There's a lot of fun to be had when you gather a bunch of authors together. This year, I'm doubling my fun by attending two different author's conferences. The first is just around the bend and I couldn't be more excited. As a member of the International Thriller Writers, I'll be attending my third consecutive year at ThrillerFest in NYC, from July 10th to the 14th. The second will be in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri--Show Me Your Books KC, September 7th and 8th.
This year, I'll be on a panel again. COUSINS, PARTNERS OR ENEMIES? Developing Character Connections. My Panel Master will be Jenny Milchman, who I've already heard from about the panel. Also on the panel is J.D. Horn, Terrence McCauley, Dani Pettrey, Taylor Stevens, and Wendy Walker. I'm so excited. I'm already friends with a few of them on Facebook, so I'm sure we'll all have a good time. Character relationships can be complicated and for character driven novels like mine, they are essential. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. You should come by and check it out if you're attending ThrillerFest this year. We'll be in the Carnegie/Alvin room on Saturday, July 14th from 1:00 to 1:50.
Since I'm on a panel, I'll also be sitting for a book signing that same day. I'll be in the Uris/Juilliard room from 2:50 to 3:20 to sign my books, along with all of the other authors from afternoon sessions. The full schedule for ThrillerFest can be found here.
I also plan to attempt to write about each aspect of ThrillerFest like I did last year, only better. We'll see how that turns out, since I'd also planned to write about my first year there and that never happened.
Did I mention that we're moving between ThrillerFest and Show Me Your Books? Yeah. So I'll get home from New York, unpack, then start packing the whole apartment. I guess that'll make it easier to hide all of the books I'll be coming home with that he told me not to buy. "They're so heavy," he says every time I bring home a new load of books. Wah, wah. I'm the one who moves all the boxes, anyway, since I don't want to hear him whine about it. lol
Show Me Your Books KC 2018
This is going to be the first time this event is held. No one is entirely sure of everything we're doing, but it's not here yet and the finer details of events are still being hashed out. I'll tell you what I know, though, of the basic structure.
VIP tickets were $75 bucks a pop, and they are no longer for sale. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available at the door, but they aren't guaranteed. Registration is all day Friday, September 7th. That's when people pick up their lanyards for event admittance as well as their swag bags. Bags will contain a variety of items, including a book or two by random authors in attendance. My contribution to the bags will be some awesome pens I got from Vistaprint that have a stylus tip on them. I use mine on my phone all the time.
Friday night's event is beer, BBQ, and desserts. The dessert tables will be sponsored by authors who have their books on display. I'm not sponsoring anything since I didn't get my shit together fast enough.
Saturday morning is breakfast with the authors. Again, each table is sponsored and people can request to sit with a certain author. The authors will also have a swag bag for each person at their table.
After breakfast is the big signing event. All sixty authors have an hour after breakfast to set up their tables and be ready to sit there for four hours. From 11 to 3, hundreds of people will wander through the room, buying books, getting them signed, taking pictures, and snagging freebies from authors of various genres. The coolest part of the signing is that most of it will be open to the public. From noon to three, anyone can just walk in, buy some books, and meet authors. Want to go? Here's the website. The whole weekend will be held at the Downtown Marriot here in Kansas City, MO.
My freebies during the signing will include phone pop-ups with my book cover on them, my stylus pens with my website on them, refrigerator magnets, bookmarks, and charms for the charm bracelets that will be in every VIP bag. I may have a few other things, like some edible treats, depending on how crunched for time I am in the last few days before the event.
All sorts of authors will be there. Children's authors, steamy romance novelists, sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, and more. No industry models are allowed, but each author is permitted an assistant. My stylist will be my assistant because she's going to have one hell of a time getting me ready and keeping me presentable throughout the day. (Saturday, I'll see three costume changes and two hairstyles.)
Saturday night will be the 1920's themed ball. I've already got my dress. I only have one pair of shoes tall enough to wear with it. Now I just have to learn how to walk in them without breaking an ankle.
There has been talk of there being "author outings" Friday afternoon, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
Some of the authors and attendees have admitted to calling it Show Me Your Boobs KC because they're going primarily for romance books. We expect there will be a number of risqué freebies laying out on tables. I've never been to a con for romance, but apparently penis suckers are quite popular.
The method to my madness
If you've ever met me, you know I'm a little out there. I can be ostentatious and outspoken if you find me after a few drinks and my tongue has been loosened. I have blue and purple hair. My septum--the space between my nostrils--is pierced twice. I have gauged ears and huge wings tattooed across my back. But, aside from the hair, I can look normal. I can take out my piercings and wear a shirt that covers my back. I don't see the fun in that, though. So, I am who I am. I'm out there and people who want to tell me to be someone or something that I'm not can go fuck a tree. I hope they get splinters.
I am a walking conversation piece. Strangers seem to feel compelled to talk to me. I take full advantage of that when I'm at cons. I wear my purple or blue or mint green lipstick. I employ bright colors so that I stand out more, whereas I usually wear dark hues when I'm not doing "author stuff." This year, I'm even making a move toward showing off my wings a bit more.
You see, my novels are about an angel. I wear an angel wing pendant, earrings, and even my nose ring has angel wings. My jeans have wings embroidered on the ass. Why not show off my back, too? Last year, at ThrillerFest, I wore one shirt that showed my wings and I got considerably more people talking to me about them than on other days. I gave out a lot of cards that day. This year, I'm doing it again. I've bought a number of new shirts that all show off my awesome tattoos.
You see, I can't approach people myself because I have severe social anxiety. Oh, you've met me and you never would have guessed? I know. I'm good at hiding it. I don't have panic attacks anymore. I don't stand in the corner, waiting for someone to talk to me. I hold my head high and I cruise the room by myself. People stop me. They pull me into their group or stop their own walk-through to engage me in one-on-one conversation. It's how I make new friends.
I don't start shit; I finish it. I'm not an instigator. Not for fights, not for romance, not for friendships, not for anything. The only things I start is my shift at work and dinner. Ok, that's not entirely true. I start my makeup. I start my car. I start a new story. I start moving when I wake up. But you get my point. When it comes to interactions with other humans, I don't start shit. When I start shit, I feel like a shmuck. I have and do occasionally force myself to initiate a conversation, but I usually feel like an idiot when I do. Which is mostly why I have to settle for letting others approach me.
In a way, I have to be a conversation piece. If people didn't approach me, I'd never make any new friends. It helps that after they do start talking to me, they realize that I'm funny, sassy, honest, helpful, and good-natured. If I was a sullen weirdo lurking in the corner, talking about dragons and witches like they were real instead of fantasy for a novel, people wouldn't go home, add me on Facebook, and buy my books.
So, if you see me, say hi. Otherwise, I might just walk on by.