Tag Archives: C.V. Walter

Rob’s Ramblings: 20Books AAR

I’m back from 20Books and I’ll start with saying it was an amazing trip.

I went with two overall goals: Gain the tools to level up personally and to level up New Mythology Press. Mission achieved.

Sunday night is when things sort of start. I say “sort of” because panels start on Tuesday, but networking and reconnecting is a huge part of the event.

I got a chance to hang out with some of the North Texas Troublemakers on Sunday. This is a collection of some skilled writers and artists from around Wichita Falls. They’re good folk and I don’t get a chance to really hang out with them much, but several of them were at the con.

One was Dorothy Grant, who I’ve crossed paths with before, but mostly knew online. This was a chance to get to know each other in real life. This last bit, by the way, is a huge theme of 20Books for me.

Another was C.V. Walter, an successful romance writer, especially her Alien Brides series. I’m trying to add a bit more of those tropes to my writing to broaden my skill set, and we had a good conversation about that. I put some romance in The Door Into Winter, and she agreed to take a look at what I did and see how I can punch that up a notch.

Also, expect to see her in an upcoming anthology as she’s got some great ideas and plans for valorous deeds. That’ll be 2024.

Monday started with the big vendor show. A bunch of people who offer a variety of services to help authors write. I found some intriguing stuff I’ll be digging through in the upcoming weeks.

I did have a chance to meet Jake of J Caleb Designs. He’s the artist for so many of New Mythology’s Books. He’s talented, creative, and a true professional. I can’t recommend him enough.

The rest of Monday was more networking and hanging out with a bunch of people. I had a great conversation with a friend who I’ve not really hung out with much in real life.

A crew of CKP folk ended up at Giordano’s, a true deep dish pizza, and we had a bunch of chats about this and that pertaining to a various CKP plans.

Tuesday started with a D&D game hosted by Luke Gygax. If you’re familiar with D&D, you might recognize the name. Yes, he’s related. In fact, he’s one of Gary’s kids.

I actually gamed with him twice, having a session both Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We had a blast, but from a professional standpoint, it was a great chance to connect with a few individuals more than we might have otherwise.

I’m certainly going to keep track of Gaxxworx, Luke’s company, and the setting they’re creating for D&D.

After that I hit Dave Butler’s editing for muscular prose. This was a very useful session as I not only learned new things, it also codified a number of things I’d sort of known but hadn’t ever lined out explicitly.

I’ve already started to put some of those things into use. Definitely a chance for me to level up.

Side note on Dave. We’ve been friends for a bit, but at most cons we don’t have time to actually sit and chat. We had a couple of chances, especially dinner on Thursday. He’s a great dude, and I look forward to hanging out again.

Dave was also hanging out with David West and Brad Torgerson. These are two writers I’ve interacted with on the internet, but hadn’t met in real life. Unfortunately, Brad came down with an illness, so we didn’t see much of him later in the week.

I especially wanted to meet with West, as he’s been pushing Weird West stories. As I desire my Libri Valoris anthologies to be broadly ecumenical in fantasy subgenres, I wanted to make sure he knew that Weird West fantasies are absolutely acceptable for these.

Wednesday was more panels, in particular Larry Correia’s one on action scenes. If you’ve read Larry’s stuff you know he makes these pop, and I got a few tips and tricks I’m looking forward to adding to my stuff.

Speaking of Larry, I also got to hang out with him more than I’ve done before. We had a fun lunch at the French restaurant close to the convention including Kacey Ezell, Nathan Balyeat, Mike Massa, and Larry’s wife, Brigit. Cheese was the biggest topic of conversation.

Also, it was great to actually get a chance to chat with Massa, another talented writer I’ve admired for a while but barely known in real life.

The other really useful session on Wednesday was Bryan Cohen’s Less Time, More Readers panel. This had a number of specific ideas on being productive.

The basic theme here was consistent mediocrity. Doing a little thing day after day after day will add up more than big days. We already kind of know this because we try to write some every day, but he pushed for us to do this on everything we do.

He also said it’s best to cut down on the things we try to do, but again, stick with them day after day, week after week. This might seem counter-intuitive but it struck a chord with me because it’s exactly what I talk about to people thinking about joining the SCA.

Many new to the SCA are intimidated by all the stuff. The great outfits, the bling, good shoes, chairs, wooden chests, and at camping events, tents and such-like things. They feel like they can’t do this because they can’t get all this stuff.

The thing is, no one should have all this stuff at the start. I started with tennis shoes, sweats, and plain T-tunic. This is still sufficient to start with. I had bag chairs, not wooden ones. Everything we used was modern.

But over the 25 years I’ve accrued this and that periodically. I made a chest, bought a chair, traded for garb, etc. I have a pretty good kit, but only after doing a bit here, a bit there, over all this time.

I need to do that with my work. Many, including me, often look at established writers and struggle to do all the things they do without remembering they didn’t do all those things at the start, but did some then added on as they got better.

I need to focus on certain things and get consistent with them. Then, when they’re programmed in, add something else. You can expect to see a few changes along those lines in the upcoming months. Some will be behind the scenes, but it will all be more calculated, more planned to do less, but more consistently.

Those were the three panels I got the most out of, though there may be more. I’ll be watching a few of the others that conflicted with other plans. This con, more than most, had productive things opposite other productive things.

Thursday, after the gaming with Luke Gygax, was mostly networking. In particular, I had a chance to really hang out with James Artimus Owens, a writer and artist who’s also one of the main people at Superstars. His class on cover art at Superstars was one of the best things I did there and it was good to actually get to know him a bit.

This conversation actually gave me a chance to consider the relative merits of both Superstars and 20Books. They’re both great for up-and-coming writers, but they have slightly different aims. 20Books seemed to have a much more granular, detailed approach to the business side of things, especially for indie writers who already have a few things out there. Superstars is better for newer writers, and also for those who lean toward tradpub.

Short version: both are great, but one can be better than the other depending upon your goals and circumstances. As both are expensive to attend, I suggest studying each to find the best fit for you. Most of us can’t afford to attend both in a given year.

It seemed like 20Books had more aimed at my specific needs, but again, this is something you need to determine yourself.

Anyway, the event ended on Friday with the RAVE event.  This was an open-to-the-public sales event. There weren’t a ton of shoppers not part of the con and we didn’t have many sales. However, this was a chance for people to show off what they had.

I had a great chat with a number of writers, including some I expect you’ll see coming out in New Mythology down the road.

Overall, it was a fantastic convention and I achieved my goals. I’ve got more tools in my toolbox, more connections in the industry, and more ideas to push my stuff to the next level.

I’ll definitely go back.

 

Rob’s Ramblings: September AAR

Yes, there are still ten days left in September, but so much has gone on that I really need to do an AAR. Plus, October looks like it’ll be just as busy so I don’t know when I’ll get this done, and as I look back a monthly AAR sounds like a pretty good regular post.

No Game for Knights
No Game for Knights

This month started off with a huge bang when No Game For Knights came out on the 6th. This is the noir-themed science fiction and fantasy anthology edited by Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell and follows up Noir Fatale, which was also really fun.

My story in here was entitled The Incomparable Treasure, and it continues the adventures of Edward Aethelredson. If you’ve read The Eyes of a Doll, you want to read this as it follows up some of that story there.

The Pain Bearer
The Pain Bearer

Then, on the 13th, New Mythology released The Pain Bearer, by Kendra Merritt. This is my favorite of the Eldros Legacy novels so far, including my own The Door Into Winter.

On the 16th, The Valkyries Initiative came out. This is an anthology in the Hit World universe edited by Marisa Wolf.

The Hit World is what I call genre gumbo. It has everything: aliens, magic, gods, myths, James Bond-style espionage and assassinations, intrigue, and if it doesn’t have it now, it will someday.

Really fun.

The Valkyries Initiative
The Valkyries Initiative

My story in here is actually in many ways like my story in No Game for Knights. It’s hardboiled and has more than a bit of noir influence. It’s about a valkyrie who’s been doing the bidding of Freya and Odin for some 1500 years now. She’s currently working a job in St. Louis and, spoiler alert, everything goes sideways.

I like putting characters into difficult positions where no choice is good, and this was one of my favorite bad situations so far.

The Chimera Coup
The Chimera Coup

Today, we released The Chimera Coup, which starts a new series called The Heirs of Cataclysm. This is post-apocalyptic, swords and sorcery and tech and is full of action as one would expect from Christopher G. Nuttall.

If you haven’t read Chris’s stuff before, you should. He’s got a bunch out there, including some other fantasy series, plus  a bunch of great mil SF and space opera. We’re honored to have the opportunity to publish this.

Books 2 and 3 in this trilogy will come out soon, and you’re going to love how he wraps this all up.

I’ve also been a part of a number of podcasts. The Eldros Legacy crew did an interview on the 7th on Inside CKP. We did another interview with Cursed Dragon Ships on the 13th. Between those, the Dudes in Hyperspace had their NFL preview show on the 8th.

Click on the show links to check out all three of those.

Whew, that’s 4 books released and 3 podcasts recorded in 2 weeks!

But wait, there’s more! I also just got back from FenCon in the DFW Metroplex.

Larry Correia was the guest of honor, Robert E. Hampson was the science GOH, and Chuck Gannon was the toastmaster. Man, that’s a heck of a list and it drew out a ton of people. I heard, though I haven’t confirmed it, that FenCon drew almost as many people this year as it had done in the previous two pre-pandemic years combined.

Again, I’ve got no confirmation on that, but it sure seemed hopping to me. I was only on two panels, one on Indie Publishing and the CKP Look Ahead, but both were very well attended. Thanks to all who come out.

I also had constant traffic in front of my dealer’s table. I sold more than I expected, which is always nice, but I also got to really talk to a bunch of great people.

The author next to me, Tim Gilliland, was brand new. This was his first con ever, whether to sell or not. He’s in his 60s and finally getting to do what he’s always wanted to do. I predict he’ll do well, given how enthusiastic he was.

This was actually a theme, as I was aware of more people who said this was their first ever convention than I can recall at any other con. Great to see all the new blood.

But truly, it was the old blood that made this con for me. Because of the guests, there was a huge percentage of attendees who I usually see at LibertyCon. Since I missed it this year, I was ecstatic to have sort of a LibertyCon Lite.  Yeah, yeah, I do realize it was probably the wise choice to be at my own wedding instead of the con, but I still missed my friends.

I had a great conversations with old and new friends, which is really the best part of cons. Selling books is great, and I love panels, but it’s the people that matter.

Among friends I had good conversations with were Larry, Rob, Chuck, Sarah Hoyt, Cedar Sanderson, Jonna Hayden, C.V. Walter, Dan Hoyt, Karl Gallagher, Sean CW Korsgaard, Mark Wandrey, Lloyd Behm, Joy Wandrey, William Alan Webb, Sandra Medlock, and Toni Weisskopf. I also met Fred Hughes and Kayla Krantz, two newish authors in the stable, plus a bunch of people like Tim Gilliland, David Birdsall, and Greg Gagnon who I expect to get to talk about when they get their own writing careers going.

What a fun crew.

I came back with a number of new ideas and looking forward to going to the next FenCon.

What’s left in September? Well, to be honest, prepping for October, plus we’ve got our Dudes in Hyperspace podmail episode coming out this week.

On October 4th, we have the release of Trisha J. Wooldridge’s Heart, Wings, and Fire. This is another new series set in her 27 Kingdoms world.

This story is really something new for New Mythology Press, something I’ve been wanting to see. It’s full of action, but less in the way of swords and more in the way of standing up to challenges. It’s also set in an Asian-inspired setting. I love all sorts of myths and legends from across the world and I want to see more of it.

Then on October 11th, we have the 9th Eldros Legacy novel, A Murder of Wolves, from Jamie Ibson. This is set on Daemanon and is a neat take on druids.

There’ll be more from the Dudes in Hyperspace, of course, and maybe more still yet to talk about.

September 2022 rocked, and I can’t wait for October.