By Jason Harris
By Stacey Longo
About a year ago, the crew over at Sci-Fi Saturday Night contacted me about a book project they were thinking of putting together. The Dome enthusiastically described how he had a bunch of old photographs of people. What did I think of the idea of sending those photos to various authors with just a character name and occupation, and having the authors write the stories of those people’s lives?
It sounded like a heck of a lot of fun to me. Some time later, I got an e-mail.
Your character’s name is Gussie, and she works in an apothecary. Other than that, go for it!
As soon as I saw the cheerful, bright-eyed young woman in the photo, her story started coming to me. Taking a page from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, I decided Gussie would be the person the women in town would discreetly visit when they found themselves with a problem. Perhaps they were unhappy about being in the family way. Or were in need of a way out of an abusive marriage. Woman problems. You see.
But what town? Gussie looked like a sturdy New Englander to me. And in what town, did I think, would women who had . . . problems . . . seek dark solutions? Fall River, Massachusetts, of course. I had the first draft of “Miss Elizabeth’s Poison” done in a week, and the final version done within the month.
It was a blast to write. Now we need your help to get it in print.
Sci-Fi Saturday Night has started a Kickstarter program to fund the final publication of My Peculiar Family. There’s an impressive lineup of authors in the anthology, including James A. Moore, Tracy Hickman, and William Meikle, among others. To donate (and snag some impressive rewards), please visit here; and support the arts.
You’ll be glad you did, I can promise you.
By Jason Harris
The second Rhode Island Comic Con held at the Rhode Island Convention Center was a big success. The attendance for this year was around 33,000, which was close to 11,000 more than last year’s convention. There were some issues with pre-sale tickets and a few celebrities such as Anthony Michael Hall, Jett Lucas, and Nichelle Nichols weren’t able to make it because of the gunman who shot up Terminal 3 at the Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning. Nichols felt so bad about missing the convention that she has already signed on for next year’s convention.
Comic Con had the entire convention center this year so the organizers were able to make more room in the aisles so there was plenty of room to browse the vendor tables and get pictures of the cosplay that were on display around the entire convention. There were people dressed as characters from movies, television, comic books, video games and books.
I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures.
By Dale T. Phillips
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.
Editor’s note: All pictures in this article were taken by Dale T. Phillips
by Jason Harris
The Seventh Annual Boston Comic Con happened this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was originally scheduled for the weekend April 20 through 21 at the Hynes Convention Center, but was postponed because of the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The convention organizer’s expected this year’s attendance to be 15,000. There were artist and event panels. There was also an Independent Film Festival on Saturday and a Zombie Film Festival on Sunday.
Boston Comic Con’s biggest celebrity guests were Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead and Kristen Bauer of True Blood. The other guests included Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, who play the dwarves Kili and Fili respectively in The Hobbit movies.
The convention had many comic book artists such as Mark Bagley and James O’Barr. It had celebrities for the reading crowd too such as authors Joe Hill, Christopher Golden, and Steve Niles, who have all written comic books.
There were authors there that are not involved with comic books.
Author Estevan Vega isn’t new to big conventions. He was meeting fans and signing books at last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con.
If you went to the convention to see what attendees were dressing up as then you weren’t disappointed.
Pictures of the crowds, vendors, game players and groups at this year’s Boston Comic Con.
Boston Comic Con is over, but I’m looking forward to the 2014 one.
Thousands Attend Boston Comic Con this Weekend
by Rob Watts
Finally, the time had come! The weekend where comic geeks all across Massachusetts could gather together and not hold their heads down in shame for enjoying sci-fi, fantasy and adventure. Myself included. This was a major event.
Over the years, this con had gone from being held in small hotel function rooms, to small-scale expo centers, and finally inside the widely popular Hynes Convention Center located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. Judging by the attendance, an even larger facility may be necessary in the future. Literally, thousands of people flowed in and out of the hall throughout the day, many dressed as their favorite film and comic characters. It’s always cool to see parents bringing their young children to events such as this. It’s a wonderful bonding experience when the older generation can expose their kids to pop culture from their youth, as well as the parents learning about the newer culture through their kids. I actually witnessed a young child asking his dad who the two guys in makeup were (2 guys dressed up as KISS), and as he explained who they were, the kid begged to have his picture taken with them because they looked “so cool!” They actually did so I had to follow suit.
Oddly enough, there were no celebrity appearances at this event, as large of an event as it was. With the exception of high-profile illustrators, there were no “celebrity” signings to speak of. Last week’s Toronto Comic Con, in which I was in attendance, had many celebrity appearances, such as Scott Bakula, Jeri Ryan and Jeremy Bulloch. This isn’t an important selling point for me, I’m just curious as to why celebs (and the con) wouldn’t take advantage of such a largely attended event. I did have the pleasure of talking to some of my favorite illustrators such as Anne Cain, Ming Doyle and Ken Kelly, who designed a few KISS album covers and he was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of what may turn out to be KISS’ next album cover.
Of course, the coolest booth of the day was the good folks over at Sci-Fi Saturday Night. They had an ideal spot by the entrance and had a lot of visitors stopping by to chat with the cast. Dome, Kriana, Illustrator X, The Zombrarian and crew were cool enough to include me in their promo package, highlighting my book, CD and theme song I created for their show. Thanks guys. All in all, a fun day with amazing energy. If I don’t get to the Comic Con in San Diego this year, this one will certainly hold me over for a while.
Editor’s Note: I want to thank Rob for writing this entry for the NEHW website and for his Live Journal page. Check out his page here for other entries.
Author Promotes His Book and Some Blogs
by Jason Harris
The New Year is here. Have you started doing your New Year’s resolution or has it already fallen to the wayside? If you are still struggling with staying with your resolution then here is a link to an article on the Tipb website mentioning a few apps like Evernote and Weight Watchers mobile to help with those resolutions.
If you are looking for blogs to follow as one of your resolutions, NEHW member Rob Watts has a few suggestions of blogs to follow in an entry on his site. One of those suggestions is this site. I do thank him for the mention.
Recently, Watts was on the Sci-fi Saturday Night program discussing his book Huldufolk, Iceland, Cedar Grove and his Traffic Lights Soundtrack album.
His novel, Huldufolk, is a horror story set in both Iceland and Massachusetts and was published by Ocean View Press. According to the program’s website, Watts is also “a musician and songwriter for The Traffic Lights, an Icelandic Trance band whose music is integral to the book.”
You can download the podcast here: http://www.scifisaturdaynight.com/?p=5273.
Watts has also written album reviews and conducted interviews with musicians which can be found on the Ocean View Press website.
The NEHW Creeps into Sci-Fi Saturday Night
by Stacey Longo
Craig D. B. Patton’s short story “Aftershocks” was spotlighted on the site’s Fiction Friday entry for 12/10/11. Bob Bois had a flash fiction piece appear on the site on 12/16/11, taken from his blog.
Kristi Petersen Schoonover was featured on the podcast dated 12/17/11, talking about Skeletons in the Swimming Hole and her upcoming novel, Bad Apple. You can download her interview here.
NEHW members on the slate to appear on the Sci-Fi Saturday Night podcast before the end of the year are Kasey Shoemaker, who will be interviewed on the 12/24/11 show, and Rob Watts, scheduled for 12/31/11.
Editor’s note: Stacey Longo is a NEHW member and part of the Publicity Committee.