Monday, September 21, 2015

Rebel Yell - Local Authors Unite at Salt Lake Comic Con

Being an Author is Hard

Local author Johnny Worthen and me
Am I saying that it's not sunshine and kittens after you get published? That's right - well, there is still some sunshine and some cuddly kittens, but most of the time it's really hard work, especially in such a talented community we find in Utah.

It doesn't matter what type of author you are: Indie, Small Press, Large Press, whatever means you choose - the life of an author is tough stuff.

In Utah, there is a melding pot of authors - resembling something like a Petri dish as we're surrounded by mountains, isolated from the breathing world, suffocating under the inversion. It's a wonderful world to be a part of, as we feed each other ideas, care about our struggles, cheering successes.

It can also be a very difficult place to be. As much as we need each other, we are each others' competition, selling to the same small population. There can be jealousy at times, cheering for others, while your own rejection letter still sits in you Inbox.

But there is still understanding

As our community of authors grows, so has our support system. If I've learned anything over the past few years after being published it's how much I NEED other authors, those who understand how difficult it is to write out your soul, have it ripped apart, stitched back together into something pretty, then bound into paper just for you.
Photobombing Local Author Adrienne Monson

TRUTH IS - it is a difficult world regardless of how you've been published. Getting your name out and getting your book into readers hands can be agonizing, humbling work that stripes you down to your core. It's extremely hard for us authors to talk about our own books and why you would love it. We are basically taking our newborn baby, the wonderful thing we've created and asking YOU to take care of it, help it grow, show your friends, trusting YOU with its livelihood.

You READERS hold our fate in YOUR hands

What YOU think MATTERS

Meeting Jess Harnell at FanX 2015
Over the last few years Salt Lake Comic Con has become very important to us. It's become a place where we can find readers - OUR readers. You can find several LOCAL authors, some absolutely terrific people with tremendous talent. As a strong community of authors, we are banding together and uniting ourselves as REBELS, and we are looking for readers to join the alliance.

There are several things you can be a part of at this year's SLCC:
  • Find the REBEL BASE #3441 - Enter to win a Chris Evans Photo OP
  • Find several local authors on PANELS - SLCC Schedule
  • We've created a catalog with several titles in it, full of QR codes for easy look-up
  • Hashtag fun with #slcc15writers
  • A Treasure Hunt - search for the REBEL INSIGNIA among local authors to be entered for prizes
  • Find several of the Rebel Alliance in AUTHOR AVENUE and SHADOW MOUNTAIN

Writing is not about us, it's always been about YOU - the reader. You are who matters most to us. It's you we are looking to inspire, you who we make worlds for.

Local authors SLCC 2014 Photo courtesy of Jessie's Photography

Come FIND us.
     Come JOIN us!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Faking Steampunk - The Sophomore Edition

Steampunk still baffles me.

It's not as weird as it used to be. I got a great education of it last year at the Salt City Steamfest. I learned this was not something that I could just go to in my usual Think Geek tee. This was COSPLAY hardcore. I quickly came up with a costume consisting of my lace-up boots, a Heidi top, and my black back brace turned around for a corset. 

These are the basics I could tell you from my novice experience:
  • Steampunk is like fantastical alterna-history. 
  • Cthulhu is king!
  • Steampunk cosplay is epic and serious cosplayers live for the "IMMERSION" experience.
  • Boots BEFORE corset.

My first day at Steamfest I couldn't help but giggle while sitting in the bathroom stall listening to two girls, trying in their best British accents, complaining about walking the plank on a dirigible. I didn't know a time capsule like this existed. What a gem!

Our booth was not far from oodles of corsets. I thought I would try one on for the fun of it. It was hilarious and surprising that people would wear this hellish device. But after considering what I was doing, and knowing I had one more day of this immersion festival, I BOUGHT said corset and decided to wear it the next day. 

Things learned about corsets:
  • Boots BEFORE corset. I was warned but didn't think about it until I tried to get on my boots. I couldn't bend over. An eye-opening experience that taught me a lot about WHY people had dressers in the 1800s. 
  • Corsets were invented before cars. It was seriously difficult to drive a stick.
  • Using the bathroom is NO JOKE! It's seriously hard. How do you even sit? I applaud every woman that knows the trick to this. 
This year I was by myself, no longer the Steampunk virgin, I knew what to expect and how to play it. I couldn't shy as I did before. Steampunk is something you have to dig into and commit. The more you commit, the better the outcome.

So, I searched through out my closet looking to dust off my corset . . . NOPE! Can't find it. I had to impress. This was important. Right? I start searching for anything that will work. I'm scraping of course, but I think I did okay.

Steampunk, I learned, is about characters. So, this is my character, "Darla Windratchet, my Diesel Punk Pin-up Girl."

From head to toe:
  • Hat made from husband's old khaki's with Mockingjay pin for style
  • ugly old army green shirt
  • brown socks cut for gloves
  • Big fat belt accompanied by Cat Woman Utility Belt
  • volleyball shorts over tights OVER stretch pants (yes, I'm that self-conscious)
  • My husband's hand-stitched field notebook pouch.
  • Thrift store steampunk secretary shoes
  • and mascara smears on my face like grease. 
A complete look. I felt very floozy-esque. I felt pretty proud of the costume.

Everyone else would be dressed up, I would blend in, nice and easy.

So, deep down, I was struggling bad. I was very uncomfortable, but tried to wear it well. I still blame the shoes, since I haven't worn heels since my wedding day.

Oh, and did I mention, I epic-ly tripped on the corner of 4th and Main, while getting honks by passing "sailors"?

While eating (IN COSTUME) with my fellow writers at P.F. Chang's, I stupidly decided to take off my Cat Woman Utility Belt while I ate my Lo Mein. And YES, as you would think, I had to walk back later to ask the wonderful waitress if they had FOUND a Cat Woman Utility Belt left be this lame girl.

I had several times people tell me, "I think there is something on your face," not knowing it was there on purpose. I had many think I was a rebel from District 13, referencing the Mockingjay pin in my hat. And when it came to the having my photo taken, I didn't even know what to do.

Needless to say, (though I will say it anyway) I DON'T STEAMPUNK. I failed yet again this year. And even though I feel proud of myself for wearing the heels the entire time, I still can't pull it off.

HOWEVER . . . That doesn't mean that it isn't COMPLETELY fascinating. It is really fun to watch others and interact with them and people watch like crazy. What a fun world (for them). Many who I know love this genre and play it up in epic steampunk fashion. I am mind-blown by some of the originality and creativity that goes into some of these costumes.

If you are curious about this strange world you have two really amazing opportunities.

Sept. 4th is the Gangrene Comedy Film Festival: FULL STEAM
At the Ed Kenley Amphitheater in Layton. Follow the link to know more.

There is also something SPECTACULAR happening at Salt Lake Comic Con this year. The profoundly talented Paul Genesse and his crew and putting on The Steampunk Rock Opera - an event you do not want to miss. Not only is it loaded with extremely talents actors and singers, several are friends: Callie Stoker, Scott Tarbet, Terra Luft - just name dropping here) but there will be audience participation. Ah! Who wouldn't want to do THAT? (besides, obvious... me, because I suck)

Please don't miss it. It will be groundbreaking and enormous fun.