Totally not evil

And we’re back for another insane and illogical installment of

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When we last left our heroes (in chapter one, chapter two, and the somehow-worse-than-both-previous-chapters-combined chapter three), T.J. and Rendar were on a secret mission that involved kissing awkwardly for A Totally Plausible Reason; Jen had just met a gorgeous, heroic, and trusted-completely-by-everyone sergeant named Steve; and in a thrilling science fictiony climax, there was a mighty space battle that concluded when  the Sffon Cruisers were tricked into destroying themselves via Three Stooges Pie Fight logic.

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In this chapter: T.J. and Rendar are attacked by the slowest moving fighter in the history of space warfare, Jessica receives a medal for her tactical genius, and we at last learn the identity of the Sffon spy. (Hint: It’s the guy smiling evilly at the camera when bad news arrives.)

Read on for the next ridiculous chapter of Fighting For the Galaxy…!

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Chapter 3: Which is somehow worse than the previous chapters combined

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Welcome back, eager readers, to the third installment of the thrilling, high-quality, not-at-all-silly science fiction masterpiece of my 13-year-old self,  Fighting For the Galaxy!

To get you in the right mood, here’s some heroic space battle music courtesy of YouTube:

And boy, is this a chapter deserving of epic music, as it features an ASTOUNDING space battle with a NOT AT ALL STUPID conclusion! Wow!

Of course, the majority of the chapter involves T.J. and Rendar reluctantly locking lips while Jess and Mark attend Jen’s totally rockin’ party, but what sci-fi fan isn’t dying to know how Mark and Jess met, or how cute Jen’s new guy, Steve, is? (Spoilers: He is TOTALLY cute.)

So, venture below, intrepid readers, and journey once more into the distant future of 2007…!

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In which there is more Fighting For the Galaxy

Welcome, friends, to another exciting installment of…

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But T.J., you may be saying (out loud to your computer). Didn’t we just have a Fighting For the Galaxy Friday Thursday yesterday?

And the answer is that yes, yes we did. But it has come to my attention that as today is actually Friday, I am honor-bound to provide another chapter of gif-laden science fiction dreck to you, my faithful readers, or risk tarnishing my good name forever.

So, put on your flight helmets and get into a consequence-free shouting match with your superior officer, because it’s time for another thrilling chapter of FIGHTING FOR THE GALAXY…!

When we last left our heroes, Commander T.J. Baer (and her faithful friends, Jen and Jess) had just refused to participate in a space battle against the murderous Sffon Collective because it was an obvious, neon-lights-flashing Trap. Captain Torel Abrigio, fingers planted firmly in his ears, dismissed T.J.’s warnings and ordered the fleet to proceed – and they were all blown to bits, including the majority of the planet Saturn (for some reason). When we rejoin our heroes, Captain Abrigio, T.J., Jess, Jen, and a few other survivors are facing down the fearsome Council of the Galactic Military to defend their actions.

And because I was thirteen when I wrote this, there will also be a swingin’ party where there are, like, boys and stuff.

AND NOW BACK OUR STORY:

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Fighting For the Galaxy Fridays

Summer, 1996: I was thirteen, and my mom, brothers, and I were living at my grandparents’ house until our new house was ready to move into. It was a good summer for many reasons (sword battles with curtain rods come to mind, for example), but it also marked a milestone in my life:

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It was the summer I wrote my first novel.

Holed up in my uncle’s old bedroom with its olive green carpeting and slightly sunken mattress, I spent night after night hunched over my mom’s word processor, listening to *insert 90s bands here* on the radio and composing what I hoped would be a science fiction masterpiece.

Said masterpiece was entitled, “Fighting For the Galaxy,” and was my first foray into the glorious realm of the Mary Sue. It starred  25-year-old Commander T.J. Baer of the Galactic Military, fighting alongside her best friends, Jen and Jessica, against the murderous Sffon Collective. It featured space battles, aliens, romance, betrayal, intrigue, inexplicably bikini-clad maids, and a guy named Rendar. And it was, I felt at the time, the finest thing I – or, quite possibly, any other author in the history of mankind – had ever written.

The other day, while going through a box of old writings, I found Fighting For the Galaxy. And I am here now to tell you that it is both phenomenally bad and completely hilarious. For those reasons, I will be sharing  it here on this blog as part of a regular installment I will be calling…

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Boom.

Of course, today is Thursday, but why split hairs when there’s awful, hilarious pseudo sci-fi to be shared?

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Being Luke Skywalker (and other dreams of an 11-year-old girl)

luke-rotjSo, when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be Luke Skywalker. Not whiny farmboy Luke or patience-challenged who-is-this-muppet-and-where-the-hell-is-Yoda Luke, but kick-ass, calm and cool and awesome Return of the Jedi Luke.

To pursue this lofty goal (as, I should mention, an 11-year-old girl living in small-town Pennsylvania), I did a number of things. First, wardrobe. Very important. Black shirt, black pants, black boots, black leather glove on one hand. Check. Next, attitude. I amassed an impressive amount of Jedi knowledge through meticulous study of the three Star Wars films and related books, magazines, etc. Finally, action. I fenced for hours with various lightsaber-esque weapons (sticks, curtain rods, ski poles, etc.), I rode my bike at breakneck speeds to emulate the desperate flight through the forests of Endor on speeder bikes, and most importantly of all, I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at rocks and pencils and various other small objects, attempting to move them with the almighty power of my mind. (Sadly, the Force was not strong with me, though I did get rather adept at subtly tilting the table so the pencil I was concentrating on MIRACULOUSLY AND AMAZINGLY began to move as I stared at it.)

And in the end, did I achieve my goal of becoming Luke Skywalker? Well…in fact, no. But my time in pursuit of Jedi-dom did mold my psyche in some pretty deep, lasting ways. My sense of right and wrong, my urge to help people who need it (despite my own rather strong introvert tendencies), and the general sense that there’s good in most people, even if they’ve gone a wee bit crazy and murdered half the galaxy while wearing a freaky black mask. (And really, haven’t we all been there?)

My point, I suppose, is that Luke Skywalker was probably the biggest fictional role model of my young life, and even today I can see his influence on the way I think and how I view the world. And really, I’m okay with that. I still think Luke’s pretty awesome, and he represents a lot of the things I aspire to be. Will I ever be able to move objects with my mind and do crazy flips and communicate telepathically with my sister who I absolutely was not hitting on just one movie ago? Alas, probably not. But I’d like to think that I can at least aspire to be a calm, in-control person who always tries to do what’s right, and maybe looks pretty spiffy dressed all in black.

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Wise words, Luke. Wise words.

Regarding my dad, who put up with a lot

So, Facebook has informed me that it’s Father’s Day weekend, and as Facebook has never lied to me before (except all those times it lied to me), I will take it at its word and blog accordingly.

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With that in mind, I thought I’d blog a bit about my dad, who is, after all, 50% responsible for my existing in the world, and that’s kind of a big deal (to me, at least). But more than just giving me the gift of existence, my dad also, as it happens, was a pretty awesome father.

Behold, an embarrassing photo of myself as a poofy-haired ironing board wearing someone’s grandmother’s dress:

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My dad, you may be surprised to learn, is the gentleman in the back-right of the photo. In case you’re still straining to pick him out, here’s a handy close-up:

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My dad, sadly, passed away of a heart attack when I was twelve, which was particularly illogical because his heart was easily the strongest part of him. He had a bit of a temper, he could paint an elaborate tapestry with swear words, and he never shirked from punishing me when I did something really wrong – but I never doubted for a second that he loved me. He was always gentle, always kind, always affectionate and loving, and the saddest thing, I think, is that I never had the chance to tell him how much I appreciated that.

As kids, we’re all selfish little brats sometimes (or a lot of the time, in my case), and then we grow into obnoxious emo teenagers, and then finally we move away from home and become semi-sensible adults who can look back on all the temper tantrums and emo poetry and say to our parents, “Man, I’m sorry you had to put up with all that.”

I can offer such apologies to my mom, but sadly my dad never got the chance to see me move out of the brat phase and become a (mostly) non-bratty adult. And I really regret that. I know he loved me, but I wish I could’ve had the chance to show him that all the lessons he and my mom tried to instill in me did stick, and I’m a better person today because of what I learned from him.

Anyway, a few memories of my dad that always make me smile:
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Tath Matherhorse and the Gentle Kiss of the Wind

Horror of horrors, I just came across the original version of my fantasy novel, penned when I was around fifteen. Sadly, my fifteen-year-old self thought that good writing meant cramming as many adjectives as possible into a single sentence, and likewise thought it was a brilliant idea to name a character “Tath Matherhorse.”

Actual lines from the story:

A soothing darkness had fallen over the camp, and Nicholas lay on his back in the grass, staring up into the thickening night sky through the breaks in the trees. The gentle kiss of the night wind brushed against his face, tickling the new growth of facial hair that was sprouting on his chin even as it brushed the hair back from his forehead.

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What’s more, Nicholas and Kaine are hilariously heterosexual in this version, and (SPOILER) Kaine dies at the end – but not before randomly siring a child so his legacy may live on! (Seriously, he shows up at some woman’s door, says the gods sent him, and they immediately proceed to make a baby. That’s how it works, right?)

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I do have to give my younger self credit for actually sticking with the story long enough to finish it, and for including some not entirely awful plot points and action scenes.

But yes, advice to young writers:  The wind should not be gently kissing anyone’s stubble. Just something to keep in mind. It’s this kind of thing that invariably leads us to sparkling vampires.