New Group on FB and Other Updates

This has been a busy week. I inaugurated a new group on Facebook; Waves of Darkness and Other Writings of Tamara A. Lowery. The main purpose of this group is to make sure that as many of the people who have liked my FB author page as can get my posts. It’s a way around FB’s newest roadblocks for pages that don’t/can’t pay-to-play/promote. I also opened it for fellow authors, artists, and musicians to promote their own work.

Feel free to come over and join the crew if you use Facebook. If lurking is your thing, that’s fine. You’ll still be welcome.

I finally finished the rough draft of my short story, Lake Effect, for the horror anthology The Nameless (due out 2016 from Fantom Enterprises/Iron Clad Publishing). I’m awaiting word from the editor on submissions guidelines so I’ll know how to format the typed draft. (I hand write all of my rough drafts. Composition books are more portable than laptops, do not incur security’s attention at work, and are much less likely to be burgled from a car or locker. They also are not subject to computer glitches.)

That being said, I have returned to work on my Waves of Darkness series. I have gotten several pages written on The Daedalus Enigma, book 6 in the series (due out 2016 from Gypsy Shadow Publishing) this weekend. I have also gotten a couple more chapters of Hell’s Dodo (book 5, due out late October) typed up and revised for submission to my editor.

I had hoped to get some artwork done this weekend, as well, but it was not meant to be. I think the writing has been enough to make me feel as if it has been sufficiently productive. I only wish my writing and artwork were profitable enough to live off of.

I’ve noticed a few posts recently on some of the blogs I follow about dreams of hitting it big as an author. I had them too. I still do to some extent, but realize they are more fantasy than dream. Yes, it is possible to make it to the A List and be sought after by the big publishing houses and other media outlets… if you get your story in front of the right eyes at the right time. Like myself, the majority of the authors I know personally have to hold down jobs as well as write. Some have been able to make a living off their writing, but it has required far more work than just writing stories. They have to market their own work, even if they are traditionally published. If they don’t use an agent or publicist, they have to choreograph their own appearances and promotional events. They have to seek out publishers whose catalogues would be most welcoming to their new works. They have to network online. In other words, they have to do most of the stuff a self-published author has to do except paying for all the things a publisher provides (editing, formatting, cover design, distribution, printing).

Unless you are an A-lister with a major publishing house, as an author, you are pretty much on your own when it comes to selling your books. Many small presses simply do not have the resources to fully market beyond social media.

If I have crushed anyone’s dreams with these words, I apologize. I urge you to continue to write. I just want you to know that the reality is that you will very probably put far more effort into your work than you will ever reap in financial reward. This is a reality even editor’s face. A recent conversation with a couple of free-lance editors I know let me know that even at the reasonable rate of $2.50 a page for an insightful editing job (not just copy-editing/proofreading), the minimum amount of time required to do the job right makes it work out to about $6-7 an hour. In today’s job market, that is not a lot.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thanks for indulging me. 🙂

Life Is Weirdly Amusing

Hello kiddies!

I’ve got a lot of stuff to cover this week.

First, about the title for this post. I received what I grew up calling a “wish book”, aka a mail-order catalogue with a little of everything in it, unsolicited in the mail the other day. My Mammaw used to get these things all the time. Occasionally she’d buy something, but mostly we’d just look through them to see what nifty stuff-we-didn’t-need they offered. I think this one might have shocked her, had she seen it. (Mammaw has been gone since 1998.)

There, nestled among the flower and vegetable seeds, clothing, as-seen-on-TV items, and other doo dads, were four pages of sex toys, videos, and male enhancement products.

Luckily, I am not easily offended, I am easily amused.

Second, I am nearly finished with the first draft of Lake Effect, a slightly Lovecraftian horror short story/novella (I’ll know which to classify it as once I’ve got it typed up) I plan to submit for a horror anthology I was invited to participate in. I have messaged the editor to get the proper formatting and submission guidelines she requires.

Third, a few weeks ago, I made a major score at a yard sale. Now sitting in my TBR pile are the complete Chronicles of Amber and the Roger Zelazny’s Visual Guide to Castle Amber. I’ve listened to the late Zelazny reading two of the books from this series and enjoyed the stories (if not the performance… sorry, but the man had no flair for vocal theatrics in my opinion). the books I got are all hard cover, and I got the entire lot for $16. I love yard sales.

Fourth, I have possibly three cover art projects awaiting me. Not only do I have a design in mind for the cover of Hell’s Dodo, the next book due out in my Waves of Darkness series, but I have two requests for cover art from friends. One is for a gay porn fantasy story, the other is for a book of harp music.

Fifth, not only will I be attending LibertyCon in late June, I have paid for three hours (to be distributed over the 3 days of the convention) of table time on Author Alley in the lobby outside the dealer room. This plus a reading, autograph session, and whatever panels I get assigned to, will make this a working con for me. If you’re in the Chattanooga area at that time, come see me, but get your membership soon. LibertyCon has a strict limit on the number of attendees. 

Finally, I am in the midst of a reworking of my diabetes management. My doctor and I are trying to work out a regimen that doesn’t involve insulin injections, since I had a bad incident in which my sugar bottomed out in the 30s back in December. The good news is that I’ve lost weight since stopping insulin. The bad news is that my A1c has gone UP sharply. We just added a new med to the mix this weekend. She’s gonna give me 2 months to get it back down, or it’s back to the insulin. the only comfort there is that she’ll keep me on the new oral meds and start the insulin out MUCH lower than I was previously taking. it is a work in progress, to be sure.

Just for fun, this picture reminded me of some of the “horror” stories a friend of mine who used to work in a B&N told me.


Why Not Go Mad

There are several things I want to cover in this post, so please bear with me.

First off, I’ve updated Viktor and Belladonna’s character profiles. The photos are from Getty Images. I am STILL waiting on the color-corrected (photo shopped) versions. (Yes, Kat, I’m talking to YOU. pickpickpick)

Secondly, I’m close to finished with the rough draft of my short story for next year’s horror anthology, The Nameless, coming from Iron Clad Press/Fantom Enterprises. I’d have already finished it, but I find it easier to concentrate on my writing during my work breaks than I do at home. Probably because my cats and husband aren’t at my job, nor is any of my social media. I REFUSE to put social media apps on my phone. (It gets crappy signal inside the plant, anyway.) I’m old enough to still believe a phone should primarily be a communication device rather than a toy.

Thirdly, I hope to get back to typing up and revising my MS for Hell’s Dodo, soon, as well as back to writing on my MS for The Daedalus Enigma. I have a cover image in mind for Hell’s Dodo that I need to develop, as well.

Fourthly, I am watching the Nerd Girl website closely this week in anticipation of a review of Blood Curse. NerdGirl Vamp has finished the book and requested a copy of Demon Bayou for the next review, which I have sent to her.

That’s pretty much it on my author news for the week. Thank you for reading.

Don’t Step On the Cheeto

Now that I have you attention…..

I can finally get around to making my report on ConNooga 2015, which took place the weekend of February 27-March 1 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Chattanooga Convention Center.

First off, I’d like to thank Robby Hilliard and his crew for organizing yet another wonderful Literary Track for the convention. He and they log hours of volunteer time just organizing things, not to mention moderating the author panels and providing ample opportunities for authors to bring attention to their work.

And now on to the report:

Friday: 044 I have to say, Rumple was one of the best costumes I saw the first day of the convention, although there were several just as well done. He was definitely in character… even called me “Dearie” when I asked to take his photo. (No those aren’t horns; those are the lights from The Gardens, the restaurant behind the lobby of the Chattanooga Choo Choo.)

It wasn’t until about a half hour before the dealer room closed that I found out from Robby that I was entitled to free table space as a guest author/panelist. I plan to ask about this ahead of time next year, since it is a policy that may change from one year to the next. I also need to remember to pre-register for next year’s convention to avoid the wait in the registration line. That will allow more time to take photos!

My reading was well received. I shared the hour with two other authors. The fourth had to cancel their attendance at the last minute because of illness. During the second author’s turn reading, we had to evacuate the building due to a fire alarm. The fog/smoke machine a band was using in their performance down the hall set it off. We were allowed back in shortly after to finish out the session. Considering the author was reading a very steamy scene about werewolf sex, we joked the excerpt was too hot. (I’d give his name, but I can’t remember it. I’m sadly lousy with names if they aren’t strikingly unusual or ones I use frequently.)

Friday night, there was a multi-author book release party. Books were sold. Amusing anecdotes were told and enjoyed. Alcohol was consumed (but not by me; I drive home every night from local conventions rather than pay for a hotel room). If you ever encounter Allan Gilbreath, ask him about when he worked in a nursing home; specifically, ask him about the old woman they called the Mamba. You will not be disappointed.

Saturday: 097 These ladies NAILED it!

There are way too many pictures to post them all on this blog. If you’d like to see them all, here is the link for my album of the convention on FaceBook:

Saturday and Sunday I shared table space with Rocky Perry, author of the Luke Banderloft series. I had two panels, but otherwise spent most of the day in the dealer hall tending my table or wandering around on a costume hunt. I sold four copies of Blood Curse, half of what I sold at this same convention last year but still a good deal. I gathered some leads for marketing ideas and information that I plan to follow up on.

I also learned that evil wears pink. Those who fell victim to her at the convention know what I’m referring to.

The highlight of the lit track every year is always the Plot or Die panel. This year, I have video evidence. The only thing that kept it from being crazier was that Robby refused to further contribute to the delinquency of the authors with a second round of drinks.

Because of his partner in crime not finding out until not long before the con that he would be able to attend after all, Rocky did not host a Pirate Party during the room parties this year. That being said, there was no shortage of supplies of loud music and booze in hotel three. I stayed out by the pool area and took pictures as people wandered from one party to another. Very crowded, and treacherous footing due to the cobbles, raised pavers around the landscaping, and mud IN the landscaping from the snow melt. In other words, the usual insanity.

Sunday: 004 This costume made me very happy. I love Calvin and Hobbes.

I spent the entire time in the dealer room, since I didn’t have any panels scheduled for Sunday. I didn’t have any more book sales, but I enjoyed visiting with friends, hunting costumes, and doing a little shopping.

Over all, it was a great con.

(Oh, and if anyone is wondering how I got the title for this post: I threw out half a bag of old, old Cheetos for the birds the other day. When we went to get in the car for an errand, my husband cautioned me not to step on a Cheeto.)

Another Convention Survived

Nicholas Brendan - Xander

I promise a more detailed report on ConNooga 2015 later this week or next weekend. I have night shift this week, so I won’t have much computer time during the week.

Meanwhile, enjoy this pic from the last day of the convention. I got to meet Nicholas Brendan (aka Xander to all you Buffy fans). Caught him just in time, as a mater of fact. He and his assistants were packing up to leave, since it was about 30 minutes before the dealer room closed.

Oh, and I got my 4th quarter royalties today via Paypal. $11 and change. I really need your help to do something about that. C’mon mates, show yer Cap’n some luv.