Dragon's Lair

Dragon at Comic-Con

Dragon at Comic-Con

Had a blast on the book tour. And bless all ya’ll big-hearted readers for coming out and showing support. I went to so many cool indie bookstores and loved meeting all the wonderful booksellers and staff. Indie bookstores are like bionic enhancements for the soul. They’re also a nice sanctuary for dragons.

During the tour I did something I’ve never done before and that is I went to Comic-Con. Last time I’d been in San Diego was twenty-three years ago for Marine Corps Boot Camp. Turns out Comic-Con and Boot Camp are kinda similar: lots of costumes, singing and sleep deprivation. But instead of dog-tags this time I wore an ID badge around my neck:

One of my favorite Comic-Con experiences was being on this panel IT’S A FUNNY STORY: WRITING HUMOR. The panel was moderated by the amazing Brendan Reichs, author of NEMESIS, and he was hugely charming and kept the party poppin’. Other dazzling talent on the panel included Brandon Snider (WHAT WOULD CAPTAIN PICARD DO?), Fred Valente (TEN DEAD COMEDIANS), Liz Climo (YOU DON’T WANT A UNICORN), Gini Koch (THE ALIEN SERIES), and li’l ol me.

So, as all of us panelists huddled backstage before the event, did I feel intimidated and scared? Heck yes. In terms of my performance I was just hoping not to drool on myself. Then we walked out on stage under the bright lights and my heart exploded with panic. Suddenly it seemed like it’d be a miracle if I just somehow managed to stay alive.

But a funny thing happened out there under the bright lights, I found my groove. At one point the moderator Brendan Reichs asked each panelist if we had a secret talent. And here’s a clip of me confessing my secret talent and it may well be the most honest thing I’ve ever said:

I also got a big kick out of doing playful banter with the other panelists. Especially the novelist Gini Koch, who sat next to me. Gini was so charming and funny and kind. Here’s a super short clip where I think we both first realized we were going to have some fun together:

And toward the end of the panel when it came time for the Q&A, several audience members stood up and asked me questions. Here’s a clip where someone asks me how I overcome the weird wiring in my brain in order to write:

And here’s a shorter clip where someone from the audience asks me about my former life as a professor:

Anyway, aside from becoming fans of all my fellow panelists, what did I learn from my terror-filled time out there under the bright lights? When you’re scared out of your mind just tell the truth, it’s always the most potent asset at your disposal. Same as when you’re writing. The truth may not set you free, but the truth will surprise and entertain you. And it may even get you where you need to go.

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