And that’s a wrap on ConCoction 2019

The sequel did not disappoint. I had even more fun this year than last.

All my panels were a blast. So MANY great conversations on the role of creatures in stories, types of relationships besides romance and protagonists beyond the badass…wow. Excellent audience participation, and I met many cool new authors, too, which means of course  I have a huge list of titles to grab for my e-reader. And others to bump to the top of the To Be Read list.

I will attempt a list of all the cool authors who returned from last year and the new ones who joined in…but it will be later, when my brain is less mushy. If I try now, I would forget someone and feel horrible about it forever.

There was even an epic cool event called Prompt Joust, which is basically competitive impromptu storytelling. Two storytellers, one-minute time limit, story prompt/prop revealed just before the first person begins. It’s a web series by Story Medics (link here)  but this was a Special ConCoction edition RECORDED LIVE in front of the convention audience.

<gulp> I did it because the idea terrified me and I love doing scary things, and IT WAS A HOOT! I want to do it again! At some point the recordings will be posted on the Youtube Channel. Yes, I will let people know when mine is on. But I’ll also let you know about everyone else’s, because they were ALL great fun.

Other firsts. I did my first-ever reading from Controlled Descent! To my surprise and glee, it found some immediate fans. Readers grabbed all 5 copies I brought, and also some of Flight Plan, since it’s designed to be readable first. I found homes for a few copies of Rough Passages too. (That phrasing always makes me feel like I’m talking about orphaned kittens or something.)

ANYway.

Stickers were a hit again, people said complimentary things about the Unity Movement & Mercury Battalion support patches, and I even sent a couple of patches home with readers. Also, thanks to the great con organizers, I even had NEW bling to pass along!  I ordered a TON of awesome ribbons with Rough Passages-related messages on them. IT was a huge thrill to see people walking around wearing my ribbons.

(I may love book bling a whole lot.)

Post-con there was a scrumptious pub lunch with great friends I made last year and this one, and Sunday evening I hung out w/the ever-amazing Shannon Eichorn & new friend Abigail Delk for a post-con viewing of How to Train Your Dragon 2.

ON the emotions side, con crash came early with a minor anxiety freakout Saturday afternoon and other twitch sessions thereafter.  I’m getting better about spotting the symptoms early and fending off the worst effects. The most successful defense tactic appears to be regularly admitting to everyone I meet that I’ve gone fragile.

Now that I am fully in post-mode, I am certain I was accidentally rude to people, made someone feel left out, BORED them, or, y’know, just plain screwed up somehow.

But throughout the whole con, I felt included and welcomed and valued. So I’m clinging to those happy snapshots and can only hope I succeeded in my clumsy attempts to be socially supportive to others.

Next up in my life: laundry. Then it’s offline and back to revisions and drafting.

2018: listing things for fun & focus

I adore lists. They aren’t useful to me in any organizational way. They don’t make me work more efficiently or help my productivity. The opposite, if anything.  I’m always leaving lists behind, or forgetting where I’ve put them, or getting distracted before finishing one and starting a new one instead…the list itself is rarely a helpful tool.

But making lists? That’s a fish of another color. I consider making a list its own reward. I love writing them.  If you think this odd, well, I also consider scrolling through the cable channel menu its own distinct activity rather than a way to find shows to watch.

I put things on list for the sheer joy of checking them off again. True story. Hey, I never said I was normal.

ANYWAY. Still here? Fab. It’s the beginning of the new year and everyone was doing lists at the end of the old year, but I was hibernating, so I’m late with mine.

Here be my list of 2018 accomplishments. I made them all on my own. They’re little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good. (Apologies to Lilo & Stitch for the misquote.)

1. Wrote a book. The Sharp Edge of Yesterday isn’t published yet, but I finished it & it’s finally in post-editorial revisions. (It even kinda has a pitch: Grace Reed is hiding a terrible secret and a more terrible power. that will rip her away from the family she’s sacrificed everything to keep together. )

2. Wrote most of another book. Ghost Town isn’t finished, but it’s well over 50%, and that’s something. All I’ve got for  pitch is the tongue in cheek, “She’s the new sheriff. He’s been dead a hundred years. Together, they fight crime and bicker.”

3. Attended a few too many science fiction conventions as a professional. Pro meaning I had books there to sell, wore a pro badge, and/or participated on panels and such. Woo, this means I get to make a sub-list!

  • Capricon (MY FIRST CAPRICON!)
  • Concoction (MY FIRST CONCOCTION!!)
  • C2E2 (sorta. All I did was chat w/artists & commission art. )
  • Indiana Comic Con
  • 2018 SFWA Nebula Awards Conference
  • Gen Con
  • Michigan Comic Con
  • Dragon Con
  • WindyCon

4. Wrote 2 short stories. Yes, me. Me, the person whose previous four short stories turned into novels. One of these two, Homecoming,  is a slice-of-life piece about a character who’s in Sharp Edge, and it’s a freebie for people who sign up for my mailing list. The other, Mercy Has a Bitter Taste,  I’ve had critiqued & polished & am sending off to be rejected by all the best professional markets. One down,  thirteen more to go before I trunk it.

5. Started regularly attending an incredibly supportive open mic reading group in Chicago.  Gumbo Fiction Salon. I’ve read all of Bitter Gift there, and the reception is what gave me the confidence to start sending it out.

NOTE: GBS isn’t the reading series I first expected to support. There’s another series, held at Volumes Book Cafe, that I attended once and & HIGHLY recommend. I’m v sad about never returning to it, but scheduling conflicts, life detours, and a VERY difficult location have all conspired against me getting back there. (And now I’m too embarrassed to show my face again. Sigh.)

6? I think that’s it for major writerly type achievements from 2018. I mean, yes, I commissioned new covers for books from the fantastic Rhiannon Taylor and the amazing Rachel Bostwick, I signed a contract for line edits from a phenomenal professional editor, I signed up for 2019 conventions, I ran multiple book promotions online, I got my latest novel into the WorldCat library database and on shelves in library systems in Illinois, Ohio, & Kentucky, and maybe Pennsylvania…

…but all that’s just everyday authoring stuff.

So much for 2018. Onward to 2019. Big plans in the making & big doings ahead.

 

Hi, there.

Big, big gratitude to the good friends & other new readers who picked up my books recently and were kind enough to tell me about it. You’ve brought some highlights into a week of major emotional lows. Knowing you’ve read Rough Passages–and my other books–brings me a special kind of happiness.

Thank you for your support and excitement about my stories. It means the world to me.

Also–

If you ever feel moved to take a shelfie and send it my way, I promise to keep it and cherish it and comb its fur and call it George…or something like that. I would certainly share the picture on social media as proudly as any gleeful new parent shares baby pics. (but only with your permission, of course.)

What? What’s a shelfie?

It’s a picture of my books in your setting. In your hands, on a shelf or table, posed with a cute stuffed animal or family pet…wherever. So MANY possibilities. If you’re camera-shy like me, any old pic of my books living with the rest of your collection is lovely. (Plus that usually give me ideas for things to put on my TBR list.) Ebooks? Cover on kindle screen works. Or any page on screen. I’m easygoing about it.

In fact, if you don’t have my books, you can still make someone’s day/week/month/year. Take a shelfie of whatever you’ve read recently and liked, share it in a post or a tweet and mention that you liked it when you tag the author by name.

It creates instant joy, I swear.

ANYway.

Thank you all again. Happy reading.