A New Year and Many New Things

The posts on this blog got a little off topic for a while – I’ve now split my accounts. If you want to check out my writing and business stuff please visit  www.jessicabrawner.com

2015 is looking up, and is starting off with a lot of new projects.

I expect to be posting here on a more regular basis as well, as The Writer and I have parted romantic ways on the very best of terms.  The new year should bring many new fun, exciting and thoughtful dating adventures!

The Home Buying Process

I have recently (In the past month or so) started the process of buying a house. Now, this isn’t my first house, I’ve owned two others in the past, but this is the first time I’ve bought one as a single person. You would think it wouldn’t be materially different – and thus far it hasn’t been. With one exception – there’s no one else to rely on to find and submit all the paperwork. And now that I’m a little older than I was the first two times around, I have more bumps in my past that the bank wants to investigate. Things like – a divorce, a closed business, and a history of self employment.

Here’s where things get entertaining. The divorce was many years ago, and three years ago my house burned down. I no longer have a copy of my divorce paperwork, so I need to request it from the State of Texas. I’ve done that – now I just have to wait – but there’s always that little shred of doubt… what if it didn’t get filed properly… what if they can’t find it either… Yeah, not a pleasant road to go down.

The business was -just- closed. I mean, like July 28th. Now in theory this shouldn’t be a problem, there was no debt associated with it, and I wasn’t using the small amount of money I was getting from it towards my financing, but they still want to see all the tax records, balance sheets etc. Which is more than a bit of a hassle. (Not to mention the fact that my scanner decided last night that it wasn’t going to talk to my computer – so I had to spend an hour updating the drivers. Bonus: Now it works over wi-fi!)

And then they wanted an explanation of why I decided to go from a Self Employed person to a W2 filer on my Income Taxes. As I have in fact been doing both (Self employed AND working at least half time) for 3 years now, I don’t really see that it’s any of their business… but I’d like to actually purchase a house, so I wrote out a detailed work history for them.

Goodness only knows what else they will need before this is all over. My firstborn child? A contract in blood? Rights to my next three books? Here’s hoping I can get the divorce paperwork back from the State in a timely manner, and stay sane until this process is done.

So long and thanks for all the fish…

Or something like that. Dragon Con 2014 was a blast. There were massive amounts of people – so many so that I felt like I couldn’t move most of the time. So I didn’t. I stayed at the table and worked, or picked a spot and hung out. As always, seeing my friends was awesome, and for the first time ever I was selling something of my own – along with the Bards stuff of course.

Charisma +1 did really well – we sold out at the Bards table, and almost sold out at the publisher’s table. For the first time ever I attended room parties on Saturday night. (Primarily thanks to The Writer… thanks babe!) It was fun, and I met some cool people, but my voice was entirely gone by Sunday, which made selling really difficult. Thank you to one of the estimable members of Emerald Rose for providing me with home grown honey. It helped me survive Sunday, both for the sugar content and the throat soothing. I didn’t get to spend as much time with any of my friends as I would have liked, but I suppose that’s always the case. I do have every intention of returning again next year!

 

Dragon Con here I come!

Well… Soon anyway.

dragonconnI will be at Dragon Con!

More specifically I will be at Dragon Con at the Brobdingnagian Bards table. We will be in the band area over at the Marriott. Should you decide to come by and visit (please do!) you will find a plethora of CD’s from Marc Gunn, The Brobdingnagian Bards, and Andrew McKee. You will also be able to pick up a copy of my new book: Charisma +1: The Guide to Convention Etiquette for Gamers, Geeks and the Socially Awkward, and a copy of Steampunk Trails 2 with my story Bad Altitude, (the precursor to Sapphire Eyes are Smiling) and of course, you can also sign up for Story of the Month Club.

Hint: We give discounts for multiple purchases at the Bards table.

 

Here’s where you can find me over the course of the weekend.

Friday:

2:30 – 3:30 Self Defense Panel (Vinings Hyatt) with Keith R.A. DeCandido

6:30 – 9:30 pm Brobdingnagian Bard Table

11:00 pm Brobdingnagian Bard Show – Hyatt International North

Saturday:

2:00 – 4:30 pm Brobdingnagian Bard Table

Sunday:

4:00 – 9:00 pm Brobdingnagian Bard Table

Monday:

10:00 – 2:00 pm Brobdingnagian Bard Table

The Peak, The gardens, The movies & Great Food

Laphoto 2st week my parents descended upon me in Boulder for a week long visit. There was a great deal of good food consumed, and much visiting. The highlights included dinner at  a great little Mexican food place in Colorado Springs called Salsa Brava, Sushi in Longmont at Sakura, and steak at The Boulder Chophouse. In addition to the great food, we made the trek up Pike’s Peak (well, okay, so we drove to the top). The views on the way up were great, but the top was entirely clouded. The chill air was refreshing given that it’s mid-summer below.

We also had the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy! It exceeded expectations by miles, and I’m pretty sure the parents enjoyed it too! The last stop for the wephoto 4ek was the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I had forgotten about the exhibit until we arrived, and I can say that it took my breath away. The exhibit covers the entire gardens, and crops up in the most unexpected places. It runs through Nov. 30th so I hope to see it another few times.

In addition, Steampunk Trails Vol 2 came out, with my first Captain Jac story, Bad Altitude, and the second Captain Jac story, Sapphire Eyes are Smiling,  is now available on Amazon for Kindle.

 

 

Roadtrip Recap

Last week I went on my first solo cross country road trip. Well… solo is a bit of a misnomer, Aslan, my gigantic golden retriever was co-pilot and general backseat driver. Turns out he’s an excellent road trip companion. We left on Saturday morning – not as early as I would have liked, but still at the respectable hour of ten a.m. The weather was great for driving, and miraculously there was almost no traffic.

I headed for a tiny little state park in eastern Oklahoma called Greenleaf State Park. Google deceived me thoroughly in this, telling me that it was only 11 hours away, when in fact it was 16. Luckily I did find it, and rolled into a campsite around 1am. This trip was somewhat of an experiment – I enjoy camping, but I don’t own a tent at the moment so I wanted to see what camping in the back of my truck was like, so I had a camp cot, and it was quite cozy with me and Aslan back there. After some re-arranging though we got it worked out. The benefit to driving 16 hours the first day – the second day of driving was much shorter.

On Sunday I had the good fortune to come across a fruit stand somewhere in Mississippi selling the most delicious peaches that I’ve had in years. They were perfectly ripe, dripping sweet golden juices with exactly the right amount of firmness. That alone made the entire trip worth the drive.

The week was spent visiting with my sister, her husband, and their 6 week old baby. In fact, a good portion of my week was spent holding the baby while he napped, napping with the baby, and generally being a lazy bum. I don’t think I got even 1000 words written on my current short story “Sapphire Eyes”

The drive back was equally pleasant, though I took a different route and missed the peach stand. Instead I stopped at the Russell Stover Chocolate factory in Kansas (Exit 272 on Interstate 70) and stocked up on tasty chocolates.

Music for the roadtrip included selections from this month’s www.storybundle.com/music Namely SJ Tucker and Pandora Celtica as well as selections from Bettman and Halpin and Emerald Rose.

My audio book – which lasted a good portion of the trip – was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as read by Davina Porter (one of my favorite audio book readers)

 

Denver ComicCon & more!

Action Figure
More and more I find, when attending conventions, that I actually have time to do things besides just work at a booth. This is a bit of a strange turn of events, and I’m find I’m not always sure what to do with myself.

I took Friday off from my day-job so that I could get down to Denver early and avoid the rush for Denver ComicCon. Boy I’m glad I did! It was packed on Friday. I managed to pass by the news crew at the right time and got a nice long pan shot of me in costume on the news. (I was unaware until a friend told me on FB.) And there was much silliness with the action figure booth. Jessica Panel

Instead of working at one booth I decided to run errands for several different ones WordFire Press, Dryad Tea, MalCon and a couple of others – and then when I desperately wanted to be behind a table I found an empty one next to a friend and handed out business cards. That went fairly well, Story of the Month Club got a few new subscribers, and I handed out lots of business cards.

On the whole it was a great time – I went to quite a few of the author panels this year and picked up a few tips, and on Sunday I was on a panel myself! I was invited to join the Women in Fiction panel and was thrilled to hang out with some incomparable ladies. After the panel I got a look at a photo of myself on stage – I swear I did actually have clothes on.writer panel

Sunday night finished up with dinner with a new friend while we waited for The Writer to finish closing up shop and join us. I had an absolutely lovely time. (I love making new friends!)

The fun didn’t stop there! On Monday I got some great news! For those of you that follow me on FB – this was the Big News Coming Soon post. I was offered a contract from WordFire press to publish my first book Charisma +1; The Guide to Convention Etiquette for Gamers, Geeks & the Socially Awkward. I’ve got a contract, so now it’s all official and stuff! Keep an eye out for more information on this project on Facebook.

My 3 Favorite Guys On Wednesday, Story of the Month Club was featured over at the Celtic Music Podcast hosted by Marc Gunn – if you like Celtic music, he’s the guy to know!

On the whole I’d say its been a banner week!

Denver Comic Con

I am looking forward to Denver ComicCon next weekend – I anticipate meeting quite a few new people and getting a chance to hang out with some good friends. I will be running around checking on folks that I know – so if you’re working and you need someone to run get something, grab me as I fly by. This seems to be my modus operandi if I’m not actually working a table myself.

I will also have business cards for Story of the Month ClubTheCatNeverLeft to hand out – and if you’ve been waiting to get a subscription in person, I’m happy to accommodate! I’ll have a full mobile setup (in the form of my phone) and can take subscriptions on the fly.

Folks that sign up at DCC will have access to the June Story – The Cat Never Left by Peter J. Wacks.

I’m also looking forward to doing a dual cosplay with author Vivian Trask – Cecil and Carlos from the Welcome to NightVale Podcast.  This will be a first for me, so I’ll see how it goes. Should be fun regardless, and the outfit involves pockets, so that makes me happy. (And able to carry around chocolate to hand out to folks) Now I just have to finish it!

If you specifically need me to come by and check on you in your booth, please message me! See everyone on Friday!

Whiskey Ice Cream!

photo 2It felt like a really busy day today. I finally got a chance to set up a credit card reader for Story of the Month Club, so next time I’m at a convention I can sign people up in person! (Or of course you’re still welcome to sign up online – www.storyofthemonthclub.com )

Work itself was fairly busy, so I didn’t get a chance to write at all today, or work on my class. Tomorrow should be quieter though.

My office uses A Spice of Life
photo 1
catering in Boulder for quite a few events. Overall they’re great, and this evening they threw a party to show off their new venue in Boulder. Because we get so much catering from them, we (my office) were invited to attend. I have to say; there are some definite perks to my job. They were showing off their new menu, so there were lots of tasty eats. Particularly I admire the photo 3boldness of serving Whiskey ice cream. (Tasty but unexpected!) and deserts from Piece, Love, & Chocolate.

I did make time to walk the puppy and then run a mile or so after – third day in a row, and I’m starting to feel the running.

On the whole a good evening, and then home to work on a bunch of scheduling issues, and hopefully get at least a little bit of writing done.

Starfest recap!

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The Doctor and Rose

Friday night I had a work event until late – the Thompson Writing Awards hosted by Center of the American West. We put on a banquet for the student winners of this year’s award. It was a fun event, and Stephen Graham Jones gave the keynote address. He’s a great speaker and has some great things to say about writing. If you ever get a chance, go hear him talk. I didn’t get done with cleanup from that event until after ten p.m. so I didn’t make it down to Starfest until late.

I met up with the Writer and a bunch of other friends and hung out in the bar area until nearly one a.m. catching up with everyone. Saturday was fantastic. I ran into Marc Gunn, I haven’t seem him since Dragon Con last year, along with a couple of other old friends. Dryad Tea agreed to let me put some of my new business cards out for Story of the Month Club, as did Marc and David Boop. (Check out their websites and send them a little love) For old times sake I worked Marc’s booth for a couple of hours (always a good time and I got to hang out with another friend in the process) and worked on handing out my new business cards.

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I am really excited about this new project. When we get it up and running it will be a great deal for authors and readers alike. The basic idea is that, for less than the cost of a latte each month we’ll send subscribers a short story that they can read on their kindle, iPad or other eReader. When we get to 1000 subscribers we’ll be able to pay the authors professional rates for their work. (Sometimes we’ll send out bonus stories too!) I primarily plan on focusing on sci-fi and fantasy for the moment, and then expanding to include other genres as we get more subscribers. If this sounds interesting to you (or you know someone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy) please subscribe, support the arts, and tell people about what we’re doing. A year’s subscription works out to $18 a year. www.storyofthemonthclub.com

Saturday evening I was surprised to run into Stephen Graham Jones at the con, so I followed him to IMG_0482his panel. (I apologize to everyone for coming in late, and with such a loud jingle skirt on! I forgot how loud it is in small spaces.) I was equally surprised to see that a good portion of my other friends were also on the panel. I’m not a really a horror fan, but hearing what everyone had to say about their favorite horror writers, and how they write horror themselves was pretty entertaining.

Saturday I also had a chance to watch the costume contest. There were some amazing costumes this year and I applaud everyone who entered.

Sunday I checked in with Marc before his first show, and I’m glad I did. He wasn’t feeling well, so I worked his table all day

Laramie and Me working Marc Gunn's booth

Laramie and Me working Marc Gunn’s booth

with his other booth person. It also gave me the chance to hear the Stubby Shillelaghs again. They’re local, and a lot of fun. We did pretty well at the booth while Marc rested, and I managed to hand out a lot more business cards. (Here’s hoping it generates some traffic!)   Overall it was a great weekend, I got quite a few pictures and I had a great time hanging out with everyone and meeting new friends. I look forward to seeing everyone again at DCC in June!