I missed a Marvel show? And can you really have too many Lokis?

Okay, so I just finished my second viewing of Loki (bravo!), and I thought, well, that’s it until something new comes up. And then I go back to the Disney+ home page, and what do I see?

Agent Carter. Two seasons. A Marvel show I (apparently?) missed. How come I didn’t see this? How come it wasn’t in the Marvel timeline? Okay, so it’s not a direct storyline for the Endgame universe, but it concerns Cap’s love interest. I had no idea it existed, lol.

So I guess I’m watching another Marvel show. I also saw one called “Inhuman” but I don’t think it has anything to do with our heroes (please let me know if I’m wrong!).

Anyway, speaking of Loki, I’ve discovered there’s tons of novels out there about him. I’ve already read and written briefly about one, called Loki: Where Mischief Lies, by Mackenzie Lee. This one’s put out by Marvel, and deals with our Marvel Loki at a different point in his life. I loved it. I’ve just found out there’s a new one, a sequel called Loki: Where Mischief Ends, by the same author, and I so want to read it! I just see it in paperback, so I’ll wait and see if it goes to Kindle anytime soon (since I read the first one on Kindle. If I buy the paperback, then of course I must have the paperback of the first one, too, lol.)

However, there are other novels about Loki–not the Marvel version, but a version based on the Norse myth. I’ve recently downloaded one to my Kindle called Mischief Maker, by Bruce Nesmith, and it sounds pretty neat (Loki is blonde in this one, which is a little weird to picture). There’s also a trilogy about mythological Loki called The Nine Worlds Rising Trilogy, by Lyra Wolf, which I’d also love to check out. (Truth and Other Lies, The Order of Chaos, and That Good Mischief). OMG, so many, many more! The God of Mischief is quite the thing right now, lol, and I totally get it.

Mischief Maker: A Norse Mythology Contemporary Fantasy by [Bruce Nesmith]
The Nine Worlds Rising

This blog seems to be turning into a Marvel/Loki blog, lol. Maybe I need to do some remodeling, to encompass my expanding interests and obsessions. It’s either that, or start a new blog about Marvel and/or Loki, but if I keep doing that–starting new blogs about new passions–I’ll have dozens of blogs, lol. Maybe that will be part of my new Fall plan–reworking the blog. We’ll see.

Anyway, just thought I’d riff on these new discoveries. Have you watched Agent Carter? Is it any good? Read any Loki books? Any advice on the structure of the blog? I’d be happy to hear it. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

The Curtain Saga

So this is kind of off-topic for me, but I just have to comment on this. The other day I posted my usual Star Wars Weekend Update, where I just go over some of the stuff I’ve been doing, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, etc. And I just happened to mention that I was going to attempt to put up curtains in my daughter’s bedroom, just as an aside.

So when I went to put in my tags for the post, I put in my usual stuff, but then just for ha-ha’s put in “curtains.” Because I did mention curtains, right?

Well. A day later I noticed the traffic to my blog went way up. Like WAY up. I usually get a few dozen views, or maybe 40-50 at the very most. But it had gone up to 90, and I was like, wow! They really like me, lol.

Then today, I got up at 7:30 in the morning and just peeked around, and it was up to 317. Then later, 431. And it just keeps going up and up. And naturally, I thought What the hell? Lol. This makes no sense. I hadn’t done anything differently, really. All my post views were normal, and there were no additional likes or anything.

And then it hit me: curtains! It seems that a great many people are in need of knowing about curtains. Who knew? I didn’t. And I thought: I’m writing about the wrong thing! Curtains is where it’s at! I’d could make a killing on curtains.

Window, Inside, Interior, Building, Glass, Window Sill

The problem is, I can’t think of anything more boring to write about. Plus the fact I don’t know a darn thing about curtains. My daughter’s curtains? Well, they’re up, but when I bought the package, I thought there were two panels, but there was only one. So she’s got one panel up, and just barely. Apparently I needed a drill, which I don’t have, and so I had to MacGyver it. I managed to get the screws into the wall, but about halfway through they just stopped. Hit something hard and impenetrable. So the screws are only halfway in, but it’s fairly secure. I think. Still looks pretty. Just waiting on the second panel I had to order online.

Anyway, all of this is to say that curtains, while a very popular subject as far as I can see, is not my thing. Same with other popular blog subjects: cooking, gardening, travel, fashion, etc. I don’t give two hoots about that stuff. But Star Wars? Count me in! I’ll happily add my voice to the thousands of others who write about it, and love every minute of it. I’ll leave the curtains to those who get all giddy about curtains, and good for them.

Anyway, I feel a little bad that I put curtains in the tags in the first place, like it was a bit misleading. That all those people clicked on my post and thought, huh? This isn’t about curtains! Bye! Oh well. Maybe I caught a few people who are interested in curtains AND Star Wars, right? Maybe they’ll keep me in mind.

Have you ever had any weird blog traffic? Something that didn’t make sense or you didn’t intend, but the traffic went way up? I’d be very interested to hear about it! (Do I put curtains in the tags for this post? It’s ALL about curtains, lol. But not what people think, so maybe not. Maybe I’ll put NOT CURTAINS, lol.)

My Star Wars Weekend Update

Happy Weekend, dear readers.

I thought I’d take Sundays to post updates about what I’m working on with the blog and other projects.

As I mentioned recently, I’m cutting down on the number of blog posts I publish each week, from 4-5 to about 2-3 between the two blogs. I hate to do this (I love blogging about Star Wars) but as I also mentioned, I’ve started writing a fan fiction piece, and need to make some time in my schedule.

I free-wrote about my idea for awhile, and as of today I have two scenes written: a Prologue, and a first scene. It’s first draft stuff, of course, but I’m happy with where it’s going so far. I’m eager to keep going and see how it comes out.

I’ve never written fan fiction before, of any kind, and it was a little weird inserting my characters into the familiar world of Star Wars. I worried I wouldn’t do it “right”, that I’d get details wrong and be called out on it, that it would be boring, etc etc. But once I got into the story and started writing it, I loved it, and those worries faded into the background (they’re still there, lol, but quieter). I haven’t written fiction in a few years, so I’m a little rusty, but it really is like riding a bike. You get back into a rhythm, and it just feels right.

I won’t go into too many details, but I’ll tell you that my story takes place at the palace of Alderaan, when Leia is sixteen years old. Leia isn’t my main character, but she makes an appearance, as well as Bail and Breha Organa. My character is about Leia’s age, visiting the palace with her mother. I was inspired to set the story here by Claudia Gray’s book “Leia: Princess of Alderaan,” which is a great book, by the way. But you don’t have to read it to understand my story. I think, lol.

So I’m busy doing that; and I’ve also mentioned that I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a podcast. I noticed that WordPress advertises using Anchor to turn your blog posts into audio versions, or record new ones. And I thought, hmmm, why not? As a means of growing the blog, it couldn’t hurt. And it might be fun. I’m not saying I’d be COMFORTABLE doing podcasts, lol, but I’m working on going beyond my comfort zone in order to grow, as a person, and as a blogger and writer.

So just for ha-ha’s, I clicked into Anchor and set up the whole thing, and then converted one of my older blog posts into an audio version (it was My Five Favorite Romances in Star Wars). And surprisingly, it sounded–not bad. Not completely like a robot, but you could definitely tell it was automated. There were some mispronunciations (Vos was pronounced “Vo” for some reason) and the inflections of grammar weren’t perfect. It was cool actually hearing my blog post, but I’m not going to go with the automated versions. So that means I’ll be talking into a microphone to bring my words to life, lol.

I’m just not sure what, exactly, I want to do with a podcast. To start, and as an experiment, I might just record some older blog posts to see what it sounds like, and how it would do. But ultimately, I don’t think I want to just regurgitate old blog posts, or even record new ones that I put on the blog. I want to do something different, narrow the focus, but I’m not sure in what way. There’s also the possibility of collaboration. Endless possibilities.

So I’m still in the brainstorming phase of the podcast, but I’m hoping to have something going by the end of next month, at least. And to have the fan fiction piece finished and posted here even sooner than that.

So lots of fun and exciting Star Wars stuff to work on. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you in the blogosphere!

I Am A Star Wars Badass

I was recently having a discussion with my fellow writer, blogger and Star Wars fan Julie G. about affirmations and positive mindset (check out her post that got the discussion going here), and we both mentioned some books that have helped us in this regard. Julie has read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson; I’ve been reading Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass series. Julie suggested I write a review of the book(s), and while this post isn’t exactly a “formal” review, I thought I’d write my thoughts on it and how it ties into the future of my blog.

So Julie and I agreed that, at first glance, all this self-helpery and positive mindset stuff is a bit corny. And it’s true; I’ve never been that much into self-help books, and historically rolled my eyes at it, thinking it was up there with rainbows and unicorns. If it helped people, great; but I doubted it could help me. I was just destined to be a vaguely talented writer who could never really get her shit together, and would remain penniless her entire life while she worked at the local grocery store for minimum wage. I turned out to be the starving artist, and I guess that was just my fate. Sigh. Poor me.

My husband, meanwhile, has struggled with a directionless life, going from job to job, not really liking any of them, certainly not making much money, and not really knowing what to do with his life. We’re both about 50 years old, and so both of our struggles with purpose and success had been going on for decades. Like us, it was getting old.

One day he was perusing some books at the bookstore and saw a bright yellow book called You Are A Badass, by a woman named Jen Sincero. He picked it up, read a few paragraphs, and decided to buy it. He told me about it, I glanced at the book, and thought, huh. I didn’t have any interest in reading it at first; I was still in denial and subconsciously didn’t want to change. Looking back, I can see that I was in my comfort zone of excuses and limiting self-beliefs.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero ~ the yellow will bring a pop of color to your decor and everyone needs that reminder, even your guests.  #youareabadass #books #bookdecor
This is the classic starter book for uncovering your awesomeness.

The book really revved up my husband, and he did things I never thought I’d see him do. He was interested in humanitarian causes, and decided he was going to walk 500 miles total in our local area to bring awareness to volunteers. He spent hours making signs that said things like, “Thank A Volunteer” and then spent two months walking at least ten miles a day (in a New England winter, mind you) with said signs held up over his head along roadways where cars could beep at him in support. He alerted the local newspaper to his doings, and they did articles on it. The next year he did another 500 miles, this time circling the local high school track, putting the spotlight on opioid addiction. More articles ensued, and he even got on TV with a local station. It was crazy, amazing, and very brave for my shy, don’t-put-the-spotlight-on-me husband. I was proud and a little awed. What the heck’s in this book, anyway?

So I picked it up and read it. And I have to tell you, it literally changed my life. Not so much on the outside–yet (it will happen eventually, I’m determined)–but mostly in my head. It completely changed my mindset. And that’s a good start.

So here’s what I learned from You Are A Badass:

  • Most people who are living sucky lives do so because they have sucky thoughts. Basically, you create your own reality. What you focus on, you create more of. If you focus on thoughts of how much of an idiot you are, for example, well, then you’re going to be an idiot. If you’re convinced you can’t make money, you’ll be buying your groceries at the dollar store the rest of your life. If you believe you’re unlovable, you’ll either remain single, or have a string of terrible relationships.
  • Our thoughts are often driven by our subconscious minds. Somewhere along the way, we picked up the beliefs that we are idiots, unlovable, don’t deserve money, etc. Sincero calls your subconscious The Little Prince–basically a toddler who throws tantrums anytime you try to do something out of your comfort zone. The Little Prince wants to keep you safe, and will do just about anything to keep you in that comfort zone.
  • If you want to change your life, you MUST change your thoughts and beliefs. The way to do this is to basically be nice to yourself and repeat affirmations like I deserve love or Money comes to me when I call or I am beautiful and love the size of my ass (she’s very funny, by the way). Even if you don’t believe it at first, and feel ridiculous saying them, you must retrain your mind with repetition, and sooner or later you’ll even come to believe what you’re saying. You’ve trained your mind for years with negative thoughts that aren’t true; why not retrain them with more positive thoughts? (Remember when Luke failed to raise his X-Wing out of the swamp because he didn’t believe he could do it? Hmmm….I can hear Yoda now: “You must unlearn what you have learned.”)
  • This one is the kicker, and what a lot of people have a problem with: you must believe in a Higher Power, a Creator, Lifeforce, God, the Universe, Spirit Guide, Universal Intelligence, whatever you want to call it. Because what you’re doing with the affirmations and positivity (aside from retraining your own beliefs) is “raising your frequency”. And when you raise your frequency, the Universe pays attention. Basically, we ARE the Universe (Stardust?); we’re made of the same stuff as the Universe, including our thoughts. It’s all energy, and it vibrates at various frequencies. When we raise our frequency, we attract more of the same frequency. It’s the whole Law of Attraction thing. Ask, and ye shall receive. If you want to make more money, for example, let the Universe know that that is your intention, you’re not messing around, and this is how it’s gonna be. I know, corny, right? Downright crazy. But tell me this: how’s your negative thinking been working for you? Yeah, me too.
  • This one is even tougher than believing that the Universe loves you and wants you to be happy–you MUST force yourself out of your comfort zone. Period. There can be no change in your life if you’re not willing to take risks. If you stay in your safe little comfort zone, you may prevent yourself from being uncomfortable, but you’ll be unhappy with your stagnant and ho-hum life. This one really caused an epiphany for me: it really got to the root of my lack of success in life–I was unwilling to be uncomfortable. No way. If something scared me, I ran away from it. No thanks. I’ll just stay here in my safe little bubble. When you do this, you’re certainly letting the Universe know you’re not really serious about whatever it is you want.

There’s so much more to these books than what I’ve rather clumsily said here, and Sincero gets really detailed about how you can go about changing your life. But what I really love about her books is that she’s hilarious. She tends to curse a lot (so if that bothers you, you might want to skip her books and learn these same principles elsewhere), and she tells a lot of funny but illuminating stories from her own life and the life of her clients (she’s a life coach). I love her personal success story, which I won’t get into here, since this post is seemingly never going to end, but trust me when I tell you she’s entertaining, she knows what she’s talking about, and she’s lived it herself.

So yeah, I haven’t even gotten to how it inspired me to start this blog, even though I was afraid my family would think I was reverting back to childhood talking about Star Wars, of all things. You’re 49 years old, grow up! (No one ever said that, lol, in fact they’ve been very supportive). I actually had a false start of learning about copywriting and trying to get into that business, was all fired up about it, but then realized my heart wasn’t in it. I was only doing it because of the financial potential, and it involved writing in some form. But when I thought about it, what I would rather have been doing is writing about my love of Star Wars. So why not? That’s where my passion lies. And you must be passionate about what you’re doing, or you’re doomed.

It’s been great fun, I’ve found my tribe, and I’ve been much happier this past year than I have in a while. But I’d also like to grow the blog, and so I need to do something that scares me, right? I’ve mentioned writing the fan fiction for the blog, but that in itself doesn’t scare me (besides the usual What if it sucks? thoughts, lol, which I’ve learned to ignore). What scares me is that I’m thinking about expanding the blog with podcasting, with either the fan fiction or the blog posts, or both. That is SO out of my comfort zone. I’ve always hidden behind the written word. It’s why I became a writer in the first place, for feck’s sake. It’s a solitary pursuit where I don’t actually have to talk to anyone, or have anyone see me, or interact like a normal human being, lol. But that’s not actually true, is it? You can’t create in a vacuum. You need readers, viewers, listeners, as well as any number of helpers along the way. Writers must interact with editors, publishers, do interviews and book readings, interact with readers. Making art may be solitary, but bringing it out to the world isn’t. And that’s why I never succeeded in writing–I was never willing to put myself out there. I shrunk back, hid, wanting my words to be seen, but not me. It was a terrible dilemma, and kept me from pushing my boundaries, from taking risks. Not anymore. Now I’m more afraid of living an unfulfilled life than putting myself out there. Well, I’ll still be scared, lol. The difference is, I’ll do it anyway.

So this post is WAY longer than I planned, and if you’re still with me, I’m impressed and thank you, because it’s not my typical Star Wars post. I won’t write too many of these off-topic posts, but Julie gave me the idea, and so here it is. I hope it helped you in some way, and as always, May the Force be with you (hey, the Force is another way to envision the Universe, the Creator, God, Higher Power, etc. If those other words don’t resonate with you, well, use the Force, Luke!)

I’ve read this one more times than the others, since I’m tired of being broke, lol.
This one has short little daily nuggets of wisdom.
I haven’t actually gotten through this one yet, but someday I’ll work on my chocolate addiction with it, lol.

Have you read these books? Do you have any favorite self-help books? Or do you think it’s all a bunch of hooey (or should I say, a bunch of simple tricks and nonsense)? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll talk about it!

A New Venture

So I’ve been blogging about Star Wars for a year now, and I LOVE it. It’s so much fun, and there’s always something to say about it, whether it’s about the films that have been around for years, or the new stuff coming out. I’ve truly found my tribe here, people that understand Star Wars, people that just GET IT. I will never stop blogging about Star Wars (just giving you fair warning, lol).

But once upon a time I was a writer of fiction. Nothing published, just one story and a couple of essays that won contests. I loved writing fiction, but after years of doing it (decades), learning about it, pursuing publication–and not really getting where I wanted to go–I got tired. I wanted to do something new, something that excited me again. Hence, the Star Wars blogging.

But the fiction bug has begun to creep in again, and I thought maybe I’d try it again. Only this time, I thought I’d write some Star Wars fan fiction.

Here’s the thing–I’ve never been a huge fan of fan fiction. I think it’s great that some fans want to write about the main characters of Star Wars: alternate stories, new adventures, love stories, etc., and I wish them all the luck in the world with that. But I’ve never been interested in that, either writing it or reading it. To me, the main characters and their stories in canon have a kind of sanctity about them–they’re perfect as they are, and I won’t touch them.

I’m more interested in the kinds of stories contained in the From A Certain Point of View books:

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Celebrate the legacy of The Empire Strikes Back withthis exciting reimagining of the timeless film featuring new perspectives fromforty acclaimed authors.    On May 21, 1980, Star Wars became a true saga with the release of The EmpireStrikes Back. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, forty storytellers re-create an iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back through the eyes of asupporting character, from heroes and villains, to droids and creatures. Froma Certain Point of V

These are stories that take place in and around the main characters and storylines, but are usually told from a minor character’s point of view, or some totally unexpected viewpoint. I’m interested in writing those sorts of stories (and so I have to get going and actually read these books already). Mostly, I want to create my own characters in the Star Wars universe and place them in familiar settings and storylines, with a main character or two making a cameo.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to let you know that while I’ll still be blogging about Star Wars, I may scale it down a bit–maybe two posts a week for My Point of View, and a book review on The Star Wars Reader when I actually finish a book, so I have more time to work on the fiction.

I’d also like your opinion on this plan–what do you think? Would you be interested in reading these stories? Should I put them right on this blog, or create a new one just for the fiction (with links on my current blogs, of course)?

I’m warming up to this idea and getting a little bit excited about it, and have a few ideas. Comment below and let me know what you think!