Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fireflies and Stars...

I just came in from taking the great Pasha Zack for his late night constitutional, and I want to share the magic while it’s still fresh. While the Pasha was indulging his passion of playing tag with his harem girl, Maxie Cat, I was indulging my passion of watching stars and fireflies. It doesn’t do any good to try to watch the Pasha at night. He’s blacker than ink, so I might as well look at the skies while he and Maxie have their fun.

Tonight is beautiful and clear. It’s the sort of late spring evening when crickets sing, and children once loved to be outside, playing hide and seek, watching the stars, and catching fireflies. No matter how many fireflies we caught, we always released them before bedtime. I wonder if children do that any more. Sometimes, as it is tonight, it was a little difficult to tell where the fireflies ended and the stars began. The only difference seemed to be that the fireflies moved and we thought the stars didn’t. I still love it!

The Science Fiction Romance that I am writing was born out of the most dangerous question which a fertile imagination can conceive... What if? (More about that another time.) I played with that question until I had worked out the major concepts of my future world. But fleshing out scenes and characters required more work.

It was just such a night as this, several years ago, when I thought... How would a person react to seeing stars for the very first time? What if that person came from a world which was largely covered with clouds? What would that person think of fireflies if he or she came from a superstitious world which had no insects? They were far too good premises to let slip away. So, in the book they went, and not to be released at bedtime.

This time of the year, if you have the opportunity to go out shortly after dark, and look directly overhead, Leo is just past zenith (straight up, and a little to the west). You will see two bright objects fairly close together. One is the star, Regulus, and the other is the planet, Saturn. If you watch them carefully, over a number of nights, you will see Saturn gradually moving East in relation to Regulus. If you have access to a telescope, Saturn is still at its nearest and quite spectacular. Don’t miss it.

Since the astronomy plays a huge role in my future world, many of my future posts will have more about how stars became an obsession of mine. If you would like to learn more, the link in my Very Fun list is an excellent place to start.

Happy viewing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day...

Today is Memorial Day, a day that I think should be very important in the life of every American.

We Americans have three supremely patriotic holidays. One, of course is Independence Day, falling on the 4th of July, which celebrates the Nation as a whole. Veterans Day, falling on November 11th, honors all who have served in our armed forces. The other is Memorial Day, falling on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day is the day on which we officially remember all of those who have fallen while serving in the armed forces of our country. I thank God everyday for these men and women have stood between us and tyranny for the last 232 years. They died to protect the freedom that we hold dear. Please take a moment today, and everyday, to ask God to protect the brave young people who are willing to give their lives to preserve our lives and freedoms. They are the real heroes.

If you have the inclination, and would like to help our servicemen and women, and their families, the following links are all highly rated by charity watchdog organizations:


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

P.S. I know that I am a day late and a dollar short, but it was brought to my attention that I didn't make something clear in this post, and I want to correct it. When we in America speak of honoring our armed service members who have fallen in the line of duty, we speak of our Army, Navy, Merchant Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. But, also local communities honor members of the Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics, who are constantly in the line of duty, and on whom we all depend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Writers SCREW UP!

This picture typifies what I think when writers betray their fans' trust. Duh! OK, this morning, I was over at RBL, and one of my sisters there brought up something that made me want to RANT.


I am jumping in here because it seems that it is happening, A LOT. For me, it all seemed to begin a few years ago when Bill Panzer (Highlander) and Josh Whedon (Buffy, Angel) started killing off their major characters. Don't get me wrong, I have truly enjoyed their twisted humor. Now other directors are doing the same. This past week I have seen it happen on at least three of my favorite shows. By favorite, I mean the only shows that I make the time to watch. Anyway, this really ticked me off. You would think that the writers would have a little more imagination than: "Gee, we need a cliff hanger. Gee, let's kill somebody important off! Gee, let's kill an important relationship! Gee, let's have one of our main characters do something REALLY awful."

Folks, what is shocking one time, gets OLD by the tenth. As you all know, I have been taking beaucoup classes in writing from various chapters of RWA. One of the things that is emphasized (without fail) by the successful writers teaching the classes is:

"Thou shalt NOT break the contract with the reader!"

It is OK to have real risk. It is OK to occasionally have a sacrificial lamb to emphasis that risk. But when something irredeemable happens to one of our favorite characters... Writers and Directors... you and your program/book are so SOL.

Writers have a responsibility to readers and viewers not to destroy that which their fans love... at least not without offering them something better. It makes them angry! Angry fans will no longer invest their time or their money.

Now that I have had my RANT:

1) Which shows have really ticked you off lately (besides Desperate Housewives, of course)?
2) Which shows can you think of that have been killed off because of this violation of the fans' trust?
Happy writing,
Trying to Write Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Education of a Writer

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

Several years ago, when I first started writing seriously, and by that I mean with the intent to sell, I needed and approach... for a lot of things. The first question that my online friends asked me was, “Are you a member of Romance Writers of America?” I was not. I had no idea what RWA was! They told me that I simply must join. MUST? Being the ignorant, innocent, trusting soul that I am, I thought, “Hmm, perhaps I had better check into this group.”

Therefore, I went online and found the RWA website. “Gee, they look pretty legit. I wonder if they have a local chapter? Gee, they do! The Magnolia State Romance Writers.” I went to the MSRW website. Wow! They’re having a meeting this week! I e-mailed the local President and asked if it would be all right if I attended. She graciously extended an invitation. It was the beginning of many friendships, without which, I do not know what I would do.

Let me tell you about Romance Writers of America. If you are an aspiring writer, like I am, an organization of this sort is essential to your success. It is an association of published and unpublished writers, from all over the world. Its only aims are the promotion of the Romance genre and helping one another. That specifically includes new writers. The philosophy seems to be, “Come play in our sand box, and we’ll just make it bigger for everyone.” The organization has an enormous mentoring program. Every member that I have met has been unfailingly generous with their time and advice. In a short blog, I cannot begin to list all of the benefits that are offered. To tell you the truth...I don’t even yet know all the benefits offered. I’m still finding new ones everyday. However, I would like to focus on one, which to me is priceless.

In my last blog, I quoted Edward Gibbon about lacking training and knowledge. I was not kidding. I have an undergraduate degree in English from a fine college, and yet not a single class in creative writing. Not only that, but it was forty years ago! How much do you remember from last week? The important thing for me is that RWA has online chapters, which offer classes, at reasonable rates, taught by experts. These classes cover everything from the nuts and bolts construction of a story through the organization of the global publishing industry. Do you want to build a world in another galaxy? There are classes available. How does the FBI work? Take a class. Did you say that you don’t have a marketing pan? Quick, you have to take the class.

Over the last year, I have been OD-ing on classes taught through the Outreach International (OIRW) chapter of RWA. I cannot praise this group and its wonderful instructors enough. However, they are not the only branch of RWA to offer classes. In the list, Very Useful; Very Important, on the left side of this page you will find links to many wonderful writing organizations. Many have free online articles that the novice writer will find invaluable. Please, surf the list. You won’t be sorry.

Happy writing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How I began to write a book:

Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.
Edward Gibbon (1737 - 1794)

And what is the obvious thing to be learned from that quote? Why, of course - Nothing ever changes.

I told you in my Out of this World... post, that I had resolved to write a book. But what in the world was I going to write about? First, I had to decide on a time period. A writer, like the dragons of Pern, must know when she writing. I didn't want to write a Contemporary. I already had enough troubles in my own Contemporary without focusing on my characters' troubles. I needed to distance myself from any troubles with which I could even remotely identify.

Hmm. What about a Historical? NO! Sure as God made little green onions, the first person to read my story would turn to me and say, "That word was not even invented until a hundred years later! How dare you?" At the time that I was conceiving this idea of writing a book, I didn't feel like doing the research, much less the results of my errors.

Therefore: I decided to write a Science Fiction Romance, set so far out in the future that no one could say that it wasn't possible. I should be safe, right? No. I have always hated plot holes and I began to research astronomy and to read articles on astro-physics. The very thing I had tried to avoid, now became an obsession. Hoist upon mine own petard!

Aspiring writers, heed this cautionary tale. Even worse is to come.


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Road to Sin... I Mean Writing Romance

"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." ~ Gene Fowler

Several years ago, I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory for an injury. One pill almost cost me my life, and most of what little mind I ever had. I was allergic to the medication. Among the consequences was cognitive impairment on top of my existing dyslexia. I suddenly had trouble making sense of sentences that I had known by heart. I had just enough mind left to realize that if the brain is a muscle, it was use it or lose it time.

A friend gave me a computer, and patiently taught me how to use it. (John, I will forever be grateful.) I spent months relearning how to play Solitaire before being able to go online. Since I have always liked the Romance genre (I needed a Happily Ever After very badly.), I quickly found a wonderful group of Romance readers, RBL Romantica. They were racy, funny, kind, and very supportive. The wallpaper on their board is enough to raise the dead. At that time the dead was me! A large percentage of the group are published writers. They immediately encouraged me to use posting as a mental exercise. That first post, of one short paragraph, cost me more than three hours of sweat, but it started me on a path of disciplining my thoughts into coherent written form.

Thank you, Ladies of RBL Romantica.


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Friday, May 2, 2008

Trouble in River City...

Linnea Sinclair just doesn't understand what she's done. She has allowed her kitty, Miss Doozy to pimp her next Science Fiction Romance, Shades of Dark, coming out this Summer. It's the sequel to her RITA Award winning Gabriel's Ghost. But no. She has shamelessly used her child for self-promotion. Follow this link and see if I'm not telling the truth.

You know, it wouldn't be so bad if Miss Doozy was a real dog... But... oh, no, that isn't the politically correct term. She's actually a very sexy kitty. But this is where the problem lies. You see, my son, the Supreme Pasha Zackery (above, when he was six months old) sleeps across my shoulders when I'm working. Being the intelligent Poodle that he is, he immediately took notice of the sexy Miss Doozy with the object of adding her to his harem. Ten pounds of testosterone can be such a trial to a mother. He just will not take no for an answer. He sees no problem with an inter-species romance and can't understand why Linnea or Miss Doozy would not be thrilled with his overture. Now he's asking me to let him to pimp my book. I told him, "It isn't finished yet!" Take a look and tell me, do you think he would make a good spokesman? If a cat does it, shouldn't he?


Trying to Write Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future