Tag Archives: Imagicopter

Mississippi has a writers’ conference…and you should know about it!

This past October (14th-16th to be exact), the Gulf Coast Writers Association hosted their annual Southern Expressions GCWA Authors Conference, and I was honored to be one of their speakers. Held at the IP Casino, Resort and Spa in Biloxi, and the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, the conference is a nice little gem waiting to be discovered.

I’ll admit that I’d never heard of the conference before, and as a Mississippian, I was a bit embarrassed. However, that embarrassment faded when I learned the conference was only in either the 3rd for 4th year. I made the drive down on Friday from my home in Oxford. I was starting a new job as part of the faculty at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida the following Monday, so I would just drive there from the conference on Sunday.

I arrived, checked in, and took my stash of books with me to the check-in conference room. Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus, was the speaker for the night—he was asked the usual questions when it was done. I found it funny when I learned he also lives in Oxford and yet I’d never met him (or heard of him, to be honest). Just goes to show you I’m not running the “literary” circles in Oxpatch.

On Saturday morning they bussed the lot of us over to Ocean Springs and we began the daylong string of sessions in the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. I met some interesting folks, both speakers and writers, and did my two presentations: one on suping up your protagonist and the other on shameless self-promotion.

The conference provided live entertainment on the grounds that night, but I caught a ride back to the hotel with some new writer friends I’d made (Charles Sasser and Peggy Webb—Webb, a Mississippian from Tupelo!). I had dinner in the casino where I stumbled upon Jeanie Pantelakis, (Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency) one of the agents in attendance…she joined me and we had a nice chat—mostly about movies and comic books!

Sunday morning was a very laid-back signing session by any and all comers. The public was invited and several people made their way from the slot machines to our room full of authors. Of course, most of them claimed to have just lost all their money and assured us they would have bought a book if they’d had any cash… It wasn’t a total loss, though. As many authors are fond of doing when possible, I managed to trade a few books and still come home with new reading material. Though I went knowing no single other person, I left with a handful of new friends. Not a bad trip, if I do say so myself.

(I meant to post this back in December…but neglected to do so. A slightly different version of this was printed in IMAGYRO, the magazine of IMAGICOPTER)

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Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask

I haven’t had the chance to talk about many books here in recent posts primarily because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in school. Now that that is done, I’m hoping to get back to more regularity here with reviews, talking about writing and that sort of thing.

So it should probably come as no surprise to you that I feel like I have a lot of “catch-up” reading to do now. I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve gotten over the last two years that I’m anxious to get to—many of them by my Imagicopter pals.

Alas, Flyboy is not one of them, but instead is something I found because of my search for superhero novels and it stood out with the very cool title. And with such a cool title, you’d think this would be a rockin’ book, right?

Instead, it was ehh. Just ehh.

I must confess that my opinion might just be bothered by the idea that it is such a cool title…anyway, a synopsis would be something like this: dude who can turn into a fly develops a crush on a waitress who just so happens to be able to make things disappear. They band together with the intention of fighting social injustice and then do such awesome deeds as make mailboxes disappear. Flyboy gets depressed when his mother dies and become a bee instead, and lives with a bee colony until they kick him out.

The problem is that the characters as so interesting as presented and there are a lot of interesting things going on around them (background noise, really)…but they don’t do anything but sit around and whine a lot. I found myself stopping several times and examining the page number and then wondering why I don’t know where the story is going. There were so many ways this book could have gone, but I think the author dropped the ball several times by failing to have a real cohesive plot.

While I wouldn’t say the book is “chock-full,” it certainly has more than its fair share of R-rated language and the obligatory sex scene. Skip it. There are other books out there to read before this one.

AND, I’m excited to announce here the short video that I wrote and directed my final residency at Spalding. It is below and is about two and a half minutes. Enjoy!

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Promoting away!

These past several months I’ve been doing what I could to promote, sell and sign copies of Buying Time. Today’s economy mixed with ever changing technology creating fewer actual readers makes selling words printed on paper harder than ever. The fun thing about my efforts is the variety of venues I’ve tried.

I’ve already mentioned Imagicopter on this page and if you’ve read that blog, you know how hyped I am about it. I won’t repeat that blog except to say that Imagicopter is a loose conglomeration of independent authors, cartoonists and artists who join together for mutual promotional efforts. In general, Imagicopter events are at libraries and indy-minded bookstores (like DK Books in Memphis). Some events have been at comic and sci-fi conventions. Imagicopter has helped me to go places I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to do alone.

I’ve also done some local craft shows and community festivals. Those may be among some of my most interesting experiences as the people who attend these events run the full scale of characters. Truthfully, it was one such event which inspired this blog. In general, most of the people who attend this type of show didn’t come to see a writer or buy a book. Many of them are just out killing a Saturday afternoon (or morning). What’s funny, though, are the responses I get when I try to speak with them as they meander past my table. This is certainly not a scientific study, so don’t hold me to these numbers. But roughly half of the people walk by my table or booth without even stopping. Most of them with nod at me, say hello, or smile as they continue their trek. A few refuse to make eye contact. Of the ones who stop, a little more than half of them ask me what I’m doing. I accept that as an honest inquiry and tell them about my book. Of the ones who don’t speak (yes, I generally try to speak first!), some of them pick the book up and read the back cover copy. Some of them tap the book as they walk by. Most of them make some kind of comment about the title. Because of the book’s title, I get many many comments about “killing time” and the like. A few find out what I’m doing and then want to tell me about their own great idea for a book.

Some of my favorite comments are:

*I’ll have to tell my friend about this book. She likes to read.

*I had an idea like this once. I just never wrote it down.

*You should get this book into Books-A-Million (or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, etc).

*Do you believe in time travel?

*I traveled back in time once. Do you believe that?

*My son (or daughter or cousin or etc) is a great writer. I bet if they did this book they’d make millions. (my follow up is usually something like: “Really? That’s great. What have they written?” “Oh, nothing. But they’re a great writer.”)

*I’ve got an idea for a book…you want to hear it?

And, probably my favorite…

*If I have any money left at the end of the day, I’ll have to buy one.

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