Writers: Go To Conventions (a guest post by Matthew W. Quinn)

Yes it’s been a minute. Here is a guest post by my friend Matt. Listen up. He’s got good advice here. (JRT)


By Matthew W. Quinn

One lesson I’ve learned in the years I’ve been writing professionally is attending conventions is a really, really good idea. Since I live in Atlanta, I’ve been blessed to have conventions like DragonCon, AnachroCon, and JordanCon (although I’ve never been to that one) easily accessible.

Firstly, conventions are good places to do business. I didn’t even know the BattleTech science-fiction franchise even still existed, but I ran into the staff of Catalyst Game Labs — the current holder of the property — at the 2008 DragonCon. I spent the subsequent year writing a short story entitled “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” for the site BattleCorps based on something I read in an old Clan Wolf sourcebook and submitted it to them just before the 2009 convention. I let the staff know I’d done this and soon afterward they wrote me to tell me they’d purchased the story. It’s still up there, and it’s now the canonical account of the Battle of Jallington Vale.

At a later DragonCon (either 2011 or 2012), I met representatives of another small press and received permission to send them my secondary-world fantasy/steampunk novel Battle for the Wastelands. I submitted in March 2013 and after not hearing back for some time, queried the company’s representative at the 2013 convention. I eventually received a rejection that November — they said it had good writing, but wasn’t for them. Although this wasn’t an acceptance, it was still feedback and a contact made for future projects.

More recently, I volunteered at the 2015 World Horror Conference. There I met representatives of two small presses, one dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror and the other “bizarro.” I got the go-ahead to submit my teen Lovecraftian horror novel The Thing in the Woods and a rather strange tale involving little people. I’ve already submitted the former; I’ll submit the latter once I finish it.

Secondly, one can learn a whole lot about the craft of writing from panels. I found panels at DragonCon 2013 so informative on topics like pulp writing and putting together anthologies and collections that I ended up blogging about them. At the 2011 DragonCon I attended a panel on characterization taught by none other than Michael Stackpole. Another panel, with S.M. Stirling, provided some valuable advice about short stories and the most profitable use of one’s time. DragonCon 2010 gave me enough material for multiple blog posts. AnachroCon, though much smaller, taught me some valuable information about Norse culture and the state of Lovecraftian media.

Finally, conventions are a good place to sell your wares. James and I have a mutual friend named J.H. Glaze who’s very, very good at moving his product at conventions. I’ve purchased books at the World Horror Conference and DragonCon. If you’ve got books to sell, try to get a table either by yourself or with other writers to share the load.

-Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer, editor, and soon to be holder of an M.A. in World History from Georgia State University. Check out his speculative fiction here and follow him on Twitter here.


I MAKES BOOK COVERS (it’s true. I do.)

I do covers. If you want one hit me up. You get print layout and ebook cover.

james AT jamesrtuck DOT com

(replace AT with @ and DOT with . and close the gaps)

On my personal books I did the artwork and took the photos….for FLASHING STEEL FLASHING FIRE I used a stock image I bought……for INTO THE WEIRD the artwork came from Karl Comendador (find him HERE)

If you want to buy any of these click the pictures and you can buy them in ebook and print!

My stuff:

hired gun 5 x 8 jpeg internet special features FLATTENED internetviewable THAT WAY LIES MADNESS FULL COVER 5X8 INTERNET VERSIONand for other people:



TA HELL WITH A MASS MARKET (my opinion as a reader on why I love Trade Paperbacks)

I have a ton of books.

I don’t know how much they actually weigh, but me and the Missus have a book buying problem. Actually, the phraseology on that is wrong. We have NO problem buying books. Ignore the fact that my TBR pile numbers near 100. Ignore also the fact that there are easily 20 current releases I have NOT purchased simply because I know when I do I will immediately read them thus pushing my TBR pile even further int he background. (Yes, I’m looking at you COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher. Fuck you, don’t make me feel guilty for not bathing in your sweet sweet cotton-candy scented literature. I’ll get to you. I will. I PROMISE. It is inevitable.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, books.

Here is a pic of our new, grown folks books shelves and our library at the house.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.


So earlier I was thinking about books. The physical form of the book. I decided that I am totally over mass market paperbacks. I much prefer the size of a trade paperback.

Mass market paperbacks are now the cats of the publishing world in my opinion.

Now I’ll still buy a mass market, hell I bought one last night (SHARP by my good friend Alex Hughes). But if I can, I’m buying trades from now on.

Book four of the Deacon Chalk series will be trade paperback size.

My double anthology of sword and sorcery stories that I edited for Seventh Star press will be trade paperback size.

I’m actually going to push for any book released by me to be automatically in trade paperback size. I may not get it for everything, but it’s what I want.

They are easier to hold, easier to read, and easier to shelve. They are narrower, so you can fit more on a shelf, and with a mass market, you lose the 3-4 inch difference in dead space between the top of the book and the bottom of the shelf above it.

This post has no real merit. It was just a musing I thought I would indulge because, hey, fuck it, it’s my internet too.

So what’s your choice or opinion on this hot-button issue?

YOU CAN BE WHERE I WILL BE (making it easy for fans and stalkers lol)

Dearly Beloved, 
We are gathered here today, to join two awesome things in a state of increased awesomeness.
Today, we’re bringing together an author/reader mini-con, and the chance to WIN YOUR WAY IN FOR FREE!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen… starting today, you will all have 7 days to hop around from author to author, blogger to blogger, and enter at every stop to win one of 3 FREE REGISTRATIONS to Olde City, New Blood, the upcoming urban fantasy/paranormal romance mini-con in St. Augustine, FL next February.
You can check out the official website for the complete list of Featured Authors (I’ll give you a hint… one of them is ME!!) and Featured Bloggers. There’s also a main contest post with all the participating authors, bloggers, and dates for the contest. It’s super easy. Visit each of the spotlight blog posts and author websites listed, fill out the Rafflecopter link on each one (one entry PER POST, not per day… and yes, they will be checking), and POOF, multiple entries to WIN!!
The prize is one of 3 FREE REGISTRATIONS to see me and about 49 other authors on the sunny beaches of St. Augustine, Florida, from Feb 8th-10, 2013. We’re going to be doing panels, readings, meet & greets, and just generally having a fun weekend with our incredible fans!! Please keep in mind, if you win, you’ll have to cover your own travel and hotel expenses, but your ticket into the party will be on Olde City, New Blood!!!
The contest runs from September 30th – October 6th, and the 3 winners will be announced on September 7th. Don’t forget to click the Rafflecopter link below before you hop off to check out the rest of the contest posts!! Good Luck, everyone!! I hope to see you ALL in Florida this February!!

THE REAL SCOOP ON SELF-PUBLISHING (no BS. Talking to my successful indie author friends.)

If you read books then you know that things they are a changing in the publishing world. A lot of folks are up in arms over the advent of independent publishing, or as it is know more commonly, self publishing. Now I have dipped my toe in that water. I have a self-pubbed little crime collection out. It’s full of these tiny crime stories that I love and think are kick-ass. They are too short for anyone to pay me for publishing them traditionally so I did it myself. It sells well and I had fun.

But I’m not a self-published author. It’s a ton of work and I do love my publisher. Kensington has been very good to me. So I am not an expert on what it’s like to really be a self-publisher. However, I am lucky enough to have many wonderful friends who self-pub. I chose three of them to interview for you today. Now I picked these three folks because of a few reasons.

1) They are all very talented. These are folks who are self publishing because they CHOOSE to, not because they suck.

2) They are actually making a livable wage (and then some) by self-publishing.

So without further adieu:

Q: Tell the readers a bit about yourselves.

Annabel Joseph: My name is Annabel Joseph and I’ve been writing for publication since about 2007. I started out at the two largest e-romance publishers and moved to self publishing after my 5th book. I have fourteen books out now with two more on the way, and I’d classify myself as a successful self-published author since I make a good living at it. I’m so thankful for my readers, because a lot of my success has come through word of mouth.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I write mostly paranormal fiction, you know…the kind with vampires and people who have special powers. My book that sells the best is The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter. I may delve into other genres, but for the most part they will always have a paranormal twist.

John Hartness: I’m John G. Hartness, author of The Black Knight Chronicles urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, and the creator of Bubba the Monster Hunter and his series of short stories. I’m a professional writer, lighting designer, theatre director, writing instructor, poet, drunkard and knight-errant. Some people call me Maurice, ‘cause I speak of the pompatus of love.

Q: Why did you choose to self-publish?

Jennifer Malone Wright: The Decision to self publish was a huge decision and it was not made lightly. Seriously, I was researching publishing, agents, query letters and also the process of self publishing for years before I finished my first book. I finally chose self publishing because of the ebook boom and wanted to see what I could do with it before I pursued an agent.

Annabel Joseph:  It was a convergence of several things. First, I got a terrible cover for one of my traditionally published books. And when I say terrible, I mean, people went out of their way to write to me and say, “I did not buy your book because the cover was THAT bad.” When I complained to the publisher I was basically told to shut up, which smarts. I mean, that’s my book I labored over, and their cover sunk it. I’ll never get over it.

Around that same time, a friend convinced me to self publish one of my edgier books on Amazon. It started to sell–really SELL. By the second month it climbed to number one on the erotica bestseller list and stayed there for over a week. I had priced it at $2.99 and I sold thousands of copies at that price. I’m not saying that’s normal, but for whatever reason, the book generated word of mouth, and I made $12,000 on it that month. Meanwhile, my traditionally published book with the awful cover was priced at 11.90 and sold, I don’t know, maybe 30 copies.

I did the math in my head…hmmm…do I want to sell 30 copies a month and make $30 in royalties, or sell 6000 copies a month and get $12,000 in royalties? I was actually in contract negotiations with my next book and pulled out. The publisher got mad and it was a bad scene, but I’ve never looked back and I don’t regret it. For me, it was a matter of making a living at what I was doing, or not making a living, and I wanted to make a living.

John Hartness: I got impatient with the traditional publishing process. Not understanding the sheer volume of submissions agents and publishers receive, I waited a month after sending out my first few query letters and pulled the trigger on self-publishing.

Q: Do you love self-publishing or do you wish you were with a traditional publisher?

John Hartness: Even now that I am with a traditional publisher, I can’t foresee ever selling all my properties to traditional publishers. I love the editorial support I get from my publisher, but I love the control of self-publishing. And I write so much faster than any publisher could keep up with, so I will always keep at least one foot in the self-publishing waters. I look at all of it as stops on the journey. I learned a ton self-publishing that I’m now able to apply to my traditionally published works. Then I’m learning a ton through working with a traditional press that I can apply to my self-pub work. So it all flows back and forth.

Jennifer Malone Wright: There are some days I would disagree with the statement I’m going to make, but for the most part I totally love self publishing. I love being able to keep track of all my sales and know what works and what doesn’t. I love the creative process of picking covers and stuff like that. I actually like marketing so doing that doesn’t bother me either. The only thing I really don’t like is the accounting part of it.

Annabel Joseph: I only miss one thing about traditional publishing, and that’s the “prestige” factor. It doesn’t matter how many books you’re selling or how much money you’re making…a self-published author still appears “lesser” than a traditionally published author. There’s a stigma attached to it, the assumption that you’re self publishing because your work’s not publishable, and that’s not always the case.

I should mention here that I do believe it’s beneficial to put out at least a book or two the traditional way– if you can–because you learn a lot about what and what not to do. You learn a lot of things about writing and editing. If you’re determined to begin your career as a self publisher, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced editor to help you through your first few books. You need it. It’s costly, but I can’t stress this enough…everyone needs editors. Everyone. Every. One. Pay the money.

Q: I know each of you spend money on your covers. How important is a good cover to the sellability of the book?

Annabel Joseph: I know from experience they have a massive effect on book sales. My best covers have my best sales. My worst covers have my worst sales. Publishers will tell you–when you don’t like your cover–that covers don’t matter. It’s such a lie. When I talk to readers, they tell me they judge the cover before the blurb. You can have the best blurb in the world, but if that cover pic doesn’t compel them to click, they aren’t going to get to the blurb. Books live and die by the Amazon thumbnail, so not only do you need a great cover…it needs to be compelling in itty-bitty thumbnail form.

John Hartness:  I think a good cover is critical, particularly in paperback. I know I lost sales before I re-did all the covers to my books last year. I spend less money and time on my ebook short stories, but I can almost get away with that. But when I’m asking someone to shell out money for my novels, they need to get a professionally presented product.

Jennifer Malone Wright: Oh my goodness. A good cover is sooo important. I have seen several of my friends change their covers to something better and see their sales jump dramatically. I never did my own covers, The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter sells really well and the covers are great. My other novel, The Birth of Jaiden, doesn’t sell so well so we are going to try and come up with a new cover when we do the re release after it has been re edited. Think about how many books are out there, if yours doesn’t have an eye catching cover people will scan right on past it.

Q: What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

Jennifer Malone Wright: The best thing about self publishing is that I am in control of all my own work and I get a pretty good royalty compared to what traditionally published authors get.

Annabel Joseph: Control of your work is the number one best thing. A self publishing author controls the cover, the subject matter, the release date, the price, the formats, everything. Until you get a bad cover, or have an ebook out there priced at $11 totally tanking, you don’t understand how important that control is, or how powerless you are at a traditional publisher. Basically, you have NO power and no rights to your work, even though you’ve written the book. It’s difficult. With self publishing, you never have to surrender your rights or your power.

Self-publishing also allows you to bend genres and tiptoe around the outside of various genres, because you can put out things publishers don’t want to take a chance on. I’ve come to realize there are a lot of things readers want that publishers won’t touch. Self publishing allows authors to fill that niche. I had a historical called Lily Mine that a publisher kicked out a week before the release date because they said the ending was too implausible. It was a Cinderella-type story, and I believed readers would love it, so I published it myself. It climbed to number 12 on the erotica bestseller list and has continued to sell well for over a year now. Publishers aren’t always right about what people want to read.

John Hartness: The control.

Q: What’s the worst thing?

John Hartness: Having to do it all myself. I’m a team of one on my self-pub stuff, and with my traditionally pubbed work I’ve got a group working with me.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I said it before up there, the accounting. I freaking hate the whole save this for your taxes and make sure to claim this and blah blah blah… I hate it!

Annabel Joseph: Lack of respect, lack of opportunity. I have to kiss a lot of butt and do a lot of networking to get a spot at conferences or author panels, or to get reviewed on the bigger blogs. I’m not welcome at big romance conventions like RWA or RT, even though I imagine my sales match or exceed their published authors. It’s a constant struggle to be taken seriously, to prove yourself.

Q: Do you still get flack for being self-published, or has that day passed us by?

Annabel Joseph: No, it hasn’t passed us by. I do feel like the red-headed stepchild of the publishing industry. A lot of doors are closed to me because of the choices I’ve made, but I remind myself that I’m making a living at writing because I’m self publishing. The checks I get from my publishers are about 1/10 of the checks I get from my self-published work, and I don’t want to go back to those slave wages over an issue of pride. I have to remember it’s about the success, not the prestige. It’s about reaching readers and being able to stay home and do this as a full-time job. It’s worth a few people looking down their noses at me.

John Hartness: We’re not quite past that day, but we’re close. I still get a few snubs from cons and book festivals that won’t look at self-pubbed authors, and some agents and editors still look down their nose, but more and more people are travelling the hybrid author road, so it’s starting to look less like a decision people are forced into and more like a viable career path.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I do think, to an extent that that day has passed us by, but not completely. When I was first published I did get flack. You know, like when someone says “Oh, your published! With who?” then you tell them you are self published and you can see their whole facial expression change and they say “Oh.” Yeah, that has passed us by. We still have a long way to go to overcome the stigmas and stereotypes of self publishing over the years.

Q: Any predictions about the future? What will happen with traditional publishing? What will happen with self-publishing?

John Hartness: I think the picture of the author of the future will be different from the author of today. I think with a hybrid career (some trad pub, some self pub) we’ll see more midlist authors able to actually make a living off their writing, and writing will become a viable profession once again. I think the mass market paperback is dead within five years unless you’re a top 20 bestseller, and it will be replaced by ebooks and trade paperbacks. And I think we’re in the midst of a renaissance for small press and micro-press publishers.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I think we are always going to have traditional publishing, I don’t really have a prediction about them. For independent publishing, I think it will keep rising up and eventually a lot of these independent authors will be very, very well known. However, independent publishers must realize that we must have our product be equal or better than the traditional publishers or the self publishing industry will fall again.

Annabel Joseph: I think publishers will have to become more service-oriented to keep authors in the fold. The exodus to self-publishing has already begun, and to retain authors, publishers will have to cough up some perks to offset the low royalties they pay, like more author control. They’ll have to cater more to their authors and maybe even offer to do the promo legwork that has traditionally fallen into the author’s lap.

Otherwise I don’t see how they survive, how they remain relevant. Once the digital market overtakes the paper book market, and mass distribution of paper books loses importance, all publishers really have to offer is prestige and whatever perks they can think up to convince authors to share their royalties with them.

All I know is things are changing like crazy. It will be interesting to see where they end up.


WOW! Thank you all for being so open and up front. I appreciate it.

See, dear reader, this is what you DON’T get from other blogs. I bring you the straight dope from folks who are LIVING this. Now do your part. These are all PHENOMENAL authors. You like to read so go buy one of their books. Follow them on twitter, like them on faceybook, repost their stuff. These fine folks are worthy of your support. Love them like you love me and buy their shit. 🙂

Here are your links:


Website: www.annabeljoseph.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annabeljosephnovels

Twitter: @annabeljoseph

Fetlife: Annabel_Joseph

Latest release: BURN FOR YOU


Facebook : facebook.com/johnghartness.

  Website: www.johnhartness.com

Twitter:  @johnhartness.

Latest Release: SIXTEEN TONS A Bubba the Monster Hunter short


Website: www.jenniferwrightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevampirehuntersdaughter



Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Malone-Wright/e/B00508KU4I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

EYEBALLS, NEEDLES, BURLESQUE GIRLS, AND INK (or an interview with Author/Tattoo Artist Julia Madeleine)

Loyals and True Believers HARK!

Today I bring you an awesome interview with a strange and unique person. She is one of the rare folks who are both a writer AND a tattoo artist like yours truly.

Julia Madeleine is Canadian and one helluva interesting Dame. Tune in and pay attention and at the end there will be FREE stuff.

Q&A with Julia Madeline


Let’s start off with the good stuff, tell us about your newest book. It’s a prequel right?

There is a prequel called Scarlet Sins, which is a novella about a burlesque queen in the 1960s, her troubled marriage, and what she chooses to do to save it. Then there is my novel, The Truth About Scarlet Rose, about the subsequent murder of her husband and her grown daughter who has to help in the investigation.

Image                                                                       Image

So why do you write such dark stuff? I mean you are a girl! Shouldn’t you be writing about love and stuff?

That’s funny James. Love is good. I write about love, but it’s usually love gone wrong, where someone is going to end up dead. Much more interesting that way, wouldn’t you say?

Now why did you choose to go the way of Amazon exclusivity? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m currently selling exclusively through Amazon because Kindle Direct Publishing allows for some great marketing tools like making your book free for a limited time which is a great way for new readers to find your work. I might eventually list my books with other eBook retailers like Kobo and Sony for example (never say never) but the market share for them is pretty small and they have a habit of discounting their books which affects the price on Amazon . The new king of the jungle is Amazon and they very author friendly.


What books or authors do you think influenced you as a writer? And what are you reading now?

I’ve read a lot of literary fiction since college and I think it influenced my writing considerably. Mary Gaitskill, Evelyn Lau, Joyce Carol Oates, Janet Fitch, Margaret Laurence. These days I’m pretty much reading just in the thriller genre. Currently I’m reading Hillary Davidson’s debut The Damage Done and Tumblin’ Dice by John McFetridge.

Okay, let’s switch gears to your other career. Like me, you are a professional tattoo artist. Your pinup work is super nice. Is that your favorite style?


Definitely. I love the classic pin-ups and I enjoy doing them in colour especially. They make for great tattoos. Gil Elvgren and George Petty are two of my favourite pin-up artists.

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Tell me how you got started in tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship or just sell your soul at the crossroads for the ability to tattoo?


I blackmailed my tattoo artist. Ha, ha. No, I just married him. When I lost my job as a match maker at a dating service, I started hanging around my husband’s shop answering the phones. I’ve always had an art background but never thought of doing anything professionally with it. Then I started to work on custom designs for clients and eventually that led to my husband teaching me to tattoo. He made that decision after the first time he had to cough up for my car payment. So basically tattooing found me, I wasn’t looking to be an artist at all.

How is the tattoo scene in your town? How is the author scene?

The tattoo scene is awesome. My husband Fabien, has had the shop, Malefic Tattoos, on the west side of Toronto for about 18 years so we’re well established and have worked at building a good reputation and a loyal clientele. I’ve been a tattooer myself for about 12 years. We’re in a big city, about 700,000 so no shortage of flesh. It’s cool to go through generations of families; the kids of parents we’ve been tattooing for years starting to come in now. Love seeing that. We’re doing the NIX tattoo show in Toronto this summer for the first time. So that’s going to be lots of fun.

The crime writing scene here is pretty good as well. We have an annual convention in Toronto called Bloody Words. It’s like a mini Thrillerfest. Lots of great Canadian writers.

Do you have any other creative outlets like painting or photography? Or do you stick with only the two of tattooing and writing?

I do but I’ve had to give them all up to feed my writing obsession. I used to paint and was into photography as well. I also used to design clothing and sew, garden, bake, make jewellery. All visual arts; I don’t sing, dance, or play music. But alas, writing is all consuming and in order to have the time for it, I’ve had to sacrifice all other creative mediums. Except for tattooing of course because that’s my career. It sucks sometimes because I still want to do all those other things, especially when I see things that inspire me. I really need to be more than one person.


Any advice to a person wanting to get into the writing gig?

Devour all the books on the craft of writing that you can get your hot little hands on. They will take your writing light years ahead. I’ve got Stein On Writing in audio book on my iphone and listen to it over and over. And I’ve got books with highlighted passages that I refer to regularly. You can never stop growing and learning, especially when it comes to writing. The same goes for tattooing. There’s always more to learn.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your awesome with us!

Now, here’s the free stuff.

First, go check out Julia’s website.


and then go pick up one of her books for FREE. Hell yes, you read that right, FREE on AMAZON but only March1-March3 2012. CLICK HERE TO GET IT..

STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE is a collection of 17 short stories of mayhem that are not for the faint of heart. These stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2011, have been featured in a number of crime fiction magazines. Buckets of blood are spilt between these pages, and some nice (and some not so nice) people die horrible deaths. Here you will meet a pedophile who picks the wrong little girl to try and molest; a clown who gets bullied by his wife one time too many, a serial killer who likes to take postmortem photographs of his victims, more than one angry wife/girlfriend seeking revenge on the other woman, and more than one escaped mental patient with murder in her heart.


GOOD TIMES AND GOOD PEEPS (or a Con Nooga 2012 wrap-up)

So last weekend was Con Nooga held in Chattanooga Tn at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It’s a nice, quiet convention. It’s not nearly as crazy as Dragoncon, (Big shout out to Derek Tatum for letting me crash at his place while I was there.) but was a ton of fun.

Now I stayed mostly in the Literary track, hanging with my own kind. lol. I met some really great folks over the weekend. Now Iam going to miss some folks and I will catch them on a follow up post, but I have been sick for almost 4 days so you will just have to forgive me.

These are in no certain order.

Dan Jolley- Dan is a helluva guy. Friendly, easy to talk to, and he has written some of my favorite comic book titles. I LOVE the JSA and he has written them. Now he spends most of his time  writing a little known game called Prototype 2. (That was total sarcasm. This game is supposed to be AWESOME!) He has stuff to read, go check it out.


Sean Taylor- This guy read some snippets from his SHOW ME A HERO anthology and made me extremely jealous. It was really, really, good. Another really nice guy and he has a great blog you should check out daily. Go click on his website and you will find the link.


Stephen Zimmer- This man is a helluva professional. He has a ton of great looking books out and he really knows his stuff. Making books or making movies I suggest you go look at his stuff. Plus he is probably coming to a convention near you soon, he travels like a crazy person!


Andy Deane- Frontman for the band Bella Morte who I did not get to see perform in concert, but after listening to their stuff at home I wish I had. Andy was funny as hell, always bringing a laugh with him, even at 10AM.  He’s got flair, you gotta admit that and his books show the same. Buy a book, get a cd, wear the t-shirt and Andy will come to your house and make you coffee.


D. A. Adams- Alex was pretty soft-spoken but when he did pipe up it was always with some quality stuff. He does like to use the $15 dollar words. lol. He has a great series following the Brotherhood of the Dwarves. Highly recommended if you like dwarvish mayhem and hey, who doesn’t?


Venessa Giunta- No I did not misspell her name. This wonderful lady was so freaking helpful. She is a consummate professional and really knows her stuff. If you ever find yourself at a convention where she is teaching one of her classes then go take it. When she talks to you about your work, you should listen.  She makes with the words of the wisdom.


Kerlak Publishing- Wow, this publisher had a ton of folks representing at Con Nooga and all of them were wonderful. Their product looked super nice and they were on time with their professionalism. I highly recommend you check them out. If you are a reader, pick up a book. If you are a writer I can only imagine they would treat you well.


And there you go. I met many more awesome folks, including some wonderful fans. Next year the convention moves to a larger, more consolidated location so it should be even better!

DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME (writing crime fiction)

Most everybody knows I have two great loves in reading. I may dally around in other places, chatting up other genres, dabbling here and there with my reader eye wandering, but at the end of the day I come back to two kinds of books.

Urban Fantasy and Crime.

Now, my love for urban fantasy is well known. It’s open and unabashed. I write an urban fantasy series. (Deacon Chalk, badass Occult Bounty Hunter) I have plans to write him for 20 books or so and have a ton of story ideas just waiting to be written.

My next book, hopefully will be a crime book. I have one that is gestating, building into a nice little crime fetus.  So here are the things I have in my head:

A young man hits the road in his dead daddy’s sweet ’69 Chevelle. He is out to find himself. All he has is the car, his memories of his dad, a little money in his pocket from a recent score, and time on his hands.

A young girl on the run from a screw up of a dad and the mess he has put her in. All she has is a need to stay safe, a desire to try and get her daddy straightened out, and a duffel bag full of trouble.





They cross paths on a Long Hard Road Outta Town and wind up running for their lives from a cold-blooded sonnuva bitch named Dude Ray. He wants his stuff back and someone has to pay.

Sometimes it takes walking through the fire to find out who you really are.



It’s shaping up to be a fun little book. A chase novel that’s a bit of a cross between Justified and No Country For Old Men with a boss hotrod and more guns. Lots of small town, Southern wackiness. Plus there’s a lot of subtext with Cowboy’s search for manhood. My good friend Faith Hunter made an introduction to a very good agent who specializes in mysteries, so I am getting this project together for a proposal to him. Fingers crossed y’all.

Speaking of crime, how damn good is Justified? Seriously, if you are not watching this show then shame on you.

Start now. Go buy season 1 and 2 on dvd and get rolling.

I am burning through the 4th Reacher book by Lee Childs.

It is really good.

Tom Piccirilli has a new one coming out that looks awesome as always.

And I began Drama City by George Pelecanos, so far I am really enjoying it.

Plus there is a Marcus Sakey book on my shelf calling my name.

Until next time.

Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.

SPIDERS, GUNS, AND FIRE OH, HELLS YES! (or new cover art reveal)

Loyals and True Believers,

Let me talk to you about covers. Now when an author gets signed and a book is going live it needs a cover. Cover art is very important. It is the first thing a reader sees and it is the thing, oftentimes, that determines whether someone even buys the book in the first place.  It should hook the reader, informing them about the nuances of the story inside. A picture is worth a thousand words? Hell, put that picture on a cover and it becomes worth 80,000 words.

An authors get no say in the cover at all.

Generally, the author will see the cover before you, but we don’t get to speak to it at all or to make any changes.  I got lucky. I was sent model pictures for Deacon to choose from and was allowed to give a description of what I might like for cover one. Then the absolutely kick ass Gene Mollica (click here to see his site!) went and crafted the awesome cover to BLOOD AND BULLETS. I was real happy.

Then came the cover for e-novella 1 THAT THING AT THE ZOO. This one was put together by Lou Malcangi and the art department at Kensington.  I REALLY like the cover tot he e-novella and think it is super stellar considering there is ZERO budget on e-novella covers.

It came time to do the cover for SPIDER’S LULLABY (e-novella 2 out July 2012) and Lou and the boys delivered again! Here is the cover in all it’s glory.

C’mon, admit it. You are a bit creeped out right now. lol.

This story follows Deacon, Tiff, and Charlotte in a battle to save something held precious by Charlotte from the hands of an ex-yakuza assassin with a demon on his back. Mayhem, gunplay, and Were-spiders!

So now fast forward. I was given the chance to pop over another cover description/idea sheet and became friends through social media with Gene himself. We chatted and he began work on the cover for BLOOD AND SILVER (book 2 out in August of 2012). A while later Gene dropped me a line and told me he had finished the cover and was really happy with it. I contacted John and he was going to send it over for me to see.

Then the mail came.

In it was a package of cover flats for book 2. The Missus opened it and called me. She described it and I got excited. Then I came home and saw it for myself.


I love this cover. I cannot stop staring at it. I mean damn, I love cover one, but this one really resonates with me.  So enough with the yapping, here it is:

See? It. Is. AWESOME!

And Gene said I could use it however I want to promo so you will be seeing wallpapers for your computer and other items. I’m going to hang it on my wall.


WE BOUGHT A HOUSE OF ILL-REPUTE (or a guest blog by Anthony Elmore)

Alright Loyals and True Believers one of the new things I am doing around here is to invite some of my writerly friends over to guest. You get a bit of fresh meat for the marketplace and a possibility to find a new writer you like.

This time around is Anthony Elmore, author of FARTING IN CHURCH. A collection of humorous anecdotes. (There is a buy link below) Anthony is a member of my writing group. Enjoy his visit.

Many thanks to James Tuck for letting me borrow his stage for a sec. As a former Hollywood screenwriter living in Roswell, I have created over 108 screenplays, 13 teleplays and a five-part miniseries based on the life of Zachary Taylor called Curdled Destiny. Below is a treatment I wrote a year before a We Bought a Zoo debuted, starring Matt Damon, basking in his kids n’ critters chapter of his career, to be followed by cameos on WB sitcoms.

“We Bought a House of Ill Repute”

An Original Screenplay Concept by Anthony Ray Elmore

Logline: When life hands you lemons, open a lemonade stand. When life hands you 10 grizzled, middle aged “professional women”, open your heart.

Recently divorced, remarried, and subsequently widowed father, NORMAN SMITH is mourning the loss of his estranged wife who died during a colonic mishap. He has indulged his three children, 16 year old rebellious teenager LEAH, his 10 year old science geek STEVE and three year old in a 20 year old body NICK. Steve gets in trouble with Homeland Security when he hacks into top-secret military drones and makes them buzz the White House.

After being released from Guantanamo, Norman is at the end of his rope with his children’s behavior. On his way to his architecture firm, Norman spots a rundown Victorian home with a “For Sale” sign in the yard. He enters the home and finds a mysterious Norman Friedman like Real Estate agent who says the home is for sale at a bargain price, but it is “as is.” The home has red velvet walls and antique furniture, and a lingering scent of L’Air du Temps and petroleum jelly. Norman signs the papers but before the ink is dry, the Real Estate Agent has disappeared. Norman hears a ghostly voice saying, “As Is.”

Norman believes having his kids work on the fixer upper will build character and help the family heal. He packs his reluctant children into his perfectly restored 1987 Ford Taurus and drives them to their new home. He is surprised to see ten scantily clad women, smoking, retching and lounging around the parlor. “We have a customer,” MAXINE, the madam, says. I dawns on Norman that he has bought a brothel.

Norman quits his job and has to make a living, so he runs the brothel while trying to hide the fact that his children are living amongst fallen women. He makes Maxine and the nine other girls to agree to keep the business, noise and body fluids on the down low. His cover story to his children is that women run a chiropractor clinic and the shouts of ecstasy are men having their adjustments. Nick observes that the men look very relaxed and wants a treatment himself. Norman sends him to bet at 5pm and we don’t see him till the finale.

Nosey DETECTIVE RIVERS comes knocking and suspects that a brothel exists on the property. Norman explains that this was a chiropractor clinic and Rivers asks for a neck adjustment. Norman asks MARY, whose specialty is ‘discipline,’ to work him over. Later, Norman says he feels much better and has worked through some of his aggression issues and his estrangement from his father.

Leah comes home late, even by brothel standards, and NORMAN confronts her. He has Maxine have a girl-to-girl talk with Leah about the dangers of boys and premarital sex, which is like having Ted Nugent speak at a Quaker Pacifist rally. Leah apologizes for her behavior and Norman asks Maxine what she said to her. Maxine told her she was a dirty skank and girls who put out before 18 end up prostitutes.

Steve is having trouble with jocks at school and confides in WILMA, the tough as a denim prophylactic African American prostitute. Steve teaches him how to make a shiv out of the pointy end of the protractor. Instead, Steve, who has figured out he’s living in a brothel, make a hepatitis culture out of disused condom and spikes the football team’s water cooler. In a hilarious scene, the entire defensive line’s skin turns yellow and suffers renal failure. Bully problem solved.

A tax collector comes knocking at the brothel and says Norman owes $56,949.35 in back taxes. If he doesn’t pay, the house will be auctioned and the girls would be forced onto the streets to service truckers and church decons. To save the house, he assembles the family and the eight remaining girls (NICOLE tragically dies while performing the dangerous Fresno Ferris Wheel with a client) to have the biggest “Whore-down” ever.

In a montage scene, set to the music of eclectic Christian Techno Power Pop band Machines of Loving Praise, the family cleans the house while the children hand out flyers to all homely, morbidly obese men in town. That evening, men pour in and the girls are working hard, turning tricks like Chris Angel during a mascara drought. Suddenly, Detective Rivers shows up, so Norman warns the girls and they pretend they’re doing physical therapy. Rivers walks in on DANNI with a client. Norman makes up story that the client was bit by a wolf spider in the groin area and Danni was trying to extract the poison. Rivers believes them, and drinks.

Norman travels with the girls to the tax office, but the taxman says he owes extra late charges. Norman is $350 short. Norman offers one of the girl’s services, but the taxman asks for one of the most dangerous acts of all – The Belgian Bismarck. The only woman limber and experienced enough to do it is Maxine. Maxine has lost faith in herself, so Norman gives an inspiration speech, citing material from Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and a couple of Amy Grant songs. Everybody slow claps as Maxine goes into the taxman’s office. Moments later, the taxman’s cries of ecstasy shatters his office window. Maxine exits the office, snaps her dislocated femur into place followed by the exultant taxman. The taxman ‘looses’ the tax bill and Norman and the girls can keep the money.

Norman and his family learn the value of believing in themselves and that love is important and some other fluffy shit families love.

And there you have it! Thanks for swinging by Anthony. See you next meeting.


Anthony Elmore

The book.

And check out Anthony’s blog if you like what he had to say!

The blog is HERE!