Tag Archives: Angie

Con Report: MCFC…C&M #1 SOLD OUT!

As reported last week, I was a comic guest at the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention held at The Guest House in Graceland…yes, THAT Graceland…just beside the home of Elvis Presley.

The big news of the weekend is that we sold out of all the copies of Cat & Mouse #1 we had and the immediate response from those in attendance was very positive.

As has been the case the last several shows, I made the trip with my pal and talented comic creator Jeff Whiting…and of course, we solved all the ills of the comic world and world at large during the trip. Now if we can just get someone to listen to us!

Once there, we joined up with Dean Zachary (amazing artist on Cat and Mouse—and a bunch of other stuff—but I’m talking about C&M here, not that other stuff! Ha) and Mitch Foust (another amazing artist with a whole host of fantasy based work). If you don’t know these names, you need to check out their work…you won’t be sorry.

Had the opportunity to meet yet another talented comic creator, one who’d been facebook friends earlier, but that I had never met face to face: John Martin. In fact…there’ll be news forthcoming about a project with John and my old pal, writer Sid Williams. But that’s another post…

As a show, Friday was pretty slow. Saturday, however, had a lot of traffic and the lunch rush was good; a lot of people interested in not just supporting an indy comic creator, but looking for something different! Sunday was a little better than Friday, but man that place shut down quick! There was very little foot traffic after about 2pm, and some of the vendors were bailing by just after lunch.

Jeff Whiting, Me, David Dastmalchian, John Martin, Dean Zachary, Mitch Foust

One of the coolest events of the show, though, was when actor David Dastmalchian was wandering the exhibitor floor…shopping. As he walked by, I asked if he liked comics. He said he did (and I spotted a stack of back issues in his hands, so I know he does!) and so Dean and I offered him a copy of C&M #1, which he gladly accepted. Then, he stood and talked to us about comics for about 10 minutes! You never know what to expect with the media guests, but he was one of the most down to earth guys! Learned he is from Kansas! We were excited when his agent (show agent?) Jeremy Miller popped by on Saturday for us to all grab a photo with him! Now I’ve got to go look up (and watch) all his other appearances–the ones I haven’t already seen, I mean.

All said and done, though, fun show. Met some new people, hopefully met some new readers/fans, and just had a good time in general.

Also, thanks to Hotel Angie! 🙂

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Next show is the Nashville Comic and Horror Festival on December 8 and 9. See you there!

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How long?

Hi blog. Did you miss me? I missed me.

Seriously, though. Things have been a mess time wise, but I hope think they’re cooling down. I know, don’t get my hopes up because the holidays are right around the corner, right? Sigh.

My classes have been full, but I’ve made some cuts to the graded work and have actually gotten some help—so that is good. I still enjoy the heck out of the campus classes—I mean, what’s not to love about teaching comic writing, right?

Brittany receiving her diploma

Brittany receiving her diploma

In other big news, Brittany graduated from Full Sail–and she was the Valedictorian of her class! That’s right. Tis true. And she is anxious as everything to get to work! I’m pretty anxious for that to happen, too! Ha! The cool news is that in just the last few months she was cast in major roles for two independent films. She was the lead in Love Waits and is the co-lead in The Colors of Emily (she plays Emily). She’s slated for another big role in March, and The Colors of Emily is actually a trilogy and so she’s booked for both of those in the future. All in all, fantastic success out of the gate!

As you can see from the picture, Mom, Dad and Ang were able to come down for not only Brittany’s graduation, but for Thanksgiving. We had a great time, but man did it go by in a hurry. Brittany wanted to go to Hard Rock Café to celebrate…so we lost our hearing while we were there. I think we sat in the loudest spot in the place.

Brett marched for the last time, as well, and was pretty bummed about it. They put on a pretty cool end of semester show that wasn’t just the

Dad, Brett, Mom, Angie, Brittany, BJ, and Me at Hard Rock.

Dad, Brett, Mom, Angie, Brittany, BJ, and Me at Hard Rock.

band, but kind of an all-around “talent show.” We snagged the family picture one of those nights goofing around. The show was really very cool.

Cat & Mouse is in the hands of a couple of publishers now so it’s just playing the waiting game. I think it has a better shot with one more than the other…but my contacts are better at the other one.

An independent publisher is looking hard at trying to make The Gifted happen as a series of graphic novels. As an indy publisher, but biggest obstacle to getting a graphic novel done is the art. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’m thankful they are making the effort. I’ll talk about that more when I can, of course.

Nothing new on Beah, Citizens or Rejects, but you’ll be the first to know.

I’m also hopeful that I’ll get Buying Time on Amazon and Kindle within the week—hopefully before Christmas.

Okay…hopefully I don’t crash and burn before next week! See you then!

Us being us

Us being us

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Advice to the pregnant (or new parents)

I’m inspired to write this after learning my cousin Travis and his wife Erin are expecting their first baby. It’s very exciting! Of course, Travis and Erin probably already have enough advice from his brother Landon and his wife Katie; at 3 kids, they’re practically old pros at it! Regardless, it got me thinking…and you know how dangerous that is!

My sister, Angie, told me the story once of sitting next to a young, new mother on the airplane. She accidentally bumped her baby’s head and the poor thing commenced to crying (I probably would have, too). As the baby cried, moms from all around the plane suddenly started popping their heads up and offering suggestions on what to do and how to handle the baby. The mom, Angie said, was fine except for all the well-wishers, and she was concerned the baby was bothering them.

But that made me remember all the advice BJ and I got before Brittany was born. We were told things like don’t buy aTravis and Erin girl pink colors and Barbie Dolls. We didn’t…and wouldn’t you know, Brittany’s favorite color—for a long time—was pink, and she absolutely loved Barbie Dolls!

We were advised on things like breast-feeding or bottle feeding, short naps vs. long naps (and even no naps), sleeping with the baby or having the baby sleep alone, talking and/or singing to them, etc. etc. Rarely did any two people ever give the same advice. Our doctor generally told us to ignore them all…which we pretty much did.

However, one thing no one told us but we were fortunate to have already done—quite by accident, mind you. Buy a video camera. I know, I know, they’re not cheap. They’re cheaper now than when BJ and I first bought one. But to have that video of the baby being born, or smiling, or taking their first steps … is just priceless. In fact, I believe in this so strongly that I say you should buy this before buying something like a stroller (you MUST have a car-seat these days) or a bouncer for your living room. Buy a video camera.

And then, when your baby is 17 or 11, you can pop in a video and wonder where all the time has gone…but be thankful you captured so many memories on video.

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Thoughts on flying

So I’ve been flying a lot the last few months and I have a few observations. Angie, my sister, warned me that I’d likely grow bored or tired of it after a while, and she was right. It isn’t that I dislike flying…but I dislike flying. I guess it beats the alternative of driving, but I kinda like driving; it’s that rare opportunity for a long period of time to just think and chill, things we don’t get to do much today (as a society, that is). And although it’s downhill to Florida, it’s a 14 hour drive there, but a 12 hour drive back.

I probably wouldn’t have been able to make some of these observations if I didn’t fly about once a week. One of the first things I started to notice is how big of a hurry people are to get on the plane. If the seats were unassigned and it was just seat as you board, that would make more sense to me. But on every single flight I’ve had, I’m assigned a seat. I get a seat. There’s no question whether I’ll get on or not. That’s why I don’t understand the rush, except of course, the case of those who sit in First Class as my sister often does. They get pampered from the minute they step foot on the plane. The rest of us (she calls us “losers”) have to sit and sweat until the plane pulls away. Additionally, the seats are often small and squish my knees.

So, I’m not really in a hurry to get on.

Takeoff has always been my favorite part of flying. I enjoy feeling the sheer power of the engines as they propel the plane along the runway. Once we’re in the air, I enjoy looking at the ground for a while, trying to pick out landmarks and highways and such. I mean, if the plane goes down, I need to know which way it is to walk back home.

The other observation I have, I wish I didn’t. I’ve become keenly aware of the sound of the plane engines. I’ve gotten to the point where I can generally tell when they’re giving it gas and when they’re laying off. What’s eerie is when they lay off for a few minutes and then suddenly rev it back up. I find myself quickly looking out the window to make sure we’re not headed down in a nosedive.

For a long while I kept hearing what I thought was the landing gear. Recently, though, I noticed the sound was actually the flaps on the wings. It makes a terrific winding noise as the flaps are put up or down.

The worst times, though, come in storms. I DO NOT like flying then. It gets bumpy (isn’t that an odd way to put it? Bumpy? In the AIR? How can air be bumpy?). You know it’s bad, however, when the flight attendant is telling you to fasten your seat belt and then screams “Oh God!” into the mic after a nasty bump.

I keep waiting for them to tell us “assume crash positions.” (cue Airplane movie clip)

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MidSouthCon 2010 report

I mentioned in this space several weeks ago that 2010 was shaping up to be a busy year. On March 12-14, I was a “comic industry guest” at MidSouthCon, held in Olive Branch, Mississippi. (Though I understand the Federal Government is requiring them to move back to Tennessee next year). While I attended ShadowCon in January, this was the first full Sci-Fi/Comics Convention I’d attended as a guest in nearly a decade. Yes, it feels weird to say that as it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed.

My stay was made possible by my sister Angie who lives nearby. She put me up and gave me a soft bed to sleep in, even if I wasn’t there to visit too terribly often. I was able, though, to talk her into coming out and visiting a real geek-convention for the first time ever. She has remained oddly silent about the entire experience. This was also Brittany’s first time to visit a convention—she even got the shirt!

I was seated next to a couple of guys I used to hire during my Malibu days. They happen to be some pretty talented artists, as well. Dean Zachary, Mitch Foust, Jim Hall, all shared a joint booth space and practically didn’t move the entire three days, steadily drawing whatever was requested by fans. And the Star Wars fans were out in droves. They came to see Star Wars comic writer John Jackson Miller, and Kevin J. Anderson, who was the Guest of Honor. Though I’ve known John for some 15+ years, I guess it’s been more peripherally than directly. To my knowledge (and his as well, he claimed), this was the first time I’d met him in person. John was just as nice as I expected, and novelist Anderson—of whom I had no expectations—was equally nice. Anderson sat to my left when he wasn’t on panels.

Some of my new acquaintances were there as well: Imagicopter founder David Blalock was there, but I regrettably didn’t get to speak much with him. Novelist Bryan Davis came for the banquet on Saturday. I spoke with him briefly and met his wife. I even had the chance to try to recruit him a little for Imagicopter (Yes, I’ll blog about that a little later).

I met some other new folks as well. Musician Chris Brown manned Anderson’s table most of the time while Anderson was away. An incredible guitarist, I anticipate he will be performing as the music guest at cons to come in the very near future. Lin Workman has been working in comics for a while, and I find it odd that he’s located so close in Memphis yet I’d never had the opportunity to meet him.

A surprise visit by Mississippi 4H leader (don’t know her official title) Linda Mitchell surprised me a bit. But I tell you, she is always on the lookout for events that her incredibly talented group of 4H kids might like. She and husband Dean were all smiles as they made their way around the convention. It’s highly likely she’ll bring a group of 4H kids there next year…and I suspect they’ll have the time of their lives!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention MidSouthCon Committee member Carlin Stuart. Carlin was my liaison and the entire reason I attended and was able to attend. He took good care of me! I’m hoping to hear from Carlin in the coming months with an invitation to do it all again next year!

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Happy Birthday BJ

Today my wife BJ turns…uhm…she has a birthday. So, all of you out there who have her email address (it is mannbjATgmail.com) send her an email greeting…and bombard her facebook with birthday greetings. No, I won’t tell you how old she is, but I will tell you that I was born in 1964 and she was born a year after me. But I absolutely will not tell you how old she is.BJ’s family still calls her Bobbie Jean, but it’s always been BJ for me. I always tease her that I’ve known her longer than she’s known me. She was a grade behind me in school, but I knew who she was when I was in 8th grade. She was one of two girls that started for the junior high football team. She was a starting guard. You’d laugh if you see her now to think of that. She only stands 4’11”. She’ll tell you, though, that back then she was bigger than most of the boys.

We didn’t actually meet until I was in the 11th grade. We had a driver’s ed class together. I already had my driver’s license and was taking the course simply because my parents said I had to – seems they got a break on car insurance if I successfully completed the class. She was the unfortunate one: she was put in a group with my best friend and I and she had never driven before in her life.

I asked her out once that year and she turned me down. Now normally, being the prideful sort of male that many teenage males are, I would never ask a girl out twice. Hey! If she said no the first time, her loss. I was a teenager, whaddaya want?

BJ with daughter Brittany

BJ with daughter Brittany

Nearly two years later, I’d graduated and was working the graveyard shift at the local Stop-N-Rob. I came home early one morning to find a gaggle of girls at my house practicing some kicking routines. Seems my sister Angie had invited the pom squad over to practice. Regardless, I wanted to use the phone and one of the pom-toters was gabbing non-stop on the phone. In my angry “college boy,” voice, I demanded the phone, but asked who she was talking to. She was talking to BJ. I once again demanded the phone – with BJ still on it – and proceeded to ask her out once again. I was, of course, older and wiser at that point.

BJ said yes, and the rest, as they say is history. BJ will tell you that I took far too long to ask her to marry me. It was July of 1983 that we began to date. We weren’t married until 1990. The pressure had been put on me, however. She wanted a “unique” proposal. Ladies, let me suggest to you now: take the proposal however you can get it. Do not, I repeat, do not put undue pressure on your hopeful spouse to be.

Well, I came up with a “unique” way to propose, but some of the situation was out of my hands. Initially, the proposal was to come in 1988…but that fell through. In 1989, I had my very first written published work — I proposed to her in that work. We’ve now been married for 19 years.

Happy Birthday BJ—Love of my life!

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Earth-Quakin’

I got a call early yesterday afternoon from Mom telling me about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Los Angeles, California yesterday. Mom, knowing that we don’t have cable or satellite here, assumed (correctly) that we hadn’t heard the news, AND my sister, Angie is out there. Angie works for Epi-Use as an SAP consultant and currently flies back and forth to LA each week to work. While I haven’t been there, I understand she’s located smack-dab (that’s Southern talk for “exactly”) in the middle of LA…and I don’t mean Lower Alabama.

Thanks to the internet, I googled and quickly spotted a brief news report: Widely felt, about 29 miles e-se of downtown LA, no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Angie’s fine. In fact, while Mom was talking to me on the phone, she was “google-chatting” with Angie. That explained why her conversation was a bit disjointed—hard to carry on two conversations at the same time, though that didn’t stop Mom from trying. J

I swapped some emails with Ang soon after that. She’s several floors up (the 11th) and I couldn’t resist asking her if it felt more like shaking or swaying. She didn’t hesitate to say it felt like shaking…but the building is on “earthquake rollers.” So, my sister was rocking and rolling yesterday morning.

But boy, that sure brings back memories of the January 17, 1994, 6.6 (or 6.8, depending on which tee-shirt you bought) magnitude Northridge earthquake. BJ and hadn’t been in Calif. very long. I had a good/fun job working with a good group of people at Malibu Comics, Entertainment. On Sunday night, (the night before) we’d been out to a comedy show (our first and last!) and didn’t get in until pretty late. The Northridge quake struck at 4:30 a.m. We were sound asleep.

There have only been two times in my life when I actually thought I was about to die. Once, I put my car in a 20 foot ditch, not far from a big concrete culvert…the other time was the earthquake. I know it sounds cliché, but BJ and I literally grabbed on to each other and good-bye.

I had a lot of non-Californians ask me later if I knew what it was.

Oh yeah. There’s no mistaking it. It wasn’t a case of “well, that could be an earthquake.” No, I don’t know how to explain it, but we knew exactly what it was. I won’t go into all the destruction that came as a result—you’ve seen most of it on television anyway. It is difficult to believe that it was 14 years ago. I guarantee you, it’s much closer in my memory than that!

Later, I got an email from Ang telling me she was glad it was her that was out there and not me. Said she’d been wanting to feel one. Haha. Careful what you wish for, I think.

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