Friday, February 10, 2012

Update: Hotel Discount Available Until Feb 17!

Good news! Dark Angel has worked his magic again!

This time to extend the date to reserve rooms at the conference hotel from Feb 9 to...

Friday February 17, 2012!

So if you haven't reserved your room yet... then head over to the hotel info page (here's the LINK).

Make sure you use the rate code we negotiated for the you--or else you'll see a room charge that just might render you speechless.

Until next time... take care and catch you in New Orleans!
Your humble FF&P Conference Imp o' Insanity

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Update: Scholarships

Dark Angel strikes again!
My wing man, Dark Angel, over there has been crackin' the whip during the final countdown to the Fantasy on the Bayou conference.

Today he's obsessed with motivating me to make it possible for EVERY writer who dreams of making it to New Orleans for the conference CAN make.

That means... scholarships. As many as I can dole out.

I know, that sounds crazy, right? Right.  But here's the thing... arguing with a six and a half foot winged critter in the middle of the Piggly Wiggly about how to make miracles happen for my fellow writers... THAT's freaking crazy. Especially when you consider the fact that I had to dress said winged critter up in a service animal vest before the manager of that fine grocery store chain would even allow us to enter its sacred premises for the meat sale of the week. (Meat sale jokes aside...yes, I admit that I may have poked at Dark Angel's ego a wee bit too much when I made the service animal vest with sparkly tassels on it. In pink. But that's a different argument for a different blog, lol.)

Now back to the scholarship spiel...

I've received several emails and questions about scholarships (when will info about them be posted, how will I know when I get one, how can I donate, etc.). Now I have to be honest, it's not that I've been ignoring folks--far from it. I just haven't responded with answers, because I was crazy busy working some magical deals with the conference gods.  Hence the me being very grateful that my wing man up there showed up for the negotiations with his "I've got your back" game face on.

In addition to that I'm excited to share with you that the conference has been exceedingly fortunate to receive donations from some wonderfully generous folks.  So before I go any further I must say...
Thank You! 
to EVERYONE who's donated, emailed, and generally been patient with me while I sharpen up my magic wand to make some conference miracles happen.

But now I've appeased the bean counting Lords of Calculator-Ville and I finally, finally, FINALLY get to announce...


(I love my job. Can ya tell? lol.)

So how many scholarships are available?  

Answer: Depends on how many writers contact me with hardship requests.  Depends on what their needs are.  Depends on the flow of donations to the group. Depends on Dark Angel's continued negotiation powers.

So we're clear, I've made it my goal to give out as many economic hardship scholarships as possible.  

Look, I'm no stranger to economic hardship--single mom, laid off, mortgage, writing dreams, the hair needs a root job, and the pantry is stocked with ramen noodles and more boxes of mac n' cheese than I can count.  It happens, but it doesn't get us down. That's right, because we're writers with a dream, a passion, and a goal: Publication of our stories.

So if you're like me, suffering some economic hardship and hungry to learn as much as you can about the writing craft, business, and life... then make my day and apply for a scholarship.  (And if you're worried it's painful, like other scholarship applications, don't fret, it's not.  I made it as easy as I possibly could because... well, I'm me and that's what I do *grin and wink*)

Steps to Apply for a Scholarship 

1. Register for the conference, choosing the normal conference rate you qualify for (this is a bookkeeping thing that'll help me keep track of scholarship funds and appease the OCD Lords of Calculator-Ville)

2.Click the box marked YES for applying for a scholarship.

3. Send me an email at that includes:

     A. why you want/need a hardship scholarship (a few words is fine like, "I can afford the hotel but not registration and I so want to go because Maggie Shayne is my all time favorite author and if I don't make it my life will no longer have meaning--Please, please Conference Miracle Worker, please make my conference dreams come true!" Okay so maybe not that melodramatic, but you get the idea ;-)
     B. convince me that you can handle transporting yourself to the conference (aka, have car will drive, etc.)
     C. what inspired you to become an author (this doesn't have to an essay, just a line or two that conveys your passion for the pursuit of your writing dream is what I'm looking for)

It's as simple as that.

This is a first come-first serve sort of deal... so register early to take advantage of my miracle making magic wand.

For those folks who have applied for a scholarship already, you're first in line and I'll be sending out emails to you over the next few days.

And as always... if you have any questions, comments, or concerns... I'm just a comment box or email away!

Until next time... take care and happy writing!
FF&P 2012 Conference Miracle Worker

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Update: Pitches!!!

See Dark Angel nudging me to post...
if he weren't so cute, I'd probably
grumble right back at him... in a snarky,
whiny tone that is. You know the tone I'm
 talking about... it's the one that decimates
 any man's concentration--especially when
 football is on. Mooohahahahaha.
And yes, I agree. I am evil.
But in a good way! LOL.
Here's the update that all my FFnP Pitching Peeps have been waiting for!  Info on pitch setups.  This one is easy, so take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

The awesome Qwillia Rain (who is a crucial conference committee volunteer--you try and say that 3 times fast, lol) has stepped up to coordinate pitches!

I have delivered the names of each person--who requested pitching time with our fantabulous editors and agents when they registered--to Qwillia and she will be sending out emails over the next couple of days to find out who you'd like to sign up for.

You'll work with Qwillia to get the slot you've been waiting for and then we'll send out confirmation emails to let you know the details on it.

And that's it. Easy, right? Right.

Okay, well it is easy for those who remembered to click yes to pitching when they registered.

But what about those folks who may have missed checking the box yes?
Or who might have changed their mind and now be in the mood (or ready) to pitch at conference?

No problem! If you've registered for the conference and want a pitch session, just email your friendly neighborhood FF&P Conference Coordinators at and request a session! It's as easy as that. Because after we receive your email, we'll add you to our database and forward your info to Qwillia to be included in on the fun.

And as always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns about this year's conference... we're just an email--or comment box, lol--away!

Take care and catch ya in New Orleans!
FF&P Conference Minion

Update: Vampire AND Ghost Tour

Awesome Dark Angel art I found
while surfing some deviant art--I
 don't know about you, but Lord
Hannu's Dark Angel here is
chatting my muse up in the green
 room in my demented mind...
Okay, I'm back and I have the info on the vampire tour, but before I get to that... see the Dark Angel over on the left?  Well, I hired him to help keep me on track these days.  I mean, I don't know about you, but nothing gets me motivated more than facing down a tall dark stranger who has wings and a sword as tall as I am--but I kind of wonder if he's hypoallergenic--I mean does he shed feathers? Which is kind of cool in a way, I mean, he could make his own pillows.  As house warming presents.

Okay, enough of me and my million random thoughts.

It's time for the important stuff (because bossman over there is pointing the sword at me and growling--which is kind of cute in a disturbing way)... here's the information you've been waiting for!

Vampire and Ghost Tour

Friday, March 2, 2012 at 8PM CST 
(arrive 15 minutes early)

St Louis Cathedral
(under the clock facing Jackson Square)

(cash preferred, but credit card welcome as well)

By Sunday February 26, 2012 

For those who enjoy more detail, you're in luck, because I have some.

The Vampire and Ghost Tour, presented by Haunted History Tours, is a lovely blend of two of their most popular tours. We've arranged it so that tour guides will be waiting for our group at the St. Louis Cathedral at 8PM CST and ready to lead us on our merry way.

The tour has been reserved, but you can pay for your ticket when you arrive at the meeting spot.  If you bring cash, that's always easier. But if you're a credit card kind of person, they will be able to accept that as well. Just be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early to give the tour guide ample time to collect the funds and issue tickets, etc.

Right now we have ONE tour group reserved (each tour group can accommodate 35-40 people), BUT if more folks than that want to attend... that's no problem--we can arrange for a second tour group to be put together. As long as I have a good headcount of folks who wish to attend... which means that to make sure you get a spot, I need you to RSVP to the conference coordinators at the above email by Sunday 2/26/2012.

And there you have it. The low down on the Vampire and Ghost Tour.
If you have any questions, fill up the comment box below.

Thanks and catch you in New Orleans!
FF&P Conference Stooge

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Update: Keynote Speaker Change

It is with a sad heart I must report that due to unforeseen circumstances, Karen Marie Moning is unable to attend this year's Fantasy on the Bayou Conference as keynote speaker.

In another industry, in a different time and place, and under similar circumstances, you might imagine that this sad news would have derailed the FF&P volunteers' commitment to putting on a kick ass conference that showcases the best of what the romance writing industry and the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal (FF&P) genre has to offer.

But it didn't.

We stayed strong and (after having a good cry) thought of you, then we buckled down and got to work.  We tapped into FF&P's incredible resources and before the tears on our cheeks had dried... we found ourselves humbled and awed by the warmth, generosity, and support offered in our time of need.

(I swear thinking about this makes me smile and tear up again. In a good way. lol)

So while I must announce that KMM cannot attend this year's conference (and yes we're sending KMM lots of hugs, love, and good thoughts during this time), I can tell you that:

FF&P's 2012 Fantasy on the Bayou conference WILL have a keynote speaker.

And not just any keynote speaker.

(Moooohahahahaha, this is the moment I've been itchin' to get to all day long...)

On Saturday March 3, 2012 at the New Orleans Marriott, Fantasy on the Bayou 2012 attendees will be invited to sit down to a mouth watering meal and listen to the wisdom of a 15 time RITA Award Nominee, who (finally--her words, not mine, lol) took home the coveted RITA in 2005 for her book, HER BEST ENEMY.  By the end of 2012, she will have published 54 novels and 30 novellas with nearly every major publisher in the industry.  She's written for CBS Daytime Dramas, As the World Turns and The Guiding Light.  That's right, you know it... I'm talking about the one, the only...

Maggie is the savior of my sanity--for more reasons that I can name, but #1 on that list has everything to do with her being... the author of twilight vampires (since 1993!) made for grow up girls.  (Thank you, Maggie!!!!)

In 1993, she began her 20 volume (Twilight) vampire series, WINGS IN THE NIGHT, and completed the series in 2011 with the release of TWILIGHT PROPHECY and TWILIGHT FULFILLED (published by MIRA).

This year, Maggie is launching a new series called THE PORTAL that begins September 2012 with the release of LEGACY OF THE WITCH.

I hope you'll join me in welcoming Maggie Shayne to the 2012 Fantasy on the Bayou VIP Speaker lineup and hope to see you at the conference!

Remember, the clock's ticking for registration and hotel reservations (Feb 9 is the last day to reserve the hotel room for the group rate).

Until next time... take care and catch you in New Orleans!
FF&P 2012 Conference Co-Chair

PS--Later today, I'll have a page posted with a FAQ (of sorts) that discusses the changes a little more and what it means for the KMM fans.  Until then, feel free to post any comments, concerns, or question you have to this post. Thanks for your patience and support and have a great day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vamp Tour Update

The excitement and feedback we've received about doing a group Vampire Tour in new Orleans has been phenomenal!  We are actively working on getting this lined up and I'll be back to post information on how to reserve tickets, times, and information about the tour as I get it. Thanks for being patient with me!

So stay tuned and be sure to check back!

Until next time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Avoid Taxes, Attend a Conference

Like many writers I know, I'm a member of several email loops and get hundreds of emails on any given day. If you were to look at my inbox and the (at current count) 7,513 emails in there, you'd think that I'm just wasting precious server space at Gmail headquarters.  But I'm not and I'll tell you why.

Every day, usually in my morning hours (aka, the first hour or so after I drag my carcass from bed for the first steaming cup of my, sweetened with sugar and milk, English Breakfast tea), I plop myself down in front of the laptop or fire up the iPhone to scan the emails that came into all my Gmail accounts (last count—I have 4 of them) since last check.  Notice that I said scan.  That's right, I scan the subject of every email—which means that during the morning scan, if a subject catches my attention, then I open the email as soon as I see it. 

Two days ago, during my morning ritual, I came across an interesting topic posed in an indie writers' (my definition of indie authors: writers who have stamina and a healthy, hungry dose of entrepreneurship blasting through their veins) loop. The question revolved around filing taxes for 2011—more specifically, how the indie authors on the loop were planning to file their 2011 taxes: Self Employed or Sole Proprietor?

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am NOT a certified public accountant (CPA) in any way, shape, or incarnation. Heck, I can't even master balancing a checkbook that is linked to an account that has an ATM card—something that my MBA accountant mother thinks is hysterical and slightly disturbing… especially given that I can do calculus all day long, but the moment you stick a dollar sign to the front of the numbers… it becomes ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to me—pretty ones at that. But anyway, back to my point…

From that series of emails, I learned three interesting things:

#1 Sole proprietor and Self-employed can mean the same thing from a tax perspective.
#2 Turbo Tax will offer TurboTax users free live tax advice this year (Don't believe me? Click the link).
#3 There's a difference between Tax Evasion (illegal) and Tax Avoidance (legal). (This point was mentioned to me by former CFO, Louisiana native, and (Southern style) romantic intrigue author, Jana De Leon.)

It was point #3 that really made me think: "Hmmm, what can I do to cultivate my business acumen, obtain some tax deductions, and indulge in some legal tax avoidance fun in the sun?" (Because, truthfully (and in the game of death and taxes), it's never too early to start planning your tax avoidance strategies and deductions for the year.)

Answer: Attend a writers' conference in a cool location that I've always wanted to visit, but never had a reason to—like Fantasy on the Bayou in New Orleans, March 2-4, 2012…