Writing Is Not a Solo Sport

aly_drew

photo credit: Arne Parrott

Striking a hero’s pose here is Drew Mierzejewski. I briefly met him two years ago through Alyson Grauer. Now if Aly’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you can find her lending her voice to one of my podcasts here, hear her rock the steampunk here, do it again here, and then giving good panel at DemiCon 25. Aly’s got game. So does Drew. That might be one of many reason these two got married.

Check it out, Chicago. This is an up-and-coming power couple to watch. I’m just sayin’.

Thing about Drew—I wish I knew him better. Something just tells me we’d be talking to the wee small hours in the morning about…stuff. Deep stuff. I especially got that impression when I saw a random Facebook post from him yesterday about the road creatives walk. The entire thread is here, and you really should check it out or even chime in if you like, but this was the part that made me stop and think…

Therefore, I would like to place a hypothetical to each of you. Why do we do walk this road alone? There are many of us! Why do we not band together in a great bonfire of creativity and make art? Is it impractical? It is idealistic? Is it too terrifying? What is stopping us from creating a massive company that makes art year round, in which we pool resources and talent to make the best of what we have to offer? Now, I want to reiterate that I ask this in hypothetical but I do want to hear your thoughts on this. So please take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think. Tell me why.

Continue reading

Remembering Alan Rickman

Alan-Rickman-zv-alan-rickman-6916293-1280-1024I honestly have no words.

No, wait. I do.

Fuck cancer.

I am still processing the life and death of David Bowie, and then this morning I saw it pop up on Facebook. I was trying to confirm it before I said anything to Pip, but then it downed on me: the news was just breaking. Alan Rickman, star of stage and screen, had died of cancer at 69. Identical to David Bowie.

I’m going to say it again. Fuck cancer. (#becausePGH)

I’ve been a fan of Alan Rickman’s work for decades. He raised the bar for villains in Die Hard, and sure, that’s what everyone knows him best for; but I still recall watching him in Sense and Sensibility and thinking, “This is Hans Gruber…and this time, he’s totally stealing this movie!” As I recall, Sense and Sensibility was marketed more as a vehicle for Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. The movie also gave Kate Winslet a lovely introduction to American audiences. It was Rickman’s Colonel Christopher Brandon, though, that completely won over hearts everywhere. Any movie Rickman appeared in could be promised at least one solid performance; and when you read his biography and see the amount of accolades he received for his work over the decades, it’s no surprise whatsoever as to why we loved him.

This is really too much. I’m at a loss.

So I’m going to let Alan Rickman speak for me… Continue reading

The Stars Look Very Different Today: A Tribute to David Bowie

IMG_5998Usually when an artist, actor, or celebrity of note dies, the alert gives a quick one line explanation of exactly why you should know this person. “John Q, backup singer for the Flying Wallabees…” or “Adele McManohan, artist of the painting Godzilla in Spring…”—something like that.

This morning, I looked at my phone and read the alert.

David Bowie dies of cancer aged 69.

No preface. No lead-in. No explanation as to what he was famous for. Just—boom.

And not under “Entertainment” but “Top Stories.”

That’s how big Bowie was. The man lived a life in the arts for five decades. He pushed boundaries, lived a life both dangerous and glorious, and he continued to do what he loved right up to his death.

And yet I have not always been a fan of David Bowie. Continue reading

Achievement Unlocked: My First Con (DemiCon 25) as Guest of Honor

IMG_0556So Monday was the snap-back from my return to Richmond — RavenCon. It was a great weekend with an additional bonus of Pip and myself hijacking award-winner Elizabeth Bear to show her a few sights from my hometown. We left the con at 2 o’clock and didn’t return her until 6:15.

What did we do in four hours?

It was not only quality time with a friend, but a good sampling of what Richmond had to offer.

I plan to write about the weekend — especially on the exceptional KidsTrack which followed a S.H.I.E.L.D. Training theme — but presently I am looking ahead to this coming weekend: the Silver Edition of DemiCon. I’m feeling the butterflies kick as I’ll be reuniting with old friends, meeting new ones for the first time, and fulfilling a role I’ve never held before at a convention.

IMG_0271At DemiCon 25, I am being welcomed as the event’s Guest of Honor, or GoH.

Following my first year experiencing the con scene, I made the GoH distinction one of those “That would be cool…” goals in my career. Why? It would have been an indication that to the organizers and staff of a particular convention, my stories held a special place. Not a bad benchmark to reach for, I figured. After a few years of con-hopping, I assumed my first GoH would be an event I frequented. Maybe? Then, on going full time in writing, the notion fell to the bottom of my priorities list, beaten out by other items like new title development and paying bills.

Imagine my surprise when it was DemiCon, an event I attended only once, that would be the first to extend this distinction to me. Imagine my surprise growing when I found out it would be for their 25th anniversary.

No pressure there, Morris. Continue reading

From the “Coming Out of Left Field” Department: The 2012 Parsec Awards

Holy Hanna on a hotplate!

This past Thursday, it turns out, was the day the 2012 Parsec Awards were announced. Now if you have never heard of the Parsecs, don’t sweat it — you’re about to get schooled on one of the most prestigious awards in podcasting and Science Fiction.The Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, is awarded to podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Whether it is fiction, fan news, or even geek-a-licious music, the Parsec Awards celebrates the best in speculative fiction and do so as part of the wild ride that is Dragon*Con.

(Pictured here is the 2011 Parsec brought home by Technorama. Good on ya, guys!)

It’s been a while since I’ve been up for a Parsec. In 2008 Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form), although you could argue last year I was in the Parsec Run as Tales from the Archives gained a nod for Best Short Story with “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” by Nathan Lowell.

Nah. Pip and I produced that episode. “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” was all Nathan, and more of a nice feather in the cap for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

Now we’re up to this year’s Parsecs. I was chatting with Veronica Giguere when the announcements went live. I know this because she started chuckling and then said, “I’m laughing about the Parsecs, and about you in the Parsecs.”

I’ll say it again… Continue reading

A Steamy Treat for Tuesday…

Hey, everyone!

Just in case you missed the big launch last week, Pip and I premiered Tales from the Archives,  a collection of short stories from the Victorian England of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. With original theme music composed and created by Alex White, we are featuring original steampunk short stories from…

Last week, Pip kicked things off with “The Evil that Befell Samson” and this week we present the supernatural steampunk “Dust on the Davenport” by author O.M. Grey. Continue reading

A little something for #SteamTuesday

Hey, everyone!

You might have heard about this on Twitter last week when Pip and I premiered the first episode of our anthology podcast (more on that in a moment), there is a pretty strong showing of steampunk on Twitter, and one writer in particular started up a movement that have become a weekly event I always look forward to on Twitter.

Meet Nancy Overbury, the creator of #SteamTuesday on Twitter.

Nancy is a graphic designer and artist located in Montreal, Canada, and has nursed over the past few years a passion for steampunk. She promotes on Twitter a variety of  links — literature, film, art, fashion, music — you name it! If it’s steampunk and she hasn’t mentioned it on Twitter, you’ll find it on her blog.

So when Pip and I were trying to figure out when we wanted to drop episodes of Tales from the Archives, I immediately thought of Nancy’s special day on Twitter dedicated to steam, gears, and cog. Last week, the first episode “The Evil that Befell Samson” written by Pip Ballantine, went live:

It is revealed just how Miss Braun ended up being exiled from her native country, New Zealand, and working for the Ministry in its London Offices. It’s a tale of nefarious doings, stalwart ladies, and the sound of clockwork.


With original theme music composed and created by Alex White, Tales from the Archives will be featuring original steampunk short stories from these talented authors:

You can subscribe on iTunes (and leave us a review there) or with your podcatcher of choice at the Ministry website. If you hear a short story you particularly like, go on and feel free to syndicate it on your own blog or podcast.

And make sure when you are on Twitter, give Nancy a tweet and consider tracking the #SteamTuesday for some incredible finds out there in the aetherwebs!