May 04, 2016

Creative Corner - Spring Edition, Part 2

More Updates from 
Creative Friends of KaCSFFS!

This is the second of three "Creative Corner" posts in a row, making up for a hiatus of several months this spring and late winter.

A quick updateBryan Thomas Schmidt's YA Anthology, Decision Points, will launch here in Kansas City at Planet Comicon, May 20-22, 2016 and at ConQuesT Prime, May 27-29. For more information about this anthology, please see our Creative Corner Spring Edition Part 1, posted May 1, 2016.

Artist David Lee Pancake has been racking up a lot of awards in 2016, so far.

Pancake started with Popular Choice Award for Thorn and Splinter at Arisia in January, then continued with Capricon's Best of Show Award for Puffand Judge's Choice for Thorn at Boskone in February.

He also picked up three awards at Lunacon: The Guest of Honor's Choice (Robert J. Sawyer chose his Costeauean Evolution), plus Best 3D and Judge's Choice for El Choppo.

A new online resource for previously-unpublished writers, GroundMist Stories is currently seeking submissions. Site owner Jessie Montana's combo website and forum is primarily focused on science fiction and fantasy, "although we also solicit work in other genres including horror, mystery, adventure, crime, etc." For more information, browse through the site. 

Aaron Hollingsworth has announced the publication of The Thirtieth of May, a short horror story about a boy who must celebrate his birthday in a gruesome traditional rite. The Thirtieth of May is also part of his upcoming collection of horror shorts entitled Ruson the Vampire Saint and Other Apocryphal Tales, which should be out by June 2016. The Thirtieth of May is currently available from Kindle Unlimited, or it may be read for free on the Arcanemuses website.

IMAGES: Many thanks to David Lee Pancake, for the photos of his works and their awards. The GroundMist Stories image is from the website. The cover image for The Thirtieth of May, designed by Stephanie Hollingsworth, is used courtesy of Aaron Hollingsworth.

May 01, 2016

Creative Corner - Spring Edition, Part 1

What have our creative friends been up to, this spring?
James K. Burk
We have a lot to catch up on, in this edition. That's why this is Part One of Three. Our friends have been busy, and the feature has been on a bit of a hiatus for the last few weeks! Watch for Part Two this Thursday, and Part Three next Sunday.

James K. Burk has submitted The Long Way Home, an action-adventure novel, to Wolfsinger Publications. Watch "Creative Corner for news of a release date. 

Bryan Thomas Schmidt's YA Anthology Decision Points will be published by WordFire Press. A mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror chosen from among top and emerging authors in the field, these 20 stories include six brand-new stories and reprints making their first appearances in an anthology. 

Schmidt also recently signed a contract to create Infinite Stars: A Definitive Space Opera and Military SF Anthology for Titan Books. Planned release date: October 2017. It will include new stories from the universes of favorite book series of top authors, including Orson Scott Card, David Weber, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Jack Campbell, Elizabeth Moon, Lois McMaster Bujold, James S.A. Corey, and many, many others. "We have a long time to go, but [it's] obviously, a dream project for me. Honored and excited to work on this. This will be a big, thick book, my largest ever," Schmidt said. 

Wolfsisters Creations, the joint studio of Sandra SanTara and Christy Grandjean has released ANTHROPOMORPHICS, a coloring book full of anthropomorphic (human-like) wolves, tigers, foxes, birds, and more, in the artists' characteristic styles. 

The book's 24 images of new and retro line art from both artists evoke their trademark Native American and anthropomorphic themes.
The line art images can be colored with crayons, colored pencils, or markers. The book is now available through their WindWolf Studio Etsy Shop

IMAGES: Many thanks to James K. Burke for his author photo. The Decision Points cover image is courtesy of Planet Comicon; the cover image for the Wolfsisters coloring book is from the WindWolf Studio Etsy Shop.

April 28, 2016

Announcing the KaCSFS Calendar!

Monthly themes and programs
Here are some of us on the steps of The
Writers Place during the March meeting.
As noted in an earlier post, the April 16 meeting set a plan in motion for changing the kinds of things we do at KaCSFFS meetings--with the objective of developing more fun things to do that celebrate our genres--while spending less time on business meetings. 

The general plan for all meetings in the coming year was featured in our April 25 post.

Our Calendar for the Fiscal Year
Here is the calendar of monthly themes we developed:

May 21, 2016:
The program highlights ConQuesT, our convention due to run the following weekend, May 27-29. Longtime member Tracy Majkol has taken photos at a lot of ConQuesTs over the years. Join him on a walk down memory lane. 

June 21, 2016:
The annual KaCSFFS Picnic returns to its normal month! We're still discussing whether to have the picnic at The Writers Place or elsewhere. Last year, we had an Indoor-Outdoor picnic, and that might continue. We're seeking inputPlease email us your ideas, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

July 16, 2016:
This meeting is the 45th Anniversary of KaCSFFS! We were organized in July 1971. Help us celebrate with an awesome KaCSFFS Birthday Party! We're interested in hearing if anyone has memorabilia, photos, stories, or ideas to share. Please email us your ideas, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

August 20, 2016:
Our regular third-Saturday time will fall during MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon, being held right here in Kansas City. We are seeking input from the members: will enough of us be at the Worldcon for us to hold a meeting there? Or should we simply party together informally at the Worldcon, and resume the meetings in September? Please email us your thoughts, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

September 17, 2016:
This month is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. Even if you're more devoted to Star Wars, Dr. Who, Firefly, or other media, if we're honest we know the show left a huge mark on our genre. September also has been a time when we have looked at Kansas City Fannish or science fiction history. We'd like to put together a panel discussion of local experts and encourage audience input. Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

October 15, 2016
This is traditionally our Halloween Party--costumes optional, but encouraged, and we've had some good ones over the years. In past years we've offered recognitions for the best. If you have ideas for the party, please let us know: Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list. Our treasurer (also president of the Horror Club) has volunteered to ask several local horror writers if they'll come and do short, scary readings!

November 19, 2016
We wouldn't dare mess with the KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Dinner! This is our best-attended event, most years. Join us for good food (KaCSFFS provides turkeys, and the assembled multitude provides the fixin's), good companionship, and tabletop games of various types.

December 17, 2016
The annual Holiday Party is another KaCSFFS tradition we don't want to change. Some members bring small gifts or cards to exchange, and in past years we've also done an ornament exchange. Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list, if you have ideas for making this party even more fun.

January 21, 2017
We had such fun discussing the year's new science fiction and fantasy TV shows and movies at our meeting last February that we decided to make it an annual event. We'll review the 2016 shows that we loved, hated, missed or need to catch up on, at the January meeting. The annual Chili Cookoff will return to the January meeting as well. Sample chili recipes and vote for your favorites, while we discuss our favorite new shows.

February 18, 2017 
We're reviving the Fannish Prom for our February meeting. Note: this is NOT a Valentine's Day thing, so singles or other combinations are welcome. Just come and enjoy! Once again, you'll have an opportunity to dress up if you wish (anybody up for a Steampunk Prom?), and enjoy the traditional CHOCOLATE food theme. Self-nominations for KaCSFFS Board officers start this month, too. As ever, we welcome your thoughts on this meeting. Please email us, or share ideas on the KAXFEN list.

March 18, 2017
Our annual dues-paying meeting and second meeting for self-nominations to the KaCSFFS Board will also have a party theme: specifically How to Throw a Great Room Party. We'll gather a panel of experts to talk about their experiences with throwing room parties at cons, just as the local sf convention season begins to heat up. We'll also insist that they tell us their funniest room party experiences. Come prepared to take notes, make plans--and also to laugh!

April 15, 2017
This is our month to vote (if there are contested offices) and induct new officers to the KaCSFFS Board of Directors. We also are considering a program on science fiction and fantasy for young adults. David Means has offered to coordinate the discussion.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Tyrell Gephardt for the photo of an assemblage of KAXFEN on the front steps of The Writers Place. The ConQuesT 47 logo is courtesy of ConQuesT. Many thanks to the Wakefield Theatre for the "Picnic" logo. Many thanks to the "Females' Corner" website for the birthday candles image, and to MidAmerCon II for the wonderful Ray VanTilburg design! We apprciate the Star Trek 50th Anniversary image from gazomg on DeviantArt. The photos from past Halloween, Thanksgiving, Holiday Party, and Fannish Prom meetings are by Jan S. Gephardt. Many thanks to Gizmodo and i09 for the photo of TV characters from 2016. The photo of the party balloons is courtesy of 24 Yes Daily. The montage of YA covers is from Robert Hood's Undead Backbrain post about the Aurealis Awards.

April 25, 2016

NEW!! Improved??

Change is coming!
The April 16 meeting was a long, serious business meeting, conducted for the purpose of eliminating long, serious business meetings

How to make KaCSFFS 
more Fun?
We've been thinking for some time now, that KaCSFFS meetings need to focus more consistently on fun and interesting ways to enjoy our favorite genres. Our business meetings have been too long, and we don't always have good programs. That must change. 

We had a productive brainstorming session on the 16th, and we've come up with several changes we want to make.

The first change is moving the Board of Directors' meetings to a different night (the Tuesday before each meeting). Board meetings are still open meetings, but this way if they run long they won't interfere with the regular monthly meetings. Watch the KAXFEN list for specifics.

Next, meetings will begin at 6:00. If a business meeting is necessary, we'll hold it from 6-6:30--at which point we promise to truncate it with extreme prejudice. If we need a longer business meeting, we'll schedule a special session at a different time.
The second-floor Library is a place where a special-interest group could meet at The Writers Place during monthly KaCSFFS meetings.
The Rise of the SIGs!
Thirdly, there will be a conscious effort to cultivate special interest groups (SIGs) at each meeting, who may wish to conduct break-out sessions in various parts of The Writers Place

If there is enough interest, we can have one group meeting in the Library, one on the Mezzanine, and one on the Main Floor. 
Dr. Who's T.A.R.D.I.S.

What special interest groups? We're not sure. We need members' input! But some of the ones we could think of included:
  • Steampunk
  • Space opera
  • High fantasy
  • Cross-genre fantasy
  • Specific literature- or media-based fandoms, such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lovecraft, etc.
  • Time-travel
    Cthulu looms over a hapless city.
  • Paranormal romance
  • Post-apocalyptic science fiction
  • Alternate history
  • International science fiction
  • Anime, or other kinds of animated science fiction or fantasy 
  • Science-based programs (on space, or other topics)
  • Costuming interests
And many more. If you are interested in any of these or something else entirely, please let us know. Use the KAXFEN list if you're a dues-paid member; if you're interested or potentially interested and could actually come to one of our meetings, comment on our Facebook Page or email us. 

Games Galore!
We also plan to have board games and card games at most or all meetings. Our own game maven David Means has promised to develop a list of games he owns that would typically have a play length of about an hour or so. We'll post options on the KAXFEN list and take requests. 

Please also watch for David's upcoming series about games, to be run on this blog over the next several months.

We have created a month-by month calendar of meeting themes for the upcoming year (with the hope of making many of them annual events). We'll explore the calendar in more detail in our next post.

IMAGES: the "FUN" sign is courtesy of Schwartz Creek Youth Football. The photo of the Library at The Writers Place is from their website. The image of the T.A.R.D.I.S. is from Wikipedia. The image of Cthulu Looming is from the Etsy page of Ghostfire. The photo of cards for a fantasy game is from Beasts of WarWe cannot promise that this card game will be present at any given meeting--it is used to illustrate possibilities.The photo of the board game and pieces is from Fantasy Flight Games. We cannot promise that this board game will be present at any given meeting--it is used to illustrate possibilities.

April 21, 2016

This is the way the world ends? SF&F Literati look into it

Date: Monday, April 25, 2016, 7pm
Title: The Fifth Season
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
Available from: Fine Booksellers, including Barnes& Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor, 11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214 

Overview from 
In the Stillness, the end of the world is so frequent as to be routine: every few decades or centuries, intense seismic activity triggers a volcanic winter.

The air grows cold; the sky clouds for years on end; and noxious gases drift across the land in deadly fogs. The people of every small community barricade themselves against hazards within and without, hoping only to survive well enough to retain some semblance of civilization.

Only one thing is more feared: the orogene, those born with the ability to manipulate seismic energy at great cost to themselves and those nearby. Essun is an orogene hidden in a small town, living an ordinary small-town life — until the day her husband realizes their children are orogenes too.

He kills their son and kidnaps their daughter on the same day that the world ends for what might be the last and most terrible time. Essun follows, beginning an odyssey through falling ash and ancient perils which will not end until her daughter is safe once more.

This is the first book in Jemisin's new BROKEN EARTH fantasy trilogy.

This is a special meeting! It's the spring planning meeting, when decisions are made about selections for the next several months. Bring a list of ideas for books to read! 

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon, for the cover image.