Category Archives: cosplay

How to Keep Halloween Safe and Happy


by Lillian Csernica on October 3, 2017

TealPumpkinProject

Holidays at my house are always a bit out of the ordinary. We don’t do ordinary, or normal, or any of those just-like-everybody-else words.

My boys are too old to trick-or-treat these days, but they do love dressing up in costume, and they will never say no to treats.

Michael in knight costume2

My older son does not eat by mouth. He has a g-tube which feeds a liquid diet directly into his stomach. He loves toys, games, arts and crafts, so non-food treats are fine with him.

FanimeJohn

My younger son is allergic to peanuts. They are EVERYWHERE, especially when it comes to candy. There are a lot of safe candy options, as well as healthy alternatives and non-food items.

For the past four years I have been careful to have two bowls for trick-or-treaters. One has a mix of chocolate and non-chocolate candy. The other has a variety of non-food treats such as Halloween-themed bubbles, stickers, baby Slinkies, and glow sticks. I also keep a supply of prizes I give out to individuals and/or families who have created costumes that I think are really special.

Two years ago, I discovered the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Families like mine all over the country (and quite possibly the world) face the dilemma of wanting their children to participate in Halloween and enjoy all the fun the other kids are having. When you put a teal pumpkin on the porch, you send a very bright and welcome signal. You tell families like mine that you get it. You are aware of food allergies and related health problems and you are prepared. Come one, come all! You have goodies to suit everybody’s wants and needs.

This Halloween I look forward to putting my teal pumpkin in a prominent place on my porch so everybody will know when they yell “Trick or Treat!” at my house, they won’t go away empty-handed. On the contrary. We usually have so much that by the end of the night I encourage the older trick or treaters to take a handful.

Please support the Teal Pumpkin Project. Let’s make this a safe, happy Halloween for everyone!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under autism, charity, chocolate, classics, cosplay, creativity, doctors, Family, family tradition, Food, frustration, Halloween, Horror, neurodiversity, parenting, special education, Special needs, therapy

Talk Like a Pirate Day


by Lillian Csernica on September 19, 2017

This is a very special day for me, dear to my heart for three important reasons.

ChristopherFortune

First, I met my husband of thirty years at the Northern Renaissance Faire where he was playing a pirate aboard the good ship Cardiff Rose, aka the fencing booth. See that tall, dark, handsome fellow in the middle? Bosun’s Mate Christopher Fortune!

5102oqewu2bl

Second, my first published romance novel, Ship of Dreams, is a love story between an English Lady and a notorious French pirate. There are sea battles and sword fights and many people talking like pirates in English, French, and Spanish. I had such a good time writing this book!

82500aa41ec88574e56bbf7d1276148c-pirate-images-father-christmas

pinterest.com

Third, I once received a letter to Santa Claus that asked Santa what he thought about pirates. (I volunteer every holiday season at my local post office, replying to the letters the local kids write to Santa Claus.) This took some thinking on my part. Hollywood has done a lot to romanticize what pirates were and what they did. Speaking on behalf of Santa Claus, I had to strike a balance between truth and a child’s sense of adventure.

In the letter from Santa I said that the real pirates of history weren’t very nice people. They tended to get a lot of coal in their stockings. Santa Claus does believe that pretending to be a pirate can be a lot of fun. You find out amazing things about sailing ships, life at sea, and all the different kinds of treasure pirates captured.

The boy who wrote this letter to Santa Claus happened to live in my neighborhood. The next time I crossed paths with his mother, she told me all about how excited her son had been to get a reply from Santa himself. She thought the answers to the pirate questions were just right. I love it when I hear how much the kids enjoy their letters!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, cosplay, dreams, Family, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Humor, legend, love, marriage, pirates, publication, tall ships

Universal Fun!


by Lillian Csernica on June 24, 2017

ushlogo

Tomorrow John and I will fly down to Los Angeles and spend a few days enjoying the wonders of Universal Studios Hollywood.

John has been talking about seeing Universal Studios ever since he first heard about it many years ago. Chris and I decided that a trip to this previously unexplored land of movie magic makes the perfect graduation gift for our boy.

univholly

bunnellband.org

John and I have studied the map. We’ve discussed what we each want to see the most. Today we’ve been packing our bags. Tomorrow we take our first plane trip together. I’m pretty sure what John is looking forward to the most is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

harrypotteruniversalhollywood-768x768

fun-squared.com

Me, I’m looking forward to the air conditioning on the plane, at the hotel, and on many of the rides. I’m not a big fan of heat, preferring autumn and winter to summer. I suppose this is an indicator of my advancing years. Insane roller coasters are great, but they lost their appeal for me after I reached my late twenties.

img_1520

Even so, I can’t wait to watch the Special Effects Show with John, to get silly in the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem area, and probably scream at least once on the Jurassic Park ride. Best of all, I finally get to drink butter beer and hang out at Ollivander’s where Harry Potter’s wand chose him!

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Grand OpeningPublicity

virgula.uol.com.br

 

My grandfather worked in the movies. My mother has appeared as an extra in several. I did some writing for the movies, once upon a time. And now my son loves movies just as much as the previous generations in our family have.

Watch for my trip report once we’re home again!

universal-studios-hollywood

thevalley.net

4 Comments

Filed under autism, bad movies, classics, cosplay, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, Food, history, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, science fiction, Special needs, steampunk, sword and sorcery, travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Where You Should Be This Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on May 26, 2017

road-trip-13

It’s that time again! Convention season is well underway, and Memorial Day Weekend is a high point. This weekend you can find me at two, count ’em, TWO conventions!

sitebanner470x246

Clockwork Alchemy:

Saturday in particular promises to be a blast.

11:30 to 1 p.m. — Steampunk DIY! This year we’ll be making earrings. Get it it gear (ho ho ho) and join us!

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Steampunk, Satire, and Society

itve-c3s

BayCon:

Sunday is my busy day!

1:40 p.m. (Connect 5)  My reading! Come listen to an exciting excerpt from my newest Kyoto Steampunk story, “The Wheel of Misfortune.”

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Synergy 1) Historical Writing

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Connect 1) The Truth About Stuff!

I’ve come up with some rather unique items in the way of promo swag. Find me and see what heights of creative memorabilia could be yours!

stock-vector-brightly-colorful-firework-isolated-on-white-background-vector-illustration-158057198

2 Comments

Filed under artists, charity, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, dreams, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, pirates, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, travel

The Greatest Job I’ve Ever Had


by Lillian Csernica on September 17, 2016

bellydancejob2

Yes, that’s me. Granted, I was all of eighteen.

Once upon a time, I worked as a Turkish-Moroccan belly dancer. My teacher was a delightful lady from Zaragoza, Spain. I had a genuine, 100% authentic coin belt made by a  man from Turkey. The belt had 144 diamond-shaped metal coins stamped with the image of Venus on the Half-Shell.

avshell

I performed in my high school talent show. The audience actually threw money at the stage. That in itself was funny. Then the stagehands gathered it all up and brought it to me backstage!

My teacher often took me with her when she’d been hired for a party. During the holiday season, we appeared as part of a steady stream of entertainers at a bachelor party. Just one piece of art on the walls in that house could have put me through college. That was the night I got the biggest tip I’d ever received. Some generous soul stuffed a $10 bill down the back of my coin belt!

Ah, the places I’ve been and the things that I’ve seen….

bellydancer

10 Comments

Filed under artists, birthday, charity, cosplay, fantasy, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, Small business, travel

How We Survived a Three Convention Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on June 4, 2016

stock-vector-future-science-fiction-a-couple-of-people-and-the-robot-391532056

Hi, gang. I made it through all four days of Clockwork Alchemy, BayCon, and Fanime.I would have written this post sooner, but the sudden discovery of John being WAY behind on preparing his Final presentation/exam in one of his classes caused me to devote what energies I had to making sure he met today’s deadline. I love that boy dearly, but some days he makes me crazy.

The weekend was packed with memorable moments.  This was John’s first time really participating in conventions.  (He did make a brief appearance at the Meet the Guest Reception of one BayCon about ten or twelve years ago. We had to keep him away from the buffet and out from under everybody else’s tables.) It was a spectacular weekend!  John even won a Hall Costume Award for his steampunk attire.

FanimeJohn.jpg

Technolo-John meets Mega Man!

John had quite a few adventures, including playing the communications officer aboard the Starship Artemis. He made a light saber in one of the DIY workshops, and he discovered the joys of hanging out in the Hospitality Suite having munchies and watching “Wheel of Fortune” on a big plasma screen.  That might sound silly, but I was pleased to see John guessing the solutions with everybody else.

At Fanime, all the people in costume blew John’s mind. He’d been hoping to meet some of his favorite superheroes. Sure enough, one man was dressed as Nightwing, and one young lady wore a Raven costume. Raven told John how much she liked his steampunk outfit. That had him walking on air!

Business was good. I sold all but one of the anthology copies I brought with me.  Gave away all the beaded space-theme bookmarks and the Japanese art print bookmarks, all of which had this here blog’s URL on the back.  Shameless Self-Promotion! John got to see people asking me for my autograph as I signed their copies.  This is my idea of Take Your Kid To Work Day. Now John knows that I really am (kinda) famous.

Yarn Doll

Courtesy of Leigh Flynn

At Clockwork Alchemy on Sunday morning I had a good time teaching the Victorian Yarn Doll DIY.  Yarn colors included forest green, wine red, and navy blue, as well as what I like to call the “steampunk rainbow.” This is a yarn made up of several jewel tone colors suitable for the steampunk era. Traditional Victorian yarn dolls are either boys or girls.  Out of respect for the gender fluid community, I wanted to provide materials that were both inclusive and diverse. If you’re interested in making yarn dolls, Pinterest is a gold mine of methods, styles, and materials.

Mixy Award

This is the Mixy Award, created by Steve Mix in honor of those people who he feels deserve recognition for their ongoing contributions to fandom and the convention community.  At this year’s BayCon, Steve granted me the honor of presenting the Mixy to none other than my best friend and co-conspirator, Pat MacEwen.  Convincing her to bring the spiffy clothes and dress up on Saturday night was a bit of a challenge, because of course I couldn’t tell her why.

w0006-01

Steve Mix was also responsible for the D20 challenge.  Several of us who are gamers past or present brought our best D20s to the con.  Whenever some of us would cross paths, we’d roll against each other. Best of five was the general rule.  Whoever won got to keep all the dice involved in that particular round.  I brought five D20s with me, and I left with five D20s, so I broke even.

In the bar of the San Mateo Marriott, the tables are glass.  That meant that in the evening when we had anywhere from three to seven people rolling at once, we made a glorious racket!  (I have to give the staff of the hotel credit.  They embraced the weirdness that is fandom like good sports.  The valets were having a great time collecting badge ribbons.) Steve has the best D20.  It’s made of some kind of metal, and it rolls high and hard.  I told him he should name it the “Deathstar D20”!

SnowJedi

The Snow Jedi

I’m going to break one of my own rules here and post a photo of myself in my jammies. That is indeed the very light saber John made.  This goes to show how much fun I was having. I actually asked Pat to take a photo of me looking like this. This had to be my best Clockwork/Fanime/BayCon ever!

stock-photo-steampunk-science-fiction-concept-as-a-fantasy-mechanical-human-head-made-of-gears-and-cogs-wearing-201300635

4 Comments

Filed under art show, artists, autism, Awards, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, editing, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Goals, historical fiction, homework, Humor, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, publication, Special needs, steampunk, travel, Writing

See Me Live and In Person!


by Lillian Csernica on May 27, 2016

Come one, come all!  See me make a public spectacle of myself in the best sense as I talk about writing and history.  I’ll be demonstrating the making of Victorian yarn dolls!  Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

cihectmugaes6qm

BayCon 2016: It’s All About Space!

Magic Vs. Religion

Friday 13:00 – 14:30, Collaborate 2 (San Mateo Marriott)

Does it matter to the characters? Does it matter to the readers?

Jay Hartlove (M), Lillian Csernica, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Maria Nieto, Teresa Edgerton

Monks in Space

Saturday 10:00 – 11:30, Synergy 5 (San Mateo Marriott)

Many monastic traditions stress the importance of silence and solitude. Leaving behind all the material comforts of Earth for the “final frontier” of dwelling in a monastic community or as a hermit in space would take on additional significance and spiritual impact. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism all have monastic traditions. The First Nation Peoples the traditions of solitude, fasting, and appealing to the spirits to grant a vision of that person’s purpose in life. The mission into space could be a vision quest, or the result of it!

Lillian Csernica (M), Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Jennifer Nestojko, G. David Nordley

Autograph Session: Csernica, MacEwen and Wade

Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Convene Lobby (San Mateo Marriott)

Juliette Wade, Lillian Csernica, Patricia H. MacEwen

The Space To Move Forward

Sunday 16:00 – 17:30, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Using creativity to counter depression, PTSD and survivors guilt

Steven Mix (M), Lillian Csernica, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Fr John Blaker

So You’re Ready to Publish

Monday 13:00 – 14:30, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Do you Self-Publish or Traditiional Publish? Get an agent or try to go it alone?

J. L. Doty (M), Lillian Csernica, Teresa Edgerton, Kyle Aisteach

 

ca_logo_2016

Clockwork Alchemy: The Arts of Steampunk
The Undiscovered Countries

Saturday 7pm – 8:50pm Location: The Academy (San Martin Room)

————————

DIY Victorian Yarn Dolls

Sunday 10am – 11:50am Location: The Workshop (San Juan Room)

————————

The 3 Rules of Writing Historic Fiction

Monday 11am – 11:50am Location: Author’s Salon (Monterey Room)

 

1 Comment

Filed under art show, artists, Conventions, cosplay, dreams, editing, fairy tales, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, pirates, publication, research, romance, science fiction, special education, steampunk, Writing

Steampunk Scribes


by Lillian Csernica on April 21, 2016

 

A delightful Q&A article between The Punkettes and some of us who have contributed stories to 30 Days Later can be found HERE.

 

30dl-front-cover-1000px

Leave a comment

Filed under artists, charity, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, editing, fairy tales, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, Writing

D is for Drinkable


by Lillian Csernica on April 5, 2016

In my many travels I have encountered a variety of drinks.  Here are a few of the more entertaining beverages, notable for both their flavors and the stories that go with them.

 

coppercraft-distillery-applejack-apple-brandy

Apple jack or Apfeljack — During my visit to the Netherlands, my host sisters and I would spend Thursday nights at the disco in the next city.  The cover charge included a two drink minimum.  In late June the Netherlands can still feel like November in California, so my preferred drink would be apple jack.  I strongly suspect the drinks were watered, which was probably a good thing.  One night somebody told me a particular guy wanted to dance with me.  Turns out he was a big, gorgeous Dutch soldier who had just turned 18.  Andre and I enjoyed more than one dance.  I tell you, apple jack makes for excellent antifreeze when you’re running to catch the last train home!

bottled-water1

Bottled water — These days you see people carrying spiffy personalized water bottles all the time.  When I was in Paris, this was a strange sight.  I chalked it up to one more thing the Europeans did differently than people from the U.S.  When it comes to “sparkling water,” that does make a good alternative to soda if you like the fizz and don’t want the sugar.  As I continue to battle my Coca-Cola addiction, sparkling water is my friend!

stock-vector-fire-breathing-dragon-293207381

Dragon’s Breath — There are so many recipes and so many individual variations that I can only point you to Google.  Back in the days when I was working at the Renaissance Faire, before I got married, I had a close encounter of the personal kind with a homemade liqueur named Dragon’s Breath.  In those days I worked for a jeweler.  Our booth was set up right next to the legendary Cardiff Rose, the fencing booth designed to look like a privateer vessel.  One day a pirate privateer came calling with a jug of Dragon’s Breath.  I knew the fellow by sight as one of our Faire neighbors, so I felt fairly safe in taking a swig of the brew in the ceramic jug.  Oh my stars and garters!  Imagine mulled wine with a good dose of brandy.  Before my shock could fade, said privateer grabbed me and kissed me.  Ever chewed a peppermint or cinnamon candy then inhaled really fast?  The kiss felt a whole lot like that!

0f4b1715b2bcb60df1175a8801b444c9

Melon soda — I first encountered this divine beverage at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park.  It came with the meal I ordered at one of the park’s restaurants.  Not overly sweet, similar to honeydew melon, and even better when made into a float with vanilla ice cream.  Bonus: the melon soda came in a souvenir mug shaped like the hanging paper lanterns that decorated the Park.  The Park’s name and logo are written on the side in kanji.

microbrews

Seattle microbrews — My latest trip to Seattle for Norwescon 39 featured a pumpkin beer party that also furthered my acquaintance with a few more of the spectacular microbrews of the city known mainly for coffee.  I regret not writing down the names of each beer.  One tasted of coffee and hazelnuts, much to my delight.  Another had plenty of ginger.  A strong, bitter brew left me thirsty for plain water.  I’m just happy nobody took photos of me there.  The dress code required me to borrow a helmet made from half a pumpkin with some horns stuck into it!

free-vector-drinks-clip-art_112737_drinks_clip_art_hight

15 Comments

Filed under Blog challenges, Conventions, cosplay, fantasy, Food, Goals, history, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, research, tall ships, travel, Writing

Norwescon: Fun Fun Fun!


by Lillian Csernica on March 31, 2016

4284713_orig

I’m home now, but there’s so much left of Norwescon that ought to be mentioned.  To all the people included in the events mentioned below, allow me to offer you my most sincere thanks for your hospitality, your generosity, and your wonderful senses of humor.

The Fukushima at 5 panel — Some very insightful and useful information.

The gracious lady who pointed out to me that I was wearing one ribbon I probably didn’t understand the meaning of, so I might want to understand it.  She explained, I was enlightened, and I kept on wearing the ribbon.

More ribbons than I have ever seen on one person at one time!

Owen — Some day I have to see that bow of yours up close and in action.

The Vikings two doors down — You folks were great neighbors.  Noisy, yes, but highly entertaining as well.

Cajun and his party crew — I have now tasted R’lyeh Punch, and I like it!  Also, thanks for the super-cool Mardi Gras beads.

Rand the Vampire — Thank you so much for your explanation of balloon burlesque.  I must look into the biography of Sally Rand.  She sounds like a most fascinating woman.

The crew for the Hospitality Suite — Good food and friendly smiles always available.  The book swap was a cool idea.  Loved your chili!  Hot but not too hot, especially with the guacamole.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport registration desk staff — They were cordial, helpful, and the cookies were always warm!  Thank you for making our stay that much more delightful.

gooey-cookie

amandeleine.com

Everybody who got me pointed in the right direction every time I got lost, which happened a lot on Thursday and Friday.

The fabulous group of dedicated geniuses who make up the Norweson Con Com.  You people really know how to throw one hell of a convention.  I can’t wait to be there in 2017 for the 40th anniversary!

26559956-40-a-os-aniversario-cinta-de-oro-retro

2 Comments

Filed under chocolate, Conventions, cosplay, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Humor, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, travel, Writing