Saturday, August 20, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Liebster is German and means dear or beloved. So this is a neat little award to receive. I'm not 100% sure where, when or how it originated, but it has been passed from one small (but awesome) blog to another for quite some time. This award works a lot like a game of tag. When someone tags you, letting you know they value your blog, you are asked to continue by honoring others with the award as well. This award serves as a way to connect others to small (but awesome) blogs that you enjoy. It doesn't boost your readership overnight, but it does let you know of new blogs that you may also find an interest in and serves as a small scale networking tool.

I received this award from the wonderful and talented Maze. She is the author of I'm Finding Me Again, a blog I was linked to in a thread on the NaNoWriMo site discussing the Day Zero Project. I've really enjoyed reading her blog (even if I haven't thought of 101 things for my Day Zero Project list yet). If you feel like you need inspiration to go reach your goals - I would check her blog out. She's been crossing goals off her list left and right.

The rules for passing on this award state that recipients should then pass it on to 3-5 bloggers they follow that have less than 200 readers and then let those bloggers know they have received the award. As I set out to pass on this award, I realized that I have never commented on some of my favorite blogs.

In no particular order, these are the blogs I am passing this award on to:

Jenny Geek - I'm not 100% sure she has less than 200 readers as her followers aren't listed. She takes a fun approach to her life and the comics that accompany her posts are cute! She's a geek and her posts reflect that she has embraced that aspect of her life. I hope you enjoy her posts as much as I do. I've missed them since she has been on vacation. Now, I need to actually comment on her blog for once - instead of remaining the silent reader.

The Quilt List - Not only is this woman an amazing quilter, she also makes some of the most fascinating charm bracelets I have ever seen. It seems like she is finishing a new project each week and I sit here in awe of what she comes up with. I encourage you to go bask in her creativity.

Captured by Crane - My Aunt is an incredibly talented photographer. With photography as one of my many hobbies, I am always amazed at the photo shoots my Aunt captures. She does beautiful work.

RotS - This one doesn't get a link because it is a private blog. I enjoy reading it immensely as the author is doing a marvelous job telling a fascinating tale. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Monday, August 15, 2011

SpoCon 2011

There is so much that I could say about SpoCon this year. It was a total blast. So this will be a weekend recap of sorts and I know I will still forget something.

Friday morning, I had the honor of attending the Guest/Pro Breakfast where I was privileged to sit with several of the other League of Extraordinary Writers 2011 Writing Contest finalists (Kaye, Greg, Scott, and Esther), a member of the ConCom, and several members of the Dead Gentlemen (Brian Lewis, Scott Brown, Christian Doyle, and a gal whose name momentarily escapes me). The breakfast was highly entertaining. All of the Dead Gentlemen are a lively group and rather outgoing.

After breakfast finished, I joined Kaye, her mother, Kathy, and Kaye's friend, Jordan. I chatted with them as I did some hand stitching on my costume. About 2.5 hours later, registration opened and I stood in line for an hour to get my badge. I got my badge just in time to rush off and meet with C. J. Cherryh, who spent a half-hour critiquing my writing contest submission and gave me many helpful tips and encouraged me in my writing. This was the perfect way to start a con!

I ended up going to several other writing panels over the course of the weekend and received tips from authors: Patricia Briggs, John Dalmas, C. J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher, Tanglwyst de Holloway, Alma Alexander, Mark Ferrari, Deby Fredericks, and owner of Blue Falcon Editing, Andrea Howe. There are so many things I am very excited to work on in my writing thanks to these wonderful people. I also met several wonderful aspiring authors at these panels and look forward to some day reading their work.

Friday night couldn't arrive soon enough for me. I've been looking forward to Opening Ceremonies for months, because that is when the L.E.W. contest winners would be announced.

Photo by Cheeser.

I waited on pins and needles. Eager to hear my name when the announcements finally arrived.

"Second place winner for Flash Fiction is..." My brain went into shock as I realized that they had not read my name. There were only two finalists in each category. They didn't say my name! That means... Shock gripped my brain and I found that I couldn't voice the conclusion my brain had arrived at. Then I heard my name read as the General Writing Contest Flash Fiction winner. I don't even think the announcer had finished reading my name when my husband's cheers deafened me. He was just as excited as I was - only his vocal cords were functioning.

Photo by Cheeser.

So this is me, with my medal. It has the awesome SpoCon logo on the front and the back is engraved. The other half of my prize is a gift certificate to Blue Falcon Editing for the editing of my flash fiction entry. Words cannot even express my excitement.

Photo by Cheeser.

My husband and I celebrated by going out to eat with a friend and then rushing home to sew more on our costumes. We finished them around 12:30 p.m. and headed for the con.

We signed up for the Masquerade. It was so much fun performing my flag routine (even if I dropped one of my flags). There were several really awesome costumes present. One of my favorites was a gal dressed up as a white wolf. The costume had beautiful detail.

Photo by the Spokantina member I handed my camera to...

Masquerade results:
Firebender [Avatar - The Last Airbender] {Me} - Best Performance - Journeyman Class
Roxas [Kingdom Hearts II] {My Hubby} - Best Workmanship - Journeyman Class
Brother Silence, Cass [Gamers II - Dorkness Rising] {Our friend, Cheeser} - Best of Show

Photo by the Spokantina member I handed my camera to...

And a shot with Cheeser in his Snowtrooper armor and me with flags to show you how they looked moving.

Other con highlights:

Filking (click here for what filking is) - this was so much fun! I only regret that I wasn't able to stay the whole time and missed the first night of it. The filking circle was so friendly! I really need to figure out how to get my hands on a song book.

Meeting Dragon Dronet - this man is a masterful prop builder and armorer. He does beautiful work. He brought several pieces to pass around.

Photo by the Spokantina member I handed my camera to...

He even let me put on the Samurai helmet used in the t.v. series Heroes.

Photo by the Spokantina member I handed my camera to...

Teaching others how to twirl flags - during the dance I taught several other con goers how to flag. It was highly entertaining, especially when Alfredo decided to give one a whirl.

Getting asked for my autograph six times since they put all the contest entries in an anthology (if you granted permission). I love my copy of the book and was super excited when I discovered that my flash fiction story, Fate, was the first one. I tracked down two of the other writers in the book to have them sign it as well {I wanted to get everyone, but was unable to locate them all}.

And my overall favorite con memories are every one of them spent with friends (new and old alike). I had a blast hanging out with all my geeky buddies and can't wait to do it all again next year.

EDIT: I will be adding more pictures (and hopefully video) when I find them.

Photo by Lady Mischief

Video by Nathan Smith
I fire bend at 13:26, but you should watch the whole thing. Brother Silence (Cheeser) does a fabulous job! And my hubby dons the completed Org. XIII cloak and the key that he has spent much time on. Plus, there were many other wonderful costumes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Discworld Birthday Dessert

So a few weeks ago, one of my best friends mentioned that it would be awesome to have a Discworld birthday cake. So this last Saturday, with the help of her daughter, I made her a Discworld dessert. The world is made out of white chocolate dyed blue, with milk chocolate land masses and butterscotch mountains all melted a drizzled together to form a world map of sorts, complete with powder sugared snow mountains on one of the continents. The elephants are plastic (and if you look closely you may catch a glimpse of the two elephant substitute, zebras - as in my hunt for elephants, I only managed to locate two). The turtle is made of rice krispy treats covered in vanilla frosting dyed green. Nora added the butterscotch chip eyes. All in all, the dessert was yummy and now I find myself wanting to read the books.

The birthday girl and her dessert.

The dessert makers.