Snow, Convention Update, and Build-a-blog

snowpassat This was my car this morning. The roads have been plowed, but my driveway is still covered. I am steeply uphill from the road. My shovel, which would have been used to clear the concrete drive is in the shed uphill from me. Since I cannot get to the shovel safely, chances are, I wills till be snowed in tomorrow.

snowhearts (This was my driveway as seen from my study window during the dusting we got a few days ago. I thought the pattern left by someone turning around in it was pretty nifty.)

The upshot of this is that I probably will not be able to attend the first day of ConNooga. I am not happy about this, but personal health and safety is more important than doing a panel and a reading and MAYBE selling a book or two.

I still intend to try to make it to the convention Saturday and Sunday. I have two panels scheduled Saturday. Sunday will be mine to do as I please.

Ironically, my copies of Black Venom arrived from the printer the day after they were ordered. I now have six full sets of the four titles currently available in my Waves of Darkness series.

I have added a few more pages to the Waves of Darkness character profiles, as well as some pictures.

Hezekiah Grimm now has a picture. I have also added the entire Brumble family along with pictures. The three offspring, Zachary, Thomas, and Samantha can be found under Tobias Brumble’s profile page. Go have a look!

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Yeah

Bear with me kiddies; this may turn into one of those posts that is all over the place. It’s been one of THOSE weekends.

First up: I have received my marching orders for ConNooga’s lit track. (This is one of the conventions I do NOT have a dealer room table at but DO participate in the programming.) ConNooga runs from February 27 to March 1 this year. It is held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo AND the Chattanooga Convention Center. http://connooga.com

Friday

4 PM  Women in Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Authors, Characters, and Readers  room 19 (Convention Center)

7 PM  Readings   Gallery B (Choo Choo)

Saturday

10 AM  Blogging, Platform, and Online Marketing for Writers  room 19 (Convention Center)

NOON  Writing for a Series  room 12 (Convention Center)

The rest of the convention I can be found wandering the dealer room pushing my books (literally) or attending panels or workshops I am not sitting on.

Second item: I love my cats, but Cricket-of-Boundless-Energy is a shit. He cannot STAND for me or my husband to try to sleep. He walks all over us and will NOT settle down. He jumps up on the TV and talks to Ceiling Cat. He boxes his reflection in the wall mirror. This results in one of us (usually me) getting back up and spending sometimes a good 20 minutes getting ALL five cats OUT of the bedroom. We can’t just shut Cricket out. That would cut the others off from their food, water, and litter.

Just for the record, Cricket and his sisters are not quite one year old yet.

Third item: Time for a writing update.

I am well along in the MS for my short story “Lake Effect” which will be submitted to Iron Clad Press/Fantom Enterprises for the horror anthology “The Nameless.”

The MS for “The Daedalus Effect” (book 6 in my Waves of Darkness series) is around the halfway point but on hold until I finish “Lake Effect.”

I have submitted some minor cosmetic revisions to my publisher (Gypsy Shadow) to be made to “Black Venom” (book 4 of the Waves of Darkness series) as it is prepared to go to print-on-demand later this week. These changes should also be applied to the various ebook versions, as well. Mostly, they involve where italics should be, not actual changes to the MS.

I finally got back to typing up and doing initial revisions/edits to the MS of “Hell’s Dodo” (book 5 in the Waves of Darkness series). This is the first I’ve worked on it since early last month. I only got about 1 1/2 chapters typed during today’s session, though. I started getting the droops and saw I’d typed “mortar” instead of “moving” because I started to fall asleep with my eyes open. I have had similar events happen when writing while sleepy. My brain will just switch tracks mid-sentence.

1snow

Fourth item: Weather sux… especially if you are anywhere east of the Plains states this week. North is getting slammed with yet ANOTHER blizzard. South is getting psychotically indecisive Winter weather. It doesn’t know whether to snow, sleet, or rain. The only consistency is record lows due about mid-week. Wednesday night’s predicted low keeps hovering around zero, give or take a few degrees depending on when you look at the forecast.

For a while there, I thought my weekend would get extended. They had initially predicted up to 8 inches of snow followed by freezing rain. Given the rarity of such weather this far south, that kind of accumulation has the potential to shut down the roads for a day or two, at least. The forecast has since backed off to just rain for my location. Guess the coldest air won’t make it quite this far. The northern border of Tennessee will still get the nasty stuff, though.

Thankfully, Friday’s forecast has backed off, as well. I have to go exchange my lease vehicle that morning after I get off work. (I’m on night shift this week.)

Well, that sums up everything I can think of to write about right now. See you next Sunday, if not sooner.

February Madness

The one true disadvantage of having a birthday in February is major bills coming due during the shortest month of the year. At least I now live in a state that requires vehicle tag renewal on the month of initial registration rather than on the owner’s birth month. That was one of the issues I had with Florida when I still lived there. If you bought a vehicle on any other month than your birth month, you didn’t get a full year out of the initial registration fee.

Stay with me, ’cause this post will probably jump around all over the place without logic or warning. My brain is set on random shuffle right now.

Just finished attending one convention and have to turn around and prep for another one coming up the end of this month. This means I have to find money to not only cover my regular bills, but to pay the printer set up for Black Venom and to order a few copies, pay my convention membership, and have spending cash so I can EAT, since ConNooga does NOT do a con suite (no free food). Oh yeah, I also just paid out a large chunk of my medical insurance deductible.

Pile on top of all this a stress-inducing situation at work which I will not go into detail about (so please don’t ask; I try to make a point to speak as little as possible about my hourly job online as possible).

Didn’t get much sleep last night. We still don’t know what triggered it, but Star turned into a freaked out scream-demon kitty last night. If any of the other cats got near her, we heard about it. This morning, she was much calmer, but still a bit spooked. We couldn’t see any evidence of any physical trauma on her. It also could not be a case of her going in heat. All five cats have been neutered/spayed. I just hope there isn’t a repeat performance tonight. I have to get up at 4 am to get ready for work.

Saturday I turned 49. This does not bother me. I think it DOES bother my parents a little, but they still took me out to a nice dinner today. 🙂

I can’t really think of anything else to talk about right now; so I’ll just shut up.

Chattacon 40

008 Chattacon 40 was a blast! (I’m the one in the middle. The other two pirates are Chattacon regulars and appear in various other costumes throughout the con. I’m sure they’ve told me their names at some point, but I’m lousy with names, even at work.)

The convention had a new programming director this year, resulting in plenty of programming for the entire weekend, rather than mostly just Saturday. Of course, the majority of the time I was in the dealer room, tending my table. This year I was between a t-shirt vendor and Tanda Corsets. The corset table provided me with lots of entertainment. (Several GUYS tried on and bought corsets/waist cinchers. I learned from one of the attendants that it was not uncommon for Victorian men to wear such garments under their waistcoats. The DO provide good back support.) The attendants also helped me configure my Square account properly, something I was unsure of how to do, since this was the first time I’ve used it.

Last year was my first year to have a table at this convention. The temperatures then were in the single digits; rare for Chattanooga, TN. I only sold two books that weekend, and I’m sure those were “pity purchases.”

This year, I sold 5 books. Thankfully, two of the many people who told me they’d come back by Sunday did not develop what I call Sunday-at-a-convention-amnesia. Jilliana Babb, one of my convention friends and leader of the Merrybellies Orion Dance Troupe, DID run into the amnesia phenomenon when several people failed to show up for the 10am Sunday belly dancing class. (It has been my experience that the first panel/class/event on Saturday or Sunday at ANY convention will have very light attendance. Everybody was up most of the night partying, or had a room next to one of the parties and didn’t get any sleep.)

I only spent money on 3 things at this convention. I usually do more shopping than that, but I’m happy with what I got. First, I paid my pre-registration for LibertyCon at their room party. I’ll go more in-depth on the party later in this post. The other two things I got were a glass-bottomed pewter mug (not quite a pint) to compliment my pirate attire, and my very first true corset.

019 (That’s me in the new corset with Groovy.)

I only attended two of the concerts: Opposite Box on Friday night, and the Molly Maguires on Saturday night. The later performances ran very later; resetting and checking the sound system between groups took FOREVER. I ended up heading over to the consuite and room parties for free food and blackmail material. Staying sober because I go home every night instead of springing for a hotel room does have its advantages.

LibertyCon’s party was the only open party going on Friday. Saw several friends there. On the way out of the hotel, a nice looking guy (probably mid 20s to early 30s) asked me where the part was located. I pointed him in the right direction. Based on what happened next, I think he may have already been imbibing a bit. (At first it was hard to tell, since it was 11:30pm and the entire hotel smelled like booze at this point.) He said I was a “gorgeous” pirate lady and asked if I wouldn’t happen to be “single and horny.”

I admit he looked a little disappointed, when I told him I was married and coming up on my silver anniversary. Awwww. (Heck, I’m fixing to turn 49 this Saturday. I’m more of a crazy cat lady than a cougar.) I gave him my card and mentioned my books, because I am a shameless attention whore when it comes to my books. He told me to tell my husband, when I got home, that he was a very lucky man; and if he disagreed, “smack the shit out of him.” (I’m starting to build up my own list of “this one time at a con” stories! Last year it was getting out of a conversation with a VERY drunk Doctor Who by spotting Jack Sparrow and leaving to take his picture at the room parties during ConNooga.)

All in all, I really enjoyed this Chattacon.