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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!

Airships and Sherlock Holmes

October 22nd, 2011

The master sleuth and Master of the World.

What’s not to love?

The World Fantasy Convention has just released its program schedule for 2011, one that offers an impressive blend of topics centering on this year’s theme: Sailing the Seas of Imagination.

At the con, I’ll be joining a discussion about airships and reading from my latest Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Executioner.”

First up, I’ll be joining  Jetse de Vries, Eric Flint, Charles Gannon, and Cliff Winnig for a panel titled “To Sail Above the Clouds: Airships.” Here’s the description:

With Steampunk’s popularity, airships are rising too. Sometimes they’re treated just like sailing ships. (Airship pirates!). Sometimes more like trains or planes. What is unique about this form of transportation that’s grabbed the attention of Steampunk? What has literature done with it and what does literature get wrong and right? (Friday 2:00 PM)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about airships, working on a new story tentatively titled “Zeppelin to the Moon,” which brings together Professor Challenger (The Lost World), Mr. Bedford (First Men in the Moon), and Count von Zeppelin (the renowned airship designer) on a mission to rescue the inventor of cavorite from the clutches of the Grand Lunar. Sound interesting?

 “To Sail Above the Clouds” will mark my second appearance on a steampunk-themed panel this year. The first was two months ago when I joined my good friends Paul Genesse, Anton Strout, Gregory Wilson, and Maurice Broaddus at GenCon for a presentation titled “Make it Steamy: A Look at the Steampunk Genre.” That event really packed them in, with nearly 100 people in attendance. One of the highlights was Maurice’s account of his forthcoming “steampunk story with all black characters.” It’s title: Pimp My Airship. Looking forward to that one!

Paul and I also got the chance to reminisce about works that introduced us to the tropes of steampunk. His was the Ray Harryhausen 1961 film Mysterious Island (soon to be released in a limited-edition Blu-Ray  from Twilight Time). Mine was Karl Zerman’s 1958 Vynález zkázy, released in the States as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. I remember catching that one at a drive-in near Philadelphia. The world has never been the same.

Also on the bill at this year’s World Fantasy will be a Saturday night book launch and party hosted by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.  This will be the big debut for Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes, the third in the critically-acclaimed series of anthologies edited by Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell. I understand that Paul Kane will also be there, reading from his entry “The Greatest Mystery” – one of the anthology’s standout horror stories.

And of course, as always, there will be the WFC mass-autograph session on Friday night, where I’ll be looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, and signing copies of Gaslight Arcanum, as well as Veins, Vipers, Visions, and last year’s collection This Way to Egress. (All titles will be available in the dealers room.) I also hope to have some preview material for the forthcoming Voices: Tales of Horror, which Fantasist Enterprises will be releasing later this year.

If you’re one of the thousand or so people lucky enough to be attending this year’s World Fantasy Convention (memberships sold out last winter, making this year’s con one of the hottest tickets around), I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Oh yes, and did I mention Neil Gaiman is this year’s Guest of Honor? Should be a good time.

Whether you’re attending or not, please consider leaving a comment below. I’m particularly interested in hearing about when you first encountered the wonders of steampunk.

Perhaps it was Mysterious Island or The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, or maybe it was with more recent works, ones actually published under the steampunk banner. Either way, feel free to chime in. 

In Praise of Indie Bookstores

September 25th, 2011

Eljay's BooksYou walk inside. Right away you sense you’ve arrived someplace special. Books fill the aisles, stacked on a combination of antique, handmade, and prefab shelves. And there’s art, lots of it: on the walls, tables, and even painted directly onto the chairs. But best of all, you’re greeted by someone who knows books – a manager who reads, knows the store’s inventory, and who has mastered the art of supplying you with a basket of books that you possibly didn’t even know about when you walked through the door.

There’s nothing like a good independent bookstore.

Today I’m pondering the merits of such places, possibly because I’ve just finished editing a story about one of them (Between Books) for my forthcoming collection Voices, but also because yesterday I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at Eljay’s Books, an independent bookstore that has become a Pittsburgh institution – for good reason.

It’s managed by Chris Rickert, formerly of Pittsburgh’s now closed Joseph-Beth Booksellers, who  invited me to bring the 21st Century Scop to Eljay’s after hearing me speak at Confluence this past summer. I’m glad she did. I had a terrific time, and for the entire afternoon I forgot the month’s pressing deadlines. (I’m currently proofing the galleys for Voices, finishing book three of the Veins Cycle, and trying to get started on a new steampunk story for Edge Science Fiction’s forthcoming Professor Challenger anthology.)

One benefit of doing an event at an indie store is the kind of people who show up for your reading. They tends to be serious readers who enjoy learning about, discussing, and buying books. The big box stores can sometimes generate this kind of turn out (like the ones that often greeted me at the Borders in Wilmington DE, but that was due in large parts to the efforts of Delaware resident W. H. Horner, my editor at Fantasist Enterprises). It’s the personal touch of the indie bookstore’s PR force that brings them in.

Yesterday’s event gave me the chance to share some of the new material from Voices, the forthcoming collection of horror stories that I really should be working on now (and which I intend to get back to as soon as I click the publish button for this blog entry). It’s always reassuring when a group of serious readers reacts favorable to stuff that’s in the pipeline.

Lawrence C. Connolly at Eljay's BooksI also had the chance to revisit some greatest hits, stories from Visions and This Way to Egress as well as excerpts from Veins and Vipers – mostly  read to music from Veins: the Soundtrack and The Legion of Incredibly Strange Superheroes (now disbanded but still one of the best science-fiction rock bands ever). You can listen to studio versions of those readings here and here.

Got some free time today? Why not go out and visit your town’s independent bookstore. If you live in Pittsburgh, make a bee-line to Eljay’s, where you’ll be able to meet the wonderfully entertaining  Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano, who will be signing their collection of comedic horror Scary Tales of Scariness

As for me, it’s back to work.

Keep reading!