Saratoga FanCon in Review

This past Saturday I was proud to be a guest at the Saratoga FanCon at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Saratoga FanCon is a free, all-ages comics & pop culture event. They had guests from a variety of fandoms including, comics, manga, gaming, fan art, cosplay, and more! Their mission is to promote geekery, fandom, and pop culture for all in our community!

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The FanCon had a lot of good energy and some great cosplayers, including DeadPool, Green Arrow, multiple Spidermen, and more. There was a Smash Bros competition and a panel on writing for comic books presented by two industry writers, Mike Raicht and Steve Orlando.

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At the event, I had signed copies of my book, Grigory’s Gadget candles, and copies of the Gaslight Frontier map available. Unfortunately, I forgot my Grigory’s Gadget teas and Steamship Pirate t-shirts back in Buffalo…approximately 300 miles away. Despite that blunder, I had a great time, and hope they’d have me back again next year!

Meet the Characters: Anya Filipova

(Image Credit: Galia Jelnova)

For this series, I’m going to delve into the characters of Grigory’s Gadget in the style of those fun/silly surveys that pop-up on social media from time-to-time. I’ll also include name pronunciation, because I know a lot of people have been asking about that! (That being said, you can pronounce the names of my characters however you like, I’ll just be listing the “official” pronunciation) This post will be about Anya Filipova.

WARNING: Mild spoilers for Grigory’s Gadget contained in this post!

Name: Anya Filipova (AHN-yah fil-LEE-poh-vah, alternatively AHN-yah fil-ih-POH-vah)

Name Meaning: Anya- Russian form of Anna which derives from Hannah, meaning “favor” or “grace”; Filipova- feminine form of Filipov meaning “son of Filip”, Filip being a cognate of Philip meaning “friend of horses”

Age: early 20s

Physical Appearance: Golden-tan skin, light brown wavy hair, light brown eyes, thin

Hometown: Lodninsk, Morozhia (LOHD-ninsk, moh-ROHZH-ya)

Family: Father and older brother died in a cave-in at the Lodninsk mines, which was caused by the Skarbniki revolt; mother died from a plague that swept through the city

Relationship Status: in a somewhat complicated relationship with Alexi Sokoll

Education: Mostly apprenticeships, learning crafts like sewing and soldering

Religion: None

Greatest Strengths: Natural leader, assertive

Greatest Weaknesses: Quickly becomes frustrated by others

Favorite Color: Purple

Hobbies: Sewing, crocheting, “dance lessons” (secret code which actually refers to sword fighting lessons)

Biggest Goal in Life: Seeking adventure; wants to collect new and exciting experiences

Traveling West for Inspiration!

Okay, actually, I’m traveling to visit my bf, but inspiration for Serafima’s Stone is a bonus!

Specifically, I’m traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you’ve read Grigory’s Gadget, you may be wondering, How the heck will Albuquerque be inspirational?? Well, if you keep up with my blog and/or newsletter, you know that a good portion of Serafima’s Stone takes place in a fantastical Old West setting. The desert setting should help give my muse the kick-in-the-pants it needs lately.

The main source of writing inspiration I’m looking forward to is a trip to Monument Valley, which lies around the border of Utah and Arizona. You may recognize the valley from Every Western Scene Ever Filmed Ever.

The Searchers

The Searchers (1956)


National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Back to the Future III

Back to the Future III (1990)

You get the gist.

I’m finally starting to get over the horrible writers block I’ve been suffering from (well, now I’ve jinxed it!) and I think heading out west will help keep the momentum going.

Happy Pride Week!

It’s Pride Week here in Buffalo, NY, a celebration of the LGBT community. I’ll be walking in the Pride Parade this Sunday with Relativity BellyDance along with the Dance Days of Buffalo float. (We walked in the parade last year and learned the hard way that 1 bottle of water is not enough, and dancing for the entire 2 mile stretch is a BAD idea. We are more prepared this year!) President Obama also declared the entire month of June to be LGBT Pride Month!

Here’s a great post from the WordPress Blog last year that they wrote shortly after the SCOTUS ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the US. In the post, they link to various LGBT bloggers and posts.

Who are some of your favorite LGBT authors or characters? My favorites include the author Clive Barker, and the characters Professor Lyall and Biffy (oh how I love them!) from The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.