Do You Have Angst?: May 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

ConQuestKC was a success!

I feel like a wrung out sponge, and while I officially declare this Nap Day my brain is in go mode after attending my first Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention ConQuestKC, so I really need to share.  I had a blast!  The show was a lot of fun to attend.  I had the opportunity to meet some great people, interact with talented writers, and sell some books.  My attendance at ConQuestKC will encompass several posts.  Today I'm going to share my enthusiasm in regards to the fun aspects of the show.  I will also post about the prep work that went into making the show successful for me, and finally I will post my thoughts for anyone who is considering participating in similar shows and the business side of attending.

A sincere thank you to everyone who organized ConQuestKC, and kept it running smoothly.  It's like a special-effects laden movie; you only notice if the special effects are bad.  The fates were against the organizers.  The Sheraton is under heavy construction so parking was limited, the lobby almost inaccessible, and getting from the dealer room to the meeting rooms where panels were hosted was a trek.  The show, for me anyway, still went incredibly smooth.  It could have been a disaster and I barely noticed the inconveniences.

A special shout-out to Kat Donavan and her partner in crime, Nick "McKay" Seddon.  Kat was amazing at organizing the panels and keeping everyone on task; I'm already looking forward to next year.  I had the pleasure of participating in several panels with McKay; he is both knowledgeable of all things geek and he kept the topics fun and positive.

I'm sure Allie is already tired of my gratitude, but at least half the books I sold were because of her braving the costume and inviting people into the booth.  As she would say, she totally rocked the chain mail costume I made, and the other costumes she brought to the Con!  It takes more than hotness to inspire the buzz she created.  A traditional 'booth babe' can draw the eye, but it takes an intelligent, confident and well-spoken person like Allie to really inspire that great a reaction.  Those who had the pleasure to meet Allie can understand why she is one of my best friends, and I couldn't have done the show without her!

My lovely wife and editor, who is also the most patient and understanding woman on Earth, did an awesome job of keeping me on task as I prepared for ConQuestKC over the last several months.  She also covered the booth and answered questions throughout the Con as I attended panels and Allie posed with attendees.  Thanks Angie!

I met some great people at ConQuestKC, and we were fortunate enough to be neighbors with some of the coolest people at the Con!  Chamber of Champions is an online hobby game store based in central Iowa.  It was a pleasure meeting Diane, Scott, Mac and Keegan.  You definitely need to follow them if you use Facebook or Twitter, and keep an eye out for their website which is under construction but will be open for business soon!

I had the pleasure of getting to meet and host panels with several talented authors, including Dennis Young, author of Secret Fire; Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of The Worker Prince; Tori St. Claire, author of Stripped; and Ursula Vernon, author and illustrator of Digger.  Needless to say I walked away with more books than I have time to read, and I'm looking forward to hiding away with them once I'm done with my Buried in Angst.

If ConQuestKC was to be measured solely on the people I met, I can't imagine attending a more successful show!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Find your Angst at the ConQuestKC Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

I’m too excited for this coming weekend’s convention!  Below is my schedule for booth time and a list of panels I’ll be participating in.   Be sure to stop by and visit if you’re at the Con!

ConQuestKC is this coming Memorial Day Weekend -- May 25-27, 2012. Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, Kansas City, MO  You can learn more about the show on their site 

Friday                   05-25-12
12:00 Dealer room opens
5:00   Benton Room B  Star Wars: The Saga Continues: Movies, TV, Books, Games, oh my!  The Star Wars universe continues to expand with new books, video games, and movie re-releases.  Not to mention the Clone Wars cartoon and the in the works TV Series!
6:00  Dealer room closes
6:00  Benton Room B  Cancelled before their time: A Discussion on the favorite TV shows that could have used another season or five as well as theories on where the plotlines would have taken us.

Saturday              05-26-12
10:00 Dealer room opens
5:00  Atlanta Ballroom The Campbell Conference  -- Some authors are ditching the print industry all together and making a nice living off of the self publishing and novella trade for ebook.  We'll talk about the different writing styles of the two markets and why one might be more for you than another.
6:00  Dealer room closes

Sunday                 05-27-12
10:00     Dealer room opens
11:00     Benton Room B  Star Trek: The saga continues. New movies, books, video games. Why is star trek the voyage that keeps on going?
2:00       Northrup Room  Family Friendly and Hopeful:  Yesterday's SciFi  - Relive the good old days of Lost in Space, Star Trek, and Stargate, where the good guys always won and the heroes never died.  Can this style of Scifi survive in the world today, or is the failing of a show like Terra Nova a sign that the lighter side of the genre is dead?
4:00       Dealer Room Closes 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inspiration from Fantasy Art

I love art, but I’ve never had an eye for it.  I tell people it is because I’m red-green color blind (the same excuse I use for the clothes I wear) but the truth is I could be completely blind for much of it.  For example, show me modern art and often I just don’t get it.  Throw around terms, or styles, or periods, and you may as well be talking in programming code.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire the artist, and that they are expressing themselves, but often my little-art-brain just doesn’t get it.

Thankfully, there is fantasy art.  Amazing people can take the type of stuff that I enjoy writing and visualize it enough to paint it, or draw it, or medium-of-your-choice-it.  This blows my mind because I can’t draw a meaningful curved line if my life depended on it.  Give me a ruler, and I’ll make you a box.  That’s all I’ve got.

Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at the Spectrum Fantastic Art show in Kansas City with my wife and daughter.  This wasn’t a typical fantasy show with writers and and costumed fans, throw in some talented local artists and voila you have a fun weekend.  This was about art, and some amazing people that express their love of everything fantasy through their art.

First, I’m glad I didn’t come prepared to buy anything.  There were original pieces being sold for over $20K.  Angie and I had a fun conversation of how amazing it would be to decorate an entire house with paintings from this show.  Everything was on display, including traditional fantasy, commercial, and erotica (according to my 13 yo daughter, there were too many boobs).

Second, it was inspiring.  I’ve been told many times that you are supposed to read A LOT in your genre.  I don’t.  The last thing I want to do is accidentally steal or borrow from someone else’s work.  There have been plenty of occasions that I’ve said, “Damn, I would write something like that!”  So I’m careful when I read and see things, but this show was full of what-if inspirations.  “I could do this in the next Angst novel!” came to mind multiple times.  It wasn’t about stealing artist’s ideas and fitting them into my stories, their art became triggers for ideas that will grow into their own.  I’m excited.

Finally, I got to meet people.  A Twitter friend, Eric Wieringa kindly asked me to visit his booth.  It was a pleasure to meet Eric and see his amazing work.

The highlight of my weekend was seeing old friends Jeff Miracola and his lovely and talented wife Silvia Acevedo .  Jeff’s work with Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and his children’s book Monster Isle  is both highly acclaimed and well known.  Everything Silvia has accomplished is equally impressive, and the biography on her site doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she has done.  To say it was a treat to see them both is an understatement, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.  I brought them a copy of Angst, and then we had a good laugh over how ‘excited’ they were to receive it.  It was good fun, and Jeff provided some great advice for the fantasy show, ConQuestKC, I get to participate in next week.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

KC Comic Book and Gaming Stores: ConQuestKC Pre-show Promotion

My friend Allie and I had a lot of fun Saturday driving around Kansas City and visiting with local Comic Book and Gaming store owners!  I had hoped that some of the stores would be willing to hang posters I had printed promoting my participation in ConQuestKC.  The results of these visits were even better than I could have expected.

Soon, several of the stores will be stocking Angst, and I’m excited to announce that A to Z Comics in Blue Springs, MO has copies on their shelves now!  A number of stores have offered to host book signings as well over the summer.

Not only was it a pleasure to meet everyone, but I’m both touched, and excited at the response.

Below you will find a list of some awesome stores in the Kansas City area.  These are great places to do business, and I highly encourage everyone to stop by and check out their stores!

A to Z Comics
1300 SW Us Highway 40
Blue Springs, MO 64015

TableTop Game & Hobby
6990 West 105th Street
Overland Park, KS  66212

31st Century Games
2113 East 151st Street
Olathe, KS  66062

B Bop Comics South
5336 West 95th Street
Prairie Village, KS 66207

Big City Comix and Games 
12317 State Line Road
Kansas City, MO 64145

Elite Comics
11842 Quivira Rd
Overland Park, KS 66210

Pulp Fiction
1100 Southeast Blue Parkway
Lee's Summit, MO 64063