TalkCast 339 – Matthew Phillion

Matthew Phillion

Matthew Phillion

On this episode, we have a wide ranging conversation with Matt Phillion. An accomplished and talented author, Matt has not only produced 4 novels and 2 “one shots” in his ‘The Indestructibles” series but he has also written, directed and acted in movies and is a self-described “recovering newspaper journalist”. Honestly, we talked about a bunch of stuff and bounced around from topic to topic, discussing his writing, the characters, his motivations, work flow and why he does what he does. There are also many anecdotes of what we have come to know as “Convention Moments”. Find his novels here.

No news this week not because there wasn’t any, but because the interview was so much fun.

Enjoy the chaos.


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Bonus Content: The Indestructibles Movie Trailer

TalkCast 338 – Alan Hebert from HB Comics

Team Synergy by HB Comics

Team Synergy by HB Comics


Our guest tonight is Alan Hebert, one half of the creative brother team of HB Comics. Austensably, he was on to talk about their Kickstarter for the first trade paperback of their new series, Team Synergy Vol. 1: Spellbound. While a portion of tonights interview was about the Kickstarter, we also discussed the whole concept of Team Synergy, its inception, the why and way it began and evolved, its reception  at conventions and the entire Team Synergy Cosplay that travels to conventions with them.

We then wandered into how HB Comics came to be, how it is to work with your brother and, amazingly, how they finish each other’s sentences (I have seen it and it’s quite amazing). We attempted to pry out of Alan what the newest secret project from HB is, to no avail.

Check out the Kickstarter  and make sure to check them out online or at a convention soon. We missed you, Alan.

Enjoy the madness.


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BONUS FEATURE: Our interview with The Cosplay Team Synergy.

TalkCast 337 – Jeff Kline from Darby Pop Publishing


Jeff KlineOur guest tonight is Jeff Kline of Darby Pop Publishing

We talked about the line of Darby Pop comics including the new Bruce Lee series approved by the Bruce Lee estate. Jeff talks about his beginnings in animation in the 1990’s and his work on over 40 series and pilots including some of Dome’s favorites; The Jackie Chan Adventures and Men In Black: The Animated Series. The discussion then went to the why and how of the inception of Darby Pop Publishing, the people involved in it and the myriad titles they now run including the new Bruce Lee series. One of the many interesting aspects of Darby Pop is their “Breaking Into Comics” competition, now in its third year. Jeff announced that this year’s competition deadline has been extended to February 10th. If you’re an aspiring comic artist or writer , check it out.

At the end of the interview, which went close to an hour, we decided no news is good news, so…no news.


Enjoy the conversation, we did.


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The Writer’s Block Presents: John Valeri

This month, author John Valeri gives us insight into pursuing that special someone, with hilarious results . . .

The Woman of my Screams

By John B. Valeri

My wife and I have an agreement. Should the opportunity to get biblical with Neve Campbell arise, I’d get “a pass.”

Admittedly, this is not very likely to happen, but hope is a powerful thing. And, just so you know, I’m not some hypocritical chauvinist—the same deal stands for her and David Boreanaz. (Feel free to insert a Bones joke here—though her crush actually stems from his role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

My infatuation began on New Year’s Eve 1997—the night I finally conquered my crippling fear of scary movies by watching Scream alone in the dark. Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, the franchise’s perpetually traumatized “final girl,” was a revelation. How can I explain it? There’s just something undeniably sexy about a woman who can be strong and vulnerable at the same time—and if you’ve ever seen Neve’s eyes well up with tears without them ever spilling over, you know exactly what I mean.

By the time Scream 3 came out in 2000, I was pretty much convinced that we were meant to be together. To give you some idea of the vividness of my imagination, I still recall an assignment for my high school journalism class: writing my own obituary. I envisioned my death as a cardiac catastrophe in a trailer on the set of the umpteenth Scream sequel, where Neve and I were in the throes of . . . well, let’s just say it wasn’t rehearsal. Ah, puberty.

A series of events too lengthy to recount here led me to Hollywood in the spring of 2011 for the red carpet premiere of Scream 4 at the world-famous Chinese Theatre. I braved a cross-country flight, a skeevy hotel, and dinner at In-N-Out Burger to share the same airspace as Neve, if only for a few hours. Seeing a film in the presence of its cast was a surreal experience, and one that left me intoxicated with incredulity at my own good luck. I even ran into Courteney Cox after the screening and managed to snag a picture with her as she was rushing out to do press. But Neve eluded me.

Undeterred, I huffed it a mile to The Redbury Hotel on foot, where the after-party was being held. The place was swarming with celebs—including Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere, both so skinny that you want to plug a protein drip straight into their veins—and I pretty much went mute with anxiety and awe. (Have I mentioned that this occurred during my socially awkward phase? You know the one: ages seven to thirty.) It’s easy to become a wallflower, and I still cringe knowing that I probably looked as out of place as I felt.

After spending the better part of two hours squirming my way through a claustrophobia-inducing crowd, I decided to take one last lap around the upstairs lounge before calling it quits. (It was nearing midnight, and I had an early morning plane to catch.) And then, as if by divine intervention, I spotted Neve Campbell sitting nonchalantly on a couch chatting with friends, almost as if she’d been there waiting for me. Not wanting to appear rude, I did what I thought any casual fan would do: I propped myself up against the nearest wall and stared unabashedly, just waiting for an appropriate moment to interject.

That moment never happened.

What did happen was that Jamie Kennedy (who played ill-fated movie nerd Randy in Scream 1 through 3) stopped over to say hello to his former costar. We’d met earlier in the evening, so I felt emboldened to insinuate myself into their little reunion and ask for a photo. Which was cause for yet another awkward moment. You see, Jamie thought that I wanted a picture of him and Neve—but what I really wanted was a picture of me and Neve. After I articulated this, he graciously relinquished his spot while somebody else snapped the photo for which I had traveled all the way to Hollywood.

Finally, after hailing a taxi back to my hotel, I dared to check my camera and was met with yet another indignity: Mr. Freakin’ Potato Head staring back at me. Only he was me.

Oh, the horror of it all . . .


*Note: I met Neve again in the summer of 2015—and paid a professional photographer to capture the moment on film. The amount was obscene. It was worth it.

John Valeri is a journalist and fiction writer. He wrote the Hartford Books Examiner for almost a decade, during which it consistently ranked in the top ten percent of all Hartford, national books, and national arts & entertainment Examiners. His short stories “Just Cause” and “Blood Relations” were recently published in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors. He makes his online home at

The Writer’s Block: The Other Side of the Convention Table

I do a lot of conventions. It’s a great way to meet new readers, get my face and books out there, and yes, stalk celebrities. But conventions aren’t all fun and games. It can be exhausting greeting and talking with people for three days straight, and I’ll admit, by Day 3, I’m not at my perky best. There are snafus and cancelled guests and times when a potty break is desperately needed yet just can’t happen. I invite you now to Rhode Island ComicCon 2015 to witness the other side of the convention table.

Day 1 (Friday): We arrive a couple hours before the doors open to check in and set up. There’s a line to check in, so Jason drops off our inventory at the table while I stand behind a large, hirsute man who is complaining loudly that he doesn’t want to stand in line. None of us do, pal. It’s all part of the routine. I use the emergency tube of Nair I keep in my purse to depilate a smiley face in his back hair. Jason comes back to relieve me, and I go to the table to set up.

Setting up isn’t just propping up books on a table. I lay out the tablecloth, lint-roll the cat hair off it, set up book stands, arrange the books in an eye-catching way so that all of the black covers (so prevalent in horror) aren’t displayed together but the kids’ books are; pull out pens (for signing books), the receipt book (to track sales), and the antibacterial hand sanitizer (for those times people sneeze when perusing books, which happens more often than you might think). I greet our neighbors, like artist Karen Gosselin and jewelry dealer Charlie Flowers and fellow author Jackie Leduc and her mom. (You do enough conventions, you start making friends with the other vendors.) I put up my banner and arrange the extra inventory under the table and in the meantime, Jason comes back with our passes. We’re ready to go!

Six hours later, I’m tired, I haven’t met any of the thirty-odd celebrities billed to be here this weekend, and I’m already on my second bottle of hand sanitizer (it’s flu season, folks). Sales have been slow, but not terrible—not unusual for a Friday night. I’ve met a charming young man whose mother has MS, an older gentleman who wants to be a writer, and a woman who wants to go to clown school (strangers will tell you the most amazing things at these events). We’ve been invited to dinner by our friends Cat and Barry, so we head to their place, where I gorge myself on good conversation and mozzarella-stuffed meatballs.

Day 2 (Saturday): Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the convention. Before the doors open, Jason takes me over to Lou Ferrigno’s table to introduce us. That’s right: the Incredible Hulk is in the building. Our exchange went something like this:

Me: I love you.

Lou: Thank you (shakes my hand).

Me: No, seriously, as soon as you stop touching my hand, I’m going to text my sister and tell her I touched you.

Lou: Security!

This elation over meeting the big green guy of my youth lasts for most of the morning . . . until I get my first sneeze-reader (God bless you).

The space behind our table is cramped, and if I’m sitting, I have to twist my body sideways, causing what will eventually be pretty severe pain in my back and knee (still with me seven days later as I type this). The people-watching is fun, though I’m resentful that the man dressed as Harley Quinn looks sexier than I ever have. I talk to one guy about a book project he’s been thinking of and another about how he hasn’t been to a dentist in ten years. I tell aspiring authors about different writing organizations and reiterate the importance of editing (I’m sitting across from a sign with an improperly formatted ellipsis, by the way, and it drives me nuts all weekend). Jason disappears for two hours to attend celebrity panel discussions, and I text him because I need the little writers’ room. He ignores me until I text him again, reporting that I have now peed my pants. He shows up five minutes later, panicked and with a handful of paper towels. (To clarify, I had not. It was merely a clever tactic to get him back to the table.)

By the end of the day, we’ve sold several books, I’ve met a ton of new people, and my socialization skills are completely depleted. I bark at Jason because I’m tired, I don’t like socializing, and I certainly can’t write or edit or clean the house when I’m at these things for three days straight. It’s his fault that he’s always trying to promote me and get free tables and invitations to be a guest at these things, the selfish bastard. He makes an emergency stop at Panera Bread to ply me with macaroni and cheese just to shut me up (can’t yell at him if I’m eating).

Day 3 (Sunday): Stick a fork in me—I’m done. For the first two hours, I can’t even muster up the energy to look people in the eye. I cradle my industrial-size coffee cup (urn, whatever) and try not to cry. I can’t do this. I’m an introvert. This is too much.

Then, a young woman named Anastasia picks up a copy of Ordinary Boy. She reads the back and looks up at me and tells me that the main character sounds just like her. She wants to buy the book and asks me timidly for my autograph. I instantly love this young woman. Okay, yes. This is why I do these things.

I get to meet wrestler Ted DiBiase and eyeball actors Ralph Macchio and Michael Dorn. I slink down lower in my seat when the organizers are questioning bystanders to find out who the vandal was that used a red Sharpie to indicate a space was needed before the ellipsis in the sign that’s been tormenting me across the way all weekend. I sell lots of books and meet even more people and at the end of the day, Anastasia comes back to buy a second book, because she’s the coolest kid ever and she loves to read.

The convention ends at 5 PM. We have packing up down to a science, and the car is loaded up by 5:15. We head home.

“We did well,” Jason says, and yes, okay, he’s right. But I’m burned out and I’m going to be useless for the next three days. These events exhaust me so thoroughly—mentally, physically, emotionally—that I don’t bounce back quickly from them. I want to tell him that we have to stop doing so many of these things (something I have, in fact, said several times) because I don’t have it in me. It’s too much. It’s all too much.

“That one girl came back twice. That was cool.”

Again, he’s right. That was pretty cool. And because of that one girl who shyly asked for my autograph, the whole convention was worth it. I decide not to gripe during the car ride home, and nap instead. Clean houses are overrated anyway, right?


This piece originally appeared on

TalkCast 336 – V.S. Holmes


In this edition we talk with V.S. Holmes, a multitalented writer, archaeologist and publisher. The topics range from Cultural Resource Management, science fiction influences, who exactly is Nel Bently and her first book Travelers, the new Nel Bently Book, Drifters (#2 in the continuing series), V’s other book series, Amphibian Press and why she chose to have this interview in a traffic jam. This and many other questions were asked and answered.


In This Weeks News Round Table:


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TalkCast 335 – The Return of Ursula Wong



Ursula Wong joins us tonight to talk about her new book, the WWII thriller Amber Wolf. This book is quite a departure for her, so we spoke about that departure, why it came about, the genesis of the story, and her personal attachment to it. I could go on about it as I tend to do, but trust me it’s so much better to let her tell her story about this story.


In This Weeks News:

Enjoy This Weeks Chaos.


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TalkCast 334 – Ryan Wing’s October Ghost




Our guest tonight is Ryan Wing, coming to us from the cold climes of Maine. He talks about his graphic novel “The October Ghost vs. the League of Horror” and the new KickStarter for it. We also discuss the “state” of Maine and the close knit group of writers and producers in that area. We discuss the history of his work as well as future books.


In This Weeks News:

Enjoy The Chaos!


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The Plague – Area 51 In Chaos or, Why No Show, Dude?

Hard times in the Alien Retrieval Unit of Area 51:

  • Zombrarian is missing for weeks.
  • Kriana is stricken with Venusian Plague.
  • Lyra T. Kitten lost a fight with a piece of thread.
  • Java is MIA alternating between talks with “Adult Humans” and the miniature versions thereof.

And, here am I, alone in the “Splendid Isolation Ward”, Section 41, Cell 142 here in Area 51. Apologies for missing the last 2 podcasts but I am assured that despite gamma radiation bursts emanating from a partially reclaimed saucer-like conveyance, we should be back next week with more hijinks. Let me take this valuable time to impart to you this precious information on 2 upcoming New England events.

Halloween Comic Fest 2016 is Saturday, October 29th at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, NH. Free Stuff, sale stuff, prizes for kids and adults and a good time for everyone

Super Megafest Comic Con is October 21st. – 23rd. in Marlborough Mass. Special guests will include:


That’s all for this (and hopefully the only) edition of Hard Times From The Isolation Bunker in Area 51.

Be Safe and stay healthy everyone.

Holy crap, did they say Meat Loaf?

TalkCast 333 – Curtis Hickman’s The Void

curtis-hickmanIt’s not very often you get to talk to “The Man Behind The Curtain” Tonight, we spend the entire show with Curtis Hickman, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Void, what many, including members of the cast, who have experienced it have described as an amazing technological adventure. If you have watched Star Trek – The Next Generation, you know the Holodeck. If you have read Larry Niven’s Dream Park, you get the concept of a “Virtual Theme Park”. Over the course of the interview we get just a glimpse of  just what The Void is, how it began, where it is currently and what the future holds for it. As an aside, Curtis committed to a “Family” podcast soon with his equally amazing father, Tracy Hickman, who currently is the “Story Director of The Void.




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