Tara O'Shea
26 May 2013 @ 05:42 pm
Interfictions Online
I am beyond pleased to annopunce that one of the site's I've been working on for the past year is love live!

Interfictions Online has risen from the ashes as a new journal of interstitial arts, from the Interstitial Arts Foundation. It has fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, and yours truly designed the website and spent two harrowing weeks beating the WordPress template into submission. So go check it out!

In other news, I am still hard at work on loads of projects in 2013, and will try and be much better about showcasing my book covers, website extras, and print designs here in the future.
 
Tara O'Shea
23 May 2012 @ 10:45 am
WisCon!
Tomorrow morning I head North, to cross the Cheddar Curtain, to attend my very first WisCon!
Here is my panel schedule:
Schedule Location
Chicks Dig Comics (scheduled) Fri, 9:00–10:15 pm Assembly
Moderator: Sigrid Ellis.
Come celebrate the delightful truth: women create, produce, read, and really, really dig comics! Join the editors and writers of Chicks Dig Comics, a just-released collection of essays, as they share their love for this medium and the stories it can tell.
SF on TV (scheduled) Fri, 10:30–11:45 pm Conference 4
Moderator: Richard S. Russell.
Hello to Terra Nova, Falling Skies, and the fairy-tale shows Once Upon A Time and Grimm. So long to V, Chuck, Stargate, Smallville, and Haven. Alphas is a terrific cross between Heroes and Fringe. British imports include Being Human and Merlin as well as the good ol’ Doc. Fringe, Warehouse 13, The Walking Dead, and especially Game of Thrones gave fans plenty to drool over. And more! Handouts included. Since it's impossible for anyone to keep up with all the shows, audience participation is mandatory.
Women in Comics (scheduled) Sat, 8:30–9:45 am Assembly
Moderator: Jessica Plummer.
What did the past year bring us for women in comics? What fates befell female characters; what women are doing good work in the field? Discussion of Marvel's Fear Itself event and DC's New 52 reboot are welcome, as well as conversation about non-superhero and indy works.
Spoiler Rules (scheduled) Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Conference 4
Moderator: Jeanne Gomoll.
Guest of Honor Debbie Notkin wrote a fascinating essay, "On Spoiling the Plot." http://www.strangehorizons.com/2005/20050815/notkin-c.shtml
What are your preferences for plot spoilers? Do you hate it when people give away a major plot twist? Are you equally frustrated when someone gives away even minor elements of a plot in your presence? Is there a time limit for revealing spoilers? And why do the same people who hate to have book plots spoiled for themselves eagerly view very spoiling movie previews?
What I Like About You: Negotiating Layers of Fannishness (scheduled) Sun, 10:00–11:15 pm Senate B
Moderator: Cat Meier.
What does it mean to be a fan of a source? Fannish love takes many different forms: consumption, discussion, squee, analysis, transformative works, critique, and deconstruction are just some of the many ways we engage with fandom. How do we balance the many, sometimes competing modes of fannish engagement within ourselves and our communities?
Can We Talk? (scheduled) Mon, 8:30–9:45 am Conference 4
Moderator: Georgie L. Schnobrich.
Let's talk about conversational styles and unshared contexts between (among) generations. Why do both the young and old so often hear only their imagined, inferred sub-texts? How can we find a way to really listen and hear each other? What are the difficulties, and how might we solve them? From our Greatest Generation to Generation Text, can we afford not to? Bring ideas!

I'm VERY excited, as I've been hearing about the wonders of WisCon for many years, but have never been. If you will be at the show this week-end, be sure to say hello!

 
Tara O'Shea
10 April 2012 @ 12:00 pm
HAIL!
FIVE exciting things to announce today!

seanan_mcguire has posted new Incryptid stories featuring Frances Brown & Jonathan Healy, and I designed the covers. Please check them out!



I've entered four tee-shirt designs in WeLoveFine's JEM design contest. The winner gets to have her or his design produced as a tee-shirt (and officially licensed by Hasbro!) in addition to a cash prize. You have to register on the site to rate the designs, and the more folks who rate them, the higher the potential cash prize. So if you have a minute, and want to indulge my passion for frighteningly PINK glamour & glitter, fashion & fame, check it out!

My Designs:
Truly Outrageous
Stormer
RESPECT THE HAIR
Showtime, Synergy!

Secondly, Welcome to Bordertown comes out in trade today!!! BordertownSeries.com has been redesigned (by yours truly), and editors ellen_kushner and blackholly are running a contest!

Bring a Friend to Bordertown

Thirdly, Chicks Dig Comics hits stores today, featuring an essay by me, and essays and interviews from a SLEW of amazing contributors. It's edited by Sigrid Ellis and Lynne Thomas and the official book launch will be at C2E2 this Sunday!

And lastly, Seanan McGuire's album Wicked Girls has been nominated for a Hugo Award in the "Best Related Work" category. I designed the cover, and could not be more thrilled that it has made it to the Hugos Ballot.

 
Tara O'Shea
30 November 2011 @ 04:59 pm
touch magic, pass it on.
In addition to putting up items for auction at magick4terri including a kitbashed fashion doll of your choice and copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords, I've also opened a cafepress shop with tee-shirts, mugs, magnets, and prints of some of the art I've created for the Bordertown website. Every item someone buys, I will donate the $5 profit to Magick 4 Terri.
 
Tara O'Shea
21 August 2011 @ 03:57 pm
It's a Hugo. I have a Hugo now. Hugos are cool.

There will be a proper account of Worldcon when I am home and rested and fed and possible SEDATED. But thank you to everyone who supported our little book with the funny title (and awesome cover). It means the world to us, and we wouldn't have made it to Reno without you all.
 
Tara O'Shea
08 May 2011 @ 05:16 am
Welcome (back) to Bordertown

Two blog posts in as many weeks! It’s like the world has gone mad!

Right, so in the interests of keeping you updated with things what I have been up to, I’m honoured and excited to share with you images I’ve created, inspired by Terri Windling’s Bordertown shared-world series, wallpapers and icons of which are now available on BordertownSeries.com.

Featuring stories by Charles de Lint, Ellen Kushner, Stephen R Boyett and Terri Windling (writing as Bellamy Bach), Borderland introduced me not only to a world where Faerie had returned and both human and fey runaways flocked to a crumbling human city where technology and magic were equally wonderful, unpredictable and dangerous (much like the B-town residents themselves), but to the nascent genre of urban fantasy which I had only sampled up to that point.

(In point of fact, you can blame Windling for that as well, as it was her Fairy Tales Series in the late 1980s which introduced me to Patricia C Wrede, Pamela Dean, Steven Brust, Ellen Kushner, Midori Snyder, and Kara Dalkey. Not to mention made me firmly believe that any book with a cover by Thomas Canty was worth picking up; a rule which has proved fairly reliable over the years, may I add.)

I had done a complete Bordertown series re-read in 2004, but since then the books sat on a shelf, drawing comments, and occasionally being loaned out (don’t worry; I have loaner copies of nearly all of them) to visitors. They were constantly referenced, praised, geeked about and like most urban fantasy fans of a certain age, I imagined the stories I would have liked to have told, set in the Borderlands. As Emma Bull and Will Shetterly’s B-town novels Finder, Elsewhere, and Nevernever were reprinted for the YA market, I continued touching wood and crossing digits that the original anthologies would be reprinted as well; or at the very least that a “Best Of” collection might emerge. But new stories? I never even dared to dream.

Then my dreams came true in February 2009, when editors Ellen Kushner and Holly Black announced they would be returning to Borderlands in a new anthology, Welcome to Bordertown, 13 years after the last anthology was published. Needless to say, I was beyond overjoyed. Because the Borderlands anthologies shaped my tastes as a reader, and influenced my life in so many ways since I first picked up the TOR edition of Borderlands in paperback from a university bookstore in 1992.

Of course, my first thought was to wonder how B-town would look in the 21st century, a quarter century after the first stories were published? Sure, magic and rock & roll are eternal, but even with retro 80s nostalgia at its height and a whole new generation becomes convinced leggings really are pants, guyliner is completely acceptable if not expected at this point, and your hair can never be too big, I worried that the stories and world would seem dated; quaint even, to the current generation raised on computer animation, iPods, and smart phones.

I needn’t have worried. Because the new anthology remains as relevant, real, heart-breaking, exciting and marvellous as the first one—with the added bonus that in Welcome to Bordertown we get to see how B-town reacts to the 21st century.

Ever wonder how the internet came to the Borderlands? Or how B-town holds their own version of Carnival? Ever miss Screaming Lord Neville’s dramatic costume changes, or browsing the shelves at Elsewhere Books? Want to meet new Bordertown born-and-breds, humans with the dust of the world still behind their ears, or impossibly beautiful Truebloods with their own spinning racks of issues? Welcome to Bordertown has the hottest new bands in the clubs we know like the backs of our hands, the wildest old magic, and stories and poems and songs that make us laugh and cry no matter where we come from, or in what year we were born. Because no matter how much time passes between visits to B-town, people are still people (even when they’re werewolves, elves, and dragons), and we still dream the same dreams. They may not keep us fed or warm, our dreams—but they keep us breathing all the same, and sometimes the only difference between living and merely existing are the dreams we have and the dreams we share.

The new Bordertown hardcover hits shelves this month, with stories and poems by returning B-town residents Charles de Lint, Ellen Kushner, Terri Windling, Steven Brust, Emma Bull, and Will Shetterly, as well as newcomers to its streets Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Nalo Hopkinson, Holly Black, Cat Valente, Amal El-Mohtar, and many others. And between its covers you’ll find all manner of dreams, in all shapes and sizes. Maybe this will be your first B-town anthology. Maybe it will open your eyes to a world you never knew existed. Maybe it will teach you something you never knew about life. Maybe it will show you things you never suspected about yourself. There’s only one way to find out…

What are you waiting for?

Bordertown lives.

Find your way.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
24 April 2011 @ 05:07 pm
Chicks Dig Time Lords nominated for a Hugo. Watch Tara's head explode.
I am deeply honoured to announce that Lynne M Thomas and my essay collection Chicks Dig Time Lords has been nominated for a 2011 Hugo Award for "Best Related Work".

Congratulations to the entire Chicks team, including associate editor Michael Thomas, the book's designer Christa Dickson, cover artist Katy Shuttleworth, and all of our contributors and interviewees:

Elizabeth Bear
Carole E. Barrowman
Jackie Jenkins
Deborah Stanish
Helen Kang
Lloyd Rose
India Fisher
Johanna Mead
Francesca Coppa
Sophie Aldred
Jennifer Adams Kelley
Tammy Garrison & Katy Shuttleworth
Lisa Bowerman
Jody Lynn Nye
Amy Fritsch
Seanan McGuire
Kathryn Sullivan
LM Myles
Kate Orman
Shoshana Magnet & Robert Smith?
Mary Robinette Kowal
K. Tempest Bradford
Christa Dickson
Catherynne M. Valente

as well as our publisher, Mad Norwegian Press, for taking a chance on this collection in the first place. It was a huge leap of faith on their parts, for which we are eternally grateful.

Also, congratulations to our fellow nominees in the "Best Related Work" category:

Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, by Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)
The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing, by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg (McFarland)
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 1: (1907 – 1948): Learning Curve, by William H. Patterson, Jr. (Tor)
Writing Excuses, Season 4, by Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells

I am now going to find the POOFIEST dress ever, for RENOvations shall be my Prom. I plan on dancing with everyone, and drinking a lot of spiked punch.
 
Tara O'Shea
08 March 2010 @ 11:18 pm
when will you rise?
...and in blowing away the Wordpress database, somehow I lost the Zombie Apocalypse post. And I had unanswered comments there, and everything.

Sometimes a webchick cannot win for losing. :(

(I still maintain that if/when the zombie apocalpyse should occur, my odds of survival are slightly higher if I'm in a bunker with an Irwin, rather than a Newsie.)
 
Tara O'Shea
04 March 2010 @ 01:14 pm
Chicks Dig Facebook

We’ve created a Fan Page for Chicks Dig Time Lords on Facebook, and are updating it with upcoming Chicks events. And pelase feel free to add your photos from the book launch at last week-end’s Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles! Or copies of you (or your loved ones) with the book.

Not on the Facebook? You can follow rarelylynne and myself here on El Jay to stay on top of all Chicks-related news as well! And we’re both also on Twitter as lynnemthomas and tara_oshea.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
04 March 2010 @ 01:14 pm
Chicks Dig Facebook
We've created a Fan Page for Chicks Dig Time Lords on Facebook, and are updating it with upcoming Chicks events. And pelase feel free to add your photos from the book launch at last week-end's Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles! Or copies of you (or your loved ones) with the book.

Not on the Facebook? You can follow rarelylynne and myself here on El Jay to stay on top of all Chicks-related news as well! And we're both also on Twitter as lynnemthomas and tara_oshea.
 
Tara O'Shea
21 February 2010 @ 09:57 pm
Our first review!

The lovely lads at the Radio Free Skaro podcast hold forth in their pre-Gallifrey One Podcast on Chicks Dig Time Lords. Check it out!

And for those of you who will be at Gallifrey One, copies of Chicks will be available from the Alien Entertainment table in the dealer’s room. A limited number of copies will be available at the show, and then they hit stores and Amazon.com on March 15.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
21 February 2010 @ 09:57 pm
Our first review!
The lovely lads at the Radio Free Skaro podcast hold forth in their pre-Gallifrey One Podcast on Chicks Dig Time Lords. Check it out!

And for those of you who will be at Gallifrey One, copies of Chicks will be available from the Alien Entertainment table in the dealer's room. A limited number of copies will be available at the show, and then they hit stores and Amazon.com on March 15.
 
Tara O'Shea
09 February 2010 @ 04:30 pm
Chicks Dig Events!

Editor Lynne Thomas and I will be at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, CA February 26-28, along with fellow contributors Johanna Mead, Jennifer Kelley, Tammy Garrison, Katy Shuttleworth, Kathryn Sullivan, Kate Orman, LM Myles, Robert Smith?, and Christa Dickson. Copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords will be available in the Dealer’s Room from Alien Entertainment, and there will be a panel with all the contributors plus the publisher on Sunday, February 28 at 2:30pm!

Then in April, Lynne, contributor Carole Barrowman (co-author with brother John Barrowman of Anything Goes and I Am What I Am ) and I will be in Madison, WI Sunday, April 25th at 2pm at A Room Of One’s Own, in Downtown Madison, signing copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords.

More details as they’re available, but we hope to see you there!

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
09 February 2010 @ 04:30 pm
Chicks Dig Events!
Editor Lynne Thomas and I will be at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, CA February 26-28, along with fellow contributors Johanna Mead, Jennifer Kelley, Tammy Garrison, Katy Shuttleworth, Kathryn Sullivan, Kate Orman, LM Myles, Robert Smith?, and Christa Dickson. Copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords will be available in the Dealer's Room from Alien Entertainment, and there will be a panel with all the contributors plus the publisher on Sunday, February 28 at 2:30pm!

Then in April, Lynne, contributor Carole Barrowman (co-author with brother John Barrowman of Anything Goes and I Am What I Am ) and I will be in Madison, WI Sunday, April 25th at 2pm at A Room Of One's Own, in Downtown Madison, signing copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords.

More details as they're available, but we hope to see you there!
 
Tara O'Shea
01 December 2009 @ 10:45 am
Chicago TARDIS
I am home at last from Chicago TARDIS where we had a ginormous panel Saturday afternoon moderated by Editor Extraordinaire rarelylynne with many of our contributors including Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth (of tw_babiez fame), Johanna Mead, CT head of programming Jenifer Kelley, and Mad Norwegian's own Christa Dickson.



I wanted to thank each and every one of the nearly 200 people who showed up--particularly mrsdrdavison who cosplayed as "Verity" (the girl on the cover of the book, illustrated by the always aweome Katy Shuttleworth).

<


We didn't get to do our Podshock interview on site at the con, but that will be coming up in future (ah, the wonders of technology!), and we're working on kidnapping luring rarelylynne to Gallifrey One this February so if you weren't available to attend in Chicago you can still be there for the (unofficial) book launch in Los Angeles.

In other news, the always lovely India Fisher not only had awesome shoes this year, but a kicky fabulous print dress. She remains my Doctor Who Style Icon. And the beautiful Daphne Ashbrooke was rocking a Fourth Doctor scarf Sunday.

And now I am back at work, missing all my LobbyCon buddies (particularly mrtonylee), but very much enjoying actually sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time.
 
Tara O'Shea
07 November 2009 @ 10:03 pm
Chicks Dig Podcasts

While at Hurricane Who last week-end in Orlando, I was interviewed by Chip from Two Minute Time Lord about the genesis of Lynne Thomas and my essay collection Chicks Dig Time Lords, and both US and UK Who fandom. I apologise in advance for rambling! But do check out this fantastic podcast, because Chip has done some great interviews with all sorts of folks in Doctor Who and they’re a great resource.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
07 November 2009 @ 10:03 pm
Chicks Dig Podcasts
While at Hurricane Who last week-end in Orlando, I was interviewed by Chip from Two Minute Time Lord about the genesis of Lynne Thomas and my essay collection Chicks Dig Time Lords, and both US and UK Who fandom. I apologise in advance for rambling! But do check out this fantastic podcast, because Chip has done some great interviews with all sorts of folks in Doctor Who and they're a great resource.
 
Tara O'Shea
23 September 2009 @ 05:37 pm
happily ever after…

I recently designed my first eBook cover, for author Nadia Lee’s serialised novella A Happily Ever After of Her Own. It was a brief project that needed a quick turnaround, but one I really enjoyed. Check it out at her website NadiaLee.net!

In other news, a minor redesign of SeananMcGuire.com is underway–just reorganising some of the existing content to give the site a fresh, new look.

And for anyone planning on attending the Doctor Who convention Hurricane Who in the Orlando area this Hallowe’en, I’ll be on a Chicks Dig Time Lords panel with CDTL contributors Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth, and actor India Fisher (Charley Pollard).

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
23 September 2009 @ 05:37 pm
happily ever after...
I recently designed my first eBook cover, for author Nadia Lee's serialised novella A Happily Ever After of Her Own. It was a brief project that needed a quick turnaround, but one I really enjoyed. Check it out at her website NadiaLee.net!

In other news, a minor redesign of SeananMcGuire.com is underway--just reorganising some of the existing content to give the site a fresh, new look.

And for anyone planning on attending the Doctor Who convention Hurricane Who in the Orlando area this Hallowe'en, I'll be on a Chicks Dig Time Lords panel with CDTL contributors Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth, and actor India Fisher (Charley Pollard).
 
Tara O'Shea
09 September 2009 @ 10:29 am
Time Lords. Chicks Dig ‘Em.

I’m very pleased to announce that Chicks Dig Time Lords edited by Lynne M Thomas and myself is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Chicks Dig Time Lords features essays by Carole E. Barrowman, Elizabeth Bear, Lisa Bowerman, K. Tempest Bradford, Francesca Coppa, Amy Fritsch, Jackie Jenkins, Helen Kang, Jennifer Adams Kelley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Johanna Mead, LM Myles, Jody Lynn Nye, Kate Orman, Tara O’Shea, Lloyd Rose, Deborah Stanish, Kathryn Sullivan, Lynne M. Thomas, and Catherynne M. Valente, with interviews with Sophie Aldred, India Fisher, Susie Liggat, and Laura Doddington, and a special comic from Torchwood Babiez‘ Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth, and is coming from Mad Norwegian Press in March 2010.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
09 September 2009 @ 10:29 am
Time Lords. Chicks Dig 'Em.


I'm very pleased to announce that Chicks Dig Time Lords edited by Lynne M Thomas and myself is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Chicks Dig Time Lords features essays by Carole E. Barrowman, Elizabeth Bear, Lisa Bowerman, K. Tempest Bradford, Francesca Coppa, Amy Fritsch, Jackie Jenkins, Helen Kang, Jennifer Adams Kelley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Johanna Mead, LM Myles, Jody Lynn Nye, Kate Orman, Tara O'Shea, Lloyd Rose, Deborah Stanish, Kathryn Sullivan, Lynne M. Thomas, and Catherynne M. Valente, with interviews with Sophie Aldred, India Fisher, Susie Liggat, and Laura Doddington, and a special comic from Torchwood Babiez' Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth, and is coming from Mad Norwegian Press in March 2010.
 
Tara O'Shea
04 September 2009 @ 11:50 am

I have not abandoned this journal! It’s just been a mad mad mad mad summer. However, PaulCornell.com went live with its new look, Chicks Dig Time Lords has been turned in to the publisher thanks to the tireless efforts of editor rarelylynne, seanan_mcguire‘s debut novel Rosemary and Rue [Amazon]|[Mysterious Galaxies] has hit shelves at long last, and claudiagray just spent a week in my spare room, exploring Chicago and letting me hook her on Leverage. Also, we may have watched a LOT of costume dramas. Because you can never watch Gosford Park or Sense and Sensibility too many times, sez I.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
04 September 2009 @ 11:50 am
I have not abandoned this journal! It's just been a mad mad mad mad summer. However, PaulCornell.com went live with its new look, Chicks Dig Time Lords has been turned in to the publisher thanks to the tireless efforts of editor rarelylynne, seanan_mcguire's debut novel Rosemary and Rue [Amazon]|[Mysterious Galaxies] has hit shelves at long last, and claudiagray just spent a week in my spare room, exploring Chicago and letting me hook her on Leverage. Also, we may have watched a LOT of costume dramas. Because you can never watch Gosford Park or Sense and Sensibility too many times, sez I.
 
Tara O'Shea
26 March 2009 @ 01:14 pm

RJ-Anderson.com redesign is live! It was an incredibly fun site to work on, and it also involved creating a matching LJ Layout, which I’d never done before for a client.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
26 March 2009 @ 01:14 pm
RJ-Anderson.com redesign is live! It was an incredibly fun site to work on, and it also involved creating a matching LJ Layout, which I'd never done before for a client.
 
Tara O'Shea
24 March 2009 @ 04:12 pm

Today is Stargazer day! If you haven’t read Evernight yet, what’s stopping you? It’s out in paperback, at fine retailers everywhere. And I don’t you about you, but I am so totally getting this design on a Ladies Ringer T-Shirt at her Zazzle store.

In other news Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue now has a cover and everything on Amazon. And she’s been hard at work, updating seananmcguire.com with content.

And R.J. Anderson’s Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter will be released in the US on April 28th. If you’re in the UK, it’s already in stores as Knife, with a gorgeous Brian Froud cover.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
24 March 2009 @ 04:12 pm
Today is Stargazer day! If you haven't read Evernight yet, what's stopping you? It's out in paperback, at fine retailers everywhere. And I don't you about you, but I am so totally getting this design on a Ladies Ringer T-Shirt at her Zazzle store.

In other news Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue now has a cover and everything on Amazon. And she's been hard at work, updating seananmcguire.com with content.

And R.J. Anderson's Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter will be released in the US on April 28th. If you're in the UK, it's already in stores as Knife, with a gorgeous Brian Froud cover.
 
Tara O'Shea
16 March 2009 @ 05:13 pm
TV’s James Moran

James Moran is one smart dood. Seriously. Tell your friends. Particularly if they have a genuine desire to write film and/or television for a living. Chock full of good advice, common sense, and one instance of Questionable Taste Theatre regarding Patrick Swayze that makes me love him* even more than I already did.

* Platonically, without puppets.

 
Tara O'Shea
05 March 2009 @ 01:41 pm

It’s been a bit insanely busy, the last two months. In addition to working hard on the redesign of RJ Anderson’s site (which I think you will enjoy once it’s finally live!) I’ve picked up a new client, and am diving into the uncharted waters of redesigning blogs hosted at Blogger.com. Seeing as how I think I’ve finally started to get the hang of custom Livejournal templates, this will be good news for the folks I work with, since nearly all of us have journals of some kind out there (in my case, more than one, on different systems) and the more I can work to tie everything together, in terms of style, the better.

On top of my life as a designer, I’m also co-editing a Doctor Who essay book called Chicks Dig Time Lords with Lynne Thomas (archivist extraordinaire) at Mad Norwegian Press, and all sorts of good things have been happening. Lynne will be appearing at Wiscon (on the panel of the same name, no less!) and depending on my schedule this summer, I might be able to make it out to Writercon in Minneapolis. And I’ll also be among Seanan McGuire’s entourage at Duckon here in Chicago this summer.

As soon as there is more actual real news, I promise–I’ll update here!

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
05 March 2009 @ 01:41 pm
It's been a bit insanely busy, the last two months. In addition to working hard on the redesign of RJ Anderson's site (which I think you will enjoy once it's finally live!) I've picked up a new client, and am diving into the uncharted waters of redesigning blogs hosted at Blogger.com. Seeing as how I think I've finally started to get the hang of custom Livejournal templates, this will be good news for the folks I work with, since nearly all of us have journals of some kind out there (in my case, more than one, on different systems) and the more I can work to tie everything together, in terms of style, the better.

On top of my life as a designer, I'm also co-editing a Doctor Who essay book called Chicks Dig Time Lords with Lynne Thomas (archivist extraordinaire) at Mad Norwegian Press, and all sorts of good things have been happening. Lynne will be appearing at Wiscon (on the panel of the same name, no less!) and depending on my schedule this summer, I might be able to make it out to Writercon in Minneapolis. And I'll also be among Seanan McGuire's entourage at Duckon here in Chicago this summer.

As soon as there is more actual real news, I promise--I'll update here!
 
Tara O'Shea
22 February 2009 @ 01:39 pm
seananmcguire.com

Seanan McGuire’s website has been updated with promotional desktops and icons for the first novel in her October Daye series, Rosemary and Rue, coming from DAW this September.

Also, if you haven’t check out Claudia Gray’s LJ in a while, she’s currently running a Facebook contest. Evernight is currently out in softcover, and Stargazer is on the horizon. So if you haven’t checked them out yet, this is the perfect time to leap into the fray!

And don’t forget, RJ Anderson’s Faery Rebels (published as Knife in the UK) is being released in April!

So it’s book-tastic around here. How about your house? What have all of you been grooving on lately?

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
22 February 2009 @ 01:39 pm
seananmcguire.com
Seanan McGuire's website has been updated with promotional desktops and icons for the first novel in her October Daye series, Rosemary and Rue, coming from DAW this September.

Also, if you haven't check out Claudia Gray's LJ in a while, she's currently running a Facebook contest. Evernight is currently out in softcover, and Stargazer is on the horizon. So if you haven't checked them out yet, this is the perfect time to leap into the fray!

And don't forget, RJ Anderson's Faery Rebels (published as Knife in the UK) is being released in April!

So it's book-tastic around here. How about your house? What have all of you been grooving on lately?
 
Tara O'Shea
19 February 2009 @ 09:28 pm
Gallifrey One: 20 To Life

I need to find a word to use other than “awesome”.

I say this as someone who fears she may have completely diluted its impact, due to over-use during Gallifrey One last week-end. Because, genuinely, it was awe-inspiring in so many ways. And I don’t just mean the joy of gathering with friends and socialising for 6 straight days, often until the wee hours of the morning where you know you have a 10am panel, but you still allow people (and by “people” what I mean is “Tony Lee“) to keep you at a table in the lobby talking chatting until nearly dawn because despite knowing you’re gonna be oh just so utterly useless the next day, you can’t bear to leave while the party is still going on.

No, what I adore most about Gally is walking the halls and seeing hundreds of people having the time of their lives. Whether it’s the kareoke-singing dalek, Kai Owen on a serious high after Wales slaughtered England in a rugby match, Bryan and Mette in dead-on accurate spacesuits from “Silence in the Library” complete with skeleton masks scaring tiny children in between posing for photos, Phil Collinson tending bar, or the lovely and talented Toby Hadoke making Simon Guerrier cry (again), there’s an energy that permeates the LAX Mariott during Gally. It hits you like a wall of goodwill the second you step through the sliding front doors. That’s why I love it so. Robbie and Shaun and the entire Gally staff put together an amazing show, and this year it was bigger than ever, with 5 tracks of programming, over 1300 attendees, and chock full of surprises.

My panel schedule was light this year, and I unfortunately had to miss one that I was really looking forward to, due to me not being able to correctly read the schedule. Hence me being completely invisible during the late night Sexuality panel, owing to my inability to bilocate. And I don’t even have Toby Hadoke’s fantastic show as a properly fannish excuse. I was in fact at the Hotel Café, grooving to the tunes of The Brendan Hines. Which, if you’re a fan of The Middleman a completely valid excuse, but a poor one for my Doctor Who and Torchwood-loving brethren. I promise, we’ll discuss the Third Doctor fancying Jo and the Ninth Doctor fancying Rose, Jack Harkness fancying everything, and the Tenth Doctor’s thing about licking everything next time.

(Tho I’ll say this about The Brendan Hines gig: it made me stupidly happy. They had A DOUBLE BASS AND ALSO SOME MANDOLIN THINGIE WHAT WAS AWESOME! And being me, I ran into the Brendan immediately upon entering the venue. I confused him a lot, but gave him a tiny wee O2STK badge. He will for years to come probably think some deranged middle-aged Man From U.N.C.L.E. fan just wandered in off the street, as I was so startled to run into him 15 seconds into the evening, the words “Dood. I loved you on The Middleman” only happened inside my head. If you are in LA and have a chance to see The Brendan Hines live? GO. You will not be sorry.)

However, the panels I did make it to on time and everything on were nifty, peachy keen.

Journey’s End: Doctor Who Series Four In Review
We basically went down the line, giving high points and low points. For me the high points were Donna, Wilf, and “Midnight”. Sadly, the low point for me was bringing Rose back not to warn the Doctor of impending universe-threatening doom, but because she really really missed him. However, there was much discussion of each episode in turn, and how many really wonderful moments they had, and how the dynamic between the Doctor and Donna was different from what we’d seen before in the new series. Also, I think Catherine Tate was a high point with every panelist. Also, we adored Keith Temple’s Ood two-part story. I don’t think Keith gets enough love. Having successfully encouraged fandom to hug James Moran and Paul Cornell at every opportunity, I think it’s time for fandom to embrace Keith. Literally.

Girl!Fandom: It Isn’t New, and It Isn’t All Squee!
I actually call this panel the “Chicks Dig Time Lords” panel inside my head–not just because of the book (coming in 2009 from Mad Norwegian Press!) but because to me that sums up a lot of what seems to elude the darkest corners of fandom nicely. Chicks, in fact, of all ages–not just girls, not just Mums who watch for David Tennant in the fine tradition of “the Dads” watching for Louise Jamison’s short leather skirts, but all kinds of women-folk–do dig Time Lords, and have since 1963. The new series has brought mainstream female viewers in in record numbers, but it hasn’t always been a boys club. In the States, media fandom was actually a girls club all through the 1980s and 1990s, and that included American Doctor Who fandom. And we had a fantastic time discussing how female fans love a lot of the same aspects of the show as the male fans, in the same ways and in different ways, and how many of the fannish behaviours do fall along gender lines, and many do not. We deconstructed some of the most often repeated fallacies, and also examined how much is truly Boy!Fandom vs. Girl!Fandom, versus how much is Internet vs Convention-going, as well as different forums on the ‘net, such as Livejournal vs Outpost Gallifrey, or even LJ comm-reading, anon-meme-reading, and fandom-wank-reading LJ fans versus folks who partake in fandom only their own journals and flist (and we discovered that not all of us surf LJ via their flist, but instead follow the daisy-chain of links from their own comments, which is another panel all unto itself). And no-one died. Not even Paul, who seemed possibly worried when it began that, as token dood, he might be ritually sacrificed and his shrunken head taken to Wiscon as a trophy.

When Did Vampires Become Trendy?
I admit, when I saw the title, my first reaction was “Erm… the 19th century?” which sparked Steph and me to sort of jump into the panel before we were properly started and introduced, due to being mic’d. However, we did have a really interesting (occasionally in the Chinese curse way) panel about how the commercial success of the Twilight YA novels has created opportunities for other (better) creators both in print and in film. And how there is a dearth of stories where the vampire is the monster you’re trying to escape rather than the Byronic love interest, as since the 1960s, the Sympathetic Vampire has dominated the scene in the States, with the exception of 30 Days of Night, while the UK has fantastic stuff like Ultraviolet, and the Swedish film Let The Right One In was touted as one of the best recent stories (which I still need to see). Vampires are entering the mainstream in the US right now mainly through romance and teen fiction–in part because those are the segments of the midlist that continue to grow, building on what began with JKR’s Harry Potter series successfully introducing genre fiction to mainstream audiences, and Twilight and its ilk rushing in to fill the void when JKR finished (in part due to clever marketing departments recognising the newly created niche of “event fiction” hence Twilight release parties following the model of the Potter parties around the world). I plugged Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, Steve Brust’s Agyar, and Claudia Gray’s Evernight and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series as much as humanly possible. And I think Tony Lee and I bonded for life. He is working on the original graphic novel Harker for Markosia, and it sounds like amazing stuff. But in the end, we decided that vampires fiction has always been produced–it’s only just now that the mainstream has discovered it (again). Hence after nearly 200 years of pulps and gothic horror and literature and comics and television and film, the tween market has made vamps ‘trendy’ in the eyes of the media.

(However, I should at this point mention my fave new vamp is Mitchell from Being Human. Particularly the original pilot version, for taking all the 21st century cliches and tropes and turning them on their heads. Also, for Guy Flanagan’s ability to loom, and his emo hair.)

The Liars Panel: Doctor Who at the Crossroads
Dear God, people. It was 10am. I apologise for being rubbish. However, my fellow panelists were hysterical. Points both to and off for Tony Lee for abusing the awesome power of a microphone to force audience members to do his bidding, and I am still vaguely terrified by Paul Cornell performing “The Gary Russell Dance”. This is what happens when you don’t do the Brunch. HUGE love for Sam closing the panel with a beautiful rendition of “It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time”.

Other hight points included “Just a Minute” where Toby Hadoke reigned supreme, a fantastic dinner Friday with Paul, the beautiful, talented, and most of all much-smarter-than-me Caroline Symcox, and the Fourth Incarnation of Javier Grillo-Marxuach (sporting a seriously high-quality Tom Baker scarf above), followed by stops at the Volcano Day party and then dangling our feet in the pool before being rousted by hotel security. We then wandered back inside in time to hear Kai Owen sing (not knowing it was Kai Owen) and hang out in the corridor chatting with Jon Arnold and Simon Fernandes and failing to actually sing anything ourselves. Next year, there will be Queen and the Doors.

Saturday was panels and hanging out with Javi until the Kremlin demanded his presence across town. Also spent vast chunks of the week-end with my new Partner-in-Crime, Sam, and occasionally showing up at Big Finish panels just to stare intently at Mark Wright and make him wonder if he had food on his face (he didn’t). Also got to hug on Laura Doddington Sunday night, who is one of my most favourite people on the planet. No lie. If you haven’t checked out her performances as Zara in Big Finish’s Key 2 Time series, then I’ll wait here while you go do that. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Handsome Timmy D, Rhonda the Gin Fairy, my amazingly awesome con-roommate Susan Garrett, and the always lovely Karen Baldwin made sure the lobby was still packed with inebriated attendees well past last call. There would be no Lobbycon without them. I avoided the dealer’s room for the most part except for one trip with Sam and one trip with Javi. I swore I wasn’t going to buy anything, but of course I caved, and now have River Song’s sonic, and the journal of impossible things. However, I made up for it by eating hard-boiled eggs and PBJ most of the week-end. PBJ is how I survive conventions, seriously. Also, by drinking water. But even drinking gallons of water didn’t save me from having no voice left by the end of the festivities. This would be what 6 days of non-stop talking will do to me.

I made all sorts of new friends and my Facebook has sort of exploded. How did I never realise before now I had a seriously lack of both Mark Wright and Tony Lee in my life? These boys are awesome, and Lobbycon would not have been Lobbycon without them. Ditto John Williams, Toby and Katherine, and Phil Ford, with whom I could happily geek about obscure genre telly of the last 30 years for probably the next 30 years.

Alas, the vidshow I put together didn’t get screened either between panels or in the video room due to tech issues and time issues in the end. But Shaun took the disc home with him, and I think next year in addition to all the new cosplay panels, I am going to beg ask him if we can to do a vidding panel and a vidshow. Which means I am so totally kidnapping local vidders to come with me, as I am utterly useless at vidding, even tho I used to do it the old fashioned way with two daisy-chained VCRs. The art form has evolved so far beyond its low-tech beginnings, and as a way to tell stories in collage form, that I can’t begin to tell you. I really am looking forward to getting to watch an audience see some of the vids next year.

Monday was a very damp trip to the Happiest Place on Earth (that would be Disneyland, tho I know a 2nd group went out to Amoeba Records, and for them, I think the name fits as well) with Rob Shearman, Susan Garrett, LM Myles, and The Anghelides Boys, and Disney Goddess Vicci for dalek sorbet, miles of walking, smelly plastic rain slickers, and getting to watch the world’s coolest 12 year old build a lightsabre. And then Monday night was the last hurrah, as I had to fly back relatively early Tuesday.

So, who’s up for Hurricane Who in October, then?

 
Tara O'Shea
15 December 2008 @ 12:39 am
Why Fandom is Made of Awesome.

I want to tell you about my Thanksgiving week-end.

First off, I am on staff at Chicago TARDIS, a local Doctor Who convention held in Chicago over the holiday week-end. It upholds something of a tradition, as there had been for 10 years or so a British telefantasy & Science Fiction con called Visions in Chicago all through the 1990s. I first was introduced to Doctor Who by a guy I met at my first Visions. His name was Fred Meyer, and there were many long distance phonebills over the years, as we geeked out over everything from gaming to Who to GI Joe. When I moved back to Chicago in 1996, I attended the last few Visions, and reconnected with Jen Adams Kelley. When I fell and fell hard for the relaunched series in 2005, but was too broke to attend Chicago TARDIS, Jen offered me the job of keeping the Green Room stocked with snacks, in exchange for a staff badge.

Over the last 4 years, I’ve enjoyed my job tremendously. In case you’ve never met me, here’s an important thing to know: I like feeding people. I’ve been attending cons (and being a panellist and con constaff) for nearly 15 years, and one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt (or had beaten into me by friends) is that you cannot spend 4 days on minimal sleep, surviving on diet coke, crashing from sugar highs, and then drinking in the bar having eaten nothing but sweets and crisps all day, without massive consequences and occasional epic fail. This goes for attendees, but more importantly, it’s important for guests and staff.

So with Becca and Liz, one of the things I really enjoy about running the Green Room is knowing that folks are going out onstage hydrated, caffeinated, and with some healthy food in them. I feel like I’m contributing to attendees overall experience, if a guest has more energy onstage or at marathon autograph sessions. Or at least has a place to duck into between panels and sessions where they can relax for a few minutes without having to be “on the job”. In reality, I’m not sure how much this does contribute (after all, these folks are professionals, who would give 110% probably even without fresh-brewed coffee, chocolate, and sandwiches). But I like to think it helps. And if the guests are happy, and the staff are happy, generally the attendees are happy. And that’s a chunk of what makes being constaff a joy and not a trial.

I love Gally and CT especially, because it’s entire through cons I met Rob Shearman, and then Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox, Shaun Lyons, Sue Cowley, Steve Roberts, Simon Guerrier, and all of these wonderful people that I can’t picture my life without any longer. Or if I can picture it, it’s a pretty bleak picture. But this is part of the magic and joy of fandom. Because conventions allow people with shared interests to gather, and in special cases, genuine friendships are formed that aren’t just about shared love of a single story. Some of them, as is the case with Amy Fristch whom I met in a lift at Visions in 1992, have lasted almost 20 years. I’ve slept on Amy’s sofa, illustrated a fanzine with her, officiated at her wedding, was there when both her children were born.

All because we happened to love the same TV series as young people.

When I went to the UK earlier this Autumn, it was with fangirls I met on the internets, to visit friends I’d met at cons and on mailing lists. It’s been easily one of the high points of the last few years, especially as the last few years have included a lot of stress and hardship in my personal and professional life.

While I was at CT, I learned my friend Abby Albrecht had been admitted to hospital. I got further updates over the next 24 hours from friends as I was away from the internets, and as I was running around trying to make sure we had milk for tea and salt and vinegar crisps to last the day, I was also thinking about Abby, whom I’d last seen in August. When I got the call that she’d passed away, surrounded by her family and people who loved her, Sunday evening I had just shoo’d the guests out of the Green Room to attend the staff gofer party. Becca was with me, and she, Liz, and I spent the evening up in the room talking and sharing memories of Abby over a sack of White Castle bacon cheeseburgers (which, like beans on toast, or macaroni cheese, is comfort food).

Abby was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and zoomed around in a super-awesome chair that airlines tended to destroy piece by piece. She was a webdesigner, vidder (editor of fannish music vids), writer, journalist, and slightly evil genius. Abby was 33 years old. Every day with her was a gift. But as always, when you love someone, it’s never enough time. Here is a beautiful post by her mother after Abby’s 30th birthday, and a follow-up by Abby.

I can’t remember when I first met Abby. I think it was at MediaWest*Con in the mid-to-late 1990s, or thereabouts. I am eternally grateful that the internet allowed us to be total dorks together 24/7 even though we only ever saw each other maybe once or twice a year. I am so incredibly glad that I saw her in August, because there were loads of hugs which are very very important. We geeked out about our jobs, and our lives, and we had the Best Lunch Ever at MediaWest 10 or 12 years ago, and I refuse to feel insane about the fact that ever since, Chicken Fingers ALWAYS remind me of that afternoon in Lansing with Buffy The Waitress. When my mum was in hospital in a coma last autumn, she encouraged me with livejournal comments, and a devout Lutheran, lit candles and included my family in her prayers.

She was caring and smart, snarky and funny, and she vidded March of the Penguins to Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line”, which was shown at her memorial service in the Bay area this week-end. It takes a special kind of crazy to vid Johnny Cash to baby penguins. But also a huge amount of heart. And that was Abby in a nutshell.

Missy Wilson wrote about Abby at FireFox news, which Wil Wheaton picked up and blogged about as well. Abby would have cackled with glee at being Internet Famous– which I still call infamous, cos the works of Spider Robinson taught me in my teens to love bad puns, though never as much as he did. I also think of her as exactly the sort of person you’d have met at Callahan’s Place. It’s how I tried to describe her to people who had never met her, but shared their thoughts, prayers, and kind words in sympathy. And I think it’s close. Not quite, but close enough.

And she’s probably laughing her ass off right now anyway. Just too far away for me to hear it at the moment.

 
Tara O'Shea
24 October 2008 @ 05:07 pm
she lives!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to update. The last few months have been incredibly busy, at my day job–and incredibly busy as a freelancer as well. There are new goodies up at claudiagray.com, and a bunch especially for Evernight fans in Spain. Those were incredibly fun to work on, and I already have ideas for desktop wallpapers for book III. Can’t wait to see what the French editions look like. Also, claudiagray has posted GORGEOUS photos from her vacation in South America. So now I have an ideal to live up to.

Tonight, I am kidnapping the always awesome Chris Moreno for dinner, and then tomorrow morning I leave for London, to go on holiday. I’m incredibly excited, because I’m going to get to visit with two of my fave geeky design pals from the internets, coincidentially both named Lee. Lee Thompson is the talented designer behind The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition by DCI Gene Hunt (soon to be follwoed, I believe, by the 1981 edition). And Lee Binding gave us sad clown Ianto, among many other awesome Doctor Who goodies from the BBC.

For those of us engaged in Photoshoppery for fun and profit, there’s nothing quite like sitting on IM or Facebook at 3am with fellow designers, trading links to (unintentional comedy) manips, fantastic retro design sites, or just trading screencaps back and forth of what we’re currently working on. And now I get to intertact in realtime with no laptop, and bonus liquor. Hurrah! I’ll report back on the results.

Right now, my head is stuffed full of train schedules, hotel bookings, and all of the things I’m sure I’ll remember I didn’t remember to do before I left, as I’m on the plane a million miles away from the office VPN connection. My day job, suddenly realising I was to be gone for a week, has been incredibly packed with work the last fortnight, to make up for it. I literally didn’t leave my house between Sunday afternoon and last night. I’ve had one night to run off and do errands, and now I have freshly trimmed (and dyed) locks, a new cheap suitcase what actually rolls (with a foldable 24″ holdall tucked in the side pocket, so I have room for as many cuddly Adiposes I can squeeze into my luggage), and enough pressies to make up for missing all the birthdays my cousin Rhona’s daughters have had thus far. Theyr’e getting Hallowe’en goodies, and Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie. As is right and proper. Also, candy corn.

I’m taking my camera with me, but I am utter crap at remembering to take photos. or keep the camera charged. or all those useful things other people do on trips. But I’ll try and keep everyone updated, via LJ and Facebook. I might even blog about it on my actual blog. You never know. Stranger things have happened…

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
24 October 2008 @ 05:07 pm
she lives!
Sorry it's taken me so long to update. The last few months have been incredibly busy, at my day job--and incredibly busy as a freelancer as well. There are new goodies up at claudiagray.com, and a bunch especially for Evernight fans in Spain. Those were incredibly fun to work on, and I already have ideas for desktop wallpapers for book III. Can't wait to see what the French editions look like. Also, claudiagray has posted GORGEOUS photos from her vacation in South America. So now I have an ideal to live up to.

Tonight, I am kidnapping the always awesome Chris Moreno for dinner, and then tomorrow morning I leave for London, to go on holiday. I'm incredibly excited, because I'm going to get to visit with two of my fave geeky design pals from the internets, coincidentially both named Lee. Lee Thompson is the talented designer behind The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition by DCI Gene Hunt (soon to be follwoed, I believe, by the 1981 edition). And Lee Binding gave us sad clown Ianto, among many other awesome Doctor Who goodies from the BBC.

For those of us engaged in Photoshoppery for fun and profit, there's nothing quite like sitting on IM or Facebook at 3am with fellow designers, trading links to (unintentional comedy) manips, fantastic retro design sites, or just trading screencaps back and forth of what we're currently working on. And now I get to intertact in realtime with no laptop, and bonus liquor. Hurrah! I'll report back on the results.

Right now, my head is stuffed full of train schedules, hotel bookings, and all of the things I'm sure I'll remember I didn't remember to do before I left, as I'm on the plane a million miles away from the office VPN connection. My day job, suddenly realising I was to be gone for a week, has been incredibly packed with work the last fortnight, to make up for it. I literally didn't leave my house between Sunday afternoon and last night. I've had one night to run off and do errands, and now I have freshly trimmed (and dyed) locks, a new cheap suitcase what actually rolls (with a foldable 24" holdall tucked in the side pocket, so I have room for as many cuddly Adiposes I can squeeze into my luggage), and enough pressies to make up for missing all the birthdays my cousin Rhona's daughters have had thus far. Theyr'e getting Hallowe'en goodies, and Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie. As is right and proper. Also, candy corn.

I'm taking my camera with me, but I am utter crap at remembering to take photos. or keep the camera charged. or all those useful things other people do on trips. But I'll try and keep everyone updated, via LJ and Facebook. I might even blog about it on my actual blog. You never know. Stranger things have happened...
 
Tara O'Shea
03 July 2008 @ 01:26 pm
Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
30 June 2008 @ 05:30 am
fringe element 2008-06-30 05:30:00

Home from Wizard World Chicago, and exhausted from staying up far too late last night and getting up far too early this morning. But the company was excellent, and I don’t regret a minute of it. Okay, except for the part Friday night when I perhaps drank a bit too much on an empty stomach. You’d think after 15 years of this show, I’d remember not to do that.

But this year I only managed to call at least one old bar buddy by the wrong given name, instead of my usual 3+. Score!

Name tags. I love name tags. They are especially useful when I am trying to remember if I recognise you because we went out to dinner and had a great conversation about Suicide Squad that one time 5 years ago, or if I recognise you because I had to rescue a girlfriend from you in Knuckles. Twice.

Also, while I forever miss the pool table in Knuckles, which has gone to the crappy hotel sports bar in the sky, the espresso/cappucino machine in the Regency Lounge has totally made up for it. I want to marry it and have 2.4 kids and a dog and a house in the suburbs with it. No lie.

Oh! And this year the Obligatory Hyatt Regency Arrest was a beardy white guy who was rapping in the lobby and cussing in front of small children. They tasered him, and he was openly weeping—possibly from pepper spray—when Buzz and I saw him being cuffed as we came back from lunch.

Those Rosemont cops. They’re wacky.

I met a lot of lovely new people, and saw many old friends and there was much hugging and hanging out and story-telling and trading of YouTube clips at 3am (how the boys at The Pull Box have lived this long without Here Comes Dr Tran!, I will never know).

I have now been home for about 6 hours, have read all the comics I bought or was given, done absolutely no laundry at all, and I am struggling to keep my eyes open. So I’ll have to do a proper con report later this week.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
25 June 2008 @ 08:28 pm
fringe element 2008-06-25 20:28:00

Dear My Peers In The Media:

When you are reviewing a movie based on a comic book or graphic novel, please bear the following in mind:

  1. Do not refer to comic books as “comic strips”. Strips are published daily in newspapers. Like Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, The Phantom, or Brenda Starr. This serial format is actually not analogous to “comic book”, despite the fact that they both feature panels of artwork with words in them to tell a story. Still confused? How about this: a racing bike is not the same thing as a bullet train, despite the fact that they both have wheels and get you from A to B. Get it?
  2. “Graphic novel” is a novel which is told in the medium of sequential art. And like all novels, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and was meant to be read as one story. Even if it’s published serially (like, you know, Dickens). All graphic novels are “comic books”. All comic books are not graphic novels. If you are using “graphic novel” as a fancy grown-up word to make “comic books” socially acceptable, then you’re just being an asshole. Please, don’t be an asshole.*
  3. Sequential art (i.e. “Comic books”) is a medium. Not a genre. A genre is “thriller” or “romantic comedy” or “science fiction”. The comic book—like film, theatre, television, novels, plays, audio programmes, painting, photography, wood-block printing for fuck’s sake, etc.—is a medium with which to tell stories of any genre. The form does not dictate content. Stop trying to imply it does. See above re: asshole.
  4. Yes, comics have writers. They also have artists. If you only ever mention Neil Gaiman, Mark Millar, Stan Lee, etc. then you are leaving out 50% of the team that created a story. Knock that shit off. I mean it.
  5. Comics have never been, at any point in human history, a medium to tell stories solely aimed at children. The same is true for animation. Stop acting like every new hot thing based on a comic is the very first to de-kid-i-fy a “genre” (see #3) that was aimed at a wide mass audience to begin with. The fact that the publishers for the last 20 years have aimed their marketing machines almost exclusively at 10 year old boys is incidental.
  6. On that note, this may come as a shock, but chicks (albeit in the minority, but growing all the time and rapidly approaching gender parity in some areas) have been reading and writing and drawing and editing and publishing and reviewing comics for over 20 years. It is no longer cool or ground-breaking or amazing to make a point that “…and now girls read comics”. Get with the program. Join the 21st century. Please. I beg you.

Sincerely,

Me

* also, “sequential art” is the fancy grown-up word for “comics books,” just so’s you know.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
20 May 2008 @ 07:13 pm
fringe element 2008-05-20 19:13:00

So much for updating at the very least monthly from now on…

This week-end, I shall surface and fill you all in. I promise.

Originally posted at fringe element.
 
Tara O'Shea
08 March 2008 @ 04:03 am
fringe element 2008-03-08 04:03:00

Once upon a time, for the space of about a minute and a half, I worked as a freelance journalist. I started off writing website reviews for the now-defunct Yahoo Internet Life magazine, and then wrote columns, features, and reviews for now-defunct online magazines like The 11th Hour and MediaSharx. I had a cover story in a tie-in mag, but it was my least favourite job ever, as it involved attending a convention, recording all the panels, and then passing off the transcripts as one-on-one interviews, per the request of my editor. It paid my rent, though. Rent is always important.

My favourite thing, however, were interviews. And I learned how to do them pretty much on my feet, because no writing class I’d ever taken in school actually prepared me for spending 15-45 minutes in someone’s company and then turning it around into a 4000 word feature. People are always asking me how I managed to get interviews as a fan journalist, often for fan websites, and so I figured, why not write it all out?

So, here is what I figure you need to know…

First off, unless you know the subject personally, you send a query letter to their agent or manager. If they are an actor or a writer, their agent’s contact info will be on file with their union. SAG or WGA will have it on file, and you can get up to three people’s agent of record I believe for free. Invest in IMDb Pro. It will save you legwork. Be polite. Be professional. Send letters from your personal or business email–preferably a login in with your real name, not a fictional character, or fan website domain unless that’s the fan site you’re contacting them on behalf of. Even then, use your real name, not an internet chatroom handle.

Tell them the name of the publication or website, and say you would like to arrange an interview to publicise a specific project, on or around a specific date range. Be flexible. Tell them if you have samples of your work available, to prove you are legit and competant. Accept that not everyone will say yes. Do not get pissy and blog about it in public. Managers and agents and actors and writers are on the internet, and not stupid people. They spend the wee hours of the morning doing vanity searches on Google just like you do. Don’t be an idiot. At least not where anyone else can witness it.

Face-to-face or phone interviews are best for one main reason: you can record them. If you record them, you can make an accurate transcript. If you can make an accurate transcript, you will not fall into the worst kind of fakery–passing off paraphrased quotes from memory or shoddy notes as actual verbatim quotes. This isn’t about how good you are as a journo. This is about ethics. And it may not mean much at all, but sometimes it means a subject will actually want to talk to you again someday, and that’s good for you. People remember being horribly misquoted, or having their words twisted to serve the journalist’s own aims. They will remember, and they also talk to one another. Use your brain, and don’t be an idiot, and you’ll be fine.

A minicassette recorder that plugs into your phone, or can be carried in a handbag is your best friend. I’ve heard some people have digital ones now. Good for them. I like my Diane, but that’s because I’m a dinosaur. Have enough tapes. Always buy new batteries. Test it before you get on site, or before the phone rings. This is important.

First thing you do after your query letter is accepted is research. Read recent interviews with the subject, so you don’t ask the same questions that have already been answered in print in multiple places. Google. Fact-check. Get the names of their siblings correct, without making it sound like you’re stalking anyone. Know what their next two projects will be.

Make up a question list–which works as a sort of combination checklist and rough outline. First off, this way you can be certain you’ve covered all the subjects you want to cover. Secondly, it means you’ll never hit a brick wall in the middle of an interview, as you try and think of something to ask, off the top of your head. You do not want to waste either the subject’s time, or you own. You want to be prepared. Also, some agents and managers will want to see the question list before you actually get the interview.

If it’s a phoner, you will be told when the subject will call you, or when the manager will call you and put you through to the subject. Be there to answer the phone (duh). If the subject gives you his or her private phone number, this is not a coup. This is your job. You do not ever ever ever brag to other people about having it. You do not pass it on. You do not fancy that because you spoke with someone on the phone for 15 minutes, that you are now their best mate forever. You are being trusted with something private. Keep that trust, and you may get another interview. This is your goal–to make the interview painless and enjoyable, make the final piece interesting, and help the subject get his or her message across, even if that message is “Please watch my TV series when/if it comes back in January”.

If it’s a face-to-face, meet in a quiet hotel lobby corner, or restaurant. If at all possible, let the subject pick the locale, so they will be comfortable and at ease. If you like their work, tell them so. No-one ever doesn’t like to hear their hard work has found a receptive audience. Do not spend loads of time gushing. You do your job, and if you’ve done it well, someday, you may get another interview.

Important note: people like to fill silences. Listen, and allow for those silences, because you may get more than your bargained for. Do not make the interview all about you. An actor or writer does not want to know how clever you are. They want to talk about themselves. Let them. Every question may not lead to an answer, but most will. And that answer may lead to 2 or more follow up questions. This is good. But make sure before you go, you’ve covered everything on your list. Make sure you’ve thanked them for their time. Make sure you tell their reps thank you for arrnaging it. They did you a favour. You are doing them a favour. It’s how the publicity machine works. But they don’t owe you anything other than their time. And you don’t owe them anything other than doing a good job and writing up a good interview.

Do not pry into the subject’s personal life. Ever. If something is offered freely while the recorder’s running, good show. But do not expect Lois Lane scoops. If something is said off the record, then it stays off the record. If after you’ve turned the recorder off you sit and have a gossip, that’s all well and good. But that stays between you and the subject. This is not meant to be a social opportunity. This is a job. Do the job, and do it well, and it may lead to more jobs in the future.

Think of fun questions for the end of the interview. Things no-one ever gets asked. “What’s your favourite ice-cream flavour?” is always a good one. As is “what do you never get asked, that you wish people would ask in interviews?” is another. Sometimes the answers you get will surprise you. Do no ask them the “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire. It’s wanky. No-one actually likes James Lipton. Trust me.

Transcribe the interview. Edit your own questions and comments down, or out (if the material cna stand on its own). People do not want to read about your thoughts. They want to read about the subject’s thoughts. Do not infer or imply. Stick to the facts. Do not editorialise. Do remove vocalised pauses, and clean up grammar. People ramble. They start sentences and hen leave off in the middle. They ramble. They are not always eloquent. Make the subject sound articulate, without changing the essence of what they are saying. Do not paraphrase. You will end up sounding like a wanker. And no-one likes a wanker.

Arrange the transcript into a logical progression. You will move things around. That’s fine; it’s to be expected. Do not take things out of context, to make the subject sound like they were saying something they were not. Keep enough background to give context, but do not spend paragraphs and paragraphs explaining things the reader already knows. Do not pad the finished piece. If anything, pare down to the truth and the essence of things as much as possible. Get in, make your point succinctly, and get out cleanly.

If you are working for an editor, then listen to your editor. They are your editor. This means they are always right. Even when they are wrong. Do not argue. Just make the changes and turn the piece around in a timely fashion. Offer the reps the chance to read the finish piece, if possible. 9 times out of 10, they will be fine with it, and want a copy of the finished piece for their records and press packets.

Act professional, and you will be treated like a professional. Don’t fuck it up, and you’ll get to do it again someday. And maybe even get paid for it.

There. That’s all the wisdom I’ve got. Have fun.

Originally posted at fringe element.