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:

Author Interview with Jessica McHugh

By now, you all know that I’m a total wuss. I don’t like jump scares. I can do gore in movies/on television because I desensitized myself through a research binge on practical effects, but there’s no protective layer between the visceral on the page and my imagination. So while I desperately wanted to read Jessica McHugh’s latest novel, Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven, to support my friend and fellow Raw Dog Screaming Press author…I “noped” right out of there at about the 20 percent mark on my Kindle. This book is raw, evocative, and fabulous. You should go read it to make up for my inability to finish it!


Nightly Owl Fatal RavenABOUT THE BOOK

Since the rise of The Council, an oligarchy of despots and deviants, the legendary Capesman undertakes daily soul collections from Cartesia’s wasteland cities and battlefields. He also frequents Malay Prison, where a vigilante named Shal plots her escape. Armed with a thirst for vengeance and a sharp Shakespearean tongue, Shal must navigate a maze of trauma to save Cartesia and protect her sister from the brutal machinations of Chancellor Doa.

It will require all of Shal’s strength and cunning to resurrect her former army, battle the betrayals of the past, and avenge her father’s death. Will she survive long enough to see the Council fall, or is the Capesman coming for her next?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | From the Publisher


This novel has a long and storied history. I know you’ve probably shared it a million times by now, but do you mind humoring me?

I was twenty when I jotted down my first notes about what would become Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven on the guest checks at a sub shop called Bubba’s. At the time it was called A Mover of Stones but still focused on the character Shal, who ultimately leads a revolution against a corrupt government. As I developed Shal and the world of Cartesia, the book changed into From the Herald’s Wearied Eye and became an ultraviolent tale about trauma and revenge. It was published by Reliquary Press in 2009, and I thought that was where the story would end. But when that contract ran out, I took another look at the story and realized there was a better way to tell it. While it’s still violent, I brought more thoughtfulness and maturity to the rewrite. In the end, out fluttered Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven, and I was so overjoyed that Raw Dog Screaming Press wanted to take it on. The concept of “home” is extremely important in this novel, so the fact that the novel itself has finally found its proper home is a wonderful feeling.  Continue reading

Book Spotlight & Review: HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (Path of Ra #1) by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Hounds of the UnderworldToday is release day for the newest Raw Dog Screaming Press authors: Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray! I read this book ages ago, and I’ve been so excited to share it with all of you.


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


REVIEW

Disclaimer: The authors and I share a publisher. I received a hardcopy version of this book as a thank you for proofing an earlier version of the text.

On the surface, this book doesn’t seem to have a lot that would appeal to me as a reader. In an alternate universe, I probably bought a copy to support the fellow authors who write for the same indie press that I do and quietly left it on a shelf with a promise to read it “someday” (sadly, true for some books in our own universe). Instead, my editor asked me to read an earlier version of the submitted text with the promise that I’d make it through the horror bits okay.

I’m glad I did. I loved so much about this book.  Continue reading

State of the Empires at Raw Dog Screaming Press: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #2

RDSP logoFor day 2 of the Steel Blood blog tour, I visited the Raw Dog Screaming Press blog for the first annual State of the Empires! Here’s a short excerpt:

In the past few months, since the official announcement of Steel Blood, people keep congratulating me on finishing my book trilogy. While many fantasy series do typically come in the three-story arc, I’ve got good news for you, kids.

The Steel Empires series is far from over.

Check out the post to learn more about what writing a regularly published series involves, and get some clues about what’s coming up next. Meanwhile, don’t forget that this is the last day to pre-order your copy of Steel Blood. It comes out tomorrow! (I have already informed my husband that he is treating me to celebratory sushi.)


Just us tomorrow, here at my own blog, for a short excerpt from the beginning of the book!

Cover Reveal: A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES by Christina Sng

Congratulations to fellow Raw Dog Screaming Press author on her upcoming poetry collection! I’m pleased to share the cover with you today, and you can find information about the book and author below.

a collection of nightmares web

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.

These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.

Dream carefully.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Raw Dog Screaming Press.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina SngChristina Sng is a poet, writer, and artist. She earned her BA in Criminology and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne and spent most of her career as a web consultant, content producer, UX strategist, and information architect.

Since 2001, Christina’s work has appeared in numerous venues worldwide, especially her poetry which garnered many accolades over the years, most notably nominations in the Dwarf Stars and Rhysling Awards, as well as Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

Her recent collections include A Constellation of Songs, Astropoetry, and CatkuAn Assortment of Sky Things, her chapbook of space poems, was nominated for the 2017 Elgin Award. A Collection of Nightmares is her first full-length book of dark poetry.

Con Report: In Your Write Mind 2017

IYWM logoLast night, I got home from one of my favorite trips every year. In Your Write Mind is a writer’s workshop/conference hosted by Seton Hill University, as an offshoot of their Writing Popular Fiction graduate program. (Basically, the graduates wanted an excuse to come back every year, so we created one.) The workshop is open to all writers, and features lectures and panels on a variety of writing-related topics, a talk by a bestselling author, and pitch sessions with agents and editors looking specifically for genre fiction. Hopefully my recap will show why you should come join the fun next year!  Continue reading

January Wrap-Up & February Goals

rdsp2017I had a very good, low-key January that also included some major news and accomplishments. First of all, I’m excited to announce that Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood will be released July 2017 from Raw Dog Screaming Press, along with a full slate of other amazing books. Want to know what Victory has been up to during the events of Steel Magic, while Toria and Kane have been mucking things up in Europa? My tag line for the next one is “Romeo and Juliet with werewolves and weredragons…with bonus feminism.” Who in their right mind cast Victory as Nurse? Oh…that’d be me.

January Wrap-Up:

  • The other good news: I finished the first draft of Steel Time! It clocked it an an astounding 105,951 words, which is waaaaaaay over my publisher’s word limit. Lots of work still to be done.
  • Because it’s so long, I’m still working on the first round of revisions before I can send it to my beta readers. I’m about halfway done, and it’s already down to 99,927 words.
  • On the plus side, I’ve been getting some reading done and I’m keeping up to date on my book reviews!

Continue reading