Viva! Fur Reality!

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We are in the dealer room of the Fur Reality! Con in two weeks. The convention theme of Viva! is loosely based on Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday/remembrance of loved ones and ancestors that have gone ahead of us. As I’m planning our booth and the tie-in freebies, I’m going with solid black, red, and orange cloths for the table and shelving drapes. We used those colors before and they did an excellent job of highlighting our colorful book covers. I’ve ordered a portable metal stand for our backdrop to hang our banners from and I’m planning on using Day of the Dead skeletons across the front of the table.

I found reprintable Day of the Dead cat masks on Pinterest (Go Pinterest!) and think they make the perfect inexpensive tie-in handout. You color, cut, glue, and attach a ribbon and you have a very cute cat skeleton mask. I toyed with having the materials at the table so that you could make the mask right there, but I think it’ll take up too much table real estate so it’ll be something we hand out to passer-byers. I’m hoping it will drive traffic to our booth. With coloring gaining acceptance, I printed out two cute sugar skulls and added a link to my books at the top that I will have printed front and back so you get two coloring pages for the price of one.

One of the other authors is making dragon eggs to offer to people who buy three books. “Buy three books and get a dragon’s egg free.” It should make people smile!

I found the cutest altered My Little Pony and am seriously considering taking one of Noni’s many ponies and painting it black. I’m curious about my painting skills and am not sure that I can do the detail work of one I saw, but I’m going to try it! The worst that can happen is that Noni gets a new Pony from the Thrift Store this week! I’d love to do her large unicorn too, but I know she’d miss that!

I’m also putting together the workshop on “From Fan Fic to Published” in case there’s room on the schedule for it. (If not, I’ll have it done for other cons in the next year.)

Am I missing anything?

Fur Reality! October 9-11 in Cincinnati at the Crowne Plaza Blue Ash. If you’re in the area, stop in and keep me company (and maybe buy a book- any book! Doesn’t have to be one of mine – though I’d be very grateful!)

Paper Clutter

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We have house guests coming next weekend to attend my next book signing and they are staying in my work space/guest room/media room/grandchildren’s play space/bedroom. It’s a large room, but since I’ve been preoccupied with the edits of my newest book, there isn’t a clean flat surface in the room.

Plus, I started tackling the paper chaos and realized that in this world of digital writing, I am still a paper person. I have notes, notebooks, story charts, character studies, plot plottings, workshopped drafts of current (and old) works, and writing lesson plans stuck in a heap on the floor by the bed. On top of that stack, I have paper copies of my screenplays, my books in various editing drafts, and the shorts I’m working on. I can’t bring myself to toss them so I got magazine holders and labeled them, but either my categories are too narrow or I’m going to need a dozen more. It’s not that I don’t have digital backups of everything- because I do- but I like the hard copies… even if it adds to workplace clutter.

All my giant Post-it worksheets are down (and in the process of being stashed in a stand up wrapping paper box with the name of the project on the outside) as I’m finishing up older projects and not ready to begin a new one so the walls look bare.

Tomorrow I’m starting the first draft of a workshop I’m presenting so I need to quit procrastinating and clean up the space! I know the answer to storage issues isn’t more storage solutions, but I can’t bring myself to toss the paper copies. It’s like they’re tangible proof of my hard work. Any other writers have this problem?

The Authentic Voice

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Once in a while I read a book so powerful emotionally that it hurts to keep reading and I have to shut the book, return to the real world, and breath. That is a book whose author has an authentic voice- who writes from a real place and transfers it into printed words on a page. The hurt is transformed and given to a created character giving life and depth to a made up being. While it no longer resembles the pain the writer felt, it remains authentic. This is what we mean when we tell people to write what they know. Too often writers think that means they need to know the nuts and bolts about how something works, but you can learn that through research (do your research!), but what it really means is- infuse your imagined beings with real world emotions, hurts, pains, ugly backstories that motivate them and drive them through the conflict. That’s the authentic voice. Write on! Use the pain!

On Not Selling Any Books At Comic Expo

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Last weekend I shared a booth with three other writers from my publishing company, Wordbranch at Comic Expo in Cincinnati. Friday- they sold books, I sold none. Saturday- they sold books, I sold none. Sunday- they sold a lot of books- I sold one and I gave away a couple. I mean, I sold their books but my own didn’t sell.

But I’m counting the experience as a success- not a failure. Straight across from me was a young Illustrator from New Jersey who has friends who might be interested in working on a kickstarter graphic novel campaign with me. Next to him was an amazing artist who had done three cons in a row before this one and who left yesterday for #5. While the excitement of doing a con is long gone, he was full of positive advice and encouragement. Right next to me was another Illustrator who complimented me on my bouncy smile (I worked very hard to be upbeat and happy). Cattycorner to my booth was the GREAT Neal Adams and I watched him sign and talk to his fans. It was a masters degree in marketing.

Several cosplayers came back so I could take their pictures and I talked to a fan club who want me to do 4 sessions of my newest workshop “From Fan Fic to Published” for them. I met a young writer and have followed up with her, doing a tiny bit of coaching and encouraging this week.

None of this is tangible- a check you can hold in your hands and feel affirmed that it was good exposure for you. But it makes me happy. I would have been thrilled to sell books… absolutely thrilled! But if I’m not going to sell books, then I might as well meet a ton of great human beings… and that I did! Oh, and if you want to buy a book, check out jerjonji on Amazon! There are four available!

Red Kicks

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Red Kicks is my most recently published book (out just in time for Christmas) but it was the first book I wrote. When I finished it ten years ago, I started collecting rejection slip after rejection slip on it, but I couldn’t understand why. It was a great story, I thought…. flash forward to getting ready to hand it over to my editor in 2013… thank goodness I started editing early! My writing had improved dramatically in the time period between when I wrote it and when it was time to publish it. I consulted with my writer’s group friends and their advice was consistent- it needed a full rewrite. My earlier copy was mostly telling and I fought with nearly every page to rewrite it so it showed the story instead. That’s a classic beginner writer’s mistake and when they are told that they need to tell us less and show us more, a confused look crosses their face. I’m keeping both drafts so I can demonstrate the difference now. That said, I’m very happy with Red Kicks now. It’s a solid story that is character-driven. I am grateful for the time between when I finished the book and when it finally got published because the book on the market now is a substantially better book that I didn’t have the skills to write ten years ago. So don’t be afraid of the no’s when you write. Keep writing. Keep working. Keep dreaming. Keep editing!

a new place…


With xanga coming to an end, it is time to move on.  So… what is a good topic for this new place? Let me think a minute.

What do I do here? Usually, I use my blogging time as a pre-writing warm up. That means you get to see me thinking about writing, playing with writing, whining about writing, and writing about writing… jitterings…

Yesterday, I took my doctor copies of my books and he held them in his hands in utter amazement. “What are these?’

“My books. For you.”

“Your books- as in you wrote them?”


“How would I know they are yours?” His fingers flip through the pages, searching for something.

I shrug. “You just have to know.”

Ahh…. the joys of writing under jerjonji continues.



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