By Jason Harris
The 14th GraniteCon took place once again at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 17 and 18.
The 14th GraniteCon took place once again at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 17 and 18.
The 13th Annual Granite State Comic Con took place in Manchester, New Hampshire this past weekend. They had guest stars from the movies and television along with artists, authors, and cosplayers. It was a great weekend. Here is the first entry of pictures from the convention.
David Price is the author of Dead in the USA. He resides in Massachusetts. His new story, “Necrophone,” appeared in the online sci-fi & fantasy magazine, Buzzy Mag, today.
JH: How did your adventure in writing come about?
DP: Well, I’ve always loved reading. I was a huge comic book fan, and later moved on to Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Lumley and many other speculative fiction writers. In my freshman year of college, I absolutely aced Composition 1. I was undeclared, and my professor suggested I become an English Major. That’s really when I first started thinking seriously about becoming a writer.
JH: What was your first published work?
DP: I had a short story based on the haunted experiences in my life published in a collection called Tales from the Grave.
JH: Do you have a specific writing style?
DP: The most frequent comment or compliment to my writing is that it’s “page-turning.” I’ve also been told that I do particularly well with dialogue. I don’t tend to bog down on details or describe a scene for very long. If you like extensive, detailed descriptions, I’m probably not for you. If you like stuff that moves along, I might be your guy.
JH: What year were you published?
DP: 2012 was the first time I saw myself in print, other than an online article or two.
JH: Have any real life instances influenced your work?
DP: Oh sure, I’ve put many of my real life experiences in my work. In my story “Necrophone,” coming out in Buzzy Mag in March, I mention cliff jumping at a quarry. That really happened. Actually quite a bit of that story is based on my relationship with my grandfather, as I wrote it shortly after he died.
JH: What books have influenced your life the most?
DP: Hmm, my life or my writing? The Stand is my favorite book, so it’s certainly influenced me. The works of Stephen King have changed the way I see the world, at times. Some of the ideas in the Dark Tower series will always influence me, I think. And then of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkien. The fact that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the main influence for the Dungeons & Dragons game is important. D & D is the inspiration for the series of epic fantasy books I am currently writing.
JH: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
DP: Stephen King, hands down. Even when his stories don’t quite hit the mark, he has the way of always getting me to care about his characters. I don’t think I write much like Stephen King myself, but I am always conscious of trying to get the reader to care about my characters.
JH: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
DP: Well, J.K. Rowling isn’t that new, but I consider the Harry Potter series pretty much revolutionary. I’m a big fan of John McIlveen, having recently read his collection, Jerks. Bracken MacLeod is an up and coming writer, as anyone who is paying attention to the horror and crime markets will tell you. Kealan Patrick Burke writes so beautifully, that I doubt I’ll ever equal his style.
JH: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
DP: As I said, “Necrophone” is a short story that will be published online in Buzzy Mag on March 27. It’s about a man who discovers a phone app that allows him to communicate with the dead, in this case, his recently deceased grandfather. Other than that, I’m putting some more polish on the first book of my epic Lovecraftian fantasy series: Lightbringer.
JH: What was the last book or piece of work that you had published? What was it about?
DP: Last year I had my essay “Shark Bait” published in the collection, Phobias, from Hidden Thoughts Press.
JH: Do you have a ritual before you write?
DP: Not really. I’ve used music at times, usually Tool or Puscifer. Sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes wine.
JH: Do you have any advice for other writers?
DP: If you don’t have the stomach for rejection, this might not be the business or hobby for you. I wasn’t ready for all the rejection, to be honest. I mean, I knew it was part of the business, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to handle at times. That story, “Necrophone” that I’ve mentioned already? That was rejected more than ten times. I finally sold it to Buzzy Mag, making it the best paying story I’ve sold to date. You just never know. Stick with it and try not to take it personally. Just keep writing, keep improving, and keep submitting.
JH: Are you going to be signing anywhere in the near future?
DP: I will be at Super MegaFest in Marlborough, MA, April 17-19, Anthocon in Portsmouth, NH, June 5-7, Necon in Portsmouth, RI, July 16-19, Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH September 12-13, and possibly Necronomicon in Providence, RI, August 20-23. That’s all for now!
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.
Today’s the last day of 2013. This website has been through some changes this year and the lost of a good friend, horror author Rick Hautala. We are looking forward to a much brighter 2014 where we hope to continue providing you with some great content.
Here are the top 5 most read website entries this year.
Once 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 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.
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: http://sinicallytwisted.bravehost.com/.
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!
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.
There were other writers as well, most notably a contingent of the New England Horror Writers. Rob 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.
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.
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.
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 Waunders.com 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.