Sunday, October 1, 2017

Surviving New York Comic Con: 2017 Edition

Surviving New York Comic Con 2017!

New York Comic Con is taking over the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan from October 5th-8th, 2017.  New York Comic Con (NYCC) can be an overwhelming experience for newcomers and veteran con-goers alike. The purpose of this post is to provide my fellow convention nerds with some helpful convention survival tips and tricks to make the most of your New York Comic Con experience! 

Bring cash!
Avoid the long ATM lines and the insane $10 fees at Javits and bring plenty of cash with you. Bring a variety of denominations as well (not everyone can break a $100)! Some exhibitors and the autographing lines only take CASH!  
Bring snacks and a refillable water bottle

The last thing you will want to spend your hard earned money on is a $5 bottle of water and so-so food! So bring a refillable water bottle and plenty of tasty snacks to keep you energized and satisfied! You will be thankful for that granola bar when you're sitting in the panel rooms or waiting in line for that autograph! 
Charge it up!! 
Your cell phone and electronics are going to be your lifeline during the convention. Your schedule, entertainment, photo, video, networking all depend on having a fully charged cell phone at the ready! Don't get stuck hunting for a charging station or a spare outlet. Check out one or both of the above portable charging options to keep you connected and mobile no matter where you are by clicking the photo!

This may seem obvious, but there's always someone. Be considerate of your fellow convention attendees. Shower DAILY and wear deodorant. It is crowded and your personal space will be invaded and you don't want to catch a whiff of someone's body odor.  

Comfort is KEY!

You will be walking A LOT! Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. Make sure you check the weather before heading out and see if you will need a light jacket or an umbrella. New York City is known for it's unpredictable weather, so be prepared for anything!


NYCC provides you with some great scheduling tools and you NEED to take advantage of them. There are so many events happening that you will need to have a schedule to make sure you don't miss that amazing panel or miss out on getting your favorite celebrity's autograph. Make sure you have a plan B and C! Sometimes things don't work out...C'est la vie! Have a back up or two, so you're not left wandering around like a lost puppy for an hour or two!
Download the NYCC App!

The official NYCC App is a must have tool! This app will provide you with everything you need to know in regards to show specials, exhibitor exclusives, panel times, and any last minute changes or additions that may occur throughout the day. It is free and easy to download, so don't forget! 

Backpack Essentials!
NYCC permits backpacks and bags to help make carrying your loot a tad bit easier. Here are a few essentials to help make your overall experience a bit easier:
  • Sharpies: You never know who you may run into while you're wandering around the show floor!
  • Water Bottle: As stated before, you don't want to spend your money on water when there are so many awesome exclusives to buy!
  • Chap-stick: Who likes having chapped lips?
  • Hand Sanitizer: There will be hundreds of thousands of people at NYCC. Help avoid con-crud and use hand sanitizer!
  • Comic Sleeves & Boards: Don't let those exclusive comics get damaged during your commute! Buy them here!
  • Poster Tube/Picture Sleeves: The artist alley offers incredible artwork and you won't want it to get damaged while you're navigating the convention. Buy here!
  • Tote Bag: This will be your "go-to" for storing your freebies and convention goodies! Here is a great deal on Amazon for two fold-able travel nylon totes!
  • Camera: Document your time at NYCC and check out the amazing cos players! Don't forget to ask for permission before snapping that photo! COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT!!
  • Medication: No one wants a headache slowing them down! These powder medications from Urgent Rx are fantastic and you don't even need water to take them!
  • Portable Stool: For all of you line warriors. This would be a fantastic investment and a great way to save your knees & butt! Check out this example on Amazon!
Have Fun!!! 
This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. NYCC is an amazing experience and you are there to have an amazing time! Enjoy yourself! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Rating: ★★★★★

On June 3rd and 4th publishers, authors, and fellow bookworms filled the Javits Convention Center for BookCon 2017. Typically, when I attend BookCon I don't stick to any type of schedule or set plans. I like to go with the flow and take it all in. This year, however, was a bit different. There was one author I really wanted to meet, Krysten Ritter. I was aiming to get my hands on an ARC of her debut novel, Bonfire. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful and went home without a copy and without meeting Ms. Ritter. It was a day later that I was lucky enough to speak with a fellow attendee, Mikayla, and was gifted a copy of the coveted novel. 

Bonfire was everything I had hoped it would be. It was an incredible read with a well thought out storyline. Ms. Ritter did a fantastic job with the development of her characters and was successful in creating a realistic and relatable story. Bonfire is everything you're looking for in a good book. It is a fast paced and entertaining read reminiscent of a good old fashioned noir mystery. Bonfire is filled with troubled characters, unrequited love, nail biting and page turning scenes, and enjoyable twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. 

Krysten Ritter has certainly delivered with Bonfire. It is the perfect debut novel and it has a quality to it that screams “Read me and don't put me down until you're done!” The writing style makes for a fast paced and easy to read story. Nothing about Bonfire screams “new author!” On the contrary, it feels as though I have been reading Ms. Ritter’s stories forever. 

Bonfire debuts on November 7th, 2017, so make sure you preorder your copy today and prepare yourself for a wild ride! 

About the Author: 
Photo by: Bailey Taylor

KRYSTEN RITTER is well known for her starring roles in the award winning Netflix original series, Marvel's Jessica Jones, and cult favorite, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, as well as her pivotal role on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Krysten’s work on film includes Big Eyes, Listen Up Philip, Life Happens, Confessions of a Shopaholic and She’s Out of My League. She is the founder of Silent Machine, a production company which aims to highlight complex female protagonists. Ritter and her dog Mikey split their time between New York and Los Angeles.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Suggestions for Novel Idea Reviews

Hey guys! I wanted to try something new on Novel Idea Reviews and I would like to get your input! What would you guys like to see on this blog? I was thinking of adding some reviews and discussions on movie and television shows that are adaptations of various novels. I will be adding some more artwork to the Novel Concept Art page and will be organizing my reviews and author interviews onto their own pages. I will attach a poll to my blog's sidebar to help streamline the suggestion process and allow you guys to throw in your own ideas! Don't be shy and let's come up with some great ideas to make Novel Idea Reviews even better!

Monday, May 8, 2017

How to Survive BookCon 2017 Edition!

Surviving BookCon 2017 in New York City!

BookCon returns to the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan on June 3rd and 4th! Large scale conventions can be overwhelming for first time and even repeat attendees. This post sets out to help you make the most of your BookCon experience! Below are some helpful tips and necessary items to bring with you when you attend the convention in a few weeks!

Stay hydrated! Bring a refillable water bottle and make sure you drink, drink, drink! You will be doing a lot of walking around and convention centers are notoriously dry. Staying hydrated will prevent any unwanted health delays to your schedule. 

Make sure you bring some snacks! Save all your hard earned money for the BOOKS, not overpriced convention center food. You'll appreciate that granola bar while you are standing in line waiting for your favorite author or panel.

It may seem like common sense, but wear comfortable shoes! As I mentioned before, you will be doing A LOT of walking and will be bogged down with all the free books and ARCs from the various exhibitors. 

Speaking of free stuff, bring a backpack and/or tote bag(s) for a comfortable way to transport your new loot! You  may want to bring a wheeled suitcase and check it in the bag check area to help make transporting your new books home a lot easier! 

Plan ahead! The BookCon website has their panel and autograph schedules up on their site. Take advantage and schedule out and prioritize your day. Have a few backups just in case your first choice is full or the line is capped. Utilize the My Show feature on the BookCon Website and the schedule feature in the BookCon App! Make sure you check out the brand new policy for Autographs this year!

Hit up the ATM before you arrive at the convention center! Avoid the crazy fees from the convention center ATMs. Use your debit card when possible and save the cash for the exhibitors who do not accept debit/credit. 

Download the BookCon app and make sure you keep it updated for all of the latest exclusives/show specials, panel schedules, and more!

Bring your phone charger or a portable power bank! You don't want to miss any photo opportunities or lose your panel/autographing session schedule because of a dead battery! 

What should I bring with me to BookCon in my bag/backpack?

  • Hand Sanitizer: There will be thousands of people at BookCon. Help avoid con-crud and use hand sanitizer!
  • Chapstick: Who likes having chapped lips?
  • Sturdy Tote Bag: This will be your "go-to" for storing your freebies and convention goodies! Here is a great deal on Amazon for two fold-able travel nylon totes!
  • Portable Phone Charger: Your cell phone and electronics are going to be your lifeline during the convention. Your schedule, entertainment, photo, video, networking all depend on having a fully charged cell phone at the ready! Don't get stuck hunting for a charging station or a spare outlet. Check out one or both of the above portable charging options to keep you connected and mobile no matter where you are by clicking the photo above!
  • Mints/Gum: No one wants to meet their favorite author with funky breath! 
  • Water Bottle: As stated before, you don't want to spend your money on water when there are so many awesome exclusives to buy!
  • Sharpie: You never know who you may run into while you're wandering around the show floor!
  • Networking Materials: Bring along some business cards to help build your network/audience for your blogs, Bookstagrams, Facebook Pages, and BookTuber accounts!
  • Medication: No one wants a headache slowing them down! These powder medications from Urgent Rx are fantastic and you don't even need water to take them!

Don't stress out over the schedule...enjoy yourself and take in everything around you! 

Have a question? Maybe you have some more amazing tips to help make BookCon 2017 an amazing experience? Post them below in the comments section and let's help out our fellow bookworms!

Check out this exclusive excerpt from K.M. Baginski's new novel, Rehumanized Drew: A Windstalker Story!

Rehumanized Drew
A Windstalker Story

By K. M. Baginski

Chapter 1

“You can barely stand,” Sam snickered. “You need to get over being so empathic.
It’s a cliché.” His voice sounded oddly distant for his proximity, like a dummy whose ventriloquist was hiding in plain sight.

As they stood in a convex-walled, oval-shaped room of Sam’s submarine headquarters. Drew couldn’t wrap his head around what he had to do in order to satisfy his imminent hunger. His chest felt fizzy, but at the moment he wasn’t so tempted to eat.

He should do the world a favor and starve himself. There were others like him, like Drew himself, sitting at computer stations. They stared at screens with images of what looked like hieroglyphics. But no two screens looked identical. Each image was stilled in a different part of the same place. An enclosed space. The cave at the base of that mountain
Drew heard Sam mention once.

Drew had killed before, but it wasn’t an ambition. That was a one-time deal. Survival. He didn’t hunger for ending anyone else’s life, and couldn’t pretend he did.

“This is a very different hunger, Andrew,” Sam said. His eyes were warm and reassuring, as if he had this kind of talk with many young men. It was the kind of cutesy demeanor an experienced kindergarten teacher would use with a toddler. “And soon it’ll force its way out of you.”

“Then why don’t I feel the urge when I look at a human?” Drew asked, determined to protest. There was no primal need to fulfill. Only guilt. “I still feel like one.
And I’d have to kill them. It’s impossible. It’s like I’m staring at a mirrored image of myself when I focus on them. How can you kill what you used to be, without conscience?”

“And you think they’d have a second thought about killing you if you were a cow?” Sam persisted. He was either hiding something, or wanted to brainwash Drew. Why else would he answer a question with another question?

“What does that have to do with anything?” Drew asked. “That’s just the way the food chain goes, Sam. You know, the natural order of things.”

“My point exactly.” Sam nodded, “Humans kill lower animals regularly for food because they are higher up on the food chain. Why is hunting so acceptable for them, but not for us?”

“Hunting is respectable because the hunters try to prevent unnecessary animal suffering.”

“But hunters still kill and eat the animals.”


“And farmers even nurse their animals from infancy, only to slaughter them in the end, correct?”

“It’s still not the same.”

“How so?”

“I used to be one.”

“Let’s say a pig or chicken was suddenly elevated to human. Do you think either would contemplate the feelings of the other chickens and pigs while it’s starving?”

“That’s an impossible question to answer.”

“Then I’ll answer it the simplest way. No.” Sam was losing patience. His eyes rolled and drifted off to the side before closing.

He took a breath, then said, “Aside from the hunger you’ll undoubtedly feel, you need to understand your rank in the food chain.”

A woman with a crisp-ironed grey skirt and white blouse approached Sam with a printout. He turned his back to Drew and walked over to a computer monitor. “Human nature is not as altruistic as you’d like to believe,” he continued. “Every person you have ever known has used someone else to get something they’ve wanted. A good grade in school, friends, popularity, acceptance, a job, a raise, love, money, affection, sex…”

Sam paused to read something on the screen. “Yes, there’s always an exchange in nature. Simple survival has no faults. And it’s even more important to understand that death comes for everyone. Right now, their death sustains your new life. The sooner you learn to accept that, the less bothered you’ll be.”

Sam’s voice drifted farther away, and so did Drew surroundings. Sam’s ventriloquist was leaving. The metallic room was shifting in peripheral corners of Drew’s eyesight. He turned his head slightly toward the alteration, then back to Sam, but the entire scene had been erased.


He was in a beige hall now. It was wide, following a circular path—and empty. There were dark brown doors on his left, each numbered, and evenly spaced. He knew this hall well, and opened the door numbered 4b. His parents’ old apartment. He held his breath in the still, quiet hall, touched the doorknob, and pushed the door open slowly. Drew saw the face of his father immediately. He once wanted to save him. It was the first thing he ever wanted to do while he was growing up. A childhood wish made when he still loved the man. That hope, like so many, died incremental deaths the older he got. He faced his dad, who was lying on the kitchen floor where he died. He wasn’t moving, the bloodstain still fresh near his heart. Drew was supposed to be human when he pulled the trigger. According to Sam, he embodied humanity even then. His father’s death for the family’s peace, an exchange. Also a fact of life, like the food chain. Drew backed away, pulling the door shut.

The hall was no longer quiet. Something stirred in the distance.

When he looked to his left, he saw a young girl, elementary school age, sitting on the floor, her legs crisscrossed. Her long, dark, curly hair swayed from one side to the next as she circled her finger in midair pointing toward the grey tiled floor. “Shwish. Shul,” she sang slowly, winding her hand faster. “It was a cyclone.”

“What was?” Drew got lower, ready to kneel to her level. Oddly, he didn’t feel weak from hunger now.

She flicked her eyes toward him, but didn’t focus on him, didn’t answer, while her finger continued to cycle in silence. She was withdrawn, just the way he was as a child whenever his father’s tone was too harsh. Maybe the answer would be too traumatic to say aloud. He got the sense she didn’t want to elaborate. Drew lowered himself to the floor, squatting in the hopes she would speak candidly.

Someone exhaled in the unseen distance. Drew heard weight shifting from nowhere, as if cued to enter a play.

“Don’t you mean who?” said a man, strolling in from the opposite direction. The mystery man looked middle-aged, and wore a Yankee cap, denim shorts, a white T-shirt, and sneakers. He smiled and rubbed the head of the sitting girl before approaching Drew.

“Don’t you remember anything?” he asked, pointing a finger between himself and the girl. “You ate us.”

“I–I what?” Drew took a step back. This man’s clothing was familiar. So was the young girl. But he didn’t know why. Ate them?

“Well,” the familiar man said. “We are connected now, whether you want to remember or not.” The man tucked a hand in his front pocket. “I’m Leo, and that lovely ten-year-old is Heather.”

Leo’s eyes drifted over Drew’s shoulder. There was something behind him. “Watch yourself, now. Being human makes you just as defenseless as we were.”

Drew turned in the direction of Leo’s gaze.

It all came back.


He was displaced again. This time, out in the open on an empty city street. He stood on the blacktop road in daylight. There weren’t any cars in sight. But in the buildings on each side of him were people staring out at him through the windows. They didn’t say anything, or make gestures, but he knew they were aware of him. And now he was aware of them.

“I was so hungry then.” He whispered a confession. “I didn’t even know what I was doing.”
He saw the faces of every person whose energy he had depleted completely. Countless men and women.

The ten-year-old girl.

The result of his meaningless life. And the only mark he left on the world.

What was happening? What was this place? Purgatory.

He wasn’t always a monster. Killing wasn’t the only thing he was capable of.

He missed his friend Chelsea. She knew he hadn’t done it intentionally. He thought just of her name.

He scanned the faces of the people watching him, turning in a trance-like circle until he heard another stirring. From about a block ahead came a little girl, skipping down the road in a white dress. She was shorter than Heather.

“Drew?” she called, picking up her pace “Come with me. We’ll be safe inside.”

“Why, where are we?” he said, stretching his hand out for her. As she got closer, he recognized her angelic face and long, dark hair.

“Someplace real. They brought you here, but we have to go back.” She was close enough to whisper. “If they get too close, you’ll let them in. C’mon, let’s hurry!”

She pointed toward the direction she came from and started to run. He glanced back at the faces, and they turned away from the windows quickly. He could hear one shouting “Get him!”

He ran after the young girl. The doors of those buildings on each side of him opened. He didn’t watch long enough to see the people rush through it. But he heard their running steps thundering behind him.

“In here,” the little girl shouted without glancing back. “Close the door behind you.” She darted into an entrance, and he could almost feel the people gaining on him. He ran inside, and turned to see the legs of the throng just steps away.

Reaching for the door, he thrust all his energy to shut it quickly.

Once the door was closed, he couldn’t hear anything.

“Oh, my God,” he gasped, barely able to catch a breath.

“Drew, you coming?” He turned to see the little girl peeking over the stairwell, one flight up, her brows furrowed.

He followed her into what looked like a bedroom. The walls were a dingy tan color, caked with layers of paint. A pink and purple bike leaned against a radiator, and a kind of imitation wood medium-density fiberboard TV cart stood only a foot away from the vanity dresser, placed in the middle of the tiny room. The pretty little girl sat on the purple bedspread and patted the space next to her. He knew that gesture well.

“Chelsea?” He sat next to her, realizing she might have surfaced from his thoughts. He stared into those familiar eyes, studying the curve of her nose, chin, and cheeks.

“Mm-hmm,” she nodded. He felt himself smile. When he lifted his hand to touch her face, he had to stop himself.

“Why are you so young?” he asked, still amazed. He wanted to hug and kiss her, but their age difference made it seem…wrong.

“It’s just the way you like to remember me.” She smiled. “We were closer at this age.”

His eyes felt heavy, like he was about the tear up.

A new sound hummed in the distance. He looked toward her bedroom door while the noise became closer and louder. A steady humming.

He turned back to Chelsea, but she went out of focus. When he reached out to touch her, he could still feel her. So he closed his eyes, hoping to reset them both.

The humming sound was at the forefront of his senses. He felt himself breathing.
When he opened his eyes again, he was sitting in a moving vehicle.

Copyright 2017 by Kisa Baginski


About K.M. Baginski:
Kisa Baginski is a middle school science teacher and author of the Windstalker Series. Her new novella, Rehumanized Drew (May 7, 2017) is a spinoff from Baginski’s debut novel, Windstalker: Awareness, and follows the plight of a man in his early 20s, Drew Royce. After turning into a “Windstalker”—a Nephilim subspecies who can transform into air/wind in order to feed on human organs for survival—Drew has managed to become human again, which forces him into hiding. Haunted by his disturbing actions as a Windstalker, Drew must decide between causing more harm to the human world or hiding out until death finds him.

Make sure to add K.M. Baginski on all of your social media sites!