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    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Costumes and Creativity

    What do you get when you cross Tron with Steampunk? This guy!

    What do Doctor Who fans wear on weekends? This!

    What happens when you ask a red clone trooper to pose for a picture? He hands over his gun, apparently.

    The GalaxyFest convention was fun, exhausting and at times a little scary. We attended both as authors and vendors. We did a Dragon and Turtle story hour and Mom was on a Christian YA panel, but we also sold books and Dragon Lady Shoppe jewelry. Our table was right down the hall from the bathroom (good) and the body-painting room (not so good.) To say I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of decorated skin I saw would be an understatement. Not to diminish the artists or their chosen canvases, but I did have the urge to grab Cat Lady or Poison Ivy, haul her over to a person in an elaborately crafted Steampunk outfit and say, “Ok, honey, THIS is a costume. What you have on is underwear. Costume. Underwear. Questions?”

    But to each her own.

    We met some of the nicest people. Stationed across the hall from us were a couple and their little boy who do gun modding for conventions. They provide squirt guns and Nerf guns, paint and do-dads for attendees to trick the guns out to look sci-fi or steampunk. They were awesome, and we traded goods so my boys got to make guns. They both loved it, but Monkey really spent time on his. Here’s his gun.

    I’d been looking forward to the steampunk tea party on Sunday afternoon, and ended up being asked to help serve. I was happy to fill in and even happier that I didn’t spill anything on my clothes.

    I got to hear the dark fairy band Pandora Celtica which got me jonesing to get back to my fairy stories. My writer friend, Brandi Boddie, presented me with The Steampunk Bible, a gorgeously illustrated book that will come in handy as I work on my dystopian/steampunk YA novel.

    As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’m addicted to the creativity that zings around these gatherings. It makes me want to go home and write! As we head into March, notorious in Colorado for blizzards, I'm hoping to hideaway with my imaginary people.

    What are your plans for March? Is there a creative project you're hoping to work on or finish this spring? And if you could dress up as a favorite character, who would it be?

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    I Kissed a Nerd

    “I think you’re a fantasy writer and you don’t even know it.” My friend and critique partner, Steampunk Beth, lobbed this morsel at me over tea at Montague’s, a Victorian coffee shop guaranteed to soak away writer’s block.

    Her pronouncement startled me. I’ve always been a romance writer, first and foremost. True, I prefer that romance with a fairy or an immortal or perhaps a phoenix or two, but until recently I considered my paranormal dabbling as a distant cousin of the mighty Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre.

    I really should’ve known better. I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek and have a brother who’s a dungeon master to this day. Case ran D&D in our basement for years. As a teen, I’d hide in my room or squeeze by the table they’d set up on my way out for a date with a complete jerk.

    The boys hanging out with my brother had odd obsessions with dwarves and wizards, trolls and vampires. They wore shirts with slogans I didn’t understand. And they left pizza out for days. But the ones capable of speaking to a member of the opposite sex were always polite. They treated me with the awed respect peculiar to socially awkward males with Tolkien in their veins. I thought they were nice. And weird.

    It took me way too long to realize that I should be looking for a boyfriend among their midst and not on the football team or in a garage band. But I did wise up. I got me the Holy Grail of nerds. I married an engineer. And if I had a daughter I’d tell her, “Ignore every cool boy you meet. Hang with the computer geeks and the gamers. Then marry an engineer as soon as humanly possible.”


    1. They value intelligence.
    2. They can’t believe a female would ever talk to them and are so grateful when one does that they’ll do almost anything to repeat the experience.
    3. They appreciate both creativity and technical acumen.
    4. They happily eat culinary accidents.
    5. They won’t make fun of you for having a degree in fine art, music history, or philosophy. Well, probably not.

    Despite being raised with a nerd, marrying a nerd, and producing tiny nerds of my own, I didn’t realize that I was myself a nerd. But Steampunk Beth’s comment wasn’t the first sign.

    I recently attended my very first sci-fi convention, a tiny con here in town, and was surprised by how comfortable I felt. No, I didn’t know all the lingo. I don’t read sci-fi at all, and I read very little traditional fantasy. But it didn’t matter. I was accepted. I particularly enjoyed the panel on Steampunk that discussed the genre’s “anything goes” approach to the very concept that inspired its name. I’d always thought that if I wrote anything technical, even if that technology involved automatons and steam computers, I’d have to make my inventions plausible. No so. Steampunk is nothing if not tongue-in-cheek.

    And I think, for the most part, that’s typical of fans of any of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy subgenres. While they’re passionate about their fiction, art, and hobbies, they retain a collective sense of humor that allows for unique acceptance and originality.

    I have to say, I’m hooked on the idea of writing fantasy, whatever that means for me. And I can’t wait to hang with the fanboys and fangirls again.

    This weekend Mom and I are heading to GalaxyFest, a joint Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Literacy event. We’ll be doing a children’s story hour with The Dragon and the Turtle and participating in panels, but I’m most looking forward to soaking up the passion for story and creativity that swirls around these imaginative folks. If you’re in the Colorado Springs area and you enjoy dragons, elves, aliens, gears and steam, or entertainment with the word “star” in it, I hope you’ll join us.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Logic to the Rescue! Again.

    I'm posting this from my husband's computer. Why does using someone else's computer or cell phone feel like leaving the house in borrowed, ill-fitting clothes? Yes, there's a screen and a keyboard, but, ugh, they feel so wrong!

    You may have guessed that I'm experiencing technical difficulties. Actually, I need a sign for my forehead that says as much. I'm desperately in need of an upgrade. I thought I'd share a little text conversation between Kory and I to kind of let you know where I'm at. This occurred at noon after a disasterous morning.

    Me: I'm going to try to finish editing that story now. Deadline is today.

    Me: My laptop just died again!

    Kory: You'd think that an author could be more descriptive than just saying "it died." Was there any screaming? A parting monologue? What ailment did it succumb to?

    Me: It went quietly into that good night. It did not rage against the dying of the light. Is that descriptive enough?

    Kory: No.

    Me: Now your desktop screen appears to be frozen. Perhaps God is telling me my short story should remain unread. Should I power down and restart?

    Kory: Yes.

    Me: Does the mouse have to be turned on?

    Me: Mouse will not respond!

    Me: Batteries!?

    Kory: Is the red light blinking? Just take a picture and send it.

    Me: Dead mouse.

    Me: Dead laptop.

    Me: Have no way to take picture of dead career.

    Kory: There is a thin cord with a small rectangular connector on the end of it just to the right of my keyboard. It magnetically attaches to the mouse.

    Me: Eureka!

    Kory: Career back on track?

    Me: For the time being.

    As you can see, Kory is pretty used to my dramatexts. I have to wonder if he ever groans aloud, shakes his head, and mutters, "Why me, God?" in the quiet of his cubicle. But he is always patient, supportive, and helpful.

    Just like Queen Latifah in this clip, he sits in the rain with me, holding an umbrella and offering logical advice should I ever decide to quit dripping, turn around, and listen.