Tag Archives: Indiana

Upcoming Book Signings for 2017

Hello, True Believers! It’s October, and the nip in the air signals the oncoming end of 2017. But it also signals Halloween and the holiday season. This is one of my favorite times of the year.

My book signings have been a bit sparser this year, but I do have two more coming up in the next few months. One I’ve been committed to for several months and another that I just applied for. Here’s all the pertinent info.

Fantasticon Fort Wayne, Oct. 28-29

I’m returning to my new “hometown” comic-con! Once again, I’ll be joined by my co-authors/collaborators Nick Hayden and Eric Anderson. Nick and I will hopefully have copies of our new book, Zorsam and the God Who Devours, which we co-wrote with Aaron Brosman, available for purchase. The guest list will include several actors from The Walking Dead, a few comic book artists, and a replica of the Optimus Prime truck from the Transformers movies (if you can call that a “guest.”

The venue will be the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Admission is cheap, so don’t miss it!

According to the show’s website:

Fantasticon is a mid-size show created for true comic book and pop culture collectors and fans. The fans that come to our shows are true collectors that are looking for those rare items for their personal collections. Most leave very satisfied as we pride ourselves on having great dealers and artists at our shows. If you collect it, you will find it at a Fantasticon Show.

It’ll be a great way to your Halloween weekend!

Seventh Annual Allen County Public Library Author Fair, Nov. 11

Another returning favorite. I’ll be one of 70 local authors attending this event at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. There will also be author-led panel discussions (fingers crossed that I get in one) on various subjects. Best of all, admission is free!

You can learn more about the event and the library here.

See you around, True Believers!

In Anticipation of Gen-Con 50

Image courtesy of DDO Players.

Next week is the biggest convention I attend as an author: Gen-Con. The show is celebrating its 50th anniversary. That’s an incredible run! The show gets bigger every year even without having huge celebrity guests all the time. They sold out of four-day badges a month ago!

As usual, though, the show snuck up on me. Yes, I paid for my table months ago, but since I have this crazy habit of keeping myself constantly busy, I don’t think about what else I could do at the show until it’s nearly upon me. I like to enjoy the cons I table at, so I try to attend some of the events at the show. The problem is Gen-Con is so huge, many of the events sell out months ahead of time. That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of other events to attend, but it is a bit disappointing to see some of the more interesting things sell out that far in advance.

Another bummer is the fact that I won’t be staying at one of the adjacent hotels to the Indiana Convention Center like I’ve been doing for several years. Let’s just say things didn’t work out for that to happen. So, I had to get a room at a hotel seven miles away, which means making a potentially long commute every day to the convention. I’m not looking forward to that.

I won’t have any “new” books with me, but not because I haven’t been writing. No, my next book, Zorsam and the God Who Devours, which I co-authored with Nick Hayden and Aaron Brosman, just won’t be published in time for the convention. It’s still a few months away. (More on that later).

On the bright side, I’m happy to announce that I’ve been invited to be on a panel! (G-Fest must’ve been the start of some good luck for me). Specifically, it’s the Christianity and Gaming panel put on by the Christian Gamers Guild. I’ve attended that panel most years I’ve gone to Gen-Con, so it was a surprise and an honor to be asked to be on it. I’m not sure what to expect. It’s only the third time I’ve ever been on a panel. I’m excited.

Other than that, I’m eager to meet all my Gen-Con friends in Authors Avenue again, and, of course, all of you wonderful readers!

See you in Indy!

It’ll Be Fantasticon!

I’ve added another signing to my itinerary, True Believers. In fact, I just bought the table a few minutes ago as I write this. For the first time, I will be attending a local convention as a vendor. In this case, it’s Fantasticon 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the Grand Wayne Center October 29-30.

I won’t be the only noteworthy person there, though. My friend and fellow Children of the Wells creator Nick Hayden will be joining me at the same table. We’ll be selling and signing our individual books and, obviously, some CotW collections. However, my brother Jarod, who has done some great illustrations for my short stories and YouTube show, will be at the table next door selling his artwork. The icing on the cake is if Brian Scherschel and I can get our Godzilla podcast going by then, he may also join us for part of the con to promote that.

This sounds like a recipe for awesome!

According to its website,

Fantasticon is a mid-size show created for true comic book and pop culture collectors and fans. The fans that come to our shows are true collectors that are looking for those rare items for their personal collections. Most leave very satisfied as we pride ourselves on having great dealers and artists at our shows. If you collect it, you will find it at a Fantasticon Show.

Fantasticon is proud to have a presence in multiple cities throughout the mid-west. Currently we are in four different cities in Michigan and Ohio, and expect to expand into Indiana in the near future. We also, are very proud of the fact that our admission price is the lowest of any other comparable shows. And the cost for being an exhibitor or artist at the Fantasticon is far less than any comparable comic cons out there.

In other words, this is a smaller traveling convention. If you’ve never been to a con before, this would be a great one to start with. It’s smaller and more manageable. Don’t be crazy like me and start with something huge like Gen-Con (although I did attend a tiny Star Trek convention in high school in Warsaw, Indiana).

I don’t know who the special guests will be, but at its previous stops the con has featured the likes of Billy Dee Williams (aka Lando Calrissian) and Michael Dorn (aka Worf) as well as some comic artists and writers, among others. In other words, I’ll probably be in good company.

Be there or be square, because it’s gonna be…


Press Release for Noble County All-IN Block Party June 25

No blog this week (sorry!), but I do have a press release for an upcoming event whereat I will be one of many authors having signings. My friend and fellow writer Nick Hayden will also be present.

Well over a dozen authors—all with a connection to Noble County—are scheduled for a mass appearance during the Noble County ALL-IN Block Party in Albion June 25.

Numerous activities are planned around the courthouse square in Albion, as part of Indiana’s Bicentennial year. The authors are one part of a celebration of all that’s good about Noble County, and they’ll be available to sign and sell their books, or just talk about their work. Their booth, along with all others, will open at 10 a.m., and go on until 3 p.m.

The event will also include food, activities, and entertainment by local groups and organizations. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with an Opening Ceremony at 9:30. The event’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/NobleBlockParty/

The list of authors planning to attend so far include:

Carol Bender, retired school teacher for Central Noble Community Schools in Noble County, has three published books: two children’s books, The Doctor’s Little Stowaway, and Grace’s Birthday Surprise, and one adult book. In Quest of Gold, the story of a teenager’s journey during the California Gold Rush, would also be acceptable for middle school age children and young adults.  All three books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books a Million. http://carolbender.com/meet-grace_268.html

Lindsay Bentz writes under the pen name Daisy Jordan and has published 11 YA and women’s fiction novels, including the Spin the Bottle series—YA fiction that adults will also enjoy as a flashback to high school days. She writes about relationships and friendships, and can be found online at http://www.daisyjordan.com/.

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning inspirational historical romance series The Everstone Chronicles, published by Whitaker House. Her books include: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, and The Captive Imposter. Her newest release, The Cautious Maiden, will be available October 2016. Dawn is also a full-time mom to a precious little boy, and a baby due this summer. She serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne. www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com

Sheli Emenhiser has written Crushed But Not Broken:There Are Worse Things in Life Than a Mousetrap Hanging From Your Pom Pom. Sheli writes about “how I endured an abusive relationship and how God brought me out of that darkness into His wonderful light. “ She works at Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center as a domestic violence advocate, helping other women rebuilt their self-esteem and self-worth, and lives in Topeka with her husband, and has three children. https://www.facebook.com/SheliEmenhiserCrushedbutnotBroken

Beth Friskney tells the story of Rome City and the remarkable people who once lived there in R is for Rome City. The book covers Sylvan Lake as well as Rome City, a resort town that boasted the beautiful Kneipp Springs, famous author Gene Stratton-Porter, and a history of everything from the infamous Blacklegs and Regulators to major league baseball commissioner Ford Frick. Friskney lives on Sylvan Lake with her husband and two children, and is heavily involved in Rome City events and organization.

Nick Hayden is the author of the fantasy novels Trouble on the Horizon and The Remnant of Dreams, as well as short story collections, including Dreams & Visions, and the novella The Isle of Gold. He co-hosts a story-telling podcast, “Derailed Trains of Thought,” and helps run the Children of the Wells web serial. Other books include the fantasy The Unremarkable Squire, a flash fiction collection, Another World, and the fantasy Bron & CaleaVolume 1, with Laura Fischer. www.worksofnick.com

Together Mark R. Hunter and Emily Hunter wrote the local history books Images of America: Albion and Noble County and Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With the Albion Fire Department. Their newest work takes a humorous look at Indiana history: Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest Without Moving At All. She also helped him produce the young adult novel The No-Campfire Girls and a collection of his humor columns, Slightly Off the Mark. Mark R Hunter also has two published romantic comedies and a short story collection in the Storm Chaser series, set in Indiana. Their works can be found at www.markrhunter.com, or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Mark-R-Hunter/e/B0058CL6OO.

Rev. Pam Lash is the author of The Voice & Two Hours on Tuesday: What Happened When We Went Prayer Walking. Lash, a certified addiction counselor, has a doctorate in ministry and lives in Albion, where she serves as an associate pastor and worship leader at the Assembly of God Church. She has three children, three grandsons, and a great-grandson. https://www.amazon.com/Voice-Two-Hours-Tuesday-Happened-ebook/dp/B00NHQEICU; Her Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/The-Voice-and-Two-Hours-on-Tuesday-1428332754135581/.

Nathan Marchand hails from the furthest corner of Noble County. He earned a B.A. in professional writing from Taylor University Fort Wayne. His first novel, the military science fiction thriller Pandora’s Box, was published in 2010. He and Nick Hayden are two of the co-creators of the ongoing fantasy serial, Children of the Wells. When not writing, Nate enjoys other creative endeavors like photography, making YouTube videos, and occasionally saving the world. www.NathanJSMarchand.com

R.A. Slone started with short stories and eventually worked her way into writing full-length novels. Slone writes Young Adult Paranormal, as well as Inspirational Fiction and short fiction for the 4County Mall, under the name Rita Robbins. Her website, including her blog and information about her writing, is at http://www.raslone.com/. She will have copies of her YA Paranormal novel, Ghost in the Blue Dress, available at the author appearance.

Greg Smith’s first call to write came in Junior High, but he passed on the assignment until, at age forty, his wife urged him to finally accept the challenge. Since then he’s published three suspense novels: Holy Lotto, Wrong Left Turn, and 3 Times the Sparrow, all available on Kindle, Nook, and in softcover paperback thru Amazon (Nook thru Barnes & Noble). A much asked for sequel to Holy Lotto, Holy Addendum, is ready to go to print and should be available soon. His website is at gregsnovels.weebly.com.

Susan Thuillard was born and raised in rural Indiana and has worked in occupations as varied as ranching, law enforcement, and accounting. She’s published six books that are just as varied, including mysteries and thrillers, which can be found on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/M.-Susan-Thuillard/e/B00JJG4IN6.

Belinda Wilson is a local author of children’s books, who retired from Parkview Noble Hospital in 2015, after more than 30 years. Belinda has been featured at Summer’s Stories and The Wilson Gallery in Kendallville, as well as First Friday events in Goshen. She will have copies of her first children’s book, The Secret Lives of Fireflies, a wonderfully imaginative story of fireflies and fairies, available at the event.

Be there or be square!

UPCOMING BOOK SIGNINGS: Gen-Con 2016 and National Library Week

You get two posts today, True Believers! A new story and an announcement.

I currently have two book signings scheduled for 2016 (more will probably be on the way). The first will be at the North Webster Community Public Library in North Webster, Indiana. It’ll be held April 11 3:30pm-6:30pm. It’s part of their celebration of National Library Week, which starts that day. I’ll have most, if not all, of my books with me, but I’ll be focusing on my newest ones, Ninjas and Talking Trees and 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom. You can find out more on the library’s website.

The big one as usual, though, is Gen-Con. The “best four days in gaming” will be held at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium August 4-7 in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’ll be in Authors’ Avenue in the vendor’s hall, but you’ll probably also see me attending events and enjoying the con. I’ll hopefully have added one or two more titles to the long list of books I’ll be selling there. I can’t wait to see all my Gen-Con friends! You can find out more about the event on its website.

When I have other signings scheduled, I’ll be sure to let you know!

My Full Tri-Con 2015 Report

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. 😛

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!

My Mandatory Gen-Con 2015 Report (Part 1)

Oh man…where do I even begin? 🙂

I’ve been going to Gen-Con since 2012, but this ranked as one of the best—if not the best—one I’ve attended. To summarize: 1) I went with some great friends. 2) Met up with all my Gen-Con writer buddies. 3) Had possibly the best book sales ever at the con. 4) Met some awesome celebrities. 5) Did some great networking. 6) Stayed at a hotel that across the street from the convention.

All this awesomeness despite a few snafus (like forgetting my digital camera and relying on my iPhone all week for photos) and my concern that Christians and the LGBT community would clash after Gen-Con got involved in the RFRA controversy several months ago.

I’ll do my best to write a decent run-down and include some photos. Here goes nothing!

Setup Day and Day One
I must confess, True Believers, that I went to the con feeling discouraged. Last year I had lousy book sales, and I’ve been wondering if my attempts at a writing career were for naught (I’ll write about that later). I’d been praying for good sales to keep me going.

Jarod and I moments before leaving. I was doing my best to put on a good face (especially since I was taking a rare selfie, and I hate selfies).
Jarod and I moments before leaving. I was doing my best to put on a good face (especially since I was taking a rare selfie, and I hate selfies).

Anyway, my brother Jarod and I drove the two-and-a-half hours to Indianapolis last Wednesday. To pass the time, I had Jarod read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee out loud (my car’s CD player needs repaired). We got through three chapters by the time we arrived.

The lobby of the Hyatt.
The lobby of the Hyatt.

Then we hit the snafus. I went to the wrong desk to get our badges, standing in line for at least 30 minutes, and was only able to pick up one event ticket since the Gen-Con website wouldn’t let me buy them for myself (but I could for Jarod). I’d forgotten I needed to go to exhibitor HQ for our badges. This involved lugging our heavy boxes of books to the other side of the Indiana Convention Center (after we’d already lugged them in from the hotel). But once there, I discovered I somehow didn’t have a badge for myself but there was one for Jarod. I figured there was a mix-up online since I had to have an inadvertently purchased badge refunded the month before when I should’ve gotten it for free. However, the convention workers gladly made me a badge on the spot. So, we entered the hall.

Or rather, the gigantic sauna. The air conditioning was off, so it was hot and humid. Couple that with carrying heavy boxes, and I felt like I was at boot camp. Jarod is particularly sensitive to heat, so he was miserable, but he was a trooper and made it through. We set-up quickly and got out of there.

The three of us at Steak 'n' Shake.
The three of us at Steak ‘n’ Shake.

We met up with my friend and co-author Eric Anderson at the Hyatt Regency, which was cattycorner from the convention center. We settled into our room—which was on the vertigo-inducing 12th floor—and then went to Steak ‘n’ Shake for dinner. After exploring downtown Indy for a little while, we turned in.

My table this year.
My table this year.

I got up early to buy some event tickets and then went to the now air-conditioned exhibitors’ hall since it opened at 9am for V.I.G.s (Very Important Gamers). I met up with some longtime Gen-Con friends like Ed Russel and my newer con friends like Jay Erickson. My “next-door” neighbor this year was Isaac Crowe. However, two tables from me was the infamous author who I can only describe as the lovechild of an auctioneer and a used car salesman. He’s the best pitch artist in Authors Avenue, so he’s difficult to compete with. He was good at getting attention. When I saw him get two sales in the first hour when I had none, I felt discouraged again, like last year would repeat itself despite me having two new books and better signage. But as the day wore on, I got a handle on things and made a decent amount of sales. I even attended a pair of writing seminars while Jarod watched my table.

This dude was *intense*!
This dude was *intense*!

Unlike some of my compatriots, I like to attend con events in the evening. So, I participated in Nexus Gaming’s “Double Blind Fighter Challenge,” a fighting game tourney where the games were chosen randomly each round and players played rock-paper-scissors to see if they got to choose their opponent’s character. One guy was so hardcore, he wore a luchador mask when playing! (He called it his “war face”). It actually did intimidate some people. Unfortunately for me, despite getting a bye thanks to having an odd number of players, I lost in the second round because of bad luck. Of the six games in rotation—which included Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter x Tekken, and Guilty Gear Xrd—I had to play one I’d only played twice: Mortal Kombat X. Ironically, my opponent was only marginally better than me. He ended up winning the whole tournament. The 2011 Mortal Kombat, was also in rotation, and I told him things would’ve been different if we’d played that. He wanted to see if that was true, so we played a few rounds after the tourney. He barely touched me. (I was prepared to eat my words, if needed). I honestly think I could’ve won that competition.

The lot of us playing Villains of the Multiverse.
The lot of us playing Villains of the Multiverse.

Wanting to kill some time, I perused Gen-Con’s thick program guide for any interesting events. I saw that the team who created Sentinels of the Multiverse—one of my favorite games—were demoing Sentinels Tactics for free, so I wandered over there. I’d played the game before, but figured it’d be fun. However, when I arrived, I saw they were also demoing Villains of the Multiverse, a new expansion for the card game that wasn’t out yet. Now, there was a bit of goofiness with getting in. While the event was free, priority was given to anyone who had two-dollar generic tickets, so a British fella with blue hair asked us to move to another table though we were in the middle of getting a game set up with game master (I don’t know what his official title is, so I’ll stick with this). He insisted it wasn’t because he hated us. However, after only sitting there for a minute, we were moved back to our original table to join ticketed players. It was five or six heroes against an equal number of villains, which was different than the original game where a team of heroes fight one powerful villain.

I had a blast with Villains. I played Knyfe, and she’s a beast with damage. It came down to the wire with only two or three heroes left, but by our powers combined (1,000 nerd points to anyone who gets that reference), we managed to eke our way to victory. I even scored the final blow thanks to a fellow Nate. I added him to “The Nate Collective” (an inside joke from college; I’ll explain later).

I returned to the hotel and settled in for the night while my laptop upgraded to Windows 10.

Next Time in Part 2:
Panels, Dr. Forrester, and Mad Max!

Religious Freedom, Discrimination, and Gen-Con

“As a Christian, a Hoosier, and a nerd, I am offended by this.”

That’s what I wrote on my Facebook page when I shared an article that said Gen-Con—among others—was threatening to relocate because Indiana Governor Mike Pence was going to sign the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. It ignited a flame war on my page and most especially in a Gen-Con Facebook group. It was a rare instance where my politics and nerdiness (and to a lesser extent, my writing) clashed. To make matters worse, I seemed to be in the minority in my support of this bill, even among my fellow Christians. It was one of those times when, as I posted on my page, “I feel like I’m the only one who gets it.”

After much thought, I’ve decided to write this blog as my succinct, focused view on this legislation. It will be the last time I talk about it, at least publicly.

I will not explain my views on homosexuality. I hate that the bill’s protesters have tried to make it about something it isn’t.

Here’s the official summary of the bill:

“Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”

In other words, it allows judges to look at a case and determine if someone violates someone else’s civil rights with the exercising of his religious rights, or vice versa. These have come up in the last few years because of cases like Hobby Lobby’s refusal to fund certain forms of birth control and the Iowa baker who didn’t want to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. Both resulted in high-profile lawsuits. This bill would protect business owners from such things.

However, protesters argue that this bill will legalize discrimination. The most common example I heard was a Christian restaurant owner could see two men walk in, assume they are homosexual, and refuse to serve them. In other words, this bill will turn Indiana into the pre-Civil Rights Movement south.

Ironically, some—including George Takei—seem or forget (or ignore) that a federal version of this law has been on the books for over 20 years. It was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and with a 97-3 vote in the Senate and then signed by President Bill Clinton (you know, a right wing nutcase :P). But the Supreme Court said the law didn’t apply to the states, so since then 19 other states besides Indiana have passed laws that reinforced this federal law and added it to their respective state constitutions. In other words, this law isn’t new.

It does not invalidate the civil rights homosexuals—or any other minority—already has in this country. Those are guaranteed to them by the Constitution. Why? Because they’re human beings and American citizens. A business owner can’t use this law to justify his prejudicial refusal to serve someone.

But it doesn’t just apply to Christians in conflict with homosexuals. It applies to Jews who want to run a kosher deli and not be sued because they refused to serve pork. It applies to Catholic organizations that object to certain forms of birth control. It applies to doctors who refuse to perform abortions because of their religious convictions. In other words, people shouldn’t be forced to do anything that violates their consciences. Businesses have the right to refuse service so long as it doesn’t violate someone’s civil rights.

I explained it like this. If a homosexual came to me and asked to buy a copy of one of my books (which has happened)—or better yet, offer me a book deal—I’d have no objections to it. We’re relating to each other as peers. But if he wanted to commission me to write the vows for his gay wedding, I’d say, “No.” Why? Because at that point I’d be endorsing a lifestyle I have religious objections to. I used examples like this on my Facebook page, and several commenters figured that debunking my so-called “extreme” examples and analogies would debunk my arguments. I’m sorry, but the principle still stands even if the illustration is faulty. Read C.S. Lewis. Even he says, “No doubt there is one point in which my analogy…breaks down” (The Weight of Glory).

There have been no instances where this law has been used to justify discrimination in those other 19 states. None. Zero. Nada. If somehow it does lead to such things here in Indiana, I will be one of the first people to support efforts to curtail it. I may have religious objections to homosexuality (not homosexuals—there’s a difference), but I don’t think anyone should be mistreated or discriminated against. If I have to be part of a minority of voices that supports this, so be it. I’m sick of hearing people berate me as a bigot because I support this bill. Eventually, all their voices collect into a cacophony that blares, “Conform!” I refuse.

Don’t think for a second that I don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against. In fact, it happened to me at Gen-Con last year. A fella walked by my table and grimaced when he saw that I had business cards for Fans For Christ next to my books. I asked if he saw anything he liked, and he replied, “Let me put it politely: I don’t believe what you believe.” Then he walked away without looking at my books. He discriminated against me because I was a Christian. I didn’t berate him or threaten to sue him. I simply moved on to the next potential reader. If someone is refused service by a business because it would violate the owners’ religious beliefs, that person can go to a similar business that will cater to him. That’s what a free market does.

Why are people loudly objecting to it? I believe they’re either misguided or seizing an opportunity to make a political statement. I’ve heard Christians argue that this violates Jesus’ teachings about loving all people. Their hearts are in the right place, but they’re misunderstanding the situation. Most protesters—particularly the extremists in the LGBT community (FYI: I don’t think all members of that community are like this)—see what’s happening and are using it rile people up so they can advance their political agenda. They have no interest in helping anyone but themselves. I’ve seen it happen multiple times in multiple minority groups. They spout nothing but propaganda. It’s sickening, honestly. It doesn’t help anyone and only perpetuates the cycle of hatred. It must be broken.

I believe Adrian Swartout, the CEO of Gen-Con, is motivated by the former. He doesn’t want his event to be associated with a state that he believes is discriminatory toward certain groups. I can understand that. If he wants to move his event elsewhere, that’s his prerogative and he has every right to do so. However, I have every right to disagree with his reasons and be upset that Gen-Con could leave. I love that convention. It means more to me because I’m not just a con-goer. I made new friends there. I enlarged my writers network there. I expanded my audience there. I love their Writers Symposium. I cut my teeth as a self-promoter there. Now that might be taken from me. Heck, I wonder if Christians like me who attend this year will be persecuted because we’ll be labeled “the bigots who made Gen-Con leave.” I’d like to believe that convention will continue to be a place of acceptance.

There you go. I hope I’ve made myself clear. I believe in religious rights and civil rights. I think both should be protected. I support this bill because I think it does that. Feel free to discuss this with me in the comments, but be civil.

Finally, this video succinctly summarizes what this bill is about and what’s in it.

Meet me and the Indiana governor at a future signing!

Roanoke Public Library

Governor Mike Pence

I’ve been meaning to announce this for some time, but I’ve been ironing out a few details first.

I will have a book signing at the new Roanoke Public Library in Roanoke, Indiana. It will be at the library’s new location. Moving to this new place has been a big community undertaking, so much so that Indiana’s newly-elected governor is scheduled to appear! Yes, True Believers, Mike Pence will be at this signing! You what’s even better? I actually like him as governor!

The signing will be May 4 from 10am-3pm. Come buy copies of my books or bring your own so I can sign them–for free! (My signatures are always free).