Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Third Annual Vancouver Fan Expo 2014

The Olympic Cauldron outside the Vancouver Convention Centre
Olympic Cauldron outside Vancouver Convention Centre

Vancouver Fan Expo was an exciting blur of a long Easter weekend with working and playing. 

My BC Crafty Geeks group booked a table to sell our crafts. We had an early move-in on Friday morning. We totally lucked out and had an extra table. Since there were five of us, we could spread out. We had a variety of items on our table to tempt buyers. Crocheted dolls, hats, bags and cat toys. Handmade cross-stitched pins from Doctor Who to Space Invaders. Laser etched glasses and pendants and logos. Doctor Who Dalek and TARDIS soaps, ornaments, Steampunk pins and magnets, Harry Potter miniatures, plastic canvas crafts, stickers and collector's cards. 

Cross-stitched pins for sale
Doctor Who merchandise

With five people, we always had the table staffed with one or two people. We had plenty of time to shop and run around looking at the displays from Lego, to the huge Walking Dead poster, to R2D2 and Mutt (Steampunk K9) driving around. 

Bruce Boxleitner
I had the chance to go to four Q&A panels. Bruce Boxleitner was entertaining, sounds like a "to the rules" sort of guy, much like Captain Sheridan. Bruce Campbell was just the opposite, making the audience be the panel, instead of him. Very outgoing, quite the showman. Charisma Carpenter was charming. Just think Cordelia but without the snobbery. The Tom Felton Q&A had to be the best panel I attended. He was delightful and charming. 

I only partook of one autograph, as they were so pricey. I lined up early Sunday morning for Tom Felton, right before his Q&A panel. Being the Slytherin that he was, he was an hour late to his session. But that's all right, I was nearly one of the first in the lineup. I had him sign my Chamber of Secrets DVD and also got a free photo, which I promptly lost. Fortunately, a friend found it for me later.

Tom Felton's Autograph
At the autograph session, can you see me?

Mel Dawn in the TARDIS
I was a bit disappointed at the lack of handmade goods at Fan Expo, not including drawings or paintings. There were about 20 different spots to buy Doctor Who merch but none of it handmade and I already owned all that stuff anyway. 

The new convention venue was so much better than the location last year, at the old convention centre. Vancouver Fan Expo ran smoothly this year with plenty of space to spread out into. The food concessions were good and reasonably priced. Plenty of washrooms. More than enough graphic novel/comic book vendors, plenty of paintings, drawings and t-shirts to buy, though the t-shirts were all over-priced.

All in all I was pleasantly pleased with this year's Vancouver Fan Expo and look forward to the guest list announcement for Easter long weekend next year.

A giant Walking Dead poster
Even R2D2 came

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My process on how to write a blog entry

What have I been doing all month? "Where are the updates?" my readers have been asking. Have I been snuggled up to my cat in her basket? Why yes, I've been working on other projects, from writing, to a website, to making crafts for Vancouver Fan Expo.

I recently signed up for article writing on one of the many websites out there for that purpose. Constant Content, Scripted, Helium, etc. I was bemoaning my waste of time, as it can take hours and hours to set up a profile, when suddenly, article orders started coming in. It's still not enough to quit my day job, but I have to start somewhere. Oh wait, this IS my day job. 

Today I thought I'd write about how I go about writing a blog. Since I'm writing to order, they give me the topic and the website. So, let's post in a numbered format, and I'll let you know how I actually accomplish this task. 

1. Research the topic. Generally my client will give me their website URL. They'll give me keywords to optimize SEO. This will significantly allow me to narrow down the topic. For example, the website is about a lighting company. I could despair of ever finding a topic to write about, but my client has given me the keywords of "LED lighting", "low-cost", and "energy-saving". So, right there, I have my topic. I'll write about effective low-cost and energy-saving LED lighting, tailored to the products on their website.

2. After I know what I'm writing about, I'll start making point form notes. 

3. Next, I'll start writing the article. If there's some research that needs to be done, I'll just leave brackets for information to be added later.

4. Now I'll do a read-through. I'll correct grammar. I'll add in the missing research, make sure owner's names are spelled correctly. I'll check and make sure I've made my word count. 

5. This next read-through will confirm word count, as well as ensuring that all key words can be found in my text. I'll correct any highlighted spelling errors. Depending on US or Canadian markets I'll adjust spelling. I'll make my article engaging and clever.

6. The final editing and proofreading stage. I'll read my story out loud to be sure it sounds engaging and friendly.

7. Submit through the website portal. One last chance to double check that everything is correct. 

Rejoice! My homework is done! Mix and repeat.