Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guest Post: Shelley Sly, One Hundred Thirty Stars

Today is a big day. I'm discussing finding an agent over on the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog, so check that out. But FIRST, read this great guest post about nerd conventions (how fun, right?!) by Shelley Sly, author of this middle grade novel:



I'm also guest posting at her blog today. It's a BLOG SWAP! So check that out, too. Links to all of this are at the end of her post to take you straight there. Be sure you follow her blog while you're checking my post out. Here's Shelley's post:

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STORY IDEAS FROM NERD CONVENTIONS

by Shelley Sly

Thank you so much for having me, Stephanie! I’m a big fan of your blog – it’s one of the most fun writer blogs out there – so I’m excited to be here!

Writers are often encouraged to “write what you know.” And what I know is the geeky world of conventions. I’ve lost track of how many comic, anime, and video game conventions I’ve attended. Some were massive (over 20,000 people), some were small (a few hundred guests), but collectively, they’ve all given me inspiration.

Three elements of “nerd conventions” that I’ve found to be the most story-inspiring are:

1) The Cosplay Costumes

There’s quite a range of costumes. Some are breathtakingly beautiful, some are intricate and creative. And then there are the downright strange and/or creepy ones. I suggest taking pictures of any of these costumes (with the cosplayer’s permission) if they spark any character ideas.

2) The Activities

What I love about attending conventions is that there’s always something going on. Go shopping in the Dealers Room (and watch broke teenagers drool over rare video game merchandise, or little kids whine for every stuffed animal they see.) Pop in the karaoke room (where, surely, at least one person’s voice will make you turn around and leave.) Then there’s panels about specific games, shows, comics, etc., where people will likely attempt to out-nerd each other with their questions and comments. Story ideas galore!

3) The People

I’ve made some nice friends at conventions, but I’ve also met people that I’ll never forget for other reasons. The overly friendly karaoke singer who smelled like he desperately needed a shower? The dude in a villain costume who asked me what the chances were that I’d go on a date with him? (Zero chance.) The crazy stranger who kept shouting at me, insisting I was her daughter? (Security guards eventually escorted her out!) Yup… I’ll always remember them. And they might just make it into a story.

Being a nerd, and participating in events with other nerds, is definitely my thing. And why not write about what you’re into?

Has your favorite hobby or interest inspired you to write?



The Blurb:

Eleven-year-old Kelly “Birdie” Knotts has the perfect summer vacation planned: she’s finally going to visit her dad, Arthur. Birdie hardly knows him, but she has high hopes that he’ll be the one family member who understands her.

Too bad her vacation is nothing like she imagined it would be.

Arthur’s plans for their father-daughter visit revolve around a video game convention, where he dresses head-to-toe in costume and makes a boisterous scene every chance he gets. When he isn’t shouting gleefully in the hallways, he’s belting out off-pitch tunes in the karaoke room. Birdie’s new plan? Hide under a rock for life.

It’s impossible for Birdie to get to know Arthur when he insists that he’s a video game character. And if he doesn’t step up and start acting like a dad, it might be game over.

Author Bio:

Shelley Sly lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area with her husband and their chocolate lab mix. She writes middle grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in. Her latest book, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS, is inspired by her unforgettable experiences at nerd conventions. You can find her at www.shelleysly.com.



Blog / Website / Buy Link

Check out my guest posts today at these blogs:

Shelley Sly
Insecure Writer's Support Group

79 comments:

  1. She thought you were her daughter? That is creepy. Yeah, it's always the weirdos you remember best from cons.
    Congratulations, Shelley!
    And happy to host you at the IWSG site, Stephanie.

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    1. Thank you for including me, Alex!

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    2. Yes, it was very creepy! I think she might have been intoxicated. She made such a scene.

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  2. Nerds and geeks are the same, aren't they not? I always wondered if one name was preferred over the other. Shelly sure doesn't look like a nerd but maybe a geek, lol... You know the classic picture of a nerd is not very flattering but Shelly you're so pretty and your smile is so nice and relaxed.

    You sure made good with all your experiences at nerds conventions and congratulations on your new book One Hundred Thirty Stars.

    Stephanie is a good ally to have on your side.
    JB

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    1. That's an interesting question. I proudly refer to myself as a "gadget geek" in my author bios all the time. But while it may not have been cool to be into computers in the 80s...everyone loves their iPhones, MacBooks, tablets, etc. today. We may not want to take them apart and see how they work, but we are pretty much addicted to them. I think most people who are addicted to their electronic gadgets don't refer to themselves as nerds or geeks...but they really are, by 80s standards, anyway!

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    2. Aww, Julia, you're so sweet! Thank you for the compliment. I do consider myself both a nerd and a geek, only because I'm not sure exactly what the difference is either, but I just know that I'm a little strange!

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  3. we do love them nerds and geeks... unless they're too nerdy and too geeky :)

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    1. I've met more than a few movie nerds over the years...I'm guessing the line is between living for whatever great movie is coming out this Friday and actually dressing up like your favorite characters to go to that movie? :-)

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    2. Haha, yeah, there's definitely such thing as over-doing it when you're a geek or nerd!

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  4. I have never been to a "nerd convention" but REALLY want to go. If there's ever a LOTR or HP one near me, you can bet I'll be there! Unfortunately it seems like most of them are on the West Coast...

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    1. I went to a couple of them in the early 00s--got my picture with a guy who played James Bond in one movie (too lazy to look up his name) and I could have met Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island but she wouldn't talk to you unless you bought her cookbook. I was watching a reality show where they showed a movie-con in L.A. and it was filled with these great actors from the 80s. I told my husband when we go back to L.A., we need to plan around that. Call me a geek but it would be AWESOME to be able to go to Hollywood and meet actual celebrities. We only saw one (William Fichtner) the entire time we were there and it was on the flight back.

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    2. Conventions are so much fun! Yeah, I'd love to go to some of the bigger conventions on the west coast, like San Diego Comic Con. Hope you can go to one someday!

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  5. Um, that stranger would have freaked me out. Thank goodness for security guards. Nice to meet you. I've always wanted to go to a convention to experience it first hand. It's on my bucket list.

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    1. Ha, yes, the security guards were amazing. They wasted no time getting that lady out of the convention hall. Conventions are a lot of fun, so I hope you'll end up going to one!

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    2. I was watching Investigation Discovery and a comic book illustrator had a stalker who showed up at one of those events. I kept wondering why someone didn't run and get security. That "passion" can sometimes go a little too far...

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  6. I agree that Stephanie has one of the most fun blogs! And congrats Shelley!

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    1. Thanks! I know, she posts about some of the most interesting things!

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  7. You had someone shout that you were their daughter? Weird ...

    I've never been to a convention, but it's always something I've wanted to do! Seems fun.

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    1. Yeah, it was really bizarre. She was a complete stranger, but she came up to me insisting that she knew who I was, because I was her daughter. Which I definitely wasn't!

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    2. Were you both in costume? Because I'm thinking of the dad in your book, walking around shouting, "I AM OTTO!"

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  8. Wow, Shelley...LOL

    Yes, I've had my passion (multi-player online roleplaying games) lead me to write plenty! All my characters were writers (virtual writer for the editing component in the game, cleric who wrote speeches/surmons, and a mage who was into poetry and short stories. Yes, yes...the nerd in me even brings the writing into her gameplay.

    :D

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    1. That's awesome, Diane! It sounds like your characters were fun to write. I like when I have something in common with my characters. :)

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    2. I've never gotten into roleplaying games but I'm addicted to SongPop. Does that count? I don't think it does...

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  9. Stephanie, thank you so much for having me today! I'm going to check out your IWSG post, too. :)

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for writing such a great blog!

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  10. There are always stories to be found with the weirdos that go to the super extreme haha

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    1. Yup, it's true. There's never a dull moment!

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    2. I think even at cosplay events, there are people looking around at each other, saying, "Can you believe this guy?!" Happens at sporting events, too, though--the guy in face paint who is just WAY into the game! Or writing events...we had a girl in our small breakout group at the SCBWI conference who was all kinds of "out there." And when I wrote romance, there were some truly strange birds who showed up at our monthly chapter meetings.

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  11. It's a fun place to watch weirdos. A convention that is. I've been to many and I've always found a handful of weirdos. Bless their hearts.

    The books sounds like a fun read. I hope it has a happy ending.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. Conventions are perfect for people-watching! The costumes just make it even more fun. And thanks, I'm a fan of ending stories happily (though not always perfectly) so this book does have a happy ending. :)

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    2. And you can tell by Shelley's book that she did a LOT of research while she was there.

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  12. Yet more temptation waved in front of me.
    People watching is sooooo rewarding isn't it? And sometimes those rewards come straight from a horror story (like the woman who thought/hoped/believed you were her daughter.
    Years back I was watching a man (a natural red-head) who had dropped his trousers to his ankles and was waltzing in the middle of the road in front of buses. And my sick sad mind was awed that he didn't fall flat on his face (and other bits). His physical balance was soooo impressive.

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    1. Wow, I would have been worried for that waltzing man! But yes, people-watching is such a fun way to pass the time. :)

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    2. Whoa! I used to ride the express bus when I worked downtown and I have to say, you saw some pretty weird stuff around the bus depot.

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  13. Sounds like an interesting story. My kind of weekend read. :)

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    1. You can read it fairly quickly, too. I only read on the treadmill and I read it within just a few days.

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  14. Cute to read, Shelley, about your thoughts about "nerd conventions." Reminds me of when we lived in San Diego and Comic Con was in town. Never went to the actual convention, but would go downtown to check out the "characters" dressed up in their favorite costumes.! Good luck with the book!

    betty

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    1. Thanks! That's awesome. I've always wanted to go to San Diego Comic Con. Maybe one day... :)

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    2. That does sound like an interesting people-watching opportunity even if you don't attend the actual event!

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  15. Great guest post, Shelley! I've never been to a convention, but I've seen plenty of cosplay costumes pop up on Tumblr, and I'm always blown away by them. I can only imagine how much cooler it'd be to see those in person!

    I wouldn't want to see those crazy people in person, though...LOL. That woman insisting you were her daughter sounds especially creepy! o_O

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    1. Thanks, Heather! Many cosplay costumes are absolutely gorgeous. It takes a lot of skill to make nice costumes. (Skill that I don't have. I had help with mine.) ;)

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    2. There are some pretty amazing costumes. Adrienne Curry used to go to those events and post on MySpace about it--of course, I think she was paid to go. But she always looked stunning!

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  16. At least the crazy convention stalker got you ready for fame, right?

    Best of luck Shelley!

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    1. LOL, she's all ready for the spotlight now.

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    2. Thanks! Haha, yeah, I can handle anything now.

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  17. I would love to go to a convention and dress up. :)

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    1. It makes me miss Halloween!!!

      If anyone's getting a 503 Service Unavailable error when they post, sorry about that. Blogger and Google Plus have been acting REALLY annoying the past couple of days. I don't know what they're doing but I wish they'd stop.

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    2. It's a lot of fun! I hope you get to go to one. :)

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  18. Great post! I've been to a lot of geeky conventions too. I love the costumes and cruising the dealers hall. Plus, yeah, the characters. Wow. Inspiration to last centuries! :)

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    1. Reading Shelley's book made me want to go...but I wouldn't know what the heck was going on. I play one game--SongPop--and that isn't the type of game people get passionate enough about to go to a convention!

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    2. Yay, I'm glad you've experienced the fun of conventions! The dealers room is one of my favorite parts.

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  19. There was a convention locally, but I couldn't make myself go. I should probably kick myself for that.

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    1. Do they happen every year? I thought they did! Shows how much I know...

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    2. That's okay. Like Stephanie said, a lot of conventions happen every year, so maybe there will be another one.

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  20. OMG, a stranger thinking you're her daughter....scary.....
    I love your cover. Best of luck with this.

    Steph, you are one busy author today.

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    1. I think everyone's rushing to finish these things up before A to Z!

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    2. Thank you! It was very scary, and she was very convinced.

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  21. Oh there are some weirdos at these conventions but that lady takes the cake. The geeky sad people who don't know how to use shampoo or deodorant are everywhere so are the fat guys who try to be Han Solo or the fat girls who think they are those green sexy gals from Star Trek....sorry to all the fat people out there:) remember I am rubenesque:) Overall nerds rule!

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    1. You look skinny to me! I guess it's great that those girls can live out their dreams. I often look at women who are wearing something that isn't the most flattering for them...but when they wear it with confidence and they feel really good about themselves, you have to kind of admire that!

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    2. Oh, sometimes I wish I could hand out deodorant sticks to people at conventions. The smell gets almost unbearable at times.

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  22. Stephanie- boy are you busy! :)

    I think it is awesome to learn where Shelly got some of her inspiration from. It sounds like she is writing what she know and having lots of fun. Best of luck to her! Great cover. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. She does have an awesome cover!

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    2. Thank you! :) To me, "writing what you know" definitely means writing geeky themed stories.

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  23. I've always wanted to attend some of those conventions! I'm huge into D&D and video games.

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    1. Go for it!!! But you have to take pictures and share.

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    2. Awesome! I love video games and have plans to join a D&D group soon, and conventions are great for people like us!

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  24. Boy, it sounds like you've been to some wild conventions. I think the costumes would be really neat to see.

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    1. Some of the costumes are absolutely gorgeous. But then there's people whose "costumes" are just a hat. There's a wide range of effort!

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  25. Good luck with your book, Shelley! And that woman shouting that you were her daughter is creepy but, man, that would make a GREAT story! My WIP is a child abduction story, so that really caught my attention!

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    1. Thank you, Quanie! Yeah, I've been looking for ways to incorporate that particular incident in my writing.

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  26. Definitely. I used to be one of the only women fencers when I was in college, and when I went to write a fantasy book (I'm a fantasy reader), I decided the MC had to be swords-woman.

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  27. Those conventions always sound like such fun.

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  28. I love Geeks! I consider myself a Semi-Geek which at my age is really fun!

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  29. I have never been to any geek festivals (unless boat shows count or Ham Fest, when I was a kid). Interesting how things happen there.

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  30. I've only made it to a few smaller Con's, but someday I *will* make it to ComicCon. Seriously. (I hope!) I love all the costumes and general air of being okay to geek out about stuff :) Great post!

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  31. One Hundred Thirty Stars sounds quite different from most MG novels because of the comic/anime con background. I haven't been to a con (cos I find it hard to breathe in big crowds) but have always admired those in anime conventions. They are truly passionate about the shows and characters and put so much efforts in their costumes.

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  32. I can relate. None of my relatives understand me...

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