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So Much Trek

"Pooh?" said Piglet. "Yes, Piglet?" said Pooh. "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra," said Piglet. "Shaka, when the wall fell," said Pooh.I ran across this awesome intersection of fandoms earlier this week, and it seemed an oddly appropriate reflection of how much Star Trek I’ve been watching recently. Especially since that flu bug circled back around this week, and I spent another day at home mostly trying to not fall asleep, but also continuing my Next Generation binge. I’m through all of the first season now. And hubs and I are up to date on Discovery.

My heart is somewhere in space, thinking about the strangeness of communication. As written up in The Atlantic‘s recap of the episode being mashed up in this week’s image, language is complicated enough that while we might understand words easily enough, understanding meaning and context is a whole other level of difficulty.

So seeing someone on Twitter geeking out in a completely different direction (and, frankly, one that is not in my interest zone) had me slow clapping earlier this week. Seriously, if more game makers put the level of intention and attention to “throw-away details” that is now evident in the new Assassin’s Creed… I might actually be enticed to play those games.

A more disturbing take on words and stories came from Vox on Wednesday:

On any given cultural issue, a look at the pop culture we make for teens will tell you both how we as a society think we should feel about the world and how we actually feel about the world.

This is probably another part of the reason I’ve backed off reading YA stories. I can feel the preaching and it turns me off. But the central thesis of this particular article is that the move away from dystopian fantasies to suicide fantasies is a stark warning for our society. Have we, as a society, become so nihilistic that suicide is the only answer? From a popular fiction perspective, that’s a disturbingly frequent solution.

For myself, the “Dave, the Period Fairy” story (which actually came out at about the same time as the Vox story) shows too much promise regarding communication, context, and understanding to give up hope that way. And brings us back full-circle to Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Cooperation, supported by the rich metaphors that surround us, is the only way we achieve anything meaningful–even in such solitary pursuits as writing.

My phone says I only averaged 3,917 steps each day last week, as we encourage Tashie to take it slowly, despite the exuberance her siblings continue to share with all of us.

And my WIP stayed buried under the avalanche of work and Trek. I think I may finally be to a point where my creative well is full enough to reimagine my Red Slaves stories in the way that makes them stronger and more enjoyable for everyone. Stay tuned next week. In the meantime, check out what my ROW80 partners are up to.

Cover Reveal: Blood Courtesans boxed set

I’m excited to help my author friend Jennifer James start promoting her latest venture–participation in a boxed set. Check it out if you’re in the mood for vampires and romance:

Blood Court boxed set
BOOK DETAILS:

Blood Courtesans: Awakenings
Boxed Set
Publication date: January 17th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:
Darkly decadent and sinfully sensual.

Enter a world where vampires are real, rich, hungry and meet the women who become their blood courtesans. Come let the fangs slip into your blood and awaken you to a whole new life. A boxed set of NEW stories in this popular series.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36388569-blood-courtesans-boxed-set

Pre-order:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=blood+courtesans+series&sprefix=blood+courtesans%2Caps%2C212&crid=2NH79DNEJY7JJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blood-courtesans-boxed-set-awakenings/id1295300606
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/blood-courtesans-boxed-set-awakenings-vampire-romance
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-courtesans-boxed-set-michelle-fox/1127212649

And since you’ve gotten this far, join the giveaway the authors have put together. Good luck to all!

Life Tip

Life Tip: When nothing goes right, go to sleepI wonder how much bad news humans can handle–asking for a friend. Despite how much I’ve backed off social media, and how much I’ve been bingeing Star Trek: The Next Generation, news keeps slipping in between the cracks. The writer friend who created #wordmongering lives in northern California. She was forced to grab her furbabies and husband and flee for their lives in the face of the inferno that has enveloped that region. She lost everything. Another writer friend had a different kind of family crisis.

Tonight I see #metoo trending in response to an entirely different kind of despicable series of reports in the past week. And I have to stand with the multitude of friends I’ve had to support through similar experiences. And question how I’ve managed to get off lightly with mere dick pics, unwanted advances, and catcalls.

This weekend, I slept. I’m not sure how much of a return of the flu bug this was (though I did have a fever and headache), versus how much the existential weight of it all just ground me into the pillows. Earlier in the week I’d read about tricks from neuroscience to help increase emotional intelligence. Which naturally reminded me of an old post about words for experiences and emotions that don’t exist in English.

All litost-inducing.

Which is why an article about Jeff Goldblum, all the Star Trek I can handle, and new research about skin pigmentation haplotypes really help with reminding me to smile.

As does this Honest Trailer:

Still no editing work. At least hubs and I have enjoyed watching Star Trek: Discovery together. That show’s writing has really hit its stride, and is starting to get into some fascinating scifi realms. As well as explaining how the so-advanced mycelium engine the ship sports didn’t make it into later generations of starships. (At least, speculatively, now that we’re five episodes in.) Some of the stiffness in characterization and dialogue is working itself out. The releationship between Michael and Tilly continues to evolve in a natural and affirming way, and I love the subtle parallelism that it takes both a senior and a junior officer to shake Michael back into her more human emotions. Having Michael at the emotional heart of the show rather than the captain makes for a different take on the franchise–as if it were somehow more accessible because she’s now a working grunt along with the majority of the rest of us.

I’m back to considering a sequel to The Builders or another book in the After the Fall series since my head is all in with space opera at the moment. But that would be letting down the people who are waiting on the final Red Slaves novel and breaking my promise to myself. Might be a different explanation for why I’m so very stuck on my editing process.

We are still walking though. The phone says I’ve averaged 4,130 steps per day this week. Surprisingly not as big of a drop-off as I’d imagined given the shorter walks we’ve been taking to help Tashie heal. Again.

To everyone else who is struggling: sleep is to be highly recommended. As is a cuddle-buddy. I’m grateful and lucky to have had both this weekend. My ROW80 buddies continue to report in despite obstacles; so will I.

Running Down Dreams

When we were trying to crawl through our nightmares, he taught us to "run down our dreams."It seems the old “it bleeds, it leads” adage is alive and thriving on the glut of death and disaster in our world. Last week it was enough to make me retreat, focus heavily on the safe space hubs and I have built together. And not blog. Even though Tom Petty’s death in particular hit me where I live. Not quite to the extent this author described, but the soundtrack of his songs is an underlying beat to my high school and college years. And back in the day when hubs was a rock critic for the Milwaukee daily paper, he got to spend a day with Petty, interview him, get to know him as a person in a way that affirmed the good-guy persona the rest of us caught glimpses of through his lyrics.

Apparently my inclination was not unusual, either. One of my favorite authors, Ilona Andrews, posted about the Fear Overload we’re facing at about the same time I took my break.

Unfortunately, my break was also driven by a cold/flu bug that had me sleeping through the first half of the week. The work requirements that are always heavy, though, didn’t slow down while I did, so the title theme of running down our dreams feels in many ways to me more like sprinting to catch up with the status quo.

Another piece of same old-same old was in play in late September, when the New York Times Book Review deigned to report on romances. What wasn’t expected was the Jezebel response, “How Not to Critique Romance Novels.” There was also the interesting push-back in Harper’s Bazaar entreating everyone to stop calling women nags, and several days later, the response reporting that emotional labor appears to have finally made it into the mainstream of understanding.

On the other hand, horrifying reporting out of Nevada, where a high density of retirees allows for rich predation by those claiming the mantle of “court-appointed guardian,” offered another possibility of a fear overdose.

My natural escape valve for all of this is speculative fiction. I’m thrilled that Star Trek: Discovery is underway. Despite my generalized annoyance with CBS pushing its app on us and therefore forcing us to pay an additional subscription fee in order to be able to watch the show… it’s actually worth it. The production values and story lines make the experience like watching an hour-long movie. The acting and characterization are fabulous. As a bonus, I get to see old episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation on demand.

None of this helps me with my goals, though, which remain:

  1. Finish edits on Dust to Blood and re-release it with its new cover.
  2. Edit Blood to Fire and re-release it with its new cover.
  3. Edit Fire to Dragon and release it.
  4. Walk at least a mile a day.
  5. Blog weekly with my ROW80 updates.
  6. Keep the sanctity of my weekly date night with hubs.

This Round, I’m also looking forward to having the first audio book version of one of my stories. I finally chose and signed an agreement with a narrator to at least take that task off my plate. We’ll see how the experience plays out.

Otherwise, there remain 72 days in this Round, and more things to do than I’ve managed in any given Round to date. So I’ll keep reporting and encouraging you to see how everyone else is doing.

Life Stages

Three stages of life: 1. Birth 2. What the fuck is this 3. DeathYesterday we celebrated both (Husky baby) KouKi’s third birthday and niece Karalynn’s fourteenth birthday. Facebook has been kind enough to remind me of all the other birthdays friends and family are facing this week as well. Given the stories I’ve heard and lived this year… this week’s image was too funny to pass up. It feels like everyone I know is asking one way or another, “what the fuck is this?!”

For myself, I can’t seem to get past the too much day job work hurdle to get back into the headspace required for editing. Given the pace of activities, I’m lucky I’ve been able to sneak time to refresh myself by reading. The series that currently has me in its spooky claws is Peri Jean Mace Ghost Thrillers. Gayla pointed me in this direction, and I swear she’s laughing at me every time I pick up the next book and have to quickly skim some of the most horrifying ghost scenes I’ve ever run across. I’ve read the first five, and even though horror is not really my genre, the characters are so real and the stories so well-crafted, I can’t NOT read the next in the series… though I do have to make sure I am reading in broad daylight, otherwise I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be sleeping at night.

In fact, tonight hubs went to a concert with some buddies and I had to call Gayla to keep me company and chase away the ghostly heebie-jeebies after finishing the latest installment. Then a spider surprised me in one of the pans I was going to use to cook dinner, and it was a whole different round of “what the fuck is this?!” I actually heard Gayla laughing at me for that one.

😀

We got the official diagnosis for Tashie this week: A torn ACL. In the same knee where she’d partially torn her MCL. We seem to have caught it early enough that she’s not suffering the way she did before. So we’re walking slower and shorter with her… but then taking separate walks with the other two to try to help her not over-tax herself. So my phone says I’ve averaged 4,519 steps this week.

Hubs and I also spent Friday night at home together, and watched the next two installments of The Orville. Most of the stories are still predictable with sophomoric humor, but have managed to hook us enough to keep watching for the moment. My main conclusion at this point is that it’s a Star Trek: Next Generation homage–and because of that most of what it’s succeeding at is making me nostalgic for one of my all-time favorite shows. Because The Orville is on Fox, though, we stumbled across Ghosted, a much more intriguing and promising show. It also has comic leanings–likely because Craig Robinson and Adam Scott play the leads–and seems like a take-off on The X-Files, with a twist of Warehouse 13 to it.

Since it’s the week between Rounds, I’ll keep it short and wish everyone well for the duties and tasks you face for the upcoming week. I’ll mainly be crossing my fingers that the next round of oral surgery I have scheduled for this week isn’t too debilitating. Check back next week to see how I fared.

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