Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Remembering Princess Leia

I was very saddened to learn of Carrie Fisher's death at the too-young age of 60 today.

Her passing left me reflecting on the role I and many know her best at: Princess Leia, the determined and tough young woman in the Star Wars movies.  I learned today she was only 19 when she took on the role in the first film.

Leia was someone to admire.  She stood toe to toe with Vader himself and underwent torture rather than reveal the Rebel's base.  She suffered tremendous loss when her home planet was destroyed, yet it didn't stop her from delivering the Death Star plans to her people.  She could shoot a blaster with the best of them and instead of standing back and letting Luke and Han handle everything she took matters into her own hands and played a role in their rescue.

Throughout the films she continued to deal with hardship but stayed determined to bring the Empire down.  She was one of those in charge at Hoth, only leaving the base when there was no more to be done.  With her help, Luke was rescued in Cloud City and Han retrieved from Jabba's palace.  It was Leia that dealt the fatal blow to Jabba himself.  And it was Leia who first encountered and befriended the Ewoks who played a role in taking down the Empire in a massive battle.

The Leia we see in the movie The Force Awakens has been tempered with more sorrow, but even here she is busy making sure the hard-won Republic that's been created can endure.  She's a general now, and still very involved in things.  (I could say much more, but don't want to give spoilers)

Leia was not your typical princess, waiting around for someone to save her.  While she did get some help from time to time, she demonstrated an ability to be part of the solution, rather than being passive.  She was strong, capable, and able to hold her own - definitely a woman to hold up as an example.

Sadly, her story now has an endpoint with Carrie Fisher's death.  But I am grateful to the actress for bringing her to life for us.  Thank you, Carrie and all who played a part in Leia's creation.  She will be missed.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Short Story Out!

My short story "The Flare" is one of a number of great short stories in the anthology magazine Fiction River.  The theme of this particular issue is "Last Stand."  (Sebring people see if you recognize where the opening scene takes place!)  Get your own copy here:



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today is Election Day...

I hope you voted today if you were able to.  I voted on Saturday, and it looks like my local county broke records in terms of participation.

But if you voted or didn't, and irregardless of who you voted for, I want you to remember something.

Tomorrow will be the day after the election.  We will (hopefully) have a President-elect.  They may be someone you want.  They may not.  But no matter what, someone will more likely than not have won the election.

But we will still be the United States of America.  We will still be Americans.  And we will have a decision to make:

Will we continue to rail and divide each other?  Will we continue to unfriend people who disagree with us?  Will we refuse to acknowledge that it's possible that the person who disagrees with us might well love our country as much as we do?

Or will we come together to figure out what is best for the country?  Will we try to find out what we have in common?  Will we even try to do something positive?

The choice is ours.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Star Trek's 50th Birthday

Most people who post about this can probably tell you when they first encountered Star Trek.  I am not one of those people.

I do know that I was a fan by high school.  A friend of mine had Trek novels and I devoured them.  I cheerfully followed the adventures of Kirk and company and still own a number of paperbacks that tell their tale.

I enjoyed (mostly) all the subsequent series.  I married a fellow Trekker and together we followed Trek in all its forms.  We have even followed the recent reboot, and enjoyed seeing a new look at an old friend.

Star Trek is partially responsible for me becoming a fiction writer.  Years ago I heard of an anthology called Strange New Worlds which gave non-professional writers a chance to write Trek stories.  Not only did this introduce me to my future mentor, Dean Wesley Smith, and result in my first professional sale (yes, I have a published Star Trek story out there), my experience in trying to get into the anthology gave me the courage to try my hand at fiction in general.

So thank you, Star Trek, for all you've brought to my life.  For Vulcans and tribbles and strange new worlds.  For great entertainment, and for helping me in the pursuit of my passion.

Happy birthday!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Sale!

For the month of July you can get my four inspirational novels - DEAD HYPOCRITES, THE SILENT WITNESS, REDEMPTION, and TWO WEEKS IN GUYANA for half price over at Smashwords. You can find a list of my work on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jjpress
 Select one of the above novels and use the coupon code that is listed at checkout. 
Enjoy!

Where is "Laura's Look?"

Back in May I announced that "Laura's Look 1998-2000," my first collection of columns, would be out by the end of the month.  Observant folk might notice we are now in July and there is no sign of the book.  The curious among you might even ask, "What gives?"

The short answer: Life happened.

The longer answer (feel free to skip):
At the end of April my mother-in-law, who lives with us, went to the hospital with three different infections - pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, and sepsis.  She was a week in the hospital, and then three weeks in a nursing home undergoing rehab.

Except for a brief hospital stay, since then she's been home.  And she isn't as strong as she was before, and needs more care.  This has fallen to me.

At some point in May I tossed my writing goals on the trash heap.  I just couldn't juggle everything.  I have had to scale back my goals and expectations for now while I figure out this new aspect of my life.

So, when is "Laura's Look 1998-2000" coming out?

Good question. My hope is the end of this month.  But it depends on life right now, which is not entirely in my control.

Thanks for being patient with me.  My hopes is you will find the book worth the wait.