A Conventional Approach
Hi, Sarah speaking. I don’t know how many of you aspiring writers/working indie writers out there know about conventions. If you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy, chances are you’ve at least heard about them, perhaps as “those weird places where people wear Spock ears.”
(Reality is both less and more exciting than that. It consists of serious panels on genre, funny panels on genre, and a lot of opportunity for fans to meet other fans, writers to meet other writers, and crosspolination to occur, too.) Fans of other genres might or might not be aware that there are also conventions for their genre, places where writers and readers and – very important at one time – publishers of the genre interact.
For mystery I’ve attended both Bouchercon (nicknamed b-con in the field) and Left Coast Crime. For Romance the mommy of all conventions is the annual gathering of the Romance Writers of America.
There are other conventions for both mystery and romance – in fact for romance there seems to be one for each sub-specialty – but I’ve never been fully immersed in those genres, so I’m a defective guide.
For science fiction and fantasy though, there are also usually one or more local cons. Usually the largest con near you is considered your “home con.” In my family’s case, our home con is Liberty con in Chattanooga, TN, because they adopted us, and we adopted them.
It used to be if you wanted to be published, in an age of diminishing slush-reading personnel, you went to conventions and pitched your work at an editor (after gaining their confidence at some cocktail party or such other alcohol lubricated situation.) This tended to work simply because it’s much harder to reject someone you’ve met, but also because it raised your work from the … ah… mush of slush by having the editor know you were “serious” enough to attend a con.
For this purpose your local con was usually useless, unless you lived within driving distance from NYC, and you ended up having to attend one of the national cons, like World Fantasy, the Nebulas or World Con.
(BTW calling them cons around the uninitiated might be unwise. One of my son’s classmates thought we “ran cons” as in were conmen.)
I have no idea how indie is affecting cons. I suspect good regional cons are growing. The national cons, though, might be in some trouble.
You see, if you are an indie author, you have no need to go to cons and meet editors.
But the time comes when it’s advantageous and perhaps useful to go out and meet fans. Such meetings, I think, will usually take place at smallish local cons, wherever your greater concentration of fans are. (I don’t know where mine are, precisely. I have a lot of them in the South East and in Texas, but there also seems to be a node in the North East and another in the South West.)
This last weekend I went to Ravencon, which not only had an excellent hospitality suite, (the place where guests are fed by volunteers) with actual real food, such as boiled eggs for breakfast, but which seems to be near enough a node of my fans, so that it soon turned into a sort of family reunion.
This relaxed bantering atmosphere was like night and day to my first few cons, where I went to meet editors and lived in fear of putting a foot wrong.
As with the new freedom of indie publishing, it’s a welcome change. More of this please.
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"When you have the Gift, your life is not your own."
I was born to a family that harnessed the winds and could read futures in fire and water. Yet my mother kept her secrets.
Then the werewolf came, sharing his madness.
Now it's my turn to keep secrets....
Descended from powerful magic-users, but ignorant of her heritage, young Alfreda Sorensson learns magic and wisdom from her extended family in an alternate early 1800s Michigan Territory.
"...we are all Death’s pupils, we practitioners—students of the great healer."
When magic broke free in my blood, I chose to follow our ancient family path and become a practitioner. I'm learning to heal, and to protect innocents. I dip into minds, stalk vampires, and set wards by the light of the moon. I can hear the children of the night calling.
But there are other families...and other paths. Families with twisted ambitions and frightening powers. On the frontier, folk whisper that one clan is the most dangerous of all.
Chief among those dark sorcerers is a man known as the Keeper of Souls.
And now he wants to keep mine.
After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?
In much of the world, Lycanthropy or Vampirism is still a death sentence if you are caught; however, as a result of the Civil Rights movements of the 1950's and '60's, it's legal in the US, Canada, and several other European commonwealth countries. Magic and other metaphysical abilities are more accepted in much of the world, but figuring out what is legal and what is not, requires a lawyer and a half dozen research assistants. Of course, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Doing heavy duty magic takes a LOT of energy, staying in animal form too long, can cause you to get "stuck", and vampires go through a lot of blood, plus that whole daylight thing… In the US though, 'Thropes, as they're known, and vampires have "gone mainstream" and come out of the kennel and the coffin. Were they were promptly recruited by the military. Of course both types had been serving before, it was just kept quiet, now it's out in the open… And what does a Retired Were cougar do when he hangs up his uniform for the last time? He becomes a Park Ranger of course… John Fisher had been having a normal day at the office… That is if your office is a Federal Park police Durango, and you were a retired SEAL from the infamous "SEAL team 12" who's members were all some form of Preternatural. But then things got REALLY weird.