World Fantasy Convention

I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego from October 27-30. For those interested, I have a solo reading scheduled on Saturday, October 29 at 11:30 AM. I will also be participating in a group reading for The Way of the Wizard at 2:00 PM on the same day. If you’re at the convention, I’d love it if you would come by. Either way, it would be nice to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

 

The Night Jeffrey Ford Read in Greenpoint

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite living authors, Jeffrey Ford, read at the WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint. Jeff’s stories are surreal, funny, poignant and personal to use just a few adjectives, and always entertaining. Last night was no exception. He read a story called “The Double of My Double is Not My Double”. The story is new and, I believe, unpublished. That’s one of the great things about Jeff’s readings – you usually end up with something you’ve never heard (or read) before. I think Jeff’s one of the finest short story writers I’ve ever encountered and if you’re interested in short stories as either a reader or a writer, you must check out some of his fine fiction. You can read some of them for free here, here, and here. Also here. Or you can hear me reading two of his stories at Podcastle – The Dreaming Wind and The Annals of Eelin-Ok.

Also reading last night was Felix Gilman who read part of a short story set in the same world as his most recent novel (which I’m dying to read), The Half-Made World. What I heard of “Lightbringers and Rainmakers” sounded great and the whole thing is available to read (for free) on Tor.com.

Which brings me just to one point. WORD has this thing, particularly for this Wold Newton series of readings, where they have musical accompaniment with the readers. It’s an interesting concept, but one I find ultimately problematic. While the band is great, and the music a pleasure to listen to, I find that it often competes with the author’s reading and, the way my brain works, I have to fight to focus on the words rather than the music. Last night, Jeff managed to be heard throughout his reading, but Felix, who is more softspoken, sometimes seemed drowned out. I wouldn’t have them ditch the music completely, but I think it would be used more effectively to intro and outro the readers and perhaps as people are coming in and in-between readers. Otherwise I, at least, find it to be somewhat distracting.

Afterward, we moved over to the nearby Lulu’s for a beer. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by the place. It’s a comfy, dark yet somehow elegant bar with a decent beer selection and with each drink you order after 6, you get a free pizza. I paid five bucks for a Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, which I enjoyed, expecting a wilted, cardboardy slice of pizza to accompany it. Instead I got a fairly decent mini-pie that filled me up completely.  I have to admit to now being a fan of the place and I will certainly return.

All in all, quite a wonderful night.

Card Sharp

I’ve been having website difficulties lately, so I haven’t had a chance to mention this here yet, but while I was at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus last weekend, I had the opportunity to see The Way of the Wizard anthology, which has my story, “Card Sharp”, in it. It’s definitely a worthwhile anthology, with stories from writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Jeffrey Ford, George R. R. Martin, Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link and more. It’s still a pre-order on Amazon, but I expect it will be available there, and in stores, soon.

However, if you don’t want to wait, several of the stories are available online in their entirety, including my story. The site also has more information and interviews with some of the authors.

I also read Card Sharp at World Fantasy in my first ever solo reading and I think it went pretty well. I think the high point for me was someone who came to the reading, who I didn’t know, who told me at a party afterward how much he liked the story.

If you check it out, hope you do, too.

Books and eBooks

I am apparently one of those people who not only embraces eBooks, but who is now starting to prefer them. Don’t get me wrong, I love books. I have shelves of them. And I know the power of old books, with yellow pages crisp with history. But I also live in NY. Aside from the limited amount of space that I have in the apartment, I am very often out and about from the moment I leave my apartment in the morning around 6:45 until I come home at night which is often after 9 PM. Typical days for me involve lots of walking, subway rides and a bus or two. And while I have a nice big backpack to carry all my stuff in, sometimes I like to streamline and I usually like to keep the weight of my gear down.

A paperback book is not a big deal. Only I tend to buy hardcovers and trade paperbacks over the mass market size. Then there’s the book(s) I’m reading now – Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. This is one of my favorite series. I re-read it every few years. Yet it only is available (right now at least) in one massive volume collecting all 10 books in the series. No single volumes. No eBook(s). I checked. See, this is the kind of book/series that I would keep in hardcopy and in electronic form. Since I revisit it often, it would be the perfect thing to keep on my phone (or in the future, an iPad). But it’s not available. And I find that this irks me. Five years ago I had never read an ebook and such a thing would seem exotic. Today I’m bothered when I can’t find something that way.

This is not to say that print is dead, or that I expect it to die soon. But I’m amazed at how quickly I got used to the idea of having options. In this case, the option to own something in multiple formats. I expect we’ll see the Amber books in electronic format eventually. Hopefully. Because people are getting used to the idea of being able to get something instantly.

What an interesting world…

Skulls & Crossbones

Below is the cover image for the Skulls and Crossbones anthology soon to be released from Mindancer Press.

skullsandcrossbones-cover72dp

The anthology will reprint my story, “The Furies”, which originally appeared in Shimmer’s Pirate Issue. “The Furies” was my first published story and I’m really excited to see it appearing again in this anthology.

I’m still waiting to hear when the book will be available, but it should be coming soon.

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