Book

Where Can We Go When It’s Savage Outside?

2020-09-09 View from the window into the fire

COVID had us all isolated from one another, the West Coast fire hellscape has us locked-in — can’t even open a window. Instead of fog, the foghorns sing for the smoke swirling around the Bay Area and around the Golden Gate Bridge. Between the politics, pandemic, and fires, it’s easy to get stuck in negative emotions and thoughts. The other night, I was in full panic mode when I realized that there was nowhere I could turn to get a breath of fresh air…not for hundreds of miles! Below is the view from our window last Wednesday, when the skies turned red-brown and ash fell from the sky like rain. I imagine that lots of people find it difficult to cope. But history teaches us that we are not the first (or the last) to enjoy a little sojourn into hell. History is full of unspeakable horrors, and what we need to remember is that we live in the times when horror is more of an exception than a rule (at least in America, at least for the majority). That’s why we are so freaked by horror, it feels like a novelty. The ancient curse of “may you live in…

Celebrating my Birthday and the Birth of Our Nation by Publishing a Novella About Psychotic AI

Good Girl ebook cover

So today I let out another story into the world. I finished it last year, but birth takes time… Today seemed like the perfect day. Here’s a brief synopsis: Spaceflight AI Aide, SAIA, has one main job onboard a colony mission spaceship to Tau Ceti star system — to keep its crew alive and sane for the 24 lonely years it would take them to reach their destination. She can play games, read books, carry on conversations on almost any topic and in any language. Saia is a very good girl, but something keeps happening to her charges. Was there an accident? Did somebody die? Saia can’t remember. And there are all these people who are not in her roster of passengers that keep popping up and talking with her. “Good Girl” is a story about meanings and hidden context buried in words. As we teach our AIs to take on more and more difficult tasks, their learning algorithms become black boxes to us. What are they really learning? What are they thinking? Just take a peek. Please read the first few chapters here. If you would like a review copy, just ask!

Stories in the Age of Pandemic

Mistress of the Mirror

I moved from New York to California in 1989, the year the Bay Bridge collapsed due to a powerful earthquake, the year all those people died, the year I was run over by a car while crossing the street, the year I was supposed to have gotten married but learned that my fiancé was cheating on me with my best friend. Those were just the highlights, there was much more insane stuff that happened but if I wrote it down, no one would believe it to be a true story. My life, that year, was an overwrought soap opera. It was my year of emotional pandemic. But it got better. I learned to walk again. I got my doctorate. I met the love of my life. I had two amazing kids. And now I even get to imagine whole universes in my head. I live a pretty amazing life. I’m very lucky. But it was a journey. 1989 was my year of living dangerously — I read every doomsday apocalyptic dystopian novel I could get my hands on. Literature saved my life, literally! If not for the ability to escape into another world, into another life, I would have not…

Ice Music

Coding Peter Suddenly Paris 2 Covers

I wish I had heard of Siberian Ice Drummers or the use of Lake Baikal ice as a musical instrument when I wrote the second book in the “Many Worlds, One Life” series: “Coding Peter”! If I had, it would have been featured prominently in my story. Alas, some discoveries come too late…but at least they come! Take a listen:

My Book Tour for “Harvest”…so far…

virtual book tour...

I only have 4 more stops on my virtual book tour for “Harvest.” There have been a lot of fun stops and people who read my book gave it amazing reviews. Thank you! I can’t even begin to tell everyone how much those mean to me on a personal level and for my ability to introduce my stories to a wider audience of readers. Every review counts. It really does. So thank you all! Here are all of my stops so far, including one for today: August 28: Rogue’s Angels September 4: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters September 11: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews September 18: Long and Short Reviews September 25: Readeropolis October 2: Kit ‘N Kabookle October 9: BooksChatter October 16: The Avid Reader  — amazing review of “Harvest.” Made me so happy that morning! October 23: Wake Up Your Wild Side October 30: Sharing Links and Wisdom November 6: Renee Wildes Weblog — a really nice review of my book on Goodreads. Thank you Renee! November 13: T’s Stuff November 20: Independent Authors — this stop features “God of Small Affairs” a bit. I hope it is a nice introduction to that story. (I liked this stop so much that I turned it into a my own blog post!) November…

Fantastical Halloween

Books are good for the Soul

We are quickly falling into Fall. Warm sweaters, blankets, and books. But why bother with books when there is so much other entertainment around? Netflicks, HBOs, Amazons of the world are eager to grab hold of our eyeballs and never let go. It’s great for their bottom line. In 2017, the American Time Use Survey (Bureau of Labor Statistics) said that according to their survey, the number of Americans who read for pleasure had dropped by 30% since 2003. Who has the time, right? I hear that a lot too. “I’d read, but I have kids…I commute…I work long hours…I read at work…” There are many excuses. The one that most people don’t typically mention is that it is much easier to plump on a couch and watch something on TV or to simply play on one’s cell phone (for those who no longer own a TV). But reading is an active activity, while watching videos is passive. Cognitively, that makes a huge difference. Consider a piano. About 100 years ago, most households in America (middle class) had a piano in their parlor. Everyone learned to play a little bit. People could read music and play it off a sheet.…

Protagonist Speaks, a Police Interview with Alex Orlov

Alex doing research

Sometimes, when we finish reading or writing a story, the story is not done with us. Some characters linger in our thoughts and speak up and give rise to some other content and revelations. Mostly, such content remains private — I have tons of illustration, pages of story, and folders of research ideas that never made it into the final novel. But occasionally, I discover places on the Web where a bit of that background material can leak out and find an audience. The Protagonist Speaks is one such website. It allows authors to share interviews with their fictional characters, adding depth and dimensionality to those people who otherwise would be stuck on pages between the beginning and the end. Since my book “Twin Time” is currently part of the SPFBO 2019 competition (yes, as of today, it still stands!), I got to meet another competitor, Assaph Mehr. He runs The Protogonist Speaks, an award-winning fantasy blog that features these interviews. Here’s Alex Orlov interview with the police after the fire: “From the closed files relating to the Ms. Orlova’s house fire and the disappearance of Sasha Orlov: Transcript of Alex Orlov interview with Hillsborough police department’s Detective Hendle. (Additional…