Monday, May 20, 2013

New Post at Nerdiquette 101

Today's post can be found over at the Nerdiquette 101 blog.

Nerdiquette 101 is a movement started by three women who all had "that guy" encounters at a science fiction convention in 2012.

Today's post is called Dos and Don'ts for taking pictures of costumers and is short list of recommendations for interacting with costumers during conventions.

I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Books that changed my life

Inspired by this post:

Geek Mom Sarah Pinault describes it as “not books that changed my life through ‘because it’s great’, but books that you can use to pinpoint a change in your life, a change in your way of thinking, your growth be it emotional or otherwise.” 

I thought it was an interesting idea, and since I am in the process of de-cluttering (which results in the removal of some books), I thought I’d take a look at the books I choose to keep.

The first book/series that comes to mind is the Narnia Chronicles.  I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the fourth grade as part of a class reading.  I remember finishing the book and immediately heading to the library to find out if there was more.  There was!  I devoured the rest of the series by the end of the year.  It opened my eyes to the world outside of Judy Blume and Mary Ingalls Wilder.  By the end of fourth grade, I’d been introduced to the Chronicles of Prydian as well.  (Yeah fantasy!)

Fifth Grade for me was a defining year.  A lot happened in my personal life. My Dad spent the year stationed in Korea and my Mom hurt her back and spent several months unable to do much.  I learned a lot about responsibility that year, as I learned to cook, clean and take care of my little brother.   Thank goodness for my godparents, who helped with things like yardwork and errands. 

That same year, I had the most amazing teacher who introduced me to a whole world of books.  Mr. Nesbit introduced me to Mystery novels (first Trixie Belden, and then Nancy Drew), Shakespeare (we put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Madeleine L'Engle. 

He had this corner in his room that was wrapped in books.  I remember reading book after book. 
That same year, my mom was reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  When she finished the book, she handed it to me.  By the end of the year, I’d finished all three books in the series… and thrown my first book across a room.  

In terms of changing my life, I think being introduced to Shakespeare so young gave me a love of English and Literature that has carried all the way through my adult life.   Mr. Nesbit kept the essence of the story while shortening the lines to make it easier for 10 year olds to memorize.  It gave me my first performance on stage and I remember reading more of the plays (in their original form) that same year.  Though a lot of the jokes went over my head, as I learned when reading it later in college, I remember reading it with a dictionary beside me and learning a whole new vocabulary.

Trixie and Nancy were female detectives.  I think more than anything, they started me down the path of belief that a woman can be anything, even something that was bit dangerous.   Growing up, I wanted to be a pilot.  Unfortunately, my eyesight was too bad to fly in the military. (Ah, well.)  I still love the fearlessness of both characters and while I am not anything like either, I like to think I have tried to bring some of that fearlessness into my life.

Then came Dragonlance.  Dragonlance (DL) opened my world to “adult” books.  That is, books written for adults not kids or even young adults.  Once I started reading DL, I never went back to young adult books.  I remember going to the bookstore and starting in the fantasy/science fiction section.  From DL, I learned about Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and of course, Tolkien.    Once introduced to Fantasy novels, I eventually made it to Science Fiction, devouring Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451 OMG!), though I never could get into Asimov for some reason. 

Shortly thereafter, my mom brought home Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows and Last Herald Mage trilogies.  Mercedes was the first person who wrote about “shay’a’chern” or gay relationships.  I think having been introduced to it in novels so young, is why I’ve never really been bothered by the concept of gay relationships or marriage.  In fact, it’s very likely that the stories made it so not only does it not bother me, but I feel strongly enough to have voted for and continue to support same-sex equality in marriage and in other laws.

There are probably tons more books that influenced my life. From the Star Wars novels of Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole and Timothy Zahn, to the Forgotten Realms stories of Elaine Cunningham & RA Salvatore, there are tons of books that inspired me to become an author in my own right.

I knew he was different, in his sexuality/ 
I went to his parties, as the straight minority/ 
It never seemed a threat to my masculinity/ 
He only introduced me to a wider reality.
~Rush, Nobody's Hero