(Formerly known as "Samantha Winchester.")

When I was six years old, there were only two things I wanted to do when I grew up. Fly jet planes and marry Scott Tracy.

Yes, you guessed it. I'd just discovered Thunderbirds.

I don't remember a lot about that first time around, except how much I loved it, and how wild Mongol hordes couldn't have budged me from my crosslegged position on the floor in front of the television set when it was on. As an adult, only fragments of scenes stuck in my mind...I remembered the Crablogger and the Sidewinder but couldn't remember what they did, exactly...although I did sort of recall the Sidewinder falling into the pit. My strongest memory, though, was of Scott crashing Thunderbird One into the desert in "The Uninvited." Nothing else from that episode...not even what it was about...just how incredibly gorgeous he was, stumbling around with that nasty gash on his forehead. I remember sobbing in breathlessly excited hysterics when he passed out, and who could forget that lovely dramatic long shot of him draped, unconscious, halfway out of the open hatch? Oh, it was great!

All these years later, I've rediscovered the joy of bashing him on the head...and I'm still enjoying every minute of it.

After the initial run of the series, I didn't see Thunderbirds again for a long time (that was well before the concept of "reruns" was born). I faithfully worked my way through other Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series such as Captain Scarlet and UFO -- my favorite of the time after Thunderbirds (although my mother claimed I was very attached to the previous Anderson series, Fireball XL5 and Stingray, I have only cursory memories of both those shows - chiefly the end song "Marina" and Commander Shore saying "Anything can happen in the next half hour" in Stingray, and only vague images of Fireball XL5. Hmmm. Time for another trip to the discount DVD site, methinks...). I also made my regular weekly pilgrimages to our local W.H. Smiths store to add to my collection of the TV Century 21 Comics that included all those shows. My family went overseas in the early 1970s, and I wound up in a boarding school that didn't allow us television or radios, so I missed the resurgences of the show that happened in later years.

Fast forward to the summer of 2002. I was in a slump, to put it mildly. I hadn't written prose in what seemed like forever, and my attempts at screenwriting were being stymied by a three-year case of writers block that even the Mole would have had trouble drilling through. The only writing I was doing was at my publicity job, depressingly enough...and press releases, cast bios and summary blurbs for series episodes just weren't cutting it as creative expression.

And then it happened. I'll never forget it. I was in the living room of my house, actually leaving the room, my back to the television. And my roommate and writing partner (you know her as Molly here and on TIWF) changed the channel. And then I heard his voice.

It felt like a moment in a movie...the years fell away like dust. There was no mistaking the voice I'd fallen in love with when I was six, even though I hadn't heard it once since I had been that age. I turned around in shock and there he was...Scott Tracy, every bit as gorgeous as I remembered. Thunderbirds was being broadcast on Tech TV, and in moments of watching, I was just as hooked as I'd ever been.

And that moment, corny as it sounds, changed everything. Within days my writers block had disappeared completely, and I was hard at work writing what would become my ongoing TB novel, "Secrets and Lies." I searched the web (on Molly's advice, since she'd been there already!) for something new to me, an online community...and found Fran Lavery's site "The Archives." Fran became my very first Thunderbirds - and online - friend. And the rest, as they say, is history. That group of two has multiplied like hamsters in a cage, and now I have a community of friends I wouldn't trade for the world. And we also have places to be (thanks in large part to the web-building skills and talents of Lyon and the help of LMC, Skywench, GillyLee, Ziggy...it goes on and on!), the Tracy Island Writers Forum on Yahoo Groups, this site, The Tracy Island Chronicles, and the upcoming Tracy Island Archives...which is a revamp of Fran's original Archives site. One thing's for sure...never again will Thunderbirds fanfiction lack a permanent home. At least, not on my watch.

I won't say I haven't experienced bouts of writers block since...but somehow, no matter what else is going on, the Tracys always seem to manage to get me in the mood.

Thanks, boys. I owe you one.

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