Fantasticon 2014: Part 3: Dealers’ Room


Fantasticon 2014 took place last October in Milwaukee, WI. I posted two out of six review articles about the event. Then I got caught up with NaNoWriMo in November and forgot about it. Now that it’s February, maybe I should finish this up.

Part three of this mini-series is about the Dealers’ Room, where a myriad of vendors set up booths to sell their wares. These are the photos that I took.

Click a picture to enlarge it.


The first thing I saw when I entered.


Nintendo lovers are welcome.


They had a thing set up to scan people in their costumes and make a 3D model of them.

Check out Bodastone Photo Sculptures for more information about their photo sculpting services.


What convention would be complete without lizards?


Cute little fellow.

The lizards were brought in by the Madison Area Herpetological Society. Check them out if you like reptiles.

Indiana Jones

We found the lost Ark of the Covenant!

Indiana Jones

Dr. Henry Jones with the Holy Grail.


Indie writer Lauren Jankowski.

Lauren Jankowski, one of the indie writers I met selling their books in the Dealers’ Room.


From left to right: Leo Perez, some girl I was giving a hard time (she was a trooper), and Jon Michael Lennon.

Leo Perez and Jon Michael Lennon are great artists. Check out their stuff at Cheese Lord Comics.


Artist Dominic Lobello and his lady friend.

Another great artist, Dominic Lobello.


Leticia Figueroa (the Giggler) and her sidekick.

More great artists. Leticia has the best giggle ever. I could hear her giggling from the other side of the noisy Dealers’ Room. So I named her the Giggler. Check them out at Nerd By Design.


These video game peddlers are living the dream!

Love video games? Check out Gorilla Games.

Saving the best for last…

What I got the most out of the Dealers’ Room was getting to know a couple self-published authors who were peddling their novels at booths. This was inspirational because I realized that someday I could have a booth at a convention to sell my novels.


Harry L-B and his novel, Billy in Space.


“To Dan, good luck writing!”

Harry L-B writes sci-fi comedy. I bought a copy of Billy in Space, which he signed for me.


Donovan Scherer with his novel, Fear and Sunshine. And a ZomBean.


“To Dan, write them books!”

Donovan Scherer has a lot going on. As a graphic designer, author, and publisher, he runs Ratatat Graphics and Studio Moonfall. He wrote and illustrated the light-hearted horror comedy series, Fear & Sunshine, and Monsters Around the Campfire. He also created a fun game called ZomBeans.

He was kind enough to sign my copy of Fear & Sunshine: Prelude.

Check back soon for more Fantasticon pictures.

  1. A Taste of the Con
  2. Lightsaber Duels
  3. Dealers’ Room
  4. Celebrities
  5. Gaming
  6. Cosplay

Indie-Visible Publishing Pack Giveaway


Calling All Indie Authors!

Indie-Visible is an organization dedicated to helping independent authors navigate their way through the world of self-publishing.

They currently have a giveaway worth $3,551.

All you have to do is enter the contest by clicking here.

One lucky winner will receive:

  • an exclusive stock photo from Regina Wamba ($500)
  • full structural, line, and copy edit from Plot Ninja ($1200)
  • website design from Starling Magic ($585)
  • Amazon and Smashwords formatting from EK Formatting ($50)
  • interior print layout from Indie Books Gone Wild ($300)
  • PayPal cash from Clean Teen Publishing to start your marketing fund ($25)
  • custom cover design from the creative team behind the Indie-Visible brand ($300)
  • S.M. Boyce’s Branding Cheat Sheet ($99)
  • Author Logo/Branding Graphics from Whit&Ware ($150)
  • 3 Month Marketing Map & Planning session w/ Victoria Faye, Owner/Designer at Whit&Ware ($99)
  • a release day blitz from Red Coat PR ($85)
  • a release day blitz from Ink Slinger PR ($100)
  • 3-month ALL ACCESS subscription to The Haven, a community for artists of all kinds ($58)

The more you share the contest, the more entries you will get.

All entries must be received by February 17, 2015 at 6:00pm EST.

Enter the giveaway here. Good luck!


Faith, Compassion, and Love

Faith Compassion Love

Dan Hoger:

Faith Compassion Love
A good friend of mine started her own blog as an emotional outlet. She doesn’t have many posts yet, but they are pretty deep and relatable.

Check out Musings from the Mind of MAEhem. Be sure to follow it, because it will continue to have great posts.


Originally posted on Musings from the Mind of MAEhem:

  1. FAITH
    1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something
      • - this restores one’s faith in politicians
    2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof
    3. A system of religious belief
      • - the Christian faith
    4. A strongly held belief or theory
      • - the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe

Now that the definition is out of the way, allow me to get to the point……

The first definition, as it describes is trust, confidence and belief in someone or something.This is the one I’m focusing on. Which, is believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that a certain someone or something is never going to let you down and will always live up to your aspirations….. But in reality, every human that walks this earth has slippery, clumsy fingers. The majority of broken hearts, shattered dreams and…

View original 1,016 more words

2014 In Review

New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015! May this year be better than last!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

WTF is the Liebster Award?

Liebster Award

Thank you, Star Guy, for nominating me for the Liebster Award, whatever that is.

Liebster Award

The rules are as follows:

  • Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers. The bloggers you award are to do the same.
  • Ask 11 questions to those you have nominated.
  • Let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.

11 random facts:

  1. This is the first time I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award, and I honestly don’t know whether or not it’s a big deal.
  2. I am a cheese enthusiast.
  3. I see a therapist.
  4. The random facts I am choosing for this are the first things that come to wine mind.
  5. I am drinking Moscato as I type this.
  6. I don’t know when I’ll get back to blogging on a regular basis. Probably when whatever readers haven’t jumped ship yet start to prod me enough.
  7. I’m not sure if number 6 made sense.
  8. I work retail.
  9. I like video games, but don’t play them nearly as often as I’d like to.
  10. I was about to tell you something personal that y’all probably don’t need/want to know.
  11. I forgot what I was going to write here.
  12. I’m not taking this too seriously.
  13. Yes, I know I surpassed 11.
  14. Don’t judge.

11 Questions from the blogger who nominated me:

1. When was the first time you watched Star Wars, and what did you think?

I was around 11 or 12. Maybe 10. It was 1 or 2 years before the Special Edition came out. Maybe the same year. All I really remember is that obviously I loved it. It still holds a large place in my heart, and I can’t wait for Episode VII!

2. What is your favorite animal? (Can be alien – Wookie is a legitimate answer  :D )

Hey now! I am actually part Wookiee, and I take offense by your statement. Firstly, you misspelled “Wookiee.” Secondly, Wookiees are not animals. We are just as (if not more) intelligent than humans.

To answer the question, my favorite animal is humans monkeys.

3. What is your favourite book?

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?


5. What is your favourite hobby?

Exploring forest preserves.

6. What is the funniest picture/gif you have ever seen?


7. Old or new WordPress Stats page?

I just switched to the new stats page. I like it so far.

8. Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit?

Are you talking about the books or the movies? Either way, it’s The Lord of the Rings.

9. Rather a nerd or the cool guy/gal?

A cool nerd!

10. Are you in the Christmas spirit? (in other words, how many times have you said Merry Christmas?)

I didn’t realize I was supposed to keep track of how many times I’ve said, “Merry Christmas.” Regardless, I suppose I am in the Christmas Spirit.

11. What should this last question be?

What’s your favorite question?

11 Nominations:

  1. Wibble
  2. Poetic Parfait
  3. The Chris Brake Show
  4. BigBodyBeautiful
  5. Teagan’s Books
  6. Conscious Cacophony
  7. Gilhooley’s Poetry Corner
  8. Robert Medak
  9. Talin Orfali
  10. The Iridescent Bubble
  11. Don Charisma

11 Questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favorite question? (Something my 3-year-old asked his uncle once.)
  2. What would you most like me to post on this blog?
  3. How long did it take you to complete the requirements for this so-called award?
  4. Was it worth it?
  5. Are you somewhat annoyed?
  6. If I promise never to nominate you for another award (unless you like awards), would you like to read the first draft of my novel (when it’s ready) in exchange for honest and blunt feedback?
  7. Do you love me?
  8. Why not? :(
  9. Was it something I wrote?
  10. Was anything in this post slightly amusing?
  11. How lame are these questions?

Sorry if this post was lame!

Happy Christmaskwanzayulekkah (did I include them all?), everyone!

Disclaimer: The intention of this post was to (hopefully) give the readers a chuckle or two. I meant no offense to whomever created the Liebster Award or anyone whom takes it seriously. I am honored that Star Guy thought of me when choosing whom to nominate. I hope that those whom I nominate also take it as a compliment. I like saying, “whom.”

NaNoWriMo Winner!

National Novel Writing Month

I am happy to announce that I have exceeded the 50,000 word challenge of National Writing Month. As of now, I have written 50,547 words in my novel. And I’m about halfway through my intended outline, so I still have a lot more writing to do.

And since this is just the rough draft, I also have a lot of editing and revising to do.

But I took on the challenge and I completed it. This is a good day.

Thank you to everyone who were was supportive. [Thanks, Pendantry.]

Now that it’s over, hopefully I will get back to posting more often. Starting with putting the rest of the Fantasticon pictures up.

I will also keep you posted with developments on my novel, The Rune of Illusions. You can read the synopsis and an excerpt by visiting my NaNoWriMo page here.

National Novel Writing Month

Fantasticon 2014 – Part 2: Lightsaber Duels


This is the second part of my review of Fantasticon 2014 in Milwaukee, WI.

In this post, I will share the pictures that I took of the awesome choreographed lightsaber duels that were performed. The pictures don’t even do the show justice. But here they are, nonetheless.

Click a picture to enlarge it.










You can check out video of these amazing duelists in action on this YouTube channel.

Check back soon for more Fantasticon pictures.

  1. A Taste of the Con
  2. Lightsaber Duels
  3. Dealers’ Room
  4. Celebrities
  5. Gaming
  6. Cosplay

Fantasticon 2014 – Part 1: A Taste of the Con


I spent last weekend (October 24-26) with my friends at Fantasticon in Milwaukee, WI. My friends are veterans of going to cons, and they invited me to come along for the ride. Being the first year of this con, none of us* knew how it would go.

It ended up being an awesome time! Instead of cosplaying, I stayed mostly behind the scenes taking pictures of the cosplayers and anything I thought was interesting.

It took me a while to sort through all the images, but I finally did. There were so many pictures, that I will spread them out in six different posts.

Being the introductory post, this will include a few pictures just to give you a taste. NaNoWriMo begins Saturday, so I don’t know when the next post will be. Check back soon to find out!

  1. A Taste of the Con
  2. Lightsaber Duels
  3. Dealers’ Room
  4. Celebrities
  5. Gaming
  6. Cosplay

Click a picture to enlarge it.


My friends and I posing for a group selfie.
From left to right: Mark, Stephy, Dan (myself), and Tim.


It’s the TARDIS! I’ll just peek inside. Nobody will mind.


It wasn’t bigger on the inside. They lied! I will show my dissatisfaction by devouring it.
Who’s that lurking behind me?




Geek Trivia hosted by Geeks Who Drink.

Do you like geeky stuff? Do you like trivia? Do you like to drink? Check out Geeks Who Drink.


Professional face painting by Jubilee.



If you live around Milwaukee and want your face painted, check out Jubilee.

And check back for more pictures from Fantasticon.

*Thanks, Pedantry.

Project Exodus: The Rune of Illusions


National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner and I’ve been planning my forthcoming novel so that I can hit the ground running when November 1st comes around.

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that I had several different ideas but wasn’t sure which direction to take. So I’ve combined some of these ideas into one cohesive (I hope) story.

This book will be the first in a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy. This trilogy is tentatively titled: Project Exodus.

The first book is tentatively titled: The Rune of Illusions.

And now I present to you the synopsis.

In a dystopian future, an oppressive government uses a girl with psychic powers to open a portal to a magical realm in order to escape the impending apocalypse. Now it’s up to her brother, a member of the resistance, to retrieve the Rune of Illusions, a magical talisman that can help him save her before the portal becomes unstable and destroys both worlds. Along the way, he faces opposition from warmongering orcs, a destructive dragon, a bounty hunter sent to recapture him, and a beautiful elf girl with a dark secret.

With planning my novel and then frantically writing it in November, I’ll probably post less than usual. But if I get time (keyword: if), I will post updates about my progress.
Or you can check out my progress by visiting my NaNoWriMo profile.

My screen name (and pen name) is Phoenix Autumn. Add me as your writing buddy and I’ll add you back!

The book cover was designed by Lisa.Vail, another NaNoWriMo participant.

Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you going to write? Promote your project in the comments.

12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction

Novel Construction

I have been planning out the novel that I will write for NaNoWriMo this year. It will be a sci-fi / fantasy adventure combining several of the ideas that I had mentioned in my previous post.

I’m still constructing the pillars that will structure the story, so I’m not going to talk about my idea yet. I will say more about it once it has been fleshed out better.

The purpose of this particular blog entry is to share some valuable information with other authors and aspiring novelists.

I have recently discovered an excellent writing blog called, “Live Write Thrive,” by author and editor C. S. Lakin.

Each year, Lakin writes a year-long series that focuses on one important aspect of writing a novel. In 2012, it was about the heart of your story. Her series in 2013 teaches how to shoot your novel (i.e. write description that makes the novel play like a movie in the readers’ minds).

Lakin’s series for 2014 is particularly useful. This year, she delves into the 12 key pillars of novel construction.

These pillars are:

  1. Concept… with a kicker
  2. Conflict… with high stakes
  3. Protagonist… with a goal
  4. Theme… with a heart
  5. Plot and subplots… in a string of scenes
  6. Secondary characters… with their own needs
  7. Setting… with a purpose
  8. Tension… ramped to the max
  9. Dialog… compressed and essential
  10. Voice… unique for each character
  11. Writing style… concise and specific
  12. Motifs… for cohesion and depth

Along with handing out great advice for each of these pillars, she also provides handy checklists to help you construct each one, ensuring that your novel covers everything that it should.

I highly recommend checking out this blog series if you are interested in writing a novel. The checklists ask great questions to get you thinking about different angles in your story.

Are you planning on taking the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? How are you preparing your story?

Novel Construction

NaNoWriMo: Preparation


I didn’t even know about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) until just before it began last year. At the time, I didn’t have enough of a solid idea for a book. So I decided to do it this year.

Now the problem is it that I have several ideas but I’m not sure which one to follow through with.

Some of my ideas include:

  • A spy thriller in a fantasy setting
  • A story about a man marrying a succubus
  • The first installment of an epic fantasy series
  • The histories and/or holy text of a fictional universe
  • A story about demon hunters
  • An action thriller about uncovering conspiracy theories
  • A book of poetry and/or haikus
  • Real life advice from father to son

There were more, but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones listed above.

I could potentially combine some of the concepts of the fiction ideas into one solid book.

My dear readers, what I write is for you to read. What direction do you think I should go in? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts. Thank you!