Category Archives: Conventions

Once More, With Feeling

At the Write Stuff writers conference next Thurs-Sat (March 23-25), I will be leading a 50-minute session on “Writing the Compelling Short Story.”

Additionally, the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group will launch their 2017 anthology, The Write Connections, which includes my vignette, “Once More, With Feeling,” about a dying man’s final conversation with his guardian angel.

The Write Connections marks my first publication of 2017. Hopefully, there will be at least two more short stories and a novella coming out from me this year.

 

The Write Connections anthology

 

 

Monster Mania!

In what was the most jam-packed Monster Mania convention I’ve ever attended, I had the honor of meeting actors John Cusack and Wilfred Brimley. There were, of course, about a dozen other actors and personalities at the show including Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things, Danny Lloyd and Louise and Lisa Burns from The Shining, a few professional wrestling legends, and others. There were also a few celebs that I’d met at previous conventions such as Nick Castle (director of The Last Starfighter) and Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Trek: DS9).

Despite the frigid temps outside and unbearable throng inside, it was a great day overall. In addition to Cusack and Brimley, I wanted to get autographs from the Stranger Things kids, but I did not have the energy or patience to wait in another immense line after doing so for Cusack—twice!

My wife and I met John Cusack at Monster Mania!
My wife and I met John Cusack at Monster Mania!
With Wilfred Brimley at Monster Mania!
With Wilfred Brimley at Monster Mania!
John Cusack autographs
John Cusack autographs from Monster Mania!
Wilfred Brimley autograph
Wilfred Brimley autograph from Monster Mania!

 

Writing The Compelling Short Story at the Write Stuff

I will be presenting “Writing the Compelling Short Story” at the Write Stuff conference at the Best Western Hotel in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, March 25. As part of ongoing conference promotion, I was interviewed for the Write Stuff blog. Apparently, they thought I had something interesting to say.

Click here to read the interview!

Click here for more information about this terrific conference!

Write Stuff Conference

Farpoint 2017 After-Action Report

We’re home from yet another fantastic Farpoint where I finally had the honor of meeting someone I consider an inspiration as a writer and storyteller—Nicholas Meyer. Mr. Meyer’s directing and/or screenwriting credits include Time After Time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered CountryThe Day After (TV movie), and much more including the new CBS series, Star Trek: Discovery. He also wrote the Sherlock Holmes novel and screenplay, The Seven-Percent Solution.

I wanna be THAT guy when I grow up! 😀

After a thoroughly enjoyable dinner at La Tolteca with Aaron Rosenberg, David Mack, Chris Kennedy, Glenn Hauman, and Eric Bakutis, it was time for the Friday night book fair, where I would have the opportunity to meet Nick Meyer.

Earlier in the day, I had purchased a replacement copy of The Seven-Percent Solution from a dealer. From my personal collection, I brought copies of the scripts for the aforementioned Star Trek movies while my wife, Evon, brought her hardback copy of A View from the Bridge, Mr. Meyer’s memoir of his time working on the Star Trek films.

As Mr. Meyer signed my items, I told him that he was one of my writing heroes, which actually brought him to a complete stop. He became momentarily verklempt, as did I.  He thanked me as he continued signing. Before having our photo taken together, I presented him with a copy of By Your Side, one of my paranormal mystery novels. He seemed genuinely grateful.

Phil with Nicholas Meyer

After that, I returned to my table where shenanigans ensued as Bob Greenberger began swapping name placards amongst nearby writers including myself, Aaron Rosenberg, Kelly Meding, Steve Wilson, and Lance Woods. Cameras, bottles, cans, even Steve Wilson’s  flask were not spared from the hide-and-seek hilarity. This added even more magic to the evening. You just can’t find a group of silly scribes like this anywhere else!

Phil and Evon at Farpoint 2017 Lance Woods and Steve Wilson at Farpoint 2017 Kelly Meding, Bob Greenberger, and Aaron Rosenberg Kelly Meding at Farpoint 2017 Bob Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg at Farpoint 2017

My table was part of the Firebringer Press row that included Steven H. Wilson, Lance Woods, and debut author Diane Lee Baron with her novel, Gal WonderClick here for more info on Diane’s book!  By the end of the night, I sold a few books and signed one that a reader bought elsewhere (which is always a good feeling).

Gal Wonder by Diane Lee Baron

Saturday morning began with my wife and I taking our Star Trek II posters to Nicholas Meyer for yet more autographs and photo ops.

Evon with Nicholas Meyer Phil with Nicholas Meyer

My first panel of the day was Firebringer Press Presents at 11AM.  Diane Lee Baron chatted up Gal Wonder, which had a “soft” launch at Farpoint’s book fair, but will have a full premiere at Shore Leave in July along with the mass-market paperback collection of Steve Wilson’s Arbiter Chronicles SF novellas.

Firebringer Press Presents

I spoke about Like Mother, Like Daughters, my paranormal novella slated for release in October, as well as my second-place winning Rehoboth Beach contest story, “Tower Sixteen,” which was recently submitted (with its original ending) to a paranormal anthology slated for next year. If accepted, it would be my first story to be published in two different anthologies and with two different endings!

Firebringer Press Presents discussion panel

Michael Critzer chatted briefly about his upcoming non-fiction book, Heroic Inspirations, debuting this summer. Michael has taught courses on the mythology of superheroes and this book will represent a extension of that.

Afterward, Steve Wilson and I made our way to our scheduled readings at noon. Our audience consisted of Michael Critzer and my wife. Writer David Mack then arrived to finish the hour with his reading, but with such a small gathering, we simply yammered instead.

I was then free until 3PM when I shared a table with Peter David for our autograph hour. It was wonderful to spend time talking with him about his own work as well as the legendary Harlan Ellison, another writer who inspired me and has been close friends with Peter for decades. With no sales, and with Nick Meyer speaking at 4PM on the main stage, I packed up my books early, dropped them off in my room, and joined my wife who was saving a seat for me in the ballroom.

Mr. Meyer regaled an appreciative audience with stories of his first meeting with producer Harve Bennett about writing Star Trek II. A few drafts of the script (each a completely different story) had been written, from which Bennett and Meyer created a list of the best parts. From that list, Meyer wrote an entirely new script, but waived credit for it. This was after he had already signed on to direct.

Nick Meyer at Farpoint 2017 Nick Meyer at Farpoint 2017 Nick Meyer at Farpoint 2017

He also spoke about working with Ricardo Montalban (whose much-debated chest was actually his own, not a prosthetic), his vituperative relationship with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (who balked at the story for Wrath of Khan), and touched on the film adaptation for The Seven-Percent Solution.

Mr. Meyer’s presentation ended with a skit in which linguist and Farpoint regular, Marc Okrand—who developed the Klingon language for the Star Trek movies—read a “communique” from the Klingon Empire, translated into English by Nick Meyer,  honoring Gene Roddenberry and all of the main Star Trek actors that we’ve lost over the past 25+ years including DeForest Kelley, Mark Lenard, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy,  and Grace Lee Whitney.

At 6PM, I had the honor of moderating (somewhat nervously and perhaps ineptly) a discussion panel called “Avoiding Cliches in Your Writing” with panelists Lauren Harris, Peter David, and the reason for my jitters…Nicholas Meyer. However, the panel was entertaining and informative, but not without each of us veering off into tangents once in a while. Yet even as moderator, I would never have the temerity to interrupt Nicholas Meyer!

Avoiding Cliche in Your Writing discussion panel Avoiding Cliche in Your Writing discussion panel

My wife and I ended our evening with dinner at the Silver Spring Mining Company (love that place!) before calling it a night. Normally,  I would have stayed up late and joined my fellow con attendees at the Ten-Forward Dance Party in the atrium, but I was exhausted and wanted to get a few things done online.

Of course, in between the book fair, discussion panels, and autograph sessions, my wife and I caught up with old friends that we only see at the cons. This is an important reason why many of us attend. In fact, for some it is the only reason.

Since I was not scheduled for anything on Sunday, my wife and I departed by 9AM and made it home before noon to enjoy our first taste of spring weather. Sunshine and 65F degrees!

It should be noted that there was still a full day of programming on Sunday at Farpoint including a 2PM showing of Time After Time hosted by Nick Meyer.

Edging Closer to the Write Stuff

The Greater Lehigh Valley Group’s annual writers conference, The Write Stuff, is just over two months away.  The conference will take place March 23-25, 2017 at the Best Western Hotel in Bethlehem, PA.

Our keynote speaker will be Michael Hauge. Michael is a story and script consultant, author, and lecturer who works with writers and filmmakers on screenplays, novels, movies, and television projects. He has coached writers, producers, stars and directors for every major film studio and network. Read Michael’s interview on the Write Stuff Conference blog.

Kathryn Craft will be conducting workshops on Friday and Saturday of our conference. Kathryn writes stories that seek beauty and meaning at the edge of darkness. Rich with material for further thought or discussion, her novels make a great choice for book clubs. Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania writing scene, Kathryn served for more than a decade in a variety of positions on the boards of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, and volunteers as time allows with the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Read our interview with Kathryn here.

Jennifer Lader has developed a proprietary process for helping small businesses and sole proprietorships identify and share what they can do for others. After many years as a freelance writer and three years as the editor of what became an award-winning newspaper under her tenure, Jennifer brought her writing and business skills together to build up a successful enterprise as a contractor. Today, she helps individuals and small businesses develop powerful and easy-to-share profiles, then get the word out. Read more about Jennifer and what she plans to bring to the Write Stuff conference. 

Colleen Warmingham, owner of Minimologist LLC, will be presenting two sessions on How To Organize Your Business and Content, Saturday March 25, 2017, at the Write Stuff. GLVWG member, Judy Mehl, had an opportunity to interview Colleen, who’ll provide insight to authors with organizing the materials that support the product you sell – your writing, and a separate session to organize the back office side of things. Read Judy’s interview with Colleen here. 

Jordy Albert, Literary Agent and cofounder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, will be taking pitches for fun, witty Middle Grade, and contemporary or action/adventure (think awesome 80s movies) at the Write Stuff. She’s also interested in YA contemporary romance, sci-fi, fantasy (MUST have romance), smart, sexy contemporary romance with fantastic chemistry between the characters that sparks off the pages. She is also looking for Historical Romance (she definitely has a soft spot for a fantastic Regency). GLVWG member, Suzanne Mattaboni, had a chance to interview Jordy for what’s hot in the market these days.

Click here to read part one in this series for more information on some of our other presenters and agents.

Stay tuned for more profiles and interviews with our conference presenters as we edge ever closer to the Write Stuff.

 

Write Stuff Conference

Never Fear…GAL WONDER Will Soon Be Here!

Firebringer Press is proud to present GAL WONDER, a new novel from debut author Diane Lee Baron! Cover art by Todd Brugmans.

Sara Goode is awkwardly ignoring her mid-life crisis and relationship difficulties by becoming consumed with finding Adam West, the star of the 1960s BATMAN TV show.

Her quest to thank Mr. West for his impact on her childhood leads to a series of wacky escapades worthy of a superhero. But does she ultimately fulfill her quest, and will she be able to face up to the challenges in her own life?

Stay tuned to the misadventures of Gal Wonder!

We’ll be hosting a “soft” book launch for GAL WONDER at Farpoint SF convention, February 17-19 in Timonium, MD.

Gal Wonder Book Cover