Alas Another Comic Con Come and Gone

I have to say this year’s was a lot of fun. There were some major problems with NYCCfail, but all in all it was a very good show. First the highlights.

Got to attend a panel with Sir Terry Pratchett. – There are just no words for how awesome and creative he is. Love him.

Dave got to meet with some of his favs from the comic world. George Perez, Stanton, and Grieger. I got two Helloby graphic novels signed by Mike Mignola. (Yes!!!)

Got a pair of custom fangs made for the Vampire Ball at AAD13 for next summer. If I’m doing this, I’m going all out. No plastic fangs for me baby. They rock. And I really can’t say enough nice things about Father Sebastian, the guy who crafted them. Nice dude, great conversation. Gave me some things to think about and books I really want to purchase.

Met Vickie from The Robot Museum and Cerece Murphy from LionSky Publishing. Both awesome ladies and real go-getters.

Watched a Quidditch match with my friend Malorie. Spent time shopping with her and her sis, Taylor. Dave and I met up with our friend Glenn Whittmore and hung out with him a while. (Why is it that most of our comic friends we only see at cons? Very sad that.)

Now for the not so good stuff.

First of all, shame on the organizers for placing Sir Terry in a huge hall where there were other events going on at the same time he was speaking. There was even a band playing not too far away. He’s a very soft spoken man. Even with the microphone we had a hard time hearing him. People actually got up and left because they couldn’t hear him. Very poorly done. #NYCCfail.

Secondly, the venders out front of Jacob Javits. Now, I want to say, I am a big supporter of the NYPD. I think they do a tremendous job in a city that size and that heavily populated. But why on earth would you make the venders move across the street from the venue for 10 minutes and then come back and just rearrange their carts? Did you not like the fact the falafel dude was on the right? And here’s the gyro guy on the corner…now you want him in the middle? Just dumb. So now you have all these conventioneers, crossing a busy street to go grab something to eat. Which is more dangerous, people lining up on a sidewalk out of the way of traffic…or crossing a busy street? *shakes head*

The “Green” door. – This is for the loading and unloading of ticketed conventioneers only. – Oh, unless they decide to stop anyone from going inside and make them stand in a line in the middle of the day because the concourse is too full. The entire reason people buy badges ahead of time (other than the fact the event has gotten so big you can’t buy them at the door now) is for the convenience of sailing right in and not having to wait in line. Also, the “Green” door is the farthest door away from whatever side street you happen to walk up. So, let’s just make in the most inconvenient entrance for all those involved. Oh, and while you’re at it…make sure you don’t let anyone walk OUT of the building in Artists Alley and force them to get back into the freakin’ throng of people wading through the corridor that connects that part of the convention hall to the main entrance. #NYCCfail.

The IGN Theater fiasco – Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice theater. Big. Seats I don’t know how many, but has a decent capacity. First fail was the fact no where in the literature does it tell you that to line up for the theater that is located in 1D, they make you line up in 1C. For realz, folks. You couldn’t have printed that somewhere? Second fail was the fact they let people stay in their seats for the next show, or the next next show. This is fine on the first days of the con when there aren’t many people there, but on Saturday. Um, no. Wrong. So unless you’d camped out there from the morning, you weren’t getting a seat for the later shows. My friend Mals actually texted me that all panels were filled for the rest of the day. HUGE #NYCCfail. All right, so I have this loverly 4-day pass and I can’t get into any of the panels because you decided not to clear the theater? That’s just not right. Why should I have to camp out all day long to see something that doesn’t happen until 4 or 5 pm?

Oh, and the most ironic thing about that…they have a Q & A panel at the end of the con for voicing complaints about the show. Guess what? Yep, that’s right….IT WAS FILLED!! So, instead of voicing my complaints through the proper channels I get to rant here online.

Despite these problems, I still say it was overall a great show. A fun time. The costumes were amazing. People were nice and gracious, despite the overwhelming crowds.

Next year…I might just get a booth.

-Kat

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In Anticipation of Comic Con

Next week is the New York Comic Con, taking place at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. It’s been a few years since I attended this event as they seem to keep moving it around the calendar. The last time I went it was in January or February. Here it is October and we’re just gearing up for it…what’s that all about? Anyhoo…that time I only had a one-day pass that was paid for by a friend of ours who gave us the tix for dog sitting his adorable chocolate lab while he was away (the friend, not the dog.) This time I decided what the hell, I’d get four day passes for me and the hubster and we’d go in like the fan-geeks we are.

And why not? When we go to San Diego we buy passes for the entire con – of course going to SDCC requires a transcontinental excursion and a week’s vacation and another to recuperate, but it’s worth every minute and every penny spent. Since we live so close to NY, this four-day con will be spent in the luxury of our own home and getting back in time to let the dog out before she messes the carpet.

My friend Malorie went to the con last year with her four-day passes in hand and had a wonderful time (trust me, I saw the pix.) We’ve been discussing this year’s con since then and making plans to have a particularly kick-ass time. I can’t wait. Four days…to just wander around the dealer floor and artist alley and see the sights. To go to panel discussions and meet and greets of some of my heroes. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll be sure and take my camera and my phone so I can take pix on both and upload them here.

The best part of this – Dave got the four days off to go in with us. I bought the tix not knowing if he’d be able to swing the time off, but someone was smiling on us and made it happen. We’re hoping he makes some good contacts for his voice over work and gets auditions and all that loverly jazz. Me, I’m going to be concentrating on any writers and their tables down on the dealers’ floor and maybe I might just get a table next year, some banners and hock my own wares. Why not? I’ve had a vivid dream since Dave and his friends first started doing comic books and we’d go to show where they’d have their own tables: that dream is to take one year and do nothing but cons and write and meet the public. I’m still working on making that dream happen….maybe next year.

-Kat

An Old Tradition

It started back when I was in elementary school in the early to mid 1970s. My teacher at the time, Mrs. West, if I’m not mistaken, probably enjoyed Halloween as much as I did. Of course I don’t know this for sure because I never asked, but upon reflection I’m thinking she was a closet Poe enthusiast and lover of all things scary. I remember in the late afternoons she would put a record on the turntable (yes, in those days the recordings were on vinyl and not CDs, which I think lent the readings more character as the scratching and popping tended to make the narrators’ voices even more menacing). Anyhoo, on most of the fall afternoons, when the classroom was decorated with bright orange pumpkins, green witches and paper mache ghosts, she would play stories from the Edger Allan Poe collection.  And my love of reading Halloween themed books during this time of year was born.

Now, I do use that term loosely. The books themselves do not have to be set on or near Halloween, but have to contain an element of the darker paranormal – shifters, vampires, witches, banshees…you get the picture. There is just something about reading these tales around this time of year that makes me feel connected to my past and just feels…well…right. I love a good scary movie too, but I do have my limits there. Listening to one of the classic Poe tales being read as I’m doing something else, or reading a book with dark tales and a thin veil to the spirit world is much more satisfying to me than watching a movie where the blood, gore and dismemberment is front and center. Imaginations are wonderful things and I think what we paint in our heads is often worse than what Hollywood can concoct on the screen.

Last year I began reading the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian. I think I managed the first four books in the series before Halloween. Then I got busy with other things and different projects, so I put them away and read book five over the summer. Now, as we head into the fall, I have picked up book six to start my Halloween reading festival. They are good books. Well written. Gory in places and hot and sexy in others. A pretty good blend of what I’m looking for in a read.

I also find myself leaning toward wanting to write about paranormal creatures as the days grow shorter and night comes quicker. A few weeks ago I started an Edwardian-esque vampire story. Since it’s set in an alternate history I can’t really claim it is Edwardian, but it still has the feel of that time frame. However, my world is populated with vamps, fire horses and banshees. Can you imagine what the Londoners of the time would say seeing those creatures stalking their streets? As I got into the characters, I realized my short story might run into a slightly longer novella. But that’s fine, it gives me something fun to write in prep for Halloween– another side of my old tradition. You see, when my teacher would put the record on and my mind begin to absorb the words of Poe, I would take out a piece of drawing paper and sketch the stories going through my head at the time. Sadly, my skills with paper and ink did not evolve past that childish stage, but my work and love for words did. That’s how I paint my stories these days and I’ve never enjoyed a tradition more.

– Kat

Why?

I know there has been a rash of blog posts lately featuring the unseemly practices of some authors who decided it was a good idea to fake reviews or for reviewers to sell good ones to authors in need of a little push. Believe me, I wasn’t going to throw my two cents into the already overflowing bucket of rhetoric on the subject, but for some reason it has been really nagging at me.

I know none of those involved in any of the posts I’ve read. As a matter of fact I’ve only come by the posts via twitter or facebook feed and all from third party shares. I only know the events as I’ve read them on those blogs and have not investigated the matters further.

There have been other, more disturbing stories lately about authors trashing people for giving them low ratings, or the reviewers raking an author over the coals because they didn’t like a book. I’m sure none of this is a new trend. That these things have been going on for a long time, it’s just authors are more keyed into it now.

Why?

This is the crux of the post.

Not to point fingers or place blame or even cast a moral judgement on behavior, I just want to know why.

Why do they seem to be happening with greater frequency? Why are we more aware of it? Why do people not learn from the folly of others?

Has society as a whole become so desensitized to others’ feelings or been imbued with a driving need to always come in first place that as a population we throw common sense and manners to the wind and hope there is no backlash? That our actions will not render consequences? How about the building frustrations of an economy on the brink of collapse so people have become more desperate to get ahead that they will use any means to do so? Is the field just too competitive now that the need to shine or stand out overrides all other thoughts even at the cost of career suicide?

I don’t know. I haven’t any answers. It might be one, all or none of the above. The reasons are probably as vast and varied as the authors themselves. I don’t think we’ll ever know all the motivations behind these practices. I think the best we can manage is to read about them, make note and decide to take the high ground.

I do want to thank all of those who have been in the strike zone and chosen to write about it, to bring it to public notice and educate others. It’s the only way to raise awareness.

That’s the end of my thoughts on that matter–or rather questions. Now I want to hear what you think.

Tell me…Why? I want to know your opinions on the matter.

-Kat

Release Day for Mystics and Warriors Book 2: Sacred Sacrifices

All right, so I messed up on the release day. I thought it was the 17th, but apparently it is today! I’m both happy and sad over this. Happy because it’s finally out – sad because most of my scheduled promos and blog tours are for the end of the month. *sigh* Normally, I do admit my mistakes, but things were a bit confusing due to the fact the release date was moved a few times, so I can hardly be blamed for messing things up in the long run. I can only spin so many plates and juggle so many balls before the whole thing comes tumbling down. But enough about the author, let’s get to the reason I’m writing this blog…the book.

When I set out to write the sequel to Bad Religion, I knew I wanted to tell Jerella’s story and how she came to love and depend on two men to help her tackle the oppressive and evil theocrats. I also knew going into the book that both men would be on opposing sides of the conflict. What I didn’t know when I started writing and didn’t figure out until about chapter five or six is that the men had been former lovers. Well, if that just didn’t put a whole new spin on the emotion conflict of the story. I knew then that I really needed to listen to the characters and pursue that storyline as well. It wasn’t just about defeating the bad guys– or putting a serious dent in their plans — or Jerella’s journey to come into her full Sophatic powers. It was also about healing the past and moving forward. I always knew the title of the book, but it seemed that this new direction deepened the significance of Sacred Sacrifices and made it so much more meaningful. And before you ask…yes, I am one of those authors who really looks for the true meaning of their titles. I couldn’t just slap anything on the cover and call it good enough. It has to resonate with the story inside to a degree that it becomes impossible to separate the title and book.

The more I wrote Veric and Keis’s back story the richer the book became. I have to say I’m really quite proud of this title. It has everything I ever imagined it to be and more. I hope readers will enjoy Jerella, Veric and Keis’s story as much as I did. As with all my books, this has it’s fair share of intrigues, explosions and high tech gadgets. It also has a daring rescue, hot sex and trans-dimensional creatures. So much fun to write.

Here’s the blurbage for your enjoyment:

Sophite adja Jerella Montegro has crossed the length of the Sangrah Provinces to connect with a Unarion she’s only           communicated with in her mind. Hunted by the theocrats on an order of execution, she has risked everything to come to the aid of the
psychic sect she’s only heard of in stories. To bring them into the rebel fold with the Sophites and Drumas, it’s worth any price—including her life.

Unarion psychic Veric has spent the last few years mourning the betrayal of his lover, Keis, to the theocratic guards. Now, with
the construction of a tower near the borders of his homeland, and the rift of a nexus opening in the city of Rimfel, he needs           Jerella’s help to defeat the theocrats and their sinister plans once and for all.

Guard General Keis has given his all to the uniform he wears if only to bring his secret agenda to fruition. With Jerella and Veric in his crosshairs, he can’t lose. For what’s the promise of the future without a few sacrifices?

http://www.loose-id.com/mystics-and-warriors-2-sacred-sacrifices/

For those wishing to purchase it on amazon.com or nook the link is not yet live, but it will be available in those formats soon.

Now, the only think I have left to do is to figure out how to get the info on my website. *taps fingers on desk*

-Kathleen

 

Excitement and Confusion

If I were a dog, I’d be one of those ones who sit in the middle of the floor and constantly chase their tail in hopes of one day catching it. No lie. Hand to God. The good news is that I just do this when I write and I don’t actually spin in circles because that would look silly and probably get me a one-way ticket to padded corner doing the Thorazine shuffle.

Now you are probably wondering why I am so excited that I’d chase my tail amid happy barks. Well, there are two reasons. 1) After working night shift for 19 years, I’m finally going to jump ship and go to days. Yep, the old body said enough and I had to listen. I’ve already worked a couple of shifts and have to tell you I feel amazing. I’ll miss all my friends on the the night shift, but I think my health is more important than any other consideration. After all, I want to be around to write all the books floating around in my head.

Which brings me to 2) the more I’m writing on the second book of my steampunk/shifter series the more I can’t wait to get through the third book so I can get to the fourth. You see I’ve committed the unpardonable sin of falling in love with a secondary character–one who is in league with the villain. And if we are to believe his story…he worked for the villain of book one as well. SO CAN’T WAIT TO WRITE THIS CHARACTER IN HIS OWN BOOK. I’m just saying.

This derailing of my attention for a secondary character most likely stems from the fact he is not only dedicated bad boy, but physically scarred. What is it about me loving scarred heroes lately? Maybe I find their histories so much more interesting than the heroes without physical imperfections. However, I will say that every hero in this particular series has scars whether they show on the outside or not. Some of them just hide it better than others. Like Gideon in book 2. His scars are emotional and run very deep. It will take a special woman to bring him out of his buried despair…but oops, she has just as many as he does and their goals are on a collision course that has no choice but to destroy them both. So much fun to write. But then I’m mean to my characters that way.

So now you understand where the excitement and confusion comes from. I’m excited that I’ve found a backstory for my 4th hero, but am confused  because I want to skip over the other books and write this one. Can’t happen. I must go in order. There is political intrigue and a war brewing so I must keep the other elements in a linear fashion.

Sometimes it’s very frustrating not being able to write as fast as I read – or think. *sigh* I think I have enough projects in this one series to keep me going for a while. Wish me luck.

-Kat

 

Midsummer…Summer…Summer….

Now, if you are anywhere near my age, and listened to The Cars when you were in your teens, you might get that little play on the title there…If not…well, you might have some research to do. Hint: Magic.

Some people say the Beach Boys remind them of summer, others might think Black-Eyed Peas or Alice in Chains. I think it all depends on your musical tastes and what you enjoy listening to when you’re outside barb-b-queing or laying on the sand, frying at your favorite beach. For me, it’s different periods of my life that are linked to certain music and what summer it reminds me of. Point in case, Neil Diamond reminds me of my childhood summers. We lived down the street from this family who my parents were best friends with (they were probably a good ten years younger than my parents) but the act of just burning trash in built in fire pit in the backyard at either house, often evolved into a block party. To this day I can’t hear Sweet Caroline or I Am I Said, without feeling a bit nostalgic for hot, Michigan days and cool nights. Of grilling hotdogs with a metal stick over the open flames and playing with sparklers when it wasn’t even the Fourth of July.

Ah, those carefree days are long gone. The knowledge of knowing you had absolutely nothing to do but what your imagination might conjure kept you going for that three month period and straight into Labor Day. Damn, we had it good as kids.

In high school, I started putting my summers to better use and worked at an amusement park. What a great first job for teenager. There were some days I couldn’t wait to get to work. All my friends worked they and it was so much fun…I think everyone should enjoy their job that much. Rock music played all through the park, piped in from the owner’s office overlooking the midway. Generally the day kicked off with Rush’s Spirit of the Radio or the Motels Only the Lonely. To this day the smell of fair food mixed with the calliope of a merry-go-round takes me back to those sweet days. Every summer the workers of the two amusement parks that used to be in my hometown get together for what they call the Non-reunion Reunion. I only learned about it last year. Much to my surprise my old friends of Panama City Beach had been trying to locate me for a long time. It took the modern miracle of Facebook for them to finally catch up with me. And though I will not be able to attend the reunion, I am very glad they found me.

During college, my summers were chiefly spent at the beach (when you can roll out of bed and hit the Gulf of Mexico, this is not that much of a hardship) and waiting tables. Life was good. I was young and wild and free …so the song goes…and enjoyed every moment of squeezing out life in any way I could. Life seemed an endless summer back then…*sigh*

It’s been a long time since summer has represented more for me than the opportunity to drive to work unfettered by the horrible Jersey snowstorm. Something happens when we pass from carefree youth to responsible adult: the summers seem to get shorter, the opportunities for fun fewer. You become so bogged down in the everyday that before  you know it, autumn has come and you still haven’t gotten together with your closest friends to have that cookout you discussed two years ago Christmas. And the music…it all starts sounding the same…

To that I saw…Take back the season!!!

You’ve worked long and hard to get where you are…why not reap the rewards of a life well-lived? Why wallow in complacency when you can bask in sunshine of renewal. Midsummer isn’t just a time of year when the day is longest…it is the day of greatest power. Take of your shoes and run through the grass barefoot. Catch fireflies in a jar or watch them dance like tiny fairies over your yard. Hang some Chinese lanterns in your yard and grill out after dark and listen to the night birds. Run through a sprinkler or douse your mate with a garden hose. Do all those things you loved as a child, but thought you were too old to enjoy as an adult.

You are never too old to enjoy the summer. This year…make your own music.

-MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott