Sunday, May 31st, 2009

M3 Concert Rocked…

Okay, so it’s a bit off-topic for a writerly-type blog, but I’ve got to tell you that the M3 Concert last night rocked. (I won’t be verbose, promise…only about 600 words…)

Don’t like glam or metal?  So sorry.

A lot of bands were on the ticket, causing the venue (Merriweather Post Pavilion) to set up a second stage (for the second rate?) acts. The ballot (playing in reverse order) included: Twisted Sister • Ratt • Extreme
Kix • Dokken • Slaughter • Y&T • Gilby Clarke • Keel • Jetboy • L.A. Guns • Jani Lane – Formerly of Warrant • XYZ • BulletBoys • Carmine Appice’s Slamm • and Steel Panther.

M3 was a full-day event, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Twisted Sister’s album Stay Hungry.

I was soooo into seeing Carmine Appice (one of Rock’s greatest drummers) but I didn’t realize that Slamm!! was a drum band. Three kits, garbage cans, plastic buckets, etc. They were good…but I got bored after about three songs.

Jani Lane (formerly of Warrant) wore eye shadow and liner. Not his usual style. IMHO, he looked like a clown. I was never a huge fan of Warrant, and I just couldn’t get over the creepiness of his eyes. On the other hand, he played something new…and it sounded pretty good.

I missed Y&T. [Rats] Love their music…and have wanted to hear them live for while now….

Never heard of Keel before. (Surprised to learn they’ve been around for 25 years!) They sounded pretty good. Might have to buy their album.

Dokken blew all the young guns away. Don Dokken is what, a grandfather? He claimed to be hung over, but I wouldn’t have guessed it. [Dokken’s been touring in Europe for several months. Don said, “It’s great to be back in the US where there’s some sun…and where I can talk to people. I only speak Californian.”

Extreme. Uh…what the heck were they doing there? These guys were odd-man-out in the genre department as far as I’m concerned…. Not a band I’m fond of. Moving on…

To be fair, Ratt played well. (I never like them.) But definitely too loud in the pavilion (never thought I’d say that about music…)

Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister put on an awesome show, coming out on stage in his glam outfit of yesteryear….definitely not what I expected (after all, every other rocker who performed forswore the hairspray and glitz for this occasion). I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Not familiar with Dee Snyder and his buds from TS? Here he is:

Twisted Sister

Dee is the one with his mouth wide open.

He quipped on stage: “The people with back stage passes are getting old. [pause] I’m getting old. The bad news is: I look like an aging drag queen. The good news is: I’ve always looked like an aging drag queen.”

All I can say is this: I want to know what brand of cosmetics he sports: he ran around on stage, under the hot lights, for over an hour, and that stuff didn’t run or melt. I want some of that. In more subtle colors.

Despite the almighty greatness of Twisted Sister (not my favorite band, BTW, just the flavor of the day) Kix definitely stole the show. And I’m not saying that because I’m biased. (Kix hails from the Baltimore area – Hagerstown, MD, to be exact) and well, so do I…hail from the area, that is.)

This is Kix:


I think Twisted Sister exuded the same amount of enthusiasm and high energy that Kix did–and their music was tight…but the crowd was more into Kix. I think that kind of vibe contributed to their overall performance. Very symbiotic.

An excellent show all around.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Contract in Hand! One Step Closer…

I received the signed contract back from Pete Butler today (Editor for Triangulation: Dark Glass).

On the Path is one step closer to publication…just 56 days away! The anthology will be published in time to be distributed during Confluence, Pittsburgh’s Literary Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (now in it’s 21st year)!

This is the fastest I’ve ever had any fiction published. (My non-fiction pieces at various newspapers? Totally different story.)

What’s the fastest you’ve ever had anything published? The slowest?

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Balticon – Day 4 – This is the End…

I really enjoyed myself, met a lot of great people, but (oh, boy!) am I tired.

Many attendees have already made their way back home, and attendance is light on this, the final, day.

I attended Networking 101 in the morning (fabulous!), and spent the afternoon in a four-hour seminar called How to Teach Science Fiction and Fantasy. Catherine Asaro presented an excellent session on including hard science in stories if you’re not a scientist (a common complaint of young students.)

I’m not a teacher, by training or trade, but I found the seminar useful on so many levels…

Tomorrow: a trip to BWI to send-off my friend…and then back to the mundane grind.

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Balticon – Day 3 – Need I say More?

Roxanne Bland and Her Really Cool Dragon Head

Author Roxanne Bland carries the dragon head mask she won at the Reading is Fundamental auction.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Balticon Day 2 – Another Late Night

Today I moderated a panel on Pitching One-Liners to Sell Your Novel with several really good authors and publishers:

Jonathon Mayberry
David J. Williams
Nancy O. Green
Neal Levin (Small Press Publisher)

The panel drew a fairly large audience, many of whom appeared to be seeking representation. The panel was easy to moderate with such good members and thoughtful questions.

It epitomized what I love about intimate cons like Balticon: the speakers provided excellent information during the panel and then offered to provide additional info via email for anyone who was interested.

(And Jonathon came up with a really good pitch for a book I’d love to read: “Curious George Meets Hannibal Lecter”)

I was also on the What is Social Media? panel. The other panelists were clearly friends and had worked or hung out together a lot: always an awkward situation for the odd-man-out. My experience stemmed more from my day job than from a fiction perspective, but I think overall it was well received. Many thanks to the moderator, Tee Morris, for keeping me involved in the discussion. (Tee is the author of Podcasting for Dummies and other technical and fictional things…)

Finally, I and several members of Broad Universe, read from our writing. The room was small, but packed. Readers included Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Trish Wooldridge, Gail Z. Martin, and Jean Marie Ward, who, like me, read from a dragon tale.

Later in the evening I got to attend a panel on Start Up Rituals for Writers. I thought it would be a lot of fun to discuss the various quirks of famous writers, but the panel quickly devolved into a talk about ‘what to do for writers block.’ There was also a lot of discussion about finding inspiration in a hotel bar.

The best part of the panel was meeting Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano who produce the “Trail of Indiscretion” Magazine and run Fortress Publishing, Inc. Brian’s title is “CEO, CFO, President, Editor-in-Chief, Writer, Megalomaniacal Genius.” Chris’s title is COO, CCO, Vice-President, Writer, Spiritual Philanthropist.” (This means he gives hugs.) So…judging from their titles, you can guess that these guys were a lot of FUN. They really livened up the panel. (Chris and Brian will write you a haiku for a nickle if you buy a copy of one of their books,” but I handed Brian a quarter and bribed him to write me one based on “Curious George Meets Hannibal Lecter.” Here it is:

Haiku Written on a Business Card

(I did buy the latest copy of “Trail of Indiscretion”…great short stories and some awesome comics. It’s well worth $5.)

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Balticon… A Lot of Fun (So far)

I had no panels or readings today, but found myself busy enough that I fell into bed exhausted by the end of the day.

I picked up my fellow-writer-friend Trish Wooldridge at the (Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) at 8:30 a.m. (!) and we scooted down to the Inner Harbor for coffee and Italian almond cookies at Vaccarro’s in the Light Street Pavillion.

Being the writer geeks that we are, we headed over to the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum – unfortunately located in a not-so-great part of the city. A manned police car sits outside all day long so that visitors aren’t accosted by the locals. In order to enter the museum, you have to knock on the door and wait for the curator to unlock it and let you in.

The house is tiny, and it’s hard to imagine how five people lived in the household without stepping on each others nerves.

Except for one item, all things in the house are reproductions, but it’s still interesting to see the photos and city directories and playbills.

The one authentic item in the home is Poe’s lapdesk which he used when he attended University of Virginia. The curator referred to it as Poe’s “laptop.” (This satisfies both my writerly geekiness and my tech geekiness….can’t get any better than that!)

Here’s a photo of me (my hair wild from Baltimore humidity) standing beside Poe’s laptop.

Kelly A. Harmon and Edgar Allen Poe's 'Laptop'

Of course, after we visited Poe’s House, we had to visit his grave. Here it is…

Egar Allen Poe's Grave

Poe is buried in the Westminster Hall Cemetery which is an old, estasblished graveyard. Age and elements have eroded most of the slender gravemarkers, but there are large monuments protecting the mouldering bones of several former Baltimore residents famed for their part in the Revolutionary War.

(I love graveyards. They’re beautiful and serene…and wonderful places to sit down write (quiet and inspiring!).

After the Baltimore tour, we drove to the Con and met up with other writers from Broad Universe and got our schedules straight for the rest of the weekend.

Tonight is the Steampunk Ball. Here’s a photo of Jean-Marie Ward (and some guy I don’t know!) in their dance finery.

Jean Marie Ward at the Steampunk Ball - Balticon

More tomorrow as the convention continues…

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Bad Parenting

A total d’oh moment for Mama Duck here. It’s funny and sad at the same time. (And sadly, I’m still chuckling…) Thanks to Moonrat for the pic.

Mother Duck Loses Babies

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Turned in Edits Today

I turned in final edits for a non-fiction piece today. It’s a chapter on Critique Groups (how to join or start one, how to give and receive a good critique, sample session, etc.) How to Write Paranormal is on target for publication in the fall. I can’t wait to see the rest of the chapters.

I’ll post a Table of Contents (TOC) when I see the final.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

There Are Two Kinds of People In the World….

…and I’m about to tick-off half of them. So let me get right to the point.

If you’re one of those people that keeps the radio running while you pump gas: turn it off! Especially if you keep the radio turned up as loud as it will go.

Chances are…whatever you’re listening to, I can’t stand it. And it’s darned discourteous to make me have to listen.

(Yes, I pumped gas today…and had to listen to tripe that passes for music on some radio stations. Makes me grumpy, can you tell?)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Another Good Review for Black Dragon, White Dragon

There’s another five-star review on for Black Dragon, White Dragon. The review mentions my story — by (a minimalist) description, if not by name — as the reader’s favorite!

5.0 out of 5 stars. Beyond the covers of this book there be dragons… I didn’t realize until I got this book that what had been missing from my shelves was an anthology of dragon stories, lots of them. All kinds of dragons here – good dragons, ordinary working dragons and dragons you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. My current favorite is a dragon who protects a village in return for cave and boards. The book is just a lot of fun! ⋅ “Scatter Prevalent” – Gilbertsville, NY at ⋅ April 30, 2009

I know I’m a little late mentioning this. My writer friend Steve Southard pointed it out to me. I have to admit, as much as I like seeing good reviews, I don’t go looking for them… (Thanks, Steve!)

The reviewer’s description doesn’t quite do my story justice. Read an excerpt here.

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