For the Love of Fandom!

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I am a fan.

There. I’ve said it. I am a fan. I’m a fan of many things, quite honestly. I love various anime programs – I don’t watch it as much as I used to so I don’t know a lot of the newer things, but I can recognize Inuyasha cosplayers. (There were some at Tokyo in Tulsa – sadly, my camera battery was dead and I accidentally left it in my book box on Friday. I saw the cosplayers on Saturday and had no camera.) I love manga – I don’t have the money to go browsing like I used to do back in the day, but I still love it. I love cartoons and comic books, comic book movies, and science-fiction and fantasy novels. I love fantasy, science-fiction, science-fiction/fantasy RPGs. I consider myself a gamer. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons, a little bit, back in high school (been over twenty years, but I played). I’m selective in what I play, though, so, for some, I may not fall into their definition of a “gamer”. I’m not interested in every shooter, car theft game that comes out nor every RPG. Everything has to appeal, and I am something of an old soul. I like what I like because it’s elicited something from me.

And if it’s inspired me somehow, well, I definitely do not cast it to the wayside simply because something better in appearance comes along. Tolkien once wrote “all that glitters is not gold”, and that is so true nowadays.

I’ve spoken before on what has inspired me to write, and I do attribute Tolkien as my biggest writing inspiration. If I had not read The Lord of the Rings when I was 14, I may not have discovered that I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved to write, but Tolkien and the journey Frodo Baggins went through had one of the hugest impacts on my life.

I admit it. I am a fan. I will gush about The Lord of the Rings. I will gush about the Star Ocean series (specifically about Till the End of Time). And I will certainly gush about my first inspiration to be me, to chase after what I want in my life, the Bangles.

What’s that, you say? I’m inspired by a musical group, of all things? Well, yeah. Why not? Their music changed my life, created that big resonance within me. When it comes to music, they are the reason why I admire and respect those who can, not only sing, but write their own music and play their own instruments. At one point in my life, I wanted to be a musician because of them. (And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll fulfill that dream of recording my own album and releasing it for people to enjoy.)

It’s been . . . thirty-one years since I first heard Manic Monday on the radio. Thirty-one fantastic, turbulent, trying, and challenging years. I don’t listen to their CDs as often as I used to do, but, when I do, I’m taken back in time, and I’m reminded that anything is possible as long as we don’t give up on our dreams.

I am completely and utterly amazed by the things that, to this day, inspire me, even after so long. It’s overwhelming and so . . . loving. I know I will find more to inspire me. I have with runes and the Norse gods. (I love them so much, too.) It’s a given.

Have a good Thursday, my friends, and keep on rockin’!

The Self-Publishing Journey – Why It Is Not for the Faint of Heart

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Over this past weekend, I attended a local anime convention called Tokyo in Tulsa. By attended, I mean I sat at a table in the Artist/Exhibit Bazaar and froze. I left a few times for various reasons (basic necessities and the like), but I otherwise stayed in the Bazaar area to promote and sell myself as an author.

I was not the only independent author there. There were a few others as well, and I’d had the chance to speak with them at one point or another. It was a very learning experience for me, a reminder of what it was like to have vendor (basically) space, but it was also on a whole new level. Mainly because this time I was there to promote my works instead of the works of others (I tried to sell specialty t-shirts back in the day – one failed business venture down, only upwards to go.

The weekend was also when I announced when I will be releasing my fifth publication, the third in my Arc of Fantasy series, Ravensrealm. It is November 4, the cover art is done, all that remains is getting promotional items to spread the word and getting the book ready for publication (on top of working near full-time hours). So there is that.

As I said, the weekend was a learning experience. I will be, over the next month or so, going over The King and Queen of Wands and Sigyn’s Flowers for content updates and formatting. I plan on getting Photoshop so I can get all of the covers across the board universal. (Plus, I want to start doing paperbacks and hard covers through Lulu and Barnes and Noble.) This is all thanks to one of the self-published authors who mentioned changing the font sizes and removing the double-spaces. Silly me, I published my manuscripts as if I were sending them to a publishing company to be typeset by them instead of doing the typesetting myself. Learning, experimenting, and going from there, and I do appreciate what this young lady told me. It’s only going to help me in the long run.

I also received some critiques from another independent that came across to me as backhanded and negative. I’ve said this before. I work as a server. I have bills to pay, and I’m supporting a career on top of the bills on a single income that fluctuates day to day. (To note: retail would also fluctuate so, while the income would be steadier, like any job, the hours I would need to do more than just survive are not necessarily guaranteed.) As such, I work within my means to get things done, which means buying ink cartridges, buying my own copies of my books, and buying stock paper to print my own business cards and bookmarks. So I do the best I can with what I have, and I’ve been quite pleased with how my bookmarks and business cards have printed out. (I had leftovers from ShutoCon – I didn’t have the money for the ink cartridge to print more – what extras I had were done by my sister Friday after we’d left for the day.) I’m proud of myself and all that I am accomplishing with what I have. Life hands you lemons, you kill the lemons, crush them, and drink their souls, right? Right!

The author was nice enough but was also quite new. He was there to promote his first book, and we actually did buy each other’s books (at the same time, no less, which I still find hilarious). However, each day there was some type of “critique” over what I was doing. Friday, it was that he could tell I’d printed my own bookmarks. Saturday, my table didn’t look professional enough, and I needed a black tablecloth. Sunday, it was that my book covers could have been better when I’d used stock images through CreateSpace because I really don’t want a crappy-looking cover. While his cover is interesting and he’s happy with it, you can tell that the image resolution was low, so it has a very cartoon-ish appearance. His writing style? I don’t know yet.

Now I am certain he thought he was helping me, and I am often open for criticism. It was his tone of voice, like he was sad that everything I had was not to his standards over my standards. I have a copy of his book, and it is not to my overall standards, either. In fact, I will be aiding him in getting it revised once more to be re-published. How you approach a fellow author is very, very important. Michelle Kay was just so awesome (we did book trades) and sweet so when she mentioned the font size and spacing, it was like a light going off – I didn’t think of it. Thank you for bringing it up.

This is where it’s really hitting me that this independent author business is not for the faint of heart. Because I will go back and fix errors in my manuscripts, upload them again, and I keep doing so everytime I find something that needs a wee bit further expansion, a wee bit of tweaking, and a wee bit of fixing. This is a never-ending process, but it’s also one I quite enjoy because then I get sucked into my own stories, and I pat myself on the back for making myself cry as my own personal reader.

Then there is also this: Every time I release a book, I have to update the manuscripts again. Add that new title or at least when it’s coming out. Add a teaser to the end of the previous book (in the case of the Arc of Fantasy series) so people know that it exists.

As an independent author, it is a constant thing of self-editing (because even critiquers and editors can miss things and accidentally create their own errors). As a writer, I am never done writing the first story or the second or even the third. It’s all part of the process, and some days I really dislike it. I can’t deny that. However, I also love it. I can’t imagine doing much of anything else for the rest of my life.

I’m feeling a little more fortunate in that some of my family is coming around and being more supportive of my career as an author. And I have a best friend I can talk to and have her be a sounding board for what I’m doing. She may not get the whole science-fiction/fantasy thing, but she gets that I love what I do. I have a sister who works on the cover art for me and just does this amazing job with every request.

And I feel so blessed to have had the amazing people next to me at Tokyo in Tulsa as well. The guys at Equinox Comics were awesome and watched my table for me when I had no one else with me . . . okay, I kept asking the one guy to watch my plushies while I was away and to destroy anyone who would attempt to take them from my table. He was so awesome about that, and he drew a head sketch of Fayt Leingod for me. You can’t get any cooler than that, in my book. The Canterlot KC group was also awesome. I hope next year they’re next to me again. (Yes, I am wanting to return as an author to Tokyo in Tulsa next year. While this year sales were not what I would have liked, I will keep trying. That is all any author can do, is keep trying.)

I am aiming for attendance, at least, for YoumaCon, which is the first weekend in November, and I put myself on a wait list for artist space (because writing is art). That’s also when Ravensrealm will be unleashed upon the public. Sigyn’s Flowers will turn into a short story anthology so, once I get a certain number of stories uploaded, it will no longer be a freebie for download.

I’m super excited for what the future holds for me. I’m not done writing, not done publishing. Not by a long shot.

And now for the cover unveil!

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Happy Odin’s Day, my friends!!!

Are You Writing? Plus, Tokyo in Tulsa Update

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Wow. Again, I go so long without writing in this. To make a short story even shorter, for a short period of time, I was working two jobs – Ihop and a local franchise called Mazzio’s. I left Mazzio’s after about two months. In terms of the restaurant business, I believe there are right fits and wrong fits when it comes to employment, and if the place is stressing you out more than what it’s bringing you joy, especially after your first day, it’s a sign to move on, so I did. It just left me with very little time for blogging and for working on my writing.

Which is a bummer, because I wanted to publish Ravensrealm next month, specifically the weekend of Toyko in Tulsa. Unfortunately, because Ravensrealm isn’t finished to my standards, it just won’t be happening. Three weeks is a pretty hasty effort to get something out there, and I learned my lesson from doing that with Portal to Gaming (though I do love that story so, so much).

So in answer to my own question, yes, I am writing. I’m currently hammering out more and more details for Ravensrealm, and I’m working out details for the next two books in the Arc of Fantasy series, New Atlantis (which has Fen as the main character once more) and The Intergalactic Chase (featuring a new character, Kat Shadows, as the main character). On top of the writing, I’ve also just been enjoying my life. I renewed my Barnes and Noble membership (hey, ten percent off of books and the cafe is nothing to sneeze at here!) and picked up the latest in Magnus Chase, The Trials of Apollo, and a new book series, The Novice. I still need to finish reading The Holder’s Dominion . . . I swear, I’m a typical bookworm. I tell myself I have to finish reading or read what I already have when I haven’t read it yet, but then I still buy more books.

I’m learning French. One of my goals is to become proficient enough in writing in different languages to do the translations for those languages myself. It might take me a while, but that’s one of my long-term goals.

Vendor space is secured for Toyko in Tulsa. All that remains is getting books and a few other promotional items to have on hand.

This process of getting space has been interesting. It does have me questioning whether or not to return as a vendor/exhibitionist. The same with ShutoCon, which I felt like it would not be a good one to return due to a variety of things. I need to do more searches for book fairs and writing conferences in the surrounding area. Anime conventions are fun, but ShutoCon was a reminder that not all anime conventions are geared for the science-fiction and fantasy geeks like me.

We’ll see what the future holds, though.

I have another GoFundMe up because, well, between paying my bills and keeping gas in my Sigyn on a single income (unless I get another serving job), I will not be able to get books and other promotional items for Tokyo in Tulsa. I really love my car, too, so that’s taking a top priority with my money.

Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/arc-of-fantasy-promo-event

I’ve posted to facebook that, for people who donate $10 or more and upon reaching the actual goal of $950, I will send a small goody bag with an ink pen, a bookmark, and an excerpt from Ravensrealm and the under-revision The Re-Naming of Marcus Anthony James. It’s just a little something I’d like to do for people helping me to get ready for this convention and beyond.

So, if you’re reading this, thanks! I know I get really weird from time to time. I am a writer, after all.

Americans and Roots

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This is more of an observation than anything else, on we Americans view ourselves and how the rest of the world views us. And it’s such a contrast.

Of course, I’m drawing my observations based on my own life and articles I’ve read about how the citizens of other countries (like England, France, and the like) tend to view us when they come to view us. They do tend to see us as fake because the overwhelming majority of us are just so friendly. We as Americans have never had an oppressive regime over us before, and the only time we were truly pitted against each other was during the Civil War. Yes, we have our ways of thinking about each other. I mean, people from the North and people from the South tend to view themselves as being more intelligent over the other, but we also think nothing of striking up conversations with complete strangers in grocery stores or restaurants. And I attest to this because I do strike up conversations with random strangers. I’m a writer, and I can be extremely outgoing in the right situations. I hold doors open for complete strangers of all ages, of all walks of life, of all genders. That’s just how I am. It is not in my nature as both a human being and as an American to actually be a dickhead to someone else.

And, of course, there is this whole roots thing. One of the articles I read a while back mentioned how a Brit reacted to an American stating that s/he had British ancestry. The advice was to not laugh about it within earshot of the American in question. And maybe this is because someone from Europe might not understand the American fascination with roots. We’re like history junkies in that respect. We know from our history, which is somewhat short when compared to the likes of China, Russia, Japan, England, France, and Spain, that we were colonized from the get go by people who already knew how to read and write and keep track of history in a way that our Native American ancestors did not at that point in time. (IE written history versus oral history, which the Asian and European countries had long since moved away from by the time they started to arrive to the Americas.) We grew up being taught this knowledge. And many of us are still born out of immigrants as well. Again, this is something I can personally attest to as my great-grandparents on my mother’s side immigrated to this country, met in Detroit, Michigan, and started a family in this country. So we have that fascination, and when our families remember that history of immigration, of coming here from the Old Countries, we feel as if it gives us a bond with the people we meet from Europe or Asia or Africa.

Yet, at the same time, if we decide to look at it closer, this is the land where our ancestors came to break free from their roots, to start over with new ones. And I get this idea from reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I mean, he immigrated here, too, so he has that immigrant perspective on what it’s like to come to this country. Now, he actually doesn’t say this about immigrants and why they come here. It’s more of how it affects the gods of other cultures upon arriving here and how the land here changes everything. And I find it to be so true. There is something about the lands we live in that has some type of impact on us, a spirit if you will. As a writer, it’s a fascinating idea to explore.

If humans are born on Mars, they’re still humans, but they’re not Earthlings.

It’s fascinating, and it’s complex.

So yes. We Americans have a fascination with our roots, with our ancestry that goes all the way back to when our heritage was once tied to the European, Russian, and Asian nations.

And I love it. I love every aspect of it because it helps to define me as a person and as a writer.

Just a different way to look at the world today.

Arc of Fantasy mailing list, eBay sellers, Camp NaNo, and Tokyo in Tulsa

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Doing google and ecosia searches on myself has been extremely informational over the last couple of days. I’ve found a few sellers on eBay who are selling my print-on-demand books. One has three of my titles with five copies of each.

According to my KDP and CreateSpace pages, I’ve had no copies go out.

Now, I have no true idea what’s going on here. They could be authorized retailers through the CreateSpace channels, which is very likely. I don’t know all of their distribution channels, and I know it leads to smaller stores nationwide and globally. At the same time, I’m questioning this. I’ve contacted two of the sellers under my eBay user name, and I asked them where they were getting their copies from. One told me that all of the information they had on the product (which was a copy of The Sons of Thor – this is the same retailer who claims to have 5 copies) page, but they couldn’t tell me much else after that. The other has not contacted me back as of writing this entry.

The lack of information and communication has me questioning whether or not they’re actually authorized by CreateSpace and Amazon to be selling copies of my books. My paperbacks are print on demand. They are only print on demand. I’d chosen earlier this year to remain as an indie author, to utilize print-on-demand sites like CreateSpace because it made (and still does) more ecological sense. I am doing what I can to lessen my impact on this planet. (I also have some major projects planned out, and I’m liking the control I have in when I can get them finished and published.) How hard is it for these retailers on eBay to say we’re a part of the CreateSpace distribution channel?

I have provided links to Amazon and to CreateSpace on this matter, and I feel like CreateSpace didn’t even bother to check the link I’d given to KDP when I first voiced my concerns over this. I’d provided the link for a reason, which was to not get eBay in trouble (eBay is a marketplace and an auction house), but to find out the truth behind the retailiers utilizing eBay.

I would like an expedient resolution to this matter. A simple answer from those I’m contacting would be more than sufficient – we’ll be getting our copies through CreateSpace OR they’re authorized retailers through our distribution channels. After all, I am being listed as the publisher of these books as well as the author, and they are my ISBNs. For some, I realize that this may sound stupid, it’s just books.

To put it into perspective, if you wouldn’t do additional work for your boss off the clock and with no pay, it is as equally unacceptable for me to remain unpaid for my work. Writing really is not an easy task, no easier than working in a fast food restaurant. Everyone deserves to be paid for the work that they do.

In reality, it really is that simple for these retailers and for CreateSpace to come up with those answers. It is simple to click on the links I’m providing and to spend maybe five minutes to find out if the retailer in question is part of the distribution channel. After all, I can go back to the day I first published Portal to Gaming, The King and Queen of Wands, and The Sons of Thor as paperbacks and to see where any and all actual customer orders have gone out. I know how many proofs I’ve ordered, and it’s nowhere near the quantities I’m finding available on eBay.

That particular frustration aside, I have finally set up a mailing for Arc of Fantasy. If you’re interested in receiving updates, cosplay giveaway participants, and publication announcements, send me a private message with your email address to let me know, and I’ll get you signed up. 2017 is shaping up to be a very big year for this science-fiction and fantasy series. You don’t want to miss out!

Another big announcement in regards to Tokyo in Tulsa. I have been approved for exhibition space. Details are being worked out now, but I have been approved. All that needs to be done on my end is come up with the remaining money to finalize the purchase. I’m aiming for product sales over promotion only. This also helps with something I have in mind for the month of July. What that is, well, I’ll be making that announcement next month at Anime St. Louis.

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! If you’re participating, I wish you the best of luck in achieving your goals!

Ravensrealm is not writing itself so until the next time, my friends!

Anime St. Louis Preparations Underway and Dicussing Ethnicity in Movies Once More

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Whew! What a busy week and a half I’ve had since returning from ShutoCon! Work, work, work, and a new character pops up for Ravensrealm for the sole purpose of annoying the two main characters, Man, I love it!

I’m finding myself somewhat embroiled in the very heated discussions over the castings of Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange as of late, people who seem to think that, because I’m arguing in favor of the castings, that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Let me make one thing clear. I am all for casting people of all races, religions, genders, and creeds as lead roles. One hundred percent behind it.

As long as it fits the needs of the story.

One thing I am finding is that people are being racist when it comes to the roles of the Major and the Ancient One from these movies. They live here so therefore they must be this. Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese manga that became an anime, and the lead character has a Japanese name therefore she must be Japanese. The Ancient One must be Chinese or Korean or Japanese.

I’ve pointed out the fallacy behind the Ancient One logic before. By saying that the role must go to an Asian actor, those who are claiming whitewashing ignore and are extremely disrespectful to ancient, pre-Christian cultures that believed in magic, that used a magical system. That includes people from Africa and Native America. That includes people from Greece and Egypt.

And I have to say it severely upsets me when people say certain roles must be filled by certain ethnicities because it does ignore that. It does say that only a Chinese man or woman is capable of being a teacher, of being a master of magic for those who are becoming enlightened and wanting to learn. Yes, in Doctor Strange, a black man was a sorcerer and a powerful one at that. He could have become the next Ancient One after Tilda Swinton’s role ended.

It also severely upsets me when people say that this role must be this ethnicity because somehow every other culture is lazy and cannot do the pilgrimage it would require for them to get from their homelands because they didn’t have the modern conveniences of airplanes. A dedicated magician is a dedicated magician, and that soul will find its way where it needs to be to learn, even if it means walking until his or her feet is bloody, broken, and sore from the journey. Before the inventions of cars, planes, trains, and wagons, people either walked or rode a beast of burden, like a horse, camel, or donkey. It is not a far stretch to have a Celtic woman, an African man, a Native American shaman to make a journey to a place of safety and rest.

Now to pause. I’ve put this out there before, and I will stand by this because this is how I honor the African Gods who faced persecution at the hands of early Jews and Christians. This is how I honor the Celtic, Nordic, Egyptian, and Greek Gods who faced the same, both from each other and the early Jews and Christians.

It’s how I honor the Hindu Gods and all other Gods for persevering in the face of extreme adversity, bigotry, and violence. I would be more pissed off if by casting Mulan as a white chick. I would be more pissed off if Mr. Nancy from American Gods was cast as a white dude or even a Latino dude because he is African, ancient African, and a spider god to boot. I would be more pissed off at Jesus being depicted as a pale, blue-eyed dude instead of a man born in the Middle East. That, my friends, is true whitewashing. It is not whitewashing when the character has a title or a role that is meant to be versatile, that is meant to change hands when the time comes. I realize it is not what my fellow social justice warriors want to hear when it comes to diversity in lead roles, but I’m trying to approach these conversation with an understanding about the cultures in question or at least trying to understand the outrage behind the casting choices.

And it irritates me when I tell people I agree with them that there needs to be more diversity in the films we watch, but they choose to ignore those words because I’m disagreeing with them on the examples that they’ve chosen to use as the catalyst for their arguments. I mean, if I can find holes in the argument, I feel it isn’t a very good argument, and it only serves to the detriment of getting more diverse casts and accurate representations of the very cultures we want to have in lead roles. We are bordering very dangerously on stereotyping and typecasting for all ethnic groups. That’s a huge cause of concern for me as a writer.

Also, as a writer, I can only strive to include diversity in my writing, but I also must adhere to what my stories call for. In the case of Arc of Fantasy, it’s the creation of an antagonist midway through the story because the story demands it, and it’s such a fun plot twist.

In the meantime, I’m hammering away at Ravensrealm to get ready for publication later this year. Preparations for Anime St. Louis include maintenance on my Sigyn (she’s gone on two long distance trips since August so maintenance is inevitable – the joys of owning a car); finding a hotel; adding to my Fayt Leingod, Captain of the Dragon Brigade cosplay (the coat needs tweaking and some repair as well as adding some bits of armor); getting copies of Sigyn’s Flowers and Portal to Gaming for the Cosplay Giveaways; saving money for food, shopping, hotel, and fuel; working my butt off.

I feel so fortunate that I live in Tulsa and will be for Tokyo in Tulsa – that’s just food and shopping money for that weekend, and it’s like a five minute drive from the house to the convention center! I should know by tomorrow evening as to whether or not I will have booth space for that convention. I’m also settled on my August convention, which will be MatsuriCon in Columbus, Ohio, the weekend of August 25-27th.

Have a great Thursday, my friends! I’m off of work today, and I’m wanting to head to the movies.

ShutoCon, Anime St. Louis, Otakon Announcement, Cosplay, and the Giveaway

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ShutoCon is over, has been over for almost a week now, but driving and working have kept me busy since leaving Lansing Sunday evening. (I returned to work Tuesday morning.) My next convention is Anime St. Louis, the second weekend in May.

At ShutoCon, I handed out bookmarks and postcards with my social media and Arc of Fantasy information. I didn’t hand out everything, which is quite all right. I have a tendency to be a bit shy to start at conventions then be overly extroverted on the final day. It’s very different from actually being at work, where it’s a bit of a requirement to be outgoing. I am an outgoing type of person, but I’m also an introvert who is learning very quickly she needs to sell herself as well as she can sell the products of her employers.

For those of you who are wondering how the convention went, it was fun. I love going to these geeky conventions because I love what the vendors have to sell, which one can’t always find online, and for the cosplay. I may not recognize many of the fandoms anymore, but then I am an old person, compared to many of the con goers these days. (I turn 40 in October.)

Will I be making a return to ShutoCon in 2018? I honestly don’t know. As I told a friend of mine in an email, a return is going to be quite dependent on three things. They are as follows.

1 – Vendor/exhibition space.
There weren’t a lot of panels at the convention that interested me. The ones that did were on writing, and I decided last minute to not attend the script writing panel Sunday morning.
There also weren’t a lot of voice actors I was interested in meeting. Ian Sinclair was one, but I opted out of that almost last minute as well. One, a friend of my sister’s arrived and had something for us that needed to go into my car. Two, the line for Ian was growing, and I just had a feeling I knew how the panel was going to go because fans tend to ask the same questions, irregardless of the convention, irregardless of how many times other people at other conventions have asked the same questions before. Three, it isn’t like Ian won’t be at another convention at a later point in the year so catching him somewhere else will not be an issue.
Panels and guests are not the biggest draws for me when it comes to attending a convention. It truly is the overall experience. As someone who has had vendor space before, it’s very nice because you have a place to store your goodies without having to make a trip to your hotel room. It also gives you a break from wandering around and not having a lot to do in between panels and photo shoots.
For someone like me who has attended twenty conventions (Shuto is the 20th, Anime St. Louis will be my 21st convention) since the start of the 2000s, there isn’t a lot to see to get me to return.
2 – Reserving the convention center hotel or another within walking distance
Call me lazy on this. I really don’t want to drive to and from the convention center every single day of the convention after having driven off and on throughout the night and previous day to get there. I love my car, but I do need a break from driving every so often, and she needs a break from being driven. Granted, we were a six minute drive from the convention center, which isn’t bad in and of itself. It definitely could have been way worse.
Still, after driving straight through, with only stops for food and fuel and to switch drivers, it’s nice to not have to drive and to not have to coordinate when to go back to the hotel because only one person has a car.
3 – Feeling like I will be able to sell my product
Of all of these things, this is the most important. Gaining vendor space can be hit or miss, in which I could always suggest a panel for me to conduct and still make the convention worth my while in that regard.
I wandered the exhibition space quite a bit over the weekend. A lot of the vendors were very LGBTQ friendly. In fact, that seemed to be one of the most prominent type of product being sold (aside from leather works, plushies, anime, and the like). I mean, there were hats that said yaoi and yuri in big, bold, flashing lettering (made out of either mirrors or metal – I’m not sure). As someone who does write a very diverse cast of characters, one would think I would feel like I could sell any of my books at this particular convention. My first publication, Portal to Gaming, has a gay main character.
As an ally, you’d think this would not be intimidating for me. Yet, at the same time it is.
At least, for right this moment. As it stands, I have time to consider this, meditate upon this, and to make a decision. If I decide to go again, I will make the announcement when Shuto announces their registration and upon securing vendor space for that weekend. I am also seriously considering trying another March convention before making up my mind about ShutoCon.
Again, I did have fun at this convention. There just wasn’t a lot for me to do because I don’t know a lot of the newer anime series anymore, I wasn’t interested in the voice actors they had there (aside from Ian Sinclair), and I did suffer from the introvertedness that comes with being a self-published writer who has had to spend more time away from making public appearances due to finances than has been wise.
This will be a “we shall see” convention and as long as finances remain the way that they do. Finances are one thing that can change, one thing I am working on changing, and that I know I have already changed in the future. Confidence is key here, right?
I will be browsing around for a March convention and am working to do more than just one convention every other month or so.

I did cosplay on Friday at ShutoCon. The wig was not my friend after a while (I will give the wig one more chance before Anime St. Louis – I have an idea on how to get it to work with me; again, finances are the current issue), and the coat was still relatively incomplete. The braiding hooking the buttons fell off. It was to the point of “oh, there’s another. Oh well”, and one of the buttons fell off, which I did pick up. I don’t want to buy a packet of buttons just for one button.

Wearing that green coat was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to fixing it up and getting some dragon-themed bracers to go with it. Seriously. A guy was selling his own designs in leather work at ShutoCon, and they just inspired me to add them to the Fayt Leingod cosplay and to incorporate the dragon theme into the armor choices for some of my Arc of Fantasy characters. I have to be careful because not all of my people wield swords, and dragon bracers may not be 100% functional in a battle.

Anime St. Louis is coming up next. I will have more bookmarks and postcards and business cards to hand out to people. I will be adding on to the Fayt Leingod, Captain of the Dragon Brigade cosplay. Fiore Brunelli has some unique weapons that look like materia from Final Fantasy VII but are not equipped in the same way. Given everything I’m doing to Fayt in this yet-to-be published fanfiction, he’s going to need more than just a sword as a weapon!

I have already announced to facebook about a change in plans regarding Otakon. I’m not registered, and, at this point, I will not be registering. Silly me, I didn’t pay attention to where the convention was being held for this year. I presumed it was going to be in Baltimore. The convention has always been in Baltimore. A vendor at ShutoCon informed me that they announced last year a change in venue.

Otakon is going to be in Washington, D.C., this year. I really dislike the current administration, but my dislike is only one of many factors in changing my mind about this convention. Again, according to this vendor, there are no actual hotels in D.C. Parking is either going to be outrageous or even non-existent, due to the hotels being in places like Maryland and Virginia. Trying to schlep a cosplay and product on a public transit system is not something I want to do. I had to do that while living in Philadelphia with everything I owned that I had brought with me from Seattle, until I found a place where I could at least safely stash my belongings. People get irritated with you very quickly because they think you’re doing it on purpose when your stuff bumps into them. Given the convention is also in August, one of the hottest months of the year, and it’s a recipe for trouble.

I am not necessarily reconsidering heading to GenCon. Again, this is something I need to consider, meditate upon, and I was given an alternative that’s later in the month of August. I’m going to do some more delving into August conventions and see what I can find.

I found two Marvel Loki cosplayers at ShutoCon. One of them declined a free book, stating he didn’t read. A bit of a bummer, really, but one cannot force a person to read if he does not wish to do so. The other accepted and will be receiving a free copy of The King and Queen of Wands within the next 3-5 weeks. The book is ordered. I’m just waiting on delivery so I can sign it and send it on its way to this young lady.

The Cosplay Giveaway is still in effect. Send me those pictures or catch me at Anime St. Louis. Be on the lookout for me as I’ll be on the lookout for you!

Finally, a huge shout of thanks to everyone who has downloaded a free copy of Sigyn’s Flowers at this point. Every download means the world to me! I will be making an announcement the weekend of Anime St. Louis, a very important one.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday!