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It’s Imaginarium time!

Published October 4, 2016 by admin

I know I’ve been away a while, but I wanted to make sure to let people know that I am alive, and I’ll be in Louisville this weekend. It’s the annual get together of writer-type people, otherwise known as Imaginarium!

Seriously, if you haven’t been there and can get there, do it. There are so many panels and workshops available on not just how to get started writing, but the business of writing, marketing, plus a lot of genre subjects, as well. There’s a film festival, gaming, parties, and all the stuff that makes cons fun, but what really makes this one special is that it’s a one stop shop for learning about craft and networking with other like minds. This year’s GOH is Briane Keene. Elizabeth Bevarly, Jim C. Hines, and Jason Sizemore will be there, as well as loads of other talented people.

Plus, me. I’ll be there, talking about stuff, selling books and other fun things, and doing my annual duty as costume contest monarch. Or something.

Imaginarium is from October 7-9 at the Crowne Plaza in Louisville, KY. More information can be found at http://www.entertheimaginarium.com

 

 

 

Evillecon!

Published April 8, 2014 by admin

 

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Yeah, pretty tables! Look at how official we are!

 

I had a blast in Evansville. I got a chance to tour my university and see all the changes taking place before the con started. All I have to say is WOW. I mean WOW. And geez, where was all this classiness when I was there? 🙂 Seriously, I’m proud to see all the progress taking place.

The con itself was a lot of fun. It was my first time as a special guest and a first time for the con to have a lit track, so it was a good fit. It was a little odd to be part of opening ceremonies and talk to con-goers in that capacity, though it was really cool. It makes me realize the kind of power an author has. You’re shaping worlds that people are entertaining themselves with. You’re encouraging them to think, to feel. That’s powerful, and though you may never know how your work effects people, your writing is essentially carrying on a conversation with them every time they read your work.

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The panels were all pretty well-attended and we got some great conversations about genre, world-building, and publishing going. What was really cool is that people made it a point to seek me out or stop by the table after the panels, either to talk writing or books or whatever. That was amazing. It was really nice to be back and to be able to have those sorts of conversations, and hopefully to encourage people to start writing or read things that might be just a little out of their comfort zone. Everyone was warm and welcoming and the whole experience was just so much fun. It was an incredible time and I’m grateful to Stephen Zimmer and John Allen who were there to keep me from freaking out. Jondi Schmitt-Soper was also AMAZING and I owe a lot of the weekend’s awesomeness to her.

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Even if she is a Trekkie 😀

Things were not without their hilarity. The pavilion’s temperature went from hot and humid Friday to absolutely freezing on Saturday (hence the hoodies and coats). I may have somehow deactivated my room card fifty thousand times and the hotel staff deserves a medal for dealing with me alone. I know John allowed me to constantly drag him to Dennys with a sigh (dude, we don’t have Dennys here. I’m going to stock up on sweet pancake goodness as much as possible when I can!)

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Still, the people attending made it all worth it. I loved talking to young and old readers, picking people’s brains, talking to them about the kind of things I write and what they like. I love getting to know my audience, and this provided a great opportunity to do that.

And I may have gotten a special serenade from Professor Shyguy. I have many, many people to get back for that one, heh, but it was hilarious. All in all it was a really rewarding experience, and I really hope I get to go back next year!

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Shall We Gather at the River

Published April 7, 2014 by admin

Admittedly, I can be a fairly private person. I realize this isn’t always a good thing, but it’s the way I work. Not everything about me is everyone’s business, and I’ve tried to employ the iceberg metaphor in discussions and promotion: for every little bit I show, there’s a lot kept under the surface.

Part of this is what happens when you’re an introvert. Part of it, I can’t help but think, was learned growing up in a small town as a minister’s kid. I’m not saying I had it as badly as a celebrity or the children of celebrities. On the contrary, I had it easy in comparison. Still, I think people don’t always realize that tightly knit communities have their downsides when you’re going through your awkward teenage years and kind of want to keep some things to yourself. Because one of my parents was very active in the community, a lot of people knew them. They also felt comfortable telling every little detail they’d witnessed about whatever I was up to. I’m sure a lot of this was out of concern, but it was stifling. I definitely heard enough about all the decisions that family member made, as well, but somehow I think a lot of that judgement was nudged onto me, as if I was part of some family committee that helped decide what that person would go out and say.

I sat through sermons telling stories on me, had people in my classes report things about me, had mutual friends and some teachers passing info about my life. In some cases, like with grades, I get that that only served to help me. In other cases, I think I had to go through my growing up at my own pace. In every case, it felt like a supreme violation at the time (I mean, come on, no one at twelve or fifteen wants every dumb little thing that comes out of their mouth to be brought up at the dinner table because someone passed it along). Even when people mean well, I tend to not like overly nosy people. I’m trying to get better at giving people the benefit of the doubt, but it is still a fact that I do not want anyone going through my mail, I do not want people unpacking for me, I do not like people rearranging or digging through my stuff unless they have my explicit permission. I don’t need things that I said or did ten or twenty years ago brought up at family gatherings because people think it’s amusing to put me in the hot seat. Sorry, that’s not fun for me. I lived that kind of thing constantly as a kid, and although I can embrace the spirit in which a lot of it was done, I still value my privacy above most everything else.

Needless to say, I was a little scared to death about Evillecon. I didn’t know who I might run into or what feelings might resurface. I’ve had 12 years away from the area in the case of college, and probably 15 years away in the case of high school. I had done a lot to purposefully distance myself, because I felt very strongly about needing to go out and make myself my own person. I love how my growing up shaped me, but I do think it’s important at some point for a person to hit the path and see what they can see for themselves. At any rate, it’s the way I work and the way I am. Somehow all that path-walking got to be a habit, and it was just easier to keep myself to myself, clinging to the memories that were still irritating instead of realizing that as much as I’ve grown and changed, other people have, too.

In a lot of ways Evillecon was as much about facing myself, past fumbles, and past versions of myself as it was about releasing a new book and putting the word out. I’m really, really glad I did it. Not only did it give me a chance to reconnect with people, but it made me put a lot of things aside and enjoy where I’ve come from and look forward to where I’m going.

I zoomed around Mt. Vernon, Indiana a bit before my library appearance that weekend, and I was given a proper tour on Sunday. It’s so strange…so many things have stayed exactly the same. I can still navigate without a map. The things that have change, though…a lot looks tired, as tired as I felt after all I was doing that week. It was hard to see all the changes that had been made to the house I’d loved so much. It was hard to see the elementary school I went to is now closed, though the hill of death is still there (The tombstones are fenced in now, as well. Ever proof that if enough kids use them as a sledding obstacle course, change will come). The river front is beautiful, and I was glad to have some time walking along it. I spent a lot of time there as a kid with different relatives, and to see it slowly being built up is satisfying. I hope the downtown district gets the same treatment. There was a strange mix of vibrant energy and tired sighs, and in some ways I could relate. It’s hard to keep moving forward when you think you know who you are (you never really know), when you feel like you’ve been working for a long time. I hope we both keep growing, though, because I can see a lot of potential in both of us.

Walking along the Ohio River was like greeting an old friend. It’s still pretty much the same view, the same feeling of unsettled peace, which is the best kind…there’s enough ease to feel comfortable, yet enough tension to make you want to do something. I found that I was able to let a lot of my irritations and past annoyances go, and it helped me really enjoy the weekend even more. It’s like the old Robert Lowry hymn says.. “Soon we’ll reach the silver river, Soon our pilgrimage will cease. Soon our happy hearts will quiver With the melody of peace.”

 

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SJ hits the road – upcoming appearances

Published January 31, 2014 by admin

I’m really excited to be getting out and about more this year! My first appearance will be March 15 at That Book Place author’s fair in Madison, IN.

I’ll be hanging with a lot of my pals from Seventh Star Press and I’ll bring plenty of books to check out! If you’re into the speculative, horror, sci-fi, romance, mystery, urban fantasy, whatever…I can guarantee there’s going to be an author there you’ll want to check out.

More info to come, but you can visit the site and check things out here!

Feel the Fire II Contest!

Published November 30, 2013 by admin

It’s back, bigger, and better than ever! Seventh Star Press is reprising it’s Feel The Fire contest from last year, where you could win a Kindle Fire HDX, a $50 Amazon giftcard, a variety of softcover and e-book titles, Imaginarium passes, and so much more! For full details, see below:

FeeltheFireIIContest

Welcome to Seventh Star Press’ Feel the Fire II Contest!  Easy to enter, easy to get a lot of entries, and you can win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon.com gift cards, print and eBook bundles and even passes to Imaginarium 2014!

Feel the Fire II is brought to you by Seventh Star Press, Imaginarium 2014, and Tomorrow Comes Media!

Feel the Fire II Prize List

Grand Prize:  

1 Kindle Fire HDX  (USA/Canada only.  If winner lives outside these countries, a $225 Amazon Gift Card will be substituted)

2 Runner Up Prizes

$50 Amazon Gift Card

2 Softcover Bundles

(US/Canada only. If winner lives outside these countries, the Mega eBook bundle will be substituted instead)

Includes all the following titles! 11 Trade Paperbacks in all!

From Seventh Star Press:

Redheart by Jackie GamberBrotherhood of Dwarves by D.A. Adams

Angelkiller by H. David Blalock

Overkill by Steven Shrewsbury

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

Four Til Late by Eric Garrison

Chronicles of Ave by Stephen Zimmer

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

The God Killers by John F. Allen

From Blackwyrm Publishing:

The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy

Man-Made Troubles: The Five Minute Frankenstein, by the BlackWyrm Bullpen. Nine authors were given exactly four pages to write original short stories related to the Frankenstein mythos.

10 Mega eBook Bundles (ePub or Mobi)

Includes all the following titles! 43 eBooks in all!

Redheart by Jackie Gamber

Brotherhood of Dwarves by D.A. Adams

Angelkiller by H. David Blalock

Overkill by Steven Shrewsbury

Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul by Steven Shrewsbury

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

Fate of the Red Lotus by R.J. Sullivan

Four Til Late by Eric Garrison

Chronicles of Ave by Stephen Zimmer

Hellscapes by Stephen Zimmer

The Exodus Gate by Stephen Zimmer

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

The God Killers by John F. Allen

Poseidon’s Children by Michael West

The Wide Game by Michael West

Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West

And these anthologies:

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword from editor James R. Tuck

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery from editor James R. Tuck

Perfect Flaw from editor Robin Blankenship

The End Was Not the End from editor Joshua H. Leet

Southern Haunts from editors Alexander S. Brown and J.L. Mulvihill

Vampires Don’t Sparkle from editor Michael West

Plus:

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy from editor Michael Knost

Also includes a host of titles from our friends at Blackwyrm Publishing!

Albrim’s Curse by Trevis Powell

Bleeding Edge: Cyberpunk Short Stories by Ramsey Lundock

Branwen’s Garden by Brad Parnell

Burning the Middle Ground by L. Andrew Cooper

Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

Dream Stone by Valerie Drake

Gemini’s War by Amy McCorkle

Immortal Betrayal by Paul Lewis

Incarnate by Lawrence Weill

Iron Fist Velvet Glove by Gary Yeagle

Legends of Darkness by Georgia Jones

The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy

Nakba: The Civilizing War by Jason S. Walters

The Order of the White Guard by Wendy and Bryan Schardein

The Rainbow Connection by Ian Harac

Seasons of Death by Marlene Mitchell and Gary Yeagle

The Thieves of Genesis by William I. Levy

Vine: An Urban Legend by Michael Williams

Water Vamps by GL Giles

The Wisdom of Weng Shu

And:

Lost in the Shadows by Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey

12 Large eBook Bundles (ePub or Mobi)

Includes all the following titles! 30 eBooks in all!

From Seventh Star Press

Redheart by Jackie Gamber

Brotherhood of Dwarves by D.A. Adams

Angelkiller by H. David Blalock

Overkill by Steven Shrewsbury

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

Four Til Late by Eric Garrison

Chronicles of Ave by Stephen Zimmer

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

The God Killers by John F. Allen

Poseidon’s Children by Michael West

And these anthologies:

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword from editor James R. Tuck

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery from editor James R. Tuck

Perfect Flaw from editor Robin Blankenship

The End Was Not the End from editor Joshua H. Leet

Southern Haunts from editors Alexander S. Brown and J.L. Mulvihill

Vampires Don’t Sparkle from editor Michael West

Plus

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy from editor Michael Knost

and from  Blackwyrm Publishing

Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

Dream Stone by Valerie Drake

Gemini’s War by Amy McCorkle

Immortal Betrayal by Paul Lewis

Incarnate by Lawrence Weill

Legends of Darkness by Georgia Jones

The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy

The Order of the White Guard by Wendy and Bryan Schardein

The Rainbow Connection by Ian Harac

The Thieves of Genesis by William I. Levy

Vine: An Urban Legend by Michael Williams

Water Vamps by GL Giles

And

Lost in the Shadows by Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey

2 winners will each receive 2 free passes for Imaginarium 2014 

($110 value.  Substitution of Mega eBook Bundle is allowed if you cannot make the convention September 19-21 in Louisville, KY)

2 winners will each receive a free pass for Imaginarium 2014

($55 value.  Substitution of Large Bundle is allowed if you cannot make the convention September 19-21 in Louisville, KY)

20 winners will be able to pick 4 eBooks of their choice from the SSP catalog (ePub or Mobi format)  

Any anthology, novel, novella, or eBook short story from SSP!

Additional Contest Notes:

This contest uses the RaffleCopter system where you can earn extra entries merely by liking the Facebook pages or following the Twitter accounts of various authors and some bloggers.  We encourage you to get as many entries as possible and discover from wonderful new authors in the process!

To access the Rafflecopter and enter the contest, go here!

or click the banner at the top of the page

– contest details originally posted on http://www.seventhstarpress.com

Mary Sue Cthulhu Conquers Fandom Fest

Published August 7, 2013 by admin

So most people think I do everything myself. This isn’t true. I have a lot of people I enlist for help. I also have a presence that skulks around me. It’s usually too shy to say anything other than to whisper all the ideas that I should be working on in my ear. After all, how do I manage a persona that’s so sweetly evil? Well, cons apparently bring this elusive muse out of hiding and for the first time ever I was able to capture her on film when she thought I wasn’t looking.

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SH Roddey and I had set up our booth with all our lovely books and swaggy items. The problem was that we both had panels at some point, so we needed help to watch this thing and network for us. Just when I thought all was lost, I suddenly realized that someone had tagged along with me…

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While Booth Babe Bill is more than capable of handling things, sometimes genre stuff takes a special touch. Enter Mary Sue Cthulhu. She accompanied me last year to panels, but was picture shy. This year she has a new zombie sock monkey hat that apparently gives her the confidence to show herself to the masses. Here she is handing out Lost in the Shadows swag.

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Thankfully Susan didn’t mind when Mary Sue Cthulhu tried to give her pointers on engaging the public.

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She really hit it off with J. Cornell Michel (author of Jordan’s Brains)  in the booth next door. She either has developed a taste for zombie fiction or liked feeding on her brain purse.

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At one point I was back and forth at panels so I lost track of where she went. Then we all turned around and saw that she’d got herself into a bit of a, well…situation…

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Sigh. I keep telling her she can’t taunt ghostbusters, but she never listens to me.

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Thankfully, she got away and hid among the Seventh Star Press stacks.

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She’s an old-school sort of girl, so she’s not sure how to take urban fantasy. She and John F. Allen had words, but I think they finally reached an understanding.

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She was really intrigued Haunting Obsession, though.

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….Although she may have been a little too enthusiastic when she got a chance to meet the author, Rj Sullivan.

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I’m not surprised to find that she really loves Poseidon’s Children, especially with all the killer fish people in it.

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She may be the epitome of a sparkly evil eldergoddess, but she’s also a fangirl at heart. Michael West totally made her day!

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At this point J.L. Mulvihill came along and reminded us that we had the cosplay panel.

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She was a little self-conscious since she only had the one outfit. Thankfully, J.L. graciously let her borrow another hat so she could be appropriately steampunk.

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She took a break after the panel to admire Alexx Miller’s jewelry…

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Then she noticed Josh Young of Jitterbug PR giving out free stuff, so she wanted to check out the bookmarks…

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She may have gotten a little carried away with the free candy, but to be fair she hadn’t devoured many souls so she had to keep her energy up, somehow.

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But then it was back to business. She feels that I need to bump up my publicity, so she sat down with Josh to discuss my options for me.

I’m lucky to have such a great muse and helper (even if she is either too shy to show her face or a complete ham once she gets going). She definitely kept things interesting. Who knows? Maybe she’ll show her face again in the future. You never know where a sparkly eldergoddess will pop up…

The Very Serious Literary Picture Post

Published August 5, 2013 by admin

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This is one of my favorite photos from the whole con. Many, many thanks to John Collins  for the great conversation and for letting me use this photo. Definitely check his work out at the weird review! As you can see, I’m ready to go! Books are in hand, I’m bright and happy, and the weekend is all about literature! I think this post totally illustrates that in every single way…

So as I’ve said before, writing is a very serious business and much sophisticated discussion of genre, writing process, and the business in general happened at Fandom Fest. Here are some examples:

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Here are Alexx Miller and SH Roddey with me at a preliminary booth conduct meeting with Susan’s addition to the tribe: Booth Babe Bill. You can tell Charlie Kenmore took the photo because of it’s modern art leanings.

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Here I am with various authors, filmmakers, bloggers, et al in yet another important discussion about the state of genres today. It just so happens we’re using menus as a metaphor.

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Here I am with author Kayelle McClive lurking in the background. As you can see, I take how people see me very seriously and only wear appropriate business attire for these functions.

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More important business meetings as we discuss the day’s affairs and how we want to proceed on the morrow. Don’t be fooled – we just gather at restaurants because they have chairs. We’re too revved up about everything we have to do to eat. I would never, ever call Ali Justice and leave a message that sounds something like a starving velociraptor on her phone to get her to the Spaghetti Factory faster (and then nearly run into the front window trying to flag her down because I’m ready to pass out if I don’t get Italian food in me immediately).

I also had opportunities to really dive into genre studies:

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I’ve never been confident in writing action sequences, but now that I’ve soaked up the aura of  Power Ranger Jason David Frank, I am prepared for anything.

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At the Troll Pub a few blocks away, gathering Intel on the troll species so I could jet right home and finish work on Olde School. 

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Delving into the villain’s psyche. This may or may not become my Christmas card photo this year, just sayin’.

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Death is always a difficult subject to approach. Rj Sullivan, John F. Allen, and I attempt to figure out the matter for ourselves. This may also end up as a Christmas card if I have any say in it.

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Getting into the spirit of the horror genre by Sunday! As I approached thirty, I opted to postpone some sort of life crisis and make this dress from pretty fabric and liquid latex, instead. Somewhere I have full images that I’ll have to dig up someday, because it’s pretty hideous and amazing.

So as you can see, the weekend was full of grueling work and study and no fun at all. Now that you’ve gotten a look into all the work a writer goes through at a con, I’m sure you’ll wonder how I ever got back alive. Well, the truth is I had a sneaky assistant who I’ll introduce you to next picture post…