Yes, this is going to be a bit of a long entry, as I have admittedly been slacking on my blogging as of late. I am working to correct that, I promise!
In mid-July, I had the opportunity to go to Alaska for a couple of weeks. Needless to say, I went, and it turned out to be quite an amazing experience. We went up the coastline, visiting places like Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, taking a few detours to go into some big fjords.
The scenery was simply stunning as was the wildlife, ranging from sea otters to humpback whales. The massive, mountainous terrains, capped by snow and with cloud layers well underneath their peaks, were fertile grounds for the mind of a fantasy author!
We finally ended up in Seward, which harbors quite a fishing operation, with the 7th largest output in the entire United States. From there it was inland by bus to Anchorage for a day, and then by train to the Denali national park, and finally we ended up in Fairbanks.
Alaska is a fantastic state, and the people there were definitely my kind of folk...very individualistic with a great deal of self-determination.
After getting back, I had to get ready in a hurry for the Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville Kentucky. This event is a fairly big one, getting a few thousand attendees as a horror genre convention. I had an exhibit in the dealers room, and got to visit quite a few of my indie film friends, to the extent that it felt like a reunion of sorts. Also got to catch up with some of my good author friends, like Michael West (pictured with his son, Kyle), Elizadeth Hetherington (Pictured with the cheerleading outfit on) and Michael D'Ambrosio.
Fright Night is expanding next year into the FandomFest, which is going to have multiple tracks, in multipe genres, and I have agreed to come aboard to help in coordinating the Author's Track for the event. I can't wait to bring together a great group of panelists and develop some outstanding content for what promises to be a very amazing weekend July 29-31 of 2011.
The following weekend was Indianapolis, and my return to the downtown Borders that was one of the first bookstores to embrace me with The Exodus Gate. The signing was being held during the GenCon weekend, as downtown Indy is flooded with thousands of fantasy/scifi/horror fans.
I had a great time, and got to visit with some special readers and friends, some of whom were in for GenCon and some who came from the Indy area. One of the most surprising visitors of all was the guy who was my high school newspaper's editor. He is now a star reporter for the Indianapolis Star, and I can't say enough about how cool it was to look up and see him (I recognized him instantly!)
Jon Klement of DragonTalk Radio and Stephen Kendall, who is on the staff of InConJunction, came by (pictured). I found out that Stephen (who is wearing the awesome Atari shirt) is an afficianado of classic computers like the Commodore Vic-20, Commodore 64, Atari 800, and all the computers that got the PC world started. Also visiting was Courtney Lantz, who was in my film The Sirens, and her boyfriend, Tom Williams (pictured below the photo with Jon and Stephen), both of whom should be making an appearance in Swordbearer. Afterwards, a few of us headed over to the Rock Bottom, which had outstanding micro-beers (I behaved, don't worry...just had one)and sandwiches. After that Michael West, his son, and I headed over to the crosswalk from the large mall there leading to where GenCon was taking place. Elizabeth Darvill and Nick Valentino took a break from GenCon to come out and say hi. I got to chat a little longer with Elizabeth, and found out about her new releases, saw new cover art for one of her upcoming books, and more. She and Nick are becoming quite the steampunk team on the con circuit.
Throughout all of it, I have been working very hard on preparations for Swordbearer. Casting, details of locations, props, costumes, and more occupy a lot of time and tedium, but it is all necessary if you want to pull off a quality project.
We have a great team assembled for this one, including the guys from Cineline Productions, Matt Perry and Sven Granlund, and one helluva DP in Aaron Champion, one of the most talented and craziest people I know. We've been tracking everything on our Facebook page for the short film, and I will be doing a few more posts about the project leading up to the big opening weekend of shooting August 21 and 22.