Tag Archives: books

Toni Morrison

You Must Be the One

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

Toni Morrison


As I’m wont to do, I’ve been talking with friends about writing. Lately, a lot of our talk has been around the whole work vs. passion and how it plays into success and failure. Writing what we think we should be writing versus writing what we want to write. Today I stumbled across this Toni Morrison quote which hits at the center of it all.

Write your story. The only way to fail in writing is to not write.

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A Norwescon 39 Debriefing

A Norwescon 39 Debriefing

This past weekend I attended Norwescon 39 in SeaTac, Washington. This was my second year attending and like last year I had an outstanding time. As readers of my blog know with all my convention appearances, I like to do a debriefing wherein I recap the events, share photos, and talk about what I experienced during the con. (Check out my debriefing from last year.)

It was a wild weekend. I ran my table, sold a bunch of books, sat on six panels, and did a reading. Somewhere in there, I tried to get some sleep. Thankfully, unlike last year, I was not alone for the fours days; this time, I had assistance. My friend and fellow author, Steve Tontounghi came out on Friday and Saturday helped me out at my table and talked to people about his forthcoming novel, Join. And my wife Kari-Lise stepped up and pitched in Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was fun hanging out with them both. With their help, there weren’t any eleven-hours-on-my-feet days for me to deal with like last year. That alone made my time significantly more enjoyable.

Okay, let’s get to those highlights:

Books, Readings, Swag, and More

  • Once again, I sold a ton of books. Many were to new readers who seemed excited about stories set in a post-Lovecraftian world, and many were to my current readers who loved my books and wanted more. It was wonderful hearing directly from so many people and very encouraging.
  • I love when folks stop by and tell me how much they love my covers. I take a lot of time and effort to make sure they are something you’ll be proud of having on your bookshelf and knowing you notice means a lot.
  • This was the first year I handed out badge ribbons. I brought along three: Roader, Shambler, and Caravan Master (the rare one). I made a bet with my buddy Ace that he wouldn’t be able to collect all three. (I only allowed people to draw once.) He won. *grumble grumble* It was fun, and I think it might become a thing for everyone. Still trying to plot out how to make that work.
  • So many people came to my reading! As many of you know, I had the readers of this very blog choose what I read. As decided by the voters with 56.25% of the votes, I read the prologue from Red Litten World. People enjoyed it in all its grisly details. The next day quite a few attendees came to my table and bought a book because they liked what they heard. That made my con right there.

Friends & Fellow Authors


Oh, The Panels!NWC39_Set4

  • The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Battle Royale was easily the best panel I was on, I know I’m not alone in thinking this, here’s proof. It was hilarious, snarky, and a total blast. Big thanks to Matt Youngmark for putting it together and keeping things organized. The format was a bracket-style who-would-win-in-a-fight “discussion” in the end it came down to Rey from The Force Awakens and Marvel’s Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers. I was on team Rey in the final matchup, and sadly by popular vote, she lost. Maybe next year. #ReyWasRobbed. Agree? Feel different? Leave a comment and let me know why!
  • The horror track was really well put together. I was lucky enough to sit in on four different panels and had some incredible conversations about location, inspiration, and how horror is often a reflection of the time in which it is written. The first panel, expertly moderated by Logan Masterson, was about horror’s fantasy roots and stood out as the best of them, a lot of intelligent discussion.
  • The last panel I attended was ‘Level Up Your Self-Publishing Skills’ moderated by Elliot Kay. It was packed, and there was a lot of great questions from those in attendance. I wish it could have been more than an hour. There’s so much more all of us authors on that panel could have said, I wish we had more time. If you ever have a question about self/indie publishing you are always more than welcome to email me at hello@kmalexander.com. I’m happy to offer tips or advice where and when I can. As always, the best advice I can give is this: keep at it, write what you love, and never give up.

Cosplay & Norwesconners

  • Have I mentioned the incredible cosplay, yet? Well, as always it was fantastic, people put in a lot of time and effort, and it showed.
  • Tiny Rey was easily the most adorable cosplayer I saw. Let me go on record saying that I am so stoked to see another female character in Star Wars that young girls can emulate. Mad props to the writers for making that decision. It was needed.
  • Rorschach and I recreated out selfie photo from last year. Here was the photo from Norwescon 39 and the photo from last year, Norwescon 38. Kari-Lise pointed out that they are mirror images of each other. Not intentional and kind of funny.
  • I got a quest from an NPC. It was hilarious. That card is now pinned to my cork board above my desk. Someday I’ll find you drunken ghost.
  • I mentioned this last year, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s remarkable to see the diversity, openness, and acceptance between Norwesconners. The world outside of a convention can be mean. It’s nice to see a place where everyone is super considerate and goes out of their way to be encouraging and welcoming. Norwescon is unique like that.

Little Incidental Highlights

  • The Philip K. Dick Awards, I had a panel and was running a table, so I didn’t get to attend. But congratulations to Ramez Naam for his novel Apex winning the award. Also, congratulations to the special citation winner, Marguerite Reed for her novel Archangel.
  • Sunday’s cello accompaniment was lovely. Is this a regular thing? I remember there was music last year as well.
  • The green room staff, wonderful people there. They made the room a nice respite before and after panels.
  • The Norwescon staff were all really great. Thanks to everyone for making the event such a success. It’s a lot of hard work. Next time you see a volunteer, thank them.

It was a packed weekend, but so worth it. I’m already missing the whole buzz of the convention halls and the enthusiasm from my fellow attendees. There were a few times I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty details of writing horror and time just didn’t allow it. It would have been great to have sat in on a panel that was specific to cosmic horror/weird fiction and Lovecraftian mythos, but that might be too narrow for a general sci-fi/fantasy convention like Norwescon.

Sunday night Kari-Lise and I came home exhausted but feeling accomplished. Monday morning, I rolled right from convention mode back into work mode. No rest for the wicked. I’ll see you again Norwescon, until then, it’s back to writing. Time is wasting, and I have many more stories to tell.

Gift The Bell Forging Cycle this Christmas!

This Christmas, Send ’em to the Territories

We’re now past the date where I can ship signed copies and guarantee their delivery by Christmas. (Well, for a reasonable price.) However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t gift my books to your friends or family. Now is the perfect time to send them to the strange and mysterious world of the Territories. I mean, who doesn’t love action, adventure, murder, cults, and weird monsters? Particularly during the holidays! Plus, most booksellers ship quickly and usually for free. Any of the following links will take you right to listings of my books:

If you’re like me and want to support your local book shop (which you should) just ask and see if they have my books in stock. If they don’t they can usually order them in for you in a few days. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And… while they’re not as much fun to gift, you can always give digital copies. I have DRM-free eBooks available through my store. Plus you can buy ebook versions from any of the major platforms: Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and Google Play. (The current trilogy is available for under $15 for all three books.)

Finally, make sure you check out my Lovecraft-inspired gift guide for other Lovecraftian gift ideas, it’s full of books, games, music, and lots more fun stuff.

Friday Link Pack 12/11/2015

Friday Link Pack 12/11/15

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! If you missed the post, please be aware, the Friday Link Pack is being sunsetted at the end of this year.

All right, business done, let’s get to it.


WRITING:

The Importance Of Jumping The Shark As Early As Possible
Charlie Jane Anders, the author of the forthcoming All the Birds in the Sky, discusses how jumping the shark as early as possible will help establish the weirdness in your worlds without having to alienate your audience from stranger things to come.

Dealing With The Protagonist Who Won’t Talk to You And The Character Who Refuses To Be Cut
We have all been there, we’re ready to write, but we’re struggling with a particular character. Something about them gnaws at us, making them tough to write. What do you do? In this post, Lauren Sapala offers advice about dealing with problem characters head on and how you can overcome those blocks.

‘Based On A True Story’: The Fine Line Between Fact And Fiction
What happens when the lines between fiction and nonfiction begin to blur? Geoff Dyer and others explore this idea in this fantastic piece for the Guardian.

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves
While the accessibility of streaming media is incredibly handy, is there a case for having shelf after shelf of books for children to peruse? Teddy Wayne makes the case in this article for the New York Times.


ART:

Get Ready To Appreciate The Fantasy Art of Frank Frazetta on a Whole New Level! [NSFW]
In the sixties and seventies, it was Frazetta who defined the look of Conan the Barbarian and much of the swords and sorcery era. Recently a cache of early Frazetta’s sketches, drawings, and watercolor paintings went up for auction, and we can appreciate his skill on a whole new level. [Thanks to Steve for sharing this with me.]

An Octopus Typewriter by Courtney Brown
For her piece for this years California Sculpture SLAM, Oakland artist Courtney Brown brought out Self Organization a 1938 Underwood typewriter that has seemingly come alive. Make sure to check out the creation process on Brown’s site as well.

Perfect Faces And Bodies Evanescing Into Rough Pastel Brushstrokes
Painter Meredith Marsone’s juxtaposition of the delicate and beautiful with the chaotic and raw create pieces that are both intimate and yet melancholy. Beautiful work.


RANDOM:

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide
Just like last year, I put together a handy little gift guide for the Lovecraft fan in your life. I cover everything from books to music to apparel and games. Lots of neat stuff.

Yule Log 2.015
The tradition of the Yule Log is a strange one, but sitting around a comfy fire and telling stories is something I can get behind. Yule Log 2.015 is a collection of short films created by various artists that hope to bring the Yule Log tradition into the digital age. It’s fun stuff. What’s your favorite?

Where’s Me a Dog? Here’s You a Dog: the South’s Most Unusual Regionalism
Language is a fluid thing it shifts and changes Across countries, within states, even among cities. Atlas Obscura delves into the strange world of grammatical variations throughout America centered around one strange turn of phrase.

Ghost Streets Of Los Angeles
BLDBLOG takes a look at streets of Los Angeles that have long since disappeared but who’s scars have remained. A cool look on the evolution of a modern city.


WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Aokigahara
“Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Aokigahara forest is dense, shutting out all but the natural sounds of the forest itself.

The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology, and it is a notoriously common suicide site (in which 57 took place in 2010). For this reason, a sign at the head of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association.”


H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Man of Stone
A trip to visit strange lifelike statuary deep in the Catskill Mountains goes awry in this story collaboration with Hazel Heald.


GIF OF THE WEEK:World's Best Eagle.

Red Litten World Prelaunch Giveaway

Signed Copies of Red Litten World Are Back!

I ran out of books a while back, but all that was resolved this weekend. So, If you’ve been waiting to pick up a signed copy of Red Litten World from me, then your wait is over. Signed copies are back and once again available from my store. That means there are now four ways you can get a paperback copy:

Red Litten World arrives tomorrow! It's time to return to Lovat.

Tomorrow: Red Litten World

“…it had come from a mysterious inner realm beneath the red-litten world — a black realm of peculiar-sensed beings which had no light at all, but which had had great civilisations and mighty gods…”

— H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop, The Mound

I'm so freaking excited for Red Litten World!
Tomorrow, The Bell Forging Cycle, Book III: Red Litten World arrives. Are you so freakin’ excited? I am! This book has been a labor of love and it feels great to get it out into the world. I really hope you have a much fun reading it as I had writing it. So now, with less than twenty-four hours remaining, what to do? Here are a few ideas to pass the time until the official release:

Remember, you can always pre-order the Red Litten World eBook from Amazon, Kobo, or iBooks and it’ll arrive on your eReader after midnight.

Tomorrow we’ll brave the cold and return to the narrow streets of Lovat. I’ll see you in the warrens, roaders.