Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Lost Manuscript Publishing Company

Someday, I’ll share with you the story of how this publishing company came to be. For now, since it’s late and I’m sure I should be in bed, just do me a favor and visit The Lost Manuscript Publishing Company. It’s still under contruction, but check back for more info!

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Starlog 11: Mission Complete and Promotion to Captain

I can proudly say I’ve earned the rank of Star Fleet Captain. Seriously. I mean, I took a class and everything!

If you haven’t already read about it, I took an online course through edx.org called Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology. I love to learn, and I just couldn’t pass up the chance at something so wonderfully geeky. The course is free, but if you’re a true Trekkie you can pay a little bit extra to get a certificate. (Yes, I did. And it has the Starfleet logo and everything!)

This course is different from other online classes I’ve taken before. Each module has a video, some suggested episodes to watch, and a writing prompt. That, in itself, isn’t all that unusual. But they actually want you to write your answers as public blog instead of just submitting something within the EdX platform.

Personally, this was just a great excuse to learn, to further explore a show I already love, and to make sure I’ve got some content going on my blog. Not a problem for me! But a few other folks I saw in the discussion board didn’t really feel comfortable with the blog aspect of the class.

The one downfall I saw was that the given material wasn’t always enough to really answer the question. What’s your favorite character? is simple enough, but other ones that talk about character development or the specific applications of technology are a little harder to just rattle off.

That being said, there are short but entertaining videos that share a lot of information about Star Trek history, and I loved it. There are actually two more classes in the series. I’m not sure that I’ll pay the extra money for the certificates (well, maybe…) but I’ll at least sign up to look through the course material!

Have you taken any online courses lately? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 10: The U.S.S. Enterprise as a Character

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

In what ways does the U.S.S. Enterprise function as a character, not just a vehicle in Star Trek? Does “she” have a personality? Do the other ships in the Star Trek universe have the same level of character development?

I think the Enterprise is absolutely a character in the Star Trek franchise, and one of my favorites! The human and alien characters interact with it as a tool, not only to carry them around but also to help them meet the challenges of exploring new worlds and going where no one has gone before. The show simply wouldn’t be the same without it.

The scene that really makes this hit home for me is when the saucer section crash lands in Generations. It’s an absolutely cringe-worthy scene for anyone who loves Trek.

I think this can also be seen in episodes revolving around the holodeck, which sometimes seems to have a life of its own.

I don’t think the other ships have quite the level of character development that the Enterprise does. There’s a history behind her, showing that ships have carried that name for centuries and that they will continue to do so. She was specifically developed to be something different than the typical rocket ship that was usually seen in sci-fi, a ship that wasn’t even meant to land.

While giving her Majel Barrett’s voice doesn’t inherently give her a personality, I have to think about Alexa. She sits in my kitchen, answering questions and setting timers. She doesn’t have a personality the same way another human would, but I do think having a voice makes Alexa seem more realistic and connectable than, say, a Google search bar.

In a discussion group, someone expressed their thought that ships being given a female “character” only served misogynistic ideals for men like Kirk, who would have a wicked woman to blame. I don’t agree, but let’s say for a moment that it’s true. With the progress made with feminism, would this still hold true? Or would a ship having a female character encourage its captain and crew to build more of a connection and a sense of responsibility?

What’s your favorite Star Trek ship? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 9: Star Trek and Vulcan Philosophy

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

Are we getting closer to realizing the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) here on Earth? What would it take for that to happen? What would it look like? How might things be different?

There’s no doubt that we’ve come a long way when it comes to equality and diversity, and there’s even less doubt for me that Star Trek had at least something to do with that. For those who might not be exposed to any kind of diversity in their real lives, the show was a shining example of it. Characters of all backgrounds, from this world and others, were able to come together.

That’s not to say it was completely perfect. Looking back on almost any older show is a trip back in time. My husband turned on The Jetsons last week. Oh, here’s a nice piece of wholesome entertainment, right? Well, except that George Jetson was so infatuated with a hot woman on TV that he sent his son away so he could turn her into a hologram and get a better look. It was…weird.

Overall, I think this serves to prove that we can’t perfect this overnight. We can’t simply decide that things should be different and then expect a complete paradigm shift. I do, however, feel that we’re making progress.

I don’t always appreciate social media, but it’s certainly a good platform for exploring the gifts, talents, and diversity of various people. YouTube, Facebook, and others give us the chance to peek into each other’s lives a little bit more than we might otherwise. I do think this gives us a new appreciation for those across the street, across the country, or across the world.

More attention is being paid to true equality for all, whether we’re talking about real estate, healthcare, food, or pay. It’s a delicate thing, and there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I know I’ve seen a change even within my lifetime already. Gay marriage, reproductive rights, true equality for races…it’s all out in the public forum now, which gives it a chance to change.

If we could truly achieve IDIC, I think it would create a world of unlimited possibilities. We would no longer wonder if an idea was good because of who it came from (consciously or subconsciously). We’d take people for their actual value, regardless of what they look like or where they’re from. It would be pretty incredible, but I’m not sure that we’ll ever truly achieve that.

Could we see more of a change if we were to make contact with creatures from another planet? Would we treat them as humans or as something other? It’s an intriguing question, and one that I certainly hope we’re capable of navigating it with care and consideration when we get to that point.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 8: Star Trek and Diversity

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

Why is it important to see yourself on television? Why is television an important subject for scholarly study and how does what we watch shape the world we live in?

Star Trek, even in The Original Series back in the 60’s, was all about promoting diversity. Characters of all backgrounds were put in positions of authority and importance, as were seen not just as token characters but significant roles that are still beloved today. The kiss between Kirk and Uhura was long touted as the first on-screen interracial kiss, and even though it technically wasn’t, it certainly made an impact on popular culture. Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) even worked with NASA in the 70’s to help promote diversity amongst real-life teams of astronauts.

There’s no doubt that relatable characters are important in any story-telling medium. Viewers (or in the case of books, readers) need someone they can latch onto to really live out the adventures. Sure, you can use your imagination a little, but I think the ideas really hit home when you can find a character you truly relate to.

As the mother of two girls, I love to see so many more strong female characters on the screen. I nearly cried at seeing exactly that in Wonderwoman and the new Ghostbusters. While they aren’t trekkies like I am, there’s certainly a lot for them to see in Janeway, Dr. Crusher, and others.

While television could easily be dismissed as mindless trash that we use to waste our time, I do feel that it shows us a lot about who we are and what we will become, or even what we want to become. It’s simply another method of storytelling, just like classic literature. Star Trek itself has certainly molded and been molded by real life.

Is there a character you particularly relate to? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 7: Star Trek and Space Exploration

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

Should the government resolve Earthly issues before exploring space? Or is a scientific investigation of distant worlds a fundamentally human endeavor of exploration?

Star Trek, as we all know, was about exploring new worlds and going where no one had gone before. It has shown us what possibilities might lie ahead if we continue to develop our space program and reach further and further out among the stars.

But space travel is controversial when it comes to spending government money. After all, there are people here on Earth who don’t have enough to eat or a place to sleep. I recently found out in an article about the space race that not all Americans supported it at the time, and even JFK thought of it as more of a political stunt than a true scientific need. (I can’t find the article now, but it was in Smithsonian, I believe.)

Some people still feel the same, stating that we should fix the problems we have here on Earth before we bother looking toward the stars. I don’t agree. First, it’s going to take such a long time to actually “fix” all the problems we have here to everyone’s satisfaction that we’ll never get to space. Second, there’s no telling what solutions we might find in space. We already use quite a few items that were developed for, by, or in conjunction with NASA.

Even without the physical evidence of our space exploration, it would be difficult to quantify the creative potential we have from the space program. Would Star Trek itself ever have come into existence if we hadn’t turned our sights toward the stars?

Do you think we should continue to explore space? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 7: Star Trek and Utopia

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

Think of a global issue that we are facing today that causes fear or concern. What would be the plot of a television show that depicted a utopian and optimistic vision of the future of that issue?

Star Trek first aired during the Cold War and the space race, yet it told of a future where countries, races, genders, and even entire worlds could get along and come together for a common good.

I think the “plot” that we could all use right now would be everyone coming together on defeating COVID-19. Even our country is incredibly divided on this topic. It affects all of us, both nationally and globally, and yet we’re so firmly rooted in our own beliefs about it that we can’t see any truth in the opposite stance.

Have you ever noticed that in Star Trek, they don’t have social media or cell phones (in the way that we use them, which is much more than a phone)? People spend far too much time sharing news stories without reading them, creating their own news that suits their agenda, and pushing their personal convictions. The pandemic problem has been tied to politics, and I don’t feel that it should be.

Despite the numerous examples of diversity, equality, and utopian visions in the various Star Trek series, there are also quite a few examples that show those groups don’t have it all together just yet. Even a group as revered as the Federation doesn’t appeal to everyone and their own agenda. It’s a mission for all of us to work on.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 6: Star Trek Technology

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

What’s your must-have piece of Star Trek tech?

I think most people would instantly answer the transporter. It was one of the most obvious pieces of technology across the various series, and we’d all like to get somewhere faster. It was developed by Gene Roddenberry because The Original Series didn’t have the budget for shooting landing vehicles at every location. It was genius, but I’ve always wondered what it would actually feel like to have all your molecules pulled apart and put back together.

Personally, I think the biobed would be the most beneficial overall, as would any other medical equipment featured on the show. It’s all very minimally invasive, which is great for me since I’m terrified of doctors and blood! For the show itself, the characters needed to go through a slew of various injuries and diseases and still feasibly survive, so I think it helped support the plot just as much as the transporter did.

I’m not saying I’d turn down a replicator, though! 😀

Who’s your favorite piece of Star Trek technology? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 5: Favorite Character

Check out this post if you haven’t read about my Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

Who’s your favorite Star Trek character?

Somehow, this is a much harder question to answer than musing the societal impact of Trek or debating the canon of the show. My poor husband has to listen to me scream with joy every time I spot a Trek actor on another show.

Just like we don’t have only one Star Trek series, I can’t say that I have one favorite. Instead I’ll do one from each.

The Original Series – Spock, hands down. Who doesn’t love Spock?

The Next Generation – Data. In his efforts to be human, we really get to explore what that means. Geordi LaForge is a really, really close second, though.

Deep Space 9 – I love Odo, and for very similar reason that I have for loving Data.

Voyager – The Doctor, and I’m sensing a trend here since he’s a hologram who becomes more and more human as the series goes along. Honorable mention goes to Tuvok.

Enterprise – Dr. Phlox, because he’s just so sweet, practical, and smart.

Who’s your favorite character? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Starlog 4: Star Trek Canon

Check out this post if you haven’t read about my Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

In the current unit, I’ve been asked: In your opinion, what are the benefits of adhering to canon? What creative potential exists in jumping off from it? Where has Star Trek (or other similar franchises) done it well or poorly?

Personally, I think adhering to canon is a wonderful thing. Fans like to feel like authorities on their favorite show, and being familiar with the various rules of a given fictional world allow them to do that. The “rules” that canon sets forth also serve to make the franchise feel more real and allows fans to take it more seriously.

As a writer, I can also see a great benefit for those who create new episodes and movies. Canon gives them a place to start from, a world they can dive into where histories and characters are already established. I know from my personal experience that when it comes to writing a series, it’s much harder to write the first story than it is the fifth. Canon also creates a challenge for writers to find new spaces within that megatext to create stories.

I think Star Trek has done a wonderful job with this. Yes, there are some things that can be debated, such as the changing appearance of the Klingons throughout the different series, but that’s also part of the fun. Some of the time gaps that hadn’t previously been addressed before have a matrix laid down by that previous canon for the writers to bounce off of and explore. The trekkies flocking to conventions (when we’re not living in a pandemic, of course) are doing it because they take the show seriously and want to know more. They’ve become attached to these characters and this universe, and there’s no greater proof than that.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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