Pride this year was SUCH a blast. Exhausting, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun at an event. All in all there were four Bold Strokes Books authors present, Barbara Ann Wright (lesbian fantasy), Joel Gomez-Dossi (gay thrillers), Jerry L. Wheeler (gay erotica) and me. Barbara’s books sold out on the first day of the event, and mine sold out the following morning; Joel and Jerry did pretty well with book sales too.
There were so many great moments over the course of the event, but one of the most memorable was a group of Deaf women who were looking over our books – my partner Kaitlin was
bellowing “LESBIAN PIRATES!” enthusiastically promoting the content of our work ;) and one of them signed to her that they were Deaf. Since Kaitlin speaks some ASL, she began signing back, while the rest of us watched in fascination. I think the ladies had fun correcting some of Kaitlin’s signs, and Kaitlin enjoyed getting to practice her ASL with folks who could understand her (she’s always signing to me when her mouth is full or she’s sleepy or drugged up… and I just have to squint at her in exasperation and try to guess what she’s saying.) As it turned out, the group bought one of each of Barbara’s books and mine, and we got to sign them, and it was just a really lovely encounter with some lovely people that we might not have been able to meet if not for my talented fiancée and her wide repertoire of skills, LOL… I love my future wife. <3
So anyway, here we are on the first day (Barbara, Joel, me and Cricket). Not pictured are Kaitlin, and Barbara’s friends Erin and David who did an amazing job of promoting all our work and providing entertaining behind-the-scenes conversation.
My min-pin Cricket took her job as booth-babe very seriously, standing out in front of the booth and enticing guys and girls alike to come take a look at our books:
And here’s a pic taken with one of my readers, Jamie, whose excitement made me feel like a big celebrity – she was so sweet and came back both days to say hi and get signed books and postcards. <3
Another reader, Mercedes, also came by on both days – her girlfriend had emailed me a while back trying to arrange signed books for her as a surprise, so it was awesome to get to sign them for her in person! A couple of folks who had bought books from me at Pride last year came back this year to say hi again, too. Also got to meet another Colorado lesbian author, JJ Greene, who’s published with Bella Books. I wish that I’d made a list of everyone that I’d signed books for, so I could give everyone a post-event shout out – making a mental note to bring a little notepad with me next time so I can jot everyone’s names down.
BSB readers are THE BEST, seriously. We heard from so many folks who had such glowing, positive things to say about BSB’s books. When they’d already read our stuff (or fantasy/thrillers weren’t their cup of tea), we were able to make recommendations for contemporary romances, romances where the lead characters are persons of color, romances with transgendered characters, paranormal and urban fantasy, etc. by handing out BSB flyers and chatting them up about our personal favorites. Also got the opportunity to refer several folks just down the way to the Out in Colorado booth, for more awesome gay stories from Colorado-based LGBTQ writers. I’ve been mostly a lurker in the group for the past year, but I’m looking forward to participating in more of the OiC events in the coming year – they are really a fantastic group of people. <3
Jerry joined us on the second day, so we took another group pic (and this time we’d figured out how to make our BSB banner hang a little better):
And then we spent some chill time just hanging out:
As an added surprise, I ran into my friend Whirlwynd. I’ve known her for probably close to fifteen years now. She was an active participant at my Sailor Moon fansite wayyy back in the day, and one of the original beta readers of Sword of the Guardian. If you will recall, she also composed the beautiful “Echoes of Ithyria” musical theme that’s in the SotG trailer (and is now featured in the SotG playlist.) We’ve talked online for ages, but I think we’ve only met maybe once before, so I actually didn’t recognize her right away – I was signing a postcard for her and asked her to spell her name, and that was when I was like “OMG, Whirlwynd?? MY FRIEND WHIRLWYND??!! AHHHH!!” Naturally, we needed a picture. :P
So that you can understand what a phenomenally talented person Whirlwynd is, I am crossposting this amazing anime clip of her web series 20 Galaxies. That’s right – the woman IS MAKING HER OWN ANIME. You may all bow your heads in worship now. ^~ Seriously, just WATCH this work of art (and then bookmark her website for updates):
So anyway, overall this year’s Pridefest was probably the most fun thing I’ve done in a long time, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!! Maybe we’ll even be able to recruit a few more BSB authors into coming? *nudgeshopefully* In the meantime, I’m planning to attend another signing event in August with the Out in Colorado folks… will post more info on that as it comes…
After remodeling our office at home, I’ve had the chance to update my Daz 3D program and play around with more character art. I’m slowly updating the profile images for the characters, as I learn more and more fancy lighting, posing and rendering tricks. Anyway, I thought I’d share the new renders of Talon and her sisters from Sword of the Guardian – I’m especially pleased with the new Talon model, as she more closely resembles the image of her that I have in my head. :) And I love the way Lyris’ celestial fire turned out! You can also find these images on the SotG “Meet the Characters” page. Enjoy!
I’ve done at least three different models for Talon now, trying to achieve a face shape that really fits her. This one is the one I’ve been most pleased with. Her hairstyle has also gone through several iterations – the shaggier one that’s featured in the book trailer doesn’t really seem appropriate for a soldier, LOL… Anyway, every render thus far has been extremely difficult because her military uniform is actually designed for a male-bodied model, and it doesn’t want to fit the female one. I finally upgraded to the “Genesis” model, which allowed me to import the boy-clothes and auto-fit them to a more feminine figure. Much better! The weird warping is gone, and the lines are sharp and smooth again. After I got the face, hair and uniform sorted, then came the problem of lighting… lighting is something I’m still really struggling to master as it seems to be pretty arbitrary and hard to preview without rendering over and over again and tweaking in between. Ugh. Anyway, after working on this dratted thing for about 10 – 12 hours, I finally landed on a lighting setup I really like.
Used the “Genesis” figure again here, and copied over the texture and surface settings from Talon’s render to achieve the same skin tone. I had to alter the robe texture in Photoshop in order to take it from an ivory/black-trimmed fabric to a white one, but the results turned out very pretty. Also got to wrestle with the lights in this one, as she not only has the usual surround lighting but also a light that comes from the celestial fire in her hand… took a while to get something I was happy with, but I think this one’s pretty. I much prefer this bit of fire to the funny rotating glowing disc in the book trailer (at the time it was the best effect I could find!)
Sassy Miss Bria made me rediscover the fabulosity of the Morphing Fantasy Dress (MFD) and the amazing assortment of free textures offered by the very talented 3D artist Chohole. This character is built on the “Genesis” model again. I’m not entirely sure I love the lighting, but it’s still a vast improvement on my earlier renders.