Monday, March 31, 2014

Winner

The Winner of Her Ladyship's Like Being There Hat Box giveaway is:

SandyL, who wrote I haven't been to a con in quite a few years, but if there is an author signing...well, I would come home with books.

Sandy, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to LynnViehl@aol.com so I can get your MegaCon goodies package out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Discounted Kit

A heads-up for you Kindle readers: Amazon.com has reduced Disenchanted & Co. down to $2.99, a sale price that likely will not last for long. So if you haven't yet invested in Kit & crew's first print edition, now you can for a nice discount.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Like Being There Giveaway

Let's peek in Her Ladyship's Hat Box and see what souvenirs she brought back from MegaCon 2014 for today's giveaway:



It looks like we have signed print copies of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf by Yours Truly, along with:

An amazing color print of Mandi, the creation of artist Shawn Surface, who also very kindly signed the print

Two print editions of Pumpkin Spiced, a comic created by artist/writer/vlogger Paige Lavoie, plus a cute Pumpkin Spiced necklace

Fingerless black lace gloves and a very steampunky monocole from Mrs. Pettigrew's booth (she doesn't have a web site, alas, or I'd link to it.)

Steampunk earrings and a bottled heart necklace, also designed and made by Yours Truly

A pretty cream and rosebud print Muma tote from Cosplay Moo Moo

My goodness, there's also a gorgeous collection of anime art that my lovely and talented daughter sold at our booth, which I'll have to spread out to show off:



All of the above pictured goodies are waiting to be sent to one lucky winner. If you'd like it to be you, in comments to this post name something you like to bring back as a souvenir from your travels by midnight EST on Sunday, March 30th, 2014. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner all the MegaCon bounty. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, so please join in.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MegaCon 2014 Winner & Picture Show

We're back from MegaCon 2014, which was three straight days of pure bliss. What should have been work was made complete fun, thanks to the thousands of amazing cosplayers, talented artists and very kind fellow exhibitors as well as all the lovely visitors at our booth.

Before I show you some pics I took at the convention, let me announce the winner of Her Ladyship's MegaCon Hat Box, and that is:

Lisa954, who wrote: I would love to go to a World Con and spend the entire week. Or a major Comic Con. I know... I'm just a great big geek.

Lisa, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to LynnViehl@aol.com so I can mail this package of goodies out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in, and if you have a chance do stop in this Friday for another hat box giveaway (and this time I'll have it stocked with very special delights I found MegaCon.)

And now for the slideshow:



Sunday, March 23, 2014

MegaCon Final Day

I met an adorable prince today at MegaCon (and his Dad was pretty cute, too):



We'll be finishing up today, so if you're attending please do stop by our booth to say hi and enter your name in the Final Day Booth giveaway.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our MegaCon Booth

I'll have lots of MegaCon pics to share after this weekend, but here's a peek at how our booth looks (see yesterday's post for where we're located on the con floor map):



We're having a great time hanging out with all the cosplay fans, and I've never seen so many exceptionally amazing handmade costumes. Here are a couple of customers who were especially fun to chat with:



The young lady bought a copy of The Drowned Forest by Kristopher Reisz, whose books I'm featuring along with my own at the booth. I'll also have copies of Marjorie Liu's and Shiloh Walker's latest print releases for sale, along with a big tote of books and goodies to give away at the end of each day, so if you're at the con, stop by, browse some titles and enter the drawing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

See Me at MegaCon

If you happen to be attending MegaCon 2014, stop by the Disenchanted & Co. booth to say hi. Our booth number is 81, and it's the first booth you'll see as you enter through what I believe is the south Main Entrance, but here's the booth marked on the floorplan map so you can find it:



The booth will feature my signed books, writing books, journaling books, handmade jewelry, artworks and my 1K cards project, all for sale, and other fun items related to my work for purchase. To help sell them I'll be there, too. :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Her Ladyship's MegaCon Hat Box

As promised Her Ladyship has collected a few things from our MegaCon booth goods for a giveaway here:



As you can see there will be signed print copies of both books, along with a little steampunk journal, a vintage necklace I made from an antique Paris souvenir and some Victorian charms (very neat, and very Torian), a pair of steampunk earrings I also designed and made, and one of the quilted ATCs from my 1000 cards project. Everything will also be packed in the tote you see in the pic, which I made from the hidden embroidered panel I salvaged (you remember that, right?)

If you'd like to win the lot, in comments to this post name your favorite show, conference or convention, or one you'd like to attend someday, by midnight EST on Sunday, March 23, 2014. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the prize tote with all the MegaCon goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone, so please join in.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Forthcoming

I promised to have a pre-MegaCon giveaway here with some things from the booth, and I haven't forgotten! I've just been so busy that I haven't had a chance to put it together and post it. We can't skip this, so if you have a chance stop in on Monday for a special convention edition giveaway from Her Ladyship's Hat Box.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Winner

The Winner of the 2014 Quilt Show Giveaway is:

CrystalGB, who wrote I like to repurpose jars, etc by painting and adding fabric for decoration.

Crystal, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to LynnViehl@aol.com so I can get your prize package out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's in Your Attic?

I didn't have a post planned for today, so I'll take the opportunity to share this short and enchanting film I just discovered over at Kuriositas:

L'inventaire fantôme - The phantom inventory from Franck Dion on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Keeping Things Fluid

A reader asked me to explain something I mentioned to Terlee in comments to this post over at my writing blog while discussing series length. Since it concerns the Disenchanted & Co. novels and has an impact on world-building in general, I thought I'd write a longer post about it here.

First, the two comments involved:

Terlee: Three seems too short (okay, too short for me to get my Dredmore fix). I like the idea of five, though really, you're the only one who knows how much is left to tell...

Lynn Viehl: As a series writer you always have to keep things a bit fluid. I admit, five books would give me enough room to tell the story I envision, but three would insure I'd finish it. So you can see my quandry. :)

As a traditionally-published writer I never know in advance how many novels I will publish in any given universe. I can plan all I want, and even sell all the rights I want, but it's the publisher that decides that issue. Sales are always the primary determining factor for any traditionally-published series; if the books sell well the publisher will be inclined to invest in more. If they don't, the publisher won't offer another contract or may even cancel books under contract, and the series ends. One of the great advantages of self-publishing is that authors can now continue series that were dropped by publishers, but writers on my side of the fence are almost always waiting for the ax to fall.

This is why keeping a series story fluid is so important, and by fluid I mean kept open to the possibility of more books but also written so as to serve as the final novel. Balancing both can be difficult, but I find that building and focusing on a standalone conflict in each book while gradually building and advancing a connected but entirely different series conflict in every book is the best approach.

In the Toriana books Kit has puzzles to solve in every story, and these mysteries are the standalone conflicts. While she goes about her business, she also deals with her developing relationships with Dredmore and Doyle, as these are the catalysts for the series conflict. Since I like writing about relationships as they develop over a long period of time, which I consider to be a lot more interesting than the one-book HEA variety, this approach is one of my trademarks as a writer. In fact you can find similar series conflicts in my StarDoc and Darkyn novels with Cherijo and Reever and Alexandra and Michael respectively.

You don't have to use a relationship as your series conflict to keep things fluid, but I believe you need some strong and enduring story element that can be a part of each novel and thus tie your books together. This can be something like a quest, a setting, an event of long duration, or even a character group (for example, lots of romance writers go with stories of family groups for trilogies or short series, in which all the series protags are brothers, sisters, siblings or closely related.) We've all seen books that tout the now-classic "brotherhood" character groupings as catalysts for series conflicts, too.

Whatever you use to tie your series together, it should not be a disposable or easily-resolved conflict; by design it should be able to endure. Some writers invest a series conflict with lots of complexity when building it to be introduced in the first book, but I go the other way and stick to very simple and very strong opposing forces -- yin and yang would be one way to put it. These conflicts inspire me to no end, and always serve as amazing foundations on which I can build.

You should also have an endgame in mind for your series conflict, so that if you do know in advance what will be the last book you can wrap things up accordingly. Often as a traditionally-published author you don't, but now that we have digital self-publishing there are more options for series writers, which I consider one of the huge advantages of going indie -- you can write as many stories in a series as you want. :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Quilt Show (Giveaway, too!)

I'm back from the quilt show I make a point to attend each year. It almost didn't happen, either; my car decided to start acting up the day before I had to travel. My guy came to my rescue by swapping rides with me so I could drive down to the show while he took my car into the dealer for repairs. This is yet another reason why I love this man; for me he'll give up his truck for a weekend.

It would have broken my heart to miss the show this year, too, as it was superb. This particular gild is huge, and they have dozens of seriously talented artists among their ranks, so every show is great -- but this one was exceptional even for them. The variety of fabrics, techniques and designs was stunning, and there were so many entries that deserved a prize I don't know how the judges were able to choose the winners. This wedding-ring quilt here was one of my favorite entries, both for the maker's color choices and the gorgeous applique work on the borders, and yet it was just one of dozens that were just as finely made and beautifully designed.

I have to mention one other spectacular entry, this whole-cloth white quilt:



And here's a close-up of the quilting:



As any quilter will tell you, a whole-cloth quilt is considered a maker's opus; it's one of the hardest quilts to make because it's simply two pieces of white cloth quilted together (so your stitching has to be perfect.) The lady who made this one noted in her entry description that it took her twenty years to finish the piece. Yes. Two decades!

You might remember that last year when I went to the show I searched for world-building inspiration. I did the same this year, and found some very cool ideas, but I was also inspired by the other quilters I spoke to, who gave me some new insight into the whys between the threads. They share so much tenacity and spirit, and find joy in the most unlikely moments. As I expected my batteries are completely recharged now, thanks to them.

To celebrate another wonderful year at the quilt show I've put together a special giveaway for Her Ladyship's Hat Box:



For one of you I have the pair of handmade art dolls that I won in a ticket raffle at the show, a sling-handled quilted bag, a little felt owl pincushion, a tissue holder, a fabric corner bookmark and signed print copies of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf. If you'd like to win the lot, in comments to this post name something handmade that you make or that you love by midnight EST on Thursday, March 13th, 2014. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner all the goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone so please join in.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Off to the Show



I'm taking off on my annual pilgrimage to attend one of my favorite quilt shows, but I promise to bring back some goodies to give away here on the blog. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Many Buttons

One of my recent acquisitions for my collection of Victorian papers and research archive for Toriana is this chapbook entitled Zuni Fetishes by Frank Hamilton Cushing. The book itself is not Victorian; it was printed in 1990. The text, however, was written by a very interesting Victorian gentleman.

Frank Hamilton Cushing was a Victorian-era American anthopologist who decided to study the Zuni Pueblo natives by living among them for several years. At first he forced himself on the tribe by moving in with them without an invitation, but in time gained enough acceptance to learn the language, take on a Zuni name (Tenatsali ~ Medicine Flower) and join in the tribe's private ceremonies. He also wrote over a dozen studies on Zuni culture, including the Zuni Fetish chapbook reprint I found. It can be argued that Cushing, largely forgotten by history, even paved the way for the likes of Margaret Mead and Napoleon Chagnon.

Cushing's chapbook provides a treasure-trove of first-hand experiences and information on American native mythology, religious practice and tribal life during the Victorian era, which is what interests me as a researcher. For example, while I knew Cushing's history with the Zuni, I wasn't aware they had their own name for him: Many Buttons, for the way he dressed. Cushing also writes -- oddly for the time period -- with great respect about the practice of fetishism among the Zuni. The detailed text about the materials, practices and folklore involved with Zuni fetishism is simply amazing, and provides excellent inspiration for me as I continue to evolve my system of Torian magic.

If you'd like to check out Zuni Fetishes, you can find a copy online for free here at Project Gutenberg.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Winner

The winner of Her Ladyship's New Hat Box giveaway is:

dianaBdesigns, who wrote Vintage earrings my mother had. Little gold roses posts with rhinestone centers. At my age I think now they're considered vintage. An old wicker chair my mother always sat in on our front porch ever since I can remember. So it's older than me. I had a chance to buy it at my fathers estate sale several years ago.

The winning comment also reminded me of my grandmother's garnets; I inherited her birthstone ring that I treasured and wore for many years. I passed it along to my daughter, who loves vintage jewelry, and I hope it will stay in the family for many generations to come.

Diana, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to LynnViehl@aol.com so I can get your package out to you (also, if you'd like me to sign the book for a particular friend as you mentioned in your comment, let me know their name.) My thanks to everyone for joining in.