Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FanX-Perience Preserved In Pictures...


My friend's been bugging me about posting some of my Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 FanX photos. Truth be told, I didn't take a lot of pictures--I usually take a lot more at such an event, but my mission at the conference was a little different. I was trying to meet people, sound somewhat intelligent (which is another word for "qualified"...) on the panels and strengthen relationships. And besides, if I took a picture of every cool thing I saw over those three days, I wouldn't have had time to do anything else.

So, here are some photos! Thanks goes to Kenn Johnson for sending me the only photo of me at a panel (that I know of, anyway...). Thanks to Dave and Candice for the table space! And a HUGE thanks to Blake Cassleman for the invite. I had a fantastic time!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dad Is Fat...A Book Review


I admit, I'm a fan of comedian Jim Gaffigan. Maybe it's because we share the same skin pigment. Maybe it's because he's a father of many children--unapologetically so. Maybe it's because, to me, he represents an everyman. Maybe it's because he's just funny. That's probably it.

Gaffigan wrote a book, Dad Is Fat. In this amazing world of YouTube and other internet options, being a fan of a comedian means you can instantly access much of their work, and watch it over and over again. So, with a computer, tablet or smart phone you can watch Jim entertain crowds with his brand of humor.

You can also experience much of his humor by reading his book. He includes many of his best comedic lines when discussing what it's like to be a father of five. Part of the charm of his book is that he wrote it for those who can't possibly imagine what it's like to have five children, let alone, raising them in New York City, in a two-bedroom apartment, while as a performer spending much of his time on the road. While I can't relate to growing up in NYC or having parents in the entertainment industry, I can relate growing up around large families. Where I live, five kids isn't (or wasn't...) considered "large."

I liked the book. If you're a fan of Jim Gaffigan, you will too. However, if you're a big fan of his, you've probably heard a lot of the material before. Then again, how many times do we watch the same comedy special over and over again? For me, sometimes, quite a lot.

* Photo used without permission from:

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's the Little Choices That Can Add Up...

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to hang out with several authors, all experiencing varying levels of success, and each one of them inspired me. So much so, when faced with my "normal" schedule today, I decided to make some changes. The first of which was trash a ton of un-listened-to podcasts.

Now, this may not sound like a big deal. Most people listen to no podcasts so not listening to a bunch of downloaded files is no big deal. To me, however, I am sometimes religious when it comes to my podcasts. I listen to them all--usually.

This morning, I grabbed a book written by my good friend, Dave Butler; with cover art by another friend, Nathan Shumate, and I read it going to and from work.

I know this sounds like a small thing. Someone reads a book instead of listening to something else while commuting to work--big deal! But to me it is. I need to read more in addition to listening to audiobooks (which, thankfully, I can do at work...). I need to focus on my goal of completing a novel by the next Salt Lake Comic Con and having it published before event taking place in September, about 120 days from now. I realized if I'm going to reach my goal, I've got to change the little things.

Oh,, by the way, Dave's book ROCKS! If you're interested, you can get the book: HERE. If you like dystopian stories, you'll love this!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Images Of Chase...A Short Story



It's The Weekly Blog Hop Writing Challenge!

It's that time again for another story. This time we've got two photos from which to draw inspiration. Here are the other rules: 

1) Use the two photos provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday night to link up your post.
4) Add your story (Blue Link) at Leanne's or Tena's sites.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
So, without further hesitation, here's this week's story!
Images Of Chase
As Michelle Prowse retrieved the keys from her back pocket, she dropped one of the two bags of groceries she juggled in her over-burdened arms.

'Please don't be the eggs,' she thought to herself as she knew instinctively the bag that fell to earth did indeed contain the dozen eggs she needed for a new recipe. After jamming the key into the lock and opening the apartment door she was she able to place her other bag on the kitchen counter and return to the hallway to see if her intended dinner would turn from new meal to Top Ramen. Thankfully only two of the twelve eggs were destroyed.

She gathered the groceries and placed the damaged paper bag next to the pristine one on the counter. It was then she noticed the mail she picked up on the way to her apartment, the three or four envelopes crammed under her purse, and since checking the mail sounded only slightly more enjoyable than putting away the groceries, she opted for the mail.

Bill, bill, credit card application...Michelle froze as the handwritten writing on the last envelope screamed at her, the simple letters that could only be penned by one person on earth struck her with such force her legs began to buckle.

The letter came from dad. She dropped the other letters and stared at the one remaining in her shaking hand. She slowly walked to the kitchen table and sat down.

"Damn you, dad," Michelle said as the first of many tears began descending down her tired face. She opened the letter not knowing what it contained, but thinking it would have something to do with her little brother Chase, ten years her junior who died seven months earlier. When she opened the letter and saw it contained only photographs the gravity of what he sent fell upon her shoulders.

She gently held the dozen or so pictures as if they were delicate spun-thrown glass figurines. The first picture showed Chase playing video games, the boy the most innocent, loving child the 23-year older sister ever knew. He sat on her dad's old brown couch with his feet up. The image shattered Michelle's heart.

'Dad was old-school--I'll give him that!' Michelle thought. Her father still used his old 35mm Olympus and he developed the prints Walmart. Next came a shot of Gunner, Chase's dog--some terrier/spaniel mix. How he loved that dog, a dog Chase only survived by one year. Michelle saw a picture of Chase at his last birthday party, in their father's backyard pool, Chase waiting in line for the latest superhero movie premiere. 

When she had seen them all, she placed them in front of her on the table, one atop the other, each placed exactly over the one beneath. She looked at the groceries awaiting her attention and she no longer felt like eating anything and didn't know when the desire would return.

Word Count: 492

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What's Really Important...*

I spent the last three days involved in an event, three days where I walked for miles, saw tens of thousands of people, made new friendships and renewed ones previously made. Today I introduced my wife to several of those friends and she got to experience the craziness first hand.

I saw famous people--even had dinner twenty feet from one of the biggest names in the industry. I watched as people searched for happiness. I wonder if they found it.

But when I returned home after 72 hours of crowds and complimentary sandwiches and cold cereal for dinner after coming home, I realized all of it--the fame, the accolades, the photos, the autographs and the entire event isn't what's really important. It all pales in comparison to a man in a garden and a mission, a mission he thankfully completed.

And because of him, I live.

*Photo used without permission from:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friends On Panels...

Many people go to Comic Con to buy stuff, or to get autographs from celebrities, or to just see the people who attend. But then there are others who will go to a room and hear people talk about various subjects. Today's post show pictures of some of my friends and they panels they've been on.

There's a couple of reasons why I'm just showing pictures of my friends who sat on panels over the past two days.

Actually, there's only one reason why I'm making this choice for today's blog post.

It's because I just got home and I'm exhausted.

These are people I respect and who are amazingly talented. I have other friends on panels that are not included here. Hopefully I'll try and get pictures of them as well. Whether or not I use them in a post will be decided later.

Now, if only I had a picture of me sitting next to Kevin J Anderson on tonight's panel, that would be very, very cool.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

They Built It And They Came...

You enter and your brain hurts for all the sights to see. You notice one costume and before you get a good look, another one comes in view. You make your way through the crowds and you notice the faces, the faces of parents and their children, of young couples showing their obvious love for each other, of friends taking in every moment of their adventure.

But most of all, if you really look, you notice something else on their faces...smiles. They've come from across town and across the country, vendors and panelists, celebrities and volunteers, all gathered under a huge roof, all gathered in the pursuit of fun.

As people meander, they laugh, they stare, they take pictures of each other, some costumes elaborate, some simple, all chosen to enhance the experience. They shuffle between booths. They wait in line. They sit exhausted as they enjoy a quick bite, all the time watching the masses walk by, all the time commenting to each other as they notice another costume, another alter-ego, another escape.

If you go, look around and maybe your brain will hurt by all there is to see.