Con Report: World Fantasy 2018

World Fantasy 2018 banner

When a professional convention in your field is literally in your back yard (or at least 2 blocks away from where you used to work for 12 years), there’s really no excuse not to go. And I’m so glad that I attended World Fantasy 2018 in Baltimore, MD!

THURSDAY

I worked from home on Thursday morning, and then my mother-in-law was nice enough to drive me up to the convention hotel, where I stayed for the weekend. I could have commuted, but sharing a room was literally the same cost as I would have paid in parking fees over the course of 4 days.

After checking in, a friend dragged me to a small workshop on using Tarot cards to help prompt story ideas. While I don’t disbelieve in using Tarot for more personal means, I adore the concept as a storytelling exercise.

Following that, my afternoon workshop on Working with Editors went well. Scott H. Andrews, of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, was a great presenter and very knowledgeable about the subject. I was pretty much there to speak from the novel perspective, and help wrangle one of the small Q&A groups we held with other editors — and I am totally okay with that!

I joined the three lovely ladies I shared a hotel room with for dinner at the Irish pub across the street. All of us are former students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, but the best part of that is how many of those former students are now my friends and colleagues.  Continue reading

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October Wrap-Up & November Goals

SJ outlineAnother month has flown by in a fun and bewildering blur! I’m writing this post on Halloween, and my biggest dilemma right now is figuring out what to wear while I hand out candy tonight. Oh, and write two thousand words so that I can kick off NaNoWriMo at an even 10k. Yep, you read that right. More details below.

October Wrap-Up

  • I finally finished the detailed outline for book 6, tentatively titled Steel Justice and I’m really pleased with it! This will be a fun adventure.
  • Like I said above, I’m 8k words into the first draft already! I’m really enjoying writing from the POV of a character who has been around for a bit, but I hadn’t dipped into his head yet.
  • I had a blast at a writers retreat on the beach with a bunch of romance writers. Not my usual crowd, but they were all lovely ladies. The second retreat was cancelled last minute, so I spent a quiet weekend at home with the husband instead. No complaints there.
  • I started reading the final book of my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, but then I got distracted by an advanced copy of a fun fantasy novel. I’ll get back to that soon.

October Book Reviews

October Speculative Chic Contributions

November Goals

  1. I’m officially a crazy person. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for 2018, to write 50k words of Steel Justice in 30 days. Feel free to follow along and keep track of my word count at my NaNoWriMo page!
  2. And I’m doing all that writing during a month when I have two conventions! I’ll be at World Fantasy in Baltimore the first weekend of the month and ChessieCon on the last. (At least both of these events have minimal travel time.)
  3. Finish reading An Acceptable Time and write up the review to finish my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project.

I feel like that’s a short list, but: FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS IN THIRTY DAYS.

I’d better start eating Halloween candy now.

beach writers

Seven romance writers at the beach plus one tall urban fantasy writer to take the selfie.

Review: Escaping Solitude (Escape #2) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Escaping SolitudeDisclaimer: I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

The moment I finished part one of the Escape Trilogy, Escaping Exile, I was already clamoring to the author that I needed part two right away. Of course, having completed part two, I’m begging for the conclusion immediately. While some middles of stories or trilogies drag, I enjoyed this story even more than the first one! Andrew and Edmund, and their relationship with each other, continue to delight. Continue reading

World Fantasy 2018 Schedule

World Fantasy 2018 bannerI’m very excited to attend World Fantasy this year! It’s in Baltimore, so I really have no excuse not to be there. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to start meeting agents BEFORE I have a novel to pitch to them (the UFO book, which gets written in 2020!), so it will be a more relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.

As an added bonus, I’ll get to see so many writer friends from my grad school tribe and beyond, and I’m even on programming!

  • Thursday, 2 PM: Working with Editors
    • Workshop with limited space available
    • A broad discussion about editor interactions regarding short fiction and novels, including hiring developmental editors, finding sensitivity readers, submitting short fiction to magazines, sending queries for a novel to agents or publishers, and handling rewrites and line-edits. Plus a Q&A session with leading editors in the speculative fiction field today.
    • With Scott H. Andrews, Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine
  • Friday, 11 AM: Writing as Sanctuary
    • Panel: How does the art and/or exercise of writing provide sanctuary from the world. Can writing take you away from the external or is that always carried through to your work? #SanctuaryWriting
    • With Jacob Baugher, J.D. Blackrose, J.L. Gribble, Anna La Voie (M), and K. Ceres Wright
  • Friday, 8 PM: Mass Author Signing
  • Saturday, 10 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
  • Sunday, 11:30 AM: Individual Author Reading

I’m staying at the hotel in Baltimore, so I’ll be around all weekend if you want to hang out and chat or grab a meal/coffee/adult beverage. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.

Author Interview with Allan C. R. Cornelius

I’m always thrilled to support fellow graduates of the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program, even if I’ve never had the opportunity to meet them in person! Today, I’m happy to host dark fantasy author Allan Cornelius and ask him some questions about his debut novel.


Whispers at the AlterABOUT THE BOOK

When you’ve done the unthinkable, what wouldn’t you do to make it right? Lie? Steal? Kill?

For thirteen years, Steven’s mother is all he’s known. Then he plays an unintended part in the resurrection of Ssanek, a long-dead god. Now Steven must decide between abandoning the world to its fate, and risking those he cares for in a hopeless bid to banish the dark god

Meanwhile, half-elven Christabel searches for a way to bring her mother back from the dead while fighting those at the palace who see her human heritage as poison. Her only hope is Ssanek. Will Christabel be willing to give what he asks in return? After all, every wish has a price. And Ssanek’s price is blood.

Separated by thousands of miles, these two strangers must fight an evil that twists the very hearts and flesh of anyone who follows it. But only together will they find the strength to defeat what neither could overcome alone.

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Tell us a bit about what sets Whispers at the Alter apart from other dark fantasy tales!

I would have to say it is the emphasis on the characters themselves.  I’ve always been attracted to stories that were about more than just something bad happening to the protagonist and her friends, them struggling, and then just more bad happening to them.  The darkness in Whispers at the Altar comes as much from within the protagonists themselves as it does from without.  At its heart, it is a story about two vary similar people, who experience similar loss, and their internal struggles to overcome and move past that loss.  The internal journey of all of the characters, protagonist and antagonist alike is what has always attracted me to writing.  Continue reading

Review: The Flame (1001 Dark Nights/Desire Exchange novella) by Christopher Rice

FlameOften novellas either feel like a padded-out short story or a rushed novel. This was neither, giving all the background detail between each of the three main characters necessary to make the next step in their relationship feel natural and inevitable. Additionally, the supernatural element of the story blended seamlessly with the relationship arc between the characters.  Continue reading