This week’s reminiscing is by eSpec Author Jeff Young, who also does some moonlighting as editor for Fortress Publishing. Thus hijinks ensue…
Serious Business by Jeff Young
It all started with Ling Ling at a room party and ended up with the Fortress Publishing authors recreating book covers wearing animal heads – generally, that’s defined as a good convention. Four years ago, at Confluence in Pittsburgh, Fortress was hosting a Literary Beer and after all of the ‘serious business’ was done and the socializing and imbibing took precedence, the door opened and someone came in wearing a panda head. It didn’t take long for Ling Ling to rock the party. Fast forward to one year later, where Fortress Publishing’s Science Officer, Christine showed up with her very own kitty head to wear. This looked really intriguing to fellow author, Eric, who had a daughter that might just enjoy owning a large animal head as well. So, Eric and I went to Walmart in search of wildlife headgear. Returning with a black panther head and another panda head, the appropriate thing would have been to package these and save them to be enjoyed by Eric’s progeny – but that’s just not how we roll. The first photo shoot was of Brian, Christine, and Eric in the hallway in the pose I like to refer to as “Dr. Moreau told us it would end up like this”. At that point, Brian suddenly had the urge to recreate the covers of the Fortress books, The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys Scary Tales of Scariness and The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys Sciencey Tales of Science Fiction. Despite the looks of passersby in the lobby Brian, Chris and myself put ourselves through the poses. If you’re at convention and someone doesn’t look at you funny at least once, you’re not doing it right – of course, a giant animal head just helps things along.
Jeff Young is a bookseller first and a writer second – although he wouldn’t mind a reversal of fortune.
He is an award winning author who has contributed to the anthologies: Writers of the Future V.26, By Any Means, Best Laid Plans, Dogs of War, Man and Machine, In Harm’s Way, If We Had Known, Afterpunk, In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, Clockwork Chaos, Gaslight and Grimm, Fantastic Futures 13, The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson, TV Gods & TV Gods: Summer Programming and the forthcoming Beer, Because Your Friend’s Aren’t That Interesting. Jeff’s own fiction is collected in Spirit Seeker and TOI Special Edition 2 – Diversiforms. He has also edited the Drunken Comic Book Monkey line, TV Gods and TV Gods –Summer Programming and now serves as the CMO for Fortress Publishing, Inc. He has led the Watch the Skies SF&F Discussion Group of Camp Hill and Harrisburg for more than eighteen years. Jeff is also the proprietor of Helm Haven, the online Etsy and Ebay shops, costuming resources for Renaissance and Steampunk.