Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Here it is, the last day of 2011. Within just a few hours, we start a brand new year. I should be reviewing my accomplishments of the past year and making plans for what's next, but I just want to get through midnight tonight in one piece.

There are so many projects on the horizon, I just want to spend a few hours in the company of family and friends, passing the time and having fun. Work can wait. Heck, it's Saturday! The weekend is supposed to be a break from the routine anyway, right?

Tonight I'm gonna forget about the upcoming Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells anthology, featuring 19 very talented writers and artists, by Kerlak Publishing. I'm going to think about something other than my latest novel release, Angelkiller, from Seventh Star Press and how it's available in print and digital formats. I'm not even going to consider the fact that my short story The Shed will be featured in the upcoming Call of Lovecraft anthology from Evil Jester Press, nor that I'm still reading for the next issue of Sam's Dot Publishing's parABnormal Digest, which comes out in March. I won't even think about how my story "Chasing the Key" will be in the Adventurers in Hell anthology from Perseid Press.

I could dwell on the fact I'll be a guest at the 2012 Mysticon in Roanoke, MidSouthCon XXX in Memphis, and Duckon 21 in Chicago, but I won't. I could wonder how things will go at Shadowcon in a couple days, or how the half-dozen soon-to-be planned Imagicopter events for 2012 will be received, but not tonight.

I could mull over the guest post I did for Darlene's Book Nook and the interview in the Ginger Nuts of Horror blogsite, but why go over them again?

Nope, I won't be working on the manuscripts of Deity for Sam's Dot Publishing, or Traitor Angel for Seventh Star Press. I won't be working on the story for Visionaries from Hell for Perseid Publishing or book reviews or commentary or anything tonight.

Tonight, I'm going to relax, have a drink, and enjoy the company. Tomorrow can take care of itself.

What's that dear? Publisher on the phone?

Tell 'em I'm dead.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Year Nearly Gone

As we approach the end of 2011, I'm finding much to be thankful for, and not just because it's that time of the year.

My family and some very close friends got together for Thanksgiving and it was a wonderful, heart-warming event. Eveyone overate, visited, and generally had a great time. It was one of those rare times when get-togethers actually work without friction or problems. Every gathering should be so enjoyable.

I have finally fought off the croup/pleuristical infection that has been haunting me for the last five weeks or so. I have been prone to pulmonary infections all my life, but this one was the kind that refused to let go. Now, if I can just get a full night's sleep...

Working on the Imagicopter anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells with Allan Gilbreath at Kerlak Publishing. Once the cover art comes in from Dan Gamber, I believe we will have this fella wrapped. I know the writers and artists are anxious to get their due, both monetarily and publicly. Personally, I would just like to get the thing done. I have several other projects hovering in the wings awaiting their turn.

Uppermost in that queue is Deity for Sam's Dot Publishing. When I am not reading for the next issue of parABnormal Digest or finalizing the outline for Doom Angel or writing a short story for some recent anthology call, I'm writing on Deity. What spare time I have from those I have dabbled at The Boathouse novella and Eye of the Storm. I hope to have something for the next volume of the HIH series, Visionaries in Hell, as well. Something tells me 2012 will see a lot of my work finally in print. Barring the Zombie Apocalyse, of course.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, etc., etc. Till next time, keep your powder dry and stay low.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Angelkiller Now Available!

Seventh Star Press is hitting the ground running with the release of my latest novel, Angelkiller. I am very pleased with their enthusiasm and have really enjoyed working with Stephen Zimmer, Amanda DeBord and Matt Perry in preparing this work for the public. I couldn't ask for better, more professional help with making this a success. Any missteps in this process I will gladly shoulder as my responsibility. I am the one amateur in this process.

Now for the word from my sponsor:

Buy Now for limited hardcover of Angelkiller

softcover package of Angelkiller

Friday, October 7, 2011

What happened to September? It was here a minute ago... Oh, well. Onward.

The progress on Angelkiller is heartening. With illustrations from Matt Perry and an able hand from my editor Amanda DeBord, it should be finalized and in print before the end of the year. Maybe in time for Christmas, who knows?

The September 2011 issue of parABnormal Digest went out, and so far the feedback has been good. Time will tell just how successful the PD experiment is, but it's looking like we have a hit.

I recently received the news that my short story Chasing the Key has been accepted for the upcoming Adventurers in Hell anthology from Perseid Press, latest volume in the Heroes in Hell series begun back in 1986. I look forward to writing for this series again. It should appear about the same time as the Call of Lovecraft anthology, which has my short story Shed, early next year.

Meanwhile, Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts is now available from Kerlak Publishing. My short story The Real Magic is tucked therein. DoS2 is edited by Kimberly Richardson, who is a great steampunk author in her own right. If it wasn't for her advice and that of the inimitable Nick Valentino, I would never have figured out steampunk (at least, that's what I tell them).

Ongoing still are the final preparation for Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells, the Imagicopter anthology from Kerlak Publishing; Deity, the final novel in the Thran triad for Sam's Dot Publishing; Traitor Angel, the second novel for Seventh Star Press for the Angelkiller triad; and assorted stories for various venues.

I would like to pass along a bit of good news about my friends James and Marcia Miller, who had a new addition to the family just a few days ago: Lillian Marie. Congratulations!

That's it for now. Until next time, stay out of the basement and keep your stakes handy. Halloween's just around the corner.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Pause to Catch My Breath

August signaled the end of work on parABnormal Digest for a bit, a finalizing of the Imagicopter anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells, and a chance for me to catch my breath. There were some significant personal events -- birthdays and anniversaries and such -- but the business of writing hit a metaphorical comma. I am currently critiquing some manuscripts for friends, trying to reduce a pile I had allowed to grow too high. Before I dive back into writing, I want to get those done and the critique to the writers. They have been very patient with me, and I appreciate that.

In the middle of all the summer activity, I was happy to be invited to write for the upcoming Adventurers in Hell anthology, edited by Janet Morris. AIH is the second in the resurrected Heroes in Hell series that began in 1986. I completed the requested story and sent it along for consideration. Have yet to hear back. Will keep you updated.

Next month I celebrate a birthday. I could turn morbid and talk about how much I enjoy every day vice the alternative, but I won't. I think everyone past 50 knows what I mean, and those younger will soon. Nuff said.

Upcoming in the next few months, with any luck, are the second drafts of Deity, Boathouse, Traitor Angel, and three short stories for various publications. I will be headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in November for an event and possibly to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in December. My traveling is going to scale back while I concentrate more on the writing side of my career. I will, however, still try to make as many events as I can. Can't completely forget the business side of being a writer.

Speaking of which, back to the salt mines. Stay cool!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Hottest July on Record

July is usually a hot month, but jeez!

Got back from Fandom Fest steaming in more ways than one. I won't go into the details here, because there are more than one places you can find out the details of what happened, and it seems like overkill to restate what I and many others have said about it. I'll put some links at the end of this post for those who still want to know.

Otherwise, we have closed submissions for the September issue of parABnormal Digest and are now reading for the March issue. Will be doing the final edit to forward to the publisher soon. I am really looking forward to seeing this newest issue in print. We will have stories by Lindsey Duncan, Tom Howard, Eamonn Murphy, Bill Rasmussen, Matthew Tolbert, and more. Cover artwork is a beautiful piece (pictured here) by Sandy DeLuca and interior art from Sandy and Karl Eschenbach. Poetry from Lauren McBride, April Bullard, Wade German, Marina Lee Sable, and others help color the pages while articles from Leslie Cargile and Shelly Beard and interviews with the South Eastern Paranormal Society (SEPS) and the Mississippi Society of Paranormal Investigators (MSSPI) round out the issue. The digest is finally beginning to measure up to what I believe it should be, and I hope the readers are both entertained and educated by it.

I do feel compelled to explain why I accepted one of the stories for PD: Lindsey Duncan's "The Herd Mentality". Now, strictly speaking, it is not what I consider paranormal. However, the very fact this story exists at all is, IMHO, a paranormal phenomenon. The premise of the story is Just. So. Bizarre. I had to accept it. Blame me, if you must, for breaking the guidelines on this one.

On a personal front, my novella High Kings was a big seller at the convention and I couldn't be more pleased. Now that I'm back, I have a couple of months of down time as far as conventions, etc. are concerned. This will give me time to catch up on PD, Imagicopter, and family projects as well as finally get some serious work done on Deity.

I am reading manuscripts for a couple of friends, Wes Yahola and Steven Baird. Both are fine writers and I use their MSs for diversion from my own scribbling. Hope to have those done for them soon, and they find my critique useful.

Okay, enough. Check with you next month. Stay cool and dry until then.

Oh, here are those links about the Fright-Night Film Festival/Fandom Fest weekend, FYI:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Commitment is not a dirty word

Well, by now the news that I have signed a three-book deal with Seventh Star Press is old hat. Angelkiller is the first in the triad, to be followed next year by Traitor Angel and then Doom Angel in 2013 (if we are all still here). I am pleased to be a part of SSP and look forward to working with them.

I still have Deity to come out from Sam's Dot Publishing. That is currently on the front burner and working it frantically for an early 2012 release. Deity and Traitor Angel may be competing for attention over the holidays, but I am determined to get them both done by their respective deadlines.

Besides those novels, I am editing the September 2011 issue of parABnormal Digest for SDP with Terrie Lee Relf. I really enjoy that project. Although I can't accept everything submitted, putting together a project of that magnitude with Terrie has been a satisfying process. I was very pleased to find how well PD was received, and how well it sold at the conventions in which it was featured.

I am also working to get involved with another project that, for now, has to remain under wraps. As soon as I know for certain it will be a part of my upcoming public projects, I will let you know.

I was recently at DucKon 20 in the Chicago area, and I have to say I really enjoyed the convention, the panels, the company I shared, and the event in general. I would definitely recommend the event to anyone and look forward to returning next year. Present at the convention besides me and my daughter, Herika R. Raymer, were Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Elizabeth Donald, Jimmy Gillentine, Jon Klement, and Dan and Jackie Gamber. I was honored to meet the author GOH Shirley Damsgaard as well as Kathryn Sullivan, Jody Lynn Nye, and a very personable Tom Niven Huber. Of course, I can't forget Stephen Zimmer and Patricia Palm and all their hard work. Many, many thanks to all!

Enough talk. Back to the notebooks. Til next time, stay warm and dry.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Month of Confusion

May. Maybe not. Who knows?

Man, this has been a strange one. I ducked out of an Imagicopter event to take care of personal business, but Imagicopter continued to insert itself at odd times. We've decided that, before the third birthday, we need to cull the herd, as it were, and review the active members. I have mixed feelings about this, as the idea behind Imagicopter was always to help authors and artists promote their work, but if we are the only ones doing so, without the author/artist participating, then the public gets the idea Imagicopter is a representing agency, and that is something we cannot afford. So, our ranks may be significantly reduced come June. The good thing about that, though, is that the remaining members will be the people who see their art as something they personally want to promote, and are serious about their work.

I have been spending a load of time writing and have sent a story to the Southern Haunts anthology for consideration. The submission for Dreams of Steam II is still in the works and I have been frantically trying to get it ready before the deadline at the end of the month. Not sure I'll make that one.

The High Kings novella is now available from Sam's Dot Publishing. Many thanks to Tyree Campbell, Mitch Bentley, and J. Alan Erwine for their support in presenting and promoting the book.

Expect some news about Angelkiller very soon. Deity, the last of the Thran novels triad, has moved to the front burner, with the second Angelkiller series novel close behind. I never thought you could break a sweat from just writing, but...

Anyway, I have another three novels, unrelated to previous revelations, in outline and ready to join the queue once Boathouse is done. Including a long threatened vampire novel. Hopefully, vampires won't have passed from vogue by the time I get around to them.

Look for me at Duckon 20! It should be a lot of fun. Oh, and Happy Towel Day! Remember the genius of Douglas Adams and thanks for all the fish!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Generic Title for Post

April. And yet another blog post. Thank goodness I didn't promise to blog once a week.

The majority of this month has been taken up with personal and family matters, which will remain so. I don't mind sharing my writing and Imagicopter activities with you, but I never understood the wish to bare one's soul to the world. I guess I'm just a dinosaur when it comes to privacy issues. Oh well, there is a little to talk about.

The first issue of parABnormal Digest has received some very encouraging feedback. The writers and artists featured in the Digest wrote to say how much they like the publication. That is very encouraging. The fact that the people who put their effort into participating approve of the look and feel of the publication in which their name appears is important. The editors of any publication need to remember that the magazine or book not only represents the company, it also represents the writers and artists. It needs to be professional both in appearance and quality. I hope PD will always be both. I have begun reading for the next issue and have some very unusual and excellently written pieces on hand. The new issue's cover art, by Sandy Deluca, is a marvelous piece entitled "Valerie" and instantly caught my attention with its combination of innocence and timelessness. Sandy is a very talented artist and I look forward to seeing much more from her in future.

The new issue of Shelter of Daylight came out this month, featuring my story Sands of the Marid. The story was supposed to come out last October, but fell through the cracks, as it were, and didn't appear. I'm glad it has finally come out. I wrote that story back in 2006 and it is part of a backlog of short stories I am constantly finding in notebooks hiding in the dark, shadowy corners of my office. Really, my office is one of those rooms you don't want to go into with a weapon. No telling what's lurking in there.

I am looking forward to the appearance of my novella High Kings early next month, and Angelkiller (which has now become the first in a series of three books, to my surprise) to appear sometime later this year, probably closer to September.

Imagicopter is having its third birthday in August. We will be having an extended birthday party the third week of August featuring a lot of the writers and artists as well as the announcement of the Table of Contents for the anthology, which is currently tentatively entitled Clockwork Spells (and, yes, that is the first known appearance of that title). We hope to have work from people like Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Bill Eakin, A. Christopher Drown, Roland Mann, and many more, with artwork from the Bielaczyc brothers and Sam Flegal. I was sorry to hear that Elizabeth Donald would not be participating. Can't have everything, I suppose.

Okay, I think we're caught up. On into May, and hopefully more interesting tidbits. Until next time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Under the Wire

That's what this blog is. I promised to try to get in one a month, and almost missed this one.

It has been very busy this month, but the highlight has to have been MidSouthCon 29. I won't post any pictures here, because there are a ton of them on my Facebook page. I will just say that, if you didn't make it, you missed it! MidSouthCon this year was in a great location, had great GoHs, and the crowd had to have been double what it was last year. All in all, it was the best MSC I have attended, and I have been to a LOT of them. Multi-kudos to the con-com, staff, security, and hotel for a magnificent job.

Attending were some of the most talented people I know. [Name dropping mode on] Stephen Zimmer, Elizabeth Donald, Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Jackie Gamber, Tyree Campbell, Windsong Levitch, Robert Krog, Angelia Sparrow, Stephanie Osborn, Kara Ferguson, Mitch Foust, Jim Hall, Dean Zachary.... the list goes on and on. [Name dropping mode off] And that's just the people I know. There were a whole group I didn't know or were just barely acquainted with. I shared a panel with Kara Ferguson (Midnight Screaming Magazine) and Laura Underwood and Lynn Stranathan (Yard Dog Press) on writing research, and one with Ruth Souther (a fascinating character and entertaining conversationalist, to say the least) and Jenny Oldenburg (an up and coming writer) on creative writing. The changing weather attacked me on Saturday night and finally defeated me on Sunday. I gave in to the sinus headache, went home and took a badly needed painkiller and nap. Apparently, I don't tolerate late nights as well as I once did.

I did get to attend the screening of Swordbearer right after the Opening Ceremonies. Once again I was struck by the great job everyone did on the film, and the input from the audience was that they appreciated it as well.

The first issue of parABnormal Digest came out and premiered at MSC. The Digest was a big hit on both the Sam's Dot table and Robert Krog's (his story Babies' Breath got cover billing). It didn't hurt that the Editor GoH had a story in the Digest. Robert sold out of his story collection The Stone Maiden and Other Tales, already in its second edition, so congrats to him!

In news that doesn't bear on MSC, I finished the manuscript on Angelkiller and sent it along to the publisher. I hope to hear about it soon. I am now working on finishing stories for the new Dreams of Steam 2 anthology from Kerlak Publishing, a story for the Southern Haunts anthology, and reading for the September issue of the Digest.

Seems I'll be busy for a while.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What a Weekend!

The first few days of February were an adventure for me. I got to see the working copy of Swordbearer previous to the test screenings and was blown away by the CGI enhancements to the film. I must admit to a bit of trepidation upon first blush, having lived with the story for so long and seeing an abbreviated version acted out, but when I took the copy to Studio on the Square in Memphis and Maria and I sat in that theatre, I was again stunned by the impact of the images that have haunted me for decades displayed on the big screen. To Cineline Productions and the cast and crew, all I can say is many thanks for such a marvelous job.

Thursday night, February 3, 2011. After Stephen Zimmer's booksigning at Davis-Kidd for his new novel Dream of Legends, we headed over to Studio on the Square for the test screening. Most everyone who attended was familiar in one way or another with the material, whether in the form of the novel or the extended version of the world of Thran, so I expected them to be honestly interested in what it would look like, and I wasn't disappointed. I was grateful that John Beifuss of the Memphis Commercial Appeal attended as well and appreciate his input. We received some great critique of the film from the attendees, things that will only improve the final version. Thanks to all who came and participated.

Friday, February 4, 2011. The day was kind of dreary, but my daughter and I, with Stephen Zimmer in tow, headed west toward Clarksville, Arkansas, for the Redgunk Festival. The event, held at the University of the Ozarks, was hosted by Dr. William "Bill" Eakin. Bill, whose work I have admired for years, is a veteran at genre writing, with publications in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Realms of Fantasy, and many others. His work has been recognized for Nebula Awards, although he's never received one (a crime, IMHO). It was a great privilege to share the spotlight with this man, and I was pleased to be invited.

Appearing at the Festival were other talented writers as well: Stephen Zimmer, of course, A(aron) Christopher Drown and Roland Mann. All four gentlemen entertained with readings from their works. Aaron read from his novel A Mage of None Magic, Roland from his Buying Time, Stephen from Dream of Legends, and Bill from an unpublished Redgunk story which I sincerely hope he will submit to parABnormal Digest for publication. It snowed all day Friday and most of Saturday in Clarksville, closing down the campus, but we still had a fair turnout considering. I got to meet Stephanie Lund and her little ones. Stephanie did the jewelry for Swordbearer, and a wonderful job it was. To close out the night, we had a test screening and received some good critique which confirmed much of what we heard the night before and gave us more to consider. Thanks to all who attended and participated!

Saturday, February 5, 2011. The expertise of Messrs. Drown and Mann were on display as they regaled the audience with the secrets of how to get your work published (Drown) and how to write for graphic novels (Mann). Between these two gentlemen, the audience went away dressed for success.

The Redgunk Festival may have officially been over, but the excitement was not. We formed a little convoy and headed over to Bill's house where his charming wife Cody had hor d'oevres prepared. Bill lives just outside Clarksville in what I can only describe as probably the most picturesque setting I have ever seen. Perched atop a cliff 150 feet above Lake Dardenelle, his home is a writer's paradise, and the stories he told us about its building kept us entertained.

We returned to my homestead that night, tired but satisfied. It had been the experience of a lifetime for me and I hope every event I attend leaves me with the warmth I felt that night as I collapsed into my bed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011. Off again, this time to Nashville, where Stephen had a booksigning at the Borders Bookstore near Vanderbilt. Among those attending were Eric Wilson and Nick Valentino, two outstanding writers in their own rights. We discussed everything from writing to the Super Bowl and Stephen read from Dream of Legends for us. Reluctantly, I had to leave before the others.

I have paid for all the activity with an aggravated bonespur in my foot, but it was definitely worth it. As I hobble around the house with my cane, I still look forward to the coming weekend in Jackson, MS, with the February Fright Fest sponsored by Java Ink. Meanwhile, back to work on Angelkiller and the stories for Southern Haunts and Dreams of Steam 2. A writer's work is never done... or is that no rest for the wicked?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Off Like a Shot

Here we are in 2011. There are a few things that continue to please me and some that continue to confuse me. First and foremost, I am pleased that I can still get people to read my work without chucking it in the dustbin in disgust. That, more than anything, keeps me writing. What confuses me is that people continue to read books in print format.

Wait, maybe that's backwards.

With the growing influence of electronic formats like Kindle, the massive market share given over to online sales, and the beginnings of technologies to put books on phones fer Pete's sake, independent bookstores are now feeling the crunch hard. Even some of the larger chains are hurting, and the mainstream book publishers go home at night and cry into their pillows over the loss of what they thought was an eternal market to the upstart child Technology.

I am a Luddite. If you don't know what that is, go look it up on Wikipedia (stop looking for a link there). I still do my writing longhand with pen and paper. It is the only way I can feel connected to my work and my audience. Watching words come into being on a screen, whether it's a word processor or this blog window just isn't the same. I know that probably makes me a dinosaur. So what? Dinosaurs are cool. Just ask my grandkids.

That's probably why I have mixed feelings about my new job as story editor for parABnormal Digest. In the old days, when you had to mail in your work, people invested a lot more into its appearance. A standard manuscript format was developed and taught in schools. Now, even though the material I receive is usually good, strong stories, they are often, very often, not in that standard format. My publisher says I'm too picky. It's the story that counts, he says. I can't help but think that, if you don't have enough respect for your work and the publication you're sending it to, to follow the instructions in the guidelines, why should the editor?

Rant mode off. Back to the writing side of things. Kind of.

Swordbearer will be out very soon and I've seen a teaser trailer for it. I have to say that Stephen Zimmer, Matthew Perry, Sven Granlund, and everyone who works on the post-production is doing a bang-up job. And, yes, the Hat (aka Justin Powell) is the kind of energetic personality that makes following the antics of the local media community all the more entertaining. I will be sharing a link for the teaser soon.

The first weekend of January saw us at Shadowcon in Memphis. Nick Valentino was the Writer Guest of Honor. Nick has spent the last year or so travelling all over North America promoting his novel Thomas Riley, and rightfully so. It was great meeting with him and his stunning friend Elizabeth Darvill. All the best for them both as they hit the road with their books.

Unfortunately, everyone who sat at the Imagicopter table, and some who didn't, came away from Shadowcon with the flu. It laid me low for several days and I still have a nagging cough. It really sucks getting old.

Coming up soon: High Kings and Emperor releases from Sam's Dot. Still have yet to see the Call of Cthulhu anthology from Papercut Books hit print due to formatting problems with the publisher. Since I never received even an acknowledgment about He Who Hesitates from Elder Signs Press, I have to assume it didn't make the cut. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

Attending the MRPA Gamecon the weekend of January 28-30. Will also be headed to Clarksville, Arkansas February 4 for the Redgunk Festival at the University of the Ozarks. Two weeks later, off to Jackson, MS area for February Fright. March is, of course, Midsouthcon in Memphis. It's gonna get busy real quick.

Working on: finishing Angelkiller, Deity, Eye of the Storm, and Boathouse, probably in that order. Stories in queue targeted for Dreams of Steam 2, Southern Haunts, and a couple of Sam's Dot magazines.

That's it for now. Back to the salt mines. Later all!