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

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It’s almost time for Dallas Pride!

Hey folks, September 18th is Dallas Pride, and I have a nifty flyer for ya:

 

dallas-pride-2016-flyer-2Come join yours truly along with Carsen Taite, MJ Williamz, Laydin Michaels, Lisa Moreau, Shelley Thrasher, Jaycie Morrison, and Kris Bryant as we sell books and yell obnoxious things at passersby! Hope to see ya there!

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. 🙂

 

Time for Denver and Houston Pride!

Come see me this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19 for Denver Pride! Bold Strokes will be at booth L17, behind the main stage, across from the library.

Then come see me Saturday, June 25th at Houston Pride! You’ll see our banners flying!

I know everyone is hurting because of Orlando. I am, too. Now more than ever, we need to stand united. I hope you’ll come share in Pride with me and show that whatever happens, you can’t keep us down. Standing strong is what our community does best. 🙂

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?

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?

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?

Back from Dallas, watch me work

photo courtesy of Carsen Taite

photo courtesy of Carsen Taite

Just got back from Dallas Pride, and a truly epic time was had by all. In the photo above from left, that’s VK Powell, Laydin Michaels, David Swatling, Carsen Taite, and yours truly. An epic time was had by all as we sold books.

10624976_10153680231056719_6000228677653095799_n

I have only one copy of The Pyramid Waltz left and none of Thrall, so I call that a good day. 🙂

Coils 300 DPINow I’m hard at work on Coils. I have to turn it in this fall in the hopes that it will come out next fall or winter. Publishing thinks far in the future, y’all. After I finish Coils, I will start working on the sequel to Paladins of the Storm Lord which doesn’t come out until May 2016, which means I will be working on the edits for Paladins while writing the sequel, which is actually pretty handy as both will be fresh in my mind, and I can spot any dots which I might have failed to connect.

After that, I’ll be working on a brand new idea, a space opera, which I’ll tell you more about as I begin working on it in the latter half of next year.

I’m so happy to be busy. 🙂

Where can you find me between now and then?

In October, Women’s week!

On Saturday, September 14th, I’ll be participating in a LesFic trivia event. It’ll go from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at The Settlement Home, 1600 Peyton Gin RD. Austin, TX 78758.
From the press release:

We have a larger venue and more prizes! Admission is free and the Sapphic Reading Group is providing refreshments. All proceeds from donations and the book raffle will go toward expenses for the 2016 Lone Star LesFic Festival. We hope you can join us for a fun time!

Then in Febuary, I’ll be a panelist at ConDFW in Dallas.

In April, I’ll be speaking at The Romantic Times Convention in Las freakin’ Vegas!

More details on all these events as they draw closer.

What are you working on? It doesn’t have to be writing. Share your work-related sorrows and joys. 🙂

Official release day and Pride festivals

It’s the official release day of The Fiend Queen! Bold Strokes Books is doing giveaways today on their Facebook page, so check back often.

I was curious to know everyone’s thoughts on buying books at Pride festivals (or festivals in general.) I ask specifically about Pride because I’ll be selling books at two festivals this year. If you attend any festivals and find out they have a book tent, do you stop and have a browse, or do you think of festivals as being more about music and food than shopping? This assumes, of course, that you have an interest in whatever subject the festival is ABOUT. 🙂

How many would say, “Ooh, books!” no matter what and come have a look and how many of you would need to be seduced by gimmicks or free candy? I admit, I’m kind of in both categories, shopping-wise. I always love a good book, but free candy is an undeniable siren song. I plan for our booth to have both. What say all of you?

 

Cast lists and a near miss

It’s been an odd couple of weeks here at my house. I’m struggling with joint pain, but luckily, my doctor thinks it’s viral arthritis instead of rheumatoid which is a very lucky thing. I know people who live with RA, and while I feel greatly for them, I don’t want to join their ranks.

In fits and starts, I’ve been working on cast lists for all my books, updating each one so that it reflects the characters at the start of that particular book. I’ve got The Pyramid Waltz and For Want of a Fiend done. Those tabs are at the top of this page. Now when people are lost about who a particular person is, they can just come to my page and have a look-see. Do check them out and let me know if I’ve missed anyone. Accidents happen. I’ll have tabs for A Kingdom Lost and The Fiend Queen up soon.

I hope everyone can come see me at ArmadilloCon on July 25-27. Here’s where to find me at the con:

Protecting the Indigenous Tribes Fri 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Room E Maresca*, Compton, Wright Indigenous peoples confront a diverse range of concerns. What should be done to ensure their existence?

40 Years of D&D Fri 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Room F Benjamin*, Finn, Maresca, Marmell, Sarath, Wright How did D&D inspire authors?

Build the Perfect Thief Sat 11:00 AM-Noon Room E Finn*, de Orive, Foster, Sheridan Rose, Sullivan, Wright Thieves can make delightful characters, but what does it take to create a great thief? Brad Foster will make an accompanying drawing to be sold for charity.

Gothic Novels of the 1800s Sat Noon-1:00 PM Room F Sarath*, Cheney, Jones, Swendson, Wright Discussion of how gothic novels came to be and which stories can still hold up today.

Reading Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Southpark A Wright

Evil Characters Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Room D Denton*, Acevedo, Marmell, Rountree, Stufflebeam, Wright Discussing the best evil characters in history.

Are You My Mummy? Sat 11:00 PM-Midnight Room D Webb*, McDonald, Waldrop, Wright I want more mummy stories! Why aren’t they being written? Are there any good ones out there?

I hope you can make it out to this great event. These panels are bound to be very entertaining. And don’t worry about that reading hour. I plan to do a humorous talk about dealing with rejection and probably how to sell books with Barbies. And I will have new swag to give away.

Anyone else planning to go to an event? Anyone else heard of cast lists on websites? I hear that’s the new thing, and you know how I like to jump on a bandwagon.