Saturday, November 10, 2007

Festival and Covenant News

Festival of the Arts
The Art Center of Citrus County booth at the Festival of the Arts in Inverness, November 3-4, 2007.

I've still got a long way to go, but three overflowing trash bins later the studio now has a significant chunk of visible floor and I can actually see some desk. We won't discuss the need to catch up on filing. In the meantime, I've finally finished drafting and have submitted the short story I'd begun during the summer and have also added new material to Book #6....

I have never before done so much research for a piece of short fiction -- my notes top 9,000 words for a story under 6,000, and only a small percentage of those notes actually made it into the draft. But that's all worth it if it adds believability to the tale and especially if the story makes the cut for the anthology that inspired the idea in the first place. Mary's technical term for this is "armwave-armwave."

The anthology deadline isn't until February, but that story's been nagging at me to get it out the door. That makes eight prose pieces off to market (four fiction, four nonfiction) and two poems, with more waiting in the wings for me to do something with them.

Before my critique group meeting, I talked with Bill Bissell of Rainy Day Editions, a terrific bookstore in downtown Inverness (Citrus County, FL). He said something that at first seemed counterintuitive to me and that I'd heard nowhere else, but that made sense as I thought about it. He said, "The best thing that can happen to me is if a Waldenbooks opens up across the street."

I was used to thinking of the chain stores as threats to independent booksellers and asked him to explain.

"We're not competitors," he said. He added that the chain stores attract customers, who then go to the nearby independent store to see if (a) they can find the same book for less, and (b) they can find books the chain store no longer keeps on its shelves. This can prove especially profitable with expensive coffee table books that are in vogue one year and are old news the next.

Coexistence! That made me grin. I compared the relationship to that of one bicyclist being able to draft off another, though that's not an exact analogy.

Two days later I was volunteering at the festival, and followed up some associated heavy lifting with an evening of dancing. I got a good workout that Sunday.

Our booth at the festival held costumes and props from the Art Center's theater department; drawings, paintings, and photographs from various visual arts groups; and books (including mine) from writer members. We had on hand our general brochure, fall class schedule, and the theater's show season brochure.

Festival of the Arts Panorama

Too small to see in any detail here is one of my favorite pieces in the display. It's a drawing of an occipital bone made by Stacey Griffis, our visual arts VP, who took a course in anatomical drawing while a pre-med student. Her textures and shading are exquisite. I'd seen her perform on stage (she's wonderful), but I wasn't familiar with her art until now.

The Art Center renovations are now complete. On Thursday we held our first post-renovation membership meeting and artist demo in the "new" place:

First Membership Meeting Post-Renovation-12
Large view

Vicki Pritchard was our demonstrator, in both portrait painting and copying the Old Masters. Her art has been exhibited at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences, and the Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, and her designs have been used by various churches for stained glass windows. At the request of her local Congressman, she displayed work on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

I had a chance to sit in on part of her fascinating talk before my free-writing meeting began. Vicki has taught Old Masters material in prisons, with detailed instructions on technique that can range over 40 pages. They're not only amazing blueprints, they're great philosophical treatises.

In the meantime, Covenant is listed on the Science Fiction Poetry Association's "SFPA member books" site (generously provided by Malcolm Deeley) and its cover is up on the New Covey Awards site for November as entry #27.

The New Covey Awards are monthly awards given to both the best new book covers and the best book trailers. Anyone can visit the Covey Awards site and vote, but no matter what the outcome the site provides a month of free publicity to authors, which is the whole intent of the exercise. Covers are voted on in two categories, most eye-catching and most relevant -- which means that synopses are presented along with the artwork. The site showcases a very neat collection of different genres and artistic styles. Thanks to Bruce Boston (whose cover for his novel The Guardener's Tale is also posted for November) for informing me of this venue.

October's winner for "most eye-catching" is Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc's horror sinisteria novel Left To The Night Alone. Andrea's table was next to mine at Necronomicon -- she's also an Aisling Press author -- and Mary and I enjoyed meeting and speaking with her.

Thursday's mail brought two journals. My art is on the cover of the September/October 2007 Star*Line:

Star*Line 30(5) Cover

Star*Line is the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. The montage combines one of my moon shots, a snail on my front walk, the Atlantic Ocean surf photographed during a visit to Daytona Beach, and much-manipulated constellation shots. I edited Star*Line from 1986-1988.

On the SFPA's Speculative Poetry News page, I'm the one behind the camera in the Necronomicon photos from October.

And my article has appeared in Wagner Magazine, which with this issue has revived its old title, having formerly been The Link:

Wagner College Alumni Magazine Article
More legible in the large view.

In addition to my English minor, I graduated Wagner with English honors. To attain English honors, a student had to submit either a collection of poetry, a collection of short fiction, a novel, or a play. I submitted all four. I also edited three of the school's publications, including its literary magazine, Nimbus.

I learned yesterday that is now accepting short stories and novels. Up until recently, TriggerStreet was accepting only short films and screenplays. Since then, they've added plays and now short stories and books to their site.

From their e-mail to me:
"Since its inception, has been the place to go if you wanted to find exposure and feedback for your Screenplays and Short Films online. Now, in addition to being able to upload your Short Stories to the site, a section we launched earlier this year, you can now also upload Books that you have written."

Normally a member must submit a couple of reviews of others' work before submitting their own, but there is currently a "free" period (meaning no previous review is needed) for short story and book uploads.

Creative Commons has a post that pretty much encapsulates what TriggerStreet is about, at

I haven't used the TriggerStreet site, myself, but I became interested in it after seeing Kevin Spacey (who founded it) interviewed on the Charlie Rose PBS show a while back.

Deviations: Covenant can be pre-ordered from Aisling Press and also can be ordered from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.


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