Wild Beauty Grows a Beautiful Tale

Written by Guest Contributor Marissa Brantley

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemone folds readers into a world of magic, flowers, romance, and danger. First, I would like to acknowledge this beautiful cover, the one pictured here is an OwlCrate exclusive cover, but the version you can dig up in bookstores is also beautiful. I will not hold back on gardening puns, and I will not apologize! I was worried the story wouldn’t live up the magic of this cover, but thankfully it did. With notes of Practical Magic and Chocolat, we’re pulled into a world with five female cousins, and three generations of mothers, grandmothers, great aunts, and aunts-all who can grow hundreds of thousands of flowers based on their namesake. Which sounds fantastic and they probably all smell really good. But there’s a catch, a few catches actually- if they ever try to leave their home, La Padera, they will die. And if they love a man hard enough, he will eventually disappear. This becomes a problem when all five cousins, fall in love with a girl. What will happen to her? And what of the mysterious boy who appeared in La Padera with no memory of his perhaps sinful past? As a life-long reader of mysteries, I am hard to surprise, but Wild Beauty surprised me, IN THE BEST WAY. Lush writing and full of metaphors and magic and little painted wooden horses.

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Are Drones Encouraging Women To Embrace Tech?

Post by Guest Contributor, Roger Timbrook.

 

Let’s face it. Embracing technology and being a geek is not something women are “supposed to do”, right?

But, if we believed everything the world told us then maybe we would not know the Earth rotated around the sun (and not vice versa) or that it is not in fact flat. So, it is clear we have to buck the trends to make big things happen. Even today.

That is why I believe that drones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to encouraging women to get into tech.

How exactly are drones making this happen? Here are three ways I can see drones helping…

 

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The Fem-Spired Movie You Might Not Have Heard About

Post by Guest Contributor, Kate Harveston.

 

If you’ve heard anything about the film Colossal, it’s probably been along the lines of Anne Hathaway and giant monsters. Accurate, but the movie is so much more than that. In addition to being a unique blend of romantic comedies and monster movies, it has a distinct feminist slant and commentary.

The Premise

It starts off as a seemingly typical romantic comedy. After her boyfriend kicks her out, Gloria heads back to her hometown to pick up the pieces and work on herself. Childhood friend Oscar swoops in to help get her back on her feet with a job and some furniture. And then it gets twisted.

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Con Prep: How to ‘Makeup’ Your Favorite Character

Con Prep is a new series of blog pieces providing tips, suggestions and other ideas as to help you prepare for convention season.

The third installment of Con Prep was written by Guest Contributor Nathalie Marsh. 

 

Comic Con is getting back to San Diego again this July and, as always, it’s going to be an exhibition full of creative displays. It’s only fair to say that almost everyone gathering there is going to participate, as in all previous years, in the mesmerizing art of cosplay. Be it fans, professionals or future makeup artists and fashion designers, this mix is going to take the stage with their amazing creations.

The work involved in re-creating your favorite character is quite something and usually comes down to the last detail. For this purpose, make-up is your go-to friend when trying to represent or even add a fine touch to your persona.

We’ve gathered a list with what we believe to be the most popular female character impersonations this year, based on the sister conventions (Eastern European Comic Con and WonderCon) and we’ll be sure to point out what makeup product is a must for each of them.

 

Wonder Woman: Up Your Makeup Game With Eyeshadow Primer

Setting numerous box-office records, the movie was a total hit, bringing to the stage the wondrous character of Diana, the immortal Amazonian princess.

All around the world, superhero fans are marveling Wonder Woman and her fierce appearance. And because we just can’t take our eyes off this beauty and strength icon, we believe that she’s going to be one of the most popular faces at this year’s Comic Con.

With a half au naturelle, half femme fatale look, fair skin and red lipstick are a total must, but the focal point in Wonder Woman’s appearance is the eyes.

There are several eyeshadow combinations you can choose from and you are free to get very creative within the classic color palette (red, gold, blue), but the key thing in trying to achieve each of these looks is choosing the best eyeshadow primer to help hold your makeup freshly in place for the whole day.

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Review: Sell Your Heart to The Hearts We Sold

 

Written by Guest Contributor Marissa Brantley

 

Grab a latte, slip on some comfy socks, light a pumpkin scented candle, and prepare to settle in for this spooky tale about a girl who sells her heart. Her literal heart. Demons in this world, are willing to grant you your greatest desires as long as you’re willing to part with an arm, a leg, and occasionally your heart. I wondered what would prompt a person to decide to trust a demon and lose a body part in the process. I went to church-I watch Supernatural. I know that you do not trust freakin’ demons no matter what. However, the book answers that question very quickly: very desperate people.

The Hearts We Sold was not what I was expecting from the description. The author slowly ushers us into this world that is much deeper, darker, and even creepier story than as first presented. Peeling back layer after layer and feeling a little more horrified each time was both skin-crawling and highly entertaining. There were more Grimm fairytale qualities than I initially expected. The small elements of fantastic creepiness really put it over the top in the best ways.

Our main character, Dee is surrounded by fully formed characters with express purposes outside of simply helping or pushing her narrative. Because of these characters, even though the world is a fantastical one, it feels eerily realistic. Everyone has a motive, a backstory, that makes their actions, even cruel, abusive ones, realistic. It does make every action excusable, but it does make those actions understandable. Human. The romance develops naturally and sweetly and does not overpower the story. If you’ve read Vassa in The Night, which I recommend if you like dark fairytales this book would be right up your alley.

Representation-wise, this book does a fairly good job of portraying people of color, and LGBT+ characters. Dee is half Hispanic. Her race is mentioned at most two times. It does not affect her story, so if you’re searching for a character with a heavy latinx identity, this is not the book you’re looking for. This world is not exactly a diverse utopia, as some of the characters do face discrimination. However, it’s something that is alluded to in passing and does not come from any of the characters we know and love. There is a gay supporting character, as well as a trans character. Their sexuality and identity does not affect who they are as people and is only mentioned briefly.

I appreciate the way in which abuse is portrayed in this story. Abuse storylines can often be a bit obvious. They run the way that most people think all abuse happens: physical. But in The Hearts We Sold, the abuse while not exactly subtle, forces you to think about how you would survive in this situation when your options of escape are slim to none. The results of which forces Dee to make extremely difficult decisions, that I’m not sure everyone will be agree with, but I personally think it was an important one that should be illustrated as an option to matter your age or situation.

There were some aspects of the “weird” and “spooky” that seemed too readily accepted by the main character. She describes herself as being afraid all the time, yet when faced with truly terrifying situations, she’s calmer than most people would be. Only later does she seem to react appropriately to them, so it made her a little inconsistent to me. I would have liked to see her struggle with her fear more. It does get off to a bit of a shaky start, but it finds its legs early. Before you know it, it’s five hours later, you’ve forgotten to feed your cats, and you’re getting dual death glares. Can’t relate.

The Hearts We Sold is perfect to get you in the mood for Halloween season, and a great filler until we all binge watch Stranger Things come October.

 

Marissa is a grad school student, writer, and feminist who’s surviving Arkansas in our current political climate. She gets through it with her two fluffy cats and her Hufflepuff tendencies. 

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GeekGirlCon and Executive Director Stand for Diversity and Inclusion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2017

Contact: Sharon Feliciano: PressInquiries@geekgirlcon.com or 206-245-0004

Inclusive convention celebrating “Geeks United” theme planned to continue in September

Seattle, WA – The GeekGirlCon Board of Directors has completely cleared Michele Carrico Domingo, Executive Director, of all the allegations made by five former volunteers, which were contained in an unauthorized email sent out on August 6, 2017. The Board of Directors stands behind Michele Carrico Domingo, whose distinguished career includes more than 20 years as a social justice and equity advocate for women, girls, and people of color, which includes 12 years as an immigration rights lawyer.

GeekGirlCon published an initial message on Sunday, August 6 that was posted on the GeekGirlCon blog, and GeekGirlCon board member Sharon Feliciano addressed the complaints from the departed members of the operations team on Facebook Live on August 7.  

“Michele is passionate about GeekGirlCon’s mission and has made it her priority to promote its values to our greater community since joining the organization in February of this year,” said Board President, I-Wei Feng.

GeekGirlCon is now focused on putting on its annual convention taking place on September 30 & October 1, 2017 at the Washington State Conference Center centered around the theme “Geeks United.” This year’s Featured Contributors include Erica Luttrell, the voice of Sapphire in Steven Universe, Lucie Pohl from Overwatch, and Fryda Wolff from Mass Effect: Andromeda, with more guests being announced in the coming weeks.

GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women worldwide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture through events.

 

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Con Prep: Your Guide to Convention Etiquette

Con Prep is a new series of blog pieces providing tips, suggestions and other ideas as to help you prepare for convention season.

The second installment of Con Prep was written by Guest Contributor Mike James. 

 

Conventions should be somewhere that everyone can have a good time and feel safe to be themselves. But if it’s your first time going to a convention it can be an unusual experience that’s quite different to anything else in the world. It’s important to understand convention etiquette so that you, and everyone else, can have a great time.

 

Things You Need To Bring

Let’s get started by looking at the things that you need to remember to bring to the convention. Firstly, possibly the most important item is a good, sturdy backpack. There are plenty of things that you will need while you’re here so you need a way to carry them. Remember you may want to buy things or pick up freebies.

Also remember to bring a charger for your phone – many conventions have charging stations, but you usually need to provide your own lead. And it’s also a good idea to bring along some anti-bacterial gel. Lots of people all touching the same things all day can make conventions a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s best to have gel available to clean your hands every so often.

 

What to Wear

Comfort is key word when it comes to convention wear. You’re going to be on your feet for a significant amount of time so prioritise comfortable shoes over stylish ones. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers, so that you can remove or add if you get too hot or cold.

If you’re playing on cosplaying at the convention, this can be a lot of fun, but it may be best to have some comfortable clothes that you can change into if you overheat or get tired of the attention that outfits inevitably bring.

 

Taking Photographs

Conventions are often filled with both famous and talented individuals that you might admire as well as people cosplaying in fantastic costumes. As such, people taking photos is expected at many conventions. But that doesn’t mean you can just start taking photos of whoever you like, from any angle you like.  Just as you would in almost any scenario; if you want to take a picture of or with someone, it’s just good manners to ask their permission first. At many conventions this is a rule, so be aware of what is allowed at the convention you’re visiting.  

You might want to avoid the embarrassment of asking someone if it’s fine to take a photo of them, but getting caught trying to covertly take pictures is far worse. In most cases, as long as they are not too busy, most people will be delighted to take a photo with you. Just remember to approach them at a time that is convenient – don’t butt into someone’s conversation just to get a photo. And always remember that you are taking up someone else’s time, so be courteous.

 

Follow The Rules

If you are bringing a costume or anything unusual, it can be best to check the rules or ask the convention directly whether it is acceptable. For example, you might be tempted to bring a hoverboard to your next convention. These slick and stylish personal transportation devices might seem like the perfect way to take the weight off your feet, rather than walking around all day. But it might be the case that devices like these are banned at the convention you’re visiting.  

Of course, you want to stand out from the crowd, but be careful that you don’t bring along anything that is against the rules.

Additionally, you should note that each individual convention will have their own rules about what is and what is not acceptable in terms of behaviour. You should definitely familiarise yourself with the rules if it’s your first time at this particular convention – what’s OK elsewhere, might not be OK here.

 

Get Permission First

This goes for almost anything you want to do. Whether you want to have a chat with someone, hug them, touch a part of their costume, or anything else, make sure you graciously ask if they are happy for you to do so. Even if it seems like something innocuous or something that that wouldn’t bother you, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable behaviour for everyone. So respect everyone’s space and ask permission before you do anything. And don’t be offended if they say no.

 

Do you have other tips for con attendees? Let us know in the comments below!

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Panel Recap: Baskets and Capes: Using Fairy Tales to Explain Our Love of Superheroes

 Post by Adrienne Clark.

“Stories, whenever they’re told, reflect their era.” – Regina Oglesby

 

What do Harley Quinn and the Little Mermaid have in common? Can Red Riding Hood’s wolf character be found lurking in a Captain America story?

These were the types of questions asked at my final panel of GGC ’16.

Made of members of The Geek Embassy, a learning community for new geeks, the panelists included Rhonda Oglesby, lead ambassador and teacher; Regina McMenomy, Ph.D.; Isabela Oliveria, tech editor, geek writer; and Jennifer Leaver, psychology teacher, expert in fairy tales, and newly into comics.

Brothers’ Original Fairy Tales via NPR.

FAIRY TALES vs SUPERHEROES

The focus of the panel was how, and what, fairy tales can teach us about superheroes. The panel opened the topic to the audience right away, asking them “What do you know about fairy tales?” The answers revealed a range of fairy tale knowledge including the notion that these were not tales meant to teach a moral lesson, to the more interesting revisions made by the Brothers Grimm. For instance, did you know that the Brothers’ changed a lot of the mother characters in their versions of tales to step-mothers, as they didn’t like the idea of mothers doing terrible things to their biological children? I sure didn’t.

As with any scholarly pursuit, it’s best to agree to specific conceptual definitions before diving in. After gathering the audience’s first assumptions and knowledge of fairy tales, it was time to bring out the definitions.

 

THE ELEMENTS OF FAIRY TALES

After vigorous research, the Geek Embassy team have defined fairy tales as “a genre of storytelling distinct from myth, legend, or nursery rhyme.” The characteristics that define a fairy tale are easy to identify.

Fairy tales, as opposed to their story counterparts, occur out of time. Although any storyteller can place Hansel and Gretel into a specific period in history, the story’s success as a narrative is in no way tied to when it takes place.

Additionally, fairy tales set themselves apart as they are generally flights of fancy, using larger-than-life characters and plots. There is also usually an element of magic involved.

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A Wrinkle in Time and the Dangers of Homogeneity

Written by Guest Contributor Regina Barber DeGraaff

With all the excitement surrounding the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, I wanted to discuss the ideas of diversity that the book explores and how the ideas of what is “different” and “normal” has affected my life as an academic in science.

Not long ago, I was an PhD astrophysicist who had never read A Wrinkle in Time. Madeline L’Engle’s book was beloved by many of my academic colleagues due to the physics references; however, literature that everyone else read in childhood was always a touchy subject for me. I remember being a sophomore in college when several fellow physics majors said to me “You haven’t read The Lord of the Rings? You haven’t even read The Hobbit?!” That summer I spent the entire break reading the Tolkien series in the Shire-esque landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Being a female, Mexican/Chinese American, first-generation college student in physics, I was already wary about my appearance and “class,” so I did anything to belong.

I did not grow up in a house with books for children or adults. My mother was always nervous about her English due to growing up in Taiwan and never wanted to read English books. When I would visit my father during the summer, he tried to encourage my sister and I to read, but he was self conscious about his own reading skills. I remember the crippling dread when teachers would ask me to read out loud. This is probably one of the many reasons I moved towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

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Review: The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the Victorian Romance You Didn’t Know You Needed

Written by Guest Contributor Marissa Brantley

 

The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee beautifully illustrates a twist to the historical friends-to-lovers romance. Our protagonist, Henry “Monty” Montague, is a roguish and charming, high-society English lad who is deeply in love with his best friend, Percy—whose gentle nature serves as a fantastic catalyst to Monty’s bravado. Monty’s stern sister, Felicity, also reluctantly tags along on their grand tour of Europe, and uses her book smarts and savage one-liners to survive everything from parties to pirates. Although Monty is thoughtless and selfish, it’s impossible not to love him. His voice and perspective are perfect for fans of British humor—dry and sarcastic but still ridiculously entertaining.

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