Con Report: StokerCon 2019

StokerCon 2019 imageIf you’re here to find a copy of my alternate history presentation, you’re in the right place! Scroll, read, and enjoy.

I might not be a horror fan, but you won’t find a nicer group of creative people. I was immediately welcomed into the fold at StokerCon 2019, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I had a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday

Since my publishers, Jennifer Barnes and John Edward Lawson of Raw Dog Screaming Press, live fairly close to me, we traveled to the convention together. After an uneventful afternoon flight, we checked into the hotel and enjoyed dinner at a nearby brew pub. Then it was early to bed since we had some nonstop days ahead of us.

Thursday

A giant hotel room bed to myself and no hungry cats to feed in the morning? I slept in until 11 AM and it was glorious. In the afternoon, I helped set up the RDSP table in the dealer room and began my main purpose for attending the convention: chatting with people and hopefully selling them a book or two.

I slipped out later in the evening to moderate a panel on making your work stand out from the slush pile. The conversation meandered a bit, but I think I managed to wrangle the panelists into contributing some useful knowledge to the audience. The main take-away point? Read the submission guidelines. Follow the submission guidelines.

Afterward, I had a lovely dinner with some friends from the Seton Hill University In Your Write Mind program, then a quiet evening in the hotel room doing some reading.

StokerCon 2019 dealer room

With Jennifer Barnes at the RDSP table.

Friday

Coffee, then back in the dealer room! A quick break in the afternoon to attend my reading, where I shared a scene from Steel Blood. I already don’t particularly care for pistachios, but I’ll never look at them the same way again, thanks to author Jeff Strand, who read a hilarious short story.

Later that evening was the mass author book signing, then the RDSP room party! I met some people in person that I’d otherwise only interacted with online, which is always fun. I stayed up way too late, drank way too much wine, and regret nothing.

StokerCon 2019 alt historySaturday

Dealer room time again. I sold a lot of books at this convention, you guys. Seriously, it was awesome. This time, my mid-day break came in the form of my alternate history presentation. The audience was small, but intimate, and everyone joined in on creating some fun worlds. Our nexus point event centered around the Cuban Missile Crisis, and our true alternate history assumed that the Hollow Earth theory was real. Click the link below to download the PDF version of my presentation.

Creating Stories by Changing the Past StokerCon 2019

That evening, I attended the Bran Stoker Awards and got to cheer on Raw Dog Screaming Press as John and Jennifer accepted the Specialty Press Award. I’m so proud to be part of this amazing publishing company.

Sunday

Sold a few more books in the dealers room, then it was time to say goodbye and head to the airport again. By this time, I was completely wiped out and I needed some introvert time. Luckily, my husband had dinner ready at home after he picked me up and I got some cat snuggles during Game of Thrones.

Would I ever return to StokerCon? Absolutely. No guarantees on attending next year in the UK, but this is definitely a convention I’ll be keeping on my radar.


The final haul:

StokerCon 2019 haul

Purchases:

From the StokerCon 2019 swag bag:

Review: Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin #6) by Jordan L. Hawk

hoarfrostSomething different about this book is immediate from the first page — scenes from Griffin’s point of view! This made me nervous at first, but Hawk obviously has a great handle on his character. Switching between two first-person POVs is never difficult, because Griffin’s voice is so distinctive from Whyborne’s.

The need for scenes to be from Griffin’s perspective is not just a change of pace on the writer’s part. His viewpoint is necessary for the plot and conflicts to have the full impact on the reader. Continue reading

Review: Into the Ashes (Taine McKenna Adventures #3) by Lee Murray

Into the AshesDisclaimer: I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

The third installment of the Taine McKenna adventures follows the format of the two previous books without becoming formulaic or predictable. It’s an action-packed adventure featuring human and supernatural dangers, full of both familiar faces and new characters I hope to see again in future books.

This time, the supernatural element is a lot less obvious — no giant monsters this time. Instead, Murray delves deeper into New Zealand mythology to use environmental dangers to great effect. For various personal reasons, I am NOT a fan of stories about volcanoes and/or earthquakes. But I tore through this book because I was enjoying the story enough not to be put off by the very realistic and detailed descriptions of being near an active volcano and its various environmental impacts. The only reason I knocked half a star off my rating of this book, compared with the two previous, is that I really liked the inclusion of giant monsters in addition to very human villains. Totally a personal opinion on my part.

Jules and Taine keep breaking my heart in this book. If this series was a single romance novel, I’d be smacking them both right now. But this isn’t a romance novel, and Jules and Taine are portrayed as realistic people — real people don’t always get a happy ending.

Just tell that to all the other people who die in this book: heroes, villains, and innocent bystanders alike. I like a healthy dose of reality in my supernatural thrillers, and this book has it in spades.

Can’t wait to read the next adventure featuring my favorite Kiwi soldier!

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan WakesI purchased this ebook when the first season of the television adaptation aired, but didn’t get around to reading it until a recent vacation. I’ve seen three seasons of the show so far, so that will obviously color my interpretation of the book (such as visualizing actors as their characters and such). My husband and I have been telling people that The Expanse is the best science-fiction on TV for years, so I’m happy to say that the book is also some of the best science-fiction I’ve read in years. Continue reading

Review: Into the Mist (Taine McKenna Adventures #1) by Lee Murray

Into the MistDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased an electronic copy of this novel for full price.

For those of you who are averse to the horror genre, I’m happy to report that this novel is instead a thrilling action-adventure. There are some gory bits, but it’s not gratuitous, and the moments that literally made me jump while I read were shocking in the way that marks excellent writing. This was a blast to read, even for a wuss like me. Continue reading