Barbecue Zen: A Life Lesson from a Cookout

(photos from Nutty Nuchtchas and Bruce F Press Photography)

10385393_10201495629506364_381941092020939126_nThe week following Balticon 48, my social media feeds could easily be broken down to two topics: retrospectives of the event (which was awesome, by the way, and if you weren’t there—think about being there in 2015) and a variety of perspectives on the #YesAllWomen hashtag. While nostalgic and contemplative the looks back to the Memorial Day Weekend were, it’s been equally disheartening reading stories from people I admire and hold in high esteem like Dr Pamela Gay, Jared Axelrod, Chris Miller, either being victim of or watching others victimized by people who think they are cast in a season of Mad Men. Sure, there are men who behave badly in our culture but I had no idea just how deep this dark, twisted rabbit hole reached.

In this post I want to talk about both. In particular I want to talk about that amazing cookout you may have heard Balticon talk about on Friday night, and what we all can take away from it. Continue reading

My Writing Process: A Blog Meme for 2014

iStock_000021621315XLargeAs you all know, I’m always game for something new online, and last week I got an invite for something new—a blog meme. The concept is I go on and share with you all what’s happening in my writing life. I then introduce two people where, next week, they post their own answers to these questions. Hence the blog meme—from my answers, you jump to two new authors who will take you along on their journey.

While our intern-of-awesome K.T. Byski had a hand in making this happen, the invitation come from author Emily Swartz, a recent graduate from USM’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She has a work-in-progress called The Midnight Thief, a drama set in Appalachian Kentucky, but a freelance writer’s life is peppered with experience and it is that experience she brings to her work.

Thanks, Emily, for this invitation. This should be fun.  Continue reading

Behind the Secret Identity: “What’s in a Code Name” Now Available from Kindle Worlds and Valiant Comics

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.26.24 PMThis summer was a bit of a blur. The afterburners kicked in at the end of June when I got a phone call from the agent of awesome, Laurie McLean. I received an opportunity to write for properties from Valiant Comics as part of  Kindle Worlds  from Amazon. This would be my first foray into media tie-in’s so I had to bone up on my lore behind several properties: Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Bloodshot.

As this writing gig centered around comic books, I asked myself “WWBD?” or “What would Batman do?” Well, if Bats needed help, he’d ping Oracle. In Batman’s world, that’s Barbara Gordon.

In mine, it’s Jared Axelrod.

This novella is one or two fruits of my summertime labors from a long “at the feet of a master” session with Jared, purchasing a fistful of comics from my local comic book (and gaming) store, and downloading even more for my iPad. “What’s in a Code Name” found its inspiration from two pages of Harbinger Wars # 2, just after Toyo Harada gets served (and served hard) by a savage attack from Bloodshot. Those two pages sent me back to the beginning of the Harbinger story arc to dig deeper into the Harbinger Institute, assemble my cast of characters, and—as odd as it may sound—better understand and practice school protocols. Continue reading

MINISTRY PROTOCOL: The Cover Reveal (and other stuff that I’ve been up to…)

IMG_0450So yeah…I do this on-the-edge post about OSC, get the traffic, get the comments, and then…I disappear.

All right, let me explain…

No, is too much. Lemme sum up…

Shortly after that post, the Kickstarter for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences’ anthology and role playing game launched. Pretty much, that was my life. It was a new world of stress, of statistics, and of sensational results, the sum of it all that we made 152% of our goal. We did it! Yay us!

Oh crap, we did it — better get cracking on that anthology.

So I hunkered down with new steampunk from Delilah S. DawsonLeanna Renee HieberAlex WhiteJared AxelrodTiffany TrentPeter WoodworthJack ManganJR BlackwellDan RabartsLauren HarrisKarina Cooper, and Glenn Freund from The League of S.T.E.A.M.

How’s that for a line-up?

Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences promises to take readers across the Empire and around the world, introducing new agents and delving deeper into the organization’s history. I’m not only thrilled with this collection, but I’m excited to present it to everyone.

So hold on, it’s coming. Soon.

Until then, allow me to tease you with its cover from the far-too-talented-for-his-own-good renaissance man, Alex White… Continue reading

New York ComicCon: The Details

First, I want to give a huge shout-out to Stephanie Kim, Assistant Publicist at Harper Collins. She has made this happen along with the crew of New York ComicCon, and with i’s dotted and t’s crossed I am now here with the details on what will be happening in the Big Apple this October!

DATE: Friday, October 14
PANEL: Steampunk in Comics and Literature

TIME: 9:00PM-10:00PM
LOCATION: 1A01

Steampunk traces its origins back to the science fiction of the 19th century, and the term itself was coined to describe a genre of Victorian sci-fi being written by modern authors. At the same time,  steampunk and Victorian industrial age aesthetics have long held a  great fascination for comic and manga artists of various backgrounds. Continue reading

The Big Question: What Is Steampunk?

While putting together The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences blog and hopping around from steampunk site to steampunk site, I noticed a similar page at current online resources that Pip and I needed for our own. I also thought this would be a nice kick-off for the blog tour that we will be undertaking between now and May to promote Phoenix Rising, a post that begins with the basics: What is Steampunk?

Depending on which website you visit, be it the Wikipedia entry (featuring our good friend and creative talent, Jared Axelrod in this photo by Kyle Cassidy, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0) or Steampunk.com, you will get a variety of answers and interpretations to this creative movement that has been growing in popularity, but also capturing mainstream curiosity.

So I put together for the Ministry a page that gave several descriptions of what we thought constitutes steampunk. So, when you hear me talk about it and you still remain curious as to what it is, I present an “elevator pitch” to start off with, eventually work up to the “deep dive” that not only touches on the foundations of the genre, but even touches on the debate making rounds online and at the cons. Continue reading