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Book City

October 2nd, 2013

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI sometimes get the feeling that we book people are citizens of a kind of portable municipality, a diffused city that reforms around various conventions, conferences, festivals, symposiums, and literary events.

We’re united by the love of story, the feel of books, and the knowledge that vicarious experience can be as meaningful and real as life beyond the covers, and I was reminded of all these things within minutes of arriving at last weekend’s Baltimore Book Festival.

After a five hour drive through two states, passing anonymous drivers and stopping at service plazas inhabited by total strangers, I was at the festival less than a minute before I heard someone calling my name. And that was pretty much how things went the entire day, running into old friends, making new ones, and reconnecting with parts of a community that periodically coalesces around major book events.

And of course there were the books that bind us together, acres of them on display in festival tents and even more (five stories of them!) in the main atrium of the Peabody Library, located adjacent to the festival. (See above.)

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAAdditional highlight were running into the people at Raw Dog Screaming Press, in particular K. Ceres Wright, whose Cog was released under the Raw Dog sf imprint Dog Star Books. Ceres was one of my students at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, a contingent that was well represented at the festival. That’s the 21st Century Scop on the right with three WPF graduates — Jennifer Della Zanna, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Hanna Gribble. (Heidi is also the editor of the book Many Genres, One Craft.)

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAMy day at the festival centered on the tent run by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, where I took part in a well-attended panel titled “Keeping the Future Beat: Music in Fiction.” The panelists were both authors and musicians, and afterward I got to join Catherin Asaro and Sarah Pinsker (pictured at left) in an evening of musical performances that continued until the SFWA reception and a book launch for L. Jagi Lamplighter’s new YA novel The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin.

As always, it passed too quickly.

I’m back home now,  looking forward to rejoining the Book City at PAISTA on October 17 and Word Fantasy at the end of the month. I’ll hope to see some of you at those.

Until then, scop on!

The Next Big Thing (Part 2)

January 17th, 2013

If you read my previous post, you know that my good friend Alice Henderson has tagged me in The Next Big Thing blog-hop, and now it’s my turn to respond.

Here we go!

What is the working title of your book?

Right now it’s titled Vortex, although there is a good chance the title will change to Vortices before the book is released later this year. Either way, it will be Book Three of the Veins Cycle and the fifth book in my series of V-titles from the good people at Fantasist Enterprises.

Visions by Lawrence C. ConnollyWhere did the idea come from for the book?

The basic premise began evolving while I worked on the novelette “Great Heart Rising,” which originally appeared in F&SF and has since been reprinted in my collection Visions: Short Fantasy SF.

“Great Heart” revolves around an entire family that dies suddenly within their suburban home. The police can see the bodies through the windows, but anyone who goes in to investigate is unable to make it back out alive. And there’s a kid in the basement with a cell phone calling 911. “Help me!” she’s saying. “Get me out of here!” So of course, someone has to get her out, and that someone turns out to be a young man who has ancient ties to the land beneath the house.

All those things — the setting, pacing, mystical undertones — eventually led to the development of Veins.

Veins by Lawrence C. ConnollyWhat genre does your book fall under?

Like the others in the series, it will probably be marketed as a supernatural thriller.

When Veins first came out, some reviewers called it urban fantasy, citing its portrayal of ancient powers in a contemporary setting.

If I were assigning the category, I’d push for Rural Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m generally inclined to leave questions such as this to the casting agents.

Vipers by Lawrence C. ConnollyWhat is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Axle searches his dreams for an artifact that will save the earth.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The third Veins book is being represented by the same agency that handled my previous books. It will be published by Fantasist Enterprises and edited by Will Horner – one of the best editors working in fantasy today.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Veins and Vipers . . . of course!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Will Horner at Fantasist, who saw potential for a series after reading Veins back in 2006.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Together, the books in the Veins Cycle cover a single 24-hour period, with the final book bringing the story full circle in some startling ways. The FE art department is also promising an amazing cover that continues the warning-sign motif of the previous books. Can’t share anything yet, but soon . . . very soon!

So . . . that’s what I’m up to.

Now I’d like to introduce you to five writers associated with Seton Hill University’s graduate program in Writing Popular Fiction, all of whom have new projects that definitely qualify as next big things.

The writers are:

Querus Abuttu, a.k.a. Cin Ferguson, a.k.a. Q. She is one of the most exciting new voices in sf and bizarro fiction you’re likely to encounter. Currently an MFA candidate at SHU, Q is definitely going to be making waves in the days ahead. That’s us to the right, hanging ten after the Bram Stoker Awards banquet in Salt Lake City last year (the night my book Voices lost to Joyce Carole Oates’ The Corn Maiden).

Leslie Davis Guccione, the author of over 30 novels for adult, middle grade, and teen readers. She’s one of my fellow residency writers at SHU and one of the best writing mentors around. Of her latest book The Chick Palace, Adina Senft, the RITA Award winning  author of the Amish Quilt trilogy, writes: “New romance, empty nests, love, secrets, betrayal and forgiveness … The Chick Palace has it all, along with healthy dollops of humor and wisdom, all drenched in the sunshine of memory.”

Ann Kopchik, a.k.a. Anna Zabo. Ann is a SHU alum. Her erotic romance Close Quarter was published last month by Loose Id. She also writes sf and has been a regular at Context, Confluence, and other regional conventions. Definitely a talent worth watching.

Meg Mims, another SHU alum. Meg won the Spur Award last year for her debut  novel Double Crossing, a historical western mystery that was also named a finalist in the 2012 Best Books by USA Book News.

Stephanie Wytovich, an MFA candidate at SHU. Stephanie is a Rhysling Award nominated poet, and her  first poetry collection Hysteria will be published later this year by Raw Dog Screaming Press. That’s us on the right, grinning down an advancing  hoard of zombie Gumbies at Horror Realm 2012.

Bizarro, chick lit, erotica, historical western mystery, horror poetry — how’s that for an eclectic lineup?

Querus, Leslie, Ann, Meg, and Stephanie will be posting their answers by the end of next week. Be sure to check them out. After that, please consider stopping back here for more musings on media, music, and fiction.

Until then . . . keep reading!