Saturday, May 2, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part the Final of a half-dozen or so)

Let me point you toward one final person from the convention and that’s my favorite Nordic heretic, Jeremy Lewis (aka J. F. Lewis). Jeremy writes the Void City books but, in my opinion, his real claim to fame is that he’s a heck of a dad. It’s hard to be a writer and have a family and keep it all in perspective. Jeremy’s one of the few that does and for no other reason than that, I’d tell you to go buy his books. But that’s not all. He’s also a great guy all around but, more important, he’s a really good writer—tight, fast, visceral—vampires, werewolves, violence. What’s not to love? Okay, not happy yet? How about he throws in solid plots and well-developed characters? Still not convinced? Well, that’s all I’ve got so I guess I’ll let his fan base sell you on the rest. Let me close with this: Harry Dresden with attitude.

Okay, cat, con report done until ‘Clave.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part 6 of a half-dozen or so)

As long as I’m wandering around hyping people, let me talk about the Gambers. It’s hard for me to say nice things about them without being accused of kissing up to a publisher but, oh well. (The Gambers run Meadowhawk Press.) Now, I like the entire family but I think Jackie’s writing specifically should get more attention. She’s got tons of short stuff coming out and, surprisingly, a good portion of it is horror. It’s surprising because she’s one of the sweetest, least menacing people I know. We first met on a panel last year about killing characters where she explained that she was opposed to it. For a writer that gets so attached to her characters that she doesn’t want to kill them to end up selling horror short stories is amusing to me but it’s also a good example of her flexibility as a writer. I mention the horror but, at heart, she’s a fantasy author and a darn good one (a little mushy for my taste but then, you know me). If that confuses you, go over to and see what I mean by mushy—I like my dragons more aggressive, not less. Joking aside, if you like fantasy, and especially if you like dragon fantasy, she’s your go-to person. But if you want to see her horror (and mine), pick up the next few issues of Shroud magazine (I ain’t sayin’ no more because I don’t know whose ink is dry on which contracts and what we’re allowed to talk about.)

While I’m talking about generally sweet people, let me also point you toward Joy Ward and her genre of ‘dog lit.’ ( as well as her book Haint. I haven’t read Haint yet but I like Joy and she knows what she’s talking about with writing so I’m looking forward to the book. She sent me home with a copy to read and then send on overseas. Joy and Jackie are a couple of people who understand what I’m talking about when I say I kill people in my books all the time but killing the horse, now that’s serious business.

I’d hype Bill Snodgrass, Double Edged Publishing, and Ray Gun Revival magazine but, people, that’s who put out Calamity’s Child. If you haven’t figured that out yet, I can’t help much other than to say that DEP puts out a wide range of magazines and books and that the magazines are free on-line so why not go read?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part 5 of a half-dozen or so)

The author GoH at Midsouthcon was Mike Resnick. We got along about like you’d expect (assuming you know both of us). I didn’t see much of the other GoHs but I do wish to point out that, in the limited time I had to talk with Stanton Friedman, though he and I don’t agree on some subjects, I was struck with the openness of his personality and his dedication to finding truth as opposed to merely promoting the scientific orthodoxy. If that leads him down the path of UFO investigation, so be it. I certainly respect his willingness to look and his willingness to come to the convention and defend his positions.

The Filk GoH was Wild Mercy. Let me state up front that I love their music. I never get to hear them live because I tend to be busy elsewhere but it was really nice to get to talk to them this trip. Mostly, I want to put a plug in for their new CD and send you looking for more of their stuff. I’ve almost worn the grooves off Summer Storm (and tend to wake up with their songs stuck in my head). If you want an explanation of the style of their music, well, good luck with that. I’ll point you to the harp, the strong Celtic influence, the general folk styling, and the very well executed percussion elements but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I didn’t really get to spend anywhere near the time I’d have liked with Glen Cook but the wandering panel we did was like candy, sheer storytelling pleasure. Likewise, it was nice to share a bit of horror-market gossip with Linda Donahue but we barely managed more than a pass in the hall.

Andrew Fox I met first on Friday through his boys and we talked on and off through the weekend. As with Wild Mercy, I want to point you over toward his stuff. Andrew lives in New Orleans and after the ugly hurricane, lost his web presence so you might have to do a bit more work than just pop over to a website but I’m sure he’ll be back on line soon enough. His latest book, The Good Humor Man, just came out from Tachyon Publications. What does he write? Well, think of it as a mix of supernatural horror with a strong dose of sardonic humor. Do a search, read some reviews of his earlier books, and consider picking it up. It’s not my personal cup of tea but it is well executed and entertaining.