Do You Have Angst?: February 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Look Forward - Could This Be My Future?

Facebook recently produced a feature that compiles highlights of images and posts users have made since joining into a video montage called A Look Back. If you use Facebook, and haven’t watched your video, it can be created by going here: Personally, I found my video to be touching. Some of my friends’ videos, maybe not so much.  Fortunately in those cases, a recently added feature allows you to edit your video, removing some of the less desirable images.

This gave me a fun idea. What if you could Look Forward? Since that feature isn’t available (yet), I had to make the video myself, and came up with my own collection of daydreams and what-ifs, including some events that probably will happen, some that could happen, and a few that are highly unlikely (to be very optimistic.)
Being both color-blind and artistically challenged, you’ll be able to spot the edited photos pretty quick. A good example is the before and after of the J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon picture at the San Diego Comicon. (Hey, I think they’d make a pretty good Angst movie, don’t you?) I stretched out the table, the background, and even made myself a name badge! (Insert nerd snort here.)

Needless to say, most of the pictures were adjusted in some way. The image of me holding a baby was actually a recreation. That's me looking old today, but the baby is my son James from 20 years ago.

I also cheated a little; most of the pictures in the original Facebook version don’t include titles. I included some to help the pictures make sense to those who don’t know me. At times it’s a little bit of a challenge to read all of my “future posts” without pausing the video, but I hope that if you do, you find them to be fun.

A lot of thanks to Angie, Joanne, James, Cristi and Brandon! By now they’ve got to be more than a little warn out from my requests to “come take a look at this one” or “what do you think of this picture”! I also have to thank Facebook for the Look Back video; it was well done and much appreciated. Finally, a shoutout to Gage Skidmore for letting me hack up his great picture of Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams. You can find Gage’s great work on Flickr here, and his Facebook page here.

A direct link to the video can be found here! If you like it be sure to share with your friends!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cons and Costumes

About two years ago I sought a way to promote my first fantasy novel Angst in some way other than Twitter.  I really wanted to meet people who loved fantasy and science fiction as much as I do. My goal wasn’t just to find customers, I wanted to actually make friends and create a discourse where people who read my books felt included. I wanted, and still want, everyone to feel like they can say hi, ask questions, and be a part of this thing I’m trying to do.

I discovered ConQuesT, a long running and well respected Science Fiction and Fantasy convention here in Kansas City, and purchased a dealer table. I hadn’t been to a con since high school and didn’t have a clue what to expect. I assumed there would be other indie writers there, and was concerned I’d be lost in the crowd. I wanted to do more than bring a stack of books.

I came across a picture of Mandy in her Red Sonja costume from Comicon, and shared it with my friend Allie. Allie has been very supportive of my writing and was excited about wearing a costume, especially if it covered a bit more. Using pop can tab technology I crafted my first creation, a “chain mail” skirt and top. While the skirt wasn’t comfortable, and impossible to sit in, it was light, shiny, and looked great. (As did she!) Everyone loved the whole package, Allie in her costume, her personality, and we gave away a poster of her in the costume with every purchase. I sold books, made friends, and haven’t gotten off the ride yet!

After a year of cons Allie retired (hey, it’s a lot of work being famous!) Fortunately I was saved from going to cons alone by my dear friend Cristi. Cristi is on my alpha team for critiquing the book and knows all about Angst, and Buried in Angst. She’s also gorgeous, and fun! So I got to work on a second costume last year that utilized aluminum scales. It was a great year, we went to even more conventions, sold a lot of books, and had an awesome time. I’m excited that Cristi has agreed to come back to cons with me again in 2014!

I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I made her wear the same old costume without anything cool to change into! So in December I started my new project. I wanted to go back to pop can tabs. I like working with them, they look great, and I had learned a lot from Allie’s original costume.

Creating the costume is a labor of love. I’ve had no formal training in sewing, tailoring, or any related
skill, just ideas, patience, and a very helpful wife. After a month and a half of late nights and pin pricked thumbs, I finally finished a new chain mail costume for Cristi. Let me tell you that Cristi didn’t exactly have the easy job. Not only was she incredibly patient with me and my constant requests to try on the costume as I was making it, she’s also been working out every week to look as amazing as she does. Cristi's boyfriend, Brandon, put her on a weight lifting program that has even looking even better than last year. My thanks to them both.

The end result is awesome, and fun! Cristi will be appearing with me at conventions throughout 2014, and both last year’s poster, and the new poster below, will be available with every book purchase made at cons.  To see if we are coming to a science fiction and fantasy convention near you, be sure to check out the current list here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

We have winners!

My sincere thank you for all of the shoutouts helping me promote Angst and my contest over the last several weeks. Below you will find a list of everyone who will be receiving a T-Shirt. In addition, I'll be sending out copies of Angst and Buried in Angst to two people below.

Paige Cowling
Susan Lee Burton
Mary Lowery
Paul Martin
Karen Y Bynum
Jim Arrowood
Candi Doss Lutjen
Cheri Holt
Jacci Bradley
Rick Drescher

I need your address and your shirt size for a standard mens t-shirt. Please message me on Twitter or Facebook, or email me at angst(dot)novels at . Thanks again, and if you want to be informed of more contests, I have a newsletter specifically for contests and book release news - feel free to sign up here .