2018 Darrell Awards Winners Announced

This year my King Arthur story was nominated, but was not a finalist. Next year, or maybe the year after, one of my stories will make it to the finals. And someday, I will win.

In the meantime, congratulations to this year’s winners!

Darrell Awards

The 2018 Darrell Awards Jury is very pleased to announce the following results of our deliberations.

Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame Award
Robin Burks for her extraordinary contributions to Midsouth literacy, more specifically her trilogy (Zeus, Inc; The Curse of Hekate; and The Return of the Titans)

Robin Burks plaque for Hall of Fame 2018 Coger Hall of Fame plaque

Best Midsouth Novel
Winner – Land of Wolves by T. J. Turner
First Runner-Up – Wild Hunt by Nick Rowan
Finalist – Seek and Destroy by William C. Dietz

Best Midsouth Novella
Winner – A Night at the Quay by William A. Webb (as seen in Sharp Steel and High Adventure: Volume 3)
First Runner-Up – Luminaria by John Horner Jacob (as seen in Apex Magazine # 94)

Best Midsouth Young Adult Work
Winner – Coney Island Book of the Dead by Sheila Martin

Best Midsouth Short Story
Winner – From Hair to Eternity by…

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MidSouthCon Is Only A Few Days Away

MidSouthCon is only a few days away, and I will be a panelist this year.

This had been my original schedule:



Schedule for – Susan Murrie MidSouthCon 36

(Why they dropped my married name, I don’t know.)

Day Time  *Location  *Event

March 9-11 2018

Friday 7:00 PM * Promenade 2 * Fantasy Fiction: Past, Present, and Future
The best authors in the field discuss modern Fantasy Fiction! Enter the worlds each of these authors creates and hear about what works influenced their creations. Listen as they discuss where Fantasy has been, where it is today, and where they and others will take it in the future.

Melinda LaFevers, Jamie Marchant, Susan Murrie Macdonald, John Hornor Jacobs

Saturday 3:00 PM  * Pro Row * Pro Row
Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.

Shauna Roberts, Dave Schroeder, Susan Murrie Macdonald, John Jackson Miller

Saturday 8:00 PM * Grand Ballroom C * Epic Women In Epic Literature

Epic Science Fiction and Fantasy have seen some dynamic powerhouses of women-kind, such as: Kahlan, in Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series; Cordelia, from the Vorkosigan sage; and Miri Robertson, from the Liaden Universe. Come discuss the epic women of SF&F with our panelists.

Herika R Raymer, Susan Murrie Macdonald, J L Mulvihill, Sharon Lee

However, Larry Hoy from my writing group posted on Facebook yesterday that the MidSouthCon official schedule was up.  I went to look to see what the other panels were, and to make sure I could see some of the people I wanted to hear.

“Getting Started in Self-Publishing” sounded very interesting, and I told my husband I wanted to be sure to attend that one, as I thought I could learn a lot from it.  I confess I was shocked to see I was on the panel, as my meager attempts at self-publishing have been dismal failures.  I suppose I’m there as an example of what not to do?
Our panelists discuss the ins and outs of self publishing your work.
Dave Schroeder, Frank Tuttle, Michael Hinton, Susan Murrie Macdonald
I was disappointed, but not shocked to see I’d been removed from “Epic Women in Epic Literature.”  These things are never carved in stone.  The author GOH is the moderator for that panel, so it makes sense they’d only want experienced authors on the panel.  However, I suppose I should be flattered that it took two people to replace me:  Steve Miller and Toni Weisskopf.  I’ll still be there, just in the audience instead of on the panel.
I was dismayed to learn my time on Pro Row was the same time as the Library Bards‘ concert, as they were one of the main reasons I wanted to come to this year’s convention.  I hope they perform more than once.  I’d really like to hear them in person.
Panels that look interesting:
From Pulp to Genre Fiction
Pulp Fiction- Learn the history of one of the most influential mediums in pop culture and how magazines of the 1930s and 40s have led to an exciting new style of writing that is all over the place today. From the origins of science fiction to brand new heroes today in all sorts of books, comics, anime, movies, television series, and more, find out how Pulp has gone from being magazines on a newsstand to what we see as Genre Fiction today.
Badges and Flatfeet – Law Enforcement and PIs in Fiction
From mysteries to science fiction, from horror to love stories, readers and writers are fascinated with cops in genre fiction! Join authors as they discuss how Law Enforcement of all types is represented in various Genres throughout Fiction.
“Keep On Keepin’ On” – How to Get to the Finish Line with Your Project
Having trouble finishing what you started? Tips on How to Stay Focused and Keep Creating. Join these creators as they discuss how they are able to fight to the finish on their projects and never give up.
The Art of Attraction: Social Media and Marketing for the Independent Artist
Find out what it takes to make a name for yourself and build a solid client base as our guests discuss strategy, tips, and tricks for promoting your work and yourself in the vast world of social media.
It’s Written … Now What?
Many writers feel driven to finish a short story or their first magnum opus. But, once done with their work, what do they do next? Listen and learn from authors about the steps to take to submit your work, the various options available to writers in today’s market, and what to do or not do!
WRITING – Tips, Tricks, and the Cold, Hard Truth
So you want to be a writer? Then hear from established authors, editors, and publishers about do’s and don’ts, cant’s and wont’s of writing. Listen as they discuss time management, how to start and finish a work, and watch as they pull back the curtain on the truth about writing. Ready to write your best seller and retire? In it for the act of writing or the money you think you’ll make off of it? Hear the good, the bad, and the downright weird about a career as a writer in this panel!
The Baen Traveling Road Show
Come join Toni Weisskopf and other Baen authors and editors as they tell us what’s new at Baen Book. There will be fun and prizes!
The Role of the Villain:  A Good Bad Guy
The villain of a story is the bad guy, right? Does that mean we are supposed to dislike him. Perhaps the characters are, but what about the players? This is particularly true of well-intended villains and the sympathetic ones. Remember, no one spends tons of energy on what they know is wrong. They truly believe in what they do. Sometimes dealing with the villain is what makes the story so much fun or at least memorable… It’s all about the villains.
Characterization and the Art of Social World Building
Our panelists discuss creating richly believable societies in fantasy and science fiction settings.
Why Do We Create Horror Stories?
What drives us to embrace the things that scare us?
What Does an Editor Do?  The Basics
Our panel of highly experienced editors detail the basic elements of an editors job.
Fact – Fiction Friction:  When Reality and Fiction Collide
Current events, both the typical and the tragic, have always been reflected in fiction. But what happens when the events are all too current and suddenly a story once told to entertain now has the impact of being horribly real for readers? Listen as today’s best authors discuss the best ways to deal with issues concerning Fact meeting Fiction as well as the question of just how much should fact ever influence Genre Fiction.
Born to be Bad – Creating a Good Villain
What makes a good villain? Why are the bad guys so much more interesting? Are they truly evil, or just misunderstood? A discussion of how to create a great villain for your stories.
How Hard Can Building a World Be Anyways?
There’s a lot of details that go into designing a world for characters to exist within. More elements than most realize. World builders have to consider all sorts of factors, history, and stuff to do it. Panels discuss the myriad of components, some more obvious than others, that are needed to build a believable, fictional world.
Building a Fantasy Novel from Start to Finish
One of the most popular genres in Fiction, Fantasy literally allows both readers and creators to travel to another world. Learn how to put together the fantasy novel you’ve always wanted from three perspectives- Writer, Artist, and Publisher. The Dos and Don’t’s of publishing Fantasy in Today’s market from Small Press Publisher Tommy Hancock, Artist Mitch Foust, and Writer Chris Jowers. Featuring the release of Jower’s LOSTBORN.
Geeks Who Brunch
Geek Girl Brunch is an international organization whose mission is to promote safe, comfortable environments where females can be as geeky as they want to be, and promote networking between female geeks-often with mimosas involved. Join two officers from the Memphis chapter for a discussion on who we are, what we do, and why having geek unity and communities are important.
Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy – It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore
Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy has reached new heights of popularity, and YA books are being devoured by readers of all ages. Our panelists discuss this trend and what is driving it.
Finding Your Muse – Story Inspirations
Where do writers find the inspiration for their stories? Panelists discuss how the muse struck them, and how they turned those ideas into stories.
Women in STEM
Why is there a need for a panel on Women in STEM? Are there still barriers and obstacles? How do we encourage the next generation? Come for a open discussion – audience participation and Q&A encouraged.
Short Story vs Novel
Genre Fiction is about delivering action, adventure, and familiar themes to readers But which type of story works better for delivering all the drama, chills, and thrills? The concise, to the point short story or the longer, more detailed novel? It’s the Battle of the Formats!
Going to the Opera …SPACE OPERA!
Authors of Science Fiction discuss the sub genre of Space Opera; what it is, where it started, and how it exists today. From Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to Firefly and The Orville, find out everything you never knew about one of the most popular but little know categories of Science Fiction!
Plotting and Pantsing – Do’s and Don’t’s of Both for Writers
A panel focused on how to plot (outline, make a plan) or to Pants (just write whatever comes to you as you go) effectively and the advantages and pitfalls for each!
To Punk or Not to Punk
Steampunk. Dieselpunk. Cyberpunk. In the last 30-40 years, a great number of genres have popped up, calling themselves ‘punk’. But now every genre has some sort of ‘punk’ in it. Fancy marketing tactic? Real distinction from other stories? Or something in between Join authors as they discuss what Punk literature is or isn’t and its place, if it has one, in Genre Fiction.
Walk into the Darkness
Join our panelists as the discuss the ins and outs of dark fiction and Fantasy.
Comic Book Scripting:  From Plot to Page
Join veteran comics writer and novelist John Jackson Miller as he shares his way of writing for comics. The force will be strong with this panel!
And more, of course:  kaffeklatsches with the authors, panels on Star Wars, My Little Pony, Black Panther, and Harry Potter, as well as costuming, SCA, movies, paranormal investigation, etc.  And alas, some of these are at the same time, and some will be missed for meal breaks.  [Dr. Bob’s Rule of 2 and 5:  at an SF con, eat at least two meals a day and get at least five hours of sleep a night.]  But it’s the first time I’ve been a panelist in more than two decades, and it should be interesting.

MidSouthCon Schedule Is Up!

Larry Hoy and I will both be panelists at MidSouthCon.

Larry Hoy

Has been posted!!!   Yea!!!  (MidSouthCon Schedule – click here)

Some of the events you just DON’T want to miss.

Saturday March 10 11:am – There is a great panel that works to answer the tough question of:   It’s Written – Now What?

Saturday March 10 12:noon – I’m getting matched up with a collection of artistic types to discuss Discussing local groups and the benefits of working and socializing with other creators and creative types.

Sunday March 11 10:am – I ‘ll be trying to figure out —  Finding your Muse:  Story Inspirations.

I also have spots on Pro Row Saturday & Sunday at 1:pm

And if you can’t find me at any of those…  I’ll be helping out with the Memphis Writers Booth / Malice in Memphis Booth, and hitting as many panels as I can get into.

I”M STOKED – See you there!!

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Back to the Classroom

After considering the pros and cons for the past few years, I’ve decided to go back to the classroom.  My teaching credential expired long ago, but Tennessee does not require a teaching credential for substitute teachers.  Most districts only require a bachelor’s degree, and some only require a high school diploma.  (Of the states that do require a teaching credential, as long as you’ve got a credential in something — anything — you can sub.  If your credential is in Serbo-Croatian language and literature, you can sub middle school math or fourth grade or high school girls’ PE.)

I’ve been working as a freelance writer and proofreader.  The website at Krypton Radio now lists me as a Staff Writer.  I’m getting more proofreading and copy editing work from Norilana Press and B Cubed Press.  I sold four stories and one song last year, and have sold one story so far this year.  However, as James Michener said, “America is a country where a writer can make a fortune, but not a living.”  A more regular paycheck is required.

German book with glasses

On the one hand, teaching in a modern American classroom could be considered a sign of insanity.  Teachers are underpaid for what they do and the training they’re required to have.  Most schools suffer from budget problems, leading to deferred maintenance and teachers buying supplies for their students.  Modern students aren’t taught by their parents to respect their elders; many aren’t taught basic courtesy and civility.  Classrooms are overcrowded.  More time is spent teaching to the test than actually teaching history, geography, multiplication, foreign languages, English grammar, etc.  Recess is often cut from the schedule to make more time for test preparation.  And now, people are seriously suggesting that teachers be armed to prevent school shootings.

On the other hand, too many people don’t know and don’t understand the Constitution, and if you don’t understand your rights, they can be taken from you.  As a travel agent’s wife, it disturbs me how poorly understood geography is.  As a SFFH writer who enjoys alternate histories a la Dr. Turtledove, readers won’t buy and can’t understand alternate history novels if they don’t know real history.  Too many people seem incapable of critical thought.  As a writer and a reader, seeing they’re/their/there confused or defiantly/definitely grates on my brain the way fingernails on a chalkboard grate on your ears.  I want to make a difference, from enlightened self-interest if nothing else.  Today’s students could grow up to be my plumber, my doctor, my senator, or the nurse’s aide at my old folks’ home.  I want them to grow up as literate and ethical as possible.  It’s my bit for staving off catastrophe and saving civilization.

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”  H. G. Wells

Back to School picture

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”                      Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many people, including classroom teachers, consider substitutes mere babysitters, just there to provide an adult presence in the room and maybe pass out worksheets or play a movie.  Going back to subbing doesn’t mean I’ll introduce young people to the beauty of Shakespeare’s words, or how to organize their thoughts and express them clearly in writing.  I’m more likely to show a DVD of Jacques Cousteau than explain  E = mc2  

Even if all I do is teach them how to do the nine times table trick on their fingers and review the parts of speech by playing Mad Libs with them, I will have done something.  And not to be crass, but I need the money and Dairy Queen says I’m overqualified.


I’m a teacher born, I’m a teacher bred, for the rising generation.

And I teach for love and for the money and for the long vacation.

Ed Miller, “The Teacher’s Rant”

All photos courtesy of Pixabay.

To check out my most recent story, click here to read “The Kissing Bridge” for free.


Magevney House

Magevney House is one of the oldest buildings in Memphis, Tennessee.  It was built in the 1830s and added on to over the years

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Eugene Magevney was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, in 1789.  He immigrated to the United States in 1828 and settled in Memphis, TN, in 1833.  Magevney was a schoolteacher, a civic leader, and a real estate investor.  He died in 1873 in the yellow fever epidemic.  His house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The house was originally built in hall and parlor style.  There was the parlor, which was the site of the first Roman Catholic mass in Memphis, the first Roman Catholic wedding in Memphis (Eugene and Mary Magevney), and the first Roman Catholic christening in Memphis (Mary Agnes Magevney).  Across the hallway was the hall, originally a multipurpose room, but eventually the master bedroom.  As the family’s budget improved, a dining room and second bedroom were added to the ground floor, a porch to the front, and two bedrooms upstairs.  The upstairs bedrooms were rented out to boarders rather than being used by the family, and are now offices.  The porch was removed when the house was refurbished, so it could look as it did in the 1850s.

The front door and bedroom (hall) window.  The numbers above the door may be too ornate to read.  They say 198, for 198 Adams Avenue.

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The parlor fireplace.

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The piano in the parlor.

The bed in the master bedroom.

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The fireplace in the master bedroom, with a decorative firescreen to the left.

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Eventually a second bedroom was added behind the hall/master bedroom for daughters Mary and Kate Magevney.  Here’s the bed with two antique dolls.

A rocking horse, somewhat battered with age and loving use.  The horsehair trunk was used by Mrs. Magevney when she emigrated from Ireland.

Eugene Magevney was a schoolteacher.  The chair in the corner was his teacher’s chair, with a drawer under the seat and another smaller drawer under the writing desk attached to the arm of the chair.

The dining room table.  As was the custom in 19th century southern houses, the kitchen was a separate building out back.  It burned down years ago.

The dining room fireplace, with pots and pans in front of it.

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The dining room fireplace.  There are candles, a kerosene lamp, and a clock on the mantelpiece.

Magevney House as seen from the backyard.  The window on the right is the dining room.  The window on the left, further back, is the parlor.

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The back and side view of Magevney House.  On the left is the parlor.  On the right is where the second bedroom and the dining room were added on.

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Magevney Kitchen Garden Sign.

All photographs taken February 16, 2018, by Susan Macdonald.  For better quality pictures, check out this link.

Remembering Shirley Hemphill

During African-American History Month, it’s normal to focus on people like Elizabeth Key Grinstead, Sojourner Truth,  Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks.  While they were important to our nation’s history, it’s OK to remember the entertainers as well as the civil rights heroines.

Shirley Hemphill

Shirley Hemphill  was an actress and a comedienne.  She was a funny lady, and from what those who knew her said, very nice in person.  Her career was too short.

I first became aware of Shirley Hemphill when she guest starred on the short-lived sitcom All’s Fair as a thief.  It was her second TV role.

She became famous playing smart-talking, sassy waitress Shirley Wilson on What’s Happening!!  She would later reprise the role in the sequel, What’s Happening Now!!

My favorite role of hers was as Shirley Simmons in One in a Million, where she played a taxi cab driver who inherited a Fortune 500 company from one of her regular fares.  The show dealt with her being a regular, normal person who suddenly had a lot of money and control of a major company.  I remember the episode when an African prince courted her … without bothering to tell her he already had over forty wives.

My father met her once or twice.  He said she was very nice, very funny.  Mark Maynard suggested that a drink should be named after her, an adult version of the Shirley Temple.

She was first and foremost a stand up comedienne.  Being a TV star came second, and being a movie actress came in a distant third.  She only made two movies, CB4 in 1993 and Shoot the Moon in 1996.  She was also an waitress in real life for a time, like so many actresses waiting tables as she waited for her chance for a role.

Shirley Hemphill in office

She wasn’t the first African-American to earn a Ph. D. from Yale like Pauli Murray.  She wasn’t Secretary of State like Condoleezza Rice or an astronaut like Dr. Mae Jemison.  But she made people laugh, and in a sad and crazy world, we could all use a little more laughter.

Shirley Hemphill (July 1, 1947 – December 10, 1999)

Harlem Globetrotters!

Saturday, I knocked an item off my bucket list that I’d been wanting to do for decades.  I saw the Harlem Globetrotters perform, live and in person.  It was exciting and hilarious and worth the wait.

I was delighted to learn there was a woman on the team, Crissa “Ace” Jackson.  The only female Globetrotter I knew of was Granny, team manager/bus driver/chaperone from the old Saturday morning cartoon.  It turns out Ace is the thirteenth woman to be a Harlem Globetrotter.  She was an excellent player, not just a “token girl.”

Ace Jackson

Ace Jackson, signing autographs after the game.

One of the other players, Jahmani “Hot Shot” Swanson,” is a Little Person.  He was no token, either, and is listed on the team’s website as guard, not entertainment.


Hot Shot Swanson, standing on the R of FedEx Forum.

After the game, my daughter got autographs from Ace and DeAndre “Dragon” Taylor.  He’s the tall chap in the blue shirt.  She’s the brunette in the gray shirt with her hair in a ponytail.

Caitlin and Dragon Taylor

Dragon Taylor, signing autographs after the game.

I’ve wanted to see the Harlem Globetrotters perform since I watched the Saturday morning cartoon show.  They were fantastically funny.

Final score:  Harlem Globetrotters 118, Washington Generals 112.


I’m Disappointed in You, Mr. President

Dear President Trump,

I am disappointed in you, sir.  This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last.  I pointed out in 2012 you were unfit to be president.  I repeated it in 2016.  I’ve kept repeating it in blogs, on Twitter, in Facebook, in Alternative Truths and in More Alternative Truths.

I am disappointed in you.  Not surprised by your vulgarity — I’ve come to expect that –but disappointed that you are doing such a poor job as leader of the United States of America and a worse job as the international representative of our nation.

An acquaintance of mine pointed out that this has been a busy week for you: people seriously suggesting that Oprah Winfrey is better qualified for your job than you are, cancelling/postponing a trip to the UK and lying about the reasons, Mr. Ed jokes about you being a stable genius, and rudely referring to other countries by a word I prefer not to repeat.

Some people think you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  If true, you may be incapable of distinguishing between truth and lies.  Some people think you’ve inherited your father’s Alzheimer’s syndrome.  I’m curious as to the results of your physical examination.  I hope it included a mental and psychological evaluation, so these questions may be answered.

It’s been suggested that you’re suffering from the after-effects of syphilis.  You have claimed to have been extraordinarily sexually active in your youth.  It’s also been suggested you’re just a petty-souled, mean-hearted SOB, which based on what I’ve read about you, seems very likely (although not necessarily mutually exclusive with you having one or more medical problems aggravating your condition).

Whatever the reason, sir, your behavior is unpresidential.  It is unbecoming.  We’ve had racist presidents before.  We’ve had sexist presidents before.  We’ve had presidents who used too much profanity before.  They, however, were at least aware of the concept of discretion, that there’s a time and place to say certain things, and the Oval Office is not that place when it comes to making vulgar and discourteous comments.

There are grounds — multiple grounds — for impeachment, sir.  Emoluments, conflicts of interest, nepotism for a certainty, with the possibility of treason for your dealings with Russia.  Your behavior gives grounds for the 25th Amendment.  You don’t seem to be enjoying your job, Mr. President.  You’re certainly not very good at it.  You are soiling the good name of the United States of America in the eyes of the world, lowering our reputation amongst our peers.  Why not resign?  It would be easier for you and easier for the nation.  You’d have more time for golf and more time to spend with your grandchildren.

You don’t understand the three branches of government or the system of checks and balances.  You don’t understand the Constitution.  Worse, you don’t seem to understand how little you do comprehend.

Please, sir, for the good of the nation, seriously consider resigning.  There’s no shame in admitting the job was too big for you.

Respectfully yours,

Susan M. Macdonald


PS  I was a fifth-generation Republican until November 9, 2016.  I refuse to belong to any party that has an unethical businessman with a documented history of sexism and racism as its leader.  I have not decided whether or not I may return to the GOP if you step down from the presidency.

“Slave to the Axe Song” Reading Period Open

As a rule, I don’t care for royalty only markets, because nine times out of ten you wind up writing for free. But this does look interesting.

Schreyer Ink Publishing


Schreyer Ink Publishing is kicking off 2018 with the opening of our 6th anthology: Slave to the Axe Song

Reading Period: Jan 1 – Feb 28
Publication Date: April 1
Payment: We run on a royalty split for anthologies. Payments are made every 6 months via paypal.
Word Count: Our word count is more of a guideline. We’re less interested in flash fiction than short fiction. Aim for 3,000-12,000 words. Don’t self-reject on word count. If in doubt, send a query using the contact form.
Theme: Classic Fantasy

We’re looking for classic fantasy themes and character classes: wizards and mages, barbarian warriors, knights and paladins, rogues and clerics. Think enchanted swords, ancient curses, epic battles, long-standing feuds, and heroic quests. Preference will be given to sword and sorcery style over steam punk or urban.
While we are looking for classic-inspired we still want your original take, your…

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Hypothetical Action Heroine Movie

Every now and again, the meme below shows up on Facebook.  (I think it’s originally from Tumblr.)

Jeremy Renner Bourne Ultimatum I reposted it on my FB page, and some friends and I got into a fantasy casting game.

Do action movies know they can have more than one female character?

Someone should make an action movie with all girls except for one guy and have no explanation or mention of it in the movie and then pay all of the actors to act surprised like they’d never noticed when they get the inevitable storm of questions.

This one male must have a shower scene, be saved by the protagonist at least once, and fall in love with a lead female.

Also these women all need to be capable of both kicking ass and killing people with guns as well as cleaning up nicely and doing recon at a charity event while the one male character seduces a rich person.

I petition this male character is played by Jeremy Renner.

AD:  I petition for the female lead to be played by Claudia Christian.

Claudia Christian
SM:  How about Gina Torres as her sidekick?
Gina Torres
LM:  And Michelle Forbes is the leader of whatever group these women belong to.
Michelle Forbes
SM: My son suggests Dame Maggie Smith, as a field agent, not as the agency’s director.
Maggie Smith
SM: My husband suggests Renée Felice Smith as one of the agents.

SM: I concur with his suggestion and would add Katharine McPhee (who must, at some point in the movie, sing as part of her cover).

 Katharine McPhee
SM: The bad guys should be a mother/daughter team: France Nuyen as the leader of KAOS or Smersh or Thrush or whatever;
France Nuyen St. Elsewhere
Jadyn Wong as her top field agent (who we don’t learn is her daughter until halfway through the film).
AD: And Grace Park, somehow. With a nice, meaty role, to show CBS what they let get away.

SM: She should be a good guy. It would look bad if all the villains were Asian or Eurasian.

 Grace-Park w rifle
 LM:  Michelle Gomez would make a great baddie too.
Michelle Gomez
 JL:  Angela Bassett and Nicole Beharie MUST be in this movie!
Angela Bassett
CK: Jeremy Renner? I can’t say “meh” hard enough.

Jeremy Renner Wind River

Also, where is Olivia Spencer in this cast?

SM:  You’re male. Renner is beefcake for the ladies, not for the menfolk.
Olivia (Potluck) Spencer or Olivia (Flushed) Spencer? There appear to be two.
Olivia Spencer (Flushed)
 (Although I could only find a picture of the one in Flushed).
CK: I meant Octavia Spencer, in fact. I would enjoy seeing her pistol-whipping bozos who tread on her very last nerve.
Octavia Spencer TBBT
 SM: After seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I want to add Tessa Thompson to the list of secret agents.Tessa Thompson Thor Ragnarok
JB:  Renner would totally do it.
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
SM: Okay, we have the casting. Now we need a plot.

JL suggested this was similar to the Ghostbusters reboot.  JB said it reminded him of the Charlie’s Angels movies (not the ’70s TV show).

So Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation) is leader of an alphabet soup agency headquartered in Washington or New York City. or Los Angeles.  Her agency has several response teams, with male and female agents.  This particular team has more women than men; other teams are more equally divided.
Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5 is team leader, with Gina Torres (Zoe Washburn from Firefly) as her number two.  Other team members include Dame Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies) as an experienced agent who refuses to retire, Renée Felice Smith (Nell Jones from NCIS: LA), Katharine McPhee (Paige Dineen from Scorpion),  Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan from Hidden Figures) and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton from The Avengers). A seven-person team fits into the basic storyteller six-pack with very little trouble.
Renner’s character needs vital information from a multi-millionaire industrialist, so he must seduce Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda in Black Panther) and/or her daughter Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills in Sleepy Hollow) to get it.  He is uncomfortable doing so, because of his crush on Claudia Christian’s character.
Michelle Gomez (Missy in Doctor Who) is the leader of another alphabet soup agency, more a rival than an antagonist.  Her top agents are Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua in Hawaii 5-0) and Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale in Westworld).  Perhaps her token male agent is Tom Hiddleston (Loki in The Avengers).  Perhaps she’s the head of a British or international organization and Forbes’ character is the head of an American agency.  But she and her people are after the same thing that Claudia Christian’s team  is after.
Loki in Thor Ragnarok
France Nuyen (Elaan of Troyius from Star Trek) is the leader of a mercenary operation,  She’s not out to rule the world (too much paperwork) or to put her nation at the top of the global food chain.  (She is completely devoid of patriotism.)  She just wants to make a profit and has very few scruples how she does so.  Her best field agent (and daughter) is Jadyn Wong (Happy Quinn from Scorpion).  They are no relation to Grace Park’s character.  There are millions of Asians in the world and not all  of them are related, or even from the same country.
I would love to use Ellie Botterill (Princess Theodora from A Crown for Christmas) in this hypothetical movie, either as a kidnapped child genius, or a runaway princess,  or Gomez’s daughter or Dame Maggie’s granddaughter.
ellie botterill
What is the MacGuffin?  What are all these spies and mercenaries trying to find?  Who are the characters?  Yes, fantasy casting gives you faces and voices, but what are their personalities and skill sets?  Just because Renée Felice Smith plays a computer expert on her current show doesn’t mean she might not be the linguist or the medic on this team.  Renner might be the hacker  instead of the marksman. Is Dame Maggie Smith’s character an Englishwoman on an American spy squad, or is she a Texan who fakes a really good British accent?  Was she, perhaps, an English spy who married an American spy, and was she once Gomez’ mentor before coming to the US with her husband?
This is a better outline than most of my writing projects have.  All we have to do is flesh out a few measly details, write a script, and find a generous patron willing to provide the money to produce.  Easy-peasy.
collage-2017-12-27 (1)
Disclaimer:  the photographic images were borrowed from or Google Images.  There is no intent to defraud the photographers.  This blog is an amateur writing exercise, and no profit has been made from it (nor is likely to be made from it.)  I made the collage above, using
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