Geeky Roundup

Writing is hard, so I’m distracting myself. Need some extra geeky stuff in your life? I got you covered.

  • Rocks can be super cool, yo. Check out these glowing rocks found on the shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Hilariously called “yooperlites” these plain rocks can look kinda dreary under sunlight, but under UV light, they glow ORANGE. Pretty cool.
  • Wanna laugh? Look at these Greek mythological jokes! (Spoiler: The first one is freaking adorable.)
  • Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, released a new book called Record of a Spaceborn Few and I am SO HERE FOR IT.
  • V.E. Schwab did an amazing lecture on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work (and how she hasn’t read it!) and if you have time, you should read it.
  • The Try Guys recently left Buzzfeed to start their own Try Guys channel and it’s hilarious. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it, and you might, too!
  • Need some more SFF chatter in your life (and seriously, who doesn’t?). This SFF Yeah podcast by BookRiot might be just what you need!
  • Worldbuilding is really fun, but this Twitter thread gets super philosophical about it. (Shoutout to Book Riot for introducing me to this thread!)
  • Ever want to know about some of the best hunters in the animal kingdom? SciShow chats about the Top Six! 

Now, have fun and be geeky!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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D&D: You’re A Bard? I Play A Cleric!

“But you do see the way people look at you, devil’s child.”

Dungeons and Dragons. D&D. That nerdy thing some people play on weekends or watch on Geek & Sundry. Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, it does have a troubled past. Yes, it is having a resurgence of sorts now.

And yes, I do play D&D. Why? It’s fun! It’s a communal storytelling experience where the players get to weave together competing goals and motivations. I get to hang out with some old and new friends, AND I get to do some badass things!

Plus, it opened up a new community for me, too. Just the other day, I struck up a conversation with a stranger because of it. The woman was talking about boardgames, and I randomly mentioned D&D. Turns out, she played a bard! Instant connection! So we chatted for a bit about our campaign and characters. It was a lovely, geeky conversation.

In my campaign, we play nearly every Sunday. I play a cleric tiefling named Nevara. Clerics are healers of the group and tieflings have an infernal heritage so they have curved horns, red/blue/purple colored skin, and devil-like tails. My girl Nevara worships an evil goddess named Auril, so she tends to use cold and necrotic magic in Auril’s honor. And, of course, she has a troubled past and is looking for revenge. It’s a fun campaign, full of danger and adventure, cheese wheels and laughter.

If you’re at all interested in theater or roll-playing games, consider giving D&D a try! Those who have played D&D, what did you play?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

PublishingHack: Transmedia Marketing

So one of the classes I’m in this fall is Transmedia Marketing for Book Publishers. It’s taught by Kathi Inman Berens, the newest faculty member in PSU’s book publishing program.

The class is pretty cool. While I have to admit I am struggling a little because I’m also taking her Concepts in Digital Publishing and there’s a bit of an overlap, the Transmedia Marketing class is pretty fascinating.

So what the heck is transmedia marketing?

Well, let me tell you. Basically it’s a form of marketing that uses social media and digital publishing to allow multiple entry points for a work and expand the story. It’s a type of worldbuilding across different platforms, where the content is specific to that type of platform. It also cultivates a participatory culture, where fans actively share, create, and play with their content.

A great example of this from class that we’ve read about but haven’t yet talked about is The Hunger Games and how they marketed the movies. We all know the currently released movies were huge, and we have the ability to look back in the past and analyze why that is so. So why was it so successful? Well, of course it’s because THG had a huge fanbase to support it to begin with, but a main reason, perhaps, is because the transmedia marketing for it was strong as hell. For the Catching Fire movie, specifically, it was a great mixture of social media and fan participation, as well as the creativity of the ad agency Ignition Creative.

Note: I got most of this information from the Transmedia Marketing Case Study: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire blogpost, written by Christine Weitbrecht on Thoughts on the T, if you’d like to read it.

So what did IC actually do? They had IRL high-fashion billboards with “Capitol Couture” written on them and if the people googled capitol couture they would be taken to a Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube, and website specifically for the Capitol. (This could also demonstrate additive culture, because the fans would know instantly that it was from THG but new people would just be intrigued by it. Don’t quote me on that, though, as I’m still learning what that term means.)

The various social media accounts reflected different aspects of THG. For example, the Tumblr was fashioned like a magazine—with IRL fashion brands and writers—people from the Capitol would read, with updates on events in the Capitol, what it was like in the Capitol, and updates on the various characters in THG world. They also had IRL fan challenges, where the fans could upload fashion statements of their own.

The website was the Citizen Control Center of Panem (where viewers had to get ID cards and had the ability to unlock new content), the Facebook and Twitter accounts were the Capitol/Panem Government center (where they had ideologic messaging one would find in the Capitol like “Respect Boundaries” as well as Facebook pages for each district), and the YouTube was the Capitol TV (where they uploaded official trailers and fan-made videos).

Aside from the fan-made content, the information isn’t new, it just amps up the original world by reflecting the life of the Capitol and allows the fans to be immersed into THG world, like they’re really there living it with these characters.

Now, the official website has changed to reflect the upcoming movie—Mockingjay, Part 2—but there are still pretty cool features. For example, it looks and sounds like a governmental-issued website, but if you hover over a certain part, it changes and you can join the “Revolution.” Seriously, go do the thing, and you’ll be amazed.

From a fan perspective, it’s just freaking cool.

Under the lens of this transmedia class, it’s quite the interesting idea in the storybuilding aspect of THG world. It was an amazing transmedia marketing campaign ,and something that is aspiring to look at. (Also it’s freaking cool.)

So, what do you think? Is this the future of marketing? Is this what authors and publishers should consider doing?

I certainly think so.

Warm regards,
Kellie

New Cover, Old Stereotype

I’m a fan of Teen Titans. Okay, not like a I-dream-of-dressing-up-like-one-of-them-during-a-comiccon fan, but I used to watch the show back in 2003. I loved the show. The characters were funny, the plotlines, fun, and action, easy to follow. I liked Raven. I still like the show in a nostalgic, wasn’t-my-childhood-great kind of way. I even write fanfiction about it, because yes, I’m a geek.

But when I see this:

Image

…for the new  relaunch of Teen Titans #1, I get a bit, well, disappointed. Now, I know in most comic books the female characters are often dressed in an alluring fashion, meaning very tight and usually very revealing outfits. It’s a ridiculous stereotype still portrayed in comic books today, but this cover, in particular, went a bit too far. I mean, really. Look at Wonder Girl. Stop. Look at her again. It’s way far off the mark.

Why? Three reasons: 

1) This is Teen Titans. It’s about teenagers. Any teenager that well endowed has probably gotten a bit of help. Do you see how round her breasts are? That’s just not normal, folks.
2) One solid kick to her face/chest/shoulder/any part of her body and that top would just snap right off her (or at very least, there’d be a nipslip).
3) It’s a stereotype. DC can (and should) do better.

Now, I don’t mind seeing a bit of skin on a woman, and sometime I, too, like to show off a bit. But THAT MUCH cleavage? On a teenager? Might as well be giving the whole female gender a shove out the equality door, then slosh out the self-respect with them, too. Plus, it would be next to impossible for her to fight in that outfit without having to readjust. I mean, the Black Widow’s outfit is tight, too, but at least she can fight in it.

(And speaking of equality, look at Bunker – can you tell he has darker skin? Not really, no.)

Overall while Beast Boy, Raven, and Red Robin look good and the setting seems exciting, the other two main characters are a bit sad in comparison.

Although looking again, I could do without the helicopter… and possibly that paper airplane… and the piece of paper floating beside Beast Boy. It’s too random for me. 

But maybe others will like it. Thoughts?

Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie