10 Tidbits About ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3

Sleepy Hollow was an unexpected hit in its debut season but season 2 hit more than a few snags and the show was nearly canceled.

Season 3, however, is off to a promising start with a renewed focus on Abbie and Ichabod working together, and a new season-long arc about their second tribulation as supernatural witnesses.

I attended a press roundtable at New York Comic Con last weekend that included Raven Metzner, the co-executive producer, Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills), Zach Appelman (Joe Corbin), and Nikki Reed (Betsy Ross).

Among the most interesting tidbits from the interviews:

  • This season will have a coherent and well-planned story arc, according to Metzner. “The second season didn’t have the consistency it could have and the piece I’m most excited about is that we have a really good plan for this season.”

    sleepy hollow, Joe Corbin, Jenny Mills
    Jenny Mills and Joe Corbin, Sleepy Hollow. Should they go with #jordin? Image via Fox.

Continue reading 10 Tidbits About ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3

Geeking Out On Starship Design

This week on Geek Speaks…Fiction! we welcome science fiction author Patrick S. Tomlinson! Not only is Patrick the author of the brand new book The Ark from Angry Robot Books, he’s also a stand-up comedian and a blogger. Please welcome him to GeekMom!

Hello GeekMom readers! My name is Patrick S. Tomlinson. I’m a sci-fi author and stand-up comedian living in Milwaukee. My debut novel, The Ark, is hitting the shelves November 3rd from Angry Robot Books. I’ve been asked to share what about writing it made me geek out the most.

The Ark was the first novel I’ve written where the plot emerged fully formed. In the span of just a few hours, the outline of all the major plot points and characters filled up my head in a burst of creativity. Over dinner that night, I positively gushed everything I’d come up with to my girlfriend, just to get it out.

As a result, it was also the fastest book I’ve written to date, taking only six months to reach the end, (I’m still not the fastest writer, although I’m getting a lot better). The whole idea behind the book is Earth was destroyed centuries ago, but humanity had just enough time to do something about it. So they built a stupendous generation ship, filled it with fifty-thousand of the planet’s best and brightest, then shot them off for the stars.

Because of this, the world-building for the story was limited to the ship and its occupants, but that didn’t make the task any less daunting. Creating a self-sustaining world in miniature that is believable, compelling, and still scientifically-grounded was a big deal. Just look at the infamous Biodome II experiment to know what I mean. Continue reading Geeking Out On Starship Design

‘Black Widow: Forever Red’ Is the “Definitive” Story of Natasha Romanoff

It’s usually difficult to find the elusive Natasha Romanoff, but not today: You can now find Black Widow starring her own young adult title, Forever Red, in bookstores everywhere.

Black Widow: Forever Red not only gives us a much-needed insight into the history of Natasha Romanoff, but also introduces a new teenaged character, Ava Orlova, who made her debut in September in the Mockingbird comic book one-shot. How do their paths intersect?

“Being able to tell a canon story—the definitive story of Natasha Romanoff’s past—that was both the carrot and the stick,” says author Margaret Stohl. “But the book is both an origin story and a legacy story—with our Black Widow and our Red Widow—so in many ways it becomes a very powerful female narrative about friendship and really sisterhood between two pretty amazing women.”

Continue reading ‘Black Widow: Forever Red’ Is the “Definitive” Story of Natasha Romanoff

More Marvelous Merchants at GeekGirlCon 2015

Conventions are one of the best ways to discover independent and creative small businesses sharing their love of all things geeky. Last year I brought you my choices for just some of the amazing booths featured at GeekGirlCon.

This year, I picked five more with online storefronts so that you too can pick up some of their amazing and unique creations.

Continue reading More Marvelous Merchants at GeekGirlCon 2015

‘Pan’ Isn’t Perfect, But Still a Great Escape

Pan, Warner Brothers’ new retelling of J.M. Barrie’s classic fairy tale, came out this weekend, and I was fortunate enough to catch it on opening day.

In this Joe Wright-directed version,  a 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller), is living in miserable conditions in a London orphanage. When he finds himself abducted by flying pirates, he embarks on the journey to Neverland where he meets the not-yet-a-pirate James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), tribal warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), and the pirate leader Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Yes, that Blackbeard. While forced to work in a mine looking for rare pixie dust bits left over from what is said to be an extinct race of fairies, he discovers his legacy as the island’s potential savior as well as his ability to fly. Continue reading ‘Pan’ Isn’t Perfect, But Still a Great Escape

6 Tips for Throwing a Video Game Playdate With ‘Yoshi’s Woolly World’

Having your friends over to play video games isn’t a new idea. If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably had some buddies over to check out the rad new Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog. But “playing games together” back then was more your friends staring at the screen while you play, instead of playing together.

Thanks to the attention spent to co-op play in games like the upcoming Wii U title Yoshi’s Woolly World, video games now are more social than ever! Plan a perfect video game playdate for rainy day fun with the help of these six tips and Yoshi’s Woolly World. Continue reading 6 Tips for Throwing a Video Game Playdate With ‘Yoshi’s Woolly World’

GeekGirlCon 2015 Cosplay Gallery

GeekGirlCon in Seattle, WA, sold out again this year! GeekGirlCon might have a reputation as one of the year’s most relaxed and family-friendly conventions, but that doesn’t mean that cosplayers don’t bring their A game.

Here’s a gallery of some of the best costumes on display on Saturday, October 10, at GeekGirlCon 2015.

Continue reading GeekGirlCon 2015 Cosplay Gallery

Starting From Scratch: Developing Interest

Teaching kids coding is one of the current buzz topics in schools, and rightly so. Programming is a vital skill, so much so that the National Curriculum in the UK—the government’s official guidelines on what schools are required to teach—has recently been updated to include the subject from a very young age.

My six year old has already come home talking about debugging algorithms, words I never used in all my years of schooling. I wanted to be involved in this journey with him and this new post series will follow our adventures in learning more about robotics, programming and more.

Continue reading Starting From Scratch: Developing Interest

Microsoft Continues to Innovate Portable Computing

Microsoft recently announced the newest in their line of Microsoft-branded computers. They’ve updated the Surface Pro to model number 4, and they’ve come out with the Surface Book, which is a larger, beefier, more powerful machine that looks more like a laptop than the other Surface models.

It seems that most laptops these days have touch screens, and tablets are everywhere. But convertible machines where the screen detaches and can be used as its own thing with a sophisticated, pressure-sensitive stylus are not the norm. I’m very glad to be seeing Microsoft think outside the box. And for people solidly in the PC world, these new offerings expand their purchasing options.

Continue reading Microsoft Continues to Innovate Portable Computing

‘Storied Myth’ Is a Hands-On Reading Experience

My son will pretty much do anything to get his hands on my iPad. He has plenty of his own devices, but that doesn’t keep him from ogling my iPad’s big, beautiful screen and whatever apps I’m checking out. I don’t mind forking it over if he’s using it wisely. Like I said, he has plenty of other portables for comics, books, and games. However, Storied Myth is a good reason to give up my precious portable. This is an iOS exclusive that combines reading with hands-on activities.

Storied Myth is an app that weaves a series of stories in with an “adventure kit” that includes puzzles and other trinkets. After you finish reading each chapter, there’s a puzzle that will help you move on to the next installment. Continue reading ‘Storied Myth’ Is a Hands-On Reading Experience

DIY: 3M Auto Boot Camp Proves You Can Make Your Old Car Look New Again

It would be wonderful if we could each buy a shiny new car the second the old one started to look shabby. Even if you’re careful, scratches, dents, and general wear and tear can take their toll on your precious. One solution is to take it to a detailer and have them buff and polish until it looks like new, but that can be expensive. I recently discovered how easy it is to bring a car back to life and here’s why you should try this, too.

I write about cars all the time. It’s my day job to know about horsepower and torque and wheelbases and all those numbers the engineers love to quote. I know a lot about cars, but I have never once tried to do any cosmetic work on my car to reduce the effects of age. Awkwardly applied touch-up paint, yes, but buffing and polishing, never.

Continue reading DIY: 3M Auto Boot Camp Proves You Can Make Your Old Car Look New Again

Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Diamond Edition Blu-Ray Honors Robin Williams

This coming week, Disney is releasing a time-honored classic through its Diamond Edition Blu-ray label. Aladdin, from 1992, is one of my husband’s and my favorite animated films and we were so excited to get to share the movie with our sons.

Yes. You heard right. Our 10- and 13-year-old sons hadn’t seen Aladdin till now. At least, not in its entirety. They’d seen several bits and pieces over the years as it was aired on Disney Channel and the Starz Network, but on Saturday night we all sat down to watch not just the movie itself, but also all of the extras featured on the Diamond Edition Blu-ray. Continue reading Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Diamond Edition Blu-Ray Honors Robin Williams

The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the committed DC reader and Corrina is the somewhat lapsed DC fan.

This week sees the debut of Batman & Robin Eternal which also features the return of a fan favorite character, another chapter in the complicated and intense Omega Men story, the continued adventures of that crazy couple, Midnighter and Grayson, and indie legend Carla “Speed” McNeil delivers a fine Wonder Woman story in Sensation Comics.

Batman & Robin Eternal #1 — James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder, story, James Tynion IV, script, Tony Daniel, pencils, Sandu Florea, inks

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy It (But I have reservations)

Ray: The second act of the greatest DC comics weekly ever begins here, and it does not disappoint. With a new creative squad in place and once again headlined by Tynion and overseen by Snyder, all the pieces are in place for another runaway hit. While the issue does push some buttons that might upset people, it’s been very clear with Eternal that things are rarely what they seem, and in terms of character, the Bat-family is rarely done better.

Continue reading The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Laura Anne Gilman Geeks Out on Muppets, X-Files & Leverage

Welcome to our weekly Geek Speaks..Fiction series where authors talk about the geekdoms that inspired them.

Our guest today, Laura Anne Gilman is the author of nearly twenty books, including the Nebula award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy.  Her next book project, SILVER ON THE ROAD, is the first in the Devil’s West series from Saga / Simon & Schuster.

I am a child of fandom. Be it the Muppets or Star Wars (my childhood favorites), or X-Files, (my first “adult” fandoms), I’ve been one of the quiet but dedicated fans, who may not wear my heart as cosplay, but was cheering those cosplayers along.

You will never hear me saying “oh, I don’t watch tv.” I think television has been one of the greatest storytelling devices of our lifetime, up there with the commercial printing press and digitally-adjustable font sizes. Is there crap out there? Absolutely. But theres also genius.

And when I look at my own work, I can see their influence, from the very earliest to the most current productions.

  1. The Muppets. There is nothing about the Muppets that I do not still geek over, from the opening number to the guest stars, to the way their scripts managed to remain true to the ‘reality’ of their lives without ever losing the madcap glee of being a muppet. It was my first real experience with an ensemble cast, seeing how disparate stories interweave and overlap, without ever getting tangled. I learned how to snark from Statler and Waldorf – the fine and surprisingly delicate art of cutting without drawing actual blood – and how to love characters that are utterly self-absorbed from Miss Piggy and Fozzie, each in their own delightful way. Farron, the east wind magician in SILVER ON THE ROAD, inherited those balances, and his interactions with Gabriel carry the same real “on the same team but not friends” vibe that the Muppet Show brought out, every single week.

Continue reading Laura Anne Gilman Geeks Out on Muppets, X-Files & Leverage

Your Guide to Creating the Perfect Tree of Life Pendant

Recently, I found myself caught up in the tree of life phenomenon. Specifically, I took a real interest in wire-wrapped, handmade tree of life pendants. I had an opportunity to take a three-hour class, held by Wattle Tree Designs, at a local gift shop. Boy, was that a lot of fun! Women, beads, laughter, and the age-old art of passing down a craft from one person to another. I was hooked! Read on for inspiration and instructions on how to make your own tree of life pendants.

Continue reading Your Guide to Creating the Perfect Tree of Life Pendant

Star Wars Reads Day Awakens October 10, 2015

October not only brings Halloween fun every year, but the return of Star Wars Reads Day! As Episode VII gets closer and closer, this year’s event promises to be more exciting than ever. With a ton of new Star Wars books to choose from, events nationwide, and spoiler-free activity sheets for The Force Awakens, Star Wars Read Day 2015 will be a blast!

Continue reading Star Wars Reads Day Awakens October 10, 2015

Talking About Bullies With Charlie Brown

With The Peanuts Movie right around the corner, Warner Bros. has started releasing some of the gang’s previous adventures on DVD. Last month, I talked up The Emmy Honored Collection, which sparked a lot of laughs in my house. This month, we have a Peanuts DVD that actually sparked an interesting conversation. Continue reading Talking About Bullies With Charlie Brown

This Is SO Good: ‘Parable of the Sower’ In Concert

I’m spending a rainy morning re-reading Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. There’s a lot to do around the house and for work, but I don’t care. My ears are filled with words and song, and I want to revisit Butler’s masterful and wrenching post-apocalyptic vision, thanks to folk musician Toshi Reagon and the team of performers who are helping bring Butler’s work to a new audience.

Photo: Hachette (trade reprint, 2000). Buy the book at Amazon.

Published in 1993, Parable of the Sower was a 1994 Nebula Award nominee. Twenty-two years on, the story doesn’t just resonate and shock. It grabs hold and shakes, yelling “Wake up!”

In Parable of the Sower, Lauren Olamina, a young woman with hyperempathy who is the daughter of a visionary preacher, chronicles her journey through a destroyed L.A. and out into the world.

“The first time I read Parable, it was so terrifying,” folksinger Reagon told her audience at a recent concert. “I had to put it down.” Luckily, Reagon picked the book back up again.

Reagon and her mother, Dr. Bernice Johnson (Sweet Honey in the Rock & Freedom Singers co-founder), have written a glorious rock opera and set Parable of the Sower to music. Her musical interpretation of Parable of the Sower premiered at the 2015 Under the Radar festival and is currently making limited appearances as a work-in-progress. Parable of the Sower features outstanding performances by cast members Bertilla Baker, Helga Davis, Karma Mayet Johnson, Tamar-kali, Morley Kamen, Marcelle Davies Lashley, Josette Newsam-Marchak, Carl Hancock Rux, Shayna Small, and Jason C. Walker. The musicians are Robert Burke, Fred Cash, Juliette Jones, and Adam Widoff. (Source: http://toshireagon.com/trwp/projects.)

Program for Parable of the Sower, from The Annenberg Center performance 10/02/15. Image: Fran Wilde
Program for Parable of the Sower, from the Annenberg Center performance on 10/02/15. Image: Fran Wilde

A mix of spirituals, rock, soul-searing solos, and powerful choruses and harmonies, Reagon’s Parable of the Sower is nothing short of transformative. At the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, where I saw the concert, performers wove the intimacy of the setting and the power of connection through the audience with voice, movement, light and darkness, and eye contact. The music is exquisite. The voices linger long after the theater is quiet.

Reagon said during the performance that Parable of the Sower will be a full opera. Should it, or the work-in-progress concert come to a venue near you? Go.

Concert photo by Fran Wilde.

Let’s Be Bad Guys: Time for Some Thrilling Heroics With ‘Colt Express’

In Colt Express, you take on the role of a bandit holding up a train in the American Wild West. Players use their cards to move around the train, gather loot, attack rival players, and influence the Marshall—at the end of the game the player with the most loot is the winner.

Continue reading Let’s Be Bad Guys: Time for Some Thrilling Heroics With ‘Colt Express’

Smalltalk: Building a Network for Parents Like You

Image via Care.com
Image via Care.com

Ours is a world of social networks. There’s Facebook and Twitter, sure, but it also seems as though we’re moving more toward smaller, more specialized services. While there are a myriad of options for everything from cultivating business contacts to online dating, Smalltalk, GeekMom’s newest sponsor, seeks to create a special place just for parents.

Care.com–a one-stop shop for families searching for housekeepers, tutors, and caregivers–created the Smalltalk mobile app to allow parents to communicate openly about pediatricians and childcare options, share recommendations for local businesses and events, and, ultimately, form their own personal parenting networks.

Smalltalk has all the features you’ve come to expect from mobile sharing services. You can comment on existing posts or begin your own conversations with just a couple of taps, upload and share photos, and, while the app uses your current location to connect you with nearby users, you can easily shift the focus to a different geographic area via an intuitive map interface.

Post are limited to 222 characters to encourage brevity and keep conversations lively, and individual posts can be voted up or down–think Reddit, sans the relentless image macros–to make the most compelling, relevant conversations more visible. Users can keep current on the conversations in which they’re involved via the ever-present “My Topics” tab, and even report posts that break the service’s rules of etiquette by long-tapping the offending entry.

Contributions to Smalltalk conversations are attributed to users via first name and last initial, but a toggle system on the compose screen enables users to switch effortlessly to anonymous mode. This feature provides an additional layer of insulation to foster frank, open discussions, even about difficult topics.

With all the features you want in a simple, sleek interface, Smalltalk has everything the modern parent needs to connect, collaborate, and even occasionally commiserate. All that’s missing is you, so download the free app now!

Defending the Fart Joke

I love intellectual jokes.

Here’s a favorite: Helium walks into a bar, and the bartender yells, “We don’t serve noble gases here.” Helium doesn’t react.

Get it? Because it is a gas that…oh never mind.

I love to tell these kinds of jokes, and get some pretty good “reactions” (element pun intended) with these.


Continue reading Defending the Fart Joke

Tabletop Game: ‘Machi Koro’

Machi Koro is a card drafting and dice rolling game in which players try to develop their city faster then their opponents. Each turn, players roll dice, reconcile the relevant actions, and then buy cards to earn them the money they need to develop their towns. The first player to finish all of the landmarks wins.

Continue reading Tabletop Game: ‘Machi Koro’

Classical Geeky

My local orchestra, The Albany Symphony, has a concert series aimed at families with young children. This season they are total geeks. Harry Sonata and The Baton of Power, Star Warriors: The Opera, and The Superhero Show. Here’s a write up for the first one:

“Young Harry Sonata doesn’t want to be an ordinary wizard; he wants to become a musical wizard. But to do that, he’ll have to do battle with the evil Lord Moldywart and learn to wield the “Baton of Power.” He’ll need your help learning all about the art of conducting so he can vanquish the forces of evil and make the orchestra SING! Great music by: Tchaikovsky, Sousa, Strauss, Beethoven, and others.”

Continue reading Classical Geeky

‘Earth+Space’: The Coffee Table Book That’s Out of This World

Earth+Space: Other than the attractive but questionable title (which sometimes wreaks havoc on precise search engine searches), I love this book. I mean, you’ve got space. You’ve got photography. And I’m pretty sure there are very few people out there who do astrophotography better than NASA. I mean, how many space telescopes do you have?

Image: Chronicle Books
Image: Chronicle Books

With a preface from Bill Nye (the Science Guy, don’tcha know), Earth+Space begins with several photos of Earth from space, including a beautiful nighttime shot. Then it quickly turns its cameras in the other direction, pointing us toward other planets and moons in the solar system, and then out to galaxies, comets, nebulae, brown dwarfs, various other space phenomena, and, one of my favorite things to say, globular clusters. As you move through the book, you get farther and farther away from Earth. Though the distance increases, the beauty does not decrease. NASA’s technology is second to none, and can get clear, detailed, intricate photos of objects far, far away. It also takes us back in time, as we see far away objects as they were many, many years ago.

Continue reading ‘Earth+Space’: The Coffee Table Book That’s Out of This World

Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

There’s something a little bit magical about turning a piece of paper into a crane, bear, or dragon through the practice of origami. But turning a piece of paper into Batman? That’s being a flat-out origami superhero. Thanks to John Montroll, origami master and author of DC Super Heroes Origami, you and your kids will be making super origami versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more in no time.

Continue reading Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

The much-anticipated (at least by my six-year-old) new series DC Super Hero Girls kicks off today with a re-designed web site and webisode! The short animated episode introduces us all to Super Hero High, where heroes and villains alike go to school to learn about their powers and make friends.

Continue reading ‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

Rape by Deception in ‘Aquaman #44’ is Poorly Handled

Welcome to our recap of this week’s DC Comics releases. Ray is the seasoned DC fan, I’m the more cycnical and lapsed DC reader.

We usually focus first on our favorite issue of the week, and work our way down from there but we’re making an exception today. There was one comic with such a problematic plot element, a rape by deception, that we have to start there.

Sorry, Batman Annual #4, our book of the week, and Grayson Annual #2 with your team-up with Superman. We’ll get to you after.

Aquaman #44 – Cullen Bunn, writer, Alec Morgan, layouts, Art Thibert and Jesus Merino, finishes
Ray: 3/10
Corrina: There’s bad writing and then there’s problematic writing. This is both. Continue reading Rape by Deception in ‘Aquaman #44’ is Poorly Handled

My Favorite Picture Books Right Now: September 2015

My 5-year-old and I haven’t shared our favorite picture books in a while for two reasons. First, we’ve ventured into the world of chapter books with Zach Weinersmith’s Augie and the Green Knight. The second is that we’ve been working our way through DK’s lengthy History Year by Year reference book produced by the Smithsonian Institution. More on those two at the end.

Nevertheless, I’m glad to finally have a few wonderful library finds, a few Kickstarter success stories, and some not-quite-picture-book books that cover the gamut of history, science, programming, and a little bit of humor.

Continue reading My Favorite Picture Books Right Now: September 2015

Geekomancer: You’ll Totally Want This Power

Michael R. Underwood (aka: Mike) has traveled the world, knows why Tybalt cancels out Capo Ferro, and rolls a mean d20. He was raised in no small part at his local hobby game store, and he spent so much time helping out they eventually had to put him on staff.

He is the author the several series: the comedic fantasy Ree Reyes series (Geekomancy, Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, Hexomancy), fantasy superhero novel Shield and Crocus, supernatural thriller The Younger Gods, and the forthcoming Genrenauts, a science fiction series in novellas. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiancée and their ever-growing library. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he plays video games, geeks out on TV, and makes pizzas from scratch. He is a co-host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show. Visit him at michaelrunderwood.com and on Twitter.

Last year, Fran had me on GeekMom for a special Cooking The Books/GeekMom crossover, where I talked about Attack the Geek, a novella in the Ree Reyes world. Now I’m very happy to talk about Hexomancy, which follows directly after the events of the novella.

cover courtesy Mike Underwood
cover courtesy Mike Underwood

The Ree Reyes series is about geeking out – Ree, the lead, is a Geekomancer, which means that when she geeks out, she can do extraordinary things – watching a favorite film or TV show lets her emulate the power of its heroes (watch The Matrix and do wire-fu, watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and get Cap’s strength and speed, as well as a dose of old-timey righteousness), channeling the collective nostalgia for props to bring them to life (while emulating Captain America, she uses a prop shield and it comes to life as an actual vibranium shield), or using collectible cards like spell scrolls – tearing up a Green Lantern card to make a one-shot lantern construct to help her while chasing an enemy. Continue reading Geekomancer: You’ll Totally Want This Power