Take Your Author Visit to the Next Level, Cosplay!

When I heard YA author Kendare Blake was going to visit my library I was way excited. Blake’s incredible Anna Dressed in Blood was one of my favorite reads last year. Anna is like a good Supernatural episode, sufficiently scary, hot male protagonist with just enough angst and a seriously awesome ghost. I snagged the ARC of the sequel, The Girl of Nightmares before anyone else and devoured it in a few days. So I was ready for our author visit, or was I?

I had an idea as soon as I read Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna would make an excellent Halloween costume.  Sure not many (or any) people outside of YAdom would get the reference but Anna is a ghost spooky enough on her own that I could pass as “creepy dead girl.” Anna is described in the book as having long dark hair and wearing an old-fashioned white party dress.  When she appears her dress starts dripping blood and her veins go black. Very cool. And very easy. Here are my simple steps to creating this look for very cheap.

My Supplies

White Party Dress – $20 on sale from TJ Maxx although any sort of white dress would work as long as you don’t mind it getting a bit bloody.

White Bloody Tights – A steal for $7 from Party City since I was still trying to figure out if I could find white tights and then how I could dye them to look like blood without it being a huge hassle or mess.

Long Black Wig – A $17 splurge also from Party City because I am currently very blond and didn’t think dyeing my hair black wouldn’t be terribly effective or attractive.

Bottle of Blood – Also $8 from Party City (I seriously love Party City. Its where I got all my stuff for my Hipster Thor costume last year). Get the big bottle. You’ll need it.

How To

I used a disposable aluminum pan to dip the bottom of the dress into the blood. I had my roommate help so I could hold up the top of the dress while she dipped just the bottom and make sure it distributed properly and looked bloody enough. Then I hung it to dry over the sink for a good 24-48 hours. The fake blood I got was slow to dry but looked realistic. The day of I just changed out of my work clothes (yes, I was technically on the clock for this. And what?) and threw on my get up. Luckily I’m a lovely shade of pale so I didn’t use white make-up although I probably will for Halloween and draw some dark veins on as well.  I bought my books for Ms. Blake to sign and waited patiently.

I was worried for a second what everyone would think, a grown women dressed like Halloween in August. And I did get some funny looks but mostly my coworkers laughed and were impressed. They’re used to me by now. And as things turned out Kendare and the fellow authors she was on tour with (the lovely Lisa Desrochers and Marta Acosta) loved my look as well and obliged me with a photo and an autograph. Everyone who attended had a great time and the authors were very generous with their answers and time, sticking around after to chat with fans and crazy librarian who dressed up.

PS – Big thanks to Tor Books and Lake Forest Book Store from bringing Kendare Blake, Lisa Desrochers and Marta Acosta to my library. It really was a great event to kick off the school year in our teen room.


Ultimate Convention Throw Down – Library vs Comic

Well that didn’t take long.  Nothing like getting half way through a self-imposed challenge before completely folding like a cheap tent.  I could spew out some wonderful excuses but facts are facts. Then of course when I really wanted to post this week, while I was at a library conference, I couldn’t because of no free wi-fi.  Okay, so that probably passes for an excuse.  But its a good one.  Because while I was at ILA’s (Illinois Library Association not the International Longshoremen’s Association) Annual Conference I came to the realization that library conferences would be way more awesome if there were more like comic conventions.

Library conventions need more cos playing!

No, not 50 Nancy Pearls running around.  Show some creativity.  Most library conventions come down hard on the side of professional.  While I never balk at the chance to pull out my super cute wear that I deem too fancified for everyday use, others seem to follow their everyday uniforms.  This is our chance to show off not just our professional accomplishments but our unique personalities.  And where’s the librarian’s Masquerade?  There could be different categories, favorite fictional characters, best dead author impersonation, Harry Potter.

Hi Eye Candy. Aren't you scrumptious?

More entertainment panels!

Not saying run out and get low-rent celebrities but what about mixing things up with the presentations.  Conferences offer a unique opportunity to share ideas and best practices but sometimes the presentations can be dry and one-way conversations.  There should be a wider mix of types of presentations and dear lawd, less POWER POINT!  Some hot eye candy wouldn’t hurt either.

More videos!

I want to take a second to give a big hell yeah to the ILA Video Shootout team.  They encouraged con goers this week to shoot and edit videos from scratch.  It probably got some people out of their comfort zone but also gave them hardcore skills they can take away.  (Why didn’t I make one? See above various excuses.  Lame.  I Know.)  Library cons need more of these active, rather than passive activities to get people mixing, mingling and gasp, playing!

More hype!

My C2E2 peeps are already gearing up for our third year of rocking the McCormick Center, nerd style.  There is year round anticipation.  While some library cons attract that kind of dedication for many it just inspires jealousy and heartache.  Library conventions aren’t cheap.  It’s the sad fact that it’s cost prohibited for many people to attend the bigger library cons unless they get help from their organizations.  They are also, oddly, on weekdays.  I understand there’s probably some discounting and flexibility in scheduling a conference during the week but it also limits attendance to those that can/afford to take the time off their jobs.

So what are some ways we can get library cons up to comic con standards?  First, make them cheaper.  Second, make the presentation selection process as simple and transparent as possible.  Third, encourage cosplay.  Fourth hold smaller, informal events (think Librarian Bar Crawl, Kidlit Drink Nights) throughout the year to keep interest and excitement up.  Fifth, incorporate more active participation like video contests.  Sixth, invite more eye candy.  Yum.

So let’s be even more like the real library superheroes we are and we need right now!

Oh hai, Eye Candy. You seem to have lost your shirt. Shame.