Play Games. Heal Kids.

extra life 1extra life 2

Sadly, my work schedule barely allows me time for my writing and artistic endeavors, let alone gaming. Still, for all of you who do have or make time to play various types of games, here’s an opportunity for you to be a hero!

Extra Life is a charity organization which hosts gaming marathons to raise funds for local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals around the nation. They had a table in the main hallway at ConNooga this year, which is how I learned about them. Here is what was on the flier I picked up:

“Extra Life engages gamers in a 24 hour gaming marathon each fall. Participants raise money from friends, family and co-workers to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. In 2017, 66 gamers raised $8,010 for Children’s Hospital at Erlanger!

If you want to be part of the fun this year, signing up is easy and free, go to to register. You can play any game on any platform from the comfort of your home – even tabletop games! Extra Life Game Day is Saturday, November 3, 2018 but you can play any day or time that suits your schedule.

Children’s Hospital at Erlanger will be using the money raised by our gamers to go toward the Believe Campaign for phase one of our new Children’s Hospital. For any questions or to get more involved, contact Rebecca Brinkley at or (423)778-7309.”

If you don’t live in the Chattanooga area but would still like to help out, check the Extra Life website for opportunities to game for a cause in your locality.


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.

Art Progress

002Just finished cleaning up the cover template for The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. This design will be used for every episode as well as the annual omnibus with the individual titles, episode numbers, color and artwork to be inserted.

I’m considering including B&W copies of the episode art in the omnibus as coloring pages for part of the bonus material.


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.


Interim Post

Sorry for my irregularity in posting lately. Not sure how long it will be before I get back to a regular schedule with the site. There has been a major change in my job responsibilities and work schedule, plus still getting my new house in order.

However, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve opened my Smugglers Cove and Hucksters Haven as a showcase for the various vendors, authors, artists, and other enterprising convention attendees I’ve met over the years. Look for new content and updates on the page at least once a month.


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.


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!