I’m bringing the IMJ Nation™ a new monthly feature for Heidi Ruby Miller’s Geek Girl Underground – Geek Girl of the Month™!
To start us off, I invited my good friend and sister graduate from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program, Deanna Lepsch. She writes, she cooks and bakes, she makes clay penguins of pop culture icons (and of Jason Jack Miller and myself), and she’s a pin-up model. This makes her a geek girl to the extreme! Let’s give a warm IMJ welcome to the woman who kicks Martha Stewart in the nuts… Ms. Deanna Lepsch!
The Geek Girl
Known as Kiki Fontana in the Rock Band Circuit, and a Martha to her friends, Deanna Lepsch is a jack-of-all-trades, writer/editor extraordinaire, and artsy-fartsy entrepreneur. Her current focus is on finishing her ever-changing novel of brilliance while brainstorming the next big thing.
Some of her interests include (but aren’t limited to):
Social Dancing- especially Swing and Polka. (Yes, polka! She’s originally from the land of beer, cheese, and German music. That would be Wisconsin.)
Music- both listening and performing
Vintage Clothing- Mid-Century is her favorite.
She can be found most Sundays curled up on the couch enjoying new and favorite movies such as: Harry Potter, Bottle Shock, V for Vendetta, The Marvel Movies, Notting Hill, Love Actually, The Day After Tomorrow (and other terrible disaster flicks) and The Shawshank Redemption.
She enjoys reading many different genres and non-fiction topics but her current favorites fall into one of these categories: Science Fiction, Fantasy or Young Adult. Some of her favorite authors are: Douglas Adams, MaryJanice Davidson, Gail Carriger, Charlaine Harris, Jason Jack Miller, Maria V. Snyder, Sarah Addison Allen, Heidi Ruby Miller, Rick Riordan, JK Rowling, Mercedes Lackey and more.
Her musical tastes are all over the place but right now, she is obsessed with The Civil Wars and their amazing sound and musicality.
Deanna lives in Minnesota’s gorgeous Twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul with her husband and two mischievous dogs, Brigs and Holly.
I couldn’t tell you the year I started making these little guys, but I know it’s been well over a decade. It started out with a slight football obsession and the Green Bay Packers and the fact that I like to make ornaments for my family. I had run out of ideas when I came across a craft tutorial involving turning a terracotta pot into a penguin. I thought, “I could do this much better in clay. With a wedge of yellow cheese on its head, it’ll be perfect!” And so the Cheesehead Penguin was born.
Over the years I’ve created all sorts of penguins for friends and family, but the most interesting ones happen when I get my orders off my Etsy site. I have made penguins into bloggers, a Cabana housewife from Havana, a DJ, and more. My favorites are usually modeled after television, movies, music, or book characters such as Moby Dick, the Bloody Twins from The Shining, Star Wars, and even the Beatles. My absolute favorite was my interpretation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I don’t have a picture of it or even the ornament because my dog ate it. True story.
Depending on the penguin, the completion time runs from fifteen minutes to over an hour. The longest I spent making a penguin was when I made a copy of Yukon Cornelius (yes, from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) to commemorate a trip to Colorado where my friends and I saw the band Yukon Kornelius perform (Google it). Okay maybe this one is my favorite.
Well, they’re all my favorite.
Deanna on The Pin-upsThe pin-up pictures started from a harebrained idea I cooked up early in 2009. I said to a couple of friends, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do a 1950s pin-up style photo shoot?” A few of my friends gave me The Eyeball. Clearly they thought I’d be showing off more than a little leg. I don’t mind being a little saucy, but I wasn’t planning on showing the world my knickers. I asked my BFF, Jack, from JackFPhoto if he would be willing to do the shoot, and like any red-blooded straight American male being offered the chance to spy a little stocking clad leg, he agreed.
That was New Year’s Eve, 2009. We finally did our first shoot in early October of 2010. Sure, it took a year and ten months to come to fruition, but it was worth it. Our first session required some detailed planning sessions including what we were going to wear, research on period make-up and hair and of course the props.
I thoroughly planned out my first shoot–the picnic scene. I had bananas, hot dogs, straws and pretty much anything else I could think of that would make a cheeky prop. And none of those pictures turned out. Still, I got a few keepers and we all learned lessons we took to the next shoot.
From the shoots, I developed a love of vintage styles— pencil skirts, little feminine blouses, slips, sweeping circle skirts and crinolines. I love them all. I don’t love the price of authentic vintage clothing, however, so I decided I better learn how to sew. Luckily, I came across a stash of cheap sewing patterns at a thrift store one day and I’ve been snapping up fabric and patterns since. I’ve completed two skirts and three dresses and plan on making at least twelve vintage reproduction dresses for 2012.
But I’ll probably make more than that.
Deanna on The Writing
Because of the photo shoot and the love of vintage styles, I’ve done a fair amount of research on post-WWII and Mid-Century fashion and history. My next book will center around Mid-Century American dreams and fears and the misconceptions one can arrive at when viewing the past through the rosy glasses of pictures and films. It’s tentatively titled Sophie and the G-man.
My current book is a contemporary romance with a heavy focus on music. And love, of course. But before I allow my characters to be deeply and madly in love, I like to torture them quite a lot. So far, in my current work in progress, I’ve only mentally and emotionally tortured them. No physical torture…yet.
Since much of my inspiration comes from music, the natural progression was to write about a band. And since every writer wants to write about writing, my main character is, if you’re following me here, a writer.
At the rate I’m going, at some point in the story the characters will have to sing a cover of Paperback Writer. It’s only fitting.
Thanks for sharing your penguins and pin-ups with us, Deanna!
Here’s where you can find Deanna online:
Twitter: @dlepsch – http://twitter.com/dlepsch
Want more Heidi? Check out her Geek Girl Underground™ post on Science Fiction Romance: Set Your Phasers to Love!