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.

Preditors & Editors Readers Poll Final Standings for 2017

top10novelh2017 Maelstrom of Fate tied for 9th place in the Horror Novel category and tied for 14th place in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel category!




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.



Merry Christmas and an Update


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Had my picture taken with the Salvation Army Santa bell ringer outside the grocer just 5 minutes from my “new” (40-year-old) home a couple of weeks ago.

My office/studio is getting in shape. I was a bit irritated to have to order a new power cord for my printer (which will not arrive until next week/year). Guess I should have unplugged it from the device before I boxed it up to move. The plug prongs broke off. Thanks to a pair of tweezers, I was able to extricate them from the printer’s receptacle. I still have a lot of organizing to do in here; but most of the stuff is unpacked, at least.

I’ll soon have a proper library! There was room in the den for the eating table and chairs, so bookcases will be going into the dining room. No more books piled on the floor (for now, at least).

Speaking of books… Maelstrom of Fate is in the running in the Horror Novel category for this year’s Preditors and Editors Readers Poll! Be sure to place your vote! The six previous titles in the Waves of Darkness series have placed in the top ten during their respective years. I would dearly love to see the series sweep as a set.

Maelstrom of Fate proposed coverAlso, if you’re looking for a way to spend that money Grandma sent or the cash you plan to get back from returning unwanted gifts, you could do much worse than buy a copy of one of my books (be it digital or print). Remember, I’ve posted purchase links on each book’s landing page on this site. (Hey, I’ve got a mortgage to pay, after all.)

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday.


It’s That Time of Year Again



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.