Back from Context 27

I owe you two or three posts today, but you’re only going to get the one. The first one was a bit more on the pre-order for Things Don’t Go Smooth and the second was this week’s list of squees. (A third was going to be on how I write long form works, but hey… there’s only so much time in the day.) Instead, I turn to my summary on what happened at Context 27–because it’s fresh in my mind.

Having been to more science fiction and fantasy conventions now, I feel that there’s a marked difference between shows and what you can expect from them depending upon what you want to get out of the convention. I talked about this before, but I feel it’s important to note that yes, I do have a touch of social anxiety when it comes to meeting new people. I am terrible with first impressions, partly because I have a very big personality that I realize can/has steamrolled over others, but also because I’m sensitive to the mood of the room or I’m trying to be respectful of what the person I’m talking to is there to do. As I told one of my friends, I see the threads connecting folk, and I never want to feel like I’m imposing. This changes with time, yes, because as I get to make more friends who are comfortable around me it gets easier. (Which I think is true of anyone, really.) BUT, it’s also equally important that I have something to “do.” A media or gaming convention? No problem. But SF&F cons tend to have a slower pace due to their focus, which means I have to get “creative” with my time and make the most out of it while I’m there. Yes, absolutely, I can write or read, but that’s something I can do at home.

Context fits into my sweet spot because (though the hotel was probably designed by Loki) there were definitely Things To Do and it had a tight focus. I went in a day early to decompress and not be rushed; meandered over to this lovely place called Pies and Pints where I stamped “approved” on their pulled pork nachos and blueberry cider. Everyone in the general area was extremely friendly and happy to divulge their life’s story, from the Nigerian shuttle driver to the local pottery artist to the budding songwriter. It was lovely. For Day Two, registration began, I got to meet guests-of-honor Jonathan Maberry and Betsy Mitchell who were both fabulous. Then, I had a fun panel about the future of magazines with Brady Allen, crashed my friend Maurice Broaddus‘s workshop on Building Your Brand, had dinner with the amazingly talented Lucy Snyder and a heap of others, and started to get excited. As folks trickled in, I knew the guitars would too–courtesy of Lawrence Connolly, John Hornor Jacobs, and Geoffrey Girard. So we spent later Friday night in an impromptu jam, and it was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. I hope that this’ll become a regular thing, as there are loads of great musicians floating around!

Saturday was The Big Day with more panels, a signing, a reading with Janet Harriett, my Build-a-World game show, and parties. The most feedback I received about my panels was for the Writing for Media Tie-Ins with Tim Waggoner and Laura Resnick and the Build-a-World gameshow–which was a total hit! Congrats to John Hornor Jacobs, Ferrett Steinmetz, and Addie J King (e.g. Team Things Could Get Ugly) for their hair-raising six-point win over Team Responsible and Sober! Huzzah! Also on Saturday were shenanigans at the various parties. But, since what happens at Context stays at Context…

Sunday I slept in a touch, got to make my good-byes, and scrambled for the way home. Now, I am SURE I am missing something. Positive, even. (I’m also certain I am missing more someones, too… DARN IT ALL and HUGE apologies in advance!) But here’s the thing: the reason why I feel that this show is a good one to attend, is simply that there’s a strong emphasis on craft. If that’s the type of convention you want to attend? Then mark your calendar for next year’s show!

Thanks again to Steven Saus for inviting me!

10 Squees into the Future

Mushu Avatar

HUGELY busy getting ready for Context 27 this weekend, so I’m putting together my list of ten squees while rocking it to SOAD (System of a Down).

In no particular order… Here’s days 19/365 through 28/365!

1) A Clean Office: I now have art up on the walls! HUZZAH! And, a pile o’ boxes to unpack yet. Boo. But? It’s very, very good start!

2) Kirigami: One of the pieces that I put up in the kinda-but-not-really-forest-of-skulls bathroom is a piece by a Chinese artist of a raven. Kirigami is the art of cutting paper; you can find out more by visiting the Origami resources website.

3) Soundwave!: Picture hung up, and my Soundwave model is at the ready. YAY!

4) Fall: Okay, I may be the only person in the universe who’s not a fan of pumpkin spice everything. Like bananas, I like mine real thank you. I LOVE Fall, though. And? I do have something pumpkin spice I can try–pumpkin spice curry!

5) No Disassemble, NO!: I take great pleasure in assembling furniture. For the first time ever–we now have an entertainment cabinet. Woo!

6) Getting Sh*t Done: Closed the chapter on a major project last week and looking forward to getting more done. I like the word “DONE!”

7)The “Extended” Versions of Films: It is now official. The extended version of films are often better and more detailed than the shorter versions. Such a HUGE difference extra content makes for movies like Snow White and the Huntsman, The Abyss, The Lord of the Rings films, and more!

8) Halloween Decorations: Because it’s the one time out of the year that I can find the things I want to decorate my house with.

9) Sugar Skull designs: The design of the sugar skull has now made its way into the mainstream. I like the colorful designs and found a decoupage skull I can decorate. Already bursting with ideas! Still, I want to point out that The Day of the Dead is part of Mexican culture. I love the art, but I think it’s important to recognize where this comes from.

10) Maneki Neko: Maneki Neko are Japanese good luck charms always make me squee. Love the lucky cat and glad I found one to hang up!

    Mood: Errands, ahoy!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: On my second cup of joe. Rinse, repeat.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: More housework. Ugh.
    In My Ears: My cat is yelling at me. Whaaaaa?
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: The Crimson Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Movie Last Viewed: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Latest Artistic Project: Skull earrings.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


Those Crystal Skull Beads

Vintage Halloween Illustration

I’m a few days behind on my squees, but there’s a good reason for that. I took a *much* needed break this weekend to clean my humble abode, do a little organizing, and start hanging art up on the walls. Took some time out to play around with these crystal skull beads I picked up from Fusion Beads, and came up with a design. By flipping a bead cap upside down, I turned it into a crown.

Crystal Skull King Earrings

I’ve found that the holes are too big for regular bead embroidery and the 3D aspect of the bead lends itself to certain designs. I’ve got an idea for a wirework project, but even this pair swings a bit. They’re brilliant, though! I wish Swarovski would make flat beads of these for bead embroidery!

    Mood: Fresh start.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: On my second cup of joe.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: A bazillion trillion stairs.
    In My Ears: Water fountain.
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: The Crimson Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Movie Last Viewed: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


On Day 18, It’s a Squee for Spring!

Soundwave Avatar

I LOVE Fall, but I also enjoy the ability to get the most out of every season. This Spring butterfly I learned how to make in class and it’s part of a wedding present. So much fun to make this! And the wings flap! Totally going to experiment with a bat!

Spring Butterfly

18/365

    Mood: Swamped, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I maintained the balance of the Force.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Son of a biscuit…
    In My Ears: A meeting. (I’m cheating!)
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: The Crimson Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Movie Last Viewed: Machete Kills Again
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


Hump Day for a Trio of Squees and Contemplation

darkwing duck avatar

I’ve been neck deep in production and I let this slip…so getting caught up right now! Main issue is that it’s so much easier to get pissed about this or that–especially online–but not as easy to focus on what makes me happy. I had that conversation recently with a friend, because there are a few reasons I point out the positive. I am surrounded by darkness. I think we all are, in a way, depending upon how you define the dark. Maybe that’s the literal darkness of space or the darkness and confusion we feel by not knowing the future. Maybe it’s a word that relates to the past or the fog of depression. Whatever the reason, there is darkness and it’s visible, apparent, omnipresent.

The luminous is not. The media is all about fear and loathing and what makes us different–but there’s so much of it, so many things to worry about, injustices to watch in horror, or even simple mistakes that were made that it becomes overwhelming. That’s part of the reason why I feel it’s really important to point out something good–because it takes effort a lot of the time. For me, to combat the darkness–my darkness as I define it? Well, that’s what these squees are all about.

Anyway, I have three today. Number 15/365 is this Patreon to support my comic publisher Red Stylo Media. New ways of funding comics give new comic writers like myself the opportunity to get published. I’ve talked some about the economics of comics publishing, but if you really want a hard look at the industry and the economics behind this be sure read Jim Zub’s blog.

Number 16/365 is a lost forest in the world’s largest cave in Vietnam. How awesome is it that we’re still finding new places to explore?

And last but not least? 17/365 goes to fan feedback. Because nothing, and I mean nothing, is a replacement for a fan squee when working on a project. Awesome!

    Mood: Busy, busy, bee.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: A few.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Hah. Hardly!
    In My Ears: My compy fan.
    Game Last Played: Age of Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur
    Book Last Read: The Crimson Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Movie Last Viewed: Machete Kills Again
    Latest Artistic Project: My cat ate my Halloween decorations
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Hunter the Vigil: Mortal Remains
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


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