Tour Spot with Guest Post, Giveaway, Interview, and Excerpt from Coral Walker’s “Children of Swan.”

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Interview with Ms. Walker, author of “Children of Swan:”

  1. Where did you grow up? Did your childhood have any impact on your writing?- I grew up in a different world from the one I am living in now. I was born and raised in China. It was a rigid society then, where individuality was forbidden, and everyone was expected to be the same: loyal, obedient and dedicated to whatever they were asked to do. Being able to experience both worlds has been a privilege for me as an author, enabling me to see things I’d otherwise be blind to, and feel things I’d otherwise miss.      
  2. Tell us about the first story you ever wrote, published or not?- The first story that I ever finished, that had more than one draft, and that I was sufficiently proud of to share, was a screenplay. It was based on a Japanese short story about a geisha and a policeman. I wrote it when I was a freshman studying Physics and sent it to a famous Chinese film director. He wrote back. “Thank you. Don’t give up. I’d love to see more of your screenplays.” That was all he wrote in that letter. I didn’t get the screenplay back and so lost it forever. But the words I received from the director had fueled the lamp.          
  3. What are you currently working on, writing wise?- I am current writing “Path to Love”, the second Children of Swan book. I am also reading widely in preparation for a historical romantic fiction, and plan to have a first draft done as soon as I get a chance.
  4. What is your favorite character you have ever created and why?- Jack Goodman in Children of Swan. As the main character, he dominates most of the story. As his creator, I am emotionally attached to him and feel for him. He isn’t a perfect character: a pushy teen butting his way through life when everything is simple and trouble-free, but who is overwhelmed and lost when the life he is used to is turned upside-down. He must learn to love and care through adversity.  
  5. Do you have to write in order or do your ideas just come to you and you put them in order later?- It is a kind of mixture of everything. I tend to write following a flow, but jump over whenever I get to a blockage. So a finished first draft is more of a honeycomb. In every draft after that I fill in some holes. When all the holes are filled and the story is smooth, I review the whole book with glue and scissors, and cut and rearrange the scenes and formalize the chapters.      
  6. What was your path like until you found writing?- It was when I changed my job from full time to part time that I finally started writing in earnest. It wasn’t that I suddenly found writing, but that I come to terms with who I am and decided to be that person.  All those years, I’ve never forgotten my ambition to write. Deep in my mind the plan was always that I’d make my parents happy, and then I would take a different path. But there is always another person I must please … I started off under an obligation to please my parents, specially my mother, who had an erroneous idea that her children must work in a scientific area. My father, a strong-minded man, supported her. But really I had no idea what I should be doing, so I studied Physics – thinking it was the basis of everything and I could switch to another subject if I found one later hat suited me better. As I transitioned from physics, to control engineering, to computer science, I hopped in and out of universities and obtained various degrees from BSc to PhD. I am still a computer scientist and a university lecturer and researcher.     
  7. How is your relationship with your publishing company?- I used CreateSpace and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). They are huge, self-service publishing machines: fast, no-nonsense and relentlessly efficient.  
  8. Tell us about your covers.- I am an artist too, and enjoy in drawing and paintings. I designed the covers.
  9. What inspires you to write?- It could be anything. For the ‘Children of Swan’ book, it was my children. It isn’t a coincidence that I have three children, just like the Goodman family. A few years ago I was attending a novel-writing workshop and needed a story idea to pitch to the group. My mind was dominated at the time by the daily chaos wrought by my children. Loving them dearly, but disliking their constant sibling squabbles, I imagined they were missing and caring for each other, with their lives turned upside-down by adversity. That was how the story started. Since then it has grown a life of its own — the missing parents, the abducted young brother, and the perilous land of Taron where life is held cheap.  Nevertheless, it is a fiction. Once the writing switch is turned on, I am completely given over to storytelling. Would I want my children go through the suffering and life-and-death struggles of the Goodman children to learn the same valuable lessons? Well…no, but life can be capricious. The days that our children are sheltered under our wing are numbered. One day they will spread their own wings and fly off into the sky. By then I hope that, like the Goodman children in their fictional world, they will care for each other and be strong and resilient.          
  10. How do you get book reviews? I am still exploring the channels. Goodreads, Self-Publishing Review, Reading Deals are a few of the places that I have made use of so far. I also find potential reviewers from online searches and write to them in person.  
  11. What is harder: writing, editing, or marketing?-  I am a newcomer to marketing and learning my way to be better. Marketing is currently the hardest thing among the three but this may very well change as I gain more experience.  
  12. If you could publish every book idea you’ve ever had, how many books would you have out right now?-  Hundreds, I guess.
  13. Have you ever considered co-writing a book or series with another author?- Why not, if we can work together and complement each other.
  14. What do you do to relax?- Reading, jogging, scooting, watching TV, having a hot bath.
  15. If you could tell your 14-year-old self one thing, what would it be?- “Don’t ever despair. You’ll marry a wonderful man called David, have three beautiful children, and become an author.”
  16. What advice would you have for this upcoming generation?-  Get a container for your phone which is both a phone charger and a sound-proof box (invent one if it doesn’t exist yet). Lock your phone in it and spend at least one undistracted hour every day with your family.    
  17. Have you ever read a book that changed your outlook on life?-  I broke my leg when I was 11 and was confined to an iron bed in a hospital for more than 40 days. My father brought me ‘Treasure Island’ in Chinese. It was the first western novel I’d ever read. From that day on, I devoured every piece of Western and Russian literature that I came across.  
  18. Do you have a classic piece of literature or a classic author you are fond of? How about one that is overrated?- There are many that I love. Balzac, Shakespeare, and Dickens have long been my all-time favorites. For the past couple of years, I have been an avid reader of D.H Lawrence. I don’t think any classical piece of literature that I have read is overrated. Time has done its job of checking and filtering before passing these books on to me to read.
  19.  Any type of music that gets your writing juices flowing?- I listen to James Morrison, OneRepublic, Years & Years, and Adam Lambert.
  20.  If you could pick three people who are your heroes or role models, who would they be and why?-   Alexander the Great has been my hero for a while, and the words of Arrian of Nicomedia eloquently give the reasons: “He had an uncanny instinct for the right course in a difficult and complex situation, and was most happy in his deductions from observed facts … Nobel indeed was his power of inspiring his men, of filling them with confidence, and, in the moment of danger, of sweeping away their fear by the spectacle of his own fearlessness. When risks had to be taken, he took them with the utmost boldness … Spending but little on his own pleasures, he poured out his money without stint for the benefit of his friends.”  I could oblige if I had to name three, but two of them would be subject to change, depending on who happened to drift into my mind at the time. The one and only name that I would always choose without a thought is Alexander the Great.
  21.  Dog or cat person?- I have had a few cats in the past, but never a dog.
  22. What do you want to eat right now?- Nothing. I just had a cup of coffee and a piece of lime mousse cake.
  23. If you could be in any movie that has already been made, which one would it be?- Lord of the Rings
  24. What is your favorite holiday or time of year?- A sunny island surrounded by a warm sea.
  25. Anything else you would like to add?- Thank you very much.

Thank YOU, Mrs. Walker, for your interview! 🙂

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How did Science-Fiction Influence “Children of Swan” and your life?:

By: Coral Walker

Like the Goodman family, I have three children. I love them dearly but dislike their constant sibling squabbles. So I imagined their lives turned upside-down by discovering their parents missing, and facing difficulties through which they learn to love and care for each other — that was how “Children of Swan” came about.When I came to decide on the setting of the story, I relied on scientific fiction devices — space travel, aliens, a space island, wormholes, blue and red-skinned alien species and so on — to give the protagonists a means to travel from one location in space to another, and to define the traits of the land of Taron on planet Cygnore, where the main story takes place. I also used an energy shortage on Earth and bio-engineering in the story to provide either the motivation/back story or a fundamental factor that directly influences the plot.

I have studied science and still hold an academic position, working both as a lecturer and researcher in computer science. My scientific background has helped me to avoid relying too much on purely fantasy devices with no substantiation, but instead to use plausible scientific elements whenever there is a need.

I was born and raised in communist China, and a good portion of my schooling was learning about communism. “We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labor. ….” in Vladimir Lenin’s beguiling words. The teaching was effective. My school friends and I truly believed, and would, without a hint of doubt, recite: “Like the rising and setting of the sun, like the continuing flow of a river, the new and better order of society would come and will come.”

I was often impatient for this better order of society to arrive, and asked my mother “When will it come? How many years?”. How innocent and deluded I was; little did I know that the fascinating presentation of this perfect society was nothing but a dream, like a utopian world in a scientific fiction novel that would soon turn into a dystopian nightmare.

Propaganda in classrooms — that was how science fiction took root in my young mind. It certainly affects how I see scientific fiction now. For me, it relates to the very core of human existence. It concerns hope and fear, not just of the individual but of society and the world as a whole. It is an efficient vehicle that allows us to observe the successes and failures of idealism and technology in a fictional format, without having to face a real world of potentially catastrophic outcomes.

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Excerpt from “Children of Swan:”

A shrill whistle came from above, and a wave of noise — a mixture of screaming and shouting — swept across the arena.

As quick as a wink, a large red shadow shot out from the hole behind the tall boy, tossed him into the air and caught him as he fell.

Rapidly it coiled around his long-limbed body, squeezing the life out of him, as he kicked helplessly.

It was a red bokwa of enormous size.

Jack was screaming. It was soundless, painful and primeval. He wanted to run, shout and scream. Anything, if only he could get out of the place.

A cold hand caught him by his arm. “Still. You must keep still.” Teilo’s voice sounded too calm to be real.

Seemingly disturbed by the fearful sight of the giant bokwa, the small brown ones, which had until now dominated the arena, slithered meekly towards the edges and vanished into the small holes in the wall. Soon only a handful of them were left, wiggling silently along the wall.

The whole arena became eerily deserted.

The gruesome body of the young boy was now lying alone. Already small in size, it was now curled tightly up, like a baby in a mother’s womb. A stone’s throw away, the large red bokwa thumped the tall boy onto the ground. The feeble gurgling sound from his throat and the spontaneous twitching of his hands were the only signs he was still alive.

Slowly, the giant bokwa opened its large blood-dripping mouth and started reaching towards the boy’s head.

Next to him, Teilo stood still like a statue. Still? Was that how he had survived? Keeping still in the middle of the bloody carnage?

Without knowing what he was doing, Jack lurched into a frenzied run, stomping his feet and stirring up a thick layer of dust. A few steps away from the stricken boy he halted.

“Hmmm, Hmmm …” Straining his throat to utter a sound, he stomped his feet more.

The bokwa’s head froze in mid-air. Its scaly body gleamed splendidly, and its cold, orange eyes gawked at him, sizing him up.

“Hi, here!” Teilo shouted, having somehow taken up a position opposite Jack.

Perhaps because Teilo was nearer, or the fact that he was half a head shorter than Jack, the bokwa only faltered for a second before weaving its giant body towards Teilo, disregarding the incoherent sounds from Jack’s strained throat.

“Zizi …” A threatening hiss escaped from Teilo’s compressed lips, and he adopted an attacking pose.

Flashing in the corner of his eye, Jack caught sight of something shining among the audience. Above the lofty wall, a small boy, the one who had chanted “Teilo” in the washing hall, was bending over the low barrier with a dagger in his hand. As he waved it, the sharp edge of the dagger glimmered brightly.

The dagger, if only he could get that dagger!

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About the Book:

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Title: Children of Swan- The Land of Taron

Author: Coral Walker

Genre: YA fantasy/sci-fi

It seems that nothing could be worse than waking up one morning to find their parents have disappeared and their young brother Bo bawling his eyes out, but for Jack and Brianna, the squabbling teenage sibling rivals, the worst is yet to come.

Much to the bafflement and distress of their children, Marcus and Zelda have actually returned to their home planet, Cygnore. Marcus and Zelda, the runaway prince and princess of Bara and Rion, had a life on Earth. For twelve years, they lived happily and peacefully under the name of ‘Goodman’.

Bo is kidnapped. In hot-headed pursuit, Jack and Brianna plunge into a wormhole that takes them to Taron. Little did they know their impetuous arrival in Taron has placed the lives of their parents in peril. Locals catch them and bring them to an arena. In bewilderment and dismay, Jack finds himself fettered to a wall and examined by a smouldering-eyed and blue-skinned young woman of Bara, Lady Cici.

Lady Cici, the daughter of Lord Shusha, has come to the arena for one and only reason — to have them killed. She is to be engaged to Prince Marcus, their father, and she cannot afford their existence to jeopardize Marcus’ life and her forthcoming engagement. She must have them killed, and the arena, where slaves routinely fight to the death, is the perfect place.

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Giveaway

Click the title above to try to win a copy of Coral Walker’s “Children of Swan!” ^_^

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Author Bio:

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Coral Walker was born and raised in China. She holds a BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in computing and PhD in Computer Science and, and has spent most of her adult life striving for an orthodox, academic career path. She now lives in Wales, UK with her husband and three children. Becoming a mother, and teaching her children to live a fulfilled life resuscitated her fading dream of being an author. The urge to write became so great that she pursued her dream and the ‘Children of Swan’ trilogy is the upshot — a symbol of a new journey in life.

Links:

Coral Walker website,

Author Facebook,

Author Twitter,

Author Goodreads,

BUY “Children of the Swan” on AMAZON today!

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Buy “Children of Swan” Today!

 

 

 

 

Top Ten (Bottom Ten?) Pokemon that don’t FEEL like Pokemon to me (Top Ten #53)

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Okay! Before we start: I do dislike MOST of these Pokémon, but not all! Like, I actually really like #3. These are just the Pokémon when I look at their design, they just don’t feel like Pokémon or they belong in the Pokémon world OR they reminded me too much of another series for me to disregard it. In any case, please do not be offended; this is my opinion.  So, here are my top ten Pokémon that do not feel like Pokémon to me.

  1. Spirittomb
  2. Bronzong
  3. Shuckle
  4. Shellos/Gastrodon
  5. Elgyem/Beheyem
  6. Burmy/Mothim
  7. Skorupi/Drapion
  8. Binacle/Barbaracle OR Anoirth/Armaldo
  9. Solosis/Duosion/Reuniclus
  10. Politoed OR Kecleon

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Top 15 Favorite “Other Pokémon” Types (Top Ten #52)

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Top 15 Other Pokemon (NOT legendries, starters, fire, psychic, or water):

  1. Altaria (dragon/flying/fairy when it mega evolves)
  2. Skarmory (steel/flying)
  3. Glaceon (ice)
  4. Teddiursa (normal)
  5. Furret (normal)
  6. Eevee (normal)
  7. Pichu* (electric)
  8. Mawile (steel/fairy)
  9. Ditto (normal)
  10. Linoone (normal)
  11. Butterfree (bug/flying)
  12. Roselia (grass/poison)
  13. Cherrim (grass)
  14. Lucario (steel/fighting)
  15. Herdier (normal)

*Pikachu is on my Top Ten Starter list because, technically, he is a starter in Pokémon Yellow and was my first one. 🙂

Also check out my following Pokémon Top Ten so this one makes more sense:

Top Ten Starter Pokémon,

Top Ten Legendary Pokémon,

Top Ten Psychic Pokémon,

Top Ten Fire Pokémon,

Top Ten Water Pokémon,

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Cosplacon 2016 Review and mini-author updates

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Konnichiwa reading peeps! ^_^ Morgan here! I hope you guys had a happy and safe 4th of July (if you celebrated, if not, I hope you had a marvelous Monday)! Before I dive deep into my annual anime convention review, Cosplacon in this case, I wanted to share some updates on how things are going this summer.  I start teaching College for Kids next week and will be gone for three weeks from the work on top of prepping for work and my FIRST EVER teaching classroom for my new job! 😀 So no one feels out of the loop, here is what is going on:

  • “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals” is in its second, intense rounds of second edits now.  I have three amazing Beta Readers and editors for these edits and I have some other Beta Readers lined up for the final edits. August and September will be nuts for editing, but we will do the best we can! They are all amazing! We also are getting the cover lined up. ^_^ Thank you for your patience. <3

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  • July 1st was Indie Pride Day! I had an amazing girls writing day with my pals, Kate and Morgan W, we had homemade pizza, jammed to 90’s and Disney songs, including belting out “Let It Go,” and they helped me promote my books all day on my social medias for Indie Pride Day. I had a giveaway, excerpts from all my published books AND sneak-peeks for my two current working projects, images from the day, and more.  Thank you to everyone for all the support! ^_^
  • On Moon Panda Power, the Youtube channel I share with my fantastic author friend, Dan Wright, we made Top Five videos on our favorite animes, discussing them! It was a blast! =D What truly are my favorite anime and how do they compare to Dan’s? Moon Panda Power has the answers!
    • Our next video will involve some Power Ranger epicness! =D
  • When I helped out at the public library’s anime night in June, I had some wonderful young ladies make me some fan art. You can find the “Spirit Vision” inspired on my website “Fan Art” page and the other two on my author Facebook. =)

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Cosplacon 2016 Review:

*Images from the convention are throughout the post and the bottom.

To check out most of the panels I attended, you can view videos of them on my Youtube Channel (key word: Cosplacon 2016), along with Cosplacon 2014 and 2015 videos and past Anime St. Louis and NatsuCon!

To see ALL my pictures from the event, please go to my public Cosplacon 2016 Facebook gallery.

This year, admittedly, has been rough on me for a few reasons.  Money, being sick and having to deal with pain, uncertainty, and bills, a new position at my school district, and new jobs for my writing.  I survived, but I think my outlook on life was hazy for a while. I was hoping Cosplacon, this anime convention in Jefferson City with its amazing con chair, Rodney, would get my out of my funk.  I was thrilled to go and show off my latest cosplay, to be with my brother, husband during our five year anniversary, and our friends.

Let’s just say, things did not go as hoped.  As a disclaimer: I adore Cosplacon and most of these events were beyond their control, so no one is getting the blame. However, I also have to honestly rate this convention with how it affected me overall.  This is the most conflicted review I have ever given for a convention.  Please do not hate; I respect all the work the Cosplacon staff does.

This convention will be known to be as “The Roller Coaster Con.”

Because I do NOT want to offend anyone, but I want to be fully honest in my review, I am doing more of a Pros and Cons list this year with a detailed description (mostly in time order) and you can see from there.  I’m starting with cons to get the bad out of the way first.

Cons:

#1. Lack of Panels: Right off the bat, when I looked at the con schedule that came out about two weeks before the convention (I personally still feel like that’s cutting it close, but most cons I go to have cut it worse than that), there really wasn’t as many panels as before.  They had a decent variety and I love how they always add something new and challenging for us attendees.  Still, it was hard to fill out our schedule.  If Miles and I did not have Bryce Papenbrook, a talented anime dub and game voice actor to look forward to, and Derrick deciding to finally try the Pokémon DS League this year, then other than the few main events, there would have been hardly anything for us to do.

I can partly understand their concern since last year, at least five of the panels we went to on Thursday and Friday, NO ONE showed up! I vented about this in last year’s review, but it was awful.

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#2. No Samurai Dan or Jillian: Another note I was sour on for a while was the fact that Samurai Dan and Jillian were not invited back.  Dan and I have worked together in the past for author stuff and him and Jillian are incredible people.  They wanted to and were willing to come back to Cosplacon, but were not asked to return this year.  I did not ask the details; it is not my place, but even before I knew Dan, him and Jillian bring so much individuality to  conventions with their art and humor and everyone loves them, including the fuzzy beast! I knew about this since December and it made me hesitant often.  I am glad we have so many talented and overall nice cosplayers that attend as guests and cosplay is amazing, but if Bryce was not attending, then they only type of guests there would have been was cosplayers and that leaves out a core amount of your attendees. That’s why Dan and Jillian are so epic, for appeal!

#3. Our Hotel Room: This is 125% NOT COSPLACON’S fault; this is Capital Plaza’s! The con is always at Capital Plaza and normally, it is a fantastic place and man! They are saints to be as patient and accepting as they are with all us otakus running around and doing who know’s what. 😉  We were on the 7th floor (we were on the 9th last year. Brown and Tabby were on the 9th this year) and our room was a wreck! The AC was old and it had trash stuck in it. One of our lamps had no light bulb in it. We did not have a “Do Not Disrupt” sign.  It just looked messy. We have been in at least three rooms here now and this one was by far the worse. We did nicely talk to management. The lady was nice, apologizing five times and writing things down, but other than her giving us a sign, none of our problems were fixed.

#4. $10 Night Events Only Wristbands: I understand the appeal of these and that Cosplacon needs to make money, but it’s pretty bad when all five of my group members are very…worried about this.  Anyone can come in off the street and buy one of these passes for $10 and the later events are all 18+, such as a game were artist drink and a burlesque show.  The con is more than welcome to have these events if the hotel allows, but I kept feeling something bad was going to happen because of this and police sirens would be wailing. Nothing happened that I knew of, but I just want everyone to be safe.

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#5. Evan and Andrew Couldn’t Attend the Convention: Again, this is not Cosplacon’s fault at all, but it sure put a damper on things. Evan had to have gallbladder surgery the week before and Andrew’s work refused to let him off although he asked for those days MONTHS ago! He is an amazing Deadpool and Rodney would have pulled him up on the spot to help all weekend!

#6. Small Selection of Venders: The venders they had were decent, but like last year, there was not much to chose from and this year’s was smaller! I still do not understand why they do not at least have one author anymore. They may be my work talking, but I find it odd since most other cons I go to have at least one author OR someone who makes their own manga series.  Cape had seven! Some of the booths were overpriced, some normal.  I bought stuff, sure, but I think Miles got more stuff when we went into town three times than actually things at the convention (although he did get some things).  More vendors or at least a variety please. The custom purse, decal, and glass people were a nice change though.

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#7. Lack of Pokémon Event Advertising: I’m being picky on this one, but for the last two years, Cosplacon updates about their DS Pokémon league, but this year, I only found it once in a generic paragraph on the website that they were having it this year.  They were doing SO many cool events this time around too, most not on the schedule! Derrick had a blast with the rad panels they were doing and the league overall, it being the highlight of the convention for him, but I wish they would have announced it better so others would know.

#8. Too Much Free Time: Part of this has to do with my final and BIG con in a moment, but this problem also arises from the lack of panels.  We went out to Slackers on Thursday, Hastings on Friday (which I think was closing or moving from how messy it was and they had random sales), and Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We had over three hours to kill on Saturday! SATURDAY! The MAIN day for all conventions! That should not be happening. Usually, even laidback con goers like us are running around ALL DAY doing awesome events and panels, but from 1:30 to 4:30, we had nothing, and I chose to walk around for 45 minutes after 4:30 just to hang out with Tabby and Brown.  I didn’t have to.

#9. My Irrational Fear Coming to Life: So…I will make this one brief:  I am SCARED TO DEATH of ANYTHING to do with “Willy Wonka.”  I had a traumatic experience in pre-school and no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of effects. I rock back and forth, cry, chew my lip, cry, and can’t catch my breath; I’m shaking just writing this! Well, a sweet young man bought all the special Cosplacon chocolate bars (one of the Achievement Challenges, to find a golden ticket).  He wanted to share it them with everyone, so he was called Wonka. I was okay with that, but Rodney then asked them to find the song that plays when they travel down the river.  The DJs had issues finding it, but eventually, they did and I stopped my camera, slammed my hands in my ears, began to rock, and cried through my Sailor V mask as Derrick squeezed my knee and rubbed my back.  It was only for a minute, but it was awful.  I do want to deeply apologize to the DJs and Rodney for when Brown, being a good friend, told them to cut the music.  I never want to be a spoiled sport, but it’s just something I can’t help and I never expected this to happen at a con.  It if was the OTHER annoying song, I would have sprinted out that room and ran to the corner or bathroom furthest away and rocked and cry.  I appreciate all those who took care of me.  It stressed me out though!

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#10-#14. NO BRYCE PAPERNBROOK (and other guests): OKAY! This is where I am going to get some ugly thoughts, and again, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Cosplacon, Rodney, and the staff.  I am not blaming them! Like Rodney himself said, things happen, but the main reason (other than being with my friends and to cosplay), but the main reason I wanted to go was to meet Bryce. I adore meeting voice actors; it’s my con thing. They work so hard, their experiences, and they are usually super nice and fun. I owe them for introducing me to this lifestyle that was inside me all along. I researched roles and history on Bryce, wasted hours on Youtube watching panels he did, wrote a poem for him, made him some funny inside fan joke doodles, and got him a gift. It was worth it and Miles and I were so ready to get our pictures and autographs, to thank him for all he’s done, and hear his tales.

When we got our master Thursday and Friday schedule with a map on Friday morning, which I found useful, I cross referenced it with mine and noticed Bryce’s 1:00 panel was gone. It was early in the morning, so the help desk was clear.  I very nicely went up to the kind girls and asked if the time had been changed.  She said, “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry.  It’s on our website. Bryce had to cancel.  We are really sorry, but if you go to the panel room on Saturday for the scheduled time, then something good will happen.”  Well, disappointed does not begin to describe how I felt; close to crushed.  Miles and I asked again on Saturday, same person, and she swore something would be there for us. We went there 15 minutes early and Miles and I and about five other people waited for over an hour and saw no staff member.  We were hoping maybe a Skype call with Bryce or that he would magically show up. A Kirito cosplayers was nice and searched for a staff member. We FINALLY did get one and she was very kind, giving all of us, including a young lady who was a sweetheart and left for a bit, but did wait for us, FREE PASSES TO NEXT YEAR! So, Miles and I are good for Cosplacon, 2017. That was very great of them and I thank them for their responsibility, but I was still bummed.

Apparently, also, there were four cosplay guest total and a group that normally comes.  Two for sure, I think three, of the cosplay guest canceled, and only one member of the group could attend, ON TOP of Bryce not being there. I could tell poor Rodney was stressed.  🙁 It was a bad situation for all. The con handled it real well, but it still really messed up parts of the whole con for me.

Pros:

Now, for some awesome things that happened!

#1. Getting to Jefferson City and Back: We usually get sick on the curvy, three and a half hour ride to Cosplacon from our hometown.  I did get some different motion sickness pills this year, made myself sleep, and some pain medicine.  There was some construction on the way there twice, once set outside of Jefferson City, but luckily Tabby and Brown warned us.  Other than that, all went well.  There were no police pull-overs this year either like last year. 😉

#2. Amazing Food: Other than their Arby’s, all the food this year at Jefferson City was incredible! Our favorite Fuiji’s Japanese restaurant on Thursday was perfect (and good price), our usual Kate and Aly’s pizza (this time for delivery), Ruby Tuesday, a sweet, traditional breakfast place downtown that Brown and Tabby found, a super famous local ice cream parlor on Sunday, and, of course, a quick snacky dinner at the hotel’s restaurant on Saturday (although they are so short staffed and literally all the workers are running and sweating for us).  Everything was delicious and all the staff so nice! It really helped make us love Jefferson City.

#3. I Beat Derrick at Air Hockey: Derrick denies it, but I honestly beat him at air hockey when we went to the mall first arriving in Jefferson City on Thursday! Tabby tickled him in the arcade! HA! =D

#4. Great Shops and Kind People: Slackers, Barnes and Noble, the mall in general, and Hastings, all great shops nerds need and none too far from the capital. Need I say more? 😉  On another note, everyone in Jefferson City was so nice.  We got extra discounts at Hastings (AND, they are the FIRST place I have seen that sales Ramune, Japanese carbonated soda, all the time.  I got two Hello Kitty strawberry ones).  At Ruby Tuesday for lunch on Friday, I ordered cheese sticks for all of us to share, but Miles and I only ate one each. They were not good. The waitress was super nice and took it off our tab, seeing we hardly ate them when I told her we did not care for them, saving me almost $8! Our pizza people were also late that Friday evening for delivering. Well, it was because they burnt out first one a bit too much.  They felt so bad, that they made us a new one, but we got to keep both of them! I went to Barnes and Noble in my new cosplay, a cute older lady was grinning ear-to-ear seeing me and asking me why I was dressed so fun.  Everyone in Jefferson City was really awesome! And, Capital Plaza, you are still the bomb and were as nice as ever, so thank you. It sucks we just got a crappy room. Met some super nice vendors of course too (still looking for Percy Jackson fan art!)

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#5-#6. Pokémon DS League: Derrick had such an incredible time with this. Without it, he would have had almost nothing to do at the con. DERRICK WON ALL THE COSTUME BADGES! He worked hard and was so proud. The gym leaders had plenty of badges and were very hard (I got beat bad by the normal one, who gave the attendees the most issues), but nice. They had cool panels for prizes, like a Ditto with perfect IVs for an egg event, two different ways to challenge the gym leaders, these amazing trainer cards for collectables, a champion belt for the new champ, and more. All they need to do is advertise more next time, and then it’d be wonderful!

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Brown and Tabby during their “Five Nights of Freddie’s” skit that won! :D

#7. Skits: The Skit Contest was great! All eight entries did a wonderful job! It was so fun to watch.  I did film all of them and you can watch them here on my Youtube Channel. What was so incredible is my friends, Brown and Tabby, WON! They worked SO hard on their cosplay, their dancing, the theme, and the video that went with the skit. They truly were the best prepared and they deserved to win! They also got FREE passes for next year! 😀

#8. Cosplay: Others: There were some pretty fantastic cosplays and everyone was really nice! ^_^

#9: Cosplay: Ours: Tabby worked so hard on her Springtrap (from “Five Nights of Freddie’s” cosplay and it was a huge hit, even scaring some people. She stayed in character the whole time, Brown talking for her. She hissed, got in faces, and if she got too close, he would tease her.  It was fun to see how everyone reacted to it. Nathan did a good job with his character too and being her handler.  They got a professional photo shoot and I cannot WAIT to see the pictures! I got to see her make some parts of her cosplay, including edible blood while I sewed at her house. That was fun. ;)- She also made Miles his prop wrench and time travel necklace for his new cosplay. They turned out beyond glorious!

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Miles was his comfy and personal favorite, Roxas from Kingdom Hearts.  He got some pictures, high-fives, and a little girl (I’d say around 3), got a picture with him for her name is Roxie, after Roxas, and her older sister is Kiari! 0.0 Mom is a huge Kingdom Hearts fan apparently! So epic! He wore Li from our childhood favorite, Cardcaptor Sakura, with his lasen board Julie made him.  He got some photos too (I got him a new butt bell and it was funny to hear it), met a Sakura from the show (she even waved at him three times, a big smile on her face, and called him husband in front of us.  Miles shrugged and said, “So…apparently I got married), and the gentleman who ran the DVD booth even gave him a FREE Li figure! 😀 On Saturday, he wore his first closet cosplay: Max, the main character in one of his favorite Playstation 2 games: Dark Cloud 2.  He REALLY looks like the character. It took us a while to get all the pieces, but mom and dad helped too and he looked epic! =D He figured no one would know who he was and assumed he was a steampunk handy man, but TWO people knew who he was, one a Joane cosplayer from his favorite, R.W.B.Y.! That was nifty! We did get some nice shots of him in that new cosplay.

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Thursday, I wore my Chii lacy kimono waitress outfit.  I had a few people figure out who I was and one person said something rude about my ‘on button,’ arching his eyebrows to look appealing.  I burned him back.  I hate being smug, but there is no need to be a pervert.  My outfit, sadly, is falling apart a little, but Derrick was nice and helped me the best we could.

cose8Friday, I was everyone’s favorite, Sailor V! The Sailor Scout group I normally see there could not make it, but I saw a Sailor Venus and Mars. 🙂 I got some photos, about average for me.  I did walk into the hall area where they were having Pokémon to check on Derrick when a young Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad (I say, young, but she was around 15 at least), fanned over me and started gushing, calling me Sailor Moon and how she watched me as a little girl.  I was going to kindly correct her, but then she grinned and flashed her phone in front of us, proclaiming, “Selfie!” I was forced into three selfies before really knew what happened, but I posed on impulse! HA! Her friends took normal pictures of us on their camera, that they were having issues with. The Harley kept apologizing and thanking me for my patience. I felt old, her doing that, but it was fun to make her smile and get swept away.

 

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Saturday, I got to wear my new cosplay: Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, by CLAMP! I have blue hair, a fancy cape, can control a water dragon Rune God with our trusted and tasty looking animal pal, Mokona. It was epic! The only think I did not like was how my wig (which was cheap, I confess, but it was the shade and length I wanted), was sheerish in the back.  Derrick helped brush it to cover some of it, and my chest looks fat and huge in the shots because the cape is so heavy, my collar so high, that it tightens weird, giving me a fat chest illusion.  Other than that (I do need to get the book covers fixed one of these days; the white ones they came with were way too buy on the calf), it was grand. Not many people knew who I was, but many just though the outfit looked B.A.  But, the six or seven who did…fangirl screamed bloody murder, hugged me, and we had a photo shoot with them bouncing on their toes.  I heard, “RAYEARTH!” from the heavens at least four times! One time was from Rodney’s cute assistant girl and another from a woman that lead to something really fantastic happening in another point…

cosp69OH! My sword! Holy cheese graters, my sword is the bomb! My friend, Zelda, worked SUPER hard on it to make it look like Umi’s water dragon fencing sword, a challenge, but everyone loved it. It was odd for me to learn how to hold it (and with my left hand because Umi is a leftie), but I just didn’t want to break her lovely craftsmanship…or someone’s eyes. I did have the AMAZING Aiken Skywalker that sang “Let is Flow” for skits last Cosplacon (that is my highest watched video on my Youtube channel), that he was so impressed with my craftsmanship on my costume, sword, and everything, gushing over ME! That was an honor! He was shocked to know I filmed him last year and we looked up my Youtube together. ^_^ It was so fun to cosplay as Umi and I cannot wait to do it again! OH! I also got asked by the Brass Engine Productions, who are at all the local conventions and special friends of Rodeny’s, to do some poses and attack calls for their Cosplacon 2016 video as Umi! I was really touched! I have been asked, way back with Anime St. Louis, to do this with Sakura as well, but I did not make the final cut. Even if I am in it for just a second, I will feel like a rock star. ^_^

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#10-#12: Cosplay Royale: Guys, this was the BEST Cosplay Royale I have ever been to for ANY conventions, and I have been to 11 cosplay contests! Everyone had such energy and talent. Fun was apparent from all, the cosplayers and attendees.  Derrick cheered just much as I did and I was grinning at all the amazing cosplay I saw.  Aaron, AKA Jack Sparrow, was our MC and he was a RIOT! A dream! =D He would forget names, acting like Jack, and several of the cosplayers interacted with him (Tabby included, hissing at him and he hid behind Brown in a photo).  He even spit at the audience twice! HA! Although, he did not like when the furries did their dramatic pose where they covered their face with their arms extended to the side.  He kept telling them to stop it, so some of the other cosplayers afterwards would quickly do it behind Jack’s back! Rodney did it too and soon, we got the whole audience doing it in one of Rodney’s annual Cosplacon selfies! ^-^ The support was felt in the entire room and I know personally, I would not have wanted to be a judge; they were all so talented.  Tabby sadly did not win, but there were only eight awards out of around 80 cosplayers, but everyone was so good, no one was mad.  It was EPIC! I know Rodney loves his cosplay and he sure got a line-up this year! Speaking of Rodney…

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#13-#14: Rodney and his Love for us/his Energy: I made sure Sunday, when it was super quiet, I found Rodney, shook his hand, and thanked him for all his love and hard work, saying I saw he was stressed (he agreed with me there), but I told him I noticed and he made my five year anniversary special.  He has a charming smile on his face.  All weekend, he would have his random dance battles, throw t-shirts and candy, do free style raps, be silly with us, and more. He is not scared of the stage like most con chairs, completely out in the open, being part of achievements, and will help any way he can despite how busy he is.  Rodney, you are a huge reason I love Cosplacon. The connect you have with your loves and us, the friendships that are so easy to see with your staff, how you always up your game so everyone can have a good time, especially your Donuts with Dad’s on Father’s Day Sunday you do.  Thank you, truly.

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#15: The Staff: The Staff was as awesome as always.  I did not see nearly as many badge checkers as I do normally, which surprised me (sometimes, I saw none), but that may be just short number. Still, some did panels, some smiled and helped us out the best they could, and their respect for their boss man was so apparent.  They handled the lack of guests very well considering the sudden and challenging situation.  The con gave everyone a discount code for next year on their site for a while and Miles and I got free passes for 2017 since we came mostly for Bryce and waited outside his panel room door for over an hour like instructed.

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#16. SMASH BROS!: =D This one is for my Cosplacon peeps! SMASH BROS!

#17: Super Card Fight: On Friday night, there was an 18+ panel for Super Card Fight.  I have seen a few famous Youtubers (including Smosh) play it before and it looked interesting.  However, you have to debate your cause for it and although I am okay with talking in front of people at times and having fun, I am not good at arguing.  I am so non-confrontational that I would win an Olympic medal in it! I liked how they just let most of us watch.  Plus, although I am a nerd, my branch would be Otaku, not an overall nerd, and this game compassed all sorts of nerds, which is great for a party game, but that put me at a disadvantage. There were maybe 25-30 of us in a small room on the second floor, but it was a good time to listen to all the potential fights. The point of the game is you chose one of three hero cards and they get two powers (or conditions sometimes), then you and your opponent(s) (we did two people at a time to make it easier), then they got a time limit to debate why there’s would win the situation card. Afterwards, the audience could comment and then, by cheering, the winner was decided.

Derrick and Brown even got to go up, which was so neat! ^_^ However, I wanted to vote for Brown because he controlled the Sailor Scouts, but Derrick had MacGyver.  I knew my dad would be thrilled with that.  Tabby said MacGyver would win, so she cheered for Derrick and I rooted for Brown and the Sailor Scouts! We switched husbands! HA! Brown ended up making it to the final three, which was rockin!

I did have one issue during this and I am not personally attacking an individual or being a snot, but it irked me so badly that I wanted to raise my hand at the audience feedback for this fight, but I knew I would come off as rude/picky.  One guy had the Spartans as his heroes. When he was debating why they would win, he stated they were Greek…-_-;; Okay, they are Roman, but some people can mix that up, so I let that one go.  Then, he went on to say there were 300 of them, and he included children and women in these numbers. Ah…no.  They were a big city state.  The famous 300 in battle is where he got that from.  I was a getting my fugitive feathers ruffled a bit more, but I pushed it down.  The kicker?  He said that no one could beat the Spartans because they were immortal! 0.o   My hand almost shot up, but I prayed I heard that wrong, until I heard Miles next to me mumble, “What? Did he say immortal?”  We both stared at each other in disbelief.  I know I am obsessive with Mythology and Percy Jackson and my dad is a history teacher, but how can the Spartans be immortal?  I knew about 300. THEY DIED at the end! Sorry, spoilers, but if you DIE, you are NOT immortal! The saddest part?  NO ONE BROUGHT ANY OF THESE POINTS UP! About seven people said something, no one bringing up any of those wrong facts! I know everyone does not know everything about everything; I sure as Hades don’t, but geez! I was stomping and fuming for an hour about this! >.<

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#18. Steampunk Shoot-Out: Every year on Sunday morning, when everyone is tired from packing to leave and partying too hard and late Saturday, Brass Engine Productions does a shootout (being a heavily influenced Steampunk group) with a history on it, the styles, and, naturally, a chance to take on your opponent with Nerf guns. This year, they had a tournament setting since there was maybe 15 people max there (Brown and Tabby wanted to join, but they had their photo shoot).  The main guys were so tired, but they still were entertaining, making the tension humorous, doing hilarious voices, and such.  It was fun to see, although the grieves mostly had to do with people walking past each other.  Apparently, this town needs a cross-walk. 😉  There even was a $1 bounty on someone’s ‘head.’ HA! All and all, it was a hit! We also found a large cockroach and they placed him in a wooden box, taking pictures of him before he was released.  My only issue was for SURE one, maybe two or more of the participates were still…not fully sober when attending and they were breaking all these rules and being loud.  I can tall it bothered the panel people a few times. -_-;;

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#19. Playing with Kids: OKAY! I admit it; I adore working with kids. That’s why I am a teacher and volunteer with students often.  On Sunday, there really was not much to do. Derrick wanted to go to the Pokémon carnival to battle the gym leaders since they were all there in one place. Shockingly, unlike the last two years, it was really slow. Miles and I found Derrick battling by the stage easily enough, and I knew Brown and Tabby still had a half hour of their photo shoot left (Miles and I already finished exploring the venders room, even getting snacks and I chatting with one of my con friends).  So, we sat in some empty chairs close to the stage and the second I am about to rest, I see a little boy, about two or so, rolling with the con beach ball, having a, well, a ball! His smile and giggle was so sweet.  I sent a thanksgiving to Kamisama and informed Miles, “I am going to go play with the kid.”  I knew he had to belong to someone there and they could tell me to stop and I would have respected that. Well, turns out the little boy’s mom was the dark gym leader.  MAN! We had SO MUCH FUN! It was over an hour and a half of us throwing the ball, playing carnival games, eating snacks, and such.  There was one point he grabbed the giant to him ball and trotted around the room with it.  I chased after him, the whole giant room, between all the rows of gym leaders, shouting, “Where are you going?” I was smiling like a baka, having so much fun that it wasn’t until I past Derrick in his chair, battle the little one’s mom and laughing that I realized I have been running around on stage with all the gym leaders! 0.o  The mom kept apologizing for dumping her kid on me, but blessed me since she could not get a sitter and she had to battle. Derrick chuckled again and told her, “Oh, that’s my wife.  She’s a teacher. Trust me, she is having JUST as much fun and he’s in good hands. The only issue is, you may not get your son back!”

Later, Rodney’s little four-year-old daughter, Zoey, came in and she is as cute as a bug in a rug! I asked her if she wanted to play ball with us and man! All three of us were playing with the ball, tossing rings (the little boy had to make sure there was only one ring on each cone and he placed them in a pattern! He is only two and a half! I was really impressed), rolling on the floor, sharing gummies that Zoey’s mom bought for her to share, and such.  She was so sad I had to leave, asking if I could always play with her and giving me several hugs. I posed with pictures with both of them (I was in my Totoro dress and ears).  This was one of my favorite parts of my whole con experience.  I hope I can do it again! Rodney, need a con babysitter?  Just message me! 😉

#20-#21: Friends: What can I say?  Spending time with my good friends on top of Derrick and Miles is such a treat. We all need these four days each year so badly.  All the fun dinners together, ice cream, hanging out, UNO battles, room visits, it makes the con something simple, easy, and special.  I wish Andrew and Evan could have come; it would have made it even more epic, but still, I was so blessed to be with Brown and Tabby, our support for each other. I also got to see my buddies Shelia and Danny and their lovely girls, Lily and April, who I have not seen since Tabby and Brown’s wedding over a year precious.  Their cosplays Shelia made for them were incredible! I got to sit and hang with my friend Katy that I met at last Cosplacon and a really sweet Sailor Moon cosplayer, Jennifer, came to take pictures with me Sunday! She is so bright and cheerful.  Friends are golden and that is so true in this case.

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#22. I Somehow Joined a Cosplay Group 0.o: So, I mentioned in the above entry that Jennifer plays an amazing Sailor Moon?  She plays many grand characters, but she was apart of this fabulous Sailor Moon group that was there last year.  I wanted to get a group photo of them with my Sailor V, but they did not come this year. Well, on Saturday, in my new Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, I mentioned how I had some extreme fan girls? Well, I had one from across the main foyer way, where the waterfall is.  She was in a mauve Star Trek uniform, her friend in a black Star Trek uniform close behind.  She had her camera in her hand as she trotted towards me, so excited.  She exclaimed, “I knew you were from Magic Knights! No one has a sword that skinny other than Umi!”  We got some pictures and it was great.  She even asked if I was a pro-cosplayer, what my cosplay name was, and if she could add me on Facebook. I was really surprised by that, but I did add her as a friend. About an hour or so later, around the same spot, I was talking to Miles, Brown, and Tabby, when she shuffled over from out of nowhere again with her friend. She started, “I’m sorry, but, I just have to tell you this: I’m the head of a cosplay group and I have been wanting to do a Rayearth group for a while; I like doing more…lesser known, but cute and amazing anime titles.  And, since you already have a great Umi, we can have our Umi in the group and I can most likely convince my friends to cosplay the other characters for photo opps. Would you join our cosplay group?”

First off, I was stunned and honored.  I cannot make clothes well, if at all, but the fact she had a group and wanted ME apart of it, that I was the start to one of their anime photo sessions was astounding. When she showed me the name of the group, I was floored again; it was the group that my buddy Jennifer was Sailor Moon in, the AMAZING Sailor Moon cosplay group for the mid-west! Not only were they a cosplay group, but a well-known and talented one at that.  I stuttered yes and she discussed their gigs and details.  Jennifer was really happy when I told her I got to join.  I told the leader I also do Sailor V and I loved theirs.  She started at me, bewilderment on her face, and smirked, “Well, you were just made for this, weren’t you?”  I don’t know all the details yet, but, at least for Cosplacon, I will be apart of the Magic Knights Rayearth group! 😀

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#23-#25. Miles’ Pun Count: So, let me tell you about my bro-bro, Miles: he is a pun master, as rolling of the eyes worthy that is at times. They are groan-tastic, ghastly punny.  When we were in the car, barely out of our hometown, he did one and Derrick rolled his eyes. I informed Miles that if he wanted to say puns on this four day trip, we had to start a counter. He was pumped and they dubbed me judge. His goal was 40 by the time we got home Sunday late afternoon.  By Saturday night, he was only five or so away, so I upped it to 50.  At the ice cream shop, he did a lot, so I went up to 75. He bit his lip, but accepted the challenge.  Then, it went to 80, all for a gold star sticker. Finally, for kicks, we wanted to see if he could make it to 100, which was going to be his goal for Cosplacon 2017. He did a CRAP-TON on the three hour car ride home, so many that a little after the two hours mark, he was at 105 and I made the counter broken! 0.o

MY BROTHER MADE 105 PUNS IN FOUR DAYS! 0.o There were even 6 that we did not count because they were too much of a stretch! Tabby and Brown got three each and Derrick got 10.  I accidently got three, even though I only wanted to judge, not be on the board! -_- Dang board… NOW…his goal for next year: 125 PUNS IN FOUR DAYS! Whoa! He is a little nervous there, but ready for the challenge.

Cosplacon, 2017: Let’s have a pun-off or challenge or panel, Miles and I can totally run it! Let’s make it happen!

OH! So, I did say a funny at the convention, but mine was not on purpose. Still, the boys KEEP talking about it and Mom and Dad cracked up later when I told them: it was Saturday evening and Miles, Derrick, and I were going down to the main floor (we were on our room floor, the 7th) to meet Brown and Tabby at the hotel restaurant.  There was about 12 people in our elevator, which is a lot. We stopped on the second floor and the person saw there was no room.  A young man in the corner of us (we were closest to the door), said, “Oh! Jake, hey man! How’s it going?” The gentleman, Jake, said good before the doors closed. As we descended to the final floor, the young man told the young woman he was with, “I wonder where Jake’s been?” NOW! Background: I worked for a special education teacher, and his first name was Jake.  The secretary nicknamed him, and that was what a lot of the staff referred to him as, so, this came out BY IMPULSE!

I THOUGHT I was mumbling, but I answered to myself, “At State Farm…” All of the sudden, Miles chuckled under his breath and Derrick was giving a funny grin.  The door chimed open and I blinked, confused. The young man in the corner who knew the con Jake started laughing and then beamed at me, saying, “That was a good one!” and him and the girl went ahead of us, laughing.  I blinked, more befuddled on why they were commenting on me.  Derrick goes, “Ummm, your Jake from State Farm comment? That was awesome!” I screamed, “WHAT?! I…I didn’t know anyone heard that! I was just mumbling that to myself!” Miles slapped my back, and said, “Well, it was great!” Derrick HAD to tell Brown and Tabby the second we saw them and they lost it. *sighs*  I guess that’s my con moment for 2016. 😉

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Okay things:

  • Iron Cosplay- I LOVE (<3) Iron Cosplay, but these year’s was only so/so.  I think because it was on a Thursday, which never gets a ton of business.  Maybe one on Thursday AND Friday?
  • Welcome panel/Opening Ceremonies- The welcome panels were fun.  I love their energy, and the beach ball was fun, even if I got hit a few times, once holding my camera.  Surely in the top 5 for welcome panels and opening ceremonies. But, no offense, most opening ceremonies are rules and some audience hype.  Hard to make them incredible.
  • Japanese 101 panel- The staff member who ran it was super nice and really knew she stuff, taking several college classes in Japanese in college and going/living to Japan often, but she went too fast (and I teach a basic Japanese class for pre-teens and teens). I think there should have been a few more interactive games and not too many talking to your shoulder partner since many people are not uncomfortable.  I did like the yukata she brought! =D
  • Cards Against Humanity- You can’t go WRONG with Cards Against Humanity; we play it often with friends and the people running it did fine.  I just felt awkward with my group (I was the only girl, but I owned that).  Still, it was not the same as when Samurai Dan and Jillian run it.  They bring such life and spark to all their panels, especially this game! They introduced us to it. It makes a huge difference.

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Cosplacon, I adore you and thank you for an incredible, spectacular year! I look forward to 2017, for your ‘fifth element’ celebration! <3 I know you had some downs this year, but you pushed through, all for us, with integrity, passion, and drive.  It did not go unnoticed.  ^_^

To check out most of the panels I attended, you can view videos of them on my Youtube Channel (key word: Cosplacon 2016), along with Cosplacon 2014 and 2015 videos and past Anime St. Louis and NatsuCon!

To see ALL my pictures from the event, please go to my public Cosplacon 2016 Facebook gallery.

Want to see the reviews and images for past Cosplacons?

Photo Gallery:

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Indie Pride Day 2016 Awesomeness

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Hiya everyone! Happy July 1st, or as I know it as since last year, National Indie (and Small Press) Pride Day! =D This is a day to celebrate all the amazing indie and small press authors out there and all their beautiful works, passion, and hard work.  We are a great community and taking the world by storm! Share the love and hashtags! #indieprideday #indiebooksbeseen

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To celebrate, I will be uploading OFTEN TODAY on my social medias.  We will have exclusive excerpts from all my works, including sneak peeks of “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals” AND my new story, known as “Project H & B”  for now.  I am also GIVING AWAY a digital copy of “Spirit Vision,” “Fallen Star Dust,” and two signed “Spirit Vision” bookmarks that are not set to release until October for “Spirit Vision 3!”

I get to hang out with my writing girls, Morgan and Kate, today too for a Writing Day! We will be sending some updates, with some silliness, there too on my medias!

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Giveaway Guidelines:

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Want a chance to win an e-book copy of my works, Spirit Vision and Fallen Star Dust ALONG with a shout out on my August blog AND be the first person EVER to own the first to bookmarks in the second set of The Spirit Vision series bookmarks (they will be signed of course)? They are making their first appearance at this party for Indie Pride Day!

You get ONE entry for each of the following you do (so, if you do all six, you get six entries):

My giveaway is also apart of “The Sick Rose Vampires” paranormal/supernatural post for Indie Pride Day! Check their site out here!

Check out on my media today bios on myself, some characters, and playlist links to get your writer’s juices pumping! 😀

Excerpt from “Spirit Vision:”

Chapter #4 sample

OFFICAIL SpiritVision Cover(3)

“You two have a special bond. It must be magnificent to have such a great little brother.”

I looked at the floor, taken aback that I had not pictured my relationship with Link that way. It was nice how Maren saw the good in everything. “I guess, sometimes…”

She laughed like a fairy. “Do not act so tough. You do not have to be like Umbra to impress him.”

I jumped five feet back, my face still red. “Why would I want to impress that loser?!”

“I heard that!”

I spun around. There was Umbra, leaning against my bed post. He must have been there the whole time!  I was not sure how he hid his presence, but he seemed delighted with my surprise.

Maren tightened her lips into a line, her eyes darting between us nervously. It reminded me of the fairy tale where the maiden hiccupped jewels and she made that face to hide them in her mouth.  Poor Maren was going to have sore cheeks if Umbra and I kept this stare down.

“That thing you call a little brother?  He’s not human. What is he?” he stated brusquely.

I was getting cross at his lack of social courtesy. “He may be different, but he has an imagination and character! Don’t misjudge him!”

Umbra smirked. “No wonder he’s weird. He’s related to you.”

What an utter a-hole!  “Shut up!” I yelled to defend my relative.

Another twisted laugh came out of his mouth. “Is that the best you got, weak human?”

I didn’t care if it wasn’t ladylike; he was going down by my punches!

Maren sat on the bed, staring at us calmly despite the tension in the air. “Please, stop this! We must work together! Now, shake hands and let us start telling Stary what she needs to know Umbra!”

Umbra and I were surprised, our faces frozen, perfectly matching, as we interrupted our fight to consider what Maren had said. Maren wiped a bang away from her sky blue eyes, sitting there smugly with poise, waiting for us to shake hands. Umbra started coming toward me, getting really close, which made me strangely panicky.

He offered his hand, turned his head away from me, rushing. “Only for Maren.”

I looked at him. His face was a little cherry. Nevertheless, I nodded, my mouth agape. We shook hands, but it was more like moving air. I could see I was shaking it, but couldn’t physically feel it. Yet I felt some kind of warmth.  Even more puzzling was the fact that I knew that warmth, but I couldn’t place how. I bet it felt strange to him as well. I almost (big almost) felt bad for him.

We let go immediately, realizing what we were doing and refused to glance at each other.  My face was hot again, and his was still ruby-colored. Maren patted my queen-sized bed. “I am so happy now!”

I sat next to Maren as Umbra leaned against my bed post again, trying to look hip.

“I guess I will tell the story Umbra. You add in anything you want, okay?” Maren sounded like she had been preparing for this moment her whole afterlife.

He bobbed his head. His face was covered in darkness, a shield, but his eyes were shining a bit. I bet he did really want my help, but when he turned his head away from me with a grimace, I began to think that maybe he didn’t after all.

“You see Stary, as you know, I ‘disappeared’ three years ago, right? It said that in your newspaper’s cover page article.”

I nodded, my face searching Maren’s for the answer.

“Well, I was actually killed,” she said like she was reliving the pain, choking on the horror.

I interrupted, finally able to express my outrage from earlier in a violent, instant fume as I stood. “Who would do such a cruel and evil thing to you?! Don’t worry. I’ll do whatever I can to make them…”

Maren only bowed her head. Umbra came toward me, smiling a little, but it was not cruel or mocking.  It was almost…kind.

“You don’t even know the whole story yet and you’re willing to help until the end? I sort of respect that. You may have guts after all, kid.” He patted my cheek ever so slightly before walking back to his post. I was still, struggling to form words.

Maren lifted her head up like it was made of lead.  It dawned on me why Umbra gave me that gesture. Maren was upset and Umbra was letting her have some time to recover since my loud mouth didn’t help.  No matter the motive, I was flattered and a little scared at his touch.

“Thank you Stary, but Umbra has a point. You do not know the whole story and you really need to.”

I sat down and allowed her to start, giving her my full attention.

“Everything in that article was true, except my grandfather did not work for the Angriff Squad. They wanted him to, but he made his inventions for the love of making something and the thirst for knowledge, the good of science, not evil wars like they wanted to use them for.”

Umbra’s fists began to tighten up and his eyes blazed with emotion. I heard him mumble something like, “Why couldn’t they just leave them alone?” His eyes then switched emotions and became sad and childlike. I had an urge to go to him, but Maren placed a hand over mine, forcing me to stay and listen.

You can go to the “Spirit Vision” page on my website to learn more:

You can purchase “Spirit Vision” on Amazon in paperback and digital format.

Excerpt from “Spirit Vision 2: New Beginnings:”

Chapter #8 sample

Stary

SV 2 New Beginnings cover idea two

Principal Sea smiled broadly to us and announced the senior Stu-Co had some words of encouragement for us. Some claps were scattered around the gym, leaving awkward echoes in their wake. One of the girls who had been with Umbra, a tall Amazonian beauty with platinum hair, got the crowd pumped by repeatedly asking us if we were going to have a great year. The boys ate this up like hummingbirds to sugar water.  Chloe huffed under her breath, annoyed by this girl’s tactic. I was too busy looking for Umbra, so focused on my personal mission that only certain words entered my ears… “Cheerleading…,” “Fight…,” “New…,” “Welcome…”

Chloe gasped beside me, causing me to avert my wandering eyes in her direction. Her hand was over her mouth, her eyes in shock.  I noticed Rin and Lauren at the opposite side of our row and they were staring towards the stage, anger set in their eyes although their mouths were in the shape of capital O’s.

Curious, I looked forward to see the other four girls who were talking to Umbra earlier by the curtain on the left side, tugging on an arm. They were dragging someone on stage who had no interest in being on it. That didn’t make sense why my friends had such horrified expressions.  As the girls continued to pull, the Platinum Amazon spoke and with my mind wanting to solve this mystery, I focused on her words.

“We always have many new students at our beloved PHS and we figured we should honor them and make them feel super welcomed.  We have received a wonderful new student, a volunteer, who is kindly here to help us show the world how accepting PHS is! Come on Knights! Let’s welcome our guest and fellow PHS student!”

The crowd began to hoot and holler at almost a rave level. Chloe was staring at me with misty eyes, eyes I’ve seen before. These were the eyes I used on her when I had to tell her Mark was moving!  At this realization, I was on high alert, glaring the stage down like it was a threat just when the mystery new student was fully exposed in the corner of the stage.

It was Umbra.

My mind was trying to connect the dots, but the image kept changing with every new question or concern that skidded across the surface of my brain.  My eyes absorbed Umbra, frozen to his spot on the stage, rubbing his right arm with his left almost bashful like, but his face was a perfect cocktail of embarrassment, confusion, and alertness.  He was now wearing a white long sleeve shirt that was near see-through and it was tight.  Tight tight. I mean, Umbra wears his clothes tight, but he can still move. This was like if I expected my shirt from second grade to still fit me! It showed off all his muscles, every well-sculpted crease. I supposed the audience saw them too for the girls were cheering for him between each pause the Platinum Amazon took.

As she continued to drone about how kind Umbra was, how amazing at track he was, and how intelligent he was, proving that knowing all this stuff meant that they were a supportive student council for their last year attending PHS (it’s called being a creepy stalker honey!), the other lionesses in human form approached Umbra and slowly began to touch him.  The crowd was ignoring the Amazon, but her smirk proved that this is what she wanted, attention with the handsome, out of this world new boy. If she only knew…

The background girls began stroking his arm lightly, slowly, lingering around his muscles, trying to entice my love.  A flick of his ear here, a lean on his shoulder there, messing with his hair affectionately was only the start of this somehow acceptable display.  The boys in the wave of students were about to either stab Umbra with dagger eyes or were as green as slim, envious he was getting all this attention.  Poor Umbra was frozen in place and his face was a look I had never seen before on him: pure terror.  I wasn’t sure if he just didn’t understand what was happening, not sure how to stop this without using his powers, or the fact he was so afraid that his mind was lost.  The girls managed to push him closer to the center stage with effort.  The crowd cheered more, the Platinum Amazon clapped as she continued her rant, and the evil looks I was getting from Chloe, Lauren, and Rin, told me so much: they wanted to murder Umbra for betraying me. It was all too much.

As Chloe reached for my arm, I stormed off, promising to myself to apologize to her later. I was sneaky although I stormed past all the jumping monkeys in the row and stomped upward, ascending the left side stairs from the curtain entrance.  I could make out the Platinum Amazon about to hug Umbra, her lustful gaze locked on his horrified one, but I charged forward, only seeing red. The lights above me vibrated, rage surging in their cords along with my blood. I snorted out a pinch of my fury just so I wouldn’t torch the stage like I did the hall after I pushed Credence last year.  I didn’t stop.

At the last second, the five girls saw me and their faces were stunned. Before a croak could come out of their mouths, I snatched Umbra’s arm firmly. His face lit up when he saw it was me and he willingly and gladly (I could tell from his smile) let me drag him away. He even gave them a mock wave as we blurred into the curtains, getting lost in their velvety masses. I knew my way around them, but I needed a few seconds to catch my breath.  I heard voices running past, dress shoes exposed under the curtain.  Vice-principal Euro was scolding the girls harshly as Principal Sea was trying to calm the students down to dismiss them. I smirked to myself.  I wished I could have seen their faces! Mr. Euro was good in my book from now on.

I flipped my long hair out of my face, trying to flatten the frizzes I knew were there. I took a final deep breath and turned to look at Umbra, my rescued prince.  He was huffing as well, staring at me with confusion, admiration, and shame in his chocolate eyes.  He opened his mouth and choked on his words.  He groaned at himself and tried again.

“Stary! I’m sorry! I promise I had no idea what they were trying to do. I have no idea why they were touching me either, but it creeped me out.  I—”

I didn’t let him finish.  He didn’t need to.  With all my heart, all the love and light I felt overflowing in my soul, the soul that knew its mate would never betray me, I kissed Umbra with every fiber of who I was. He embraced me tightly back, leaning us against a wooden support pole without breaking our kiss.  I slid my hands everywhere those girls had, hoping to block his memory of them for eternity.  I deepened our kiss, his lips so delicious that I wanted to kiss more of him, to see if he tasted any different.

You can go to my “New Beginnings” page on my website for my information.

You can purchase “New Beginnings” here on Amazon in paperback or digital format.

Works in collection “A Sweet, Little Dream:”

A Sweet Little Dream offical cover

I was bored working at my mom’s shop one day and my mind drifted to my brother and I sitting by the bay window when it would rain so hard, we would lose power for our Sega and we would sing until the power came back. This is to that memory, a memory of rainy day every child I am sure can relate to.

A Child’s Rainy Day (2005)

Little one of my eye,
Sits by the window,
Watching his tears hit the glass,
Feeling life on the go.

Lightning strikes your face,
Scaring your gentle hopes.
Thunder shakes your heart,
Making you hate love most.

Water rushing over the grass,
Clouds as gray and sad as you.
You want to go out and laugh,
Yet you can’t stop what you do.

Smile, my darling;
The sun will rise.
The rain will leave, for you,
And you can play, jump high, in the sky!

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This was my first story for my creative writing class I took with Mr. Banger my sophomore year. It is based on an assignment I worked on for him that he never collected the previous year! HA! The original assignment was to write a short story about Margaret Sanger, the woman who was determined to help women learn about birth control. This story is shorter than the first draft, where the woman at the end tells her whole sad story.  For length purposes, I cut that out before giving this to Mr. Banger, but the point and message is still there. This was written in late 2004.

Margaret’s America

The chilly winter breeze hit my face with full force, like a sharp blade.  My eyes were blinded by the heavy layers of snow falling. As I exited the hospital, the rows of buildings shined in sparkling white glory. Even though the buildings looked lovely, I had to be careful. I had a long walk to the court house and the sidewalks were glazed over in slippery ice. I held onto the miles of buildings so I would not fall.  I stopped, thinking of lying down for a brief moment, but then, I gazed up at her. Her, who was standing so proud and bold, yet had a forgiving and peaceful face looking over the glittering city. I smiled and walked on.  Little did I realize that day would be the fateful day that set the course for the rest of my future.

I could not be late, not today. That brisk Friday was the last weekend I got to spend with my brother before he left to join the army.  It took me awhile, but somehow, I managed to get to the court house on time and then, I saw him: a tall, handsome and strong young man with light brown hair in curls and sparkling, clear water eyes that reflected the light of the blinding sun. I ran into his opened arms and his affectionate smile.  I was all warm inside now and also really happy to see him; my only family, my hero.

He gently kissed my forehead and said, “I was worried you would miss our big evening.”

“OH, I would never! Not in a million years!” I yelled, jumping excitedly. He then grabbed my arm lightly and looped it through his own as we walked back to our home, away from the cold.

I walked in delicately, scared of damaging the perfect coziness of our cottage nestled in the heart of the city. I could already smell the sweet smell of pine that gently hit my face like a petite angel had just flapped her wings towards us as a reward for working. I could feel the warm glow from the rusty fireplace as the flames blazed high and the hot embers danced to the rhythm of my breath.  Home always gave me such a wonderful feeling, almost as good as Christmas time does to an innocent child. I took off my coat and happily danced on the colored rug, like I always do to thank the Lord for my gift of life and this lovely small and tidy home. Then, a thought came to me…my brother was going to the army and I had no idea why.

While I was cooking supper, I kept trying to think of why. My deep concentration of the question my heart was yearning to answer made me almost burn the chili I was preparing and destroy the fine silver pot. Why was he leaving me?  Maybe I said or did something to offend him that made my dear brother want to leave me or he was just sick of taking care of his kid sister. I should apologize, yet I was not sure that was the problem.  Stressing myself out was only giving me a major headache.  The more important question would be: Why was not I trying to stop him?

At the dinner table, the two of us talked about our days at work. I am a junior nurse and he is the co-owner of a newspaper stand downtown or, I should have said he was. I felt a pair of confused eyes stare at me; he must have noticed I did not pay attention to a word that came out of his mouth.

Softly, he asked me a question that startled me out of my state of darkness, “Margaret, my dear, would you like to talk?”

I slowly looked at him in fright, shaking hard to not allow him to know my pain. My chest was about to burst from the pressure as my vision blurred and his angelic face swirled in front of my scared eyes. Then, from out of nowhere, an unknown force from inside me exploded and I screamed at the top of my lungs, “WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME AND TRYING TO GET KILLED?!” I gasped and quickly covered my mouth in horror. My eyes began to sting and rows of hot tears were rolling down my face in uncontrollable and painful amounts matching with its new red color.

Shocked, he looked at me for a moment, yet to my surprise, his eyes became forgiving, showing the good nature he has always had since we were small. My brother, focused and concerned with a smile approached me and laid his hands gently on my cheeks, staring into my spirit broken eyes. In his soft, kind, and deep voice, he said, “Margie, babe, you know I would never want to leave my baby sister since Mother and Father died. You mean the world to me…”

In fear of hurting me more and forming the right words, my guardian swallowed hard and then continued. “But, my duty belongs to my country and I know, that in my heart, I must do this. I feel that America will be in this war very soon—”

“Impossible!” I interrupted, upset by his disloyalty to our beloved nation. “Wilson promised that—”

“I know that our president is doing the best he can, but he cannot hold on for much longer, thanks to them bloody Germans! I just feel like I must go.” My brother did have a sixth sense about awful situations, sadly enough for me.

“Brandon, I am seventeen! I am old enough to help. Let me go and be by your side! I…I just cannot stand the thought of us not being together,” I said.

Go to my “A Sweet, Little Dreams” page to get more information AND a link to some works being read on an Indie podcast.

Click here to view a WHOLE blog post I dedicated to the Margaret behind this story.

You can purchase “A Sweet, Little Dream” on Amazon in paperback and digital formats.

Works in my Collection, “Fallen Star Dust:”

FallenStarDust--FrontCover

“Stress is the Key, Worrying the Dream” sample

Why am I scared to talk to someone about all this?  Because my mind is a dangerous place.  It seems the more worried my body gets, the…more odd?  No, that’s not good enough.  Weird?  Nah that hurts my feelings.  What was it my mom called me? Quirky?   That doesn’t fit either.   Charismatic?  That sounds too nice for my mind, but I don’t have Star Wars battle ships to speed the time, so I will call my current state of mind charismatic.  As a person (here we go again), I am shy, reserved, quiet, but my thoughts are freaky, unique, funky.  I promise; it is not too scary, but I think of…rare topics when I am put in over-stressful situations.  Like last week, I had to take a teaching test for four hours.  I finished my essay ten minutes early and we had to remain silent and not writing.  I randomly got out my social card and remembered a conversation with my dad.  I asked him how they came up with the numbers.  He shrugged, saying they are all random.  I countered, saying would it not make more sense to start with 0000000001 and adding how cool that would have been.  He told me life does not have to be in order to make sense.  I blinked for a second because his statement did not make sense, but told him we will run out of numbers eventually.  He laughed quickly to tell me they recycle the numbers. So, here I am, fascinated by this card.  It made me think that when I was born, which was supposed to be a happy day I guess, I am given some dead person’s life in a number code as a gift from my government.  I guess I stated that sort of dark, but I started thinking what my person was like, where he/she lived, how many kids he/she had.  I imagine my number belonging to a hard working potato farmer in lower Kentucky that always had a smile on his face and wore dark green colored overalls and a straw hat.  He has an average wife that was a little plump, but perfect for him and had twins: a boy and a girl, each with golden hair named Susan May and Jimmy Bob.  The family loved to wave at people while they worked and always had mashed potatoes for supper in a dining room covered with daisies.  I suppose one can think about a lot in ten minutes.

Lately, I have been having funny sleep patterns when I sleep well, but wake up twice during the night and the night never seems to end.  So, when I am awake, I think of other odd things like what did William Howard Taft think before he decided to run for the presidency or why even have questions like “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound” or the chicken and the egg thing (BTW, my answer is: everything makes a sound, so the tree would, but if we don’t hear it, I think most people would live and the chicken because God made all the animals fully grown, which includes the chicken unless heartless people out there don’t consider it an animal).  I can think of anything from life changing things, such as how to combine evolution to creation full-heartedly to childish ideas like if crayons really have different tastes based on color.  Who knows and who cares are probably what most of you are thinking and frankly, I am thinking this too about most of my own questions, but this makes me myself.

Fire, Fire

Fire, Fire, burning, burning

Fire, Fire, blazing, blazing

Fire, Fire, sizzle, sizzle

Fire, Fire, drown the drizzle

Fire, Fire, ignite, ignite

Fire, Fire, out of sight

Fire, Fire, untamed, untamed

Fire, Fire, feel no blame

Fire, Fire, smolder, smolder

Fire, Fire, you’re a solider.

Fire, Fire, destroy, destroy

Fire, Fire, ash is your toy

Fire, Fire, wild, wild

Fire, Fire, engulf no child

Fire, Fire, ember, ember

Fire, Fire, never dimmer

Fire, Fire, flame, flame

Fire, Fire, you have been framed…

Fire, Fire, burning, burning

Fire, Fire, blazing, blazing.

Go to “Fallen Star Dust’s” page on my website for more samples and information.

You can purchase “Fallen Star Dust” on Amazon in paperback or digital formats.

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Coming  Fall 2016:

“Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals”

Exclusive Indie Pride Day Sneak-Peek here:

Chapter 5: Stary*

*This IS still in the editing stage.

I gripped the handles of my backpack tightly, bracing myself and collecting my thoughts.  I locked stares with the on and off button below the camera, my vision obscured from the lens’ Cyclopes eye.  I know I didn’t have green, glowing balls of energy I could summon at will to transform into amazing things like an Optimums Prime made of light like my boyfriend, but I did have my light, my power, my incantation.

I aimed my hand like I was controlling a spirit gun once more, a flicker of a ten-point star luminous shooting out of my trigger finger after I uttered the words with whispered confidence: “Solvo…”

It took a few seconds, but the tiny light ball reached my target, bobbing on along a make-believe wave.  It was able to hit the switch from on to off, the camera now becoming black, dead as a doornail.  I did the same method with the old lock on the door and caressed around the doorframe for any sort of alarm. To my luck, there wasn’t one.  I would have to bring that up with the school board for safety issues once all this hoopla was over with.

My legs felt like lead, my lungs stuffed as if someone was going to ship me away and placed a million of those annoying packing peanuts in them for my safety.  With a bravado that was sinking into my bones, manifesting itself into a silent, swirling, strong strength, I edged forward, my walk that of a mountain cat as I opened the door. This was the gate to a new world, my destiny unclear, blinding, and unmistakable as it bared into my eyes.

I slid down the incline that led to the track, grateful it was November and the P.E. classes would be inside.  Leaves slapped my face, the wind shrilling, fingering my hair.  Change was so apparent in the air that I could smell it, taste it.  As I averted my face from view the best I could, my hair a veil of concealment thanks to the steady breeze, I zoomed past the high jump area to a ‘forbidden’ portion of the campus; an entrance to a wooded area.

It had a small rusted silver fence that appeared to have a permanent haze around it. It has seen better days and it was easy for me to lift my leg up, hop a smidgen, and be over it, and I am a major klutz.  No sign was posted around the blockade that stated we should not go in, but it was instilled in our brains, an unspoken rule that we all obeyed and with good reason. These woods were ominous, the whispers of the lost souls, the dead, sang from its trees. I had no idea where it led, but I had no sense left of rules, my heart leading this reckless journey.

I began hiking up the steep hill that led to the beginning of my quest, but before I took the final step. The wind shifted directions, its scent a bittersweet aroma of home and homesickness, the feelings blending in my stomach like a smoothie I would never get the taste out of my mouth.  As I turned to take one last glance at my beloved high school, the last pieces of my normal life, maybe the last time at my beloved town of Plantersville, tears clogged my throat. I pushed them back, knowing all these precious places and people deserved to see me leaving them with a smile.  Despite the turmoil and my frayed nerves, I threw a smile into the wind as it whipped my hair into rapids of glossiness, it shining like a new penny.

“Good-bye and thank you…”

With a heavy head, a tugging heart, and a youthful amount of bravery, I tilted my head to the side to catch my breath and adjust to my new enchanted with darkness forest, praying my incantations, spiritual friends, instincts, and connection to Umbra would get me to my destination in time, all our sacrifices and struggle not in vain.  I lifted my foot, preparing to leap to my…

“Hey. you jerk! You really going to leave without us before I bite you a new one?”

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Exclusive Sneak-Peek of a new project, coded as “H & B:”

Warning: This is more of an adult book, so there are some chose words. This is also in the VERY early manuscript stages.

Twenty-eight minutes, Galen pulls into our headquarters, a nice building that looks like it was made of black bricks, yet it being in the middle of the country with its paved rock driveway gave it a feel of mystery on top of its gothic class.  The street lamps were Victorian and at night, when the moon shone and hit their tips, the shadows would cast shapes of classic monstrums on the dot times, such as 3:00, giving the world a secret peek into our true nature for sixty seconds.

Galen punched in the past code on our garage opener in the van and went down to the basement floor once it activated.  My mind zoomed like the images of the catacombs meant to confuse trespassers, a maze I knew as well as the poses of every Sailor Scout from Sailor Moon.  It took all my willpower to not rest my head against the cool glass of our tented window, feeling the comfort to calm my fried nerves. I wanted to grab my precious katana and stroke its metal, feel the centuries of battle it wore with the grace and beauty of a goddess, but I knew sensei the articulate would somehow put me in a one-handed headlock and still drive.  I sadly have been on the wrong end of this oddity.

The van halted its advances and Galen cut-off the engine, the lack of hum from the motor making me feel empty and that my time was really up. “We are here kids. Get out of my weapon mobile and hurry up on the business; I want to go home.”

Kesler and I hopped out of the van, poor Kesler clinging to his notebook until his hands were white, squeaking it a “Yes, sir,” so quiet that I would not have heard it unless I was walking right beside him.  I gave Sir Buzz Kill a half-hearted wave as he went down the left side hall to his weapon’s shop and volt, “Yeah, yeah, grandpa; we know it’s past your bedtime.  Stop being jelly of us and go polish your weapons until they are all pretty, pretty, shiny, shiny.”

The way sensei’s face crinkled into such a tall scowl even made his piercing scar wrinkle and, admittedly, it reminder me of a bulldog. It was utterly and weirdly adorable! I bite my tongue to not chuckle as he stuck his pointed nose in the air, grumbling, “Punk…Come by tomorrow morning, 4:30 a.m., for some extra drills.” And he walked into his violent sanctuary, edgy and dramatic…for a bulldog.

I shrugged and wrapped my arm around Kesler, escorting him to the hallway that led to our main base of operations.  We scanned our ID cards, did fingerprints, and punched in our key codes, all while Kesler was mumbling and pleading with me about how I should not have made Galen mad and that he wanted to take the blame for my extra training sunrise practice now. I shrugged it off each time and patted his forehead playfully once, forcing a beam to show my co-workers busy at work that I could handle whatever Chief had in store for me. I got this. I plaster this smile on my face, I act respectful and approachable to face the world and I can tackle this mess to the ground while still being a ray of sunshine…a deadly ray of sunshine, but still.

Kesler and I went to his office (what we jokingly call his large cubicle office), me sitting on the edge as I munched the string cheese I kept in his mini fridge in the corner.  He began typing up his notes and was asking me for clarification once in a blue moon, but I read over his shoulders, enjoying the tingling of the mozzarella cheese is it tickled my tongue with happiness. No wonder cheese is so drug worthy that science claims it is as accidicting as morphine. I suppose I need to come clean; Hello. My name is Val Hemmingway and I am a cheesealoic.

I took a swig of my Yoo-hoo before I had to walk towards this death sentence that would come with the Bringers.  I ventured up the hall, glancing up and down for Chief in her usual monitoring stations that reminded me of a buffed  up version of the NASA’s mission control with HD screens and DNA samples on wall scanners or in floating test tubes that encompassed the back wall of the room like a very unique wallpaper.  Alas, before I got to Chief, who was gazing at the largest middle screen with a thoughtful and semi-perplexed look on her tanned face, a force pulled me back a foot and almost made me crash on my butt…but, I landed on something warm, solid, and slightly hard, or maybe…toned would be a better description.

I should not have turned around to answer my curiosity; it never does anything good for my cat or me.  Leached to my arm was the tapeworm of my existence: damned Jeffrey Darington. Son of a monkey fiddle! Why can’t he just explode already? He uses so much hair gel and spray…I bet I could get my lighter to spark a little self-defense fire and…

You can get another sneak-peek at my April CAMP NANO Progress blog post here.

indiebeseen

Aspiring Author Spotlight- Katy Runyon (June 2016) (AAS #28)

Aspiring Author Spotlight, News2 Comments

It’s been about a year now since I first met Katy.  Katy-san was sitting, waiting for Samurai Dan and Jillian’s beloved “Cards Against Humanity” panel (18+, yes) at Cosplacon 2015 last year.  There was like a two hour delay from the start time to when the panel actually was (super long, confusing for all parties story), but I did not want to lose my second row spot since Dan and I are tight and I wanted him to see me (I brought a sparkly hat for him to wear).  Miles and Derrick bored quickly and went to explore the hotel or chill in the hotel room upstairs. I was watching a video on my phone and Katy-san was sitting in front of me, commenting on something the video said, and we just hit it off! We talked about my magical girls shirt, Yu-gi-oh, cosplay, Samurai Dan, and so much more, watching videos together, Katy-san showing off some awesome swag, and just having a hooting time those two hours. We became Facebook friends right away after the panel started and Katy, Tabby, and I were on the same “Cards Against Humanity” group.

Katy-san (known as KuroBakura on the web), has so much passion for her fandoms and makes them creative in fanfiction, never giving up despite challenges. It is such an admirable spirit; even myself and authors bigger than me struggle with this at times. Katy-san’s laugh is infectious; keep dreaming! =D Let’s give Katy-san a welcome!

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Aspiring Author Spotlight Questions

  1. When you wake up in the morning, how do you see life?- Well, for me, it depends on the how I feel when I wake up. Most of the time, I feel like life is exciting but other times. When I feel alone and have no energy, I try not to let it get to me, though as much as I can. I live my life one day at a time and to the fullest as much as possible.
  2. How did writing find its way into your life?- I discovered my first fanfic when I was about ten, but I did not write my first one until 2005. After reading it for years, I decided one day to give it a try, but after getting a lot of negativity, I quit writing it for years, but then started back up again in December of 2014. Now, I have written about 150 fanfics/works since and even started to write original stories works as well.
  3. What does writing do for you?- Writing not only helps with my stress and issues (I am autistic and it helps me keep calm and it is soothing to me), but it also helps me see how my ideas look like when written out, both story and character wise . With fanfiction, it helps give me a different perspective on the characters, such Sherlock Holmes (BBC version) and Loki (Marvel movies).
  4. What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?- I write fantasy, LGBT/slash, hurt/comfort, action/adventure and Alternative Universe (fanfiction term). I also write crossovers (which is another fanfiction term).
  5. Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?- Oh, yes. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. I mostly write for myself, but my friends and family encourage me to write. Having a support system is a wonderful thing and helps me push forward and keep going.
  6. What are you currently working on or what was the last thing you wrote?- I am working on so many stories and fanfiction at the moment, but the most recent one that I have done is of Sherlock and John from Sherlock (BBC version) taking a trip to Japan and experiencing certain cultural things and events. The last thing I wrote was another Sherlock fanfic where Sherlock and John have a daughter who was adopted and Sherlock is at an event with their daughter. I am also planning a few other Sherlock fanfics as well and an original story, too.
  7. Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?- Well, for the fanfic about Sherlock and John going to Japan, I have had the idea to write it for a while, but the inspiration to write got stronger after listening to a song in a videogame that I was playing on my Playstation 3 one day. I tend to find inspirations and ideas from random things, such as pictures, music, or even just from a certain emotion.
  8. What are your goals for the future?- Well, my goal is to write and complete my first original novel (with no time limit). Another goal of mine is to make a cover for the novel as well. I actually have been drawing longer than I have been writing, but I love doing both things.
  9. What are your interests or hobbies?- Interests: Anime/Manga, comic books (mainly Marvel), music, art (any kind of art), writing, cosplay and collecting things such as comic books and movies I have a huge collection of Marvel, Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit and movies with Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Hemsworth, and/or Martin Freeman in them.  My Hobbies are drawing/painting, writing, playing video games, watching movies anime, and TV shows. I also like to sing as well.
  10. If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help the world?-  I am not really sure actually. I never thought of myself as being a hero or what it would be like to be one.
  11. What advice would you give people who want to write?-  Never let the negativity from others get to you and if you love to write then go for it. Writing is not about what other people think or that you should have to write what they want. If you love to write and want to do it, then do not let others stand in your way and/or bring you down. Do it for yourself and/or follow your dream. In the end, there are people who will love your work and support you, no matter what.
  12. If you could be remembered for one thing or thought, what would it be?-  I guess for me, it would be just always being there for people when they need help or advice about something. I am the type of person who will help and be there for you if you need it and try to make you feel better.

Work Sample:

“I’m Sorry”

A Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers Fanfiction*

Note: This fanfiction, although the content is PG, does contain and/or suggest some yaoi themes (a boy liking another boy).  For those who are sensitive to the topic, this warning has been in placed.

It was a breezy Saturday night. Tony was in his laboratory, working on some paperwork for an order of parts for his new suit he is working on. Tony suddenly heard his lab door open and looked up. Steve (who has been living with Tony for less than month but they have known each other for about three now) walked in to the lab, still wearing his suit. He walked over to Tony and then stood right in front of him.

“Mr. Stark.” Steve suddenly said in a serious tone.

“Captain.” Tony replied, in the same tone.

“We need to talk.” Steve told him.

“There is nothing to discuss. Now, please leave.” Tony said, turning around. Suddenly, Tony heard something break behind him. Steve had thrown Tony’s coffee cup on the floor, shattering it. This made Tony a bit irritated.

“You broke my cup.” Tony said. Steve suddenly feel like he could not hold it back anymore. Steve just let it out of his system.

“Yeah, I broke your cup, Tony. Just like you broke my damn heart!” Steve replied.

“So, this is what all of this is about. Hmm, I see.” Tony said. Tony walked away from his desk and towards the entrance.

“So, you are not even going to talk about this at all?” Steve asked.

“You just answered your own question, Rogers.” Tony replied. Steve turned around and grabbed Tony’s arm.

“Tony, please listen to me.” Steve said. Tony slapped Steve’s arm away from him.

“Don’t touch me, Rogers.” Tony said back to him. Tony turned again and then continued to walk over to the door. That is when Steve decided that he needed to be more serious if he wanted to get his point across.

“DON’T YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT ANYONE ELSE’S FEELING BUT YOUR OWN?!” Steve shouted. Tony stopped and turned to Steve, again.

“Of course I do!” Tony replied.

“Since when?!” Steve asked.

“Since I met you!” Tony said. Steve blushed.

“…What?” Steve said, calmly. Tony sighed.

“Steve, before I met you, I was all about myself and thought myself as “high and mighty.” But when I met you…all of this changed. Yes, I do have my flaws and moments, but I am only human. Ever since I have met you, I have changed…a lot. You were the one who taught me to care about others and be compassionate. I am sorry that I still can not be as open as you want me to be, Steve.” Tony told him.

Steve didn’t make a sound or say any thing.

“Well, if that is all…I would like you to please leave.” Tony said. Steve began to walk over but stopped in front of Tony. Steve leaned forward towards Tony. Suddenly, Tony was caught off guard; he felt Steve’s lips press against his. After Steve stopped, Tony looked at Steve, wide-eyed and in shock.

“Tony, I know and I should be more understanding about you as well. I guess, maybe, I care too much, but like you said, I am only human…What I am trying to say is…I am sorry, Tony, and…I love you.” Steve said. Tony held Steve close to him.

Tony sighed, relieved and flustered from the way this disagreement had turned. “I am sorry, too. I guess we both are different, but we also get along well. And hey, love is not always nor can be perfect. Steve…you are my Avenger.” Tony said. Steve smiled at Tony.

“Love you, too, by the way.” Tony replied, then kissed Steve quickly, both of them were smiling afterwards.

“Tony?” Steve suddenly said.

“Yes?” Tony replied.

“…Lets just forget about this whole incident. Is that okay with you?” Steve asked.
“Of course.” Tony replied. They let go of each other and held hands.

“Well, I guess there only one other question to ask…” Tony said. Steve blushed and felt his heart race.

“Oh?” Steve asked.

“Steve…want to get some dinner?” Tony asked. Steve began to chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” Tony demanded. Steve looked up at him.

“Oh sorry. It is nothing.” Steve replied.

“Steve…” Tony said. Steve took a breath.

“…I thought you were going to ask me to marry you.” Steve told him. Tony blushed.

“Really?” Tony asked. Steve nodded his head a couple of times, still ensnared in laughter.

“…Uh…woo. Well, ahhh…” Tony stuttered. Steve cackled again.

“Tony, it’s fine. I am not upset or anything, but to answer your actual question. Yes, I would like to get something to eat.” Steve answered.

“Chinese?” Tony asked.

“Sure! Let me go change and then we will head out.” Steve replied.

“Okay, I will meet you downstairs, then.” Tony said.

About the Author:

katyaaspic

Hi! My name is Katy and/or KuroBakura. I am huge fan of Sherlock, The Hobbit/Lord of The Rings, Marvel, anime/manga, Jpop/Jrock/Kpop and a lot of other things/fandom as well. I also love Japanese culture and learning about the history of Japan (past events and such) and am starting to learn more about the past history of Korea as well. I write mostly fanfiction and plan to write a novel. I love to write, draw and play videogames.

Links:

KuroBakura’s “Archive of Our Own” Fanfiction Account 

Top Twenty R.W.B.Y. Characters (Top Ten #50!!! WOOT!)

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50 Top Tens! I can’t believe it! How amazing it is! To honor this, I wanted to do a Top Twenty of a gem of a show that I like a lot and that is my brother’s fan boy media: R.W.B.Y.  The characters are very engaging and you can see the passion the creators (rest in peace, Monty) put into it. The one liners crack me up SO much! >.<  Anyway, enjoy R.W.B.Y. and be Combat Ready! =D

To see ALL my other Top Tens and Reviews (conventions and games), click on my Top Tens and Morgan’s Reviews Page for the complete list.

  1. Penny
  2. Yang Xiao Long
  3. Jaune Arc
  4. Nora Valkyrie
  5. Ruby Rose
  6. Qrow
  7. Pyrrha Nikkos
  8. Neptune
  9. Zwei
  10. Mercury
  11. Coco Adel
  12. Weiss Schnee
  13. Lie Rin
  14. Dr. Oobleck
  15. Flyant and Neon
  16. Velvet
  17. Shopkeeper
  18. Professor Ozpin
  19. Glenda Goodwitch
  20. Winter Schnee

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Author’s Gold (A.U.) Excerpt with Dan Wright (late May 2016)

Aspiring Author Spotlight, NewsLeave a Comment

Hello glorious people and secret Dragonkin! Dan Wright is back on my blog, this time sharing an awesome excerpt from his latest work, his re-mastered and re-leased pride and joy, Trapped in Draconica, the first in his Draconica series!  ^_^ I signed up to be apart of his Enchanted Book Promotions blog tour, but he had so many wonderful hosts wanting a piece of it, I did not get to! Awesome job though friend for being so popular! So, I promised him that when his tour ended, which was last week, I would extend it with a post on my author site and…ta-dah! 😀 Here we go!

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Chapter Two

Not In Canterbury Anymore

Cool breezes kissed Ben’s forehead as he slowly began to open his eyes. The light stung his eyes and nearly blinded him again, closing his eyes quicker than opening them. “Ow! Turn the flipping lights off will you?”

He lay back, the ground feeling surprisingly comfortable, despite the moist feeling, as if it had been raining for a few days. It was quite soft and he felt like he could go to back to sleep for a few hours. His head burned like it had the mother of all hangovers. The fresh smell of pure grass graced his nostrils – the wonderful sensation making him forget the pain in his head.

Then he realised that something wasn’t right.

Wait… Grass?

Ben picked himself up and took in his surroundings. All he could see was lush woodland and tender grass beneath him, the sun warming him with calming light. It was a complete contrast to where he was a moment ago.

The last thing he remembered was being chased in an alley. Then a flash… and that was it. How did he end up here?

He checked himself, noticing he was still wearing his school uniform and he still had his backpack. Instinctively he opened it up and looked inside to see if anything had been taken. Everything was still there – the cigarettes, his mobile phone, iPod, schoolbooks and the World Soccer magazine he had pinched. Ben took his phone and searched through his list of contacts for Clive, calling him to see if they got away. The phone wouldn’t connect. After checking it, Ben realised he had no signal. He tried again and again to call. Nothing.

He slung his bag over his shoulder and held his phone up in the hopes of finding a signal. He didn’t know if it was the trees that were blocking his signal or not, but no amount of walking he did helped. “Argh, stupid thing!” Ben cursed as he moved around. “Why won’t you work? Most powerful phone network my…”

He stopped when he heard a low growl from behind. At first he thought it was his stomach rumbling, but then the growl came again. Very slowly, he turned round. He gulped when he saw a large dog, roughly the size of a great dane. Its crimson red fur standing on end and its glinting, yellow eyes looked towards Ben with the apparent intention of making him its next meal. Ben always had a fear of dogs since he was attacked by a Jack Russell a few years ago, but a dog this size made him twice as apprehensive.

“Nice doggie…” he said in panicked tones, backing away. “Nice doggie…”

With every step Ben took back, the huge dog took a step forward, glaring with blazing eyes that could light up the darkness of a cave. The dog snarled at Ben, opening its mouth to show rows of razor sharp teeth.

“Oh bum!”

Ben turned and ran through a grove of trees. The dog followed in hot pursuit, matching him every step of the way. Ben’s escape plans were foiled when he tripped over a root hidden amongst the dirt, landing chin first.

The dog was on top of him moments later, Ben felt as if a huge weight had been placed on his back. It let out a terrible howl and grabbed the back of Ben’s shirt, tearing into it and missing his flesh by a hairsbreadth. It tore off the fabric and spat it away, leaving Ben’s neck exposed. Ben was terrified, of all the ways he thought he would die, he never expected being mauled to death by a rabid dog to be one of them.

Suddenly, the creature stopped. All traces of anger and discomfort appeared to leave it. It turned to its side and Ben noticed a girl no older than him and of the same black skin tone. She wore grass-green dress, with flowers attached for decoration. She reached out to the dog and instantly it leapt off Ben, relieving the crushing pain on his back. It ran into the girls’ arms, whining like a puppy. The girl stroked it just behind its ears and talked to it in soothing tones as if it was her own pet. Then the dog creature ran off into the forest. The girl walked over to Ben, holding out a hand.

“You all right?” Her voice sweet and childlike, lacking any malice.

“What… what…” Ben gasped as he tried to get his breath back. “What was that thing?”

“A blood wolf,” the girl told him.

“A wolf!” Ben screamed in shock. “Since when does Canterbury have any wolves?”

He saw that the girl was still holding her hand out, so he took it and she helped him to his feet. “What were you doing being chased by a blood wolf?” the girl asked him. “You didn’t act afraid near it, did you? You silly boy!”

“Yeah, it’s a little hard not to act afraid when it’s slobbering all over your back and all!” Ben yelled back.

“Didn’t they teach you anything about the wild? Blood wolves sense of smell is so acute that they can detect the subtle changes in emotions. They’re very sensitive to negative emotions so you don’t act afraid around them.”

“Where did you read that? Wikipedia?”

The girl appeared a little perplexed by Ben’s manner of speech, but remained polite. “What’s your name?”

“Er… Ben…” he replied, dusting himself off.

“Nice to meet you,” the girl said, smiling. “I’m Erowin. What are you doing in this forest all alone?”

“Looking for Bear Grylls,” Ben replied sarcastically. “What do you think?”

Erowin seemed mildly offended by what Ben said at first, then burst into a spontaneous giggle. “You’re funny!”

“Yeah… Er… listen, don’t supposed you could tell me… where am I?”

“Where are you?” Erowin asked, sounding a little shocked. “You’re in the forest!”

God, this girl’s a whack job! Ben thought. “Well thank you very much, Ms-Explain-The-Bleeding obvious, but can you be a little bit more specific?”

“The Forest of Celt, silly,” she chuckled.

“Where the hell’s that? Newcastle?”

“New castle?” Erowin placed a finger to her chin and her eyes rolled back thoughtfully. “There aren’t any new castles that I can think of. Unless any have been built recently.”

This chick’s clearly on something, Ben thought. “Right, see ya!” He turned and walked away in the opposite direction to Erowin, moving as fast as he could.

“Where are you going?” Erowin cried, running after him. “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

Ben ignored her and took out his phone again and dialled the same number he had been trying for ages, still he got no response. The phone didn’t even ring. “Argh! Stupid thing!” Ben cursed. “How do I get a signal in this place?”

“Signal?” Erowin asked. “For what?”

“For my phone!” Ben said, holding up his mobile.

Erowin’s eyes widened, acting as if she had just been shown the most unusual piece of jewellery in her life. She took the phone from his hands.

“Hey! Give that back!”

Erowin looked over the alien device in her fingers, feeling it up and down with her thumbs. It felt smooth against her touch, but a bit heavy for its size. “What a curious little device,” she mused. “What is it?”

“It’s a mobile!” Ben shouted, snatching it back from Erowin. “More to the point it’s a mobile that cost around a hundred odd quid, so keep your grubby mitts off it! Oh you scratched the screen!” He shut his phone off and put it back in his bag. “Look, just point me in the direction of the train station and I’ll make my own way back home!”

“Train station?”

“You don’t even have a train station?” Ben groaned. “Fine, I’ll just have to walk it then.”

“Wait! I can help you find your way home!” Erowin said, following after Ben as he walked away. “This forest is dangerous and I would hate it if you got hurt.”

“Thanks, but no thanks!” Ben sternly replied. “I think I’m capable enough to navigate my way through a…”

As he turned a corner he was met with a roar of sound that made him fall back and land on his backside. He was greeted with a sight that made his encounter with the blood wolf seem small by comparison. The roar came from a bear, at least eight feet tall and with two bull-like horns protruding from its head. It roared again when it saw Ben, yet it did not move to attack. For Ben, two shocks in one day were more than he was prepared to take. “What the hell is that?”

“It’s a torobear!” Erowin cried, rushing to his side. “Don’t get too close to it! It seems angered!”

“You think?” Ben cried sarcastically. “What kind of messed up place is this?”

Erowin could sense a great rage coming from the creature, but she did not think it was directed at them. She knew torobears were generally gentle creatures who did not attack unless provoked. And Ben had not done anything to provoke the creature that she could see.

“Stay here,” she said to Ben. She walked toward the torobear, which dwarfed Erowin.

“What you doing you crazy bird?” Ben shouted.

Erowin moved closer to the bear and closed her eyes. The bear continued to roar, but Erowin did not flinch. “It’s in pain,” Erowin said, her voice sounding a little distant.

“What?” Ben asked.

Erowin looked down at the bear’s back legs, which were caught in a huge mantrap. The jaws of the horrific contraption had dug deep into its bone, tearing into its leg further as it struggled to free itself.

“You poor thing,” Erowin gasped. “Here, let me help you.”

The beast took a swing at Erowin with huge claws that looked like they could tear a man in half with one blow. Erowin lunged back to avoid the creature’s swing. “It’s all right,” she said in soothing tones. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The bear’s roar changed to painful breathing. Erowin knelt down beside the trap. Looking at this device made her feel sick. It was a thing that was not only made to trap its prey, but also to cause it as much pain as possible. She tried not to flinch from the smell of blood in her nostrils as she reached for it, but stopped when she felt the cold steel of a blade underneath her chin.

“‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello,” came a sinister, yet highly common voice from behind. “What ‘ave we got ‘ere then?”

Erowin turned round slowly, spotting a man, dressed in fur from creatures he had previously slain. His lips raised in a mischievous grin. “Tryin’ to steal our catch of the day?”

The torobear let out a roar on seeing its captors. Two more men, dressed similarly to their leader grabbed Ben. “Hey, let me go, you creeps!” Ben cried out.

“Now then, sweetheart, ‘ow about you stand up and walk away from the bear so that we can ‘ave ourselves a little chat?” the Captain said. Erowin did what she was told while the Captain kept his blade to her chin. “Search her buddy!”

Another man appeared from the trees and walked over to Ben’s bag. He fumbled around to try and find some way of opening it, having never seen a bag like this before. Eventually, he found the zip and pulled it open, pouring the contents on the ground.

“Oi!” Ben called out. “That’s my stuff! Leave it out!”

“Why are you trapping this torobear?” Erowin asked. “Can’t you see it’s in pain?”

“We were waitin’ for the stupid creature to bleed to death so we could get to its horns,” the Captain replied. “Probably would have passed out if you hadn’t given it that scare!”

Erowin’s face dropped and her eyes widened as far as they could go. “You’re poachers!”

The man looking through Ben’s bag had come across his iPod and looked at it, totally confused by its alien design.

“Hey! You put that down!” Ben cried out. “You break that and I’ll… I’ll… I’ll sue!”

“But torobears are an endangered species!” Erowin cried. “Taking their horns is illegal!”

“Torobear horns fetch a good price on the market,” the Captain sneered. “Easy way to make a bit of coin for us.”

“Nothin’ good here, chief,” the poacher looking through Ben’s stuff replied.

“Ok then,” the Captain said in a snide manner. “Cut his throat. We can bleed him out and say his blood is unicorn blood or somethin’.”

“Gotcha!” The poacher drew out a huge machete.

“Er… say now…” Ben stuttered. “Let’s – let’s not be hasty…”

“You can’t!” Erowin cried fearfully.

“Oh, don’t worry, babes!” the Captain exclaimed. “We’ll be… humane!”

He grabbed Erowin by the hair and pushed his blade closer to her neck, but Erowin refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing her scared. “Now you’re a pretty little thing, aren’t ya?” he growled. “Shame to hurt ya, but you’ve seen too much. Can’t have anyone tell on us can we?”

“Just you wait until my sister hears about this!” Erowin cried. “When she finds out about this, she’s going to give you such a beating!”

The Captain let out a huge chortle, his saliva striking Erowin’s face. “I like you, girl. You make me laugh,” the Captain chuckled, moving his blade away from Erowin’s neck. “Because you made me laugh – I’m gonna make sure you die quickly!”

Suddenly, the handle of his blade became hot, as if it had been dipped in lava. The Captain cried aloud and dropped his blade, also letting go of Erowin. An imprint of the handle had been burned into his flesh and his flesh was smoking.

“You should have heeded my sister’s warning!” came a voice from above.

Everyone looked up. Erowin was the only one smiling at this point. “Daniar!”

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May the End of School, Book Signings, Cosplay, Sewing, and Anniversary Be With You!

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20083 Weather: Raining and thundering like crazy off and on all day

Working on: HA! Where to begin…? Odds and ends for around the house cleaning, organizing school stuff, and bills, final school work, edits for my Spirit Vision 3 bonus feature, updating my website, a little con planning, and, oh yeah! Recalling it’s summer! LOL!

Currently Watching: Derrick and I just are halfway through re-watching The Legend of Korra, season 4. We are still watching the newest Sailor Moon: Crystal episodes. I just finished season 1 of the  magical girl Fate anime, am going to finish The Comic Book Artist and His Assistants today, then re-watching all of the Magic Knights: Rayearth anime for cosplay research.

Currently Reading: I have a manga and a half to finish today to get my May manga goal, “The Trails of Apollo,” that Derrick got me for an early anniversary gift! MAN! It is a gem! Uncle Rick, you did it again! xD

Currently Playing: I never got to get super far in the GBC Pokémon: The Trading Card game for mine was glitched, so I downloaded it on my 3-DS for $7 a few months ago.  MAN! The pre-made deck I have is not good at all and I’m losing to all these rookie trainers! >.<

Wallpaper: Archer from Fate Stay/Night, wielding his two swords and looking epic as usual!

Icon: I rewatched the re-dubbed classic “Sailor Moon,” season 1, not too long ago (FYI: Johnny Yong Bosh as Artemis was too wonderful for words!), so I went with an old school Sailor Moon icon and since it IS summer, ice cream is a must! 😀

Quote: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.-” Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Hey Pokémon masters, book nerds, outstanding otakus, and relieved school teachers! School is out for summer and…I still have a crabstick ton of work to do! xD Nevertheless, I will find ways to enjoy myself! I hope everyone is having a grand time so far!

 “WWPPP: World of Writing, Publishing, Promotions, and Paper Crane List!” ^-^

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#1. Thank you for being so patient everyone, but the wait is now over…“Fallen Star Dust,” is now in E-BOOK format! =D A copy of my latest collection in any e-format will be $2.99 (a copy of the paperback is $10.00).  You can get it for your Nook, Kindle, I-device, and other e-book readers. You can get your copy from several retailers and a list of all these retailers (for both formats) are on my heavily updated “Fallen Star Dust” book page! ^_^

Also, to go along with this, Paper Crane has added a few more retailers for you to get your book fix! 😀 So, my “Spirit Vision,” book page, “Spirit Vision 2: New Beginnings,” book page, AND “A Sweet, Little Dream,” book page.  I tweaked/bettered for format and added a review to the “New Beginning” page.

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#2. UPDATE ON “SPIRIT VISION 3!” We are doing something different this time: I have decided that for my second edits, I will use Beta Readers. Beta Readers read a book, looking for flow issues, mechanics, and rating the work for audiences before the book is released. This gives the author time to change things if necessary to make it successful. I have to admit, this is nerve-wrecking and I have some tough-love readers, but it will be an experience.  Several modern writers haves used Beta Readers, so, here is goes for me! ^_^

Right now, they are Beta Reading the bonus feature for “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals,” and yes, it does take time with the type of feature it is. It will be tricky, but I am going to try to finish my first edits for the manuscript of the main book by the end of July, so my Beta readers can have two months to read and comment on it.  Then, a month of final edits and then formatting, so my plan is to have “Spirit Vision 3,” released at the end of October, just in time for Halloween! ^_^ Wish me luck!

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#3. This month, I joined with Enchanted Books Promotions, the group who set-up my “Spirit Vision 2: New Beginnings tour,” to be a tour spot for the blog tour of the YA author, Reuben Miles, and his latest work, “The Boy who Spoke to Stars.” Stars AND my brother’s name?! I knew it was fate! ^_^ He wrote a wonderful guest post for the tour stop about how stars inspired him and his work. I look forward to more partnerships with Enchanted Books Promotions in the future!

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#4. For my Aspiring Author Spotlight post in April, I asked my writing buddies from school, Morgan W and Kate, and my amazing friend Casey, to give me their progress on their woks for April’s Camp Nano (through Nanowrimo) and moments they wanted to share. You can check out this spotlight here. It includes a SNEAK PEEK from my latest manuscript that is NOT “Spirit Vision” as well! 😉 I also got to help the middle school writing club a bit and have more fun with girl’s writing day. Looking forward to more this summer.

Come back next week, June 6th, for my May Author’s Gold segment (A.U.) with friend and author, Dan Wright, and an excerpt from his latest work, the re-release of “Trapped in Draconica.”

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#5. THREE Top Ten’s to catch you happening peeps up on: Top Ten Sailor Moon attacks, Top Ten Manga that Need to be Turned into an Anime, AND Top Ten Oriental Singers/Groups! Let the fun begin! ^-^

#6.  We are still on the search for a narrator for “Spirit Vision!” If you are or know anyone who has experience or a talent for voice acting/narration, please contact me at mescomnick@hotmail.com for information. We really want to bring “Spirit Vision” verbally to life.

#7. Summer Writing: My summer writing will be made-up of edits for “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals,” and its bonus feature so we can make our October deadline, but I HOPE to write more of my other work that I began during November. Still, some form of ‘writing’ will be involved with me this summer.

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#8. In ‘horror’ of my defeat at the hands of Dan in our “Disney Couples: Reshuffled” event we did back in March, we did a Disney Song Challenge! Dan started off with three points since he had three couples in the final four and I only had one (I had no points), but we could get a point either by saying the title of the song, the film it was from, AND/OR, the first few lines of the song, so, up to three points per round. We each chose some karaoke tracks for the other of animated Disney movies and let the contest begin! Let’s just say…the results are interesting! xD You can watch/listen to the whole Disney Song Challenge now!

Dan and I have both been exceedingly busy with work, but we are recording a new Top Ten for you guys this Sunday. It should be up on Moon Panda Power very soon and we will continue to add videos over the summer, so please check those out, share, subscribe, and love! ^__^ We just did one on our top 5 each favorite animes! The first one should be out at the end of next week. =)

#9. April and May were busy months for me book wise! I had many book events:

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      • My first one was April 28th, where I went to the Villainous Grounds comic book store and coffee shop in a town about forty minutes from mine.  My buddy Andrew went with me in his beloved and famous Deadpool attire and I as Sailor V.  They are wonderful, kind people, and the shop is darling in every way! =) I was upstairs in the Mad Hatter tea room (the coffee shop is downstairs and the shopping upstairs, but you can have your coffee and desserts, all delish by-the-by, upstairs in that room).  It sadly was very rainy that day and an unusual slow day even though they advertised heavily.  I still met some grand people, some for books, some for the cosplay.  I took pictures with many kiddos, two little boys knowing I was Sailor V, not Moon! o.0 It made my heart swell! I nerded out, inspired a shy cosplayer to wear her outfit, and had a great time with Andrew and the staff.  I did sell four books and some other book products. My Sailor V costume was on three Facebook profile images of parents for a while and I even got an e-mail from a 13 year old who read my book and adored it, her mom thanking me heavily. 🙂  Every event is eventful and a good experience and what a fun one this was! <3 I can’t wait to go back! OH! I sold one of my new Pokémon hair flowers too! YEAY!
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      • I went back to Villainous Grounds the next Saturday for their May Fest and it was the shop’s first ever Free Comic Book Day. I dressed in my new cosplay: Umi from CLAMP’s Magic Knights: Rayearth. No one knew who I was, but I got some smiles and my cape was so fun blowing in the wind. This time, my bestie, Evan, went with me! =) I helped at the shop for about two hours, opening doors, directing people, locating which free comic book they wanted, and talking to customers, some recalling me from my book signing (even though I was in a blue wig).  Sadly, I had to leave early for I was feeling ill. 🙁 Evan and I did check out the fairgrounds and the booths before we left and we did ride the Tilt-A-Whirl twice, our favorite ride that you never see at our Country Days any more! He also won me a little green dinosaur and got me six wooden roses. <3 Our conversations was always a blast: from ‘honeymooning’ through a town with like a church and three houses and an RV park that came out of no where, then was gone, Bible stories, quoting RWBY and theorizing season 4, and just being awesome! Andrew/Deadpool was there as well (we even danced once), borrowing my pink unicorn, Phillip, my frilly pink apron, a jacket and top hat, and a tutu, all for fun! He is now apart of this fantastic group called Heroes for Autism. People dress-up as superheroes (the leader, Mr. Lonnie, is a wonderful Superman and Gambit), and they interact with kids, pose for pictures, sell and raffle things, go to Relays for Life, kids birthday parties, and such, all to raise money for autism and it is great! They have asked me to join, but manga is not really a super hero, still, I support them any way I can. So does Villainous Grounds. It was a successful day for the shop, the heroes, and fun to help out a little and test my cosplay with my bestie in tow! ^_^ Evan won me the little dinosaur below (I named him Greenie and when we went into Gamer’s Bazaar to get Pokémon cards once we got back into our town, Waffles, the dog, kept being cute, but trying to steal Greenie!) He also got me wooden roses. 🙂
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      • On May 11th, I returned to my beloved FMS to do my third annual book tour in the library, ran by the incredible Mrs. Kate. I only had a few groups sign up, but I still saw many kids, got to work on some needed school data, window shop with Kate for library supplies, eat lunch with Kate and Morgan, and talk to many students who came in to see me about anime and such. These students were…gems! Not only were they well-behaved for young teens, half even listening right away when I said “criss-cross, applesauce” like I do to my little ones, but their questions were grand, they were so attentive, interactive without being too goofy, and I could tell they had fun. I had several come up to me, asking me to sign the back of my business card for them, asking me writing and nerd questions, laughing, smiling, and thanking me. I got hugs, a dozen tell me I inspired them with honesty in their eyes (a few popping in to see me throughout the day), and four e-mails from students a few days later, some for writing, one for an anime question.  It was one of the best days I have had this year; I had a blast and I felt like I provided a service to these kids. Yes, I am not super famous as a writer yet and I know I am not the best, but I will never give up because, I write now, for them as much as myself.
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      • About a week later, on May 17th, after school, I got to be apart of the FMS end of the year Extravaganza event, where they show art, science projects, snacks, the book fair, and more! I wasn’t expecting to sell much here because, and I mean this nicely, middle school students are very forgetful. I only sold 3 books and some odds and ends last year, and it was all to one person. Plus, it was super rainy outside. But, I got to play with Kate’s adorable kiddos and that was worth it. ^-^ Still, after a slow start, I was amazed that by the end of the night, I sold 11 books, a bracelet (only have 2 left now), 2 posters, two buttons, and some bookmarks! Many of the students remembered I was coming and asked their lovely guardians for money or had their own. I was able to talk to a good handful about anime and manga (a gaggle of four girls squealing when I told them how I met J. Michael Tatum and Vic last October and their pride that I could make jokes about the Death Note). I got to hand out at least six to seven flyers too for the anime night I am co-running with the public library in June and they all flipped out! All-in-all, it was a blessed and rockin’ event!

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    • On May 28th, after sadly a rough night with hernia pain, I had my long awaited second book signing at my public library. I arrived at 10:15 to set-up my big meeting room and get familiar with their high-tech set-up, all the workers there super kind.  At 11:30, I dressed in one of my Chinese outfits, did my hair like I did for Chinese New Year, and wore a red hood and cape (Socks in a woven basket) to read, “Little Ninja Red Riding Hood” and later, I undid my hair and tied it in front of my face for “Moose-tache.”  I only had two little pre-school age girls with a bound of energy, but their families were super nice and I am glad they had such spirit. ^_^ I had my book signing from 1 to 3:30.  Tabby came at 12:30 to hang with me for a bit, Jolleen (my mother-in-law) at 1, and my dad around 2:30.  It was nice to have such support! I made all my sales and meet-and-greets, but one within that first hour. I sold 11 books and have 2 on reserved (I had to re-order more), am now officially sold out of all my unique bracelets my friend Sherry made me two years ago, am sold-out of all my chibi buttons, and I even sold some Pokémon hair flowers and good luck charms! So, I did pretty good here as well considering and I knew a good handful of people that came in. It was fun. 🙂 At 4:00, I did a presentation for writing. I only had four people come, but there were serious about being writers someday.  It was a good time. I hope I educated them somehow. My dad said he was impressed with it, which means a lot. It was a great experience and I cannot wait to work with them again
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That was the last of the major book signings I have planned. I may try to do some more. 😉

#10. My “Links” page is updated with two local authors! 🙂

#11. My “To Be a Nerdy Otaku” page is updated with the current anime and manga I have finished.

#12. I will still be working on getting my E-bay page updated AND thinking about setting up an Etsy page for the Pokémon products I am making along with my “Spirit Vision,” bookmarks and more. ^_^ Stay tuned for that!

Con Review Alert:

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On April 16th, my good buddy Andrew and I went to Cape Comic Con (a large city about 90 minutes south of us). Andrew does a fantastic Deadpool, costume, voice, personality, randomness, and love for his fans. His goal is to be a pro-Deadpool cosplayer one day.  He asked if I would attend with him for the Saturday, and I was honored too. In tow with my Sailor V cosplay, we headed off early. He introduced me to the Villainous Grounds crew (the owner and her youngest daughter, also named Morgan, had a booth there) and I ended up getting a Sebastian POP figure there (they have an anime and manga section). We took some funny photos, got some coffee, and set off!

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Here is my review/summary of our experience:cape83

So, what did we do? Well, there really wasn’t many panels going on, but they had a HUGE vendor and artist room, over 70! It was too crowded sadly, but there was a good verity and everyone there was really nice. ^_^ I DID get to chat with five authors, discuss writing with them and exchanging business cards (I added their companies and a few of the other venders to my links page).  I even will get to do a book exchange with two authors sometime this summer! =) That was incredible to me! I felt badly they were all spread out and the artist too. I felt like they should have had a row of authors and a few of artists and then everyone else together. That way, people can navigate easier and there was plenty of room to do this. Villainous Grounds did well at their section! Yes, I did buy some things: beadies mostly (I have issues, but I did get something I am SUPER PROUD OF! It is below) AND I got to meet the actor who played Eddie Munster in the classic show, “The Munsters!” He was such a chill, kind gentleman.  ^^ He was confused on why I asked him to hold Artemis (Sailor V’s cat companion), but he did anyway. I am very proud of my photo of him and grandpa, signed of course.

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There were a lot of unique cosplays and I got some glorious photos! Andrew got asked over 130 times to get pictures taken with him. He got proposed to three times and got some gifts and stalkers. =D He got a balloon Deadpool with little balloon swords. Some girls got him a handmade Pinky Pie from My Little Pony plush hat with a built-in-scraf that has built in pockets. It was about…$45. 0.0 Andrew also bought a Hello Kitty hat and I let him carry my Hello Kitty swag tote; everyone loved this. =^-^= He even gave his rose he got from a Belle to a girl who was having her birthday that day. Her darling little face was so red with delight! The parents were beaming, taking pictures, and the littlest girl was staring at me (I was bent down to adjust my stocking).  She then hid behind her dad and she refused to take a photo with me. It then dawned on me: she was one of my kindergarten students! 0.0  I asked her if she knew who I was and she whimpered, telling everyone I was her library teacher! >.< I was in a blonde wig and mask and she recognized me! She refused to even LOOK at me for a whole week! I was so embarrassed, although her parents thought it was rockin! We re-met some friends from Max Con and former FHS classmates.

cape86We danced A LOT, for over an hour in the intersection of the two vender rooms by the ticket table (it was the coolest), we took some goofy pictures with each other and I got to meet the wonderful family in charge of the “Heroes for Autism” program Andrew is apart of.  We were giving business to Villainous Grounds table as well. Andrew also gave away a hand-knit Deadpool to a winner and would model any product that was Deadpool to promote the tables. I got to meet some Moonies and lots and lots of adorable kids! Andrew is so good with kids, even letting them hit Deadpool. One got his face pretty good though…0.o Many parents complimented us on how good we were with kids, making them smile. I got about 80 plus photos taken with me or of me, which was super impressive (only a few knew I was Sailor V, but most of the kids just thought I looked cool ^_^).  When we were not looking at items, talking to people, getting stalked or photographed, or fanned over, we would just walk around the vender rooms (a few times in the other room), interacted with people, were goofy, and singing whatever we wanted (Andrew and I were in song sync like 1/3 of the time, which was amazing).  He had a catch phrase: “That’s how I do, ah, that’s how I do!” I was saying that for three weeks afterwards, because I would follow and repeat after him.  We were there for about six hours. Yes, they did have a cosplay contest, but it was way too hard to get through the lobby.

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OH! Deadpool eating a hot dog with his mask on was interesting, especially with high school kiddos giggling, snapping pictures, and commenting on how they are going to edit it by us. We got a few chuckles out of it later. ;)-

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So, how did it fair as a con? Well, Andrew and I would give it about a 5 or 6/10.  There just was not a lot of panels or other activities beyond shopping and cosplaying. For families, there target audience, it was a great way to get your nerd on if you have little ones or are not a hard-core nerd, but for us, it was okay. I already discussed my issues with the vender’s room arrangements and crowdedness; that messed up the atmosphere for us at times.  It was near impossible to move around and it was not overly crowded often! I suppose I like a little bit of everything in all I do: teaching, writing, conventions, that way everyone is included in some way. The venders either were really reasonably price or super pricey, but that can be anywhere. I did like how they interacted with us and went with the flow. The community was pretty fabulous.  And we agree they need a bigger venue or to use all of the building.

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Thank you Cape Comic Con for allowing us to express our weird-selves to the max (Andrew got me out of my shell a lot this day).  You gave me some great items, new friends, and wonderful memories! Anytime I can cosplay, be with one of my dear friends, and meet others fans and make kiddos smile, it is a win! 😀

More fun pictures are at the end of this post and there are some more on my Author Facebook page too.

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Normal Life:

In early April, we had our fourth Girl’s Writing Day. It was a cheese fest, since I just got diagnosed with my chest hernia, so my diet had to change a lot. Thank gosh I can still eat cheese! I got to work on my new story, the one that is in the sneak-peek on my April Aspiring Author Spotlight.  It is always a thrill to hang out with Kate and Morgan W; they are the best writing and nerd and lovely friends I could ever ask for! 😀

I got to in late April go to the middle school’s Anime Club (Morgan W is the staff sponsor for it), on the day of their cosplay contest. It was so kawaii with how the students were trying to set it up! They were super giggle, would walk onto the stage super fast, and there was no music. Almost all of the cosplays were closet, but it was still darling. ^_^ I was the guest judge. One clever boy was Light from Death Note and he winked at me to get himself brownie points. I rolled my eyes (OH! I WAS IN MY SAILOR V COSPLAY AND THEY LIKED HOW MUCH DETAIL THEY HAD) and told him, “Honey, that’s not going to work on me; I’m already married.”  He got out his Death Note notebook and flipped his hair, asking all smoothly, “Okay, but, out of curiosity…can I ask your husband’s name?” I was so impressed and laughing so hard that I did give him some extra points! Even Derrick said that was good. xD They then went outside and played a game like “duck, duck, goose,” called “apple, apple, shinigami.” But, I not only taught them the word for apple (ringo), but what a shinigami really was and then they changed it to spirit, sort of freaked out! HA! It was a nice experience and I am so thrilled these kiddos have a place to nerd out, some I did not have until college.

Schools-Out

School was pretty busy the last two months. We had our usual MAP testing at elementary, but it did not affect me too much, numerous field trips, but several got canceled due to all the rain, to the dismay of our students (many of our field and fun days did too). We had food days for teacher appreciation week the first week of May (this was also my third book fair, a Buy-One, Get-One Free).  I had many fantastic volunteers and we made $2,600, which is great for a BOGO, all the money we raised to help with next year’s school budget! I also got to order over 160 new books for Truman next year! ^_^ I bet the students will be thrilled. I had to finish popcorn parties for the winning class for the coin charity challenge, cleaning my spaces, the library website update, library and tech meetings, data recording for keyboarding, making end of the year posters for each of my buildings to thank them, get all our missing books collected or fines accounted for, inventory for the library (where I had to scan each book), and I was in charge of the duck pond carnival game at kindergarten’s fun day and, man! My voice was shot afterwards and I got wet! I still need to go in and process some of the new books that are trickling in for next year, but I am thrilled with what was accomplished and so proud of these students, especially seeing my second graders get reading awards and some of my fourth graders working hard at their annual talent show. =) They will go far! Thanks for a great year, fiends!

I also got many pictures and some cards from students and parents, including a $20 Pizza Hut card, a $10 Wal-mart card, some candy, and a free Applebee’s molten cake dessert card! <3 I felt really loved!

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We did have a tragedy hit our elementary school: one of our second graders, named Makenna, lost her fight with cancer. She had been fighting so hard in her little life. I only worked with her a few times, but I knew one of her siblings from keyboarding. It really affected our community hard. I want to send a prayer to her beautiful soul and her family.  Rest now, sweet one.

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Well, speaking of school…It looks like the ‘cat’ is out of the bag…It will not be official until June 8th (as long as there is no issue), but as of then, I will be an employee of the Fredericktown school district! It is a smaller, but proud and caring school district in my state, about 30-40 minutes away from where I live.  I had an interview for the position I have now, but I was their second choice (which still is good, I know).  That was in March. Well, the week before school let out, I got a call from the school’s principal, him informing me someone else has transferred from his building, so they moved the first choice into that slot and he offered me the slot I had originally interviewed for! It was…the hardest decision so far in my life. I have been trying for five years to get a job in the hometown I love so much, and have done numerous things for them, but I always got over-looked. I even got three interviews for three different positions with my hometown this year, but never got picked. The only reason was I did not have teaching experience.  But, the age old questions: how do you get that experience? I have my two degree fields for teaching (working on a third) and my state teaching license and have been teaching in the classroom in some format for over seven years, but I have gotten aide pay and status for five years. Do I want to leave my lovely library and precious kindergarten and pre-school students? No, but I need to prove I deserve teaching status, income, and my own classroom. ^_^ I have heard many fantastic things about my new district, so, other than the drive and trying to meet new people, I am looking forward to this new adventure.

I will work at the early childhood (kids ages six to seven) teacher at their alternative school. These kiddos need a lot of love and support and they believe I am the person to do just that. 🙂 The school also has a small library that they want me to make wonderful AND a mascot dog that lives outside and gets lots of treats and affection: a three-legged dog named Tripod. He is so sweet. ^.^ It looks like plushy Socks and I are getting our claws next school year so we can be Blackcat ready! 😀 At least my school colors are still the same, lol!

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Since I was sick with my hernia around my brother Miles’ birthday, at the end of April, my mom got him a special treat: a big-screen showing of the entire first season of R.W.B.Y. in St. Louis! It was on a Wednesday evening, which was odd and I was so tired the next day, but, I have to admit, it was epic! He was quoting the whole thing! There were some cosplayers, and a sneak-peek of the first episode of the new series, “RWBY CHIBI” on the movie theater screen! I forgot how funny the one-liners were.  I was astounded by how quiet the crowd was except for the humorous parts. Poor mom fell asleep during the whole thing.  Before that, we walked down the parking lot to a fancy Italian restaurant. I love my pastas and cheese bits, but everything was smothered in fancy olive oil and it was not good at all, but pricey! I DID meet an awesome waiter, who turned out to be a champion level Pokémon handheld player and we exchanged friend codes! Even though I did not get home until late, it was great. They announced at the showing that they were going to do one of those for the other two seasons of RWBY; Miles told mom to be prepared… -_-;; And yes; we both wore our RWBY shirts and sock caps.

aprilpoke1We had two Pokémon events since the last update: the April one was very small and just a normal spring event, with just six of us crew members and a dozen trainers, but it was a fun time. The 18th of April was Nathan and Tabby’s first year wedding anniversary, so Julie and I planned and gave them two pidgeys cuddling on a tree branch (one with a ribbon necklace and the other in a top hat) to give to them for the occasion. 🙂 Even though we did not have too many players, it was a nice, relaxing event. I even got to help two of my former middle schoolers make decks from scratch (one had his binder super organized) and Julie and I taught them how to play. We had a grand ole’ time!

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Our May one was to welcome in summer! It was a good-medium sized group, especially since most of my Poke Crew members were super late for some maypoke11reason! 0.o The Crew members wore leis, we had cookies Julie made, gave our youngest member, the Annihilator, a gift since she just graduated, and we had a water balloon throwing event! The kids each got four water balloons that Evan handed them and they got to throw them at any of our three targets: Brown, Tabby, or Alesha. They had a blast, especially our little three year old who would charge to Alesha to dunk her head! 😀 The kids were laughing and still talking about it to me later. ^_^ I am glad we can do things like this for them. We got to train a new trainer, meet some new ones, and I also have a championship match next time with my former co-worker.  😉

Our next one will be June 25th! There will be none in July due to me having to teaching College for Kids, but we will do one before school starts again in August (most likely the second Saturday).  We look forward to seeing everyone then!

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So, even though I am exceedingly busy as always, I wanted to tackle the task of making my own Lolita style dress. I was inspired by this little cherry hat I got at our local summer fair, Country Days, but I never found a good time or outfit to wear it with.  I got fabric a while ago and went to get some accessories (ribbon, lace, buttons).  On May 22nd, Tabby let me crash at her place and gave me sewing machine lessons. It had been 13 years since I had used one! For my first time, I think it went okay. Sadly, I only got about 85% of the skirt finished (it has three layers. I need to sew the final side, put in the waistband, and trim it with some lace). I did cut out the heart shaped apron top and straps to at least get a little more ahead last night. MAN! I did not realize how easy it was to get your bobbin and thread tangled or how jacked up your back would become! It was so sore for over a week. Still, it was an adventure. I want to finish the cosplay this Sunday for Cosplacon. It will probably look awful, but at least I can say I made something myself.  Afterwards, when Brown and Derrick were off, we went on a double date to get Yum-Yum noodles at our Shoguns restaurant. We were the last ones there, but we had great service.sewingattempt1

The title of the outfit is: Hello Kitty Picnic. =^_^= So, lots of reds, pinks, cupcakes, strawberries, cherries, and, of course, Hello Kitty! ^_^

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On May 24th and 25th, Derrick and I went to St. Louis to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. Our anniversary is officially on June 18th, but that is always the week of Cosplacon (a Saturday this year; Friday last year) and we love the event, but we figured five years was a big deal and, no offense to our loved ones, but we can’t really be alone at Cosplacon. ^_^ So, we planned this little two day trip.

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We went to the zoo and history museum on Tuesday, making good time for both.  At the zoo, we were there around 10:00 and stayed until 4:00. I was in charge of buying all the food and admission tickets. We got the wristbands, which was a great deal (they were $13 each, but with all the stuff we did, we would have spent $25 each without them, so they more than paid for themselves).  I, sadly, wore a dress, trying to be cute (with a hat. With my high ANA, I am not supposed to be in the sun longer than 10 minutes without sun screen. I, of coarse, put some on and bug spray since bugs love me, but I still did not want to risk it).  Because of this, I could not ride the merry-go-round, the one thing I really wanted to ride. 🙁  I was so sad. I also got super sick from my hernia on these two days, unable to eat more than like three bites then intense pain for over an hour and getting nervous during the ride did not help. I felt like I ruined our trip, but Derrick was kind to me. It was a nice, cloudy day for it. We were early enough where the penguins and stingrays were not too crowded at all (they even had two baby stingrays! Derrick loves to pet them. They had a shark too that liked Derrick, but we could not touch them since it was in mating season. The penguins were getting fed when we went and two of them kept fighting. I told Derrick they were married most likely and he laughed). We got to see finik foxes (so kawaii) and jellyfish! There were elephants and giraffes (who DO have dreams), and a new butterfly house that was so neat. We rode the tram three times because I was getting sick, but it was a cool way to see the sights. It was a great time! ^_^ Expensive food wise, but still fun.

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OH! I did meet two new friends: this little boy with an elephant backpack came over when we were looking at the elephants. He was so excited, holding an elephant figure. I noticed he had some medical device in his backpack attached to him and his head was shaved. 🙁 I told him I liked his backpack and he showed me his figure. I asked him what the name of his friend was, and he said, “I don’t know.” I told him that was a name I had never heard of. He then told me that elephants have trunks and we saw one picking up in the rocks. I asked him what elephants ate. He thought deeply and then said, “Grass.” I asked, “Are you sure it’s not cookies?” He blinked at me, confused, and said, “Noooo…but, circus elephants eat peanuts!” Just as we mentioned there was a baby hiding behind its momma, the momma moved so the little boy could see him and he was so happy. We started talking about big elephant ears before Derrick and I gave him our front row looking spot to venture onward. Just as we stepped away, a little blond boy zoomed out of no where, had the biggest grin on his face, and asked, “May I have some popcorn, please?” I was so confused on where he came from that it took me a while to register I had a big bag of popcorn in my hand. I am so used to responding at school with, “We have to wash our hands first,” that I had to stop myself. Derrick shrugged, and was about to tell him we had to ask his parents, when his mom came running over, apologizing. I told her if my hands weren’t dirty and she was okay with, it would not have bugged me. I did tell him where I got it from and he dashed away. All the parents near us were laughing. I met a little two-year-old girl too who dropped her pink zoo hat. Mom didn’t notice. I went over to her, and asked her, “Hello there, princess. You seemed to have lost your hat. Can I put it back on you?” Mom was super nice and thanked me, telling the little girl to blow me kisses. She stuck her lips out like a fish and made kissing noises. It was so precious! =D Derrick grabbed my arm and told me firmly, but smiling, “I can’t take you anywhere, can I? I told you not to talk to kids!” I told him, pouting, “I didn’t talk to her; I helped.” Still, I seem to make friends easily. 😉

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We left at four and went to the history museum across the park. I love this place, but Derrick was getting tired and they only had one changed section: black dresses throughout the ages. I took many pictures and Derrick was so cute, going through which ones would look best on me and designing one for me on a computer interactive section they had, right on many of the choices. He took it so seriously! 😀 It was fun to see, but we were only there an hour.

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We went to our hotel, a super fancy place that gave us free bottles of water (hey! Gotta enjoy the small things), relaxed and unpacked, watched “Chopped” on TV, then went to the restaurant downstairs attached to the hotel. It was a nice place and the service and food was good, but my lord! It was SLOOOOOW! We were there for over an hour and 45 minutes, 10 of it to give me change. There was hardly anyone there and they may have been short staffed, but it sort of made it less fun for me. I was up sick for an hour after this and slept, zoned, for an hour or two with “Chopped” in the background. The room DID dry our my stuffy nose I had had for a few days.

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On Wednesday, we ate our free breakfast (it was an impressive spread and all looked good, but tasted genetic, not bad, just…normal, like other nice hotels I have been to. They must have a shared recipe. I didn’t each much since I still felt bad).  We went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite places ever. Other than us parking really far away, it was a lovely day for it: overcast, although I was told by everyone it was going to rain. It was steady, with private school graduations everywhere, but still fairly calm for such a big place (that is why I wanted a weekday before Memorial Day).  Not too much had changed, but most of the flowers were in full bloom. I still played in the water. It’s more fun with Miles, but it was still relaxing. Derrick was fairly tired this day, but he did enjoy himself. I forgot my quarters for the Koi fish and did not realize I could have gotten a bag of feed for 60 cents at the gift shop! GRRRR! I couldn’t win! >.< The Japanese gardens are stunning as ever! <3 I kept reading it was going to rain around noon, a super fast shower. The wind picked up right after we left the Japanese gardens at 11:45 (got to the place at 10:30) and then when we went to the Agricultural gardens next door, it started pouring at 11:50 put of no where. Luckily, we ran and found a little wooden enclosure nearby where we could see the rain, chatting with the locals. It was buckets, but it stopped after three minutes; no slowing down, just ceased. After that, it was a tad muggy, but all was well. We walked the whole gardens, somehow, while resting and taking our time, in two hours! 0.o I have NO clue how that happened!

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We decided to head home early, going to a Cracker Barrel about 25 minutes away. I got some tote bags I REALLY needed on sale, 3 for $5, and they are super kawaii and nice. OH! I did get three stuffed animals at the zoo, of coarse (my tradition is every time I go to a zoo, I have to get at least one stuffed animal, a different one.  I got a polar bear, a baby stingray, and an otter this time. I got silver chopsticks with cherry blossoms and pink butterflies at the top from the Botanical gardens).  Then, we got home around 3:00, unpacked, watched Korra, and I slept for like…14 hours! I felt SO much better, unable to sleep well the past few weeks with my hernia, work, and my stuffed up nose.

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Derrick, you are the love of me life, the light that makes me shine and every day, I get flutters around you still. Thank you for being mine and happy five year anniversary! ^_^ Thanks for taking us to our ‘bookshelf’ too… 😉

On Sunday, we had a BBQ at Derrick’s parents’ house and with our good friends Tabby and Alesha (Brown came over for a bit after work).  It was nice chatting and being goofy outside and being with loved ones. Jolleen made Elk burgers, which was interesting. After we ate, I got sick…again, and had to sit up, so we watched Mythbusters re-runs. Everyone had some really sweet smelling watermelon, but I didn’t want to get worse. Still, it was great to be with everyone! ^_^

Sadly, on bitter news…we have a leak in our sink! Many of our towels were destroyed and some other cleaning products, from mold. But, it went into some of the other lower sinks and got some of my rare American Girls and Japanese cookbooks AND I get to throw away two of my lovely bento bags my Oneechan got me years ago, authentic ones from Japan! I am NOT HAPPY! >.<

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Socks is doing well! =^_^= It is hard to imagine that she will be two years old in a few weeks! I know when I was saying good-bye to my kindergarteners, they all wanted to pet Socks more than hug me good-bye. *Sighs* ^_- Poor baby has gotten a mild case of fleas. 🙁  We are trying to get rid of that, but other than her being overly loving and snuggly at times and whining about everything with her cute little meow, she is still my box and Amazon paper obsessed, sitting for a treat, goofy little girl that is so precious to us. We love her so very much. =) She HAS finally started sleeping in her bed, after us only trying for a year and a half! ^_^

Upcoming:

Like always, I do have a lot going on beyond my new job and the normal College for Kids Prep…

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On June 14th, two days before we leave for Cosplacon, I am helping the Events Director at the local library do an Anime Night for Teens. I got to advertise a lot when I went to visit FMS, and getting it hyped-up. ^_^ They will be watching “Spirited Away,” making candy sushi, sampling new manga the library got and discussing some I have brought, drawing manga with drawing books I have, a cosplay event, training how to play the Pokémon TCG, and more otaku awesomeness! It will be a grand time! ^_^

I had a goal in May: to read all my mangas by the end of the month, and I just made it! ^_^ However, I have more entertainment goals for myself:

  • 102 episodes of anime to finish by August 10th.
  • 10 books to finish by August 14th.

Wish me luck! 😀

And now, time for my Summer Plans (other than the needed Organizing my files and office):

  • June 1st- Drive-In movie,
  • June 3rd- Country Days,
  • June 5th- Making cosplay,
  • Both in June presently- At least two specialist appointments (one for hernia and one for ANA),
  • Early June- Car getting new belts and hoses (will clean out majorly before that; poor thing needs it),
  • June 14th- Public Library Teen Night
  • June 15th- Anniversary day and gifts with Derrick/Father’s Day gifts for dad,
  • June 16th to 19th- Cosplacon,
  • June 21st- Scholastic Summit for librarians
  • June 25th- June Pokémon Event
  • July 4th- Fourth of July
  • July 11th to 29th- College for Kids
  • Early August- Pokémon Event
  • Girl’s Writing Sleepover and game night
  • Day with Missa
  • Dinner with the Mahans
  • Antiquing and Family Adventures

Working on…

  • Spirit Vision edits and website updates,
  • Lesson plan making for CFK,
  • Lesson plan making and classroom moving,
  • Moon Panda Power Recordings,
  • Max-Con prep (the con is in September)
  • Fallen Star Dust Blog Tour in the fall?

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Well, that’s all for now folks! Heat up a chimichanga, dance a ballet to the sounds in your head, and catch the dust particles that block your dreams! See you guys soon! 😀

Cape Comic Con pictures:

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