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August Rambles

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Wow where did the year go? It’s definitely been an interesting and eventful one for us, with more fun still to come.

If things work out to plan the following books will be heading to a store near you or available on-line before the year is over:

  • The Joy of Joe – with my essay “So Who Is This Joe Fellow You’ve All Been Talking About,” on my recollections of  Action Man.
  • Outside In Boldly Goes – which will contain my take on the classic Star Trek episode “Specter of the Gun.”
  • Quatermain Adventures Vol. 2 – containing my story “Stones of Blood.”

In the meantime you can find a new page on this site with direct links to some of my existing books for sale on Amazon.

Work is continuing on editing the James Bond Lexicon project and compiling information for the follow-on U.N.C.L.E. Lexicon, and I’ve made a return to movie reviewing in my Editor-at-Large role for RevolutionSF. You can find my thoughts on the recent Suicide Squad movie online HERE.

SUICIDE SQUAD

A lot of my focus over the last few months has been around my business writing with several white-papers under my belt as well as developing regular series of weekly blog posts which you can find HERE. This has lead to a couple of additional opportunities to write a regular monthly piece for a leading industry thought-leadership website as well as an article for another prestigious media industry magazine. More on these as stuff is published over the coming months.

 

 

 

The June Ramble

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June was a month of Conventions and Quatermain. So let’s start with our favorite jungle adventurer. As I mentioned in last month’s Ramble I’d heard that there was an audio edition of my Allan Quatermain story “Golden Ivory” in production. Well a few weeks ago it was released on Audible.com for download and your listening pleasure. As a side note voice actor Jem Matzan posted an interesting article on his blog about how he decided on the different character voices. Its an interesting behind the scenes insight into a side of producing an audio adaptation that I hadn’t thought much about. When I write a story the characters tend to have distinctive voices in my head, but I never imagined having to produce those voices for real, and how you would go about that.

This month I also finished and turned in my new Allan Quatermain novella “Stones of Blood.” The story is scheduled to be included in the upcoming second volume of Allan Quatermain: The New Adventures. I can’t say much about the story as yet, but as a taster it does include a reference to this somewhat incongruous historical scene.

british-officers-tiffin

The two conventions in June were very different in size and scope, but were both great fun. Early in the month was the Peoria Artists and Comics Expo, just in its second year. It was a friendly local con, and we had a great time chatting with a lot of first time convention goers. I also participated in a panel entitled “Storytellers” which proved to be a fun exchange with a interested and engaged audience.

The following weekend I was off to Houston, Texas for Comicpalooza. I last did this show four or five years ago, and boy has it grown in the meantime. Now covering all three floors of Houston’s main convention center, it was a lively and bustling show with something for every member of the family, and every branch of pop-culture and science. It was also one of the best organized large conventions I’ve attended. I appeared on several panels covering subjects such as “Marketing for Writers,” “What Editors Really Want,” “Sherlock is Everywhere,” and “Alternate History.” All were great subjects and the panels were fun and informative. I also got a chance to catch up with several friends, and make a few new ones along the way. One of the highlights of Comicpalooza for me was the “Pros At Cons” podcast interview I did with the team from CCP Comics. It was one of the most relaxed and wide ranging interviews I think I’ve ever done. You can find it on-line at SoundCloud.

Next up on the convention list is a return to one of my perennial favorite events, ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. You can catch me there between July 29th and 31st.

Writing-wise the focus for July will be the continuing work on planing and plotting the last three issues of the FORGOTTEN CITY comic book series, and the ongoing editing and rewrites for the James Bond Lexicon project.

Have a fun summer, and I’ll be back next month with more updates.

 

 

 

 

 

The July Ramble at ArmadilloCon

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As I write this I’m just a few days away from heading to Austin, Texas for one of my favorite events of the year, ArmadilloCon. “DilloCon” is second longest running science fiction convention in Texas (this year marks its 37th event) , known for its emphasis on literary science fiction. This year will be my seventh time at the event and, as usual, I’ll be participating in panels, doing a reading, and for this year only, rolling out my “History of the Illustrated 007” show.

dilocon

My full ArmadilloCon schedule is as follows:

Friday 24th

  • Nothing specific scheduled but I’ll be hanging out and visiting with friends.

Saturday 25th

  • 12:00 Noon  – Signing
  • 4:00pm – “The History of the Illustrated 007” presentation.
  • 6:00pm – Reading (probably from the latest Allan Quatermain story that I’m currently working on).
  • 10:00pm – Panel – Comic Books on TV

Sunday 26th

  • 12:00 Noon – Panel – The Year of Back To The Future II
  • 2:00pm – Panel – Blogging and Podcasting

As a reminder, for more frequent updates, comments, and general observations on life you can follow me on Twitter @alanjporter or on Instagram. For a full list of published work to date check out my website at AlanJPorter.com

BOOK NEWS

For those who may not have seen the news on my various social media channels, I’m please to announce that the new Asian Pulp anthology from ProSe Press, which features the debut of my new character, the Lotus Ronin, is now on sale.

AsianPulpSHORT STORIES

Feedback on  Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol 7. that includes my story “The Case of the Rotten Corpse,” continues to be very positive.  – Thanks to anyone whose picked up a copy over the last few months

Coming Soon

Rick Ruby: The latest volume of stories featuring 1930s New York based P.I. Rick Ruby is in production. No information on a release date yet.

Allan Quartermain: Stones of Blood: I’m currently still writing new short-story featuring the classic jungle adventurer in a tale that takes him from the streets of London to the battlefields of the First Boer War. More on this one as it develops.

THE LEXICON PROJECTS

James Bond Lexicon: A Guide to the Worlds of 007: The manuscript for our upcoming James Bond Lexicon is with the fine folks at Hasslein Books for copy-editing. If things stick to schedule we are aiming for publication around the end of September or early October.

You can keep up with the latest James Bond news at the book’s tumblr and twitter accounts.

Meanwhile work continues on our  U.N.C.L.E. Lexicon project, “The Lexicon Affair” – look for more updates on this soon.

You can keep up with the latest U.N.C.L.E. project news at the book’s tumblr and twitter accounts.

COMICS

FORGOTTEN CITY – The second story arc issues (#6-10) are in various stages of production as the Kid Domino team get them ready for uploading to comiXology for digital distribution. I have turned in the script for Issue #11.

FC1-5

Work is also underway on pulling together the first story-arc (issues #1-5) in a trade-paperback for eventual print distribution. In the meantime don’t forget that issues #1 thru 5 are still available as digital downloads at comiXology for just $1.99 each

The Cussler Letter

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“So what writer did you once like that you stopped reading? – And Why?” – A question I’ve been asked several times while on various panels at different conventions over the last few years. My answer always seems to revolve around  a story about thriller writer Clive Cussler and a letter he wrote to me many years ago.

I’ve also used the same anecdote when appearing on panels about writer/fan interactions, and similar subjects.

While sorting out my office over the holiday period I came across the letter. It was pretty much exactly as I remembered it. For those friends, and convention attendees, who’ve heard me tell the story numerous times I thought I’d post the actual source here.

First off, an acknowledgement that from a published author success perspective, I’m not anywhere close to where Mr. Cussler was, or continues to be. He has a very large dedicated audience who enjoy his work, and I wish him every success in continuing to build and satisfy that audience.

OK, on to a little background to put things into perspective. Back in the early to mid-nineties I was one of those who read every book that Clive Cussler wrote. I loved his stuff, in particular for the blend of historical research, and modern technology and adventure. Sometime in 1994 I picked up the latest adventure, (not sure which one, possibly Inca Gold) and was little put off by what I saw as a trend of the two lead characters, Dirk Pitt & Al Giordino, away from being explorer/adventurers and more towards being vigilante type crime-fighters going after the bad-guys.  Not that I’ve got anything against vigilante crime-fighters (as my long time Batman obsession shows), but it wasn’t what I read the Dirk Pitt novels for.

But what brought my enjoyment to a crashing halt was a passage in the book where Cussler described an Airbus aircraft that had been converted to a cargo plane. It was all wrong.  Big deal – what did it matter? Well it mattered to me. As I said one of the reasons I enjoyed the Cussler books was for how well they were researched.  The thing was a few years earlier I’d headed the technical documentation group at the Airbus Division of British Aerospace – at that stage I literally knew that aircraft inside out. Sure you could convert the aircraft for cargo use (in fact Airbus now sell cargo versions) but the way it was described in the book was technically impossible, it would have compromised the airframe. – So I thought I’d be a helpful reader and write my favorite author and politley inform him of this research oversight. – This is the letter I received in reply.

CusslerPg1 CusslerPg2

Here’s the text:

10-94 – Cussler’s address down the side (removed for privacy)

Sorry Porter,

I thought I wrote fiction. So the Airbus can’t have a cargo door, so what? As long as my other 59,999,999 readers could care less, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

As to Pitt & Giordino turning into vigilantes, you should live in the US. Leaving the villains to the authorities won’t work anymore, the hoods are back on the streets in hours.

If you want action heroes who walk the fine line, stick with the old timers like McLean and Innes.

I appreciate the fact that you like my books, but the world is no longer a nice place to live in.

Cheers

Clive Cussler.”

I haven’t read a Clive Cussler book since.

Another Year of Scribbling Stuff

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Looks like 2013 is going to be another busy year of throwing words on the page. I already have several projects running and a few more lined up for the coming year, and I thought it might be fun to see how they stack up.

Comics:

I have been working on a few CARS scripts for the Disney Publishing folks in Europe that should see print in the monthly CARS magazine at some point this year. Other stories ideas are in for consideration – so fingers crossed that I get to continue to hang out in Radiator Springs for a while longer.

I’m still working on the new science fiction comics series, FORGOTTEN CITY. I have now co-written 4 issues and written another 4 as the series’ solo on-going writer. Issues #9 and #10 are plotted out and next on the to-do list with plans for the story to go as far as issue 25. The publisher is still looking to finalize a distribution deal, so hopefully that will happen in 2013 and the book will be in stores.

There are also a few proposals and pitches sitting out there for different projects with a variety of comics publishers.

Fiction:

2013 promises to be the year of new titles from Airship 27 Productions fiction wise. This coming year should see the publication of The Ruby Files Vol. 2 containing my first short story about 1930s hard-boiled New York detective, Rick Ruby. Also in 2013 look out for The New Adventures of Allan Quatermain featuring my just completed novella “Golden Ivory.”

Short stories scheduled for the rest of the year include one featuring master escapologist Harry Houdini, and a second Rick Ruby escapade.

I’ve also started a new novel, on the “write a page a day” basis to see if I can keep going and get a novel length manuscript done by year’s end. I’m taking a totally different approach to writing this novel – I’ll probably blog more about that later in the year if things keep to schedule.

Non-Fiction:

The major focus this year is to get The James Bond Lexicon finished for the fine folks at Hasslein Books – and I have the Man From U.N.C.L.E. Lexicon lined up after that.

I’ve also had some early discussions about another business book – more on that, if and when it develops.

After listing it all out like that, I guess I am going to be a busy boy – so I guess I should get back to it. Deadlines wait for no man.

ArmadilloCon 34 Schedule

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Next weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year – It’s ArmadilloCon weekend. This literary SF convention held each year in Austin, TX is always an enjoyable one, and this year looks to be no different with an interesting mix of panels on my schedule.

Friday, July 27th

9:00pm – Reading – Most likely I’ll be unveiling the first few thousand words of my work-in-progress Allan Quatermain novella. (Unfortunately I’m scheduled against the Apes & Zepplins panel – just like last year – so bummed I’m going to miss that.)

Saturday, July 28th,

10:00am – Imagining a World Without Fossil Fuels – Not sure how a petrol-sniffing gear-head like me ended up on this panel – should be an interesting discussion !

12:00 noon – Will Interstellar Travel Ever Be Possible? – Sure to be another fascinating conversation.”Ever” is such a loaded word.

6:00pm – How Much Interaction Should Writers Have with Their Readers? – What do you think? – Anyone actually reading this?

9:00pm – Comics: Web and Paper – The annual “comics you should be reading” panel – always a fun time.

Sunday, July 29th

10:00am – Fans in Mainstream Media – I moderated a similar panel last year, and it was a lively and fun discussion. Should be again this year.

Hope to see you at DilloCon.

Short Fiction – “The Nowhere Man”

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Found this short story when flipping back through my notebooks today, and realized I had never written it up. So hope you enjoy this taste of some of my short fiction:

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“THE NOWHERE MAN”

By Alan J. Porter

“They call me ‘The Nowhere Man.’ Actually to be strictly accurate no-one actually calls me that to my face. My real name is James Davenport, but as it turns out no-one uses that anymore either.

“I’m not sure when it started, but I guess it was at school. I was never picked for any sports team, and the teachers never called on me to answer questions. I was just there. Sitting at the back of the class, minding my own business, biding my time. It’s not that I bunked off. I was, no am, smart. Always did my work, got straight A’s, took extra credits. Then headed off to college with a full academic scholarship in hand.

“It was at college that I really noticed things starting to happen. Doors started to open for me. Literally.

“I think that the first time it happened was the day I went to see one of my professors about a paper I was working on. The note on her door said she was gone for the day, but for some reason I still reached out and put my hand on the door handle. As soon as I did, I heard the lock click open, and the door swung open.

“So, like most kids in college, I started to experiment. Just a little at first, then getting more and more adventurous. Starting with sneaking into the girls’ dorms, and then trying out a few of their locker rooms; eventually I tried the doors of the local bank after hours.

“That’s when I discovered that video cameras didn’t see me either. I could come and go anywhere I pleased and nothing would record my presence.

“I wasn’t invisible, or anything fancy like that. People could see me and interact with me, in fact they seemed to fall over themselves to get me whatever I wanted; from the best table in a swanky restaurant to…. well you get the idea. But after I left, just like the cameras, they had no recollection of me, it was if I’d never been there.

“You would think that was fantastic; and at first it was. I made a lot of money. I offered my services to various criminal overlords, but they never called back. I guess they forgot about me too. So I set my self up as a super-villain. Robbed banks, discovered secrets, blackmailed people, all that sort of stuff.

“I have more money than God now. OK perhaps more than anyone else in this city. Wonder who owns that large estate outside of town, or the largest yacht in the harbor, or who’s the mysterious owner of the local football franchise? Yep, it’s all me.

‘The perfect life you would think. But there’s one big problem with being the man that no-one remembers

“I’m lonely.

“It’s like I live in a world of my own, while the rest of you revolve around me, never touching my soul, or my heart.

“There is only so much wealth a man on his own can enjoy.

“And what’s the point in being rich and powerful if no-one knows who you are?

“So this is a final act. A message to the people of this city that James Davenport exists………”

Captain Malone clicked off the tape that had been found at the scene of this afternoon’s disaster.

“Well?” asked the assistant DA as he walked into Malone’s office.

“Nothing.” Malone shook his head. “It’s blank.” Malone paused, reconsidering his last statement. “Actually it’s just white noise. As if someone switched on the microphone, but just sat there without saying anything.”

“Any ID on the body?”

Malone shook his head for a second time, “Nope, he’s just another John Doe to us. A real nowhere man.”

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“The Nowhere Man” and all associated characters and concepts are (c) Alan J. Porter – 2011