Come On, People, Now...
Sing it with me!
"Smile on your brother! Everybody get together; let us love one another right now!"
Sadly, I must admit that although I'm a child of the 70s, I got to know that particular song from the TimeLife infomercials that are just too enjoyable to turn off, especially at 3 in the morning when you're rocking a baby back to sleep. Good song, though...and it lends itself perfectly to my post tonight.
So many writers have an internal competitive spirit. Been there myself, in fact. It's something I often hid behind a smiling exterior as I beat back the ferocious beasts of comparison and jealousy. I say "hid" because I no longer give in to it. I've made a choice.
When I attended the Pikes Peak Writers' Conference, I was fortunate enough to volunteer. We were encouraged to keep up the reputation of the conference--friendly and helpful. It would be easy to steer someone the wrong way and make them late for their pitch appointment. One little word in someone's ear could tear down another writer. Harshly critiquing someone's work could tear them down.
That's just plain mean. And there's already way too much meanness in the world.
So back to my choice. I'm choosing to help my fellow authors. I've read some pages. I've made some connections. It's really the least I can do. And I would hope someone might someday do the same for me. I don't do it to get something out of it. I do it because it's the right thing to do.
Don't you think the world would be a much better place if we helped each other instead of fought each other?
I'd like to challenge you. You've already heard about the random acts of kindness thing and the pay it forward campaign. I just want to challenge you to find little ways to help out someone else. Where you are right now. What you have right now. What can you offer someone that would bring joy to their lives? Something selfless and kind.
It's that simple. And you won't believe the rewards you'll heap, simply in the good feeling of making someone's day. It's so worth it!
Love one another. It's a beautiful thing.
Live Long and Prosper
Three years ago today, my dad passed away from a heart attack. It was sudden and unexpected, and as hard as it was to say goodbye, I’m thankful he didn’t linger in sickness or pain. But I’m not here to write about sad stuff. Like I said, it’s been three years. I miss him, but I have some awesome memories…
…like his love for Star Trek. As a child, we didn’t have cable, so our television viewing options were limited. And no one argued with Dad when it came time to watch Star Trek reruns. It wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t care for it, but watching it planted seeds…
…so by the time Star Trek: The Next Generation aired, I was hooked. I knew I was meant to walk the corridors of the Enterprise. NCC-1701D rolled off my tongue faster than my phone number. I could tell you what season the episode fell in, just by watching the credits—and within just a few moments of watching any part of the episode, I could tell you its title.
I was a Trekkie. (Yes, I prefer Trekkie to Trekker.)
So last night, I got to go Into Darkness and see the new Star Trek movie. Let me say right off the bat, I loved it! It took me back to those memories of my first love—my first sci-fi love. And wound into that was another favorite. Buckaroo Banzai was in it! Okay, so it was Peter Weller…and man, he can play a mean villain!...but he’ll always be Buckaroo to me.
I love the reimagination of the series. I think the characterizations are spot-on. McCoy and Scotty are my favorites. They provide the necessary humor, and the actors nail the previously-created characters. I like the sleekness of the ships, the tech, even the uniforms—although in this sequel, I didn’t care for the Salvation Army knock-offs. Starfleet would have done better.
Warning: Spoilers ahead. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know more about the movie.
All right—I have to say I am a Khan fan. Ricardo Montalban was perfect for that role. I remember Space Seed and Botany Bay. I saw The Wrath of Khan in the theater…and many times following. And I cannot think of a better choice to fill that reimagined role than Benedict Cumberbatch. He was amazing as Khan. I’m not all that familiar with his work in Sherlock, but I know he’s a favorite among fans. Now, I see why. What a great actor! I hope to see more from him.
On that note, here’s where I have issue with the film. In all my times of watching The Wrath of Khan, I always bawl when Spock gives his life to save the crew of the Enterprise. Those final tender moments when he says goodbye to Kirk. I don’t think any human heart could watch that without a tear in their eye. But in this reimagined version, when it’s Kirk on the inside of the glass…
I felt nothing.
In fact, I laughed when just moments later, Spock let out the epic cry of “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!”
After learning that John Harrison was Khan, I expected that moment to come from Kirk. I waited the length of the film for that one to play out. Perhaps the relief of finally hearing it is why I laughed. Perhaps because it came from Spock as he gave into a human feeling.
But it made me so sad to realize I felt no empathy/sympathy toward Kirk’s character. I actually felt guilty about it. I should feel something about Kirk. I felt something about Shatner’s Kirk. And Pine’s Kirk is a great character! But he left me alone in the dark wondering why I couldn’t drum up a tear for my dying captain.
With only that moment falling short, though, I thought the movie was superb! When the credits began to roll and the familiar strains of the Star Trek theme hit my ears—first in a trumpeted fanfare, then with lulling strings—the tears hit. Only because it came full circle with my dad. I thought it very fitting, the day prior to his birthday in heaven, to be sitting in a theater, enjoying something precious he’d given to me. Along with the swell in the music, I celebrated him and said a silent thank you.
Go see this movie! It’s definitely worth your time.
Grab some Kleenex!!
Tonight, my hands smell like bleach, and my eyelids are drooping. Over the next few days, I may not have much of a chance to blog. We're moving from the eastern plains of Colorado to the very heart of the state at the foot of Pikes Peak! Yes, Colorado Springs, I am returning home! And I'm bringing my awesome family with me! But I'll be up to my armpits in cardboard boxes for a little while. I will try my best to keep you updated, though.
On a writing note, I have come up with summaries for three new books in the Crown's Call series! I'm so excited! It's been a while since I've done the creative thing with this series. As The Circeae Tales, I was adamant about sticking with ten books. I don't know why. I like nice, round numbers. I'm weird that way. But since breaking down the series into trilogies/quadrilogy (Yes, it's a word! Look it up!), I knew I needed to add in the stories that have been begging to be written. So I've ended up with a series of thirteen lovely books!
Some people are superstitious about thirteen. I love that number, I always have. In fact, before settling on the round ten, I wanted thirteen. It's neat how things work out.
Below, you'll find an awesome song that has become my theme song over the last week or so. The bridge reminds me of Jesus Christ Superstar...probably why I like it so much! So on those days you're missing the wit and wisdom of this blog, pull up this link and think of me. And I'll be back as soon as I can!
New and Improved!
I tried so hard to make my rebranded material fit the old website design. The dark blue just didn't seem to fit with the new plan, though. A royal red and a soft white suits the concept much better. So here you have a brand new website design to coincide with the official announcement of the rebrand.
The Circeae Tales is now under the umbrella of The Crown's Call. The reasons behind the decision are many. Some of them are listed in previous posts. Mostly, though, I wanted to point to God with the name of the series. In my stories, God is "the Crown", so it makes sense.
I hope you enjoy the new site! I've added some updated information, but I still have some pages under construction. As I develop the new stories, I'll add more. Be sure to check back! My designer is also working on some new graphics and covers for the other books. Once we get all the pages up and running, we're going to have one awesome site! So hold onto your hats!
Brand and Rebrand
Branding is such a buzzword in marketing. I have to admit, it drives me a little crazy when I hear it. However, I've learned that branding is what I have to do. In fact, without knowing, I had done it! That's what the Circeae Tales series was.
I say "was" because I'm rebranding. Whee!
As I said in my previous post, some changes needed to be made. I've been thinking about it for a while now, but today, I actually came up with a plan. A vision. I'm really excited about unveiling the changes.
The main thing was breaking up the big ten-novel chunk that was The Circeae Tales. I added a couple of story ideas, which now gives me three trilogies and a quadrilogy. (Did you know that was a real word?!) There is a fluid storyline throughout, and most of the stories touch on the same characters.
I hope you'll be pleased with the changes. Hang with me while I get the website updated and other social media in line. It's going to be awesome!
Changing the World
How many of you know how to say Circeae? Go on. Try it! I dare you.
Yeah, I have to admit, it took me a while to learn how to say it myself. SIR-see. It's easy, once you know how.
This brings me to the thought that keeps running through my head. I think it's time to change the name of my series.
Don't worry! I won't change any characters or storylines...unless directed to do so by some wonderful editor/publisher who deems my stories worthy to print. And I know most publishers choose their own titles. It would be likely that The Circeae Tales title would have to go, anyway.
So...help me out! Below is a survey with several possible titles for the series. Let me know which one you like best, simply by voting on the poll. Which one sounds like something that would intrigue you? What captures you enough to make you pick up the book? And if you have a different suggestion, leave it in the comments below!
The picture promised from the previous post...plus a couple extras.
May the Fourth Be With You
It seems fitting to pay tribute to the amazing Star Wars saga today, given that today is Star Wars Day. If you don't get why, say, "May the Fourth be with you" out loud, and you'll understand. And if you don't, please--for your sake and mine--go watch the original Star Wars trilogy!!
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Star Wars generation. My dad loved Star Trek and even did a short stint at NASA, so sci-fi was a regular thing in our house. With two brothers, I couldn't get away from it. From the start, I didn't have a chance. Although I enjoyed Barbies and My Little Pony (can you tell I was an 80s child?) far more than spaceships and aliens. I also was wrapped up in Broadway, thinking I was going to have a career in stage management...but that's a different story.
It wasn't until I worked for Disney that I became truly enamored with Star Wars. Yes, I'd seen the movies multiple times...and again, I'm talking the original trilogy. I can proudly say I saw A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in the theater. Empire is my favorite, and I remember that very moment the empire began to lower Han Solo into the carbonite. I wasn't enraptured with the sudden revelation of Han and Leia's love story. I was scared to death of what was going to happen to poor Han! And my dad...who had taken me to the movie that day...was asleep. What a traumatic moment! (I got over it. Really. Now I swoon and sigh with the best of 'em!)
Okay...back to Disney. Being single, I returned home for Christmas. That year, my younger brother received the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game. Being the good sister, I played a round with him and my older brother...and I kicked their butts! (Yes, Bry and John...admit it!) Who knew I had hoarded away so many little details about that weird little space saga? For some reason, that set off a love affair as passionate as Han and Leia's. (Okay, maybe not that passionate, but you get what I mean.) Started reading the books, collecting the graphic novels, and any other scrap of Star Wars stuff I could find.
I got to do an event at Disneyland--the 10th anniversary re-dedication of Star Tours. Got to meet Carrie Fisher and make sure her microphone was in place. Babysat her for a bit. She was SO cool! I also got to take a picture with C-3PO and Chewbacca. (I'll dig that up in a bit and attach it to this post.) Such a great day!! So in love with Star Wars at this time, I was determined to name my first child Anakin.
Episode One: The Phantom Menace came out. Stood in line for the midnight showing. (Forever live Ric Olie!!) Episode Two: Attack of the Clones...yup. Same thing. My brother and I even took the day off of work when the merchandise released just to go spend some bucks! The best part about Ep. 2 was showing up at the theater in my little silver sports car bearing the license plate "JEDIKNT" with John William's Empire theme blasting from my speakers. Yeah, I was that much of a SW nerd.
By the time Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith came out, I had gotten married and moved across the country. So I missed the joy of the midnight showing, but I did get to see it. I'd also started writing my own space saga: The Circeae Tales. (Had to get a mention in!) So understand, I still adored Star Wars...but in a much more conservative way. And alas...the day came when I had to say goodbye to my little silver sports car and hello to a much more practical family car. (But I still have the license plate in a treasured location!)
Years have passed. My firstborn was not named Anakin. But I do have a Star Wars baby! I have a little girl named Hope...and I like to say she is my New Hope! I must admit, I am excited about the news of a merger between Disney and LucasFilm, despite the concerns of the extended universe. I think Disney will do it justice. And it will bring yet another generation of fans to the saga. Pretty awesome if you think about it.
So on this day, I'd like to say thank you to George Lucas for his amazing stories. Thank you to the cast and crews of the Star Wars movies for committing those stories to film. And thanks to the fans for keeping the saga around for years and for giving me an instant connection with any of you I've met.
May the Fourth be with you all.
Thirty Five Miles From Home
At mile marker 402, I had a moment. Nothing profound or earth-shattering. I was jamming along to some tunes, and for some reason, my heart just filled up. Let me explain a little.
Back in February, I went back to work. It was one of the hardest thing I've ever done after being a stay-at-home mom for eight years. Hard, of course, because I had to leave my babies. Really hard, because I had to leave my babies 150 miles away for 4 days a week. My job is in Colorado Springs, and we don't live there. (We will soon, but I'll get to that in a second.) My husband had to fill the two parental roles, as well as continue his job. Thankfully, I work with amazing people, and my supervisor has allowed me to work from home one day a week. But needless to say, the last few months have been rough.
There is light at the end of this tunnel, though! And it's not a freight train! School lets out at the end of this month, and my family will be joining me in Colorado Springs! I cannot wait!
So back to this moment. I was heading out I-70 toward Kansas...music from a new CD filling the car (I like to listen to it loudly!)...the bright blue Colorado sky sprawled upward from the horizon. And I was close to home. I have a wonderful husband, awesome kids, a fabulous job, a published book, cool brothers, a best-friend mom, great friends, and a God who loves me. Wow. I paused, despite the car's 75 MPH (perhaps a little more than that) movement, and spoke a whisper of gratitude.
I may not have as much as other folks, but I know I have a whole lot more than many. I'm one of the lucky ones. Blessed ones. And you know something? I'm pretty happy. My life is good. And I'm not saying that to rub anyone's nose in it. I just hope I can encourage you to look at your life and find the joy. There's so much to be thankful for.
And in choosing joy, you're going to find your happiness.
Blessings, my friends.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3