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.

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!

Pre-con Diversion

Vik

Sorry for such a drop-down to the image. While I was able to clean up the clutter on the original sketch, I couldn’t get my ancient computer to let me crop the darn thing. Maybe because I saved it as a .png? I’m really not that tech savvy, and I don’t have the kind of time needed to play around with programs to truly get the hang of them. (I used MS Paint to edit the pic, for crying out loud.)

Anywho, this is a sketch I drew of Viktor during one of the slow times at my table at Chattacon last month.

While I will be attending ConNooga this weekend, I am not running a table this year. Finances are a bit tight with the new house and learning the hard way I have the highest charging water and electric utilities in the county.

That being said, I do still have several copies of all 7 titles in the Waves of Darkness series available. If anyone is going to be at the con and is interested in purchasing them, look for the middle-aged pirate wench pushing a roller bag around. If I don’t have the title you want with me Friday, we can just set up a time to meet Saturday or Sunday, and I’ll bring it/them then.

Captain’s Log: HallowCon 2017

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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.

 

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!

BloodCurse9DemonBayou9-72dpiSilent_FathomsBlack-Venom-cover-take2Hell's Dodothe_daedalus_enigma_cover_5Maelstrom of Fate proposed cover

Long-running Scripts Suck Ditch Water

Finally was able to make this post. All weekend I’ve been unable to access the add post feature on this site due to a long running script which resulting in WordPress not responding.

I am nearly through going over the PDF my publisher sent me for approval for Maelstrom of Fate. Once I get it back to them and the needed corrections are made, it should be on to publication. I should definitely have print copies available for HallowCon. I have ten copies each of the previous six titles already on hand to take to the con with me. As is my usual practice, I will be offering convention exclusive book bundle deals.

I also added a landing page under the Books and Short Stories tab for Maelstrom of Fate. It only has the blurb and the cover art right now. I will add purchase links, video readings, and reviews as they become available.

Maelstrom of Fate proposed cover

Maelstrom of Fate Cover Art Complete

Finally.

Of course I still need to take the painting to Staples and have it scanned and scaled down to the correct 6″ x 9″ size. The painting is 9″ x 13.5″, acrylic on canvas board.

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For anyone wondering, since I only mentioned the fact in a couple of places in the entire 7 book series, Viktor Brandewyne is half Cherokee, hence the darker complexion. (It’s mentioned in Blood Curse during the conversation with Mother Celie about his curse, and in either Black Venom or Hell’s Dodo when Viktor explains to Lady Carpathia why he’s so dark skinned even after being a vampire for a few years. I admit I forget the exact timelines of some of my subplots and have to skim back through the books to pinpoint certain references.)

Here’s the progression of the painting:

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And here are close ups of some of the details:

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Exploding ships

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Mamaan Juma and her zombies

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Graveyard and blood red irises

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Viktor

I admit, I’m still not happy with the image of Viktor. I think I got his face too narrow; and I know it will take a lot of practice to get painting a face on a par with my ability to do a colored pencil portrait.

I also apologize for the glare on the image. Acrylic is a rather shiny medium.

The next step after I have a reduced copy made is to scan that into my computer and send it on to my publisher.