Friday, July 19, 2019

Shore Leave 41 Friday Summary

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I know it's unusual to start a series of posts on a subject with a summary, but in this case I felt it is justified. Or maybe it's a prequel. Perhaps you'll understand once I'm done...

You always hope the events like this will proceed in an orderly manner, and despite the best efforts of the Shore Leave staff, I should have noticed the foreshadowing the convention muses were tossing my way when they started posting the guest list. We had been hopeful as Shore Leave posted event schedule before the opening. That's a big help and I'd never seen that for previous conventions. But, back to the guest list...

First, they listed John Glover as a guest. Then they said he couldn't make the convention due to scheduling conflicts. Then he was back on as a guest. I figured I'd just wait to see who showed up.

And it was time for the trip to begin!

As Marie and I both had items for the art show (and also being accompanied by a friend attending the show), the vehicles (yes, multiple vehicles) were packed with more stuff than usual. That also meant unpacking more stuff than usual. I arrived first, checked into the hotel, picked up my badge, then started dragging our junk to the art show room.

The Fates were already toying with me as not a single luggage dolly was in sight. From previous conventions, I know they have a number of them, but I only saw one the entire time I was there. And somebody else had nabbed it. This meant multiple trips from a distant parking location in the heat. So I grabbed as much as I could and headed for the art show.

Having arrived right after opening (9:00 am), I was surprised that much of the art show space had already been claimed. The manager wanted me to hang my art first, then get to Marie's jewelry. Check-in took longer than expected as other participants had a large number of items to register. I only had four pieces to hang, so I ended up waiting for a while before they checked in my items. Then another trip back to the car for the first part of Marie's jewelry.

While the jewelry doesn't take up much space, the setup, with shelves, trays, and manikin heads, requires time. Then more waiting for them to check bid sheets, arrange the bid sheets, and other such things.

Finally the registration was finished. Or so I thought.

We had brought items to donate to the auction for Loretta Shaneybrook. Her surviving husband was having a difficult time due to medical and other bills which came as he was starting a new job. This is from the STAT website

We are saddened by the passing of our friend and long-time STAT club member, Loretta Shaneybrook. Loretta was a constant presence at Shore Leave, working behind the scenes for decades, and also at STAT club meetings as chair of the social committee, organizing holiday parties and the club’s annual picnic. If you ever volunteered at the convention, you likely remember Loretta as the lady on the scooter, bringing snacks and water to the people working at the event. She will be missed. She is survived by her husband, Randy Bruner. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through this difficult time.
Loretta Shaneybrook passed away on Wednesday, June 12.
The items we donated were my dragon illustration, three mineral specimens, a pearl necklace, and a bracelet. Here are two of the mineral specimens donated, an amethyst from Uruguay and a Kundalini quartz (citrine, from the Congo). The other specimen was a large chunk of rose quartz.

Amethyst donated

Kundalini quartz (citrine) donated

These also required bid sheets with pricing and descriptions. By the time all was done, it was about noon. Marie and her friend were still on the way to the hotel, so went up to the room to change out of my sweaty shirt. I'm glad I brought extras.

It seemed like I was carrying a lot of heavy items in the heat this year,: the jewelry shelves, luggage, and the box of books to give away. I had nearly thirty books to pass out, and after carrying them a good ways from the car, I almost passed out myself. Here's a partial list of what I had (in order of last name of author):
Terri Deno - If It Was New York, Summer 2009, Seeing What Develops
Miranda Kate - Slipping Through
Lizzie Koch - Dreaming of a Happy Ever After
Angela Lynn - Of Lies and Zombies
Beth Rhodes - All of her Hawk Elite Security series (Beth donated them for me to give out - and sent a signed copy of her latest for me to read!)
Lisa Shambrook - A Symphony of Dragons, Beneath the Rainbow: Freya's Story (with the new cover!)
K. R. Smith - Tales From The Bully Box, Dead Men's Tales, Tales By The Tree*, Human 76*, Grimm & Grimmer Vol 3

I'm sure I missed a few. There were also 6-8 hardback mystery books that were my mother's. In most of the books I added a flyer with QR codes linking back to the author's Amazon page and a short description. Maybe a few folks will check them out.

* which includes stories by some of the authors previously listed
I had hoped to have copies of the Lonesome Train anthology with my latest story, Momma Knows Best, to give away. Unfortunately, they arrived while I was away at the convention.

But I'm early for next year!

At this point, the art show items had been set up and everybody's luggage had been moved to the rooms. It was mid-afternoon, so after a quick break for lunch, we stopped back at the room to make a rest stop and sort out what we needed to bring with us for the rest of the afternoon. I also took the first batch of books to set up a giveaway near the elevators.

As I was placing them out for display, a man came up and began looking through the books. After a brief sales pitch, he reluctantly replied, "If I bring home one more book my wife will kill me." He walked away, though very slowly. That was okay as others began to check out the offerings. It doesn't take long for them to disappear.

On the way downstairs, I stopped by the front desk to ask if they had any of the small portable refrigerators available for our room. They weren't sure they had any left, but they took down the room number and said if one was available they would send it up.

Soon thereafter, we went to check out the autograph row to see who was available to sign. We nosed around there until I left for the Effective Cover Design panel. More on that later.

I met back up with Marie and company after the panel and we headed down to the art show to see if any bids had some in. I had a bid listed on my tiny painting "On Edge" and Marie had sold a couple of bracelets. Not bad.

On Edge - 5x7 Acrylic on canvas, framed
On Edge - 5x7 acrylic on canvas, framed

Marie and I went up to the room. When I walked in I noticed something different. Remember the refrigerator we had requested? Well, here's what we got:

Refrigerator? Um, no...
Not exactly what I was expecting. Couldn't keep anything cold...

After resting up for a little bit, we went to listen to the guest speakers. Unfortunately, Alex Mallari's flight had been cancelled (not his fault), so he wasn't there. The staff announced he would be there the next day. That was part of the foreshadowing, by the way. This event would have implications later on...

Marie decided to wait for John Glover to speak while I went to check out the filk concert.

I was curious about the filk concerts. In all the years I had attended Shore Leave I had not attended a concert, sometimes because of schedule overlaps and sometimes because the sessions are scheduled in the evenings I was just too tired. Think of it as open mic night with the songs having a sci-fi or fantasy based theme. This theme can be tenuous at times. So can the idea of having the songs be based on a folk-music style. Or music in general. I'll leave it at that. Singing along is encouraged. Knowing the words appears to be optional. Author Roberta Rogow did perform a couple of good songs.

I have thought about participating in filk. I don't think I could do any worse (and probably not any better), although that would be a matter of opinion. It's best to have sense of humor if you're either a singer or in the audience.

Anyway, I sneaked out between acts and caught the final minutes of John Glover's talk. The last part of his session was taken over by a young audience member. I may have a video of that for later posting. I will certainly have more pictures!

John Glover at Shore Leave 41
John Glover at Shore Leave 41

After that came Luna-C's quickie version of all the Harry Potter books done in a 45 minute period. There were some good moments, but you have to be up on all the Harry Potter details to get some of the jokes. I'm not.

Luna-C's Harry Potter play
with Dumbledore and Harry in the background

It was after 11:00 pm when Luna-C finished. We took a walk through the Meet The Pros area, then called it a night.

I'll have more details (and pictures) later! And keep that foreshadowing in mind...

© 2019 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

It's Almost Here

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Yes, in a few days I'll be attending the Shore Leave sci-fi convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The Shore Leave hare

Every year I say I'll be ready ahead of time, and every year I fail to be prepared. I'm still working on the finishing touches on a painting and trying to get other stuff together.

There was a minor miracle, however. The Shore Leave folks have posted the convention schedules before the convention starts this year! There have been times when the event is underway before anyone knows what's going on. This is a big plus to have the info ahead of time so you can plan what you are going to do.

There are a number of new panels this year, too. I'm hoping to attend a few of them. For example:

The Worth of Workshops and Writing Classes
Panelists who have attended writing workshops and/or classes discuss what
they got out of the experience, what they wish they would have known going in, and the impact it had on their writing practice and/or career.
Kelli Fitzpatrick, Jim Johnson, Derek Attico, Danielle Ackley-McPhail,
Lorraine Anderson, Laura Ware
Effective Cover Design
Whether you are creating your own cover or working with the publisher’s art department, how to come up with an effective concept everyone can be happy with. What works, what doesn’t, and how much does it matter?
Mike McPhail, Aaron Rosenberg, Greg Cox, Joshua Palmatier
Beta Readers—How to Choose Them and What to Expect
Feedback is helpful to almost every writer. But are you getting the notes
that actually help you improve your WIP? Your craft? This panel discusses
how to vet beta readers and set up a process so you get the most out of the
Joshua Palmatier, Lorraine Anderson, Peter David
There are plenty of other new ones to choose from if my schedule allows.

And I'll be putting up some items for sale in the art show again. Well, it all depends on whether I can get that last painting sorted out if it's three or four pieces. That one in the middle is giving me fits...

I'll also be putting up Gear Girl again since it didn't sell last year (it was the one I thought would sell!). And there will be a dragon illustration (and a few other items) for charity.

I hope to post some pictures and such from the convention, although Saturday night may be too busy to post then. I'm playing everything by ear this year.

Since I'm running out of time here, that's all I'm saying for now. But I'll be back!

© 2019 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

It's Alive!

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It took a while to get here, but the Lonesome Train anthology has finally arrived!

Do you hear that train a-comin'? Comin' round the bend...? Our authors did! Step into an anthology filled with demonic trains and disastrous encounters. Ghosts, time travel, giant spiders, wagon trains, space-transport--whatever you are interested in, we've got you covered. Sit right back and enjoy the ride.

My story in this anthology is called Momma Knows Best. It's a Southern Gothic tale about a young woman having difficulty accepting her mother's advice. Kids can be like that, you know. But when a photographer drops by to take pictures of the old train station where she's hanging out, things take a dark turn.

At the moment. it's only available in paperback on Lulu (check for coupons or promotional codes). If (when, I hope) that changes, I'll post an update on my My Works page.

I'll be giving away a couple of copies at the Shore Leave sci-fi convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland this year, but if you can't make it there, check it out on Lulu!

© 2019 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Monday, July 1, 2019

Fireworks Without The Hassle

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Should you lack enough pyrotechnics in your life (and who doesn't?), I've put a short video of a local fireworks display online. It's available through my Patreon site (free access!).

Some of the fireworks at the Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA, June 29, 2019
Fireworks at the Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA, June 29, 2019

The show took place at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia on June 2, 2019. There was supposed to be a performance by the The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters, too, but it was rained out. We did get to see them warm up—then the rains (and lightning and thunder) hit throwing the event's schedule into chaos.

Things did clear up in time for the fireworks, however, and it was a great show. Check them out HERE!

© 2019 K. R. Smith All rights reserved