Cosplay – how we are hurting our own reputation

Last night I watched Heroes of Cosplay. I love shows like this, I’m a big Project Runway fan and love to dress up for things like Halloween and Ren Faire, so of course I was gonna catch this show. But last night totally bummed me out.

If you haven’t seen the show, it basically follows a group of people who attend the different Cons around the country and make their own costumes of characters (comics, movies, video games, original, whatever) and enter the cosplay contests at the cons, hoping to win.

Sounds great right?

Mostly.

Last night they had a few new people in the mix. The night before the contest day, the group got together to hang out and talk all things Cos. Cool, sure, until they started talking about how some people shouldn’t do certain costumes. Like an overweight guy probably shouldn’t dress up as Superman.

Eh?

Why?

Yeah, I get it, he’s not built the way Superman is depicted in the comics and films, but so what? Cosplay is a fantasy, it’s supposed to be fun. You should be allowed to dress up as whoever or whatever you want and just have fun. I mean, comics and superheroes and villains and all that are there for us to escape the harsh grind of reality and explore a world of our choosing. So what if you’re fat? You wanna be Superman, then strap on that cape and fly dude.

Another part of the show that bugged me was Yaya Han’s former protégé, Monika. Monika wanted to be Steampunk Poison Ivy. I love Steampunk and I think it’s awesome when people try to reinvent characters and even more when they make them a Steampunk version. It’s so much fun. But Monika has been tempted by the likes of her friend Jessica.

Now, if you’ve been to any Con, you’ve seen many Jessicas. These are the girls that pretend to dress up just for the excuse totumblr_mly0crHPEQ1rd6r7uo1_500 (1) wear lingerie. I hate these girls. Now, don’t get me wrong: I think women should love their bodies and be proud of whatever figure they’ve got and if they want to use their sex appeal, do it. And do it with your head held high. But don’t strap on a bra and a two inch tutu and pair of angel wings and tell me you’re a Valkyrie, okay?

Me as a pirate

Me as a pirate

When I dress up or Cosplay, I don’t hide my curves. We all have such horrible body images, we shouldn’t be adding to them. I love strong female characters who embrace their sexuality and send a good message to the world. I do not like girls who perpetuate the stereotype that the most important thing a girl can bring to the table is her cleavage.

When Monika was getting dressed her roommate, who was Hellgirl and looked awesome btw (and showed off her figure as well, but did it much more tastefully and appropriately for her character), commented on the fact that she could see Monika’s crotch and how awkward it was. And when Monika looked at herself in the mirror she exclaimed, “Oh my God! I look like a slut!” Awesome. Way to go, Monika.

Then came the contest. One of the qualities contestants are judged upon is “performance.” Monika didn’t strut out and embody Poison Ivy, she just walked out and stood there, expecting people to appreciate her costume because she was wearing a bustier and stockings with garters.

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Wendy Pini as Red Sonja

One of my heroes, Wendi Pini, was a judge. Wendy has done some badass Cosplay in her day, even dressing up as a very sexy version of Red Sonja. So, you know, Wendi isn’t going to give anyone a hard time if they decide to go that route with a costume but she did expect Monika to at least act the part and when she didn’t she told Monika that was disappointing. What was Monika’s reaction? Off stage she bad mouthed Wendy. Shocker.

I just don’t understand. I really don’t. Bring something to the table ladies, not just your boobs. Monika defended her friend Jessica’s “costume” choices by saying that Yaya “puts her boobs out there too.” I don’t really think you can compare a matching bra and panty set with the massive, detailed costume that happens to accentuate a woman’s décolletage.

Yaya Han as Chun Li from Mortal Combat

Yaya Han as Chun Li from Mortal Combat

Oh, and by the way, Yaya was the first to say that she enjoyed showing off her sexuality in costume, but she made sure it was appropriate for the character.

We already have the men shouting us down, saying we’re not “real nerds” and don’t belong in the comic world. I would just like to see people like Yaya and Wendy and Riki, who invented Hellgirl, to be the ones getting attention.

Do better girls. We all deserve it.

Cover Reveal: Shannon Mayer’s Ninety Eight

NinetyEight_ebook

Title:  Ninety Eight

Author: Shannon Mayer

Expected release date:  October 17, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult/Adult

Cover designed by:  Damon Za

Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours

GOODREADShttp://bit.ly/13xx8yG

 

Book Description:

Speed Limits

Lottery Tickets

Elevator Buttons

Numbers are everywhere—they play such a vital role in our everyday lives. But what would happen if we measured love with equations just as we do our morning cup of coffee? My nana had many recipes in her cupboards, but it was her calculations for love that she insisted I live my life by; and I’ve followed her rules all these years.

One Animal

One Moment

One Critical Impact

That’s all it took for the numbers to start flying in a jumbled mess through my brain as I stared into the violet eyes that would forever make me question my choices. In a split second, the possibilities and reality of true love are revealed and I’m questioning all I’ve ever known.

A Tree

White Fences

Stolen Moments

I can’t ignore the storm brewing around—and within—me. Everything I am is confronted by these new numbers, and all they represent. My past, present and future will all be determined by the gambles I make right here, right now. Again, it’s all about the numbers.

And what I’m learning is, one plus one doesn’t always equal two and sometimes three times isn’t always the charm.

 

ShannonMayer (2)About the Author

Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband, dog, cats, horse, and cows. When not writing she spends her time staring at immense amounts of rain, herding old people (similar to herding cats) and attempting to stay out of trouble. Especially that last is difficult for her.

She is the author of the The Nevermore Trilogy; a romantic suspense series, The Rylee Adamson Novels; a paranormal urban fantasy romance series, A Celtic Legacy; an urban fantasy romance series and High Risk Love; the first new adult romance novel in The Risk Series.  Her newest romance, Ninety Eight; a contemporary new adult romance, is scheduled for release in October of 2013.

 

Author’s social media links:

Website:  www.shannonmayer.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShannonMayerAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheShannonMayer

AToMRTours_mdm

I’m sorry Mr. Gaiman, but thank you.

At the end of June I was super lucky to get to see Neil Gaiman read and speak on his last signing tour.

1010494_636654903025919_799833175_nWhen I heard that it was his very last signing tour I panicked. Meeting Mr. Gaiman has been a dream of mine for many, many years, but tours being what they are, it’s a luck of the draw if the author will come to a city near enough for you to visit (although three girls in line with us had driven six hours from Vegas and were going to turn around and drive right back after the signing!).

I almost got to see him two Halloweens ago when he, and his beautifully talented wife, Amanda Palmer were on the Craig Ferguson Show. I heard about that and pounced, emailing for tickets only to be told they were ALREADY totally booked, but if seats became available, they would let me know. So I hoped and waited. The show emailed me the morning of Halloween, saying, “Please come down! NOW!” Uh, yeah, it was Halloween, arguably my most favorite holiday and the studio was over 2 hours away (and that’s being generous with LA traffic being what it is) and the show was filming within 2-3 hours. To be honest, there was a very good chance I wouldn’t make it there on time, wouldn’t be allowed into the studio and would’ve effed up my Halloween and not even gotten to see the show and Neil and Amanda.

Sometimes I wish I’d taken the chance anyway.

But then this tour came up and the sky parted and the Heavens shined down upon us and the angles sang: Neil Gaiman was coming to Burbank. Burbank is only an hour away. And what was more, he was going to be in a theater, with numbered seats and pre-purchased tickets! Oh, my, goodness, I was so happy.

Now, I’m not going to go into the negative parts of the signing because Mr. Gaiman had nothing to do with or any control over how the theater handled the signing/seating/ticketing. Needless to say, they did a very poor job and by the time we were inside, hundreds of fans were hot, sweaty, sunburned, tired and angry. But! We were going to hear Neil Gaiman speak and get to have our moment with him.

I didn’t blog about my experience at the signing right away because when I thought back to it, I did think of the negative parts, a lot. And that’s not how I wanted to remember this last chance opportunity.

943501_636651149692961_381838208_nI believe that Mr. Gaiman has actual magical powers because, as unhappy as we all were going in (except for the lucky first six rows that paid double and triple what the rest of us paid to have a cocktail hour and 15 mins with Mr. Gaiman), as soon as Mr. Gaiman spoke, hell, as soon as he took the stage, you forgot that you were sweaty, smelly and sunburned. Neil Gaiman was smiling at us and talking in that perfect accent that he has and, of course, his hair.

(We were all standing outside, staring through the glass doors at the cocktail party and when Mr. Gaiman came in to greet those people, one girl by me gasped and said, “I SAW HIS HAIR!”)

Mr. Gaiman talked and joked and laughed and it was wonderful. He answered our questions, explained bits about the process of writing Ocean at the End of the Lane and even read a lovely, long excerpt from both Ocean and his children’s book coming out in September, Fortunately the Milk (which sounds HILARIOUS by the way and I know a few little ones that will be getting copies for Christmas).

Then he took a break and came back and started signing. Now, we were only six rows back and in the center. SIX ROWS, PEOPLE! And I thought, “Wonderful, we’ll get our books signed and be on the freeway in, like, an hour.” I can’t tell you how wrong I was. It took well over two (read: nearly three) hours before we were on stage, tired but still giddy before my books were sliding across the table to be signed. Yeah, over three hours.

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This is how many people were still waiting after 2.5 hours of signing.

When we were outside, we made friends with the people around us and two of those girls were in the “third tier” price section. When we were on the freeway home, I checked Twitter (no, I wasn’t driving) and saw that those two girls were still waiting with six or seven rows ahead of them still to go. If I remember right, I saw Mr. Gaiman tweet in the late night/early morning hours that he was finally done – we had been home for a few hours by then.

Since that signing, I’ve read a couple of blog posts from others at his other signings and I realized I kinda messed up my experience. At every single stop, Mr. Gaiman signed hundreds, if not a thousand copies of books for people to simply take (they were included in the cost of the tickets), if they didn’t want to wait for the actual signing. He promised to sign as many copies of Ocean as you wanted, plus one more item, whatever you wanted. How many books that meant, at just one stop, didn’t really sink in for me and I regret that.

The talk and the readings were so wonderful, I really should have just taken my books to the front of the theater and switched them out for signed ones. Yes, I wanted something personalize, yes, I wanted that one moment where Neil Gaiman smiled at me and only me and I wanted him to write my name in my collector’s edition of Anansi Boys and American Gods and scribble, “Sweet dreams…” Yeah, I wanted all that, but I didn’t need it and if it had really occurred to me the physical toll that he was going through, I wouldn’t have.

(Now, if I could’ve snuck around the table for a hug, I would’ve waited all night!)

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By the time we reached the stage, he’d already taken one break and they’d set up a fan for him (another horror of the theater: 100* outside, but no AC, not even for Neil Gaiman) and he’d had to take his jacket off and roll up his sleeve on his writing arm. My husband glanced back at me and said, “Oh, god, look at him. The poor guy.” That moment I wanted to

run off the stage and not let him sign my books because I didn’t want to add to his toil, but they already had my books on the table and they were moving toward him, so I followed.

One of the posts I’d read the other day was written by a volunteer at his Toronto signing, and she talked about how she had to give him a band-aid out of her purse so he could keep his thumbnail on. Read that again. That is how much this man has been signing, just signing, books. He is losing his nails.

Mr. Gaiman, I understand first hand why this is your last signing tour. I am terribly sorry I added to that toil.

I berated myself for not bringing my Roman Dirge print of Lenore meeting, and ultimately killing, Neil Gaiman as my extra thing for him to sign and personalize, but now I wish I hadn’t brought anything for him to sign.

If you missed this tour and are sad, don’t be. Yes, it’s awesome to have something signed and to have that moment, but let me tell you, just getting to see him in person, hear him talk, joke and laugh is enough. And even if it wasn’t, to get to hear him read from his own books will be. Don’t be sad he isn’t doing another signing tour, because one more just might cost him those amazing hands (did you know he hand writes every book and then transcribes it onto the computer? Amazing!). You’ll still have an experience, trust me. And it won’t be stained with the exhaustion of waiting in line for hours, your back hurting and your feet aching. You’ll look back and just remember what it was like to hear Neil Gaiman speak. It will be worth it.

So, Mr. Gaiman, I am sorry we have loved you so violently, but thank you so much for what you do for us, the books, 988225_636651966359546_1611447755_nthe talks, the moments.

I will always treasure my moment with you.

The poor neglected blog…

Hello my lovelies!

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog, but if you’ve been around for awhile, you know that radio silence (except for the tweets and sporadic FB posts) means deadline brain for Shauna.

I’ve had a lot of projects going on and they’ve been taking a lot of out me lately. I’m actually juggling about four different projects in four different stages.

You’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago I revealed my super-secret-smexy pen name. With a pen name that means extra writing. So I finished two novellas for that persona last month, editor extraordinaire, Cassie, fixed and polished one and made it publication ready. And it is published, over here (and here and here and here). But her schedule is so full because she is so awesome that novella number two won’t hit her desk until the first of September. In the meantime I’m supposed to be writing novella number 3, and I am, but very slowly.

I realized last month that, since January, I’ve written over 250,000 words. Look at that again, over a quarter of a million words. That is insane. And totally explains why around June-July my brain said, “Nope. You’re done. That’s quite enough for now.” But it’s never enough, not if you’re a full-time writer, trying to live off your writing. And my readers have let me know you and all of them are WAITING. Patiently. But nonetheless WAITING.

So, I started Novella #3, which is the third in the Roxy Quinn novellas since I managed to get six of the Taryn Malloy novellas out and bundled them into two omnibusesElfmoon Trilogy

And the other project I’m working on is the first in a brand-spanking-new trilogy. I have just finished draft number three! Woot! Which means it’s ready for le editor extraordinaire part deux. As I said before, Cassie is so awesome her schedule is slammed, so I am working with a new editor on this project, the equally awesome Lauren.

tumblr_mr9yooy3tv1s2peono1_500Editing, proofing and revising is kind of insane. Usually when you edit, you cut, cut, cut and add a little here and there. But it is a lot of cutting, a lot. But not this book, not this time. This time, with each draft I’ve added more words than I’ve cut. I had planned on this book being around 75k words, instead it is toeing the line at 100k. A huge part of those 250k+ words I mentioned. But hey, we like big books, right? Right.

So, my hubs is beta reading the book right now (and thank gods because he’s caught three, yes, THREE, mistakes so far. And I don’t me typos, I mean errors in the story). And Lauren will rip it apart and help me put it back together. Then, after all that, three amazing writer friends of mine, Nicole, Brian and Leah, will read it and critique it and rip it apart some more and hopefully offer some band aids to fix it. And who knows what the word count will be then.

I wrote this book in the month of Feb, the opening scene was stuck in my head and really wanted out. It’s a genre I’ve tumblr_mqrf5bDI7f1s2peono1_500never written before, I read it and enjoy it, but never tried my hand at it. So this time around we’re dealing with a Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal story with a strong romance subplot (you’re welcome). With a little pressure from my cover artist, I finally came up with a title, which I’m excited to share with you, but not just yet. When I do the cover reveal you will know. Speaking of, I can’t wait to see what Stephanie comes up with. Steph, you’ll remember, did the covers for Air, Water, Fire and Spirit. She is awesomesauce and I am excited.

So, all of that is going on and I’m brainstorming my next novel. I have another novel complete and proofed and already beta read, but I have been trying to shop that with agents and editors. I’ve had a few bites, and some lines are still out there, waiting to be heard from, but nothing too exciting yet. I would love to have both, self-published and traditionally published books out in the world. But I knew the Dystopian/Post-Apoca genre is kinda saturated right now and most agents don’t want any more of those subbed, but I really like this book (I think) so I want it out there for readers, so it’s getting self-published. I’m thinking of a December release. Official date to come. Soon.

But that next book I just mentioned. I want to start outlining it in September, after novella #3 is in Cassie’s hands and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I had an agent reach out to me after the revelation of my pen name and said she was looking for the genre I write under that name. Super excited to hear that, I decided I would try to write a full length erotic novel, but you know me, it’s gotta have some magic in it. So I’m going with Urban Fantasy again and I already know what species the main character will be and what her struggle is. I’m just not sure what her story for this one contained book will be, but I think she has the potential for a strong, long series. Here’s hoping I can do it well and the agent will want it once it’s done!

So in Sept, I start outlining that book to start writing in October. I have a January 1st deadline with Cassie, so that just gives me three months to have it written and proofed. Which means, I’ll probably be doing NaNoWriMo again this year to help me get it done in time.

All that and I have finally succumbed to the desire to cut my hair. I realized I’d had my hair long for three years, after spending two years growing it out, and it hasn’t really changed much in those three years. I’ve always liked changing my hairphoto (24) but I had missed having long hair so I held on to it for a long time. But with working so much I tended to just pull it up into a top knot 5 days out of the week, which isn’t awesome. So two weeks ago I did the first chop, which I really liked the look of, but it was a shoulder-length cut and I’m not a shoulder-length kinda girl. That length always feels like an in-between, like growing out short hair. It’s not the length I’m going to keep it. So that meant calling my stylist again within two weeks for the real chop. And now I’m much happier. Yeah, I already miss the long hair, but that’s okay, I can always grow it out again.

Now. Back to real writing.

Giveaway Winner! Hot Paranormal Nights Blog Hop

Woman vampire biteHello all!

Sorry for the delay in this post, but I was out of town for a few days and am just getting back into the groove of things!

Anywho!

I am happy to announce the winner of the free ebook copy of Air: Book Two in the Elemental Series is Rachel dos Santos! bb489-aircentered

Congratulations Rachel!!!

Thank you to all who participated in the hop, I wish you all could win, but then I would starve 😀