mmerriam: (Default)
Thursday:
The move in was stupid hot, as the whole day was stupid hot. Luckily we were able to score a bellman’s cart to help with the move in, so it only took two trips instead three. The bad news was, the room (the brand-new just remolded room) had a broken shower, which forced us to clean up in the sink until maintenance was able to come and repaired the damage.

I went to the “Who Mourns the Villains?” panels, which had some pretty good discussion about creating believable and sympathetic villains.

I had dinner in the hotel room, visited the registration desk for attending professionals and picked up my card showing what programming I was scheduled for, and then wandered around the convention until I was on “Escaping the Slush Pile.” This panel had four editors and slush-readers actually read aloud the first few pages of audience member submitted manuscripts, then discuss them. It went really well, actually, and the courageous submitters seemed to appreciate the advice from the panelists.

Cut Because The Report Is Long And I Am Merciful )

A Reminder

Feb. 4th, 2011 08:21 am
mmerriam: (Michael - Reading)
Speculations Reading with Michael Merriam
Friday, February 4, 2011 6:30 PM
DreamHaven Books
2301 E 38th St
Minneapolis MN 55406

The reading will be at DreamHaven Books, 2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN. Speculations Reading is accompanied by a reception with free soda pop and cookies. We will also bring baked goods and there will be prizes! Michael plans to read from his novellas, The Horror at cold Springs and Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, and from his forthcoming novel, Last Car to Annwn Station.

Copies of The Horror at Cold Springs, Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales and Shimmers and Shadows will be for sale and available for signing.

After the reading, we will probably adjourn to Parkway Pizza (4457 42nd Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55406) for pizza, drinks, and conversation.

A Reminder

Feb. 4th, 2011 08:21 am
mmerriam: (Michael - Reading)
Speculations Reading with Michael Merriam
Friday, February 4, 2011 6:30 PM
DreamHaven Books
2301 E 38th St
Minneapolis MN 55406

The reading will be at DreamHaven Books, 2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN. Speculations Reading is accompanied by a reception with free soda pop and cookies. We will also bring baked goods and there will be prizes! Michael plans to read from his novellas, The Horror at cold Springs and Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, and from his forthcoming novel, Last Car to Annwn Station.

Copies of The Horror at Cold Springs, Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales and Shimmers and Shadows will be for sale and available for signing.

After the reading, we will probably adjourn to Parkway Pizza (4457 42nd Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55406) for pizza, drinks, and conversation.
mmerriam: (Default)
Saturday, I ventured into downtown Minneapolis for the Twin Cites Book Festival, spending the morning and early afternoon celebrating the written word. I arrived just as the doors were opening, and was surprised to find the exhibit hall already quite packed.

I ran into [livejournal.com profile] half_double and [livejournal.com profile] leorathesane almost immediately, who had also just arrived. We spent a few minutes catching up, then dived in.

Folks, I knew the Twin Cities and Minnesota had a strong lit community, but you don't realize just how strong it is until you enter a exhibition hall with 100+ publishers of books, magazines, literary journals, and literary support organization. I meet a number of publishers and had a handful of local lit journals express interest in seeing my fiction.

Shortly after nearly completing the circuit of tables (I never managed to get to them all, and I never went upstairs to the children's pavilion, and I never made any programming items, sadly) I encountered [livejournal.com profile] cloudscudding, who I escorted over to the Sam's Dot Publishing table and introduced to Tyree, the publisher. [livejournal.com profile] wordswoman was already at the table when we arrived, and [livejournal.com profile] dmbaird and [livejournal.com profile] zarathud23 both showed up a moment later.

The rest of the day was spent browsing the tables and talking to folks, including Scott at the Tales of the Unanticipated table, where we lamented that the Book Festival, Arcana, and Conjecture were all happening on the same day.

I went back to the Sam's Dot Publishing table, where [livejournal.com profile] cloudscudding was helping Tyree sell books. I sat down as well. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] wordswoman, the three of us giving Tyree a chance to wander around for a bit. It's always a good idea to help your publisher out when you can. [livejournal.com profile] joelarnold and Terry Faust came by the table as well, so we had several of the Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales authors available to sign copies. It was also good to see several folks I've meet at local conventions attending the festival (Carrie and Katie, I'm talking about you!)

As I was leaving the festival, I ran into Britt Aamodt, who pointed me to a possible venue to hold a release party for Northern Lights

I think next year I would like MinnSpec to have an information table and maybe a place for members to sell their work, as long as it is not completing with another publisher at the festival.

Filed under Moments When You Realize Your Life Has Gotten a Little Odd: I had separate occasions where people I did not know said something to the effect of "Oh! You're Michael Merriam. Great! Now I can put a face with the name." I'm still a little boggled by that. I also have not gotten use to having people I've never meet walk up to me holding my book and asking for my signature. It is a happy-making thing meeting someone who bought your work and is excited about it.

I signed a lot of books. I had no idea we would sell that many copies of Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales and The Horror at Cold Springs.

Tyree at Sam's Dot Publishing also told me that Horror at Cold Springs is about to go into its second printing. I told him I had the next novella in that setting almost ready, and he told me to send it on to him. Also, we talked about doing another MinnSpec anthology in 2012, since Northern Lights has sold so well.

That is all to report about the Twin Cites Book Festival, but I will probably post again tomorrow to talk about the rest of the weekend, which included seeing a favorite author read her work, going to a friend's deployment party, and running network cable through the ceiling with [livejournal.com profile] greykev at [livejournal.com profile] careswen's office.
mmerriam: (Default)
Saturday, I ventured into downtown Minneapolis for the Twin Cites Book Festival, spending the morning and early afternoon celebrating the written word. I arrived just as the doors were opening, and was surprised to find the exhibit hall already quite packed.

I ran into [livejournal.com profile] half_double and [livejournal.com profile] leorathesane almost immediately, who had also just arrived. We spent a few minutes catching up, then dived in.

Folks, I knew the Twin Cities and Minnesota had a strong lit community, but you don't realize just how strong it is until you enter a exhibition hall with 100+ publishers of books, magazines, literary journals, and literary support organization. I meet a number of publishers and had a handful of local lit journals express interest in seeing my fiction.

Shortly after nearly completing the circuit of tables (I never managed to get to them all, and I never went upstairs to the children's pavilion, and I never made any programming items, sadly) I encountered [livejournal.com profile] cloudscudding, who I escorted over to the Sam's Dot Publishing table and introduced to Tyree, the publisher. [livejournal.com profile] wordswoman was already at the table when we arrived, and [livejournal.com profile] dmbaird and [livejournal.com profile] zarathud23 both showed up a moment later.

The rest of the day was spent browsing the tables and talking to folks, including Scott at the Tales of the Unanticipated table, where we lamented that the Book Festival, Arcana, and Conjecture were all happening on the same day.

I went back to the Sam's Dot Publishing table, where [livejournal.com profile] cloudscudding was helping Tyree sell books. I sat down as well. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] wordswoman, the three of us giving Tyree a chance to wander around for a bit. It's always a good idea to help your publisher out when you can. [livejournal.com profile] joelarnold and Terry Faust came by the table as well, so we had several of the Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales authors available to sign copies. It was also good to see several folks I've meet at local conventions attending the festival (Carrie and Katie, I'm talking about you!)

As I was leaving the festival, I ran into Britt Aamodt, who pointed me to a possible venue to hold a release party for Northern Lights

I think next year I would like MinnSpec to have an information table and maybe a place for members to sell their work, as long as it is not completing with another publisher at the festival.

Filed under Moments When You Realize Your Life Has Gotten a Little Odd: I had separate occasions where people I did not know said something to the effect of "Oh! You're Michael Merriam. Great! Now I can put a face with the name." I'm still a little boggled by that. I also have not gotten use to having people I've never meet walk up to me holding my book and asking for my signature. It is a happy-making thing meeting someone who bought your work and is excited about it.

I signed a lot of books. I had no idea we would sell that many copies of Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales and The Horror at Cold Springs.

Tyree at Sam's Dot Publishing also told me that Horror at Cold Springs is about to go into its second printing. I told him I had the next novella in that setting almost ready, and he told me to send it on to him. Also, we talked about doing another MinnSpec anthology in 2012, since Northern Lights has sold so well.

That is all to report about the Twin Cites Book Festival, but I will probably post again tomorrow to talk about the rest of the weekend, which included seeing a favorite author read her work, going to a friend's deployment party, and running network cable through the ceiling with [livejournal.com profile] greykev at [livejournal.com profile] careswen's office.
mmerriam: (Type)
Founded in 2004, The Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers (MinnSpec) is a 280 members strong organization of working writers. Our membership includes writers who have published multiple novels with major publishers house, editors of highly respected magazines, emerging writers with several professional and small press sales, and brand new writers just making their first nervous forays into submitting their work.

We provide our members with a variety of activities and events, including a monthly meeting to discuss topics of interest to writers. We sponsor three different monthly workshop groups. MinnSpec offers its members a chance to share writing goals, discuss market news, keep each other on task, and provides a place for general networking and chat about writing speculative fiction, both in person and on our message boards. We hold small celebrations to honor our member's publishing milestones and offer occasional short group readings where members can share works-in-progress and receive light feedback.

MinnSpec organizes periodic Kaffee Klatch chats with well-known local authors such as Lyda Morehouse, Patricia C. Wrede, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Pamela Dean. We also promote the Speculations Reading Series at Dreamhaven Books and hold occasional "Dinner and a Movie" events where we watch great films of the genre. MinnSpec is an active participant in local, regional, and national science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions, helping provide programming, readings, and book signings for both the group as a whole and individuals members.

For more information, please visit us at: http://www.meetup.com/MNspec/

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Founded in 2004, The Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers (MinnSpec) is a 280 members strong organization of working writers. Our membership includes writers who have published multiple novels with major publishers house, editors of highly respected magazines, emerging writers with several professional and small press sales, and brand new writers just making their first nervous forays into submitting their work.

We provide our members with a variety of activities and events, including a monthly meeting to discuss topics of interest to writers. We sponsor three different monthly workshop groups. MinnSpec offers its members a chance to share writing goals, discuss market news, keep each other on task, and provides a place for general networking and chat about writing speculative fiction, both in person and on our message boards. We hold small celebrations to honor our member's publishing milestones and offer occasional short group readings where members can share works-in-progress and receive light feedback.

MinnSpec organizes periodic Kaffee Klatch chats with well-known local authors such as Lyda Morehouse, Patricia C. Wrede, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Pamela Dean. We also promote the Speculations Reading Series at Dreamhaven Books and hold occasional "Dinner and a Movie" events where we watch great films of the genre. MinnSpec is an active participant in local, regional, and national science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions, helping provide programming, readings, and book signings for both the group as a whole and individuals members.

For more information, please visit us at: http://www.meetup.com/MNspec/

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #20. "Run of the Fiery Horse" by Hilary Moon Murphy

One of the original members of MinnSpec, and our fearless Chief Organizer, Hilary is a tremendous networker and tireless cheerleader for the writers in MinnSpec. Hilary is one the people who encouraged me to send out my first stories, as she has with many members of MinnSpec, and loves to cheer us on when we make sales.

I knew we needed a story by Hilary: It would not be a MinnSpec anthology without a story by the organizer and main driving force behind the group. I knew I wanted "Run of the Fiery Horse" for this collection. Besides being a strong story, it delves into a non-western culture and more importantly, it ended on the exact right note that I wanted for the anthology. I hope you agree.

"Run of the Fiery Horse" was originally published in Realms of Fantasy, June 2002

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #20. "Run of the Fiery Horse" by Hilary Moon Murphy

One of the original members of MinnSpec, and our fearless Chief Organizer, Hilary is a tremendous networker and tireless cheerleader for the writers in MinnSpec. Hilary is one the people who encouraged me to send out my first stories, as she has with many members of MinnSpec, and loves to cheer us on when we make sales.

I knew we needed a story by Hilary: It would not be a MinnSpec anthology without a story by the organizer and main driving force behind the group. I knew I wanted "Run of the Fiery Horse" for this collection. Besides being a strong story, it delves into a non-western culture and more importantly, it ended on the exact right note that I wanted for the anthology. I hope you agree.

"Run of the Fiery Horse" was originally published in Realms of Fantasy, June 2002

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #19. "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" by Maggie Della Rocca

I've know Maggie online and in person for a long time. Before we meet in person through MinnSpec, we were also on The Online Writers Workshop together. Maggie, besides being a strong writer, is also great with the critiques. A friendly demeanor and being widely read makes Maggie a treasure to the group.

I loved "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" when I first read it. Everything about it is pitch-perfect. Both fantasy and a fairytale, you are able to identify and sympathize with the beleaguered characters quickly. They face real dangers and solve them with courage and sacrifice. I promise you, "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" will not disappoint you.

"The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" was previously published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine # 36, June 2008.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #19. "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" by Maggie Della Rocca

I've know Maggie online and in person for a long time. Before we meet in person through MinnSpec, we were also on The Online Writers Workshop together. Maggie, besides being a strong writer, is also great with the critiques. A friendly demeanor and being widely read makes Maggie a treasure to the group.

I loved "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" when I first read it. Everything about it is pitch-perfect. Both fantasy and a fairytale, you are able to identify and sympathize with the beleaguered characters quickly. They face real dangers and solve them with courage and sacrifice. I promise you, "The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" will not disappoint you.

"The Robber King and the Blood Orange Tree" was previously published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine # 36, June 2008.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #18. "The Radiator Burped" by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Abra Staffin-Wiebe is the real deal. I knew this when I heard her read from a story at a MinnSpec meeting. Not only was it a tight, imaginative, enthralling story, but her reading voice and style were perfect. One of my favorite people to hang around with, some of my most memorable conversation at conventions -- be they about fiction and publishing or not -- have been with Abra in the room taking part.

"The Radiator Burped" is, in a way, the dark mirror of "Kissing Frogs." I haven't been able to decide if this story is horror or dark fantasy, or maybe a slightly twisted love story, but I can say I loved the wry bits of humor and the well-realized characters.

"The Radiator Burped" was originally published online at Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. October 2009

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #18. "The Radiator Burped" by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Abra Staffin-Wiebe is the real deal. I knew this when I heard her read from a story at a MinnSpec meeting. Not only was it a tight, imaginative, enthralling story, but her reading voice and style were perfect. One of my favorite people to hang around with, some of my most memorable conversation at conventions -- be they about fiction and publishing or not -- have been with Abra in the room taking part.

"The Radiator Burped" is, in a way, the dark mirror of "Kissing Frogs." I haven't been able to decide if this story is horror or dark fantasy, or maybe a slightly twisted love story, but I can say I loved the wry bits of humor and the well-realized characters.

"The Radiator Burped" was originally published online at Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. October 2009

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #17. "Narcissus in Links" by Joel Arnold

Joel Arnold is a scary man.

Okay, actually, Joel is one of the nicest guys you are ever going to meet. But the things that come out of his brain, those are scary, scary things. Joel is one of the writers who inspires other writers in MinnSpec. He writes great fiction, sends it out, take his lumps with grace when he gets rejected and shares his sales with the group, showing what you can do if you develop your skills and talent and stay tenacious.

I loved this story the first time I heard Joel read it at CONvergence a couple of years ago. When it showed up in my inbox, I couldn't have been more thrilled. I placed it here as a shift in gears from the two stories previous, and to ramp up the pace of the anthology as we head into the home stretch. Trust me, this one will get your pulse pounding.

"Narcissus in Links" was originally published online at LateLateShow.net, March, 2006 and published in Bedtime Stories For The Apocalypse, Sam's Dot Publishing, February, 2009.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #17. "Narcissus in Links" by Joel Arnold

Joel Arnold is a scary man.

Okay, actually, Joel is one of the nicest guys you are ever going to meet. But the things that come out of his brain, those are scary, scary things. Joel is one of the writers who inspires other writers in MinnSpec. He writes great fiction, sends it out, take his lumps with grace when he gets rejected and shares his sales with the group, showing what you can do if you develop your skills and talent and stay tenacious.

I loved this story the first time I heard Joel read it at CONvergence a couple of years ago. When it showed up in my inbox, I couldn't have been more thrilled. I placed it here as a shift in gears from the two stories previous, and to ramp up the pace of the anthology as we head into the home stretch. Trust me, this one will get your pulse pounding.

"Narcissus in Links" was originally published online at LateLateShow.net, March, 2006 and published in Bedtime Stories For The Apocalypse, Sam's Dot Publishing, February, 2009.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #16. "The Question" by Sharon Boerbon Hanson

At a workshop earlier this year, Sharon hit the nail on the head with the trouble I was having with one of my novels. Everyone else had gotten me on a plot hole, but Sharon's eye caught the heart of the matter, and she asked me a simple question that helped bring what I needed to do to make the story stronger into focus. That is a rare talent.

"The Question" is a quiet little bit of fantasy/magical realism with a devastating ending. The story sneaks up on you with its question, and hammers you with the bitter answer. It feels so light, yet underneath is so heartbreaking.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #16. "The Question" by Sharon Boerbon Hanson

At a workshop earlier this year, Sharon hit the nail on the head with the trouble I was having with one of my novels. Everyone else had gotten me on a plot hole, but Sharon's eye caught the heart of the matter, and she asked me a simple question that helped bring what I needed to do to make the story stronger into focus. That is a rare talent.

"The Question" is a quiet little bit of fantasy/magical realism with a devastating ending. The story sneaks up on you with its question, and hammers you with the bitter answer. It feels so light, yet underneath is so heartbreaking.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #15. "Oh, Hell" by Britt Aamodt

Every time I'm around Britt, I've enjoyed her company. Another of our multidisciplinary, multitalented writers, Britt works in scriptwriting, among other types of fiction.

I had to read "Oh, Hell" three times before I decided to take it. At first I thought it was kind of cute, but not really what I was looking for. However, after a couple of days, I went back read it again. And again. And somewhere in those reading the story grew on me, and I realized the subtext of the story was deeper than I had originally thought.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #15. "Oh, Hell" by Britt Aamodt

Every time I'm around Britt, I've enjoyed her company. Another of our multidisciplinary, multitalented writers, Britt works in scriptwriting, among other types of fiction.

I had to read "Oh, Hell" three times before I decided to take it. At first I thought it was kind of cute, but not really what I was looking for. However, after a couple of days, I went back read it again. And again. And somewhere in those reading the story grew on me, and I realized the subtext of the story was deeper than I had originally thought.

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

mmerriam: (Type)
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales ToC: #14. "Sabine Baring-Gould and the Werewolf" by Roy C. Booth

Roy Booth gleefully calls himself a "literary mercenary" and you really can't argue with him. He writes fiction, scripts, plays, non-fic, and does a little script-doctoring, as well as running a comic shop. A mainstay at local conventions and the consummate networker, Roy can make his business cards appear from thin air. His no nonsense, business-like attitude toward writing makes him one of my favorite people to talk with at conventions.

I chose "Sabine Baring-Gould and the Werewolf" because of the style. Atmospheric, dark, the fear and dread builds and builds until...well, you'll just have to read to find out. This is old-school throwback horror--the kind that actually scares you instead of grossing you out. The plain, matter-of-fact reporting of the horror by the narrator adds to the feeling of dread.

"Sabine Baring-Gould and the Werewolf" was originally published in Necrotic Tissue #8, October, 2009,

Purchase Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales here.

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