I’ve worked at tables for three conventions now, and I’ve got to say, this latest one was the most rewarding.

Let’s go back to my first con. FanExpo in Toronto, 2010, where my comics went to die. I came out of that con feeling deflated and uninterested in drawing. I stopped drawing comics, and honestly, I haven’t done more than a few pages since. There were two major reasons why.

1) I went with a friend who was (and still is) a much better comic artist than me. Brenda Little. (Yup, My Little Pony artist, Brenda. Though she wasn’t doing that at the time). I’ll admit it, I got jealous when people said nice things about her stuff and ignored mine on the same table.

2) I wasn’t ready to be there. Although I’d been doing a couple of online comics, neither were popular by any means, and my drawing skills were still pretty amateur. Course, I didn’t think so at the time, but that’s what a few years of retrospection gets you.

I sold a few little things, including a couple of my very first plushies based on my own comic. Honestly, I did amazing for the level I was at, I just didn’t appreciate it at the time. Plus the trip and table was expensive, so both Brenda and I were hoping to do better.

My second con was Hal-Con 2012. I went with author Patti Larsen. This was her table, but she let me have what I had of my books on her table. We went with big hopes, but it was pretty clear, most people at the con weren’t really interested in books. Even if they were all fantasy and sci-fi.

Still, I had much more fun at this one compared to the first, even though I didn’t sell a single book. Why? I had no expectations going into the event. It was a last minute invitation and I was super happy I got to go at all.

My third and latest con ended just yesterday. Hal-Con 2014. What a blast! Everything went right at this con. People were in great moods and seemed to be there to buy things. My table did amazing, and I sold all but two of my dragons in the first day. I even sold a few books and prints, which I really hadn’t been expecting after my other two experiences.

What were the major differences?

The con atmosphere. Fan Expo had problems the year we were there. It was over packed and fire regulations kept people from moving about the exhibition area with ease. That put people in a foul mood which made them less likely to buy, even if they did see something they sort of liked. This year’s Hal-Con ran remarkably smoothly. I didn’t hear a single complaint the entire time.

I had product people wanted. People want something they recognize, which usually means fan art. I’m guilty of this as much as anyone. There’s so much visual information at a con, your brain seems to shut most of it out. It’s only when it sees something familiar that it goes, “Hey! That’s awesome! You want that!”

My skill level has greatly improved. From my drawing to cover design to sewing. Everything looked a little more professional than even two years ago.

Plushies! I was the only table to have handmade plushies, which made my items a novelty. Also, people love items they can hold and cuddle. Once they’ve picked up the items, parting with them becomes that much more difficult, which means sales are more likely. Posters are great, but there’s only so many walls in a house. There’s always room for one more plushie, pin, or trinket.

Will I do another con?

Before this year’s Hal-Con, I wasn’t sure. Tables can be expensive and travel is even worse. Now, it’s a definite yes. I’m not sure when or where, but I will do it again. It was so much fun, how could I not!

 

halcon-table-2014

 


I’m headed to Hal-Con this year! I’m super excited. Apparently there was a huge number of people who applied for tables, so I’m lucky to get one.

Hal-Con is a comic convention in Halifax, NS, Canada. If you want to find out more, visit their website. But be warned, they are almost out of tickets!

I’m going to have lots of plushies, mini dragons, and illustrations there. It should be a colorful table. I’m still working on all of the items I’m going to have available, but you can get a good idea of what’s going to be there by glancing around this website.

I found out today where my table is going to be. Table 231! You can see where that is on the map below. Hope to see some of you there!

2014 halcon floorplan

 


Ok, I admit it. I haven’t been writing lately. I’m sorry! But I’ve been doing other things you might enjoy, such as making these tiny dragons out of clay. Aren’t they adorable? They are all about 2″ big and handmade out of polymer clay. I’m thinking about selling them on Etsy soon. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 


When you read a swearword in a young adult book, are you surprised? Or have you come to expect foul language?

I know when I was a teen, it was unheard of for there to be swearing in YA books, unless they were really edgy. Now, I don’t even blink if there’s swearing. I’ve kept it out of my books for the most part, though that was mostly because my editors insisted. In my next series, there’s a chance I might let the swearwords fly.

So, I guess that makes this a two part question. What do you think of swearing in books? And, what do you think of an author who previously had no swearing in their books and later swears away (in a separate series)?


Like most authors, I get my ideas from paying attention to the world around me. But that’s not a very satisfying answer, so let me take you step-by-step through how I wrote The Box.

1)   Started with an idea or an image. In this case, the picture of a girl wearing a lipstick container as a necklace and a miniature boy inside came to me. (This idea didn’t just pop into my head while I was sleeping or traveling. I was actively trying to come up with my next idea for a book. I thought about all of the things I loved as a kid and what I enjoy now. Eventually I thought about miniature items which I’ve always loved, and the image popped into my mind.)

2)   Figure out what her story is. “The guy literally fell into your lap and now you’re trying to get him home, huh? Interesting.” (Yes, I have conversations with my characters. How else am I going to know how the character talks and thinks and reacts to things?)

3)   How’s this book going to end? (This usually changes for me as I write. The Box had a completely different ending in my mind, but when I started writing, things sort of happened.)

4)   Write. (I usually have two or three scenes in my mind before I start, and my goal is to get from the beginning to those scenes in a way that makes sense. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and those scenes end up being cut.)

5)   Rewrite. (I wrote about 20,000 words of The Box where Lou was much snarkier and Sin didn’t exist. After getting some beta reader’s comments, I realised Lou sounded too similar to Tabetha from my first published novel, Magic High. The sequence of events were similar as well. I knew I could do better, so I scrapped everything I’d written and started again. The only thing that stayed the same was my original idea of a girl wearing a lipstick container with a miniature guy within.

6)   Rewrite some more. (It took me one month to write the first draft of The Box. It took me two years to edit it to the state it’s in now. Very little remains of the original writing, though most of the ideas are the same.)

My process hasn’t changed much since I wrote The Box. I’ve tried outlining and other techniques with little success. What seems to work best for me right now is to get an idea for a scene, and make it grow.


Everyone excited? It’s book release day for The University, the fourth book in The Box series. That means I’ve published five books in 4 years. Not bad. But this year is going to be epic. I have so many ideas for novels in my mind just waiting to be written and I can’t wait to share them with you.

So look out 2014. This is going to be a crazy fun year.

Now, let’s step back four years from the events of The Sword and meet Tristan in The University.

Buy Now…

Amazon / Smashwords


Question of the day…

Have you ever started a series by reading any book other than #1?

I have feelings about this. Strong ones. But from what I’ve heard from every other author and publisher out there, I must be wrong.

Yes, I have accidentally picked up the second or third in a series. (Designers, please put a number on there somewhere, especially for paperbacks. There’s tons of room.) But as soon as I realized what I did, I stopped reading.

What would you do if you accidentally started reading book 2+ in a series?


Hope everyone had a great 2013. Here are a few highlights of my year.

January 2013 my sister had healthy triplets. Identical boys and a girl. I predict the girl is going to become a writer since she’s already such a daydreamer. My sister says they are all going to be doctors and they can be artists on the side if they want. I can’t argue with her logic. Haha.

March I published The Journal, the second book in The Box series. Sin was happy to get her own novel, but she’s not quite sure why the series doesn’t revolve around her. Sorry Sin.

June I published The Sword, the third book in The Box series. Back to Lou and Aldric in this installment. Poor Al has a hard time of it in this story.

June also saw the publication of Donkey Oatie’s Field Trip, written by Tom H. Rath and illustrated by me. My first children’s book. They’re much harder than I imagined.

A gorgeous summer meant a lot of swimming and relaxing needed to be done.

A local writers group also had their first mini convention in August where members were encouraged to write for a full week. During that time, I taught my first class on cover design. I also spoke with a panel of three other professionals about the business of publishing.

October I finally got out to California to meet my sister’s little monkeys. Got to be the first to see one of them crawl and was there for their first Halloween. They dressed up as…you guessed it, three little monkeys.

November brought an album release. I illustrated and designed a CD case for two singers, Amy and Rachel Beck. Love their music. Their songs are really catchy.

I also got to talk to a high school creative writing class about books and writing. It was a blast. Though, it was an interesting reminder that a lot of teens don’t actually read YA books. Hopefully they’ll return to it in their 20’s.

December I released a “box set” of the first three books of The Box series on Amazon and I finished rewriting The University.

2013 was pretty fun, but I’m really looking forward to 2014. Lots more writing and drawing to be done. And it’s all going to begin with the release of The University in just a few days!


Looks like it’s November again. And once again I’m going to make an attempt at writing a novel in a month. It’s not impossible for me, far from. When I have a good week, I can easily write half a novel. But as of yet I’ve never officially finished a novel in a month.

Time to make this the year!

I’m going to work on something a little different. A fantasy romance. No running around and saving the world (or failing to as the case may be). This time it’s all about the people.

I started this book well over a year ago, but only ever wrote two chapters. So I’m starting again. I wrote out an outline and everything. Very different for me.

Here’s to finishing a book in a month! Let me know if you’re working on NaNo this year too. We can cheer and mock each other as required.

Current Word Count – 2156/50000


Did some more adjusting of the website. Don’t worry, I think it’s going to stay like this for a while. But then again….

No, I promise, no more mucking about. Unless it’s to add more fun things. You like fun things right? Well hey, look at that link at the top of the page. What does it say? I can’t quite read it.

Oh yeah, FUN STUFF!

Right now it holds the two videos I’ve done (A year ago! Wow, where did the time go?) and I should be putting up some more soon.

Also, brand new today, I decided to make some desktop wallpapers. Want to see more of Tab, Lou and Sin? Well you can have them on your computer all day long. And hey, they’re free. So, enjoy! Hopefully I’ll think of some other designs to do soon to add to that page as well.

So keep your eye out on this website. Lots more to come.