Do You Have Angst?: March 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Angst Team Profile: Matt

I have always had a tendency to keep people. Back in the summer of 1978, my parents moved from Omaha, NE to Kansas City, MO. Dad worked hard and did well. They weren’t sure about the public schools in the area (that I eventually graduated from) so they put me in a private school that was walking distance from our house. That’s where I met Matt.

It didn’t take long for us to become best of friends. We’ve had many adventures growing up. Over the years, we were superheroes and software developers on our Apple IIe computers. We created our own newspaper. We sang obnoxious songs to beautiful young women. We tried to make a Lego movie way before Lego did. We went to every opening night blockbuster movie you could name and quoted every line you could think of.

Matt and I went to colleges in different states, but still stayed in touch. (Snail mail and phone calls, because we’re old like that.) We were the best man at each other’s weddings. He is my son’s godfather. We’ve climbed up fourteeners together, and fragged in the New Year with video games for over a decade. There are stories upon stories that I could share, and probably shouldn’t. It comes down to this. We’ve been friends for almost 38 years, and that will never end.

My writing “career” started with a newspaper by Matt and I called The Kansas City Gazette. There were maybe five issues of stories, articles and comics. Each one was hand typed and then copied at my dad’s office to be sold for .25 each. I had the great desire to be a journalist back in that day, and Matt was always there to support and participate. He drew some great comics, and wrote articles far more politically savvy than any 6th grader I knew.

Years later in high school, I wrote a lot of stories, including my favorite, “The Unknown Knight,” featuring a forlorn character filled with angst. (Go figure.) Matt encouraged me to continue with my writing more than anyone, and I did. When we graduated from college, I started my first book which was similar to The Matrix. Matt was one of the few who read it, and pushed me to write more, yet, without actually being pushy.

That’s the thing about Matt. He has always been one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. He’s a better father than I’ve ever been for his two amazing kids. That bastard was late for gaming one Friday night, and then had to rush from watching Deadpool Saturday afternoon, all so he could see his son in a play both nights. :) He has been married to his lovely wife Susan for 17 years, and they are parents to two amazing children! Honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of the man I’ve known for so long.

Matt is crazy smart. Not only because he is a software developer, but the man reads and understands. A lot of people read, and you can ask them what they read and they will look at you with blank faces. Matt’s the guy I go to before purchasing something, because chances are he has already read up on it and will provide valuable input. It doesn’t matter if you are discussing investments or computer parts, he just knows.

Fast forward through twenty years of marriage and kids and jobs for both of us, I finally started writing Angst. At 25% I really questioned what the hell I was doing, so I decided to share it with him. In spite of everything going on in his life, Matt read it immediately and said go, so I did and shared with others. I met with my alpha team after the first half of Angst was complete and Matt was the only one to show up with a stack of notes. His input was amazing.

Recent comments on Angst 4!
Funny story: Matt read from those notes about one of the women in the story, about how she was beautiful and curvy and voluptuous...if you’ve read my books, you’re familiar. He read the description of another woman, and another. They all sounded pretty amazing. Matt then read out loud about one of the men from the stories and went on to describe that they had arms. I hadn’t included a single description for any man. Not one. He was the only one to catch that. Anyone that tells you friends shouldn’t critique your work can go fuck themselves. My oldest friend had totally saved me from this blatant oversight. He made Angst better, and continues to do so.

To this day, Matt encourages me to write more than anyone. I couldn’t be more thankful to have him on my side after all of these years. While we may not serenade pretty girls these days, not much else has changed.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

My 2016 Visioncon Adventure

Rio and Punk Cosplay

Whoa! I'm not sure what happened, but I think a con passed by at light speed! Isn't that always the case? The things you look forward to the most take for-ev-er to get here and then when it arrives, time speeds up as you try  to take it all in? This happened to me the weekend of February 26th, 2016, and  I'm pretty sure that blur was Visioncon 25!

Since first attending four years ago, I've always been a fan. Those coordinating and attending have always been gracious and supportive. This year, something came together, both for Visioncon and for me. First of all, Visioncon became VISIONCON! They turned the Branson Hilton Convention Center into a Valhalla of geekdom. The vendor room no longer felt squeezed into my garage. It was this great sprawling thing that provided wide aisles where gifted cosplayers could traverse unhindered. I had room to breathe, and space to tell my tale. It just felt good to be there!

I was on my own Thursday night and all of Friday, but I still won't admit to waiting in the hotel lobby like a puppy looking out the window Friday evening as Cristi, Marina and Mayra rolled in. If you were at Visioncon, or saw the pictures, you probably noticed I had 3 spokesmodels for this con. I’d like to say this happened because I’m actually Bruce Wayne and hot 20-somethings are falling all over me all the time. The truth is, I have some amazing friends and things just sort of fell into place. Marina and Mayra are Cristi’s best friends, and close friends of mine as well. They’ve both joined us at cons in Kansas City, and it worked out that they could come to Visioncon. I couldn't be more grateful!

I refer to them as my muses because they are as beautiful as they are inspiring. We had an amazing time outside of the con, even if I totally failed at trying to be 20 again. There were some odd looks thrown at us from our waitress at one restaurant, to the point I finally explained I was married to all of them. I don't think she found it as funny as we did. One of my favorite moments was when my muses arrived in full costume Saturday afternoon. The line of photographers and numerous camera flashes made it feel like paparazzi at a Hollywood Red Carpet.

My muses did amazing! Not only did they do an incredible job helping promote my Angst novels, they made the con a lot of fun for me! A special thanks to Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations for providing their costume tops and belts!

This was also my best Visioncon to date for sales. I even pre-sold quite a few copies of my fourth fantasy novel, Burning with Angst (even though I'm only about halfway done with the rough draft.) One reader picked up a copy of Angst on Friday, read the entire book Friday night and purchased the rest of the series Saturday. I couldn't have been more flattered.

I should shout out my excellent neighbor at the con, who I spent all of my downtime pestering. If you enjoy romantic urban fantasy, be sure to look up Lisa Medley! You can learn more about her books here:

I didn't think the con could get much better than all of this, but I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brandon and Nate Shaw for their “Brothers on Whatever” show, which airs on St. Louis radio station 920AM. This was my first radio interview, and I had a blast. I’ve been listening to the entirety of the show throughout the week, and these guys are great! I highly recommend listening to their show either live, streaming, or by download! Thanks to both of them for the opportunity, and to Ed Gehlert for inviting me. You can find my portion of their show below.

You can find pictures of the con posted to my Facebook page. And finally, thanks to everyone who attended and organized Visioncon 25, I'm already excited for next year!

Now, back to writing book 4: Burning with Angst!