Con Report: Balticon 51

balticon logoSince Balticon is my “local” convention, I was thrilled to finally be invited to participate as a panelist this year. I hadn’t been back since 2006, but the convention was just as great as I remembered, filled with fantastic panels, extraordinarily nice people, and amazing hall costumes.

FRIDAY 

Since I work in a nearby part of Baltimore, I headed over to the hotel after work. Checking in to the con was very easy, and I wandered the dealers room(s) for a bit, catching up with friends.

Later in the evening, I moderated a panel on world building in SF/F. Everyone on the panel was lovely, and the audience asked great questions. Main takeaway: Research, research, research (but be careful of whacking your readers over the head with it).

Afterward, I met one of my best friends for dinner and we had a lovely time catching up before I headed home.  Continue reading

Con Report: AWP 2017

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Photo credit: Jennifer Barnes; Photo bomb: D. Harlan Wilson

I had a great time yesterday spending the day at the Raw Dog Screaming Press booth at AWP 2017 in Washington, DC. While my official book signing time was from 1-3 PM, I ended up enjoying a full day chatting with people who stopped by, answering questions about the press, and talking about my books and the other excellent stories published by RDSP.

I’d never been to AWP before, and it was a bit…intense. Lots of people, lots of booths, lots to take in. Most of the vendors there were representatives of writing programs and literary journals, so RDSP doesn’t stick like a sore thumb so much as a breath of fresh air for people who are looking for something a little different. Continue reading

Con Report: ChessieCon 2016

chessielogoI had a fantastic time attending my first ChessieCon convention this past weekend! Everyone on the convention staff was lovely, and I made some great new friends.

I’d also like to specifically commend this particular convention for their dedication to accessibility throughout the events, such as offering gender neutral restrooms and reserving seats in every room for people with physical or sensory issues who might need them.

Friday

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Lee Budar-Danoff and Jon Budar-Danoff in concert.

I had no issues picking up my participant packet on Friday, and I arrived in time to see my local NaNoWriMo organizer perform her concert! Lee is a fantastic guitarist and singer, and I enjoyed listening to both original works and covers during her “Dystopian Set.” (Her husband Jon provides lovely backup.)

Since I had some time to kill before my reading, I ducked into the last half of a presentation on “Finding the Funny in Star Wars and Star Trek.” The presenters were delightful, and I managed to stalk them the rest of the weekend (more on that later).

Afterward, Lee and Jon were kind enough to return the favor and attend my reading, where I read short passages from both Steel Victory and Steel Magic for the audience. Continue reading

Con Report: TridentCon 2016

I’ve been to a lot of conventions, from tiny little things hosted at the local mall to the epic scale of DragonCon. I’m not at the point in my career where I can afford to turn down invitations, and I’m so pleased that I accepted the opportunity to sell books at a local gaming convention known as TridentCon. I thought it was brilliant that the organizer invited local speculative fiction authors rather than having an entire slate of games dealers. It is the rare table-top gamer who is not also a science fiction and/or fantasy fan. Continue reading

Con Report: DogCon 5

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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. Continue reading

Con Report: In Your Write Mind 2016

Life’s been pretty crazy lately, so it was as if a great weight lifted from my shoulders as I drove up the hill for Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind 2016 this year. It was a short weekend, Friday to Sunday, and I feel like I packed a lot into it!

Friday

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Skulls! (Photo Credit: Deanna Sjolander)

Arrived on campus, dropped my Steel Magic raffle basket off at registration, and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with friends and attending classes. I was joined by Deanna Sjolander and Anna La Voie for a reprise of my freelance editing panel, where I moderated a discussion that covered things like the different types of editing available to authors and how to jump-start your own freelance editing career. I was towed along in the wake of my much more exuberant friends afterward and somehow ended up at dinner with all of the professional guests. It’s always fun to meet people in the industry and get a different perspective on things.

That evening was the annual mass book signing, where a few lucky people were able to snag pre-release copies of Steel Magic! I stayed up way too late that night, including the requisite post-midnight campus walkabout, and enjoyed sleeping in the next morning.

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Two books to my name now! (Photo Credit: Jennifer Barnes)

Saturday

I’m so used to spending the Saturdays of this event helping set up for the annual costume ball in the evenings that I found myself a bit at loose ends for most of the day. I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind for sitting through classes, so I spent a lot of time being social with good friends instead, interspersed with quieter moments of working on my book 3 line edits. I got the requisite homage to Steak n Shake out of the way for lunch, and finally experienced the joy that is a restaurant called “Smokey Bones” for dinner with another group of friends (complete with amazing sangria).

The costume ball was held on a restaurant just off-campus. The theme this year was “Trope Your Genre,” so I bought myself a cheap plastic sword last Halloween and showed up in my regular Renaissance Festival gear, topped off by a cute diadem I bought at a con ages ago. I was a badass warrior princess ready to adventure in thoroughly impractical adventuring gear (my coin belt was super stealthy). This was apparently enough to win an award in the fantasy category!

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Attempting to use magic to retrieve my sword from the Spartan who stole it! (Photo Credit: Jay Smith)

Next year’s theme is “International Persons of Mystery.” Costume ideas would be appreciated, because the only thing I can think of right now is something involving a cocktail dress, which won’t stand me out enough to win an award for the third year in a row.

Sunday

After another night of staying up super-late again, playing Werewolf, and just talking with cool people, I enjoyed sleeping in again. Met up with friends for a late breakfast and then headed back to campus. I wish I could have stayed for graduation this year, but at that point I was operating on about 8 hours of sleep total and knew I had to be up early Monday morning. It was a good thing I did leave early, because I had to stop for coffee twice and still have to force myself to scream along to loud music for the last 30 minutes of the drive.

Took a nap when I got home, woke up for Game of Thrones, and then went back to sleep. It was a blast to see everyone and get inspired to throw myself into the next book in the series. Being reminded that other people are excited to keep reading my books is pretty much the best thing ever.

Final book haul, topped by my diadem and costume award:

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Con Report: Cleveland ConCoction 2016

I was excited to be part of the Dog Star Books invasion of Cleveland ConCoction this year, and I’m happy to report that this was one of the best conventions I’ve ever attended. I hadn’t been to a full media (versus strictly literary) convention in a few years and this was a fun way to jump back in the fray. It was also fun to see the great cosplay and mixture of people attending the rest of the convention.

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I promise I am not actually a tiny adorable puppy.

As I told as many of the staff as I could, it was hard for me to believe that ConCoction was only in it’s third year. Everything was very well run and I had zero problems as a guest and panelist. I highly recommend ConCoction to everyone in the Ohio area, and even from farther away. Continue reading