Tuesday, August 25, 2015

FSF Challenge - Breakfast

Five Sentence Fiction badge from Lillie McFerrin Writes

This week's writing challenge
Five Sentence Fiction
Lillie McFerrin Writes )
is based upon the prompt:


What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

Get FSF updates on twitter by following @5SentenceFic

    "I've pushed Grandma to the table outside, Dad, but does she even know it's breakfast time?"
    "I'd like to think so, Sarah, and either way, the fresh air will do her good."
    When a small bird had landed on the table in front of her, she pushed a tiny of piece of toast toward it. As the bird picked off crumbs to eat, the old woman smiled.
    Sarah saw what her grandmother was doing, and nudged her father, saying, "I think she does, Dad."  

Looking for a short romance read? Check out this one from from Terri Deno (Kindle format):

You can also click here to go directly to Amazon! Melody of Love

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, August 14, 2015

Shore Leave 37 - Saturday

Just a reminder: It's okay to leave comments!

When you're planning on spending the entire day running from discussion panels to talks by television stars, only to be interrupted by the never-ending wait in the autograph line, you need to start the day with a good meal. And end it, also. Fortunately for the attendees of Shore Leave 37, the Hunt Valley Inn provided the fuel for such endeavors in the form of an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are rumors that management is now reconsidering the wisdom of that choice. It was $24 for dinner and somewhat less for breakfast, and there is little doubt I received my money's worth. I only ate two meals per day and I believe I've gained about five pounds over the course of the weekend. Never were less than three plates used, and on at least on happy occasion, a fourth was required.

I started out with a spinach and mushroom omelet (with cheese in the middle, because just like Wallace, I like cheese, and it was made to order right in front of you), sausages, and fruit. You can't see it here, but I had coffee, water, and orange juice to drink. I only ordered the coffee the rest appeared as if by magic...

Breakfast, first course...
Breakfast, first course...

I believe there is a possibility that I used a second plate to get the potatoes and some more fruit. There was probably something else on the plate, too, but I can't remember. Maybe it was bacon.

Then I was forced to eat dessert...

Dessert at breakfast
Dessert at breakfast

Yes, forced, I tell you! With more coffee, of course.

Once this celebration of gluttony concluded, I waddled out into the vendor's area to see what was for sale. Here's an example:

Lady Heather Fashions at Shore Leave
Lady Heathers Fashions at Shore Leave

This is Lady Heathers Fashions, with all sorts of stuff for cosplay. They also do custom leatherwork.

Around this time, I got a John Barrowman autograph for my brother.

At noon, I participated in the "Details of Publishing: The Good, the Bad, the Indies" workshop. The point of this was to give ideas on how to get published, with the upsides and downsides to each method. The panelists included Donna Frelick, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Marco Palmieri of TOR Books. Here's a few pointers that came out of this:

  1. Try to get reviews for your book to increase sales
  2. A Bookbub ad will get you sales, but they don't take everything
  3. Get a good cover. Look at covers you like and find out who made them. Don't be afraid to redo the cover if it doesn't work.
  4. Try small presses if the big ones aren't buying, and don't be afraid to try both
  5. Get an editor, and at least 3-4 beta readers
  6. Try sending stories to contests, if unpublished
  7. Build a query synopsis - 1 to 2 sentences with plot and ending. You can check Queryshark for help. And query only one book at a time, don't bombard them with a whole series even if you have that in mind, No more than about 200-250 words.
  8. Check out W. B. Thomas' Guide to Query Letters.

Marco Palmieri of TOR books made these points:

  1. Do your research
  2. Brevity is your friend (1 page query - no more)
  3. Check spelling
  4. Check out the Manuscript Wishlist (#MSWL)
  5. Write an elevator pitch

Other places to check for help in getting published:

  1. Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog
  2. SFWA now accepts indie works (within parameters) for membership

I got out in time to see the last part of John Barrowman's Saturday talk. This is John clowning around on stage with a boy from the audience.

John Barrowman at Shoreleave 2015
John Barrowman at Shoreleave 2015

After that, I caught the last part of Roger Cross speaking. I took several picture of him, but not one came out sharp.

BTW, there isn't any "travel time" built into the schedule, so just as one event ends the next is starting. That's a bit irritating as the events aren't right next to each other, and with all of the people crammed into the halls it takes time to get from one area to another.

At 3:00 PM, I attended the Writer Beware! workshop hosted by Richard White, Kathleen David, Glenn Hauman. This discussed the problems of writers being taken advantage of and is based on the website of the same name. Points I got out of this panel include:

  1. The complaint database at Writer Beware is confidential.
  2. An agent requires no certification. If an agent says they are certified, distrust them.
  3. Some valid agents will charge a fee (usually they will read the entire manuscript if they do).
  4. The biggest problem is amateur agents.
  5. The best situation is to find an agent moving away from an established company.
  6. Use AgentQuery to check for agents - who, what agency, sales.
  7. Use AbsoluteWrite - has index (blue=active agent, green=not active)
  8. Smaller presses should specialize - they shouldn't try to cover every genre.

After the workshop, I made my way into the main auditorium (the Hunt Room and the Valley Room joined together) to see the folks from Defiance (Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran).

Image of Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran from Defiance
Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran from Defiance

Here are close-up pics (about the best I could do without a tripod).

Jesse Rath at Shore Leave 2015
Jesse Rath at Shore Leave 2015

Jaime Murray at Shore Leave 2015
Jaime Murray at Shore Leave 2015

Tony Curran at Shore Leave 2015
Tony Curran at Shore Leave 2015

Somewhere in here, I got to talk to and shake hands with David Nykl.

After that, I got into the autograph line with my group. I got an autograph from Tony Curran on a picture from the Dr. Who series where he played Vincent Van Gogh.

Then it was time for dinner. Think of dinner as breakfast except there was roast beef, fish stuffed with crab meat, and delights of that sort. And, of course, dessert! I've become quite good at waddling.

Once we attended to some personal business, we stopped by the dance area to meet friends. BTW, they were playing ABBA when we arrived, then went straight to some sort of rap music. Ecclectic tastes, here...

With the day coming to an end, we relaxed with an adult beverage (only one), then went back to our rooms and turned in.

P.S. There's more to come. I'll try to get it posted when I can.

A note about the Farpoint convention coming up in 2016:

Farpoint is trying to raise money to enable them to bring more actors and actresses from popular shows to their convention. This can be expensive. If you are interested, please listen to the message from Tim Russ (Star Trek Voyager) below, then check out their kickstarter page for more info.

Click HERE to go to the Farpoint Kickstarter.

Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Monday, August 10, 2015

Shore Leave 37 - Friday

Just a reminder: It's okay to leave comments!

I arrived at Shore Leave late Friday with only a basic idea of how the weekend would go. The official schedule was still in flux (and would remain so until the final hours of the event). The first order of business, however, was to get checked in.

My group immediately noticed the upgrades to the Hunt Valley Inn since last year. There were new carpets and d├ęcor with horse-themed pictures and artwork everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. The bathrooms in the rooms had been upgraded, and fresh wallpaper was up. They are still in the process of making improvements, so next year should be even better—unless horses give you nightmares (no pun intended).

After we all had dinner (more on that later), we stopped into the "Valley Room" to listen to Daniel Davis (Niles in the Nanny TV series, Moriarity in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Captain Davenport in Hunt for Red October). He told stories about how he got several roles, and would add to that later in the weekend.

Daniel Davis speaking in the Valley Room
Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis talking about
Hunt for Red October

After Daniel Davis finished, I went into the "Hunt Room" to listen to the news from Tor Books. They went through all of the books coming in the next year, and how Tor is starting a Tor.com bookstore (as opposed to Tor Books) that will concentrate on novellas. They believe this is the future for them. I tried to make a list of the books, but I couldn't write that fast. A few of them did sound interesting. This talk ties in with a brief article on their web site.

Now that it was getting late in the evening, the one activity that was in full swing was the "Meet the Pros" segment where authors were displaying their latest works, and more than willing to discuss them. And make a sale, of course!

Image of authors and attendees during the Friday night Meet the Pros segment
Authors and potential readers mingling
during "Meet the Pros"

Authors Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold
Author Melissa Scott signs a book for a customer
while Amy Griswold talks to another.

That about covered Friday. I'll try to get the news from Saturday and Sunday up when I can!

Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved