Tag Archives: Johnamarie Macias

#Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection is available for free download!

My cover designer friend Jennifer A. Miller is awesome! She finished the cover for the free eBook Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection, tonight! It means the book is now available for (permanent) free download on Smashwords as a celebration of International Women’s Day. I will set up the title’s Goodreads page tomorrow.

Look at that stunning cover!

Sci-Fi Women 2015 - by Jennifer Miller

Cover designed by Jennifer A. Miller.

The eBook features all 2015 interviews, with the following guests:

  • Johnamarie Macias
  • Yolanda I. Washington
  • Saf Davidson
  • Neelu Raut
  • Natalie McKay
  • Tricia Barr
  • Rose B. Fischer
  • Jo Robinson
  • Patty Hammond
  • Laura M. Crawford

Happy International Women’s Day!

June Recap

Here are the highlights of this month’s blog content, in case you missed anything! Happy July!

cropped-main1.jpgBlog Series

New Weekly Feature

Feminist Friday Discussion

Contributions to Other Blogs

Connecting Through Star Wars, Part III: Bonding as Podcasters by Johnamarie Macias

In fact, online is how a lot fans become friends, couples, and even parents themselves. Take MakingStarWars.net’s Jason and Amanda Ward, for example. They initially became friends through a Star Wars forum in 2003, and today, they’re loving parents of two children, showering them with all things Star Wars. They’re the perfect example of how Star Wars transcends distance, and later on, connects through the generations–like me and my mom.

Her first experience with Star Wars was on the big screen in the late 70s, and even though she didn’t become a hardcord fan, it made an impression long enough to affect me when I eventually came into the picture.

“The reason I said yes without thinking–without questioning–it’s because as children grow older, they tend to have and develop their own relationships and their own lives,” my mom said during the fan question portion of one of our podcasts, where a listener had asked us what we had enjoyed the most about starting Rebels Chat. “It is more difficult for a parent to hold onto that relationship–that connection–that they may have had when the children were ten, twelve. That closeness. So if it takes 45 minutes [or] an hour of being silly, of hearing my so-full-of-herself daughter saying all these names that I have no freaking clue what she’s talking about, then you know what? I’ll take that opportunity anytime without thinking it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Without a doubt, my favorite experience about podcasting with my mom is that I get to spend more time with her, talking about the thing I love most. Not everyone gets Star Wars, but the people who do, like my mom, go the extra mile to make that connection. It’s that common thread that binds us, much like the Force, and keeps us together.

My mom and I enjoying the Star Wars Rebels season one finale.

My mom and I enjoying the Star Wars Rebels season one finale.

***

Johnamarie is the owner of TheWookieeGunner.com. She is a content contributor for Making Star Wars, Star Wars Report, and Fangirl Next Door. She is also a co-host on “Now, This Is Podcasting!” and “Rebels Chat”.

Next Week on the Blog

June has been a  wonderful month for this blog and there is still more in store for the rest of the summer! See what is going to happen next week:

On Tuesday, Johnamarie Macias returns with the third and last installation of her series Connecting Through Star Wars.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno, will be available for free on Kindle.

On Thursday, The Digital Quill Answers returns!

And if you missed it earlier this week, I wrote about Star Wars: The Old Republic on Comparative Geeks.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Photo Credit: Caspe Sparsoe.

Photo Credit: Caspe Sparsoe.

Connecting Through Star Wars, Part II: Parenting Done Right and Wrong by Johnamarie Macias

What we often don’t witness in fandom is when a parent is converted by the actions of their child. As a way to spend more time with my 49-year-old mom, I dragged her into the world of podcasting and introduced her to the animated series Star Wars Rebels. I knew she wouldn’t have been adversed to the idea because she’s always been a supportive parent, and since then, we gathered a small following of listeners who enjoy tuning in for the mother/daughter perspective on one of Lucasfilm’s properties. Not only do I get to spend time watching Star Wars with her and record our hour-long discussions, but I also get to see other fans appreciate her insight on the Star Wars universe as much as I do.

Given how the franchise has grown over the past 40 years, it’s quite clear that Star Wars connects families through the generations more so than any other pop phenomenon. At conventions, we see parents cosplaying with their children and fellow fans often passing along supportive comments, such as “Parenting done right.”

Caption: Parents Lilly and Leon recreating a scene from Star Wars with their son Orson. (Source)

Caption: Parents Lilly and Leon recreating a scene from Star Wars with their son Orson. (Source)

One fangirl and artist shared her beginnings as a Star Wars fan, “[My 17-year-old brother] sat me down on a Sunday afternoon to watch the movies when they were on television.” When I asked her how her older brother was introduced to the movies, she said that her parents had taken him to see the movie in 1977 when he was just five years old.

“He was young for it, but he still remembers it,” she said, just as she remembers watching the movies with him and having that being one of her earliest memories at six years old.

See, parenting done right.

The fact of the matter is, however, there are a significant number of parents who don’t have the slightest clue about Star Wars or fandoms in general. This causes a barrier, and sadly, I see more comments along the lines of “My parents don’t care” than “My parents understand.”

“My parents now prefer [to] ignore what I draw. They are ashamed, I guess,” wrote one fan artist in a stream of conversation related to explaining fandoms to parents. The lack of care and appreciation at home is the reason why people turn to the Web and social media. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, about 92 percent of teens go online daily, including 24 percent who are “almost constantly” online. It’s in this digital setting that people connect and find themselves in others, no matter how far away they live.

A home supplies commercial from Germany demonstrates how parents should make an effort in understanding their children’s interests.

***

Johnamarie is the owner of TheWookieeGunner.com. She is a content contributor for Making Star Wars, Star Wars Report, and Fangirl Next Door. She is also a co-host on “Now, This Is Podcasting!” and “Rebels Chat”.

Next Week on the Blog

Photo Credit: Galymzhan Abdugalimov.

Photo Credit: Galymzhan Abdugalimov.

Next Tuesday, Johnamarie Macias returns with the second installment of her Connecting through Star Wars blog series. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.

At some point during next week, I will have a special book announcement to make. If you follow me on other social media, you got a hint about what it will be!

Don’t forget that Ask the Digital Quill still goes on until tomorrow evening! Check this post for all details. Have a great weekend!

Connecting Through Star Wars, Part I: Past Generations and Fandom by Johnamarie Macias

About 79 percent of survey takers ranging between ages 18 and 34 in 13 countries agreed that being a fangirl or fanboy nowadays is different from the previous generation belonging their parents. Much of the terminology has also drastically changed from one generation to the next. One blogger explained current concepts, such as fandoms, OTPs and shipping, to her parents using Seinfeld (an ancient show to most of the current generation) as the means to get them to understand.

She wrote, “I was actually teaching my parents something. The tables have turned!”

The tables have turned, indeed. In fact, many agree that today’s generation of touch-screen users, selfie-takers, vloggers, and podcasters are more passionate and vocal about a variety of fandoms, especially since the geeky image is now more acceptable than ever before.

Geeky fandoms and the passionate fans who supports them. (Source)

Geeky fandoms and the passionate fans who supports them. (Source)

“Eighty percent agree that you can be a fan of not just sports and celebrities, like previous generations, but things like fashion, television, food – and brands,” wrote James Guerrier from Research & Insights in Viacom International Media Networks. “Young people classify themselves as passionate experts in an average of 5 categories, and the top categories are all about entertainment content – music, movies and TV. And four in five agree that being a fan now is different from their parents’ generation. They are more willing than ever to ‘own’ their Fandoms.”

Not all parents are fossils of the past, however.

Parents heavily steeped in fandom normally pass down that passion onto their children. Oftentimes, it’s a natural progression from parent to child, creating a common bridge with which to meet halfway and enjoy the thing(s) they love most. My mom and I are like that. She never forced anything on me, but I naturally gravitated towards whatever she was watching on television: Star Trek, X-Files, Stargate, etc. While she enjoyed what she watched, I took things to the next level by reading/writing fan fiction, creating my own websites, and compiling my own fan videos.

I embraced many fandoms over the years, most rooted in science fiction. Star Wars is the one thing, however, I talk about the most in my household, and since my mom was the person who exposed me to Star Wars at a young age, the fault is entirely on her! Although I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced me to blogging and podcasting, both fun and exciting ways to express the love for my fandom.

***

Johnamarie is the owner of TheWookieeGunner.com. She is a content contributor for Making Star Wars, Star Wars Report, and Fangirl Next Door. She is also a co-host on “Now, This Is Podcasting!” and “Rebels Chat”.

Blog Plans for June

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Life has been pretty busy for the last while and I have more on my plate with writing projects and other things. Some features I had started have dwindled by now (though I hope to bring them back at some point). The one that will continue in June is the Silent Sunday and you can expect more cooking and baking pictures.

All Tuesday will be taken over by guest posts: Rose’s series on Fanfiction will continue to run until later this summer and Johnamarie Macias will write about connecting through Star Wars, in a three installment series.

I am also preparing other author interviews, beside the monthly feature #SciFi Women Interviews.

The rest of the posting schedule might be lighter but there will be talking about writing, since I have much in store!

Stay tuned for next Wednesday as well, where I am going to announce a little special event!

Announcing #SciFi Women Interviews’ April Guest: Yolanda I. Washington

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

#SciFi Women Interviews returns Friday this week. Every last Friday of the month, I discuss all things Science Fiction with a talented woman who likes/creates/writes/supports this versatile genre. I hope that you will join in the conversation.

April’s edition will feature Science Fiction author Yolanda I. Washington (@YIWashington).

If you missed March’s inaugural edition with Johnamarie Macias, you can read it here.

#SciFi Women Interviews: Johnamarie Macias

When I came up with the idea of the #SciFi Women Interviews, I didn’t expect such a positive reaction from the amazing ladies I contacted to take part in the series. I am honored to launch this project with the supportive and inspiring Johnamarie Macias. I met her through the Star Wars fan community here on WordPress and on also on Twitter.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Johnamarie grew up under the care of a loving and supportive family. She later attended Cornell University and Queens College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in archaeology and a master’s degree in library science, respectively. Growing up, she was a fangirl of many things, including DuckTales, Star Wars, MacGyver, Stargate SG-1, and much more. She also loves comic books, her favorite characters being Bobbi Morse and the Vision. What really brought her into the thick of fandom was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that made her a very dedicated clone trooper fangirl. She enjoys regularly updating her Star Wars-inspired blog, The Wookiee Gunner, and contributing to Making Star Wars, The Star Wars Report, and Fangirl Next Door. You can also find her engaging with fans on Twitter as @BlueJaigEyes and on Facebook.

Johnamarie Macias

Johnamarie Macias

NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?

JOHNAMARIE: Years ago, one of my teachers told my mom that I have a highly active imagination, and I like to think it’s because of my love for science fiction. It was the first genre I remember being exposed to as a child, and I never shied away from creating my own worlds or contraptions and thinking of a future far more advanced than ours. I also may have had a few alien friends along the way. Even though I didn’t possess the confidence to pursue a career in math or science, science fiction did much for me in terms of keeping my imagination alive and creatively flowing over the years.

NG: How did you get the idea to create The Wookiee Gunner?

JOHNAMARIE: Several blogs had inspired me to pursue and create my own space to share my thoughts, but at the time, I found it difficult to focus on a topic. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Tricia Barr’s FANgirl Blog and Lillian Skye’s Fangirls in the Force that I really took up the interest in writing about Star Wars. I’m also an extremely passionate fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and that propelled me forward into being more involved with the fandom and communicating my thoughts in the way I knew best: writing. Coming up with a name for anything is a difficult task, but “The Wookiee Gunner” came easily to me, since it appeared in one of my favorite Star Wars books, No Prisoners by Karen Traviss. So, in the end, the blog was born out of the need to write and find a niche is a thriving community of Star Wars fans.

NG: Do you have other current or future Science Fiction related projects?

JOHNAMARIE: My goals and plans tend to be all over the place, since my mind is a whirling mess of fangirl thoughts, but I am working on a personal science fiction story that I hope to develop as a novel someday. It takes place in Earth’s future and on the moon’s surface. It also contains a diverse group of characters (Latina, Native American, Maori, just to name a few), a radical race of aliens, and a sister and brother caught between a war. I like to think it’s a good ol’ space adventure!

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

JOHNAMARIE: Growing up, I watched unhealthy amounts of television and movies. Some parents will frown upon that today, but it was the only solid way to keep me entertained for long periods of time. From Star Trek: The Next Generation to X-Files, I was exposed to my parents’ favorites at a very young age, so I ended up adopting a lot of their tastes and preferences. One of the few vivid memories I have as a child involved me sitting in front of the television set on Sunday afternoons and watching Star Wars: A New Hope on the WB channel.

NG: What are your top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

JOHNAMARIE: Reading wasn’t my favorite activity as a child, sadly. I remember the difficulties I had when it came to reading comprehension. I ended up going to summer school for it once, and I’ll never forget when the teacher gave me a “Hooked on Phonics” case and left me alone in the classroom to learn on my own. Frustrated and angry, I hated reading even more because of it until things eventually turned around in high school. I do have a few favorites, however, such as A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I’m more of a visual learner, so I was naturally more attracted to television and movies as a child. At the time, I found more enjoyment watching a story unfold on the screen than having my eyes go cross eyed while reading pages filled with text. My preferences have changed since then, but when I was younger, the relationship I had with my television helped my imagination grow and even influenced my career path later on. My top three favorite science fiction series include Earth 2 (1994), Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007), and Stargate Atlantis (2004-2009). Finally, for short bursts of inspiration, I love going to the movie theaters. My comfort zone is at home, but I enjoy stepping out of that and into a theater for the occasional escape and bringing that movie home months later to watch over and over. That said, my top three film franchises are Tron, Jurassic Park, and of course, Star Wars.

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

JOHNAMARIE: When I lived in Puerto Rico at the age of 9, I remember sitting in front of the television on a Sunday or Monday evening and watching the latest episode of Earth 2, a NBC science fiction series in 1994 that was ahead of its time. In an attempt to find a cure to an illness called “the syndrome”, an expedition to a planet that resembled our own went terribly wrong when the ship crash landed. The leader and the mother of a child with “the syndrome” is Devon Adair played by the lovely Debrah Farentino. I never really considered myself the “leader” type, but when it came to group projects and other sorts of activities, I naturally picked up the role. Till this day, whenever I’m in that kind of situation, I ask myself “What would Devon do?” because she was a strong and self-empowered woman who was very aware of her goals and what she needed to accomplish in order to give her son a proper life. The fact that a woman was leading this trek out into the unknown in a science fiction series during the mid-90s is something that continues to amaze me. Even as progressive as we are today, we rarely see a science fiction series with a woman lead. What saddens me the most is that the show itself was prematurely canceled, and on top of that, no one knows about it. Whenever I bring it up in conversation, most people are unaware of its existence. What made the show so memorable for me were the emotions and the drive behind Devon and her dream to establish a new life for her son and all of the other children afflicted with this illness. She was selfless and full of ambition, traits that I highly admire in characters and people in general. Whenever I go through the process of creating my own women characters, I always find a way to incorporate Devon in some manner because I want them to be as compelling.

NG: What are your favorite and least favorite developments that happened to the Star Wars franchise since Disney purchased it?

JOHNAMARIE: When Disney first acquired Lucasfilm, I was worried about how the content was going to be handled. A few months later, the acquisition became a nightmare when Star Wars: The Clone Wars was canceled. That show–more than the films–made me the Star Wars fan I am today. I was disappointed that it was cut short, especially at a time when it had reached its prime in animation and storytelling. My heart still aches when I think about all of the stories we have yet to see from that era, but when it comes to the animation side of Star Wars, all isn’t lost. Star Wars Rebels premiered in October 2014 and it gave me what I crave as a fan: new characters and new adventures. The series, like its predecessor, has captured my heart and imagination.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

JOHNAMARIE: One of my favorite quotes came from television writer and producer Jane Espenson in an interview with Advocate.com, “If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.” It encapsulates everything I believe in when it comes to incorporating diversity into all aspects of society, especially in science fiction. We all know that a lot of imagination goes into writing science fiction and developing worlds filled with possibilities, but what’s the point of creating a story about some untold and inventive future if it perpetuates the things that continually hold us back in the present. I believe it is our responsibility to be more aware of our surroundings and the world we live in right now before we go off and dream up of a story set in a galaxy far away or a future of human advancements.

NG: Do you think that Fangirls are an expression of Feminism?

JOHNAMARIE: Someone once tried to tell me that the term “fangirl” only helped create more of a divide, and therefore, contributed to the struggle of women trying to find equality in the geek community. The reality of the situation is that the term exists because women fans need to continue to establish themselves in a male-centered fan community. Perhaps, one day, we will achieve the universal “fan” term and give up on assigning it a gender, as they had suggested. Whether that comes true or not, I see the term fangirl as a way to celebrate geek women–women who want to demonstrate that we, too, can be passionate and dedicated fans. The Fake Geek Girl term is a recent example of the attack of women in geek culture, leading me and many other girls to take more pride in the fangirl name. Despite the negativity aimed at geek women, however, there are positive forces reinforcing the fangirl and feminist image, such a Geek Girl Con and Her Universe. There is a message we’re all trying to reinforce and that is that feminism is about equality, empowerment, and the freedom for women to live their lives without societal restraints and to choose roles that aren’t solely based on traditional expectations. Being a fangirl is also about finding equality in the geek community, empowering fellow geek girls to not feel ashamed about what they love, and to not let society dictate who you are as a geeky individual. Taking up the fangirl name is an expression of feminism and there’s certainly nothing wrong about that.

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries? JOHNAMARIE: By starting a massive coup and taking over the world! Realistically speaking, though, fangirls have been very vocal throughout social media and the blogosphere, actively letting media industries, companies, and our fellow peers know that fangirls of a variety of backgrounds are a significant percentage of the fan population. We no longer want to be an audience that’s pushed aside and excluded. The best thing that we, as fangirls, can do is to continue to create stories that include diversity, to support each other’s projects (instead of tearing each other down), and to unite and collectively bring awareness to ill trends in media and to work for positive solutions. Just recently, actually, I broke down crying because I found something to be unfair. Without going into too much detail, it was related to the lack of representation of women in a well-known franchise. My mom, an intelligent woman and the hero in my life, told me recently that I shouldn’t expect a tweet to change the world. Instead, she told me that I should take satisfaction in the fact that I voiced my opinion and that I didn’t sit on the sidelines. As fangirls seeking representation and equality for underrepresented groups, including women, it’s important to keep in mind that our efforts may not change the world in an instant, but our continued and prolonged efforts may make the future brighter for women in the future.

NG: Thank you very much to join us today, Johnamarie! I am certain that my readers will be interested in connecting with you!

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.