Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Then, how do you avoid your right thumb when you're right handed and have a house full of guests and cards to send out and baking and, and....
It was doing great till I overdid. My tetanus shot arm is nearly back to normal, too. Well, wasn't that a lot of TMI? And I promised not to blog about my pets. Not much happening with the writing since it hurts to do so at the moment. I will be sending out the ill-fated "Immunity Project" today. I managed to give it a once over one-handed late last week.
Finally, a very Merry SECOND DAY of Christmas to one and all. My First Day was glorious, in spite of the throbbing thumb at the end of it.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I just requested that my story, "Immunity Project," be pulled from Wayfarer (see previous posts). I'm putting that behind me. I found a new potential home for "Immunity Project". I'm giving it a spit and polish before I send it out. That is, between framing my husband's landscape prints for his Christmas presents, printing, addressing and signing Christmas cards, getting ready for my mother-in-law's visit and picking her up at the airport. Cross your fingers with me that it gets picked up by this market. :)
I just found a couple of magazines which I had saved to do an article later. "Later" never came. These major magazines have big shiny full-page ads on the backs which originated in a foreign country. They both made no sense. For all the money they spend on these ads, you'd think that email the copy to someone in the States to proofread. It definitely got lost in translation. Is proofreading a lost art? Are those of us who care whether something is riddled with typos or obvious errors a dying breed?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Shall I tell you what it's about? Actually, it's not even SF--or even speculative. It's an interesting twist on a mafia-like family from the perspective of a teenage boy growing up in it. Well, that's the setting, anyhow. I can't say more or it will give too much away. I wrote out the general plot, the characters and the first couple of pages. I think this one will write itself.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I just read about Terry Pratchett on Neil Gaiman's blog. Pratchett has early onset Alzheimers. Let's all hope that its progression is slow. Better yet, that they find a cure. He has a platform (his mighty pen that we count on for our next fantasy fix) to draw attention to the disease and to finding a cure.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The editor apologized. But she's apparently not sorry enough to pay me, or put the correct name and put the blurb and link back up on the "Stories" page. I had asked her to take the story down for "repairs" as it had formatting problems. Most of the formatting issues were fixed eventually, but the links and blurb didn't go back up as they were. I feel like my story has been sent to the corner. Or is being treated as an afterthought.
I hesitated to name the magazine. Finding out that I'm not the only one they did this to changed my mind. Writer beware!
The blurb, if there was one, would go something like this: A far future space faring civilization experiments on the unsuspecting survivors of the wartorn planet of Kradon. Will Donard let the Krads know they're being kept in an intentionally radiated zone? Will it help them, in the end?
Let me know what you think of my story. Writers love strokes. :)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Meantime, I finished the Paul Park book, A Princess of Roumania. I enjoyed it. I do have a beef, though. Not enough of the loose ends were tied up in the end for my taste. I know that there's a book that comes after it, The Tourmaline, but I would have liked more closure with this one first. But, alas, he didn't ask me. ;)
I also brought the galley with me. I think I'll work on that a bit this afternoon. Either that, or get in some Christmas shopping. Of course, both of these ideas sound too much like work to me. Maybe I'll drag out one of my short story rough drafts instead. Or write a new one.
I also read some good stories in Asimov's. I especially enjoyed "Strangers on a Bus" by Jack Skillingstead. It's his 13th story for Asimov. He must be doing something right. It's in the December 2007 issue. In the January issue, there's a good article by James Patrick Kelly about SFWA. The stories by Mike Resnick and Deborah Coates were worth a look, too. I'm trying to catch up on my reading. I decided to read one story per day in addition to reading novels. More grist for the mill.
The sun's starting to peek through the clouds. Perhaps I'll take a walk in the vineyard this afternoon. :)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Now, if you write ANYTHING (minus grocery lists, letters, emails and to-do lists) and live in California, here's the place to be: California Writers' Club. They have about 17 branches throughout the state. Tons of help and resources. I highly recommend checking them out. Go to their website to find a branch near you.
Not to forget you readers out there, if you haven't discover Fantastic Fiction, today's the day. Don't you hate it when you pick up a used paperback or a book in the library that's part of series, and it doesn't tell you the order of them on the flap? Problem solved.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Unlike most of my gender, I HATE shopping. Most of my thoughtful purchases are done online. I was sick of the barrage of Christmas shopping ads before Thanksgiving.
So, our solution? We go green. We're making some of our gifts this year. My husband is not a bad photographer. He has a number of great shots that we're framing to send to family and friends. I just heard on the radio that we are also doing our part by using a digital rather than a 35 m camera. Some or all of the solutions used in processing the rolls are toxic. Yeah, us. I just like not having to deal with the hassle of getting the rolls developed and love the erasability factor of digital. I'm NOT a good photographer.
I'm trying to crochet some stuff. Dismal failure so far. I write. I don't do crafts. I might be able to whip out a scarf or two, but will anyone wear them when they can buy nicer ones in the store?
Maybe I'll make bourbon balls. Beats fruitcake, right? I also make a mean Irish Cream. I did give some to friends last year. Last year I gave all the kids a tastefully bound family tree I worked on for two months. Several of the kids call me asking for recipes. Maybe a recipe book? I can type better than I can crochet.
We purchased LED lights for the tree, the picture window and the outside of the house. They'll pay for themselves in reduced energy costs eventually, right?
Would have been nice to have my book in print before Christmas. Oh, well. That isn't happening. It's a case of hurry up, wait. The private release of Awesome Lavratt may not happen until February or March now. :(
Meantime, with two great critique groups, I'm zipping through the rewrites of Under the Suns of Sarshan. I'm trying to get as much done as possible before my mother-in-law arrives for the holidays from Texas.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
I got some reading done. The synapses weren't up to rewrites and writing just yet. I read some very good stories in Analog & Asimov and I'm nearly done with Paul Park's A Princess of Roumania. I'm finding it wonderfully entertaining, yet galling at times as he gets away with stuff that my work (and anyone else I know) would get red-lined for. He uses the same phrase three times on the same page. Twice within two sentences on another. I can't do that. I'm honestly not sure if it's his style or poor editing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the story very much. I wouldn't notice these things if I wasn't a born editor. I find all the typos. Probably because I'm, alas, a slow and literal reader. It's a double-edged sword.
On the plus side, Park can use a ton of different POVs without causing confusion or slowing the story down. He puts us in the shoes of each of the players. Even some of the minor ones. It all adds more depth to this intricate story that is a bit like an Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz adventure. All of his characters learn, grow and adapt. None is wholly good or evil.
When I wasn't reading, I was watching Firefly, Torchwood, Heroes, Bionic Woman, Dr. Who and Flash Gordon. My husband and I both had to wonder if the episodes on Friday night were written by the second string writers due to the WGA strike already. It seemed to be "make the characters unbelievably stupid" night. My plausibility meter doesn't go crazy with the worldbuilding and the riftblaster (I just enjoy the ride) on Flash.
SPOILER WARNING - skip the next sentence if you haven't watched yet.
But when Joe decides to go to Mongo for some photos, Dale opens the jar and they bring Joe back BEFORE they ask him about the upgraded riftblaster he took that would bring Ming down on them - ugh! My favorite character is the alien woman, Baylin. She's straightforward.
Then, we watched Bionic woman. That was on the DVR from earlier in the week. The stupid thing there was hopping into the guy's car who already stated his own people would kill him. How could she NOT see that coming? I was dissappointed. My plausibility meter was going nuts.
Even Stargate Atlantis had stupidity. Wait for back up already!!! This is one I've seen many times on movies and cop shows. But perhaps I'm meant to believe that the genius is lacking in common sense? I had a friend that was extremely academically intelligent yet lacked common sense. But how does that explain the FBI (or NSA?) guy that was with him? Ugh! I can forgive unrealistic science in my TV entertainment but I'd like the characters to be a little more believable. A little less stupid.
And now for something fun (I'm done ranting - must still not be feeling well). I found this essay by Firefly's Nathan Fillion. I don't like westerns but space westerns...well Firefly is the best blending of the two I've seen. Well rounded, entertaining characters. I, Malcom by Nathan Fillion from
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe by Jane Espenson. It's reproduced with permission on USA Today.
Oh, and yes, we watched Tin Man. I'm reserving my opinion until I've seen it all.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But first, I must finish Under the Suns of Sarshan and revise the two short stories I drafted in September. Or do I? Can I eat dessert first? Writing is way more fun than revision. Maybe just the outline and some character sketches?
Oh, well. This is my kind of busy! It sure beats TPS reports. ;)
I have to sign off and go write my book reviews--which are also not the new book. Arg! Reviews of Red Thunder by John Varley and Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks coming down the pike at Mostly Fiction.
By the way, I keep sticking my nose back into A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park. It's captivating. And so far it's "Not Another Vampire Story!" Not a vampire in site.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Here's the list I have so far:
SF Book Club (at their forum)
SF Weekly at scifi.com
Quality Book Reviews
Yet Another Book Review Site (Specializing in SF/F/H)
SF Crows Nest
Feel free to add to my list. I'll update it as I receive info. Just add a comment and I'll add to the list. Thanks.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
My TBR (to be read) shelf is never going to get any thinner. I keep buying books faster than I'm reading them. You know why I don't read mysteries? Because I'm afraid I'd like them too much! I'm reading A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park now - a recent acquisition - see what I mean? I'll let you know what I think.
Of course there were some "wish I hadn't" reads in 2007 but we won't go there. I'll take Thumper's advice on that one: "If you don't have nuthin nice to say, don't say nuthin at all." We had a code for that in our family. If one of the kids started to forget that bit of advice, I'd thump my foot to remind them.
And now if you'll excuse me, I have to go read! Tomorrow I write fiction, non-fiction and critiques - little time to read.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Learning to Write with a Sledgehammer by Alan AldaIt's at The Internet Writing Journal, another great find. And I found that from Writers Write. I thought any writers out there would enjoy these goodies as much as I did. Make sure to look at Alan Alda's photo at the bottom of the article. Doesn't it make you smile back at him? Dan Simmons discusses author photos at length in Installment Seven of his Writing Well.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
So, we've already bent the rules for the sake of entertainment. So what? That's what fiction is supposed to do: entertain! There's a place for entirely plausible SF. In fact, there's even a new genre for it. It's called Mundane SF.
But getting back to the rest of the SF universe, say you meet an alien. Say you're out there in space cut off from most other humans. And the alien is not all THAT alien. Would or could a human be attracted to one? Let's say it's mostly humanoid in appearance. Could we look past the appearance and the taboo? Could we be drawn to his or her personality and mind? Or would we actually find the physical otherness compelling? Or would it just be the attraction to something forbidden?
These are the questions that I'm toying with as I work on rewrites of Under the Suns of Sarshan. Who can guess how we'll react to a situation mankind has never encountered? I can only draw comparisons with Earthly "aliens", people who are very different from us in appearance and manner. Then it's a matter of pulling off that crossing of the line in a convincing way.
Comments welcome. After all, I'm writing for the reader.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Speaking of shape shifting...imagine if you will...Your ex has asked you to babysit her two-year-old foster daughter. You've got a cold, the girl's a rambunctious little imp and oh, did I mention that she's a shape-shifter? All you have to do is say "no", right? Read "Jolaneering" in the next edition of Nanobison due out "end-of-year-ish".
I also joined Book Place. A place for authors, agents, readers, and publishers to network.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I'm planning to attend BayCon in May. I will definitely catch their showing of Rocky Horror. I first saw it in Seattle's "U" district back in 1980. I wasn't one of those people who liked to watch shows more than once. The only movie I paid to see a second time was the original Star Wars movie in the 70s. But Rocky Horror isn't a movie. It's an event.
When it comes to the smaller screen, I have my stock favorites. I've become a Princess Bride and Jumping Jack Flash nut. If I spot them on the satellite TV's guide while searching for something worthwhile to watch, I have to peek. I have to at least see which scene it is before moving on. And who can resist Modern Problems and Nothing But Trouble?
I wonder if any die-hard Princess Bride fan has had "mostly dead" put on their tombstone.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
A far-future space-faring civilization experiments on the unsuspecting survivors of the wartorn planet of Kradon. Will Donard let the Krads know they're being kept in an intentionally radiated zone? Will it help them, in the end?
Let me know what you think. And if you'd like to see it "go long".
My review of Spook Country by William Gibson went up this week as well. Find it at MostlyFiction.com.
I'm working on my "Favorite Reads of 2007" list for Mostly Fiction. I was ashamed of how few books I have managed to read this year. Toward that end, I'm trying to cram a bunch in before the end of the year. It's funner than rewrites. A guilty pleasure. I'm reading my first Terry Brooks. I don't read a lot of fantasy but I'm enjoying Armageddon's Children so far. I just finished Red Thunder by John Varley. I read the one that follows it, Red Lightning first, last year. Red Thunder will be on my fave list. My TBR (To Be Read) shelf--or shelves rather--are overflowing.
And in my spare time, I have to learn all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that I'm not writing to myself here. (@@)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Everything's computerized these days. Let's hope that Alan Dean Foster isn't a modern prophet. Last month three of our household's three cars needed repair. 2 of 3 were the radiator. Then my husband gets a ride to Colma with a friend and his friend's car breaks down. Care to guess what was wrong with it? The radiator. Let me say right here and now that if your radiator fails after reading this I'm not responsible. I can't be. Can I? (crazy thoughts colliding in my grey matter)
So, now it's November. The brand new washer we bought in October didn't last a month. The next day the internet crapped out. That, thankfully was a problem on their end which they rectified in a matter of hours. So, that's two. They say these things come in threes. You know, the "they" who believe in curses, omens and such. Last night my printer decided it was a fine evening to blow a gasket. Almost a year after the warranty period, of course.
3 per month, 2 months in a row. I'm hoping its not 3 months in a row. I love symmetry but I'd rather skip it all the same.
December should bring only good things. Not least of which is the Nativity of Our Lord.
As it happens there is one other thing that's happening for me in December. I'm looking forward to holding my first book in my hands before Christmas.
Know what I want for Christmas? I want all my readers to get out those Christmas lists and put Awesome Lavratt in the right hand column for all those SF/F fans on your list. :)
And get one for yourself as well.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Of course, like most of you, I learned at a tender age that when you point your finger at someone, you have three pointing back at you. And I must admit, I have said those words myself, in my early days of public speaking.
We know when speakers are stalling or marking their place because we hear the "uhs" and "ums" and "you knows". Writers do it, too. We hold our place with things like: seems like, were going to be able to, wondered whether he might possibly be, suddenly became aware of, just, so, a little bit, etc. If you can cross out a phrase from a sentence, reread it and lose no meaning, chances are, you were stalling and need to lose said phrase. Did I need the phrase "chances are" here? Should I have started a new sentence after stalling and gone with the more direct: Lose the unnecessary phrase? Direct is always better. Rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. Am I harping?
In case you haven't heard, word economy is in. With so much special-effect-filled media popping at us at an adrenaline pace, we expect things to happen constantly. We can't be bothered with two page descriptions of the garden. Our attention spans are shrinking and so our fiction must make every word count. All our words have to earn their keep or get the axe.
It's a brave, new, minimalist world out there.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I tend to think there's too much romance in serious SF, but then I see the appeal that space operas with a romantic element have even with guys. They just won't admit it. My SF, so far is never about the romance. I don't even read romance novels. It's okay for subplots, though, if it's not contrived.
Since I've already gone off on a tangent, anyone have the answer to this one? Do couples (or potential couples) fall on each other in a passionate frenzy in the middle of a fight? I see it on the tube all the time and on the big screen, too. And then there's the "after the slaughter quickie. " Are you kidding me? I just can't buy it. I've never heard of this happening in real life.
Of course, in real life you don't pull the arrow out before you bandage the wound in triage. And you most certainly take the feathers off the end before you do. Anyone see Flash Gordon tonight?
Back to the subject at hand. More reasons that notebook will come in handy:
I can't tell you how many times I leave a (______) where an alien word should go because I'm on a roll and can't remember the name. I can't be bothered when the juices are flowing. Then I have to go back and fill in the blanks later. That notebook would have a glossary of alien words.
And in which chapter did she first start calling the Captain by his first name? Am I reverting?
What word did I decide on for the alien captain instead of captain?
It's a lot to keep track of but I guess that's a good sign. If there wasn't so much to keep track of, it wouldn't be a very interesting read, would it?
Fortunately, I have two critique groups to help me catch the stuff that gets away from me.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
On the plus side, this template looks more SF-like, right? But now, alas, I've used up all my creativity allotment for the day. You'll have to wait till tomorrow for something interesting or witty.
Besides, it's tough to top a flying cow, right? Want an update on that story with pictures?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
And I thought I had a good imagination! Never would I have thought to have the missile be a cow! Mr. and Mrs. Charles Everson, Jr. never would have imagined it either...until one landed on the hood of their minivan while they were driving by the lake last Sunday. They were in nearby Manson celebrating their first wedding anniversary. That will be one anniversary they'll never forget! Read the story.
PS You can find "Marfina" in the anthology, Vintage Voices: A Toast to Life.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I still haven't gotten into the habit of keeping a notebook by the bed. And I'm usually too stubborn and comfortable to go get one. My poor brain being a sieve, I concentrate on the ideas that arrive when sleep eludes me; I dwell on them and spin them this way and that. Then I hope that something sane survives my eventual slumber. Not terribly effective.
I have written down ideas on napkins (not very original, I admit), on the back of grocery receipts and even a few cryptic words to jar the memory on the back of a business card. Of course, if these scraps sink to the bottom of my purse for too long, I'm not be able to read my writing or decipher what my clever key words meant.
My last plot idea got dashed less than 24 hours after it came to me. It hadn't come to me first. It was a two-timer. Or maybe a promiscuous little so and so. The very next evening I found it woven through the plot of an upcoming movie. Bummer! I'll have to sit on it a while now, and make it different enough to get by as an original idea or at least an original way of weaving old ones together.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Let me first say, Happy Guy Fawkes Day.
Let me secondly say, I'm a tiny bit English. And because it's also my birthday I even hosted a bonfire night one year to celebrate. Why did I want to burn an effigy to celebrate my birth? Sounds a bit twisted when I think of it now.
I'm not going to talk politics or religion here. My point is... Grizzly! The English were very...ah...creative...when they carried out their executions. The conspirators were not only hanged but drawn and quartered.
To celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, children build a "Guy," stuff him with fireworks and he's thrown on top of the bonfire before it's lit.
Then there's the game, "Ring Around the Rosie," which ends in "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down". This of course was about the bubonic plague. Morbid game.
My uncle decided that even the children's prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep," was a scary way to enter that state. Do children think about the words "If I should die before I wake"? Did you?
Every culture has their bogey men, their monsters under the bed or tales of trolls that steal children who are bad. Then there's Grimm's Fairy Tales. Grim, indeed.
I don't need grim. Give me Mary Poppins and a spoon full of sugar anytime.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I'd rather be writing!! (@@)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Here's the kicker. He said, "Well, my grandfather's name was George Wilkes." I don't know who was more surprised.
There's more. My husband's grandfather's name is...you guessed it...George Wilkes. Still waiting to hear from him. He snapped my picture and took my business card. I think he's still traveling. I'll keep you posted.
The Awesome Lavratt, my first published novel, should be available in December. Here's the blurb that will appear on the back of the book. Contact me if you'd like to pre-order.
Beautiful Aranna Navna plans to conquer the galaxy one planet at a time. She steals the Awesome Lavratt, a mind control device, from a freighter in Horace Whistlestop's junkyard. She takes Horace, too. With the Lavratt, Aranna manipulates the thoughts and desires of everyone around her—until she gets to the Emperor of Calistania. Then things go from bad to worse for Aranna.
The Lavratt, however, has only just begun! Oh, the fun you can have from a small cube with mind control powers. Travel the galaxy with Tyrantz Lavratt.Silly science fiction at its best. All puns intended.