Tag Archives: lars brown

A 2017 Lilac City Comicon Debriefing

A 2017 Lilac City Comicon Debriefing

It’s time for a con debriefing! Last weekend, I spent a couple of wonderful days at Lilac City Comicon in Spokane, Washington. This was my third year at LCCC, and like previous years, I shared a table with my good friend Josh Montreuil. This time around the con not only expanded, but it’s now two wonderful days.

[Left] My table setup [Right] An awesome Negan cosplay!
[Left] My table setup [Right] One of my readers sporting an awesome Negan cosplay!

Last year, I sold out of every copy of The Stars Were Right, so I doubled down and brought more with me this time around. Well, Spokane was insatiable, once again I sold out of every copy of The Stars Were Right. Yep, all gone! It was incredible. Easily one of the best two-day stretches I’ve had while running a table at a convention which means a whole lot of new readers have begun to experience The Bell Forging Cycle.

[Left] Josh speaks with a T-Rex [Center] The Log Lady! [Right] A pair of ninja 4 hire
[Left] Josh speaks with a T-Rex, his target audience [Center] The Log Lady! [Right] A pair of ninja 4 hire

Time for the highlights:

  • Friday night’s LCCC Pro Drink & Draw was great. Met some good people and I was able to circle up with some friends. It was a relaxing way to go into a busy weekend.
  • Once again (as the pictures prove) Spokane really went all out with the cosplay. Amazing work by everyone participating, you could see the time people had dedicated to their costumes. I took a ton of photos, and it was tough narrowing it down and picking favorites to share. Great work everyone! (Sgt. Slaughter, see below, was a particular favorite, but that’s the Joe fan in me coming out.)
  • My mom, dad, sister, and my nephew Derek came out to say hello! It Derek’s first convention and it was amazing to see the excitement as he strolled around in his Pikachu costume. He also left with the desire to be a Roader, which I appreciated. Gotta start ’em young. Right?
  • Likewise, Kari-Lise’s cousin Lou and his son Damon also came out. It was great seeing them as well. It’s nice to have a supportive family in the area. (You can check out a pic of Damon below dressed as a ninja.)
  • It was good to hang out with Josh. He had a new comic this year, Triceratots, and a load of prints. People were really excited to meet him and check out his work. Especially giant monster fans. I highly recommend you follow him. He’s got big plans for the coming year. If you want to meet him, I know he’ll be at Coeur d’ Con in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho in August. If you live nearby check his stuff out.
  • The volunteers were fantastic. It needs to be said over and over. Big thank you to them and to Nathan O’Brien for working so hard to make the convention so successful.
  • Several times I had readers drop by and ask about the status of book four. Knowing there is excitement building gets me excited. I really appreciate knowing there are those eager to join Wal in another adventure. I’ve heard it’s going to be a doozy. After all, “He is coming. Can’t you smell it on the wind?
  • Once again it was good to spend time with Matt Nelson, Peter Foglesong, Jennifer Foglesong, and Lars Brown. All our tables were next to each other, and it was great being able to hang out and chat during the downtimes. If there is such a thing as your ‘convention family’ they’re definitely a part of mine.
[Left] Captain America [Center] My nephew Derek as Pikachu and me as an author who only wears black [Right] Geralt of Rivia
[Left] Captain America [Center] My nephew Derek as Pikachu and me as an author who only wears black [Right] Geralt of Rivia
  • I also had several readers come up just to meet me and tell me how much they loved my books. It was amazing and surreal, and it’s interactions like that which really made my LCCC experience. Writing is a solitary gig, and when people take the time to come up and say they appreciate the hard work, it makes it all worthwhile.
  • Since the con was two days, the Post-Con Decompression Dinner became a Mid-Con Decompression Dinner. It was still as great as always. The food and drink hit the spot, the conversation was lively, and it was a pleasant respite in the middle of the festivities.
  • Josh’s sketch commissions were as wacky and wonderful as always, from Daffy Duck as The Scarlet Pumpernickel to a giant antlered bear armed with a great ax.
  • I enjoyed seeing all my old friends who came by to say hello, Angie, Curt, Carl, and Mike (who surprised me from behind his King Kong mask.) It was nice seeing them, meeting their partners and children, and catching up a little bit.
  • I got to nerd it up with a bunch of horror fans. We talked about Lovecraft, Chambers, The Void, Get Out, The Mist, and so much more.
  • I met some new friends as well. In particular, Rob an illustrator who creates some great Lovecraftian illustrations, Devin who was hanging out across from Josh and me, and Michael another illustrator who ran a table next to ours.
  • Did I mention I sold out of EVERY COPY of The Stars Were Right? EVERY. COPY. Seriously. I did. (I have more on order.) It’s awesome to see so many people starting their journey into the world of The Bell Forging Cycle. If you’re one of them, I hope you enjoy the ride.
  • When I got home late Sunday night I was greeted by the nicest email from a reader who had picked up my books and took a moment to drop me a line to tell me she was already loving them. After a long afternoon of travel, it absolutely made my night.
[Left] Sgt. Slaughter [Center] Rebel Pilot [Right] Kari-Lise's second cousin Damon as a nunchaku spinnin' ninja
[Left] Sgt. Slaughter [Center] Rebel Pilot [Right] Kari-Lise’s second cousin Damon as a nunchaku spinnin’ ninja

The expansion from one to two days was excellent, and other pros enjoyed it as well. Clearly, Spokane is hungry for a world-class convention, and Lilac City is stepping up and providing. I’ll most certainly be attending in 2018. I would love to see LCCC expand into open gaming and more panel tracks as well, but I am sure both are coming. Make sure to follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Want to read about my past experiences? Check out my debriefings for Lilac City Comicon 2016 and Lilac City Comicon 2015. Next up for me in 2017 is OryCon in November! Remember, You can keep track of where I’ll be and check out my previous conventions over on my Upcoming Appearances page.

Thanks for a great con Spokane, I’ll see you next year. 🕶


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My Reading List for 2016

We’re nearing the end of the year, and as tradition dictates now is the time when I compile a list of the books I have read (to see previous years: 2013, 2014, 2015). I’m not the fastest of readers, but I try to remain consistent. This usually correlates alongside my Goodreads reading challenge. The books in this list are books I read for pleasure; I don’t count research material. Likewise, graphic novels and short stories get counted separately in their own list.

This year I was offered up another challenge, this time by my friend and fellow author Steve Toutonghi. He challenged me to read more classics than anything else this year, and I accepted. By the time I had finished, over two-thirds of the novels I had read where from the classic or modern classic category. Not bad!

Since this list tends to be long, I forgo reviews, but you’re welcome to follow me on Goodreads where I do occasionally review books. At the end of each list, I will call out some of my favorites of the year. As before, all links will go to Amazon as a default, but if one of these books sound interesting to you, then I would encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and purchase through them. It’s important for your local economy to buy local whenever you’re able.


Novels:

  1. Join
    by Steve Toutonghi
  2. Partials (Partials Sequence, #1)
    by Dan Wells
  3. The Great Gatsby
    by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Slaughterhouse-Five …again.
    by Kurt Vonnegut
  5. Wise Blood
    by Flannery O’Connor
  6. Brave New World
    by Aldous Huxley
  7. The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1)
    by Jim Butcher
  8. Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1)
    by James S.A. Corey
  9. The Old Man and the Sea
    by Ernest Hemingway
  10. Beta Reading
    by REDACTED
  11. Life on the Mississippi …again.
    by Mark Twain
  12. Beta Reading
    by REDACTED
  13. Dracula …again.
    by Bram Stoker
  14. This Census-Taker
    by China Miéville
  15. Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)
    by Mark Lawrence
  16. Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings
    by Jorge Luis Borges,
  17. The Illustrated Man
    by Ray Bradbury
  18. Great Expectations
    by Charles Dickens
  19. Iron Council (New Crobuzon #3)
    by China Miéville
  20. The Scar (New Crobuzon #2) …again.
    by China Miéville
  21. Hondo
    by Louis L’Amour
  22. The Hell Bent Kid: A Novel
    by Charles O. Locke
  23. Ravencroft Springs
    by Logan L. Masterson
  24. Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon #1) …again.
    by China Miéville
  25. Dark Matter
    by Blake Crouch
  26. True Grit
    by Charles Portis
  27. Animal Farm …again.
    by George Orwell
  28. Lord of the Flies …again.
    by William Golding
  29. The Handmaid’s Tale
    by Margaret Atwood
  30. Kindred
    by Octavia E. Butler
  31. The Gunslinger …again.
    by Stephen King
  32. To Kill a Mockingbird …again.
    by Harper Lee
  33. Call of the Wild …again.
    by Jack London
  34. 1984 …again.
    by George Orwell
  35. Wuthering Heights
    by Emily Brontë

When selecting my favorites, I decided to disregard any books I had previously read from the running. (Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, Miéville’s The Scar, and King’s The Gunslinger are some of my favorite books of all time and it’s really not fair to compete with those.) I read so many good books this year it made picking my faves tough. While there were many I enjoyed, I settled on three. All were new to me, and they all not only challenged me but lingered in my mind long after I had finished.

Favorite Novel of 2016:

Kindred by Octavia ButlerKindred
by Octavia E. Butler

This book is stunning. Bulter is one of the preeminent science fiction writers of our time. Her prose is sharp, her plot intense, the portrayal of the slave/master relationships in antebellum South shook me. I found myself dwelling on Kindred weeks after I finished it.

Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2016:

The Handmaids TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood

There is an art to writing a book so captivating and yet so simple. The regressive dystopia of Gilead is terrifying in its believability. It’s strange to think this book was written in ’85 yet its criticisms of gender relations, religion, and power are still as poignant as ever.

Join by Steve ToutonghiJoin
by Steve Toutonghi

My friend Steve’s debut novel, like the others, stuck with me long after I had finished. His examinations on individualism, mortality, gender, and consciousness were thought-provoking, engaging, and whip-smart. I knew when I finished that Join would end up here.


Short Stories:

  1. Last Boy in Aster
    by Drew Gerken
  2. Binti (Binti #1)
    by Nnedi Okorafor
  3. Ravencroft Springs: The Feast of ’69
    by Logan L. Masterson
  4. A Study in Emerald (Currently available in Fragile Things) …again.
    by Neil Gaiman

Four isn’t enough to rank favorites, but Drew Gerken’s story stood out. It lingered with me more than the other three and I continued to think about Kacee, Fin, and Aster long after I had finished. Seek it out. It’s very much worth your time.


Graphic Novels:

  1. Prophet Volume 2: Brothers
    by Brandon Graham (Author & Illustrator), Simon Roy (Author & Illustrator), Farel Dalrymple (Illustrator), Giannis Milonogiannis (Illustrator),
  2. Black River
    by Josh Simmons (Author & Illustrator)
  3. Wytches, Vol. 1
    by Scott Snyder (Author) and Jock (Illustrator)
  4. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine
    by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Author), Valentine De Landro (Artist)
  5. Saga Volume 6
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
  6. Penultimate Quest Vol. 1
    by Lars Brown (Author & Illustrator)
  7. Penultimate Quest Vol. 2
    by Lars Brown (Author & Illustrator)
  8. Penultimate Quest Vol. 3
    by Lars Brown (Author & Illustrator)
  9. Catbeard Vol. 2
    by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)

Favorite Graphic Novel of 2016:

Bitch PlanetBitch Planet
by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Author), Valentine De Landro (Artist)

From the get-go, Bitch Planet sets out to be subversive, and it’s not apologetic. Playing off the women-in-prison exploitation films the comic twists the genre to be a smart satire about modern culture, feminism, and humanity.

Favorite Graphic Novel Runners-up of 2016:


Penultimate Quest Vol. 1Penultimate Quest
by Lars Brown (Author & Illustrator)

See! I don’t always read serious/dark comics. Occasionally, I step outside of my comfort zone and read something lighter. Lars Brown’s writing is witty and fun, and the characters are memorable. A must for role-playing game fans and people who like jokes.

 

catbeardbook2

Catbeard Vol. 2
by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)

Yep, it’s back! I picked up and thoroughly enjoyed the second Catbeard book. Attentive readers remember that the first book was one of my favorite graphic novels from last year and Vol. 2 was even better than the first.


So there is my list for 2016, a lot of amazing books and some fantastic short stories and graphic novels. For the next year, I’m returning to my roots and focusing on primarily science fiction and fantasy. In particular, books I’ve passed by in my stack on my quest to read classics. I could use a little escapism right now, and it’d be therapeutic to get lost in another narrative for a time.

Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in bygone days.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2017.