It’s been a long time since I’ve added anything to this website. If I didn't include this URL on my business cards, I might not remember I have a web site. Even the event I’m writing about today happened a few weeks ago. For some reason I’ve just never felt compelled to chronicle my life. I’ve never kept a diary/journal, and my social media accounts are much less active than those of my friends.
Even though I don’t talk about what I’m up to, I’m always busy. I’ve been working towards getting a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of New Mexico. The goal is to finish this year and I’ve started writing my thesis. The work for my Bachelor’s degree was focused on ELISA testing, which is a method of analyzing behavior of antibodies. It’s an interesting procedure and fun to talk about, but very limited in terms of marketability. There weren’t a lot of jobs that I wanted which required ELISA skills, and I suppose I won’t find any unless I start looking into a more biology-based career. The scope of my Master’s project started with helping Ph.D. students synthesize a novel antimicrobial compound, and my thesis is about incorporating the compound into products through absorption and electrospinning, and also exploring how it interacts with microbes through utilization of UVVIS spectroscopy and fluorimetry in the presence of micelles or extruded lipid vesicles to serve as models of cellular membranes. (Try cramming that mouthful into a 5-word-or-less title). This Master’s project is more expansive than my Bachelor’s, and I expect the broader experience in the included techniques will provide more options when I’m ready to start looking for a new job.
But bacteria and viruses will always be around. Comic Conventions only come a few times a year, and they’re my main venue for book sales. I try to attend at least one convention every year. Last year I went to the Albuquerque Comic Con and the Phoenix Fan Expo. The year prior I went to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. All those events were great, but I’ve never made a profit. Costs for renting booth space is in the hundreds of dollars range, and adding gas and lodging for the distant events makes it almost impossible to break even.
This year I didn’t go to Albuquerque Comic Con alone. I’ve been in a writing group for a few years and two others have been published recently. Since we all have books out, we split the cost of the booth space and used it to sell all our items. Better yet, we looped in a fourth author after a pop-up market that took place for Small Business Saturday at a local store called Title Wave Books. Splitting the cost four ways drastically eased the burden of purchasing the space, but we brought a lot more than our work to the convention. I’ve kept up with my weaving hobby and brought more posters based on superhero television shows. The woven posters are at a disadvantage at events like Comic Cons since so many other booths offer more elaborate artwork, including 3D wall hangings. Yarn posters are limited in image options, but there are benefits in portability; yarn doesn’t tear or crease as easily as paper. Most people passed by them, but the few who stopped for a closer look were impressed by the detail I was able to accomplish on the logos and I sold out of my Agents of Shield poster, and also my Flash poster. Marie Parks invested in stickers and bookmarks that include a symbol from her urban fantasy book, Unrelenting (co-written with Jessi Honard). These small items proved to be effective in garnering interest in the booth, and Marie’s book specifically. When people see a strange symbol, they just naturally have a desire to find out what it means. After witnessing the success of the Unrelenting symbol, I’ve considered putting more emphasis on the relevance of the chi symbol in my book. Drew Overmier wrote a collection of short stories called Starved, Weighed and Prodded and designed the cover art himself. He used his artistic talent to create custom bookmarks throughout the convention which we displayed in the display copies of our books and help them be more eye-catching. Neal Holtschulte wrote a sci-fi adventure called Crew of Exiles, but he also has a collection of comic books and Nintendo Power magazines. I never understood the appeal of Nintendo Power, but they were the most popular of all the items we included at our booth. On the first day of the convention a group stopped by (all in cosplay, of course) and spent a long time flipping through the magazines. One of them found an issue that included cheat codes for Nintendo’s Goldeneye and I wish I’d recorded the reaction. They all broke out screaming and one of them even jumped for joy. They walked away talking about how awesome it was going to be to play Goldeneye with “large hands,” which I assume is exactly what it sounds like.
Hopefully it sounds like we thought this through far in advance. The truth is that a lot came together at the last minute. The four of us spoke before the convention and mentioned things that we’d be able/willing to bring, but we didn’t get a good look at any of it and had no idea how much space it was going to take up. We arrived at the convention a few hours early, laid everything around our taped-off spot, and just shuffled around until it fit and looked reasonably organized. Based on the response from the attendees and the sales reports, we succeeded. All of us made a profit on our share of the space rental and hopefully built up a fan base. We’ve already expressed interest in sharing a booth again at next year’s Albuquerque Comic Con, and possibly cooperating on a different convention later this year.
Unrelenting by Marie Parks: https://www.amazon.com/Unrelenting-Jessi-Honard-ebook/dp/B09VF5CKVZ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21ZR5YHHWPK50&keywords=marie+parks&qid=1675110195&sprefix=marie+park%2Caps%2C309&sr=8-1
Crew of Exiles by Neal Holtschulte: https://www.amazon.com/Crew-Exiles-Neal-Holtschulte-ebook/dp/B0BH5BGGK9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2YRB96DUAISKI&keywords=crew+of+exiles&qid=1675110237&sprefix=crew+of+exile%2Caps%2C235&sr=8-1
Starved, Weighed, and Prodded by Drew Overmier: https://www.amazon.com/Starved-Weighed-Prodded-Pantheon-Anthology/dp/0578367769/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FTQA1R016JKR&keywords=drew+overmier&qid=1675110372&sprefix=drew+overmier%2Caps%2C212&sr=8-1
Anomaly Aftermath by Hugh Fritz: https://www.amazon.com/Anomaly-Aftermath-Hugh-Fritz-ebook/dp/B0BNG99DKT/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3SPIDEVICHR55&keywords=anomaly+aftermath&qid=1675110421&sprefix=anomaly+aftermat%2Caps%2C196&sr=8-1
Photos of Comic Con:
That's me. I went as the Lone Ranger.