Well, I had a great time representing Codorus Press at the Western Md. Independent Lit Festival at Frostburg State University this past weekend. Got to hang out with a few of my favorite authors, such as Gerry LaFemina, and some of my favorite publishers, such as Bill Olver of Big Pulp. Also walked away with a few new favorite authors, including Bram Stoker Award-winner Michael Arnzen. I got to sit in on a panel discussion with Michael about speculative fiction, and it was a lot of fun. An informal atmosphere and a smart, friendly audience turned it into quite a lively discussion.

As an added bonus, I picked up Michael’s new novel titled “Play Dead.” I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I’m already impressed. Look for a forthcoming review.

Much as I enjoy all the book festivals I attend for Codorus Press, the Indie Lit Festival has a special place in my heart. The vibe isn’t about selling books, so much as participating in an event by and for people who really love books.

The cool thing about sitting in on panels is that it makes you think about what you do as a writer, and sometimes things occur to you that might not have otherwise. On the speculative fiction panel discussion, a young lady asked us why horror, fantasy and science fiction are grouped together under the classification “speculative fiction.”I’d really never thought about it before. And in answering, I realized for the first time what’s always drawn me to those three genres.

I told her the common denominator of horror, science fiction and fantasy is that they all deal with something outside the reader’s everyday life. Maybe something possible. Maybe something completely outlandish. But all three genres make a point out of taking the reader to new realms of existence and experience, and showing how characters deal with them.

And really, I think that’s what we should all be doing with our lives in one way or another. Constantly introducing new elements and new experiences that negate our previous conceptions of what’s possible and what isn’t.

Oh yeah. Michael took a picture of me striking a writerly pose. I couldn’t track down a tweed jacket or pipe on short notice, but here it is.

writer

 

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