Tag Archives: Catherine Bell

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Origins

While writing about Richard Daniels‘s conquests, one name that came up a few times was Dana MacKenzie. I liked the idea of a descendant for Aidan and Susan, who get together fairly late in life. As I started to write her, I also decided that she would be actually named Misty, thereby cementing another pair of her ancestors as being Doug and Melissa. Continuing along with this idea, I hit upon the notion of having her be related to canon character Martin Madden. When I started to put together the Barnstorming series, I decided to include her, and make her the star.

Portrayal

Mack is played by actress Catherine Bell.

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie
Catherine Bell as Misty Dana (Mack) MacKenzie

I picture Mack as being pretty toughened by her life, but also feminine, which Bell can certainly pull off convincingly.

There are a lot of bikini images of Bell online, but the truth is, I don’t see Mack that way at all. Rather, she is someone damaged by her earlier life.

Personality

Mack’s background is in sports; she played second base and shortstop professionally for the perpetual cellar dwelling team, the Titan Bluebirds. But a visit to Keto-Enol results in Etrotherium being placed into her bag while the team is visiting an open-air market. She’s arrested and thrown into Canamar Prison. She’s been framed for drug-running.

Her appeal takes nearly two decades, with her parents dying during the interim. The only person who sticks by her is Martin Madden.

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie
Steven Culp as Martin Madden

They have cared for each other since childhood, referring to themselves as ‘The MDM Twins‘. But the law says that they cannot marry.

Relationships

Emmett Kent (Hobie) Hoberman

Mack and Hobie meet at the end of The All-Stars, and are actually coaches on opposing teams in ice hockey. The long distance relationship isn’t really what Mack needs, but they part amicably after Play when Hobie decides to try to reconcile with his ex-wife for the sake of their two young daughters.

Richard Daniels

At the end of Play, time is altered, and Rick is sent to investigate. In Time Out, they get together. I have an idea of the circumstances but have not written them yet.

Martin Madden

The sketchy idea is to finally get them together during the fourth, as yet unnamed, book in the series. They will have a descendant who will connect them even more intimately with the Times of the HG Wells, but I haven’t decided on that yet. It’s possible that that person would be Tom Grant.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie
Mirror Misty (maybe) (Catherine Bell)

I have not yet decided whether Mack exists in the Mirror Universe.

If she does, then I doubt she would call herself Mack. She might go by her first name. She might not have a sports background. I don’t honestly know, but I probably won’t explore this until I finish the series.

Quote

“I’m going to tell you who I am. And what I’m thinking of doing. And then you can decide if you want to work with me. And if you do, then I’m happy to have our friend below decks spill his guts in front of you. But if not, it stays a mystery to you. I gotta protect myself. Fair enough?”

Upshot

Because this series is on hold as I work on wholly original fiction, Mystic (only Marty calls her that) has had to take a back seat. A pity, as I like this character and her journey. I will get to her at some point!

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Portrait of a Character – Dash Nolan

Portrait of a Character – Dash Nolan

Origins

In Shell Shock, Malcolm needed a lawyer. Plus I wanted Gina and Gabrielle Nolan to have an ancestor, and a connection to the In Between Days series.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Dash Nolan
Judge Advocate General of the Navy Rear Admiral meets the cast of JAG

I like David James Elliott for this role. That’s Elliott all the way on the left in this photograph. Plus the actress I have playing Melissa, Catherine Bell, is in the picture.

Elliott’s presence is not only an acknowledgement of his role on JAG, but it’s also another shout-out to his costar in that series, the actor Steven Culp.

Personality

Smart, detail-oriented, and driven, Dash doesn’t fool around. He opens with a bit of a family joke – his twin sister is named Dorothy. For Dash (Dashiell), the twins were, of course, Dot and Dash.  This joke family name is actually not original – I got it from a story told by Dash Crofts of Seals and Crofts, who really does have a sister named Dorothy (although he is actually named Darrell).

But that’s his only moment of levity. Then he gets down to the business of clearing Malcolm’s name, in the sexual assault and near-murder of Ruby Brannagh. Dash asks the tough questions of Malcolm and demands the whole truth – no matter how embarrassing that is to the ultra-reserved Brit.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Dash Nolan
Mirror Dash

Dash could absolutely exist in the Mirror. There are no impediments.

I see him as being smart, to be sure, but also as being as driven by justice as his Prime Universe counterpart. This could make him a fugitive and an expatriate in Empress Hoshi‘s Terran Empire. The idea intrigues. I should write this some day.

Quote

“I want you to understand something. I am in fact-finding mode right now. But I am also in the process of starting your prep. Because they are gonna ask you things like that. So I ask you again – do personal confrontations bother you?”

Upshot

Oh, I like this character, but he’s been a bit lost in the shuffle of so many original characters. I’d like to bring him back, but I’m not so sure where I’d put him. Malcolm certainly doesn’t want anything else to do with him, not really, as he’s a reminder of too many bad things.

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Portrait of a Character – Melissa Madden

Portrait of a Character – Melissa Madden

Melissa Madden arose out of an idea I had for Lili, actually. Since Lili was going to have a particular arrangement, there had to be what was essentially a counterpart arrangement. Enter Melissa.

Origins

In Intolerance, there are four crew members who are worse off than the others. One of them is Melissa. At the time, I was already thinking about Together and so I wanted the name to be out there, perhaps in the back of the minds of readers. Melissa was also intended as homage to canon character Martin Madden, who is Steven Culp‘s character in Star Trek: Nemesis. The character is only a part of additional footage; the actual scene went to the cutting room floor.

I also wanted Melissa to be a direct expression of a day/night dichotomy. Hence, she is bisexual, and the day is devoted to a female lover, Leonora, whereas the night is devoted to a male lover, Doug. Switching up the dichotomy even more is the fact that, when introduced, she is working the night shift.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

Due to the connection to Culp, I opted for actress Catherine Bell.  I also chose Bell because she has a rather different look from both Lili and Leonora. I also wanted a physical portrayal of someone who would be believable as both a mother and an athlete.

This would be someone with almost a fly-boy (fly-girl, I suppose) swagger, too, reflecting the character’s occupation as a pilot. At the same time, the character needed to be feminine but also not too terribly young. Even though she is a lot younger than Doug, I show enough of her later life that it’s almost more than of her younger years. In fact, I have no writings of her childhood or young adulthood, like I do for the Norri, Lili,  and Doug.

Symbolism

Five of the six main characters (everyone but Pamela Hudson) is associated with an element. Melissa is the earth element, even though she’s a pilot. A part of this is her earthiness, another part is her hunting and back to nature behaviors. She’s a lot more comfortable out of doors than either Norri or Lili are. To me, she symbolizes solidity.

Personality

Beyond the day/night, two lovers situation, Melissa is a skilled pilot and devoted to her family. She becomes a mother three times (all boys) and imparts her love of Starfleet to Tommy and her split persona to Neil.

Kevin, though, is tragic – she buries him when he is less than a month old. This changes her, making her more pensive in her later years. In her much later years, she develops the canon disease Irumodic Syndrome, which is an analogue to Alzheimer’s. In Fortune, the reader witnesses some of her decline. I follow up on this snippet with The Decision.

Relationships

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

For Melissa, relationships follow the day and the night. She is a kind of split personality character. Her whole romantic persona has two sides to it.

Leonora Digiorno

They meet cute, when both are on vacation on Ceres. Melissa essentially crooks her finger, and Norri comes running. They originally settle on Ceres.

Doug Beckett

Melissa and Doug are paired up during Together, and she is a direct reason why Lili and Doug open up their marriage. It’s not just due to her pregnancy; it is also because they truly love each other.

Andrew Miller

In the Mirror Universe, Andy is the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s boy toy, and Melissa knows that. But she goes after him anyway.

Shelby Pike

This is never confirmed (I may write it at some point), but at minimum, Melissa and Shelby tease the hell out of the Mirror Travis.

Music

As might be expected, her initial music is the Allman Brothers’ Sweet Melissa. With Doug, her theme is the Cure’s Let’s Go to Bed. With Norri, the theme is k. d. lang’s Constant Craving. Her final theme is Joe Jackson’s Get That Girl.

Quote

“I never loved another man. Never wanted to.”

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as MU Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as MU Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

The Mirror Melissa’s life is defined by poor choices and tragedy. Her death is one of the scenes in Fortune, and she is also remembered by her lover, Andrew, in Escape.

Upshot

Kind and sometimes a little silly, the perceptive peacemaker is a part of the glue holding the main characters in the In Between Days series together. And as a foundational member of the family, her descendants are just as important as Lili’s are.