Thursday, April 27, 2017

C2E2 2017: A Weekend of Geekery and Research

I'm busy getting ready for Malice Domestic this weekend (so excited!), which reminded me that I hadn't written about my experience last weekend at C2E2.

Chillin with bae

C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) is where I'm loosely basing the setting of my novel, so even though I've been going there for years as a fan, this was my first time going with a very specific POV and purpose. This was also the first year I attended panels and other events, and it was so hard choosing which ones to go to since there were so many interesting ones! The amount of panels based on diversity, race, gender, social justice, etc in the geek sphere made me so happy.

One of my favorite panels was the last one on Friday night, More Than a Sidekick: Expanding Visibility for Asian American Characters and Creators in Comics. It was AWESOME. Honestly, it was the first time I've heard people talking about the issue of diversity in a way that I completely identified with. One of the things that I loved was that it was a mix of East, SE, and South Asian speakers. Too often, AAPIs are left out of the conversation, but this panel was organized by a fellow Filipina, so it spoke directly to me. Ngl, I might have gotten a little teary-eyed during the talk.

Draven Katayama, Gene Ha, Mark Martell, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Michi Trota, Natalia Roxas

My childhood heroes (yes, the Psylocke thing is problematic)

So Friday, I pretty much hit the ground running and continued on to Saturday. I went to the Image Comics Presents: Storytelling Essentials panel with my husband (a screenwriter) and my friend Jumi (an artist and animator). This was a really fun panel that got me thinking about the way I approach stories and all these different elements I'd love to integrate. In fact, the whole weekend had a rejuvenating effect on us and made us so excited to start creating again. I want to do ALL THE PROJECTS. But maybe I should actually finish one first. Maybe.

Skottie Young, Jordie Bellaire, Declan Shalvey, Jamie McKelvie, Greg Rucka
I spent a ton of time wandering Artist Alley, spending way more money than I should've, but you've gotta support the creators you like, right? Damn right. Which means getting several trades signed by Greg Rucka:

Greg Rucka after signing my Batwoman and Wonder Woman trades
(with WW artist Liam Sharp photobombing in the background)
And also buying the first volume of Mae by Gene Ha, who is just awesome. Look at the sketch he drew for me! I originally asked for Wonder Woman (obvi), but realized there's a real lack of Kamala Khan merch. She definitely deserves more love.

Kamala Khan! And Gene Ha's newest comic, Mae

Of course, I also had to support my fellow mystery writers and attend their panel, Grisly Chicago. One thing I learned: It's possible to get shot in the heart and live, but your heart had better be contracting at that exact moment. There's a whole long story that goes with that, but that was my takeaway. Truth is usually stranger than fiction.

Erica O'Roarke, Alex Gordon, Nicole Joseph, Lori Rader-Day, Susana Calkins

For research purposes (seriously!), I attended two geek speed dating events that day; one in the afternoon and again later that night with my husband (though obviously we didn't let it be known that we were together). My WIP features a geek speed dating scene and I wanted to see what it was like since I've never done it before, geek or otherwise.

I suck at small talk, but because we were all at a convention together, it was easy to find talking points. Everyone there was a fan of SOMETHING. Considering the fact that I was wearing a Mass Effect cardigan, carrying around a Wonder Woman print I bought at Artist Alley, and have a fairly prominent Bitch Planet/Captain Marvel tattoo, there was always something to talk about.

No real connections (which is good for my marriage, I suppose), but the general experience will definitely help me a lot when I go back to edit that scene. Lots of little touches and references to make it a bit more real. And it was definitely good practice at general socializing, which I suck at. So yay.

The last day, I briefly popped into the Power Rangers panel with Walter Jones and David Yost, since that show heavily influenced my story, but left fairly early when I found it was just audience Q&A. I'm sorry, but Q&A is always my least favorite part of panels and live podcasts. 

"Talk to the audience?"

So yeah, more wandering around with friends, more damage to my credit card on the Exhibition Floor, and then I ended the weekend with Pitches and Portfolios: How to Get the Attention of Editors and Get into Anthologies. This was great because although I have a good idea of what's necessary in the novel-writing world when it comes to publishing, I have no idea how to break into comics, particularly as a writer. The majority of the panel were editors for the Ladies' Night Anthology, which I would love to be a part of, but pitches are due soon and I already know I'm too busy. Never commit to anything that you know you don't have time for. 

As one panelist put it, in this industry, you could be nice, fast, and/or talented, and the one part of that equation that's optional is "Talented." So again, yay for me?

Megan Byrd, Zach Lehner, Hanna-Pirita Lehkonen, Lauren Burke, Caitlin Rosberg, Summer Sparacin
And that pretty much wraps up my weekend. I usually buy lots of prints and things like that, but I only bought one print, an illustration of Wonder Woman done by Jen Bartel, which I not only forgot to take a pic of, I also spilled water on, sooo...Enjoy these pics instead?

Giant stack of trades I bought. Coke can for reference

How adorable is this?! Help me name him: Bearon von ________?

I'm not the best at updating, but I'll definitely be posting about my experience at Malice Domestic this weekend. CANNOT WAIT.

P.S. Remember my last post about Camp Nanowrimo? Yeah, totally not meeting that goal. Yet again, I chose an insanely busy month to try and hit that kind of word count. But I'm 30k+, which is more than I've ever written before, so go me! I'll get there. Eventually...

P.P.S. Names I included in the captions are taken from the C2E2 schedule app, so if I forgot anyone, spelled it wrong, or mislabeled someone, I'm sorry.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo & Non-Compliance!

Yesterday was the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, which is an online community where you pledge to write a novel (supposedly, but it's really just a certain word count) in one month. It's the same as regular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November where you pledge to write 50,000 words, but for Camp NaNoWriMo you can set your own goal. My goal is 50,000 words, which should be very doable since I'm revising my zero draft, not starting from scratch.

I like the idea of Camp NaNoWriMo because camp always makes me think of these gals:

Lumberjanes. Love love love this comic

Also, November is a terrible month to do a writing sprint because it's one of the busiest months of the year. Last year was my first time attempting NaNoWriMo and it was a total bust. Part of it was because of real life obligations getting in the way, but mostly it was the election; I sank into a bit of a depression that was really hard to pull myself out of. Every time I sat in front of my laptop, I just felt so defeated and wondered what the point was.

I'm happy to say that I finally snapped out of it and am back in the fight. In fact, I'm so fired up that I declared my non-compliance with this bad-ass tattoo:

Bitch Planet/Captain Marvel tattoo; both written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
I got it yesterday and it's still oozy and tender, but I love it so damn much. If you're ever in the Chicagoland area and looking for a tattoo, I highly recommend Speakeasy Custom Tattoo. I went with Sean because he worked on my friend Robbie's amazing comic book sleeves, so I knew his style was what I was looking for.

So April is looking to be a busy. busy month for me. Persona 5 comes out April 4th and I already know it's gonna be a problem. I told my husband that I'm not allowed to play unless I'm averaging the correct daily word count (meaning I can write less one day, as long as the previous days I've written enough to keep me on schedule). I warned him that I'd probably get mad at him, but he has to hold firm and make sure I keep writing, or else I'll sink into hours and hours of JRPG bliss without any hope of coming out.

I've also got multiple book launches and author events to attend, which I'm definitely looking forward to, plus C2E2 and Malice Domestic at the end of the month. So many writerly and geeky things to look forward to ^^

P.S. Quick writing tip: Save your work CONSTANTLY. I got up to 1300+ words yesterday when my laptop randomly reset itself. Thank Jebus I'm paranoid and save every 5 seconds, or I would've cried.

My Query and Successful Pitches

Hey everyone! As a Pitch Wars mentor and previous mentee, I thought it would help to share my query and the PitMad pitches that led to sev...