Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Voyager Re-watch: Adventures in Babysitting

"Chart a course for Planet Hell!" aren't really the words you'd jump to when dreaming up a My Two Dads meets Dinosaurs nanny adventure but, with Voyager, that's just the kind of thing you get in "Partuition." Of course it's Janeway who says this line and, of course, I love it.

The rest of the episode is mostly a lot of arguing about whether or not Tom has a crush on Neelix' girlfriend as well as the care and keeping of an infant reptile. This is pretty much where I hit my limit with the jealous boyfriend version of Neelix and if it weren't for all the stuff going on in my life right at the moment (and for the last couple of months), I'd be way past this point in Voyager by now.

I have four younger siblings but I was eleven by the time my oldest sister came along. The first time I held her, I thought she might break.

Though, actually when I first started babysitting, it was somebody else's kids--a seven and eight year old and I was twelve which seems completely ridiculous now but at the time I felt like a 100% ready-to-do-this grown-up. I taught myself how to make boxed macaroni and cheese and silver dollar pancakes at their house because that's what they wanted. I took them on walks. We did art projects. We watched cartoons on cable--a huge luxury for me. It was a good summer.

I babysat my friend's little sister (my friend was not into childcare) and went on road trips and ate hot grapes in the back of a hot volvo in the middle the hot North Carolina summer.

I watched out for my first sister. I kept her whenever I was living with my mom and she needed me.  I watched countless hours of Wishbone (which I loved) and Barney (which I didn't) and I read stories and played pretend and baked cakes. I stayed home from school while she--a toddler at the time--had strep throat and couldn't go to daycare. Later, I braided her hair and introduced her to Weird Al and watched as she got to be too big and I was too far away for me to keep an eye on her. Still, her life went on. She did a lot of the stuff I never had a chance at. She mostly grew up in one house, one school system, one town. She played soccer and joined band. She attended a nice magnet school and got a fantastic education which prepared her for an even more fantastic secondary education. She spent a summer living at the beach. She went on hiking trips and camping trips and spent a New Year's Eve in Times Square.

In short, she thrived. All while I wasn't looking. I just had to trust that she would turn out alright.

And that's kind of what our two reluctant babysitters have to do--once they stop bickering about who loves Kes more. They ultimately watch as their puppet's parent picks it up and takes it home. Then, they hightail it back to Voyager and away from Planet Hell. But, of course their adventures in childrearing are far from over. Before the show is done Neelix is a beloved godfather and Tom is somebody's dad. Meanwhile, I'm somebody's sister.





Thursday, May 7, 2015

Generic Ensign's Log: Twisted

***BAM! It's a new feature, people!***

Stardate: I think it's Wednesday. 
-Went down to the mess hall for some breakfast. My BFF, Neelix, was making a gorgeous Jimbalian Fudge birthday cake for Kes' birthday. Apparently they're having a party later for her over in the holodeck. 
-Did not get an invite :(

Stardate: Still unsure.
-I was on my way to engineering and somehow ended up back in the mess hall. 
-Currently drinking all the coffee. 


Stardate: WHATEVENISTHIS?!
- I talked to Baxter and he said he ran into Lieutenant Torres in the transporter room and she couldn't get to engineering either. There's a rumor we're going through the wake of a spacial implosion or we've been eaten by a huge subspace monster  newly discovered and important life-form. I think it's some kind of inversion field.  
-I just spent what seemed like forty-five minutes wandering around the corridors and ended up right back here. 
-I feel like the whole crew's stuck in a bottle but the bottle's all twisted up.



Stardate: So apparently it's Thursday now. 
-Everything is back to normal, I guess, except Neelix seems really pissed about some necklace and he was angry baking all afternoon. 
-What the hell happened today? I'm going to bed. 

***Oh! By the way! I was recently interviewed by the Sci Fi & Fantasy Network!***

**Also: My new book is now on GoodReads! Go add it to your list!**


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Request A Do-Over

Last week, my second novel, Silver Tongue was released from Seventh Star Press! Hooray! I'd had a big day planned and everything was going really well and then the walls sort of came down when there was an emergency in my family and we were all blindsided and confused and worried and nothing felt ok anymore. There were lots of feelings.


I spent a week dealing with it. My emotions fell into a confused jumble as if someone had taken the neat deck of my brain and played 52 card pickup. Lost in that crazy jumble was the release of Silver Tongue. But then, yesterday, something pretty cool happened:


I got my real life copy of the novel. Honestly, it felt exactly like this: 

So, I decided to have a Do-Over. It's not that I'm pretending last week never happened. It's just that I have to figure out how to keep going, keep working, keep writing. And, I have to celebrate the stuff that really is a huge accomplishment. I wrote Silver Tongue in the first months of 2011. I spent a year re-working it and shopping it around. I'd all but given up on it when a small press I'd queried suddenly accepted it--and asked for 2 more books. Last year I worked on it again with an editor and then waited for its release while I lived the rest of my life. In the first months of this year I designed the cover. And now, four years after I started down this road, Silver Tongue is out! It's a real thing I can hold in my real hands!  So I'm celebrating. 

I bought myself some grocery store sushi and a lemon drink which is literally as fancy and extravagant as I am capable of getting. 

I watered my little container garden. 

And I realized I really needed to spend some time with my Star Trek Mom, Captain Janeway. So, that's what I'm doing now. Hopefully I can get this blog back on track this week! In the meantime, please know how much I appreciate your continued readership. This project has been an outlet for me emotionally and creatively and it's brought me readers and friends and I feel less like I'm shouting into the darkness. Thank you. 



Monday, April 20, 2015

Silver Tongue, Art, etc.

Alright, so lately I've had a lot going on.  I'm working on a few projects aside from this blog and I have a NEW BOOK coming out TOMORROW! Sorry for the AllCaps but I've mostly been going around all day yelling at everyone in my house about how I have a NEW BOOK COMING OUT TOMORROW!

Here's the cover:
BAM! 

Here's what it's about:
The Colonies lost the Revolutionary War. Now it’s 1839 and the North American continent is divided into three territories: New Britannia, Nueva Espana, and Nouvelle France where seventeen-year-old Claire Poissant lives.

Claire has a magical way with words—literally. But a mystical power of persuasion isn’t the only thing that makes her different. Half-French and half-Indian, Claire doesn’t feel at home in either world. Maybe that’s why she’s bonded so tightly with her fellow outcasts and best friends: Phileas, a young man whose towering intellect and sexuality have always made him the target of bullies, and Sam, a descendant of George Washington who shares the disgraced general’s terrible, secret curse.

But when Sam’s family is murdered, these bonds are tested and Claire’s special ability is strained to its limits as the three hunt the men responsible into dangerous lands. Along the way they cross paths with P.T. Barnum, William Frankenstein and other characters from both history and fantasy as they learn the hard way that man is often the most horrific monster and that growing up sometimes means learning to let go of the things you hold most dear.

Ok, so anyway, it'll be available tomorrow on Amazon and B&N and you can get a real life paper copy or you can do what I always do and buy it for your kindle so you can read it in bed. I'll also be doing a giveaway for the book here on the blog so keep an eye out for that.

Now back to Voyager. The other night I did some Science BFF art. I wanted to do a little piece that showcased all the the prominent female scientists in Voyager but then realized, as I was doing it, that all of the main female characters are (or become) scientists. That's pretty awesome. This ended up just being a portrait of the Voyager Ladies but I'd really like to do a more black-line, cartooney Voyager Science BFFs piece but for now, here's this: 


Alright, I was going to go ahead and write about both "Twisted" and "Partuition" but I think this post is already long enough. So, I'll do that in a couple days. Right now I think I'm just going to spend the rest of the day yelling at strangers about how I have a book coming out tomorrow. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Non-Sequitur

Oh man, ok well I've been putting off writing this post because I felt like I didn't have anything really interesting to say about it but here we go.

Non-Sequitur is an episode that always kind of sticks with me in spite of the fact that I feel it's not a very strong outing for Voyager. Harry Kim is body snatched (for the THIRD time and it's only the beginning of the second season, people) and taken to an alternate reality earth where his girlfriend is all, "You ready to get married, sweetheart?" and he never boarded Voyager and neither did Alternate Tom Paris and now they're both here and Harry's trying his damndest to get back.

Ok, Harry is the whiniest of the Voyager crew (outside of Seska and with her it's less about whining and more just deadly mischief) about getting back to the Alpha Quadrant so it seems both a great and terrible idea to put him on Earth. Great because it should be amazing to watch him struggle with what he ought to do--terrible because that's a pretty big thing to justify. Even in the Trek-Verse where everyone in Starfleet is Level 9000 honorable and duty-bound etc, I buy that Harry will try to go back I just don't... really... care. His reasoning for going back is that he feels guilty firstly about him not being there for Voyager (sorry Harry, I'm not sure that would... uh... matter) secondly, he feels bad about Tom Paris who, in this universe, is shooting pool and wearing a vest and basically spending his days giving no fucks about anything. In actuality, Vest Paris is my favorite thing about this episode.

In my imagination he has a whole closet of these vests. Like Doug.
In Harry's mind, this is a terrible thing. So, I guess he feels like he needs to get back so he can be there for his own Tom Paris? Why doesn't he just stay there with his girlfriend and his Vulcan mocha and give Vest Paris some (apparently) much needed Harry-Time? I suppose this is a case of not an alternate reality but an altered one. Only one can exist I guess? So Harry has to make it right? All this comes out of Harry mocha-dealing friend in about one line of dialogue wherein he's also all like, "Btw, if you super want to fix things you can just fly a shuttle into the space-time-fold..." So that's what he does and then Vest Paris (sadly) no longer exists.

I don't know. I'm just not feeling it. And I guess that's why this episode never really did it for me. After I re-watched this one, I sat around imagining other Voyager crewmen thrust into Harry's position. What would Non-Sequitur have been like had it been a B'Elanna-sode instead? Or Paris himself?

Bonus Points:
-At first I commended Harry Kim for not playing his damn clarinet because his girlfriend was asleep and then, about five seconds later, he's reading the computer screen OUT LOUD. At this point, if I were Harry's poor girlfriend I'd go from, "I'm worried about you sweetie," to "GTFO you turd and go back to the Delta Quadrant!"
-I need my sleep.




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Elogium


This post is about puberty and pregnancy and periods so if that wigs you out then you're welcome to just look at this instead:
Voyager Bros
In the second season episode, Elogium, Voyager runs into a swarm of spaceborn aliens that jumpstart Kes' weird, Okampan version of puberty. It's a little more intense than human puberty. Basically, once it starts, she has a limited time to decide whether or not to have a child and if she doesn't do it right then and there it'll never happen.

I tend to think of this one as, "The One Where Kes Eats Beetles" but, in fact I ought to remember it as, "The One Where Janeway Comforts Kes About The Stresses And Pressures Of Being A Woman" because that's what happens. Even though Voyager is in a dangerous position with the swarm, even though she's encountering a completely new life form, even though she's got the weight of Voyager on her shoulders, Janeway takes time away to talk to and comfort Kes--who has become almost an adoptive daughter by this point in the second season. It's easy to see why. Kes is innocent and compassionate and curious and intelligent--the kind of daughter it seems Janeway might actually have. She's far from her own culture and has no guidance from others of her species. It all makes the scene I'm referring to incredibly touching. Both actresses--playing complicated characters in complicated situations--excel in this one.


Here's what happened when I started my own period. I was twelve when it happened and, I guess because girls tend to be rather savvy about these things--in the 90s era of Full House and Family Matters and Roseanne--I figured out what to do on my own. But, in spite of my ability to cope, I was terrified. I didn't want that part of my life to start. I'd known since I was a little kid that I didn't want children and now suddenly my body was betraying me. It was signaling to the world--ok maybe not the world but definitely Marcy behind the CVS checkout counter--that I'd become a woman and fully capable producing offspring.

Anyway, standing in the store I stared in horror at the shelves of feminine products I was now obliged to overpay for every month. I got in the car afterward and took out a notebook and did math while asking questions,  "How many days does a period typically last?" "Why do these things smell like perfume? Is that really sanitary?" "At what age is a woman expected to reach menopause?"

I totted up how many boxes of tampons I'd eventually have to buy. How many weeks of my life would be spent concerned about whether or not something had leaked. How many times I'd have to wonder whether I might've gotten pregnant. I was already worried about unplanned pregnancy and I'd barely started my period.

Last year, after months spent in agonizing pain--pain so awful I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning--I sat in the doctor's office as she explained that I likely had endometriosis. It was something I'd suspected for a while. She said if I wanted to conceive it would be very difficult but maybe not impossible. She prescribed medication and some supplements and rest etc.

You might be wondering if this diagnosis brought about any second thoughts. Any re-considerations regarding the choice not to have children. The answer is: Nope. Not even a little bit. Still, it felt once again like my body was betraying me. Again, as I'd done in another hot car, on the other side of the country, nearly twenty years before, I calculated how long I'd be dealing with this. How long would I deal with pain, with daily doses of estrogen--which my body tends to reject? How many things might I miss out on because things inside my body are going haywire? In most instances I'm terrible at math but I still tend to rely on it as a coping mechanism. If I can put a number on the thing I don't want to face it becomes less nebulous. Conquerable. Nothing lasts forever.

In Elogium Kes suffers through her lady time for the course of a single episode. Once they figure out how to get away from the swarm, she recovers and subsequently learns that her Elogium was false. Her true Elogium will likely come later--when it's supposed to. And, hopefully by that time she'll know whether or not she wants to procreate and can make a more informed decision and won't spend so much time freaking out and eating beetles.
In any case, watching this one reminded me that even in Janeway's time, women can't really escape the choices and pressures about having children.


Bonus Points:
-Chakotay catches some crewmen necking in the lift. That's like your friend's dad catching you.
-Who says necking? How old am I?
-This is Ensign Wildman's first episode and I love it.





Monday, March 30, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Projections


The Doctor wakes up on Voyager and the ship is EMPTY! It's a MYSTERY! Cut to the opening sequence.

So after I watched the cold open for this one, I went in the kitchen to make an ice cream cone (because obviously) and told Scott that I'd got to an episode where I couldn't remember what was going on. I was SO excited. And I kept waiting for the moment to roll around when I would eventually go, "Oh yeah. This one."


But I sat there, my ice cream long gone, going, "Is it Seska?" "Is it...Vidiians?" No. "It's too early for Species 8675309... right?"

And then Barclay showed up and I totally lost it. I finally just bought in to the fact that I couldn't remember what was going on. I know I watched it. I know I watched it recently. I remembered everything that happened as it happened. But the whole supposedly sinister, probably complicated element behind the Doctor's experience completely eluded me.

In the end, the solution isn't actually complicated or sinister. And maybe that's why I forgot all about it the resolution. This episode isn't really about opposition or conflict. It's about the Doctor's character and about the way he's already grown so much. He's no longer a limited-use hologram without any ambition beyond fixing up whoever it is that's having an emergency. He's a person with hopes, dreams, fears and, as it turns out, love and the beginnings of a family. His experiences (in this aptly named episode) are projections of all these things and they show someone who has already exceeded the limitations of his programming. It's a powerful episode for that reason. Its power is in its simplicity and its reliance on character development rather than a thrilling, rug-pull ending.



Bonus Points:
-This one was directed by Jonathan Frakes (my BFF, obviously)
-This is also the one wherein we get a kind of lampshade for why Paris looks so familiar. Supposedly it's because he's modeled on Barclay's cousin Frank but actually because Robert Duncan McNeil played Nick (the Nova Squadron leader who made Wesley tell dirty, dirty lies) in TNG's "The First Duty."
-Barclay! Anytime Reginald Barclay shows up it's a good day.



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