Genesis of a Character

Characters are created in a variety of ways; too many ways to count, really. I recently had a new character present himself to me, or at least a new character name. (The character is still in the larval stages.)

A few of my neighbors keep chickens. At least two of the roosters for these flocks tend to crow at odd hours of the day and night. It’s not uncommon to hear one crowing in the wee hours after midnight. After an instance of this off-hour sound off, I mentioned to my husband, “There’s that confused rooster again.” The term “confused rooster” morphed into “addled cock” in my head and I said it aloud. (My husband and I are of very similar varieties of not-right-in-the-head, so I knew he’d get the humor.)

Once I heard it aloud, I thought Addlecock would make a good character name. This quickly became Barnabas Addlecock. Earlier this morning, the name Alistair attached itself. at first I thought brothers, but I think instead I’ll use it as a middle name.

Thus is born Barnabas Alistair Addlecock III.

Now, with a name like that, I doubt very seriously that I will use the character in my Waves of Darkness series. It just doesn’t quite fit. I will, however, save it for future use in my Steampunk serial The Adventures of Pigg and Woolfe when I am ready to revisit the project.

That is all.

Diving Into the TBR Pile

If you are a serious book lover, you have a TBR (To Be Read) pile or piles. Some may even be electronic. While I know my own is not as impressive as others, it is slowly engulfing the floor surrounding my bookshelf and getting hard to keep segregated from my Already Read stacks.

A couple of weeks before ConNooga, my writing flow wasn’t. I took that as a cue to dive into my TBR pile. I came up with one that’s been in the pile for a few years (though not as long as some others); Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon.


I finished it two days before the con. It is NOT a small book, but it is well worth the time it took to read and the effort it took to lug around. (You could bash someone’s brains in with this book. The only book I’ve seen that was larger and heavier than Styxx or it’s predecessor, Acheron – other than some family Bibles – is the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, which weighs around 20 pounds or more.)

Serendipitously, I came across a song on my drive to the convention which was co-written by Billy Joel and Cyndi Lauper that fit some of the themes from these companion books Sherri graced us with. Even though the song was written/released in 1986, I’d never heard it before. (Let’s hear it for Sirius!)



Captain’s Log: ConNooga 2016


Some of the Usual Gang of Idiots, or as I prefer to describe it: a Table Surrounded by Degenerates

This was taken the last day of the convention at John Hartness’ (seated) table. Robby Hilliard, Writing track director, is in the red shirt. Jay Requard is mugging for the camera. Peggy Brooks is on the far right completing a purchase. John’s writing is great. Buy his shit! (Since they are too small in the photo to read, the book marks say “Suck it, Edward!”)

Had a great time at ConNooga despite having a little difficulty getting into the proper headspace for it. I think something was a little off with the tzatziki sauce on the gyro I had the day before the con. I dealt with lethargy and indigestion most of Friday.

Friday and Sunday I spent mostly in the dealer room. Saturday was the only day I had panels, and I was BSing my way through two of them. (I am only familiar with two of the authors out of several who were discussed at both those panels.)

Book sales weren’t bad, but they weren’t great, either. One copy of Blood Curse sold on Saturday and two sold on Sunday. I donated a signed 5 book set (Blood Curse, Demon Bayou, Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, and Hell’s Dodo) to the charity auction. I ended up a little late getting to the con Sunday morning and discovered someone had walked off with a copy of Hell’s Dodo.

While this proved mildly irritating, I found it both flattering and slightly amusing. First, that someone would steal a book in a room holding booths with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, leather goods, and costuming is rather funny. Second, I wonder if they grabbed the book because of the cover art or if they thought it was the first book because it was on one end of the display. It is about a pirate, which makes a little hard to bitch about the theft. My hope is that the thief feels remorseful enough to BUY the rest of the series online.

Hopefully, I will get the photos I took uploaded to Facebook before the end of the week. You can find albums from previous conventions I’ve attended here or here.

I made some new friends, saw some old friends, met a long-time internet friend in person for the first time (and Alice only lives about 7 miles from me, for Pete’s sake!), sold some books, discussed all the things, had a fruitful costume/cosplay photo safari, remembered to EAT SOMETHING, wasn’t masochistic enough to wear the boots with high heels so I wore the flat-heeled ones instead, wandered through the room parties, bought a new corset and some jewelry, managed to leave-with-fewer-books-than-I-brought-because-I-didn’t-BUY-any-like-I-usually-do this time, learned some stuff, and generally had a good time.

As a parting shot, I will say…




I’m still waiting to receive my complete schedule for ConNooga this weekend. I’ve posted a partial schedule which has my Lit Track panels on the Appearances page. I’m waiting for confirmation on s few panels on the Writing Track, which is separate this year from the Lit Track.

Thank you for your patience.

Half a Century!

I just turned 50 yesterday.


Odd how when you’re a kid 40 or 50 seem soooooo far away; yet once you reach them, it doesn’t really feel like that long ago you were a kid. Of course, the scary bit is realizing that you only have a couple or three good decades left on the planet, if you’re lucky.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed or anything like that about my age; just feeling a little philosophical. I do wonder about what the future holds as I age. I have no children to care for me or even to shunt me away to some care facility to be forgotten. This is something I will have to plan for.

On a brighter note: I have confirmed my spot on two panels on the readers/lit track for ConNooga. I’ve posted my current schedule on the Appearances page.

Captain’s Log: Chattacon 41


Even as the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo continues to undergo major changes to its campus, it was home to Chattanooga’s oldest Science Fiction/Fantasy convention, Chattacon, this past weekend.

Future conventions at this venue will be much more tightly placed than they have been. Already, hotel building 2 has been converted to apartments; the shops that filled the space from building 2 to The Gardens restaurant in the main stationhouse building have been closed, gutted, and repurposed as entertainment venues; and plans are in place to move Track 29, a music venue which has housed robot battles and the con hospitality suite for Chattacons past, from the old ice rink building at the back of the campus into the space in the convention center currently used for the Centennial Theater.

Meanwhile, Chattacon 41 proved one of the best yet.

A few years ago, I would have told you that Chattacon was a dying convention. It only offered programming on Saturday, and that was rather sparsely scheduled. There was little to do other than visit old friends, shop the dealer’s room, and party (either in the con suite or at the room parties). While there is nothing wrong with that, it didn’t exactly attract the huge crowds a vendor or struggling new author would hope for.

THAT has definitely changed for the better. I thought last year was great; programming every day of the con. This year was even better. It also marked the first year I’ve participated as a panelist in the programming at Chattacon, something I’ve been doing for a few years now at ConNooga and Libertycon.

I also loved the dealer room set-up this year. Author’s Alley was nearly centrally placed and was the first room-bisecting row directly across from the entrance. I found that much nicer than being placed against the farthest wall from the entrance. Face it, people are going to make a point to visit the vendor tables, but only those specifically looking for artist or authors will wade through all that traffic to get to our tables. It helps us out so much to have us as the first line of exposure before getting to the pretties, clothes, gaming gear, and collectibles. After all, what is a sci-fi/fantasy convention without those of us who CREATE the stories that make up that world?

For me, personally, this convention was a success. I sold two copies of Blood Curse and one copy of Demon Bayou. I also had one confirmed online sale of Blood Curse at one of my panels. (Not someone saying they would look me up online later; this woman looked for the book in the conference room and downloaded it to her Kindle app!)


I also sold the necklace mentioned in my last post here. Sara Neathery, of Starboard Sky Industries, spotted me wearing the duplicate I already owned in the con suite Saturday night. I told her I had the same necklace for sale at my table, and she made me promise not to sell it to anyone else. It proved to be my only Sunday sale. (Some of you might recognize Sara’s husband, James Neathery, as one of the contestants on the Game Show Network’s Steampunk’d season 1. Both Sara and James are very accomplished and talented artists.

Now for a confession: Saturday night marked not my first time to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show, but the first time to experience the audience participation (sans any projectiles or the virgin auction I’ve heard about). Before, I’d only seen it on video. I’d never taken the opportunity to go to a theater showing. I must say, the audience participation improved the movie greatly.


Sunday saw some unexpected entertainment in the dealer room. One of the vendors was playing part of the RHPS soundtrack (along with some disco music). A couple of other vendors gave a very enthusiastic performance of the Time Warp dance. Given her skill with one segment, I’d say one of them must’ve played Columbia in a live performance at some point.

Besides programming, shopping, parties, robot battles, and movie participation, Chattacon also featured performances by: Doc Osborn and his Balloons of Doom (husband of one of my favorite authors, Stephanie Osborn); Moon Haven Studio‘s Luminous Web, and Orion Dancers-Sisters of Seduction belly dancing; the Molly Maguires, Chattanooga’s premier Irish band; and the Chattanooga Fire Cabaret dancers and fire eaters.

Writing was not the only subject of the programming, either. Movies, Star Wars as a culture, costuming, make-it-and-take-it workshops, Steampunk, adult toys, and gaming of both the table top and computer variety received equal time and attention.

Now, don’t you wish you’d made the trek (yes, there were a smattering of Trekkies present despite Chattanooga having a predominantly Star Wars-centric sci-fi community) to Chattacon?