There’s More to Me than Writing

Posted: April 18, 2015 in SCA

I’m an author. That is what I am at heart. It is what I tell people I am these days. It is, I claim, my profession. There is more to me than that though, and one of those things is brought out, with a fiery determination, when I get to ‘playing’ in the SCA. I become a artist of a far more hands on sort. I created physical objects, not ones in the minds eye.

I document, researching extant pieces, and staring at paintings, before starting a project. I have to know intellectually, and feel in my bones, what is right for a piece. I may be using modern methods to recreate works appropriate to the time period ( or interpret new ones) but I try to make something that is correct for a persona in all other ways.

I haven’t done this in fifteen years, but, like riding a bike…

I am trying right now to finish up a piece I started when we last lived the lives of Venetians of the late sixteenth century. It is made of bronze, bone, and a composite that resembles lapis lazuli. It still need pearls, ‘gems’, plus the little cherubs need further carving and bronze wings – in other words…it is still a work in progress.

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It isn’t as pure to process as I would like, as I try to do, but the over all piece, style, and look is absolutely right. I just hate the fact that when I started it a decade ago, I cheated and used epoxy (not that I can’t document glue). All the same I’m going to finish it up and move one to another piece I have already started – this toothpick pomander (yes, that is supposed to be a seahorse).

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25002760TW3I’m no super star in the publishing world. In fact, 99.99% of the world doesn’t know my work. Hmmm, that number still seems wrong – I bet it’s far less than that. Anyway, I have Tomorrow Wendell and Blondes, Books, & Bourbon out there in the world. I consider this enough to call myself an author, and to make me eligible to share the great secret behind writing and getting published.

Are you ready? Truly ready for this shocking truth?

Okay.

The secrets are thus:

Write because you love it. Write for yourself. Write because the story is screaming to get out.

Edit because you love the story. Edit for the joy of it. Edit because the story deserves to be the best it can.

Submit because you love the story. Submit expecting nothing. Submit because the story deserves to be read by others.

And the final key – the final pearl of wisdom – do all of this again, and again, regardless of rejection but not blind to advice.

There – I’ve broken the code of silence. I just hope you take this truth to heart.

Probably because of the Ad Astra Convention, I am feeling that I should try and get more of my writing published through other outlets than just my current publisher. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with Xchyler and they made me feel like a super-star, but exposure through other venues can only help.

Of course I come to this decision after having just published the anthology, Blondes, Books & Bourbon, meaning I have almost no finished works in the short story department. I suppose this isn’t such a bad state to be in, as it is just giving me more impetus to write.BB&B banner

I am not burning with need – perhaps my Muse is taking some personal days – but I am inspired. So I hope I can peck out a few words in this story, or that – maybe even write a few scenes for  a new story. I do have an idea for a reworking of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale set in the WDB world, I think might be fun. As well, I started a short set in a completely different world – one I started a novel in before Alvey came to live in my mind. This tale was originally for Xchyler’s next paranormal anthology, however, I realized it was more fantasy than paranormal, and thus stalled on it.

I have one finished short in the WDB world. It needs to go through the edit / beta-reader process, but it is written. I think I’ll open it up, see how it compares to my memory of it, and then determine if there is an open market in which it might find a home. It might be nice to have a WDB story released though a different publisher before the next novel, Bindings & Spines, comes out.

It is certainly time for me to stretch out of my comfort zone and expose my works to a broader audience. Yes, there maybe many rejections in my future, and there may not – I’ve never been much deterred by rejections and it is the only way to find acceptance.

Ad Astra 2015

Posted: April 14, 2015 in Book Release, Publishing, Writing
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This weekend I went to my first Ad Astra Convention. It was only my third ever Con, and I had certain expectations based on those previous experiences. I also had some anxiety as this was going to be my first ‘fan’ Con.

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So what did I picture? A bunch of authors and publishers in little circles of clique, with roving fans of all levels from the timid clutching an autograph book type, to the worrying fanatics, not only dressed as their favourite character but ‘being’ that character to the annoyance of the rest of the world… or at least me.

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Worse case scenario had me wandering not only alone, but lonely, among excluding tribes of ‘Pros’ and swarms of ravenous ‘Fans’.

new-friendBest case scenario, getting a chance to chat a bit with people from all walks, and maybe gain a new friend or two, and attend some good panels. That best case scenario would have been enough to bring me back for the following year.

What did I get?

Ad Astra 2015 delivered a level of high interaction, solid conversations, and bonding to new friends. It was nearly impossible to tell the difference between the authors and the fans – why?- because at this Con there was no difference. Everyone put forth a feeling of approachability, and once you had approached, they welcomed you, talked with you, and later in the Con did more than just an token wave when they saw you.
I sat in with reading/release parties where the authors were not only engaging, but presented as just another Con goer… someone who continued interacting and talking to all, after they had done their thing. They didn’t shrink back into their clique, cutting out the rest. They put down their books and became one of the whole again.

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The vendors were fun, friendly, and even went out of their way to find me, and ask if I had enjoyed my weekend when they knew it was my first time. The panels, were fun, informative, and friendly and the volunteers were awesome. In fact, it was the volunteer crew who set the tone for the entire weekend…

I was down at the bar having a pint on the Thursday night, one of the volunteers stopped by and we had a bit of a chat. I thought that was nice of him, and he went off to his crew pre-Con party and I went to my room. A few moments later I got a friend request from this same individual on Facebook. I immediately accepted and up sprang a message – ‘Come up to room 1072′
This blew me away.group2
The group, when finding out it was my first Ad Astra, all agreed I should come join them. Not only did they let me into their room – they let me in to their gathering. They let me be a part, not just there.
And through the rest of the con, these same people, were always quick to say hi, stop for a talk if they had time, or just catch my eye and wave – despite working the register desk at the time.

The previous two cons, I spent the majority of the time in panels. Now I like panels, I find they are fun, informative, and inspirational. For Ad Astra, I had gone through the panel list, and marked all the ones that interested me. I was going to be pretty busy, if I attended them all, but what else was I going to do at this con?
Turns out I was going to spend it talking, laughing, and making friends. I did make it to a few panels, and enjoyed them – but more than I ever could have guessed, I’d find myself realizing it was already twenty minutes into a panel I had planned to attend. I had missed it because I wasn’t constantly watching the time; bored, with nothing to do but wait for the next panel. I missed more than one, because I was otherwise engaged – and I never felt bitter about it.

I meet up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in over a decade. I made new friends that I know I will be happy to see next years. I know it will be like a family reunion next year – because it already was this year.
So, in the end – Ad Astra 2015 was an amazing success and will be only the first of many for me.

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I’ve spent the last two weeks at my sisters place, being a surrogate parent to her cats. I didn’t get quite as much writing done as I might have hoped – certainly nowhere near what I usually get done during that time every year. I have, however, failed to do any writing in the two months previous, so even some felt like a cage door had been opened.

clockI am back home now, and pretending to settle into normal routine. I am only pretending though, because, very soon, I leave once more. If I pretend everything is normal, than these few days home will go by faster – at least that is the theory I’m going with. The alternative is to watch the clock and count down the minutes – but my math isn’t good enough to keep track of 4320 of them and subtract random numbers, every time I glance at a clock.

Ad-Astra-300x202Thursday, I once more depart from my normal life; my wife, four footed children, and days sitting by this computer. Thursday – once I have ingested enough coffee – I get in my truck and point it at Toronto. My destination? Ad Astra Convention. My goal? Have a great time.

Photo on 2015-04-02 at 4.40 PM #2I also have another goal – to give out one thousand business cards that contain a QR code for a free download of my latest release. That’s right, everyone at the Con should have a chance to get a free e-copy of my White Dragon Black anthology, Blondes, Books, & Bourbon. I can feel confident handing out these e-copied, because the reviews for the anthology are quite good. In fact, more than one, states that despite how much they enjoyed reading Tomorrow Wendell they actually liked the anthology better.

So, I have a Con with panels I’m quite interested in, people having fun, a chance to introduce many more people to my White Dragon Black world, and a chance to do some networking. I believe, firmly, that attending this Con will become and annual event for me. I’m trying to stay level headed and not get too excited, or too hopeful, as I have never been before and the minds eye can make a perfectly good reality seem sour. I have, however, enjoyed the previous two Cons I was lucky enough to attend so I doubt I’ll find myself miserable.

So here is me – trying hard not to look at a clock.