Pictures from this Weekend’s Author Events

Pictures from this Weekend’s Author Events

by Jason Harris

On Saturday, Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester hosted A Dark Carnival of Authors, an event to remember Rick Hautala, who passed away in March. The authors who read were Eric Dimbleby, Jennifer Pelland, K.A. Laity, Jessie Olson, Errick Nunnally, Rose Mambert, Frank Raymond Michaels, Morven Westfield, Inanna Arthen, John McIlveen, TJ May, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover.

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The event's reading room.

The event’s reading room.

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Author Eric Dimbleby (taken with flash-on).

Author Eric D

Author Eric Dimbleby (picture without flash). The author liked this one because of the way it captures the atmosphere of a reading of dark fiction.

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Author Frank Raymond Michaels.

Author Frank Raymond Michaels.

Author Erin Thorne read at The Book Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts on Saturday.

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Author Events this Weekend

Author Erin Thorne will be in Woodstock, Connecticut, on Friday at Treasures and Trash Consignment Shoppe from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The consignment shop is located at 1115 Rt. 169.

On Saturday, Thorne will be at The Book Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. reading from her latest book, Behind The Wheel: And Other Stories.

A Dark Carnival of Authors/Remembering Rick Hautala

Another event involving authors takes place at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The authors involved in this day-long event of horror and dark fantasy are Eric Dimbleby, Morven Westfield, Frank Raymond Michaels, K.A. Laity, Errick Nunnally, Inanna Arthen, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, TJ May, Rose Mambert, and Jessie Olson. They will be there at different times throughout the day. They are sharing their own work and honoring award-winning horror author Rick Hautala, who passed away this past March.

Stop in to hear some amazing and chilling writing, chat with authors, and remember the kind and talented Rick Hautala.

The Birth of ‘Dark Discussions’

The Birth of Dark Discussions

By Philip Perron

If you miss your favorite ESPN show, go get it on a podcast. If you want to hear news from some of the biggest news agencies in the world, you can get it through a podcast and listen to it a day later. Podcasting has been a spectacular if not largely known medium that provides programming for those folks who prefer to listen to their favorite topics when they want and wherever they want.

Though satellite radio has been a great phenomenon where folks are able to listen to an eclectic mix of shows on books, movies, sports, news, finance, and even cooking, niche audiences still may not be fulfilled with what they really want to listen to. What about themes such as video games, gardening, or even something as specific as horror movies? This is where podcasting really has promise. Not only is it free, it requires nothing more than an audio digital device, a laptop, or even a smart phone.

As an avid fan of the arts, specifically books and movies, I was always visiting websites to read about the production of Martin Scorcese’s latest film or the progress of the next Stephen King novel. Then one day I came across an audio review on the film Cloverfield as well as an audio round table discussion about the film No Country for Old Men. Afterwards, I saw that these audio files were also being streamed from Apple’s iTune’s store for free.

Getting programs on my little iPod was a convenient way to listen to programs I wanted to listen to while doing my daily walks in the woods or working out or commuting to work. And with the wide variety of programming available I was able to search for shows discussing upcoming books and movies. And yet even more specifically books and movies within the horror and techno genres.

The interesting thing was that many of the podcasts I listened to were done by amateurs or simply people who did them for fun. Their shows were filled on topics they were passionate about. The discussions were probably the same ones they’d be talking about over a round of beers. They weren’t making any money, they weren’t making any inroads towards a more promising career, they were doing it simply because they loved talking about their focused topic.

Early 2011, I figured I could do it myself. While grabbing burgers with a few guys, I noticed our discussions focused around either sports or genre fiction which included horror, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, techno-thriller, and mystery. And having added a number of genre themed podcasts as part of my weekly listen to-do list, I did my research and started putting together the idea. What resulted was a genre themed topical podcast entitled Dark Discussions Podcast.

Finding two wonderful folks online through various genre themed forums, myself along with Eric Webster, of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Michael Dunleavy, of Port Jervis, New York came together and put together a weekly show on topics that anyone from the New England Horror Writer’s group would be familiar with. Not to be tagged as specifically horror, the tag line “Your place for the discussion of horror film, fiction, and all that’s fantastic” seemed to fit.

The podcast basically focused at first on themed discussions or specific movies. Topics such as a retrospective of the director and screenwriter Frank Darabont as well as the franchise of the Planet of the Apes were some of the early weekly episodes. But also films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and John Huston’s Moby Dick have been a focus. It’s true, we are no experts but our perspectives as fans of genre fiction were as well thought out as some of the genre websites and magazines available. And at the worst, we provide another voice on both obscure works and genre classics.

Some of the inventive ways the podcast has expanded were by being contacted by some folks for reviews and promotion. Horror Realm, a convention every September in Pittsburgh, emailed and offered the podcast passes to their convention. M.J. Preston, the author of The Equinox, asked if we’d be interested in a free copy of his novel to review. However, it was co-host Michael Dunleavy who really got it. While attending Horror Realm 2011 as press, he not only interviewed the film stars of some of horror fans favorite films, but he started interviewing the vendors and independent talent. What resulted was Dark Discussions Podcast helping out folks who need promotion of some really fantastic works that anyone who enjoys horror should know about.

This is where Dark Discussions Podcast in a sense merges with the NEHW group. After Horror Realm 2011, Dark Discussions contacted the folks at both the Rock and Shock and Anthocon conventions and received press passes to attend and promote their events. This is where our podcast became what some would call an unofficial promoter of the folks we met specifically at Anthocon and therefore NEHW. We interviewed such NEHW members as Charles Day, Gregory Norris, and Inanna Arthen. Small presses as Evil Jester Press and By Light Unseen Media, which had tables at Anthocon were also focused on.

So after a year and a half, the podcast keeps going. The listenership grows. And topics as wide ranging as modern novels as Scott Sigler’s Infected and independent cinema as Simon Rumley’s Red, White, and Blue are featured. As an inspiring writer, I know the work folks go through juggling their everyday lives with writing. With Horror Realm come and gone and Rock and Shock and Anthocon coming up, Dark Discussions looks forward to seeing everyone and helping you promote your new and wonderful works. As an inspiring writer, I know the work folks go through juggling their everyday lives with writing.

The Mirroring of Life and Fiction

This entry originally appeared on NEHW member Inanna Arthen’s blog.

Hey, how did that fiction get in my real life?

by Inanna Arthen

Peter Coyote (picture courtesy of texasgoldmovie.com)

There has always been a consistent pattern in my life whereby my fiction and my actual experiences echo and mirror each other in the weirdest ways.The first time I encountered actor Peter Coyote was in Steven Spielberg’s E.T., in which he played the mysterious scientist tracking the little alien. I’d never heard of Mr. Coyote before. But I confess: it was a case of crush at first sight. I’m not prone to fannish excesses–I won’t even collect autographs–so I didn’t look up Mr. Coyote’s biography or read gossip magazines or anything like that. Probably almost any other fan of his knew a lot more about his background than I did. But I loved him in E.T.,and I watched for him in other things. Many years ago, I went to a Red Cross blood drive to donate blood. I can no longer pinpoint exactly when this was, except that I’m fairly sure it was between 1982 and 1989, and I think the blood drive was in Acton, Massachusetts, where I lived in the 80s. It wouldn’t have been far from there, anyway. I had taken some film magazines with me to read – Premiere, I think. This was during my efforts to break into film acting locally. I even read Variety.After I finished with the donation and was resting, the way the Red Cross always makes you do so you won’t just jump up, barf and pass out, I was reading the magazines, and one of the blood drive volunteers came by see how I was doing. I said I was doing great, and then she picked up one of the magazines and said, “Oh, could I just look at these?” I said of course, and as she flipped through them she said, “I have a brother who’s an actor, and I always like to see if they say anything about him.”“Oh, really?” I said, pricking up my ears for a possible industry contact. “What’s his name?”

“Peter Coyote.”

I didn’t respond very politely, because to me, this was like saying she was related to Justin Bieber. It’s amazing that I didn’t jump up and pass out. “Oh, you can’t be, you’re making that up!” I said, or something like it. (In my defense, I was running a pint low at that moment.)

She looked a bit offended and said, “No, I’m not, why would I make that up? Most people have never heard of him.”

“Of course I’ve heard of him! He was in E.T.! He’s a doll!” (I’m sure they took a bit more than a pint, actually.)

She seemed rather pleased at that, so I hope I redeemed myself. “He is a doll,” she said, laughing.

That was the gist of our discussion – she had other donors to see to – and I didn’t even think to ask her own name, or look at her badge if she was wearing one. (I think it just said, “Volunteer” or whatever the term is they use.) I always wondered if she was really on the level. Why would a movie actor’s sister be volunteering at a blood drive in Acton, Massachusetts, fer gosh sakes?

But then, why wouldn’t she be? Actors come from all over the place. I lived in Acton and I was trying to be one.

But now it’s the 2010s and I’m trying to be a novelist. My third book, All the Shadows of the Rainbow, is set during the 1960s, plus a few years on either side. I lived through the 1960s, but just as I did with the 1950s and The Longer the Fall, I’ve been doing what I call “total immersion research.” I’m reading as much contemporary material as I can find, and watching raw film footage from that era, and generally working to enfold myself in the zeitgeist of the times, so I can, not just write it, but live it from the inside out.

(courtesy of Peter Coyote's website)

By complete happenstance, I discovered that Peter Coyote had been deeply involved in the 1960s counterculture –he was a member of the Diggers and the Free Family, lived on several communes, worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and was at the center of a lot of things that happened in those years. He’s written a memoir about it all, called Sleeping Where I Fall. I learned about it from a random reference on the Red Room website, which I rarely visit, but I just happened to click over there on the day when this book was mentioned. I instantly located a copy. I’ve been reading it for the past week or so.

I’ve been enthralled with the book, because I hadn’t known any of this about Peter Coyote’s personal history. It helps explain why, the instant I saw him onscreen, I just felt this “click.” I’ve been relating strongly to so much that he says in his book. I knew I liked him as an actor, but I never realized that he was what I think of as, “one of us.” He does have a younger sister, although he doesn’t give any clues as to her life or whereabouts. Sleeping Where I Fall was published in 1998, and I’d love to hear what Mr. Coyote thinks about the social and political developments of the last 13 years. I’d guess we share similar views.

Sleeping Where I Fall is going to be one of the most helpful resource books I read, and I’ve got a stack of them. But I’d be enjoying it even if I wasn’t writing All the Shadows of the Rainbow. To add yet more synchronicity to the mix, I found a documentary called Commune by running keyword searches on Blockbuster. When it arrived, it turned out to be about Black Bear Ranch, one of the Free Family communes that Peter Coyote lived with, and Mr. Coyote appears in the film.

It’s just strange how themes and people can weave in and out of our lives in violation of all probability or logic. Over and over again, I’ve been downright spooked by the way things that I’m writing tie into my real life in completely unexpected and inexplicable ways. It’s part of the reason that I’m one of those writers who feel that their fictional universes and characters have wills of their own. I don’t calculate and control the stories I tell, or the people who inhabit them. My characters tell me what’s going to happen and I simply record it … and sometimes, I feel like I’m living it with them. Every once in a while, I feel like I’m living out my fiction in the (so-called) real world.

You might think I’d be more nervous about blowing things up in my novels, in that case! But what good is art if it doesn’t shake you up sometimes?

Pictures from AnthoCon Part III

Author Thomas A. Erb at AnthoCon

Authors Rob Watts, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, and Tracy Carbone at AnthoCon (photo courtesy of Watts' Facebook page)

The Epitaphs' panel at AnthoCon

Everett Soars and Susan Soars of Jolly Rogue Studios

Rick Silva, of Dandelion Studios

The Raw Dog Screaming Press table at AnthoCon

The Dark Garden Inc. table

Another view of The Dark Garden Inc. table

A copy of Epitaphs next to a Gnombie

The Shroud Publishing table

Publisher Inanna Arthen and author Morven Westfield