Brown River Queen cover art

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Live From MidSouthCon 29!

I'm surrounded by Storm Troopers and Hogwarts staff and even a few Ghostbusters.  So I'm either hallucinating (again) or I'm at the Con.

It's been a blast.  I've managed to meet Laura J. Underwood and Angelia Sparrow, and a few others. I sat in on a humor in horror panel and listened to the adventures of some real-life ghost hunters. We've got a bid in on a brilliant piece of artwork down the Artist's Room.  Tonight is the Darrell Awards ceremony.

It's busy but it's fun.  Here are a couple of pictures, just to give you an idea of who's wandering the halls:

Guest of Frank Tuttle (lol) strikes a pose

Small Con-goers meet a fully animated R2

Who will you, in fact, call?

Will post more later, have to get to a panel now...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Con Ramblings -- WITH EVIL!

Well, I've packed up my business cards, my zoot suit, my spare eyeballs, and my extra skin in case the skin I'm wearing starts turning green early.  So I'm as ready for MidSouthCon as I can possibly be.

As promised, I'll be blogging about the Con, and posting pictures.  If I spot you at the Con with your Kindle you'll be immortalized in medium-resolution pixel fame on my blog, right above a snappy caption.  Show me one of my books on your Kindle, and I'll bump you up to a hi-res image and shower you with praise and as many of those little packages of crackers restaurants put on tables as I have in my pockets at the time.

Yeah, baby, that's how I roll.

I'm really looking forward to the Art Show, which I think I neglected to mention before.  There will be an entire room devoted to SF and fantasy artists and their works, and I saw some amazing items there last year.  Sadly, security in the room was competent, and I didn't manage to leave with any art, but this year I'm bringing money, just in case.

And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't notice people in costumes.

Do I wear a costume?  No.  Mainly because my usual workaday appearance is cartoonish enough.  I'm a middle-aged white dude with greying hair and what is kindly referred to among smaller folk as 'a few extra pounds.'  Sticking orange horns on my head or wrapping myself in a cape isn't going to fool even the most myoptic of observers that I'm anything but a bookish IT guy who refuses to act his age.

I do like the costumes, though.  It adds to the fun, looking up and realizing you're standing between a towering Klingon complete with filed incisors and a pair of slave Princess Leias.  And while some of the costumes are last-minute affairs worn just for grins, quite a few people devote considerable time and effort to their rigs.  Who doesn't enjoy a free art show?

The news people will drift around, of course, spend a few minutes laughing up their sleeves at us, get a brief clip of Storm Troopers mugging for the camera.  And in most cases media coverage doesn't go any deeper than that; after all, they're just looking for a 25-second short to stick between News and Sports.

But there's a lot going on, behind the elves and the aliens.  An industry  is rewarding its fans for their support, and giving the writers and the artists and the editors and the publishers a peek behind the curtain.

It's great fun.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MidSouthCon 29

Science fiction and fantasy fans are a unique breed.  We have a subculture all our own.  And like any subculture worth its weight in fluff news stories and the occasional police report, we have our culture-specific gatherings -- in our case, cons.

'Con' is short for 'convention.'  There are numerous science fiction and fantasy cons scheduled for many times and places all across the world, but when I say 'the con' I mean MidSouthCon.  MidsouthCon is nearly 30 years old, and is held in Memphis, Tennessee, former home of Elvis.  This year the Con is at the Hilton, which has yet to be renamed the Frank Tuttle Hilton.  I suppose they're waiting for the opening ceremony at the Con for that.

Click the con link above if you're curious.  I went last year, and had a blast, so naturally I'm heading back this year too.

Part of my reason for going is business.  I like to see what other writers are doing, hear publishers talk about the industry, listen to authors talk about publishers.  There are panels about everything from aardvarks in fantasy to zombies in romance, and you'd be surprised who leads the panels sometimes.

I've also been nominated for the Darrell Award, and as a self-aggrandizing hog for attention, there's absolutely no way I'd miss being there in case my name is called.

I'm going to take my camera and blog all about it, so be on the lookout for that.  And if any of you are planning to make MidSouthCon 29 in Memphis this year, please, look me up!  I can usually be found clinging to the pant-leg of a hapless publisher or being escorted to the lobby by Security.  In the case of the latter, please wait until the tasing wears off before initiating a conversation.

Those things sting no matter how many times you've endured them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hate-Filled Spew

I'm messing with you.

I can see how many times each of my blog entries is read, you see.  And I've noticed a distinct correlation between inflammatory titles and the number of hits.  So I decided to test my observations with this blog entry.

Thank you for your kind participation.

Of course, if I wanted to actually write a hate-filled spew, I'd find no shortage of material or targets.  Heck, as long as professional idiot Glen Beck has a TV show, the field is bursting with ripe, tender targets.

And I do owe you something for clicking.  Hmm.  Very well, gentle reader.

There.  A quick Google session, and I found that just yesterday Beck was ranting about how rival network MSNBC was a tool o' Satan.  Which is funny, because I'm pretty sure the Prince of Darkness could pull in better ratings.  The average re-run of a three year old episode of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' scores more viewers than MSNBC's highest rated show, and if you're the singular embodiment of all the evil in the universe, you've simply got to do better than that.

Beck then went on with some bizarre rant about end times prophecies and famine.  Well, Beck should take a close look at his best buddy Rush Limbaugh, and that should pretty much alay any fears about famine, because Limbaugh is still finding the caloric equivalent of an entire Denny's each and every day without any apparent difficulty.  Let's not start worrying until Rush loses a couple of chins, mkay, Glen?

Honestly, I wondered how Beck and Limbaugh stay on the air.  Then I went to Wal-Mart and had a look around at the mouth-breathing troglodytes waddling through the aisles and it all made perfect sense.  Again.

Does that satisfy the minimum requirements for a hate-filled spew?  Please say it does.  Don't make me drag Michael Vick into this.  That makes my right eye twitch.

Enough.  I've got work to do, and by work to do, I mean a new NCIS to watch.

Peace out, fellow babies.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Now for the Nook!

I have a Kindle e-book reader.  I love it, too -- Amazon sells more e-books than I'll ever be able to read, and I can grab anything I want with a couple of clicks and be reading it in minutes.

But the Kindle isn't the only game in town.  Barnes and Noble has the Nook, and now Barnes and Noble has e-books for the Nook written by none other than me.

So if you've got a Nook and the subliminal mind-control programming built into this blog post is working, you're now feeling a powerful urge to head on over to Barnes and Noble and load up your Nook with my books.  

Helpful guy that I am, the links to Nook e-books are below.  Don't fight it.

The Banshee's Walk -- Markhat's latest case starts with a possible land-grab, but ends with his discovery of a banshee.  Does the banshee's cry sound Markhat's doom?

The Cadaver Client -- Rannit's most skilled finder is hired by a dead man to locate the wife he left behind.  Or so Markhat is told -- but do even the dead tell lies?

Hold the Dark -- When Markhat's world falls apart, he's left with nothing but a burning desire for vengeance, even if it costs him his soul.

The Mister Trophy -- Will a rich man's trophy room re-ignite the War that Markhat still struggles to forget?

Dead Man's Rain -- A dead husband.  A rich widow.  Scheming heirs.  And one very haunted mansion -- all brought together for one dark and stormy night...

Of course, all these titles are also available from Amazon, for the Kindle (just click on the cover pictures to the right).

Want a format other than Nook or Kindle?

No problem.  Head on over to Samhain Publishing.  They've got my titles in every format imaginable, including plain HTML and pdf.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Pale Demon

Nope.  No spoilers here, because I'm only a quarter of the way through the book.  So don't feel like you need to hit the back button if you're a Kim Harrison fan who hasn't read Pale Demon.

If you're a fantasy reader who isn't already a Kim Harrison fan, you should be.  She writes a great yarn -- fast-paced, unpredictable, imaginative, and just plain brilliant.  Her Rachel Morgan character is every bit as much fun as Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden.  And from me, that is high praise.

The Rachel Morgan books are the books I thought Laurell K. Hamilton was going to write with her Anita Blake novels.  I stopped reading the Anita Blake books after book three, I think it was -- too much were/vamp romance and angst and not enough, well, anything else.  Anita is in love with this guy, and this guy, blah blah blah.  If I wanted Twilight with an R rating I'd -- well, I have myself beaten to a pulp, that's what I'd do.  Twice.

But Harrison has avoided the bogged-down-in-drama pitfall.  I love the way she takes a simple premise and weaves a whole book around it.

I'm not giving anything away that isn't on the book blurb by saying this much.  Rachel, Jenks, and Trent wind up taking a very unlikely three-day road trip across post-Turn America.  There may or may not be assassins on their heels.  Trent and Rachel may or not be at each others' throats most of the time.

I'm only a quarter of the way through, but man is it good.  Magic is flying.  The tension is palpable.  The stop in St. Louis?

Somebody please make a movie out of this.

Most of the time, when I read a book, I find myself picking it apart, chapter by chapter, word by word.  If it's good, I want to dissect it, see what makes it tick.

I can't do that with Pale Demon.  The pages won't let you not turn them.

I'll probably read it a second time with an eye toward stealing Miss Harrison's pacing tricks.  But for now, I'm just sitting back and enjoying the ride!