Captain’s Log: LibertyCon 32

My table at the Kaffeklatsch Sunday morning

LibertyCon 32 has come and gone. As I’ve stated in the past, this is my favorite convention. It is my home. It is my family.

We lost one of our own earlier this year. Richard Timothy Bolgeo, the founder and former chairman of LibertyCon, left this world in May. He was to have been the Special Guest of Honor this year. Instead, he was memorialized and his life celebrated by all.

I count this year’s convention as a personal success. I sold 3 more books than I bought, for a change. I also sold 4 prints of some Anne McCaffrey’s Pern fan art I created for the Dragon*Con ’89 art show. Although I no longer have the original (lost it about 6 residential moves ago), I was informed by the art show staff at D*C that year that the only piece Ms. McCaffrey bought was a print of my Young Queen with Rider.

I will have prints available at my table at Chattacon next January. I’m still debating whether to do a table at ConNooga in February or not. I’ve never made the table fee back at that con. If I don’t, I might reach out to some of the vendors I know about selling on commission at that one.

The art sales may be leading to some art commissions for me. I haven’t been in touch with the potential client yet to hash out details, so I’m not at liberty to say more at this time.

Picked up some tips and information which may apply to that at the first panel I attended: Cover Art and Illustrations for Fiction Books. The panelists, Amanda Makepeace, Mitch Foust, and Melissa Gay, talked about contract dos and don’ts, what to ask a client for or supply an artist with when commissioning book related art, what fees are separate, how the negotiation of art rights affects the final price, and to subscribe to the Patreon of an artist you want to work with in order to get in good with them.

Trust me, during the course of the convention I heard horror stories from both sides about cover art contracts gone bad or artists who were prima donnas to work with. I also heard stories of fantastic collaborations between artists and/or authors and publishers.

I also picked up some VERY helpful tips about getting professional looking cover art on a budget. This gives me hope for stepping up getting Waves of Darkness books 1-7 back on the market.

I learned some very good tips on marketing in the Newsletter Marketing workshop presented by Russell and Morgan Newquist of Silver Empire Publishing. While I’m not sure if a newsletter is right for me, given my very limited free time, I believe much of the advice can be carried over to the management of this site.

Of the panels I was on, in the Crossing Steampunk panel we discussed what genres work best with crossing over. We determined there really are no limits, since Steampunk is more an asthetic than a defined genre. It is open to individual interpretation and taste. My co-panelists were D . Alan Lewis, Claire Count, Quincy J. Allen, H. P. Holo, and Dan Hollifield.

On the Allure of Pirates panel, which I moderated, we discussed why pirates hold such a draw, whether they be historical or fictitious, on the high seas, in space, or even in Hell (Michael H. Hanson was a contributor to Perseid Press’ Pirates in Hell edition of the Heroes in Hell anthology series). The other panelists were D. Alan Lewis, C. S. Ferguson, and James Hunter, a former Marine and real-life pirate hunter. It was really entertaining to watch Mr. Hunter go all fan boy over Blackbeard when some of us revealed tidbits we’d picked up about him during the course of research on pirates and piracy for our books.

I actually had someone show up for the reading I shared with David Burkhead.

Also, the Kids’ Costuming / Masquerade practically doubled in size this year. We had 4 participants. All the kids put some great work into their costumes and props. It was NOT easy to pick a Best in Show. I hope next year’s is even harder. My co-judges were Susan Brady, Debi Chowdhury, and Jonna Hayden. The kids played Cthulu Dice while we adjourned to the con ops room to make our decisions on who won what.

I do have to admit I didn’t make it to a single science panel this year. This is the first LibertyCon I’ve attended where I didn’t go to the Space Update or the Mad Scientist Roundtable. I have shamed myself.

All in all, I had a great time and am looking forward to next year.

Captain’s Log: ConNooga 12

Bubba Venom was probably the most entertaining cosplay I saw over the weekend. He even had a six-pack of PBR.

Had a great time at ConNooga this year. The author track definitely seems to be getting back to the full, diverse, and informative programming schedule it had when Robbie still ran the track. I’m very glad about this. For a couple of years it felt like authors were falling to the wayside.

I didn’t attend all the author panels over the weekend, but I went to most of them …and took notes.

I’ll be honest, it has the impatient side of me wanting to say screw finding an agent and go ahead and commit to the indie/self-pub route for Waves of Darkness. We’ll see. I have a few ideas jumping around in my head like a flea circus. Just have to pin the buggers down and decide what to do with them before I post anything definite here.

Friday, I ran a little later than I’d meant to and missed most of the 1 pm panel. There was a little confusion on where registration was (inside exhibit hall C instead of the main hallway). The new setup is a bit easier to keep organized, however: less confusion on whether people were in line or just hanging out.

The panel I missed most of was Plotting Your Book to Make the Best Story Possible with Dan Jolley, Gil Hough, Keith Robinson, and Kenyon T. Henry (you have to put the “T” in there or you wind up with some guy obsessed with cats instead of the author).

The 2 pm panel, in the same room, was Authors Talking About Their Books with Daniel Peyton, David Joel Stevenson, and Kenyon T. Henry (the author, not the cat guy).

The 3 pm panel was Sticking to One Genre or Following Your Creativity with Dan Jolley, Gil Hough, Jim Hodgson, and Kenyon T. Henry (poor guy barely got time to spend at his own table to sell his books on Friday). Most of the discussion in this one was about whether readers get put off an author if they switch to another genre. the jury is still out on if this is done for unrelated books, but all agree an author should never switch genres (not to be mistaken for combining genres) mid-book or mid-series.

The 4 pm panel almost ended up being held in the hallway. It got double booked in the same room during the second hour of a 2-hour retro gaming console free play session. The solution the programming director came up with was to ask the gamers to mute the sound on their consoles, which were positioned around the perimeter of the room, and the author panel took place in the corner where a table and chairs were set up for panels. Apparently the lights were controlled from the switches in the conference space on the other side of the retractable divider wall. Someone kept playing with them. Still, this was a very informative panel: Marketing Your Book to Increase Readership with David Joel Stevenson and Keith Robinson. I picked up some good ideas and advice I intend to look into. One example given of an author who’s doing it right turned out to be an author I already follow, Lydia Sherrer.

I would love to pick her brain on how to get a good street crew going. (Not that I don’t already have the beginnings of a good crew; I just want to learn how to expand it.)

While I would’ve loved to attend Radio Cult’s and Atlanta Radio Theatre Company’s performances, they were held at the Chattanoogan Hotel, behind and across the street from the Convention center. The rain kind of put a damper on that for me. (Heck, we had so much rain this past weekend up through late Saturday night, I half expected to see squirrels shooting the rapids on the stream in my backyard.)

The 8 pm panel was Rules of Writing with Daniel Peyton, David Joel Stevenson, and Gil Hough. For some odd reason, the app described this panel as an autograph session.

From 9-11 pm I played an adaption of D&D for the first time in my life, role-playing as an adapted version of Viktor Brandewyne in a sci-fi setting. The panel was called Authors Build a World and Play in It! D&D Live! Author and publisher, Joseph Cadotte acted as DM/GM and was delighted to finally get his wife to willingly play. I will say Vik doesn’t fare so well when the roll of a 20-side die decides his success or failure. It was a fun world-building exercise. Daniel Peyton was the other author involved in this game, portraying his Winter wizard character, although the DM changed the character’s name to “Tim” from “Dan.” (Kudos to those who get the joke and reference.)

The first panel I attended Saturday was Independent Publishing 101 at 11 am with Gil Hough, Keith Robinson, and Kenyon T. Henry. It was pointed out during this panel that most traditionally published authors never sell enough copies to start earning royalties past what they got as an advance; so the only way they can really make a living as an author is to keep cranking out books, provided publishers keep accepting them.

The next panel I attended was Channel Your Book: Secrets from a Professional Intuitive at 4 pm with Angela Anderson. Channeling, as she explained it, is an intriguing approach to writing, but this session seemed more about how to get past writers’ block, something I really don’t have a problem with. (Besides, I’ve got enough voices in my head without inviting anymore aboard.)I attended the 7 pm Authors Talking About Their Books session with Braxton A. Cosby, Clay Gilbert, and Joseph Cadotte. I have been invited by Mr. Cadotte to re-release my Waves of Darkness books as ebooks, provided they meet with his co-op’s standards regarding violent or sexual content. I know the later books in the series won’t fit, but he’d like to review Blood Curse, at least.

I only attended one of the panels on Sunday: Pimp Your Book at 11 am with Charles Collins and Sandy Gianportone. This was part of the deep thought track. Everyone attending talked about books they recommended. I took the opportunity to plug my books and read a snippet from the Vampire Meets Siren excerpt of Blood Curse. I garnered some interest but no immediate sales.

When not attending panels (I wasn’t actually ON any panels as a panelist), I spent time hanging out with Sandra “Con Mommy” ward at the info table. I also babysat the AB tales booth to allow the owner to have a bathroom and smoke break.

I didn’t do as much shopping as I did at Chattacon. I bought a copy of The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown, a t-shirt with some mermaids who look like they mean business on it, and donated $5 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation to have my photo taken in front of Toothless and his mate.

To wrap things up, I caught an impromptu furry dance party in the main hallway on video shortly before I went home. This was a great way to end the con on a “Happy” note.

Pre-Convention News

Ahoy!

While I will be attending Chattacon 44 this weekend at Chattanooga’s historic Read House Hotel, I am not on any of the panels nor do I have a dealer table this year. I would post a list of the panels I plan to attend, but my plans are often subject to change at the last minute.

Still, if you can make it, just look for a fat old pirate wench. Chances are it’ll be me. (No, I’m not down on myself, just honest about my appearance.) I still have print copies of books 2 through 7 of my Waves of Darkness series available and will bring a few with me to try to unload around the convention. I sold out of book 1 at last year’s LibertyCon.

LibertyCon Looms Large and Other News

That’s right kids, it’s almost time for LibertyCon again — this year in a new venue, the Chattanooga Downtown Marriot adjacent to the Chattanooga Convention Center. The current owners of the Chattanooga Choo Choo have made it fairly obvious they aren’t interested in continuing business with any of the three sci/fi and fandom conventions which have called it home for the past decade or so. The Marriot is a temporary home for Libertycon, as it is my understanding the convention will be contracting with the historic Read House Hotel next year.

I will once again be pushing my books in Authors’ Alley as well as sitting on a panel or two. It also seems I’ve been cemented in as part of the crew for the children’s masquerade again. If you attend LibertyCon often enough, you WILL be put to work. Just ask Brandy.

Here’s my updated bio and schedule for this year. I would say drop by if you’re in town that weekend, but the con has been sold out for a few months now. Still, if you think you’ll be in the Chattanooga area around the last weekend of June (when they usually hold it if it doesn’t conflict with other events at the same venue) next year, be sure to log on to libertycon.org and get your tickets starting as early as July this year. They sell out fast.

In other news, I have finished going over the edits for episode 2 of The Adventures of Pigg & WoolfeThe Truce. As soon as I get a satisfactory cover put together for it, I will upload it to KDP.

I have already received my first rejection letter in my current agent hunt. Truth be told, that’s all I would expect to get this early in the game. Most of the agency websites I’ve looked at tell potential clients to expect to wait 8 weeks or more for a reply. I plan to send out another wave of queries over this holiday weekend.

Happy Memorial Day to all my U.S. readers and followers.

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Captain’s Log: ConNooga XI 2018

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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.

HallowCon Approacheth!

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That’s right boys and ghouls! This will be my last convention of the year as well as my first time attending HallowCon. This con has been going for a long time, and is now under new management (JoeDog McKeel) and in a new location (Quality Inn & Suites).

As you may guess from their graphic, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is this year’s theme. You have been warned.

I will have a table in the vending area as well as being a panelist. By the time you see this, I should have my Appearances page updated with my schedule.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I will have 10 copies each of each of my Waves of Darkness titles available for purchase. That is 70 books. I really don’t want to have to cart them back home. This will also be your last chance to get them at the old price. Because of a rate hike at the printer’s, my publisher has raised the retail price (on print copies), as well.

Get ’em while they’re cheap!

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House Hunt Bumps Book Cover… Again

Yup, this was another weekend of just household errands and a LOT of real estate site browsing as well as a house showing. No painting was accomplished, but I’m about to poke my publisher after I finish this post. I also want to make sure they weren’t in Harvey’s path (they’re in the Austin area NOT the Houston area, at least).

Plus, I’m trying to think of panel topic suggestions to give Joe Dog for HallowCon, since he asked all his guests for such. He’d like to have the suggestions by Labor Day weekend. It’ll also help him promo the con at DragonCon.

Also, I’ve started on a between-the-episodes vignette for season 3 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. It will be part of the bonus material for the third omnibus, of course… and it will be quite naughty.

To say I’m mentally scattered right now is a bit of an understatement.

Captain’s Log: LibertyCon XXX

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Well maties, another LibertyCon has come and gone. Once again, this has proven my favorite convention (and best selling, too). Even though my first panel, Whats’ New in Pirate Fantasy? (with Michael H. Hanson and Rocky Perry) was at ONE on Friday (a time when many cons are still a few hours away from even starting) it had a decent turn-out (10 or so, not bad for early Friday afternoon).

While my book sales were not as good as last year’s, they were still better than the other cons I’ve done this year. I sold nine books, and at least one of every title available. Three of my sales were to repeat customers either completing or at least continuing their collection of the series. The Maelstrom of Fate signed copy pre-order sale was a bust, however. I promise to work on figuring out how to run it through Paypal and re-opening it in September online.

My scheduled reading didn’t pan out. Late events on a Sunday are always lightly or unattended as many con-goers check out from the hotel and depart for home early. I had no attendees, not even the other author scheduled to share the time slot. Still, I managed to get in a brief impromptu reading at the Kaffeeklatsch Sunday morning. I was joking with one of my table mates about the lack of rum at the breakfast (I was in my pirate garb, of course), then mentioned one of my characters (Jon-Jon) who would complain about being entirely too sober. This led to reading a short excerpt from Blood Curse (book 1) with a scene between him and Viktor which was well received.

Some of the panels I attended but didn’t sit on were How to Approach a Publisher; Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice; Indie Publishing Workshop; and the Mad Scientists Roundtable. While there were a few space related panels, we didn’t get the Space Update this year. Les Johnson was away in Italy at a Space Conference. Rob Hampson (aka Speaker to Lab Animals, formerly aka Tedd Roberts) hosted the Roundtable.

How to Approach a Publisher: This panel was run by Gray Rinehart, Gary Poole aka Kelly Lockhart, Dan Hollifield, and Michael H. Hanson. STICK TO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES! Be nice and keep it professional. Tell a GOOD story and WRITE WELL (you know, properly spelled used correctly with correct punctuation). Network! This is what lit cons are for: get to know the pros you meet; have conversation with them; ask questions/advice; DO NOT HAND THEM A MANUSCRIPT AT A CON (see first point)! If you handle this correctly, they will be familiar with your name and it might help move you PROPERLY SUBMITTED manuscript to the top of the pile. Be willing to accept critical review.

Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice was a workshop run by Kevin Hearne, this year’s Literary Guest of Honor. I wish it could have been a two hour workshop instead of one, I still haven’t finished my writing exercise. I guess flash fiction just isn’t my forte. (My brain goes much faster than my hands, which makes it tricky to keep up.) Still, I found this workshop very useful and plan to hang onto my notes from it. I may do a separate blog post just on this at a later date. It’s a lot to cover. Suffice to say for now that Those People who say, “Voice can’t be taught; you either have it or you don’t,” are WRONG.

The Indie Publishing Workshop was supposed to have been run by Peter Grant and Dorothy Klapp, but they were double booked for the time slot. (A panel in another room got cancelled and everything in that room was bumped up an hour, hence the unintentional double booking.) Therefore, Jim Curtis, Tom Rogneby, and John Van Stry (none of whom were listed as attending pros but ARE indie/self published authors) stood in for them. This was another event which will require its own blog post to cover everything, but they covered everything from pre-publication to marketing for those who wish to go the indie/self-pub route. Even audiobooks were mentioned.

Speaking of, I got the same referral from two different authors/publishers who dabble in audiobook editions of their books: ACX.com. “Artistic Creative Exchange” is Amazon/Audibel’s self-pub arm and something I plan to look into for Waves of Darkness. I hold the audio rights to my books, and I’ve had at least five people in the past month ask me if I have them available on audio. I’ve been wanting to take Viktor to audio for several years now, but always thought it was something I couldn’t afford. What I learned at this con tells me the time is right to finally take that leap.

The Mad Scientists Roundtable, a LibertyCon tradition, covered several interesting topics this year. We started with the Kepler project, which has discovered aver 2300 exo-planets thus far. This led to discussion of the TESS mission to try to find Earth-like planets and life-markers. The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop was mentioned along with questions such as should we be looking? and how far out should we try to go? It was agreed that even though we may not have the tech to REACH an exo-planet, finding one which meets the life-sustainability criteria would give us the impetus to DEVELOP the tech. The question was also raised on whether we should focus on trying to reach Mars or to shoot for one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, such as Enceladus (which has water). This was debated without a general consensus; in fact aiming for some of the larger asteroids was mentioned as yet another option. Of course, any such mission would require more study of the long-term effects of radiation exposure and micro-gravity on human life and longevity.

The next subject was quantum computing. Someone wondered if it was the “next cold fusion” in that they keep promising it but never quite delivering. Questions raised were: what will we use it for; is it the next step to true artificial intelligence; and can we make it commercially viable? It seemed generally agreed that this was totally unknown and some scary $#!t.

Of course, this discussion led to the news Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuro-Link seeking to find ways to create a brain/computer interface. Currently, this ONLY exists in science fiction, although experimental medical electronic implants exist to treat certain brain disorders/injuries (with varying success; and they aren’t computer linked). The possibilities of using this tech once it finally manifests to reprogram one’s body to self-correct medical issues came up. The questions discussed were: would you want a biomedical implant; and when should we allow people to elect to have one as opposed to it being a medical necessity? Many agreed this should not go forward until there is some way to protect against hackers. Still, many saw a commercial potential for such implants (especially among gamers who could use one to improve and augment reaction times). One this was certain: this kind of tech will raise all sorts of ethics questions along the way, especially with the potential for abuse (read: mind control). Also the question came up of could you be forced to have one, say by the government or even your employer?

The Roundtable ended with the question of when will we have fusion.

As was pointed out by one wag, we already have a fusion generator… 92,955,807 miles away.

I realize I’m jumping about, chronologically speaking, in this report. I also wanted to share this recording of Gray Rinehart performing the filk song he specifically wrote for LibertyCon last year when he was MC.

Then, it was a tribute to fandom and the late David Bowie; now, it is a tribute to LibertyCon’s longevity and last year at the  Chattanooga Choo Choo. Exactly when and where the next LibertyCon will be depends on what sort of contract Brandy Spraker and the board of directors can work out with another venue.

Once this is settled and the information available, you can bet I will be buying my membership for next year.

Also, look forward to an expanded cosplay/costuming track at LibertyCon. I’ll post more on that as the info becomes available.

Personal Schedule for LibertyCon 30

If you have tickets to attend LibertyCon this year, I look forward to seeing you there; if not, unfortunately the convention is already sold out. LC limits attendance to 750 people in order to maintain the small con family vibe. Tickets for LibertyCon 31 should go on sale on their website Sunday, July 2nd. I would advise booking early; memberships CAN be carried over to the next year if you are unable to attend by the time of the convention.

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June 30 – July 2, 2017

LibertyCon 29 Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Friday

1 pm What’s New in the World of Pirate Fantasy Centennial Theater

Moderator with Michael H. Hanson and Rocky Perry

5 pm Opening Ceremonies Centennial Theater

6 pm Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With Brett Brooks, Allan Kemp, Stephanie Osborn, and Lydia Sherrer

Saturday

Noon Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With Michael J. Allen, Jason Cordova, Van Allen Plexico, and Dave Schroeder

1 pm Autograph Session Dealer Room

With Jarrod Alberich, Scott W. Baker, and Karl Gallagher

3 pm Kids’ Costuming/Masquerade and Magic Show CARTA Room

Emcee Darrell “Doc” Osborn and my fellow judges, Susan Brady and Jonna Hayden

Sunday

10 am Kaffeklatsch Roosevelt Room

With all attending pros not too hung over from Saturday night’s room parties. A chance for convention attendees to mingle and chat with the pros over coffee and a continental breakfast

Noon Authors’ Alley Dealer Room and Art Show Lobby

With David B. Coe/D. B. Jackson, H. P. Holo, Chris Kennedy, and Dave Schroeder

2 pm Reading American Train Car

With Michael Lackey

Captain’s Log: Con Nooga X

I’ll start by saying that, although I didn’t attend many panels nor serve on any, I did enjoy Con Nooga X. I spent the majority of my time in the Exhibitor Hall at my table. I’m glad to say the organizers did place tables along the outer walls this year. Last year nothing was placed along the wall on the last row, and many con goers didn’t realize there WERE tables on that row to browse and shop at. I will have to remember next year to request electricity for my table so I can power my laptop or recharge my phone (which I use for my card reader). I also plan to watch the website for when preregistration opens in order to (hopefully) get a more central table instead of one on the last row.

My book sales were poor. I only sold two copies of Blood Curse, not enough to cover the price I paid for my table. Seeing and hearing how book sales were at other author tables (we weren’t all on one row this year, but scattered about the room), I’m not sure if this was due to my prices (something I have very limited control over/ I am NOT self-published), the genre mix of my books, or my sales pitch. I’m thinking it was mostly due to the genre mix. Sometimes you just don’t get the right audience.

I did encounter several who seemed to like the idea behind the stories, but only two with the funds and the willingness to purchase copies. Several showed interest in the ebook versions, but I won’t know if the interest will result in any online sales until I get the royalty report for the first quarter from my publisher.

I also have gotten good feedback, both at the convention from a current reader who didn’t have the funds to get the next book in their journey through the series yet, and from a coworker who’s recently embarked on the same journey. This feedback came at a most needed time, since the poor sales at this convention and the previous convention dealt a blow to my confidence as an author.

If you follow an author and enjoy their work, PLEASE TELL THEM. It will help guarantee they continue to provide you with the stories you enjoy.

Back to the convention: the costume hunt this year was very successful. I think I took over 200 photos during the three days of the con. You can see them here, even if you don’t use FB.

I also took this little video of the cutest little Jedi I’ve ever seen.

I only attended a few panels, as I stated earlier. One was with Martin Klebba who played Marty in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He talked about his work not only on the Pirates movies but as a stunt man, how he got into acting, and his dream of becoming a police officer if/when they ever do away with the height restriction.

I attended the Dark Princess Theatre panel/show in which Lady Gwendolyne (Hope Holloway) explained how she, as an undead professional Black Widow, goes about selecting her next vict… er husband, and the order and speed with which to marry and dispose of him once he meets her standards (rich, landed, no close relatives to get nosy). During the show, her first prospective victim from the audience left once he realized this was NOT a burlesque show, and she would not be getting naked.

Hope and her husband, John, also act as guides for the Chattanooga Ghost Tours.

Another panel I attended was “This One Time at a Con.” This one got pretty raunchy, not visually mind you, but in the stories related. One of the panelists became known as “The Man Who Kicked Jayne” for drunkenly kicking Adam Baldwin in the nuts after getting snubbed by the actor in favor of a couple of hotties when seeking an autograph. There were also stories of sex, both with celebrities and in semi-public places; BDSM in the hallway at a con run by some rather conservative organizers; room party stories such as one of the panelists commonly known as “the Dude” encountering a naked chick with a supersoaker filled with booze at a party, leading to a drunken black out and coming to ad-libbing ala MST3K some crappy TV show next to Seth Green; encountering Dr. Rocksoff, a local entertainer at one time, back at Con Nooga 6, in full clown makeup but naked from the neck down just as he jumped into the pool… the outdoor pool… in FEBRUARY; and another story about the Dude when he had a bowling bag dispenser filled with White Russian. Before the panel could even get under weigh, however, we had to relocated to another room. We were too loud for the drag queen panel in the next conference room. About midway through the panel, we were invaded by clowns.

This was the first Con Nooga in a few years where I didn’t attend any of the room parties personally. It turned cold Saturday night, and I didn’t have a very warm version of my pirate garb on.

The one event I wanted to attend but missed was Friday night’s Radio Cult concert. The event preceding it did not clear the stage on time. In fact, they ran at least 45 minutes over or more. (I know this because that’s how long I waited before I gave up and went home. Had to make sure I got enough rest before coming back out the next morning to man my table.)

I will be back at Con Nooga next year.