Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Book

Things always get so busy during the holidays!

News news news-- Twitter is still down, which forms the main basis of my 'writing' news as it contains all the threads I visit for various articles and commentaries on the publishing world. I'm wondering what is going on with that...anyone able to use Twitter normally? Anyone else experiencing this difficulty?

I am beginning a new book this Christmas holiday, after just finishing one the past couple of months. I am really excited about it-- I think it's a great idea and will serve well!

I'm also in the process of getting my last book, Shifted, a retelling of beauty and the beast, only gender-swapped, available for purchase on and other retailers! More details to come when that is complete. I'm using a platform called Create Space that was suggested to me by a fellow, self-published author.

You may be recalling, now wait, you always said you were going to hold off on self-publishing! Well, this is true. However I've had a thought. I'm still sending out queries and submissions for this book. But why not distribute it easily to my friend and family (and maybe others!) while I wait? I am not foreseeing moving so much stock that a publisher would not want to take on the project for that reason, and if I do sell that many copies, I don't think I'll be worried anyway!

So I'm going to give this a whirl and start putting my books up on and see what happens.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursdays, huh?

This is the second week in a row that I have been slammed on my usual blog-Wednesday and ended up writing to you on Thursday. Not to mention that Twitter (a source of many ideas and articles and news updates for this blog) was on the fritz yesterday. The whole website was down.

Correction. The whole website is down. I just checked again.

So you're going to have to put up with late, news-less rantings from me. I know you're thrilled.

Well you'll get an in-progress book report from me. I'm currently reading Destiny's Road by Larry Niven (who I bumped into, sort of...he was in the same concert room as me at Dragon Con but he left before the band I was merchandising for went on stage...we did a little dance around each other when the first crowd was leaving...) who is one of the kings of the science fiction world. His name ranks up there with Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

He's the author of Ringworld, an incredibly popular and ground-breaking science fiction tale that joined the ranks of Hard Science Fiction (different than soft science fiction in that it has to be within the laws of physics and science; aka, not a space opera or Star Wars) in 1970. Not long after, the science fiction world threw the gauntlet at Niven, claiming that the book wasn't realistic. In response, he picked up that gauntlet and threw it back with Ringworld Engineers, a book dedicated to proving that the physics were sound.
"After the publication of Ringworld many fans identified numerous engineering problems in the Ringworld as described in the novel. One major problem was that the Ringworld, being a rigid structure, was not actually in orbit around the star it encircled and would eventually drift, ultimately colliding with its sun and disintegrating. This led MIT students attending the 1971 Worldcon to chant, "The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable!" Niven wrote the 1980 sequel in part to address these engineering issues."

In case you're still wondering, Ringworld is what inspired the game series Halo.

This is the first book by Niven that I've ever read, and I was warned beforehand that his books tend to be rather mature in content. Explicitly so. Well, this one has not been bad, in my eyes. It's certainly an adult book but I'm not needing to use bleach on my eyes or soap in my brain after every chapter. So feel free to read.

The story is about settlers who landed on an Earth-like planet 200-300 years ago and eked out an existence from the peninsula. A Road was formed by the shuttles hovering along over the land, burning out the ground. And spartan civilizations, some very rudimentary in technology, sprang up. But mysteries are everywhere. No one follows the road except for the merchants. No one asks where the Road goes. No one asks anything.

Jemmy, forced onto the Road by accident, is off to find out the answers to all his questions.

The writing style jumps around a lot. I'm just now entering part three, before which the biggest gaps in time were a few days or weeks. The leap from part two to part three, however, is 27 years without mention until later. I spent the first few pages wondering who I was reading about and where the last nearly three decades went. There are a lot of name changes too, as Jemmy becomes a fugitive and has to take cover. He changes names three or four times in the first two parts of the book. Also a tad confusing if you're not paying strict attention.

But I like it so far. It's a good, detailed book, paints vivid pictures of a strange life, draws you into the mystery of it. I can't wait to find out what the whole point is, what happened to the initial crews of the ships that led to the scattered lifestyles of the now-inhabitants of the planet who have so diversified a way of life-- some living like tribes, some like futuristic societies.

In other news, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug opens tonight.

I'm stupid excited.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's A Love/Hate Relationship

Now if you're like me and you have pale, northern-European, so-white-it-blinds-the-eyes skin, you may not be a huge fan of the sun in general. You can get sunburned in ten minutes. You have higher chances of skin cancer. You may already (like me) have a history of skin cancer and have to get skin exams every year. Your dermatologist would murder you if he knew how negligent you were about putting on sunscreen, which you're supposed to do every time you step outside, not just when you're going to be in the direct sunlight for an extended amount of time. You can get sun damage just going to get your mail.

You could also be like me and absolutely love the sun. You wish you didn't have to put on sunscreen because it's such a pain in the butt, but sunbathing and turning into a lobster is even more a pain in the butt. Or the shoulders, or nose, or forehead, or feet. Yes, I have gotten sunburn on my feet before. Ouch. You feel like a cat sometimes because you've been known to follow a patch of sun around the house and just lie in it. You want to turn your face up to the sun and soak it in like a sunflower. I read Robin McKinley's Sunshine with great jealousy, as the heroine draws her magical power from the sun and can drink it up like a plant.

You also may be wondering what in the world this has to do with writing or books or anything at all.

Unless you read or write outside (Which, by the way, is delightful. Wheelbarrows make exceptionally good cubbies. So do hammocks.), the author-species doesn't get out much. Especially during the winter months.

We need to.

It is a scientifically proven fact that humans need sunlight. It provides vitamin D, which helps against depression and moodiness and general gloom. Fluorescent lights have been known to facilitate depressed emotions. And just being outside, even if you can't see the sun-- like with all the rainy weather we've had these past weeks-- is a balm and a restorative.

In the past month I have recently finished my latest book. This meant a lot of lunch-break writing sessions. I haven't gone outside to eat my lunch because of these as well as the fact that it's winter now, which means cold weather and more rain. So I've stayed indoors. I also, now having exited the collegiate world, haven't been walking between classes and all across campus as I have been used to doing for the past four years. Soaking up even an hour or two of sun just by being a pedestrian.

It also gets dark by the time I leave work, with the time change, so I get up and go to work in the dawn light, and I go home in the twilight, leaving no time for sunlight at all.

I have been feeling gloomy and melancholy and frankly morbid for the last two weeks without knowing why.

I spent my lunch break outside a bit, yesterday, just thinking, praying, musing, and turning my face up to the sun. I felt like I had been plugged in to an electrical circuit.

We need the sunlight. Especially because we're writers. We divulge so much of our creative energy onto the pages, but if we give ourselves no way or rebooting, we're going to be running on empty way faster than we would otherwise.

And even just a few minutes a day, just an hour, can make a huge difference between none at all.

Go outside. Breathe the fresh air. Feel some sunlight. And put on your sunscreen. But get your vitamins for the day and recharge a little.