Planet Comicon 2013–I hugged Dr. Who, almost got shot by a Storm Trooper, saw great art…

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I went as Death from The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.

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Comicons can be a frightening experience for people who didn’t wear costumes.

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Digitally engineering their next droid.

Astromech is an R2 Builders Club. Want your own droid? Vacuum droid? Taser droid? A droid you can talk to on a lonely night? check ‘em out.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE!!!

And Bane.

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Me with the awesome Black Cat

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I got to meet some of the Airship Vindus crew. These are a remarkable steampunk group, check out what they’re doing. 

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I told her not to kiss any men at the con.

She said she wouldn’t unless they really deserved it.

Fair enough.

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Who ya gonna call?

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Me and Regina from Once Upon A Time. We’re both mistresses of Death.

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My awesome con companion, Eden Lang. She went as a Dauntless from the Divergent Series.

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Sandmen.

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Logan. 

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Cutest. Hobbit. Ever.

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We got to meet Adam Baldwin! He kept calling Eden, “Edith.” It was pretty funny.


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Where’s The Batman?

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I don’t remember anything from this encounter.

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Lovely. This was one of my favorite costumes at the con.

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Nothin’ to see here. Just a man walkin’ his droid.


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Tin Tin takes on a bounty hunter.


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Love this.

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One of my favorite comic book characters, Rorschach.

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Dudes with guns.

The Gears of War man on the right, Calen Hoffman, built his from scratch. Check out his other works.

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 Zombie!!! Ruuuunn! 

Seriously. This guy was creepy. He always stayed in character and basically terrorized us anytime he saw us. It was great.

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Incredible body art.

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Eternal Sisters! This is me and Little Alice

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Opposites.

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Tin Tin!

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I got to meet the artist, Cat Staggs. She’s illustrated lots of comics for DC and Marvel. She’s currently working on Smallville Season 11.

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I also got the honor of meeting the awesome Dan Scott. I love his details and imagination. Check out his other works.

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I really don’t think kids should play so close to that thing.

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Fantastic cosplay of Nightcrawler.

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This is Jimmy Hasse. His comics and illustrations were really funny and we had a good chat about humor in comics and Val Kilmer’s awesome roles and this and that.

his website is hilarious…click here.

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This is Bartholomew Schmidt, a creator of a web comic series about a Changeling. Called Changeling’s Child. He had me at changeling. I can’t resist a good fairy tale.

Check out his web comic.

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Bane.

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Why So Serious?

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Sing!!

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The Dark Crystal

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Levi Hoffmeier is an amazing comic and concept artist. I had the pleasure of talking with him and was so impressed with his taste and skill.

Check out his new webcomic coming out this summer, MAYFLOWER.

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Nice hair!

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Need a haircut?

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This is Steven Sanders, and his curly beard.

He’s an illustrator for such awesomeness as Wolverine and X-men, and he just finished a successful kickster campaign to create a series called, Symbiosis, the world’s first Creative Commons world building art book. It’s 1940 bio-punk, and you’ve gotta hear more so go here…

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Steampunk Ironman.

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I also had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy Mohler from Outland Entertainment. He’s got a great team of artists and has an awesome visionary perspective on publishing.

Check out Outland’s webcomic, Ithaca.

And what comicon is complete with out a hug from Dr. Who?

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Okay, so a hug is a bit of an exaggeration. He didn’t want to get too close. Nobody wants a hug from Death.

Why I’ve Made The Switch

I’m entirely digital now.

I HAVEN’T been turned into a hologram image, if that’s what you were thinking…

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But all my books are digital. That is, the ones that I buy. I’m still a huge library patron.

everybodyBut anytime a book is SO good that I need it in my forever, ever personal library: I buy a digital copy. Same thing with movies.

Things I like about digital books:

- they have the potential to be interactive, with illustrations, animations, music, sound effects, and olfactory stimulation. Okay, so the olfactory stimulation isn’t possible yet. But it’s coming soon.

- It’s better on the environment. Even though it still takes a lot of energy to make digital copies, after all, email and internet info and all that still has to be stored somewhere, it still isn’t taking up such a precious commodity as a tree. And while I don’t disagree with using paper, I’d still prefer not to if I don’t have to. I’d much rather use trees to make more important items–like toilet paper.

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Of course, this also makes it dangerous. It’s so easy to click the BUY WITH ONE CLICK button. So Easy! Why you make it so easy Amazon? Don’t you know I have to spend my money on food and heating and such?!

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- You can check out the first few chapters, and see if you like a book before purchasing it.

- You can leave notes and bookmark sections, without forever scarring the page (I hate writing in books, it freaks me out).

- Your kids can’t tear out pages.

- Your kids can’t color on the pages.

AND, the finale:

- – It’s convenient. Say I read a recommendation for a book. I want that book. I go on my Amazon.com app or iTunes store and buy the book. It’s on my phone or iPad. It takes less than a minute (if the internet’s fast) for me to want a book and then buy it.

However, there is one reason why I’ll always love paper books. One reason. It’s the feeling of the pages in your right hand getting smaller and smaller, thinner and thinner, until you turn the very last page and close the book with a ‘snap.’

iPads can never rival that.

Bad Art

Do you want to see some bad art?

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This is supposed to be … I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be. Maybe a dizzy larvae and his creepy jellyfish friend?

 

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And the artist called this work “Me Riding A Horse.” A horse? A HORSE? Horses don’t even have faces like that. It’s more like a stick figure riding a popsicle stick with legs.

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And this is a “Self Portrait.” Let me just say this artist has a big head.

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What? This is a house? The artist has NO perspective

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What are those dots even supposed to mean? 

 

Okay, I’ll stop now. I was sounding really ridiculous. It was annoying me to no end.

It wasn’t bad art. It was my kids art.

If I wasn’t trying to make a point I’d be writing things like, “SUCH AWESOME ART HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BY MANKIND.” and “I THINK MY CHILD IS A PROTEGE.” and “THIS INSPIRES ME.” and “I REALLY WANT A JELLYFISH FRIEND.” (btw, I talk in capslock a lot. My husband has been working on getting me to talk more in lower case. I’m workin’ on it.)

I don’t think it was bad art. It was NEW art. Sure, you could call it bad. It’s bad compared to this:

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But let’s not confuse bad art with new art.

If you start something, you’re going to be bad at it. Every year around the end of October there’s always a slew of articles about how National Novel Writing Month is coming up and there’ll be an influx of bad books flooding the market. But I think it’d be more appropriate to say that there will be an influx of new author’s books flooding the market.

I’m a big fan of bad art. It means someone’s trying. They’ve started art. To become good at something you have to do it badly at first. Sure, there are some crazy proteges who can do this the first try:

But most likely you’ll start out sounding like this:

So go! Go make some bad art! Draw a horse that looks like a hippo! Play the ukelele badly! Write a terrible short story! Create a cake that takes like paste!

Give yourself permission to be bad. It’s the only way you’ll get good.

Breaking Steele as pulp fiction…

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Aaron Patterson and I want our thriller, Breaking Steele, to be more like a movie-going experience than a deep novel experience. You sit down, enjoy the mystery and suspense, and it only takes up about the time it would to watch a few TV shows. It’s short. It’s fast-paced. And it doesn’t answer every question or give backstories on everyone. We plan on writing 7 Sarah Steele thrillers. Twisting Steele will be coming out around March and we hope to have two more out by the end of the year.

One reviewer, the awesome Glenn Gordon, captured a lot of what we wanted readers to feel in his recent review:

“So, a friend I’ve never met writes a blog that consistently busts my gut and amuses me to no end, and when I learned she’d collaborated with a popular thriller writer on a new pulp crime series featuring a reluctant Assistant D. A. heroine named Sarah Steele, I simply had to bite and Amazoned it in paperback, then read it on a return flight from Chicago just before Christmas. Took me four hours to power through it. Couldn’t put it down. Buckle your seat belts for take off — READ — Buckle your seat belts for landing. Done. Wow. What just happened?

Oh, Ellie Ann, this girl can write! I have no way of knowing which parts and pieces of Breaking Steele were her contribution and which poured from the pen of collaborator Aaron Patterson, but I heard her voice woven throughout the narrative. She’s a funny gal and there’s a subtle wry humor that springs up on occasion that’s clearly hers. Bottom line, though, it doesn’t really matter. Ellie and Aaron, Aaron and Ellie — it just flat out works.

But I’ve got to warn you, this is pulp crime. As in pulp fiction. As in raw and wicked and in your face and without a lot of poetry. James Lee Burke they ain’t. Characters die big and wrong and bloody and at times your stomach will turn and your skin might crawl. But in oh such a please-no-but-give-me-more kind of way. And you’re in the midst of it from paragraph one. Innocent young woman kidnapped, bound with duct tape in a crate reeking of rotten corn, rat droppings, and urine, then abused offstage in
every manner possible and electrocuted in a bathtub. But there’s a witness and an arrest and tons of evidence and an open-and-shut case. ADA Sarah Steele is riding high and sensibly confident in conviction and justice served. Then everything goes to hell.

And for Sarah Steele, it becomes personal. Especially when the profession she’s committed her life and soul to is compromised and she begins to question if justice truly can be served without crossing into that dark place where vigilantes accomplish what the legal system can’t. The co-authors do such a fine job delving into her struggle, but without slowing the story’s breakneck pace, and by five chapters in you’ll be totally hooked on both the story AND on Sarah Steele. (Who’s also a bit of a hottie, IMHO. Which never really hurts.)

Back in the day, pulp crime writers would pump out these bare bones magazine serials with fresh chapters on newsstands each week; short and sweet episodes with enough visceral grab to keep your attention until next Tuesday. Pack a few dozen of those together, slap a cover on, and you’d have a pulp novel. Then it’d start all over again with the next one. Consider some of the film work of Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriquez and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about: they do pulp crime on the big screen.

I love this stuff. And Breaking Steele does the genres justice: pulp, crime, thriller, page-turner, recommended read. I know I have to wait until late June (and not next Tuesday), but I’m squirming in my seat for Twisting Steele, the next Sarah Steele Thriller.”

Thanks so much, Glenn, for that review! I can’t wait to give you more Sarah Steele.

New Years Resolutions 2013

1.) Train as an astronaut and go to the moon.

2.) Write 6 novels in 6 different genres. One book has to be a paleontology textbook and another has to be historical fiction romance thriller about Nero burning Rome.

3.) Win the Newberry Award, the Hugo Award, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer award, and an Oscar for Best Screenplay. However, the Pulitzer is not mandatory because I don’t even read the news.

4.) Win 1st prize in the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival.

sandcastle_03(mine will look something like this, except much grander)

5.) Learn to use throwing knives. Go to the forest and live for a week off of the animals I hunt with my throwing knives.

6.) End human trafficking. Possibly end the drug wars in Mexico, if my throwing knife skills are developed.

7.) Watch The Hobbit premiere in New Zealand, dressed as Smaug.

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I’ll hopefully find something a bit more terrifying than this by December.

8.) Teach my kids how to play the piano, recite the entire New Testament, learn ballet, learn taekwondo, how to cook, how to deep clean the house, how to write research essays, and how to drive.

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(not my kid. my kid has better form.)

9.) Get a doctorate degree in medical research and then find a cure for cancer.

10.) Start making more reasonable goals for myself.

What are your 2013 Resolutions?

A Fanatic’s Review of The Hobbit

*There are NO spoilers in this review–it’s like blue cheese in that you might expect it to be spoiled but it’s not.*

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I’m a ginormous LOTR fan. Like, I could talk about this in Elven tongue except I’m a bit self-conscious about my accent. I could probably beat you at LOTR trivial pursuit. And I can quote most songs and poems from the series from memory.

So, like I said. Fan. Short for fanatic.

Which means I have a really low level of objectivity about this movie. Actually, I probably only have a microscopic amount of objectivity, if I have any at all.

So this isn’t so much a review as much as it is one long “SQUEEEeeeeee.”

Bear with me. I’ll try to make sense but MY LOVE FOR THIS FILM MAKES NO SENSE. I j’adore it.

Let’s see. My favorite character? Bofur. How can you not like a dwarf who rocks a hat like he does?

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I was surprised when I liked the characters so early on. Bilbo was endearing from the start. The first scene with the dwarves, with all of its slapstick jocularity, was incredibly fun. Each dwarf has something pretty characteristic about them. Not so much that I can remember all their names. But I’ll try: Bofur, Balin, Bilbo, Bimbo, Fili, Kili, and Neal, Orrin, Thorin, Oil, Gloin, Groin, Dori, Bifur, Dwalin, and Dora the Explorer. I may have got one of those names wrong but that’s what they sounded like to me.

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SEE A ROCK GIANT BATTLE.

The songs? THE SONGS. I so love the songs. Fantasies should always be musicals–I’m looking at you, Twilight. Now that I bought The Hobbit soundtrack I’ll have listening music for the next year or so until I get tired of it. Actually, I didn’t tire of the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack for like three years so maybe I won’t have to buy another album until 2015.

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SEE A ROCK GIANT BATTLE.

I still can’t get over the Riddles In The Dark scene. It’s just so dang good. It’s an entire story in one scene (which is what every writer should try to create). It had tension, horror, humor, and a strong moral theme. If the whole movie was crap (which is blasphemous to say) I think it would be redeemed through that one scene.

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But that leads me to something … the strong moral to the story in The Hobbit. There’s one scene in which Gandalf tells us the moral point blank, and it’s distracting in its starkness. But at the end, Bilbo gives us the same moral … and its beautiful. What I’ve always like about Peter Jackson is that he’s able to get to the heart of the story. He knew what LOTR was about and he took it to its heart, even though it was just his interpretation of it I still love it that he told the moral of the story. This is classic fairy tale/myth telling. At its best. Since I’m crazy about the fairy tale/myth/tall tale genre I don’t mind the overt “moral of the story.” It’s telling instead of showing, but sometimes I like that.

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I thought the goblin scene was amazing. It was like the Mines of Moria on steroids–the battle was exciting to watch in a roller-coaster-thrill way. And Gandalf was a rock star. I’ve always dreamed of seeing an excellently filmed goblin battle.

And have I told you I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WATCH A ROCK GIANT BATTLE? Now all my dreams came true.

Red Dawn and finding the humor in war…

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First there was Hunger Games, and now Red Dawn. Seems like it’s a good year to show kids in war. Now I love a good, rollicking adventure story. It’s my favorite type. A lot of people have been bothered to see teens with grenades but that doesn’t really bother me. Teens have been in wars since the beginning of war–when the first boy got jealous of the attention the another boy was getting. War is always started because of jealousy, right? I think so. Either that or fried chicken, I can’t remember which. Anyways, strapping young men have always served on the front lines. It’s a story that needs telling and I don’t mind the violence.

But can we add a little humor, please? I don’t care if it’s slapstick, knee-jerk, ironic, witty banter, or what–can we add at least one character who isn’t so darn grim? When there’s humor, there’s hope.

The Red Dawn 1984 version is pretty psycho. Like Hunger Games. Anytime someone’s willing to kill their friend or ally over war I have to stop trusting them, and stop rooting for them. I don’t like those stories. They’re good and possibly great–but I don’t like them.

I loved a Red Dawn remake from Australia called Tomorrow When the War Began. In it the teens actually deal with the fact they’re ending someone else’s life … even if it’s just in self-defense. And I really appreciated the fact that the film spend at least 25 minutes of character development before anything bad happened to them … because then I cared about what happened to them. It’s a solid, entertaining film and I think it’s a well done kid-meets-war story. And it has humorous characters in it.

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But if there’s any movie that handles kids meeting violence well it’s THE WAR. Holy moley mop buckets! Elijah Wood, Kevin Costner, and it deals with violence, race, war, hurt, and love in a profound way.

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You’re Not Really A Fan Unless You’re Wearing It On Your Underwears

That, my friends is a true statement.

Toddlers get it. They understand wholehearted devotion to one thing. They watch the same movie over and over again until their eyeballs fall out or the DVD wears out, whichever comes soonest. My toddlers had me read the same three books to them at least three times a day … for a week. And most importantly of all, they know that if they reelly like something, they must wear it upon their unmentionables.

Just this week someone asked me what type of geek I was. To which I replied: Lord of the Rings Always And Forever. To which then I must ask myself: ‘ Then why don’t I have any LOTR panties?!’

Sigh. Sometimes I just forget the little things in life that are SO important.

I really need to get this Triple Tolkien Panties Set.

(Or these. In case I need to send a message…)

I must have The Big Bang Theory Panty Set. Bazinga.

Heaven help us…

You think you’re a fa n of Snape? NOT UNTIL YOU HAVE THESE.

Oh, and I can’t forget my favorite show: Avatar, The Last Airbender. MY CABBAGES!

And what about my very FAVORITE scientist?

And what about my very FAVORITE animal?

And of course, I need my Edwardian favorite: THE BARD. Comes Granny style. Looks comfy.

Smiling Loki. My day is complete.

Happy Cyber Monday, everybody!

I think this is the day we eat a lot of cyber Ramen noodles. Or is that Cyber Tuesday?! Anyways, have a good one!

Coming Out Of The Closet

We’ve been renters our whole married life, for about six years.

We’ve lived in closets and old ramshackle houses that had probably not been approved by the fire marshall. And definitely not approved of by my mother.

But now we’re buying a house! We have enough credit (whatever that is) in the world that a bank actually trusts us for up to 120,00 buckeroos! I feel so adult now that I’m in debt. Or maybe just like a dolt.

Either way, there are some things I’ll never miss about renting and things that I’ll miss a lot.

Pros of Renting:

- When something breaks, you can call maintenance and they’ll come over within 12-14 business days and fix it but not really. BUT at least you don’t have to pay for the parts. Unless it’s the blinds.

- You can bribe the maintenance men with cookies and brownies and jalapeño poppers so that they come to your house first. It works, and is well worth it.

With a house, there are no maintenance men to bribe, only Michael. And he takes cookies and jalapeño poppers whether he’s fixed the toilet seat or not. I’m going to have to figure out a new method of bribery.

- Just because there’s a stain on the carpet, it doesn’t mean it’s yours. With a house, all the stains on the carpet are your fault.

- You’re surrounded by people 24/7. The nosy ones know all about you. The sweet ones ask all about you. And the good ones never ask anything about you. You know things about each other that could be blackmail in a high-school horror movie. And most people treat you with a kind of tentative friendliness. Or pretend you aren’t there.

- The stairs. Stairs are good exercise.

- It’s so small you can vacuum the whole house without change electrical outlets.

- It’s so small it only takes 1 hr to deep clean it and 3 hrs to Spring clean in.

 

Cons of Renting:

- When something breaks, you call maintenance and they won’t come over for another 12-14 business days. And then they’ll fix it, but not really. However, they can be bribed with baked goods.

- The squeaking mattress you hear in the dead of night isn’t yours.

- Hauling groceries from car to apartment. Too much exercise is bad for you.

- You have to walk all the way to the Office to hand over rent money. Walking is good for you, but sheesh, it hurts like the dickens to not only give over more than half your paycheck, but to walk it there yourself.

- The panties and used rubber outside your doorstep isn’t yours.

- You have to sweep off your porch every morning before the kids wake up.

- Anytime your child throws a screaming fit you have to call out the window, “I’m not even touching them.”

- When someone cooks something that smells exceptionally awesome, your dinner tastes lame.

Do you own or rent?

What’s your apartment pet peeve? 

What I Did Last Summer

Walked in the trails behind the house. I know them better than my left hand.

Smelled these

Found this. It’s Old Jonas’ House. Currently, a family of raccoons resides in it. But they’re messy folks and I expect them to be evicted soon. If you’re interested in the location . . . just call.

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Stole a few berries from Mother Nature

Went Cycling

Saw some art exhibits (this one is called “Family rides Dragon”)

Saw yo mama the llama at the Zoo. Watch out, they spit.

Drank Coffee

Cooked Birthday breakfasts

Cooked Birthday suppers

Fed my kid

Fed him some more.

Cleaned my kid. About every ten minutes.

Kept my kid from falling off dangerous precipices. About every 10 minutes.

Got new piercings

Taught my kids amazing new skills. Like this.

And this.

Went to a circus.

Ran the Warrior Dash over death-defying obstacles. Fire was involved. And running.

Met my new, little niece, Valentine Greer. She’s awesome.

Bubble Tea.

Saved a bird. Actually, I watched as my brother saved a bird. I like to think the bird uses his second chance at life to improve the lives of birds everywhere, and improves man/bird relations. 

S’mores.

And . . . I got a new job, finished writing a book, read tons of books, and met the amazing Piper Bayard and Jennifer Joseph.

Can a girl ask for more? I think not.

What did you do last summer?

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