This will be my… I don’t know…. several-eth year at InConJunction SF Convention as an author, and nearly thirty years since I attended the con (my first ever) on an early date with the future Mrs. RJ! For all these reasons, and more, the con holds a special place in my heart. If it’s not the biggest, or fanciest, it is the WARMEST con of the year, and I’m not talking about July weather. This convention is run by the sweetest bunch of awesome nerds in the galaxy, and I say that from the bottom of my heart. So without any further ado, let’s get to the details.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
I’m please to announce that Seventh Star Press has organized a blog tour to run all next week, June 27-July 3, in support of Commanding the Red Lotus. I am busy working on new anecdotes and inside stories to share with my readers in support of the book.
Those who have been around awhile know how this works. Below is the full listing of blog stops and dates. As each one goes live, I will turn each listing into a live link, creating a list so you can come back here and review the entries for posterity.
Also note that Seventh Star is holding a Giveaway on Goodreads in which they are … uh… giving away two free copies of Commanding the Red Lotus. The giveaway is going on now and runs through June 30. Click here to enter the giveaway.
Indiana Comic Con was a great weekend for me, and for us, my partners in vending, John F. Allen, Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III. We all moved a lot of books. The costumes were thrilling, the conversations stimulating and nonstop, the interest in what we were all about gratifying.
I wanted to get a Wonder Woman comic signed by George Perez, and could not. I blame a lack of coordination between the organizers and the talent that resulted in a line of fans that out-extended that of the Hollywood actors and a support staff that had no idea how to corral them. So with regret, I stepped out of that line and that was disappointing, but not enough to throw off the weekend as a whole. As a result of the crowds, activity, and the overall super-stimulation of the event, I did not return Sunday. it was me, not them. You can see all my photos here.
While I was gone, Commanding the Red Lotus continued to upload, and the ebook and paperback formats are now mostly up and available. I have also added it to my Buy Signed Books from RJ tab. Sales continue to be steady since the launch, and I’m very happy to be sharing this book, one very close to my heart. You can see the dedicated ordering page here.
Next up on my convention tour is Inconjunction on the east side of Indianapolis.
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*.
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.
NOTE: due to preparations for last week’s all encompassing Blog Tour, this post-con report is two weeks late.
Rarely have I been so excited about a convention, and I know I’ve never put in as much pre-planning into an event as I did for Inconjunction weekend this past July 4-6.
I teamed up with my author buddies John F. Allen, Matthew Barron and Eric Garrison. (Also thanks to David Jobe for helping man the booth for parts of Saturday). We put the extra effort and expense into splitting costs for a vendor booth, displayed an array of book titles, doo-dads, and nail polish (yes, nail polish!) and went for it in a big way.
And then there were panels. My first was with Eric Garrison and con co-guest of honor Kat Falls in a lively discussion on Book Trailers. Throughout the weekend, I participated on no less than three panels on genre TV and movies (and met a very enthusiastic Mike Suess!), and was part of the candlelight horror reading, where I premiere a new work in progress weird western to great response. I also heard a very impressive reading by a Mr. Jeff Seymour. I plan to keep an eye on this guy, and you should, too!
On top of that, the four of us along with our booth neighbor Crystal Leflar teamed together under the banner Speculative Fiction Guild to run two open mini-workshops designed to offer some structural writing advice for the beginner. Both of these were well attended and received enthusiastically.
We were not without a few bumps in the road (literally and figuratively). John arrived two days post-food poisoning and needed part of Friday to recover, but he quickly got back on track, and brought his knowledge of all things comic books in time for the panel. Saturday night proved a comedy errors. In trying to re-create a local dining experience from a year ago with Kathy Watness and Loconeal‘s James Barnes, we found that, not only didthe Chinese restaurant we target closed for the holiday, but so did our second choice, and ended up at choice number three, an El Jaripeo near Washington Square (very good however!). On returning to the hotel, police cars zipped along 21st and Shadeland, past our vehicle, going full speed, while John valiantly navigated construction and each need to pull over, during which at least a dozen cars passed us! (We found out later they were going toward the tragic east side shooting.)
As convention crowds went, I’d call it a mid-sized group, but an enthusiastic group, eager to talk, and when all was said and done, also eager to support our efforts by visiting our booth and taking home some books!
I can honestly say I’ve never had such an exhausting weekend, but the results were well worth it. Inconjunction was a blast. I’m starting the countdown to next year!
So one day recently a certain author of critically acclaimed paranormal thrillers bought a multi-pack of socks that should have fit….but didn’t! Bummer! Perfectly good socks, unworn, doomed to go to waste. But, Mrs. R.J and the “Nerds In The Making” all chipped in to hand-stitch and draw on each and every “Lost Sole,” made of new, unworn sock cotton. So come check out the Lost Soles, or you can adopt a hand-crafted Sole for $5 each.
Friday and Saturday only. while soles last. Look for the “dryer” display at the SFG Vendor Booth.
Inconjunction was the first con I ever attended over 20 years ago as Mrs. RJ’s date. The authors were my heroes and I always wanted to be where they were. Now I’m dpoing just that for my third time. Unreal.
So it turns out, the awesome people who throw Inconjunction (the Circle of Janus) moved their monthly meetings to a few miles down the road from where I live. I opened my big mouth and said “sure, the SFG will do as many panels as you want.” So they got us hopping this year!
Here’s your Stalker’s Guide to finding me.
Friday, July 4th
4 pm–Main Programming Room: Book Trailers–what are they good for? With: Eric Garrison and Author Co-Guest of Honor Kat Falls.
7 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: What are your favorites in genre television, and why? With: Mike Suess
8 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: Analyzing the History of the Comic Book Movie With: John F. Allen and Mike Suess.
Saturday, July 5
11 am–Indianapolis Ballroom D: SFG Writer’s Workshop: Point of View: Why it’s Better to Have One With: the SFG: John, Eric, Matt, and Crystal, plus Rosemary Laurey
1 pm–Room name coming: Discussion on genre television, title forthcoming: With John F. Allen
4 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 & 8: Making the Jump to a Series With: John F. Allen and Mike Shepherd.
7 pm–Harrison Room: SFG Writer’s Roundtable: Making the most of local settings in genre fiction With: The SFG: John, Eric, Matt, and Crystal.
10 pm–Grand Ballroom 7-8: Candlelight Horror Reading With: John F. Allen, Crystal Leflar and Jeff Seymour.