Do You Have Angst?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Visioncon 2017

Visioncon is an adventure that just keeps getting better with age. Everything about it is what makes cons both fun and inspiring. You can tell just how hard the staff works to put this con together because everyone who attends is beside-themselves happy. The con has grown a lot over the five years we’ve been going, and through hard work and magic, the staff keeps it running smoothly while still making it fun!

Thursday and Friday is a quick story of good weather, setting up my booth, and bumping into friends from the con. This was actually great, because I’ve driven through ice storms to get there, and the 60 degree weather in February made me a global warming fan for the day.

After wrapping up the con on Friday, I found a spot at the bar to drink, eat, drink, and wait patiently for my muses. (Patient like a toddler on Christmas morning.) While enjoying one of those drinks, a young woman approached the man sitting next to me and ask for a picture. Like a gentleman, I offered to take it, and the next one, and the next one. After laughing about the situation, and talking for awhile, Steve Downes introduced himself as the voice of Master Chief from Halo. At my reaction, he teased, “Now, you’re not going to fan-boy on me, are you?” Fortunately, I only let a little excitement sneak out, and we spent the better part of an hour chatting about con misadventures and getting to know each other. Oh, and me taking more pictures for fans. He’s a great guy, and it was a pleasure to meet him. I hope our paths cross again.

My muses showed up shortly after my visit with Steve, and I spent the evening hanging out with my friends. I was fortunate again this year that Cristi, Marina and Mayra were all able to attend. They are great friends, they make the cons a LOT of fun for me, and for some reason I sell more books when they are around. With no regrets, I spent the weekend trying to keep up with them, knowing I would pay for it on Monday. I’m young like that.

Saturday was fun for every reason. My muses graced my booth with their beauty and class. Cristi’s dad surprised us with a visit to his first con - while often a bit of culture shock,  he rolled with it like a pro. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brothers on Whatever and several others. The first interview has already been posted by Noah Roberts, which you can find here.

photo by time|light photography
Visioncon’s guest selection is always top notch. There is a fine art to finding personable and approachable guests that can both draw in a crowd and keep the crowd there. That’s always been my experience at Visioncon, and you can check out their great lineup from this year here.

I was pretty excited that John Wesley Shipp was on the guest roster this year. It’s worthy of a longer post, but The Flash has always been one of my favorite heroes. Not only was Shipp The Flash on TV when I was in college, he’s back on the new show in various roles (No spoilers, but check it out!) Before the convention, I noticed that he actively replied to, liked, and shared tweets. Not only did he do this for the convention, but also for vendors and attendees. I don’t see that often, and I was impressed. The crowd loved him. Flash costumes were everywhere, and I didn’t hesitate to bring my own Flash jacket. For the first time at a con, I purchased two pictures, one with just me, and one with Cristi, Marina, and Mayra. When I introduced them, “These are my muses.” He replied, “I can see why.” They swooned a bit.

Saturday was also incredibly special for another reason: my readers. I can’t describe how much it means to me when someone buys a copy of Angst because, “My friend says you’re their favorite author.” More than a few took time out of their con to visit and discuss my most recent novel, Burning with Angst, and ask when the next one would be out.

And then this happened. I was floored - absolutely floored - when I was told on two occasions, “You were one of the main reasons I came to the con.” In the rush of the show, there wasn’t enough time to thank them properly. I don’t know if there could be. I don’t take these moments for granted, any of them. It makes me feel like it’s all worth the effort and that I should keep writing. So I will.

Saturday night we hit the Mojo party and listened to some Big Damn Heroes before my old age crept up on me and we called it. Sunday came and went too fast, and before I knew it, I was sleeping to noon on Monday. It always takes me a day to catch my breath, a week to shake off the post-con-funk, and a year to stop missing Visioncon - because that’s when it’s time for the next one!

Be sure to check out some great pictures of the con here!

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Failures

I had the opportunity the other night to share one of my all-time favorite quotes with my daughter when she was crushed after doing poorly on a test.  Michael Jordan said, “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” My daughter didn’t fail, but she didn’t do as well as she liked. More importantly, she tried as hard as she could. I was proud of her for trying. Trying, and failing, and then trying again will eventually lead to success.

Tonight we had a conversation about her boyfriend - a great young man who has a start-up dream he wants to chase after he graduates from college. I don’t know what the idea is but I’ll do everything I can to help, and I hope with every fiber of my being that it’s the next Google.

But I felt it important to explain that start-ups are a LOT of work with an incredibly high rate of failure. I went on to say that failure doesn’t make you a loser, or a bad person – it’s the evolutionary step to success. I should know, I’ve failed a lot.

Straight out of college, my best friend (and now beta-team reader) and I chased several dreams. The first was Courageous Comics. It was during the late 90s when comic book sales soared. I had been collecting since I was 8. Not only did this make me an expert in comic books, but having recently graduated from college certainly made me a business genius. We were going to be the Blockbuster for comic books. We wrote a business plan, shopped it around, and even looked at space to lease out. It ended when the owner of a strip mall said, “You don’t have a pot to piss in. Without money, this just isn’t going to happen.” He was right.

My second idea happened during the early days of the first big internet boom. It was before anyone had heard of Amazon, or Google. I was a Manufacturer’s Representative selling tools to wholesalers. There were hundreds of online retailers with no inventory, and manufacturers didn’t know how to ship out anything less than a pallet of product. We Ship One was born.

The plan was to be another warehouse for manufacturers that could handle small shipments, and some I spoke with loved the idea. Web site retailers were starving for it since they didn’t actually have to own any of the product. Matt and I actually had investors review the plan and tentatively offer seed money if we had something to show them. Despite a lot of excitement, and I mean the kind of excitement that encourages the purchase of fine cigars, I had nothing to show. I failed, again.

I eventually went back to comics with a mail order business. An internet comic book store was unheard of, so it was all done by snail mail. Every month, I created a catalog. Scanners were very expensive, and we had a new baby, so I scanned images from Diamond Distributor’s Preview catalog using a fax machine and my black and white laptop. I had rewired a phone cord with a 9-volt battery that connected between them so it worked like a scanner. It was a poor scanner, and the images required a lot of editing. Eventually, I cobbled together a smaller catalog printed at Kinko’s on legal-sized paper. My wife and I would use a long neck stapler and mail them out every month. I had enough customers to break even, and spent $1,000 on a full page ad in Hero magazine that eventually paid for itself.

It took a year to realize, however, that between my full-time job that actually paid bills and this full-time job that kept me from spending time with my wife and son, it wasn’t going to happen. I threw in the towel and made another mark on the failure chalkboard.

Creative people tend to come up with lots of ideas. I came close to starting a radio talk show in St. Louis, working for a movie producer in Hollywood who actually became something. Then there was the writing. I’ve penned lots and lots of crap that very few people have ever read. The writing was always most important, but I couldn’t calm down enough to actually complete anything worth reading until I was in my 40s. Even now, I don’t consider myself a successful writer. At least not financially - yet.

I do get something else out of writing. Adventures at cons with friends. I get to meet lots of people and make more friends. I’ve also received reviews, emails (and even a handwritten letter) from people I don’t know, who have graciously shared their appreciation for my books. When someone says that I’ve made them laugh, or that they can’t wait for the next book, I don’t consider myself a failure anymore.

At a recent conference I attended, popular comic book writer Jason Aaron said, “Stories don't just happen. You have to build them, craft them, and refine them. You can't just sit around and wait for someone to tell you you're a writer. There's no writer fairy. You have to work for it.” I think these wise words are great advice in any field, and it took me longer than most to be happy with where I’m at. My advice for my daughter’s boyfriend, for friends and family, and for anyone whose dreams don’t go the right direction… after the failure hangover is done, try again. You’ve got another idea in there somewhere, and you’ve learned enough to do an even better job next time.

At the end of this long-winded lecture, my daughter said, “Wow, you’re like Wikipedia. You know stuff!” Isn’t it nice when it finally comes around? It certainly took long enough to get here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Burning with Angst is now available!

Burning with Angst, the fourth novel in the Angst fantasy series, is now available for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo and on Google Play!

Burning with Angst: Three months after the attack on Princess Victoria, Angst learns that his friends are still missing, and his wife is kicking him out. If that’s not enough, the war between elements has taken its toll on Ehrde, and now, a war between nations seems inevitable. Fortunately, there are only two elements remaining. Unfortunately, they have combined forces to destroy Angst and everyone he loves. It seems Angst's midlife crisis may be anything but simple.

None of this was in the hero rulebook he never got, but Angst has a plan! It’s not a very good plan—actually, it’s a really bad plan, but with help from some unexpected allies, he sets out to find his friends, save Unsel, and return home before his wife leaves him forever. What could possibly go wrong?

Burning with Angst is the fourth fantasy novel in David J. Pedersen’s Angst series. Join Angst and his friends as they continue…A Midlife Crisis in Medieval Times

You can purchase your copy of Burning with Angst at the sites below:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Google | Kobo | Signed Print Copy

I've also been asked by several if they could purchased signed copies of all four Angst novels. You can buy all four books for $60.00, domestic shipping in the United States is included. Please be sure who you want the books inscribed to (or if you don't want them signed). These will ship as soon as I receive copies of book 4.

Inscription name here:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pre-order Burning with Angst

You can now pre-order copies of the fourth novel in the Angst fantasy series! Burning with Angst can be ordered from the links below for your Kindle, iPad, Kobo and on Google Play! Burning with Angst will be released on 12/16/16.

Apple iTunes
Google Play

*When you place a print order, you will be ordering directly from me. I will be placing an order for all pre-ordered print versions on Monday after my proof arrives. They will be shipped out the day after I receive them, I'll update Facebook and Twitter with expected dates. Thanks!