Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Further afield. Some things beginning to unwrap.

So: making a bit of a regional and further push as I put the wraps on issue #2. (Which includes another box, though I have to decide how many.) A lot (lot!) of the regional pushes (Acme Comics in Greensboro, Barnes & Noble of Burlington, Black Bear Books of Boone, etc.) are pending, but a few further afield places are giving me a shot.

CHICAGO: Quimby's Bookstore will take anything, so I'm not special. But it was nice to get an e-mail receipt from them, so I know they've received the books. So, my fine Chicago friends, give me a stock check, will you? (And see if you can resist that cover for #2, eh?)

PORTLAND: Powell's took a look at an evaluation copy, and I doubt they've received their shipment yet. But maybe tomorrow. So, my fine Portland friends, give me a stock check, will you?

And I'm still looking for places in Charlotte and Wilmington to be willing to even take a look at an evaluation copy. If you've got ideas, let me know!

And something which has been a bit under wraps for a bit is starting to leak out, so I'll go ahead and put it out there. Soon I'll be making a bit of a push for benefactors, patrons, etc. There have been more than a few folks who have been incredible with their support, not just in terms of money for printing copies and buying words, but deliveries, flyering, time, etc. So I'm going to recognize a few of them, and shamelessly invite more folks to join in on that side of things. (Particularly since I'm burning through the last of the convention sales to print that last box of #2.)

September 2010 events flyer.

The flyers seem to be a fairly popular little thing, so here is the September 2010 Local Events/News flyer. It is a PDF file which you may and probably should print out a bunch of times and put everywhere.



1 Michael Jasper’s contemporary fantasy webcomic In Maps and Legends (art by Niki Smith) returns with a new issue
2 Mark Van Name reads from and talks about his new science fiction novel Children No More at Quail Ridge Books; author’s proceeds donated to Falling Whistles, a child soldier rehabilitation charity
7 Quail Ridge Books hosts bestselling epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson for a reading and signing of his new novel The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive, Vol. 1
12 McIntyre’s Books (Fearrington Village) hosts Warren Rochelle for a reading and signing of his new novel The Called
21 Duke University hosts William Gibson for a local stop on his tour promoting his new novel Zero History


And look for Bull Spec #3 in late September!

And the current list of local stores in which you might find Bull Spec:

The Regulator Bookshop
Sci-Fi Genre
Barnes & Noble (Southpoint)
Barnes & Noble (New Hope Commons)
Ultimate Comics (9th St)
Gothic Bookshop
Sweets & News (Northgate)

Internationalist Books
Chapel Hill Comics
Ultimate Comics (Farrington Rd)
Flyleaf Books

Barnes & Noble (SE Maynard)

All Fun & Games

Quail Ridge Books
Foundation’s Edge
Capitol Comics
Game Theory
NCSU Catalyst

Story Teller’s Book Store

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Issue #1 is back in stock. In a big, big way. And quarters. And more.

So. I can't really say enough about Publisher's Press, without whom I don't think it would have been possible to start an honest-to-goodness, full-size, glossy, thick stock, some color print magazine at all. When I sold out of issue #1 at NASFIC I figured I was done with issue #1, period, end of story.

But then folks kept asking for #1. Heck, bookstores called me and asked for #1. So, I caved. I called up my printer and asked about one last run. Deliriously happy with the quote, I ordered one last box, and soon at least Chapel Hill Comics and Quail Ridge Books will have some of them. (I think Foundation's Edge still has a couple as well.)

I now have 173 more copies (!!) which brings the total issue #1 print run over 500, which, combined with the PDF downloads, sends issue #1 over 1000 total. A big, big milestone. If, by some miracle (by which I mean NASFIC coming to Raleigh every quarter...) that keeps up, one of my big goals for Bull Spec -- SFWA qualification -- has a chance of happening.

Another of my big goals was to get all 4 "quarterly" issues into calendar year 2010. Given that it took 4 months to put together issue #1, and another 4 to put together issue #2, I had to hit the ground running with issue #3. Well, issue #3 ("Autumn") is shaping up; the fiction's booked and nearly edited; art is starting to come in; the poetry's in; some reviews are in; an interview is in (Paul Riddell) and another is half in (the local writer and artist behind The Order of Dagonet). I've got a lot of work to do on the David Drake interview (i.e. actually put it together and send it to him) but there's more.

Joe. Freaking. Haldeman. I had an amazing pair of chats with him at NASFIC, from how he writes (longhand, fountain pen by lantern light, 300 words a day) to what he thinks of 100K word novels, Dexter, audiobooks of his own stories, and more. I haven't decided if I'm going to present it in "interview" or "article" mode yet, but I have a lot of work to do in either case. (Much more on an article, but it's probably time for me to dust off some of those old journalistic skills. An article can also be more dangerous; by necessity, or at least in order to avoid Sahara-like dryness, an article needs a hook or angle to it, it needs to be trying to say something. We'll see.)

But yet, wait, wait, there's more. Yes, more.

Bull Spec #2 is now available at the Greenville Barnes & Noble, as well as "Sweets & News" at Northgate Mall in Durham. Boo-yah! The empire grows.

Bull Spec #2 is under evaluation at: Powell's (Portland, Oregon); Burlington B&N; Acme Comics in Greensboro; Coffee Hound Bookshop in Louisburg, NC; Downtown Books & News in Asheville, NC; and, though they may not realize it yet, Black Bear Books in Boone, NC. I don't know what it is, it's a personal crusade of mine at this point to get Black Bear Books to carry the magazine. I visited them only once (twice? does stopping only for Bald Guy Coffee count?) but absolutely loved the place.

OK. Whew. Is that it? No. There's more. But no time. Another day. And much work to be done before then.

But a quick last missive: Issue #3 has none (zero) booked advertising. That's bubbling its way pretty high up the todo list right now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How far is Pittsboro?

For most of us around the Raleigh-Durham area, luckily that answer doesn't fully apply when talking about McIntyre's Books. Fearrington Village is about halfway from Chapel Hill to Pittsboro along US 15-501, which is far, but maybe not too far for a couple of local events of Bull Spec interest:

The first is so recently booked that it isn't yet on the village calendar but it has made it onto Mark Van Name's events so I think it's safe to say it's official. Mark will be at McIntyre's on Sunday, August 29 at 2 PM, reading from and talking about his new book Children No More (Baen, August 2010) and, I think it's safe to say, Falling Whistles.

And if, after learning that Fearrington is not quite all the way to Pittsboro, it still seems too far, fret not. He'll be at Quail Ridge Books on Thursday, September 2 at 7:30 PM.

The second bit of McIntyre's related news comes in the form of Warren Rochelle, who while now living elsewhere has deep ties to all of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh. He'll be at McIntyre's to read from and sign his new book The Called (Golden Gryphon Press, September 2010) on Sunday, September 12, at 2 PM.

And if that's too far away in time to worry about; if you missed Stephen Messer's Windblowne (Random House Books for Young Readers, May 2010) stops at The Regulator and Flyleaf Books, don't miss him at Quail Ridge next Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 PM. (Come early for the Wimpy Kid ice cream truck's free ice cream...)

Whew. It's getting hard to keep up with all that's going on in speculative fiction 'round these parts. I like it.

PS: I have to commend McIntyre's small science fiction and fantasy section's taste. Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" and in particular R. Scott Bakker's "The Darkness That Comes Before" and its sequels are, in this one fool's opinion, cornerstones of the last decade in North American Fantasy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Two new homes for Bull Spec! Also, flyers! Also, a brief aside on selling out.

I'm very happy indeed that there are two more places in the Triangle where folks can get their hands on a copy of Bull Spec #2: The Durham County Library's Southwest Regional Branch on Shannon Road, and Duke University's Gothic Bookshop.

I want to talk about the library first, not only because it was there first chronologically but because, well, it's very awesome for me on a personal level to know that somebody can walk into the library and discover worlds, as I did all through my youth at my "home" public library in Marion, Indiana. The magazine was already at the Durham main branch's North Carolina Collection but the hours there are a little more limited, and it is primarily used as an archival and research room. Now, folks can come in, flip through without tweezers, etc. And I love this. I absolutely love it.

Secondly, I'd been trying to figure out a way to approach Gothic Bookshop for a while. It's in the heart of Duke campus, so it's not a place I generally pass by on the way to or from anywhere, I'm not a regular customer there, and it's been a good long while since I had a serious connection with Duke. But, from the world of random events, I saw that they were looking for somebody to hand out flyers at NASFIC for the upcoming William Gibson book tour, and, hey, I was driving to NASFIC from not too far from campus... so I ended up with a stack of bright yellow flyers and finally that random connection to the store; now it's in stock, so, "Let's Go Duke!" and head to Gothic, eh?

Thirdly, flyers. While versions will come and go, here are some flyer links:

OK. Lastly, selling out. Of issue #1, that is. All I have left which aren't spoken for (I do have a Northeast Raleigh local delivery loop to make, very sorry for the delay out there, folks) is a very short stack of bookstore returns with bookstore stickers on them. So when I get a chance (ha!) I'll be removing the ability to order print copies of issue #1 or start subscriptions with issue #1. Lesson learned? Get issue #2 while it lasts... UPDATE: another box of issue #1 has arrived! It is in stock in a few local stores and, of course, online.

PS: All the local folks who were very disappointed indeed that copies of Raleigh native (alas, now Portland's own) Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey could not be found? Yeah. I think there's a pretty good chance that The Regulator and Gothic might have some copies soon. Just saying.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome aboard, Alex and Dan!

Folks may get the idea that I need to get help. Well, I have.

Alex Granados is coming on as associate editor. He'll be doing some fiction editing, handling the rewrite process, copy editing, and, when I get things sorted out enough to even be able to get help on that front, reading story submissions. His background is, like mine, in the newspaper world, and I've been so very fortunate to run into him.

Dan Campbell is coming on as the new Bull Spec poetry editor. He'll be handling the poetry page(s) up until layout, so he'll be reading submissions, evaluating them, editing them, and then sending me poems to publish. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about his enthusiasm for this.

So: cheers! Welcome aboard, I hope I don't lead us into the rocks, but it's good to have a few folks on lookout and manning the sails.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday at NASFiC is going to be awesome.

So. It should be the biggest and best day of the convention, and there's a few last-minute things to mention. (Did I mention that I rhyme some of the time?) First, there's another scheduled guest appearance at the Bull Spec dealer table. local author Mark Van Name will be on hand to sign his just-out book Children No More from 4-5p, and, if I can track down a typewriter, he'll be writing flash fiction for charity on demand for Falling Whistles, the charity he's supporting with Children No More. If we can't track down a typewriter, we'll be taking ideas and e-mails down. This should be completely awesome. Did I mention that this should be completely awesome?

Put that together with: Clay Griffith coming by to talk about the forthcoming from Pyr The Greyfriar from 1-3, David Halperin on hand to talk the forthcoming from Viking Journal of a UFO Investigator from 2-4, and the afternoon should be a very fun time to stop by.

Also late to appear on the NASFIC schedule is: John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly are doing a Kaffe Klatch session which, having just been scheduled a handful of hours ago, is not in the printed schedule. Check the daily schedule and talk to them about editing anthologies like The Secret History of Science Fiction, about Fractal, about IAFA, ... and if you'd like to have a copy of The Secret History of SF on hand for them to sign, well, I can think of at least one place to get it...

But one thing you won't find? Mur Lafferty's books. We sold out! Now that's a good day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More NASFiC scheduling: Clay Griffith coming by on Saturday!

I already mentioned that David Halperin is stopping by; if you missed him today there's still Friday (11a-1p, 2-3p) and Saturday (2-4p) to chat about Journal of a UFO Investigator. Well, though I still don't know when a few other folks will be coming by in concrete terms, I'm really pleased to invite folks to come by Saturday from 1-3p to talk with local author Clay Griffith, whose book (along with wife Susan) The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1 is forthcoming from Pyr (November):
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the gray empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.
It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.
Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, Vampire Empire brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
So the table won't be vampire-free for much longer...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Treats. Let me tempt you with them.

So: if a panel of John Kessel, Natania Barron, Gwendolyn Clare, and Paul Celmer can't tempt you to come out to the Bull Spec #2 launch party at Quail Ridge Books tonight, maybe these will. Mrs. Bull Spec has once again brought out the big guns:

Three (count 'em, three!) varietals of rice crispy treats. Sure, there's your standard (in this case, a little more on the gooey side) 'plain':

And then it gets a little more interesting, with M&Ms and Reese's Pieces:

And then something really cool, coconut raisin almond:

So there. Shamelessly: come enjoy some local speculative fiction and, of course, there will be snacks!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scheduled and scheduling.

First, some upcoming things which didn't make Issue #2's "Happenings" which I've recently learned about:

  • I had local author John Claude Bemis' The Wolf Tree in Happenings, but not the book's launch party at Purple Crow Books in Hillsborough on August 28
  • Brandon Sanderson is reading and signing from Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive, Vol. 1 at Quail Ridge Books on September 7 at 7:30 PM
  • William Gibson (!!!) is bringing his Zero History tour to Duke University on September 21 at 7:00 PM

Second, and on the topic of scheduling, I've started putting together a schedule of folks you might see at the Bull Spec dealer table at NASFiC/ReConStruction this weekend. While I don't know yet when some other folks will be dropping by, David J. Halperin has gotten the ball rolling by scheduling some time to meet and greet and talk to folks about his upcoming book (February 2011) from Viking, Journal of a UFO Investigator. I first heard about the book from SFScope, but did not read that last paragraph and had no idea that Dr./Prof. Halperin was writing from, literally, down the street from me. That bit of information only came via meeting him at a lunch outing with the Raleigh Write to Publish Meetup Group. Since then I've been very much looking forward to reading a book described like this:
The book is "structured like The Wizard of Oz and influenced by the work of Philip K. Dick, Philip Pullman, and Madeleine L'Engle, the book tells the story of a 1960s teenager whose mother is slowly dying. He keeps himself sane by spinning a story in which he duels with the embodiments of death, unravels the mysteries of time and existence, and becomes lover to the most desirable girl he can imagine, all in a world in which nothing happens that is not conspiracy. Eventually, the boy descends into the nether-world and emerges transformed. Much of the UFO content in the book is based on factual lore."
 And David is polishing up another book as well, so there's lots to talk about. He's going to be available Thursday (1-2p, 4-6p), Friday (11a-1p, 2-3p), and Saturday (2-4p), so there's plenty of opportunities to fit him into your schedule, and to ask him how much of the UFO journal is autobiographical...

Two days until the issue #2 party at Quail Ridge Books! (New Flyer.)

There's a new new flyer to post around if folks are up for it. Just two days until the issue #2 party at Quail Ridge Books on Wednesday and there's a few places I haven't been able to get to:

  • NCSU campus
  • Hillsborough Street (done: Nice Price Books to Schoolkids Records) (need: Schoolkids down to the Morgan split)
  • Glenwood South
  • Moore Square
  • City Market
  • Cameron Village
  • Five Points
  • Downtown
  • Downtown
  • Brightleaf Square
  • Done: Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd (Guglhupf to University Drive)
  • Duke East Campus
  • Done: 9th Street (and Whole Foods, Mad Hatter)
  • Broad Street Cafe
  • Duke West Campus
  • Erwin Road
Chapel Hill:
  • S Elliott Road
  • Caffe Driade
  • UNC campus
  • Franklin Street (done: Carolina Brewing Company to Columbia) (need: Columbia up to Planetarium)
  • Done: Maple View Farms
  • Historic Downtown
Wake Forest:
  • Historic Downtown
  • Historic Downtown
So, yeah. A "few" places... post here and/or on the Facebook page if you think you'll be able to help out, mainly it's going to shop owners who have a place to post flyers and asking nicely if you can post something, or hitting the common flyer spaces and bulletin boards. And if you're really, really in the mood to do this kind of thing, the current ReConStruction/NASFiC flyer is on their publications page, and that's this Thursday to Sunday. I wish they had an updated flyer with per-day membership rates and so on, but we have what we have, and it's "go time!" I'll be picking a couple of routes out myself in lieu of lunches over the next couple of days, and I'll try to keep folks posted on where I'm headed and what's been covered in comments here.