Sunday, June 29, 2014

Separate the Saucer Section!

So, today, this happened:

Well, kind of.  I've been working working, working.  New novel. New commission. Graphic novel. New project. And, in the middle of all that, my computer crashed. It was basically ok. And then it wasn't. 

I'd been planning to write another post about what I'm reading/watching and have been excited to talk about that stuff but I put it off until my computer exploded and now I'm writing this on my phone and it sucks. 

I super don't want to deal with this right now so I'm going to go watch Bob's Burgers instead. Hopefully I'll be back soon. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Because Holodecks Don't Exist #1

I haven't been watching much Trek this year. Between the burnout I had going on, the book tour stuff, and all the stuff Scott and I are both working on, we just haven't had time to do a lot of re-watching.

But I am still reading and watching a whole lot of stuff and I figured, why not write about that. If you're into Star Trek or reading about my hermit lifestyle or Bunny's antics or whatever, you might also be into whatever I'm watching or reading. So, this is the first post in a new (hopefully) weekly segment called, "Because Holodecks Don't Exist."

Anyway, here's a little of what I've been up to:

Penny Dreadful (Showtime):
I'm a few episodes behind but I tend to enjoy Victorian fiction and Gothic fiction and I'm really loving Timothy Dalton and Eva Green waltzing around doing creepy stuff in top hats and corsets and the like.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde and you can get the ebook for free):
See Above.
I'm about halfway through this one because I keep falling asleep. I love old Brit Lit but if I combine the reading of it with a somewhat horizontal position, it has roughly the same effect on me as Z-Quil. Anyway, I've previously only known Gray via his appearance in the fiction and comics of others so it's pretty nice to see him here in all of his original Oscar Wilde glory.

Bob's Burgers (FOX) :
A friend recommended this one and I can't seem to get enough. I've watched two a night lately. I can't stop. I see Louise and it's like I'm watching myself. If, as a child, my parents had stayed together and had two other kids and we lived above our burger shop, next to a theme park and the ocean.

Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue Deconnick with art by Emma Rios):
I didn't find out about this comic until it was about four episodes in and my comic book store doesn't carry back issues. So, I tore my hair out until it finally came out patiently awaited its release. I wasn't let down. The storytelling here is stunning and the haunting art is a perfect match for DeConnick's prose.

The Wicked + The Divine #1 (Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie):
This is another one from Image Comics. I've actually had its release date on my calendar for over a month and couldn't wait. I wasn't let down. This comic is off to a smart, sexy, tough start.

Alright, well those are the highlights. I'll be back next week and hopefully by then I'll be finished with Dorian Gray. Have a recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TNG: Lonely Among Us

 I have this friend who's pretty much a media sponge. Whatever she watches, movies or TV, she retains dialogue with apparently no effort whatsoever and will then repeat those lines to you days, weeks, or years later with absolutely zero warning. It's like movie lines are just part of her language and pop culture is an immersion course.

Anyway, I'm not a sponge. At least not in that way. I tend to be rather visual so I tend to retain images better than words. Still, yesterday, it's like my brain was broken.

I woke up sick. I assume this was just some kind of ridiculous allergy attack. I ran out of Zyrtec about three days ago and my aversion to the store supersedes my aversion to pollen--but only for so long. Apparently, my sinuses had had enough. My equilibrium was all wrong. Everything was throbbing. My chest was rustling. My throat alternated between scratchy and closed up. Around noon I began to  wonder whether I might be dying.

I resigned myself to my fate and stretched out on the sofa and just freaking left it on BBC America.

Top Gear I've seen.
Another Top Gear I've seen.
And then Star Trek: TNG which... wait what is this?

It was "Lonely Among Us" and it was very clearly first season--Riker's beard was missing but Tasha was there. I knew I'd seen the episode within the last year. I remembered the dog guys and I remembered the snake guys but this whole cloud thing and the lightning and people getting all possessed and dead and driving the ship around--no I didn't remember any of that biz.

I wondered whether my obviously fatal infection had crept into my brain and eaten all my Star Trek knowledge. I began to panic. "Why don't I remember this?" "Why can't I retain stuff like this?" "I wish I was like K and could just remember more of this stuff." "Maybe watching 700 episodes of a thing in one year isn't the best way to... wait, is that Gul Dukat?"

Yeah. It was. Marc Alaimo (aka one of the top five Trek baddies probably) made his first ever Star Trek appearance in this episode.

He's this one. Probably.
Anyway, once I got over my initial freakout, recognized Marc Alaimo, and stared at Riker's chin for a while, I calmed down. I drank some tea and ate some crackers and settled in with Bunny until I began to doze, waking up whenever Picard barked, "Mr. Data!"

I'm still not 100% clear on exactly what goes on in this episode but that's ok. I needed that nap--that specifically Star Trek nap--in a bad way. It's been a while since I got to just stretch out and watch Trek and let it calm me down. It was nice. It was comforting. I loved it. Isn't that kind of why I did this whole project to begin with?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daddy-Sodes for Father's Day

Ok, so I'm bad at holidays. I should've written this last night but instead I was working on the second Awesome Jones novel and watching the Dodgers and thinking about an upcoming post about Game of Thrones and Bleak House. Father's Day wasn't really on my mind. I did manage to order a present for my dad but it won't get there until like Tuesday.

Anyway, my dad is a huge part of why I'm into Trek and, really, why this blog even exists (such as it is these days) so it's only fitting that I should write a post about the dads of Star Trek.

The folks in Star Trek tend to have rather complicated relationships with their dads. I get it. My dad and I are about as close as we can get given who we are and our past together. I've written about that before. So, in honor of father's day, here are a few episodes that showcase some of the great (and not so great) dads of Trek.

1- Sarek/Spock: Journey to Babel
It seems like I write about this episode all the time. I love this one. DC Fontana's telling of the complicated, bi-cultural, bi-racial, father-son relationship between Spock and Sarek laid the groundwork for so much of Spock's character. Sarek is stoic, cold, a little snarky and quintessentially Vulcan and Spock tries as hard as he can, in spite of his human blood, to be just the same. It's a family drama wrapped up in a murder mystery and served with plenty of festive neon food cubes.

2- Worf, Son of Mogh: Sins of the Father, Birthright
Sometimes all you have is your dad's legacy. But, sometimes a man's legacy can cast a longer shadow over you than the man ever could. I don't know how many times the phrase, "Worf, son of Mogh" is uttered in Star Trek but, man, last year it seemed like I heard it every five minutes. In Sins of the Father and Birthright, Worf has to face with his father's possible wrong-doings and then take them upon himself. In Birthright, he gets to the bottom of what really happened to his father and some of the other Klingons at Khitomer.

3- Rom/Nog: Heart of Stone, Facets
From the beginning of DS9, Nog sets out to better himself through education and, for a long time, we don't really get his motivation. Then, in Heart of Stone, when no one takes his dream of joining Starfleet seriously, he finally confesses that he doesn't want to end up like his father. The speech he gives Sisko is beautiful and heartfelt and perfectly portrays the complicated ways our parents' decisions effect us. In Facets, we see the other side. While Dax is getting her past-life on, Quark attempts to sabotage Nog's Starfleet entrance exam and Rom catches on. This usually timid dad isn't about to let Quark mess with his kid's chances at a better life and his fury is sweet and justified.

4- Sarek/Spock: Unification Part 1
We've known since "Sarek" that Spock's dad is fighting a losing battle with Bendii Syndrome. The decorated ambassador has always been closed off toward his son but, so close to death, he reveals his complicated emotions regarding Spock. I love Sarek and I love every Sarek episode and this one is no exception. The Sarek/Picard combo is a beautiful thing.

5- Neelix/Naomi: Once Upon A Time
Alright, I get that a whole lot of folks hate Naomi and a whole lot of other folks hate Neelix and this bothers me not at all. I love both of these characters and, while Once Upon A Time's goofy holosuite characters can be a little much, the emotional undercurrent of this one more than makes up for it. Neelix is Naomi's god-father and he's read her to sleep since she was a teensy baby. Naomi's mama is a busy science officer and when her shuttle gets caught in an ion storm and no one can reach her, it's up to Neelix to break the news to Naomi and then take care of her in her time of great need.

6- Janeway/Seven: Hope and Fear
Sometimes your mom is your dad. In the case of Voyager, Janeway is pretty much everyone's single mom and she parents her crew through seven years of Delta Quadrant craziness. In Hope and Fear, it looks like they might finally have a means of escape. They'll be back in the Alpha Quadrant in no time! Everyone's excited--except Seven, who isn't sure she has any business on Earth. Janeway and Seven are at cross purposes through this entire story but, when they're stuck together on an alien bridge, Seven's emotions are revealed and Janeway is there for her.

7- Ben/Jake: The Visitor
Welp, I pretty much saved the best for last. This is the ultimate Star Trek daddy-sode. Benjamin Sisko is a pretty great dad (most of the time) and nowhere in DS9 is this showcased more than in The Visitor which always, every single time, never ever fails to make me ugly cry into my pillow. If you only watch one of these episode today (or ever) watch this one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reading Out Loud In Public

So I'm on this book tour. This means that, even though I haven't been writing posts over here, I have been contributing all kinds of stuff to other people's blogs. Over the last month I did several interviews and guest posts all while prepping my Shakespeare Camp (more on that later) and readying myself for my very first public reading.

If you're interested in the blog tour, I'll put a list of the posts/reviews that are already out at the bottom of this one.

Anyway, several months ago, I booked a public reading. I'd be appearing at Spalding University where I got my MFA, where I first sent in Awesome Jones as a raw manuscript, where I took the first fifteen pages of it to my very first writing workshop, and where I handed the book over to two talented, amazing authors (Crystal Wilkinson and Nancy McCabe) to read and comment. Now, a few years later, I would be returning to my writing home and reading from something that, while intensely personal, was also collaborative--I couldn't have written the book I did without the help of my mentors and writer BFF at Spalding.

I had months to prepare. I figured it would be a breeze.

Then, as the date of the reading drew closer, I realized how wrong I'd been. The months zipped by as I edited my next release, outlined the second Awesome Jones, scrapped that outline, did the blog tour, prepped the Shakespeare Camp, and got caught up with general, stressful life stuff. Suddenly, it was two days before the reading and I'd only managed to practice a handful of times.

Ok, here's the other thing. I was an actress. I grew up backstage and performed from the time I was a little girl. I never had issues with stage fright. I might get a few butterflies in the curtains but when my cue came, I strode on stage, found the light, and delivered like a pro. But, it's not the same when I read my own work. According to my brain, it's a wholly alien thing. My throat closes up. My palms sweat. My vision tunnels. My whole body betrays me. It's like all those years on stage never even happened.

So, sitting there, knowing my turn was next I started thinking to myself, "You can do this. You were Juliet. You were Beatrice. You were Meg. You can do this. It's just a few pages. You can do this. You can do this."

And when I got up there... Yeah, my voice cracked. My hands shook. And then I looked out into the audience and saw the people who had accepted me into their community and made me feel like it was ok to say that, "Yes, I am a writer," and I kept going. And it got better. I got more comfortable. I made them laugh. I slowly regained my ability to "feel" an audience. I gained purchase and I rode the wave. I breathed. I read.

Was I as clear or confident as when I was Juliet or Beatrice or Meg? No. But then I was burying myself in another character--here I was baring my soul to my family and friends and a ton of strangers and at the end they clapped and hugged me and lots of us cried.

Every reading from here on out will be different. I know that. I had a unique, beautiful experience with the people I loved and, for the most part, from now on I'll be talking to a room that includes my husband and some lady who wandered in from the rain. That's ok. I can hold this one close and remember that, "Yes, I am a writer."

That Blog Tour Stuff:
The Silver Petticoat: Interview
Watch Play Read: Review
Sheila Deeth Blog Guest Post: Love In A Superhero World
Bee's Knees Review: Review
Seers, Seraphs, and Immortals: Interview
Jorie Loves A Story: Review
Jorie Loves A Story: Interview
Workaday Reads Guest Post: Top Ten Superpowers
Beauty In Ruins: Character Post from Frank
I Smell Sheep Guest Post: Five Superpowers I Wouldn't Want
On Cloud Eight and a Half: Character Post from Julia
Come Selahway With Me: Interview
Fantastical Adventures Through The Paper Realm: Review

There are still more to come and I'll try to be better about posting them now that life is (slightly) less hectic!

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