Sunday, March 29, 2015

"So, You're An Author... Now What!" - The Beginning of the UFG

This year so far has been one hill after another, and though I'm still climbing I can see the summit... and it's going to be spectacular!

Last year changed my life, serious. For a long time I did things on my own. With a small press publisher I really needed to get myself out there and learn the game. I dealt with both triumphs and failures. I could write a complete book on all the things I tried, "SO, YOU'RE AN AUTHOR... NOW WHAT!" I didn't know many others like me, struggling as I was, to get their book out and into readers' hands. I needed to find others who understood what it takes to be an author, the hellfire of editing, the late night revisions and the sleepless early mornings. I knew these people existed I just couldn't find them.

Then, in the randomness of Facebook, I stumbled on a group that was putting together a vendor booth for Salt Lake Comic Con. This was just what I needed. I had done the two previous cons by myself and it nearly killed me. It's so much work. But. I had the experience of doing this before, and thought I would be of value to these people. This would be a great opportunity to meet up with some other local authors, network a bit, and why not... make a friend or two. I had no idea what would come.

The experience was hard, but rewarding.We went to Mordor and back, and the experience bonded us closer than anything could. These authors were trying, as I was, to change the world. The idea of fostering a community of writers and authors resonated with me. I was the cheerleader from the start. And not only did I meet these terrific people, I discovered there were others, several others that had a more global perspective, something I never imagined.


These were the first threads of the Utah Fantasy Guild, a newly formed organization that just joined the United Authors Association (UAA). What we are trying to do is not only make others improve their writing, but succeed, build confidence in their craft, build relationships within the community, and survive as an author.

I'm more than excited, I'm elated to be voted in as President. And I'm glad to venture through with my comrades-in-arms.I wonder how I got here, but I'm honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with these great people.

Come join the Dark Side... We have Cookies!!!

UFG Join Us!  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Forth! Changing Lives One Book at a Time!

Last year I made one of the most profound and life-changing decisions    I decided to share my house with a stranger. 

Alyson Grauer, a fellow author through my publisher Xchyler Publishing posted in our Facebook wall that she had decided to come from Chicago to Salt City Steamfest at the end of July and asked if there was anyone she could stay with. I only knew Aly from her online presence and a story that she had penned in Mechanized Masterpiece's a Steampunk Anthology. She seemed lively and funny in all her comments. I liked her by all respects. But something screamed inside me, "She HAS to stay with me!"

At the UP house. The only thing Aly requested we see.
I messaged her that day and told her she could stay at my home in Salt Lake City. I don't have a huge house, but it happened that at this time my girls were sharing a room and there was a spare bed in the toy room. I did warn her she would be sharing a room with the Barbie Dream house. She seemed excited, even delighted that I would offer her such LUXURIOUS accommodations.

When Aly arrived my first response was, "She's wearing a bowler hat! I love it!" I IMMEDIATELY liked her. We hit it off instantly. Driving back to my house she kept saying "Whoa! Mountains!" I forget how amazing the mountains are here.

Over the course of just a few days we discovered we had a LOT in common, but beyond that it was more a paradoxical kindred connection that could not be rationally explained. The invisible forces that mystically guide our destiny intersected, creating an inexplicable cosmic event. By all accounts, we were meant to meet.
Aly is about to meet a fox

She is an actor - so am I.
She plays the Ukelele - So do I.
She grew up with shelties - Really? So did I!
She plays D&D? - I LOVE RPG!
She loves all things fantasy -Me too!!
. . .  and she writes?!?! I DO TOO!!!

We would talk and share and talk more and laugh and goof off like teenagers. We would stop and goo at the same things. We bought identical pens without knowing it. 

It was like a part of me, a part of who I used to be, the happy, joyous part of me . . . returned. The young, carefree spirit, nymph-like in origin, of who I always believed I was but lost between marriage, kids, job, life . . . came back in the form of a person I had never met.

Since then we have stayed in contact and grown as friends. Her novel ON THE ISLE OF SOUND AND WONDER was released in November 2014. Aly's family has hit some hard times as her father was diagnosed with cancer and she is forging forward with a fundraiser to help with the medical expenses. As a way to help support her family Aly has set up a GiveForward account and Xchyler Publishing is GENEROUSLY giving ALL proceeds from her book made on MARCH 4th to this cause. I've always loved the support my publisher has given to us authors. It's a unique and wonderful partnership. 

When I decided to be an author I always had the goal of changing lives for the better, I didn't expect mine to be changed as well. 

Thanks Aly! 

There is always a room ready for you when you need it!