This past week I was accepted as a member of the 501st Legion. For those of you not familiar with the 501st, it is recognized by Lucasfilm as the premiere Star Wars costuming group in the world. The costuming standards for membership are extremely high and only the best are lucky enough to be a part of its ranks.
The 501st gets to do all kinds of fun events as ambassadors of Star Wars. But most importantly, and the reason I wanted to join, was the work it does for children’s charities. Star Wars has given so much to me throughout my life. As a child, it was the one big equalizer. Rich or poor, popular or outcast, if you loved Star Wars you were accepted. Everyone had a favorite character and everyone got to role play.
My favorite has always been the Empire and in particular Stormtroopers. It seemed fitting that my first costume would be one of the Empire’s finest. Trying the final costume on after eight months of building it was as amazing as I thought it would be 37 years ago when I first saw Star Wars.
To this day, Star Wars still holds a very special place in my heart and I am excited to give back to the community in the name of Star Wars and the galaxy far, far away.
Every trooper is assigned a TK number, after the Stormtrooper in Star Wars identified as TK421, as in “TK421, why aren’t you at your post?” I chose TK31709. It was the day I first met my wife and was the day my world changed.
Hold onto your dreams, they can come true.
Open the blast doors!
I just received word that the Laughing Moon Con has been rescheduled for March 22nd. Unfortunately I have a scehduling conflict and will not be able to make the event. I will be in California that weekend working with the producers of my upcoming TV show. I wish the promoters and guests the utmost success with the event. I thoroughly support any convention that caters to the younger audience and am disappointed I won’t be able to be a part of it.
While on the topic of conventions, I am working on another convention appearance in California for this coming September. More details as they arrive.
While it is obvious to say that what you create is more important than where you create, a lot can be said for having an environment that is conducive to inspiring you. I know for a fact that my office acts as a huge source of inspiration for me. The walls are crammed with framed movie posters, photographs and autographs. Shelves are full of action figures and movie memorabilia. It is my space for creating. I look around and I see inspiration, dreams and achievements. They are snapshots of where I’ve been and teasers of where I’m going.
This photo is a rare look inside my office where I spend many an hour behind the keyboard. As you can tell, I am a huge Star Wars fan. The action figures on display are only a small fraction of my collection. I need to finish building the display shelves so I can get some more out from storage. I’ve been collecting since I was kid and there are many great memories just on those shelves alone. Standing in line after seeing “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 to buy FX-7. ” The Phantom Menace” midnight toy release at Toys R’ Us in May 1999. Some are birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and last minute eBay snipes. I’ve been collecting for 36 years. I doubt I’ll be stopping anytime soon.
On the other side of the middle monitor is my final draft of “Don’t Make Me Come Down There”. I’m hoping to have it wrapped in the next three months.
One of my earliest memories is walking out of The Regal Theatre auditorium, a single screen movie theatre in Stowmarket, England and into the lobby and seeing the place full of Star Wars action figures, vehicles and playsets, thanks to Simpsons, our local toy store. I had just come out of the theatre after watching Star Wars (before it was known as “A New Hope”) I was six and it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Just like almost anyone born in the seventies, Star Wars played a huge part of my childhood, indeed my entire life. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up when I did. I very clearly remember playing on the playground with the few figures I had. A childhood friend bought me a Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Gear action figure for my fifth birthday. It was a love affair that has continued to this day.
I have sat through the original trilogy as a triple bill three times at movie theaters and seen each movie countless of times on individual viewings. That doesn’t even count the hundreds of times I have watching them on tv, beta, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. I was at the midnight showings of each of the prequels. I get to take my daughter to the new trilogy that begins next year and I get to share my love with a whole new generation.
One of the topics I talk about a lot is inspiration. Star Wars is a huge inspiration for me. George Lucas created an amazing sand box where dozens of authors and artists have gone to play. There are hundreds of books and comics that have helped broaden the world to amazing levels. One of my long term career aspirations has been to be involved with Star Wars in one way or another. Maybe one day, I will get to join some great talent in the sand box. I can’t think of no greater honor than to be able to leave my mark on a galaxy far, far away
May the force be with you
Next Sunday marks the two-year anniversary of the release of Blood Spatter. One of the most popular questions I get at book signings is “what’s next?”
That’s a very loaded question. In the two years since the launch, I’ve released the first three books in the Butch G. Cat series. We’re going to be promoting these books in the media heavily in the coming months. My original plan had been to go immediately into “The Definitive Zombie Movie Encyclopedia”, but after having watched over 350 zombie films during the research for Blood Splatter, I needed a bit of a break from the zombie genre. “Don’t Make Me Come Down There” is a story I have been toying with few a few years and will be the next project I leap into.