Captain’s Log: ConNooga 12

Bubba Venom was probably the most entertaining cosplay I saw over the weekend. He even had a six-pack of PBR.

Had a great time at ConNooga this year. The author track definitely seems to be getting back to the full, diverse, and informative programming schedule it had when Robbie still ran the track. I’m very glad about this. For a couple of years it felt like authors were falling to the wayside.

I didn’t attend all the author panels over the weekend, but I went to most of them …and took notes.

I’ll be honest, it has the impatient side of me wanting to say screw finding an agent and go ahead and commit to the indie/self-pub route for Waves of Darkness. We’ll see. I have a few ideas jumping around in my head like a flea circus. Just have to pin the buggers down and decide what to do with them before I post anything definite here.

Friday, I ran a little later than I’d meant to and missed most of the 1 pm panel. There was a little confusion on where registration was (inside exhibit hall C instead of the main hallway). The new setup is a bit easier to keep organized, however: less confusion on whether people were in line or just hanging out.

The panel I missed most of was Plotting Your Book to Make the Best Story Possible with Dan Jolley, Gil Hough, Keith Robinson, and Kenyon T. Henry (you have to put the “T” in there or you wind up with some guy obsessed with cats instead of the author).

The 2 pm panel, in the same room, was Authors Talking About Their Books with Daniel Peyton, David Joel Stevenson, and Kenyon T. Henry (the author, not the cat guy).

The 3 pm panel was Sticking to One Genre or Following Your Creativity with Dan Jolley, Gil Hough, Jim Hodgson, and Kenyon T. Henry (poor guy barely got time to spend at his own table to sell his books on Friday). Most of the discussion in this one was about whether readers get put off an author if they switch to another genre. the jury is still out on if this is done for unrelated books, but all agree an author should never switch genres (not to be mistaken for combining genres) mid-book or mid-series.

The 4 pm panel almost ended up being held in the hallway. It got double booked in the same room during the second hour of a 2-hour retro gaming console free play session. The solution the programming director came up with was to ask the gamers to mute the sound on their consoles, which were positioned around the perimeter of the room, and the author panel took place in the corner where a table and chairs were set up for panels. Apparently the lights were controlled from the switches in the conference space on the other side of the retractable divider wall. Someone kept playing with them. Still, this was a very informative panel: Marketing Your Book to Increase Readership with David Joel Stevenson and Keith Robinson. I picked up some good ideas and advice I intend to look into. One example given of an author who’s doing it right turned out to be an author I already follow, Lydia Sherrer.

I would love to pick her brain on how to get a good street crew going. (Not that I don’t already have the beginnings of a good crew; I just want to learn how to expand it.)

While I would’ve loved to attend Radio Cult’s and Atlanta Radio Theatre Company’s performances, they were held at the Chattanoogan Hotel, behind and across the street from the Convention center. The rain kind of put a damper on that for me. (Heck, we had so much rain this past weekend up through late Saturday night, I half expected to see squirrels shooting the rapids on the stream in my backyard.)

The 8 pm panel was Rules of Writing with Daniel Peyton, David Joel Stevenson, and Gil Hough. For some odd reason, the app described this panel as an autograph session.

From 9-11 pm I played an adaption of D&D for the first time in my life, role-playing as an adapted version of Viktor Brandewyne in a sci-fi setting. The panel was called Authors Build a World and Play in It! D&D Live! Author and publisher, Joseph Cadotte acted as DM/GM and was delighted to finally get his wife to willingly play. I will say Vik doesn’t fare so well when the roll of a 20-side die decides his success or failure. It was a fun world-building exercise. Daniel Peyton was the other author involved in this game, portraying his Winter wizard character, although the DM changed the character’s name to “Tim” from “Dan.” (Kudos to those who get the joke and reference.)

The first panel I attended Saturday was Independent Publishing 101 at 11 am with Gil Hough, Keith Robinson, and Kenyon T. Henry. It was pointed out during this panel that most traditionally published authors never sell enough copies to start earning royalties past what they got as an advance; so the only way they can really make a living as an author is to keep cranking out books, provided publishers keep accepting them.

The next panel I attended was Channel Your Book: Secrets from a Professional Intuitive at 4 pm with Angela Anderson. Channeling, as she explained it, is an intriguing approach to writing, but this session seemed more about how to get past writers’ block, something I really don’t have a problem with. (Besides, I’ve got enough voices in my head without inviting anymore aboard.)I attended the 7 pm Authors Talking About Their Books session with Braxton A. Cosby, Clay Gilbert, and Joseph Cadotte. I have been invited by Mr. Cadotte to re-release my Waves of Darkness books as ebooks, provided they meet with his co-op’s standards regarding violent or sexual content. I know the later books in the series won’t fit, but he’d like to review Blood Curse, at least.

I only attended one of the panels on Sunday: Pimp Your Book at 11 am with Charles Collins and Sandy Gianportone. This was part of the deep thought track. Everyone attending talked about books they recommended. I took the opportunity to plug my books and read a snippet from the Vampire Meets Siren excerpt of Blood Curse. I garnered some interest but no immediate sales.

When not attending panels (I wasn’t actually ON any panels as a panelist), I spent time hanging out with Sandra “Con Mommy” ward at the info table. I also babysat the AB tales booth to allow the owner to have a bathroom and smoke break.

I didn’t do as much shopping as I did at Chattacon. I bought a copy of The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown, a t-shirt with some mermaids who look like they mean business on it, and donated $5 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation to have my photo taken in front of Toothless and his mate.

To wrap things up, I caught an impromptu furry dance party in the main hallway on video shortly before I went home. This was a great way to end the con on a “Happy” note.

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Productivity

So, working a split shift has been beneficial for me, if not the greatest financially speaking. (It has seriously curtailed my overtime.) The longer home time in the mornings allowed me to finally finish taking the tree apart and putting it away until Fall.

On the writing/publishing front, I’ve transcribed the early draft of Ghost of Honor and transferred it to my desktop for further editing before I submit it.

For my Waves of Darkness fans, I’ve also made good headway on chapter 2 of Hunting the Dragon.

AND … I finally did the line art for the cover of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe: 8 Chance and Fortune. It is scanned, cleaned up, and transferred to the tablet for coloring.

Now I need to get the gumption to redo the flooring in the cats’ room. Uh-huh.

Oh, before I forget: I will be pushing books at ConNooga this weekend in the Chattanooga Convention Center. I do NOT have a table. Just look for the old pirate wench with a roller bag full of books. I have copies of Demon Bayou, Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, Hell’s Dodo, The Daedalus Enigma, and Maelstrom of Fate.

While I’m sold out of book 1, Blood Curse, I’d be more than happy to email a free .doc copy to anyone who buys one of the other books.

I currently don’t have a newsletter service and will NEVER abuse or sell anyone’s information.

Update!

I’ve finished chapter 2.

Being Sick Sucks

Apparently it was my turn to get the 24 hour stomach bug that’s been making the rounds at work; this on top of a sinus infection. Woke up barfing about 4 this morning. At least that was the only time. I also have had an on-again off-again fever that has peaked at 100.9 degrees twice today. Fever has broken, and I’m feeling better, which means I should be okay to return to work tomorrow.

I’d planned to start on the cover art for episode 8 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe today, but I’ve spent most of the day in bed.

On another note, I’m almost through with the first draft of a comic/horror short story I plan to submit to Voodoo Rumors for hopeful inclusion in an anthology to help raise funds for HallowCon. I’ve titled the story Ghost of Honor. I’ve been writing on it for just a little over a week, which is probably the fastest I’ve ever written a story. If it isn’t one of the stories selected for the anthology, I may look into self-pubbing it, with HallowCon’s permission (since it mentions the convention and its owner as part of the theme).

Right now, I think I’m gonna take some cough syrup and go to bed.

Captain’s Log: Chattacon XLIV

Classic CCPPE (Con Crud Personal Protection Equipment)

Had a blast at Chattacon 44. The convention returned to its home hotel, the historic Read House. The hotel has undergone renovations in the past year.

Personally, this was my first time in the place since my senior prom in 1984. I took probably as many photos of the hotel as I did of con-goers.

Didn’t sell any books, but I will have a table in the dealer room next year. I plan to have physical copies of the season 1 omnibus of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe as well as what print copies of any Waves of Darkness titles I have left.

Star Wars was the convention theme this year in honor of the guest of honor, Timothy Zahn. He was more than happy to talk all things Star Wars and Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Charles Urbach, the Artist Guest of Honor, does things with PrismaColor pencils I never dreamed possible. Even though he only had an hour for his workshop Saturday morning, he gave LOTS of advice on type of paper, tools, and techniques which can help make a colored pencil illustration look as fabulous as a traditional painting …and SCAN well. Where was this information when I was creating the art for Silent Fathoms?

Anywho, as predicted, I did not stick to my original plan on which panels to attend. I missed one entirely because of Facebook’s silly algorithms and my inattention. Stephanie Osborn’s panel, Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Super Volcano got missed because I didn’t catch that the date on her FB post about cancelling because of flu was from LAST YEAR. (Seriously, why that showed in my feed when it was not prefaced as a “shared memory” is beyond me.)

I did attend Writing Horror: The Long and Short of It, featuring Special Guest Tim Waggoner, Terry Maggert, Gregory Nicoll, Stephen L. Antczak, and Dr. Ethan Mills.

Also attended over the course of the weekend: The Book Was Better, with Rob Howell and D. Alan Lewis. (There are 2 websites linked to Alan’s name.) Benefits and Drawbacks of Traditional versus Independent Publishing, with Nancy Northcott, Toni Weisskopf, MJ Kobernus, and Rob Howell. Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Stuff:Time Travel in the Real World, with Stephanie Osborn. (All sorts of quantum physics, string theory, and M theory …I took notes.) Tudors and Machine Guns, with Louise Herring-Jones, Rob Howell, and Nancy Northcott. (Learned about the differences between academic history, alternate history, and historical fantasy, how to pull it off well, and what pitfalls to avoid.) Why We Write, with Terry Maggert, Wendy Webb, Toni Weisskopf, MJ Kobernus, and Scott Baker. How to Build a Book, with Rob Sommers. (Picked up a few pointers on fonts, formatting, and book design.)

I bought stuff. I went to the “socials” (room parties are not permitted, and you have to have a room key card to access those floors anyway), I took pictures, I visited the con suite (only finger foods since the hotel doesn’t permit hot food, either …LibertyCon goers keep this in mind …at least City Cafe is just across the street), and I visited with friends I only get to see at cons or online.