Just got back from my first Star Trek con and had a blast. My wife and I decided to go to the Tampa Away Mission for out 12-year anniversary (yes she is a Trekkie too). We decided to splurge and get the ‘Platinum’ package and it was worth it. Not because we got photo opts and autographs that more than made up for the higher price. Not because we had great seats up front and didn’t have to wait in line for anything. No, the thing that made it worthwhile was getting to hang out with some of the celebs at a mixer.

While I was smoozing with John Delancie (Q from Star Trek TNG and Voyager), my wife was flirting with Kevin Sorbo (Hercules and Cpt. Dillon Hunt from Andromeda). We also had drinks with Saul Rubinek and Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13 and I had a long conversation with Sasha Jackson (Blue Crush 2) she’s hilarious and really nice.

Most of the celebs were very nice, open and approachable for the most part, I found that surprising. Kevin Sorbo is funny and engaging. I talked to Delancie about Italian opera and he showed me pictures on his phone of his production of Tosca and Madame Butterfly. I nearly had a fangasm.

I attended a few panel discussions held with some writers. None that I knew about, they all appeared to be self-pub authors – nothing wrong with that. But their discussions didn’t go that in-depth or get into the nitty-gritty or writing.
The brightest part of the weekend wasn’t the Skyping with Leonard Nimoy or sitting within spitting distance of William Shatner as he goofed on staged and wowed the crowd.


No, the best part was meeting a couple from Tampa who shared our love of all things SciFi and geeky. During the con we hung out together and afterwards had a great dinner at a local restaurant they suggested. Many thanks to Mike and Deeanna for making our trip fun, relaxing and memorable.   They made the con priceless.

Cons can be great events for fans and writers just as they can be huge wastes of time and money. But then, writing itself can be a huge waste of time and money the same way gardening can. It all comes down to what you get out of it.
Sure, can sell my autographs online and make a few bucks the same way I can sell a story or blackberry jam for a few dollars. What I can’t sell are memories.

If you haven’t been to a convention, get to one. You won’t regret it.


Jumping the Gun


Every year I do this. The moment I step outside on a decent spring day, I begin to work in the yard.

“This year it’ll be different.” I say. “I can get a jump on the planting season and be harvesting tomatoes by the Fourth of July.”

That’s when I start cleaning up the old beds and get the seedlings started inside. Sure, it still snows every once in a while, and the car windows are coated in frost every morning. But I got a plan!

And every year my first set of seedlings grow leggy and die. Anything planted early outside also bites the dust. Eventually, I wait until Memorial Day to go to the Farmers Market and buy a few dozen plants. It doesn’t matter that by buying those plants I’m still jumping the gun because by the end of the season the plants I grow from seed are as big and productive as the ones I bought.

I could wait the whole month of April and most of May to get started. I’d probably have more energy to get through the season if I didn’t burn out by starting two months sooner. But I know myself too well. Cabin Fever drives me to act against my better judgment.

I will jump the gun.

I will plant and kill again.

I can’t help it.

I’m a gardener.

Just like I can’t help but to send my stories to publications I know will reject me. I see an ‘Open for Submissions’ link and I can’t help myself. I have to send my Steampunk Horror story to a mag that publishes nothing but Lesbian Romance. Oh, and that Literary zine that focuses on 18th Century Naval battles wouldn’t mind reading my Dystopian YA Epic. They are just asking for it, you know.

Yeah, I could look over their website, read the stories they publish, but who has the time? Submissions close at the end of the month, I can’t spare an hour to get to know what they like. And don’t get me started on what kind of format they want submissions to come in. The crybabies.

But then, when the right story goes to the right publisher my chances of success goes way up. I even get published in a print publication. If only I could remember this the next time I finish a story and try to plant it in the first open spot I see. Writing Fever drives me to act against my better judgment.

I will jump the gun.

I will submit and get rejected again.

I can’t help it.

I’m a writer.