I cosplayed! 10 points if you tell me who I am in the comments.

So I went to San Diego Comic Con, and I lived to tell the tale.

What did I bring back with me? A ton of pictures, a few fantastic stories, exciting new professional connections, new books, and a random collection of blurbs to share about what it was like.

SDCC is every bit as massive and overwhelming as the media buzz led me to expect. Madness! On every corner! It was every bit as amazing as I expected, and I hope to go back again sometime.

I hope to go back again in a few years. But for now, here are a few of my biggest highlights from my SDCC 2017 experience:

1. Talking to the other Con-goers

You may have picked up by now that I'm no extrovert. As a rule, I prefer as few peopel as possible. And to talk to those people as little as possible. I'm not shy. I just prefer to be in my own head.

But San Diego Comic Con, much like a writers conference, was one of those special places where odds are, almost anyone you bump itno is my type of people. 

More than once random small talk with someone next to me in line turned into an incredible conversation about the creative industry and craft, and I got to connect with a few awesome people family and friends have wanted me to meet for years. I also quizzed a few author vendors about the value of the con and buying booth space, and they were extremely willing and helpful.

2. That time I crashed an invite-only industry party.

Look. It was an accident. I was told to meet a person at a party, and it happened to be that this was an invite-only industry party. So I was invited, I just, you know, on the list.

Also I was told said party was on the ninth floor. So when I came in and saw the big flashy invite-only, check-in-at-the-door all-dressed-up party table for the third floor, I walked right past it, stepped onto the elevator and pressed 9, thank you very much.

Only when it became clear that there was definitely NO PARTY on the ninth floor did I then go to the third. And what can I say, the back door security was lax. The hubs and I looked at each other, made a silent pact to look like we belonged. Then we walked right past the security guard with a smile and ordered our complimentary movie-themed cocktail.

And not a single person asked us where our wrist bands were all night.

Movie models in the Exhibition Room

3. The Exhibition Hall: Just being in it. 

The spectacle that is the San Diego Comic Con Exhibition Hall cannot be overstated. I could have gotten lost in there, between the life-size statues of DC and Marvel superheroes and tables upon tables of books, for days. Case in point, I did in fact, actually, get lost at one point, and suddenly discovered I was going in the exact opposite direction than I thought. 

Watch your wallet in there--it has a tendency to lighten itself as you acquire one amazing discovery after another.

Rumor has it there was also an It school bus ride in there somewhere, too, but I never found it.

4. My creative heroes, within arm's reach.

Robert Kirkman. Karen Berger. Dave Gibbons. Gail Simone. These and many other of my creative heroes (authors, editors, illustrators, special effects masters) were all there. And I was utterly starstruck.

A side effect of geeking out over these geniuses was that most other Con-goers would give me blank stares. (To be fair, I did opt out of the Viking funeral, where a real viking ship was light on fire in the harbour, to go to a panel about Ray Bradbury.)

Fringe oddball, or out-geeking the geeks? I'm going with the latter...it's all about spin, right?

5. The Gaslamp District. That is all. 

After walking down the main strip of the Gaslamp District a couple times, I am forever convinced you could simply walk up and down this strip, straight across from the Convention Center, for the entire Con, and feel you got the full experience.

It was like Time Square, except without the creepy Elmo knockoffs. Just the most incredible cosplay you'll ever see, including a group of street-partying Storm Troopers and a Jesus heckling religious protesters with a sign that said, "Don't listen to these pricks."

Black Spider in the Gaslamp District and a child running away when he looked at him)

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of my thoughts coming out of my first San Diego Comic Con! Another post or two (or maybe even three if I get ambitious) are still to come as I continue to distill the experience into complete thoughts.

Got questions about San Diego Comic Con? Throw them in the comments below!

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So! If you get my newsletter or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have heard. I went to Greece.

Greek mythology was the first mythology I learned, and I fell in love right away. The stories were just so strange, and the monsters were incredible. They blew open my imagination in new directions, and it plays a big role in how I write.

So a trip to Greece was high on my travel wish list. (And hey, who doesn't love a good beach?)

The trip was incredible! To share it with you, I'm posting pictures of my favorite moments all week.

Let's start with some classics--top ruins from Athens.

Temple of Zeus

Or at least, what's left of the Temple of Zeus. So many of the buildings from ancient times are still in incredible shape, it can start to feel like it's nothing special. I loved the Temple of Zeus because its partially-standing columns are a beautiful reminder of what an incredible thing it is that anything is left standing at all, thousands of years later.

The Carytids

Slipped right in with the rest of the majesty (and hoards of tourists) in the Acropolis, these four lady sculptures-turned-columns blew me away. There's ionic, doric, and corinthian ... and then there's this. Who are these ladies? My mind craves a story to go with them.

Socrates's Jail

This is where the actual Socrates was brought and jailed before his execution. A little morbid, I guess, but standing on that same ground had power about it. The philosopher has become just a big, vague concept to me. Standing at a place he was known to have been, too, made him incredibly real.

Hope you enjoyed these glimpses into my trip. More to come!

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Hey readers. Hope your summer is off to a great start. I have big plans for travel and lounging by the pool--how about you?

What do all my summer activities have in common? They require a huge pile of books to read.

If you're looking to pad your TBR in prep for summer, I've got just the thing. I've teamed up with several other sci-fi/fantasy authors, and we're all giving away a book for free, including my Third Realm Wars novella, Rain.

Get free sci-fi & fantasy books here

And hey, real friends tell friends about giveaways--why not share Rain and more with your friends? Tweet this.
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1. Medusa is one of the Gorgons.

Gorgons are winged human females with a hideous face and living venomous snakes in place of hair. So if you are aware of Medusa, this should sound familiar.

2. She is the granddaughter of the Earth (Gaia) and the Ocean (Oceanus).

Kinda cool, right?

3. And her parents are Phorkys and Keto, god and goddess of the sea, who represented the seas dangers.

Bonus fact: Ketos also refer to sea monsters.

4. Medusa’s gaze turned men to stone.

Some versions of the myth say this is because of her monstrous ugliness; others because of her incredible beauty.

5. She has two sisters, Sthenno and Euryale.

Medusa was the only mortal of the three. As far as I could find, there is no explanation for this, so I figure it’s kind of like how some of us are just born muggle and others get to be wizards.

6. Medusa’s monstrous form was said to be punishment from Athena for seducing Poseidon.

Of course other versions say Poseidon raped her, so … victim blame much?

7. It’s said her monstrous character followed, as the world turned against her.

A pre-Frankenstein's monster, if you will.

8. In her despair, Medusa fled to Africa.

As she wandered, snakes dropped from her hair. This is how Africa got its venomous reptiles. Still no explanation for Australia.

9. Medusa was ultimately beheaded, of course, by Perseus.

Her sisters tried to avenge her, but Perseus dodged them  by using Hades’ cap, which made him invisible.

10. Perseus, classy guy that he was, continued to use the head as a weapon.

Even after her death, Medusa’s head retained its ability to turn people to stone. Eventually Perseus gave it to Athena, who placed it on her shield.

11. And then she became a symbol.

In classical antiquity, Medusa’s head came to appear on the Gorgoneion, which was an evil-averting device. Not a bad ultimate legacy, albeit from a pretty rough life.

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As demonstrated so very recently by La La Land, artists do tend to enjoy the occasional deep dive into their own wallows.

A writer myself, I’m a total sucker for it. The highs and lows that come with artistry expose our internal quirks and vulnerabilities like nothing else.

Writers are far from impervious to the occasional navel-gazing whim. Here are a few of my all-time favorite books that indulge in some intense navel-gazing.

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There are times when we should all stand up and speak on behalf of something. Then, there are times when the best way to advocate is to step aside and let someone else speak.

African American History Month is one of those times.

So here's a roundup of great articles celebrating African American science fiction and fantasy authors. Hope you're ready to add a ton of amazing books to your to-be-read list!

A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction

Freedom to Read: The 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-In

7 Black Women Science Fiction Writers Everyone Should Know

13 Coretta Scott King Award and Honoree Books to Read Now

This Month (And Every Month), Black Sci-Fi Writers Look to the Future

Read Harder: Read a Classic by an Author of Color

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If you like great fiction and also casually name-dropping awesome authors your friends have never heard of, boy do I have a treat for you.

It's called All About the Indies, it's' happening this Saturday in the D.C. area, and I'm gonna be there. So be sure to come say hi.

The deets:

All About the Indies
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, February 18
Holiday Inn Hotel Arlington At Ballston
4610 N Fairfax Dr, Arlington, Virginia 22203

In addition to a wide variety of local authors, there will be panels and giveaways!

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There is plenty being said about this particular Presidential race, our new President, and the inauguration today.

So I'll just throw my two cents in with this wise and relevant quote:

If you'd like to explore this idea further, here's some recommended reading:

I also encourage you to check out these amazing resistance posters created by the artist who created the iconic Obama "Hope" poster.

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While some genres have a tendency toward light, quick reads (ahem, romance), fantasy has always gone the opposite way. This genre tends toward dense reads … the type of book that can double as a weapon to bludgeon an assailant with.

Over at Book Riot, I'm sharing seven fantasy series that will take you all year to read. Check it out!

What are your favorite fantasy series?

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2

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to be a guest on Carolivia Herron's Epic City radio show on Takoma Radio, 94.3 FM in Takoma Park, MD.

We chatted it up about why Adem is so easy to root for despite his great flaws, what the heck the Orpheus myth is, and what kind of fantasy creature I would be.

Listen to the full interview here!

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