Looking Forward to an OK Weekend.

Our convention season really kicks off in June with a trip north to Norman, Oklahoma for the OK state’s longest-running pop-culture event, SoonerCon.

During the weekend I’ll will be on panels discussing:

  • Intro to the Business of Writing
  • Elevator to Success – What’s Your Pitch?
  • Comic Book History 101
  • The Hero’s New Reality

Plus I’ll be reading from a new short-story, signing a few books, and hanging out and looking forward to meeting folks.

Come join us the weekend of June 24-26 for what is sure to be a fun, thoughtful, and informative weekend.

Looking Like It’s Going To Be An Eventful 2022

We recently held our first in-store signing for the James Bond Lexicon book (almost a year after release) and it felt so good to be back out in public, meeting and chatting with friends old and new. First off a big vote of thanks to Austin Books & Comics for hosting the event.

But that was just the start as we book more and more events for the rest of 2022. Upcoming we will be at the following:

All promise to be fun events, but I will admit that two stand out in particular, both in September, our first visit to DragonCon, and the return of our local library’s convention, vastly different in scale, but both sure to be great events.

We had hoped to also be at FenCon in Dallas in September, but work-related travel schedule conflicts meant we had to withdraw from this year’s event.

You can keep up with any changes or additions to our convention schedule on our dedicated events page. – Looking forward to meeting some of you out there on the road in the coming months.

My Short-Story Chronology from The Musketeers to The Raven

I had one of those annoying middle-of-the-night thoughts that won’t leave you alone. “I wonder how my various historical fiction short stories fit together?”

So I spent some time this morning (when I should really have been working on the current one) figuring it out.

Its Seems We Made a New Podcast

Well, we did it. The first episode of our new personal podcast, Can’t See The Forest, is now available. For the moment it is only on Anchor.fm – but other platforms will follow soon.

In this initial episode, Gillian and Alan discuss the ethical dilemma of resurrecting woolly mammoths, talked about sword-swinging superheroes, revisited the spice planet, got nostalgic on the turntable, and even got a little homesick for the British countryside.

If you want to listen to us waffling on for 45 minutes or so about books, comics, movies, tv, and vinyl you can find the podcast at https://anchor.fm/cstf

EPSON MFP image

The Books That Made Me – Part Four

Over the last year or so I’ve been working through a series of occasional posts inspired by the excellent occasional series of interviews that The Guardian newspaper conducts under the title “Books That Made Me.” – So far I’ve talked about:

It’s about time I answered a couple more of the questions on the list.

The Last Book To Make Me Laugh

I’m not one for humor or comedy books, but I do read a book that makes me smile and have the occasional unexpected laugh along the way. Such a book was The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife.

The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife

Who would have thought that a book about an ex-infantry squaddie who lives in an old castle looking after seven blackbirds could be so engrossing that I literally couldn’t put it down? This was an unplanned single-sitting read. Skaife has a simple honest prose style (and I mean that as a compliment) that immediately engages and entertains. He comes across as a consummate storyteller and educator as well as a highly empathic human. But the real stars of the book are the Tower of London ravens who emerge as distinct individuals with their own personalities and behavioral quirks.

A Book I Couldn’t Finish

One book that came highly recommended and that I was looking forward to reading was The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar. I’d heard nothing but good things about the author’s other work, and the premise, what-if there had been superheroes during World War II, while hardly original, certainly appealed to me. I was hoping for a fresh new take on the idea.

The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

The story I was hoping for maybe in there, but I couldn’t find it. This was mainly due to the use of a staccato prose style combined with what seemed to be a mix of an unfinished movie plot synopsis and half thought out author’s notes strained through one of Alan Moore’s infamously voluminous comics scripts. The result for me was an unreadable mess that left me unable to finish.

The one thought that kept running through my head was if the author wanted to employ a script-type approach then they should have gone that route and developed this as the graphic novel it seems to be struggling to be.

This book has got some great reviews and feedback and won several awards – so maybe it’s just me – but it just didn’t work in capturing my attention the way I wanted it to.

It’s ArmadilloCon Weekend

In just a few hours I’ll be heading into Austin to join fellow writers, artists, and fans of SF/F media for one of my favorite events – ArmadilloCon. During our regular walk around the neighborhood this morning I was trying to think back to how long I’ve been attending this particular convention. (A quick dive into the box where I keep past convention brochures confirmed that my first ‘DilloCon was in 2007, so that’s 14 years on and off).

My schedule for this weekend for this weekend is looking something like this:

Friday

  • 4:00pm- Welcome to Armadillocon panel
  • 8:00pm – 25 Things You Didn’t Know About James Bond

Saturday

  • 3:00pm – Reading (from an as yet unpublished story)
  • 4:00pm – Streaming SF/F panel
  • 5:00pm – Monsterverse panel

Sunday

  • 12:00pm – Signing session
  • 1:00pm – Getting Creative in Comics panel

If you are in the Austin area I hope that you can come along and join us for what promises to be a fun and entertaining weekend.

It’s FenCon Time

Its good to be getting back on the convention circuit once again. I’m looking forward to catching up with fellow writers, as well as fans at this year’s FenCon in Dallas.

‘ll be on panels chatting about:

  • The Persistence of Pulps,
  • The Liars Panel
  • Pixar Storytelling Techniques

I will be moderating some discussions on:

  • Is The Movie Ever Better Than The Book ?
  • Do we really need another Streaming Service?
  • 55 Years of Batman ’66

And presenting our “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Bond” trivia extravaganza

The Books That Made Me – Part Three

Back in August I took the first pass at starting a series of posts inspired by the excellent occasional series of interviews that The Guardian newspaper conducts under the title “Books That Made Me.” – In that post I talked about what I was currently reading, and a book that changed my life. In December I picked up the challenge again and talked about if there was a book I wish I’d written, and a book that influenced my writing.

It’s been a while, so I think it’s time tackle another couple of questions:

The Book That Changed My Mind.

I’m not sure this book changed my mind about any one thing specifically, but it did make me look at the world around me from a different perspective. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.

Norman combines backgrounds in engineering and psychology and applies them to the world of human-centered design where usability is just as important as aesthetics. The book gives many great examples of when designers get things right, and equally valuable where they get it wrong. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in how we interact with the physical world we inhabit, and how good design can make that experience more enjoyable.

The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman

The Last Book To Make Me Cry

As a young man Adrian Gill’s dyslexia was so bad he was classified as functionally illiterate, his early adult years were lost to alcoholism. Then he discovered a talent for expressing himself through words and a love for food. We first came across him in his early days as the food critic for The Sunday Times. His reviews of places we’d never eat in and food we’d never try were the first thing we read. A.A.Gill grew to be one of British journalism’s best. A man who told it like he saw it, wasn’t afraid to pull his punches, and was unapologetic about his own life and views. The Best of A.A. Gill collects his best writing in food, television, travel, life, and most movingly his cause-celebre – the global refugee crisis. It ranges from cynical truths, to outrage, as well as the humorous, and heart-warming. It concludes with a heart wrenching piece where he talks honestly and brutally about is own imminent death from cancer. Overall this volume is an excellent celebration of an honest man.

The Best of A.A. Gill

Loving the Lexicon Launch

Thanks to everyone who made the recent launch of our new book THE JAMES BOND LEXICON such a success.

Thanks to the folks who posted selfies with their copies, or took it on themselves to help spread the word.

With sales in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Spain in the first week, we hit the #1 New Release spot in the Movie Reference, Video Reference, and Movie Guides & Reviews categories on Amazon.

Feedback so far as been very positive, and we’ve had great fun appearing on several podcast interviews, such as the recent one on James Bond Radio – and there’s still more to come.

You can keep up with all the latest news on The James Bond Lexicon at the companion website, JamesBondLexicon.online, or by following us on Twitter @BondLexicon

A New Touch of Swashbuckling for Your Bookshelves.

Now available on Amazon the first volume of The Musketeers’ New Adventures which includes my story “Noblese Oblige” – A lost letter written by the Queen must be found or else it threatens a new war with Spain. Desperately she calls upon a retired Musketeer to find the missing message. – Available in either paperback or kindle format – Need some adventure? Just click here.