Steel Magic makes for lovely beach house decor.

It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been 5 years since I’ve been involved with Raw Dog Screaming Press. There are other dates to mark that anniversary that might be more “official,” such as the date my first book with them was announced (at DogCon 3), but I quietly mark the beginning of this journey from my official invitation to the very first DogCon. That was when the Dog Star Books SF/adventure imprint was announced, and when I started to get the idea that I might have found a home for my urban fantasy/alternate history novel.

Funny story: I wasn’t even at the first DogCon! (Even though lots of people seem to think that I was.) I received the invitation after I’d already scheduled the housewarming party for my new home, and since I had not yet met John Edward Lawson or Jennifer Barnes in person, I thought it was weird that they were inviting me to their house. But that invitation started a lovely social media correspondence that has since blossomed into an amazing friendship and working relationship. I haven’t missed a DogCon since, and this most recent was definitely one for the books.

This year, DogCon was an event designed to bring authors in the RDSP family closer together and held at the amazing Broadkill Writer’s Resort in Milton, Delaware.


I left promptly after work on Friday afternoon and headed for the beach. Traffic on the southern route was pretty gnarly, so I enjoyed a lovely drive north through Maryland and around the tip of the Chesapeake Bay before heading south through Delaware. I hadn’t driven that before, but I’m always up for a driving adventure as long as the weather is beautiful (it was) and the coffee is plentiful (it definitely was).

My entrance at Broadkill coincided with the arrival of the pizza, and the rest of the evening was spent socializing with friends that I often only see once or twice a year.


We started the official part of DogCon with a bang. Specifically, with delicious donuts from a small shop in Milton. Once everyone was fortified with sugar and more caffeine, publicist Beverly Bambury hosted a lecture and discussion on effective ways to use social media as an author, even if you don’t really like people. I discovered that I could probably be better at using the Twitter machine, but that I get decent results from how I use my Facebook professional page.

Afterward, it was field trip time! We enjoyed a lovely tour of the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and sampled some beverages in the tasting room.

After such great inspiration, it was the perfect time to head back to the beach house and work on writing prompts from Michael Arnzen’s craft book Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side, accompanied by much cackling and loud chants of the word “corn” because that’s how Arnzen rolls. He was one of my professors in graduate school 10 years ago, so you’d think I’d be used to it by now. I somehow created a time machine out of a cat and wrote a wonky flash fiction piece about a dangerous cake recipe.

Stephanie M. Wytovich’s last day with the coveted belt.

Later that evening came the presentation of the Reader’s Choice Award. I’m so appreciative of the support everyone had for Steel Victory this year, and I hope I can count on you again next year for Steel Magic! This year, the award returns to Dog Star Books author Matt Betts for his urban fantasy novel, Indelible Ink. It’s a fun book and a great read, so I encourage everyone to check it out.

The rest of the evening was spent with camaraderie, copious amounts of the alcohol, and the official debut of the RDSP Against Humanity card game.


We were back to work Sunday morning with another presentation by Beverly Bambury, this time on how to put together a potential reviewer list and the best way to effectively contact book reviewers.

Later that afternoon, some of the authors in attendance performed a story swap. Nathan Rosen was perfect as he read a scene from from Asaron’s point of view from an unpublished short story that takes place shortly after the events in Steel Victory. I hope I did his work justice as I, in turn, played the part of a cranky old man in a neat retelling of an urban legend.

Finally, we wrapped things up with the annual “State of the Dog” address by John Edward Lawson. He made some really exciting announcements about how RDSP will continue to evolve in this constantly-changing world of publishing. You can check out his talk, along with recordings of many of the other events that happened over the course of this weekend.

I headed home Sunday evening and wound down with the first few episodes of Luke Cage and kitten snuggles. Because DogCon isn’t a static event, I have no idea when or where it will be held in 2017 yet. I know I’ll be there no matter what.

My DogCon swag bag included a writing journal, unique blackout poetry, and a kit of writing prompts (which I’ll reveal once I write something cool with them). I know my editor says that she didn’t give the bags to specific people, but it’s almost like she knows I have a thing for purple!

4 thoughts on “Con Report: DogCon 5

  1. Wow. I have been fascinated by John Edward Lawson for some time and lurking on the lunatic fringe of his writing and publication success: watching, watching. If it weren’t for a prior commitment, I would have been a pest, whining until able to join in. 🙂 This event looked wonderful before, and even better after. Thanks for the recap. All the best. I’ll watch out for the next gathering. Hidey-Ho!

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