Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not Just Up, But Also Down

In Isaac Asimov's Robot City 3, Refuge by author Rob Chilson, spacers Derec and Ariel end up hiding out on Earth. Ariel is very sick with a virus the spacer civilization knows nothing about, and is in fact, a death sentence for them.

Little did they know that Earth was her salvation, as the overpopulated civilization they assumed was backwards and prejudice against anything progressive was very advanced in healthcare technology and treatments. Looking back it made sense, for both the reader and the main characters.

Not only were they advanced in healthcare, they were also advanced in population management. With 8 billion people to house, feed, and keep clean it's a big task. One they accomplished by making a big planetary-level cultural transition.

They moved underground.

When it came out in the late 80s this very concept was shocking and most people believed it to be too radical. "Never happen," my own stepdad said when I exclaimed this as the answer (at my ripe, wise age of 13). "People need open space. No one will want to be restricted inside like that." He was very insistent.

Oh how a lot of things have changed, in just a quarter of a century. Yeah, we're not quite to the point of extreme as Asimov's future Earth world, where people are frightened of the "above ground"...but we're well on our way to being comfortable inside for the majority if not our whole day.

A report just came out from the Federal Highway Administration revealing young drivers 19 and younger dropped over 18% to less than half the age segment and people under 30 make up only 22% of drivers since 1998. Adding to this shift, Gartner research firm found 46% of drivers aged 18 to 24 would choose Internet access over a car. Article HERE.

So, if they are not getting drivers license, how are they getting around? Well, studies indicate that almost half are socializing via internet routes (FaceBook, Instant Messenging, Twitter, etc). If they are getting together, it's using the increasing transportation network (subways, transits, and whatnot). The levels of these two factors depends on the size of the city they are located in.

This trend fits perfectly in the end state of Asimov's world. As people shifted inside, they next shifted down. In overpopulated countries all over the world, there are already underground living/working/consumer communities going down several levels. To be exact, 26 countries have started to turn to underground city concepts in answer to overpopulation.

The shift to underground living answers another need of a heavily populated world. Food production. With people living underground, it leaves the surface available for the production to feed billions of people. Fertile ground, which is now used for subdivisions and city blocks, could be enough land to feed areas where agriculture development is unattainable.

This would be an answer to hunger.

I know it'll be centuries before humans are comfortable living underground to the extent of Asimov's future Earth, if they ever get there. And there are mounds of issues to overcome like high earthquake zones and water and waste infrastructure barriers. And some will never feel comfortable in the "mole" environment.

But then again, that's how Asimov's world ended up with Spacers and Earthers, wasn't it?

So, what do you think about the underground concept? Do you think we'll ever to the extent of Asimov's Earth world? Why or why not?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Two people, too many secrets. Can love flourish?

Echoes of Regret. Book 2 of The Telomere Trilogy

Yay! My SFR eBook is now available from Desert Breeze Publishing!

Fredrica Casales, relieved her participation as an undercover agent for the Imperial Guardians is over, strives to rebuild the trust she's lost with Captain Noah Bonney. But the terrorist plot was only the start of their journey. Now the Daring Star and Lady Victory crews must rescue the scientist who holds the Telomere cure before the very stability of the Galaxy unravels.

If that wasn't enough, Fredrica must work with her former Imperial contact, Jace McCree. As for Jace, he tries to keep a promise he made long ago, but as his sister grows sicker he's conflicted as to what decision he needs to make, and what to reveal. As they cross the Galaxy, battle rogue Watchers, and fight soul sucking space creatures, both Fredrica and Jace must come to terms with their regrets and decide whether to open their hearts. But fate has its own timeline, and not always at the convenient time.

Jace's trepidation increased as Lady Victory detached from the port's docking bay with Jetta aboard. From the Imperial space station's sky-bridge he observed the Port Launch Unit maneuver the large, squid-like vessel out to open space. Three guiding shuttles worked in unison to push the huge vessel as if it were a marshmallow floating in water. Helpless and adrift at the moment, he was unsure what to do or how to act. From behind him his father, Scott McCree, growled.

"We shouldn't have let her leave, Jace."

Without looking back at him Jace said, "We shouldn't have kept it a secret so long, Father." He turned. "She should have been told when she came of age."

Scott reared on him and clamped his jaw. Jace cocked his chin, to face his father's wrath for what he knew to be the truth. Scott's anger flashed and then settled. He knew the truth himself. The blood rose and then drained out of his face.

"How was I supposed to tell her?" he muttered after moment, the pain clear in his expression.

Jace's memories flashed to the long ago day, barely out of childhood. "It doesn't matter the how. She should've known. Now who knows what will happen or how she'll take it when she finds out." He checked the time. "I have to board Daring Star. Will you be joining the journey?"

"No. It would seem too conspicuous to follow now. How would I explain it?" He touched Jace's upper arm and squeezed. "I'm sorry to have this fall on you. I pray it is not what we think. I will head out to their lands and try to find out what has provoked this change. I'll send you communications as soon as I discover anything."

"I'll protect her as best I can. I'll find a way to tell her when we land on Stratlin."

Purchase Links
Purchase Links
Amazon, All Romance, Sony Reader, and soon to be on B&N and Kobo

Friday, April 13, 2012

Monday! Monday!...Oh, Wait..Well Crappola

I admit it, the song was stuck in my head and wanted to use it, actual day of the week be damned. But, can't beat a Friday, so I won't be too hard on myself over my mismatched song choice.

Now that I've wondered off into AR La-La Distraction Land, I'll try to get back on topic. What was my topic?

Oh yeah, blog posts and coming releases.

It is my monthly visit to Sandra Sookoo's Seeing is Believing blog for Fun Friday. I'm over there being a mooshy mom, blabbing over my memory lane trip, and sharing a spider story. Stop by and visit if you have a moment.

When my calendar alerted to the Fun Friday post it hit me (the date...not actual domestic abuse via laptop). My heart actually dropped and then stuttered. Defib anyone? Other than the Friday the 13th thing - which, believe me, is creepy enough people - I realized it's 2 days until my latest release.

Hear that? Shhhh, listen...yup, that sound is a tsunami of butterflies stampeding through my stomach.

And don't tell me butterflies don't stampede. I'm not in the mood for rational observations. Plus, the visual of butterflies with large feet is humorous and I'm enjoying it too much.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Risk: Info Overload in Series

Round two of my thoughts on series. As I mentioned in the last "Series" post, I really wanted to veer into the topic of keeping the continuation of the story without overloading the reader with large info dumps.

This aspect has really been the hardest for me to overcome. When it comes down to it, the previous books in your series become back story to the current book. I personally have problems with back story and try to keep it at a minimum. But you can't do that in a series. All the back story is important and the reader has to be "caught up" on what's happened.

I mean, come on, there's no break in the characters "lives", yet there's months between the release of each book. That means that my characters don't need caught up, but the reader does.

In my first drafts, I'm usually too scarce with back story. Through my first couple revisions I have to figure out where to remind the reader what's happened, why the character is reacting or feeling a certain way, why a decision was made or not made, or why someone likes or dislikes someone else. All this without allowing the previous story to take over the current book's storyline.

It can be tedious to say the least.

What I usually find is that the first couple of chapters end up with heavy info drops...I'm not going to say info dumps, because I think there's a difference between drops and dumps. Don't ask me how, I just do...

...Where was I? Oh yes...

At least heavy from my perspective. Now, like with book 2, my beta readers felt the information was fine and actually asked for more in some parts, as my background info didn't match the pace of all the active characters. Because, face it, in a series book 2 and on has all the characters already actively engaged. There's no time to slowly introduce them and bring them "into the fold" so to speak.

It makes this doubly hard when book 1 has different main characters than in book 2 and so on, because you have to get this information across from people who were secondary to the situation in the previous book.

But, I think in the end I relied on my beta readers and the end result came out fantastic. I just had to stretch my comfort zone in my writing style a bit.

That's what we writers want, right? Right??

I did learn that a series with a single set, or group, of characters is not for me. This new series I'm working on has the same world, but each book is a different agent on a different case, and at different periods of time (backward or forward). So, I have enough leeway on where I take the story depending on the science I learn each time. Plus, I don't need to rely on the characters or back story of previous books.

All in all, I think I found the right framework that fits my writing style, and I enjoyed the challenging journey into series writing. The Telomere Trilogy was a fantastic adventure, and I'm oh so found of those group of characters. I know they'll do well on their continued fictional journey away from my laptop.

What obstacles have you all faced in series writing? How did you overcome the dreaded info drops (no, not that)?