The past couple of weeks have been crazy-busy, so y’all can be grateful for the respite from my weekly musings. The respite’s over, folks.

With a schedule already packed with books to produce, I have begun on a story absolutely not intended. It happened as these things often do: I saw something that sparked an idea which lodged in my mind and simply wouldn’t leave. So, I began writing. Here’s the opening content:

From two steps behind and slightly off to the right, he watched his lady walk with stately grace and ignore the thinly veiled sneers of contempt, jealousy, avarice, and resentment from the provincial kings who sat in their imposing thrones that lined the great hall. Edan himself regarded his lady only with pride and loyalty. She’d done much good for the province, leading it back to productivity and prosperity after a generation of greedy, shortsighted, and careless rulers.
It mattered not to him that a woman ruled. She’d proven herself more than capable.
She stopped a respectful distance from the gilded throne and bowed deeply, again showing the proper respect, and murmured, “Your Majesty. I have come as you bade me.”

This particular story has a fantasy base and the romance will center on the two protagonists. Hey, it’s my story and my stories have romance.

Last weekend I attended ConGlomeration 2017 as an exhibitor. The younger son accompanied me. He proved to be helpful and excellent company. I met several authors, including science fiction author and NASA rocket scientist Les Johnson, urban fantasy writers Lydia Sherrer and Ronald Van Stockum, Jr., and illustrator and author Bill Levy. Ronald and Lydia offered good advice with regard to marketing, which essentially boiled down to “build a mailing list and keep in touch with newsletters” and “build rapport with people at conventions.”

Since that was my first “con,” I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I did triple duty during the event, promoting Red Sun Magazine to build interest, promoting myself as a freelance ghostwriter and editor, and promoting my books. I managed to sell a handful of books and gave three away in prize drawings. Winners were Annett Rose, Mike Thompson, and Lydia Sherrer. I hope they enjoy the books.

The upshot is that I took a first stab at a personal newsletter to my short list of contacts and have promised myself that I’ll make the effort to participate in three or four cons per year. Newsletter subscribers don’t have to worry about being inundated. Other than this blog, I have no intention of sending out weekly or even monthly promotions. I dislike receiving constant promotions from anyone and won’t commit the same sin. As for attending more conventions, there’s a cost beyond hard dollars that takes its toll on me. Simply put, I’m a diehard introvert and forcing myself to interact at the level required for promotion just takes too much out of me.

By the way, if you want to subscribe to my mailing list, send me a message through the contact page. Otherwise, check in every so often to the Hen House Publishing page on Facebook or Google+. Don’t look for me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or other social media. I don’t text either.

As a final word, this week, I bid good-bye to our dog. We adopted Buffy from a pet rescue 10 years ago. We were told she was four years old. Fast forward a decade, actually two years longer than expected since Great Pyrenees dogs don’t usually live past the age of 12. Buffy had declined to the point where she could barely walk, had difficulty keeping food down, and had lost bowel and bladder control. That decision I made is never easy. So we mourn the passing of a big, gentle dog.

No more dogs, I tell myself. It hurts too much when they die. It will be awhile before we can fill the big, Buffy-sized hole in our family.