Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Get Ready for Fandom Fest!

(Cross-posted from Darkling Delights)

What? Of course I'm excited for you. Now feed me.
Warning: Shameless BSP ahead. :-)

Early last year, I attended my first local Sisters in Crime meeting. The members were not only friendly and encouraging, but when they learned I’d published a short paranormal/urban fantasy novel, two writers suggested I talk to Stephen Zimmer about becoming part of Fandom Fest.

I’d never heard of Fandom Fest, but a convention that celebrated speculative fiction made my little ears perk up.

Not only was Stephen kind enough to let me participate in an author reading, he even gave me my first chance at a panel (urban fantasy).

Fast forward to 2012. When Stephen put out the call, I asked if I could play in the sandbox again. Happily, he said yes, and I will be participating on three panels plus an author reading.

My current schedule:

Friday, June 29, 4PM: Horror Genre Perspectives from Female Writers (Morrow Room)

Friday, June 29, 5:30PM: Screenplay Primer (Basic Elements of a Screenplay) (Dogwood Room)

Saturday, June 30, 10AM: Exploring Genres: Paranormal Thrillers

Saturday, June 30, 11:30 AM: Author Reading with Marian Allen and T. Lee Harris (Holly Room)

Sunday, July 1, 2:30PM: The Perfect Kill (McCreary Room)

Okay, enough about me. What makes Fandom Fest so awesome is the best-selling authors who will also be there, including Julie Kagawa, Angie Fox, Richard Kadrey, and others. Serious fan girl time here, folks. LOL

And the panels? Somebody clone me because there are so many to choose from – writing, publishing, marketing, etc. I’m still trying to choose.   

Fandom Fest is June 29-July 1 at the Galt House in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Want to learn more?

Btw, regarding that experience with Sisters in Crime? I’m now a member of both the national and the local group.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Launch - A Report

There are many writing-related things on my "things to do before I die" list, and most of them have been on there a very long time. Some I have been fortunate enough to achieve. The first time I got a story published I was able to cross that one off. Getting the first novel contract was another. The final file of my first published e-book arriving in my 'in' box was a momentous event. The proof of the first print copy of SOUL SCREAMS was a thrill that surpassed even that.

And being able to have a 'proper' launch, with books I could sell and sign, was another big moment. This I achieved this past weekend, when SOUL SCREAMS launched at the BFS social event.

All this preamble is to give you an inkling of how big a deal this event was to me. I'd been anticipating it for weeks. I had the books. I'd been stockpiling change. I'd got promotional post cards and posters printed. I'd been pimping the event all over the Internet. I'd thought about what to wear.

And so the day arrived. I'd decided on my new antique rose hankerchief hem dress from Joe Brown's. I put it on and went to ask Hubby's opinion on what footwear would go with it. I will qualify here that for a straight man, Hubby has an unusually keen sense of women's fashion. His mother is a talented dressmaker, and I think some of this flair has been inherited. When the stylist came to give me a wardrobe detox a few years ago, everything he'd picked out for me I got to keep. All the clothes I'd picked out myself went in the discard pile. So when he gives style advice I do tend to take heed. He scrutinised the outfit and said, "I like the dress but I think you should wear something more formal."

So I went running back to my wardrobe. Within minutes every dress I owned was laid out on the bed. Eventually, with his help, we decided on the versatile purple wraparound number that I've always been very fond of. With outfit decided, I went to finish packing my bag. It already had all the books in it. And it was very heavy. As I'd elected to take a backpack, I picked it up and realised that if I hefted this through London I was likely to get backache at best - at worst, it would keep pulling me over backwards. So I thought about the small wheeled suitcase that we take as hand baggage on trips. That could be pulled along and was probably a better bet. Unfortunately retrieving it meant a trip into the attic. In hindsight, it would have been better to think about this before putting on the dress and tights.

Fortunately, the bag was retrieved without damage to the outfit, and once my books had been transferred to the new case, I was ready to set off for the train station, happily trundling my case of books behind me. Luck was on my side that day - no delays, engineering works or cancellations to hinder my journey, and I arrived at the Mug House ahead of schedule, about 3pm.

Also launching that day were ALT-ZOMBIE, the latest book from Hersham Press, and a new collection of MR James stories, published by Jo Fletcher books and edited by Steve Jones. With these luminaries of the British genre publishing industry present, I couldn't help but feel a bit intimidated. I put up my posters, scattered the promotional postcards over all the tables, unpacked my books and set up shop next to Peter Mark May, publisher of Hersham Press. And for a while, the two of us watched everyone flock to buy the M.R. James (which was lovely, I have to say). But Steve and Jo, who were the headline act, so to speak, did make a point of telling the enraptured audience that the BFS had always supported emerging writers and new publishers, and so they should go buy our books, too.

By and by people did come to see me, and they came to buy copies of SOUL SCREAMS. Some of them were friends, not members of the BFS, who were there specifically to show moral support. That was nice. Others were BFS members who'd heard about my launch, and might have come to the event anyway, but wanted to buy my book as well. But there were also a couple of people I didn't know - BFS members who'd come to the event, picked up the postcard, and come over to investigate. I also sold a copy to Michael Marshall Smith. That was, I admit, a bit of a fan girl moment.

Then there were the lovely members of the T Party Writers' Group. There was a meeting going on that day - one I'd given apologies to, since I was at the launch instead. After the meeting finished, they came to the pub en mass and most of them bought a copy of the book.

In the end, I sold all the copies I'd brought with me, and I left a very happy bunny indeed. It's nice to know SOUL SCREAMS has begun its publishing life with such a flourish. And with the launch over with, that's one more thing to cross off the 'bucket list'.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SOUL SCREAM Launches Online Today

Well, it looks like it's champage all around here at WriteClub because today I'm officially launching SOUL SCREAMS.

It’s been quite an exciting week in my world. SOUL SCREAMS is starting to attract attention. The first review is in, on Matthew Fryer’s “Welcome to Hellforge” website. And he has some very good things to say about it.

I was also featured in the press this week – there’s an article about me and SOUL SCREAMS on the Kingston Guardian website.

If you didn’t catch my reading of “Just Don’t Scream” on Edin Road radio last night, you can listen to the recording here. And, as one last plug, I’m in the spotlight on author Sonya Clark‘s website too.

On top of all that, there’s the ‘physical’ launch of SOUL SCREAMS on Saturday at the BFS, too. So it’s a rather busy week!

All day today, I am offering a chance to win a free copy of the SOUL SCREAMS e-book on my Imaginary Friends blog. So head on over there to find out how you can win.

There's also a chance to win an exclusive signed SOUL SCREAMS poster on my Facebook group, so if you want to increase your chances of winning something, check that out, too.

It's all so exciting! I'm off for some of that champagne...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Still Got That Champagne Bottle?

Last week, I mentioned receiving good news which I couldn't share because it wasn't official. Well, the contract has been signed and I can announce my short horror story "Family Tradition" was accepted for publication by MuseItUp Publishing.

"Family Tradition" originally started out as a flash fiction piece that I expanded and revised. I'm influenced by shows like Night Gallery, Thriller, and The Twilight Zone and by writers like Serling, Beaumont, Arthur, and others.

I like to say this is the year of the short story for me. And it's also about coming full circle. I started out writing short horror stories. But why not write what I love to read? (That includes mystery and fantasy.)

Now I need to write that mystery short story.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Away!

Exciting things are happening on the SOUL SCREAMS front.  First of all, the book is now published, and both print and e-book versions are available to order.  See Stumar Press's website for buy links.

Second, the print version will officially launch at the British Fantasy Society's open day on Saturday 16 June.  The British Fantasy Society exists to promote British fantasy, horror and science fiction writers and publishers.  As both my publisher and I are members, we were able to arrange to launch the book at their next social event, which is to be held at the Mug House tavern, Tooley Street, London (see link for map and further information).  Everyone is welcome to BFS open events - you don't have to be a member.  I will be there from 4pm and the event will go on until late in the evening.  So if you're in London on that day, why not stop in and get your signed copy of SOUL SCREAMS?

If you're not able to make the physical launch, you can join in the fun virtually, at the online launch on 13 June.  A competition will be running all day, on my blog and my Imaginary Friends Facebook group.  If you're not a member of the group yet and would like to join, please send me a request and I will add you.

So there's lots going on over the next couple of weeks regarding the launch of SOUL SCREAMS.  Lots of ways to get your hands on a copy, so get yours now!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pop the Virtual Champagne Cork

Okay, so most of you know today and tomorrow is the Transit of Venus, right? A rare phenomena that will not occur again for another 100+ years, the Transit has fascinated me ever since I came across it while doing research for my angel UF. (The Transit plays a significant role in my short novel.)

Now, I'm not saying that the Transit has anything to do with the following news, but it sure is coincidental. :-) Today, I received a couple pieces of good news, one of which I can't share yet. But the other one is my poem "Ophelia Lies Dreaming" is now published in the digital magazine Indigo Rising UK (Issue2). If you're interested in checking it out, here's the link: http://indigorisinguk.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/issue2.pdf You'll have to enlarge the text and you might have to use the horizontal scroll bar, but it's there. Promise. :-) My poem is supposed to be on page 32.

Besides the aforementioned news, I have another short story that just came out. "Family Heirloom" was published in the digital anthology Scared - Ten Tales of Horror. Any time you think you have an idea that isn't worth merit, don't listen. I thought my idea about a cursed kris (a dagger usually with a wavy blade) was a silly one no one would want. I came across stories about krises coming to life and killing on their own during my research on weapons. I jotted my idea down and filed it away.

When Rayne gave me the opportunity to submit a story idea, the kris story came to mind. I didn't know if it would fit the anthology's needs but it couldn't hurt to try. And it didn't. :-)

If you'd like to find out more about Scared, go to: