Conferences, Cons, and Solar Eclipse 2017, Or What I Did On My Summer Vacation

It’s been a busy month!

First I went to Realm Makers, which has become one of my favorite writing conferences, and then to a small local writing conference at Taylor University, my first time visiting there. In a couple of weeks I’ll head west again to attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference. It’s like I’m trying to get my annual allowance of writing conference in just a few weeks!

Little girl (face obscured) in pink unicorn helmet with pink feathered wings

This little girl was so excited about the fairy unicorn wings she made herself.

Sign: Gen Con badges are now sold out.

Gen Con sold out completely. Not a badge to be had.

Then I had Gen Con, an awesome gathering of 65,000 or so (final attendance not yet released for this year) of your geekiest friends to talk about games, books, history, film, anime, and pretty much everything related. Gen Con is always super-busy for me, because I teach sessions (this year I presented twice on Japanese Folklore & Mythology and once on Norse mythology, as well as teaching costuming workshops from Featherweight Armor to Moldmaking to a make-and-take for simple, hallway-safe wings) and because we compete in the costume contest, which because of Gen Con’s process is mostly a whole-day affair. Continue reading

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Soda

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Chocolate.

The next installment in my chocolate sampling series! And I just plain forgot to plug in my mic for this one, so the camera mic was picking up background noises and my dog Undómiel warning off some nocturnal creature outside. My apologies. Also my camera was a bit high, but at least that means you get to see a better view of Mr. Snaggles, one of my dinosaurs. Continue reading

Equus: Fight and Launch!

Vote for War Unicorns!YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME.

I asked for help when Nova & Reaver made the #EquusFight semi-finals, and you came out in droves. Herds. Voting closed at 100-33 in favor of the trained war unicorns. You rock.

And thus, we come to the finals. Continue reading

Equine Battle Royale!

white horse head with black title text EQUUSPrepare for battle!

The authors of Equus have agreed to fight it out. We will pitch our equine heroes against one another in classic RPG style until only one remains to claim the title.

There can be only one. /lightning bolts everywhere/ Continue reading

Paramour: A Broadway Review

Paramour Broadway posterI had the opportunity recently to visit New York City and attend Paramour, the new Cirque du Soleil Broadway musical at the Lyric Theater. The show closed shortly after, and I had a number of people ask me to share my thoughts on this unusual fusion of circus and theater. We like circus, and we like theater, but would they work as well together like some sort of fusion cuisine? Continue reading

Contest: Derp Me!

I was shooting some video and realized I’d accidentally bumped the selfie button while using my phone camera to check lighting. That’s how this starts.

hair flip

Accidental hair flip selfie.

And I thought that expression and that green screen were just too inviting, and so we’re going to play with them. Continue reading

Come Write With Me! in Ireland!

vintage travel poster style image of Skellig Michael with text Come Write In IrelandSo we’re closing on the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year, and you don’t know what to get that writer on your list? What about an investment in their writing career? Nothing says love and encouragement and “I believe in you!” like a contribution to their goals. (And reading their work. But that’s much harder to wrap.)

If you are the writer, feel free to leave this page open on a conspicuous monitor or maybe even send a helpful link. Continue reading

Indispensable Tools for Writers, Trainers, & Small Business

Something different today: a small business post! I run two small businesses, so I’m all about finding useful tools and tricks for keeping my schedule and my sanity. Over the years, I’ve settled on a shortlist of things I’m not going to do without. And because these will probably be useful to other authors, trainers, and whatever, I am going to share them now with you.

Note: all of these are tools I actually use on a daily or weekly basis. A few have affiliate links, but they’re here only because I find real value in them. Your use of these affiliate links is very much appreciated!

MileIQ for small businessMileIQ

I drive to clients’ homes for appointments, or I drive to museums to research a book, or I drive to a conference, or — I drive a lot. And much of that mileage is deductible, but I am frankly bad at remembering to copy down odometer numbers or to calculate driving distance, blah blah blah.

Enter MileIQ, a phone app which not only tracks all my drives for me automatically, but allows me to sort them into personal and business categories in literal seconds. No, seriously, I mean 5 seconds or so. Continue reading

A Chocolate Coffin

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Chocolate.

That’s a very literal title.

After all, I wouldn’t lie to you.

It’s no secret that I have a thing about the classic Universal monsters and gothic tales. Nor is it a secret that I have a small problem with chocolate. And so I was absolutely delighted to receive this chocolate coffin. (Or casket, really.) Continue reading

Con Recaps! (And some cool news.)

So July was kind of a blur, and the first part of August, but all for very good reasons.

Cong Abbey by night, Celtic crosses and gravesIreland Writer Tours

Long-time blog readers know I blogged about writing in Ireland in 2015, and I went again this year. It’s a great week, full of fabulous touring and inspiration. But I stayed a little longer this year with organizer Fiona Claire to prepare for 2017, when I’ll be co-teaching with the talented Lorie Langdon!

Stay tuned for more information on this, but trust me, it’s going to be amazing. As I said in my newsletterWant to explore a 15th century castle, walk through an impossibly green forest to an ancient waterfall, and climb in the footsteps of both 8th century monks and Luke Skywalker? All while improving your writing craft and exploring your publication options? Continue reading