After Knocking On Death’s Door, I Redecorated His Office

Am I the only one who sees the irony in being a Grim Reaper cosplayer before and after almost becoming his most recent acquisition? No wait; don’t answer… there’s more! There’s nothing quite like a near-life experience to remind you of priorities and those I’ll-get-to-them-eventually plans. I came quite close to death a year ago, so now I’m getting closer to Death as a way to celebrate my extension.

I joined a gym, healed up, and have kept it going; youthful energy is a good thing. I’ve earned my way up to a better day job, rebuilt my workshop as well as upgraded my crypt for you-know-who, and pushed forward in all the things I want to accomplish. I need to get four books out the door before Christmas 2017 — my fourth Matriarch book, two new Spooky books and a novel-sized Spooky anthology — plus launch a few other ideas I’ve had… including (fingers crossed) a regular web show featuring Grim D. about movies and general pop culture with a Halloween twist.

For today, however, I’ll continue to catch up on my reading… including this book Grim left for me as a gift.

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Highlights from Ancient City Con 2014

Yes, I’m a bit of a shutterbug, so I made this video with highlights from the show…not everything, but a lot of what I saw passing our table and walking around the floor. I’m working on a different video with Ultimate Occult Showdown 2014 highlights, so watch for that coming out soon! Meanwhile…

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Good Guests Behaving Badly: Con Guest Commandments

Convention HotelPopular Arts Conventions are great places for fans and artists to meet and interact over common interests: books, film, television, cosplay, web, or whatever. The fear, however, is that fans – abbreviated from the word “fanatics” – are the only source of irresponsibility and poor judgment. For those of us who at one time or another have stood on both sides of the convention table, there IS such a thing as a bad guest.

Fortunately, David Gerrold has nailed a comprehensive list of essential guidelines that guests new and old should probably abide by. With his kind permission, I have immortalized it not only for myself but for anyone in the industry.

The 15 Con Guest Commandments… (read more)

All of you know someone who might have benefited from such knowledge.

Don’t be that guest…ever. Or ever again.

Read and heed.

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The Bloodlist (Fun With Photoshop)

KevinAsReddington-Edit3-300pxBrandedI’ve done professional renderings for various companies, but now I usually only do this kind of work for myself.

This is a cosplay I’m putting together for conventions, based loosely on James Spader’s excellent show “The Blacklist” on NBC. I mentioned to my wife that it’d be fun to get suited up and do a fake poster called “The Bloodlist” with the tagline “Never trust a horror writer,” so she dared me.

Done and done.

You: “I don’t think you’re telling me everything.”

Me: “I’m never telling you everything.”

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Just About the Scythe of It

Con season is upon us, and Grim D. Reaper is getting ready to make his rounds. I’ve been working on a few cosmetic upgrades this year, mostly in terms of paint and improvements to allow the costume to be worn better for longer periods of time. People ask to have their picture taken with Grim D. all the time, and I’d like those close-up shots to look as good as they can.

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of decisions that have gone into my Reaper cosplay outfit, from little things (did you know there are white Velcro strips on the top of the skull mask that pair up to black Velcro inside the hood so that the cowl moves with my head turns and keeps it in the right position without risk of falling off?) to big things (a fully collapsible scythe so that it slips easily into a gym bag). The scythe in particular has been an ongoing project to improve its look.

I wanted a more realistic look for the blade (since that’s where people’s eyes are drawn to when looking at the Reaper’s signature “farm tool of choice”) and initially painted it a metallic silver. It didn’t have the effect I wanted; it looked like poorly painted wood. I also wanted to reinforce the tang and ring assemble (the part that holds the blade onto the snath/staff) because the blade would bob a bit (making it look very fake), and I came up with a simple, light-weight way to do that. Over all, it looks very heavy (it isn’t) and very rigid. There is no actual blade edge, but you can’t tell from looking at it straight on; the illusion is complete.

The added bonus was filling the holes that I had to drill (to mount the assembly onto the blade) with bolts that reinforced the hold onto the snath but also made the entire blade look more realistic. Finally, I gave the entire rebuilt blade a few coats of coppery fleck paint to give it an oxidized look, and the finished product (mounted on the collapsible snath) is the product you see here. I think it turned out pretty good!