Take Out & Other Stories: A Collection of Weird Fiction by Robert Gannon

Buy for Kindle. Buy at Smashwords.

Friends, professors, and family have told me for years that I should just take the plunge and self-publish some of my fiction. I resisted for a number of reasons. The organizations I dreamed of joining as a child–like the SFWA and HWA–did not count self-published work toward membership requirements. Any research I did into self-publishing 10 years ago when the suggestions first started said it wasn’t as reputable and there was no market for it. I was terrified of putting my work out there unfiltered without the approval of a big pro-rate magazine or publisher.

I’ve watched as the market for horror, dark fantasy, and bizarre sci-fi short stories has contracted steadily over the past decade. Every time I went to submit a new story through the usual suspects, there were fewer publications showing up for the line-up. New magazines would pop up, accept my work, then fold after their first issue (when I was slated for the second or third). Digital only publications, as a rule, believe that just being kind enough to publish your short story on their WordPress site is payment enough; it’s really not.

I can’t live being afraid of showing off my work anymore. The immense popularity of Kindle, Nook, and eBook apps means that stigma over self-publication is gradually fading away. Even the Horror Writers Association is allowing self-published works to be considered for their annual Bram Stoker Awards now. That is when I knew I needed to finally put my work out there on my own.

Take Out & Other Stories: A Collection of Weird Fiction is my first ever short story capsule collection.

Geek Creation Show: Come See My High Tech Halloween Panel

I am very excited to announce that I will be presenting a panel/workshop during the first ever Geek Creation Show in Piscataway, NJ. It’s called “High Tech Halloween on a Low Tech Budget” and it’s going to be a lot of fun. In 45 minutes, I’m going to run you through my biggest cost-saving tricks to create a home haunt or Halloween party with a lot of wow factor.

geekcreationshowusable Geek Creation Show: Come See My High Tech Halloween Panel

The Geek Creation Show is a brand new convention about living a better geeky life. The entire event is inspired by the spirit and legacy of Nikola Tesla. All proceeds from the convention will be donated to the Tesla Museum and Science Center at Wardenclyffe. My fellow panelists and I were encouraged to submit panels/workshops that could help our fellow geeks learn something new or refine their awesome geeky skills.


After teaching theater all day, I’m driving straight to Hartford, CT for Connecticon 2013. I’ll be able to walk the show a little bit after checking into a hotel, but unfortunately I will not be able to post directly to this website until Sunday night. I had to IP lock it because I’m one of the targets of that WordPress attack that started two months ago.

Basically, someone’s programmed bots to spam WordPress log-ins to either destroy the site by correctly guessing the log-in or crash it due to server overload. I shut it off a month ago and had to call to have my hosting restored after reapplying the ban through the back end.

I’m going to attempt to post by e-mail throughout the weekend, but I don’t know if it will work.

You can follow all the ConnectiCon 2013 coverage at my Twitter and my Facebook page.

Best of June 2013 & Coming in July

Now that my hand has been de-splinted, I can actually type and write in my own style again.

First, I am sad to announce I did not move on in the Geek & Sundry vlog search competition. However, I am happy to announce that means Slipstream: The Pulp Culture Vlog can and will continue without the PG-13 only rating. My language will remain clean (as it does here), but I can freely cover more controversial content like exploitation films, how fantasy features influenced the field of psychology, and “x”ist critiques of science fiction. It’ll be a hoot. No holds barred. Anything goes! The new episode is filming tomorrow and hopefully going up Tuesday. The thumb injury stopped me from doing a one night turnaround this week.

Second, I have all my supplies together to launch my haunting and art series this month. I’m super excited about those. The home haunt vlog will be half tutorial, half document of my 2013 build. I don’t have a title for the haunt yet, but the theme is a haunted night club. The art series is tutorial mixed in with time-lapse art creation.

The CentUp Button

Hey everyone. Just giving you a quick heads up about a new feature at Sketchy Details. I’ve teamed up with the fine folks at CentUp for a new service. Basically, if you like what you read here, you have the option of donating a few cents at the bottom of the post. Half of it goes to a charity of your choice through CentUp; the other half goes to me. Check out their site, sign up for an account, and start sharing the love with your favorite sites and charities.

Best of May 2013 & Coming in June

Let’s start off with what’s coming up. June is the start of my summer of conventions. I’ll be attending AnimeNEXT in Somerset, NJ next weekend. These are the same people that ran MangaNEXT last year. I’ll also be going to ConnectiCon in Hartford, CT 12-14 July (starts the 11, but I’m working M-F teaching theater at a day camp). I’m also going to be at the first ever Geek Creation Show in Parsippany, NJ 2-4 August; I have to inquire about a press pass still but I might just submit some panels/workshops for the event. Who doesn’t want to learn how to craft with foam or write about geek culture? And I’ve also been confirmed for NYCC 2013 and I am ready to harass the Strip Search contestants who won Artist Alley Tables.

There are other events I’ll be at all throughout the summer in the vein of No Quarters: one day/night things connected to geek culture.

The Preston Files will be debuting this month for sure. I didn’t feel comfortable launching without any buffer built in even if it’s a pop culture comic. I never know when my schedule is going to become complete overwhelming and stop me from having the spare time to write and draw.

I will also be launching some video projects this month. Geek & Sundry is looking for vloggers and I’m in the process of editing my submission video. Surprise: it’s on genre entertainment. Shocking, I know. Felicia Day said vlog what you’re passionate about and it was that or flop Broadway musicals.

I also plan on doing some videos connected to art, home haunting, and video games, as well. I’ve been slowly building up my home studio, upgrading my equipment, and outlining shows since January. Now’s as good a time as any to make the leap.

June is also the Second Annual Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge. I’ll be writing a lot about horror and sci-fi this month as I attempt to fill out my dance card for the contest. It’s not to late to join–just contact Branden/psymin with a link to your blog post that you’ll use to keep score.

Now that we’ve gazed into the future, let’s linger in the past with the best of May 2013. AniMAY was a rousing success for me and produced some of my favorite pieces ever. Check them all out at the AniMAY page.

Best of April 2013 and Coming in May 2013

I’m very pleased with how Sketchy Details has been going this month. As I’ve long suspected, if I don’t take the weekend off, I keep my work pace up and feel better about the quality of the content on the site. I’ve also been able to post more content each day than I thought I could while working outside gigs and teaching after school programs.

Here’s the best content from April.



Be sure to check out all of the Spring Into Suspense posts and the beautiful cosplay contest gallery from Quinni-Con 2013.

For May, I have a few events lined-up that I’ll be writing about. I’ll also be finishing my Quinni-Con coverage and even covering a few things that were missed after New York Comic Con 2012.

I’m also happy to announce that there is a new theme for May. Welcome to AniMAY 2013. I will be putting up new content as often as I can about anime, manga, and Japanese entertainment culture. It’s going to be fun. I have some really cool posts planned as well as plenty of room to try out new things and see what sticks. Let me know in the comments below what I should be covering as part of the AniMAY celebration.

May 2013 will also see the debut of The Preston Files. This is the new spin-off webcomic from Food Don’t Go Stale in Space. I would love to make more FDGSIS, but it’s not a practical option at the moment with all the collaboration that went on to make the series a reality. The Preston Files was always something I planned on running concurrently with FDGSIS. In a nutshell, The Preston Files exposes the creative process of freelance writer Preston who believes any idea could be a million dollar idea if handled the right way. Part pop culture/gag of the week, part journal comic, The Preston Files will come out every Saturday.

Updates at Sketchy Details

I know posting has been lax this week. All I can say is that I’m in tech on a big musical again and barely sleeping. I should be in a better place to put up content every day again once I get past Monday. Tomorrow’s the big push to finish all the sets, props, costumes, etc. and Sunday is an eight+ hour rehearsal. Monday is basically an all day rehearsal/promo day and then the workload lightens considerably. I’m still updating Twitter and the Nerdtainment round-up page so be sure to follow me for more content.

I did put up the new call for submissions for Foreign Chops at The Lamb. The new theme is anime films and it should be a lot of fun for everyone involved. I’m trying to make the announcements a bit more stylized and entertaining on their own to draw in more readers. Here’s the announcement.

I will try to get up a new review later tonight of what I’m seeing today. Thank you for your patience. The site format is going to shift a bit in the next two weeks for the better and I’m excited to unveil it all when my head clears and I start sleeping again.

What to Expect at Sketchy Details: January 2013

Happy New Year, everyone. I have some big plans for Sketchy Details this month and I think you’re going to like them. I also have some outside projects that I’ll be sharing, as well.

You can expect some new video content. I went in half and half with some family members on getting a good rig for videos together as a Christmas present to myself, including a new camera, lights, microphones, and even a greenscreen/backdrop kit. It works really well and you’ll get to see some of that content coming in as the Best Of 2012 continues throughout the month.

Speaking of the Best of 2012 series, I have a lot of categories to take you through. I’m trying to break them up even within the post for easier reading. Gaming is done already and music will follow through the rest of the week. Then we get into the meatier film categories just in time for the Oscar nominations announcement next week. Can you believe we’re there already? I can’t either. It’s because they moved the date up but pushed the ceremony itself back.

I don’t have any conventions or events line up just yet for January, though I might get in for a live show or two which are always good for a few posts. Cannonball Read V is starting up and I still have a backlog of reviews from IV to post before the deadline passes this week.

I’m also trying to make an effort to have a bit more coverage for all the mediums I tackle on this site. Film is easy with Netflix and all that; TV, too, with Hulu. I feel like books, comics, games, and music have been getting a little shortchanged and I’m doing my best to change that. I also cleaned up a lot of categories at the end of December and pulled anime, manga, and comics from the books and TV categories so they’re viewed within their own cultural framework.

It looks like it’s going to be a good year for new content at the site. Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to comment, share, and respond to what I post here.

State of the Blog Address: 20 February 2010

Thank you for joining me today. There are a few issues that need to be addressed as to the state of Sketchy Details.

First and foremost, I would like to extend a sincere apology for my inconsistent posting these past few weeks. I am being pulled in many directions right now in the real world and have struggled to find the time to consistently produce new content.

You see, there are many things falling together all at once. For starters, I've been tasked with producing a website for my family's charity fund that has been a great struggle. I have asked for months for a list of necessities–such as a mission statement, or proper title–to be provided so I can begin preliminary designs; I received them last night. This is a matter of immediate family communication as my parents have insisted for months I never gave them a document (dated November on the computer) before the last time we discuss it. The organization is on edge about gaining a web presence. I'm honored to be able to use my skills to honor my cousin's memory, but it's frustrating to work with less-than-web-savvy people on this kind of project. Someone suggested just setting up a Google Site and being done with it; the group deserves better and I can easily provide it.

Second is the apex of a three year battle with my current employing school over my salary. The first year, I was hired and promised almost three times as much as I wound up being paid; the director of the drama department supplemented my income in a great way that helped pay off the debts I accumulated bringing their equipment up to date for modern educational theater. The second year, I was promised a substantial pay increase from the Board of Education, only to have most of the paycheck stolen in the chaos surrounding the director's untimely passing right before the show. Pay I was promised for working on their musical, theater festival, Thespian Society induction ceremony, and cabaret fund-raiser was slashed or completely denied. This year, I was promised the position of music director by the principal, vice principal, and numerous Board of Education officials. However, the principal worked behind my back over the summer to hire new people to fill my position and attempted to string me along to assist in transitioning to a new director without pay. Instead, the new director, who wanted me as the music director, has been forced to hire me as a rehearsal accompanist. I was promised the same pay I received last year, but the Board of Education just approved a motion to pay me less than $4/hour for showing up every day and basically acting as the music director. I'm still teaching all the leads their songs, working out new arrangements for the chorus and orchestra, figuring out all the cuts, and collaborating with the director on what music she wants where. I am currently working on finding out how the communication fell out to see an 60% pay cut from last year. Everyone, from the director to the Board of Education officials who will speak to me, insist that I will be paid what I was promised; they just all have a different idea as to what that amount is. I have turned down other work because I feel an obligation to my students who are still struggling with the tragedy of losing their beloved director last year. If it was not for that, I would have been working a much better job. It's a total mess, a constant stress, and it has made me ill.

Third, a corollary: that production is still happening in less than a month and I have to go to rehearsal. If nothing else, the show will be a key part of my resume as I pursue music direction work elsewhere as it's the first time in five years I've been able to get my fingers into a standard, rather than rock/pop/jukebox, show.

Fourth, I'm being given the runaround by a lot of different people and organizations as I attempt to find my next job. If you follow my Twitter, you're well-versed in the Rent non-communication drama. What you don't know are the five summer camps, three educational theater groups, four music schools, and nine local theater/music groups that are promising to get back to me or calling me in for second, third, or fourth interviews about upcoming work. I swear it would be easier to hook on the streets for a few weeks and start my own theater company.

That's not even accounting for school, major family drama, my usual vocal coaching/arranging/transposing work, last minute fill-in gigs, and my non-blog web/writing obligations.

What it comes down to is this: by March, I should be able to return to a six day a week blog posting schedule. Until then, please keep in mind that I have not abandoned this blog and am sincerely sorry for being so inconsistent with maintenance.

Thank you for your understanding.

Full Post Later, Stupidity Rampant Now

I always forget that professors rarely keep students the full session on the first day back unless they really hate themselves. As such, I left my notes on a handful of recent film viewings at home. For at least one of them, Shrooms, twenty five minutes would be ample time to long hand, edit, type, edit, and post the review. Even if it wasn't, I would have had at least another twenty minutes to type and edit after the next class.

As it stands, I'll get a full post up later today. Much later. As in, class till 1, review material for rehearsal till 2, rehearsal till 5:30. So, 7ish?

New Year, New Blog Feature: The Chopping Block

I'm in day 4 of my effort to clean out my bedroom. It's a rather small bedroom, so it's not a matter of climbing on ladders to dust of chandeliers and replace burned out light bulbs. No, it's a matter of unhealthy obsessions.

You see, I kind of became addicted to acquiring books, DVDs, and CDs when I was at NYU. I would have professors tell me to include "X" book/DVD/CD in a paper or suffer a bad grade. At first, I would argue that said book/DVD/CD was not available through the school library, but they wouldn't budge. So, I had to start buying what I couldn't borrow or steal. A lot of professors just assumed that all NYU students were rich. I was not, I'm still not, and I doubt I ever will be. Aside from the near-cripping debt, I find myself neck deep in stacks of books, DVDs, and CDs I've never read/watched/heard, let alone opened in some cases.

That's where The Chopping Block comes in.

The Chopping Block is an exciting new feature on the blog. Right now, I've pared the collection I have in my room by more than half. The portion I'm keeping is currently being organized and crammed into every bookshelf, wall shelf, desk shelf, nook, and cranny I have in the room. The other half is up for grabs very soon.

I will try to make this a weekly feature. It will work like this: I will force myself to watch a DVD, listen to a CD, or read a book I never watched, heard, or read before that is just taking up precious space in my room. I will review it for the site. If I don't like it, it's Up For Grabs. That means someone reading this blog has the opportunity to claim the DVD/CD/book for their own before I have to dispose of it by other means. All you'll need to do to get it is e-mail me what item you want and your shipping info; I'll take care of the rest.

I would like a little more interactivity with this feature, so I would ask whoever gets the condemned DVD/CD/book try to write a short review of it that I can post on the site. It's not required and if you don't want to, that's fine. I just think it would be fun to have another perspective on the media object I chose not to keep.

There are more conditions: if I find the DVD/CD/book interesting and would consider using it for a future article, it goes on The Waiting List. The Waiting List gives me six months to get what I need from the DVD/CD/Book before I'm forced to put it Up For Grabs.

If I like the DVD/CD/book, it's Reprieved. That means I keep it. I don't think it will happen that often as I assume there's a reason I haven't opened many of these items.

So that's the new feature for the New Year. I'll be setting up a page within the blog for The Chopping Block that hopefully explains this in a clearer way.

No Guarantee of New Posts this Week, but Maybe Something Else

It's a very hectic time for me right now.

1) It's Thanksgiving this week. That may not seem like much, but I have to prepare desserts for a Thanksgiving tomorrow and a Thanksgiving Thursday. My brother is most likely getting stuck in NYC on Thanksgiving Day, so we're having an early Thanksgiving for the family tomorrow. Then Thursday is the actual Thanksgiving with other family. Maybe I wouldn't be in such a mood over it if my pumpking pie actually set properly or the lemon merengue pie didn't turn into an oil slick. At least the pumpkin muffins turned out perfect: nicely domed, moist, and delicious.

2) I'm finally getting the sheet music for my next job. Sure, I would have greatly appreciated having the music more than 6 days before I have to show up to play for meetings, auditions, and rehearsals, but this is a school that faced massive changes by way of death, retirements, firings, and quittings in a very short period, so I can't hold a grudge. I can be mad that I was bumped from music director so a physics teacher could have that title, but I can't be mad over the music. They just finished their fall production yesterday and were stopped every step of the way by admins. Copying things for the musical was the least of their worries. Technically, I can't even enter the building during school hours until I'm fingerprinted on 3 December. Now that there's a new drama teacher, no one is trusted. That's why sets were still being painted Friday afternoon.

However, there are some interesting developments happening right now that are also eating into my time. Something good might come out of the Piranhas screening tomorrow night. We'll see. Knowing my luck, this will be the film (not The Road or Nine) that requires a signed NDA to get in, like box office dynamite Take the Lead and Reno 911!: Miami did in the past. Something better might come of a lead a parent gave me at the show Friday night. I'm not holding my breath on that one, but again, we'll see.

So, maybe that Precious review will overcome the obstacle of a weekend migraine and actually appear on this site this week somehow. I hope. Then again, it might slip away like Inglourious Basterds or Where the Wild Things Are.

Art, Sketch, Craft, or Robert’s Got A Brand New Blog

There's obviously a a writerly side to me. I wouldn't be blogging and freelancing and running short story contests and all that other stuff if there wasn't.

There's also a visual arts side to me. If the Halloween decorations don't give it away, the Etsy (very lonely, not for long) should.

This is why I'm proud to announce to opening of a brand new blog through my Typepad account: Art, Sketch, Craft. It will be the epicenter of my artistic output: ceramics, glass work, painting, clay, fabric arts, digital art, decorative work – any and all projects I do will be accounted for. There will be how-to's, concept sketches, step-by-step builds, finished projects, and more.

I'm excited to see where this takes me. The first post is already up, showing what might be the cutest piece I've ever done. This concerns me since I tend not to do cute. Exorcising Halloween demons, perhaps? I'm not sure. Tis the season to play nice, put out the cute stuff, and see what sells. It can't all be giant sea monsters lovingly detailed with dry brushing.

So feel free to swing on by and tell me what you think of the new digs. Comments are always welcome at my sketchy blogs.