What a fantastic summer. It can be summed up as follows: Lots of book events. Many new friends. Pie. Coffee. Running. Repeat as necessary. As evidence, I offer the following:
Because glasses are serious business in Wisconsin.
This is The Katy. She runs a blog, writes, and smiles. It’s her thing.
Kristine is a writer who asked me to be on her book cover as a gambler named Dallas. I don’t have a beard, and could not grow one overnight. I was rather let down by my own limitations.
Also, if you blather on about pie enough, readers and friends bring you pie. I’m not sure my life can get any better.
Friends also tell you about barbecue so good you want to high-five the staff. (Bucky Bee’s, Cave City, KY!)
And, of course, cheese curds in Wisconsin. *highfive* It’s been a darn fine summer. Lots of new faces, old friends, and great books. Look for two new audiobooks this fall (Heartborn and Halfway Hunted), performed by the excellent Julia Whelan (Gone Girl) and Erin Spencer (The Black Key). I’m shocked at how good they are. Acting is hard. Doing so through a microphone is just magical.
I quietly got fat. I weighed myself and, over the winter, have gained 22 pounds. So, back on the regimen of eating things like celery and things sort of like celery but shaped differently until my summertime running program lets me feel more like myself. It sucks getting old, and sometimes, it doesn’t. Right now? It does. Next month, we release the third book in my Halfway Witchy series. Early review copies are available if you’d like in on the fun. I love the direction Carlie’s headed. She gets more interesting with each scene. The audiobook for Halfway Bitten will be released next month, too! As usual, Erin Spencer is wonderful. She captures all of the voices beautifully, and didn’t flinch when I asked her, “Hey, what do you have for the accent of a French Canadian Clown?” Look for it soon. I was in beautiful Clear Lake, Iowa for the North Iowa Book Bash this past weekend. It was, in a word, amazing. Wonderful people, great books, and a cool town. The journey there was. . . challenging. Here’s the breakdown: 5:00 AM: Leave in my car. Wheeeeee! 7:00 AM: Gurgle splutter click silence. My car dies 120 miles from home. 9:00 AM: Tow truck driver picks me up. We head home. I am displeased. 11:30 AM: On the road (again) in my bride’s vehicle. 12:17 AM Pull into hotel in Clear Lake, Iowa, 755 miles away. I’m a bit loopy. Hell, I’m more than loopy. I’m twitching from too much caffeine. I am close to Minnesota. There are gates across the highway that can be closed in case of a blizzard. The soil is the color of midnight. It’s cold, and the hotel staff is wonderful. I load up books, fall into bed. It’s been. . .challenging. 6:00 AM: I’m up. It’s book time. And oh, is it ever worth it. Fantastic people, a couple great meals, and back on the road a day later to arrive home, shopworn but satisfied. I’ll be going back. In a car that works, hopefully. I hope your Spring is sprung. I’ll share art for the new book as soon as we have it– the colors are amazing and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Don’t forget– message me on Facebook or Twitter is you’d like a review copy. Cheers, Terry
When I was a kid, it was dogmatic that geekery was something to be punished rather than celebrated. Certain events began to shift that attitude, which had permeated schools across the United States until the late 1980s. Star Wars was one such liminal moment, so was the rebirth of Star Trek, and other superhero related films as well. Dungeons and Dragons, gaming, and the enthusiasm of table top gaming began to grow alongside the miraculous wave of computer and video gaming. Think about this: At one time, Pong was the domain of idle stoners and the curious.
That in itself was a radical shift from the iconic activity of most teens– pinball– and Atari was born as a social force that continues to impact how we look at media and entertainment today. I’m not treading new water when I say that games have become both mainstream and hugely profitable; the culture surrounding gaming has grown from a sliver to large chunks of various age groups. Games, geekery, and all things nerdy have jumped the banks of the cultural zeitgeist and gone from outliers to mainstream.
It would be impossible– and irresponsible— to mention gaming without the obvious connection between technology and the expansion of this market. Computers, connectivity, and the immediacy of modern social structures are rooted in a competition that can be shared by people of nearly all types. That’s no accident, and as someone who teaches history for a living, well worth my time to examine. Modernity creates a market that is unceasing in its demand for Bigger! Brighter! Faster! More!— in point of fact, we have trended more toward the world of Bladerunner than we care to admit, but this shift seems less like a tidal wave and more like a tide. It’s been steady, and it has no signs of withdrawing to the outer bay of history anytime soon.
Millions of people game online. They’re connected. They vault seamlessly across national lines and have created their own language, mannerisms, and networks. Superheroes continue to bloom in the theater, as do comic books– a genre pronounced dead thirty years ago– and all of the impedimenta needed to support this massive section of the modern culture. Geekery is no longer anything except a constant war between the consumers and those would control that which they are offered. Due to the endless inventiveness of youth/geek/nerds/rebels, in no way would I bet on corporatism and social pressures as bringing this rabid, varied fan base to heel. More on that later– In 48 hours, I’ll attend the largest Con(vention) I’ve ever been to. There will be multiple genres side by side, from horror, to science fiction, to anime, and fantasy. The simple fact that there is such crossover between these distinct styles tells me that geekery– once a source of ribald jokes– is now a force of such intensity that it transcends the bounds of definition. I’ll have my first truly surreal experience this weekend, too– two Cosplayers will be dressing as a character I created. Think about that for a moment. A guy who was a nerd thirty years ago is now writing things that people will use to enjoy themselves, a sort of artistic expression that once would have been derided as “nerd stuff”. It’s official. I have lived long enough to see the real “good old days”, and they are now. I’ll share pictures and such from Fandomfest this weekend, and until then, cheers! Terry