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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy fundraiser and new publication: Triumph Over Tragedy Anthology

Triumph over Tragedy

Author R.T. Kaelin has spearheaded and edited a new fantasy/sci-fi + ebook anthology called Triumph Over Tragedy to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

From his description:

I am R.T. Kaelin and I am an author.

Seeing the images of Sandy's aftermath was hard, some left me cold inside, others, left me wondering what it was I felt. So many needed so much. In past tragedies, I have donated some money to the Red Cross to help, but I’ve always felt like it was inadequate.
“Hey, you lost your home? How awful. Here’s fifty bucks. I gotta hop in my car now, get a cup of coffee and go off to work. What’s that? Your car and job are gone? Ooohh…”
So, this time, I wanted to do something more.

I reached out to fellow writers (who in turn, reached out to more writers) with the idea of putting together an anthology of donated short stories, sell them via eBook, and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Red Cross for relief efforts. As this will take time to put together, I thought trying to raise money now in exchange for the anthology later might be useful. Hence, I am here.

The theme of the anthology is simple: triumph over tragedy. It will contain all sorts of stories: fantasy (traditional or urban), sci-fi, mystery, pulp, romance, action…I don’t much care what goes in it. To me, the more variety, the better as I want this to appeal to as many people as possible. The more readers, the more money to those who need it. My only guidance is that every story be appropriate for all ages.

What We Need & What You Get

We don't need anything. The people in New Jersey and the surrounding areas do. Food, water, power...the things you take for granted until they are gone. To help them, we would like a donation for them.

I’ve contributed an original short story, called “Sergeant Argent’s Moment in the Sun,” a favorite of mine, to the anthology. A quick excerpt:

The first time my best friend Mike died was on a band trip to Devil’s Cape, Louisiana.

Mr. Trevathan, the band teacher, picked Devil’s Cape because it was cheap and less than a day’s drive from Fort Dire and the camp had some kind of drum corps savant. Also, my dad said, because Mr. Trevathan thinks the slots in Devil’s Cape are looser than in Shreveport, but that’s my dad for you. Camp in Devil’s Cape was cheap for a reason, though. With its crime rate, nobody wants to send their kids there. Except Mr. Trevathan, my dad says.

Anyway, the story goes that Mike was sneaking off to see some girl he met down there and he left the camp after hours and was attacked by one of the local gangs—they’ve got names like the Concrete Executioners and the Hombres Asesinos—and stabbed to death. Except that sounded like baloney to me because Mike was scared of girls and even scareder of doing things like sneaking out of band camp. For a Star Trek convention or to see Doctor Camelot, maybe, but not for a girl. And, you know, he wasn’t exactly a ladies’ man. Mike had been pudgy since fourth grade, he had zits, and I was pretty sure his mom still laid his clothes out for him every night.

So, yeah, I knew something wasn’t right about the story even before Mike had a chance to tell me how he really died.

Other authors contributing stories include my old friend and editor Phil Athans, as well as an amazing group of other talents, including Marion Zimmer Bradley, Timothy Zahn, and Robert Silverberg. Please consider contributing to the effort, helping people who need it, and scoring a terrific ebook to boot.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

FenCon IX


I absolutely love FenCon, which starts today. I missed it last year due to a family obligation, and was absolutely determined not to miss it this year. With two small babies in tow, though, as well as a broken wrist, I’m having to curtail my activities quite a bit. I’ll be attending tomorrow and participating in two panels: a superhero movie overview at 10, and a random novel reading panel at 3. I’ll also do my best to say “hi” to old friends between those panels. I’ll be the one with the lovely wife, the double stroller, and the bright red cast on his right arm.

You can see my complete schedule here. (If it’s still showing a reading for me on Sunday afternoon, please disregard that—I’m not going to be able to make that.)

Hope to see you there!

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Monday, September 03, 2012

The Archmage: Interview with Ian Healy


Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read and blurb a superhero novel called Just Cause, by Ian Healy. Here’s what I had to say:

Ian Healy's Just Cause is a slam-bang good superhero story: part JLA, part Young Romance, with some splashes of Our Army at War to keep you on your toes. I thoroughly enjoyed Mustang Sally's adventure and look forward to reading more of Healy's work.

Well, now there’s an opportunity for me to read more, because Ian has written a sequel, called The Archmage. Ian’s touring some blogs with a Q&A, so below, I’m sharing both some of his standard responses and some new questions from yours truly:

Tell us about The Archmage.

The Archmage is a sequel to the novel Just Cause, starring the super-speedy Mustang Sally along with the rest of the Just Cause superhero team. In it, I explore the use of magic in a superhero setting. In this case, a character named Wolfgang Frasier has been slaughtering other mages around the world and taking their power for himself. He’s gotten so powerful that there is only one other mage remaining besides him, the hero Stratocaster, who is a member of the Lucky Seven hero team that Sally trained with at the beginning of Just Cause. If Frasier manages to kill Stratocaster, his power becomes absolute and he could plunge the entire world into darkness, becoming its total ruler. This is, of course, his goal. Sally and the other heroes have no choice but to try to stop him, even though his power is so great that he can call armies of the dead out of the ground and turn anyone captured to his side. There’s a nifty bit of time travel thanks to magic going awry that sends the team back to the 1870s, and of course some great intrigue and epic, cinematic battles. At the same time, Sally’s relationship with Jason is growing much more complex and suffering growing pains all its own.

What’s Local Hero Press?

Local Hero PressLHP is an imprint I created specifically for the release of my novel-length work and collections. I didn’t want to simply release them under my own name as the publisher because with such a wide variety of genres under my belt, I wanted something to tie them all together. This way, if someone buys The Archmage, likes it, and looks to see what else LHP has to offer, they might discover Blood on the Ice or Pariah’s Moon or Troubleshooters.

You right in multiple genres. Talk about that.

I don’t like to be pigeonholed, so I don’t force myself to stay in one genre if I’m interested in writing in a different one. This goes against common wisdom of building a brand, from what I’ve seen on the internet, so I’m forming my own uncommon wisdom instead. That again ties back to the LHP imprint by creating a common thread beyond just my name. I follow my muse, so I’ve gone from superheroes (Just Cause, The Archmage) to funny science fiction (The Milkman), to cyberpunk (Troubleshooters), to fantasy/Western (Pariah’s Moon), to urban fantasy sports (Blood on the Ice), to religious symbolism (Hope and Undead Elvis) and even more. And if my agent sells The Guitarist, I can add “Mainstream Young Adult” to my genres.

So you’re self-published, but still have an agent?

I do have an agent, Carly Watters of PS Literary Agency in Toronto. She represents my Young Adult work only, and when we discussed the possibility of her representing me, we both agreed that she could still effectively represent a portion of my work and I could still effectively release my speculative and adult fiction without interfering with one another. I am, in fact, searching for a second literary agent to represent The Oilman’s Daughter, the epic steampunk/space opera that I coauthored with my dear friend Allison M. Dickson.

What’s it like working with another writer?

I’m not sure I have anything better to compare it to than a successful marriage. We worked very closely together on the project (two time zones separating us notwithstanding!). We had complete trust with each other, and were able to discuss what should have been extremely divisive and difficult issues not only with calm heads, but with a sense of joy that only two opposing viewpoints between dear friends can bring. The best thing about working with someone like that is going back through the manuscript and not being able to tell exactly who wrote which parts. That’s just awesome.

Who are your biggest influences as a writer?

From comics, I'd have to say Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Keith Giffen are the big influences on me. Alan Moore's plotting of Watchmen was masterful, and I strive to achieve that level of depth. Nobody writes humor better than Giffen. Frank Miller can convey tremendous story and characterization through deceptively simple artwork and dialogue--showing how you don't need to have the glitz and bling to tell a story.

From the world of prose fiction, I'm inspired by the collective authors of the Wild Cards series, edited by the venerable George R.R. Martin. Mike Resnick (Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future) has one of my favorite narrative voices of all time. Michael A. Stackpole (Star Wars Rogue Squadron novels) has a deft hand with writing action sequences, which is something I admire greatly. Alan Dean Foster is to prose fiction what Keith Giffen is to comic books.

As we both know, superheroes are largely associated with comic books, cartoons, and movies. Prose fiction, not so much. What do you think are the unique challenges of writing superhero prose?

Writing superhero prose isn't different from writing any other kind of story. At the end of the day, they're stories about people. Costumes and powers are just incidentals compared to human drama. The bigger challenge is the marketing of said material. Superheroes have been in such a small box for so long that it's hard for some people to grasp the idea of prose superhero fiction. "No, it's not a graphic novel," is the phrase I've had to utter most frequently when telling people about my work. Bookstores don't really know how to deal with the genre either, because superheroes really deserve their own location/genre classification. They're not just science fiction, or just fantasy. They have their own tropes which in my mind, makes them a legitimately separate genre. For the most part, when I put them up for sale, I classify them as "contemporary fantasy" and "general science fiction," which seems to cover the bases as best as possible.

Are you reading any comics today? What are your favorites?

I'm a diehard DC guy, and I was so disappointed when they rebooted everything this year. I think they turned a lot of titles I formerly enjoyed (like Green Arrow and Catwoman) into crap. There have been some bright spots in the new line: Batwoman, Stormwatch, Birds of Prey, and World's Finest that consistently make their way to the top of my reading pile.

What was your favorite superhero movie of the year so far?

I still haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises so I can't speak to that. The Avengers was my favorite of the year and in my top 3 favorites of all time (the other two being, in no particular order, The Incredibles and Batman Begins).

Cage match: Doctor Fate vs. Doctor Strange. Who wins?

Answer #1: Darkseid
Answer #2: Is there a preliminary match between Zatanna and Scarlet Witch? In mud?
Answer #3: Ron Marz, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Kevin Nowlan (if you get the reference, you are a SERIOUS COMIC BOOK NERD) [Note from Rob: Apparently, I am a serious comic book nerd. Not only did I get the reference, but I had it in the back of my mind when I asked the question.]
Answer #4: DC and Marvel accounting departments

The Archmage, book 2 of the Just Cause Universe series, launches from all online retailers on September 1, 2012. You can purchase exclusive signed editions directly from Local Hero Press (http://localheropress.ianthealy.com).

Find Ian on Twitter as @ianthealy, and follow Local Hero Press as @LocalHeroPress.

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorIanThomasHealy and http://www.facebook.com/LocalHeroPress

Author website: www.ianthealy.com

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ArmadilloCon 34


Hi, everyone!

Just a couple of quick minutes here: I’m heading to ArmadilloCon 34 this weekend.

If you’re in Austin, I’d love to see you there. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and to some lively discussions.

Here’s my schedule:

Fr2000SA Best SF/F Movie Series of the all time

Fri 8:00 PM-9:00 PM San Antonio

A. de Orive, R. Klaw*, B. Mahoney, R. Rogers, J. Rountree, H. Waldrop

Hobbits vs. Avengers? Star Wars vs. Star Trek? Aliens vs. Predators vs. Terminators? Our intrepid panelists attempt to ef the ineffable and address the truly deep questions: What constitutes not just a great SF/F movie, but an outstanding series?


Sa1100SA Fringe: Why We Like It -- or do we still?

Sat 11:00 AM-Noon San Antonio

B. Hale, R. Klaw*, G. Oliver, D. Potter, R. Rogers

How did this show become so watchable and interesting? Has it maintained its promise, or jumped the shark?


Sa1400SB SF/F Mysteries

Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Sabine

S. Cupp, M. Maresca, R. Rogers, P. Sarath*, M. Wells

A discussion of good examples of this mixed subgenre and the special challenges of writing it.


Sa2230SM Reading

Sat 10:30 PM-11:00 PM San Marcos

Rob Rogers

Su1400DR Signing

Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Dealers' Room

E. Burton, B. Denton, G. Faust, R. Rogers

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Monday, January 30, 2012

“Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil’s Cape” is now on Nook

Sherlock_nookI released the novella for Kindle a while back, but hadn’t gotten around to pushing it out to Nook yet.

It’s available here.

Neither the Amazon page nor the Barnes and Noble page has any reviews yet. If you’ve read the story, I’d love for you to post a review.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Comets and Criminals #2 is live

candc2Just a quick reminder that my most recent Devil’s Cape story, “Star of St. Diable,” was published in the second issue of Comets and Criminals this month. It features Doctor Camelot and some armored combat on an oil rig.

The story will eventually be available on the Comets and Criminals site for free, but you can buy the whole issue in Kindle, epub, or PDF format for a mere $2.99 right now and get a bunch of cool stories. Tell ’em I sent you.

Click here to read the full post with comments.