Monthly Archives: March 2014

MegaCon 2014 report

Conventions are always highly anticipated, take a long time to arrive, but fly by in such a hurry. So it was with MegaCon 2014. Like last year, I had a fantastic time. This year was a little different, though, in that my entire family actually got to attend at the same time. Usually, it’s just me and one of them, this time, Friday saw all four of us there (see pic).

Friday was a great day. The doors opened at 1 o’clock on Friday and we were there around 11:00. It took us longer to park on Friday than any of the three days. It seemed like the folks parking us wanted to stop each car that came through and chat with them. It wasn’t tough to get the stuff in because I had four sets of hands—which was nice. On the way inside, we bumped into Cully Hamner doing the same thing. When I told the kids I knew him when he had hair down to his waist, they were surprised—not that I knew him, but that his hair was once that long! We located my spot—which was allllll the way in the back next to the cool Lego stuff. We got set up and immediately Brittany and BJ took off headed to a Smallville panel. Brett and I held the fort has folks came rolling through. Before we knew it, the day was over.

We’d been worried that Brittany would not be able to make Saturday, but her professor worked with her and let her make up her work so that she could attend with us. Pretty rockin’, I’d say. We were there right before 9, because the security guard told us as we left on Friday that it would open at nine a.m. I guess I should have clarified exactly what he meant by “open,” because it was open for us to set up, NOT for attendees. Really, I should have trusted the MegaCon schedule!

Saturday was a very hectic day. Crowds were crazy packed in the exhibition hall (we used to call this place, “dealer’s room”) and we later learned that traffic outside was terrible. My friends Thomas and Rene’ Florimonte (who are part of Ka-Blam!) said they were waiting three hours just to park! I heard that from several different people but I guess we were there early enough we didn’t see it at all. I’ve seen some people on social media really lashing out at MegaCon because of that, but I remain unconvinced it is their fault. Certainly they should address it for next year, but it would seem to me that it is the Orange County Convention Center’s fault—like they’ve never parked that many people before? Maybe they should simply call in help from an SEC school, who multiple times a year get in crowds of 50,000 to 100,000 people for a football game. Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard to park people. My experience with the folks at MegaCon has been nothing but fantastic, so I’m sure they’ll address the issue and it will be resolved next year.

I was on a panel Saturday afternoon; Break-In Stories with Mike Miller, Frank Tieri, Russell Lissau, and Steve Horton. Each of us told our own story of breaking into the comic industry, gave hints to budding creators, and then took questions from attendees. All in all, it was a very fun panel.

Sunday was back to normal craziness, but was a good day. I think many were relieved that the massive crowding from Saturday was gone. That’s not to suggest it wasn’t busy, it was—Sunday was actually my best day—but it was a healthy crowded where Saturday was jam packed. I got to see several folks and visit, even if the visits were short. Aside from those already mentioned, Mike Miller is someone I haven’t seen in close to twenty years! Regrettably, I didn’t take more time to try to catch up with him. I got to see Jimmy Palmiotti—who is probably one of the most encouraging creators I know, Bill Sawyer and Barry Gregory (who is the other main player of Ka-Blam). On top of that, I got to see several of my students from Full Sail University. Was cool seeing them there, if a bit different.

All in all, a great show—I already hope to get put on the guest list for next year!

Up next is the Spring Hemingway Writers Retreat. There are still seats left, so if you’ve ever wanted to write where Hemingway wrote, this is the time/place to do it! Anyone interested should email Dr. Adam Long



Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

Memphis report and MEGACON tomorrow!

For those of you who came for the MegaCon info, it starts tomorrow. If you’re in the Orlando area and consider yourself a geek/nerd of any sort, you should be there. I’ll be there all three days. You can find me in Artists Alley at Purple10. This will be the first year my entire family has gotten to attend with me (though Brittany will be limited because of her class schedule) and I’m pretty excited about it. Bring some books for me to sign, or better yet, pick some stuff up from me there!

Additionally, at 5:20 on Saturday afternoon, I’ll be on a panel “Break-In Stories,” talking with other comic creators on how we “broke in” to the comic industry. Others will be: Cully Hamner, Chuck Dixon, Mike Miller, Frank Tieri, Steve Horton and Russell Lissau. I know several of them so know you will get some good stories AND will get some good answers to your questions. We’ll be in room 310 EF.

Last week…make that two weekends ago (I skipped a blog, last week, didn’t I? Oops!) I was the keynote speaker at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference. I know, right! While I’ve spoken and had sessions at conferences/conventions before, this is only the second time as keynote…and yes, it gives me butterflies. Pretty much always! But, I tend to remember about 10 minutes in (I have to warm up, I guess) that I’m talking about WRITING, something about which I’m fairly passionate and then the overdrive motor kicks in.

I did two sessions as keynote and then a “breakout session,” where I gave an overview of how to write for graphic novels as most of the attendees were more traditional (ie., prose) writers. As I do in my class at Full Sail where we get the chance to really dive in deep, I get very excited to see the lights of possibility come on in the eyes of those in attendance. Often, it’s like revealing an entirely different world to them—and that’s kind of exciting.

The keynotes were a big challenge for me. Generally, as in the graphic novel session, the subject is pretty focused and straightforward. The staff (thanks April and Tracy—with no E!) wanted me to talk about something that could be for ALL writers. You see, the conference was not just for novelists. Also in attendance were songwriters, poets, memoirists and devotional writers (I’m sure I left somebody out!). Yikes! Generally, I’m all about STORY. You see, just ask my students and they’ll tell you that they constantly hear from me STORY IS KING! And I believe that! SO, I had to try to come up with something that covered all writer types.

And then they tossed in the curveball. Oh—and make it accessible to writers of all skill levels, from beginners to established/working writers.


In the end, I used that time to (I hope) both challenge and encourage them to BE BETTER WRITERS and to HONE THEIR CRAFT regardless of what level their writing may be or where they consider themselves. And while it very difficult to tell sometimes if those who are listening are enjoying it, I didn’t see anyone nodding off (the same is not true for my classroom!) and I take that as a good sign.


Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

Mid-South Christian Writers’ Conference

This is just a quick entry to remind all those particularly in the Mid-South area (that area around Memphis, Tennessee, for those who don’t know) to come on out to the Mid-South Christian Writers’ Conference where I am both honored and delighted to be the keynote speaker. For more info, just click on the image below.

The conference has an entire day long schedule full of workshops, including writing query letters, discussions on the pros and cons of self-publishing, how to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, writing graphic novels, and several others. The hours are 9am to 5pm.

The day ends with a big presenter panel and the conference includes a bookstore. This is the first one, So come on out and join the festivities. Pick up a book of mine while you’re there. I’ll even sign it for free.

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Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances