Archive for March, 2013

Road to Mo*Con VIII: Guest Blog by Jim C. Hines

With Mo*Con quickly approaching and with our main conversation centering on the issue of the mental health issues we writers may struggle with, I thought that I would encourage some guest posts from some of our guests, partly to raise awareness on the topic by sparking a dialogue and also to help de-stigmatize the issue. One of our guests of honor, Jim C. Hines, offers up this guest blog.

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Jim-WFC-Full

Depression

Guest blog by Jim C. Hines

About a year ago, I walked out of my doctor’s office with a prescription for Zoloft, an antidepressant.

I had put that appointment off for months, because I believed my problems weren’t that bad. It’s not like I was suicidal or anything. I told myself it wasn’t really depression. I was stressed, but there were real and valid reasons for that. I just needed some down time. I could tough it out. Eventually it would get better.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped believing things would get better. Life was about getting through each day. I wasn’t living; I was simply enduring.

I was a psych major, and I’m married to a licensed counselor. I’ve watched people close to me start antidepressants, and I’ve seen how much of a difference it can make in their lives. I’ve never thought of them as weak, or of antidepressants as a sign that they’ve somehow failed at life.

It feels different when it’s you. There’s a double-standard. I know perfectly well that depression isn’t something you can simply will yourself through. But walking into that office felt like admitting defeat, like I was conceding that this thing had beaten me.

I told my doctor what I was dealing with. A full-time job and a writing career. A special-needs son and a pre-teen daughter. A partially disabled wife. When I laid it all out, I could see why I felt stressed, but there were plenty of people out there who had it worse. I had so much going for me—a wonderful family, eight books in print from a major publisher, a stable job with good benefits—it felt like the height of ingratitude to complain. Besides, it’s not like there was something chemically wrong with me, right? This was just stress.

To which my doctor replied that yes, he thought there were plenty of external factors causing my depression. And what made me think that over the long term, those external stressors hadn’t had a real chemical effect on my brain? The point of antidepressants wasn’t to suppress emotions; it was to help me get back to a normal, healthy neurochemical balance.

I know antidepressants don’t work for everyone, but damn if they didn’t help. A month after that appointment, I was starting to feel like me again. I started working with a therapist, talking about changes I could make to try to better manage my life. I was fortunate to find someone I clicked with right away, and she’s helped me to improve my relationship with my family, to try to find a bit more balance in my life, to look ahead at my dreams for what I want my life to be, and more.

It’s not all happiness and rainbow-farting unicorns yet. I have bad days, and to be honest, they freak me out, because I’m still learning to distinguish between a normal crappy day and the return of the Depression. Nobody gets all good days, and I know that, but in the back of my mind, I start thinking that maybe the meds aren’t helping as much, or maybe the therapy hasn’t done enough.

Depression is like the Stephen Hawking of screwing with your head, and before I know it, I start thinking I’ve failed. If I were doing a better job in therapy, if I was able to better deal with the different parts of my life, the conversations at home wouldn’t spiral out of control. Stress over writing deadlines wouldn’t spill into other areas of my life. Things that made sense in the therapist’s office wouldn’t get all murky and messed up when I tried to apply them to real life.

In other words, it’s been a year. Why the hell isn’t this fixed yet?

When I write it out, I recognize that it’s a ridiculous question. This is a process, not a quick-fix. I’ve still got a relatively stressful life. The therapist and I both recognize that there are a lot of factors we can’t change, and we’re working on the things we can. And my life is better than it was a year ago.

I made the choice to talk publicly about this, and I was amazed at how many people came up to talk to me about their own battles with depression at conventions and other events. I’d like to tell everyone that once you take that first step, it’s all downhill, but that’s total goblin dung. Medications don’t always work. A fair number of therapists suck, or simply aren’t the right fit for you and your problems. Even when everything clicks, it’s still a process, and there are good days and bad.

I have far more good days than I used to, and most of the bad days aren’t as bad as they once were. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’ve learned some things, too. Specifically:

· Depression isn’t about having a bad day, and it’s not something you can outstubborn.

· Depression is a sneaky, evil, manipulative bastard. The worst thing you can do with a dude like that is ignore him.

· There are people who will look down at you for admitting to needing antidepressants and/or therapy. Fortunately, at least in my case, the antidepressants and therapy have put me in a space where I can recognize that those people are dicks.

· Those people are also rare. Most have been incredibly understanding and supportive.

· I feel like me again. I missed me. It’s really nice to be back.
Thank you, Maurice, for letting me talk about this on your blog, and thanks to everyone for reading.

 

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Mo*Con VIII: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

May 3 – 5, 2013.  Indianapolis, IN

Previous Guest Blogs:

Maurice Broaddus – Being Crazy, Christian, and Creative

Lucy Snyder

Doug Warrick

Jim C. Hines

Gary A. Braunbeck

Nate Southard

Delilah Dawson

Michelle Pendergrass

Steven Saus

Janet Harriett

Road to Mo*Con VIII: Guest Blog by Doug F. Warrick

ptb72Mo*Con with a guest blog by Doug Warrick.  Actually, you probably have Doug to thank for the theme for this year’s Mo*Con.  After my blog last year about the possibilities of me being bi-polar, he and I had a series of conversations on the topic.  He thought it would be great for other writers to discuss how things like this play out in their lives and art.  Doug will also be debuting his amazing collection at this year’s Mo*Con, Plow the Bones (Apex Books, but this isn’t the final cover).

MentIl

Guest Blog by Doug F. Warrick

Migraine sufferers are touchy about people casually co-opting their malady. It’s why you should be careful about blithely announcing to a room full of people that you have “such a migraine right now.” Because no, you don’t. What you have is called, in the professional parlance of the medical community, a fuckin’ headache. Maybe it’s a bad fuckin’ headache. A real, real bad one, even. But for anyone who has ever nearly or actually crashed their car when their vision whites out on the highway, or whose body has purged itself of the day’s food out of sheer bewilderment at the intensity of the pain in its uppermost extremity, or who has woken up with crescent-shaped nail-marks in their temples from the previous night’s desperate digging, your occasional headache ranks astoundingly low among things about which they feel compelled to give a shit.
Same story with depressives, by the way. Which is more germane, and harder to say.

I have lived with depression and anxiety since I was a kid. I have resolved (and ultimately failed) to kill myself twice in my adult life (a truth not known by even those closest to me, and which I type now knowing cognitively that I am confessing, but feeling emotionally like my secret’s still safe… we’ll get to that…). The first time, I was prepared to toss myself off the top of a building when a custodian decided to take a smoke break at pretty much the exact moment I was perched on the ledge in dramatic cruciform (like, seriously, it was a straight-up homage to that “All for you, Damien,” scene in The Omen… Being suicidal’s one thing, but did I have to be so cliché?). I was so embarrassed that it didn’t even occur to me that had I jumped right then, I wouldn’t have had to worry about feeling embarrassed. I slunk off to my filthy apartment and cried over a sack full of Chalupas I couldn’t really afford. The second time, having never sipped a single drop of alcohol in my life, I attempted to chug a bottle of rum and swallow a bottle of pills. Ultimately, I fucked up the appropriate order of those two, and vastly underestimated my tolerance for alcohol. So all I succeeded in doing was drinking myself sick and throwing up all night. Never did get around to those pills.

There is a very particular, very specific flavor of shame associated with failed suicide attempts in which the word FAILED maintains its literal definition.

All of which is to say, I have some experiential familiarity with crazy-town-banana-pants. As a white heterosexual male writer who suffers from mental illness, nobody could blame me for crowning myself King Cliché of Trite Premise Mountain, presiding over the sovereign kingdom of Boo-Hoo-Ya-Big-Fuckin’-Baby.

Living with depression, with anxiety, with delusions and dementia, with the malfunctioning of the meat that sloshes around in your skull and makes you who you are, is an exercise in constant embarrassment. Your mantra becomes, “I should be able to do this.” You watch yourself, trapped inside your own eyeballs, sabotage every opportunity presented to you, be they professional (anybody remember that anthology I was supposed to be editing?) or romantic (there is a mysterious white stripe of skin on the third finger of my left hand made pale by a ring I no longer wear there) or interpersonal (oh the phone calls I’ve screened, oh the nights I’ve spent with a pillow over my head so I could pretend I didn’t hear my friends knocking on my door). You watch your family and friends transform, watch them go from pounding their fists against the wall and wailing at you to get your shit together, please, please, please, to shaking their head and shrugging at your latest failure, trying not to spend too much time dwelling on the potential they once thought they saw in you, the trust they put in you that you betrayed. The worst part is, you eventually hate yourself for so long that it no longer feels sharp. It no longer hurts to hate yourself. You look at yourself in the mirror, and your reflexive disgust feels familiar and common.

This is why I tend to get angry at the misuse and misattribution of the word “depression.” No, the last episode of The Walking Dead was not “depressing.” No, you don’t listen to The Smiths and pack away a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on days when you are feeling “a little depressed.” No, you are not “so fucking depressed” over the fact that Barack Obama was elected to a second term. I understand intellectually how unfair it is to make this distinction, how casual usage of the term has in some ways redefined it and made it broader and more populist. But emotionally, I can’t help but feel that it marginalizes and trivializes the experience of actual depression. Because those situations are, at worst, fogs through which one drives on the way to clearer conditions. Depression, or at least my experience of it, is a corner into which one is backed. Like the person-shaped holes in Junji Ito’s The Enigma of Amigara Fault, depression is a you-shaped space that contorts and twists and deforms the further you go.

I often tell people that depression forces you to choose between three options. Option one: live with it. Live in misery, in agony (because, yes, depression does physically hurt, deep down in the solar plexus, tugging at you in every direction at once, like some secret organ inside your chest has burst and you are now doomed to hemorrhage to death over the course of seventy years or so), scratching notches in the wall to document your various failures until old age or disease or blessed disaster make your decision for you.

Option two: kill yourself. Nobody wants to die, by the way. Especially not those of us who can’t accept the proposition of an afterlife. I’m reminded of the depressive woman in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest who says, “Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. The terror of falling from a great height is still as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and “Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” Wallace, as he almost always did, said it better than I ever could. Better than I ever will. And incidentally, this was Wallace’s eventual decision. I can’t fault him for it. I don’t subscribe to that bitter axiom exclusive to the living that suicide is the sole dominion of the selfish and the cowardly. How could I? My own Omen moment aside, I’ve seen more than one friend trade the flames for the fall. People I loved. People that loved me.

But then there’s option three. By far the most difficult and the most rewarding. You get help. You do what you must and you fight the motherfucker, because the motherfucker is worth fighting. You stare upon the strange and the miraculous and the unlikely and the gorgeous, those moments of true beauty and joy and wonder, no matter how how rare and infrequent they may be, and you ask yourself if you are really willing to never experience them again. Reading about or witnessing the capricious elegance of evolution and physics and astronomy, or the triumphant elation of watching truly talented live musicians, or the transcendent fun of really good sex, or those moments when your brain stops experiencing temporal conveyance because the piece of food between your molars is so goddamned tasty, or the wonder at discovering a piece of art that does something you didn’t know art could do. The songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life, as Morrissey once sang. Even if you have never experienced those things, other people have. And they aren’t any better or more deserving than you. If you want those things (and you do, trust me), then you need to fight for them.

Get some pills, or some vitamins, or some supplements, or some exercise, or all of those things. Talk to somebody whose job it is to neither love nor hate you. Stop telling yourself that you need it, that your misery is your fuel or your engine, because you don’t, and it isn’t. And make stuff. Before, when I confessed to attempting to end myself, I mentioned feeling like I wasn’t confessing at all. I feel that way because I’m not telling you this. I’m typing it. I’m narrating it. I’m stumbling around grasping at the right combination of words to create something. It’s what I do. I’m not the best at it (I ain’t Gary Braunbeck or Flannery O’Connor or Gabriel Garcia Marquez or the aforementioned Wallace). But when I write this stuff down, when I transmute it into narrative, it becomes (for a frozen moment) external. Ta-da. Home surgery. Reach in with gloved hands and extract the offending organ. Call your friends and have them take a look at it, offer their perspectives. Take a few photographs, jot down a few notes. Then set it back down where it belongs and sew yourself back up and remember what you saw when it wasn’t a part of you. Remember what it was when it was fictional, when it was external. Remember that your psychoses and your neuroses are not the same thing as YOU.

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Mo*Con VIII: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

May 3 – 5, 2013.  Indianapolis, IN

Previous Guest Blogs:

Maurice Broaddus – Being Crazy, Christian, and Creative

Lucy Snyder

Doug Warrick

Jim C. Hines

Gary A. Braunbeck

Nate Southard

Delilah Dawson

Michelle Pendergrass

Steven Saus

Janet Harriett

Road to Mo*Con VIII: Guest Blog by Lucy Snyder

With Mo*Con quickly approaching and with our main conversation centering on the issue of the mental health issues we writers may struggle with, I thought that I would encourage some guest posts from some of our guests as well as interested observers. One such observer would be author Lucy Snyder.

lucyI wanted to be a writer pretty much from the moment I learned how to read; my desire to be a speculative fiction writer was firmly cemented after I started reading books like Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.

Books like that were my respite from a world where I felt as though I did not belong, and worse, would never belong. But I’d lose myself in a book, and for a few hours the universe changed into a much better place. And I thought to myself that if I could write something that made another person feel that same shivery sense of wonder and excitement, then that would have to be the best job in the world.

But books couldn’t make everything better; I went through my first suicidal depression when I was 12 years old.

Part of it was a matter of brain chemistry, sure. But the other part was circumstantial: I grew up in a conservative military town in Texas. A town out in the big empty part of the state. There was the mundane stress of being female in a culture where girls were told at every turn that they were inherently less capable and worthwhile than boys and that their only true value lay in being decorative. That’s pretty depressing if you’re a girl with an ounce of ambition.

But there was also the matter of being a queer kid in that culture. I knew one boy in high school who was out as gay, and it’s a miracle he survived to adulthood. I don’t know any lesbians who came out then. It just wasn’t accepted. And bisexuality wasn’t a concept anyone discussed. It was a black-and-white world. Either you were straight, or you were a homo, and if you were a boy who kissed just one boy you were a homo for ever and ever after.

So I was effing terrified of being a lesbian. When I started having some “Hey, she’s cute” type feelings when I was young, I squashed those suckers down as far as they would go. This, of course, affected things. Badly. I became standoffish, and afraid of touching anyone or to be touched lest There Be Feelings. I kept to myself, and felt totally isolated.

So, yeah. I spent most of my teen years struggling with depression and anxiety. The depression part got somewhat better in college, only to return with a vengeance in the academic pressure cooker of graduate school. Which, perhaps not coincidentally, is when I started trying to write for publication.

For me, depression is like having a huge monster constantly looming over you. This vile creature breathes out toxic gas that clouds your mind and saps your energy, and with every breath it tells you, “You don’t deserve to live. Everything you do is a joke. You should have never been born. If you had any guts you’d take that bottle of pills in the medicine cabinet and wash it down with some Drano. You pathetic loser. You girl. You don’t deserve to live.”

Who the hell can write under those conditions? I know I sure can’t.

I went on meds for a while, and they alleviated my depression considerably. But the side effects nearly crippled me physically. I decided I’d rather be able to walk than be in a good mood, so I stopped taking my prescription and started trying other tactics.

My depression is a chronic illness that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. The symptoms might subside for a while, but I can count on them coming back if I’m not careful.

The toxic monster I described above? My first goal of every day is to wake up before it does, go down into the basement where it’s sleeping, and beat the thing unconscious. And then I can get on with my day.

Here are my weapons against depression:

1. I know my triggers, and take steps to avoid them. A big trigger for me is loneliness. I know that I probably can’t ever live by myself. Further, once I start slipping into depression, the monster will tell me that nobody really wants me around, they’re just humoring me, etc. And if I listen to those toxic thoughts, I will isolate myself and make the situation worse. So, I know that when I’m feeling the urge to withdraw, that’s exactly the time I need to be with people.

2. I know I need backup. The thing about depression is that once it starts, your brain isn’t working so well anymore. You might have an idea that seems perfectly lucid and rational to you, but in fact is neither. So, it’s important to have people around who will give you a reality check (and get you to a doctor when things get bad). My main backup is my husband, but I also have other friends I know I can count on.

3. I take care of my brain chemistry. Most people have heard of St. John’s Wort as an over-the-counter antidepressant. But that herb also gave me unpleasant side effects. After doing some research, I started taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and fish oil along with my morning coffee. And you know what? That combination works about as well as the prescription meds I was taking. I take 500-1000 milligrams of Vitamin C, 1000 IU of D, and 1200 mg of fish oil every day, plus probably 90 milligrams of caffeine from the coffee; the worst side effect I’ve had to deal with is the cats being super-interested in sniffing my breath.

I hope some of you found this useful. Write well, and be well.
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Mo*Con VIII: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

May 3 – 5, 2013.  Indianapolis, IN

Previous Guest Blogs:

Maurice Broaddus – Being Crazy, Christian, and Creative

Lucy Snyder

Doug Warrick

Jim C. Hines

Gary A. Braunbeck

Nate Southard

Delilah Dawson

Michelle Pendergrass

Steven Saus

Janet Harriett

A Couple of Story Sales

I have a couple stories appearing in upcoming anthologies:

Eulogies II - Tales from the CellarEulogies II:  Tales From the Cellar

Tom Piccirilli – The Thing With Nothing To Give And Nothing To Lose
Gerard Houarner – Touch
Gary Braunbeck – What Once Was Bone
The Great James A. Moore – No Title Announced
Maurice Broaddus – Awaiting Redemption
Lucy Snyder – Spare The rod
Matthew Warner – Muralistic
Steve Vernon: Captain Nothing Story – Neck Bolt Lynch Pin
Keith Minnion – On The Hooks
Gary McMahon – Kitty
Eric Dimbleby – Chuck
Rose Blackthorn: The Lilac Hedge
Michael Boatman: Born Again
Thad Linson: Writers Block
Janet Joyce Holden: Song In Absentia
Wesley Southard: By The Throat
Nicole Cushing: The Cat In The Cage
T. T. Zuma: Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song
Brent Jenkins: Meepy
Theresa C. Newbill: Three poems
Abra Staffin-Wiebe – The Miracle Material
David Schembri – The Black Father Of The Night
Magda Knight – Footnotes
Malcolm Laughton – Puttyskin
Jonathan Templar – The Second Carriage
Mary Madewell – A Mean Piece of Water
Eric Guignard – A Serving of Nomu Sashimi
Arthur Crow – Three Poems
Rebecca Brown – Jasmine and Opium
V. M. Zito – No Title Announced
John McIlveen – The Bore
Sean Logan – Dissolution

 

Next up, the anthology Vampires Don’t Sparkle from Seventh Star Press

Vampires Don't Sparkle“A New Life” by J. F. Gonzalez
“What Once was Flesh” by Tim Waggoner
“The Darkton Circus Mystery” by Elizabeth Massie
“Robot Vampire” by R. J. Sullivan
“Beneath a Templar Cross” by Gord Rollo
“The Weapon of Memory” by Kyle S. Johnson
“The Excavation” by Stephen Zimmer
“Skraeling” by Joel A. Sutherland
“Dreams of Winter” by Bob Freeman
“Dracula’s Winkee: Bloodsucker Blues” by Gregory L. Hall
“I F*** Your Sunshine” by Lucy A. Snyder
“A Soldier’s Story” by Maurice Broaddus
“Rattenkönig” by Douglas F. Warrick
“Vampire Nation” by Jerry Gordon
“Curtain Call” by Gary A. Braunbeck

Mo*Con 8: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

COMMUNITY * CONVERSATION * CREATIVITY
May 3rd – 5th, 2013

Official web site

Schedule

Accommodations

Mo*Con 8: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

Mo*Con has always been about the “intersection of art, faith, and social justice” and this year is no different. There’s no easy way to describe the Mo*Con experience, except as perhaps as a convention room party extended for a whole weekend, except held in a church. Its aim has always been to be fairly small and intimate, yet retaining the feel of a family reunion.

Part of what makes Mo*Con a different sort of convention is that it revolves around a series of conversations (and food and art). Mo*Con has a two part vision. The first, inspired by many a late night at conventions, is to provide a forum for publishing professionals to get together and discuss some of the larger issues which affect their writing and their social conscience. Discussions can be had in a spirit of respect. The second is that too often the artist is underappreciated and here they are spoiled.

This year’s theme is “The Mind and Spirit of the Artist,” revolving around a discussion on Saturday the 4th about the struggles many writers have with mental health issues and what that means for their craft, their lives, and their community. The featured writer guests of honor have all written publicly about their struggles with issues from depression to anxiety to other issues. As the countdown for Mo*Con begins, several will be posting part of their stories.

This is the first year the event will be held at Broad Ripple United Methodist Church. The convention has expanded to include a First Friday event featuring the art of Steve Gilberts and Kristin Fuller. There will also be a spoken word performance from prominent poets: DDE the Slammer, Devon Ginn, Pope Adrian, Bless, Theon Lee Jones, Dizz, Reheema McNeil, ParaLectra, and Mr. Kinetik, hosted by Ill Holiday. These events will be open to the public. The spoken word event will be a fundraiser event for the local non-profit group, Second Story.

We’ll be debuting a few projects at this year’s Mo*Con. Seventh Star Press is the featured publisher this year.

The event is expected to draw over 100 writers, artists, editors, and publishers and many networking sessions. A half dozen workshops will be offered ranging from topics like privacy issues for writers to post-apocalyptic fiction to hands on demonstrations.

Our Guests of Honor:

 

Jim C. Hines

Photo © Denise Leigh

Jim C. Hines began writing in the early 90s, while working on a degree in psychology from Michigan State University. His first professional sale was the award-winning “Blade of the Bunny,” which took first place in the 1998 Writers of the Future competition and was published in Writers of the Future XV. After completing the goblin trilogy, Jim went on to write the princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. In 2010, he signed a contract with DAW Books for the Magic ex Libris series, which follows the adventure of a magic-wielding librarian from northern Michigan and a certain fire-spider… http://www.jimchines.com/

 

Saladin Ahmed

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, MI.  He holds a BA in American Culture from the University of Michigan, an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College, and an MA in English from Rutgers. His poetry has received several fellowships, and he has taught writing at universities and colleges for over ten years.  His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and numerous other magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is his first novel. www.saladinahmed.com

 

Gary Braunbeck
Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books; his fiction has been translated into Japanese, French, Italian, Russian and German. Nearly 200 of his short stories have appeared in various publications. He was born in Newark, Ohio; this city that serves as the model for the fictitious Cedar Hill in many of his stories. The Cedar Hill stories are collected in Graveyard People and Home Before Dark.  His fiction has received several awards, including the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction in 2003 for “Duty” and in 2005 for “We Now Pause for Station Identification”; his collection Destinations Unknown won a Stoker in 2006. His novella “Kiss of the Mudman” received the International Horror Guild Award for Long Fiction in 2005.  Gary is an adjunct professor at Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania, where he teaches in an innovative Master’s degree program in Writing Popular Fiction.

 

Publisher Guest of Honor

Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher located in Lexington, KY.  SSP specializes in speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and horror).  The company  was established in October of 2008.  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker, whose literary works include the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga, as well as the epic medieval fantasy Fires in Eden Series. The Exodus Gate, Book One of the Rising Dawn Saga, was Stephen’s debut novel. His novel, Crown of Vengeance, received a 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel in Small Press. Further information on Stephen Zimmer can be found at: Website:www.stephenzimmer.com

With more guests and surprises to be announced!  Keep an eye on the web site!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Homeless Have Stories to Share

CollageIndianapolis, Indiana – February 28, 2013

Telling Our Stories

April 5 – April 30, 2013

Opening Friday, April 5th, 7 – 10 p.m.

 

Fletcher Place Arts and Books is pleased to present Telling Our Stories, an exhibition of work from residents of A New Way of Life.  Please join us on Friday, April 5th from 6 – 10 p.m. for the exhibit’s opening and to meet the artists.

A New Way of Life, a transitional housing ministry located in the Fountain Square area, partnered with the LYN House and Cities of Refuge Ministries to go through the Viewfinder  Project.  The resulting photographs provide glimpses into their stories and perspective.

“It will give a chance for our guys to let the community know where they’ve been and where they’re trying to go,” Floyd Wimbush, founder and director, said.  “It brings life to our mission statement.”

The exhibit is a collection of photographs taken in Fountain Square and downtown Indianapolis.  They explore the beauty and ugliness in their lives and reflect the choices they have made and point to their future.

Cities of Refuge Ministries, a sister transitional housing non-profit, will also be providing catering for the event.

For additional information, e-mail Maurice Broaddus at mauricebroaddus@gmail.com.

 

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A New Way of Life Ministries is a faith-based, non-profit organization, assisting men and women in the homeless community transition towards independent living.  Learn more at http://www.anewway-life.org/

Fletcher Place Arts and Books is a place where artists could display their work, books could be available for all to share and read, space could exist for people to begin engaging the creative process.  Learn more at http://fpartsandbooks.com/

The LYN House  provide a safe place for the community’s residents, to gather for fellowship, and to help meet the educational needs of the community through tutoring and mentoring, and to serve as a hub for service projects and mission teams who want to come and redevelop the neighborhood.  Learn more at http://www.lynhouse.org/

Cities of Refuge Ministries assists motivated homeless men and women in the greater Indianapolis community transition from a state of homelessness to a stable living arrangement through employment and home ownership.  Learn more at http://www.coreindy.org/

The Viewfinder Project uses photography to help people of all ages “see life differently” challenging them to use creative thinking in becoming community change makers.   Learn more at http://theviewfinderproject.com/

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mo*Con has a New Home

Indianapolis, Indiana – February 28, 2013 – The eighth annual Mo*Con, a gathering of speculative fiction writers, will be held at the Broad Ripple United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, IN the weekend of May 3-4, 2013.

“The convention has grown each year and I love that we’ve carved out a safe place for writers to come and discuss controversial issues of faith, art, and social justice,” said founder Maurice Broaddus, author of the urban fantasy series, The Knights of Breton Court.  “We have another stellar lineup of science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors for folks to come and get to know.”

This year’s theme is “The Mind and Spirit of the Artist,” revolving around a discussion on Saturday the 4th about the struggles many writers have with mental health issues and what that means for their craft, their lives, and their community.  The event is expected to draw over 100 writers, artists, editors, and publishers and many networking sessions.  A half dozen workshops will be offered ranging from topics like privacy issues for writers to post-apocalyptic fiction to hands on demonstrations.

Featured writer guests of honor include Jim C. Hines (author of Libriomancer), Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon), and Gary Braunbeck (author of Far Dark Fields).  The featured publisher is Stephen Zimmer of Seventh Star Press.

This is the first year the event will be held at Broad Ripple United Methodist Church.  The convention has expanded to include a First Friday event featuring the art of Steve Gilberts and Kristin Fuller.  There will also be a spoken word performance from prominent poets:  DDE the Slammer, Devon Ginn, Pope Adrian, Bless, Theon Lee Jones, Dizz, Reheema McNeil, ParaLectra, and Mr. Kinetik, hosted by Ill Holiday.  These events will be open to the public.  The spoken word event will be a fundraiser event for the local non-profit group, Second Story.

A welcome dinner Friday night as well as a catered lunch and dinner Saturday are a part of the event.  Early bird registration is $50 and covers all sessions and meals.

Second Story is a community-based and volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) organization that helps young people in Indianapolis form positive attitudes about writing and improve their skills as writers .  All donations are tax deductible.  Learn more at http://www.secondstoryindy.org/

Mo*Con is co-sponsored by the IHW, a speculative fiction writers group.  Learn more at http://www.indianahorror.org/

For additional information, e-mail Maurice Broaddus at mauricebroaddus@gmail.com.

 

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Maurice Broaddus has written hundreds of short stories, essays, novellas, and articles.  His dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, including Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Black Static, and Weird Tales Magazine.  He is the co-editor of the Dark Faith anthology series (Apex Books) and the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books).  He has been a teaching artist for over five years, teaching creative writing to elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as adults.  Visit his site at www.MauriceBroaddus.com.

Jim C. Hines began writing in the early 90s, while working on a degree in psychology from Michigan State University. His first professional sale was the award-winning “Blade of the Bunny,” which took first place in the 1998 Writers of the Future competition and was published in Writers of the Future XV. After completing the goblin trilogy, Jim went on to write the princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. In 2010, he signed a contract with DAW Books for the Magic ex Libris series, which follows the adventure of a magic-wielding librarian from northern Michigan and a certain fire-spider…

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, MI.  He holds a BA in American Culture from the University of Michigan, an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College, and an MA in English from Rutgers. His poetry has received several fellowships, and he has taught writing at universities and colleges for over ten years.  His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and numerous other magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is his first novel.

Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books; his fiction has been translated into Japanese, French, Italian, Russian and German. Nearly 200 of his short stories have appeared in various publications. He was born in Newark, Ohio; this city that serves as the model for the fictitious Cedar Hill in many of his stories. The Cedar Hill stories are collected in Graveyard People and Home Before Dark.  His fiction has received several awards, including the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction in 2003 for “Duty” and in 2005 for “We Now Pause for Station Identification”; his collection Destinations Unknown won a Stoker in 2006. His novella “Kiss of the Mudman” received the International Horror Guild Award for Long Fiction in 2005.  Gary is an adjunct professor at Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania, where he teaches in an innovative Master’s degree program in Writing Popular Fiction.

Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher located in Lexington, KY.  SSP specializes in speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and horror).  The company  was established in October of 2008.  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker, whose literary works include the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga, as well as the epic medieval fantasy Fires in Eden Series. The Exodus Gate, Book One of the Rising Dawn Saga, was Stephen’s debut novel. His novel, Crown of Vengeance, received a 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel in Small Press.