Two Big Cons, Two Chances to See Yours Truly!

Hey gang, on April 28-30, come see me and all the great guests at HavenCon in Austin!

And on May 12-14, I’ll be appearing at Houston Comicpalooza!

You can find the schedule for HavenCon here, but in case you’re dying to know just where you can find me:

Friday, April 28th at 11:00am, I’ll be leading a talk on LGBTQ characters as villains.

Saturday, April 29th at 11:00am, I’ll be give out some tips and tricks on Worldbuilding.

And all weekend, I’ll be rocking a Guest of Honor table so you can buy books and talk about life. Maybe there will even be some prizes. You have to come to find out!

The full schedule for Houston Comicpalooza isn’t up yet, but all the Guest bios are here. Boy, am I in some rare company! And here’s where you can find me:

On Friday, May 12th at 4:00pm, I’ll be on a panel called “Not Your Grandpa’s Fantasy.”

On Saturday, May 13th at 11:30am, I’ll be on a new type of panel, a fan roundtable, and we’ll be discussing fantasy.

On Saturday at 2:30, it’s another fan roundtable about science fiction.

Also in May, on the 16h, I’ll be at the Women With Pride Book Club talking about Coils at 7pm!

Now, come on, you can come see me at one of these, right?

 

Lone Star LesFic time!

I hope you’ll join me this Saturday, April 1st for the Lone Star LesFic Festival!

Tons of authors, a raffle, and door prizes await. Plus, you can buy books and get them signed by the authors!

I hope some of you can come out and see me. You can get your hands on one of these babies:

Now with stickers!

Hope you can come out and see us:

Saturday, April 1st, 8:45 am to 6:30 pm
Norris Center, 2525 Anderson LN,
Austin, TX 78757

My BSB Camp Presentation

Hey, y’all. I’m back from the Bold Strokes Books writers’ retreat! It was an entire week of presentations, writing sprints, and general tomfoolery. And ice cream. Boy, was there ice cream. Who feels like hitting the gym with me?

This year was my second trip to the retreat, and I was asked to put on a presentation with the fabulous and talented Carsen Taite and the equally awesome Melissa Brayden. We were so professional with our PowerPoint slides…

We spoke about how to pick the right events as an author, how to participate in panels at conventions (cons), and how to give a stellar reading. I tackled the second part, so if you’re interested, here’s what I had to say (minus my joking improv lines because I can’t remember them):

I’ve been a guest at around 15 cons and spoken on about 50 panels on a variety of topics. Some of what I have to say will be old news to many, but I have to begin at the beginning for those who might be lost, starting with:

What is a panel?

It’s a group of pre-selected people at a con speaking on a predetermined topic. Panels on a variety of topics are the backbone of a convention and are scheduled throughout the day. Small conventions might have 1 to 5 panels running at the same time, while large conventions can have 10 to 15 running simultaneously, depending on the space. They usually have a moderator asking questions about a topic you know about beforehand, and I’ve seen them with anywhere from 2 to 6 participants.

Why be a panelist?

Exposure

Meeting other authors

Conventions can be fun

Appearances can lead to book sales, but mostly it’s about getting your name out there and getting people to remember you. Even if they don’t buy your book immediately, they’ll remember you later when they’re looking around the internet or shopping on Amazon. Also, authors buy books, too, and I remember the people who impress me on panels. Also, building your author friend network will help you discover new writing or marketing tips, and it’s always nice to have more friends. As for enjoying the con, I like to pick cons I already want to go to and then volunteer to be a panelist.

Smaller cons have asked me how busy I want to be (how many panels I want to do each day.) I usually pick a lot, but I like to stay busy. Leave yourself enough time to enjoy the con.

How to be invited to do panels:

The convention organizers invite you out of the blue.

or

You volunteer to be a panelist.

The second is much more common than the first. Even with all the panels I’ve done, I’ve only just been invited to speak at a convention that I’ve never been to without me having to ask them first. It’s Houston Comicpalooza, and I’m pretty jazzed!

As for volunteering, scour the website for information on how to volunteer. If that doesn’t work, trying searching their Facebook page. You’ll want to do this many months in advance. If the convention doesn’t have readily available info on how to be a panelist, you might have to dig a bit, find an email address for whomever is in charge of guests, and if you can’t find one, you’ll have to email whatever address the convention gives for their contact info. I’ve gotten in touch with many cons through their Facebook pages as well as their websites. And you probably want to do it as soon as the information for their next convention becomes available. Some conventions plan a year or so in advance.

Speaking on panels:

Pick your topics well

After I’ve been formally invited to be a panelist at a convention, I’ve often been asked about what topics interest me. They’re usually pretty general at first and then become more specific as the date for the convention gets closer. For instance, the sci fi conventions that I do often have writing or world building panels, and I like to volunteer for those because I have a lot to say on the topic. I also volunteer for things I’m very knowledgeable about like mythology, so I can sound smart. I would not volunteer for a YA panel, say, because I don’t think I’ve read or written enough to contribute. If there’s a topic you think you can make lots of jokes about, pick that.

Informative or entertaining?

Panels come in two types: informative and entertaining, usually the former. A writing panel would probably try and teach the audience writing techniques, where an action movie panel would just be discussing films for the entertainment of the audience. Even if I’m on an informative panel, though, I try to be entertaining. You want to try and hit that sweet spot of smart and funny. I know, I know. If only we could hire someone to do it for us.

Talk about your writing and your books (but not too often.)

Remember that you’re there in a professional capacity. People come to listen to you because they want to hear about your processes and about how you do what you do. So talk about your work and how you write or whatever the panel is about but try not to mention the name of your book too often, maybe once or twice. Unless the panel is about something like Gothic literature, and then you probably won’t mention your work at all. You’re just trying to be memorable at that point.

Are you at all funny? Be that.

Funny is memorable. People follow funny people around a convention, and they will be more likely to remember you and look up your work later.

Be succinct.

Limit your responses to the topic and try to be as succinct as you can. People always remember the asshole who talked too much and not in a good way.

Include the audience when you speak.

Try and look at everyone while you’re speaking, including other panelists. The more people you make eye contact with, the more they’ll pay attention because people are scared of looking away if they think you might catch them at it.

Proposing panels to conventions:

Each convention usually has info on their website about how to propose a panel. Some want a panel topic, some want a topic and a list of panelists. Some big conventions require you to propose a panel in order to speak at all. But just because you propose a panel doesn’t mean they’ll accept. And be warned, if you propose a panel and the con accepts it, you will probably be the moderator unless someone else has already agreed to do the job. If you’re the moderator, you can still answer all the topic questions, but you’ll be the one coming up with all of them first.

What kind of panels you propose should depend on the con audience and general vibe. A sci fi con would probably not welcome a panel on westerns unless they were also sci fi. Again, the con website is invaluable for research. They often have info on past cons and you can see what other panels they’ve had, so you avoid any repeats.

How do I get paid for speaking at conventions?

Usually, you don’t. But you might get in for free. Sometimes, headliners get paid. But even then, a small convention may not be able to pay you but might offer you a comped hotel room or a travel stipend. Most small cons have offered me and my friends free entry into the convention, but some have offered it only to me. Most big cons still require you to buy an admission ticket, though some offer a discount for speakers. The only time I’ve ever gotten my room comped was when I was a guest of honor, and even then, I didn’t get paid.

Some pro tips:

Pick the seat that will give you maximum success.

Panels will almost always be set up along a table. The moderator will usually be at one end, though sometimes in the middle. If you sit at the ends, I guarantee you will be asked to speak first at least once during the session. Don’t assume that just because you’re at the opposite end from the moderator, that you will be last. If you always need time to think of an answer, sit toward the middle but never at the moderator’s side. If you’re that nervous about going first, speak to the moderator beforehand and ask them not to call on you first.

Fake it until you make it.

If public speaking terrifies you like it used to terrify me, pretend you’re someone else. Sounds insane, but it works. I’m an introvert, so to deal with stressful situations like cons, I create a persona that can perform at them. Then I have to go take a break and be quiet for a few hours. Sometimes, there are pills involved. Yummy, yummy pills.

Linger after the panel is done.

Unless the next panel is breathing down your necks for their turn at bat, linger after a panel is done for just a few seconds so anyone who wants can come up and engage you in conversation. Someone you’ve engaged personally is more likely to become a fan.

Wear something memorable yet appropriate.

When I do sci fi cons, I often wear funny, geeky t-shirts. When I do other cons, I try to dress in bright colors or wear distinctive jewelry. This helps people remember me and pick me out of a crowd.

Bring some swag.

Many cons will have tables where guests and panelists can put out freebies for people to take. Take advantage of this by putting out bookmarks, postcards, or pens with your name and book title on them. Never spend lots of money on swag. Keep it simple. If you make your own swag, limit it to something cheap that you enjoy making, like buttons, fridge magnets, or key chains. GotPrint.com is an excellent webpage that allows you to create your own bookmarks and postcards.

Why is everything so hard?

Why, for fuck’s sake, after writing a book do you have to do all this crap?!?! Because we’re all in this business to sell books. Even if you’re motivated by a nobler purpose than mere money, you have to get your books into the hands of readers, and the more appearances you do, the more your name gets out there. They get easier with time.

 

And that’s it! It went over very well, especially after I started sprinkling references to The Pyramid Waltz in after that “don’t mention yourself too often” business. I got some laughs. A wonderful time was had by all, and even if it wasn’t, they hid that fact from me. So hooray!

Please, ask questions if you have them. I’m here for you. 🙂

 

Back from the Romantic Times convention in Las Vegas!

And boy, was it ever huge!
line ride
This is one line I waited in. It stretches on into forever…

I had an awesome time, though. My panel went well.
panel 1
That’s me showing off my book with Radclyffe, Melissa Brayden, and Rebekah Weatherspoon. We got lots of great questions from our moderator, Ruth Sternglantz as well as the audience. I think it went well. A few new people followed me on Twitter, and if that’s not a sign of success, I don’t know what is! I also got lost at least twice, which also equals success.

I made some new friends.
dragon balloon
Okay, that’s a balloon, but it still counts.

And I got a ton of free books!
20160420_120455_HDR
All from authors I haven’t read before, so I’m going to be busy.

More importantly, as the fabulous Georgia Beers put it, it was nice to be seen, to let people know romances between women exist, in all genres. You can find them, you can read them, and as long as you keep buying them, we can keep writing them. It was nice to be able to put that out there at such a large, intimidating venue.

I also got to see a ton of Las Vegas that I’ve never seen before. I already posted most of my pics on Facebook, so be sure to check them out there if you’re not already following me, and why the frick aren’t you following me?!?!

Anyone else been to Vegas? Ever been to a giant convention? Did you get as lost as I did?

Romantic Times in Vegas, baby!

Next Wednesday, I’ll be speaking at the Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas! Woo!

The convention is happening all week at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. I’ll be around for quite a bit, but here’s my panel:

Writing F/F Sex for Romance and Erotica Wednesday, April 13, 2016 1:30pm-2:30pm,
Tropical E

Whether you write contemporary lesbian romance or erotic paranormal or f/f/m ménage, dynamic, physically and emotionally satisfying f/f sex scenes are essential to the development of character and to advance plot. How do f/f courtship rituals, seduction scenes, and graphic language differ from m/f or m/m? These best-selling f/f romance writers and editors share tips and techniques for every heat level, including what not to do.

Moderator: Ruth Sternglantz (Bold Strokes Books, Editor)
Panelist(s): Len Barot (Radclyffe)
Rebekah Weatherspoon
Barbara Ann Wright
Melissa Brayden

Sounds like hot stuff. I’ll have to think of plenty of quippy things to say…

So, how about it? Vegas, baby?

Lone Star LesFic is here! Plus, a new book?!?!

Come see me this Saturday, April 2nd from 8:45am to 6:30pm at the Lone Star LesFic Festival! It’ll be at the Norris Conference Center at Northcross Mall, 2525 West Anderson LA, Austin, TX 78757.

For all the details, visit the Lone Star LesFic Festival Facebook page. You’ll see fab authors, have the chance to win some great prizes, pick up some free swag, bid on some great items in the silent auction, and most importantly, BUY BOOKS! Including this little beauty:

Books, books, books!

Books, books, books!

That’s right, you can get your hands on Paladins of the Storm Lord a whole month early. Now, you don’t want to miss that, do you?

Here’s where you can catch me specifically:
10:30 -11:30 – I’ll be moderating a panel called Bad to the Bone: Profiling Villains. We’re gonna have a blast.

2:30-3:30 – I’ll be doing a ten minute reading from Paladins during this hour-long reading block.

4:45-5:15 – I’ll be autographing with the others authors, and

5:15-6:15 will be a giant group discussion featuring all the authors!

Best news of all, this event is totally FREE. No, you’re not hallucinating. If you’re in or near Austin, please come and see us. Don’t make me put on my hypno glasses.

YOU WILL NOT RESIST.

Also, also, check the wallpaper for one of my books coming in 2017!

House of Fate Wallpaper

It’s a space opera. Can’t give any more details right now, but you’ll have them soon!

Any new releases for anyone else on the horizon?

You ever feel like everything and nothing is happening at once?

So, I’ve started new meds for stomach pain and anxiety. My doc told me the drugs I’m taking for RA are eating my stomach lining, and that’s triggering anxiety, so two new meds.

Hooray.

Luckily, they seem to be working. It’s just more drugs that I have to remember. It feels like I’m falling apart like an old car some days. I’d like my cyborg body now, please.

I’m still hard at work on the sequel to Paladins of the Storm Lord, which is on schedule to release in May. Before then, if you’re in Austin or Las Vegas in April, we can catch up. I’ll be at the Lone Star LesFic conference and the Romantic Times convention.

The LesFic conference is shaping up to be quite an event. AND they’ll have pre-release copies of Paladins, so you have to come to that. Check out all the deets on their Facebook page.

And now I’m off to get some tacos. Anyone else?

ConDFW schedule, two release dates, and the Liz McMullen show!

Here’s my ConDFW schedule! I’m moderating the first one. On the rest, I’ll be like everyone else. 😉

Friday
MAIN PROGRAMMING (JEFFERSON)
Friday, 6pm: Humor Recipes for the Soul
Panelists: Barbara Ann Wright (M), John Scalzi, Rhonda Eudaly, Kathy Turski, Bill Crider, K. B. Bogen
With all the talk of mashups and combining genres, we need to talk about humor in various genres. What is considered funny in Science Fiction? What is considered funny in Epic Fantasy, or even Urban Fantasy? We bring our distinguished panelists to the kitchen table and get them to spill their delicious secrets.
Saturday
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)
Saturday, 2pm: The Short Story: Advantages and Benefits.
Panelists: David Gray (M), Mary Gearhart-Gray, Rhonda Eudaly, Barbara Ann Wright, Larry Atchley Jr., Dantzel Cherry
The short story is often overlooked by the average reader unless they read certain literary magazines or short story collections. However, they are a gem that should not be discounted so readily. Our short story writers talk about the benefits of writing short stories as opposed to writing novels.
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)
Saturday, 5pm: Where do Heroes Go to Die?
Panelists: Tracy S. Morris (M), Barbara Ann Wright, Patrice Sarath, Gloria Oliver, Michelle Muenzler
Last year we heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing Legend of Conan (eventually? Maybe? Now it looks like November 2016) as a direct sequel to the first Conan, where it ended with him being King, old and grizzled. As a concept, the idea is neat, and is something that Howard dealt with in his original stories as well. Just how do you write old heroes? Our writers of sword and sorcery discuss these topics and more.
Sunday
MAIN PROGRAMMING (JEFFERSON)
Sunday, 1pm: The Pantheon that Shaped the Universe: Roman Mythology
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr. (M), Barbara Ann Wright, Adrian Simmons, Michelle Muenzler, Frances May
One of the more popular mythologies out there, the Roman mythos was just like the Roman culture – it assimilated them from each culture it conquered. Foreign gods were actually invited into the Roman Pantheon as they were conquered, which is a novel way of getting the new natives to be peaceful after getting beaten. Our researchers talk about the Roman mythos, and how it can be used in your stories.
Sound exciting? I’m pretty excited, too. I think some of these are going to be very lively indeed.
More exciting news, I have release dates for Coils and Widows of the Sun-Moon!
Widows Of the Sun-Moon 300 DPI Coils 300 DPI

 September 13, 2016 for Coils and January 17, 2017 for Widows!

Widows of the Sun-Moon is the sequel to Paladins of the Storm Lord, which comes out in May! That’s not a bad wait at all!

Speaking of things you don’t have to wait for, I was on the Liz McMullen Show! Please go have a listen. We’re very entertaining people, and it’s all for you. All for you!

My 2016 schedule so far

Here’s where to find me this year! As each event draws closer, you’ll hear more about it in detail, but if I’m going to be near you, please mark your calendars to come out and say hello!

February 12-14: ConDFW, Dallas, TX. They have a preliminary schedule up on their website and are finalizing it now. You’ll get more detailsfrom me next week.

April 2: Lone Star LesFic Festival, Austin, TX. A great event that just keeps getting better. It’s free for all, and you get a chance to see lots of fab authors!

April 12-16: Romantic Times convention, Las Vegas, NV. I’ll be doing a panel called Writing F/F Sex for Romance and Erotica on Wednesday, April 13, from 1:30pm-2:30pm in Tropical E at the Rio.

May 10: I’ll be on the Bold Strokes Author blog because…

May 17: Paladins of the Storm Lord comes out! Now available for pre-order on the BSB site! Blurb:

Paladins of the Storm Lord 300 DPISurrounded by dead crewmates, marooned above an unknown planet, the bridge crew of the Atlas awakens from a crash with extraordinary mental abilities. When their most powerful member jettisons their passengers to the planet below, they have an unprecedented opportunity: they can become gods.

Two hundred years later, Lieutenant Cordelia Ross is a paladin serving the Storm Lord, her city’s patron deity. Her faith is absolute until her people are attacked by a native species, harmless creatures turned devious by an unknown hand. Cordelia tries to solve the mystery of their development before they kill anyone else, but the secrets surrounding them are too deep. As orders from the Storm Lord begin to value obedience over integrity, Cordelia wonders whose side her god is really on.

See how I just slipped that blurb in there? Smooth.

Also on May 17: Jewel Book Club, Dallas, TX. The wonderful ladies of Jewel are inviting me up to talk about Paladins!

June 18-19: Denver Pride, Denver, CO. Come see the BSB booth, now with even more authors hawking even more books!

June 25: Houston Pride, Houston, TX. Come see the Texas BSB authors as we slowly melt…and sell books. 🙂

July 26-31: The Bold Strokes Retreat. Okay, so you can’t see me at this one unless you’re with BSB, but I just thought I’d throw it in here in case you wanted to marvel at how much I’m traveling. Also, this is the same weekend as ArmadilloCon this year, so I won’t be there. I’ll miss you, too.

September 18: Dallas Pride, Dallas, TX. Less hot than Houston, but we’ll still be there, selling out! In a good way. I hope.

That’s it so far, but I might be adding more as the year goes on. I hope you can make some of these. I’ll be looking for you. AND I’ll have swag. Sweeten the pot for you? Maybe?

Anyone else have their year all planned out?

Provincetown!

Had a great time at Ptown this past weekend, going from event to event for Bold Strokes Books at Women’s Week.

Here’s a few random pics:

signing This is a signing after one of the panels with (from left): Kris Bryant, Jean Copeland, me, Aurora Rey, Jennifer Lavoie, and Carsen Taite. We had just finished doing our reading and then went to Recovering Hearts to sign books for adoring hordes of fans (not pictured.)

group pic

Here’s a nice group shout after the signing of (from left): me, D Jackson Leigh, VK Powell, Missouri Vaun, Ali Vali, and Carsen Taite. This was after the signing when someone asked to take a pic of us. I believe it’s all over facebook.

publishing talk

Here’s one shot from the panel on the writer’s life. (From left again): Sandy Lowe, MJ Williamz, me, and Sophia Kell Hagin. Almost all of us were thirsty.

reading

And this last one is just me. It’s from my reading, and at this point I believe I’m telling the audience that writing romance is “All about the frickin’.” Always go for the laugh, people.

The panels were all very entertaining and informative. The readings were fantastic. I attended all of them but didn’t get very many pictures because I was suffering the pain of kidney stones at the time and was either in too much pain to move or too high to know what the hell a camera was. Thankfully, my cell reception was so bad in Ptown that I actually couldn’t text or call anyone, or I probably would have drunk dialed everyone I know. I am feeling a bit better now that I’m home, but as I have several kidney stones, I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ll keep you posted.

In other news, I’m hard at work on Coils to turn it in by the end of October, so you might not see me around very much. I’ll check back in when I’m less busy, I promise.