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Helping others and what I’ll be doing at MalCon

I’m gonna be at MalCon this weekend. I’ll be on eleven panels and will be sitting at the Shiny Garden Non-Profit table most of Friday, so come on by and say hello! But that’s not the main reason I’m writing today.

June was really hectic for me and I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about it.

Before I go, let me say that I’m gonna keep names out of my story because I want to protect people’s privacy.

My Hectic Month

I started June house sitting for a friend of mine. My friend has dogs that have special needs and it was more convenient (and cheaper,) if this person had someone stay at their house then kennel the dogs. I’ve house-sat people’s animals before, so this was no big deal.

I was there most of the month. By the end, I was dying to sleep in my bed, shower in my bathroom and cook on my stove. It became harder and harder to live in someone else’s home. When my friend came home, I was relieved.

The last weekend I house/dog sat, an acquaintance of mine received notice that his family had to move out of the house they were renting. My friend’s wife was nine months pregnant, at the time. So the call went out for help and a bunch of people came to pack and clean the house they were renting in preparation for a move that had to be made by the middle of July. On top of this, I had a friend leave Denver, so I went to their two parties, I volunteered at my church, and mentored a couple of new writers.

Finally, I ended up on eleven panels at Denver Comic Con, half of them as moderators on panels that I did not submit. If you know me, you know I am morbidly obese and getting around the Denver convention center can be difficult. Yet I did it anyways.

Why? Why did I commit – some would say overcommit – to help so much in June?

It took me a while to figure out an articulate answer.

I did it because people are worth it.

I have come to the conclusion that humans are built for community. It is where we feel the safest, the most whole. It’s also where we are the happiest.

I did these things because I felt a sense of obligation, a duty, if you will, to help my friends.

Words like duty and obligation don’t have the value they once did in our society. That doesn’t mean they’re still not important.

My wife came with me to help our friend pack. We weren’t sleeping well and dreaded both the drive and the packing we volunteered to do. While I helped my friend pack their house, something interesting happened. Instead of feeling burdened with obligation, I enjoyed myself. I had a good time being around my friend and their family. I met wonderful new people. In addition, I got to know the family better. It was a really good experience.

I know for myself that sometimes people can be a drain. That trying to be a friend to that person always in need, can leave you hallow and empty. But the reverse can leave you calloused, alone and brittle. It’s better to be open with your time and get a little taken advantaged of then to be guarded and along. I’ve watched some friends take that path. They turned into paranoid loners, scared of people, weary that they’ll be taken advantage of.

Like I said I am morbidly obese. Standing for any length of time is difficult for me. But I remember my master’s degree ceremony, where I had to stand for an hour in a line that didn’t move, then walk a couple of hundred yards to a field where the ceremony took place. The funny thing is I remember being in pain – but the actual pain I have forgotten. What I do remember is the satisfaction of knowing I had my degree and the warmth of the people who came to celebrate with me.

THAT is the Point

Many times we don’t do things because we don’t want to suffer, or be inconvenienced, troubled or put out. But when the struggles are over, we don’t actually remember the inconvenience or trouble. We remember overcoming the difficulties. We remember the accomplishment. If we do it with loved ones, we’ll remember the laughter too.

I encourage all of us to try to do more for one another. To serve each other. In doing so we will create or foster bonds of friendship. We will have great stories to tell and fond memories to relive. We will weave meaning into our lives.

This is why I am proud to announce that I am the Chairman of the Board for Shiny Garden, a new non-profit dedicated to bringing all kinds of fans together to enjoy each other. Shiny Garden will be the administrative head of Myth & Legends Con. We will also organize WhimsyCon in March, as well as Hexacon, a new gaming convention, in January.

Through Shiny Garden I hope I can better serve the literary and fandom community.


Here is my MalCon schedule:

Fri, 8:00 PM-8:50 PM, How to be a better Roleplayer (Nevernever)

Sat, 9:00 AM-9:50 AM, Merging Steampunk and Fantasy (The Shire)

Sat, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM, Diversity in Fandom (Serenity)

Sat, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Costuming 101 (Room of Requirement)

Sat, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Lord of the Rings: Digging Deeper (The Shire)

Sat, 3:00 PM-3:50 PM, Corsets Q&A: Tightlacing, Waist Training, and Myths (Room of Requirement)

Sat, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM, Game Of Thrones: The TV Show Beyond the Books (Kings Landing)

Sat, 9:00 PM-9:50 PM, Epic Rap Battles of Literature! (Helms Deep)

Sat, 11:00 PM-11:50 PM, Author Readings (15 min each) (Kings Landing)

Sun, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Shiny Garden and New Events (The Shire)

Sun, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Catastrophic Seasonal Climates in Game of Thrones (Kings Landing)



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Myth & Legends Con Panel Schedule


Myth & Legends Con is this coming weekend. It’s a fun filled weekend of fandom, cos-play, and discussions of literature. The Con begins with opening ceremonies at the Ramada Plaza Denver North, located right off I-25 on 10 East 120th Ave, Denver 80233.


I will be there, with the Fetching Mrs. Evans, and I’ll be on several panels. Here they are:


So Charming, Not Creepy

Friday, 5:00-5:50 PM


Make your convention experience better by learning how to approach people without being a creep. A discussion on etiquette, consent, common sense, and enjoying fandom with respect. Audience is encouraged to share examples of good and bad interactions.

Jason Evans, Quincy J. Allen, Tonya L. De Marco, Veronica Calisto


Historical Inspirations for Game of Thrones

Friday, 8:00-8:50 PM

Lawrence, KS

GRR< has acknowledged a relationship between GOT/ASOIAF and the English Wars of the Roses, as well as Hadrian’s Wall, but what about Henry Tudor, or the Earl of Richmond? Who is Martin’s Queen Elizabeth I? Can we deduce how the books are going to end from European History?

Jason Evans


Superheroes: Myths and Legends of the Modern Age

Saturday, 6:00-6:50 PM

Kings Landing

From Hercules and coyote to batman and Deadpool, the superhero has always existed in some form in the cultural roots of the world. Discussion to include why humans need these characters in our collective culture.

Jason Evans



Saturday, 8:00-8:50 PM

Helm’s Deep

Two teams go head-to-head in a rap battle where the topics are LOTR, Superheroes, & GOT.

Jason Evans, Thomas A. Fowler


The Muse and the Devil

Sunday, 10:00-10:50 AM

Room of Requirement

Where do artists get their inspiration and ideas? Why does it seem that some of my best ideas don’t sell? How does inspiration hit and how do I ignite that spark?

Jason Evans, Kathryn Renta, Stant Litore


Discussing Combat in Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Sunday, 2:00-2:50 PM

The good, the bad, and the ugly scenes of combat and action in Science Fiction and Fantasy, including the differences between games, movies, and literature. Also a discussion of the morality and emotional impact both upon the audience and the characters involved.

Ian Brazee-Cannon, Ian Thomas Healy, Jason Evans, Jim Butcher



Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m probably going to *crash* these panels on Saturday and Sunday Morning!



Creating a Writing System

Saturday, 1:00-1:50 PM

Kings Landing

Very few authors have the luxury of strictly writing. Those starting out will definitely need supplemental income. Discover ways to establish a writing life that works for your lifestyle.

J.A. Campbell, Lou J Berger, Sam Knight


Writing the Story is the easiest Part

Saturday, 7:00-7:50 PM

Kings Landing

Panelists discuss tales and compare the indie and traditional publishing worlds.

LJ Hachmeister, Lou J Berger


Building the Perfect Plot

Sunday, 9:00-9:50 AM

Lawrence, KS

Have you ever wanted to write a great story with a killer plot? Come join a panel of authors and learn how they compose a plot. We’ll discuss the Hero’s Journey and other tropes, and teach you the necessary parts for a great story!

Lou J Berger, Richard Friesen