In Soviet Russia, house occupies you!

homeYou know, I can never resist a good ‘in Soviet Russia’ joke.  Actually, I can’t resist a bad one, either.

Buying a house has all but consumed my life for these last two months.  Nearly everything that I have been thinking about or doing (or blogging) since early March has been house-related.  Finding a house, negotiating for it, digging up all the documents for the bank, shopping for insurance, finding a storage unit, moving all of my stuff out of my apartment into the storage unit, moving in with my cousins, closing, moving out of my cousin’s, then getting all my stuff from storage into the house and now I’m taking things out of boxes and putting things in their place and buying appliances.

Along the way, I missed out on quite a few things due to either poor planning, bad luck, or fatigue: Wild Nights, the St. Phillips Anime Club Bubblehead Tea event, Free Comic Book Day, the Central Texas Toy and Comic Expo and the Anthrocon conbook deadline.  My stress level got pretty high and I even got sent to the “principal’s office” at work for getting a little too rowdy with a customer.  My aggravation got to the point that I went from “this will be totally worth it” to “this had better be worth it.”

It has been just over a week after I got the keys, and the number of moving boxes cluttering up the living room is gradually decreasing.  I am hoping to be at some semblance of ‘normal’ (or at least as normal as it gets for me) by week’s end, especially after the new refrigerator is delivered later this week.  I ask myself, was this worth all the bother and stress and money and time and missed fun?

Without hesitation, I think:  Yeah.  Totally worth it.

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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!

A Name On Paper

I do put BBQ sauce on my burgers…it’s like HE KNEW

I am old enough to remember when seeing your name in the newspaper was kind of a big deal.  I think it has something to do with the idea that lots of people are seeing your name, even if it is alongside a bunch of other kids’ names on the honor roll or the perfect attendance list of your small-town newspaper.  Or it could just be a small-town thing, who knows?

I still get a kick out of seeing my name in the newspaper and it has happened a few times since then.  I submitted an idea to the “Pluggers” newspaper comic that was used (at right), and made a ‘guest appearance’ in the “My Cage” newspaper comic strip after winning a writing contest on MySpace (remember them?) and was mentioned in an article about First Storm Manga that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.

My Cage by Melissa DeJesus and Ed Power
We’re the ‘cool’ office

Every time it happened, I would buy a copy of the newspaper and cut out the article or comic in which my name appeared.  I even have the My Cage strip hanging in my living room.  I admit that it is a bit odd and probably the kind of thing that future generations won’t care much about as newspapers become less relevant in our increasingly connected world, but doggone it, its special to me.

I wrote a story named “San Japanic!” that became First Storm Manga’s first self-printed comic book.  I remember smiling when I opened up a copy for the first time and saw “Lead Writer/Editor: Eduardo Soliz” at the bottom of the inside cover.  While they weren’t my pictures, and not even many of my words, it was my story.

Furry Fiesta 2012 Conbook Cover
Art by Mary Mouse of micecomics.com

These days, as I try to get exposure as a writer, I have decided to send stories out to furry conventions in order to get my name out there.  I think its a good deal: they want the content for their conbooks, I like writing short stories, and unlike my usual lackadaisical writing schedule of finishing stuff whenever I feel like it, I have a set topic or theme and a deadline to work around.

The first one I wrote was “Bedtime” for SonicCon 2010, but I never heard back from them, so to this day I have no idea if it ever made it into the book…or if there even was a book for that matter.  The first one that I know was published was “All’s Well That Ends Well,” a short I wrote for Furry Fiesta that featured their mascot jackalopes. 

I remember being at Furry Fiesta and eagerly opening my copy of the conbook after receiving it.  I got that warm fuzzy feeling again as I saw my name near the top of page 28 in glorious black and white ink.  More recently, “The Hunter” made its way into the AnthroCon conbook, and I once again smiled as I saw my story in print.

It is impossible for me to know exactly how many of the folks that received those books actually opened them up and read my story, but knowing that thousands of folks have it in their possession feels much more real to me than anything I’ve ever put on a computer screen.

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

Magic Can’t Do EVERYTHING

Magic is pretty cool stuff if you’re a writer because you can pretty much do anything with it.  Its almost a requirement in some respects, I can’t imagine writing a story in a fantasy setting without having a magician, wizard, or some kind of creature that uses magic.

Of course, just because you can do everything with magic doesn’t mean you should.

I am currently writing a series of furry short stories that take place in “The Enchanted Forest.”  The first one, titled “The Hunter,” may or may not have been printed in the Anthrocon 2012 conbook but that’s neither here nor there.  The Enchanted Forest is a magical place where, among other things, one can find a village called Aetherwood, where faeries live and grant wishes to those that can find it.  I am admittedly borrowing the idea from “Fantasy Island” TV show, but with more fantasy and more fur! :3

So this is a place where magic exists and the faeries throw lots of magic around to bring the wishes of their guests to life.  While the temptation is there to have everything happen with just the wave of a wand, I find that it is much more interesting to put limits on what can be done with magic in these stories.

I’m hoping that it helps prevent me from pulling the old ‘deus ex machina,’ too.  If magic has infinite capabilities, then it can be the solution to just about any problem that comes up.  This would make for some boring stories if at the end of each story, a character waved their hand and everything went back to normal, like in a TV show where everything seemingly ‘resets’ at the start of each episode.  It also means actions can ultimately have no consequences, and as The Enchanted Forest stories are essentially morality tales, there need to be consequences or else the protagonists won’t learn their lesson.

The question then becomes: what limits should be placed on magic?  I’ve got the following so far:

  • Magic can be used to manipulate the land, create plants and even animals, but not people.
  • While the faeries of Aetherwood can use potions and spells to change their appearance, the color of their eyes does not change.

Granted, that’s a pretty short list, but hopefully more ‘rules’ come to me as time goes on so I don’t pull too many things out of my posterior.

Or I could get off my rear and write a proper ‘bible’ for this world.   That’s a topic for another time, though.