Fellowship Season 2016

Sometime in late 2015, I got my first viable episode spec idea in… well, let’s not talk about how long. Like my last fellowship spec (a Glee), it was inspired by a Counting Crows song. This time around, the song was “Butterfly in Reverse”, which seemed like a perfect reference to chaos theory for an episode of 12 Monkeys. It snowballed into an outline I was happy with, and I had plenty of time (though it was 2016 by this point) to get it all done before fellowship season. Before the season 2 premiere, as a matter of fact. And then things happened. Work. Illness. Other projects. I had time, right?

One problem: season 2 premiered well ahead of the fellowship deadline and my story was set directly after the season 1 finale. So you can probably guess how badly my idea was blown to hell. Well done me for choosing one of the most serialized shows on TV… which would be airing new episodes during the submission period.

I toyed with the idea of shifting gears to another spec idea (I have two, one for the fate-yet-to-be-decided Stitchers and one for Penny Dreadful), but I had committed to this show. I even got it added as an option in the Warner Bros. Writers Program drop-down menu. My choices were narrowed down to the following:

  1. Blow off the fellowships
  2. Ignore everything about season 2 and write my idea as an alternate 2×01
  3. Try to hit a moving target

Choice 2 was becoming less and less viable because how could I possibly ignore everything that’s happened this season? This is the show of my heart. This is the only show that makes me go fully Dana-Whitaker-in-Sports-Night “My show is on! My show is on!!!” every single week and leaves me glad that I watched it, no matter what. So I was left with choice 1, which felt too much like giving up after watching Staffing Season from the sidelines, and choice 3, which would involve choosing where/how to slot a story in between episodes. The state that our heroes and heroines were in after 2×05 almost forced my hand, and things were looking grim.

Enter episode 2×06. As soon as I was done being distracted by the Blindspot season finale, I opened Word and started typing. I had it. A story that’s better than the original, simpler than the original, more me than the original. And, honestly, I don’t remember why I thought the title fit the first idea to begin with, because it fits this one so much better. The now-changed Dr. Cassandra Railly says in episode 2×02, “Not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly.”

But in a show about time travel, what is a butterfly in reverse?

A caterpillar.

Unmake history.

Let’s do this.

Blog Hop: Nancy M. Griffis

Well hello there everyone! My name is Nancy M. Griffis and I’m the proud author of Amoven: Prophecy. Liz has been nice enough to host my blog hop today and it’s a very comfy hop indeed! Isn’t she great?

Amoven: Prophecy cover
Amoven: Prophecy is available now in ebook and print from all major online retailers.
Amoven: Prophecy is about a family of wolf shapeshifters from San Digeo, CA. The McTavish Clan is small by Amoven (pronounced ah-moe-ven) standards with only four siblings–Jim, Daniel, Simon, and Sandy–and Simon and Jim are ‘mere’ humans, looked down on by many Amoven. Daniel wants to restore his Clan to its rightful place at the head of the Council that rules their people.
To accomplish such an ambitious goal, Daniel is tackling the one thing that threatens all Amoven: a devastating decline in birth rates. While not as exciting as hunters on a killing spree, it’s just as deadly to their ultimate survival. Daniel’s arranged a Conclave with most of the North American clans to take place at the seat of Amoven power in the Colorado Rockies and this is where our story starts.
Having so many Alphas in one place is practically asking for a bloodbath, but Cole Bishop is just the Amoven to keep them in line. Grandson to Lauren Bishop–the woman who’s held power as head of the Amoven North American Council for almost one hundred years–Cole has a spine of steel under his manicured, indolent appearance. Publically, he can do nothing but support his grandmother and her backwards, anachronistic prejudices. Secretly, he does all he can to help Daniel McTavish in his goal to become head of the Council.
It’s not until the end of the Conclave that things really heat up. Someone tries to assassinate Daniel. Simon starts having visions of Amoven past despite being human. Sandy mates with a man from a powerful clan to spite her brothers. One of the Councilmembers abdicates his seat and bequeaths it to Daniel along with a prophecy about him being the key to Amoven survival or doom… and that’s all I can say without going into major spoiler territory.
I had such a great time writing Amoven! It’s quite a departure from my usual work in that the women in this book have supportive roles, though they still kick ass and take names on their own terms. This book is about Daniel, Simon, and Cole and their place in a society that doesn’t see them as much of anything but misfits. Plus, Daniel’s a dad of twin boys and the first character I’ve written who has children. It’s a book primarily about family and what you’ll do to protect those you love most.
I hope you love this book as much as I do! I am working on the sequel now, but don’t have a release date just yet.
Thanks again to Liz for having me!
You can find me online at http://www.nancygriffis.wordpress.com, @nmgrif, and http://www.facebook.com/nmgriffis. You can email me at nancymgriffis@gmail.com.

Stacey Jay’s Response to Her Detractors

It takes a special kind of brass balls to respond to the kind of vitriol aimed at Stacey Jay by making yourself more vulnerable instead of less, but that’s exactly what she did. Please go and read her courageous response.

I’m sure there are people out there who will think she shouldn’t have made this post, or that she’s just pleading for sympathy. Some people probably think she shouldn’t be talking about money at all, because people shouldn’t talk about money because it’s not nice/it’s nobody’s business — never mind that the economic depression is still affecting thousands of people, never mind that our society’s ideas of what “need” is or what it looks like are irrevocably screwed up, never mind that our ideas of whether/why/how artists should be compensated are equally screwed up — but, well, they’re asshats and need to take a damn seat. This is a tremendously brave response and I hope it results in a sane, reasoned dialogue in the larger creative community.

Stacey Jay, Veronica Mars, and The Kickstarter Controversy

I was debating what to say about the Stacey Jay Kickstarter controversy, and then Marni Bates went and said everything I wanted to, so I’m sharing her post. I do want to say a couple of things, though: If you agree with the statements Ms. Bates takes issue with in items 3 and 5, you are an incredibly shitty human being. Everything about this situation pisses me off and the authors who took Ms. Jay to task for doing something that hundreds of other artists have done with zero blowback ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Marni Bates

Hey everyone,

Okay, I’m not going to lie. I’m upset. In fact, I’m shaking with the force of my feels. So please brace yourself, because this might be a bumpy ride.

Where to begin?

Right. Stacey Jay.

For those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of meeting Stacey Jay, she’s a tremendous YA author whose talent is equaled only by her kindness. I met her at the Las Vegas Book Festival. I entered a room (where I knew almost nobody) wearing a giant poofy, sparkly prom dress and Stacey immediately made me feel welcome. That’s the kind of person she is.

Proof

You can read about that conference right here!

Unfortunately, Stacey’s book sales haven’t been strong enough for her publishing house to keep her on as an author. And at the end of the day, if a publisher feels like they will make more money investing in someone…

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With Apologies to Bill Hader, John Mulaney and Rufus Wainwright…

…an homage to my favorite Saturday Night Live character and one of my favorite albums. Because the only thing I could think of to do with the remainder of 2014 is send it off with a laugh.

For New Year’s Eve, New York’s hottest club is *train whistle*. This travelling nightmare is the creation of lumbersexual railroad magnate Yukon Cornelius Vanderbilt. Climb aboard, and you’ll be headed to Heaven, Hell, Calais or Dover. This place goes everywhere: Poland, Limbo… Lower Manhattan. But be careful running around, because this club’s patrons leave slightly mysterious bruises.

If you’d rather stay put, New York’s hottest dance party is *car horn* on 14th Street. This place has everything: Bo Peep’s lost sheep, bashful hounds, my lost brother’s soul. And look who just walked in! Is that Dan Cortese? No, it’s the Missing Link, holding the reins to the world and a cigarette that needs a light.

The Stealth Recommendation Project

If you’re anything like me, you either have a hoard of craft supplies you haven’t used (I still haven’t admitted to myself that I’m not going to make that scrapbook), or you have a hoard of office supplies because writers seem to have an insatiable thirst for pens and Post-Its and paper clips. Or, like me, you have both.

This is only part of the hoard.

This is only part of the hoard.

It sure would be nice to do something with all those papers and pens and stickers… but there’s no time, or no space, or you have no ideas, or perfectionism is getting in the way, or (insert excuse here; I’ve had them all).  Right?

I’ve had an idea in mind for a while now about how to make use of all the things in my little hoard, and the holidays seem like an excellent time to get started. After all, this is the time of year when the crafty and/or budget-conscious among us start having visions of DIY delights that we would love to make if we weren’t busy working, cooking, traveling, or battling the hellmouth that is the Santa Monica Blvd. Target.  This project won’t break the bank, can take as little or as much time as you want, and can be done at any time of year. It’s inspired by the anonymous inspirational notes of Operation Beautiful, but I wanted to focus on sharing art, and I wanted to invite others to join me.

To participate in the Stealth Recommendation Project, you don’t need a giant stash of craft supplies like the one pictured above in the process of devouring my coffee table (although they’re really fun). You really only need something to write on, something to write with, and somewhere to leave what you’ve written. Post-Its and a Sharpie, index cards and a pencil… whatever you have on hand. It’s not about the supplies, it’s about what you do with them.

What are we doing with them?

Good question. The purpose of the Stealth Recommendation Project is to promote the words you love. Book quotes, song lyrics, lines from your favorite TV show, Bible verses… you get the idea.  Short ones, if at all possible – something that catches the eye. Write the quote on a card or a Post-It, embellish it however you like, and leave it in a public place where it’s okay to leave stuff – the bulletin board at Starbucks or your laundromat or your school, tucked between the pages of a library book, the shelf of flyers and cards at the local hipster cafe… places like that where you aren’t going to get fined for posting things.

That’s it?

That’s it. Oh, just one simple rule: you have to attribute the quote. Give whoever finds your Stealth Recommendation a way to find the art.  And I must ask, on behalf of my people, that if you use a quote from a TV show or movie, please please please with cherries on top attribute the line to the writer of the episode or the movie. Not the character, not the actor, not the director. The writer. For example: if I was going to use “This dimension I love and adore and will never, never, never leave” (paired, obviously, with an image of Los Angeles – more about those embellishments in a minute), from the Angel episode “Over the Rainbow”, I would write in very small letters at the bottom edge or on the back of the card, Angel, “Over the Rainbow”, Mere Smith.

What was that you were saying about embellishments?

Oh. Those. They can be anything — on some of mine, I’ve just doodled something, like the Signs from Over Sea, Under Stone:

The citation on the black card is written in "invisible" metallic black ink that you can only see when you tilt the card.

The citation on the black card is written in “invisible” metallic black ink that you can only see when you tilt the card.

Or you can add collage elements:

Yeah, I slipped a Captain America reference in with my Game of Thrones quote. #nerd

Yeah, I slipped a Captain America reference in with my Game of Thrones quote. #nerd

Except for the black paper, which I cut to size, I’m simply using unruled index cards and different colored pens for many of mine. “The Dude abides” was made with a sticker, a $2 alphabet stamp set from Target and a $2 ink pad, and a hole-punch dot with three black dots drawn on it to make it look like a bowling ball. The dots on the Night’s Watch quote are two sizes of hole punch, and the star was drawn with a white chalk pen.  Like I said – I just happen to have a lot of craft supplies. You don’t need to get super fancy. You could even cut up magazine text, ransom-letter style, if you want. Whatever works.

It sounds like I need to have some artistic ability. I can’t draw a straight line.

Nope. You don’t even have to have particularly good penmanship. (Did you see the writing on the Over Sea, Under Stone poem?) As long as the quote and citation are readable so anyone who’s curious can look them up. Have fun. Play. Forget about expectations, perfectionism, concepts of what art is or isn’t. This is about sharing your love of a piece of art with someone else, and making your own art.

Just pens and a few stickers.

Just pens and a few stickers.

I could just talk about the things I like on my blog/Twitter/etc. – why Stealth Recommendations?

To break down the barrier between the viewer and the art. If I quote a piece of art that I love in a text that I sign my name to or in a direct conversation, the reader/listener will – consciously or not – evaluate that recommendation within the context of what they perceive about me, what they may or may not know, etc. This way, the viewer connects with the art or not, without the recommender or their concept of the recommender as a filter.

I ended up with some quotation stickers in a grab bag of scrapbooking supplies, so I made cards with them too.

I ended up with some quotation stickers in a grab bag of scrapbooking supplies, so I made cards with them too.

 

Does this violate copyright?

Nope… no more than if I quote Friday’s episode of Grimm during a live-tweet. Unless you’re handing out entire chapters of a text you didn’t write, which is both illegal and not the point. Short quotations, comprehensible outside of context but making the reader curious as to the larger context. Or, in the case of the Song of Ice and Fire quotes I’m tossing around, probably just making another fan smile.

Last question: Why?

Why not?

No, really. Why not? We’re bombarded with corporate advertising day in and day out. We’re all rushing around, running our holiday errands or traveling or just going about our business and waiting for wherever we live or work to wake back up again (*cough* Hollywood *cough*).  You’re going to get that peppermint mocha or pumpkin spice latte anyway – why not take a second to stick a card on the bulletin board on your way out? Or leave one on the fridge in your office’s break room? It takes five minutes or less (depending on how fancy you want to get) to make a Stealth Recommendation, and self-expression is good for the soul. Make one a day – take a soul break for yourself in the middle of work stress or holiday chaos.

ALWAYS.

ALWAYS.

 

If any of you decide to participate, please share in the comments, or tweet me – I’d love to see how this spreads.