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Apr 22 13

I’ll be in Indianapolis, Indiana the weekend of May 3 through 5 attending Mo*Con VIII. This is a small convention founded in 2006 by my friend, and writer, Maurice Broaddus. (http://mauricebroaddus.com). Mo will tell you it’s become more like a ‘family reunion’ to those of us who attend the event every year. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or simply a person who enjoys reading speculative fiction, this convention has something for everyone and never fails to entertain. (Not to mention, the wonderful food provided to attendees all through the weekend is included in your entrance fee.)

Special guests this year are Jim C. Hines, Saladin Ahmed, and Gary Braunbeck. Below is an excerpt from Maurice Broaddus’ blog with more details about the event:

Mo*Con 8: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist

Mo*Con has always been about the “intersection of art, faith, and social justice” and this year is no different. There’s no easy way to describe the Mo*Con experience, except as perhaps as a convention room party extended for a whole weekend, except held in a church. Its aim has always been to be fairly small and intimate, yet retaining the feel of a family reunion.

Part of what makes Mo*Con a different sort of convention is that it revolves around a series of conversations (and food and art). Mo*Con has a two part vision. The first, inspired by many a late night at conventions, is to provide a forum for publishing professionals to get together and discuss some of the larger issues which affect their writing and their social conscience. Discussions can be had in a spirit of respect. The second is that too often the artist is underappreciated and here they are spoiled.

This year’s theme is “The Mind and Spirit of the Artist,” revolving around a discussion on Saturday the 4th about the struggles many writers have with mental health issues and what that means for their craft, their lives, and their community. The featured writer guests of honor have all written publicly about their struggles with issues from depression to anxiety to other issues. As the countdown for Mo*Con begins, several will be posting part of their stories.

This is the first year the event will be held at Broad Ripple United Methodist Church. The convention has expanded to include a First Friday event featuring the art of Steve Gilberts and Kristin Fuller. There will also be a spoken word performance from prominent poets: DDE the Slammer, Devon Ginn, Pope Adrian, Bless, Theon Lee Jones, Dizz, Reheema McNeil, ParaLectra, and Mr. Kinetik, hosted by Ill Holiday. These events will be open to the public. The spoken word event will be a fundraiser event for the local non-profit group, Second Story.

We’ll be debuting a few projects at this year’s Mo*Con. Seventh Star Press is the featured publisher this year.

The event is expected to draw over 100 writers, artists, editors, and publishers and many networking sessions. A half dozen workshops will be offered ranging from topics like privacy issues for writers to post-apocalyptic fiction to hands on demonstrations.


Apr 1 13

About five years ago, I discovered Graham Masterton’s “Night Warriors” series, and I went on to enjoy some of his short horror tales here and there as well. When I saw he was releasing a mystery/crime novel, I was pleased. I love detective stories and whodunits.

I bought “White Bones,” not realizing it had been released in America ten years ago under the title “A Terrible Beauty.” Luckily, I hadn’t already read that particular book. A publisher apparently had decided this story starring Detective Katie Maguire of the Cork Garda could be the first in an Irish crime thriller series, so “White Bones” is also now being referred to as “Katie Maguire #1.” (I have to admit I like the book cover for “A Terrible Beauty” better than the updated version.)

One wet November morning, a field on Meagher’s Farm gives up the dismembered bones of eleven women.

The bones date back to 1915, and bear the ritualistic marks of an executioner who skinned his victims alive. Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire of the Cork Garda wants to give these women justice, but the trail is stone cold. And then a young American tourist disappears, and her bones are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, Katie knows she must find a way to solve the old murders before the present day killer strikes again.

The character of Katie Maguire is likeable but flawed, and sometimes she seems to face constant adversity a bit too well. Being the first female Detective Superintendent in Ireland, she has to deal with resentment from several male colleagues on a daily basis, and her home life is even more troubled. The loss of a baby boy has left her marriage in shambles.

“White Bones” raised plenty of emotions in me while I was reading it, and I can’t really say I enjoyed the experience, even though I couldn’t stop until I got to the end. It was well written and moves along at a good pace, but I felt it was much more of an extreme horror story than a crime novel. I had problems reading through the graphic torture scenes.

Overall I found this tale to be relentlessly sad and bleak. It even weakened my desire to visit Ireland one day. (I’ll probably get over that though.) Also, I wish I’d noticed the “Selected Guide to Cork Slang” that appears in the back of the book before I had finished reading the novel.

The twist at the end seemed somewhat surreal, although it wasn’t completely unexpected since enough clues were presented to the reader to keep it from being too fantastic. When I think about the sequels – however many there may be – I honestly don’t know if I’ll have the gumption to read them. I would only recommend this book to true horror fans.