Looking Back on 2017

Despite the political turmoil of 2017, it was actually a really great year for me. Even though I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed at work since I’m basically defining the new role I’m in, I’ve been able to make up for it in writing, cosplay, and trips.

In January I went to my first out of state Con in Alabama, where I met some amazing new cosplay friends. This was also when we debuted out first CMV and created Black Knight Productions Cosplay. I met even more great new friends at SeishunCon in February, and in April I got to debut a new cosplay: Luka Macken from Black Butler.

At the beginning of May, I was able to announce my first novella publication (that wasn’t self-published) with Radiant Crown Publishing. This was the first time I was able to successfully negotiate a contract that wasn’t for a short story (after having to get an attorney involved on a previous one – that’s a whole other story.) It was so refreshing to have a contract be offered that was so pro-author, and it’s been wonderful working with Olivia and her team so far. I’m looking forward to The She-Wolf Of Kanta coming out on April 17th!!

MomoCon came storming along in May, and Luka was welcomed by a much bigger Con. Plus we got to do our first panel of the year on That Butler, the Musical. Promotion for my novella kept rolling along and by this point I was doing interviews for it.

In June I got the chance to visit Mexico, Honduras, and Belize on a cruise. It was a blast! I had such a wonderful time, despite a few complaints about the cruise liner. As soon as we got back, we went to see Book of the Atlantic in theaters, and had that whole fiasco where the film reel was lost. 🙄 Long story short, once we told Funimation about it, they got a new showing put up for us. It was a few months later, but it was wonderful to see in theaters!

By the end of June there was a cover reveal and a giveaway for SWoK (making it all the more real!) and two beautiful maps for SWoK got released as well. By the time DragonCon rolled around, I had both Scarecrow and Pajama William T. Spears being debuted on top of us doing two panels. We did an encore of That Butler, The Musical and also did Black Butler: Upstairs, Downstairs.

r the DragonCon hype died down, I created a unique Halloween costume I called the Black-Feathered Queen (that I never got the chance to wear 😢). I also finalized Seto Kaiba (sans coat) for AWA. He went over really well! Kelley and I did our first professional photoshoot with Fairyluna Photography and it was a wonderful experience.

Right before Thanksgiving I negotiated the second contract for the year: one for my debut novel Stolen which is scheduled to release from Parliament House Press in 2018. I’m super thrilled to be working with them and have learned quite a bit about marketing from them already. Like I said before, 2018 is going to be BIG.

Finally in December we got to go to Disney World again, which we always love regardless of how often we visit. Even though it was cold and we had some trouble at the hotel we stayed at, it’s Disney, so we got compensated. They even thanked us for pointing out flaws when we checked out. I also helped organize a family photoshoot with Fairyluna again, which only made us want to schedule more down the road.

All in all, I’m grateful for the new friends, the new experiences, and the new knowledge I found in 2017. If 2018 is even half as good as this year was (again, an exception for the political climate), I’llbe happy. I wish y’all the very best for 2018, and who knows, maybe our paths may cross – if not at a convention, then maybe at least in book form. 😉

To my PitchWars Mentors…

So far this has been a year of firsts for me. I went to Texas for the first time back in May to visit my Aunt. I went down to visit Savannah for the first time a few weeks back, and just last week I went to my first concert.


Now I can add submitting to PitchWars to that list as well!

Yesterday I took the plunge and submitted Beyond the Treehouse to a few of my mentor picks. (The submissions are open through August 6th if you’re planning on doing the same!) Part of the process is creating a relationship with your mentor hopefuls, so here’s a little about me. (You can read more over here.)

Back in 2010 I decided to give NaNoWriMo a chance and it renewed my love of writing. Before then I was a very active fanfiction writer, but that was the first time I had ever written something so long and entirely original. Since then I’ve gotten a number of short stories published and worked on several books. I’ve bounced around various writing forums like Absolute Write and Scribophile, but found it difficult to stay active in them while keeping up with my writing and holding down a full time programming job. I try to do at least one NaNo event each year, but sometimes squeeze in two or three. Last summer I went to the World Horror Convention in Atlanta and got so inspired. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo that summer and churned out four horror short stories, one of which got accepted to a market that qualified me for the Horror Writers’ Association membership.

Beyond the Treehouse is a book that’s near to my heart. I’ve been working on it for two years. I had to scrap it completely at one point and rewrote it. I cut out characters, added new ones, and carefully pieced it all together. It’s YA Fantasy, but it definitely dabbles in the weird at times, and I have a hard time keeping my love of horror from seeping in along the edges.

Outside of writing, I’ve really gotten into cosplay over the past year. A few months back our Black Butler squad even got an award at the AWA Summer Blockbuster Event!

AWA_Summer2016When I get into fandom, I tend to dive deep. Next month me and two of my cosplayer friends will be delivering two panels on Black Butler at DragonCon, and two more panels at AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta). I’m working on a vary large prop at home in preparation for it (Deathscythe, anyone?) and we’re even planning a trip to Japan next year to see the animated movie in theaters.

In short, it’s been a hell of a year, and my blog hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves at times. My writing is still going strong though, and isn’t that the important part?

Yellow is the Color of Spring

I don’t know about you, but it felt like spring took forever to get here. Then last week, the final week of winter, suddenly our temperatures were so warm! I went to my car after work one day to find it was 90 (32 ºC) degrees inside. Of course with the warm temperatures came the sea of pollen. 


They say that if you don’t have allergies when you first come to Georgia, you’ll probably have them in 2-3 years. It’s not surprising either when you find out how bad pollen season is. (Pollen Season Starting Early This Year) It’s even worse if you have allergies and asthma like I do. You have to do regular inventories to make sure you’ve got the tools you need on hand and increase your medication to stay healthy. Otherwise you end up with regular sinus infections that can turn much worse.

Despite that though, I do love springtime. I wanted to share this pic of one of our Redbuds in the yard. If you follow me on Instagram then you already know the story, but I wanted to share it here too.
If memory serves me right, we got our two Redbud trees the year after we moved into our house, so that would be in 2010. My younger sister offered to pick up a couple of trees from City Hall because they were being given away for free on Arbor Day. She got a tree for herself too, but a neighbor mowed over it thinking it was a weed. (How do you even do that?)

The first few years we had them, I don’t recall seeing any real flowers on them. There were maybe a handful before the leaves came in, then they were gone before you could even notice them. This year they’re simply beautiful.

For lovely shots like this I’ll gladly deal with all that pollen!

Thoughts on Georgia Snowpocalypse 2014

I’ve lived in Georgia just about all my life, and I’ve been commuting to Atlanta since I started college back in 2001. That said, I don’t think anybody really knew just how bad things were going to get when Snow Storm 2014 struck on Tuesday.


I woke up around 4:00 that morning to check the weather so I could decide whether or not I should take the hour long commute in to work that day. After seeing that my county was going to be heavy hit (relatively speaking of course, to most places north of us, 2-3″ of snow is nothing), I told my boss that I wanted to work from home because I was concerned about getting home after work as the snow came in. I was very lucky that I could make this decision and that my boss supported it. Little did I know at the time that my co-workers really should have been doing the same thing.

I-75 Traffic Jam due to Ice – Warning: Graphic view of a multi-car accident.

My social media feed was flooded with friends who were fighting the traffic despite the odds. One friend not only had to navigate around abandoned vehicles in the middle of the road, but also had to get out and push his car through ice patches. Yesterday the Georgia National Guard and probably every police officer and firefighter available was out on the streets passing out food, water, and other supplies to motorists who had been stranded for going on 24 hours at that point. Two days after the dust has settled and temperatures have finally started to make it out of freezing, the interstates are still peppered with abandoned cars on either side and some people are only now able to get home. For many it was a nightmare that still hasn’t completely cleared.


Amid all the finger pointing and declarations of innocence among the politicians involved, I’ve found some very insightful articles that have tried to pinpoint how we got to this point to begin with.

How 2 Inches of Snow Created a Traffic Nightmare in Atlanta

The Day We Lost Atlanta: How 2 lousy inches of snow paralyzed a metro area of 6 million

For me, I felt lucky to not be in that mess, to have very narrowly avoided what was sure to be an all night commute home on treacherous roads. Somehow it didn’t help me much though. As the road outside of our home iced over and we no longer heard a single car pass by our house, it seemed to be the perfect setup to get some writing in. I wanted to write and knew that I ought to be taking advantage of the situation. Looking at the weather report, it would likely be a few snow days, but for some reason I just couldn’t.

It’s taken me days to realize that I felt guilty. As my co-workers and friends spoke about all the trouble and difficulties they had dealt with over the days after the snow and ice hit, I felt bad that I had somehow avoided the same fate. There wasn’t anything I could do of course, and learning to embrace that realization has made me feel better. That and seeing how others, who were able to help where I couldn’t, banded together.

The Silver Lining of Atlanta’s Snowpocalypse 2014

This event won’t be forgotten. From kids who had to spend the night on freezing school buses, to children who had to bundle up in school gyms without heat, and to commuters who had 12+ hour long commutes home, you can bet that there will be push back. If there was ever a time to make an argument for reliable public transit in the city (that doesn’t rely on surface streets), this would be it. I just hope it isn’t too little too late.

Halloween Parties and Suspicious Phantoms

I love October mostly because I love Halloween, and this year was no exception. Despite our trip earlier in the month, we still had our annual Halloween party, complete with a visit from the police. No, it wasn’t because of loud music or angering the neighbors or anything so obvious.

We live in an unfinished neighborhood, a subdivision with about half the homes it should. We have a tiny driveway which can quickly fill up come party time, so we recommend folks park along the street in one of the empty cul-de-sacs. We have maybe three or four of these on our street.

PhantomMaskI guess when one of our neighbors saw the Phantom of the Opera park in one of them, and hop out bearing a cooler, they freaked out and called the police. The reasoning the officer gave us was that sometimes firetrucks have to use cul-de-sacs to turn around in, so be careful when you park there. I have to say that I’m pleased we live in a neighborhood where people feel comfortable calling the police on *any* suspicion, but it was the first time we had a police visit in the five years we’ve had the parties.

Of course it probably didn’t help that we were all drinking at the time. Just imagine how my tipsy zombie friend reacted when he answered the door.

Police: *knock-knock-knock*
Zombie: *knock-knock-knock*
Police: This is the ___Police.
Zombie: Do you have cookies? *Opens the door slowly to a smiling officer*

Needless to say my zombie friend figured it was a party guest messing with him. We have an awesome police force out here, so they were probably just amused as we were. When I told him that we hadn’t had a problem in the 5 years we’ve been throwing these things, he said, “Then we don’t have a problem either.”

Sounds good to me!