Monday, January 3, 2011

From 2010 to 2011, a Look Behind and a Look Ahead.

2011 is looming as a very busy year, but it would not be in this position were it not for all of the things that occurred over the course of 2010.

In general, 2010 saw the release of both The Storm Guardians and Dream of Legends,adding a new title to my 2 different series. This also saw Karen Leet coming aboard as my editor on the Fires in Eden series, while Amanda DeBord continued to handle The Rising Dawn Saga. The year also saw my first foray into steampunk with "In the Mountain Skies", my short story in the Dreams of Steam anthology from Kerlak publications that came out later in the summer.

Things were not quiet on the film front either, as I finally returned to directing with Swordbearer, a medieval fantasy short film that is based on a segment of H. David Blalock's novel Ascendant. The production on that was complete and post-production was fully underway by the end of the year. It was a very good experience, and I was thrilled working with DP Aaron Champion, my first AD Nathan Day, and Cineline's dynamic duo, Matt and Sven, once again (as they say, "The Sven is Mightier Than the Sword" lol)

The year also saw a great deal of travel. I got to go visit in person with my reader friends in a range of bookstores and conventions, including Hypericon (Nashville), Marcon (Columbus), InConJunction (Indianapolis), Fright Night Film Fest (Louisville, the con that now includes FandomFest),ConNooga (Chattanooga),Millenicon (Cincinnati), MidSouthCon (Memphis), ConText (also in Columbus), The Kentucky Book Fair (Frankfort), Dark Woods Con (Pikeville), Duckon (Chicago), Archon (St. Louis), and ScareFest (Lexington).

Regretfully, I missed DemiCon due to one of my mother's 3 stints in the hospital during the past year, but I am slated to go back this spring, and the folks there were really understanding about the situation with my mother's health emergency.

I also got to make some educational visits, with talks to groups as Dunbar High School and the Bowling Green Technical College. I love visiting with students, and these experiences were definite highlights of mine for the year.

The bookstore visits throughout 2010 were wonderful, with a nice mix of independents and several Borders stores. I really appreciate Borders' openness to small press authors, as I was treated very well at the Borders stores in Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis. I was very saddened that one store, Davis-Kidd in Nashville, had to close, as my visit there in February of 2010 to Nashville was a wonderful experience. Similarly, the Sherlock's Book Emporium in Lebanon TN closed in 2010, though another location is open in downtown Nashville now. Fortunately, both Davis-Kidd in Memphis, and my hometown store, Joseph-Beth in Lexington, are continuing forth strongly. Both places were amazing to visit on my travels in 2010, with two incredible turnouts at Joseph-Beth and one of my best attended on the road events at Memphis' Davis-Kidd.

There were many pleasant stops at indie book stores, like Beaverdale Books in Des Moines and Empire Books in Huntington, WV, My last signing event of the year took place at That Book Place, one of the components of Frank Hall's burgeoning publishing and book selling empire in Madison IN. Frank is one of the true good guys of the business, and he takes care of many cats in addition to small press authors, so I am rooting him onward to victory!

The year also saw two very special authors come aboard SSP: Steven Shrewsbury and Jackie Gamber. Steven's book Thrall was released towards the end of the year and promises to be a really successful book for Steven in 2011. Jackie's Leland Dragon Series is going to be released through SSP, with the re-release of the fantastic Redheart in the first half of 2011 and the followup book later in the year. I can't wait to do some events with them, and it is great to all be in the SSP family together.

I took on two programming tracks for two Cons, becoming the head of the Writer's Track for Duckon in Chicago and the Author/Publishing Track at FandomFest (which includes Fright Night Film Fest) in Louisville. These tasks will ratchet up even more in 2011, but I was able to get a lot of ground work in place in 2010.

Best of all were all the new friends, including reader-friends, that became part of my life over the course of the past year. There are many individuals that I am so glad I've met, from other authors, to new reader-friends, to store owners, film crew members and actors/actresses, and others. Meeting new friends is really one of the best, if not the best, aspects about what I do.

The year definitey ended on a high note, with Crown of Vengeance winning the 2010 Pluto Award for best novel (small press). We got the notice just days before Dream of Legends became available. The timing was pretty darn good!

In all, it was a year that saw a lot of strides and progress. As with all things, there were ups and downs, but the overriding direction of it all was definitely positive. Lots and lots of Monster Energy Drinks were also consumed!

I'm very excited about 2011. We will be aiming to have the 3rd Rising Dawn Saga book out in Mid-Summer, with the 3rd Fires in Eden Book at the end of the year. Expect some new announcements in the realm of short stories, both from within Seventh Star Press and outside of it (and expect to see more of my steampunk friends, Harvey and Solomon...).

Swordbearer will be screened in the early part of the year, beginning a schedule that will continue throughout the year at Cons, festivals, and other screening venues. There are not that many indie fantasy films done, so I am hopefuly that we will see a lot of enthusiasm out there for this project. I hope it brings attention to many talented individuals who worked very hard to raise the production value of this project to a high level.

The Cineline guys acquired not just one, but two RedCams for their operation, so I have a suspicion that I will be involved with them on some production projects this year.

I am hoping to make some progress on a Viking-age feature that I have hinted at from time to time, involving a screenplay I have written. I think it is a hard-hitting dark fantasy piece that hits an area of filmmaking that has been in very, very short supply over the past several years.

Be sure to keep an eye here and on my site, as there is a great deal of activity and adventure looming. To everyone who helped me, supported me, or encouraged me in 2010, I extend a heartfelt thanks, and assure you that I am laser-focused this year and rarin' to put in an immense amount of hard work to see how far we might be able to get during the next several months!

Time to stock up on Monster Energy Drinks!


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