I deeply hate carrying things (see: I refused to wear my winter coat even though it’s winter in Chicago, because I didn’t want to carry it), so my backpack is compact. Packing it is an exercise in editing. So, what’s inside?



1. A copy of my book! I admit, I carry Docile around in case I bump into, oh, Karl Urban or Stephen Amell in an elevator and they compliment my amazing manicure, and then I say, “It matches the cover of my debut novel!” Which I then get out and hand them and they read it and we become friends. (IT COULD HAPPEN.)

2. My iPad Pro. (“Hi, I’m a Mac!” Oh no, am I the only one who remembers those commercials with Justin Long?) If you’re writing constantly, you need to love your machine. Of all the devices I’ve worked with over the years, the iPad Pro 12.9” (I swear this isn’t a commercial but, Apple, if you want to sponsor me, I love your stuff and my mailing address is—) is my favourite. I’ve got a hard shell keyboard case (WITH RAINBOW BACKLIGHTS!!!) for typing and an Apple Pencil for hand editing and outlining. It’s portable and versatile and I don’t have to lug a giant charging cord around with me, which is especially great because…

3. I have an adorable gem-patterned zip case, in which I keep all my cords. Portable phone charger, iPad charger, keyboard charger, wall phone charger. No one likes a spaghetti tangle of cords in their backpack, but everyone loves a cute bag!

4. Granola cups. Granola cups? Yes! They’re like the lovechild of a granola bar and Reese’s cup, which is to say: incredible. It’s easy to forget to nourish your body while you’re walking the con floor and running between events. Bring your own calories! You need them to live!

5. A water bottle. Do I have to explain this one? Water keeps you alive! Keeps you energized! Makes your skin plump and dewy and beautiful. Refill it at water fountains for zero money and use that money to buy way too many enamel pins in Artists’ Alley. Totally not a thing I did, today. (Okay fine, I bought six pins.)

Bonus: pronoun pin(s). Cons may still be working to create spaces that are safe for and uplift marginalized fans and creators, but that doesn’t mean attendees don’t represent a diverse spectrum. You’re going to meet new people. Some of them will be in street clothes and some in cosplay. Nothing feels worse than being mist endured in a space you feel otherwise at home in. Let’s normalize wearing and reading pronoun pins, even if your take on gender is that it’s complicated and yours reads “???”