Friday, December 30, 2011

The Writer Limits

I am so super duper, uber, freakin' excited to announce the kick off of a group blog that I get to hang out at! (I resisted the multiple exclamation points...it was an effort, but I did it.)

"Say hello to my little friend..." Okay, technically not little and not a friend. It's the new blog:

These are some pretty groovy contributing authors. Here, let me lay it down for you all. We got Gail Delaney, J. Morgan, Jennifer Hartz, PI Barrington, Stephanie Burkhart, Tami Dee -- and yours truly.

Our genres cover everything SF, paranormal, fantasy and time travel... and of course everything has a spice of romance. 'Cause, let's face it, what fun would human existence be without romance? No fun, that's what.

Stop by for J. Morgan's intro post today breaking down further who we are and what we'll be showcasing over there and when/how often. http://thewriterlimitsauthors.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Girls Love Diamonds

I'm over at SFR Brigade talking about diamonds versus SF.

http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2011/12/some-girls-love-diamonds.html

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rude is Still Rude No Matter the Dressing

*AR pulls soapbox from closet, dusts it off, and stands on it -- pretending she didn’t just almost fall over*

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.

The only people they'll ultimately hurt is themselves, when they run out of people who stick around to hear/read their "honesty".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Krista Talks Space Stations

I'm super excited to have blogger buddy, Krista D. Ball on today to talk about one of my favorite aspects of SF and the possibilities of the future... space stations.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to go into space. I didn’t want to be an astronaut, though. I wanted to move to a space port, or an asteroid drilling complex, or a planetary research facility. (Thank the spirits my parents were too poor to send me into therapy and instead just let me watch Twilight Zone reruns.)

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!

In Road to Hell, I imagined my military space port to be somewhere between an airport and a hospital. Lots of businesses, offices, people coming and going. I did let people live there; I want the future to solve the daily commute issue, not make it worse by shuttling people to and from a planet!

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 d├ęcor, a place fit for battle. Or, do you want a local mall? Or, do you want it turned into a nudist colony?

About Road to Hell:
Captain Katherine Francis is about to disobey every Ethics Law the Union of Planets throws at her. After the Union's enemy destroys her home planet and murders her family, she makes the decision to bring an end to the war--whatever it takes.

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.

Chapters 1-3


About the Author:
Krista D. Ball is a Canadian speculative fiction author who is currently hiding from necromancers. Better safe than undead.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Plan...

To take over the world, of course.

If that fails, my plan is to "write like a demon". LOL! Cliche enough for you?? I mean, really, how does a demon write? Who is to say demons are fast writers? They could be slow. They do have to contend with claws and the risk of Hell's fire catching the paper they're writing on.

Just sayin'

Well, however the hell demons write, I plan to write a lot. I have started my holiday vacation. Two weeks of no work... that's a lie. Not an outright lie, but a delusion sort of lie that makes me feel better. I work in the business world folks. Even though I am technically on vacation the next two weeks I have to go in two days already for presentations and meetings.

Totally derailing right now. The point is...I'm not clocking in for the next two weeks and I'm going to write.

I got my distraction out of the way by spewing a page or two of everything this nameless character has relayed to me and can set her aside for now. I want to continue work on The Telomere Trilogy's third book, Ending of Eternity. Luna and Damani need their story finished and polished. I am excited to have Captain Bonney reach some closure.

Plus, I have some really cool quasi SF in mind for this one. We're going kinetic people. Kinetic! I want to explore this unique concept of Luna's people to its fullest extent. I'll probably bounce some ideas off the group here over the next couple months.

I'm also contemplating some new ventures for 2012. They're not at a point I can talk about right now, but soon, buddies, soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Distraction

Yes, I has it.

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

Home Away from Home (Maybe)

(My blogger friend, Kaye Manro, beat me to the punch and has a great post about this up at her blog HERE.)

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)
Keppler-22B makes a tally count of 2,326 planet candidates. Hee hee, you like that term the NASA team has designated for potentials? It's like a political race or something... better yet, a planetary race. Which will be the first one we decide to visit? You think there'll be a poll or official vote by the general public? (Wouldn't that be groovy?)

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.

Source material:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepscicon-briefing.html

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/2011/12/05/kepler-22-b-another-step-closer-to-finding-earth-like-worlds/

http://news.yahoo.com/planet-sweet-spot-goldilocks-zone-life-223007926.html

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Free Read

Yay! Holiday season is in full swing. To celebrate, I have a free eRead from Desert Breeze Publishing available for download.

Lasting Bonds, a sequel to Duty and Devotion.

Blurb:
Can Nettie Matterville and her husband, James Northman close the final door of war? Or will the consequences of that tragedy follow them…stopping them from getting what they most want?

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?

Excerpt:
James peeked over at Nettie, who slept next to him. Their lives had totally turned upside down and he hoped for the better. After the war, things seemed like they'd work out. The reality was a lot different. A relationship was hard work. Normal life was also hard work. A lot harder, in fact, than battle in some ways. Mostly it was living with the after effects of war. Wounds that never quite left, injuries that never fully recovered. Nightmares that never completely went away.

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.

*****

Link to download: HERE

Don't forget to check out the other holiday free reads they released in December. Happy Holidays folks!