Writing

I'm a prolific writer, and not just on this blog. Here you will find short stories, bits of character biographies for either my writing or for games I'm playing in and updates about any books I'm currently working on.

Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Four (Sunday & Monday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Sunday

Waking up on Sunday morning was a bit surreal. Where I had gone to bed in a hotel where you literally could not see the floor looking down from our room, I woke to an almost entirely silent hotel lobby. But then, this was where people had been partying HARD the night before, so I’m certain that many of them were sleeping it off.

But there was no sleep to be found in my morning. Why? Because I was off to see one of my favorite authors. Jim Butcher, writer of The Dresden Files had a book signing from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (with a lunch break in the middle there), so right at 9:30, I was there in line.

I should have arrived earlier. The line had already snaked back and forth five times by the time I got in line. Fortunately, Christina and I were told by a helpful DragonCon staffer that “He signs fast.” We were given instructions on how to help keep the line moving quickly, and fortunately, most people seemed to listen, because by 10:45, Christina and I had gotten to the front of the line.

I wasn’t having a book signed for myself, because I didn’t actually think to bring one. But I did have a copy of the graphic novel “Welcome to the Jungle,” which was actually a Christmas present from me to my Mother-In-Law last year. I had previously obtained a signed copy of Butcher’s “Ghost Story” for her at San Diego Comic Con, but that was an instance where he had signed a huge stack of books and left them sitting at a bookshop at the convention. It wasn’t personalized. This time, I would meet the man himself.

Since I didn’t have a book to have him sign, I asked him to sign a copy of my Dragon Con badge, which he was happy to oblige me with. So, when the time came, I went up, handed him my book and badge, and told him “Although I really love all your books, my favorite has to be your Spider-Man novelization.” Butcher’s eyes lit up when I said that. “Thanks! I’m really proud of that one. Poor Rhino, he doesn’t get enough respect.”

jim_butcher_autographs

It could have been a glib response, but I like to think I left an impression on him.

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After getting his signature, Christina and I made a trip to visit our friend to borrow a pair of red boots so that we could be both American Dream and U.S. Agent for the Big Marvel Shoot, and then it was back up to our room to change.

Arriving at the Big Marvel Shoot, the two of us went over to the Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. subgroup shot, which was a lot of fun, despite the threat of rain. Every time the thunder clapped, we heard a cheer from the Asgardian shoot. “Damn it, Thor!” became a common refrain.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography
Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Sadly, a large bout of rain chased us away from the shoot before the actual large group shot could occur, although we later heard that it did happen, just delayed a bit.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics
We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

From there, we went back to the dealer’s room for some last minute purchases (new colored contacts for me), returned the boots we had borrowed, and then returned to our room to change into civilian clothes. I was going to then attempt an almost mythical action among Dragon Con costumers – I was going to go to a panel.

The panel in question was “Seriously Funny Ways to Get Rejected,” and for this author who is currently suffering through a wave of rejection notices from agents he has queried, it was exactly what I needed. It was fun, enlightening, reminded me why I need to stick with it, and gave me another agency to query. So, win-win.

From there, we made our way to the final SCF gathering.

Unlike the first night’s gathering, I was far more relaxed at this one. First off, I had now actually met most of the people at the gathering, at least briefly. Secondly, I had been shooting alongside them all day, and while I still admired their costumes, I now was able to see the costumes up close and realize that, hey, my costumes aren’t all that bad next to theirs. I still look up to many of the folks I’ve met on that board, but I now see myself as their peer, which is pretty awesome.

There was food, there was drink, there were a lot of hugs, and a lot of laughs. There were more names than I can remember, and many, many new additions to my Facebook Friends’ list. It was a great way to end the convention. As a friend of mine has long since stated in his signature file “Costumes are fleeting. Friends last a lifetime.” To many of these folks, I started Dragon Con as “the guy who wore Jack of Hearts,” but I think that by the time we left Sunday night, I was just Aaron.

Back to our room, and packing ensued. We had a 10:10 flight, which meant that we needed to be at the airport and checked in by 9:00 a.m., so we wanted to be checked out of the hotel by 8:00 a.m. Morning was going to come early.

Monday

There was some small kerfluffle with our checkout and using gift cards, but it is my sincere hope that it will soon be worked out. If not, expect me to fill in many more details here later. The flight home was uneventful, and soon enough, we were back to Columbus, Ohio with our daughters and our dog.

Dragon Con was exciting and fun, although huge and crowded. I know from crowed events, having been a several year attendee of San Diego Comic Con, but I fear that Dragon may have outgrown its space. I’d love to return next year, but for now Christina and I need to evaluate the costs versus the amount of fun we had. Seeing so many amazing costumers was great, standing in line and fighting with crowds was less so. Still, if you’ve never been to Dragon Con, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Read More:

Scott Comics Character Roster Book – My first published book

scottcomics_coverby Aaron Einhorn
I define myself as many things. I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m a brother. I’m a son. I’m the Branch Leader of Heroes Alliance Ohio. I’m a costumer. I’m a superhero fan.

But one of the ways I’ve always chosen to define myself has been as a writer. I’ve written three novels, abandoned a half-dozen others and countless short stories, although to date, none of those have been published. (That said, I’m hoping that Nobody’s Hero will eventually break that trend.) I’m also a technical writer in my day job, and I’ve written quite a few memos, training manuals, instruction guides, snippets of online help, and e-learning courses.

However, I’ve never been able to walk by a book, comic or gaming store and seen a book with my name on the cover.

Until now.

As of yesterday, the ScottComics Character Roster Book, a sourcebook for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, has officially come out. At the moment, the book is available on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com, through the ScottComics website, or if you happen to find ScottComics at a comic or gaming convention.

(Incidentally, if you’ll be at GenCon this weekend, the book will be at G33k & Co’s booth #1349 on Saturday or Sunday of the con, along with Scott’s novels and the trade paperbacks for both Our Supermom and Raymond Hardcase.)

I owe a lot to Scott Bachmann. He’s been one of my good friends for closing in on twenty years now, and we’ve shared a lot of stories, a lot of laughs, and supported each other through some tough times. He’s responsible, indirectly, for the job I currently have, and he’s one of the reasons I started writing a new novel last year, after almost deciding to chuck it all based on a lack of response to Children of the Sleeper.

Scott is a heck of a storyteller and it shows in the writing of his comics and novels. I’ve reviewed both Our Supermom Vol.1 and Paragon of Animals on this site, and really enjoyed them both. He gave me a heck of an opportunity to play in his sandbox in the creation of the ScottComics Character Roster Book and I am very grateful.

The ScottComics Character Roster Book is a character book to be used with Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, powered by their “Superpowered by M&M” open license. If you’re a player of Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, the characters contained within give you a fresh set of over twenty heroes and villains to use in your games. If you’re a fan of the shared universe Scott has been creating, the book will give you some insights into the characters you’ve seen (or in some cases, only heard about) in the pages of his books. There may be a few spoilers contained within, and some new secrets may be teased.

It’s something I’m pretty proud of, both for its for existence and with the final delivery as well.

Check it out!

The Query Letter

by Aaron Einhorn
My third novel, Nobody’s Hero is currently in a state where I have decided to try to publish it. Initially I was considering following the footsteps of my friend Scott Bachmann (ScottComics.com) and self-publishing, but I’ve been persuaded by my friends to attempt to find an agent and go the traditionally published route.

So, that’s what I’m doing. With that in mind, I’ve decided to chronicle that attempt here. Below you will find the template of the query letter I’m sending out to agents. The final paragraphs are personalized based on who I’m sending the query to.

Most teenagers have responsibilities they’d prefer to avoid. For Delia Blake, those responsibilities include saving the world.

In NOBODY’S HERO, a completed 102,000-word YA Superhero Fantasy novel, Delia is trying to have the typical high school experience, rather than embracing her role as the hero she was born to be. Delia is the child of two of the world’s greatest heroes, members of the Liberty Squadron, and has lived her entire life seeing the price that being a hero takes on the families of those heroes. Because of this, she has hidden her powers from her family and their teammates, all in an effort to live as normal a life as possible.

Of course, living a normal life is relative when your best friend is super strong, your ex-boyfriend is your father’s teen sidekick, and you have to balance track practice with hand-to-hand training from an extra-dimensional martial arts expert.

When the heroes of her parent’s generation begin being killed off, Delia must choose between continuing to hide her abilities, or stepping up and using those powers to save her family and stop the unknown villain who is killing the world’s super powered protectors.

All while she tries to figure out who to go to her Junior Prom with.

I am a technical writer and have been an online superhero journalist for the past ten years, for the websites Movieweb.com, ComicHeroNews.com, and DadInACape.com. My first superhero role-playing game supplement, the ScottComics Character Roster Book, for use with Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, will be available this fall. NOBODY’S HERO is my first novel that I have submitted for publication.

PERSONALIZED PARAGRAPH GOES HERE

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Aaron Einhorn

What Comes After Nobody’s Hero

by Aaron Einhorn
If you don’t know me personally, but have just stumbled across this blog somehow, you may not realize I’ve written a superheroic novel titled Nobody’s Hero, the story of Delia Blake, the daughter of two of the world’s greatest heroes who desperately does not want to follow in their footsteps. Hiding her own super abilities and keeping secrets from her friends and her superpowered ex-boyfriend, Delia has to learn to accept her own role as a hero before the heroes of her parents’ generation are wiped out.

It’s been read by several of my friends, and the response has been good enough that after I get some edits back, I’m going to begin shopping it around to agents and publishers. But while I wait for editors to return Nobody’s Hero, I’m trying to determine what to do with the sequel, because I really need to be writing something right now. I had originally thought I would do a different book for each member of the “Teen Trio,” (who will need a new name now that Delia is a part of the group), meaning I would next do a book from Mandy’s POV, then Jack, then Rob. I’d also considered writing a book focusing on Joe and Glitch. But ultimately, I think that sticking with Delia as a narrator would be better for series potential.

My problem being that I can’t figure out what the central conflict of the book should be about. Because “Nobody’s Hero” isn’t about the superheroic fights. It isn’t even really about who is killing the older generation of heroes. That’s just the backdrop behind Delia’s acceptance of herself as a hero, which is what the book is about. In much the same way that Nero’s defeat is a foregone conclusion in Star Trek, once Kirk has claimed the mantle of leadership and united with Spock; the defeat of the villain in Nobody’s Hero is a foregone conclusion once Delia has accepted herself as a hero.

So, writing the heroic action for the sequel? So not worried about that. I can create a villain and write some good action scenes. What I need is to figure out Delia’s journey for the book, and that’s what I’m just not sure about.
I kind of think that if Book One is about accepting her role as a hero, Book Two needs to be about finding out who *she* is, not defining herself as her parents’ daughter, or as Jack’s girlfriend. She needs to be Delia Blake, Miracle, not the child of Bobby Blaze and Winged Virtue, or the significant other of Jack Flash; which possibly means looking at graduating High School and deciding on college – especially since that’s the topic of discussion in the epilogue. Having her *personally* dealing with the challenges of superheroic life, the excuses, the missing classes and appointments, etc., will also have to factor significantly.

So, I’ve got lots of ideas, but I lack that central thread to tie it all together. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

A little bit of Star Wars fan-fiction

StarWarsD20RevisedThe following is a character background I created for a character I’ll be playing in an upcoming session of Wizard of the Coast’s Star Wars Role-Playing Game. The game is set during the time of the Rebellion, and our players will be a team sent to assassinate Darth Vader. I can’t imagine this will go well.

I’ve been given permission to play the lone Jedi for the game. Our characters will be Level 6, so in my case, I’m a Miralukan Fringer 1/Jedi Guardian 5.

Enjoy!

“You’re not going to die. It isn’t allowed, do you understand? No dying on me today, Kevan!”

Delia slapped a medpack against the soldier’s chest, covering a nasty looking blaster burn that exposed the bones of his sternum. Delia tried not to think about the amount of blood she could feel spurt out under her hands, or the burns that could be seen on the interior organs.

Well, that’s not true. She did think about them, but, she tried not to worry about it.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

Delia shut out her awareness of the battle raging around her, ignoring the blasts directed her way from the Stormtroopers who had boarded their transport.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Sending her thoughts through the Force, Delia examined Kevan’s injuries, adjusting the flow of blood and reknitting injuries with her mind as the medpack did its work. The powers of the Force combined with the best medical supplies the Rebel Alliance could scavenge, and the injuries began to reverse under her ministrations.

But even as new flesh grew under the burns and severed arteries reconnected, the trauma proved too much for the soldier’s system, and his lungs gave out.

Delia wanted to cry, but could shed no tears. Beneath the dark goggles she perpetually wore, Delia had no eyes, just like every other Miralukan. Her inborn connection to the Force more than made up for the lack of optic nerves, but did mean that she had a distinct shortage of tear ducts.

There is no emotion, there is peace.

Kevan had been her closest friend. The Corellian soldier had welcomed her when she first fell in with the Rebels at the age of seventeen, during the raid which had led to the death of her mother. Someone must have informed the Imperial Forces of the existence of a Force Healer out on Excarga, and the agents sent to take her and her mother were swift and deadly. Word had reached Rebel Agents at the same time, and although they arrived too late to save her mother, Kevan had led a group of soldiers to the rescue as Delia had been fighting them off with her father’s lightsaber. A stray shot had destroyed the weapon, and Delia was in danger of being taken when Kevan saved the day.

The human had been three years older than Delia, and had been the one to suggest she replace the typical blindfold used by her people with a pair of goggles, increasing her ability to appear human and not draw attention. He was the one who retrieved her mother’s lightsaber and presented it to her. He had provided the blue hair dye that she used to mask the long, flowing black hair she inherited from her parents, and the two had become lovers, despite the difference in their species. That was two years ago.

Now Kevan was dead, and knowing that his essence had joined her mother and her father in the Force was little comfort.

There is no death, there is the Force.

But his killers were still here, and advancing on her and the other members of her squad.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

Dispassionately, Delia stood, and with a flick of her mental energies, called her lightsaber from the open pouch of her medkit into her hand. She allowed her fear, her anger, her hatred all to flow out from her the way she would wash a wound of its poison, and filled herself with the battle-surety of the Force.

Her lightsaber snapped to life with a hiss, and the amber blade hummed as she held it before her.

“If the only way I can save lives is by ending yours, then so be it,” she said as instinctively she brought her blade up, deflecting a bolt that had been fired her way, and reflecting it back into the squad mate of the one of the troopers. With that, she rushed forward, bringing the blade down through the blaster rifle and forearm of the first trooper.

* * *

Nineteen years earlier, her parents had been happy. Both members of the Service Corps, their talents with the Force were weak enough, and their love for each other were great enough that neither advanced on as a Padawan towards the path of the Jedi Knight, but instead found contentment in serving within the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Her mother worked in the Medical Corps, while her father served in the Educational Corps. Both were content, and were eager to meet their child when she would be born.

Until Order 66 happened.

Darth Vader had led the troopers of the 501st Squadron in to the temple, killing hundreds of younglings, padawans and others who served the Jedi. Delia’s father died that day, and Delia’s mother fled, with only her husband’s lightsaber, a handful of datachips taken from the archives and the unborn child in her womb to remember him by.

She managed to flee the temple grounds and get to a space port where a transport was bound for Excarga, and away she went.

* * *

As the years passed, Delia began to show more and more aptitude for the Force. By the time she was fourteen, Delia was a better healer and more adept with a lightsaber than her mother. Delia’s mother realized that she had little left she could teach her child.

“You need a Jedi Master, my daughter. You could, and should, be a Jedi knight. But there are no Jedi left in this galaxy. No Knights who can take you to right wrongs, and no Jedi healers to teach you the deeper mysteries of the Force. All I can give you are these.”

At the age of fourteen, Delia had never seen the data chips her mother presented before. “In the absence of a Master, a holocron would be better, but we could not save one of those. What we have here are the basics of training of a Jedi Guardian, and you will need to study on your own.”

“I will, mother,” Delia promised.

* * *

Her skills as a healer hadn’t been enough to save Kevan, and her skills as a Jedi hadn’t been enough to save her mother, but still Delia did her best to serve the Rebellion. After Kevan’s death, Delia began to move from one cell to another, putting her skills to work on a variety of missions for the Rebels, always keeping her ears open for word of another who had been trained in the Force. Delia knew that she had learned nearly all that could be gathered from the library her father had died to protect, and that only with instruction from a Jedi Master would she be able to truly become a Jedi Knight. She might have been born for the role of a Jedi Healer, but that path was likely forever closed to her, and all because of the work of one rogue Jedi nineteen years prior. Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader.

“Delia,” her commander began. “I’ve got a new squad I need you to work with, if you’re willing. They’re going on what might be a suicide mission, but it is of utter importance to the future of the Galaxy and the Rebellion.”

“Of course, sir, whatever I can do.” A suicide mission didn’t scare Delia. Most of the missions the Rebellion undertook could, in the most charitable of scenarios, be described that way. But if the Galaxy would be freed from the yoke of the Empire, accomplishing the impossible was both necessary and becoming routine.

“What’s the mission?”

“We have had limited but significant success on most of our tasks. Our troops are the equal to any of the Empire’s forces on a good day. Our pilots and soldiers make up in passion what the Empire has in resources and training, but that all changes when one of the Emperor’s lieutenants appears. We need to level out the playing field. We’re sending a hand-picked team to start evening the odds, beginning with one of the biggest trump cards in the Emperor’s sabaac deck.”

Delia’s heart began to race. He couldn’t possibly mean…

“We’re sending the team in to kill Darth Vader.”

There is no emotion, there is peace.

Delia wasn’t excited about this.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

Delia knew exactly what the risks were. Vader had been a Jedi Master nineteen years ago. His skills were considerable.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

Delia considered the enormity and importance of the task with a calm mind.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Delia knew the team would be carefully assembled, to mix the best possible group of skills for optimum chances of success.

There is no death, there is the Force.

Well, “Lord” Vader would have to be the one to let her know about that, now wouldn’t he?

A slight smile came to Delia’s lips as she answered her commanding officer. “I’m in, sir.”