Captain’s Log: ConNooga XI 2018


Hey, I’m a pirate. I’m taking the Iron Throne AND the dragons! (Props courtesy of Prop House 42, who were doing photo ops for donations to the STARS charity.)

I decided some time last year not to run an author’s table at ConNooga this year. My sales last year just didn’t bear up the expense. Instead, I opted to be a “book pusher” carrying a few copies around in my roller bag. I did that the first year the books were available in print and had good results.
I didn’t do as well as I did that first time; but I sold as many books as I did last year without the expense of a table. I’m happy with that.
Since I wasn’t tied to a table, I was able to really enjoy the convention this year.
I noticed some improvements in the placing of vendors. Authors were dispersed throughout the dealer room as well as a few in the main hall.
In addition to the convention center’s concession stand and the food trucks from Rolling J’s, Chick-n-nooga, and Spill the Beans, I saw 2 or 3 stalls selling pocky and other Japanese snacks along with anime collectables. Copper Kettle Gourmet Nuts was in the dealer room, and Bayou Billy’s Sweet Tea in the gaming room. There were a few gaming groups and a game vendor in the gaming room, too.
Most of the other conventions advertising themselves had tables in the main hall.
Plus, there were a wide variety of photo backdrops to choose from throughout the convention center.
I attended maybe half of the panels I’d planned on. Canvassing the dealer room and costume hunting ate more of my time than I thought it would. I still enjoyed myself and went to the ones most important to me.
First panel I attended was On a Budget: Self Publishing Overview with Gil Hough, Kenyon T. Henry, and Paul Cagle. I followed this up with Self Publishing 101 with Gil Hough and Jim Hodgson. Both panels were very informative and helpful in making some decisions about my self publishing options.
Even though I wasn’t slated to be a panelist this year, T. J. Morris asked me to help out with his panel, How to Develop Your Science Fiction Character. Honestly, I think he just wanted someone for backup in case he choked  (which he didn’t). I did contribute a little, but he had it well in hand. I picked up a few pointers which will help me improve my own skills.  (I also need to get the info on his cover artist; those were the type of covers that grab you by the eyeballs, remind you they are directly connected to your wallet, and say, “You. Need. This. Book!”)
Of course, I attended the Dark Princess Theatre panel. They gave some teaser performances of upcoming and new stories for their podcast. Sunday, I caught a glimpse of Hope “Lady Gwendolyn” Holloway’s husband, John, cosplaying a mundane. I have photographic evidence in my photo gallery of the convention on FB.
While I didn’t make it to the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company (ARTC) show, I did stop by both their booths and visit. Picked up a copy of their adaption of Treasure Island. Been waiting on that one. This was their first year at ConNooga. I usually catch them at LibertyCon.
I spent most of Saturday morning wandering the dealer room. That afternoon, I went to the first half of the Radio Cult concert then to the Gender in Fiction by Authors panel with panelists Alice Turner, Sandy Giamportone, Shannon Chandler  (no relation that I’m aware of… she may be a distant cousin), and Sophia Smith.  The concert was fantastic, as usual. The panel was interesting and raised some questions I hadn’t thought of.
Went to the costume contest as I do every year.
The last 3 panels I attended were all comics related: So You Want to Make Comics, with Dana Ortega, Matt Murphy, and Tara Hamilton; Okay Then Let’s Make Comics, with the same panelists; and How Comic Books Changed My Life, with Jared Jordan and Mark Compton. It was a fun evening.

I spent the entirety of Sunday roaming the dealer room and main hall on a costume hunt and pushing my books. I collected a TON of business cards to glean for more listings in the Smugglers Cove and Hucksters Haven.

I’m also keeping an eye open for when pre-registration opens for ConNooga XII.


Pre-con Diversion


Sorry for such a drop-down to the image. While I was able to clean up the clutter on the original sketch, I couldn’t get my ancient computer to let me crop the darn thing. Maybe because I saved it as a .png? I’m really not that tech savvy, and I don’t have the kind of time needed to play around with programs to truly get the hang of them. (I used MS Paint to edit the pic, for crying out loud.)

Anywho, this is a sketch I drew of Viktor during one of the slow times at my table at Chattacon last month.

While I will be attending ConNooga this weekend, I am not running a table this year. Finances are a bit tight with the new house and learning the hard way I have the highest charging water and electric utilities in the county.

That being said, I do still have several copies of all 7 titles in the Waves of Darkness series available. If anyone is going to be at the con and is interested in purchasing them, look for the middle-aged pirate wench pushing a roller bag around. If I don’t have the title you want with me Friday, we can just set up a time to meet Saturday or Sunday, and I’ll bring it/them then.

Captain’s Log: Chattacon 43


Author D. Alan Lewis (Blood In Snowflake Garden) tries on a yarn Krampus hat from Spinner’s End Studio (Joy Wandrey,

Chattacon 43 turned out quite enjoyable and much more cozy at The Chattanoogan hotel. While the space for the Dealer Room was a bit snug compared to the space we had at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, it was still plenty of room for a wide variety of vendors. For the first time since I’ve attended this convention, all of the book vendors were individual authors; no travelling book stores. Artists, crafters, costumers and leatherworkers, jewelry makers, memorabilia and collectibles dealers, steampunk prop makers, and a t-shirt vendor rounded out the group.

Programming covered literary and writing topics, art, film, costuming, fandom, and gaming. I picked up several ideas and pointers as well as offers of future advice for my plans to go  into self publishing some of my works from some who have already made forays into that aspect of the publishing world. I hope I was able to offer some useful tips to the budding authors I met who are just now entering this often frustrating and occasionally rewarding world.

I only attended one room party (Libertycon’s party) Friday night and none Saturday. I’m not sure how many there were, but I don’t think the hotel management really wanted any of them. Room parties don’t mesh well with hotel security features. Convention security had to maintain a person at the elevators in order to enable them. One cannot make the elevator go up from the lobby in this without a room key card. This is great for keeping someone from off the street gaining room access for burgling, but it makes for an inconvenience for convention goers wishing to enjoy the tradition of circulating among the room parties.

Thanks to convention staff for running a con suite at this con; a tradition I hope never goes away. If not for them, some of us would have gone hungry. The main restaurant in the hotel was NOT what I consider affordable; a sentiment I heard echoed frequently by the second day. This may also have played a factor in the low sales in the dealer room. Does one buy books and nifty stuff or something to eat? (I only sold 4 books; even authors with better sales said the numbers were lower than what they were used to.)

On a side note: I plan to set up a page on this blog dedicated to sharing links from business cards, post cards, and bookmarks I’ve collected at conventions over the past few years. These are for your use at your discretion. If I’ve actually purchased from any of the vendors or authors linked, I’ll give my recommendation; otherwise, it is purely free signal boosting for those who’ve worked the cons I’ve attended.

So watch for it.


New Year New Beginnings

house before 1

I hope 2018 will bring good things to all of my fans and followers as well as to myself, family, friends, and coworkers. Happy New Year!

I’ve just completed my first month in my forever home. (The lawn furniture left with the previous owner, but that’s okay.) All my adult life I’ve been a renter. Finally, I have a place of my own.

The new (to me; the place is 40 years old) house is not the only new beginning I’ll face this year. At work, I’ll be going on permanent night shift. I volunteered for it when we voted to have non-rotating shifts.

Around February or March, I will be releasing the first episode of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe under the aegis of Steele Rose Press.

Steele Rose will be my personal, self-published imprint, which I plan to run as professionally as I can. Friends from my AB:VH fanfic days will know the story behind the name for the publishing venture. This is a new venue for me, so I ask for your patience as I learn the ropes. (There will be MUCH brain-picking of other indie and self-pubbed author-friends at conventions this year.) As I get things in place, I will set up shop on this site or possibly build a separate WordPress site just for the publishing.

I have the first couple of episodes of TAoPaW out to an editor-friend who was soliciting free editing in exchange for permission to use samples in their portfolio (she has since received more than enough manuscripts to keep her occupied for some time, so the offer has been closed). Lori Alden Holuta is also the author of a series of Steampunk YA stories set in Industralia; specifically, the city of Brassbright.

Another change to this site I plan on is going through the con swag I’ve picked up over the years and highlighting the authors, publishers, artists, musicians, and others whose cards, bookmarks, postcards, and such which are in my collection. After all, isn’t advertising/marketing the purpose of such items? I haven’t made up my mind yet what frequency these types of posts will have.

There are a few more new beginnings I will announce later in the year. I still have some serious prep to do before I can reveal what I’m up to.

Next week, I will post pictures of my new library (formerly a dining room; but I don’t USE a dining room, and haven’t for decades). Here’s what it looked like before we bought the place.

house before 9

(Yeah, I saved the pictures from the real estate listing for comparison purposes.)

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE FOR MAELSTROM OF FATE FOR BEST HORROR NOVEL IN THE PREDITORS AND EDITORS READERS POLL! Voting closes on January 14th. Current standings have the book tied for 9th place. I think we can do better than that, and I heartily thank you for your support.

Also, don’t forget I will be in the Dealers Room at Chattacon, January 19-21. I will have multiple copies of all seven titles in the Waves of Darkness series available, and will be more than happy to sign them. Chattacon has a new home this year, BTW. They are now housed at The Chattanoogan hotel.



Captain’s Log: HallowCon 2017


I will say right now that I thoroughly enjoyed my first attendance of HallowCon, and I will definitely add this convention to the list of those I regularly attend.

JoeDog McKeel’s first chairing of this con was a success despite all the last minute obstacles which popped up (mostly in the form of passive aggressive resistance from the hotel). Needless to say, HallowCon will be in a different location next year, as unwelcome as the convention and con-goers were made to feel.

I did not have a room at the hotel, being local and able to go home every night; so I will not go into detail on the complaints I heard from those who did book rooms. I will, however mention observations I made about the common areas.

First off, the lack of working electrical outlets along the hallway used for Author’s Alley was aggravating. These were working the day before the con started but not at all during the entire weekend. Thankfully, a working outlet was discovered in the breakfast area at the end of the hall, and a charging station could be set up for members and guests to keep their devices operational.

Some might say, “Who needs to be on their phone/tablet/laptop during a convention?” Please keep in mind, those of us there to sell our works/products often use our devices in tandem with card reading apps to allow us to make credit sales as well as cash sales.

The one other thing I found troubling about the venue was the lack of a handicap accessible bathroom stall in the restroom just off the lobby for common area use. How is that legal and up to code?

All that aside, the con was a blast and a much needed break from Mundania. Being a Halloween convention, there was no lack of cosplay and costuming. (The difference between those terms is whether a costume represents a specific character/creature or just a generic style of costume.) I made a few new friends and reconnected with some old ones.

There were also a few missed opportunities I wish I had taken.

Across the hallway and just a little catty-corner from my table spot was the author/media guest, Santiago Cirilo (Julio from season 4 of The Walking Dead). I never really tried to introduce myself or get to know him. I know I may come across as bold and outgoing sometimes, but I can find my introverted side taking dominance when faced with someone with genuine celebrity. I also allowed myself to be intimidated by his energy and exuberance. Still, what I observed of him leads me to believe he is a genuinely nice person. I hope he will forgive my shyness.

The Charity Auction this year benefitted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. JoeDog and Donna McKeel chose this charity in honor of their granddaughter, who suffers from this condition. Joe added an additional 10% of the total funds raised by the auction to the donation. At the last report I heard, $1000 was raised just in the auction. I donated a full set of books.

As for the Con Suite, I must say this was the best food I’ve ever had at a convention.

My sales weren’t great, but they were better than at some conventions I attended earlier this year. I had a total of one customer, but she bought a full set of the series.

This marked my second time to attend a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the first time to see one with a shadow cast acting out the movie along with it. Quite the experience, I must say.

Yes, I did the Time Warp again.

This audience was a bit more raucous than the one I previously viewed it with at Chattacon a couple of years ago.

As expected, a large number of guests and con-goers departed early on Sunday. Some came from as far away as Mississippi to attend this con and had to be back to work Monday morning.

I’m looking forward to next year.

I’d like to give a quick shout out to Edwin Morgan. He was promoting/recruiting for the Catoosa County 2017 Film Festival which will be in Ringgold, GA December 1-3. I wish I could attend, but I’ve exhausted all my paid time off for this year. Hopefully, I’ll have some to spare for next year. Also, it was some of his brood who kept raiding the candy and pirate swag (plastic coins, Mardi Gras beads, and glass pebbles) I placed out as freebies. I received several thank you hugs from one of his daughters.027

Don’t let the cute mini-Harley outfit fool ya; she’s a pirate at heart.

If you want to see more pics from the con, I have them up on FB here.



Please Stand By

I promise I will post a full report on HallowCon by this coming weekend. 11 hour work shifts and other concerns have had to take priority.

Also, for financial reasons, I will probably NOT be attending ConNooga in 2018. I WILL be at Chattacon; I already have a table reserved in the Dealer Hall. I just don’t think I’m going to be in a position to afford doing two cons that close together next year.


HallowCon Approacheth!


That’s right boys and ghouls! This will be my last convention of the year as well as my first time attending HallowCon. This con has been going for a long time, and is now under new management (JoeDog McKeel) and in a new location (Quality Inn & Suites).

As you may guess from their graphic, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is this year’s theme. You have been warned.

I will have a table in the vending area as well as being a panelist. By the time you see this, I should have my Appearances page updated with my schedule.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I will have 10 copies each of each of my Waves of Darkness titles available for purchase. That is 70 books. I really don’t want to have to cart them back home. This will also be your last chance to get them at the old price. Because of a rate hike at the printer’s, my publisher has raised the retail price (on print copies), as well.

Get ’em while they’re cheap!

BloodCurse9DemonBayou9-72dpiSilent_FathomsBlack-Venom-cover-take2Hell's Dodothe_daedalus_enigma_cover_5Maelstrom of Fate proposed cover