My Promise as a Writer

I promise to entertain you to the best my twisted little mind can manage. I will take you from the light, and into darkness. I might even let you see the sunrise at the end of the journey, but that I can't promise. My stories will sweep the hair from you brow, leave your stomach in knots, and suck the air from your lungs. But no matter how far we descend, I will offer you a fragment of hope to cling to. I will treat you to dark fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything that falls into the strange and disturbing. Will we re-emerge into the light? Well, that is the point of taking the journey. I hope you will join me on these adventures.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mr. Spock is the best role model a kid could have, A Guest Blog by Tracy Falbe

I came across Tracy Falbe's writing early last year when I was researching independent

publishing. I downloaded Union of Renegades, and spent the next couple of days reading in
preference to work. The novel fascinated me to the point of writing my first (and so far only) fan letter. I opened a dialogue with Falbe that resulted in the creation of a three part blog series devoted to her and her work. The Falbe trilogy remain my three most read blogs, as though further proof of her word skill is necessary. Last week Falbe graciously agreed to write the first guest blog for my site. Her analysis of Star Trek's Mr. Spock and his reliance upon logic is an enjoyable and thought provoking read while providing life lessons. Follow the links below to learn more about Falbe after reading her blog.

Thank you J.M. Tresaugue for inviting me to write about Star Trek. We share a love for this special universe that has connected with millions of people for generations. The original Star Trek from the 1960s was truly visionary television, and it had a deep impact on my life.

I am a child of the 1970s when Star Trek was in reruns on television five nights a week. My love for the show was instant and apparently permanent. The show was scary, exciting, provocative, imaginative, funny, and bold. I loved how the crew worked together. I loved how brave and clever Captain Kirk was. I loved that Lieutenant Uhura got to explore space too, and she looked good doing it. (Who says you shouldn’t be sexy at the office?) And next to her duty station was the station of Mr. Spock and that glowing blue box that he stared into.

As a little girl I learned that Mr. Spock was half Vulcan, a race of beings who suppress their emotions. They dedicated themselves to eliminating pesky feelings that ruin reasonable thought and confuse us pitiable fight-or-flight humans who had somehow invented warp drive technology.

The closest Mr. Spock came to being excited was to declare something “fascinating” and I was fascinated by him. The influence of this fictional character prompted me during childhood to reflect upon my emotions and their effects on my actions. I taught myself to step back and consider facts. I learned to think about the feelings driving my actions. This is not to say that I never acted in wildly irrational ways, but I certainly knew when I was doing it.

I credit Mr. Spock with my first experiments in the application of logic. One example was my early acknowledgment of my lack of athletic ability. No matter what I did, I was not going to be picked first for anybody’s team at recess, or second, or third…In fact I was relegated to the undesirable final pickings in which the team captains would negotiate who got stuck with the worst of us. Therefore the logical solution to my childish need to be included in games was to declare myself a team captain and put together a team. Then I got to do the picking. Organizing the physical talents of others was far more logical than attempting to improve upon my meager genetic attributes in the realm of physical strength or speed.

Throughout my life I have attempted to fall back on logic and try to look at problems and situations through the calculating eyes of that pointy-eared half breed. After years of observing people, I have come to the conclusion that many people rarely apply logic to their lives and wouldn’t recognize a reasonable thought if it was a noose tired around their necks. Mr. Spock was quite right to deride his hysterical sidekick Dr. McCoy who so wonderfully represented the emotional aspects of humanity.

Although I believe in the benefits of logical thinking and the control of emotions, I do not reject my emotional nature. Feelings can strengthen us red-blooded humans, but it takes awareness to logically use what is good about our emotions and reduce the negative.

Emotions should not be pushed away. The famous Vulcan mating rites of the Pon farr certainly demonstrate the dangers of burying emotions too long. As much as I admired Mr. Spock and his Vulcan ideology, I understood that his goal of pure emotional control was too strenuous, perhaps even limiting. To know that his intellectual majesty would descend into wild violence or rutting every seven years was disturbing, but it taught me the value of acknowledging emotions and giving them outlets. Sometimes they need to be buried, but mostly they should be analyzed and incorporated into reasonable decision making. I have found that it is difficult to act against a strong feeling and be happy with the outcome. Only sometimes should sacrifices be made to benefit the needs of the many. Emotional self indulgence has its place. For example, I write novels, which by any estimate is an emotional and irrational career choice. But when I take into account that it is a creative business that makes me happy by granting my emotions intellectual release, then I gain rational benefits for my life.

Thank you Mr. Spock for teaching me the value of reason, the benefits of logic, and the power of emotion. May your character live long and prosper inside the minds of many inspired fans.

To sample my fantasy fiction visit and start reading one or both of my fantasy series for free. You can download Union of Renegades or Rys Rising to see if you like my style.   

Tracy Falbe's Links:

Free books
Rys Rising: Book 1
Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book 1

Online Shops
Brave Luck Books
Perfect Pages on Etsy
Falbe Publishing on Ebay

Writer Profile
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

J. M. Tresaugue's Links:

J. M. Tresaugue Books
Shadows Beyond the Flames ebook
Shadows Beyond the Flames hardback
Shadows Beyond the Flames paperback
Facebook Author Page

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I must admit my initial reaction to the costumes of Star Trek: The Next Generation has failed to change since the original air date in 1987. I remember my thirteen-year-old self shaking his head at Gene Roddenberry's idea of a futuristic uniform. I actually preferred the gold, blue, and red shirts of the original series, or better yet, the green Kirk shirt that nearly showed man-cleavage. What was with these leotards filling the pee-ways and staterooms of Picard's

Enterprise? To make matters worse, there was this goofy looking executive officer with frog eyes, William T. Riker. Oh how I wanted him vaporized (almost as much as I wanted the character of Tasha Yar dead.) He bored me more than a Vulcan addressing the Klingon High Command. The first season of ST:TNG felt as eventful as Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture on Valium. But show me a ship navigating through space, and I'm there! I decided to give season two a chance. Even at thirteen I understood the first season of any show is usually the garbage season, when the writers, producers, and actors are trying to truly figure out what is going on with their creation.

I was sitting in the recliner with a steaming bag of popcorn when the first episode of season two aired. It had to have been a Friday since I was home alone. My brothers were on dates in separate areas of the county, leaving me to my geek time. Hell! Even my mom had a date! I

should have been sneaking out of the house to find some trouble to get into, and I probably would have if there were no shows airing with a ship in space. Pathetic!

I also remember loosing half the bag of popcorn when I saw the new and improved William Riker. What is going on here? All it took was a few short months to grow out a beard, and goodbye Mr. Goofy Face. See you later Mr. Boring. Riker became a man of action, a strong character with engaging eyes (my oldest daughter, now thirteen herself, calls his eyes dreamy) by doing nothing more than saving five minutes in the morning through refusing to pick up his Gillette razor. Riker went from whinney to commanding with nothing more than a bit of scruf.

There comes a time when all the forces behind creating a television show realize the need to completely overhaul a character. Few times has such a simple thing as growing a beard succeeded. Since Riker's success, it's as though the producers of Star Trek realized the power inherit in facial hair. Consider Geordie La Forge. Granted the character has wide spread

support within the Star Trek fan base, but I have always found him alternating between simple minded and creepy. But when the show experimented with a goatee sporting La Forge, well I almost found him interesting. Then there is the matter of Captain Benjamin Sisko. Avery Brooks started strong in his role as the commanding officer of Deep Space Nine. He was a bad ass. That bad assedness increased exponentially when he too appeared on screen with facial hair, and later became the Shaft of space when he appeared with a goatee and a shaved pate.

As we learned in high school literature, hair is strength (refer to the Samson mythology).

Still, I must speculate this Star Trek ability to make uninteresting characters, as well as

interesting characters, stronger began in 1967 when the original series episode Mirror, Mirror aired, and the world was introduced to evil Spock. Fascinating how a touch of extra hair can make the greatest Star Trek XO so much more. . . well. . . fascinating.

The realization of the power behind Riker's beard is not an uncommon topic. This in not the first blog concerning the subject. Urban dictionary recognizes the power of the beard by stating:

The opposite of jump the shark, i.e. when a TV show goes from unspectacular/boring/outlandish to completely awesome. It references Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was unspectacular until season 2, when Commander Riker grew a beard. The show kicked ass from then on.
"Man, Dollhouse really pulled a Riker's Beard last week with that awesome episode."

Riker's beard has inspired a rather terrible song, a short lived garage band, and a mash-up of William Riker and his transporter twin, Thomas Riker, edited as though for yet another Brokeback Trek. The appearance of Riker's beard in TNG is also responsible for a condition that affects some men, and a handful of women. This condition is called Riker Syndrome, defined by Urban Dictionary as:

A person afflicted with Riker Syndrome is one who only looks good with a beard. The

origin of this term is the character of Commander Riker from the television series StarTrek:The Next Generation, who looked great with a beard, but like an idiot without one.
I love Billy's new beard. He definately has Riker Syndrome.

In time, the power of Riker's beard will surely supplant that of the Force. Until then, warp speed ahead!

Riker's Beard on Urban Dictionary
Beard on Beard
Riker's Beard Song
Riker's Beard the Band on Facebook
Riker's Beard the Band on Twitter
Brokeback Trek
Riker Syndrome

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


In or around May of 2010 I made the decision to independently publish my short stories on the Kindle and Nook. Each story was to be published as a stand alone. A friend, A. R. Falcone, agreed to put his graphic design skills to work with the intention of generating a bookcover for each short story. If memory serves correctly, he delivered three splendid covers before the nature of the project shifted. I had changed my mind at some point concerning publication format, preferring to lump all the stories into one collection titled Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories. Fortunately, the news did not anger Falcone who has a rather intimidating brawler's voice, which made truly destructive under his impecable reasoning skills. He is also unable to let a project go once he has become involved. He continued to work even after the short story collection was published.

The leading short story chosen for the collection is The Manual. The short is set in space, a survival story that goes horribly wrong. Of all the short stories found in Shadows Beyond the Flames, Falcone says The Manual is among is favorite:

When you finish reading The Manual you are left with a victory that will disturb you long after it’s finished. The mix of emotions created by The Manual often feels like an uncomfortable touch. I find interesting the subtext critique of military planning, which is merely a set piece for the book, however; this was lived by the both of us during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Military members can relate to the notion of being driven mad through inadequate engineering and planning. It is the individual psychology of a single soldiers’ experience that is at stake. The Manual drags you to places you don’t want to go and allows you to ask yourself; what kind of man am I? When do your sympathies for a victim wane? You feel for the protagonist as the situation continues to worsen. Eventually we all draw a line.

Last month Falcone posted his latest bookcover for The Manual. His work was more than impressive. It was exciting! I find myself regretting I have no use for the bookcover beyond posting it in this blog. An alternative is to publish a special edition of Shadows Beyond the Flames in eleventy-first months with the intention of providing each short story with its very own cover for a tenth anniversary edition. I'm sure by then Falcone will have generated all I need, though he is under no obligation.

Scroll up to the top of the page to take another look at Falcone's bookcover for The Manual before clicking on the next blog.

Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories on Lulu
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