WindyCon 45 quick report

I was feeling super-nervy & timid going into WindyCon this year, what with doing panels there for the first time and all, but it turned out totally fab.

So many amazing moments. Shared a dealer table with author friends met at Nebulas and at Gumbo Fiction AND still got to hang out with Rich at Games Plus’s  table and our WindyCon neighbor Richard from Dark River Pottery.

Talked book promotion on a panel with a traditionally published pro and someone who does promotion for a living and didn’t feel (too) overwhelmed.  Swapped stories about my favorite guilty-pleasure reads and watches on an imposing stage with someone rocking a s zebra-stripe mohawk (Kevin Roche, cosplay Guest of Honor, who has MAD costuming skills)  Got to talk about stories by Arthur C Clark, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, and a bunch of other classic authors I haven’t re-read in years. (all tales that left us teary-eyed.) Got to indulge my passion for end-of-the-world fiction with other like-minded souls.

ANYWAY. I digress. Staying at the con hotel even though the con was under an hour from home made a huge difference.  I had time to catch up with friends met at past cons and time to make new friends too.  Among the many people I met this year, I discovered one who lives nearby.  And I mean, RIGHT nearby. (Barbara Barnett, her book is The Apothecary’s Curse, and it’s super-neat, and she already knows one of my best friends from another walk of life. Such is the small world of synchronicity.)  Aaaand I digress again.

Chatted with readers who bought books in past years, wonderful kind people who let me talk about characters and tell me who they like best and inspire me to Just. Keep. Swimming. (so to speak)  I also gained new readers, AND I found good adoptive homes for the last few copies of my in-need-of-corrections first edition paperback. Huzzah.

So I bought myself bling, because I allow myself to buy shiny things when I send books home with people.

Tear-down with Rich for the Games Plus table went swimmingly (my big capital investment in a folding wagon TOTALLY paid for itself.) The drive home was uneventful, and now I’m cozy-comfy, with fuzzy socks on my feet, wine in a glass, and figure skating on the TV.

…and Spouseman bought me cherry pie for dessert.

:happy sigh:

Have a couple of pics of my new shinies. New book, a tee I can wear to work, gorgeous plates from Dark River, & GLOW IN THE DARK glass sparklies!

And have a few pics of Our Authors Corner of the dealer room too. It was neato-keen.

Toni Johnson, Brendan Detzner, and Alice Liddell

 

LED BUNNY
All the magic fits into these boxes
My little corner of Authorland, next to Toni’s Steampunk Cyborg Zombie series

Okay. That’s it for now.

 

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Today is the one-year release anniversary for Rough Passages.  Never has a book been more aptly named, for oh, so many reasons. Read on to get the details.

3 years ago today: I was struggling with a novel I eventually set aside, building my author website, & coping with various health troubles. Barely treading water, creatively.

2 years ago today: I was struggling with Spouseman’s major health troubles, working on a frustrating short story, and coping with the aftermath of painful dental surgery. Ugh.

1 year ago today: still mostly struggling, and I let down a lot of people, but support from friends, fellow authors, & readers kept me going. Rough Passages happened because of that support. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I went on to finish the story-that-turned-into-a-Rough-Passages follow-up novel, and THIS year? This year, that follow-up is in revisions, I’ve completed 2 new short stories, and I’m 3/4 done with a novel draft in a different, brand-new series.

It’s a happy day indeed.

Here’s my pretty baby:

Rough Passages-Digital 1600Cover
Super-powered grandmas, doomed teens, and monster Marines.

A buy link in case you want one: get Rough Passages here

Book needs blurb. Author needs hug.

Writing cover copy is a particular set of writing skills, but skills can be learned, right?   Practice makes perfect. No pressure. These are just the words that make or break a reader’s first impression of my book. IT’S FINE, REALLY.

<sobs>

Here’s my first stab at a blurb for The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday, the next novel in my Rough Passages supers series. Thoughts, anyone?

Grace Trapani is fighting for her life. The Department of Public Safety wants her behind bars, her estranged husband wants to control her body and soul, and the power in her blood makes her a threat to her own family.

She left behind everything she knows to protect her daughters, but she can’t hide from the destructive forces growing inside her. Only a dedicated group of rebels within the Department can help her escape imprisonment and death.

I know it needs something. Salt? Garlic? A swift, sharp kick? Anyway.

Also, Grace’s last name is currently up for revision. It might end up being Horn or Reed, or maybe Keiffer?  NAMES ARE HARD TOO. Ideas welcome.

To end on a less-whiny note, pretty pictures! The top image is the full-wrap cover painting. Below is a detail on the front cover. It’s coming out pale on my monitor, not sure why. It’s gorgeous, really.

I LOVE THIS COVER THOSEoY Postcard

I learned a new Kindle thing.

I am soooooooo late to the party with this one, but I’m happy about learning it, so I’m sharing my joy. Let’s start with the basics. Do you:

  • own a Kindle?
  • Use Amazon Prime?
  • Enjoy books published by independent and/or small press authors?
  • Like to support indie authors but don’t have a big entertainment budget?

DID YOU KNOW: if you answered yes to all those questions,  there’s a program that’s perfect for you? It’s called the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL).

You can download 1 free read per month straight to your Kindle, for free, AND the author gets a per-page-read payment. That’s right. You pick from a ton of great Kindle books (like, say, one of MY titles) read it for free on your Kindle, AND the author gets money.

Everyone wins, right? You can support an author you like every month with it just by reading a book. Seems too good to be true, but IT IS TRUE!

The main catch seems to be that the title has to also be in Kindle Unlimited, but hey, there are a LOT of those. Including my sorta-romances and the big single-edition version of the Stories of the Restoration. Just saying.

Do you want to know how it works?  I did, so I hunted down details.  There’s an official how-to video on this Amazon page How to Borrow a Kindle Book through KOLL. That was enough to get me started. I brought up the Kindle store on my Kindle, looked up a book by title & author, and one touch later, it was downloading. Yay, reading!

Want to know more? Here’s a site with more information and a nice comparison of  this KOLL program and Kindle Unlimited: Some useful details about KOLL.  It’s a little out of date–there’s now Prime Borrowing to complicate matters, for one thing–but it has a bunch of basics.

Dragon Con 2018: Just around the corner!

Here’s where I’ll be next week on my biggest convention excursion all year.

FIRST:  Bard’s Tower is hosting 20 authors this year. I am honored to be in some fantastic company AND HAVE MY BOOKS FOR SALE. (Also free cards, bookmarks, and Unity stickers while they last.) Stop by. Meet awesome people. Buy books and get them signed, or just say hello.

  • Bard’s Tower: second floor of the America’s Mart Booth #2719
    • Friday: 3-7 PM
    • Saturday: 10-2 PM
    • Sunday: 3-6:30 PM
    • Monday: afternoon to close.

SECOND: I’m participating in the Broad Universe Rapid Reading series this year. Come hear quick snippets from books by a bunch of great authors, including my excerpt from Sharp Edge of Yesterday.

  • Sunday 7 PM in Techwood, downstairs on the Hyatt conference level

THIRD: when I’m not in those two places, I’ll mostly be in or near the Armory, where I’m pleased to share that I’ll be volunteering again for my…can it be my fourth year already? Whoa. Time flies when I’m writing books.

  • The Armory: downstairs on the Hyatt Conference level, same floor as the Motor Lobby. 

If you’re in town for the con and only know me from social media, please stop by any of these places. I would love, LOVE, LOVE to meet in person.

 

 

Michigan ComicCon report double-header: new book cover reveal too!

If you look really close at this post’s feature image of the Michigan Comic Con Bard’s Tower booth,  you can see postcards showing the cover for my new book. Since I’ve been passing them out like there’s no tomorrow here in Detroit, I guess it’s only fair to share the fun with the rest of the world.

I’m aiming to release The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday at WindyCon in November, but don’t go inking that date on your calendar just yet.  The manuscript is currently with the editor. I’ll hold off on a final countdown until I have revisions in hand. Meanwhile I can say with confidence, “RELEASING SOON,” and that means I can share the cover art!

Rest your eyeballs on this lovely, lovely painting by the talented Rhiannon Taylor. This will be the foundation for the paperback wraparound cover.SEoY WIP8

Here’s a detail of the front cover with text design:SEoY Postcard

What’s the book about?  Superpowers! Major disasters! Deep dark secrets!

Beyond that tagline? Errrm….I am having a hell of a time condensing the density of the story into a sales-worthy blurb. It keeps turning into a bad B-movie teaser in my head:

  • See!
    A single mother at the end of her rope, hiding from a terrible past and cursed with deadly powers! Marvel at her boundless courage as she fights for her life and holds her family together against all odds!
  • Watch! As a group of dedicated idealists band together to protect her from her enemies and herself! Cheer for their bravery, admire their ability to slash through bureaucracy and defend the weak from the powers of evil…

Yeah. I know, that’s awful.  The struggle is real.

Anyhow, so I don’t have a cover blurb yet. Bad author. No treat.

But! I do have glorious art, and an exciting fantastic story, and it will be a book this year. Celebration enough for one blog post, says I.

In other news, the convention was even more fun Saturday than Friday,  with many great conversations about books and writing and SFF in general (and fan-fiction, and art, and anime, and the fun of history research and…well. You get the idea) Plus quite a few readers went home happy with new books in hand. Hip-hip-huzzah!

Random pictures:IMG_4557IMG_4556IMG_4558IMG_4555

That’s a wrap on today. Onward to tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

A funny thing happened on Wattpad

I woke up to a ton of Wattpad notifications yesterday.  This was a puzzler, because I hadn’t posted there since last fall, and follow stats there plummet when nothing new goes up.

This caught my eye as soon as I logged into my profile:

9F9E377E-F968-4C58-82EE-8DDC3774340C

21? My big, ungainly mega-book about the past of my Restoration novels is at #21 on a Top 100 list? Sweet! But…it didn’t answer my main question: why now?

That’s where the message in my Wattpad inbox came in. Congrats! it declared, and went on to explain that Downrigger has been chosen as a Featured Book in a new Wattpad program called (wait for it) Featured Books.

For 21 days, Downrigger will be showcased to the Wattpad community at large. And I’m pleased to report a bunch of people are adding it to their lists–some are diving right into reading it.

Well, then. Color me happy, eh?

Edited to add: I’m told I need to provide a link to the book. No problem! Here:

Click here to open Downrigger on Wattpad.

I still don’t know why the book was chosen, but the whole “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: thing comes into play. I’m delighted it’s getting attention. That’s the reason I put Downrigger out for public consumption after all.  I adore its main characters, and its weird twisty, sprawly plot is a thrill ride.

You might wonder why didn’t I buff it up and sell it, if it’s so good…well. Several answers:

  1. it is not professionally edited, and I’m reluctant to spend the necessary time & money on doing that for books in this series at this time.
  2. it’s much too big for one book but not big enough for two, and that would be another formatting headache I wouldn’t need on top of editing.
  3.  some of its concepts & continuity are outdated and would be hard to fix without rewriting from scratch. Which I’m definitely not interested in doing right now.

Despite all those obstacles, I have a deep-seated need to complete projects. Downrigger’s presence in my unfinished-books queue was a constant distraction and source of creative guilt. It needed a better home than my hard drive, a final destination  I could send it without feeling I should apologize for its unpolished, ungroomed condition.

Thanks to Wattpad, it now has a home. I was happy for that alone. Now it’s being featured?!   I’m grateful, entertained, and all around chuffed that it’s getting some reading love.

And in a total aside, I’m learning that Wattpad community members have the AWESOMEST names for their reading lists.

Thanks, Wattpad. Thank you, readers. May you enjoy reading about Hook, Doug & Misha’s adventures as much as I enjoyed writing about them.