Today’s quick roundup of my cool friends and their cool creations is writer-focused, which I find very exciting. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, so I’m always grateful when one of my pals creates something new for me to read. Come to think of it, there’ve been rather a lot of writing-based creations in these posts. Check out the first, second, third, and fourth installments and see for yourself!
Cool Person: Kelly McCullough
Kelly McCullough is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, herder and blogger of cats, and connoisseur of scotches. You may have read his Webmage and Fallen Blade books. Or you may have shared some delicious scotch with him at a convention. I highly recommend both activities. You know how you sometimes meet someone for the first time and go “Yup. This is a person I connect with. Thank you Universe/Fate/Random Chance for placing my path across his.” That’s how I felt after meeting Kelly.
Let me tell you, I was mightily relieved when I discovered he can write so well. Which brings me to…
Cool Thing: School for Sidekicks
School for Sidekicks came out yesterday. I’m already three-quarters done with it. I’d be further along if I hadn’t fallen asleep reading it.
But WAIT! Let me explain how that’s a compliment.
I never fall asleep while reading books. I always set them down and go to sleep when I’m tired. Last night I just didn’t want to do that. I wanted to Keep Reading. So I did. Until I couldn’t.
School for Sidekicks is a delightful middle-grade* novel about Evan Quick, a boy who wants desperately to become a hero (aka a “Mask”). It covers his journey as he tries to navigate the world of a new school—a new school filled with super-powered classmates. I’m not gonna lie, this book is right up my alley. I love stories about burgeoning powers and the struggle to deal with them, and this book does not disappoint. It kinda reminds me a bit of the Disney film Sky High (which I adore), but with more realistic characters, a more well-developed world, and an underlying plot that’s much more far-reaching.
It’s got plenty to recommend it to adult readers (especially geeks like me). The story is much more than a simple new-high-school story. I’m so intrigued about the foundations of this world I can’t wait to get back to the book tonight. So if the simpler prose of a children’s book won’t put you off, I suggest you pick up this book immediately. And of course, if you have kids, send it their way and let me be jealous of them for discovering it so much earlier than I could.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot the most explosive part. School for Sidekicks had its official launch yesterday. And by launch, I mean LAUNCH. Like, with a freaking rocket:
And that’s just the teaser version. Check out Kelly’s website for the full vid, and lots more fun launchey video goodness!
Cool Person: Paul Cornell
Paul Cornell probably needs no introduction. He’s that guy who wrote those Doctor Who episodes (and books and audios), the intriguing and creepy and gut-wrenching Shadow Police series**, several nonfiction works including programme guides and the like, and lots and lots of comics. I came to know Paul because of his work on Doctor Who, but I’ve been delighted to discover he’s really good at other stuff too. Not to mention the fact that he’s a lovely fellow!***
No surprise, he’s the overachiever in this post. In fact, he’s got so much on the go, I’m only going to mention the things that are already available. He has several more exciting things coming down the pike. Check out his website for more exciting announcements, or just be patient for a future CPDCT installment.
Cool Thing #1: This Damned Band
Paul’s latest comic endeavor is about a rock band in the 70’s who thinks they’re worshipping Satan. As it turns out, they’re actually worshipping Satan! I love this idea. And Tony Parker’s art so perfectly captures that 70’s vibe. It’s just sitting there, waiting for me, tempting me with its rock’n’roll and its documentary-style storytelling and its vibrant colors. I can’t wait to dive into this thing. My spouse, Steven, already declared he wants the last page as a t-shirt. I can’t wait to get there.
Paul even provided a soundtrack to accompany the comic. How cool is that? The song list includes the likes of the Stones, Bowie, Zeppelin, Sabbath, and The Darkness. I am so gonna check this out—probably while reading comic. Seems the thing to do.
Issue 1 of This Damned Band is out today. Pick it up!
Cool Thing #2: The Cornell Collective
Paul isn’t new to podcasting, but he now has a podcast of his very own. In each episode of The Cornell Collective, Paul brings together one person from each facet of his career and has a fascinating conversation. He includes one person from the Doctor Who world, someone from comics, and a novelist. With such interesting people of diverse backgrounds, it’s always a treat.
If you’ve ever had a “bar-con” chat with Paul at a convention, this will feel engagingly familiar. He excels at bringing disparate folks together and keeping the conversation moving. This podcast is no exception. Do give it a listen.
*Please note: “middle grade” refers to the age range of the target reader, not the quality of the writing. I only learned this term recently, and totally misunderstood it at first. WHOOPS.
***Just beware of having him explain the rules of cricket to your spouse, or you may find yourself surrounded by it nonstop. Did you know there’s a (paid) Canadian service called Willow TV that’s just for watching cricket games? Because I do now. And did you know you can play the app through your phone/iPad so you can watch games in bed? Yeah. That’s a thing too.