Congratulations to all the Elgin Award Winners!

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Elgin award, especially Marge Simon, who I had the pleasure of interviewing earlier this year as well as reviewing her second place winner, Small Spirits: Dark Dolls.

Read that interview here.

Read the review here.

The largest pool of poetry books and chapbooks to date—51 books were nominated! I am thrilled to have been nominated with my first poetry chapbook, In Favor of Pain, and was told it made it to 9th place.

Full-Length Book Category

  • Winner: Field Guide to the End of the World • Jeannine Hall Gailey (Moon City Press, 2016)
  • Second Place (tie): A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora • Jenna Le (Anchor & Plume, 2016)
  • Second Place (tie): Small Spirits: Dark Dolls • Marge Simon (Midnight Town Media, 2016)
  • Third Place: Dead Starships • Wendy Rathbone (Eye Scry Publications, 2016)

Chapbook Category

  • Winner: Leviathan • Neil Aitken (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016)
  • Second Place: Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall Out of Love • Margaret Rhee (Finishing Line Press, 2016)
  • Third Place: Apocalypse • John C. Mannone (Alban Lake, 2015)

Find out more about the the Science Fiction Poetry Association here.

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Kansas City, Where the Fun is Free

I’m really surprised by all the free, fun stuff there is to do in Kansas City. We went out today and hit some of the major attractions and paid not a penny.

Our first stop was the Boulevard Brewery for a tour. Our tour guide was Jason, an engaging and informative free spirit. The whole thing was one of the more interesting tours I’ve been on. It helps a lot that you start the tour with a free glass of beer and end the tour with two more amazing beers of your choice. Free tour and free beer???

Next we went to the Kansas City Federal Reserve. We got to watch them count money, got to heft a real gold bar to feel it’s weight and watch the workers (and robots!) count huge stacks of $20s. After the tour, they give you free (shredded) money. Free tour and free money???

Kansas City is unreal.

See more free stuff to do here in Kansas City.

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The Nocturnal Life in KC

We’ve been in Kansas City for over 24 hours now, and I’m already happily adjusting to a nocturnal lifestyle. The job I’ll be working is third shift, so I’m now waking up and starting my day while most of you are closing yours down. I love it.

Living at night means no traffic, no crowds and no sun glare. I don’t have the best vision during the day, but at night we are all equally challenged. It’s cool (not that Kansas City is hot) and calm. My phone doesn’t give me dozens of notifications because everyone I know is asleep. It’s peaceful.

Kansas City itself is a nice surprise. There is a ton of stuff to do, and almost all of it is free. The wages are high and the cost of living is really low compared to what I’m used to. There are parks and green areas everywhere. In my first 24 hours I saw wild deer in the city and met up with a raccoon at the dumpster. There is low humidity and a constant breeze.

Friday morning (now my Thursday night) I go in to in-process and find out details about this job and then it’s off to explore the city. I’ll be posting photos to my Instagram feed of what we see. In the meantime, here is the poem I wrote when I woke up to face a lovely, dark day.

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Write With Fright

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From Soraya: Interview with Steve Niles

While I travel, we have another interview today from my friend, Soraya Murillo Hernandez, from Spain. Soraya speaks Spanish, and I only speak English, so our friendship has leaned heavily on technology and Google Translate.

Soraya has so many, incredible interviews, I’ve created a category for her work. You can find all Soraya’s interviews at From Soraya. Today, she shares her interview with Steve Niles.

Steve Niles (born June 21, 1965) is an American comic book author and novelist, known for works such as 30 Days of NightCriminal MacabreSimon DarkMystery Society and Batman: Gotham County Line.

He is credited among other contemporary writers as bringing horror comics back to prominence, authoring such works as 30 Days of Night, its sequel, Dark Days (IDW Publishing), and Criminal Macabre (Dark Horse Comics) with frequent artist collaborator Ben Templesmith.

Photo courtesy of pinguino k from North Hollywood, USA.

Soraya—Because of your birthplace, do you have any creative, didactic, moral or personal influence, taken from the streets and suburbs of New Jersey, as well as its urban artists, or from your friends? 

Steve Niles—I was born in New Jersey but left at a young age. I wound up spending most of my childhood and teenage years in Washington DC which had a major effect on me. I was part of the local music scene in DC which had a very DIY attitude and I think a lot of that rubbed off on me. In the scene we put out our own records, booked our own shows and tours and pretty much did everything ourselves without relying on the big corporate music companies.

What is your personal opinion about the big publishing houses or industrial companies inside of the writing and comic world, and what took you to undertake the adventure of creating your own publishing company, Arcane Comic?

Steve Niles—Because of the DIY music scene I was a part of when I decided I wanted to write and publish comics I did it myself. I formed Arcane at a young age but realized very quickly my strength was not in business. From that point on I became just a writer and have been at it ever since.

How did you live the experience of being adapted to the big screen with 30 Days of Night?

Steve Niles—It was a very exciting and positive experience. The producers and director kept me in the loop throughout the process that took nearly seven years. In the end I was very happy with the film so all around it was a great experience.

Are you working on any project unknown at present?

Steve Niles—I have several projects I’m working on at the moment but nothing I can really talk about yet. My main focus has been on October Faction which is a monthly title I do with Damien Worm.

Regarding the last question, have you ever thought, for example, writing a steampunk horror novel? 

Steve Niles—Not really.

You are one of the writers that better know the independent publishing world. Based on that and on your long way as a professional in literacy and graphic art, which advice would you give to an independent publisher who wants to follow your steps?

Steve Niles—You have to love what you do. If you don’t love it you are in for a lot of disappointment. Being a writer is very tough and even harder to sustain so be sure that you love what you are doing and that will go a long way.

Do you have your own resources to get inspired for writing? Any kind of ritual? Any mania?

Steve Niles—Mostly reading inspired writing but I’ll also watch films to trigger creativity. The only ritual I have is sitting at my desk first thing every morning and waking up as I try to think of things to write.

Why did you choose horror? What were the reasons or the special reason besides you like that genre?

Steve Niles—I was actually scared of horror as a young child and then around the fourth grade I fell in love with everything that scared me.

What can you tell us about working with Damien Worm?

Steve Niles—Working with Damien has been fantastic. I think we’ve been working together for three years now and it’s been a pleasure. He’s got a great attitude and he is very, very talented.

You shot amateur movies. What memories you keep from that?

Steve Niles—Mostly I have memories of setting things on fire and covering my friends with blood. It was a fun way to try and tell stories but in the end I found writing to be a much more satisfying and less messy way.

Which writers are your biggest influence?

Steve Niles—Richard Matheson is one of my biggest influences. From I am Legend to his Twilight Zone episodes he was always fresh and original.

Photo by Luigi Novi.

It is said that you are a very good reader. Can you learn to write by reading?

Steve Niles—I think it’s very important to read as a writer. Reading makes you a better writer.

It is obvious that you enjoy your work with a passion. Is that also the key for your success?

Steve Niles—I think it is. I really love what I do and I look forward to everything I write and I love collaborating with artists.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez

From  Soraya Murillo Hernandez: I am an early reader, I started reading very soon and I was interested in terror, I liked to look for monsters and ghosts in the stories. Then I knew that the greatest terror came from humans. I am a book reviewer in Spain, I do it free to help its authors to know their works.

Soy una lectora precoz, comencé muy pronto a leer y me interese por el terror, me gustaba buscar monstruos y fantasmas en las historias. Luego supe que el mayor terror venia de los humanos . Soy reseñadora de libros en España, lo hago gratis para ayudar a sus autores a conocer sus obras.

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One Letter at a Time

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Packing to Poe Versus King

We leave for Kansas City tomorrow night after our taekwondo testing, so we are busy packing and preparing. I’ll fill in more details tomorrow. For now, enjoy an Epic Rap Battle—Edgar Allen Poe versus Stephen King.

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The Art of Words

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Easy Doesn’t Mean Good

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Kansas City Bound!

Everything is set and I can now confirm that Saturday’s event at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will be my LAST event in Florida this year.

Then I will be temporarily relocating to Kansas City until the end of the year. If this seems like a surprise, you aren’t alone. This was not in my plan last week.

After Saturday, I won’t be making any more appearances locally. The Creative Community Day event at the SpaceBox Storage in Niceville is continuing as planned. Friend and fellow author Tami Kidd is the organizer for that. The only classes I will be teaching until the end of the year are online, which you can find here.

Looking forward to new horizons but not forgetting the old ones. This is not a permanent good-bye to the Emerald Coast. I plan to be back in 3-6 months. Yes, I will miss seeing all my friends locally every week. Don’t forget me :)

You can always keep up with me on Instagram and Facebook.

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