Action, Austen, Alice, and More: Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 Recap #SLCC15

SL Comic Con Cindy-Grigg-1030x832Writing is often wonderful but just as often, it’s a total slog, so I love the opportunity to step back and attend conferences or conventions.

This past weekend, participating in panels at Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 was a blast and I enjoyed meeting so many writers and readers. Here’s a recap!

First off, we broke a world record, no big deal…

Second, a bunch of you signed my email list for editing information but if you took a card instead, here is a form where you can please send me your email. We’ll be in touch soon.

My favorite panels to observe included one for Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, one about voice acting, and another about a really inspiring project for children facing difficult challenges: True Heroes, featuring Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Ally Condie, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Adam Sidwell, and others, with photography by Jonathan Diaz.

True Heroes

As for the panels I participated on, here’s a quick run-down:

IMG_2820Writing Action – I loved being on this panel alongside amazing authors Aaron Lee Yeager, Eric James Stone, Larry Correia, Robert J. Defendi, Frank Morin, and Charles E. Gannon. I was able to share a few things I’ve learned from writing my character in Piccadilly Valkyrie, Kára, an immortal who confronts her complex relationship with violence and self-defense, and who trains to be a bare-knuckle boxer when exiled to live among mortals in early 19th century London.

IMG_2886Tea Time with Miss Austen – I loved meeting Shannon Hale,
author of Austenland, awesome podcasters Lola Binkerd and Emma Fyffe, and fellow authors Mette Ivie Harrison, Shallee McArthur, and E.B. Wheeler.  We explored why Austen is still relevant today and I believe our consensus was that if she was born in our day and age, she would be writing an awesome t.v. series with the likes of Tina Fey.


Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20150 Years Down the Rabbit Hole (Through the Looking Glass / Lewis Carroll) – It was a pleasure meeting my fellow panelists Jessica Day George, Nathan Croft, Benjamin Tilton, and I particularly enjoyed sitting next to Frank Beddor, author of The Looking Glass Wars series, who inspired me with his awesome, intensive sourcebook on the topic. He is definitely an author who does his research! During this panel I was able to contribute a bit about Mischmasch, Carroll’s ‘self-published’ periodical among friends and family and the inspiration for the name of my boutique press Misch Masch Publishing. Check out our latest anthology, just in time for the Halloween season. Psychopomps: Shepherd of the Dead features several tales about those beings who may escort us into the next life.

Digital (e-Book) or Paperback

Finally, please consider joining my social media channels to the right, or at least browse through them so you can see the fun cosplay!

Author Raychel Rose Shares Her Inspiration for “The Sea of Ghosts”, As Featured in PSYCHOPOMPS: SHEPHERDS OF THE DEAD

It’s fun to have author Raychel Rose guest blogging with me today, as I have enjoyed working with herin conjunction with a new anthology of short stories, which you can can pick up on Amazon: Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20Psychopomps: Shepherds of the Dead.

Her story “The Sea of Ghosts” caught my interest because it features a more sinister version of a mermaid–or is she? Rose keeps you guessing with this intriguing character, who is also a psychopomp, guiding dead seafarers such as the story’s protagonist (a reluctant pirate!) to either Infernum or Aeternus.

This story is a fun take on the journey one makes into the afterlife.

Here is deeper insight from Raychel Rose herself.


DSC_8084 (2) Raychel Rose

It was a weekday when the main idea of The Sea of Ghosts came. My sister, and two friends, Matthew and Margo, were all sitting in a room where I was present. I’m not sure how it came along, but the main idea–a grim reaper falls in love with their dead person they’re supposed to be guiding into the afterlife–was brought to life.

That was how it first came along.

About a month passed and I was browsing Twitter and saw the submission opening for Psychopomps. I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to enter. But what was I to enter? Ah, yes, the Grim Reaper love story.

Over the next couple of days I plotted with all my might. I gained inspiration from Pinterest, where I find a lot of story ideas. I knew the story had to revolve around some type of made-up creature. But what? I didn’t want the ole’ Grim Reaper in a dark cloak. I wanted something original. A mermaid!

I knew I needed a shipwreck. That was easier said than done. There were thousands of shipwrecks! But a pirate shipwreck? That was even harder to find. I was browsing shipwrecks online when I came upon the two articles on Hunters Galley and I knew I had found the ship. It may not have been a pirate ship, but I could always change that.

That’s a reason I love to work with historical fiction. I can blend fact with fiction.

After the main plot and research were done, I needed to work on the theme. I wanted to focus on redemption and being free from the past. Nathaniel, my main character, carried around a bunch of guilt. And then he died and wanted to be free from his past. But how could he? He was dead.

A lot of my inspiration for redemption came from being a born-again Christian. I wanted a representation that only Christ could redeem Nathaniel, but without being preachy or even mentioning Christianity in it.

A lot of my inspiration while writing The Sea of Ghosts came from listening to music. I have already made a playlist blog post that you can check out below:

My research was done online. I found only two articles on the internet about Hunters Galley. I guess that was another reason I was drawn to it. I felt like the ship and history had been forgotten about. And we should never forget history.

In this anthology, each author also suggests a classic short story that inspired them, and I was impressed when Raychel a tale by Ambrose Bierce, who is far too overlooked in the classic horror / paranormal genres. It’s not all about Poe–though, he’s in the anthology as well!

Find more blog links for this project at the official Misch Masch Publishing site for the anthology –  Pscyhopomps: Shepherds of the Dead.

Get your copy of Psychopomps: Shepherd of the Dead on Amazon

Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20

Author E.W. Farnsworth Shares His Inspiration for “Mobile Dusters”, As Featured in PSYCHOPOMPS: SHEPHERDS OF THE DEAD

It is my pleasure to have author E.W. Farnsworth guest posting on my blog today. He is one of several authors who has contributed to an anthology I am excited to be a part of.Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20

You can pick up Psychopomps: Shepherds of the Dead on Amazon, including his story “Mobile Dusters”, which expresses a post-apocalyptic interpretation of who guides us toward death–computers, aliens, and our own thwarted humanity!

At least, that’s my interpretation of his story. Here are his thoughts on the genesis of his idea for “Mobile Dusters” and how he developed the story:

E W Farnsworth ENGEL
I first wrote three stories about the post-apocalyptic landscape developing from my intensive research on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.  Those thee stories became part of the setting for the end chapters of E. W. Farnsworth’s novel, Bitcoin Fandango, which was published in March of 2015.  Researching the continuing conflict in Eastern Ukraine unearthed the introduction of mobile crematorium units by Russia to destroy the physical evidence of their contribution to the mayhem there.  The haunting image of those all-devouring units led to my “mobile dusters” that have a much broader significance than the current conflict when they are used worldwide more generally in an End Times scenario.  Most have forgotten what the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction means for all of us, even in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
 
At the same time as I wrote about Eastern Ukraine as a metaphor, I was writing five other stories about how brave and determined people would probably have to adapt to survive a similar post-apocalyptic scenario if it were transposed to the United States.  Those stories, centered around a daring, brilliant and beautiful heroine named Nitrous Belle were published inSweat, Steel and Cruise Control Anthology of Horrified Press in the UK last month.  In E. W. Farnsworth’s “Launch of the Spaceship Arcturus,” Nitrous Belle and her cohorts help the heroes and heroines break through the southern US border and make it to the launch site.
 
All of these stories formed the background for other E. W. Farnsworth End-Time stories positing humankind’s inexorable revulsion from technology, particularly Artificial Intelligences.  This led to a sequence of stories about how advanced technology would survive the coming holocaust.  E. W. Farnsworth is now working on an epic poem, The Voyage of the Spaceship Arcturus, about the future of humankind when humans, avatars and artificial intelligences must work together to instantiate a second Eden after the Chaos Wars bring an end to life on Earth.  His story, “The Resurrection Team,” is about what happens after the spaceship has left Earth.  The hero Gabriel leads the team to a horrific discovery about the corrupt leadership after the End.
 
It may help to know that for many years (and continuing till today) I have led teams to develop AI for classified programs for the US military and I have been for many years a student of the biblical Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, Wagner’s Ring Cycle, particularly Gotterdamerung, and Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, so my factual and biblical/mythical bases for my stories is fairly sound.
 
Not least, as an admirer of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, particularly but not exclusively, “Masque of the Red Death,” which Psychopomps short story I first encountered in my very early teens, I naturally also drew from such dark speculative literary currents as were created by William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson’s apocalyptic Snow Crash, both of which posit human agents of Apocalypse John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained are the backdrops and inspiration for Farnsworth’s Voyage of the Spaceship Arcturus.  So too are Augustine’s City of God and Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen.  In a strange way, Albert Speer’s Memoirs feed into the nexus of influences.
 
I sincerely hope we can avoid the consequences of what we are doing to ourselves. I’m not sure many literary critics understand that technology can be the way out of the destructive, pseudo-deterministic path humans (not deities or devils) we have laid out for ourselves.  I think we have relied too much on theology as a cop-out for being responsible for our outcomes.
 
– E. W. Farnsworth Gilbert, Arizona September 12, 2015

 

Find more blog links for this project at the official Misch Masch Publishing site for the anthology –  Pscyhopomps: Shepherds of the Dead.

Get your copy of Psychopomps: Shepherd of the Dead on Amazon

Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20

Have a wonderful week! And for those of you going to SL Comic Con, I’ll see you there…