My TREK to the Wizard World Comic Con

To defend my geek credit, today I will blog about my recent journey to the Wizard World Comic Con held this year in Cleveland, Ohio.  Okay, I’m pretty sure my geek cred needs no defense.  But I digress.

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First of all, this is February in Northeast Ohio, which means that travel conditions are iffy at best.  But neither howling winds nor blowing snow can stop this intrepid geek from white-knuckling his way to star struck glory.

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Apparently, it can’t stop twenty thousand other people either.  This was by far the most crowded con I’ve ever been to.  PS.  If you can spot Waldo I’ll give you a cookie.

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How it works.  You walk in to a grid of vendor booths hawking everything from action figures and games to Nintendo cartridges converted into drinking flasks.  (no kidding)

As you make your way toward the back, you’ll find the signing booths where you can pay 40 + dollars to get a celebrity’s autograph.  Or you can just walk by and snap a quick photo for free.

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Look!  It’s Hershel from The Walking Dead!

Some booths have content creators who you can just walk up and talk to.  I was super stoked to meet John A. Russo, who co-wrote the original script for the classic film Night of the Living Dead.  Here’s a picture of the back of my head as I’m buying a copy of his graphic novel Escape of the Living Dead, which he signed for me.  Score!

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But this was only the beginning.  When Gail and I set out on this little journey, we had a very specific mission in mind.  GET OUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH BRUCE CAMPBELL.  That’s right, Ash himself was there and for a modest fee you could get your picture taken with him!

How this works.  You purchase your ticket in advance online and bring a printed voucher with you.  Once you’re there, you take the voucher up to a sign-in station and they give you a card which acts as your photo-op ticket.  They then give you a time when you’re to return and get in line, usually about a half an hour before the celebrity is ready to begin taking photos.

So we returned at the allotted time and got in line.  Up ahead was a booth covered by curtains.  This is where the photo will be taken.  You can’t see anything until it’s your time to go in.  Once the photo-op begins, you’re ushered in one by one, given about five seconds to say hi and snap a quick photo, and then you’re ushered out to make way for the next person in line.  All in all, you only have to wait in line for about a half an hour, pretty good considering the amount of people there.

So we did just that.

We took our voucher to the sign-in station, got our card, and waited for our five-seconds of screen time with the man himself.

And he didn’t disappoint.

While you’re waiting, you can’t see anything.  But when it’s your time to be ushered in…

Bam!  There we were with the one and only Sam Axe.

Like I said, it was brief but awesome.

They had us stand next to him and he said, “We’re going to pose like we’ve known each other a long time.”  Then snap.

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We got the Bruce Campbell chin pose.

Love it.

Afterwards, we picked up our printed photo and continued to walk the con.  By now, the crowds were really kicking into high gear.  All around, people dressed as fantasy and comic characters came and went.

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Look!  It’s Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn!

Take my advice. Wear comfortable shoes.  You’re on your feet a lot and there aren’t too many places to sit down.  Here’s us taking a brief siesta on a floor against a wall.

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We had a lot of fun.  We found some cool swag, saw some cool people…

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Look! It’s Adrian Paul from Highlander!

But we couldn’t let it rest at that.

Like I said, this was our TREK to Wizard Con.

And our trek would not be complete unless we got a photo of us with the Captain himself.  So we repeated the same process as we’d done with Bruce Campbell.   We took our voucher to the photo-op station.  We got our ticket.  We stood in line.  Waited patiently.  And finally, we were ushered into the curtain-covered booth, where….

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We had our picture taken with the one and only, William Shatner!

Ah, what a day!  Geek cred is fully secured.

With the crowds super bulging and our mission to get photos with Bruce Campbell and William Shatner complete, we decided it was time to hit the snow-covered trail for home.

But before going, we had to stop at one more booth.

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Why not cap the day off with one more snapshot?  This one’s of Gail with the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno.

There’s only one thing I can say about that.

Excelsior!

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New Teaser Card

I’m deep in revisions for the first Phoenix Saga novella, Legend of the Phoenix, so this week’s blog post will be a short one.

Today, I thought I’d reveal another of my handy dandy teaser cards.  This one features the Gryphons, who will be the main enemy force in the series.  They’re led by the cunning and charismatic, Lord Talons.  They’re fierce, deadly, and highly motivated.  I can’t wait to show them to you.

Enjoy!

Gryphon Card

Creating a comfortable work environment

If you’re like me, you need a comfortable work environment in order to help put yourself in a creative frame of mind and maximize your productivity. Whether you enjoy typing away in a crowded Starbucks or sequestering yourself in the deepest Hobbit hole you can find, your workspace is a key ingredient to word count success.

Let’s take a look at my own personal go to spot for example.

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Personally, I prefer a small out of the way place free of distractions like TVs and telephones. Therefore, we have a room in the house designated The Office, which acts as a catch-all for random Target purchases as well as the many crazy ideas floating around in my head.

I also like to decorate the joint with random items that help spark my imagination and get the creative wheels turning. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we…

Hitchcock Movie Posters

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You may be thinking: Wait a minute. Hitchcock movie posters? Isn’t this guy working on a fantasy adventure series? It’s true. The Phoenix Saga is a fantasy series. But I also really enjoy classic film. Creativity is creativity. I draw inspiration from many sources, and for my money, you can’t do much better than the master of suspense.

X-Files Cross Stitch

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This bad boy hangs on the wall directly behind my desk chair (courtesy of Mrs. Ebey’s mad stitching skills). What better thing to have at your back when you’re trying to channel the muse than a threaded Mulder and Scully?

To my left

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On the wall directly to my left, I have a corkboard that I like to adorn with things related to whatever it is I’m working on. Here were see pictures that represent (at least in my mind) various Phoenix Saga characters and settings. Whenever I get stuck, these pinned-up cutouts always help motivate me forward.

When all else fails

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Chuck Norris to the rescue! My early love of toys and action figures taught me how to appreciate characters and use my imagination to bring them to life. Though I don’t necessarily play with them as I once did in my childhood (okay, maybe just a little), leaving space on my desk for Chuck Norris to fight an Alien on a tiny Zen garden doesn’t hurt.

So what do you think? Is a comfortable work environment important? Do you use any special imagery or rituals to help get you in the creative mood? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Blog of the Phoenix Begins…

Greetings!

I’d like to start off by thanking you for taking the time to check out the first of what I hope to be many blog entries to come.

A little about what I’m working on now.

My forthcoming series, The Phoenix Saga, is currently in development with the first book due to be released soon by Glass House Press. The stories are set in a fantasy world that features a vast collection of mythical creatures pulled from numerous cultures throughout history. As you may have gathered from the title, the series focus heavily on the legend of the Phoenix.

Also in the way of news, I’m very excited to have a new short story accepted in the upcoming Brave New Girls anthology. This will be a collection of sci-fi stories from several established and up-and-coming authors featuring girls in tech-savvy roles.   All proceeds will be going into a scholarship fund for girls interested in a future in STEM. (I’ll have more on this in future posts).

I’m very excited to be working on these projects and I look forward to reporting more on them soon.

As for this blog, I’d like it to be a forum to talk about all things associated with fantasy and science fiction, as well as discuss the ins and outs of publishing and storytelling in general. I encourage you to please leave comments if you can. I love to discuss the world of genre fiction and I’d very much like to hear from you.

Well, that’s about it for now. Again, thank you for taking the time to stop by and happy reading!