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MegaRed entered The Sentinel fandom when she happened to catch the show's second season opener, Flight. It didn't take her long to begin contributing as one of our fandom's entertaining authors. MegaRed's Cascade Library story listing currently includes 18 stories, the majority of which are missing scenes or epilogues to Sentinel episodes. Her wit and creativity have found an outlet not only in her stories, but in her other artistic projects which include her drawings of Jim and Blair, a picture book by Jim's niece, and her lastest work -- Sentinel Beanie Baby theater. Mega is famous for not taking herself too seriously -- something her readers greatly enjoy. She also has a soft spot for good smarm, particularly tickling <g>.

You can find Mega's fanfic stories and her artwork at MegaRed's Sentinel Page. Thanks for taking time to chat with us, Mega!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, Iím 29 years old, I live in North Carolina, having grown up in upstate New York. Iím the marketing administrator of a medical company. I have one younger sister. My parents are still married. :-) I have a pet cockatiel (small parrot) named Fancy. Oh! And I got my on-line handle for my hair. It was bright red when I first signed on to AOL.

What else do you enjoy doing besides writing TS fan fiction?

What? What do you mean? Thereís something else? (kidding) I like to go birdwatching, fishing (catch and release), I like futzing around with my webpages. I like to cook, too, but being on a strict diet kind of limits what I can do. Oh! And as of recently I love to swim!

How did you become a Sentinel fan?

I was sitting home alone one September evening, waiting for Voyager to come on. I was flipping channels, and all of sudden here was this little cutie-pie with long dark curls and a dirty face running around in the jungle with a regular hunka hunka burniní love. After I stopped drooling and took a closer look, I swear I thought Blair was Tim Curry. <g> Anyway, that was the first showing of Flight. Next week I tuned in again. The week after that I was going to be out, so I made The Commitment, and set up a tape for it. :-) After that I was lost. A few weeks later I discovered the wonderful world of online, and Tiggerís terrific Sentinel page. I was so surprised that other people seemed to like the show as much as I did!

What is your favorite episode and why?

Sheeeeeesh. Um. Hmm. I guess I would have to say The Rig. I mean, it has everything. Action, plot, suspense, Blairil, a scene of Blair rescuing Jim, Jimskin, deep relationship moments and even a less-than-annoying babe of the week! Yeah, The Rig. Definitely. But I like Blind Manís Bluff for the cuddle, too.

How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction?

How? Well, I was really into the stories, and enjoying every one of them. But in the beginning there just werenít enough authors to produce the kind of quantity everyoneís used to nowadays. Weíd get, like, ONE story every week and a half. So one day I got tired of waiting for a new story, sat down and wrote my own. Also, I decided that if some other author wasnít going to write the scene I wanted to see, I would! :-D

What was your first story and what was it like to post it?

Well, this is kind of a tricky question for me. Because the first story I wrote wasnít the first one I posted. In fact, the first story I wrote has not yet been posted. Itís called Sense and Sentinel-Ability, and is going to end up as the third part of my Ice Man trilogy. I just need to finish the second part. <g>

As for posting for the first time, well that would be The Ice Man Returneth. Aside from being accused on the genlist of plagiarism by a certain veteran TS fic writer, it was a wonderful experience. I got loads of feedback, and was on cloud nine. I had gotten bit by the fic bug. :-)

If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?

Hmmm. I really like Twistin' By The Pool. Itís too short to be an ep by itself, but Iíd love to see it as a scene. The only gen story Iíve written thatís long enough for ep possibilities is The Ice Man Returneth, and I donít think it would work as an ep because too much goes on inside the guysí heads. Oh! Actually I think Sense and Sentinel-Ability could be an episode. Yíall will have to wait until I post it to decide if Iím right. <g>

Which story are you most proud of?

The Ice Man Returneth

Which character do you most enjoy writing? Who is your least favorite?

Blair is my favorite to write, just because heís my favorite character in general. I feel like I have the most in common with him of any of the characters. Heís also the easiest, for the same reasons. My least favorite? I guess itís Simon. I like the character fine, but I always seem to do the ďJim and Blair and not too many othersĒ story lines. Maybe itís because Simon reminds me of my father so much.

What genre(s) do you enjoy writing the most?

I like smarm and humor the most. They just seem to fit that characters the best. Oh, but I LOVE missing scenes. Because thatís really what fanfic is, after all. We the fans writing what we wanted to see, but didnít.

Twistin' by the Pool is a hilarious story involving Jim and Blair and a swimming pool. Where did you get the idea for this?

Heh heh. Well the title is actually the title of a less than well known song by Dire Straits, about a bunch of people having a great old time by the pool. As for the idea, well, I hadnít read a scene where Jim saved Blair from drowning yet (this was waaaaay before Sentinel Too). But in The Rig, Blair said that he was a pretty good swimmer. What to do? So I came up with the idea of Blair wanting to get Jim into the pool for some reason, and it just went from there. And the fact that the story had a perfect opportunity for some tickles was the cherry on the sundae!

You wrote a piece called The Iceman Returneth which is considered a classic Sentinel fanfic by many readers. What happened to that story and its sequel?

Ahhh, the mysteriously disappearing story. :-) Well, I wrote that story back in November of 1996, with the intention of making it the first part of a trilogy. And for some reason, the second third of this trilogy just has not come easily. Every time I think Iíve just about got it done, something happens and I lose the muse again. IMR has been on the web and off several times since then. Iím afraid itís down now, though, until I can get the sequel done. I got kind of a harsh email demanding to know where the sequel was, accusing me of trying to get undue attention by making the readers wait so long. So I figured it was easier for everyone if IMR was unavailable until I resolved the cliffhanger. This way, no new readers will be disappointed.

What are the "must-have's" in good Gen smarm for you?

Must haves. Well, tickles of course. But then thatís a must have for me in any TS story. <g> A good Gen smarm must be focused on Jim and Blair. There can be a case, but it canít take attention away from the friendship, that has to be the strongest aspect of the story. I donít care how many times I read it, I LOVE it when Jim scoops Blair up in his arms and carries him. Yeah, I know it isnít logical, he should just toss the kid over his shoulder like a sack of taters. Iím just a hopeless romantic, I guess. :-) Tears are good, especially when they lead to hugs and snuggles. And Iím really happy to see more kisses in genfic now. A little touch of lips to the forehead, on either guy, and MR is a puddle of mush. Get the guys curled up on the couch or in bed together and Iím in heaven.

There tends to be a lot of tickling in your stories. Is this a particular favorite of yours?

Whatever gave you that idea? SNERK! Ohhhh yes, MR loves tickles. Especially with Blair on the receiving end. I dunno why, I just think itís a really cute way for guys to horse around without resorting to farting or belching contests or seeing who can inflict the most pain on the other. Itís a safe, playful way for Jim to use his superior size and strength to an advantage when trying to get something from Blair without damaging the smaller manís pride too much. Plus, have you heard Blairís laugh? Itís practically illegal to have a laugh that cute and NOT be ticklish.

You've written quite a few missing scenes. Do you have a favorite?

I would have to say my favorite is the one from Vendetta.

You have many pieces of art on your page that you've drawn for The Sentinel. Have you always drawn or is doing this for the show something new?

Iíve been drawing since I could pick up a crayon. Well no, thatís not quite true. Since I realized that crayons didnít taste good, didnít feel good when shoved up the nose, and were much more interesting when used to make pretty lines on paper, floors, walls, younger sisters. Mom used a lot of Formula 409 when I was growing up. Later in life, whenever I would develop a liking for a certain actor, I would do a portrait of him. Lots of times I even sent it to them. I got a lovely letter from Brent Spiner when I went through my Data Phase, thanking me for a painting I did of him. Haven't sent any to the TS guys, though. For some reason once you're past your teens, that sort of thing stops being considered sweet and starts being catalogued as weird.

Tell us about the Amy Patricia Ellison Picture Books. What gave you the idea to start those?

That idea actually came from my momís boss. Her little six year old had created her own storybook, with color pictures. Her mom had brought it to the office one day, and my mom told me about it later. I thought, what a cute idea! At first I was going to have Amy as just a fan of the show, and have her do her own interpretations of what was going on in the episodes. But then I decided it would be more interesting if Amy was a ďrealĒ person, who actually knew Jim and Blair. And it just went from there. Itís tough sometimes trying to see things the way a child that age would. I have it set up as if Amy has overheard Jim and Blair telling tales of their adventures to her daddy, Stephen Ellison. At times they realize sheís listening in, and so they edit certain details of the stories. Hence, the part about Uncle Jim ďmaking the Lash monster go awayĒ in Uncle Jim and the Lash Monster. <g>

You have a very unique version of Sentinel Too "Beanie Theater" on your page. Tell us about that and what inspired you to do it.

Temporary Insanity? Heh heh. That started out so innocently. I had made a Blair Beanie baby for a fellow fan, who commissioned him with a donation to the UBC fund. And I wanted to take a picture of him before I sent him off. Well, I figured Iíd use up the roll of film, and before I knew enough to duck, the idea muse smacked me upside the head. Soon I was setting up the shots and lighting, etc. Sentinel Too is what I hope will only be the first in a series of Beanie Theatre productions. Given the popularity of the project, itís safe to say that there will be more to come.

How do you deal with writer's block?

Iíve actually been fighting one of those for almost two years now. It started when I moved out of my folkís place for the first time. I blame it mostly on stress, and the fact that I am on my own now, and thereís just not as much time to write. Plus I have so many projects going now that at times I have trouble concentrating on just one. Too many pots on the stove, you might say.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

Getting the guys to talk to me like they used to. And getting them to keep their hands off each other when Iím trying to write Gen. :-D

What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?

I think doing the final spell check, putting in the disclaimer, breaking the story into parts for posting to the lists. And afterwards, getting the feedback that lets me know that I didnít waste a big hunk of time writing something that nobody reads.

What are your feelings on story feedback?

Feedback is very important to me. I used to think it wasnít, but I find that if I donít get at least one or two really nice LOCs, my motivation to write to goes right out the window. I love to write, and I love to re-read my stories. But thereís just something so great about having someone tell you that they like what youíve done.

Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?

Get out now! RUN! Before itís too late! Nonono, come in, join us. :-) I recommend beta readers for new writers. I donít use them much now, and I know I should. But when I first started out I would have been totally lost, if not for my betas. I also recommend that new writers really decide if they are ready to have their work read by others. That is, if they are willing to face the possibility of constructive criticism. I remember getting a reply from a newish author a long time ago, telling me that my LOC had destroyed her creativity and that she would never write again. I had pointed out that Sandburg is spelled with a ďuĒ and not an ďeĒ. :-{

What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever read?

I think it was....phooey. Brotherly Love? It was by Laura Schomberg, I know that much. I was sucked in before I knew what hit me.

What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever wrote?

A truly nauseating Mary Sue involving me and The Phantom of the Opera. :-P

Are there particular kinds of Sentinel fanfic stories that you especially enjoy reading?

I especially like the light ones. The cute happy ones that are based not so much on long involved cases, but rather on Jim and Blairís everyday life.

What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses, as a series?

The greatest strengths are the core of ensemble actors and actresses. The humor, the neato mystical stuff. Weaknesses? Lousy timeslot. Lousy promotion, or lack thereof. Cassie. Some occasional eggs laid by the writers. Cassie. Did I mention Cassie?

Do you find yourself identifying more with Jim or Blair?

Oh Blair, definitely.

If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?

Well in Remembrance we got a nice look at Jimís early life. I would love to see an episode dedicated to Blairís life. A womb-to-tomb, er, I mean, womb-to-PRESENT story, covering the development of Blair Sandburg. Iíd especially love it if it turned out that Jim had Blair had met somewhere, some time long ago and didnít remember each other.

What three specific things would you like to see on The Sentinel that we haven't seen yet?

1) Jim carrying a wounded/unconscious/sleeping Blair in his arms. 2) A HUG. 3) Shirtless Blair without drugs, bandages or Asian women ruining the view.

How about general changes?

I want the guys to be more like they were in the second season. Theyíre so serious now, thereís hardly any fun anymore.

What one story do you think people will always remember you for?

The Ice Man Returneth, a.k.a. ďWhereís the friggin sequel, already?Ē <g>

Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?

Sure! In the works at MRís Gen factory we have: Blair and Jim deal with a mean veteran cop who decides Blair is the scum of the earth. Blair and Jim care for a group of orphaned baby birds. Freeman (of Vendetta) returns to wreak havoc on our boysí lives. (Auction story) After a fight, Jim nearly loses Blair to a simple accident in the loft. (Soon to be finished!) Smart Alec continuation (may become slash) Jim and Blair go to the beach. And of course the sequel to The Ice Man Returneth, Searches. Plus Iím thinking of Genning one of my slash stories.

Thanks Mega!

Last updated 8/16/99 clc