Saturday, November 16, 2013

Night of the Bindlegrim

So perhaps the weather was an omen... rainy and cold... an appropriate Bindlegrim night full of thunder and dark purple skies with bits of brilliant Halloween orange peeking out from a setting sun... yet I had zero expectations (certainly after reading the other finalists listed below) so this was to be an amazing surprise that On Stranger Winds won in the Fiction: Sci-Fi / Fantasy category of the NM Book Co-op's 2013 New Mexico - Arizona Book Awards!

Short story fantasy collection wins a 2013 New Mexico Book Award in the Scifi-Fantasy category - On Stranger Winds by Robert Aaron Wiley (aka Bindlegrim)

Days before the actual announcement, I wanted to take the time as a scifi/fantasy fan to see what our local authors had to offer, and with an eagerness to cheer them on for their hard work. Therefore I assigned myself homework - to read (as much of) each as I could before the date. And I feel confident recommending most of these if you enjoy the genre. Here is a quick rundown of the book and author finalists in the Sci-Fi Fantasy category, (with many offered as Amazon e-books with a downloadable free preview).
  1. Ghosts of the Black Rose: Belinda Vasquez Garcia
    there is a very interesting scene in here involving a priest, his deceased skeleton wife, and the enchanted beautician.
  2. Asleep at the Wheel of Time: Michael Gray
    Note:  a true well written sci-fi entry that had my interest piqued with a story that involves dolphins and a recent VLA discovery of what could be a message from Titan.
  3. The Tower of Il Serrohe: RJ Mirabal - Note: an anti-hero in the Rio Grande Valley finds an alternate universe. Back-story involves curanderas. And there is a sly sense of humor to some of the dialogue.
  4. Corr Syl the Warrior: Garry Rogers -
    Note: A smartly written YA novel where animals evolved, and utilize natural powers together with technology. A murder has occurred at the beginning, while trouble brews on the borders.
  5. On Stranger Winds: Robert Aaron Wiley -
With my reading accomplished, I was ready to cheer any of these authors for a well-deserved award. And we arrived at the 2013 NM Book Awards on that stormy November 15th night in ABQ. New to the experience, I had no idea what to expect, yet had a welcoming, wonderful time. Met some great authors and publishers, enjoyed drinks, and the food was actually top notch. (Heartfelt kudos to the meal planner!)

The award ceremony itself was perfectly timed and the actual winning of the award a bit of a blur... (see the full list of winners here)... and while I wish I had bid more money to win that Rodulfo Anaya book package, the following are my personal highlights of my evening...
  1. Out of pure chance we sat next to Fresco Books. Really awesome chatting with the authors behind this amazing hardcover book. They won both the Art Book category and the Best New Mexico Book for Art of the National Parks. To my immediate right was this wonderful artist, Terry Dunn:
  2. On our left sat a first-time author Karen Kelling. I'm not sure I understood the complete plot, but the book sounds like a good read for you holiday fans as it takes place around Christmas, and there are appearances of ghosts from the past: The Comanchero's Grave.
  3. Across the distance of the table sat Arturo Madrid with what sounds like a fascinating book (and most definitely with quality design & photography): In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico .
  4. And during our wait for winner stickers at the end, had a great time conversing with Candace Walsh and learning about her book: Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity.
Well, that's it! After all the hard work, and latest excitement, I've been spending the past 24 hours quietly(?) basking. Thank you to all the words of congratulations from friends and family. And of course thank you again to the informed editing assistance of Cara Wilhelm, the spooky whimsical cover art from David Irvine, the spooky font Zombie Apocalypse available from Sinister Visions, and the word-styling of Daniel Boyer in his fabulous foreword.

Short story complication with spooky autumn fantasy tales wins the 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards for the Science Fiction category

 Goodnight folks... time now to work on volume two...?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Christmas Mask-Over

Another quick post to follow up the previous 2 characters with good ol' St. Nick...  although I'm not sure this guy is any less "troubled" than Krampus and Jack Frost before him.

Vintage-style character design for candy container lanterns features St. Nick's with a darkly humorous expression over his glasses..

I suppose the less than cheerful expressions could be based on the fact that Santa here and the others were originally Halloween characters who got a "mask-over" for the upcoming December celebrations. It just may explain their not-so-sweet disposition. Can you figure out who's hiding behind the Christmas affectations?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jack Frost and Krampus Designs

Bindlegrim has given up trying to teach the workshop elves anything but Jingle Bells in a minor key this year - as their work continues to be a bit on the dark side of Christmas? And here are a couple more sneak peeks at work in progress for what will be follow up object-designs to the vintage-style candy container lanterns that were released this past Halloween 2013:

Vintage-style character design for candy container lanterns features this icey blue character with rosey cheeks and icicle fangs.

Vintage-style character design for candy container lanterns features St. Nick's European helper Krampus who carries away misbehaved children.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Abominable Bindlegrim

Bindlegrim was in the workshop today... attempting to teach the elves holly-and-jolly, and ho-ho-ho, and all that jazz... but the sweetness and light came out a little bit dark:

Close-up of a strange winter character by holiday artist Bindlegrim

A little sneak peek banner of strange elf-witch-snowman hybrids from the workshop of holiday artist Bindlegrim

Well we're still working on it... but if the witch-elf-snowman hybrid above is any indication, Bindlegrim Christmas 2013 is going to be rather... peculiar. More to come...
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