Welcome to the writings from the road and beyond. Hop on back, into the side car, or ride alongside and enjoy!
|Posted by email@example.com on April 2, 2021 at 3:45 PM||comments (80)|
I have little in the way of news this month—apart from that my first draft of the sequel to “Better the Millstone” now surpasses fifty thousand words!
And now, I ask that you indulge me as I write about one of my favorite topics: Star Wars—specifically, the order of Star Wars.
It seems that there are now numerous ways to watch Star Wars.
I recall seeing Star Wars in the movie theatre in 1977. It was truly a game changer, and the movie was probably the most visually stunning thing I had ever seen up to that point. Older science fiction, such as Star Trek, Doctor Who, Space: 1999, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, were bland and pale by comparison. Not in terms of color and splash, but in terms of being real. Star Wars looked real. The ships looked like they had seen real action, and the story a unique blend of science fiction, high fantasy, and space western that launched not only a new franchise but changed the face of science fiction.
But I digress.
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi (we didn't call them by episode numbers back then). Those were it. At some point, the Holiday Special and Ewok programs came along for kids, and there were a handful of novels (Splinter of the Mind's Eye being the first). Other than that, we had Starlog and Omni magazines to read about science fiction related stuff, including Star Wars.
Until Betamax and VHS came along and home video took off, the only order you watched them in was "Star Wars (Nobody called it "A New Hope" back then)" in 1977, "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, and "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" in 1983.
Until 1999, when "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" premiered, there was only one trilogy and one order.
Now, you have prequel and sequel trilogies, and debates surrounding the order of watching the films. Which one is right? I've read that you should start newcomers with "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," as it is the most recent of the trilogy starting points, and have them watch Episodes VIII and IX, after which you go back and watch the original trilogy and then the prequel trilogy. Then,you have people who advocate watching them in the order they were released (original trilogy, prequel trilogy, sequel trilogy) and others who advocate watching them in episode order. Then, there's some kind of machete order that mixes everything up and drops Episode I.
None of that includes the non-trilogy films, such as Solo and Rogue One, and the TV shows.
So, without further ado, here is the Daniel Sullivan Order.
1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
3. Star Wars: A New Hope
4. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
6. Star Wars: The Mandalorian (all seasons).
Do as you wish with the prequel and sequel trilogies. I enjoyed both and they have their merits, but they also feel somewhat disconnected from the original trilogy. Same goes for the rest of the television shows.
A few words on the sequel trilogy. I enjoyed it overall, though a I said above, it felt disconnected from the original trilogy, this in spite of having the three main characters (Leia, Luke, and Han - played by their original actors no less!), three main supporting characters (R2D2, C3P0, and Chewbacca), and one of the primary antagonists (Emperor Palpatine, also played by the Return of the Jedi actor).
I found the films enjoyable, and I felt that the casts' diversity offered many more points of entry to the series than did the original trilogy (which consisted of nearly all white men and three white women, only one of whom had more than about three or four lines or five minutes’ worth of screen time).
At the same time, some of the choices were baffling—the complete jettisoning of the old “expanded universe”. Other baffling choices were the exclusion of Mara Jade, the all-off-screen collapse of Luke's Jedi Academy, and Luke's living as a hermit. Then there was the puzzling choice to name Han and Leia's son Ben. In the expanded universe, that had been the name of Luke and Mara' son—which made sense, given Luke's connection with Ben Kenobi. Finally, there was the wasting of the Captain Phasma and Rose Tico characters.
None of those things were dealbreakers, and I like the new characters and cast (all of them). But those things did make the sequel trilogy feel more like a reboot than a continuation. There is a lot to like in Episodes seven through nine, so I do encourage you to watch them if you have not already.
As far as the order of movies and film, I gave my opinion, but really, just watch Star Wars and enjoy what was for me, a transformative and impactiful sci-fi/space opera!
May the Force be with you!
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 14, 2021 at 4:15 PM||comments (835)|
Like many of you, my wife and I have been watching “The Mandalorian” on Disney Plus. The character of Cara Dune was a favorite of ours, and it was unfortunate that due to the Actress’ exercise of her Twitter account, that character is unlikely to return.
Apart from reboots, recasting does not seem to happen any longer. I would like to see Cara Dune continue as a presence in the Star Wars universe, but outside of maybe comic books or novels, it seems unlikely.
The worst part is that this was completely avoidable.
Gina Carano had an ‘I dare you to fire me’ attitude about the pressure mounting on Disney remove her from “The Mandalorian” cast, seeming to double down on her unfortunate Twitter content with each calling on the carpet. Each time pressure mounted, she parroted the same tired line that others who have lost shows or roles for similar social media behavior have used: “They’re censoring conservatives.”
Of course, her comparison of being critiqued on social media for sharing false and debunked theories to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany was the final straw, and so, a beloved character has exited the series.
The sad part is that she was so perfect for the role. Gina looked the part, and as a top-level professional fighter, has the physicality that the role demanded. And she can act!
While I strongly disagree with her political stances, I was not among those pulling for her ouster. Yes, I am sad to see her go.
Having said that, I feel no sympathy for her.
This is 2021. Countless public figures and indeed, ordinary folk, have seen their careers flushed down the toilet over their behavior on social media. She had to have somebody telling her to knock it off, and even if she didn’t, a celebrity has no excuse for not understanding how their social media conduct can backfire.
This is a clear case of the actress proverbially shooting herself in the foot with a proverbial shotgun. Yes, this is a self-inflicted wound, not some cancel culture about conservatives.
Perhaps she should
Somehow, John Schneider, a conservative actor best known for playing Bo Duke, driver of an orange 1969 Dodge Charger named "General Lee", with a giant Confederate battle flag on the roof, manages to not alienate people, and maintains an air of class.
I have no doubt that Supergirl fans would have welcomed him had he appeared on that very liberal and feminist show.
Clearly, Carano's conservative views are not the problem.
I have nothing against Carano, and I do wish her well. At the same time, I have no sympathy for celebrities who cry foul when their misuse of social media bites them in the proverbial behind.
|Posted by email@example.com on January 21, 2021 at 9:00 PM||comments (4)|
A new name for the newsletter still forthcoming
As it says in the title, a better name is coming soon, hopefully in time for the February 2021 newsletter. Also working on making it look a bit more professional. This is the second newsletter, and I know that only a few of you are signed up, but I hope to continue improving the quality of the newsletter!
Though there is new content this month, it feels like I’m just repackaging a lot of the same content that I had in last month’s newsletter. As the year progresses, I will be announcing more new projects, and hopefully, new events!
Obviously, that last will depend on where we are with regards to Covid-19.
The Silver Liner Series
Work on the sixth book continues apace, and I finally feel like I’ve made some breakthroughs on the story. This book will end the Silver Liner Sextet. Is it really the end? I don’t know! I originally envisioned this as a continuing series of serialized space adventures. Needless to say, it became something more. Once this sixth book is complete, it may be the end, but again, even I cannot be certain!
More books set in the same universe are in the works, the first one having been published last year, “Better the Millstone”, which takes place in the same setting, but over a century later. Another will take place between books three and four of the Silver Liner Sextet, “The Cyber Secession”, which I have been working on now for over two years!
Better the Millstone sequel
This was a fun book to write, and I originally intended it as a stand-alone book. However, a follow up story came to me, and a sequel is well underway! I have a complete outline, the plot written from beginning to end. Now, I’m putting meat on the bones of this story.
Will it become another sextet?
Hard to say. Right now, if it does go beyond two books, its more likely to become the continuing series of adventure books that the Silver Liner sextet was originally intended to be.
The Goddess’ Eyes
My 2018 NaNoWriMo project is in its third draft, and I’m letting it sit for a little bit before going back through and expanding. I’ve managed to resist going beyond corrections for the most part, making sure of continuity and rewriting anything that either makes no sense or is awkward. When I pick it up again, however, I will be expanding and enriching the prose.
Hopefully, it will be ready for publication in 2022.
Shore Leave 42
The folks at Shoreleave have been in contact with me via e-mail, and it looks like the con will be held July 9th to 11th, 2021. We’ll see if it actually happens due to Covid, but I am planning to attend if it actually happens!
Happy New Year!
So, it’s a new year—Happy New Year! ’Tis a time of new beginnings, new year’s resolutions, and making plans. We’ve a new president, a new congress, and new opportunities to tell new stories!
I have updated my website for the first time this year. There will be many more updates, and new projects in the coming year. www.danielsullivanbooks.com
On a sadder note …
We have new celebrity deaths. Specifically, Mira Furlan, the actress who played Delenn on Babylon 5. Mira’s nuanced and flawless portrayal of the Minbari ambassador was one of the high points of the series, and a perfect companion to Bruce Boxleitner’s Commander Sheridan.
Mira Furlan touched a lot of people, and her passing is a tragedy. She will be missed.
Thank you all for reading through my rambling thoughts of January 2021. We’ll do this again next month!
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on January 14, 2021 at 8:55 PM||comments (4)|
Some takeaways from last week's coup attempt by a defeated president:
-Donald Trump lost.
-The election wasn't rigged.
-Four years of unrelenting lies, airing grievances, and agitation of the basest elements of our society and then turning them loose to siege the Capital when the rightful winner's victory is being confirmed is a premeditated coup attempt.
-Somehow, a mob of armed white Christian men charging the police did no trigger their "fear for my life" reflex.
-The presence of so many Confederate battle flags pretty much confirms the negative things people say about it and what it represents.
-Private companies banning you from their platform for violating their terms of service is neither Orwellian nor an infringement on your first amendment rights.
-And yes, there was plenty of warning that this would be happening.
That's all for now.
|Posted by email@example.com on December 20, 2020 at 11:45 AM||comments (6)|
’Tis the end of 2020, and as we prepare to open a new chapter, I am prompted to look back on the last chapter as it comes to its close. 2020 was a turbulent year, dominated by two things: a global pandemic and an election. The two together were inescapable—if you weren’t hearing about the one, you heard about the other, and often, if you heard about the one, you heard about the other simultaneously, as the outgoing administration’s response to the Novel Corona Virus/Covid 19 was as newsworthy as the pandemic itself and played a huge part in the 2020 election.
Unemployment, business failure, and a fundamental change to the way we socialize were all on display this past year. Some hit home for me—my older son works for a sound and lighting company, and so is unemployed, as the events that sound and lighting companies need to operate were all canceled. Of course, my vendor table at Shoreleave 2020 was canceled as well. As you may also know, I teach kendo, the art of Japanese fencing, and longsword classes. These classes came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic, and just when I was thinking about starting classes again on a limited basis, the virus surged.
Somewhere during all of the insanity of the year, four major things happened. I returned to the Harley Davidson dealer to work in their service department, I published my sixth novel—Better the Millstone—through Wolf Paw Publications, my oldest son and his wife welcomed a daughter into the world, making me a grandfather, and I married Lynda.
Needless to say, 2020 was a year of firsts for me. My first time being a grandfather. My first time living outside of Montgomery County. My first time as a spouse in a blended family. My first published novel that was not in the Silver Liner Series … and the first time since 2013 that I did not win National Novel Writing Month (I only got to the sixteen-thousand-word mark).
With everything going on in my life, many people seemed surprised that I was even trying to win NaNoWriMo, but writing projects have their own inertia. So, while I may have slowed my output, my projects have indeed continued.
An author’s writing projects are generally what interest their newsletter readers most, so without further ado, let’s talk about the fun stuff!
The Silver Liner Series
The gateway into the near-future science fiction world I’ve created, the Silver Liner Series is my first, and now numbers five books, set to conclude in the sixth and final book (See below). Follow the adventures of Captain Royce and Doctor Fiona Kinsale aboard the great silver liner, the S.S. Selene as they galivant about the inner Sol System, dodging government agents, crime bosses, and a maniacal Starfleet captain! Available in paperback and e-book!
Start your voyage here:
Better the Millstone
In spite of a global pandemic, a job change, and preparing for a wedding, along with everything else going on, I was able to publish my first non-Silver Liner book, “Better the Millstone”. This book takes place roughly a hundred and fifty years after the events of the Silver Liner series and introduces space trucking Captain Shane Tyrone of the SMV Gypsy Rose. Join him on his first epic misadventure!
The Cyber Secession
The book that was going to be “The Silver Liner: Final Flight”, was my 2019 NaNoWriMo project. By the time I finished writing it, that book ended up becoming another draft of a Silver Liner related book, “The Cyber Secession” (working title), which takes place immediately following the events of “The Silver Liner: The Voyage Home”. Originally, this story was going to be told inside the Final Flight novel, but I found that it works better as a stand-alone story.
The story is very nearly in its final form and sets the stage for the world I presented in “Better the Millstone”, which takes place roughly a hundred and fifty years after the Silver Liner series.
I’m projecting a Spring 2022 release for this book, but I would love to see it happen some time next year. Of course, as Paul Masson would sell no wine before its time, nor will Daniel Sullivan publish a book before its time.
The fate of Selene, Kendrick, and Fiona
My unfinished NaNoWriMo project for 2020 is a proper conclusion to the Silver Liner series, and work on that has continued. I am aiming for a late summer/fall release of this book, but trust me, I have a lot in store for Kendrick and his silver liner, as well as for the rest of his crew.
Better the Millstone audio-book
I am working on my first home studio project, an audio reading of my latest novel, Better the Millstone. This will be available only by contacting me directly. It is nowhere near complete, and the setting up of my home recording studio has been interrupted repeatedly, so only the prologue has been recorded. This will be a recording of the author reading the book, so it won’t have the kind of polish that a traditional e-book will have—but it will be the author reading the book.
Gypsy Rose Rides Again!
I have fully outlined the plot of a sequel to “Better the Millstone” and am about a quarter of the way through writing the first draft. Millstone was originally meant to be a single, stand alone novel, but the story came to me and the author notes began to be typed. Before long, I had the outline and was working on the first draft. No release date or projection as of yet but stay tuned!
The Goddess’ Eyes
My 2018 NaNoWriMo high fantasy project has not gotten as much post NaNo attention as my other works, but I have been opening it up and working on it here and there. After Lynda and I watched “The Witcher”, I was inspired to dive back into this one in earnest. Now, the third draft is in progress!
Let down your tangled hair!
I wrote a very brief draft many years ago that was lost and recently recovered when a thumb drive that had disappeared reappeared during the move. It involves a dashing knight, a fair princess, a tower, and a dragon!
Random and Sundry projects
I have concepts for two science fiction novels, both of which would be in the YA category, and a few fiction ideas that are just ideas with one or two sentences’ worth of notes so I don’t forget.
And there you have it!
Remember, if you have read my books, please go on Amazon and review them! You can find my author page here:
Also, visit my website: www.danielsullivanbooks.com
In a few short days, not only will 2020 end, but the twenty-teens decade will end. As we enter the twenties for the third time in U.S. history, I am hopeful. The Teens were a pretty crazy decade, but we got through it without a world war this time around, so I’ll count that as a win. Join me here next month, and we’ll do it all again!
Happy holidays to all, and the very best in the coming year!
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on June 10, 2020 at 2:20 PM||comments (3)|
I normally stay away from current events and politics on this page, and tend not to post all that frequently at all, but this week is different. Yesterday, I posted some memes on my social media accounts that are decidedly political.
Today, I write my own words.
For over a week now, we have seen massive protests in the streets demanding change and demanding justice for a man murdered by a police officer. These demonstrations have forcefully challenged white supremacy and challenged America to do the hard work of dismantling a system that oppresses minorities.
I fully support these demonstrators. I fully support Black Lives Matters.
This should come as no surprise. I am a science fiction writer over the age of fifty. I grew up watching science fiction promote the cause of equality and of dismantling racism, bigotry, and prejudice for my entire life. Star Trek taught us about multiculturalism and diversity. Star Wars taught us to transcend racial barriers and stand up to fascism.
Virtually every science fiction book, movie, or television program that I have read or watched, wherein an enlightened society is presented, racism, bigotry, and oppression have no place.
It should be no surprise that I stand on the side of the demonstrators.
For those who are upset by large, disruptive protests, and who bemoan the lack of a quiet, dignified statement, I would like to point out that you got your wish just a few short years ago when a black quarterback did exactly that. He was soon joined by others, all of whom quietly took a knee during the Anthem.
Rather than listening and respecting their dignified protest, those voices that demand quiet, peaceful protests morphed into a torrent of rage, spewing hatred and demanding the players be fined, fired, or even locked up.
So now, we have mass demonstrations. Again. Perhaps if we had done the hard work as a nation decades ago, or even just a few years ago when a similar tragedy occurred, things might be different today ... but we did not.
I include myself in that "we," by the way, as I am as guilty of not doing that work in years past as anyone else. Perhaps even more so.
Some of you may choose to un-follow. Some of you may decide not to read my books. That is your right, and I respect that. If you walk away, I hope that my words stick with you, and that one day, you may come around.
As an author and as an artist, I have a responsibility to stand for something. My books are meant to be fun, enjoyable reads following the adventures of the Sci-fi and fantasy heroes I have created, and they can be read purely at that level. However, the characters and the worlds I have built are informed by more than just a desire to spin a yarn (or five as of this writing).
I have a responsibility to speak up and to make my views on these matters known. I have a responsibility not to remain silent.
|Posted by email@example.com on April 12, 2017 at 11:15 AM||comments (6)|
Born in 1967, I still remember the Vietnam war, Richard Nixon, Watergate, and the Cold War. I grew up in a time when the pledge of allegiance was still a mandatory part of school, and attending parochial school from fifth grade until I graduated high school, I also experienced prayer in school. It was a different time.
We had telephones that were attached to the wall and phone booths scattered about the cities, towns, and countrysides for making calls when out of doors or in public places, such as malls. For mobile communication, it was CB radio or walkie talkies. We had no video games until various pong games and eventually Atari. Arcades were mostly pinball machines. Mostly, we played outside, read books, and played board games. There were no VCRs, DVDs, or streaming video. The internet did not exist. If I wanted to see a movie, I had to go to the cinema. Television was limited to three or four channels and cable television did not exist. If I wanted to see a program, I needed to catch it when it was on or wait for it in a rerun. Movies that I missed I might be lucky enough to see on television a couple of years later.
It was a time of Americans with no hyphens; African-American, Asian-American, Irish-American, such terms did not exist. We were all just Americans, though the lack of such terms did not make us any more united. It was also a time of uncertainty about the Soviets, nuclear proliferation, and the far off threat of Arab terrorists (we did not call them Muslim extremists back then). Our nation was somewhat schizophrenic, and I grew up with mixed messages of unbridled patriotism and deep seated cynicism. Religion was still more a part of public consciousness than it is today, though again, this was a cultural matter and does not imply an innate holiness or spirituality.
Growing up in a Roman Catholic household and attending parochial school, God, Jesus, and Mary and the Saints were always a part of my life and the concept of guilt was constantly reinforced. It also made for a schizophrenic morass of mixed messages and conflicting ideas. Both far left/borderline "communists" ideas were espoused in equal portions alongside hardline conservative ideas. Forgivness and faith alongside the tallying of every misdead (remember that guilt thing?) and constant worry. Endless criticism alongside unrealistic encouragement. The worship of money alongside messages on how unimportant money is. And the most maddening of all enforced conformity alongside messages of 'be yourself.'
All of these things influenced what I read, and how I read, how I wrote, and how I interpreted the things that I read and saw. It took many years, decades in fact, to finally start to strip away the parts of my person that were not really part of me at all, but which had been superimposed upon me by family, teachers, and society. To strip them away and to reveal who I was before I was told who I was supposed to be.
And so, here I am now. I am not a single defining thing, a nice neat category. I am a single father of two, I write, train and teach the martial arts, draw, paint, game, ride, and drive. I also work a day job as the inventory manager of the PC Technical department of a large data collections company. I am no one single thing. I subscribe to no political party. Yes, I have a religious affiliation, but it is my personal choice of how I connect with God, not the category that I fit into.
And my site is as multifaceted as I am. No, I'm not conceited. You are just as multifaceted as I am. None of us are neat categories. None of us are 'types.' None of us are defined by our ethnic or cultural origins. So welcome!