Whenworldscollide: Special Edition

One of the categories on this here blog that consistently gets attention, even after individual posts have fallen off most people’s radars, is “whenworldscollide.” That’s where I stick the stuff that lives in the Venn diagram of creative writing, scholarship, librarianship, and academic stuff. 2021’s been busy with that kind of stuff.

Early next year, my essay “Olympia, Wilderness, and Consumption in Laird Barron’s Old Leech Cycle” will be published in Fantastic Cities: American Urban Spaces in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Likely not the rubric most people use for thinking about Old Leech, but it worked for me because I kept thinking about how very well Laird Barron does both Olympia and Washington, and also how little academics have yet written about either Barron or fiction set in Olympia. I probably wouldn’t have tried to write this piece back when I was first a librarian, trying to wall off different parts of my life and never really thinking about literary scholarship, but here we are.

Last week I moderated a lively discussion about the future of speculative fiction for James River Writers, the Central Virginia writing org on whose Board of Directors I served some years ago. Our conversation roamed over many topics, but I wound up juggling my writing hat and my library hat a bit, in particular on the question of genre labels and taxonomies. A tough issue that continues to get tougher as readers’ tastes solidify and specify. Many U.S. readers have no nearby bookstore they can happily browse, and many factors (not least the pandemic) have continued to drive book buyers to online sellers. In that environment, what a book is classified as can at times matter far more than it used to… to the reader, writer, publisher, OR library.

Finally, back in May I had the distinct (and new for me!) pleasure of serving as a keynote speaker at a symposium hosted by the University of Calgary, “Integrating Library, Archives and Special Collections into Creative Writing Pedagogy: An Experiential Symposium.” It was an honor and super-invigorating to present and help plan with the organizers and my fellow keynoter, David Pavelich. This event was some years in the making and had to be shifted online due to the pandemic, which put a damper on some facets and allowed for new ones, including broader attendance. None of it could have happened without the indefatigable efforts of my Canadian colleagues, Melanie Boyd, Aritha van Herk, and Jason Nisenson. Lots of great “whenworldscollide” moments here, but I have to say that it was a particular delight to talk about the research practices of various folks in horror and weird fiction.

The Future of Speculative Fiction

Promo logo for July 28, 2021 event about the future of Speculative Fiction, moderated by J. T. Glover and run by James River Writers

Do you read fantasy, science fiction, horror, or related genres? Do you know where you’ll be on the evening of July 28, 2021? Come check out an online panel discussion put on by James River Writers about The Future of Speculative Fiction. Hear from speakers M.K. England, Stephanie Toliver, and Nghi Vo about what’s in store for fiction that shows us alternate worlds. I’ll be moderating this exploration of what’s new, what’s back, and what’s next.

For more information and registration:
https://jamesriverwriters.org/event/july-2021-online-writing-show-the-future-of-speculative-fiction/

TONIGHT! The Writing Show: Novel Ways to Organize Your Research

logo for The Writing ShowTonight’s the night, folks! If you live in Richmond or nearby, you are welcome (as always) to attend the James River Writers Writing Show. This month I am moderating a discussion about Novel Ways to Organize Your Research, featuring panelists Bert Ashe, Harrison Fletcher, and Jennifer Hughes. Bert is the author of Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, Harrison is the author of Descanso for My Father: Fragments of a Life, and Jennifer works at Literature and Latte on Scrivener, the word processing software.

$12 members | $15 non-members | $5 students
Social: 6pm | Show: 6:45pm
THE FIREHOUSE THEATRE
1609 West Broad Street (free parking at Lowe’s)

The Author Website: Build It to Build a Following

Hey Richmond! Come to The Writing Show tonight at the Firehouse Theatre!

logo for The Writing ShowA great author website doesn’t have to be complicated. Find out how to build a website that can showcase your work to publishing professionals and help you connect with readers.

Topics our experts will discuss include

  • What are the must-haves for the author website
  • When to bring in a professional
  • Blog subscriptions versus newsletter email lists
  • How to fund your author website, or use it to find funding
  • Adding social media and blogs
  • Press packages, FAQ documents

When: Wednesday, April 29, 6:00 pm

Where: Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street(Parking available across the street in the Lowe’s lot)

Price: $12 for Members, $15 for non-Members, $5 for Students

Speakers:

Justine_Headshot smJustine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a pre-publication platform that offers crowdfunding and pre-order options to authors and publishers. A writer at heart, Justine received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. A prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding, she is a regular contributor to The Future of Ink, Business Banter, and more.

AB Westrick sm

A.B. (Anne) Westrick is the author of Brotherhood (Viking 2013), winner of the 2014 Jefferson Cup Award, the Housatonic Book Award, the Jane Addams Honor Award, and the Notable Trade Book Award. Brotherhood also made the ALA’s 2014 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. From 2006-2012 Anne was JRW’s Administrative Director. She lives near Richmond, VA, and blogs once a month about the craft of writing. www.abwestrick.com

bod_joshua_caneJoshua Paul Cane is a web programmer living in Richmond, VA. For nearly 17 years, he has built, redesigned, and consulted on web applications for Federal and state agencies, non-profits, businesses, and authors. Not only does he write code, but he writes fiction: humorous short stories and now an urban fantasy novel. He serves as a board member and membership committee chair of James River Writers.

“Write What You Research”

This weekend I have the pleasure of moderating a panel at the James River Writers conference here in Richmond. The panel I’ll be moderating is entitled “Writing What You Research,” and it’s all about research for writers. If you’re able to make the conference, this panel will be on Sunday, October 19th, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. We’ll be talking about everything from the “aha” moment in research to what happens when your research takes a surprising turn. You’re going to get to hear from panelists writing in very different genres, with different (or are they similar?) research needs…

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tarfia headshot

Tarfia Faizullah

Born in Brooklyn and raised in west Texas, Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter,New England Review, Washington Square, and anthologized in Poems of Devotion, Excuse This Poem, The Book of Scented Things, and Best New Poets 2014. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Project Award, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Copper Nickel Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop and Vermont Studio Center, and other honors. Tarfia is a poetry reader for New England Review and is a contributing editor for Four Way Review, Failbetter, and Asian American Literary Review. She lives in Detroit, where she is a writer-in-residence for InsideOut Literary Arts and co-edits the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press & Video Series with Jamaal May. In Fall 2014, she will join the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program as the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in Poetry.

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Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey: “Born in 1975, I spent the first eighteen years of my life getting through the gauntlet of primary education. While there, I dabbled in soccer, chess, and tried to write my first novel (several times).

Out of school, I became fascinated with computers, repaired them for a brief stint, then moved to Charleston, SC and attended college. To save money, I purchased a small sailboat to live on, and nearly got myself killed bringing it down from Baltimore with a friend.

After my junior year of college, possibly out of fear of the real world, I left my safe little harbor and sailed South. I hopped around the islands for a while, went through two hurricanes, and spent the last of my cruising funds re-stepping my mast. It was time to head back to the States, where I began a career as a yacht captain.

This began an exciting phase of my life, traveling all over the East coast and Caribbean, from Barbados to Chicago. I worked on boats in New York, the Bahamas, even Canada. One of these adventures brought me together with my wife, who was able to lure me away from my vagabond ways, dropping anchor and buying a house.

Physically settled, my mind continued to roam, concocting adventures and whisking me off to fantastic places. Some of these tales seemed worth sharing, so I tapped into my love of books and decided to write them down. My first stories detail the life of a character that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. Her name is Molly Fyde, and she draws inspiration from the awesome women in my life.

My Wool series became a sudden success in the Fall of 2011. Originally just a novelette, the demand from Amazon reviewers sent me scurrying to write more tales in this subterranean world. The resulting Omnibus has spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100, has been a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction on Amazon, and was optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian for a potential feature film. The story of its success has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline Hollywood among many others. Random House is publishing the hardback version in the UK in January of 2013.

When I’m not writing, I like to go for hikes with my family, take a stroll on the beach, and keep up with my reading. I currently live in Jupiter, Florida with my wife Amber and our dog Bella.”

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headshot brian

Brian Jay Jones

New York Times bestselling biographer Brian Jay Jones spent nearly two decades as a public policy analyst and speechwriter, before turning to biography full-time in 2007. He presently serves as president ofBiographers International Organization.

Brian’s most recent book, Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine, 2013) was a New York Timesbestseller, and chosen as the Best Biography of 2013 by Goodreads, as well as one of the year’s Top Ten books by CNN viewers. The first full-length biography of the iconic creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson: The Biography was hailed as “illuminating” (The Atlantic), “insightful” (Parade), “masterful” (Kirkus) and “compulsively readable” (The AV Club).

Brian’s first book, Washington Irving (Arcade, 2008), was praised as the definitive biography of American literature’s first popular author and pop culture icon. The Associated Press deemed it “authoritative,” the Washington Post called it, “engaging, clearly written, and well researched,” while the New York Times summed it up simply as “charming.” Which pretty much made his year.

In 2010, Brian was awarded the St. Nicholas Society of New York’s Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, joining David McCullough, Ron Chernow, Christopher Buckley, and William Zinsser on the list of medal recipients.

Born in Kansas and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brian has a degree in English literature from the University of New Mexico, which he immediately parlayed into a brief career as a manager of a comic book store before getting into politics and writing.

For nearly ten years, he worked as a policy advisor in the United States Senate, serving in the office of U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici, and then on the U.S. Senate HELP Committee for Chairman James M. Jeffords. He has also served as an associate state superintendent of education for the state of Arizona, and a policy analyst for a county councilmember, officially giving him the government service hat trick.

Brian now lives in Maryland with his wife and a very excitable dog. His daughter is presently away at college, majoring in physics–or, as Brian calls it, “foreign language.” He is presently at work on a biography of filmmaker George Lucas for Little, Brown, to be published in 2016.