Monday, July 26, 2010

OSFest in the books!

Another OSFest went really well. Convention weekends are always strange for me. I love getting out and seeing all the cool stuff in the dealer's room, meeting other writers, talking to readers, seeing the costumes and everything else that goes along with the con experience. On the other hand, it's a huge shift compared to my normal life of sitting at my computer and writing. Sometimes I hardly see much of anyone throughout the course of a week, so being surrounded by people for days on end takes some getting used to.

This year was a great con and I think better than last year's OSFest. There was more writing programming and the panels went pretty well for the most part. There are always those moments when they derail, but that's the way it goes. All in all, it was a lot of fun. I was geared up for a heated discussion on the Vampires Don't Sparkle panel, but that didn't quite turn out the way I was expecting. I was just along for the ride, however, so no problemmo. The highlight for me was sitting on the World Building panel with Robert J. Sawyer, Chloe Neill and Daniel Nielsen. There was a lot of great discussion, great questions from the crowd and I got to hear some really interesting stories from seasoned pros.

Next up is Archon in October, followed by World Fantasy later that same month. That'll be interesting. Until then, it's back to work!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My OSFest schedule

This weekend is one of the few science fiction conventions held in Omaha. There are plenty of fans in the area, so I don't see why there aren't more cons being held for them around here. Even before the economy took its bite out of everything, pickings were sparse. Anyway, here's what I'll be up to while I'm there:

FRIDAY: 10PM - Panel -- "Bump, There Goes the Neighborhood". I'm guessing this is about the Urban Fantasy / monsters / modern settings trend in books and / or media. We should be able to run with it.
11PM - Reading -- "These Bedbugs Definitely Bite: A Reading with Marcus Pelegrimas". Yes, another reading. As I said in a previous post, I was scheduled for an earlier time, but requested a change so I could be on an anti-Twilight panel. The title for this reading was my idea. Cool? Eh.

SATURDAY: 5PM - Panel -- "Top 10 Tips for Getting Published". Pretty self-explanatory. I'll try to be optimistic and downplay the role of stupid trends and blind luck. Honestly, on bad days, I feel like my first bit of advice for would-be writers is, "Run. It's too late for me, but save yourselves. Just run!"

SUNDAY: 11AM - Panel -- "World Building". I really like the focus on literary craft with convention programming. It gives starting writers a chance to hear some (hopefully) good advice and ask some questions. So if you're a starting writer and attend something like this, please ask us questions! And don't be shy about talking to us afterward. If we've got something else to do right away, we'll let you know and probably will catch you later.
NOON - Panel -- "Vampires Don't Sparkle". How cool is this? I'm sure there are plenty of panels like this at plenty of cons all over the place, but it's still great to talk about. Hey, the sparkly vamps get plenty MORE panels to themselves! Plus, this gives me a chance to gripe in an official capacity.

So there's my official schedule. I'll be hanging out at the con unofficially, so keep an eye out for me if you're so inclined. I can be found in the dealer's room looking at swords, skulls and wolf stuff. Black t-shirts...even though I DON'T need any more...are always a draw. Also, Nevermore Paranormal will be there doing a few panels, so check them out too! See ya there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not an actor, but I did ok.

So readings aren't my best thang, but this one turned out pretty nicely. There weren't a lot of people there, but enough to make it a good event. Thank you to the folks who did show up. Nobody threw stuff at me while I was up there, so that's cool. It was a coffee house, so there was the occasional blender to deal with. On the good side, that gave me the chance to scream lines from my book such as Bob Rothbard's "Go around me ASSHOLE!" from Howling Legion. Big stress reliever. The last word in that quote was delivered to the dude sitting along the wall who refused to stop talking on his cell phone while Matt Rotundo was reading. Heh.

I had a peanut butter / chocolate chiller which was excellent. Cut down on the sweat factor after walking through the sweltering Old Market. This weekend is another reading at OSFest, which I don't expect to get a huge turnout for. It's at 11 PM on Friday. A bad spot, but my choosing since I insisted on rescheduling so I could take part in the "Vampires Don't Sparkle" panel. Worst case scenario: I show up, nobody else does, I leave. No biggie. More on OSFest later...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I am not an actor

Today I'm headed off to do a reading at the 13th Street Coffee House in the beautiful Old Market district in downtown Omaha. I think I've been to the place before, but I've definitely been to the Old Market several times. It's a shopping district with cool stores, funky restaurants and cobblestone streets. There's a great pub called The Dubliner which I've featured in one of my earlier books that was never published. Since MEG has a branch in Omaha, maybe I can fit the place into Skinners before too long.

No matter how nice the venue is, however, I hate doing readings. They really make me appreciate little things like annunciation and voice inflection. The worst part is reading dialogue where there's banter between two characters. Do I just pause between lines to tell the difference between characters when two people are talking? Do I try to do different voices? For Paige do I try a woman's voice? Can I come up with more ways to make my own books sound horrible?

Hopefully it goes all right. Next weekend is the OSFest convention guessed it...another reading! I feel Like I HAVE to do these as part of the whole process. On the good side, I love getting out to meet readers so that should be fun. The only thing I need is for readers to actually show up to thee things. That's always the tricky part.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Arguing with the Demons

My brain has been on overdrive lately. That's the thing with writing as a profession. Lots of the hardest work is done when I'm just sitting there, seemingly watching TV or something while I'm thinking about elements or characters or any number of things that need to be worked out in a manuscript. My brain never stops during these times. NEVER. When I can't come up with what I need, half of my brain is chugging away at the problem and the other half is yelling at me for not being able to figure it out. Yes, I have voices in my head and they're fighting!

Today I'll be submitting another project I've just completed. It's a western ghost writing thing and now that it's done, I can focus on Skinners 5. All the while, my brain's been working out all the parts of Skinners that need to be edited, how they'll be edited, what to keep, what to throw out, which characters go, which stay, what makes sense and what doesn't. The list goes on and on and ON and it's always cycling through my puzzler no matter what I'm doing. When I sleep, I don't get the cool "I just dreamt the BEST story and I should jump out of bed and write it down" sort of dreams. I get the crazy "my brain is busy and frustrated so it's sending me disjointed chaos during my sleepy-time hours" sort of dreams. Is it any wonder why so many writers are alcoholics? Not that I'm spending all this time drunk, but it is almost obscene how good it feels to take a shot of Jim Beam every now and then. Can't drink too much, though, because I've got more work to do.

And don't worry. Despite all of this, Skinners is coming along nicely. Actually, this is more or less my "process" so the book is coming along nicely BECAUSE of this. Really? Why do some writers get a muse and I get psychotic mental ramblings about werewolves and monster hunters? Sure, sometimes those ramblings are pretty cool. That being said, a nice, gentle muse or a million dollar dream would be a pleasant change of pace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It IS better than the demo!

I'm a pretty big believer in signs. I know. Signs, signs, everywhere is signs. But seriously, I do tend to pay attention when I'm pointed in one direction over another. Sometimes it's in regards to big things like career choice, relationships or where I should live. Other times, it's smaller things like whether or not I should buy Crackdown 2 when I hated the demo. I decided to wait until it was marked down or on sale for between $20 and $30. So today, as I'm reading the not-so-bad reviews of this same game, I remember having some gift certificates I earned through the Best Buy Reward Zone Club or whatever. A quick check on their website to see if any more coupons are on the way tells me I can print off another certificate that will essentially bring the price of Crackdown 2 to $26 after taxes. Sign!!

I picked up the game, played it and decided it's more of the goodness I was after. Nothing blazingly new, but more of the same stuff and since that stuff is Crackdown, it's just fine. I think my problem before was that I'd just finished going all the way through Infamous on the PS3, which is an AMAZING game that has a lot of Crackdown elements like climbing around on buildings and stuff. I've only cracked this one open (HA! Cracked!! Ok sorry about that) but if you liked the first Crackdown, the new one should scratch that itch nicely.

Was all of this a big way to delay my work today? Not really because I got a lot done. Was the whole signs thing a flimsy excuse to buy a game I already said I wanted no matter how crappy the demo was? Yeah. You got me on that one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I've been slacking

Well, the long weekend is over, so it's back to work for me. Actually, since I'm a free-wheeling writer type person, my work schedule has little or nothing to do with official holidays or weekends. I've been working steadily throughout the 4th, although I did take some time to step out onto my balcony and admire several different fireworks displays on the horizon. With the smoke in the air, the crackle of popping explosions and the flickering of bright colors in the sky, I was reminded of some CNN footage from the Desert Storm days. Apart from that, it was really pretty cool.

Also, I was reminded via scathing email from a reader that I've all but forgotten about updating my main website. Jeez, Joshua! Give me a break! Just kidding about the scathing part. I was reminded about neglecting my duties as far as that goes and he's absolutely right. I've just been figuring that nobody's even noticed the links for MEG Files and Skinner Journals where I promised to put up appendices regarding the Skinners and creatures in the series. I'd like to blame Webmaster Steve for this, but can't do it. The truth is I meant to do an update after the series has been out for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it. Well, the series HAS been around for a little while and seems to be doing pretty well. I'll get off my butt and put something on there by the end of the month.

In gaming news, I played the demo for Crackdown 2. I loved Crackdown. Seriously, I played the living hell out of that game. The demo for this one just seems bland. The graphics seem really dull and the game mechanics are clunky at best. I want SO DESPERATELY to like this game, but the demo hasn't sold me. Should I say "It's just a demo and not the final build, so give the game a chance" or "Most demos are pretty close to the actual games, so steer clear until the price drops"? With so many games coming out, I'm leaning toward the second one. We'll see if my willpower holds out when I see it on the shelves.

That's it for now. Got to wrap up one western project, continue plucking away at Skinners 5 and oh look...there's the final edits for Skinners 4! I can do this, right?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back from the road

I just got back from the Western Writers Convention in Knoxville, TN. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet some very nice people. Now, many of you who know me for Skinners may not be able to picture me at a western writers convention. Lots of hats, big buckles and boots, right? Well, yes but I don't wear any of those. I have some black cowboy hats, many of which are pretty cool in a Rob Zombie / ZZ Top sort of way. If I could grow a cool beard like any of those guys, I'd be all about the cowboy hats. Come to think of it, the ZZ Top guys aren't really known for their hats. They're still cool, though.

Thought I'd get some work done while on the road. Brought my laptop and everything. Didn't happen. Oddly enough, I did wind up talking about video games. Specifically, Red Dead Redemption. That's just one more thing to let us know that the western genre isn't forgotten. People just want GOOD stuff in that category. [Insert derogatory comment about my own western series here] So many industry experts and editors talk about how the Old West is dead and buried. I say that's bullshit. Plenty of writers (me included) are coming up with stuff, but have a hard time selling them because the execs who do the buying are convinced there's no audience. I'd say the legions of people playing Red Dead at this very moment would disagree.

So now I'm back and trying to get some work done. Too bad I've talked about Red Dead so much now that I want to play. NO!!! Must...resist! Must....type!!!!

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.