2014 Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards

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Hanging out on the red carpet – is it weird to see Geek Outlaw out of uniform?

First let’s address the giant oliphant in the room. Yes, this is called the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards. Yes, this made me very nervous when I first got the invitation to cover it. If you are unaware, L. Ron Hubbard was the founder of the Church of Scientology, a church that has seen its share of controversy. Then again, I’m half Catholic (in theory, not in practice), so who am I to talk about religious controversy? I was quick to ask if the Awards had anything to do with the Church and was given a quick, but polite response that L. Ron Hubbard was also a prolific science fiction writer and the Awards had nothing to do with Scientology. I did a little research and it seemed that they do try and keep the two quite separate. After talking it over with my NerdBFF, Geek Outlaw, our curiosity got the better of us and we decided to go and see what it was all about for ourselves. I will say that there was no indication that it was a Scientology event aside from that it was an L. Ron Hubbard love fest. A large portrait of him hung from the stage the entire time except during the music and dance performances, there was a rather lengthy video montage honoring him, and his name was mentioned every few minutes, at minimum.

Hanging out before the awards

Hanging out before the awards

Now, that being said, if there is one thing that I took away from the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards, it’s that it was a very positive experience and a very big deal for the winners. They were obviously well taken care of by Author Services and enormously grateful for the week of classes and activities that were organized for them, including workshops with talented and established authors and artists, trips to museums, etc. They also receive cash prizes that are much higher than other contests, are given opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have, and many of them go on to become highly successful authors and illustrators in their own right. Regardless of whether or not there is any religious affiliation, I think that there is a place for this competition.

Some of the winners

Some of the winners on the red carpet

For me personally, the highlight of the evening was having the opportunity to chat with the winners and presenters on the red carpet beforehand. The winners were nervous and excited, the presenters approachable and proud of the honorees. Geek Outlaw and I had the pleasure of interviewing the evening’s keynote speaker Astronaut Leland Melvin:

Astronaut Leland Melvin

Astronaut Leland Melvin

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL9_7szTMLE] – June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Challenger Astronaut Dick Scobee:

June Scobee Rogers

June Scobee Rodgers

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FDJwC1h5UA] – Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Orson Scott Card, author of the Ender’s Game series of sci-fi novels:

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOJqORDz3Lg] – Robert J. Sawyer, author of Flash Forward:

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRST4raF_SQ] – And Kevin J. Anderson, author of Dune and X-Files fiction:

Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFlrp3tRRGU] – The winners were announced alternating between the writers and the illustrators who created the original artwork for that particular story. The winners were from every conceivable walk of life. From high school teachers to high school students, computer scientists to real estate agents, Veterinarians to former military. And from every corner of the planet including South Korea, Jamaica, Canada, Finland, East Siberia, England, Portugal, Germany, Australia and, of course, all over the United States. Some of the awards were interspersed with circus performers, Indian dancers, BMX cyclists and musical performers. DSC01960 (Large) The grand prize is the Golden Pen Award and the Golden Brush Award. These two gentlemen received $5000 and had previously delivered two of the most emotional speeches of the night. Both were enormously grateful and humbled by the fact that they had won. Golden Pen Award: Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask by Randy Henderson DSC02029 (Large) Golden Brush Award: Trevor Smith DSC02024 (Large) The evening wrapped up with a reception and a chance to have our copies of the Anthology signed by all of the winners. I tried to get as many signatures as I could but the crowds because ridiculous and I reluctantly gave up since I had to drive back to San Diego that night. There and back in one day was a doozy, let me tell you! We did get a chance to hang out with writer Tim Powers for a bit before we left. His 1988 novel On Stranger Tides was optioned for Disney’s fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film. DSC02034 (Large) All in all it was a delightful evening and anything that helps writers get their foot in the door is a good thing.

7 Guys Worth Nerdgasaming Over

Just replace the Tribble with one of these 7 delicious men and I’ll be a happy camper

My sister-in-law and I were at WonderCon on Friday and somehow we got on the topic of “Cheat Sheets.”

And no, I’m not talking about the school variety.

The “Cheat Sheet” I’m referring to is a list of people you’re allowed to get it on with and your significant other can’t hold it against you.  You both get one and the list is full of people you don’t even remotely stand a chance with.  For example, Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Bale are on my SIL’s list.  Isla Fisher and Gretchen Mole are on my brother’s list.  They are only allowed 5 each.

Now, I’ve written a number of articles about sexy women, the 2 most popular being 10 Hottest Babes of Sci-Fi and Maxim’s Hot 100 Lucky 13 but I have yet to write a post about nerd-worthy sexy men.  This kind of blows my mind. It also got me thinking about my own list and who would be on it.  I certainly know it when I see it if I’d hit it…but can I narrow it down to a list?

It’s was a difficult challenge but one that I was willing to accept.

Yeesh my job really sucks sometimes 😉

After much thought, meditation and Google image searching, I’ve put together my Cheat Sheet. I couldn’t narrow it down to 5 so I get 7.  Because I’m HNG and I say so.  So there.  Naturally everyone on my list fits nicely into the nerd ‘verse….cause that’s all I ever pay attention to anyways…ahem.  Sorry if you don’t bat for this team and it’s not your kind of list.  I’m an equal opportunity sexy list maker and I can’t (nay won’t!) neglect the fans who will appreciate this.

So without further ado, here’s my list in alphabetical order:

Orlando Bloom

I studied for my college finals every December for 3 years in a row while waiting in the 5+ hour line for opening day of the latest Lord of the Rings movie.  I graduated Cum Laude so I must have been doing something right.  The first time I saw Legolas on screen I was 100% convinced that I was going to marry him one day.  Then all the teeny boppers jumped on that bandwagon (especially once Pirates of the Caribbean came out) and it turned me off big time.  But still, I can’t help it.  I think he’s adorable.  Thankfully most of those teeny boppers have moved on to RPatz.  I used to see Orlando outside my work sometimes, once with Dominic Monaghan (and cue borderline creepy stalker pic) and my heart would still leap into my throat.  So he stays on the list.

Nathan Fillion

Does this one really need an explanation?  I didn’t think so.  But I’ll give one anyway.  Actually, I wrote a whole blog about it back when HNG was brand spankin’ new and I stand by it.  But aside from the fact that he’s Malcolm Reynolds, Captain Hammer, Richard Castle, The Holy Avenger, etc etc etc…Nathan himself has an amazing sense of humor.  I don’t pay much attention to my Twitter account (although I probably should) but every once in a while I go on and just read back through his tweets for fun.  I’m often told that I look like Stana Katic, Nathan’s source of sexual tension on Castle.  I disagree about the physical similarities but I would gladly trade places with her and experience some of that sexual tension for myself. ….please….?

Tom Hardy

Five of the men on this list are foreigners with deliciously sexy foreign accents.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as proud an American as they come, but GD I love a good accent.  There’s a scene in This Means War when Reese Witherspoon meets Tom Hardy for the first time and she asks him to say something again because it sounds so awesome.  I could not have said it better myself.  Tom Hardy first came to my attention as the Captain Picard clone in Star Trek: Nemesis.  I went to see it on opening day with about ten guy friends.  About five minutes into the movie I started crying (because I’m a movie psychic and I’d already figured out what would happen to Data) much to the horror of every guy I was with.   I will never forget the moment when the friend next to me asked me if I was ok and I looked over and saw ten grown men staring at me like I had tentacles sprouting from my face.  It was HI-larious.  But I digress.  The other thing that stood out was Tom.  He’s been charming me ever since, crooked teeth and all. Seriously, he was my very favorite character in InceptionI think I’m the only person on the planet that isn’t looking forward to seeing him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  I know he’s going to be brilliant but the thought of him like that just makes me cringe.  But I’ll still watch it.  Over and over and over again.

Chris Hemsworth

If you’ve been following the blog for a while this will come as no surprise.  If you are a newbie, allow me to explain.  I’m a big Thor fan. 1. He’s my favorite comic book character and 2. I’m a ridiculously proud Scandinavian who grew up listening to stories about Odin and Asgard while we made lefse and sauerkraut.  The first time I remember seeing Thor on a movie screen was when Vincent D’Onofrio reluctantly accepted the title in Adventures in Babysitting, one of my very favorite movies of all time. So I had very high hopes for whoever Kenneth Branaugh cast in his Avengers set up.  I wasn’t sure what to think about Chris Hemsworth at first.  I remembered him being Kirk’s daddy in the latest Star Trek and I thought he was mighty cute but not big enough to be the God of Thunder.  Then he took his shirt off and I had a conniption fit.  OMFG.  Seriously Chris, you just have to say the word and it is on like Donkey Kong.

James McAvoy

I think my attraction to James mostly has to do with his Scottish accent.  And his eyes.  And the fact that he’s a brilliant actor.  And his eyes.  And his accent.  All of which I discussed in my review of X-Men: First Class. But aside from all that, he’s uber talented.  Mr. Tumnus is one of those literary characters that is beloved by fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and James did good by our favorite faun.  Plus, he rocks the Jane Austin-type stuff and you know us girls eat that shit right up.

David Tennant

Another choice that needs no explanation.  Easily the sexiest of all the Doctor incarnations, his 3 series and 8 specials are the most popular and well-loved of the long running Doctor Who BBC show.  Then he had to go and seal the deal with Harry Potter and Fright Night, forcing me to adore him forever.  His face is so malleable, he can twist and turn it in countless ways.  But when he just stop and smiles, your heart melts.  David, I am so sorry (see what I did there?), but I just can’t quit you.

Michael Trucco

Now, my brother’s name is Michael and normally I’m totally weirded out by the thought of banging someone with the same name as someone I’m related to but in this case I will totally make an exception.  I fell head over heels in love with Anders the second he showed up on Battlestar Galactica.  Lee who?  Seriously, I wanted to punch Starbuck in the face for the way she treated him.  Even the fact that he was a Cylon could not diminish my love.  It sucked when he went all vegetable and yet I would still probably hit that.  I’m a little grossed out by myself right now but damn, that is a fine ass man.  He also had memorable guest spots on Big Bang Theory and Castle (where my celebrity look alike got to have a nice little love triangle with TWO of the people on my list.  Bitch.)

Runners Up:

Richard Madden – Game of Thrones

Kit Harington – Game of Thrones

Chris O’Donnell – Batman Forever (but never ever ever Batman & Robin *shudder*)

Patrick Stewart – Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men

Henry Cavill – The Tudors, Immortals, Man of Steel

Jamie Dornan – Once Upon A Time

Jason Mamoa – Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones, Stargate: Atlantis

Ben BrowderFarscape, Stargate SG1, upcoming Doctor Who episode

Alexander Skarsgard – True Blood

Ryan Kwanten – True Blood

Joe ManganielloTrue Blood

Tristan MacManus – Dancing with the Stars (I know, totally random, right? But I’m a theatre/dance nerd too and he’s frakking adorable)