Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: A New DawnStar Wars: Kenobi Star Wars: Knight Errant
Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith
Star TrekMass Effect Overdraft Iron Man & more!

Order the Star Trek Prey trilogy here!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guest blogger Steve McHugh: "Han Shot First"

(Another guest post, this time out from fellow 47North author Steve McHugh of the Hellequin Chronicles series on a topic many have a view on...)

HAN SHOT FIRST
by Steve McHugh
This piece contains spoilers about the original Star Wars film. If you haven’t seen it yet… then I feel sorry for you. Go correct your mistake first.

I didn’t see the original Star Wars movie back in 1977, primarily because I wasn’t born until 1979, so it would have been difficult. I didn’t see Empire in 1980 either, nor Jedi in 1983, although that was because no one in their right mind wants to take a three-year-old to watch a two-hour film at the cinema. At least not a film that doesn’t contain singing cartoon animals.

My first exposure to Star Wars was in about 1987. I was about 8 and my parents had recently purchased a VHS player. We didn’t watch movies often, so when my dad rented a copy from whatever now-extinct video store existed back then, it was a bit of an event.

Star Wars grabbed me about the face and forced me to watch the second Vader stepped out. It’s something a lot of people have said over the years, the imposing, and to be fair, awesome, presence of the Sith Lord arriving on screen was a big deal. But for me, the movie didn’t get really interesting until the introduction of Han Solo.

To begin with I thought Han was a villain. I remember quite clearly assuming he was going to betray Luke the first chance he got. And then he shot Greedo. Poor stupid Greedo, who didn’t really stand a chance.

I’d never really seen anything like that before. Good-guys didn’t shoot first, they retaliated. And Greedo was very clearly the bad-guy in the situation. He threatened Han with his gun first, he told him he was going to kill him if he struggled, and he was obviously working for an even worse person in Jabba (whatever the hell that was). That made Han the good-guy by default.

In my eight-year-old mind (and now in my 34-year-old one too). I wanted to see what he’d do next, he lived that grey line, not a bad-guy, but not exactly a whiter-than-white good-guy either. It quickly became apparent that he did the right thing, so long as he didn’t think it was stupid, or he received a reward for it, or because his friends needed him, but he didn’t do it just because someone told him he had to. In one scene Han Solo went from a character who I wasn’t sure of, who was clearly secondary to Luke, to one I knew was going to be fantastic in any scene he was in.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but it would start my love of the characters who flaws and don’t always behave like the good-guys. They usually try to do the right thing, but they don’t always go about it in the ‘right’ way. Will Munny from Unforgiven, Wolverine, several characters in Skyrim (Ulfric for one), all fall into the category of characters who are willing to do things that most people wouldn’t. All for the sake of doing, what they consider to be, the right thing.

So, when it came to write my first book, Crimes Against Magic, a few years ago, I knew the main character, Nate Garrett, was going to straddle that line between good and bad. He did bad things, in some cases very bad things, but he did them because he felt they were the right thing to do. He killed, spied, blackmailed, or stole because he felt that these were the best things to do to ensure that overall, only the truly evil suffered.

The Hellequin books, of which Crimes Against Magic is the first and Born of Hatred the second, could have only come about in my head with a character that did things which many would consider questionable, but who does those things because he has to. Because people rely on him to be the person who straddles that grey area of morality.

So, while Star Wars has given me three movies, countless books and comics and a TV show worth of entertainment, it also gave the eight-year-old me the first glimpse at the types of characters I enjoy reading and writing about. The flawed heroes, who I think are more heroic than the any other kind.

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games. Visit his site at http://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com, follow him on Twitter, and find more about the Hellquin Chronicles on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Star Wars: Kenobi Ask-Me-Anything (spoiler edition)

In advance of my posting of the production notes for Star Wars: Kenobi, I am following past practice on the blog by soliciting questions about the book from folks who've read it. Simply post your questions in the comments field below, and I will get to as many as I can in a series of later posts on here in the days and weeks to follow. This method also reminds me of things I've forgotten to address in the production notes.

Since folks will be asking about things that happened in the book, consider the comments section of this thread to have a spoiler warning, naturally! And note, obviously, that I won't be able to  speculate on Episode VII in this space. (Yeah, I know I said "Ask Me Anything," but not everything has answers yet!)

Also, a reminder that autographed copies of Kenobi are available in the e-signing just launched, as well as Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1 and some other new books. Click to find out how to claim one for your shelf!

For unsigned Kenobi copies, as usual, follow these links: 

Audiobook: AmazonBarnes & NobleAudible

Monday, September 16, 2013

E-signing: Autographed copies of Kenobi, KOTOR Omnibus Vol. 1 now available!

I have signings upcoming in several states over the next month, starting with Star Wars Reads Day in Madison, Wis. on October 5 and continuing with New York Comicon the following weekend. I'll also be appearing in Charleston, West Virginia at the end of the month. But if you're not in any of those places and are looking to get a signed copy of Star Wars: Kenobi or the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus edition, I now have small quantities on hand for that purpose. Here are the new items, available signed at cover price in U.S. dollars:

• Star Wars: Kenobi (hardcover) — $27
• Star Wars: Kenobi (audiobook) — $45
• Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 — $25

...and here are the prices for the other three books that I try to keep on hand:

• Overdraft: The Orion Offensive (softcover) — $15
• Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith — $12
• Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral (comics TPB) — $20
• Star Wars: Knight Errant (novel) — $8

Any book selected above will be shipped separately in a U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope, with the exception of Knight Errant and the Kenobi audiobook which go in a Flat Rate Small Box (for almost exactly the same price as the padded envelopes). The post office has thankfully boiled things down to three simple rates for the Flat Rate envelopes:

U.S. addresses: Add $6 for each item
Canada addresses: Add $20 for each item
International (non-Canada) addresses: Add $24 for each item, plus $1 handling/transaction fee per order

So, for example, the Kenobi hardcover is $33 postpaid to the U.S., $47 postpaid to Canada, and $52 postpaid to other addresses.

Simply log into Paypal, click "Make a Payment," and enter the following address to send money to, along with a note about what you're ordering and any personalization instructions to me at this address:
(Alternatively, write me at that address and I'll send you an invoice.) Once payment clears, I'll send the books out as soon as I can. If ordering three or more copies, e-mail me for pricing as you may get a price break going up to the next size Flat Rate box.

And of course, remember that you can always get the books without my scrawl at your local bookseller. Here are some handy links for Kenobi:


 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kenobi hits the NYT bestseller list -- and a slew of interviews!

It's getting so I don't know when to update the website any more. There have been a slew of interviews, reviews, and podcasts released since Star Wars: Kenobi released a week ago, but there are more that are about to come out, and so I keep holding off. And then there's news, like yesterday's announcement that Kenobi will debut at #12 on the New York Times bestseller list. Busy time, but busy-good.

The best place to find these things is on my Twitter feed, which is where I'm heading now to get this info myself...

...ah, here. A list of the interviews in which I comment or appear, updated as I get the chance:

KENOBI INTERVIEWS (spoiler-free)
NEW! Moscow's Jedi Council (in Russian) 
• ElevenThirtyEight
Fangirlblog
Mashable
TheForce.Net

KENOBI PODCASTS (spoiler-free)
NEW! All Wings Report In
NEW! Jedi Journals on ForceCast
Coffee With Kenobi  
RoqooDepot
• Wisconsin Public Radio's Route 51 show

KENOBI SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL
• James Arnold Taylor reading on Entertainment Weekly
•  Map supplement

And for after you've read the book:

KENOBI PODCASTS (Spoiler Warning)
Roqoo Depot (part two)
Tosche Station

And then there are some reviews and discussions of the book by others. I have not read or listened to all these; I don't go seeking out reviews usually, but I have read some. (My thanks to RoqooDepot, from which I cribbed the start of the list.) Some are spoiler free, but read any header copy first to see:

KENOBI REVIEWS AND RELATED ESSAYS
Big Shiny Robot
Club Jade
Cory Clubb on Coffee with Kenobi
Dan Z on Coffee with Kenobi
EUCantina
Eleven-Thirty-Eight
New! The Examiner
FANgirl Blog
Jedi News
Knights Archive
Lightsaber Rattling
Lytherus
RebelForce Radio (starts at 01:04)
Roqoo Depot
Star Wars Action News (starts at :37)
Star Wars Report
Tor
• Tosche Station on Casting in Kenobi
Bria on Tosche Station
Brian on Tosche Station

There are more, of course, on TheForce.net and GoodReads and Amazon... but this should give you more than enough reading!

There are more interviews about to come out, including a couple with me and James Arnold Taylor, and also I have a Facebook chat in the works soon. Stay tuned.

Apart from all that, the next project for me — relative to this site — is to get the production notes and trivia going for the Kenobi page. This will take some time, as there is quite a bit to say, obviously...
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