Hanging with Rocket at SpoCon 2014

Upcoming Appearances

Just a quick update to announce that I launched a new section here on the blog. Behold! The new Appearances tab. This year I am really upping my sci-fi/fantasy convention attendance. I had a blast at SpoCon 2014 and I look forward to hanging out with readers at future conventions. I figured it’d be good to create a space where I list out where I am going and when. That way you can see if I’m coming to a con near you. Click here to check it out now or navigate to it from the main menu. I’ll see you at the cons!

Have a local sci-fi/fantasy convention near you that you think I should attend? Shoot me an email and let me know about it. I’d love to see if I can’t make it work.

Alexander Louis Leloir, Jacob Wrestling With the Angel, 1865

Friday Link Pack—End Of The Year Edition (2014)

This will be the last Link Pack for the year which means it’s time for the End of the Year Edition! I compile the best loved links I’ve shared over the year into one big post! As always, some of these I’ve mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s see what you liked:

My Most Popular Posts Of 2014:

Building A Better Book Cover
I wax poetic on cover design, what makes a well designed cover, and I offer tips on how to improve your own covers.

A SpoCon Debriefing
Pics and stories from my first convention. I had a blast at SpoCon and I am looking forward to the conventions in 2015.

Old Broken Road Cover Reveal
The post where I reveal the cover of my latest novel Old Broken Road. I love doing these. Expect a reveal for Red Litten World coming very soon!

Most Clicked Writing Links Of 2014:

The Two Most Powerful Behaviors Of Successful Writers
It’s no surprise that San Francisco writing coach Lauren Sapala shows up as a most-clicked. In this post Lauren discusses two behaviors—focus and boundaries—used by writers to get things done. Invaluable advice, both are tough to master but critical for personal success.

Designing A Book Cover Is No Laughing Matter, Okay It Is
In my post Building A Better Book Cover I reference this TED talk by acclaimed cover designer Chip Kidd. It gets a lot of love, and for good reason, Kidd isn’t only a great designer he’s a fantastic entertainer. Easily one of my favorite TED talks.

Do Not Despise These Small Beginnings
I loved this piece from composer Royal Teague on creation and the creative struggle and you did too! It’s very much worth a read.

5 Reasons I Switched to Scrivener For All My Writing
It’s no secret I love Scrivener. It’s my go-to software for all my writing. In this post, author and speak Michael Hyatt goes into details why he switched to Scrivener.

Most Clicked Art Links Of 2014:

The Art of Kuldar Leement
I’m a huge fan of Kuldar Leement’s concept artwork, so much so I featured him as a Visual Inspiration post. He has a great sense of composition and it really helps carry his vision.

Portraits by Dave Bastian
Design and illustrator Dave Bastian does portraits, but they aren’t your typical portraits. (If you’ve seen my twitter profile image then you’ve seen Dave’s work, but his Instagram account really shows off his incredible imagination and skill. Check out my portrait here.

Einstein’s Camera
Adam Magyar takes stunning motion photos using custom built cameras. The results are shockingly beautiful. If there’s one link you click today, make it this one. (Thanks to Erik Hedberg for the tip.)

Most Clicked Random Links of 2014:

Famous Paintings Of Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, Ranked By How Much Their Actions Resemble Slow-Dancing
I love the internet. (Thanks to Gus for sharing this way back when.)

David Foster Wallace Was Right: Irony Is Ruining Our Culture
My friend Ray Frenden shared this Salon article way back in April, I liked it then and so did you! It’s real good. An honest look at irony’s effect on our modern culture.

The Seattle Archipelago
Jeffrey Linn, a campus planner at the University of Washington, has created a fascinating map showing what my hometown would look like based on a 240′ rise in sea level should all of the world’s ice sheets melt. Someone should write a book about this… hummm…

One Of The Solar System’s Largest Volcanoes Is Right Here On Earth
Tamu Massif sits about a thousand miles off the coast of Japan and it rivals even the mighty Olympus Mons on Mars. Solid work Ring of Fire.

Lovecraft Story Of The Year:

At The Mountains Of Madness
It’s no surprise this was the most clicked Lovecraft story. Not only is it one of the most famous, it’s also one of the best. So settle in and follow the doomed Antarctic Expedition as they explore what lies in the mountain range beyond the ice. When you’re done I recommend checking out Thug Notes’ analysis, good stuff.

Animated GIF Of The Year:


Friday Link Pack 08/22/2014

The Art of Karla OrtizFriday time! It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard To Catch Your Own Typos
Self-editing can be tough, but why is it so tough? Wired explores this conundrum. (Regardless of your choice in publishing, traditional or indie, I recommend you work with an editor. It’s important.)

How To Promote Yourself And Your Books Without Feeling Like A Soul-Selling, Sleaze-Sucking, Slime-Glob
If you’re in the business of writing then you’re in the business of promotion. Chuck Wendig offers some advice for how to promote yourself without feeling gross.

How To Spend The First 10 Minutes Of Your Day
Mise-en-place, a simple approach to getting yourself focused and ready to produce.

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules For Writers
Great advice from one of the most prolific authors of the century. There’s so much good stuff here I have a hard time picking a favorite.

My SpoCon Debriefing
Last weekend I attended SpoCon in Spokane, WA. I had a great time. If you missed it check out this post to see photos and my highlights.

Free Shipping On The Stars Were Right through Sunday
To celebrate Lovecraft’s 124th birthday I’m offering free shipping anywhere in the US. I might not be able to beat Amazon on price, but I’ll throw in free swag!


Marilyn Myller
Incredible stop motion short featuring tiny carved foam dolls.

The Art Of Jeremy Chong
I stumbled across Jeremy Chong’s work this last week and a few pieces immediately evoked Lovat for me. Incredible concept work from fantasy to science fiction.

The Art Of Karla Ortiz
Another recent find. Karla Ortiz does great concept art as well, but what really stood out to me was her graphite pieces. (Pictured above.) Her work is stunning.

Clayton Kauzlaric’s Time-Warp Photos Of Seattle
Old lined up with the modern. Love these series. Apparently the old waterfront was significantly cooler than it is today.


Baltic Heraldry
Family crests from Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania in a 1902 calendar of colour woodblock prints. So much of our pop culture heraldic knowledge comes from countries like England, France, and Germany. It’s nice to see some other european countries highlighted.

Cultivating The Map
Danny Wills explored how survey instruments, cartographic tools, and architecture might work together at different scales to transform tracts of land in the geographic center of the United States. Very cool. Thanks to Todd for sharing this with me.

Humans Need Not Apply
An interesting video exploring the subject of the rise of robots in the labor force and how we’re moving towards a future built mainly by machines. It starts with the transportation and then slowly ripples through the rest of the world. Very much worth a watch.

The Evolution Of Mobile Gaming
A fun interactive article exploring of mobile gaming through the years.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Haunter Of The Dark
A young man investigates an ancient church on Federal Hill and finds more than he bargains for. This was a big influence on Old Broken Road, and one of my favorite Lovecraft stories. The H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast has a fantastic reading of The Haunter Of The Dark available for free, I’d recommend it.

Farewell Gif of the Week:

The coolest.You think this is cool? Check out the video.

A SpoCon Debriefing

K. M. Alexander at SpoConHere’s my first con report! This last weekend I spent my time slinging books at SpoCon 2014 in Spokane, Washington. And what a weekend it was! The con was great and full of friendly people, great guest speakers, and amazing costumes. I’ve been to a few conventions before but this was my first as a sponsor/vendor. I’m excited to see what comes of it.
SpoCon Cosplayers!

Before I delve into highlight, I want to thank everyone who came by the booth and picked up a copy of The Stars Were Right. I sold way more than I expected and I hope everyone who grabbed a copy enjoy’s Wal’s story! Extra thanks to those folks who came back before the con was even over to tell me they were already reading and really liking the book. You made this author’s day.
SpoCon Cosplayers!

Some highlights:

  • Discussing Lovecraft his writing, influences, and style with a number of attendees. I could do this forever.
  • Meeting new people, fellow authors, and the supportive SpoCon team.
  • Seeing all the cosplayers. As you can see from my pictures they were great. I’ll admit that I came into this with a bit of a bias towards bigger conventions. I didn’t expect the level of quality I saw. I was glad to be proven wrong. Incredible work by everyone.
  • Hanging out with my buddy Josh Montreuil. The guy is a talent. Expect some rad stuff from him in the future.
  • Talking with a veteran author about the publishing industry, writing, and all his experience over the years. As a guy just starting out it was great to talk with someone with so much experience. I found the whole conversation really encouraging.
  • Seeing my rad little sister experience her first sci-fi/fantasy convention. She came as Dave Strider from Homestuck on Friday and as Spine from Steam Powered Giraffe on Saturday—her costumes were incredible and she got tons of reactions as Spine. (You can see her below.)
  • Watching two guys try and figure out what they loved about the cover of The Stars Were Right and why they were so attracted to it. While I didn’t agree with their conclusion, I did appreciate their kind words. I’m pretty particular about cover design and my thoughts are pretty straightforward, I even wrote a whole post about it.
  • Casual Thorsday.
  • Of course, Josh Montreuil’s Silver Laced Polish Tyrannosaurus. (I look forward to more of these.)

SpoCon Cosplayers!I’m still coming down from the high of it all. It’s exhausting but really fun. Glad I went, as with everything I learned a lot. Now to decide which convention comes next…

A Memo Of Things

Did you get that memo?
I have a little list of things I have been wanting to post about. I figured a single post is easier than a bunch of little posts. So anyway, let’s get to it!

  • Bad news first: there will be no Friday Link Pack this week. Sorry about that! Since I am traveling to Spokane for SpoCon I won’t have time to assemble a weekly collection of linky goodness. If you’re jonesing for a fix feel free to scroll back through the Friday Link Pack archive. I’m sure you’ll find stuff you missed.
  • If you are a regular visitor I’m sure you’ve noticed there have been some changes to the Project Tracker on the right. A few new projects have cropped up, and another one has finished. What could they be! I’ll have a full announcement coming soon but for now enjoy this little teaser site (with headphones!) It is exceptionally teasery.
  • I am currently obsessed with Hell on Wheels, which is good, as I need something to occupy my downtime until football season officially starts. I put it off for a while, but now that I am watching it regularly I am really digging it. It’s a solid western with some great characters. It is worth a watch.
  • SpoCon attendees: I’ll see you soon! I’m excited to meet folks, sell some books, and visit the city of my birth. My booth is located right outside of the dealers room so stop by and say hello and grab some free swag. I got a ton of stickers, bookmarks, and buttons that are yours for the taking. If you can’t make it to SpoCon hit up my Free Stuff page and find out how you can get a swag pack. It’s easy, and free, well… it’ll cost you two stamp. So it’s easy, and like ninety-something cents.

That’s it! I’ll be back next week with news and most likely a bunch of pictures of snazzy cosplayers.