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All about Archon 43 – A Review

Archon 43 is in the history books. As usual, Archon was amazing. This year was a bit different for me. The last two years I spent as mostly a loner. I felt like an outsider, an observer, in this amazing world. This year, I expected more of the same.

But this year, I found that I am part of the group. Not mainstream, not popular. But as I walked down the halls, people recognized me. People smiled and said hi.

I had people to spend time with and more people to see than I could possibly talk to. And I also met a bunch of new friends.

As usual, the con is all about the people for me. And of all the cons, Archon is the best. But you don’t have to take my word for it. If you missed the con, let me tell you about it.


Friday started with a mental breakdown about my cosplay. I was a bit later than I wanted to be. As soon as I got to the con, all my stress melted and I stopped at the Antiquarian Couture table. I got to check out Mikhail’s super epic, ridiculously accurate Ghostbusters pack.

Focus on Fit: Stretch and Body Con Costuming Panel

Then I went to Ariana Bauer’s panel on fitting. Forgive me for a flight into nostalgia, but this was he panel where I met her last year. She is now one of my best friends.

If you haven’t seen her talk about fitting, you will never look at clothes the same way again. One of the biggest takeaways I get from this panel is actually body positivity. Every body is different and beautiful. Something our culture has gotten flipped upside down is we constantly try to fit the clothes, instead of the close fitting us. This has never been a thing before we started mass producing clothes.

In short, you have to check out these amazing resources. Cosplay Sewing School (Twitter Instagram YouTube)

After the panels, we decided to go to dinner at the Mexican restaurant across the street. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for three years. But I’ve never taken the time to go alone.

The food was delicious, the company unsurpassed. We laughed, and ate, and looked forward to the rest of the weekend.

Once we ate, we headed over to the Hallway costume contest. There were tons of people there. We met a cool cosplayer named Cindy.

I also got to see one of my Archon friends, Eric (aka Krampus).

Ariana’s kids found a cosplayer and we spent quite a bit of time bouncing up and down. After this I decided to throw in the towel and go to bed early so I could be ready for my panel first thing in the morning. So I left before the dance and the parties started and headed to bed.


A few hours later I was back at the convention center. Nearly an hour before the first panel, my first panel. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait.

There were quite a few people there for 10 am the morning after one of the biggest party nights of the year. I love talking about the things I’ve learned from all the cosplayers I interview. You can download the PDF of the slides here 2.0 The Most Difficult Thing About Cosplay.

After that it was time to say hi to all my friends and look at all the cool stuff around the con. I found the cutest little stuffed fortune cookie! Waggonswest handmakes all her stuff. I ended up buying a cute little Kitty stuffy that was cosplaying the Fourth Doctor.

As I kept walking around, I ran into a wisecracking magician, Erik Anderson. Talk about knowing your target market, Erik does coarching for Creative Brains, or people with ADHD. He was super funny and engaging.

One of the coolest stories I heard was a stroke victim who relearned everything to start Bop Bop Kat (Facebook Twitter), designing and selling embroidery. I actually purchased a few hand towels as gifts from her two years ago.

As I walked around Everett, from XCardz of Cardz Xtcetera, stopped me and we chatted about all the pins on my vest. I loved showing off all my fandoms.

Speaking of pins, I found the coolest buttons by Cartoons by Andie (Instagram Twitter). I’m a Good Omens fan. I had to pic up these two buttons for $5. I ran around with a shoulder angel and shoulder Demon the rest of the day.

This seemed to be the day of buttons. I love seeing Lady Badger and got a cool button from her. Christina Liming and I had a great conversation with another woman at her booth (Facebook). I had to get a photo with Badger.

Some of the people I always look forward to talking is Devious Hearts (Facebook Instagram). I could have stayed talking to them for hours. They also have a fourth Doctor scarf that I am now saving up for. It is over 20 ft long, made of the softest yarn, and is only $100. I ended up getting a Hufflepuff charm.

Another person I look forward to seeing every year is author Jim G. Jimmy Gillentine (Twitter). He is super supportive online and an all around awesome person. His excitement over his Godzilla find in the vendor’s room was something I aspire to. You all should check out his books!

I also got to see my awesome friend, Van Allen Plexico, (Facebook, Twitter). I didn’t get a picture with him, but I did pick up his newest book, Karilyne, to finish my collection.

As I headed to by my very first Archon shirt I almost died…but I lived.

I was super excited to see an atist from the Science Center, Jeffrey Johnson (Red Herring Illustration Life with Girls Instagram). I learned about a bunch of books he has Illustrated for Hex books.

It wouldn’t seem right to not see Anne at Everything’s Shiny Creations (Facebook Instagram Twitter) since I wore some of her shoe tags Friday and Sunday. I found even more stuff at her booth that went on my list of things to get.

Last year I got an epic dragon pin from David Lee Pancake (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). This year I got a necklace with a tiny Dragon and a statue of Om from Terry Pratchett’s story, Small Gods. I’m a big fan of his statues.

As I wrapped up my time in the vendor’s room, I heard one of the best hooks I’ve ever heard for a book. “Want to hear a story about the intergalactic tech support alien?” I was so curious I bought the book. Check out Dave Schroeder‘s (Facebook Facebook Amazon) books and writing resources.


There were so many amazing cosplayers! One of the highlights of Archon for me is the cosplay competition, or Masquerade. Check out just a few of the awesome cosplayers I got pictures with.

These Fraggles were the hit of the party. They were practically perfect and super fun!

The awesome cosplayer below is Ariana’s son. He designed and built about half of this himself.

I met Cindy at the hallway contest and we ended up spending a lot of time together throughout the weekend. She came to my panel and was so awesome. She is new to cosplay, but you would never believe it to look at her. She fit right in, or rather, her awesomeness stood out!

This awesome cosplayer cosplayed the gauntlet! I was distracted and Mary said “Hufflepunk! I read your review from last year.” I’m not even going to lie, this was one of the best parts of the convention for me. Not to mention, one of the most clever cosplays I’ve ever seen.

I have to give another shoutout to Stephanie, the Goddess of Repair. She helps keep things backstage running smoothly and helps keep people put together and safe.

Last year, she and Jim saved me from a serious costume malfunction. This year, I got handed some sort of adhesive. Fortuitously, I was handing it off to someone who knew how to use it safely. But Stephanie saw me take off with this potentially dangerous adhesive and she was there a second later to make sure I knew the hazards and could use it safely.

I didn’t catch this cosplayers name, but I totally fangirled when I saw a Pooh Bear character, my spirit animal, Rabbit!

One of the judges of the Masquerade was none other than Mama D! I met her at Archon and have been a big fan ever since. Her Doctor Who cosplays are unbeatable.

I also got to see my other saviour from last year, Jim! His antics onstage were hilarious and he keeps things working smoothly with the rest of the team.

I had to get a selfie while we were waiting for awards to be announced. Turns out everyone on this row won an award! Well, except me since I wasn’t actually competing. But as an official handler of Bad Boi Cosplay, when they win, I win!

I had to get a picture of the leader of the Masquerade, Sheila, giving away awards. She does a wonderful job planning, coordinating, and running the best Masquerade in the midwest.


Sunday morning I rushed through the convention waving and frantically “hi”ing my friends as I zip to my first panel.

Sewing for teens Panel

I got to help Ariana with a CosplaySewingSchool (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram) panel on hand sewing. I loved it and got to help a bunch of cool people learn new stuff!

When to Finish the Story Panel

Sunday I finally got a chance to check out some author panels. The first one, about when to finish the story, was typical Archon fabulous. In talking about surprise endings, Benjamin C. Kinney (Facebook Twitter) said “Don’t hide your cool thing until the end.” And later expounded further, “Don’t play the cool game at your reader’s expense.”

Kasey Mackenzie suggested, “You need to stay true to your story, genre, and readers…You think you are being cool and edgy but you just make your readers angry.”

When discussing the denouement, Rich Horton said,”Don’t stomp on your ending. You shouldn’t explain what you just said.” Suggesting that overexplaining yourself was boring at best.

Myths and Legends Panel

The next panel was absolutely fascinating. Presented by Thomas Stratman, Sela Carsen (Facebook Instagram Twitter), and Benjamin C. Kinney from the last panel.

I had actually discussed myth with Sela briefly on Saturday. She iterated again during the panel, “There are common themes throughout all myths, throughout all times.” Benjamin C. Kinney asked “Do these stories stick with us because they resonate with us? Or because we heard them over and over again as children?”

I was surprised at the extent of the discussion of religion in this panel all three panelists at some point stated that mythology either was or is someone’s belief system. The language we get the word “myth” from (Greek, mythos) was a highly complex religious society.

In this panel, I found the most perfect Smee! Her cosplay was amazing and I had to get a picture.

I met one of my awesome new friends as she was supposed to be packing up. Ariana insisted I had to check out her lazy vampire book. It turns out, that is only the beginning of Jessica Mathews‘ (Twitter) awesomeness. We talked for a long time about how we are both passionate about sharing and promoting female small business owners.

As everyone around us was tearing down, I got to talk to Sela again. This time she join Jessica and my conversation about female authors supporting each other. She also introduced me to USA Today bestselling author, Jeannie Lin (Facebook) (not pictured) and her adorable children. Her steampunk books immediately went on my TBR list.

She also encouraged me to use my Romance Writers of America membership as more than just a magazine and email subscription, and actually come to a meeting once and a while.

Also, sadly, not pictured, is the great artist Brent Chumley (Facebook) his graphic design is absolutely stunning. If you haven’t seen his stuff you really need to check it out.

I got to meet an online friend just as very one was running out the door. Tim talked to me all about a side of the con I haven’t ever checked out, the filking. I think next year will be my year to check it out.

I also got a retelling of the Pied Piper by his wife, author and actress, K.J. Joyner.

It’s a wrap!

Another year at Archon gone by and another year that confirms why Archon is my favorite convention.

It is all about the amazing people.

All opinions are mine. I have no relationship or control of the external links…I just think they are cool.

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