A Book Barn in Clovis Hosted FSFW on Friday, Dec 9th. Photo by Prthvi Tavar


This past Friday’s Open Mic Night at the Clovis Book Barn was a great success, if I do say so myself. Of course, as the MC and fellow Fresno Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writer I’m more than a little biased, but everyone I spoke with afterwards was very happy with the way the evening went. We had readers willing to read more pieces than we had time allotted (I had set it for 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, since it was our first time there, so I thought I would err on the conservative side). Dan let us go long, but I still had to cut it at 8:45 pm to give us time to clean up and the folks at the Barn to close up! At least everyone got to read at least once, and I vowed that the last four cut–myself included–would be the first four next time.

Now here’s the recap:

Note: If you followed the events on facebook, you may have heard that I challenged folks to commit to coming to the event, and that if we got 30 to click the “I’m attending” button on the event page, then I would do a few sci-fi and fantasy impressions. We didn’t quite get 30 on the page, but close to that showed up, so I went ahead and introduced each reader with either a Kermit or a Shrek or Gollum. And I think Jean Luc Picard rounded everyone up and got ’em in the seats.

Rob Lopez reads from Hello, Kitties. Photo by Christopher Wood

I thought I would spare everyone one the “first read” willies and took the opening spot myself–yeah, I had the flushed face and must’ve looked like a ripe tomato–but I was excited to share an excerpt from Hello, Kitties, a dark little story about a 12 year old girl walking home and encountering some temperamental cats. I’m currently shopping this one around, so it was gratifying to hear the crowd reactions from the piece.

Drew Blanchard then gave us a somber poem about an elderly woman’s last moments.

Roh Morgon read us a couple of excerpts out of her first novel, Watcher: Book 1 of The Chosen, the first the poignant and haunting introduction and the second a tense-filled face off in a club. Later, she would cap off the evening with her I Dreamed a Crooked Dream Anthology contribution, Fur Before Feathers, a tale of a young boy first learning to shapeshift.

Roh Morgon reads from Watcher, Book 1 of The Chosen

Roh Morgon reads from Watcher, Book 1 of The Chosen. Photo by Christopher Wood

Christopher Wood whisked us off to another time and another place with¬†“The Daelows Witch: Part II: Remembrance” a poetic, almost lyrical story about a would be hero and a witch.

Christopher Wood reads from his "The Daelows Witch: Part II: Remembrance." Photo by Rob Lopez

Christopher Wood reads from his "The Daelows Witch: Part II: Remembrance." Photo by Rob Lopez

Jim D. Geiser sent us hurling into the future, into a reality where vampires co-exist with humanity and have special minority rights in Endangered Species, his contribution to the I Dreamed a Crooked Dream FSFW Anthology. It was an unnerving and chilling read, perhaps all the more because it came from such a friendly, warm-hearted guy!

Ed Smith gave us a sneak peek into the FSFW’s upcoming anthology Woadsbury, with Guardian at the Gate, a story about a time traveler who takes it upon himself to protect the 13th century land he’s been stranded in from any future explorers that would follow him.

Steven Hammond gave us a darkly humorous turn with the introduction to his upcoming novel Rise of the Penguins,¬† wherein the penguins rise up against their human oppressors and take their revenge! Exciting, frightening and impossible not to chuckle at, the piece was strangely appropriate for the holiday season. He later followed it up with a more personal piece of non-fiction about his younger days and a rather obstinate tree that stood in the way of young love’s kiss.

Steven Hammond reads from Rise of the Penguins. Photo by Christopher Wood

Steven Hammond reads from Rise of the Penguins. Photo by Christopher Wood

My girlfriend, Alisha Vargas (pictured above in the comic post area), I am proud to report, read from Hugh Laurie’s crime thriller, The Gun Seller, whose narrator speaks with the wry humor you would expect from the actor who portrays the title character on the Fox medical drama House, MD, once a half of the comedic duo Fry and Laurie. It’s a rare treat when Ali agrees to stand up before an audience, but I hope after the response she received, we can convince her to make more regular appearances.

I have a feeling Tirzah Duncan is no stranger to audiences, or at least to performing. She read, with grace and care, three short poems that she wrote as birthday gifts to her sister: “Quester,” “Questioner” and “Creature,” and later from Ever Actor, her first novel, a scene betwixt her main character, a roguish thief, and a fortune teller–each character had his own personal inflections, accent and carriage, that she drew us into their exchange and made the moment palpable.

Tirzah Duncan reads "Quester," "Questioner" and "Creature" poems. Photo by Christopher Wood

Tirzah Duncan reads "Quester," "Questioner" and "Creature" poems. Photo by Christopher Wood

Sarah Peterson read her stirring and evocative poems “Half Bruise” and “Against a Charcoal Sky” and Nate Dotson read his poem “Unsaid.” Nate was a first timer afraid he might not be heard due to a cold, but his booming voice gave him no problems during his read!

Mellie Smith provided us another sneak peek into the FSFW upcoming anthology Woadsbury with an excerpt from one of the founding pieces of the anthology, Fire, about a woman who tries to control the restless power growing inside her with catastrophic results. Mellie has told me more than once that she’s not into horror, and while it’s true that fantasy is the genre she knows best, this piece definitely has a dark side, and I can’t wait to hear more.

Thanks again to all the participants, audience members and a BIG THANKS to the Book Barn for hosting us!

Stay tuned for details on our next Open Mic and definitely head on down to the Book Barn next Saturday, December 17, 2011, from 1:00pm-3:00pm for our BookFest! Many of the folks who were at the Open Mic will be at the booksigning event and more, so it is a CAN’T MISS!

For more info on this and upcoming events, please visit Clovis Book Barn and FSFW.net and like us on Facebook!

The Book Barn in Clovis, CA is a cozy place.

Ed Smith signs up for a read while Sarah Peterson and Alisha Vargas watch the readings. Photo by Rob Lopez

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