Wookiees in Star Wars Rebels vs Star Wars The Clone Wars

I have heard many complaints on how the Wookiees are drawn in the new animated series Star Wars Rebels ‘mini movie’ “Spark of Rebellion”. Therefore, I decided to do a side by side comparison between the way the Wookiees were presented in Star Wars Rebels to the last time the Wookiees were animated in Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Images of Wookiees in Star Wars The Clone Wars

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Images of Wookiees in Star Wars Rebels

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I personally do not see where there is a significant difference in how each of these series draw Wookiees. In fact, I want a plushee of Kitwarr! However, with so much negativity on Twitter and Facebook about this, I thought I may be missing something just based on this comparison. Therefore, I asked fellow fangirl and someone who has a better pulse on the creative side of Star Wars, Tricia Barr, about this topic and here is what she had to say:

The Clone Wars had a bigger budget and better modeling capabilities so some of the animation isn’t going to be quite as stunning as the old show. The Clone Wars was working toward photorealistism in its animation and Star Wars Rebels is firmly positioned as a cartoon. With that said, the Star Wars Rebels animation is beautiful.

What was important to me was that the emotion of the moment in the scenes with the Wookiees still struck home. I’d much rather have a good impactful storytelling moment than worry about the minutia of hairy details.

So have you seen the mini movie Star Wars Rebels Spark of Rebellion yet? If so, what did you think of the character designs of the characters, especially the Wookiees? If not, then you may want to watch the ABC prime time television debut of Star Wars Rebels Spark of Rebellion Tonight (October 26) at 7:00PM EST on ABC with an extra scene added featuring Darth Vadar voiced by none other than James Earl Jones!

Five facts about ‘Hallow’s Eve’

It is again my honor to welcome back author, friend (full disclosure) AND fellow Fangirl, Pippa Jay as a guest blogger to discuss 5 facts about her new story, Hallow’s Eve! Take it away, Pippa!

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Five Facts about Hallows Eve

1) The summoning spell I wrote myself, then used Google translate to turn it into Latin. Unfortunately this caused a bit of conflict with my editor. She attempted to translate it back into English, and questioned my word choice. After much experimentation with a couple of other translators, we discovered even feeding it back through the same translator we used in the first place made it come out completely different to the original wording. So, I decided to leave the Latin as it was. If anyone is curious and tries translating it into English to find out what it says, you’re out of luck. It’ll sound like total gobbledegook. Which maybe isn’t such a bad thing for a spell.

2) The elements used in the spell are based on the chemical composition of the average human body. As a former analytical chemist, this was a fun part of this story. The idea originally came from a poem in Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith, where the spirit of winter attempts to make itself a human body. I was never able to find out if this was an older poem or if Pratchett made it up all by himself. Regardless, research led me to the chemistry of a human body, and my chemical knowledge helped me convert it into everyday household goods that could be used to replace them.

3) Both Hal and Eve’s appearance came after I found a couple of images I wanted for the cover. Usually it works the other way round. In fact, the image I found for Hal completely changed the story. But I mention that in point five.

4) Housekeeper Hodge is based on my love for Brian Froud’s fairies, and Thimbletack the brownie from the Spiderwyck Chronicles. During edits, my editor kept referring to Dobby from Harry Potter. In fact, Dobby is based on the folklore regarding brownies, which are household sprites who only come out at night, and are not chocolate confections as Eve insists in the story.

5) When I first thought up the main character’s name, it was going to be a little or teenage girl, and not a thirty-something guy. However, when I first found the image of Hal used for the cover, it completely transformed the whole idea of the story, leaving me with nothing but the original title idea.

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Can one night of magic heal his heart?

12 months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk…

Excerpt from the story:

The thud and chink of beer bottles and glasses on the bar announced Dan’s return.
“So?”
Hal shook his head. “Not tonight.”
“Oh, c’mon, man. Just one beer.”
Hal dropped his gaze to the glass he was still drying with a vehemence it didn’t deserve, avoiding his friend’s pleading stare. “Thanks, but I’m not in the mood.”
Dan made an exasperated sound. “Look, I know it’s nearly a year—”
Pain lanced into his chest. “Stop.” He looked up.
A frown creasing his tanned face, Dan glared back, but he shut up.
Hal sucked in a breath. He didn’t want to fight with Dan over this. The guy had stopped Hal’s life completely falling apart after last Halloween. “I know what you’re trying to do,” he murmured, and relief flickered in Dan’s brown eyes. “But I’m not ready to let it go.”
“I’m not saying you should, man. But how about getting back into some social interaction? You can’t spend the rest of your life as a recluse.”
“I won’t.” Hal smiled. Dan had no idea.
“Then come out for a beer.”
“Another time.”
“Tomorrow then. I know you’ve got the Halloween shift off.”
Hal put down the glass he’d abused. “I’m busy.”
“Oh, yeah? Doing what? Trick or treating?” Dan scoffed. “What is it with you and Halloween? You never struck me as religious enough to find it offensive, but you don’t go out and have any fun either. So how come you always take the night off?”
Hal looked around the bar at all the tawdry holiday decorations, and debated how to answer. Maybe Dan thought he was a closet Christian or something. The truth would shock the hell out of him. Especially with what Hal had planned this year. “My…family don’t see it as something to joke about.”
“Oh. Strict Catholic or something?”
“Something like that.” Hal smiled at the thought of his parents taking Holy Communion. But let Dan interpret it any way he liked.

Published 8th October, ‘Hallow’s Eve‘ is available in all digital formats from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and most digital online retailers.

Check out the giveaway that includes a chance to win 1 Pentagram necklace and 6 jasmine scented glitter tealights, open internationally, 1st-31st October, no cash or other alternative!
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You can enter for your chance to win by following this contest link!

You can add Hallows Eve to your Goodreads shelf HERE. You can also sign up to her no-spam newsletter HERE to get spam free, early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.

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Pippa Jay’s bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, like I am, she blogs at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Star Wars Rebels: Fangirl POV

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When the announcement came on October 31, 2012 that The Walt Disney Co bought Lucasfilm, I believed that Star Wars would expand and grow with new stories and characters under the care of a company, that creates stories and characters that appeal to everyone. However, as time went on, headlines like Star Wars will help Disney focus on boys, Hey Star Wars–Where the hell are the women? , Where are the women in Star Wars Rebels? and ‘STAR WARS’: I FIND YOUR LACK OF FEMALE REPRESENTATION DISTURBING made me surprised and concerned that these new Star Wars stories were not going to appeal to at least one half of the Star Wars fan base, especially this Star Wars fangirl.

I was especially troubled by the reveals of the characters in Star Wars Rebels because I knew the crew of that series, who also worked on Star Wars The Clone Wars, had a better grasp of, in my opinion, the female half of the Star Wars fan base. I watched as as each video was posted on Starwars.com and on the Star Wars Rebels YouTube channel. For an entire week, a new character from the series was revealed. However, the female characters in the series, Sabine and Hera, were not added until the end of the week, after all the male characters were revealed.

The marketing strategy focus seems to be on the male characters of the series and the male half of the audience. While the reveal of the female characters seemed to be an after thought. As a fangirl and as someone who works in the advertising and marketing industry, I feel that they handled these reveals poorly. Therefore, because of how the marketing of Star Wars Rebels was handled, I approached this new animated series, Star Wars Rebels, with excitement, tempered by caution.

Fortunately, my excitement outweighed my caution, even with the poor marketing strategy, because it did not stop me from buying the prequel novel Star Wars A New Dawn on multiple digital formats, audio and ebook, or from attending the free local premiere screening of Star Wars Rebels ‘Spark of Rebellion‘.

As a fangirl, I noticed two things that overcame my caution and added to my excitement. First, Hera and Sabine are both fantastic female characters and role models. They are both strong, resourceful and everything I hoped for. Even though they may not be the focus of the series, based on the marketing strategy, I cannot wait to learn more about them and their relationships to the other characters. Second, both the novel and the series premiere, felt like Star Wars to me and I want more like this!! Therefore, I was so glad that I did not let my caution override my excitement.

Other female fans who shared the same trepidation over the initial rollout during Toy Fair have responded favorably to the series. When I asked Tricia Barr, from the podcast Fangirls Going Rogue about the premiere she said,

“The reaction online during the premiere was overall positive. For a while now, the element of romance or chemistry was lost in Star Wars storytelling. Not every female fan wants to see that, but a significant portion of female fans do. There was plenty of buzz surrounding Hera and Kanan and the possibilities suggested for those two just after one episode. Too, Hera and Sabine were confident and competent, not ladies in need of rescue or falling back on worn stereotypes about female characters. It’s apparent the show is working to establish a great diverse cast and that the negative buzz that came out of New York Toy Fair reveals that the licensing side isn’t always promoting the show for what the creators intend for it to be.”

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Hera and Sabine are both fantastic female characters and role models, and like Tricia this helped overcome my caution and added to my excitement. Hera and Sabine are both strong and resourceful and everything I hoped for. Even though they may not be the focus of the series, from the marketing strategy, I cannot wait to learn more about them and their relationships to the other characters. Second, both the novel and the series premiere, felt like Star Wars to me and I want more like this!! Therefore, I was so glad that I did not let my caution override my excitement.

So have you seen the mini movie Star Wars Rebels Spark of Rebellion yet? If so, what did you think of it? Did it miss, meet or exceed your expectations? If not, then you may want to watch the ABC prime time television debut of Star Wars Rebels Spark of Rebellion on October 26 at 7:00PM EST with an extra scene added featuring Darth Vadar voiced by none other than James Earl Jones!

Cover Reveal and Excerpt for ‘Hallow’s Eve’

It is again my honor to reveal another cover by author, friend (full disclosure) AND fellow Fangirl, Pippa Jay!

This time it is a Halloween themed Romance titled “Hallow’s Eve“!

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Can one night of magic heal his heart?

12 months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk…

Excerpt from the story:

The thud and chink of beer bottles and glasses on the bar announced Dan’s return.
“So?”
Hal shook his head. “Not tonight.”
“Oh, c’mon, man. Just one beer.”
Hal dropped his gaze to the glass he was still drying with a vehemence it didn’t deserve, avoiding his friend’s pleading stare. “Thanks, but I’m not in the mood.”
Dan made an exasperated sound. “Look, I know it’s nearly a year—”
Pain lanced into his chest. “Stop.” He looked up.
A frown creasing his tanned face, Dan glared back, but he shut up.
Hal sucked in a breath. He didn’t want to fight with Dan over this. The guy had stopped Hal’s life completely falling apart after last Halloween. “I know what you’re trying to do,” he murmured, and relief flickered in Dan’s brown eyes. “But I’m not ready to let it go.”
“I’m not saying you should, man. But how about getting back into some social interaction? You can’t spend the rest of your life as a recluse.”
“I won’t.” Hal smiled. Dan had no idea.
“Then come out for a beer.”
“Another time.”
“Tomorrow then. I know you’ve got the Halloween shift off.”
Hal put down the glass he’d abused. “I’m busy.”
“Oh, yeah? Doing what? Trick or treating?” Dan scoffed. “What is it with you and Halloween? You never struck me as religious enough to find it offensive, but you don’t go out and have any fun either. So how come you always take the night off?”
Hal looked around the bar at all the tawdry holiday decorations, and debated how to answer. Maybe Dan thought he was a closet Christian or something. The truth would shock the hell out of him. Especially with what Hal had planned this year. “My…family don’t see it as something to joke about.”
“Oh. Strict Catholic or something?”
“Something like that.” Hal smiled at the thought of his parents taking Holy Communion. But let Dan interpret it any way he liked.

Coming 8th October, ‘Hallow’s Eve‘ will be available in all digital formats from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and most digital online retailers.

Check out the giveaway that includes a chance to win 1 Pentagram necklace and 6 jasmine scented glitter tealights, open internationally, 1st-31st October, no cash or other alternative!

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You can enter for your chance to win by following this contest link!

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You can add Hallows Eve to your Goodreads shelf HERE. You can also sign up to her no-spam newsletter HERE to get spam free, early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.

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Pippa Jay’s bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, like I am, she blogs at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Star Wars Rebels Screening in Metro Detroit

Today, My husband and I were privileged to get free passes to the one-time-only screening of STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION.

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Members of the 501st, the R2 Builders and Rebel Legion were there providing photo ops, balloon Lightsabers, body painting and other activities. There were also a few giveaways including posters and Xbox avatars.

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We saw R2-D2 and Chopper entertain those waiting in line and in their seats before the screening started.

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Overall, a good time was had by all even before the screening began!

Two Teen Paranormal Inspirations – Why Kids TV Rocks

It is my honor to welcome author and fellow Fangirl, Pippa Jay to share what inspired her new YA supernatural novella, Restless In Peaceville, from Lycaon Press.

Two Teen Paranormal Inspirations – Why Kids’ TV Rocks

I often quote Warm Bodies as being responsible for my story inspiration for Restless In Peaceville, closely followed by the zombies in books by Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony. But there’s another inspiration, and it’s down to my kids.

I’m mum to three adorable little monsters, so over the last decade I’ve watched a lot of kids’ TV, and more lately young adult programs and films. Two shows on the popular CBBC channel (the BBC’s channel dedicated to older children) have drawn me into supernatural and paranormal stories in a way Twilight hasn’t (I’ve never read the books, never seen the films, though I did watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the 90s) Sorry, I never really got into the whole Twilight thing. But in 2006, the BBC started showing a series for teenagers called Young Dracula. It started off as a bit of a modern day spoof about Count Dracula and his family, mostly centred around his son Vlad who determined to fit in with normal people rather than become a blood-sucking fiend. But in series three, it got more serious – perhaps this was the influence of Twilight, True Blood and the Vampire Diaries, and the sudden media passion for all things vamp. And this is the point where I actually got addicted to the show, probably more than my daughter event though we watched it together. It could be dark, scary, tragic, but they still kept a bit of tongue in cheek humour. Imagine dealing with all the normal teenage angst AND being the son of the most infamous vampire ever and trying to avoid becoming just like him. It even had a wonderful romance woven through it, with Vlad falling for a Breather (human) while trying to evade his destiny as the Chosen One of vampire legend. I’m not embarrassed to admit I thought it was awesome. (I’ll admit I didn’t like the final series so much, which ended in March 2014, but for two series I hung on every episode). I loved Vlad’s struggles to avoid not only becoming a typical vampire, but stuck with the expectation of being the Chosen One–the ultimate leader of the vampire clans.

Video link – http://youtu.be/4VWyAE2Ogf0

The second paranormal series run by the BBC was Wolfblood. As can probably be guessed from the title, this featured werewolves instead of vampires (I’m still waiting to see if they’ll do a cross-over at some point, but I doubt it). Again, it centred around a couple of teenage Wolfbloods having to deal with not only their physical changes in terms of changing into a wolf but being teens as well. It followed the lives of two teenangers – Maddie, who lived with her parents and was approaching her first transformation, and Rhydian, a care kid brought up by a couple of foster parents who have no idea about his true identity.

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While I wasn’t so keen on the werewolf mythology, I have to admit that Rhydian (played by Bobby Lockwood) was a huge influence on the character of Luke in Restless In Peaceville. While they may be very different types of supernatural beings, and Rhydian revels in his transformation and abilities compared to Luke, the same kind of resentment at the unfariness of life troubles them both. In fact, before Restless had a contract, I picked up a book cover that I thought might work for the story, and that bore a striking resemblance to Rhydian.

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Of course, the wording on it is more appropriate to a werewolf than a zombie, but the cover just grabbed me. But then Restless got a contract and I got an official cover…and I love it!

So there you go. Two more things that influenced Restless In Peaceville and my love for teenage zombies. I just hope you’ll love them too!

You have a chance to own this special zombie inspired heart necklace by clicking here!

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Thank you Pippa for sharing with us!

For a taste of Restless in Peaceville check out this cool trailer and read the excerpt below!

Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

 

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Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

Excerpt:

Then something bangs a door downstairs and Annabelle grabs me hard. “Luke?”
“Shh.” I push away from her and roll myself out of bed. My feet thump onto the floorboards, but any sound I’m making is drowned out by another crash down below. “Stay here. I’m gonna check.”
“Luke, no…”
I wave her back. There’s no sense of it being the Peacemaker, not like before, and I can’t smell vampire. If this is another undead looking for refuge, I can warn them off. If it’s something else—
A creak is all the warning I’m given before the floor gives way and I plummet through the rotten woodwork like a kingfisher diving through the water. I can’t see a thing for dust and chunks of wood, but I know I’ve gone through the ground floor of the house when I break through a second layer of wood and hit earth. Damn, how long will this body hold up if I keep crashing like this?
I lever myself up, and find my head just above ground floor level while more dust and splinters shower down around me. I turn, looking for some way to pull myself back up…and find myself being stared at by three kids.
Oh, shit. For a moment we all just gaze at each other, no one sure what to do or who’s going to do it first. Then one of the boys, maybe eight or nine and his mouth hanging open points at me and screams, “Zombie!”
What else can I do? I yank myself out of the hole and lurch at him, moaning fit to scare them to death. They don’t hesitate. Each of them competing for the most piercing holler, they scarper out of the house so fast I expect to see scorch marks from the acceleration.
I laugh. Seriously, it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen since I died. Maybe I could get to enjoy this.

You can add Restless In Peaceville to your Goodreads shelf HERE. You can also sign up to her no-spam newsletter HERE to get spam free, early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.

Pippa Jay’s bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, like I am, she blogs at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Books, stories or series that influenced me

I have been challenged by few of my friends on Facebook to name 10 books that changed or influenced my life. However, I have so many books, stories and series that changed or influenced my life that I cannot possibly only name 10. Therefore, below is my attempt to limit this list to only the top books, stories or series that changed or influenced me throughout my life so far!

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

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This was actually one of my Mom’s favorites. It influenced her so much that she made a gift of this book to me as an adult. My Mom told me, when she gave me that gift, it was to remind me that there is always a silver lining no matter how dire things are. Now that she has passed away, this story is even more precious to me and will continue to remind me of her for years to come.

Poky Little Puppy A Little Golden Book

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This was a favorite story when I was in elementary school. I am not sure how it changed or influenced me, but I read and re-read this book so much that I wore the binding out and pages fell out of the book.

Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene

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I was first introduced to these stories in elementary school, by the school librarian. The first story of the series I read was The Hidden Staircase. These were first set of stories that I became obsessed with and just had to read!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

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I first read an excerpt of this story in Middle School as part of an overall reading assignment in the textbook. However, it was the scene where Mr. Collins proposed to Elizabeth and her response to that proposal. The character of Elizabeth was just so powerful in that short scene that I just had to find out more about her and her life. It influenced me to seek out the novel and of course all of the other iterations and adaptations.

Once and Always by Judith McNaught

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This is my very first adult historical romance novel. The story, characters and the steamy romance scenes really caught my attention. For a long time, this is the historical romance story I used to measure all the other stories I read in the same genre!

LONG, TALL TEXANS SERIES by Diana Palmer

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This series has been a part of my life since 1988 and I mentioned that this was one of my favorite series before. I bought the first story in the series, Calhoun, with money that I earned working part time at a local Kmart store. I was so proud that I was able to not only read such an amazing story with great characters, but that I was able to buy it new with my own money!

Mallory-Anderson Series by Johnanna Lindsey

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This is another series that I have mentioned before and has been a part of my life for over 25 years. The first story in the series, Love Only Once, introduced my favorite male character, James Mallory, and I was NEVER the same since.

Legacy by Jayne Ann Krentz

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This is the first story that I found by one of my favorite authors, Jayne Anne Krentz. I found this at a used book store one Saturday afternoon. The book was so good that I went to find all her previous books. In addition, because all the other books were just as good as the first, Jayne Ann Krentz became a must read and buy author from that time on.

Flirting With Trouble by Cathie Linz

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This is my first signed book by the author! I met the author through an online Bulletin Board while I was in College. The members of the Bulletin Board decided to have a meet up in Cathie’s home town. Not only did I get to meet this amazing author and have this book signed, but it found a life long friend as well.

A Night In the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

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This story is one that my husband and I re-listen to every year during the month of October for Halloween. Each time we listen to it, it feels like brand new all over again. In addition, we have the rare audio version of this story narrated by the author himself!

And, but definitely not least…

Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

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I have mentioned this series before. Every single story in the Vorkosigan Saga constantly changes and influences me, even in small ways. However, if I had to choose one book from this amazing series to list it would be Shards of Honor!

Interview with Author Melisse Aires

It is my honor to interview Melisse Aires, author of Her Cyborg Awakes, Book one in the Diaspora Worlds series.

Welcome Melisse and thank you for joining us today to answer the following:

What does the title, Her Cyborg Awakes, signify?

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Her: Sabralia is a wife to Emperor Sirn, a warlord. He has a few other legal wives but they have children and live in another area of his palace. Sabralia was sent to the common harem, which if full of dancers and sex workers, but due to her status she has her own rooms, unsupervised visits to the beach, and her own cyborg servant, the handsome Qy.

Cyborg: The Gorvas Army, in which Sirn is a military commander, has experimented a great deal with cyborgs to use as obedient,emotionless pawns in their goal of conquering the Terran Alliance planets. They make the cyborgs out of the fallen dead and dying.

Awakes: While they hide on the beach to avoid Sirn’s Feast, in which he turns his Harem over to his officers, Qy misses his nightly maintenance and begins to change.

What prompted or inspired you to write in this genre?

I have read and enjoyed science fiction since I was a child. Even then I appreciate touches of romance. Later I discovered romances. Seemed like a perfect blend to me.

What kind of research did you have to do for the novel that was different from others?

I did some research on wormholes and speculations on faster than light space flight, but this is a space opera, the technology isn’t where the story is at, but the characters.

What makes you laugh?

I adore a certain character type, usually a secondary character, who innocently bungles the life of the main characters, but eventually attains their goal. Dobby from the Harry Potter series, Eloisa James’ character Rupert in THE DUKE IS MINE, is one of the most memorable characters. I really am trying to write one!

What makes you cry?

The injury or death of a beloved character. Dobby (again) and Fred and in the Harry Potter series.

How would you describe yourself?

Take a shy, chubby, Catholic school girl bookworm from Montana. Hand her a stack of her much older brother’s sci fi and fantasy novels, James Bond books and horror comics. Later, introduce Barbara Cartland and the world of romance fiction.

Get her a teaching job or two in authentic, one room Montana schools, ala Laura Ingels Wilder.

Marry her off to a great guy, move her to a big city in Tornado Alley, then pop three daughters out of her in twenty two months(one set of identical twins).

Then, make her a jinx–every great genre TV show she loves gets the ax– Beauty and the Beast, Dark Angel–and Buffy and Spike NEVER have a happy ending! She gets upset about no romance in the world, and fires up to write her own stories with happy endings.

Throw this all together into a small house in Wyoming, along with a small bouncy dog named Baxter and too many cats, shake constantly and pour it out onto a computer keyboard.

There! You have me, Melisse Aires.

Thank you again Melisse for taking the time to answer these questions!

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To learn more about Melisse Aires and her stories, please visit her website or her blog. You can also follow her via Twitter or Facebook

 

Her Universe’s “Year of the Fangirl” Needs Your Help!

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Year of The Fangirl Needs Your Help!
See this post by The Wookiee Gunner for more details!

Originally posted on The Wookiee Gunner:

Her Universe’s “Year of the Fangirl” initiative began in early 2013 with the goal to highlight and appreciate a different fangirl every day and support the growth of the fangirl community. Since then, hundreds and hundreds of fangirls ranging from various ages and backgrounds have applied to be “Fangirl of the Day.” As a result of bringing the community together and demonstrating that women are proud geeks, the Daily Dot declared Ashley Eckstein as one of ten people who changed fandom in 2013.

Most geek girls have had their geek cred questioned and been called “fake” at some point in their lives, and Eckstein strived with this campaign to bring together women from all over the world to form a supportive community on her company blog and on social media. Eckstein spotlighted a “Fangirl of the Day” to show how everyday women can be geeks and gathered a…

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Liza O’Connor discusses The Troublesome Apprentice & her Typewriter

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In The Troublesome Apprentice Vic types for so long she gets blisters on her fingertips.

For those of you who learned to type on keyboards, this no doubt sounds implausible.

For those of you who learned to type on electric typewriters, this also sounds implausible.

For those of you who learned to type on non-electric prehistoric typewriters, this sounds completely believable.

I bought an ancient Underwood for $2 at a flea market. I could not believe how hard it was to use. One sentence in and my fingers ached. You required strong fingers to type on those machines.

Let me start out by saying a great deal of inventors decided the world needed something more legible than a man’s handwriting. And let’s face it, men are notorious for their chronic bad penmanship. A great deal of men attempted to conquer this dastardly problem. Over fifty of them managed to get something patented in the 19th century. But getting a patent and selling a viable product were two very different things.

The first European commercialized version of the typewriter was the Hansen Writing Ball in 1870.

Hanson writing ball Entire Hansen Ball device

Beneath the ball was a large cylinder with paper wrapped lengthwise around it and an electric carriage return. Thus, technically, it is actually was the first commercialized electric typewriter as well. However pressing down the keys was not electrically assisted. Only when I found this second picture could I comprehend how it worked. Honestly, the 1st pic looks like something a mute fortune teller would create to stay in business.

Still, the Hansen did allow men to type faster than they could write legibly.  But, it only had capitalized letters, so all correspondence yelled at people as if they were deaf. Another issue, you couldn’t see what you were yelling.  Still, it was used in some London offices until 1909, at which point they became polite again and switched to typewriters that didn’t have to be so bloody belligerent.

1st commercial RemingtonIn America, Sholes, Soule & financier, Glidden created a typewriter in 1867 which they sold to Remington who made it look a bit like a sewing machine. (Remington already made sewing machines and evidently thought typing and sewing were much the same process. One stitches words together, and the other stitches fabric. Sholes hated the ridiculous end product and refused to promote it. Not surprisingly, this version of the typewriter was not successful.

In 1873 Remington turned out a better selling version without sewing accouterments. This version had been tested by a male stenographer who constantly broke all the typewriter prototypes Sholes sent him, then returned  harsh critiques about the man’s work. Sholes’ new financier wouldn’t allow him to stop using the mean critic. Instead, he was chided to fix the problems.  To stop the jamming of keys problem, Sholes worked out what we now call the qwerty board, which spreads out the letters most frequently used so they aren’t side by side. That’s right, the ‘non-alphabet confusion’ began here all because of a cranky critic.

1st commercialized (really) qwerty typewriter

The first qwerty typewriter

The Qwerty typewriter was a vast improvement and this time people wanted it. Still all the early machines (excluding the Hansen ball) had keys that struck upward, hitting the bottom of the cylinder to create an imprint on the paper. This meant a person could not see what they were writing until the cylinder returned a few time, rolling the paper up. Thus, Vic types blind as she hammers away on her Remington. She doesn’t complain about it, because that is how it has always been.

Daughterty Visible

Daughtery Visible

However, if Vic could have convinced Xavier to give up his beloved Remington typewriter, there was a new typewriter out in 1893, the Daughterty Visible. This machine had front face key strikes, so the typist could see what he’d just wrote. Oddly, this wasn’t seen as a ‘must have’ improvement, and the under-strike machines continued to sell up until 1915.

 

Approximately half the Remington typewriters sold were shipped to England, so that’s what Xavier bought. That is also what Professor Rutherford at Oxford College purchased, and what he taught Vic to type on.

Good thing, because there was no standardization back then among the 50 inventors and Vic wouldn’t have fared so well with any other version of the typewriter.

1892 portable typewrite Blickensderfer 5Had she purchased her own, she might have chosen the less expensive, portable typewriter, the Blickensderfer 5.  (Sounds like something Harry Potter would use.) However, it’s not a Qwerty board. Converting to a different board would have been hard for a typewriter (back then both the machine and the person using it was called ‘typewriter’. A few years later the Blickensderfer offered both keyboard options. And when women took over typing during World War I of the 20th century, they began calling the person who typed a ‘typist’.

Hope you enjoyed learning more than you ever wanted about something you will hopefully never have to type on. Let’s see what Xavier & Vic are up to…

 XnV Troubled Apprentice 400 x 640

The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

By Liza O’Connor

***

Cases Requiring Resolution: 

The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death

The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple

The Disappearing Scarlet Nun

The Clever Butcher’s Wife

The Rescue of Lady Anne

blurb

While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.

As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.

An Excerpt

Vic sighed with relief upon sight of the Remington in Xavier’s office. Her science professor at Oxford had declared her handwriting illegible and suggested she learn to type. Instead of taking insult, she’d investigated the myriad of typing machines currently available and settled on the same one Xavier had chosen.

She had just finished retyping the third letter when Xavier’s hands settled on her shoulders and he leaned forward to study her work. He remained bare-chested and in his silk sleeping pants and smelled wonderfully masculine, a mixture of musk and tobacco.

“Did I give you permission to enter my office?” he asked, clearly in a better mood, despite his provoking question.

“Implicitly you did, for you told me to retype the letter and, since you possess the only machine in the office, one can reasonably presume permission to enter the room it resides in order to complete your request.” Vic stopped talking because his hands remained on her shoulders and they caused a stirring within her. When he did not counter-challenge her observation, she continued. “Now, if you will give me the combination to your safe, I will retrieve the checkbook, deposit slips, and money required to complete the other tasks.”

He laughed outright while his hands encircled her neck as if he planned to strangle her. “Not bloody likely.” He loosened his grip, but did not release her. “I understand your need of the checkbook and deposit slips, but would you care to explain your need to pilfer my money?”

“We are out of stamps.”

“Ah…a false assumption. If you had checked my desk drawer, you would have found the necessary stamps.” He returned his hands to her shoulders.

She turned and frowned at him, trying to ignore his naked chest and focus on his sparkling eyes and beautiful hawk nose. “I would have expected you to keep your desk drawer locked.”

“Right you are, and you will not receive a key to that either.”

“Perhaps you could remove the stamps from your drawer and give them to my care, since I have need of them and you do not.”

He retracted his warm hands from her shoulders and a chill settled in their absence. After making a great fuss over opening the drawer, he presented her with stamps, placing them into her hand. “Do not lose them.”

She laughed at him as she rose. “Are you always so obliging in the mornings? I would have thought otherwise.”

“I seem to find myself in better spirits than normal,” he admitted. “No doubt due to your early arrival.”

lINKS

The Troublesome Apprentice

AMAZON

 

 

About the author 

I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.

Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.

She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

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