Thoughts On Twin Cities Book Festival

This year at the Twin Cities Book Festival I shared table space with my friend Catherine Lundoff and her newest endeavor, Queen of Swords Press. Sharing space with Catherine was fun and I think Queen of Swords did pretty well both selling books and getting information into the hands of potential readers.

I had a slow sales day. In fact, I didn’t make back my half of the table fee. I think there are various reason for this, but I still need to pinpoint the major reasons and try to mitigate them should I ever go back.

One reason I think is that people were confused about whether I was an author or publisher or bookseller. That I am an author who sells his own books and runs a small micro-press to keep my works that have gone out-of-print with my various publishers back in print and available  was too much to take in for some people.

At Twin Cities Book Festival, there were moments of customers acting with—distaste might be too strong a word—at my perceived self-publishing. I had more than one book packager leave me their information. These people would act surprised when I told them that while yes, I did do a little self-publishing to keep my older works in print, I also work with various small presses and major publishers.

I think some people also started to get analysis paralysis. I had 11 books for sale and that seemed to make people freeze up, unable to decide what they might want to buy.  Add to that, my work is kind of all over the place (Urban Fantasy, Weird West, Steampunk, Poetry, Short Story Collections, Anthologies) which also seems to confuse people about what I am about as a writer. My covers range from fantastic (I received many compliments on the “Not Enough Midnights” cover and of course my Carina Press covers are both striking) to meh, and I think this inconsistency in quality also hurts me. One of my covers seemed to make people think it was a YA book when it was not. It seemed like I couldn’t establish an identity with them, couldn’t make myself fit in a neat marketing hole they understood.

That said, I would try TCBF again. You never know. Next time I might sell a ton of book.  Next time I might take fewer books and try to narrow my focus a little.

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Twin Cities Book Festival

Hey Everyone! I will be at the Twin Cities book Festival this Saturday. I will be selling and signing copies of my new weird west novella “Not Enough Midnights” and helping out at the Queen of Swords Press table.

https://www.facebook.com/events/350476095404421/

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Not Enough Midnights

When several families vanish under mysterious circumstances and the sheriff investigating is driven insane, disgraced ex-U.S. Marshal Jefferson Stottlemyre is called back into federal service by order the President of the United States.

Now Stottlemyre, aided by his old friends Deputy Marshal William Blenchy and Lady Priscilla Talbot of the British Secret Service Supernatural Division, must unravel the mystery of who – or what – is murdering settlers around Binger, Oklahoma Territory.

Gathering allies and gaining enemies, the group must deal with rogue treasure hunters, a cavalry troop reluctant to fight, a horde of hidden Native American drummers, terrified townsfolk, and a mythical monster turned deadly reality on the prairie.

Not Enough Midnights will be available in September 2017!

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I Am Disabled and I Resist

You want to know: What am I doing to resist?

I am disabled.
I resist simply by existing.

I am disabled and I am not whatever stereotype you want me to be.
I am disabled and I will ask for the help I need, when I need it. Otherwise, I can do it myself, thank you.
I am disabled and I refuse to be shunted into sub-minimum wage piece work in a sheltered workshop because you think I “need the dignity of a real job.” I have my own career, thank you.
I am disabled and I expect to be treated like a human being.

I resist by existing.

I am disabled and I am not your magical gimp.
I am blind and my other senses are not supernaturally sharper – I pay them closer attention and have been trained to interpret what they tell me.
I am blind and I cannot see into the future or dole out prophesies.
I am blind and I am not Daredevil – except when I am Daredevil.

I resist by existing.

I am disabled and I am a professional artist and public figure.
I am disabled and I am a musician who does not play the damned piano.
I am disabled and I am a writer who creates stories and plays about disability, featuring disabled characters.
I am disabled and I am an actor, poet, and storyteller who performs personal works about disability.

I resist by existing.

I am disabled and I am not your inspirational “Oh, you’re so brave” feel-good story.
I am disabled and I refuse to play “The Good Cripple” just because that’s what society wants and expects.
I am disabled and I refuse to be both silent and invisible to make you more comfortable with my existence.
I am disabled and my disability is not about you.

I resist by existing.

You want to know: What am I doing to resist?

I am disabled and I exist.
I exist, and I resist, and I refuse to be erased.

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Out of the Woods: A Tale of Red, the Wolf, and the Woodcutter

Out of the Woods: A Tale of Red, the Wolf, and the Woodcutter
by Michael Merriam
Directed by Immanuel Elliott (Manny Elliott)

Out of the Woods is a bisexual, polyamorous retelling of Little Red Riding Hood starring a queer grandma who may also be a magical witch. Come laugh along as Little Red tries to get out of her village by seducing a very gay Woodcutter. The solution is equally cute and hilarious. Darrin Clayton Stewart, Morgen Chang, Joey Schad, Christine Sweet, and Kjertina Whiting star.

Out of the Woods performs as part of Set A In Gadfly’s Final Frontier Festival: Fairy Tales June 9 and 17 at 7:30 PM and June 11 at 3:00 PM.

FFFairytales.brownpapertickets.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/122837684948943/

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Dust

We talk about memory.
We talk about remembrance.

In photographs
survivors rush from the wreckage
fleeing smoke flames death
covered in the dust of destruction
rags over mouths.

Concrete, rebar, insulation,
paint, drywall, fertilizer —

You

Vaporized.

I breathe you in.
I hold you inside, nestled in
my lungs my blood my body,
I carry you forward
and I remember.
I remember.

(For those who were killed, those who survived, and those who were changed forever by the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma city on April 19th, 1995.)

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Dreamhaven Books Reading – 2017

I case you missed it, here is my reading from February 2017. Enjoy!

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Featured Artist at Anime Detour!

I will be a Featured Artist at Anime Detour 2017.. This means I will be out in the high-traffic area selling and signing books all weekend! I hope to see you there. The Featured Artist section is outside of the main Dealer’s hall on the second floor in front of the Bloomington room.

I will be at my table –
Friday 4 PM to 8 PM
Saturday 9:30 AM to 6 PM
Sunday 9:30 AM to 4 PM

Anime Detour
DoubleTree by Hilton
7800 Normandale Boulevard
Bloomington, MN 55439
April 7th through the 9th, 2017.

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New Play Announcement!

Since Gadfly Theatre Productions has announced it on their website, my one-act play Out of the Woods: A Tale of Red, the Wolf, and the Woodcutter will be produced as part of their Final Frontier Festival: Fairy Tales.

Here is the link to their actor/technician call. http://www.gadflytheatre.org/auditions-and-submissions.html

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Marscon 2017 Schedule

Where I will be this weekend at MarsCon. As always, things can change quickly.

Friday, March 3:

5:00-5:50 p.m., Krushenko’s. Panel: Anne McCaffrey and the Dragons of Pern
Posthumous GOH Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011) produced a large and diverse body of science fiction and fantasy. We’ll survey her several series, with special attention, owing to this year’s convention theme, to the Dragonriders of Pern series, featuring lizards that are sentient species genetically engineered to bond with human riders. We’ll also look at how her various series have influenced both science fiction and fantasy.
With: Eric M. Heideman, mod.; Rick Gellman, Michael Merriam, Polly Jo Peterson

Saturday, March 4:

11:00-11:50 a.m., Re(a)d Mars. Massive Literary Autographing II
With: Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Rob Callahan, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan

1:00-1:50 p.m., Krushenko’s. Panel: Western Women of Page and Screen
While there is a tendency to look upon the Western as a male genre, frontier women have contributed greatly to Western history and to Western fiction, movies, and TV. We’ll share enthusiasm about some of our favorites.
With: Eric M. Heideman, mod.; David Christenson, Michael Merriam

4:00-4:50 p.m., Krushenko’s. Discussion: SF Writing Groups: The 2017 Scene
Since 1986 the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Alliance has hosted an annual meeting at a local SF convention, first Minicon, then CONvergence, now MarsCon, at which representatives of science fiction/fantasy writing groups talk about how their groups got started and how they function; after which the group representatives go into a huddle with writers who are looking for an SF writing group.
With: Eric M. Heideman, convenor; Michael Merriam

10:00-10:50 p.m., Re(a)d Mars. Reading: Michael Merriam
Local author Michael Merriam reads from his latest works and publications.

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