Earth Day, Science and Other Fun Things

Happy Earth Day!

And even if you don’t much care about Earth Day, I think there’s a lot to be said for a day that recognizes we don’t have this rock all to ourselves and we should be better custodians, no matter what we believe. Here are some interesting facts about Earth Day you may not have known.

Scientists are working on controlling the weather. Really guys? How about just making a cell phone that doesn’t drop when I walk into a building first? Some reliable, renewable fuel would be nice too. Oh, and a solution to all those bees dropping dead before we all DIE OF STARVATION would be welcome.  But, you know. Whatever floats your boat.

If you missed the Blood Moon like I did because it insisted in being more visible somewhere else, here’s a nice time lapse photo of it.

And finally, in honour of Game of Thrones–

yes they screwed up this weekend with not admitting that THAT was a THAT, but seriously, what show are you going to watch that’s better, hmmm? What?

–have fun with a couple of interactive maps from a truly dedicated fan and HBO. Hats off to you guys for coming up with this stuff. I’ve never been interested in reading those pretty maps people put in front of their novels because I figure if I can’t follow the action from the story, the map isn’t going to save me. But these are kind of impressive for the way they capture the depth of Martin’s world.

Truly, the man has mastered the ability to make us suffer for his art.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

 

My Writing Process – Blog Hop!

I was tagged by author C.N. Lesley to partake in the My Writing Process Blog Hop!

What am I working on?

Two WIPs. One is the sequel to my soon to be released debut novel, Lex Talionis. The other is a science fantasy about political shenanigans and mythological beasties in a matriarchal society that is not Earth, tentatively titled ‘The Nightward’.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I hope it’s because I tell a rollicking good story that crosses genres and doesn’t go where you expect it to go. I like strong women, strong men and screwed up societies. I like diversity and unusual worlds. I throw that in a blender with a few other themes and press liquefy.

Why do I write what I write?

To entertain. To heal myself. To examine something that matters to me. To have fun. To grieve. To love. To get it out because I can’t NOT write it.

How does your writing process work?

Inspiration tends to sit for quite some time. Most of the stories I’m working on now started way back in high school when I filled up several notebooks with ideas. I’ve matured and the stories have too, so I take them out one at a time and just start writing. No matter how the story comes out, every one of them was written in a straight line, in the same order as the final draft (so far, at least). It can take a month to a year to get a book done. (A few hours to three days for a short, but I hardly do those.) Then I let it percolate. I take it out and do about a dozen drafts. Then I let beta readers see it. Then I edit again. Then I put it away. In between I work on other stories. Rinse and repeat.

I’m definitely a pantser, but I have made notes and written outlines before. They just go out the window once I start writing. I found them useful for getting the predictable storylines out of the way. Once I clear my mind of the obvious dreck, I can get on to doing something that might turn out to be fresh. I also use them to remember what colour someone’s eyes are, or where they were born. But I’m not much of a note taker. I keep almost all of the story in my head until it’s down on paper and then I refer back to the finished draft when I need to remember something.

Silly, I know. I have to get used to taking more notes. It will be easier lol.

And now I get to tag people! So here we go:

Kate and Britt.

Gio Clairval

Amy Raby

Marlene Dotterer

Have fun, guys!

Starred Review for Lex Talionis on Publishers Weekly!

This was going to be a post about the best trailers I’d seen recently, I swear.

But then I found out that Publishers Weekly had reviewed Lex Talionis.

And they loved it.

So I thought that just might be a tiny bit more interesting that Paul Haggis’ new film.

Now excuse me while I quietly freak out.

Omg reaction gifs

 

Opening Lines

Chuck Wendig frequently posts some of the funniest, most helpful writing blogs on the internet, and he has no problem encouraging writers to come together on his site to trash out common issues either.

Recently, he had a fun challenge about loglines and I posted my own and had loads of fun reading others. After that, he asked everyone to post the opening line of their Work In Progress (WIPs), and help each other critique them, so I jumped in again with both feet.

It got me thinking about how one size does not fit all. The short grabby first line is great, but not all stories need that or should begin that way. There’s a lot to be said for opening lines that gradually draw the reader in. After, nobody picks up a book to read one line, so why act as though that opening line is make or break? It’s the knob on a door, and you have to get people to turn it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So without further ado, and just for fun, I’m posting the opening lines from three of my novels, and you can judge for yourself if I live by my philosophy.

Do  me a favour and post your opening lines in the comments too. I’d love to read them. It’s just for fun–no critiquing by anyone unless you ask!

“Death came for Michael while he slept.

He woke, gasping and trembling, from a dream of being pushed out the airlock. His fingers were cold and numb; the weight of his head on his arm had cut off his circulation. Michael sat up, wiping sweaty strands of hair off his forehead. Shifting his feet out from under him, he cursed as pain lanced up his leg.

Shit. I fell asleep. I can’t sleep. How long was I out?”

Excerpt from ‘Lex Talionis’ – Space Opera Mystery 

“Princess Viyella of the Court of Hamber, Divine Spirit of the Six Queendoms and future ruler of the High Court of Dun, stuck out her tongue at her exasperated personal bodyguard.

“And if I do not choose to go?” she asked taking another backward step up the crumbling spiral stairs to the tallest, oldest tower of the High Court.

Dagen Kemp only just managed to keep his hands by his sides instead of snatching the precocious six year old over his knee and spanking her.

“Queen Elise has requested that the Princess be taken to the baths in plenty of time for the festivities this eventide.  The Dowager House Mother has indicated her readiness to assist you in your preparations, so the Princess must come with me immediately.”

Excerpt from “The Hand of Gaia” – Science Fantasy

The technician screamed, the smoking stump of his hand smearing his lab coat as he held it to his chest.  Through watering eyes, he looked up at the two soldiers standing over him, their faces hidden behind the wavering diamond reflection of distortion masks.  The ship’s flashing emergency lights limned their black armour, turning the figure-hugging contours scarlet, then black, then scarlet again.

He could smell his own flesh cooking, and vomit scratched at the back of his throat even as pain tore his nerves to shreds.  If he turned around, he knew he would see what was left of his hand lying on the floor of the corridor behind him.  But there was no point in turning around.  His hand was gone for good.  And he was a dead man.

The one on his left lowered the massive lasrifle to his waist, still keeping it at the ready.  The soldier on the right held his weapon with the business end pointed at the floor.  The soldier was silent for a moment longer, apparently studying the tech, though it was hard to tell through the distortion masks.

“Are you ready to speak to me now?” he intoned, his voice flat and expressionless through the mask.”

Excerpt from “Warrior” – Science Fiction 

Stay thirsty, my friends!

 

New Stuff!

Hey!

So it’s been terribly exciting around here lately. I have a new Facebook page for Lex Talionis which you can find here.

I’ve also updated the blog–as you probably noticed!–and added links to all the places you can find the book.

As soon as it’s available for pre-order, I’ll let you know.

I also had a whole bunch of Very Important People agree to read the book and say nice things about it if they liked it. Shockingly, one of them did like it. Even more shockingly, this very nice important person went over to my Goodreads page and left a short review.  You can find that here.

And just because some people are truly awesome, that person told the world about my book in a lovely tweet some of you might have seen. If you haven’t, here it is:

So I promptly fainted away.

And then when I woke up, I wrote this post. Just so you know every little thing that’s going on.

And I promise it’s the last time I dance around here blowing my own horn and getting drunk.

At least until my birthday. Which is in two weeks.

:-)

 

My First Review Is Up on Goodreads!

I can’t believe it!

Someone read my book–it’s on NetGalley if you’re a blogger and want to review it–and decided to post a review.

Icing on the cake? Four stars!!!

*Faints with joy*

Is that even possible? To faint with joy? Oh who cares! I’m pretty sure I just did it :-).

You can read the review here.

They never tell you how great it feels to know that someone in the world liked it. Even if no one else ever does, I know someone in the world was moved by my story.

That’s just priceless.

Thank you, awesome reviewer!

Excited reaction gifs

Amazing Things That Happened Since We Last Talked

Science has ticked another scifi concept off its list. Yeah, rail guns have been around a while, but now they’re going to test them out as a weapon for the US Navy. 

No, it doesn’t look as cool as the one in ‘Eraser’ did, but hey, a rail gun is a rail gun, you ingrate. Put that together with the teleportation we’re trying to perfect and we’ll be ready to invade Mars any day now.

And then there’s this development about growing organs from mature stem cells that has made me rue the day I decided to trunk my stem cell story.

I could have been regarded as a visionary back when George the Second was laying down the law for American scientists and making them play with only a couple dozen stem cell lines. *Shakes fist at the sky*

Too bad I was some years away from selling my first story then. I’m sure a short about androids running an underground railroad to hide the inventor of immortality (courtesy of stem cells), so that humans would learn to appreciate death would have just rocked the world.

Some day I’ll post it so you can have some amusement while waiting for ‘How I Met Your Dad’ to begin filming.

In any case, I find that stem cell development right in line with what I was expecting from the science, if researchers found their theories to be correct. The idea that you could replace your own organs eventually–there are no words for how much death and devastation could be avoided. And to think–no more waiting for someone to die so you can get a new heart. Here’s hoping the technology continues to be be successful.

And finally, the most amazing thing of all.

Game of Thrones premiered Sunday night! There were thousands of tweets, hordes of loyal watchers and series high ratings–and that was just at my house!

Seriously, I have never been so worked up for a season. My little cousin has started watching the series on HBO On Demand at my house, so for the first time, I had a chance to re-watch the first season and part of the second season. I plan to watch everything over with him, so that he can join in during this fourth season.

I understand completely now why superfans re-watch previous seasons before the new season starts. There was so much fore-shadowing in season one–in the first episode!–that it was amazing to realise they told you who was important and hinted at what was going to happen ages ago. Sure, it’s easy to do this when you know exactly where you’re going, but you have to give props to the writers for cutting down those massive books to such elegant and deftly circular storylines. I’m even more impressed with the series now than I was before.

And wow! Talk about hitting the ground running! Usually they take a few episodes to get back up to speed, but not this season. I guess that’s what happens when you are just halfway through a book. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up with Bran and Stannis, but in the meantime, thanks a mil for letting me have some Dany right up front.

And no, I haven’t read the books yet. But my sister got a great deal on the entire series so far–5.99 for all the ebooks!–so I will be starting them soon. Just don’t want to get ahead of the series and turn into a jaded superfan. Yeah, it’s cool to be able to say, ‘the books are better’, or ‘just you wait until…’, but it’s even cooler to get to see it for the first time–and know you can READ it after!

I have to say, reading after seeing the movie is better. You won’t be disappointed, and it will be like the first time all over again. And who doesn’t want that?

Anyway, I’m off to do some writing. In the meantime, enjoy my favourite shot of the entire episode. Naturally!

Burn, Lannisters, burn!! (I hope!)

I Don’t Like Cricket…I Love It

Yes, you read that right. I am a die-hard cricket fan.

For those of you from North America out there, I can see the puzzled looks on your faces.

For those of you from Australia and India, I know you are nodding sagely because you know that anyone from the West Indies is most likely a cricket lover. And even if they don’t love cricket, they follow the West Indies team and have an extra bounce in their step when they win.

I have a reason for bringing this up, and no, it’s not to clue my blog friends into just how uncool I am (because you probably figured that our already). I bring it up because right now, my mind is pretty much focused on cricket 95% of the time, and I’m fairly sure it will affect my blog posting, at least until Sunday.

That’s because the ICC World T20 tournament is winding up to the finals this weekend, and my team, the West Indies, has two semi-finals tomorrow. The women play the second best female team in the world, Australia, early tomorrow morning, and after that the men play the second place team from the last tournament, Sri Lanka.

West Indies is one of the most beloved teams in the world of cricket, and once upon a time, for a very long time, we were the undisputed best team that ever walked the earth. But now we are trying to rebuild our lost legacy, and the newest cricket format–called 20/20 or T20–is giving us a chance to do just that. Eighteen months ago, we won our first World title in a long while in this very competition. There were doubters then and now, so it is very gratifying that we have once again made it to the semis, and more gratifying that once again,  both the men and the women have qualified.

However, these matches will be very difficult, and if we win, I will be on tenterhooks until Sunday, so don’t be surprised if I don’t post much after this.

If we lose, I will be crying into my beer, and be completely unable to post due to my soul-crushing sorrow.

So do me a favour. Whether you’ve ever really heard of cricket before this or not, feel free to say a little prayer for my teams tomorrow. Every little bit helps, after all.

And as a little thank you, enjoy the sounds of 10cc and one of the most popular cricket songs ever written below. If you’re from the Commonwealth, you know it already, so just sing along with me:

I don’t like cricket…ah, oh no. I love it!

‘Lex Talionis’ Is Now On Goodreads

Feeling very proud of myself as I took the first step yesterday toward posting my novel Lex Talionis on Goodreads!

I totally figured out how to do this on my own.

What? It’s hard! You try it!

In any case, I’m waiting for them to let me join the author programme now, so I can update my profile and everything.

If you want to take a look at it being half-way official and everything, you can head over here. Feel free to add it to your ‘to read’ list, or like it, or say nice things about it if the spirit so moves you.

Seriously, I feel so accomplished.

High five reaction gifs

Now I only have to get a Facebook page going.

Lord, I hate Facebook ::sigh:: But I don’t hate connecting with people, so wish me luck!