SANDEMONIUM 2016 - small but mighty in Sandpoint, Idaho

A wide range of cosplay characters
added to the festive atmosphere
of Sandemonium 2016
Back from my third comicon, and I'm glad to report that Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Anime, Comic, Cosplay, and Fandom-in-General are all alive and well in Sandpoint, Idaho!

8 a.m. was setup time. Hubs and I began hauling the first of several loads from the car. (Note to self: Instead of writing very heavy books, consider creating something more lightweight to sell, like balloon animals or feathered hat pins)

However, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a small army of volunteers whose sole job was to offer help of any kind. Tote a box? Looking for direction? Need a hand with that display? They were there.

It's just one example of the amazing organization and enthusiasm of the steering committee who put this small but mighty event together.

The Flash, one of my
favorite cosplayers,
also attended
Coeur d'Con

As you might know from a previous blog post, I had a BLAST at Coeur d'Con two weeks ago. I'd fully expected the Sandpoint event to be much smaller. True, there were fewer attendees at Sandemonium than at Coeur d'Con, but this event focused in on teens and adults, and catered to a much wider variety of interests. 

You know the proverb, when the student is ready, the teacher appears... This "little" event definitely took me to the next level of con experience! 

For instance, I learned what "boffering" is, as all kinds of cosplayers took their boffers -- padded mock weapons -- to the great outdoors for some simulated combat and serious "larping" (live action role playing - yup, I had to learn that term too, LOL). 

This had been preceded by a helpful how-to presentation on building cool-looking but effective boffers out of lowly pool noodles.

Badger Dragon Boffer!
(Allison J Wier, who won 1st in
the pro cosplay division)
Tabletop and video gaming tourneys ran for much of the day. Gamers could also take in classes on how to create your own Dungeons and Dragons character or how to play War Machine. And I learned that playing a game is not the only way to enjoy it. 

The vendor's booth next to mine belonged to local tabletop gaming and card shop, Another World. I got a close-up look at a set of exquisite Warhammer pieces, each lovingly hand-painted by the proprietor. Fine details are done with a single-haired brush, and one tiny figurine can take many hours to complete.

Rebecca Hicks, the artist
behind Little Vampires,
taught a drawing class
Self-publishing panels abounded for budding authors, as did instruction in creating everything from dolls to cartoons to elaborate costumes. Entertainment was provided by comedy/improv group, Pants Pending (who also gave a panel on podcasting) And official meet-ups were held for anime fans, "furries", and pokemon fans... But really, whatever creative, fantastical, or character-driven interest you had, your tribe awaited you! 

Cosplay Castiel
Speaking of tribes, I've learned that this is one of the greatest appeals of a fantasy convention. Here's a place where your inner geek can come out of the closet and thrive. I know that mine did! There's nothing like that sense of delighted recognition when you spot a character created by a talented cosplayer (hey, I got to salute Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and meet a giant Ewok!). And nothing like the enthusiasm and excitement of discussing the finer points of a game, a TV show, a hobby, or an art form with someone who "gets it", and loves it as much as you do. 

Horror author
was on hand.
I just started
reading his
The energy of so many creative people all in one place is amazing. Plus, there's a warmth that isn't just from the August weather. Attendees recognize each other from previous events and greet each other like long-lost friends. Reps from other cons show up to support their sister event, and share ideas, as well as to promote their own. 

A lot of the vendors, artists, and authors have gotten to know each other through shared events too. And several went out of their way to make me feel welcome, and offer support. So not only did I learn a lot from everyone at Sandemonium, I made some new friends. 

I brought home a couple of new friends too, in the form of books. Every author is a reader first, and I just can't resist a good story. What I couldn't buy at the time has been added to my TBR list!

Despite the excitement, I even managed to sell a few of my own books. With all the fun things to see and do, plus the chasing-after-the-elf-couple-to-get-a-photo (I never did catch them), it was easy to forgot that my original purpose was to introduce my work to new readers. Oops! But I did manage to talk to quite a few people, and some of the Changeling Series and the Grim Series found good homes. 

If you'd like to see more photos from Sandemonium 2016, head on over to their Facebook page at  and check out their recent posts.


  1. There was an Optimus Prime there!! :) Glad you had fun and made some connections...great place to get tips on other cons and events to attend.

    1. I really learned a lot! This was good for me on so many levels. I missed getting a shot of the Optimus Prime --- didn't have my camera in hand those few times I spotted him, but I thought of you!


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