Imagination Fair at BayCon 2018: Come Learn About The Faceless God And The Corn Festival

This Saturday, 5/26, at 10am-4pm I will be a part of this year's Imagination Fair at BayCon 2018. BayCon is the Bay Area’s longest fan-run science fiction & fantasy convention. This will be my first time presenting at Imagination Fair, and it will also be the first time I have ever done anything like this since, well, middle school. Think of it as science fair meets literature and fandom. 

To give you an idea of what I mean, here is my pitch for what I will be showcasing: 

THE FACELESS GOD AND THE CORN FESTIVAL

Come learn the history (and inspiration) behind the Corn Festival, a tradition celebrated in the world of the Ellderet. Then get ready to play a game of ring toss to test your speed at avoiding the deadly tezca snakes that quest through the corn fields. Winners get an extra entry in the raffle to win a $5 Amazon gift card, while losers will have their soul offered up to the Faceless God!

I have always wanted to talk about the Corn Festival showcased in To Nurture & Kill, especially because I got called out at a writing workshop for including corn in the world of the Ellderet as it "wasn't available in medieval Europe" and thus it was somehow a problem element. A-huh. Corn might not have been a part of the Old World, but it most certainly was an integral part of the New World, especially the Mexica diet. 

Other than the $5 Amazon gift card, prizes will also include one bundle set of The Deadbringer and To Nurture & Kill, and a mal de ojo (evil eye) charm. 

 Not pictured is the bashful $5 Amazon gift card.  

Not pictured is the bashful $5 Amazon gift card.  

And since this is a fair: "Authors, artists, and presenters will be on hand to supply you with goodies, instruction, and amusements to inspire your imagination! HorrorAddicts.net, SEARCH Magazine, Emerian Rich, J. Malcolm Stewart, Laurel Anne Hill and her Cthulu monster, Loren Rhoads, Sumiko Saulson, Valerie Frankel, Mercy Hollow, and more will be on hand to inspire! We'll also have a cos-play face painter, selfie booth, cosplay supply giveaway, prize table, adult coloring & puzzle table and more."

Fun times, for sure :) Hope to see you there!! 

For more information concerning Imagination Fair, please visit the events page

Book Musing: The City & The City by China Miéville

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Spoiler Free Run Down...

THE CITY & THE CITY was amazing. It's mystery meets urban fantasy. The story is told in the first person by Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. He is investigating a murder that will take him from his home city of Besźel to its neighboring city, Ul Qoma. Imagine a city on a glass map that was stomped on. Now, follow the nonsense cracks to draw up invisible, at times overlapping, borders to create two cities--Besźel and Ul Qoma--and two very distinct cultures. Sound convoluted? Well, it is. But it works!

Even though the story follows Tyador, the book is really about the two cities and the strange, strict rules that shape its people. And should a citizen breach those invisible borders, the mysterious Breach will take you away and you will never be seen again.

If you don't like meticulous description and want a fast-paced read with a clean ending, then I wouldn't recommend this book. But, if you like a well-thought-out plot with fully realized lead characters (Tyador, Beszel, and Ul Qoma--yes, the two cities are more than just background) and non-methodical solutions to solving a crime, then please check out this book. 

Potential Spoilers...

My fascination with this book comes from not ever being 100% sure if the two cities were just the product of fucked-up borders and people willing to live in such a way or if there was some technology or magic at play. That everyone was willing to conform to the point where a murderer would be allowed to go free just to avoid breach was aggravating. More than once I yelled at the characters "fuck protocol and just cross the damn border!" But I feel that that frustration was very integral to the story and was what gave the characters' actions meaning, especially toward the end.

And then there's the Breach. Are they just people or are they a bit more??? It's never confirmed and that vagueness made the story for me. Personally, I like to believe that there is some lost technology at play that gives the Breach the power they have over the two cities. I like to believe that they have been removed from time.

Poor Tyador. It was literally a "you can't have your cake and eat it too" scenario. That bittersweet ending is what made the story perfect for me. Choices were made and actions followed through, but at the very essence of it all were the rules that kept the City & the City alive.

Being An Extra In A (forthcoming) Horror Film: The Last Showing, By Anthony DeRouen

I'm going to be an extra in a horror film: The Last Showing, by my friend and fellow HWA member, Anthony DeRouen! I first met Anthony during the 2017 Bay Area Book Festival in Downtown Berkeley at the Horror Writers Association booth. Anthony happened to be at the booth that day, and what I remember most about that initial meeting was his enthusiasm for the horror genre and his upcoming films. His passion for what he was doing was palpable, and I couldn’t help but be excited for him.

After officially joining the HWA, I chatted with Anthony a bit more and got to hear about his journey as a filmmaker. You read and hear and see videos about filming and the work that goes into it, but being able to hear the process explained from someone you know is daunting. It’s a metric shit-ton of work, and the number of moving pieces is staggering.

One day, Anthony mentioned that he needed extras for his film, and I’m happy (more like mad excited) to be able to say that I “got to be an extra for a horror film.” But not only that, I got to be an extra for someone who was doing something he believed in.

 Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen. (Anthony standing on the right.)

Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen. (Anthony standing on the right.)

 From left to right: Grayson Dere, Laura Jean Mummert, Anthony DeRouen.

From left to right: Grayson Dere, Laura Jean Mummert, Anthony DeRouen.

The film is The Last Showing and features the lovely Lara Jean Mummert. The expected release date is later this year. Here’s the film's blurb: A theater is terrorized by an apparition that manifests during the last nightly showing.

I don't know about you, but I've definitely daydreamed about horror stories taking place inside empty theaters. Think about it: large dead screens, numerous vacant seats, countless abandoned rooms... 

 Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen

Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen

A second film Anthony is working on is He Takes and Returns, which is also scheduled for 2018 and will first haunt California horror film festivals, followed by out-of-state circuits.

 Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen

Image copyright: Anthony DeRouen

Check out the trailer:

If you happen to see these films in your area, go check them out!


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Anthony DeRouen was born and raised in Redwood City, California. Anthony began writing short stories and fan fiction in 2008. He has published one novel and written two others in the A Show for the Gods series: Precipice, Diviner, and End of Dreams.

Following his love for telling stories, Anthony began drafting horror tales. The first He Takes and Returns, will film in October 2017 while The Last Showing  - a short film based off a feature length screenplay Anthony wrote - completed principal photography in August. Both films will be released in 2018. 

Connect with Anthony on his blog or Facebook.

#BuildALadder Out Of Social Anxiety By Vlogging

My goal is to share my writer's life with my readers and to help me work through my insecurities, in particular my social anxiety, which has gotten in the way of Life. This is not an easy thing for me to admit. Even now I'm looking at the delete button and coming up with reasons why I shouldn't go forward with this post. Who would want to read or watch something like this? But then I remember that the reason I am even finding the courage to type these words is because of people whom I admire and who have shared their stories of anxiety, depression, etc.

The above quote was taken from my What Am I Going to Blog (And Vlog) About post. When I wrote those words, I had this video in mind as it was initially supposed to be the first video I posted on my Youtube channel. Fear of being so open about how I felt convinced me that it was best to hold off on this video. And frankly, I'm glad I did because at that point I don't think I was mentally prepared to publicly post something so personal. 

But then I found myself thinking, "Do I really need to post this video?" I asked myself what it was that was motivating me to delete it? Immediately the answer came to me: fear. I found myself trying to rationalize that fear so I could delete the video

Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. 

It would be so easy to delete this video, to pretend that what I expressed was transitory. But it isn't, and, if I deleted this video, I would not be building a ladder but destroying it. 

And I want to #buildaladder. 

I want to not be afraid to speak up. 

I want to meet new people and not run away. 

I want to have confidence in the people around me. 

I want to have confidence in myself. 

I want to live my life. 

The #buildaladder movement was started by Martina over at Eat Your Kimchi. Her videos are very powerful and, if you have time to only watch one video, watch hers. Her candidness along with bookstagram accounts like @thereaderswardrobe have given me the strength to move forward.

I apologize in advance for the awkwardness in my video. And for the repeated blinding lens flares. I was VERY cold and the sun felt incredibly nice at my back ^^; Or maybe I was just trying to blend in with the new Star Trek cast.

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I look forward to the day that I can look back at my video and say to my past self that I have added rungs to my ladder. That I am no longer afraid to use my voice, or to just be myself.

 

Timoittazceh (nos vemos/see you).

EMM 

  

Mexica New Year 2018: The Year Of Chicuace (6) Tochtli (Rabbit)

Caveat: I'm still a student and have much more to learn from my peers and teachers, so please do not take what is written in this post as the be-all-end-all. I encourage you to do your own research :)

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Piyali (hello)!

The Mexica New Year is right around the corner, and I am pleased to say that despite having a convention the weekend of, I will be able to attend some of this year's celebrations. I'm so excited as this will be my first time attending!! If filming is permitted, expect a vlog.

The event that I'm going to is the 20th Annual Mexica New Year, which is hosted by Calpulli Tonalehqueh and held in San Jose. 

In lead up to this event, the Nahuatl Tlahtocan student organization meet-up talked a little bit about the Tonalpohualli i.e., the Mexica/Aztec Calendar. A site recommend by them and one I foresee referencing is www.azteccalendar.com. This IG post does a great job of breaking the calendar down

Our teocuitlapixqui (treasurer) helped us discover our birth-year and day sign. I was born in the year 8 Calli (house) and my day sign is Ehecatl (wind).

"Calli . . . represents the interior space of our heads, where thoughts are born."  (Arte Yolteotl) In the case of Ehecatl: "Ehecatl reminds us to give breath to all that we do."  (Arte Yolteotl)

If you want to check out some amazing artwork depicting the tonalli (symbols), please head over to Arte Yolteotl by Veronica Xochitl Valadez. You'll also find information explaining each tonalli. 

 Arte Yolteotl by Veronica Xochitl Valadez

Arte Yolteotl by Veronica Xochitl Valadez

 Arte Yolteotl by Veronica Xochitl Valadez

Arte Yolteotl by Veronica Xochitl Valadez

The plan is to arrive at 6am to see the Sunrise Ceremony and stay to at least see the Mexica Dancers. Seeing the danzantes and hearing the drums is becoming something special to me because of the way it makes me feel--alive. Afterward, it's a drive over to FogCon 8 and straight to the bar for coffee.

My panel, Good Grimdark Done Well By Marginalized People, does not start till 9:30pm, which means moar coffee. I plan to vlog about FogCon, so you'll most likely get to witness my slow descent into madness. 

Have you ever celebrated Mexica New Year? If you know your year and/or day sign, let me know in the comments. 

Timoittazceh (nos vemos/see you).

EMM

That Time I Tried To Make A Book Trailer

Long ago--five years ago to be exact--I decided to make a book trailer. I had just upgraded from an old Nokia flip phone to a beast of a phone called the BlackBerry 10 ("Back in my day, grumble, grumble."). Coincidentally, I had just seen a few tweets from Neil Gaiman about his collaborative project with BlackBerry called Keep Moving Projects. Upon discovering you could film and edit on a phone, I couldn't help but try my hand at it. 

I have nothing but good memories about this undertaking and had fun making a trailer for a book I had enjoyed.  

I hope one day to make a trailer for The Ellderet Series and, truth be told, I do have a bit of footage. For now, a book trailer will have to wait as I already have enough on my plate, including upcoming conventions, studying for my beginner's Nahuatl class, and writing the sequel to The Deadbringer

For now, I hope you enjoy my amateur trailer. Let me know if it stirs your curiosity to pick up Andrew Pyper's thriller The Demonologist.

Timoittazceh (nos vemos/see you).

EMM 

Did I mention I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman? ;)

What Am I Going To Blog (And Vlog) About?

First of all, welcome! 

So what, dear reader, is this blogging and vlogging (via YouTube) business about? Short answer: my writer's life. And when I say "writer's life," I mean what makes me me. Because to me, a writer's life is about life: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My goal is to share my writer's life with my readers and to help me work through my insecurities, in particular my social anxiety, which has gotten in the way of Life. This is not an easy thing for me to admit. Even now I'm looking at the delete button and coming up with reasons why I shouldn't go forward with this post. Who would want to read or watch something like this? But then I remember that the reason I am even finding the courage to type these words is because of people whom I admire and who have shared their stories of anxiety, depression, etc.

It's nice to not feel isolated in the chaos that is my brain. And if you, dear reader, have ever felt this way, please know that you're not alone. 

If you want to know what to expect on the vlogging side of this blog, please watch my Channel Intro & About Me video. Thanks to E. Mellyberry for tagging me over on my Instagram page with the #tellmeaboutyourself and #meetthebookstagramer tags. I had fun answering the questions. 

On that note, tell me a little about yourself :)

Moztlayoc (till tomorrow).

EMM