It’s strange to me that in a few days April 2018 will have come and gone and we’ll be moving towards summer here in Seattle. Time—as ever—ticks forward. I realize that for the last few months, April in particular, things have been rather quiet around here. Damn near ghostly, in fact; so I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on what’s been happening.
I’m still hard at work on rewrites and edits for Coal Belly. That seems to be my usual state of being lately. Edits tend to be difficult for me, namely because my eyes see what my brain wanted and not what should be there. Thank goodness for copy editors. That said, it’s coming along at quite a clip, and I’ll be reaching out to my beta readers this summer. Then, once I get their feedback, I go back through it all over again.
The fourth Bell Forging Cycle novel has been in the works for some time now. While there hasn’t been any prose written, I do have a rough outline, and think I know where I want it to go. Now, whether Wal behaves is another matter. So often we writers create characters and then the characters do something wildly different than what we planned. It’ll be interesting going back to it after having written two very different books in the interim.
So that’s been my spring. It’s odd writing posts like these, because while a lot has been happening, it doesn’t always come across that way when you lay everything out. Once that progress slider is full it seems like everything should be done, but in truth, the first draft is only the beginning.
At the beginning of March (a few weekends ago, now) I joined ninety-five thousand others in attending Emerald City Comic Con in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. This year the convention was extended to four days—I skipped Thursday but visited Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. As is the tradition around here, it’s time for a convention debriefing.
Friday started oddly but finished great. I learned a valuable lesson about con-attendee me—I need to have things to do. The one panel I wanted to attend was full, so I spent a good portion of the day poking around the show floor and getting the lay of the land. I swung by the tables of a few author friends, Lee Frenchhad a table, as did Matt Youngmark (Go buy their books!) and I managed to get a few pictures of some great cosplayers. (Including Android Cosplay’s classic take on Nightcrawler in the image on the left.)
Around 2 PM, I took a break and went home to get some writing done. Later, I returned met up with Lars Brown. Lars is a talented comic creator. (His Penultimate Questseries was one of my favorite graphic novels from 2016. You should buy them.) Together, we stuck around the con for a bit, then went to dinner. All in all, it was a relaxing—if not somewhat quiet—first day.
On Saturday I was joined by my friend and fellow author Steve Toutonghi (his new book Side Life is coming out in April, you should preorder it.) Together we hit up a bunch of panels. My favorite was probably Books as Flint: Using Graphic Novels to Spark Political Activism. It was a discussion on the power of stories and how graphic novels (this was a comic convention after all) can often bridge the gap and open conversations on topics such as politics, race, religion, misogyny, and bigotry. The panelists were passionate and knowledgeable, and everyone had great thoughts about inclusion and activism in the comic space. Lessons that could easily be applied to novels as well.
Steve and I also attended Family-friendly Fantasy: Keeping It PG in the Age of Grimdark & Game of Thrones and another on called 10 Points to Slytherin: Why Good Fans Love Evil Characters. Both were excellent and much better than I expected and both sparked some good conversation.
Oh! While waiting for one panel, we randomly slipped into a conversation with Shannon Purser(Barb from Stranger Things, y’all)—it was fun. Lots of kids with questions and Purser was kind, articulate, open, and honest. I’m generally not one for celebrity panels like that, but I found myself enjoying it.
I had only two panels Sunday, and once again Steve Toutonghi joined me. Our first panel was What Do I Read Now (and Where Do I Start)? hosted by a group of local librarians, and the premise was they’d recommended books based on other properties people liked. It was fun. I did take issue when one of the panelists mentioned recommending only finished series. I bring this up because I feel it’s an important topic. The best way you can support a series as a fan is to read it as its published. Waiting until it’s finished can often kill a series. Publishers make decisions based on sales. So even if you want to wait until you have them all, buy the books (or check them out from your library) as they come out. It’ll make a big difference.
Our final panel of the weekend was Writing the Future (pictured above), and it was interesting. The room filled up fast, there was loads of audience participation. Afterward, a friend asked me if I had any new takeaways. My honest answer was no—I didn’t hear anything new or revelatory. If anything it was nice to see veteran writers reaffirm my choices.
So, that was my ECCC! There was so much I missed, and I felt like I had my schedule pretty well planned. Overall ECCC is excellently run and well managed—I appreciated all the hard work keeping the crowds organized. It’s not simple with that many people, and the staff and volunteers excelled at keeping everything under control. It’ll be interesting to see how it changes as the Seattle Convention Center expands.
I was thrilled I spent the time I did—next year I’m hoping to go longer and actually sit on a few panels and making do some gaming. (Gaming was sorely missing from my ECCC 2018 experience. Would have liked to play Mansions of Madness or jumped into a Call of Cthulhu session.) I also want to extend a big thank you to my friends Steve and Lars for hanging out with me, having friends willing to pal around made a big difference.
Thanks for a great convention Emerald City—it was a lot of fun.
Have a convention you’d like me to attend? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Remember, You can keep track of where I’ll be and read previous convention debriefing over on my Upcoming Appearances page.
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Today is the start of Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle’s premiere comic convention. It’ll run through Sunday, and it’ll be busy. Last year there were 90k people in attendance, and I’m sure this year will be much the same. (When I last checked most tickets are sold out.)
I will be present—but I won’t be showing up until tomorrow morning. I plan on being around Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’m not paneling or running a table so there’s no specific place you’ll see me, but I’ll be exploring everything. I expect to be hitting up a lot of the fiction panels—there’s quite a few that have piqued my interest. So keep an eye out, and don’t hesitate to say hello. We can high-five and stuff.
If you want to keep track of where I am, I recommend two places:
In a few weeks, I’m going to be attending Emerald City Comicon 2018here in Seattle. But, this won’t be my typical “Come See Me At [Con Name Here] Post” only because this will be a bit different frommy other appearances. While I will be attending ECCC as a pro, as of right now, I won’t be on any panels, and I’m not running a table. Instead, I’ll be paling around with my friend and fellow author Steve Toutonghi,and taking my time to enjoy ECCC. The plan is to reconnect with some friends, sit in on a few panels, maybe hit up the show floor, and do some networking.
If you’re attending, let me know! I’d happily meet up with any readers, and I’ve love to chat with you. If you see me out and about, please stop me and say hello! I’m as much a fan as I am a writer and I love talking with readers and fellow fans. I’m really looking forward to the convention, it’s been years (eight?) since I’ve attended ECCC and I can’t wait to lose myself in the craziness for a few days.
ECCC runs March 1st–4th at the Washington State Convention Center here in Seattle. You can find out way more info over on the official site. As of this post, there are still tickets available for Thursday and Friday. But they’ll go fast, so don’t wait.
This weekend, Kari-Lise and I will head to Portland, Oregon for the opening of VEILS at Talon Gallery where Kari-Lise will be debuting the first five pieces from her 2018 series, The Poisoned Garden. The show opens on Saturday, February 17th, and we’ll both be in attendance. If you live in Portland or the surrounding area come on by and say hello. We’d love to see you. The opening reception is from 6pm–9pm. The exhibition will be on display through March 12th, 2017, and it is both free and open to the public.
I’m so stoked this is finally reaching the public. There is a narrative aspect to The Poisoned Garden that really draws me in as a storyteller, and the series is shaping up to be a favorite. Kari-Lise is really throwing herself into the work, and it shows. Afterwards, you’ll be able to view all the pieces at Talon Gallery’s website, feel free tocontact the gallery directly to inquire about any particular piece.I’m excited the initial debut of The Poisoned Garden is finally seeing the light of day.
There are a few more pieces in this set that I’m not previewing here. To see them you’ll need to subscribe to Kari-Lise’s newsletter or come to the show. A collector’s preview is coming later this week, it’s easy to sign up: click here to subscribe.
🎬 Overlooked Details
If you haven’t taken the time, make sure to watch the short documentary about Kari-Lise’s work: Overlooked Details, An Artist’s Journey, directed, edited, and filmed by Scott R. Wilson. (It partially documents her work on Inflorescence.) It’s fifteen minutes long and very much worth your time. It’s a raw, heartfelt, and vulnerable glimpse into her journey. I’ve embedded it below, and I recommend watching it full screen. You can view the full credits here.
🖼 Previous Work
Interested in seeing Kari-Lise’s previous shows? I’ve written about them before, and I’d encourage you to check them out, there is some excellent work, but it’s also amazing to document her growth as an artist:
This isn’t going to be a long post. I wanted to pause and take a moment to thank everyone who participated in my Red Litten World BookBub sale last week. Being so close to the holidays I didn’t know what to expect, what I got was a wild week. I ended up selling over nine-hundred books, and on Saturday Red Litten World climbed Amazon’s Dark Fantasy and Paranormal & Urban charts. I took a screenshot for posterity, you can see it below.
I’ve run BookBub sales a few times now, and every time I find myself stunned by the outcome. BookBub is a powerful tool, but there is more too it than that. The truth is it couldn’t happen without you. Even if you didn’t buy a book this go around, you helped me get here, and for that, I am forever grateful.
So, thank you. Thank you for making my week. Thank you for buying my books. Thank you for leaving reviews. Thank you for telling your friends. And thank you for giving me some of your time and letting me take you on a journey. There are a lot of books available to read, I’m humbled you read mine.