Category Archives: Fantasy

Permanent Halloween with author AE Jones

How My Obsession Fed My Writing

Since it is October, I’ve got a confession to make. As a child I loved, loved, loved Halloween. All of it: the decorations, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, candy and the fun. And this obsession has not ceased in my adult life. I spend months coming up with my costume each year that I wear to work. I decorate my home with a different Halloween theme. This year it’s witches. I actually have more Halloween decorations than I do Christmas decorations. And of course, I can’t forget about the parties. I have a Halloween luncheon party for my co-workers and a costume party for my neighborhood.

What is it about Halloween that draws me to it? It’s the idea that for one day we shed our own skin. That we take on a persona that is different than our own. And that persona has its own story to tell which is oftentimes whimsical or grim or fantastical or funny. Halloween is about imagination and anticipation and a little thrill thrown into the mix.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I write paranormal. Writing paranormal romance/urban fantasies allows me to celebrate Halloween all year round. There is something special about delving into a world of beings with powers. It makes the telling of the story that much more exciting and challenging. And there is a wonderful contrast when powerful beings struggle with their daily lives and relationships.

In the writing, like in the donning of my Halloween costumes, I create my characters. And I ask myself, what makes them different? Sure they have fangs, or fur, or glowing eyes, but why should the reader care about them? Because a good story has us rooting for the hero or heroine. We want them to defeat the bad guy, or fall in love even though they are blocked by circumstances and their own insecurities. No one is perfect. If they were, the story would be over quickly with little to no fanfare.

In my series, my heroine, Kyle, is far from perfect. She was born with the ability to manipulate memories. She struggles with her own insecurities and straddles the human and supernatural world she lives in, not truly fitting in to either. And this idea actually stems from the age old fish out of water trope. As readers, we may not understand what it’s like to have fangs and live for hundreds of years, but we all understand what it feels like to not fit in. And that understanding grounds us in the story, even when the ‘otherworldness’ of it allows us to escape into a different reality.

And for me as a writer and a reader, the escape is what I yearn for. The escape to a world where I can empathize, befriend, cheer, and fall in love with the characters.

As it turns out, my obsession with Halloween now feeds my obsession with writing. Voices in my head that want to be heard. And this costume-wearing, pumpkin-carving, party-throwing, author is happy to share their stories. One supernatural word at a time.

About the author:

ae jones pic 180 x 270Growing up a TV junkie, award winning author AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

 

AE lives in Ohio with her eclectic family and friends who in no way resembles any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

2013 RWA Golden Heart® Winner, Mind Sweeper

 

An angel, a demon and a vampire walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s just another day in the life of Kyle McKinley.

 

Kyle was born with the ability to erase memories, and the inability to keep her opinions to herself. She and her teammates – a vampire who looks like a sexy pirate with fangs, and a Shamat demon with a penchant for Italian pastries – provide supernatural damage control when humans see too much. Today’s problem? A sword-wielding angel and a demon had a supernatural smackdown during happy hour in a Cleveland bar, leaving behind a headless vampire and a dozen human witnesses.

 

This latest supernatural slip-up is attracting all kinds of attention. So much attention that the police step in, and Kyle has to deal with Joe Dalton, a know-it-all human with the sexiest turquoise eyes she has ever seen. Kyle has no room in her life for yet another human who will treat her like a freak. However, Dalton definitely makes her naughty parts sit up and take notice, and it’s more than mutual. But before they can act on their attraction, they must join forces to solve a dangerous puzzle. And when they uncover the truth, the apocalyptic ripple effect forces Kyle to make a choice. Learn to trust again, or risk losing everyone she cares about, including Dalton.

finalrevised copy

Mind Sweeper is Book One in the Mind Sweeper Series.

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

 

 

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

fledgling cover compressed

Super Powered Thoughts

Yay! It’s Friday. Casey here.

So this past weekend, while eagerly awaiting Downton Abbey to begin, I saw the obligatory Viking River Cruises advertisement (that PBS airs before the show) and it got me thinking about travel. Where would I like to go? What would I visit first?

 

And hey, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to speak the local language? Which led to a different line of thought about having super powers. Like the kind in comic books, not the more serious, real world issue of global super power nations. Sorry, this isn’t that kind of post.

Anyway, while I like the idea of adventure, I’m also a total wimp. Hence the thought about super powers. I know this is totally nerdy, but if I could have a super power (and I have given this a lot of thought over the years – yes, it’s true), I’d want to understand every language in the universe. Not just hear it, but be a fluent speaker, read it, write it, and understand all the local customs too.

Yes, that probably takes the fun out of visiting new locales, but I can’t help it. It’s the anthropology major in me to want to understand a culture not just muddle around lost.

What? Too nerdy? I don’t care. Other people can have flying or x-ray vision.

How about you? Take the poll and share your views.

Who are you writing for?

How awesome has this weather been? Did any of you get out and watch the meteor showers the past few nights? The sky has been crystal clear. Up here in the hills with no light pollution, the stars have been spectacular. We saw dozens of meteors, some so full and close that you could see the tails burn a trail across the sky. I’ve also taken advantage of the great weather to do some kayaking and gardening. It’s just been too beautiful to stay locked in my writers cave. But lest you think I’ve been totally slacking, my brain is always in problem-solving mode.kayaking pic

I find myself working through scenes and bits of dialogue in my head while I’m weeding or paddling. It’s almost like the information needs to percolate for a day or so before I can get it on the page. I also bring my business hat with me on these outings. The question most churning in my mind lately is “Who am I writing for?” This is a two-fold question for me that needs to be answered before I can move to the next level in my evolution as a writer. Intrinsically, I need to answer the question “am I writing for myself because I enjoy it and feel passionate about my art? Or am I pressuring myself to write and publish to fulfill some need to be accepted, revered, or even loved?  Not that I don’t have all of those things already, but there were certainly times in my life where I felt none of that was true.  Perhaps my reasons are a little of both, but I know that I need to be clear about this. If I’m not fully committed to believing in myself and my own potential, I will unconsciously put road blocks up for myself to sabotage my success. Essentially, I need to ask myself, “how much do I love writing/publishing, and how badly do I want success and all that comes with it?” I bet I’m not alone in my musings.

From a business perspective, the question means something entirely different, but equally as important to answer. “Who am I writing for?” In other words, who and where is my audience? This isn’t a new concept, and in fact was one of the first exercises I did with Jennifer Fusco of Market or Die two years ago when I first decided to self-publish. The question remains unanswered for me, even though Jennifer made me examine my “target audience.”

For HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, my intended audience was 14-18 year-old girls who like to read Contemporary Young Adult romance. I didn’t realize that the majority of my readers for those first three books were going to be women between the ages of 20 and 50. I had lots of ideas about reasons why the books seemed to transcend genre and resonate with adult readers, but the reality is that those were the people I was targeting with my marketing efforts and who my stories appealed to.

If you look at it from a “sphere of influence” perspective, my first layer in my sphere of influence is my friends and family. Then comes my writing community, mostly women between 20-50ish and all avid readers and supporters. These are the people who follow me on FB and twitter and read my blogs. I’ve been able to get some exposure to my original target audience through the parents of teens since many of my adult readers have teenage daughters.

But what about other teen readers? How do I target them? And not in a creepy way of course. And which group do I target. The 16 year-olds that want to read Contemporary or the Sci-fi/fantasy geeks who want dystopian? When I veered off course last year and began a dystopian trilogy, my target audience changed—a fact I hadn’t take into account! The readership I’d gained writing Contemporary YA romance did not necessarily follow me over to my dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy story, despite that it’s still a teen romance at heart.

Some readers are eclectic and will read anything by a favorite author, while others will only read within the genre/sub-genre they favor. Also notable is that my adult readers tend to be “over” the whole dystopian hype and aren’t flocking to read more of the gloom and doom stories. To compound the difficulty with discover-ability, the categories that SP authors can choose to list our books under at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords don’t offer Young Adult Romance or Young Adult Dystopian. The closest category is Juvenile Fiction, which historically has applied to middle grade and younger teens–which is not my audience at all…uggh!

If I list my books in the adult sections, teens won’t find them and readers looking for an adult book will likely be disappointed in the heat level of my stories. Again, I’m marketing to the wrong crowd. Retailers aren’t making it easy for us.

In general, the answer to my business end of the question is that I need to find where teens hang out and then put my books in front of them and see what happens, perhaps delineating my efforts and focusing on specific groups for each type of book I’m marketing. Whether that means focusing on high schools and library visits, or hanging out on Wattpad and Goodreads in YA chat rooms to connect to readers, that may be where my marketing time is best spent. So much to learn and so much to do!

One thing I do know is that I need to give my readers of Contemporary YA romance another book–soon. Rest assured, I happen to be working on a project as we speak! More details to come.

Do you authors know who your target audience is? Where to find them? How to reach them? How to get your book in front of them?

In respect to the internal question, are you clear about your goals for success? What does success look like to you and when will you know if you’ve achieved it? Do you sometimes feel that the job is more than you expected and not worth the effort? Are you forging on because you have the passion and drive to see your dreams come true, or are you plodding along wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into and why you’re making yourself crazy?

C’mon…dish people! You know you want to comment.

I’m giving away an audiobook copy of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES to one lucky person who comments and requests to be considered. HIFH_audiobookcover (2013_06_07 00_53_00 UTC)Just leave me a valid e-mail address in the following format to enter. email address(at)—(dot)com. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday!

Emma Right, Inspirational YA/Middle Grade Author Visits

 

 

Today, the Scribes invite Young Adult/Middle Grade Author, Emma Right to tell us aperf6.000x9.000.indd little about her latest inspirational adventure fantasy release, (that is on sale for 99 cents this week only) Keeper of Reign! And below you will see a place to enter to win  a Kindle!

 

But first I sat down with Emma to ask her a few Scribe’s questions to help us to get to know her and to see how she makes her writing a success.

 

So please welcome Emma Right!

 

Emma Tcheau headshotEmma, how do you battle the doubt monster?

 

The problem with life is that the Doubt Monster seeps into every aspect of our lives, right? He’s that negative voice that always tells us all to look at the cup half empty, to focus on the storm, and never on Jesus. And there is my sword. The Lord of my life, Jesus Christ. If I veer my eyes even a tiny fraction away from HIM and at the things I do, I will be defeated even before I start. HE who can turn water into wine, and bring the dead back to life can breathe life into my characters, even on my worse days. And that’s how I overcome all the Doubt Monsters, and there are too many of them around. So, I try to not focus on them, and remember I write for Jesus, I breathe for Jesus, and my stories are for HIM. He will overcome for me. He and His Word–just like my character Jules Blaze who had to realize that he had to go back to the Books to find answers to life, and that he’d been equipped all along to overcome his Enemy–see final chapters of Keeper of Reign 1. 

Well said! I know if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I will persevere. Can you tell us if you have a story you haven’t you told yet?  What is holding you back?

The only thing keeping me back is the lack of time. I have to remind myself that I am a mother first, before I am an author. That’s a hard pill to swallow since I feel I have also been called to write–something I had been resisting for one reason or another all these years. 

Understandable. Being a wife/mother has to come first. I’m glad you’re your family has supported you to allow you to have some time to write.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I’d continue to still tell stories verbally. And then, there’s reading, which I absolutely love to do.

Wonderful! So they say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

I actually have a 300 page manuscript in my drawer/computer. It’s called “No Accident” and is a YA/MG Christian paranormal mystery about a girl who’d moved into a new neighborhood and finds the house revealing things to her about herself. One of these days I’ll find the time to edit it and publish it. Maybe when I am done with Keeper of Reign Book 2 and the new YA psychological thriller series, called “Dead Dreams” I am working on right now.

Look forward to them all! Now, Emma, tell us how do you come up with your shtick?

I try to incorporate some bible nuggets into my stories. They may not be big or obvious facts or revelations, since I am also trying to reach a non-believing reader, or one semi-luke warm Christian, through my books, but I hope to add something in the story that would “shtick” to the reader–something about the Bible or Jesus. Some not-well-known detail, or peculiarity that I hope will nudge the reader into thinking a bit more about the Bible and his/her salvation.

Tell us about the making of your story!

Look about and see something out of place. And ask “What if…” I give you an example…your husband comes home and he seems to be different…how do you really know he’s you husband? ….what if…fill in the blanks here.

Okay, that’s a little freaky. Let’s move on….What was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?

Wasting time trying to learn to write to get a literary agent. It’s a lesson in courtship, and very tedious. And, I took six months off from writing novels to learn how to sell myself, or rather my novel, to agents. If there was one thing I couldn’t do to save myself, it was to sell anything. So after a while, and bored stiff, I gave up and said, “forget agents, forget publishing houses, I can do this because I have Christ and I am willing to learn.” If I have any time at all to dedicate to my writing I’d rather learn how to craft a better story or read a novel that would help my stories be more exciting and so forth. Besides, in this day and age, an author can hire editors, a designer, and even a book distributor, so the need to find an agent and a traditional publisher isn’t so important like it was ten years ago.

Do you have a word related pet peeve?

I absolutely detest the word “I”. Truly, why, may I ask, is “I” capitalized? It is not only troublesome to type–since we always have to capitalize that silly word, and hence waste time–I just feel that capitalizing it just make “I” look so puffed up and makes us focus on, guess who? “I,” of course.

Never thought about it that way! We don’t capitalize “you”. LOL!

What is your junk food of choice?

Cheese burgers, dripping with juice and stuffed with freshly cut onions.

MMMM…What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Rappelling down the bell-shaped 180-foot Moaning Cave–my teenage son’s idea.

Yikes! Not for me, either.  Tell us your guilty pleasure?

Eating toast that has been slathered with butter, then topped with creamy, smooth Nutella. And a cup of latte to go with it.

Mmmmmm…while I imagine that, Readers, enjoy the Keeper of Reign Book1 trailer at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwDNCsXsthIhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKjBMLnnzE AND REMEMBER Keeper of Reign Book 1 is now 99c till Aug 16  at : http://www.amzn.to/12QkOOU

……………

Kindle Raffle!!

Keeper of reign Book1 is being showcased by the John 3:16 Marketing Network as part of their August Book Launch Event. Be sure to visit  http://bit.ly/Christian_Books for a chance to win a Kindle, a $25 gift card and a $10 Starbucks card, as well as purchase Children of Dreams.

 

Emma Right is a happy wife and Christian homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Emma worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Visit Emma Right at her home site and sign for her blog feed and newsletter @ http://www.emmaright.com and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps from self-publishing to book marketing. Follow Emma Right on facebook.com/emma.right.author and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/keeperofreign for the latest events. Follow Google Plus emmarightbooks, and Twitter @emmbeliever. She’d love to hear from her readers.

Kickstarting Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here. Please welcome Michael J. Sullivan. He is much too modest below. He writes kick-ass stories and is super generous with his time. As I

Michael J. Sullivan
Michael J. Sullivan

mentioned a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael and his wife at ConnectiCon and it was a wonderful, fun time!

Today, Michael is sharing his experience using Kickstarter to fund his science fiction novel Hollow World. Michael will be stopping in to answer questions so be ready at the end!

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I want to thank Casey Wyatt for inviting me to do a guest post. For those who don’t know who I am, let me start out with a very brief introduction. My name is Michael J. Sullivan and I’m a speculative fiction author. I have a varied publishing history and have “done it all”: small press, big-six (five), and self-publishing. I also try to do what I can to help authors navigate this wild world that is publishing in 2013.

I had self-published five of the six volumes in my debut series, The Riyria Revelations and then sold that to the fantasy imprint of Hachette Books (Orbit) who republished it as three two-book omnibus volumes:

Riyria

I had fully intended to self-publish my next series of books, The Riyria Chronicles, but Orbit made me a nice offer for them as well, so I signed my second contract with them.

Riyria 2

When I decided to switch genres to science-fiction, Orbit wasn’t as enthusiastic. They loved Hollow World but didn’t think it would sell well and that I would be better off sticking to fantasy. So they passed. This was fine with me, as I could return to self-publishing, a venue that has worked well for me in the past.

Hollow World

One of the things I’ve always felt strongly about is that if you are going to self-publish you should produce a product that stands toe to toe with anything coming out from New York. In the past, my self-published books did exactly that, but because I was operating on a shoe-string budget, I had to do a lot of the work myself. That meant cover design, meticulous copy editing, and layout. Being traditionally published, I was spoiled. I liked having a team of professionals doing all this for me so that I could concentrate on writing other books while the production was being done on the book I had just completed. And this is what brought me to Kickstarter.

Hollow World 2

I desired to use the same professionals that my traditional books use, which is easy because many of these people are freelancers. I contacted the artist who did the French edition of my Riyria books (his covers are my favorite of all the versions both English and foreign) and got a quote for artwork. For structural editing (something that many self-published author have to do without), I turned to Betsy Mitchell. She has thirty years experience editing science fiction and fantasy and was the editor-in-chief at Del Rey for over a decade. At the time of the Kickstarter I hadn’t yet selected who would do the copy editing but I had a pretty good idea about the costs for that. In total, I figured $6,000 would cover all the production aspects of the book.

Now, let me be clear…I’m not saying you need to spend this kind of money when self-publishing. Some of my self-published books cost me just $50 (for ISBN and distribution channels), while others ran around $500 – $700 (main cost was in editing). So it can be done cheaper, but these are the people I wanted, and if I could make that happen, that was my first choice.
I’d never run a Kickstarter before, and I didn’t want to fail. So I set my goal at $3,000. My thought process was that I would finance ½ of the startup myself and hopefully my readers would finance the other ½. My worries about not fully funding turned out to be unwarranted as the Hollow World Kickstarter ended up finishing at just under 1030% bringing in $30,857. What this meant was not only did I get the production costs covered, but I got a nice “advance” as well.

I should note, that there was a bit of a miscommunication with my agent, and she had submitted Hollow World to another publisher after Orbit had turned it down. That publisher made a nice five-figure offer, but I ended up passing on it because I wanted to try out the Kickstarter route. I’m very glad that I did.

To me the whole process was a real eye-opener. I’m already familiar with the high revenue that self-publishing can bring, but it has the cons of:
• No advance
• No team of professionals
• Initial out-of-pocket expenses

Using Kickstarter took care of all of these problems. Not to mention it solved the cons of traditional publishing such as:
• Getting the project past the gatekeeper
• No control over the product produced or price it is sold at
• Most of the money going to the publisher
• A greater concern over how much money a book will earn rather than how good a read it is.

Now, I should note that I don’t think Kickstarter is for everyone and every project. In my case, I already had an established readership. To start off with no following makes crowd funding VERY challenging. For this reason, I suggest Kickstarter to those who already have a fan base. It doesn’t matter whether that is through self-publishing, traditional publishing, or even just a large blog following. The important thing is knowing a sizable number of people who believe enough in your work that they are willing to help make it a reality.

Also, not every Kickstarter is as successful as this one. At the time it completed it was the highest funded Kickstarter for a single traditional novel in the fiction category. There were some that funded higher, but they were either for a series of books, an interactive story, or an anthology. Some of the reasons I think mine worked well include:
• I had already written the book, which reduced risk and ensured people that they were actually going to get a final product
• People saw the caliber of people I was employing, and supported the concept quality
• I had already commissioned Marc Simonetti’s artwork and used it in my promotion – again demonstrated the high quality I was shooting for.
• I had existing readers that I could reach out to. I didn’t bug or pester them, just “made it known” and let the rest take care of itself.
• I provided some nice perks: free short stories, posters of the artwork, signed bookmarks, and a wide range of contribution levels ($2 – $250).
• I gave the contributors a period of “exclusivity.” They received the books in July but the rest of the world would have to wait until January. This made them feel special as they had something that other readers couldn’t get.
• I offered a variety of formats including: limited edition signed hard covers. I also provided the ebook to everyone that bought the print edition, and at the higher levels they got a hardcover (to sit on their shelves), a trade paperback to loan out, and the ebook to read.

Since running my own Kickstarter, I’ve become a big fan, and I’ve funded a number of projects. I really like the entrepreneurial vibe that Kickstarter fosters. As a contributor, I feel like I play a part in getting something that sounds interesting to market. I’m also hoping that authors will see my success as a template for works that they have shelved. Usually this is because they couldn’t get the book picked up by traditional publishers or they were offered too little money. Now, if they believe in the project, and they can get their readers to as well, it will see the light of day…gatekeepers be damned.
Kickstarter is just one of the myriad of changes that is opening up opportunities for authors. I think it is important for authors to keep abreast on what is going on and be agile. Remember, what worked yesterday, may not be the best choice today. I know I’ll certainly look toward Kickstarter and other avenues for my future projects.

Michael, thank you for being our guest today. Scribes fans, have you ever contributed to a Kickstarter campaign? And if not, would you do so in the future?  And, please, feel free to ask Michael questions! He’ll be stopping by to respond to comments.

Powerball to the People–The Lottery Fantasy

Hey, peeps. Suze here.  medium_NE_bizarro[1]Guess what? I’m under a deadline! It’s scary and exhilarating at the same time, like riding the giant roller coaster at Six Flags. My first book is due to my editor just after Labor Day. It’s essentially finished, but I need to make another pass through and write up some recipes before I let it go. I’ll keep you updated about Rest In Greece, Book 1 of the Greek to Me Mysteries (at least that’s what they’re called now).

So yesterday I stopped at a local convenience store and bought a Powerball ticket. I know, I know. Waste of money, some of you will say. But I only buy a ticket when the pot gets to be huge. Actually, I could probably increase my chances of winning if I bought a ticket when the jackpot is lower–but I don’t really know because I barely passed statistics with Professor Singh back in my St. Lawrence University days. I only remember to get a ticket when the good people at NBC Nightly News remind me.

Notice I’ve been saying “a ticket.” Just one. I never buy multiples because I figure if the Universe wants me to win, one is all I need.

Now, most everybody probably has a lottery fantasy, and I’m no exception. I’ve already got that money spent in my head (for the most part responsibly!). But I like to use these few times a year when the lottery possibility presents itself to do a Dream Check. Here’s what I mean:

If I won, I’d buy a house on the beach (and yes, invite all my nearest and dearest friends!).

But if I don’t win, I could make a date with myself or a friend/loved one, pack a picnic lunch, and spend the day at the beach at a state park near my home.

If I won, I’d contribute to a squillion charities and non-profits.

If I don’t win, I could still give a few bucks here and there to the ones that truly speak to me. And if times were lean, I could volunteer my time or services. Because every little bit truly helps.

If I won, I’d fund my retirement so I could travel and pursue my real passion full-time: writing!

If I don’t win, I could forego a Starbuck’s coffee once a week or buy one less pair of shoes a month, and take that money and put it into my actual retirement account so it would grow faster. Notice I didn’t say “stop buying books.” That would just be unrealistic, LOL! And as for the travel, I could get my passport in order, and make sure I have decent luggage, just in case the opportunity to go some place exotic presents itself. You never know!

May you find your pot of gold!
May you find your pot of gold!

See what I mean? The Lottery Fantasy can actually be a pretty healthy exercise. It forces you to think about what is truly important to you. If money were no object, how would you spend your life? Are there small steps you can take now to get yourself closer to your dreams?

Why not set your wishes free by writing them down? On one side of a sheet of paper, make a list of what you’d do with unlimited money. On the other side, brainstorm some ways you could get there, steps you could take to prepare yourself, or actions you could perform that would give you the same satisfaction in your life as it is now.

If you won the lottery, what would you do? Go ahead and spill your deepest, darkest lottery fantasies here.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I win, darlings. And if you bought a ticket, good luck!

My ConnectiCon Experience

Welcome to another Friday! Casey here.

IMG_3152I’m happy to report that I crossed an item off my bucket list. It all started with a Kindle Daily Deal and a book called Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Every day, since I purchased a Kindle Fire, I check Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals (very much like a junkie looking for a fix).

This particular day, Theft of Swords was the fantasy offering. I downloaded a sample, was hooked by the first page and immediately purchased it. And, because I happened to be in Goodreads that day, I sent a friend request to the author.

Long story short, in addition to accepting my request the author sent me a note and we started

Michael J. Sullivan
Michael J. Sullivan

a conversation that ended with him agreeing to be my guest, here at the Scribes, on August 9th (Yay!). While researching his various social media sites, it turned out he’d been invited to ConnectiCon as a literary guest, along with Brandon Sanderson.

Now, my hubby and I have discussed going to this convention for as many years as it’s been going on. Each year, it has gotten progressively bigger and more exciting. When Michael suggested we meet up at the conference, I was happy to accept.

I’ve been to the Connecticut Convention Center before for other events, but none of

Tony Stark sighting!
Tony Stark sighting!

them come close to the size and scale of ConnectiCon. There was so much to do: panels, Q&A sessions, book signings, gaming, vendors, and parties. So much that we barely scratched the surface. Check here for more information.

The best parts for me aside from meeting Michael and his wife, were the costumes (more on those in a moment) and encountering artist Dan Dos Santos. His artwork has graced the covers of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thomas books and Diana Rowland’s white trash zombie series (among many others). Super nice man and very gracious. While we were chatting, Brandon Sanderson came up to the table (squee!).

Now, those costumes – fabulous, fantastic, well-made, top-notch. What more can I say? The variety was mind-boggling. And for the amount of people attending, everyone was IMG_3138polite and relaxed.

Overall, it was a great experience for me. Hubby was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer geekiness but there were plenty of comic book and movie characters. On the drive home, he was speculating what kind of costume he could make for next year.

So, if you live in the New England area (and even if you don’t) and if you love comics, anime, role-playing, manga, gaming, etc. don’t miss a chance to attend this con!

What Cons have you attended? What are your favorites? And if you haven’t ever attended one, would you consider it?

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