The Official Website of Author L.A. Mitchell

Category: MacGyver

P90x for the Vortex: Principle 2

2nd March


In this, week two of beefing up the Vortex’s online presence, I’m tackling Principle 2: Participate in Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers.

By nature, I’m a wallflower. So this will be a challenge.

First, I Googled keywords: time travel blogs, time travel authors, thriller author blogs, time thriller writers, thriller readers…you get the idea. I picked ten that sounded like something I would be interested in being part of-after all, I write what I love to read. I made an arbitrary list of ten, subscribed or otherwise bookmarked to ensure I would be able to frequent these sites, and tried his step 2 suggestion: expanding my list of ten using web-based  tools. Double Click Ad Planner was no help. I’d have rather flossed Abe Vigoda’s teeth during those ten minutes.

Of course, this is only half the plan. I need to sink my toes a bit in each community, make thoughtful comments and find time to participate. Easier said than done, but I did find some fun places I can’t wait to return to, like the t=time blog. Who knew there were other bloggers out there who loved all things time travel?

Are you participating in online communities where your blog audience gathers? Give us your best find so we may share in the awesomesauce.

Have a super weekend, everyone!

Vortex Drinking Game

9th January


I know. It’s Monday. How inappropriate to be thinking of spirits so early. But I was catching up on my DVR-ed Person of Interest eppies and had an epiphany: Reese shoots people in the leg. All. The. Time.

This may not sound like a grand revelation; and if you are familiar with his Batman-ish vigilante code, you would understand why this is significant, but it started me thinking about what else we can count on with regularity here at the Vortex (It certainly isn’t my posts-ha!). Here’s your game:

Vortex Drinking Game

Every time you look at Jim Caviezel and cannot help thinking Jesus Christ!, take a shot.

Every time you wish you had a time machine to take you back to before you put your foot in your mouth, take a shot.

Every time someone alters “MacGyver” into a new part of speech (as in “I Macgyvered that dryer vent with duct tape”), take a shot.

Every time you watch Terra Nova and are tempted to feed the Shannon family to the dinosaurs so you can have Jim all to yourself, take a shot.

Every time you see man-titty on a novel cover, in homage to Fabio and Romancelandia, take a shot.

Every time you’re watching a movie that tiptoes dangerously close to the creepy-older guy/too young girl romance (ala Thorn Birds, Portrait of Jeannie, Harum Scarum), take a shot.

Every time you wish Lost would come back, take a shot.

Every time you see a red telephone booth, take a shot.

Every time you see a chatchke that feeds into the Elvis Presley estate machine, take a shot.

Every time you hear a Keith Urban song and wish to go down under (take that how you will), take a shot.

Every time you feel the injustice of an unfair Words with Friends move, take a shot.

Every time someone speaks of the truth and your mind immediately heads for Mulder and Scully, take a shot.

Every time you hear the word quantum, take a shot.

Every time you see a close-up shot of Beth Chapman’s talons or spiked heels on Dog the Bounty Hunter, take a shot. (Seriously, we got that she’s a vixen already)

Every time you watch a Harry Potter movie or a Beavis and Butthead episode with another person who then insists on imitating the unique vocal qualities of either ad nauseum, take a shot.

Every time your watch stops, take a shot.

Happy Monday and Happy Drinking, everyone!

Links, Ahoy!

7th March


It’s been entirely too long since I brought you a linktastic post, Vortex-style. I promise no Fabio. Did you observe the restraint I displayed at not linking his name to his lahve-album? We’ve landed on Thriller Island now, remember? All ashore who’s going ashore!

Author and inventor T.J. Waters solved the where-do-I-sign? e-reader conundrum for authors. How cool is that? Predictions: (1) inside of six months all e-books will have this blank page, and (2) 2012 will be the year authors write ipads off their taxes in droves. Video Article

For those who need new fashions that fit into the island coiture, Daphne Jane Little’s Experimental Time Travel collection is for you. Add an orange pantsuit and this one holds promise for my future utopian Sherpa character. Kidding. I think.

Sherpa-inspired dance move for LaughingWolf for this Time Travel Savage Chickens strip.

And, since we’re on the subject of time (I know-when aren’t we, right?) here’s a list of the best times to conquer the most mundane tasks of the day. See? All the stuff on Thriller Island doesn’t have to be woo-woo.

CBS has been voted off my island for two aggregious offenses: (1) teasing me with “MacGyver” under their TV Classic episode titles in their drop-down online broadcasting menu, then delivering on a paltry six minutes from seven seasons of win, and (2) taking Criminal Minds to a whole new level of gore to salvage their bad production decisions. You have effectively doused my Gubler-love.

Lastly, if you haven’t seen the trailer for Source Code, pull up a moderately-clean movie theater seat and dig into my popcorn bucket. I promise not to lick my lips all creepy-like when Jake appears.

Last movies seen: North by Northwest, Shutter Island
Last thing eaten: Pink-Lady Apple
Last thing read on the Nook: Suzanne Collins-Catching Fire
Last YouTube watch: Three Days Grace-Break

Have a great week, everyone!

On Dinosaurs and Lederhosen

4th November


Remember back in March when I mentioned Steven Spielberg’s new family/adventure drama, Terra Nova, about a family who journeys to the distant past (think dinosaurs) to become part of a second-chance society? Holy Life on Mars, Batman! If it isn’t my favorite time-travel-lovin’-Irish-cup-filleth-over-with-yum Jason O’Mara cast as the patriarch of the Shannon family. Fox sets the premiere date in May 2011 with a rumored budget for the pilot episode at $20 million.

Speaking of Irish love of the Jason O’Mara variety, life (and Vortexers…thank you) handed me this festive gift of awesome to coincide with the tinsel and holiday trappings already hitting store shelves. Surprisingly, someone else married the beauty that is Richard Dean Anderson and Jason O’Mara, among others, into one angelic salute to men in suits. A twin separated at birth? Perhaps. Do not mutter WTH, Vortexers. Sing!

Oh! And isn’t YouTube THE BEST? Who wouldn’t want to see Richard Dean Anderson in almost-lederhosen disco attire jamming on a guitar on the Dinah show in the 70’s? That was a treat you didn’t expect, wasn’t it?
I aim to please.

A Frenchman and a F-Bomb

26th March


Several of you tweeted back that, yes, you wanted to see a photo of the infamous la Salle. I aim to please. Drum roll for Friday picture show…

I realized as I cropped the photo of this poor, unsuspecting man (that I did not snap, incidentally) that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Bret Scallions of I-dropped-the-F-bomb-at-a-Jenna-and-Barbara-Bush-inauguration-party-and-inspired-L.A.’s-first-romance-hero fame.

So there you have it. Crucify me for my taste.

As for time travel news, I have two nuggets. Dav Pilkey’s enormously popular children’s books that nurture male grossness, the Adventures of Captain Underpants series, have spawned The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, KungFu Cavemen from the Future, a graphic novel from Scholastic’s Blue Sky Press imprint. Huge, ginormous sales await. Score one for time travel. Also in temporal realms this week, Disney and Bedrock Studios announced a cooperative effort to send Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time into movie production. Let’s home they don’t go all Little Mermaid and tank its awesomeness.

That’s all I have. Except this…(thank you, laughingwolf)

and this…Vortex-ers are the best. You know me so well. We’re up to fifty-eight subscribers and counting! Tell your friends about the upcoming Blog Carnival on March 31st and let’s see if we can’t get that number to 100. Serious time travel partying when that happens.

Have a phenomenal weekend, everyone.

Today’s random question: If you could have a remote control for anything, what would you choose?

Will Bear Grylls Fit Into My Pocket?

26th October


The anvil that is FastDraft has lifted and it’s long past time for fun around The Vortex. After much contemplation about the nature of such fun, and after a rather lengthy time-suck game of “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing…” game at the dentist today, and after a particular rousing two-part MacGyver rerun where he entrusts his pocket knife to Merlin, of Knights of the Roundtable fame, it occurred to me such a thing has yet to be attempted here. True, the game loses the memory-challenge aspect in blog form, but we can more than make up for that in creativity, right? I’ll start:

I’m going back in time and I’m bringing a SwissFlame800
…because my Girl Scout training neither perfected my ability to use a flint or a glass lens to start a fire nor did it help me channel my inner heroine like this beaut.
As an aside, there is a blog devoted to MacGyver. Who knew entire posts could be devoted to the love of duct tape? Must. Not. Read. Song. Lyrics. Creeeepy.

Who’s next?

I’m going back in time and I’m bringing…

Duct Tape, Severed Heads and Covered Bridges

12th August

So the rumpus has started without me, which is ten paces beyond awesome, but first a few squee-worthy things before I space out and forget to pass them along:

How MacGyver-licious is it that someone emailed me with a link for my blog readers to an article about using duct tape for, well, everything? And it wasn’t spam! Yes, Amber, I will gladly link to your 100 Awesome Ways to Use Duct Tape in Your Dorm Room. What a win to craft a duct tape body to scare off intruders. Nothing screams “back off” more than a body with a severed head. And nothing says “I love you” more than a vinyl, fabric-re enforced pressure-sensitive rose. Even Mac could have scored on the ladies with that one. Da da da.

Speaking of MacGyver, someone else sent me a link to a retro shirt. Not content to merely show the t-shirt on a sour-faced model, an anatomically-correct cartoon lets the discerning buyer know exactly how their 36-C will reshape our hero.

I, apparently, am a Monday person with a sunnier disposition than a Friday person. What day are you? It all depends on your perception of time, according to the British Psychological Society, and could explain why time travelers seem so moody. At least the ones I know.

It’s half-past-rumpus time. On to the topic at hand:

Do the best movies come from original screenplays or adapted movies?

I can think of only one example where the movie was infinitely better than the novel: The Bridges of Madison County. This is without a doubt, the exception. Yes, we could blame it on the pure testosterone Clint Eastwood brings to the gypsy-photography character or the sheer brilliance that is always Meryl Streep, but I think it’s more a case of directors and actors filling in where simplicity left off. Reading Robert James Waller, I wasn’t sitting in that beat-up old truck in a frog-strangling rainstorm, the turn indicator of Robert Kincaids’s GMC barely visible through the glass. During the film, I could practically smell the groceries Francesca had just placed on the seat beside her. Maybe the music and the production set and the director’s cut to Clint Eastwood’s eyes as they stared in the rear view mirror conveyed what Waller failed to. Maybe it was just me, but even as a twenty-something I got all up into a romance only those who’ve lived life a bit should have identified with.

If you haven’t weighed in, or even if you have, what are your favorite movies-from-books? Least favorite? And if we were to re-populate them with moody time travelers, would they be my favorites, too?

The Vortex Neighborhood

30th July


If you have a corn-dar, you might want to turn it off for this post. Most who know me know I’m a bizarre contradiction of sweet and edgy, Laura Ingalls and Linkin Park, Ivory soap and body piercing, organic fruit and dark beer…well, you get the idea. So it should really come as no surprise that embedded in that sweet backstory, right beside Bob Ross, is a wee bit of Mr. Fred Rogers.

Say what you like about the man, but he could pop and lock with the best of them while delivering bite-sized portions of something we could all use a little more of: kindness. It wasn’t just that he knew about the land of make-believe like I did, but each episode offered another piece of scaffolding to help children complete the only genuine project that ever matters in life: a strong sense of self.

Yesterday on YouTube, I ran across his final on-camera goodbye from the PBS set. I’d never seen it before, but I think life was waiting for just this moment for me to hear his message. In a business laden with rejection and trying to fit in to the perfect slot someone else envisioned, don’t we all need to hear that we are worthy of the word “special”? Today, I did. It’s a minute and a half of sweet. I hope it brings you a smile.

And if that doesn’t, this might. Sure it’s 1:16 shredded from your day, but for Pete Thornton’s sake, it’s a Mister Rogers-MacGyver hybrid. Who can’t get all up into that?

AND, a super-huge thank you to Jen for mailing me a sample of Avon’s Bond Girl Forever. I “lifted to experience” and immediately thought of my dollhouse when I was eight. Left field, I know. It actually smells like a wee bit of feminine kick ass-ness, in a flowery sort of way. You’re awesome, Jen.

It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive. It’s such a happy feeling, you’re growing inside and when you wake up ready to say….

What did you wake up ready to say today?

Ten Ways to MacGyver Your Way Through RWA’s National Conference

13th May


My quest for the perfect RWA Awards Ceremony dress aligned with two completely indulgent, delicious MacGyver reruns this week to inspire another Vortex 10! Despite Tami Cowden‘s homage to MacGyver in her professor-warrior archetype blend, romance writers have yet to fully embrace a character that has taught us (1) explosive necklaces can be quite fashionable; (2) pop culture rewards awesome heroes by busting out fresh liberties with parts of speech; and (3) some people can go out into the wilderness to find their dreams, or a really fake looking Sasquatch. With this in mind, I offer:

Ten Ways to MacGyver Your Way Through RWA’s National Conference

1) In the Pilot episode, MacGyver used milk chocolate to stop a sulfuric acid leak. Milk chocolate can be used to stop the noxious gas of a plot leak as well. Have some on hand when an impromptu editor question such as, “What is your book about?” spawns incoherent, odoriferous babbling such as, “This girl, she um, have you seen….oh, what’s that movie?”

2) Strapless bra traveling south? Why not adopt MacGyver’s Secret-of-the-Red-Carpet? Duct Tape. Consider the after-event removal as a waxing bonus. Score.

3) Lost your bobby pins in the fertile, feminine jungle that is a four-way-shared-bathroom? No problem. The three inch long screw affixing the remote to the table works as a perfect hairpin. Best if the screw has a sharp tip to ram it home.

4) Toilet-seat covers function as the perfect blotter for those unexpected moments before your editor appointment when your pores are leaking the fluid you retained from your cheesecake-as-dinner the previous night.

5) In season three, MacGyver blasted a door open using pantyhose, a battery and an oil can. Nice to know if you get stuck in a floor-to-ceiling restroom stall your L’eggs, Ipod and the sanitary napkin dispenser can save you.

6) If there’s one thing MacGyver taught us about decadence, it’s that a lavish party is the perfect diversion for someone to hack into your computer. Romance writers with rabid Annie-Wilks-type fans should incorporate a memory stick into their decolletage for safe-keeping.

7) The sea of workshop choices can be daunting. Don’t have a pen to mark the one you want? Run your fingernail along your Maybelline-adorned lips and etch it into the conference book. It’s like a red editing pen without the tears and crippling self-doubt.

8) Beware the zipper diversion. Desperate representation-hungry writers are waiting in the wings to infiltrate the casual conversation you’ve managed to score with your dream agent. Like MacGyver, they know string and a paperclip hooked into a dress zipper can give them enough time to defuse your f-bomb and send you scurrying, mortified, into the ladies room. Man those zippers!

9) Our mulleted-but-hot hero knows Morse Code and you should, too. Appointments are an optimum time to casually shed your silver bangle and tap out subliminal messages such as:

-… . – – . .-. – …. .- -. -.– .. .-.. .. –. …. – : better than Twilight


— .–. .-. .- …. .–. .. -.-. -.- : Oprah pick

10) Raid your purse. Compacts are great rear-view mirrors. Camera lenses act as magnifying glasses in a pinch. Critique partners can string together Post-it notes and dental floss and lower into a conversation-hog’s line of vision for distraction and escape ala MacGyver’s “Lost Love” episode.

If this merely whets your appetite to MacGyverize your conference trip, try FoxNews’s article on How to Travel Like MacGyver. See you in July!

Teen Mags, Hubba Bubba and Duct Tape

12th May


Before the Vortex 10 unveiling tomorrow, I feel the unquenchable urge to project just how deep this MacGyver neurosis goes. In addition to my faux-journalistic intentions, my early teen years were dominated by a conspiracy to meet/stalk/otherwise possess some artifact of Richard Dean Anderson. It’s a rite of passage for teen girls, right? That blurred line between reality and fiction, actor and character? The broken fringe off of Denver Broncos’s Vance Johnson’s leather jacket, my only true encounter with celebrity to that point, just wasn’t cutting it. I plotted family trips to Vancouver. Attempted Macgyverisms for science fair projects. I went into cardiac arrest over lunch at a Universal Studios snack area when I spied his handprints and siggy preserved in cement. I had slides, people. I wanted to add them to our family trays on slide-show nights.

Dad: “Hell no.”

My brother was relentless in annoying liberties with MacGyver’s character:

“Do you ever see him with a girl? Really with a girl? He’s gay.”

“He’s wounded. Every woman that was close to him died. He couldn’t bear to put someone he loved in harm’s way.”

“He’s gay.”

“This isn’t Falcon Crest. He doesn’t have time. He’s too busy carrying out Pete’s orders.”

“Pete’s gay, too.”

For the next decade, anytime I was in my brother’s company and someone who’d dial the gay-dar up to full strength walked by, my brother would sing, “Da-da-da” in MacGyver theme-song-tribute. As an adult, I can address the truth:

“They introduced a love interest in season two and received so much hate mail, they wrote her out of the script.”

“He was still gay.”

My only request to the New Line producers who have green-lighted a full-length feature MacGyver film (as of March 2009) is to find that romantic subplot. Please. The fourteen year old in me is screaming for validation. Vicariousness. Nostalgia. And if you cast anyone but Richard Dean Anderson, let the stalking commence.

Check out this action figure from Brazil. They got the hair BEYOND wrong. Geez. It’s like Lucille Ball in a Member’s Only jacket.Lest anyone accuse me of lacking “author branding” focus in this post, I offer you this time-inspired MacGyver-ish tidbit on estimating remaining daylight courtesy of the ultra fun Show Me Now website.


Tomorrow: Ten Ways to MacGyver Your Way Through RWA National