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Necon E-Books: The Live Blog http://www.neconebooks.com/blog Our Thoughts On Horror, E-Books, Publishing and More Wed, 26 Feb 2014 05:13:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 ANNOUNCING! The Les Daniels Blog Tour http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=344 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=344#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:02:59 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=344 In the coming weeks, you’re going notice a theme amongst articles featured on many of your favorite horror web sites and blogs.

It is my distinct pleasure to announce THE LES DANIELS BLOG TOUR. For the next month, we’ll be “touring” the internet, “Guest Blogging” on some of the genre’s best sites. Our goal? To [...]]]> In the coming weeks, you’re going notice a theme amongst articles featured on many of your favorite horror web sites and blogs.

It is my distinct pleasure to announce THE LES DANIELS BLOG TOUR. For the next month, we’ll be “touring” the internet, “Guest Blogging” on some of the genre’s best sites. Our goal? To celebrate and recognize  Les Daniels — his work, his varied interests, and his lasting legacy which still impacts the horror community to this day. We’ll be publishing two articles per week (Mondays and Thursdays) across the web, each piece paired appropriately with its host’s site in an effort to cover the vast and impressive scope of Les’ career. A full schedule of sites and articles for the tour can be found below; each title will become an active link when that article is published, so you can always return to this page to make sure you haven’t missed any “tour stops.”

Les was often called “a writer’s writer,” and that compliment was never proven more true than during the planning of this promotion. Not only do I profoundly thank the participating authors for their generosity in allowing us to “Guest” on their sites, but I also cannot thank you all enough for your genuine excitement to be part of this online tribute.

If I may, I’d like to close with a humble request for all readers and fans of Les Daniels — YOU  have the power to vastly improve this Blog Tour, so please do so by participating yourselves! By all means, comment on the articles, share them, post about them on social media, link to them from your own sites, and discuss them online! The internet affords us an amazing opportunity to pay Les Daniels the ultimate tribute we can — to keep his work alive and continue his legacy. It would be a crying shame if we failed to take advantage.

Thank you all again for your continued interest and support; we’ll be seeing you around the net!

THE LES DANIELS BLOG TOUR

Thursday, 1/23 — Brian Keene (briankeene.com)
“When Is a Tired Trope Not Tired? You Just Need to Find the Needle in the Haystack …”

Monday, 1/27 — New England Horror Writers (nehw.blogspot.com)
“Location! Location! Location! Les Daniels’ Place as an Icon of New England Horror”

Thursday, 1/30 — Nicholas Kaufmann (nicholaskaufmann.com)
“Careful, You Might Learn Something! The Art of Historical (and Intelligent) Horror Fiction”

Monday, 2/3 — Mary SanGiovanni (msgwriterslife.wordpress.com)
“Witches, Victims and Gods: The Women of The Don Sebastian Chronicles

Thursday, 2/6 — Christopher Golden (christophergolden.blogspot.com)
“Getting Graphic: What Les Daniels Did (and Meant) for Comic Books”

Monday, 2/10 — Michael Arruda (marruda3.wordpress.com)
“From One Film Buff to Another: Les Daniels and Movies”

Thursday, 2/13 — John McIlveen (johnmcilveen.com)
“A Short Blog: The Under-Appreciated Short Fiction of Les Daniels”

Monday, 2/17 — Annie’s Bookstop of Worcester (anniesbookstopworcester.wordpress.com)
“What’s Old Is New (Again!): Of New Media, a Used Bookstore, and Lost Classics”

Thursday, 2/20— HorrorWorld (horrorworld.org)
“Like All Writers, What I Really Wanna Do Is Edit! The Anthologies of Les Daniels”

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Bechtel’s NON-Buckshot Blog: Musings on My Mentor (a.k.a. It’s Not Easy Being Green) http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=335 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=335#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 20:44:06 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=335 Hello everyone.

First and foremost, thank you all for your outpouring of love, support, and condolences, not just since Bob passed, but for the last nine months. I have never been so grateful, and so proud, to be part of the Necon Family.

I had the profound honor of delivering one of the eulogies at [...]]]> Hello everyone.

First and foremost, thank you all for your outpouring of love, support, and condolences, not just since Bob passed, but for the last nine months. I have never been so grateful, and so proud, to be part of the Necon Family.

I had the profound honor of delivering one of the eulogies at Bob’s Celebration of Life Mass. My words that day were entirely personal, as they should have been. However, a few more words need to be said in both a personal and professional regard, and as such, I’ve decided to post them here.

Let’s just start off by walking up to the elephant in the room, rubbing its trunk, and feeding it a handful of peanuts — the Necon Convention and Necon E-Books digital publishing company WILL be moving forward and continuing business as usual. Not only are all the Necon Committee Members, Necon E-Books Partners, and the entire Booth family in agreement on this, but more importantly, Bob made it crystal clear to us that these were his wishes.  In short, we’re not going anywhere.

That said, regarding Necon E-Books, there are some organizational matters to which we must attend (such as transferring certain elements of our company that were originally set up in Bob’s name, etc.).  More importantly, and in complete honesty, we all need a moment to catch our collective breath; this year has been rough, and the last month unspeakably so.  As such, and since we must address the infrastructural changes, we’re going to take a brief hiatus.  We hope to be fully back and functional in about a month; in the meantime, any interested parties are requested and encouraged to contact us regarding matters of business (please just know there will be a delay as we get our ducks in a row).

Back on a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out to me since Bob’s passing. While this blog is my first response, I promise you all that I’ve saved all of your emails and will be replying to each and every one very soon.  But because this blog affords me certain technological opportunities, and because my answer will also touch upon the business matters I discussed above, please allow me to use this space to answer the question you’ve all asked — “How are you doing?”

Quite simply, I feel like Kermit.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an unabashed fan of The Muppets, and that I strongly believe Jim Henson was one of the true geniuses of the last century. So while it may be presumptuous to feel this way, I just can’t help but draw parallels right now to my favorite green, amphibious puppet.

There’s an amazing story in the book Sesame Street: Unpaved where Jane Henson (Jim’s wife) writes about the scenes in which kids interacted with the Muppets, like the famous one where Kermit and a little girl sign the alphabet song and she keeps inserting “Cookie Monster” into the lyrics. Jane insisted that, while the puppeteers did nothing to hide themselves from the children, the kids were absolutely NOT talking or acting with them; rather, they were performing directly with the Muppets.

Between takes one day, Jim was having a cup of coffee in plain sight of a young boy with whom he’d just done a scene, Kermit still on his other hand. Jane approached the young boy and pointed at her husband. “Excuse me,” she asked him, “but do you know who that man is?”

“Of course!” he replied.

“Who is he?”

“That’s Kermit’s friend who holds him while he works!”

Much like Kermit and Jim, there would be no me without Bob; none of you would be reading this, nor would you know who I am, nor would I be who I am both professionally and personally. But in that professional regard, I’ve lost my friend who not only brought me into this world and gave me so many unbelievable opportunities, but who also always held me up.

But again, much like Kermit, I know I have to go on. That’s the beauty and the power of what Bob started, first with Necon and then Necon E-Books — they are bigger than any one person, including him. Necon has suffered through a few “prima donna” Guests of Honor over the years who acted like they were more important than the Con and, as such, never fit in and never returned. “They didn’t get it,” Bob would explain. “No one is bigger than Necon. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Which brings me to the following video — the final scene of “The Muppets Tribute to Jim Henson.” As you watch it, you can literally replace the name Jim with Bob and the word Muppets with Necon and it works perfectly. And I’m not sure how they made Kermit look like he’s got a lump in his throat while smiling at the same time, but I know how he feels as I sit here typing through teary eyes with a huge grin across my face —

Thank you for believing in me, Bob. I love you.

As for everyone else, thank you so much again for your patience, understanding, and continued support. And if I may, I’d like to close by paraphrasing the smartest frog I know — we’ll be seeing you soon with more Necon and Necon E-Books stuff, ‘cuz that’s the way the boss would want it.

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Bob http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=331 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=331#comments Sat, 07 Sep 2013 15:16:56 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=331 Dear Necon Family,

Papa is at peace, and free.

Bob Booth — writer, editor, publisher, founder of Necon and Necon E-Books, avid fan of horror and the written word, father, grandfather, mentor and friend — passed away last night shortly after 2AM.  As you all know, Bob had been battling cancer for the last eight months [...]]]> Dear Necon Family,

Papa is at peace, and free.

Bob Booth — writer, editor, publisher, founder of Necon and Necon E-Books, avid fan of horror and the written word, father, grandfather, mentor and friend — passed away last night shortly after 2AM.  As you all know, Bob had been battling cancer for the last eight months (and had far exceeded any and all expectations at the time of his diagnosis, including his miraculous four days spent at Necon this summer).  His passing was peaceful and dignified, completely without pain or fear.

Plans for a memorial mass are currently being made, and details regarding the services will be made public as soon as they are finalized.

Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Mary; his children, Dan and Sara; his granddaughter, Jillian; and by literally everyone who is reading this email / blog / post.  The term “Necon Family” is not an empty platitude; Bob loved you all, and you touched his life as much as he touched yours.  Your love, prayers, thoughts and well-wishes meant more to him, and did more for him, than I have the words to express.

Condolences can be sent to: Mary Booth, 67 Birchland Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860.  They can also be sent via email to Dan (daniel.booth77@gmail.com), Sara (saracalia08@gmail.com), or myself (bechtel.matt@gmail.com), or via this blog or Facebook post; you have our word they will be received and passed along.

On behalf of all of us — thank you, Papa.  Safe passage.  We love you.

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It’s In The Cards by Janet Joyce Holden http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=280 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=280#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 19:25:25 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=280 I hereby admit to an obsession. I collect Tarot cards. It isn’t a huge collection but I have upwards of twenty decks, all in different sizes and colors. Some are packed in a fancy box, others are stuffed in leather bags or are barely contained in the flimsy packs they arrived in [...]]]> I hereby admit to an obsession. I collect Tarot cards. It isn’t a huge collection but I have upwards of twenty decks, all in different sizes and colors. Some are packed in a fancy box, others are stuffed in leather bags or are barely contained in the flimsy packs they arrived in and every deck is unique, with the exception of four versions of the classic Rider-Waite (from which I learned to read Tarot, many years ago).

TarotCards01

Part of the joys of collecting is the risk factor, because there’s no way of knowing how they’re going to look and feel until the wrappings come off and usually that doesn’t happen until they’re bought and paid for.

I’ve had some wonderful surprises — a bold, tawdry box from Barnes and Noble’s bargain shelf that contained a beautiful deck wrapped in a pure silk handkerchief. Elsewhere, a thin carton adorned with a whimsical image that opened up to reveal a solid, quality deck with some amazing artwork.

As for disappointments — for a small fortune, a large, established company offered me a unique deck illustrated by a favorite artist. When it arrived, the cards proved thin and badly cut. The images were slightly blurry, and so glossy you could barely see anything when they were laid out. Another pack I own has beautiful illustrations but the cards are too big to handle and they stick together. Like glue. Oh well.

However, hits and misses aside, I now have a wonderful and varied collection of miniature art. And despite having forgotten how to read most of the individual cards, they come in handy when searching for story and character ideas. (This, of course, is nothing new and there are some informative books out there aimed toward writers in particular. But personally, I’d rather take a deck, or a single card and what’s left of my memory on the subject and let it roll.)

Sometimes it’s about the deck as a whole. Some give off a strong feminine vibe, others are undeniably masculine. Consecutive images can build a certain mood or offer a valuable and expanded view of the artist’s insight. Some decks are light, some are horribly dark, while others evoke a particular era, illustrate realms of pure fantasy, or are profoundly erotic.

Tarot02

On other occasions it’s all about the single card. Here, I have a tendency to fall back on what knowledge I still have, and with seventy eight cards in a deck, I try and stay away from the obvious, such as the Death card, the Tower, the Hanged Man and the Devil, and delve into the minor arcana instead. And as a consummate contrarian I’ll provide one of the more ‘obvious’ examples —

The Ten Of Swords.

Tarot03

It’s a devastating image. Even while presented in a cleaned up PC reading, the card still represents the end of something in no uncertain terms — your job, a relationship — and is pronounced irredeemable. That’s it. Gone. It’s something to walk away from. But taken a little more literally and in the context of horror, what do we have? (And again, this is a fairly common interpretation.)

It’s a card I had in mind when moving through a particular character arc in the Blood Series (in this instance Mark’s younger brother, Matthew). In the first book he’s a minor player and of little consequence, but as the swords of misfortune and despair are continually slammed into his shoulders, by the time we reach book four he has become a monster. The vulnerable younger brother has gone, replaced by a cruel horror that now has significant impact on the story. And yet, another look at the Rider-Waite cards and we see light on the horizon. A chance of redemption?

Not bad for one card, and there are another fifty-five in the minor arcana deck. It’s just one way of searching out inspiration, a tool to draw ideas from wherever the heck they come from. Ultimately, I suppose it’s just another means of coaxing the inside, out. And as an aside, do I believe in Tarot readings? Hmm, better let one of my characters answer that one:

… she watched as Dimitra took her odd stack of cards and laid them out in various formations.

It was easy to see now, what the cards represented. There was nothing magical or mysterious about them. Instead, they were simply a tool – illustrations, pieces of paper and cloth, displayed to help Dimitra collect her thoughts and illustrate her prophecies.

Nimble hands plucked cards from the pile; from the top, the middle, from wherever they wished. Each card chosen and dealt so quickly it appeared their order of display was the result of a random shuffle. But this was not so. There was a reason for the bright colors, the odd shapes, their distinct, individual tactile nature. ‘Mitra could pick out any card in any order she chose via a quick, barely noticeable glance or brush of her fingertips.

But was it a conscious act? Was the sleight of hand deliberate? Or had it simply evolved that way – the fingers, simply trying to keep up with the mind…

And there we are.

(Individual cards above belong to Godfrey Dowson’s Hermetic Tarot; the re-colored Radiant Rider-Waite; Matthews and Kingman’s Lost Tarot of Nostradamus; Ian Daniels’ Tarot of Vampyres; Joseph Vargo’s Gothic Tarot; Tyson and Stokes’ Necronomicon Tarot; the Colman Smith Commemorative Rider-Waite.)

Janet Joyce Holden is the author of Carousel — a novel admittedly devoid of Tarot card inspiration, and yet it’s still wickedly awesome! It’s over in the Necon E-Books Contemporary Horror section. Please take a look!

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Necon E-Books to Launch Short Novel Line http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=271 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=271#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 17:56:27 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=271 As a freshman at the University of Rhode Island in 1963 I was given Leo Hamalian’s and Edmund Volpe’s Ten Modern Short Novels as a textbook for Eng. 101. Among other texts it contained Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle. All were very well [...]]]> As a freshman at the University of Rhode Island in 1963 I was given Leo Hamalian’s and Edmund Volpe’s Ten Modern Short Novels as a textbook for Eng. 101. Among other texts it contained Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle. All were very well written, all were extremely dark, and I read each of them at one sitting. And discovered my favorite form of storytelling.

Over the years I’ve thought a lot about the short novel, a term I prefer to the somewhat artsy-sounding novella, and why it seems to me superior to all others. In the end I believe it’s because we’re wired that way. It’s as simple as that.

Storytelling began around the fire, when the light from the sun was no longer there. After about two to three hours (what television refers to as “Prime Time”), interest began to wane and sleep started creeping into our brains.

If you think about it it’s the same with all forms of entertainment: sporting events, live theatre, film, dance, concerts, etc. all are structured to last from two to three hours. After three hours fans who paid a lot for a ticket will start to head for the exits of even the most exciting Yankees / Red Sox game. And the same goes for novels. At the two / three hour point it gets put down for a while. If Stephen King wrote it, it gets picked up later. If a lesser writer wrote it, it’s a crap shoot.

A short novel is generally finished, however, and judged by the whole book and not a sample. In the words of the immortal philosopher Bill Belichick, “It is what it is.” More often than not the longer and more difficult novel is judged not on what it is but on its potential.

Over the years I’ve noticed that two groups of writers excelled at the short novel: Americans and Horror Writers. While the older European cultures produced shelf-benders such as Madame Bovary, Ulysses, War and Peace, Don Quixote, and Magic Mountain, the American were busy producing slim, elegant masterpieces such as The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, The Postman Always Rings Twice and many others.

The same is true of horror writers. Horror fiction began with a novella (The Castle of Otranto) and many of the best books have been short novels: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Turn of the Screw, all of Lovecraft’s major work. It is interesting that neither Poe nor Lovecraft ever wrote a novel.

Even the best horror novelists have published collection of short novels: Stephen King (Different Seasons, The Green Mile, Four Past Midnight); Peter Straub (Houses Without Doors, Magic Terror); Charles Grant (Nightmare Seasons, Dialing the Wind, The Orchard, The Black Carousel): TED Klein (Dark Gods); and even John Saul (The Blackstone Chronicles).

In the ’90s many of the small print specialty publishers subsidized their more ambitious projects with numbered series of short novels. They were a great success.

So it is time for E-book publishers to follow that lead. There are some exciting changes coming to Necon E-Books in the next few months. This is just the first.

As some of you know I’ve had serious health problems over the last few months. While I will always be part of Necon E-Books, I have turned the day to day operations of the company over to Dan Booth, Matt Bechtel, and Kellianne Jones, all of whom have been with me from the beginning.

To keep busy I have decided to establish the Necon E-Books Short Novel Series.

The goal is to publish one title per month beginning in July (at Necon of course).

The submission guidelines are simple —

• The work must be horror or dark fantasy. No mystery or SF at this time.

• The work must be of short novel length (20,000 to 40,000 words).

• Necon is a community, a family. If you’ve never been to Necon or have no connection with the Necon family, don’t bother submitting.

• Your novel must be good. We don’t publish junk, no matter the author.

Please submit directly to me via e-mail to NeconBob@gmail.com. Our standard Necon E-Book contract and terms will apply (which will be sent to the authors upon acceptance).

Along with the line of short novels, we will also be publishing a Guide to English and American Short Horror Novels.

I look forward to some great discoveries. Don’t let me down.

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For Holly and Rick http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=250 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=250#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 19:53:45 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=250 To quote our Publisher Bob Booth (slightly cleaned up for publication), “This has been one hell of a year.”

The horror community suffered a devastating loss when Rick Hautala passed away on March 21st.  Anyone who has ever read Rick’s work will attest to what an amazing writer he was, but more importantly anyone who [...]]]>

In Loving Memory of Rick Hautala (February 3, 1949 – March 21, 2013)

To quote our Publisher Bob Booth (slightly cleaned up for publication), “This has been one hell of a year.”

The horror community suffered a devastating loss when Rick Hautala passed away on March 21st.  Anyone who has ever read Rick’s work will attest to what an amazing writer he was, but more importantly anyone who ever had the pleasure to know him will attest to what an amazing person he was.  As such, the online world of Facebook and blogs such as this has been overwhelmed by a flood of tributes, remembrances, and appreciations ever since he passed (and rightfully so).

Amidst all those articles, however, Christopher Golden published the following on his blog, No Rest for the Wicked

Unfortunately, Rick’s sudden death could not have been more untimely. The life of a freelance writer is often one lived on the fringes of financial ruin, and Rick struggled mightily to stay afloat in recent years. Just within the last couple of months, that struggle became difficult enough that he could not afford to continue paying his life insurance bill, and allowed it to lapse. Though he could never have foreseen it, the timing, of course, could not have been worse. Then, just this morning, Holly discovered that the social security benefits she might hope to receive as Rick’s widow are not available to her until she turns sixty, three years from now. Efforts are under way on projects that we hope will earn some money for Rick’s estate, but meanwhile there are costs involved with his death to consider, and then, for Holly, the struggle will continue. If you’d like to help, any donation would be appreciated. You can PayPal directly to Holly at holly_newstein@hotmail.com. Thank you so much for your time.

Holly Newstein is more to us than just another author on our roster or the beloved wife of the first writer who ever signed with us — she’s our dear friend and an essential pillar of the Necon Community.  Therefore, we humbly request that all those who can please consider responding to Chris’ call.

For our part, effective immediately and lasting through June 30th (i.e. the entire second quarter of 2013), Necon E-Books will not take our usual Publisher’s share of all sales of Rick or Holly’s titles — WINTER WAKE, DEAD VOICES and THE EPICURE.  Instead, we’ll be passing those profits directly to Holly.  Naturally, Ralph W. Bieber will continue to receive his share of sales of THE EPICURE, and all third party vendors (i.e. Amazon, B&N, etc.) will take their standard percentage as well.  Otherwise, for the next three months, everything will go straight to Holly.  Holly, we wish we could do more and we sincerely hope that this helps (even just slightly).

Along those lines, we have never once requested that our customers consider purchasing our titles directly from our own web site rather than through a third party vendor; in fact, we consider it a point of pride and emphasis that we make our titles available as widely and conveniently as possible.  However, once and only once, I’m going to make an exception in this case because the PayPal transaction fees generated by sales on our site are far less than the percentage owed to outside vendors, which means sales from our site will equate to more for Holly (and to hopefully spur our customers in that direction, we’ve made all three titles available in one easy-to-purchase bundle HERE).

Thank you all in advance for doing everything you can to help Holly during this unspeakably difficult time.

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PAPA NECON UPDATE: The Latest On Bob (2/20/13) http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=236 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=236#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 01:46:39 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=236 Good evening to the entire Necon Community.

This is Matt Bechtel, once again hacking into Bob’s email account to use his universal mailing list to deliver the latest on his condition. On behalf of all of us, I apologize for the length of time which has passed since our last update (as I’m sure you [...]]]> Good evening to the entire Necon Community.

This is Matt Bechtel, once again hacking into Bob’s email account to use his universal mailing list to deliver the latest on his condition. On behalf of all of us, I apologize for the length of time which has passed since our last update (as I’m sure you all understand, things have been rather hectic!).

I’d also like to take this moment to apologize to anyone who might have been a bit worried by a certain Facebook post this morning by Necon’s Fearless Leader, our Chairwoman Sara Calia. Sara posted a brief note asking for thoughts and prayers for Bob, and a number of people (understandably) jumped to some fairly dire conclusions. Sara, please allow me to say that your strength, love, and courage throughout these last few months has been nothing short of extraordinary, and I’ve been humbled and honored to stand by your side … but damn it, couldn’t you have dropped a little more info than just, “Please pray for Dad, he needs them!” into your Facebook post??? Judging by the way my cell phone blew up this morning, your minimalist Status Update really scared a lot of people!

Okay, all joking aside, here’s what’s what on “The Bob Front” — what Sara was alluding to is the fact that the last 24 hours have been far from the best. Last evening, Bob spiked a fever of 101 degrees; seeing as he’s undergoing chemotherapy, his doctor did NOT screw around and ordered him immediately to the E.R., and from there he was readmitted into the hospital. His medical team identified multiple possible causes of infection which could explain the fever (including a VERY small amount of the VERY early stages of pneumonia, which was gratefully caught so early!), so they put him on an I.V. of antibiotics to clear everything up. As such, I’m thrilled to report that he is already feeling much, MUCH better; the fever broke almost immediately, Bob’s less fatigued, and he’s in his typical high spirits. They’re going to keep him in the hospital for a few days and run some more tests/cultures to determine exactly what type of infection he has, but at that point they plan to switch him from the global I.V. antibiotics to an oral dosage of antibiotics which will specifically target whatever particular type of infection this happens to be. So, long story short, we’re knocking on wood that they’ll be able to send him home on Friday.

Which brings up another key piece of news which happened since our last update …

On Monday, February 4th, BOB WENT HOME!!!

(Granted, even before last night’s fever he’s been back-and-forth a few times for tests and for another round of chemo, but that last sentence is still worth repeating …)

On Monday, February 4th, BOB WENT HOME!!!

I’m not going to go through all the boring nuts-and-bolts details of having equipment installed at the house and arranging a visiting nurse schedule (particularly ‘cuz that tends to change on a daily basis anyhow!) What I can tell you is that I honestly don’t have the words to describe what a difference being home has made for him … and that you all played SUCH a significant part in that triumph. Once again, your outpouring of love, support, prayers and well-wishes have done far more than just lift Bob’s spirits — you’ve given him strength. From the bottom of all of our hearts, I cannot thank you all enough.

As I referenced earlier, the plan going forward is to continue returning to the hospital for his chemotherapy treatments (which last for three days) every three weeks. However, first things first — let’s knock out the rest of this infection and get Bob back home within the next few days. In the meantime, anyone who wishes to reach out to Bob is happily encouraged to do so! Sara is still receiving emails for him atsaracalia08@gmail.com, while cards and letters can be sent directly to: Bob Booth, 67 Birchland Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860. And once again, this email will be turned into a Facebook post, a Necon E-Books Live Blog, and posted on various message boards, so please feel free to use those various web sites to convey your best wishes as well.

Thank you all again so much for all of your love and support. And thank you for being such an important part of …
– The Necon Family

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Papa Necon Update *** PLEASE READ *** (1/8/13) http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=226 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=226#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2013 03:10:28 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=226 Dear Necon Community,

Good evening (and I’m happy to report that it IS a good one!).  This is Matt on the con; Sara asked me to send out an update on Bob’s condition, and unlike the last email, this is one you’ll be glad to read.

I’ll start with the “big picture” — Bob’s improvement over the [...]]]> Dear Necon Community,

Good evening (and I’m happy to report that it IS a good one!).  This is Matt on the con; Sara asked me to send out an update on Bob’s condition, and unlike the last email, this is one you’ll be glad to read.

I’ll start with the “big picture” — Bob’s improvement over the last four days has practically been miraculous.  He feels stronger and stronger each day, he has been eating consistently since Friday evening (after over a week of having no appetite whatsoever), and he reports being in NO PAIN.  His eyes are clear, his spirits are high, and I don’t have the words to tell you how much he appreciates the outpouring of love you have all shown him.

Now for a few particulars.  An MRI on Friday showed tumors pressing against Bob’s spine; ironically, this was actually decent news because it explained many of his symptoms (such as the weakness in his lower body).  As such, he immediately began an aggressive regimen of radiation and steroids, and as I wrote earlier, his improvement was instantaneous.  His doctors have decided to complete the full regimen of radiation (which will run through next Wednesday) before moving on to chemotherapy, but in the meantime, Bob has already met with his Physical Therapy team, who have been tasked with building back the strength in his legs.  They plan to begin his PT within the next few days, and they’re not messing around — they’re planning on putting him through the paces for three hours a day!

Bob also received some of the best news he’s gotten this weekend, and in classic Bob fashion, it didn’t take him long to twist it into a funny story.  According to Bob, his doctor’s EXACT WORDS were that a CAT Scan taken a few days ago “showed nothing.”  ”So,” Bob explained, “either he means I have no brain, or he means I have no brain cancer!”  While most of us have suspected the former for years, I’m pretty damn sure his doctor meant the latter.

So that’s where we stand, gang — with a long road ahead, but with Bob feeling better and stronger by the minute.  Yes, these are the beginning steps forward, but each and every step forward, and each and every day which Bob feels better, deserves to be celebrated.

Which is where you all come in.  On behalf of Bob, Mary, Sara, Dan and Jillian, I humbly THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your positive thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and energy.  The way you have all rallied to Bob’s side has absolutely touched his heart and given him strength.  Your cards, letters, emails, Facebook posts, and visits have made an immeasurable difference towards lifting his spirits; as such, please, by all means, keep ‘em coming, ‘cuz they’re obviously working!!!  Once again, you can email Bob via Sara at saracalia08@gmail.com, while cards and letters can be sent directly to: Bob Booth, 67 Birchland Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860.  Finally, this announcement will once again be turned into a Facebook post, a Necon E-Books Live Blog, and posted on various message boards, so please feel free to respond and send your best wishes to Bob via those social networking sites as well.

Again, thank you all so much for your kindness, support and love.  And thank you all for being a part of …

– The Necon Family

 

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Papa Necon (Please Read) http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=221 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=221#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 00:48:10 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=221 Dear Necon Community,

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we write to you today to ask for your prayers, good thoughts, and positive energy for our Papa Necon, Bob Booth.  As some of you may have heard, Bob came down with bronchitis in November.  He was sent for a chest x-ray and it [...]]]> Dear Necon Community,

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we write to you today to ask for your prayers, good thoughts, and positive energy for our Papa Necon, Bob Booth.  As some of you may have heard, Bob came down with bronchitis in November.  He was sent for a chest x-ray and it came back showing a shadow that the doctor didn’t like.  Further tests revealed spots on his lung and lesions on his liver, which led to still further tests.  He has been diagnosed with stage four extensive small cell lung cancer and stage four liver cancer.  The doctors also believe that it has spread to his bones, and he is undergoing further testing to discover if it has reached his brain.  Early next week, when all of the results are in, decisions will be made regarding the wisdom and usefulness of chemotherapy and other treatments, but it must be said that options are limited.

Over the more than thirty years since Necon’s founding, it has become ever clearer that Necon is more than a convention.  It has been called summer camp, but always feels like more of a family reunion, and our Necon family grows and changes  with every passing year, spreading further and adding new members.  Bob has been the center of that family–truly Papa Necon–since the very first day, and it is one of his greatest pleasures.  We trust that many of you will want to send Bob your thoughts, kind words, and well wishes, and we gratefully encourage you to do so.  Prayers and positive energy are powerful and would be deeply appreciated by all of us.

Cards and letters can be sent directly to Bob at home.  Bob Booth, 67 Birchland Ave Pawtucket, Ri 02860.  If you’d like to send e-mails and want to be sure they reach him, the best way is to send them to Sara, and she will see that he receives them.  Her e-mail is saracalia08@gmail.com.

Thank you for your kindness, past, present, and future.

Sincerely,

The Necon Family

P.S. — The following announcement has also been posted as this blog page so that people may use the “Response” section below to convey their well wishes to Bob, Mary and the entire Booth Family.

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BECHTEL’S BUCKSHOT BLOG: A Funny Thing Happened On Halloween … http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=209 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=209#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2012 19:05:32 +0000 http://www.neconebooks.com/blog/?p=209 I have a really cool story to share here, but for the life of me I can’t come up with a good intro, so I’m just gonna dive right in —

In a typical month, our Flash Fiction Contest will receive somewhere around thirty submissions (light months may be around twenty, heavier months around forty).  [...]]]> I have a really cool story to share here, but for the life of me I can’t come up with a good intro, so I’m just gonna dive right in —

In a typical month, our Flash Fiction Contest will receive somewhere around thirty submissions (light months may be around twenty, heavier months around forty).  Our topic for October this year, “Halloween: A Child’s Perspective,” must have really struck a chord with our writers, because we were already sitting upon well over forty submissions on the last day of the month … when suddenly, the floodgates opened.

Between 12:30 and 3:00AM on October 31st, the Flash Fiction submission inbox was overwhelmed by over thirty-five entries; in fact, there was such a dramatic increase in traffic that my email software flagged them all as potential spam!  But one quick look revealed they were all legit submissions … and all from the same email server … and another email address was CC’ed on all of ‘em.  Donning my Sherlock Holmes hat, I Googled the CC’ed address (side note: how much easier would Holmes’ life have been if he’d had Google?  Can anyone who watches Elementary tell me if Jonny Lee Miller uses a smartphone to crack cases?).  Low and behold, the email address belonged to an English Teacher at the Bangkok Patana School in Bangkok, Thailand.  And suddenly, the pieces all fell together.

I sent the teacher an email and he happily confirmed my assumptions — he had ASSIGNED our Flash Fiction Contest to his students (hence the flood of last minute submissions, and also why he was copied on all their stories; it was their way of verifying they’d completed the assignment).  However, it was an additional piece of information that he offered that really floored me — his students were all eleven or twelve years old.

As I wrote to the teacher, my first instinct upon receiving all the students’ stories was to create a separate category for them, to judge them only against one another.  That thought lasted about five seconds before I dismissed it.  These kids had all submitted to our contest, just like any other writer; out of pure respect, I felt we owed it to them to do the exact opposite of my first instinct, and to NOT treat them with “kids gloves.”  They threw their hats in the ring, so so be it; they were going to get judged just like any other submission.

This is the point in the story where the Rocky moment is supposed to happen, where a young writer half-way around the world is supposed to show burgeoning prodigy talent, blow away the judges, and defeat over eighty other submissions (over half written by authors twice his or her age) and win our Flash Fiction Contest.  Of course, that’s if the story is fiction.  The truth is, the students went a perfect 0-for-38 (or however many stories they sent in).  All Hollywood endings aside, what would you expect to happen?  They were competing against writers with years more experience than them!

But the fact is, much like Rocky, winning and losing isn’t the point of this story.  From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank and congratulate each and every student from the Bangkok Patana School who submitted to our contest this month.  School assignment or not, the courage you all showed in submitting your work, in putting it out into the world to be judged and criticized, is absolutely HUMBLING.  I know I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that when I was your age; heck, quite frankly, it still isn’t always easy to do at my age!

Along with the rejection letters they all received, I created a short PDF file of tips for submitting their writing and sent it to all the members of “the Patana gang.”  Some were very basic (like SPELL CHECK!!!!!), some were more trivial (like no matter how much fun it may be, don’t dress up your submission with fun fonts, color, or Word Art).  But I’d like to quote a piece of the last tip I sent, because I think … no, I know that it applies to writers of all ages —

… Rejection is literally part of the job description of being a writer, as you know, for a FACT, that not everything you send out is going to be accepted.  So the very best advice I can give to you all about the rejection letters you received from me today?  Ignore ‘em; after all, what the heck do we know?  Consider them a badge of honor, your first “battle scar,” and then move on to your next story … You’ve actually all already taken the hardest step — you submitted your writing for the first time. Sure you got rejected, but guess what?  Nothing worse can ever happen when you send out a story than that, so you’ve already experienced the bottom!  Keep at it, ‘cuz you’ve got nowhere to go but up and up …

I could gush on and on about how impressed we all were by the gumption and effort of the Bangkok Patana students … but I need to wrap up this blog sooner than later, ‘cuz I have some submission letters I’ve been lax about crafting myself, and if you guys all took this initiative, what possible excuse could I have?

But, just a few “buckshot” comments before I go (‘cuz that’s my schtick on our Blog, after all!) —

• Congratulations to the gang from Shroud on an amazing second AnthoCon this past weekend; two years in, and you guys are absolutely, without question, a “must attend” event for the fall season!

• As could be expected, much of the conversation at the con drifted into the political realm (that happens when you’re less than a week out from an election, whether people are trying to pussyfoot around the topic or not!).  No matter where you may land on the left / right spectrum, one thing everyone agreed upon was an overall pride in the American voting populous for such a terrific turn out; after all, our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” only works if the people show up to vote, and we certainly rose to our civic duty this year.

That said, I personally experienced a really strange anomaly on Election Day.  I vote at a small elementary school about a block from where I live; this is by no means a large polling place, and there are multiple others within walking distance.  There were two lines to vote, one for people with last names which begins with a letter from A to L, the other for M to Z.  I had to wait over ninety minutes in line to vote … while the M to Z line never had more than six people in it.  By the time I left, the A to L line was literally three times as long as it was when I arrived, and yet people with a back-half of the alphabet last name continued to walk right up and vote without any wait whatsoever.  Like I said, I’m certain this was just a fluke occurrence, but why the heck did so many people in my neighborhood have names that started A to L?  Where were all the Smiths, the Thompsons, the Petersons, the Pattersons, or the Whites?

• I’ve mentioned the TV show How I Met Your Mother on this blog before, and I stand by my assertion that it’s the best sitcom on network television in a long, long time.  That said, even the best need to know when it’s time to call it a day, and I feel they officially “jumped the shark” two weeks ago.  Why?  Because they recycled a plot line from Friends.  Victoria tells Ted she’ll only marry him if he ends his friendship with his ex, Robin; sub in the names Emily, Ross, and Rachel, and I’ll need to crank out one of my old flannel shirts and listen to Hootie and the Blowfish, ‘cuz it’s 1998 all over again.  On the one in a million chance anyone associated with How I Met Your Mother ever reads this article — c’mon guys, you’re better than that.  You were the show that turned standard sitcom conventions on their head; heck, you even once made fun of how a bunch of twenty-something single friends would prefer a bar to a coffee house!  Please get off the clichés and tell the end of your story; at this point, your redemption lies in bringing this thing home with a bang.

• Speaking of television and redemption, I actually had the idea for The Next Iron Chef: Redemption almost a year ago.  Naturally, I have no way to prove that, as I never suggested it to the Food Network; I only off-handedly said it to my family, like, “Hey, you know what would be cool?  For the next season of Next Iron Chef, they should bring back chefs who’ve already competed and lost before!”  Oh well; Food Network, if you actually have bugged my cell phone, a free tee shirt or something would be a nice gesture.

• I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving in advance; eat too much, drink too much, and fall asleep on the couch by 8:00 p.m. (after all, it’s the one day of the year where that’s socially acceptable!).

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