Captain’s Log: LibertyCon 33, Gone Virtual

Had a blast at LibertyCon this past weekend. This was the first time I’ve attended a convention virtually. Not as surreal as I thought it would be, and being able to watch panels in the same time slot instead of having to pick one proved to be a definite plus. Still, I missed actually SEEING my con family. Also, looking at vendor and artist pages just isn’t as satisfying as shopping in person.

One big plus, however, was using Discord for discussions, author readings, and interaction with the panelists (even if the panel was pre-recorded, we were asked to be available on the assigned channel for live discussion during our time slots). It also makes writing this post easier, since I can scroll through the discussions to cherry pick interesting moments, rather than rely on memory.

One such conversation happened during the Very Vocal Vampire Voices panel (the only one I was on this year, and was recorded a few weeks prior to the convention).

David Bogen:I thought lawyers were top of the heap. KB Bogen: Just below politicians. David Bogen: A vampire lawyer? Tom Tinney, BikerNerd: They should be the favorite food. Brian412: That is a terrifying thought. Taking someone to court claiming that vampires have a right to their blood or some s**t. Tom Tinney, Biker Nerd: Easily defeated. Schedule the trial for 10 AM in morning and they’re no show. Tamara Lowery: And this is how anthologies are born outside of a bar. David Bogen: Yes! KB Bogen: That’s what the Renfield character is for. David Bogen: Brings new meaning to Night Court … Tom Tinney, Biker Nerd: I miss Markie Post and John Laroquette. Jamie Ibsen: Staring Harry T Stone, the Gargoyle Judge.

Sometimes just a couple of comments, with no apparent context pop up.

EvilPengiun: hmm, how to stimulate the memory of scotch without the actual drinking of scotch. Would that count as non-alcoholic scotch? Robert E. Hampson (Speaker): More importantly, how long can the grad student RIDE the cross between the triceratops-bison?

Yeah, it’s best not to ask.

For those interested, EvilPenguin aka Brent Roeder (whose nickname got changed in a later panel to Dr. EP then just Dreep), and Robert E. Hampson aka Speaker-to-Lab-Animals, are both neuroscientists. Yep, they stick thingies in people’s brains or hack thingies people already volunteered to have stuck in their brains and study them. Dreep even mentions multiple times that there are things he’s not allowed to talk about, which may explain this next exchange in chat.

EvilPenguin: I’m waiting for the science groupies I was promised. Tara Urbanek: EvilPenguin we got you groupies. You didn’t like them! Just because they were UNDEAD groupies. You are so picky. I literally made them in the basement. EvilPenguin: When was this?I don’t remember any groupies. Did I have to ablate my memory again? Tara Urbanek: …yes again.

Are you beginning to see why this is one of my favorite conventions?

And then there was the Moose.

tcavlee: So what does everyone think of one Moose for a battle situation? Jamie Ibsen: One battle, one moose. Marisa Wolf: A moose bit my sister. tcavlee: @Jamie Ibsen exactly. Kevin Ikenberry: Moose bites are quite nasty. Rob Howell: The Minister of Moose has spoken. Major Mayhem: Mind you moose bites are quite nasty. tcavlee: I have seen a Moose tear up a semi who honked at them. Casey Moores: My sister was bit by a moose once. Yvonne A Jacobs: The hell are they doing that close to a moose?! Marisa Wolf: Looking for the holy grail? Rob Howell: So, the MooseSha are allowed, right boss? Marisa Wolf: Whew, I believe it! Yvonne A Jacobs: MooSha. Casey Moores: No really! She was carving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush given her by Svenge — her brother-in-law — an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: “The Hot Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “”Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink” … mrklevel3: MooSha! tcavlee: LOL it was crossing the road and stopped to take a look at them. The driver blew his horn like you would a cow and pissed it off and lost his truck. Rob Howell: That’s too bovine! Casey Moores: I apologize for the false post. The person responsible has been sacked.

I admit, I’m not really sure what was meant in the MooSha sub-thread there. It didn’t stop me from adding “MooSha MooSha MooSha” to it, though. They soon went on to calling Canadian geese cobra-chickens, which is fairly accurate for any breed of goose.

This last conversation I’ll share just tickled me.

Michael K. Falciani: I remember when the electric typewriter was the big new thing. WJ Roberts: that’s cause you’re old. Michael Hanson: Old but with attitude! Michael K. Falciani: I prefer, “well preserved” thank you very much! Michael J. Allen: Those embalming fluid smoothies really do make a difference.

I did not watch the Mad Scientist Roundtable this year, though if it got recorded (it was live streamed), I plan to go back and watch it. Instead, I watched the Atlanta Radio Theater Company production. I usually end up missing that at live cons because of scheduling.

That pretty much wraps up my report on LibertyCon 33, other than membership for LC 34 has increased to 1000. Memberships purchased back in 2019 for LC 33 will roll over to 34, since 33 was virtual, unlimited, and free to all. The remaining 250 memberships will go on sale on LibertyCon’s Eventeny page (link on LC’s website) at noon Eastern time July 23. They will sell out fast.

Alpha Away!

The last two chapters of Hunting the Dragon are finally typed up and will be sent to my alpha reader by this evening. I also have feedback from her on several previous chapters waiting in my inbox.

Progress on what I hope is the last revision/proofread round on Blood Curse 2nd edition (which will be a sort of 10th anniversary edition if I can get it out this year) is slow, but well worth it.

I went into this one originally just to fix my punctuation snafu mentioned in my previous post, as well as insert accented letters; something the free Word app either doesn’t do, or I haven’t figured out how to do with it. It’s turned into line editing and seriously tweaking the prose one more time. I’m really enjoying it, even though I’m only 15 pages in.

My biggest problem is fighting off the impatience and wanting to do ALL the book things at once. I blame my newest addiction for this enthusiasm which must be bridled: booktube channels. For those yet to discover them, YouTube has a couple of genres which truly feed an author’s needs: booktube and authortube.

Booktube channels are primarily collections of videos about book reviews and sometimes book clubs/fans. Many of these channels can give books a wider audience than just promoting on social media and at conventions.

Authortube seems to consist of authors’ channels or videos with publishing and writing tips. For me, especially last year after so many conventions were canceled, these filled my need/desire for writing and book promoting panels. Plus, it gave me fresh perspectives beyond the familiar ones from the conventions I’ve been haunting for years.

I do have plans to revive and bulk up my own channel eventually.

Some day.

Oh! Before I forget, I recently took part in the recording of a panel for the upcoming virtual LibertyCon. The title of the panel is Very Vocal Vampire Voices. Look for it when LibertyCon goes live the last weekend of June. Since it’s virtual, it’s FREE and without an attendance cap.

Coming Up for Air

I think everyone out there already knows what a crazy, fly-by-night carnival roller coaster ride 2020 was, so I won’t dwell on it.

I hold hope but no expectations that 2021 will turn out better. It’s already off to a rocky start. Still, there is some promise. (Just try to ignore the ongoing political $#!t storms. Hurricane season has nothing on U.S. politics.)

Time for a personal progress report.

ART: I’m almost done with inking the Dragon Poker card art. Just 2 of the 17 left to ink. There has been some discussion of making a top tier version of the game available with color accents on the face cards (not full color). I will probably add those digitally. Antiquarian Boardgames plans to debut the cards at this year’s LibertyCon, provided it doesn’t get postponed another year or go virtual.

I will be putting some sort of promotional video for the cards on my YouTube channel later this year.

WRITING: I’ve made some progress on Hunting the Dragon, but not much lately. I’ve been concentrating on the Dragon Poker art during the longer winter shutdown of my day job. I do have plans to attack reformatting Blood Curse later this month. This is a necessary step before contracting for a new cover. The reformat may change the page count, especially since I haven’t decided whether to stick with the trade paperback size of 9×6 or a slightly smaller page size. The page count determines the thickness of the spine and is required data for most of the cover artists I’ve researched.

I also plan to have new cover art for the episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe as well as The Girl Who Fell from the Sky done prior to publishing episodes of season 2 later this year. I apologize for the extended delay of the serial, but I’m still learning the tricks of self-publishing and the marketing of such.

YOUTUBING: Yeah, I think I have been a little over ambitious with my plans to revive the channel in relation to actual available time for all this. I’m not giving up, just not gonna promise a lot of content in a short time period. The new videos will be added as I can manage.

CONVENTIONS: So far, LibertyCon is the only regular convention I’ll get to attend this year. Chattacon is virtual this year. My dealer table/membership is supposed to roll over to next year. I do plan to check out the online program content, but I won’t be presenting any this year. ConNooga is canceled this year due to COVID. I have no plans for any other conventions at this time.

That pretty much sums up my updates for now. See you here again soon, hopefully.

Captain’s Log: ConNooga XIII

The ladies of Patronum Delicioso

Who says 13 is unlucky? This was one of the best conventions the folks at ConNooga have put on in the last few years. The Authors track, particularly, has improved this year, and is reviving from the slump it went into after Robbie Hilliard resigned from the directorship of it a few years back. Gil Hough stepped into the position this year and put a lot of work into it. Next year looks to be great, as well.

There was a little confusion Sunday, when all the panels for that track were moved from the Convention Center over to the Chattanoogan Hotel. Todd, the convention chairman, explained that he was trying to get more foot traffic to the hotel, since the convention has use of the space for the whole weekend. Up until this year, mostly adults-only panels were held in the hotel. He plans to put more daytime panels there next year.

As one of my convention friends pointed out, there was a wider range of fandoms present this year, as well. A couple of times in the past, the con was dominated by Anime and Disney cosplay. This year had so much more: the usual Mandalorian Mercs locking people up for charity, the smattering of Marvel and DC characters, the Doctor in at least one incarnation, Potterverse characters (as evidenced by the feature photo on this post), some rarely seen (in Chattanooga, a Star Wars town) Star Trek people, random vampires and pirates, and a few medieval costumes. There were even an alien abduction and a Deadpool/Pikachu.

As you can see, a good time was had by all.

I plan to post in the next few weeks about some of the tips I picked up in the Authors panels. I hope to be on some panels next year.

Inventory!

Here’s an inventory of items I will be selling in the dealer room at Chattacon this weekend.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season one                 9 copies

Waves of Darkness books (Physical copies of books 1 & 2, Blood Curse and Demon Bayou, are sold out/out of publication. However, I will gladly email a free digital copy to any new readers who purchase any of the other books in the series.)

Silent Fathoms 5 copies

Black Venom  5 copies

Hell’s Dodo  5 copies

The Daedalus Enigma  3 copies

Maelstrom of Fate  3 copies

I will also have prints of a Dragon Riders of Pern fan art I originally created for Dragon*Con ’89. The work is pen and ink stipple art titled Young Queen and Rider and is printed on 8×11 card stock.

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This copy was signed by Ms. McCaffrey at a book signing in 2002 held at Legible Leftovers in Longwood, FL.

And finally, I have a few jigsaw puzzles, should anyone be interested in them. These will be at yard sale prices: 25-50 cents, depending on number of pieces, and 10 cents for those missing pieces. I got them at yard sales and have had my fun with them. It’s time to pass them on.

Books for Sale!

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I will have 9 copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season 1 available for sale at my table in the Chattacon dealer room!

I’d ordered 10 copies, but I already sold a copy to a coworker who is a fan and a speed reader. He wanted a signed copy, and waited until I had them available in person. I guess he worried he might read any copy he ordered before he could get my signature, since we’re on different shifts. (He did over pay, at his insistence, which more than covered my shipping cost.)

I will also have copies of Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, Hell’s Dodo, The Daedalus Enigma, and Maelstrom of Fate, books 3-7 of the Waves of Darkness series available. The first two books in the series, Blood Curse and Demon Bayou, have been sold out since early last year. Rest assured, I do still plan on getting these titles back into publication, one way or another.

Speaking of the WoD series, writing has stalled on book 8 for now. I’m not happy with chapter 12 and plan to rewrite it, moving some of the events about. Otherwise, this book might end up a novella instead of a novel.

The majority of my free time has been taken up with working on a previously mentioned art commission. I’ve really been enjoying the challenge as well as exercising my rusty portraiture skills.

As soon as I’ve figured out my schedule for Chattacon, I will post it to my Appearances page here. I’m not slated as a panelist, so I imagine a large portion of my time will be spent at my table. Hope to see you there!

Happy New Year!

Looks like Mr. Grimm wishes to give a New Year’s greeting of his own.34

(Image “borrowed” from one of the many FB pirate groups I haunt.)

While my writing has stalled out a bit lately, I have been working on an illustration commission. Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series will really like this one. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at this point, until I get the clearance from my commissioner.

I will be at Chattacon January 24-26. Click on the link for location and other details about the convention. I will have a table in the Dealer Room and will have copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season One available for sale. Just placed my order this morning. If you’re in Chattanooga, TN that weekend, please stop by. It’s a fun con to attend!

Heads Up

The second season of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe will debute January 2020. I had hoped to have Episode 13 out this year, but I can see that life isn’t going to make that very feasible for me. My current plan is to go ahead and get the episode cover art for the entire season prepped before publishing the next episode. My work schedule is slated to change once again at the start of the year, so this seems like the smarter play to me.

In the meantime, the season one omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, has sold a whopping three copies. I would like to get a little more traction with this book before rolling out the second season.

You know a book makes a great stocking stuffer, and $12.95 is CHEAP for a paperback these days. (I’m old enough to remember when paperbacks cost about what they charge for comic books these days, and when comic books cost about 35 cents.)

Also, I know it’s still over a month away, but come this Christmas break, remember to vote for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky in the critters.org Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in the Steampunk Novel category.

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Don’t forget to come see me at Chattacon January 24-27 at the Double Tree by Hilton in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. I will have copies available as well as my remaining copies of my Waves of Darkness series books.

Hopefully I can start getting them back on the market next year with fresh new covers AND added internal illustrations! Of course, what would really be great would be to get them released as audio books as well. I have had interest in entering that format with the series over the past few years.

LibertyCon Draweth Nigh!

I have posted my schedule for this year’s LibertyCon on the Appearances page. If you’re one of the lucky ones who secured tickets before they sold out 6 1/2 hours after going on sale last year, and you were able to adjust to the unplanned schedule and venue change, please stop by and say hi …and buy a book or two!

Episode 11 Cover Reveal

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Just uploaded Episode 11, Ghost Riders in the Sky to KDP. I expect it to go live within the next day or two. UPDATE! GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY IS NOW LIVE ON KINDLE!

The first season of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is drawing to a close, with only one episode remaining! I plan to start editing on episode 12, Castle in the Clouds, tonight and hope to have it uploaded in a couple of weeks.

Why the rush? I’d really like to have the season one print omnibus available for LibertyCon at the end of next month. First , because it is my favorite and my convention “home.” Second, my sales of this series are ABYSMAL. My sales reports don’t show a single sale since April 2nd; and that was only one copy of one episode. I know garnering fans and followers on a new series takes a while, and I haven’t really had much time available for self-promoting like I have in the past with the first story arc of Waves of Darkness. But, it does get a little disheartening when it seems like nobody is interested. Having copies available for purchase at the convention will help generate that interest.

With that in mind, I plan to title the season 1 omnibus The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. I’ll probably forgo my original plan of using the same cover art for the print omnibus and both half-season minis. I think the print book should have it’s own cover.

Oh, and I will also do a mini-omnibus of episodes 7-12 which will be available on Kindle. Look for it in June.