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Archive for July, 2011

Howdy from sunny SC…

Made it back home last night about 1030…left Louisville at about 130PM, so a 9 hour drive home after a 8 hour drive up on Friday. The drive up and back were both AWESOME!!! I-75 and I-64 were both smooth sailing with beautiful views…and of course I-40 and I-26 aren’t scenic slouches either. I was good and DIDN’T scrape off the con to go sightseeing, despite many temptations…Henry Clay’s estate, Boone’s Tavern, Cumberland Gap (and the tunnel), KY State Capitol, U of Louisville, UK, UT ,any of the dozens of rock cuts and river gorges, and etc… In fact we (Rachel and I) arrived geeked up and ready for a kick-butt weekend…SIGH.

We got to the hotel about 3 and went to check in to our King room that we reserved back in late March or Early April…and the wheels flew off… Ah the Fern Valley Conference Center and Hotel…a place I won’t go back to for folding money. The lady working the counter (who was nice, despite the rush of geeks, nerds, and writers that had engulfed her) told us that we had a room with 2 doubles..and that flicked my bic. I asked for a manager and was told that con staff had overbooked their rooms and were given the kings…despite reservations for con guests and etc. I asked about a comp’ed night or other resolution and was offered a room across the 4 lane road from the con. NOT a good option for 2 con guests. So, I took our keys and bitched the whole way…2 other visits with that same manager got me buptkis for my efforts. The room was ok, but only worth about $30/night NOT the $75 it had set us back. the main problem was the HEAT inside. I knew Louisville was in the same boat Chester was as far as heat went (and they say global warming’s a myth) but good LORD. The door handle to our room gave me a 1st degree burn when I opened it due to the fact that it was enclosed in glass and made to hold the heat. The vendor’s room was even worse as it was the dumping ground for all the AC exhaust and the pool was not drained. Now, imagine several hundred of the heavier folks you’ve see lately…many in costume OR dressed to sell books or other stuff…in this situation…it wasn’t good. But the panel rooms had AC and 3 of the 4 were well-marked…except for the one I had all my stuff in…of course.  But we survived, though my ghost story gig was a flop, due to the lack of programs.

As far as the actual event, a lack of programs made planning moot for Bill and I, so we decided to romp Louisville while Lexx and Siobhan did their panels (it was Siobhan’s first as a guest). We hit both dealer’s rooms and I got all manner of kewlness (over the course of the weekend)…2 art prints, 3 CDs, 2 books, 2 tee-shirts (one of which is for my dad’s b-day), 2 hand-carved wooded crosses, a DVD and an inflatable space shuttle for Katie. I also got 4 more books, another CD, a map of the mid-west for the US 64 book, 3 comics, and highway maps for KY and TN as well as the usual “ridin'” brochures. I also grabbed several business cards. I got to see Stephen Zimmer; writer of epic fantasy, screenwriter and more, who invited us to come as guests and invited us back, Bobby Nash; writer of neo-pulp and comics, and some other folks. I met Bertena Varney, author and contact for Scarefest, which I am going to try to be a guest at in August (Lucy, look her up on FB..she does vampire reference/non-fiction and wants to invite you too). I saw David Naughton, John Carpenter, Martin Kove,  Robert Carradine, Henry Winkler, who signed a book for Siobhan and induced a geek-out by her, and some other notables.  However, I can’t afford $20 per for signed pictures, so no autographs for me. I also drank some Wild Turkey and Bud Light, especially after Bill and I found Hunter S. Thompson’s boyhood home and I got some pix. Lexxx and Siobhan both kicked butt in their panels. Bill and I also drove over into Indiana over the JFK Bridge over the Ohio River. In addition to all this, we met up with Chad and Kim from Chester and Dale and Mary, two friends of Bill and Siobhan’s from Warcraft and went to the Louisville Slugger factory and tried to see the Da Vinci exhibit at the History Museum (sorry but $40 apiece was a bit steep). We then ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory… home of the best butter and cheese sauce in the WORLD and the site of my first date with my blushing bride way back in 1994 when the one in Charlotte was still open (There’s one in Nashville TN too… is it bad that I want to drive 8 or 10 hours just to go eat there again?). Dale and Mary are good folks. At check-out from the hotel, the manager took pity of us and gave me back $46 for the bait and switch and she even apologized for it.

All in all a good trip, if a bit long for a straight through drive. I hope to go back to Fandom Fest next year and back to Louisville this fall maybe.

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Can’t wait for the weekend! I’ll be doing a Special Ghost Storytelling Event on Saturday at midnight AND will be on the Paranormal in Fiction panel at 3Pm Sunday…come say HI! And if you bring by any of my books, I’ll sign them! A long ride…good folks and company..and I can show off 2 of my writing minions…Lexx and Siobhan to boot…or rather they can show each other off and be ashamed of me by association… and I’ll have Bill to bore silly too!

Any writer, or in fact anyone who attends these conferences, will tell you that half the fun is getting to know the people.  I’ve met so many wonderful authors, publishers and editors at Sci-Fi Conventions.  In fact, I met the publisher  of Creek Walking at ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.  A lot of people don’t realize that many of the authors, media guests and vendors do several of these conventions each year, as do the people who are faithful attendees.  Therefore, you often get to see the same people at the conventions and start to forge friendships that exist beyond Facebook.  This is the part I love best– collecting friends.  Stephen Zimmer, Marcia Collette, Dahlia Rose, Bobby Nash, Dorian Wallace and Nicole Kurtz are just a few of the author friends I’ve made doing the Con thing.  I hope that Fandom Fest will be as fruitful for my collection.–the above was swiped from Lexx Christian’s blog…somehow that vanished in the original post…

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No song listed below is from a CD I paid more than a buck for-

1- Buffalo River Home by John Hiatt

2-Pitch Black by Union County

3- Back in the Day by Figurines

4-I’m Only Human Sometimes by William Control

5-Drive South by Suzy Bogguss

6-Villain by Intelligent Dennis

7-Destination Unknown by Missing Persons

8- Ghosts of Tchoupitoulas Street by The Freewheelers

9- Dead Man Shake by Grandpaboy

10-Killer by Boy Kill Boy

11- Fifty Years After the Fair by Aimee Mann

12- The Ghost of the River by The Anniversary

13-Frankenstein’s Friend by Angel and the Love Mongers

14-Tell Everybody I Know by Keb’ Mo’…LOVE YOU RACHEL

15- Closer to Free by The Bodeans

 

Go forth and find ’em… sorry it’ll burn up a iTunes card, but not everybody has a Manifest up the road…

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Howdy-

As y’all know, I’m enchanted by the prospect of doing a NC to AZ road trip on one of the weirder roads I’ve stumbled across, US Route 64. This monster runs from Manteo, home of the famed “Lost Colony” out to AZ, but its last major intersection is with the former US Route 666 (now US Route 491), the famed Devil’s Highway.  As most of you know all too well, my longest (and I think best) short story features the folklore of old US 666 along with the Wild Hunt. Now, all the ghostly goings-on in said story are based on true accounts, so why is it filed as fiction? I  propose a new category: “Faction”. No, not the old term for party used by Madison, Hamilton and the other Founders, but a term better suited for use than historical fiction. Because, while I can’t PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that the stories told about US 666 are true, I (and a reader) can accept them as fact. Much like readers have accepted that Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is a novel with a factual frame, namely Lincoln’s real biography, not withstanding the outlandish or even falsehoods included therein. So let’s have 3 categories: Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Faction. Folks like myself, James Ellroy, Harry Turtledove, and others will thank you.

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Maps, Maps, Maps…

As you can guess from the title of this blog, I’m a driving fool. I also have road rage and HATE the interstates. Hence, my love for maps.., old maps, new maps whatever. That said, this is a appeal. I have highway maps for: NC, SC, VA, GA, FL and AL. I’d like newer ones for SC, GA, and FL, since those are all from 2008. I’d also like maps from any other state. I know CT, DC, MN, OH, MD, TX and some others are represented on my FB friends list…message me on FB for mailing address. All I want is the free map from the welcome center on the interstate. I will TRY to get TN, KY and maybe OH on the road to Fandom Fest in Louisville on the 23-25th of July. Thanks in advance…and I’ll save ya a seat…

 

Disregard…already taken care of…thank Cassie!

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5 good ghost songs…

Kinda stolen from Siobhan Kinkade’s blog…

As folks know, I’m kind of a ghost nut… I tell the stories and have written 3 books on them and they tend to pop up on the old iPod too. That said, Siobhan posted her top 5 fave songs as part of an ongoing song meme… and picking just 5 is cruel, so we’ll play it this way.

1- Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten by Marty Stuart… good new song with its roots in classic honky-tonk…Hank Senior would approve and so would Nancy Roberts

2-Walking With a Ghost by Tegan and Sarah… kinda poppy, a bit more upbeat

3- Haunted Heart by Jo Stafford… old school big-band…from the soundtrack to Gonzo, the documentary about Hunter S Thompson (RIP)

4-Ghosts n Stuff by Deadmau5… more techno and dance than I’m used to, but good writing music (or ridin’ music even)

5- Ghost of a New York Moon by Boechepus King… a good country song about a late night in NYC

 

And we haven’t touched band names with ghosts OR albums either… Now get thee to iTunes and grab ’em up!

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As much as it pains me to say so, my real-life job has trumped my erstwhile writing career. I have been shoved into a new role that is far more time-consuming than my previous ones at work. It’s a good thing and I’ll post more on the situation later. BUT the increased responsibilities and time drain mean that the novels and non-fiction projects I’ve outlined, done sample chapters of, proposed and etc are going on to the far back-burner. Yeah, I can tell; y’all are heart-broken at the news. I’m not quitting writing, just putting real world stuff ahead of it. Hopefully, after the hiatus, my remaining block will be gone and I will flood the market with goodies…like 3 or 4 non-fiction projects and 2 novels worth…

Now to get ready for Fandom Fest on the 23rd in Louisville…

Don’t forget about me…and buy the books, please.

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