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Spotlight on All-Star Storytellers:
Larry Ivkovich

December 19th, 2014

Larry IkovichIt’s almost here. Not Christmas. Not New Year’s Eve. I’m talking All-Start Storytelling, the event that will feature this year’s top storytellers from Story Night @ Riley’s Pour House.

With fewer than two weeks to go to the event, I’d like to begin highlighting some of the storytellers who will be appearing at our year-end competition.

First up is Story Night regular Larry Ivkovich, who made his first Riley’s appearance at the Writers on Writing session back in May. He then returned in July for Midsummer Night Stories and again in August for Mannequin Adventures.

sixth-precept-front-cover-lighter-shadeLarry has a personable, folksy style that complements the intimate setting of Riley’s, and we’re excited to have him returning for an encore performance.

In addition to telling stories, Larry is an accomplished writer, with a number of short story credits in various publications, including Penumbra Magazine, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, and Triangulations.

His short fiction has also earned him distinction as a  finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and a recipient of the 2010 CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction.

His novels include  The Sixth Precept and Blood of the Daxas. The latter debuted earlier this month at Rickert & Beagle Books.

Connolly at Story Night PPG croppedAll-Star Story Night at Riley’s begins at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 30. Other storyteller will include Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Collucio, Owen Kilbane, Michael McBurney, Marlene Pendleton, Karyn Rok, Martha Swiss, Richard “Shaug” Shaughnessy, C. S. Wyatt, and Stephanie Wytovich.

For more information, please see Bob Podurgiel’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature article, which includes a review of our holiday-themed November event as well as an All-Star Night preview. It’s good reading.

More storyteller spotlights will be coming soon. Until then . . . scop on!

Image Credits:

Larry Ivkovich at Writers on Writing @ Riley’s, May 2014. Photo by Karen Yun-Lutz.

The Sixth Precept. IFWG Publishing, 2011.

The 21st Century Scop hosting Holiday Stories @ Riley’s, November 2014.
by Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette.

 


Instigation Showcase
Day 3 of the Veins Blog Tour

September 8th, 2014

Instigation-FINALCOVER-400hMichael A. Arnzen’s website Gorelets.com is always brimming with terrific writing advice. That’s not surprise, given that Mike is both a founder of Seton Hill University’s graduate program in Writing Popular Fiction and the author of the book Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side.

Instigation is a treasury of over 500 tips, scenarios and sparks to help ignite the fuel in your creative furnace. Its aim? To push you into the danger zone of your imagination by thinking in unconventional ways and trying things you never thought — or dared — to try before in your writing, art, or dreams.

You can see what kind of writing advice I have to offer by checking out Gorelets.com. Click on over . . . I’ll meet you on the other side.

Image:
Cover art for Michael A. Arnzen’s 
Instigation.

August Mania:
Madness, Music, and Mannequins

August 8th, 2014

Connolly Wytovich ArnzenSorry. Couldn’t resist the alliteration, but it’s as good a way as any to summarize this month’s events.

The Madness

That’s madness of the fun variety, of course. Earlier this week I joined Raw Dog Screaming Press authors Stephanie M. Wytovich and Michael A. Arnzen for a reading at Rickert & Beagle Books. That’s the three of us on the left, standing beneath the store’s Horror sign (although it does seem as if Mike is actually standing beneath the Mental Health sign).

Stephanie opened the reading with the poem “Daddy’s Little Grave Digger,” from her new collection Mourning Jewelry. It’s the second time I heard her read it, the first being earlier this summer at the Pennsylvania Literary Festival. At both readings I was impressed with her ability to deliver the poem in a tone that conveyed both a sense of dread and whimsy. Great stuff.

She also read excerpts from last year’s Bram Stoker nominated Hysteria: A Collection of Madness and a few new poems – indicating that a new collection may be on the horizon.

Write or die 2Always the technology integrator, Mike shared a new story written using the apps Brainstormer and Write Or Die.  The first provided him with three randomly selected words: remorse, dying, and puppet. The second threatened to scream at him if he stopped writing or (worse) erase his words if he fell behind on his intended goal. Fortunately Mike managed in producing a 1,255 word first draft in under 30 minutes. He then edited it to a tight 850 word narrative, which he shared at the Rickert & Beagle reading.

Titled “A Check-Up for Mr. Bangles,” the story about a father performing a medical exam on his daughter’s toy is at once creepy and hilarious.

outside rileys1The Music

This weekend I’ll be teaming up with Duane Davis (long-time bassist for the Laughrey Connolly Band) and Lauren Connolly Moore for a show under the big tent at Riley’s Pour House.

As always, we’ll start with ballads and build to a raucous finale. The show will run from 8:00 to Midnight, and the weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for an outdoor show.

Really looking forward to this one!

mannequins

The Mannequins

This month’s Storytelling Night at Riley’s will feature our first thematic double bill: Mannequin Tales and Back to School Adventures.

We’re currently taking advance signup for storytelling. If you have a story about mannequins or a memory about returning to school, we’d love to add you to our growing roster of storytellers.

Please note, your stories do not need to include both themes. For this event, we’ll be presenting two sets of stories on a double-bill program reminiscent of the heyday of drive-in cinema.

Please check out some of the stories featured on our previous storytelling nights The Writing Life, Stories from the Theatre, and Midsummer Night Stories for an idea of what we’re looking for.

That’s a summary of the big events for this month. Updates coming soon. Until then, scop on!

Have Stories: Will Travel

October 27th, 2013

The Scop Road to BrightonContinuing the tradition of the traveling bard, the 21st Century Scop will be hitting the road this week, heading off to England to give readings at the University of Brighton on Wednesday, October 30 (5:30 PM), and then at the World Fantasy Convention’s Reading Café on Saturday, November 2 (12:30 PM). If you’re going to be in the area, I’ll hope to see you there.

Naturally, I also plan to spend time networking with colleagues at both the University and World Fantasy, taking part in the oldest form of social media – face to face contact.  We are creatures of nuance, and much of what we have to teach to and learn from one another comes across best in real conversation.

It’s the same with story performance, during which skilled readers pick up queues from their listeners and adjust their deliveries accordingly. Therein lies the quality that sets live readings apart from any other story deliver system. When storyteller and audience share the same physical space, magic happens.

Raw Dog Book Route: (A) Michael Arnzen at CMU. (B) Stephanie Wytovich at Big Idea. (C) Matt Betts at Muse Stand. (D) Heidi Ruby Miller at Bradley Books. E) Jason Jack Miller at Eljay’s.

I had a chance to watch this in action last weekend, when Raw Dog Screaming Press unleashed five of their top writers on Pittsburgh, sending them out to present a series of readings at five different bookstores: Michael A. Arnzen at the CMU Bookstore, Stephanie Wytovich at The Big Idea Bookstore, Matt Betts at The Muse Stand, Heidi Ruby Miller at Station Square, and Jason Jack Miller at Eljay’s Used Books. The readings started at 1:00 and continued until 6:00, following a course of some dozen miles.

I caught the last session at Eljay’s, where I settled into the front row while rain hammered the storefront window. Outside it was gray and cold, traffic racing by in a haze on West Liberty Avenue. But inside it was warm and cozy. The perfect atmosphere for a reading.

Jason Jack MillerJason shared a couple of excerpts from the Revelations of Preston Black, engaging the audience with his folksy just-friends-shooting-the-breeze style. It’s a voice that comes across in the writing, but hearing it live really enhances the story’s tone. And the rain tapping the wall of glass behind him added a nice rhythm to the narrative.

Of course, live performance is always an adventure. I’m sure there must have been times when an Old-English scop found himself upstages by distractions in or around the mead-hall. That’s more or less what happened to Heidi Ruby Miller at Bradley Books when a train decided to ruble past Station Square during her scheduled reading slot. No matter. Heidi scopped on, bringing her presentation to Eljay’s and delivering it after Jason concluded his reading, making for a terrific conclusion to the day-long event.

Heidi Rubi MillerHeidi read from her novel Greenshift, which is available through Dog Star books, Raw Dog’s science-fiction imprint.

Other people sighted at Eljay’s were Kevin Hayes, Laurie Mann, Diane Turnshek, and Karen Yun-Lutz – all members of Parsec, an organization devoted to the promotion of literary science-fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative fictions.

A nice contingent or Raw Dog and Dog Star authors were also there, including Michael A. Arnzen, Albert Wendland, K. Ceres Wright, and Stephanie Wytovich.

Of course, Raw Dog founders John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes were also on hand.

It was a great time, and I wish I could have stayed around for the dinner that followed. Instead, I headed out into the rain and made my way across town to do some scopping of my own at Riley’s Pour House.

Next up, we’ll revisit the topic of flash fiction with some questions submitted by the good people who attended my recent PAISTA presentation. Then I’ll be following the scop road to the University of Brighton and World Fantasy.

Scop on!