bride of the tornado cover dare to know cover order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


Bride of the Tornado at C2E2!

April 28, 2024

Ah, Dorothy Gale meets her nemesis the tornado again. On Friday I went to C2E2—the “Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo”—to speak on two panels to promote Bride of the Tornado. This was my second time at C2E2 (the first was in 2022, to promote Dare to Know). But this time I came in my tornado costume. I quickly learned that these conventions are much, much more fun if you’re in costume. People talk to you! You have an excuse to talk to others! People want to take pictures with you! It’s an extrovert’s paradise!

For instance, when I saw this woman dressed as the iconic ending of Midsommar, I had to get a picture. She saw that I was carrying Bride of the Tornado and it turned out she had read and loved the book! (But she also said, “I’ll never read it again. Too intense.” Fair!)

Crazy coincidences and reunions happened, too: I saw Britnee, who had made this gorgeous piece of fan art for The Order of Odd-Fish back in 2010 . . . a picture of Jo that hangs in my bedroom to this day! The picture of Britnee in the lower right-hand corner is from when she attended one of our Odd-Fish fan art gallery shows in 2011, where I had featured her work. How amazing it was to see her again!

I’m a sucker for Star Wars, so it was a treat to hang out with Jawas, X-Wing pilots, a remote-controlled R2 unit, and the fearsome Grand Admiral Thrawn:

Oh yeah, did I mention I was on some panels? In the morning I did a panel called “The Hero Doesn’t Always Journey,” about weird and alternative story structures, which is catnip for me. It was moderated by Stephanie Carr (with whom I did an interview later) and the authors Malayna Evans, Marc J. Gregson, and Kristen Simmons. The room was satisfyingly full, it was a substantial topic, and everyone had a lot of insightful things to say!

And in the afternoon I was on another happily well-attended panel, this one put together by the Chicago chapter of the Horror Writers Association called “Frightening an Audience: How Horror Writers Generate Fear.” It was moderated by Damian Serbu and I shared the panel with Aleco Julius and David Rider, and this was another freewheeling and fun discussion. Like the earlier panel, there were also many great questions from the audience!

But let’s look at more fantastic costumes! I liked it when friends came in group costumes, like Finn and Jake from Adventure Time:

Or Gandalf and Frodo (who gifted me with a potato sticker—if you know, you know):

And this group of bold adventurers:

It was April 26, which I didn’t realize was Alien Day, which makes sense because the planet where they first find the xenomorph eggs is LV426:

Who would win: a xenomorph, or steampunk cyborg Lincoln??

I loved the fanatical commitment of many of the costumes, like this armor made entirely of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards:

It was, in all, a wonderful and totally exhausting day. I got to talk to lots of folks, meet friends old and new, and sell and sign some books. Not bad for a day’s work. I’ll be back!