Great Costumes at Sac Con 2024

Busted appliances. New website. Enigma cover progress. Sac Con 2024 report and pics.

Two men standing behind a table full of books at a comic convention. Banner: "Water Dragon Publishing"
Sac Con 2024. Left to right: Ryan Southwick, Steven Radecki

Happy St. Patrick's Day! ☘️ Yummy corned beef season, one of my favorite dishes. 😋 February and March have been one home project after another, from plumbing to electrical to replacing our 30-year-old furnace that finally gave up the ghost last week. And to top it off, while writing this newsletter our espresso machine of 15 years went out in a puff of foul smoke. The last one is most critical, of course, because, well... coffee.

Writing-wise, this month's Big News™ is the release of my new website! I've re-written it from the ground-up in Next.js / TailwindCSS. It's completely responsive and (best of all!) no longer requires the annoying cookie consent banner. It's also faster than the old one and more mobile-friendly. You can check it out by clicking below.

Ryan Southwick | Author
Science fiction, urban fantasy, and soul-stirring adventure from author Ryan Southwick

Now that that's done, I can shift focus back to the final draft of Enigma. My goal is to distribute ARCs by the first week of April. I approved the sketch for the cover art a few days ago, so with any luck I should have the final cover with José's gorgeous artwork ready to share in next month's newsletter, if not sooner.

My brother is doing miracle work with the Enigma book trailer, produced entirely in Adobe Aftereffects. It's not quite ready to share, but I think you'll enjoy the final product. I should at least have cool screenshots ready for the next newsletter.

Sacramento's premier Comic Con, Sac Con 2024, was this past weekend. I spent Saturday at the Water Dragon Publishing table with a few fellow authors. More about that and some great costume pics below!

In this newsletter

  • Sac Con 2024
  • Free Books, Sales, and Events
  • Currently Reading
  • Other Authors You Might Like

Sac Con 2024

Saturday was crazy! The line to get into the con stretched across the street and halfway down the block for most of the day. The morning started slow, but by noon the aisles were packed to capacity. Casey Jones and April O'Neil were the highlight costumes for me, since my kids and I love TMNT, but there was also an incredible Predator costume where the guy walked on stilts, towering above everyone, and a fantastic Mandalorian outfit with shiny metal plates.

Being our first time at this con, we weren't sure what the interest in books would be, but mentioning "vampires" seemed to spark people's attention, and since mine were the only vampire books on the table, they gravitated to The Z-Tech Chronicles. I decided to make a physical bundle of the first four books, which became the most popular purchase at the table. Must have been the rainbow ribbon. =]

We ate lunch at a fantastic Japanese restaurant, Mikuni, that I can't recommend enough if you're in the area. The best part of any event for me is chatting with the crowd, which I did in abundance. We finished at 6 pm and went with another table of authors to a Mexican restaurant, where I had one of the best mole sauces I've ever tasted. Sacramento didn't disappoint!

I also had fun making flyers for The Z-Tech Chronicles I thought might appeal to comic fans. Turns out there wasn't enough room on the table, so I didn't get to put them up, but here they are for your enjoyment. =]

Free Books, Sales, and Events

  • Now - March 31 – The Hencha Queen Pre-Release Deals. Get the first 2 books for 99¢ all this month in honor of Hencha Queen's Mar 14 release.
  • 1st week of April – Project Xerxes and Enigma advanced copies available to all ARC Team members. If you're interested in joining, see the ARC Team page.
  • May – Project Xerxes and Enigma release. Exact date TBD pending final cover art, but we're rapidly closing in. Project Xerxes will be free for all subscribers.
  • June 1-2 – Bay Area Book Festival 2024. "Annually featuring scores of renowned and emerging authors in conversations at multiple indoor and outdoor venues, the Bay Area Book Festival has become one of the country’s premier literary events." A farmer's market is also nearby. If you're in Berkeley, stop by and say Hi!
  • July 4-7 – BayCon 2024. We're registered and good to go. Come see me and other Water Dragon authors at the Bay Area's classic sci fi convention.

Currently Reading

Sweep of the Heart

Book 5 is a worthy addition to the Innkeeper Chronicles. Andrews continue to up the scope and stakes while keeping the story's heart around a girl and her magical inn. Already looking forward to the sequel.

Read full review


Just started this last week. An interesting YA dystopian take on a society where death is a thing of the past thanks to a glorious AI overlord who has solved all of humanity's problems, and yet people still need to die, hence the role of Scythes. The story so far follows 2 teenagers (male and female) from different backgrounds who are chosen as Scythe apprentices specifically because they don't relish the idea of killing (a very low bar, one would think, but whatever).

The book makes clear in the very beginning that there will be no romance whatsoever between the characters, which is a nice courtesy and also a bit of a letdown, since it eliminates possibilities, and because I like a bit of romance in my stories. Still, the writing and premise are interesting enough that I'll see this one through, although it's too early to say whether I'll pick up Book 2.

Other Authors You Might Like

The Hencha Queen

Silya comes into her own, but will she be enough?

Silya finally has everything she always wanted. She's the Hencha Queen, head of the Temple, and is working to master her newfound talents. So why does the world pick now to fall apart?

Her once-nemesis Raven is off riding dragons, and their mutual friend (and her ex) Aik is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, a new threat menaces the Heartland from the East, and if she can't convince a reluctant Gullton city council to prepare for the worst, she may lose everyone and everything she's ever cared about.

As she uses her magic-like abilities, wit and sheer determination to try to save the city, she's joined by Raven and his new friends. Will their help tip the scales? And will they finally find out what happened to Aik as a dark storm threatens to sweep them all away?

Forget messy. Things just got apocalyptic.

Learn more

My Books

Timeless Keeper Saga

On a war-ravaged Earth no longer able to sustain life, a half-blind dome farmer and a mysterious city dweller may hold the keys to humanity's fate.

The Timeless Keeper Saga is a science fiction dystopian thriller series about forbidden love, mysterious ancient artifacts, hidden powers, and the indomitable human spirit.

Learn more

The Z-Tech Chronicles

In the face of a rising, ancient evil, a traumatized San Francisco waitress may be the only thing standing between humanity and oblivion.

The Z-Tech Chronicles is a science fiction / urban fantasy saga that follows Anne Perrin on her journey from a traumatized waitress to becoming more than she ever imagined.

Learn more

One Man's Trash - A Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy Story

Croft Winder grew up believing that love is blind.

It wasn't until he took his fiancée on a little vacation to the Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy, however, that he learned it can also be downright insane.

Will the wonders of the Truck Stop save their relationship or send it to the executioner’s block? Not even the ancient Delphians could have guessed.

One Man's Trash is a cozy sci fi romance set in the Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy universe.

Learn more

Dragon Assassin - A Steamy Shifter Romance

Half dragon. Half human. All woman... and all killer.​

Humans think Charon is a monster. Dragons consider her an abomination, condemning her to a lifetime of isolation.

Now her half-breed body is changing in ways she doesn't understand, torturing her with strange desires. Her only hope may lie with a handsome young assassin who, in courting her, might be getting more than he signed up for.

If you're into sexy shape-changing half-dragons, suave assassins, absurd anatomy, and steamy female-led relationships, then this thrilling paranormal romance adventure is for you!

Learn more