|Sunday, May 12th, 2013|
4:20 pm - Mid-Winter Comic Retreat!
So it was decided that a nice way to remember badasstronaut and the fun times we had with her would be to restart the MCRs (Mid-Winter Comics Retreats).|
As a lot of the interested parties are now on FB I've created a private group there to discuss and organise the 2013 meet. If you like adding to the group then please let me know - if we're not FB friends then I'll need an email address to invite you. If you're not on FB then I can send an email update when a time/place is decided.
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|Monday, April 29th, 2013|
4:20 pm - Food, Comics, Friendship & Fond Memories
I've been putting off writing much about the passing of Debs badasstronaut Teacake, I suppose because then it would all seem much more real.|
Here's some of my fond memories of her:
Staying with her in Bristol several times, which included visiting Bath, tea at Chipping Sodbury, dragging her into the local comic shops, wandering around kitsch shops, taking the mic out of the exhibits at Bristol Museum, getting drunk while watching the Moomins (while she demanded I belly dance to the theme tune, as I'd been taking belly dancing lessons) and helping me make DIY fuzzy felt boards for Caption Remix 2006. But mostly the warm, welcoming atmosphere of her house, with her distinct taste in décor and eating her delicious home cooked food. Laughing and chatting the evenings away. I remember her painting a Moomin picture for the Caption auction while we visited, which went down very well, but I can't remember who bought it...( Photos and more memories under the cutCollapse )
current mood: Melancholic
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|Thursday, April 18th, 2013|
3:20 pm - Pride & Prejudice Tea Party
Every so often I invite friends around to drink tea, eat cake and watch costume drama. Buying the blu-ray of the 1995 (Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth) Pride and Prejudice seemed like a good excuse to have a Pride and Prejudice Tea Party.|
I was inspired by the lovely decorations for a Jane Austen Birthday Party by Dear Lillie to try my hand at some crafting for the party.
Dear Lillie used old book pages for her mini-books and bunting, but I just couldn't bring myself to cut up a book (any book), so I decided to use my mini-comic/zine skills instead.
My mini-books featured favourite quotes from Pride and Prejudice, plus some appropriate Regency images. It's a while since I made a zine, so I did have to do a mock-up to remember where to put which page and which ones needed to be upside down! Then it was just a case of putting it together in word, creating a cover, printing, folding cutting & stapling
For the bunting I created an A6 image in photoshop, using the first few paragraphs of the book and then layered the Austen silhouette on top. Printed 4 to an A4 sheet, chopped up, hole punched and threaded on to ribbon.
Also couldn't resist these mugs when I saw them in a sale.
A similar process for the bookmarks, but sticking the text/image on to some marbled card we had, hole punching the top and adding some ribbon.
I had hoped to have time to come up with bingo cards too e.g. Lizzie says something sarcastic, Mrs Bennett mentions her nerves etc. I didn't manage it but we did have fun coming up with suggestions while we watched the series. I'd never noticed quite how often Mr Darcy stared out of windows, and every time I came back from making a cuppa the characters seemed to be at a different ball! :-)
Thanks to Katie, Catherine, Heather, Sarah, Dawn and Louise for joining me for the watching and bringing mountains of cake along
... we'll be finally finishing off the cake tonight!
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|Friday, March 8th, 2013|
7:42 pm - Review: The Way We Write by Rachael Smith
The Way We Write: A "Her Name is Calla" Adventure
By Rachael Smith
There have been several comics based on bands or songs, such as Comic Book Tattoo inspired by Tori Amos or Put the Book Back on the Shelf: A Belle and Sebastian Anthology, but not many bands get to feature in a comic about their wacky adventures. However, post-rock band Her Name is Calla get to star in their own comic, courtesy of Rachael Smith, a friend of the band.
She got the idea for the story when the band decided to hire a house in Robin Hood’s Bay near Whitby in order to get some songs written.
In reality, the band never went on the trip, but in The Way We Write they certainly do. The band arrive at their mansion retreat hoping to find song writing magic, but instead find it a little bit too creepy for comfort. Things go from bad to worse as their music all goes wrong due to some evil spooky choir boys.
We were lucky enough to see the first fifteen pages of the story during a comic critiquing session last year, and couldn't wait to read the full comic. It didn't disappoint, as the band member interactions were filled with the type of banter indicative of good friends and spooky mystery played out as a more sweary, violent version of a Scooby Doo adventure. Rachael isn't afraid to break the fourth wall to point out some of the flaws of the story, to humorous effect.
One of my favourite scenes fromtthe comic, that culminates in a brilliant role reversal later in the comic.
The art is obviously inspired by some of the UK webcomic artists, such as John Allison and Marc Ellerby, but Rachael makes the style her own. The focus is often on the characters reactions, which give us a great range of facial expressions.
This means the backgrounds are usually simplified, but you do spot the occasional joke lurking in there too. I particularly like the use of colour in the comic, especially the move to greys for one section to enhance the storytelling. Also, who wouldn't be charmed by Sophie's bright red hair!?
You don't need to know anything about the band to enjoy the comic (I certainly didn't), but I am looking forward to seeing them play at the comic's launch party on Saturday 16th March.
One to try if you like silly ghost stories, quirky characters and fun comics.
You can also check out lots of Rachael's other work to see whether you'll like the comic:One Good Thing Today (diary comic trying to look at the bright side of life)
Ask Flimsy (Ask Flimsy the kitten a question and she'll give you an answer, though possibly not the one you wanted)
Blog (Showcasing Rachael's illustration work and other projects)
You can buy copies of The Way We Write from:
Or in any of the following shops:
Page 45 (Nottingham)
Forbidden Planet (Leicester, Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham)
OK Comics (Leeds)
Travelling Man (York, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds)
Rachael will also have a stall and be doing an illustrated talk at the States of Independence event on Saturday 16th March, 10.30am -4.30pm. Free Independent Press Day with book stalls, talks and workshops at the Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY
Followed by The Way We Write launch party that night at The Crumbling Cookie from 7pm.
Factor Fiction will also be at States of Independence with copies of The Girly Book 1 and 2.
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|Thursday, March 7th, 2013|
3:07 pm - A month of culcha
February turned into a very busy but interesting month, as we went to loads of events:
The Ladykillers - we saw the touring production of the play version of The Ladykillers adapted and updated by Graham Lineham. Great cast, some fine comedic acting on display and an interesting set. Highly recommended. The only bit that didn't work for me was how they staged the actual heist.
Gareth L Powell, Kim Lakin-Smith & Ian Whates
Sci-Fi Writers at the National Space Centre - there were two weeks of author events at the National Space Centre to coincide with half term. We only made it along on the first Saturday to see Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Whates and Gareth L Powell. It was a slightly odd set-up, as there's a little amphitheatre in the middle of the interactive displays that was used for the talks. On the up side it meant people could wander in and listen to the talks at any time, on the downside it was a little hard to hear, but the microphones helped. It was a good mix of interview, readings and signings.
Designer Eva Brudenell from Inspadesdesign at Nottingham Festival of Words
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival - ever since we moved to Leicester we tried to go along to some of the comedy festival gigs and it's grown huge in recent years. An Ideal Night Out featured Johnny Vegas and several other members of the cast of the sitcom Ideal doing stand-up and then re-voicing an episode. Great value for money and amusing, though I did feel a little sorry for the drama student in the front row who kept getting picked on!
Patrick Monahan - a lovely comedian who managed to get the whole audience singing the theme from the Cadbury flake adverts! His finale also got several audience members on stage to enact a scene from a nightclub...
Holly Walsh (work in progress) - gig in a hotel basement bar to test on new material. Good hit rate of gags and routines overall.
Josh Widdicombe (work in progress) - another good gig, though parts of his new routine were especially funny to us as I have been known to make jam as presents and fall asleep in the shower!
Eat your Words at the Nottingham Festival of Words
Nottingham Festival of Words - a new two week festival looking at all aspects of writing and word related events. We made it along to see a talk by David Almond (despite the sudden snow flurry that lengthened our journey by a hour). Good interview conducted by local author David Belbin, followed by a reading and Q&A.
On the main weekend of the festival there were a range of events at a central location, including a talk by Jay & I entitled Buy My Comic! in which we attempted to cover pitching to publishers and self-publishing. Things didn't go quite to plan due to tech issues (our fault) but hopefully those who attended found it useful/interesting. There were some interesting stall holders and guests at the event. I loved the work of artist in residence Sue Bulmer and the idea for the "Eat your words" stall that was popular with the kids (write a word on a biscuit/cake with icing).
Cultural Exchanges at DeMontfort University - every year the arts and cultural management students organise a festival with a range of guests from the arts. This year we went to see Jasper Carrott talking about his career (which started off as funny songs in folk clubs, then the talking between the songs got longer and longer...), and children's author/legend Alan Garner. Alan's lecture was as well structured and lyrical as his writing. Very pleased we got to hear him speak.
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|Friday, February 22nd, 2013|
7:16 pm - Terror Scribes Meet: Leicester, Saturday 2nd March
The Terror Scribes are a loose affiliation of horror and dark fantasy writers who get together to talk about writing. New members and fans are always welcome.|
The next social meet is on Saturday 2nd March in Leicester, UK.
What's happening at the Meet?
1pm - 6.30pm
The Ale Wagon
27 Rutland Street
Socialising, readings and a charity raffle. We welcome donations for the raffle, and particularly like books featuring the attendees work.
We have the upstairs event room reserved for the meet. The pub doesn't do food so you might wish to eat beforehand. There are plenty of cafes & fast food joints within walking distance.
7.00pm - Late
The Agra Curry House
63 London Road
Curry! This is the curry house that we've used before for Terror Scribes Meets & the local writing group we're in also visit regularly to partake of their hot Naga curry.
There is a Facebook event page: Leicester Terror Scribes Meet
Directions & Parking
The nearest car park to The Ale Wagon are Rutland Centre, Halford Street (this is a little expensive, but if you need to eat before the meet I would suggest the Curve cafe or Phoenix Square cafe nearby as they will validate your parking ticket & parking will then cost £3.80 for the day). Another nearby car park is The Phoenix Square car park, which is £4 for the day.
The Ale Wagon is a 10-15min walk from the train station and the same from the bus station.
The Agra is just over the road from the train station and there is free on street parking in the evening.
If you'd like to come along to any part of the meet or have any questions, then please leave a comment, contact me on twitter or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let me know by Wed 26th Feb if you'd like to come along to the curry so I can book the table.
Selina Lock & Jay Eales
Leicester Terror Scribes Meet Hosts
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|Monday, February 4th, 2013|
3:38 pm - Green Eyed and Grim out now!
Masked Mexican wrestler and scientist Señor 105 comes out of retirement for a charity wrestling mask and the next thing he knows he's facing a rogue grim reaper. His young sidekick Rodrigo goes missing along with a precious artefact, and then another mysterious figure just complicates the situation further. Roll up for some pulp fiction fun featuring skeletons.
£1.99 ebook (includes Kindle and ePub versions) now available from Manleigh Books
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|Sunday, February 3rd, 2013|
5:00 pm - Next Big Thing: Green Eyed and Grim
Jan Edwards and Mark West both tagged me for this writing meme a while back, but I was too busy actually writing a novella to do it. So here goes...|1/ What is the working title of your next book?
As can be seen from the cover above the title is "Green Eyed and Grim"
. Working titles all involved the words/ideas of jade/green, death or mask due to elements in the plot.
As this is part of the Periodic Adventures of Señor 105
it also gets a Spanish title, which is “Aquí Hay Dragones”.
2/ Where did your idea come from?
I got the chance to pitch to th Periodic Adventures of Señor 10
series, which is set in an alternative 1970s and where masked Mexican wrestler Señor 105 frequently has to save Mexico or the world from alien and supernatural threats. I was thinking about the pitch when driving to Wales for a birthday weekend away in February 2012. As I was driving I decided that I would like to use a grim reaper character (inspired by earlier work on the Angela D'eath
comic strip) alongside some historical Mayan artefacts I'd been reading about (mainly Lord Pacal's Jade Death Mask)... the plot and characters started to form from there.
In fact I also realised I'd forgotten to pack a notebook and had to buy one as soon as we arrived in Caerphilly to get the ideas down before I forgot them!
3/ What genre does your book fall under?
Pulp - Sci-fi - Fantasy - Adventure - Luchre Libre!
Take your pick!
4/ What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't know who Cody Quijano-Schell (editor of the range and creator of Señor 105) would pick to play the regular cast of 105 characters. Señor 105 himself would need to be played by a wrestler to get the build right. I know the character was partly inspired by the Santo range of movies.
Sheila, the sentient isotope\talking balloon from France, who usually accompanies 105 on his adventures could be voiced by Audrey Tautou.
Arella, the naive young reaper in her early twenties, could perhaps be played by Emma Watson or Michelle Dockery.
5/ What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Masked Mexican wrestler versus a rogue grim reaper.
6/ Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is being published by pulp ebook publishers Manleigh Books
on Monday 4th February 2013.
It will be priced £1.99 and the download will include both ePub and Kindle (mobi) versions of the book.
7/ How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It was written over a period of about eight months, but that was due to my health being very variable, so the actual writing was mostly done over about four months.
8/ What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not sure there are many other books in quite the same genre! There are the four previous novellas in the Señor 105 range, and the nearest equivalent books would be any with a core of characters that fight to save the world from unworldly threats.
9/ Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My partner Jay Eales, editor Cody Quijano-Schell and other friends encouraged me to pitch to the range, and then encouraged me to keep on writing it when I was struggling.
10/ What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Masked Mexican wrestlers, talking balloons, grim reapers, a jade death mask and ancient ruined cities... what more could you want?
Check out the othe Periodic Adventures of Señor 105, including the free to download Book 4 a http://www.manleighbooks.co.uk/
current mood: excited
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|Thursday, January 31st, 2013|
8:21 pm - Review: Vince Cosmos; Glam Rock Detective
Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective
Written by Paul Magrs
Audio Play from Bafflegab Productions
Released 1st February 2013
It's 1972; pop stars claim to be from outer space and in this reality the War of the Worlds really happened.
South Shields teenager Poppy Munday decides to leave her home town and head down to London, where she hopes to find a job and perhaps a more exciting life. Instead she finds herself sharing her flat with her cousin Trisha, and a landlady and landlord that might remind you of a seventies sitcom couple and a scary, disgusting dwarf living in the flat upstairs.
Through it all, the music of her idol Vince Cosmos keeps her going. She eagerly keeps track of his career and starts to notice some strange things happening around her. Finally she gets a chance to meet the glitter covered, high heel wearing Glam Rock star himself, but will he be everything she imagined? Does he seriously think he's in an ongoing battle to keep the Martians from invading (again)?
This is Magrs' affectionate yet humorous homage to sci-fi era Bowie and the spangliness of the seventies. The core of the story is Poppy, as we follow her journey from the North to the South and reality to craziness. Lauren Kellegher does a wonderful job of bringing Magrs' empathetic heroine to life, and keeping the audience interested in her gently unfolding adventure. There will be some hearts aflutter imagining Julian Rhind-Tutt in glam make-up as Vince Cosmos, and the rest of the cast do a good job with the supporting characters.
The production quality is high with sound effects and music used effectively. The homage even continues on to the cover art, which mimics an album cover of the time (including special offer sticker) and you can even find some interviews with Vince Comos himself popping up on the net, maintaining the illusion of reality.
Recommended for those that like their nostalgia not to take itself too seriously, spotting pop culture references (I'm sure there were more than just the ones I recognised) and leisurely, slightly mad stories in the company of good characters.
Order from Bafflegab Productions
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|Tuesday, January 29th, 2013|
4:48 pm - Sociable Weekend + Stuff to look forward to
Had a very sociable weekend for me (that didn't involve going to a convention).|
Friday night it was a colleague's 30th birthday so a gang of us went to Bistro Live! They feed you a reasonable three course pub type meal while playing cheesy pop, followed by a cheesy pop quiz and then more cheesy music to dance to - given the layout of the place this involves dancing on the tables (while they disclaim any responsibility for any injuries caused by dancing on the tables). It was a fun, silly night & amusing to see librarians dancing on tables.
Saturday evening we headed out for a curry with our writing group The Speculators - to a local curry house where the group is now infamous for ordering Naga Chicken curry (I declined the Naga this time and went for a nearly equally spicy Jalfrezi).
Sunday I headed over to my friend Sarah's house for tea, cake, gossip, lunch (jerk chicken wraps) and a spot of crafting. She gave me a tutorial in making sock monkeys... mine turned out a little mad looking!
Stuff we have bought tickets to/will be attending in Feb/March/April:
Now I just need to build in lots of rest so I can enjoy them all properly.
- The Ladykillers (play)
- Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls (from The Wonder Stuff) (music gig_
- Space Fiction event at National Space Centre with authors Kim Lakin-Smith, Gareth Powell & Ian Whates.
- An Ideal Night Out (Johnny Vegas & the cast of Ideal talk about the programme & do a live commentary to an episode) (Comedy Festival)
- David Almond talk (Nottingham Festival of Words)
- Patrick Monahan (Comedy Festival)
- Buy My Comic! - talk we're doing on pitching vs self-publishing comics (Nottingham Festival of Words)
- Holly Walsh (Comedy Festival)
- Josh Widdicombe (Comedy Festival)
- Duke Special (music gig)
- Public Service Broadcasting (music gig)
- Adam Ant!!!
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|Sunday, January 20th, 2013|
7:49 pm - I seem to keep sewing
|Monday, January 7th, 2013|
5:03 pm - Nottingham Vodou
|Sunday, January 6th, 2013|
7:35 pm - Women Author Reading Challenge
I rather liked the idea of Worlds Without End Women of Genre Reading Challenge, but didn't want to commit myself to choosing from their list of authors or posting reviews.|
However, it would be nice to take a little more notice of what I'm reading and make an effort to read more of the many books by women authors sitting on our shelves.
Just from the books in the house and on my eReader (without venturing into the library at the end of our garden...) I've noted down some of the titles I'd like to read this year (in no particular order) as a reminder:
Novels/Novellas/Short Story Collections
- Mercedes Lackey - The Fairy Godmother
- Catheryne M Valente - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making
- Connie Willis - Blackout
- Stina Leicht - Of Blood and Honey
- Maureen F McHugh - China Mountain Zhang
- Cherie Priest - Boneshaker
- Octavia E Butler - Patternmaster
- Holly Lisle - Sympathy for the Devil
- Tia Obrect - The Tiger's Wife
- Ursula Le Guin - The Earthsea Quartet
- Aliette De Boddard - Obsidian and Blood
- Lou Morgan - Blood and Feathers
- Alison Littlewood - A Cold Season
- Michelle Paver - Dark Matter
- Kelly Link - Stranger Things Happen
- E Nesbit - The Book of Dragons
- Cate Gardner - Theatre of Curious Acts
- Teresa Milbrodt - Bearded Women
- Diana Wynne-Jones - Reflections
- Chicks Dig Time Lords
Those were the first few GNs that sprang to mind, but it didn't seem many so I took a closer look at the shelves...
- Alison Bechdel - Dykes to Watch Out For
- Lucy Knisley - French Milk
- Kate Evans - Funny Weather
- Jessica Abel - Mirror Window
- Joyce Brabner & Harvye Peakar - Our Cancer Year
- The GirlFrenzy Millenial
- Megan Kelso (editor) - Scherazade
- Posy Simmonds - Mustn't Grumble
- Josceline Fenton - Hemlock (books 2 & 3)
- Carla Speed McNeil (D.J. MacHale) - Pendragon
- Jill Thompson - Several Scary Godmother story books
- Emi Lenox - Emitown
Ummmm, better get reading!
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2:00 pm - Xmas & New Year
|Thursday, January 3rd, 2013|
7:07 pm - TALES FROM THE HALLS OF VALHALLA 2012
As LJ seems to be back up & as we failed to send our Xmas newsletter out to many people, I thought I'd post it here:|
Instead of the usual bundle of DVDs, books and CDs we usually got for Christmas and birthday presents from Selina’s
family, this year they decided to club together with money and hard labour to help us to redecorate our front room and
hallway. Selina and Jay are very grateful for the new carpet, curtain blinds and grand painting job.
For Selina’s birthday, she decided we should go somewhere we hadn’t been before, so we went to Caerphilly, hometown of Tommy Cooper and took a sidetrip into Cardiff, where in between rainstorms, we were very impressed by the architecture at Cardiff Bay. Didn’t manage to see Doctor Who, though. He must have been off in the TARDIS.
( Rest of year under the cut...Collapse )
In February, we have another paying gig at the Nottingham Festival of Words, showing people how to market their comics. Our Senor 105 novellas should be available to buy as ebooks n January and February. By the end of January, Jay’ should have finished his first draft of Born Among Briars, a short story featuring Brer Rabbit, for publication later in the year in More Tales of the City, from Obverse Books.
We hope 2012 was kind to you, and that 2013 brings better things for us all.
Jay, Selina and Loki XXX
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|Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012|
8:31 pm - FantasyCon 2012
On Friday 28th September Jay and I set off for the annual FantasyCon festival of speculative literature, once again in Brighton for this year. The drive down was fine once we got out of the end of our road! (Temporary traffic lights and road works blighted the first part of the drive). We picked up Mr Mark West along the way and made good time down to Brighton... in plenty of time for the Fear magazine relaunch preview, which Jay was keen to attend having been a Fear subscriber back in the day.
We then got the chance to sit down and have a good natter with The Alchemy Press gang (Jan Edwards, Peter Coleborn, Mike Chinn) and others. Once I got a seat in the lounge area, I must say I was loath to vacate it :-)
( Lots more rambling & photos...Collapse )
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|Sunday, September 23rd, 2012|
4:32 pm - A little bit of N.I.C.E.ness
Jay and I made a flying visit to N.I.C.E (Northants International Comics Expo) yesterday. It was a last minute decision as it depended on my energy levels and we only stayed a few hours as we had to get back for Loki - though it turns out I probably could have taken the dog with us!|
On arrival we paid for parking and the parking attendant said "Hard right to avoid the comic convention"... ah. We laughed this off and turned left into the parking reserved for N.I.C.E.
After picking up our wristbands, we then dropped off copies of The Girly Comic Book 1 & 2 at the Northants Library donation table (a condition of getting into the Alan Moore talk - donate a graphic novel, which was a great idea). We did a quick walk around the dealers tables in the main hall. There were still queues for sketches from a lot of the guest artists and we said a quick hello to Kate Brown and Emma Vieceli.
Then we headed over to the dealers marquee outside, which was quite a big light airy space but apparently was pretty chilly when setting up at 7.30am that morning.
On our circuit we had quick chats with Peet Clack, Andrew Cheverton, Paul Rainey, Grainne McEntee, Des Taylor, Andy Radbourne and Al & Maggie Davison. Jay then caught up with Jamie Delano (who he interviewed for Borderline magazine a few years back), while I caught up with Paul Gravett and the great news that Escape books will be publishing Paul Rainey's No Time Like The Present collection. Jay and I had chosen NTLTP as our comic deserving wider attention in a feature we did for Ink+Paper #2.
We then bought The Great Unwashed by Warren & Gary Pleece, which Warren sketched in. It was good to have a brief chat with Melinda Gebbie, who we had as a guest at Caption a few years ago. Then it was time to join the ever-growing queue for the Alan Moore talk.
There must have been at least a couple of hundred people in the hall for the talk, which netted the libraries a great collection of graphic novels, and Diamond had agreed to match the number of donated books with the same amount again, which they greatly appreciated. We were a few rows from the back (not as near or intimate as Moore' talk at Booqfest last weekend!) and managed to sit next to our friend Steve Miller, who we'd only seen briefly earlier. He talked about discovering comics as a kid, his voracious appetite for books, which was fed by the local library, his love for superheroes until he got interested in other things as a teenager, his entrance into writing comics and the useful advice he got from his mentor Steve Moore (no relation).
Alan Moore - strong lighting means he looks like he's glowing (or is that the audience perception?) Plus youth librarian from Northants Libraries.
He was full of entertaining anecdotes and tangential tales as usual. The talk had partly been advertised as talking about writing comics, which it didn't cover that much. The main advice was read outside comics so you can bring new things to the medium and write what interests you or what you are passionate about, as we the medium doesn't need disinterested and/or insular career writers who only bring to comics what they read in other comics. When asked what writer inspires him, he said it was still currently Iain Sinclair, as he likes to read things that stretch his understanding.
I was in two minds about the venue - on the one hand it was much more family friendly, as there were other attractions for the kids while the parents got their comics fix, but on the other hand, the marquee and queuing outside for the Moore talk would not have been nice in the rain... so it was a good job the weather was nice!
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|Tuesday, September 18th, 2012|
7:25 pm - BooQfest
On Saturday Jay & I headed down to Northampton for BooQfest (The Gay & Lesbian Festival for Everyone!). We were excited to meet up with two of the guests: Paul Magrs & Mark Michalowski, who we've known online for about fifteen years but rarely see in person.
It's been nearly ten years since we moved away from Northamptonshire, and we managed to get lost trying to find the first venue, but we just made it in time to the Royal & Derngate for Paul's 10.30am reading and talk.
Paul started off with a reading from Never the Bride, the first in the Brenda and Effie Adventures, about a pair of eccentric, older ladies (with chequered pasts!) who investigate strange goings-on in Whitby. I've read all of their adventures, but not the first one for several years, so it was fun to be reminded of their beginnings.
Next up was an excerpt from his young adult novel Diary of a Doctor Who Addict, inspired by his own experiences growing up. This was new to me, and Paul's evocative prose instantly transported me back to the early 1980s. I look forward to reading it in full. Then there was an entertaining Q&A covering a variety of Paul's work, including the differences between writing novels and audio plays, his compulsion to set things in the North East, the fact that most of his writing comes from creating strong, interesting characters and loving cross-overs and cameos.
After the talk we chatted to some of the lovely and friendly BooQfest volunteers and another guest Jane Lovering. I'm not familiar with Jane's work, but she is an award winning romantic comedy novelist (with a supernatural slant).
We then wandered along to Waterstone's for Paul's book signing and kept him and his partner Jeremy company and stepped in as stunt fans for publicity photos while it was quiet.
A lovely lunch was consumed in a café with chandeliers and exquisite chocolate in the company of Paul, Jeremy and BooQfest organiser Colin, before heading to the library to the Central Library for the Doctor Who panel. We had a minor panic about our pay and display ticket running out, which led to much rushing around later on, though thankfully not a parking ticket...
The panel consisted of Doctor Who authors Mark Michalowski, Joseph Lidster, Paul Magrs and Gary Russell and was ably moderated by Chris Hinchley. It was very entertaining and covered what might attract gay writers to the show, how the writers broke into the show, their favourite type of Who story and what Russell T Davies bought to the show. Plus questions from the audience about their favourite villains and the current direction of the show.
Then there were milkshakes in the sunshine and discussion of bad art, followed by a reading by Alan Moore.
We've seen Alan Moore several times over the last few years and he's always an interesting and entertaining speaker with a wonderful sense of humour. This time he talked about his work on AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia), which was published in protest against the introduction of Clause 28 (outlawing the promotion of homosexuality) during the Thatcher reign. Alan decided that his contribution to the comic would be about gay history, and joked about picking up one of what he presumed would be many volumes on the subject that he could just crib from, but soon found there weren't many books on the subject and ended-up doing a lot of research to write the eight page comic strip, with art from his Swamp Thing collaborators Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch. He later re-wrote his contribution as an epic poem, with photo-illustrations by Jose Villarrubia and it was published by Top Shelf Productions as The Mirror of Love.
On Saturday night he did a complete reading of The Mirror of Love, which was amazing to hear and got a very warm reception from the crowd (a lot warmer than its previous two outings at a local poetry group and the Birmingham Symphony Hall, apparently!). In answer to a question about his current novel in progress, Jerusalem, he also talked in-depth about local Northampton history, including Northampton being the birth of the gothic movement twice over.
Overall, it was a wonderful and very friendly event and we had a lovely time.
Thanks to the organisers, guests and volunteers.
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|Friday, September 14th, 2012|
3:35 pm - Writing & Life Update
Things are a little hectic at the moment with finally moving into my new post at the day job and lot of events coming up, so I'm taking a break from the Bradbury Challenge.|
The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders is out now! Includes my story The Great & Powerful. For more info and links to order the book visit the Alchemy Press Site. Looking forward to getting my contributor copy at the launch at FantasyCon on Saturday 29th September in Brighton.
Other books I've contributed to that are also available:
The Girly Comic Book 1
The Girly Comic Book 2
The Terror Scribes Anthology
Work in progress:
I working on a Señor 105 novella due out in January.
Writing a novella has been a steep learning curve, especially writing one in a series using someone else's characters. Still trying to get to the end of the first draft, but I'm on the final approach!
Off to the first NorthamptonBooQfest tomorrow to see talks by Paul Magrs, a panel of Doctor Who authors & Alan Moore.
Next Saturday is N.I.C.E (Northants International Comic Expo) - which we hope to be at for at.
28-30th September is FantasyCon in Brighton.
Starting to Write Graphic Novels & Comics - starts Thursday 20th September 7-9pm at Leicester Adult Education College - Jay (wth help from me) will be running this 5 seesion/week course on starting to write comics.
Edit: Forgot to include the link to the podcast ouf our Laydeez Do Comics talk we did (we're about 40mins in).
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|Monday, September 3rd, 2012|
8:31 pm - Bradbury Challenge 20
Short Story: Print the Legend by Daniel O'Mahony (from Faction Paradox: A Romance in Twelve Parts)
- Daniel is rightly hailed as a fabulous writer of Faction stories and this one provides an intriguing main character and fascinating alternative world.
Poem: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats
- Reads to me as the call/wish to go back to nature, but not sure.
Essay: My Country Right or Wrong? by Arthur Scargill, 1988 (from The English Reader)
- Could so easily be written about the present day with talk of rising unemployment, crumbling education systems and slashing the NHS.
- Not sure how his call for a more socialist society (as his 'ideal' country) would be met though - with energy and food production as a first priority and making the means of production being owned by the people for the people.
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