Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Couple Of My Favorite Cosplayers I Saw/Didn't See This Weekend...

Me, and a hundred-thousand others, got together over the weekend. We met up downtown Salt Lake City, milled about, spent more money than we should, did more standing than sitting, and met amazing people.

People attend these events for different reasons. Some show up to see/meet famous people. Fewer go for the panels. Some just love watching people. And many many go to give those people something to see. They're cosplayers, and many are definitely worth the price of admission.

I've only attended Salt Lake's Comic Con, but photos from other conventions across the country and world show pretty much the same thing, cosplayers have a desire to pretend, pretend to be someone else, feel something different, or just get the respect of fellow attendees. After attending these events since 2013, I've seen a few great cosplays. This year's con (that ended yesterday...) didn't disappoint. In fact, there were two examples I especially loved--one I saw, and another I didn't.

On Thursday, Day 1 of Salt Lake Comic Con, I saw Bob Ross (not the original...). I told him he looked great, asked if I could take his picture, which he agreed. He then, in a move that the original Bob Ross would have approved, surprised me by asking me if I wanted to paint. That was cool. I didn't do much to the painting--I only added a small smiley face. Not only did I get his picture, but of the painting as well.

The second picture, my personal favorite actually, is one I was unable to see in person. My friend Kannon Survoss decided to go with his little brother as Calvin and Hobbs. Kannon made the costume himself. We tried finding them--we looked and looked all day Thursday but he eluded us. Too bad. Thankfully, someone connected to Comic Con snapped his picture. I would include it here, but it's not mine--it's the conventions. You can access it: HERE, on their Facebook page. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth seeing.

I've talked to several cosplayers over the years and one thing they love to do is to top whatever it was they did previously. I know they will, but it's hard to imagine topping these. I guess we'll just have to wait to see what amazing things they come up with next time.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Note On Our Fridge At Work...

Right after Hurricane Irma hit, a note showed up at work. As I put my leftovers in the fridge before work began, I saw it and I took a picture of what I saw. It was to remind me of things.

Most of my immediate family live either in Utah or the western United States, so none of them were affected by the recent storms. That still doesn't lessen the impact of the devastation on those hit. It's just that when you don't personally know those affected, it doesn't feel as bad.

As stated earlier, I took a picture of the family to remind me of things. Fortunately, I've never experienced anything close to losing everything you have due to a disaster. As I write this, I look around my room and see a house we built for our family. I see a row of journals I've spent the last forty-plus years writing. I know, when these things happen, we see people say the most important thing is that they survived.

That's 100% true, but still, to lose all your physical possessions--it can't be easy. The picture reminds me that things can be replaced, people can't. Also, it is good to give. This past month has been tough on so many people, and that's just in one part of the world. People have endured disasters, personal issues, and other things that make life a challenge. What makes humanity so great is that we'll survive this, too, and like the muscle constantly used and tested, we'll be stronger because of it. God bless those hit hard by nature the past couple of weeks. And may we remember to do what we can to help them out as well.

Friday, September 22, 2017

25 Years Equals Silver...But It's Golden For Me

Today marks a quarter of a century that my wife and I have been married. I know for some 25 years isn't long and for others it seems like forever. The older I get, two and a half decades doesn't seem long at all. 

A couple of things kept us from celebrating the big day like other silver anniversary couples do, a part-time job, a comic con, things like that. Sure I would love to have taken a trip to distant lands or some other equally impressive way to honor the day, but it didn't work out.

And, in the grand scheme of things, that's okay. Because I have been the luckiest person I know. I've been with my friend, a person who supports me in so many ways, a person who sees beyond my faults, my quirks, my issues. I've almost been with her as long as I was not with her--that happens in a couple of years.

As I think back on the past 25 years, it's hard to express how I feel. And my words can't possibly do justice to the emotions, the feelings we've shared together. Lynda--thanks for believing in me. Thanks for trusting me. I will work forever to try and repay that love. Thanks for the best half century any husband could ever have and thanks for saying "yes" allowing us to take this journey together. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

John Olsen's New Book..."Crystal King" Is Coming Soon!

I met John because I met Jay and Jay works with John and so I met John. 

And I'm glad I did.

There's a few of us who, because of Xchyler Publishing, have gone from published short-story authors to published novel authors. John's the first. My novel comes out early next year, and Jay Barnson's novel should come out shortly after that.

But today it's John's turn and his book looks amazing! It's called Crystal King, Riland Throne, Book 1. I have not had the opportunity to read it--it's something I plan on doing and something I'm excited to do. You can access the book's Amazon website and pre-order: HERE. Of course, if you go to Salt Lake Comic Con tomorrow or Saturday, you can get a copy now!

From that website, here's a brief description of Crystal King:

An army has overrun and destroyed the royal council and much of the kingdom of Riland's leadership. Now, Gavin Stoutheart’s father the baron is missing, along with Gavin’s brother the heir- both presumed dead. After tormenting his instructors and father for years with his rebellious antics, Gavin must step up to lead his people as they flee before an invading army, one that can outpace his motley collection of castle staff, peasants, and children. Gavin’s only hope for survival is the forbidden animal magic wielded by his closest friends combined with his gift for strategy as he searches for allies along their trail. Will it be enough to keep them alive as they desperately trek through a fractured, leaderless kingdom? For the army of human and animal predators will show no mercy.

Will it be enough? Will they survive? How does this thing turn out?

On October 17th, you'll have to check out Crystal King to find out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

If You're At The Con...Check Out The "Steam, Gears, And Bygone Years" Panel Tomorrow!

I think I'll always love steampunk--the art, the clothes, the literature, the decor. It's like when you see someone wearing clothes from the 1980s. You instantly know the time period. When I see people at conventions (or, even in general public...) clad in steampunk gear, I know I've found a kindred spirit. 

Either that, or they just like the way steampunk clothing accentuates certain parts of their body. For me, I'll imagine it's the former.

Tomorrow, from 4pm to 5pm mountain time at this year's Salt Lake Comic Con in Room 255C, a group of steampunk fans/authors will gather and participate on a panel to discuss all things steampunk. I love the panel's name:

Steam, Gears, and Bygone Years

Joining me on the panel are Cindy Grigg, Sean Hoard, Angie Lofthouse, Aaron Michael Ritchey, and Dan Wills. The great thing about being part of the Salt Lake Comic Con panel family is I've done panels with several of these wonderful people and participated in other projects with even more.

There are many cool reasons to like steampunk, but the main reason I love the genre and the art/decor/fashion is because the first time I had something published, it was a short story set in a steampunk world. Little Boiler Girl was included in a fantastic steampunk anthology, Mechanized Masterpieces, A Steampunk Anthology.

Having that little story included in such an amazing collection changed my life. So, I can honestly say steampunk changed my life. So, if you're at the con tomorrow (or, today if you're reading this on Thursday, September 21...), drop by. If you're a steampunk fan, you'll love it. If you're not, you'll hear about something we all love and maybe you'll become a fan, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

At Salt Lake Comic Con...You Buy My Book, I Give The Profits To Charity

It helps, when you write a daily blog, to store blog post ideas for later. It saves time when it comes to writing. I've got a few blog post ideas lined up. I've written recently about our Seattle trip, but I haven't highlighted the main reason we went--my nephew's wedding. I could write about that. On my commute this morning two cars crashed into each others right in front of me. That can be another blog post. And I even saw and videoed a small snake slithering in our back yard this after noon.

But with the terrible storms destroying lives and news of today's Mexico City earthquake, those topics just didn't seem appropriate. So, what to write about?

Earlier this month I placed an order of Speckled, my one and only book, for this week's Salt Lake Comic Con. The number of books I ordered was based on past cons, plus I added a couple more because the last thing you want to have happen at a con is to run out of books.

My family and I were kicking around an idea earlier--what if I donated all book sales from this year's con to disaster relief charities. After today, I've decided that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Now, before you think this is going to be a huge life-changing financial contribution, it probably won't be. I charge a little less for my collection of short stories than if it were a novel. It's shorter than most of the books sold at the convention as well. But, it's something. It's something I can do to help out in a small way. Plus, I get my book out to more people and hopefully those people will not only enjoy the collection, but will feel good about helping out as well.

So if you're at this weekend's Salt Lake Comic Con, 2017 edition, look for Booth #639 and check out mine and all the other books we have for your reading, and philanthropic needs. Hopefully, I'll see you there!

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Grandfather, William Knight...The Only Grandparent I Ever Knew

Tonight, while searching through some family stuff, and I came across a photo of my mother's father, my grandfather William Knight.

He's the only grandparent I ever knew.

My grandfather was born in 1900. I remember that, even as a kid because it made it easy to remember how old he was. After my dad passed away in 1974, my mom lost her father a few years after. There's a lot I don't know about him, but I do know when he was a a child the family moved into the home where my cousin now lives in Driggs, Idaho in 1906. I know Grandpa Knight had an accident when he was young where he was burned badly over much of his body. I only learned of this long after he passed away. Funny how that happens. We learn so much after there's a chance to learn even more.

There's another connection my grandfather and I share, his first name is my middle name. And we gave my first-born that middle name as well.

Growing up where I did, I was surrounded by kids who had all of their grandparents still alive. When Grandpa Knight died, most of my friends my age still have most of their great-grandparents living. I always felt a bit cheated. That's how kids think sometimes.

If my grandfather were still alive today, he'd be in the record books and I would have had half a century to get to know him. A decade is hardly enough time. Then again, you can know someone for a century and still learn more about them everyday. For example, you can learn that once, when they were little, someone took a picture of them with the only grandparent they ever knew in clothing that only a grandparent could appreciate. That would be something new to learn.