Cosplay progress–progress being a generous word

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Ok, I promised pictures. I still don’t have that much to take pictures of besides stacks of patterns and piles of uncut fabric.

So for starters, I made a lot of progress on my son’s Ash costume. The shirt is done, and I vow never to sew pockets again. I also vow not to be as picky; I literally went to five or more stores looking for yellow buttons that were the right size and the right shade of yellow … this might be why this project is taking so long.

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All we need to do now is order a wig, buy some jeans and shoes, a belt, and finish his gloves.

As far as the Wonder Woman cosplay, it will be a wonder if we get anything done. I did almost finish the Hippolyta cape and skirt. Will share pics next week.

Aside from that, I have designed a crown and gauntlet pattern and I’ve started cutting out the bust pieces.

I’d have more done, but this month we had several acting workshops and an entire weekend dedicated to filming. Not to mention getting ready for Gen Con this weekend.

Gen Con will be a much needed break from sewing. I’ll be sure to share pics from the con, as well as more photo updates of my current project.

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Getting into Character

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Between firing/hiring a new team member at my work, writing, cosplay, and my son’s surgeries, I haven’t had that much time to go to the gym. I’ve got to make time now so I can turn my body into a warrior bod for the film.

Watching Wonder Woman really inspired me to take my workout to a whole new level. I even do Gal Gadot’s workout on Wednesday (Wonder Woman Wednesday). Feel free to try it yourself. Get on a rowing machine followed by bear crawls, crab walks, burpees (lots of burpees), dead lifts, pull ups, and a bunch of other barbell stuff I don’t remember the proper names.

Getting into character with me is my sister. Since we are both in the same film, we are going for a similar look, which means identical diets, identical workouts. Just like everything else we do, my son isn’t left out. While he goes to the YMCA mainly to play on the computers, he does run and walk a few laps around the track with us as a family.

It’s nice being inspired, but even better to inspire others. Another woman, intrigued by Wonder Woman’s workout, decided to join us. We worked out together and talked. As a woman, one of my greatest joys is to empower other women.

Speaking of woman empowerment. Thursday I started taking a tribal dance class. I’m not very good yet, but I could feel the feminine energy flowing through the room. It was invigorating and inspiring.

Channeling this character will be fun. Figured I’d start on the outside. Won’t be able to channel her internally until I get the full script.

Stay tuned.

 

Don’t Wait: Make it Happen

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We’ve all got a calling: something we feel compelled to do: sing, act, paint, write.

I’m compelled to write, act, dance, sew, draw, play instruments, and save the world.

Of all those things, I’d say my strongest callings have always been to write and act. I started writing before I could read (if that makes sense) and I started acting in High school, taking every theatre class offered at my school and auditioning for every play. Of course, I played elaborate games of pretend with  my sister long before that.

After school I thought I’d become a writer and eventually get back into acting, starting with college/community theatre.

I got busy and hit a major writing wall, so I didn’t do much acting or writing for five years.

That was a bad time. I was depressed and lost … I wasn’t me. I was restless. Restlessness is what you feel when you aren’t answering your calling.

Recently I saw a video where Peter Dinklage offers some great advice to his fans: “Don’t wait.”

I am a true believer in learning from others: their advice and their mistakes and successes. This might be some of the best advice I’ve heard from someone who obtained their dream. There is no right time. You just have to go out there and make it happen.

One of my greatest lessons came from my mom. Sadly, she was not encouraging of big dreams. She didn’t take many risk or chances. My mother’s illness and her death inspired me to go after my dreams before it is too late. While I like to think that my mom was 100% satisfied with her life, I know she had unfulfilled dreams like seeing the ocean. How hard would that have been to make happen?

My goals might be a little more of a challenge: publish and act–not in theatre–on the small or big screen.

At 30, I feared it was too late for either, but in his speech, Peter says that he left a job at 29 to pursue acting. So it’s never too late.

While I can’t just quit my job and take off, my first break is just around the corner. A friend of mine told me about auditions for a film. I auditioned with my sister and we both landed rolls.

I can’t give away too much yet. It’s very early in the works, but I can say we are starting filming very soon. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy film. There are several B listed actors in it–one of which my son is a huge fan. It will be playing in roughly 150 theaters.

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First picture of some of the cast. Sorry no costume pics until we start promoting

Now before I get too excited, I’m not saying this film is going to make me red-carpet famous, but it is helping me answer my inner calling. Community theater just didn’t do it for me. But this is the whole experience: green screen, costume, hair and makeup, the whole thing.

I’m one of those people who can’t watch the behind the scenes special features without getting jealous. I’d love to be a part of the film-making process, and this will give me a chance.

The part I’m most excited about is my character. I’m going to be a General. After watching Star Wars and Wonder Woman and seeing my childhood princesses become Generals, I feel honored that this is my first role. I’ve always wanted to be a woman warrior like Lagertha, Antiope, or Xena. Here’s my chance.

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This film could lead to a lot of important networking opportunities as well as future rolls.

As far as writing, I’m still working on book one, but I feel like it finally has direction.

I really feel like this is the defining year of my life. If you haven’t seen it already, go watch Peter Dinklage’s speech.

 

Most Romantic Songs in Fantasy and Sci-Fi

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I’m no love expert, but I do consider myself to be a pretty good judge of music. Since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d share my favorite love songs from Fantasy and Sci-Fi.

As the World Falls Down: Labyrinth

Despite what you might think, I didn’t put this song on the list because of Bowie’s recent death. I’ve actually had this post drafted for a while but decided to wait to post it until closer to Valentine’s Day.

For the record, I don’t consider this a romantic movie (unless you count the disturbing attraction that Jareth has for the much younger Sarah or the creepy uncle attraction of Hoggle). Either the song is a wink to the illegal attraction that Jareth has for the MC or–like many of the songs Bowie wrote for the movie–it just has nothing to do with the story and is a complete deviation from the plot altogether. Regardless, listening to this song gives me a similar feeling that I get while listening to Boyz II Men  “I”ll Make Love to You.” It’s the lyrics–the ones Bowie articulates anyway. He can be pretty hard to understand at times.

What girl wouldn’t want a man who promises to place the moon within her heart and the sky in her eyes while painting her mornings of gold and leaving his love in the stars. So many beautiful celestial references–which I’m a sucker for.

I’m not a huge fan of this movie … I’ll just pause a moment and let you get it out of your system.

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As I was saying, I’m not a huge fan, but I thought the scene where she’s in the dream world dancing with Jareth was just fabulously fun to watch with the masks, the costumes, Sarah’s hair, and all that Bowie glitter. I kept thinking what a neat cosplay this would be.

Well, if you love Bowie and 80’s love songs, you’ll just “fall” for this one.

Aniron: Lord of the Rings

This song doesn’t need English lyrics, or maybe it’s the absence of English lyrics that make it so moving. You don’t have to speak elvish to understand the meaning of the words.

It’s just so tear-jerking beautiful. Not a surprise since the song was composed and sung by Enya and conducted by Howard Shore, creators of some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard (says the woman who ran out and bought every Enya cd after hearing this song).

The song is the official love theme of Aragorn and Arwen and can be heard during their love scene, which is a little trite, especially because of their stilted dialogue. However, the romance hardly feels forced because of the song. Omit the music, and you just have two people stiffly facing each other exchanging bad dialogue. Total scene saver.

Tell Me Now: King Arthur

King Arthur is a B movie with an A movie soundtrack. If the screenwriters wrote the movie half as well as Hans Zimmer wrote the music, we’d have a contender for Gladiator or the Lord of the Rings.

To be clear, this is a list of my favorite romantic songs–not romances. The Arthur/Gwen ship was just dreadful and forced to put it kindly, but this song … it just reverberates with feelings and emotions I really don’t think were conveyed by the actors.

What do you think? Tell me, tell me now if you like this song.

That’s All I’ve Got to Say: The Last Unicorn

Poor Prince Leer didn’t know what to say or do to win the love of the Lady Almathea, so that’s what he sang about. What a beautiful, heartfelt song it ends up being for a man who said words were not one with him. Though if he was looking for the right words, he could have borrowed some from Jareth though it sounds like he may have tweaked some lines from Forrest.

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This is just one of those songs that makes me all warm and sappy. If a man ever sang this to me, I’d marry him in a heartbeat.

That’s really all I have to tell you about this song. That’s all I’ve got to say.

As Long as You’re Mine: Wicked

This counts as fantasy right? Anyway, I’ve never seen Wicked, but I don’t have to in order to love, love, love this song. It’s just so sexy. You can tell they want each other badly.

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How can you hear this song without imagining two people locked tightly in each others arms? To be honest, I was a little let down when I finally watched the video. The scene played out a little awkward compared to what I imagined.

This is my favorite song from the Broadway. Yes, even above Defying Gravity. Norbert Leo Butz and Idina Menzel are such a sexy vocal pair–better than when she sang with her husband (cheating bastard–also not as good a singer as Norbert).

Princess Bride: Story Book Love

It would be a crime to exclude Princess Bride from any list having to do with love, considering this movie is all about love, twu wuv, that will fowow you foweva and eva …

This song completely captures the movie’s heart and style. It’s as heartwarming and tender as the film’s happy ending.

It’s one of my favorite love songs of all time. Needless to say, I own it on iTunes, and I will be playing it this Valentine’s Day.

A Love Before Time: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

If this was a list of my top favorite romances, Le Mu-Bi and Yu Shu Lein would definitely make the list; however, this is a list for songs, and as you can see, their song makes the list.

This is a song about love transcending time and death. I dare you to listen to it without being moved. If you aren’t, you have no soul. How can you not be moved by cello music. From the first instrumental note, I was sold. The chords, the lyrics, the instruments. Did I mention the cello? I’m a sucker for cellos.

Then You Look at Me: Bicentennial Man

I’ve never seen this movie, but as a huge fan of Celine Dion, I’ve heard this song–at least a hundred times.

Is it any wonder it’s a romantic song. Written by James Horner and Will Jennings–the writers of Celine Dion’s more memorable hit, “My Heart Will Go On.”

If you haven’t heard of this song, it’s because the movie was a flop, and Celine’s (far inferior song) “That’s the Way it is” was a huge hit on the radio at the time, so sadly, this one was not played on the radio, but included on several of her albums.

If you haven’t heard it, I encourage you to. I think you’ll find it just as memorable as many of Celine’s other hits.

Well, there you have it. Those are my favorites. Which are yours? Any I left off the list?

To all of my friends and followers, have a wonderful Valentine’s day.

Write the Book You Want to Read

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woman-reading-bookOf all the stresses of being a writer: finding an agent, editing, making time to write, submitting query letters and proposals, the first dilemma is finding something to write about. People always say write what you know. I don’t know about you, but writing is one way for me to escape what I know. I already live, eat, breathe insurance, I don’t want to write about it. Does anyone out there want to read about an insurance agent who works six days a week selling and servicing policies? In case you’re intrigued, it goes a little something like this:

Customer: “I’m here to make a payment.”

Agent: “Will that be with a credit card or check today?”

Customer: “Card.”

Agent: “Here’s your reciept.”

Customer: “Thanks.”

Agent: “See you next month.”

Repeat that about five times a day with the occasional claim call, general question, and about three hours of down time and you have the day and life of the insurance agent. The stuff of a New York Times bestseller … maybe not. Maybe you’d be more interested if I was an insurance agent by day, vampire by night or some kind of insurance mob boss threatening everyone in town to buy insurance policies from my company using scare tactics and threats and sending horse heads to the beds of my competitors.

My inspiration usually doesn’t come from my life. I haven’t written a word that I could credit to four years of college, more than five jobs, and the occasional trip out of state. My inspiration usually strikes right after reading. I’m not a plagarist or anything; it’s not that I want to replicate a story I’ve read, I want to write what I think should have happened. Have you ever read something and wished there were more stories similar to the one you just read (This is why I like fanfic), or have you ever wished the author had gone in the direction you thought the plot was going? My current project is actually inspired by reading fanciton based on one of my favorite books. If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours in the library or bookstore trying to find a book that appeals to you:. Sometimes I just go through a dry spell where I can’t find anything. So I asked myself, what do you like to read. Just write it yourself.

Write what you want to read. You may love young adult fiction or historical fiction. My personal favorite genre is fantasy, not that there is a short supply of fantasy. Quite the opposite. So I should be able to find a book I like, ideally. The problem is I don’t like your run of the mill fantasy: dragons, magic, wizards, items of power, prophesies, and chosen ones. Yes, I realize most of this is in the Lord of the Rings, which I love, but the fantasy genre is over saturated with these elements.

For starters, my favorite characters are elves. Now I know a lot of people say they are tired of elves, which I don’t understand because for one thing they are awesome, and aside from Tolkien and R.A. Salvatore, I really don’t think there are that many books that have elves, or at least not as main characters. But if you would like to prove me wrong, please send me a list and I will gladly read from that list. Main characters in fantasy are often humans, so I have chosen to write a series where the primary charcters are mostly elves. My elves are also more naturalistic and do not possess magic of any kind because magic is another element I think is overdone. Another thing I notice in fantasy is that elves and humans are almost always allies, villains are ugly, and good guys are pretty. This is a really flat and shallow way of deciding who is good and who is not. Also why should someone be all good and all bad? Aren’t we all a combination of good/bad traits? Likewise, we have ugly/beautiful physical characteristics? Good and bad being cut and dry and black and white is for Santa, not literature. I dare anyone to find a character in my novels who is completely evil or good.

One thing I can’t get enough of (and I’m sure you can’t either) are awesome relationship dynamics. Fantasy and Sci-fi have the greatest friendships, romances, and oppositions steeped in hate, respect, honor, betrayal. Characters always seem to be conflicted. Someone who seems to be infatuated by a character may be on the cusp on killing them. Likewise, the villain about to kill his enemy lets him go out of a mutual respect. The greatest relationships in fantasy are by far the friendships. People are willing to go on incredible journies and face amazing peril for one another. Just look at Sam and Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. Their love was evident in the books–and really played up in the movies. Those are the kind of relationships I like to read about and, therefore, write about. If my characters had facebook pages, their relationship status would almost always be “complicated.” Unlikely friendships form, long-lasting friendships end, love is often not obtained.

I hope many of you will agree with me that the fantasy genre needs more strong women. Not another girl defying gender roles. What I want to read about is a world where gender roles don’t exist. How refreshing it would be to read a book where a girl didn’t have to overcome society to be an interesting character. Where a story is not a celebration of men. I get frustrated with the fantasy genre in particular because authors have the abillity to create their own worlds, their own cities, their own rules and yet they typically emulate the societal norms of the midevil era. It is fantasy, you can make up your own rules, and that’s just what I’ve done. I don’t want to have a society where your role is limited on your gender. Women can be soldiers for instance. It makes sense in my world because my humans don’t believe in a God and one of the primary reasons we even have gender issues, even today, is because of the Bible. So eliminate religion, eliminate harsh, overstrict gender roles. I just think it’s refreshing to read a book where gender is not an issue.

When my series is finished I hope they will not only be books I like to read, but books readers will enjoy as well.