All posts by talon007

Southern Festival of Books – After action report

Southern Festival of Books after-show report.

 

For the past several years, I’ve been selling books at the Southern Festival of Books. That is, I was running the booth for the Nashville Writer’s Meetup. While I’d sell my own books there, I was also responsible for pitching books from a dozen or more other authors. A month or so before those shows, I’d start collecting books from the other authors, price them, and then spend weeks afterwards returning the unsold books and distributing the earnings.

It was a lot of work for very little in return for me.

This year, I wanted to do something different. So with my partner in crime, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, pitching in half, I got a booth. Given my sales from the NWM’s booth in past years, I knew I’d have to hustle to make enough in sales to cover the booth fee. But, I felt up to the challenge.

I have to admit, not dealing with everyone else’s books this year felt like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Instead of a month or more of prep time, I only needed a couple of days. Books were priced, signs were printed, and boxes packed. The weather forecast called for a wonderful weekend. I was ready for anything.

The Weather

Friday was a beautiful day. My youngest daughter, Amelia, helped me set up the booth. Nikki and her husband Brian showed up and got her half of the booth arranged in no time flat. The sky was clear and the temperature fell within that perfect Fall range, not warm but not cool. Just perfect.

Saturday on the other hand was mostly cloudy and cold. Not freezing, but the temperature dropped to a level that made it uncomfortable for everyone. Did it hurt sales? Hard to say but foot traffic wasn’t where I’d expected it to be.

Sunday sucked. The forecast called for overnight rain on Saturday, continuing into Sunday but clearing out by lunchtime. That’s what all the experts sadi.

No. The rain fell all day. Heavy at times and light enough to be annoying at others. By early afternoon, the moisture in the air began to take a toll on the books, causing the covers to curl and the books to warp. So we call it a day and packed up before more damage could be done.

Thing about Nashville is that it can’t figure out what season it is. Summer, Winter, or Monsoon.

Sales

Having run the NWMG for years, I had an idea of what kind of foot traffic to expect and a rough idea of what my sales should be. Friday, we had a good turnout, capitalizing on the lunchtime crowd. I moved a fair number of books, roughly equal to what the total Friday sales were for the NWMG’s booth, but this time, all the sales were mine.

Saturday was good despite the chill in the air. While good, the number of people passing by the booth wasn’t impressive as in years gone by. We later realized why this was, but I’ll get to that.

Despite the rain, Sunday turned out to be a good sales day, with my numbers beating the ones from the sunny and warm Friday. I’ve noticed this trend before. If it is raining, wet, and miserable, I’ll sell books. No idea why.

The setup

In the past, the event planners utilized the whole of Legislative Plaza for the event, with all of the event and vendor booths set up together. Last year, they expanded some of the bigger booths, such as Parnassus and the SFoB booths. This led to pushing some vendors into booths on Anne Dallas Dudley Blvd. This year, far more booths were relegated to Dudley. While the road connects the main branch of the public library, where the panels were being held, and Legislative Plaza, it didn’t have the same number of passersby as the main plaza.

One Friday, we learned that Mckays Books, who’d been a staple at the event for years, pulled out due to being forced to set up on Dudley Blvd. They saw no reason to lose money by being pushed to the sidelines. Another large book seller reportedly had their sells drop to a third of the usual sales figures, last year after being pushed on to the side street.

When I did escape my booth and wandered around, it was clear that the bulk of the traffic was staying in the plaza and not exploring the vendors on the side street.

 

Thoughts

I’m happy with the sales figures. While I’d love to have made a profit, I am content that I broke even. Nikki did well, but I’m not sure where her final numbers fell.

All this leads me to wonder what could have been if our booth has in the plaza instead of the side street. Will I go back? Maybe. But it may depend on whether or not we can negotiate the location of a booth. That, however is something for next year.

Upcoming events

I have a busy few months coming up. If you attend any of the conventions, come say hi.

September 29th & 30th      Clarksville Dr. Who/ Steampunk con

October 12th – 14th     Southern Festival of Books -Nashville

October 19th -21st  Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival – Nashville

October 26th – 28th    Hallocon – Dalton, Ga.

December 8th & 9th    Nashville Comic Con

January 25th – 27th    Chattacon  – Chattanooga, Tn.

 

Updates or I’m sooooo behind on things.

Updates or I’m sooooo behind on things.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, so I thought I’d post some updates for my works in progress. A lot has been going on, so I’m behind on some projects.

 

Voodoo Rumors book 4: Wild Pooch.   This chapter in the series finds Dietrich and Natalie working to figure out who is killing young women in Nashville’s south side. They know it’s a werewolf, but which one? The book is about halfway completed.

 

Voodoo Rumors books 1, 2, and 3: audio books. Contracts have been signed on the first three books to record them for Audible.com. Murdoch Pennington is the reader. I’ve already listened to the first part of The Blood Red Ruby and it sounds great! I think you’ll love it.

 

Keely: My first self-published work was the novella Keely. It has also been one of my best sellers. But with every first attempt at something, a few errors crept in during the process. A re-edited version is in the works, along with a new cover. Look for it in time for the Dr. Who/Steampunk Convention in Clarksville, TN in late September.

 

The Adventures of Anastasia Hawk. I’d written a short steampunk story a few years ago, based on the mother of the Hawk girls from my novel, The Lightning Bolts of Zeus. The Celeste Affair has been a good seller and I’ve had a number of folks asking to see more of Anastasia’s adventures. Therefore, I’m working on a short story collect, due out by end of the year.

 

Upcoming releases from Pro-Se Productions: These anthologies should be out soon and each has one of my short stories.

High Adventure History 2:  My story is A Life for a Life. It is a tale of the infamous fem fatal, Mata Hari and her big adventure to deal with an out of control German General.

Black Pulp 2: My story, A Wolf in the PussyCat Casino is another Black Wolf story.

 

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming works.

 

The Last Encore – Voodoo Rumors book 2

The Last Encore – Voodoo Rumors book 2

I’m proud to announce that the second book in the Voodoo Rumors series is now available. The Last Encore follows Thomas Dietrich and his girl Natalie as they work to solve a rash of vampiric killings outside of a popular Nashville nightclub. The clues all lead to sinister forces working in the music industry, and their connection to an old blues singer named Spence Danger.

Dietrich and Natalie find their lives on the line as they follow the trail to a dark conclusion.

 

The Last Encore follows up on the characters and landscape first established in book one of the Voodoo Rumors series, The Blood Red Ruby.  While the series follows a loose timeline, each book is written to be a stand-alone story, allowing readers to jump into the series at any point.

 

Click here to Purchase

Origin – A review

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

God help me…  I’ve always been a fan of Dan Brown’s type of stores, the puzzles, the history, and the chase to solve the mystery or gain the ultimate knowledge first. That being said, Brown’s love-hate relationship with the English language drives me crazy. And when I say hate, I’m not referring to a strong dislike.

No, no… Brown demonstrates his hatred of the English language, much in the way an Irish gang-member might demonstrate it, by tying it to a tree, shooting it in the gut and then smiling and softly chuckling as he watches it slowly bleed out.

But then again, who am I to cast judgement?

Origin is the fifth book to feature Robert Langdon, Brown’s Harvard professor of religious symbology. After facing down every conspiracy theorist’s top ten villains, the Freemasons, the Catholics, the uber wealthy to name a few, the story has him facing peril again from the Church, the Spanish Government, and possibly an A.I. created by his old pupil.

In every one of Brown’s books, Langdon goes after some lofty bit of knowledge that’s destined to change the world. This book is no exception.

Summoned to the Guggenhein Museum Bilbao to attend an event where his former student, Edmond Kirsch plans to announce a recent discovery that will alter our perception of the world, our future, and organized religion. Needless to say, Kirsch is killed and the hunt is on for his Earth-shattering discovery.

I’m not going to go into details about what follows. Instead, I’ll say this about the story as a whole. I loved every bit of it, up to the closing. The ending left me unsatisfied and I found most of the revelations, predictable. While using a magnifying glass on the writing, word choices, and Brown’s particular style will show a lot of flaws, the story is fun to read, moves at a good pace, and gives the reader a good feel of the environment Langdon is moving through.

This is a far cry from the last book in the series, Inferno, where Brown did his best to cram everything about Daunte’s Inferno into a mysterious chase across Florence. A chase which felt more like reading a tour guide to the city rather than a painfully bad mystery.

Brown’s first two books in the series, Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, had reasonably good and satisfying ending.  The Lost Symbol did not and Inferno was just a train wreck. The reader should take the ending for what it is, not a perfect wrap-up to the mystery, but something to make you think and speculate with like-minded friends.

The Blood Red Ruby – two weeks away.

The official release of The Blood Red Ruby, the first in the Voodoo Rumors series is just two weeks away.

One gem, five men, forty-eight hours of sheer terror.

Book two, The Last Encore will be released in March and then a new book in the series, every other month for the rest of 2018.

If the series is successful, then I’ll continue writing more for 2019.

The series mixes the hardboiled P.I. genre with the darkest elements of the paranormal. Set in 1950’s Nashville, Thomas Dietrich is cynical yet idealistic; amorous yet full of despair. He’s a man capable of harsh violence and unfettered compassion in a world where the darkest things walk the streets of his city at night.

Preditors & Editors Reader’s Favorites Poll for 2017

Preditors & Editors Reader’s Favorites Poll for 2017
Two of my short stories, released in 2017, were entered into the annual Read’s Favorites Poll. A couple of years ago, a pair of my works won first place. This year, I didn’t win the top spot, but both stories did place in the Top Ten, in their respective categories.
 
History NOW: Apollo 11   – Top Ten Finisher for Best Science Fiction Short Story.
A blending of science fiction, time travel, and the reality television genre.
 
Kaylana   –  Top Ten finisher for Best Horror Short Story.
A fusion of horror and Steampunk as a young woman finds herself trapped in a mansion with a vampire. Desperate for escape, she finds every path blocked and the monster seems to foresee her every move. Can she survive until dawn or will she lose everything?
 

 

Thank you to everyone who voted!!! Your support is greatly appreciated.

Voodoo Rumors update November 2017

Voodoo Rumors update

“Without magic, there is no art. Without art, there is no idealism. Without idealism, there is no integrity. Without integrity, there is nothing but production.”
― Raymond Chandler
I like to think I put some generous amount of magic into everything I write. My latest project is set for release in February 2018. It’ll be the first in a 6 book series. Well, series implies that you have to read each book in order. These are written so that you can pick up any book and enjoy the story.
I am mixing the hardboiled P.I. genre with the darkest elements of the paranormal to create the Voodoo Rumors stories.
Set in 1950’s Nashville, Thomas Dietrich is cynical yet idealistic; amorous yet full of despair. He’s a man capable of harsh violence and unfettered compassion in a world where the darkest things walk the streets of his city at night.
And with that, may I present the cover for The Blood Red Ruby.

 

Just another week in the life…

Just another week in the life…

 

There are some weeks where everything goes right. When the stars are in alignment and the best laid plans are executed with a flawless outcome.

And then there is this week…

In reality, it isn’t just this week that’s been the problem. Bad decisions, poor life choices, and a certain amount of stubbornness on my part have led to a near-constant state of frustration where my writing is concerned.

I’m not naming names. I’m not pointing the finger. Just vent about my own failing in certain areas.

And to say this week has been bad isn’t being fair. Problems arose and were dealt with. The issues that came up have pointed out problems that can now be fixed, saving me trouble in the long run as well as a ton of embarrassment in the coming weeks and months.

It started with a beta reader commenting that the first book in the Voodoo Rumors series still had a number of editorial issues. After two rounds with the editor, these should have been spotted. A second beta reader, a day later, pointed out similar issues in book two.

So the editor had to be let go. I asked her to stop working on book three, assuming that work had actually begun and began my search for someone new to fill that role. In addition, a personal message was sent to me that just added a kick to the gut that I didn’t need. For a while, despair and doubt oozed out of every pore on my body, so I apologize to those who encountered it.

Luckily, my Facebook friends, when I posted my frustrations, came through with plenty of recommendations. By week’s end, someone new was found to re-read over the first two books and a full-time editor and I made a deal for him to work on book three.

For those who are not in the publishing world, you may not be aware that for some book reviewers to consider looking at your work, they require that it is sent in to them, four months in advance of the releases date. Given that book one is set for a Mid-February release date to coincide with its dark Valentine’s Day message, I had to get copies out in Mid-October. So those reviewers will see the issues, but hopefully will understand that the final version will be clean.

One of the things that every writer encounters is self-doubt. Is it really worth all the effort to construct a story, write it out, and spend weeks or months cleaning, only to have no one care? Can a non-creative understand how hurtful it is to put yourself out there and have your work ignored?

Reviews are the life-blood for authors. And given the way places like Amazon works, they don’t even have to be good reviews. All you need are people to post comments and lots of them. As part of my marketing plan to promote the upcoming series, I’ve been asking… no begging for reviews. I’ve been willing to give away free books, eBooks and audio books just to get some numbers built up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me how much they enjoyed my books or stories. But when I ask if they could write a simple review, they look cross-eyed at me.

In the final days of this dark, I got a sliver of sunlight that broke through the clouds. Some positive reviews came in that remind me why I do this. Not just two word statements, but lengthy and detailed reviews.

You can read them here:

          

 

So I’ll finish up this rant by saying that the week started off poorly but finished on a good note. Let’s hope more good notes are to come.

 

 

BTW:  The cover reveal for The Blood Red Ruby: Voodoo Rumors book 1 is coming soon.