Author Chow: Sirloin of Roast Beef

Scottish Wedding Dinner

This is the Scottish wedding dinner provided by my brother-in-law, Tommy Brady, and his lovely bride, Jacqueline Mckweown-Brady, at their wedding reception on June 30, 2018. Easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Scotland.

Prepared by the Normandy Hotel, this is their sirloin of roast beef with a sea salt and herb crust, accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, a rich roast gravy and a selection of vegetables and potatoes. It was preceded by an Atlantic prawn salad with a marie rose sauce. And followed by strawberry cheesecake.

Another interesting feature, the “Hangover Kit” in the upper left corner, composed of Iron Bru (a popular Scottish soft drink; the other national drink, apart from whiskey), chocolate, a satchel of Nescafe coffee and several little packets of tic tacs.

My Scottish relatives have done a splendid job of feeding their “hungry American”…a most excellent roast beef dinner. And a fitting accompaniment for a truly special day.

Posted in A Little Inspiration | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hand-Selling Books, a Master’s Approach

Martin Wilsey at Work

My friend and fellow author Martin Wilsey is a master at hand-selling his books. This is a picture of his him at his table at an event called Manassas Reads. Let’s examine for a moment why he’s so good at selling books at events like this one.

There are no other tables shown in this picture, but I’ll tell you what you’re likely to see. A bunch of authors sitting at tables, their books lying flat in front of them. If they’re indie-published authors, most of them are displaying books with second or third-rate covers and, the worst crime of all, they’re unable to accept credit cards.

Now, contrast that with Marty. He’s got a book rack displaying his books very professionally. He’s got little stands so he can showcase individual books, typically his newest ones. He’s got a stand-up banner to attract people to his table. He’s got a tablecloth to make his table look nice. If you count, you’ll see that he’s got eight books for sale. And, just in case somebody needs yet another reason to go to his table, he’s got free candy.

His display clearly indicates that he can accept credit cards, for which he uses Square to take payments. He’s got business cards and bookmarks. He’s even got little cards with QR codes for free or cheap short stories on Amazon.

In short, he attracts people to his table. He makes it frictionless to buy from him. This is why he makes money at events.

It’s fun learning from a master…

Posted in Writing Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment

It’s Time for a “Second Round”

Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar

My latest short story, “The Whispering Voice,” is being published in Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray. It’s about a mother, a deadly problem and a forgotten god (I was trying to channel a little bit of Neil Gaiman).

The new anthology is currently available for pre-order and will start shipping on June 15th. It’s the second in a series, about a magic bar that appears in different times and places (the first volume was called After Hours).

Here’s the official description of the new anthology:

For thousands of years the immortal Gilgamesh has presided over the legendary Ur-Bar, witnessing history unfold from within its walls. Some days it is a rural tavern, others a fashionable wine shop. It may appear as a hidden speakeasy or take on the form of your neighborhood local. For most patrons it is simply a place to quench their thirst, but for a rare few the Ur-Bar is where they will meet their destiny.

Join David Keener, R.K. Nickel, Rachel Atwood, Kari Sperring, Jean Marie Ward, Gini Koch, Jacey Bedford, William Leisner, Garth Nix, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Mike Marcus, Kristine Smith, Aaron M. Roth, and Juliet E. McKenna as they recount all new tales from the Ur-Bar. From humor to horror, from the Roman Empire to Martian Colonies, there’s something to please everyone. Just remember to beware when the mysterious bartender offers you the house special…

Here are the relevant links for purchasing the book and related items:

   Trade Paperback
   Kindle
   Nook
   Kickstarter Edition (Limited)
   Cover Art Print (very nice, BTW, check it out)

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Non-Superhero Comics: What’s Worth Reading?

Non-Superhero Comics

Every time you turn around, there’s another superhero movie playing at the local multiplex: Back Panther, Avengers, Thor, Deadpool, Justice League, etc. They’re all based on comic books. More specifically, superhero comic books.

But…what if you’re not into superheroes? Or what if you like them just fine, but you’d like to try a different ice cream flavor (so to speak)? Are there non-superhero comics that are worth reading?

Yes. Yes, there are. I moderated a panel at Balticon this past weekend called “Non-Superhero Comics” that addressed that very question. With, of course, the fine advice of fellow panelists Andrew Fox, Devin Jackson Randall and Michael R. Underwood.

For the panel, I’d compiled a handout of some of the most entertaining comics I could find, based on my long-time interest in non-traditional comics. I’ve since added all the additional recommendations mentioned during the panel itself. I also thought it would be fun to post the handout in PDF on my web site. There’s a lot of good reading on the list, so get to it!.

Download the PDF right now!

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Post-Apocalyptic Stories: What Comes After the End?

After the Apocalypse

Everybody loves a good apocalypse. And there are lots of post-apocalyptic stories that are worth your attention. For the “Post-Apocalpytic Fiction” panel at Balticon, I compiled a list of some of the most memorable books, and a few movies, that deal with the topic.

I gave the list away as a handout to all of the attendees. I also thought it would be fun to post it on my web site. There’s a lot of good reading on the list, featuring all sorts of apocalyptic disasters.

Download the PDF right now! You won’t be sorry.

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Author Chow: Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash

If you want your favorite authors to keep pumping out those stories, they gotta be fed properly. That’s what these Author Chow entries are all about.

This is a meal called “bangers and mash” from the Rose & Crown Restaurant in Disney’s Epcot park in Florida. It’s basically English-style sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy.

This is actually an Americanized version of the dish. In Scotland, they put the sausages in a bowl with mashed potatoes on top. Then they cook the entrée until the mashed potatoes have been slightly browned on top. The next time I’m, in Scotland, I’ll post a picture of the true version of this dish.

This is also a meal that’s featured in my story, “Road Trip,” which was published in the anthology, Reliquary. When Rocco Fitch, a down and out military vet, and his irascible neighbor find themselves in London by magical means, Rocco insists that his friend try a local dish. That story, by the way, is being published as a standalone in September.

Posted in A Little Inspiration | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Time Travel Story

The Witness Paradox I’m working on a story for a new time travel anthology called The Witness Paradox. It’s edited by Martin Wilsey and will be published by Tannhauser Press.

My story features a teenager named Alex Nelson who is caught in a temporal vortex when a physics experiment at the nearby collider facility goes terribly wrong. It’s a story of narrow escapes, disaster, time travel and dinosaurs.

What more could you want?

Did I mention that it’s got dinosaurs?

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , | Leave a comment

This Means War!

Avengers: Infinity War

I’m a movie buff, as are a number of my friends. We’ve formed a sort of informal Move Premiere Posse (MPP) that goes and sees movies, especially the purported blockbusters, at the earliest possible premiere show. For many of the blockbusters, previews start on Thursday, as with Infinity War, or sometimes Wednesdays, as was true of Ready Player One.

Yes, we all contributed to Infinity War’s monster 39 million dollar Thursday take.

The first thing you need to know about the movie is that it’s Part 1 of a two-parter, as exemplified by Marvel’s original advertising for the movie (see the above image). Since then, they’d gone silent on the idea of a two-parter, and announced that they’d decided not to tell anyone the name of the fourth Avengers film, saying that the title would be a spoiler.

Well, the movie borrows some major beats from the original comic book source material, and it does, indeed, end in a cliffhanger. Just accept that, and move on. Because what Marvel has delivered is a sprawling, fun, action-filled extravaganza powered by a villain that’s a true and worthy opponent for the Avengers. All of them.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it mostly works just fine. There are some interesting sets of heroes working together, and that mostly works, too. All of the characters get a few good lines, even if some obviously get more screen time than others. The science is wonky, but then, it was in the original comic books, as well. It’s all fast-paced enough and fun enough that it’s a smooth ride the whole way.

If you like superheroes, go see it. If you like Marvel, go see it. It’s well worth your time.

Posted in Film | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Author Chow: Burning Love Burger

Burning Love Burger

I was at an event with a co-worker from my Day Job, the one that actually pays my bills. For lunch, we managed to escape for a while and get a good meal from Red Robin, a burger chain.

This is their Burnin’ Love Burger, which features a half-pound hamburger patty topped with jalapeño coins (fried, breaded jalapeño slices), salsa, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and chipolte aioli on a jalapeno-cornmeal kaiser roll. With a grilled jalapeño on top, to boot, which I cut up and put on my burger, too.

Yum.

Oh, and that’s their Smoke & Pepper ketchup with the fries, which is sort of a tangy sauce that makes a nice change.

THIS is the kind of food that keeps that word count going. Remember, always keep your local author well fed.

Posted in Writing Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

George G. Moore Signing

Music of Mars by George G. Moore My friend George Moore is having a signing for his new book, The Music of Mars on Saturday, April 21, from 11 AM to 2 PM. It’s being held at Comic Logic Books and Artwork, located at: 44031 Ashburn Shopping Plz, # 281, Ashburn, Virginia 20147.

Come check out the event and help give one of our local authors a boost!

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment
« Older