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Ten years ago, I sat in a car waiting to go onboard a ferry wondering, “How can I get out of this?”

I’ve spent the time since asking, “How can I get back?”

 

On July 10, 2004, I was away from home for the first time. I was on a trip to a Stargate convention in Vancouver, and through lots of planning and setups it had been decided that it would be much easier to meet up with friends near Seattle and just drive up rather than dealing with customs at the airport. Crossing the border in a car was, I imagine, infinitely easier than flying, and I’m basing that solely on how long the lines probably would have been. At that point Seattle was just a convenient stepping stone for me. I didn’t give it a second thought. When the people I met up with planned a side trip on the drive up to Canada, THAT was when I started having second thoughts. They wanted to go whale watching, which would have involved being on two boats. I was in no way a fan of that idea, so I spent most of the morning trying to think of ways to get out of it without looking like a dork.

People who have only known me for the past couple of years may be frowning at their screens right now. “You didn’t want to go on a boat? You didn’t care about Seattle?” Yep. I had no interest in Seattle. I actively tried to get out of going to San Juan Island and I only went to save face. If someone had given me the red pill/blue pill option of getting out of it with no stigma, I would have without a doubt stayed on the mainland.

I’m not sure when the shift happened. I think it might have been on the ferry to the island. It was just so beautiful and peaceful, and I remember walking around the ferry deck and just staring at everything. I got so many pictures of that ferry ride that I almost didn’t have enough film for the actual island. We went whale watching, and that might have sealed the deal. I was on a little boat out in the middle of this vast body of water (land was in sight, but I was farther from it than I’d ever been) and there were KILLER WHALES close enough to touch. They were playful buggers, too… they spent most of their time hanging out around another boat. When we turned to go back in they immediately came over and chased us. You could almost hear them saying “Aw, come on, don’t go away! We’ll play with you too!”

Afterward we were waiting for the ferry and I wanted to call my parents with an update. So I had to find a payphone (ten years ago! It’s like the past!). There was one between two restaurants, and I looked out over the harbor while I was talking. That’s the moment I think about when my mind wanders back to that day. I remember standing there in the mid-sixty temperatures (in JULY!) and thinking, “This place is special.” At the time I was setting my original stories around Chicago just because it was Random Midwestern Town. That day I decided I would move my characters to a Pacific Northwest island. Why not? What could it hurt?

To this day, I think the Squire’s Isle setting was a big part of what made On the Air special. It was a fine story and I stand by it, but would it have been as good if it was just some random town? Maybe. But I built up my little island during that story, and I fell in love with it in the process. I fell in love with the idea of this beautiful little paradise tucked away in the corner of the country where one woman took a stand and changed things for everyone who lived there.

Ten years have passed. I was an unpublished author standing on an island en route to a Stargate convention. Now I’m a published author who has an official Stargate SG-1 title to my name. I made the conscious decision to move my characters to Washington State, and when Tello decided they wanted to produce Riley Parra, I couldn’t help but laugh when they said they would be filming it in Chicago (of all my stories, that one has the most Chicago-ish setting). It seems ironic that I made the changes, got to this point, and now I’m back where I began but in a much bigger way. I went to the convention as a fan, and now I’m a tie-in author. I moved my characters away from Chicago to give them life and now a producer wants to bring some of them back. It has a beautiful full circle feel to it.

Ten years ago, I was dragged to an island I didn’t care about. I spent maybe a grand total of four hours there, but in a much more accurate sense, I never really left.

 



To anyone who thinks my writing has dried up this year, you would not be wrong! It looks like I’ve gone from 100,000 words a month to barely anything at all. The truth is that I AM writing, it’s just that it’s stuff I can’t share, and it requires a heck of a lot of detail work. Firstly I wrote the first draft of an official Stargate SG-1 novel for Fandemonium! I adore SG-1, but the pressure of writing something that was contracted and would have to pass through MGM’s filter was… daunting. I wanted to go through every scene with a fine-toothed comb to make sure it was juuust right. But I got a draft I’m happy with, the contract is winging its way overseas as we speak for their John Hanc– wait, what’s the British version of a signature? The… Magna Carta? Well, whatever it’s called.

Secondly, Tello Films asked me to write a script for a webseries based on Riley Parra! So I had to devote some time to getting that just right and perfect. Plus I had to teach myself how to write a script! Scrivener is amazing, and amazingly intuitive, but there was still a bit of poking that needed to be done before I could produce anything on it. And there were a lot of changes that had to be made story-wise… for instance, if I didn’t alter Priest’s introduction to the series, there was a chance she wouldn’t show up at all. As important as Priest is, that would be wholly unacceptable. But I found a way to get her in without compromising the story. I think it’s gonna be great. ;D

Now one of the main things that people may be scrambling for is another Underdogs story. The production of those may seem to have dried up a whole lot lately, and I can’t blame that on Riley/Stargate. The problem there is… time. There’s barely a month (about six weeks, I think) between “Beware of Wolf’s last scene and opening scene to Dogs of War. That’s not a whole lot of time to have stories. There’s also the fact I’m writing these semi-chronologically, and right now (March 2014) is AFTER the events of the third novel (which takes place during the month of January 2014) so I’m sort of stuck thinking of what they’re doing now (uh, assuming they both survive Book 3. YOU NEVER KNOW. I could pull a Joss Whedon (I will not pull a Joss Whedon (at least not with this particular novel))). I could always go back and fill in some space between Underdogs 1 and 2 (and that’s what I’m planning to do) but the muse doesn’t like throwing things in reverse. I want to address things that happen in Dogs of War, but I know I can’t do that until summer (at the very least).

So I do have inspiration, I have a lot of stories for Ari and Dale. I just can’t tell them without spoiling you for some big developments that are waiting to be explored in the novel.

And that’s the gist! Big projects all around, a little life stuff I won’t go into, and trying to get back into the swing of things while also knowing I could be called away at any moment to work on one of the big projects. I started this year knowing I more than likely would not hit 1,000,000 words again, so I’m not too bummed that I’m not keeping up with the past few years’ output. The few things I HAVE written are so big that I’m not worried there aren’t more little stories to share freely. Maybe now I can focus on those little stories a little more. ::fingers crossed::