This weekend I’ll be wandering the panels, parties, and workshops of the Fifth Annual Imaginarium Convention at Louisville , KY! What makes this year different from previous years is a lack of a vendor table base of operations. My books will be available at the Seventh Star Press table and I’ll check in frequently, but I’m using this weekend to network and learn, so just keeping it real, finding me may be a bit tricky if you are shopping for books and doing little else.
Wow, it’s been a busy few months, and it’s been a long time since I’ve checked in. Business writing has been taking off, I ‘m outlining a new book series I’m very excited about, and many other things are taking shape. In the meantime, I’ve had some wonderful events, including Comic Con Indy, which ended up being my most successful weekend as a book vendor to date!
A couple milestones have already hit since the start of 2018. I’ve celebrated 25 years of marriage to Mrs RJ, and our oldest child graduated high school with academic honors and was pre-accepted into the school of her choice, proving I married smart and well. 🙂
But I’m not here to tell you all that. Because before I knew it, here we are with InConJunction 38, one of my very favorite cons, just on the horizon, specifically July 6-8 on the east side of Indianapolis.
Speaking of milestones, July 6 is not only my birthday, but this Friday, July 6 at InConJunction, marks my 50th birthday, so I’ve decided to celebrate the day with a 50 cupcake giveaway at the convention starting at 8 pm! (And likely wrapping up about 10 minutes later or I don’t know my SF geeks).
That’s right, If you are a guest of InConJunction, or if you are not a guest but you are near the hotel, you can find me in the Reagan-Kennedy conference room by the restaurant, where, at 8 pm sharp, I’ll begin giving out cupcakes. You don’t need to be a badge to come in and get a cupcake!
Cupcakes will come in varieties of chocolate, vanilla and swirl. The provider of the cupcakes wishes to remain anonymous, so I can’t tell you they are made by the Mysterious Cupcake Fairies Who Make Deliciously Awesome Cupcakes.
Ah, dang it, that slipped out.
But seriously, the cupcakes are gonna TASTE AWESOME.
Special occasion bookmarks as shown above will also be given away all weekend (thanks to Paul Uhls and BNC Graphics).
Do you know another place where you don’t need a badge at Inconjunction? The vendor’s room, open all weekend long. I’ll be at the SFG Table all weekend long with awesome authors: John F Allen, R.S. Craig, E. Chris Garrison, and Peter Okeafor. And the room will be filled with many many more incredible authors and vendors of toys, games, jewelry art, and other awesome oddities, but since I’ve been putting links to names for over two hours, I need to leave it at that. Take time, shop around.
My books will be sold competitive to Amazon or buying directly from me. Autographs are as always totally free and worth every penny you pay.
You do need a badge to attend the panels. My panel schedule this year:
3 PM Star Trek TOS: The Worst of the Worst
Indianapolis Ballroom A-B. With: Beckie Margedant
8 PM: R.J. 50th Birthday Cupcake Giveaway
Reagan-Kennedy Conference Room (no badge required)
Noon Frankenstein at 200
Indianapolis Ballroom C With: Matthew Barron
So let’s face it, you might as well get a badge and stay the weekend.
Another exciting personal note that affects our table, my friend and awesome author E. Chris Garrison is renewing her vows with her wife Amy on Saturday, so our booth will probably close late afternoon.
Finally, I’m excited for this year for so many reasons listed above, but also because for the first time ever, my entire immediate family will be able to attend. So come on out, it’s going to be a blast. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!
And watch out for Bird Woman. 😉
So ends my fifth InConJunction in the last six years. So what are my thoughts?
Looking back, I sold plenty of books this year, though I may have sold more in past years. I photographed plenty of costumes, though I may have photographed more in past years. I talked to many authors, but I may have talked to more in past years. All that said, this was the easily the most relaxed, best “all around” con I’ve ever been a part of. InConJunction has been sliding into place as the most easygoing “hangout” con weekend on my calendar, and this time it solidified itself as such.
I’ve done a number of these weekends by now and I’ve gotten pretty good at them. If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that something is gonna go wrong. Every time. Sometimes it’s a goof on the part of the organization that throws the event, sometimes it’s confusion among the peers I partner with, sometimes it’s traffic, sometimes it’s just fraying nerves from a long weekend (“What?” you say. “Writers can be moody and emotional? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!”). The point is, there’s always something.
But not this time.
Everything went off exactly as planned and better than I had any reason to hope. We all showed up where we needed to be, when we needed to be there. We had each other’s backs. I can’t recall a cross word between us all weekend. And look, some straight talk–when we spend most of 72 hours together, it’s NORMAL to exchange a cross word or two. It just happens.
But not this time.
My very highest praise to everyone on the Inconjunction staff (with special shout-outs to Mike and Lynette Cowper for being the keepers of the vendor registrations, setting up a vendor soda cooler, and checking in with us frequently to make sure all was well–and it was!) Again, just some straight talk without laying any blame–there’s always something amiss at every con. It may be a layout that goes awry. A disorganized con suite. Badges get misplaced. A cross word can cause misunderstandings. Most cons are run by volunteers and as such, it’s perfectly normal that Things Go Wrong, even if, in the end, they’re hardly worth mentioning later.
But not this time.
This time, this con, consisted of extra helpings of Awesome with none of the hassles. I hung out with my SFG buds John F. Allen, Matthew Barron, and E. Chris Garrison, and we broke in newcomer Maurice McKiernan on the times and trials of vending books (Reece–it doesn’t always go this easy!) I had a great time catching up with James O. Barnes, John Kennedy, Tammy Jo Eckhart, James Wylder, and others, and meeting awesome new people like Demetrius Witherspoon, Bishop Stephens, and Kim Jenkins, all associated with the SF “Indy indie film” Submerge, and author Laura Hawks.
So this time?
This time I’m home after an incredible weekend, and I’m already looking forward to next year. Nice job to everyone involved. Click here to see my Facebook photo album of the entire weekend.
This year marks my fifth consecutive year at one of my favorite science fiction conventions, InConJunction, on the east side of Indianapolis, and I’m super-excited! For one thing, this will be the first time I’m bringing a science fiction book to a science fiction convention!!
Yes, that’s right, I’ve been doing just fine all these years selling ghost story and scary stories to a crowd that’s much more in tune with spaceships and laser guns, so now for the first time I’m bringing those, too. I’ll have plenty of copies of Commanding the Red Lotus on hand along with my back titles of ghost stories and my short story collection. I’ll be there with my Speculative Fiction Guild buddies as well, mingling, talking SF, dancing badly, and taking pictures of great costumes. Joining me in our space will be John F. Allen, Matthew Barron, E. Chris Garrison, and convention newcomer Maurice McKeirnan.
My titles and price list follows:
Plus special pricing on multi-title purchases.
Autographs, as always, are FREE and worth every penny you pay.
Come on out to the Marriott on the east side of Indianapolis, 21st and Shaedeland Avenue. While you need a badge to attend much of the programming, the vending room is open to the public. Hope to see some of you there. Click here to go to the official InConJunction Website!
What an exciting few days! Commanding the Red Lotus is going live on various formats as I write this. The e-books are already live on Kindle and the iTunes store. You can see the progress as I share each link as it goes live by clicking here.
The paperback will be available in a matter of days, but if you have big plans to go to Indiana Comic Con this weekend, I’ll have the first paperback copies of Commanding the Red Lotus available anywhere, which can be signed by me, along with all my books. I brought plenty, but “selection is limited.” I mean, you never know, right? And signatures are always, always free and worth every penny you pay.
I’ll be sharing a booth with my authorly cohorts John F. Allen, Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III, so there’s plenty to check out. Indiana Comic Con is at the downtown Convention Center and is easily the biggest event I’ve attended as a seller, so I’m super-psyched about this weekend! By all accounts, there will be plenty to see and do. Check out all the details at their website, and I hope to see a few of you there!
Imaginarium 2015 at Crown Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY called a wrap on its second year this past weekend, and in a nutshell, the event is going in the right direction. It strives to be a full experience reader-writer weekend seminar and offer guests an array of lessons and memories (not to mention reading material), and in that goal, the organizers pushed forward in several ways.
More attendance (check). More book sales (check). More panels on more topics with higher participation (check-check-check). More publisher and author interactions (check-check). I personally had a panel Friday night that kept me from attending two other events that looked very cool, but that’s what ya’ call a good problem.
What didn’t change was the interactions between authors and the conversations and opportunities to network. People I had met briefly the first year I got to know better in year two. The seeds of future collaborations and business followups were planted and will continue throughout the year. And I met some new readers. What more can one ask for?
I met author peeps John F. Allen and Chris Garrison for breakfast, carpooled with John Friday morning, and we met back up a bit after noon which gave us plenty of time to eat and set up before the vendor room opened at 4. (The hotel burger rocks–I had it again on Saturday). I sold a copy of Haunting Blue to a new reader (more on this later). My evening panel on comic books and the silver screen had a small but enthusiastic group, and we discussed the topic from many angles in that hour.
Then there was hard rock bands in the ballroom Friday night and an active room party hosted by Elizabeth Donald where many of the writers hobnobbed.
Saturday was a very busy day. The vendor hall was pretty hustle-bustle for awhile, and in my area we all moved a few books, met some readers, and had some great times. The noon panel on Space Opera was pretty packed. If there is any question if people are excited about the genre making a comeback, the excitement in the room put it to rest for me. Kat French did a great job moderating and keeping the panel on track. (sidebar, read her Belle Starr Books, they rock, yes this is a link to order them, now back to our regularly scheduled programming…)
Saturday evening in the ballroom down the hall was, I think, a 40 year high school reunion, so since the vendor hall was open to the public, several of them came over to find out what was going on, and more books were sold. (Much later, author peep Jessica McHugh and I happened to be walking by the ballroom at the same moment while an “in memory of” slideshow was playing to the music of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel. We were at the same time torn between tears and an inappropriate giggle fit while ours heads were conflicted over the loss of people we never met, not to mention dogs and cats because of unofortunate connections)
My 9 pm panel on writing as series, although scheduled during the awards banquet, was very well attended by another enthusiastic crowd. I was slotted to moderate, not the easiest thing two days into a convention but it all turned out just fine. The masquerade started at 10:30 pm and I spent the evening going back and forth between that and the room party, night two. Some great costumes were out on display.
The workshop taught by Michael Knost was slotted for 1:30 in which he discussed the various ways and reasons that a writer can and should stay “invisible” to the reader, including, yes, using a chicken hat to demonstrate deep third point of view.
Oh, and about the woman who bought Haunting Blue Friday night? She returned to my booth Sunday morning to say how much she enjoyed it and purchased Haunting Obsession. What author doesn’t love that?
Overall, Imaginarium is growing in all the right ways and is the place where we should all plan to be next year. Everyone involved in the planning and execution can take a big bow (and a couple day nap) for their accomplishments. Already looking forward to next year!
Next weekend I’ll be attending the Second Annual Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. Last year’s event was, quite simply, the most fun I had last year. With Seventh Star Press as a major organizer and several Speculative Fiction Guild authors well represented, I’m anticipating bigger, better, and more fun than ever.
What is Imaginaruim? Quite simply, If you love books and the people who write them, or you aspire to write and want an inspiring weekend training seminar, Imaginarium will be the place to be.
First of all, let’s get to a huge change over year one. The change that affects each and every one of you. The dealer’s room, crammed full of authors and vendors, will be free and open to the public. To participate in the programming, you need to buy a one-day or weekend pass, but if you just want to shop for yourself or for people on that list that starts to become relevant very soon, you can come and go as you like, free of charge. Click here to see Imaginarium’s website to read all the details about location, passes, hotel, etc.
You’ll find me at a table with good buddies John F. Allen and Chris Garrison in the Seventh Star Press section. You’ll find my full array of books, which you can buy with cash or credit card all weekend. Autographs as always are free and worth every penny you pay. Here’s my price list:
Haunting Blue $15
Haunting Obsession $10
Virtual Blue $15
Darkness with Chance of Whimsy $10
Lost Sole Ghosties $5 each or free with any purchase
I’ll also have special deals on multiple title purchases.
I’m on three panels this year, my schedule:
Of course, you’re all coming just to see me, but you should know there’s dozens of panels for readers and writers, a movie screening room, a masquerade ball, and two free writer’s workshops. Hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it, follow my updates on Facebook and Instagram throughout the weekend.
Last Wednesday, horror author and good buddy Armand Rosamilia posted a guest blog I’d created some weeks earlier and while I was busy attending to other things. And what I mean to say is, I’m posting it several days later completely on purpose in to maximize exposure over a period of time.
Yeah, we’ll go with that.
So did you know that being a modern author is a lot like being in a garage band? Its true! Here’s what I posted.
The Bass Player Quit Again
Or, the Chemistry of Author Co-Ops
“She wants to be an author when she grows up!” I looked down into the wide eyes of a tween girl. Her parents pulled her over to my booth so they could tell me this, apparently in hope that I could grant some words of wisdom on the spot. So I tell her half the truth. The good half. The encouraging half.
Thanks to modern technology, specifically ebooks and digital publishing, this little girl is growing up in a time when anyone who wants to chase their dream of being an author will have more choices before them than any era before. She can choose to avoid the lifelong frustration of rejections and never getting that break. Her destiny will be in her own hands, and success or failure will be more in her control than ever. The parents smiled and the girl glowed and my duty to inspire future generations was done for the day.
I had, of course, only told her the good news. What I didn’t tell her was that her destiny will be in her own hands, and success or failure will be more in her control than ever.
You’ll need to click over to the original post on Armand’s blog to read the rest. And while y0u’re there, check out guest posts by other authors scheduled to appear at the Second Annual Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY, including a guest post by my good friend E. Chris Garrison.
This upcoming weekend marks my fourth year as a local author with InConJunction, a general SF/F con with a long and distinguished history in Indianapolis, and not for nothin’, the first con SF I ever attended waaay back in 199*mumble*.
This will also be the second year I’ll be a vendor as part of the author co-op group Speculative Fiction Guild. My books will be alongside many of my local peers, including author besties John F. Allen and Chris Garrison, plus Matthew Barron, Katina French, Davide Jobe, and Nathan Terhune.
My panel schedule this year is light but mighty:
All of my panels are in Indianapolis Ballroom C
Friday @ 9 PM @ Writing Dialog with Matthew Barron
Saturday @9 AM Small Press Publishing and Writer’s Expectations
Saturday @ 5 PM Building Your Brand: Promoting Your Work on Social Media
Inconjiunction is always a good time. I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends and making many new ones. Inconjunction will also be the first place ever that you can get a signed copy of my brand-new release Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.
All of my books will be priced to sell,and the more you buy, the more you save.
Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy $10
All four books $40
Signatures: FREE and worth every penny you pay.
“Lost Sole?” Ghosties $5
Looking forward to seeing many of you there!
Here’s where I brag about what an awesome time I had, that you didn’t have, because you chose to do something other than go to Imaginarium in Louisville, KY, last weekend. Ready, here we go.
With perfect weather and essentially a one highway route, the drive from Indy to Louisville could not have gone better. John F. Allen and I made the drive in a tad over two hours. The hotel was easy access off the highway exit.
Speaking of easy access, I need to praise the layout of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. As someone restricted to walking short distances, the public accessible doors next to the showroom were terrific, and the elevator access to the rooms was great. Very compact and convenient all around. These things are a concern for me, and the floor plan was definitely created with convenience in mind.
Registration was fast and smooth. We were given immediate access to our tables to set up. Con buddy Eric Garrison (AKA E. Chris Garrison) joined us and we were set up before con start with time to mingle.
At any convention, something has to go wrong, and at least this time it happened early with0ut serious consequences. I was never clear if what happened was a planned fire drill, a prank, or perhaps a lit cigarette, but whatever happened, the fire alarm went off, and the room full of vendors found themselves herded out the back doors into the parking lot for the next several minutes. I tucked up by the loading dock doors and waited it out.
I displayed my paranormal trilogy, plus my Lost Soles and Akira Lacquers‘ Virtual Blue nail polish. Everything received some love and attention, but the Lost Soles–the hand-stitched stuffed ghosts created by Mrs RJ and our three nerds in the making–were the big winner for my sales. How awesome is that?
Food, like other services, was easy and convenient. The hotel served an exceptionally large and yummy burger, dressed for a night out. Next to it was a nice grab-n-go kiosk. Friday night a group of us gathered at the local favorite Troll Under the Bridge Pub, and we even found a McDonald’s and Taco Bell for a convenient bite.
Networking opportunities were tremendous. I have been a fan of indie author Kat French for about a year, so meeting and talking with her was a highlight. The workshop run by Tim Waggoner was stellar. Touched base with Jackie Gamber, J.L. Mulvihill, Selah Janel, Amy McCorkle, David Mattingly, Jason Sizemore, Maurice “The Imaginator” (“Don’t call me the Imaginator”) Broaddus, Michael West, James O Barnes, the always awesome Janet Harriett….so many more. It was great to see D.A. Adams doing fairly well following some health concerns, and spend some time catching up with him.
I had two other special moments I need to mention: I was also reunited with Ms. Ash Roland, an author buddy who goes back early in my publishing journey. Ash was instrumental in securing my first publishing deal, created the first cover, the book trailer, and who I shadowed at Context in 2010 to learn the whole vending process. She’s a talented horror writer, artist, and friend, and it was terrific to see her again after a four year gap.
Also, through a happy coincidence, my brother and his wife traveled from Indy to Louisville to accompany my niece to visit a nearby college. They just happened to make reservations at the Crowne Plaza, and we had dinner together Saturday night.
I met a LOT LOT LOT of new people….so many, that if I attempted to name them, I would embarrass myself, so let’s just leave it at, you know who you are.
I did my best to impart whatever wisdom I could at my panels, and I know I learned a lot at the workshop.
What followed after was the masquerade dance, a room party, more at the dance, more at the room party, Otters were mentioned in inappropriate conversation, things got late, things got fuzzy. During the dance, Jordan Bell requested Cyndi Lauper (Goonies R Good Enough, whoop-whoop) on my behalf and several people chanted “Oh Awjay.”
Bottom Line: Imaginarium was a blast!! For a first year event, organization and efficiency far above expectations–perhaps the most well-run con I’ve been to. Kudos to Stephen Zimmer and Susan Roddey for that. Imaginarium was well worth the trip. It was an amazing networking and educational experience. They threw a great party. Sales were low, but that’s normal with any first year event. Make your plans now. This is the place to be next year.
PS: I regret to announce that due to many circumstances beyond my control, I am unable to attend Context this year.