fandom fest

All posts in the fandom fest category

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…


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.


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.


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.


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…


Fandom Fest Picture Fest: Meet my author buds!

Published August 3, 2013 by admin

So what would a con be without a picture post or three thousand? I’m going to share some of my misadventures with everyone in visual format. Not only will you be able to put faces to names, but you’ll be able to put links to faces and names as well, so you’ll get to check out all these authors’ work along with seeing their wondrous visages!

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Was so excited to finally meet the uber-talented John F. Allen, author of The God Killers. He’s a trip and a half and he treated us to an impromptu, rather intriguing reading of his book. It was also fun times to see my bud J.L. Mulvihill again. We did the cosplay panel and improv panel together, and fun times abounded (along with talking camels and corsets. It’s a long story, trust me). Her book Boxcar Baby is just out, and definitely worth a read!

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Rockin’ it out with Rj Sullivan, whom I met in person for the first time! He’s the author of Haunting Obsession, definitely worth a read!

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This is Alexx Miller mugging with J.L.’s Steampunk Squirrels. Her blog is amazing and you should check it out right now. Her husband is the always-insightful Charlie Kenmore, who writes some really great stuff of differing types, as well.  He’s usually behind the camera, doing his artsy avante-garde style photography thing, thumbs and blurry photos and all! <g>

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John Allen again, with his utterly incredible personal assistant living it up in the background. S.H. Roddey is also there with me, and judging by how happy we are, this is probably after we got to check out John’s impromptu reading.

Note: I have no idea why I have no normal shots of Eric Garrison  (Four ’til Late) or Michael West (every new horror book ever), but they are incredibly talented, as well. Also not pictured is our table-mate M.B. Weston who is a rockin’ YA author, and L. Andrew Cooper, who was incredibly insightful on the horror panel with me (and has suffered my author interviews on this blog in the past <g>)

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This is Stephen Zimmer, rock star among authors. Not only did he coordinate the lit track, save us when we got locked out of the hall, get us badges, and get our schedules up, but he also allows us to mercilessly harass him by claiming it’s his birthday while out to eat (not my doing) and taking obnoxious, spur-of-the-moment photos of him (obviously totally my doing).  I’m not entirely convinced that he’s human and not some super-author android sent to outdo all us mere mortals with his works of epic and urban fantasy.

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This is Ali Justice, adorable steampunk girl and PR Person extraordinaire. Seriously, she’ll blow your mind with how much she knows. She’s part of the powerhouse behind Jitterbug PR, which you should check out if you’re an author.

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No idea who this weirdo is, other than that he kept following me around all weekend. Actually, that would be the other part of Jitterbug PR, Josh Young. He does know what he’s doing even if he follows me around making faces like that instead of working his table.

So now that you’ve met most of the gang, next picture post we’ll take a look at the very serious, very literary things we all get up to at these things.

Fandom Fest – a brief, frustrated recap

Published July 31, 2013 by admin

I swear, I’m gettin’ old. It always takes me time to recover from a con, and even more time to put my thoughts together.

So Fandom Fest…

I will say that I always enjoy meeting readers and doing panels, and this year was great for that. I had some great book-themed discussions and had a blast networking with people and hanging out with old and new friends.

If you google Fandom Fest 2013, that will probably tell you all you need to know in general. From my perspective, Stephen Zimmer was a rock star handling the literary track. He always does an exemplary job of getting our end set up and organized.  This year we were in the main vendor hall, all tables had pipe and drape, there were wide aisles, and the layout was in theory great to push traffic our way.

The organizers of the con in general, however…

I have to say I’m disappointed. There’s nothing like really pouring your heart into something and then being shoved into the basement with no signage for panels (or updated schedules on the QR codes. Or paper schedules that we didn’t print, ourselves). I’d love to think it was simply a matter of people being caught off-guard and overwhelmed by the sudden influx of people, but from the sound of it things haven’t improved overall from previous years.  Do I think there needs to be better communication? Signs? Putting vendors together where people can find them? Advertising the panels? Treating everyone overall with respect? Oh hell yes, I do. Though there’s also been talk after the fact that some vendors have been told that if they speak negatively about the con, there will be repercussions, so that might give you a clue about general sentiment. The fact is, a lot of people missed some great panels about genre stuff and literary business, and you can’t tell me that no one was interested at all (especially when we were told there were approximately 70,000 people there Saturday). I get that while the con is celeb-centric, there seemed to be changing in the prices, so people were generally reluctant to buy from vendors or had brought only enough to cover photo ops (and understandably didn’t want to miss them). It’s also ridiculous to have my boothmate and co-author locked out of the vendor room due to bad communication when she was really needed there. So yeah, definitely room for improvement.

I’m not hear to be a debbie downer or snarl and moan. The fact is a lot of people were let down: fans, vendors, volunteers, and even celebrities. Some people did well, others didn’t. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but I gave away a lot of swag and sold some books, so I’m determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  At the end of the day it’s a learning experience and one I wouldn’t have gotten, otherwise.  Sometimes we need things like this in our lives to put things in perspective and learn how to do better. Plus, I got to talk about some great projects with people and have some truly awesome moments.

So while I wish it would have gone better and while I am looking at all my options for next year, and while I am definitely frustrated, I’m also grateful for the really good times I had (that usually involved food and a lot of laughter – what can I say, I’m easy to please).

More about the good times coming up in future posts, along with the ever-popular con pic posts!

WeWriWa: The Legend of Shadow Trace

Published July 28, 2013 by admin

So since I’m doing a panel at Fandom Fest about the challenges of Coauthoring today, I thought my eight for weekend writing warriors would be from my latest release with S.H. Roddey, the short story collection, Lost in the Shadows.

This is from my short The Legend of Shadow Trace, Idea Thief. It’s a story I’ve had kicking around for years, and it’s so quirky and weird I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I think it definitely belongs in this collection, and I’m proud of its uniqueness.

The Eight:

Notorious burglar Shadow Trace dreamed last night. He dreamed long and deep of a time long ago when he wore khakis and wire-rimmed glasses, and answered to Clemmy Floyd. Back then he fumbled with stealing a paperclip from the office, never mind a toaster or a heart.
With itchy fingers he walked through the desert, his loafers battered with the scritch of grains from the hourglass. His skin boiled to a lovely shade of crimson, burning away to peel off and reveal the hardened chameleon inside. He trudged past cleaned bones and jutting cacti, not lookin’, not thinkin’, just walkin’, and waitin’. He walked ten years without needing anything at all. He took no food, no water, no soul, no air.

Want more snippets? Then check out Weekend Writing Warriors!

To find out what happens to Shadow Trace (along with other awesome stories), check out the new book!

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Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation.

In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways.

Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.

Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.

Tidbit: Candles, from Lost in the Shadows

Published July 27, 2013 by admin

So since today one of the panels I’m moderating is about horror, I thought I’d give you a taste of my zombie story. This takes place on Christmas Eve, and is about a makeshift little family trying to keep some sense of normalcy while the undead stalk their hiding place.


“Joy, joy, joy!” Andy sing-songed. He was always doing that, making up little tunes from something one of them said. It had been cute when they’d lived in a nice house and had only the usual things to worry about. The last time he’d done it he’d alerted a shuffling corpse that had gone off on its own for some reason, though that wasn’t usually part of zombie behavior.
No. You know why that thing was on its own. She cleared her throat and blushed when Tony rolled his eyes. He knew how she covered her emotions all too well. You didn’t cover them up then, did you? You ran out and saw your little boy about to meet the same fate as your baby girl. You did what any mother would have done. She shivered and wrapped the blanket tighter. It was so hard to get warm when she’d lost so much weight and her clothes hung on her. You rushed right out, Grant’s advice be damned, and tore that bastard apart limb from limb. She could still feel the blood oozing over her hands, the cold flesh soft and slimy in her grip and smearing dirt on her clothes. It was only once she’d taken the head and gone to retrieve the pieces for burning that she thought to look at the face.
Jason. The thing after her son was half-eaten and had suffered more decay than any living thing had a right to, but it had been Jason. It was hard to feel joy after that.


Want more? You know where to find it!

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Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation.

In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways.

Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.

Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.

Tidbit: On Fire, from Lost in the Shadows

Published July 26, 2013 by admin

So presuming Susan and I haven’t taken Louisville by storm and made everyone our minions yet, Fandom Fest officially kicks off today! My commitment tonight is helping out with Author Karaoke at 8:30 pm at Room 106, so in honor of that, here’s a short little blurb from one of my stories in the new book, Lost in the Shadows. This short bit is from the story On Fire, about a DJ who suddenly has to find a change in direction…or else.


The part of him that knew when to switch songs and when to hold back, the part that lived by the downbeat and the catchy hooks knew without a doubt that there was someplace he had to be. He exited his apartment, braced himself at the entrance to his building, and squinted into the oncoming night. His feet began to walk and he felt every step, every moment of contact against the crumbling street. Once he had danced on angels and demon
wannabes before bedding them, but now he trudged down the road with his long coat flapping to the crooning melody of a melancholy piano.


Intrigued? You can find the rest of that story along with many others in Lost in the Shadows!

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Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation.

In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways.

Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.

Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.