Mean, Green, and Back On the Screen!

Wow.

So as you’ve probably already heard, the first trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot was released this morning. Fan reactions have been predictably mixed. My thoughts? I’m willing to see how this plays out. Let’s talk about some of the points that have the fans’ panties in a wad.

White Shredder

Yeah, that’s kinda fucked up, I’ll admit. Changing the Japanese ninja master Oroku Saki into a white man named Eric Sachs? Why did this happen? A couple reasons. Number One: Michael Bay doesn’t give a fuck about your childhood. Number Two: We live in a world now where we’re afraid of pissing off other nations with our art. Hollywood isn’t willing to risk alienating foreign markets, particularly one that consumes as much media as Japan. The antagonists of the Red Dawn remake were originally Chinese, but were later changed to North Koreans when it became obvious China wasn’t happy about being demonized in an American film. Don’t forget who pays the bills around here. And who gives a damn what Kim Jong Un thinks, right?

So like it or not, we have a caucasian Shredder. I’ve never  seen William Fitchner give a performance I didn’t like, so I’m excited to see how he makes Shredder his own in this movie.

April’s Dad

[IDW comics spoilers in this section]

“People want heroes, Miss O’Neil. But heroes are not born. They’re created. That’s what your father and I were trying to do.”

Boy, the Interweb doesn’t like this quotation from Eric Sachs AKA Chromedome, AKA Shredhead, AKA Tin Grin. But you know what? I do. It’s actually not an entirely new concept. It was recently revealed in the IDW comics that April’s father worked with the ooze at Stockgen. If this film can tie April to the turtles in a more meaningful way than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I’ll play along. My only concern is that it reminds me a bit too much of the backstory with Peter Parker’s father in The Amazing Spiderman 2, but time will tell how it plays out in both films.

Shredder was responsible for the turtles’ mutation!

Again… not new. It was actually one of the lamer plot points of the original cartoon series. In the show, Shredder dumped mutagen into the sewers in an attempt to destroy Hamato Yoshi, but instead, Yoshi mutated into an anthropomorphic rat and his pet turtles became humanoid. The premise that Shredder was trying to use the ooze to create “heroes” (probably super soldiers, I’m guessing) makes a helluva lot more sense. Were the turtles accidental participants in this project? Were they “failed” test subjects? We’ll have to wait and see.

TCRI

Yeah, boy!!! Techno-Cosmic Research Institute! Secret of the Ooze may have wimped out and gone for a more “down to Earth” version with TGRI (Techno Global Research Industries), but it looks like this film’s going back to the “source material” for the turtles’ origins. Why is this such a big deal? Remember that “the turtles are from an alien race” comment Bay made? This is what he was actually referring to. The fab four’s origins have always been extraterrestrial. If TCRI is involved, then that means there’s a connection to Utroms. And if there are Utroms, then that paves the way for one of the most epic TMNT story lines ever: the Turtles in Space story arc, which means Triceratons and the Fugitoid. My brain’s swimming with the possibilities.

Turtle Lips

Let’s face it… “Turtle Lips” is going to become this generation’s “Bat Nipples.” It’s too late to go back now, though, so we might as well move on. I’m still not totally on board with the turtles’ new designs yet, but seeing them in action and speaking has warmed me up to them a bit. The motion capture work on Michelangelo’s face is superb. And I like what little voiceover work we’ve heard so far. Will Leo have any lines in the next trailer? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Slo-Mo Action

Okay, now you’re just nit picking. Next!

No Casey!

Really? No Casey? That’s what has you nerds pissed off? How about “No Splinter!”? When do we get to see Splinter? It’s true that Casey is missing from this film, but if my theory about the plot is correct, we’ll likely see Casey in a sequel.

Okay, Mr. Smarty-pants, what’s your theory?

Okay, this is how I would do it if I was calling the shots. We already know there’s going to be a trilogy. William Fitchner pretty much confirmed that.

In my opinion, the logical progression would be to have the Turtles face Shredder in the first film. The turtles save the day and Shredder is destroyed… or is he!? dun Dun DUN!!!

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In the second film, the turtles would dig deeper into the mystery surrounding TCRI, uncover the Utroms, travel via transmat to D’Hoonnib, and meet the Fugitoid and Triceratons. Epic space story, lots of explosions, and Michael Bay’s a happy camper.

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The third film would follow the Leonardo #1/TMNT #10/TMNT #11 and “Return to New York” storylines, which is essentially what the 1990 live action film did. Now we bring in Casey Jones because that is when he became a major, recurring character in the TMNT universe.

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Plus we see the shocking return of the Shredder!

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Again, this is just how would handle the films.

So what’s the final verdict?

I’m excited. The trailer got my attention. I can’t wait to see more sneak peeks, and August can’t come soon enough for me. I showed the trailer to two of my kids. My eight-year-old didn’t get too excited. He’s still having trouble with the turtle lips. My three-year-old, however, went crazy when the turtles appeared, shouting “RAH!” and “ELO!” when Raphael and Leonardo appeared onscreen. We’ll see what the thirteen-year-old thinks when he gets home from track practice.

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See You At Keokon!

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 5.48.14 PMWhat? Is it time for Keokon already? Sure is. Keokon 7 will be held this Friday and Saturday, March 21 & 22nd at the Keokuk Heritage Center (located at 5th & Main in Keokuk, Iowa).

I’ll be speaking at 3:30 on Saturday, discussing War of the Worlds: Goliath and the upcoming novelization.

I’ll also have a small table where I’ll be selling and signing paperback copies of The Weller. Feel free to stop by and say hello.

Other presenters will be discussing steampunk, paranormal investigation, costuming, and more.

For the complete schedule of panels and events, click here.

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The Martians Are Coming!

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I’ve been sitting on this news for weeks, just busting a gut to shout it from the rooftops. Now that the contracts are signed and out of the way, I’m free to spill the beans. I have been chosen to write the novelization for the animated film War of the Worlds: Goliath. The film began a limited theatrical run in the United States today as well as select video-on-demand services, and it will be released on DVD and blu-ray on April 1st.

This is a huge honor for me, because I have been a fan of War of the Worlds ever since my dad played the famous Orson Welles radio broadcast for me when I was ten years old.

There’s no set release date for the novel at this time, but rest assured I am kicking ass on the keyboard and will keep you all updated. It won’t be long. The novel will be released in digital format for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks from Retro Rocket Press.

So, what is War of the Worlds: Goliath about?

WOTW:G is a sequel to the H.G. Wells classic that takes place fifteen years after the original failed Martian invasion. The story centers around Captain Eric Wells and his crew who pilot the Goliath, a manmade battle tripod based on reverse-engineered Martian tech. While Europe prepares for World War I, Wells and his comrades prepare for the second War of the Worlds.

Will the novelization be different from the film?

The novelization will feature deleted scenes as well as all-new material. I’ve been working very closely with the director and producers to ensure that the novel stays true to the film while giving readers a chance to delve deeper into the  exciting world of WOTW: Goliath.

Where can I see the film?

Here’s a full, definitive list of all the theaters in the States that will be screening “War of the Worlds: Goliath”, beginning today. Please note that only the NY and LA theaters will be screening in 3D.

This is a NATIONWIDE March 7th Day & Date Theatrical and Digital Release

April 1st is DVD and BluRay 3D

War of the Worlds: Goliath 3D
March 7th for one week engagement
2 Shows per day at these 2 locations:

Daily 3D at Noon & 2pm
AMC Burbank 8
201 E. Magnolia Blvd #345
Burbank, CA 91501

Daily both 2D & 3D
Village East Cinema
181-189 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
212-529-6799

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War of the Worlds: Goliath 2D
March 7th for one week engagement
1 Show per day at these 16 locations:

Carolina Cinemas Charlotte
9630 Monroe Rd
Charlotte, NC 28270
(704) 847-2024.

Carolina Cinemas Raleigh
4840 Grove Barton Rd
Raleigh, NC 27613
(919) 226-2012

El Paso Premiere Cinema 18
6101 Gateway West Suite 15
El Paso, TX 79925 USA
(915)771-7902

Palace West Theaters
535 South Ridge Circle,
Wichita KS 67209
(316) 721-7952

Palace 8 Theaters
2220 W. Chesterfield Blvd,
Springfield, MO 65807
(417) 881 8191

Abilene Premiere
4310 Buffalo Gap Rd
Abilene, TX 79606
(325) 695-2135

Studio Movie Grill – College Park
3535 W. 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46268
(855) 345-6832

Renaissance Premiere
12300 North Freeway #400
Houston, TX 77060
(281) 874-1141

Eaton Square Cinemas
8421 E 61st
Tulsa, OK 74133
(918) 286-0689

Burleson Premiere Cinema
1581 SW Wilshire Blvd
Burleson, TX 76028 USA
(817) 426-8395

Premiere Fashion Square
3201 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32803
(407) 894-0545

Gadsden Premiere Cinema
1001 Rainbow Drive Suite 2
Gadsden, Alabama 35901
(256) 49-0700

Premiere Cinema
6002 Slide Road
Lubbock, TX 79414
(806) 791-7643

Studio Movie Grill Northwest Highway
10110 Technology Blvd.
Dallas TX 75220
(855) 345-6832

Premiere Cinema 14
1000 Premiere Parkway
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
(505) 994-3300
Suburb of Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Nicky-Poo Strikes Back!

He’s back, folks! The Duke of Derp, Nickolaus Pacione, has reared his ugly head to strike back at the staff at KHP Publishers an entire year after our last encounter with him. You’d think with a whole year to think it over he would come up with a humdinger of a response.

You’d think.

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Oh-Boy-here-we-go-again

 

As most of you are probably already aware, Nicky fancies himself an editor. Let’s show him how it’s done, shall we?

You don’t do your research on me — you‘d realize if you do did your research on me, that I was known for going at it with murder groupies (Define “going at it.” Is this a sex thing, Nickels?) and did go at it with Anton LaVey’s son-in-law (missing hyphens) for his infamous SJR interview. My controversies came before I entered the industry, (missing comma) and my first controversial statement was at the expense of Matt Shepard when I didn’t relate to him but to the people who killed him because the murderers remind me of my old buddies from Glendale Heights, Illinois, (unnecessary comma) and Roselle, Illinois. You don’t respect other publishers and writers who could had have very easy easily gone to school with you. You assholes are a den of publishers (Well, yes, we are. It says so on the banner at the top of the site) and bullies.  (Why don’t we just stick a whole new sentence here, mmkay?) I am offering throwing down a gauntlet here, (Let’s try a colon here instead, Nicky.): a project where you can prove you can hold your own with me, (this entire sentence is fucking awkward, but I’ll settle for a comma) so put your money where your mouth is — (boy, you really like dashes, don’t you, Sweetums?) you have 2400 words to begin with and no slanderous libelous (We’ve been over this, Baby Bear.) bullshit here. Call me a fan fiction writer in your submission and you will be banned, and then blackballed. (Better than being blueballed, I suppose.)

Grade: D (as in, “Dafuq am I looking at?”)

Nicky, go take your meds. They’re in the medicine cabinet next to the vaseline and Optimus Prime. I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, and I’m sure nobody else does. As for your “gauntlet,” we have better things to do than waste time on some greasy Internet troll playing publisher while leeching off his family and the government when he should be locked away and heavily medicated for the rest of his life. Besides, if we did write anything, you’d just publish it without our permission anyway.

mic

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Perception Check!

Well hey there, Internet! It’s been a while! Remember back when this blog was dedicated to rants?

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Well I’m going to bust out a can of the ol’ Bazooko’s Circus whoop ass and give you my two cents on a topic that’s been getting on my nerves lately.

There’s a picture making the rounds on Facebook lately that has been sparking some arguments about bathroom etiquette.

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Hehe. Funny, right? I sure thought so, but apparently many members of the opposite sex do not. Shocking, I know. This pic has led to many angry comments from women detailing the dangers of unwittingly sitting on a toilet with a raised seat, one of which is “bruised or broken” tailbones. Really? How hard are you plopping down on that toilet seat? Do you need to show that turlet who’s boss before you do your business?

“But… sometimes I don’t have my eyes open yet, or it’s dark!” 

Really? How the hell did you get to the bathroom in the first place? Echo-location? Are you part bat? Is that why it’s so fucking dark in your bathroom?

I know I’m going to get some hate from this, but I don’t care. I have a simple solution to this problem, ladies. Are you ready? Here it is…

OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES!

Be aware of your surroundings! This is great advice that doesn’t just apply to the bathroom, but to life in general. Be aware of what the fuck is going on around you! If guys can check to make sure the lid is up to ensure they don’t piss all over it, then women can check to make sure the seat is down so they don’t fall in. It’s that simple.

“What happened to doing the gentlemanly thing?”

This has nothing to do with being a gentleman. This has to do with perception. Let’s pretend we’re playing D&D. You’ve just entered the bathroom; roll for perception, difficulty +17 if you’re playing Candy Crush on your cell phone. Evolution gave you two forward-facing eyes, so use them!

In case you’re unfamiliar with male anatomy, men don’t only stand when they use the facilities. We also sit. Yes, ladies, men have butts, too.

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Shocking, I know. I’m sure you’re wondering, “How do men avoid falling in and breaking their tailbones?” Simple… we look before we squat!

But let’s go back to the “gentlemanly thing” for a second. Is putting down the seat “gentlemanly?” No, but it is courteous. In our house, we consider the default position of the toilet seat to be down. When you’re done, put the seat down. But our house has a male to female ratio of 4:1, and my wife understands that sometimes little boys forget. What does she do when she enters the bathroom?

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That’s right! So, boys and girls, let’s put this petty, pointless argument aside and get back to doing our business in peace. Then we can argue about something that actually matters:

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ICON 38 Report

Logan (8), Zavier (13), & Scott (2)

Logan (8), Zavier (13), & Scott (2)

Another convention has come and gone, and it feels weird to not see Doctor Who, Darth Vader, and Black Widow walking around. I feel at home at cons, especially ICON. We decided to take the boys this year, making it their first overnight convention (and Zavier’s first con ever), and all three boys thoroughly enjoyed it.

The concoms really outdid themselves this year, with a huge number of featured guests and attending professionals. I was fortunate enough to participate as a panelist in the first DreamCon, a writers’ workshop for high school and college students. The workshop was wonderful, and I hope they invite me to take part again next year.

I got to meet some awesome new people, including Jed Q. Peterson, Michael Koogler, Anna Davis, Rachel Aukes, and Dennis Green. Best of all, we were reunited with dear friends Shannon, Stephanie, Jules, Daniel, John, Denise, Amanda, Steve, Bill, Brian, Ange, Suze, Jim, Dana, Denny, Mitch, and so many more! And, of course, we can’t forget Wolfie B. Bad.

"Ask me about the Wolfie Brazilian!"

“Ask me about the Wolfie Brazilian!”

My plate was full this year, with panels on writing, cover art, survival, Doctor Who, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (in which I broke poor Daniel Mohr’s brain with the revelation that there is indeed a TMNT/Power Rangers crossover). Amanda Alexander and I decorated the table with TMNT toys from the different incarnations of the franchise, much to the kids’ delight.

COWABUNGA!!!

COWABUNGA!!!

Jessica, Logan, Scott, and Zavier all competed in the masquerade. Jessica wore her popular Rikku costume, Zavier rocked an awesome Nightcrawler costume complete with makeup, and Logan and Scott teamed up as a ghost and Luigi from Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The boys enjoyed the costumes and are already hatching plans for their Demicon costumes in May. I didn’t compete, but I did prowl the convention as… The Shadow!

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

To sum it up, we had a ton of fun. So much, in fact, that we stayed behind after closing ceremonies to help pack things up. If you’ve never been to ICON, or any Midwest science fiction convention, I highly recommend you make the trip. Icon 33 in 2008 was my first big con, and I plan to keep coming back as long as they keep having it.

You can view all the pics we took during the convention here or through the Galleries page.

 

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ICON 38 Schedule Online

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 5.28.45 PMThose hard-workin’ volunteers behind the scenes at ICON, Iowa’s longest-running science fiction and fantasy convention, have posted the programming guide for this year’s con. ICON 38 will take place November 15-17 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott.

For a list of the panels and events in which I will be participating, check the Appearances page. To view the program book and the complete list of events in PDF format, click here.

For those of you waiting for the print edition of The Weller, I will have copies on hand to sell (and sign).

Jessica and I are excited about this year’s con. This will be the first time we bring the boys, and all of us will be in costume (assuming the hat I ordered comes in on time). Hope to see you there.

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I Survived

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, back in July, I underwent surgery to correct an inguinal hernia that has plagued me since birth. The surgery took place on July 11th and everything seemed fine, although my discomfort level seemed higher than it should have been. Two days later I spiked a fever and went to the E.R. in Iowa City. After a battery of tests and being stuck with at least twenty needles (I’m NOT kidding; they couldn’t find my veins because of the blood pressure medication I’m taking), it was finally determined that blood flow had been restricted during my hernia repair operation, so I was rushed into emergency surgery to correct the problem. The operation was a success and I didn’t suffer any permanent tissue or organ damage.

After a month, the pain and swelling lowered to a point where I started to feel normal again. I finally felt like the entire ordeal was worth it. As per my doctor’s orders, I’ve taken it easy the past couple months, not lifting anything over 15 pounds. My next followup with my surgeon is on September 3rd, and hopefully he’ll give me the okay to increase my activity level and even return to martial arts. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sick of getting the evil eye from people when I have to ask Jess to lift heavy objects (Scott, bags of pet food, etc.) in public. The first thing I’m going to do when the doc gives me the okay, I’m going to pick up Scott and give him a hug.

I’ll post another update when I see the doc next week. Thanks to everyone who offered their prayers, well wishes, and support to me and my family during this difficult and painful time.

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Keep Calm and CONvergence On!

100_8292Another CONvergence has come and gone, and I am utterly exhausted. This is the big party that Jess and I look forward to all year. Despite some fuckery and unpleasantness, we had an absolute blast.

First let’s talk about the good.

- Reunited with old friends and made new ones

I used to be terribly shy, and I guess I still am to a point, but cons have really helped me com out of my shell. It was good seeing Tiffany, Patrick K., Patrick T., John, C.J., Jules, Daniel, Mitch, Amanda, Jennie, S.D., and R. Scott again. We also met some awesome new people, planned some awesome future group costumes, and met up with familiar faces from Twitter. I may lack local acquaintances, but I have wonderful friends worldwide, and CON always serves to remind me of that.

- My girl was the prettiest at the con

No, no. Don’t argue. My wife wins the arm candy prize. I got to spend the con with Jessica Rabbit, Amy Pond, and Rikku. Two fiery redheads and one bombshell blonde. Seeing my wife in costume, constantly being asked to pose for pictures, was awesome. Her costumes served as an ice breaker for many discussions on costuming and prop building that will serve us well over the next year as we both prepare new costumes.

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- Survival Panel

The Post-Apocalyptic Survival panel was fantastic. Special thanks go out to Tiffany for helping me lug supplies around and to Patrick Tomlinson for hopping on the panel at the last minute. The can game was hilarious as always and very suspenseful. For the first time ever, the competition for the Golden Spork came down to two cans. The prize ultimately went to Amanda Alexander in her awesome Eleventh Doctor costume. I saw some familiar faces in the audience, including last year’s Golden Spork winner, which he brought with him. I should have gotten him and Amanda to pose for a picture. D’oh!

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Nobody else on the panel wanted to do the YMCA apparently.

- Sold some books

I brought fifteen print copies of The Weller to the convention and came home with zero. I gave two away as thank you gifts to some very special people, but sold the other thirteen. I also handed out several book cards for the Retro Rocket ebook edition to those who specifically asked for the Kindle version. I was floored by how many people came up to me and asked if Weller 2 will be out in time for CONvergence 2014. We’ll see.

- Best. Reading. Ever.

Patrick Koozy, who lent his name and likeness to the villain in The Weller, also lent his voice to the character he inspired during the reading on Friday. The audience, including one CON volunteer, absolutely loved it. The reading of my WIP, Nighty Knights, was also well received.

- The costumes

I love cosplay, and seeing so many new and creative costumes really made the long drive to Minneapolis worth it. There’s nothing like chasing down a total stranger or shouting at them from a balcony and having them gladly strike a pose for the camera.

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Now let’s talk about the bad.

- Badge pickup

The badge pickup process was ridiculous. Despite what some convention staff think, it was NOT a “resounding success.” Whoever thought printing badge names AT the con was a good idea needs to pull their head out of their ass. There were reports of pre-registered attendees stepping out of line and paying at-the-door prices just to get out of the line that stretched through the hotel, up the stairs, and down the hall. Some people were in line for over six hours! With opening day being on Independence Day, the staff should have foreseen overwhelming opening-day attendance and made more allowances for early badge pickup for local attendees.

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- Green bath tub

Friday night, Jessica took part in a group competition where the objective was to make a “secret agent” unrecognizable to facial recognition. Jess was one of the models and I got to watch as she was transformed into a beautiful mermaid.

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Okay, so that’s not bad. In fact, it was downright awesome. The bad part came at 2:30 AM when we got back to the hotel and spent the next two and a half hours scrubbing the paint off, staining the unpainted parts of her body as the water carried the paint down. My feet were green all day Saturday and so was our bathtub. I thought the hotel was going to charge us for damages for sure.

- Ass hat panelists

It never fails. There’s always one panel where some pompous asshole singles me out as the weakest link and makes it their mission to stop me from speaking and/or make me look like an idiot in order to make them look superior. This time there were two. No, I will not give names, so please don’t ask. In one panel, the man to my left interrupted my introduction not once, but TWICE to promote himself and his work, ultimately cutting my introduction short. Said dickhead then proceeded to dominate the panel and steer it in a direction that allowed him to toot his own horn and list off the names of celebrity friends he thought would impress the audience. The second panel involved a woman who made it her business to shoot down every opinion I had on the topic and repeatedly remind us of her “qualifications.” Tired, hungry, and in pain, I did not fight her very much and just waited out the clock.

Whoa, wait! “In pain?”

Yes, I was in pain for much of the convention, often putting on a brave, neutral face to keep it from showing. This brings me to my next topic:

- The constant pain

I haven’t talked about it much, but I suffer from an inguinal hernia. I was born with it, so this is nothing new, but the pain is. The pain started a little over a year ago and what it comes down to is gravity working against the hernia, so unfortunately even standing still for long periods causes me excruciating pain. Unfortunately a lifelong string of dumbfuck doctors who weren’t worth the paper their degrees were printed on kept this condition from being properly diagnosed and treated early, as it should have been. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, however, because I have been scheduled for surgery this Thursday. The doctor is confident that I’ll make a full recovery and in a few months be back to normal activity, including martial arts.

Because of my condition, I was constantly looking for a place to sit down at the con. I couldn’t help feeling like a burden to our friends when this kept me from moving easily around the room parties. Unfortunately the pain and stress of bad panels eventually took their toll on me and I wound up taking my frustration out on Jess Saturday night. Luckily she is very supportive and, due to her medical background, understands what I’m going through. All was forgiven when I brought her a peace offering from the dealers’ room on Sunday morning:

Book Wyrm

Book Wyrm

She made many squees of jubilation.

Despite the bad parts, Jessica and I had a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to next year. We took over 500 pictures this year, and if you’d like to see them, they’re available here. Feel free to tag yourself and/or anyone you know.

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THE WELLER Now Available in Print!

100_7751That’s right. My debut novel, The Weller, is now available in a handy, apocalypse-friendly print edition. You can get yours today at CreateSpace for $7.99 here. The book will also be made available on Amazon and Amazon Europe within the week. I’ll be posting those links as soon as I have them.

But don’t forget the excellent ebook edition published by Retro Rocket Press. For $3.99, you can have The Weller for your favorite e-reader.

UPDATE (6-5-13): The book is now available on Amazon here.

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