Fixing the “Oops!”

Nothing like going through first edits on a rough draft written a few years previously and spotting gargantuan plot holes. In case you haven’t guessed, or are new to this blog, I have returned to working on my steampunk serial, The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe.

I’m finally getting episodes 13 through 24 (aka Season 2) ready for publication. I’m also seriously entertaining the thought of having a new cover done for the Season 1 omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, as well as doing new illustrations for it.

“Why?” you ask. Mainly because sales have been all but non-existent, and I never really got marketing off the ground the first time through. This will mean pulling all the current versions down and republishing.

Yes, I am a masochist. I must be to intentionally put that much on my plate.

Meanwhile, back to why I started this post. I’ve found myself trying to keep supposedly intelligent characters from unintentionally looking like bumbling idiots. In other words, I originally wrote some scenes which turned into “wait-a-minute” moments. So, I have to figure out why I had a character do something a certain way, when an obviously better way was available.

Specifically, why did a character LEAVE a communications center to deliver a message rather than send it via a secure means already available to them. It would’ve been quicker to use the system rather than leave the building and head into a subterranean system of tunnels and lifts to reach a place deep underground.

Not to worry. I did find a plausible excuse.

Messages sent through that system, while secure, have to be entered in the log if they originate from the communications center itself. The character didn’t want this message to be discovered by her supervisor, so she feigned illness to be excused from the rest of her shift. She also didn’t encounter any message stations along her route before encountering other major characters.

Plot hole plugged.

Bereavement and Business

Sorry I’ve been so quiet online this month. My father went to the hospital again on my birthday. He’d been having serious health problems all year last year. This time, he didn’t make it home.

While he did test positive for COVID in December, it was asymptomatic and not the cause of his death last Wednesday morning. However, it did prevent the medical school he’d arranged to donate his body to from accepting. They refused on the grounds of protecting their students, which is understandable.

He will be cremated. The family will have to find out if they will take a body if a positive COVID diagnosis is far enough in the past, since my mother has a similar arrangement. She also had asymptomatic COVID in December.

On to business: I’ve completed inking the Dragon Poker art and am working on the color accents for the top tier version of the game.

The plan is to have the game available by June, and to do the official launch at LibertyCon. Barring another postponement or health issues, I plan to attend. (The convention is sold out, but I already had a membership for it.)

If you are interested in the Dragon Poker cards or the Dragon Riders of Pern LARP they are a companion game for, go to Antiquarian Boardgames for more information.

I am about to start minor revisions on Blood Curse before I format it for print. Hopefully, I can manage to get time to do some promotional videos for my YouTube channel.

That’s the news for now.

Book News (and stuff)

I must agree with Viktor on it this time.

The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.

The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.

Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.

Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!

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.

Concentration, or the Lack Thereof, and a visit to the Land of Oblivion (aka Walmart)

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Having not worked for the past 4 weeks, one would think I’d have made extraordinary progress on all my book and art related projects. One would be wrong. I haven’t even attacked the blasted house in a cleaning frenzy.

Instead, my attention has been all over the place, and I’ve been fighting a lack of ability to focus.

What have I been doing, you ask? Pirating my little black heart out on my favorite old Sega Genesis game, Uncharted Waters: a New Horizon; watching both good movies, such as The Greenbook, Best of Enemies, The Bird Box, and Blinded by the Light, and either cheesy or fun eye-candy movies like The Naked Gun, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cannonball Run II, and The Dark Tower (which was actually pretty good if you don’t compare it too closely with the source material). My husband even got me to binge watch the original Omen trilogy, something I’d only ever caught glimpses of here and there over the years and never actually watched all the way through before.

I have also been reading on The Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny. I picked up a couple of audio books out of the series on a freebie table at a convention a few years back then came across the entire series in hardcover at an estate sale about 2 years ago. I figured this was as good a time as any to read them. Currently, I just started book 5, The Courts of Chaos.

I’m finally getting myself back on track with the art commission I received last summer.

Also, before I forget to mention it, LibertyCon has been cancelled for this year and moved to June 25-27, 2021. While it was set for mid-June this year, the venue cancelled the contract due to being tagged by the state government as a potential COVID-19 overflow hospital. While some have griped about so many conventions getting cancelled or postponed this year, I will not do so. I know of at least two convention friends/fellow authors, who’ve tested positive already. I also know how virulent common Con Crud can be, therefore how truly devastating this nasty new bugger would be on the fandom community. A large majority of my tribe are in their 50s or older with sometimes severe underlying health conditions. I would rather wait a year to see them, than see them now and risk never seeing them again.

As to the visit to the land of oblivion: while I have seen a few people wearing masks in Walmart on the occasions I have to go for cat supplies and groceries, there are many, many more I see without them (all ages, too). Plus, I still encounter the Oblivious Shoppers as much as I did before all this mess. I call them this, because they move and act as if THEY are the only ones in the store or with a right to be in the store. The levels of rude are astonishing, and there is very little evidence of social distancing. Usually, I only achieve these heights of anxiety while shopping during the Holiday season. If you wonder how high, I sometime wish I could either legally use a cattle prod while shopping or borrow Freddy Kreuger’s gloves to clear a path. I realize that sounds horrible, but I do NOT like having my personal space invaded during normal conditions, let alone when something this contagious is lurking about and being spread by asymptomatic people. at least I carry sanitizer in my car and wash my hands often enough to need lotion for the dry scaliness this causes.

So, to all those out there reading this, stay safe, stay healthy, and be patient.

An Island in the Sea of Madness

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It is clear that life and the world as we know it have drastically changed in the last few weeks and days. It is also clear it will quite some time before any semblance of normalcy returns, if it ever does. It would not surprise me if our definition of “normal” is forever altered because of the current pandemic.

That being said, I realize it will probably be sometime next year before I get to reune with my tribe at any conventions, as I foresee all such gatherings getting cancelled possibly into fall or beyond. For those whose livelihoods depend on such events, this year will be particularly rough.

As a way to mitigate this problem, I invite my readers and followers to visit my Smugglers Cove and Hucksters Haven page and it’s satellite pages.  There, you can find everything you would encounter at a convention dealer’s hall as well as authors and artists of many genres. I’ve recently updated and added listings to every page in this set.

For those of you new to my site, I collect business cards and contact information at every convention I attend and post it in my little virtual dealer’s hall. I do not receive any compensation for this, monetary or otherwise, save for possibly more traffic on my site. No, I do this to support the community of creators and businesses I’ve come to call my second family.

Captain’s Log: Chattacon 45

Pirates and vampires gaming in the consuite: how perfect is that? (Hey, I saw fangs, so I stand by the statement.)

I think this year’s Chattacon was probably the best one since they left the Chattanooga Choo Choo as a venue. It took place at The Doubletree by Hilton in Chattanooga, TN. The dealer room was a mite smaller than the space we had at the Read House, last year, but larger than the space we had at The Chattanoogan the year before. The hotel seemed very con friendly, and some of the Choo Choo’s former staff are there, as well.

My sales weren’t as good as I’d hoped, but I know that sometimes my target audience is in attendance and sometimes not. Sunday was my best day. I managed to sell all the jigsaw puzzles I brought just to get rid of, one print of Young Queen and Rider and two copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. Still, I have secured a spot in the dealer hall for next year.

I did manage to get some artwork and a little writing done. The artwork is waiting approval from my commissioner, of course.

I enjoyed visiting with my convention family, and even attended a few panels after the dealer room closed each day. I won the silent bid on a nifty little print by Theresa Mather titled Cephalopirates, received a lovely print from my table neighbor, John E. Kaufman, for sharing the use of my card reader, and purchased a copy of the book What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor? about unexpurgated sea shanties; definitely NOT for children and quite raunchy, to boot. I REGRET NOTHING!

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One of the highlights of the con for me was going in the consuite after the bellydancing show (the Merry Bellies did a vampire club theme this year) and arriving just in time for a group sing of Bohemian Rhapsody followed by Paradise by the Dashboard Lights and wound up with dancing to The Time Warp. Have I mentioned, I’m sure I have, that Chattacon is both a great sci/fi/lit convention AND a partycon? You really should come check it out next January. Just follow the link to their site and preregister. It will be held at the Doubletree again.

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!