The Great Thanksgiving Feast of 2015 – It begins!

I love food. I love to cook, and more specifically I love to cook lots of food for other people. Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be culinary orgies for me, wherein I get to feed as many of my friends as can fit around my table. This year, my boyfriend and I are hosting together, and so it’s going to be as many of our friends as will fit around -his- table. This works out well, as he’s got more space and a better kitchen setup than I do. There are a couple of things that are going to make this year even more entertaining.

      I have never yet cooked for my boyfriend
      I just moved – I’m not entirely unpacked yet.
      I don’t know exactly how many guests we’re having
          We don’t at present own enough plates for everyone to eat on

I also have a tendency to cook for 30+ people, even if only 10 are expected. And of course other people are bringing food food. That being said – we’re a week out from the big day. I actually started doing prep work and this evening. In the oven right now – the beginnings of a fantastic chicken broth for chicken gravy.

The tentative menu  this year will be: (this does not include what guests are bringing, just what my boyfriend and I are cooking. )
Appetizer
Cheese ball/crab dip
Maybe Deviled Eggs if I have enough energy
Couple 1’s contribution

Main Dishes
Brined Roast Chicken
Spiral sliced Ham
Johnny Mozetti

Side Dishes
Sweet potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Apple Chutney – made from scratch
Cranberry sauce – just a can, nothing special
Salad
Chicken Gravy
Couple 2’s Contribution (salad likely)

Breads
Potato biscuits – my granny’s recipe!
Maybe a loaf of fresh bread depending on time.

Desserts
Pumpkin Pie
Guest 3’s Contribution

Obviously there are still a few things outstanding that we have to decide on. And I guess I may have to throw a vegetable of some sort in there – just for forms sake.

But it’s already started off to be a great adventure – I did all my grocery shopping yesterday, got all the way through the checkout line and discovered that I left my wallet at work and had no means of paying for anything. So I had to do the shopping all over again today, and ended up with even MORE stuff in my basket. Not sure how that happened… no really.

As I have time I’ll post recipes that I’m using (except granny’s secret one!) and how things are progressing. I’ve not made most of these things before!

 

I’m a fangirl, I admit it

All Covers 2015 LargeSo, last year for NaNoWriMo I had the great privilege to be included in the storybundle.com Nano Writing bundle. (This, if you missed it, was a collection of books on writing and selling your books – basically a fantastic collection if you have any desire to be an author.) There were some great authors in that bundle including Kevin J. Anderson, Dave Farland, Brandon Sanderson, Steven L. Sears, etc. You get the idea, basically people that seriously make a living writing and working in creative fields, writing about how to do what they do. They’re all pretty cool people.

This year Story Bundle is doing another writing bundle. For those of you that have never heard of Story Bundle, it’s basically a pay what you feel the items are worth site for bundles of ebooks  (there is a minimum of something like $3) The writing bundle this year is full of great authors again, and if you missed the 2014 bundle, you can pay a bit more ($25 minimum I think) and get the full 25 books. So my book will be included as part of the 2014 bonus books.

As cool as this all is, (and it’s really pretty cool!) my moment of fangirl came when, in discussing things with all of the other authors included, I realized that my inbox contained an email from Judith Tarr. I’ve never met Ms. Tarr in person, but there were a few of her books that I read growing up that I literally read until they fell apart. Like… the covers are taped on… with multiple layers of tape from where I had to tape them up a second time and maybe a third because  I re-read them so often. One of them is held together with a rubber band to keep all the pages together. And I’m in an email thread with her discussing book marketing… because our books are in the same bundle together. *squeeeee!!* I did not, I promise you, dance around in my living room like a madwoman. But I did think about it.

Ok. I’ll take a few deep breaths and calm down now… maybe. (And maybe hope she doesn’t read this) But I know which of the bundle books I’ll be reading first!

If you’re curious about the bundle itself, you can find it at http://storybundle.com/nano
Ahem. So yeah. Apparently I can fangirl, it just doesn’t happen very often.

Life, the Universe, and everything…

The sad truth is that life has been kicking my butt lately. All in good ways mind you, but it has been so busy that I’ve not had time to blog, to write, or basically do anything beyond putting one foot in front of the other for the past six weeks or so. After Dragon con, life got caught up in a whirlwind of activity involving moving to the west coast, starting a new job, and relocating and reorienting myself.

2015-09-13 11.47.53
I owe a great big thank you to my former roommate Sandra, who helped me pack and load (And threw a nice little party). Annie & Greg who showed up unexpectedly with pizza and starbucks (OMG guys, thank you SO much!) and to my lovely and wonderful boyfriend Steve, who drove out from California, helped load, spent a night on the floor of my empty house (sorry!), and then hauled the big trailer back for me.

The drive out to CA was lovely, with only one minor snafu – a ticket that was entirely my fault.

Then things got interesting.

2015-09-15 11.32.39I started out life in Los Angeles with a little bit of sanctioned B&E. My landlord didn’t get me the keys to the new place on time, (he didn’t even have them!) but he thought the place would be unlocked and that I would be able to walk right in. Not so much. We got to the place and it was locked up tight, the guy that DID have the keys wouldn’t be back until evening, and I had movers coming. Oh, and it was raining. With the help of the neighbors we found an unlocked window, popped the screen out and made like cat burglars. Of course this was a high up utility window, so I ended up climbing a tree, wiggling in through the window, and dropping down inside so I could unlock the place. It was obvious the maintenance guy had been working on things – there were cans of paint, slabs of sheetrock and a variety of tools scattered about. There were also, most handily, two new door lock kits waiting to be installed. Those got installed quickly. And then we waited… and waited… and waited for the moving guys to show up. Two hours later they finally arrived. Apparently confirming via the written form of email, giving them all the details, and getting a confirmation reply was not enough for them. Anyway. I digress.

My first day on the job was equally exciting. The CEO (my boss) decided that it would be best if I started in the middle of their largest trade show of the year. It’s surprising like working at a convention, minus the cool costumes, and with a heck of a lot more overt misogyny.  (Not so much from my co-workers, but from the rest of the people there.) And for the first time I did actually see rented booth babes. I felt sorry for them – but that’s an entirely different blog.

2015-09-16 23.29.24
Starting a new job during a trade show event is a bit like being dumped off the deep end of the pool. You learn to swim really quickly, and on the whole it was fun working the floor. It wasn’t until after we closed up shop for the day that it got really interesting though. I kid you not, they took me to a rave, at Disney, and all of them got entirely, smashingly drunk.  There were even glow-sticks, flashing rings, and eyelashes made out of feathers. Also, I wish I had video of everyone dancing.

And that was my first two days in town. Thankfully it’s slowed down a little bit (not much) since then. And I’m trying to get on writing the November Story for Story of the Month Club.

 

Oh. And did I mention my boyfriend is awesome? 2015-09-18 08.03.36

 

Dragon Con-Day 1

I optimistically say day 1 knowing I will likely have neither the time, nor the energy to post for the rest of the weekend. 

I started my day at the ungodly hour at 4:30 am, trying to make a 7:45 am flight from Denver. This went surprisingly well, particularly given the lack of convenient caffeinated beverages. The flight was smooth, and I was wheels down in Atlanta by about 1:00 – several hours ahead of all of my compatriots. Scouting our table placement, I was pleased to find that we received prime placement this year; directly adjacent to Voltaire, and Pandora Celtica at the base of the escalators. It’s also a great place to watch people arriving at con, and I had the great pleasure of visiting with various members of Emerald Rose, and several other longtime Dragon Con Friends. I also got to see my book: The Official Dragon Con Survival Guide, out in the wild for the first time!! 

Eventually my band – ok, so clarification- I’m not actually IN the band, but I’ve been managing their booth for nearly 15 years, so I’m a bit possessive of them- eventually my band arrived. (The Brobdingnagian Bards) and we got badges, dinner, etc. taken care of. Then my box of books was delivered, and I had to carry them over to my publisher (long story). And for the first time ever (and hopefully the last) I lost my badge. 

That’s right… I lost my badge. And Dragon Con does not replace lost badges. And some mysterious, awesome person, actually turned it in to the lost and found. I’m going to glue that sucker to my forehead from now on. 

Finished the evening out listening to Frenchy and the Punk on the concourse stage, and then figuring out how to get to my hotel. And that doesn’t even cover half of what today actually held. I’ll post pictures when my internet connection allows.  

 

Dragon Con!

I’ve been so busy since  MalCon that I almost forgot to post about Dragon Con! I’ve got two panels, and I’ll be signing copies of The Official Dragon Con Survival Guide at the Brobdingnagian Bards booth in the Marriott throughout the weekend. You can get the book at the Dragon Con Store, and at the WordFire Press booth. I’ll have a few copies on hand as well.

Panels

Friday 2:30 – 3:30 pm Practical Self Defense w/Keith R.A. DeCandido  Room: Vinings in the Hyatt

Saturday 1:00 pm The Business of the Music Business – (Hyatt–Edgewood) – Marc Gunn/Jessica Brawner

MalCon Schedule – I’ll be Busy!

I’ll be at MalCon with a host of other really cool authors, and I’ll have a booth where you can come check out the new Story of the Month Anthology and my other books. I am have quite a few panels on Saturday, and one on Sunday.  If you want to find me at the convention, here’s where I’ll be!

Schedule

Friday

9:00 – 9:50 pm So Charming, Not Creepy – Red Keep
Learn how to make your convention experience better by discussing how to approach people and be friendly (or even strike up a romance) without being that creep. A lesson on etiquette, common sense and enjoying fandom with respect

Saturday

9:00 – 9:50 am  Spin-Off Dumbledore’s   Serenity
What’s next for J.K. Rowling, and is there room in serialized media (TV / Netflix) for one or more series set in Rowling’s world? What would such programming look like and what would fans want to see? Could we discover Harry or Hermione or Ron as professors? Where does the world go after the end of Voldemort?

2:00 – 2:50 pm   Sympathetic Villains: The New Master & Doctor Horrible  Red Keep  The old Master was patently evil. A nasty curmudgeon with nefarious designs. The new Masters (John Simm and Michelle Gomez) were made into sympathetic villains of galactic proportions. How does this change Who and how do sympathetic villains change our take on fiction?

7:00 – 7:50 pm NaNoWriMo  Helm’s Deep
Have you done it? Do you want to? Are you a writer and you still don’t know what this is? Our panelists will discuss the culture of NanoWriMo, how to participate, why do do so, and how to succeed.

8:00 – 8:50 pm  Marketing for Beginners  Red Keep  Writing isn’t the only skill a writer needs in this day and age. We need to understand business and  presentation and sales. We’re called upon to be artists and designers. But once we’ve created that book and we’re ready to sell it, how do we get the word out?

9:00 – 9:50 pm  Steampunk in Fiction: Is London Dead?    Serenity  There is plenty of steampunk taking place in London. Indeed, the mass market, when it has delved into a sub-genre they still don’t seem to quite understand, they’ve stuck with the tried-and-true “All of the Victorian Era Was In London” approach. But the sun didn’t set on the British Empire during Victoria’s time, and there are growing examples of steampunk in other countries. Have we worn out foggy London as a place where gears and corsets reign?

Sunday

9:00 – 9:50 am   When They Tell You You’re Too Old or Too Young Red Keep
We’ll discuss two sides of the same coin: in today’s market there is YA literature that many consider to have topics beyond a YA audience (Hunger Games, Twilight) while there are other who consider adults who read YA to be reading fiction well below what they should be reading. What’s the judgement and why should we or shouldn’t we care?

 

 

I have a dirty little secret…

It started about four years ago when I discovered a new fascination – an unanticipated, wholly decadent, deliciously sinful delight. I must admit, for those of you that know me, this may be a bit of a shock. I have a dirty little secret.

It started when I had a bit more money than usual, and a bit more time. That’s when my love affair began. The feel of leather against my skin, the firm, tight pressure of the straps around my ankles, the anticipation of pain… never did I expect it to draw me in like it has. And yet… a few times a year I surrender to it.

I have a dirty little secret… I really enjoy the sound, the smack and crack with every step across a hardwood floor, the strutting, the straining to stand upright, to pose. I have to admit, it took me by surprise.

I really like… expensive, leather shoes.

Where was your mind going?

Denver Comic Con Schedule 2015

Saturday Room 205
10:35 -11:25 The Foundations of a Freelance Writing Career with     Josh Vogt, Molly Tanzer, Kronda Seibert, Jessica Brawner, Vivian Trask, Peter J. Wacks
 
12:55 – 1:45 Tales from the Slush Pile with Betsy Dornbusch, Travis Heermann, Jessica Brawner, Angie Hodapp, Jeanne Stein, Peter J. Wacks
 
2:05 – 2:55 Marketing for beginners Sherry Ficklin, Tyler Jolley, Jessica Brawner, Peter J. Wacks, Kristi Helvig, Caitlin Ricci

 

4:25 – 5:15 Steampunk in the past, present and future Sherry Ficklin, Molly Tanzer, Jessica Brawner, Tyler Jolley, Mario Acevedo, David Boop

 

SUNDAY Room 203
11:00 – 11:50 Have you Nano’d your Wrimo? Jewels Hall, Michelle Kellogg, Peter Derk, Jessica Brawner, Vivian Caethe, Caitlin Ricci

 

2:30 – 3:20 That’s a Laugh! – Writing Speculative Genre Humor Josh Vogt, Molly Tanzer, Jessica Brawner, Betsy Dornbusch, Lou Berger, Jim Butcher