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Sunday Update – November 12, 2023

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This has been a crazy few weeks for me, so I'll try to make this brief if I can.

During the last of October and beginning of November, I was dealing with a lot of website issues. Basically, a lot of bots were bogging down my server and causing all of my websites to stop loading. Installing plugins to help and uninstalling other plugins to streamline my WordPress installations didn't help. Eventually, my host had to go nuclear and stop bots before WordPress ever even loaded. That seems to have helped.

I also figured out that the plugin I use for newsletters, MailPoet, is causing problems with too many cron jobs on my server. I had it installed on several sites, so I went through and deleted it from all of them except here. I moved my newsletters for Steph Gennaro over to Encharge, and I will do the same with S. J. Pajonas later this week. It was a lot of work setting it up for Steph Gennaro, but hopefully now that I've done it once, I can do it faster for my main name. This will also require more work from me in building newsletters, but since I only send once per month, it shouldn't be too bad. I'm a little sad that I need to do this, but ultimately, I think the move will be good, as I'll have more access to tools via Encharge. I hope to move my books wide again in late 2024, and I will be using Encharge with direct sales too.

And then, after all of that, I went to Las Vegas for the 20Booksto50k conference! I flew out last Sunday, which is why I didn't update here, and flew back home on Friday. It was such an amazing week, full of good friends, amazing author-related content, yummy food, and fun times. The Future Fiction Academy and AI4CES sponsored a night of drinks on Monday at the Tipsy Robot in Miracle Mile. That was super fun! The robots made drinks, and we talked about using AI tools. A lot of people showed up! And I was really heartened to hear about how the AI tools have helped authors keep writing and find their audiences. It was everything I hoped for and more!

The rest of the conference is a bit of a blur. Lol. I went to the “AI: Boogeyman or not?” panel which had plenty of good information and some misinformation, especially about the WGA contract. One panelist had previously posted a giant red slide with “AI is a deal with the devil” on it. Sigh. It was sad to see such inflammatory rhetoric using religion to appeal to people's fears. Then Elizabeth Ann West held a fantastic presentation on writing with AI that got people really excited. That was super fun! I went to a panel on writing thrillers that was interesting and several other presentations on writing craft. Also, the Becca Syme presentations were great too.

During the week, most of my nights were spoken for. We did the Sphere on Sunday night. AI meetup drinks and dinner on Monday. I had dinner and/or drinks with friends the rest of the week as well. It was a lot of peopling. A LOT OF PEOPLING. No wonder I feel like I might be coming down with something.

Anyway, I had a fabulous time! My flights were both fine. I got there and back, easy peasy. My Kindle Paperwhite did die on this trip though. It refuses to turn on, no matter what I do. So I'm hoping the Oasis goes on sale for Black Friday! This week I have a lot of catch-up work to do.

What have I been reading and watching? Not a lot of reading since my Kindle died. I just finished a re-watch of For All Mankind's last season since the new one just started.

Some landmarks from Las Vegas! Flying in, I saw the Hoover Dam out the window. Plus the Sphere is both really cool and really cute.

The main conference hall on vendor day was crazy busy! I went and hugged most of my friends this day, and I went to see the Brads at the Vellum table to introduce myself since I help to administrate the Vellum Users group on Facebook.

It was great seeing and being with friends!

The panel discussions and presentations were all pretty great! We're changing minds and teaching people new ways of working with technology!

The social aspects of the convention cannot be beat. We did karaoke, lots of dinners and drinks, cosplay, and of course, I went gambling one night on my own.

I tried to document my outfits each day so people could find me easier.

I struggled with being gluten free at this conference, though. There were plenty of business lunches I did where I couldn't eat anything, or the waiter just didn't show up to take my order after everyone else. Now I know. I averaged about one good meal per day with snacks, and that was it. The next time I leave to go anywhere, I will bring my own food. Lesson learned. (Pictured here, the Clif Bar I ate for lunch one day.)

Since my Kindle died, I treated myself to a hardcover book from Kevin J Anderson. It was nice to talk to him and get a signature.

And now that I'm back home, it's back on the bike for an awesome 2-for-1 ride and sitting next to my snoozing and snoring dog. ❤️

I hope you all had a great two weeks! I plan to make it around to read blogs later today and get caught up. Have a safe and healthy week, everyone!

S. J. Pajonas