November Aspiring Author Spotlight- Morgan Wilson (AAS 2014 #11)

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This August marked the start of my third, full contracted year at my local middle school and every year, we have new staff members.  On the second day of teacher meetings, I heard a shuffling and some heavy breathing as I sat alone in the front with my school Chromebook, half the room full of my coworkers staring at a moment unfolding. Our sweet, perky new science teacher who did not say a word the previous day, gave me a large, fan-girl grin, and said “I love your shirt so much!”  I was wearing my orange “Camp Half-Blood” shirt from Percy Jackson (we had to wear construction colors for our staff photo and it was the only orange shirt I owned).  I thanked her and she told me she was a nerd before waving off. Later, I found her, invited her to lunch, and we bonded, discovering a love for Pokémon, anime, and all things nerd.  She has such a bubbly personality and it is so amazing to have an otaku friend at work, a friend who supports my nerdy habits and we share news and suggestions.  She even has a Ninja Turtle figure, a Groot, and a Harry Potter badge holder in her classroom (I just have Pokémon decals and a Power Ranger cup cozy).  She supports my writing and Pokémon events too! The cherry on top?  She is also 25/26 like myself AND…Her name is also Morgan! =D  <3 We call each other Twinsies!  I am so happy to have another otaku friend and thank my twinsie for everything she does for me and our school. Welcome now, the lovely, talented, and nerdy with style…Mrs. Morgan Wilson. (P.S. Her hubby is also a gamer like mine!)

Aspiring Authors Spotlight Questions

  1. When you wake up in the morning, how do you see life?
    1. It depends on how I slept the night before! Haha! If it was a good nights rest I wake up ready to go and look forward to the day. If it was a rough night I start the day out pretty melancholy and rely on a cup of coffee to pick me up. Ask me after that cup and I’ll tell you that life is an adventure and every day brings something new especially in my line of work!
  2. How did writing find its way into your life?
    1. Writing began for me when my 6th grade ELA teacher did a poetry unit. I quickly fell in love with writing poetry and over the years it grew into short stories, screenplays and now, novels!
  3. What does writing do for you?
    1. Writing is cathartic for me and lets me express myself. It allows me to create the worlds I see in my head. Putting the worlds on paper makes them so vibrant and alive and allows me to explore them even farther! When I’m emotional after a hard day (or a great one!) I tend to write poems that express my feelings, the writing lets me get it out and share it with others.
  4. What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?
    1. I’m mainly a sci-fi and fantasy writer and I always add in real or hypothetical science since I am a science teacher!
  5. Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?
    1. All the time! I’ve made characters based off of the personalities of people that are in my life. In my current work, I’ve based my character’s mentor off my father. He had a big influence on me as a person and I wanted the same kind of relationship for my character.
  6. What are you currently work on or what was the last thing you wrote?
    1. I’m currently working on my very first novel, The Tide! I really want it to be the first in a trilogy called the Time War. Its really exciting and the story is definitely taking some turns that I hadn’t really expected but am loving!
  7. Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?
    1. My inspiration for this came from a dream! It was so vivid in my mind when I woke up that I immediately had to write it all down as quick as I could! It then sat in my file of story ideas for almost a year before I got started on it a couple weeks ago!
      It follows a young woman by the name of Mads who is a time agent employed to fix history since it seems to be falling to pieces because of unregulated time travel by ‘the every day joe’. She works alongside other agents who do the same thing but have a different skill set than she does. Eventually she begins to notice some discrepancies with her missions and starts to unravel some the mysteries of her employers.  There’s way more to it than that, but I don’t want to give it all away!
  8. What are your goals for the future?
    1. My writing goals are to finish this book and get published! Life goal would have to be to buy a house with my husband!
  9. What are your interests or hobbies?
    1. I’m a little all over the place with interests. I’m currently obsessed with Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I also love to read books of any style, go camping, hiking, and swimming. My husband and I also geocache and travel whenever we can.
  10. If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help the world?
    1. My power would have to be telepathy and telekinesis. I think the uses are obvious being telepathic would allow for plots to be uncovered, motives outed, guilt or innocence to be discovered, the possibilities are endless. Telekinesis could be used to save people of course! Trapped under a building? Bam! Saved. Timmy fell down the well? Boom. Saved. Build the transatlantic bridge? Tada!
  11. What advice would you give people who want to write?
    1. Never give up! If you’ve get stuck, leave it for awhile and take a break! Relax, go out and do something that makes you happy. Don’t sit there and be frustrated at your work. Come back later and try again.
  12. If you could be remembered for one thing or thought, what would it be?
    1. Just one thing? I hope it would be for my caring nature. I try to be kind and polite to everyone I meet and I genuinely care about the people in my life, from my students and coworkers, to my friends and family, to that waiter who looks really stressed out during the dinner rush. You never know when a smile could make someone’s day!

Example of work:

Chapter 1

Mads was enjoying herself. It was October of 1792 and France was positively delightful. She’d been there for almost nine months making sure the revolution went off without a hitch. There were some minor 31st century Neo-Euroasia soldiers that were enjoying the show; not much of a hindrance but she sent them packing  all the same since they were polluting the stream. They were also harassing the locals with their stunners and shooting people flat at random and she couldn’t have that tarnishing her reputation. Some high political continental senator was present trying to interfere with Marie Antoinette’s trial, but he was easily booted since he had decided it was a good idea to arrive with no bodyguards.

No, the problem came from a pair that were part of The Train. It was an organization that specialized in fulfilling people’s fantasies, specifically those that involved people from earlier eras like the ones here in 18th century France. This pair, a man and woman, proved hard to latch onto and apprehend. They were eely and moved through the revolution quickly and easily, snatching girls as they went. Rumor had it that they were after Marie Antoinette, since she was a big virtual seller and having the real deal would be sure to get them a load of credits.

Mads usually had no trouble getting rid of this type, but these two were proving to be very sneaky. They eluded her at a deal two months ago and had since been keeping their transactions very low key. Last night she had had to pose as a young French courtesan and pay off a pimp to set up a trade with them. The mess that ensued as she brought them down had not been pretty. This was one of the very few times she had needed to use her stunner. Only one of them would be headed home while the other joined the mass grave at Picpus Cemetery with those who had been beheaded that day. She did feel rather sorry for having to kill the man. She did not necessarily like using lethal means, but he had initiated the fight with an Erbian knife, which, more often than not, are found to be coated with a potent poison. ‘Better safe than sorry.’ was what her mentor had said during training. In the end the job was done and she was sitting back watching the mayhem and murder take its course.

It was normally frowned upon to hang around after the job was done, but she could never resist getting to see some of the most important, or at the very least famous, moments in history. The beheading of Marie Antoinette was one such event, even if it was completely unnecessary and the woman was largely innocent of most of her accusations. The beheading was to take place at the Place de la Revolution sometime around noon and she secured her nearby rooftop viewing point early in the morning. It was a beautiful crisp fall day and the crowd was already surging and angry for a beheading well before the main event was supposed to take place. Marie was solemn and quiet, not fighting her fate. Mads could hesitantly say that it was admirable for her to seem so brave in the face of death. The moment came and as the blade crashed downward she closed her eyes, only hearing the thud of the guillotine and the swelling cheer of the crowd. Marie’s body was dumped into an unmarked grave that same day. As much as Mads did not approve of her death, it was certainly better than her being taken forward in time to The Train and used up until she wasted away. At least she died in her own time and with a semblance of dignity, understanding what was going on around her and not helplessly lost and alone close to twelve hundred years in the future.

After leaving the crowds she returned to her humble quarters and packed her supplies. The stunner, always set at lethal, but for emergency use only, the wrist-top that contained all vital historical moments and backstory to her mission, her Agency-issued uniform, and of course, the tempdisc that would get her back to command. A press of the green button would take her back to Continuance, her employer. A tempdisc had maybe five uses if the time jumps were short. This particular tempdisc was only good for two, since her jump was so far back. Jumps going further back than the 1600’s always required the agent to take a second tempdisc with as a single one would lack the power to jump back to command. She hoped that it would not lapse out and drop her too early like it had done to Rem the month before. He had been stuck in the 32nd century for a week before they had managed to send an agent along to fetch him back. The 32nd was not a place to be stranded in, especially for someone like Rem who had a distinctive Euroasian resemblance. Times were very violent in that period, with nearly half a dozen wars and at least double that number of skirmishes dotting the seven continents. Euroasia and Africanus were the main instigators who would constantly be at each other’s throats for one imagined slight or another. Rem had been returned alright in the end though, completely unscathed except for having a peculiar aversion to dumplings now, which he still had not explained.

Meticulously moving the contents of the room well out of arms reach, Mads stood in the center of the room and pressed the green button. The familiar constriction of her insides, the lack of any discernible temperature and the enveloping inky darkness happened instantaneously. She hated this part of her job, the idea of being trapped in the nothingness of the port, the ‘between space’ as some put it, was terrifying. If it happened there was no way you would ever get out; you would be stuck there for eternity,a thought that haunted each agent. It happened rarely, but when it did silence enveloped everyone as they all tried to fathom what it must be like trapped there. Some reckoned that as you ported back and forth you could hear the screams of those stuck in the nothingness. Sva swore that he heard it once. He said it was agonizing, like a death rattle that never stopped. For Mads the nothingness lasted all of fifteen seconds, though it felt like much longer, before she dropped onto the shiny tiled floor of the command room at Continuance headquarters. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as she stood in the midst of familiar surroundings. A voice called over the coms and asked her to state her name, rank and a status on the mission. Her reply was accepted and she was released from her holding room in the command. There had been an occasion or two when  an agent had been incapacitated, captured, or had simply been negligent with their equipment, and someone else, more than once a civilian, had ended up in the command. It was rather funny to see a poor soul from centuries past stand gaping in the command. The laughs were short lived because those who came in the command like that were never allowed to return to their own time, but rather disappeared into the bowels of the agency. Proper precautions were always taken upon the re-entry of agents to leave the holding room and then the command itself. A matching fingerprint and eye scan allowed her out of the command and she walked herself down to the debriefing room to give a full rundown of the mission.

This part always seemed to take longer than the mission itself.

Chapter 2

A couple of days later Mads was strolling past the history room that was filled with about ten new recruits. The recruits varied in age, race and original time period. The only thing that connected all of them was that their life in their own time had meant next to nothing. If you were recruited for Continuance, then you had have to have no meaningful existence or impact on your own time. Orphans were always a good choice, infants that would die shortly after birth, and tragic deaths at a young age all made for an effective time agent recruit. Those were the most common histories of Continuance agents. Mads herself had been recruited at the age of three, originally an orphan who would die in a fire that claimed most of her orphanage and the people unlucky enough to be  in it. It was not something recruits often dwelled upon since it typically led to bouts of depression and even suicide or intentional misuse of a tempdisc that lead to death. Working  at Continuance made up for not having a time of your own for most agents. You could live a life that would let you see things most could only imagine or read about. The hardest part was finding viable recruits and getting to them, both physically and emotionally. It was difficult to port yourself to the exact moment you wanted, an unfortunate drawback to the emerging technology being implemented by the Continuance and her agents.. This limit in accuracy led to the de facto rule for agents to always port in early to their mission time by a couple of weeks at minimum.
Mads gave a small wave to Kath, who was giving today’s lesson, and leaned against the door seal to listen in on a lesson she had taken nearly twelve years ago. When recruits were children they were kept in what amounted to be a quarantine so they were away from the active agents and the equipment. This isolation came to be after an unfortunate incident before her time  saw a child  accidently ported to the middle of the 32nd century when the bloodiest war on record was taking place. Needless to say, the poor child did not return to command. It was not until age ten  that they were allowed into the general populace to begin their agent training after that incident. Of course there were washouts who just could not handle the job and had to be terminated before they could even begin, but most seemed to take to their future job as naturally as walking and talking.

Today’s history lesson consisted of the origin story for Continuance and the intricacies of its operations. It was no easy task to explain this to a bunch of ten year olds but Kath was doing an admirable job at holding their attention. Continuance had been founded close to sixty years ago when the government at the time realized that history was becoming fractured and rewritten from too much unregulated time travel by anyone and everyone with access to the technology, and that it needed to be stopped. After this realization, legislation passed swiftly and time porting was banned in all forms. However, there were still cases where it continued to unravel and in some instances disappear completely. Even though time porting was ‘banned’, what they really meant was regulated and privatized, which raised the costs of operations considerably. Porting became a highly profitable business and greasing the pockets of the right people allowed it to continue. This unregulated porting caused more eddies and slips in the time stream. Wars were ending in the wrong way, such as the case of the Russia-China collaboration becoming victorious in World War III instead of the USA-Canada contingent. Political boundaries were being redrawn, which caused countries to become larger, smaller or to disappear altogether throughout history. People of all places and times were being taken by the Train, a very profitable and lucrative sex trade that was both virtual and physical if you had the right connections. The only physical evidence being their corpses found discarded across time after they had outlived their usefulness. Their snatching teams, normally a man-woman pair, would port back and grab famous persons or popular time-specific archetypes of persons for use in illicit activities. This group paved the way for numerous other underhanded activities, such as the raw opium trade. The time stream continued to deteriorate further and further until a pivotal moment that struck the chords of a few well-known, not to mention rich, groups was skipped over entirely and never existed in the first place.

Continuance was born from funding of these well-to-dos right after Petra Avigne, the famous artist from 30th century, failed to paint his famous Light of the North and thus the entire Neo-Renaissance era of art never took hold in the 30th century. A missing artistic movement, of all things, was what finally pushed the heavy credit holders over the edge. Continuance itself took five additional years to develop and build since it was headquartered within a temporal vortex, meaning that it literally did not exist in the time stream but rather outside of it looking in. Since it was not in time, the jump traffic from our commands did not  add stress and wear on the time stream, as was happening with the unregulated jumps from one place in the time stream to another. Most classes leave it at this, as the concept becomes much clearer once the students experience a jump firsthand.

There were fifteen agents in the beginning, the Originals. They began by fixing the periods closest to present day. It soon became evident that these agents were leaving small time eddies behind since they came from a different time period. It was similar to a carbon footprint. You carried your time with you and when you travelled to a different time, you left a little bit behind. Your footprint carried your experiences, your years, your life from your time. If you came from even fifty years in the future, you left a footprint that carried that difference between those periods. It would eventually lead to an eddy which caused movement between the periods. This movement involved shifting the stream even if it was just a little. It could change the location of a building  by an inch or by a mile. It affected the simplest things, like whether or not someone wanted a bagel for breakfast in the morning, to the most complex,  such as the turning point in a war. So while these agents were doing good, they were still a part of the problem. The solution came to use people who had no time because they would not carry their time with them. It did not take long to figure who they were and how to find them.

 

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AAS Bio:

I’m 25 years old and married to my best friend. We live with our corgi, River Tam and our cat, Nausicaa. We like to go on adventures and have fun. I am a total nerd and will ‘nerd/geek’ out if you let me. I love my job! I teach science to 7th and 8th graders which can be a trial but something new happens every day! My lifelong goal is to be a published author and/or the director of education at a zoo. Animals are my second love and I would love to work at a zoo and be around them all day. I spend time with my friends when I can, teachers hardly have extra time, and we play cards against humanity or go camping together!

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