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Another day, another cosplay! Yes, it’s the exciting conclusion to my first post regarding our recent trip to Rose City Comic Con. As promised, I will reveal the genius costume idea that my brother came up with.

After toiling long and hard about who the heck he wanted to be, Brother had just about given up on finding a decent costume. He played around with the thought of going as Titus from Final Fantasy, since that was a character that he somewhat looked like, but the costume ended up being far more complicated than it should have been. (Not to mention pretty expensive.)

He hemmed and hawed over this decision until finally — at last! — inspiration struck him. You see, a good majority of his favorite characters just to happened to be female, which initially made him rule them out. Then he finally thought, “What the heck? I’ll just do a gender-swap of my favorite DC character of all time.”

Thus I bring you gender swap Harley (or “Harvey”) Quinn:

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Not bad, eh? He opted for the Suicide Squad version of Harley, since he really enjoyed Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character. (I won’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, and I personally thought it was by far the best live-action version of Harley Quinn that I’ve seen.)

He got a lot of compliments on his outfit. I’d told him how I had seen MANY Harleys the last Comic Con, but no gender swaps. So you can imagine my surprise when we ran into two of them almost right away. Go figure. While we only got a picture with one, they were definitely a fun couple to hang out with:

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And of course, we couldn’t resist posing with another DC character, which was this Batgirl cutie:

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And we got REALLY excited when we found two other Suicide Squad cosplays:

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I love how Brother is totally in character. The other two are appropriately serious, and he’s grinning like the Quinn he is. 😉

But the best part was when we found a legit, absolutely fantastic Batman. So of course, Brother had to ask if Batsy would be willing to play the part of his nemesis for a photo op. Being the gracious guy that he is, Batman was more than willing to comply:

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But I promise, he really was just a nice guy overall. And probably one of the best Batmans that I’ve seen, to be honest.

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See? Just a nice guy.

So that was our overall Comic Con experience. I managed to snag a few more things for my Lord of the Rings collection, which made me happy. (Even though they weren’t nearly as epic as Karl Urban’s autograph would have been.)

All in all, a great time.

In other news, I am SUPER stoked for this week. My parents, brother and I are going to head over to the island state of Hawaii! Woot! This will only be the second time that I’ve ever gotten to go, and it’s going to be nice to see something other than the tourist trap of Honolulu. Not that I’m really complaining about the last trip, mind you. Heck, any time in Hawaii is good, in my book. But this time around, I’ll be able to do a lot more hiking and exploring and picture-taking. It’s going to be superb.

I’ll be posting photos and sharing about our adventures when I return. Plus I’m going to finally share a little more about my latest project. It’s not really writing-centered, but it’s still creative and very fun.

Until then, aloha!

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Another year, another Comic Con in the books! I’m a little late in posting, but it’s been surprisingly busy since the weekend of Comic Con. (You would think being able to work from home would mean that I have all kinds of time on my hands, but it’s amazing how quickly you can fill up those time slots when they’re available…)

Anyway, Comic Con was once again very enjoyable. I haven’t yet received the photos that my brother took, so I’m splitting my post into two parts. I know, you’re on the edge of your seats. While this year’s Con was a *little* disappointing to me, it wasn’t without good points as well. My primary reason for feeling let down was because the two actors that I was actually really looking forward to meeting both had to cancel. One was Jason Isaacs, whom I utterly adore because can you say CAPTAIN HOOK, but he had another commitment that prevented him from attending. Since he’s going to be the new captain in Star Trek: Discovery, it’s no wonder that his schedule is crazy busy.

Captain Hook 2

Rowr.

But seriously. Major disappointment at his not being there. I’ve had a fangirl crush on him for more years than I care to count, and I by far consider him to be the hottest Captain Hook in existence. Yes, even compared to Once Upon a Time, though I confess that version of Hook is also quite dashing. Actually, he just makes an epic villain in general, from Dragonheart to The Patriot.

My other sad face came when Karl Urban had to cancel. I was really hoping for his autograph to add to my Lord of the Rings collection, but unfortunately he had a family emergency and had to stay in New Zealand. We weren’t offered details on what was going on, but suffice to say I hope all is well with him and his loved ones.

So I didn’t really meet any major celebrities this year, apart from the one and only Weird Al. My friend was actually the one who paid for the photo, but you’re allowed to have a friend with you if you choose, so I got to be the friend, yay!

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He is actually rather tall in real life. I mean, I know I’m only 5’2″, but sheesh.

But he was very nice for the brief moment that we got to spend with him. My main focus this time around was getting to enjoy the always excellent cosplay available. I mean, people get so dang creative. (I can’t wait to show you my brother’s cosplay. It was super fun.)

I got to meet one of my favorite Disney princesses, Belle:

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I stuck with Black Widow this year, since my budget didn’t entirely allow a second costume. Next year, I hope to be able to plan ahead and cosplay Merida from Brave. But back to this year.

I found the most legit David Tennant version of the Doctor that I’ve ever seen in my life. For reals. The moment I saw him, I ran up yelling, “TAKE ME WITH YOU.”

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Also legit? This excellent cosplay of Barf, from one of my favorite Mel Brooks films of all time:

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It’s like John Candy never left us.

My two other favorites were also incredibly authentic, starting with our other favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow:

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This guy entered the costume contest and actually made his own costume by hand. Combine that with the fact that his face is eerily similar to Johnny Depp’s, and you have one excellent pirate.

Last, but not least, was this fantastic Samus:

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The intricacies of her costume were AMAZING. Best Samus that I’ve seen thus far.

So there’s part one! Stay tuned for part two, in which you will see my brother face one of his mortal enemies, hehehehe…..

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Another Happy Star Wars Day to you all! I can’t believe it’s come around yet again. By far the best part about this year’s Star Wars Day is that BROTHER IS COMING HOME FROM COLLEGE. *squee!* Yes, this is the same brother who plays video games for me. He’s my favorite sibling! Okay, so he’s my only sibling. But he’s still my favorite.

I don’t know about you fellow geeks, but I am positively quivering with excitement over the movies coming out this summer. We’ll have Iron Man 3, the new Star Trek, and (my personal favorite) THOR 2! What’s a fangirl to do? (The correct answer to that is watch them all.) Seriously. Amazing. Have you seen the trailer to Thor 2? Have you? HAVE YOU? My favorite part is knowing that Loki will be in it, however small the part. I heart Loki. Yes, I have a bit of a villain fetish. They’re usually such wicked cool characters. Literally.

I have no idea who drew this awesome picture, but I love it. Love, love, love!

I have no idea who drew this awesome picture, but I love it. Love, love, love!

Anyway, I know what I’ll be saving my pennies for this summer. Sure, we might be poor, but dang it, these movies were made for the big screen. It would be an insult to the special effects crew to watch them anywhere else first. So says me. I’m even thinking ahead to next year’s calendar. I have an awesome Legend of Zelda one at work right now, but perhaps a Thor one will be there next year. Must ponder that.

These are the kinds of movies that make me wish that someone would snatch up Prince of Light. I can picture the special effects in my head already, and I just know that if it was in the right hands, it would be incredible. The biggest challenge that I’ve had in writing book two is making sure that the action level is just a great if not better than book one. I almost outdid myself with the first book’s action sequences, and now I find myself staring at my Word document and thinking, “How am I going to top that? It was epic.” I’ll manage, I’m sure. (If not, the readers will let me know.)

I’m still too giddy from all the fantasmic movies coming out this year. I think I’ll go re-watch The Avengers to satisfy my palette a little until then.

Obviously I do not own Star Wars, Thor, or any of the images. I only wish that I had thought up ideas that cool. I know you know that, but I still have to cover my behind. 😀

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Boy, does it really rock it!

Yeah, kinda crappy quality, I know. I only had my phone and it’s not the best at indoor lighting, sadly.

It had been years since I’d been to a real, honest-to-goodness, hard rock concert, and I’d really missed it. The last few rockin’ concerts I’d been to were even smaller than this, and no one really did anything but stand there. And they were comprised of mostly teenagers, too. Seriously, people? IT’S A ROCK CONCERT. Your parents probably rocked it harder back in the seventies than you are right now.

But thankfully, none of those people showed up last night. Everyone that attended was there to just have fun and enjoy the bands. I know it was a much smaller venue than Nightwish would normally do, but they really did put on one of the best concerts I’ve yet seen. I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn’t stick around longer, but I know they have multiple other places to go to. I’m sure they had another show in another town the very next day, but still. I hope they come back, because I would gladly go again.

We started the night off with Kamelot, who I always enjoy.

Stood a little further away for these guys. I don’t have a fangirl crush on any of them, sorry.

I didn’t care for their casual tossing around of the f-bomb, but that’s just my personal opinion. Honestly, I knew that if that was the worst it got, it was probably considered a mild rock concert, ha! 😉 Kamelot did several good songs, including my all-time favorite of theirs, “March of Mephisto.” They also did “Ghost Opera,” which was pretty sweet.

Then it was time for the good stuff. I had read a press release prior to the concert that Anette would not be finishing the tour due to conflicts that they couldn’t resolve. I enjoyed her voice and felt that she did well enough considering the shoes she had to fill, but I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken that she wasn’t there. (No one can really replace Tarja, so why bother trying?) They ended pulling in another gal named Floor Jansen, who apparently used to sing in After Forever and ReVamp. Actually, I’d never heard of either of those bands, but I felt she did a really great job, especially since she’d probably only been practicing the songs for a few days.

I seriously wanted her shirt. It was amazing. Of course you can’t see it here, but you can trust me that it was gorgeous.

I was especially glad that they put together a variety of songs, including some older ones. They played two of my absolute favorites from when Tarja was with them, “Dark Chest of Wonders” and “Nemo.” Plus they did “Amaranth” and several of my favorites from their new album.

Yay for being on the side of the stage closest to Tuomas! The man’s talent is seemingly endless. Three different keyboards, and he bounced back and forth between them all with little to no effort.

OMG look at his hat! Love, love, love!

I think what surprised me the most was the band’s humility despite their enormous success. Their bassist, Marco, had a great personality and was so much fun. And every time Tuomas happened to look up and see a camera phone pointed in his direction, he just smiled and shook his head, nodding over to one of the other bandmates or the lead singer. Like, “Nah, you don’t really want to take a picture of me.” (Dude, why do you think I really came here??)

Bro and I eventually managed to get about two or three rows back, so I got an awesome view of all the band. (Of course that was only after staring at a guy’s shoulder blades for the first part. Stupid tall people. The upside of being only 5’2″ and fairly small is that I can usually squeeze into the front and no one minds because they can still totally see over me. The downside is that I’m at armpit height. Not so bad unless you’re in a crowd of teenagers. We’re lucky I survived the night.)

But, all in all, it was an awesome concert and I hope they come back to Oregon again in the near future.

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Somehow, my Geekdar managed to miss the fact that last Friday, July 13th was actually, in fact, Embrace Your Geekness Day.

I can’t make this stuff up, people.

Only someone made of awesome can play a space captain, a mutant and a scrooge and still be able to quote Shakespeare. The man’s talent knows no bounds. Seriously.

Not only that, but it ALSO happened to be the birthdays of two of the greatest actors to have ever served Geek-kind, Patrick Stewart and Harrison Ford. (Mr. Stewart gets slightly more precedence than Mr. Ford, by the simple fact that he has portrayed two enormous characters within the geek world, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Professer Charles Xavier.)

While I confess that I’ve never actually read any of the Marvel comics, I am a huge fan of the movies. Or the ones that are actually done right, anyway. (Thank you, Iron Man and Thor, patooie to the original Hulk film and X3.) I’ve considered sitting down and trying to read a few just for the heck of it, so I can actually get the references and inside jokes from the movies, but I’ve just gotten so used to manga, I can’t really get into any other art style. Sad, I know. I’ve gotten spoiled, I suppose.

You know you’re a manga snob when you can spot an “Ameri-manga” immediately and shudder in horror at the mere sight of it. Seriously. The Japanese aren’t trying to take over Marvel/DC Comics and make them their own. Let them have their artwork made of awesome, and you can have your own artwork made of awesome. Stop the madness!

As an artist, I do appreciate the time and talent it takes for both forms of art. A Western-style comic book is just as detailed and takes as much talent as any manga. I just happen to prefer manga. Maybe it’s the art style. Maybe it’s the character development. Maybe it’s the humor. Or maybe it’s the fact that manga guys actually look pretty hot. Who knows?

Hmm. Come to think of it, that explains a lot, actually. *eyebrow waggle*

I guess it’s safe to say that when it comes to my favorite characters, I sort of have a type, eh? You’d think from these guys that I’d totally fall for blondes in real life, but that’s actually not normally the case. Weird.

Go ahead, admit it. You might make fun of us geeks for getting all excited over a good-looking character, but you know that you only watched X-Men because Hugh Jackman was in it.

However, as someone who has fallen so deeply in love with so many characters over the years, be it from a book, movie, TV show, etc., I find myself wondering if people are going to feel the same way about my characters. Will I create that saga that keeps readers chomping at the bit for more? Will they actually cry if I kill off a character? Will they sympathize with the character’s struggles and longings?

Honestly, I’m not sure what makes a good character great. Perhaps it’s being able to relate to their temptations and yearnings, experiencing what they experience, feeling what they feel. I could spend all day listing characters that have touched even my shriveled, black heart. Characters that will live on long after their creators. I suppose in the long run, that’s really all that authors – or geeks – can ask for: That their work will touch new generations year after year and be remembered for the decades to come.

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These are seriously the cutest things ever. I can imagine an entire purse covered in them. Or a pillow. Or…Well, you get the idea. If I were still in high school my backpack would be the most geeky, 8-bit covered piece of phenomenal to walk the hallways. I would be that proud.

We watched the movie How to Train Your Dragon last night and I really enjoyed it. As if my love of video games and manga didn’t prove what a teen/child I am at heart, I also happen to love cartoons. I still go back and watch the old Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons of my childhood, simply because it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I guess it just proves that explosions really do make everything better. (I pretty much base my love of a movie on whether or not it has any explosions or an amazing fight sequence in it. If there’s not at least one of the two, I generally consider it not worth my time, with few exceptions.) Given that I write fantasy, it was probably obvious that I would love a movie about dragons, but you honestly never know. As I watched it, knowing that it was based on a book, I started wondering to myself what it must be like to have your characters literally come to life on screen. I know there are times when the movie can totally botch the storyline, *coughEragoncough* but it still must be something to have your story made into a movie.

Comic book artists must have the same sort of feelings, I would imagine.

Found on slackernetwork.com

Because he’s worth it.

Some movies may be a disappointment, but then you have the absolute awesome of something like Iron Man or Thor to make up for it. Those artists must get the same butterflies and giddy excitement when they see their drawings depicted in real life. It’s motivating. It makes me want to finish my series so that maybe someday my story might get made into a movie.

There are certainly pros and cons to this. Some die-hard book fanatics believe that no movie will ever be as good as the original book, and most of the time I’m inclined to agree. Some movie adaptations have totally sucked the big one. *coughEragoncough* However, as an author I also believe that letting your work be made into a movie also brings about a whole new audience that might not have discovered your story otherwise, particularly in my field. Not every teen out there enjoys reading. For many, it’s a great struggle. But after they watch a movie, they might be more inclined to read the book that it was based on. Anytime a kid or teen gets interested in reading, my heart does a happy dance.

Yay! Read more!

It’s a good feeling to know that coming this October, I can help contribute to that. The series is coming together in my head. There are so many more things that I want to post, but until my book is out there, I feel they won’t quite make sense.

October can’t come soon enough!

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Why We Love Fantasy

This pretty much sums up how I feel about myself every day.

I know I’ve mentioned before my absolute love of the band Nightwish. [OMG – Fangirl squee!] I have yet to find another band that has captivated me so completely as they have. Their music has inspired countless battle scenes and epic moments in my writing and imagination. I can write a tragic and moving scene between two lovers while listening to the instrumental version of “Creek Mary’s Blood,” or picture Link fighting Ganandorf when I hear the instrumental version of “The Poet and the Pendulum.” (Go ahead. Listen to even just a sample of it and then visualize the absolute awesomeness of a scene like that. Oh yeah. I suppose, you’d have to listen to the full song to get the emotion from it, but still.) I can find a Nightwish song for pretty much any mood, especially thanks to their latest album.

Hence I’ve already decided that if my book ever gets a contract to become a movie, I want to have two clauses that are set in stone before I sign over anything. 1.) That Orlando Bloom and Robert Pattinson aren’t allowed to even try out for any roles. Period. 2.) That Tuomas Holopainen

Tuomas appeals to my pervy pirate/rocker fancier. He would look most fetching in a pirate costume, yes?

is offered the chance to write the score for the movie first. If he turns it down, then they can hire whomever they want. (Nothing really personal against Mr. Bloom or Mr. Pattinson, they’re just not at all what I picture for any characters. And I really can’t stand either of them. So sue me.)

But my current squee of the moment is because I hath purchased tickets to see the one and only Nightwish (and therefore the amazing and talented Tuomas) here in Oregon for this coming October. They’re playing in Portland, which is a good three hours from where I live, but it is well worth the drive. To make things even better, Kamelot is going to be opening for them! It’s like a fiesta in my brain. Yes, Husband took some convincing to let me purchase the tickets. (It’s what credit cards are for, okay?) But once I pleaded with him and told him it was – quite literally – the chance of a lifetime due to the fact that the band lives in Finland, he relented and agreed to let it be a late birthday present for me. (My birthday’s actually in August, but I shall gladly forgo any other presents for this one.) Younger Brother’s birthday actually is in October, so it’s a good way to combine them. I am so freaking ecstatic I can’t hardly stand it.

I must find a good rock concert outfit. I don’t think I even own one. Hmm. We shall rectify that post-haste.

I think it is most fitting that I get to attend this concert in October, as I’ve finally decided to release my first ever book that same month. I think if I give myself a definite deadline, I’ll be more apt to really get on the ball with the final details. I even came up with an advertisement:

Looks enticing, doesn’t it? 😉 Betcha can’t wait for October now! As more details are available, I’ll add to it. I’m getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about finally getting this out to the general public. My thoughts keep jumping back and forth:

What if people don’t like it? What if they do? What if they absolutely HATE it? What if they don’t care about the character development? Maybe they don’t like the idea of shapeshifters and elves in the same story. Do frogs really give you warts? How DO porcupines mate? AAUUUUGHHHH!!

You get the idea. I have the feeling these thoughts will continue to become more and more frequent the closer I get to the release date. I will have the concert to look forward to, which will help curb my excitement. Or make it worse.

In the meanwhile, you can picture me squealing like the little fangirl that I am until this milestone has been completed. *squee!*

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