Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coming out of my San Diego Comic Con Chaos Coma

Ohhhhh, so tired, but had so much fun!

Headed over on the Tuesday before Comic Con, with fab Science Fiction Author Gini Koch (Alien/Kitty Kat series) and favorite press guy Joseph Gaxiola. Drove from Phoenix to San Diego, rocking to tunes and jabbering the whole way. We stayed at a nice inn called Mudville Flats, way roomier and nicer than a little hotel room.

This was my first year going to the largest GeekFest in the world. I'm not saying that as an insult. I've come to embrace and wave my own inner-geek flag.

To say SDCC started out wild and got insane, is an understatement. Hearing tales from veterans, this event started out in a tiny hotel meeting room, back in 1970. It now encompasses the entire San Diego Conference Center, as well as most the available floor space in a 10+ block radius.

Walking is the biggest challenge, since it covers such a VAST area, and because you have to navigate through the 130,000 recognized participants, exhibitors, press and professionals, people who show up without passes, people hired to hand out promotional materials and street performers. Almost every street corner you turned, you found lines of people to see a show or get into a bar or restaurant.

All said, locals figure crowds up to 250,000. It's exhausting just thinking about the numbers.

For those of you who know me, I have a new knee, so it got a workout too. But I played it smart and used a taxi or pedicab, reserving my strength for the real challenge. It was also more fun watching people rather than watching my steps. Inside the Center the throngs of people moved in waves. You learned quick to flow with the crowd and to watch for the breaks to slip free, or you got stepped on. Usually you got stepped on anyway.

Wednesday was preview day. We got in and made a quick round of the exhibit hall, gathered up some free goodies and made our escape to watch from a sidewalk cafĂ©. Thursday was the first official day of Comic Con and made our early arrival worth it. Friday night, Saturday and Sunday had the town rocking. Sitting in on panels, the walls vibrating with TV/movie/comic previews.

Vendors sold everything from pins to exclusive productions. There was the little guys to mega-corps. I like the little guys, like Museum of Robots. Love my new necklace. Artists sold their wares and gamers introduced the greatest and latest.

I'd love to go on and one, but basically there's just too much for one person to see in 4 days. So, guess I need to go back next year.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Count Down to Int'l Comicon in San Diego

Not posting any commentary this week.  I'm holding out for another week.  Why?  Because on July 16th I'm heading off to my first International Comic Con in San Diego.

There's so much to do and I'm not just talking about packing.  Comic Con is attended by over 130,000 people, not including people who don't have tickets, but show up to the external venues.  Yeah, it's so big it spreads outside the convention center and into the neighborhood.

I'll be heading there with Gini Koch, author of the Kitty Kat/Alien series. ROAD TRIP. Taking another friend with us, Joseph Gaxiola.  Hoping he can give me tips on putting together video podcasts, so stay tuned for Comic Con reports, interviews and a lot of fabulous costumes.

Starting first thing in the mornings we'll be cruising through 1000's of booths providing everything from autographs to sonic screwdrivers. Yeah, going to grab me at least one of those.  There will be panels galore, from writing (the reason I'm going), to sciences (which I enjoy), to fan sessions with actors and actresses of favorite TV and movies (got to find me some more starship captains). Capt. Mel shows up, I'll be on that!

At night there will be all kinds of fun going on too, but even I have to wait to find out what that will be, so... stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Got me some snuggling with Capt. Jack!

Love getting me some Captain Jack (John Barrowman) at the Phoenix Comicon 2013. 

I didn't know the how and whats, so I didn't pre-register for a photo session. I thought "BUMMER!" but then they announced he was sticking around for more sessions, so I hopped into line. I could go on about how cute and funny he was with everyone, but that would take all day, and at least half the night. He was hilarious and one of those actors that says, 'hey, they're standing in line for hours, to see me, so I'm not leaving till they lock the doors'.  Well, on Sunday he had to leave when the fire alarm went off only a hour before the close of the Con. They evacuated the Convention Center, but he came back!

Also saw him at his spotlight, where he had the audience laughing hysterically. He wasn't the kind of actor who sat behind a table and answered questions. He jumped, danced, and ran around the stage, from one side to the other as people lined up the aisle to ask their questions. Then there was the Marine. Soooo funny!  You can go to YouTube to see that one.

Okay, I won't go on and on... back to the Conference.

I was there to learn the author-ropes with some pros, and to have some fun. Hung with Gini Koch, Jordan Summers, and Marcy Rockwell. Wanted to spend a bit more time with David Lee Summers, but this year they put him down on the other end of our aisle.  I helped out where I could with some set up and sitting in while my friends were off on their panels.

Got to attend some interesting panels as well. I mixed it up a bit. Besides panels on learning my writing craft, I attended some science panels as well. Found out about an interesting on-line ASU course exploring the Drake Equation, trying to estimate the number of extraterrestrial planet that have the potential of intelligent life. And you don't have to be some huge science geek or major. I might look into that this fall.

The costumes were fantastic, lots of great group costumes too. Lots of kids in costume, cudos to the parents for not suffocating their need to be creative. Extra cudos to the parent who dressed up too. Then there was the Zombies and the Zombie Walk were the undead flood the downtown streets of Phoenix.  Luck had it we wanted a quick drink and bite to eat before we ran back to the conference center. I grabbed some tables by the side doors of the hotel bar and we got the special treat of a perfect spot to watch the parade.

Again, could go on for hours, but it's one of those things where you just had to be there, with the other    55,313    people who attended this year.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Me? Go to Science Fiction Conferences? How'd I end up here?

If you'd told me fifteen years ago I'd be attending Science Fiction Conferences, I'd probably have given you the 'what are you sniffing' look. The thought never crossed my mind. I loved Science Fiction, but didn't dress up in costumes unless it was Halloween, and was definitely not one of 'those people', a science nerd/geek. Little did I know... 

There was a reason for my 'state of denial'. You know those experiments rumors where some soc/psych whack-job got the bright idea to tell a bunch of kids they could or couldn't do something, just to see if their lies came true? Well, I think I was one of those lab kids.

About the same time I got hooked on Science Fiction, a high school algebra teacher told my class that 'girls can't learn the math and sciences'. SHE then proceeded to prove her point. By the end of the semester I hated that teacher, had a math aversion and was scared of science.

So, imagine my confusion when m U.S. Air Force aptitude tests didn't push me into a secretarial job. Nope, I rated in the top 2% of electronic scores. Go figure! Still freaked out by the all math and science involved, I went for it and became a radar specialist. A fluke? Well, when I got out of the USAF the weirdness continued. On the GI bill college aptitude tests, computer programming was my highest score. Sure! I'll give that a try too.

While I did well there, fates changed my course, throwing me into the deep end of the business pool. After being lured to LA to manage a business, the owner dropped huge black books in front of me and walked out the door, retiring. With no idea what I was doing, I gave myself a crash course in accounting, before the next payroll was due.

After a few more years of the world conspiring to tell me something. I got my degree in Accounting. Liking the deep end of the pool, I specialized in walking into a company cold, not knowing the software involved, figuring out what wasn't working, fixing the problems and teaching the employees how to do it better. The girl who hated math.

That horrible teacher left a scar and left me wondering 'what if'. Though I never became a rocket scientist, I ultimately proved her wrong. Her lies couldn't kill my curiosity. I was fascinated with so many aspects of the sciences, and dreamed of what was beyond our world. My love of Science Fiction only grew stronger, so when the fates shifted again, I turned to what I loved and started writing.

Sure, that first stuff was rough amateur material, I didn't major in English or literature, but there was a story under all the crap. And another story after that, and more ideas sparking to life. I wrote like crazy and knew it was time to learn how to do it better.

It was time to seek out writers groups and conferences, and since I wrote Science Fiction, I went to my first LepreCon, then CopperCon, followed by Desert Rose RWA Conference and DFW Writer's Con. I learned a lot and edited, re-edited and then edited that. I submitted to contests, magazines, agents and publishers, and kept learning. In 2012 my first story, The Thing Down the Road, was published by Musa Publishing. Then I signed with an agent to represent my novels to the publishers. Then I took the next leap and attended my first Comicon, here in Phoenix.

This year I'm lined up for six conferences.  Last week I participated in LepreCon 39, serving as a panelist and moderator on everything from Editing in the E-world to Military/Hard Science Fiction.  And it was a blast! I worked author panels with Astronomer David Lee Summers from Kitts Peak in Tucson AZ, Trauma Surgeon Dr. Bruce Davis from Mesa AZ, Author/scientist Rick Novy from Scottsdale AZ... Just to name a few of the awesome author/scientist/engineer personalities in attendance. And Yup, there are people in costumes and they're a pretty darn fun bunch.

This week I'm hanging out at the Phoenix Comicon with more authors, scientists, costumers and fans. And Capt. Jack will be there! Yeah, I love Capt. Jack! In July I'll be heading to San Diego with Gini Koch for the International Comicon. Unfortunately I'm not going to either Comicon as a panelist (this year), but I'M SO EXCITED!

I'll be attending Arizona Dreamin at the end of May, for fun, then back to serving on panels in both CopperCon in August and TusCon in November.

So, it's been a long weird road, full of detours and potholes, but I'm finally learning to appreciate and embrace my own inner geek. Girls can learn math and science. I'm a Science Fiction writer and I attend SF Conferences. No doubt about it, I'm one of 'those people' and proud of it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Welcome to my blog. Read my thoughts on this great topic, then leave a comment and be entered to win swag! (Within the U.S. only. Entrants outside the U.S. eligible to win e-books only)

Recently I was putting together a Character Development mini-session for upcoming conferences. When breaking down the steps of developing characters, the first task was to decide who your character was. Was he the hero or the villain, or the villain you can't help but love. Once you decide what he's going to be, you have to know why he's the way he is. Maybe that villain is not so bad. Maybe he was driven to his evil acts.

Looking for the perfect character example, my imagination went to Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Just saying his name you can see and hear him in your head. When asked to name a ‘bad guy’, many of us jump to Darth Vader’s iconic image, but consider the path of his development into such a character.

Anakin started out as a cute kid, but a slave who rebuilt droids and raced flyers. Over the series of three movies he became a hero, fell in love, then faced personal conflicts and loss. His path to the Dark Side wasn't born of evil, but of fear and pain. Evil simply found his weakness and exploited it. His journey turned him into a man driven by desperation, convinced that even those he loved had turned against him. The leap to Darth Vader, a demon, a tool for pure hatred, was easy for Evil to achieve, but deep in his core lived the true soul of Anakin. Deep down was the little boy who fell in love with Padmé Amidala.

Confronted by the final battle and the terrible choice of killing his own son, that tiny burning ember of who he once was, a Jedi… a husband… a father… returned. He fought to save his son and as he lay dying, he asked for the mask to be removed. Anakin, not Vader, wanted to look upon his son just once with his own eyes. Anakin wanted to die as a man, not as a monster.

What a perfect example for character development, spanning the full ever-evolving life of Anakin Skywalker. The same thing should happen to your characters. They need to start out innocent enough, have their beliefs challenged, maybe corrupted, but come out the other end a different, a better person… or dead. Nothing’s wrong with killing off the totally unredeemable character. Just do it in a way that leaves the reader turning the page.

Characters morph. That's another rule. We see them in our head or at least have an idea of them when we start a story, but often by the time we're done, they've grown into someone we weren't expecting.

I found myself in that position when I wrote "The Thing Down the Road". I still ask myself who the story was about, the narrator, the subject of observation, or ultimately all of us beneath our civilized skin. The subject terrifies everyone he came in contact with, even himself, but he lets his one friend see beneath the horror. He lets his friend see the anguish left when everything else was taken away.

This story makes you ask if you could do the unthinkable at the price of your soul, if it was the only thing left to do, if it was the right thing to do? Read "The Thing Down the Road", by T.L. Smith and see if you can answer that question.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Leave a comment and be entered to win a free copy of The Thing Down the Road and other swag.

To see what else I'm working on and what is making the publishing rounds as we speak, visit my website at

To find out what other fabulous authors have to say about their HEROES AND VILLAINS, visit their blogs, leave comments or follow them for a chance to win swag they're offering:

Nyki Blatchley blog
Martin Bolton blog
Mike Cooley blog
Karin Cox blog
Ron Fritsch blog
Joanne Hall blog
Jolea M Harrison blog
Tinney Heath blog
Eleni Konstantine blog
Kyle Lewis blog
Paula Lofting blog
Liz Long blog
Peter Lukes blog:
Mark McClellan blog:
Edward M. McNally blog:
Sue Millard blog:
Leilani Miller blog:
Ginger Myrick blog:
David Pilling blog:
E M Powell blog:
Kim Rendfeld blog:
Tari West blog:
Keith Yatsuhashi facebook:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

T'is the season, Conference session that is!

Yeah, I know there are conferences year-round, but it would be hard to attend them all. Being a new author, figuring out which ones to hit is tough, but starting close to home is good. Being from Phoenix, I'm lucky to have multiple options to choose from.

I've attended some of these conferences in the past as an aspiring author waiting to be published. They were great learning experiences, especially as I got to meet so many fabulous authors. Some have become great friends, like Gini Koch with her Touched by an Alien Series   Marcy Rockwell and her Dungeons & Dragons creations   and Jordan Summers who goes for the Hot Fantasies   and that's just the ladies. Get these three on a panel together and watch out!

But the guys rock too, like David Lee Summers, Bruce Davis, Vaughn Truede and Weston Ochse.

This year I'll be on a few panels too, meeting fans and other authors or getting to be a fan with some of the out-of-this-world guests lined up at these conferences. Like Capt. Jack for one but if I started naming all guests I would love to meet, I'd need PAGES and PAGES on this blog. Of course I love Capt. Jack so he deserves mentioning twice. Oh hell, third time's a charm - CAPT JACK!

Check out these great conferences and come out to meet the stars and authors.

May 9-12th  LepreCon in Mesa, AZ

May 23-27th  Phoenix Comicon in Phx, AZ

May 31-June 2  Arizona Dreaming in Chandler, AZ

July 16-24th  International Comicon in San Diego, CA

Aug 8-11th  CopperCon in Mesa, AZ

Nov 7-11  TusCon 40 in Tucson, AZ

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them. I hope you'll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy. On this stop on the blog hop, you'll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to three other authors you can explore!

My gratitude to fellow author Rissa Watkins for inviting me to participate in this event. You can click the following link to learn more about her work. Website:

In this blog hop, I and my fellow authors answer ten questions about our book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek). We've also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write--the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

Karma of Kalpana

2. What genre does your book come under?

I write primarily in Science Fiction, with elements of other genre, in this case romance.

I've loved Science Fiction since high school and can't imagine writing anything else. However, I think mixing the genre is inevitable. While most of my stories take place in space, my characters don't live in a vacuum, figuratively speaking. They love and suffer loss, it just has to be incorporated as part of the story, not as a distraction to it.

You won't find Victorian corset's in my stories, but if my character is wearing anything resembling one, I'm going to have her sexy lover/alien taking it off her, after an appropriate ass-kicking of a gang of bad guys.

3: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A friend gave me a idea for a short story, but it refused to be told in a few thousand words.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, no, can't answer that question! You'll have to read the book to understand why. (brahahahahaha)

Visualize her as capable of flying space ships, shooting down her enemies and getting the boys wanting more than the cargo.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Kalpana (Kali) was named after the goddess of destruction and if karma has its way she'll live up to her name, but at what price?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

I am represented by a wonderfully supportive and responsive agent. I have two books currently under publisher reviews, two more being written, first drafts of a serial (vol.1 under review) and ideas on the back-burners impatiently waiting their turn. Stay tuned for publishing news.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

How long for a first draft? I'd like to say 'Oh, I had it drafted in only a few weeks', but we all know that's not true. Since it started as a short story, then morphed into a full novel, that took time. My main character morphs too and needed to reflect her different personalities. I will tell you the 2nd and subsequent edits took longer than the writing, but were worth it.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Another tough question. My agent answered it best, saying Karma was something she'd never seen before, so she HAD to take it on. That was a WAY better response than I expected. Now I have to live up to that bar with subsequent novels.

I hope your visit to my blog helped you get to know me a bit better. Visit my website:

Check out my current Science Fiction/Horror, THE THING DOWN THE ROAD, released Feb 2012 by Musa Publishing.

Drop me an email to receive updates, announcements and future blog contests.

Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?

So glad you asked!

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releases!

Happy Writing and Reading!

Peter Lukes blog:

Karen Kennedy Samoranos blog:

Andrea Rittschof blog:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during the Spectrum of Speculative Fiction Blog Hop. It was great to read about the other participants and the comments of our hoppers.

Now, for the winner...ROSIE

Rosie wins a copy of The Thing Down the Road, as well as additional swag. Please PM me through my website and I'll get that to you. or

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spectrum Blog Hop

Welcome to the Spectrum of Speculative Fiction Blog Hop, where you’ll get to meet a spectrum of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction Authors.

Many of us are offering giveaways for visiting our blogs. I will be offering a free e-copy of my novelette, The Thing Down the Road, to one lucky winner (with the possibility of additional swag). To win, please leave a comment to my blog. At the end of the hop, a winner will be announced.

My novelette, The Thing Down the Road was published in February 2012 by Musa Publishing ( It is a mixed genre of science fiction/horror. Normally I don’t write in the horror genre, but writers go where the story takes us. In this case into the psychological darkness of a character driven too far.

People ask why I write science fiction. Well, when I started writing I experimented with different genres, but science fiction has been my passion since high school. I can still remember my first introduction. It was a typical Phoenix summer, too hot for even a trip to the pool. I’d never been much of a reader prior to that weekend, but I was so bored I asked my older brother for something to read. He handed me The Hobbit. Two days later I asked for more and he moved me into the Lord of the Rings. These were my gateway drug. His library was never safe again.

Tolkien and Heinlein have always held a special place in my heart. Kind of like sex, one author was my first, while the other taught me how it was really done. As a sophomore in high school I’d tried to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but couldn’t grasp the concepts. After a stint in the Air Force as a radar technician and several courses in computer programming, I gave it another try, the book that is. Suddenly the science was real. The concept of Artificial Intelligence wasn’t unfathomable. It was the moment I knew I’d come of age.

Science fiction is what I read, what I watch, so of course what I want to write. In this genre almost anything imaginable is possible, somewhere, some when. I can’t recall the author, but I remember his story that in history class he was caught reading a science fiction. When the teacher called him on it, his response was that he WAS reading history. It just hadn’t happened yet.

All we have to do is reach into our pockets or purses to find technology that at one point was only conceived of in the mind of a science fiction writer. Cell phones, tablets, biomedical devices… the list grows daily. Private companies are developing space tourism. Just in this last year FTL is no longer considered impossible.

I’m not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have an imagination. I see us out among the stars one day, traveling faster than light, and maybe finally meeting others with the same insatiable drive to reach further than ourselves. As I see it, if we are all made of stardust, then our attempts to reach the stars are not efforts to escape our home, but endeavors to return to it.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I pose this question to you and look forward to your responses:
What discovery in the last ten years impacts your life, or your imagination most.

You can visit my website at to see what I’m working on. I currently have two novels making their way around publishers in New York, so keep checking my blog, website or Facebook page for announcements.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I've Learned So Far...

Hard to believe it's been a year since my debut novelette,The Thing Down the Road, was released by Musa Publishing.

Like most writers, I spent years trying to figure out what I was doing, writing, editing, re-editing, throwing it out and starting over. Then there were the queries resulting in standard rejections letters that left me wondering if it would ever happen. But I didn't give up. Not even when it looked disasterous, and I do disaster.

I've attended local conferences, pitched to visiting agents, who unfortunately didn't cater to the Sci-Fi genre. I got to meet other writers, making new wonderful friends (you know who you are)and gained pitching experience for when it would count. Then two years ago I shelled out to attend an out-of-town conference, the DFWCon, packed with agents and publishers.

When I say I slid through TSA at the airport, I mean it literally. By the time I reached the hotel in Dallas, I knew that a) my leg might be fractured and b) I wasn't going to be walking anywhere that weekend. I ordered a scooter and spent part of my first night at the local VA hospital. (Special thanks to the DFWCon coordinator for getting me there.)

On a scooter, leg in a sling off the handlebar and aided by pain pills, I didn't give up. I'd come too far and suffered too much already to go home without trying!

Next day I utilized the 'how not to pitch and agent' techniques. Don't approach them in the restroom, while they're eating, or run them over. I twisted my accident into my approach... "Not wanting to be the subject of your next Pitching Does and Don'ts lecture, I promise not to run you down to give you my pitch." It was a great ice-breaker and I was able to get my pitches out, to everyone but one agent I really wanted to pitch.

But all was not lost. I had a few brief words with her at the conference, finding out she was the agent of a wonderful friend and mentor. After several emails, and her visit to Phoenix, I got a chance to meet her, pitch my novel and sign with her.

So, while I still have a long way to go, I've learned a lot.

Keep Writing
Don't Give Up
Network your local Groups
Don't Give Up
Utilize Conferences and Workshops
Don't Give Up
Don't Give Up
Don't Give Up
Need I go on?

Didn't think so, because I could have stayed at the hospital that weekend, but where would that have gotten me. Now, back to work. I have a lot of writing to do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Welcome to my Blog

Looking forward to adding interesting content, blog hops and publishing news.

Current news:  May is looking like a busy month for Conferences here in Arizona. 

May 9-12 is LepreCon 2013 in Mesa Az.
May 23-26 is Phoenix ComiCon. SO MUCH FUN FOR ALL!
May 31-Jun 2 is Arizona Dreamin

There's more info to come with San Diego ComicCon 2013.