Jason Jack Miller delivers the keynote address at Pennwriters

“Writers make wizards fight dragons.”

This past weekend at the annual Pennwriters conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, veteran Raw Dog Screaming Press author Jason Jack Miller was featured as the Saturday keynote speaker.

Jason has always been a fighter. He fights to bring authenticity to the page, fights for issues he’s passionate about, fights to make a career in the arts possible for not just himself and his peers but for the next generation as well.

He showed up at Pennwriters ready to duke it out, or more to the point demonstrate how authors create battles with zombies and robots and dragons to do more than just entertain the reader. Judging from the online reception he left the crowd pumped up to go straight from the luncheon and write all the words.

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It Began With Murder Ballads

We first met Jason and his wife, author and editor Heidi Ruby Miller, at the Western Maryland Independent Literature Festival in 2011. They clearly had put in the work to not only master their craft, but to build a platform as well. After reading his work we knew that we wanted to work with Jason, and after some meetings it all came together. Now, four novels later, Jason is still killing it with his Murder Ballads and Whiskey series.

Jason with Heidi Ruby Miller at Pennwriters

Want to catch up with Jason Jack Miller and the Raw Dog Screaming Press team? You’ll find us all at Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind workshop and book fair this June 27-30 in Greensburg, PA and at Pulpfest this August 15-19.

About Jason Jack Miller

Jason Jack Miller knows it’s silly to hold onto the Bohemian ideals of literature, music, and love above all else. But he doesn’t care.

His own adventures paddling wild mountain rivers and playing Pearl Jam covers for less-than-enthusiastic crowds inspired his Murder Ballads and Whiskey Series. He wrote Hellbender as a student in Seton Hill University’s prestigious Writing Popular Fiction program, where he is now a mentor and adjunct instructor. The novel won the Arthur J. Rooney Award for Fiction, the MacLaughlin Scholarship, and was a finalist for the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award.

When Jason isn’t writing, he’s with Heidi, his wife, either in Paris, perusing the bouquinistes or in the Cinque Terre trying to taste all of the focaccia. And for the rest of the year he plays the role of Mr. Miller, mild-mannered science teacher at Uniontown Area High School. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @jasonjackmiller or email him at jasonjackmiller@gmail.com.


Praise for the Murder Ballads and Whiskey Series

“Certainly Miller isn’t the first writer to move from independent publishing to the more traditional. If fact, he’s probably not even the first good writer to make the switch (or the first good writer to publish independently). But his attitudes toward the publishing process and his willingness to state, rather loudly, that ‘No matter how you are published, or who publishes you, you ARE an independent writer’ seem to make him just as original as the book itself.”
—Catherine Ramsdell, Popmatters

Jason ruminating at Pennwriters

“Miller clearly has confidence in his voice and style and in the story he came to tell. He cuts no corners and makes no compromises, resulting in a thoughtful book that requires—and rewards —your patience.”
—Blu Gilland, Fearnet

“Miller does a great job of making the reader identify with Preston regardless of personal experience. I found my self getting a little bit depressed when Preston was depressed, and getting angry when Preston makes some really stupid decisions. Plot pacing was perfect. I felt invested in Preston without ever feeling like there was significant down time.”
Lazerbrain’s Log and Review

The Devil and Preston Black is a page-turner laced with an audiophile’s longing for the days when music was genuine, and the storytelling reminded me of a strange array of similar stories — High Fidelity, Crossroads, Justified… — yet it stood out from the pack as fresh, thanks to Miller’s authentic Appalachian voice. Any lover of guitar music or the history of the blues will instantly see themselves reflected in the story, filtered through a noir fuzz pedal, amped up with the electricity of dark fantasy.”
—Michael A. Arnzen, winner of five Bram Stoker awards.

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I will assume my final form at Balticon

Please join me this coming weekend for Balticon, a large convention for fans of all things related to speculative fiction organized by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Featuring over 300 hours of programming and guests of honor Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Charles Vess, Nicky Drayden, Gregory Benford, R.F. Kuang, and the Blibbering Humdingers, Balticon will be running 24 hours a day at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, 202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 Friday May 24 through Monday May 27.

As some of you might remember I participated in the Balticon 52 programming last year. That was my first time returning to the event in 6 years, and things had changed a bit . Aside from the new location at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (the same venue World Fantasy was held in last year if you attended that) the crowd and panel discussions were very fresh, progressive, and thought-provoking.

It turned out that one of the people running the programming was none other than a former intern of ours from Raw Dog Screaming Press! Their team mentioned needing volunteers, so I decided to get involved. Seeing all the work that goes into these conventions from behind the scenes is an eye opener, even when you already grasp that event logistics are a nightmare. The Balticon team works diligently to ensure a broad spectrum of new programming is ready for its audience every year. If you want to see the scene grow to be more inclusive, dynamic, and fun for all ages and interests, please support events like Balticon either by spreading the word or attending. I hope to see you there!

My schedule is as follows:

SATURDAY

Muse On This: John Lawson (interview)
Located in Pride of Baltimore II, 9am – 10:30am
Muse On This is a podcast focusing on interviews with creative people, and their inspirations and thought processes. Sue Baiman asks the questions to find out what makes the creativity flow. Featuring author John Lawson.

Captain Marvel and the Retconning of the MCU
Located in Room 8006, 2pm – 2:55pm
The story of Captain Marvel is set a decade before other films in the main MCU sequence, adding to and sometimes changing backstory of characters, organizations, and setting elements we thought we already knew. Did they get it right or wrong? What might have been done differently? Is there a chance that future MCU movies will also be set in the past?

Afrofuturism 201
Located in Room 8029, 4pm – 4:55pm
You know the basics of Afrofuturism, time to move on to the current creators, sources, and trends. What is being developed from older materials and where are new creators taking readers? How do Afrodiasporic musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers continue to influence Afrofuturism? Emerging subgenres such as solarpunk will also be discussed.

Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction Meet and Greet
Located in Room 8029, 5pm – 6:55pm
Come out and meet the members of Diverse Writers And Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF). Food, fun, and giveaways! There will also be a free screening of the award-winning short film, Rumination. The writer/director will be on hand to answer questions.

Unmasking the Hero with a Thousand Faces
Located in Mount Washington, 6pm – 6:55pm
While Campbell’s work serves as an introduction to folklore study and narrative theory for many people, slavishly adhering to it can force obvious misinterpretations of many, particularly non-Western, works. This panel will examine storytelling expectations from around the world, how Campbell’s widely taught theory of the Hero’s Journey interacts with them, and what storytelling approaches writers can employ in place of Campbell’s.

Fantasy -isms: When Metaphors Go Bad
Located in Mount Washington, 8pm – 8:55pm
So you’ve accidentally written a book that justifies genocide. How do you recognize unintentional subtext as you’re writing? How much can be changed in editing, and what can an author do if the book is about to go into print? Panelists will also explore how to navigate plot and character decisions which create these results while making it clear that they do not endorse them.

SUNDAY

Being a Fan of Color
Located in Room 7029, 12pm – 12:55pm
How does the fandom experience differ for people of color, and what can the fan community do to become more inclusive? What struggles do fans of color go through that aren’t obvious to those not experiencing them, from racist depictions in RPGs, to exclusion in “historically inspired” works, to cosplaying outside one’s ethnicity?

African Americans in Horror
Located in Room 7029, 2pm – 2:55pm
African Americans are increasingly taking center stage in the horror genre, with recent films such as “Get Out” and “Us” by Jordan Peele, the documentary “Horror Noire,” notable literary works such as “The Ballad of Black Tom” and “The Changeling” by Victor LaValle, and RPGs such as “Harlem Unbound” by Chris Spivey. How are their stories being told? Panelists will discuss the evolution of POC in horror, from being typically the first killed to becoming three-dimensional characters with agency.

Racism in Anime
Located in Room 8029, 4pm – 4:55pm
All anime fans are probably familiar with the feeling of enjoying something and then, as they continue watching, it dawns on them a character’s portrayal is based on damaging stereotypes. How do we deal with this as fans? How does this impact who you share the show with?

The BSFS logo

You’ll be able to find me Friday and on the Monday Memorial Day holiday, and at other times throughout the weekend, helping to run programming ops, at a table in the dealers room, or checking in on panels to ensure everything is running smoothly.

For more information about Balticon including their Code of Conduct, Baltimore’s Show Your Badge program (discounts at local restaurants), and most importantly registering either for a day or the full weekend, visit https://www.balticon.org/wp53/.

For the schedule of Dog Star Books author J.L. Gribble visit https://jlgribble.com/2019/05/20/balticon-53-schedule/. To find presentations, readings, and more the searchable Balticon 53 schedule is available at https://schedule.balticon.org/.

Come out on Friday night to hear great new work by Gabino Iglesias, Nik Korpon, and John Edward Lawson.

Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias is the author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS. He is a book reviewer for NPR, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Criminal Element, and other venues as well as the book reviews editor for PANK Magazine. He has been recently nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

Nik Korpon is the author of OLD GHOSTS, WEAR YOUR HOME LIKE A SCAR, and QUEEN OF THE STRUGGLE, among others. He lives in Baltimore.

John Edward Lawson’s novels, short fiction, and poetry have garnered nominations for many awards, including the Stoker and Wonderland Awards. In addition to being a founder of Raw Dog Screaming Press and former editor-in-chief of THE DREAM PEOPLE, he currently serves as vice president of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction.

This event will be hosted by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Susan Muaddi Darraj

Susan Muaddi Darraj won the 2016 American Book Award for her second short story collection, A Curious Land: Stories from Home. She is also the author of The Inheritance of Exile, as well as numerous young adult biographies, articles, book reviews, and essays. She also has been awarded the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction and the Arab American Book Award, and A Curious Land was also shortlisted for the Palestine Book Award. She lives in Baltimore, MD.

Up to date information is available on the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/312858196065761/.

But Wait, There’s More!

Gabino will be a special guest of Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Writing operated by http://www.barrelhousemag.com is happening on Saturday, April 27. Nik will also be speaking there, and I’ll be there manning the Raw Dog Screaming Press table. Conversations and Connections is a one-day writer’s conference at George Mason University in Arlington, VA that brings together writers, editors, and publishers in a friendly, supportive environment.

Nik Korpon

What do you get for your registration fee? A whole lot of stuff! For your $75 registration fee, you get the full day conference, including the keynote by featured authors keynote discussion, and 3 craft workshop/panel sessions, plus 1 ticket for Speed Dating with Editors, your choice of 1 of the 4 featured books, 1 subscription to a participating literary magazine, and (for those of you 21 or over) our world famous Boxed Wine Happy Hour. Boxed Wine Happy Hour!

Where does the money go? Conversations and Connections is organized by Barrelhouse, a nonprofit literary organization. Exactly one half of every $75 registration goes directly to the participating literary magazines and small presses. After expenses, the rest goes to Barrelhouse to support printing costs, paying writers, and other community projects like the Barrelhouse Amplifier, a $1,500 cash award for emerging literary organizations.

Speed Dating

John Edward Lawson

Ever wanted to go on a date with me? Well, too bad! I’m still available for speed dating as an editor at Conversations and Connections, though. Here’s how it will work:

Your registration includes one ticket for “speed dating with editors” This is a ten minute one-on-one workshop with an editor, and we’ll have additional tickets available for purchase at $5 a piece (this money goes directly to the press or litmag that you meet with). A quick summary of how this works: you’ll sit down with an editor who will read some work and provide immediate feedback during the ten minute session. Things that work best: a poem, a flash story or essay, or the first few pages of a longer piece.

A few notes: Bring hard copies. If you think you might want to go through a few times, maybe bring a few different things to work with. You’ll be matched up with an appropriate editor for your work (poems will be read by poetry editors, stories by fiction editors, nonfiction by nonfiction editors), but we can’t match people up with specific editors due to time constraints. We have two hours reserved for speed dating and lunch and that’s been proven to be enough time for folks to do both. There will probably be a line but it moves pretty quickly (we’ll do ten minute sessions and should have more than twenty editors on hand).

I hope to see you there!

Our December Write-A-Thon at the Broadkill Writers Resort has proven so popular we’ve added more dates in January and February! Need an extra boost to meet your writing goals? Our November participants wrote over 30,000 words in less than 48 hours. We’ll talk about tools, preparation, and how to beat writer’s block…but most importantly we’ll be using writing sprints to crank out words.

DATES

Friday January 11th through Sunday January 13th: four rooms available.

Friday February 15th through Monday February 18th: four rooms available.

FLASH SALE

Normally a room at our retreats costs $250, regardless of the number of occupants, but from now through midnight Friday December 20th we are offering the January and February rooms at a $100 discount!

You can send payments through PayPal to books@rawdogscreaming.com or, for the PayPal averse, we accept payments through Cash App at cash.me/$bizarroguy. On the 21st our rate increases to $250.

“The Broadkill Writer’s Retreat/Workshop proved to be a total game-changer for me. Staff were knowledgeable, helpful, and professional. My time there was extremely productive, and I cannot wait for the next one!”

Jacki King, bestselling author of The Margarita Chica Finds Love

Ready to level up your writing game? To reserve your spot for $150 you must purchase by midnight December 20th with either PayPal via books@rawdogscreaming.com or Cash App at cash.me/$bizarroguy.

Have questions? Please leave a comment on this post, or send an email to broadkillresort@rawdogscreaming.com and I’ll provide an answer ASAP. Thanks!

ABOUT THE BROADKILL WRITERS RESORT

We offer the comforts of home in a secluded, pristine beach environment designated as a protected area–so you never have to deal with crowds, and can always enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the Delaware Bay.

The canal separating Prime Hook from the houses of Broadkill Beach

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a 10,144 acre refuge officially established in 1963 to provide protection for threatened and endangered species, as well as many neo-tropical migrating bird species. Prime Hook’s habitat features include salt marsh, freshwater marsh, ponds and impoundments, wooded swamps and upland grasslands and forest. Hundreds of native plant and animal species thrive in this mosaic of these diverse cover types that provide habitat for 308 species of birds, 51 species of fish, 45 species of reptiles and amphibians, 37 species of mammals, and an array of rare insect and plant species.

Walk along the river in Milton

The closest town, Milton, is only a 10 minute drive away and is full of shops and restaurants. Established in 1672, and operating under several names until 1807 when it was renamed after English poet John Milton, this old ship building community has a historic district full of restored Colonial and Victorian houses, ranging from Gothics with turrets to those with peaked roofs trimmed with gingerbread lace molding.

On the boardwalk in Rehobeth

Further down Route 1, about 20 minutes from Broadkill, is Lewes, a quaint seaside community known for specialty shops, historic buildings, advanced health facilities, and its own beach. Continuing south on Route 1 30 minutes from Broadkill you next come to Rehoboth, a large beach vacation destination with a boardwalk and more shopping and entertainment options than you could take in during a week’s stay.

In the meantime check out Broadkill Writers’ Resort on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to boost your output? Why not join our December Write-a-thon!

When: Friday December 7th through Sunday December 9th
Where: Broadkill Writers Resort, Milton, Delaware
What: Private rooms for single occupancy or shared occupancy, with experienced editor on site


Over 30,000 words were composed by our four November writing retreat participants during just two days. Two days. The energy was palpable at Broadkill Writers Resort, and people wanted to take their National Novel Writing Month goals to the next level. One novelist will bring their product to the market with an eBook launch this December, while the others likely won’t be released until next year.

Meals were a prime opportunity to exchange knowledge, and our team of editors discussed all aspects of the publishing field with our participants—including recent changes at KDP and iBooks, tips and tricks for books signings, and productivity techniques just to name a few topics. The discussion didn’t end there, however, with brief talks throughout the day, and longer conversations late into the night.

Does any of this sound appealing to you as a writer? To work with the support and encouragement of editors with decades of experience, and other writing retreat participants, surrounded by 1,000 books in a serene location by the beach?

For a limited time we are offering an early bird rate of $150 to attend our Write-a-Thon at the Beach December 7th-December 9th. This rate is only good through midnight November 23rd. You can send payments through PayPal to books@rawdogscreaming.com or, for the PayPal averse, we accept payments through Cash App at cash.me/$bizarroguy. On the 24th our rate increases to $250.

“The Broadkill Writer’s Retreat/Workshop proved to be a total game-changer for me. Staff were knowledgeable, helpful, and professional. My time there was extremely productive, and I cannot wait for the next one!”

Jacki King, bestselling author of The Margarita Chica Finds Love

Jacki attended our Book in a Weekend retreat, where she edited three existing manuscripts, learned to format eBooks and design covers herself, and got all three finished products launched on Amazon’s Kindle platform. How is it so many of our retreat attendees are that productive? We happen to believe it is the built-in accountability system our retreats rely on, with regular checks-ins to ensure everybody is progressing toward their goals and staying motivated.

Want to know about the science behind having daily check-ins with like minded peers to keep you on track, and grow your progress? Take a look at this article: Willpower Doesn’t Work. Here’s the Key to Being More Productive According to Neuroscience.

Perhaps you’re not a writer yourself, but are interested in getting the writer in your life a gift this holiday season that will not only be memorable, but will also contribute to their writing career. People have already talked to us about doing this for their loved ones, and we are always happy to be of service in this area. Just be mindful that if you want to take advantage of our early bird rate of $150 you must purchase by midnight November 23rd with either PayPal via books@rawdogscreaming.com or Cash App at cash.me/$bizarroguy.

Guests who won’t be writing can make use of our extensive library of DVDs, VHS tapes, puzzles, and board games. Offsite attractions include dining, shopping, golf, bird watching, antiques, a boardwalk, escape rooms, brewery tours, and more all within 10-30 minutes drive. The secluded Broadkill beach is a mere one block from our location, and is great place for strolls along the bay or bonfires.

Have questions? Please leave a comment on this post, or send an email to broadkillresort@rawdogscreaming.com and I’ll provide an answer ASAP. Thanks!

We hope to help you knock out your writing goals soon!

Prior author guest Rachell Nichole instructing attendees

Will you be in Baltimore this Thursday, November 1st? If so stop in at the World Fantasy convention for a workshop I’m running with Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction.

dwasflogoWriting Characters of Color (1-3 pm)
Instructors:
Ceres Wright, John Edward Lawson, Stafford Battle, and Diane Williams

As our world is diverse, our writing should reflect that diversity. This workshop is designed to help you write fleshed-out realistic characters of color by building a complex backstory, while avoiding stereotypes.

To be held in Pride, located on the 6th Floor.

This will be the only DWASF event at World Fantasy 2018. You’ll be able to find me elsewhere on the Weird Poetry panel, my solo reading, and the mass autograph session. K. Ceres Wright will also be on the Writing as Sanctuary panel, with fellow Dog Star Books author J.L. Gribble (who also has a workshop and a reading).

The Next Broadkill Retreat

image_6483441Join us at the Broadkill Writers Resort for a weekend of writing fun. The cost for the weekend is $250 which includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday night lodgings, breakfast and a few other meals.

We will be doing writing sprints and workshops/discussions. This will be a small group (max 10 people) so if there’s a particular topic you’d like addressed let us know. Several experienced editors will be on hand and the weekend will be led by author and editor John Edward Lawson.

There are only a few spaces available so message to let us know if you are interested. Payment will be through PayPal.

The Next DWASF Workshop

Join the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction for our inaugural Wine & Write workshop this December. We’ll have poets, editors, novelists, teachers, and marketers on hand to guide you and answer any questions. Keep an eye on http://dwasf.org/ for more details!

ggr136

Recent Podcasts About Fiction and Representation of Marginalized Groups

At the recent CapClave science fiction and fantasy convention I was part numerous programing items, including the Future of Afrofuturism discussion. You might be familiar with some of the other panelists: K. Ceres Wright, Kenesha Williams, L.H Moore, Shirin Nicole, B. Sharise Moore. It turned out Sherin is part of the Geek Girl Riot team and recorded the panel for their podcast, which just aired last week. Please give our exploration of trends in Afrofuturism a listen at https://idobi.com/podcast/136-chilling-adventures-of-sabrina-afrofurism-panel-pamu-scroll-review/.

Have thoughts about Afrofuturism? I, and the other panelists, would love to hear about it in the comments section. And while I love Afrofuturism I’m happy to say Geek Girl Riot is not the only podcast I appear on here.

Headshot_2DjangoConOver the summer I was privileged to meet some people shaking things up in tech. One of them happens to be and I am on her latest #CauseAScene podcast talking about white supremacy, patriarchy, and how their adherents cheat to control all public narratives.

The set up for my discussion with Kim is this two-part examination of extremists perfecting their manipulation of voting and polls in fandom leading up to the 2016 election, featuring Shireen Mitchel and

https://hashtagcauseascene.com/techs-attack-on-black-women-part-1/

White supremacists and male supremacists have been organizing for years to shape society by controlling what we see and hear. There’s been a struggle in literature surrounding this. See how it played out in TV first:

https://hashtagcauseascene.com/techs-attack-on-black-women-part-2/

I advocate for representing people as they exist in the world throughout all forms of art. It is a boots-on-the-ground struggle. The Nazis and MRAs are trying to pack literary conventions and awards with their people, and I’m working to counter that.

There are editors and authors working behind the scenes to shut down marginalized groups in publishing too. Because authors have day jobs writing all the online and offline advertising, speeches, articles, textbooks, corporate policies, etc. They shape what we view of the world, and how that view is interpreted.

Bearing all that in mind we only just began our conversation in this episode, but you can catch it at https://hashtagcauseascene.com/john-edward-lawson/ and hopefully engage Kim and I with your thoughts on continuing the discussion, and the necessary work stemming from it.

The episode I’m on includes links to resources mentioned in the show. If you want to help us face down these problems, and more, please explore the links. Also please do check out the deep backlist of podcasts archived at https://hashtagcauseascene.com/thanks!

BONUS ROUND

dwasflogoYou’ll find that on the #CauseAScene podcast we discuss the unfolding Chuck Wendig debacle, where bots where weaponized over a short number of days to convince Disney to fire him as writer of their Star Wars novelizations and comic books.

One person we don’t talk about much is the grandfather of weird fiction, H.P. Lovecraft, and his racism/racist supporters. Jump into the way-back machine with me to revisit my most popular blog post ever, republished this week over at Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, Racism Wasn’t Lovecraft’s Problem.

It includes details about one of the times white supremacists vowed to kill me when I was a child, so it’s really fun reading. More importantly it touches on the struggle several years ago between white supremacy apologists and all other humans regarding the World Fantasy Award, which figures in setting the stage for battles currently being waged in the fiction scene. Including, but not limited to, the Star Wars fandom.