Sep 12

Rose City Comic Con Wrap-Up

Per usual, this post will be image heavy. Fair warning!

After five days in Portland, it is so good to be home! You know you’re loved when your kitties race to greet you at the door. <3 Rose City Comic Con 2017 was a great convention and not just because Books & Chains did well. The vendors around us were nice, the cosplay was amazing, the guests were varied and awesome choice-wise, and the convention center was pretty, if a bit maze-like (especially in the parking garage, which requires several different elevators to escape from).

Rose City Comicon

We (meaning Books & Chains, aka me, author Jesikah Sundin, and chainmailler Elise Kreinbring) drove down to Portland Thursday morning for set up, arriving around 3 PM PST. The line to unload was relatively short, and we got to work setting up the booth.

Set up booth

Elise & Jesikah attach fairy lights to the grid walls

It took a few hours to set up since this was the first time we used this particular layout, but we did it.

B&C Booth

Booth

booth

booth

You can see the fairy lights in the last shot above a bit better. 😉 Multiple times throughout the weekend, people commented on how visible our booth was and said we had the “prettiest booth at the con.” Always nice to hear.

After set up, we head across the street to the Inn at the Convention Center hotel to check-in, then grab some dinner.

sunset

Our view of the convention center from the hotel room

After a good dinner a block away at Denny’s, we came back and began stuffing swag bags. We gave out 300 swag bags full of autographed goodies, coloring pages, and a chainmaille dangle made from maille that was created for NASA’s Mars Insight mission. The pieces were highly limited in quantity so those who got one were quite lucky!

Superpower

We also handed out these stickers (seen above) because why not? Our superpowers changed daily and were anything from serious (like the above) to goofy, such as “Coffee Obtainer” and “Companion Finder” (from when I was a TARDIS). 

People were really appreciative of the swag and the stickers. It brought more people to our booth than the “dragon eggs” (aka candy) we had.

Unfortunately, some juveniles stole some of our sharpie pens and left a few stickers behind where they professed their superpowers were having “big dicks.” The stupidity of their stickers didn’t bug me, but stealing sharpies is a low blow.

While we were in our hotel that first night, around midnight when we intended to go to sleep, we discovered our room had bed bugs. Not a ton, but enough that it freaked us out. The hotel moved us to a different, much cleaner smelling room quickly, one that they had searched thoroughly to ensure that it did not have bed bugs. None of us suffered any bites or any further evidence that the bed bugs came with us.

R2D2

Friday morning, R2D2 paid our booth a visit. In fact, there was an entire parade of R2 units that went by, which you can watch in the video below.

This is a photo Jesikah Sundin took of the whole group paying tribute to the “dead robot” on the con floor.

R2 units

Better shot of the robot:

dead robot

For a Friday, we sold very well. Well enough that most of the time, we were too busy to take photos of the fabulous cosplay around us or each other, though Jesikah did sneak in this ussie.

ussie

One couple really wanted to purchase the TARDIS dice bag that Elise was working on so they paid for it in advance and kept checking in throughout the weekend to see if it was done (which it was on Sunday). Here’s Elise working on it diligently on Friday.

Elise

The convention had a really cool retro area set up where families could play old school NES and Atari games in “living rooms” from the proper time period. It was pretty cool. I loved the bright green shag carpet. While we never had that, I have fond memories of the huge console TVs my grandmothers had.

Retro

They also had Transformers there. It was crazy.

transformers

It was really smokey on Thursday and Friday, but Friday evening, it finally rained. The clouds rolled in, giving us a very post-apocalyptic view from our hotel room.

Cloudy

Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and with so many people inside the convention center, the A/C struggled to work at all. Soon, everyone was fanning themselves and complaining about the heat. I pulled my hair up with a glittery bow that left me and the booth COVERED in glitter.

Raven

This guy cosplaying a character from Bioshock (one of my favorite games) stopped by, and I took a photo.

Bioshock cosplay

One of my writing friends, Lindsey Pierce, was here as well, so I snagged her new book, Trans Liberty Riot Brigade. <3

book

As I said, there was amazing cosplay at this comic con. This photo doesn’t begin to show how detailed this woman’s cosplay was.

Cosplay

We sold so many books and so much chainmaille on Saturday. It was definitely our most successful sales day we’ve ever had. This cosplayer (in image below) stopped by and bought three books and a pendant from us. Someone unknown stopped her later to take a picture of her cosplay, which got tweeted out several times. I snagged a copy because she’s holding our Books & Chains bag! (P.S. If this is your image, let me know so I can credit you!)

our bag

One of the coolest things about this convention is that by sheer luck, our booth was directly behind that of my middle school friend, Christina Fidalgo of Burnt Pixels. There were way too many “Pay no attention to that head in the curtain” jokes throughout the weekend.

Peek-a-boo

Not only did we have lots of laughing, Christina actually brought photos of us from middle school AND a typed list I’d made for her of books she HAD to buy and read ASAP, along with my hand written notes and doodles along the margins. You can see the first page below. (Perhaps I’ll share the rest soon.)

Throwback Thursday

On Sunday, I was a TARDIS because Elise and I had a group photo-op with the most recent Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and his companion, Pearl Mackie (Bill). It was scheduled for 11:45 AM, and both of us were so excited and nervous. We gave both Peter and Pearl the chainmaille dangles with the NASA scales, which is pretty cool.

Doctor Picture!Sunday was a much slower day than we’d anticipated. Usually it’s a mad house due to last minute purchases, but Nuka-Colaeveryone looked exhausted. It was my first chance to go out and do a little shopping as well. One of my first purchases was this Nuka-Cola soap. I love everything Fallout, so this was a great find. It really does smell like soda.

One evening, we streamed the movie Labyrinth on Elise’s laptop while we stuffed the last of the swag bags. I think I was the only one who was singing along due to the others being tired. 😉

One of the artists down the aisle from us had some amazing artwork, which included some from Labyrinth. One of our customers who bought books from Jesikah and I had purchased it the day before, which I saw when she came into our booth.

I was determined to buy some for my office, which is what I did on Sunday, along with some Cowboy Bebop art from another artist next door. (Please ignore my fingers in the photos I took with my cell.)

There was way too much good art in this place!

Jareth art Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the Cowboy Bebop art of Ed and Ein, and Spike, my favorite characters.

Ein and Ed

Spike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh! I almost forgot–I got an art piece of the worm from Labyrinth as a bonus when I bought Jareth and Sarah.

worm

All too soon Sunday was done and it was time to pack up and tear down the booth. There was a LOT less to pack up this time since we did so well sales wise. Many of my book crates were empty or nearly so.

tear down

And that’s a wrap! Until next time, Portland! (Which will be Geek the Halls in December!)

done

Sep 06

Rose City Comicon!

Rose City Comic Con Logo If you’re heading to Rose City Comicon in Portland this weekend (Friday, 9/8, through Sunday, 9/10), I’ll be there with Books & Chains in the dealer’s hall, Booth 949.

Come out and get a swag bag of goodies, check out our books, and the amazing chainmaille jewelry!

Hope to see you there!

Aug 28

On the Grey Side

I’ve got a guest article over on Fantasy & UF reader/blogger Melissa L. Hayden’s site about my love of post-apocalyptic fiction and what influenced my story for the Last Cities of Earth anthology.

You can read it here:

https://melissa-melsworld.blogspot.com/2017/08/guest-post-on-grey-side.html

Aug 24

Reddit AMA!

If you’re a Redditor, some of the folks from the Last Cities of Earth project (including me!) are over in /r/scifi doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) TODAY from 10 AM – 6 PM PST.

Click HERE to come ask us anything!

Last Cities of Earth AMA

Direct link: https://redd.it/6vet30

Jul 28

Last Cities of Earth

What is the Last Cities of Earth Project?

When I was much younger, my evenings and weekends revolved around science fiction and fantasy tales, many of which were written by authors still writing today like Jody Lynn Nye and David Gerrold (he wrote the screenplay for the Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which I adored as a kid). When I wasn’t reading these tales, I was writing my own–anything from bizarre short stories to 400+ page novels with dragons. Never in a million years would child me have ever thought I’d have the opportunity to be in an anthology with some of my childhood writing heroes, much less some of my adult ones.

It is with great honor that I get to announce that I will have a story in Jeff Sturgeon’s Last Cities of Earth project, which is both an anthology and an amazing art book. Last Cities of Earth

Last Cities of Earth is an anthology of stories depicting humanity’s survival in the face of global catastrophe borne out of the mind’s eye of award-winning artist Jeff Sturgeon.

Featuring 16 stories by bestselling and award-winning contributors, LCOE is an illustrated collection full of tales of a brand-new world awaiting you as among the first discoverers.

With master storytellers whose imaginations helped shape the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, LCOE is a collection of possibilities answering questions such as “Why are the cities floating?” and “What happened to force humanity into the skies?”

Who’s In It?

My story will be in the anthology along with award-winning and bestselling authors Kevin J. AndersonJody Lynn NyeIan Douglas (aka William H. Keith Jr.), Brenda Cooper, Mike Resnick, David Gerrold, Steve Perry, J.A. Pitts, Cat Rambo, Todd Lockwood, and more! It’s being edited by Hugo and Bram Stoker Award Nominee Jennifer Brozek and will be an amazing post-apocalyptic project to be a part of.

Help make this project a reality by sharing the news or backing the Kickstarter:

Click HERE to back us!

Jul 26

Representation Matters

Representation Matters. 

It’s a term being lauded about quite a bit these days–sometimes to demonstration how important it is for humans to see themselves in different roles, and sometimes it’s used to try and fling mud back and forth and turn the world into an us vs. them scenario.

There have always been female role models in fiction and Hollywood, but whether or not those role models were truly representative of the broad spectrum of women in the world is another matter entirely.

As a child, I was Red Sonja. I was She-Ra. I wanted to be Wonder Woman with her lasso of truth. I really wanted to be Ripley (Alien) and Sarah Connor (Terminator), but when I said this out loud, I was told they were she-men. That they weren’t women to “aspire” to become because they weren’t eye candy or womanly enough for society. As a young child, this was crushing to me. So then I decided I needed to be He-Man.

I thought I needed to be a man because being a woman wasn’t enough for the world.

The strength I portrayed made me too callous for many people who wished I would be softer spoken and more submissive. My honesty was a flaw to them. Traits that made me a leader were too manly and thus, people found me harsh, abrasive, and bitchy. (They often still do.) I found myself and often still find myself in a limbo of not being accepted for who I am because a woman can’t be strong, honest, or blunt. She can’t kick-ass on Monday while mourning a cat on Tuesday. Or at least, that’s what society and by extension, Hollywood, would have us believe.

I can’t express the joy I felt as a young adult and adult at seeing shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but by then, I was no longer a child. I was already a strong, young woman. I had also made the mistake of convincing myself that representation was meaningless because it would never happen. This is what happens when we lack representation.

Wonder WomanThroughout television and film is the ever-rampant idea that a woman must be “easy on the eyes” to be worth something, that any strength she possesses is a weakness, and being strong means she can’t ever, ever have a moment of vulnerability.

I won’t lie. I cried during the opening fight sequence of the new Wonder Woman film. Seeing women, young and old, of varying body types on the screen like that, complete with thigh jiggle, was amazing in ways that I’m sure I’ll be trying to formulate words around for years. Strength & vulnerability. Empowerment. Representation.

Last week, BBC announced that the new Doctor in Doctor Who would be a woman, specifically Jodie Whittaker, who I greatly enjoyed in Broadchurch. While some fans threw fits over the announcement, stating that the Doctor couldn’t be female because he’s always been a man, I rejoiced.

Some media even went so far as to slut shame her by posting nude pictures of the actress online without her permission, as if these photos some how negate her ability to act or to be our next Doctor. I watched a few fellow science fiction writers moan about the death of Doctor Who because now it would “be about tampons, ice-cream, and slumber parties.”

That a woman acting and being paid equally to her male counterparts could so entirely break the Internet tells me that we have a long way to go before equality is a reality. Despite this knowledge, every little step is a giant one for some little girl out there looking for representation.

Rather than being delegated to the roll of Companion, a person who is sometimes disposable and always left behind, girls and women everywhere could see themselves in the roll of the Doctor, something that’s been hinted at but never achieved before now.

The original creator of Doctor Who wanted a woman Time Lord. When Matt Smith’s doctor regenerated, he was disappointed he wasn’t a woman. We’ve seen women Time Lords throughout the Who-verse, both in Classic Who and the reboot (hello, sweetie!)

 

I suspect the first time I see our new Doctor on the screen, I may cry. The child in me will rejoice at the idea that I can be strong, yet possess emotions; that beauty comes in all different types; and that perhaps, one day, equality will be something that just isIn the meantime, I will be me for me and for every little girl out there who needs to see herself in others.

And if you need another reason for a box of tissues, this is a super-cute encounter from SDCC this past weekend where a small Wonder Woman meets Gal Gadot and the Justice League. Read the article too–Ezra Miller’s (The Flash) comment is everything.

http://mashable.com/2017/07/24/gal-gadot-meets-crying-fan-at-comic-con/

Jul 20

Game with Authors!

So what is Game with Authors??

Something I’m pretty excited about! On Saturday, July 29th, folks local to the Seattle area will be able to come out to the always awesome Zulu’s Board Game Cafe in Bothell, WA and game with local SF/F/H authors! Details below!

Game of Authors!Zulu’s found this awesome, ancient game!

 

 

WHO: Local authors Raven Oak (Me!), Jesikah Sundin, Jeffrey Cook, Jennifer Brozek, and Sechin Tower
WHAT: Gaming with authors! Get the scoop on their latest and newest works while playing their favorite board games, enter to win prizes, and purchase books and games while you’re there!
WHEN: Saturday, July 29th, from 5 PM – 11:30 PM
WHY: Because why not!
GAMES WE’RE PLAYING: Dixit, Dominion, Sentinals of the Multiverse, Exploding Kittens, Guillotine, Citadels, Pandemic, Dungeon Roll, Forbidden Island, Mad Scientist University, Yggdrasil, and Tokaido.
PRIZES: We’ll also be giving away a few books and at least two of the games we’re playing.

 

 

MORE ON THE AUTHORS!

Jennifer Brozek

Photo by Mrinabh Dutta.

Jennifer Brozek is a multi-talented author, editor, and tie-in writer who has been nominated and won professional awards. She is the author of the Never Let Me Sleep, and The Last Days of Salton Academy, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her Battletechtie-in novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, won a Scribe Award. Her editing work has netted her an Australian Shadows Award for Grants Pass. Jennifer’s short for work has appeared in Apex Publications, and in anthologies set in the worlds of ValdemarShadowrunV-Wars, and Predator. Jennifer is also the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and was the managing editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and assistant editor for Apex Book Company.

Jennifer has been a freelance author, editor, tie-in writer for over ten years after leaving her high paying tech job, and she’s never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.

 

 

Jeffrey CookJeffrey Cook was born in Boulder, CO, and then proceeded to move all over the U.S. and Canada, before finally settling down for good in Maple Valley, WA. Despite sharing a home town now, he doesn’t know Richard Sherman. He does, however, have a full house, living with his wife of 15 years, one housemate who frequently asks him how the latest book is coming, and 3 large dogs. All three dogs are rescues from PAWS – an organization he has backed for some time, and is currently heading up an anthology series (Shakespeare Goes Punk) to help support.

He’s had poetry and short stories published in small publications, worked as a sports writer for the Bellingham Herald while attending college at Western Washington University, and contributed to role-playing game books by Deep7 Press out of Seattle, WA. The Dawn of Steam books were his first novels, originally written as his first project for National Novel Writing Month. He continues to use Nanowrimo as an excuse to help push him to write new content amidst the editing, anthology-organizing and marketing work.

 

Jesikah Sundin

Photo by Alexa Rae Photography

Jesikah Sundin is a sci-fi/fantasy writer mom of three nerdlets and devoted wife to a gamer geek.

In addition to her family, she shares her home in Monroe, Washington with a red-footed tortoise and a collection of seatbelt purses.

She is addicted to coffee, laughing, and Dr. Martens shoes … Oh! And the forest is her happy place.

 

 

 

 

Sechin TowerSechin Tower is a writer, game designer, and teacher. He lives in the Seattle, Washington area with his beautiful wife and noisy cat.

In his spare time, he prepares for the zombie apocalypse by running obstacle courses and playing way too many video games.

 

 

 

 

 

Raven Oak

Award-winning and bestselling speculative fiction author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood (2016 Ozma Fantasy Award Winner and Epic Awards Finalist)Class-M Exileand the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays (Foreword Reviews 2016 Book of the Year Finalist). She also has several published short stories in anthologies such as Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology and Magic Unveiled. Raven spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet.

When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on with tabletop games, indulging in cartography, or staring at the ocean. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

Jul 13

Candles are Coming!

Candles are coming! If you’ve never heard of A Court of Candles, you need to rectify that STAT!

They do book-themed candles that are the best smelling candles I’ve ever encountered. Besides doing candles for things like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, they’ve done character-themed candles for Jesikah Sundin’s Biodome Chronicles and now…

It’s hard to read the labels on Margaret’s candle but the three candles are:

  1. Adelei: Sea salt and desert sage
  2. Ida Warhammer: Leather, steel, and whiskey
  3. Margaret: Pink chiffon, wildflowers, and books

They smell amazing! Soon you’ll be able to snag these for yourself!

Jul 10

Seattle Weekly

So today’s the last day you can vote in Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle Reader Polls, and thus, the last day you can vote for me for Best Author.

I’m still not sure how I made it be a finalist, but I’m happy to be one. If you feel like voting, the link is below, and if you’ve already voted, apparently you can vote more than once so you are welcome to vote again.

http://seattleweekly.secondstreetapp.com/bos17/gallery/66645614/Seattle Weekly

Jun 27

Locus Awards Wrap-Up

The 2017 Locus Awards were held this past weekend, an event requiring Hawaiian attire and a good sense of humor. I say the latter part because the MC is Science Fiction Grand Master Connie Willis, who has a sharp and sarcastic sense of humor. Absent was her heckler, Nancy Kress, but we made due without their awesome dynamic (Nancy was teaching at Taos Toolbox).

The panels are pretty short as this weekend isn’t meant to be a convention so much as a gathering of SF/F readers and writers. This year, the panels were:

“Polishing the Potato: The Best Story from the Worst Idea” panel with Annie Bellet, Robert Jackson Bennett, Curtis Chen, Carrie Vaughn, and Connie Willis, and “How Much Is That Trope in the Window? Repurposing Genre Elements to Tell New Stories” panel with Daryl Gregory (m), Seanan McGuire, Matt Ruff, and Nisi Shawl.

Polishing the Potato became Polishing the Turd among other things thanks to Matt Ruff. 😉 It was pretty awesome hearing about his book, Lovecraft Countryas well as hearing Nisi talk about her book, Everfair. Both are EXCELLENT books if you haven’t checked them out.

Here, Connie is not sure whether to laugh or cry at the guy wearing a shirt made of Connie’s face and her book covers.

Better shot of his shirt.

I discovered that Annie Bellet has an amazing Moogle tattoo.

Getting ready for Panel 2

I missed Friday night’s reading with Connie Willis and Carrie Vaughn due to my allergy test, which left me itchy and fatigued. Generally not a good way to be pleasant company! This means I also missed the Friday night party and a friend’s birthday party. <insert sad face here>

I was in good company in the autographing room. I got to sit next to the fabulous and dapper Bruce Taylor and on the other side of him was Nisi Shawl, Connie Willis, and Carrie Vaughn. Nisi’s mother sat in the chair beside me. It was a great honor to talk to such an awesome 82-year-old. I want to look that good at 82!

Autographing time

Also signing in the room were friends and colleagues Liz Argall, Greg Bear, Annie Bellet, Robert Jackson Bennett, Curtis Chen, Daryl Gregory, Eileen Gunn, Randy Henderson, Scott James Magner, Julie McGalliard, Seanan McGuire, Adam Rakunas, Cat Rambo, Matt Ruff, Jack Skillingstead, Patrick Swenson, Michael Damian Thomas, and Caroline M. Yoachim. You can see Bruce’s dapper hat to the right.

Authors Patrick Swenson and Jack Skillingstead across from me. Daryl Greggory was there, but hopped up to take a photo.

Connie Willis, MC of the Locus Awards and all-around awesome.

This is the trivia contest. Randy Henderson, Curtis Chen, and Annie Bellet competed, among others.

Connie Willis and Carrie Vaughn giving away prizes.

Connie announcing award finalists. 

Seanan’s book, Every Heart a Doorway, won Best Novella, which made me happy since it’s an excellent book. I was also happy to see Ellen Datlow win Best Editor. Other winners were:

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

FANTASY NOVEL

HORROR NOVEL

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US ’17)

FIRST NOVEL

NOVELETTE

SHORT STORY

ANTHOLOGY

COLLECTION

MAGAZINE

  • Tor.com

PUBLISHER

  • Tor

ARTIST

  • Julie Dillon

NON-FICTION

ART BOOK

Overall, a fun weekend. If you’ve never been to the awards, you should come some year. They’re held in Seattle and quite affordable to attend, not to mention the hilarity of watching Connie Willis as the MC. 😉

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