Awesome Con 2015 report

Home from Awesome Con. Thanks to my senior erstwhile assistant, Kashi Tan, I managed to survive all three days.

Friday morning set-up went fairly smoothly, once we *finally* found out where they were giving out the exhibitor badges. I think we were sent to four or five different locations before I was able to pick up the badge package. Between lugging around all the gear and the humidity, we were certainly off to a warm start.

However, once we found the table. it didn’t take too long to get set up and there was a bit of time to wander around before the convention started letting in the people with VIP passes.

The convention was in a much bigger room and that meant we had larger tables this year and (even better) more room behind the table. Last year had felt a bit claustrophobic and we were climbing over each others stuff if you had to get out from behind the table. This year, it was a piece of cake, and when April Macdicken joined us on Friday, we had more than enough room. Even on Saturday, when Joni Kouvelis White and Mark Macdicken joined us at the table, we still had sufficient room to visit and still talk with our customers.

I have to say, Awesome Con had a much different vibe than it had last year. Perhaps it’s because they invited so many more media guests this year. I’m certain it’s great for the convention, but now Awesome Con feels like half a dozen other conventions I’ve seen around the country. It’s much less about comics/books and much more about the autographs and pictures. I know the media and cosplay fans will think this is fantastic, but it was painful for many of the people in artists alley and the smaller retailers. Sales were off significantly against last year according to a number of people I talked to, yet there were certainly more people at the show.

However, that doesn’t mean it was a bad show. I had a great time visiting with the people who stopped by the table. Chronicles of the Sea Dragon was probably the best seller for this show – apparently pirate comics are in vogue and several people wanted to see more about Kalana, the captain of the Black Talon, getting her own stories in the Chronicles. My Star Trek Next Gen anthology did well too. A number of people expressed interest in my fantasy noir story, Full Moon Affair, but over all, as I said, sales were down compared to last year.

I did get to speak to a number of new authors for Writer Beware and may be doing a few podcast on behalf of the committee here in the next few months. Can’t wait to help spread the word to help authors avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve seen others fall into.

I did enjoy visiting with a number of web comic writers and artists that I follow on a regular basis who were at the show. It was nice to catch up with Bill Holbrook, the creator of the original web comic, Kevin and Kell. I also had the opportunity to meet Shouri, the creator of the web comic Fragile, Eric Menge with Snow by Night, and Savannah Houston-McIntyre and Andrew Hewitt from Amya.

I also caught up with Robert Greenberg, Nick Minecci, Carla “Speed” McNeil, Stuart Jaffe, and D.C. TheBassist, and several others. it’s always fantastic to catch up with friends at shows like this.

I’ll need a little while to determine whether or not I’ll be going back to Awesome Con. But, before I worry about that, I’ve got to get busy. I leave on Tuesday for Origins Game Fair, so I have to unpack, repack and get ready tomorrow night.

Hopefully my feet will recover by then. *grin*

Awesome Con and beyond!

Everything packed for Awesome Con (except for this computer).

Check (as far as I can remember)

Slide show updated with latest book covers?

Check

Response sent to Sooner Con as they requested?

Check

Origins schedule printed out and re-reviewed?

Check

Response sent re: Silence in the Library and Monsters?

Check and check

Coordinating with Rocket City Lit Fest people re: special event?

Check

Galley proofs for Mouse Trap reviewed?

Reviewed? Check Minor errors caught? Check
Updated information sent to publisher? That’ll have to wait for tomorrow night.

I think it’s time to go to sleep, get up early, get the daughter-unit up early, pack the car, and get ready to have a fantastic weekend.

I’ll be sitting in Artist’s Alley at table J17 at Awesome Con. Hope to see you there.

After all . . . Everything is Awesome!

(You can thank me for the earworm later.)

Writing deadlines and Con deadlines wait for no person . . .

Been a busy night tonight.

Added 1,257 words to Operation Komodo bringing me to the final scene. Let’s just say, our commandos have a bit more to think about when their guide points out while the commandos may be fighting the Japanese, at least they can leave after the operation. The natives have to stay there (and probably get blamed for helping the commandos whether they did or not). Our Captain Delaney’s war is not so personal anymore. Actions do have consequences, no matter which side you’re on.

Also, I received a galley this evening I need to read, red line, and return as quickly as possible.

And beyond that, I have another short story I’m trying to get ready before I leave for Origins. More on that later . . . I hope.

Convention preparation went on tonight on several fronts.

Awesome Con is best summed up by an earlier tweet of mine tonight. “Small comic boxes assembled, books located, new price list printed, display items located, table cover found, t-shirts AWOL *sigh*” Yep, it’s always something.

Tomorrow night, I’ll arrange everything on the kitchen table to ensure I have my optimal set up. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but this is the first time I’d adding an electronic visual to the table set up. Since a lot of my work has been with e-books lately, I built a slide show of my book covers to let people know I have more available than what I have on the table in front of them.

And, beyond Awesome Con, I’m starting prep for Origins Game Fair which comes up next week and also I’ve been chatting with Ashley Chappell-Peeples and Amanda Porter about the upcoming Rocket City Literature Festival.

But now, it’s time to call it a night.

One con ends, another begins. Must be summer.

Didn’t do too much my last day at Balticon, Sunday. While Joni was collecting her stuff from the Art Show that hadn’t sold (apparently it was a down year for both dealers and people in the art show, *sigh*), I went up to the lobby to try and catch some people.

Ran into Aaron Rosenberg and Steve Wilson and had a good talk with them. Spotted several others but they were rushing here and there to get to panels.

This was a weird experience. Because of the foul-ups at registration and then people visiting at the house and stuff, I felt like I spent more time driving too and from the show than actually attending the convention.

However, today, I spent time getting ready for Awesome Con which starts this Friday and then grilled shish kabobs for Mark and April MacDicken, Joni, Bob Oliver, and my daughter and one of her friends. We put on a pretty good spread – meat, peppers, onions, pineapple, and tomatoes for the kabobs with tzatziki sauce for dipping, pita and hummus, salad, and then strawberry short cake for desert.

Yes, the food coma is calling.

Balticon Report (part one)

Spending some time at Balticon this weekend. I don’t see much use in describing the fiasco of registration at this show — it’s pretty much been beaten to death by the other attendees. Hopefully they’ll get that fixed before next year’s show because I suspect with GRRM as the Guest of Honor, there’s gonna be a mob o’people who show up. Three hours to get a badge is not going to cut it then.

Joni and I attended a panel yesterday for “Creative Couples”. We talked about how we helped each other with the creation process, how we tried to divy up household details to allow each of us to have creative time (and work full time), how we handled scheduling and creative differences, and other things like that. It was a good panel and we got some good feedback from the audience. A number of creative couples were in attendance also, so they shared their stories too.

Joni is also in the art show for her Wishweaver Creations, showing off her jewelry and chain mail skills. She also taught a workshop on making the Byzantine pattern for chain mail. She was expecting a much smaller crowd than those who showed up and she’s got a lot of good ideas how to make improvements the next time she teaches this class.

I caught up with some friends at the show yesterday and then spent some time talking with Tee Morris and Pip Ballentine regarding publishing and Kickstarters. Tee had some really good ideas on how I can improve my plan and also helped point out a few things I’d overlooked. I’m hoping to catch up with some other friends who’ve run successful Kickstarters so I can pick their brains also.

So, even though I’m not “officially” attending Balticon, it’s been a fun and useful experience. Next weekend is Awesome Con, so I need to finish putting my stuff together for that as well as Origins Game Fair which is the week after Awesome Con.

Oh yeah, and there’s some writing going on too. *grin*

Promotional Stuff

Had fun this evening. Did an interview for the Pro Se Podcast with Tommy Hancock this evening. We discussed some of my work with Pro Se as well as some upcoming projects and also the joys (and brickbats) that come from writing genre.

I’ll let you know when it comes out and hopefully, you’ll enjoy listening to Tommy and me talking about old-time radio, pulp fiction, historical research and all things Pro Se.

And, while you’re waiting for that, why not check out some of the podcasts with other authors on that site. There are some great discussions to be discovered there.

Now, back to the writing.

So, this is progress. I’d almost forgotten . . .

A much better report tonight on progress.

Added another 1400+ words on Operation Komodo tonight and finally figured out what wasn’t working about the ending. Tossed about twelve pages of the story and started over from Point A, but it’s going to be a much stronger story now.

Placed my order for electricity at Awesome Con. So, I’ll be bringing the computer, projector and projector screen for the table. I’m working on a slide show of all my book covers. Since it’s hard to sell e-books at the show, at least I’ll be able to show the covers and talk about them and hope people will order them later.

(Yeah, I know, pipe dream, right?)

Worked on the For a Few Gold Pieces More Kickstarter concept today. Developed the reward levels and what different things I could do for rewards. Then I had my first conference with someone who had run a successful Kickstarter. She highly suggested I dump about half of the reward levels I was considering – she thinks I’m making it more complicated than it needs to be. She also suggested some different rewards than I was considering. But, she thinks the basic idea of my reward scheme is solid and she likes the concept of my KS video. She also offered to help out with one of the rewards and I’m certainly going to take her up on it, if this project goes forward later this summer.

I do need to contact my artist though and see if he’s up for doing this project (1 color cover, 10 b&w illustrations, and 1 color painting for the KS giveaway). I need to get how much he’d charge for doing this entire thing so I can realistically set my funding goals and stretch goals.

Also, going through some papers, I found a Mil SF short story I’d thought I’d lost – two different openings to the same story too. This is one I’d been planning on submitting a while ago, so now I need to type it into the computer and see how I can blend the two beginnings into a coherent story and then write the ending. It’ll be about 7500+ when all is said and done, but that’s before editing. We’ll see what I can do with it down the road.

Have to say, I’m rather pleased with the day’s work.

Sure, why work on the projects you’ve already got going when you can add even more . . . *sigh*

Gah, stuff just eating away at my time.

Still working on Operation Komodo. Behind schedule *sigh*, but getting a better handle on how I want to wrap this all up. Already tossed out two endings because . . . well, because I wasn’t happy with them.

Sekrit project is still sekrit for the moment. Been doing lots of paperwork for that though.

Still trying to hammer everything down for Awesome Con at the end of May.

Kicking around the idea of doing a Kickstarter for “For a Few Gold Pieces More”. Worked up a script for the video, been working on ideas for levels and stretch goals. Been going over the Kickstarter site with a fine-toothed comb seeing why projects seem to work and/or not work. Trying to come up with a reasonable budget for the project. Trying to talk to people who’ve done successful Kickstarters to see what advice they can give me (besides “Flee, you fool!”). And so on. That has sucked up a big chunk of time.

Outlined a new novel for sometime off in the future.

Oh, yeah, and also just today, came up with some new characters I’m going to have to find a story for just because they’re that cool.

Thanks, mind. Like I wasn’t already behind on everything?

Oh yeah, an old project appeared out of the evening mist and may be resurrected in the future. More to follow there too.

Maybe I need a new muse. How about one with wings and a rocket pack?

Steampunk Rocket FairySteampunk Rocket Fairy 2