Wednesday, May 28, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Purrrrrrrrr & Links

Cute, isn't he? All fluffy and soft looking? Totally pet-able. Until he eats the villagers, that is.

This guy was at the Wild Animal Sanctuary. I've posted pictures of a few of the other critters (lions and tigers and bears...well, you know what comes next.)

Now for some links. Bearing in mind, as usual, that I am merely passing along links I've come across. I am not endorsing any of these publications, personally. Please always do your due diligence before submitting to a publication or contest.

Accepting Submissions:

Cleis Press has put out a call for submissions for Pillow Talk: Erotic Romance for Women. Deadline June 15. 2500-5000 words. Pays $50 per story and two contributor copies.

Matter Press and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts are currently accepting poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, triptychs, and visual arts. Deadline June 15. Pays $50. is looking for stories of their project Fifty Shades of Green. 1200-6000 words. Deadline June 15. Pays $100.

Freeze Frame Fiction is looking for flash fiction stories. Current submission window closes June 15. Pays $10.

Wolf Willow Journal is looking for poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, and artwork. Submissions for their summer edition close June 15. The summer edition theme is Ephemera. Payment varies between $10-$20, depending on type of submission.

Eye to the Telescope wants poems about science. Deadline June 15. Pays $.03/word.

Sorcerous Signals is seeking fantasy themed short stories. 10,000 words or less. Deadline is June 15 for the November issue. Pays $5 for short stories, $2 for poems and flash fiction.


Human Echoes Podcast is holding a contest. They're looking for Dinopunk (yes, you read that right) stories of 1000 words or less. Deadline June 6. First prize is $10 and your story as a podcast.

The Norton Writer's Prize is an essay contest open only to college students (both 2- and 4-year). Deadline June 16. First prize $1500.

Of Interest:

Jason Diamond wrote about 50 Places Every Literary Fan Should Visit on Flavorwire. Some are houses, some museums (some both), and some are graves/graveyards. Some interesting places, all told!

Any of these catch your attention? Anything to share? Submission news? Doesn't that tiger look cuddly?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Stormy Sunset & Links

That's Pikes Peak at sunset during an overcast evening. Still snowy up there! Probably worse today, considering the amount of hail we got this evening.

Now for some links. Please bear in mind that these are merely links I've run across; I have not vetted them. Always do your due diligence when considering submission to any publication.

Accepting Submissions:

ZYZZYVA accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, and artwork during their open submission period, the current one ending May 31. Payment unknown. Submission by postal mail only.

Penumbra eMag is seeking submissions with the theme of "Pain" for their August issue. Window closes June 1. They pay $.05/word. The next theme will be Lewis Carroll.

Dream Monocle Publishing is accepting submissions through June 1. Fiction of varying lengths (flash fiction to novel), graphic novels, poetry, and artwork. Speculative fiction. Payment unknown.

Electric Literature's Recommended Reading is taking submissions through June 1. Pays $300. Only original fiction during their spring submission period.

SORMAG is seeking articles based on the theme "Creating the Book," with a deadline of June 1. They also accept short stories, devotionals, and fillers on writing tips and tricks, etc. Pays $25 for articles, and varying amounts for the other types.

The New Smut Project is looking for their publications with the working titles of "Character-Driven Smut" and "50 Shades of Negotiation." Both close June 1. Pays in royalties and contributor copies.

Jaym Gates is seeking stories based on the Spirit of Place. Deadline is June 1. Flash fiction and short stories. Pays $.07/word.


The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize closes May 31. It will be awarded to "the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre." Prize is a $12,000 advance and publication.

Wielding Power is looking for essays on today's questions. Current contest entry theme is "Is Secession Legitimate?" Deadline June 1. First prize is $1000.

Issues in Science and Technology is holding a science fiction contest. Deadline June 1. There are five major themes you can write to. Winners get $1500 and publication.

Any of these interest you? Anything to share? Submission news? How has your spring been? Any big storms? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blogging Responsibly - It's Personal

Sometimes I forget that when I blog it's visible to more than just my fellow bloggers. And then something happens, like a friend or family member bringing up something I blogged about. For me, the wake up call to really pay attention to what I was posting if it had to do with a real life topic, such as a historical incident, were blog comments from people that weren't bloggers, but someone who had a personal connection to something I'd posted about.

Natalie Wood
By unknown photographer (ebay)
[Public domain],
 via Wikimedia Commons
You see, my topics for the 2012 A-to-Z Challenge and the 2013 A-to-Z were The Wild West and History's Mysteries, respectively. Several of my posts during those challenges caught the eyes of people who knew more about the topics than I did. One was a post about the mystery behind Natalie Wood's death. I heard from someone who had written a book about her death, and had worked with the captain of the ship they'd been on when she died. The post that drew the most attention, though, had to do with the outlaw Clay Allison. Oddly, he's someone I find few people have heard of, yet the tales of his outlaw days cause Billy the Kid to pale in comparison. I find him fascinating, and I had a lot of fun writing the post about him. 

Bearing in mind, of course, that this was during the A-to-Z, so research time wasn't what it might have been for a regular once per week post, I spent a few hours reading up on Clay Allison. There were some fantastic tales about his escapades, but what got skirted over in the information I found was the reasons behind what he'd done and how he'd become an outlaw. And a good percentage of the information out there was likely false, stuff made up in the publications of the day. 

Photo of Clay Allison courtesy of Find a Grave member John "J-Cat" Griffith
I was in it for fun, though, and posted the various tales and information. I hope that there were folks who did research on their own after reading about him, those whose interest was piqued by hearing his tales. But at the same time, I perpetuated the myths that were out there, too. And a few of his descendants contacted me in the blog comments. They were nice guys, no flaming or accusations, and they thanked me for bringing him back into people's awareness. But their comments reminded me that I was posting about real people, people who had family or acquaintances who were still around. Yes, I'm sure they're accustomed to reading the stuff that's out there, and I even got a book recommendation out of it so I can get more information on a subject that interests me. And I'm not going to lie. I'm enough of a wild west buff that I geeked out internally about being contacted by his descendants. But a subject I enjoyed reading and writing about was personal history to them, not just a story.

So my reminder to you is the same as the reminder to me: When you're posting away, thinking this is just a blog, not a newspaper or novel, remember that there's always someone out there for whom the subject could be personal.

Have you been contacted by someone with personal ties to a subject you've blogged about? How did it go? Are you aware of Clay Allison? Who do you think was responsible for Natalie Wood's death? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Really Wordy Wednesday & Links

Instead of posting a picture and hardly any words (not including the links, of course), I figured I'd share a panel from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Patrick Hester moderated it and it was recorded as a podcast, which is available on the SF Signal Podcast. It's a panel on diversity in writing, with panelists Chuck Wendig, Jim C. Hines, Carol Berg, and Amy Boggs. It's an hour long and interesting listening.

CLICK HERE to go to SF Signal. If it's no longer the primary one listed, it's episode 247, PPWC 2014.

Now for some links! As always, please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting these links, merely passing along items of interest. Always do your due diligence before submitting to a market or contest.

Accepting Submissions:

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is currently in their open submission period for their July issue. Closes May 31. They accept prose, poetry, artwork, and photography. Pays $5 per accepted piece.

Arc Poetry Magazine accepts poetry  through May 31. Pays $40 per page.

Glimmer Train is in their non-fee reading period in the standard category and short story award category (contest). They pay well--$700 for the standard category, and $1500 for first prize in the short fiction category. Deadline May 31.

Monkey Star Press is accepting submissions for two anthologies: Mom for the Holidays (May 31st deadline) and Adventures in Potty Training (June 30th deadline). 700-1200 words. $125 per 1000 word essay.

Ephiroll Productions is putting together an anthology based on a specific plague. Pay is $20 per story or $10 plus 2% royalties. Deadline June 1. 2000+ words.

Angelic Knight Press and Lincoln Crisler (editor) are looking for short stories about rituals. 3000-5000 words. Deadline June 1. Pays in royalties.

Bizarro Pulp Press is open for submissions to their anthology, Surreal Worlds, through June 1. Pay varies per words submitted ($0 to $50, plus contributor copy).


Wax Poetry and Art Magazine is holding a contest for residents of Canada only. Deadline May 18. No more than 250 words. Free to enter. 1st Prize is $25.

Southeast Missouri State University Press is holding a contest for Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors. Open to military personnel, veterans, and their families. No entry fee. $250 1st prize in five categories.

Of Interest:

Page Lambert is leading one of her three annual writing adventures to Peru. This one is for women only (not all of them are, but this is). October 3-14. Initial registration and deposit needs to be in by June 1 (I think). See the website for details.

What did you think of the podcast? Do you feel we need more diversity? Any examples of authors who have embraced diversity in their writing? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Conference Recap, Part Deux

Holy cow, it's Monday!

I should have written the recap while it was still fresh in my mind. I think I'm blocking it out for my own protection. ;)

Okay, so we move on to Saturday, where I started the day with even less sleep than the night before, because none of my technology would work to play me some music (and I need "white noise" to sleep). After several frustrating hours, I got my little iPod out, which was sitting in red for battery, and it had just enough juice to help me fall asleep for a few hours.

I moderated two sessions Saturday, one on blogging for writers and one on facing the excuses that keep us from writing, both by excellent speakers (Aaron Michael Ritchey and Jenny Lovett).

I helped setup for lunch then sat with Pete Klismet (one of our CSI speakers, retired FBI profiler). And I screwed up on my last post. Bonnie gave the stirring tribute speech about members lost this year on Saturday, directly preceding Jim C. Hines. Unfortunately, I had to set up for the book signing, so missed his speech. I heard after the fact that he had addressed diversity in writing.

My job at the book signing, once we had it all set up, was to mug people going in and out of the door. Okay, no mugging required, but I had to make sure no one left with a book they hadn't paid for yet, and anyone coming in with already purchased books got a sticker so I wouldn't have to mug them when they tried to leave. The book sale went well, and I didn't have to tackle anyone, so it was good.

I had left myself a space of time to rest up a bit before dinner, so I had some snackage in the green room, hung out with some folks for a bit, then actually went and had a shower. A SHOWER! Boy, I needed that shower. By the time I was done, it was time to rush down to the ballroom to set up for dinner. It was banquet night, so people dress anywhere between jeans and formal gowns. I wore a semi-formal gown. I don't really have pics of it, so here's the one I have from BarCon later on. (Shortly after this photo, I clipped my hair up and traded heels for slipper socks. Ahhhh, better.)

The dinner speaker was Hank Phillippi Ryan, who was inspirational, to say the least. I sat with Chuck Wendig and a bunch of friends, which was nice (typically, you pick your faculty member and sit with a bunch of strangers unless you have a friend who wants to sit with the same person). We had fun and joked around, and I got to relax because there was no terrifying costume contest. Yay!

After dinner was BarCon, with much ensuing goofiness. (And somewhere in there I ran around and did signs). Then sleeeeeeeep. Well, much hilarity, then sleep. Though still not much, I did get some more sleep than the night before. Thank goodness.

Sunday, the final day! Survival of the fittest! I went ahead and got up early enough to eat breakfast with everyone else (until this point, I had Carnation Instant Breakfast in the room each morning). Sat with some of my fellow staff, Terese Ramin, and Jim C. Hines, both of whom were nice.

Then I was off! I signed up to moderate every single session this day (there were three--it's a half day). First session was Jumpstart Your Rewrite with Trai Cartwright. Everyone groaned when we ran out of time, so it was a powerful presentation. She covered the steps of your story and what to look for in the plot itself when editing.

By Mohamed Ibrahim
Next, Bookstore 101 with Kris Neri. She gave great info on how authors should deal with bookstores (well, if you want them to want to carry your books for you...). There was quite a bit I hadn't thought of before, and quite a bit that surprised me. She had horror stories about rude authors, including one who convinced them to carry her book, then came in and hand sold her own copy (NOT the store's inventory) to someone right there in the store!! She also discussed the rules some publishers put on books that make them unappealing to carry for small bookstores, such as the only reasonable price being for those who buy over a certain number. Small, privately run bookstores can't afford to purchase 100 of a book to get a discount, and they can't afford to purchase books at full price. They have to make some sort of profit to keep the store open. She said to not try to fib that you shop at a store just to get the to sell their books--a small bookstore will know if you shop there. Tell the truth from the beginning, and it's not an automatic no. Also, since bookstores are area-dependent, not all bookstores can move your book, depending on the dynamics of the area. If the shop owner is nice enough to tell you why they can't carry it, just take it, don't keep fighting them. If you leave a bad impression now, maybe a book that would have worked in the future won't be accepted, either, because you've made a nuisance of yourself.

My final session was Marketing Children's Books, with Evangeline Denmark. She discussed those extra ways of marketing, like doing fun activities at a signing, school visits, etc. At the end, she had a couple people come up and tell us what their children's story consisted of, then got suggestions from the audience for how to market it (for a book about a baby gorilla, people suggested contacting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, and other ideas like that.). Also, bringing treats is always good. To prove it, she even brought in cookies, both regular and unleaded (gluten-free).

Finally, it was lunch time. I sat with Jaxine Daniels, a friend and romance author, and Chuck Wendig gave the final speech at conference. He was hysterical, and ended it nicely. Quit making excuses and write, people!

After lunch, I had been volunteered to coordinate getting all our stuff back to the storage rooms. So several hours later, I went home and promptly passed out on the sofa, where the hubster snuck a photo of me.

And that's all, fo...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Do you have experience with speaking to bookstores to get them to carry your books? Any pointers for the rest of us?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG - Oh, the Rejections & Links

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by the Ninja Captain, himself, of which I missed two months, but I'm back in the game now. 

What am I feeling insecure about right now? Let's see, I got three rejections for short stories just this week. In fact, I got two in the same day and one the next day. So, yeah, I'm feeling a lot like it's all a big mistake. It would be mighty nice if I got just ONE acceptance in there to maybe get those coals stoked back up. But I resubmit and resubmit and resubmit. I'm playing the game, or is the game playing me? And what happens when I've run through all the magazines that accept horror short stories?? What then? They seem kind of limited. 

In short, I'm feeling a little bit abused and quite a bit bruised. And I'm questioning if I'm really ready to be submitting, but my critique group is supportive. Then again, I got a little ripped apart the other night, but maybe I didn't and I was just feeling...insecure. Seeing as how I had three fresh rejections under my belt from that day and the day before and all. Hey, look, she has feelings! And major insecurities that she buries under a hard candy shell. My writing was the only thing I felt okay about for awhile. Haha, where's that now?

BUT, guys, I'm submitting. I'm getting it out there. I only feel this depressed because they're fresh. I know how many rejections people have reported getting. I know I'm short on that list, so far. But I also worry that I'll run out of horror magazines to submit to and I'm not sure what to do then. I don't really have much control over that one. Yes, there are more if I consider non-paying markets, but that's not what my goal is, so I'd rather not go there.

Still, as we all tell each other when a rejection comes in, you're writing. You're actively submitting. And that's exactly what those rejections tell you. They say you're getting yourself out there, that you're taking it seriously. I'm not just claiming to be a writer. I'm writing and I'm submitting. And that's going to have to be good enough for now.

Now for some links. Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting these publications/contests, merely passing along information I've happened across. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

AGNI Magazine is looking for your poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays, reviews, and interviews. They pay per printed page. Current deadline is May 31. Note: This is a mail-in publication.

Chuffed Buff Books is putting together an anthology of short stories: Tales of Mystery, Suspense & Terror. Deadline May 31. Pay is £5. Victorian era ghost stories. 2000-3000 words.

Blood Bound Books is doing something a little different. They are introducing four themes for novel submissions. The first submission period will be for Sci-Fi, Horror, and Dark Fantasy. Deadline May 31. They will choose one author during each period to receive a publishing contract and more.

Sirens Call Publishing has an open call for Out of Phase: Tales of Sci-Fi Horror. Deadline May 31. Pays in royalties. 

Crossed Genres Magazine is accepting submissions for their current theme: Typical. They pay $.06/word. Deadline May 31. 1000-6000 words. 

Commonweal Magazine accepts articles on pubic affairs, religion, literature, and the arts. They also print poetry. Pay not mentioned. Lengths vary by type of feature. 

That's Life wants fast fiction in the form of humorous, positive contemporary stories. 700-2800 words. Pays per page. 


Quantum Fairy Tales is holding a contest this month. They're looking for sci-fi haikus. Post in the comments on their blog by May 30. The winner gets a gift certificate from Think Geek.

Unicorn Press is holding their Annual First Book Contest. Seeking full-length poetry manuscripts. Deadline May 31. Winner gets $250 and publication.

Xchyler Publishing is holding a short story contest, with winners going into their anthology. Their fall paranormal anthology will be Mr. & Mrs. Myth. Deadline May 31. Pays royalties. 

Any of these interest you? News to share? Anything else to share? What are your insecurities? How many rejections have you received recently? What's the highest number of rejections you've received in one week?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Conference Recap

Now that I am sufficiently recovered from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference (well, that's a lie, but close enough), I figured I'd do a quick recap.

Courtesy of OCAL,
Work for conference started months before the actual event, but we really buckled down in the month leading up to it. April was supercrazyfrantic month. We had a precursor to the conference in the form of one of our monthly free events, Write Brains, where the higher ups of conference gave tips and information, then took questions. We had a ton of first-time attendees, and we had pitch practice afterward, which seemed to have gone well. My job was to put it together, get the pitch volunteers, get the word out, introduce our speakers, time and moderate, and then run around making sure everyone was alright and had water during the practice pitching.

That was a little over a week before conference. At the same time, I was prepping signs for conference (session signs outside doors, directional signs, name plates for various places, etc., etc., etc.) Not a hard job, but one that consumes quite a bit of time. I was also searching for a new blog editor for the PPW blog and compiling information for her. Finally, my job as Non-Conference Events Director was ongoing, as I searched out future speakers, put together upcoming events, etc.

So I was busy!

Conference officially started for me on Wednesday. At least, that was the first day I was in the venue (The Colorado Springs Marriott), working. We stuffed registration packets, moved stuff over from our storage room (office supplies, microphones, a sound system, goods for the green room, books and registers for the bookstore, and lots, lots more). Those of us on the Board of Directors were pulled for an hour for a special meeting with Marriott staff (it involved peanut butter chocolate cake, so I was happy to attend, let me tell you!) After all that, I ran around putting up the signs we'd need when we opened the next morning.

Thursday morning dawned, and I raced to the Marriott a little later than I'd intended since I chose to take a shower rather than skip it. Blurg, mornings! I ran into the hotel holding my shoes, managed to lose the hair clips I was holding (never found them), and shot around the lobby doing stuff I needed to do before I needed to start moderating the CSI session.

Courtesy of dnt designs,
The CSI session was awesome. In the morning, we had experts, including EMTs, a coroner, a homicide detective, and an entomologist/forensic specialist. We staged a fake crime scene, and they walked through how they would handle it in real life. After the break, we focused more on the mind of the criminal, with an FBI agent, a sociologist, a psychologist, and one of the first FBI profilers. Different from the first half, but still interesting.

When that was done, I went home to get my stuff packed up since I was staying at the hotel over the weekend. I had dinner with friends then went to the airport to pick up Sarah Peed and Terri Bischoff, both editors. Happily, I found them both (I'm always worried I've missed them until that moment I finally locate them). After grabbing their luggage, we headed out to the car and got settled. We have to give a spiel when we pick folks up, letting them know about high altitude effects and the fact that they need to drink a ton of water, so I gave them each a bottled water. On the drive back, we merged onto a highway after an ambulance went by and were driving along, the ambulance flying on ahead of us, when I came upon a set of tail lights that seemed to be getting closer and closer. At the last minute, I realized this car was stopped in the middle of the lane (it was night time, so vision was limited). I yelled "Holy shit!" and slammed the brakes on. (Whoops) The car had stopped in the middle of the right hand lane because the ambulance was passing it, but it was still stopped after the ambulance had passed, did not have brake lights, and didn't use a blinker and/or move over to the side of the road. In short, there was a giant moron in front of me that almost got us all killed.

So that was fun.

They were both super nice about it, and said they hadn't been able to see it was stopped either, due to the lack of tail lights. I delivered them safely to the hotel, got them signed in at the front desk, then with PPW, and ran out to go put up the next day's signs and take down the Thursday signs.

Friday, I "slept in" until about 9 (though I woke up before that...choosing to keep my eyes shut and just doze until the alarm went off). My first job of the day was being the reader in something called R&C 123. This is a Read & Critique where a panel consisting of an editor, an agent, and an author read the first page of 10 people's manuscripts and critique it. The panel that session were Hank Phillipi Ryan, Gordon Warnock, and Terese Ramin. I read the first pages aloud so everyone in the audience could hear them (and so the panel members had some time to go over them before commenting), then listened as the panel did their critiques. It was a great session, one I like to attend at least one of each year (so volunteering to help in that session is a no brainer).

I then got a lunch break and went straight from there to moderate "Get it Edited," presented by Tiffany Yates Martin. She has a company (Fox Editing, I believe) that provides editing services, and she went over what to look for in editors you're hiring. She had great tips, such as what to look for and what to ask. As moderator, I didn't get to take notes, really (I briefly tried), but since I was working I needed to pay attention to other things. However, I absorbed some good info. For instance, you should always be very clear on all terms in advance, and always opt to have an agreement in writing. Specify your terms in that agreement. What type of editing do you need (line edits, copy edits, or developmental/substantive)? How long will they take to get it back to you? What will it cost/how do they charge? She pointed out that they should be telling you WHAT needs work or needs to be changed, but not necessarily telling you HOW to change it. She recommended the book "How to Grow a Novel," by Sol Stein (or something along those lines).

After that, I moderated an R&C Author, which is a Read & Critique session with an author. This one is more private than the 123, and you get 2 pages critiqued instead of just the first. You read it yourself then the author gives feedback. I was basically there to keep it flowing between critiques and to be the timer. Kris Neri was the author in this case, and she gave fantastic feedback in a very supportive manner. I always enjoy these sessions, as well. Every critique in any critique session teaches me something about my own writing.

My final session before dinner was another R&C 123, but this time I had submitted a piece and I wasn't working, just listening from the audience. Unfortunately, mine was the third to last one to be critiqued, so I was in there for awhile (I'd been hoping to be earlier in the stack so I could run up and get dressed early enough to get to the ballroom on time to help set up for dinner). The panel this time consisted of Gail Carriger, Kristen Nelson, and Sarah Peed (who, if you'll recall, was one of the women I nearly killed after picking them up from the airport).

I got overall positive comments, which was great! This is anonymous, so they had no idea who the story belonged to. The first thing Sarah Peed said was, "I love it. I love that it starts with action and keeps the pace going." I will keep that in my pocket. The story I submitted was the one I'm still working on writing, but I figured I'd see if it stood a chance. Apparently, it does. Gail and Kristen had a couple comments, but not much, and then it moved onto the next person.

Once finished, I rushed upstairs to get dressed. Dinner that night had a steampunk costume theme, so I had a lot to do to get ready. I did end up a bit late for setup, but I was able to help for a bit, and settled in at Hank Phillipi Ryan's table (I sat with Mark Lefebvre, of Kobo, at lunch). You see, at PPWC the various faculty host tables (not uncommon at writer's conferences that provide meals). So you can sit with authors, agents, and editors of your choice. Mark was nice, also funny, and we discussed self-publishing short stories after they'd been published elsewhere and the rights for the other entity had expired. It was an interesting discussion, and one I've thought about before.

Hank Phillipi Ryan was also incredibly nice. She convinced me to go up for the costume contest. In fact, her final words before I went up were, "Take those dishwasher hoses up there and make your husband proud!" My hubby had created some goodies and decorated my costume. If I'd done all the work, I wouldn't have gone up at all. I'm not a fan of being up in front of people unless I'm working. I did go up, though, and I was a semi-finalist, though I did not win. Here are a couple pics, if you want to check out my costume (each of these folks blogs, too, and I've noted their blog in the captions)
With Evangeline Denmark, who blogs at

With Stacy S. Jensen, who blogs at

You can't see it because of my flash, but the tubes going up over my shoulders are lit up in blue, and there are blinking lights on the console in the front.

I posted a bunch more pictures on my Facebook. I don't have it on here, but you can always find me at (I do have The Warrior Muse's Facebook page on here in the right hand column, though.)

Gail Carriger spoke that evening as the keynote. She talked about how she was going to school to be an archaeologist when her big break in writing came, and how she was forced to choose between the two. She hit it big pretty fast, and has been going forward at blinding speed ever since. The lunch speech was our conference director saying hellos and opening everything up. We also had a lovely speech from Bonnie, past conference director, to honor some PPW members we lost this year. Among them was a friend, whose funeral I attended this past Saturday. PPW meant so much to her that her family held the service until the weekend after conference so that her writing friends could attend. Her packed bag was there to represent PPW, which was hard to see, but I'm glad it was a place of happiness for her.

This has run incredibly long (SORRY!), so I will continue onto Saturday and Sunday next week. Friday night simply consisted of what we refer to as BarCon, which is where all the writers retire to the bar and hang out. Much fun was had, though I ran up and changed my costume before coming back down to hang out. And I also took a break from BarCon to go put up the next day's signs. I may or may not have stayed up way too late with a couple friends, well after BarCon shut down for the night. Whoops.

Are you familiar with steampunk? Have you ever dressed up for a steampunk event? What costume would you go with? 

May you find your Muse.