TalkCast 365 – Andrew Stanleigh

The Jewish Comics Anthology Volume 2

The Jewish Comics Anthology Volume 2

In this episode we are joined by Andy Stanleigh to discuss his new Kickstarter, SCI: The Jewish Comics Anthology Volume 2. It’s a more than interesting process as to where and when this series began, where it is today and the product that his small press publishing house AH Press has been producing since 2011.

AH stands for Alternate History, a themology that carry’s thru, to some extent, in all of their publications. The inception of AH, in some ways, is rather dependent upon Andy’s own personal background and history as well as the amazing serendipity of reconnection with old friends and ideas to begin and continue this wonderfully inventive process and productions. Join Andy and the cast as we discuss what Alternate History Comics has done, is doing and has coming up. It’s an engaging interview with a fresh voice in comic invention and publishing.

Enjoy the chaos. 

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AH Comics



The Writer’s Block Presents: One Lunatic’s Dream

There are two types of people in this world. One is the sensible, rational type. They set realistic, achievable goals: grow up, get a job you like and are good at, meet someone awesome, get married and have two awesome children. My sister is one of these people. So is my sister-in-law.

The other type knows maybe what they want, which may or may not be sensible and/or achievable, and comes up with wild, perhaps unrealistic, ways to achieve those dreams. That’s probably me.

When I was a kid, I read a lot, played with the farm cats a lot, and I had the obnoxious tendency to correct other people’s grammar. But I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer.

That’s not entirely accurate. I wanted to be a writer and Wonder Woman. But when I found out that the job of Wonder Woman was already taken by Lynda Carter, I settled for just writer. So how did I decide to go about attaining that goal? Let’s take a look:

Idea #1:  Move to an isolated island where I could write at my leisure.

Hahahaha! The naiveté dripping off of that sentence still cracks me up. After college, I moved to Block Island in an effort to be one of those reclusive writers who sits on the beach all day and writes about the waves and crap. Did it work? Ha! Here’s the thing: it is expensive to live on a resort island year-round. Bills need to be paid. I indulged my dreams of writing by churning out a weekly column for the local paper, but I worked full time for the town, took on bookkeeping jobs to keep the lights on, and was surprised when the publisher of the newspaper asked me if I’d moonlight as a proofreader. Hmm. That obnoxious “let me correct your grammar” thing had gotten me a side job. But none of these things really gave me time to write. It was time to move back to the mainland.

Idea #2: Open a bookstore so I could read and write all day.

Sounds perfect, right? In an era where independent and chain bookstores were failing every day, why not open a bookstore? I loved it. And I hated it. I was writing sporadically, reading even less, and I was doing things like reconciling accounts payable and receivable, doing taxes, and talking to customers all day. And, of course, correcting their grammar in my head. The business, and my writing, suffered.

Idea #3: Get a day job I like and am good at to support my writing habit.

Those sensible people of the world with realistic goals might be on to something. I’d worked in human resources in the past, but although I was good at it, I didn’t enjoy it. So what to do? What was I qualified to do that I could stand doing? And then one little line jumped out on my résumé—Proofreader, The Block Island Times.

Could I parlay that into a job I liked? Was it possible that someone would actually pay me to correct their grammar? The answer, I am happy to report, is yes.

To all of you aspiring authors out there, I recommend this: Sure, you can try the crazy stuff, like moving to an island or opening a bookstore. But if you want to write, find a day job you love. Mostly because it makes it a lot easier at night when you sit down at your computer if the power is still on, plus, you won’t be ready to jump off a bridge due to said day job. Maybe that career path is in customer service, because you like people. Maybe it’s as a medical billing specialist, because you don’t like people. Or, if you’re like me, maybe you can take one of your most obnoxious personality quirks and turn it into a paycheck. Because I can tell you this: I am a writer and I am a copyeditor.  No matter if I’m working as one or the other, I love what I’m doing.

And sometimes, I even wear my Wonder Woman tiara while doing it.wonder woman

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TalkCast 364 – Cameron J. Quinn

Cameron J. QuinnOn this episode we have a wonderful; conversation with Cameron J. Quinn and explore the many sides of her artistic career. Cameron writes in many genres including Paranormal Romance, Horror, Urban Fantasy, and Thrillers. We talk about the beginning of her new series She explains how and why she delves into each genre as well as how the writing addiction first came to her (at the age of 6). We also talk about her work as the Marketing Director at Amphibian Press and her longtime friendship and partnership with V.S. Holmes. One of the biggest themes in the interview was how to traverse the complex and intricate work of independent publishing. All in all, it was enlightening and great conversation.



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 How To Get Arrested

The Statesboro Chronicles

TalkCast 363 – The Worldbuilding of Mag Na Mell


Mag Na Mell BannerIn this episode we talk about the web-comic Mag Na Mell with its creators Emily Rhain Andrews and Christian Konczal, co-creators of a new Worldbuilding community based on an alternate world filled with Gods and monsters and war. We discuss how it began and why it came to light. We also got insight into what “Worldbuilding” in gaming means for participants in that specific universe. If it sounds complex it is. It is also quite wonderful and it’s in large part based on their web comic. Trust me, its better to let them explain such things as  transmedia storytelling, and how copyright plays into it all.

Ladies and Gent’s, Sci-Fi Looks At The News:

Enjoy the chaos:


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Bonus Content:

Amazing artwork from Emily



TalkCast 362 – Keene Comic Con, The Birth of Another Micro-Con

Keane Comic ConWe are joined by Terry Thomas, the main organizer of Keene Comic Con, which will have its premiere event on Saturday October 14th. in Keene, NH. Terry is here to talk about the how and why of the birth of this event, the unique nature of the Mini Con and the role that it plays among the conventions. The Keene Con is being produced in collaboration with Enterprize Comics, etc., Comic Boom and Toy City. The cost will be             $ 10.00 for adults with kids under 10 free with an adult. Check their page for more information.

In The News

Enjoy the chaos


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Bonus Video

The new Philip K. Dick series is currently only on UK channel 4, which has also co-opted “The Great British Bake Off. As Zombrarian noted, the tone of the series has been “slightly altered” Here is the preview.

TalkCast 361 – Keith Gleason

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 7.00.31 PM


On this edition, our guest is Keith Gleason of Reckless Sidekick Productions. Keith has been a frequent Convention companion of ours for years. He joins us to talk about a bunch of new projects including updating Hero Envy, and new titles Swamp Tales, Reckless Chronicles and Kid Switch.

We also talk about the resurgence of the “Small Convention” idea and how it brought about Keith putting together Plastic City Comic Con.

In a wonderfully fragmented news segment we discuss:

The Orville
The Good Place


Former guest, author Richard Paolinelli sent us some information about an anthology project called “The Planetary Anthology” he is involved with. It is a series of 9 books with each volume centered on the nine planets in our solar system, Richard is the editor of the “Pluto” book. This volumes theme is “wealth and/or death and he is currently seeking submissions for his volume. If you’re interested, the criteria is:
• The story must incorporate one of those two themes, or be set on Pluto itself or involve Pluto in a significant way.
• 5,000-10,000 words
• Submission deadline is February 1, 2018
If you need more information, contact Richard at his website.
Enjoy the chaos:


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TalkCast 360 – GraniteCon 2017 Preview

The Graniteer

Our first guest is Chris Proulx chief mastermind of Granite State Comic Con. We get a behind the scenes look at the amazing amount of work that goers into putting the show together. Chris talks about some of the many special guests for this years event. We also talk about the many wonderful participants in Artists Alley and Vendor Row, the usual outstanding Cosplay event as well as an outstanding array of events occurring through the weekend. Also, new this year is some amazing convention only merchandise.

The second guest is the amazing and talented artist and creator Rhiannon Mccullough. Rhiannon is a convention regular and her unique creations are amazing and distinctive. She talked about some tumblr_ovuecwwH0r1su74sso1_500changes she is doing this year in order to branch out to different communities and we spent a fair amount of time talking about the future of the independent artisan place in the convention scene. She also talked about her eastern inspiration. The last time she was on was July,2012 (she sounds exactly the same!!!).

Join us all at Granite State Comic Con, Sept. 16-17 in Manchester, N.H.

Enjoy The Chaos


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TalkCast 359 – The “FunDead” & Author Ariele Sieling

Laurie Moran

Laurie Moran

It’s a guest packed show. We begin with Laurie Moran and

Amber Newberry

Amber Newberry

Amber Newberry from FunDead Publications in Salem, New Hampshire. The ladies join us to talk about their company, who they are, what they do , why they do it and what’s coming up in the “World of the Fundead”. We discuss their newest anthology, ‘One Night In Salem’, 26 stories about Halloween in the city that celebrates it like no other. They talk about how it got put together and the myriad events they have planned to launch it throughout the “Halloween Season”. Check out their full range of books and merchandise and if possible, join them for one of their many upcoming events. It’s a fun company and a great conversation.

One Night In Salem

One Night In Salem




After a brief critique of the current state of television by Java and a discussion of his R2D2, 3D Printing adventure, author Ariele Sieling joined us. Ariele is a fascinating multifaceted writer, splitting her time between incredibly complex and interesting science fiction novels and charmingly whimsical children’s books. We talked about both.

Her Science Fiction series, The Sagittan Chronicles, is a loosely connected series that currently consists of 5 volumes that stand-alone as well as connect into a very interesting world building series. Her prose style is both imaginative and captivating and the read is very involving. Her newest book in the series is. ‘The Polylocus Problem”.

Her children’s series are picture books that revolve around the character of “Rutherford, The Unicorn Sheep” . Each volume chronicles another one of his adventures.

The Polylocus Problem

The Polylocus Problem

Rutherford The Unicorn Sheep

Her website contains her biography in Haiku:

I am Ariele

I write books and carry ducks

My three cats are weird

See her at Granite State Comic Con in September.

Listen and enjoy.


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The Writer’s Block Presents: Don’t Be a D*ck—Follow the Guidelines

Hey there, people!

My name’s Rob Smales, and when I found out Stacey needed a blog post for this month’s Writers’ Block, I drove straight to her house to ask if maybe I could share some thoughts with you. There’s something on my mind, and I think all my friends are a little tired (read: are sick to death) of hearing about it. Stacey graciously said yes . . . at least, I think that’s what she was screaming through the gag after I locked her in the trunk. See, she’s a bit of a control freak about her blog . . .

Anyhoo, it’s about submission guidelines. They’re really a thing, people.

For those of you who are yet to submit a story for possible publication, submission guidelines are the little list of dos and don’ts publishers and editors put out there to say precisely what they are looking for and, usually, how to send it to them.

“We here at Buried Bones Press are putting together our annual Simian Psycho Stories anthology. We’re doing a when anally aware animals attack theme this year, so what we’d like are some humorous horror stories about monkeys killing people with rectal thermometers. We’re paying $50 upon publication for each bloodthirsty baboon biography accepted, and if you could get those brachiating butchers to pierce their prey with those poop-chute temperature-takers in a minimum of 3,000 words, a maximum of 7,000 words, and in double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman, it would be greatly appreciated.”

There, you see? What they want, and how they want it. I’ve been writing for a few years now, and I’ve always looked at submission guidelines that way: it’s someone offering me money if I give them what they need, and they’re telling me just what they’re looking for. How awesome is that?

Some people, though, don’t see it that way. Some would read that paragraph above and say “Right there! It says horror! I’ll send them 1,500 words about a serial killer coming back from the dead to beat high school principals to death with his giant zombie dong!”

They seem to forget those guidelines were written by a person, one who either wants or needs something pretty specific. Someone with feelings just like you and me. Hell, I’m currently taking submissions for an anthology I’m editing (no, not the butt thermometer primate one, but that is interesting), so right now, this is me.

Look at it this way: you go to a restaurant, peruse the menu, and make your selection very carefully. You tell your server exactly what you want: a porterhouse steak with mashed potatoes and carrots and a nice little dinner roll on the side (vegans reading this, please substitute any tubers and greens you like). Then, when your plate arrives, and you see it’s covered with shrimp scampi, do you say “Oh, thank you”? Or are you like me, and point at the plate with a slightly confused expression, saying “Excuse me? This isn’t what I ordered.”
You point and ask, don’t you?

And though that chef may make a shrimp scampi so good it’d make me quit my job just so I’d have more time to eat it, it’s still not what I ordered. As a writer, you’re the waiter in that scenario, and the only way you’re going to get the money you’re looking for―that big tip at the end of the meal—is by giving the customer what they want. A small error is no big deal (“I ordered carrots and you brought me peas”), but getting everything wrong—or even worse, insisting what you’ve brought them is what they really need—and you can kiss that tip goodbye.

monkeyshinesMore than that, you’ll be remembered the next time around. You do that, don’t you, at a place where you’ve received bad service? “Oh, seat us anywhere—but not at any of that scampi-slinging son of a bitch’s stations, all right?” They have a reputation with you now for being difficult, and you avoid them if you can . . . and remember what I said about you the writer being the server in this situation?
Yeah. Don’t be a dick.

There’s a colder reason for paying attention to stated minimums and maximums, too. A logical, rational reason.

It’s a simple question of numbers—the publisher’s numbers, not yours. There’s a certain budget for any project, and though most of it is allocated for buying stories, it’s still a budget. In order to have a book long enough to appeal to the public, for a price with which the publisher could reasonably expect to recoup their expenditures—never mind actually making any money—they have a specific page count range in mind. When setting the word count minimums and maximums in their guidelines, they have a certain number of stories they can afford, and a hopeful average word count per story to help make those pages.

If a publisher is paying a flat fee per acceptance, too many stories below that stated minimum throws those numbers off. They could get those pages back by simply buying more stories . . . but that would eat up more of the budget, and they’d have to skimp on some of the other necessities, like cover art, editing, etc., and then they wouldn’t be handling the accepted authors with the professionalism those writers deserve.

Paying by the word bites the publishers on the other ass cheek. Accepting a story that’s twice the stated maximum means there’s one fewer story they can afford—unless, of course, they dip into the rest of the budget, and we’ve already covered what a mess that can make.

It can also be difficult to put together a balanced book when one of the dozen stories within is a 1,000-word flash fiction, while another is a 25k novella. And don’t even ask me to explain the math that goes into royalty splits. It’ll make your head spin.

So, are we clear? Publishing is a bit of a numbers game (a game that you, as a footloose and fancy free writer, don’t have to play, thank God), and the submission
guidelines are showing you the rules of the game. Submit within those rules—oh, and don’t be a dick—and your chances of success in the game always (repeat: always) take a turn for the better. Remember that, and you’ll soon be a writer people are looking forward to working with, rather than the shrimp scampi-slinging asshat everyone wants to avoid.

Do you hear sirens? Aw, hell! I forgot to take Stacey’s phone away before I put her in the trunk! Okay, uh, I have to get a move on. Gotta put Stacey on the lawn and try to get out of here before I make the evening news.

Talk to you later!

Rob SmalesRob Smales is the author of Echoes of Darkness and Dead of Winter, as well as over two dozen published short stories, several of which have won awards and all for which he followed the guidelines to the letter before submitting. When he’s not garnering critical acclaim for his writing, he works as one half of the editing team at S & L Editing.

TalkCast 358 – Colby Elliott

Colby Elliott

Colby Elliott

In the Geekosphere, there are many kinds of actors. In this episode we talk with Colby Elliott, and his very unique role as voice artist for audio books. How does one begin or become introduced to this trade? Colby and the cast talk about how he started, what he learned and did along the way, his founding of Last Word Audio, some of the books he has done, the numerous awards he has been nominated for his work (including being a finalist in The 2017 Audie Awards) and what’s coming up for him and his company in the coming months.

Interesting conversation on a really interesting topic. Enjoy the chaos.


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Last Word Audio

Last Word Audio

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