Wednesday, 23 November 2011

So I wrote this book.

I guess if you know me through facebook or have been anywhere within shouting distance lately, you know this next bit and you might want to skip down to where I start talking about Hal-Con—'cause that's pretty exciting and you don't want to miss it. But for those (I’m dreaming in plurals now) who don’t know, I need to catch you up on a fairly significant step in my plan to take over the world.
I wrote a book.

Specifically, this book:
 Again, for those who haven’t seen it, the description of the story, which is divided into four issues, is as follows:

All that Remains: A magician prince wakes up inside a church's reliquary without his army, empire, weapons or even flesh on his bones. What is left of his memory barely holds intact long enough to help him escape. But where on Earth can a skeleton hide?

Where There’s a Will…: Prince Magus Sical, on the run from both the law and the church, has taken refuge in the home of two hostages. He uses all he has left, his magic infused bones, to search for clues to how he died and how he might return.

Culture Clash: Where does a dead prince with a penchant for the arcane fit in? The Goth scene will never be the same once it's drawn into the war between the undead and the self righteous.

Blood, Fire & Brimstone: In a battle between enemies of conviction there can be no walls left standing, no followers left free, no pawns left alive. Sical comes full circle in his quest to destroy everything that stands between him and his throne. But is he leading, or being led? Is he freeing himself from death, or being bound yet again to his mortal doom?
The description of the structure of it is another piece of information you’re going to need:

It's an exploration of comic book storytelling through prose. There is no line art in the book, but its layout, formatting and punctuation follows all the usual comic book traditions. Some people have called it a graphic(less) novel, others an un-comic. I'm not so handy at making up a term for it, but the simplest one word description is that it is a hybrid. It's available through Broken Jaw Presssome comic book stores and some book stores

Now we get to some pretty nifty new stuff.
I went to Hal-Con mid month in order to show my book around to the people who might help me get the word out about it. Well, it wasn’t like somebody had to beg me to go. I love comic and SF conventions. I like the panel discussions, the wacky events and the vender booths. I LOVE the costumes and how freely and frequently they are donned. But I think the most attractive thing about cons is the ease I feel talking to nearly everybody there. We’re all geeks. We’re all just a little nutty. Whether we know each other personally or not doesn’t matter. There are things we can talk about immediately upon meeting each other. So, I was pretty psyched to go.
 I had heard that Ajay Fry, Teddy Wilson and Cynthia Loyst, the hosts of the Space Channel’s SF movie, gaming and comics review magazine show “Inner Space” were going to be there. Not only do I adore them, I also wanted to show them my book. I wanted them to say “Hey, this is something new!” In my daydreams I was able to slip past their entourage, or compete with the crowd of nerds to buttonhole them after a panel discussion. Either way, I gave myself a couple of seconds to get their attention and hoped they’d respond well.
I didn’t see them on the first day, but on Sunday it was like magic happened. I was walking down one of the main halls when I saw the three of them standing on the other side of the archway to a panel room. They were in front of a banner for pictures with con attendees. I just walked through, got a hug from Teddy, and somebody said “turn around, we’ll get a picture.” There’s a shot of a slightly stunned Tristis standing among the suave and beautiful T.V.Land folk in the Hal-Con gallery. 
 I’m only linking it because…well…it is what it is.
So we’re standing there and they’re being their charming best, and there’s a little gap in the attendee parade, so I ask about how their show handles book reviews and they tell me that the producers usually set those up. I think they were prepared for me to suggest something as a fan of some obscure author, because they were totally surprised when I said “Well, things are going to get a little awkward, then, because I wrote a book.” I reached into my bag and dug it out.
I think the initial response was charitable and polite delight—the kind of generous enthusiasm a good host shows for anything put in front of them before any actual pressure to recommend or represent is felt.
Then they cracked it open and went a little nuts. That was cool. They were excited and interested and kept asking me if anybody had done anything like this before. Then Ajay asked me if it was already available in stores. When I said it was, he asked me to shake his hand and give consent to put it on the segment “New on the Shelves” and I told him he could do whatever he wanted with it. 
Long-story-cut-a-wee-bit-short(er) On November 16th  2011, Bones of the Magus: All That Remains was one of the featured releases on a show that airs across Canada. There is something like fifteen seconds about my book and how interesting the design is. It’s the best quarter minute I’ve had in a while. I had the giggles all afternoon after seeing it. I don’t know why the end result of this daydream is so surprising, but it is. I’m giggling now…it’s still a surprise.
Totally worth the drive to Halifax.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Steam is cool!

Why is Steampunk cool?
It's the shiny shiny gears. It's the smooth curve of the pipes. It's the Victorian lace and whimsy. It's the magic that has to be at the heart of a brass gadget that can fly, shoot a death ray, navigate submarinely, or be artificially intelligent. 
It’s been around for a while, although not necessarily by name. I read Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic in the nineties and that had some memorable steampunk bits. 
BoM 11, Mar 95

Last weekend (Nov 12-13), I was at Hal-Con, my first SF/comic convention in over a decade, and was astounded at how much steampunk was there. I hadn't realized there had been such a shift, but I suppose ten years can do that to a scene. I think the last time I was at a con, was in Toronto. It was nearly floating in a bright-haired, school-uniformed sea of anime. 
Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of cute anime out there, and I've read enough manga to appreciate (and maybe even know…?) who the cos players are playing. But it was very very cool, and very comfortable to see all the steampunk stuff.
Gears, brass weights and springs are old friends of mine. I've always loved clocks. I like the workings of them. Really any kind of gear machine will hold my attention. I've made up a few that I might try to assemble someday. They don't have much in the way of purpose, they'd just be moving art.

Mine. From a scrapyard field trip.

I'll probably never make an actual working steam or clockwork machine, but I have an itch to write in this genre, now…or maybe it's to draw it. Sculpt it? I don't know. Christmas is coming. If your present from me ticks you’ll know it’s from the heart.

BoM 11 again

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Day One (This is Tomorrow)

I've been meaning to start this blog for some time. I've been busy and this just seemed like the only thing I could let drop. It wasn't a crisis in its nonexistence. After all, an unmade blog is not so bad as a neglected blog. I felt I should only start it when I could be attentive to it. I decided that I should start one "tomorrow" a few weeks back, also last week and a few days ago, yesterday and about two hours ago.

Bite the bullet, Tristis. This is tomorrow.

So, for my inaugural post, an introduction by way of explanation:
This blog is mostly going to be about writing and the projects I'm working on. Only, I can't promise to keep it that simple. There are too many things that interest me and the urge to write about them will always trump the desire to keep to a simple goal. Some days I am going to want to talk about photography or mushrooms or my dead aunts.

Speaking of dead aunts:
My aunt Myrtle used to run a rooming house in this old victorian that belonged to her husband's family.


Yesterday morning I was on the other side of the river when I saw a pillar of smoke and an orange glow on the south side. I drove over and was saddened to see that this place I had never found the time to explore and photograph was in the process of being lost.

The moral here? I guess it's: never put off to tomorrow…