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Mashiara Sedai

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  1. This month’s “Fantasy Review” is Deadmen Walking, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. A swashbuckler tale, with a hefty dose of romance and comedy, this book was a lot different than I expected. Slight spoilers below. Synopsis: Cameron Jack’s brother was killed when his ship sank off the shore of Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, she received a letter—and a trinket—from him dated weeks after he was supposedly dead. Taking the advice of a witch, Cameron seeks out Devyl Bane, feared captain of a crew of Deadmen—souls damned and freed from hell to fight evil in the human realm. Cameron’s brother is being held by an evil Vanir, who also happens to be Devyl Bane’s ex-wife—their marriage ended when she cut out his heart centuries ago. Cameron and Captain Bane, along with a hodge-podge crew of murderers and scoundrels, seek to find a way to free Cameron’s brother from the hands of his captors. The Jack family, being descendants of Michael—the Archangel—allows their blood is able to open the gates of hell and release all the demons lurking within. Pros: This story is stuffed full with every sort of mythology. Mermen. Seraph and fallen angels. A servant of the Greek gods. Vanir and Aesir. Jinn-like men who keep their souls in whisky bottles. Ghede Nibo, the leader of dead spirits. Dragons and sea monsters. And more. The world Kenyon inhabits is vibrant with its characters and its settings. A history buff would better understand all the underlying relationships and oppositions of these sometimes-warring, sometimes-allied peoples, but even without such knowledge, it’s still easy enough to follow. The plot is thick, and though a bit predictable at times, the pace is quick and engaging. The characters—and the story boasts many of them—are complex, unique, and interesting. Each of the Deadmen come with tragic backstories which explains their motives for wanting redemption. The romance was the most surprising aspect of the tale. Without going into too much detail, I expected Cameron to be the object of the captain’s affection—with her innocence and part-Seraph heritage to provide the nice contrast to Bane’s brooding, damned soul. But, the two are not fated to be together, and the romance that blooms instead is a lot more fulfilling. Cons: As a personal preference, I don’t particularly care to read third-person omniscient. It’s very difficult to do correctly. Some authors have succeeded (see Frank Herbert’s Dune for an excellent example) but most I try to read in this format fail utterly. Kenyon pulls it off pretty well, but it’s still not my favorite style. Not necessarily a con, but something that was contrary to my expectations, was the lack of grittiness. Thinking this a tale of pirates, demons breaking free from hell, and a ship full of sinners, I thought it would be a bit rougher. The voice Kenyon used was almost poetic, which was a contrast to the theme of death and damnation. Conclusion: This story was fascinating, full of fleshed out characters, detailed settings, engaging mythology, and a beautiful romance. Though not my typical read, I still enjoyed this. The plot didn’t offer much in the way of new material, but the characters were endearing enough I would have loved to read about them sitting around to eat dinner. Their banter was charming and so natural, and their friendships were touching and sweet. This book was a lot of fun and definitely worth a read. Rating: 4 out of 5 If you’re interested in a copy of this eBook, check out Dragonmount’s DRM-free eBook store!
  2. Mashaira, White Sitter. I sorta second Ben's statement. :P Once it comes closer to time, I'll join the hype!
  3. Welcome back to another exciting edition of "Fandom Flair." I couldn't wait to have an opportunity to show off the Yuri on Ice cosplay outfit I put together for the Phoenix Comicon in May! For those who aren't aware, Yuri on Ice is an anime that features Katsuki Yuuri, a Japanese figure skater. After coming in last place in the Grand Prix Finals, he contemplates retirement. But then his idol, and five-time World Champion, Victor Nikiforov, shows up and offers to be Yuuri's coach. It's a delightful anime, full of humor, romance, and beautiful skating routines. The show has been discussed in great deal because the romance between Yuuri and Victor is incredibly well done. Yuuri also suffers from anxiety, and much of the show focuses on how he--and his family and friends--deal with it. Also, there's a great amount of diversity in the characters. Victor--and his young protege, Yuri Plisetsky--are Russian. There are also skaters from Canada, Thailand, Switzerland, and Kazakhstan. There are so many aspects of this show to love. But I should move on, or I will simply gush forever. In the season finale, one of the skaters, Phichit Chulanont from Thailand, thinks about his dream of having an ice show, to show the people of Thailand how fun skating can be. He imagines all his skating friends in costume with him. It's a lovey scene, and it shows how optimistic and bright a character Phichit is. The costume Phichit wears is elaborate, and I've seen cosplays of it already. I was more drawn to the other skaters' costumes, and the adorable hamster hats they wear. The first thing I did was make the hat. I did this the day after the season finale because I couldn't get over how cute the hamsters were. And since it was December, I had plenty of opportunities to wear it outdoors to keep my ears warm. I started with this tutorial on how to make a fleece hat. I've used this pattern countless times and could do it in my sleep. I cut it out of brown fleece, then trimmed about three inches off the bottom. I cut out a white fleece, about five inches, and sewed it to the bottom. Next, I worked on the ears. I made them rounded, and cut them from the same brown fleece. I also added a smaller white circle to the center for contrast. I sewed them together with a blanket stitch. I folded both ears and placed them face down on the bottom piece of the hat. I sewed the matching top piece over (right side to right side). So when flipped, the ears stuck out at an angle. I stitched up the V at the top, then folded the white bottom up two times to give me a puffy brim. I cut out a small strip of white fleece and sewed a line through the center for teeth. I also cut out a nose, eyes, and eye glimmers. I hot glued all these accents on, since my fabric was too thick to sew through. I also added just a bit of hot glue around the brim so it would stay up. Now, for the rest of the costume. The skaters wore two different outfits, and while I'd loved to make the one with the ruffles, I don't think my sewing skills are at that level. So I went with the striped happi instead. I looked online and found a simple happi pattern. What made it not easy is that I could not find any fabrics with wide blue and yellow stripes. My dedication to authenticity reached a new height, so I decided to buy plain cotton fabrics in both colors, cut them on a diagonal, and sew them together. This was very, very time consuming. But I loved the end results. Totally worth it. After that, I simply cut out the front two pieces, and the back piece. I sewed them together and hemmed the bottom. Next, I added on the pink collar. I also used a bit of the pink to finish the hem on the sleeves. With the little I had left over, I made a thin belt. (It was crunch time by this point so I didn't get pictures of the last few steps.) I paired the happi with a long-sleeved white shirt and white leggings. I loved this cosplay. It's pretty obscure, because it's only shown during a ten second scene, but I enjoy the moment it represents. Phichit is one of my favorite characters on the show and I was happy to include something from his dream into my cosplay repertoire. Thanks for reading!
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  19. Welcome back to another edition of “Fandom Flair.” For this week, I want to share a project I had planned for JordanCon9. Meridian and I had talked about doing a sul’dam/damane duo for the costume contest. Unfortunately, neither of us could make it to the convention this year. So my half-finished dress stayed in limbo, until I realized I could wear it to the Phoenix Comicon, which was the last week of May. First, a note on canon sources. This is the cover of New Weaves in the Pattern, part two of The Great Hunt when it was broken into pieces for a YA audience. And this is official artwork from Ariel Burgess. I love both these pieces and used a bit from each to compose my dress. For materials, I started with two yards each of a red poplin and a blue poplin. Poplin is a wonderful, durable fabric. It's great for heavy dresses or cloaks (we did a Harry Potter cloak here.) On the downside, it's very hot. Not a material you want to wear in warm temperatures. I also bought a yard of thin, silver silk. This was for the added lightning bolts. I needed a whole yard since I had to double up the fabric to make it thick enough to stick to the fabric adhesive. For the pattern, I used the same one as my Aes Sedai dress. The pieces were already cut to the correct size, and it was a design I was comfortable with. I did have to get creative when dealing with the color split. I decided to make the back and sleeves blue, and cut the front panels in half with alternating colors. The front panel was red on top and blue on the bottom, and the two side panels were blue in top and red on the bottom. Next I bought double sided iron-on fabric adhesive to bind to the silver silk. Then I drew a lightning bolt on the back, cut it out (wasting a lot of fabric and glue), and then ironed the other side to my dress. With the help of my mom, I measured the length and hemmed the bottom. Then I made larger, longer lightning bolts for the two red side panel (even more wasted fabric and adhesive). My waist lines were wonky, so I made an obi belt to hide them (I followed this tutorial). I actually really like the added belt because it mimics one of the design aspects in Ariel’s artwork and gives more definition to the dress. (And here's my beautiful damane. I made a miniature dress for the sole purpose of dressing up my dog….) For the a’dam, I had trouble. As I said, this was for a large, crowded convention. Safety had to be my number one priority. Any item connected to a person’s neck had to be able to come off with the slightest pressure. The eventual answer to this was magnets (I tried other methods first, but I'm too embarrassed to discuss them). I bought a 72” linking chain from Wal-Mart, for less than $4. It was constructed of tiny, four sided, rounded cubes that connected to each other with prongs. It was easy to remove the link by pulling the prongs loose with pliers. I measure my wrist and removed a section that length. Same with my neck measurement. I used 7mm jump rings to connect metal clasps to both ends. Finally, I connected the rest of the chain (still probably 50” long) to both the necklace and the bracelet. It turned out beautiful! And the magnetic clasps came off very easily. I had so much fun at the convention! I even caught myself a damane! And I ran into this adorable Mistborn cosplayer. That's all for now. Next time, I show the other outfit I wore to the Phoenix Comicon. (Here's a hint… it has to do with Yuri on Ice.) Thanks for reading!
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