100 Things I’m Thankful for in 2015

By Nathan On November 26th, 2015 | 28 views

Happy Thanksgiving, True Believers!

As is my annual holiday tradition, here’s my list of what I’m thankful for this year (it’s kinda what the holiday is about, right?). It’s a great exercise not only to keep one humble but also to remind oneself of what he has instead of focusing on what you lack. It’s a great way to keep perspective.

So, without further adieu and in no particular order (except the first few)…

  1. God the Father, for His unfailing love and faithfulness.
  2. Jesus Christ, Whose death and resurrection saved mankind.
  3. The Holy Spirit, Who guides me everyday.
  4. My salvation.
  5. The Bible.
  6. My wonderful family.
  7. That I’m an uncle.
  8. My nephew, Landis.
  9. My amazing friends.
  10. My equally amazing writer friends.
  11. For all the conventions I attended this year.
  12. My car, which I named Silver Sable.
  13. My church.
  14. For volunteering with RemedyLive.
  15. All my gaming consoles and video games.
  16. My book collection.
  17. My movie collection.
  18. My “new” laptop.
  19. My music collection.
  20. My day job.
  21. That I’ve paid down my student loans almost $2,500 since February.
  22. My cosplays.
  23. That I’m a published author.
  24. Hades Publications, which published my first novel and still has me under contract.
  25. CreateSpace, which publishes my self-published books.
  26. That I published two new books this year (Ninjas and Talking Trees & 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom)
  27. My strong sense of justice.
  28. The house I live in.
  29. My talent for writing.
  30. all for One Productions.
  31. Volunteering for afO (see #25).
  32. My YouTube show, “But I Digress…”.
  33. For being part of the team writing Children of the Wells.
  34. For writing for www.Examiner.com.
  35. For writing for www.GigaGeekMagazine.com.
  36. That I joined Twitter.
  37. That I was able to pitch a book to a publisher on Twitter.
  38. For all the podcasts I’ve been on this year.
  39. That I’m creative.
  40. My intellectual mind.
  41. My poet’s soul.
  42. My warrior’s heart.
  43. That I can read.
  44. My “new” iPhone 5S.
  45. That I’m an American.
  46. That I’m a Hoosier.
  47. Summertime.
  48. October (wonderful month!)
  49. Changing seasons.
  50. Fans For Christ.
  51. Christian Gamers Guild.
  52. GameChurch.
  53. My “famous” T-shirt collection.
  54. My sense of humor.
  55. Puns.
  56. The Constitution, which lists my inalienable rights.
  57. My “superpowers” (rarely get sick, my “BS” sense, look much younger than I am, heal fast from injuries).
  58. My health.
  59. Netflix.
  60. That I got to meet some awesome celebrities this year (Jenna Coleman, Carey Fischer, Sophie Aldrich, Summer Glau, Marina Sirtis, John de Lancie, etc.)
  61. My camera.
  62. My knack for photography.
  63. Pretzels.
  64. Exercising at the gym.
  65. My TARDIS cookie jar.
  66. Freelance Writers Den.
  67. My comic book collection.
  68. Chimp’s Comics.
  69. B.E. Comics.
  70. My board game collection.
  71. My nerdiness.
  72. The police and their service.
  73. The military and their service.
  74. My journal(s).
  75. My website (www.NathanJSMarchand.com).
  76. My fandoms.
  77. Gen-Con.
  78. The family pets (6 cats a dog).
  79. Barnes and Noble.
  80. Spaghetti.
  81. Highland toffee (the family recipe)
  82. www.Amazon.com.
  83. Movie theatres.
  84. My college degree.
  85. Running water.
  86. That I’m tall.
  87. That I still have all my hair.
  88. Football.
  89. That I got to play softball with great co-workers/friends.
  90. (Most of) My coworkers.
  91. The generosity of others.
  92. The TUFW Alumni and Friends Center.
  93. That I attended TUFW.
  94. The YMCA.
  95. For living in the countryside.
  96. Plumbing.
  97. The Internet.
  98. Ballroom/social dancing.
  99. Dance Tonight and its magnificent staff.
  100. And finally…that there’s a new Star Wars film!!! 😀

What are you thankful for this year?

Setting Boundaries (or, “The Line Must Be Drawn Here!”)

By Nathan On November 19th, 2015 | 68 views

Remember that classic Picard speech from Star Trek: First Contact? Lately, I’ve found myself quoting its most famous line:

Except it’s supposed to be “farther.” That was the actual line and proper usage. (Yes, I’m a grammar Nazi). Silly meme. :P

Why? Because I’ve realized I need to set boundaries for myself. No, I’m not talking about ways to keep people from touching me or whatnot. This has to do with time management, something I’ve written about here in many past blogs.
The problem I have is I tend to take on as many projects as possible. Some of them, like my YouTube show, are self-imposed. Others I volunteer for impulsively. For example, my editor at GigaGeek Magazine said she got an advance copy for a hardback book collecting reprints of early Superman comics and wanted someone to write a review. I jumped at it despite 1) already trying to make a video with a fellow Giga writer (which still isn’t done); 2) attempting to write at least two reviews a week for Examiner.com (which I’ve been lax on); 3) writing a new novella for Children of the Wells (which I wanted to do as a mini-NaNoWriMo); 4) writing the sequel to Pandora’s Box (which I haven’t touched in months); 5) going to book signings (which I’m thankfully done with for the rest of 2015); 6) working a part-time day job that feels like a full-time job; and 7) trying to spend time with family and friends. Among other things.


I think I might be something of a workaholic overachiever—except I’ve let my attention get so divided, I haven’t made much progress on many of my projects. Heck, I haven’t blogged in nearly a month despite the fact that I promised myself I’d post one each Tuesday and/or Thursday each week. I used to be crazy-good (for the most part) at time management back in college. I had set routines and rituals. I knew how long each assignment would take me. But I was just concerned with getting good grades, not making a living. On the other hand, not everything I do to make money I enjoy, so I look for avenues through which to be creative and/or promote myself (hence my YouTube channel).

The worst part of being an independent author is most, if not all, of the promotion I have to do myself. I can’t just sit down and write all day while a marketing department makes me famous. I really, really wish I could most days. Then I could feel like what I do in my free time—i.e. my social life, etc.—didn’t have to compete with everything else I do. At least, that’s what I’d like to think would happen.

Being that I have a very practical/pragmatic father and graduated college shortly before the “Great Recession,” I picked up this habit of taking whatever opportunity I could get and not wasting it. Subsequently, I developed a desire to try new things to get myself out of a subpar situation (again, hence my YouTube channel) because it seemed like traditional methods weren’t working. It’s a weird combination of what seems like diametrically opposed mentalities. (Have I ever mentioned that human beings are weird, and I tend to be weirder than most?) 😛

With 2016 approaching, it’s time to make some changes. I’m not sure what all of those will be, but I do know that it’ll involve saying, “No,” to some things I’ve been saying, “Yes,” to, and vise versa.

More on that as it develops.

Happy (belated) Back to the Future Day!

By Nathan On October 22nd, 2015 | 50 views

As I’m sure social media told you, Wednesday was Back to the Future Day. Yes, in Back to the Future, Part II, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) traveled to the date October 21, 2015. He had a serious case of, well, future shock and discovered the iconic hoverboard.

If I hadn’t bene busy, I would’ve posted a blog about this on the actual day. But considering Marty had a bad habit of being late, I suppose I’m in good company.

The Back to the Future films were always popular in my family growing up. My first exposure to them was coming across either Part I or Part II on TV, but it was always either at the end of them, so I was a bit confused by what was going on. Also, ‘80s cartoons taught me to hate the words “To be continued…” since I was never sure if I could see the conclusion. Then when I was about ten years old, we went to McDonald’s, which was doing this odd promotion where customers could get a VHS tape—yes, I’m old enough to remember those, shut up!—of either a kids movie or an adult movie (no, not porn). One of those was the original Back to the Future. It was the only one we ever bought. (I’ve not seen a restaurant do anything like this since).

I watched that VHS constantly. It pushed all the right buttons for me: it was funny, exciting, and science fictional. I loved Marty and especially Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). I always looked forward to seeing those two actors, especially Lloyd, in other things. My favorite scene of the first film was always when Marty wears the radiation suit and scares his dad into asking his mom out by saying he was an extraterrestrial named Darth Vader and was from the planet Vulcan. Referencing two of my favorite franchises is always a plus.

Ironically, though it was Part II that inspired the unofficial holiday Wednesday, that was the one I watched the least. I saw Part III a lot because it was aired on TV at least once a year. I was into that one because I had an obsession with trains as a kid (and so did my brother Jarod), so the exciting climax with the steam engine pushing the DeLorean and then being rebuilt as a time machine was delightful.

I have vague memories of watching the animated series that aired Saturday mornings on CBS. It was hosted by Lloyd as Doc Brown. It always ended with him demonstrating some sort of science experiment after the animated story was done. I swear to you the guy who did the demo was none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy! That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see him when he got his own show a few years later.

My fondest memory of Back to the Future, though, is that it’s the first film trilogy I watched in one run. I was sixteen at the time. I’d suffered a traumatic eye injury (long story), and was bedridden for two weeks. I was told to do nothing but watch TV and sleep since anything like reading or video games might worsen my injury. I got tired of daytime TV really fast. So, I had my parents rent all three movies, and I stayed up late watching them. I needed a good laugh. And hey, it worked. I have 20/20 vision now! J

These films are classics. They’re a rare example of a film trilogy that is truly interconnected and dependent on each other. They’re at once a product of their time and timeless. Hollywood has been rebooting/remaking many ‘80s classics, but I hope they never touch these. They could never be replicated.

How did you discover Back to the Future? What memories do you have of the trilogy?

My Full Tri-Con 2015 Report

By Nathan On October 20th, 2015 | 75 views

How many times can I apologize for missing “blog days” before you, dear readers, dump me like a bad boyfriend? It’s been a few weeks since I posted a video detailing some of my experiences at Tri-Con 2015 in Evansville, Indiana, and I promised a full blog on it, which only now am I writing.

I’ll say it, anyway: Sorry for the delay.

“And now for something completely different.”

Day One
Tri-Con got off to a rough start. I thought the vendor hall opened at noon, but it was gonna take me five hours to drive there. It didn’t help that I worked late the night before at my day job. So, I bought two bottles of 5-Hour Energy to get me through the day. I took one just before leaving and one more just before I arrived. Complicating matters, since both the CD player and tape player in Silver Sable (my car) weren’t working, I created a makeshift stereo system using my iPhone and a portable speaker. This disallowed me from using my phone’s GPS because of the battery drain, so I had to print out directions. It made things a bit more annoying.

My table.

My table.

After a harrowingly long drive, I arrived at the Holiday Inn where the con was being held. I was surprised to learn that the vendor hall opened at 2pm, and thanks to slipping from eastern time to central time (barely), I ended up being early instead of late. (I think. My brain was buzzing more than a beehive at the time). I set up shop and introduced myself to my neighbors, which included chiptunes artist Professor ShyGuy and anime crafts company Sweets Haven. I was glad we all got along since the vendor hall was cramped. The aisles were narrow and the vendors were practically sitting back-to-back.

I did manage a few sales that day. Here are photos of my first buyers (I regret I lost my note with their names. Sorry!):

DSCN9321 DSCN9323

As usual, I explored the convention and checked out the evening events. I quickly learned that this was a party con. I think I saw more drunk people during the three days of this small convention (400-500 in attendance, at most) than I did all four days of Gen-Con, which had 60,000 in attendance. One of the events I checked out briefly was a what I thought would be a concert, but it was more of a rave. Raves aren’t my thing, but I did take a few photos and videos of the dancers.

I left to check into my hotel room—courtesy of a friend of a friend—and ran into a woman I’d met in the dealer hall. She wanted to talk with me about some stuff. We ended up chatting for at least two hours about reconciling faith with fandom because she had concerns about her teenage son. She and her pre-teen daughter were the only Christians in her family, which made things even harder. I think that conversation was the most important one I had the entire weekend and was one of the biggest reasons God wanted me there. It was a miracle I was still awake since my energy drink had worn off.

I checked into the hotel room and met my roommates. They were a bit rough around the edges, but despite starting as strangers, we got along and became friends.

Day Two
I slept in a bit since the dealer hall didn’t open until 11pm, I think. I took that opportunity to get a photo-op with Michele Specht and Chuck Huber who, among other things, are cast members from the fan-created series Star Trek Continues. Both were enthusiastic about their work, especially Michele. My gosh! And people think I’m crazy on caffeine. She’s a whirlwind!

Me with Chuck Huber and Michele Specht (who accidentally cosplayed Kim Possible).

Me with Chuck Huber and Michele Specht (who accidentally cosplayed Kim Possible).

I regretted not wearing my 10th Doctor costume on Saturday like I normally do since I missed some great photo-ops.

Maids Café waitress.

Maids Café waitress.

As for the vendor hall, it was shockingly slow. The most interesting thing that happened was one of the waitresses from the Maids Café came by and asked vendors for orders, so I got homemade Butterfingers. They were delicious! I made sure to tip her.

A attended the Star Trek Continues screening/panel, though I missed the screening. It was still great seeing Michele and Chuck interact with fans, though.

Loki winning at Cards Against Humanity.

Loki winning at Cards Against Humanity.

The next event was another 21 and up party, so I skipped out on it. The alternative was an open play for Cards Against Humanity. I decided to watch before trying it, and I quickly learned it wasn’t the game for me (though I did make some great jokes while watching). I especially didn’t want to play when I saw Loki (a cosplayer) winning almost every round. He is Loki, after all.

Day Three
The last day of the con was one of the slowest, as you would imagine. I did wear my Doctor cosplay, but that was because I attended a “steampunk prayer service.” Only six or so people were there, but I still enjoyed it. It was presided over by an Anglican minister, so I got a taste of how that denomination conducted their services. It was educational. I gave the minister one of my business cards, and he came by later and bought a copy of 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom.

My favorite photo of the weekend. You might be cool, but you'll never be the Doctor riding a speeder bike while sonic-ing his enemies cool. :P

My favorite photo of the weekend. You might be cool, but you’ll never be the Doctor riding a speeder bike while sonic-ing his enemies cool. :P

When not in the dealer hall, I wandered around for some photo-ops. At 3pm, the vendor hall closed an hour before the con did, which was kinda weird. After packing up and saying goodbye to all my friends, new and old, I began the five-hour drive home.

The 42 Challenge
If you’ve followed my social media, you’ll know that my 42 co-author Eric Anderson, founder of Nerd Chapel, was attending Grand-Con in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that weekend and challenged me to see who could sell more copies of our devotional book. The loser would buy the winner a board game expansion. I was probably a bit overconfident. Eric beat me 20-6. It helped he went to a larger con, but that’s not an excuse. I will make good on my promise and buy him a game.

I hope you enjoyed this report. You can watch my video on the con here.

Godspeed, readers!

But I Digress…, Episode 32: Tricon 2015 Report

By Nathan On September 29th, 2015 | 77 views

“But I Digress…”
Hosted by Nathan Marchand
I just returned from a new convention called Tri-Con in Evansville, Indiana. I sold books there in its vendor hall. This video highlights many of my experiences at the convention.
The link to the full report coming soon!

What Will Be My Legacy?

By Nathan On September 22nd, 2015 | 120 views


According to Webster’s dictionary, it is “money or property left to someone by a will” or “anything handed down as from an ancestor.” Neither of these definitions fully encompass the word, though. They’re focused on material goods, and I think it goes well beyond the physical. A legacy is more about the influence someone leaves on others after they have died (or moved on to other things, perhaps).

Which makes the writing prompt for a writers group I attend—“What is my legacy?”—difficult for me to answer since I’m still amongst the living. I don’t know when I will die or what I will do between now and then. I could perish today or fifty years from now. My legacy would look much different, I think, depending on the timing.

When I was in college, a professor gave my classmates and I the assignment of writing our own obituary. It was his way of getting them to think about goal-setting, but it could also be said he wanted them to think about their legacies. I wrote mine assuming I’d live to be 100 and mentioned things like how many kids I had and the number of books I’d published. But it was wholly hypothetical, a “wish list,” if you will. None of it is guaranteed. But then again, we aren’t guaranteed anything in life.

All of that to say, I don’t know what my legacy will be. I don’t know if it will be in money, property, and/or influence. Proverbs 13:22a says, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” That, I think, speaks of legacy in the best and broadest sense. A man can leave material things through his goodness. An evil man can accumulate wealth. We know this all too well. But in all likelihood, he probably won’t share it let alone have anyone to leave it to. A good man, though, knows he can’t take his property with him, so he leaves it to the next generation so that they may use it. I’ve heard many stories of people who were struggling financially and were saved by an unexpected inheritance they received from a recently deceased relative. That thoughtfulness and kindness will be remembered far more than the money that was given. Indeed, the money disappeared quickly, but the freedom it allowed, if the inheritor was wise, lasted for many years. It may have even inspired the inheritor to do the same when he dies, continuing the cycle from generation to generation.

That is what I want my legacy to be. Whether or not I have much wealth give to others at my death, I want those who remember me to see me as an inspiration. That I would be an example of a life well-lived. A life that, through kindness, continues on even after death.

Indeed, it may be the closest thing to immortality a human being can achieve.

Upcoming Book Signings for 2015

By Nathan On September 15th, 2015 | 657 views

I haven’t kept up with listing dates for book signings for a while mostly because I haven’t had many for a long time. But with two new books out, I’ve been stepping up my game. I have four—that’s right, four—upcoming signings in the next several months! These include:

September 25-27: Tri-Con, Evansville, IN – This was a last-minute addition. I know the organizers for this convention, and they’ve been trying to get me to come for nearly a year. I kept postponing a commitment because I didn’t know if I’d be starting grad school this month. That didn’t pan out, so I inquired about getting a table several months ago. The cheaper tables were sold out, so I tried to get some writer friends to join me so we could get a larger table, but that sparked such a long debate, we missed that chance, too. Then last week I was asked to man the Fans For Christ/Christian Gamers Guild table at the convention, where I’ll also be selling 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom. At least, that’s what it seems. I’ve also been offered my own table. Yeah, it’s a little confusing. Hopefully, I’ll have it sorted out soon.

Tri-Con will be held at the Holiday Inn Airport. For more info, check out the convention’s website.

October 11: Joanna’s Treats, Kendallville, IN & the Cupbearer in Auburn, IN – My friend/co-author Nick Hayden and I will be two of many authors selling and signing books at Joanna’s, a family-owned ice cream parlor in Kendallville, Indiana, from 10AM-2PM. Then I’ll be joining many of the same authors at the Cupbearer in Auburn, Indiana, from 3PM-7PM. Joanna’s is located on Main Street in Kendallville, and the Cupbearer is across from the courthouse in Auburn.

November 7: Author Fair at Whitley County Historical Museum in Columbia City, IN – Nick Hayden and I will attend this author fair held at a small town museum. I don’t quite see the connection, but I’m not asking questions. These people contacted us themselves.

Writing and publishing workshops will be held from 10AM-12PM followed by the author fair from 1PM-4PM. For more info, go to the museum’s website.

November 14: Author Fair at Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN – Nick and I will return to the annual author fair at the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne. It’s being held from 1PM-4PM. You can get more info on the ACPL’s website.

I’m a Writer, not an Imposter!

By Nathan On September 10th, 2015 | 257 views

While at Gen-Con last month, a woman said something that struck me during one of the Writers Symposium panels I attended. She said that when she first started attending conventions after getting published and meeting some of her writer heroes, she suffered from Imposter Syndrome and felt like she didn’t deserve to be there. While she only mentioned it briefly, I knew exactly how she felt.

Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as “a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”

I’ve sometimes mused that the only reason I’m considered intelligent (I took an online IQ test as a college freshman that said mine was 135) is because the standards for intelligence had been lowered. Ever seen the film Idiocracy? That’s what I’m talking about. Couple that with being around friends like Nick Hayden (who won’t admit he’s a literary genius) and family like my brother Jarod who is super-talented and imaginative, and I feel like a midget among giants.

For example, a fellow Children of the Wells collaborator once said Nick creates complex characters and I wrote thrilling action scenes. Externally I appreciated what she said, but internally I was reeling. I liked that my stories were exciting, but creating great characters was a skill I thought every good writer needed to master. Action scenes were just window-dressing. (It didn’t help that she also said the hero I created for the serial was boring unless playing off of other characters while Nick’s were strong enough to work on their own). It was like she was saying Nick was Francis Ford Coppola and I was Michael Bay. I suddenly felt like the least talented person in the room.

When I hear back from readers, I sometimes find myself thinking, I have fans?! like I don’t deserve them. They tell me they love my books, and I almost blush from embarrassment. Sure, I’m a better writer than, say, that hack E.L. James, but I still feel like my stories and talent don’t hold a candle to my peers or the “truly successful” professionals out there (Neal Gaiman and Orson Scott Card, to name a few). Heck, when I’ve pitched The Day After to readers, I tell them I think the best story in the collection is Nick’s and not mine. (Jarod disagrees and says mine is the best, but I write that off as familial bias).

The reality of my situation is a mixed bag. I hold a degree in professional writing from a respected university and was taught by some of the best in the writing business, but if I was to look at my books’ actual sales numbers (or even just the number of reviews they have online), some would say that’s evidence that I’m not that good. I even had an agent—a woman I went to college with—tell me the book I sent her was well-written but wasn’t “trendy.” Yet, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve had readers tell me they loved my stuff when they read it. Heck, I had a new reader buy a copy of Ninjas and Talking Trees the last day of Gen-Con, and no sooner do I get home does she message me on my professional Facebook page to say she’d read a few chapters and now wanted links to the rest of my books. I didn’t know what to do with myself (other than send her the links, of course).

All of that to say that even at this year’s Gen-Con, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. Last year I had terrible book sales. I saw myself as the least successful writer in Authors’ Avenue. Indeed, I even thought I was a rank amateur compared to most, if not all, of my peers there. They’re obviously more talented, marketed, and connected than I am, I thought. It took about a day-and-a-half of good sales at this year’s con for me to start putting that behind me, but even by Saturday, I was still a bit depressed. The kicker was getting a pep talk from a guy (sadly, his name escapes me at the moment) who saw me at the Christianity and Media Panel the day before to bring me out of it. He bought a copy of 42: Disovering Faith Through Fandom and after hearing a bit of my story, said he saw how I could strike up a conversation with any random passerby and use that to draw them to my booth. He was sure God would use me to glorify Him by building relationships, and that I had just as much of a right to be there as my peers did. I needed to hear that.

All of this to say that I have to remind myself that I’m not an imposter. I’m not the writer-ly equivalent of a Cylon masquerading as a human. I am a writer. I have been published. I have readers and fans. They may be a small number now, but they will grow. I have the respect and friendship of my fellow artists. I have all of these things for a reason, and not because I’ve deceived anyone or deluded myself.

To paraphrase Dr. Leonard McCoy, “I’m a writer, not an imposter!”

My Mandatory Gen-Con 2015 Report (Part 4)

By Nathan On September 3rd, 2015 | 184 views

(Continued from Part 3).

Forgive me, True Believers, for my delay in completing this series. I do my best to post blogs on Tuesday and/or Thursday, but that doesn’t always work out. I lead a busy life.

The siege of Cardhalla.

The siege of Cardhalla.

Before I continue with the last day of Gen-Con 2015, I neglected to mention that I witnessed the fall of Cardhalla on my way back to the hotel that Saturday night. Cardhalla is a massive display created by con-goers using cards from the many popular games at the convention (though most seemed to be from Magic: The Gathering). Essentially, it’s a “city” consisting of houses of cards. On Saturday night, con-goers throw coins at the card towers to topple them and the money is collected to be donated to charity. I didn’t throw any coins since I didn’t have any, but it was fun to watch. One large tower refused to fall despite everyone’s efforts. A guy even tried throwing a Zip-loc bag of money at it, but he missed. I kept joking that any towers left standing should be “destroyed” by Godzilla cosplayers. Because why not?

Now on to day four…

The day did start with a bit of frustration. I ended up being late to the Christian Gamers Guild/Fans For Christ worship service because Jarod and I had to pack up the car and check out before it started at 9AM. We had to be out by 1PM, and since I was going straight from the service to the vendor hall at 10AM, we had to do all of that beforehand. Eric and Jarod went ahead of me while I took the last of our stuff to my car in the parking garage below. I had about fifteen minutes to get to the service—but realized I left my 10th Doctor costume in our room’s closet! I rushed upstairs, got a new card key, rode the elevator up, and got to the room, and grabbed my costume. By the time I returned to the car, I had only five minutes to get to the service. It was fairly close by in another hotel (in fact, it was held in the same room as the Five Year Mission concert the night before), but I still ended up being five minutes late.

Derek White the "Geekpreacher."

Derek White the “Geekpreacher.”

Regardless, I found Jarod and sat with him. Eric was helping with the service. The worship leader (whose name escapes me, unfortunately) was dressed as a bard (gotta love cosplay in church). After singing and communion, the message was, as usual, delivered by Derek White “The Geekpreacher.” He came dressed in what I’d call “LARP armor” (minus the sword) and preached on Ephesians 6:10-18 (the “armor of God” passage, naturally). He said he conducted a poll on Facebook for the title of his message: it’d either be “The Power of Fairy Tales” or “Here There Be Dragons.” The latter won, obviously. The highlight for me was hearing him get the entire crowd—the largest ever for this event—to recite the most famous line from the original Conan the Barbarian movie. He asked, “What is best in life?” The crowd replied, “To crush your enemies and see them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.” (I left the last part off unsure they’d say it. It’s a Christian service, after all).

EDIT: Here’s a video of his sermon.


The bard who led worship (I didn't get her name, unfortunately. Sorry!)

The bard who led worship (I didn’t get her name, unfortunately. Sorry!)

I was surprised by how many people attended the con on Sunday. It was different sort of crowd, too. The usual 4-day attendees were there, but since Sunday is “family day” at the convention, many new people came. While I wouldn’t say it was as busy as Saturday was, it was still very active.

Here I am with Arthur, one of my most avid fans.

Here I am with Arthur, one of my most avid fans.

Regardless, I myself didn’t do as many exciting things that day. Eric left by early afternoon. I mostly interacted with some amazing cosplayers and sold my books. I even found I had returning fans! One guy even came by saying he remembered me from last year, having bought and read Destroyer and The Day After, and wanted more. I barely said two sentences before he grabbed both volumes of Children of the Wells and Pandora’s Box. It was the easiest $35 I’ve ever made.

The big highlight for me was meeting Marina Sirtis, an actress most famous for playing Deanna Troi on Star Trek: the Next Generation. While I wasn’t smitten with her like I was Summer Glau the day before, Mrs. Sirtis has had a greater influence on me since I’d been a Trekker since age three and was reared on both the original Star Trek and TNG. I didn’t have to wait long to see her since the line was short. Because of that, though, Mrs. Sirtis spent a few minutes with each fan talking with them as they got photos and/or an autograph. Like with Mrs. Glau, I intended to give Mrs. Sirtis one of my books. In this case, a copy of 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom since one of my entries is about Troi. I wasn’t sure if she’d accept something with such strong religious overtones, but I thought I overheard her say to someone in line ahead of me that her husband was Catholic, so I thought I might have a chance.

Representing GameChurch while meeting the amazing Marina Sirtis.

Representing GameChurch while meeting the amazing Marina Sirtis.

When it was my turn, I got a photo with her and had a wonderful chat, telling her that I’d realized that one reason TNG resounded with me as a child was because Picard reminded me of my Dad and Troi reminded me of my Mom. “You must’ve had an awesome Mom,” said Mrs. Sirtis. “I did,” I replied. I seized the moment and gave her the book, explaining that it was a devotional for geeks and nerds. She was noticeably surprised by this. I then said I wanted her to have a copy as a thank you for coming since I wrote about Troi in an entry. “Let me read it,” she said. I turned to that page and she read it. “So, you use stories like this to illustrate the Scriptures?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, simultaneously nervous and excited. “Thank you so much. I’ll read this on the plane back to England.”

I walked away a happy fanboy.

Safe to say when 4PM tolled, I was sad Gen-Con was over. Not only was it the four best days of gaming, it was four of the best days of my year. :)

But I Digress…, Episode 31: A Review of ‘Fantastic Four’ (2015)

By Nathan On September 1st, 2015 | 102 views

 “But I Digress…”
Hosted by Nathan Marchand
I wasn’t planning on doing this, but since people kept asking me what I thought of the new “Fantastic Four,” I decided to make an impromptu video review of it. I invite my buddy Sergio Garza to join me as we–no surprise–riff on the movie and say the Roger Corman version is better. No joke.
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My text review of the movie for Examiner.