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On the Road with The Sworn: A Writer on the Move (Part I)

January saw me at two conventions, Arisia in Boston and Chattacon in Chattanooga, TN.  Both were first-time cons for me, and I really had a great time at both of them.  Arisia is big and jam-packed with panels.  Despite the fact that the con was in a brand new hotel, everything ran very smoothly.  I met some fun people, including Guest of Honor Kelly Armstrong (who will be a guest on an upcoming segment of my Ghost in the Machine podcast later this spring).  Kelly and I were on several vampire panels, and I somehow ended up on several urban fantasy panels. (I figure that since my books take place in city settings, they’re just medieval urban fantasy, right?)

Arisia also had me on several awesome myth, fantasy and religion-in-fantasy panels that were loud, noisy and fun.  I love it when the audience is well-versed in a subject and passionate in their beliefs, and when they actually participate instead of watching the panel do silly author tricks.  Arisia also had a very nice anime track and some interesting choices for the film track.  The vendor room/art show was pretty awesome, as was the extra floor of suites with additional vendors offering predominantly steampunk outfits and accessories.

Chattacon was smaller but also amazingly friendly.  It’s held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, a converted Victorian railway station, and it looks like the kind of place where steampunk is totally at home.  In fact, there was a big turnout of steampunk costumes, including an organ grinder with a darling “monkey”.  (Gee, I never made my kids dress like a monkey.  But she was cute!)

Chattacon does a great job with gaming and its con suite, as well as the ops/green room for guests.  The vendor room was very friendly also.  I had the opportunity to meet Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (another upcoming Ghost in the Machine guest) and K.K. Rusch (ditto), as well as to get some quality chat time with Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf and my good friend (and Artist Guest of Honor) Ruth Thompson.  Another friend, J.F. Lewis, showed up, and joined in the conversation.

My next con will be Lunacon in Rye Brook, NY March 18 – 21.  Lunacon has a long and storied history, as this will be it’s 54th convention.  It’s known for its mindbendingly difficult to navigate hotel (dubbed the Escher), as well as its diligent lineup of great panels and a fantastic vendor room.  I’m thrilled to be going back!

I’m spending every weekend in February in bookstores with the launch of The Sworn.  Signings are fun because I get to reconnect with long-time readers as well as getting the chance to introduce new readers to the books.  I’ve gotten to know many readers who have been showing up to my signings since the beginning, and it’s great to see them again and hear their news.  I always get into some fun conversations with readers and with the bookstore staff, who know everything about everything!

If you’ve been to one of my signings, you know my style is to greet everyone who comes into the store, offer a free bookmark, and engage them with the new book.  Most people think it’s pretty cool to have an author in the store, or at least they’re polite enough to let me finish my greeting before telling me that fantasy isn’t there thing, which is OK, too.  When I mention the words “fantasy adventure” I can tell pretty quickly whether someone is interested or not by whether their pupils dilate or contract.  Well, that and the few people who have made a cross with their fingers and backed away, but that doesn’t happen very often.

Longtime readers, take note—I will not be at the Arizona Renaissance Festival this year due to a calendar mix-up. (Likewise, a prior commitment forced me to cancel my appearance at StellarCon and I was unable to appear at SheVaCon.)  Normally both the Arizona Ren Fest and StellarCon are part of my March line-up, but this year it didn’t work out.  I’ve already scheduled a 2012 date for Arizona, and I’m hoping the programming gods will invite me back next year for StellarCon and SheVaCon.

Book News

The Sworn is in bookstores and online now!  Also in Kindle and Nook, with audiobook coming soon.

Thanks for your patience—Dark Lady’s Chosen is finally available for Nook!

Just signed contracts for Dark Lady’s Chosen to be translated into French.  The first three Chronicles of the Necromancer books came out in French last year, and I felt bad that French readers had to wait for the resolution to Dark Haven’s cliffhanger ending, but publishing is not a quick business!

Remember—all the books are available in Nook, Kindle and audiobook, so tell your alternative-format friends!

If you couldn’t be at one of my recent signings, you can stop by any of the stores where I’ve just been to pick up signed copies of all the books!  Barnes & Noble, Pineville, NC; Barnes & Noble, Colony Rd, Charlotte, NC; Books A Million, Concord Mills; and Barnes & Noble, Huntersville, NC.

Catch my new interview on #BroadPod about fear and faith: Broad Pod
Click this link http://broadpod.posterous.com/rss.xml

Coming in March—a BroadPod reading from The Sworn on women warriors.

Signings and Events

I will be in stores doing book signings and at genre conventions throughout 2011, and I love to meet readers, so please stop by and say hello!  Here’s the list of events so far (we’ll keep a running list posted on the Events tab).

Can’t make it when I’m at the store?  Most stores have signed copies of all the books after the event, so be sure to stop in!  If you call ahead before a signing, many stores will let you buy the book(s) over the phone so I can sign them when I’m there, and you can pick them up later.

  • Feb. 19 – Books A Million, Concord Mills
  • Feb. 26 – Barnes & Noble, Birkdale Village (Huntersville NC)
  • Mar. 25  – Park Road Books, Charlotte NC
  • Apr. 2 –  Carolina Writers Conference
  • Apr. 8 – 10  –  Ravencon, Richmond, VA
  • May 27 – 29 – Balticon, Hunt Valley, MD
  • June 4 – 6  – ConCarolinas, Charlotte, NC
  • June 21 – Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event
  • September –  DragonCon, Atlanta, GA
  • October  – Capclave, Gaithersburg, MD
  • October 24 – 31 –  Days of the Dead Blog Tour
  • November – Philcon, Cherry Hill, NJ

Disquieting Visions—my “other” blog

Disquieting Visions is co-hosted by J.F. Lewis (Staked, Revamped, Crossed), Crymsyn Hart (paranormal romance), Tina McSwain (Charlotte Area Paranormal Society) and me.  Podcast guests are also invited to post a guest blog on my Disquieting Visions group blog (http://DisquietingVisions.wordpress.com).

In February our blog guests include:  Novelist James Maxey on Your Book Would Make a Great Movie! (And Why I Know It Wouldn’t), podcaster and Escape Pod editor Mur Lafferty on The Birth of Ideas, author Jeffrey Thomas on Creating A Healthy Future. Don’t forget to check out the Freebie Fridays for excerpts and other downloadable giveaways.

For February, my Disquieting Visions topics are: Vampire Trends, Wither the Werewof?, Which Witch is Which, and Give Me That (Really) Olde Tyme Religion

If you like the books, “Like” WinterKingdoms on Facebook

If you’re on Facebook, the place to talk about The Winter Kingdoms books is at Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms.    I do a monthly Q&A and love to get comments and questions.

This month’s topics include: What’s new after The Sworn?;What I love about fandom; Why I think conventions rock; and more.  Join the conversation!

I’m also on Twitter @GailZMartin, and be sure you check out my shelf of books I’m reading and just finished on Shelfari!