Captain’s Log: LibertyCon 33, Gone Virtual

Had a blast at LibertyCon this past weekend. This was the first time I’ve attended a convention virtually. Not as surreal as I thought it would be, and being able to watch panels in the same time slot instead of having to pick one proved to be a definite plus. Still, I missed actually SEEING my con family. Also, looking at vendor and artist pages just isn’t as satisfying as shopping in person.

One big plus, however, was using Discord for discussions, author readings, and interaction with the panelists (even if the panel was pre-recorded, we were asked to be available on the assigned channel for live discussion during our time slots). It also makes writing this post easier, since I can scroll through the discussions to cherry pick interesting moments, rather than rely on memory.

One such conversation happened during the Very Vocal Vampire Voices panel (the only one I was on this year, and was recorded a few weeks prior to the convention).

David Bogen:I thought lawyers were top of the heap. KB Bogen: Just below politicians. David Bogen: A vampire lawyer? Tom Tinney, BikerNerd: They should be the favorite food. Brian412: That is a terrifying thought. Taking someone to court claiming that vampires have a right to their blood or some s**t. Tom Tinney, Biker Nerd: Easily defeated. Schedule the trial for 10 AM in morning and they’re no show. Tamara Lowery: And this is how anthologies are born outside of a bar. David Bogen: Yes! KB Bogen: That’s what the Renfield character is for. David Bogen: Brings new meaning to Night Court … Tom Tinney, Biker Nerd: I miss Markie Post and John Laroquette. Jamie Ibsen: Staring Harry T Stone, the Gargoyle Judge.

Sometimes just a couple of comments, with no apparent context pop up.

EvilPengiun: hmm, how to stimulate the memory of scotch without the actual drinking of scotch. Would that count as non-alcoholic scotch? Robert E. Hampson (Speaker): More importantly, how long can the grad student RIDE the cross between the triceratops-bison?

Yeah, it’s best not to ask.

For those interested, EvilPenguin aka Brent Roeder (whose nickname got changed in a later panel to Dr. EP then just Dreep), and Robert E. Hampson aka Speaker-to-Lab-Animals, are both neuroscientists. Yep, they stick thingies in people’s brains or hack thingies people already volunteered to have stuck in their brains and study them. Dreep even mentions multiple times that there are things he’s not allowed to talk about, which may explain this next exchange in chat.

EvilPenguin: I’m waiting for the science groupies I was promised. Tara Urbanek: EvilPenguin we got you groupies. You didn’t like them! Just because they were UNDEAD groupies. You are so picky. I literally made them in the basement. EvilPenguin: When was this?I don’t remember any groupies. Did I have to ablate my memory again? Tara Urbanek: …yes again.

Are you beginning to see why this is one of my favorite conventions?

And then there was the Moose.

tcavlee: So what does everyone think of one Moose for a battle situation? Jamie Ibsen: One battle, one moose. Marisa Wolf: A moose bit my sister. tcavlee: @Jamie Ibsen exactly. Kevin Ikenberry: Moose bites are quite nasty. Rob Howell: The Minister of Moose has spoken. Major Mayhem: Mind you moose bites are quite nasty. tcavlee: I have seen a Moose tear up a semi who honked at them. Casey Moores: My sister was bit by a moose once. Yvonne A Jacobs: The hell are they doing that close to a moose?! Marisa Wolf: Looking for the holy grail? Rob Howell: So, the MooseSha are allowed, right boss? Marisa Wolf: Whew, I believe it! Yvonne A Jacobs: MooSha. Casey Moores: No really! She was carving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush given her by Svenge — her brother-in-law — an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: “The Hot Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “”Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink” … mrklevel3: MooSha! tcavlee: LOL it was crossing the road and stopped to take a look at them. The driver blew his horn like you would a cow and pissed it off and lost his truck. Rob Howell: That’s too bovine! Casey Moores: I apologize for the false post. The person responsible has been sacked.

I admit, I’m not really sure what was meant in the MooSha sub-thread there. It didn’t stop me from adding “MooSha MooSha MooSha” to it, though. They soon went on to calling Canadian geese cobra-chickens, which is fairly accurate for any breed of goose.

This last conversation I’ll share just tickled me.

Michael K. Falciani: I remember when the electric typewriter was the big new thing. WJ Roberts: that’s cause you’re old. Michael Hanson: Old but with attitude! Michael K. Falciani: I prefer, “well preserved” thank you very much! Michael J. Allen: Those embalming fluid smoothies really do make a difference.

I did not watch the Mad Scientist Roundtable this year, though if it got recorded (it was live streamed), I plan to go back and watch it. Instead, I watched the Atlanta Radio Theater Company production. I usually end up missing that at live cons because of scheduling.

That pretty much wraps up my report on LibertyCon 33, other than membership for LC 34 has increased to 1000. Memberships purchased back in 2019 for LC 33 will roll over to 34, since 33 was virtual, unlimited, and free to all. The remaining 250 memberships will go on sale on LibertyCon’s Eventeny page (link on LC’s website) at noon Eastern time July 23. They will sell out fast.

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.

Welcome to Organized Chaos

Oi.

I have plans, so many plans. Time, however, is an issue. Been working a lot of 6-day weeks, but that might calm down a bit in April.

I’m waiting for all the info from the game developer so I can do a promo video for Dragon Poker. They were going to launch it at LibertyCon this year, but the convention had to change to a virtual format this year. The online version of the convention will be free and open to all, rather than have the membership cap of the physical version.

I’ve been watching a lot of author-tube/book-tube videos lately. This has had the effect of putting my planning mode into high gear. I want to create a good bit of content for my YouTube channel to promote my books. I want to re-release Blood Curse later this year, and building interest beforehand will hopefully boost sales and pre-sales. I’d like to put some of the things I’ve learned to use, so that hopefully this second edition will take off and do better than the first time around did.

Still, time remains the crucial factor. Wish me luck. Thanks.

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: ConNooga XIII

The ladies of Patronum Delicioso

Who says 13 is unlucky? This was one of the best conventions the folks at ConNooga have put on in the last few years. The Authors track, particularly, has improved this year, and is reviving from the slump it went into after Robbie Hilliard resigned from the directorship of it a few years back. Gil Hough stepped into the position this year and put a lot of work into it. Next year looks to be great, as well.

There was a little confusion Sunday, when all the panels for that track were moved from the Convention Center over to the Chattanoogan Hotel. Todd, the convention chairman, explained that he was trying to get more foot traffic to the hotel, since the convention has use of the space for the whole weekend. Up until this year, mostly adults-only panels were held in the hotel. He plans to put more daytime panels there next year.

As one of my convention friends pointed out, there was a wider range of fandoms present this year, as well. A couple of times in the past, the con was dominated by Anime and Disney cosplay. This year had so much more: the usual Mandalorian Mercs locking people up for charity, the smattering of Marvel and DC characters, the Doctor in at least one incarnation, Potterverse characters (as evidenced by the feature photo on this post), some rarely seen (in Chattanooga, a Star Wars town) Star Trek people, random vampires and pirates, and a few medieval costumes. There were even an alien abduction and a Deadpool/Pikachu.

As you can see, a good time was had by all.

I plan to post in the next few weeks about some of the tips I picked up in the Authors panels. I hope to be on some panels next year.

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!

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!

Episode 11 Cover Reveal

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Just uploaded Episode 11, Ghost Riders in the Sky to KDP. I expect it to go live within the next day or two. UPDATE! GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY IS NOW LIVE ON KINDLE!

The first season of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is drawing to a close, with only one episode remaining! I plan to start editing on episode 12, Castle in the Clouds, tonight and hope to have it uploaded in a couple of weeks.

Why the rush? I’d really like to have the season one print omnibus available for LibertyCon at the end of next month. First , because it is my favorite and my convention “home.” Second, my sales of this series are ABYSMAL. My sales reports don’t show a single sale since April 2nd; and that was only one copy of one episode. I know garnering fans and followers on a new series takes a while, and I haven’t really had much time available for self-promoting like I have in the past with the first story arc of Waves of Darkness. But, it does get a little disheartening when it seems like nobody is interested. Having copies available for purchase at the convention will help generate that interest.

With that in mind, I plan to title the season 1 omnibus The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. I’ll probably forgo my original plan of using the same cover art for the print omnibus and both half-season minis. I think the print book should have it’s own cover.

Oh, and I will also do a mini-omnibus of episodes 7-12 which will be available on Kindle. Look for it in June.