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.

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.

Writer’s Flow

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Lack of the ability to concentrate over the past few weeks had slowed my writing down drastically. I just couldn’t focus past all the distractions. Add to that the need to rewrite/replot in the middle of the manuscript for Hunting the Dragon, the 8th book in the Waves of Darkness series (and the start of a new story arc). Yes, I’d plotted the book out; heck I’d gotten a basic guideline made for the entire 7-book arc. (That’s right kiddies, not only will I get the first 7 books back into publication, I will write 7 NEW books in the series.) However, the plot I had turned out to be easily accomplished with a novella, if not a novelette.

That was/is not acceptable.

Finally, the battling ideas of what event to place where and what plot points to add have sorted themselves out. The writing has begun to flow again. I’ve even found a way to start off one of the secondary plots for the story arc a little earlier than I’d thought.

I love how unplanned characters not only pop up but give new insight and depth into the overall story. I am a “plantser”, a cross between a plotter and a pantser, in how I write my stories. It works for me.

Actually, this is the most similar book writing experience to that of writing Blood Curse (book 1) I’ve had since I started this series of novels. I had an overall idea for the story arc and a jumble of scenes and ideas, and I almost wrapped it up in 17 short chapters. With that book, too, I had to find a way to stretch/fill it out without making the added material read like unnecessary fluff.

Can you tell I’m enjoying my revitalized creative productivity?

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!

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(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!

An Author’s Plea

I’m stealing this from a book mark advertising R. Kyle Hannah’s novels Assassin’s Gambit, Time Assassins, and To Aid and Protect. The following was on the back and is a heart felt plea from authors everywhere.

IF YOU ENJOY THE BOOK, THEN WHY NOT TELL THE WORLD!

According to publishing industry experts, 80% of book sales are attributed to word of mouth. This figure includes simple book reviews written by non-professional critics on web-sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Many writers work for months or years to produce a good book. So, help your favorite authors out. If you enjoyed the book, take a few minutes to write a nice review online, rank it on Amazon, and tell your friends. Thanks!