Category Archives: podcast

Nine Worlds 2015

So, we’re still months away from the Nine Worlds Geekfest convention for 2015, which is taking place on 7-9th August in London but I’m writing about it on here for a couple of reasons.

I attended the event last year, and it was a remarkable event which was eye-opening and the most inclusive event I’ve ever attended with a very relaxed atmosphere. It was also kind of terrifying because in addition to co-running the podcast track with Barry Nugent of Geek Syndicate fame, I also read a section from my book Battlemage for the first time in public. The panel was called New Voices and new authors stood up in front of a room full of strangers and read for about 5 minutes. I was nervous, sweaty, gassy and generally not comfortable. I’m very much someone who normally works behind the scenes, pulling strings as it were. I’m not someone who seeks the limelight and I don’t like to be the centre of attention but this time there was nowhere to hide. But I think it went fairly well, I stumbled a couple of times but people seemed to enjoy it so that was good.

All of those nerves will have to be brushed aside or buried soon as September marks the launch of Battlemage, the first book in my trilogy, so I suspect I will be doing more public readings in the near future. I might even be doing something for it at Nine Worlds but it is too early to say just yet.

Nine Worlds also marks the return of the podcasting track. This year I’m taking a bit of a step back as I’m busy writing book 3, editing book 2, and promoting and launching book 1, so my co-host on the Comic Book Outsiders podcast, Dr Scott, is helping Barry and I run the podcast track this year.

So, we have worked out what panels we are doing for the track, now we just need more people to sign up for it. So, if you are a podcaster and you want to get involved, if you want to talk about what you do, how to do it, why you do it, when and where, and all aspects in between, then sign up on the Nine Worlds website here. As I said, still months away but we need to get it sorted ahead of time.

Even if you’re not into podcasting I would recommend the event as it has more than one track for all walks of geekdom and you will find lots of things to keep you busy for a few days. In the meantime it’s back to the writing cave.

 

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April bits and pieces

It is almost May and as the year races by I’m desperately trying to hold on to the seat of my pants and get stuff done. The first draft of book three is under way, and I’ve had a couple of months now to get my head back into it, completely ignore the other two books and focus. It’s been going well so far despite having to attend two funerals in two months and of course Eastercon. But despite such events being so draining I always come away feeling reinvigorated and so far that has continued as I chip away at the wall of book 3.

Two comic book projects are now cooking with gas. Flux, co-written with my good chum Pete Rogers and drawn by Maysam Barza, is getting beaten into shape and we’re editing and revising the story, making it better and leaner. When we hit a bump in the road, rather than make it even more complex we’re stripping it back, getting to the core of the story and it’s going very well.

The Promise, also co-written with Pete, and drawn by the extremely talented Simone Guglielmini, is now getting to the place where we are hoping to be able to submit it to a publisher this year. Simone has proven to be as passionate about this project as us which has been so rewarding and he’s been brilliant at throwing ideas at us, as well as sketches and amazing pages of art.

This month’s podcasts, on Bags of Action Pete and I wrapped up part 3 of our trilogy to Kurt Russell, with Tango and Cash, which was really a vehicle for Sly Stallone. You can find more information about it and listen to that here, by clicking on the link below, or via iTunes.

Click here to download Bags of Action – Tango and Cash

Over on Comic Book Outsiders, Scott and I managed to fill up a whole episode with some of the latest news from comics, films and film trailers and TV. We discussed the new wave of Marvel TV but there are no spoilers as I’ve not seen any of Daredevil yet and Scott was only halfway through. You can find more information about that here or again listen via iTunes.

I think the rest of the year is going to be more of the same, a mix of editing book 2, working on comic book projects and then getting ready for the launch of Battlemage in September. I’m at events in August and September, so that’s going to be a hectic time and then next year I’ve got two books coming out. So this year is going to seem like a gentle breeze and a warm up compared to 2016!

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February’s Podcasts

As mentioned last month, the Podcasting network I am involved with has had a face lift and a kick in the pants, and now we are back on track with a regular schedule and more new content.

Pete Rogers, my co-host on Bags of Action had some very nice things to say about then new website and new logo. You should be following his posts anyway so take a look at his website. This month’s episodes are:-

CBO – Episode 170 – In honour of our first guest on the new Crash Landing, our main feature is about our favourite detectives from film and television, plus all of the latest news from geek culture.

Bags of Action – Episode 17 – Big Trouble in Little China – the classic John Carpenter, Kurt Russell film about weird things going bump in Chinatown. It’s a film full of weird magic, karate kicking, cheesy one liners, weird CGI things, flying men, swords, guns, lots of punching and even the odd romantic moment!

Crash Landing – Episode 1 – The first of a new monthly podcast. Every episode we maroon a guest on our crashing spaceship. They have one hour to salvage humanity’s most important cultural artefacts before they crash land on the planet of their choice.

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Podcasting empire

I’ve been podcast for over seven years now and the landscape has changed dramatically in that time. When we started not many people really knew what podcasting was and the number of podcasts and people listening was a fraction of what is today.

Coming up on eight years on from when we first started in July 2007, my co-host and I have done all sorts with the podcast and it has led to all sorts of opportunities, personally and professionally. I’ve attended comic book conventions and spoken on panels about podcasting, their place in the new media landscape and taken part in discussions about whether or not it’s a form of journalism. I also co-ran the podcasting track at the Nine Worlds Geekfest convention last year and will be involved again this year.

Professionally I’ve used the editing and sound skills I learned from a hobby in two of my jobs. One was to introduce podcasting to a large global company who wanted to keep their employees up to date in a way that was mobile. So I trained a couple of other people on good technique, introduced them to the software and how it works, and off they went. I’ve also used the same skills for video editing and my voice has been used on several demonstration videos which I put together.

On a personal level, podcasting has allowed me to speak with some amazing creative people, writers and artist from several mediums, plus independent filmmakers. This was sometimes on the Book Club where we spoke to authors, and sometimes on Comic Book Outsiders.

We’ve now reached the point where after so many years we’ve settled into a rhythm and are still enjoying what we do. With that in mind I thought it might be worth giving a little bit of information about the podcasts I’m involved with, as part of our mini podcasting empire!

Comic Book Outsiders – Once a month I co-host this comics and geek related podcast with Scott. This was the original podcast we started in 2007 and we are still going. We talk about things in the news, comics books, TV, films and games, we discuss meaty topics, we have guests on to talk about their work and we highlight hidden gems that don’t get as much attention as they should.

Bags of Action – Once a month I co-host this podcast with Pete Rogers. If you love action movies then this is the podcast for you. We talk about the ridiculous stories and the wonderful chaos common to this type of movie. From gun fights that go on forever to fist fights that defy gravity and common sense. Every month we discuss and dissect an action movie and always have a good time recording it. Sometimes we go off the rails a bit and dig into some of the trivia, or we just wander off into other areas if the film is poor.

Crash Landing – Once a month Scott sits down with a special guest. Fortunately they have been rescued from a dying earth. Unfortunately the rocket ship they are on is going to crash land. They have to decide which popular media they want to save, books, films or comics, or a combination of all three. What could they not live without on their brave new world? As well as talking about why they love their choices we find out more about our special guests each month.

The website for the CBO network has more information on all of the podcasts, plus ways you can get involved and even support the podcasts. It’s all on iTunes as well so give one or more of the podcasts a try and let me know what you think.

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That’s a wrap

Quick general update. This month has been flying by. It’s been super busy in the day job, and I’ve been stacked up at night with various things. Probably the most exciting news is that the proof of Battlemage is done! I spotted a few things, had a few more fed back to me from the publisher and I’ve sent back my comments on them. So that’s it. I’m done. That’s a wrap!

There are some tweaks to be made to the cover, but that’s not up to me and I’ve already sent in my comments. So now book 1 is completely finished for me (there’s still the whole printing and binding thing, but it’s probably not a good idea for me to do that!) and the next time I see it, Battlemage the book will be a thing. A physical artefact that I can hold in my hand. The final sum total of years of work by many people. It’s very scary and also the prospect of seeing the book is one of the most exciting things in my life. It is literally a dream come true.

So now I’m trying to get my head back into book 2, then send that off and I will hopefully have a gap of a few months to sink back into book 3 and make some good progress.

Other stuff, episode 169 of the Comic Book Outsiders podcast is out now which I co-host. We talk about some of the latest geek news, and then in terms of comics we revisit The Fuse, Letter 44 and Southern Bastards. Also episode 18 of Bags of Action is out, part 3 of our trilogy to Arnie and we discuss Predator, a classic film of the late eighties.

The newest comic book project I’ve been working on, and actually the one I can say the least about, is proving to be the most exciting and it is racing ahead. It’s proving to be both incredibly challenging and also very rewarding because of it’s unusual nature and the approach. Hopefully I can share some more details about this soon.

So, in the meantime, it’s back to work on the second draft of book 2, enjoying the current mid-season break of TV shows as I have less to distract me. In April it all kicks off with Eastercon, Dyprosium, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and a bucket load of new Marvel Lego to go with it. Lots of awesome stuff to look forward to.

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CBO – The Relaunch

Last month, Scott, my co-host, and I did a soft relaunch of our podcast, Comic Book Outsiders, for a third time. We’ve been going for over seven years now, and this is more of a refresh than a total relaunch. We’ve got a new theme tune, which is more relaxed and chilled out than previous intros, to reflect our approach, but we’re still going to be producing similar content, just on a more regular basis.

As well as doing CBO once a month, we’re also going to add a new podcast to the network. As soon as I can say more about this I will. I think it’s something different, and quite new, which is increasingly difficult to find with podcasts these days. When we started there were not that many around, and we had to explain to people what a podcast was! Technology moves so quickly it’s hard to believe. I’ve seen 2 year old children swiping tablet screens and knowing how to turn them on and off.

Anyway, back on podcasting. Also on our network, I co-host Bags of Action, a monthly podcast about action movies, where Pete Rogers and I cackle as we dissect modern and classic action films. We’ve just completed a three part Salute to Swayze, and are now moving into a trilogy dedicated to Arnie. We always have fun recording it. This was the initial requirement Scott and I had, and that if it ever stopped being fun and started to feel like a job we’d stop doing it. We came close a couple of times over the seven years, which is why our output and schedule varied at times .

Since we started Comic Book Outsiders our plan has always been to highlight hidden gems and spotlight comics, books, films and TV shows that deserve more attention. Over the years we’ve spoken to some amazing comic book artists and writers, novelists, film directors and people whose work cross several mediums. This is absolutely the best thing about doing the podcast. Talking to amazing people who are out there creating amazing content.

Our approach remains the same, as we both have quite eclectic tastes, and my comic reading horizons have definitely broadened over the last fifteen years. We do enjoy mainstream media and will discuss it, like some of the best films but I’m constantly challenging myself and Scott to step outside our comfort zones.

In the first episode of our relaunch, we had a Challenge Scott section, a semi-regular slot where I pitch Scott three comic books and try to get him interested enough to pick up at least one of them. Further down the line we then discuss the comic book. Last episode I pitched Letter 44 from Oni Press, The Fuse from Image comics, and Southern Bastards from Image comics. In the end Scott went with SB, because it sounded the furthest out of his comfort zone and the story intrigued him. I think it will be a really interesting discussion which we’ll be having as part of the January episode. So if you want to get involved, have read any of the three mentioned, and have an opinion on SB, then get in touch.

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My Panels at Nine Worlds 2014

A short list of where I’ll be during Nine Worlds in a couple of weeks time.

Between 10am and 1pm on all three days I’ll be keeping an eye on the Podcasting Track which I’m co-running with an old friend, Barry Nugent, from Geek Syndicate. Barry and I go way back, almost to the dawn of UK podcasting. I think we’ve come up with some great panels and I’m particularly looking forward to Saturday for both the TED style talk from Dr Scott and the epic geek quiz. I think they’re both going to be brilliant fun.

On top of that I am also appearing on a couple of panels listed below.

Saturday – All The Books Track

Likeable Bad Guys
Loving you is easy; explaining you is so hard
1.30 – 2.45pm
County C&D
We love to hate them, we hate to love them: from great one-liners to a sympathetic backstory, from the evil laugh to villian-fabulous fashion: what makes bad guys soooooo good?
Panel: Ed Fortune, Rochita Loenen Ruiz, Stephen Aryan, Anna Caltabiano, Den Patrick

Saturday – All the Books Track

New Voices: the Class of 2014 continued!
10.15pm – 11.30pm
Royal B
More fun and fast-paced readings from the very best new writers.

I will be doing my first public reading ever. I’ll be reading from Battlemage, which is due out next year from Orbit. Not nervous at all. Nope. No. Not me. Oh lordy.

Sunday – Podcasting Track

The Power of New Media
11.45am – 1.00pm
This interactive roundtable panel follows on from Saturday’s talk about new media. Four podcasters will discuss and explore with the audience the growing power of new media and the rise of the everyman journalist.
Speakers: Barry Nugent, Emma Newman, Stephen Aryan, Scott Grandison

Barry, Emma, and Dr Scott, my co-host from Comic Book Outsiders will sit down to talk about podcasting, new media and where it’s going. Hopefully we’ll get the audience involved and make this an interactive session where audience members come with their own questions and ideas.

 

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Summer Holiday

In a few days I’ll be off on my annual summer holiday for a much needed week of rest and relaxation in the sun. It will give me a chance to catch up on my reading (see previous for my list of books I’m taking away), my sleep and to recharge the batteries because when I get back it’s going to get very busy for a while.

In August I will be attending the second annual Nine Worlds event. I’ve posted about it before and after hearing such great things about it from last year I’m really looking forward to it this year. Not because of my small role in helping to organise a small part of it (the podcast track which I’ve running with a friend), but because of the many other tracks that are running at the event and the variety. Conventions are typically quite linear, organised around a particular TV show, or film, and to be fair sometimes there are cross TV show conventions, where a few guests from two or three shows.

Book conventions often bring together authors from related genres and sometimes there’s a tangentially connected guest from left field, but by necessity really events are quite focused so people know what they’re getting when they buy a ticket. Nine Worlds is the first convention of its kind that I’ve seen in the UK. One that has a track for books, and you can spend all weekend at that one, but if you want to jump over here for a few hours and do something else you can. So I’m going to jumping between monitoring the podcasting track, attending panels on the book track, dipping in and out of the games track, and possibly the gaming area, browsing the dealer room and probably dropping in on a few other panels here and there. I’m also appearing on a couple of panels, one for the podcast track and one for the book track, but I’ll post more info closer to the time.

Another reason I’m excited about the convention is because I don’t get down to London very often, maybe once or twice a year, and it will give me a chance to meet up with a lot of convention friends I only see when I’m down there. I spend a fair amount of time talking to them online via social media and email, but it really isn’t the same. So I’m really looking forward to sitting down and chatting over a pint or two, and meeting up in person with some new people I’ve chatted to online for the first time.There are too many to name individually, but I’m sure there will be photographic evidence and lots of blog posts after the fact.

So at Nine Worlds there will be copious drinking, hopefully a few games of Cards Against Humanity and I’m taking my Magic cards and might get to battle a few people with those, although I am incredibly rusty so it will take me a while to get back into the swing of things. When I say rusty I’m not being modest, I mean it. The last time I played Magic was when it first came out, maybe ten or twelve years ago, so I definitely need to practice a bit. Overall I think it’s going to be a cracking weekend but utterly exhausting.

Thankfully it’s nearly a month until the next convention, Fantasycon in York, so I will have plenty of time to recover. I’m not running anything at that event, so it should be a bit more relaxing, but no doubt there will be more drinking, meet-ups, panels and organised chaos.

After that it’s all quiet for a while, so I’ll be head down grafting away on book 2, then making a start on book 3. As tiring as the events will be they’re actually really good for invigorating me, and they make me want to get back to my own writing. I think it has sometimes to do with being around so many other creative people. Even though I could away exhausted it’s a good thing. So, I’m off soon, have a good summer holiday and I’ll probably see some of you at Nine Worlds next month.

 

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June General Update

This month seems to be about podcasting, more or less.

For a few months I’ve been busy working away in secret with Barry from Geek Syndicate to plan and coordinate a podcast mini track at the forthcoming Nine Worlds event in London this August. Our panels will run from 10am to 1pm on all three days and the panel descriptions and more information is available here.

One of the guest speakers on the podcast track is my podcasting partner in crime, Dr Scott, who will be sharing his wisdom. We’re still recording together, and we might even try to do something live and in the same room at Nine Worlds, although the last time we tried that it was weird being able to make eye contact with him.

This is the second year of the event, after a highly successful first year with an event that encompasses all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas. It really is unlike any other event as it combines so many different things. More information on all of the tracks is available here.

Last week Pete Rogers and I recorded another episode of our Bags of Action podcast where we discuss an action film. This time it was the 1989 classic, Next of Kin starring the late great Patrick Swayze. You can download a copy direct from the website here, or search for it on iTunes.

Apart from that, I’m busy doing the usual things, so there’s not much to say. I’m editing book 1, Battlemage, then I will jump back to working on the first draft of book 2. All of the book stuff still seems so far away in the future, which is great in some ways, as it means I have ages to write books 2 and 3. In reality once I parcel up the time required, it’s not that long and I’m sure the time will just fly by between now and next October. In which case, I’m off, I’ve got too much to do and too little time!

 

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December Update

Christmas is just around the corner and everything is starting to wind down at the end of the year. I’ve got a couple more weeks at work before I break up for a lovely break over the holidays, so I thought I would do a quick update.

I’m still editing the novel, it’s gone through another round and is currently with my agent for feedback. The comic book projects are inching along, but they all take a lot of time so I’m seeing sketches and pages in progress, but there’s nothing to post.

A couple of weeks ago I took part in a round table podcast about World Fantasy Con 2013, which I attended in Brighton this year. Scrolls is a SFF book podcast, part of the Geek Syndicate network, hosted by the lovely Dion, and he guided the discussion of four people about WFC. We talked about what we enjoyed and didn’t, the panels, the hotel, and basically gave as much information about this sort of convention as possible. I’m guilty of doing this myself, but I sometimes talk about events or comics or books, and just assume other people are aware and have the same level of knowledge as I do about that part of geekdom. So we break down the convention and give people a general idea of what to expect at this type of event. Karen Davies, Paul Holmes,  Phil Ambler and myself shared our impressions of WFC.

You can download and listen to the podcast here or look for it on iTunes under the Geek Syndicate podcast.

Might squeeze a couple of short posts in before the end of the year, but they’re likely to be brief and one or two might be real ale reviews as I have been sampling a few and just haven’t got around to writing down my thoughts about them just yet. I hope you all have a lovely and relaxing holiday.

 

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