Gorilla

If Any of You are Still Out There...

I've moved Finn's Wake over to a blog. Come visit me there, won't you? It's available at:
http://marktheaginghipster.blogspot.com/

Also: I'm tweeting pretty regularly about funny things I think up, comments on pop culture, and the occasional retweet from one of my brilliant friends. If you follow me, you'll also get updates to the blog and info on any new projects that drop from me, like my upcoming comic book series, SCOUTS! and the 2nd edition of Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. Find me on Twitter at:
@FinnsWake

Now you know everything!
Costigan

Captain's Log--Final Entry

Well, it was worth a shot.

I have found that as my day job creates unexpected hills and valleys for me, I tend to value my actual writing time all the more. This means, less time for updates and far more time for Getting Stuff Done. But I haven't completely unplugged. Like all of this social networking, it's just morphed into the Next New Thing.

I'm very happy using FaceBook to keep friends and family in the loop. Fair warning, though: I'm not using it to see how high my friends list can go. Unless you tell me you're a fan of my work, or that you want to keep up with my writing, I will not add you. I tried that with MySpace and it got away from me and now I hate it. So, if we know each other, and you have a FaceBook account, you can find me here http://www.facebook.com/#/finnswake?ref=name and I'll add you to one of my appropriate lists.

Very recently, I also started a Twitter account. I got one because it works with FaceBook for status updates, and I can pile on as many fans and other folks as needed without impinging on my friends and family. Sometimes I may want to send different messages, you know? Anyway, my Twitter name is @FinnsWake.

And finally, if you're interested in keeping up with my writing and thoughts on same, there IS a blog to which I have been contributing, although it's not as personal in nature. It's http://www.clockworkstorybook.blogspot.com/ and you can also keep up with the rest of Clockwork Storybook. We've recently expanded our ranks and the new authors are also weighing in.

And that's that. See you over there, folks!
  • Current Mood
    complacent complacent
Gorilla

Finn's Wake 2-14-09

 

My, my, what a busy year 2009 has been! I no sooner got my feet back under me than I was taking off in a couple of different directions. Let me ‘splain. No, there is no time. I sum up.

 

I started a project two years ago, a museum for Vernon-born trombonist Jack Teagarden, the undisputed King of the Blues Trombone and one of the best trombone players of all time, period. I was working with a man named Joe Showler, who has spent forty years amassing a collection of Jack Teagarden information that is singular and unique: 78 lps, press clippings, magazines, reel-to-reel tape, video interviews, discographies, you name it. Rare, scarce, private, and just plain jaw-dropping. Much of what Joe gathered went into a two-hour documentary he made. By diligently going through major newspapers and copying adverts, Joe figured out where Teagarden was for 80% of his professional career.

 

Yeah. It’s THAT kind of a collection.

 

 

Sidebar #1 The Jack Teagarden Catch-up PrimerCollapse )

 

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Well, Joe wanted to bring it to Vernon, settle down, and turn it into a museum. It was a good idea for us, because we could pay out on the collection over time, and have the benefit of Joe’s expertise as a curator of the museum. We needed a building and some start-up cash, but it wasn’t not-doable. Unfortunately, our talks broke down when we needed to focus on the theater to keep it running. That massaging effort lasted for most of last year, as well. It wasn’t until last Christmas that Cathy suggested I get back on the museum project.

 

I got back in touch with Joe. He was excited to hear from me. Yes, he was still interested, he said, but there was a hitch: he’d been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and was given six months to live. The news rocked me back on my heels, as you can well imagine. It also changed the shape of the deal significantly. Medical treatments for cancer being what they are, there was no way he could leave Canada and that free health care system. Also, with him unable to look past six months, economically, the deal to buy his collection would have to change. And change it did.

 

I scrambled to get a building earmarked for the theater, even as I started looking for a private institution that would donate two hundred thousand dollars. That’s what the project needs, give or take fifty thousand. On the one hand, for the kind of museum that I’m talking about, that would pull curious folks in from the highway, that’s a pittance. On the other hand, it’s a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS, JACK! There’s not a way to make that number sound small.

 

Well, I wasn’t going to let any of it phase me. In one months’ time, I secured a building; got the owner to agree to patch it up so that it would be habitable; and got a promise from the hotel/motel committee for $50 thousand bucks (provided, for example I can get another group to donate). So far, so good. However, Joe was nervous. He wanted us to go to Canada and examine the collection, first-hand. Also, we all knew that it would be better if we got a piece of paper, some kind of letter of intent, between us, to cement the deal.

 

My mother-in-law found some super-cheap tickets to Toronto, and so it became a family trip; me, Cathy, Pat and Diane, and youngest brother Mike. All of us with a stake in this enterprise, be it a seat on the board of directors of the museum, or putting up something of an in-kind donation, or both.

 
 

Sidebar #2: Our Trip to Canada--a Family OdysseyCollapse )

 

 

We were all excited about seeing Joe Showler’s collection. We are all fans of Teagarden to various degrees. This was akin to being a Marvel Comics fan in the 1960s and getting to go over to Jack Kirby’s house. When we finally got there, we were greeted by Joe, out on the porch having a smoke. Now, I’ve only seen Joe on video tape before, so seeing him like this, thin and moving slow, was a shock. He was jaundiced and clearly not feeling well. But he lit up when he saw us, and we got to meet his friends, John (who operates the excellent JazzOracle website) and Bob (who helped with the making of the documentary and remembered Pat and Diane from their trips to Vernon). We all tucked in and made small talk, and when Joe felt up to it, we got to see the collection.

 

How can I describe it? Picture a bookcase, seven feet high, three feet wide, and then fill it with two inch black binders. In these black binders, place photographs of Jack Teagarden and the band until it’s full. Then put them in chronological order from 1905 to 1964, label each binder, and there’s five thousand photographs, right there. His book collection was an impressive thing, about 400 books, all out of print, all on Jazz and the early days of the movies. Films? Yeah, five hundred of them. Everything from a commercial print of “The Birth of the Blues” to private home movies of Jack and his family. Color slides. Lobby cards. Playbills. Scrapbooks. Ticket stubs. Ads. Trade notices. Magazines. If it was Teagarden or Teagarden-related, it was all here. Eventually, we went downstairs into the record room and they played some 78s for us. Warm, rich tones, great sound, and wow, some really rare cuts, too. As play dates go, it was one of the best. Joe was happy to talk Teagarden with us. He showed me a peek at his unpublished book, a 900+ page kitchen-sink of a thing that goes from birth to death in a straightforward style. Incredible.

 

We left, thinking that what we had seen was pretty much Joe’s life over four decades. How impressive a thing for someone to collect to the point that there’s hardly anything left? Considering how many collectors I know, I felt a real kinship and affection for Joe. I got what he was doing.

 

The next day, we came back and talked business. John was onhand, as was his sister, Barb, and we discussed the arrangement of transferring the collection, the payment terms, and so forth. It was a painless meeting, since we all wanted the same thing. Joe was really not feeling well, and aside from his enthusiasm, wasn’t able to contribute much. The doctor had been by and was going to send him in for another treatment the next day. Despite that, Teagarden talk kept us there past a reasonable time, and another friend was onhand, Steve, and we played more 78s and talked old movies for about an hour while Joe collected himself. My father-in-law, Pat, has known Showler for quite some time, and they spent some time together just talking about stuff. Everyone else was content to entertain us, or let us tell them about our plans for the museum. We left, all of us, on a high note. This would happen. It was a lot of money to raise in a short amount of time, but it had to be this way.

 

We flew out on Tuesday and dropped into Texas right in front of the tornado stormfront that pushed across that evening. Instead of driving back to Vernon, we spent the night in Richardson with in-laws. The next morning, we started back. The sun was shining, and we’d done what we needed to do in Canada. All was right with the world.

 

We were about two hours outside of Vernon when Steve Ray, our partner in the movie theater and also on the board of directors for the museum, called. He’d been the only one not able to make it, and I assumed he wanted an update. “Hey,” he said, “where are you?”

 

“Two hours out. Why?”

 

“I’ve got some bad news.”

 

“Oh,” I said. Steve’s father in law had been in and out of the hospital recently. I braced myself.

 

“I just heard from Kurt Nauck that Joe Showler passed away Tuesday night.”

 

It was a punch in the nose. The kind of hit where your eyes start to water. I didn’t have anything to say. Steve knew he’d punched me, and he apologized for it. There was nothing either of us could do. I hung up and told the car the bad news. We all drove quietly for a while. Honestly, as bad as he had looked, I really thought he’d be around for a few more months. Long enough to take a trip down and see what our progress on the building was. Hell, I don’t know what I thought, but I didn’t expect that.

 

John called me that night. After we commiserated for a minute, I apologized for not getting something going sooner. He told me he thought that Joe specifically hung on long enough for us to get our meeting done. Then, when he felt that he had his life’s work taken care of, he could let go.

 

Ironically, I had been talking to Weldon Adams about the project the night before. One of the great gifts that I got from my friendship with Weldon was a stronger moral center. Weldon is a very morally and ethically strong person, and I’ve tried to be more like him for that. When I first took on this project (yeah, like I know how to run a museum), I didn’t do it because I wanted to make money. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be a museum curator. I did it because it just seemed like the right thing to do. Joe wanted the collection to have a permanent home in Vernon. Frankly, that much Jack Teagarden stuff didn’t belong anywhere else.

 

Now I feel as though I’ve made a deathbed promise. Joe was willing to trust us with his life’s work. Now all I’ve got to do is get it here.

 

Those of you who are still interested in knowing some specifics, I need to raise $160,000—half of the collection’s worth, up front, in order to take possession of it, by June 30th. The balance is due over the next six years. Packing and shipping of the archive is estimated at $15,000. So, I’m looking for $175,000 from private foundations in the area who support the arts, museums, and education and preservation of Texas history. Is it daunting? Yep. But I have to try. We’ve applied for 501c3 status, and we’ll get it with no problems, but that won’t be conferred until probably 5-6 months from now. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking. If any of you out there have suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Thanks for reading. Sorry about the length, but this just can’t be summed up in the “what are you doing now” box on FaceBook.

 

Mark

 

___________________________________________________________________

Mark Finn is the creative director for the Violet Crown Radio Players and an award-winning Robert E. Howard scholar. His latest book, Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, is available at bookstores everywhere. To get the latest info, rants, and missives from Finn, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/finnswake.

Finn’s Blog is here: http://www.livejournal.com/users/finnswake/

Or check out : http://www.thecimmerian.com

                        http://www.clockworkstorybook.net

                        http://www.revolutionsf.com

 

 

Sidebar #2 Our Trip to CanadaCollapse )
Gorilla

A Cavalcade of Failures

I don't even know where to begin.

My personal computer is dead. And I won't be able to get it fixed until AFTER Christmas. Don't know if I will be able to recover all of my files, don't know much of anything, really. But the hard drive is (I think) damaged, rendering most of the computer corrupt and inoperable.

We have worked so hard these last few weeks doing special shows and other things that I have made myself sick. Not eating right, or often enough, and very little sleep is EXACTLY what I used to do in Christmas Retail and sure enough, I did it here, too. Here, where I'm supposed to be taking it easy.

This whole month has felt like an epic struggle. I'm taking off on Monday and won't come back until Friday. The break will do me some good. We're also going to take it easy in January, get a little breather, there. But I can't keep this up. Me and Cathy have got to get healthy and stay healthy if we're going to see our long term plans come to fruition.

Going to bed, now. I've got a date with Nyquil.  Tell everyone that I like I said "Merry Christmas."
  • Current Mood
    sick sick
Fez

Just got my third wind

Today was the big annual (for three years now) Christmas Parade in Vernon. The theme was "Christmas on the Western Trail," something that the developers in town are trying very hard to push as an identity for the town. So, we got a number of vintage cars, pick-ups, and tractors bedecked with lights and tinsel as well as some flatbed trailers and in a few cases, really great decorating jobs.

Cathy wants to do a float for the theater next year, with the theme of "A Christmas Story."  I volunteered to be one of the Bumpus's hounds. This suggestion did not go over well. I was only trying to be helpful.

After the late excursion to Elezabeth's 21st birthday party (and boy, a thirty-nine year old amid a sea of twentysomethings is only made less pathetic by the fact that my wife was with me and it was a family event), and the early morning wake-up call to participate in the town's SHOP TIL YOU DROP promotion (and getting ZERO customers for the duration), I'm ready to call it a night. Too bad there's still another set of shows to run. I'm counting the days until I can bolt for Sweetwater and the family Christmas gathering. I'm looking forward to the recharge.

Facebook continues to delight and frustrate in equal amounts. I'm really enjoying the re-connection process, but I'm getting a little tired of all the E-Bric-a-brac that you can send people. Well, except for the Star Wars figures. And the pulp covers. And the pulp heroes. Those are cool. Maybe it's the Hello-Kitty-Cutsie-Crap that I don't want. I am a man. Well, a man-boy, but still...
Gorilla

I'm too old for this shite...

My niece, Elezabeth, on Cathy's side of the family, is 21 today. She's been planning her soiree for some time now, and it involves tents, a bonfire, jello-shots, and who all knows what else. She's been living with us in Vernon, and she has been invaluable in helping us run the theater. Oh, she also looks like a cross between Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan. Yeah. Seriously.

She's from Dallas, has straight Wednesday Addams style hair, tattoos, and a lip ring. In Vernon, she couldn't be more exotic if she were a mermaid. I have been sharpening sticks to keep the local metal heads away, but it's no use. She now has all of them wrapped around her finger (and she is casually merciless about her Queen Bee status, to boot). All of the local boys turn into fatheads whenever she's around. As soon as she leaves their air space, they start punching each other on the arm and calling each other "fag" and "queer."  It's very Napoleon Dynamite-ish.

I am proud of how she's matured over the last few years. Cathy is very close to her and also very protective, so it's been nice having, for all intents and purposes, a grown-up teenager in the house. Weird, too, because we don't have a disciplinary kind of relationship with her. We're the "cool" aunt and uncle because we don't come down on her when she gets new ink. She wants to eventually travel and live in Seattle, because of the coffee. We're trying to dole out the life skills one at a time, so as not to overwhelm her. I never thought I'd feel this way, but it's a lot of fun having her around.

Do you ever look at your life and shake your head and go, "Wow, I would never have guessed that I'd be HERE at this particular time in my life?"
Red Seat

Since a guantlet has been laid, so to speak...

Okay, here comes some short and sweet blather:

In the midst of a skull-splitting sinus headache, I watched A Christmas Story tonight and do you know what? That movie holds up. It's one of the coolest idylls ever put together, moreso because it is a patchwork of bits and pieces from Jean Shephard's brilliant articles and essays. His voice-over narration in the movie is the thing that really puts it over the top and turns the movie into art. It hits on so many truths and to me is a far more authentic picture of childhood than we've seen in a long time.

It also shows The Wonder Years up for the Punk-Upstarts that they always were.  Peter Billingsly could kick Fred Savage's ass. He'd go down just like Scott Farkus.

Watching the movie helped me get over the lump in my throat. My brother-in-law's other dog, Nico, passed away today. He rescued the animal from an uncaring owner who was starving the animal. Mike did what he could to nurse the dog back to health, and for several months, the dog was happy and content and was well on his way to being socialized and trained. He was an argentinian dogo, or Argentenian Mastiff. They are commonly mistaken for Pit Bulls, but they are beautiful, loyal hunting dogs. Nico was kid-friendly and loved to play. For all of his intimidating bark and bluster, as soon as you walked up to him and he got a sniff of your hand, he turned into a big grinning idiot. Sweetheart of a dog. The breed used to hunt jaguars. This guy was made sick by a half-simple redneck, and despite many trips to the vet, never got better. I really liked that dog. He was a big sweetie.


Fez

An Update of Sorts

 

Something of an Update

I have given up on the possibility of ever getting this thing back on schedule again—apparently, even once a month taxes my faculties to their utmost. The truth is, some months, I’ve got nothing to report that doesn’t have anything to do with fixing projectors and popping popcorn. Maybe this is of some interest to you guys, but trust me, it gets old really quick.

Nevertheless, some things have been happening. I’ve been writing, and sending stories out, and collaborating with no fewer than three people now on various projects, and I’ve even been co-editing a fiction collection with a fellow Robert E. Howard-Head named Chris Gruber. We’re putting together a benefit book, the proceeds of which will go straight to the Robert E. Howard House for upkeep and other necessary repairs and improvements.

Most recently, I’ve been podcasting over at RevolutionSF.com. You can click on the audio tab and listen to our amateur efforts. Fair warning, though: it’s Geek-Talk. Listen at your own risk. Skype is a marvelous thing, I tell you what.

 

Living in a Small Town

I continue to adjust to this, and it’s hard, really hard sometimes, to bite my tongue or hold back large pieces of my personality, in the interest of “fitting in.” Sometimes, though, it pays off: I’ve been elected to serve on the board of directors for the Vernon Chamber of Commerce. What does this mean? Not sure, really, but I’m GONNA use it to try and push through a couple of campaigns aimed at the consumers and the retailers here in town.

It’s been suggested by many old friends who have known me for more than a decade that this is as “grown up” as they have ever seen me, and I think I would agree with that. Instead of insisting that I be accepted, Hulk T-shirt and all, I’m channeling those pushed back parts of my personality into becoming a community advocate for downtown revitalization. Of course, I know that my real motive for doing all of this is so that me and my wife can own a number of successful businesses in town—including a book store. See, it all gets back to doing what you love.

I like living here. It’s got its drawbacks, to be sure. But nowhere else could I become so politically involved so fast and be able to make changes that can be seen and felt by all. My voice (and Cathy’s voice) can be heard. That’s very attractive to me. However, there are some quirks that come from small town lifestyles in Texas and I find them slowly overtaking me.

For example, no one says “I went to Wal-Mart today.” They say, “I went to the Wal-Mart.” Everything is singular and emphatic. After all, there’s only one Wal-Mart. Why be vague and confusing? You went to the Wal-Mart. This applies to any business, from fast food (the McDonalds) to state institutions (the T.Y.C.).  It’s a tiny verbal crutch, so insignificant that I dare not try to correct it, lest I be accused of putting on airs.

Something else has happened to me; nomenclaturally speaking, I’ve gone back to the Middle Ages, when a man’s profession was part of his name, e.g. John the Baker or Roger the Shrubber. I am now known as “Mark at the Plaza.” It’s okay, I suppose, because we’ve got “Jimmy at the Paper” and “Jerry Lou at the hardware store” and even “Jeff at the Sherriff’s department.” This is apparently necessary, since there could be more than one Jeff and Jimmy in town. Why, I know two women with the exact same first and last name (who aren’t related, by the way) and I have to constantly say “Sue Ann at the bank” or “Sue Ann the realtor” to differentiate them. Personally, I’d rather be known as Mark OF the Plaza, or Mark du Plaza, but that’s just not going to happen because that would be French and just what do you have against Freedom, anyway?

 

I’m Starting to Hate the Internets

This is ironic that I’m complaining about the very mechanism that allows me to do it; not quite as ironic as Wired Magazines’ 15th annual “print is dead” issue, but close. I really don’t know what the purpose of the Internet is anymore. I know that, ostensibly, it allows for a fast and seamless exchange of information to large groups of people for a number of reasons. But I wonder: is any of the information any good?

Take Wikipedia, for example. It seems like such a great idea; a community-created encyclopedia that can be updated instantly by as many experts as care to do so. Furthermore, since it’s open ended, it would have entries that could conceivably be more relevant because of their immediacy. Great model. But the problem is, you can’t create or edit an entry nilly-willy, because there are people who fact-check you, and in some cases, flat-out undo what you change if they don’t agree with it. Some folks have taken to guarding certain entries against vandalism or well-meaning people, because they constantly include biased information, speculation, or things irrelevant to the topic at hand. Allegedly. Other folks just like messing with the online experiment.  Even if you don’t have a watchdog on, say, an entry for a particular author. How, then, can you be sure you’re getting accurate information?

You can’t. The Internet is anonymous and in being so, invites everyone to wallow in their id. No reprisals means that the most common, most base behavior is routine, and in fact, many people go online for the specific intent to disrupt and cause mayhem. Anyone can post anything, and it doesn’t have to be true for it to resonate to other people. In fact, I think it does more harm when there’s a mass of inaccurate information at our fingertips that we, by default, merely skim (because no one save for Generation Y likes to read from their computer screen). I think this mass of badly organized, badly written, wrong-headed bunch of opinions is actually making us dumber.

Granted, I am still participating in social networking—right now, on FaceBook, though I still prefer the book-nerdery that is GoodReads. But these social networks are out to make a buck just like everyone else. Pop-up ads, banners that flash like an epileptic’s nightmare, and all the rest of it is just another head on the media hydra that needs me to consume like a Conehead.

So, what’s the answer? I don’t know. I still enjoy reading my friend’s blogs. I appreciate the daily effort that goes into it. I like re-connecting with old friends. By necessity, I do my geek shopping online, since I have no other close alternative. What’s my problem? I think it’s because, prior to leaving Austin, I didn’t have to rely on the Interwebs so much. I got daily stimuli from my friends and colleagues, so there was no need to hit the message boards to find out information about stuff that mattered to me.  And the message boards...

Talk about a level playing field. You don’t have the luxury of only talking to people in your peer group, nosiree. You get the leet-speeking youth, the curmudgeonly older folks, the potheads, the overly-sensitive people that take great offense to, well, everything, and the hard talking, hard typing hardcore people with cynicism, sarcasm, and little smiley face emotes to let you know when you’ve been told off. There isn’t a thread online that isn’t going to spin out of control at some point or another and turn into a slap fight. It’s inevitable. And for what?

Is winning a fight online even a fight? Can you savor a virtual victory?  Do you get more hit points? I don’t know, either. All I know is this: Right now, someone is typing something, badly, and wrong, about something that I care about, in a blog or on their website or on a publically-accessible message board. Whether or not I engage this chucklehead is proportionate to the bad and wrong with how much I care. Meaning, if someone mislabels an episode of Star Trek, I probably won’t notice, but if they botch a detail of Robert E. Howard’s biography, my wrath will know no bounds. I suppose in the end, we’ll have to take the good with the bad.  

 

Merry Christmas, everyone! May all of your fruitcakes be rum-soaked!

  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper
Costigan

An Overdue (and Undercooked) Update

Lots of pots on the old stove, as they say. I’m working hard at the theater and when I’m not doing that, I’m writing stuff! Yeah, as in, stuff to read. Like, I mean fiction and things. I know, it’s been a long while, and I’m overdue. I’m trying to balance that out with some non-fiction I’m working on; some essays, an introduction or two, a radio script (hello!) and a book review. But I have to tell you, I’m having a lot of fun writing the made-up stuff. It’s been grand to stretch those muscles out and give them a whirl.


 

Fighting About HowardCollapse )

 

 

The Gang’s All Here

After the second Clockwork Storybook Retreat this year, it was decided that we would get the band back together. Not to go on tour, but rather to help each other out with our solo projects. So, while not jamming together, we ARE jamming. You can check out the remodeled Fabletown boards, now that the five of us are represented. Old Clockwork Storybook fans, you’ll get a kick out of the story I’ve posted in my section. It’s right up your alley. Check out www.clockworkstorybook.net (and no, the old animation isn’t up and running...yet).

 

Other Stuff

I won’t be attending World Fantasy this year, because of the exorbitant cost of flying to Canada. However, next year’s WFC is in San Jose, and so I will be doing that. I’m also making plans to be at San Diego next year, and I’ve got a trip to NYC on the books. In addition, I’m trying to expand my regional convention appearances next year. We’ll see how it all goes. Now what I really need is some sales to help offset those costs. I’ve got projects and proposals out, and I’m waiting on a short story to come back from where I sent it so that I can send it back out again. You know the drill.

 

It’s been good to start that writing process again. It’s helping to distract me from the massive falling off of our theater business due to high school football. We’re not out of the woods yet. If we can last one more year of this, we’ll be all right. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for us, and if you want to come up to see a movie, email me ahead of time so that we can have something good to show you.

 

Thanks for reading, for your support, and for your love.

 

Mark

  • Current Music
    The "Beer for my Horses" Soundtrack...god help me.
Float

A Small but Concentrated Update


In the Middle of a God-Awful Summer

Heat! Tornados! Ridiculous gas prices! How’s your summer been? We’ve been coping as best as we can; after all, this year’s crop of Summer movies have been pretty faboo, and despite the lackluster turnout (nationwide, not just with us), we remain optimistic.

I’ve been busy, setting up my office in the Plaza, along with my library, and also my private work space. Moving all of my books into the new library has been an easy chore, because every time I open a box up, it’s Christmas all over again. I’m still trying to get the office set up, which will allow me to transfer ALL of the Plaza Business over to the theater, and will frankly empty my personal office. I’m de-cluttering, re-organizing, and not surprisingly, my writing has picked up.

I’ve done some Robert E. Howard-based writing (book intros, prep work on two different articles), and I’ve done some fiction writing! I’ve got a couple of short stories based on a character that I really love. They are fast and fun for me to write, and they really crack me up. They shouldn’t, I know, but there you have it. I’m the funniest person I know. I’m still waiting for news about a reprint of Blood & Thunder from Del Rey. And, because I still have time left over for sleep and food, I’m co-editing a fiction book with a buddy of mine from REHupa, a benefit book that will raise money for Project Pride, the organization that takes care of the Robert E. Howard house in Cross Plains, Texas.

If I saw you at this year’s Robert E. Howard Days, thank you for attending during the year that I was the Guest of Honor (the youngest ever, in fact). That was a fun gig, and I really enjoyed reading and performing and in general hobnobbing with everyone at length.

In the Upcoming Appearances Department, you can find me in Austin this August 15-17 at ArmadilloCon 30. Count on me for some general tomfoolery there. Unfortunately, unless some sort of fuel-related miracle happens, I will not be attending World Fantasy this year. Flying to Canada is just too darned expensive, as much as I’d like to go.

And for those of you who can’t get enough of my rambling screeds, I was recently interviewed by the gang at Major Spoilers for their regular podcast. You can find it here, and my bit starts about 30 minutes into the show.

As Wowio collapses under the weight of its new owners and me and the Clockwork Storybook gang have pulled our old material off of the site, I am considering some self-publishing of my own. A variety of projects suggest themselves, from the second, long-overdue Sam Bowen volume to a script book for the Sailor Steve Costigan Radio Plays and all points in between. I am really not a fan of Lulu.com, but I may not have much of a choice. I’d rather make ten dollars on the books than nothing, but I really liked Wowio’s business model. We’ll see what else comes up, and I’ll let you know what I’ve decided. Any requests, as long as I’m contemplating this stuff?

 That’s the news, in brief. I’ve got more to say, but I think instead of writing a small piece within a larger email, I’ll blog a larger piece separately. Stay tuned, and thanks for your interest.

 

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Mark Finn is the creative director for the Violet Crown Radio Players and an award-winning Robert E. Howard scholar. His latest book, Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, is available at bookstores everywhere.  To get the latest info, rants, and missives from Finn, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/finnswake

Finn is Blogging now: http://www.livejournal.com/users/finnswake/

Finn Also Blogs REH-related stuff at the Cimmerian: http://www.thecimmerian.com

Finally, you can go and check out the Vernon Plaza website: http://www.vernonplaza.com

 

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