Things They Don’t Tell You in “Author School”

As if there was one. Well, in a way, there are. Workshops like Dreamspinner Press holds every year. I just don’t leave home much, so things like that aren’t really a good fit for me. I can’t stand to be away from my dog, nor she me. Plus, I’m super introverted, and it’s hard to put on my “public persona.”

Swag. I understand it, but I don’t. Authors go to conferences and give out stuff, 90% of which is immediately tossed out. The author spent loads of bucks for someone to look at their swag as it falls down into the trash receptacle. Bookmarks? Who uses them nowadays? It’s hard to mark your place with a physical bookmark on an e-reader. Postcards? Yeah, right. I’m going to write to someone with the cover of your book on the other side of my message. Pens are nice, but they’re pretty expensive. If you want to give out 300 or so pens, it could cost you around $600 (depending on where you get them). Are you going to get $600 worth or more of sales back? I don’t really know.

I’m going to be attending Rust City Book Convention in August, and I’ve decided to do a charity basket. Now, this I can get behind. I’m having fun coming up with ideas that match my weird little worlds I’ve created. A few books, lots of ghostie stuff, and I’m looking around for a plush bulldog I can make look like a zombie.

Who the hell wouldn’t want a plush Daisy the zombie bulldog?


I don’t like to get involved in controversy…but…

If you write MM romance, you’re undoubtedly heard at least an inkling of what’s gone down this week. Someone said something, people were offended, it seemed the original people felt attacked, etc. Every now and then something like this comes up. And people, very well meaning people, try to patch things up and say things like, “We’re a community. We should all get along.” Or “The LGTB community are supposed to be accepting. Why are you attacking so and so?”

Here’s a news flash. ANY group has in-fighting sometimes. Because we’re all human beings. We say things sometimes without thinking. We get our feelings hurt, and we lash out. So if you think the MM writing group is somehow exempt, or should be, think again. Never going to happen.

I don’t want to get into the original post that began this whole kerfuffle. It’s been hashed out to death by now. But I will say this: if you write about gay men, and you feel you support gay men and rights of LGTB+ in general…and you post something that gay men feel insulted by, or is misconstrued…try to remember that these are the people you support. If I hear one more person say something like “MM romance isn’t for gay men. It was started by women and it’s for women, and gay men should just keep out of it” I swear I won’t be responsible for my actions.

Jeff Erno wrote a very good piece about this controversy, as did F.E. Feeley and TJ Klune, and they expressed themselves a heck of a lot better than I can. It’s weird that gay men often feel marginalized and excluded in a genre that is supposed to be about them. Is it any wonder that sometimes we  feel like throwing up our hands and just giving up? I know I’ve felt that way several times.

I’m sure I’ll upset someone by posting this, and I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.  But if it does, contact me. It can be private on Facebook, or leave a message here. Let’s hash it out. Maybe we’ll both learn something.

That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Weekday update and an apology.

I’m a slow writer. I guess if you’ve been waiting for the next Duncan Andrews book, you’ve figured that out by now. The good news is I’m finally happy with how it’s going. It’s taken 5 drafts and 3 major re-writes, but now I like it. I’ve always known the ending…it was just getting there that was bothering me. So I’m about 1/3 of the way through the 6th draft, and now I don’t feel like just walking away and calling it quits.

I’m also working on comic novel for when the Duncan words aren’t flowing. I like it so far. We’ll have to wait and see if it gets beyond the 20,000 word mark, which is where I often sat back and say to myself, “This is crap.”

Now on to a semi-excuse as to why the writing has slowed down. My left hand isn’t working quite right. There’s some nerve damage in the fingertips, and typing a lot doesn’t help. I’ve got B12 anemia, and while the treatments are working (I think, we’ll have to wait and see) the first doctor I went to dismissed my hand complaints as “cramp” and thought the reason my red blood cells had gone a funny shape was because of one the drugs I take. I no longer see this doctor.

New Doc immediately asked me if I knew I was having trouble with B12 and started me on injections. Sigh. One wonders if 1st doctor hadn’t been so dismissive of my symptoms…but there you have it. I gots tingly fingers on my left hand. And, to top it off, I’m left handed. Sometimes it’s not too bad. Sometimes…well, I hate to complain.

But enough bad things! More Duncan coming…slowly, but it’s coming. And other things as well!

Love you all!

More Coastal Magic

15665856_1050176745093957_6815972842081809546_nIt’s been weeks, but the memories linger…

Well, I learned quite a lot at my first convention. For one thing, the concept of swag was bewildering to me. What was good swag, what didn’t work at all? Well, I got some good tips. Usable swag, yes. Bookmarks, postcards…good for filling bags, but my guess is they get tossed away before attendees even get to their airplanes to go back home. Or cars. You get what I mean.

Author signing. Thanks goodness I was seated next to Neil Plaksy, with whom I had a marvelous conversation. I’d been included in one or two anthologies he’d edited, although there was that slightly embarrassing moment when he asked me which ones I’d been in. That was years ago! I can hardly remember what I did yesterday! Luckily, I think I remembered one correctly.

Saturday night: game night. I’d thought (silly me) that I wanted to get in the round of Cards Against Humanity, but there were so many at that table, and no one I really knew. I wandered past Kiernan Kelly and T. C. Blue, who were setting up a game of Telestrations After Dark. At first I thought I’d pass, as I can’t draw, but T. C. didn’t take no for an answer. I’m pretty sure she rarely does. And I’m so glad she convinced me, because much hilarity ensued. I can’t remember exactly what I was SUPPOSED to be drawing, but the result of one looked like a stick figure pole dancing while many smiling faces looked on. Sue (Davinci Kitty) got in on the game and had to decipher my drawings. She’s probably scarred for life.

Friday night: Dinner with the Dreamspinner crowd! We went to Smokey Joes, I believe it was called. The food was good, although the sandwich I had was impossible to pick up, and hard to eat with a fork. And I waited and waited for the waitress to bring me back my change. Never happened. I guess she thought she deserved a 50% tip.

Mary Calmes signed up for my table at Saturday’s Lunch With An Author. Mary Freaking Calmes!!!! She was wonderful and asked me about the Weasel books. Earlier in the day, someone asked me who I’d signed up to sit with, not knowing that I was a featured author. I told them I was sitting with Mary Calmes! I hope I didn’t fan girl over her too much. Or Amy Lane. Both were very sweet and nice.

And how amazing was T. C. Blue? That steampunk hat, and her outfits, and the different hair every time I saw her. She took my breath away. She was on my team for the Author Family Feud, and she was hysterically snide when it became apparent that our team was being railroaded. Our questions were impossible, and the judges (we’ll be nice and call them that) wanted pretty exact answers, despite the fact that on the actual Family Feud, anything even close they accept. We lost by one point, but T. C. won in my book.



Coastal Magic Travels

I don’t travel much, unless you count taking the train into Chicago to see a show. So going down to Florida was a big deal for me. I learned some things:

Pens set off the alarm at airport security, resulting in them unpacking your bag to make sure you’re not transporting weapons of mass destruction. Plus, the rivets on the pockets of my jeans also set off red flags. So I got my junk patted. Coming and going.

The hotel was still under repairs from hurricane damage. This meant the restroom near the convention rooms wasn’t working. Long walks to go pee.

And I had a marvelous lunch, set up by Sue from GraveTells, at Doc Bale’s Grill at the hotel. Oddly, though, the restaurant gives you NO choice as to what to eat. They had fish and vegetables. If you didn’t want fish and vegetables, tough nuggies. And I’m not talking varieties of fish. You ate the one dish, or you ate nothing. I thought that was bizarre. I’m not a fish guy, but this dish was tasty. When I told my buddy Matt about this on the phone, he stated that he’d have looked at the waitress and said, “I’ll have the steak.”

Woke up Friday morning with seagulls buzzing around my window. I pondered why, and the phone rang. It was security, asking me to stop feeding the birds. I told them it wasn’t me. Not sure the guy believed me. But for a few minutes I felt like Tippi Hedron.

An Epic Convention and an Epic Meeting

Over the last several days, I attended the Coastal Magic Convention down in Daytona Beach, Florida. I’ll post more about this wonderful convention later, but right now I just want to leave this, about my first meeting with Brandilyn Carpenter and William Cooper.

I got to the hotel about 2:00, but the convention didn’t start until 4. So I had 2 hours to kill. I sat down in a little alcove to read. I set out a copy of Raven’s Rest because I knew Sue from Grave Tells wanted to add a copy to her raffle basket and she needed it ASAP. Two people came up and asked if they could sit with me. I said sure. We chatted a little. Turns out they were Brandilyn and William.

Apparently, during their car trip they listened to several audio books, and in all of them, dogs died. Jokingly, Brandilyn told William that the next time they would listen to a story with zombie dogs, so Brandilyn put out a Facebook message asking for books with zombie dogs for William to listen to. Parker Williams responded with something like “hey, check out Stephen Osborne’s Duncan Andrews books. Zombie bulldog.”

William looks at his phone and then at me. Brandilyn and he confirm that I’m Stephen Osborne. William says, “Well, that’s creepy!” and adds a comment on Facebook: “We’re sitting with him!”

My anxieties have anxieties…

Well, I’m making preparations for my trip to Florida for the Coastal Magic Convention. I’m looking forward to going, and I’m not. I don’t like to leave my dog for any length of time. I feel guilty taking the time off work (even though they give you things like vacation days just for this purpose). And going involves getting into an airplane. One of those big things that fly in the air. Yeah, I’m trying not to think too much about that part of the journey.

Wednesday I’ll be driving to Chicago and checking into a hotel near O’Hare (a park and fly affair). That night I’ll be seeing Debra Cox in The Bodyguard (I have doubts about the musical, but I’ve seen her before, and she’s good…so there’s that). Then back to the hotel where I’ll hopefully catch a few hours of sleep (ha!) before heading over to the airport VERY early to catch a flight to Atlanta, where I’ll wait an hour before going on to Daytona.

And in Daytona, I’ll be at my first convention. I’m sure it will be lovely and fun. It certainly sounds like it will. I’m quite certain I’ll forget to pack something important. Or that I’ll get there and the hotel will say, “I’m sorry, Mr. Osborne, but we have no reservation in your name..” despite receiving a confirmation email from them. Or there will be a horrible storm, and the plane will be diverted to Chattanooga, TN.

Does anyone know of anything to do in Chattanooga?

Deep breath. You’ve got four more days of worrying about this stuff.