Monday, February 27, 2017

It's Just Around The Corner

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Shore Leave 39, that is.

Image of the Shore Leave bunny

Well, maybe not exactly. But if you want to attend, you have to start preparing now. It's in July this year, from the 7th to the 9th to be exact. There is a limit on the number of attendees and hotel rooms for those coming in from out-of-town. I've already received my registration confirmation.

And the guest list of actors/actresses is growing. I don't watch many of movies or a lot TV, but I am familiar with a couple of them. For me, that's pretty good. It's what draws most people to this convention.

Image of Shore Leave 39 guests from the Shore Leave web site

As usual, I'm hoping to attend a few of the writer workshops and have a chance to talk to some of the many authors that will be present. Here they are (you'll have to click on the image to see them properly):

Image of Shore Leave 39 author guests from the Shore Leave web site

Some people think that only, uh, "eccentric" people attend conventions like these. I beg to differ.

Looks normal enough to me...

I also plan to post to the blog during the convention. I haven't done the best at this in the past, but if I'm lucky, at least one post will be while the convention is still in progress.

If you'd like more info:
Shore Leave is a fan-run science fiction convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland featuring guests from your favorite movies and TV shows of yesterday and today.

Here's the WEBSITE.

Here's the FLIER.


© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, February 23, 2017

This Month's Free Photo - Venus

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Ready for another of my cheesy free photos? Well, you're getting one anyway. Someday, I'll manage to post a picture here that is worthy, but this will have to do for now (I seems to say that a lot on these free photo posts...).

Over the years I've had more than one sky photo on my blog. I like sunsets and the colors they display. This time I caught Venus sparkling in the gloaming as I was getting off the train from work. I've been looking for an excuse to use the word gloaming, and this post is it. One more thing off my list. Anyway, Venus is really bright this month, so even my cell phone could get a decent shot. It's often easier to get a picture of the Moon or bright planets with a cheap phone camera during dusk or early morning when the contrast is not as great. That's my tip for the day.

Image of Venus in sky - IMG_20170222_225632_CR.jpg ©2017 K. R. Smith - - may be used, in whole or in part, with attribution.
Venus in the evening sky
(yes, that dot in the upper left-hand quarter of the image)

Check back again when you can. Maybe I'll have something even better!

Image IMG_20170222_225632_CR.jpg ©2017 K. R. Smith - - may be used, in whole or in part, with attribution.

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Bought A Couple Of Dragons

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I spent a little time at the local gem and jewelry show over the weekend. My better half makes (and buys) jewelry, so it's an activity we do at least twice each year. Sometimes, even I purchase an interesting item or stone should it catch my eye.

Many of the vendors are Chinese or Indian, so it comes as no surprise there are carvings of cultural items. There are a lot of Buddhas, elephants and all sorts of other animals, and, of course, dragons. I happened to see a number of these inexpensive carved dragons in a display box and couldn't resist.

Image of carving of entwined dragons

So, what do dragons have to do with writing? Well, not a great deal. I did write one dragon story (The Sword of Hexworthy Manor) for the Swords of Darkness anthology, but it's really not a topic I dwell on. I really liked these little guys, though. Not sure what the stone is—probably a type of jade. Not all jade is the deep green expensive stuff. It doesn't matter so long as I like it. Now I need to find a nice place to hang it. The carving is only about 3 inches (75 mm) in width and reasonably light in weight, so it won't require any special mounting. Once displayed, I'll have this for inspiration should I need to write another dragon story!

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dead Men's Tales

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First of all, Happy Valentine's Day!

Now, back to business...

It's taken a while, but it's finally here!

Fringeworks has published Dead Men's Tales, a pirate-themed anthology with the twist that each story is told from the point of view of a deceased character. My contribution to this collection is Skarett's Treasure. This story concerns the plight of an indentured servant (Thomas) who, hoping to gain enough money to escape from the pirate's stronghold with the mesmerizing Maria, gets mixed up with Captain Skarett.

What type of story is Skarett's Treasure? Well, there are pirates, of course, mixed in with a little bit of horror and a touch of humor. While my tale may leave you wanting more, by the time it's done, Thomas will have had his fill!

Cover image (by Darrel Bevan) of Dead Man's Tales © 2017 Fringeworks Ltd.

As the back cover says:
"They say that dead men tell no tales, but that's not strictly true. Why else would fifteen men need to sit on a dead man's chest? Beware these pirate tales told by the dead themselves. They will thrill you, chill you, scare you and spare you the need to sleep on a dark and stormy night. And remember, they might talk, but their grog-drinking days are done. Yo Ho Ho

Here's the story line-up:
Image of author's names and story titles for Dead Men's Tales
I need to get a copy to see what changes the editor, Melissa Black, may have made to the story. I hope it's as good as I remember! Or, at least, not as bad as I fear... As an added bonus, the foreword was written by Kevin R. McNally, one of the main actors in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. The cover is by Darrel Bevan.

Dead Men's Tales is available in paperback from Amazon.
    Amazon US
    Amazon UK

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Write On Write Off?

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Not long ago, I saw a tweet from Terri Deno alerting me that Amazon / Kindle was shutting down its Write On writer collaboration project. I only had a brief exposure to Write On while following a couple of Terri's works. It was something I wanted to explore further, but it was always on my back burner.

Perhaps that's what happened to a lot of folks. Amazon wasn't clear about why they shut it down other than it didn't grow the way they hoped. They didn't explain how they wanted it to grow or how far off they were from what had been expected. This is the notice that is posted on the Write On forum:

"While we have been proud over the last few years to have brought together such a vibrant, active, and creative community, unfortunately we will be closing Write On’s doors on March 22. After this date, access to Write On will be unavailable."

It was so vibrant and active that Amazon decided to shut it down? I think one of the posters hit it on the head when he guessed Amazon hadn't found a way to make money on it, so it was axed. It seems they didn't put much effort into upgrading the site in the last year. Perhaps that was a clue as to Write On's eventual fate. I can't say Amazon did much in the way of promotion, either. Had it not been for Terri informing me of its existence in the first place I might have never known about it at all.

There are some who believe competition from similar sites, like Wattpad, caused Write On's failure. I'm not quite sure that's true based on comments by some on the Write On forum. Most were familiar with Wattpad, but thought it catered to a different demographic. Maybe a few folks will migrate to Kindle Scout. If anyone has any ideas on this, please pass them on!

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved