Posts Tagged With: LTUE

A Purple Shirt got me my First Publishing Deal

Anyone who has been around me at author events (conferences, symposiums, signings, book tours, etc) knows I am always wearing a purple shirt.  The exact shade of purple varies but, without fail, I am always in purple when I’m at writing events.  Only a few people, however, know why.  I think it’s time I told the story.

Shannen Crane Camp - Brains anyone?

FanX16 – Shannen Crane Camp – Brains anyone?

It began in February 2015 at the Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium.  I had hit the point in the convention where my brain was on overload and simply could take another panel’s worth of amazing guests talking about anything.  They could have been telling everyone where to to find a pot of leprechaun gold and actually meant it – it didn’t matter.  My brain was done. So I decided to take a break, clear my head, and work a little on the book I was writing at the time.  I found nice comfortable chair, plugged in my laptop, and forgot about the world around me.

Now, I’m an introvert at heart and I was enjoying my time alone with my work after the press of bodies and social interaction the convention had brought.   So when someone sat down next to me and cleared their throat, I was a little frustrated and still felt a little – for lack of a better term – “headachey.”  I heard a feminine voice ask me what I was doing.

Naturally, I responded with something like “I’m just checking on stuff.”  I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like that.

Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

LTUE 16 – Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

“Are you working on a book?”  Why was she still talking to me?  Had I not given her a good enough answer before?

I responded with “No” and thought the conversation was finished.

“Oh, that’s too bad, I’m Helena Steinacker.  I’m the Acquisitions Editor at Future House Publishing.”

I immediately regretted my earlier frustrated answers and tried to figure out how to recover from something like that.  Thankfully, Helena had a great sense of humor and irony and we had a great conversation there while both of us were sluffing classes.  She gave me her card after I told her about the books I was working on and asked me to send her one of my manuscripts.  I nodded, not knowing what else to do, and Helena got up to go to her next class.  As she was leaving she turned and said something that’s stuck with me ever since.

Signing Event

King’s English Signing Event – 2015

“By the way, the only reason I stopped was to tell you that I liked your purple shirt.”  And then she left.  A few months later, I had a publishing deal with Future House Publishing based, in large part, on that conversation.

At the time, it was pure happenstance that I was wearing purple.  Now, I do it to remind myself of how it all started and that no matter how tired I may be, “frustrated answers” only work once.  Plus, being “the guy in the purple shirt” has grown on me and makes it easy for people to find me.  So, if I’m ever out your way, just look for the guy in the purple shirt.  I promise I’ll be more eloquent with you than I was with Helena.


Remember to sign up for the Readers’ Club below for email alerts when new books come out.  Book 3 in the Sharani Series (Sands & Storms) will be out later this summer and those in the Readers’ Club will have first dibs at free Advanced Reader copies.  If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now and secure your copy .

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Categories: LTUE Convention, Musings, Sharani Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Weeks of Insanity

Those of you who frequent this blog know that I’ve been decidedly lax in posting over the last few weeks outside of a few cursory posts about posting more frequently.  The irony in that is not lost on me.  However, today’s post will make up for that – I hope.  It will be long and go over all that has happened since LTUE in February.  I’m deep into writing Book 3 in the Sharani Series, two short stories, and attempting to still maintain my sanity in a day job and at home.  Thankfully, Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out the other day and I’ve watched it 4 times in the last few days.  That has helped.

LTUE

If you haven’t ever gone to the Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE) Symposium in Provo, UT you’re missing out.  It is, undoubtedly, the bang for your buck when it comes to introductory writing conferences which focus on fantasy and science fiction.  The symposium is held every year at the Provo Marriot and Convention Center over Valentine’s Day Weekend, but is worth the time and effort.  This year was no exception.

Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

This was my third year attending the symposium and my first as a panelist.  It was intimidating and amazing at the same time.  I was able to be on four panels ranging in topic from Plate Tectonics to Fantasy, Monsters, and Horror.  The highlight of my panelist experience was the later.  My fellow panelists included some intimidating figures, notably, Larry Correia, Michaelbrent Collings, Dr. Michael Collings, Steve Diamond, and then me.  Needless to say I felt hopelessly underqualified.  Nevertheless, I’m not one to do anything halfway, so I did my research, took some notes beforehand and went into the panel prepared.  I answered some questions, said some stuff (which I can’t for the life of me remember) and learned more than I brought to the table from the other panelists.

Two things I do remember well though were first, when Larry Correia liked my answer to a question so much he referred back to it later in the panel and second, when – after the panel was over – Dr. Collings wife came up to me after the panel to compliment me on holding my own on such a loaded panel.  I’ll take that as a success, even if she was just being polite.  I was on cloud 7 (I missed Cloud 9 due to being so tired that day bounced off cloud 8 and landed on cloud 7, which was just as euphoric as it sounds) for the rest of the symposium.  All in all, it was a resounding success, including the mass book signing afterward.  Some guy called Brandon Sanderson had the longest line, but we all felt sorry for him since he’s normally such an obscure author and didn’t complain about it.  Good times were had by all.

Two weeks later, I was on an airplane to CA for my first ever (mini) book tour!

Santa Maria & Orcutt California

Let me start off this section by saying that this trip to California was a long time in the making and required some air travel and then a long drive.  I hadn’t flown in close to 5 years and have a mild fear of heights (go figure), so when I was packing I was already nervous about it.  When my wife and kids dropped me off and I realized I’d have to carry on everything I’d originally

thought I’d be checking, I became even more nervous.  After getting stopped at security and having them go through my bag because I had granola bars on top of books in my suitcase that looked like a bomb on their scanners I was even more nervous.  When I realized my publisher and I were in the wrong terminal and we had 5 minutes to get across from the C terminals to the furthers B terminal I was even more panicked and – by the time I made it onto the plane – dripping in sweat, tired, nauseous, and cursing my luck that the only seat left on the plane was between two older women that looked at me like I was insane.

That adventure behind me, we made our connection flight, got the car, and drove the three hours from the Burbank, CA airport down to Santa Maria, California.  I wish it had been light out at the time because I hear the drive itself is beautiful since the road is right up against the beach.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.  I stayed with a host family that night and then spent the next day giving presentations to the Orcutt Academy High School, Orcutt Academy Junior High, and then a book signing later that night.  Somewhere in all that, I ate lunch and had the chance to catch a movie by myself for the first time in over a decade.  It was a full, action packed day.  People had said I’d encounter some resistance from that age group during my presentations, but they were attentive, respectful, and interested in what I had to say.  I had a blast.

The next day, I went back to the schools for small group Q&As, then book signings, then a lovely dinner at a restaurant in wine country and was – literally – on the beach.  The dinner was hosted by the San Luis Obispo Reading Association and both the food and the company (the members of the association and those who had paid to come to the dinner and hear a bunch of us authors speak) was amazing.  I had a great time and would go back in a heartbeat.  If you ever have a chance to go, do it.  Beautiful country and the people are even more so.  From there, it was a three-hour drive to a hotel (we’re talking 1am arrival here) then up at 5 to get on a plane to fly back home at 7am.  Long trip, but totally worth it.  And I SURVIVED!  Phew.

Two weeks after that, I was at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX

FanX

FanX is the smaller version of the Salt Lake Comic Con.  Having now been to both, I think I prefer the larger event, but FanX was a blast this year too.  Three days of signing and selling books, buying trinkets and seeing awesome people in amazing costumes is a bucket of fun topped with ice cream.  I’ve already

Steampunk fan!

Steampunk fan!

mentioned the panels I was on at that event, which included my favorite of all time, the Heroes, Anti-heroes, and Villains Panel.  I seriously wish someone had recorded it, it was that awesome.

What Now?

Well, now I’m back to work on book 3 in the Sharani Series along with a couple short stories.  I work the day job and spend time with my family.  I watch movies now and then and occasionally read a book or two.  That’s life.

If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you’re interested in my books.  Sign up for my newsletter here to get emails when a new book comes out, chances to win free stuff, and when there’s a signing event in your area.
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