Geek Culture on Twin Cities Geek… and upcoming signing party at CONvergence.

I was thrilled to read this review of my book on the Twin Cities Geek site today.

Also, there will be a book signing party at CONvergence in the Bag End party room, Friday, July 1, 3 -5 p.m. I do not have a table in the Dealers Room at CONvergence, and sales are not allowed in party rooms. You can buy the book ahead of time and bring it to the party (check Source Comics & Games in Roseville or Common Good Books in St. Paul, or order from Amazon.com). You can also buy it on my Square store and pick it up at the signing party.

Book Release Party at Marscon 2016!

Dryad
Special effects makeup artist Bill Hedrick works his magic during “Creating the Dryad,” one of the panels in the Marscon 2015 costume track. The costume track has featured a “Creating the…” panel for several years. Subjects have included Voldemort, a Klingon and a Minbari.

Marscon may not be the subject of Geek Culture, but it is near and dear to my heart. I will be hosting a book release party at this year’s Marscon in the Egyptian Antiquities of Mystery party room on Friday, March 4, from 8 to 10 p.m. There will be refreshments and, of course, books. You will have to register for the con to attend, but it will be well worth it. While much smaller than CONvergence, Marscon has the advantage of being more intimate. It has some excellent panels, including a robust costume track and a well-known  dementia track (think Dr. Demento).

Interested? Marscon will be held March 4-6, 2016, at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport/Mall of America, 3800 American Blvd. E., Bloomington, Minnesota. The party is only on March 4; on Saturday, March 5, the Egyptian Antiquities of Mystery room (room 1121) will be used for tea duelling during the afternoon and an Egyptian-themed party starting at 9 p.m.

Geek Culture is finally available!

Photo of the cover of Geek Culture, a coffee-table book
Geek Culture has been published!

It took me more than two years from the time I interviewed folks at CONvergence for Geek Culture, but I recently released the book on CreateSpace.

You can find sample pages from Geek Culture on Amazon.com.

I’ve learned a lot from this process. I learned how not to conduct a Kickstarter campaign, how to lay out a book on Microsoft Publisher, how to set up an imprint, how to improve my social media presence (though I’m still growing there)… the list goes on and on. I have a master’s degree, and I’ve taken some excellent classes over the years, but there is nothing quite like the school of experience!

Would I do it again? I’m already working on another book, though this one won’t be a coffee-table book. I’d definitely go about things differently, but that’s a good thing. If I handled the book I’m working on in exactly the same way that I managed Geek Culture, I wouldn’t be growing.

Aspiring writers: I cannot recommend highly enough that you set aside the time to chase your dream. You may not be able to write full-time, but take a little time most days of the week to write, submit and promote your work.

Fellow geeks or people who are interested in geeks: Check out Geek Culture and enjoy reading about the folks who cosplay, present, party, sell their wares, and otherwise have a blast at the sci-fi and fantasy con known as CONvergence!

 

“Do We Really Need ‘Princesses’ Anymore?” Reading List

I let this blog go for a while. I’ve had my hands full with full-time work, parenting, and trying to make Geek Culture a reality. I’m resurrecting this to share a reading list for a panel I was on.

The panel, “Do We Really Need ‘Princesses’ Anymore?”, was held this morning at CONvergence. I loved the discussion and was a little in awe of the fact that I was sitting next to an author on my “to-read” list. 🙂 I don’t believe that we need princesses; I’m all for recognizing the worth of “ordinary” people (isn’t that a point Tolkien made in The Lord of the Rings?). But I think our kids are surrounded by princesses as role models, so we might as well expose them to strong ones. The list below features books with strong princesses who make good role models.

I have to add: Being an introvert, I always think of things I should have said after the fact. I realized after the panel discussion that, while princesses really aren’t a big deal in the modern world, particularly a democracy like the United States, we really do live in a society with dynasties. The Bushes, the Clintons, the Kardashians… They may not be royalty, but they fill the role of royalty in America. Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

One last note before I post the list: Geek Culture is not dead. I hope to have something to post about it in the next week or so.

Kate

Strong Princesses in Literature for the Young, the Young-at-Heart and Their Families

Picture books

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton – Although in many ways very pink, sparkly and girly, this fairy-princess obsessed girl also contradicts others’ views of fairy princesses.

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett – An infant princess and piglet are accidentally swapped, and the princess is raised in poverty by loving parents.

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke – A princess learns to be a knight and wins her own hand in marriage in a tournament.

Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke – Bored of being a princess, Isabella rebels. She is eventually banished to the pigsty, where she is very happy.

Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman – A princess-obsessed girl redefines princesses – for herself and her community.

Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson – Contrasts Cinderella, pitiful, helpless and shallow, with Cinder Edna, practical, fun and capable. (One of my favorites)

Princesses Are Not Quitters! By Kate Lum – Three princesses decide to be servants for a day. After their hard day, they make life easier on their servants… and they continue to do many of the chores.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch – A dragon burns down Elizabeth’s castle (also destroying her clothes) and carries off her betrothed, Prince Ronald. Wearing a paper bag, she rescues Ronald, only to discover he’s not worth the trouble. (Another favorite)

Sleeping Bobby by Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne – A gender-neutral, otherwise very faithful retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Prince Bob is Sleeping Beauty, gifted with kindness, courage and modesty, “qualities that anyone might wish for and admire.” He is rescued by an unnamed princess who shares his virtues. (Also one of my favorites)

Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood – An ordinary girl turns into a princess at night. In frilly dresses, she regularly saves her kingdom from disaster. (Yet another favorite)

Easy readers

The Princess in Black  by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale – A perfect princess and her supposed unicorn are secretly a monster-fighting duo.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Princeless – An amazing, awesomely feminist series (Can you tell it’s one of my favorites?)

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale – Rapunzel in a Weird West universe

Wonder Woman – Need I say more?

Books for Older Children and Teens

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – The princess is strong, but the author’s attempt to write a body-positive story hasn’t gone over well with many people. There are more books in the series, but I haven’t read them yet.

The Goose Girl and The Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale – All of these books feature strong female characters, including princesses. There is a heavy emphasis on romance.

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia Wrede – Funny book featuring a princess who is definitely a role model. There are more books in the series, but I haven’t read them all. (A favorite)

What’s next for Geek Culture

With three hours left to the Geek Culture Kickstarter campaign, I think it is safe to say that the campaign failed. I very much appreciate the backers who believed in this project, as well as the people who spread the word to others.

Of course it is disappointing not to reach my goal, and I cannot self-publish without the cash. The plus side is that I learned a lot. I started a blog. I ran a Facebook page for the book, and I boosted posts. I learned how to put a Kickstarter campaign together.

I learned that some things don’t generate the response I had hoped they would. If I ever launch a Kickstarter campaign again, I have some ideas about how to go about it differently. I’ve learned what enormous amounts of time and energy need to go into something like this — something that isn’t easy when you are working full-time and have family responsibilities.

I haven’t given up on the book. I plan to keep trying publishers for a while. As the next CONvergence approaches, if it looks like I will not have a book to sell at the con, I will probably decide to stop trying to get it published at that time. Any further out, and I think the interviews and photos will be too far in the past to be marketable.

I plan to continue blogging here while I look for a publisher. I have been blogging a lot less than when I started this site, and I may continue to do so for a while. Between trying to find other ways to promote the Kickstarter campaign and then, toward the end of the campaign, getting sick, blogging was low on my priority list. Now I need to take some time to rest.

Again, thank you to all those who supported this campaign in some way. Your approach means a lot to me.

YogaQuest and a Bat’leth Tournament

 

Photo of a YogaQuest session
Justine “Justini Yogini” Mastin leads a YogaQuest session at CONvergence. Photo by Emmerlee Sherman.

I’ve been sharing bits and pieces of information about Geek Culture on this blog. One chapter, “You Can’t Find This Anyplace Else,” covers two special events at CONvergence: YogaQuest and the 13th annual IKV WarHammer Invitational Bat’leth Tournament. I also include a sidebar on “Geek Physique,” which is part of the Twin Cities’ Geek Partnership Society, and another sidebar explaining “boffing.”

Here are two tidbits about each of the special events featured in the chapter.

On YogaQuest:

“We call YogaQuest classes ‘a geek’s gateway drug,’ because people come, and they try it, and they say, ‘You know what? I really like hanging out with these people, and I really like this movement that my body’s doing, and I feel good,’ and so some geeks that I never thought would start coming to the traditional classes are becoming members of the studio.” — Justine “Justini Yogini” Mastin

On fighting with a bat’leth (made of foam wrapped with duct tape):

“A lot of it is ‘Hey, let’s get together with padded weapons and see what works.’ I did bo staff and tae kwon do many years ago. Some people extrapolated from sword and other things they already know. Just kind of playing with it, you can learn it in about five minutes. Now you won’t be good at in five minutes, but you can get a general idea of how it works.” — Laura Thurston

If you are interested in Geek Culture, please go to my Kickstarter campaign and contribute. You can get a photo from the book, the book itself, even a tour of CONvergence!

 

 

 

Geek Culture’s Chapter on Dealers

Julie Bowman looks at a stuffed dragon
Julie Bowman, founder of Mythical Creations, and one of her stuffed dragons. Photo by Emmerlee Sherman.

Among the chapters I include in Geek Culture is one on the vendors in the Dealers Room.

I interviewed four people for the chapter, but one of them was rather taciturn, so I didn’t include that interview. This left me with three vendors, and I just realized last night that all of them are women! So be it. In Geek Culture, you will meet:

Heather Luca, founder of Scoundrelle’s Keep: Heather specializes in corsetry.

Amy Roth, founder of Surly-Ramics: Amy creates jewelry designed to spark dialogue and encourage people to think critically.

Julie Bowman, founder of Mythical Creations: Julie’s current work includes stuffed dragons and winged cat puppets, among other things.