Phew! This has been a LONG month, but not in a bad way. Busy is good when you do what I do, so, you’ll hear no complaints from this camp! Aside from the Virtual Tour of Speak of the Devil and the Batman v. Superman trailer, I have yet to do a real blog post update since before the month of April kicked off. I have a lot to bring you all up to speed on.
This is a LONG one. No, like, REALLY LONG.
Have I mentioned how much I missed you guys???? For realsies.
This is way too many post-script inscriptions. This has officially gotten out of hand. Okay, I stopping now.
In this post:
- My trip to Las Vegas and how things *really* went down at The Novel Experience Event…
- WIP Update – Dance With the Devil, Bad Wolf, and my filthy little romance…
- Authors After Dark Spring Registration Drive (and GIVEAWAY!!!!)…
- DVD Boxed Set GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!…
- Goon Squad Street Team applications are now open!
- Plus some other stuff I can’t think of right now!…
THE NOVEL EXPERIENCE EVENT, LAS VEGAS
I kicked off my April by flying clear across the country to attend The Novel Experience Event in Las Vegas. This was my first event of its size and I was sooooo unbelievably nervous. I had my mom, aka my most common partner in crime when it comes to traveling, there acting as my assistant for the event. I have to take a moment to give her a big shout out because she was a HUGE help during this whole thing and you all probably would have found me hiding under the desk in my hotel room rocking back and forth like a trauma victim. I love you, mom, and thank you so much for coming along!
We arrived in Vegas the afternoon of the 1st and got settled in our room at the Planet Hollywood Casino, right at the southern end of the strip where all the really good casinos are. We had a room on the very top penthouse floor with an unbelievable view of the strip. I even took advantage of the giant window seat a few times and parked my ass right at the glass to write and take in the gorgeous lights after sun down.
Day 1 of the convention was on Thursday the 2nd. I kicked my day off by going down to The Mezz (the mezzanine area of the casino and also home to the theater which is currently hosting Jeff Dunham live shows) for registration. Being the big ball of social anxiety I am, I was nervous beyond reason walking down to registration. Long story much shorter, I have these totally unnecessary and pointless anxiety attacks when meeting new people or being put in front of people to speak. But alas, Batman saved the day…
When riding the escalator up to The Mezz, I was greeted by a something I never thought I would get to see in person: Jeff Dunham’s 1966 Batmobile Replica. I hurried to registration, got checked in, then immediately went back to the hotel room to get my mom so I could make her snap a picture.
To top things off, the Achmedmobile was there, too!
Unfortunately, we were unable to get tickets to the Dunham show while we were there because the only ones left were nosebleed seats, and who wants to go watch Jeff Dunham while squinting from three football fields away???
That afternoon, I had my first panel. Ever. Before I get into this little story, you need to understand that I was scheduled for a total of three panels – SciFi & Fantasy, Book Boyfriends, and Cross-Genre. Of these three panels, I was SUPER-PSYCHED because Amber Benson was scheduled on Cross-Genre with me, so, although I was nervous, I was really looking forward to that one. Okay, back to the story!
And now we’re backtracking for a mo’….
+ speaking in front of people
= big with the making of the barfy feelings.
Yeah, when I sat down for that first panel, I was on the verge of legitimately passing out. Like, out. Out cold. Jena-has-left-the-building kind of pass out. I was shaking so bad I was sure everyone in the whole room was going to think I was a junkie tweakin’ out. When I had first walked in. I saw that the SciFi & Fantasy panel was chock full of authors I didn’t know from a hole in the wall. I took my seat and nervously sipped my bottle of water.
The moderator, an awesome author by the name of A.L. Davroe, had us go down the line and introduce ourselves and I about choked when they started with the name……..Amber Benson.
Yeah, Amber Benson was there, and I was a hot mess of nerves.
I took a deep breath and got my mental shit together. When Amber introduced herself, I leaned forward to listen to what she had to say, and she turned to me and waved. “Hey! How have you been?”
Like, she remembered me. Someone I have admired on several different artistic levels FOR YEARS actually knew who the hell I was. Specifically, one of my favorite writers. Absolutely insane, I swear.
From that moment on, the panel went swimmingly. I had such a great time, and just as I started to get super-comfy and really started to contribute to the conversation without worrying that I sounded like a babbling lunatic, the panel came to an end. It went great and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. For my first panel, it was an excellent experience.
The only thing that sucked was the panel ran over by a few minutes and I missed a group I was supposed to go have lunch with. That was disappointing, but I’m sure they had a great time. AND my mom and I ended up going to a fantastic Mexican restaurant inside Planet Hollywood called Yolo’s. The most mouth-watering steak fajitas on the face of the damn planet. I swear. If you go to Vegas, you NEED to make sure you eat at this place. Everything we got was just incredible.
The next panel started out much easier. The panel was Book Boyfriends and I was surrounded by women who write erotic romance of some sub-genre or another. All of them had been published much longer than me with many more titles out than me, but they never once made me feel like an outsider. This time around, the panel was moderated by NYT bestseller and USA Today bestseller T.J. Michaels. She was hilarious and quickly made everyone on the panel relax. She was warm and very interactive with both the panel and the audience. As you can imagine, with a subject like Book Boyfriends and a table full of almost all erotic romance authors, we all spent a large portion of that panel laughing or giggling on some level. It was such a blast.
Day 2 of the convention was Friday the 3rd. That afternoon, I had another panel, the Cross Genre panel, which I already knew Amber Benson was scheduled to appear on. This panel was moderated again by A.L Davroe, and this time I got to sit next to Amber (…which was awesome…) and the whole thing was completely relaxed. We had a blast, yet again, and as soon as it was over, I had to run off for my next engagement.
Next up on the docket was the VIP Preview. This was a two hour book signing for VIP ticket holders only, and the first opportunity for me to set up my new table. I got all set up and ready to go by the required time. I ended up sitting right across the aisle from author Alisa Mullen and we ended up chatting quite a bit. By the time the readers started circulating, I was already in the chatty groove and that was all she wrote. I talked to every person who walked by my table, whether they wanted to or not. Lol The whole thing went well. I met some cool people and got a good prep session of sorts for what the next day would be like.
Friday night was Dirty Birds Night Out – me and 29 other women (both authors and readers) all going to see the Thunder From Down Under 11pm showing. I got to meet a whole bunch of cool ladies and we all had a blast. It was a late night out, and I am not giving up any details. I will just let you use your imagination. Let’s just say it was an interesting evening. *insert evil grin here*
Day 3. The grand finale was the all-day book signing on Saturday. As I mentioned above, the signing was held in The Mezz. Being a mezzanine level, it’s all open-air, looking out over the casino floor. I personally thought this was fantastic simply because of the heat factor. Have you ever attended a really big book signing??? Do you know what happens when you cram 120 authors into a room with another 300-400 attendees???
It. Gets. HOT.
No, really. You can see little green swirlies of stink just like Pepe Le Pew used to have. Gross.
Being in The Mezz meant open-air so we didn’t have the heat problem at all, and we have PLENTY of space.
Now, before I go any further, you may have heard the mud-slinging which took place regarding TNEE, and that’s why I am writing this part of my blog post. To set the record straight. More importantly, to set the record straight from the point-of-view of a first time author at a Romance Ink, Inc. event. For the purposes of full disclosure, this was also my first year promoting the event for PTPR, but this is the year that would have decided if I was going to continue doing so for future years. My assessment of the event and how it ran was going to decide whether or not I would continue tying my company’s name to the event instead of just me as an author. If I agreed with everything I am about to relay, then there is no way I would have continued with the marketing and PR of the event. And I am.
I won’t go into details about the who’s, and I don’t even understand the logic behind it so I couldn’t even begin to address the why’s, but this is what happened.
A few hours into the signing, there was a small lull in the crowd. It only lasted a short time, but in that time, I set up my Amazon MP3 app on my phone, put on some music, and started boogying at my table, letting my funky white girl flag fly proud while I busted out my notebook and did a little writing (…dont judge me…).
While I was sitting there, I took a second to scroll through my Facebook timeline and came across something I never expected. The director of a very large, very well-known convention had sent someone to take pictures of the TNEE for the purposes of a smear campaign. The pictures were strategically taken in blank spots between the migrating crowds of readers. The caption said something about the event being dead as a doornail and that it was such a shame to see another poorly planned out event. Very misleading. There was even a picture that had been taken of one author’s table showing him “packing up to leave”. In reality, said author was just moving to a different table due to the behavior of a few others surrounding him. He didn’t pack up and leave. Welcome back to the seventh grade!!! *rolls eyes at the absurdity of the whole thing*
Anyway, after all that happened, I went back about my business, talking to readers, talking to authors, doing the funky white girl dance in my chair. Overall, my day went really well. I didn’t sell out of all my paperbacks (good news for you guys because GIVEAWAYS!!!), but I met and talked to a LOT of new people, and my ebook sales increased exponentially. For two days, both Burning and Suffering were back on the genre bestseller list. That made me smile like a great, big moron! I met some awesome readers, some awesome fellow authors, and a ton of book bloggers I have been talking to online for years for Pure Textuality PR. That was a really cool part of the con!
Right at the end of the day, when everything was winding down and the crowds had stopped coming, I sent my mom around to get the books that I really badly wanted. There were a few I missed, but I got my big list. Among that list was The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson. When my mom returned with my copy of Witches, the inscription inside absolutely floored me:
Yep. That made my whole year.
Following the con, there was some bad buzz from a handful of authors, some of whom I mentioned indirectly up above. They were the ones behaving in a way that is less than professional (this resulted in the “packing up and leaving” author packing up and moving tables). One of said authors actually wrote a big long blog post outlining everything she felt was a complete failure regarding TNEE. Rather than bring any names into it, I will just give you this handy dandy bullet list:
- TNEE was NOT dead. Far from it, in fact. However, due to some authors being loud and obnoxious, spouting profanity you could hear from across The Mezz, readers were avoiding one section of a particular aisle. So, yeah, that author’s row probably did look pretty dead. In fact, when I polled the participating authors the week after the event to get feedback on their experience, two of them even mentioned that readers were avoiding that aisle all together because of everything going on at the tables around them.
- TNEE did not cancel anything. Said author claimed that all of Sunday was cancelled. Well, I signed onto this event as an author over a year ago, and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that there never was anything scheduled on Sunday the 5th. It was always Thursday 4/2, Friday 4/3, and Saturday 4/4. There were some promo graphics that had the day prior and the day after listed, but there was never anything posted anywhere stating that there were events scheduled for Sunday. There were some scheduling changes in the few months leading up to TNEE, but they were minor and could easily be rectified by asking someone, or reading the emails that went out to all participating authors for the last year, or reading the posts in the private Facebook group for participating authors, or reading the HUB website that contains ALL THE IMPORTANT INFO FOR PARTICIPATING AUTHORS. You get the picture. The info was readily available through numerous avenues. Some bitches just don’t read….
- I am a busy chick. I work full time thirty miles away from my house. I’m a mom of two (adorable) kids. I am a relatively successful indie author who does all of my own marketing. I run a public relations company for authors and publishers. I am the personal assistant to an author who is both traditionally and independently published. I am a convention director. I run an ARC website. I own/operate two book blogs. I do all of those things and still somehow managed to NOT miss the 8,519,427,608,992 different ways we were all informed of the minor changes to the schedule and set up times. This was my first HUGE con. This was my first Romance Ink, Inc. event. Yet, I still managed to register on time and I still managed to have my ass in my seat at the required time, ready to go 15 minutes before the signing, AS WAS CLEARLY STATED AS BEING REQUIRED IN THE TERMS OF MY CON REGISTRATION. So, when one author showed up the day of the big book signing to check in and was turned away, she was the only one shocked and appalled that she wasn’t allowed to sign. Bottom line, the rules were clear. To participate in the book signing on Saturday, you must be checked-in at registration the DAY BEFORE, prior to the VIP Preview. Not at the start time of the Saturday signing. Readers pay an ass load of money to come see us authors. It’s only common courtesy and RESPECT to be there when we’re supposed to be and ready to go when the flood gates open. The blog-happy author ragged about this situation in her post as well.
- The last thing is the VIP Preview night. The VIP Preview was a 2-hour book signing Friday evening in which VIP ticket holding attendees got the whole floor of authors to themselves to browse/purchase books. As authors, anyone was allowed to participate. The deal was you had to be set up and in your seat, ready to go 15 minutes before the VIP’s were allowed in. A reader, who had not purchased a VIP pass was turned away at the door. As a result, the convention director was set up for a full-on ambush on the con floor on Saturday. Buddy to the blog-happy author, a PA decided it would be all good to call the convention director out on the carpet about “how the reader was treated at the VIP Preview”, all while blog-happy author recorded the confrontation on her cell phone to include as part of her blog rant. Ummmm, okay. Can I take a quick poll here??? Tell me, how many of you have gone to a concert without purchasing a ticket and expected to get in the door????? That’s right. No hands in the air. That’s because in order to attend a ticketed event, ONE MUST PURCHASE A TICKET! This is pretty much just the way it goes. No surprises there and I don’t understand why it was even an issue. No ticket, no entry.
To the staff of TNEE, to the convention director, to the amazingly sweet yet foul-mouthed authors I met and now call my friends, you’re all a bunch of bad bitches and THANK YOU FOR AN AMAZING EVENT. We may have had a few bad apples try to spoil the whole thing, but we all know the truth and I think I can speak for most of you when I say we had a great time!! I can’t wait to see all of you at Authors After Dark!!!!!
Dance With the Devil (Demon Legacy #3)
Dance is coming along quite nicely! I have been putting most of my focus into working on this one as it has to come out BEFORE Bad Wolf or the story in Bad Wolf wont make much sense. While I was in Las Vegas, I actually pulled a late night writing session, too, and when the trip was over, I had banked over 5,000 words. Not too shabby when I didn’t expect to have the time (or energy) to do any writing at all. Since Vegas, I have banked another 3,000 words in the actual word document and I have about 30 pages hand-written in my notebook. If I am guessing right, that should equal out to about 20,000 more words when I flush it out.
Bad Wolf (Executioner #1)
Bad Wolf is in a holding pattern until I tip over the halfway point with Dance. I started out writing them in tandem, but I found that a lot more of my focus was going to Bad Wolf. This book has to come out after Dance or the story wont line up right. That being said, I am LOVING what I have done so far. The new main character is sooooooo much fun to write. I cant wait for you guys to meet her!
Also, I have my wish list model for the cover of Bad Wolf all picked out. I just need to figure out whether or not it will be within my budget. If not, I will be disappointed, to say the least, but we shall see…
COME PLAY WITH ME ON PINTEREST!
I have been on Pinterest for a good long while now, but it has been as Pure Textuality. A short while ago, I decided to start an account on there just for me as an author. I am still working on building my boards, but I have a bunch of them out there now, all full of Pinny goodness! The boards I have right now are:
- Review by JMG
These are reviews of mine from Pure Textuality
- Interview by JMG
These are interviews I have conducted for Pure Textuality
- Interviews with JMG
This board is going to be pins for all the interview with me across the web. I haven’t added any to this board yet, but they’re coming soon!
- Demon Legacy Reviews
Here, I am going to post all the reviews I can find for any of the books in the Demon Legacy series. If you have posted a review of any of the DL books, email me the link!!!
- Executioner Reviews
Here, I am going to post all the reviews I can find for any of the books in the Executioner series. It’s empty right now, but it should be since none of my Executioner books have been published yet. lol
- Character Inspiration Boards
I have character inspiration boards for Dez, Vegas, Lucas, Natalia, Charlie, Harley, Kade, Jimi, and the Daughters of Eris. At this time, Charlie and Harley are the only ones with no pins yet. 🙂
- Urban Fantasy Art and Hawt UF Covers
Pretty self-explanatory. Again, already started filling them up with Pinny goodness.
- The Write Way
This is just a fun board for all my fellow writers out there. Some of it is inspirational, some is just flat out funny.
Many more boards will come with time, I am sure.
So, come find me!!!
AUTHORS AFTER DARK SPRING REGISTRATION DRIVE
One week from today, Romance Ink, Inc. is holding the last registration drive for attendees before the big event in August. Any attendee who buys their ticket on April 29th will receive a $25 off discount on their ticket. Not to mention, I know a LOT of the authors involved will be doing incentive giveaways, so you guys should totally get in on this! I am doing a BIG giveaway as well, which I will announce the morning of April 29th. The drive is being held right on a Facebook event so it’s easy for everyone to access.
X-MEN BOXED SET GIVEAWAY!
You’re all probably well aware of my addiction. I have struggled with it for years, and it’s officially hit the point where it’s taking over my living space. Of course, I am talking about DVD’s.
When I went out Christmas shopping this year, I picked up a boxed set of X-Men, X-2: X-Men United, and X-3: The Last Stand. I purchased the boxed set because it was a really, really, really good deal and I thought I was missing the second movie in the series (the price of the boxed set was cheaper than buying the one DVD by itself).
When I got home and started unpacking my haul from the shopping trip, I realized that I actually did have all the movies in the series and didn’t need the boxed set. So, it’s been sitting on my shelf since Christmas, still in the plastic wrap from the factory. This past weekend, I got a new book case for my room from a friend of mine. When I was cleaning up, I saw the boxed set sitting there and thought to myself “self, you know who would love this X-Men boxed set??? My readers, that’s who!!!!”
To enter the giveaway, you just have to be signed up for my newsletter, and you can do so by filling out this short form. Good luck!!!!
THE GOON SQUAD STREET TEAM APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!!!
I decided to start a street team and applications are now open. The Goon Squad will consist of fifteen spots only and each street team members will be given this little list of perks:
- Access to a private Facebook group.
- A badge for your website, blog, or anywhere else you have to post it online.
- A monthly surprise package from me, J.M. Gregoire with everything from free books to little holiday gifties to swag to giveaway to those around you, all as a thank you for your unending support.
- ARC’s of any of my titles, published or upcoming.
- Access to a private points contest where you can earn points simply by helping promote, which is what a street team is for anyway.
- Lots of Goon Squad Only giveaways!
- Plus MUCH MORE!!!
Should you be accepted onto the Goon Squad Street Team, you would have to agree to receive regular emails from me regarding promotions, book sales, giveaways, contest, etc., and you would be expected to repost such information all over your social media.
Interested??????? APPLY HERE!
I am going to start posting daily updates on my blog here at jmgregoirebooks.net. I have another blog called Roulette Wheel Confessions and I am thinking about consolidating that into this one as well, but I am not sure quite yet as some of the content over there gets a teeny tiny bit crude. RWC is my no-filter zone. The problem is I haven’t posted to it in MONTHS. It’s time to either get serious about it or shut that shit down. I just wanted to give you all the heads up that you’re going to start seeing a lot more activity on here, and some of it might not seem to make sense (if I choose to consolidate) because that content is so different from what I post here.
I think that’s it for today. This blog ended up being 4300+ words that I really should have poured into my WIP’s BUT I MISSED YOU!!!! lol Thank you all for reading and I cant wait to see who applies for the Goon Squad!