RJ at Imaginarium this Weekend

MainPromoBanner-1_FacebookPageThis 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. Continue reading “RJ at Imaginarium this Weekend”

RJ at Imaginarium 2017 Next Weekend

11224276_1052961978047398_4134560544873007527_o
Serious workshops at Imaginarium require my serious author face.

Another year, another Imaginarium!

This makes my fourth Imaginarium Convention (because that’s how many there have been), a terrific readers and writers con in Louisville, KY, started by Seventh Star Press partly in response to some odd and disappointing trends at other conventions in the area (which this year became all too apparent, but never mind). From the start, it’s been a great con to surround myself with people of immense talent, to mingle, gossip, and just generally pretend I belong there.  Catch up with friends, hang out with buddies, and stand in the corner in amazement at being in the same room with still others.

10685383_859431900733741_5618284162143441591_n
Awesome author Kat French at the first-ever Imaginarium. She might also be Batgirl. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Without breaking it down into those sub-categories, some of the authors I’m particularly excited to see are: John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison, Matthew Barron, Kat French, Sela Carsen, Selah Janel, Elizabeth Donald, Lucy Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Mchael Knost, Michael West, Dan Jolley, Dave Creek, Arlan Andrews, Ericka Kahler, Armand Rosamilia, Stephen Zimmer, Demetrius Witherspoon, Bishop Stevens, Jason Sizemore, Janet Hariett, Tony Acree,and many, many, many more. (No, I am not linking these names because I want to have this done before the event itself, but you should Google them all).

I may have name-dropped a bit in that last paragraph. It’s all good.

Now, since I know a lot of you will be taking the trip specifically to see me (or let’s just pretend that’s the case, okay? We authors have gigantic but fragile egos), here is my panel schedule:

Sat, 5 PM in the Cumberland Room: Exploring Today’s Universe of Science Fiction
With Dave Creek (Moderator), Bethany DJ Kesler, Eri Nelson, Gerald L. Coleman, Sarena Ulibarri, and Dr. Arlan Andrews.

Sat, 6 PM in the Goldenrod Room: Paranormal Literature
With Lori Roberts (Moderator)  Barb Jones, Jacob Floyd, Monica Corwin, and Lorena Reith Jr.

Sun, 11 AM in the Derby Room: Finding the Right Critique Groups
With Carma Haley Shoemaker (Moderator) Kristi Bradley, Juanita D. Houston, Marian Allen, and Geoffrey Mandragora.

11998829_1053001998043396_2971187345309656722_n.jpgAnd did I mention, the vendor room is completely free to visitors all weekend long! That’s right, there’s no charge to show up and shop a room chock full of talented Speculative Fiction authors and their books. I’ll be there in the Seventh Star section not too far from John and Chris most of the time. So come find us and say hi. I’ll be fully stocked with my catalog of titles, and as always, autographs are FREE and worth every penny you pay.

Imaginarium is an awesome author and reader con that continues to grow every year. From Indy, it’s an easy day trip. If you’ve never been, you need to check it out. I hope to see some of you there!

RJ to be at Imaginarium 2016

imaginarium-2016
I’m a proud author with Seventh Star Press, and Imaginarium is, in great part, the brainchild of SSP Editor-In-Chief Stephen Zimmer. And so,  I was there for Imaginarium’s first and second year and saw the convention grow from a great idea to an expanding community where readers and writers meet, joke, party, and exchange ideas in a nurturing environment all weekend long. Imaginarium 2016, year three, looks to be the best year yet, and you can be sure I’m not missing out on this one.

rj-at-imagionariumI’ll be attached to the Seventh Star cluster of tables, with my Speculative Fiction Guild buddies John F. Allen and E. Chris Garrison. I’ll be selling my full array of titles, including my brand-new collection of science fiction novellas Commanding the Red Lotus all at a price that meets or beats all other options. Autographs are, as always, free and worth every penny you pay. Cash and credit card options (via Square) available.

When I’m not at my table or wandering around trying to catch up with the many people I only see at this con, you can find me at panels with my author peeps, colleagues, and betters.

Here’s my complete panel schedule:

Friday 3 PM Following Your Passion in the Hancock Room
With William Rayst (Moderator), Dan Hildreth, Glenn Porzig, Mary Ellen Quire, and Linda Rettstatt.

Sat 11 AM Building your Brand in the Madison Room
With Violet Patterson (M), Greta King, Lola Kyle PA, Kim Smith, and Tim McWhorter.

Sat 3 PM Comic Book Nostalgia in the Oldham Room
With William Levy (M) , Brent Abell, John F. Allen, Thom Erb,  and Ed Gosney.

Sat 7 PM Space Opera in the Hancock Room
With Arlan Andrews (M), Dave Creek, Arinn Dembo, Kylie Jude, and Kathryn Sullivan.

10685383_859431900733741_5618284162143441591_n
With author peep Katina French in 2014

Imaginarium is the weekend of Oct 7-9 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY (near the airport). It’s about a two hour drive from Indianapolis, perfect for a day trip or for staying the weekend. The programming requires a membership badge, but the vending room is free and open to the public. Genres include but are not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, and graphic novels.

If seeing me isn’t enough reason to go (and that’s fine, just don’t tell me to my face, we writers have tender egos), there’s a film festival, masquerade ball, panels, and workshops for readers and writers of all levels and interests.

So click here to see the convention website, check out the details, and consider paying us a visit. I hope to see many of you there!

Past years’ photo albums
Imaginarium 2014
Imaginarium 2015

Imaginarium 2015 Recap

I make this look good!
I make this look good!

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.

Your devil bartender Elizabeth Donald will serve you now.
Your devil bartender Elizabeth Donald will serve you now.

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)

Don't Panic! Arthur Dent and co. at the masquerade.
Don’t Panic! Arthur Dent and co. at the masquerade.

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!

Click here to see my complete photo album of the weekend.

RJ to be at Imaginarium 2015

E. Chris Garrison, me, John F. Allen
E. Chris Garrison, me, John F. Allen

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.

11403423_1017912164885713_4460008536803645248_nYou’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:

10468076_813484258661839_5960947186833888854_nHaunting 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:

Fri, 7 pm in the Madison Room
Comics and the Silver Screen: Also with Glenn Porzig, John F. Allen, S.C. Houff, and T. Lee Harris

Sat, Noon in the Oldham Room
The Great Space Opera Debate: also with Dave Creek, Kathryn Sullivan, and Katina French

Sat, 9 pm in the Shelby Room
Writing a series: Also with Brick Marlin, Melissa Goodman, T. Lee Harris, and Teresa Reasor

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.

Check out my photo album from Imaginarium 2014.

RJ visits Armand Rosamilia

cropped-book-signing-setupLast 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.

Me between two author co-op peeps John F. Allen and E. Chris Garrison.
Me between two author co-op peeps John F. Allen and E. Chris Garrison.

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.

Click here to finish reading my guest post.

The Brotherhood of D.A. Adams

cover1I have already spoken to a great extent about what a terrific time I had at Imaginarium catching up with old friends and to meeting new ones. Some success stories are public and have been circulated around. Others are a bit more private. I have decided to share bits of this private story.

D.A. (Alex) Adams is a talented author of epic fantasy. He had been accepted at my publisher as one of the Seventh Star stable of authors before me. When we first met at Fandomfest in 2012, his was the only series of books out  by the awesome Bonnie Wasson and he coveted having to share her with me. And who can blame him.

Alicia Justice and Alex Adams Fandomfest 2012.
RJ, Alicia Justice and Alex Adams/, Fandomfest 2012.

Alex and I sat next to each other for several hours that weekend, and had lots of time getting to know each other. I watched a loving father engage with his child while on vendor duty (not an easy thing). We talked about writing and being part of a small press family. He shared his opinion–often bluntly–about being a teacher in a collegiate environment that was morphing into a system toxic for both students and teachers. He spoke of  tremors in his hands, a lifelong affliction which seemed then to be under control. He had a mane of blond hair, matching beard and mustache, and a twinkle of optimism in the eyes.

In the years since, I have read his blog posts with interest, in which he speaks with the same blunt honesty about the devastating impact of divorce, the growing negative impact of social media, and the toxic college environment from which he eventually separated himself. He also spoke of a health condition that remains as mysterious as it is debilitating, which brings me to a few days ago.

Alex and RJ at Imaginarium 2014.
Alex and RJ at Imaginarium 2014.

I say somewhat shamefaced that when Alex approached me, I had to look twice and finally reference his name badge to figure out who was addressing me. The blond mane was gone, the twinkle diminished, though I still see some fight in those eyes.  We had several conversations that weekend, chatted about how his health has affected his everyday life, but also about old time rock n roll, the joy of writing, the unity of the writing community, and more. He said he’d just had some tests which would determine next steps with his condition. I was glad I had a chance to get caught up with this great guy.

Then a couple of days later, his next blog post went up. The test had revealed nothing–that there was no plan of treatment, and that he honestly didn’t know what to do.

Alex had no sooner posted this on his blog when something really cool happened.

Dave Mattingly of Blackwyrm Publishing (one of several small press publishers in the region who regard their competition as CINO–Competition in Name Only (I just made that up, feel free to steal it)) (and the sentence nominated for the most complicated series of parenthetical asides in a blog post ever–your welcome)–set up a fundraising page that lets the public help.  Why? Because the publishing community just rocks that way, and Dave is one of the hardest rockers out there.

Before I go any further, I would be remiss not to mention what Alex himself is quick to point out. Alex writes very cool epic fantasy adventure, and you can support him in a very direct way by buying his books. Check them out here.

If, however, epic fantasy isn’t your cup of tea, or you’ve already bought his books and want to do more, or you don’t even like reading but want to do something good for a hell of a guy, then please click this link to the gofundme page and become a part of the Brotherhood of D.A. Adams.

As of this writing, the Brotherhoopd has raised $930.00 of a proposed $1,000.00 in only four days. That in and of itself says much of the generosity of this community. I expect very soon, maybe by the time you read this, the “goal” will be raised.  However, anyone who knows anything about the medical field knows that $1,000.00 doesn’t get you very far. So let’s keep going, blow that number away.

Please donate and boost the signal. Thanks for listening.

RJ’s Post Imaginarium…uh…post

Eric Garrison, me, John F. Allen
E. Chris Garrison, me, John F. Allen

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.

10626624_10204999602175485_5942939685514450843_n
Fire drill posers.

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 LacquersVirtual 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?

Troll Under the Bridge tries to thumb-slap me.
Troll Under the Bridge tries to thumb-slap me.

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.

Ash Arceneaux, A.D. Roland, Ash Roland, Audra Steia, and me...wait, what?
Ash Arceneaux, A.D. Roland, Ash Roland, Audra Steia, and me…wait, what?

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.

Click here to view my overstuffed photo album from Imaginarium Weekend.

PS: I regret to announce that due to many circumstances beyond my control, I am unable to attend Context this year.

RJ at Imaginarium: A Stalker’s Guide

This weekend is the first-ever Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY, a new reader- and writer-centric convention (in which Seventh Star Press is playing a starring role) darn well determined to be a mind-blowing experience or die trying.

I’ll be in the Seventh Star Press section with my Indy author peeps John F. Allen and Eric Garrison, selling my paranormal trilogy, the new Virtual Blue Nail Polish, and my Lost Soles. During vendor’s hours, you’ll find me at the booth most of the time, or I’m on panel duty at one of the following discussions:

Friday
5 PM Critique Groups: Positives & Negatives: Some people call them a blessing, others a curse. Here’s your chance to get the lowdown from published authors on critique groups and how they both help and harm writers.
Moderator: Marian Allen Other Panelists: Matthew Barron, David Blalock, Andrea Judy, Kristen Kindoll

Saturday
10 AM Don’t Let Genre Get in Your Way: When you sit down to write do you find yourself trying to force your plot into a specific mold? It’s far past time you let your writing take flight without parameters. Come ask questions from our cross-genre panelists and learn the best way to write what you want to write on your own terms.
Moderator: Robert Krog Other Panelists: A. Christopher Drown, Jackie Gamber, Georgia L. Jones, Terri-Lynne Smiles

11 AM Plotters vs. Pantsers: The age-old war rages on: are you a plotter or a pantser? Or are you something in between? Come hear our panelists talk about their storytelling prep work.
Moderator: Denise Verrico Other Panelists: Cam Crowder, Mandi M. Lynch, Pamela Turner, M.B. Weston

RJ Will be attending a workshop 2-3:30 PM

3:30 PM Author on Author Interviews: Authors break into teams and interview each other.
Moderator: Lee Martindale Other Panelists: Robby Hilliard, Kristen Kindoll, Rebekah McAuliffe, Anderson O’Donnell, Mysti Parker

It’s shaping up into a pretty incredible weekend! Hope to see some of you there!