TalkCast 352 – Peter Vinton, Jr.

Peter Vinton, Jr.

Peter Vinton, Jr.

A few episodes ago, with George O’Connor as guest, George suggested he was a member of the “SFSN’s 5 Timers Club” and get the very first Green Jacket. Alas, upon researching, he only has been on 4 times and was disqualified. Tonight, however, Sci Fi Saturday Night is proud to present our first induction into “The 5 Timers Club”. The inimitable Peter Vinton, Jr. joins us to talk about his work and his book series, “The Monitor’s Guild” and its mirror to current and future society. We then discuss the constantly evolving new England Comic Con and Convention scene with a look at the new conventions springing up all over and what it means to both new and upcoming artists and content creators as well as well known and established creators and the increasing number of “Special Appearance Conventions” that are growing in popularity and size.

Join us for a thought provoking hour, and congratulations to Peter, our first inductee into this hallowed club.

A 5 Timers Club Inductee

A 5 Timers Club Inductee




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The Writer’s Block Presents: Curtis Lawson’s Writing Process


This month, I asked author Curtis Lawson (It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World) to talk about his writing process. I’m about halfway through his new short story collection, Black Pantheons, and am duly impressed, so I figured the world should hear more from this talented author. Black Pantheons is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Here’s Curtis, in his own words!

Short stories have always been hard for me. They demand, in many ways, storytelling of a much more engaging and clever nature than novels. The telling of short stories is a delicate balancing act of establishing character, atmosphere, and plot within a limited space. If too much is revealed, the pacing can easily fail. Reveal too little, and you risk a disinterested reader.

In short fiction, it’s imperative to capture your audience straight away, enrapture them in the vaguest glimpse of your world, make them sympathize with a passing stranger, and deliver some memorable manner of resolution.

There are three key factors, I believe, in creating a winning short story. The first is economy of language. The second is choice of character. Lastly, the situation and conflict must be able to survive in a vacuum.

I know many authors will argue that short stories should be written by the seat of your pants. I’ve never had success with that method. The discipline of the word count is always at odds with my natural ramblings, so I approach short fiction much like I do scripting comics.

The first decade or so of my writing career was focused on comics and graphic novels. One of the realities of that industry is the firm page count. Comic publishers want books between twenty-two and twenty-four pages per issue. Your creative vision for a thirty-five page story will never warrant you an extra ten pages, unless you’re self-publishing. As such, I grew accustomed to writing in these confines.

When scripting a comic, I would break the story into scenes and budget out a certain number of pages to each scene. Early on, I learned visual shorthand techniques to establish character and mood in the limited confines of the comic page. Dialogue was written with economy of space in mind. Every word spoken would have to perform multiple functions – convey information, forward the plot, and establish tone and character. There was simply no use for a word that served only one of those functions.

These are the lessons regarding economy of language that I brought with me when I started writing short prose. I first determine plot and tone. Next, I set a goal of my word count. After that, I break the story into scenes and budget a rough percentage of my word count as each scene warrants.

When the time comes to actually write, I do my best to make economic use of language. My writing has often been described as cinematic. That is in no small part due to my background in visual storytelling. In prose, I try to use strong imagery and visual short hand to serve multiple functions, very much in the way I would with comics.

The second key to writing good, short fiction, as I stated above, is choice of character. In this regard, I think of the words of Stephen King, that a short story should be a dance with a stranger. Your character in short fiction must have barbs about their person, ready to hook the reader’s mind. This could be something as superficial as a distinct manner of speaking, or as intimate as the troubling inner monologue of a diseased mind. The trick is showing just enough to make the reader say yes to the dance. In a novel, you want your readers to fall in love (or hate) with your characters. In a great short story, you should strive for lust. You want them thinking of the character days later, wondering what might have been if they had had more time together.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is for your story to be capable of surviving in a vacuum. That vacuum is the unwritten void around your narrative. As a writer, you choose specific, extraordinary events, and decide they are special enough to write about. If the story is to stand as a tiny snippet into imagined lives, it must be strong enough to resist the vicious gravity of the reader’s mind. The here and now must be so deeply intriguing that the reader forgets that there is no before or after. Paradoxically, you need to manipulate the reader into yearning for those non-existent elements outside of the story. To put it simply, resolve the story, but always leave them wanting more.

So there you have it, my personal philosophy and routine for writing short stories. Nearly every piece in my collection, Black Pantheons, was written in this same manner. Down the road, I may experiment in contradiction to this, but to date, this works for me. Hopefully the stories I’ve written work for others.

See? Told you this guy was good. You can learn more about Curtis and his books at his website,

TalkCasat 351 – Duane Coffill & The Zombie Moose

Duane CoffillWhat ever happened to zombie moose? Tonight we explore that and more as Duane Coffill joins us to talk about his work, the work of the Horror Writers of Maine and their premiere anthology Northern Frights. Duane is the Founder/President of Horror Writers Of Maine, Horror Authors Alliance and is a proud member of New England Horror Writers. Lets face it, Maine can be one spooky place and Duane talks about a lot of it.

This anthology also includes works by:Northern Frights


Dome’s “Cough” switch was overworked tonight so, we missed the news.

Enjoy the conversation


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If you google zombie moose, you see this:

Zombie Moose

TalkCast 350 – George O’Connor at the PKD Film Festival



When one of our friends has a showing of his short film at The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, Its really time to celebrate. This ‘cast is a celebration with George for the inclusion of his film Healed in the festival. It will be shown Monday May29th. at 2pm in The Courthouse Theater venue. We talk about everything about the film, the festival, his Metal Band and buying tin futures in Sri  Lanka. We are all so happy for his success and also his impending inclusion in the SFSN 5 Timers Club.

George O'Connor

George O’Connor




In this weeks news:


Enjoy the Chaos


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Special Treat: After the break click to see the full cast and crew of Healed.

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TalkCast 349 – Mark Pinksten, The Nerd Magician

The Nerd Magician

          The Nerd Magician

In the world of Conventions and Nerd Gatherings how often do you hear ”Watch me pull a rabbit out of my Tardis”? In this episode we meet Mark Pinksten , who in the span of one year has become quite the attraction. Mark , a one time birthday party magician, changed his act to reflect his second passion, nerddom. Combing visual elements, costumes and slick patter from the worlds of Doctor Who, Back To The Future, Harry Potter, Star Wars and dozens of other genres and experiences, Mark combines his two passions into an amazing, amusing and astounding show. Mark talks about his early years in magic and what transformed his performances into a family friendly pop culture event. In the new England area, you can see Mark at MassiveCon, Vermont Comic Con and Granite State Comic Con.

In this week’s news discussion:

Enjoy The Chaos.


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TalkCast 348 – Chris Proulx, Free Comic Book Day and More

The Double Midnight Gang

The Double Midnight Gang


One of the shows oldest friends, Chris Proulx from Double Midnight Comics in Manchester and now also in Concord New Hampshire, joins us to talk about a ton of stuff the Double Midnight Gang are up to for the spring, summer and beyond.

May 6th: Free Comic Book Day: Their street fair/parking lot party/free for all for the entire family. Events at both locations.

June 24-25: Massive Comic Con at The DCU Center in Worcester, Mass

September 16-17 – Granite State Comic Con celebrates 15 years of bringing the amazing to New England at The Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester.

In this weeks news discussion included:

Enjoy The Chaos!


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The Writer’s Block: Sick

This month, I thought I’d offer a taste of flash fiction here at The Writer’s Block. Here’s a piece I originally wrote for The Storyside:


By Stacey Longo

He is sick. She knows this.

She knows this because he tells her every day. In the morning, he complains of a headache. She once suggested it was a hangover—after all, he polishes off a twelve pack just about every night—and he called her an idiot. Told her she didn’t get how alcohol worked. That the glass of water and two ibuprofen he took every night before bed cured all.

By midmorning, he starts to grumble about his back. It’s always his lower back, and it’s always after he’s been sitting in bed for three or four hours. She knows better than to suggest that his back pain might be from the awkward angle at which he props himself up on the pillows, peering at his computer and sipping the tea he demands she bring him.

After lunch, it is his stomach that bothers him. He can’t have dairy—was there cream in the soup she served him? He has no tolerance for beans, and fats, and vegetables with skin. His sandwiches lack tomatoes and onions and condiments. She feeds him meat on dry bread, and salty broth. No wonder he’s miserable.

As she folds the laundry and dusts the light fixtures in the midafternoon, he calls out to her that he can’t nap with all of her bustling. He needs the room dark, and the house silent. He must sleep to make up for the restless insomnia he suffers most nights.

By evening, he doesn’t want to eat. His stomach is still too topsy-turvy. A cold Pabst Blue Ribbon will do the trick, he says. Then another. Then a third. He’s remarkably sprightly after the third. Climbing up and down the stairs himself, and his backache and migraine and delicate stomach are all apparently miraculously cured. He’s loud and belligerent and affectionate and randy. She shudders at his touch.

She likes him better sick. Which is why she has been poisoning him.


Stacey Longo is the author of Ordinary Boy (nominated for a Pushcart Prize) and Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify, among other titles.  A former humor columnist for the Block Island Times, she maintains a weekly humor blog at


TalkCast 347 – John P Murphy Returns


John P Murphy joins us to talk about a bunch of stuff. John has been on the show before and imprudently decided to return, this time to talk about his Nebula Awards nomination for his novella, “The Liar” (The only nominee in this category to appear in a magazine and what it’s going to be like for him at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America conference this year.. During the course and discourse he also touched on awards in general, how he found out about the awards and what else is going on in his writing life. It’s an interesting interview touching on his past, his current projects and those upcoming that “he cannot talk about”.

In This Weeks News:

Enjoy the mayhem.


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Note #1: As there is not a single picture of John P Murphy online to be found, we have decided to use the graphic above instead.

Note #2: If you google “this is not John P Murphy”, THIS is the image you get.

This is NOT John P Murphy

TalkCast 346 – Vivek Tiwary, Our Own Renaissance Man

Our guest in this episode is truly a renaissance man, Vivek Tiwary. Join us as we talk about all his current projects in various stages of development in The Tiwary Entertainment Group and  his plans for the future.

Asha Ascending


We talk about his ongoing YA Graphic novel , Asha Ascending adroitly illustrated by Sara Richard which is being serially published online on the Asha website as well as on Wattpad.


The Fifth Beatle

Current news on The Fifth Beatle front is quite amazing. They are in talks with Sonar Entertainment to produce a multi-part television series and have as of this time acquired music rights to use original Beatles music for it. They will shortly be announcing a Director and Lead Actor for their part of Brian Epstein.


Astronaut Academy


It look as if The Dave Roman Astronaut Academy project is also on its way to television but there isn’t much that can be talked about…yet.



He is actually here to talk about IDW’s Star Trek Waypoint and specifically issue #4 and specifically his contribution to it, “The Fragile Beauty of Loyalty” a comic story set in the Star Trek Enterprise universe. Vivek talked about why this universe, why a comic and why he wants to do more. During the conversation he kinda dropped the bombshell about what his next project will be:

“A Mess of Blues. Colonel Parker and the Unmaking of Elvis Presley”
Enjoy a lovely conversation with an amazing “renaissance man”. 

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Tiwary Logo

The Writer’s Block: So You’re About to Meet an Author

I do a lot of events. Conventions, fairs, craft shows . . . you never know when my smiling face is going to pop up from behind a table. (Next Saturday, you’ll find me at SuperMegaFest with Rob Watts: stop on by!) Over the years, I’ve found that some fans are wonderful, and some of them are maybe not so much. Want to know the “dos and don’ts” for meeting an author? Here they are:

  • DO feel free to talk about your favorite books. Writers love to read. Some of my favorite conversations have started with “So, what are you reading right now?”
  • DON’T feel free to trash famous authors on the sole premise that they’re successful. If you don’t like James Patterson’s writing, that’s fine, and a valid opinion (though I’d encourage you to read Kiss the Girls). If you don’t like James Patterson because he’s one of the world’s best-selling authors yet hires writing partners because he really doesn’t need to work hard anymore, okay, you don’t like James Patterson, the man. But please don’t go off on a diatribe about how Patterson’s writing sucks because he hires writing partners. Learn to hate correctly, I always say.
  • DO tell an author that you liked their book. That’s always wonderful to hear. I also encourage you to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
  • DON’T tell an author that you like their boobs. That’s inappropriate.
  • DO feel free to ask for a signature, a hug, or a photo with your favorite author. That’s quite flattering, and many of us are happy to do it.
  • DON’T go in for a hug:
  1. without asking;
  2. when you’re sweating like a runner wearing a parka who just did the Boston Marathon in August while carrying a rotting whale carcass;
  3. and do the reach-around to cop a feel.
  • DO ask the author what their book is about and the intended audience. If you’re looking for a book for your pre-teen, I don’t want to sell you a copy of Ordinary Boy. You’ll be angry that the content is too old for them and inappropriate, and I’ll lose a potential returning reader. But beware: there are some unscrupulous writers out there who will lie to you just to get the sale. If they’re coming across as a snake-oil salesman, don’t trust them.
  • DON’T tell an author what they should’ve written or done with the plot/characters instead. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, editing, and revisions happened before you read the final book. Telling us how you would’ve done it instead is insulting and demoralizing.
  • DO stop and chat for a few minutes . . . if there isn’t a line. My favorite things to talk about are writing, editing, and reading. I have a few (okay, two) close friends that I originally met when they stopped to talk at an event.
  • DON’T ask for a phone number, home address, or what our blood type is when you meet us. Too personal, folks.

There you have it. Feel free to print out this list and carry it around with you so you’ll be fully prepared for your next author encounter.

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