TalkCast 361 – Keith Gleason

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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

TalkCast 357 – Author Richard Paolinelli

Richard Paolinelli

Richard Paolinelli

On this edition we meet renowned author Richard Paolinelli. We get the chance to talk about how he and the podcast met and the about his many fields of work including sports journalism for many newspapers culminating with his tenure at the San Francisco Examiner which ended in 2010 and how that reignited his interest in fiction and science fiction.

He talks about some of current works including his latest novel. Escaping Infinity, what its all about, where it came from and his amazing success with it as it is now nominated in the category of Best Sci Fi Novel at the Dragon Awards, a fairly new award at DragonCon in Atlanta. Then, he touches on his love of Sherlock Holmes and how that brought him to Belanger Books, who in turn brought him to us to do the podcast and, as it turns out, also become a contributing author to the next edition of My Peculiar Family.

If it all sound a bit convoluted, it’s because it is, so enjoy the conversation. Sit back and enjoy the story of the man who just might possibly be related to Babe Pinelli.


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Escaping Infinity

Escaping Infinity

TalkCast 356 – LL Soares from Blue Clay, Massachusetts & Naomi Moore from New Orbit Magazine in NZ

In this episode, 2 guests and no Java.

ll soaresOur first guest is an old friend of the show, author, cinema reviewer, Bram Stoker Award Winner and raconteur LL Soares, here to talk about his newest book, Buried in Blue Clay. BiBC is an all out creepfest, but if you’re in any way aware of LL’s writings, this is no surprise. What is a surprise, however is that the fictional city of Blue Clay, Massachusetts is a recurring theme throughout most of his writing and this book is , in some ways, his attempt to somehow bring it all together whilst taking about ghost trap rooms, alien beings, washed up writers and the occasional creepy ass bug thrown in for good measure. Good unnerving,  skin crawling reading, perfect for a thunderstorm in a deserted mansion right before a power failure, but listen in, because he describes it better. We also talk about his website Cinema Knife Fight and spend a few moments talking about Vallerian (which I surmised is Psudo-Slavic for, “I wish this movie had a plot” but evidently not).

Orbit logo. png            Our second guest is Naomi Moore, creator and force behind the new publication New Orbit, which is due to premiere in October 2017. What is so different about Orbit is their desire to seek new voices from all walks of life, all countries, ages who have a desire to speak about the future. As such, they are accepting submissions from across the globe. Also, all accepted submissions will be paid content, so no more of this “doing it for the exposure” routine. Work deserves payment. Naomi has a herculean task and is planning well for the first edition. If you want more information, click here. If you want to lean about how to submit, click here. Find other ways to support this effort here.

Enjoy the chaos


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TalkCast 355 – Introducing Ryanne Strong

Ryanne Strong

Ryanne Strong


In this episode we meet new author Ryanne Strong. We talk about her writing career and the many other aspects of it including illustration and crafts. Ryanne is one of the authors on our new upcoming anthology. “My Peculiar Family II. The Holiday Edition ‘(working title). We get the opportunity to speak with her about what its like for a new writer trying to sharpen her craft and her working in various writers groups, some very helpful, others not as much.We also discus her works that were included in ‘Tricks and Treats’. It’s a fun time to learn about our new anthology and our newest author.


In This Weeks News:

Enjoy The Chaos


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TalkCast 354 – The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi

Neil ColeOur guest for this episode is Neil Cole. For the last two years he has been in the process of building a museum in Allendale, England, detailing the history of Science Fiction. He is fulfilling his lifelong dream to create a small, permanent museum to share his collection of original props and costumes, original artwork (some of it his own) and share his passion for the genre. After months and months of work, all planning permits have finally been granted and for the last year and a half, he has become builder, prop restorer, sculptor, curator, researcher, graphic designer, artist and anything else needed to bring his dream to fruition. Over the course of this wide ranging interview we touch on many subjects:

If you ever wondered how Matilda could have a tea party with her My Little Pony’s and the monsters…give a listen.


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The Writer’s Block Presents: Get Buried in Blue Clay

blue clayThe latest offering from Bram Stoker Award winner L.L. Soares (Life Rage) is Buried in Blue Clay (2017, Post Mortem Press). We’re immediately on board (both literally and figuratively) with Reddy Soames, a writer who’s not sure he’s still got what it takes, and drinks too much while he ponders this question. He’s heading back to his hometown of Blue Clay to investigate the urban legends of his youth in the hopes of getting a book written based on them. Growing up, he’d heard rumors of jellyfish-like aliens with ties to the azure-sanded beaches of Blue Clay.

Reddy makes contact with another writer in town—Bellows has published his own musings on the rumors of strange beings associated with Blue Clay—and though the two men take an instant dislike to each other, they’re often forced to bear each other’s company while investigating the mysteries of the town. Eventually, Bellows hooks Reddy up with HEK—a charismatic teacher with a bit of a cult following. Reddy’s quickly drawn into a world of unearthly creatures, big, blue secrets, and a weird, ritual-abiding group determined to recruit and redeem Mr. Soames.

Reddy’s a mostly likeable and frankly honest sort, a man careening toward middle age who has long since stopped worrying about fame and fortune, focusing more on getting by with the help of liquor and the occasional lady friend—sometimes gentlemen friends, too. HEK, on the other hand, is a man of secrets, and while you may get frustrated at his refusal to give up answers, don’t worry—Reddy shares your frustration. The novel maintains a strong, suspenseful pace of bizarre mystery, keeping you turning the page.

Nobody is safe in the world Soares has written here, which makes for several surprising twists and turns. He paints a town whose beaches of sapphire clay sound, quite frankly, beautiful, in stark contrast with the weathered, depressed landscape of the struggling working class. Reddy’s navigating middle age and the unremarkability of his own life: a few jellies and giant centipedes might be just the thing to spice it up. Faced again and again with the choice of doing something extraordinary though clearly dangerous, or fading into obscurity, Reddy’s actions make him all the more relatable. You may not get all the answers you seek, but you’ll finish the book knowing one thing for certain: you are not alone. It’ll also leave you wondering: maybe we are not alone.

Buried in Blue Clay is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. L.L. Soares can be found at or reviewing movies at Cinema Knife Fight.

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