Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Convention Run is Complete! For Now...

I've been a little spotty in my posting, but it has been a real whirlwind during the shorter weeks with the 6 week convention run that I've been on. It concluded last weekend at MidSouthCon in Memphis, which was the exclamation point on what has been a really enjoyable and successful run of conventions/events.

I am truly grateful to all the hard-working folks who put on ConNooga, MystiCon,Metropolis SuperCon,Troy Book Lover's Festival, Millennicon, and MidSouthCon. I've met so many wonderful new individuals, and also got to spend a great deal of time with many that I harbor a great affinity for. We had Swordbearer screenings at all of the events, and I can say that the new movie has been well received so far.

Needless to say, I owe everyone some reports on the last two weeks. I've been a little behind, but I want to give both Millennicon and MidSouthCon their own posts. Keep an eye here, as they are going to be put up here pretty quick, in rapid fire style!

In addition to the conventions, I've been keeping up with work on the 3rd Rising Dawn Saga book. I am pleased to report that Amanda has been very happy with the text so far, indicating that it is the cleanest copy I have handed in yet. I feel that this book is a rocket ride of action, though the course takes a darker edge as things escalate in Terra, the Middle Lands, and perhaps a foray into the Abyss... ;)

I've also been very involved with the release of Jackie Gamber's Redheart, the new Seventh Star Press title that kicks off the Leland Dragon Series. It is SSP's first YA title too! I've been assisting with the outreach and launch of the book. More will be contained in my report on MidSouthCon, but the launch party there was a great success.

So get ready for a procession of reports before this weekend is out...I will leave things with a couple of images that I just got today, from a dear reader and friend, Robin B....turns out that her daughter Grace chose to decorate her wall with the cover art 8X10's that I give out at signings and conventions, and Robin also sent me a shot of her new bookshelf, regarding a particular section of it... :)

I LOVE getting notes and pics like this from readers, and am going to gather up what I've got and put a gallery on my site, and perhaps my facebook page, as I'm always so appreciative when reader-friends do something like this, and take the time to send me a picture.

(I'll caption this one: Now Gracing Grace's Wall! )

(Some fine choices at the Z-end of her bookshelf, don't you think? All the softcovers, plus a Storm Guardians Limited of just 50 in existence!)

(And last, but certainly not least, I want to introduce you to my reader/friend Robin's daughter Grace, who has the 8X10's on the wall)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Troy Book Lover's Festival Report! A Good One!

(me with Sue Cantrell, of Around About Books and the leader of the Troy Book Lover's Festival. She's got some pretty cool Fires in Eden and Thrall buttons on in this pic too!)

Had another adventure this weekend, this time at the Troy Book Lover's Festival in Troy Ohio. I thought getting to Dayton from Lexington was going to be quick, and for once the weather was clear, but lo and behold, a semi truck broke down on the bridge into Cincinnati, and construction issues clogged up the passage through Dayton. This extended what should have been a 2 1/2 hour trip into a 4 hour one!

I did get to the event on time. I checked out Around About Books first. They are the folks that put on the festival, and they have a really superb independent bookstore right by the central town square in Troy. It is a 2 level store, and they have entire rooms devoted to both fantasy/sci-fi and horror, which I thought was really cool.

The event was held in the Franklin Masons Lodge, and featured about 20 authors from all genres. I was so glad to see Bonnie Stewart, an Ohio based horror author that I had met back at Scarefest last fall in Lexington. Bonnie's quite the rockstar, lively, engaging, and full of flair! Her sister was with her helping out with things, as Bonnie was recovering from a recent surgery.

Bonnie unveiled a new t-shirt for Dark Days Publishing, done by Joe Garcia from Fast Custom Shirts, the same gang that does the great shirts we have at Seventh Star Press. the new shirt looked awesome, and I hope Bonnie is going to sell them at FandomFest, as I definitely would buy one.

I met some fantastic other authors, such as Stephen Hines and Terry Ervin. Stephen's got some great things going in the graphic novel area, and Terry's bookcover for Flank Hawk features a WWII era German Stuka flying right towards a dragon!

(Me with author Terry Ervin)

(Me with authors Stephen Hines and Bonnie Stewart)

I got a chance to screen Swordbearer on Friday night, and participated in a panel on Fantasy/Horror on Saturday. We then had a three hour signing/selling period, at which I met some great new reader-friends, and sold several books. Many thanks to those that picked up books and are diving into the mayhem of my fantasy worlds!

The festival provided wonderful hospitality, including a welcoming dinner on Friday, breakfast Saturday morning, and a dinner to end the day on Saturday. I really enjoyed meeting Mike and Dave, two guys from Around About Books who were very instrumental in the festival. I'll end with this cool pic of myself with these two, as the week beckons, and Millennicon is right ahead in Cincinnati next Friday through Sunday! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Midweek Update-Jackie Gamber's New Book, Metropolis SuperCon, and more

The week has been a whirlwind, with lots of writing on the third Rising Dawn Saga book and helping out with the introduction of fellow SSP author Jackie Gamber's new book Redheart.

Metropolis SuperCon last weekend was an adventure. Metropolis is a small town just across the border from Kentucky, in Illinois. They have definitely embraced all things Superman, ranging from a giant statue of the Man of Steel to a museum, and even an annual Superman-themed festival.

For my part, I was focused on the Con, since this was my first foray into the town. I got there very early on Saturday morning, leaving Lexington about 4am and making the 4 hour plus drive to arrive there close to about 8:30. I forgot about the time zone shift, so I ended up being there at 7:30 local time.

This was a smaller show, and I was arranged next to writer Bobby Nash, and across from artist Sam Flegal. Both guys are friends of mine from the circuit, and they seem to be able to put up with me, which is always good.

There was a room adjacent to the vending area where screenings and some panels were taking place. I participated in a screening of Swordbearer, and an author's Q and A that featured Bobby Nash and myself.

I really enjoyed meeting the people that attended, such as Carson, Aimee, Justine, Kristina, Patrick, and several other wonderful individuals. Kristina ended up being a major highlight of my weekend...she had stopped by my table on Saturday, and had said that she wanted to give The Exodus Gate a try. She sounded enthusiastic, but I did not expect to see her on Sunday, having already read a big chunk of the book and wanting to get The Storm Guardians. That was some of the fastest reader feedback I have ever received during a con!

On the Saturday night, I went with Ken and Myra (who are the honchos at FandomFest/Fright Night Film Fest, and who also help run a number of other smaller shows), to a house where some die-hard horror movie fans that they know wanted to treat us to a steak dinner. And treat us they did...Josh, the guy cooking the food, is evidently an aspiring restraunteur, and he served us a phenomenal steak dinner.

We had a blast hanging out, and because of Josh, Brandon, and Ben, I will never see the Eric Roberts movie Best of the Best in the same light again.

Over the weekend, we also made the discovery that Myra Daniels can evidently make magic hotdogs, the eating of which produces immediate sales results. I am not kidding, in that the three hot dogs that I had over the course of the weekend immediately preceded sales of books, almost instantly, following a few slower stretches. Michael Gordon, a comic creator who came down with Bobby, tested Myra's Magic Hot Dogs himself...lo and behold, he made an immediate sale after consuming one of the hot dogs. No more proof needed! Unfortunately, Myra ran out of hot dogs, otherwise I might have been able to reach the New York Times Best Seller list if I could have eaten enough of them. I have asked her to stock me up with the Myra's Magic Hot Dogs before all of my future Cons! LOL

Sunday went smoothly enough, as the Con concluded and I made the trip home in some of the calmest weather I've been in for quite some time.

This week is rushing by fast. I have been working to help get the word out on Jackie Gamber's new book Redheart, a fantastic YA Fantasy adventure that is the first book of her Leland Dragon Series. She's a fellow SSP author, so I consider her family, but I can say with the utmost of confidence that she is one gifted writer. She won the very respected Mary Shelley Award, among others.

Matthew Perry did the cover art and illustrations. I will post them below so you can take a peek at it all.

I encourage you to pre-order one of the limited edition versions of Redheart. They are going to be very beautiful hardcovers for sure. Check out the packages here, at the Seventh Star Press online store.

You get far more value than the amount you pay, without a doubt.

Well, I have to get back to work, as there's lots to do, including getting ready for my 4th event weekend in a row, at the Troy Book Lover's Festival in Troy, Ohio. Thankfully, the drive won't be too far (just outside of Dayton).

I'll be checking back in shortly.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Friend Charles Shouse's new film trailer for Nine Lives

I was really excited to see this. It is an extended promotional trailer for my friend Charles Shouse's new Nine Lives film. It looks like a really well made dark fantasy/horror film, and stars no less than Billy Drago! Charles is one of the best guys around in the film community here in Kentucky, as is his brother Mike, who you get to see alot in this trailer (he's the guy with the shaved head shooting the guns a lot!).

They've definitely got something promising on their hands, and I will be eager to see what they are able to do with it.

View the trailer below:

The Official "Nine Lives" Promotional Trailer from Phil Tabor on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MystiCon-Adventures in Roanoke

Better late than never, right? Yes, I'm a little slow on getting my latest blog report up, but I am getting pretty swamped on the mondays following my returns from the convention weekends.

Last weekend was MystiCon, in Roanoke Virginia. This was a very interesting Con for me, as it is largely new turf...I didn't know any of the other guests going in, and the only person I had some previous interaction with was the track promming head, Alex Wright (who was the one that had reached out and invited me) The Con is relatively new, or, more accurately, a relaunch, according to what I was told.

Let's just sum it all up by saying that I highly recommend MystiCon!

From the get-go, the staff of the Con and the staff of the hotel were extremely friendly. This helped a great deal, as I had just endured a six hour drive through very turbulent weather. The winds were strong enough to push my car towards the side of the road on many occasions. I was very happy to be on site, and in the building!

I had a table in the exhibit hall (which continues to grow...I even had some new buttons themed on the artwork from my 2 series this time), and participated on several panels over the weekend, as well as hosted a screening for Swordbearer. Due to last minute complications, Roni Jonah and Jason Crowe couldn't make it, so I had to go solo on the film screening. More on that in a moment.

The first part of programming that I took part in was Bethany Halle's Podcast, as one of the selected guests. Bethany is an author, podcaster, and blogger, who is a highly gifted interviewer, in my opinion. She's got a real magnetism and ability to make a new guest feel comfortable. I was a brand new commodity for her, but her style makes it seem as if she's known you for years, and she keeps the flow going. I really enjoyed her guests, which ranged from authors like Pamela Kinney, Alexandra Christian and Paul Dellinger, to an artist and a game designer.

Day two had a panel on what franchises will stand the test of time, where I got to meet artist Mark Davis. Mark was adamant that ensemble casts in literature/franchises are the thing of the future, and I hope he is a prophet as both The Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series feature ensemble casts! The panel was great, as there were differences of opinion on some of the franchises discussed. Mark and I have very divergent views on the longevity of Harry Potter, with Mark thinking that its popularity will not sustain, while I think that it will. We will just have to reconvene in twenty years and see what transpires! LOL

Jason Cordova was also one of the participants on this panel. A science fiction/fantasy author, Jason knows several authors that are also friends of mine on the Con circuit, but this is the first event where we've met. He is one of the writers to be featured in the upcoming Heroes in Hell volumes, and he and his girlfriend will be making a visit to Lexington during march (where I'm planning to catch up to them).

Later that afternoon, I was included on a Celebrity Match Game panel, which featured some of the GOH's such as Brinke Stevens (actress), Randy Asplund (artist, who did several of the designs for the popular Magic card game, as well as making medieval-style books through an authentic process), and David Gerrold (Hugo Award-winning author of The Martian Child, who also wrote the famous Tribbles episode on Star Trek). Members of the audience were brought up, and a sentence was read to them that had a blank in it. The audience members filled in the blank, as did the panelists, and then the contestants got a point for every panelist that matched their answer. Things degenerated quickly, in a comedic sense, with responses running the gamut. The full audience seemed to love it, and I think this will be a hit event at future MystiCons.

I had an enjoyable Independent Film panel, in which I got to meet John Johnson, a VERY prolific filmmaker who is doing the remake of Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space at the moment. He really knows the market as it stands now, and had some excellent insights regarding selling a movie and distribution. I hope to see him at Fandom Fest later this summer.

Following the independent film panel was a Swordbearer screening. We did not have a big crowd, as we were running opposite the Con's costume contest, but we did have a lot of postive feedback from the ones that did attend. One of the attendees, Tyler Cook, was the cousin of one of our two main costume designers, and the Wardrobe Lead on set, the wonderful Abby Cook.

Sunday featured a great panel on the issue of killing main characters, and it included David Gerrold, Allen Wold, Jason Cordova, and myself. It was probably the best attended panel of the weekend. Allen was the moderator and was very gracious about keeping everyone in the discussion.

While the Con had some great programming, and guests, the best part was that I got to make several new friends. Here's a couple of them, a HIGHLY talented artist, Shan, as well as Honey, who both stopped by and visited my booth (and attended the wild and crazy Celebrity Match Game):

That's the best part about these Cons, and this one in particular. I walked in without knowing anyone, and departed enriched by the knowledge that I have several new friendships underway. A really wonderful experience, and I definitely endorse MystiCon. Put it on your calendar's for 2012!

Next up this weekend will be Metropolis SuperCon, in Metropolis, IL!