Tag Archives: PennedCon

Jason’s Authors You Should Know – Amy Hale

The other day I had the thought of featuring an author a day throughout the month of June. I wrote down a list of authors I’ve met since I started writing and sharing my work and I came up with a pretty good list. I didn’t tell any of these authors I was gonna do this so I hope they’re ok with it. They all write in various genres but I figured why not share people I know and appreciate.

First up is author Amy Hale.

AmyHaleI first met Amy at a small horror convention called Con-Tamination back in 2016. It was a small horror/pop culture convention held in St. Louis at a scary hotel. All I had at the time to sell was my first book (Almost) Average Anthology. All the other authors had way more books, but I had to start somewhere, right? Anyway, Amy was one of the other authors there and we talked a little but that was about it.


ShadowsofJaneThen I met her again last year at the Eclipse Comic-Con in Carbondale, IL. Our tables were right next to each other so we talked a lot. Turns out, she lives pretty close to me! I met her whole family (her husband John is a great dude!) and we got along great. We also were both going to PennedCon in St. Louis a few weeks after the Eclipse Con and we hung out a lot there. She’s been a great supporter and advocate for me since, even offering to share her table with me so I could check out Cape Con in Cape Girardeau, MO.

Amy writes a lot of adventure with romance sprinkled in. She’s a prolific writer with at Havenwoodleast 10 books out. She’s also part of a shared world project called Havenwood Falls where each author writes within the same world.

Welcome to Havenwood Falls, a small town in the majestic mountains of Colorado. A town where legacies began centuries ago, bloodlines run deep, and dark secrets abound. A town where nobody is what you think, where truths pose as lies, and where myths blend with reality. A place where everyone has a story. Including the high schoolers.

Amy is super talented and an all around great person. Please go check her out, buy a book or two, and share her work with others that might be interested. You can find her at authoramyhale.com and follow her on Amazon.

Come back tomorrow for another author you should know!

PennedCon 2017 Recap


PennedCon is a well run machine thanks to the dedication of Rick and Amy Miles and a ton of volunteers.

Oh wait, what is PennedCon you ask? It’s an annual author convention which just celebrated its fourth year. It’s an event that raises money for Action for Autism by bringing together over 160 authors and readers over two days in St. Louis, MO.

Dominated by Romance authors (I think the first year it was almost exclusively for Romance authors) it is now open for all genres. I will say, if I’d gone in with only my dark short story collections, I wouldn’t have sold much. My young adult sci-fi novel “The Selection” really helped with sales over the weekend.

PennedConSwagI got to meet readers who actually read my books beforehand! For me, that’s an amazing experience. I had one twenty-something young lady (man that makes me sound old!) bring by a bound book she had created with pictures of the covers of some of the books she read of the authors there. It wasn’t like taped together or anything, but bound with a metal spiral binding. She opened it up and there was the cover to my book “Moments of Darkness.” We talked about the book and the stories and then I signed the page for her. Just floored me!

I got to meet potential new readers and sold a fair amount of books over the two days of the convention.

They also had workshops, keynote lectures, and more. At one point, Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords stopped at my table and I had a nice conversation with him about his service. I have one book I used Smashwords for: (Almost) Average Anthology. I used a different service for my other two books. He asked a bunch of questions as to why I tried the other services and what I thought about them. I’m not gonna lie, it felt slightly awkward telling the CEO of such a well known company why I tried his competitors. It was all good though. Later that day he sat at my table for lunch along with several other authors and we all talked a bit more.

PennedCon does an amazing job of after-hours events for VIP ticket holders and authors. We had a pajama party on Thursday night and there was a party thrown on Friday night featuring a lip synch battle. I didn’t get in on the battle, however as the night wore on, several of the guys decided to do one last song. Somehow I got roped into the group and we did a pretty funny rendition of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” And yes, there is video. Lots of them. 🙂 There was a casino night Saturday night, but my wife and I decided to leave after the signing room closed and made it home late that night.

JohnAndMyselfThough I didn’t sell a ton of books, I sold enough to cover my table fee. Beyond that, I got to catch up with a few author friends like Amy Hale, John Smith, Eric Asher, and more. Actually, my wife and I hung out with Amy and her husband for most of the after-hours events. I met new authors to me like John Hartness and Bess Sturgis and meeting potential readers ultimately made the event that much more enjoyable.

I’ve already booked a table for next year. Maybe I’ll see ya there!



Upcoming Events

Through November, I’ve signed up for several events where you can come out and see me, grab a book, and talk a while.

Here is the current list of events.

pennedcon2017In late September, I’ll be attending PennedCon in St. Louis. The dates are Sept. 29th-30th. This is the 4th year of PennedCon and has over 150 signing authors. It’s a huge Con and the largest authors only event I’ll attend. It’s aim is to bring “authors and readers together for charity.” I’m looking forward to it. If you’re interested in going, I still have maybe 4 free tickets to give away. Just let me know!

On Saturday October 14th, I’ll be at the 9th annual St. Charles City-County Library’s Local Author Open House. The time is from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Last year they had over 100 authors, so I expect this year to be the same. It sounds interesting and it’s free to attend. If you can make it, come on out!

StLouisIndie-300x216Finally, on November 3rd-4th, I’ll be at the St. Louis Indie Book Fair. This year it’s being held at the Kranzberg Arts Center in St. Louis, MO. I did this last year and was one of the first book selling events I attended as an author. We didn’t have much traffic last year, but I outsold almost everyone else so it holds a special place for me.

I do hope you get a chance to make it out to one of these. I’d love to meet new readers. A lot of my larger events are in St. Louis because it’s the closest large city to where I live and I gotta keep cost considerations in line. I may add a couple more shows between now and then. Follow me on Facebook to stay updated. Thanks!

The Year of Me

2016 was an interesting year. It began with the release of my first collection of dark fiction short stories (Almost) Average Anthology.

At the Book House in St.Louis – my first book signing!

For those that have actually read my book, its been well received. The positive response has been humbling. I’ve met many new readers/fans and some that I’ve stayed pretty close with. My decision to create a paperback copy of what was at the time just “an experiment” in self-publishing made all the difference (thanks Dan!) I was able to do book signings and attend book fairs and conferences.

My first book signing at The Book House in St. Louis will always stick with me (thanks so much Ken!) Then my first book fair with the St.Louis Indie Book Fair was a great experience. I met the organizer Mark Pannebecker and fellow author John W. Smith. Mark also organized the book fair side to Con-Tamination which I attended and met authors Ray Wenck and Vince Churchill.

Meeting these authors has opened even more doors for me. In April I’ll be at Wizard World in St.Louis because of Ray and in September I’ll be at PennedCon in St.Louis because of John. These authors have been invaluable to me and I look forward to growing as a writer with them.

Reading my story “Vacation” at the St.Louis Indie Book Fair.

In 2016 I also started the year as a writer for Sum’n Unique Magazine. The founder and head guy in charge F. Kenneth Taylor has a vision for his magazine that I completely understand and support. Through him I was able to have my first book signing, first interviews, and more. From my time with S.U.M. I also met fellow writers Lakesha Mathis and Kevin Daniel. All this amazing talent! I wish I could’ve stayed with them but I needed to focus more on my fiction writing and had to step down about mid-year. If you’ve not heard of S.U.M. or their writers, I encourage you to check them out.

In the Spring of 2016 I was also surprised to have one of my stories from (Almost) Average Anthology published on the No Extra Words Podcast. Hearing my words spoken by someone else was an amazing experience.

Of course every year has it’s downside too. For me it came around June when I thought all was going well. In a sense it was going well (and still is) but I hit a bump in my writing. Everyone has critics. Everyone has more to learn in their craft. I was so caught up in thinking I knew what I was doing that when I encountered my first real criticism, it snuffed out my flame of creativity. The critiques I heard were valid and right. They were meant to help me create true works of fiction. I’ll forever be grateful for the lesson, but at the time it made me rethink a lot of what I was doing. In the end it was by far the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Then in October I released my second collection of dark fiction short stories Moments of Darkness. This collection can be seen as (Almost) Average Anthology vol. 2. So far it’s not taken off as well as the first one but I’m hopeful it will soon. If not, that’s ok too. As I continue to write and new readers discover my work, they’ll have a back catalogue to peruse.

I started 2016 as an unpublished writer and I leave the year as the author of two collections of short stories. I’ll take that! I took my dream and made it happen. I’ve created new connections over the year that have helped me along the way. Not a bad year if I do say so myself! Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. Here’s to an even greater 2017!