Category Archives: Conventions

Paranormally Speaking

By Tina R. McSwain


The granddaddy of the Southern Cons has hit Atlanta for the next three days.  Always scheduled for the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, this is one Con you need to attend.

There is a dedicated Paranormal Tract at Dragon*Con, being held at its own hotel and continuing its success from last year.

Following is the link of speakers and programming:

If you’re into the paranormal and in Atlanta this weekend, this is the place to be to see all of your favorites.  The Sheraton Hotel hosts the Paranormal Tract.

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It’s not about staying behind the desk

by Crymsyn Hart

When I first started writing, I never thought beyond the world I was building or the characters I was creating. Eventually, I would have to do edits on the book. Of course, first I had to find an agent and then pray that the agent would find a home for the book they had accepted. Granted, this was fifteen years ago when I started writing in college and was sending out my query letters. With all the rejection letters I received, I soon lost interest in even writing and figured that it didn’t matter. I was going to stop writing altogether.

Then a friend of mine told me about e-books and trying to e-publish. That was in 2006. I found a start up e-publisher, that eventually folded, but my dream had come true and I was going to be a published author. Then the fun began.


Here I was, shy and really wasn’t about getting myself out there. But I signed up for the yahoo groups, discovered Facebook, and eventually jumped on Twitter. I’m still not perfect at self promotion. It’s the thorn in my side, but I do hope to get better at it. I’ve been doing more conventions and even tweeting more, hoping that people will find my posts interesting.

This past weekend I was in Philadelphia at the Authors After Dark convention where I was thrown way out of my comfort zone and forced to socialize with people. Oh the horror! LOL. But it was very cool to get out from behind my computer and mingle with other authors and readers. It was an awesome experience and I plan on doing it again next year. I think the coolest thing was just meeting people who you see online or readers that said ‘hey I read your book and liked it.’

But overall, it was a lesson that as writers we have to move outside of our writing box and promote because how else are people going to know about you. So for any first time writers, let me say that it may not be something you’re good at, and I’m not perfect, but once you can force yourself to do it, it is a good thing. And good things will come of it.


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Why Published Writers Love Cons

by Gail Z. Martin

Go to any literary or multi-media convention and you’ll see a slew of published writers.  Now everyone knows that writers are shy and introverted (or not), so why do they brave the crowds to spend precious weekends hanging out with total strangers?

Certainly the visibility doesn’t hurt.  With today’s decreased book sales, writers have a real economic reason to go out and make new friends who will hopefully try their books, and to remain visible to long-time readers to remind them of new books to come.  Publishers are less and less able to do much in the way of marketing for the average title, so writers are left to create their own visibility opportunities, and cons are certainly a great way to be visible to the core fan audience.

Believe it or not, many writers also just plain enjoy meeting readers and fans in general.  It’s just plain fun to go sit on panels and talk about fandom-related stuff, favorite books and movies and the kind of geeky technicalities that makes other people roll their eyes.  Most, if not all, writers are also fans themselves, so they get a kick out of all the things that make a good con tick—panels, costuming, celebrity guests, etc.

Writers also enjoy networking with other writers at cons.  Since writing is a largely solitary activity, writers enjoy the chance to connect with their writer friends, and it’s easiest to do this at a con.  Look around and you’ll see writers holed up together at meals, over drinks and during parties talking shop.  It’s also good business—at my last convention, I was invited to appear at three different conventions plus asked to send a short story for an anthology.  Lots of writers can tell you how they got an invitation to submit a manuscript or some other project by networking at a con.

And another reason–It’s a day away from the keyboard but related to the genre, so we don’t feel guilty.  It’s work related, but also fun.  Maybe that should be reason #1!

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What Writers Wish Readers Knew

by Gail Z. Martin

Writing is a strange business.  We writers labor in relative solitude, and then thrust our work into the public eye.  We get to meet a small fraction of the people who may consider or read our books.  And yet, there is so much we’d like to tell them.

So here are a few things I wish readers knew, or at least considered as they read.

#1—If you’re reading a series, enjoy the fact that you get to know the characters over a period of time.  Realize that you won’t know the people or the situations as quickly as in a stand-alone book, by design.  You can’t hold a book early in a series to the same expectations for quick character development as you can a single book.  And by the same token, if you come into the middle of a series, expect that there will either be some recapping or you won’t know everything.  How different is that from real life?  When you first meet someone at age 30, you don’t know their history all at once, not the way you do with someone you grew up with.  Savor the chance to get a leisurely introduction.

#2—Before firing off an email or a review on how an author got a historic element “wrong,” stop and ask—am I sure?  For example, I was recently taken to task by a reviewer who quibbled with my women fighters, stating that it was a modern view of women unheard of in the ancient world.  Oh really?  Joan of Arc, Elinor of Aquitaine,  Boudicca, Tomyris, Zenobia, and the Trung sisters are just a few examples of stories about ancient women who kicked ancient butt.  Especially in historical novels, pop culture’s understanding of how things were is usually woefully myopic and frequently incorrect.

#3—Please read the book as the author’s vision, and try to enjoy it as such.  Sure, if you’d been writing it, you would have done things differently.  But then it would be a different book.  If that really bothers you, maybe it’s time for you to start writing the books you want to read.  That’s what got me started.  There were stories out there I wanted to read and no one was telling them in the way I wanted to read them.  Who knows?  Instead of writing a review, you could be launching a new career!

Stay tuned for Things Readers Wish Writers Would Keep In Mind


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