Tag Archive for writing

Mothers on The Hero’s Journey

Hero's Journey Illustration

A Common YA Fantasy Novel Plots: A bunch of kids lead perfectly ordinary lives. One day they learn that the universe is full of magic (or strange science) and if they don’t put down their homework right now (like right now!), everyone they know and love will suffer horribly (or the universe will come to an end, whichever happens first). Hard as they argue, their parents just won’t let them go out after bedtime to save the universe. So after endless texts back and forth, the friends decide to just finish their homework and go to bed. It’s a school night, after all. But in the middle of the night, they wake up and realize that it is up to them to save the world. They sneak out of their house, leave their parents and homework behind, and go out into the night. While wandering at strange times and in unfamiliar places, the friends meet a stranger that tells them he knows the way. The friends, sleep-deprived as they are, believe him and follow him to destinations unknown. The stranger makes the friends do more and more dangerous and crazy stuff. And these young adults do it just because the…

On Writing and Reading and Learning and Teaching

Supermarket Science Home Page

Learning and Teaching I will start with learning. One of the tragic things about this pandemic is that our kids are missing out on education. This can’t be helped — schools are hotbeds for viruses. It is common wisdom that a new elementary school teacher needs to survive the first few years of being continuously ill — little ones love to share hugs and kisses and snot, all in equal measure. But after a few years of coming to school every day, teachers develop monster immune systems…parents not so much. So schools had to be closed — the world has no immunity to COVID 19. And the only way things get back to normal is when we ALL get immunity to this virus. We can get it by getting sick or by getting a vaccine. The vaccine is still a year away if we are lucky. Acquiring immunity through illness is like playing Russian Roulette — you might be one of the lucky ones or you might become a physical or cognitive cripple…and that’s forever! So schools will be closed for a very long time. And parents are stuck at home, homeschooling their children — not the job anyone really…

Cool books, peril loops, tech talk, and other sci-fi reading traps

Paris in the future from 1905

Rock? Or classical? Sometimes, good content is difficult to classify. But once you find someone good, it almost always works out (well, except for the last chord–what happened there?). I’ve mentioned before–when I find an author I like, I read everything they’ve ever written. This works for music, too. It’s a safe strategy, for the most part. But it does send me searching on a regular basis for someone new to love. Writers simply can’t write as fast as I can read. It’s one of the reasons that as a writer I don’t feel like I’m in competition with others in my genre–writing is a slow, slow process. So for the last year, I’ve gone on an adventure of searching for new authors to love. I’ve read multiple collections of short stories, old and new. And I also read a few biographies, notably Isaac Asimov’s last book, where he describes not only his life but also the history of the science fiction as it became its own literary category. [A bit of an aside: I met Isaac Asimov in New York many years ago at a science fiction convention. I thought he was a total *ss in person. His autobiography…

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:

End of Year Thoughts and Bookish Gifts

reading on X-mas

My husband asked me the other day what do I like more? Having my books on Amazon and other bookstores? Being “famous”? Getting a hard copy of my book in my hands (the unveiling, as people call it on Twitter and post videos of themselves crying upon opening a box of books)? Reviews? The strange thing is that it’s not any of these things (although reviews are great and greatly appreciated!). What I love most is the actual writing part of writing. I like the creation of a brand new world populated by beings from my imagination. I actually go through a mourning period after each story I finish. And I feel this way about my painting, too. Don’t get me wrong; having accomplished something as hard as writing a novel is nice. Real nice. But the time when I sit in front of my computer and put “words to paper” is the best part of writing for me. All those ideas and thoughts that were expressing themselves in my dreams (day and night), the little notes I wrote to myself about plot points or definitions of words, the searches through interesting imagery, the many months of research into the…

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…

Summer Writing and Reading and Editing

Girl Reading

Writing In July, I finally finished editing my latest book: God of Small Affairs (first three chapters are available here). It will be a while before it gets published, but it is nice to move into the next stage of this story’s life. I have a cover that I like…I have several! Here are two: Here is a book description that will definitely NOT appear on the cover of this book: Time is made out of threads. Pull one and someplace somewhere things unravel. We know how to pull on the right thread because we see the whole tapestry of life’s possibilities. That’s why we are so good at finding a good path into the future. I say a future because there is no such thing as the future. We are made of time threads — thick bundles of knots that can pull and twist and change the course of history. It’s all about connections — pull one strand, and the others twist with it. Like Newton’s second law, for every action, there is an equal an opposite reaction. But humans are small in relation to civilized time, planetary time, cosmological time. To make a big change requires a course…