Saturday, July 27, 2013

Terrible Dreams = Great Storylines

I'm going to tell this from the completely immersed POV.

Last night I feel asleep and woke up in a parallel dimension. I didn't immediately know this as it was my own bed in my own house next to my own husband. However, I learned quickly when he woke an nearly had a heart attack. Then, in answer to his loud voice of surprise, the kids came in equally shocked.

See... I'd died curing my 2011 craniotomy in this other dimension.

I spent the whole day with my kids and husband, learning their griefs and struggles. Seeing how much they love me. Something I don't think I allow myself to see in the everyday life of normality.  The joy in them was so pure and the sadness at what my death had put them through shred through me.

Then I went to sleep and woke in the middle of the universe, facing the Great Engineers. A supreme cohort of master planners whose job it was to create, manage and monitor the dimensions and all their universes within.

Basically their statement was a big fat, "Oops, our bad."

The dream state is the tricky period where folks can slip into other dimensions if not carefully monitored. It was then left to me to decide. Stay in my appropriate dimension, or stay in the dimension I awoke to. No chances to say good bye to either.

Just leave one to wake to a missing mother or leave one to relive the grief of losing their mother all over again.

What kind of decision is that? They are both my legitimate family. Then as horrible dreams go, I really woke up. And I cried. (I know, I know, totally sissy of me. Sorry.)

"That is a decision that no mother should face, even in a fictional setting," I thought to myself in the wee hours of this morning.

But, that is exactly the kind of decision a mother should face in a fictional setting. We have to torture our characters and push them to the limits that no real human should face, because that is what allows us to exam and confirm our definition of humanity.

So, now I sit here writing in Starbucks, stuck in the emotional turmoil of the experience. I haven't been this... I don't know quite how to explain it in words to truly convey my feelings to you all. Imagine that, a writer with no words. Some author I am.

Anywho, I'm signing off with one last conundrum of the over imaginative mind of AR... Was it really just a dream, or did it really happen in the fantastical world that is this amazing, mysterious existence?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Turtle Humans?

Genetic engineering techniques began in the 1960s. When I think of genetic engineering, I always imagine a mad scientist "sucking" DNA fluid out of a test patient, mixing it in a cylinder with all sorts of nefarious chemicals and animal DNA and then "squirting" it back into the test patient wherein the patient would convulse and change into a half wolf or duck or something... ooh, maybe a Human Turtle? (My TMNT fantasy come true?)

Reality, unfortunately, is more pragmatic than the mind of AR.

There are over a dozen techniques involved in genetic engineering of the some 70k genes in the human genome. And none involve animal/human hybrids of my mind (that's public anywho).

Now, as you all may or may not know, in my latest Interstellar Intelligence Agency the concept of genetic engineering has reached its pinnacle with "species terraforming" that allow humans to live and thrive throughout the galaxy. (And, yes, I know terraforming is the change if land, but it seemed appropriate enough in this setting to steal from.)

The latest story, Brotherhood, will delve further into the genetic engineering science, so as a responsible SF writer, I researched details of genetic engineering to get terms and usage right.

Genetic engineering techniques can be anything from simply delivering a gene into a living cell (Gene Transfer) to finding a certain gene in a genome (Shotgun) to creating a gene from scratch (Gene Synthesis).

The various techniques are combined for complex genetic engineering applications, such as insulin development, human growth hormone, cystic fibrosis and genetic disease therapy.

Of course there is the scary side of genetic engineering like germ-line therapy and bio warfare. And there is the gray area of human cloning and species altering for interplanetary expansion. But, it is within genetic engineering that illness and diseases, such as cancer and HIV, will find cures.

And the truth is humans have been "genetically altering" for thousands of years. The Native Americans changed corn where it is almost unrecognizable today from its beginning state. And horticulturists have created whole new plant species with their work in cross-species slicing and binding. We've even unknowingly changed our own species by mate selection and self-designed environments over the generations.

Genetic engineering is just a more in your face and finesse approach to the subtler, slower natural process.

Like nuclear technology, there is a fine line between the benefits and danger of genetic engineering, but I'm willing to take the leap... at least for now and with the hopes it won't be too late if it goes too far.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Refueling Creativity

Realization came as I sat there at the beach the second day of our family camping trip. The fog-laced wind blew slightly, cooling the heat basking my skin. I looked to the right and saw that fog pushing into the already cloudy-but-warm day.

The wave took one of my younger sons along with it as he held the boogie board for dear life. (How he could stand that cold Pacific water, I still have no clue.) The waves and he roared with the success of the joint venture when both hit the sandy shore.

My husband and youngest son stood a short distance away in companionable silence, fishing
poles in hand. (Even though my hubby was in extreme pain from a pinched nerve.)

My two eldest children were headed off towards the cave around the bay's bend. Well, children in the maternal sense. With the eldest being an adult now and heading off to the Marines in a few short weeks, it gets harder and harder to keep calling him a child.

This feeling of contentment washed over me. I know, I know. Totally cliche, but it's how it happened. (Which is probably why it became a cliche, right?) With that came this influx of renewed creativity. Anymore and I would've plumped up like that girl in Willie Wonka.

With that new creativity I realized I was churning a stale sub plot. A fresh idea smacked me as it danced in my mind. I saw my MFC in a depth I'd yet to see her. It saddened me. My MMC confessed how frightened he was of himself. I empathized in a way I'd not done before. I even felt for the killer. Actions aside, the reasons were pure and in line with their beliefs.

Sometimes your creative well is empty and you don't even know it. The car's out of gas and your still rolling down the hill, not knowing your engine's not running. Or you're moving your space vessel pilot joystick without realizing the system's reverted to autopilot.

Okay, okay... enough analogies, before I start puking them out.

I've been really into it. The writing thing, I mean. It's been freakin' fantastic. My creative juices have been heated up like a jacuzzi for Mental AR, the slight irritation of starting in the wrong place aside, of course. Though, even that was exhilarating in it's own perverse way. The fact I even had time to face a challenge such as that has been a long time coming.

My inspiration from renewed dedication to writing had been sucking my creative juices too fast. That jacuzzi had turned into a sauna without me knowing, and that sauna was out of water.

But, in that moment my sense of family and motherhood was renewed, my creativity was renewed as well.

Isn't it odd how that happens sometimes?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Enchanted Inspiration

What is sometimes the most inspiring in my writing, is reading other genres. Truth be told, if I hadn't harbored a love of Agatha Christie or James Patterson, the Interstellar Intelligence Agency Series would never have been born... okay, okay, Caves of Steel also had something to do with it.

Wait, now that we're discussing this, I think Caves of Steel peaked my interest in investigatory fiction like Agatha and James' works... Okay, now we're delving deep down the Hole of Distraction.

"Pull out of that dive, AR! Pull out of the dive!"

Reading other genres, like reading in general, provide insight to a writer. Like an anonymous forum. Author So and So published this work about This or That. I've always had an idea about This or That, but in my head it went There and then There. Author Other Man published this about Gidget Widgets... I didn't know Gidget Widgets did That. I wonder, if they did That, with this other villain archetype, maybe they could do This. Doing This could then lead to There.

Get my confusing drift? That's okay, I barely hung on there myself. All I'm saying is reading, and reading outside your writing genre, can be helpful.

For example, I've been interested in attempting a SF-inspired fairy tale retelling. I know, I know, there are works out there already in the SF community that re envision a fairy tale. But, I'm still interested anyways.

Partly because of this I think, I spotted "Midsummer Night" by Freda Warrington in my local bookstore (aka AR's Crack House).

It was beautifully told. Freda's descriptions are masterful and I'm impressed by her writing. She actually made me feel the mist of the evenings and the powerful energy of the sculptures. I ached for the main characters back story. And I felt tugged and enchanted by the locale as she did.

The book itself is an urban fantasy, I guess. (I've never been good a labeling, unless it's Agatha or James or Isaac.) In the story, she explores the fairy world. It's almost SFey in the way she explains how the fairy realm and human realm are interwoven dimensions with "doorways" to each other.

This story really revved my creative juices to forge ahead with a fairy tale story. I just need to really decide which one now. I want to try and find one that hasn't been retold at nausea in novels and movies. That excludes Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella. I think I also want to take on the more grimmer Grimm telling of the story and push my grittier boundaries.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Brainstorming Thursday: Put a Flag in It

What else do you think I would write about on America's celebration of independence? I am uber American, after all. Any more patriotic and you'd find it tattooed on my... *clears throat*


There are over 190 nations in the world. Most are members of the United Nations. (There's some disagreement on the exact number, depending on the various list criteria and political agendas.) In each of those countries there is some form of "Independence Day" or patriotic founding celebration.

Patriotic holidays are important to solidify a society's cultural identity and growth.

But - and here enters the brainstorming - what about when we spread out to the stars and growing pains start?

First things first, how will the expansion start? (It lends to the brainstorm further down, promise.) I see a few ways it could go.
  1. The United Nations (or other unity organization yet to be created) purpose expands and solidifies all the countries and forges into the stars as one human nation. This is very Star Trek-ish.
  2. Private entrepreneurs and corporations will forge into the stars with the fiscal support of the strongest nations. These nations will then lay claim to the space they conquer. Much more Firefly-ish
  3. Private entrepreneurs and corporations will forge into the stars with fiscal support of private and group investors and the government concept will become corporatism.
Eventually changes will be demanded after this first step into the solar system, either by the people or competing governments or corporations. The aftermath of this forced change will cause a new patriotic celebration created by the victors.

What will that look like? Most of the current patriotic celebrations involve a certain date, fireworks, gatherings, food, music and honorary speakers.

Hmm... most of those won't work in space. Okay, gatherings, food and music seem pretty workable. But how about the date? That'll be a problem in a civilization spread across the solar system. Fireworks. Okay, granted, that could work on open planetary settlements, but what about domed facilities, space colonies and life vessels? And honorary speakers. This hits the same issues as a date. The distance will make any live speaker broadcast difficult.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sigh Factor to Start the Week

Okay, so for this post I'm going to put on my romance hat and try to keep my SF hat off. (Don't laugh at the heart bobbly on top of it. Remember, it could be the aluminum hat.)

Anywho. If you want the science behind kisses, you can check out the post I did HERE. What I want to focus on today is the emotions behind the kiss. And let's face it, the adrenaline rush you get not just when you give or receive a kiss but when you read or see one.

I know that when I read a good kissing scene, my heart races a little quicker and my face flushes in anticipation. The next thing I know, I can't wait until I see Hubby again to kiss him and feel the full force of that experience firsthand.

It may just be that geeky SF in me, but my fellow SFR authors have some pretty fantastic kissing scenes. Today I want to celebrate a couple of them. Warning, blushing may occur. Let's start with a good blogger buddy of mine, Allie Ritch. She puts the wow in wowser...
When she nipped his lower lip and played her fingertips over the rounded points of one ear, he groaned into her open mouth and took the kiss deeper.
Alien Sex 101 by Allie Ritch
Oy... okay... phew! Let's paused from Allie a sec and hop over to Jaine Fenn's Guardian of Paradise:
The kiss ended, and it was like the world ending.
Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn
Now that tapped at the soft gooey sigh I get with Pride and Prejudice. Very lovely, Jaine, very lovely. Now, to keep this emotional roller coaster going, I'm hopping back to Allie for another hot hit of sizzle. (Kids, turn your eyes.)
Crushing her to him, he took her mouth and demanded entry. He let his hands roam wildly over her body, but he was very deliberate with the stroke of his tongue.
Mating Season by Allie Ritch
Geez, LOL, that borders on what I put on the blog here. Wonderfully heated and passionate. We gotta go cool things a bit again. Let's go to one of my stories with a sweet kiss.
He brushed her lips with his. Heat flushed along her neck and her heartbeat quickened. 
Revelations of Tomorrow by yours truly, A. R. Norris
Okay, now, I wasn't sure whether to end this with heat or sweet... oh, who am I kidding? Flame it up, baby!
The kiss burned its way through her body, whispering in tongues of flame, telling her everything.
Keir by Pippa Jay
Well, there's nothing much else to say to you all other than... you're welcome and Happy Monday. ;)