All the questions you wanted to ask, or maybe didn’t know you wanted to ask, or maybe somebody else wanted to ask.

How the heck do you pronounce your name?

I have a handy visual aid for you!

Van. R. N. Donk. Bah.

Van. R. N. Donk as in donkey. Bah as in Bah, humbug.

See, that’s not so scary now, is it?

Will you speak at our event or do a signing at our location?

If feasible, I’d love to. Please check this page or contact me.

Will you visit my school? Book club? Bake sale?

Again, if feasible, I’d love to. (And the half-baked brownies are my favorite, if you want to save me a plate.)

I would like a review copy of one of your upcoming books.

Review copies may be available, but I typically have a limited number of ARCs. Please include media credentials with your request.

Are you child-friendly?

There are several ways to take this question….

  1. My website and social media are profanity-free and mostly suitable for visits by older students. (Occasionally adult topics are addressed, such as here or here, but always handled in what I think is a socially-responsible manner.)
  2. My books are not specifically children’s books. My stories are neither splatterpunk nor erotica, but some violence and sexual or adult themes are possible, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the title. Many titles are suitable for adolescents, most are for teens, but ultimately that is a parent’s call, not mine.
  3. I do not have kids myself, but I have been known to take other people’s kids to the museum or zoo or on other outings. I will probably send them home sugared-up and needing a nap.
The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained th...

Behold, the birth of modern fanfic! The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think about cosplay, fan fiction, fan art, that sort of thing?

If someone wants to spend their leisure time with my work, that’s a compliment. If someone wants to spend their creative time with my work, that’s a huge compliment.

I ask only that you acknowledge the creator of the original work (that’s me) and that you not profit on it. Exception, selling fanart at convention artist alley tables and the like is fine with me personally. (That’s not general legal advice, that’s a specific pass from me.) If it’s retail, we need to chat. :)

If you want to tell me about your fan art, cosplay, etc., I’d love to see it! Unfortunately things can get legally dodgy if I see your fan fiction, so please understand that I can’t read it even if it’s amazing.

I heard you have dogs.

You heard right. My day job is animal training, and I regularly teach on animal training and behavior. I tend to have Dobermans. My current household includes a Labrador Retriever named Penny, who was part of a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raising research project but ultimately came back to us, and a young Doberman named Undómiel. Undómiel is from Denmark and thus has ears and tail intact.

Doberman puppy and Labrador Retriever on a cushy white dog bed

Undómiel and Penny, in our convention hotel room

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