MegaCon and B&N Book Signing
On March 1 I joined three other authors for a book-signing at the Ocala Barnes & Noble. I spent the following weekend at the Aisling Press table at MegaCon. This coming Saturday I'll be on a panel at the Critique Retreat at the Homosassa Public Library.
Through it all, I've been having a blast....
Note: Some of the costumes shown in this entry are rated PG or higher.
Above: The Orange County Convention Center, just outside Orlando.
The Aisling Press dealer table. Left to right: Nicky Beuch (Aisling's submissions editor), Tracy A. Akers (among other awards, her novels The Fire and the Light and The Search for the Unnamed One received the bronze and gold medals in the Florida Book Awards, young adult fiction division, respectively), and me. Also at our table were Bo Savino, whose novel Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery was 1st Runner-up (Children/Young Adult) in the 2007 All Books Review Editor’s Choice Awards; and K.L. Nappier, whose book Full Wolf Moon was a New Century Writers Awards Finalist in 2003, took 2nd Place in the Kay Snow Writing Awards in 2004, took 3rd Place in the Draco Awards (horror division) in 2004, and was re-released by Aisling in January.
Written Friday night, March 7
Debussy's Estampes plays on my computer inside, while rain sheets intermittently outside. I can look out my Red Roof Inn window and see the curved towers of the Orange County Convention Center. My gear is stashed in the dealer room, so in the morning I can sling a few items over my shoulders and walk to the convention.
Staying here instead of at the con hotel seems to be one of my better decisions. The con hotel is actually farther away and accessible by shuttle. For about $50 less per night I have a king-sized bed, a terrific work desk, free WiFi, a fridge and microwave, and a reasonably-priced supermarket across the street. Dinner was supermarket takeout. I've gotten my first taste of Jamaica's Dragon Stout beer, which is quite good, and which accompanied a chicken salad acquired for a fraction of the price the convention center charges for food.
Mapquest's driving route left a bit to be desired, since it advised me to take a highway entrance that was Sunpass only. That left me twisting and turning a bit, ending up on the Orange Blossom Trail, and finding a way to get on the same highway without requiring a Sunpass. That short stretch, which took me past an electrical generating station, was paved with what must have been at least a dozen speed bumps and left me on a completely different road. Fortunately I had a map with me and figured out how to get where I wanted to go.
Add in a formidable wind buffeting the car. This part of Florida has been under a tornado watch.
This, I told myself, was why I left home a bit after 8 AM so that I could get to the dealer room by 1 PM. I arrived at the con check-in at around 11:30. I'd spent some time in the parking lot arranging my two-wheelie, which I pulled in addition to my new, wheeled suitcase.
I could tell I was a bit frazzled when I stepped into the elevator that went from the lower to the upper level and didn't realize "1" was the floor I was already on. The button lit up when I pushed it, but I was thoroughly puzzled when it darkened on being released. I turned to the person next to me and offered, "I'm asking it politely."
Someone else pressed "2." Heaven knows what they thought I must have been on.
Eventually I got to the dealer room with help from K.L. Nappier.
MegaCon is the southeast’s largest comic book, science fiction/fantasy, anime, gaming, toys, and multi-media event, so finding one's way around is a challenge. I thought it especially cool that most of the artists in the dealer room were working as they staffed their tables, creating drawings on the spot. One table was spread with brown paper so that visitors could doodle.
Written today, March 11
The one downside to the Red Roof Inn was that it sounded like Armageddon every time somebody flushed the toilet. And although I had earplugs that could solve that problem for me, I also had 10 AM show-up times at the dealer table and didn't want to miss my wake-up alarm.
Conventions are not geared for sleep anyway. Fortunately, I've since caught up.
On sleep, that is. I still need to unpack.
I had a fun time hanging out with Aisling staff and fellow authors in what felt like a girls' weekend out. MegaCon is not geared toward readers, and I knew that in advance. "I don't read" was a repeated refrain among attendees, though we met attendees who do read, and who did buy books. Instead, this convention provided an excellent venue for networking and exposure. It gave us a chance to touch base with other convention planners and publicity people and it gave them a chance to see us in action.
And we were friendly people. Not, as someone put it, authors sitting around with their arms folded and a steely "Ask me about my book" stare. We all engaged convention-goers, directing them to the different brochures at our table and handing out discount coupons. We also laughed a lot.
I walked from the Red Roof Inn to the convention center on Saturday, saving myself the $6 parking fee. On Sunday I drove, so that I could load up the car for the drive home. I pulled into the lot at around 8:30 AM, early enough to get a spot near the entrance, and found myself face to beak with a female cattle egret in breeding coloration.
I must have been no more than ten feet from it. That shadow to the right of the bird is mine. After I told people what I'd seen in the parking lot, I had to explain that I really had seen an actual bird. Given the type of convention MegaCon is, it could just as well have been a human being in costume.
I also learned that people thought my new luggage came this way from the manufacturer.
I'd bought it mainly to transport books when I fly, though it came in handy here as well. It occurred to me that nondescript, plain black luggage would be difficult to pick out of a baggage carousel. I doodled on it with my silver Sharpie after bringing it home from the store.
Back in my room, I took advantage of quick uploading with Red Roof Inn's free WiFi. As I left my own postcards on the freebie tables, I realized how convention freebie table cards are an art form in themselves.
Most of the cards advertise events that come and go, so it's a transient art form.
The full MegaCon photoset is here.
The full Convention Cards photoset is here.
Barnes & Noble
First, I want to say Thank You to Sunshine Wolf for coming to my book-signing! SW, it was great to finally meet you and the supremely adorable Aniah as well! Thanks, too, for buying a copy of Covenant.
I was one of four authors at B&N. The other three were Tricia Bennett, shown here in the foreground (Polly Brown, Creation Books, 2007); Ernest Jernigan (coauthor with Kevin McCarthy, Ocala, Florida, Arcadia Publishing, 2001); and Joyce Romanski (Redfield Alma Mater: No More Teachers' Dirty Looks, Claddagh Ltd., 2007.) Thanks to Donya Singletary, B&N Sales Lead, for organizing the event! The full photoset is here.
On March 3 I met with Loretta Rogers, Belea Keeney, and Joyce Elson Moore to go over the details of the Critique Retreat we'll hold at the Homosassa Public Library on March 15.
Clockwise from upper left: me, Joyce, Belea, and Loretta. We're in the library's cafe section, though we hammered out the details in one of the study rooms. Among us we represent a gaggle o' genres: creative nonfiction, erotica, fantasy, historical, horror, inspirational, gay romance, literary fiction, mystery, regional nonfiction, romance, science fiction, suspense, western, and women's fiction.
This event will be the latest in a series the Citrus County Library System is holding, and it will be the fourth library event I've participated in. We'll begin by speaking on different aspects of craft, then taking questions, and then doing one-on-one critiques of up to five pages, speed-dating style. This event takes its cue from a similar one held at the Clearwater Public Library. I wasn't at that one, but Loretta and Joyce were. In addition to being authors, we have all been critique partners.
Once B&N moves to its new and larger space in August, we might do a similar workshop there. Customers have asked for that kind of event, but the old space doesn't have the room for it.
I've just had an article accepted to Poets' Forum Magazine, whose Spring 2008 issue will also feature one of my photos on the cover. Poetry acceptances have also come from Space and Time and from We'Moon.
Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders, Buecher.ch, Buy.com, DEAstore, libreriauniversitaria.it, Libri.de, Loot.co.za, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.