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Who’s listening?
Advantages and Pitfalls of Wireless Audio

March 19th, 2021

“I do community theater, and all muting and unmuting is done from the tech booth. Well, every once in a while, if the tech person can’t mute an actor’s mic right away when they leave the stage, the audience catches them saying something like, ‘Well, I really f****d THAT up!'”

The above account, courtesy of Buzzfeed’s “17 Seriously Cringeworthy ‘Forgot To Turn The Mic Off’ Stories,” is one of many that deals with the ways wireless audio has complicated life in the 21st century.

Likewise, the Cosmopolitan article “11 Zoom Confessions That’ll Have You Double-Checking Your Mute Button” features stories about sounds not-intended-for sharing. In one, a contributor relates what happened when she took her laptop to the bathroom only to discover afterward that the “video was off, but audio was on.” Then, to make things worse, she adds: “The meeting was recorded.”

Equally embarrassing, a piece in Elle titled “The Most Embarrassing Zoom Fails People Have Suffered In Quarantine,” relates one of the downfalls of Zoom’s active-speaker mode (which expands your video to full screen whenever you speak). The article includes the confession of a zoomer who writes: “I accidentally burped, and the main screen went to me.”

Yikes!

As an antidote for such cringe-worthy stories, the latest installment of Prime Stage Mystery Theatre’s “The Play’s the Thing” explores how unintended transmission could actually be a good thing. You can check it out by clicking the player below or by finding Prime Stage Mystery Theatre on Apple,  Audible,  Deezer,  Libsyn,  Spotify, or the podcasts page at PrimeStage.com.

Give it a listen. If you like what you hear, be sure to spread the word … just be sure to mute that mic when you’re done.

Genre is a State of Mind:
Books and Authors @ In Your Write Mind

June 25th, 2018

The genre stars came out on Saturday night for the latest installment of the In Your Write Mind book event – a massive gathering of science fiction, horror, fantasy, mystery, romance, and YA writers that’s held each June at Seton Hill University.

This was my first time back at IYWM in four years. June is always such a busy month. But this year provided a chance to swing through Greensburg on my return from Fantastic Fiction at KGB … and I’m glad I did.

Held in Seton Hill’s new Performing Arts Center, the event featured over 35 genre writers and hundreds of titles. It also gave students in SHU’s graduate writing program the opportunity to mingle with alums, residency writers, publishers, and other genre professionals.

Among the publishers were John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes (left) of Raw Dog Screaming Press and Dog Star Books. Now in their fifteenth year of publishing, Jennifer and John have been taking part in IYWM events since their inception. As in past years, they were joined at the event by many of their writers, including Michael A. Arnzen – the four-time Stoker Award winner who was instrumental in starting the Writing Popular Fiction program at SHU.

Also present with a long list of titles was William H. Horner (right) of Fantasist Enterprises. Now in their sixteenth year, FE is known for books that combine the work of genre writers and graphic artists to create anthologies, collections, and novels with a focus on strong writing and dynamic design. After taking a hiatus on new titles in 2014 (which allowed Will time to focus on teaching and conducting workshops), FE has returned with a new edition of my collection Voices: Tales of Horror (one of five titles that I worked on with them) and plans for some exciting web-based content in the months ahead.

Among the writers present at the event were Albert Wendland, who was signing advance copies of his forthcoming science fiction novel In a Suspect Universe; and Scott A. Johnson, who arrived with his fresh-off-the-presses horror novel Shy Grove: A Ghost Story.

Indicative of the diversity of authors and books featured at IYWM were Priscilla Oliveras (romance) and Genevieve Iseult Eldredge (fantasy) with their contrasting red and black displays.

Priscilla and Genevieve are among the many graduates of SHU’s Writing Popular Fiction program who returned to Greensburg to take part in IYWM.

In all, this year’s book event was the perfect place for genre writers and readers to gather on a summer evening.

Special thanks go out to Deanna Sjolander, who successfully wrangled the participating authors and publishers and made it all look easy. That’s Deanna in the photo to the right, purchasing a book from Dog Star author J. L. Gribble. Deanna is currently working on programming for the upcoming World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore, and her involvement has me thinking seriously about registering for the con before it fills up.

There’s more, of course. I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you attended IYWM and feel like adding to this recap, please feel free to post a comment. It’s always good hearing from people who visit this site, and getting feedback on particular stories helps gauge the kind of posts that best connect with readers.

I hope to be posting again soon with some previews of the rapidly approaching Fantasia Film Festival and the premiere of Nightmare Cinema. Until next time … scop on!

Images

  • In Your Write Mind banner from the organization’s Facebook Page.
  • John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes of Raw Dog Screaming Press and Dog Star Books.
  • William H. Horner of Fantasist Enterprises.
  • Priscilla Oliveras (romance) and Genevieve Iseult Eldredge (fantasy) with their displays.
  • Writer wrangler and author Deanna Sjolander with J. L. Gribble.
  • Michael A. Arnzen and the 21st-Century Scop hanging out at the Fantasist display.
  • All photos (with the exception of the IYWM banner) copyright © 2018 bt The 21st-Century Scop. 

Randall Silvis:
One of the Writers on Writing @ Riley’s

May 18th, 2014

The first in a series of profiles on some of the writers being featured at this month’s Writers on Writing @ Riley’s.

Silvis, Randall 2Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the New York Times Book Review, Randall Silvis is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction in various genres.

A former contributing writer for the Discovery Channel magazines, he is also a prize-winning playwright, produced screenwriter, prolific essayist, and the first Pennsylvania writer to win the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Other literary awards include two literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, six fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania for “distinguished literary achievement.”

chasingtheboo

Randall’s books include , Disquiet Heart, Flying Fish, and On Night’s Shore, which Publishers Weekly calls  “a satisfying literary mystery with a convincing picture of [Edgar Allan] Poe.”

In addition to his numerous works of fiction, Randall is the author of several books about writing and the writing life: Chasing the Boo, True Stories & Reflections from the Writer’s Life, What I Know, More True Stories & Reflections from the Writer’s Life, and 10 Easy Steps To Becoming A Writer, And Other True Stories of the Writing Life.

He is also one of the contributors to Many Genres One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction and a residency writer at Seton Hill University’s graduate program on Writing Popular Fiction.

PaLitFestIn the weeks ahead, he will be appearing at the Pennsylvania LitFest and the In Your Write Mind Workshops, but you can catch him first on May 27 at Riley’s Pour House where he will be presenting a memoir in doggerel titled “Requiem.” Not to be missed.

The evening kicks off at 8:00 PM at Riley’s Pour House, 215 East Main Street, Carnegie, PA 15106. There’s no cover. Come early, meet the writers, and get ready to experience the art of story from some of the contemporary masters of the craft.

Look for more author profiles soon, and, if you find yourself sharing my excitement for this event, be sure to circle May 27 on your calendar.

When the scops descend on Riley’s, you’ll want to be there.

veinsBram Stoker Award finalist Lawrence C. Connolly (the 21st-Century Scop) is the author of the Veins Cycle books, the first of which, Veins (2008), has just been released for the first time in a special Kindle edition (complete with the original illustrations) from Fantasist Enterprises.  The third book in the series, Vortex, (with illustrations by Rhonda Libbey) will debut in print and ebook on July 1.

 

Hallowen: Magic, Mystery & the Macabre Trick or Treating with Friends

September 8th, 2013

HalloweenMagicMysMacabre-500Halloween comes early this year, with the September release of Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre – another terrific anthology from award-winning editor Paula Guran and the good people at Prime Books.

The book is a follow up to Paula’s 2011 anthology Halloween, which featured 33 classic reprints by the likes of Ray Bradbury, H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and F. Paul Wilson. It also featured a thoughtful essay about the origins and traditions of Halloween, which you can read here.

Unlike its predecessor, the new book features all-new Halloween-themed stories. I’ve just finished reading my copy, and it’s a terrific book – perfect material for a cool autumn night.

scent-of-magicAmong the standouts is “The Halloween Men,” a horror story by my good friend Maria V. Snyder, a writer more often associated with romantic fantasy than horror fiction. She and I currently serve as residency writers in the Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, and at this summer’s residency she attributed her foray into the macabre to hanging out with Michael A. Arnzen and me. She was being generous, of course. But regardless of how the story came to be, it’s a terrific read. Set in a strange world where the wearing of masks is enforced by mysterious men in black robes, “The Halloween Men” displays the kind of spare yet fully-realized fantasy that has made Maria one of the best fantasy writers working today. If you haven’t discovered her yet, consider checking out her books Scent of Magic, Poison Study, Touch of Power, and all the other titles that you can read about at MariaVSnyder.com. Good reading awaits.

TimeAnother standout story is “All Souls Day” by Barbara Roden, who in recent years has established herself as one of the contemporary masters of short fiction. Publishers Weekly, in a review of her collection Northwest Passages, refers to her work as “deftly executed tales of subtle horror,” and her story in this collection continues that tradition. Barbara is also a multi-award winning editor who, along with her husband Christopher Roden, has been running critically acclaimed Ash-Tree Press since its inception in 1994. I first met Barbara and Christopher at World Fantasy 2007, and we’ve been good friends ever since, getting together at the major conventions at least once or twice a year. In 2010 they edited and published This Way to Egress, the definitive collection of my horror stories.

Jack Pumpkinhead by William Wallace DenslowHalloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre also features terrific new stories by Laird Barron, Laura Bickle, Jay Caselberg, Brenda Cooper, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jonathan Maberry, Norman Partridge, John Shirley, Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem, Carrie Vaughn, A.C. Wise, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – some of the modern masters of magic, mystery, and the macabre.

Oh yes, it also contains one of my stories – a new tale of physiological horror titled “Pumpkin Head Escapes.” And since the book releases this week, my friends and I get to do some early trick-or-treating.

Care to join us?

Image Credits:

Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre,  Prime Books 2013. Scent of Magic, Harlequin 2013. Northwest Passages, Prime Books 2010. Jack Pumpkin Head, illustration detail by William Wallace Dinslow from L. Frank Baum’s The Road to Oz (1909).