Behind the Scenes of Warning Label, Chapter Two

Behind the Scenes of Warning Label, Chapter Two

Once again, I wrote myself into a corner. “They have an awesome date.” Easy to write the sentence, hard to write the story.

But, I’ve been to a couple gaming bars here in town. I like them a lot. Side Quest and Tabletop. But since I was setting Danielle to work at a Cards Against Humanity type place, going to a gaming bar made a lot of sense. Jeff figuring out that she might like going there would score him points with her. And since she works at such a place, it’d give me the opportunity to have her show him up and have Jeff just roll with it.

It’s fun making up the names to the games, too. Fortress Unicorn is just supposed to be silly. Sohmer’s Day is named after Ryan Sohmer of The Least I Could Do. Zoe’s Quest is named after my friend Kara’s daughter.

in Long Distance, the lead characters have a lengthy geek-tastic conversation. I don’t want to cover the same ground with this series. So, I tried to keep the references to a minimum. But the warp/impulse line was too good to pass on. Not that I don’t want to write banter, though. I’d say the closing walking line covers that.

You’ll notice Jeff mentions watching movies when he grew up. That will be touched on again.

The Inspiration for Time and Vine, Part Three

My new book, Time and Vine, is coming out from IDW in July. Previews order code MAY170517. In a shameless effort to promote it, I’m going to be sharing some stories about making the book here.

Free Comic Book Day took a little more out of me than I expected, so I’m a bit late with this update,. Doctor Christy Blanch runs a great shop at Aw Yeah Comics Muncie. Also, I have it on good authority that she’ll be glad to order a copy of Time and Vine for you, too!

A year or two ago I was exploring some Northeast Ohio wineries. One caught my eye and I had to stop. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before (I didn’t miss anything. It was new.) It was the Hundley Cellars.

It’s got a great feel to it, kind of a rustic cabin feel. Big fireplace, lots of wood and comfy chairs. And it’s got some of my favorite food, especially the chocolate brownie pretzel dessert. Oh my goodness, get one if you go there! So very very tasty.

They also use Uno cards as your table signs to bring you your food. It’s a great blend of classy and fun.

The big fireplace at Hundley, you’ll see that in Time and Vine. The main room and counter are certainly inspired by Hundley, Before I had a chance to tour Debonne or Brotherhood, this was in my head as I built the Aeternum Winery. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop by!

The Inspiration for Time and Vine, Part Two

My new book, Time and Vine, is coming out from IDW in July. Previews order code MAY170517. In a shameless effort to promote it, I’m going to be sharing some stories about making the book here.

Northeast Ohio has some spectacular wineries. They are some of my favorite places to visit. I don’t know how well known the area is for those wineries, but it should be known. They’re awesome.

Through a weird confluence of events, someone I went to grade school, Joel, with is the sommelier at Debonne Vineyards here in Ohio. And Ed, the winemaster and brewmaster? I went to high school with him, and his sister and I were in the same art class.

So, I was able to trade on that and get a tour of the winery. It was invaluable to my experience. I learned a lot about wineries and how wine is made. When you’re writing a book like this, sometimes you just need to know what kind of background to draw in a scene. Your scene may have nothing to do with actually making wine, but it should look like the room they’re in really does make wine.

One of the coolest things they have is Cask Wine. It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in a French oak barrel. Every year, they remove a third of the barrel and bottle it. The space is then filled with the best wine of this year. It is such a cool idea that I almost stole it outright for my book… except cask wines have no vintage date. And I thought I needed that more than anything else.

I couldn’t have written this book without that trip.

I’m taking tomorrow off for FCBD, where I’ll be signing at Aw Yeah Comics in Muncie, Indiana. But Monday, maybe I’ll tell you about another one of my favorite wineries.

The Inspiration for Time and Vine

My new book, Time and Vine, is coming out from IDW in July. Previews order code MAY170517. In a shameless effort to promote it, I’m going to be sharing some stories about making the book here.

When I got the idea for a time travel story featuring a winery, I immediately started researching wineries in the United States. It didn’t take too long to stumble upon the Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson Valley in New York state. The place had been in operation from about the time of the Civil War and is the oldest winery in the United States.

From the outset, I wanted a winery on the east coast. California is certainly known for it’s wineries, but I wanted to be able to tie into the American history available on the east: Civil War, electrification of Niagara Falls, all sorts of things. And weather! I could do fall, winter, whatever. Brotherhood became a great source of inspiration.

I got the book of their history and learned how they survived Prohibition through making church wine and that champagne was still made because it was considered medicinal. It’s been through three owners. It was a perfect place to start my story.

Of course, I had to take a trip there. You know, for research! Some friends and I took the tour, bought some wine and cider… whoa, is their cider good… and learned a lot about the place that hopefully anchors my story nicely.

And I bought some wine. Including a bottle that’s waiting for me to finish the last page!

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about a local Ohio winery and how important that, and grade school, was to the story!

Gem City Comic-Con Recap!

I had another phenomenal convention experience last weekend at Gem City Comic-Con. It was my first time to Dayton. Spoiler: probably won’t be my last.

Gem City is very much a comic show, and I appreciate that. I did the most commissions I’ve done in a single day in a long time that first day. And it wasn’t just Pony stuff (though there was that, of course), but I had some interesting Star Wars commissions, even a “draw Uncle Ben and Aunt May… and wheatcakes” commission that’s my favorite one that I’ve done in some time.

I had a couple great dinners with some great friends and got to do the Drink and Draw for the event, too. I love how many local breweries there are in general, and Twisted Wing even brewed a special Gamma Ray Bomb IPA for the event. It was good, but I’m not an IPA fan. I had a few of their other beers though and loved them.

And I got to hang out next to Christy Blanch most of the show, which compounded the fun. Of course, some of that is just sitting next to her and ruining DC TV shows for her. Ask her, she’ll be glad to share the experience.

Christy also hosted a drawing panel with me, Kyle Starks and Scott McMahon . It was a great panel. We all played well off each other, many laughs were had, and I think we all learned something. Like why I’ll never get a tattoo.

Gem City was a delight, and another convention that treated me like a star. It’s all those little things that go a long way to making the experience so enjoyable. So thank you, Gem City! We’ll meet again!

Great Lakes Comic-Con

This past weekend, I was a guest at Great Lakes Comic-Con. It was my first time at this show, and I had a wonderful time. Mike DeSantis runs a great show and he and his staff took great care of me and the other guests.

This was my first show of the year and it was a great way to start. The standout had to be Ellie, the little girl in the photo above. She was so excited and having so much fun, it was just the most awesome thing and my absolute favorite thing about my career.

I didn’t get a chance to meet him, but Nicholas Hammond (the 70s Spider-Man) seemed like he was the nicest person, which is great to see. I got to hear some stories from Jim Shooter and Bill Messener-Loebs. And, of course, I spent a lot of great time with Tony Isabella and, the Dean to my Sammy, Paul Storrie. I look forward to seeing them at more shows this year.

I did a decent number of commissions, too. Lots of funs ones, like Doctor Aphra and Lightning Lass as well as some of the more common ponies. And, I even got to play several rounds of The Shadow pinball machine courtesy of the fine folks at Big Toys. They did a glorious job restoring what might be my favorite pinball machine. I love how they replaced a lot of the lights with LEDs. If this is a crazy successful year, maybe I’ll give them a call.

If the rest of my con season matches this show, it’ll be a great 2017.