|The Action, Sci/fi & Fantasy Writers Panel
at 2016 Tampa Bay Comic Con
By AL J. Vermette
Among the many panels presented at this year’s Tampa
Bay Comic Con, from the Monsters of horror author H.P.
Lovecraft to a Star Wars Q&A, the amount of lectures and
panels were almost endless. Among all these events was one
that I put together called The Action, Sci/fi & Fantasy Writers
panel and Q&A. It was a place where would be writers came
to hear from authors who already have had their work
Joining me on the panel were fellow authors Kat
Heckenbach, William Hatfield, and Rod Martinez. It was
Rod who, for last year’s Comic convention, had to step
in for me as host when I could at the very last moment
not attend due to family illness issues. (Thanks again
Rod for keeping the show going!) Each of the authors
talked about their work, their beginnings and the long
road it took to reach publication.
Even though our time slot was kind of late on the
Saturday night panel listing, we had a good turnout of young writers all
wishing to learn from us the path to getting their work published. They
were eager to learn from us and took away with them a new zest for their
own writing. It’s always good to help new emerging writers find their way
since we all were once all hopeful writers ourselves.
Author Kat Heckenbach is a Young Adult writer and the author of the
Toch Island Chronicles that includes the titles Finding Angel, Seeking Unseen
and Legacy Rewound. Her e-book called Ordinary Folk is a darker tale that
our horror readers would love. Kat, a well-established author presented her
work with the love of a mother’s touch. Her love for what she writes truly
shines through in her work and Kat’s skill in writing both short stories and
novels shows that this author has the chops to go far in her genre.
Panelist Rod Martinez like Kat has a love for the genres he works in. His
graphic novel, Gleena 3, shows that this author can spin a tale from the
corners of his mind and launch them into the world like a fiction rocket
ship. His other works, The Juniors, Cassie’s Curse and Who is The Gray
Man, all strike a spark from this imagination as thoughts within his head
are turned into wonderful works of fiction. Rod loves the art of writing
and it shows in everything he puts to paper.
Our third author William Hatfield, a gifted writer displayed his books as
one of the event’s vendors where he showcased his works all weekend long.
William is a professional writer who knows how to tell a tale from beginning
to end and keep his readers hanging on each and every word. His works
include Key Notes, Menu For Murder and his Fists of Earth series.
After the panel was over, we had the chance to talk one on one with
some of the new budding future authors and everyone got to sign copies of
their books for their new fans. I was signing print copies of my new action/
thriller novel Kill Fest along with my holiday book Boo Biz: Guide To Everything
As my fellow authors left and I signed the last books, I was glad that every-
thing went so well. It took me over a year to get to this event when I could not
attend last year, but this time everything fell into place. Looking forward to next
To see Kat Heckenbach web site go to www.katheckenbach.com
To see Rod Martinez web site go to http://rodmartinez.us
To see William Hatfield Amazon.com page
|AL Vermette hosting the writer's panel
|Author Rod Martinez
|Author William Hatfield
|A Day At The Tampa Bay Comic Con
By AL J. Vermette
It’s August 6, 2016, Tampa Bay Florida, within the
main lobby of the convention center, I stand and watch
Bat Man and Spiderman do battle before him as a large
group of people surround the action. As the two heroes
fight, more spider men join in and then a T-Rex……that’s
right I said it…..a T-Rex joins the battle and now we have
Bat Man, Spider men and s T-Rex all jumping around in an improved mock battle……….but wait this thing
gets even more insane! Popeye…..yes, Popeye and Bat Man now fight and the spectators go wild.
So where else but in a crazy ass dream will you see six Spider men, Bat Man, Popeye and A T-Rex all
together? Well at Comic Con where else. The entire Tampa Bay convention center was taken over by
superheroes, robots, aliens, zombies, cartoon characters, Stars Wars & Star Trek, Freddy, Jason, Chucky
and Predator were all their, even a T-Rex was running around. It was a wild day indeed!
After this great battle like nothing I’ll ever see again, the character clash then turned into a dance off. Bat
Man, Harley Quinn, a half dozen of Spider men, The Grim Reaper, and yes even Kermit the Frog took
turns at showing all their best moves. I tell you…..you haven’t lived until you see a black Spiderman
spinning on his head and break dancing. What a wild scene it was!
All around me were costumed fans playing their most beloved characters. Some were very elaborate
right down to the smallest intricate detail, while others mixed and matched ideas such as the male stripper
Bat Man and one guy made a suit of armor out of Pepsi can boxes that still said Pepsi on it. Other
characters were demons with flapping wings, gender swapping characters as female Dead Pools, a male
Cat Woman, male Sailor Moon and lots and lots of scantily dressed women running all over the place.
(Thank God for Comic Con!)
Within the giant vendor room, it seemed like thousands of things could be found. Anything from tee
shirts, toys, models and endless amounts of books and comic books all ready to be taken home by the
buying public. There was a booth where people could have the photo taken with the look-a-like winners of
the Walker Stalker Zombie Convention who bore the likes of Rick and Abraham to the tee from the series
The Walking Dead. There was a booth where you could buy 3D Printers, you know those amazing
machines that can make anything just like on Star Trek.
One of the main focus of this event, unlike some other comic cons that I’ve been to over the years, is this
one has for all three days, that it runs an almost endless amount of lectures, classes and panels going on
non-stop. These lectures covered anything from how to write for comics to the monsters of the HP
Once such group from Orlando did a live action play and then shown their new web series Space Dad.
Another panel talked about the hit TV show Supernatural and another talked about the movie Carrie on its
40th Anniversary. There was even a place for nerdy speed dating. One thing I wanted to do but didn’t and I’
m mad about, was the Zombie Escape Room where you had to find your way out of a room of fresh eating
zombies. They even had a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show as part of the event.
Within another room, there was do it yourself sword fighting where anyone could enter the room and
engaged in sword play with their friends. They would have the pick of any soft sword they wanted and fight
it out with their family, friends or even girlfriends. One young woman battled her boyfriend twice and kicked
his ass each time. She was like a warrior with her sword in hand. She was dressed in this renaissance
female warrior costume that made her look as though she was the star of a new action movie.
Saturday night ended with an after party like no other. The party theme was cartoons and wild. Music
played, people danced as a room of crazy characters danced into the night. If you have never been to a
Comic Con ever in your life, than this is the show for you. There is so much to do that I didn’t know where to
go first. But I was not just there to watch crazy costumes walk by or take in the sights in the enormous
vendor room. No, I was there for something else this year. I was hosting in ballroom 20, The Action, Sci/fi
& Fantasy Writers panel.