On Dragon*Con and Believing in Fairies

Last night was my first taste of Dragon*Con 2013. There were very few costumes in evidence…it was mainly a parade of geek humor t-shirts and interesting hair colors. That said, while standing in the monstrously mega huge pre-registration line to pick up my badge, I spotted a very impressive Tinkerbell exiting the Sheraton.

This was not your average, run-of-the-mill Halloween Tink. She had a perfectly fitted green dress and a set of delicate, luminous fairy wings that stretched at least 3 feet above her thick blond bun. Seriously, she looked better than the “cast members” who play Tink in the Disney parks.

As I was trying to figure out if it was possible to get a picture without losing my place in line, I heard a gasp behind me. I turned to find a little girl, approximately 5-6 years old. The expression on this child’s face was the perfect mix of shock, joy and awe.

“Tinkerbell,” she breathed the word then looked up at me with huge, liquid chocolate eyes. “It’s Tinkerbell!”

“I see her!” I said. “Isn’t she wonderful?”

All of the adults standing near us in line giggled a bit because the child’s reaction was just too precious. Hearing the giggles, the child drew herself up to her full height and pressed one hand to her chest. She looked back at me with a very wise, very serious expression.

“You know,” she said, “I don’t think that’s the REAL Tinkerbell.”

I accepted her verdict without argument. Obviously, the real Tinkerbell is quite a bit smaller than the girl we saw last night. Clap if you believe.

Tinkerbellephoto credit: shakotte via photopin cc

70’s Flashback – It’s Billy Dee Williams!

It has suddenly occurred to me that I have not yet gushed over the fact that Billy Dee Williams will be at Dragon*Con this weekend. He is the only actor in the original trilogy that I knew before he appeared in a galaxy far, far away.

Back in 1978, two years before Lando Calrissian swept onscreen to “greet” his old friend Han Solo, I was introduced to Billy Dee Williams via The Jeffersons and Billy Dee’s #1 fan, Florence Johnston. It is my absolute favorite episode of The Jeffersons so I’m going to post the last 1/3 here:

Note: You can watch the full episode on TouTube.

If I happen to meet Mr. Williams (a very big IF as I am not talented, clever or daring enough to pull off the whole celebrity stalking thing) and I yell, “It’s the REAL Billy Dee Williams!” do you think he’ll get the joke? Hmmm…probably not.

After Writer Dreams – Dreaming Big

This is a two part post.

Part One…I want to tell you about After Writer Dreams, an utterly fantastic motivational blog for writers.

I met Margaret Nystrom online while participating in writing challenges hosted by Ezra & Beth Barany. Toward the end of the session, Margaret posted an open offer to feature books by any published authors in the group on her website. The first thing I did was click over to her website. Wow! I was immediately impressed by the wealth of information and inspiration I found there, but then I clicked on her post for Day 1 of July Camp NaNoWriMo and just about fell in love with her (in a non-creepy way, I swear).

So, of course, I sent her my book information. And, yes, Margaret was kind enough to feature the NSLA cover with a link to my website. But that’s not why I’m posting her links here. Seriously, After Writer Dreams is a wonderful resource for writers. Check it out!

Part Two…Dreaming BigRainbow DreamsI have this fantasy version of my writerly life that is very near and dear to my heart. The fantasy has grown and evolved over time, but certain elements remain constant:

  • Mega-bestselling novels that entertain readers and leave them panting for the next one. (This one, obviously, is a given.)
  • A picturesque home, usually a brightly painted Victorian “Gingerbread House” like these on Martha’s Vineyard…or this house from Practical Magic.
  • A bright, airy, colorful, uncluttered writing space
  • A library filled with fabulous books and a cozy reading nook
  • A loving husband/partner who supports my writing
  • At least 2 adorable fuzzy pets…possibly more.
  • A closet full of custom designed dresses…preferably chosen/approved by Tim Gunn.
  • A friendly neighborhood cafe where I meet up with other writerly types to write, write, write on a regular basis

Heretofore, the above elements shall be known as THE DREAM.

Now, I’ve told you this because I want to ask you this…Did you see the CBS Sunday Morning article on Cassandra Clare that aired last Sunday (8/18/13)? If not, you can click here to watch it online.

When I first saw that article, my reaction was electric. I could not sit still. I was jumping up and down squealing like a total nutcase. That woman is living my dream! (Actually, she is living her dream, which bears a striking resemblance to my dream, but let’s not split hairs. It’s THE DREAM!)

This makes Cassandra Clare my latest personal inspiration. (Disclaimer: I am aware that there’s some controversy out there on the Internets regarding the…um, originality or lack thereof, in Ms. Clare’s writing. I have no opinion nor interest in that controversy. The point is that she is a real, living, breathing author who is living THE DREAM and, therefore, proof that it is possible.)

You know what? There is a big difference between motivation and inspiration.

Motivation is taking action to avoid or stop something bad. When I’m hungry, I’m motivated to eat. When my pants are tight, I’m motivated to exercise more. When I hear the talking heads on TV blathering on about some financial crisis, I’m motivated to turn off the TV (or at least change the channel). When Zoey yowls and jumps on me, I’m motivated to get up and feed her.

Inspiration is THE DREAM. It is the dazzling, magical realm of possibilities. Inspiration makes it possible to push forward against the odds and do something that makes your heart sing…even when you can’t remember the last time your heart sang.

What is your dream? Do you ever let yourself write it or say it out loud? Does thinking about your dream inspire you to take action? Or does it leave you feeling empty, sad and lost for the lack of it?

My Novel Will Be Available at Dragon*Con!

Breaking news…Larry Smith, Bookseller will be selling Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away during Dragon*Con (Booth 2011, 2013 – AmericasMart Level 2). Also…they’ve graciously invited me to hang out and assist in selling books for a few hours. Woo hoo!

I’m planning to be there 4:00 – 7:00 on Saturday. So…If you are coming to Dragon*Con, come see me! If you can’t come see me, still check out the booth. Their selection of Fantasy and Sci-Fi books inspired great reviews last year.

Also, my friend Grant Searcey’s artwork will be featured at the Art Show & Print Shop (Hyatt Regency: Exhibit Level – Grand Hall West). I’ve already been amazed by sneak peeks of his Steampunk Art in progress and I’m very excited to check out a preview of his Dragon*Con collection tonight!

Other events I’ve got on my tentative personal schedule:

  • Sat 11:30 am (Marriott A706) – Photo-Ops with the Star Wars Stars/Costumes from the Parade
  • Sat 2:30 pm (Marriott Skyline – 10th Floor) – Race of the Tauntauns/Pod Race
  • Sun 11:30 am (Sheraton Valdosta) – Paranormal Excavation: South Carolina
  • Sun 4:00 pm (Marriott Imperial Ballroom) – Meet the Stars of Star Wars (a.k.a. Billy Dee Williams?!?!)
  • Mon 11:30 am (Marriott A706) – William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope

And I’m still perusing the gazillion events online & in the 2013 Progress Report…any suggestions??? Know of an event I should not miss? Want to meet up for sustenance? Post any suggestions/invitations in the comments below or on my Facebook author page.

DragonCon Photophoto credit: Cayusa via photopin cc

I <3 Neil Gaiman (Again)

“I think that  pretty much every form of fiction (I’d include fantasy, obviously) can actually be a real escape from places where you feel bad, and from bad places. It can be a safe place you go, like going on holiday, and it can be somewhere that, while you’ve escaped, actually teaches you things you need to know when you go back, that gives you knowledge and armour and tools to change the bad place you were in.

So no, they’re not escapist. They’re escape.”

Neil Gaiman

Fantasy Book Escape
photo credit: ClaraDon via photopin cc

5-Day Fiction Writing Challenge – Day One

There’s a dream that strings the road with broken glass for us to hold
And I cut so far before I have to say…

Please please tell me now is there something I should know?

Is There Something I Should Know by
Duran Duran

Broken Glass Eye

Well, the good news is that I wrote my 1000 words today…they just weren’t the words I had planned to write. I had this idea that I was going to use this week’s challenge to work on a short story starring Erika and Sonny in 1980…but that just was NOT flowing. At all.

I love writing realistic contemporary YA fiction. I do. But I have a paranormal dark side. I love ghosts and ghost stories and haunted houses. That mystical, magical, haunted part of my writerly nature has been ignored and neglected for months. This evening, the ghosts would not be silent. With today’s writing, I am up to 46,898 words of a paranormal mystery project. I think I need to see this thing through to “The End” before October.

I’m not ready to divulge any details yet, but I’m posting the quote and the picture above as a sort of teaser…and a wee peek inside my haunted little brain.

Don’t worry though! The next installment in my fangirl trilogy, tentatively entitled Sometimes We Strike Back, is still scheduled for Summer 2014! Stay tuned…

photo credit: pareeerica via photopin cc

Fiction Writing Challenge Starts 8/19/13

I can’t ever seem to get anything done without a clear and looming deadline hanging over my head…or a challenge. I’m a sucker for a writing challenge.
Writing ChallengeCase in point…Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away started its journey to full-grown published novel status as 50,000 words written for National Novel Writing Month. (It was my second NaNoWriMo novel…some day, that first novel will also find its way to publication.) Unfortunately, NaNoWriMo 2013 is over two months away and I need to stop neglecting my fiction writing addiction now, immediately, pronto!

That’s why I’m going to participate in a Free 5-Day Fiction Writers Online Intensive with Ezra & Beth Barany that kicks off on Monday 8/19/13 (click here if you are interested in learning more). Last week I participated in their Writers Boot Camp in order to focus on creating a new and improved marketing plan for NSLA. I accomplished what I set out to do during that challenge, but I’m tired or writing about marketing my writing and now I’m ready and eager to jump back into my first/true love – writing new fiction. So…I’m now getting psyched up to write some fresh new fiction next week.

Need to decide what my challenge is going to be…possibly 5000 words in 5 days? Also need to decide what I’m going to write. Hmmm…maybe I’ll put a poll here or on my Facebook author page to ask for votes.

(Note: This free online resource/challenge is being offered to publicize Ezra & Beth Barany’s author coach business…which is an excellent/creative piece of marketing in my opinion. That said, I’m not in a position to comment on &/or rate &/or recommend their skills as author coaches. But they do run a great online challenge!)
photo credit: Dia™ via photopin cc

Mark Hamill and I


I’m afraid we might have something in common….

“You know how there are some stars out there who know how to market themselves? I don’t have that.”

 – Mark Hamill 

Skywalker Action Figure

…but I’m totally focused on overcoming this minor character flaw. Or is it really a flaw? Yes, yes it’s definitely a flaw if you want to be a successful author. So it must be overcome. Right? BAH! Do you see how ambivalent I am about this?

Dragon*Con Dilemma (Part 1)

18 days, 16 hours and 30-ish minutes until Dragon*Con
Vader with FemTroopersand I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to wear. I need to come up with three clever, comfortable, Star Wars-y outfits in less than 3 weeks. Zoinks!

I’m looking for suggestions. Anyone?

Thing is, I love costumes. I do. But I just don’t have the time, talent, energy, resources or inclination to create the sort of incredible costumes that the superstars of cosplay create before they flock to Dragon*Con to flaunt their fabulous work. On the flip side, I don’t want to look like the complete and total outsider that I actually am. Also, I tend to feel a little more bold and brave when I wear wigs, masks &/or face painting…and I’m going to need all the bravery I can muster this year.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Project Runway. (I have a secret fantasy that Tim Gunn will agree to adopt me someday.) In my heart of hearts, I feel like I should be able to come up with 3 easy to wear, fashion forward looks inspired by Star Wars…even though I cannot pattern, sew or drape to save my life.

Here’s the challenge:

  • I want to wear something that clearly shows I’m a Star Wars fan, but more attractive and clever than a Star Wars t-shirt
  • I need to be reasonably comfortable because I’m going to be taking the Metro to Peachtree Center station and walking, walking, walking several miles each day.
  • I’m not exactly in love with my body-type right now, so no jumpsuits, clingy white dresses, metal bikinis or midriff baring of any type.

Actually, I sorta, kinda have a plan for what I’m going to wear on Saturday – a loose white t-shirt dress with a blue graphic pattern that evokes R2-D2’s dome from above (click here for inspiration). Pair that with some silver flats. Maybe wear a sleek, white bob wig with blue streaks and paint my face like this.

For another day, I thought about wearing a brown knit dress with a bandolier strap Chewbacca style.

And that’s about all I’ve got. My friend Thomas sent me this link as an inspiration, but I tried re-creating Yoda Grunge look last year and it didn’t really work. It was a cute outfit, but it didn’t clearly communicate, I am a Star Wars fangirl.

So….that’s my first dilemma in preparing for this crazy thing called Dragon*Con. Any suggestions?

photo credit: megadem via photopin cc