Weekend Plans

I know, I know; I said I wouldn’t make any more promises about release dates and such.

I WILL be releasing The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe: 5 Peril in the Philippines on Kindle by October 6th. I’ve already got it properly formatted and am well over halfway through the edits. I start on the cover art today.

I also plan to hit all the pertinent (writing/book promotions) FB groups I’m a member of this weekend with a new promo for this Steampunk serial. It will include purchase links and cover art along with this tagline: Indulge yourself in some cheap thrills this weekend with The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe! Only 99cents per episode! Coming October 6th, Episode 5: Peril in the Philippines! Available only on Kindle.

Oh, and I’ve already thought up a contest to accompany the eventual release of the Season One omnibus. Something to look forward to.

That is all for now. evil-lagh

Captain’s Log: HallowCon 2017

hollowcon2017-forweb-large_orig

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.

 

Maelstrom of Fate Ebook Release!

Maelstrom of Fate is now live as an ebook. Print edition will follow soon. I’ve added the purchase links for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords to the book’s landing page. (Just click on the Books and Short Stories button in the menu and follow the drop down to the bottom.) If you are searching for the book on Smashwords without using the link on this site, you will have to disable all parental controls to find it. Like The Daedalus Enigma last year, it received an Erotica tag which blocks it from general viewing.

I’ve already sent out .pdf copies to a couple of reviewers. If you are a reviewer and would be interested in reviewing this book, please let me know in the comments here or on my Facebook page.

I am also contacting my publisher to get the title corrected on the Amazon link. I found it listed as Maelstrom of Fatex (Waves of Darkness Book 8). It is, in fact, book 7; and there is no “x” anywhere in the title. I haven’t even started seriously plotting an 8th book yet. That will be part of the next story arc, Search for the First. (Book 7 concluded the Sisters of Power story arc.)

Maelstrom of Fate proposed coverAlso, a quick reminder; I will have copies of all seven titles at HallowCon in East Ridge, TN, October 27-29. I will be offering signed copies of Maelstrom of Fate at below retail as a convention special.

Prepping for LibertyCon

FacebookBannerLC30_2017_SoldOut

Sorry about no post this past weekend. Work has been busy, and I’ve had a convention to prep for.

You may notice the “sold out” stamped on the LibertyCon banner. This is because LC limits membership to 750 people, con staff included. (That’s right, even the organizing committee members have to purchase a ticket. All proceeds from the convention above costs go to the chosen charity of the year.)

Liberty is perhaps my favorite convention so far, although ChattaCon’s revitalization has made it a contender, as well. I reserve offering an opinion on HallowCon until after I’ve attended this October.

Speaking of HallowCon, I will be debuting Maelstrom of Fate at that convention (God and my publisher willing). In honor and anticipation of that, I will be offering a pre-order sale for signed copies at LibertyCon. For now, this will only be available to LibertyCon attendees. The book will be offered at a discount plus sales tax and two options on shipping. Everyone who preorders will have to pay shipping, but those who pick up their copies at HallowCon will have that fee refunded to them then. I’m doing it this way because there is always the possibility the book might not be released on time, and I want to make sure everyone who preorders GETS their copy.

I might make this offer available online at a later date (before the book release, of course), but I’ll have to figure out how to best set it up. It may mean having to change my PayPal account from personal to commercial, or creating a separate commercial account. More on this at a later date.

Back to Con Prep: I will have 10 full sets of the 6 titles currently available in my Waves of Darkness series to sell at the con. I have my banner. I have author cards. I have a new set of convertible hand trucks (they can be turned into a 4-wheeled cart). I have preorder forms printed up. I have my garb. I have my cash drawer and my Square card reader.

I will also be holding the final Red Shirt contest drawings for the last two spots. (As you may recall, I revoked Jonathan Morris’ status as a winner after he overly annoyed me; he had won the ConNooga drawing.)

Hopefully, I’ll be taking EMPTY book boxes home at the end of the con.

As usual, I will make a “Captain’s Log” convention report and take lots of pictures to post on FB and Plurk.

I’m off from work all next week (Summer shut down in the auto industry), so I’ll finally have time to work on the cover art for Maelstrom. I may even get some writing done on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I promise I’m going to start shopping that serial to potential publishers before the summer is over. I’m only two and a half episodes shy of having two full seasons drafted.

I’ll post again after the con!

Bizzy Stuff

The Daedalus Enigma is doing well in this year’s Preditors & Editors ReadersPoll so far. It is tied for 7th place in the Horror Novel category and currently positioned at 11th in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel category. If you haven’t voted yet, I encourage you to do so now. All you have to do is click on the link above and follow the prompts. They only allow you one vote per category, but you CAN vote for the same book in more than one category.

Your support is greatly appreciated. Every title in the Waves of Darkness has placed in the top ten in this poll for its respective year. I’d love for this one to follow suit.

trainbannersaturnessential

In other news, I’ve received my schedule for Chattacon at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo, January 20-22. While I don’t have any signings or readings scheduled, I do have two writers’ panels scheduled on Saturday, January 21. The first is at 11 am in the Finley Auditorium: Writing for Specific Genre: Steampunk, pirates, vampires, and zombies are all examples of popular genres that have become franchises. To write within a specific genre and keep it fresh and original is no small feat. Our panelists will discuss do’s and don’ts of writing genre specific fiction. Jen Mulvihill, Gregory Nicoll, Tamara A. Lowery, and Scott Baker. The second is at 3 pm in Classroom A: Writers’ Workshop – World Building: The richness and depth of a good story begins with the world that it is set in. But building an entire world can be a daunting task! How do you do it? Glad you asked! Our panelists will share their knowledge on how to create worlds that ring true to the reader. Wendy Webb, Scott Baker, Tamara A. Lowery, and Robert Sommers.

[edit] I will have a book signing/meet-the-author slot in the Dealer Room Lobby at 5pm Friday, January 20. [end edit]

I will post this on my Appearances page, as well.

Even though I wasn’t scheduled for any this year at Chattacon, I may still do an impromptu reading from my table in the Dealers’ Room.

I will also hold the drawing for one of my final Red Shirt spots in the series. So far I only have 7 entrants, but there’s still time to put your name in the pot. Just post a comment to this blog here or wherever you see it shared on Facebook or Plurk that you’d like your name included for a chance to be listed as a Colonial era Royal Marine who meets a horrific end.

I will have 10 copies each of all six current titles in the Waves of Darkness series, and I do have special convention rates if you buy more than one book or buy a full set. I would LOVE for the only books I bring back home from this convention be the ones I bought from other authors.

In writing news, I have the first ten episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe typed up and ready to run past my beta readers. I’m currently rewriting episode 11 to expand it; and I will be rewriting/finishing episode 12, since I never finished it the first time. After that, I’ll have to map out where I want the story to go for the second season of the serial. I plan to shop the serial to a few publishers, but I may end up self-publishing it. I am determined readers will get a chance at these stories.

It Is Done (Roughly Speaking), and Other Interesting Shi…, er Stuff

This will probably be my last blog post of 2016. I’m ready for this killer Bi*** of a year to go away now. It’s killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille.

8e89791bde9201558a59865bf1bae002

Lotsa stuff to cover here, so strap in and pay attention, kiddies.

First: I have finally finished the rough draft of Maelstrom of Fate. I will probably tweak the hell out of that epilogue when I do first revisions; but it is down on paper now, so I can set it aside for a well-deserved break. I may be adding another convention to my line-up this coming year: Hallowcon has moved to a venue considerably closer to me. (It used to be in Dalton, Georgia and has moved to a hotel in East Ridge, Tennessee… just a few blocks from where LibertyCon used to be when I first started attending it.) Since it falls on the last weekend in October, I think it would be a fantastic venue for launching Maelstrom of Fate.

Okay, I realize that was technically two items. Deal with it.

Next: There is a new interview on my About page and a new review of Blood Curse on its page, both courtesy of J.B. Garner. You should visit his site and check out his books. Seriously.

Moving right along: The Daedalus Enigma has been entered in the 18th Annual Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in both the Horror Novel and the Science Fiction/ Fantasy Novel categories. The poll is free; although you have to give your email addie to finalize your votes, you do NOT get spammed… EVER; and it ends January 14. They do limit you to one vote per category (if you vote for more than one book in the same category, only the last one voted for counts).

Every book in the Waves of Darkness series has placed in the top ten in Horror Novel. Please help make that happen for this book, too. I don’t get any money for placing, just bragging rights and a digital badge.

Build-a-Blog news: Over the next few weeks, I will be adding to the Readers’ Refuge section of the site. Expect the Once Upon a Tide as well as a few other selections from The Daedalus Enigma to show up for your reading pleasure. I will announce them here on the main blog as/when I add them.

Artistically Speaking: I’m still in the mental planning stages of rebuilding my old Steel Rose Gallery. I will probably build it as a WordPress site simply because of the ease of organizing it like I want it.

I also have a good idea of what I want to do for the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. I just hope I’m up to the challenge and can get Viktor looking like I want him to.

I’m a slacker: I still haven’t started the serious research I need to do for There Is No Arizona.

I will, though; I will.

Red Shirt Contest: Just a friendly reminder that it’s not too late to put your name in the hat. So far, I have all of six people willing to let me attach their name to one of the three remaining Royal Marines doomed to die a horrible death in Maelstrom. One will be drawn at Chattacon; another at ConNooga. Names of contestants remain in the pool until the last winner is drawn at LibertyCon. You can do so in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Plurk.

Other convention news: I finally bought my membership for ConNooga. I also just today confirmed with the Chattacon program director I would be available for panels.

 

Red Shirt Update and COVER REVEAL

redshirt_characters_from_star_trek

First, I would like to congratulate Michelle Oesterling for winning September’s Red Shirt contest…. She was the only entrant.

I blame my timing of announcing the contest for the lack of participation. That’s the bad thing about posting something on Facebook. If you do so when the people you want to see it are asleep, away from their computers, or don’t check their notifications regularly, it WILL get missed.

That being said, I still have three Royal Marines to give names to. Since this is for the book due out October 2017, I plan to hold drawings for one spot each at the three conventions I regularly attend: Chattacon, ConNooga, and LibertyCon. I will reopen the contests in December for the Chattacon spot to be drawn in January, in January for the ConNooga spot to be drawn in February, and in June for the LibertyCon spot to be drawn at the end of that month. If entrants of the first two drawings so desire, their names will be kept in the pot for the drawing for the final spot.

I will repeat this announcement in December as a reminder.

 

Now on to the cover reveal for The Daedalus Enigma.

The Daedalus Enigma cover.png

I am surprised the texture of the canvas board shows so much. It didn’t show up that much in the print I scanned in and sent to my publisher.

I am debating making prints of the painting to sell at my table at Chattacon along with my books.

Did You Miss Me?

Then you should adjust the sights on your gun.

Just kidding.

My work schedule this month has been…unusual; hence no post last weekend.

Let’s see: I’ve gotten a nice bit of typing done on The Daedalus Enigma. I am up to chapter 25. Granted, some of the chapters are short-ish. I’ve never been one to assign a specific word count to chapter lengths. I just put chapter breaks where they feel natural in the story.

I finally posted my photos from LibertyCon 29 to Facebook. You can find them here.

I want to welcome D.A. Adams , friend and fellow author, back to the blogosphere after an extended absence. Good news: he’s planning to turn his blog into a writers’ workshop/teaching tool! Whether you are a seasoned pro or a writing novice, this should prove to be a very valuable resource. I’m also happy to hear he’s writing on the fifth installment of his Brotherhood of Dwarves series. I’ve been waiting on this book for years now.

I also added a publisher to my to-query list for my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Steampunk serial. It’s a newly formed indie press, but I know a few of the staff and their dedication to pushing their stories when they were self-pubbed authors. They know how hard it can be to get a book noticed among the millions of titles out there, and they still managed to be successful at it. (I won’t name the press in this post, because they are one of several I plan to query.)

On the home front, we’ve been getting some little visitors to our yard I haven’t seen in previous years.

IMG_3447

House finches. They’re tiny things and seem rather fond of dandelion fluff seeds. I’ve seen at least two pairs, but there could be an entire flock just visiting in twos or threes at varying times.

Of course, while looking for images (because I’m not gonna get something THIS nice with MY camera) I came across this and had to share.

Rescued_House_Finch_Pirate_Queen

That’s all I’ve got for this week.

Q & A Wrap-up

crew quarters

Well, my Question and Answer sessions were mildly successful. They were attended, just not as greatly as I’d hoped. I think holding them on a holiday weekend probably played into that.

As promised, here are transcripts of the questions asked, and my replies. Screen names or first names only are used to protect participants privacy. I’ve arranged the questions according to topic rather than chronological order or forum asked on. (One was on Plurk, the other on Facebook.)

Feel free to ask me questions about the books or characters. Feel free to ask the characters questions. Be prepared for spoilers if you haven’t read any or all of the books yet.

 

Manateehugs: Oooh yay Q&A! This is more of a business-y type question. How is the experience of selling your book at Conventions? I love the energy at cons and artists alleys so I have a fantasy of doing like wise, but I was wondering if you could give me some pointers and or insight.

I admit I wish my sales were better. But considering I can only afford to attend the same 3 cons every year (because they’re all in town), my expectations aren’t high.

Still, I do make some sales each con, occasionally of more than the first title in the series. Don’t judge how it will go by me, though. J B Garner just finished a con this weekend and had what I consider stellar sales. 27 books!
Price figures in, too. I have a publisher, so there is only so much wiggle room for discounts, unlike self-pubbed authors. I have to pay 60% of the cover price for every physical book I order, which means I can’t afford to sell them for $10 each (cover price is $15.99). I wouldn’t even make enough to cover shipping.
One thing I’d like to do for my next con is get some proper banners. It will make my table look more professional.
It also helps to be outgoing… or as one of my author/musician friends says: Be a shameless attention whore. Don’t be afraid to STOP people walking by your table. Compliment their cosplay, if they’re doing that.
Manateehugs: Thank-you my friend that is really helpful!
Implore them to give a poor book a good home. Put something shiny and eye-catching on your table. (I give away Mardi Gras beads, glass fish tank jewels, and plastic coins.) Some authors put a candy bowl out.
Cards and bookmarks with your website on them are VITAL, especially if you do ebooks, too or people have limited funds, so they can look up info and purchase links to order the books later.
Manateehugs:I keep pondering if there is a way one could sell an e-copy of one’s book, say if it were on Amazon.
The only way to confirm a sale of an ebook is if the person has their reader with them and downloads it in front of you. I’ve only had this happen one time. It was during a panel at Chattacon this past January. The woman bought my 1st book and a book from the other two authors on the panel.
Manateehugs: Oh okay that makes sense. It’s a shame one can’t do like a redeemable card specifically for one’s ebook.
I haven’t tried that.
Of course, Amazon’s ebook return policy means there is the possibility of never seeing a royalty payment on a Kindle sale. Too many out there won’t hesitate to buy an ebook, read the whole thing, then return it before the quarter is up, which means no royalty, even though they read the whole book.

Karen: Describe how you come up with ideas: I.e., plot, characters, setting, for example.

My husband and I hashed out the bare bones of the seven-book story arc back in 2006, when it was still in the early stages. Before I start each manuscript, I’ll write out several pages of plot points which cover the main plot for that book and the sub-plots which run through the series. These do NOT always get followed strictly. The first book was entirely pantsed. All I knew was my basic formula. As the story progressed through the books, I was better able to plot ahead; but I often have cases of characters introducing themselves unplanned or established characters not following directions. Usually, this works out better than hoped.

Karen: Thanks!

Some of my inspiration in the early books came from articles in National Geographic or Smithsonian Magazine. Usually, this was when I was trying to decide where to stage the story, or elements to include in connection to a book’s Sister of Power. (Each book deals with a separate one, hence a seven-book arc.)

I made a point to research piracy and areas the story takes place in before beginning to write. Have to know what the rules are before you can break them, after all.

Karen: Haha, good point.

As a writer, I’m always intrigued by methods & schedules other writers use. How does a typical week of writing or revising/editing go for you?

Most of my writing has been done during work breaks over the years. There always seems to be too many distractions at home (cats, husband) to get good writing concentration. Lately, I’ve been frustrated and not getting as much writing done during my lunch break. I have a coworker who has gravitated to the table I use and feels the need to fill the silence with constant inane chatter. Kristina knows who I’m referring to. I keep telling myself I won’t get sucked in and will just ignore them, but it’s like not being able to log out of FB when you want to. Luckily (or un, depending on your POV) I got a good deal of writing done during time off for a recent med procedure.

I CAN make myself focus on typing up MSs and revising them, when I need to, though. (I do all my first drafts by hand in composition books; after all, you don’t have to worry about anyone stealing one of THOSE like you would a tablet or laptop.)

Just Sunday (May 30), I made myself stay offline until I got the MS of a horror short story unrelated to this series typed up and gone through one revision. I still need to figure out how to trim another 500 words off it, though, to meet the min-max word count requirements for the publisher it’s slated for.

Manateehugs: Vik definitely has the morality of a pirate of his time, has that ever been emotionally hard for you to write?

Actually, no. What has been hardest for me to write with him has been the first part of book 7. He’s a bit depressed and mourning the loss of a very important person to him. Getting in that mindset has been rough.

Manateehugs: I understand the roughness of writing the depression part. I have a really hard time sticking with a narrative if the character has lost their fighting spirit and there seems to be no end of the depression in sight.

^^this

I think he’s coming out of it some. He’s still putting off finishing his quest. Juma holds a special, unreasoning dread for him, another emotion he is completely unfamiliar with dealing with.

Kristina: Belladonna is so far one of my favorite characters. When you write about her do you identify with her? To me she seems like this beautifully scary, feminine (in human form) yet sexually lethal creature.

That pretty much pegs how I see Belladonna. She’s very fun to write. I do get into her head space, but she would be viewed as borderline sociopathic by an analyst. Since she’s not human, she doesn’t always fully understand WHY humans react the way they do to some situations. She doesn’t really feel remorse and only understands it academically. She is several thousand years old, despite her youthful appearance, so she knows her prey very well and can almost seamlessly mimic humans.

She does feed on sexual energy as well as living flesh. I still remember some of the guys [at work] saying they wouldn’t hesitate to “hit that” when I showed them a drawing of her true form, even after I explained she would literally EAT them for food.
So, if she were real rather than a figment of my imagination, she definitely wouldn’t go hungry.
 
Kristina: Does Jim Rigger/ Lazarus regret being turned? Or is the power and connection reward in itself?
Does Jim regret being turned… not really. I first addressed that in Demon Bayou.
(spoiler ahead, since I know you haven’t gotten that far in the series yet)
 Jim was fiercely loyal to Viktor ever since they first teamed up in their teens. He knows how valuable he is to Vik as Lazarus. He’s given the choice to regain and retain human form as a vampire or continue as Lazarus. He chooses to remain Lazarus.
A spoiler/tease for all my readers: There will be a major event involving Jim/Lazarus in book six, The Daedalus Enigma, due later this year.
Kristina: Do people in your day to day life often inspire your characters?
Not really, with the exception of the one’s who’ve won or earned “red shirt” status. Even those are usually minor characters I’d already written with my victim’s name pasted on… with permission, of course. For anyone wondering what I mean by “red shirt”; they are characters who meet an untimely or horrible demise. I’ve gotten rid of a few coworkers this way in the past.
All of my main characters and secondary characters were initially created years ago when I first started planning and researching for the series.
I will admit benefitting from watching the interactions of my male coworkers to get a better feel for how the pirate crew interacts. Of course, I was already writing the first draft of the third book in the series by that time.
And, this concluded all the questions and answers.

Procedures

I apologize for not doing my usual Sunday blog post. I have an upcoming medical screening which has occupied most of my attention this past weekend. Nothing serious, but it does require being anesthetized. This is what I get for surviving half a century on this screwy planet.

I will post a regular update next weekend. I also intend to gather the best questions and answers from my upcoming Q& A sessions next week an post them here. There has been a slight change of plans for the Facebook portion of the sessions. I will host it as an event rather than group only.

Here’s the link: Waves of Darkness Series Q&A w/Tamara Lowery and the Crew

It’s an open-ended event so no one feels pressured to be there for a specific amount of time. All are welcome to ask questions. All questions will be answered. Trolls will be fed to the siren… and she’s a messy eater.