Do You Have Angst?: Cons and Costumes

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cons and Costumes

About two years ago I sought a way to promote my first fantasy novel Angst in some way other than Twitter.  I really wanted to meet people who loved fantasy and science fiction as much as I do. My goal wasn’t just to find customers, I wanted to actually make friends and create a discourse where people who read my books felt included. I wanted, and still want, everyone to feel like they can say hi, ask questions, and be a part of this thing I’m trying to do.

I discovered ConQuesT, a long running and well respected Science Fiction and Fantasy convention here in Kansas City, and purchased a dealer table. I hadn’t been to a con since high school and didn’t have a clue what to expect. I assumed there would be other indie writers there, and was concerned I’d be lost in the crowd. I wanted to do more than bring a stack of books.

I came across a picture of Mandy in her Red Sonja costume from Comicon, and shared it with my friend Allie. Allie has been very supportive of my writing and was excited about wearing a costume, especially if it covered a bit more. Using pop can tab technology I crafted my first creation, a “chain mail” skirt and top. While the skirt wasn’t comfortable, and impossible to sit in, it was light, shiny, and looked great. (As did she!) Everyone loved the whole package, Allie in her costume, her personality, and we gave away a poster of her in the costume with every purchase. I sold books, made friends, and haven’t gotten off the ride yet!

After a year of cons Allie retired (hey, it’s a lot of work being famous!) Fortunately I was saved from going to cons alone by my dear friend Cristi. Cristi is on my alpha team for critiquing the book and knows all about Angst, and Buried in Angst. She’s also gorgeous, and fun! So I got to work on a second costume last year that utilized aluminum scales. It was a great year, we went to even more conventions, sold a lot of books, and had an awesome time. I’m excited that Cristi has agreed to come back to cons with me again in 2014!

I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I made her wear the same old costume without anything cool to change into! So in December I started my new project. I wanted to go back to pop can tabs. I like working with them, they look great, and I had learned a lot from Allie’s original costume.

Creating the costume is a labor of love. I’ve had no formal training in sewing, tailoring, or any related
skill, just ideas, patience, and a very helpful wife. After a month and a half of late nights and pin pricked thumbs, I finally finished a new chain mail costume for Cristi. Let me tell you that Cristi didn’t exactly have the easy job. Not only was she incredibly patient with me and my constant requests to try on the costume as I was making it, she’s also been working out every week to look as amazing as she does. Cristi's boyfriend, Brandon, put her on a weight lifting program that has even looking even better than last year. My thanks to them both.

The end result is awesome, and fun! Cristi will be appearing with me at conventions throughout 2014, and both last year’s poster, and the new poster below, will be available with every book purchase made at cons.  To see if we are coming to a science fiction and fantasy convention near you, be sure to check out the current list here.

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