San Diego Comic-Con 2017

San Diego Comic Con logoThis year was my fourth year at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and while it was a good experience overall, I’m getting a little cranky about it. Here’s the highs and lows of my personal experience. For SDCC news, I recommend

My experience this year was very much affected by my physical state on Saturday and Sunday, especially Saturday. SDCC is all about attitude and my attitude was grumpy. The lines seemed longer and the atmosphere more tense. Every time I tried to sit down or even stand still some staff person told me to move, which was infuriating (credit where due – when people did NOT keep moving the resulting bottlenecks were horrific). Having survived Saturday, when I was in rocky shape, I advise one and all to keep careful track of your energy levels and be kind to them. Have an exit plan ahead of time. Eat some fiber and protein. One thing SDCC does do well is provide a lot of free water. DRINK IT ALL.  This is your vacation, for God’s sake. You should enjoy it, even if that means that you miss some stuff because you are taking a nap.


me, looking fed up an exhausted, sitting under a "no sitting" sign


Even though I spent this year in an extremely cranky fibro fog, I still had some wonderful experiences. My daughter was able to get into an autograph session with the cast and creators of Steven Universe and later we went to a panel with Rebecca Sugar, the creator of Steven Universe, and the show’s co-developer, Ian Jones-Quarty. I loved hearing about the background of the show, but more than that as a parent was so grateful to cast and creators for being incredibly warm and kind towards my daughter. I am also grateful to the creators of the show for making something so incredibly positive, feminist, and inclusive.

I heard a lot of people give advice about succeeding at visual arts, at comics, at cartoons, at acting careers, and at writing, and all the advice was the same regardless of the medium. Keep going. Work every day. Practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Engage with your audience. Above all, remember that an idea is no good if you keep it in your head. Rebecca Sugar told us that she writes her doodles for new show concepts on scavenged paper scraps so she won’t have to feel bad about messing up a nice sketchbook with bad first drafts. Whatever it takes to give yourself permission to get those awful first drafts after you, do it and then finish your work!

the meeseeks from Rick and Morty!

Can Do! Pic is blurry because we couldn’t stop laughing long enough to hold the camera steady!

You’d think it would be hard to make friends in a crowd of 100,00+ people, but personally, over the years SDCC has become less about the panels and more about the friendships. I had so much fun hanging out with people know and love. I think the greatest benefit of conventions, whether large or small, is that they help people form smaller, intimate communities of support, understanding, and a lot of laughter.

The most mind-blowing aspect of my SDCC experience has been growing from an observer to a participant. I was honored to moderate the panel “Embracing the Romantic.” Rebecca Zanetti, Jessica Cluess, Stephanie Perkins, Anna Todd, Christina Hobbs, and Lauren Billings. We had so much fun talking about the importance of romance, our favorite couples, what makes a romance compelling, and how much science fiction and fantasy fans and romance fans have in common. Thank you, ladies, for a delightful experience!

It's Cosplay Repair Guy!

And thanks, Cosplay Repairman, for the bobby pins!

San Diego Comic-Con is what you make of it. It can overwhelm you unless you set up strict self-care rules for yourself. You can have a feminist, inclusive experience that celebrates people of color and LGBTQIA readers and creators. I come away from SDCC heart warmed and inspired and ready for battle every year, but I deliberately choose the panels that will foster those emotions. You can have a thrilling experience centered around big budget movies or you can have a slightly more calm, but still thrilling, experience centered around comics, authors, and artists.

Strange Things Are Afoot at the Crafting Store

IMG_2064I’m already gearing up for my next round of conventions – San Diego Comic-Con, (I hope!), Convolution, Professor Mondo’s Dangerworks ConclaveRT Booklover’s Convention and a special, no work/no panels day at Baycon with my daughter.  I am the luckiest off all cosplayers on earth, because while I don’t sew, my mom does – she also knits and is a whiz with a hot glue gun.  On the plus side, this means that I do not have to make my own stuff.  On the down side, this means that yes, my mommy does still dress me even though I am an adult woman.

Today is a foggy day, I’m behind on everything, and Mom and I are going to the yarn store, so I’m taking a break from reviews and deep thoughts to give you some sneak peaks re future costumes.  Somedays one feels less like thinking deep thoughts and more like playing dress-up.  This is one of those days.

Here’s a photo of the Steampunk Jane Austen outfit that Mom made for me last year:


Mom and I love the coat, hat, and bag, but the dress underneath never fit quite right.  So she’s making me a new dress with a knitted shawl for Regency Cosplay and a Steampunk themed wrap for Steampunk cosplay – put on my trusty Steampunk hat and my octopus jewelry and I’m there!


I have a new pet that can ride on my shoulder.  He followed me home from the Seaside Resort of Lyme Regis, where he escaped from Mary Anning’s shop.  He wants to flop around on my desk and advise me regarding manners and marriages.  Can I keep him?  I have to make him a steampunky leash.  I am taking name suggestions.


And what might this yarn and tights and fascinator grow up to be?  Might the yarn become a TARDIS shawl that matches a Doctor Who dress from Hot Topic?  Am I allowed to wear Doctor Who cosplay even though I’ve hardly seen any of the new Doctors (I’m a Tom Baker girl)?  Why yes, I am!  Perhaps a better question might be, “Am I allowed to shop at Hot Topic even though I’m above the age of twenty?”  Yes, but only to buy the geeky stuff.  I’m pretty sure that’s a rule that’s posted on the door.


This concludes todays’ dress up.  Comment, and send pic of your craft projects in the making, whether cosplay related or not.  In this wintery weather, nothing is better than looking at yarn.


Quick Impressions From San Diego Comic-Con and Pics!

San Diego Comic Con logoYou guys, I am so overwhelmed.  Please forgive the many, many typos that are likely to occur in this post.  My plan was to post about Comic-Con today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.  It is now obvious that I will be writing about things from Comic-Con all year.  Here’s just a few of the things I want to write about:

  • The hunger for representation.
  • Many, many thoughts from the Women Who Kick Ass panel and the super heroines panel.  So much to think about and share.  Common thread – women are complex, women don’t have to be either all perfect or all evil, women can have their own stories, and women can take up space in the world and in their own lives.
  • The difference between Hall H, which made me an excited but passive consumer, and the smaller panels which made me feel inspired and excited about moving forward in my own life.
  • The complicated  relationships between fans and stars.
  • How we crave face to face connection despite the availability of social media.  Everyone knows that the panels from Hall H will be on YouTube a day later and yet thousands of us camp overnight so that we can be there in person.  On a smaller scale, I was thrilled to get to meet a couple of people who I knew from Twitter in person.
  • On a related note, I have so many people who I’d love to do interviews with, so watch for those in the next few weeks and months.

I was totally unprepared for how overwhelming five days at Comic-Con would be.  There are so many huge websites that post Comic-Con news the instant it breaks, so I’m going to use this blog to talk about what the experience of Comic-Con is like, how it is different yet similar to other conventions, and highlight some things that I know are of special interest to my readers.  Yes, I did make it into the Orphan Black Panel, you guys!  I waited for five hours and I did it for you!  And it was great!

Right now it’s late so I’m going to leave these pics here for you to enjoy and will blog more extensively (including posting more pics) over the next few weeks.

Here I am!

Here I am!

The Flash and Green Aroow

The Flash and Green Arrow

By the way, I got to see the pilot for The Flash.  It’s rough, like most pilots are.  I got the sense that most of the actors haven’t figured out their characters yet.  Barry Allen is adorable, ethical, and gifted with an abundance of common sense.  I adore him unreservedly.   I’d grade the pilot as a B- with lots and lots of promise to be a fantastic show.  Back to pics:


These cosplayers are probably very happy that Marvel announced that there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

These cosplayers are probably very happy that Marvel announced that there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

Of all the Thors I saw this week, male and female, she was the most Bad Ass of them all.

Of all the Thors I saw this week, male and female, she was the most Bad Ass of them all.

The real-life superheroes of Comic-Con.

The real-life superheroes of Comic-Con.

These people told me that they didn’t feel heroic  – they just felt tired (it was Sunday afternoon).  But they are actually saving lives, as are the thousands of people who donate blood at the annual blood drive every year.  They don’t just consume superhero stories – they live them.  Whether you donate blood, donate money, or donate time, find a way to make the world a better place.  Go to a protest, write a letter, volunteer someplace, mentor someone, hug a friend.  You don’t have to be Batman.  Do what works for you – but do something.

Your move, D.C.

Your move, D.C.

More tomorrow!


Book Review: Needles and Artifice, by The Ladies of Mischief

needlesartifice_coverNeedles and Artifice is a joyful romp through steampunk with a group of women who love to invent, adventure, and knit.  The story is mixed with knitting patterns.  While the story is not the best writing ever, it sure is fun, and the designs are lovely!

The plot concerns the problems of Ana Roisin O’Hare and her true love, Kristoff,  who find themselves under attack by Kristoff’s twin brother.  Ana calls on all her friends for help.  There’s Miss Joanna Obscura, who was terribly injured in a lab accident but makes inventions that help the Ladies communicate long distance. Caldonia is a botanist, Alyssa is a courtesan, Coraline is an airship captain, Mirian is a ranch owner who happens to be raising some surprisingly useful sheep (their wool is perfect for knitting), and Theodosia is an explorer.  Together these Ladies do some knitting, drink some tea, and kick lots and lots of ass.


The story has the odd feeling of starting in the middle and ending rather abruptly – possibly because the adventures began and continue on the blog The Ladies of Mischief.  This is a story written purely for fun, and it’s indeed a fun romp that had me running to the blog for more.  It’s not a very well-developed story, and the characters aren’t well-developed either although they are a kick.  If you aren’t into steampunk, it will probably leave you flat – but for me, it was an airy lark.


As far as knitting goes, I had to pull in some expert help because I can’t knit thus the patterns mean nothing to me.  What I did appreciate was the abundance of lovely photos.  I imagine they are very helpful when trying to make the project, and I just liked looking at them – they are fun designs and helpful to me in trying to think of cosplay ideas.

I consulted with my Mom and her Knitting Group, and they said that the patterns may be too hard for beginning knitters,  They liked the fact that the patterns include lots of helpful tips as they go along.

75100D needles and artifice-v1.0(1).pdf

If you are a knitter or into feminist steampunk adventure, you will have a blast with this fun, creative, and beautifully put together book – I love the photos and drawings.  As far as knitting goes, the ideas are fun, useful, and involve a great deal of variety, including several things that could be worn day to day as well as more esoteric offerings (I have my eye on the spats).  As far as story goes, I recommend this for when you are sick or tired or stressed, and just want something light and adventurous to lift your spirits!

More thoughts and photos from Convolution 2013

photoI’m still glowing from the lovely weekend I spent at Convolution.  I hugged the Froud family!  I was on two panels with Wendy Pini!  I discussed female narrators with Richard Kadrey!  I sang terrible, terrible karaoke!  I danced with my husband!  I had a good time, is what I’m saying.

When I go to these events I’m so moved by how friendly and welcoming everyone is.  There are always a few people who make it a point to reach out to me, introduce me to others, help me network, and just make me feel generally comfortable – a hard thing to do since mingling at a party is not one of my life skills.  Left to my own devices, I could easily make it through a whole weekend without ever managing to talk to anyone – but my peeps do not allow that to happen.  People I had never met before introduced me to others, encouraged me when I was nervous about moderating panels for the first time, and swore that they totally did not even notice that one time that I knocked over a glass of water and then sat in it.  Thank you all!

This was the very first time I attended a convention as a guest.  It was such an honor.  To be in the company of such creative people, and to be sitting at the table at those panels – it made me woozy.  And when I say “creative people”, I don’t just mean the guests of honor, who are some of my creative heroes (Wendy and Richard Pini, of Elfquest fame, Brian and Wendy Froud, Richard Kadrey).  I also mean my fellow convention-goers.  Every single person I talked to made something.  some of us blog, some build things, some game, some make music, some design and make costumes – there was every kind of artist.  Whether or not we were “professional” was entirely beside the point.  The point was that we were all profoundly passionate.

Here’s some pics from Convolution.  One thing is clear – if I’m going to keep this up, I absolutely must learn some photography skills.  There’s nothing high quality about these images.  But I do hope they will give you a sense of some of the lovely cosplay I saw!

Captain Hook

Captain Hook

I left Captain Hook chatting with my mom, who sews, and when I caught up to them again my mom said, “Oh honey, she’s been giving me lots of ideas”.  Now I am both excited and afraid.


The Belle of the Ball!  Oh, c’mon – you know someone had to say it.


The second generation!  Toby Froud’s baby, his wife, Sarah, and an elf.  If we count Wendy and Brian Froud as Generation One, this is actually Generation Two and Three.


I don;t know how many outfits this woman has, but I’ve seen her at two cons now, and she had a different costume on every time I saw her, and they were all stunning.


This guy guarded the Klingon Party.  The second floor was the party room and EVERYONE wanted to go to the Klingon Party.  “COME IN!”  He growled.  “IT’S VERY UNSAFE HERE!”


This couple sang, “I’ll Never Tell”, from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at Karaoke night.  It was adorable.  And don’t they look awesome?


Another stunning couple.


I love this woman’s attitude!

The Geek Girl In Love Cape.  Not recommend for use in flight or in combat.

Last but not least, me, proudly sporting the famous Geek Girl in Love cape.  For decorative purposes only.  Not recommended for use in combat.  Do not wear near open flame or jet engines.

World’s best link to prepare you for Halloween!

You have 31 days to get your Halloween costume ready, and I found this site that made me so excited I was making these squeaking noises of joy at my computer screen.  I give you:

Take Back Halloween:  A Costume Guide for Women With Imagination

This site has mini-biographies of women along with suggestions of where to buy costume items if, like me, you stink at making stuff (or if, like me, you put off making stuff until the last minute and then you don’t have time).  There’s also do-it-yourself tips for the craftier people among us (Hi, Mom, thanks for making my Regency dress this year!).  The list of women profiled is lengthy and diverse.  The categories are Glamour Grrls, Notable Women, Queens, and Goddesses and Legends.  Some of these women are well-known and some are not – all are fascinating!

Here’s a partial list of costume ideas from the site:

  • Ada Lovelace (scientist)
  • Jane Austen (author)
  • Anna May Wong (actress)
  • Chalchiuhtlicue (Aztec Goddess)
  • Madame C.J. Walker (entrepreneur)
  • Grace O’Malley (pirate queen)

This site is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about women in history, whether you like playing dress up or not.  Be sure to check out the blog in addition to the costume ideas.  It’s funny and informative and entertaining and creative.  Have fun!

That’s the News from Westercon, Where all the Costumes Are Above Average

A milestone in the geek girl family – I took my daughter, who shall herefore be referred to as Princess Leia for costuming reasons, to her first science fiction convention, and here’s what happened:

girl and toy yoda wearing Victorian hats

Yoda goes Victorian

Westercon was a small-scale, relaxed con.  It didn’t feel as commercial as a lot of cons do – in fact, people were almost compulsively giving my friend’s daughter free stuff and saying things to me like, “Oh, it’s fine, we trust you, just mail us a check”.  This convention had a focus on writers and fiction.  It was a really laid-back, happy gathering of some serious geeks.  I loved it, and Princess Leia is now, as they say in The Big Bang Theory, “Queen of the Nerds”.

It wouldn’t be a Con without Cosplay.  My thanks to the many cosplayers who gave me permission to take and post pictures.  I apologize for the fact that my camera is crap and my photography skills are nill.  These photos aren’t very polished, but I hope they’ll give you a feel for how colorful the Con was!

cosplay (TARDIS maid outfit)

The TARDIS – original, fun, and check out the stockings!

You have to have some steampunk in your life, right?  This trio was immaculately outfitted right down to their shoes:

three people in steampunk cosplay

Ready for their airship departure!

Jesus Brienne, you look terrible.  What did you do, get in a fight with a bear or something?  On a happier note, Daenerys and her dragon were trailed all afternoon by adoring children.  I guess they haven’t found out what the dragons eat yet.

cosplayers (Brienne and Daenerys

Brienne and Daenerys

Beautiful sparkly things from Jewels By Olivia.  See the green tiara on the top left?  I MUST HAVE IT.  I will earn a zillion dollars and achieve world domination and make the nations cower before me, and when they cry out to me for mercy, saying, “What do you wish for?”  I shall say, “BRING ME THAT TIARA.”

tiaras from Westercon Sealer's Room

Jewels by Olivia, Westercon Dealer’s Room

I didn’t go to many panels due to the presence of children (mine and my friend’s, not other people’s).  But I did go to one on Finding Your Muse, where I got some great advice from M. Todd Gallowglass:

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block.  No matter how difficult a passage is, you can always write just one more sentence.  and then just one more sentence after that.  and then just one more after that”.

Wise words, indeed.  Thanks for a great day, Westercon!