Steampunks Ahoy!

On Saturday, February 16, the local Sacramento Steampunk Society held an Emporium and Swap Meet--plus, we talked author Gail Carriger into coming for a signing!

Alas, Gail's drive from the Bay Area to Sacramento did not go well but she was able to sign books for everyone in line (including the signed copy of Etiquette and Espionage going up on Pens for Paws, along with some steampunk swag).

As for me, this was my very first steampunk event and it was a little overwhelming with all the shiny. I went hoping to find an inexpensive corset or waist cinch to round out my costume but left empty-handed (never fear, I've spent loads of time since then finding out the inside info on where and how to buy corsets).

And even though I've posted pics of my outfit on Facebook, I wanted to put them here because I'm moderately proud of how it came together:

Bought the fedora at Target and added embellishments--peacock feathers, a brass brooch, a lacey scarf--and everything is held on there without glue or pins so I can change it up. The silk skirt and tuxedo shirt were a find at a consignment shop near me and didn't cost me a dime since I had credit from other clothes I sold there.

And the vest was originally in a bag of stuff to see if I could trade, but I added it to the ensemble at the last minute in case the riding-habit-style jacket was too uncomfortable to wear the entire time. Good thing, because it was terribly hot at the Emporeum--steamy, in fact! Sorry, couldn't resist.

But I am disappointed that you couldn't see my steampunk crow pendant from Desert Rubble in the pictures--it was flipped around and I didn't notice until I'd already changed out of my outfit.

One last picture--Pippin kept trying to photobomb my pictures, so I made him pose with me.

Online Conference Opportunity:

IndieRecon is an online conference with info on self-publishing, covering everything from the basics to marketing. It's all happening February 19-21, and all the posts will be archived to check them out at your leisure. Plus, they have giveaways!

And today's my day to post on Operation Awesome, and I'm spotlighting query resources. Go check it out!

Litreactor's Sci-Fi Writing Challenge

All the info from their website:

"Our sci-fi writing challenge, TELEPORT US, is open to submissions!
The time is upon us! LitReactor's sci-fi writing challenge is open for submissions!

So what does that mean?

If you're a writer, you have a month (until February 28th) to submit your story following the prompts we handed out in the beginning of January (which is right here, in case you missed it).

If you're a reader, you can read and rate stories that have been submitted. There's a bunch already waiting for you.
Remember, the whole point of this challenge is to stretch your writing boundaries, read some cool stories, and meet new and interesting people. That's why the entire thing is open and free of charge—you do not need to be a paying member of the site to participate. This is about all of us having fun and learnin' a little something from each other.

But also it's about winning prizes! We're not announcing everything just yet, but we do want to share this: Some of the top-rated stories will be read and critiqued by authors like Chuck Wendig, Adam Christopher, Kat Howard and Joseph Nassise! Read more about that here. We'll have more to announce soon. Think: Swag. And don't worry, non-writing readers, there'll be opportunities for you to win stuff, too!"

So what are you waiting for--go enter!

If you have a polished young adult, middle grade, or new adult manuscript ready for submission, you might want to get in on the Pitch + 250 Contest on the Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing blog that opens TODAY.

Submissions close when they receive 100 entries or February 9th (whichever comes first), and there are three rounds of judging: bloggers, authors, and agents. Besides getting your work looked at by all those eyes, there are prizes:

"The winner will receive a three chapter critique (30 pages max) by Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management.

The 4 runners-up will each receive a one chapter critique (10 pages max) by one of our agent judges.

The remainder of the top 25 will receive a one chapter critique (10 pages max) by one of the judges."

It's a chance to get some valuable feedback on your work, so what are you waiting for? Oh, and the pitch needs to be under 250 words and make sure you put Pitch+250 in the subject line when you submit.

In other news, today is my very first post as a contributor to Operation Awesome! Come join me over there and find out the real stories behind the truths and a lie revealed during the Mystery Blogger introduction. And by the way, my posts on this blog will likely go to every other week to allow for my OA posts every other Monday.

(And if you're wondering what this picture has to do with any of the above, our Operation Awesome mascot is an owl. He is however a cartoon, and not this great-horned owl which I photographed in Alaska.)