Friday, March 2, 2012

ConNooga, MystiCon, Blog Tours, and Fandom Fest Progress!

Where do I start? LOL

Convention season is underway, and the year has begun with two excellent ones.

ConNooga in, you guessed it, Chattanooga TN, and MystiCon in Roanoke VA.

ConNooga is a convention I have really enjoyed going to the past 2 years. Robby Hilliard has built a wonderful literary track, bringing together a really nice mix of authors, editors, and publishers. Had some great panel discussions, ranging from publishing topics to screenplays. Met some wonderful authors like James Tuck, and finally caught up with M.B. Weston, who I had wanted to meet but missed at a couple of previous conventions.

The convention is held at a hotel that is a former train station site. They've made use of some of the old train cars, turning them into restaurants and even meeting space rooms. Of course, there are loads of standard hotel facilities and I've always had a pleasant time at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Friday did start out with a little bit of a surprise, as I found out that I was one of a small group of authors that were relocated from the exhibition hall to the other side of the property, in the building housing the theater and several of the meeting/panel rooms. Evidently, some remodeling in the exhibition hall building, to use it as a nightclub, knocked out a significant amount of floor space. We were out in the hallway, which eventually led to some nice flows of traffic going by our area, and we got to see a lot of cool sights, such as the gathering of Sith Lords pictured to the left.

D.A. Adams, my good friend and fellow SSP author, was a guest at the convention and we worked the booth space together. We agreed to run it into the night past the normal dealer room hours, which turned out to be a pretty good decision. We even got a shout out from Andy Deane of Bella Morte during their live show. Andy was there participating on the literary track in addition to performing with the band.

Over the course of the weekend we had good book sales. D.A. sold a bunch of his Brotherhood of Dwarves books, and I met a lot of new readers as well as current readers who were getting their book 2's or 3's, such as Mary B. and Tom H., who is pictured with me here! We sold titles from every SSP author too, which I was really happy about.

MystiCon was also a very successful and enjoyable convention. Alex Wright(Pictured with me), Keith Stanley, Barbara Debary-Kesner, Tina Vargo, Carla Brindle, and everyone on the staff did such a superb job with the 2012 event. The attendance grew a lot from last year, but the Con flowed wonderfully all throughout.

I was neighbors with a great web comic fellow named Travis Surber and his wife Jennifer on one side, Dan from Walt's Games in Baltimore on the other, and across from the Imagicopter gang, including H. David Blalock(Pictured), Herika Raymer, and J.L. Mulvihill.

It was great having David there, as this was the second convention where we were able to show off his new book Angelkiller, a fantastic urban fantasy novel that blends supernatural elements with a virtual reality theme.

Catching up and hanging out with artist Mark Davis was a blast as well! He's one of the great characters on the circuit, and I hear he's got a really cool new comic-related project in the works. :)

It was the second straight convention seeing the amazing Andy Deane, who did not have to go too far from home at this convention. Andy, as usual, was engaging with his fans and put on a fantastic rock show with Bella Morte that was packed out.

Also got to visit again with filmmaker Johnny Johnson, the man behind the remake of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Johnny's a first-class guy, a great filmmaker, and it is aways cool seeing him out on the Con circuit.

Panels went very well, including one on Steampunk, one on why geeks are cool now, and another on monsters and what kinds of monsters may be the next trends. The latter was moderated by Alexandra Christian, a talented author and friend who also writes for Fandom Scene. Her husband, Tally Johnson, is a blast to hang around. We need to get him and Bruce Campbell together at Fandom Fest as they would look like brothers standing together.

Sharon Stogner, the founder of the I Smell Sheep blog review site, came to MystiCon on Saturday and brought me a 20 oz. Cheerwine and a moonpie. Cheerwine has cult status where I live, so I got to lord it over some friends of mine like Rodney Carlstrom, who may be one of the biggest Cheerwine fantatics out there. The moonpie, according to Sharon, is what Cheerwine best goes with! LOL I really enjoyed visiting with Sharon and her daughters, one of whom was making quite the splash at the convention in her zombie costume.

Got to catch up with epic fantasy author Gail Z Martin, who writes for Orbit and Solaris (she recently had me visit on her Ghost in the Machine Podcast). Gail had a nice release party for her new book The Dread, from The Fallen Kings Cycle. Really looking forward to having Gail on our track at Fandom Fest this coming year.

Sales were really good for the second straight week, including my books, David's, and other titles from SSP. I got to see a number of loyal readers and meet some new ones.

On the way back I got to visit and stay at Andy Haught's home. Andy's the lead singer of Zeroking, a fantastic hard rock/metal band, and he's been a friend of mine for many years. The band's new release, Kings of Self-Destruction, is getting more and more airplay everyday. Doesn't surprise me, as there is not a bad track on the 13 song release. Was really great to just kick back, visit with him and Carla, and relax after such a busy weekend.

The ensuing week turned into a maelstrom of activity, as we had to work to set up SSP's first ever formal blog tour for Jackie Gamber. We worked with Babs from Babs Book Bistro, and our camp was able to arrange a 36 day blog tour, all dates filled, in 48 hours. Whew! LOL Yes, we put in quite an effort over those couple of days, but I have to say the blogging community was so helpful and enthusiastic about Jackie's new book. Special appreciation to Babs for all her help. Big thank you to Evie from Evie Bookish for assisting with the beautiful tour badges. It was exciting and we will be doing more blog tours in the future. Sela is a fantastic novel, and with Redheart is building a wonderful YA Fantasy Series.

Last, but not least, we announced the additions of Robin Hobb, Richard Kadrey, and Julie Kagaway for Fandom Fest, NY Times best sellers in fantasy, urban fantasy, and YA Fantasy respectively. I'm just thrilled with how the track is coming together, as these three wonderful authors will be joining others such as Timothy Zahn, Angie Fox, Jim C Hines, Gail Z Martin, Laura Resnick, and so many more fantastic authors on this track.

This is a fairly long report, but as you can tell, I have not been idea. I will save my progress report on the writing side for another post, as I wanted to bring everyone up to speed on how the conventions have been going.

1 comment:

Terry W. Ervin II said...

I'm only attending two cons this summer ConCarolinas and Fandom Fest, so hopefully we'll cross paths at Fandom Fest!