John F. Allen will be featured author and panelist at Imaginarium Convention

Imaginarium Logo

This weekend is the first-ever Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY, a new type of creator/reader friendly convention, in which Seventh Star Press is front and center.

I’ll be in the Seventh Star Press section with my Indy author peeps R.J. Sullivan and Eric Garrison, selling The God Killers, my debut novel and Book I in a series and a NEW line of nail polish, brought to you by Akira Lacquer and inspired by characters from the novel. Most of the time you can find me in the Vendor’s Room and if not, I’ll be on a hand either moderating or sitting in on the following panels:

Friday 5:00 PM: The Big Reveal – Plot Twists are an important part of mystery writing. Ever wonder how to keep yours from sounding trite or goofy? Come talk to our experts about how they establish and reveal twists and turns in mystery settings without being corny. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: John F. Allen, Tommy Hancock, Christopher Kokoski.

Saturday 9:00 AM: The Evolution of Urban Fantasy – Panelists experienced in the growing Urban Fantasy genre talk about the evolution of the genre and how both their work and the work of their contemporaries fits into the grand scheme. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Missa Dixon, Addie J. King.

Saturday 12:00 PM: Paranormal Romance vs. Urban Fantasy (M) – A common misconception among readers is that Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are the same thing. While this can be true, there are very distinct differences between the two. Our authors discuss those similarities and differences to help you distinguish between them. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Missa Dixon, Nicole Kurtz, Jettie Necole Angelia Sparrow, Pamela Turner.

Saturday 6:00 PM: Racial Lines in Romance (M) – Authors and editors discuss how to properly execute an interracial romance scene without being trite or offensive. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Maddie James, Annie Jones, Nicole Kurtz, Kimberly Richardson.

Sunday 11:00 AM: Urban Fantasy: The Gateway Genre –  Let’s face it, Urban Fantasy is a huge trend and a growing portion of the Speculative Fiction realm. Our panelists discuss how the rise in Urban Fantasy has changed the sci-fi/fantasy landscape. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Allan Gilbreath, Nicole Kurtz, Tim Waggoner.

Sunday 12:00 PM: Pulp Fiction 101 (M) – What is Pulp Fiction? This panel will cover the history of pulp writing and how today’s trends differ from the stories that started it. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Earl Dean, Andrea Judy, Sean Taylor.

I expect this to be a GREAT weekend and I hope to see some of you there. REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

IMAGINARIUM IS ALMOST HERE!

Imaginarium Logo

The Imaginarium is almost here! This EXCITING, first annual event starts Friday, September 19th, 2014 and runs through Sunday, September 21st, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Louisville International Airport. There will be an assortment of authors, artists, filmmakers, poets, gamers and other creators.

I’ll be moderating several panels (see below) and I’ll also have a table in the vendor hall to meet, greet, sell and sign my novel, The God Killers! I won’t be alone because fellow Speculative Fiction Guild members and Seventh Star Press authors R.J. Sullivan and E. Chris Garrison will also be present.

I will also be hyping up my novellas and short stories published through Mocha Memoirs Press and Pro Se Productions as well!

Hours the vendor hall will be open are:

Friday: 3pm to 8pm
Saturday: 10am to 7pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm

I will be located in the Vendor Hall, when I’m not on panels. Check out my schedule for when and where I’ll be during the convention:

Friday 5:00 PM The Big Reveal – Plot Twists are an important part of mystery writing. Ever wonder how to keep yours from sounding trite or goofy? Come talk to our experts about how they establish and reveal twists and turns in mystery settings without being corny. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: John F. Allen, Tommy Hancock, Christopher Kokoski.
Saturday 9:00 AM The Evolution of Urban Fantasy – Panelists experienced in the growing Urban Fantasy genre talk about the evolution of the genre and how both their work and the work of their contemporaries fits into the grand scheme. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Missa Dixon, Addie J. King.
Saturday 12:00 PM Paranormal Romance vs. Urban Fantasy (M) – A common misconception among readers is that Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are the same thing. While this can be true, there are very distinct differences between the two. Our authors discuss those similarities and differences to help you distinguish between them. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Missa Dixon, Nicole Kurtz, Jettie Necole Angelia Sparrow, Pamela Turner
Saturday 6:00 PM Racial Lines in Romance (M) – Authors and editors discuss how to properly execute an interracial romance scene without being trite or offensive. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Maddie James, Annie Jones, Nicole Kurtz, Kimberly Richardson
Sunday 11:00 AM Urban Fantasy: The Gateway Genre –  Let’s face it, Urban Fantasy is a huge trend and a growing portion of the Speculative Fiction realm. Our panelists discuss how the rise in Urban Fantasy has changed the sci-fi/fantasy landscape. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Allan Gilbreath, Nicole Kurtz, Tim Waggoner.
Sunday 12:00 PM Pulp Fiction 101 (M) – What is Pulp Fiction? This panel will cover the history of pulp writing and how today’s trends differ from the stories that started it. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Earl Dean, Andrea Judy, Sean Taylor.

***(M) denotes when I’m Moderator.

Other events may be found here:

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/schedule-of-events-programming/

There will also be a Film Festival at the Imaginarium!

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/film-festival/

If you’re free and/or happen to be in the Louisville area, stop by and check us out!

Remember TBIYTC (The Best Is Yet To Come)!!!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MOVIE REVIEW

GOTGGuardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker and Vin Diesel.
Rating: PG-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Studios Logo

Marvel Studios, the producers of fan favorite films and mega blockbuster films such as: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Avengers, presents a NEW and EXCITING franchise, which explores the darkest and deepest reaches of the galaxy.

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy is an epic, action/adventure film which picks up where The Avengers left off and transports the audience farther into the ever expanding Marvel Universe.

The story unfolds with Peter Quill—a young, swashbuckling adventurer—who seeks to procure a bounty, which leads to others pursuing him in an effort to retrieve it. The bounty in question is a mysterious orb of great value and power, which is being sought after by a powerful villain named Ronan, with plans of galactic conquest. In an effort to keep the orb from Ronan and survive his fury, Quill aligns himself with a rag tag group of dissidents: Rocket—a vicious, cybernetically altered raccoon with a gun, Groot—a humanoid tree-like creature with a very limited vocabulary, Drax the Destroyer—a grief stricken, vengeance seeking warrior and Gamora—the alluring and mysterious fem fatale. When the quartet discover the inherent power of the orb and its destructive potential, they join together with a band of renegade pirates from Quill’s past, to stand against Ronan and his forces to save the galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy was a near perfect summer film. It had a solid story, good casting, good performances, action/adventure, excitement, drama, comedy, social commentary and plenty of heart.

GOTG 2While the characters aren’t nearly as recognizable as their mainstream counterparts, The Avengers, they don’t really need to be and I feel it’s for the better. A motley crew of reluctant protagonists form the core of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the quintet consists of Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt), Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista).

The film was directed and co-written by James Gunn, who I must say did an excellent job of bringing together story, actor performances, tone and characterization. The elements of this film hit on all cylinders without hiccups. There’s never a dull moment with this film and even when the action has slowed down, the audience is exposed to a great deal of character introspection from the characters, delivered with just the right amount of emotion. The back stories are carefully woven into the tapestry of the film and evenly dispersed throughout.

 

 

GotG RETRO POSTER1Guardians of the Galaxy takes the audience back to the roots of Marvel’s developmental stories from the 70’s and 80’s, which led up to the powerful stories and events that are unfolding today. The film has a free-flowing, old school soul which harkens past films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. That very sense of wonder and perilous adventure which epitomized those films are very much present in Guardians of the Galaxy…IN SPADES!

From a directorial perspective, Gunn encourages the audience to let go and not take things too seriously. The world created—while connected to the greater Marvel Universe seen in The Avengers and other films—is well imagined and developed within this glimpse that is given. Like Star Wars, the alien landscape portrayed is at once foreign and intimately familiar in its depiction. It’s that very familiarity which drives you to feel the characters, their plight and the societal structure of the film, beyond the comic book inspired, alien setting(s).

Actor performances in this film were astounding. Pratt appeared to be born for his role, Saldana has evolved into a bankable, female action star, while Cooper and Diesel’s animated characters steal the show!

 

 

 

 

GOTG RonanGOTG NebulaGOTG Yondu 2GOTG KorathGOTG POSTER THE COLLECTORThe villains were colorful, but not too over the top. Lee Pace stars as Ronan the Accuser and Karen Gillan as his enforcer, Nebula. Both actors breathe life into their characters and while the audience isn’t necessarily rooting for them, they are in awe of them and respect their power. The character of Yondu, the leader of  a band of pirates called the Ravagers—played by Michael Rooker—was an excellent foil/anti-hero also, Djimon Honshu as Korath and The Collector played by Benicio Del Toro as well.

 

 

 

GOTG Soundtrack CoverThe music, phrases and metaphors used in this film definite are throwbacks to the 70’s and 80’s. Those old enough to remember will really enjoy them and they will serve as great nostalgia. It includes:

Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling”
10cc - “I’m Not In Love”
The Five Stairsteps - “O-o-h Child”
The Runaways –  “Cherry Bomb”
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

To name a few. For those not old enough to remember, I don’t think they will weigh things down and leave you scratching your heads…at least not too much.

GOTG Comic CoverGuardians of the Galaxy doesn’t require you to be a sci-fi junkie or comic book geek, in order to enjoy the film. You also don’t have to have viewed the other films in the Marvel Cinematic canon in order to follow along. There was plenty of wit, grit and drama to entertain audiences from various walks of life. That said, you are missing out on a great comic series if you don’t check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fell in love with this film, not only from a fanboy perspective, but also from a movie goer/movie buff perspective. I highly recommend this film for everyone and while there is a small sprinkling of foul language and violence, I think anyone twelve or older can handle it without too much issue. So, if you’re a sci-fi fan, comic book/comic book movie fan, Marvel fan or whatever, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy this film and walk out feeling entirely entertained! BE SURE TO STAY UNTIL THE END OF CREDITS FOR AN EXTRA SCENE!!!!

 

Afro Pick FistAfro Pick FistAfro Pick FistAfro Pick FistAfro Pick Fist Half

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I GIVE IT 4.5 OUT OF 5 FISTS!!!

This review was written by John F. Allen and is the sole opinion of the author.

JOHN F. ALLEN Copyright © 2014

 

AUTHOR RJ SULLIVAN GUEST BLOG POST

In my writer’s journey I was blessed to have met a very talented author, who also became a good friend. I am honored to present to you here in this guest blog, without further ado…RJ Sullivan!

 

Haunting Blue CoverHello, and thanks very much to my good friend the incredibly talented, John F. Allen, for having me on today as part of my guest blog in support of Haunting Blue, my latest release from Seventh Star Press.

The following “bonus scenes” were composed specially for this blog, but can be read as occurring before and after the school scenes in Chapter 2 of Haunting Blue. The scenes are self-contained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

Janice Copley, Dean of Girls, stared at the paperwork on her desk, the official record of the new student seated across s from her, a Ms. Fiona Shaefer. She kept her eyes on the paperwork so she wouldn’t gape at the student herself.

When the girl had entered her office, Copley bit her lip to hold back a shocked noise. The new student looked like an extra in a Clash video.  Bright blue hair, spiked and unkempt, a jeans jacket and half-T. The head and shoulders of some pop singer glared back from the shirt. Did that style come back when I wasn’t looking? Every day, Copley saw something new in these halls that made her feel older and more out of touch.

Copley reviewed the record. Fiona, a senior, had transferred from Broad Ripple High School, a college town near Indianapolis. Well, that explains that. Fiona’s grades, for the most part, were pretty solid, with remarkable marks in English. She planned to major in poetry. No discipline problems. Well, that’s a pleasant surprise.

Having swallowed back the chuckle, she scanned the tentative schedule and scribbled her initials. She tore off the student copy and handed it to the stone-faced student. “Hello, Fiona. I’m always excited to see new faces here in Perrione. I’m a transplant myself. I grew up in Noblesville and took this job five years ago.”

The girl took the page. Copley waited while Fiona’s eyes scanned the paper. After a moment, her face broke into a grin. If not for the wild hair, Copley might have considered her attractive.

“So there’s no getting around it. You’re going to stand out a bit with your…city look, but—“

“Are there any rules against what I’m wearing?”

Not yet, but only because we never needed them before now, Copley thought. Out loud, she said, “Strictly speaking, no. But if anyone—“

“Listen,” said Fiona. “It’s not my choice to be here. My Mom moved us. I’m not in love with the idea, but I’m not going to start trouble. I just want to get through school and get on with the rest of my life.”

Well…that was something. Copley didn’t know what, but it was something. “I simply meant, if anyone causes you any trouble, you’re free to come to me. I mean that, Fiona.”

Copley waited. Fiona flashed another smile that, she had to admit, Copley found charming. “I won’t snitch—“

“Of course not.”

“— but if I have any problems, I’ll come to you.”

“Deal.” Copley reached out, and Fiona returned her handshake warmly. Maybe she’d been concerned over nothing. It seemed to her that the punk façade hid a gentle soul underneath. “Good luck, and welcome to Perionne High.”

****

An hour later:

Copley had just settled behind her desk with a fresh steaming mug of coffee. Movement drew her attention to the window. Oh, no, what? She recognized the gym teacher and two math teachers escorting a student in the direction of her office. Even through the slits of blinds, she could see the distinct blue-haired head of the new student.

She also knew the aftermath of a fight when she saw one. Figures.

She threw open the door and met the group halfway. Specks of blood marred the denim jacket. Dots of red also spotted the pop singer’s face on the half-t. A second look confirmed that the blood wasn’t the punk girl’s.

Copley struggled to keep her voice even, “Just an hour ago you told me I wouldn’t have to worry about you, Ms. Shaefer.”

Jeff–Mr. Fenley, she mentally corrected herself–spoke. “It was Clinty.” With his back to the punk girl, his look if sympathy communicated the rest. Go easy on her.

Clinty was a bully a frequent troublemaker. No two ways about it. She didn’t envy the Dean of Boys right now. The fact that this girl had tangled with Clinty and could walk to the office said something about her toughness as well.

But Clinty wasn’t her problem.

Conley pointed. “My office. Now.”

Head bowed, the punk girl walked, her feet dragging.

“You’ll need this,” said Jeff. He held out a leather strap with metal studs, perfect for fitting over knuckles. This, too, was stained with blood.

Conley took they weapon and followed the student. As soon as she shut the door, she let the strap drop between them on the desk.”What’s this for?”

“It’s an air freshener.”

“Funny. You asked me if your clothes were against the rules. This is.”

“I defended myself.”

I motioned to the stains on her clothes. “You look like you did pretty good.”

“He attacked me. I didn’t provoke him. I have witnesses. Those teachers saw it.”

Fiona folded her arms, focusing on a spot like every student Conley had ever seen who tried really hard to look toug while also trying really hard not to cry.

“I don’t doubt your word, Fiona.” She wrapped her fingers around the phone receiver. “I have to call your mother.”

“No!” Fiona sat up straight, and a tear escaped to fall over her cheek. “Please don’t call her.” Her eyes pleaded their case. “Look, can’t I just….do in class suspension?”

“The weapon ties my hands, Fiona. I have to suspend you from school three days.”

“From school?”

“I’m sorry. Your mother will have to come pick you up.”

“But I didn’t start it. I was defending myself. Please, Ms. Conley.”

Conley paused on the verge of dialing. She had no doubt that Clinty had jumped this girl. Maybe this time, the cowardly principal would expel that bully once and for all. Except Clinty’s father is the school security cop, so not likely.

“Listen, I’ll explain to your mother. I’ll tell her what happened. I’ll do whatever I can to make this easy on you.” She wasn’t sure why she said all this. Why did she feel moved to defend a girl she hardly knew? Because I know Clinty. That’s why.

 “It won’t matter,” Fiona said, wiping her cheeks. “Why do you think /’m here in the first place? My mom hates me. She brought me here to torture me, and no matter what you say, she’ll assume it’s my fault.”

Conley reached out and patter her hand. “I’m sorry, Fiona. I’ll do all I can. But I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you think.”

 

Haunting Blue Tour Badge

INCONJUNCTION SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY CONVENTION 2014 IS THIS COMING WEEKEND!!!

Inconjunction Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention 2014 is being held on the east side of Indianapolis, this Fourth of July weekend! It’s an awesome local event celebrating all things within the speculative fiction realms. This year I’m attending as part of the Speculative Fiction Guild (SFG) and we’re hitting the con in a big way.

TGK OFFICIAL COVER ART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll have a vendor’s booth with all of our titles, where I’ll be selling and autographing copies of my debut novel,  The God Killers. Convention pricing is $15.

Also at the SFG booth: RJ SullivanMatthew Barron and Eric Garrison. Directly next to us is SFG member Crystal Leflar, who’s running her OWN vendor booth as event marketer for Nightscape Press, so check out their array of titles along with her own books.

The WONDERFUL folks who throw Inconjunction (the Circle of Janus) has the SFG hopping in panels this year and we’re glad for it!

This will be my second appearance at Inconjunction, first time with a novel to sell/promote and I’M VERY EXCITED to attend!

______________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s my panel itinerary:

Friday, July 4th
______________

8 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: Analyzing the History of the Comic Book Movie with: RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.
________________

Saturday, July 5
_______________

11 am–Indianapolis Ballroom D: SFG Writer’s Workshop: Point of View: Why it’s Better to Have One with: the SFG: RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal, plus Rosemary Laurey

1 pm–Room name coming: Discussion on genre television, title forthcoming: with RJ Sullivan.

3 pm–Indianapolis Ballroom D: Modern Fairy Tales with Eric Garrison, Crystal Leflar and Rosemary Laurey.

4 pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Making the Jump to a Series with RJ Sullivan and Mike Shepherd.

5pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Comic Book Movies: Live Action and Animation with RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.

7 pm–Harrison Room: SFG Writer’s Roundtable: Making the most of local settings in genre fiction with The SFG:  RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal.

10 pm–Grand Ballroom 7-8: Candlelight Horror Reading with RJ Sullivan, Crystal Leflar and Jeff Seymour.
_______________

Sunday, July 6
_____________

11 am-Indianapolis Ballroom B: This Year’s Comic Book Movies with Mike Suess.
_______________

While you’re there, check out James Barnes of Loconeal Books, local filmmaker Kate Chaplin of Karmic Courage Productions, and check out the show by Five Year Mission.

I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!