Captain’s Log: LibertyCon XXX

FacebookBannerLC30_2017_SoldOut

Well maties, another LibertyCon has come and gone. Once again, this has proven my favorite convention (and best selling, too). Even though my first panel, Whats’ New in Pirate Fantasy? (with Michael H. Hanson and Rocky Perry) was at ONE on Friday (a time when many cons are still a few hours away from even starting) it had a decent turn-out (10 or so, not bad for early Friday afternoon).

While my book sales were not as good as last year’s, they were still better than the other cons I’ve done this year. I sold nine books, and at least one of every title available. Three of my sales were to repeat customers either completing or at least continuing their collection of the series. The Maelstrom of Fate signed copy pre-order sale was a bust, however. I promise to work on figuring out how to run it through Paypal and re-opening it in September online.

My scheduled reading didn’t pan out. Late events on a Sunday are always lightly or unattended as many con-goers check out from the hotel and depart for home early. I had no attendees, not even the other author scheduled to share the time slot. Still, I managed to get in a brief impromptu reading at the Kaffeeklatsch Sunday morning. I was joking with one of my table mates about the lack of rum at the breakfast (I was in my pirate garb, of course), then mentioned one of my characters (Jon-Jon) who would complain about being entirely too sober. This led to reading a short excerpt from Blood Curse (book 1) with a scene between him and Viktor which was well received.

Some of the panels I attended but didn’t sit on were How to Approach a Publisher; Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice; Indie Publishing Workshop; and the Mad Scientists Roundtable. While there were a few space related panels, we didn’t get the Space Update this year. Les Johnson was away in Italy at a Space Conference. Rob Hampson (aka Speaker to Lab Animals, formerly aka Tedd Roberts) hosted the Roundtable.

How to Approach a Publisher: This panel was run by Gray Rinehart, Gary Poole aka Kelly Lockhart, Dan Hollifield, and Michael H. Hanson. STICK TO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES! Be nice and keep it professional. Tell a GOOD story and WRITE WELL (you know, properly spelled used correctly with correct punctuation). Network! This is what lit cons are for: get to know the pros you meet; have conversation with them; ask questions/advice; DO NOT HAND THEM A MANUSCRIPT AT A CON (see first point)! If you handle this correctly, they will be familiar with your name and it might help move you PROPERLY SUBMITTED manuscript to the top of the pile. Be willing to accept critical review.

Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice was a workshop run by Kevin Hearne, this year’s Literary Guest of Honor. I wish it could have been a two hour workshop instead of one, I still haven’t finished my writing exercise. I guess flash fiction just isn’t my forte. (My brain goes much faster than my hands, which makes it tricky to keep up.) Still, I found this workshop very useful and plan to hang onto my notes from it. I may do a separate blog post just on this at a later date. It’s a lot to cover. Suffice to say for now that Those People who say, “Voice can’t be taught; you either have it or you don’t,” are WRONG.

The Indie Publishing Workshop was supposed to have been run by Peter Grant and Dorothy Klapp, but they were double booked for the time slot. (A panel in another room got cancelled and everything in that room was bumped up an hour, hence the unintentional double booking.) Therefore, Jim Curtis, Tom Rogneby, and John Van Stry (none of whom were listed as attending pros but ARE indie/self published authors) stood in for them. This was another event which will require its own blog post to cover everything, but they covered everything from pre-publication to marketing for those who wish to go the indie/self-pub route. Even audiobooks were mentioned.

Speaking of, I got the same referral from two different authors/publishers who dabble in audiobook editions of their books: ACX.com. “Artistic Creative Exchange” is Amazon/Audibel’s self-pub arm and something I plan to look into for Waves of Darkness. I hold the audio rights to my books, and I’ve had at least five people in the past month ask me if I have them available on audio. I’ve been wanting to take Viktor to audio for several years now, but always thought it was something I couldn’t afford. What I learned at this con tells me the time is right to finally take that leap.

The Mad Scientists Roundtable, a LibertyCon tradition, covered several interesting topics this year. We started with the Kepler project, which has discovered aver 2300 exo-planets thus far. This led to discussion of the TESS mission to try to find Earth-like planets and life-markers. The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop was mentioned along with questions such as should we be looking? and how far out should we try to go? It was agreed that even though we may not have the tech to REACH an exo-planet, finding one which meets the life-sustainability criteria would give us the impetus to DEVELOP the tech. The question was also raised on whether we should focus on trying to reach Mars or to shoot for one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, such as Enceladus (which has water). This was debated without a general consensus; in fact aiming for some of the larger asteroids was mentioned as yet another option. Of course, any such mission would require more study of the long-term effects of radiation exposure and micro-gravity on human life and longevity.

The next subject was quantum computing. Someone wondered if it was the “next cold fusion” in that they keep promising it but never quite delivering. Questions raised were: what will we use it for; is it the next step to true artificial intelligence; and can we make it commercially viable? It seemed generally agreed that this was totally unknown and some scary $#!t.

Of course, this discussion led to the news Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuro-Link seeking to find ways to create a brain/computer interface. Currently, this ONLY exists in science fiction, although experimental medical electronic implants exist to treat certain brain disorders/injuries (with varying success; and they aren’t computer linked). The possibilities of using this tech once it finally manifests to reprogram one’s body to self-correct medical issues came up. The questions discussed were: would you want a biomedical implant; and when should we allow people to elect to have one as opposed to it being a medical necessity? Many agreed this should not go forward until there is some way to protect against hackers. Still, many saw a commercial potential for such implants (especially among gamers who could use one to improve and augment reaction times). One this was certain: this kind of tech will raise all sorts of ethics questions along the way, especially with the potential for abuse (read: mind control). Also the question came up of could you be forced to have one, say by the government or even your employer?

The Roundtable ended with the question of when will we have fusion.

As was pointed out by one wag, we already have a fusion generator… 92,955,807 miles away.

I realize I’m jumping about, chronologically speaking, in this report. I also wanted to share this recording of Gray Rinehart performing the filk song he specifically wrote for LibertyCon last year when he was MC.

Then, it was a tribute to fandom and the late David Bowie; now, it is a tribute to LibertyCon’s longevity and last year at the  Chattanooga Choo Choo. Exactly when and where the next LibertyCon will be depends on what sort of contract Brandy Spraker and the board of directors can work out with another venue.

Once this is settled and the information available, you can bet I will be buying my membership for next year.

Also, look forward to an expanded cosplay/costuming track at LibertyCon. I’ll post more on that as the info becomes available.

Prepping for LibertyCon

FacebookBannerLC30_2017_SoldOut

Sorry about no post this past weekend. Work has been busy, and I’ve had a convention to prep for.

You may notice the “sold out” stamped on the LibertyCon banner. This is because LC limits membership to 750 people, con staff included. (That’s right, even the organizing committee members have to purchase a ticket. All proceeds from the convention above costs go to the chosen charity of the year.)

Liberty is perhaps my favorite convention so far, although ChattaCon’s revitalization has made it a contender, as well. I reserve offering an opinion on HallowCon until after I’ve attended this October.

Speaking of HallowCon, I will be debuting Maelstrom of Fate at that convention (God and my publisher willing). In honor and anticipation of that, I will be offering a pre-order sale for signed copies at LibertyCon. For now, this will only be available to LibertyCon attendees. The book will be offered at a discount plus sales tax and two options on shipping. Everyone who preorders will have to pay shipping, but those who pick up their copies at HallowCon will have that fee refunded to them then. I’m doing it this way because there is always the possibility the book might not be released on time, and I want to make sure everyone who preorders GETS their copy.

I might make this offer available online at a later date (before the book release, of course), but I’ll have to figure out how to best set it up. It may mean having to change my PayPal account from personal to commercial, or creating a separate commercial account. More on this at a later date.

Back to Con Prep: I will have 10 full sets of the 6 titles currently available in my Waves of Darkness series to sell at the con. I have my banner. I have author cards. I have a new set of convertible hand trucks (they can be turned into a 4-wheeled cart). I have preorder forms printed up. I have my garb. I have my cash drawer and my Square card reader.

I will also be holding the final Red Shirt contest drawings for the last two spots. (As you may recall, I revoked Jonathan Morris’ status as a winner after he overly annoyed me; he had won the ConNooga drawing.)

Hopefully, I’ll be taking EMPTY book boxes home at the end of the con.

As usual, I will make a “Captain’s Log” convention report and take lots of pictures to post on FB and Plurk.

I’m off from work all next week (Summer shut down in the auto industry), so I’ll finally have time to work on the cover art for Maelstrom. I may even get some writing done on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I promise I’m going to start shopping that serial to potential publishers before the summer is over. I’m only two and a half episodes shy of having two full seasons drafted.

I’ll post again after the con!

Personal Schedule for LibertyCon 30

If you have tickets to attend LibertyCon this year, I look forward to seeing you there; if not, unfortunately the convention is already sold out. LC limits attendance to 750 people in order to maintain the small con family vibe. Tickets for LibertyCon 31 should go on sale on their website Sunday, July 2nd. I would advise booking early; memberships CAN be carried over to the next year if you are unable to attend by the time of the convention.

 page.

June 30 – July 2, 2017

LibertyCon 29 Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Friday

1 pm What’s New in the World of Pirate Fantasy Centennial Theater

Moderator with Michael H. Hanson and Rocky Perry

5 pm Opening Ceremonies Centennial Theater

6 pm Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With Brett Brooks, Allan Kemp, Stephanie Osborn, and Lydia Sherrer

Saturday

Noon Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With Michael J. Allen, Jason Cordova, Van Allen Plexico, and Dave Schroeder

1 pm Autograph Session Dealer Room

With Jarrod Alberich, Scott W. Baker, and Karl Gallagher

3 pm Kids’ Costuming/Masquerade and Magic Show CARTA Room

Emcee Darrell “Doc” Osborn and my fellow judges, Susan Brady and Jonna Hayden

Sunday

10 am Kaffeklatsch Roosevelt Room

With all attending pros not too hung over from Saturday night’s room parties. A chance for convention attendees to mingle and chat with the pros over coffee and a continental breakfast

Noon Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With David B. Coe/D. B. Jackson, H. P. Holo, Chris Kennedy, and Dave Schroeder

2 pm Reading American Train Car

With Michael Lackey

Lotsa Kinda Important Stuff!

First: THE BANNER HAS ARRIVED! This is my first ever professionally created signage for promotion of my books.

004

I am extremely happy with how it turned out (and the height of the stand, which didn’t look that tall on the Vistaprint website, but was the only style available for this size vertical banner).

The manuscript for Maelstrom of Fate is complete with the exception of the addition of the last two red shirt winners. That drawing will be held at LibertyCon at the end of June. The current word count is 77,251… subject to change upon revisions and edits, of course. For instance, MS Word tends to count the asterisks I put between scene breaks (which are converted to little skull and crossbones in the finished books) as words.

I hope to get started on the painting for the cover this Memorial Day weekend. I already have the concept and image layout in my head.

There will be a new video reading from Hell’s Dodo later this weekend.

I am now fully stocked with 10 full sets of books for LibertyCon; I also have a fresh batch of author cards to give out.

Okay, I think that covers everything for now. If I think of something else, I’ll let you know.

Here’s a random pic of Star to send this off. (Louie is photobombing in the back.)

002

Maelstrom of Fate Almost There and New Video Reading

I am on the final chapter of Maelstrom of Fate. With a long weekend coming up, I will be finished with the initial revisions. I’ve just this chapter and the epilogue to finish up. Here are the current stats:

Word count: 73,982

Page count: 235

The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe has slowed down quite a bit. I’ve run out of steam on my Steampunk serial, so to speak.

My mind is more focused on prepping for LibertyCon right now. I’ve already ordered and received a fresh batch of author cards from Vistaprints. I also intend to have my very first banner for the convention. Jessica Werner is helping me tweak the design to fit the printer’s specs and did the Photoshop work on it. (I do not have PS loaded on either of my computers, nor the free time to learn it well enough for something like this were I to download it.) Neither of us have done banner work before, so it has been a learning experience.

Meanwhile, here is this week’s installment of Readings from the Log of the Pirate Ship Incubus:

Maelstrom of Fate Progress Report 3 & Redshirt Contest Update

First, I have typed through to the end of chapter 9 of Maelstrom of Fate. The page count in its current format stands at 66. The word count is 20,119.

Second, I have an announcement to make regarding the current Redshirt Contest I’m running.

There are still TWO spots available for the drawing. The spot which was awarded to Jonathon Morris in the drawing I conducted at ConNooga has been revoked. Mr. Morris is a coworker of mine and doesn’t seem to realize when to stop with the teasing (like when I am dealing with a genuine issue with the current task and not in the mood for it). The character his name was to be applied to dies too quick of a death to appease my current annoyance with Mr. Morris.

Therefore, his spot is once again available.

The final drawing will be of two names and will still be held at LibertyCon during my first Authors’ Alley appearance.

Maelstrom of Fate Progress Report #2

1175091_555038981199686_155128330_n

This is why I’m the ship’s scribe, not Viktor. Just kidding.

This has been a productive weekend, both in typing and revising on Maelstrom of Fate, and in catching up on my video readings.

The typed manuscript currently stands at  39 pages typed in the Smashwords’ submissions guidelines format, which my publisher uses. The word count is at 11,898. I am three paragraphs into chapter 6 out of  31 chapters total plus the Once Upon a Tide prologue and an epilogue.

There is still a lot of work ahead of me. I also still have the final redshirt spot to award, which will be done in the drawing at LibertyCon the last weekend of June. (In a side note: I saw on their website, when I sent in payment for my three Authors’ Alley time slots, the convention is sold out.)

I firmly believe that I will have the manuscript in a suitable form to be ready for publication by October. I only hope my publisher is able to do so at that time. I would dearly love to debut the book at Hallowcon in East Ridge, TN.

I also started writing episode 16 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, which is my current writing project during work breaks. And I’ve done a quick, preliminary sketch of the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. One element will be a new challenge for me. I have never attempted to paint an explosion, and haven’t done a line-art (comic book style) drawing of one in decades.