Your tribe is the people outside your family who become family. That’s it. It can be simple to find them, or it can take years. For me, it took until I started writing as a serious pursuit, unlocking the years of memories about books, movies, comics, and art. All of these things fire my imagination like the inside of a star. It’s relentless and compelling and there is unalloyed joy in sharing it with people who not only like the things you like, but they get you.
So, back to back I’ve had two weekends with My Tribe. The first was Utopiacon, where fiction writers I know– and did not know– mingled with fans over three days of celebrating books. It’s a powerful sensation to realize that there are other humans who feel the same giddiness over books. Their imaginations share DNA with mine, and the overlapping areas of our fandoms are where we find common ground and bond (likely for life).
Then came LibertyCon. And this. . .headgear.
Your tribe foments creativity and laughter and thought. Your tribe makes you want to be better at what you do, and causes unabashed admiration for others who share your pursuit. It’s loud and grand and caring, and every minute of it flies by in a whirl of color and fun.
Something else happens, too. I’ve written five thousand words since coming home from the event, no small feat given my lack of sleep. Why is this? Simple. Your tribe stokes the boilers and makes creativity readily on tap. It’s a side effect of magical purpose, leaving you exhilarated and wide-eyed with the prospects of the coming days, eager to create and share.
I waited a long time to find my tribe, only to find that they were here all along. It’s up to you to find yours, but that’s the simplest part: find out where you can be weird, and revel in it.
Cheers for now. Gotta write. Maybe sleep. Mostly, write.
It’s October. That means that eating peanut butter cups every day isn’t just fun, it’s patriotic. I consider it my solemn duty to support the United States economy by consuming as much candy as possible in and around holidays where gorging on chocolate is perfectly acceptable. Did you know that Reese’s has a peanut butter cup the size of a manhole cover? It’s true. They weigh a pound. Before anyone asks, YES I have a source and YES I will be eating them, quietly in my car why I think about my life and where it’s going but it’s so good and I think I can finish before–
Anyway. So, Outlander announced a few tidbits, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. First, they’re giving us EVEN more Culodden– which really makes sense, as the event is nothing short of apocalyptic for Claire, Jamie, and the wider world they inhabit. Some of the images are nothing short of emotional terrorism. The mood, the lighting– it’s all there.
Let me tell you– there’s nothing glorious in the dead. That image captures the desolation of the Scottish way of life, and what must be an utter horror show in Claire’s heart as she walks the killing grounds. I love the books, but the visual nature of this upcoming season will, for me, clinch this series as among my all-time favorites. To sum up: expect me to unleash my Inner Basic White Girl next season. I’ll more or less react as follows:
Another thing. Am I the only one who feels a deep sense of anger at the British Empire in general after I watch this show? I think the Queen is likely a delightful lady. Kate’s lovely, the kid are predictably cute, but reading and watching about how the Scots were gutted leaves me simmering with righteous indignation. It speaks to the power of the story and show that I can feel like I need to go back in time and personally vanquish the redcoats and their empire.
Bonus for inclusion of my manatee meme. A few more days until Heartborn comes out in audio. Julia Whelan is unreal. Here’s her official bio: Julia Whelan has appeared in many films and television series, most notably ABC’s Once And Again. After receiving a degree in English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College and Oxford University, Julia began narrating audiobooks. She’s recorded hundreds of novels across all genres and has received multiple Earphones and Audie Awards. She is repeatedly named one of Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices and was Audible’s Narrator of the Year. And, meet Julia:
So, if you’d love to hear a book come to life, I can help you out. Heartborn goes live at Audible this week. Time to write. And maybe eat candy. All at once. Cheers! Terry
Amazing. I ran out of superlatives about thirty minutes into the episode, and didn’t really process everything until some time later. The key to Outlander is making fictional people as real as the historical figures they’re surrounded by. Case in point: Bonnie Prince Charlie. Survey says– throat punch. Good Lord, how did someone like that ever aspire to be anything other than a professional coward? Kudos to Andrew Gower for taking a role playing someone so reviled.
And– lest I forget to give credit where it’s due– I was on the fence about Sophie Skelton as Brianna. After watching her performance ( and that of Roger Mac, too) I’m all in. Additional fun fact: I was born in 1968, and up until this episode, I sort of thought people in the 60’s were hairy, kind of stinky, and prone to odd rebellion. It’s delightful to see then characterized as civilized people who enjoy whiskey, soap, and tweed. I was even able to get over her rather normal height of 5’8″.
So, I teach history, and maybe that’s why Outlander has such an emotional punch. I mean, I’m a middle-aged male, I don’t cry during movies, unless it’s Patton or Midway or maybe Godzilla once but dammit that was sad wen I thought he was dead and– Never mind, the point is that Outlander has an enormous emotional wallop. It seems to be populated with people that I might actually know, despite them being Scottish, and born before me, and wholly fictional. That’s the beauty of it. Outlander also reinforces some stereotypes that, while unfair, certainly do make sense when we see them on camera.
Also, it’s really difficult not to paint the entire United Kingdom as a giant bowl of dicks. They really had a way with people for the past thousand years or so, didn’t they? The windswept heartbreak of Culloden in the modern shots with Claire are haunting– I think that Cait’s acting was supreme. How could you not cry telling the life story of your one true love while on the bones of real people who died screaming in cannon fire? For the hundredth time: glad I’m not an actor. I’d have to run naked and scream for a week to get rid of the psychic stain of that performance, and in turn, would scar any number of people who saw me naked and screaming. It’s a vicious cycle, people, and I won’t let it happen. So, now we wait, right? Sigh. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’m going to go write another book or two. I’ve got three planned for this year, three for next. That means I can run and re-listen to the excellent performance of Davina Porter in the Outlander audiobooks. If you haven’t listened, you don’t know what you’re missing! Have you gotten my newest in the Halfway Witchy series? Why not? How am I going to pay for my giraffe? Get it here! Help Terry Get His Giraffe, And Stuff.
See you in a week or so with the new cover! I’ve got a new series this September, and I love the characters. The tagline: “Her guardian angel didn’t fall. He was pushed.” Interested? Cheers! Terry
As an American, I’m legally obligated to run on a treadmill. It’s the law. After finding myself in the midst of Droughtlander (Between seasons one and two) and with no available movies involving: Dinosaurs Space Travel Volcanoes Redheads travelling in space with dinosaurs, I was forced to spread my net wider. I found Poldark, and I’m thrilled. It has everything I want in a period drama, as noted below. Let’s begin with the titular star, a swarthy Irish actor who acts as a masculine counterpoint to everyone except the miners who occasionally grace the screen:
Also, am I the only person who finds his name– Ross– to be sort of “surfer”? It isn’t exactly what I expected for 18th Century Cornwall, but then again, I’ve never been to Cornwall. Maybe everyone there is into skateboarding and the X Games, instead of horrific tin mines and petty political intrigue. Naturally, there’s a foil. In this case, the weenie in question is a foppish banker with curls that wouldn’t look out of place on an American Girl doll. He’s oily, and underhanded, and apparently only engages in two activities: playing cards and sneering.
George (the weenie) gets advice from a gravelly-voiced Alpha Male type who sounds like he was raised eating asbestos and the dreams of children. He’s a perfect addition to the general douchebaggery of the banking interest as a negative character:
Then, of course, we have the ladies. They are wildly divergent in their look and carriage, but it’s easy to see who fills what role. Hat tip to the actresses, who are, in a word, superb. We begin with a character who actually cleaves close to the truth of our modern world. Meet Verity, who is supposed to be so plain and bereft of sexual appeal that she’s made it to the age of twenty-five (WHUT?) without being offered the position of babymaker in someone’s home. I find her rather lovely and charismatic, actually. I felt the collective shiver among female viewers when she announced that, at the advanced age of 25, she had few prospects for marriage. Quelle horreur!
Then, we move on to the central female figure who Russ has crossed an ocean to reclaim. Alas, he was weenie-blocked, but that won’t stop us from enjoying any number of closeup shots of the radiant English Rose, Elizabeth. Without further ado:
Now that’s not to say all of the women are of such fine breeding. May I introduce the surly, curmudgeonly, ill-groomed, wheezing and venal hired help? Beatie Edney (lovely in real life), is the antithesis of– well, soap. And bathing. And not spitting on the floor. Stuff like that.
There’s the requisite prostitute, who has perfect teeth, skin, boobs, ass, and is shockingly free of things like “lice” and “syphilis”. If her character is even close to an accurate portrayal of Cornish women in the 18th century, then I’d like to personally urge the development of time travel at our nearest possible moment.
We conclude with the ugly duckling, Demelza. I think their casting went sort of like this: Take beautiful actress. Rub dirt on her. Voila!
It’s an excellent cast, with everything I want in a series. For the first hour, I was concerned that all Russ would be doing was riding his horse back and forth between two locations, but he eventually stopped long enough to do all of that Poldark stuff while gritting his teeth and looking wistfully at the rolling Cornish vistas and/or heaving bosoms of women. My only question: HOW did they find that much sunlight to shoot in? It’s like the South of France, but with powdered wigs and rowdy miners. I’m thrilled that there will be a second season. I blog about Outlander, too. Check out some past posts while we endure Droughtlander. And if you like fantasy, paranormal, or thrillers, may I suggest my newest release? Halfway Bitten
We’re giving away audiobooks and paperbacks at 2500 and 3000 twitter followers, respectively– have we connected yet? @TerryMaggert
As promised, here are a few pics from the festivities. I had not one but two cosplayers who brought Saavin Roark (from Banshee) to life. It was a little bit surreal. Both Jessica and Abby were— well, they made me wonder. Was it just me, or was I a complete idiot when I was a teenager? These two young women were knowledgeable, dedicated, and far more professional than I could have been at that age. To sum up, it was amazing.
Here’s Jessica on day one:
She even made that cool Whisperskin armor. Amazing. Then, on day two, Abby took over:
I learned a great deal about cosplay. It’s fascinating, and the character of Saavin will continue to evolve as time goes on. Also, let’s face it: if I could wear Whisperskin dragon combat armor to a restaurant, I would. It’s just cool.
Without further ado, a few more cosplayers:
Armed. Deadly. Purple.
The creativity– not to mention sewing skills– is remarkable.
Dangerously close to being haute couture.
There was a sort of unbridled joy at the whole thing. I like that. You could see it in the faces of the people milling around, having a blast. These sisters, Serena and Lydia, sum that up in the way that they wandered around making friends and causing general shenanigans.
There were also vampire teeth, contacts, and other body mods that gave certain cosplayers an otherworldy air:
Why no officer, I haven’t been drinking. Alcohol, that is.
All in all, it was a one-of-a-kind weekend. I’ll be going back. I met a ton of new readers, learned about new books/comics/films, and discovered the wonder of Cons as a sort of social construct.
I frequently ask people, “What’s you favorite book?” The answers are often surprising. I’ve learned about authors and books that are utterly new to me; in that sense, it’s one of the best questions you can ask someone. So without further ado– what’s your favorite book, and why? Cheers, Terry
I didn’t bother to look it up. What qualifies as Antique?
I know I’m getting perilously close to being old because the books I read as a kid are now valuable. My school lunchbox is probably worth a hundred bucks, easily, and that’s assuming I don’t clean out the fossilized peanut butter residue. The difference between old books and antiques is that I read my books and enjoy them. I don’t gaze at them, dust them, or forget about them as a relic of a bygone era. And I may be strange for saying this, but old books just smell good.
My Bookshelf: From the age of four, my bookshelf centered on the following topics: 1. Dinosaurs 2. Rockets 3. Volcanoes 4. Dragons 5. Monsters 6. Fossils 7. Any combination of the above, but in space. I present exhibit one, a 1956 volume that is now so out of date is exists only as a relic. Sort of the way I will be someday, but with less complaining about the temperature of my soup.
Let’s take a look inside this beauty.
Gorgeous. I love everything about this book. From the tales of hunting fossils in the Gobi Desert to Montana, it’s amazing. I also learned that my love for reading had some serious effects on my life. Case in point: while other students were actually doingmath, I was busy writing stories about aliens that came up from secret tunnels in the bottom of farm ponds which naturally connected to another dimension and oh by the way, they look a lot like snapping turtles. I present the following evidence from 1983, my Freshman year of high school:
Ouch. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a student who will go on to achieve great things in History. I’ve been pawing through my old books; there are titles in my collection that I’d nearly forgotten, but when I pick them up the entire story floods back to me like a returning tide. I love my old books. They’re a record of what I was doing (or not doing–math) and not unlike an old group of friends who will wait for your forever. Books are loyal. Stories are permanent, as long as we remember them.