Tag Archives: Martyrs

Gideon Film Festival and writing to music

This upcoming weekend, August 6-11, I will be one of the faculty for the Gideon Media Arts Conference to be held at Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I must say, I’m very excited about it. I learned about Gideon roughly two years ago, just after the event. I fished around a little, ended up “meeting” (you know how that goes over the internet, right?) Ken Raney, the guy who heads up the Graphic Arts track at the Conference, then getting involved with Clash Creative, which led to my involvement in the Martyrs anthology (how’s that for narrative summary?). I desperately wanted to participate last year, but by the time I’d learned the dates, I’d already had something scheduled—so I was bummed. Not that the event I was going to wasn’t as good, I wanted to do both!

So, as soon as September rolled around last year, I started hounding Ken regarding the dates for the 2011 Conference. I got the dates from him and blocked it out on my calendar. No, I hadn’t gotten the invite to come, but I wanted to be sure I could go just in case I did. Those of you who’ve been in my sessions know how much I enjoy them, and I wanted to make sure everything was good-to-go, at least on my end.

Lo and behold, several weeks back, I got the email from Ken! As an added bonus, Brittany will be attending the film/musician sessions there. So, you should check it out. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and am anxious to be a part of it! Come out and see us!

Many years ago—when I first started writing comics—I used to listen to music very regularly as I composed. I gravitated toward the classic rock because it was what I knew and liked. I tried listening to classical but found myself distracted by the intricacies of it. I tried listening to “nature” music—you know, the kind that has wind and rain and lightning and thunder. But it made me sleepy. I tried listening to country, but found that I just spent my time laughing at it.

So most music was distracting to me. But I could play classical rock and I often thought of that music as a sort of sound track to my stories: I could see my characters interacting with one another and the music playing behind them. In fact, most of my very early comics share titles with the music I was listening to at the time. Most readers—I assume—never even noticed. A few caught them, but I’ve always guessed that’s because we shared an interest in that particular style of music and they recognized the titles immediately.

I could never listen to anything “new” though because I was too busy listening to the lyrics or intricacies of guitars or drums. Essentially, it distracted me from writing. I had to listen to music that was familiar so that it played, nearly unnoticed, in the background. MUCH like a good soundtrack for a movie. About ten years ago, I went silent, opting for no tunes. However, over the last few years, I’ve started listening to music again. Maybe I’ll talk about the whos, whys and wherefores in a future blog.

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The absent blogger

I’m afraid to look at the date before I “publish” this one…but I know it was sometime in July. Where oh where has the time gone? Well, for me personally, mostly school. Trying to balance my school with a busy summer schedule was hectic! With a capital WOW! There’s so much to catch up on, I hardly know where to start.

But I gotta start somewhere so I’ll start with Brittany having a go at American Idol. When we learned they lowered the age to 15 this year AND that there were auditions in Nashville AND it was conveniently placed next to Camp Electric on the calendar…well, we decided to do it. Brittany and I went to stand in line around 4 that morning and found the line already formed. However, once it was all said and done, we were in the first ¼ of the entire line. While she didn’t make it past the first round, it was a great experience for her. I was impressed by how efficient they were in their organization. Those guys know what they’re doing.

Brittany has been offered a contract/representation by CTA and we’re still examining those possibilities and praying about it. It sounds very good, but we don’t want to jump into it blind and make a bad decision that she’ll be stuck with. She’s competing in a contest that I’d encourage you to go vote for her here.

She’ll also be competing at the MidSouth Talent Fair Thursday, September 30. This will be her fourth year to compete there, her third in the “senior” category (which is ages 13-21). Come out if you can, and cheer her on.

Brett’s big event is his braces—which he didn’t want. He’s only had them on for two weeks, but we can already see major movement in his teeth!

I’ve had a busy summer also signing copies of Buying Time and working to promote it. I wish I’d had more time—maybe I should “buy” some, huh? Ha. Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis had me up for a reading and a signing and I was happy to have several family members and friends come out to support me. I can’t mention all of you, but if you were there, thank you for coming. If you couldn’t make it, DK graciously put some copies on their shelves, so go in and ask for it and pick up a copy!

This summer, I’ve managed to get myself some podcasting interviews. While I’ve been interviewed on television and for the paper and such before, this was a completely new experience for me—and I had a lot of fun. The first time I went on was with the Imagicopter folks. Next I went on with Andy Childress of bubbaworldcomix.com when we were at SFCC in Jackson. We were interviewed by Cody Shedd and Danny Rushing and had a blast. I’m hoping they’ll holler at me again for a follow up! And then, I had a very cool conversation with John Wilkerson, Jesus Geek. We had such a good time John had to split it into two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. In fact, we talked for another 20 minutes off air as we figured out that we knew some of the same folks out in Killeen, Texas! You should go listen to them—drive up the hits if nothing else! J

This coming Saturday, September 25, while the Razorbacks are beating Alabama, I’ll be at the Winston County Library in Louisville, Mississippi from 9 a.m. until that afternoon. I’ll be there with a handful of authors and artists, so if you’re in the area, come out and see us! You already know about Buying Time, Wizard of Oz, Huck Finn, but I’m also able to promote now Martyrs, an anthology of the early Christian Martyrs in which I wrote a 12 page story of Polycarp.

On October 2, I’ll be the keynote speaker for a Writing Retreat in Byhalia. I’ll be in Coffeeville, Mississippi the next Saturday, October 9. And then, I’ll blink my eyes and it’ll be November and I’ll lead the Hemingway Writers Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas. So, for those of you who read this blog regularly (thank you!), I apologize if I don’t get here as often the next several weeks!


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