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read from his novel A Mage of None Magic, Roland from his Buying Time, Stephen from Dream of Legends, and Bill from an unpublished Redgunk story which I sincerely hope he will submit to parABnormal Digest for publication.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?