often... well, practically never.

J. Alan Erwine's Nomadic Delirium Press has finally released the 2014 issue of The Martian Wave science fiction magazine for pre-order. It contains my story Object in the Sand. Pick up a copy when you get a chance.

I invite all of you to take some time to yourselves this summer and enjoy life. If you can, get away and relax. If you can't bring yourself to detach from the clocks and iPhones, then at least look up once in a while and realize there's more to life than computer screens, email, and texting.

Meanwhile, I'll be heading to Hypericon 9 in Nashville, TN. I intend to have fun while I'm there, just FYI.

That's all for now. Remember to stay low and keep your powder dry.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What a Winter

The winter of 2013-2014 is one of the nastiest I personally remember. Not since the ice storm of '94 have I seen the amount of damage we went through this last year, but even then the damage didn't extend over such a wide area and so severely. I was very glad to see the beginning of spring.

Except for the inevitable tax season, April was uneventful. I was able to complete a couple of projects and get some real progress accomplished on several others. My backlog shrunk by a little and some work I hadn't been able to get to for some time finally began to appear at the bottom of the TBD pile. 

Writerly news: I currently have a new interview up on Sean Taylor's blog and my Facebook page is approaching 16.000 likes. I have signed up with Pro Se Press to participate in their new Single Shot Signature Line with a series of pulp tales called The Velvet Wasp Cases. The first of the four tales is scheduled to begin in August and will continue quarterly.

Nomadic Delirium Press still hasn't released their 2014 issue of Martian Wave magazine, but I'm confident that J. Alan Erwine, the editor, will soon get it done. Last I heard he was having trouble filling the issue. I'm sure that had something to do with the recent unpleasantness with Sam's Dot and White Cat leaking over into NDP, which is most unfortunate. J is a great guy and I have nothing but high praise for his work.

Beside the Velvet Wasp story I'm working on, I have a new James Mayberry steampunk tale for Dark Oak Press' next Dreams of Steam anthology. I hope Kimberly Richardson thinks it's worthy to be included. I have also started the final work on Deity, the last of the Thran Chronicles books, that should have been completed years ago but got continually pushed back by short deadlines. As an independent work, it had to take back seat to contractual obligations.

I will be attending Hypericon 9 in June in Nashville, TN, but that should be my last bit of writing-related travel until fall. It'll be nice to catch up with my friend Stephen Zimmer. I'm not sure what kind of panels I'll be on, but once I know, I'll post it here and on my Facebook page.

That's all for now. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!