Philcon Round-Up

I attended Philcon, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society’s annual convention last weekend. It’s a small and intimate convention, one for science fiction and fantasy fans, a mostly literary shindig, although panels on movies, pop culture, and science are thrown into the mix. This is my 15th Philcon. When I first attended, I was a participant, but over the last several years I spoke on panels, either as a moderator or guest. At first, I discussed games and the gaming industry. I had just written and had published a role-playing game. Now I’m speaking about fiction writing as a published author. What a world, eh?

This year I participated in two panels: one discussing teams in literature and the other about external influences placed on writers who write certain themes or genres.

Panels are a great way for writers to connect with fans and promote their work. This year I had three anthologies that contain my stories: Great Wars, Three Time Travelers Walk Into… and Panthology. I also spoke about my upcoming novel Accursed Son, and there was interest. I guess a novel about a monster-hunting motorcycle gang grabbed their attention.

Philcon also has a vendor’s hall where publishers sell the latest releases. My Philcon haul this year included the hilarious The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian, an anthology edited by Michael A. Ventrella and based on the classically bad tale by Jim Theis. I only heard about the original Eye of Argon by reputation. Conventions hold readings of the story. Readers who laugh at the comically tortured prose are disqualified and must stop. Only the stalwart reader makes it through the reading unscathed.The book includes scene of the original story (which first appeared in a small magazine in 1970, as well as an annotated version. The rest of the book are short stories chronicling Grignr’s escapes after the close of the original story. Authors include Keith R.A. DeCandido, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Daniel M. Kimmel, Peter Prellwitz, Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella, and Jean Marie Ward. I also picked up Murder in Montague Falls, a series of three gritty noire novellas in one volume. Stories include “Red Ink” by Russ Colchamiro, “The Devil’s Delinquents” by Sawney Hatton, and “A Many Splendid Thing” by Patrick Thomas. Rounding out my haul is Keith R.A. DeCandido’s A Furnace Sealed, a monster-hunting extravaganza in the Bronx that blends magic and mayhem with the supernatural.

I got to see old acquaintances, attend a book reading, and attend a few panels. A pleasant (if not harried) weekend, but one where talking to strangers about books breaks me out of my awkward shyness. Usually I’m quiet and reserved, but this year was different. This year I spoke about my writing, promoted my upcoming novel, and interacted with people more. I don’t know if teaching has something to do with becoming more outgoing, but it helps. Thanks for breaking me out of my shell, Philcon peeps.

Accursed Son is Nigh

On Dec. 12, Shadow Spark Publishing releases my novel Accursed Son on an unsuspecting populace. Mark your calendars. This one’s a doozy. There’s a book tour in the works, plus a special giveaway. You don’t want to miss that. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

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