Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting Ready To Publish

A Clouded Skye is now closer than ever to getting published.  I have come up with the cover and now only have editing the document's format to be friendly with most eReader's formats.  I am studying the Smashwords style guide now on how to get it conversion ready.  I'll also be looking into the Amazon Kindle and Barnse and Noble Nook formats and processes too.  I'm so excited!

To whet your appetite for my debut novel, here is a sneak peak at the cover.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This morning I finished my Awakening Short Story as part of my writing buddies' group project/anthology.  I had a blast writing it, especially the Instant Messenger conversation between the main character, Jackie Vandersol and her Mother.

It is the story of a college girl who after the Mayan Calender ended in 2012, awakened to discover that plants grew all around her.  She tries to start her new semester at the University of California, Berkley but discovers that her "gift" causes way too much trouble when grass and flowers are sprouting in the carpet of her classroom.  She has to either drop out and take online courses, some of which aren't available for her major, or learn how to control her gift fast so she can stay in school.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Club and Science Fiction

Today our book club had its monthly meeting and we reviewed Scott Westerfield's Uglies. The genre for the month was science fiction and the woman who picked the book apologized for it not being science fiction. Since I thought the book was science fiction, I asked her what science fiction meant to her.

She said, "Robot's and spaceships. This was just a distopia." I explained that many science fiction stories are also distopic stories. Robots and space ships is a terribly myopic view of a vast genre. Uglies is a distopia story set in the future with sophisticated cosmetic surgery and medicine, awesome hoverboards, and ultra efficient solar charging technology. Definitely science fiction.

Her comments reminded me of an NPR interview I listened to once about a Canadian author who wrote stories about a distopic future filled with genetically engineered foods. In the interview the author said that she wrote speculative fiction and when the interviewer from NPR said science fiction, she got offended at her work being considered science fiction. Her stories had neither robots or spaceships.

My friend from my work's book club simply was unfamiliar with the genre and was pleasantly surprised to learn that science fiction could include such a broad range of subjects and sub-genres. She liked the book as I did and felt relieved that her selection didn't offend us die-hard sci fi geeks.

The author on NPR, however, felt science fiction was beneath her since she wrote about the human condition and wrote Literature with a capital 'L'. Even though her novels were clearly science fiction, she refused to admit it. I feel sorry for those who have such bigoted views about some flavors of fiction (especially when they're swimming in the genre they purport to hate).

I'm not exactly a horror or crime noir novel kind of guy but I consider them just as valid as my preferred science fiction or fantasy. There is plenty of room in the boat for good writing of any kind. So, can't we all just get along?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting Together With Friends

For the first time in way too long, I met with a few of my childhood friends. We talked writing among other things. We have all been writing lately and may collaborate to create an anthology in our Awakening setting, which was also a collaboration we did about a decade ago. It felt good to connect with creative friends who help feed your own creativity.

My father, who is an incredible journalist and editor himself, has my Clouded Skye manuscript. It will soon be getting additional cleanup in its path to publication. It's sequel, Children of a Clouded Skye will get the next rinse cycle before being sent out to the world.

I'm both excited and a little nervous. I've been writing and nurturing these stories for years and only now will I be sending my babies out into the cruel world to walk or fall on their own two legs. I'm hoping to have my first ones available to the public by August. Fly little ones, fly!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Native American Legends - Coyote, Adahay, And The Sun's Fire

My nephew had a camp out to celebrate his birthday. While sitting around the fire pit, I thought we needed to have those wonderful stories you're supposed to tell around fires. I tried to think of all the camp fire stories I knew and it turned out I really didn't remember much. I need to make a better effort at studying and remembering folk legends and myths from many cultures to add to my story telling mental library. It can feed the creative well I draw from. Since I had nothing, I decided to try my hand at inventing a story.

While everyone roasted marshmallows I set to work on creating my campfire story. I channeled the spirit of my Cherokee ancestors to aid me. The fire spoke to me and shared it's story. I in turn shared it with my nieces and nephews.

I used elements remembered from other native american legends and myths such as talking animals, natural features of the world, and explanations for why things are the way they are. Whether a true legend or not, I wanted a tale that gave the feeling of truth, something that might have been told by the tribal story tellers to all that would listen. So here it is.

Coyote, Adahay, And The Sun's Fire

Coyote feared the end of each day when the Sun went down. He feared the darkness for in those days there was no moon to give light to the night. Being a cunning creature, he approached Adahy, a vain and gullible human from the tribes of man.

Coyote said, "Adahy, do you fear the darkness when the Sun sleeps? Do you get cold while he dreams?"

Adahay reluctantly replied, "Yes, I do get cold in the dark." Although he too feared the dark, he did not wish to admit it to Coyote. Brave warriors do not show fear.

Coyote said, "I have an idea that will bring light and warmth to man in the darkness. Are you swift on your feet?"

Adahay boasted, "I am the swiftest man on earth. I could even outrun you Coyote."

Coyote said, "Oh I am sure you could. But could you outrun the Sun?"

"Of course. The sun travels so slowly across the sky. I could beat even him."

"Then here is my plan to make you the greatest and most beloved of all men. When the Sun sleeps, go east to where he rises in the morning. Take a large branch and stab him when awakes. Then run away before he catches you and give his fire on your branch to your people and to your friend Coyote. You will easily outrun him and be safe."

Adahay liked the idea of being the greatest of all men. He agreed to take man's fire. He found a good dry branch and marched east through the night to where the Sun would awake. Just as the Sun rose from the earth, he thrust his branch into him, lighting the branch.

The Sun howled in fury and chased after Adahay. Adahay was swift but behind him, the sun burned everything in his path to reach the man that stole Sun's fire. Adahay raced high into the sky to protect the world from burning as the sun gave chase.

Other men and women saw the fields and trees burning along the sun's path on the ground and stole some with their own branches and returned it to their tribes. Sun was so focused on Adahay that he did not notice the others taking from his trail of fire.

Eventually the sun tired for the night but Adahay was so frightened that he kept running across the sky, holding up the burning branch with its silvery blue flame.

Coyote found the silvery blue flame comforting and climbed a tall hill to speak to Adahay. He said, "The sun only pretends to sleep! Keep running!"

And Adahay did run. Every night he raced across the sky to get away from the angry Sun and every night, Coyote howled up at him telling him to keep running so the Sun wouldn't catch him.

Every twenty nine days or so, Adahay's branch burns so dim it becomes impossible to see from the earth. Only on that night does he find another branch to keep the fire from burning out completely.

And that is how man obtained fire before he learned how to make his own. And that is why the fire of the moon grows and fades each month as it races across the sky in Adahay's hand. And that is why coyotes continue to howl at the moon to this day.