Bangor Comic & Toy Con Day 1: The Babying

I don’t have much time before exhaustion overrides my ability to write. I drove to Maine yesterday and set up my booth at the Bangor Comic & Toy Convention. It has been an awesome experience at every turn. For some a complex event, it’s being run efficiently and the host (Bangor Cross Insurance Center) has been unbelievably welcoming of the geeks. The docent says to me, “I’ve never seen people so excited to show off what they love.” I have to agree.

I’m not alone here. It’s almost like a high school reunion at this point. Amanda Kahl (the cover artist of Suburban Zombie High) and her husband, Derek Brewer are at a table behind me with their young one. Amanda is the person who convinces me to do these crazy things. What I’ve learned: geeks are awesome, everybody from your past appears, and if you’re in the market of picking up men, borrow your artist’s child.

Currently my bald mini-me has more likes on Facebook than any post I’ve ever made about my books. I shall begin to use this child to market my books. In the meantime, check out the photos and I’ll be making a much more extensive post when I’m not about to pass out!

First Convention: Bangor Comic & Toy Convention

logo2016I’m excited to say I’ll be attending my first convention as an author! I’ll be there alongside my cover artist Amanda Kahl selling books. Come by, bring your copy, bring a camera, I’m looking forward to bonding with the geeks of Maine. If you haven’t looked into it, check out the website, lots of big names, artists, vendors, and speakers! Oh, and me, the best part of the event! Visit Bangor Comic & Toy Convention website.

#WhoWins #NotTheFans #Marvel


If it involves comic books, you know I’ll be the first in line. They were the medium that taught me how to read, and to this day, I see one with a bent page and I suffer a little death on the inside. While I have never been a consistent reader of DC comics, I couldn’t say no to seeing Dawn of Justice on opening weekend with my geek posse. The trailers promised an action packed movie of superheroes duking it out for two hours. What we got was like seeing a comic with a bent page, death on the inside.

The errors contained in this movie started before I reached the theater. The obsession with the movie’s marketing team to release a new trailer each week for months got to the point where only the last twenty minutes was left out. The fundamental issue is not with the movie itself, but with the concept that Superman wouldn’t instantly pulverize Batman. Mr. Lasereyes could fly a mile away and just saw through the Dark Knight while knitting his mother a nice afghan. And before somebody jumps in and says, “Superman wouldn’t do something so evil,” you forget his fight with Zod ended in a guy getting his neck broken and the property damage slaughtering thousands kind of removes the “good guy” arguments. Superman got the gritty treatment and his righteousness was left behind in the pages of comics.

Spoilers Begin Here

Batman vs. Superman, I mean really, who needs anything more? Two heroes duking it out until something big and bad forces them to team up (it’s actually Wonder Woman’s miniskirt that does it I think.) Zack Snyder has a shaky past, Dawn of the Dead = win, 300 = win, Watchmen = win for me, loss for the masses, Legend of the Guardians = did anybody actually see this? Sucker Punch = pretty, but a loss. He has experience, but nothing went right in this movie for me. The action sequences were shot in a way that kept the camera moving so quickly that you could never actually see the action. When the camera slowed, it was either so dark or so close, we were never sure what was happening. The one sequence in which we see Batman fighting is on an alternate Earth using a flash forward and a flash sideways at the same time. In a very short sequence we discover that Ben Affleck is either too old to fight or incapable (despite the work out montage which proves Affleck has abs.) The dark lighting is similar to Dark Knight, but somebody forgot to tell Snyder that the audience needs a light source to see the fighting. I can’t blame him for the dream sequence, the flash backs, the flash forwards, the non linear story telling or the alternate dimension, that I’ll blame on the writers, producers, and DC. Were there any story telling techniques left?

Cavill has a moral dilemma and we get a story that resembles Watchmen, the overall theme says, “Who watches the Watchmen?” He brings back the same Superman we saw in Man of Steel, however the majority of my issues revolve around Affleck. While I was okay with all characters in their secret identities, when Affleck suited up and became Batman, it was difficult to buy into him being the Dark Knight. The suit looked like a massive rubber suit and I found myself asking, “How the hell does this man move in this? Was it rubber injection? Does he bounce?”

Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor made me nervous in the previews, but his level of crazy genius in the movie made me think he had some talent. Even though his involvement in creating Doomsday was lackluster at best, his level of crazy was acceptable. And other than Superman being a challenge, his motivation to take down the “god” was ambiguous at best. His primary purpose in the movie was trying to get an importing license, and then when that goes south, he decides he’ll go into an alien ship, make a super creature, and get crazier. But we’ll ignore the million plot holes that gets created with his character.

If you snoozed through the first two hours, you’re okay, it’s the last twenty minutes that you wake up for. This is when Wonder Woman appears, shield and sword in hand and prepared to fight. Between the creative use of her bracers or her unbreakable lasso, we get just enough of her that we see her steal the battle. I can’t remember her speaking, I just remember her being the perfect Wonder Woman.

During the two-hour and twenty-minute trailer for the Justice League, we had high hopes for the cameos of other superheroes. While we did get a glimpse of the Flash, Cyborg (who gives away the big bad for Justice League), and Aquaman, the method of delivery was pretty sad at best. Let’s slap a few files on a flash drive and watch as people click-through each video. I would have been more amused if Princess Diana turned on her TV and it was a trailer for each upcoming movie.

I had high hopes for Ben Affleck, I would have even been happy with his level of action considering his version of Daredevil. But on every level, the movie only is considered good because I lowered my expectations to such a degree it had no place to go but up. However, despite all that, I still think this movie falls on a level between the horribleness Daredevil and Elektra. Now maybe we can get over this bad build up and just get right to the Justice League movie. We’ll cross our fingers that it delivers.

How to Support an Author’s Book Release (or mine)

I’m touching the first copy of Nighthawks, the first book in the Children of Nostradamus series. This is the moment for every author when the project becomes real. However, there are so many different moving parts leading up to the release. Many people have been helpful and asking what they can do to support the book that I thought it easiest to make a post for all the ways to get involved. I’ve included links, but this would apply to just about any author!

Facebook Party

Release Party on Facebook
I’m hosting a release party on Tuesday at 6PM for the release of the book. It’s a chance to gather, ask questions, get hyped, give out gifts and that type of thing. It really is just a great time to talk and get questions answered (and of course free stuff!)

Share a Tweet/Facebook Post with Thunderclap
Thunderclap let’s people sign up and automatically makes a post/tweet for you. This all happens at the same time on the same day (March 10th) and helps get exposure for a project out to as many people as possible all at the same time! I need 100 people to sign up for it to work, so the more people who sign up the better. Thanks in advance!

Join the Mailing List
The best way to hear about what’s going on with upcoming releases, book signings and exclusive content is with the mailing list. Don’t worry, I don’t spam (except near release days) and overall it’s a great way to stay connected with fans.

Like the Facebook Page or Follow my Twitter or Instagram
I know it sounds cliché, but every time I post something and I see somebody liked or retweeted a comment, I get a little excited. I admit it’s validating, but also, how cool is i
t to know something you made interests other people? Yeah, I appreciate the validation!

Bangor Comic & Toy ConventionCome See me at a Signing!Part of why I got into writing is to talk to people about books. I love talking about my own, don’t get me wrong, but I LOVE hearing othr suggestions and giving great reads to other people. So stop by Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester on March 12th (3PM – 6PM) to talk books along with Scott T. Goudsward. Or if you’re up in Bangor and plan on attending the Bangor Comic & Toy Convention I’ll be there showing some local pride!

Request the Book from your Library/Bookstore
Next time you swing by your library or Bookstore, ask if they carry Nighthawks or Children of Nostradamus. Chances are, until they’re asked, they don’t. A simple request means my book will wind up on more shelves, and of course the more exposure the more the following grows.

Goodreads ReviewLeave a Review on Amazon or Goodreads
I can not stress enough how important reviews are to authors. With more reviews there are additional perks, like being on the “Also recommending” or even in the Amazon mailing list. While we all hope for nothing but 5-star reviews, truth be told, I want honest reviews that highlight the great and point out the issues. I’m thick-skinned, I can handle it.

Word of Mouth
Believe it or not, but the best way to get people to read a book is to talk about a book. All digital media aside, the actual conversation is the best way to sell. “Wow, I just read a book you should check out,” is how I do all my reading these days. I haven’t picked up an unrecommended author in years. So if you like the book, mention it to a few people, authors are always appreciative of that.

sense8 – Wachowskis Deliver 8 Perfectly Woven Origin Stories

Sense8 Series by NetflixThere are moments when something comes along and shines through the piles of science fiction at our disposal. Sense8, a Netflix original series, not only shines through, but pushes the boundaries of the superhero genre in a way I haven’t seen since I heard the phrase, “Who watches the Watchmen?”

I am so confident that you’ll fall victim to the amazing and unique storytelling that I only need to push the first episode. It opens with Angel who is drugged, trying to hide herself from some unseen bad guy. When her lover and partner Jonas comes into the scene, we quickly realize she’s seeing him in her mind. She’s discovered by a man we only know as Whispers who not only kills her but goes out of his way to make it look like a fire. The hint of telepathy touches my heart and I’m sucked in enough to see how they show off these “powers.”

What happens next not only sucks me in, but thrills me. Eight people are born on the August 8th, known as Sensates, people who share a telepathic bond. The group of eight consists of a vastly different people with at least one who will resonate with the viewer. An African bus driver, a Korean business woman, a Chicago cop, an Indian bride to be, a trans hackivist, an Icelandic DJ, a locksmith crook, a gay movie actor make up a cast so diverse the question is explored, “Would you want to share their thoughts?” And while some stories take focus and partners and triangles are developed, each of them has a rich story that seeks to explore their individuality amongst the telepathic collective.

If the story isn’t enough to trap you, (I was already beginning to ponder how much sleep I was about to lose) the visuals within the storytelling are done so well, the Wachowskis’ appear to have this story perfected. As we move from one character to the next, changing mental states or even landscapes, the camera moves in a way where we are transported with them in a seamless manner that not only prevents us from being jarred but gives us a true sense of what the Sensates must be experiencing as they hop from one mind to the next. The first episode pushes this concept to a degree that I can only describe as, “Perfected storytelling for those with ADD.” There is a moment where you feel safe to walk to your fridge and grab your next Coke or check your text messages. Fear of missing a transition from one character to the next keeps you focused on the screen. You only manage to break away when you realize it’s 2:30AM and you still have to show up to work in the morning.

Not sold yet? I was so captivated by the individual character’s struggles and reliance on one another I nearly forgot the show also has a “big bad” that we can expect to see throughout the series development. Whispers, a Sensate who we only know has the ability to invade clusters other than his own upon eyesight shrouded in mystery and only lightly touched upon during the first season. While I originally thought this would be a one season show, come to find out it was always intended to consist of four seasons, all of which have been green lit. In a world with early cancellations, we will see the final show down between our characters and their mysterious nemesis.

Overall, if you haven’t seen it. Do it. Close your laptop, turn off your phone, and prepare for a character driven superhuman story. While the special effects aren’t going to make this a blockbuster, its captivating storylines and well-developed characters will give you something major motion pictures seems determined to avoid. Sense8 is original in every aspect, and now I sit here typing, counting down the days until I can binge watch the second season on Netflix.

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