Granite State Comic Con, a Glimpse Into Another World

By Dale T. Phillips

WelcomeOnce in awhile you get to do something really interesting, like get a glimpse into another world where people are nice, intelligent, and having fun in a different way. I had that experience this weekend at Granite State Comicon, a convention held in Manchester, NH, for people to meet who enjoy a variety of things: comics, costume play (cosplay), science fact and science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, manga, and just hanging out with like-minded people.

This particular annual gathering began ten years ago, and Chris Proulx, co-owner of Manchester’s Double Midnight Comics, organizes the event. The show has proven popular, and grown to be a two-day event, with roughly 3000 people attending. It’s such a rush for those attending there were already people trying to register for next year, while the event was going on.

There was a great deal to see: panel discussions on various subjects, Ghostbusters, the only privately-held Delorean from the “Back to the Future” movies, R2-D2 and Imperial stormtroopers, vampires, pirates, superheroes and villains of all stripes, and even a place to play working arcade games from the past.

The Ghostbusters of New Hampshire

The Ghostbusters of New Hampshire






Jack Sparrow, the Silence from Dr. Who, and Elvira.

The Justice League

The Justice League


The people who come to the con love the stories and characters they find in graphic novels, movies, television, podcasts, and online. Many of them enjoy dressing up as a particular character they find appealing, and there are contests for best costumes in many different categories. But these are no mere outfits grabbed off the rack at a party store, they are meticulously researched and hand-crafted designs of ingenuity and creativity.Ladies_Cos

You may have seen a television show about people who cosplay and enter these contests, but in true television fashion, it shows many participants in a less-than-attractive light, editing to make them seem as if they are nasty competitors. Those in the costume contest I saw were nothing but supportive of each other, cheering each announced prize and high-fiving each category winner. I spoke with one participant who had a costume that included beautiful, hand-crafted armor. Having made armor myself, I know how difficult and time-consuming the process is, and complimented him on a stunning display. Though he was completely passed over for any prizes (an oversight, to say the least), he had no words of disparagement for his fellow competitors, no whining or complaining like you might see on television. A true hero of cosplay, and one who embodies the completely positive spirit of the whole event.



One costumer (cosplayer) who really goes above and beyond is artist Amy Fletcher, who over the years has become well-known for a series of striking mermaid costumes: steampunk mermaid, goth mermaid, even Ariel (from a well-known animated film). She’s back at cons after a hiatus, and what she does is more performance art than just dressing up. A true mermaid costume restricts ones movements, and she sits for hours at a time on display, where fascinated folk come to take pictures and marvel at the attention to detail on the current incarnation. Amy says she enjoys meeting people and being an inspiration to others, and loves to push creativity. Her attitude is: “Have fun, be yourself, and don’t care what others think!” Check out her website for great art and all things mermaid:

Goth Mermaid

Goth Mermaid

One place that encourages and educates this convention audience (and the world beyond) is Sci-Fi Saturday Night, a wicked cool podcast of all things science fiction. Check out their site and listen in on Thursday nights for news, interviews, and commentary by a talented cast of characters and guests from film, TV, and the writing world. Yeah, when I can tune in and hear classic writers like Spider Robinson and Harlan Ellison, you’ve got me without anything else. Then they’ll bring on someone like actor Lance Henriksen from the Aliens movie, just for good measure!

The Sci-fi Saturday Night crew

The Dome, Zombrarian, and Kriana of Sci-fi Saturday Night

And there are illustrators by the score, vending their artwork in various forms. Many have created graphic novels or other books, such as Susan Saunders, who was at her first convention, selling her children’s book Snowpocalypse, co-written with well-known horror writer Rob Watts. With a background as a schoolteacher, she’s now interested in creating literature for children. She enjoyed the people-watching element of the show, and was getting inspiration from the many other artists on display.

 Susan Saunders and Rob Watts holding their book,  Snowpocalypse.

Susan Saunders and Rob Watts holding their book, Snowpocalypse.

There were other writers as well, most notably a contingent of the New England Horror WritersRob Smales, one of those selling books with the group, said that there were “a metric butt-ton of good writers in the New England area– some seriously creative people.” Earlier in the day, he’d gone around the event with a death mask on to scare up some business.

Authors and members of the New England Horror Writers Tracy L. Carbone and Rob Smales.

Authors and members of the New England Horror Writers Tracy L. Carbone and Rob Smales.

From left to right: authors Tracy L. Carbone, Rob Smales, Scott Goudsward, and Tony Tremblay.

From left to right: authors Carbone, Smales, Scott Goudsward, and Tony Tremblay.

Author Scott Goudsward in front of the New England Horror Writers sign.

Goudsward in front of the New England Horror Writers sign.

You see a lot of good ideas here, such as raising money for charities– for example, the Ghostbusters of New Hampshire, who go to cons as their favorite movie characters, complete with heavy packs and gear for dealing with paranormal occurrences. They pay their own way, and make appearances and accept donations from attendees which all go to a specified charity. At the event, they were raising money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The Delorean Time Machine is doing something similar, and making appearances to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Delorean

The Delorean

So it was a great time, talking to filmmakers, photographers, and fans. Artisans creating accessories and vendors selling items from favorite shows and comic lines. Enthusiastic people having a ball, enjoying themselves and learning about many creative venues while meeting people from all over. If this sounds like your thing, there’s a slew of shows throughout the year, and New England hosts a number of them.ObiWan_jabba



Young Justice
Editor’s note: All pictures in this article were taken by Dale T. Phillips

Vampires coming to The Mark Twain House & Museum


Featuring “The Tillinghast Nightmare” documentary
and Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker

The Mark Twain House & Museum and Historic Haunts present VAMPIRES!, a spooky, fun-filled evening starting with The Tillinghast Nightmare, a documentary chronicling the transformation of the blood-thirsty vampire from vile, menacing neighbor in rural Eastern Europe to the beguiling, aristocratic stranger known as Dracula. The documentary also explores the Tillinghast family’s decision to exhume the body of their beloved daughter Sarah and burn her heart in 1799 Exeter, Rhode Island .

This thrilling documentary screening takes place on Wednesday, October 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the Mark Twain House Visitor’s Center.

The film will be followed by a conversation with author Dacre Stoker, the great grandnephew of Twain friend and Dracula author Bram Stoker. Mr. Stoker will be discussing his research on vampires, as well as his book Dracula – The Un-Dead.

Tickets are $15.00 and are available by calling (860) 280-3130.


According to legend, in 18th century Exeter, RI, Stutely Tillinghast dreamed that half his orchard was destroyed. Soon after, his daughter Sarah became sick and died. One by one, his children took ill and followed Sarah to the grave. To save the lives of those remaining, Tillinghast dug up the body of his beloved daughter Sarah, cut out her heart and burned it.

The Tillinghast Nightmare documentary explores the facts and folklore of vampire exorcism in New England in an effort to shed light on this gruesome practice. The documentary also explores the transformation of the vampire from diseased kin to the aristocratic Count Dracula.

Award-winning director Alec Asten is from Westerly, Rhode Island. The Tillinghast Nightmare documentary is his second in the Historical Haunts series. The documentary was filmed at various locations in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The Tillinghast Nightmare documentary is made possible in part by grants from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Dacre Stoker, great grandnephew of Dracula author, Bram Stoker will share the Stoker family perspective on mysteries behind the writing of Dracula, including the intriguing connection between Samuel Clemens and Bram Stoker, who were for a time, neighbors in London. Born worlds apart, Clemens and Stoker, shared a rapport built on humor, their similar life outlooks and common interests – spiritualism, as well as science and technology. The two borrowed material – one gentleman complimenting the other: a line from Following the Equator inserted into Dracula and for years, Bram’s story about a priest who jumped to conclusions was a part of Mark Twain’s lectures. Samuel Clemens and Abraham Stoker, writers who each made his indelible mark, interesting individuals and a fascinating friendship.

The Mark Twain House & Museum ( ) has restored the author’s Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

In addition to providing tours of Twain’s restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit

Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.  

‘Sharknado’ Scheduled to Hit the East Coast during Rock & Shock 2013

The national weather service is predicting that a category 4 Sharknado will hit
Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. Meteorologists can confirm that Sharknado‘s director Anthony C. Ferrante (Sharknado, Boo, Hansel & Gretel, Headless Horseman) and star Jason Simmons – (Sharknado, Bloody Mary, Nowhere, Baywatch) will be making landfall directly inside the DCU Center as part of Rock & Shock 2013. All residents are advised to take proper precautions by purchasing their tickets at
It’s the movie that caused a social media sensation like no other, and now you have the chance to meet the men behind this contemporary classic; director Anthony C. Ferrante and actor Jason Simmons. Making their first convention appearance ever and hot off the tails of the Sharknado sequel announcement, Ferrante and Simmons will be signing autographs and meeting with fans as part of the 10th annual convention.

Also joining Ferrante and Simmons will be Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, Hatchet), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The X-Files), The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker and Scott Wilson and many more. Live performances include, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie and Podcast Q&A), Danzig with special guest Doyle and Twiztid.

For a complete list of attendees and up-to-the-minute announcements, please visit

Cover Revealed for ‘Secret Things’

Books & Boos Press is pleased to announce the cover artwork for Secret Things, a collection of scary tales by Stacey Longo. The cover was created by artist Stephanie Johnson, the cover is reminiscent of Saul Bass’s work, but with a style and flair all its own.


“I’d seen some of the covers Stephanie did for Kate Laity—most notably Noir Carnival and Weird Noir—and knew she’d be the perfect choice to design the cover for this collection,” Books & Boos Press co-owner Jason Harris said. “She was wonderful to work with, and we’re so happy with the result!”

The short story collection will be released in October 2013 as both a paperback and e-book.

‘Army of the Damned’ Cast Set to Invade this Year’s Rock & Shock

The filmmakers behind Inkubus, Infested and Self Storage will be showcasing their latest production Army of the Damned at Rock & Shock 2013. Along with a special invite-only premiere on Saturday, October 19, the film’s producer, director and cast will be meeting with fans all weekend long.

Some say that New England is quickly becoming the Hollywood of the East and thanks to Rhode Island based producer Chad A. Verdi and writer/director Tom DeNucci, they may just be right. The duo have cranked out hometown horror with Hollywood legends and their latest endeavor is no different. Boasting an all-star cast including Tony Todd (Candyman), Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The Expendables), *NSYNC ‘s Joey Fatone (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Sully Erna (lead singer, Godsmack) and professional wrestlers Tommy Dreamer, Maria Kanellis and Thea Trinidad, Army of the Damned is poised to once and for all put the East Coast on the movie making map.

To celebrate the release of the Rhode Island helmed horror flick, Verdi, DeNucci and the film’s cast will be heading up to Worcester, MA to premiere the film at Rock & Shock 2013. Joining the film’s aforementioned stars will be David Chokachi (Baywatch), Nick Principe (Laid to Rest), Jackie Moore (Atlantic Rim), Tom Paolino (Inkubus), David Gere (Remains) and Billy Vigeant (The Fighter).

Army of the Damned follows the crew of a hit reality TV show as they chronicle the lives of local cops in a sleepy town. When things go horribly awry after a call that brings new meaning to the term “domestic disturbance,” these small town cops must put their lives – and their training – on the line if they want to make it out alive and avoid joining the Army of the Damned.

Rock & Shock, now in its 10th year is an annual convention that brings together monsters, music and mayhem for three days of frightening fun! This year’s event will see the likes of Robert Englund(Nightmare on Elm StreetHatchet), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The X-Files), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) and many more signing autographs, taking pictures and meeting fans from all over the world. In addition to Twiztid, this year’s live performers include Danzig with special guest Doyle and Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes; who will be screening their new film Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie and answering fan questions with a live podcast.

For a complete list of attendees and up-to-the-minute announcements, please visit

The ‘Snowpocalypse’ is Coming!



We’re certain your kids will love it!


Rob Watts, author of the Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove series, and Susan Saunders, Illustrator and educator, have teamed up to create Waunders, an imprint of publisher Ocean View Press. Waunders is the Boston-based publisher’s new children’s book line, which is devoted to creating educational and family-friendly reading entertainment, which kids will treasure for years to come.

Waunders is proud to announce the debut of Snowpocalypse, which  will be officially released on Oct. 1.

The concept behind the book Snowpocalypse came about during the blizzard of February 2013 when the northeast was literally crippled by the treacherous snowstorm. As the pair of authors shared birthdays within days apart, and their celebratory plans were placed on hold due to the ongoing blizzard, the two joked that their birthdays were ruined by the “snowpocalypse!” Thus the children’s tale was born. Taking it a step further, the authors created a brand in which to attach their books to, in the form of Waunders, a combination of their last names.

“I’ve always loved drawing and teaching and entertaining children, so this seemed like the perfect project for me to undertake” says Saunders.” I’ve always had a desire to create a children’s book, so the timing couldn’t have been better for us to involve ourselves in this undertaking.”

Coming from a background of adult fiction, Watts adds “I’m definitely up to the challenge of comfortable wedging myself between dark suspenseful fiction and the benign innocence that goes along with children’s storytelling. It can certainly be done and I think we will do a great job together in entertaining.”

To learn more about team Waunders, visit for the latest news, bio’s, signing dates and their forthcoming release Snowpocalypse available Oct. 1st.

Watts will be at the New England Authors Book Sale taking place at Haverhill High School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. He will also be in artist alley at Granite State ComicCon happening at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 28 and 29. Saunders will also be in attendance at the convention. Snowpocalypse will be available to purchase.

Twiztid To Kick Off Fright Fest Tour at Rock & Shock 2013

Twiztid To Kick Off Fright Fest Tour at Rock & Shock 2013 With Special Guests Sid Haig & Hanna Hall

Twiztid will be kicking of their annual Fright Fest Tour as well as closing out Rock & Shock 2013 when they hit the Worcester Palladium stage on Sunday, October 20, 2013. As part of the three day convention, Twiztid will be performing live alongside special guests The R.O.C., Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Mad Child and Aqualeo. In addition to their performance, Twiztid will also be hosting a panel and special Sunday only autograph session with their tour mates, as well actors Sid Haig and Hanna Hall.

Sid Haig is best known to audiences as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s contemporary horror classics House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. He will be joined by his Halloween co-star Hanna Hall who most recently appeared in Twiztid’s music video for their single The Deep End. Hall has also appeared in Text, Visible Scars, and Sophia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides but will forever be known to movie audiences as Young Jenny in the seminal classic Forrest Gump, coining the phrase “Run Forrest, run!”

Rock & Shock, now in its 10th year is an annual convention that brings together monsters, music and mayhem for three days of frightening fun! This year’s event will see the likes of Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, Hatchet), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The X-Files), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) and many more signing autographs, taking pictures and meeting fans from all over the world. In addition to Twiztid, this year’s live performers include Danzig with special guest Doyle and Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes; who will be screening their new film Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie and answering fan questions with a live podcast.

For a complete list of attendees and up-to-the-minute announcements, please visit

Book Review: ‘A Shadow on the Wall’ by Dale T. Phillips

shadow_on_wall_cover_smashZack Taylor just can’t seem to escape his past. Ollie Southern, a member of a notorious biker gang, has cut a deal with the feds to get out of prison, and he’s returned to Portland, Maine to let Zack know he isn’t about to let bygones be bygones.

Meanwhile, Hollywood descends on his beloved city, and Zack is persuaded by a beautiful starlet to come on board as the martial arts liaison for what is sure to be a blockbuster film. But Zack is beside himself when he finds out the movie is actually about his own troubled past, and when someone in the business winds up dead, the blame falls on him.

Zack’s desire to put his past behind him has suddenly been complicated by questionable Hollywood ties to internationally organized crime, a police officer with an agenda, an old flame, a new flame, troubled actors, suspicion of arson and murder, and a big bag of money. And of course, Ollie Southern doesn’t help matters either.

What is an ex-con like Zack Taylor to do?

In A Shadow on the Wall, Dale T. Phillips delivers a high-octane mystery/thriller that moves seamlessly from dilemma to dilemma as Zack Taylor navigates the deadly mysteries playing out around him. Zack sizzles as a man with a troubled past trying to turn over a new leaf, and as a pawn and an unwilling player in an agenda he must understand before it kills him. His inevitable confrontation with a bloodthirsty Yakuza assassin delivers an exciting conclusion to what continues to be one of the more engaging mystery series I’ve read. The pacing in this book starts at 60 miles per hour and only accelerates from there, making it a quick, enjoyable read.

This is the best Zack Taylor book yet.

4 out of 5 Stars

Vlad Vaslyn, book reviewer

Author at Bozrah Farmer’s Market

Author Stacey Longo was at the Bozrah Farmer’s Market recently for Connecticut Author’s Night. She was one of 18 authors at the event.

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Longo has a collection of 12 stories, Secret Things, coming out in October. She is also editing Wicked Seasons,which is the New England Horror Writers’ second anthology. It will debut at this year’s Anthocon in November. You can see the TOC here and the front and back covers here.

Please Help Books & Boos, An Independent Bookstore, Grow


Books & Boos2013-05-03 12.44.46, an independent bookstore located in Colchester, Connecticut, has started a fundraising campaign in an effort to expand their offerings to the community.

The campaign project page is located at No amount is too small.

Currently, the store primarily carries used books, but also offers shelf space to local authors with new books, and carries a variety of novelty items created by local artists. They host a local writers’ group, which has to juggle its schedule around author events, as there isn’t room in the store for both to go on at the same time.

At its present location, approximately 700 square feet, the store houses about 8,000 books. Their overstock, another 8,000 books, is stored at the owners’ home.

Books & Boos hopes to move to a bigger location with more visibility to bring more books to more readers. A larger space would also mean more room for book clubs, writers’ groups, author events, and hosting community events.

There’s a location available in the center of town (we’re currently in a fairly rural area) with three times the space. Also, there’s storage at the new location, and insulation (something the store doesn’t currently have, which leads to astronomical heating bills in the winter). There have also been issues with the septic leaking into the parking lot and non-potable water at the store’s current location. The new space will cost $25,000 for the year.

That’s why the store is asking for donations. Books & Boos hopes to move to a spot with more shelf space and more visibility to attract more readers and offer more previously-loved books.

If the store doesn’t meet its fundraising goal, all funds raised will go towards improving its current location and advertising.

Books & Boos is offering the following perks for donations:

Donate $25 and receive a coupon for a free romance novel at the store!

Donate $50 and receive a coupon for 20% off all used books in the store!

Donate $75 and receive a coupon for a free romance novel, and a book light!

Donate $100 and receive a coupon for 20% off all used books in the store, and a book light!

Donate $1,000 or more and receive a copy of Bite Club by Hal Bodner, a book light, a hand-crafted wooden etched bookmark, and 20% off all used books in the store!

Donate $5,000 and receive a new (unopened) Nintendo Challenge Set and Super Mario Brothers 3 game cartridge!

Donate $10,000 and receive a genuine Revenge of the Jedi script! This was the title of the movie before George Lucas changed it to Return of the Jedi. This is a RARE COLLECTOR’S ITEM and only one is available, so act now!

All donors will be recognized on the contributor page of the store’s website.

The Impact

You have a chance to help an independent bookstore provide more books, education, and a safe place to hang out in the community. Remember that used bookstore you used to visit as a kid, hanging out for hours, getting lost in the stacks? Books & Boos wants to be that place.

Thank you for your help and support. You’re doing a good thing.

Books & Boos is currently located at 514 Westchester Road in Colchester, CT. 06415. The phone number is (860) 861-6214.