I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!
Today, it is my pleasure to interview fellow fangirl, Amy Richau, who writes about her geeky obsessions, like Star Wars, for a variety of websites. I became aware of Amy through her articles at FANgirl Blog and of course through her posts on twitter account, @amyrichau.
When do you realize you were a Fangirl?
I think I really knew in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when I was collecting anything Star Wars related in thrift shops and antique malls. Even though there had barely been anything new Star Wars related for so long I still enjoyed having a connection to the films. I had a photo of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola in my high school locker around this time. That was a sure sign I think!
How has social media helped or hindered you?
I have mixed feelings about fandom and social media. I love to see images of artwork, get links to new articles, and get recommendations on new books, movies, and TV shows – but it’s hard to get that and also block out all the negativity. If someone writes thoughtfully about a subject I’m interested to read it, even if I might not agree with them. But so much of what I see, on twitter especially, is just trashing on things – and then people complaining about people trashing something. That kind of negativity cycle is a total turn off to me. I’m always looking for more analytical discussions of films and TV shows and less of the “hot take” type of content. I just recently started to listen to a few podcasts which I think are great opportunities to have deeper discussions and conversations.
My friends aren’t huge Star Wars fans and I have only met one person in real life that I “met” through Star Wars social media so I think it would be very fun to go to a convention that had a lot of Star Wars content to meet some of the people I have chatted with or followed online.
When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?
I have a vague memory of seeing Star Wars in the theater in 1977, and I remember being terrified Yoda was going to hurt Luke when I first saw The Empire Strikes Back. When I saw Return of the Jedi in 1983 that was the first Star Wars film that I truly fell in love with – and it was the first film where I wanted to jump into the movie and hang out with the characters. I’ve loved Star Wars ever since.
What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?
I think it’s always great to hear what has inspired others in their lives. And it’s important to know that even though you might feel like you’re the only person who loves something in your small town or school that you are not alone. And that being different or loving things that are different than what your peers love is not only ok – it’s fantastic.
I felt for many years that I should hide my Star Wars fandom, in part because it wasn’t cool and in part because I was female. Even when I had the chance to work at Skywalker Ranch in their film archive for a few months right before Revenge of the Sith came out I felt like I couldn’t be honest about how much I loved the films – which seems crazy to me now. But I only interacted with a few people and some of them, believe it or not, weren’t Star Wars fans. So now pretty much nothing makes me happier than seeing women in their twenties embracing Star Wars and seeing fans of Star Wars get jobs working on Star Wars related projects.
What else do you Fangirl about?
Twin Peaks, Disney, Marvel & DC more and more. I’m also a huge classic movie fan. Oh, and I love the Denver Broncos – I can’t leave them out of any fan conversation!
Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?
It’s nice to know there are people who share my sometimes crazy obessions with geeky things!
What cool Fangirl related project or projects are you working on that you would like to share?
I am starting up a blog about classic films called See Classic Films (seeclassicfilms.com).
Where can others find and inteact with you?
You can follow me on twitter @amyrichau
It is a pleasure to welcome Corie Weaver editor of the Sci-Fi Anthology series, Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide.
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
We chose the name Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide because we wanted to create a sample of science fiction stories for readers of all ages. Every collection includes stories that represent the wide spectrum of science fiction, from rocket ship adventure, to weird west to post- apocalyptic to steampunk and more.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
A random conversation with a friend back in 2014 sparked a new multi-year project – so be careful! My best friend was looking for new books for her young daughter. The qualifications seemed simple: Science fiction or fantasy, female protagonist, no romance. It was harder to find titles than I thought it would be. Sure, there were options – Wrinkle in Time, Zita the Space Girl, The City of Ember…. But not as many as I’d assumed. Turns out, according to a 2011 study of 6,000 children’s books, only 31 percent had central female characters, and even fewer featured main characters of color.*
I love science fiction. I believe it can bring us to a brighter future. So, I did the only logical thing, and put out a call for submissions for an anthology of science fiction shorts for middle grade readers, with a focus on diversity and representation. Girls, boys, robots – everyone is welcome here.
* “Gender in Twentieth-Century Children’s Books: Patterns of Disparity in Titles and Central Characters.” (http://gas.sagepub.com/content/25/2/197.full.pdf+html) The results of the study are also discussed in this Guardian article: (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/06/gender-imbalance-children-s-literature)
What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing or the writing of the authors of the series?
Tamora Pierce, Isaac Asimov, Usula K. LeGuin, Terry Prachett, Neil Gaiman – the list goes on and on. But one story I read in Asimov’s Magazine *mumblemumble* years ago has stuck with me for years – Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress. I reached out to Nancy when we started the anthology project, and she’s sold us a story every year. When I asked why she was such a strong supporter, she answered:
“When I was a child, the school library had a Girls’ Section, which included fairy tales, and a Boys’ Section, which included all the science fiction. Things have changed, of course, but not enough. There is a strong need for science fiction, as opposed to fantasy, aimed at girls, especially in the middle grades. This anthology is an important contribution to the effort to fill that need, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
If someone is interested in learning more about the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, where would they go?
The 2018 collection will be on Kickstarter starting June 13th, shipping in December.
Also, the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is now available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available for Libraries! Learn more at http://dreamingrobotpress.com/2017-young-explorers-adventure-guide/!
AtoZ Blog Challenge 2017
Today starts the April 2017 AtoZ Blog Challenge.
What is the AtoZ Blog Challenge?
The challenge is where bloggers from around the world post a topic each day during the month of April, except on Sundays, related to a particular letter of the Alphabet. Basically, a blogger would post an article on April 1st with a topic related to the letter A and continue through the alphabet until April 30 with a topic related to the letter Z. To help visualize this, below is a schedule for the 2017 AtoZ blog Challenge:
You can participate by reading the articles that are posted each day. What good is an article posted that is never read?
Those bloggers participating in this Challenge will be posting links to their articles via the official A to Z Challenge blog, the AtoZ Challenge Simulcast Blog (for WordPress bloggers), or the AtoZ Blog Challenge Facebook. Bloggers can also use Twitter and Instagram to post links with the hashtag #AtoZBlogChallenge. There are also some blogs that do a good job of consolidating the links that are shared via Twitter for example, The #AtoZChallange Daily.
I participated in this Challange for several years and it helped me when I first started blogging. This Challenge is an excellent and exciting way to gather new readers, focus writing and showcase or expand the talent of writers and bloggers. If you have not read these previous AtoZ Challenge Blog posts you can find them here.
Although I am not participating in this year’s Challenge, I still want to support those that are. Therefore, good luck to those that are participating and I look forward to reading and sharing those that peek my interest.
So are you participating in the Challenge?
I am very sad to hear that Carrie Fisher has passed away. There are no words for how I feel that expresses my thanks to this wonderful person. However, I will do my best.
Carrie was a wonderful role model for many, especially this Fangirl by showing that there are self rescuing princesses. As I grew up, she also showed me that you can overcome many life struggles with humor. Her problems with her Mother and family really echoed some of the relationship problems I have faced in my life. Her dedication to her writing, showed me that a beautiful women can be many things in her life. Her wit and humor showed me to laugh even when things looked bad. Her love of the fans is one of the things I really liked about her.
Carrie took the time to interact with everyone she met. By spreading glitter on her fans at the conventions or even briefly talking to people, like my husband, as he was standing in line to get a diet pop at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando.
You will be missed Carrie.
May The Force Be With You, Always…
Sailor Moon R The Movie in Select Theaters Starting 1/19/17
Sailor Moon comes to the big screen in her first dazzling movie! Uncut and for the first time in theaters. Join Sailor Moon on an adventure to save not only the world, but also her true love! This limited engagement also includes the North American debut of the original theatrical short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians and exclusive extras. A special bonus gift will be given to ticket holders while supplies last.
Looking at the list of theaters, this Fangirl is disappointed that only one theater, The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Township, MI, will be showing this in my area. However, the good news is that there will be two showings, one of 1/19/17 and the other on 1/23/17, both at 7PM. Tickets are not available to buy for these showings yet. Hopefully, I will be able to buy tickets to one of these. Otherwise, I will have to wait until this is available on BluRay or via streaming.
You can find more details on other locations in the U.S. and to buy tickets here.
This challenge started out strong with posts being completed and scheduled ahead time. Unfortunately, as the month progressed, due to family medical issues, my posts were harder to create, let alone schedule ahead of time.
However, thanks to the encouragement of my readers, over 100 of you, I completed this year’s challenge!
Now that this goal has been achieved, I can proudly display the 2016 A to Z Challenge banner image on the About page of this blog!
Thanks so much for going on this journey with me. Everyone who visited the blog and read some or all of the posts during this challenge are precious to me. I really hope you were entertained by the theme, the topics and content generated by this challenge. In addition, I hope that many of you will come back and visit my blog again soon.
Why grammar programs aren’t ready to go on their own yet.
One would think that teaching a computer to learn would be harder than teaching it to write correctly, but learning how to build a car, or hack into the Federal Bank might actually be easier than writing a novel with proper grammar, dialect, and regional expressions.
Cars are made in a precise order, with precise actions.
The bank has a specific code, and possibly an eye scan you need to acquire to enter its vault.
To properly write a person speaking, the program needs to know the grammar used in that region, and also the standard grammar which should be used in the non-dialogue parts of the story. Only problem is, there isn’t one standard. In the USA, there are three main manuals: The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, and The Elements of Style, and rest assured, they do not agree with one another on all points. But in specific categories there are even more style manuals, the total exceeding thirty different manuals depending upon the field you work in.
And even if a program coded every rule and could figure out which manual to use for the purpose at hand, it would still get into trouble as the examples provided by my grammar program shows.
Our language is messy, creative, whimsical, and ever-changing. Then to make matters worse, we make up expressions that make no sense to anyone not from the region. Australia is notorious for their strange expressions like ‘flat out like a lizard drinking’. Is that lizard thirsty or tired? Are we even talking about a lizard at all?
England’s no different. It’s gone completely pear-shaped with sayings.
And the U.S.? We have our own weird sayings like “Going postal” which I could not get my Australian friends to believe was a real saying. Worst yet: we still use illogical punctuation rules created due to our crappy printing presses back in the 17th century.
But how does a computer deal with these illogical phrases and multiple rules on punctuation? This is far trickier than duplicating an eye scan and hacking a code.
In fact, it might even be harder than comprehending emotions…
No…I think emotions will still be harder. We cry when we are happy and sad. We laugh through pain and in joy. We sulk prettily when we want something, and truly sulk when we don’t get it. We connive, we plot, we manipulate, sometimes to make something better, and sometimes for revenge. Honestly, we have got to be the most inconsistent and confusing creatures on Earth.
Hacking into the Fed Reserve would be child’s play in comparison to understanding and successfully emulating a human.
Yet by working with Carla as her ‘grammar program’ for years, her program can clean up not just the grammar issues, but the factual issues as well, while she “becomes the character” and teaches it about emotions in all their messy splendor. Her program has managed to categorize all the nuances of emotions, facial tics, etc, and in book 2, he develops into a human, superior in all ways.
My program has no such aspirations.
Here’s a few of the funny changes my program wished to make to my novel Public Secrets:
|What I wrote:||What my program thinks I should say|
|“You can get away after the book.”
—Editor wanting her to finish writing the book before Carla takes a vacation…
|“You can get away from the book.”
—Sure you can. Just run! Books are really slow!
|“I can see why,” she murmured.
|“I can see why” she murmured.
—For some reason, the program wished to remove the comma. Evidently ‘murmured’ is not considered a replacement for ‘said’ in its data bank.
|He remembered the deference she’d been shown by both the attendant and the captain.||He remembered the difference she’d been shown by both the attendant and the captain.
—Liza loses all respect for the program…
|His ill-tempered assistant reamed a porter for bumping the luggage against the frame of the elevator door.
|His ill-tempered assistant dreamed a porter for bumping the luggage against the frame of the elevator door.
—Liza bangs her head against the door.
Shouldn’t an ill-tempered assistant at least dream of killing the porter?
|How the hell had she gotten herself into this situation?
|How had the hell she gotten herself into this situation?
—Who let Yoda in?
|Steadied by these positive thoughts, she decided she didn’t want to be killed while cowering in the ceiling.||Steadied by these positive thoughts, she decided she didn’t want to be killed while covering in the ceiling.
That makes so much more sense!
Book 1 of the AI Sci-Rom Series
Carla Simon is a best-selling novelist besieged by death threats and lawsuits because her stories keep turning out to be true. She is considered an extraordinary researcher, uncovering facts unknown by field experts.
The truth is far simpler and more disturbing. Carla has a software program that “fixes” her mistakes and rewrites her novels so they are error-proof both in presentation and in content. The result is beautifully written and completely accurate stories about real people and events.
Some of those people want her silenced forever. When a woman, mistaken for Carla, turns up dead in New Zealand, she must face the hard truth about her program. But first she has to survive the assassin who has never failed to deliver on a contract.
Free with Kindle Unlimited
Coming Very Soon
Birth of Adam
Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors have given her lots of fodder for her books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
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