Fall Festival Fun

September 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , )

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Fall Festival at Good Books in the Woods.  A picture paints a thousand words, so here ye be:

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#DidntMakeItToTheFestival raffles happening today (and possibly later this week) on twitter.

If you’re interested in being a vendor next year, contact Good Books in the Woods on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodBooksintheWoods

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A Fancy Dinner Party

August 26, 2014 at 3:07 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Cover_Kindle_New_largeTitle:A Fancy Dinner Party

Editor: Hilary Comfort

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Thriller/ Horror

Length: 184 pages

For nearly two years now, I have had the joy of being acquainted with a small, local publishing company called Grey Gecko Press.  As a whole, they are fun and spunky, and I enjoy both hosting events for them and attending ones where they are present.

At one of the more recent signings, Jason Kristopher handed me a copy of A Fancy Dinner Party.  I was warned not to read it too late at night – or when I was alone.

I took my time with it, limiting myself to only one or two stories per sitting.  The anthology features ten different authors, a fantastic forward by Jonathan Maberry, all neatly packaged and edited by Hilary Comfort and the folks at Grey Gecko Press.

I did read it at night.  But I did not read it alone!

These stories are a lot like P1000274the group who wrote them, spunky and fun – even when they’re scaring the crap out of you.  I enjoyed the anthology, I love that I have a copy signed by all the contributors and would highly recommend it to short story lovers…

and science fiction lovers… and readers of fantasy, and horror, and thrillers…

As the back jacket says, there’s even a bit of Americana and Japanese folklore.  The book has so much to offer and is a prime example of Grey Gecko Press, yet again, putting their best foot forward.  I especially liked the dedication at the front: “For all the new and still-struggling authors whose stories have yet to be told.”

With the chapters arranged like a menu and a forward urging us to “Sit back, tuck P1000275in your napkin […] and dig into this bizarre feat,” the book keeps the menu theme alive from start to finish. Well done.

As a reviewer of an anthology, I can’t just stop there and fail to mention one crucial point – my favorite course, of course!

Drum roll…

GGP managed to save the best for last: George Wright Padgett

I loved his story The Arrangement and it was truly the cherry on top of a very disturbing dessert!

The ebook of A Fancy Dinner Party is $2.99, well worth the download.  Good luck reading alone.

 

 

 

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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 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today is Intergalactic Star Wars Day.  Which means yesterday (Saturday), retailers everywhere were celebrating National Free Comic Book Day.

Half Price Books was no exception.  After all, the company sells anything printed or recorded that is not home-made.

The Humble store celebrated with Art by Shaka, Book Signings with phenomenal sci-fi authors, and comic book colored cupcakes.

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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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November 2013 Events!

November 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Stacy and AshleyTricelleLeo KingJasonPaulette

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