Start scrolling, reading, enjoying. The gallery below has everything:
pirates, mermaids, X-Men, Elder Gods, ninjas, teens,
near-death experiences (i.e., almost getting skewered by Zelda).
It has been a whirlwind season with a lot of con appearances and book signings. Absolutely wonderful cons. Here is a quick gallery of my adventures, misadventures, and near-death experiences at AnomalyCon 2015 and Denver Comic Con 2015:
Honestly, I’m still processing just how amazing AnomalyCon was. I write a lot of alternate history, and these alternate history and steampunk fans … they are my people. What a wonderful time!
Met some old friends and longtime fans, and some new ones, too.
Here I am with Jenna Bird, a longtime fan of my fiction, and — on the right — Roberto Calas, who does many of my covers and who is a remarkable novelist, too. Here he is again, on the left, at a table we shared at the con:
I taught a class for young writers and did a late-night, night-owl reading that must have been good, because everyone stayed an hour afterward to talk about it!
And yes, Cthulhu came to my late-night reading of The Zombie Bible:
I also sold an entire suitcase of books, which I did not expect.
I got to meet Jody Lynn Nye, whom I’ve wanted to meet forever. When I was a kid, I used to stare longingly at the two-page Science Fiction Book Club ads in my mother’s magazines, and I’d take a pen and circle the covers of the books I wanted to read but that we didn’t have money for. One of the books was Jody Lynn Nye and Anne McCaffrey’s The Dragonlovers’ Guide to Pern.
Long before I read Dragonflight, I fell in love with the dragonet on that cover, and the name “Jody Lynn Nye” appearing beneath it was a sort of magic phrase that meant (to me) “adventure, alien places, dragonets, and wonder, wonder, wonder.”
Years later, I read Dragonflight and Dragonsong and Anne McCaffrey’s work had a huge impact on me as a young writer (and as a young human being). You can read what kind of impact in my Anne McCaffery eulogy, “In Memory of Pern.”
Jody very graciously signed my copy of the Dragonlovers’ Guide, and we chatted for quite a while about Pern, Anne and her son, good memories, and questions about what the future has in store for Pern.
I met James Artimus Owen, who is my new inspiration: we traded tales of dragons, growing up, and we taught a class together; he is an amazing person, and I have his book Here There Be Dragons; it might just be the most original and beautiful thing I’ve encountered in quite a while.
I also met Travis Heermann, whom I’ve admired from afar for some time. (Check out his “Ronin” series — historical fantasy set in medieval Japan. Not only is it well-researched, but Travis lived in Japan during his years of research.)
I met the DoubleClicks — OMG. They are my favorite local band, and I was honored to sit on a panel with them! (If you don’t know them, go to Youtube right now — or check them out here on Patreon. They write and perform clever, funny geek lyrics. I love their work.)
Artist Sarah Menzel made the beautiful illustration you see here — it’s an illustration for Ansible 15716, and it was made just for this con, for the AnomalyCon trading cards! I am seriously wowed by it, and with her permission I’ve used it for the cover of my writers’ toolkit Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget.
Ansible 15716 is a poignant, wondrous story, and Sarah’s beautiful art is perfect for it.
I met amazing people. I introduced people to my amazing stories. But most of all, I saw people genuinely and deeply enjoying themselves, and standing up for each other if someone was bullied or uncomfortable (that ended fast, that’s for sure; Kronda Seibert, the con founder and organizer, has a strict “No Jerks” policy). And a longtime friend proposed to his girlfriend by the TARDIS — I am so happy for them! I am looking forward to next year!
To see Westword‘s gallery of the AnomalyCon cosplayers, go here.
2. Denver Comic Con
Over 100,000 tickets sold — an amazing year for DCC. My friends Chris Angel, Bruce Macintosh, and Eneasz Brodski did an absolutely superlative job on this con.
I will remember DCC 2015 mostly for the exuberant “Rewriting History with The Walking Dead” activity that I co-conducted with my friend Vince Gonzales (assistant director of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Seasons 2 & 3) — in which we got a packed roomful of fans brainstorming how different cultures across varied centuries and continents would have reacted to the peril of the hungry dead, ranging from Cuba to Australia to the Aztecs…
…and for the wonderful people I met (or met again). Ariel (below) honored me with the name of “friend,” which meant a great deal to me.
I met the TARDIS:
And an evil villain from The Fifth Element, who, just as I predicted, relished my tales of intergalactic disaster:
And the X-Men, whose hair was amazing:
I got to see fans and Patreon members, such as Andrew Resch Gillespie:
And Kari Wolfe:
I met Mr. and Mrs. Ash:
Ariel the Little Mermaid and Captain Jack Sparrow:
And defended myself (with a book as my shield) against the fierce swordplay of Zelda and Skywalker.
The panels at DCC were very good this year. Here I am, apparently having a moment of epiphany on a panel with Paolo Bacigalupi, Dan Wells, Stephen Graham Jones, and Warren Hammond. We were discussing dystopian literature.
Ladybug Girl came to the panel, and I had to take a photo for my daughter, who loves Ladybug Girl. In What Our Eyes Have Witnessed, a small red beetle — a ladybug — plays a crucial part in the story.
Meagan Banning, who did some absolutely gorgeous cosplay — on each day! — came by to see me at Authors Alley. Meagan, a good friend, was one of my wife’s bridesmaids and is an incredible photographer, and one who, unlike many other photographers, is actually quite gracious about having her own picture taken.
A few more. This lady from Mortal Kombat quite kindly allowed me to offer encouragement and advice on writing. Offering advice to a lethally armed (and fanged) Mortal Kombat ninja is always a bit of a risk, but she was gracious.
And — gasp! — I met Inuyasha cosplayers: Miroku and Sango! This meant a lot to me because my wife and I watched the entire series in Japanese while we were dating.
Yes, we are nerds.
Even anime nerds.
Deal with it.
In one of the most remarkable moments at a wonderful con, I was asked to sign a dog:
That is a service dog. And he thought I was tickling him.
I am honored to have been asked to sign a service dog.
By the way — check out my DCC 2014 (last year’s) gallery here.
And a quick shoutout to fellow author Mark Everett Stone and to Nikki Ebright, organizer of Myths & Legends Con, who both helped me out enormously at DCC this year. I sold nearly 150 books and led several intense activities; without their aid, I doubt I would have remained sane. Also to fellow authors Vivian Caethe and Guy Anthony de Marco, whose gracious advice at the last few cons has helped me make the experience much more memorable!
3. Visiting Young Readers
During this season, I’ve also visited a troubled teens’ academy in Atlanta, GA, and hung out with the teens of Grey Havens YA at an event in Niwot, CO — and you can read those two stories here.
Those experiences, especially, moved me to the heart. It is the young who carry the dreams of the future, and the way that future is made starts with powerful storytelling. When you help a young person reimagine and retell their story, you help them make our future.
4. The Real Hero this Season
I am now thoroughly exhausted and exhilarated, and eager for the break before the next con.
The real hero of this con season, though, is my wife Jessica. She has taken care of the children during these cons, and she did so through DCC 2015 with a cast on her right arm. (She broke her wrist recently.) She is my hero, and I very literally couldn’t do all that I do without her.
I brought home a good bottle of red wine at the end of Denver Comic Con, and wished I could have brought her a truck of it. She amazes and inspires me.
5. Looking Ahead
The cons this year have been wonderful; the fans have been wonderful. Here’s what is coming up next:
- Saturday morning, June 6: I will be teaching a class on the Beatitudes — based on my book Lives of Unstoppable Hope — at Platt Park Church in Denver, CO;
- Fri-Sun, August 14-16: I will be the Author Guest of Honor at Myths & Legends Con (MALCon) here in Denver. I’ll be doing a fireside reading at night from my stories, and teaching a two-hour class, Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget. By the way, my fans get a discount on their registration. Just use the code zombies4life! when you register, and then come see me at the con!
I am also excited to announce that I am embarking on a major, major project — re-issuing The Zombie Bible independently, the way I have always dreamed of it: with breathtaking fantasy covers and audiobooks with an absolutely wonderful narrator. I am also correcting some small errors throughout, in preparation for releasing the premium editions. It’s going to be exciting! And no small investment.
- If you would like to be involved in the process (seeing the covers early, brainstorming for the launch of the new editions, and seeing drafts of Book 6 in the series), come join me on Patreon: www.patreon.com/stantlitore. This is Stant Litore’s Air Force One, where everything is happening. You’ll want to be there.
- If you would like to support from afar, recommend my books to friends and family and those quirky coworkers! Royalties this summer will go directly toward re-issuing the series and getting it out to new readers. We’ve already had a good start, a good run, and now powerful wings are going to burst from these books’ spines and they are going to SOAR. It is going to be BIG. (Book 6 is a door-stopper. Ancient Rome. The wandering dead. An early female church leader gathering thousands of refugees for an exodus you will never forget.) This is the link to share with people who may be interested in my stories: www.amazon.com/author/stantlitore – Let’s get the word out!
Thank you all. I published my first novel in 2011. It has been almost four years, and those have been an incredible four years. Now come join me — we’re going to launch Stage II.