AJP’s RAMBLES NOW WEEKLY

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If you enjoy the occasional blog posts here on my website, or would just like to keep up with what I’m working on, my thoughts on various books, movies, comics and more I now have a weekly newsletter that will provide all of that.

AJP’s RAMBLES is a new newsletter available on Substack, or direct to your email InBox with a FREE subscription.

Each week the newsletter will have one or more stories or updates inspired by what I’ve been working on, or things that have caught my attention during the week. 

They will fall (sometimes loosely) into one or more of the following categories.

  • Brabazon Bits – updates and side notes while working on the “Bristol Brabazon: Lost Airliner of the Skies” book
  • Travels with my Laptop – Notes and observations from travel trips
  • Pages and Screens – Thoughts on things read and watched
  • Word Slinging – Updates on various writing projects
  • Podcast Procrastinations – Updates on my adventures in podcasting
  • Weekly Web Round-up  – Summary of stuff I’ve inflicted on the internet over the previous seven days.

You can check it out and sign up for a FREE SUBSCRIPTION just by clicking HERE

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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.

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.

Under the Hood of the CARS Comics: Ramone & Flo.

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Cover A for Cars: Radiator Springs #1 – by Allen Gladfelter.  (This image was also used for the cover of the Radiator Springs trade paperback collection).

After spending time at the track with CARS: The Rookie, it was time to head to Radiator Springs for the second World of CARS mini-series. The pitch this time around was to tell the stories of how the diverse cast of characters arrived in the sleepy desert town and why they made it home.

Deciding which characters to kick off the series with was relatively easy as the first releases of the CARS movie on DVD included a short on how Flo, owner of the V8 Cafe arrived in town. So for the first script, I adapted and expanded on the groundwork that had already been set.

The story kicks off with the various characters celebrating Ramone and Flo’s anniversary, and Flo being persuaded to tell the story of how they met. I established that Ramone had always been based in Radiator Springs and that Flo had arrived in style as part of a fleet of Detroit Motorama show cars who got stuck in town for a few days. It was a great excuse to do some research on the extravagant fin ladened show cars of the 1950s. As s troop of 1950s showgirls on a road trip, Flo and her friends sure knew how to have some fun, and the young Ramone was quick to offer new paint jobs, pin-striping, and all the things to make a girl look good. – But there was one car that Ramone refused to paint – that was Flo as in his eyes she was perfect as she was.  (We actually got a couple of complaints that this love story between two cars was “too sensuous” !)

Covers B and C for CARS: Radiator Springs #1 by Allen Gladfelter

One of the fun parts of developing this script was put in a one-panel cameo of a small car called Susie, who isn’t featured in the movie. She was the star of an animated short called “Susie the Little Blue Coupe” produced Disney in 1952, and her design style is a direct precursor to the one used in CARS. Susie

 

 

 

 

 

It’s DilloCon Time

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It’s that time of year again, as the next round of convention appearances kicks off with my local event, ArmadilloCon. Summer in Austin wouldn’t be the same without the DilloCon weekend.

This year you can find me on the following panels etc.

  • Friday, August 2nd
    • 8:00pm – Best Comics You’ve Never Read – Ballroom D
  • Saturday, August 3rd
    • 12:00pm – Signing – Dealers Room
    • 6:00pm – Writing Work For Hire – Ballroom E
  • Sunday, August 3rd
    • 12:00pm – Good Omens – Ballroom F

Or just wandering the halls, hanging out in the bar, and generally enjoying the convention.

It’s a Con. – I’m on the Road Again

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It’s that time of year again. The start of my convention season, and the next several weeks are looking to be busy.

We kick of next week at the STC Summit in Orlando. It’s been a few years since I was last at this event, and I’m looking forward to catching up with my professional colleagues, and meeting some new people. The conference sessions are looking interesting, and as I’m not speaking this year I should have more time to sit back and absorb some new knowledge.

As soon as I get back from Orlando, it’s off to Houston for Comicpalooza. Over the last few years this has rapidly become one of  my favorite pop-culture/comics events. Three days of fun, networking, and entertaining guests. Along the way I’ll be participating in a few panels:

  • The Secret History of James Bond in Comics
  • The Editing Process
  • Finding Writing Inspiration.

In early June I’m heading to Poland for the first time to speak at LocWorld #37 in Warsaw on the subject of Content Convergence. Should be a great experience.

At the end of June I’ll be a little closer to home with my first appearance at SoonerCon in Oklahoma where I’ll be on panels discussing:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Podcasting: How to win Listeners and Influence the Internet
  • Doctor Who: Regeneration – It’s a Lottery
  • All Ages Comics as a Development Tool

I’ll also be doing a reading (I just need to decide what that will be).

Phew… it’s going to be an interesting couple of months, and I’m looking forward to it. If you’re going to be at any of these events, make sure to come find me and say “Hi.”  – See you on the road.

Treking my way through ArmadilloCon

ArmadilloCon time is almost upon us. The literary festival in Austin was one of the first SFF conventions I attended and in many ways it remains my favorite. I’ve made a lot of friends at the con over the years, and always enjoyed some great conversations and discussions on the various panels I’ve been on. This year looks like it’s going to be another good one with some great writers and artists in attendance. We’ll all be congregating at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin between august 4th and 6th, so come join us.

You’ll be able to catch me chatting about various subjects including:

  • Writing Golden Age Fiction Today (Friday at 5:00pm)
  • Social Media For Writers (Saturday at 10:00am)
  • Star Trek: TNG – A Generation Later (Saturday at 4:00pm)
  • The State of Comics (Sunday at 11:00am)
  • Best SF TV Series Evah! (Sunday at 2:00pm)

On Saturday at noon I’m scheduled to do a reading, and it’s traditional at these sort of events to read something from your latest works.  I’m lucky in that in the past month I’ve had two books published which contain my work….

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…. but I’m not sure Enterprise Information Management or the pulp adventures of a 1930s New York private eye are a good fit for an SFF audience.

But then today I found out about the following bit of news.

OMIS

The upcoming release of a book about the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which I have one of the essays. And am I not moderating a panel on this very subject the same day? – Problem solved.

So if you come along to my reading I’ll regal you with my unique take on the original series episode “Specter of the Gun” from the earlier companion volume of essays, and give you a sneak peek at my thoughts about the controversial Next Generation episode “Skin of Evil.

Hope to see you there.

 

 

 

Character Sketch #2 -“The Staircase Is Over There!”

The voice cut across the hotel lobby with the subtlety of a sledgehammer meeting a sheet of plate glass. Every conversation stopped and a percentage of heads turned to identify the source of the strident location finder.

She stood imperiously at the far corner, as far physically from anyone else as possible with her right arm raised, her be-ringed finger pointing in the direction of the aforementioned stairs.

This was a woman who demanded attention, even if she rarely received it. Physically small in stature she projected a voice that seemed impossible for someone of her build. Her lung capacity must be formidable. The lean worn face wore a haughty air of frustration beneath a layer of inexpertly applied make-up. Her bleached blonde hair fell straight and limp. Her shirt displayed a cascade of fringes and garish embroidered patterns of indeterminate origin. The fashionably torn jeans tunneled into a pair pf cowboy boots which seemed to be equally adorned as the shirt.

The woman shrugged, turned, and entered the open elevator doors behind her. The door slid shut and she disappeared from sight.

Conversations resumed, while a few of the hotel guests looked around to see who the directive had been intended for, yet no-one seemed to move in the direction of the indicated stairs. – The recipient remained a mystery.

 

 

Under The Hood of the CARS Comics: Getting to Radiator Springs

With the Disney publicity machine gearing up for the release of CARS 3 in June I’ve seen a renewed interest in the CARS comics that I was lucky enough to write back in 2009/2010 following on from the original CARS movie. So I thought it might be fun to post a few short articles reliving my time hanging out with the denizens of Radiator Springs  and sharing a few of the behind the scenes insights, and some of the references, homages etc. that we sneaked into the scripts.

Getting to Radiator Springs.

disney-and-pixar-cars-logo

I’m often asked how I landed the gig to write the CARS comics, and my answer is that I simply begged to do it. It was at ComicCon 2008 in San Diego that comics publisher BOOM Studios announced that they would be producing a line of comics based on the Disney*Pixar movies. The announcement also included the news that the editor of the new line would be one Paul Morrissey, who had joined BOOM from manga publisher Tokyopop. It so happened that Paul had been my editor at Tokyopop on the GOD SHOP project.

As a total gear-head CARS was my favorite Disney*Pixar movie, I also think it is a straight forward fun movie with a great message even if you aren’t that interested in cars. So at San Diego I tracked down Paul and basically begged saying something along the lines of, “I don’t care what anyone else is pitching for, I want to write the CARS comic.” It turned out that most people had asked about writing The Incredibles, or Toy Story*, so the list I was competing with was shorter.

As we walked and talked I pitched Paul a story I had in mind that he seemed to like, so he asked me to come back the next day with four story ideas. I was back at the BOOM booth at 8:00am the next morning with five, the last one being a throw away idea of doing a ‘prequel’ to the movie that told Lightning McQueen’s back story that I knew that Disney would never let me do. I mean if anyone was going to do an ‘origin’ story for one of their lead characters it would be Disney. Right?

Paul reviewed the ideas and took them to Disney, who also approved them. The last day of the convention I got the news from Paul that I was to be the writer on the new CARS comic book series, oh and Disney wanted to kick things off with the origin story.

It was time to start writing – Ka-Chow!

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* I also  also asked to pitch for Toy Story and developed a four issue story arc that was approved and even announced and promoted, but that never saw the light of day – but that’s a whole other story for another blog entry.

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July Rambling at ArmadilloCon

It’s great to be living back in Texas. This month saw us move back to our adopted hometown of Austin after a few years away. We really missed the creative community here and the “welcome home” messages have been humbling and overwhelming.

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One of the staples of our years in Austin has been the annual get together at ArmadilloCon and this year will be no different as I’ll be rounding out the month at the convention participating the following panels:

Friday – July 29th

  • Book Collecting
  • 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Ballroom E
  • Muenzler, Person, Porter*, Weisman
  • Panelists will tackle topics including: choosing what to collect, finding collectible books, cataloging the collection, tools for managing a wish list, preservation, and determining the value of a collection.
  • Comic Books You Should Be Reading
  • 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Ballroom F
  • Benjamin, Mark Finn, Humphrey, Porter*, Rogers
  • What comics should we be reading, and why?

Saturday – July 30th

  • Art of the Short Story
  • Noon-1:00 PM  – Southpark A
  • Afsharirad*, Eudaly, M.A. Finn, Person, Porter, Scarber
  • What makes a good short story? How do you as a writer unlock this form?
  • Time Travel Stories
  • Sat 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Southpark A
  • Gibbons, Jewell*, Maresca, Porter, Schwarz
  • What time travel stories do we love in books and on screen? What are the pitfalls? What are the rules for telling time travel stories that work?

Sunday – July 31st

  • Writing as a Day Job
  • Noon-1:00 PM Southpark A
  • Allen, Chu, Ewing*, Fletcher, Porter, Sisson
  • How do you manage having writing as a day job, when you are not writing for yourself?
  • Autographing
  • Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Dealers’ Room
  • Porter, Rose, Waldrop

If you’re in the Austin area, come along and join us for what is always a fun, engaging weekend.