Back to Day 6 of Story-a-Day May


Yesterday, I did more rewriting, but I also added a short scene to the other work in progress, The Book of Astrophilia. And I’m going to post it, but I’m not going to give any backstory or explain anything. Because.

“Well?” Shalanda asked Tas. Tas had yet to leave the mortuary archive office, pacing behind Shalanda while Shalanda finished up her report on the dead engineer.

“Get him out. You could do it. You have more freedom than anyone.”

“I thought,” Shalanda said, turning away from her computer, “you were all Miracle June! Miracle June!”

Tas stopped pacing. She smiled her sly smile. “But she’s fine, isn’t she? You heard Marcel. They’re back on the ship, we’re leaving the port, and the students are fine.” She paused. “Except for the one. Omaze?”

“Kazu Omaze, and he’s a bit more than not fine. They should be bringing his body along any time. Oh. You want to see it, don’t you? The slit in his throat.”

“Marcel said Ethorian.”

“You don’t trust my reports?”

“I trust you to the end of the Oort Cloud, but I still like to see things for myself. But you know that’s not why I’m here.”

Shalanda sighed. “Right. Your dad. I’m supposed to stroll into the Prison Nebula and walk out with him.”


Shalanda leaned forward and lowered her voice. “We’re Archivists. Not gods.”

Tas leaned in close as well. “Really?”

The whir of a gurney echoed down the corridor. They were bringing Kozu Omaze’s body to the morgue. Shalanda laughed resignedly. “All right. What’s the plan, my lovely Tas, goddess and guiding star?”

Thanks again for reading!

Day 2 of Story-a-Day May!

2010-10-24 16.09.54

I’m not posting entire stories, but here’s the beginning of what I worked on today. This is back story for a manuscript in progress–The Book of Astrophilia. It is my sci-fi fairy tale. And this bit tells about a few of the passengers (secondary characters) on a ship traveling the stars.

The sisters, Jezebel and Skye, smuggled food from the kitchens to the boy they kept hidden in their room. Fabule Earl didn’t eat much, and between them, the girls provided just enough food to keep him quiet. Although he would’ve stayed quiet anyway. He’d do anything for the twins, especially Skye, whose blank, black eyes never saw him but whose hand always held his when he had bad dreams.

The backstory isn’t actually very long. I just explain their motivations and why Fabule loves one sister more than the other and why they’ve hidden him away in their cabin. Of course, they aren’t the main characters of the novel, but I like knowing why everyone in my stories is doing whatever it is they’re doing. Who knows how much of that backstory will make it into the final draft.

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow I hope to work on another story.

So Fairy Tale

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman this weekend. Of course. It’s a fairy tale, after all.

I liked it, too.

In the film, I saw images that reminded me of many other films. No, not much reminded me of Disney. Thank goodness. While I love many Disney films, Snow White’s singing hurts my ears.

One review mentioned this new Snow White had a Lord of Rings moment. I suppose. I won’t argue.

What surprised me was when it reminded me–for only a few seconds–of Krull. Remember that? (Yes, I came of age in the eighties.)

Near the end, this new Snow White reminded me of Willow–and not because of the dwarves (which weren’t played by dwarves anyway).

Oh. And part of it reminded me of Princess Mononoke.

The movie, Snow White and the Huntsman is new, but Snow White is an old story. Seems fair to me. Countless stories have borrowed from fairy tales, why shouldn’t a new fairy tale borrow things back?

What influences a writer or a filmmaker anyway? Do they even fully know?

three arts in a tub,
and who do you think were there?
The writer, the painter, the modern filmmaker,
and all of them gone to the fair.

Perhaps they spend all their time at the fair to beg, borrow, and steal. Don’t you think so?

Why do you think fairy tales appear popular again? Just this evening I watched the final episode of the BBC’s new Sherlock. Moriarty plays his crime as a fairy tale complete with bread crumbs and an apple (Snow White, anyone? Anyone?). Not to mention those fairy tale based TV shows I keep hearing about (but have not watched, must confess).

Will fairy tales ever go away?

Why do I even write them (such as mine are)?

my castle

Do you have a favorite fairy tale? Which fairy tale should filmmakers re-imagine next?

Once upon a time there was a writer, and her Muse kept her locked in room because the writer had claimed she could spin words into gold. The Muse waited, taunting the writer with bright and pretty ideas.

One day an agent appeared before the writer and said, “If you can find the magic words I’m looking for in all the dross you’ve piled high around you, I’ll publish your writing and you’ll be free.” The writer knew in her heart this was a trick, but she was under a spell and had to do as she was told.

She’s locked away in that room still, writing and writing, waiting for a publisher to call her name.

“That’s a fairy tale.”

“Aren’t we all?”

Where’s my time machine?

When you think time machine, don’t you imagine the chance to go anywhen. And probably anywhere, but there’s no promise that a time machine will move through space as well as time. (Unless, you know, you’re a Time Lord.)

But why is that our idea of a time machine? That the machine would move us from one point to another. Like a Delorean.

Maybe a time machine could be fit on a desk, and when you need that extra hour in your day, you turn it on, and presto! Out comes your hour. Maybe you could feed time you don’t want into it too. Is that hour dragging by? Let the machine handle it. You could get that time back later when you want the party to last a little longer.

Would you want your own time machine?

Though it may cause trouble with different machine creating different amounts of time. There might be huge time differences from one house to the next.

Now there’s a story idea…

Trouble with Tribbles and Lieutenant Uhura

We made a tribble.

My son loves the original Star Trek. He wants a model Enterprise, and he spent some time this evening trying to draw one. My son never takes half an interest in anything. He has his Star Trek action figures (though from the recent film, not the series), he has a Star Trek calendar, he wants to find a pattern to make an origami Enterprise (no luck there yet), and he wants a Lego Enterprise as well.

Tonight we made a tribble. More accurately, we took one of the torn up dog toys, salvaged the good parts, and stitched it together into a ball-like shape. Tribble! My son fell asleep with it, but I took it away and put it on a shelf lest the dog try to take it back.

But as we were working on other projects this evening, my 8-year-old son asked, “Why didn’t they give lieutenant Uhura more stories where she can be the hero?” While I struggled with how to answer this, he added, “Aren’t there any where she’s the hero?”

We’ve been going through the old series on Netflix, and I can’t recall if Uhura could be called the hero of any of them.

How do you explain a problem in the world without sounding…well, I don’t know, but I want to sound sane and reasonable when I talk to my son…nor do I want to end up sounding condoning of a way of thinking… It’s complicated!

But I told him that in those times women just weren’t given much to do in stories, and African-American women certainly weren’t. And times haven’t changed much. “How many shows do you watch where you see a black woman get to do much of anything?” I asked him.

He thought about it. “Not any.” He thought some more. “That doesn’t make any sense. That should change. I like Uhura. She could save people. She’s always helping.”


I looked for a video of Uhura that showed her fighting (she does!) but mostly all I found were videos that focused on the kiss between her and Kirk or on how sexy she was. This says something about the state of things in 2011. Oh well, She did have a lovely voice, and this little song she sang to Spock, stuck in my head for years–not the words, but the tune.

Uhura is cool.

Where Every Man Has Gone Before

My 8-year-old son has taken an interest in the original Star Trek series. I loved it when I was a kid, and while usually the kiddo professes to dislike any television I like (i.e. Doctor Who), he will ask to watch this show from the late 1960s.

This evening we watched the episode Mudd’s Women, and when the women in question beamed aboard the ship, I said rather offhandedly while struggling with gift wrap, “Here comes trouble.”

My son asked, “What do you mean?”

I thought about an answer while my son watched the men of the Enterprise watch the women walk across the room.

“Oh,” my son said. “I think I know what you mean.”

“You do?”

“They’re going to distract the men, aren’t they?”

“Well, yes. Yes, they are.”

Kids. Not as oblivious as you think–or as you wish.