FanX 2019

This weekend from Sept 5-7 is FanX, Utah’s biggest fan experience. People from all over the world come to share their love of comics, superheroes, fantasy novels, TV series, and movies. Cosplayers wander the halls, New York Times bestselling authors hang out playing DnD, celebrities come for signings, photo ops, and to be interviewed on the main stage.

And I’m there too.

Thanks to the friendship and support of some truly amazing individuals, I was able to connect with the event organizers and join the brave pack of panelists who share their expertise on everything from costume building tricks and hints to the finer points of novel writing.

On the panel: Robert J. Defendi, M.K. Hutchins, Tom Durham, yours truly, and Corey Moss

The first panel I was part of talked in depth about literally everything hobbit. We covered where they come from, how they influenced the storytelling in Lord of the Rings, which Hobbit was our favorite, and on and on. There was a bit of a love fest about the Silmarillion, which strangely doesn’t really discuss hobbits more than a few mentions.

My favorite hobbit – Samwise Gamgee’s father, often referred to as the old Gaffer. Why? Everyone says Sam is their favorite character because he’s the true hero in Lord of the Rings. Frodo couldn’t complete the task of destroying the ring on his own and would have failed without Sam. Throughout the books, Sam relies on lessons learned from his father to get him through tough times. So I would argue that without the influence of the old Gaffer, Sam wouldn’t have been able to be the hero he needed to be.

On the panel: DJ Butler, Eric Swedin, Mark Avo, me, Cody Goodfellow, and Johnny Worthen

My other panel focused on the American Apocalypse and we discussed everything from religious belief in the end of the world to the nature of the word “apocalypse” which literally means revelation, not destruction as most would assume. We debated on what the real apocalypse might be and where the idea that this would make good fiction stems from.

The strongest argument of what’s going to end it all for us currently is either the AI apocalypse or something horribly bacterial. Although, the supervolcano hiding under Yellowstone was a strong contender.

Come for the free bookmarks! Stay to chat about anything from writing to awesome cosplay.

As part of being a special guest author, I get to do two official signings. One was yesterday night, and the next Saturday at 11. If you’ve been dying to get your hands on a signed copy of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, I’d love to see you!

This year I’m not cosplaying as anything, it would have been one more thing to worry about and I’m supposed to be playing the part of a professional author. But … I saw some amazing clothing items I might have to get …


Don’t forget! The Labor Day sale of Stonebearer’s Betrayal ends this Saturday. You can grab the ebook for FREE over on Amazon this week only!

Here’s a handy link!


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Friday Fiction: Transdimentional Zombies

The idea for this short story started out as a random thread on Facebook where I was challenged to write a story about none other than Zombies.  Readers be warned.  A shout out to Lauri and Neils who are egging me on.

fiction friday banner

The smell had become unbearable, sickly sweet with a hint of barbeque and just a touch of rot.  Oh, who are we kidding, mostly rot.  I tapped the side of the Anomalous Field Detector, or AFD, hoping to get a reading so I could collect some samples and get out of this place.  It’s not that I dislike graveyards, but considering the circumstances, I’d rather be anywhere else.  A locked down bomb shelter with food and a computer sounds better by the minute.

The zombie invasion came as a big surprise to our whole town.  Most thought it was a joke by the local high school, at first. That soon changed after people started turning up mutilated and dismembered.  Then, there were the ones who were changed, who somehow got the venom in their system.  These were the ones I felt the worst for,  I mean it’s one thing to die a hideous death.  It’s completely another to not quite die and be forced to live an eternity walking the earth, waiting for your next bite.

The air hung hangs heavy and dank in the night, the smell makes bile rise in my throat.  Twigs snap under my feet and I can’t help but imagine dried out fingers and toes.  The thought puts my hair on end.  Times like these make me think my mother was right about a mainstream career, anything but a viral toxicologist.

The AFD pings, sounding too loud in the dark.  It points ahead and left 50 meters.  I switch it off, can’t risk letting them know there’s a snack nearby. Without the light of the detector’s display my eyes adjust to the dim light.  The moon, hidden behind a thin veil of clouds, turns the landscape into a dull palette of grays and shadow.  Off in the distance where the detector has directed, I see a figure shamble along.  He’s missing an arm and is dressed in a dark tattered uniform that reminds me of old civil war pictures.

zombieI ready the catch pole, loosening the noose and twisting the pole to extend it, then checking each joint making sure it’s tight.  Test tubes and syringes are lined up in a special pocket in the lining of my jacket. Although I know it doesn’t make a difference, I don latex gloves and lower my face shield.  Protocol has to be followed.

He shambles across my line of vision, step, drag, step, drag. I wait until he has passed further, so I can approach him from behind.  In a low run I follow, pole held in front and zeroed in on his head, aimed for a quick take down.  I’m about twenty feet away when he drops and disappears from view with a burst of blue light.

 

I curse and stumble back in surprise. Where did the devil go?  He has to be somewhere.  I switch on the AFD once again and sweep the area, the last thing I need is a surprise.  The fellow I just saw should show up, no one disappears like that.  There is always a reason.

Nothing shows up on the AFD. I smack the side of it, stupid university tools were always on the fritz.  He has to be somewhere close.  I keep walking toward where he disappeared, studying the ground.  His trail in the damp grass is clear, I can see where he’s dragged his left leg. Ahead, lies an open grave.  Knowing that he didn’t simply disappear is a relief.  The thought of him falling into a grave is oddly ironic and I find myself giggling.

I look over the side of the hole expecting to find a frustrated tangled mess of zombie. There is nothing there. I mean that quite literally, where there should have been dirt and rocks there is only a dark unfathomable expanse.  I drop a small rock over the side and watch it vanish with a flash of blue light.

I had only read of such phenomenon in the texts of conspiracy books.  Portals aren’t supposed to exist, not in the real world.  The AFD bleeped to life showing dozens of readings around the periphery of the clearing.  Deep in my gut I knew. They weren’t coming for me, they were going home.