The Post-Convention High

ConQuesT logoI’m high right now. Not on pharmaceuticals or even natural substances. I’m high on a post-convention buzz. This past weekend, I attended ConQuesT, Kansas City’s science fiction and fantasy convention. And I had such an amazing time.

For those who have never been to a con, or your only reference is the media frenzy called the San Diego ComiCon, ConQuesT is a different beast. Yes, it had its share of big-name writers, including Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn series) and George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones, Wild Cards), and artists, including Nene Thomas. But ConQuesT is a convention for writers and artists, not just the fans.

I spent my weekend attending panels on world-building in fiction, discussions on different books or genres, and other topics of interest to writers. I spent time hanging out with friends (old and new), meeting new contacts, and making new friends. Sure, I also took time to be a bit of a fanboy and get George R.R. Martin’s autograph, but the majority of time I was there as an author.

Wild Cards I, autographed by George R.R. Martin

My autographed edition of Wild Cards I.

They say “dress for the job you want,” and I think that same logic can be applied to the time I spent at the con. For the entire weekend, I was in attendance as an author. My other life — my day job — didn’t exist. I talked to people about the writing craft. We discussed the business of writing. And I told a few interested readers about my upcoming novel.

Yes, I also spent some time having fun. Rachel and I had more than a few drinks with the other writers in the hotel bar. When the wait staff remembered my drink order all weekend, I thought I might be there a little too much. And did I mention that George R.R. Martin was there?

George R.R. Martin and me

I took this picture of me and George R.R. Martin hanging out in the hotel bar. He’s the one on the far right in the distance.

The last time I attended ConQuesT, I think Bill Clinton was still president. At the time, I enjoyed the convention. I bought some artwork in the auction. I picked up a signed copy of a first-edition by one of my favorite authors. And I hung out with some cool people.

Every year since then, I’ve intended to return. But May is a busy month and something usually interfered. Graduations, weddings, confirmations… the list goes on and on. And then there were the years when Memorial Day weekend snuck past and I realized too late I had missed the con again.

I will not be making that mistake next year. And if all goes well, I may also attend MidAmericaCon II, The 74th Annual World Science Fiction Convention. After all, it’ll be in Kansas City.

How could I pass it up?

Giveaway: Win a Digital Copy of Dimensional Abscesses

Dimensional Abscesses, an anthology from Jeff Hite and Michell Plested, editorsEveryone over at Evil Alter Ego Press is excited about the recent publication of the new anthology Dimensional Abscesses. If you’ve been following my blog, you know this is also very exciting for me, because one of my stories is featured in it.

But maybe you haven’t purchased a copy yet. Maybe you’re too busy. Maybe you don’t have a few bucks to spare. Maybe you’ve been hoping to get one for your birthday/Father’s Day/anniversary. I totally hear you.

To help you out, I’m giving away five (5) digital copies of Dimensional Abscesses in the e-book format of your choice (.ePub, .mobi, or PDF). The giveaway starts now and runs through Sunday, May 3rd at 11:59 PM CDT.

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Dimensional Abscesses: Happy Release Day (Early)

Dimensional Abscesses, an anthology from Jeff Hite and Michell Plested, editorsI very excited to announce the Dimensional Abscesses anthology is now available on Amazon (Kindle format) and is up for pre-order on Smashwords.

UPDATE: Dimensional Abscesses is now also available on Kobo.

Apparently, the idea was to release the book on Friday, April 24, but Amazon — like everyone involved — was too excited to wait. Instead of going to pre-order, it went live. So, the cat’s out of the proverbial bag and you can get your copy NOW!

Not all portals take you to nice places. Sometimes they lead you to places you never expected to go or — even worse — places you did not want to go. And you might never get home…

A modern look at Dante’s Inferno. A cockroach survival tale. A quest through fire to save a kingdom. A broken doorway to paradise. Dimensional Abscesses is a collection of ten engaging short stories by some of today’s freshest voices:

“Paradise Out of Order” by Kevin Wohler
“We’ll Leave the Lights on for You” by Philip ‘Norvaljoe’ Carroll
“Inferno Land” by Charlie Brown
“Welcome to the Deluxe Dairy” by JR Murdock
“A Traveler’s Tale” by Christopher Hite
“The Realm of Fire” by Dan Absalonson
“The Plumbers Portal” by Julayne Hughes
“Finding Olympus” by Jeffrey Hite
“Tunnel in the Sky” by Michell Plested
“Time Jack” by D.J. Pitsiladis

Some of the stories are light-hearted, fantastic, and innovative. Others are dark or downright weird. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it in this collection.

Free Story Day: The Monologue

Confabulator Cafe logo“How do we achieve world peace?” “What three steps would we take to achieve it?” No, I haven’t given up writing to pursue a life in philanthropy. These are the questions that plagued me as I recently tackled a new story.

In March, the Confabulator Cafe gave writers the prompt “Three Steps to World Peace” as a springboard for our April stories.

While some writers might have taken an unexpected approach — the three steps being stairs, for example — I heard in these words the start of a manifesto.

I don’t normally write from the point of view of the villain, but sometimes the best point of view for a story is the one I’m more uncomfortable with. And it quickly became clear that the person who wants to bring about “world peace” in this story doesn’t have humanity’s best interest at heart.

Come on over to the Cafe and enjoy my free flash fiction story, “The Monologue.”

If you enjoy this story check out the anthology A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil. My short story “Ultimatums: Giving Up the Element of Surprise” tells the story of a super villain whose ambition exceeded his plans.

A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super EvilA Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil
In an almost unprecedented move, a conclave of The Super Evil convened at a secret lair in North America to create a guide book for aspiring ne’er-do-wells. The result? A collection destined to become the handbook globally of every evil genius.
Available to buy from: Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble

Dimensional Abscesses: Interview With the Editors

Dimensional Abscesses, an anthology from  Jeff Hite and Michell Plested, editorsFor those not in the know, who haven’t heard me ramble on for the past couple of weeks, I have a short story coming out in Dimensional Abscesses. My short story is called “Paradise Out of Order” and features an alchemist who is the subject of my current work-in-progress.

The soon-to-be-released anthology will be published by Evil Alter Ego Press, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know its editors, Jeffrey Hite and Michell Plested.

Recently, Michell (pronounced like “Michael,” in case you’re wondering) and Jeff were nice enough to invite me to talk on their Get Published podcast, and they agreed to return the favor by doing an interview for my blog. (Who has time to host a podcast?)

So, without further ado (there’s been far too much ado), here’s the interview.

Me: You’ve described yourselves as each other’s “evil alter ego.” What does that mean to you?

Jeff: For me this means we play off of each other strengths and weaknesses. The whole alter ego thing came about because for a long time when we were supposed to be a on a call together one or the other of us would be unavailable. Some people started to speculate we were the same person thus each other’s alter ego. Some days I play the evil half and other days Michell does. That way we each get a turn to play good and or evil as the case may be.

Michell: Since that time, Jeff and I have worked together and become friends. We both bring different strengths to the table which is what I love most about working with other people. When things get out of control in my life, Jeff is usually able to pick up my slack and vice-versa. We bounce ideas off each other all the time which can be a terrible time drain (with all the new projects we are coming up with).

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