Do You Have Angst?: July 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Moments Count

I had a very frustrating weekend. If you read my last blog post you will understand why. I was upset with the time, effort and money spent to attend the con. That expressed itself in everything I did Saturday and Sunday. We went out to 6th street in Austin, and I was about as obnoxious as I get. I vented my frustration to other writers at the con who were willing to listen. I was irritable on the 11+ hour drive home and I’m pretty sure I was upset at everyone in my life for something, or more likely nothing. This isn’t usually how I am, but it happens when the universe conspires against me. Damn universe.

I was going to take one of several naps yesterday when I discovered on Facebook that someone I knew from High School took their life over the weekend. I was not close to this person, he wasn’t a long lost brother, but from everything I knew and remembered, he was a good man. When he friended me on Facebook this last year, he had a few nice things to say in passing about my writing. That would sum up our relationship, it was always friendly, polite, and in passing.

This isn’t a blog post about him, other than to say my heart goes out to his family and friends. What else do you say? They are the ones affected by his decision. I’ve been surrounded by people with depression most of my life, and I’ve seen what it drives them to do. A cousin who lived with my family attempted suicide. I’ve known others who have been successful at it. But, I’ll never understand.

I also bear no judgment for him and the decision that he has made. It’s not my job to judge, nor is it a job I want. It's the easiest thing in the world to go on about what people should have or shouldn't have done. I just know that my universe kicks me in the balls once and awhile, I don't even want to imagine what his did to him.

This blog post is simply a reminder to me that once and awhile I need to forgive the universe and its constant transgressions. This week I’ll visit my parents like I try to do, I’ll see a movie with my wife, I’ll spend some time with my daughter, and will call my son at college. This weekend, when I see my friends, I’ll hug them like I mean it. Because next week someone may decide to move, or they may become sick, or do something I won’t understand – and I’ve already forgotten what I was upset about in the car.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Armadillocon 36 - Lessons Learned

My air conditioner went out for about 15 minutes during my drive home from Armadillocon in Austin, TX. I had been driving for about an hour, the weather was every hot and sticky analogy you can come up with and I was stuck in traffic at 2:30pm on a Sunday. Cursing didn’t help. Since the air conditioner was blowing out hot steam, I turned it off, rolled down the windows, and sweat off several pounds. On a whim and a prayer I turned the air back on. It was freezing cold and stayed that way. The drive home was long but not uncomfortable, and I listened to an entire audiobook, which was fun. I finally arrived at 1:30am Monday morning. This pretty much sums up Armadillocon.

When I choose to go to a convention, I try to research so I can prepare and know what to expect. Most indie authors are wary to divulge con sales, only sharing “I sold a lot” or “I didn’t do well” because who really knows how many you should be selling? The first con I participated in I sold 15 books and another writer posted later he sold none. In comparison, I guess I did well, but were sales great? The only feedback I could get about Armadillocon was from another author who said it was pretentious. I smiled and nodded politely because that really didn’t tell me how many books to bring. I should have listened closer.

For posterity, I’m going to briefly share what Armadillocon is, and what it isn’t. Armadillocon is a literary convention where writers gather to discuss their craft. Established authors talk on subjects like ‘Overhauling a Character’, ‘Perfecting Your Locations’, and ‘Literary Archives’. If you are learning to write, seeking advice, looking for input, or get a lot out of the steps other writers go through to produce a finished work – this is the con you should attend. This is a networking convention. If you feel like you can advance your writing career by meeting published authors, and maybe even a publisher, go to Armadillocon.

This isn’t why I typically go to conventions. My goal is to find my audience, connect with them on a personal level, and have fun with friends while doing it. I’ve gone to enough conventions that I can take a relatively accurate guess at attendance based on the number of books sold. Based on my equation, I’m pretty sure nobody attended this con, which is a first for me.

I did have some fun this weekend with my dear friends Cristi and Brandon. We enjoyed some of the best people watching Austin has to offer on 6th street. I also traded books with our neighbor Christy King and look forward to reading her novel Talia. My heart goes out to the writer who was visiting from Germany and had purchased a table with the same goal and results as the rest of us.

My request to Armadillocon, don’t have a dealer room – or at the very least don’t sell tables to authors. 3 authors I spoke with said they would probably never get a table at another Science Fiction and Fantasy convention. I think I talked them out of that.

My advice to new writers who are learning and getting established: if you are in the area, definitely attend Armadillocon. There are a lot of learned hosts with great knowledge and strong opinions, they have plenty to share. When you are done listening, go home, put away any notes you took at the con, and write the story you want to write in the way that works for you – because that’s truly where your best work will come from.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Armadillocon 36 - We're Going To Texas!

In a few short days we will be participating in our first ArmadilloCon 36 in Austin, TX Friday, July 25th through Thursday, July 27th.  I'm really looking forward to attending this con for the first time! It's always fun to meet people, spend time with friends, and stand next to Cristi while she gets all the attention! ;)

I feel very fortunate that they have invited me to participate on panels and do a reading. If you are attending the con, please stop by so you can point and laugh as I fumble awkwardly and pretend to know what I'm talking about. You can find me here, at these times:

Friday 6:00PM Conference Center: Required Fantasy - Fantasy has been around since biblical times. Have you read the most important books in the genre?
Friday 9:00PM Conference Center: The Doctor Who Number Game - Debating the finale, renumbering the doctors and thoughts on Peter Capaldi.
Friday 11:00PM Room D: TV Shows You Should Be Watching - There are some very good science fiction and fantasy shows out there. Do you need to update your recorder?
Saturday 10:00AM Room D: Elemental Magic - What is elemental magic and which stories use it best?
Saturday 2:00PM Southpark D: Reading

We are bringing our party to Armadillocon! Please visit us in the dealer room and you will be able to:

  • Meet Cristi - Gorgeous Angst spokesmodel and amazing person
  • Pose with Chryslaenor, full size replica of the giant sword from Angst 
  • Purchase signed copies of Angst and Buried in Angst
  • Get a free poster of Cristi with your purchase
  • Sign up to win an Angst T-shirt

The dealers room will be open:
Friday 2-7
Saturday 10-6
Sunday 11-4

ArmadilloCon 36 will be held at:
Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark
4140 Governors Row
Austin TX US 78744

You can learn more on their website: