Convention Queen meets McCaffrey

September 1, 2016 at 2:51 am (Events) (, , , , , )

I’m not really a convention queen, I just liked the alliteration. I definitely wouldn’t mind becoming one, though. That being said, I had the opportunity to work Comicpalooza (again) in Houston a few months back, and it was amazing.

I spent a lot of time chatting up this guy:

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If you don’t recognize him, that’s Todd McCaffrey, co-author of the Dragons of Pern series –  holding up a copy of his latest book City of Angels.

I was waiting to post about this until I had read his book.  But a few days turned into a few weeks and a few weeks into a few months.  Homeschooling the kiddo took priority and a lot of ancient biographies got put ahead in line.  Now I find myself cramming 600 pages the night before I fly out to DragonCon, dying to find out what’s going to happen to this fictional tiny humanoid collection of nanotech.  I’ll be working with Wordfire Press, hopefully hanging out with McCaffrey some more, and for sure trying to get this fun bit of sci-fi into more hands.

Wish me luck at DragonCon! And if you’re in Atlanta for Labor Day weekend, swing by.  I’ll introduce you to some stellar people who love books just as much as we do.

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Interview with Jason Kristopher

June 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

P10200191. Your books (The Dying of the Light) are a series of zombie apocalypse novels. What do you think your stories have that set them apart from the rest of the zombie genre?

First, a realistic and scientifically-vetted reason for zombies, as in it’s not just supernatural or science fiction ‘hand-waving.’ Second, and this is the key difference, the books aren’t about the zombies. Yes, they have zombies in them, and action and blood and guts and gore, but at its core, The Dying of the Light is a story about people. I always tell potential readers that it could’ve been anything that ended the world: aliens, earthquakes, global warming… none of that matters. This series is about the end of these people’s own personal worlds, and how they deal with what happens during and after, and more importantly, with each other. That’s the real story – the rest is just window-dressing.

2. What inspired you to write zombie novels? Did the characters come to you as products of the apocalypse, or did you drop them into that setting after their inception?

The idea for the story was a mash-up of two different dreams, actually. One about a lone zombie survivor on an island, the other about the end of the world (though I didn’t know at the time what had done it). My writer’s brain smashed them together, and suddenly, there was a zombie apocalypse trilogy. It makes me a bit nervous about the other connections my mind makes, actually…

3. Stephen King says people who don’t read don’t have the tools to write. Who are your favorite authors? Who inspires you to write? Who do you read to gain more writing energy?

on-writing-coverWould it be trite to say Stephen King? His book On Writing is the single best treatise on the craft of authorship that I’ve ever read. As for other fun favorites, I have a ton, but a few that come to mind: Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Donaldson, Jordan, Koontz, Niven, Pratchett… see what I mean? For inspiration, I look at some of my friends, like George Wright Padgett (Spindown), who wrote one of my personal Top 5 sci-fi books. That is inspiring, to me. I like to re-read some books if I’m having trouble with a book I’m writing, too. For example, I’ll revisit The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series if I’m stumbling over dialogue – even though it’s English slang, Douglas Adams was a master of dialogue.

4. Do you have play lists of mood music you write to? If so, which artists/songs generally make the cut?

If I have music on, it’s generally instrumental – tuneful background noise, basically. The soundtrack to Lord of the Rings, or Last of the Mohicans, that sort of thing. If I’m struggling with a particular type of scene, I’ll find some music that fits that ambiance. For example, my “Car Chase” playlist has Guns N’ Roses, Project Pitchfork, Rihanna, and even Motley Crue. But usually, I like it quiet or very low music when I’m writing; it keeps me focused.

grey gecko press5. You are not just an author, but the owner of a publishing company: Grey Gecko Press. Tell me a little about that. What made you decide to open such a venture and what are your goals for the company?

I’ve always been business-minded, and when I published my first book, I knew there would be business expenses involved. Originally, I never planned to publish anyone else’s work, but then a friend (author Wayne Basta) asked if I could help him, and Aristeia: Revolutionary Right became the second book published under the Grey Gecko imprint. I found I really enjoyed working with other authors to share great stories, even if they weren’t mine, and I had the ability to do it… so why not? From the beginning, the company has been about treating authors fairly, publishing great books, and doing things the right way, even if that bucks centuries of tradition.

As far as goals… well, I’ve long said that I’d like for Grey Gecko to be ‘the Google of publishing.’ Most people interpret that to mean I want to be rich, when that’s not at all my goal. I want Grey Gecko Press to be huge because it would mean that every author would have a chance at the same kind of success that only a few get now with traditional publishing. Every struggling writer, pounding away at their keyboard (or typewriter, I’m not judging) would know that at least one company would look at their work when it was done, regardless of their past publishing experience – because, at the end of the day, Grey Gecko isn’t about making money: it’s about publishing great books and putting authors first. As you can tell, I’m quite passionate about this endeavor.

6. You’re quite an entrepreneur. What other projects do you have up your sleeve?

I think it’d be grP1020027eat to have a Grey Gecko bookstore, for one thing. For another, we haven’t been able to focus on as much as I’d like with Grey Gecko is giving back to our community. I’ve got some ideas for creating local resources and ‘maker-spaces’ for writers of all types and kinds. When we’re ready, I’d like to take our business model into other fields, as well, including movies, film, and even music. So yeah, a few projects on the horizon!

7. How would you feel about having your books made into a television show or series of movies? Would you want to write your own screenplays? Who would be your ideal director?

One of the comments I have most about my books are that they’re very visual, very cinematic, and I agree! I think they’d make great movies/TV shows, mainly because that’s what I see in my head when I write them. I’m not sure about writing the screenplays myself, although I’d give it a try. There’s a lot about the behind-the-camera part of the film industry that I don’t know, so I’d at least listen to some experts… though naturally I’d want final say. I’d rather not have it made at all than made badly. I’m not sure of all the director’s names on The Walking Dead, but they do such a masterful job with a show that’s so similar in tone, that I’d likely pick one of them, given the choice.

Jason and rene8. You’ve had booths at Comicpalooza and done numerous book signings with local bookstores. What were those experiences like for you? What are your favorite parts? What are your least favorite parts?

Despite what I may say on Sunday afternoon at a convention, I actually enjoy talking to people about our books. Helping people discover a new book they haven’t heard about, or seeing their excitement at the next volume in a series, or seeing the light of wonder shine in a child’s eyes as I hand them a copy of Greystone Valley is why I do what I do. As far as book signings go, I enjoy them for many of the same reasons; talking to people about my books and getting tP1020015hem excited about reading is a blast. What it really comes down to for me, though, is that I’m a storyteller at heart; however I can tell you a story, I’m going to do it. My least favorite part of all these things would be the setup, teardown, and logistics that go into planning them… mainly because I’m lazy! I’d love to show up with a cup of coffee and find everything set and ready to go, but that’s the price you pay for being your own boss, I guess!

9. What other published work have you been a part of? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Aside from The Dying of the Light, I’ve also published several short stories, some of which are based in my zombie series, some not. I also contributed one of my favorite short pieces, The Art of Steaming, to the horror anthology A Fancy Dinner Party, along with 9 other Grey Gecko Press authors, and it was also featured in the collection Penny Dreadfuls: Halloween Special. For future work… boy, have I got some ideas for you!

First, I’m finishing The Dying of the Light with the third book, Beginning, due out this winter. Then there’s Under a Cloud-covered Moon, the first in a series about an irascible, anti-hero detective who works for the Seattle Metahuman Crimes Unit, solving crimes by and against ‘metas’ – non-supernatural mutants who’ve been called ‘vampires’ and ‘werewolves’ for centuries by those who had no idea of their true nature. I’ve also got a middle-grade/YA story in mind about a Teddy Bear (because it’s a job, not a toy) named Freddy McPhane, as well as my epic fantasy series of 30 books (no joke), not to mention the 150+ other ideas I have written down. I’m going to be busy!

10. If there is one thing you would want your readers and fans to know about you, what would it be? If you had one request of your readers and fans, what would it be?

I want all my fans and readers to know that I love hearing from them! Whether it’s a quick note, or a detailed letter, I’m always excited to connect with my readers, which is best done through email at jason@jasonkristopher.com.

For a request, I’d request everyone who enjoys the books they read, especially indie books, to leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads, or elsewhere. Short of buying more books, a review is the best way to support indie authors and small press. That and telling all your friends, of course! To find out why reviews are so important, visit my blog: On the Importance of Reviews, or, It’s Just 21 Words!

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Hello GGP and the Zombie Apocalypse

May 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

P1020019Title:The Dying of the Light: End

Author: Jason Kristopher

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Thriller

Length: 417 pages

Last year I worked the Half Price Books booth at Comicpalooza.  It was amazing and fun and I met some of the best people in the world – geeks like me who had gathered from all over the world to bask in their geeky-ness.

I’m in a little bummed out that I am not there this year, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t be back in the future.  What it does mean, however, is that I am spending my weekend re-creating at home what I am missing at the G.R. Brown Convention center right now.

Last year, I was so lucky to come across Grey Gecko Press, a local publishing company who had pulled out all the stops for their authors.   The booth was gorgeous, had professional banners for all the authors, hardback and paperback books on display.  It didn’t look indie at all.  Penguin and Tor would have been impressed, I think.

Of course, I asked them to come be a part of Half Price Books events in the Humble area.  My floor space is your floor space, I basically said, and I have not regretted it one bit.

It is because of them that I have had the pleasure of reading Spindown by George Wright Padgett, a book that I thought was pretty brilliant.  So brilliant, I connected him with the artist of the art company I work with, Gershom Reese Wetzel, when he said he was ready to publish his own science fiction title.  We got a review copy to Padgett, and the rest is history.  Padgett was the perfect person to write an editorial review for us.  It’s a fascinating sub-genre they share.

Now, finally, one year later, I’m digging my teeth into Jason Kristopher’s work – The Dying of the Light series.

I don’t generally read or watch a lot of zombie material.  When everyone was on that craze, I was not.  But I do love a good zombie story.   Usually when in the mood I go on a Resident Evil binge.  One of my all time favorite movies (top twenty anyway) is 28 Days Later, the first time I saw it I was impressed by the cinematography and the choice in music made me cry it was so lovely.

I chuckled and snickered all the way through reading Pride & Prejudice  & Zombies and just recently I was introduced to the movie Warm Bodies and absolutely loved it.

So even though the zombie craze isn’t entirely my thing – I’m not ignorant of the genre and I do enjoy it.  I existed in the house when my husband was watching The Walking Dead, he watched too many episodes without me to follow the whole show, but now reading The Dying of the Light I feel like I got the better end of the stick.

Kristopher’s work is both an easy breezy read as well as an involved and intricate apocalypse novel.  Current events are tied into the possibilities – which is always the best way to build a dystopian or apocalyptic world, in my opinion.  The characters are real, the main one appropriately both strong and sappy.  (Without a little bit of nostalgia and romance, what in God’s name would anyone want to save?)

Of course, that’s always the best part of an end of the world story – it’s why millions have fallen in love with Doctor Who.  Any fight to the death for a whole world must involve a story of humanity and what it means to be human.  Jason Kristopher pulls this off well, without overwhelming the casual reader with too much intensity.

After reading several books lately that involve a lot of plodding and lengthy prologues (from biographies to novels), Jason Kristopher’s opening sentence “I didn’t see Rebecca die the second time” was just the clincher I needed to jump into a refreshingly fast paced story.

I’m looking forward to Interval, the next book in the series.

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May the Fourth Be With You!

May 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

See you all Saturday!
Star Wars Day 2014

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Spindown

July 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sprindown ReviewTitle: Spindown

Author: George Wright Padgett

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 372 pages

There are books you read and love but cringe when someone suggests they make it a movie. What if they screw with the magic? What if they ruin it?  But there are some books that as you read, before you even finish the book, just BEG you to become a movie one day.  That’s Spindown.

Visually striking, the novel drops you right into the action from the first page, dripping with images of a future on the largest moon of Jupiter where clones are created to function their entire existence as slaves on a mining outpost.  The writing style reminds me of Robert A. Heinlein (author of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) and Gershom Reese Wetzel (author of Teres, which is unfortunately not available for the public yet); and the story reminds me of some of the more futuristic sides of Doctor Who (episodes like The Rebel Flesh, and such).Spindown art

Always a sucker for dystopian societies, I love the premise and the journey these characters have from mindless machine-like worker bees to passionate beings with more than a vague idea of what is means to be “dormant dead” and no Hemlo to suppress emotions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had the pleasure of meeting George Wright Padgett at Comicpalooza this year.  His publisher, Grey Gecko Press, had a booth there.  In all the hoopla la and excitement, he had a personality that stood out in a crowd and after gathering some information on his book, I was able to set up signings with him at Half Price Books.

The signing at the Humble location was a blast.  Grey Gecko Press brought a banner to put up in the store which looked pretty stellar, the book trailer was running on a flat screen in the background, and we had cupcakes from The Martin Epicurean.  Pulling off fun events in a bookstore has just as much to do with planning and organization as personality and conversation with the author themselves.  Padgett is quite entertaining and could be an event in himself with or without the book!

PadgettsHere is a little anecdote he shared on facebook from Comicpalooza:

So this past weekend at the convention, I was approached by a guy who said his name was Tom Padgett and that his son’s name was Tommy Padgett. He told me that he saw the banner (pictured) that bore his last name, and was thrilled to see another ‘Padgett’ as the author. I don’t know if he (or Tommy) even cares for the sci-fi genre, but he bought a book simply on the sir name.So here’s my strategy for my next three projects: Each novel will be released under a different pseudonym in hopes of securing higher sales from the consumers that buy books based on their own last names. Be sure to tell your friends, family, and co-workers to be on the lookout for new books from ‘George Smith’, ‘George Davis’, and ‘George Johnson’. We’re gonna sell millions now that we’ve got this figured out!
At which point, I want to say: DO IT! Haha.
But seriously, this guy is awesome, and so is the whole Grey Gecko Press crew.  If you are a bookstore, I highly recommend having them come out and do an event.  If you are a reader – go buy Spindown NOW.   If you’re an artist, I personally would like to start seeing some fan art.  If you are a movie producer… get on this, asap.  I’m waiting.  With popcorn.
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(Stay tuned for more pictures from the Half Price Books event.)

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When I Am Not Reading – Comicpalooza 2013 Day Three

May 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

DSC03671Such a nice guy.  He was running off to get a snack, but took time to chat with me and take a few pictures.  I’m kind of weird about celebrities… they are people too… and am typically uneasy about presuming to chat with them just because I see their face all the time.  But he is really easy going and didn’t give me a chance to feel uncomfortable at all.

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DSC03653A Look From Above

DSC03672Artist Alley

DSC03675I bought smaller prints of both of these.   I love Gerry Kissell’s work, and he’s a nice guy. Click the image to visit his website.

DSC03703Then I got to pose with a real Dalek!

DSC03698Punk Rock Band Front Man of the Hates. Click to Read about him in the Houston Press.

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When I Am Not Reading – Comicpalooza 2013 Day Two

May 26, 2013 at 3:08 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

DSC03563Started the day with the most awesome family ever!

DSC03571Fantastic costume!

DSC03584DSC03585DSC03586Alessandra Torresani is such a sweet person… and I think maybe a little in love with our David.  Click the last picture to “like” the Father of Dragons facebook page.

DSC03609My kiddo will be so jealous that Ms. Frizzle came to see ME!  Well, she came to stop by the HPB booth and see Erika… but I still got a picture with her rocking a near River Song look.

DSC03610I really love the Ood.

DSC03613Alan Dean Foster

DSC03614Gary Russell

DSC03615Kevin J. Anderson I told him I was one of those annoying book bloggers and he said book bloggers are never annoying – unless they recommend that you never read his books.  I like him, very personable.  Hope he’s there tomorrow, I might go back and get something signed.

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When I Am Not Reading – Comicpalooza 2013 Day One

May 25, 2013 at 3:04 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 014Our fabulous booth!

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 018Our very own Wonder Woman and Daenerys!

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 029This little girl was so adorable! Can’t wait to take my kiddo!

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 034Me and Kristen Holden- Ried

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 036I love me some Storm Troopers!

Jacory visit thru Comicpalooza 042Can’t wait for tomorrow!

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A Weekend With Super Heroes

May 7, 2013 at 3:31 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Half Price Books Humble just celebrated May the Fourth Be With You in serious style.  There was a costume contest, a raffle, Comicpalooza tickets to give away, free comic books, and free art work by some amazing artists.

Bright and early in the morning, sporting a Spiderman t-shirt and super awesome white frilly skirt, my daughter showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed to get her own free artwork.  Here she is chatting with artist Merrick Shaka Khan.

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Shortly after this photo our costume contest winner also showed up bright and early. Meet Doctor Who:

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In the early afternoon we had free ice cream from Amy’s Ice Creams and lots of coupons to share…

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Then, Aoristos – Creationeer arrived to offer his artistic talents to our customers for a few hours. It was amazing to watch him put peoples’ faces into their favorite characters.

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Aoristos at HPB

Finally, we were able to wrap up the day by announcing our Comicpalooza ticket raffle winner!

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Stay posted to join in all the fun at Half Price Books in Humble.  Next Event… a Celebration of Nurse Appreciation, May 11th.  Starts at 1:00 pm.

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May 2013 Events

April 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

At Half Price Books Humble

ComicPalooza 2013

Nurses HumbleReeshemah

Don’t forget, we also do Book Club on the first Monday of the month, Poetry Night on the first Thursday of the month, and Journaling on the second Thursday of the month.

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