Category Archives: Aesc & Thorn Publishing

Posts related to Aesc & Thorn Publishing and various aspects of Rob’s professional life.

News and Notes

Greetings all

Time to clear the decks for a number of small notes.

My big news of the last week is the creation of a mailing list. If you are interested in joining it, please go to my website: www.robhowell.org and fill in the blanks in the upper left corner. Or, if you prefer, you can email me at rob@robhowell.org and I will add you manually.

I will be doing a reading at the District 2 Kansas Author’s Club at the Corinth Library, 8100 Prairie Village, Kansas from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10th. If you’re local, come on by. I’ll be reading a portion of A Lake Most Deep.

On the weekend following, I’ll be at a small con in Columbia, MO called Dodecacon. I have no clue what I’ll be doing there other than talking about writing and meeting people.

On the final weekend of September / first of October, I will be at the Kansas Author’s Club convention in Lawrence, KS. This will be a much different crowd, I suspect, than at other conventions. Very curious how this will go.

I talked to two different producers of audiobooks at WorldCon. I’ve gotten no solid numbers back nor are there any details to pass on, only that progress is getting made on that front.

I have a bunch of other irons in the fire, so many that I can’t really recall what all of them are off the top of my head. Lots of things happening, especially with regards to upcoming cons and independent bookstores.

I think that’s all for now except to mention that the above post is the sort of thing I’m including in my mailing list. I’ll be sending out an email to that list every Monday or so, detailing works in progress, upcoming events, news and notes, and a quote of the week. Again, to join the list either go to my website www.robhowell.org and fill in the two fields of the form or send me an email.

Have a great day.

WorldCon AAR

What a tiring week. WorldCon stretched from noon on Tuesday for dealer setup to Sunday evening. I’m ready for a beer. In this case, my last Nickelbrook Headstock from Pennsic.

I got to the South Dock at Bartle Hall on time. There really was no organization for checking in dealers, but I found my table easily. And setup was a dream. They provided pallets and forklifted the pallets by our tables. I was arranged and nested by 2pm.

The rest of Tuesday was helping Kate Paulk set up. We went running hither and you and back to hither. Then we organized the room just as Jonathan and Betsy Lightfoot joined us. I’d never met them before, but they’re a wonderful couple I enjoyed chatting with throughout the con. We then went to Jack Stack’s for food and soon dropped Kate back off because she was “stick-a-fork-in-her-done-done-done.”

As a side note, Jonathan has Rhodri as his RenFest stage name, which caused a double-take when I saw his badge 🙂

In general, I spent the entire con at my booth. I had one quick pass mostly to look at how other people were doing their booth to learn how I can improve mine. I saw a few things I can improve upon, mostly notably something I’d already seen and that’s the creation of a mailing list. I don’t know why I had not thought about this two years ago, but I didn’t. Better late than never. Expect to hear about that this week.

Overall sales were slow. I heard that from a number of vendors that it was much slower than they expected. I attribute my own slower than hoped for sales to two main factors. One, WorldCon consisted of a high percentage of people who flew to the event and did not want to carry books back. I should have anticipated this and expected to have higher e-book requests. I handed out a ton of bookmarks and I’ve already seen increased e-book numbers. I’ll know more in the next few weeks.

The second reason is the expense of the con. Depending upon when you bought entry, it was something like $200 to get in. I think that hurt sales for two reasons. One, it reduced the number of attendees. Two, it reduced the ready cash for the attendees. From a financial perspective, I doubt I’ll ever sell at WorldCon again, unless by some chance I’m living in the same city it is being held at again or someone else pays for it.

From a publicizing perspective, I think it was worth the $420 I spent for table and entry fee. I made a large number of connections concerning a variety of topics. I also think I got my name out to quite a few fans who may not have bought anything now, but will remember me. We’ll see. It’s hard to tell, of course.

Overall, I’m glad I went, even though I barely saw the con. I did one pass prior to opening with Nic on Saturday. I never had any energy after the day’s work at the booth to do much with the things scheduled afterwards. Because of that, I’ll leave it to others to discuss the events of the WorldCon. I really only can tell you about the vendors around me 🙂

I will say I wish they had been more welcoming of indie authors on panels. They rejected my application to be on panels, so I had no other responsibilities besides the booth. I suppose I can understand their hesitation if only because none of the decision makers had ever heard of me. However, organizers at other cons have not known who I was and given me a chance. I’m actually really good on panels because of my stage training and herald experience in the SCA. If we want to grow SF/F as a genre, that means supporting new authors. LibertyCon people understand this. Ad Astra people understand this. Many other cons understand this. It’s disappointing that WorldCon decided to reject my application completely. Seems short-sighted to me, as I’m sure there were others much like me that they did not use.

Nevertheless, I got my name out. Handed out a bunch of bookmarks. Met a lot of people. Sold a few books. Ran myself ragged. I’ll take it. Now for bed.

 

 

Pennsic 2016 AAR

On June 14 I left for SCA 50 Year. Exactly 2 months later, 61 days, I’ve returned from Pennsic. In the intervening time I have been home for 8 days. It’s so nice to be in *my* chair.

I took some extra time on the trip to do something important, and that was have a wonderful picnic with my apprentice Judith. Between my schedule and her health we haven’t had much time since she accepted a belt from me last November. We went to a park and watched ducks and talked about all sorts of things. She’s been working on lacework. Beautiful, intricate, and something I could never do. She’s amazing.

Also, by traveling slower I can stop and work along the way. If I schedule an extra day or two I really don’t suffer much loss of productivity.

It’s important to get to Pennsic early for me because of the bardic circle I sponsor on the first Monday at Pennsic. I can’t remember if it’s been five or six years since I decided to do it, but it’s been something I very much look forward to. Apparently, I’m not the only one, as this year the circle was huge. Lots of great performers. Lots of great people.  So many people I ran out of chairs. Many thanks to His Highness Atlantia for sending his people for spare benches. So many people I ran out of water. Many thanks to Her Excellency Belanna for loaning me a flat of water.

Really pleased so many people showed up, though, and I’ll have more of both next year.

On Tuesday the 2nd, we opened Drix’s booth. From Wednesday through Friday the 12th I spent most of my time there, arriving 10ish each day and leaving 6ish most days.

Overall, my time there was extremely productive, though I did not reach my sales goal. There is context, however, last year was Drix’s largest year ever and this was towards the slow end so I probably had much more traffic last year. Also, last year had significantly better weather, and book sales at events are affected dramatically by the weather.

I got a lot done when I wasn’t selling, though. I worked through what I’m discovering is the hardest part of writing books, the 5-20k word range. This part involves a lot of writing – cutting – rewriting – cutting – and so on. I’m taking the basic idea and forming the exact pattern with all of this rewriting. I think I have the structure for Where Now the Rider going.

I have to take this moment to thank Nicolaa. She reviewed The Eyes of a Doll in the Pennsic Independent. Last year, she gave me a great review on ALMD in the Independent right when I needed the emotional boost. I was pleased to receive another good review from her, and I had at least one person buy a book because of it. Thanks much, Nicolaa.

As traffic increased in the second week, I shifted to retrofitting  ALMD and TEOAD to include links to wiki entries for all the people, places, and weird stuff on the e-book versions. I completed ALMD and it is now live in updated form. I also made progress on TEOAD. The feedback I’ve had both from people who have already bought I Am a Wondrous Thing and those looking at it has been, without exception, positive. I’ve been really anxious to get these done, and editing wiki entries is great for higher traffic days as I can step away at a moment’s notice.

A side note. My new package through Verizon is expensive, but I now have a ton of data and the wifi hotspot feature allowed me fast wifi even at Pennsic. I’m excited about some of the possibilities that this freedom will give me.

As for Pennsic as Pennsic, I had a reasonably good time. I’m really glad I’ve lost some weight, as between my job, my responsibilities to help around the shop, and the things I contribute to the party, I was swamped. I did not have energy to go out and seek parties after working, but I did have the energy to hang out in the Royal Pavilion most nights. That’s perhaps my favorite part, anyway.

My big highlight of the war was the opportunity to herald TRMs Logan and Ylva into opening court. As we chatted beforehand, I made a whimsical comment, and Logan said, “I like that.” and so I heralded them into court as “Logan the well-beloved and Ylva the one we actually like!”

Prior to court, in the waiting for things to start, was another highlight when Ealdormere and Calontir sang songs back and forth at each other. Really good time, especially since Garraed made a cameo.

Wednesday through Friday was still extremely hard. I was in the shop for 14 hours on Wednesday because of Midnight Madness (We’re MAAAAADDDD!). I really like Midnight Madness, but it *is* exhausting. Thursday I tried to work, but barely had an hour and a half there. I came back in time to see Dongal beg the boon for Gavin, which is wonderful.

The Calontir Party is usually a lot of work for me, and this year was no exception. I cleaned the lamps, organized the incinetrons, and set up the bar. There’s no way I could have done all of this if I had not had help. Jack brought me lamps. Ian put them back. Tim Leatherhand helped move the heavy stuff. Emma, the baby huscarl, got the alcohol on Wednesday so I didn’t have to. But my big hero was Demetrios, who volunteered to do the town run to refill the propane bottles we use and get ice. This gave me the chance to get a nap before court.

I needed the nap as I was also TRM’s herald for court. Really happy to see Halvgrimr get created a Laurel in a drive-by ceremony. The best part, I have to admit, is watching Sibilla’s face the moment she realized Fionnuala was begging her boon to make her a Laurel. One of the highlights of being a herald is getting to know what is coming so you can know where and when to look.

After court was the Calontir party. We think it wasn’t as well-attended as some, and the potential for rain might have been a reason, but we still had a great time. Wohlgemut got there fairly early and, as usual, were awesome. We had a good singing circle later on. Really liked Gwen’s new drink, which consisted of lingenberry juice, vodka, and tonic water. I’m calling it the Ikea. Next time we need to garnish it with a meatball stuck on an Allen wrench.

Friday was tough. I was still tired from Wednesday, and I had gotten to bed at 3am after closing the party. I was hoping for a lot of traffic of people following up on their plan to buy books later in the war. However, I only got a few doing so. Ah, well.

I knew I was going to pack down on Saturday morning, so I went to bed fairly early. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep and barely got two hours of sleep before waking up 7ish. I was packed and ready to go by 10ish, but I was exhausted. I never once had the idea I would make the drive in one day, though I have done so in the past. I took a nap in Mansfield and I got to Terre Haute at 7:50, just in time to get a hotel so I could watch the Cowboys v. Rams pre-season game. Perfect timing.

Today, I drove the last 7 hours and now my car is completely unpacked. I’ve a ton to do to clean up after a wet, humid Pennsic, including a boatload of laundry, but progress is being made.

Overall, I would call Pennsic another moderate success. I’m definitely making progress in sales, but it’s still tough sledding. I can’t thank Drix enough for giving me the space.

Looking forward, WorldCon is this week. I’m hoping for some sales there, though I don’t anticipate much. I can still hope. After that, I’ve got a few events scheduled, but I’m going to plan out my schedule for the next year. I need to get west of the Rockies to both SCA events and cons, and I need to do so as cheaply as possible.

So I had a good time when I could, worked as much as I could, and got to see cool things happen to good people. I’ll take it.

 

 

Pre-Madness Post

Midnight Madness at Pennsic is almost upon us.

I must be MAD! because I love these kinds of sales. It will be a night of constantly being on stage and talking to people. Tomorrow, I’ll be exhausted, but hopefully with fewer books and more money.

Pennsic so far has been extremely productive. It’s hard to judge sales compared to last year, because I did such a poor job of tracking sales. My processes are getting better every time I do a show. I haven’t sold what I did last year, but I seem to recall sales picking up the last 2 days. Which will start soon.

Mostly, I’m writing this post to talk about Where Now the Rider and A Lake Most Deep. I’ve made good progress on Where Now the Rider, especially since I’ve gotten past the hard initial steps of a book. I like where it’s going, though I need to add more action. Six chapters in and only one murder? What am I thinking?

As we’ve gotten busier and writing has become more challenging, I’ve switched to adding the wiki links to A Lake Most Deep. It’s now complete and the new electronic version is available.

If you have already purchased A Lake Most Deep and want to be able to go to the wiki entries while you are reading the books, you can get the new version downloaded to your Kindle by asking Amazon to send it to you.

To contact via phone:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall

To contact via chat:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat

Be warned, however, that if you have Amazon update to the latest copy, it will erase your bookmarks and notes. This, by the way, is why Amazon will not force feed the updated version.

Remember, the only change I made is in the electronic version of A Lake Most Deep. This change adds links to the wiki at www.robhowell.org/shijuren the first time a name or place or new word is mentioned. If you will never use the wiki, don’t worry about the update.

In the coming week, I’ll have finished adding these links to The Eyes of a Doll.

I’m adding these links because the response to the links in the electronic version of I Am a Wondrous Thing has been overwhelmingly positive. These links will be standard for all of my e-books in Shijuren.

With that, it’s time to prepare for MADNESS!!!

More Than Three Toes

I’ve been a sloth since I got back from the trip. I’ve written hardly at all, though I’ve puttered through a number of projects for Pennsic. I think it’s a normal neap tide after a 25-day trip, though I know there are other factors.

My birthday was last week. I turned 48. I survived the day. That might sound sarcastic, but a good friend of mine turned 48 on June 22nd and did not survive the day. I also had a guy I’ve looked up to for over 30 years also pass away recently. The last day of LibertyCon held both of their memorials. What a strange day. Exciting in many ways, but hard. It might be that my sadness from their deaths has stripped me of motivation, but if so, that’s a horrible tribute to both of them.

The truth is that while there’s no major news in my world, things have been going generally well. I have some irons in the fire that might or might not pan out, but we’ll see. Just having these ideas is a great start.

I am starting to get excited about Pennsic. I’ll do a pre-Pennsic post next week. I am upgrading my SCA furniture, which has needed some refurbishing. In particular, I’m replacing a couple of 6-board chests that have seen better days.  At Trillium War I was pleased with how smoothly my setup went, and it will be getting better. I also have a couple of cool ceremonial things happening at Pennsic.

Football season is also on the horizon, as training camps start in about a week. I’ll review my predictions from last year and make my predictions for this year. Injuries killed my Cowboys last year, more than most of you know about, and if they return to simply average luck, the Cowboys will be better than many people think.

I’m also excited about some of my ideas for Where Now the Rider, which while I’ve not been writing it, I have been letting it percolate in my mind. By the end of this novel Edward will be settled in Achrida fully, but it won’t be easy.

I’ve got some SCA things happening, too. I’ve a project that I’ve wanted to start for some time that will commence after Pennsic. I’m sure I’ll talk about it more later on.

The other good news is that I see myself flowing back up from the ebb. Writing this blog post is a definite sign of that. When I’m down I tend to become a hermit crab. In fact, it’s time to get working on something else. Have a great day everyone.

 

 

LibertyCon 2016 AAR

I’m sitting in Brewbaker’s, a bar near my house that has WiFi, Diet Dr. Pepper, comfy chairs, good food, and the patience to put with a writer occupying a table for hours on end. They are very good to me, especially Tanya, my beautiful blonde server in whose section I normally sit. Damn, it’s good to be home.

But while I’m happy to see my cat, sleep in my own bed, lounge in my comfy chair, and write in my home bar, I am already looking forward to LibertyCon XXX next year. It is absolutely true that LibertyCon is not a con, it’s a family reunion, .

The weekend did not start auspiciously, however. I got there early on Thursday, as I stayed in Across, GA at Sam Davis’s house and the Choo Choo said my room was ready. I got there to find that they had put me in Building 3, which was a bad thing because I had planned a room party and they all had to be in Building 1. The hotel was sold out, so the hotel could not do anything, and I thought I was going to be screwed. I was tired, frustrated, worried, and very grumpy.

I contacted Rich Groller, who arranged all the programming including the room parties, and he fixed the problem. He basically came up, handed me a towel, said, “Don’t panic,” and it was fixed. I got a great room for a room party, and for the long weekend. That moment of worry is by far the lowlight of the weekend, and because of the LibertyCon staff the lowlight was dealt with smoothly and easily.

The rest of Thursday involved a goodly amount of planning for the party, including walking around the hotel putting up signs. As a side note, the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel occupies a goodly amount of area. My fit app on my phone was very pleased with me this weekend, as I hit every goal every day. I also dropped by Robert Hoyt’s birthday party, Con Suite, and some other places to chat. Not a huge evening, but I didn’t want one because I knew Friday would be a long, hard day.

I started the day making a few more preparations for the party and getting my con badge. I also made arrangements to put my cart in the dealer’s room with Michael Hanson. Opening Ceremonies was at 5pm, and I had a spot on the Author’s Alley at 6pm, and pre-positioning my books was necessary to the logistics.

At 3pm was my only panel, and that was on writing swords and sorcery. I enjoyed the panel quite a bit. S. Andrew Swann did a good job of moderating, especially since he had not gotten the memo that he was the moderator. There were four others of us on the panel, and we all had a different take on fantasy. I think I contributed some, but thought I could have done better. However, I must have done at least moderately well, given that there were several people who saw me on the panel and then bought my books.

I wish I had been on more panels, however, that’s my fault for not getting in on programming early enough. Rich said I’m already on the list for next year, though.

I had an hour break in which I moved my books. Books are heavy. I have a cart, but it’s 100 plus yards from my room to the main con area. I made that trek pushing my cart 4 times, I think. Selling books is likely to make me stronger, at least.

Opening Ceremonies were fun for me. Gray Rinehart was the MC, which was a bit of a disappointment for me, though that’s no slight on Gray. Marc Gunn was the original scheduled MC, and he and I have chatted online some and I was hoping to meet him face to face. However, he had to cancel. Gray, though, did a great job, starting with a filk of David Bowie’s Major Tom, “Ground control to LibertyCon.” The highlight was the moment when he said he was a “monster” then pulled out the Monster Hunters International coin saying he was exempt. Brilliant.

For me, the key moment was being in the list with people like David Weber, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and all the other authors. Yes, I got to stand up and wave to the crowd. That was cool.

Then I set up for my first Author’s Alley hour. This is a really nice thing they offered us, a cheap table in the main walking area where we can sell books and interact with readers. While I struggled with the logistics, mostly because I did not think to ask Jonny Minion for help, and I did not sell a ton, I thought it went well. My three hours were not wasted.

After the Author’s Alley I hustled my books back to my room and made my final preparations for the party. One of the mistakes I made was not thinking to talk to other people about their release party plans. I should have joined forces. However, my party went very well. It’s like I’ve thrown parties and postrevels before, though I did forget bottled water. I did have cider, which turned out to be important, as I’ll mention later.

I credit Jonathan LaForce’s BBQ as a big reason for the party’s success. I gave him some money and said bring what you think is right. He brought a bunch of stuff. I’ve had a lot of brisket in my life. I’ve even made a few that were incredibly tasty. Jonathan’s might be the best I’ve ever had. If it isn’t, I can’t remember a better one. I hope to be able to do another release party next year, and if he can be there I’ll do it again. Plus, I’ll get myself a separate brisket just for me.

One other thing that is continuing to work well is my silly Wandering Signature Chart. I put it on the bottom of my party flyers and I had at least 5 people come in asking about it. Plus, a number of other authors are probably going to steal the idea. Not to mention the normal fun and whimsy it adds at dealer tables and other signing opportunities. One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was Steve Jackson reading it at the party.

The other person who helped was Jasmine DeGroot, who served as my bouncer. LibertyCon requires all room parties to be peanut free and have someone check IDs. Not surprisingly, no one under 21 tried to get booze, but Jasmine ensured I didn’t have to pay attention to that and could pay attention to the people that came to the party.

And man, did people come to the party. I had expected only about 10-15 all night, but I’m thinking over 50 cycled through. They overflowed out to the courtyard behind my room. I talked to a bunch of people, sold a few books, and I think we all had a great time. The last person left at 2:19am. I puttered around cleaning up and got to sleep at 3ish.

Fortunately, my first thing on Saturday started at 3pm. I was signing books in the Dealer’s Room. This ended up being essentially useless, because the Baen Roadshow was at the same time. Shockingly, I can’t compete with that… yet 🙂

Immediately after that was my reading. I had anticipated a 10 minute chunk, so when I found out I had 20-25 I was scrambling a bit. I combined the two chapters in I Am a Wondrous Thing where the husbands encourage Irina to step down and when the husbands all die to free her to live her life. It was a great choice in many ways, and had I really prepared for the crying that I would do as I was reading these parts, it would have been a fantastic reading. I care about my characters, and I cry when I kill them.

I had one more Author’s Alley hour for the day, starting at 8pm. Afterwards, I put my books away and socialized at the Con Suite where Mark Wandrey and Gail Z. Martin were having their book release parties. The best part of this was talking to a couple of people about some possible projects for the future.

Sunday started with the Koffeeklatsch, which was another opportunity for authors and readers to socialize. Another side note, LibertyCon really tries to create connections between authors and their readers. Last year I got the chance to chat with David Weber for a long time. This year was a number of other authors and readers. I did also initiate discussions on yet another project, something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.

At 1pm I got my final Author’s Alley slot. A few more sales and more chatting. Then I got to put my books away. Books are heavy, did I mention that? I was glad to get those back into the car.

Closing Ceremonies, also called the Bitch at Brandy session, started at 3pm. One of the best things about LibertyCon is their willingness and desire to improve and tweak things. It was nice to hear that something like $8500 was raised for the con charity, which will sound larger when you realize that the con is capped at 750 attendees. Over $10 per person was donated to the charity. Not shabby. For me, I donated a set of my books to the charity auction. I wonder how much they went for.

The Dead Dog party started at 6pm. This turned out to be wonderful. Basically staff, the pros, and those who can stay for Sunday night all hang out. I actually got to game some, which I had not had a chance to do despite the fact that the gaming room was open 24/7. I played Splendor with Melissa Gay, the artist guest of honor, her husband, and some others.

I mentioned before that providing cider was important. It turned out that Steve Jackson pretty much only drinks Angry Orchard cider, and I happened to be the only one that provided it. That’s why I got the selfie of Steve and I at the Dead Dog gaming.

From a business perspective, LibertyCon was a success, though not directly. Overall on the trip, I sold enough books to pay for the gas and some of the food, but not the hotel and such. Nevertheless, the residual effect will be strong, I think. In part because it’s my 3rd year at LibertyCon and I’m no longer a new face. The connection with the fans there is awesome, and I’ve seen it from both sides of the fence now.

And then there’s the connections made with other authors. Chris Kennedy has been a big help to me, and he really works to make life easier for other indie authors. Follow him on Twitter for constant and consistent articles about the industry. We did not have much chance to chat, as we were always busy opposite each other. His release party was also on Friday night, and I regret the missed opportunity to have shared a release with him.

Mark Wandrey and I met at ChattaCon. We had another chance to hang out and chat. He’s having some great success right now with his new book A Time to Die, which is gratifying for two reasons. One, I’m glad he’s having success because he’s a friend. Two, his success gives me hope that I will eventually succeed if I continue to plug away.

Got a chance for some small conversations with some people I’ve met but don’t get to talk to often. Jason Cordova and I met 2 years ago, and he has been wonderfully patient answering my questions. Also he has good scotch. James Young lives in the KC area and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. I’ve liked what I’ve read of his so far. Peter and Dorothy Grant are charming people. I got a few words in with Sarah Hoyt, which if you’ve ever seen her at a con you’ll understand how nice that is. She’s always so busy and so many people, including me, admire her. I had a great conversation with Jim Beall that will make the magic of Shijuren stronger. Geoffrey Mandragora and I got to chat a bit while sitting next to each other in Author’s Alley. Nan Monroe and I shared a fun reading session. She wants to do YA Fantasy right. I found out Beth Patterson is a Rush fan. Dave Schroeder and I got to actually chat, and now I know how to talk about his books while people are looking at them at Drix’s booth. I had a couple of nice, albeit short, conversations with Brad and Sue Sinor. Kal Spriggs was on my panel, and he’s a very sharp guy. I also had nice conversations with David Weber, Toni Weisskopf, Tom Trumpinski, and Rich Weyand.  I never actually got to run into Lou Antonelli, who was there but never where I was. Brad Cooksey has a podcast that I need to listen to and might get a chance to join someday.

I met a ton of other professionals. Jeremy Hicks, Chris Sommerkorn, S. Andrew Swann, Nick Braker, Brett Brooks, David Burkhead, David P. Coe / D.B. Jackson, Bobby Nash, Doug Dandridge, Michael H. Hanson, Thomas A. Mays, and Chuck Gannon. Between SCA 50 Year and quick moments at LibertyCon, I also got to know Mike Williamson.

Whew, what a list. And that’s just the professionals. There are a bunch of great fans at LibertyCon. I’m not going to list all that I talked to, but there were a bunch. Many thanks to all of them for coming and chatting.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how nice it was to see Paul Clithero and his wife, Sarah. I had seen his name on Facebook, and I knew that I knew him, but it’s been so long that I’d forgotten so much. We worked at Jimmie’s Diner and drank at the same watering holes around 1990. Sarah is extremely nice and I look forward to getting to know them. They also did their share to support indie authors, buying dozens of books. Many thanks to them.

Of course, none of this is possible without the LibertyCon team. Brandy Spraker, Derek Spraker, Uncle Timmy, Matthew Fanny, Rich Groller, Vonn Gants, and all the rest do a fantastic job. I know these sort of accolades get bandied about at the end of an event, but I’ve seen the sausage made at a lot of events, both SCA and SF/F, and that is probably the most efficient team I’ve ever seen.

I know I’m forgetting stuff, and people, and talking about stuff with those people. But this will do for now.

I am pre-registered for LibertyCon XXX and I have a room reservation. The con will sell out for the 3rd year in a row, and the hotel has *already* sold out. It really is an impressive con.

 

 

Pushing Through

One of the things I’ve been trying to do is post more often. I doubt I’ll ever get to the point where I blog every day, or even every weekday, but I understand a blog that does not post regularly becomes irrelevant.

So, even though I don’t really have a topic to focus on, I’m going push through and blog anyway. I guess my best idea is to give you a preview of what you can see on the blog in July.

I’ll have a full, detailed preview of LibertyCon coming around Wednesday the 6th. I’ll have at least one post during the con, probably on Saturday the 9th as I talk about the book release party. Then, on the 12th or so, when I get home, I’ll write a full LibertyCon AAR.

One of my goals between LibertyCon and Pennsic is to lay out a general strategy and road map for my plans for Shijuren. These plans require enough time and enough readers to pay for me to live while I write, so if you’re interested in Shijuren and want to see all the secrets revealed, let people know about my stuff. This post will happen between the 12th and the 16th.

For now, you should know I’m not thinking small.

I also plan, between LibertyCon and Pennsic, to lay out my planned schedule for as far out in the future as makes sense. I’ll have a tentative list of appearances, and reached out to them. One spoiler, since I accidentally paid twice for LibertyCon this year, I’m already paid for LibertyCon 30 in 2017. You can expect a full post about this in the week between the 23rd and 30th.

I’ll also be looking at Patreon and Kickstarter stuff. Money is, not surprisingly, an issue for me, and I’ll be figuring out ways to use these two sources. One Kickstarter that will likely happen is one to pay for the creation of A Lake Most Deep on audiobook.

As a side note, my plan is to release everything in audiobook format eventually, but I need to figure out the process, which I will do as I’m doing the first one. In any case, I hope to have a full plan for that written and published in July.

For not having anything to really say, I sure said a lot. I have to say that this post may be a model for future posts, where I write a blog entry about what’s on tap for the next month. It will serve me as a checklist and provide a preview for you.

Thanks for letting me babble. I’m going to relax for a few days with friends and recharge at Trillium War. I’m sure I will see some of you there. For the rest, I’ll chat with you next week.

More Catching Up

I was going to post a bunch of stuff about SCA 50 Year, and I realized I myself wanted to find a TL:DR version, so clearly it wasn’t worth a whole blog post. Here it is:

I got the book done. I sold some. Met some new people. As land agent, everyone had a spot. We did have a few noise complaints. We warned them. Quite a bit of cool stuff, but there could have been more. Equestrians were definitely the star of the show.

Ok, enough of 50 Year, on to Trillium War. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break, as I probably won’t have a chance to write and won’t have much opportunity to sell, but I need a little down time because next week is very exciting for me.

I’ll be at LibertyCon with a book release party of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll also be on a panel, a reading, and several shots at Author’s Alley. A big weekend for me.

As I say, I’m really excited. This is my third LibertyCon, along with a ChattaCon, and I’m starting to know and be known. Now I go there with 3 books instead of 1, and next year intend to have 5. Making progress.

I hope to maybe have some opportunities to take some of the small stories in my head and find some anthologies that match, and there’s one person in particular I want to chat with. I’ll be stalking him.

This has already been a long, tiring trip, but I have a week of friends and smiling and singing.

In terms of what’s next for me as a writer after LibertyCon. I will spend much of the time between then and Pennsic planning my fall and spring. I will also be doing Pennsic prep, of course. I will throw a few words at Where Now the Rider, and I plan on writing a lot of that at Pennsic. I’ll be sitting in Drix’s booth, writing, waiting for people to come by. By the end of Pennsic, I suspect I’ll be in the 30k range, with a goal to complete a draft by the end of September.

After Pennsic comes WorldCon. I’ll talk about that more later. For now, it’s time to order some bookmarks.

So Many Things…

I have so many things to write about since the last blog post that I’ll be breaking it down into several different posts today.

The first thing is to announce the release of I Am a Wondrous Thing, my third novel set in Shijuren.   This novel is the first in the series I am calling the Kreisens, a planned trilogy set shockingly enough in the Kreisens. BookCover6x9_IAAWT-previewYou can find the book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HHKZJVA

This was a much harder book for me to write than either of my first two because it’s so much more complex. It had a number of POV characters, it covers a much larger geographical area, and it involves more of the top-level intrigue and diplomacy.

I have had so much fun writing this, and it has expanded my view of Shijuren and where I’m going with the world. I have always had big plans for the world, plans I will soon expand upon in their own blog post, but IAAWT expanded my hopes and goals here. This is going to be a fun place for readers and I, if not for my characters.

I had my usual team of rock stars: Kellie Hultgren, Patrick McEvoy, and Adam Hale all worked hard for me to meet the timing so I could have a book release party at LibertyCon. Thanks guys. I had a bunch of others contribute as well.

The big note of sadness is the sudden passing of Jeff Fox, who helped me orchestrate the body mechanics. We talked briefly two weeks from yesterday about whether he wanted to continue and he was definitely willing and ready. Of course, he was always happen to help. I’m still shocked that a man of his age (mine), in great shape, and who did not drink or anything like that could pass from a heart attack so suddenly.

Shijuren will miss him, as will I. I will someday write more about Jeff, but that’s all I can do at this moment. His death seems so much more imaginary than my fiction right now.

 

A Good Day

Greetings all

It’s been a good day. The big news is that I have a finished draft of I Am a Wondrous Thing, with all the rearrangements and additions that were needed to make it good.

It was a frustrating edit for a while. I would write chapter 34, then realize a different chapter had to be in front it, so I moved it down and rewrote the new chapter 34, then realized another chapter had to be in front of that one and…

Yeah, I wrote chapter 34 about 6 times in this book. With 4 different point of view characters. There was a ton more re-arranging, but now I’ve finally got 58 chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue I really like.

I’m going to do one more quick pass, then send it off to Kellie. While she’s editing, I will do the pre-production stuff like getting the appendices done, the wiki updated, and I’m going to add links to the wiki for the ebook version.

In other words, it’s on track to be available on Amazon by the end of the month.

Now to see if I can arrange a release party at LibertyCon.