Geek Things for September 2nd, 2014

Sorry for the week’s delay: I was out sick for a week. We’re back and fully functional now.

  • Board Game Night, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • 802MTG and 802RPG Burlington, 5:00pm – 7:45pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Game Night in Danby, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Silas Griffith Inn, Danby. (Gaming)
  • MTG:Cubesday Tuesday, 6:30pm, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Tuesday Night Magic: Super Standard Sealed, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Magic the Gathering EDH/Casual play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Tuesday Night Fights!, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • NOOK “Apptivity”, 6:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, South Burlington. (Tech)
  • Emerald Ash Borer, 6:45-8:30 pm, Jaquith Public Library, Marshfield. (Talk)
  • Knights of the Mystic Movie Club, 8 pm, Main Street Museum, White River Junction. (Movies)

Interview with ML Humphrey

Back in May, we came across a local author named Maurice Humphrey, who self-published his first novel, Orphan from Space as ML Humphrey. Recently, he had time to chat with us about his writing and books. 

 
Geek Mountain State: How did you get interested in science fiction, and what made you keep reading it over the years?

M.L. Humphrey: Started reading SciFi when I was in high school. Bought two books through TAB (Teen Age Book club), Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne and The Stars are Ours by Andre Norton. My father worked at a local college and brought home many of the discarded books when the students left.

GMS: How did you get interested in writing in the first place?

MLH: I have actually been writing for quite some time, technical articles, reports, procedures and presentations.

GMS: What can you tell us about your novel, The Orphan from Space?

MLH: The Orphan from Space, was published last year by Virgo Publishing. That story started off as a “what if this kid finds a spaceship in the barn of his grandfather’s farm?” For some reason, after starting to write the story, I got sidetracked and started writing how it got there in the first place. The time and place, 1952 and southeastern Montana, were just random picks. Young Jasom (yes it is spelled with an ‘m’) is a 15 year old aboard a small family owned survey ship working in the asteroid belt. He finds an oddity hidden amongst the asteroids which turns out to a ship of the Predecessors, an alien race long vanished from the galaxy. Their plan is to go back home to enlist aid from the same council that sent them there. Due to circumstances (all explained in the book) he gets abandoned on Earth. He resides there for several years before his parents can come back for him. During those years he has many adventures and meets many memorable people.Any more than that would be giving away the story.

GMS: Where did this book come from? What influenced its creation?

MLH: I can’t say as there was any real inspiration to it, the idea was just one of those that mysteriously pop up.

GMS: What can you tell us about how you came to publish the book?

MLH: Well, I’d spent a lot of time after finishing my first book which was titled “For Lorne”. I did a lot of research on publishers and agents and decided I just wanted to see how this story would fly on its own without going into massive debt. Through a contact I made while doing the research I came across the smashwords.com website. It was quite simple to submit your word file and they did all the rest, at no charge up front. It was simply a great place to try your wings, so to speak.

GMS: What’s coming next from you?

MLH: By the time “Orphan” came out in paperback I had already written two sequels and was nearly done with the third. The first sequel was titled “The Crystal Crowns and has just been released. The second sequel was in the same series, but was only a related story using background characters from the previous story. The next one in the series is in final edit and will probably be published later this year. This one is titled “Return to Earth” and completes the trilogy started with the first book. I have started writing another book in that series but I’m running into problems so I’ve taken time off from that and started a farcical fantasy series of short stories about a young reporter for one of the local newspapers in a kingdom which I haven’t named as yet. The first installment is called “Interview with the Dungeon Master”.

GMS: Where can we keep up with your work?

MLH: I have both a facebook page and a blog where I try to keep an updated status on all of my stories. There are a few that don’t make it onto either and they are usually experiments that didn’t pan out or I haven’t figured out what to do with them.

Pat Esden announces 3 Book Deal

Pat

Pat Esden, one of our readers for the Vermont SF Writer’s Series, announced today that she’s signed for a three book deal with Kensington books.

Here’s the announcement from Publisher’s Weekly:

Patricia Esden, who has published a number of short stories and novelettes, sold her full-length debut, Moonhill, to Selena James at Kensington. James took world rights, in a three-book deal, from Pooja Menon at Kimberley Cameron & Associates. The new adult paranormal work follows a 20-year-old antiques dealer who, Menon explained, has a run-in with the “dangerously handsome” groundskeeper of her family’s estate after returning to the place with her father, hoping to save him from what appears to be dementia. Esden has been published in such SF and fantasy magazines/zines as Challenging Destiny and Orson Scott Card’s Traveling Medicine Show. Moonhill is set for spring 2016.

Esden follows up on her blog:

 The YA thriller I read from at retreat wasn’t the first manuscript I had go on submission. My first manuscript went out a little over a year ago and failed to sell. Well, to be more correct, my agent and I quickly decided to stop pitching the manuscript because it was YA gothic with paranormal elements and the market for paranormal had waned. We figure it was better to tuck that manuscript away and bring it back out when editors started looking for paranormal again.

I’m guessing you know where this is headed, so I’ll cut to the important part. Turns out an editor that we hadn’t heard back from loved the first manuscript and was willing to buck trends for it—with a slight change. My young adult gothic manuscript is transforming into a new adult paranormal.

Congratulations to Pat!

Eclipse Grange Shorts “Sci-Fi”

Sci-Fi Poster scan

This is seriously cool: the Parish Players of Thetford Vermont are embarking on their 4th episode of their theater series Eclipse Grange Shorts. The theme this time around is adaptations of Science Fiction stories!

Here’s the stories that will be staged:

Isaac Asimov, “The Immortal Bard”
Leslie Stone, “The Invasion of Gola”
Fredric Brown, “Knock”
Ray Bradbury, “The One Who Waits”
Eileen Gunn, “No Place To Raise Kids”

The shorts will be held on September 5th and 6th at 7:30 pm, Septembed 7th at 3:00pm, and September 12th and 13th at 7:30pm. The play will be held at the Eclipse Grange Theater in Thetford. Tickets go for $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. Reservations can be made at 802-785-4344.

What makes this cool is some of the authors involved: Asimov and Bradbury are largely household names, but it’s really exciting to see stories from early SF pioneers such as Leslie Stone, who doesn’t get a lot of press. It’s also really cool to see Frederic Brown and Eileen Gunn make the list. This looks like something that we’ll be heading out to see!

 

 

Phoenix Books Owner on Diverse Books

Phoenix Books co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle was recently on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to discuss the issue of diversity in literature. Here’s a highlight of their discussion:

On what makes a diverse book

The [criterion is]: One, the book must feature a main character of color in a story that is not driven by racial issues. So mainstream stories of kids having all kinds of adventures and different genres of literature. …

I think there are so many books published about issues that the consumer culture has developed this idea that books with brown faces on the cover are going to be heavy, serious books. And while those books are very valuable and important and wonderful books to read, they also don’t describe the entire experience of human life in this country.

On the notion that “the market reflects the buyer” in the publishing world

I think publishing, marketing dollars go to certain books more than other books. And I think we tend to narrow our definition of what will sell even before the book gets out of the gate. …

The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program.

I think that people will assume a book starring an African-American or an Asian-American character is going to be a niche market book, and that just isn’t the case for most books. Kids love a good story, and that’s what hooks them. They identify with the character’s internal adventures and struggles and dilemmas. … They don’t identify primarily with the race of the person on the cover of the book.

Listen to the rest of the article here.

Geek Things for August 22nd, 2014

  •  FNM – Modern, 6:30pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Batteries & Motors, 11:00 am, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (KidS)
  • Sound Science, 3:00 pm, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (KidS)
  • Friday Night Magic: Modern Masters Super Summer Series, Part IV, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Flames of War Open Play, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • FNM at Heroes Kingdom, 6:00pm, Heroes Kingdom, St. Albans. (Gaming)
  • Tabletop Sanctuary, 6:00pm – 10:00pm, Crowe’s Nest, Randolph. (Gaming)
  • MTG:FNM Brap’s, 6:30pm, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • FNM at the Book Garden, 7:00pm, Book Garden, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • “Feature Presentation” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 11am – 12pm / 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • “My Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 12:30pm – 1:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • Star Parties at the GMO, 8:45 PM, Green Mountain Observatory, Hinesburg. (Astronomy)
  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Reading Series, 4:15 & 8:15 pm, Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton. (Writing)
  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Lecture Series, 9 am, Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton. (Writing)
  • Water Striders I, 1:30 pm, Little River State Park, Waterbury. $2-3; free for kids under 4; preregister; call to confirm. (Outdoors)
  • The Magic of Bird Migration, 7 pm, Little River State Park, Waterbury. $2-3; free for children ages 3 and under; preregister; call to confirm. (Outdoors)
  • Dorset Theatre Festival: ‘The Mousetrap’, 8 pm, Dorset Playhouse, Dorset. $20-59. (Theater)
  • Queen City Ghostwalk: Darkness Falls, 8 pm, Burlington City Hall Park, Burlington. $15; preregister. (Ghosts)
  • FNM – Friday Night Magic – See our homepage for format, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)

Geek Things for August 21st, 2014

  • Honeybee Press Reading, 7-10 pm, The Psychedelicatessen, Burlington. $5 suggested donation. (Writers)
  • Summer Reading Program Finale, 10 am-12 pm, Fairfax Community Library, Fairfax. (Kids)
  • Junior Ranger Program: Life In a Log, 2:30-4 pm, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Woodstock. (Kids)
  • Social Hour at the Generator, 5:30-7 pm, Generator, Burlington. Free; preregister; cash bar. (Tech)
  • Mount Mansfield Scale Modelers, 6:30-8:30 pm, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Models)
  • Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation – What’s Up? The Sky at Night, 7:30-8:30 pm, Cutler Memorial Library, Plainfield. (Astronomy)
  • Magic EDH Casual Play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • ‘Young Frankenstein/Ondine’, 7 pm, Town Hall Theater, Middlebury. (Theater)
  • Greensboro Writers Forum – Different Planet. 7:30 pm, Town Hall Green, Greensboro. $5. (Theater)
  • Queen City Ghostwalk: Ghosts of UVM, 8 pm, Royall Tyler Theatre, University of Vermont, Burlington. $15; preregister. (Ghosts)
  • ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’, 8 pm, Palace 9 Cinemas, South Burlington. $12.50. (Movies)
  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Reading Series, 4:15 & 8:15 pm, Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton. (Reading)
  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Lecture Series, 9 am, Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton. (Writing)
  • Warmachine / Hordes, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • NOOK Knowledge, 1:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, South Burlington. (Tech)
  • MTG @ Rutland Collectibles, Rutland Collectibles, Rutland. (Gaming)
  • “Feature Presentation” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 11am – 12pm / 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • “My Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 12:30pm – 1:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • 802MTG Randolph, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Kimball Library, Randolph. (Gaming)
  • Warmachine/Hordes Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Magic EDH/Commander Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Teen Movie Night – Divergent, 5pm – 7pm, Milne Room, Aldrich Public Library, Barre. (Movies)
  • Kitchen Chemistry, 11:00 am, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Fossils: Evidence of the Past, 3:00 pm, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Stevenson Brookwalkers, 1:30 pm, Little River State Park, Waterbury. $2-3; free for kids 3 and under; preregister; call to confirm. (Outdoors)
  • Writer’s Circle, 5:30-7 pm, The Wellness Co-op, Burlington. (Witing)
  • Sunset Aquadventure, 7 pm, Little River State Park, Waterbury. $2-3; free for kids 3 and under; preregister; call to confirm. (Outdoors)
  • Dorset Theatre Festival: ‘The Mousetrap’, 8 pm, Dorset Playhouse, Dorset. $20-59. (Theater)
  • Forza: The Samurai Sword Workout, 6-7 pm, North End Studio A, Burlington. $10. (Workout)

Game Day Alert: Games Parlour

There’s a new games gathering happening this weekend. Join The Games Parlour at the Samuel D. Champlain club this Sunday, August 24th, from 2-8pm.

Tabletop game enthusiasts are invited to the first gathering of The Games Parlour at the Samuel D Champlain Club in Burlington!

Join us for an afternoon of tabletop games of all kinds: board games, card games, strategy games, storytelling games, games of chance, and games of skill. Bring your favorite games to share with others, or come with an adventurous spirit and play something new!

Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of this venerable club established in 1892 in the Old North End. Snacks, beer, wine and non-alchoholic drinks will be available for purchase. Due to regulations, outside alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the premises. Donations for space rental are appreciated.

RSVP here.