Tag Archives: destroyer

Drafted for a Panel and Other G-Fest XXIV Stories

You get two blogs this week since I missed last Thursday!

I went to G-Fest for the first time a few weeks ago in Rosemont, Illinois. I was accompanied by my Kaijuvision Radio co-host Brian Scherschel. It’s a convention dedicated to Godzilla, kaiju, and tokusatsu. I’ve heard about it for years but never attended. There are a lot of great stories I could tell about the show, most of which you can read about on the Kaijuvision Radio Twitter feed and in Brian’s latest blog on the podcast’s website, but there are a few writing-related ones I wanted to share with you.

I attended a pair of kaiju writing seminars the Saturday of the con. The first was a session for writers to share their ideas and get feedback. Since I’ve been kicking around ideas for a sequel to Destroyer (mostly because people kept feeding me ideas that I’ve churned in my head), I thought I’d talk about it in this session. However, I realized I was the only one there who’d never been published (except for the moderator), so I decided I would let the other attendees take priority and offered feedback. If there was time, then I would share. There were some great stories and concepts presented, such as a first-person tale told from a kaiju’s perspective, but the one I found most interesting was a story treatment for a fanfilm that included a potentially brilliant meta-commentary on the Godzilla franchise. I told the presenter that it reminded me of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. That was one of several pieces of advice that brought several people to me afterward wanting to add me on Facebook. I gave them my bookmark/business card that directed them to my website and other professional social medias.

(So, if you’re one of those people: Hello and welcome!)

Later in the day, I arrived early for a writing advice panel. I overheard the moderator say he wanted to add one more panelist (they brought on a new one thinking one panelist wouldn’t make it, but he did and they decided to add one more). I jokingly said I was a published writer with some kaiju credentials. “Oh?” he said. I flashed him the Amazon page for Destroyer and mentioned my kaiju short story in The Worlds of Nathan Marchand, among others, and he replied, “Get behind the table!”

Yes, True Believers, I got myself “drafted” onto the panel! It was only the second time in my life I’ve been on one.

Once more, the advice I offered impressed attendees and panelists so much, they came to me afterward for more advice and contact info. The moderator even said he would keep my name in mind when planning the same panel for next year’s G-Fest.

I know I sound like I’m bragging, but to be honest, I was surprised by all of this. Weird, right? The shameless self-promotor is surprised when people actually like him. Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to make it big or because I hang out with brilliant writers like Nick Hayden (I haven’t name-dropped him in a while, haven’t I? 😛 ). I suppose I take those as signs that I’m not as talented as I want to think I am. But success isn’t always a marker of ability. Plenty of gifted people (including Mr. Hayden) haven’t become huge successes and many untalented people are big stars. And just because someone is better than me doesn’t mean my talent is worthless. It’s hard to live among giants, though.

I guess what I’m saying is I haven’t been “discovered” yet.

Did you attend G-Fest this year? What did you think of it? Are do you deal with feelings of inadequacy as an artist?

Presenting…’Destroyer (Deluxe Edition)’!

Artwork by Tyler Sowles. Designed by Nathan Marchand.
Artwork by Tyler Sowles. Designed by Nathan Marchand.

After several years in print, Destroyer, a giant monster novella I co-authored with Natasha Hayden and Timothy Deal, is now available in a new special edition!

I’ve migrated the book from Lulu to Createspace. Lulu was a good home for it a few years ago, but I’ve realized Createspace is where the money is at. This new edition is a bit bigger than the previous one and looks more professional and, for lack of a better term, legit.

But the big draw for this new edition is the inclusion of a bonus story. “House of the Living,” as you may recall, was written by my friend and fellow author Nick Hayden a few years back. It makes its first appearance in print in Destroyer (Deluxe Edition).

In the distant future, a group of scientists and soldiers create a giant cyborg dragon to end a destructive war, but the creature goes berserk and strands them behind enemy lines in Moscow. Now the survivors must destroy the creature before distrust and madness tears them apart.

I’ll be unveiling the book officially at the ACPL Authors’ Fair this weekend with Nick Hayden!

Buy Destroyer (Deluxe Edition) here on Amazon!

The Obligatory Gen-Con 2014 Blog

It’s been a week since Gen-Con 2014 ended, and as usual, I miss it. Not only does Gen-Con have a great Authors’ Avenue where I can sell books and a great Writers’ Symposium where I can attend seminars, it’s one of the few places I can be an unbridled nerd and nobody judges me.

If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don’t, you should), you saw my almost up-to-the-minute updates while my brother Jarod and I were at the four-day convention. There’s a lot I could write about, but for now I’ll focus on a few highlights not mentioned in those posts. UPDATE: More photos from Gen-Con have been posted on my Facebook page!

Want to see photographs from the convention? I recommend checking out my Facebook page. Until I figure out how the new photo gallery plug-in I downloaded works, that’s where I’ll be posting photos from signings and such. Sorry.

First, here are the fans/readers I met while I was at the con, both new and old.

My first sale of the con! A gentleman named Scott Blankenship purchased "Destroyer" and "The Day After."
My first sale of the con! A gentleman named Scott Blankenship purchased “Destroyer” and “The Day After.”
Here I am with fellow kaiju fan Tom Tancredi after he purchased "Destroyer."
Here I am with fellow kaiju fan Tom Tancredi after he purchased “Destroyer.”
My first "Chidlren of the Wells" buyer! His name is Sean Steele (which sounds like the name of a hero in a book).
My first “Children of the Wells” buyer! His name is Sean Steele (which sounds like the name of a hero in a book).
I convinced my buddy Darrin Ball to buy "Destroyer" and "The Day After" since he purchased "Pandora's Box" from me a few years ago. He's still the HeroScape champ to me! ;)
I convinced my buddy Darrin Ball to buy “Destroyer” and “The Day After” since he purchased “Pandora’s Box” from me a few years ago. He’s still the HeroScape champ to me! 😉
This is Ben and Ashley Davis. I befriended them through Facebook (mostly), and they stopped by and bought "Pandora's Box." Wonderful people!
This is Ben and Ashley Davis. I befriended them through Facebook (mostly), and they stopped by and bought “Pandora’s Box.” Wonderful people!
Joe Stichmeyer (I hope I spelled that right), anotehr fellow kaiju fan, bought "Destroyer" from me and "Mammoth Monster Madness"--an anthology I contributed to--from Ed Russell.
Joe Stichmeyer (I hope I spelled that right), anotehr fellow kaiju fan, bought “Destroyer” from me and “Mammoth Monster Madness”–an anthology I contributed to–from Ed Russell.
A Rogue cosplayer named Alyssa who bought "The Day After."
A Rogue cosplayer named Alyssa who bought “The Day After.”
I met Alyssa VanderGalien (I hope I spelled that right) at the FFC/CGG worship service that morning, and she stopped by to purchase "The Day After."
I met Alyssa VanderGalien (I hope I spelled that right) at the FFC/CGG worship service that morning, and she stopped by to purchase “The Day After.”
Here I am with Patricia Gore.
Here I am with Patricia Gore.

This was Jarod’s first time at Gen-Con, though it wasn’t his first convention. He’s gone with me to several others this year as attendees. We made prints of the illustrations he’s done for my short stories and the titles cards he’s made for my YouTube show, “But I Digress…”. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we weren’t able to sell any of these. I was shocked. Conventions seemed like the places where people would eat up his artwork. Perhaps it was because we were in the authors’ section and not the art show area. Regardless, he did manage to get a pair of commissions: one for a steampunk pin-up girl a guy wanted for a restaurant he wants to start called Pandora’s Lunchbox (he told us about it because of the title of my novel), and another for a con-goer who wanted little pictures of Wile E. Coyote and a Digimon for a Magic: The Gathering card. Jarod also drew a few random sketches during our downtime, especially when things were slow on Thursday, including Maleficent, a ballerina Dalek (no joke), and a ninja Elsa. He gave the last one to a Jedi Elsa cosplayer, who inspired the artwork.

As for my book sales, they were slow again this year. I took fewer books with me assuming I’d sell out, but I didn’t. I got a few bits of advice from my fellow writers on how to improve that:

1) Get new signs. I’ve been using Jarod’s handmade sign for three years now. It’s time I upgraded. It’ll help me look more professional.

2)  Have more books. For whatever reason, people will be more interested in buying books when they have more choices. I thought the opposite was true, but I think it would diversify my appeal and show people I’m still writing.

It didn’t help that the new books I wanted to take—Children of the Wells, Volume 1—didn’t arrive in time, so I wasn’t able to sell them until Saturday. Even so, that was a bit of tough sell since I wasn’t in that collection (but I’ll be in volume two).

However, I think my networking was much-improved this year. I talked with more of the writers there and shared my business cards with them. I think I even found a publisher interested in seeing Ninjas and Talking Trees. J Hopefully, in the coming year, that will all pay off.

As usual, while other vendors were too tired to enjoy the convention after the exhibitors’ hall closed, I was still running around with boundless energy like the Doctor. (In fact, I cosplayed as the 10th Doctor while I was there on Sunday).

I've harassed this Dalek every year, and I was excited to do so this time since I had a real costume. But his batteries were dead. He must've been so scared, he shut down. :P
I’ve harassed this Dalek every year, and I was excited to do so this time since I had a real costume. But his batteries were dead. He must’ve been so scared, he shut down. 😛

I attended many writing seminars since many of the other events I wanted to attend were sold out. (I waited to sign up since I was on the waiting list for months and wasn’t sure I’d make it to the convention). Regardless, I was still able to participate in an “Ultra Street Fighter IV” tournament Friday night and see the Five Year Mission show Saturday night. I wasn’t able to play any board games, though.

Overall, I don’t think it was quite as good of an experience as last year’s convention, but I still want to return next year. That, sadly, is uncertain since the organizers didn’t allow writers and artists an early sign up at the end of the convention like they usually do. I have no idea when tables will be available. On the bright side, I could have as many as three new titles to sell at next year’s convention if all goes as planned (more on that later).

See you next year, Gen-Con!

I review ‘Godzilla’ (twice!)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge of Toho’s Godzilla franchise. I have been since high school. With a few exceptions, I consider these movies to be some of my guilty pleasures.

That being said, this week I reviewed the new American film–which I loved–not once, but twice (and there may be a third!) First, I wrote a review for GIGA Geek Magazine. The second, however, was the most fun. I was the guest host on the “Strangers and Aliens” podcast with my friend and fellow Christian writer and Godzilla fan, Ben Avery. I enjoyed it so much, I want to be on his show again. 😉 You can listen to it here.

What will the third one be? Most likely an overdue new vlog! (Until then, you can watch my review of last summer’s Pacific Rim).

And for all you kaiju  fans out there, be sure to check out my own giant monster story, Destroyer.

‘House of the Living’ by Nick Hayden

'House of the Living' by Nick Hayden
‘House of the Living’ by Nick Hayden

You may recall a few may recall a few months ago when I did a “writer-ly exchange” with my friend Nick Hayden. We each wrote a story that took place in a world the other created. This resulted in my Christmas story, “The Discarded Gift,” a love story set in Nick’s fictional small town, Vienna. Nick took a little longer to finish his story, which he posted on his own website a few months ago. Now after letting it be exclusive to his site for a while, I am reposting it here.

It is called “House of the Living.” It was inspired by my novella Destroyer (which I co-wrote with his wife, Natasha). Here’s a synopsis:

When scientists stumble across the perfectly preserved body of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the first question is: How? But as one scientist spends his life studying the extraterrestrial crystals that caused its preservation, his questions become deeper, touching his deepest fears of life and death.

It’s a haunting story, and a great expansion on the world of my novella.

You can read a PDF of it here: House of the Living by Nick Hayden

You can also download it as an eBook from Smashwords.

I like it so much, I may make a special edition of Destroyer that includes it as a bonus.

New book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, featuring the Haydens!

The Next Chapter Bookseller
The Next Chapter Bookseller in Warsaw, Indiana

A few weeks ago, I discovered a little used bookstore in Warsaw, Indiana, called the Next Chapter. I learned they host signings for authors, so I immediately scheduled a signing. But not only will I be there, my Destroyer and The Day After co-authors and friends Nick and Natasha Hayden will be there, too! (I’m going to try to get another one of my co-authors to come, but I haven’t talked to him yet). We’ll be selling and signing copies of those books as well as my novel, Pandora’s Box.

The signing will be part of the bookstore’s First Fridays event on February 1, 2013, from 5:30pm-7:30pm (or so). We’ll be selling our books at discounted prices. Don’t miss this opportunity to have Destroyer and The Day After signed by multiple authors!

Here’s my table location at Gen-Con so you can find me

I’ll be at Table Z in Author’s Avenue at Gen-Con Aug. 16-19 in Indianapolis.

I’ve received my table assignment for Gen-Con’s Authors’ Avenue. As you can see above, I’ll be at Table Z. I’ll be selling and signing copies of Pandora’s Box, Destroyer, and The Day After. Gen-Con is August 16-19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Author’s Avenue is open each day of the convention from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can learn more about Authors’ Avenue here.

Stop over and pick up copies of my books for yourself or a friend! (Ah, heck, buy some for your enemies, too. They need good reads as much as anyone).

I’m going to Gen-Con 2012

I just finished my registration for the Authors’ Avenue at Gen-Con 2012. I’ll be selling copies of my books there, including Pandora’s Box, Destroyer, and The Day After. The convention will be held August 16-19 at the Indianapolis Convention Center (ICC) in Indianapolis.

Gen-Con is one of the oldest and largest gaming conventions in the world for over 44 years. It showcases the latest movers and shakers in the gaming world and many related products. You can learn more about the convention and register to attend here.

Book signing at Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, so please forgive me for my delay.

I’m having a book signing this Saturday from 10AM-noon at Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty, a small used bookstore in Mentone, Indiana. I’ll be signing all of my books, including Pandora’s Box, Destroyer, and The Day After. I was referred to this place by a co-worker at my part-time job, who told me his daughter runs the place.

Be there, or be square!