OMG that’s me! Right there with Joss Whedon!

In 2006, I joined a global movement to hold fan-run charity screenings of Joss Whedon’s sci-fi movie SERENITY to benefit Equality Now. At the time, I had no idea if I’d sell a single ticket or if anyone would dress up for the costume contest. I was willing to pay the $300 or so in fees and sit in an almost-empty theater and watch the movie with my friends and family, if that’s how it went.

But, as the movie line goes (and movie lines are modern-day proverbs, after all), “If you build it, they will come.” The Browncoats didn’t let me down. With nothing but word of mouth and some viral advertising, the little 200-seat Raleigh shindig was sold out a few days in advance. And we did have quite a costume contest, with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention awards.

I coordinated another “Can’t Stop the Serenity” screening the next year, then another in 2008. I stepped down as coordinator in 2009, and was instead a global sponsor in my artistic incarnation JLHjewelry. (That was also the year I began writing Stellarnet Rebel.) In 2010 and 2011, I was on the local event committee.

Since 2006, Raleigh-NC screenings have raised more than $21,500.00 for Equality Now and $2,800.00 for Kids Need to Read. Worldwide, CSTS events have raised more than $600,000 for charity.

This year, I will again be a global sponsor. But instead of designing and donating 60 pairs of handmade Browncoat earrings, my publisher Carina Press and I are donating 60 prize bags with free downloads of Stellarnet Rebel, stickers, autographed cards, and nagyx necklaces based on the Glinnish “soul stones” in the novel.

I never imagined in my wildest dreams, when I coordinated the first screening in my city, that I would someday have a sci-fi novel of my own and be featured on the same global sponsorship page with Joss Whedon. It’s pretty amazing.

– J.L. Hilton

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