Appearances

and a brand new pair of Battle Axes

It is amazing what can make you smile.  Currently, a favorable turn of events has gifted me with a couple of extra days to prep for the MCFC convention in Memphis this weekend.  This year, my main role besides being a generally entertaining pain in the neck to Brandon in programming is to be the voice of the arch villain The Diaper Destroyer in this year’s living cartoon.  I am looking forward to playing a character that looks like the Sith version of Captain Underpants.

The Desk of Endless Tasks and I have some very big plans for this week.  I am going to be a bit vague, but more books and video are on the way.

I love being a writer and a performer.  It means you can have the weirdest assortment of junk in your truck and you have a nearly reasonable story as to why the stuff is there.  For instance, I do commercial building repair so it is  perfectly reasonable for me to have Joker 101 kit of duct tape, rope, moving blankets, drop cloths, crowbars, et al …  I teach stage sword fighting so I need the assortment of unbreakable, painted to look real, polycarbonate swords and battle axes.  The full sized papisan cushion is for prat falls in acting.  The electronics testing equipment is for when I work on computer systems for clients.  The infrared camcorders are for when I go out on a paranormal or cryptid investigation.  The machetes are for when I do any land clearing work.  The extra large nitrile hospital gloves are for when my client is a medical facility.  Everyone has a can of WD40.  The mini compressors are for when people get flats on the job sites.   The wood chisels are for hanging doors the right way.  The portable propane torch is for loosening stuck metal nuts.  The fishing pole with line is for the rare chance I might get to sneak off.

See, all perfectly explainable.  I am merely a well-rounded person with lots of interests and not an international double naught man of mystery …..

Upcoming Appearances:

November 17th to 19th – MCFC – The Convention!
http://www.memphiscfc.com/

Seminars:

Dec 21st – National College/Tech Ed – Instilling Humor in Your Writing
Even the darkest of themes can use a little humor. How does humor and horror go together? The humorous laugh versus the nervous titter? Do readers and authors laugh at the same thing? Why have humor? Does the humor flow naturally or do you have to work it in to change the scene?

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

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Under the fog and full moon …

Friday night, under a full moon, with full fog, and lightning in the background, I attended the Malice in Memphis (www.maliceinmemphis.com) writer’s group retreat at a lovely location in a private park surrounded by deep woods.  Sometimes the real world hands you better props that anything you can write.  Thank you to the entire MIM group for an incredible evening of Q&A and a very spirited discussion of  scripting and elevator pitches.  Their latest book is Elmwood: Stories To Die For.  They take real historical locations and add murder most foul.  Let’s just say that lunch out with these good people is quite the experience.

This morning, I had the privilege of being a panelist for the Desoto Writers Alliance at the Southaven, MS Library for a mini-conference on publishing.  These are the types of events that restore your faith in the publishing business.  Lots of people with great questions.  Seeing so many people eager to dive into the business makes you look forward to what they will produce.  The best part of the day was learning how many genres were represented in the audience.  As long as there are novices willing to learn, we will always have new books to look forward to.

I am also going to reveal my secret project over the last few weeks.  I have been working on a a solve the murder mystery game.  I am happy to report that I believe I have the system worked out and the game will be played for fabulous prizes at the upcoming MCFC convention (www.memphiscfc.com).

Upcoming Appearances:

 

November 17th to 19th – MCFC – The Convention!
http://www.memphiscfc.com/

Seminars:

Dec 21st – National College/Tech Ed – Instilling Humor in Your Writing
Even the darkest of themes can use a little humor. How does humor and horror go together? The humorous laugh versus the nervous titter? Do readers and authors laugh at the same thing? Why have humor? Does the humor flow naturally or do you have to work it in to change the scene?

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

Darkness has fallen ..

Darkness has fallen on my day, thank goodness.  Once it gets dark, it is time to slip into The Chair and pull up to The Desk of Endless Tasks.  Mentally, the shackles slip on and the Riding Crop of Productivity is now at the ready to spur on that which needs to be done.  While most of my cohorts are out at one event or another this weekend, I am home with no voice and a cough.  While I might not be getting into much mischief this weekend, I am moving a lot of work across this desk and that makes her happy.  And let’s face it, a cranky desk is a bad thing.

My friends at Malice in Memphis are having a good month.  Their new book Elmwood: Stories To Die For (http://www.darkoakpress.com/elmwood.html) is doing very well and their annual retreat is coming up.  Hopefully they will solve my murder.

Saturday, I get to be a panelist for the Desoto Writer’s Alliance.  I love events like this.  We answer questions and, most importantly, meet new people with an interest in the business.

The seminars are growing.  If can sneak out and attend, please do, they are very informative and a lot of fun.

The Pirate Fight Club is progressing.  New recruits are getting in lots of sword time.  I can’t wait until they start scripting their own scenarios.

MCFC (http://memphiscfc.com/) is just right around the corner.  It is going to be an amazing event this year with the new venue.  I am most excited about the expanded theatre for the Living Cartoon.  I have been warned to bring the voices, we are going big this year.

For my next trick tonight, I am writing up a portable Murder Mystery to be played for fabulous prizes in an hour.  You versus a room full of suspects and detectives.  Think of it as a Clue RPG.

Upcoming Appearances:

November 3rd – Malice in Memphis
http://www.maliceinmemphis.com/ 
If I understand the invitation correctly – I am the guest of honor in the murder mystery.  So, does that mean I am a detective or the murder victim?

November 4 10:30 am to 1:00 pm
Desoto Writers Alliance at the Southaven, MS Library for a mini-conference on publishing.

November 17th to 19th – MCFC – The Convention!
http://www.memphiscfc.com/

Seminars:

Nov 16th – National College/Tech Ed – Finding Your Voice – I Didn’t Know I Lost It
What is voice in writing and how to find yours; the difference between voice & style.  Writer’s Block has you stalled – try these tips to breakout of the box.

Dec 21st – National College/Tech Ed – Instilling Humor in Your Writing
Even the darkest of themes can use a little humor. How does humor and horror go together? The humorous laugh versus the nervous titter? Do readers and authors laugh at the same thing? Why have humor? Does the humor flow naturally or do you have to work it in to change the scene?

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

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To Con Or Not To Con…

This past weekend I was a literary guest at ContraFlow (http://contraflowscifi.org/) in New Orleans.  First of all, this event is like going home to visit all your favorite relatives.  It is chilled and groovy and a great weekend.  Of course, the weather reports going down were a bit dicey with a tropical storm named Nate headed up into the Gulf of Mexico.  However, the drive down was truly lovely and of course, I could always bail out on Saturday if the weather truly got worse.  Friday night was fabulous and getting to visit with fans and friends old and new is an experience everyone should have.

The staff and regulars of the con seemed to not be worried about the storm so I checked with the hotel staff, they were not even ruffled.  Then the curfew for New Orleans dropped and some folks thought of it as a night off.  The truly local news predicted Nate would brush by and keep rolling.  The network stations were showing us how prepared everyone was.  The national news basically left you feeling like you needed a will.

I opted for the local view and hunkered down for a good time.  Of course, the cell phone keeps getting texts from everywhere are people saw the news and decided to see if I was safe, turned all furry (full moon), swept away, or if the mothership had finally returned.  Now, you should always side with caution and prevention especially when it comes to major acts of nature.  I am happy that I stayed and that Nate did as expected and we all had such a wonderful time.

To the staff of ContraFlow, you are all fabulous.  To my fellow celebrity guests, it is always so good to get together to visit and hang.  For the shenanigan gang, there is video proof that we really need adult supervision.  And, yes, the vids will be posting soon.

Upcoming Appearances:

November 3rd – Malice in Memphis
http://www.maliceinmemphis.com/ 
If I understand the invitation correctly – I am the guest of honor in the murder mystery.  So, does that mean I am a detective or the murder victim?

November 4 10:30 am to 1:00 pm
Desoto Writers Alliance at the Southaven, MS Library for a mini-conference on publishing.

November 17th to 19th – MCFC – The Convention!
http://www.memphiscfc.com/

Seminars:

Oct 19th – National College/Tech Ed – Polish your work and make it shine – before you hit send
Rules are meant to be broken sometimes, but you must learn them before breaking them.  The Rule of Three – One of the oldest techniques in writing used to create engaging content. Have you finished your first short story or novel?  Formatting 101 – Follow the Guidelines.Grammar & Punctuation – Common Mistakes that Drive Editor’s Crazy

Nov 16th – National College/Tech Ed – Finding Your Voice – I Didn’t Know I Lost It
What is voice in writing and how to find yours; the difference between voice & style.  Writer’s Block has you stalled – try these tips to breakout of the box.

Dec 21st – National College/Tech Ed – Instilling Humor in Your Writing
Even the darkest of themes can use a little humor. How does humor and horror go together? The humorous laugh versus the nervous titter? Do readers and authors laugh at the same thing? Why have humor? Does the humor flow naturally or do you have to work it in to change the scene?

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

PromoPhoto4

 

Pirates, books, a full moon, and so much more …

As I sit here at The Desk of Endless Tasks catching up from an amazing week, I am getting peeks of the nearly full moon through the blinds.  There is indeed something all about a full moon in October.  I know that logically, this full moon is just like all the others, but, it is just the thought that this is the full moon that signifies the full on shift to fall.  Yes it is almost enough to make you want to howl.

My adventure as a pirate was amazing.  A month of our hard work paid off and we had a wonderful “fight”.  Yes, there is video and, yes, it will get posted to the Dark Oak channel on YouTube.com.  I will post a link here next week.  However, we all looked fabulous as pirates.

piratesallan

New Orleans is next for ContraFlow  (http://contraflowscifi.org/) this weekend.  Not that I need an excuse to go to New Orleans, but this is a great convention run by great people and I am going to have a great time.  If you are in the area, stop by and join the madness!

Geek Tank Radio (https://geektankradio.wordpress.com/) just keeps getting bigger and better.  A quick shout out to our Canadian fans (we just found out we have).  The Geek Eats challenges are growing.  We tried the KitKat Pumpkin Spice flavor and they were pretty good, but I decided that if we are doing pumpkin spice, let’s do it right.  So, I made a couple of batches of mini loafs of pumpkin bread.  It is always a good feeling to leave the studio with an empty food transport.

Upcoming Appearances:

October 6th to 8th at ConraFlow (convention in Kenner, LA.)
http://contraflowscifi.org/

November 3rd – Malice in Memphis
http://www.maliceinmemphis.com/ 
If I understand the invitation correctly – I am the guest of honor in the murder mystery.  So, does that mean I am a detective or the murder victim?

November 4 10:30 am to 1:00 pm
Desoto Writers Alliance at the Southaven, MS Library for a mini-conference on publishing.

November 17th to 19th – MCFC – The Convention!
http://www.memphiscfc.com/

Seminars:

Oct 19th – National College/Tech Ed – Polish your work and make it shine – before you hit send
Rules are meant to be broken sometimes, but you must learn them before breaking them.  The Rule of Three – One of the oldest techniques in writing used to create engaging content. Have you finished your first short story or novel?  Formatting 101 – Follow the Guidelines.Grammar & Punctuation – Common Mistakes that Drive Editor’s Crazy

Nov 16th – National College/Tech Ed – Finding Your Voice – I Didn’t Know I Lost It
What is voice in writing and how to find yours; the difference between voice & style.  Writer’s Block has you stalled – try these tips to breakout of the box.

Dec 21st – National College/Tech Ed – Instilling Humor in Your Writing
Even the darkest of themes can use a little humor. How does humor and horror go together? The humorous laugh versus the nervous titter? Do readers and authors laugh at the same thing? Why have humor? Does the humor flow naturally or do you have to work it in to change the scene?

 

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

Pirate For A Day

This coming Saturday, I get to return to a bit of stage with the Pirate Raid at the main library here in Memphis.  If you are in the area, please come out for the festivities.  As an appe-teaser, let’s just say that the battle between the buccaneers for Fortune and Glory and the enforcer for Capt. Hook will be served with a lot of HAM.  It is going to be quite the show.

Now that I have said that, let’s take a little look behind the curtain if you will.  Just what does it take to put on a show like this?  First of all, there are the costumes.  Some are far more difficult than others, but they are all a lot of work.  Not only do they have to look the part, but the actors have to be able to move and work effectively in them.  Next, there are all the props.  All of that stuff comes from somewhere.  You don’t get to see the hours of hauling and setting up.  The “Glamorous Side of the Business” as I like to call it.

Finally, there is the acting and maybe even a bit action.  Most of the players you will meet have been playing their characters for years and do them with practiced ease.  However, this time, there will be a sword fight.  What you get to see will be a short, entertaining, and hopefully thrilling bit of theatrics.  What you didn’t get the see was the weeks of practice.  The scripting of every single move, every single foot step.  You don’t get to see all of the sore muscles and bruised knuckles as the actors learn the choreography.  You don’t get to see the sweat of trying to get it right changing to the elation of knowing the show is going to be fabulous.

Come and enjoy the show.  We have put a lot of heart and sweat into making it look seamless and natural.  And yes, those swords really do hurt 🙂

Upcoming Appearances:

September 23rd Pirates Raid at the Benjamin Hooks Main Library
From 11 am – 2 pm
October 6th to 8th at ConraFlow (convention in Kenner, LA.)
http://contraflowscifi.org/

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise

piratesposter

A Bit Skeptical

reneelive

This coming Sunday night, I will be the guest on Renee Live.  I have been the guest skeptic on this show for years.  While I am told that I am loved on this show, I personally believe the the audience loves to hate me.  I am the Capt. Buzzkill to the true believers’ zeal.  The show is fast paced and very funny as Renee tries in vain to get me to crack up.  Bless her poor heart, she is too easy to get into the giggles.  No matter how many imaginary friends she brings to the effort – she cracks first, but she never gives in.

The main theme of the show is about the paranormal world and my part in it as a devout skeptic.  The number one question is, of course, just what does a skeptic do besides say that he or she doesn’t believe it?  I will confess that most skeptics do just that.  That is not being a skeptic, that is simple denial.  Being a good skeptic is much harder.  First of all, you need to have a working knowledge of the topic.  Second, you have to have an open mind and realize that a witness really did have an experience.  Third, you must be able to follow the evidence to the other possible scenarios that may have created the experience in question.

Do to my varied life experiences, I know a lot about how a building works, ages, and decay.s  This makes me a very tough skeptic.  The reason I enjoy being the “snarky skeptic” is to get to see all the new stuff people are seeing and recording while out investigating and I get to see if there is truly anything that may actually be outside the mundane.  My deepest fear, is that some fired up newbie is actually going to blindly stumble upon something that would actually be repeatable and thus capable of being studied.  They will bungle the data collection and one of the keystone discoveries of our time will be lost.  Basically, I love the stuff that is not easy to debunk.

Enjoy the remaining full moon ( I know I will) and tune in Sunday night.

http://www.diversitybroadcastingnetwork.com/

Upcoming Appearances:

September 10th Renee Live Show – Podcast
Show starts 8 pm Central – 10 pm
Featuring: Allan Gilbreath
http://www.diversitybroadcastingnetwork.com/

September 23rd Pirates Raid at the Benjamin Hooks Main Library
From 11 am – 2 pm
Featuring: Allan Gilbreath

http://www.darkoakpress.com
http://www.geektankradio.com
http://www.cafepress.com/gtrmerchandise