1. Storysculpting Whimsy

Up On The Roof: a short story

Introduction: the magazine that originally published this story is no longer active. I don’t want Grawlix the gargoyle to disappear, but no one is clamoring at me for reprint rights, (hahahahahaha) so I’m pasting the story here in my own corner of the interwebs.

It’s about a little girl, a big gargoyle, and the power of belief. Happy Spring.


Every Friday, the girl on the roof planted snowmen. I watched her in silence every time she crept out the fire door and did her little ritual, and every Friday it bugged me more. Patrons aren’t allowed on the roof. The hulking HVAC units, the crunchy gravel, the slanted, begrimed skylights, and above all the wide parapets that made such perfect roosts—all those things belong to me and my sister and brothers.

That’s the Agreement. The Librarians guard the contents of the building, both the mundane and the secret, and we guard the outside. Four times a year the Administrators do their dances and chants to refresh our wards, and twice a year the Pages scrub us and the skylights, spread a new layer of tar on the gravel and change air filters. We watch over them all, and they go away when they’re done.

The roof was ours. Patrons stayed in the Down-below. Except this one.

Every Friday this winter, this little girl showed up with her puffy red coat zipped up to her tiny nose and a cup full of ice cubes clutched in both hands. She would spend an hour sticking ice cubes into every snowdrift and whispering to them, and then she would creep away. She never once looked at us, the watching guardians. It was insulting, that’s what it was.

The kid was so sure those ice cubes would grow into snowmen, too. She told each chunk of frozen water what she wanted it to do until it dripped through her fingers, but of course the trick never worked. She didn’t have the power to make the magic work. She said please, and you can do it, and I believe in you as if the words would make a difference, but power has nothing to do with faith or courtesy.

Like all the other Patrons, she was nothing but blind ignorance wrapped up in wet flesh.

The ignorance didn’t bother me. The way she kept ignoring all of us did. We’re huge, all of us. We’re designed to look terrifying, but she just didn’t care. It irked me.

This Friday she crept out the fire door onto the icy gravel just like always, and after a look around, she headed straight for the snow piled in the lee of the north parapet. That put her right under my great big nose, just like previous week and the one before that, and she still didn’t even look up.

It was enough to make any gargoyle feel insecure. Why couldn’t I impress a kid whose whole head would fit in one nostril? What was wrong with me?

I should’ve kept my mouth shut. Be silent is one of the big Rules, right up there with never let them see you move. We have a lot of rules. No one can follow all of them all the time, and there’s only so much rudeness a person can take.

Besides, the kid broke the rules first. Patrons didn’t belong on the roof. She must’ve sneaked past two locked doors to get to the roof stairs, and children weren’t allowed to wander unsupervised. That made three rules she’d broken right there. Who knew what else she’d done?

So I opened my big mouth, figuratively speaking. <What’cha doin,’ kid?>

She shrieked, which was satisfying, and she ran all the way to the fire door. I laughed so hard. Her stubby, little legs almost blurred, she was moving so fast.

Then she stopped and turned around, slowly, with her little brown hands all tight-fisted and her lumpy brown face scrunched up in an expression any gargoyle would be proud to display.

“Rawr,” she said, and marched right back to me. “Rawwrr.”

Right. In. My. Face.

She waved her hands over her head and did it again. “RAWWRRR!”

I admit, I was taken aback. I have big ears. The yelling was actively painful.

She was missing three teeth on her lower jaw, and the remaining teeth didn’t look useful. I’d never noticed how pointless Patron teeth were. Not that I use mine for biting, but they’re nice and sharp. The Pages see to that, filing off mineral buildup from rainwater and polishing them smooth.

Maybe she was defective. That would let me off the hook for talking to her. I decided to risk satisfying my curiosity. <Is that supposed to frighten me, or are you incapable of forming words?>

She lowered her arms and closed her mouth, only to open it again immediately. “Ha! I knew it. You did talk. Your mouth doesn’t move, but you speak. You’re alive.”

I’m not, actually. I’m a construct. That’s an important technicality when it comes to things like souls and immortality and blah-blah-blah secrets of the universe stuff. Precision is important. I turned my thoughts to condensing those ideas into idiot-Patron vocabulary without revealing any secrets.

Something wonderful distracted me.

There was a smell, a scent so penetrating and rich that it stopped all thoughts except one: want. This scent was delight distilled; it was sweet and pungent, so thick with creamy tones and smooth notes that my nose went into spasms trying to catch them all.

I did mention the nose, didn’t I? It’s big. There’s a reason. I’m a not simply a grotesque, not a mere stony ornament. I’m a gargoyle, and gargoyles are designed to channel things in through their bodies and out through their noses and mouths.

Traditional gargoyles channel water off roofs. That’s why they face outward. Library gargoyles? We channel magic. We’re designed to capture the universal forces drawn to stored knowledge. We catch it and safely direct it all down into the building where it can be tapped, stored, or eliminated as the Librarians choose.

The work is done by big wings, broad backs and bellies, yawning cavernous mouths, and huge noses—and our noses are sensitive, too. How else could we sense evil trying to thread its way into the guarded places? Forget sampling parts per million. I can detect the odor of one fallen demon among the infinite crowd of angels in an air molecule. We’re all about the sniffers.

I had never smelled anything like this in my life. <What is that?> I demanded. <What is that smell?>

The kid jumped back, tripped and bounced her butt on the gravel. That defective mouth of hers gaped open again, and her eyes filled up with water. I braced myself to be deafened. The screams from Patron families dragging kids out the front door Down-below always hurt my ears, and this little creature was a lot closer.

She sat and made sniffly noises. No screams. I tried again. <You smell delicious. What smells so delicious?>

“I don’t know. Are you going to eat me?”

The idiocy of Patrons never ceases to amaze me. The Library histories are full of their incredible feats of intellect, but most of them are as thick as bricks. <Don’t be absurd. I’m made of stone. How could I eat anything? Please come back so I can smell you better. You smell wonderful, and I want more.>

The kid got up and came closer. The smell came with her. When she wrapped both her hands around my upper tusks where they curved over my lip, the heady, powerful scent grew so thick that I thought I might pass out from it. <So sweet. So tangy. So perfect. Can you stay there forever?>

She climbed higher, onto my front paws, and tugged my ear. “I don’t think so. Uncle Hector would miss me. Mom and Dad, too. What does absurd mean? Is it worse than stupid? Uncle Hector’s assistant calls me stupid all the time.”

Most of that went in one ear and out the other. Despite the vast knowledge the Library gives me, my area of expertise is pretty limited. I’ve never left the same rooftop where I was brought to life seventeen years ago. I know Patrons have complicated hierarchies and relationships inside and outside the Library, of course, but assigning meaning to facts is difficult without a frame of reference.

The name Hector had meaning. <You know the Head Librarian?>

“Is he head of something? He has the tiniest office. Mom has to work late on Fridays in her new job, and I can’t walk home alone because it’s too dangerous, so I come here until Uncle Hector can take me home. He brings groceries and stays for supper.”

That explained how the kid got here. If she was under the Head Librarian’s protection, no door in the building would be locked to her, and his office was above the wards that made Patrons ignore the floors filled with curiosities and books in dead languages. His office would look like an archivist’s cubby. All the Librarians have mundane job titles as well as supernatural duties. Patrons don’t do well with magic past a certain age, not even family members.

This kid obviously hadn’t reached that age. She was climbing all over me now, poking at my decorations and brushing snow off my eyebrows, perfectly comfortable with a talking statue. It felt delightful. Spring equinox cleaning was a long way off, and grimy city air always gets into crevices. I decided to add to my Patron experience base while my neck fringe was being scratched. Relationships were hard things to work out. <Do you love your uncle?>

“Of course I do. Don’t you love your family? Aren’t those your family?”

A little hand waved in my peripheral vision. I decided that if I was going to ask questions, it was only fair to answer some. <Those are my brothers and sisters, but gargoyles don’t do love and families. We have audacities.>

“That’s a funny word.” She hopped down to duck in front of me. “Do you have names? Do the others talk too? Why are you here?”

<I’m Grawlix. My sister Nittle is facing us, and my brothers Agitron and Briffit are on the left and right walls. They sleep more than me.>

They sleep almost all the time, honestly. Our cornerstone was only laid twenty years ago, and it takes a lot of time for a construct to build up enough residual magic to awaken without a Librarian’s help. <We collect magic from moonbeams and starlight at night and pour it into the Library.>

We also guard against the demons who lurk in darkness and storms, and we assist the Librarians in repelling attacks against the minor works of Power stored here. I didn’t mention that. Kids don’t need to know everything. I’d been awake ever since this one started puttering around on the roof, but she didn’t need to know that I’d initially thought she was a threat.

“Gathering starlight sounds pretty,” she said. “I’m Krissy Pollux. Nice-to-meet-you-Grawlix.”

I couldn’t see her now with my nose in the way, but something bumped heavily against my tongue, and then I had the strangest sensation. <Are you inside me? I thought you were afraid I’d eat you.>

Krissy’s voice echoed. “You said you wouldn’t. How odd you are! Hollow like a cave, and warm. May I eat my snack in here? It’s nicer than the corner of the top floor where I usually go to hide from Barton.”

The kid was sitting in my belly with her feet on my lips. It had to look undignified, but oh, heavens, who could care while that happy smell permeated my body? <I like you there. Why do you hide from Hector’s assistant? Patrons aren’t usually allowed on the roof, you know, and children are supposed to stay with adults.>

“I’m not a child. I’m almost six. And Barton is a snotty snotball.”

Wet smacking noises punctuated her words, and the glorious scent intensified a million times. Its sweetness gained deeper, richer tones, some earthy, some astringent, and I belatedly realized something. The smell was the kid’s snack, not her. <What are you eating? Where did you get it?>

“It’s a banana. Oh, I’m so sorry.” She squirmed a bit, which tickled. “Are you hungry? I should’ve split it in half.”

Banana. Associations fell into place. Chemistry. Botany. Horticulture. Shapes and sizes, nutritional profiles, growing conditions, shelf life and pricing—I tore my attention away from the data flow. Nothing in it hinted at the incredible wonder of the smell, not even descriptions of aromatic molecules like crystalline spindles. Nothing could substitute for the experience.

Krissy said, “I’ve eaten most of it, but you should have the rest. You said you wouldn’t eat me, so I –I’m sorry. Being hungry is awful.”

If gargoyles had hearts, mine would’ve melted, right then and there. <Don’t be sorry. I don’t eat anything. Not little girls, not bananas. If I did eat food, I think I would only eat bananas forever. Where did you get it?>

“Uncle Hector. He gave it to me. I didn’t steal it.”

Of course the kid hadn’t stolen it. Hector was a the Library Administrator. A thief couldn’t take dust from this building without his knowledge. Where she’d gotten it wasn’t important. I was more interested in why no one ever brought us one before now, and most of all, how soon I could get more.

Those weren’t questions Krissy could answer, but she could keep helping me understand Patrons better. <Why don’t you stay in your Uncle’s office?>

“He’s always busy, and Barton is mean whenever he isn’t looking. He says I’m a stupid little ape, and every time he loses things, he says I stole them. I like the stacks better, and the pictures in the books. And it’s pretty out here on the roof, only I get cold and lonely.”

<Is that why you make snowmen? To keep you company?>

“No, I want to make them dance because Uncle Hector wouldn’t do it this winter for me. He says I’m too old now and should start forgetting about them soon. I don’t want to forget. I want to make my own and prove that Barton’s wrong and I’m not stupid.”

The last few words came out so loud they made my ears ache. A limp, yellowish-brown thing landed with a splat on the roof nearby. Sweet rapture trailed along behind it, which meant it was the remains of the banana. I forgave the littering, just that once.

Gritty boots pressed against my teeth. Krissy said, “You never told me what absurd means,” she said.

That was true. I’d forgotten already. <Absurd means deserving of derision or mockery. See also ridiculous, silly or frivolous.>

“So it is like stupid.” She kicked my left lower tusk. “I guess I’m all those things. I’m stupid, and silly, and ridiculous.”

Kick, kick, kick, kick. Every syllable.

<Ow. If you keep doing that, I will call someone to take you away.>

Silence. Snuffling. “Go ahead. I don’t like it here anymore. I hate being too stupid to do magic.”

<Who told you magic was about brains? That’s absurd too. Magic is about spirit. You can’t do magic because you’re a Patron, that’s all. It’s how life works.>

Krissy kicked my other tusk, gently. “I don’t want to be a Patron if it means forgetting magic. I don’t want that. I want to make dancing snowmen, and learn to read books, and grow up and work in the library so I can come at night to watch you collect starlight.”

Her breath hitched, and her voice got very small, at the end.

I’m a gargoyle, not a monster. I may be made of stone, but let me tell you, there’s no force on heaven or earth as powerful as the cry of a heartbroken child. It could move mountains. It moved me, that’s for sure. She’d shared banana with me. How could I send her away in tears?

Short answer: I couldn’t.

She might only be a Patron, but when I thought about it, there were no Rules against Patrons doing magic. If one could do magic, one became a Page and then a Librarian. Patrons couldn’t, and that was that. One did not become the other. That didn’t mean it was impossible. Only one thing in the universe was Unchanging, and it surely wasn’t a mortal’s state of being.

No matter what happened next, my siblings and I were going to get a good few decades of debate over the existence of this epistemological loophole.

Meanwhile, I had an unhappy kid to console. <Stop sniveling. Please remove yourself and stand where I can see you.>

Hiccupping and scuffling led to crunching across gravel. Krissy picked up the banana carcass along the way and put it in her pocket, and my heart got all mushy inside, seeing that. A Patron who picked up after herself. Miracles did happen. She wiped at her eyes and frowned up at me. “I didn’t mean to upset you, Grawlix. I’ll come to visit until I forget, I promise. And I’ll bring you your own banana, next time.”

I said <I might be able to help. Even if I can’t, you can visit any time, with or without bananas.> Although she wouldn’t. Patrons stopped playing, when they reached a certain age, or so the research on file indicated. <Today, if you’re willing to listen hard and do exactly what I tell you, we might be able to make snowmen dance together.>

That would make a nice beginning, I thought, and Krissy showed all her defective little teeth at me in a big grin. “Really, truly?”

<Really, truly. Is that a yes? You’ll do exactly what I tell you?>

“If it means I get magic, yes! You can give that to me? Will it hurt?”

<I don’t know. I need to make a call first.>

Gargoyles channel power. We don’t control it, and we don’t direct it. Librarians do, and Administrators of course. What I wanted to do, though—this was out of their league too. None of us on the lower planes handle States of Being. This kind of philosophical paradigm shift would take the work of a Higher Power.

So, I called on the Powers. It’s another thing gargoyles can do.

All the records indicated that there would be a wait to get an issue like this into the queue for resolution. I was prepared for a delay involving explanations, consultations, passing to other Powers for discussion, and then lots and lots of specific instructions about prayers, drawings, and rituals. Sometimes there was singing. I expected to receive a lecture and a liturgy and maybe a hymnal.

I was wrong. Someone Up There must’ve already had an eye or six hundred on little Krissy, because no sooner did I pass along my request than an answer came back. A shaft of white light lanced down from the sky and struck the kid like a bolt of lightning.

If I’d known she was going to scream, I never would’ve made my offer to her, because the kid had a set of lungs on her fit to call down Judgment Day. At least she only had time to scream once. One long shriek, and it was done.

She sat down on the gravel and sat there blinking. The sky felt dark without the light of Heaven coming down. My ears rang with the sound of more than Krissy’s screams. The music of the sphere went silent again, and I strained to catch the last echoes.

Krissy jumped up and squeaked and started dancing around like a tiny little dervish. “I’m full of ants!” she yelled. “Ants, and rainbows, and baby camels, and a narwhal, and so many other nice things are filling me up, and oh—” She stopped dead and said in the tiniest voice ever, “Oh, but some of this doesn’t feel good at all.”

<Having magic won’t only be about playing with the pretty parts of the universe, or the nice ones. It’s about the dark and the painful and the dying, too.> I felt sorry for her, in that moment, I did. But not too sorry. <Do you want to make dancing snowmen now?>

“Yes!” She walked over to her line of ice cubes and poked at them. “I have all these bubbles inside now, but I still don’t understand what I did wrong. I said all the words Uncle Hector did.”

<You did everything wrong, and nothing. You couldn’t tap into the energy of Creation until now. Say the same words you were whispering earlier. You’ll see the difference.>

She picked up an ice cube and told it that she would love it to become a snowman please, and she laughed like a ringing bell when snow spun up in a cloud that condensed into a lumpy, bumpy white mannequin around the symbol of her heart’s desire.

I might’ve added a little power boost. A tiny, tiny bit. Just to be sure it worked, her first time. The snowman bumbled over to her and hugged her finger, an she said, “Go and play, now, and I’ll make you some friends.”

By the time Hector arrived, barely a minute later, Krissy had a whole parade marching around the roof, up and over my paws and down again, and the commotion in the aether was beginning to wake my siblings.

The Administrator watched from the fire door. He wore a Patron suit, not his official robes, and he had on one of those expressions that might make more sense to me when I have more experience. His mouth was open, which could be surprise or fear or anger, and his eyebrows were moving up and down too, which made the rest hard to interpret. He has extremely bushy white eyebrows.

I had no doubt he’d heard the noise of Krissy’s baptism in power, but he didn’t approach her. After a long interval of silence broken only by Krissy’s laughter and ridiculous instruction for the snowmen, he looked right at me and frowned.

There was no fooling a Librarian. <Hello, Administrator.>

Now he definitely looked surprised. He came over and peered closely into my right eye. Snowmen danced a jig over his feet, and Krissy said, “Hi, Uncle Hector. I’m sorry I yelled, I know I’m s’posed to be quiet in the library, but look! I made my own this time!”

“I see that, honey,” Hector said. “And I’m not mad about the scream, as long as you’re safe. Those are excellent snowmen. Why don’t you let them have a snowball fight?”

She squealed, painfully high-pitched, and started lining up sides for an epic battle. Once she was distracted, the Administrator put a hand on my nose and leaned in. “Hello, Grawlix,” he said. “No one expected this for another few decades. I would’ve kept a closer eye on Krissy if I’d known. I apologize for the disturbance.”

<I’m not disturbed.> I had to presume that the unexpected this referred to my alertness. <This is an powerful Library, and you manage its collections with great skill. It’s no surprise that we’re coming into sentience on the early side.>

“Not surprising? I might dispute that, but it’s never wise to argue with a gargoyle.” Hector regarded his niece for several moments before sighing. “Those damned snowmen. I knew it was a mistake, but she has such a happy laugh. Do stop powering them, Grawlix. I’m sure you mean it for a kindness, but she has to adjust and grow up. It’s hard on us, letting our Patron relatives go, but it’s for the best.”

<About that…you’re going to have to put her in Page training now.>


Once I explained, he looked at Krissy again, and then at me, then at her. “Well, now. This should be interesting.”

That was a singularly uninformative statement. <Could you clarify, please?>

He laughed, and it was Krissy’s laugh, only softer and deeper. “I could try, but I won’t. You’ll understand eventually.”

I wanted to understand now. <Is this one of those experience gaps?>

“In part. You’ve done something amazing today—so amazing I can’t begin to predict all the repercussions. Frankly, I don’t care about any of them. Thank you, Grawlix. You’ve given me a precious gift, and I don’t know how to express my gratitude.”

That was the opening I needed. <Do you know about bananas?>

### The End ###

Copyright 2015 K. M. Herkes
Art credit: convention sketch by Buzz

I hope you enjoyed! If you want to read more words by me, I have lots of stories available on Amazon & beyond.  All are available as ebooks, most are in paperback, and some are on audio.

You can go straight to the ‘Zon via this link:,  see other vendors by clicking on titles here:, or take a no-pressure peek at the descriptions right on this website: All The Books.

Why didn’t I put this story up for sale? Because I don’t have time for formatting and then re-proofing and finding cover cover art etc right now.  Why not let it sit? Because then I would be distracted by the constant temptation to fuss with the language and structure.

Distraction is my life. The only cure that works for me is knowing a work is posted somewhere. Even if it’s here. So…here ’tis. Thanks for reading!

1. Storysculpting 3. Other Things Whimsy Writing Life

It’s nippy out there.

The air temp was up to a balmy -15 °F when I took my walk today. That’s before wind chill. The wind chill has been at “OH HELL NO” since last night. -15 marked the high point between -24 last night, and -23 projected for tonight. -50 wind chill anyone?

Yes, I went outside in that kind of cold. Yes, on purpose. Yes, without a job location I had to travel to reach, or a pet who needs walking, or any other external justification.

Why? Why not? Being able to do things like stroll around in the killing cold by choice remind me how lucky and rich I am, relatively speaking, and how grateful I am for so much in my life.

Also, if I don’t get my body moving and keep moving at a steady pace for at least 30 min a day, I hurt, but I could do enough walking indoors to cope. Not easily, and going around and around inside the house is boring as hell, but hey. I have done it.

But given the choice between boring laps and going out into the deep freeze? No contest.

It was a fantastic hike and meditative too. I spent the time focusing on my breathing rhythm, maintaining awareness of my body’s position, location, and surroundings (the whole world changes in incredible, beautiful ways when it’s super-cold) least, that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t concentrating on ways to keep my glasses from frosting over.

I’d been out about a half-mile when I realized why I was enjoying myself so much. Dealing with weather like this is a lot like swimming. You’re deliberately exposing your body to a medium that will kill you if you’re immersed in it too long, but with the right gear, training, and effort, the experience can bring you a satisfying thrill.

When it comes to gear, I have tons. Decades worth. I ruthlessly toss or donate clothes that wear out/don’t get worn, but cold weather kit keeps well. And scarves? Well. Textiles are my dragon hoard.

My winter coat is literally designed for Antarctica– it came from someone who went on a cruise trip with a company that uses old Russian icebreakers. It has a patch on it and everything.

My closet is packed with thick, plushy hoodies & warm socks and so on. I am spoiled for choice.  I not only have sleek, soft long underwear comfort-rated to sub-zero, I have fleecy versions I can layer over it and under my outerwear.

Hats? Ear protection? insulated gloves with mitten covers? Scarves and ear bands to keep everything but the eyes safe from wind chill? YUP.

And boots with thick soles to keep my toesies in a dry, temperature-controlled environment are my year-round standard.

Basically, I was all set for today.  Note, please, none of my stuff is new. A purple wool scarf my friend Jody found for me and the sparkly red scarf gifted to me by my other friend Tess are the  youngest pieces in the ensemble. Some of the long underwear is old enough to drive, and I think the coat is old enough to vote.

But it’s all good gear, so when I wrap up to go out in the killing cold, I am covered top to toe in cuddlesome coziness and feel super-rich and thankful for every protective piece.

I’ve had training too. Nothing rigorous, just enough to make me comfortable navigating a populated neighborhood.  There were many lessons in cold weather survival in my youth, plus I’ve done a lot of independent study since then. (hello, I’m a writer)  Knowing when to stop is a key skill, and listening to my body saying “enough!” is a thing I have learned well.

Once I find some goggles (frosty eyeglasses are a real PITA) I will be able to easily handle hikes on days far colder than this one. Goggles have been on a vague quest list for years now. Since Polar Vortexes are likely to be a recurring issue, I think I will make a point of hunting some down before next winter.

Because it really was a lovely walk today, and I want to do more.

By the way, if anyone is wondering, no,  I wasn’t the only one out there. I wasn’t even the only person out here without a dog on a leash. I spotted one hardy soul out running, and no one was even chasing them.

Was there a point to this post? I don’t know. But we’ve reached the end of it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Authoring Cons & Appearances Writing Life

Another post about GEN CON? YES!

Sunday morning at 9 o’clock as the exhibitors file into the hall. Seven more hours of con.

Booth 1841 with Games Plus. Many-colored coat, bright yellow hair. Can’t miss me. Unless I’ve wandered off.

Yes, yes, I didn’t post last night. Too busy catching up with a dear, dear friend(HI GARY! I had so much fun.  Thank you for making time for me. It was fab to crowd-watch  & sight-see & catch up!) from back in the summer camp days when piling six people into a car and driving from “outside Morgantown,”  to head into Bloomington Indiana was our weekend entertainment. Oh, Waycross-Hickory Hill. Always in my heart, you shaped my life in wonderful ways.

ANYWAY. Con notes. Just a few, because I want to get onto the exhibit floor to wander while the crowds are absent.

  • Many thanks to all of you who have been sent by mutual friends to drop by and talk to me about books ‘n stuff. And many, MANY thanks to my supportive friends. I am beyond grateful and thrilled and humbled and all that. Glitter hearts and hugs to all of you.
  • Special shout-out to the wonderful Troy Maynard, the Very Vocal Viking, who braved peak Saturday crowds to say hello. (If you haven’t read his book, you should.  WONDERFUL stuff.)
  • People are stopping for stickers and then buying books just because they think the stories sound good. How cool is that? SUPER COOL.
  • Someone who bought Rough Passages on Friday dropped by to ask a fantastic, thoughtful plot&concept-related question no one else has ever asked me. Filed under “How To Make This Author GIDDY With Book Joy.” (Yes, I answered his question. We had a lovely short convo about it.)
  • I’m going to have a proper logo. Daniel Govar, who designed my Dawnrigger Logo & dawn dragon, has it. No idea what it looks like yet, he wanted to surprise me here. So…THAT’s exciting!
  • I had dinner last night with the Games Plus crew and it was delicious. Mount Yummy was demolished, drinks and food and stories shared. (key points: dry humor, phrasing, and a bit of gentle mockery.) Good times. I am privileged to be included.

That’s all. I have many photos, but my technology is not cooperating. Later. for now…


Authoring Cons & Appearances Writing Life

MOAR GEN CON: Friday edition

At Booth 1841 with Games Plus. All weekend. Just saying.

It’s 11 PM on Gen Con Friday. Today was equally epic to yesterday in similar ways. My feet hate me. I am dead-dog tired. The con is still going strong. I’ll post some pics at the bottom of the post. ALL the gaming goes on until 2AM. And gaming is welcomed in almost every imaginable spot in the convention center and most of the hotels. SO. COOL.

Today’s things of note:

  • The people in the booth next to Games Plus are demo’ing and selling a neat game called Era of the Ninja. I got to chatting, As One Does, and it turns out one of them works in a library in Ohio & likes SF & fantasy, go figure. We talked libraries, and books, and she now has a copy of Rough Passages to take back to her library. So maybe soon people in Ohio will be checking out my book.  That would be sweet!
  • I played hooky all morning with my Minneapolis friends & generation-next, tackling my third True Dungeon. Our party reigned victorious, although my elf wizard did not survive the final encounter. Next time, someone needs to be a cleric. When the druid is the only healer and everyone is being zapped & poisoned left & right…yeah.
  • But hey. I boosted the team’s initiative to beat the Big Bad to the first punch, AND I bumped up the ranger’s fighting ability before I expired. We rocked the teamwork part. ANYway. The event was fun and it was truly a joy to hang with  good friends I feel instantly comfortable around despite a gap of nearly 10 years…but that isn’t even the big news.
  • The BIG news is: a book sold while I wasn’t even at the booth. How ’bout THEM apples, eh, world?  Now if you’re wondering, “Is one whole book sale that exciting?” The answer is, “HELLS YEAH IT IS.” It can’t be a pity sale if I’m not even there, see? I did more sales today than I expected again, and am now sold out of the title I didn’t bring many of because I didn’t expect it would sell, based on past cons.
  • I continued to practice good people-engagement and passed out stickers & bookmarks and bitty-little biz cards all day. My smile muscles are so tired.
  • Note to self for the next generation of bling: get the website name onto the stickers somehow, and do author-branded bookmarks rather than book-focused ones. Maybe bookmarks to match the banner styling. Also 2 banners, with the full text.

I’m sure there’s more, but I’m wiped and want to wind down with a little more reading in Freelance Familiars before bed.  Here are the pics I promised.

Two whole days yet to go. I’m gonna be soooooo tired by the end of this. But so happy. That’s my prediction right there.


Authoring Cons & Appearances Writing Life

Gen Con things I want to remember #2: happy times at Booth 1841

1. Reunions and meet-ups are two of my favorite con activities. I got to do lots of both today! Color me with all the happy colors.

  • I got to meet someone I’d only known from online interaction, which is a thing I love doing and we had a fantastic chat. Then a wonderful friend from my Borders days (HI TOM!!!) dropped by and that was beyond fabulous too. To top off the fun cake,  a friend of another wonderful friend from Borders (Hi, Nicole!)  came by to deliver greetings and grab books.
  • Daniel Govar, the artist who’s done many fine character commissions for me, and who designed my incredible Dawnrigger logo, is here for his first Gen Con, so I visited the “Art Show” to say hello. I’m going to have a real colophon logo for my books soon. HAPPY SQUEE!
  • Turns out the fantastic professional editor I hired to do Sharp Edge of Yesterday who I’ve been conversing with by email is here at the con, so today I GOT TO MEET HIM IN PERSON. So cool. He’s as awesome in person as he has been by email, and I was able to have a simple conversation about process details that would have taken me hours to get composed properly into text form.
    And in that “this world is so small, wow” moments, I learned today that one of my friends from the game store (HI RETT) knows my editor (HI JOHN) from another professional venue.
  • I got to have a delicious dinner and long, enjoyable evening chatting with my Ghost Town writing parter (HI BILL) and with an author I met at WorldCon a couple of years back but hadn’t seen since (HI MISTY!)
  • Friday AM the re-connection with continue. I’m going True Dungeon adventuring with some of the gaming friends responsible for setting my feet on the path to writing my first novel. After that gaming fun, I’ll head over to the vendor floor for the day.

2. Connecting with people brand-new to me is another exciting part of con-going for me, and Gen Con has provided plenty of that too.

  • I admired someone’s phenomenal hat of pins and provided her with a sticker, and that led to a great convo about life, the universee, sexuality, contemporary fantasy. I got to recommend books by authors I know (HI HANS & LAUREN) and got some recommendations in return.
  • I got asked questions about writing process by another writer, and that conversation was a lot of fun, plus I got to share my love of Habitica as an emotional-load-lifter. Good times indeed.

3. My fancy new book display saw a lot of traffic today. A goodly number of bookmarks went into people’s bags, and I made some people happy with my freebie Unity stickers. I guess the message “Love is Positive” is one folks like to see.

  • Thanks to various visits full of kindness, my baseless fears of selling zero books all weekend have been washed away. Onward to the greater challenge of “Can I sell enough that I can empty one of my storage boxes?”
  • I forgot to take pictures with anyone. But I DID remember to get emails for sending ebook editions to go with the con sales, so…progress?

4. Other random things I want to remember thinking about.

  • There were some nice costumes, but not a lot, at least not on the exhibitor floor. I didn’t get any pics of those either. Maybe tomorrow.
  • And I was too busy soaking in all the changes and new things to post anything to social media. Maybe next time when I’m not SQUIRRELing at everything. Maybe.
  • This was a lot for one day & tomorrow might be even more action-packed.

Good times indeed.