Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DemiCon and a Brand New Interview at Up Around the Corner

To say things have been busy is an understatement. As many know, I am an active part of the public relations outreaches for Seventh Star Press, working with C.C. and the others who help in this area. This month involved the launch of Jackie Gamber's Redheart, the first YA fantasy novel for SSP. As most of you probably know, YA, or Young Adult, literature is huge. The outreach took a herculean effort to reach out to the great number of potential reviewers and sites with possible media opportunities for Jackie.

All of that was piled on top of doing full time hours for the broadcast team at Keeneland, working hard every morning on the third book of the Rising Dawn Saga, and duties as the programming director for the Writers Track at Duckon and the Literary Track at Fandom Fest.

Has been a little crazy, the average night of sleep was around 4 hours, and I apologize for being sporadic lately on the blog. Thankfully, Monster Energy keeps me rollin'! :)

I will be hitting the road hard again starting this weekend at DemiCon in Des Moines, Iowa. The four week run at Keeneland wraps up this week and I am heading out for my second visit to DemiCon. This Con was superb to me when my mother went into the hospital with an emergency health matter last spring and I had to cancel with only a few days notice. They invited me back, and we're first class and understanding about my situation. I just love this crew for how cool they've been. A couple of them, Mandi and Rachelle, even got together a large number of SCA clothes to lend to the production of Swordbearer!

I am looking forward to seeing two very special author friends, Lettie Prell and Shirley Damsgaard. Lettie hosted me on my trip west to Beaverdale Books for a signing later in the summer last year, and Shirley has been a very dear friend, and a person that I consider a mentor in many ways. Shirley's just a great lady, and she's got some big things on the horizon. It will be a lot of fun to see both of them!

There will be a screening of Swordbearer on Saturday, and I will be doing some panels and a booth this weekend. Can't wait to get back into the DemiCon groove. if you are in the area, and can make it, I recommend this Con a lot. Very enjoyable and run by some really first rate individuals. is the address.

I also wanted to post a link to a brand new interview that went up today at Up Around the Corner. It is a really nice interview, with a good overview of my work and some excellent questions, given to me by fantasy author Terry Ervin. If you do check it out, please leave a comment to let Terry know that you stopped by!

here's the link:

Don't forget to keep passing the word out that the Seventh Star Press eBook sale (Try Seventh Star Press for Two Dollars) is still going! Just $1.99 for Crown of Vengeance and The Exodus Gate (as well as Jackie Gamber's Redheart and Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall), and $2.99 for The Storm Guardians and Dream of Legends. And that's for all formats...Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Sony.

here's the link to the sale:

That's all for now, but i will check in shortly with some DemiCon posts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The MidSouthCon Report--At Last!

The MidSouthCon Report-for March 25-27, 2011

MidSouthCon is, without question, one of the elite conventions in the USA. It is large, but not too large to really enjoy, and the staff really does a great job of execution.

This was my third trek to MidSouthCon. Technically, my convention began at a small coffee shop on Thursday evening, March 24th, where Elizabeth Donald was having a meet and greet in regards to her release of Blackfire, the followup to The Cold Ones (about zombies, not beers, LOL)! Tyree Campbell of Sam's Dot Publishing was hanging out with David Blalock, who also had a new book out at MidSouthCon, the amazing Emperor, the followup to Ascendant, which is the book that the short film Swordbearer I directed is from. It was great to see Elizabeth and the rest of the gang, and kick things off right.

I stayed overnight at Thran Keep, also known as David Blalock's house. I always get incredible rest there. It is the ideal author's setting. I can totally picture Dave sketching character notes on his porch in the late afternoon with a Scotch at his side! LOL

The day began early on Friday, as I had to get down there to set up at the dealers room at the new Hilton location. The new hotel is fantastic, and has a great location right on the highway.

A lot of things loomed before us, most importantly the launch of the Seventh Star Press version of Redheart, Book One of the Leland Dragon Series, by Jackie Gamber. The Gambers are from Memphis, so it was very important that the book got unveiled there on their homefront. The SSP family couldn't have it any other way.

Shorty runs the dealer room at MidSouthCon, and is one of my favorite fellows at Cons. He is well-named, standing at a height much closer to seven feet tall than six, and pretty stout of build. Shorty is a benevolent giant though, and runs an organized dealer room, so everything went pretty smoothly on the setup.

(Me with Shorty and the renegade author Jimmy Gillentine...I'm about 5'11 in shoes, so that gives you an idea about Shorty's stature!)

My neighbor on one side was Kerlak Publishing, with all the madness of their plot bunnies, squirrels of mass distraction, and excellent books, and my neighbor on the other was Robert Krog...Robert ended up selling out of his single author collection, and I got a picture shortly after he sold the last copy.

(The lovely Herika Raymer, author, friend, and editor of Imagyro)

Following opening ceremonies we had a screening of Swordbearer, in the same room where the ceremonies took place. Had a brief scare as the place emptied out entirely following the conclusion of the opening ceremonies, but about ten minutes out from the screening time we got a nice surge.

I am happy to say that everyone stayed for the movie and for the Q and A afterwards that featured myself, David Blalock (who was the Executive Producer and did the screenplay adaptation), and Allan Gilbreath, our dashing fight coordinator.

I headed to the Literary Underworld party later that night, where I got to visit with some great friends like Jennifer Mulvihill, Angelia Sparrow, the incomparable Elizabeth Donald, Jimmy Gillentine, and Jason Sizemore, the genius behind Apex Book Company. Lots of new friends to meet too like Alex Brown, a fiesty fellow and author who knows how to have a good time!

( Jennifer Mulvihill, good friend and author...can you believe I get to hang out with gals as awesome and rockin' as Jen? :) )

We had a great visit and I stayed up a little later than usual, but got in a few hours of recharging the batteries for Saturday.

Saturday involved a lot of time in the dealers room, some panels, and the Redheart party in the Con Suite. There was also an ongoing scavenger hunt, a high tech version where people used smart phones to scan bar codes to get clues to locations that ultimately ended up at the Seventh Star Press booth.

The Con Suite party features custom dragon-shaped cookies, gourmet carmel corn, and these cool red velvet cupcake-like things on a stick. Jackie really seemed happy at the party, as many copies of Redheart were sold and there was a noticeable enthusiasm about Jackie's Leland Dragon Series.

(Here's Jackie signing one of the many copies of Redheart that sold over the weekend!)

(Dragon Cookies! They tasted as good as they looked too!)

I went to one of Jackie's cool BookTasting sessions afterwards. No, we do not actually eat books at one of these, but instead Jackie guides everyone through a tea tasting sequence where a particular tea is paired with a particular book due to specific qualities of each that Jackie feels match up well. Maura Heaphy, a senior lecturer in science fiction at Ohio State University and an author herself of non-fiction books on the genre, teamed up with Jackie for this panel. Everyone seemed to love it a lot, and I hated having to leave early, but Ben Gamber was kindly watching over my table for the Con Suite Party and so that I could catch the portion of the BookTasting where Jackie matched a tea with Crown of Vengeance.

(A BookTasting Event! )

There were activities everywhere, and there were many fan tables, podcasters, and others, such as DragonTalk Radio, whose host Jon Klement was interviewing many MidSouthCon guests. Jon's very passionate about his show, which has been growing and growing with loads of new guests and convention coverage.

(DragonTalk Radio's Jon Klement interviewing science fiction author Stephanie Osborn)

My panels included one on marketing/PR for small press authors, another one focusing on each panelists place on the publication map, another on Different Flavors of Fantasy, and another on building a hero.

All were excellent panels, with some great guests, such as Jason Sizemore, Debra Dixon, and Violette Reid, and many more very established authors.

The PR/Marketing one contained none other than Selina Rosen and Elizabeth Donald, both incredibly knowledgeable, and incredibly outgoing. Joy Ward and I anchored one side of the table, but our two other co-panelists did the most in terms of captivating the audience. Dan Gamber was on hand to moderate, but I don't think there is no way anyone could moderate Selina or Elizabeth, much less both of them on the same panel!

Saturday night I visited with Elizabeth, Jimmy, Angelia, and Jon Klement again. A little more low key and laid back than Friday, but no less enjoyable.

Sunday went well in the dealers room, wrapping up a strong weekend for Seventh Star Press titles. I had many returning reader-friends picking up new books, and many new ones. Redheart went over extremely well, and we sold some copies of Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall as well. It is always nice when the loadout is lighter at the end of a convention weekend.

Due to my workload, I had to head back after the dealer room closed on Sunday, as the drive is about six hours back to Lexington and I had quite a bit to do on Monday. Got back smoothly enough, I am happy to say.

It was a great end to a six week run of conventions and events, and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

We'll end this post with a happy pic, one of my favorites from the weekend, of Dan and Jackie Gamber! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Big eBook Sale: Try Seventh Star Press for Two Dollars

My report on MidSouthCon is about done and ready, but I needed to get this post up about a new Seventh Star Press eBook sale. Here's the official info from the SSP site, but suffice it to say that if you haven't tried my books and wanted to, OR you like YA or Heroic fantasy, there's a great sale going on now at Seventh Star Press with $1.99 titles. My Book 2's, Dream of Legends and The Storm Guardians, also have a special price of just $2.99. Please help me spread the word on this special sale. Thanks!

Try a Seventh Star Press Title for Just Two Dollars!

What is your favorite flavor of fantasy? Do you like character-driven YA Fantasy? Do you like heroic fantasy with loads of action? Do you like epic fantasy with a wide cast of characters, lands, and lore? How about epic scale urban fantasy?

To celebrate the launch week of Jackie Gamber's Redheart, we're announcing a very special sale. The good news is that we've got a title in each of the above areas of fantasy, so that you can try Seventh Star Press eBooks out in this special sale that will be running through Mid-June. What are you waiting for? Just two bucks and you'll be on a grand adventure. Find out what readers around the world are discovering...there's a growing constellation of quality titles at Seventh Star Press!

Click here for titles and other information at the SSP site

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Millennicon Report

Report on MillenniCon, which took place March 18-20, 2011:

One thing I really like about going to an established Con is the fact that everything is very orderly, and you don't run into a lot of surprises. Millennicon is definitely one of those types, and has some great hard-working folks that have consistently put on a solid event. This year was no exception!

I arrived early on Friday in Cincinnati, as I had a table in the dealer's room and wanted to get set up early.

My neighbors were James Barnes of Loconeal Publishing, TammyJo Eckhart, and the writing tandem of Tracy Chowdhury and Ted Crim with their epic Shandahar series.

TammyJo is one of my favs on the Con scene and a genuine friend who I couldn't say enough good things about. She's brilliant and an outstanding writer, but I always appreciate how she watches over me at Cons and makes sure I don't go too far off track with forgetting to eat and things like that. I made some Chocolate Cult buttons for TammyJo, as well as some others with her newest book At Her Feet. I was thrilled to see that she really liked them, as did Fox, her co-writer on the book and a special member of her family.

Needless to say, having good neighbors is imperative at a Con, as it makes things much more enjoyable, and you get a little help when you have to leave the table for a panel or other activity. Day one of the Con didn't have any scheduled panels, so I mainly attended my table, greeted friends as they arrived, and talked to new individuals.

Day Two was the big day, involving a panel on Science Fiction and Television and a Swordbearer Screening. The panel involved quite a surprise, as one of the guests was none other than Robert Sawyer...yes, that Robert Sawyer, Hugo winner, author of Flash Forward and many other brilliant science fiction novels. Robert was a fun co-panelist, gracious, and the kind of guy that makes a fellow like me (who is not nearly so far along on the writing path)very welcome. I appreciate that a great deal, and it is the kind of thing you don't forget. I'm a Robert Sawyer fan from here on out for sure. It was really cool hearing him talk about the television version of Flash Forward, the things that took place in the casting and development, and other aspects. I know he is looking forward to doing more television in the future.

(Dan Young, Robert Sawyer, myself, and our wonderful moderator Julie at the Science Fiction and Television panel at Millennicon)

The Swordbearer screening was well-attended, had a nice discussion afterwards, and seemed to be well received. Had a little challenge getting the projector to cooperate at the beginning, but the image and sound were good, and it was nice to share the film with some friends who have heard me talking about this for awhile.

Saturday night I got to be a "fly on the wall" for a World of Darkness (Masquerade) game hosted by TammyJo Eckhart. I'm not an experienced gamer, so I wanted to see more about what it was all about, and it was really compelling and interesting to watch the group role-play and interact. It involved some good improv acting, and the chemistry of the players involved, including Fox and Ted Crim, was excellent. I had a blast and appreciated them letting me observe. I just might play sometime!

Sunday was a shorter day, involving more dealer room time and a panel on small press publishing, where Steven Saus and James Barnes of Loconeal were my co-panelists. Again, a great panel, with two fellows that really know their stuff. Steven's becoming quite the eBook expert and has a great anthology project going with Paul Genesse (The Crimson Pact). James has a very promising small press with some excellent writers. One of them, Ren Garcia, was in the booth alot. Ren's quite a character and a nice guy, who even set up a remote with an illustrator involved with his books, where people stopping by the booth could watch the illustrator's progress live on a sketch. very cool stuff.

One of the best moments of the weekend came to light on Sunday, when I found out that James picked up the Shandahar series from Ted and Tracy. This was fantastic news! I'm always stoked when author friends land a publisher, and similarly when publisher friends land a good author or authors, and in this case I got the best of both worlds. Ted and Tracy pour a lot of passion into their work, and it is fantastic to see it get a chance to take a big step forward with publisher support.

(Here's Loconeal Publishing's James Barnes and me in the dealer room. James has style!)

As always though, I was really elated to meet some new reader friends and reconnect with some that I have known for a little while...Martha L., who has been extremely supportive of me and my writing,Stephen Kendall, who brought me into InConJunction and has become a friend and reader of The Rising Dawn Saga since, and Steven Saus' son Chris (who we didn't know the identity of until AFTER he was interested in getting The Exodus Gate). It is the people like Martha, Stephen, and Chris who are the primary reason I will make every sacrifice, endure long hours, and put every ounce of effort into my path.

(Martha L., a dear reader friend and myself, in the dealer room at Millennicon)

(Stephen Kendall and me at Millennicon)

(Here's me with Chris, Steven Saus' son, after he picked up The Exodus Gate)