Books, BUSINESS, Con Fluff 1, CONS, CREATIVE, FlipSide Stories, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, One Sheet Stories, RANDOMIZER9.COM, Seven Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories, The Rules of Tech Support, Writing

Doing It Write

doingitwrongA spectacular failure can have the effect of dropping a big heaping scoop of self-doubt on one’s head.  After failing to sell even a single paper copy of my first furry book, “Con Fluff 1,” in the Artist Alley of Furry Fiesta a few weekends ago, I found myself questioning everything I did there: my sales pitch, my table layout, pricing, and so on.  The bigger question of “Am I Doing It Wrong?” has also been hanging over my head since then.

A friend recently made the observation that I was incorrectly trying to sell clean stories to an audience that was not interested in them.  Given how I joke with friends about how some furry art sites don’t update until you turn off their “not safe for work” filter, I’m hardly in a position to disagree.  A little part of me is wondering if I should cross that line and start writing erotica/smut/porn/what have you.

I’ve never written anything overtly sexual, and I don’t have much desire to…it’s just not my thing.  Despite that, I now have a little nagging voice in my head telling me that if I just cross that line, I will gain a bigger audience.  Oddly enough, the internal debate I am having is reminiscent of when I’ve see artist friends struggle with the question of whether to do fan art for conventions.

While doing your own thing as a creative person is very personally satisfying, it also carries some risk, especially where anime and comic book fans are concerned.  Those fans have popular characters that they like and don’t often take chances on things that are different or new, especially coming from a little-known or new artist.  However awesome an artist’s original creation may be, most folks are going to gravitate to the table with the cool looking Iron Man or Hetalia fanart.  In the same way, I find myself wondering if folks are bypassing my works just because it is clean.

Part of the reason I don’t write smut is that I don’t think I’d be good at it, but that isn’t stopping me from considering crossing that line.  The little cloud of self-doubt that’s been following me around since Furry Fiesta isn’t helping either.

I don’t know.  I guess it wouldn’t hurt if things got just a little more naughty.  We’ll see.

Standard
Apple, Books, Con Fluff 1, CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, RANDOM STOPS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, Tablets, TECH, WHATS GOING ON, WHISKEY-TANGO-FOXTROT, WORDS, Writing

38 Things I Noticed During Furry Fiesta 2013

I'm all ears!

I’m all ears!

For the second year in a row, I headed up to Addison for Texas’ one and only furry convention:  Furry Fiesta 2013: The Time Traveller’s Ball.  I had a wonderful time, and so without further ado:

  1. JUST TAKE THE TOLL ROAD around Austin, especially if you’re going northbound.
  2. Driving up was much more pleasant in my still-pretty-new Honda CR-V
  3. The con was made even more fun by the friends that went with me and the ones I met there!
  4. Artist Alley needs to be a little bigger and supervised.
  5. What? No Rock Band in the game room? Aw, I so wanted to do Power of Love…again and again.
  6. BuckHopper just barely got last year’s Voice Over panel uploaded before this year’s show because he was very very busy with work.
  7. Of course when you realize that his work involves videogames, the amount of sympathy you have for him might drop just a teensy bit.
  8. I think his Voice Recording Basics panel needed to be just a little bit more, well, basic.  My head was spinning near the end.
  9. I was a very sad bear just ten minutes before my panel started because nobody was there. *sniff*
  10. People then started to show up, and I became happy, and nervous!
  11. I burned through my prepared material in a half hour…need to rehearse next time
  12. Things went downhill fast during discussion when the subject of DRM and piracy came up…argh
  13. At dinner, the restaurant owner asks how we’re doing and notices the badges. Her: “Are you here for a convention?” Us: “Yeah!” Her: “What kind of convention is it?” AWKWARD SILENCE.
  14. Seriously, I have never seen nine adults (including me) simultaneously freeze like deer in the headlights.
  15. OH YEAH, ITS AN ART CONVENTION! :3
  16. Luckily, I remembered my ‘training’ the next day. Get some furry common sense, y’all!
  17. One guy trying to explain Furry Fiesta to an older person got “What? Fairy Fiesta?” as a reply. That explains a lot, actually.
  18. I’m not sure which made my attempt to record the fursuit parade worse: the lighting, my iPad mini, or the two rubes that stood next to me…seriously, I kept expecting to hear one playing a banjo and the other a jug.
  19. The Furry Psychology panel filled up quick, they should just give Dr. Nuka a video room next time, it’ll be like college but much less boring.
  20. If the International Anthropomorphic Research Project were to change the last word in their  name to something starting with “F” it would be I-ARF which would be pawsome!
  21. Got my first dose of con funk in AA when some nasty dude decided to sit next to me.  Ended up having to shoo him off later, too…jerk.
  22. Not sure which was better: acquiring a pair of bear ears to wear, or my friend Chris’ reaction to them.  “What the hell are those things?!”
  23. There were lots of Marty McFlys but one guy (a fursuiter no less) NAILED IT.  How?  He had a WALKMAN.  Everybody else GO HOME.
  24. There were lots of 4th Doctors, too 🙂
  25. While my panel went well, my attempts to sell berks in Artist Alley did not. *shrug*
  26. I guess I didn’t really need that Sales Tax ID after all, then.
  27. Speaking of AA: If you are going to be in AA read the rules on the wall and don’t whine like a petulant child when they don’t match your expectations.
  28. $3.75 for gas?  Makes me glad the Excelsior gets about 30MPG on the freeway even with 3 dudes with 3 days worth of luggage.
  29. Thanks for putting us in the ‘annoying kid’ section of IHOP, waiter.  *twitch*
  30. Either the con is short on staff or they were not very noticeable, because I don’t remember seeing very many staff members.
  31. One person in AA had an old school early digital camera that I used to take his picture with a fursuiter: a big chunky HP one that was the size and weight of a brick.
  32. Never mind the burgers (which are good) I want In-N-Out to come to San Antonio because the ‘well done’ fries are the BEST. THING. EVAR.
  33. Boston Market.  We also need them in San Antonio, too.
  34. Some friends call TFF ‘CircleCon’ because everything on the second floor is well, in a circle.
  35. Thing I forgot: Electric razor. The ol’ greymuzzle was showing by Sunday
  36. Every time I thought I was going to need/use my laptop, I didn’t because my iPad mini did the job. I may have crossed a threshold.
  37. Of course, just when I start to get familiar with the area around the hotel, they decide to move it next year.
  38. I’ll definitely have to take Thursday off next year…maybe Monday, too 🙂
Standard
Books, CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, RANDOM STOPS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, TECH, WHATS GOING ON, WORDS, Writing

Time for Texas Furry Fiesta!

The 4 3/8th Doctor

The 4 3/8th Doctor

Another year, another Furry Fiesta!  Texas Furry Fiesta 2013: The Time Traveller’s Ball is happening this weekend, and I’ll be there with bells ears on! Unlike last year where I went for funsies, this year I’m going to be ‘working’ this time as part of my efforts to get word out about my ebooks.

On Friday at 4PM, I’ll be hosting a panel called  “How To Publish Your Own E-Books” where I will discuss the technical challenges involved with taking your literary masterpiece digital.  With 5 e-books under my belt so far, I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things and am ready to share some knowledge!  On Saturday, I should be in the Artist’s Alley selling paper copies of my berks, handing out flyers and chatting up anyone willing to listen, and Sunday will be the drive home…aww.

 

Standard
ANIME, ANTHROCON, Books, CAMPING, CONS, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, IKKICON, MIZUUMICON, Oklacon, RANDOM STOPS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, SAN JAPAN, TEXAS COMICCON

2013 Convention Schedule

Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com

Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com

Another year means another bunch of conventions to attend and enjoy!  Unlike previous years, where I was either just an attendee or assisting with other folks’ tables, I will be peddling my wares at some of these events.  Buy or die!

While this isn’t a convention per se, I plan on showing up and selling my books at the St. Phillip’s Anime Club Anime Show held every weekend at Bubblehead Tea just south of downtown San Antonio on the first Friday of nearly every month.  I don’t know that I’ll have a table every month, but its a fun free event to go to and hang out at.

Ushicon, Feb 8-10, Round Rock, TX – Ushicon is an 18+ only anime convention, this will be the first time that I am attending, so I’ll be curious to see how different it will be without the usual Pocky and Ramune-fueled teenagers running around everywhere.

Furry Fiesta 2013, Feb 22-24, Addison, TX – After gushing over Furry Fiesta last year, coming back is a no-brainer, but this time I’m hoping to do a panel on e-book publishing, maybe sit around in Artist Alley for a day or so and have fun.

Mizuumi-Con 6, March 23, San Antonio, TX – San Antonio’s second biggest anime con should be loads of fun again, hopefully the gym won’t become a sauna like it did last year.  I plan on having a table at this one also.

Wild Nights, April 25-29, Robber’s Cave State Park – Despite Oklacon being an ‘okay’ event and not a ‘knock my socks off’ one, I am eager to try another outdoor convention.  Wild Nights takes place in a different part of Oklahoma and as there aren’t very many other furcons near Texas, let’s give it a shot!

Texas ComicCon 2013 June 21-23, San Antonio, TX – I like Texas Comic-Con, and I want to like it more, but its venue is a dump and the show has become the ‘same thing every year’ for me, so I’ll probably go just for a day to hang out with friends.

Anthrocon 2013, July 4-7, Pittsburgh PA – Anthrocon is the world’s largest furcon, and something I’d really like to go to, but I’m on the fence on making the trip because of the money involved.  Stupid car payment and rent going up.

San Japan 6, Aug 16-18, San Antonio, TX – The 500-lb gorilla in San Antonio, San Japan is a blast.  I’m not 100% sure of my plans for it right now, but I’m fairly certain I won’t have a table so I’ll get to actually have fun.

As most of these conventions take place in the first half of 2013, I may add another event late in the year, money permitting of course.  Hope to see you somewhere!

Standard
Books, BUSINESS, CAMPING, Con Talk, CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, NeRiMa, Oklacon, ORIGINAL-GAMER.COM, Podcasting, PODCASTS, RANDOM REVIEW, RANDOMIZER9.COM, Tablets, TECH SUPPORT, Wreck-It Ralph, Writing

RANDOM REVIEW: 2012

2012 was an interesting year for me.  I got into my first car accident, purchased a new vehicle, and started going camping again.  Needless to say, ‘interesting’ doesn’t always mean ‘good.’

After a year of experimenting with e-publishing my first e-book: “One Sheet Stories.”  I finally completed “The Rules of Tech Support.”  It has been doing fairly well.  I have also published “Seven Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories” and “Con Fluff 1” since then, so things are coming along nicely on the writing front.  Curiously enough, I am now moving from the digital realm to the physical one: 2013 will see me showing up at conventions to sell paper copies of my books and hand out business cards and flyers to get the word out about my writing.  In all honesty, I’m looking forward to going out and talking to people, pressing some flesh, and then reaching for the hand sanitizer. 🙂

In February, I went to Furry Fiesta to see what the whole ‘furry’ thing was about.  There, I discovered a bunch of cool creative people and decided to venture further down the rabbit hole (ba-doom, tissh) when I got back.  I went to some local meets, made some friends, and even went to a second furcon, Oklacon, in October.  While Oklacon wasn’t quite as knock-my-socks-off as Furry Fiesta was, I still had a good time.  In addition, furry conventions have provided me with a plethora of themes to write for, culminating in my first furry e-book: “Con Fluff.”

Somewhere around August, I got the feeling that my ‘side projects’ were getting in the way of my own.  Being the drummer in a band, the editor for a video game website and helping out with a new convention that was starting up in town was just taking up too much of my time, so I quit everything.  Indeed, as the last few hours of 2012 tick away and 2013 approaches, I am now just a writer of stories, podcasts and blogs.

I’m looking forward to 2013, it should be a fun year full of conventions, stories, new people to meet and of course, furries!

Happy New Year, y’all!

Some of my favorite posts from 2012:

“I am a furry”

“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”

“This reminds me of an episode of My Little Pony!”

“There’s just something about seeing your name on paper.”

“I think Dust has restored some of my faith in gaming.”

“I know darn well there’s no signal, but I keep checking my phone. I may have a problem.”

This one is from Dec. 2011, but its too good to not revist: ‘and then came the fishnets’

 

 

Standard
AETHERFEST, CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, RANDOMIZER9.COM, STEAMPUNK, WHATS GOING ON, Writing

Steampunks and The Furry Fandom

steampowergirl_by_psychochris20

Glue some ears on her and call her Furry?

The Furry Fandom and Steampunks.  On the surface, these two groups/sub-cultures/what-have-you would seem to be very far apart, but I think they have more in common than there appears to be on the surface.

First, there is the Furry Fandom (AKA ‘Furries’ for short): these are people that enjoy works of art and fiction that feature animals with human-like qualities, such as the ability to talk and walk upright.  There really isn’t a hard-and-fast rule as to what makes a character ‘furry,’ as far as I can tell.  For example, both Mickey Mouse and Mrs. Frisby (that is, the one from the book) would be considered ‘furry.’

Next, we have the Steampunks, who combine Victorian era aesthetics and dress with fantastic accessories and weapons, asking what if the scientists and engineers of the day had found a way to power everything either with steam or some new form of energy.  Think Victorian-era dress accentuated with leather, brass, gadgets of all types and for better or for worse, gears.

I have had exposure to both groups, having attended the first two Aetherfests in San Antonio as well as Furry Fiesta in Dallas this past February.  In doing so, I noticed a few similarities between the two groups:

The first, and probably the best thing that separates these groups from ‘traditional’ comic book, sci-fi and anime fans, in my opinion, is that they are both very creative.  Members of both groups choose to create their own characters and personas.

In the case of steampunk, it is almost a necessity as there is not very much in the way of established material.  While there are a few folks that take existing characters and reinterpret them in the ‘steampunk’ aesthetic, such as Steampunk Boba Fett, they are in the minority.  Instead, most steampunks will create a character, usually with an honorific or military title added to the name.  Groups will sometimes refer to themselves as being part of an “airship crew.”

Insofar as the furries are concerned, you are not going to find very many folks dressed up as Bugs Bunny or Baloo at a furry convention.  Instead, just like the steampunks, people will make up their own characters, often referred to as ‘fursonas.’  While many furs wear ears and tails at conventions, the apex of adopting a fursona is represented by the ‘fursuiters.’  Fursuiters dress up in costumes to fully take on the appearance of a character.  The effort required to create a fursuit, to say nothing of putting one on, is impressive.  Indeed, at Furry Fiesta I witnessed a wide variety of species represented.  They also come in many different styles, from the cartoony to the more realistic.

Or glue some gears on him and call him Steampunk?

Or glue some gears on him and call him Steampunk?

Secondly, both groups appear to be more receptive to writers.  Writers are virtually nonexistent in most fan groups save for science fiction.  Heck, I can count the number of writers that I’ve seen at conventions on one hand.  Thus, I was encouraged to see a few writers with tables at Furry Fiesta and Aetherfest.  Both conventions even held panels that were involved writers: meetups, discussions of the craft and even story readings.  As a writer myself, I find it very encouraging and hope to have a table at a future event.

Both groups also attract older crowds, at least from what I have observed.  The Anthropomorphic Research Project believes that there is “…evidence to suggest that there is a significant proportion of furries over the age of 25 (upwards of 30%)”  I don’t know that anyone has done a survey of Steampunks, but most of the attendees I saw at Aetherfest appeared to be at least college-age or older.  Being just south of 40 myself, I was relieved to not find any teenagers running amok at Aetherfest and just a few at Furry Fiesta.

Finally, both groups like to prefix everything with their descriptor: if you are a furry, then everything starts with ‘furry’ and if you are a Steampunk, everything starts with ‘steam.’  😉  Okay, I’m just being silly now.

Despite being somewhat ‘on the fringe’ (or perhaps because they are on the fringe) both the Steampunks and the Furry Fandom have quite a few things in common.  I’ve enjoyed taking part in activities held by both groups, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future…just gimmie some glue, some gears, and some ears!  🙂

Artwork “SteamPowerGirl” by Chris Holm, used with permission.

Photo taken by me, so nyeah

Standard
CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY FIESTA, JUST SAYING, MY LITTLE PONY, WHATS GOING ON

9 Questions and Observations from Furry Fiesta 2012

Some of the observations and questions that bounced around in my head during Furry Fiesta:

“If someone were to be tarred and feathered at a furry con, would it really be punishment?”

“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”

“I think some of these characters were born in a paint store, because THE COLORS, MAN!”

“At a furry con, the dogs have seeing eye people.”

“It is apparently possible to play the tuba while marching in a fursuit…wow.

“If human fighter pilots say ‘Fox-2” when launching missiles, do fox pilots say “Man-2?”

“Geez, the bronies can’t even catch a break here.

“I think this is that ‘world of pure imagination’ that Wonka guy sang about.”

And of course, last but not least:

“Its the same, but different!”

Finally, for no particular reason, Saturday’s Fursuit Parade:

Standard
CONS, FURRY FIESTA, MY LITTLE PONY, Podcasting, PODCASTS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, WHATS GOING ON, Writing

RANDOM REACTION: Furry Fiesta 2012 Final Thoughts

D'awww

D’awww

I didn’t really have much planned for the last day of Furry Fiesta; just one panel late in the afternoon having to do with podcasting.  My partner in crime had to go to work (I wisely took Monday off) and so we couldn’t hang around, or go to In-N-Out, but such is life.

One thing that surprised me as I walked about the hotel early Sunday was how clean the hallways were.  The hallways of a con hotel on Sunday morning are usually pretty messy: people sleep underneath Artist Alley tables and flyers, and empty cups and bottles are lying everywhere as the con slowly lurches back to life while the hotel staff does what it can to clean up before it does.  In contrast, early Sunday morning the hallways of Furry Fiesta were almost as clean as they were on Friday.

Overall, I’d say that is a pretty good analogy for how Furry Fiesta 2012 went as a whole.  Except for one panelist running late, everything appeared to have gone smoothly as far as I could see.  The attendees were a bit more well behaved than I was accustomed to, probably because they appeared to be older than the usual con crowd. I had to get used to not overhearing security staff barking and yelling at attendees. If I had to guess, I’d say the average age has to be somewhere in the mid-late 20s, because there were a significant number of folks (including myself) that were over thirty years old at the event. Folks also appeared to be better behaved and even downright friendly at Furry Fiesta; it was easy to keep a smile on my face the whole weekend.

I had a fun time at Furry Fiesta 2012. As my friend Chris Holm surmised beforehand, it was the same, but different. It had many of the same things comic book and anime conventions have: special guests, a video room where folks could watch movies and series, a video game room, a dealer’s area, artist’s area, panels and big events.

Unlike other cons, the emphasis at Furry Fiesta appeared to be on originality. Except for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which is EVERYWHERE, for better or for worse) I saw very little, if any, fanart or even cosplayers dressed up as characters from TV, movies, or video games, for that matter.  Instead, people made up their own characters and dressed up as them. A significant number of the panels also focused on the creative arts: there were panels on writing, drawing, and even voiceover. I easily doubled the number of panels that I usually attend at a con and learned some good information.

The issues I had with the hotel and the people that were staying above me were the only negatives that I took away from Furry Fiesta.  I had a great time and will definitely be back next year for another fantastic furry weekend!

Standard
CONS, CREATIVE, FURRY FIESTA, Podcasting, PODCASTS, RANDOM REVIEW, RANDOMIZER9.COM, TECH, Writing

RANDOM REACTION: Furry Fiesta Day 2

Guess which one is "Dr. Nuka"

Guess which one is “Dr. Nuka”

Day 2 of Furry Fiesta 2012 began with a less-than promising start: the apes that were in the room above decided to start stomping around again at around 6 in the morning.  I made another fruitless call to the front desk but was able to get just a little more sleep before starting the day.

I had breakfast and then attended another voiceover panel.  This one was loads of fun, as everyone (that wanted to, at least) got to read copy and get feedback on their performances.  I also got to learn a few technical things that I can apply to my own podcast, which was cool.  It ended up being the only panel I attended all day: the “furry psychology” panel filled up, and I totally forgot about another writer’s panel after running into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.

We hung out, and as two of her friends happened to be fursuiters, I got to see them get prepared for the ‘fursuit parade’ which is a procession of the various fursuiters in attendance showing off their stuff around the convention.  I have even more respect for those folks now after witnessing firsthand the effort that it takes to put one on, never mind having the nerve to do so in the first place.  I also led one of them (fursuits are notorious for limiting vision) to the ‘headless lounge,’ which is a place for fursuiters to literally cool down.

After that, I camped out with some friends and shot the breeze as we waited for the parade to begin.  Once it began, we all had a ball watching them march, strut, and mug for the many cameras present.  It was really fun to watch, you’ll get to see it too once I upload it and can provide a link, because the only Internet I have is what I can squeeze out of my 3G modem or borrow from restaurants during meals :/  As an aside, you have to pay for internet here at the hotel, and the “Free Lobby WiFi” doesn’t seem to work…now isn’t that a conincidence?

I finally got around to filling out the Anthropomorphic Research Project survey; there were some interesting questions to answer and I’ll be interested to see what the results are, especially since I missed their panel.  The folks in the picture above ARE the researchers, and yes, that includes Dr. Nuka.  I grabbed a bite to eat and then hung out at the lounge area to do some writing. I didn’t really get much done, but I did write most of this blog post, while I was there, so I got something done at least.

I don’t really have much planned for tomorrow, just two panels (one on writing and one on podcasting and I may skip the podcasting one) and then it’s time to hit I-35 back to San Antonio.  We plan on leaving late in the afternoon, so I may be too bushed to post my final thoughts tomorrow, but I can do that Monday morning, good thing I took the day off.  🙂

Standard