Year in Review: 2016

The year 2016 has been a roller-coaster-ride of a year. Between wars, crazy politics, and the huge number of celebrity deaths (on that note, I’m not a religious person, but isn’t there something in the bible about good people being sent to heaven right before the apocalypse, leaving only the sinners left on earth to suffer? Anyway…) a lot of us are ready to kiss 2016 goodbye.

But it wasn’t all bad! This year, I’m proud to say I became a published author, one of my life-long dreams. So below is my Year in Review for 2016, highlighting the milestones (some writing-related, some not) that have defined my personal journey this year.

I really encourage you all to sit down and make a similar list. What were the moments in 2016 you were proud of? No matter how big or small, try to remember every moment that made you happy. Did you reconnect with an old friend? Get acknowledged for your hard work? Meet a fitness goal? Find a new favorite movie?

Make the list, and if you still feel rotten about 2016, do what my friends and I are doing on New Year’s Eve: build a bonfire and burn 2016 calendars. I think it will be pretty cathartic.

Taking Publishing Into Your Own Hands – My Indie Author Day Presentation

“On October 8, 2016, nearly 300 libraries across North America invited thousands of local writers in their communities to join them for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authors. During the inaugural Indie Author Day, libraries big and small hosted events where local authors connected, networked, shared experiences and offered advice to one another, while also featuring locally-written books to library patrons in their communities.” – Indie Author Day

I attended Indie Author Day 2016 at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library downtown location. In addition to connecting with local authors and publishers, I also had the privilege of giving a presentation on the self-publishing process titled “Taking Publishing Into Your Own Hands”.


I received a wonderful response from the attendees of Indie Author Day; everyone seemed to really like my presentation and some requested a copy of the presentation. So, I obliged!

A PDF of the slides is available here: taking-publishing-into-your-own-hands

In the presentation, I go over the differences between traditional and self/independent publishing, pros and cons, expected costs, and some lessons learned. I also included links to my favorite indie publishing resources:


Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

In other news, I’m currently in the process of revamping my website by moving from Wix to Bluehost/Wordpress. The transfer will take a bit of time, as will setting up the new site. You can find updates regarding my website by following me on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ll try to keep you posted in my weekly blog posts as well!

Indie Author Day Update!

Next Saturday, October 8th, is the inaugural Indie Author Day! During the Inaugural Indie Author Day, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders.

I will be vending at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Downtown Central Location that day from 10am to 3pm. In addition, I’ll be giving a presentation on the self-publishing process titled “Taking Publishing Into Your Own Hands”!

If you’re in the Buffalo area, come by and say hi! If you’re anywhere else, find out if your local library is holding their own Indie Author Day event! Go forth and support your local library and authors!

In Anticipation of Autumn

The first day of autumn is less than a week away!

Yes, I am one of those fall-loving girls, and I have no shame. The summer here in Buffalo, NY was especially brutal this year. We had eight 90+ degree days (it felt like more!) and a strange combination of high humidity and a summer-long drought. It was too gross to be outside unless absolutely necessary, especially since I don’t have a pool. So yes, I am very much looking forward to autumn!

It also just-so-happens that a lot of autumn tropes are also writing and reading tropes. Curling up with a good book, sipping tea, experiencing the existential crisis that results from equating the coming winter with our own looming mortality…

It really gets those creative juices flowing!

Speaking of tea, I’ve created custom-blended Grigory’s Gadget-themed teas at Adagio Teas. Each tea is inspired by a character or place in the story:

All Tea Labels.jpg

Zoya Orlova: Berry Rooibos Tea; Lilia Alkaeva: Masala Chai Tea; Anya Filipova: Yerba Mate Tea; Nikolai Polzin: Gunpowder Green Tea; Demyan Volkov: Almond Oolong Tea; Dream of Mirgorod: Tropical White Tea; Lodninsk: Pu Erh and Chestnut Tea

5% of the sales for each of these blends is donated to Amnesty International. (I don’t receive anything from the sales; I just made them for fun!)

So grab some tea, cuddle up with a book, and enjoy the cooler weather!

Indie Author Day!

I recently heard about a new event coming up this fall: Indie Author Day. From their website:

During the Inaugural Indie Author Day on October 8, 2016, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for libraries and authors to connect on both local and global levels!

I think this is a fantastic idea! I love the idea of indie authors and libraries boosting each other up. The book industry can be a pretty crazy place, and we all need to support each other.

I’m hoping to help organize a local event here in Buffalo. Curious to see if your library is hosting an event? You can find the list of participating libraries on the website. You can also reach out to the event organizers to try to get your library involved if you don’t already see it on the list.

Happy Pride Week!

It’s Pride Week here in Buffalo, NY, a celebration of the LGBT community. I’ll be walking in the Pride Parade this Sunday with Relativity BellyDance along with the Dance Days of Buffalo float. (We walked in the parade last year and learned the hard way that 1 bottle of water is not enough, and dancing for the entire 2 mile stretch is a BAD idea. We are more prepared this year!) President Obama also declared the entire month of June to be LGBT Pride Month!

Here’s a great post from the WordPress Blog last year that they wrote shortly after the SCOTUS ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the US. In the post, they link to various LGBT bloggers and posts.

Who are some of your favorite LGBT authors or characters? My favorites include the author Clive Barker, and the characters Professor Lyall and Biffy (oh how I love them!) from The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.

Summer Events!

I’ve got some exciting new events coming up for the summer!

If you live around the Capital Region in New York, I’ll be attending two events there this summer: one in official author-ly capacity, and one as an attendee.

The first event is the Saratoga FanCon at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on June 18th. (Saratoga…SaRATOGAAAAA! Those who live in the Capital Region know that jingle…) Saratoga FanCon is a free, all-ages comics & pop culture event. There will be guests from a variety of fandoms including comics, manga, gaming, fan art, cosplay, and more! I will be one of those guests 🙂

The next event is The Enchanted City III: A Brave New World in Troy on August 27th. Now in its third year, “The Enchanted City” is an urban street faire, a spectacle of steampunk fashion, fantasy and fabrications that magically transform the historic blocks of downtown Troy, NY into a “cosplay” alternative reality where Victorian fancy meets modern technology. The Enchanted City is a real life fairy tale that you can experience and even become a character in if you wish. It is a steampunk Brigadoon that appears once a year. This free festival offers a family-friendly inspired day of music, games, performance, food and fantasy. Special events include a fashion show, historic tours, street performers and peddlers, storytelling, dancing, puppet shows, magic acts and more. It’s a really fun time!

The Enchanted City has also partnered with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity to sponsor a Troy “Mini Maker Faire” during the festival. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, a “Maker Faire” is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

I had considered vending at The Enchanted City, but honestly I feel like I’d be missing out if I were stuck at a table the whole day! There’s so much to see and do, I decided I’d rather just be an attendee – in costume, of course!

I also applied to vend at the 5th Annual Buffalo Bookfest on July 9th! The Western New York Book Arts Center will host the 5th Annual Buffalo BookFest, a day-long festival dedicated to printing and the book arts. The festival will feature an artist’s market and a complete schedule of free indoor and outdoor hands-on demonstrations of the book arts for all ages, including steamroller printmaking! This event is free and open to the public, taking place inside both floors of the Book Arts Center, stretching across the newly opened Mohawk Street, and spilling into the adjacent parking lot–you won’t want to miss this festival. The 5th Annual Buffalo BookFest Artist’s Market will highlight Western New York’s most talented craftspeople, artisans, and writers. Festivalgoers will have the opportunity to browse through and purchase locally handmade goods including hand-bound books, letterpress prints, small press publications, zines, and loads of handmade crafts! The market will be held on the ground floor of WNYBAC and in an outdoors.

I hope to see you at one (or more!) of these events this summer!