Thursday, April 22, 2010

Knoxville, Montgomery & Nashville

It's Thursday and I'm just now getting over the brutal weekend marathon of books, breakdowns, and new experiences.

Here's how the story goes:
I was scheduled to do a signing last Thursday in Knoxville, TN at Barnes & Noble for their educator's week. No biggie right? I was going to run to Knoxville and come home that night. Easy right? Wrong. My van broke down 52 miles outside of Knoxville. Transmission fluid was everywhere. Bad sign. I was lucky enough to pull off at a truck rest stop but the car really wouldn't move at all. So there I sat, baking in the sun while I waited on Triple A. When they arrived, I rode with the tow driver to a transmission shop in Knoxville where it was discovered that the old van would need some serious work and would be stuck there for the next several days.
Here she is...down for the count.

So, I'm an hour late for the teacher's reception but I'm determined to get to the bookstore to sell some books. The manager of B&N was AWESOME. (Yes that needs to be in caps) She got someone from the store to come down and pick me up. Now mind you that I'm drenched in sweat and I had to change clothes at the transmission shop. So there I am coming out of the bathroom with spat-covered combat boots, a vest and goggles... Also note that I had to get all of the books, accessories and table stuff out of the van in case I wasn't coming directly back. This was a total of nine loads of things everywhere I went from here on.

So I get to Barnes & Noble and yep... I missed the reception. I don't think another teacher showed up. I did get to sign with "Angels In The Shadows" Author Lisa Grace and she was super nice and we did get some new customers in so that was nice. I'll tell ya, I was already exhausted just from the heat and stress.

So from the store I got a cab to a random hotel (remember the 9 loads per move factor)and I settled in where I watched the first two Star Wars Family Guy on TV. The next morning Enterprise Rentals "picked me up" an hour late but they were pretty cool about everything as well. I got the rental car, bolted back to the transmission shop and cleaned the rest of the car out as I thought I really might junk the whole thing.

Directly after that I drove back to Nashville where I collected my overnight things, more books and got right back in the car for a 4.5 hour drive to Montgomery AL. Arriving in Montgomery was pretty neat. I forgot I'd been there before. I actually played at a skatepark (which I passed and recognized) back in the Fall With Me days. I did get in town in time to catch the Predators win against the Blackhawks on TV at the bar.
Sorry, I've always loved the rocket next to the highway when you get in Alabama. Had to snap a pic.

The next morning it was time to vend at the Alabama Book Fest. As all book fests go, this was awesome! May I take the time to mention that everyone you pass in Montgomery actually says "Good Morning" and they mean it. Sometimes it's the little things that count. I digress. With the help of promo queen Ashley, the book fest was a great success and once again I was reminded that the best people in the world are eager readers. I have to mention I met a young budding artist, Blake Mors who is really quite amazing. She's seventeen and way ahead of the curve on fantasy art. I was so jazzed about her work that I actually took pictures of some of her sketches. Enjoy! (Ok, I'll admit up front that Blake's last name is not just Mors. I have it all written down but in the mess of switching 3 cars I've left her information in a box. I promise I'll get you her full last name shortly.)
Blake #1

Blake #2

Ashley and I at the booth.

Oh, want some more southern hospitality? So I have this debilitating headache after being outside all day right? I get to the hotel and I feel like I'm going to die. Of course I'm fresh out of any meds so I go down to the lobby to ask if they have anything for sale... They don't and I have to walk... Well, this guy who's just staying at the hotel runs up gives the bell man his room number and the location of some Ibuprofen so he can go up and get it for me... Yeah. Just a regular guy gives his room number and permission to get meds out of his bag for me... How cool is that? Feeling much better I ended the night with some beers at the local microbrewery. Oh, one more thing, this is the second time this has happened but I got a picture of a dirigible flying over the fest! Yeah, that was my scout ship looking out for me.

Sunday rolls around and I have to get back to Nashville. Yep another event. This one is put on by the local goth night people but this night was a special event "Divergence II The Steampunk Ball". I met Brad at Blackstone brewery for a pint before the show and off we went. This was a great time! I sat next to author Sara Harvey and we spent the night hanging out and watching people dance to familiar steampunk songs. Here's a pic of good friend Clover and me that night.

So I have a week off. Can you believe it? Well I say off but really I'm going back to Knoxville to drag the van back. Sounds like fun eh? For everyone in and near Atlanta my next signing is at Anachrocon in ATL April 30 - May 2. If you're close come say hi. I actually have my own panel exclusively for Thomas Riley on Friday the 30th.

If you don't have your copy yet:
Signed Copies

Monday, April 19, 2010


The first annual Steamposium Conference was held in St. Louis two weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be a guest at the con and I have to tell you, it was a blast.

Like many cons, Steamposium is organized to help raise awareness and money for a charity. This particular one raises money for Cystic Fibrosis. Being the first one ever, Steamposium was a small con based solely around steampunk culture. Everyone was great. The vendors, the attendees and I saw some really amazing costumes and personas.

I did a panel on Friday night and I had no idea until I got there that I was scheduled. A bit panicked, I basically told the crowd a little about the book then I thought it would be fun to ask them questions that I'd heard at other cons about steampunk and see what they thought. It turned into a really fun discussion ranging from literature, to movies, to the popularity of the culture/genre. I'll tell ya, it was really nice that everyone participated because I had no idea what to expect. Through that panel and the people that came by the booth I have to say I made some really great new friends.

As the charity goes I contributed a book as well as auctioning off a character in a short story that I was writing. "The Baron Bon Bar" won that... so look for him to appear in an upcoming short story. (More on that soon.)

My new airship friends together on a time bending adventure.

So included in this wonderful little con was a Victorian Poker tournament and salon games, Formal Victorian ball, live music from 3 Pints Gone as well as a wonderful salon performance from a sting trio. (Watch a bit here. Great stuff!) While I didn't get to go to the city museum, I still had a blast.

3 Pints Gone

Couple at the formal ball.

Got to reconnect with writer extraordinaire Elizabeth Donald as well as meet a ton of new friends. The Frenzy Gals have a wonderful website with steampunk goodness all over it. See it HERE. Oh! I had a brief interview which is now on You Tube HERE. It's so strange to see myself at work.

Me with the Frenzy Gals.

Look for a new blog in the next few days about my last insane weekend in Knoxville, Montgomery and Nashville... I'm totally exhausted. Also new notes: I've submitted stories to Kerlak Publishing's Steampunk Anthology (Engine 316) & to Steampunk Tales Issue #8 (Double Crossed At Gray Raven Mill).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Clarksville, Louisville, Evansville & Elizabethtown

Clarksville, IN
My adventures for the last few weeks have been plentiful and prosperous. Last week I went to Clarksville, IN for The Almost Famous Book Faire. It took place in the Green Tree Mall and I think there were at least 70 authors of just about every genre in attendance. I've never sold in a mall before and it was a different experience. For me the day was a great one. Selling in a mall can be difficult. Usually people simply don't go to the mall to buy books. Still, the day was a great success for Thomas Riley. I spoke to hundreds of people and with the help of Christiana we had a good day in the sales department. Again, I don't have a lot of pictures but I was in a lot of pictures, so anyone that was there, I'd love to get my hands on them. I think these are the only two pictures I have:
Christiana at the table:

I'm always the last one to leave book fairs and cons so I had to take a picture of my lone table amongst the empty ones. Oh, so loneley.

The next day I went to Barnes & Noble in Louisville, KY. I'll tell you I love that town. Even though I didn't get to grab a pizza at Wick's or a Diner-styled meal at Twig & Leaf there is something just awesome about Louisville. This was my first signing at a major bookstore and I couldn't have been more pleased, selling out of copies in 1 hour and 24 minutes... Yes I counted. My friend's Clover and Mary showed up as a surprise and actually got pictures! Enjoy:


The week flew by and I found myself at Barnes & Noble in Evansville, IN. There's something about this town that I simply love. It's hard to describe but Evansville is my escape-ville. It's like my own personal getaway. Not too small and definitely not too big. I guess this feeling stems from when I played in a band. We would play little clubs in Evansville and besides having a strong fan base there, everyone was really great to us. So I liked the town from the first time I visited. Since then I've been there on research trips and explored the haunted library, grave yards and the odd little strip on West Franklin Street which I loved so much that I wrote an entire book (The Adversary) based in Evansville which features an abandoned tattoo shop on W. Franklin St. (Picture below. This is where Fallon and Aleser take up residence when they come to America.)Anyway, the B&N signing was awesome! Sold out again. Two for two.

Fallon's house:

After the signing I had dinner at The Gerst Haus which is a great German place. We have the other one in Nashville but this one is somehow better. I also stopped by Turoni's for a few hand crafted beers. Thanks guys!

Elizabethtown, Kentucky... on Easter... Oops right? Surely no one is going to go to Barnes and Noble... much less but a steampunk book right? Wrong. Elizabethtown was huge. The staff was perfect and again, Sold out of books. Three for three. This one was extra good because they offered to buy more if I would stay and sell more... well of course I did. Great day!

Fort Knox
Oh! en route to Elizabethtown I passed what I'm pretty sure was my first nuclear reactor and out of the blue I passed Fort Knox. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of it. It goes by really quickly. Oddly enough, I just used Ft. Knox (Or Fort Duffield as it was called in the 1880s)in my latest short story "Engine 316" which I just submitted to Kerlak Publishing for their steampunk anthology.

Next up
I'll be in St. Louis, MO this weekend... all weekend for the Steamposium steampunk con. I have no idea what to expect but I'm pretty excited. Three days of 100% steampunkery. If anyone is close, drop by, say hi and don't forget your top hat.