Mysticon 2016 Schedule

Just got my schedule for MystiCon in Roanoke, VA, next weekend.

Fantasy Worldbuilding – Board Room 1 – Friday 5pm

Bringing the Comic Book World to the TV or Big Screen – Ballroom D – Friday 10pm

Beginning Roleplaying – Ballroom E – Saturday 12pm

Reading – Saturday 1:30pm

Podcast: Mr. Adventure – Ballroom C – Saturday 2pm

Them’s Fighting Words – Ballroom D – Saturday 3pm

How Much Worldbuilding Does an RPG Need? – Vista Room – Saturday 7pm

Writing a Query that Sells – Ballroom E – Sunday 11am

Beyond Western Europe – Other World Cultures for Fantasy – Ballroom D – Sunday 1pm

Plus, I’ll be doing a signing somewhere in there. I was supposed to be at my table at 2pm, but it’s Mr. Adventure! I’m not missing out on a chance to be on this podcast. And if you’re not listening to it, you really should be.

Yeah, I’m insane. *grin* But, I figure it’s my way to give back to the convention by helping out as much as possible.

 

Deadlines! Deadlines!

Looks like December is going to be a busy, busy month.

First of all, I have Geekonomicon coming up on the 11-13th, so I need to start figuring out what I’m going to take with me to the show.

Then, I have to finish and submit my story “Paladin” to Kelly Swails for the 2016 Origins Game Fair anthology.

And tonight, I got an invite to submit an 8,000 word story for another anthology – oh, and that’s due by the 21st of December.

And, along with that, I’m working on two novels – The Sleeping Hero and The Black Ice Affair (a follow-up novel for the Full Moon Affair short novel from Pro Se Productions).

Also, I’m still out beating the bushes for Terra Incognito, looking for some reviewers and some other places to plug my first non-fiction book – which is still doing remarkably well over on Drive-Thru Fiction as well as Amazon and other fine purveyors of literature. *subtle plug, no?*

Oh yeah, I’m also trying to put the final touches on my Kickstarter project so I can launch it in early 2016.

Sleep? *pffft* Who needs it?

Amongst chaos . . . writing!

20 of 34 pages of Operation Komodo edited tonight.

The companion novel to For a Few Gold Pieces More plotted out today and a rough outline is taking shape.

Another noir novel outlined.

I’d say, it was a pretty productive day for writing all the way around.

Shore Leave 2015

All right, along with trying to write and trying to coordinate a book release and trying to coordinate a Kickstarter campaign, I’m also still doing conventions this year. Soooo . . .

Here’s my current schedule for Shore Leave 2015:

Friday

10pm-12am Meet the Pros (mass signing by the authors in attendance. I will have my latest books if you haven’t picked them up by now.)

Saturday

10 am Steampunk and Alternate History Salon A
11 am Writing Tips for Aspiring Authors Derby
1pm Show Me the Money Derby
3pm Writer Beware Derby

Sunday

12pm Writing Historical Fiction Workshop* Concierge
1pm Writing Short Stories Salon B

*Unfortunately, there was a scheduling conflict, so I will not be attending the Etiquette and Netiquette panel at 12pm. Also, I will have to leave the workshop early to make it to my 1pm panel. However, I have no doubt in my mind that Howie Weinstein, Steve Wilson, and (I believe) Robert Greenberger can handle the last half of the workshop without me.

Also, if I can get a good wireless signal, (Hey, you! Stop snickering!), I will do my shift as a DJ for gw-en.com at Shore Leave Saturday evening from 7-10pm and with any luck, I’m going to try and get a few of the authors or guests to swing by and say “Hi” and talk a bit about their latest work with my listening audience and me. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just have to zip home after my last panel on Saturday to pull my shift for the station. Ah, the sacrifices one makes for the adoring fans. (Look, you. I said, stop snickering.)

Sunday writer walk-about was successful . . .

Had a very productive writer’s walk-about today. Stopped at a used CD store and picked up some new music for my gig as an on-line DJ for gw-en.com. Then I stopped at Bean Hollow in Ellicott City with the iPad and the keyboard, ordered myself a big mocha, and sat down to work.

In an hour and a half, I finished the first draft of “Operation Komodo” (and the choir sang “Hallelujah!), as well as the opening chapter for the fourth Theron Chase story (which looks like it might be the 2nd full novel for the series), and wrote down the outline for yet another story I want to work on down the road.

Honestly, I don’t know what has been my hang-up about “Operation Komodo”. It should have been a rather straightforward story, but I fought and refought this battle with myself forever. But, the first draft is done. It’s just a matter of taking the red pen to it, cleaning up the grammar and tightening it up and then it’ll be off to the publisher.

I had some serious mojo going today and I might still be at Bean Hollow, but family duties come first, so I packed it up and came home at the appointed time.

So, now, I’m settling in to watch the Royals game and will finish the edits to the secret project this evening.

Been a good writing day so far.

(Amended: secret project revised and shipped off to the editor. All good thoughts gratefully accepted.)

###

After dealing with both my graphic designer and my cover artist, I’m noting something. I’m really trying to avoid becoming that problem writer as far as my artists go. Unfortunately, I have Zero, zip, nada skill when it comes to drawing. Hell, I’m not even sure of my stick figures from time to time.

So, I’m reduced to trying to explain concepts and ideas as best I can, but sometimes it comes down to me seeing the concept art and then going, “OK, that works, but that doesn’t, could we maybe try this . . .”. I really don’t mean to be the “I’ll know it when I see it” customer, but it happens. What I see so clearly in my head is not always the easiest thing to describe in a manner that it can be reproduced by another person.

*sigh*

And the week’s off to a good start

Spent some time working on my new Dark Leopard story today. Calling this one Freeze Frame and it’s set a few months from the end of Mouse Trap. Really enjoy developing this character and her supporting cast. While it did start out as an homage to another character, it’s definitely taking on a life of its own. Can’t wait to see the revamped costume for her by Rock Baker either.

Also, spent some time today working on refining the outline for the next Theron Chase story. Yes, I know Pearls of Darkness hasn’t been released yet, but that doesn’t mean I should just sit around and wait for it before starting the next one. I’ve gotten some really good feedback, both from readers and authors I look up to, on this one and I can’t wait to open up the shades and see what the streets of Calisia have in store for my intrepid private investigator.

Finally, I worked on “Operation Komodo” this evening. Finally got the final scene ready to write – had to go back and do some work to get the beats right to get all the players where I needed them to be for Strikeforce Falcon’s latest mission. Now, hopefully, I can finish this over the next few days and get it en route to the editor.

Plus, over the weekend, I was talking with April MacDee. We’ve been working on a YA Urban Fantasy for some time, but grad school got in the way (first for her, than me). Now, it’s time we dusted it off, updated a few things and got this darn thing written.

And I’m sure there’s more lurking in the shadows. There always is . . .

SoonerCon Day 3 and aftermath:

Sunday started out way too early after surviving being on the party floor on a Saturday night. *grin* Between the blues band playing outside my window in the patio below and then the party drifting in to finish off the last “night” of SoonerCon, it’s was a tad noisy. Thankfully, my military training taught me how to sleep through damn near everything, so I eventually drifted off to sleep.

The Kaffeeklatch went well. I had an opportunity to visit with several other authors and their families as well as some fans. The fact that there were that many people awake and ambulatory at 10am on Sunday was impressive.

The last panel I had was “Overcoming Writer’s Block”. We spent part of the panel defining what writer’s block was, and how to differentiate (or was there a way to differentiate) it from procrastination. We also found while each of us have different ways to deal with it, the carrot and stick method seemed to be rather consistent (albeit we all seem to use different carrots). There were good questions from the audience too, and I think it went very well.

Afterward, I had the last autograph session of SoonerCon. As anticipated, since it was my first time at the show, not many people (read “one”) came over specifically to see me there. However, I did get a few nibbles from people who’d been at one of my panels and I sold a few Full Moon Affairs. Apparently, there is a market for fantasy noir and that tells me I need to get some more Theron Chase stories knocked out in the near future.

I dashed into the dealer’s room for one last pass and snagged an anime figurine for my daughter and then off to the airport. Had a great visit with Leonard Bishop, one of the con chairs, on the way there and definitely complimented him (and hopefully it got echoed back to the entire SoonerCon staff) on a very well run convention and one I can easily recommend to anyone who has wondered about going there.

While at the OKC airport, I had to treat myself to a Schlotzsky’s sandwich – I hadn’t had one since the last time I was in San Angelo, TX, which was 2004. It was as good as I remembered, even if I did forget to tell them to hold the black olives.

Unfortunately, that’s where the fun stopped.

Arrived at Dallas Love Field, and knew we were in trouble when the plane we were supposed to be boarding at 1935 was just discharging it’s passengers at 1945. 2015 rolled by and they announced there were a few issues and we’d be departing shortly. Then 2100, and they were still working on the issues and we’d be departing shortly.

We finally boarded the plane at 2300. Now, I can appreciate the pilot told us he was going to push for “ludicrous speed” on the way back to Regan National, but folks, it was still 0245 when we landed in DC. So, Joni had to drive down from Central MD to get me (the DC Metro was NOT running that late). It was almost 0400 when I finally arrived home. I had to call in at 0700 to tell work I wasn’t going to be in and I think I slept until 1200 today.

I really hadn’t planned on blowing another day of leave for this trip, but whatcha gonna do?

However, all in all, it was an outstanding con, the Writer Beware panel went extremely well and I met several authors I’ve seen on-line before but never met – especially want to sent a shout-out to Tommy B. Smith, Rachel Acks, and Lou Antonelli – as well as the others I enjoyed getting to meet for the first time.

Origins Game Fair, Days 3, 4, and post-con report

Origins Mascot surprise

Never turn your back on a mascot that claims to vaporize humans

Saturday was a great day at Origins Game Fair. I did manage to overcome my sushi food coma from our visit to Kooma to make it to the 10am panel on World Building. We had a very decent crowd and while each of the authors on the panel had their own way of addressing the issues, we all somehow wound up at the same destination at the end, which was great. It showed the audience there was no “one way” to world build, but there were definitely points in common all of the panelists touched on.

The Writer Beware panel went very well, even if my wireless remote didn’t synch with the computer. The audience was very attentive and had a lot of good questions. I was surprised when we didn’t get quite as many people as I was hoping for, based on the number of Writer Beware pamphlet I gave out and people I’d talked to on Thurs/Fri, but, 4pm panels are always tough at Origins, as people start slipping out to beat the rush for dinner. Still, I’ll take small and enthusiastic over large and disinterested any day.

I also participated in the Humor in Fiction panel at 1pm on Sunday. Again, a fairly small audience, but given as it was the last panel of the convention, none of us were surprised. Still we had not only a good discussion about writing humor and giving examples of where it was done well and where maybe not so well, but the audience got into it and the Q&A period was almost a discussion rather than the ask/answer they normally become.

Sales were brisk at times and not-so-brisk at others, but that’s typical of any convention. My largest seller was Full Moon Affair. Apparently, fantasy noir is in. Hopefully, if the sales are there, I can convince my publisher to move Pearls of Darkness up a bit on the publication release chart. However, it’s really inspired me to move forward on the other two Theron Chase stories I’ve started. Plus, the audience reaction to Full Moon when I did my reading was really encouraging.

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around though, I think all of the writers and vendors were ready to go home. There was a huge cheer from inside the exhibition hall when the PA announcer said, “The exhibition hall is now closed for 2015.” *grin*  Arrived at Columbus Airport at 6:30pm after the show and my suitcases weighed in at 45.5 and 50.0. Success!

Unfortunately, the flight wasn’t until 9:55pm, but that gave me time to get started reading Blood Reign, by Steve Roman, while I was waiting.  Once the plane was in the air, we must have caught a tail wind or something because we landed at 10:45 back in Baltimore and I was home by 11:45pm. until 2155. We’re in for the long haul.

So, overall, Origins Game Fair was a blast, panels went great, passed out a lot of Writer Beware literature, may have a few writing opportunities coming out of the show and ate way too much, laughed too much, and made a number of new friends.

That being said, three conventions in three weekends is enough. I am brain-fried and flat out tired. Regardless how much I deny it, I’m not 30 anymore. I think it’s time to get home and do normal stuff for a while.

Addenda:

Almost recovered from Origins. Managed to stumble through work today and after a quick nap and a nice home-cooked meal, I got started on playing catch up.

Got with my artist on my latest Pro-Se book, reviewed the cover changes and then coordinated with the publisher to get an approval for said changes. They’re now en route to Pro Se and hopefully we’ll be able to go final with this project sooner than later.

Then, spent time working with Shane Braithwaite on some of the art that’ll be going into the For a Few Gold Pieces More book (and Kickstarter). Hopefully, we’ll be able to go to contract for art very soon and we can get that ball rolling.

I’ve got a few more e-mails to send out in the next couple of days for some projects that were discussed at Origins and then also do some follow-up emails in a couple of weeks with some other possible projects. So, that’s a good sign too.

And, inshallah, things will soon subside to a low roar around here and I can get back to doing what I should be doing on these late evenings in front of the computer . . . writing.

Very soon, I’ll be passing on more information about the Monsters Kickstarter from Silence in the Library, which will feature our stories from the 2014 Origins Anthology, plus some other cool stuff.

More to follow there.

But, here are a few random pics from Origins in the meantime. Remember, any mascot that prides itself on eating humans should not be allowed to get behind you. *grin*

Origins mascot

Outside the exhibition hall

From the table_Sat Aft

How I saw most of Origins, from behind my table

The signs outside the Origins Library

The signs outside the Origins Library

Library before opening Friday morning

The library on Friday morning before opening

Origins Initial Set-up

My table’s original set up

Some of the Library Authors

Some of the Library authors

More scenes from Saturday

Some of my fellow authors, Saturday afternoon

IMG_0464

Savoring a nice Glenfiddich 18 while talking with my fellow authors at Origins

Origins Game Fair Days 0, 1, and 2

 Arrived in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday night to set up for Origins Game Fair and spent Wednesday setting up the traveling author show. There are more authors this year in the Origins Library, so I’m working with a slightly smaller table than Awesome Con but there’s a very good vibe about this show.

Thursday’s show went very well. Quite a few people dropped by the library, but as usual with the first day of a show, more lookers than buyers. Most told us up front they weren’t planning on doing any buying until Sunday, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed there.

The panel on Graphic Novels went very well and the audience, while not overwhelming, was enthusiastic and had some good questions. After the library closed, we rounded up a large group of the Library authors and went out to Lemongrass here in Columbus for dinner and conversation. Had some interesting conversations once we got back to the con hotel and hopefully I’ll have some interesting news to pass on to you all in the next few weeks after those talks.

Friday started out rather slow, the crowds seemed a bit smaller in the Exhibition Hall, but there were more games being offered today, so I suspect that drew off part of the crowd. However a smaller crowd did not mean less work. In fact, today resembled more of a marathon.  I had a a two-hour panel on writing for role-playing games, immediately followed by a panel on writing fiction based on RPGs. Three straight hours of panels and then an hour later, Gail Z. Martin and I did our reading.  I read from Full Moon Affair, while Gail read from three of her works.  Not only did we have an appreciative audience, I got some good feedback from Dennis McKiernan, the Author guest of honor who sat in on our reading.

After that, we had a second author excursion out for dinner, this time to Komma Sushi just a few blocks away from the convention center. Not only was the company superb, but so was the meal itself. I’m just now recovering from my sushi-enduced food coma.

Tomorrow, I have a panel on World Building and then my Writer Beware presentation. Plus, I’m supposed to talk to a couple of people about their successful Kickstarters.

This is definitely a working convention.

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*