12.20.2007

Hallelujah!

I finished my novel. So excited. So very excited. Can't wait to start the edits, can't wait to tell all my friends, can't wait to send a copy to my agent . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz.

11.24.2007

The Razor's Edge

Season Three of Battlestar Galactica ended with a fantastic cliffhanger and a song that created buzz on the Internet for months.

Here are the last four minutes that left everybody breathless, plus a little something extra . . .



That clip gives me chills every time I see it! I'd love to see Kara and Lee get back together. Here's my favorite ending scenario: They finally make it to Earth, but only two people survive the landing. Lee and Kara, the new Adam and Eve.

If you've been waiting for the next installment, keep your TV on this weekend. Battlestar Galactica: Razor is scheduled to air on the SciFi Channel (where else?), November 24.

11.21.2007

I Choose



They’re putting their hooks in me and pulling me down, when I want to fly. Pulling me back to sanity, to reason. But I crave the insanity of the unknown. I dance at the edge of belief; tease the unknown, lure it like a wild tiger. Come closer, I plead, knowing I will end up torn and bloody. Knowing that I would rather be mauled by that which lurks in my imagination, than pampered by that which sings from inside a golden cage.

Forever forward, I choose the road of danger, the path dirty and overgrown with wildflowers. I follow the forest line, out of the city, to the place where silence intoxicates and no voice propels me to submit.



Words will drip from my fingertips, they will continue to weave stories, perhaps bold and brave, or perhaps in reflection they will be foolish.

But they will come from that inner place of unsatisfied hunger, that soul's desire for something wild, something stronger than me, something that can never be tamed.

11.16.2007

Writing and Reading

Now and then, every writer needs to step away from the keyboard and do that which got them in this whole mess in the first place. Reading.

For me, it all goes back to my love of books. I have no one to blame, except maybe that dratted first grade teacher who helped me decipher those strange looking symbols called letters.

Books. I love books. Except when I have writer’s block and I’m trying to finish a book. Or, the other dreaded peril, is when I have to write a book review that I know more than five people are going to read.

Sorry, I’m getting off the point. Probably on purpose.

I was talking about reading. The kind that is done out loud.

I know. Painful for a somewhat introverted person who would rather stand behind a computer monitor and project her thoughts to the world.

Still, tonight I will be doing a reading. Out loud. In front of humans. Aliens would be better, but they aren’t easy to find on short notice.

I’m going to be reading the first two chapters of my work-in-progress, Resurrection, to a group of completely innocent Southern Californians who never deserved anything worse than a bad tan. I feel sorry for them. All of them.

So, I hope none of you come. Because then I’d have to feel sorry for you too.

But, if you feel so inclined to subject yourself to the excruciating horror of listening to me read my writing, out loud and in front of God—because He is always listening, whether we are worthy of it or not—then, well, here is where I will be.

WHERE: Refuge, 7800 Edinger Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647; Phone: (714) 891-9495
WHEN: November 16, Friday, 7 p.m.

I hope I don’t see you there.

11.14.2007

Great Advice for Writers

Mary DeMuth posted some really great advice for beginning writers over at The Master's Artist.
Check it out!

11.01.2007

My Favorite Oxymoron



Above is my favorite oxymoron of the day. Gleaned from an Ozark Web site.

Live help. Meaning right now, immediate.

Leave a message. Meaning guess what, we're not really here.

10.30.2007

I Signed Up!



I don't know about you, but I registered to go see the FREE showing of Razor on Monday, November 12. Are you going? If you are, drop a note below.

Skiffys unite! (Or is it Skiffies? Who knows how to spell a made-up word? Especially one treated with such great respect throughout the universe, one that has its OWN page in Wikipedia and is used by all those who dearly love Sci Fi.)

10.28.2007

No Cigar, But A Diamond Tiara Will Do Just Fine

It doesn't look like I'll make my goal to finish writing Resurrection by October 30. I'm close, though. Really close. I can feel the ending on my fingertips, everytime they press the keyboard.

Scenes are flowing, characters are obedient. Even when they have to die.

I forgot that I cry when I kill off a character. It took me completely by surprise the other day. I had to stop and grieve for about half an hour. Even though I knew it was coming from the beginning.

Well, back to the mines of metaphor and plot twist.

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to destroy the world.

What I’m Reading

If you’re a writer, you should be reading. Goes with the publish-or-perish territory.

Here’s a list of what I’m reading or just finished:

1. Spook Country by William Gibson: just finished. Gibson’s eloquent, as usual, but I must confess that I felt like an intellectual half-wit through most of the book.

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: just started, already halfway through (loving it!)

3. Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet: on chapter 4

4. Vanished by Kathryn Mackel: on chapter 4

5. How to Write Funny, edited by John B. Kachuba: jumping around and reading chapters at random. Great reference material.

6. The Children of Men: Halfway through the book. [Spoiler alert] Very discouraged by the main character. Any man who is happy when he accidentally kills his own infant is extremely hard for me to connect with.

7. Wicked by Gregory Maguire: on page 30. A bit slower than I expected.

It seems rather obvious, when I look over my list, that I am more willing to read science fiction than fantasy.



What can I say? I’m a Skiffy at heart.

10.27.2007

Battlestar Galactica Returns

In serious withdrawal, Battlestar Galactica fans have already programmed their DVRs to record Razor on November 24, and pre-ordered the unrated extended DVD, which is coming out on December 4. If that's not enough, you can attend the advance screening event if you happen to live in one of the lucky regions: Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

It's free as long as you reserve your ticket.

Or, if you want to watch Flash Gordon on the Sci-Fi Channel on Friday nights, they're running "Razor flashbacks."

If you don't want to record and fast-forward through Flash, you can watch the flashbacks at http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/.

10.24.2007

On Fire







The world is on fire. A rushing, hissing silver wind blows through the treetops and ashes mask the mountains. Half a million people have been evacuated as the flames steadily devour the landscape.

In my backyard, the world is on fire.

10.13.2007

Creative Carnival: October 2007



Check out this month's Creative Carnival over at Write Stuff. It's full of the unexpected: everything scary, creepy and horrific.

And yes. Oddly enough, one of my stories is over there.

A Step Too Far

Personally, I have to say that Miller beer has gone a step too far with their recent endorsement of a Christ-mocking image.

There are a few things I hold sacred and Jesus happens to be one of them.

This is one of those times I'm glad I don't drink. At least I know I'm not supporting this company nor have I made a recent contribution to their advertising fund.

Boo, hiss, Miller. Very poorly done.

10.12.2007

Reason Number Three



Any woman brave enough to carry her own mosquito net around with her deserves to be queen.

Reason Number Two



Georgia O'Keeffe meets Cate Blanchett in this stunning epic.
(Sorry, I had to say that.)

Reason Number One



A very good reason to go see "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Pirates are the good guys.

Secret Confessions



I must confess that I am completely addicted to Fiction Friday. Any fiction writers out there, who are surfing the Net instead of writing, should check it out.

The home page for Fiction Friday is here.

You can check out my current Fiction Friday post on my Crop Circles blog.

10.11.2007

Retro Christmas



I have to confess I love old things. It doesn’t matter whether they’re broken, battered or bruised, whether they’re from the 40s, 50s or 60s. Old is good. A piece of tattered lace, a vintage lamp, a sepia-toned photo—almost anything old-fashioned can capture my heart. Especially at Christmas time.

To most people an old-fashioned Christmas means hot cocoa and sugar cookies, Bing Crosby carols and a crackling fire. Nearly everyone has a Christmas memory of opening presents beneath a 7-foot evergreen tree that smells like heaven, while the landscape outside disappears beneath a blanket of fresh snow.

Not me.

The funny thing is I didn’t realize how different my Christmas memories were until I ran into them, head on. I was in a contemporary urban store—one of those trendy California shops that cater to a young, hip crowd—hunting for just the right gift for my twenty-something son, when I saw “it.”

Christmas personified: a spiky silver tree, as fake as they come, with maybe 12 branches total, all made of glittering tinsel. On the floor spun the magic color wheel, a spotlight that shined on the little tree, changing it from yellow to red to blue. And in between the primary colors flickered a million prismatic shades, melting into one another, tumbling over one other, each eager for a split-second moment to transform the world. Saffron changed to scarlet, vermilion to indigo, lavender to tangerine.

Like a deer in headlights, I froze. Lump in my throat. My eyes misting. Suddenly I was ten years old again, sitting on the floor in the apartment I shared with my mom and my sister, staring at our Christmas tree, mesmerized. Watching as the tree changed from emerald to aquamarine while all the other lights were turned down to a mere whisper. Outside an Illinois winter wind howled and icicles dripped from the eaves. Glassy stairways were treacherous and snow flurries spiraled through busy streets—an ever-changing paisley pattern of white on white.

But inside my living room was a drowsy, comforting heat, while in one corner stood all of the magic of Christmas: a tree that was never the same color longer than a heartbeat, surrounded by glittering packages filled with untold promise. Anything could be inside those boxes. A doll, a book, a sweater. A record, a hat, a necklace. The tree was a portal to another world, a land where colors danced and chased one another, where all the hopes and dreams of a year could be answered in an evening. In a moment.

In a fraction of a second, somewhere between amber and honey.

I was startled back to reality when I saw two teenagers staring at my tree, oohing and aaahing and giggling because it was so different. It was retro-chic. I think they liked it because it represented everything that Christmas wasn’t—this tree didn’t have prickly needles or sticky sap, it didn’t embody the fragrance of an evergreen forest at dusk.

What they didn’t realize—what very few people could realize—was what this “Charlie Brown” silver tinsel tree really did represent.

All the hopes and dreams of a ten-year-old girl’s Christmas.

Mine.

10.10.2007

Frankie Baby



"Just trim the toenails, Doc."

BFF



Best friends forever, Frank and the little woman.

A New Way of Thinking

Below is a list of other Victorian authors, besides those listed in the previous post, who carried the torch for this new evolving genre that we now call science fiction.



1. Edgar Allen Poe, 1809-1849
“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (1845)
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1836)

2. Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864
"The Birth-Mark" (1843)
"Rappaccini's Daughter" (1846)

3. Jules Verne, 1828-1905
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864)
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
From the Earth to the Moon (1865)

4. Sir Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1803-1873
The Coming Race (1871)

5. Edwin A. Abbott, 1838-1926
Flatland (1884)

6. Samuel Butler, 1835-1902
Erewhon (1872)

7. Mark Twain, 1835-1910
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

8. Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)

9. Edward Bellamy, 1850-1898
Looking Backward (1888)

10. H.G. Wells, 1866-1946
The Time Machine (1895)
The War of the Worlds (1898)
The Invisible Man (1897)

10.09.2007

The Big Chill

Historians called 1816 “The Year Without A Summer,” but literature enthusiasts saw it as the birth of a new genre.


Today the hot topic at any water cooler is the current state of our environment, otherwise known as global warming. What long-term effects will it have on our world? What can we do? How can we get involved?

But almost two hundred years ago, an entirely different scenario took place. Global cooling. And the results were completely unexpected.

It all began with a series of volcanic eruptions in the Caribbean, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. One estimate claims that Mount Timboro alone (in the East Indies) spewed a million and a half metric tons of dust into the stratosphere. The resultant diminished sunshine in 1816 caused a catastrophic and unexpected chain-reaction throughout Northern Europe, Newfoundland, the Canadian Maritimes, and the American northeast.

Frosts in May destroyed crops, which later caused food shortages and riots. Throughout the entire year, brown snow fell in Hungary and red snow fell in Italy. Almost a foot of snow blanketed Quebec City in June; in July--as far south as Pennsylvania--lakes and rivers chilled beneath layers of ice; within a matter of hours temperatures could swing from 95 degrees F to below freezing.

It was in the midst of this unpredictable year-with-no-summer that a capricious clique of intellectuals, writers and lovers decided to take a holiday. The group met in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, where they stayed together in the Villa Diodati, and their interlocking history reads like a daytime soap opera.

Heading up the literary troupe were current lovers Percy Bysshe Shelley, an English romantic poet who had been expelled from Oxford in 1811, and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, daughter of a famous feminist and an anarchist philosopher. Included in the group were Lord Byron, a reckless and talented poet known for mercilessly breaking hearts, and his physician, John William Polidori. Rounding out the cast and connecting all the melodrama-dots was Mary’s stepsister, Claire Claremont, a former lover of Percy’s who was now pregnant with Byron’s illegitimate child.

All their plans for an idyllic summer holiday changed, however, as a direct result of the inclement and unpredictable weather. “But it proved a wet, ungenial summer,” Mary wrote in her diary, “and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house.” With the weather too dismal to go outside, they all decided to stay indoors and read ghost stories from a book called Fantasmagoriana. It proved a fun distraction for a while, but they soon decided that they could write much better tales.

So they challenged each other to write a horror story.

Like most writers under pressure, the young 19-year-old Mary got writer’s block. She watched in frustration while the others penned gothic tales. Then one night she had a startling “waking dream,” or vision, where she saw an entire story enfold before her.

“When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep,” Mary wrote of her experience. “Nor could I be said to think...I saw—with eyes shut, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together.”

She had stumbled upon her story, a project that she would continue to work on and eventually publish. She had also inadvertently created an entirely new and different genre of fiction: science fiction.

Her story: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

Another noteworthy contribution from their little group was John Polidori’s The Vampyre, which would later influence Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

“What terrified me will terrify others,” Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley wrote of the vision that inspired her. “And I need only describe the spectre which haunted my midnight pillow.”

Science fiction would grow over the next century, with contributions by a vast number of mega-talented Victorian authors that include Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. It would involve a new approach, where the author continually asks himself, “What our world be like if . . .” Over the following two centuries science fiction writers would predict things like microwaves, cell phones, airplanes, space travel, computers and cyberspace. Today the United States Homeland Security Department employs a group of science fiction writers, including Greg Bear, to help combat terrorism by imagining “What if?” scenarios.

It’s possible that the cold spell of 1816 not only changed our literary landscape—it may have even changed the way we think.

10.05.2007

Speculative Fiction Anthology on the Horizon



COMING SOON:
Residential Aliens Anthology, Volume 1: Speculative Fiction from the Seven Stars. Available November 1, 2007, this volume will be published by Residential Aliens, in association with The Writer's Cafe Press and The Lost Genre Guild.

The compilation of speculative stories with a faith-based twist comes from the on-line Zine, Residential Aliens, and will offer additional never-before-read stories, including those by:

+ George Duncan, author of the upcoming murder mystery, A Wine Red Silence (Capstone Fiction)

+ Patrick G Cox, author of high seas, deep space adventure, Out of Time (AuthorHouse)

+ Andy Bowers, contributor to the revived pulp classic, Superlative Tales.

+ Merrie Destefano, editor of Victorian Homes magazine, contributing editor of Romantic Homes, Cottages & Bungalows, Lodges, and Lofts magazines.

+ Plus many more!

Here's some "Advance Praise" for ResAliens Anthology:

“Residential Aliens Anthology offers well-written stories with plausible plots, interesting characters, and vivid descriptions spiked with conflict and tension as the pages carry you to other dimensions, times and worlds. Some stories make for fun light reading while others carry an underlying message of hope and truth. It’s a great collection.”
—Donna Sundblad, author of Windwalker (TheInkSlinger.net)

“Exciting speculative fiction that leaves you wanting more. Quality work!”
—Brandon Barr, co-author of When the Sky Fell (Silver Leaf Books)

“Thoughtful and thought-provoking. Residential Aliens has put together a collection of speculative fiction stories that grabs the reader from page one of their anthology, and never lets go.”
- Mike Lynch, co-author of When the Sky Fell (Silver Leaf Books)

“Intriguing stories that will stretch your imagination and make you think about Truth. I quite enjoyed them!”
- Jack Stinson, author of High Street and Hard Pursuit (Infinity Publishing)

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming launch on November 1, 2007

Same bat time, same bat channel.

10.04.2007

Marcher Lord Press Comes to Town



A new mover and shaker has just moved into town: Marcher Lord Press. Founded by Jeff Gerke (who writes under the pen name of Jefferson Scott), this new publishing house plans to focus on speculative fiction.

According to their Web site, which is all a-glitter with excitement and promise for those of us who love this genre, "The plan is to launch with three novels. Most likely they will be a fantasy, a science fiction, and a third one in another speculative genre, like time travel or supernatural thriller or chiller."

Well, this alien lover can't wait to see their first three books!

Way to go, Jeff. Keep up the great work.

9.27.2007

Cloning Gone Wrong



Mr. Paws wasn't sure why, but today, for the first time, he felt digging in the back yard for worms.

9.19.2007


Thirteen Reasons why I think my husband is an alien.


1. He has more shoes than I do.

2. He likes to exercise.

3. He frequently forgets to drink water. Must have come from a dry planet.

4. He takes longer than I do to get ready in the morning. Probably hiding that third eye on the back of his head.

5. He uses the left side his brain way too often.

6. He teaches the language of the universe: Algebra, Calculus, Geometry.

7. He has the perfect cover up: He doesn’t like Sci Fi.

8. He hasn’t aged in 10 years.

9. His favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. ‘Nuff said.

10. All year long he drives with the top down on his Miata. Obviously some system of communicating with the Mother Ship.

11. He never wears tin foil on his head. Again, communicating with the M.S.

12. He can’t figure out his computer. Obviously because earth technology is so far behind what they had on his home planet.

13. And Number 13 is the biggest one of all: He loves me!


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Grace
2. Angela, the Sci Fi Chick
3. Mama Pajama
4. Kat's Kracker Box
5. The Good Stuff
6. The Quest Writer, or otherwise known as Eve!
7. Working at home Mom
8. Buck Naked Politics
9. Some Things Need Said

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



The Yike Factor



Herman just wasn't prepared for the savage brown alligator that lurked in the shadows . . .

Love At First Bite



I just love these things. Especially with salt.

All Washed Up



I promise I don't know the secrets to the universe. Honest. Can I go out and pretend I'm a dog again?

Phone Home



Myrtle loved talking to the Mother Ship. The way the wind caught her long ears. How her voice sounded as it carried away on the star-dusted breeze.

The Secret Life of the Real Becky Miller: Part 3

Here we are. The final interview with the REAL Becky Miller. This is the part where she reveals her deepest, darkest secret . . . (loud stage gasp) . . . an excerpt from one of her books.

Before I give you what you all have been waiting for, some great genre writing, I'd like to thank my virtual reality guest, Rebecca Luella Miller, for the interview.

Thanks so much, Becky, and I wish you the best on all your writing projects!

Now, back to the show:

DAY THREE:
MD: We’d all love to read something you’ve written. Can you give us a brief synopsis and an excerpt from one of your novels?


RLM: Well, why be logical. Since I’ve been talking about The Lore of Efrathah, I’ll give you a completely different story. This is a stand-alone entitled The Only.

Brief synopsis:
Soluno—the discarded God of the land.

Roving bands of thieves. Child sacrifice. Deification of the reigning sovereign. Novo and the others who want to bring back worship of Soluno plan to change these reprehensible conditions. Can they escape King Olam’s murderous clutches? As they flee, will they fall victim to revenge, or discover a surprising source of support? Above all, will the new king succumb to the lure of illegitimate wealth and power?

Chapter 1—Secrets and Lies
King Olam’s human sacrifices provided powerful evidence, but the warrior contests convinced Novo. Not because of the spilled blood—either way, on the altar or in the arena, people died. Rather, Olam’s cocky air, his expectation of winning the final bout against the tournament champion, his grandstanding for the crowd were explicit contradictions to nobility, to deity. Meridan was right—how could Olam be the legitimate king?

On the stadium floor, the regal figure spun away from his opponent and thrust his sword upward, cutting the soldier’s shield arm. The crowd cheered, and Novo pumped his fist in the air, chanting Olam’s name along with the other citizens of Thenes.

The effort to appear supportive demanded all of Novo’s will, more so today than it had three months ago at the king’s festival, though why this was so, he couldn’t explain. Perhaps his perception was off—with time he had simply forgotten how hard these games were to endure.

The crowd roared again as King Olam ducked his head and his opponent’s dagger whiffled past his ear. The king righted himself and laughed, a sardonic chuckle that twisted his mouth into a sneer. “Not bad for a foot soldier.”

The warrior circling him paused, his rapier dipping slightly. “A foot soldier, your grace? I’m of the temple guard, the ranking officer.”

“Foot soldier,” repeated the king. “If you live.” He lunged with his sword aimed at his opponent’s armpit.

The officer reacted to the threat with a jerk that snapped his blade back into position. The point scraped the king’s neck just under his chin.

A red welt puffed up, and a trickle of blood meandered toward the throat of his open shirt. He daubed at the laceration with the back of his hand, staring with ever-widening eyes at the red blotch smearing his knuckles.

A collective gasp escaped the spectators closest to the action.

“Is he bleeding?” an old woman said into the silence that followed.

The king clamped the palm of his free hand against the wound, roaring as if he’d lost the life of his eldest son at the hands of his youngest. Novo recognized the cry because he’d been present when the king received the report that Ongilam had stabbed Malik to death.

The menace in the king’s eye matched the rising fury in his voice.

Novo’s friend Potani elbowed him in the ribs. “If I were the officer, I’d yield.”

“Too late. He’s already a dead man.” Fingering an imperceptible bulge beneath his waistband, Novo pushed away from the restraining rail. He didn’t need to watch what was about to take place since he’d seen the king cut the life from a man many times before, but what was worse, that roar of anger meant a good many onlookers were doomed to die as well.

He grabbed a fist of Potani’s thin cotton shirt, careful not to pull too hard lest he widen the tear splitting the sleeve from the neck.

Potani stumbled after him. The king roared a second time, more in triumph than before. The officer of the guard screamed, and screamed again. Terror pushed his voice higher, louder, until his cry of pain overtook it. The crowd cheered, drowning his last gasps, though the shouts sounded more half-hearted than usual.

Novo, still pulling Potani along with him, reached the closest archway before the next shriek sounded—a woman’s high-pitched shriek.

A palace guardsman stepped from the shadow of the sandstone wall enclosing the arena. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Averting his gaze to the ground, Novo mumbled, “The king has his victory.”

“But not the homage he is due.”

More screams rose from the stadium floor.

“He won’t take the temple throne today.” Novo guided Potani to his side so the guard could not see his friend’s face.

A figure appeared on the parapet above them. “Guardsman, open the gate.”

“Sir?”

“Open the gate, you dolt. The games are over today.”

The guardsman saluted, then unlatched the wooden gate and swung it open without taking his eyes off Novo.

After checking the presence of the bulge at his waist, Novo shepherded Potani out, adjusting his tattered brown cap—as much to block his face and hide the clump of sandy hair that had a way of falling over his forehead as to stave off the blast of cold air that met them on the other side of the wall.

The two men hunched along without speaking, their footsteps clattering on the cobbled street, until the acrid scent of the smelter’s workshop drifted to them.

At the next intersection, Potani glanced down the empty lane, left, then right. “How did you know he wouldn’t take the throne today?”

Novo peered over his shoulder. When he was convinced no one was following them, he answered. “He was bleeding.”

“You think that really was blood?” Potani asked, his tone full of caution more than of doubt.

“Of course it was.” Novo slowed, his hand once again connecting with the hard stone beneath his waistband. “He doesn’t have you fooled too, does he?”

“Everyone says the king doesn’t bleed.”

Novo met his friend’s gaze. “The true king doesn’t.”

“But you just said …”

“That Olam was bleeding.”

Potani waved his hands as if to erase the words from the air. “Novo, don’t say such a thing.”

“You yourself saw it.”

“But don’t say such a thing.” Potani raised one eyebrow higher than the other.

Novo coerced playfulness into his tone. “At least not on the street.”

Potani chuckled, and the two men broke into a jog.

9.18.2007

Danger, Will Robinson



Don't forget to stop by and check up on Crop Circles. Remember, she's been home alone all day. She could have eaten the carpet, scratched the furniture, slobbered on the nightstand.

Right now she could be standing outside in the backyard, staring up at the stars, with a popcorn bowl on her head. Waiting for the Mother Ship to come take her back to her REAL home.

So don't make her feel like an unwanted orphan alien child. (Even if she is.)

We don't want her to run away from home.

My Picks

Some way cool sites to visit during the fab blog tour for Austin Boyd's latest book, The Return:

1. A Christian Worldview of Fiction
2. Imagination Investigation
3. Bloggin' Outloud
4. Shadow of the Wood
5. Karanee's Backlog
6. Daily Blurb

A Book Alien Lovers Have To Read



Austin Boyd's third book, The Return, is available at Amazon.com.

Below is a review from Amazon:
"Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."
While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

"Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

"From the Back Cover
With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

"Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

"Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself."

9.17.2007

The Secret Life of the Real Becky Miller: Part 2



Today we are continuing our interview with the REAL Becky Miller . . .

MD: What would you like to see change within the next year?

RLM: Well, the most obvious thing I would like to see changed is more fantasy on book shelves. And I wouldn’t mind seeing The Return to Efrathah included on the list. ;-)

Seriously, CBA publishers seem to be more open to fantasy, though some, cautiously so.

Ironically, I still don’t see a lot of the sword-and-sorcery fantasy I enjoy. I hear publishers saying they want something fresh, but when there are few s-and-s titles written from a Christian worldview, I claim that IS fresh.

Some of the “fantasy-friendly” editors have made it plain their interest is in a much narrower slice of the speculative pie, and sword-and-sorcery is not part of that mix. So I guess I would hope editors would expand what they are willing to consider.

Even the little science fiction that CBA has produced is borderline contemporary and is sometimes marketed as such.

MD: I agree. I’ve noticed that most of the science fiction in CBA, and even in ABA, tends to be futuristic fiction rather than what we might consider classic sci-fi that takes place on other planets.

How do think these changes will take place, or what is required for these changes to manifest?


RLM: Editor after editor says that what spurs change is sales. I wish publishing houses would do marketing studies because this reliance on sales is so nebulous. If there are only two speculative titles on the shelf of a CBA store, one an urban fantasy and one a science fiction, I, who love sword-and-sorcery fantasy, will probably go elsewhere. Then when sales don’t exceed expectations, marketers will say, Fantasy doesn’t sell in the CBA.

Compare that to the romance reader who has, 20 or more titles to choose from. What chance does she have of finding something she will like? The percentages are obviously in favor of the romance reader.

That being said, I think things like the CSFF Blog Tour and the Latest In Spec Classifieds can help the speculative titles find their audience. If sales improve, I see publishers increasing the number of titles exponentially.



MD: One thing I’ve noticed is that the CSFF Blog Tour really seems to be a great marketing tool for this growing market. It’s the perfect place for publishers to help introduce their speculative books to the readers who are interested. And, from my perspective, it’s an awesome opportunity for someone like me to get involved, to help promote the same type of fiction that I want to see when I walk into any bookstore, Christian or otherwise.

Who is the real Becky Miller and what is her secret life?




RLM: Hahah. Sharon Hinck put me on the map with The Secret Life of Becky Miller. I couldn’t be more different than Sharon’s character, however. I’m single, a baby-boomer, and living the life I’d dreamed of. I used to say my pipe-dream was to teach Bible, coach, and write. I lived that one year, but the writing was … secondary. When I had the opportunity to step away from teaching and begin writing full time, I felt like I’d become a whole person.

MD: What project are you working on now?

RLM: I’m working on a rewrite of the third book in The Lore of Efrathah trilogy. Its working title is The Battle for RevĂ­n.

MD: Okay, I have to ask this: What do aliens dream about?

RLM: I’m SURE they dream about the land of Efrathah. ;-)

MD: I think you're right. One more signature question: Where will you be in 10,000 years?

RLM: Heaven!

MD: Is there anything else you’d like to say or share
with the Alien Dream blog readers?


RLM: It’s a privilege to be included as part of this uber creative effort here at Alien Dream. Thanks for having me, Merrie.

MD: It’s my pleasure, of course! Like I mentioned, I’m thrilled to be part of the CSFF Blog Tour. If any of you readers are interested in joining the tour, stop over at CSSF.

And don't forget. We're going to run an excerpt from one of Becky's books tomorrow.

So stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

9.16.2007

The Secret Life of the Real Becky Miller

There are a series of books about a fictional character named Becky Miller. Written by talented author, Sharon Hinck, these stories tell the adventures of a woman lost in a world of fantasy.

In the Grand Blogging Universe, however, there is another story being written about a different Becky Miller, a real live woman this time, who also happens to dwell in the world of fantasy. This tale unfolds on a daily basis in the land of cyberspace, in an interlinked set of Web sites visited often by faithful readers. These sites cater to those who enjoy their speculative fiction with a unique twist: an element of faith.

For the next several days, we will be interviewing the real Becky Miller, otherwise known as Rebecca Luella Miller, and, faithful Alien Dream readers will get to read a portion of one of her novels on Thursday.



QUESTIONS:
MD: Can you give us a brief bio?

RLM: The thumbnail sketch is, I grew up in a Christian home, became a teacher for thirty years, then changed professions and became a writer. Of course, that leaves out my summer attending school in Mexico City, my year in Tanzania, my three years teaching in Guatemala, but you can’t get much on a thumbnail.

MD: I know you were a teacher. Can you give us your credentials?

RLM: I was a Literature major in college and taught some level of English for twenty-nine of my thirty years in the classroom. As a teacher, I wrote. One year it was a play for a summer school class. Another year it was a short story for a speech unit. Off and on I wrote poems as examples for our poetry unit. And regularly I wrote countless worksheets and other curriculum aids.

Six years ago, I decided to write full time. A year later I became a stringer for the San Gabriel Newspaper Group, covering local high school and college sports. I also began doing some freelance editing, most prominently for AMG Publishing (three of the Dragon in Our Midst books and Eye of the Oracle). I’ve also published two short stories and have an article coming out in Victorian Homes magazine.

MD: Tell us about your blogs. How and why and when did all that get started?

RLM: My personal blog is A Christian Worldview of Fiction. I began that in February 2006 because a writer friend of mine told me about a contest called Everyday Hogwash. It was for blog posts ranting about the ineptitude of some business. I ranted about bookstores. I’d wanted to start a blog to begin building a “platform,” so this contest was the nudge that got me started.

The following summer, I teamed with a group of authors to create Speculative Faith, a blog focused on a Christian view of speculative literature.

That same summer we also started the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour. Some months later one of our members created the CSFF blog site where she posts, among other things, my emails to the group.

MD: What results have you seen from all of this?

RLM: Because I’m not selling anything, I don’t have a good measuring stick for “results,” but I definitely have a web presence now. I’ve seen growth in the number of people who stop by my blog, and the e-mail list for CSFF is nearing 100.

The most exciting thing, of course, is that publishers are expanding their list of speculative titles, but I have no way of knowing if any of our grassroots efforts factored into this development.

MD: What is your vision for future of speculative fiction?


RLM: I started writing fantasy because, in my view, it is the perfect genre to tell the whole story—because of the good versus evil motif, it is a natural fit to include a spiritual dimension.

In addition, I do not see fantasy as a niche genre.

The books I love are the same ones that thousands upon hundreds of thousands of other readers love: Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Watership Down. These are books that people of all ages have read, that sold in shocking numbers, and created a stir in the populace at large.

Quite honestly, I don’t understand how fantasy ended up in the niche closet, given its history.

My hope for the Christian arm of the genre is to see it again reach the general public. Harry Potter certainly did. Why not CBA fantasy? Or another ABA fantasy written from a Christian worldview.

Without a doubt the Phillip Pullmans of writing have discovered fantasy as an avenue to distort the truth. It seems imperative, from my perspective, that Christians counter with fantasy that tells the truth.

MD: Thank you, Becky, for the first of our two-part interview! I hope our readers stay tuned for the second half of the interview tomorrow. Plus, an excerpt from one of Becky's novels on Wednesday.

And if any of you want to see what this CSSF blog tour is all about, today is great day to go surfing. Austin Boyd's Sci-Fi thriller, The Return, is the featured book.

This Way



You might not know it, but there are some super-snazzy, ultra-hip Sci-Fi things happenin' in the Blogging Universe. Even on Sunday.

Here are my Top Three picks for the day:

1. Check out the new issue of Residential Aliens. Yes, they live here, and yes, they're friendly.

2. Check out the latest and greatest over at Eight Twenty. Steve Parolini is ending the world with a bang, one story at a time.

3. Check out the Countdown to Premier Week over at SciFi Chick.

What he said

What David said,

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

"There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

"Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat."

Selah.

Now take another look at that NASA photo below.

Here's Lookin' At You



This undated image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a ghostly ring of dark matter in a galaxy cluster designated Cl 0024+17. Dark matter may have played a key role in forming the earliest stars, according to researchers who suggest that the mysterious and invisible material may also have been responsible for creating black holes.

NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford/Johns Hopkins University/Handout/Reuters

Am I the only who sees a giant eye, staring at us from outer space?

Stay Tuned: Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel



Yikes! A shocking revelation for all Alien Dream lovers:

Monday we will begin the 3-day interview with Becky Miller.

And we will attempt to keep up with the blog tour for Austin Boyd, a way cool writer dude that all of you need to check out. Really.

So, as we say in the biz, be there or be alien square.
Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.

No Such Thing As A Free Ride



Cinderella's dreams of meeting Prince Charming were dashed when the carriage her Fairy Godmother promised arrived.

Hide Your Doughnuts



This guy is hungry.

Forced out of his natural habitat by drought, this guy and all his friends have opted for a life of crime. In Colorado and California, black bears have been breaking and entering.

What are these furry felons after? Doughnuts, hamburgers, ice cream. Apparently, they need to fatten up for their long winter sleep.

So, you might just meet up with a cranky 350-pound intruder the next time you get up for a midnight snack.

Could be a good time to get back on that South Beach Diet.

9.15.2007

Donkey Admonished



Firefighters rescued a donkey from an abandoned well.

But somebody may be giving this donkey more credit than he deserves.

Gundberg [the farmer who owns the donkey] admonished the animal after the rescue: "I bet you'll think twice about doing that again. If you would have stayed home you wouldn't be in this trouble."

The donkey's answer?

Heeeee Haaawww!

The Fine Print



Notice the latest polyester blend of fashion and politics.



Make sure you read this carefully. Unless, well, you can't read. In which case, it was nice knowing you.

Alien Fashion Faux Pas



What not to wear to the alien next door's dinner party.

9.14.2007

Pinocchio's New AI Friend



Good old wooden boy Pinocchio has competition in Zeno, the robotic creation of David Hansen. With a face fashioned from skinlike "frubber," these little guys stand about 17 inches tall and should be available for consumers in a couple of years.

"It's a representation of robotics as a character animation medium, one that is intelligent," Hanson beams. "It sees you and recognizes your face. It learns your name and can build a relationship with you."

It's no coincidence if the whole concept sounds like a science-fiction movie.

Hanson said he was inspired by, and is aiming for, the same sort of realism found in the book "Supertoys Last All Summer Long," by Brian Aldiss. Aldiss' story of troubled robot boy David and his quest for the love of his flesh-and-blood parents was the source material for Steven Spielberg's film "Artificial Intelligence: AI."

So, in a couple of years, you too can have your own "real" boy. For about $300.

Origami Girl



Change is on the horizon. I can feel it, hear it. Like a hundred thousand elephants thundering towards me. I can’t see them. Can’t distinguish their tree trunk legs and wing-like ears through a haze of dust.

But I know they’re coming.

I can’t tell which way to run to avoid them, don’t know how to escape. Soon one or ten of them will swoop in my direction, pound me flat with their sledgehammer hooves. Crush my bones. Spill my blood.

Change my flesh into paper.

I hold my breath and wait. For the destruction that will change me, transform me. For the God I love to pick up the edges and fold them, ever so gently, make this human vessel into something different.

Something unexpected. Something beautiful.

Fiction Friday and Crop Circles

Hi, everyone!

Just a note to tell you that I made a mistake with some of my Fiction Friday posts. Oops.

My Fiction Friday is posted on my other blog:
Crop Circles.

I apologize if I accidentally directed you to Alien Dream instead. Please drop by Crop Circle and say hi!

9.13.2007

Thirteen Fairy Tales You Never Heard About


Thirteen Fairy Tales You Never Heard About
by Merrie Destefano


1. Jack and the Cornstalk

2. Three Blind Flies

3. Snow White and the Seven Drive Through Restaurants

4. Sleeping Beauty’s-Only-Skin-Deep

5. Hansel and Gretel Don’t Live Here Anymore

6. The Three Little Lemmings

7. The Blizzard of Oz

8. The Little Mermaid Chair

9. Goldilocks and the Three Aliens Who Pretended to be Bears

10. Alice in Blunderland

11. Beauty and the Bodybuilder

12. The Elves and the Jimmy Choo Shoemaker

13. The Emperor’s New Cloak of Invisibility


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. The Urban Recluse
2. Blue Monday
3. A sample of Jennifer's thoughts
4. Believer in balance
5. Shiloh Walker
6. The Jokes Blog
7. A Gentleman's Domain
8. West of Mars
9. What Works for Us
10. Single Parents Unite
11. Tales from a former Michaganer
12. Sandier Pastures
14. Buck Naked Politics
15. Working at Home Mom
16. Joy in the Moment
17. Morgan St. John
18. SciFi Chick
19. Some Things Need Said
20. I heart paperbacks
21. You're next!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



9.12.2007

Aliens in the News



Here we see Muffin, doing her best alien impression.

Pretty scary, Muffin.

Tomorrow is Thusday, so . . .

Just wanted to give you all a head's up. Tomorrow I am going to play with that way cool meme, Thursday Thirteen.

I'm just a beginner, here, so have mercy.

My topic will be: Thirteen fairy tales you never read.

So, stop by. Or better yet, play along.

Stay Tuned: Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel



Here are a few of the topics that we’ll be covering here during the next several weeks:

* An interview with the real Becky Miller, owner and founder of the popular blogs: A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Speculative Faith and Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour. We’ll be discussing her passion for writing, as well as her vision for the future of speculative fiction. We’ll also post an excerpt from one of her novels.

* A review of Jeffrey Overstreet's new book, Auralia's Colors, published by WaterBrook.

* Global Cooling: How an unusual weather change in the Edwardian era gave birth to a new fiction genre—science fiction.

So, stay tuned. Same bat time, same bat channel.

9.11.2007