Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Comic-Con Brain

It's the first night of Comic-Con International, San Diego!  

Yes, that is the real entire name of this mega event, I sometimes forget that just saying "Comic-Con" might confuse some folks. For me, the words comic and con combined will always be THIS one. The big kahuna, the 400,000 pound gorilla, THE Con.

I've been going to this con for 24 years-yeah, I know, longer than some of you have been alive ;). To say it has changed in that time is an understatement.

My first year a coworker gave me a ticket, so I wandered down there. It had just moved to the convention center, but our center was a lot smaller then. I had no idea what I was doing, so just roamed around the floor for a few hours, bought stuff, then left thinking, "well, that was okay".

I didn't even realize there had been panels going on upstairs!

But I went back the next year, and so on. You used to be able to buy your tickets for the next year at the current con- in fact for many years, those poor folks at the "next year's badges" booth would get super excited when anyone came up!

However, the point of this post was "Con Brain" (and clearly it's already hitting me!). There is SOOOOOOOOOOO much stuff to see at this monster event that pretty much you just need to aim for your favorite 10% and hope for the best. (If you're a newbie- heed my words!)

Even with knowing I will only see a tiny amount of what I'd love to see (and all the planning in the world never helps me), my brain is already bouncing around like an escaped pokemon on speed. I hardly slept last night--in part because it's hot as hell and I don't have a/c--but also because I am so excited about Comic-Con! Like an 8 year old the night before their first trip to Disneyland.

Not only is this my annual mingling with my people, this is also my first year as a professional and my first year SIGNING my books at Comic-Con. My books will be mingling with all that insane energy!

Soooo, my brain is pretty much shutting down for the next few days. Hopefully it will stay aware long enough to get me home and back, attend panels I want, eat, to the bookstore booth for the signing, etc. But pretty much, I'm already fried :).

And so dang happy to be so!  If you're going- have a great time! If you see me, say hi, then wait a few minutes for my brain to come back ;). If you're not going to Comic-Con, what are some of your favorite geek events to go to?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Being SpongeBob

Creative types need to mentally refuel. Well, since I believe all folks have some creative aspect to their psyche--that means we all do :). We need to relax, explore, absorb, to restock that well of goodness known as our creative brain.

For me as a writer, one of those mental refuelling events has always been Comic-Con International, San Diego, AKA- the big kahuna. Now when I say always, I mean for over the last 20 years, so pretty much, a very long time. 

The energy at Comic-Con is unparalleled by anything I've ever felt. Even at other comic conventions, this one is the most powerful. Getting overwhelmed is a given, but so is absorbing a ton of varied creative energy. Writers (and yeah! I'm even signing this year- shameless plug- Thursday, July 21st at 11 am booth 1119!). artists, actors, directors, gamers, coplayers, you name it, and they are probably there somewhere. I end up exhausted, but also motivated creatively.

But this year, not only do I have CC, I also have Romance Writers of America Nationals this week here in town! Yes, I technically write fantasy, SF, etc...but I do have romantic elements and RWA is the BEST writing organization around. They know their stuff and they know how to support writers at all levels.

This will be my first RWA national Conference, but the variety of workshops look amazing. Lots of folks go to this to mingle and network, I'm kinda shy and that's not in my wheelhouse. I'm just going to be a giant sponge (hence the title of this blog- get it? Hehehe). I plan on absorbing all of the smarts crammed into that giant hotel, and steal them back home.

The best advantage? They are both local for me, so I can sleep in my own bed each night :). Sure, staying in the hotels downtown would have been fun, but I couldn't swing it. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to be near major events like these- but find somewhere, sometime, to go recharge. 

So for over a week, I am going to be surrounded by thousands of crazy creative and talented folks. I'll be watching, observing, taking notes, and absorbing.  So, if you're at one of these events and see a "Sponge-Bob" sitting in the corner, say hi :).

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

IWSG: Benchmarks and insecurity.

First off, welcome to another installment of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  The first Wednesday of each month, writers from all over gather and share our fears- join us!

Today I'm writing about writing benchmarks and the fear and terror that goes with them. 

I've been writing for a very long time, but just got serious the past 8-10 years. My world changed when I self-published my first book, The Glass Gargoyle, March 2015. Since then I've published the next two in that series, and the first one in my space opera series- Warrior Wench. That's four books in 14 months while having a full-time day job. I'm proud of that. Those books weren't slapped up there, I had a lot of professional help on them.

I've now had all four books at various times be on various different top 100 lists on Amazon. My sales are creeping upwards. (Yeah, not quitting that day job any time soon though. ;))

I'm moving forward. Slowly, but moving.

But I am constantly fighting fears, demons, and mental naysayers. 

When you're an independent author, you don't get the reinforcement the traditionally published authors do. No one is hanging out in your corner, handing you the water bottle and the mouth piece so you can go back out there and continue the fight(at least not professionally). The only shield we have against the horrific self doubt is us. 

The benchmarks of "success" are difficult to define--well, not if you're a NYT bestselling author, supporting your family through your writing--but for the rest of us they are. I count every single book sold as a success--the big authors are counting in the thousands.

You work so hard to get a book out, then you watch the sales slow down, but it's okay, soon you have another book to come out, then those sales slow down. Reviews don't come. Or when they do come there are some real stinkers in there. Getting on lists is good- falling off of them is not so good.

Other authors around you seem to be doing so much better, and when you listen to them, you wonder what you've done wrong. Trying to figure out why sales spiked (a great feeling) or crashed (again-not so much) is a game that will drive anyone mad.

I'm at the point where I feel okay with saying I'm a writer. I'm not sure how to convince myself that I'm a successful writer.

(And yes, the logical part of my brain is saying to be proud, define my own success, enjoy what I've done so far- but sometimes my little fear-animal-brain just isn't listening ;)).

Saturday, July 2, 2016

SFR Brigade:

ARGH!  I'm late getting this up. Blogger and I had a fight, and it mostly won :(.  BUT I did want to get this out there even if tardy. What is a SFR showcase you ask? Well, SFR stands for Science Fiction Romance and I think you all can figure out the showcase part :).  Once a month the awesome folks behind the SFR Brigade do a showcase of authors. Welcome!

Thought I'd toss out a snippet from Warrior Wench- since it fits the bill ;). BUT I also wanted to shout out to the great free reads available right now. Forty Authors, Forty first chapters- all free! The series is called Portals.  If you're thinking about finding some new books for your TBR pile- down load these! (From this link you can also find the other showcases for this weekend!)

Enjoy the snippet!

The droid’s sharp rap on the door lead to muffled swearing in two different languages. Which told her two things: they’d found Deven, and he wasn’t gambling for money.
Her second-in-command had many appetites.
She stepped around the droid and added her own pounding to the door. “Deven, it’s me. Get your ass out here.” She paused, and added, “Clothed. Get your clothed ass out here.” Better to be safe. He preferred stark naked.
An increase in the swearing signaled his acknowledgment of her command. The door swung open and a curvaceous blonde stumbled out of the room, a dazed glow on her face. Obviously, Deven had been the one making the extra cash in this scenario.
 Her second-in-command was next through the doorway, looking as fresh as if he’d had time for an hour-long sonic shower before he dressed. Tall and exotic looking, Deven seemed to glow himself as he came out of the room. His standard issue flight suit looking like he’d had it been personally tailored to fit his body like a glove. He’d always been good looking, but he seemed different now. She shivered. Maybe absence did make the heart grow fonder. However, it certainly wasn’t going to make her break her rule about getting involved with a member of her crew. Or a telepath.
Deven’s sharp green eyes glinted with mild amusement at whatever he thought was going on in her head. Then he smiled and pulled his dark hair into a ponytail at his nape.
She hated him for always looking perfect. No matter the situation, Deven stayed calm, clean, and relaxed. Somehow she was sure he did it to piss her off. Maybe that anger could chase off whatever other unhealthy feelings were going on in her head.
“We’ve got a problem, a job, and a missing crew.” She didn’t wait for him to respond before she marched toward the casino floor.
She didn’t hear his steps, but the powerful presence at her side told her he’d caught up.
“You were supposed to be here two weeks ago.”
“Yes.” A two-foot-tall Jerlian in a permanently wrinkled suit, sloshed synth-cohol on her boots as he tried to hug her knees. Had Skrankle not already managed to ruin said boots, she would have seen how far she could kick a Jerlian on a low-grav planet. Instead, she took two steps around him and moved toward the exit.
“You didn’t call.”
“No, I didn’t. My being late has nothing to do with you or our next job. Can we move it, please?” She didn’t want to discuss her recent travels, and certainly not in the middle of a casino. Nothing had happened. She was just late. There just wasn’t a reason to talk about it. She squashed the tiny voice that said she needed to talk about it.
 “Vas saying please? Now I know something is wrong.” Deven pulled up short before the casino exit.
It would take a week to get off this rock if her entire crew decided to be this chatty about her private issues. “I don’t ask what you’re doing,” she said and held up a hand. “I don’t want to know. I’m not going to tell you what I was doing. We have a job and we have a ship. Do you want to earn some money on your feet for once or not?”
“Ouch, got me.” The smile he flashed caused two nearby women to swoon as Vas and Deven left the casino.
“Turn it down, damn it,” she hissed with a glance down at his bracelets. There were times he pulled a glamour that had to be esper powered, bracelets or no. He didn’t need it; he was freakishly good looking enough on his own. “I can’t have you jailed at this point."