The Starguard News

The Starguard News

Lonon Film and Comic Con - 2016 Day 3

by ray burke on 08/13/16

LFCC - Olympia, London - Sunday July 31st 2016 Day 3

I had somehow missed my pic with TNA Wrestler Gail Kim yesterday, but was able to get a pic with her today. But instead of my TNA T-shirt, I already had my tux on anticipating my costume for the day :-)

Later, I took a blurry pic of the 3 Doctors Paul Mcgann, Sylvester McCoy, and Colin Baker. Funny guys!

Lotna members Victoria and Cyrus were at their Doctor Who stalls. 

I got into costume. My Bat Tux with mask, cape, gloves, belt and goggles for a kind of gentleman/steam punk Batman feel. Took pics with the Batmobile and Tumbler. There was a great Iron Man cosplayer as well. This guy had controls in his palms to control his facemask opening up and flaps on the costume and lights. Almost like the real thing.

There was a professional photo shoot for cosplayers. Took my turn wiht an inaugural Bat dab and action shots. Pics turned out really good. There was also a young woman in a well-made Steampunk costume. She made it all herself, though not based on any character. She bought a basic gun and built it up and painted it. Nice touches. Upon the black screen I performed the Bat dab, an action shot with cape flying, and full pose shot. I wish I had been able to show off the Batman cuff links.

Finally, a female Joker was the first one to come to me to want a pic. And she was worried about her make up, not wanting to look like Michael Jackson! Deadshot also wanted a pic with me!

By this time, I was getting a bit hot in the mask. As it's my first time at a large conference in costume, I was still getting use to it. So took a bit of a break photoing the cosplay stage. They're dancing to YMCA! Yes, they are...

One cosplayer was a sort of Jedi. He had a light saber and a gun... odd combo!

My first group shot was great. I saw Batman and wanted a pic then Joker, Robin, and Harley Quinn showed up and all of a sudden we were caught up in a few minutes of pictures as the crowds surrounded us... Great feeling, almost like being in paparazzi!

I had met fellow author Nick Sheridan at The London Book fair earlier in year. Then he shows up today for the Michael Emerson shoot. Strange or what!

So got my pic with cool actor Michael Emmerson. I made him laugh by saying 'I'm not the man in the suit, I'm the upgrade, the man in the Tux!'


I met female Daredevil and Electra having a coffee... Costume fact - her eyelashes kept catching on the mask! My mask was boring into my forehead. Woe be to us heroes! I liked the fact that many women dressed as their male counterparts...

A woman, Sarah-Lee, photo-ing a Batman rushed over to me and said how cool my costume was and wanted us 2 Batmen together by the Tumbler! Another good shot. 

The Michelle Gomez was on the cosplay stage to hand out the £1000 award to best costume! I don't know the character's name (probably from a game), but he had a great costume ..and huge cheque!

And a last minute catch before the station - Vision and Scarlett Witch!!

A review of my first cosplay. I'm glad it was a cool day, dressed in a tux as I was. With the increased open areas it was good to get around, though the 1st floor was still a bit crowded. At first, I felt a bit subconscious wondering why people were looking at me and if my costume with added Batman elements passed muster. But from the smiles, comments, and people wanting pictures I was reassured I wasn't playing a fool for nothing :-)

Being in the costume with a mask cut peripheral vision so people I was walking with or taking pictures disappeared with a turn of the head. Next time I will pad the mask as bits of internal mouldings dug into my forehead exasperated by the goggles tightly overlaying the mask. Plus the already padded nose guard pressed onto my nose so I had to lift it every now and again to breathe better. And I had to de-mask to wipe the sweat and air out:-) I certainly have more appreciation for those who are in full costumes all day...

And now I know why heroes where capes: My shirt kept popping out at the back. The cumberbund and Batbelt not able to hold it in. I think I've lost weight perhaps, so that's a good thing!!

One of the best parts was getting pictures taken. It's one thing getting one taken, but the group shots were great, especially when multiple pictures were taken. It was like being in front of the paparazzi. I had been on the other side of this waiting to shoot cosplayers as others took their photos. They turned this way and that patiently for everyone to get their pic. To be in the middle of it was a good feeling.

Then there was the more professional shots against the black background. I liked the posed shots, introducing the Bat dab! I didn't enter the cosplay competition but maybe in the future.

And it was good having friends around who helped with pictures and kept company so thanks to Mark Veal, Anna-Lena Dube Fuller, Simon Geake, and Clayton Pearce. And it was a surreal experience walking around the 2nd floor YALC surrounded by a virtual sea of young Harry Potter characters in a Harry Potter quiz and raffle! Thanks for that Anna-Lena! 

Next year, I may wear contacts as I had to wear my glasses on the outside of the mask and add more elaborate and upgraded Batman elements toward the gentleman, steampunk Batman. One person called me a cross between Batman and Alfred - The Bat-Butler! Who knows!

Thanks to everyone who read my 3 days of LFCC witterings. I hope if you haven't been to a comic con before you'll get to one to experience all the geekness and goodness of the world.

London Film and Comic Con - 2016, Day 2

by ray burke on 08/13/16

LFCC - Olympia, London - Saturday July 30th 2016 Day 2

Surprised again at the lack of a queue. Organisers have done well in opening other entrances. Last year we were queued around the houses for an hour before getting in. Much better this year!

Much more room on ground floor, but would say the 1st floor around the photo and autograph areas is a cauldron. I'm sure the BBC could map the isotherms in there! The queues for the guests are also a bit chaotic which in the heat is a sweat fest :-P
 Not sure how the guests survived, especially when no one is at their table and they looked a bit bored!

However, my day did not start well as I somehow missed my photo session with TNA Wrestler Gail Kim. I went up to her table and had a chat with her and her event assistant. They were understanding and the assistant said he was sure I could get the picture on Sunday. I had to queue for a while at an info station and was assured I could get into one of the Sunday sessions. So all was well.

I ran into a few friends from my LOTNA Sci-Fi group. A few of us visited a VR set with an app to turn mobile into VR game. Not bad. Not sure I got the hang of the app (being a 21st Century caveman and all) but it looked fun!

I passed The TARDIS console set against a green screen. This was there for the 3 Doctors on show: Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul Mcgann. I hoped to see them in free talk on Sunday!

So Saturday was my day for photoing the cozzie parade. Some great costumes abound. I grabbed a Mystique first - though I somehow managed to delete some of my early photos so was glad to track some of them down again (track not stalk!) :-) There was a George Reeve lookalike Superman with 'Punisheress' and Poison Ivy. Lots of Poison Ivys this year! Green Arrow and Rorshach were hanging out together.

Matt Murdoch and Jessica Jones turned up. Netflix characters did really well this year. A Cyberman, a warrior Gorilla from Planet of the Apes, Captain America and Doctor Strange, Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 (with his huge sword). Thor and another Captain America. Blade! Deadpool - lots of Deadpools this year as well. He almost rivalled all the Spider-Men. There was a cool Predator! (Ged to de choppa!), a fine Retro Supergirl, the Courier from Fallout: New Vegas, and Wolverine and Rogue!

Then an epic battle photo scene between light and dark sides opened up: It's great when different people and groups decide to get together for a shoot like this. Happened quite and bit and almost randomly with random Jedi, Lukes, Leias, Reys, and BB8s lined up against stormtroopers, Sith and Darth Vadar. Nick Fury joined the Dark Side... then reverted back to normal SHIELD operations.

Then there was the ubiquitous Batman and Nightwing with Harley Quinn and Electra. Bane, Gambit, Rogue, and Wolverine. A Batwoman, Agent Peggy Carter, Ghost Rider, and a solo Darth Vader makes his presence known. A brilliant Hawkgirl, X-23, a Winter Soldieress, The Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes), Black Pantheress, and Ant girl.

Then 3 classic Red Shirts showed up and I managed to photo them before they met their demise!

The family that cosplays together, stays together (Father Batman, Mother Wonder Woman, daughters Wondergirl, Katana, and Robin)!

Wonder Woman, Six - from Battlestar Galactica, Tank Girl who could barely hold the weapon up, it was so heavy. She had borrowed it from another cosplayer, but it so suited her! The Lego came out to play! Lego Batman, Joker, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

Judge Dredd and Hitgirl - what a lethal combo! Magneto. Another Wonder Woman - loads of them around too. Hellgirl, X-23, and Wolverine then another multiple with Wolverine, She-Hulk, Hellgirl, a ghost buster, Spidey, and X-23. Hawkeye, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Nick Fury, another Hawkeye, and 3 Spider-men. Another Hellboy - The dude was gutted Ron Perlman couldn't make it! The Suicide Squad - Capt Boomerang, Katana, Joker, Entrantress, Killer Croc and Harley Quinn. Supes and Green Lantern had chat before getting down to business. The Man of Steel dude had Christopher Reeves Superman look down! Great costumes. And it would be my turn tomorrow.

London Film and Comic Con - 2016 Day 1

by ray burke on 08/13/16

LFCC - Olympia, London - Friday July 29th 2016 Day 1

So Day 1 at LFCC and it's almost quiet. The layout has changed for the better to allow for more crowds on ground floor around the merchanise stalls. The talk and photo areas were on 1st floor with YALC on 2nd floor.

I had 40 free Starguards samples with me. I was initially told I could stand near entrance and hand them out, but a more senior organiser later came over and told me as I wasn't part of the official venue I wouldn't be allowed. But I had handed out 3/4 of them so was happy enough :-)

My first free talks attended was with the wrestlers from WWE and TNA. Colt Cabana was MC'ing and guests included Gail Kim, Hardcore Bob Holly, Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Hooooo!) and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. Some great stories from back in their day about botched endings, letting the juice flow (cutting themsleves with razors to bleed), and who they would like to wrestle/manage now...

I met up with a friend and we attend a YALC talk with Holly Smale, Nat Lurtsema, Jenny McLachlan and Katy Birchall on women writing books with comedy and perhaps putting in way too many period and wee jokes!

Later, I walked around more taking picture of Michael Keaton's Batmobile, The Tumbler (Christian Bale's Batmobile) and the Dumb and Dumber van behind it! A woman in nice ST:TNG costume - but tsk tsk, nice costume, but she didn't even know her rank - two pips on collar! Suicide Costumes as worn by the actors -Rick Flagg, Katana, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, Killer Croc, Capt Boomerang, The Joker, Slipknot, Entrantress. And film cutouts of cast. And Hodor's door! (A man sees a door... and cries!)

Next was Julian Sands' free talk. An interesting man with a varied career who cares about his craft! Final free talk was Laurie Holden (X-Files and Walking Dead)

A treat was getting pictures with a Judge Dredd bike with helmet and gun. There were also original costumes as worn by actors at the back. I also got one of my pictures signed by Carlos Ezquerra – original Artist: 2000 AD.

And of course, I got plenty of pictures of myself and my book, plus with my new t-shirt.

Ready for LFCC 2016 and Kickstarter news

by ray burke on 07/28/16

July 28th:

So, with the London Film and Comic Convention (LFCC) about to start tomorrow, I'll be embarking upon another voyage into geekdom. I'll be promoting my book giving out free samples, wearing the t-shirt and making new friends (or arch-enemies!).

Tomorrow, I had planned on making a vid for Kickstarter; I still might do. As some of you know, The Starguards is a hefty 750-page book. Some of you wiser ones had advised me to break it down into the 4 parts it could be. Well after years of reluctance, I have now seen the wisdom in this and have embarked upon Project Starguard - to make Book 1 into a 4-book series. But to do so would have needed more funds for printing, covers, editing/formatting, publishing, etc, hence the Kickstarter fund. I even made a practice video at work  I may share that some day!

I have decided to delay Kickstarter until next year during the London Book Fair as I need to write more for the 4 books. This wouldn't change the storyline, just add more to characters and the world around them. That's books 1-4.

Currently, Book 2 is now being divided into a 3-book series and they are in rude health. That means I could have a 7 book series out next year, rather than 2! After that there are potentially another 2-3 books from what would have been Book 3.

So I look forward to posting reports and pics for you from 3 days at the LFCC. If you're reading The Starguards, I hope you're loving it and hope you can post an honest review where you can. Cheers...

New promotional materials

by ray burke on 07/28/16

July 20th:


They've arrived! A new Starguards t-shirt and 40 free book samplers for London Film and Comic Convention 29th-31st July.

Also have a book ready for Books and Authors UK free giveaway. Looking forward to more readers!


The BSFA and SFF AGMs and Mini-convention

by ray burke on 07/28/16

Saturday June 26th

The British Science Fiction Association and The Science Fiction Foundation held their AGMs and a mini-con at Imperial College.

Special guests: Space artist and Guest of Honour David A Hardy and writer Liz Williams. The panel discussions were interesting and the individual interviews with Hardy and Williams.

The Starguards Sampler

by ray burke on 05/30/16

The Starguards Sampler - First 3 chapters (50 pages) of the book to give away for free at events. Quite slim line compared to 'Big Daddy' 750-pager. Thanks KJ Waters and Jody Smyers for getting the cover sorted.

MY WAY - May the Fourth Be With You

by ray burke on 05/30/16

Myself and other featured sci-fi authors to be in David P Perlmutter's new book 'May the Fourth Be With You'. Chock full of interviews, advice, and selected chapters. Featuring: Michael Brachman, Ray Burke, Harrison Davies, Alex Fayman, Jonathon Fletcher, Arlene Lagos, Steve Mcellistrem, Kyle Robertson, Theresa Snyder, David Stevens, S. Evan Townsend, Richard A Valicek, KJ Waters.

Find it at:

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)

by ray burke on 05/30/16

Sunday May 1st

 Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Meetup.

At Waterstones Piccadilly chatting about books, mailing lists, LinkedIn, SnapChat (don't get it!) Instagram, Twitter followers/following ratio, website landing pages, and basic marketing. With David Perlmutter, Carina Pellius, Anne John-Ligali, Kay Seeley, Reiss Robinson, Ann Richardson, Sai Iyer, Ian Sutherland, and Jerome Griffin. Looking forward to more meetings.