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SpecChic

Con Season Winding Down: Dragon Con & MultiverseCon

Conferences, Publishing, Writing

Summer’s almost over, though you wouldn’t know it in Atlanta. Our temperatures are still in the mid-90s! I’ve got one more convention and then con season is over for the year. Dragon Con just finished up and now I’m marching toward MultiverseCon!

Dragon Con

I did a Con in Review post over at Speculative Chic last week about Dragon Con, so I won’t rehash a bunch of that. But, in that post, I didn’t talk much about the writing things that happened at con. Nothing super huge, but some fun and interesting stuff happened.

Dragon ConI got to reconnect with a couple really amazing women writers that I’d met in previous years at Dragon Con, one of whom had an idea for an anthology. She’s already got some big names who are interested, if she can pull it together and find a publisher. There will be a certain number of slots for invited folks, folks who are invited to submit, and a certain number for open submissions, meaning anyone can send their story in. I got invited to submit! It’s the first time I’ve been invited to submit to an anthology. That is super exciting.

A panelist on one of the early Dragon Con Writers Track panels mentioned Zombies Need Brains, a publishing company that uses Kickstarter to fund their anthologies. (Later, I got to meet Joshua Palmatier, who is the brains behind the zombies!) I went and checked out their current Kickstarter, which was open for pledges at the time. They open for submissions once the Kickstarter funds. One of their proposed anthos is a post-apocalyptic theme, which I think would be a great home for a short story based on my Hovel Rats world (which you don’t really know anything about yet, because the books aren’t out). The Kickstarter funded and so that antho, along with the other two, are now open for submissions! If you’re a writer-type, be sure to check it out!

And the other cool thing I did at Dragon Con is that I got up the courage to ask one of the authors I respect a lot if she’d be willing to blurb Jivaja, if she liked it. She agreed! Doing that always scares me, so I’ve mostly chickened out in the past. This time, I didn’t allow myself to think about it. We were in a conversation and when it occurred to me that this might be a good time, I asked. I didn’t allow myself to think about it or dwell on it. I just asked. And she said yes! I hope she likes it 🙂

Multiverse Con

MultiverseConI mentioned I have one more con and that’s next month’s MultiverseCon! I’m especially excited about this one, because I love its mission (to bring and celebrate greater diversity in fandom) and I’ve got in on the ground floor from almost the beginning as the WRITE Track Director. This is our inaugural year and we’re so stoked to get it going! More info below and I’ll be posting the WRITE Track schedule when we get a little bit closer.


What: MultiverseCon
When: October 18-20, 2019
Where: Atlanta, GA

I’d love to see you there next month!

Have you been to any cool conventions this year?

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Dragon Con logo is owned by Dragon Con, Inc., MultiverseCon logo i owned by Multiversecon.org; both used with permission. Featured image is copyright Venessa Giunta.

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Convention Life: The Other “Con” — Consent

Conferences

I’ve decided to republish the series of posts about conventions and convention life that were originally published over at Speculative Chic. This particular post, about consent — a super important topic in con life — was published on August 10, 2017. You can find the original here!


Maybe you’ve heard the term “Cosplay is not Consent.” It’s a movement within the fan convention community to educate people on how to act — or rather, how not to act. And it all revolves around Consent.

Why talk about consent?

Conventions can be a lot like parties, and at parties people want to have fun. But generally, folks are thinking of their own fun and not necessarily the fun of others. So talking about consent is important both within and outside of conventions so that we can also be aware of other people’s comfort and wellbeing at the con.

It’s also important to talk about consent because having ownership over one’s body is a fundamental right of being human. Setting boundaries on how other people treat us is a healthy way of living life. And consent is a big part of boundary setting.

 

What is Consent?

Photo: CARE – Campus Assault ResponsE – http://campusassaultresponse.org/

Consent is simply agreement. It can be nuanced in different ways, but when you drill right down to its basic definition, it is agreement.

Consent means that all involved parties agree to what is happening, whether it’s something physical, like touching or taking a photo, or verbal, such as being catcalled, being talked about, or objectified.

What does consent mean at a convention?

It means that no matter how someone is dressed, no matter how much (or how little) skin is showing, there is no touching without asking. It is not an invitation for other people. It does not mean that the person — usually a woman — is a party favor for your use.

This isn’t just about touching, though. It’s about everything from touching to speaking. It’s about being aware of how the words we say affect the person we’re speaking to or about. It’s about treating people with dignity.

Cosplay is Not Consent is the movement that has come out of the flood of complaints of harassment and, in some cases, assault, that has happened at conventions across the country, from the biggest to the smallest. Check out Geeks for Consent for some great links to news stories about this topic.

Is it all in the gender?

Fan conventions are often male-dominated, so it makes sense that the higher number of consent violations are done by men. It can be difficult to explain to men why being touched without permission or being objectified by verbal comments is unwelcome.

Often, when we, as women, say, “How would you feel if…?” the response tends to be, “Oh, I would love it if a woman just walked up to me and grabbed my ass!”

What these men often don’t have perspective of is that women receive this sort of treatment all the time. Catcalls, inappropriate comments about their bodies, and even unwelcome touches from men. And it is all with no choice in who is doing these things. It can be any man, at any place, at any time.

If men think this is something they might enjoy, I believe they’re envisioning a woman they’re attracted to doing it at a time and place they would like it to be done. And that is not the experience of women who receive this sort of attention from men, both at conventions and outside conventions. These behaviors are done by men, regardless of whether the woman is attracted to them, is in the mood for such attention, or wants any attention at all. In other words, without her consent.

So men who think they would like this often don’t understand that they probably wouldn’t, if their reality matched the reality of women’s experiences.

But men are not the only people violating consent at conventions. Women do it too. Not nearly to the numbers as men, but they can be just as offensive as men. I once watched a woman literally grab a guy’s codpiece for a photo, to the man’s absolute surprise. I couldn’t tell whether he was offended or not, but it was still non-consensual and a sexual assault by its very nature.

Anyone has the ability to violate consent. It happens much more to women by men than vice versa, but it can happen both ways. The only hope in combating this is to make us all more aware.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to police our own actions.

How To Avoid Being ‘That Dude’ (or ‘That Chick’)

Do

  • give compliments or ask questions focusing more on the costume than the body in it — “Did you paint your leggings yourself? Those are really cool!”
  • give generalized compliments –“Your costume is amazing!” or “You look just like Gal Godot! That’s incredible.” etc.Keep Calm and Get Consent
  • pay attention to body language and environment — If they’re waiting in line for the bathroom, be very brief in your interaction, if it’s necessary at all; if they look like they’re on a mission to get somewhere, let them go; pay attention to whether your attention is welcome.
  • be respectful of someone’s time and space — don’t monopolize.
  • ASK — Everyone appreciates someone who takes a moment to ask their consent to take a photo or touch a part of their costume or body; this can’t be stressed enough.
  • Be respectful of the answer to your question — Always remember that they’re allowed to say no. Don’t already be doing the thing as you ask for their consent. Wait for their answer.
  • Say thank you when they’ve agreed to something you’ve requested, because they’re doing something nice for you.

Don’t

  • catcall, unless it’s appropriate — It might be appropriate at a costume contest, or some other situation where an audience is expected to make noise.
  • comment specifically about someone’s body — Consider “You’ve got great boobs!” vs “You look great!” The first is a big no; the second is a big yes.
  • assume anything — And this means anything.

Accidents Happen

So what do you do when you’ve offended someone by accident, or realize you’ve done something inappropriate?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

It doesn’t have to be about you having made a mistake. It is absolutely about how you handle the mistake you made.

Always, the first thing to do is apologize. And be sincere. Sometimes, this is the only thing you can do. Sometimes the person you offended doesn’t want to hear it and will walk away. Let them go. They’ve made their decision, and you trying to force your apology on them is just another version of the mistake you made in the first place.

But if they do listen, you can then ask what you can do to fix the situation, what will make the other person okay? There may be nothing you can do other than go away. And that’s okay. But maybe you took a photo without asking, and they tell you that you can make it better by deleting the photo. Then delete the photo. Act with integrity.

The final thing you can do has nothing to do with the person you offended. The final thing you can do is remember your mistake. Remember it and do your best not to do it again in the future. Err on the side of caution if you’re unsure. And, again, you can never go wrong by asking.

Conventions can be a great time! They’re big and fun and exciting. We’re among our nerdy tribe and our fellow fangirls and -boys. Convention producers create them for folks to have a great time. But we have to make sure our good time doesn’t make someone else’s experience a bad time. We’re all in this together!

Do you have questions or comments about any of this stuff or conventions in general? Drop them down below! 🙂

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are mine or CC0 licensed.

Quick Review of Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Reading

From my Goodreads review:

 

Black City SaintBlack City Saint by Richard A. Knaak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading these books because I’m going to be doing a review on Book 3 for a website I contribute to. So I’m plowing through books 1 and 2 🙂

I love the 1920s Chicago time/location! This is what actually drew me to the series. I’ve always been fascinated by the 20s and the entire role of the mob in social and cultural fabrics of the time. It’s really clear that the author put a lot of research into this time period. Sometimes it was a little too clear (ie – the author was dropping details that weren’t necessarily important — particularly about cars 😉 ). But those were not problematic at all, for me. Just noticeable.

The other thing I really liked about this book is the portrayal of Feyrie. Original folklore about the fey show them as … well, narcissistic sociopaths at best. Psychopathic at worst. And I really feel that these books kept to those traditional ideas about the fey.

I also found the “retelling” of the St. George tale, the twist on it, really engaging. Not gonna spoil it, but it’s revealed within the first 75 or so pages.

The only thing I found occasionally problematic was the relationship between Nick and Claryce. It felt very angsty on his side and it felt like she latched on to him WAY before there was anything to warrant it. There is some previous connection to him (again, no spoilers), but that as the reason for the fast connection isn’t on the page until much much later. Too late, to me. So that bit didn’t ring particularly true for me. It wasn’t enough to make me put the book down, not anywhere near that. Just a niggling.

So, overall, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Book 2! 🙂

View all my reviews

Official Jivaja Release! Get Your Copy Now!

Book news, Writing

Today is the big day! Jivaja is officially launched! Woooo!!

So you can find links to Amazon and B&N, as well as Goodreads on my website page for Jivaja. Oh, and as a note, I enrolled Jivaja in Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a bit short on cash right now, but subscribe, please feel free to borrow from KU!

This has been a weird book publishing experience, because I wanted to have some advance copies available for Dragon Con (because a million people go there). But that meant I had to upload it to Amazon early, to get copies (because you can’t order copies without it being live), so it’s actually been up there for awhile. But having copies out that early just made the entire experience weird!

But anyway…

Marketing is not my forte anyway and so I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants! lol I’ve got a few random things going on this week.

There will be an interview out at Speculative Chic this afternoon at 4pm. If you click the link and get a 404, check the time. It’s probably not 4 yet 🙂

I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything FB Live on my Author Page on Wednesday around 8pm EDT. So feel free to come over, pop in, and ask me all the burning questions you have about Jivaja or writing or when I’m going to have the sequel done!

I’m sure I’ll do other things this week, but those are the big ones. I’ll also be spamming your feeds all over social media, so there’s that too! Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for other happenings!

 

 

 

 

Links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Back with a Fun Announcement!

Spec-Chic, Writing

What I’m Listening To: West Wing 10 year cast reunion on the Today Show – Can I vote for Jed Bartlett this presidential election, please?

Something Cool: I’m reading (listening to) Laurell K. Hamilton’s debut novel, Guilty Pleasures, for the first time (shhh…don’t tell her).

Anyone who’s followed this blog over the years knows that I’m pretty bad at being consistent over the long term. At least this time three years haven’t gone careening by!

I’ve actually been very caught up in life since about March. There have been various medical things going on with me and my family (both bio and chosen) that have kept me completely sidetracked. I’m getting back on track though, finally! Expect more updates on the writing and some publishing projects!

Speculative Chic

The exciting thing today, though, is that I’m part of a new collaborative blog project called Speculative Chic! We’re a group of folks who are into specfic books, movies, games, tv shows, and pretty much anything else geeky and creative! And today is our official launch day!! Isn’t that super exciting? I’m completely stoked. We already have a lot of content up (check out our Sound Off on the new Ghostbusters movie!), so hop on over there and jump into the conversation!

Until next time!

Venessa G.