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Supporting the Mead-Hall

July 15th, 2013

KGB Sign

The fantasy genre first found its voice in the mead halls, gathering places where traveling scops told tales of heroes, monsters, and adventures in distant lands.

Today, the tradition of live storytelling continues every fourth Wednesday when fantastic fiction lovers gather for Fantastic Fiction at the KGB Bar, at 85 East Fourth Street in New York City.

It’s a terrific series, and one worth supporting.

Matt and EllenLast month, hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel launched a Kickstarter campaign to underwrite the continuation of the series, and today, with eleven days left, the campaign has passed the $5000 mark – underwriting the continuation of Fantastic Fiction at the KGB for the next three years. It’s an impressive accomplishment, but Ellen and Matt would love to raise $7000 by the campaign’s end. That amount will fund the program’s next four years while also covering the cut taken by Kickstarter and Amazon for helping run the campaign.

ScopIf you love good fiction, and if you believe as I do that the art of live storytelling still has a place in today’s world, please take a moment to support this remarkable series. Pledges can be as low as $1, and some amazing prizes start at just the $15 level. But hurry. The campaign ends on July 26.

For more information, please click here to see the campaign’s press release. Or, if I’ve already convinced you, simply click here and go straight to the KGB Kickstarter page. At both links, you can learn more about the future of Fantastic Fiction at the KGB and peruse some of the amazing gifts that can be yours for supporting its continuation.

But of course the real reward will be in knowing that you played your part in supporting live storytelling in the 21st century.

The Beowulf poet would be proud.

Image Credits:

Screen cap of the KGB Sign from the Fantastic Fiction at KGB Fundraiser video.

Fantastic Fiction hosts Matthew Kressel and Ellen Datlow from the Fantastic Fiction at the KGB Fundraiser page.

“Beowulf replies haughtily to Unferth” by John Henry F. Bacon (1910).

Book Miles

July 10th, 2011
Book Signing at Seton Hill University

Signing for Many Genres, One Craft at Seton Hill University.

So here’s a question: how important are live events in the marketing of books? I trust everyone reading this blog is a book reader and buyer, and many of you are writers as well. So what do you think? Do the wonders of Social Media make is possible for a writer to rely on virtual touring? Or is it still necessary to do in-person events?

I’ve just returned home from a string of appearances, starting with a couple of book-launch event for Many Genres, One Craft — one event at the Stoker Weekend in New York, the other part of the In Your Write Mind Writers Retreat at Seton Hill University. The events were successful, providing opportunity to sign books, meet with readers, and network (often long into the night) with fellow writers. Those are important things, but ones that need to be balanced with travel expenses and time away from writing.

With First Writes at Borders, Wilmington, DE

Following the NY and SHU events, I had a week at home to work on two books (editing one for a fall release, drafting another for an early-winter deadline) before heading east again for events at a Borders in Delaware and Garden State Horror Writers in New Jersey. Now, back from those, I am once again endeavoring to make more progress on the forthcoming books while simultaneously getting ready for events at Confluence, GenCon, and Context.

Wordsworth wrote of “the bliss of solitude,” and I wonder how many writers (who are by nature an introspective lot) begin their careers with the intention of plying their trade in peaceful isolation only to find that the writing life does not exist apart from the world at large.

To me, the biggest challenge is shifting gears. This morning, when I should be devoting time to the characters in my next next book, I find myself wishing I were still enjoying to company of the people I met during my swing through the east.

Consider all of this the challenge facing the 21st century scop, for whereas the storytellers of an earlier time plied their fiction in public, the modern writer needs to balance both worlds – the world of public performance and that of solitary creation.

Or am I overthinking this?

I’ll look forward to reading your comments. For now . . . back to the books.