By Jason Harris
The 2nd Annual CT Horrorfest took place at The Matrix Conference Center in Danbury, CT. on July 18.
The 2nd Annual CT Horrorfest took place at The Matrix Conference Center in Danbury, CT. on July 18.
Books & Boos Press first came on the publishing scene in 2013 with the publication of Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify by Stacey Longo. This collection of wickedly entertaining stories will compel you to lock the doors, keep the lights on, and ponder what it might be like to embrace the darker side of human nature. Everybody has secrets. Sometimes they can kill you. These twelve stories will have you wanting more from this author. In 2014, two of Longo’s stories were included in the anthology, Insanity Tales. This anthology also includes works by Dale T. Philips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong.
In 2015, this Connecticut based press published My Mom has MS by Longo in February and Where Spiders Fear to Spin by Peter N. Dudar in May. Dudar is a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist. Acclaimed artist Morbideus Wolfgang Goodell illustrated the book.
Books & Boos Press announced in June that they will be publishing works by Dan Foley and Rob Smales. This is a press to keep your eye on in the future.
Books & Boos will be sharing space with Fenham Publishing this weekend at Rock & Shock, which runs from Oct. 17 through 19. Publisher Jim Dyer will be representing Fenham Publishing and author Stacey Longo will be on-hand to sign her books (Secret Things, Insanity Tales) at the Books & Boos table. Longo is also a movie reviewer and writer for Jason Harris Promotions. She will be on the Writing panel with Joe Knetter at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
The 11th Rock & Shock is less than two weeks away and the organizers have brought horror fans another great line-up this year. Some names fans will recognize celebrities such as Tom Savini, Brad Dourif, Roddy Piper, Derek Mears, and Sid Haig. There are also new ones to the convention such as Sharknado and American Pie star Tara Reid and Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise)
Celebrities who had to cancel their appearances last year are back on the guest list for this year and they are Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) and John Ratzenberger ( Cheers and the Toy Story movies).
Check out the guest list here.
Once again, there will be authors, publishers, and bookstores at the convention. Authors include Bram Stoker award-winner L.L Soares, Joe Knetter, Stacey Longo, Tim J. Finn, and Bracken MacLeod. Knetter and Longo will be participating on a writer’s panel at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, with a few other authors. Publishers and bookstores include Fenham Publishing and Books & Boos respectively.
Rock & Shock takes place at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. from Oct. 17th through the 19th.
Once more, I got to travel to another world or a lot of them, by attending Granite State ComiCon, organized by Double Midnight Comics. I was one of two authors at the Books & Boos table. The other author at the table being Stacey Longo. We were signing books for fans, new and old.
It was an amazing time at a well-run con, with thousands of fun people enjoying themselves and sharing their special likes of comics, TV shows, books, films, graphic novels, games, and cultural icons of all sorts.
You get to see people like The New England Brethren of Pirates.
The New England garrison of the 501st Legion.
All three groups make appearances to help raise money for charities. These people put a lot of time and effort into their outfits and shows, and they deserve a big hand for what they do.
You get to see celebrities, like Sam Jones (of Flash Gordon and Ted fame) and tough-guy actor William Forsythe, both of whom were
extremely gracious and kind to the fans. You also see the people behind the voices of your favorite animated characters such as Richard Horvitz, who voices Zim in Invader Zim, .
You get to meet writers such as Gordon Bean, Rob Watts, Katherine Silva, and Scott Goudsward, who are all members of the New England Horror Writers.
Author Matthew Bartlett, another NEHW member, was also signing books at the organization’s table.
Besides the NEHW and Longo, Chris Philbrook, another author, had his own table at the convention.
During my time at the convention, I also met author John Murphy, who was recently heard on the Sci-fi Saturday Night podcast. I can’t wait to hear their interviews with the cast members of Game of Thrones.
Speaking of which, lots of folks were Game of Thrones cosplaying to honor the cast members who were there.
Miltos Yeramelou (Syrio on GoT) hosted a Water Dancing class to teach beginning fencers. I watched some of it, and thought it superb– and I’ve been a fencer for over 35 years.
You get to see about every superhero and supervillain you can think of.
And many other costumes. A guy who plays Mr T. emceed the huge costume contest. I sure wouldn’t want to judge that one, because there are so many cool costumes, it would be too hard to choose a winner!
Two days of fun, and we just saw a small part of it. It’s a total experience, with panels, parties, and participation.
Haunted Acres is New England’s most exciting haunted attraction, with Maniac’s Midway, live bands, a beer garden, and lots of food and ride vendors.
These are the final pictures from Terror Con.
The bookstore, Books & Boos was involved with the Jaycees Fourth Annual Spring Fair on Sunday, May 18. Normally, this event is held on a Saturday, but the organizers decided to move it to the rain date this year since the weather wasn’t looking too good for May 17. Click here for the previous article about this event. Click here for pictures from the 2012 Spring Fair when I, Jason Harris of Jason Harris Promotions, organized a vendor spot for the New England Horror Writers organization (NEHW).
The three authors people can meet are Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, and Vlad Vaslyn. Fair attendees will be able to purchase these author’s books and get them signed as well. Longo will have her short story collection, Secret Things, Phillips will have his horror thriller, Shadow of the Wendigo, and Vaslyn will have his science fiction thrill, The Button.
Along with the authors, there will be crafters, artists, and vendors at the Spring Fair.
The fair was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the prospect of rainy weather caused the organizers to hold the fair on its rain date. The fair is being held on the Foxboro Common in Foxboro, MA.
Author Mark Allen Baker, who lives in Connecticut and has written 17 books, spoke to Jason Harris Promotions about a number of topics including writing and his current book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale.
JH: Mark you have written 17 books, when did you start writing and when was your first book published?
MAB: As a corporate executive for the General Electric Company, I began writing articles on graphics software and hardware; our division was involved with numerous early developments in graphics, most of which people are familiar with today as Microsoft PowerPoint. As an avocation, I have always been interested in baseball. After writing and publishing a number of articles on the 1980s boom in baseball collectibles, I was approached by a publisher to write a book. I accepted and wrote the Baseball Autograph Handbook for Krause Publications in 1990. While the word autograph is in the title, much of the information was historical.
JH: What was the impetus behind your latest book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale?
MAB: Having visited numerous historical sites here in Connecticut, such as the Nathan Hale Homestead (Coventry, CT) and the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum (Wethersfield, CT), the word spy kept creeping into my conversations with historians and volunteers. It intrigued me so much, that I instigated a bit of my own primary research and found that there was much more to many of the stories. Like my previous work for The History Press, the material filled a genuine need: a single resource that would answer a majority of questions any concerned individual might have. In this case, it was visitors to a historical site.
JH: When you were at Books & Boos in March, you mentioned that some of the spies you have written about are in the video game Assassins Creed. Can you elaborate more on this?
MAB: As most know, Assassin’s Creed III is a 2012 video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal for a variety of systems. The fictional plot is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold, who is featured in Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut, is also included as part of the exclusive missions, available on PlayStation 3. Other individuals included: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams, General Israel Putnam and Benjamin Church.
JH: How long did it take you to write Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut?
MAB: This work took me about nine months.
JH: How much research did you do for the book?
MAB: Since my interest in the topic goes well beyond the scope of the book, I conducted more primary research than usual; I easily could have written a dozen volumes on the topic. As far as locations, I visited numerous libraries, historical societies and landmarks. I was even in the attic at the Nathan Hale Homestead and inside the War Room at Versailles, France. Always believing that a writer must get as close to the subject as possible, I tried to visit where my subjects worked and lived, and even where they were buried.
JH: What draws you to writing about history?
MAB: The people are what draws me to history. They are more than two dates on a tombstone, far more. It’s my job, or so I believe, to bring them back to life and acknowledge, at least in most cases, their achievements. While most know the names of Ethan Allen or Nathan Hale, few are unaware of heroes like Daniel Bissell and Noah Phelps.
JH: What does your writing process look like?
MAB: The process depends upon the work. For Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, I began with a full investigation of the topic. This ranges from books and manuscripts, to scarce articles and even pension testimony. Since I stay in the period that I am writing about, my ‘downtime’ includes only related items, period books, videotapes on the subject, university lectures and even music. Only when I feel I am ready, often months into the contracting, do I finally draft, revise and edit.
JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/ writing process?
MAB: Editing. Having to extract so many individuals from this work-Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale-was difficult. For example, I had no other choice but to edit out some (minor characters) individuals from the chapter on The Culper Ring. Choosing 35,000 words to express any topic is a challenge.
JH: You started a sport’s bar. Where was this, how did it come about, is it still there and what was the name of it?
MAB: Upstate New York, Liverpool, to be exact. It was called “Bleachers.” It came through my participation in another business. We, the four of us, believed the timing was proper to undertake an investigation or market analysis. As a former Market Research guru for a Fortune 500 company that became my task. It took me about six months to complete my research. It confirmed our feelings, guided us to a site and composed our business. I sold my shares three years into the business. I believe it lasted about four years longer before shutting its doors.
JH: Have you been involved in any other businesses?
MAB: Having worked for a large corporation for the bulk of my professional life, I began exploring other options when I was still in my thirties. A mail-order business, along with a sporting goods store, prepared me for the sports bar. That being said, having had managed three fast-food restaurants, before I started my own, certainly helped.
JH: How did your involvement come about in the New York music scene? Can you describe some of your experiences?
MAB: From 1975 until 1979, I supervised the shows at the university I was attending. During that period I promoted, or assisted, over fifty regional shows including: Aerosmith, Boston, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Billy Joel, KISS, John Mayall, Queen, Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. My experiences could fill a book, and eventually will.
JH: Besides writing, history, and music, do you have any other interests?
MAB: Gardening. Organic fruits and vegetables are a favorite of mine.
JH: Are you working on any current projects?
MAB: Yes, I am currently working on a follow-up to Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, that will be available in the fall of 2014.
JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
MAB: Ernest Hemingway, David Halberstam, David McCullough, John Updike, Joseph J. Ellis, Ron Chernow … there are so many.
JH: What book do you wish you could have written? And why?
MAB: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Because it’s perfect.
JH: Are you there any upcoming promotional events you are doing for your current book?
MAB: Yes, I will be at Nathan Hale’s New London Schoolhouse on Saturday, August 16.