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Holonet Blast #8

Slow news week in the lead-up to Celebration; we’ve got one bit of convention news, and one HUGE piece of publishing news!

The convention news is: Forest “SAVE THE DREAM!” Whitaker will be at Star Wars Celebration! He will be signing autographs at the Star Wars Celebration Autograph Hall. Please scream-whisper your best crazy Saw impressions at him for me. (source)

The other piece of news is a huge deal: As part of the Star Wars 40th Anniversary, Del Rey has announced From A Certain Point of View, an anthology of 40 Star Wars short stories by a murderer’s row of talent — ranging from old Star Wars hands like Jason Fry and Christie Golden, to newcomers like Meg Cabot and Paul Dini, to podcast darlings Ben Acker & Blacker and Griffith McElroy. The project sounds like the Tales From … anthologies published way back in the Bantam days, as it concerns itself with the characters filling out the background in A New Hope. The anthology is due to be published in October, and you can see a partial list of the contributing authors at the (source).

via StarWars.com

That’s it for now! Enjoy those Rogue One Blu-rays, enjoy Celebration, and we’ll see you back here in two weeks!

Holonet Blast #5

Only a few items of note this week, so let’s get to them!

OMAR JOINS HAN

Michael Kenneth Williams, perhaps best known as Omar on The Wire, has joined the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film! That’s literally all we know; no character hints whatsoever. Seems like LFL is at least starting to get the “wow, that’s a lot of white folks” memo, though. Faster than Marvel is, at any rate. (Source)

via StarWars.com

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Catch the Tosche Station crew at Dragon Con!

As per usual, Brian, Nanci, and Bria will be attending Dragon Con next week in Atlanta. You’ll be able to catch them moderating and participating in several panels.

Brian: 

  • Post Force Awakens Scandals and Cliffhangers, Friday @ 11:30 am, Marriott A706
  • Star Wars’ Force Awakening & New Canon, Saturday @ 2:30 pm, Marriott A706
  • Star Wars in Gaming, Saturday @ 4 pm, Westin Augusta 1-2
  • Representation Matters (Minorities in Star Wars), Saturday @ 5:30 pm, Marriott A706
  • Anything You Can Do: Genderswap and Inclusion in Military Sci Fi, Sunday @ 1 pm, Mart2 204B
  • The Music of Star Wars, Monday at 1 pm, Marriott A706

Nanci: 

  • Post Force Awakens Scandals and Cliffhangers, Friday @ 11:30 am, Marriott A706
  • Star Wars Rogue One and Episode VIII Speculation, Friday @ 2:30 pm, Hilton Crystal Ballroom
  • Star Wars Rebels, Friday @ 5:30 pm, Marriott A706
  • Star Wars’ Force Awakening & New Canon, Saturday @ 2:30 pm, Marriott A706

Bria: 

  • Star Wars Costuming, Friday @ 4 pm, Marriott A706
  • Star Wars Rebels, Friday @ 5:30 pm, Marriott A706
  • New Star Wars Characters We Already Love, Sunday @ 10 am, Marriott A706

We’ll be recording most of these panels, so check the Tosche Station feed over the weekend! And as always, if you’re at Dragon Con be sure to say hi if you see us! We love chatting with fellow Star Wars fans!

Interview: Jon Klassen

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This Is Not My HatThis past April I attended the first Alaska Robotics Mini-Con and had the opportunity to interview award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Jon Klassen, creator of I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat and illustrator of Lemony Snickett’s The Dark, among many others. Listen to us talk about his time working in animation, visual storytelling, turtles, hats, and Star Wars as a series of moments!

Jon Klassen’s art can be seen at his website here and he can be found on twitter as @burstofbeaden. You can e-mail him at info@jonklassen.com. His upcoming book, We Found A Hat, in which two turtles in a desert find one hat, will be available this October and his other books are available now, wherever fine books are sold.

Interview: Raina Telgemeier

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SmileI got the chance to record a quick interview with Raina Telgemeier, Eisner award-winning creator of the all-ages graphic novels Smile, Sisters, and Drama, as well as the the Babysitters Club graphic novel adaptations, at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con in Juneau this April. Listen to us discuss webcomics, birds, and the wonderfulness of Rey.

You can find Raina Telgemeier at her website here and on twitter as @goraina. Her next graphic novel, Ghosts, will be available for purchase September 13 wherever fine books are sold.

Interview: Pat Race


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comic-bearWhen I was at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con this past April I got the chance to sit down and interview Pat Race, the organizer of the con and one of the people behind Alaska Robotics (note: there are no robots are involved in Alaska Robotics. OR ARE THERE???). Listen to us discuss Alaska, conventions, robots, Alaskan conventions as robots, the feeling of neglect that comes with not being from the Core Worl–er, the largest community in the area, the Alaska Robotics artist camp, Kowakian monkey-lizards, and more!

You can find Pat Race at the Alaska Robotics website or on twitter as @alaskarobotics.

Awesome Con 2016 Convention Report 2016

awesome conIt’s starting to feel a little repetitive to say that this year’s Awesome Con in Washington DC was bigger and better than the year before but it’s no less than true than in years past.  Now in its fourth year, Awesome Con’s main hall filled up even more of that giant hall in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC and the star powers of the guests increased.  How many other conventions can say they secured both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who let alone conventions that are less than five years old?

The line for Capaldi and Coleman less than half an hour after the convention opened on Sunday morning.

The line for Capaldi and Coleman less than half an hour after the convention opened on Sunday morning.

It’s true that Awesome Con continues to have growing pains.  More than a few con-goers were unhappy on Sunday when it became clear that autograph and photo op lines for the Doctor Who duo were a bit of a mess.  The demand was clearly too high and the people running it were unprepared for the volume.  The panel even ended up being delayed nearly two hours to try and accommodate the rush.  Awesome Con Founder Ben Penrod took to social media the next day to issue an apology and explanation; something that Awesome Con has always been very prompt about.  Like Penrod says in the post, they’re still learning and they never make the same mistake twice.  (Anyone remember the badge fiasco of 2014?  That hasn’t happened since.)  I’m always impressed by a convention that not only immediately owns up to their mistakes but also demonstrates that they’ve learned from the experience. Continue reading

More Star Wars coming to Hollywood Studios in December, Star Wars Weekends officially canceled

The Disney Parks blog has revealed new information about Star Wars experiences opening in December, including the Launch Bay and the new Jedi Training Academy featuring the Seventh Sister.

A new Star Tours module featuring Jakku will also debut, and will be featured on every Star Tours flight for the first several months. Check out this awesome preview of the Millennium Falcon soaring through Jakku’s starship graveyard.

 

Alas, with all the upcoming construction around Hollywood Studios, it was announced that Star Wars Weekends will not happen during 2016. No word on whether the annual fan-favorite event will return in upcoming years, but I’m definitely crossing my fingers. Thanks to James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, and all the Disney Parks cast members for making Weekends such a fantastic event. We’ll miss it greatly.

10 Things I Learned Working the Del Rey Booth at NYCC

DR at NYCCAs many of you probably know, I was lucky enough to not only attend New York Comic Con last weekend but to also spend a fair amount of time behind the table of the Del Rey Star Wars booth. Erich, Tom, and everyone were awesome for letting me help out so much.  Working the booth a great way to see and chat with a bunch of different Star Wars folks (Apologies to Pablo for asking about Barriss again and a weird as heck Legacy question). It also definitely gave me a different view of Star Wars fans as a whole.  Therefore, it only seems appropriate to share a few things I learned during my time behind the table.

1. Nothing gets people’s attention faster than yelling “Free Star Wars! Come and get it!”

Over the course of four days, we handed out about five thousand copies of the sampler and twenty-five hundred of Tarkin. That’s a lot of Star Wars! There are very few people in this world who are going to say no to a free Star Wars book when you hand them one unless they already happen to own it. And when you start handing people copies directly? They will start flocking like crazy. On a related note, people will also try really hard to get you to just give them one of the freebies that are purchase or preorder incentives. (Pro Tip: Asking to have one when you aren’t buying something probably won’t work. You’re more likely to get one when you don’t expect it.)

2. It takes all of an hour before you just start nodding when people ask if you’re Del Rey.

And then it takes you at least a week to break yourself of the habit of saying “we” as seen in Exhibit A above. Mostly, it was just easier to say when you were behind the table for hours each day and it just wasn’t worth the effort to explain that no, I’m actually a Star Wars blogger fan who just happens to be handling your purchase today. The Square reader makes you look super official and people don’t notice that your badge says ‘press’ and not ‘exhibitor’.

3. You develop your selling pitches for each of the books really really quickly.

I now have a great one for Rise of the Empire that can be tailored to include Lords of the Sith and Aftermath depending on what else the person has read. Heck, I’ve even got one for Heir to the Jedi (despite not super digging the book) that’s entirely true, sounds nice, and never once has me say that I love the book. You also learn to adapt them for whoever you’re talking to. I did, however, find it amusing when someone asked whether they should get Aftermath or Heir to the Jedi when Chuck was standing next to me and they clearly had no clue who he was. (Spoilers: They ended up buying both.)

And on a related note…

4. I really enjoy saying “ADMIRAL Rae Sloane” in a way that’s both enthusiastic and, upon further consideration, probably more than a little weird.

So maybe I’m just really excited about the Levers of Power story that Jason Fry wrote and maybe I just really want everyone to read about Admiral Rae Sloane at the Battle of Endor. Okay yes, she was part of my sales pitch but she’s also the coolest and every Star Wars fan needs to know about her. My baby’s all grown up and kicking butt at Endor and I’M JUST REALLY REALLY PROUD OF HER, OKAY?

5. Some people really believe that the fake The Force Awakens promo covers were around an actual copy of novelization.

They were not. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, those were actually around a copy of Aftermath and a Danielle Steel book. So, you know, close. The Aftermath II and III and the Bloodline covers were also fake. I’m pretty sure those books don’t even exist yet but that certainly didn’t stop people from trying to get their hands on them which actually became quite humorous after a while.

6. Most of the people who come to the booth are genuinely excited about Star Wars and at least mildly interested in all the new canon books you have there.

For those of us who mainly exist in the online world of Star Wars fandom, we sometimes forget plenty of fans aren’t a part of those discussions. For every person who loved the Expanded Universe, there are three others who never really got into it or who perhaps had never heard of it but who are now intrigued by these books that are a part of the canon. Those are the people who are really fun to talk to because you can bond over Star Wars things that you both enjoy and then just maybe you can get them excited about new Star Wars books or characters that they haven’t heard of yet. Introducing people to this broader world is a genuine joy.

7. …but there are still people who will come up and express their disappointment about the Legends thing. Some of them will come back multiple times to do so.

This was probably a no brainer but yep, I got to interact with some Legends folks! Very few people will be rude to your face though… they’ll just mutter comments as they walk away or say them loudly as they walk by because either they’re being passive aggressive or because they think you can’t hear them?  Honestly, I can’t say anyone was particularly bad. This wasn’t the Facebook comments in real life. Some folks just aren’t going to move on and that’s just that.

But uhhh… folks? I know you miss Legends. I miss Legends. But uhh… don’t try and Kickstart the EU. I can’t even begin to explain all of the reasons why that won’t work.

8. Alexander Freed is the master of working a signing line.

While I’ve never been on the signing end of things, I imagine that it’s not an easy task to repeatedly say hi and have a brief conversation with someone while also signing your name on a poster or book for the dozenth time. Freed not only moved the line along quickly but also took the time to actually talk to everyone. It’s doubly impressive that he even did so on Sunday afternoon when everyone was tired. Honestly, the mastery is difficult to describe unless you got to observe it. It’s an art form.  (By the way, you should all get excited for Twilight Company!)

9. Luke Skywalker is going to die at least 20 times in Aftermath: Life Debt and they will all be Nanci’s fault. Or N4N-C1’s fault.

It’s confirmed news. Sorry, Nanci. Right out of the Wendig’s mouth during his Saturday signing. Just wait until we get to Aftermath: Empire’s Electric Boogaloo! HE’S GONNA DIE A HUNDRED TIMES. AT LEAST.

10. Working on the other side of the book table is a hell of a lot of fun and the Del Rey folks have the best jobs in the world.

Need I say more?

The Dragon Con Aftermath Panel

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of moderating the Aftermath panel with author Chuck Wendig. I was super excited for this event because, as I explained at the start of the panel, I love Star Wars, I love the Expanded Universe, and I love Chuck Wendig’s writing.

I was nervous, of course, as I always am before panels. Even though 2015 marked my third year (!!!) doing panels at Dragon Con, and even though I’ve been co-hosting the podcast for over 3.5 years (!!!!!), I still worry about freaking out while talking in front of a crowd. Not only that, but this was my first panel interviewing someone famous and my first panel without Brian on stage as well. I was all on my own. Could I handle the pressure? Would I say something really dumb? Would I have to run off the stage to barf?

Thankfully, none of those things happened. (Of course they didn’t. Anxiety sucks!) And most of that had to do with the fact that Chuck Wendig is a hilarious and awesome human being. I’d had a few Twitter exchanges with him prior to the convention, and met him the night before the panel at his Barnes and Noble signing. It was comforting to know he was just a regular guy, and that he would be just as tired as I was come Friday at 8:30 pm after not going to sleep until some godforsaken hour that morning. (We were up all night to get Star Wars!)

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