World Fantasy Convention 2014 Photos

Here are some photos from the World Fantasy Convention:

Panel on diversity in fantasy
WFC-Diversity-Panel

At the mass book signing with Lyle Blake Smythers and John Edward Lawson
WFC-Book-Signing

At Heidi Ruby Miller’s reading with Tom Connair
WFC-Heidi-Reading

With Maria Alexander at the Raw Dog Screaming Press party
WFC-Maria-Alexander

Conventions, Diversity, Fandom, Fantasy, Fiction, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Sword and Sorcery, Writing , , , , , ,

World Fantasy Convention 2014

I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at World Fantasy Convention 2014. The name of the panel was “Everybody Was There: Diversity in Fantasy.” My esteemed fellow panelists included Sarah Pinsker (M), Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kit Reed, and S. M. Stirling.

Description: Fantasy has had characters of many races, some human and others beyond. Whether it’s the young soldier woman in Deeds of Paksenarrion being asked whether she minds sharing a dining hall with “elder races” (elves and dwarves), or the alternate orientations of characters in Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover series or Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, or the beauty of a foreign culture, such as that depicted in Bridge of Birds, fantasy authors have bravely gone where others feared to tread. How has diversity of race, ability, gender, sexual orientation, or belief system in fantastic literature changed over time? ​

WFC-Diversity-Panel

Classics, Conventions, Diversity, Fandom, Fantasy, Fiction, Games, Genre, Literary, Poetry, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing , , ,

Reading: “Better the Demon You Know” at Bizarro Halloween at Terrault Contemporary Art Gallery

Bizarro, Cyberpunk, Fiction, Horror, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing ,

Interview with Matthew Dowling at FCTV’s Going Live

Heidi Ruby Miller, Matt Betts, and I were interviewed in the Going Live studio in Pennsylvania:

Cyberpunk, Diversity, Futurism, History, Interview, Science Fiction, Science fiction romance, Television, Writing , , , , , ,

Interview with FCTV’s Going Live at Seton Hill University

I was interviewed by Matthew Dowling at Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind workshop:

Cyberpunk, Diversity, Fiction, Futurism, Interview, Publishing, Science Fiction, Television, Writing , , , ,

Reading of Poem, “Hitler’s Dominatrix”

I read one of my poems at a Morgantown Poets event, Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, WV.

Culture, History, Poetry , , ,

The Molten Form of Poetry by Ron Gavalik

Reading poetry is one of life’s truly intimate joys. Unlike more social entertainment such as films, theater, and sporting events, experiencing poetry is an individual pursuit. When cracking open a book of verse, we shuck off the mortal coil while our minds delve into a cerebral adventure. We are fused to the author’s thoughts, desires, and passions, all within the confines of our minds.

That, my friend, is the most profound experience. Poetry gives us new perspectives to enlighten our minds. Poetry fuels the imagination. In its raw form, poetry is life.

As readers, most of us are drawn to what’s considered popular and well reviewed. We count on so-called professional to tell us what precisely is a good read. We equate commercial advertising and movie deals with the quality of a story or poem. But then there are times, when some of us ignore the noise of our popular culture and seek the independent works of those who truly enrich the soul.

Our choice to own and experience raw, experimental poetry symbolizes courage. Delving into avant-garde expression without the safety net of widespread acceptance requires a sense of adventure. Those of us who take these leaps of faith are a cut above the average reader. We are independent thinkers who thrive on discovering uncharted waters.

In the introduction of my MicroPoetry collection, Hot Metal Tonic, I discuss how experimental writers often shrug off the conformity of industry standards to force new perspectives into the minds of our readers. Every time I sit down at the typer, I transform into an American drifter who tramps through vistas of tall grass, rarely touched by everyday society.

Free-spirited individualism is my most pronounced characteristic.

I highly recommend finding your unique identifier, the one personality trait that makes you an individual among the masses. I doubt you’ll have to meet with Himalayan monks to determine your distinct qualities, but there’s nothing wrong with quiet contemplation over a few whiskeys. Once you’ve pinpointed that one special characteristic, take the time to revel in your individualism. It’s quite a freeing sensation that brings balance to the mind and to the soul.

For my part, I thrive on reading and writing free verse poetry.

In the 1960s and 70s, Charles Bukowski’s free verse style often fell under the blade of academic criticism. His work was considered inordinately blue-collar and plain spoken to be real poetry, which made it far more difficult for him to publish and find a secure audience.

It took him years, but a handful of small press publishers with broad vision finally decided to print his work. Once the public got hold of that drunken writer’s written voice, a whole new segment of society became poetry fans, which made Bukowski the most read poet of the 20th Century.

Free verse is the most individualized form of expression; therefore, I naturally gravitate toward that broad style. The newer form of MicroPoetry (140 character poems) that’s sprung up in recent years on social media outlets has further pushed the literary envelope.

Hot Metal Tonic is a semi-autobiographical collection of over 180 MicroPoems that contend with love, family, relationships, politics, career, and spirituality. While most of the poems stand alone in each chapter’s theme, many are interconnected in much of the way small human events are strung together to connect our lives. The collection has been referred to as a gritty read, the molten form of my rough and tumble life…and whiskey-laced madness.

Thankfully, readers are pleased with my work.

Now, kick back, baby.
Open your mind
and allow the hot metal to flow
as soothing tonic.
Prepare yourself
to laugh and think,
cry and rejoice.
Indeed, you will be transformed
into a state of raw emotions.
You and I,
we’re about to start a quest,
a journey to memories unseen in years.
Don’t worry, it will only hurt so good.
Grasp my calloused hand
and we’ll help each other
stumble along this treacherous path
together.

###

Biography:

Man smoking cigar

Ron being Ron

Ron Gavalik is a writer, living in Pittsburgh, PA. You can follow him on Twitter: @RonGavalik or read his blog at PittsburghWriter.net. Hot Metal Tonic can be obtained through the usual retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other locations. Signed copies can be purchased at a discount (free shipping) direct from the publisher at PittsburghWriter.net.

Links for Use:

Pittsburgh Writer: http://pittsburghwriter.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RonGavalik

Hot Metal Tonic Signed: http://pittsburghwriter.net/hot-metal-tonic.htm

Hot Metal Tonic Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=hot+metal+tonic+ron+gavalik&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Ahot+metal+tonic+ron+gavalik

Hot Metal Tonic B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/hot-metal-tonic-ron-gavalik?store=allproducts&keyword=hot+metal+tonic+ron+gavalik

Hot Metal Tonic iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hot-metal-tonic/id912431063?mt=11

Poetry, Writing

A Tangled Web, Part 4

“The People’s Liberation Army?”

“That’s the client. Take it or leave it, as you Americans say, although I doubt you’ll find anyone else willing to accede to your terms,” Wu said.

The ‘garden’ was an underground conference room in a hotel owned by Wu’s brother. Flowered wallpaper decorated the walls, hence the term. She faced Wu from across a small table, outfitted with a holo-emitter that played Brahms in the background.

He was right. No other client would have 25 million at its disposal in so short a timeframe. She was lucky to get this opportunity.

“All right,” she said. There would be no papers to sign, just an understanding that she would be hunted down and shot if she reneged.

Wu tapped the table twice with his middle finger. “I just sent you contact instructions for your liaison. Your first meeting is tonight at 8 o’clock. Don’t be late.”

“I won’t. Thank you, Wu.”

“I have touted your skills as being of the highest caliber. My reputation is on the line. Don’t disappoint me,” he warned.

*********************************************

The abandoned warehouse reeked of days-old fish and seawater, just as she expected. She thought skulking around in dark buildings close to the harbor was just for bad noir, but her client seemingly disagreed. Thia wore a levitan shield, designed to repel lason blasts, since she was walking into an unknown situation. She had learned her lesson after getting killed by Nicholle Ryder and being uploaded to a new body. It was not an experience she wanted to repeat. She checked the time in her periphery: seven-thirty. She wanted to get to the place early, to size up the client.

“Hello, Ms. Wayan.”

Apparently the client thought the same thing. Her night vision dialed up, she turned to face a man wearing a black leather jacket and black pants. He reached into his jacket pocket and she palmed her lason, unsure of his intent. His hand came away holding a pack of cigarettes.

Read more…

Afrofuturism, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction

A Tangled Web, Part 3

Chimes sounded in Thia’s head while purple blinked in her periphery. A cog from Dran. At 4:30 in the morning? She winked, answering the cog.

“I’ve got your damned analysis,” he said.

Even through her grogginess, Thia grinned. “Pay back for my disrespect. All right, Dran. Send it on.”

Dran made an exaggerated show of tapping his finger on his desk. Thia opened the file and waded as best she could through the technospeak. As far as she could gather, the object induced increased theta waves in the brain, which were “associated with relaxation, meditative states and reduced anxiety. Including (if to be believed,) Extrasensory Perception. The amount of cosmic radiation is not harmful for short (<24 hours) periods of exposure at distances greater than 1 foot.” She sighed in relief. If all it did was induce a meditative state, she should be fine. As if on cue, she yawned and noted the time in her periphery. Turned over and went back to sleep. ******************************** Thia sat at breakfast at the dining table in her suite, reading the news. Gubernatorial elections for Guangdong were underway, with five candidates running for the office. She noted that two of the candidates were Triad members, and either would most likely win, having greased the palms of the right political figures. Same old politics. The time, 9:00 a.m., blinked in her periphery, just as the outer edges of her vision staccatoed orange, signaling an incoming cog. Her avatar answered, an image of herself in a black pant suit sporting a bob and dark shades. Jing’s face appeared in her display, grinning. Read more…

Afrofuturism, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction

A Tangled Web Part 2

The banquet hall was festooned with colorful paper lanterns and fairy lights. The color red predominated the room, supported by yellows and greens. The head table sat on a dais at the back of the room, fronting a large picture window. Smaller round tables dotted the floor. Thia nodded in approval to the catering manager, who smiled in return.

She called up the time in her display. Guests in China arrived promptly, never fashionably late, and usually in groups. Since she had only invited one group, she expected them to come en masse. She was not disappointed.

Big Brother Jing Wang approached, followed by Little Brother Hsu and forty other gang members, all dressed in suits. Thia bowed slightly, then extended her hand in greeting, as presenting a business card would be a moot point.

Read more…

Afrofuturism, Cyberpunk