Monday, October 31, 2011

Local Books Alive Photo Blog

Saturday was Local Books Alive 2011 at the Bay County Public Library. Here are some pictures:
David A, & Cash Money

My friend and former News Herald colleague David Angier bought the first-ever trade paperback of my novel, The Book of Gabriel. I told him I wanted a photo of the first buyer, and he said it was more important to get a photo of that first money.

Michael Lister & Nick May

A total of 23 area writers showed up to play along (24 were scheduled). I sold both copies of the hardback version of Gabriel that I had on hand, three of the trade, two of my column collection (Dazed and Raving in the Undercurrents), one of the City Limits anthologies I edited, and three of my Best of Days collection. A pretty good response for two hours of sale time.
Mark Boss

Lee Baker
Dax and Jim Dodge

Mom and Me
Some names (you might recognize from this blog) that were there included authors Mark Boss, Lee Baker, Nick May, Michael Lister, Dax and Jim Dodge, Olivia Cooley (deBelle Byrd), Jeannie Cooper, Pat Douglas, Michael Brim (Goldcraft), Karon Phillips, Marlene Womack, and several others.

I had a visit from my mom, my daughter, and Donna Williams, whose daughter Marisa was the inspiration for a character in Gabriel. We also visited with Kayla, who appears in a sequence of the trailer for Gabriel being edited now by my friend Lou.
Me and Donna Williams

Pat Douglas, right, and wife.
It was a good day, beginning with presentations by Karon, Michael Brim and Olivia. I managed to give away a bunch of stickers and copies of our new tab insert that replaces The Entertainer in the News Herald now. Met some new readers and spread my brain worms into unsuspecting victims. One young woman really wanted a copy of The Best of Days, but her partner wanted Gabriel (and she had the funds); when her partner bought Gabriel, she went ahead and bought Best of Days, saying this was rent money she was spending.

I signed the book, "Thanks for the rent money." It seemed appropriate.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lou1492 & LightsUpOnKayla & HeyNickMay make a movie

Kayla & Nick as Shekinah & Gabriel
I have some good friends. Possibly even courageous ones.

This evening, Kayla and Nick met me, Lou and my daughter Jessi at the shoreline behind Oaks by the Bay Park to shoot a sequence that opens my novel, The Book of Gabriel. Kayla assured us the water wasn't too cold (she was more concerned about the crabs crawling in the sea grass and the jellyfish we spotted). To say she was a trouper is an understatement. She dunked herself under water several times so Lou could get just the right shot, while all Nick had to do was sit and be cool.
Lou and Kayla in the bay.
Lou was great to offer to make a trailer for the story, and Kayla and Nick were great to volunteer for the shoot. We were concerned about Kayla being too cold (the temp here has been cool in recent days), but she said she was an "art martyr" anyway. Jessi and Lou both joined her in the shallows to get a couple of shots, while I stayed dry on the shore with Nick (and we laughed at the antics out in the water). Let's just say, we had a slowly gathering audience of onlookers on the boardwalk who had more to look at than a gorgeous sunset...

Reviewing the shots.
We then got a shot of Nick pocketing the photo of the angel Gabriel meets along a back road. These shots will be added to others that Lou has gathered, and a few more we have yet to shoot. I'll post the trailer as soon as he's pleased with it.

It was great fun, and it warmed my heart to have such helpful and willing friends (and daughter, too) to participate in the project.

Lou & me, in the brilliance of the moment.
If you'd like to read the book this trailer is being made for, just come by the Bay County Public Library on Saturday for Local BooksALIVE, a gathering of area writers and authors. (Or download the ebook version for cheap.) We'll have informative presentations from 10 a.m. to noon, break for lunch (you're encouraged to bring a sack lunch and talk with the authors), then have sales and signings from 1 to 3 p.m. I hope to see you there!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writer's Gallery Tonight

I'll be reading at Writer's Gallery tonight. Last time I read the first chapter of The Book of Gabriel. The time before that, I read a couple of shorts from The Best of Days. This time I will read a work in progress, the first sequence of my new novel project, "This Mortal Flesh." It will not be for everyone, and I'm very nervous about reading a first draft piece of a work I'm still nudging to life.

Writer's Gallery details here.

I had coffee today with Kathie Bennett, who gave me an ACTION PLAN for this new project. She was to address the Panhandle Writers Guild later today on some of these same topics. (She was in town for her dad's birthday, and because it was just a year ago that they lost her mom.) Kathie is a great supporter; she makes me believe I can actually write.

I work well with deadlines. My biggest success in recent years was forcing myself to do the 366 Days project that resulted in Best of Days and Book of Gabriel. I plan to use NANOWRIMO to make myself finish a first draft of the new project. And then, to Kathie's action plan. Cross your fingers.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Creative Con is Coming

PANAMA CITY — Saturday promises to be a noisy one at the library, as superheroes descend on the facility for the second annual Creative Con.
Creative Con is the Bay County Public Library’s effort to recognize the growing popularity of the graphic novel format — and the fact that lots of kids started reading because of comics. Event organizer Bettina Mead (who generally signs her emails to me with lots of Xs and Os) said it was important that the library provide relevant information to all the citizens of Bay County, no matter their age.

“Many adults are still under the impression that a comic format automatically means juvenile content, but the average age of the comic reader is 30, therefore this is certainly not true,” Mead said. “Libraries are the first and best place for diversity. We play an important role in introducing the public to new formats.”

Not only are comic books “valid literature, expressing both the written word as well as art,” Mead said, but they are also valuable educational tools for children — especially those who are struggling to read.
“I believe partnering with Creative Con, we are creating a new cadre of library supporters among the young people who read graphic novels, and as you know, libraries are for everyone — young and old alike,” she added.

Superheroine with art card by Cassandra Collins.
Guests of Creative Con will be given two blank sketch cards to get free sketches of their favorite heroes or cartoon characters from the artists at the show. Costumed heroes will be on site, and visitors can register for giveaways including T-shirts, graphic novels, comic books and more. Josh Hughes, a local artist who writes and draws the web comic, will be one of the guests.

Bring your favorite pencils and try your hand at drawing a sketch card in the All Ages Sketch Off. There will be creative activities throughout the day, including a belly dance lesson and demo, with a panel discussion on comics beginning at 5 p.m. Details are still being finalized.

Local graphic artist Jayson Kretzer (who is working on character designs for a graphic novel version of my novel, "The Book of Gabriel") helped Mead organize the event. Kretzer has more than 12 official sketch/trading card sets on his resume, including cards for a recent Marvel Comics set. His work has appeared in the “Art of Voltron” book and online in a weekly web comic, “Wannabe Heroes.” He regularly participates in a drawing “jam” at Arena Comics in Panama City. (Check out his Deviant Art gallery.)

Art card by Jayson Kretzer
“I never quit drawing after kindergarten,” Kretzer said.

Mead said last year’s inaugural gathering was a success in many ways. She received notes from parents thanking the library for “creating something special.” One patron told her it was a great way to show children and teenagers “how cool” the library is.

“Everyone had such a wonderful time last year,” Mead said. “You couldn’t move for all the young people sketching their own cartoons, trading their comics or their sketch cards, and parents with little ones just having fun coming together.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Station Identification

My buddy Chris Arrant did this recently on his Tumblr. Warren Ellis, comic book writer and novelist, does it regularly on his website. I say always steal from those you admire, so here are places you can find me:

I tweet about anything I see that interests me here: I use Echofon on my desktop to keep up with the twitter accounts I follow.

I have a tumblr that I still occasionally add to. I suspect it might see renewed interest in upcoming weeks. It's here<<

Facebook continues to be an obsession despite the recent changes and the fact that I seldom see posts from the majority of my friends any more. (I've been wondering if I should create a Facebook fan page for my writing? Yes? No?)

My columns for the News Herald and random blogs appear here<< (Some of these are rewritten/repurposed items from this blog, or vice versa.)

My work with is generally uncredited. Bylined versions of these entries often appear on the Get Local page at

I still have a MySpace, though I seldom even visit there.

You can check out my self-published stuff in my "author spotlight" page at Lulu. (While you're there, click some review buttons. I'd appreciate it.)

I have a YouTube account as well. There's no telling what you'll find there, as it has been used for News Herald work, home videos, short films and so forth.

This is me at Linked In. I have no idea what use this place is, and I haven't updated it in a while.

I'm probably other places online also, but just can't recall it right now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching up & Things to do

Mike Brim and a Vampire
Mike Brim (who writes horror novels under the name of Michael Goldcraft) was the guest author in my Education Encore class on Friday. He talked to the class about how he builds his characters, getting to know them before he begins writing about them. He wants to know how they react, and why they do the things they do, so he'll recognize immediately if they do something "uncharacteristic." He is scheduled to do a presentation at the Bay County Public Library on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.

Minutemen by Nick May
Nick May will kick off his "Follow the Oil" tour to debut is new novel, "Minutemen," on Friday with stops all over the place for the next several days. I have read a pre-publication copy of Minutemen, and it's a hoot. (Look for my review here with the complete schedule of appearances on Thursday after it hits the web at

The Offer at The Axis Venue
The Offer made their official Panama City debut with new lead vocalist Nathan Simmons on Friday night. (I'll be posting a video of one of their songs later.)

I will be participating in Local BooksALIVE at the Bay County Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 29. It's a full day of local writers and their work, with a slate of speakers beginning at 10 a.m. (then a lunch break at noon) and book sales and signings from 1 to 3 p.m. I will be there with The Book of Gabriel as well as remaining copies of The Best of Days and other earlier works. I hope you'll stop by and see me before you head downtown to the second annual Panama City Zombie Walk at 4 p.m. (More on this as the event details are arranged.)

Meanwhile, check out this video I shot of last year's Zombie Walk:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What's up?

Mark Boss at Education Encore.
My friend Mark Boss, a local author, visited my Education Encore class last Friday to discuss "plot" in the craft of short fiction writing. While he was talking, a class member downloaded his latest novel to her smartphone. How cool is that?

Disembodied floating heads.
I toured the Jaycees Haunted House yesterday, where the good folks showed me some of the shocks they're planning. It opens Friday, and proceeds go to support a Christmas charity that buys toys for needy children.

Enlightenment-era Hipsters.
I also visited a dress rehearsal for AMADEUS at Gulf Coast State College. The show opens Friday and runs two weekends. Check out my behind the scenes video below:

Coming up later this week: Headed to the First Friday breakfast meeting of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, grand opening of the Tervis store at Pier Park, and a concert where my son will debut as lead singer of The Offer. Check out their latest: