Imaginarium Convention 2016

Imaginarium Convention in Louisville has been my favorite event of the year since it began three years ago, and every year it gets better! It’s the best-run, most organized, yet most relaxed, friendly, and welcoming writer’s convention I’ve ever attended, and on top of that, it’s fun and accessible to not-just-writers, too, since it offers gaming, a film festival, live entertainment, and a free vendor hall in addition to its excellent array of panels and workshops on everything from poetry to documentary film writing to speculative fiction to music. I literally can’t say enough good things about Imaginarium. It’s not just the folks who run it (who are awesome), but the whole atmosphere that makes it magic. Everyone involved, from the staff to the panelists to the attendees, is generous with their time, knowledge, and attentiveness. Truly a special thing in today’s world.

Marian Allen's award

Marian Allen, with Kerosene Kerry’s award

This year was also special because Per Bastet Publishing, which I am now marketing director for and which is one of the event’s sponsors, came away with two awards! One went to Marian Allen (who happens to be my mother) for doing a fabulous job promoting the event. The second, the Sizemore Award for small press excellence, went to the house.

T. Harris with Sizemore Award

T. Lee Harris with Per Bastet’s Sizemore Award!

Coming away from this year’s Imaginarium, I have so many happy takeaways. There’s the momentum of inspiration and ideas from all the great discussions and conversations. There’s the hilarity of cutting up with other writers (especially when we’re supposed to be acting all professional). There’s the happiness of catching up with people I haven’t seen since last year and the happiness of meeting new people I look forward to catching up with next time. There’s the excitement of the great pitches the press got from authors who want to work with us. And great-sounding projects authors might send my way for editing (shout out to Jack Wallen, the best client evarrrrr! for all the recommendations!) I keep asking if we can have more than one of these things a year, but for some reason the staff who work their butts off to make the weekend run smoothly for the rest of us keep looking at me like I’ve grown wings out of my ears when I say it…… 😉

Per Bastet with Jason Sizemore

Per Bastet with Jason Sizemore, award namesake and super-nice guy! Third day of the convention = complete exhaustion, but we’re happy on the inside, I assure you!

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Imaginarium 2015

Last weekend, I attended Louisville’s second annual Imaginarium Convention for creative writers (and readers). I went last year, too, and have had a blast both times. Great programming, great networking, and great company. Plus, it’s held in the same hotel where the long-gone Rivercon Science Fiction Convention used to be held, which means it brings back great memories for me of attending my very first convention with my mom, 23 years ago. I’ve decided that I need a reversible hat to wear next year, with editor on one side and writer on the other, so people will know from which point of view I’m speaking.

This year, I was on 5 panels: one about the role of an editor; one about the writer-editor relationship (and how the editor is, in fact, your friend, even if they put enough red on your manuscript that it would never make it past Hollywood censorship); one about choosing and pulling off either a lone hero tale or a heroic group story (which, ironically, had neither a lone hero for a speaker nor a heroic group of speakers, but yet a third narrative choice: a dynamic duo of speakers); a panel about steampunk (which was lots of fun, and in which we discussed various other ‘punks, too, such as deiselpunk, clockpunk, etc.); and a panel about plotting, and how different writers do it (or don’t). So now you know the kinds of things writers sit around and talk about in secret.

I also attended a couple of panels as an audience member – one about balancing a day job and a writing schedule (because it ain’t easy getting back into a routine after four years away from creative writing), one about writing non-human characters (because the sequel to Erica Flynn includes some), and one about writing the zombie apocalypse (because two of my editing clients do). There were a bunch more I *wanted* to attend, but they were at the same times as the panels I was speaking on. These included, but weren’t limited to, panels on historical writing, unconventional fantasy, and comic books. As you can see, there’s a pretty good variety of topics at Imaginarium, which is one of the reasons I love it! Plus, they had a dragon this year. I mean, how can I not love it?

If I could change one thing about Imaginarium, it would be to add a tea/coffee room for the convention, so there would be a hangout spot to just shoot the shit with other writers. Because writers, myself included, love nothing better than to shoot the shit over caffeinated beverages!

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Mom, the dragon, and me

The Pros of Cons

Last weekend, I attended the first annual Imaginarium Louisville – a convention for writers, readers, and cover artists.  This was easily the best-organized, friendliest, and best-programmed convention I’ve attended in the last 5 years or more.  And it wasn’t just the folks running the event who made it awesome.  I met some intensely creative, fun, and interesting people last weekend that I look forward to seeing at next year’s Imaginarium (if not at another event in the meantime!)  One of the things I’ve always appreciated about being around other writers is that 99% of all writers I’ve met are generous with advice, interested in everything, and respectful of others’ styles and ideas.

The only down side is, now I’m so fired up about writing AND I HAVE NO TIME TO DO IT!!!!!  School, much as I enjoy it, and work (lucky as I am to have two part-time jobs that I love) and all things related to school and work take up pretty much all of my time…and what little I have left is used on maintaining my sanity and doing things like, you know, sleeping, eating, and taking showers on a daily basis.  However, winter break will be here before I know it…  If I am never NOT insanely busy (and I hate being busy, so this is fairly likely), here are the things I want to work on:

1. The second edition of The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn, which will be released through Per Bastet Publications as soon as I finish proofreading it and writing the new “director’s cut” scene in the final 1/3 of the book.  This will hopefully happen in early October!

2. The second book of the trilogy (yes, I said trilogy), which is partially underway.

3. A full collection of post-apocalyptic short stories, all set in the same world as “She Who Dines on Heavenly Food,” my cyber/steam punk crossover starring Penelope & Puddingfoot.  And yes, I want to write a second Penelope & Puddingfoot story…I’ve already written the beginning.

4. Another book of speculative fiction short stories (which I haven’t started) based on pieces of Russian history.

Now, all I have to do is graduate…

Upcoming Event: Imaginarium Convention

Friday, September 19 – Sunday, September 21 is Imaginarium Louisville! I will be there all three days (in the vendor room with copies of Erica Flynn!) and will also be speaking on the following writing panels:

Saturday 11am: Cover Lovin’ (cover art and first impressions)

Saturday 1pm: Sword & Sorcery Vs. Fantasy (the differences between)

Sunday 9am: Lone Hero Vs. Heroic Group (which works best?)

Sunday 11am: Into the Wastelands (post-apocalyptic fiction)

Sunday 1pm: Finding the End (how to end a story)

Sunday 2pm: Unconventional Fantasy (avoiding tropes & cliches)

For a full schedule of the convention programming & events, click here:

The Steampunk World’s Fair

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Steampunk Welsh Corgi

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This girl’s costume is beautiful! She’s already hooked on a kids’ supernatural book by my fellow author, K.A. Davur!

This weekend was a whirlwind road trip to the Steampunk World’s Fair in New Jersey.  Armed with 3 bags of snack food and 16 bottles of Powerade, Zak and I made the 11.5 hour drive through thunderstorms and hail and mountains, but arrived safely and met up with the rest of the gang at the 3 Fates Press tent.  Saw some incredible costumes, but unfortunately only got a couple of photos (including this fantastically cute and well-mannered steampunk corgi!) because I was otherwise too preoccupied with selling books!  I’m sorry, but the whole world stops when a cute animal walks by.  We sold out of our anthology, Circuits and Steam, before the end of the day (it will now only be available in electronic format), and Erica Flynn was selling itself by the evening.  Cutting up with my fellow authors, my cover artist (a.k.a. boyfriend), and my publisher was a blast!  My own costume was sadly lacking, compared to the other attendees, but at least it was comfortable!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any selfies, so I can’t post my combat-boots-and-khakis style “steampunk lite” outfit.

Thankfully, the drive back contained no major storms or sliding down a mountain grade on marble-sized ice, so we actually got to enjoy the beautiful scenery through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia on our way back to Kentucky.

Next weekend, May 24-25, Erica Flynn will be much closer to home, at the Howard Steamboat Museum’s Art and Antique Jubilee (a free event in Jeffersonville, Indiana!)  Whether I will be there in person or not depends on how far along I am with arrangements for my departure to my archaeological field school in Spain next week!  Even if I don’t make it to the Jubilee, 3 Fates Press will be there with copies of the book.  I can promise many pictures and stories about the field school experience will appear on this blog in June, after my return!

Somewhere gorgeous in Maryland or Pennsylvania, I’m not sure which

Events for May 2014

 

Circuits & Steam cover by Jordan Bell

From May 16th-18th, I’ll be in New Jersey, attending the Steampunk World’s Fair with 3 Fates Press!  3 Fates is releasing Circuits and Steam, a brand-new crossover anthology of steampunk & cyberpunk short stories at the fair.  My contribution features an opium-addled cocktail waitress and her slightly sociopathic automaton butler in post-apocalyptic Chicago.  There are likely several related stories forthcoming, as I had way more ideas than I could fit into one short story for these characters and this bizarre future setting!  I’ll also, of course, be selling copies of The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn – and I’ve got some great Erica Flynn swag & giveaways for the table, too!  Plus, I’m putting together some pretty sweet jewelry on the theme of steam/cyber and/or death – and what’s better than shiny death jewelry???

 

May 24th-25th (10-5 / 10-4, respectively), along with 3 Fates, I’ll be attending the Howard Steamboat Museum’s Art & Antique Jubilee in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  It’s a free event!

 

Return from ConGlomeration

I spent the weekend blissfully away from the traffic associated with Thunder Over Louisville, at ConGlomeration Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention.  I’ve been going to conventions and writer’s workshops since I was fairly wee (9 years old on), but this is the first time I’ve attended such an event as a published novelist.  It’s been awesome to get to share my book with other people, but I have to say, there’s something about walking in to the Con scene with a book to show for myself that finally clicked a switch in my head that I’m a really real, for real, actual author, actually.  Maybe because writers at conventions and workshops were, aside from my mom and myself, the first people to take my writing seriously.  And I’ve been on panels before to talk about writing, even been a guest speaker for creative writing classes now and then, but having a stack of print books in front of me with my name on them  – that’s different.  And it feels great!

I was one speaker on a panel about Mythology & Folklore, which is a natural fit for The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn, since (twisted, quantum-physics style) Greek Underworld mythology is a huge component of the book.  Since my follow-up Underworld novel will explore some Eastern mythology and folklore, it was fun to get to talk about some of that, too.  I also did a reading from Erica Flynn (Chapter 17: Bad God! No Biscuit! and Chapter 18: The Deadest Little Town This Side of the Styx).

Even with low attendance due to sharing the weekend and the city of Louisville with the largest fireworks show in the nation, I feel pretty good about this weekend’s book sales, the folks I met and talked to, and the shop talk with other authors, artists, and readers.  As always after these kinds of events, my brain feels chock-full of fresh ideas, excitement about my projects, and inspiration to take  on new projects and ideas.  Having brand-new books to read and love doesn’t hurt, either, and getting to spend time catching up with fellow 3 Fates Press authors T Lee Harris and Marian Allen (aka Mom) is always a blast

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This lady’s costume was awesome – but she was flamenco dancing so fast for her performance that every photo I took was blurred!

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http://www.thealleytheater.org/ – The Alley Theater crew performing “The Cliffnotes of Insanity” – The Princess Bride in 30 Minutes or Less! Hi-freaking-larious, the highlight of the convention!

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Steampunked Smartcar! ❤

Book Release Party

 

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Signing books like a boss!

Friday’s book release at University of Louisville:  I finally decided which chapter to read (Chapter Two: The Bright Side of Death), and had lots of excellent, fun questions from the audience.  I’m deeply grateful to the people who came to my first event as a published novelist – for being there, for showing their support, and especially for keeping the Q&A lively and interesting.  Some of those questions made me realize I need to be on my toes for future events!  Good questions also let me know what readers want to know more about, which is good inspiration for the sequel.  Oh, and not least…I’m grateful for the attendees’ purchases of books!

Next weekend:  ConGlomeration!

 

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I’m not sure what face I’m making here – maybe I was reading one of Erica’s smart-ass remarks?

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Reading Chapter Two: The Bright Side of Death

3 Upcoming Events

  1. Book Release FlyerNext weekend, March 28-30, 2014, is Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Washington. Although I will not be physically present, I will be there in spirit – and in copies of The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn – thanks to fellow author K.A. Davur.
  2. Friday, April 4 at 2 pm, The White Squirrel literary magazine will be hosting a book release party for The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn.  I’ll be reading an excerpt from the book, followed by a Q & A session in the Chao Auditorium in Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.  Other activities and goodies are a distinct possibility.  Check out the Facebook Event page for updates – the event is free and all are welcome!  Copies of the book will be available for $14.99.
  3. The weekend of April 11-13 is Conglomeration Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  Along with fellow authors and the publishers of 3 Fates Press, I will be somewhere in the dealer’s room (or the Con Suite, pigging out) with copies of Erica Flynn for sale!

Readers, Cast Your Vote!

Later this month, I’ll be reading an excerpt at a University of Louisville release event for my novel, The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn.  I have a question, therefore, for those of you who have read it or have started reading it – what 2-4 page passage from the book grabbed you the most + had the least significant spoilers?  Leave a comment with the page numbers!