Saturday, March 27, 2010

Millennicon, New T-Shirts, New Signing Dates, and more!

Did 3 convention weekends in a row, which is definitely an adventure with everything that has to be packed in on the shortened weeks. Rounding things off was Millennicon in Cincinnati, which turned out to be a great finish to the run.

Millennicon is a smaller convention, in the 500 attendee range. I had an exhibition table there, right next to TammyJo Eckhart, Travis Clemmons, and Tracy Chowdhury and Ted Crim...all of whom are authors! Behind us was William Levy, who is one of the more fascinating individuals that I have encountered in some time. It made for a great neighborhood to pass the time with, as there are inevitably ebbs and flows when exhibiting at a smaller convention.

I was on a few panels, took part in some signing sessions, and did a reading. I think things went largely well...I was on an economics in publishing panel, another focusing on books versus movies (a topic I love to discuss, being both an author and filmmaker), and one on folklore. The convention was very smoothly run, and I can definitely endorse Millennicon as an event that has quality guests, programming, and organization.

For me, it was really great to spend some time with TammyJo Eckhart...she's incredibly smart and a very skilled writer, and she debuted a fascinating new vampire novel that is in the works. The chapter that she read from, by itself, could have made a tight, hard-hitting short film all by itself. She's got a great approach to vampires in this one too, which is not easy, given the great mass of books out there involving vampires. Suffice it to say that she has drawn upon her very erudite background (which got her a PHD in ancient history) to give a nice fresh twist to a vampire story.

Travis Clemmons turned out to be the "small world" story of my weekend. He actually lived in Lexington not long ago (he married and moved to Chicago), and was part of a Lexington Science Fiction and Fantasy Group that I was not aware of, which just happened to be having dinner that night. Travis invited me to join the group, who were a very boisterous lot, though we did not get ejected from Max and Erma's thankfully! I got to reunite with Susan Baugh, who I was on a panel with at Archon last October. We got to share a few laughs about that one, which featured Laurell K. Hamilton, who 99.9% of the audience was there to see (and I must say that Laurell was very gracious to the other panelists, and made sure we were included in the discussion, which I thought was first class, given the makeup of the audience).

Interestingly, Travis also has a very intruiging new vampire novel in the works that he read some chapters from.

All in all, the weekend went very well, and I definitely would like to visit Millennicon in the future.

Debuted at Millennicon was our 2 new t-shirt designs from the novels...the shirts turned out very nice. Joe Garcia of Fast Custom Shirts did a great job in bringing the illustration images from the book over to a t-shirt, and they were screenprinted on 100% preshrunk cotton. Very quality! One is of Arianna, in the Exodus Gate, during her first encounter with the An-Ki. The other is of a Trogen warrior on a flying Harrak steed, from Crown of Vengeance.

Stephen Kendall, one of the individuals involved with the great InConJunction convention in Indianapolis, was the first person to get one of the new shirts (he got the Arianna and An-Ki design). I "forced" him to take a picture, which I will share with you here.

The shirts are now available in my online store at my website, and also at the Seventh Star Press online store, and at Fast Custom Shirts' web site. They are just $9.95 for L or XL, and you can get both for $18. Warm weather is rolling around, so pick up a t-shirt or two! Matthew Perry, the illustrator/cover artist on both The Exodus Gate and Crown of Vengeance, gets a royalty on every shirt sold.

Lastly, we added 5 new signing dates, in the time when the 2nd Book of the Rising Dawn Saga will be out.

One is a mini-tour of sorts...June 11th at Empire Books and News in Huntington, June 12th at Borders in Louisville (South 4th street location), June 13th at Borders in Cincinnati (Eastgate location). Beyond that, we added a date at Borders Downtown Indianapolis on August 7th, during Gen Con time there, and August 14th at Borders in Columbus Ohio (Kenny Rd. location).

Like I have often said, I will make every effort to make myself available in person to my readers, who are the ones that make this journey possible. I have the utmost appreciation for them, and will always work to be accessible in person through events and signings.

Last but not least, I was invited this past Wednesday to visit as a guest to a high school reading group at Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Five of the six that were in the group attended, one of many groups involved in the Reading Extravaganza program at the high school. The volunteer coordinator for the group was Karen Leet, who is a very talented writer. The students in the group had picked The Exodus Gate to read, for which I felt really honored. They had great insights and questions, and we had a very good hour-long discussion on the novel. It seemed as if at least four of them would be likely to read the 2nd book in the series when it comes out, which I feel was a great ratio. I had a very good experience and am appreciative of Dunbar High School for this opportunity. I think they have an outstanding program going on there.

That's a bit of a long post for today, but there was a bit to report!

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