Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 26: The Letter Z


Zeppelin
The Universe and You
Space Corps Book 7

Zeppelin is part of The Universe and You as a representation of the colony on Wanethrex's past.  The colony as you may or may not remember is my pastiche on one of the elements from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, one of the least popular movies in that franchise.  It's the focus of the story that ends the Space Corps saga, a prequel, because it returns the heavy focus to the relationship between humans and the Danab, which is also the focus of Seven Thunders, the manuscript I finished last month.  (As for where that manuscript actually ends up, who knows?  It's not the only one I've got sitting around.)  Zeppelin only shows up when everyone realizes that the problems of the present are reflective of the problems of the past.  And that's the whole point of everything, really.

Here's a way to remind yourself of everything I've yammered about in the Space Corps saga this month:


A collection I'm putting together of all the short stories I've written.
Iron Joe (I Day)
Lord Phan (P Day)


Sigmund Alexander (A Day)
Randall Flint (F Day)
Jacques Mendez (M Day)
Mackenzie Reyes (R Day)
Udon (U Day)


Owen Casper (C Day)
Robert Drummond (D Day)
Alanna Kor (K Day)
Helen Larkin (L Day)
Xanthus (X Day)


Odin Gram (G Day)
Craig Hudson (H Day)
Leonard Veitch (V Day)


Kela Bogh (B Day)
Joaquin Elster (E Day)
Lord Phan (P Day)
Ott Sader (S Day)
David Yates (Y Day)


Odlaw (O Day)
Tsan (T Day)
Miranda Weaving (W Day)


Joaquin Elster (E Day)
Randall Flint (F Day)
Lord Phan (P Day)


Yen Jab (J Day)
Zeppelin (Z Day)


Robert Drummond (D Day)
Lance Nolan (N Day)
Qatar (Q Day)

I've yammered about all of these and none of them technically exists, so I figured you might like a mock look at their covers, to give a different kind of context at the end of it.

***

Kyle Zufalo
Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 1

Right, and so we conclude our alphabetical adventures with the one death in the first volume of warrior orphan Yoshimi's adventures that emotionally affects her current self, the fifteen year old girl who is experiencing this story.  Kyle is a member of the Shadow Clan.  He's the third one she faces, but she manipulates Ms.Wilson into dealing with him, and ends up regretting it.  Kyle is the first character to face the business end of the Scimitar blade.  It's a soft start to the real consequences of what's happening around her. He's not the last such death.  

Truthfully, I don't care if you ended up caring about Yoshimi or the Space Corps.  I thought I did at the start of the month and even yesterday, but the truth is, this was probably a stupid mistake on my part.  None of this is anymore real for you now than it was on April Fools Day.  It was all just another thing you visited during the Challenge, and probably grew pretty repetitive and you started glossing over it before very long.  I did this because I simply wanted to talk about them in a public forum.  It made them more real for me.  You don't make wide awareness for things in an exercise like this.  This is all about self-promotion, making people care about you.  I guess I now realize that I'm just not that kind of blogger.  I'm not that kind of guy.  I'm rife with opinions and tastes that don't translate well to a lot of other people, even when a lot of other people are aware of the same things, even like the same things.  I'm the guy who liked Captain Janeway, even after "Equinox."  I'm the guy who actually thinks Bush was not a horrible president, but rather a president under horrible circumstances, sometimes of his own making.  I'm the Catholic who won't spend his time trying to get other people to understand his faith, or identify him with his faith (even though I've got two manuscripts that attempt to make sense within the context of fiction what my faith means to me).  Yes, Catholics along with other Christians are called to be evangelists.  But in our Western world we've built up an intolerance to faith. So I spend my time talking about pop culture.  I talk about pop culture because that's what's relevant to me as a writer.  I'm not relevant to anyone as a writer.  Doesn't matter.  Sometimes wasting your time is the only thing that matters.  If you think about it, pretty much everything we do is about wasting our time.  We've got time to waste.  Everything we do is a game to pretend that we're improving ourselves, being better than we are.  We judge others because we want to believe we're ahead of the game.  The real trick is that the game's on us.  Every time I'm in the position of judging someone else, it hurts me.  Not in a karmic sense.  Well, maybe in a karmic sense.  I'm of the philosophy that we don't surround ourselves with the things we've embraced but rather what remains after what we've chosen to reject.  I'm constantly aware of that in my life.  I'm constantly trying to add back in.  It isn't easy.  Sometimes I'm simply reminded why I rejected it in the first place.  In the best of all possible worlds, everything isn't perfect, but rather you're able to ignore completely what you don't want to acknowledge.  Lots of people exist in that world.  It's not actually the best of all possible worlds, then.  It's the worst.

Enough yapping.

***

April was also the first month of baseball for the 2013 season.  It's been interesting to track the progress of the four teams I've learned to embrace over the years.  The Red Sox started out really strongly, which was a relief after a miserable 2012 campaign.  The Angels have been doing pretty horribly, and two players that are otherwise remarkable have been pretty mediocre so far.  The A's have been doing really well.  The Cardinals have been doing fine.  I figure I'll continue talking about their fortunes, maybe once a week.

Monday, April 29, 2013

571. Liebster



Last year I brushed off an award I received thanks to the A-to-Z exposure, but I figured I'd take a similar honor a little more seriously this time.  Y'know, just because.  But because I yam who I yam, I'll still play by my own rules.

The Liebster Award so far as I can tell is yet another way for bloggers in this community to spread themselves around a little, increase awareness.  When I get to the part where I pass it along to others, you'll see how I most intend to subvert the process.

First things first, though, is the trivia.  Because I'm doing everything by the number 13 rather than the 11 I got from the Armchair Squid, who's a friend of Mock's he's always referencing and I finally visited this month (and thank goodness because he talked about comics throughout the Challenge), here's some useless knowledge for you:


  1. Growing up my favorite stuffed animal was Tigger (as in Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, or something like that).  It wasn't until later, after I'd thoroughly enjoyed Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes (which is ongoing, just to make that clear), that I started to realize that I had my very own Hobbes.
  2. I played the violin growing up.  I've got one that my grandfather made.  It stands to reason that he's the reason I took the instrument up.
  3. Do you have any idea what a melaphone is?  It's basically a trumpet mixed with a French horn.  It's what I learned to play when it became clear that a violin was not a perfect fit for a traditional middle school band.
  4. Speaking of the French horn, I learned to play the melaphone as a transition to playing that instrument.  I kept playing until high school, which was also the last time I played the violin.  The French horn killed the violin.
  5. My mother watched Star Trek when it was originally aired in the '60s.  She gets emotional anytime she watches Star Trek II: The Search for Spock.  I watched the original series in '80s syndication.  I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation more regularly when it went into second-run syndication (which was a nightly ritual in my family), although I remember obsessing over the final episode in 1994.  My brothers watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from the start, but I didn't catch it until late in the second season, but it was my favorite of all the series by the third.  I watched Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise from start to finish.
  6. As a kid, my favorite superheroes were Spider-Man and Robin.  I didn't read comic books until later.  Instead I followed them in other ways, such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Batman (via Adam West and Burt Ward).  I adopted Green Lantern as another favorite entirely on the basis that he was so closely identified with the color green (which as I've referenced recently is also part of why I became a fan of the baseball team Oakland Athletics).  My interest has since grown more sophisticated.
  7. I can't speak French.  My parents spoke it as their secret language when they didn't want us kids knowing what they were saying.  They both learned it from growing up much more closely to the generation of French Canadians who migrated to New England in the early 20th century.  In high school and college, French classes were some of the worst torture I ever endured.  On 9/11, I was in the cafeteria when the planes were hitting.  I went to a literature class, but when the reality of what was happening started sinking in, it was a French class that was the first one I didn't attend.  Naturally everyone was excused for such behavior that day, but I sure as hell didn't miss the class at all.  I don't learn language the way they teach it in school.
  8. That may also be why I was technically held back from kindergarten.  When they were administering their tests for entrance, I guess I didn't meet their expectations.  This meant I was usually about a year older than anyone else in my class.  Since my birthday is in September, I guess that's why it happened to begin with.  I'm always on the bubble with these kinds of evaluations (which is the way the world works, unfortunately).
  9. I'm not an idiot, though.  Although compared to my brothers, who both graduated valedictorian in high school, maybe I am.  Though I'm much more well-read, comic books or regular books.
  10. I have two brothers and two sisters.  Both my grandmothers died before my parents met.  They grew up in Blackstone, Massachusetts, and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, which are right next to each other.  They lived within walking distance of each other (although my mother is about ten years older).  One of my dad's brothers actually met my mother before he did.  My dad was serving in the Air Force, deployed to Thailand during the Vietnam War, when he received the news of his mother's death.  My mother lived with her father, as much for him as for her after her mother's death.  She was a competitive roller skater, but had moved on from that after the local rink (which was in her backyard) burned down.  To help keep her father active she took up square dancing.  It was in this activity that my mother and father met.  That technically makes them squares.  I have never engaged in this peculiar activity.  Perhaps this is how Ted meets his wife in How I Met Your Mother?
  11. John F. Kennedy was a flashpoint for both my parents.  My dad remembers he was sitting on a wall when he heard about the assassination.  My mother made a robe for Kennedy.  She remained pretty obsessed with him, though she eventually grew disenfranchised the more his personal failings came to light.  I trace my own obsession back to them.  One of the more embarrassing mistakes I've made in my life was when I read a biography in middle school and mistook the word "motorcade" for "motorcycle" and became convinced that I'd learned a sensational new detail about the assassination.  In addition to Lee Harvey Oswald, there had been a motorcyclist who sped by Kennedy's car and shot him!  Yeah, well obviously that didn't happen.  I don't remember if I simply forgot about it, realized my mistake, ...or just started accepting the familiar reports like everyone else.  For all I know, the cover-up continues!  Zapruder missed the motorcyclist!  The conspiracy lives!
  12. Stephen King grew up in Durham, Maine.  He went to Lisbon High School.  Famously, English teacher Prudence Grant told him he couldn't write very well.  Years later I had her as a teacher as well.  Most students hated her.  I found her to be pretty awesome.  King also attended the University of Maine in Orono.  He wrote an opinion column for the student newspaper Maine Campus.  I also attended UMaine, and wrote for the opinion section of Maine Campus.  King returned to give a speech while I was still attending.  I got there early, sat in the back.  A news reporter asked if I'd like to shoot an interview.  I declined.  I didn't read King until college, and I started with The Gunslinger, the first book in the Dark Tower series.  It was almost the last.  I thought it was pretty horrible (other than the opening line "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed," which was something he'd written while at UMaine).  I gave him another chance, possibly because of the book Faithful, which he was fortuitously writing during the 2004 Red Sox season, which saw the end of the Curse.  I read more as I moved to Colorado.  King also lived in Colorado, where the inspiration for The Shining hit him.  A car hit him about a decade back, and you can find its lingering influence in pretty much everything he's written since.
  13. Yes, there has technically been trivia in this about people other than me.  This last item is definitely only about me.  I started wearing glasses in first grade.  The first time I noticed a real difference in my vision was the first time I went to school after damaging my glasses.  When I was even younger, I once put on a pair of white frames, like predicting the future.  I do not have a pair of white frame glasses, though.  (Although that would be cool.)  Predictably, with vision that got bad so early it only got progressively worse as I got older.  I subsequently earned the traditional distinction of the Coke bottles, like a regular Professor Farnsworth.  
Good news, everyone!  We've only got several thousand more words to go before this Liebster post is over!  (This may be another reason why I didn't do this last time.  Either I write short and pithy or I drone on and on...)

Squid only had had eleven questions, so I'll just have to pretend there are two extra ones as I answer them...

  1. If you could relive one year of your life again, which would you choose and why?  I think 1998 was a fairly important one as far as my creative development goes.  So that one wouldn't be so bad.
  2. If you could be good or better at one thing without putting in the time and work, what would it be?  Getting people to consider me a good first or second option for anything.  Honestly, I don't know what I can do differently myself at this point, so having a wizard do it would be really nice.
  3. You've been invited to join a bowling league and you may choose any five people to be on your team.  There's just one catch: you can only pick fictional characters.  Whom would you choose?  Well, obviously not Mr. Burns.  But the rest of the Pin Pals would be a great start.  That would give me Homer Simpson, Moe, Otto, and Apu.  I'd take Dr. Sheldon Cooper as a fifth, and we'd be named the Wesley Crushers (not the Wesley Crushers, not the Wesley Crushers).
  4. How do you really feel about pears?  I'm not passionate one way or another.  I only eat them in a fruit medley, though.
  5. How do you feel about the metric system?  Honestly, it's one of the earliest ways I learned that different cultures really are different.  And strange.  Different and strange.
  6. The Doctor knocks on your door.  He'll take you to visit any place on Earth at any point in history (he always seems to make the choices in interstellar travel).  Where and when do you choose?  This question, for those and who don't know, refers to Doctor Who.  I suppose in relation to that I would go back to 1999-2000 and take up that offer from one of my college friends at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, where I attended my freshmen year, to watch some of his Doctor Who.  Because I still haven't gotten around to it.  I watched some of the Eccleston version, though, when it was playing in the States for the first time, but that's about it.
  7. If you could learn any new language, which would you choose?  Well, I suppose French would be nice, to actually learn it rather than basically study it.  But if I take the phrasing literally, and it's a "new" language, it'll have to be the one the alien overlords speak when they finally come.  
  8. You have one personal quality which eventually annoys everyone in your life including, on occasion, you.  What is it and do you feel it's within your power to change it?  My dad dealt with frustration by getting angry.  As a result, I do the same.  Except by "frustration," I've tended to take a lot of what I experience by that mood.  Everything irritates me.  If people around me were more generous about it, I could be a regular Larry David.  I don't mask this.  Well, I try and be tactful about it, but it's pretty obvious.  I've got an expressive face.  I don't like the idea of being phony.  If that's how I am feeling, then I can't just pretend that everything's fine.  An entire day can be ruined.  Once it starts it's hard to stop.  And you have no idea how much of common everyday behavior can easily bother someone like me.  You don't want to be employed in basically any of the jobs I've had if you've got this personality.  But because I'm terrible about handling my personal affairs, that's what I've got.  If I could change that, if I could play nice with others (although people generally like me, because I've got other personality quirks that they admire), that would be nice.  How to do that?  I have no idea.
  9. If you knew when you were younger what you'd be doing with your life now, how might you have planned things differently?  Do you think your life would truly be better if you had?  My life is pretty crappy.  It's been pretty crappy.  Yet I'm stuck in the difficult position of justifying it because creatively, I'm happy with what I've written, and what I've had to experience to write it, even if I've had no luck getting other people to care.  The real trick is, if I were happier, would I be a better or worse person?  Would I have accomplished anything that I personally could be proud of?  Again, I have no idea.  There are so many instances I can think of that if I'd made a different choice, I'd be leading a different life.  And yet as a writer, I know I'm better now than I've ever been.  If I'd written Tug Rushmore, for instance, like I wanted to straight out of college, would that be remotely worth reading today?  I still haven't written it, by the way.  It would have been my first book.  Instead I didn't start writing a book until about a year after graduating, when I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time.  Do I in fact grow more content with myself the worse my life becomes?  
  10. If all went south and you had to turn to a life of crime (assuming you haven't already), what line of dirty work would you choose?  Preferably one with as little risk as possible. Because like Fang I'm a bloody coward.  Probably something that would be very clever, like being a confidence man.  
  11. How do you get your geek on?  With comic books, science fiction, TV, professional wrestling.  Everyone's geeky about something, though.
  12. What makes you so wise?  I once ordered a burger, and it came with fries.  That's why I'm so wise.
  13. You just made that up?  No, that's a poem I wrote a few years ago.  If you like that, you'll like this one better: I did not order green eggs and ham.  I did not say my name was Sam.
Anyway, now is the point where I pass the Liebster Award to others.  Traditionally you apparently tell the recipients directly.  I'm not going to do that.  A good number of them don't even read my blog(s).  I'm simply going to direct you to thirteen blogs I enjoy:


  1. Do you have TV shows you watch obsessively?  Tell me about that.
  2. Do you have a movie or movie series you obsess over?  Tell me about that.
  3. Do you have an author you obsess over?  Tell me about that.
  4. Anything interesting about your hometown?  Tell me about that.
  5. Traveled a lot?  Tell me about that.
  6. Is there something you really hate?  Tell me about that (because it's not the Internet unless someone's talking about something they really hate).
  7. Do you have any great fears?  Tell me about that.
  8. Have any even tenuous associations with famous people?  Tell me about that.
  9. Have any relatives you want to talk about?  Tell me about that.
  10. Do you know the answer to life? the universe? everything?  Tell me about that.
  11. Is there a movie you thought was better than the book?  Tell me about that. 
  12. Do you have a favorite historical figure?  Tell me about that.
  13. Have you ever had a favorite comic strip?  Tell me about that.
That's it, really.  I switched the number to thirteen mostly because it's 2013.  I'm am amateur obsessive-compulsive type.

A-to-Z Challenge Day 25: The Letter Y


David Yates
The Feud We Keep With Space
Space Corps Book 4

I've referenced previously how The Feud We Keep With Space took a good portion of its shape from 9/11.  With the recent Boston explosions we were once again confronted with terrorists who were anything but the WASP archetype that still dominates the American social landscape.  I seriously entertained the possibility that it was just a regular Bostonian who was responsible.  From Oklahoma City to the presidential assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and Kennedy (McKinley sort of counts, too), plenty of homegrown monsters have preyed on the public, not to mention all the school shootings or serial killers.  Anyway, David Yates exists as a reflection of this rather than the paradigm shift.  Jack Bauer need not investigate.  The interesting thing about Yates is that he's exactly the reverse of the new template.  Like John Frederick Paxton  in Star Trek: Enterprise (watch the two-part episode "Terra Prime"/"Demons," especially for the last spotlight on the Trip/T'Pol relationship with an incredible emotional climax), he's a xenophobe (so he's also an ideological descendant of Sigmund Alexander, whom you met all the way back on A Day) who violently opposes aliens on Earth.  There are some great Superman comics from Geoff Johns where he visits the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes and confronts this issue, too.

Yoshimi
Yoshimi Trilogy

Seriously, there's literally no other character more relevant as a listing for Y Day than Yoshimi, because her namesake story...is about her.  So let's recap everything we know about her.  Yoshimi's parents died when she was five.  She was subsequently placed in thirty-six foster homes, but rebelled against the concept to such an extent that eventually it was decided that it was a really bad idea.  "Uncle Henry," a.k.a. Alan Babbage, finally decides to lay the truth on her, that her parents were murdered, and that Yoshimi's whole world must change as a response.  She becomes a warrior orphan, and begins training under a number of senseis, including James Peers (who gives her the Scimitar blade), Jim Nguyen, and David Halliday.  Babbage says it was Ronan Quinn (here's a spoiler for you: it wasn't) who was responsible.  Quinn runs the Assassins Guild, which is first represented by its junior league, the Shadow Clan, led by Bill, whom Yoshimi falls in love with.  She undertakes a whirlwind tour of the world, ending in Ireland, which leads to England, where the story concludes.  Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan covers the the arc up to Bill, Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild covers up to Ronan Quinn, and Yoshimi and the Spider's Web brings us to the last battle (not in Narnia).  I've modified my release schedule.  Shadow Clan has been released.  If you've noticed, there's a giant image of its cover on the right.  Assassins Guild will be released in June, Spider's Web in September.  It was going to be month-to-month-to-month, the way Michael Abayomi released his fantasy epic last year and what Pat Dilloway had planned to do with Scarlet Knight this year (he kind of got grumpy, though), but things change. I spent all month yammering about Yoshimi.  I'm a little grumpy myself.  But that's life.  (Lesson learned: Trust in the Dilloway.  The Dilloway is good.)

***

The Red Sox won both ballgames over the weekend.  John Lackey got his first win of the season yesterday.  In a season about jumpstarting continuity in the team, he's a name fans should be glad to see still around.  (As with what happened a few seasons ago, there's an alternate version of the Sox playing as the Los Angeles Dodgers.  True story.)

The Angels lost both games over the weekend.  Mark Trumbo is quickly joining Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in their slumps.  He's now got a .296 batting average, while Trout has .263 and Pujols a measly .244. Of course, in comparison Josh Hamilton has a .219.  The team is obviously doing pretty miserably overall.  Maybe change their name to the Devils and cowboy up a little?

The A's lost on Saturday, won on Sunday.  Josh Donaldson won a Player of the Week award.  Read about it here.

The Cardinals lost both games over the weekend.  Yesterday was a 9-0 blowout.  Maybe I shouldn't get cocky about the success of these four teams?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

#569. Life & Theft Sunday

could I be
a contender
instead of
a bum,
which is
what I am?

chop me up
and feed me
to the poor.

you're my
big brother
and you
bailed on me!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 24: The Letter X

X marks the spot.  Or in the case of this blog throughout the month, the Challenge logo has been a direct link to the Challenge's own blog.  Did you notice?


Xanthus
The Fateful Lightning
Space Corps Volume 2

As I've mentioned several times already, Space Corps began as a pastiche on Star Trek, though the narrative started developing its own flavor soon enough.  The Fateful Lightning has already been discussed as branching out by way of the role of the first officer (back on L Day), a trend that continued with Robert Drummond gaining Xanthus under his command.  Yet Xanthus was no great replacement for Helen Larkin.  He was a rat bastard, another bona fide villain in the saga, although in the grand scheme of Lightning itself he's still not one of the most prominent.  Take that, Xanthus!  Although as far as this archetype goes, the turncoat, he resembles a favorite character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Michael Eddington, who started out as the rare Starfleet security officer who didn't loathe Odo.  I don't know that many fans remember Eddington, but he was an instant favorite, even before he betrayed Sisko to join the Maquis (the Federation rebels featured heavily in Voyager, though not rebelliously enough for some).  For a real treat, catch the episode "For the Uniform," in which Eddington becomes Sisko's white whale.

xiphoid
Yoshimi Trilogy

This obscure word refers to swords.  We've talked about the Scimitar.  You know swords are important to warrior orphan Yoshimi's story, thanks to the one she inherited from James Peers (whom you met on P Day, when you really needed to go for some reason).  There are several ways to go if I want to eventually continue this particular saga, and tracking the history of the Scimitar in more depth (you learn briefly the Peers version in Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan) is one obvious direction.

***

The Red Sox won again.  Yeah, tis getting old.  What would we possibly do with another World Series title?  Jacoby Ellsbury, whom I mentioned in my glut of stats, notched his 200th career stolen base yesterday.

The Angels won.  That was not a typo!  Mark Trumbo is batting .308, Mike Trout .272, and Albert Pujols .268.

The A's lost.  Today, however, is a celebration for the 1973 World Series champions.  Read about it here.

The Cardinals won.  Jake Westbrook is looking for career win 100 today.  Wish him luck!

Friday, April 26, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 23: The Letter W


Miranda Weaving
Dead Letters
Space Corps Book 6

Captain of a ship in a veritable lost era, she makes her own agenda (at least when Tsan from T Day isn't interfering, much less other developments), and although Weaving is the main character of Dead Letters that doesn't mean that she makes it to the end of the story.  Bona fide spoiler, yo.  Lots of craziness surrounds her, lots of betrayal, yet Weaving maintains her integrity throughout all of it, which makes her one of the characters I most regretted having to say goodbye to, but also one of the easier, because it couldn't have been any other way.  

Ms. Wilson
Yoshimi Trilogy

Because I've danced around so much of the things that end up happening in later volumes, I figured I owe you another spoiler on W Day (making you all winners).  The Ms. Wilson you meet in Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan only appears to be the ornery old lady Yoshimi justifiably loathes.  She's also her grandmother, and her continued role in the story is no mistake.  So yes, that makes Yoshimi's last name Wilson, and her mother's last name Wilson, and therefore her mother's full name (because I previously mentioned her on R Day) Rose Wilson, which is also the name of Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathroke's daughter in DC lore.  

***

Buchholz won!  The Sox won!  That by the way does in fact make Clay the first five-game winner of either league.  Big Papi is also swinging a hot bat.  Boston is comfortably atop their division at the moment.  All is well in Beantown.

The Angels lost again.  Mark Trumbo is batting .310, Mike Trout .270, Albert Pujols (playing first again) .266.  But since average isn't everything, I should acknowledge statistics like Trout leading the team in runs with 13, Trout and Pujols tying for second in runs batted in with 11, and Trout also leading in stolen bases with 3.

The A's lost.  While I'm doing stats, let's also reference Coco Crisp again, who's leading Oakland in runs (20), home runs (5), and stolen bases (7).  So again, not just an awesome name.

The Cardinals didn't play yesterday.

I'll round today with some more stats:

Jed Lowrie is doing really well for Oakland and in general.  He's got the fifth best average in the Majors at .365.  Crisp's 20 runs make him second in that category.  Boston's Mike Napoli (who by the way is also the team's lead All Star bait) has the leading 26 RBIs.  Jacoby Ellsbury from the Sox is leading in steals with 10, while Crisp is second by him with his 7.  On the pitching side, you already know about Buchholz and his record number of wins to date.  Boston also has Jon Lester on the leader board with 4 (yeah, so clearly I'm doing horribly at actually being comprehensive).  Buchholz also ranks third with his earned run average at 1.19, while the Cardinals' Jake Westbrook is right behind him with an ERA of 1.25.  Buchholz also ranks with his strikeouts, good for third again with 39.  The Cardinals also have Shelby Miller ranking on the more recent stat known as WHIP (an acronym that doesn't strictly match what it stands for, so I'll skip expanding this one), with 0.84 good enough for fifth.

Woo!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 22: The Letter V

Not to be confused with Victory, Vendetta, Visitor, or whatever else you might associate with this letter, including ventriloquists, vinyl records, villainy, etc.


Leonard Veitch
A Tremor of Bones
Space Corps Book 3

Veitch rhymes with "beach," just so you know.  Sometimes people try to confuse pronunciation on me, change the laws of physics, but that's how I've been pronouncing it for more than a decade, and recently I confirmed it for myself.  Leonard Veitch has increasingly become my surrogate.  He's a bit of a sad-sack case, hard-luck and constantly belittled, Craig Hudson's veteran partner (you met him on H Day).  By all accounts he's a more than capable officer in the covert operations Division of the Space Corps, and yet like Rodney Dangerfield he gets no respect.  He's the heart of A Tremor of Bones, even though there's a lot of moving parts around him and I've already identified Hudson as the classic initiate figure for the reader.  I sometimes view my entire life as bad breaks and diminishing returns.  Veitch is a way for me to keep in mind that no matter how pathetic it can seem, maybe there's some worth to it after all.

Vancouver
Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 2

Last reference to the whirlwind tour of the world, even though warrior orphan Yoshimi's stop in Vancouver technically begins before it.  This is her first international destination, the site of the second dojo, run under the auspices of Jim Nguyen (you were introduced on N Day), and it's in Canada.  I sometimes pretend that I'm Canadian, which is a quarter true, considering my ancestors came down from there, plus the fact that I grew up in Maine, which only pretends that it's part of the U.S.  Although don't expect a lot of touristy descriptions of city life.  This is the first instance where I blatantly refuse to do that on any stop of the tour.  It's more about the characters.  If you want more than that, there are plenty of travel books.

***

The Red Sox won yesterday (which means the A's lost).  Clay Buchholz is pitching tonight, looking for his fifth victory.  He's officially our new ace, by the way.  The insanely early voting for the All Star Game, meanwhile, begins today.  Here's a look at where the Red Sox fall on the ballot this year.

The Angels lost again.  Still, they're featured on the ballot as well.  Albert Pujols missed being selected last year, which was a tad controversial, but he wasn't playing well, a rare instance of restraint in what can sometimes obviously be considered a popularity game (although as far as posterity goes, it can equally seem logical to put names on the field in this game that fans will recognize).  He's currently batting .267, while Mark Trumbo is at .313 and Mike Trout at .271.

The A's are of course on the ballot as well.  Naturally Coco Crisp is the face of this bid.  The team is also fuming about a questionable call from last night's game.  That goes with the territory, folks.

The Cardinals won last night.  It flopped them back to the top of their division.  They've also got players on the ballot, obviously.  Carlos Beltran leads this pack.   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 21: The Letter U


Udon
The Dark Side of Space
Space Corps Book 1

Udon Thani is a city in Thailand, and the location of a U.S. military base where my father was stationed during the Vietnam War.  Udon is a central character in Dark Side of Space, who took on this name after many unsatisfactory previous attempts to come up with an acceptable, distinctive name to begin with the letter "u."  It should be understood that unlike Qatar (you met him on Q Day), Udon's name and presence in the Space Corps saga was well-established well before the Challenge.  He showed up in the original Seven Thunders writing sessions last fall, nicely mirroring how his story ends in Dark Side.  He's the key ally of Jacques Mendez (whom you met on M Day), and also one of the parallels in the entire saga, representative of an alien species with whom he frequently clashes, something that happens in Star Trek a lot (think Worf or T'Pol or even Quark, another topic from Q Day), but I felt could be better integrated into the overall plot given more of a chance.  Udon is a Welborn, the most welcoming of humans in the entire Galactic Alliance, and themselves a relatively recent addition to the fold, yet even their relative stability has problems with that most common of maladies, the ego.  

Aleksander Uteng
Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 2

I've frequently referenced warrior orphan Yoshimi's whirlwind tour of the world, and previously discussed Bill's fascination with Angel Jiminez (on J Day).  Well, Aleksander Uteng is Yoshimi's Angel Jiminez.  Sure, she's in the awkward position of romancing Bill, the one-time apparent pupil of Ronan Quinn, the man who she learns murdered her parents, but as they pursue the Assassins Guild, the full-fledged version of Bill's Shadow Clan, they encounter a lot more awkwardness.  Like the entire sequence involving the thirty-six foster homes (which I drafted right out of the manuscript), the tour of the Guild could easily have been expanded to a whole series on its own, but I found it equally fun to explore it through the fairly flippant experience of a fifteen-year-old girl, which is what Yoshimi is aside from everything else.  It's a confusing time for anyone.

***

Did the Sox lose big to the A's yesterday?  Oh yeah, 13-0...

The Angels won in extra innings.  Mark Trumbo is at a .316 batting average, Mike Trout at .280, Albert Pujols at .264.  The reports of my expanding this selection of players to follow so that at least one of them continues to look good have been greatly exaggerated.  (But not by much!)

The Cardinals won yesterday.  Isn't Yadier Molina a fun name to say?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 20: The Letter T


Tsan
Dead Letters
Space Corps Book 5

Besides Lord Phan, the only notable Tikanni in the entire saga is Tsan.  This is a little odd because as far as the mythology goes, there's probably no alien species more important than the Tikanni, who were responsible for bringing the more arrogant Omoxians to the notion of forming what became the Galactic Alliance.  Because they were overshadowed, however, the Tikanni retreated from further involvement in the community.  It's only fitting, then, that Tsan should be significant in Dead Letters, because it represents an entire era where the traditional relationships between species have been turned upside down.  He operates as a financier to the ship captained by the gal you'll meet on W Day.

Mother Teresa
Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 1

You only thought you knew her!  Just kidding.  Mother Teresa is referenced for the same reasons as Princess Diana (discussed on D Day).  When I was growing up, it was Reagan and Mother Teresa who were basically the two most notable international figures, and I used to believe they were secretly one and the same person.  I mean, it's not much of a stretch of the imagination!  She's a touchstone in the timeline of Yoshimi's life, however, because she died around the same time as Diana, and obviously they were fairly dissimilar individuals (although the latter also worked as an activist on the side, mostly spreading awareness of the continuing danger of landmines), which is an indication to the reader that Yoshimi herself shouldn't be interpreted in black and white terms.  On the surface you might expect her to be a fairly strong character, but she's also vulnerable (much like Sydney Bristow from Alias).  

***

The Red Sox beat the A's.  As discussed earlier, I'm okay with this result, despite the conflict of interest.  I grew up in New England, raised as a member of the Faithful.  I branched out to the A's admittedly because their ballcaps were green and had a giant A on them (green being my favorite color and by a stretch of the imagination the team celebrating my first name, Anthony), and also because at the time everyone loved Oakland, what with Tony La Russa and the Bash Brothers (Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, who both eventually fell out of favor with the public; it should be noted that one of the last teams Canseco played with was Boston) as well as the undeniably great Rickey Henderson (who also played for the Sox as well as Yankees).  The A's later helped introduce the concept of moneyball thanks to Billy Bean (and Kevin Youkilis, the Greek God of Walks, who of course made his name in Boston), and basically became the farm system for every other team.  It's good that they've finally bounced back into contention.

The Angels lost thanks to blowing the later stages of the game.  Mark Trumbo is at .311, Mike Trout at .291, Albert Pujols at .279.  Yeah, it might also be because these guys apparently didn't do so hot, either.

The Cardinals won yesterday.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 19: The Letter S


Ott Sader
The Feud We Keep With Space
Space Corps Book 4

I've described The Feud We Keep With Space as a sort of rephrasing of Seven Thunders, and as it now stands, I think that may be more true than when I first realized that.  Seven Thunders is the book I finished writing last month, the one I obsessed over for fifteen years.  During that time I developed the rest of the Space Corps saga, and as with anyone else, I realized there were certain parallels that emerged, patterns that helped as I wrote the first book-length adventure.  One of the surprises was that one of the characters I was sure would be a fairly straightforward antagonist ended up having the same kind of nuances as everyone else.  His counterpart in Feud will theoretically be able to remain on the crooked and wide (as opposed to straight and narrow) thanks to the fact that he has at least one well-defined accomplice, Ott Sader, a Space Corps officer gone bad, in the pocket of a weaselly politician.  Surprisingly the majority of the characters I chose to spotlight in this A-to-Z sketch were protagonists.  Rest assured there are plenty of villains as well.

Scimitar
Yoshimi Trilogy

This is warrior orphan Yoshimi's distinctive weapon throughout her story.  Dating back to Excalibur and lightsabers, swords have always had a prominent place in the fiction I've enjoyed.  One of the things I most enjoy about Pulp Fiction is when Bruce Willis starts walking around with a samurai blade.  I continued to love Heroes after the first season because the second season put a huge spotlight on Hiro's experiences with Takezo Kensei, who is first introduced through his sword.  Yoshimi's sword takes its name from Shinzon's ship in Star Trek Nemesis, something else I love in strict contradiction to its popular reputation.  Of course, Yoshimi's Scimitar is also a literal scimitar blade, a traditional curved Arabic sword, something that was in the Peers family for generations (since just after the Civil War, when veterans were seeking adventures around the globe, as represented in the Tom Cruise flick The Last Samurai) and bequeathed to her in Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan.  Though Yoshimi herself finds it a little odd to be walking around with a sword in the 21st century (she's fifteen, not a collector), the rest of her story is very much informed by her relationship with the Scimitar, as much as anything else, even the death of her parents and the traditional path of vengeance.

***

The Sox won on Saturday, lost on Sunday.  They're a game and a half above the Yankees.

The Angels won throughout the weekend.  At this point I'm going to start acknowledging Mark Trumbo in these recaps.  He helped them win on Sunday, and even last season was one step behind the more sensational Mike Trout.  Trumbo's batting average currently sits at .329 (and has been above Trout and Albert Pujols all season).  Trout is at .307, Pujols at .317.  Although Pujols is still playing wounded (which is basically the norm for him), he's hitting better than at any other point with the Angels, which he joined last season following one final glorious season with the Cardinals (and Tony La Russa) in 2011. 

The A's lost both games over the weekend, and have slipped out of the top spot in their division (which incidentally features the Angels as well).  They're playing the Sox today.  I opt to support the Sox in this exchange.

The Cardinals won on Saturday and lost on Sunday.  They've also slipped out of the top of their division, which isn't saying too much at this point.  Most of the teams there are close to even.  If you're all about classic rivalries, the best news is that the team not currently in contention is the Cubs.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

#562. Life & Theft Sunday: Runners of the Boston Marathon

They gathered as they do every year,
these runners of the Boston Marathon,
a day of celebration for patriots.

It was just another day in Beantown
and the Sox had already won.

The starting pistol sounded
and the runners of the Boston Marathon
got ready to fulfill their dreams.

Sean Collier was sitting,
waiting inside a car,
stationary as a ghost.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar,
these runners from the Boston Marathon,
planted their packages and ran, too.

They ran away while
the runners of the Boston Marathon
were cheered.

Tamerlan dodged and weaved;
float like a butterfly sting like a bee.
His brother trailed behind him.

Sean Collier was sitting,
waiting inside a car,
stationary as a ghost.

The explosion ripped through the air
and it silenced and then blew up
all those around it.

Those who were finishing,
runners of the Boston Marathon,
stumbled the last few feet.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar,
these runners from the Boston Marathon,
they kept running.

Beantown began to rally
as the smoke billowed and swirled.

Sean Collier was sitting,
waiting inside a car,
stationary as a ghost.

The manhunt and lockdown
reverberated far louder
than these runners from the Boston Marathon.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar,
they struggled to escape,
and they fought like the devil.

Sean Collier was sitting,
waiting inside a car,
stationary as a ghost.

The nation had transformed itself
into runners of the Boston Marathon.

Tamerlan shot it out
and found himself shot dead,
cooling on a slab on a Thursday night.

Friday morning his brother almost joined him,
finally catching up,
these runners from the Boston Marathon.

It was Big Papi
who said on Saturday,
 "All right.  All right, Boston."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 18: The Letter R


Mackenzie Reyes
The Dark Side of Space
Space Corps Book 1

I've mentioned before that Dark Side of Space was the very first story developed for the Space Corps saga, and that the notes took a revision before they started taking a form that I was satisfied with.  Well, after I was further ensconced developing everything, I realized that even the revised notes, from a time where I was still pretty young, weren't up to snuff with what I had subsequently accomplished elsewhere, so I went back and revised again (this would still not be the last time, but it got me to the point I needed), even going so far as to do those biographical sketches I was badmouthing yesterday.  Mackenzie Reyes ended up serving as a pretty fruitful springboard for some world-building elements that I hadn't previously considered.  Part of his background is the time he spent at the Roscoe Research Institute.  Aside from being named for a particularly memorable anthropology professor I had in college, its location proved more interesting.  For the purposes of the exercise, I devised the Francisco Keys.  As anyone ought to know, California has some significant fault lines that makes it prone to earthquakes.  If you're Lex Luthor you'll give them a little help, but if you're simply patient I'm sure they'll do their job on their own.  I don't wish ill for current or future residents, but anytime you live somewhere with natural conditions like that you're asking for trouble.  That's just a fact.  The Francisco Keys, then, are the result of this phenomenon, the remains of San Francisco that just happen to give a nod to famed poet Francis Scott Key (which turns out nicely for events in Seven Thunders, especially if you remember the song Key is known for, and the circumstances in which he composed it).  Incidentally, I'm not the only writer who envisions interesting things for the California coastline.  In some Aquaman comics from the early years of the new millennium, there existed Sub Diego.

Rose
Yoshimi Trilogy

Rose is Yoshimi's mother.  She is in the linear sense quite dead throughout the narrative, but obviously she still plays a pretty significant role.  Her complete name might be familiar to comic book fans, but I won't tell you what it is, as that's another of the developments best left to reading the story for yourself.  Y'know, if you so choose.

***

The Red Sox didn't play Friday because of the lockdown.  It would have been their first game at home since Monday.  Coincidentally they were in Cleveland the next day anyway.  They're playing today in Fenway, though.  Big Papi had some remarks for the Faithful.

The Angels won yesterday!  Albert Pujols is at .309, Mike Trout at .297.  Trout, meanwhile, also had a chance to celebrate last season, including The Catch.  Read about it here.

The A's lost yesterday.  But Coco Crisp hit a home run!  Pitcher Brett Anderson left the game with a sprained ankle, so Crisp and his name will have to remain the bright spot for the night.

Rain didn't help the Cardinals.  They played and lost.  They're now a half game ahead of the Reds for the top of their division.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 17: The Letter Q


Qatar
Seven Thunders

This particular character wouldn't have existed without the A-to-Z Challenge.  True story.  I was hedging whether or not to do it again earlier this year, and in fact at one point simply wasn't because I thought I would be doing something very much different this month.  That didn't happen, and so I signed up.  I started planning.  Now, maybe I have another character whose name begins with this letter.  I don't have all of it indexed yet.  But at the time I was also writing Seven Thunders, which as I've discussed I finished writing last month after a gestation of fifteen years.  I conjured Qatar out of thin air to fill this void.  Like some of my names, Qatar has a fairly obvious origin.  It happens to be an Arab state, an unusually peaceful one, familiar to American soldiers shipping in and out of Iraq during the last decade.  Qatar in Seven Thunders isn't Arab.  He's an alien space cab driver, and in his case having a name that evokes a familiar human touchstone is no accident, because all of his kind have been doing that since our kind entered the galactic community.  It's actually his character that allowed me to give them more depth than I had previously, and that's pretty awesome, because Seven Thunders is all about depth.  So, thank you, A-to-Z Challenge.

Ronan Quinn
Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 2

Here's the Big Bad in Yoshimi's life, the driving force of the revenge narrative, whose story evokes my favorite J.K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  The reason I keep referencing rather than outright explaining it is that maybe you're familiar with it and maybe you're not, and maybe I have a different impression than you.  Either way you might know the particular significance of the events depicted in it, and if you do, then you know more about Ronan Quinn than other people reading about him today.  And yes, I'm not really talking about him.  I'm not really talking about any of the characters I'm introducing, am I?  I find it annoying when a writer presents an outright biography of a character.  Either that stuff is relevant or it's not, and if it's not and what you've actually done is explain exactly what that character will be doing in the story, then half the story has been ruined.  I don't usually mind spoilers.  It's one thing to know what will happen in a story a large percentage of the population will be experiencing along with you, quite another for something that far fewer will.  It's more special to discover these smaller miracles for yourself.

Bonus!

Quincy
Modern Ark

I'm going to be writing about Modern Ark over at my writer's blog.  It's a manuscript I've got and have tried submitting around with absolutely no luck.  The most recent failure was for Amazon's Breakthrough contest earlier this year.  Quincy is a modern pirate (which would have made him just as appropriate to talk about yesterday, when lots of people were talking about pirates).  He blatantly got his name from Jason's pet iguana in FoxTrot (seriously, if you've never read FoxTrot you should feel ashamed, and if you haven't read Pearls Before Swine, prepare for a visit from Guard Duck).  Also, it's the other John Adams.  I love me John Adams in either form.  Good stuff.  Quincy is also referred to as Dane in Modern Ark, but this is not to say that his full name is Dane Quincy or Quincy Dane.  Just for the record.

***

Did the Red Sox get their sixth straight win yesterday?  You betcha.

The Angels didn't play yesterday.  This article looks at their slow start.

The A's didn't play yesterday.  They're off to a great start, though!

The Cardinals eked out a win yesterday.  I'm still pleased that three out of four of my teams sit atop their divisions to this point in the season!

***

Just because I didn't do it last year when I was doing Star Trek as one of my themes, I will mention Quark.  Quark is a big reason why Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite series in the franchise.  A lot of fans didn't like the Ferengi episodes.  I loved them!  (Zek was the Q of this series, making visits most seasons and being awesome every time.)  Quark was jealous of his cousin Gaila, "the one with the moon."  But he had a bar, and even if he wasn't so great a brother all the time to Rom, he was rightly an institution on the Promenade, which Sisko recognized immediately.  He was also a bitter frenemy of Odo's.  He was a schemer (so basically Quark is exactly who the Joker was talking about in The Dark Knight).  He was the only character who didn't have a big dramatic arc in the Dominion War arc, but it only figures.  He didn't need one.  His whole gig was avoiding big dramatic arcs.  Every time he got involved in one it was literally a chance to lose everything.  Do that in a war?  He would have been cannon fodder.  (Although he and a bunch of his Ferengi friends still faced down the Dominion and came out alive.  So there!)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 16: The Letter P


Lord Phan
The Feud We Keep With Space
Space Corps Book 4
The Second Coming
Space Corps Book 6

This guy may in fact be the star of the entire saga.  He's the bogeyman who seems to appear everywhere you look.  He was there at the founding of the Galactic Alliance, and he's directly responsible for the Danab, and yet the first time he comes across in my Space Corps notes, he appears to be just another nefarious warmongering villain in The Feud We Keep With Space.  Yet the conclusion of that story nicely reflects the greater scope of the character.  When we catch up with him again as a major character in The Second Coming, we learn exactly what he's been up to in his long life.  When I was working on Seven Thunders late last year and earlier this year, there was a period where I was having trouble continuing.  I ended up writing several short stories set in the Space Corps realm, including one that caught up with what Lance Nolan (who you met on N Day) was doing during a bleak period in his life.  I realized Lord Phan could make an appearance.  He has no great role in Seven Thunders, but since he'd already appeared a couple times in the stories, I realized he could do it again.  And chances are, this would happen in the remaining stories where he currently has no role.  He's the bogeyman at the heart of the saga, after all.

James Peers
Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 1

Peers is another character central to the mythology of the story in which he appears, and again in a way that doesn't immediately seem obvious.  He's the first of the senseis that warrior orphan Yoshimi studies under, but more importantly, he gives her the Scimitar, the blade that becomes her very symbol (I'll talk about this aspect of the story again on S Day and X Day).  This is a character who is described as anything but what you'd expect from someone known as a master of the martial arts.  Yet the Scimitar in his possession has been with his family for generations, a small window into the wider story that exists outside of Yoshimi's particular narrative.  If there is a demand for it, I might actually write it.  He's a little like Forest Whitaker's Ghost Dog.  (By the way, can someone tell me how Whitaker's value fell so quickly in movies after the Oscar win for Last King of Scotland?)  

*** 

The Red Sox won yesterday!

Weather postponed the Angels yesterday.

The A's won again!

The Cardinals lost.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 15: The Letter O

Not to be confused with Oprah's magazine, the movie "O," the letter people say when they mean "zero," or my "O" face.


Odlaw
Dead Letters
Space Corps saga Book 6

By the time the notes hit Dead Letters, they've taken a considerable leap forward.  Space Corps being space opera, it already takes place, naturally, in the future (of course, if you're Star Wars you take place "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away").  Dead Letters is about a period where all the rules have been broken.  The Space Corps, in fact, doesn't exist.  Humans have become considerably marginalized.  The Corps has been replaced by the Vodrantine Thalassic, and Odlaw is a captain in this fleet in much the way Mendez and Drummond (you remember them from M Day and D Day, correct?) are captains in the Corps.  He's not a lead character in Dead Letters, but his role reflects the kind of choppy waters this particular era features, where you never know who to trust and there's one big surprise after another.  His name doesn't come from Where's Waldo's evil doppelganger, it's just something that sounded awesome to me, especially when phrased as Captain Odlaw.  He sounds like he should be in a web series like Voyage Trekkers, but he's not a comedic character, unless when I get to writing this one he turns out to be someone who could be played by Edward Norton...

Oxnard
Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 1

Oxnard is a small town that happens to be the location of warrior orphan Yoshimi's first encounters with the Shadow Clan.  This is before she meets Bill, erstwhile love interest and leader of the Shadow Clan.  At this point all she knows is that these guys are her enemy, after all they're associated with the Assassins Guild, run by Ronan Quinn, the man responsible for the death of her parents.  Oxnard has no particular significance for me except that it's a unique name, so that's your tie-in between the Space Corps and Yoshimi entries today.  Oxnard also happens to be the site of a baseball game, by the way.

***

As noted in my comments section already, "Sweet Caroline" has been playing across the league in tribute to the Boston Marathon explosions.  Although loyal Sox fans might just as well associate "Tessie" from the Dropkick Murphys.


They did win yesterday, meanwhile, against Terry Francona and the Indians.  And while you're feeling all kinds of positive things about the Sox, why not enjoy the Jimmy Fallon flick Fever Pitch, the movie that literally changed its ending thanks to the 2004 World Series win?

The Angels lost.  Mike Trout is at .300, Albert Pujols at .280.

The A's won in the eleventh inning, and they're also the first team in the American League to have eleven wins this season.  They've got a hot-hitting player who's been in the same situation as the Sox's Jose Iglesias, playing in the Majors while his position counterpart sits on the disabled list.  Here we're talking about Seth Smith, who's got a .424 batting average in eleven games.  That's the number of the day, I guess...

Rain spoiled the Cardinals, though.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 14: The Letter N


Lance Nolan
Seven Thunders

Lance and his brother Christopher Moby (like Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield) are the central characters of Seven Thunders, the Zero Book of the entire Space Corps saga, which I spent fifteen years developing and finally finished writing last month.  The entire plot of Seven Thunders revolves around the idea of the British impressment of American sailors that helped spark the War of 1812.  It's Christopher who's taken by the Danab, because his mother was one of them.  Yesterday at my writers blog I wrote about the idea of adopted thought in context of the Yoshimi Trilogy, but it's perhaps better explored with Lance and Christopher, who both have to deal with this idea in a much more immediate way.  Christopher doesn't know if he should choose the life of a typical Danab because he's got that DNA or stick with the human family he's always known.  Lance doesn't know if his entire quest to rescue his brother will turn out to be a waste of his time.  He has an unwavering faith and devotion to his brother, but can he really be certain that Christopher, given the chance to have something that a childhood trip they shared already gave him a taste for, won't have taken the opportunity to embrace a completely different life?  Lance always intrigued me as a character, because he was my shot at creating a new kind of hero.  He's not a superhero, and he's not an antihero, but rather just a guy who's trying to make sense of a crazy situation, forcing himself into decisions that might have forced someone else to become more conventional.  That's as much as why there has to be six other characters around him who define the rest of the story, starting with his own brother.

Jim Nguyen
Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 2

Of the three senseis warrior orphan Yoshimi meets and trains under in the story, Jim Nguyen is the most traditional.  He runs a dojo in Vancouver (okay, the least traditional aspect of his m.o.) where students duel each other, something that doesn't happen under James Peers (official introduction on P Day) or David Halliday (who runs a glorified boarding school in England).  He's also as close to another Asian character in the whole story as you'll find.  I figured that it would probably be cliche if there was a lot of that.  Yoshimi herself is thoroughly American, though obviously she's got a Japanese name.  It's just another level of double meanings in the story.  

***

The Red Sox had already played their game yesterday (and won) by the time of the Boston Marathon explosions, because yesterday in town was in fact Patriots Day, a unique celebration that included many special events.  It's probably safe to assume that if the team had been scheduled to play at any other time, the game wouldn't have happened.

The Angels lost.  Albert Pujols is at .289, Mike Trout at .286.  It seems right that they should match up at some point.

The A's won, which helped keep them atop their division.

The Cardinals won.  Have I mentioned that like the Sox and the A's they're tops of their division?

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