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Blame Helena Books Blog
Navigating the mind of a writer

Blame Helena Books Blog


by Claudia Helena Ross on 04/21/16

I'm devastated. I'm drained. The music of my life died today. The Artist. 

April 21, 2016.

Prince Rogers Nelson

My heart is unsure of what to do.

Doug Banks

by Claudia Helena Ross on 04/12/16

On Monday April 11th, I turned on my computer and logged on to V103, as I do everyday. I heard Bionce Fox announce, ",..sadden to report the passing of our friend, Doug Banks."

Or something like that.

I'm sitting at my desk staring at my computer, hoping it would correct my hearing. Did they just say Doug Banks died? Of what? Sure he'd been sick, but not that sick. At least I hadn't believed so. I logged on to Twitter. Condolences continued to roll in on the radio.

Doug had passed.

I've spent my entire life listening to Doug, following him from station to station in Chicago. Even after moving across the country, I continued to listen to his show in the afternoon. One of my favorite bits on the show was the adventures of "Husky Doug."

Gonna miss you Doug.Doug Banks

Trombone Shorty

by Claudia Helena Ross on 04/07/16

For the first time ever, I watched the CMA's Sunday night. It was a cool show and I enjoyed the live music. I pretty much like all genres of music. If music is telling a story, I'm hooked and will listen.

Little Big Town took the stage. I was working on my computer, listening to the show. But then, I hear this tremendous trombone singing its sexy, sensual serenade. I looked up from my computer. Who was this guy? I thought I was on the corner of Bourbon and Canal listening to a brass band. At the end of the act, Little Big Town shared his name.

Trombone Shorty

His real name is Troy Andrews. This young man knows what to do with his instrument, that's for sure. He doesn't simply play his trombone. He makes love to her, compelling her to sing in rhythm with his heart and soul. 

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will perform at the Hollywood Bowl on September 20th.  

WonderCon 2016

by Claudia Helena Ross on 03/31/16

"I have some good news for you Miss Ross."

I was hoping for a complimentary bottle of wine, but I waited to hear what he wished to share. 

"You've been upgraded to the Presidential Suite."

I started jumping up and down like I'd won the lottery. I grabbed my room key cards and went to my suite.

It took my breathe way. Somehow I'd been transported from WonderCon to The Hangover. The suite was bigger than my parents' home. 

I sat down, poured myself a glass of wine, turned on the TV in the small lounge of my suite and closed my eyes.

I'm not going anywhere.

OK. My suite is too nice. I was ready to skip WonderCon and spend the weekend drinking wine and ordering room service. But this wasn't the planned purpose of my trip.


So that means I have to leave my suite, right?


I grabbed my purse and went downstairs. At the least, I could have a drink at the bar and then return to my suite. 

I went outside for some air. Guinan!

Guinan & Friend

Pam, aka 'Guinan', WonderCon vet. She had to run because she hosts the WonderCon hospitality lounge, serving up snacks and refreshments for the WonderCon attendees.

I also meet Phil, a 26 year vet. He declined to be photographed. :-) Don't worry Phil, I understand.

I returned to my room two hours later and collapsed into my comfy bed, with a NCIS marathon on TV lulling me asleep.

WonderCon LA Staples Center

I made it to WonderCon bright and early at 2pm to begin the day's festivities. I was great! Ran into some old ComicCon friends. WonderCon is still focused on...

Guess what?


Amazing. No high profile movie promotions. Just good old fashioned comic books, gaming, anime, cosplay, and action figure fun. 

On of my first stops was ZeeCee Art booth. The artist's name is Zani Cochran. Pictured is Mrs. Cochran.

ZeeCee Art

Costume Highlights:

And my favorite costume

His costume ranks up there with Retired SpiderMan from ComicCon 2015

After a full day (well three hours) of conferencing and networking, I returned to my suite.

My beautiful suite. Goody! NCIS was still on. 

You didn't come here to sit on the couch and watch TV


I wandered down the street to the Triple 8 Chinese Bar and Grill. My servers Samantha and Kantra (I know I screwed up your name, sorry) were excellent. Kantra was new and made her first Pink Lotus Martini for  me. She's a natural. IT WAS DELICIOUS. The pot-stickers were magical.

Stuffed, I waddled back to my hotel. I want to go to my suite, but I remembered Pam was in the hospitality lounge. So I stop in to visit with her.

Claudia and Pam aka "Guinan'

OK... I've done my social duty. I'm going to bed.

But I can stop at the bar for a minute. I order a martini and who do I see but Lonnie Millsap ( and his friend Stephen Notley (Bob the Angry Flower). They are BRILLIANT cartoonists. Funny as hell too. Stephen definitely needs his own TV show. I met Lonnie at the 2011 ComicCon in San Diego and hadn't seen him since. Go figure. After laughing with those two all night, I didn't return to my suite until 3am.

I surprised myself. I attended the conference on Sunday. Alas it was time to go home. Leaving the hotel, I ran into Phil and talked to him for awhile. He said, "I told you this the first night, and I will tell you again. This WonderCon and ComicCon --- I keep coming back. You know why?" I waited for him to continue. "We don't have to explain ourselves to anyone here. We're all the same. They're like us. We're like them. We can just be and enjoy ourselves."

Phil was right. I gave him a big hug and left the hotel, returning the mundane hopelessness of everyday life. It will end soon. I'm suspecting things will change in July for five days.

Road to WonderCon 2016: What? I get to go?

by Claudia Helena Ross on 03/29/16

Back in December I booked tickets for WonderCon in Los Angeles, not really believing I would be able to attend. I was broke, so I didn't really see how I could pay for a hotel room in LA. I checked the Marriott, where I had points. Sold out. I placed the ticket in a folder and stuck it my stackable filing rack. I decided to see what March would bring.

On Thursday March 24th, I sat at my desk staring at the folder containing my WonderCon tickets. Once again, I had to pass on living my dreams due to a lack of disposable cash. Something rose up inside of me.

No more

 I checked the Marriott.

They had rooms and I could use my points! I was going to WonderCon.

I worked a half day on Friday. I hadn't been sure if I would be able to get the time off, but I did. I rushed home to pack and then left about an hour before my train departure. I was scooting down the I-5 when everything came to a complete halt.

After 30 minutes, I was able to exit the highway. I only had 10 minutes to make my train. I wasn't concerned. The train was always late; however, I didn't want to take any chances. I did my best to maneuver a few back roads, which were also jammed. I come to a railroad crossing with its gates down, lights flashing. I hear the whistle.

My train to LA passed me by. ON TIME.


Ten minutes later, I arrive at the train station and park the car. "Oh you missed your train too?" the lady standing next to me asks.

"Yeah. WTH? Why is the 5 backed up in the middle day?"

"It's Good Friday! Everyone's off from work."

I'm such a heathen these days. How did I not know it was Easter? I guess attending WonderCon didn't help matters much. Who has a conference during Easter? 

I changed my ticket. Since I had some time to kill, I went and addressed my bear claws issues (I got a pedicure). With my feet restored to those of a lady, I tip toe down the street. A brewery! Perfect.

Culture Brewing Co. is a great micro brewery, serving up fabulous beers. I love IPA's and selected a very tasty offering. I can't remember the name of it. I guess I'll have to go back to find out. In any case, I remembered I needed to catch a train. Guess what? I made it. 

I love traveling. As the train pulled into LA with the city's skyline twinkling beneath the evening's full moon laden sky, I dreamed of a new life for myself, a world of travel and writing. Deciding to make this dream my new reality, I grabbed my bag and stepped off the train, headed for my destiny.