Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I’ve been seeing, and having to deal with, a lot of rudeness in the disguise of “honest” and “candid”. It drives me crazy. I'm pretty thick-skinned, but even I’m taken aback by the acute case of rudeness going around.
Just because you start the sentence with “I’m just being honest...”, “I’m your friend...”, or “In my opinion...” doesn’t change a rude comment into a candid or honest one. It’s still rude, just with a false qualifier. They almost always are the start of the “I’m about to say a jerk comment and because I start with this stupid phrase you can’t tell me I’m being a jackass” sentence.
Let’s quickly go over the differences:
Candid: Frank, outspoken, open and sincere, free from reservation, disguise, or subterfuge, straightforward, unposed, honest, impartial.
Rude: Discourteous, impolite in a deliberate way, without culture/learning/refinement, rough in manners or behavior, unmannerly, uncouth, harsh, ungentle, crude, unkind
Both approaches are used to say what you think or feel, but the difference boils down to intent and delivery.
Is the intent of what you’re about to say in the right place? Is it being said for the right reasons and purposes? Is what you're going to say well thought out, will be helpful to the person or in the discussion, and is it necessary?
Most often I see rude behavior in situations where one person doesn’t take the other person’s opinion into full consideration before replying. You can tell because their 4-paragraph response was posted only minutes later. Or they wait forever and then lash out like a poisonous snake.
When you reply to the email or talk with the receiver, are you forming the response in the way the he/she will best appreciate it? Is your word selection matching the tone of your intent? Or are you finding the most arrogant word phrases to use and putting in a lot of bolding, italics and IMO’s?
In the end, though, there is nothing you can do about rude people under the disguise of honest/candid. Truthfully, those who need to “hear” this most will not understand it’s about them. Those who do have a tingling bit of self-recognition will claw back with the “I can’t help it if you’re too sensitive...” responses.
All one can control is their own reaction to rudeness, and the best response is none at all. Replying is only feeding the drama and who has time for that? Me personally, I use up all my drama hours with my family and in my fictional world.
Monday, December 19, 2011
A significant portion of science fiction cannon is set on space ships, soaring through the black. Reading about aliens, scary space nebulas, and weird and wondrous space fungi is rather cool, I admit. But for me, I like to also read about how people working together get on; how they live their lives, interact with each other – and how they get their supplies!
Perhaps it’s my distaste for big box stores, but I want my future space ports to be filled with specialized shops – homemade candies, non-chain restaurants, hat stores. I don’t want a giant DIY store taking up half of my space port’s strip mall. I want specialty items and goodies.
Also, in space I think we’ll be falling back to the mail order catalogue. Sure, we’ll always have the general items available, but sometimes you’ll just want to order jeans from Earth and no local brand will do. And what about food? A girl can only eat reconstituted protein powder before she snaps. Imported Jiffy-brand peanut butter might become the cure for deep space dementia.
When you think about the future, what do you want to see on your space stations? Do you want austere décor, a place fit for battle. Or, do you want a local mall? Or, do you want it turned into a nudist colony?
When an opportunity arises to ally with the neutral Alliance and turn the tide of war, Katherine throws aside her moral code, partners with a known spy, and risks sacrificing the very core of who she is.
And when faced with choosing between her conscience and stopping the bloodshed, she realizes that, either way, she'll lose.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Almost a week now.
It's a she. It almost always is. She's developing before my eyes and it's driving me crazy.
Her eyes are those of someone deeply and emotionally wounded. Pain, loss, and guilt weigh her down. Every step she takes is a reminder of steps others can no longer take. Because of her. What she's done, and what she's not done.
Running away from that place wasn't enough. Every waking moment, every breath, every movement. She has no path to redemption. Doesn't even feel she deserves it if it did come knocking.
This woman started out as a blur in a dream. Only her eyes were clear and it made me sad on a certain level all day long. Each fractional revelation has brought her misery and agony more into perspective. A glimpse walking to the kitchen. A snapshot waiting for data at work. A second at the stop sign.
This woman is not real. Fictional. An imaginary figure my mind is creating. Yet I feel sorry for her. Sympathize with her. Wish to make a world where she gets peace, if not happiness. Truthfully, I don't think this woman could ever be really happy again.
Isn't it silly, how we authors connect with our characters? Often, this causes people to think we are disconnected from the real world.
But I don't think that's true. I think it's because we're too connected to the world.
I think its the core emotions behind our characters that we really connect with. We understand there are real people who are suffering the way our characters do. We connect with that real, human emotion behind it all and need to express it, so others can understand and connect to.
That's my take anyways...for what it's worth.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
We've found an Earth-like planet...okay, "we" haven't found anything. Technically, NASA's Kepler mission team found it. (Does being a NASA cheerleader/supporter/groupie count as part of the overall NASA team? Yes/No?)
In what I call the Obvious Statement of the Year, Geoff Marcy of UC Berkeley stated, "This discovery shows that we Homo sapiens are straining our reach into the universe to find planets that remind us of home. We are almost there."
I guess I shouldn't take the statement for granted, though. Truthfully, I'm not sure how much the general population is wondering or straining to find other homes like Earth. It's the geekdom population that is cheering on the scientists. But I'd like to think that 4 geek-groupies equates to 1 normal person, so maybe it equals out somehow. (LOL. That right there, folks, is AR math...Live it. Learn it.)
Say hello to Kepler-22B. (Top right image.) Can I just say, these NASA folks need to get creative with their planet naming... it's like an apartment building. Geez.
"That's correct. I live in Kepler-22B, right next door to 22A. Yeah, the one right across from 7-11 and the Chinese restaurant. Hang a left at Alpha Centauri... no, no. A LEFT."
Okay, okay. Focus. Let's learn a little about this new planet find, Kepler-22B... or as I'd like to call it, Planet Awesome.
Kepler-22B aka "Planet Awesome":
- Is located in the Kepler-22 Star System
- It's 600 light years away (or 3,540 trillion miles)
- It circles the star (Sun like star may I add) at about the same distance as Earth to the Sun
- Its year is 290 days
- Probably has water and rock, but probably mostly ocean
- It's 2 and a half times bigger than Earth
- Average temperature about 72 degrees (most likely, if it doesn't turn out to be a gas planet)
Any-who, of these, 207 are approximately Earth-size, 680 are super Earth-size, 1,181 are Neptune-size, 203 are Jupiter-size and 55 are larger than Jupiter.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Nettie and James have rearranged their whole world, all for the hopes of finding a child to call their own. Discovering Addie -- an orphan from war -- hiding in her cargo hold was unexpected luck on Nettie's part, but Addie is more than what she seems. Can Nettie and James handle the twists of fate and take on the added bonus Addie brings with her?
Naturally, they'd evolved their love and partnership to a desire for children. That's when life hit a brick wall. First, she'd denied it. Then she'd insisted on using a surrogate to have their genetics pass on to the next generation. Whatever that meant. When that hadn't worked out she'd almost broke.
Rinny's visit to Earth was a godsend. She'd spoken about the lost children who had no home. Nettie latched on to it as if it were a life line. Admitting the amazing timing, James knew it was the right decision for them. What made it easier was the fact Rinny and Danny lived on Dover. Rinny as the head of security and Danny as the dock port master.
He hoped everything would turn out well. They needed a break.
At least the first meeting with the agency on site was done. They'd walked by the child center several times. Nettie had been too nervous to actually go in, not without the final receipt from the agency anyway. James kept telling her it was only formality, and she knew that, but she couldn't. He finally let it rest.
She stirred, opened her eyes and caught his gaze. Need sparked. He bent over and lightly kissed her lips. The passion and love for her washed over him again. Like a drug -- a very alluring and beautiful drug. Still a secret from her, he'd fallen in love the moment he'd spotted her across the assembly when they had first arrived at Callisto for training all those years ago.
There'd always been someone or something else, though, it seemed. First the Captain. Then Edaris. When she'd finally become free, her sister had been taken by the enemy. There was nothing he could do after that but be a friend. What else could he have done? He'd loved her too much. Yeah, he might've gotten a night of passion, but that would've been it. He'd wanted forever.
The day she'd told him she loved him he'd just come off a long mission, been dead tired and only looking for a bed to crash in. He chuckled at the memory of her tossing the "I love you" over her shoulder as she'd strolled into the woman's locker room. Like hell he was going to wait for her to come back out. He'd gone straight in after her.
The wish for forever... so far, so good.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I've hit a fork in the road. I know which path I have to take -- due to deadlines -- but it's frustrating. I have to sit NaNoWriMo aside for a week or so for manuscript edits.
I received the last response from my friends and beta readers on November 2. They were awesome to take the time out of their own busy 24 hours to read through and give feedback. I always do a quick look-see at the responses and then set it all aside for about a week or so. This gives me time to mentally prepare for the changes that need to be made.
So, starting tomorrow I will be diving into the final edits for Echoes of Regret. This time will be a bit harder. I'm coming into this a changed woman. There are disabilities I'm still trying to recover from as a result of the brain surgery in April. This edit will help me determine the extent of recovery I will have to do, which in turn might affect my publishing goals for the next year.
But enough of that depressing bit.
There's not too many changes I need to make to Echoes of Regret. Mostly it's weird grammar mistakes my brain doesn't compute these days (using he/she intermittently as one example). There are some subplots and gaps in my antagonist storyline that I need to beef up. And then some facts/story points I took for granted and carried over from book 1, Revelations of Tomorrow, that I didn't clarify enough.
Oh, and I have to finish my cover art input sheet so Desert Breeze's groovy artist can make yet another fantastic cover. She does a really great job tying the look and feel of series and trilogies so I'm excited to see how Revelations of Tomorrow compares to Echoes of Regret.
I knew this would happen at the same time as NaNoWriMo and prepared for it. It still sucks, but it is what it is. I'll be picking up my NaNoWriMo and catching up during the week of Thanksgiving, which I have off.
So wish me luck folks. (Don't worry, I have band aids and antiseptic on hand in case Captain Noah Bonney gets pissed off at the changes I'm making.)
Saturday, October 29, 2011
- Story Idea...check
- Character Summaries...check
- Updated Novel Info...check
- Added Writing Buddies...check
- Committed...check, check
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Revelations of Tomorrow, The first book in The Telomere Trilogy is now available.
But the adventure brings to surface demons Noah's been suppressing and secrets from her people's history she's tried to forget. Now, she must face them if she's to reconcile with her daughter and keep the love of her life from leaving. With 450 years under her belt and nothing but eternity ahead of her, she's built a thick shell… one she's not sure she can break.
"I haven't been that innocent for many rotations." Noah placed her holster and weapon next to the hat, closed the drawer, and unbuttoned her jacket.
"Yeah, but being 450 years old, that's a long time ago. How can you possibly remember?" Lieutenant Matthew Amherst smiled at her through the mirror from across the room where he set the last piece of silverware on the small table.
Noah scowled at him with a warning finger point. He only winked at her, slipped his hands in his trousers and strolled over. Part of her wondered how she remembered so far back. Sometimes it was easy, and other days the distance of it smacked her in the face. Matthew stepped up, wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder. He peered at her through the mirror, gave her a lopsided grin, and wiggled his eyebrows. She laughed again and reached back to rest her hand on his cheek. The worrisome thought slipped from her mind.
She grinned at him. "You younglings don't realize Telomere rotations are nothing in my circle."
"That is true." He pinched her sides and released her. "That is true," Matthew said again as he guided her to the table.
They sat to eat. Noah and Matthew usually ate in the mess hall with the crew, and usually separate. Occasionally, though, Matthew called a private evening. She couldn't resist, and in this instance she had a feeling it would be the last in a while.
"Have you given any thought to our arrival strategy?" Matthew asked in between bites.
"Yes. It's too late to feign ignorance, or hide her. I'm not sure how we can avoid altercation with space port security."
Matthew scowled over his food and mumbled, "Damn, pompous security. Love pestering Imperial vessels."
Noah suppressed a chuckle. As lead officer for the hangar and cargo areas, he had to deal with port security more than most. Catching her humorous look, he flashed a grin and shrugged.
"You're not going to give her over, are you?" he asked once his mouth was clear.
"Hell, no. That girl is too young to know what she's gotten into, but I'm not. We're Merchants." She stabbed at her food a little too vigorously, the fork clanked against the plate, and she glanced up.
Matthew stared at her, his eyes intense and smoldering. He reached over and ran a thumb down her cheek, causing her heart to race and her skin tingled. Sea green eyes twinkled against the tan of his skin. He'd showered so his black hair lay disheveled and curly. Her hand itched to run through the wet locks.
"You're such a wonderful person, Noah," he whispered. "Be with me, always."
Sadness pressed down on her and pushed away the lust. Noah searched for her voice, trying to find the right words. "I am, Matthew." But always is such a subjective term.
Though his eyes dimmed, he tapped her nose good-naturedly. It hurt Noah more knowing she was the cause of it. There was nothing to do about it, though. "Your eyes give you away, love. You're worried. The differences between us, I don't care about them."
Noah pursed her lips. Sharp pain of emotions ached in her heart, intensifying. She pressed her hand to her chest and turned to stare out the window for a moment. How could he ever understand? Only in his thirties, he had barely scratched the surface of life. Guilt pulled at her conscience. She shouldn't be with him, if she were honest with herself. But the happiness and affection she felt toward him took control when she saw him. It wouldn't end well, that she knew for certain.
"You don't understand. I can promise you your always. You can't promise me my always. I just can't do that to myself, or to you, Matthew."
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Desert Breeze Website All Romance Books
Monday, October 10, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
The episode found Anthony cruising around and exploring the true Boston, beyond the fancy hotels and sites. (One of the reasons I like Anthony is because he goes beyond the travel brochure.)
Anthony stopped by a boxing club and discussed boxing and its importance to South Boston. Afterwards, him and the owner of the boxing club went to a famous local deli for subs. As they talked, the owner brought up a great point.
He said boxing wasn't about learning how to beat the opponent. At least not all about beating the opponent. No, he said the bigger purpose is to learn how to "take it in the chin" and respect the opponent, and your own limitations.
It is not only about victory, but also humility.
Wow. Isn't that a lot like the publishing world?
Writing is like your boxing moves. Publishing the ring. You learn your basic steps on the sidelines, around the outer edges. With safe equipment such as the punching bag and jump ropes. Then, you start testing your capabilities in the ring with safe competitors and slow movements.
At some point, you have to sign up for your first real fight. It's bloody, and for the most part you're going to walk away rejected and lost. Stumbling out of the ring, you sit dazed, wondering what just happened.
It's awkward, embarrassing, and eye opening. But it's an important lesson. It teaches you that you are not as great as you'd hoped. It teaches you that the world is not just waiting for your entrance. And it teaches you that there are other, more capable and talented people out there.
It teaches you that success has to be earned. From hard work, practice, and getting up and jumping back in.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Because this is the point where I follow my galaxy map and reference where the vessels are and where they are heading.
Again, why is this absurd to me?
Because I can't even drive from Napa to San Francisco without getting lost. Hell, I can't even drive around Napa without getting mixed up. And here I am, with my 2 angle view map of the galaxy making point references about vessel locations and figuring out the next stops in their journey. Solar System to Solar System and the space leaps in between.
Can AR read a map? Nooooo. Remember the episode of Friends where they're in London for Ross's wedding? Joey places the map on the ground and positions himself where he's at to figure out where he needs to go?...Yeah, that's me. Except I rarely know where I am to figure out where I need to go.
But, Captain Noah Bonney and Captain Makai Yourimoc know where they're at and where they heading, how long it'll take to get there, and what dangers they'll most likely run into on the way.
So, I'm fighting through the stinkin' 2 angle view map and plotting points, cross plotting, cursing a bit, and figuring it out.
...Man, what we writers do for our characters...
Friday, September 23, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I love the sight of a man falling in love. That slightly panicked and disbelieving look in his eyes is beautiful to me. It’s even better when they don’t see it coming. They walk into a restaurant, they find their seat on the plane, they meet their new customer and BAM – that ole devil called love smacks them right between the eyes.
It’s not always like that, of course. Sometimes love grows slowly over time. Sometimes it happens quickly over the course of a sweetly intense affair. But sometimes? BAM! You can chalk it up to sexual attraction, instant chemistry, a meeting of the minds, but still – BAM happens. I speak from experience.
It’s a touchy subject, I’ve found. Early readers of the manuscript were almost equally split in their passionate belief or disbelief in love at first sight. I found this fascinating and would love to hear more opinions on this. So, what do you think? Do you believe in love at first sight?
Please mention in your comment if you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of Blue Galaxy and don’t forget to leave contact info if you do.
Bio: Diane Dooley was born in the Channel Islands and grew up in Scotland. After many years of moving and travelling she finally settled down in Upstate New York, where the summers are short and the winters just might just kill you. She lives with her best friend/husband, who can’t fix a damn thing, and two obstreperous boy children in a falling-down farmhouse in the sticks. She is very happy.
You can find her on her blog, on Facebook , on Goodreads and on her group blog, Contact Infinite Futures. She is a regular contributor at The Galaxy Express as her alter-ego, Agent Z. and also writes dark and twisted short stories.
Blue Galaxy is available from: Carina Press, Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble, Audible.com and other online retailers.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Doesn't sound as good does it? Any-who.
The Second Annual Out of This World Blog Tour is kicking off on September 16th. Everybody's visiting everybody else and we'd love for you to join us bloggy swingers in our blog-o-party. We have a great group of authors who will talk about SF stuff and show off their upcoming and/or recently released books. Below is the line-up. I'll keep you posted if anything changes.
Diane Dooley at Amber Norris’ blog
Gary Starta at Melisse Aires’ blog
Frances Pauli at Diane Dooley’s blog
Amber Norris at Greta van der Rol’sblog
Lilly Cain at Anne Kane’s blog
Greta van der Rol at Frances Pauli’s blog
Lisa Lane at Gary Starta’s blog
Melisse Aires at Lilly Cain’s blog
Anne Kane at Lisa Lane’s blog
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Oh, hey... didn't see you there.
Yes, I am still alive and well. I didn't fall into the abyss, though it was close. The whole month of July was pretty much dedicated to manuscript editing. My final publisher edits for the first book in the Telomere Trilogy, Revelations of Tomorrow, and final edits of the holiday free read short story, Lasting Bonds, were due to the editor.
Remind me never to do a free read again. A couple reasons, but first, let me say that I love the final book and am excited to close some open loops for Nettie and Rinny. HOWEVER, I realized something about myself during the adventure of writing the Telomere Trilogy, which I overlooked when I signed up to do a free read for Desert Breeze Publishing.
I am not a monogamous author.
I can't keep characters going over several books. And truthfully, the characters aren't monogamous either. The characters slip into my mind, we flirt, and we all get excited and explore the journey. Once that journey is complete, I'm done and they're done. They drift off into the world I created for them and I never hear from them again. For me, the flirting process has started with a new story and characters. I'm too distracted with the new adventure.
So, any-who, August 1st came around and I sent Lasting Bonds to my editor and let out a huge sigh of relief. Then, within five minutes (could've been sooner, I wasn't watching the clock) the characters from my new novel started beckoning me. I went straight into it and spewed out over 8,000 words. Yes, 8K in 3 days... needless to say, my creativity was pent up.
My new heroine is amazing. I'm so impressed by her resilience and saddened by her past. I hope I can do her justice... plus she's got some really cool genetic make-up that is almost superhuman. I'm still working out my hero and I'm not sure if I like him much, but I think that's the point. He's got some serious jerk issues and shoulder chips, and he's going to change/evolve through the storyline into someone worthy of my heroine's love. The problems with the hero I think will benefit my heroine, and help her realize her own hang up and issues she needs to let go of if she's to find her own peace and happiness.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I live in Barbados, a teeny island in the Caribbean surrounded by sea and sand. It’s a fairly laid back place to live, (if you don’t mind the heat) and I’m thoroughly Bajan, the term used for people born here or who’ve gone native. I’m the former. I’m married, no kids (phew), two geriatric dogs, and a black cat that thinks he’s human.
Initially, I started out as a graphic artist, something I’ve been doing for over twenty years. But, I’ve always wanted to write (something, anything!). So a couple years ago, I just did it. I haven’t stopped writing since.
Before we get into your specific story, tell us a little about The Lancaster Trilogy.
The Lancaster story is about a young woman who finds herself in a stasis pod and awakes 300 years into the future. From there, she has to learn how to live in this future and cope with the sudden realization that she has lost everything. She also finds love, a reason to stay in the future she’s found herself in, and also uncovers all the truths about her life and why she really ends up in the future. Each book is like a beginning, a middle, and an end – from her discovery of where she is and the foundation of the entire trilogy, to where she uncovers the truths about her past and having to deal with it, to finally, where she takes a stand and ends the madness that was her past, and makes a conscious effort to put it all behind her and really live in the future she’s been catapulted into. Does that make any sense?
Tell us a little about The Master Key
In this, the second book in the trilogy, my protagonist, Josie is settling into married life with John. Pretty soon, she discovers that a relation of hers holds the secrets of her past, and from there, the story leaps forth into action. It takes her way out into space to a space station where a battle begins to save the world from her villainous nephew. With her husband at her side, Josie fights to regain all the truths about her past.
What was your inspiration for the story?
I love reading books with adventure and action and unforgettable characters that make the story worth reading. I always seek out books of that nature. And if I ever wanted to write, that was the sort of book I’d write.
The basic outline of the Lancaster Trilogy pretty much came about along the lines of an adventure. I knew it would happen in the future, and I knew I wanted to have unforgettable characters. The general story just sort of developed in my head first, and a lot of it was the concept of “what if this where to happen” (in the future, and if someone from the past where to end up in it). And it just sort of built up on that idea.
What kind of research did you do for the book?
Mostly, I Googled stuff or Wikipedia’d things I wanted to know about, like the sciences and technology, and stasis pods, machines, weapons, fighting techniques. Quite a bit was made up…why not, right?
What do you enjoy most about writing Science Fiction Romance?
The ability to have characters that can interact and humanize the story, so it’s not so tech-oriented and gives it an even balance. While my romance bits are very mild and tame, the interaction is there, or the relationship. For me, that’s the key foundation that builds the story and takes it into the other bits of tech-stuff and action and adventure. I tried a contemporary story, but it lacked something…the SF aspect. So I trashed the story altogether. Then the idea for the Lancaster stories came about, so I dragged out the old story, mixed it up, stirred in some elements, and incorporated it into the Lancaster books. It worked. I’m not saying I’ll never write a contemporary story, but for now, I’m having too much fun creating worlds and living in the future.
Can you tell us more about your other published works?
My only other published work is The Lancaster Rule, which is the beginning of the trilogy. In this book, Josie wakes up and has to learn how to live in the future. She meets many obstacles, finds love, uncovers a plot to take over the world, and helps to stop this from happening. One reviewer called it a high-octane ride into the future.
Any upcoming projects?
I’ve just completed a work in progress, another SFR, which is in the hands of a few beta readers. I’ve two more ideas, half-completed, and set in the Lancaster world. Eventually I’ll get around to finishing them.
Where can we find you on the web?
My blogsite: http://www.thelancasterrule.blogspot.com/
Facebook: The Lancaster Rule or Written by T.K. Toppin
Buy Link for The Lancaster Trilogy Book Two: The Master Key:
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Marion Sipe, on to talk about Women in Fantasy. She has a new release, A Sign in Blood, that contains some strong female characters. (More about this awesome new book and how you can win a copy below.)
All right...here we go!
I've sat down to write this guest post no less than three times and each time my brain boggles. It's a huge topic to cover. There have been so many women in fantasy, and I tend to read fantasy with female leads. You probably haven't heard of at least some of my favorites. While that's often true because fantasy is really a huge genre, it's also true because I mostly read female writers. I just find they more often write female MCs that I love.
And maybe that's the problem. I've heard it said that, while women are willing to read stories with male MCs, men are less willing to read stories with female MCs. Now, that's "common wisdom" which means it may or may not be true. I haven't done any surveys.
But it's funny how many times I'll be wandering about in the SFF online community and come across some guy who is more than willing to explain to me why women never fought on a historical battlefield (untrue), why women shouldn't be portrayed as warriors (ridiculous), and why women are incapable of defending themselves if the opponent is male (somebody get me a clue bat, please?). And I have run into this attitude even up into this year. And it doesn't matter how you respond (your response probably won't be read, and your links won't change anyone's mind even if they are read) so there's little else to do but sigh and move on. Unless you're in a bad mood and then, well, go to town.
And then, of course, there are the people who will tell you, "Well, women don't play much part in the story." Maybe it's because the women are oppressed (makes them even better characters) or because the story is about knights (Joan of Arc, anyone?) or because the story's in a somewhat historical setting and women didn't play much of a role in history (Umm, excuse me, have you read any?). There are numerous excuses, but the point here is that, in writing worlds without any real female characters, you're cutting out half of a population.
I'm not saying every book has to have a female POV (after all, some books only have one), although I certainly wouldn't mind, or that there should be a 50/50 split and if there isn't you're sexist. But if you can't think of a single thing for the women of your world to do in a story, you're probably not really thinking about it. This is only more true if your culture treats men and women differently. That only gives the women more new and interesting things to say/think/experience, things their male contemporaries can't.
Now, some of you may say that we've come a long way from the days of the damsel in distress, that's not always true. If every woman needs to be saved by the hero, I'm not going to like your book. Because seriously, where are the rest of the women? Most the women I know would a) beat off the villain with a chair, but also b) freak the hell out after the villain was dead (or impaired enough to make running an option). And while that's not always the proper response for a battle-hardened what-have-you killer, it is human. Because humans are flawed, and I'm willing to bet that any other SFF race you want to name? Probably flawed, too. In different ways, perhaps, but flawed nonetheless.
Damsels in distress are boring, but you know what else is boring? Flawless women warriors who can kick six kinds of ass without breaking a nail (or a bone) or ruining their clothes, and usually wind up getting saved by the hero anyway. Now, don't get me wrong, I have a huge soft-spot for ass-kicking women, but too often that's all these characters are. They're shown to be top-notch at everything, from swordplay to drinking, gambling, sex, computers, languages... Whatever the plot calls for and whatever will turn the hero on.
These are not strong female characters; these are a different brand of cardboard. I want to read women who are characters. Cardboard doesn't always mean "damsel in distress," it can also mean "too 'perfect' to be real." So ask yourself, does So-and-so ever just plain mess up? Does she ever trust the wrong person? Does she ever turn her back on someone who's dangerous? Does she ever mistake a situation, or let pride drive her to the wrong actions? Does she ever get too caught up in the world inside her head to understand the world outside it? And does she pull herself up (or get help, I don't mind as long as she's an actual character) and keep going in spite of that?
If she does, point me toward her, because that's the woman I totally want to read! Hell, that's the character I want to read, regardless of their gender (or potential "lack" thereof).
With A Sign in Blood, I have three main female characters, all of whom have a POV. I liked how each one viewed their world differently, how each of them saw things through their own filter, and how each of them interpreted what they saw. I liked writing each of them for different reasons, and I hope that each of them holds their own.
Liral is a far cry from a kick-ass heroine, but that doesn't mean she won't take a stand and make it stick. Chadri gets knocked down time and again, but always stands back up. Nathias' pays a hefty price for her choices, but she doesn't let that kill her even when it would have been so easy to do so. They're all characters, and they all handle things in their own ways, and they all keep moving forward.
Thank you so much, Marion! I loved your post and can't wait to read your book. (Added to TBR as we speak, uh, write, uh, type...well, you get what I mean.)
Okay, blogger buddies...leave a comment and enter in the chance to win a free copy of A Sign in Blood. If Marion's post hasn't excited you enough, well, besides being crazy bananas, here's more about the book:
While investigating her father's murder, Chadri never meant to get involved in politics. She arrives in Mesaceal with her mentor Nathias and a wild talent for blood magic, but soon finds it won't be enough to stop a brutal attack on her family home. After befriending a queen who is forced to fight to win her crown, and learning of rumors about the theft of a sleeping god, Chadri is caught up in a web of conflict spanning two nations. Trapped within the tightening threads, she must unravel the secrets surrounding her father's death, or die the same way he did.
Marion's Blog: http://marionsipe.blogspot.com/ (also part of my Blog Roll)
Friday, July 15, 2011
It's clever, underhanded, and, and, and sneaky.
Here I am with several deadlines looming and my main character in the new manuscript is teasing me. Luring me in to her story web if you will. I keep telling her she has to wait, but she doesn't wanna. She wants attention now and is purposefully giving tidbits of the story that are irresistible.
I think I'm losing the battle, which will mean late nights to ensure I get everything done on time. I'm trying to be more upset about this, but I'm just too darn excited to be really mad.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
As you may or may not know I had a "fun" little stint with some medical problems the beginning of the year (yeah, nice welcome from 2011 to yours truly)... mysterious head pain that lasted months, then after diagnosed as a brain tumor chose to still cause pain. Yeah, yeah, I know. I assumed that when you figured out what it was you could fix it. Which, technically was true. They said I could either take medication until it worsened or I could have it cut out.
Nervous me decided the procrastination route via loads of medication until I could get the courage for surgery. Hey, I may play a hero in my own mind but in real life I'm a complete chicken. The idea of robot navigated "weapons" (they call them surgical devices but I'm skeptical) slicing anything let alone my skull and brain was enough to cause me to nearly pee my pants. But, my "problem" decided to take a life of its own and wigged out on me -- evilly turned on me without provocation -- sending me to the ER and then into surgery.
This was about two months ago now. After that wonderful event I had to heal. No big outer wounds, most was internal. My sensory system would overload. Walking along a busy road near schools and shopping centers was too much. (I barely handled business meetings that included more than 5 people there for a while.)
Today was a big feat...and a surprising boost for my writing. I realized most of my creative time happened during my walks to and from work. By the time I got to the office I had several plot hang ups worked out and I couldn't wait to get home and work on them.
Monday, July 4, 2011
As you all know, I am super patriotic. All American. Whoot USA! So, if you're not, you might want to not read this post.
Fair warning...okay, moving on.
There's an adventurous, competitive side in every American that some people confuse for cocky...LOL, okay, we're also very cocky too. We can't help it. I mean come on, taking on the big 'ole ocean we moved to a whole other continent, far away from our homeland. We struggled to make a home and then took on the great British government to keep our freedom.
Yeah, there's a lot wrong with the US of A...but there's a lot right too. I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world. Any complaining Americans...thank goodness you live here, where you have a right to be unhappy with you own government.
Okay, there's my patriotic rant. Now I'm going to go celebrate with food and fireworks. Have a great day all!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I don't know...something. But the realist won out (and of course was smug about it as realist personalities are when they're right). I got up, dressed, and went to my day job. I worked 8 hours and then went home. My husband and kids were actually gone camping so it was just me. (I know...didn't time that out all too well.)
So, why am I telling you all this almost two weeks later? Well, because now I'm antsy. Are my sales numbers good? Are my readers enjoying the book? Are reviewers interested?
I don't know yet. It's still too soon. But, as a business woman in a corporate role, I feel like I should know these things. I'm going cookoo banana's wanting....something tangible to analyze, fret over and try to fix if needed. I don't remember this being an aspect I'd realize having to face before it published. And it's a discovered characteristic I'm not very proud of.
I'm a control freak.
I was busy fretting about all of this Friday and babbling about it to my husband. He finally sighed, looked at me in that "Ash way" and asked, "What was your goal?"
"To have a book published," I answered. "But--"
He interrupted. "Did you want a book published and it to become an immediate bestseller?"
"Did you want a book published and be immediately praised?"
"Then you accomplished your goal. Congratulations." He smiled and went back to his movie.
I sat stunned, trying to decide if I should be pissed when it hit me. I did accomplish my goal. I have a book published. There was a publisher who felt my work was good enough to have their name and talent behind it. There are people reading my story. That's was my dream.
Everything else is icing on the cake.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.
Q) How did this story come to you?
A) Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I wondered what would happen if a not-as-pretty good Christian girl and her gorgeous non-Christian best friend fell in love with the same guy. Who would get the guy?
Q) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already published several book with Desert Breeze Publishing when they opened a young adult line. I'd been writing romantic suspense and thought it would fun to try my hand at a young adult novel. It was so much fun that I'm signing a contract for a young adult mystery series that will debut in January.
Q) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
- I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
- I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
- I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)
I'm editing my October release with Desert Breeze. This Time for Keeps is an inspirational romance.
Q) Parting comments?
Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com
Q) Where can fans find you on the Internet?
I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444) If you join this group, you'll get reminders about the weekly book giveaways.
About the Author
K. Dawn Byrd has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. Her mother once said that she 'never knew she was on the place' as a child because she was always off somewhere reading quietly in a corner. She's a book collector and had over 2,000 titles at last count and even though she loves print books, she's fallen head over heels for ebooks, downloading several at a time into her Blackberry to read on the go.
When not reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking her dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told. Writing everything she's plotted will take decades, leading her well into retirement. her retirement dream is to live on a golf course near Myrtle Beach and write novels while her husband plays golf.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Okay, so I put all the names from Wednesday's blog post contest into a hat and had one of my sons pull one out. The winner of an electronic copy of Duty and Devotion and cool swag is....
Marion, email me at ambernorris2000 @ yahoo.com and we'll get you all set up.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
OMG, Duty and Devotion is released. I'm relieved. Excited! Elated!
Okay, okay. Grow up time AR. Be a professional. Be a mature adult....Oh! Screw that! Duty and Devotion is out there in the open!
Go get a copy you goofy goofs! It's available at All Romance Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore. Heck, you can even visit Desert Breeze's website and buy directly from them, here!
Check out the book trailer silly heads!
In celebration one commenter is going to get a special gift package. I'm not saying exactly what it will be. I'm not saying it would be a cool gift, swag, and a free copy of the book. I'm not saying that at all. *wink, wink*
Sisters Nettie and Rinny Matterville head off to war, discovering true love can be found even in a time of conflict. Nettie learns true love isn’t always obvious; sometimes it’s right in front of your face. Rinny learns that love at first site can and does happen, but the real challenge is keeping it.
Older sister Nettie wasn’t sure what the militia thought she was, but she knew and it wasn’t a space fighter pilot on the front line. But Dad always pressed the importance of duty to your territory. Now she has to figure out how to survive in a place she never imagined ending up. Keeping things interesting is a very overconfident competitor, James. Through it all, she’s got her younger sister Rinny. Or so she believed until the moment she lost her.
As for Rinny, the Mars facility gives her chance to break family expectation and she thrives in ground combat training. She also learns life off the concert stage can be just as rewarding when she makes her first real friends and meets Daniel, who could just be “the one”. He’s a little more reluctant and it turns out he has a reason, a secret involving Rinny. After the enemy attacks her facility and kills her best friend, Daniel disappears. Now captured, Rinny must fight behind enemy lines to help her people remain free, and live to return home.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
It's starting. (OMG!) Duty and Devotion releases on Wednesday and my blog tour for it is kicking off. I wanted to let you all where I'll be and what I'll be chatting about from tomorrow until July 1st.
- Mon - 6/13 - Kaye Manro - Regeneration: The Nano Way
- Tue - 6/14 - Liana Brooks - Altering Human Beings through Gene Manipulation
- Wed - 6/15 - HERE - Release Day Yay!
- Thu - 6/16 - Melisse Aires - The fine line of Science fiction and Science fantasy
- Fri - 6/17 - Marva Dasef - Interview
- Sat - 6/18 - Vijaya Schartz - Sisterhood
- Sun - 6/19 - Spacefreighter's Lounge - Overcoming the Ice Age
- Mon - 6/20 - HERE -Progress Report and a Little Breather
- Tue - 6/21 - Ciara Gold - The Real Space Pilot Life
- Wed - 6/22 - Jennifer Hartz - Family/Community Role in the Future
- Thu - 6/23 - Sandra Sookoo - Interview
- Fri - 6/24 - Stephanie Burkhart - True Love the First Time?
- Sat - 6/25 - Chrystalla Thoma - Using History to Predict the Future
- Sun - 6/26 - HERE - Progress Report and a Little Breather
- Mon - 6/27 - DBP Blog - Interview
- Tue - 6/28 - DBP Blog - Why I Like SFR
- Tue- 6/28 - Galaxy Express - Future Wars: Will There Be a Front Line?
- Wed - 6/29 - DBP Blog - Favorite Movie
- Thu - 6/30 - DBP Blog - Favorite Authors
- Fri - 7/1 - DBP Blog - Excerpt and Prize Announcement
I hope you all are able to stop by!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I love the idea of the western setting. The rodeo, the cattle drives, the dust...okay, maybe not so much the dust. You get the idea. Today I brought author Barbara Scott on to talk about her latest western romance, West of Heaven.
How do you say it? Oh yeah! "Ya-hoo! Take it away, Barbara!"
The cattle trail has been the setting for a number of entertaining books, though not usually stories that involve women in important ways. In my historical romance, Somewhere West of Heaven, Marcella McGovern, a gently-raised heiress, and her crew of soiled doves turned cow-girls take to the trail led by disgraced trail boss, Jean Luc Desloge.
Marcella McGovern arrives in Onion Creek, Texas for the reading of the will of her unknown benefactress which will change her life forever. Accompanied by the ancient attorney who has managed her education but kept the secret of her parenthood, she soon discovers more shocks than her prim upbringing has prepared her to face. The late proprietress of the local house of ill repute, Miss Sophie Castleman, and Clint Harte, wealthy cattle baron of the Heart O’ Gold Ranch, were murdered in each others arms, leaving behind the will that names Marcella as their secret daughter and the inheritor of Sophie’s bawdy house and all Harte’s marketable cattle.
Complicating the inheritance is Jean Luc Desloge, Sophie’s disreputable but all too-tempting majordomo, a prime suspect in the murders, and all Sophie’s working girls who are in hiding in her boarded-up house. Then Clint Harte’s angry widow issues Marcella an ultimatum, get the cattle off the Heart O’ Gold or pay the price. Could Sophie's girls be trained to take the place of the cowboys who are forbidden to sign on with Marcella?
Tom brought up a hardy mousey brown horse that should suit her. He had a sleekness to him and a wise look. He stood solid while Jean Luc saddled him. Marcella came up to take his reins, stroking the horse's nose and talking to him in soft reassuring tones.
"Does this one have a name, Tom?" Marcella asked.
"Redemption they called him."
"Redemption." From her mouth, the name whispered through the morning air like a word of endearment. The critter ate it up like sugar lumps.
"You got a way with horses." Jean Luc pulled the cinches tight. "Sweet-talking might be all you need to keep you seated. Maybe he won't buck at all. He ain't puttin' up a fight now, but, just in case, try to sit back and catch his rhythm and ride with it."
"Until I land in the dirt with the best of them." She whispered something else to the horse as Jean Luc came around to give her a leg up.
"Have a good ride." He stepped back to clear the way.
Marcella steered Redemption toward the center of the corral, taking an easy pace, show-ing a confidence that let the horse know he was in good hands. He responded with a cooperation that thrilled Jean Luc. They walked the boundary of the corral without a bump or a bother. A mumble of appreciation rippled through the townsfolk who'd been attracted by the unusual Sun-day morning goings-on.
When she looked up, Jean Luc signaled his encouragement by snatching off his hat and waving it in the air. Ezra and Tom nodded enthusiastically. She urged Redemption into a post trot, raising herself in her stirrups so she was half-sitting and half standing, her body bobbing up and down in perfect rhythm to the horse's gait. On this go round she beamed at Polly's barely contained excitement and at Glory with her hands on her hips, no doubt puzzling out why she hadn't drawn Marcella's horse instead of the one she'd chosen.
In truth, Jean Luc suspected it was Tom's horse sense that had reserved this mount for her. Not too shy to show off, Marcella directed Redemption into some quick turns and stops be-fore taking him one more time around. She brought him to a smooth stop in front of Jean Luc and dismounted.
Tilting back her hat, Marcella took off her bandana and used it to dab at the sweat on her brow. "I don't know, Jean Luc, do you really think I had to change clothes for that ride?"
Jean Luc rubbed his chin. "Well, how else do you think that horse knew you meant busi-ness? Now, ready for some breakfast? Or should we start right in on ropin' and tyin'?"
Available at Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Sony, Kobo and Apple's iBookstore or direct from DBP http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-150/Barbara-Scott-West-of/Detail.bok
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Scott believes the Blarney Stone is in Ireland for good reason and thanks her strong Irish roots for her own story telling abilities.
Her first two books, Golden Heart Winner, TUG OF WAR and HAUNTS OF THE HEART are in the collection of the State Historical Society Library in Columbia, Missouri.
As a special education teacher, Scott found that teaching and writing were compatible careers except on those days when both students and characters refused to cooperate. She shares a house in the Midwest with her sister and three rambunctious terriers.
For more about Barbara, visit