Category Archives: conventions

Coninsanity

I’ve spent the last almost-three weeks in my own personal “con season.” It’s been an amazing time, albeit exhausting. The bulk of the insanity was a 12-day, cross-country excursion to Tampa and Portland. I left home on April 16 and didn’t return until April 27—and then Outlantacon was 5 days after that!

I started my trip in Tampa for RainbowCon, which was pretty awesome. We had some great panel sessions—I sat on panels about author etiquette and stereotypes in fiction—and the vendor room stayed pretty busy. I left with just one book left from the ones I brought, though of course I had a stack of new ones I purchased from others! I shared a table with the fabulous Nicole Dennis, and we were set up right next to Grace R. Duncan, so we had a great time. It was so great to see so many friends again and to meet some new people. Best surprise: Brandon Shire stopping by! (He’s freaking adorable, too. LOL)

Once RainbowCon ended, I went home with cousins who live nearby for a couple of days off. I mostly did as little as possible: soaked in the hot tub, sat by the pool, ate some great food, and slept a lot. I did write a blog post and worked on plotting my next books, but I focused on resting up because I knew I’d need it!

On Wednesday, April 23, after a quick trip to St. Pete beach, I hopped a plane to Portland by way of Detroit, getting to the hotel at 10:30 local time. Naturally, my body felt like it was 1:30 a.m., so after unpacking the absolute bare minimum and drinking a little chocolate milk, I crashed hard. Thursday, I took care of two Portland touristy essentials: lunch from a food truck (a really good gyro) and doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts. When I got back, I started meeting up with people, and if I tried to list them all, I’d leave people out. But I got to see many of my favorite people and meet a bunch more, and that is always awesome.

The workshop itself was fun and interesting. Lots of information about sales and marketing, suggestions for writing specifics, and plenty of laughter. I had a good talk with Elizabeth North, pinning myself down to a three-book series commitment in the process (eep!), and several other Dreamspinner staffers, in addition to a bunch of authors. Nothing like feeling like you’ve found your people. 🙂

I did manage to squeeze in dinner with a local friend, though plans with another fell through just because I was too tired to think by then. I did hit up a couple more food trucks and wander through the Powell’s location at the airport. Portland is a lovely city, and I’d love to go back at some point.

I flew home last Sunday, along with Nessa Warin and Paul Richmond, which led to quite a bit of insanity, some of which might actually make it into a book (pokes Nessa). Of course, by the time I got home, I was dead on my feet and pretty much only had time to collapse into a bed. I did have to work the next day. 🙂

I survived last week, barely, and picked up J.P. Barnaby and Kage Alan from the airport on Thursday to kick things off. I went to the Eagle with J.P. and William Cooper for the Outlantacon kickoff party, had to work briefly Friday morning, and then spent the weekend doing the panels I listed on Friday and the rest of the time in the dealer room, selling books. We had a big pile of print copies of Butt Ninjas from Hell and sold quite a few. And of course we’re already planning for the next anthology or two. 😉

I’m finishing this up Sunday night, and I’m so tired it’s taking me twice as long to parse things as I go. I should probably stop writing and go get some sleep. Back to the EDJ in the morning!

Outlantacon Panel Schedule

GconThumbnailI’ll be at Outlantacon/Gaylaxicon this weekend, mostly doing things related to the Butt Ninjas from Hell anthology. When I’m not on a panel, I’ll have a spot in the vendor room, but here’s where you can come to listen to me blather:

Butt Ninjas from Hell: The Back Story
Saturday, May 3, 3:00 PM, Dekalb Room
It’s the sequel to Butt Pirates from Space! Meet the authors of the new Butt Ninjas from Hell Anthology prior to joining them for their book signing party. Presented by: Kage Alan, JP Barnaby, Ally Blue, TC Blue, Shae Connor, Jevocas Green, Kiernan Kelly, and Eden Winters. 

Writers Workshop Series: Fan Fiction vs Pro Writing

Saturday, May 3, 4:00 PM, Decatur II

Some rules are universal, but there are a few distinct differences between writing fan based fiction vs the big leagues. Our experts share their secrets. Mentors: Shae Connor, JP Barnaby, and Kayelle Allen.

 

Butt Ninjas From Hell Book Release Party

Saturday, May 3, 7:00 PM, Magnolia Room (Con Suite)

Check out this ninja themed party and get to know the authors of the hot sequel to Butt Pirates in Space. Refreshments provided. Presented by: Kage Alan, JP Barnaby, Ally Blue, TC Blue, Shae Connor, Jevocas Green, Kiernan Kelly, Eden Winters

 

Whedon Universe!

Sunday, May 4, 12:00 PM, Decatur I

Can’t get enough Avengers, Buffy, Angel, or Firefly? Neither can we! Let’s talk about it. Presented by: Shae Connor, Kage Alan, and TC Blue

 

Potter

Sunday, May 4, 2:00 PM, Dekalb Room

Potter-verse, Pottermore, and beyond. We’re just wild about Harry. Presented by: JP Barnaby and Shae Connor.

 

Inspiration and Process

Sunday, May 4, 3:00 PM, Decatur I

How does an aspiring author find creative inspiration, stay motivated, and get from the blank page to editing the final draft? Presented by: Shae Connor and JP Barnaby.

The Foodie Traveler, or How Not to Get Sick on the Road

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As you’re reading this, I’m in Tampa at RainbowCon, getting my author geek on and spending my downtime doing some writing but otherwise being as lazy as possible. After the convention ends, I’ll spend a few days visiting with cousins who live here, during which time I hope to be by the pool or on the beach, for the most part. And then I fly to Portland (by way of Detroit) for the Dreamspinner author workshop. I’ll be back home a week from Sunday.

 

I started doing regular travel for work of one sort or another 15 years ago, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t stomach it unless I’m very, very careful. Oh, I’m mostly fine with flying, which was something I didn’t learn until I was in my 30s, because we never had the money to fly anywhere when I was younger. My problem is a tendency toward occasional motion sickness, which can happen any time and with any kind of motion but has certain triggers. Riding in the back seat of a car, for example, is usually a bad idea. And eating heavy or greasy meals before travel is right out.

 

When I’m on the road, I do my best to follow the usual travel guidelines. I get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water (most of it bottled), and try to eat healthy meals. That last part is tough when you’re eating out most of the time, but I pay particular attention to what I eat on days when I’m traveling. I’m lucky that I don’t have any serious food restrictions, but light meals on travel days are a must, and I also carry something snacky with me. A bout of low blood sugar is never fun but ten times worse when you’re sitting in an airport. I also stock various medications for various digestive-related ailments in the mini pharmacy that always goes into my travel bag.

 

(I’m trying to avoid going into much detail here. There’s TMI, and then there’s T. M. I.)

 

One thing I still try to do when I travel is eat locally. I don’t want to go across the country and then eat food I can get around the corner. I avoid chains, unless they’re regional and don’t exist near me (I’ll be visiting Wawa while I’m in Tampa). I’m happy to visit tourist-attraction restaurants (I will have a VooDoo Doughnut in Portland) but like to find the places where locals eat. I’m cautious about foods I’ve never had before, and I stick close to my regular personal guidelines (nothing too spicy, for example), but I firmly believe food is a big part of the travel experience, so I stretch as much as I feel like I can. Not that this plan is foolproof, but then, nothing ever is. 🙂

 

So wish me smooth travels and safe eating, all, and I hope I’ll have foodie stories to share when I get back home!

I’m Going to RainbowCon…

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LisaT started a silly little game for those of us going to RainbowCon. I like silly little games, so here you go!

I’m going RainbowCon, and in my suitcase I’m bringing…

ninjacups

Are they not the cutest little ninjas you’ve ever seen?? I’ll have a few to give away, and who knows what you might find inside? 😉

Guest Blogging Today at Pants Off

rainbowconsloganToday, I’m guest blogging over at Pants Off Reviews to kick off the run up to RainbowCon. Come on over and check it out! 🙂

Where to Find Me in 2014

Now that I’m signed up for GayRomLit, my conference schedule for 2014 is set. There are several other events I would love to attend, but I’ve had to keep things reined in due to limitations on time and money. Here’s where I’ll be this year:

RainbowCon, April 17–20, Tampa
Attending author
Panels: Author Etiquette (Thu 3pm), Author Q&A (Thu 4pm), Using Stereotypes to Your Advantage (Fri 3pm)

Outlantacon/Gaylaxicon, May 2–4, Atlanta
Guest
Panels TBD

Dragon Con, August 29–September 1, Atlanta
Volunteer
Daily Dragon staff; panels TBD

GayRomLit, October 16–19, Bloomingdale (Chicago)
General attendee

Monday Music: It Was All A Bit Bizarre

mondaymusicbanner

I’m scheduling this WELL in advance because there’s no way I’ll remember to do it the weekend before. Why? Well, because I’m at Dragon Con, of course!

Best Laid Plans and You-Never-Knows

So, I’d been planning to try to finish the novel I’m currently working on before Dragon Con, which is Labor Day weekend. Since I’m over halfway through, that should be doable, right? It’s a month away, after all.

Well, Dragon Con came calling early this year. Starting this weekend, I’m helping the publications director with the bazillion things she has to do to get the program book, pocket program, and other con publications out to the printer in time to make it to the con. I’ll still be doing my regular on-site job (or my boss, Eugie Foster, would kill someone and/or die on the spot), but the pre-con editing and such will be filling up a lot of my time before then.

This isn’t a bad thing, you understand. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do. But it does cut into my time, which means the writing needs to take a backseat temporarily. I have edits for two stories that are still in production, so those will get done, but the WIPs will just have to wait their turn.

OTOH, I’ll probably get some writing time during Dragon Con, so that’s always a bonus. 🙂

Life and Other Complications

As those of you who follow me on social media may have noticed, I’ve been off my feet for the past few days after dropping a flute case on my foot from a height of about six feet. (Protip: put on shoes before you start a whirlwind cleaning effort.) Nothing is broken, but I didn’t stay off it for the first few days after it happened, so now I’m on day three of doctor’s orders to do so. Thankfully, it’s much better now, which is good, since I have three days in the office at the EDJ starting tomorrow, and that entails a walk of about a quarter mile from parking deck to cubicle.

rainbowheartsparkleAfter that, though, I have a long weekend for Independence Day, so I’ll be able to rest up more. I can even watch fireworks right from the comfort of my sofa! LOL

I’ll also be able to spend the long weekend writing. I’m working on two main projects right now. One is a best-friends-to-lovers story about high school football players. It would be the first in a trilogy to take them through their senior year of college. All three books are generally planned out, so now all I have to do is write them. The easy part, right? HA. In an attempt to focus, though, I’ve set an initial deadline of July 15 to have a rough draft of book one, so I’ll have something to talk about (if not actually pitch) at RWA. It will probably be VERY rough, but at least it’s something!

The other story is an erotic novella based around fetish play. So since the trilogy is a sweet romance, this is pretty much a 180-degree shift. It’s based on some observations from my trip to IML in Chicago last month, but since it’s not my kink, I’ll definitely be running it by some friends who are involved in that kind of play. (I wrote the first sex scene yesterday, and boy, that thousand words went by FAST.)

Unlike a lot of authors, I always have two (occasionally more) projects going at a time. I just get too bogged down trying to work on one at a time. I try to mix things up, though—in theme, length, style, content, etc.—so they work like palate cleansers for each other. My last two submissions were a sweet contemporary romance novella and an erotic scifi short story, written mostly at the same time.

Speaking of which, those stories are both in the editing/production pipeline. The short is due out later this summer from Wilde City Press, as part of their Charlie Harding Presents line. The novella will be part of a baseball-themed anthology with Kate McMurray, Marguerite Labbe, and Kerry Freeman, coming in the fall from Dreamspinner.

As far as longer-term planning, in addition to RWA, I’ll be in attendance at Dragon*Con (of course) and GayRomLit here in Atlanta, and I plan to be at both North Georgia/Marietta Pride (last weekend in July) and Atlanta Pride (second weekend in October). I’m also on the case for 2014 already, signed up as an author for RainbowCon in Tampa and with a hotel reservation for the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans next May. I haven’t decided for sure about RT, but it looks very likely at this point. The dates for Outlantacon aren’t final yet, so I’m hoping for no conflicts!

(Speaking of which, I had planned to go to the Folsom Street Fair against this year, because I had an amazing time in 2012. However, a family event may fall on that weekend, so it looks like I might have to miss it.)

Otherwise, well, life goes on. The EDJ is still there (and really, not particularly evil, except as jobs generally are). Family is doing well. Friends visited last weekend and we had a wonderful time. The weather is hot. Our apartment still needs work. My to-read list is extensive, and my book spending too high (not that that’s going to stop me). And it’s the last day of the quarter, so go out and buy stuff from your favorite authors so their royalty checks will be nice and fat, and they’ll keep on writing. 🙂

Gaylaxicon/Outlantacon Schedule

If you’re coming into Atlanta for Gaylaxicon/Outlantacon weekend, here’s where you’re likely to find me. All times/locations/etc. subject to change. I’ll also be around the vendor room off and on in between panels. 🙂

Saturday, May 4
10:00 AM
From Hoe to Pro (Dunwoody Room II)
For the self-proclaimed writing whores that would like to go professional. With Eden Winters.

11:00 AM
Writers Workshop: Traditional vs Self Publishing (Clairemont Boardroom)
Here’s the inside scoop on how to do it. With Kiernan Kelly.

2:oo PM
Writers Workshop: World Building (Clairemont Boardroom)
The environment we live in engages all our senses, sets a mood, and changes the way we interact with others. Shouldn’t your written environment do the same? With Kayelle Allen.

3:00 PM
Writers Workshop: Marketing for Authors (Clairemont Boardroom)
Think all marketing is the same? Think again. These experts reveal tips and tricks that are specific to authors. With Kayelle Allen.

4:00 PM
Butt Pirates in Space—the Back Story (Dekalb Room)
Meet the authors of the new Butt Pirates in Space Anthology prior to joining them for their book signing party. With Kiernan Kelly, T.C. Blue, and Kage Alan.

7:00–9:00 PM
Butt Pirates in Space Book Release Party (Con Suite)
Check out this 2 hr space pirate themed party and get to know the authors of this hot publication. With Kiernan Kelly, T.C. Blue, and Kage Alan.

Sunday, May 5
1:00 PM
Audience Turn-Offs in Social Media (Dekalb Room)
There are just some things you should never do online… especially if you are trying to promote your work. With Kayelle Allen.

3:00 PM
Lusting After Joss Whedon (Dekalb Room)
Part genius, part madman, Joss Whedon has given us greats like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Cabin in the Woods, and the upcoming Avengers 2. Join artists as the discuss why they just can’t get enough of him. With Lee Martindale and TC Blue.