Fall Brings All the Dates! Come See Me!

Old vintage books and cup with heart shape on wooden table

It’s been quiet over here on Geek Girl, with the exception of the ever-busy Between the Lines Book Club. Our family survived The Great Bike Trip of 2016, San Diego Comic-Con, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We crawled home, got sick, recovered in time to have houseguests who we adore, and started back to school (Dear Daughter just started seventh grade). Since we got home I’ve been fighting a miserable fibromyalgia flare up (Team Fibro Represent! Whee!) and always feeling about fourteen steps behind – but also feeling happy to be home, in my own bed, with two cats and a dog sleeping on me. Here are some links to posts about Comic-Con and Wizarding World:

The Gleeful Hysteria of Hall H

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, California Style

SO. Now that Dear Daughter is Back to School, is back to other events for me, and here’s a list of them!

I’m doing two talks with the Sacramento Public Library this Fall. On September 18, 2016, I’ll be taking part in “Sacramento Public Library Presents: To Kill a  Mockingbird.” This presentation is happening in partnership with Sacramento Theater Company, who is putting on their own production of the story. It will open with live music and include a Q&A with the play’s director. The presentation takes place on September 18th, at 1PM, at Central Library.

I will also be giving a presentation about the role of water (and lack of water) in Californian Literature. This is part of a series

October 23, 2016, at 1PM, I’ll be giving a talk on the role that water plays in Californian Literature. It’s part of the series “California H2O” and my talk will be held at McClatchy Library.

From September 30 – October 2, I’ll be a guest at Convolution 2016: The Age of Monsters. Convolution was the first convention that put me on a panel, and it’s become a family experience for me – so many of my friends are there, my daughter and husband come along, and the atmosphere is relaxed and joyous. I can’t wait! Location: Hyatt Regency SFO.

I hope to see some of you in person sometime this Fall!

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Nighty Night

Logo of SDCCNo blog post today because mayhem. Yesterday was the last day of Comic-Con. Because there might be, like, three people in all of Southern California who I didn’t see yesterday, we are going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter the day after tomorrow. Today: sleeeeep. So much sleeeeep.

Night night. Dream happy cosplay dreams!

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Happy Independence Day

illustration of children holding hands around the worldFrom Eleanor Roosevelt:

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

And they’re off: The Great Bike Trip Begins

IMG_1128My husband and daughter are off on the epic bike trip – they plan to spend the end of June through July biking form the California/Oregon border down the coast all the way to Mexico, wrapping things up just in time for San Diego Comic-Con. I know they will take some showers in campgrounds but still – can you imagine what those two are going to smell like by the end of the trip? And how many bike tires they will go through? The mind reels.

I’m driving the back-up car for parts of the trip so will be posting sporadically. Wish us all luck!

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Changes in the Air

book on beackYou all may have noticed that I’m waaaay behind in my p0sts. This is for happy reasons – I am super, super busy doing other writing and presentations and attending panels and doing family things. My health is better (yay) so I’m also busy trying to cook and exercise and sleep and do all those things that we all have to do to maintain our health but that, frankly, take up a ton of time.

With this in mind, I’m going to switch this blog focus to two days only (Mondays and Fridays). Mondays are for personal stuff, updates, maybe some guests posts, just sporadic random stuff. My tween daughter would like to post some things – she is working on a book review of the worst fan pic ever that is HILARIOUS. We will have pics after San Diego Comic-Con. Sometimes I’ll post and sometimes I won’t. It’ll be all wacky and spontaneous.

Fridays I’ll be continuing to post for Between the Lines Book Club. Arden-Dimick Library is open again, it’s lovely, and we are back in book club business!

And for a thrilling (HA) project I’m going to try to figure out how to combine my Geek Girl Facebook account and my personal account and set up groups and all that stuff so I can post more random Facebook things since we won’t have Wednesday Videos.

Thank you all!

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In Which I Brag Shamelessly

IMG_1578.jpgI recently finished my last belt in Tae Kwan Do. No, I did not become a Grand Master, the level at which presumably you finally learn to fly across rooftops like those people in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. No, I made it all the way to Low Green Belt. Those who know about the belt levels in Tae Kwan Do are not impressed, because frankly, that’s not very high as belts go (I completed white, orange, and yellow). Those who know my medical history, however, realize that this makes me a total badass. Here, for example, is a picture of my ankles, which, as you can see are very confused about their job. Ankles, your task is to hold the leg up. It’s not rocket science. Ideally, the leg is at a 90 degree angle from the foot. My left ankle in particular stomps so far over that I basically walk on the inside edge of my foot. My toes are weird because the foot bones grew improperly. So doing things like balancing on one foot, or pivoting on one foot, or heck, even standing upright? are harder than you’d think.

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I also have mild to severe problems with my knees, my hips, my back, my shoulder, and my neck. In the last two months of class I adjusted to a new medication that turned me into a drooling zombie, I battled an evil death virus, and I got a cortisone shot in my hip. I took Tae Kwan Do for six months, three times a week, and this is what happened when I came home every single time:

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I took a class mostly with kids, all of whom bounced around like rubber bands while I limped from one spot to the other. I did not look like I thought a martial artist should look. I looked like a middle-aged, slightly overweight, very short, very confused woman with glasses who could not remember the moves. I was like the Panda in Kung Fu Panda without the bouncy quality.

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So. Confused.

Still, the fact remains that I hauled my arthritic butt to class three days a week (more or less) for six months and limped my way through my forms. Eventually my doctor grounded me, and frankly that came as a relief because by that time EVERYTHING I did in class hurt. It hurt just to stand around. So it is with a relatively light heart that I toddle off to the heated therapy pool to do, I dunno, water aerobics or something – hopefully something that won’t make my knees feel like my patellas are about to shoot across the room.

I can’t say that I learned all that much Tae Kwan Do – I mean, I learned a lot, but I’m still at a very low level. But I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m more interested in exercise for the sake of the long game (managing my arthritis and overall health) than in mastering any particular skill. I learned that I’m capable of much more than I thought I was. I learned how to throw a punch and how to do a front kick and how to block.

 

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Front kicks are AMAZINGLY satisfying. I mean, you can really get some force behind a front kick. They are THE BEST.

 

Above all I learned how rewarding it can be to get off the bench. For months I was so embarrassed to get up in class, with all the little kids, in front of the parents who were hanging out on the benches waiting for class to get over. I felt self-conscious. I felt ridiculous.

Now that I’m done, I feel badass. Because I tried something, and I learned something (and as a side note, my pants all started to fit again, so that’s a win). I’ll miss it, although I won’t miss the specific sensation of getting my bad hip to swivel into a round kick. And I’ll still be around because my daughter (who took these photos) is also in Tae Kwan Do. Her goal? Grand Master!

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Baycon or Bust!

f1676fa4-208a-4155-8136-f8a9f9536b1eI’m so excited to be a guest at Baycon this year. This convention is one of my favorites because so many of my friends are there. I can’t wait to spend a few days hanging out with my besties while my child joins a gang (or rather, does a lot of LARPing). Bacon (which autocorrect swears is “Bacon”, we can only wish) will be at the San Mateo Marriott from May 27 – May 30.

However, it’s not all hanging out at the pool for me – I have PANELS! Here’s my schedule:

 

Raising Kids In Fandom Culture

Saturday 13:00 – 14:30, Collaborate 2 (San Mateo Marriott)

Dr. Ellen Coatney, JC Arkham, Sarah Williams, Carrie Sessarego, Linden

Frankenstein at 200: It’s Alive!

Saturday 14:30 – 16:00, Synergy 4 (San Mateo Marriott)

Ms Sarah Stegall (M), Bob Kanefsky, Jason Malcolm Stewart, Fred Wiehe, Carrie Sessarego

Delphic Oracle

Saturday 16:00 – 17:30, Synergy 5 (San Mateo Marriott)

In which our intrepid panelists answer the deep questions of life. One. Word. At. A. Time.

Todd McCaffrey (M), Jon Del Arroz, Stacy Ferguson, Steven Mix, Sarah Pugliaresi, Carrie Sessarego

Todd McCaffrey Hosts, “Are You A Werewolf?”

Saturday 17:30 – 19:00, Connect 6 (San Mateo Marriott)

Complete with Fluffy!

Todd McCaffrey (M), Stacy Ferguson, Taunya Gren, Megan O’Keefe, Queen Rhawnie Pino, Carrie Sessarego

Frakking Piece of Shaz-Bat

Sunday 13:00 – 14:30, Collaborate 2 (San Mateo Marriott)

Are made up swears and slurs acceptable in speculative fiction, or are they just a form of slipping crude language into stories without offending readers?

Jacob Fisk (M), Carrie Sessarego, Juliette Wade, John O’Halloran

Wonder Woman After 50

Sunday 14:30 – 16:00, Connect 4 (San Mateo Marriott)

Ageism in fandom, or, Mom aren’t you too old to dress up in silly costumes?

Debbie Bretschneider, Taunya Gren, Deborah J. Ross, Carrie Sessarego, Denise Tanaka, Eva Carrender

Something Wicked

Sunday 20:30 – 22:00, Connect 6 (San Mateo Marriott)

To Be Determined

Jenni Brush, Jon Del Arroz, M. Todd Gallowglas, Steven Mix, Cody Parcell, Susie Rodriguez, Carrie Sessarego

 

 

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Home from RT Booklovers, Ready to Nap

rtlasvegasfinalpngRT Booklovers Convention was absolutely delightful, not so much because of any specific event, but because of all the great people I met there. I spent hours with my fellow reviewers at Smart Bitches Trashy Books – you can read a recap replete with photos written by SB Sarah here. I watched octopus documentaries with my roommate – our idea of how to party. I ate creme brûlée that was so good it brought tears to my eyes. I spent time with local friends and made new friends from all around the world. Special thanks to my new Australian friends who introduced me to Tim Tams, a food I expect to live on exclusively from this day forward.Also so happy to have met some fellow geeks – there’s nothing like trading stories about San Diego Comic-Con to build a fast bond between people!

By the way, this year the convention was at The Rio in Las Vegas. Folks, I had a great time, but EVERYONE hated that hotel. The service is great, everyone who works there works hard and is friendly, but the place is grimy and dark and smoky and depressing and it charges $4 for a banana. Luckily the convention space was much more pleasant and not smoky – be as that may be, my dear daughter was happy to see me when I came home but also said, “Mom, your hair smells bad” because of all the smoke in it. Blah.

Other than that, I had a wonderful time and came home with a huge stack of books. It’s going to be hard to return to my actual life! At least I can do it all again (at a different hotel) next year!

 

 

 

RT 2016 or Bust!

rtlasvegasfinalpngI’m on my way to Las Vegas for RT Booklovers Convention! This will be my second year and I plan (or at least I hope) to be a lot more relaxed and just have a great time in a community of fellow romance readers. By far my favorite thing about this event is getting to hang out in person with my fellow reviewers at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – we’ve become close friends over the years and we treasure this chance to meet up in person.

If you are attending RT this year, be sure to check out my panels:

Smart Bitches Reader Recommendation Party

Thursday April 14, 11:15AM – 12:15PM

Join the ladies from Smart Bitches Trashy Books for a reader recommendation party! We want to hear what book has rocked your world and why. We’ll be sharing our recommendations and giving away some of our favorites, along with fun prizes, too. There will be snacks and room for your knitting and crafting. We want to hear from you! Please come ready to share recommendations of your own, especially if there’s a book you can’t stop talking about! We LOVE those! Authors: Please note – we think you are utterly rad but is this not a space in which to recommend your own book. Please do join us if you want to talk about what you’re reading. We all love romance!

Reviews: How to Get Them and What to Do With Them

Thursday, April 14, 4PM – 5PM

Join the ladies from Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Jay from Joyfully Jay for a candid discussion and Q&A about reviews. How does one pitch a book for review? What makes a blogger or reader choose the books they read and discuss? What are we looking for in our reading? What can authors do if they receive a positive review — or a negative one? We’ll take questions and share our various perspectives on the elusive subject of getting reviews.

Hope to see some of you in Vegas!

After the Avengers: A New Anthology!

31JHwpfUn9L._SX278_BO1,204,203,200_I’m thrilled to be part of the new anthology After the Avengers: From Joss Whedon’s Hottest, Newest Franchises to the Future of the Whedonverse. It’s available as a eBook from Amazon for $7.99 and includes essays on Whedon’s comics, independent movies, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  My essay, “Watching the Whore: The Treatment of Jules in Cabin in the Woods,” explores the way the characters, the audience, and the directors of Whedon’s quirky horror movie are complicit in Jules’ fate. Other essays speculate about future Shakespeare projects, and tackle how Whedon is seen cross-culturally. It’s an ambitious, wide-ranging anthology.

Right now excerpts from three essays are available for free online. “I’m Every Bit The S.H.I.E.L.D Agent You Are: Exploring Opposing  Masculinities”, by Scott Interrante, examines the contrast between Grant Ward and Leo Fitz, as well as male characters in other Whedon properties.

“Though This be Madness, Yet There is Method in It: Speculating on Adaptations of Shakespeare,” by Carl Wilson, wonders what might be next for Whedon after Much Ado About Nothing.

“Whedon’s Women: Melinda May and Maria Hill as Transgressive Superheroines,” by Dr. Leanne McRae discusses how these characters function in the culture constructs of superheroes.

I hope you’ll check this anthology out, and remember that an honest review is the greatest gift you can give an author (besides coffee).

 

Remembering Abe Sass

DSCN6973Today on Geek Girl in Love I would like to say goodbye to my friend, Abe Sass. We were workplace friends; as he was married to the head of the library and I was a very active volunteer. Most of our interactions were at Library events. Some of the events were artsy and social. Some, like a few Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Board meetings, were tense. Abe had my back during those tense meetings and gave me the confidence to speak up (and, I’m pleased to say that the tense period was relatively brief and the Board has been in wonderful shape for years). Every time I went to a library thing, I hoped to see him, because exchanging even a few words with Abe was always the highlight of the event.

 

Abe was a big guy in every way – he was tall, he was loud, he was the center of every room, and he loved everyone. He spent his life fighting for social justice and he loved to tell the story of how he was present for Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and “I Have a Dream” speech. Abe’s most vivid memory of the day: “It was hot!” He was a poet and an activist, and supported his wife, Rivkah, in her work as head of the Sacramento Public Library by being a part time househusband and by attending countless library events, both with and without Rivkah. Often he attended several events in a day. You could count on Abe to wear a crazy hat on Dr. Seuss Day and to show up at City Council meetings. The only thing I ever saw Abe refuse to do was dance at the Jane Austen Tea. Attend with great enthusiasm – yes. Dance – no. He said he was more of a Grateful Dead dancer than Regency one.

 

What I loved most about Abe was the way he made me feel about myself – and that’s not just my ego talking, because he made everyone feel good about themselves. In the moments I spent with him, I saw that he had the great gift of bringing out the best in people. He complimented me in sincere and specific ways. He gave me confidence. He helped me recognize my own strengths. Even though I didn’t spend much time with Abe, I always felt like he “got” me, and I doubt that I’m unusual in that regard. I think that in general he “got” people – whether he liked you or disliked you, he was able to quickly figure out what made you tick. He had the kind of warmth and open enthusiasm that I just love – I feel more alive when I’m with people who are passionate about the world and about their interests, and Abe was a passionate person even as he was able to exude calm during fraught moments.

 

In the photo above, Abe is sitting with my daughter at the Annual Friends Dinner (Theme: Tom Sawyer). Like anyone else who experiences a loss, I wish I could play over that dinner again. Better yet, I wish for one more dinner. I wish that all those times we tried to meet for coffee had worked. I wish I had gone to his poetry reading last month. Why did I miss it? It must not have been very important, because I can’t remember – so why didn’t I go?

 

There’s nothing new to say when someone is gone, we just have to repeat the things we already know but that, over and over again, we fail to internalize. Love the people in your life. Love them now. Love them today. Call them, text them, give them hugs (if they are huggers). None of us can possibly juggle all the parts of our lives in perfect order, so don’t worry about that. Just appreciate the times when being in contact with the people that nurture you works. Soak it up. Fill your battery. We will miss you, Abe. If you are at dinner somewhere, save me a seat.

Many of our readers are from the Sacramento and have connection with the library. If you would like to make a donation in Abe’s name, his family has suggested the following organizations:

 

The Sacramento Poetry Center http://www.sacramentopoetrycenter.com/membership-donatio…/…/;

Friends of Sacramento Public Library – http://www.saclibfriends.org;

P.S. 11 in New York City: http://ps11chelsea.org/annual-fund/ (in memory of Abe Sass, class of 1952);

The Innocence Project — http://www.innocenceproject.org/

 

Halloween Thanks

Mystery_Men_19123_MediumSo today I was going to review a book but ha ha I have a cold and I’m about to go to the store in my PJs to get tea and stuff so no book review for you today. Instead, here’s some Halloween thanks:

Thank you to the many trick-or-treaters who came to our house – we love being part of a big trick or treat neighborhood!

Thank you to the fact that all the trick-or-treaters vanished at 9PM. We had one group at 9:30, but my porch light was still on and jack-o-lanterns still lit so there was no breach of etiquette there. Once the lights went off we had no late night knockers, either human or supernatural. And all the trick-or -treaters, especially the teens, were glowingly polite. We had awesome teens. You are not too old to trick or treat as long as you are doing it that politely! Come back next year!

Thank you to the parents who had my peanut allergy daughter over this week and who had to put up with the fact that for me from October to January it’s basically one long anxiety attack about food. You will all be pleased to know that dear daughter had a great October with no allergy attacks although she is also sick.

Thanks to my husband who is hiding the candy so I don’t eat it all, and thanks for the fact that he hasn’t hidden it quite yet. Mmmmmm.

Thank you PJs and Cartoons and tea and Kleenex.

Happy belated Halloween and Samhain to you and yours!

Blog News: Tweaking the Schedule

Pride_PopcornCover_finalWhen I started this blog, my clever plan was to use it to write about all the books I was reading that I can’t review elsewhere. Good news – I’m reviewing books all over the place! You can find me at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Book Page, and RT Book Reviews, as well as SEARCH magazine and, lest we forget, Between the Lines Book Club at Arden Dimick Library. Given all this excitement,here’s something I never thought I’d say:

It’s just barely possible that I can’t read more than 20 books a month. Just barely possible. Not if I’m also taking the time to write about them coherently. And there are other freelance and publishing endeavors I’d like to explore.

So I’m scaling back just a smidgen here at Geek Girl in Love. On Mondays, you will find either posts by myself or guest posts and reviews. On Wednesdays you’ll find links and videos, because they are easy to do and I love telling people I have to browse YouTube “For Work.” On Fridays you will find posts related to Between the Lines Book Club, unless we are on hiatus in which case I may post little snippets of things or (DON’T JUDGE ME) I may take a nap. Who can foretell the future? Not I (zzzzzz).

So – see you Mondays, Wednesdays, and many Fridays! Next Monday I’m going to talk about the five ways the BBC show Merlin has managed to consume my life despite a terrible, terrible first season. THOSE CLOTHES, YOU GUYS. So ridiculous and so pretty. Enjoy this gif of Lancelot until then:

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Con-volution is Coming!

I’m attending Con-volution 2015 again this year and I couldn’t be more excited. This is a mid-sized convention and one of the friendliest out there. If you are a convention pro, I recommend the convention for it’s focus on encouraging artistic and professional development. If you are new to conventions, I encourage you to attend this because you won’t find a more warm, friendly, welcoming crowd anywhere. The theme of Con-volution this year is “Legion of Fandom”, and it celebrates the amazing diversity of our community in terms of who we are and what we love!  Come hang out with me and a whole lot of people who are much cooler than I, including but not limited to:

Brianna Wu

Frank Wu

Jackie Kashian

Balogun Ojetade

Also attending are a ton of my personal colleagues and friends, including but again not limited to Jaym Gates, Steve Mix, Emerain Rich, and Marie Brennan.

Con-volution will be held Oct 2-4 2015, at the Hyatt Regency, SFO.

Guest Post: The Top Three Harry Potter Characters, By a Young Fan

IMG_3073Today we have an unexpected guest post from a young Harry Potter Fan with things to show and tell! Here she is:

My Top Three Harry Potter Characters

I’m not counting Harry because he’s such an obvious choice! Read the books first, because the books are like twenty times better than the movies. And, the books are super long, so if you watch the movies first, then when you read the books you’ll say “I already know what happens!  And this is so long!  I’m just going to stop reading this!” And you’ll miss out on all the cool stuff that they left out of the movies because the people who made the movies were stupid.

#1. Dobby

Dobby is a house elf and Dobby tries to save Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Chab of secrets. Later, at the end, Harry finds a way to free Dobby by tricking Dobby’s master into giving him a sock. It works because Dobby can only be free if his master presents him with clothes. I like him better in the movies because they add in more cute and adorable things for him to say.

#2. Hermione

Hermione is on this list because she is a POWERFUL FEMALE CHARACTER YAY!

#3. Luna Lovegood

She’s here because she doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her. She’s really fun because you never know what to expect from her.

 

Do you have favorite characters? You can collect all your favorite characters, including these three, by buying my mini-figs!

They are $1 each with the exception of Hagrid who is $2 because he is large! Shipping charges may apply. You can order a mini-fig by emailing my mom at geekgirlinlove123@gmail.com. Place your order today!

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