Dahlonega Library Book Signing Event Tomorrow (5/17)

Stormtrooper Loves Libraries

WHAT?    Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away Book Signing Event
WHERE? Lumpkin County Library
WHEN?   Saturday 5/17/14 – 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
WHY?      Because I’m giving away free Millennium Falcon soaps to anyone who buys my book…and to anyone who bought my book or eBook in the past…and to anyone who can beat me at a Star Wars trivia duel.

Note: The library is also hosting “Touch-A-Truck Family Day” and a Genealogy Workshop on Saturday around the same time, so there’s something for everyone at the Library tomorrow.

Also….(drumroll, please) it’s the Mountain Flower Art Festival in Dahlonega this weekend. So it’s a great weekend for non-locals to visit Dahlonega (and a great excuse for Locals to get away from the traffic on the square to visit the library).Stormtrooper in Libraryphoto credits: ALA – The American Library Association via photopin cc & Clearwater Public Library System Photos via photopin cc

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May the 4th Be With You – eBook Promotion

2Troopers_This is the fangirl novel you're looking for_CropThe great and wise Jedi Masters over at Deeds Publishing have slashed the eBook price for Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away by 70% for the first 4 days of May to celebrate Star Wars Day. The temporary low price of $2.99 is currently available in all 3 of the major eBook formats:

But act quickly. The price is going back up on Monday May 5.

And speaking of the merry, merry month of May…it is shaping up to be a great and glorious month for Star Wars fangirling. The community is still buzzing over the Star Wars: Episode VII cast announcement on April 29th. Look at this picture:

star-wars-episode-7-cast-announce*SIGH* If this picture makes you go “SQEEE!” like a tween unwrapping her first iPhone, you just might be a true, original, lifelong, R2-D2 Underoos-wearing Star Wars fanatic. (Ummm…but could someone please get Artoo out of the crate?)

Today is 5/01st Legion Day to celebrate The World’s Definitive Imperial Costuming Organization, especially their charity work. (Check out @501stLegion & #BadGuysDoingGood on Twitter to learn more). As previously mentioned, May the 4th is Star Wars Day. And, lest we forget, May 25th will be the 37th anniversary for the 1977 theatrical release of the first Star Wars movie.

Woo hoo! The Twitterverse and Pinterest are exploding with fabulous, fun, time-sucking Star Wars content. And I’m going to let myself wallow in it for 4 days. Then back to my previously scheduled writing goals. 

Note: If you see a particularly amusing #StarWars, #StarWarsDay, &/or #Maythe4thBeWithYou item that you want to share, please Tweet it to @SlaytheWriter, post the link in the comments below or post it to my Facebook. I am on all Star Wars all the time mode until Cinco De Mayo.

Yoda Wisdom in the Real World

No matter how sad, anxious, awkward or lonely I may be feeling, this lesson from Yoda always makes me feel better.

1_Judge me with text2_My ally with text4_Life creates it with text5_Makes it grow with text6_Its energy with text8_luminous beings with text 9_Crude Matter2_with text“I grew up with the religion of Star Wars, frankly. That’s when I realized there is something bigger out there… and it’s called The Force.”

– Trey Parker

photo credits: 1. Chris Devers via photopin; cc; 2. h.koppdelaney; via photopin; cc; 3. Spirit-Fire; via photopin; cc; 4. Captain Kimo via photopin; cc; 5. “The Wanderer’s Eye Photography” via photopin; cc; 6. Lieven SOETE via photopin cc; 7. Defence Images via photopin cc; 8. brentdanley; via photopin; cc; 9. Personal photo

Star Wars – Not Your Typical Ghost Story

Hello everybody. I had a wee tiny little mental health breakdown that required a short vacation from the internet and blogging. Nothing serious. Don’t be concerned. Just a small bout of the writerly working girl blues. It happens. But I’m MUCH better now.

So let’s get back to Haunted October! And Star Wars!
Ghost Peeps and StormtroopersHuh? Ghosts and Star Wars? The original Star Wars trilogy has been called many things – the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made (The New York Times), a spectacular intergalactic joyride (The Washington Post), the greatest space fantasy of all! (Marvel Comics) – but I don’t believe anyone ever refers to the original trilogy as a ghost story.

Well I’m here to change that. Remember this guy?
Ghost of ObiWan on Hoth

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

-Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ah, Obi-Wan! My favorite fictional ghost of all time. Who could not love the crazy old wizard who turns out to be a wise and fearless Jedi master; calmly accepting death so that others may live? [Sigh] And yet, even death could not stop Obi-Wan from mentoring and encouraging the callow youth destined to save the galaxy. Obi-Wan is so awesome in ghostly form, he even has a ghostly action figure.

Ghost Obi Wan Action FigureBut seriously, Obi-Wan’s ghost gave me my first glimpse of a deceased person who CHOSE to hang around in ghostly form to do some good. Aside from the Holy Spirit, I had never heard of a good ghost. I’d never even imagined a ghostly mentor willing to show up with just the right advice at just the right times. Think about it. Most fictional ghosts are depicted as vengeful victims (Hamlet’s father), or wretched penitents (Jacob Marley), or dangerous entities unleashed by evil deeds (Poltergeist) or pathetic lost souls who can’t seem to find The Light (any episode of Ghost Whisperer).

Obi-Wan depicted a hopeful, powerful, enlightened, comforting ghostly image. And this was very important to me. VERY important.

Grandpa Eldon died in March of 1980. He was the only man I ever called Daddy, my best friend and the light of my life. (Sorry, Mom. I know that makes you cry, but it’s true.) He suffered a massive heart attack in the middle of the night and I was not allowed to visit him in the hospital during the final days of his life. We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.

Or so I thought.

Three months later, my grandmother took me to see The Empire Strikes Back. There were many reasons why that movie changed my life. Among those reasons, Obi-Wan’s ghost along with Yoda’s teachings (“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”) were far greater comfort to me than any of the Biblical passages that were muttered over the cold, square hole in the ground when we buried my Grandpa.

Not long after seeing ESB, my beloved grandfather came to see me in my dreams. That first night, he walked me through our house. Each room was decorated for a different holiday; it was Christmas in the front room, Halloween in the TV room, Thanksgiving in the kitchen and Easter in the front yard where he had hidden a rainbow of plastic eggs for me to find. Overjoyed to see him, I asked my Grandpa why everyone had lied to me and told me he was dead. He just smiled and told me he would always be with me. Always. Through every season and every holiday.

OK – all you skeptics and amateur psychologists out there might be tempted to point out that Grandpa Eldon’s message echoes Obi-Wan’s final line in A New Hope and that might lead you to the conclusion that this deeply spiritual and powerful experience from my childhood was just a case of wishful thinking. To you I say, pthththththth! It was real.

Grandpa continued to visit me in my dreams as I grew up. When my dog Pom Pom died, she started scampering through those dreams. In my late 20’s, after many years of not seeing him, Grandpa brought my recently departed kitty Charlie to say goodbye. Even though Charlie was very ill and suffering when I made the decision to let him go, I was plagued with debilitating grief and self-loathing for days after the vet carried him away. Grandpa assured me I’d done the right thing, taken the most compassionate action, and he was proud of me. Charlie was free from all pain and suffering now. I woke up after that dream, locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Oh how I cried! But it was a really good cry.

Whether anyone other than me believes that these dreams were real visitations doesn’t matter to me one wit. I don’t believe, I KNOW. My grandfather helped raise me from beyond the grave. Just like Obi-Wan helped train Luke from beyond the grave.

Recently, a sudden realization hit me; an epiphany of sorts.

I believe that the fictional depiction of Obi-Wan in ghostly form opened a door in my mind…a door that my grandfather walked through. And so, for me, my love of Star Wars and my fascination with ghost stories will always be intertwined. And perhaps I’m not the only one…

Ghost & Fett PumpkinsWhat about you? Have you ever had a loved one guide and comfort you from beyond the grave? Would you welcome a ghostly mentor? Or, like Scrooge, would you try to dismiss the encounter as “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato”?

photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc, JD Hancock via photopin cc, thepollen via photopin cc & Simon Davison via photopin cc

My Novel Will Be Available at Dragon*Con!

Breaking news…Larry Smith, Bookseller will be selling Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away during Dragon*Con (Booth 2011, 2013 – AmericasMart Level 2). Also…they’ve graciously invited me to hang out and assist in selling books for a few hours. Woo hoo!

I’m planning to be there 4:00 – 7:00 on Saturday. So…If you are coming to Dragon*Con, come see me! If you can’t come see me, still check out the booth. Their selection of Fantasy and Sci-Fi books inspired great reviews last year.

Also, my friend Grant Searcey’s artwork will be featured at the Art Show & Print Shop (Hyatt Regency: Exhibit Level – Grand Hall West). I’ve already been amazed by sneak peeks of his Steampunk Art in progress and I’m very excited to check out a preview of his Dragon*Con collection tonight!

Other events I’ve got on my tentative personal schedule:

  • Sat 11:30 am (Marriott A706) – Photo-Ops with the Star Wars Stars/Costumes from the Parade
  • Sat 2:30 pm (Marriott Skyline – 10th Floor) – Race of the Tauntauns/Pod Race
  • Sun 11:30 am (Sheraton Valdosta) – Paranormal Excavation: South Carolina
  • Sun 4:00 pm (Marriott Imperial Ballroom) – Meet the Stars of Star Wars (a.k.a. Billy Dee Williams?!?!)
  • Mon 11:30 am (Marriott A706) – William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope

And I’m still perusing the gazillion events online & in the 2013 Progress Report…any suggestions??? Know of an event I should not miss? Want to meet up for sustenance? Post any suggestions/invitations in the comments below or on my Facebook author page.

DragonCon Photophoto credit: Cayusa via photopin cc

Dragon*Con Dilemma (Part 1)

18 days, 16 hours and 30-ish minutes until Dragon*Con
Vader with FemTroopersand I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to wear. I need to come up with three clever, comfortable, Star Wars-y outfits in less than 3 weeks. Zoinks!

I’m looking for suggestions. Anyone?

Thing is, I love costumes. I do. But I just don’t have the time, talent, energy, resources or inclination to create the sort of incredible costumes that the superstars of cosplay create before they flock to Dragon*Con to flaunt their fabulous work. On the flip side, I don’t want to look like the complete and total outsider that I actually am. Also, I tend to feel a little more bold and brave when I wear wigs, masks &/or face painting…and I’m going to need all the bravery I can muster this year.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Project Runway. (I have a secret fantasy that Tim Gunn will agree to adopt me someday.) In my heart of hearts, I feel like I should be able to come up with 3 easy to wear, fashion forward looks inspired by Star Wars…even though I cannot pattern, sew or drape to save my life.

Here’s the challenge:

  • I want to wear something that clearly shows I’m a Star Wars fan, but more attractive and clever than a Star Wars t-shirt
  • I need to be reasonably comfortable because I’m going to be taking the Metro to Peachtree Center station and walking, walking, walking several miles each day.
  • I’m not exactly in love with my body-type right now, so no jumpsuits, clingy white dresses, metal bikinis or midriff baring of any type.

Actually, I sorta, kinda have a plan for what I’m going to wear on Saturday – a loose white t-shirt dress with a blue graphic pattern that evokes R2-D2’s dome from above (click here for inspiration). Pair that with some silver flats. Maybe wear a sleek, white bob wig with blue streaks and paint my face like this.

For another day, I thought about wearing a brown knit dress with a bandolier strap Chewbacca style.

And that’s about all I’ve got. My friend Thomas sent me this link as an inspiration, but I tried re-creating Yoda Grunge look last year and it didn’t really work. It was a cute outfit, but it didn’t clearly communicate, I am a Star Wars fangirl.

So….that’s my first dilemma in preparing for this crazy thing called Dragon*Con. Any suggestions?

photo credit: megadem via photopin cc

New Review & Giveaway (@ Renee’s Pages) + Celebration Europe

Happy Friday! Renee Roberson won a copy of my book on one of the early stops on my blog tour and she liked it so much, she’s posted a fabulous review and is hosting her own #NSLA giveaway. Please click here to read her post and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of the book.

And now I have a confession to make…even though it is Friday, my heart is heavy. I am trying to keep on my happy face, but it’s a struggle. Why is it a struggle? Because today is the opening day of Star Wars Celebration Europe in Messe Essen, Germany and I am not there.

Sigh.

On the bright side, Steve Sansweet (who is a lovely person on top of being an epic collector of Star Wars items and Founder/CEO/President of Rancho Obi-Wan) received a copy of my book last month. Obviously, he is going to Celebration Europe. And he told me he might just take my book with him to read on the long flight to Europe. So it is possible that my book is in Messe Essen, Germany as I type this. Kinda cool, huh?
Star Wars Theater

photo credit: Affendaddy via photopin cc