Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Michael West Now a Part of the SSP Family!

It has been a long and very busy day, but a great one. We went public today with the news that Michael West, an award-winning horror author based out of Indianapolis, is now a part of the Seventh Star Press family.

Michael is one of my favorites on the convention circuit, and he will really mesh well with Jackie, Steven, and myself at SSP. With Jackie's young adult fantasy novels, Steven's hard-hitting heroic fantasy work, my epic-scale books, and Michael's horror novels, we are really showing some dimensions at SSP, even if the roster is smaller at the moment.

Anyhow, back to Michael...he is going to have Cinema of Shadows put out later this summer, and then Spook House will arrive in 2012, with a third, as of yet untitled, book to arrive in 2013. All the books will be themed around the town of Harmony, Indiana, so it will be a franchise of sorts.

He is a fantastic writer, with titles and short stories out through many excellent publishers, such as Apex, Graveside Tales, Shroud, and more.

I definitely look forward to working with Michael at events and conventions!

For the full press release, just click here!

Monday, February 21, 2011

ConNooga Wraps Up, and some Andy Deane video footage!

ConNooga wrapped up nicely, and yes, I do have a video link of the serenade I got from internationally known goth/rock maestro Andy Deane of Bella Morte (who is an amazing author too).

After a day full of panels, I got to join David Blalock, D.A. Adams, Roni Jonah, Jason Crowe, Justin Powell, and other friends at the Pizza Car...literally a train car that has been turned into a Pizzeria. The pizza is pretty good too. Definitely hit the spot as I usually forget to eat much during the day at conventions.

Later that night, I got to see the Bella Morte show at the theater on the convention site. Andy Deane is a fantastic front man, and the band puts on a very good show. Tight musicianship, great energy, all you want from a rock band. They played a new song from their next album, called Falling Star, which was excellent.

Sunday had a Swordbearer screening that apparently went well. We did not have a big crowd, as it was an 11am slot on a Sunday morning (a time when most people at Cons are not yet awake, lol) But the folks there did seem to like the film a lot. Allan Gilbreath joined me onstage to introduce the film. The screening and projection was very good, which certainly helps make the experience better.

It was a well-run Con and one that I definitely want to go back to. Got to see many good friends, meet some new ones, and have a few unusual adventures. Not much time to recover, as MystiCon in Roanoke VA looms this weekend! :)

Now, as far as the Andy Deane serenade of me...look for it at the 3:15 mark or so, onward...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Midway through ConNooga!

I'm about middle of the way through ConNooga, and things are going well so far. Definitely no lack of interesting things going on here.

Got to see Dave Mattingly of Blackwyrm Publishing in a Mini-me costume, which was a big hit at the Costume Contest. Got serenaded by Andy Deane of Bella Morte (After he led an entire legion of his fans down the aisle right up to my exhibit booth...I am not kidding about this. There will probably be some pics posted on this one! LOL). David Blalock has made a surprise visit to the Con. Even stranger, Sean Taylor, Jason Crowe, D.A. Adams, and Sam Flegal all showed up with the same kind of collared, buttoned, red shirts today. Apparently I didn't get the memo that it was red-shirt day.

The panels have been really good. Robby Hilliard's put together a very nice literary track, and we've definitely had full discussions going on every panel I've been on. Been great to share panels with the likes of Mike D'Ambrosio, Dan Jolley, Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Sean Taylor, Shane Berryhill, and all the great folks on the literary track.

Got one more day to go. We're doing a Swordbearer screening tomorrow at 11am, and then I have 2 more panels, and it will be time to head back to Lexington. Will need to get ready for Mysticon in Roanoke VA next week!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Six Straight Weeks on the Road....

As seems to be the norm, this week has been quite busy again. A lot of preparation going on, as I will be hitting the road pretty extensively the next six weeks.

Each of these events will have a showing of Swordbearer. I will also have a table/booth at each event for those that would like books or collectibles (and I will have copies of Steven Shrewsbury's new one Thrall available for the first time on the Convention circuit!).

This weekend is ConNooga, in Chattanooga TN, it will be followed by MystiCon in Roanoke VA, Metropolis SuperCon in Metropolis IL, the Troy Book Lover's Festival in Troy, Ohio, Millennicon in Cincinnati, and finally....MidSouthCon in Memphis, TN.

Quite a run, but it is what you have to do when you want to do this fulltime.

I have had a little fun this week...got a card swiping setup through Intuit (the folks behind TurboTax, Quckbooks, and other accounting software). It works with Android based phones, so I am finally coming into the 21st century with my new mobile device. It will be a G2.

Thankfully, I've been with the same carrier for 8 years (T-Mobile) so I was able to get a manager to approve a great deal on the phone. It will bring some convenience to people that stop by my booth who want to use credit cards or debit cards. I'm looking forward to having this option, as there have been many times that people have been unable to get a book because I could only take cash. I hope this will help some new reader-friends get underway, and of course every little bit helps me scrape through the travel costs on these events.

Work continues to progress on the next Rising Dawn Saga book. Really enjoying this one alot. There's a big quest to look forward to in this one... :)

Also excited about a forthcoming announcement of a new SSP writer...who brings a whole new dimension to SSP! :) More on that VERY shortly, but this person is really first class, as an individual and as a writer. The family continues to grow! :)

That's about it for now...gotta get back to sorting, packing, preparing! LOL

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Road Trip and More Just Ahead!

This week has been moving fast, with a bunch of meetings and a whole lot of activity on book and movie fronts. I got back late Sunday night from the road trek to Tennesee and Arkansas. Missed the Superbowl, but didn't mind, as the trip was well worth it!

First of all, I wanted to thank everyone that came out to the book signings and test screenings that took place.

Memphis was wonderful. From an afternoon visit with Dan and Jackie Gamber (and Ellen and Ben!), to the Davis-Kidd signing, to the test screening of Swordbearer, it was a great way to kick things off. Jackie, of course, is a fellow SSP author, and I got to see the writing studio where she works her literary magic. The reissue of her book Redheart is right on the horizon, which I am really looking forward to.

The Davis-Kidd visit was very enjoyable. Got to give a full presentation and giveaways, and we had a very spirited audience. Davis-Kidd is truly my home in Memphis.

The test screening of Swordbearer that night was at Studio on the Square, a really nice venue in Memphis. Had a pretty decent turnout, and got some excellent feedback that will help us shore things up for the ConNooga screening coming up on February 20th. Overall, the reaction seemed to be very positive. Didn't seem like there were any burning fires. We even had the honor of having the film reviewer from the Commercial Appeal as part of the audience!

Overnight I stayed at Thran Keep, otherwise known as David Blalock's house. David and his wife Maria are too kind to me! I had a very restful visit, and felt pretty good as we headed out for Arkansas the following morning.

Of course, more snow and ice had to hit, catching us a little on the drive in and a lot more later that evening. The event in Clarksville was the Redgunk Festival, spearheaded by Dr. William Eakin at the University of the Ozarks. I ended up doing a reading, talked a little about epic fantasy and my work, and manned an exhibit in the hallway. We did another test screening of Swordbearer for a primarily student audience. Collected more feedback that both corroborated what we heard from the Memphis crowd as well as got some new insights that were also very helpful.

Want to give a shout out to Sheila at the hotel there, who ended up getting my two Rising Dawn Saga books! It was a great way to start my Clarksville visit.

We went back from Clarksville to Memphis, where I made a second visit to Thran Keep for the night. As always, tremendous hospitality and a restful night! We headed out for Nashville in the morning for a stop at Borders on the West End. We had a nice group in Nashville, and I gave a presentation, giveaways, and did a reading. Got to see some wonderful friends, made some new ones (thanks Jeff!) and even had visits by some author friends like Nick Valentino and Eric Wilson. David Blalock made the trek as well, and I am amazed he wasn't sick of me yet after putting up with me for the three previous days! LOL

I really hope that Borders is able to start doing some small press events now that there's a void to be filled with the closing of the Davis-Kidd location in Nashville. They do such a wonderful job with book events, the location is great, and the Sales Manager there is really fantastic to deal with.

There were some books remaining at both Davis-Kidd in Memphis and the Borders West End in Nashville. I encourage people in those areas, who are wanting to get my books, to please support these two stores and get the books there.

After the Borders event I made the trek back to Lexington, arriving just in time for the last few seconds of the Super Bowl. A bit tired from all the road traveling, but 5 events in 4 days in 3 cities were completed fairly smoothly! It was a good start to touring for 2011, and I am looking forward to ConNooga in Chattanooga on February 18th, which kicks off six straight road weekend with MystiCon, Metropolis SuperCon, Troy Book Lover's Festival, Millennicon, and MidSouthCon to follow.

I'll get some pics up, but wanted to be sure to get this post up before the week got away from me!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Memphis-Clarksville-Nashville Book and Movie events this week

It is a little after 11pm, and I still haven't fully packed to head out at about 4:45 am for the first larger roadtrip of 2011, but I needed to get a post up here regarding this week's trip while the copies of the questionaires for the Swordbearer test screenings print out!

In a nutshell, this week involves 5 events in 4 days in 3 cities.

Here's the scoop:

Thursday: Memphis, Tennessee

6-8 pm book signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers
I'll be doing a presentation with giveaways a little after 6, and will be on hand until about 8 to hang out, visit with reader-friends, and sign any books anyone wants signed/personalized. This is an amazing bookstore, part of the Joseph-Beth family (which is my hometown store here in Lexington). I encourage everyone to come out to show their support for small press authors and Davis-Kidd. This is my second visit to Davis-Kidd in Memphis, and I'm really looking forward to returning.

I will then be going over to Studio on the Square in Memphis, a fantastic screening venue, where at 9 pm we will be doing a test screening of Swordbearer. This will be the first live audience to see it on the big screen, and it will include the Author of Ascendant, David Blalock, whose book was the foundation for Swordbearer, and Fight Choreographer Allan Gilbreath.

Friday-Saturday: Clarksville

On Friday, February 4th, I will head to Clarksville for a 2 day event at the University of Arkansas' Ozarks Campus. It is called the Red Gunk Festival, and will be a celebration of speculative fictiion, with readings, workshops, and more. I will be doing a reading on Friday between 7 and 8. I will then be doing another test screening of Swordbearer.

The festival continues through Saturday the fifth, and I will be on hand in the morning to afternoon running an exhibit on my work in the lobby of the Fine Arts building there.

Sunday: Nashville, TN.

Then, I will finish the trek with a visit to Borders West End on Sunday, in Nashville TN. I will be doing a presentation/Q and A/discussion a little after 2, and then hanging out until 4, and I definitely hope all Nashville folks can make it. Due to a schedule conflict, I can't make Hypericon this coming summer (I do the programming for the Writer's Track at Duckon, and they are on the same weekend that Hypericon just announced for this year's Con), so this may be my major Nashville stop for 2011.

This is my first visit to this Borders, and I hope that we can have a successful turnout, as it will encourage Borders to do more events with small press authors in the future. Borders stores have been very good to me during the past couple of years, and I really would like to see this one become a new Nashville home for me.

I really hope that people in the three cities above will give some serious thought to coming out and supporting the events (and maybe help pass the word around). The road treks are far from easy to pull off...In truth, they are very difficult much of the time. (Someday, I will go into some detail about what is involved in these kinds of events, as they involve a load of planning, logistics, media, expense planning, and more, from months out until the day of the event).

It really does matter when I see a reader-friend in person. I can't say that enough. I also hope that my reader-friends see that I make every effort to be an accessible author, as well as an author who goes the extra mile with what I do for my reader-friends. So, take a few minutes, and come on out and say hi and visit for a little while if you live around Memphis, or Clarksville, or Nashville! All the events are free to attend as well!