BookCon and Vending as an Author

BookCon was an incredible experience.

When I say that, I don’t mean just the convention. It’s a huge event and of all the festivals and conventions I’ve attended, I felt the most at-home there as a reader than I ever have before. There were reading nooks, book giveaways, inflatable bean bags, and of course, plenty of Starbucks to be found. But what made BookCon incredible for me wasn’t just the event, it was the people.

You see, we had a group of determined indie authors get together and decide that yes, we were going to pitch in to get a booth at BookCon. And yes, we were also going to find a way to get to New York City along with a bunch of books. You know, without going broke. So we did just that. It was really a tough decision, and we all had to budget and plan and coordinate. We had to figure out what we could bring, who could bring it, where we would stay. We had flight delays, panic attacks (have you seen the traffic in New York??), parking woes, and somehow found a way for seven women to share a single bathroom.

I think when most people see an author at a convention, they’re super excited, but they don’t always understand the work that goes on behind the scenes to get there. Writing a book is a truly difficult process. Stolen was a work of love that started back in 2013, but some authors work on a book for even longer.

At these events, I have to get in front of strangers and talk to them about the books available at the booth. Most seem interested, and that lifts me every time. Others give you a polite shake of the head, say “no thanks”, and move on. Some people might internalize that kind of reaction, but you have to learn to smile and nod, understanding that every reader has different tastes.

It’s still tough though. That’s your book baby that’s been incubating for eight years. It’s a piece of yourself in physical form, a world you’ve glued together, characters crafted out of thin air, and scenes that would possibly blow people’s minds… if they gave it a chance.

We live in strange times, where writing a book alone usually isn’t enough. You have to work to convince people that it’s good, then you have to continue writing. Wash and repeat. I personally love doing this. I love talking with fans about my work and seeing them light up when I describe the premise of Stolen. That’s the response that keeps me going. That excitement is what pushes me to keep grappling with manuscripts, whether it’s in the writing, editing, or proofing stage. That glimmer of curiosity is what motivates me when I can’t sleep and watch dawn come through the curtains of a New Jersey Airbnb on the last day of BookCon.

BookCon was an incredible experience, and I hope you’ll watch the video I’ve put together that shows what it was like. At the end, I list out all the amazing booth members and booth helpers we had, but I wanted to list them again because they were amazing. Go check out their work!

Here it is, our final day of BookCon!

Writing Goals for 2019

Every year I write out a list of the stories I’m currently working on, or stories that I’m planning to work on. It’s kind of become my New Year’s tradition to post up what I call my WIP To-Do list.

So here we go!

2019 WIP To-Do List!

Look at all those novels!

Wait, where are the short stories?

So you might notice a change from the lists I made in Jan 2016 and Jan 2017. I don’t have a section for short stories on this list. That’s because I really am just no longer focusing on them as much as I used to. I’m still writing them on occasion and granting access to my Moonlight Wanderers Facebook Group members, or to my mailing list subscribers, but I’ve really pulled back on how many short stories I work on these days. I may submit to a few anthologies on occasion (I have one pending right now actually), but I’m just not going to put a bunch of my time into that.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I’m really trying to get my novels off the ground. I want my stories to be front and center more often. Usually in anthologies, my work is appreciated, but doesn’t go far enough out there to get a mention in reviews, which can be tough. In my longer pieces though, readers get more engaged and I get far more comments on my work (both good and bad haha) which I appreciate.

Second of all, I just don’t have the time anymore. I used to browse prompts on Duotrope to see what could spark my interest and get the creativity flowing, but these days I have so many ideas that I’m usually juggling multiple books at once in various stages of publication. Novels and novellas take time to write, to plan, to flesh out. The world-building is far more intense than what is typically seen in a short story, so my energy is stretched pretty thin.

Finally, there’s the payment. It’s a dream goal to one day have a story picked up by a professional short story market, but in my now nine years of writing professionally, it just hasn’t happened. I’m shifting my focus to books because I feel like I can reach an equal level of happiness through that instead of writing a new story regularly to try and grab the interest of flooded professional short story markets.

I see my books as building a structure. I’m not making much right now with it, but eventually I want to. I want my books to be loved, my characters to be cared about, and for readers to fall into my worlds. I just don’t have that kind of flexibility with short stories. So now I’m focusing all my energy on novels.

Are those new books I see?

You’ll see all three books of the Stolen series up there: Stolen (coming out Jan 22!), Broken (my current WIP), and Chosen (my next WIP lol).

One Way Down (book 1 of the Colton Fen series) is probably the oldest manuscript on this list and will soon be getting quite a facelift. Smoke and Witchcraft, the sequel, will also likely be getting a huge edit either this year or next.

The Seeking is finished, I’m just waiting for some time to breathe before I submit it around lol.

Then we start getting down into my planned books, and I don’t think I’ve posted about these before. Please note that these titles are just placeholders. It takes me ages to figure out a good title haha.

Here’s a quick run-down:

  • The Two Sorceresses – A Snow White retelling that I’m keeping pretty close to the chest. Once I’m done with the Stolen series and the Colton Fen series, this is what I’m planning to tackle next.
  • Cruise Ship – A YA Horror on a cruise ship? Oh yes. And it’s the slipstream kind, so you know it’ll be fun.
  • Southern Gothic – An homage to one of my favorite comic books with a nice horror twist. This one will have many types of monsters too.
  • Mercy’s Revenge – The much asked for sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta! I’ve had so many people want this book that I’ve lost track. I don’t know if I’ll get to this novella this year, but if not it’s definitely planned for next year.

So there you have it – my WIP to-do list for 2019! Yes, there is a lot to do, but I feel really good about this year. I’m also thrilled to share my WIP plans too, though if you follow me on Twitter you kind of got a peek at these back in December.

Happy 2019, everybody! And please let me know if you also do WIP To-Do lists! I find they’re really motivating to do each year and really help me to plan out my beats throughout the year during the writing/editing/publishing process. Cause you know it’s easy to forget about the road when you’re on the path.

Too Close to Home

Each October, horror authors converge on a site to share stories about one of the best holidays of the year: Halloween. We talk about spooky stories, some of them true, some of them not. We share information about our books, and maybe even do a giveaway.

Today I talk about growing up in a haunted town and in a haunted house. This post was more difficult to share than I expected it to be. I’ve been flighty about even admitting this to myself for a very long time, so getting it put up online is a big step.

Drop by and enjoy! Maybe even leave a comment. Halloween Haunts: Too Close to Home

After all, these only come once a year…

The Benefits of Being VIP

I just wanted to take a moment and talk about some of the benefits of hopping onto the mailing list for this site. I know on WordPress especially, I’m bad about just hitting the Follow button and not thinking about it, but that can really limit you on what access you have and what you’re missing out on! So here’s a quick primer on some ways you can keep up to date and get early access to my content.

What You Get

  • Early Cover Reveals. I’m actually drafting one of these right now. And let me tell you, you won’t want to miss this gorgeous cover!
  • Early access to short fiction. I just released a never before published YA Dark Fantasy piece at the end of July exclusively for my VIP groups (for now). And knowing how slow I am, it’s going to be a while before it’s available on my blog haha.
  • Input on all the bookish decisions. For the Facebook group, you can vote on what short story is coming next, have a say on what kind of book swag is coming, and even get to share in any milestones along the way!

Ways To Follow

  • Join the Mailing List
    • You should see a link to it on the menu for this page! Just drop your email address in, and boom, you get the mailing list delivered right to your inbox. If you just want to be kept up to date on everything, organized in a concise fashion, this is the best option.
  • Join the Moonlight Wanderers
    • If Facebook is more your style and you would rather not have more emails in your inbox (I hear you!), then join the Moonlight Wanderers group on Facebook! This team of amazing fans get to experience the journey as I go, and possibly share a few memes along the way.

So why not try one out? If you don’t like it, you can always unsubscribe or leave the group. I just like to make sure my fans don’t miss out on exclusive content!

Library Love!

It sure does feel like the last Friday of the month has rolled around again. I don’t know about you but July flew by. So I guess it’s time for a little slice of optimism served on a neat digital plate. I’m very happy to be part of the “We Are The World Blogfest” once again – cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Now if you’re at all connected to the book world, you might have heard about an article that was getting a lot of attention earlier this week. Forbes released an opinion piece from an Economics department chair regarding the value of libraries. His verdict? That they should be replaced with Amazon instead.

If you love your libraries as much as I do, you can imagine the type of backlash that comment received. Forbes pulled the article, citing pretty much that the author of the opinion piece was misinformed, like apologizing for a burned piece of toast and quickly removing it from the kitchen table. Kudos to them for acting quickly and not just racking up the hits that this article would surely have continued to receive.

The part that really made me want to share this story this Friday with all of you though was the reaction on Twitter. That was where the majority of the backlash came from, and people came out of the woodwork to defend their libraries and to reconnect with their love of these sacred public spaces.

 

If you want to see more of these tweets and responses, check out this fantastic collection! I hope this helps you not only appreciate the libraries that you have, but that there are still a whole bunch of people who will also leap to defend them. Happy Friday, everybody!