Upcoming Appearance at Origins Game Fair!

SO very looking forward to going back to Origins this year! I love going to this convention, and can’t wait to see what all is coming out new…what all is going on in the gaming world and meeting new readers and old…as well as writer friends!

My schedule is as follows;


10 am Time Management and the Author

12 pm A Writer’s Group is not Just a Group of Writers

1 pm More than Black Hats; Creating a Villain

6 pm Story Hour (reading)


1 pm Writing from a Feminist Perspective


12 pm Learning to Tell Stories through RPGs

1 pm Social Media 101

4 pm Flash Fiction


10 am Researching Your Story

11 am (Upgraded Game Play) Wordariffic!

1 pm Humor in Fiction

ALSO…there’s going to be a pretty darn cool giveaway in the Library for all who buy books from our authors…stop by and check it out in the Dealer’s Hall.

When I’m not on a panel or playing a game, I’m likely to be at a table in the Dealer’s Hall, selling books and talking to writers and readers. If the Dealer’s Hall is closed, I’m probably in a game or stuffing my face at North Market…Don’t be shy…come say hi!

Conferences on the Cheap

Someone on a writing forum I’m a member of asked about how to go to conferences when you don’t have much money.

I’m a BIG proponent of conferences, writers groups, and workshops. I think you should definitely go if you’re at all serious about writing.

Okay, look, I’m a small press author, and I go to a TON of conferences, book fairs, art events, comic cons and workshops. I think I did eleven last year, and I’ll do twelve this year.  I have TONS of expenses for going, but I also sell more print books when I’m there in person than I would by just having them sit on a shelf (partly because my contract with my former publisher did not involve distribution of print books). AND I’m definitely one to see how much I can do for as little as possible.

BUT my reason for going is WAY different than a beginning writer.

I go to network. I go to promote my stuff. There are some cons I go to for the sheer number of attendees, I get a booth, and try to sell stuff. That’s more and more lately, as there seem to be fewer and fewer actual bookstores in my geographical area than ever before.

A beginning writer should to go to a conference to learn about the industry, to learn about writing, to learn about genre, and to learn about submissions and self-pub and all the ins and outs that get talked about. They need to start learning and networking and all those other crazy and incredible things.

Networking has done more for me than straight slush pile submissions, but that’s because I network A LOT. It’s gotten me leads, friends, connections, and all kinds of wonderful fun memories, as well as a network of writers and editors and artists that I can contact for questions.

I’m also a government employee, so I’m not getting rich anytime soon, regardless of so many people (including several governors, but that’s another rant for another day) seem to believe. I also do some part time work, in part to cover my travel expenses, in part to pay down my student loans faster, and in part to do extra work on my house. That’s not a solution for everyone. One writer friend of mine has suggested doing the 52 week challenge to save money for conferences. It’s a great idea.

So how do you attend a conference on a budget?

Geographical location.

Depending on where you live, there might be a local conference or workshop within reasonable driving distance and you might save yourself a hotel fee. If a convention is within an hour’s drive, a lot of times, I will drive back and forth to save myself the money in a hotel. I can then eat breakfast at home, see my guys, pack a sandwich for lunch if I want, and take my own water bottle to keep from buying water at a hotel. If there isn’t one within a reasonable driving distance, look and see if there’s one within a reasonable driving distance of a friend or relative’s house.

I live 45 minutes from Dayton, Ohio and 50 minutes from Columbus, Ohio. My brother and sister in law live in Cincinnati. Any of those three cities are ones that I can either stay at home or with my brother, and save hundreds. My only cost then is gas, parking, and food, unless there’s a badge cost, but a lot of times, I don’t have that cost because of the amount of work I do at a con.


Some conventions will allow you to earn a free or discounted badge if you volunteer some time helping with the logistics of the con. This could be anything from stuffing conference bags, to working the registration desk to running schedules and paperwork to picking up guests at the airport. It’s a great way to network, it’s a great way to see what goes on behind the scenes, and most of the time the staff of a conference are way overworked and pulled in four hundred million different directions by the time the conference actually starts.

As a published author, I volunteer to appear on panels; this is an easy way to get a comped badge at a local conference or convention, but that doesn’t work so well at the big ones unless you’ve got a great hook, a big name, or some reason why you would be a draw to the attendees.  This is probably not an option for a beginner, unless it’s a fan run topic (like a popular television show) and you can somehow pitch yourself as knowledgeable enough to be an authority. Keep in mind that this normally also involves more than one panel. I’ve been known to do as many as ten in 48 hours, but I like doing them. I can hear the introverts shudder from across the interwebs.

Con Suite.

Check and see if the conference you’re looking at has a con suite; sometimes it’s a great place to grab a sandwich, a bit of caffeine, and a place to sit down and take a break without feeling like you’ve got to buy something in a coffee shop or a bar. Not all conferences have them; when they do exist, they’re awesome.

Get a conference buddy to split costs.

If there’s nothing in your area (and if you’re in Ohio, I beg to differ on that one), then you might not be able to get out of hotel costs or travel costs. Then it’s about finding someone interested in joining you that you might be able to split your hotel costs and travel costs. Obviously you can’t split an airplane ticket, but if it’s within reasonable driving distance, splitting gas and parking costs is a great way to get there. Splitting hotel costs is another way to keep costs down. You might also be able to see if there’s a way to bring some of your food along as well, to have cheaper things on hand (peanut butter, granola bars, your own pack of Coke Zero, etc.).

I’ve got a friend of mine that I’m attending a couple of conferences with in order to keep costs manageable. We will split a hotel room at Origins in Columbus (despite being close enough to drive, because we enjoy it and want to stick around for some of the later activities). We’re going to Chicago later this year (6-8 hours drive, depending on where we leave from, her house or mine). We’ve split the table fee for putting our books out for sale. We’re splitting the hotel room. We’ll split up the gas, parking, and tolls. We’ll probably pack things to take to keep some costs down. Total cost will be still a bit pricey, but about 40% less than doing all of this by myself. And…since we’ve done cons together in the past and are good friends, we’ll have a great time.

Miscellaneous tips…

  • Ask friends and family to give you gas cards for your birthday and Christmas to defray driving costs for conferences.
  • Ditto for gift cards for chain restaurants near where you’re going (if nothing else, makes a great gift to the person who might be letting you couch surf).
  • Doing the $52 week savings challenge is a great idea to get yourself a nest egg and a budget.
  • SET A BUDGET. Don’t blow your credit card for a great weekend. Budget for what you think you’ll spend…and give yourself a 10% cushion for “just in case”.
  • Remember to take good notes and make it all worthwhile; going and then not writing anything down is kinda meaningless…
  • DON’T forget your cell phone/charger/camera. You might meet some really cool people and want to share pictures.

Goal Progress Report after February


· Edit SHADES OF GRAY; In progress. I’m about 50 pages into this re-edit.

· Finish GIRL VERSUS DEMON: DEMON DEADLY SINS. Am at the 1/3 mark, and full speed ahead.

· Research THE PERRAULT VOW. Ideas are percolating! ;-) Research fun is started.

· SEKRIT PLAN #1 Still working on this.

· Blog at least once a week Okay, so I’ve totally fallen down on this one with life going crazy and the newest publishing hiccup. Will be trying to get back on this horse.

· Work out on a regular basis Does loading and unloading for a convention count? Haven’t done as much as I’d like; some of this is due to the bitter cold weather we’ve had here lately.

· Bathroom remodel Hubby and I are earmarking funds for the tub and shower surround; our goal is to have this bought in the next two or three weeks, so that we can actually start doing the work on all of this.

· Write at least two new short stories. Working on the ideas and doing research. And I might have had an incredibly awful idea for one…that is starting to scream at me to write it. Blame my Sister and Niece…they’ll know which one I mean…lol

· Plant some roses So not happening while the weather is like this!

· SEKRIT PLAN #2 On hold … waiting for both the bathroom remodel and Sekrit Plan #1 news to get started.

· SEKRIT PUBLISHING NEWS AND THE WORK BEHIND IT This was about the official print release from Musa Publishing for book one. I’m working on the next step on this series, will announce more when I know more.
NEW GOAL ADDED! Cuz I don’t actually have enough to do…Let’s add another. EAT HEALTHY 6 days a week, eat what I want 1 day a week. I’m doing a bit of calorie counting but at the same time, I don’t care if I go over my calorie count for the day as long as it’s healthy stuff…raw veggies, fruit, etc. I am trying to add in more of that.

Upcoming Appearance at Cleveland Concoction

I will be at Cleveland Concoction March 13-15, 2015, which is being held at the Sheraton hotel at the Airport in Cleveland.

This is my panel schedule… (I think they rather took me seriously when I said to use and abuse me on panels. Good thing I really like doing them!) I do have one or two meetings in between all of this, but those details are still getting finalized.)

Friday 2 pm Publishing Standards Q&A

Friday 3 pm Twisted Fairy Tales

Friday 7 pm Autographing Session

Friday 10 pm Crafting Villains Readers Love to Hate

Saturday 1 pm There are No Saints in Fiction

Saturday 4 pm Writing for YA versus Adults

Saturday 9 pm Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Saturday 10 pm The 10 volume Trilogy

Sunday 9:30 am Author’s Breakfast

Sunday noon Reading/Author Showcase

While I’m in Cleveland, I will be handing out promotional GOT FROG? Buttons, bookmarks, and other swag-a-licious stuff…and this sounds like a truly wonderful conference. I’m so looking forward to it! If you’re into books or writing or publishing at all, you should really considering attending.

ALSO stay tuned….publishing news coming soon with regard to THE GRIMM LEGACY series…but it’s not finalized yet, so I don’t want to start celebrating just yet.

Doors and Windows

There’s a saying out there about “when one door closes, another opens”, or a “door closing and a window opening.”

That’s scant consolation when one is at a crossroads and trying to make decisions on what to do next.

My publisher, or rather, one of my publishers, Musa Publishing, announced last week that they would be closing their doors as of February 28, 2015.

To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I’d just recently gotten word that they were going to start releasing books in print, and so I hadn’t expected this kind of news.

There are some who might speculate as to why they are closing, and I’ll say here that I have no idea what the true, underlying reason is. I know some of the issues that have been cited to the authors, I can guess at others, but it’s not my business to guess as to why others make the business decisions they make. I’m not their lawyer, their business manager, or their accountant, and so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of any of those things. If I was, I wouldn’t be able to share them for confidentiality reasons.

Meanwhile THE GRIMM LEGACY, THE ANDERSEN ANCESTRY and THE WONDERLAND WOES are all for sale for readers through the end of the week. If you click on “Bibliography” at the top of the page, you’ll find buy links for all of my Musa books. If you buy them through the publisher’s website, (click on “Musa” link) you’ll find them at major discounts that will last until February 28, 2015.

As for me, I do not plan to have these books die. And I do not plan on leaving the series hanging. I’m still planning to edit THE BUNYAN BARTER (which is already written) and planning to write THE PERRAULT VOW (which would finish the series.)

There may be a time where they are not up for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the other sites, but please keep in mind that I am looking for a home for the books. That home may end up being self-publishing. It may be with another publisher. Please know that I am exploring options and will report more when things become more settled. I hesitate to post any plans here, because I am still working through all of that. I’m hoping that I have answers for you sooner rather than later, but I’m not going to provide answers I don’t have.

I am planning to be at all currently scheduled appearances, and have not changed those plans AT ALL.

I have to say that regardless of the reasons, I have enjoyed working with the Musa staff and employees, and have to say that they have been very responsive to all questions, concerns, and ideas I’ve had come up, not just in the last few days, but also throughout my tenure with them. I wish all of them well, and hold no ill will toward any of them. Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to cross paths with any (or all) of them again, and will happily see if our publishing interests again intersect. I am grateful for all that I have learned with the company, and I cheer them for their ethical and moral stand on transparency and responsibility to their authors.

Travel and Details

I am very definitely the plan ahead traveler.

My husband is SOOOO not.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t totally say that. He’s got his own plan in his head, which generally involves getting a list together of what he needs to have when he throws it all in the suitcase at the last minute. He knows what he’s looking for when he’s hunting through the house the day before he leaves.

I cannot do that. ;-)

I’ve been known to make actual paper lists of the outfits I’m taking so that I know I have all of the pieces of the outfit set aside for the trip. If I’m short a pair of socks, a pair of shoes, or something like that, then I know, in my head, what I need to shop for before leaving. I always have at least one outfit for each day, one extra pair of pants and one extra shirt in case of clutzy spillage, and a light jacket or sweatshirt or cardigan (depending on the level of dress code of the trip) in case of chilliness or over-cranked air conditioning. I take at least one pair of tennis shoes no matter what, so that I always have a comfy pair of shoes in case of lots of walking. And that’s just the clothing part of the packing. And I start doing this a week to a week and a half prior to the actual trip. If not sooner. Can you imagine the mental lists when it’s more than just a suitcase?

My husband looked at me in horror when he realized that I think this way. “But what if you need the stuff you’re setting out before you go?”

Well, then I know what needs run back through the laundry on high priority before the trip.

Yeah, I can be a little OCD when it comes to details.

Let me explain.

We are headed to Wizard World Cleveland in about a week. This is probably one of the biggest shows I’ve ever gone to for the books or as an author. Which means that I’m losing my mind making sure I’ve checked everything I can think of off my list as far in advance as possible.

Here’s my example…

Backdrop curtain/banner-sewn, tested, ironed, packed (thanks Mom for all the help!)

imageBOOKS! Organized and packed

Table covers, night covers, bookmarks organized and packed (thanks Mom for all the help!)

Me at a previous convention

Me at a previous convention

Promotional giveaways; pencils, suckers, business cards, temporary tattoos, GOT FROG? Buttons; attached to appropriate info cards and packed

Extra giveaways packed

Index cards and pens for filling out giveaway entries bought and packed

Containers for giveaways selected, packed


Artwork for price list and enter to win drawing (completed by Hubby, and way awesome by the way) framed and packed

Poster Ad framed and packed (again thanks to the Husband for helping me get this done without breaking glass or my fingers)

Giveaway/drawing box completed, decorated and packed

Snacks for at table, water bottles, drink mixes, breakfast-y items for morning, bought, packed (because convention food isn’t always good and is generally expensive. I always hope to be pleasantly surprised.)

Laundry/Packing clothing and personal effects

Housesitter/Cat Sitter/Mail picker upper; lined up

Cleaning the house (or at least the downstairs) before going on the trip

As you can see, I’m actually in pretty awesome shape at the moment. And yet, I’m still fussing about things that aren’t done. My husband is shaking his head at me, because we still have gobs of time to get it all done, and I’m fussing that we’re going to run out of time. He’s trying hard to get things done closer to my schedule, and I’m trying hard not to ask why it’s not done already. Ah, the joys of compromise in marriage!

We’re gonna have a blast. I’m looking forward to this so much. And I can’t wait to share it with him.


Progress Report January

On this, the third full week of January…where am I at on these goals for 2015?

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

  • Finish THE BUNYAN BARTER. Well, I am writing like a maniac and closing in on the end, but not done yet…good thing I’ve still got a week to go!
  • Edit SHADES OF GRAY. Not on my radar yet until after January. Have been discussing with Hubby the need for cover art, edits, and have been talking to another author about interior formatting. More as I figure this out.
  • Finish GIRL VERSUS DEMON: DEMON DEADLY SINS. Not on my radar yet until after January.
  • Research THE PERRAULT VOW. Not on my radar yet until after January.
  • SEKRIT PLAN #1. Working on it.
  • Blog at least once a week. This counts…so I’m still on it!
  • Work out on a regular basis. Hauling books into the house, taking inventory for 2015, reorganizing everything for upcoming appearances, and repacking the car, and then unloading and reloading for my first event of the year counts, doesn’t it?
  • Bathroom remodel. We are actually going this weekend to look at faucet fixtures or a light/vent fan combo. We’ll see what we see and see what prices we can find. Is it sad that date night is dinner and Home Depot?
  • Write at least two new short stories. Too many ideas popping up while on deadline for something else…needs to stay off my radar for me until after January.
  • Plant some roses. Where are my gardening gurus? I’d like pink or red flowers, possibly sweetheart roses. I’ve had roses in containers before, so I get that these aren’t the easiest, but what would you recommend for fairly low (relatively speaking) maintenance in a small yard?
  • SEKRIT PLAN #2. Will have to happen if #1 happens. And yes, this is another remodeling project in the house. We have the paint. That’s as far as we’ve gotten.
  • SEKRIT PUBLISHING NEWS AND THE WORK BEHIND IT. Will have to keep you updated as I can; this is not yet in stone, and is still in flux, but the work it will take to do this will be in the to do list.

So, it doesn’t seem to look like a lot of progress yet, but progress is being made. Once I get through January, you might see a bit more accomplished.

Until then, keep your hands and arms back, and provide the writer on deadline with a continuous IV of coffee!

Upcoming Events

I mentioned something to the Husband the other day that I felt like I wasn’t scheduling that much for this year for appearances and events.

He asked me what I was talking about.

I listed off the four events I’d absolutely committed to and the three local events I was planning to attend if I could. That’s seven appearances. That’s not a small amount of places to be.

Last year, I did eleven. Which is why it seems like it’s light this year. It’s really not. I have to remind myself of that. And, of course, I’m still in flux for appearances at the end of the year, and some of that will depend on the Sekrit Planz that are on my 2015 goals list; they could conceivably turn schedules upside down at that point. It’s making me nuts that I can’t commit to things just yet, but hey, that’s the way my life is these days.

The events I’m committed to are as follows;

BookFest at IceFest                        January 17, 2015 10 am-4 pm      Hamilton, Ohio (Ryan’s Tavern)

Wizard World Cleveland               February 20-22, 2015                     Cleveland, Ohio (Convention Center)

Cleveland Concoction                    March 13-15, 2015                           Cleveland, Ohio (Sheraton at Airport)

Origins Game Fair                            June 3-7, 2015                                Columbus, Ohio (Convention Center)

More to come as things start to firm up for the year; if I’ve done this right, I think I might have been able to schedule events such that I’ll have no events during The Boy’s spring soccer/track season.

Life’s going well, but busy, as my nose is totally to the grindstone working on THE BUNYAN BARTER. Not a lot of news to report, other than putting up schedule and seeing what’s going on.


Goals for 2015


Yeah, I’ve gone to WAY too many soccer games….or, as Husband and The Boy would put it…not enough.

My point is that this post isn’t about New Year’s resolutions, but rather goals for 2015.

My thought is that if I set myself twelve goals for 2015, enough that MAYBE I could complete one each month, that it would be a really nice way to see what progress I’ve made this year. However, as some of these will take more than a single month to finish…I’d like to set them, and then keep myself honest by posting here on progress throughout the year…

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

  • Finish THE BUNYAN BARTER. This one will come up fairly quick, as the manuscript is due at the end of January to the publisher. This is my biggest priority at the moment, so if I turn down plans with someone…you know why!
  • Edit SHADES OF GRAY. Yeah, that werewolf novel I’ve been kicking around for a long time. I’ve just about decided to self-publish it, having put out some feelers about editing and cover art and etc., but it needs a heavy duty deep line edit before I do it. I’ve noticed some inconsistencies I’d want to fix before putting it out there.
  • Finish GIRL VERSUS DEMON: DEMON DEADLY SINS. It’s a third plus of the way done. Once I get contracted deadlines met, this needs to come off the back burner and get out there. I do plan to query with this one; I have a great publisher, but I do not have an agent as of yet, and I’d like to see what I can do with this one.
  • Research THE PERRAULT VOW. The final (!) book in The Grimm Legacy series needs some research foundation under it, and a loose outline finished so I’ll be ready to start writing it in the fall.
  • SEKRIT PLAN #1. I’ll tell you more when this gets started. So to speak.
  • Blog at least once a week. This will be my week one blog…so I’m keeping up already!
  • Work out on a regular basis. I don’t want to make weight loss a plan, because I don’t want this just to be about losing weight, although I’m a-okay with dropping a few pounds. I want getting healthy to be the plan, so I’m good with the idea of some kind of exercise two to three times a week.
  • Bathroom remodel. Husband and I have been stockpiling supplies to remodel our upstairs bathroom. So far, we have linoleum and laminate flooring, a vanity and vanity top, and a mirror/medicine cabinet. We’ll likely be able to reuse the existing toilet, so all we need is to save up the money for a new tub and shower surround, the materials for behind it, a new light/fan, and all the remaining hardware and supplies. Once we have the rest bought, we’ll be able to determine how much time it’ll take to do the work, which we’ll try to do a lot of ourselves.
  • Write at least two new short stories. With new characters and different worlds. I wrote two short stories in 2014; one an epic fantasy work for hire project (more on that later), and a story set in outer space. It’s my understanding that BOTH of them will be released in anthologies in 2015; time to start work on two more.
  • Plant some roses. I’ve wanted some rosebushes in my flowerbeds for YEARS. Grandma King used to have rosebushes, and I always loved them. I’ve had some luck with a rosebush in a big container on a patio in the past. Now that Husband has yanked out the ornamental grasses that I HATED in my flowerbeds, I can start thinking about putting rosebushes in. Not a ton. Thinking maybe one this year, and see how it does. Unless I get talked/tempted into more, that is.
  • SEKRIT PLAN #2. Will have to happen if #1 happens.
  • SEKRIT PUBLISHING NEWS AND THE WORK BEHIND IT. Will have to keep you updated as I can; this is not yet in stone, and is still in flux, but the work it will take to do this will be in the to do list.