Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review: MOONSTRUCK by Susan Grant

Last week, I got a good-goodie in the mail. :-D I won a copy of Susan Grant’s MOONSTRUCK from the Galaxy Express Blog. Not only that, but Heather, the GE Mistress, listed me as one of the future Science Fiction Romance writers to watch. MOONSTRUCK and dumbstruck all in one day. LOL Thank you Susan and Heather. And you, inquiring reader, may find their links in my sidebar. Enjoy.

Well, I have finally finished reading MOONSTRUCK (not easy to do when one is trying to blog and write a book at the same time). Although I think that CONTACT may still be my favorite Grant, MOONSTRUCK is a close second. Time and rereads will eventually make all clear. In any case, I highly recommend MOONSTRUCK as fun Space Opera and Science Fiction Romance, with some serious underlying themes. Susan did a really good job of exploring a wide range of emotions in this book. Being a former military officer, and presently an airline pilot, she created a fully believable military world in which her characters could live.

For me, the characterization in MOONSTRUCK was its strongest point. Susan took a gutsy gamble in introducing her heroine as a cold blooded user. It was a gamble which pays off. This was the trick for me: as an author, she made me immediately wonder why the heroine, Admiral Brit Bandar, was behaving in this manner. Brit fascinated me the same way that she fascinated the hero, Finn Rorkken. She is the victim of a terrible grief, and is coping to the best of her abilities. The moment that she truly won my heart was when I realized that she was trying to be fair in spite of all prior prejudices. I admired her for that.

MOONSTRUCK is a good study of the recovery from grief. Brit is hard, but events have shaped her. She changes and grows throughout the book. Finn also has to confront his prejudices, which come from an unexpected source. I liked that these two adults acted professionally. I liked that Finn was always trying to do what was best for his crew and for Brit. I liked that Finn didn’t play the tortured hero. It was refreshing to see a practical man.

Happy reading,

Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Sunday, July 27, 2008

For the Love of Words

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain

There is something about finding the precisely correct word that makes the heart sing. Poets are the consummate masters of the craft. Every word that a poet uses must be dense, with multiple layers of meaning; and, the poet deserves the highest praise, for his very reason for writing is to make his reader’s heart sing.

On the other hand... there is little that is more jarring to a reader than to be cruising through a book, and to encounter a word which is obviously taken from a Thesaurus, with little understanding of the nuances of the word. The glaring intents of this scenario are: 1) not to repeat a word too often; or, 2) to show that the writer knows some 'really big' words. The result is generally ludicrous.

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” ~ Stephen King

As you can see, some authors seem to advocate throwing the Thesaurus away. But, that may not be absolutely true. It would be rather like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Thesauruses are wonderful tools for expanding one’s mind and vocabulary, to say nothing of being sheer fun. It's just that like ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, Thesauruses should be used with caution... AND A DICTIONARY! A writer who does not fully understand all the implications of the word which he/she plans to use, is playing with fire, or perhaps a bucket of water when the real intent was to light the fire. Wrong in either case.

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~ Hart Crane

I make no claim to the mastery of words that a poet must exercise. All that I can say is that I love words. I am a merely writer of plain prose. I simply try to choose the correct word to convey my ideas in the clearest possible manner. The correct and careful use of words is one of the foundation stones of civilization. We need to be careful of anyone playing fast and loose with our language.

May we all be discriminating in both our reading and our writing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Annd Heeereee's Sagittarius!!!

I think that I'm beginning to sound like Ed McMahon.

With the waning of the Moon, now is an excellent time for star gazing... that is, if you can see past the summertime haze, and city lights! Let's hope so.

This month, Sagittarius takes over center stage for the evening hours right after sunset.

Last month, I showed you how to find Scorpius. It has now progressed into the due South position, and will serve to show us the location of Sagittarius. After finding the great fish hook of Scorpius, look a little to the East. The next really bright object that you see is Jupiter. It is presently within the constellation of Sagittarius. Immediately to the West of Jupiter you will see a formation of stars that look like a 'teapot' (remember asterisms?). That is Sagittarius... well not all, but enough to know that you have found it.

To the ancient Greeks, Sagittarius was not just the Archer. He was the Centaur - who shot the Scorpion - who killed Orion - who... oh, never mind. Simply follow the top edge of the 'teapot's spout' (the arrow), and you will see that it points directly at Scorpius. There really is justice. The gods didn't allow Orion to go unavenged. *G*

However, myth is not the best thing about Sagittarius. When we look at Sagittarius, we are looking into the center of the Milky Way. The only reason that there is not an overwhelming glow from there is because there is so much dust between it and us. There is also a great, big, Black Hole there... eating, and eating... Cheery thought, huh? But, let your heart not be troubled. It is more than thirty thousand light years away. Even your grandchildren don't have to worry.

Happy viewing


Writing Science Fiction Romance

Real Love in a Real Future

Monday, July 21, 2008

Heads Up for Freebies...Limited Time!

If you like freebies as much as I do then here is a good one for you who like Science Fiction and/or Science Fiction Romance. Tor Publishing is offering some of their titles for free HTML or PDF download from the following URL:

From what I understand, this will only be available until July 27, 2008.

I downloaded Patti O'Shea's IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, and loved it. I had no idea what to expect because I had never before read any of Patti's work. It was magical. *G* Pun intended. Have fun, and if you have any problems, e-mail me, and I will send you another link. We can only hope that one of them works.


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed...

Thirty-nine years ago, today, man first set foot on a celestial body other than Earth. I was a student in college in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first stepped from the Lunar Lander, Eagle onto the face of the Moon, uttering the famous words, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

I have always loved this next picture of Buzz Aldrin, taken by Neil Armstrong. You can see the reflection of Armstrong in Aldrin's visor. Also you can see the reflection of the landing leg of the Eagle. I have cropped the picture somewhat in order that you see these reflections, but as a piece of photography, all I can say is, "Wow!"

It boggled my mind then; and, the fact that the foot print that you see here is still on the surface of the Moon today, continues to amaze me. Now when we look up at the Moon, we can actually say, we've been there. How cool is that? Hmmm... But with the price of gas what it is now, I can't see really myself going in the near future. I guess that I will have to live vicariously through my characters' adventures.
I hope that some of you will someday travel to the stars.
Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ways Reviews Can Help the Writer

I was recently reminded of the importance to the aspiring writer of something that I have done for many years. It has been a great education to me, and I highly recommend it for other aspiring authors. I read reviews of highly rated books. But I also read the reviews of poorly rated books. Why? I want to know what works, what doesn't work, and the reasons why. There are a lot of very smart reviewers out there. One might as well make use of their expertise.

In one of my online writer's loops, Lena Austin, a writer of erotica, went so far as to suggest to aspiring authors that they should become online reviewers. She has some very good points, and more on her website: Because of time constraints, I rarely review online, but analyzing is wonderful training for a writer. Her points about becoming an online reviewer were:

1. Professionally, you assimilate what works and what doesn't. Not just what matches your personal tastes, but what's being accepted by the publishers and why.
2. You get free books from all the publishers, so you get to study the house styles without paying a penny.
3. You get a recognized name in the industry.
4. Did I mention the free books? 'Nuff said, right?
5. Most of the review sites are backlogged and desperately need reviewers. This is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of this industry.

Thank you Lena for sharing your wisdom. And dear reader, you will find several links to excellent review sites listed under the Very Fun section of the side bar.

Happy writing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Coming Down from the Happy Dance...

If you are going to be a writer, you had better check your ego at the door and develope objectivity. Yep! You can give yourself a few days to celebrate the completion of a project; but, when the euphoria clears, you had better be able to look at your baby with clear eyes .

If you are lucky enough to have a few really good friends, they are guaranteed to tell you where your work needs a little more attention. You can either get your knickers in a twist, and say, "They don't understand. My baby is perfect." Or, you can suck it up, pull your lower lip off the floor and say, "Thank you God, that I have good enough friends that they will tell me the truth about how I can improve this prodigy of mine.

But you're not ready for the suck it up routine! That's understandable. Somebody just told you that your precious child has freckles. What do you do? Well, the first thing that you can do is to look around you, and make a list of the things that you have been neglecting in order to write said precious child. Then attack one item at a time, and check them off when they're completed. Checkmarks can make one feel wonderfully superior. That is exactly the frame of mind that one wants in order to make improvements in child prodigies.

Now I'am off to catch a few dustbunnies, and then make my Science Fiction Short Story, SCARS, even better, thanks to some really good friends' advice. Not only did they understand, but they knew what they were talking about. Thank you my friends for caring that I do my best.

Happy writing


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Monday, July 14, 2008

Best Wishes to France...

Best wishes to my readers in France on your Fête Nationale. Thank you, friends, for visiting my blog.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank France for all of its contributions to the world.

As an art teacher, I thank you for all of the great art and beauty that you have shared with the world.

As a writer and a daughter, I thank France for its writers. In particular thank you for the hours of enjoyment that Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas gave to my father as I read them to him when he could no longer read them for himself.

As a citizen of the world, I thank France for Louis Pasteur and for the lives that the French contributions to science have saved.

Thank you France, throw a great party.


Writing Science Fiction Romance

Real Love in a Real Future

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Summer Triangle...

Asterism: No, an asterism isn’t something vulgar. An asterism is a distinctive group of stars, but not a recognized constellation. The Big Dipper is an asterism within the Ursa Major constellation. In my experience, it’s often easier to spot the asterism and then puzzle out the constellation/s.

Tonight, through the magic of digital exaggeration, err...I mean manipulation, and the courtesy of Starry Night, I bring you one of the great asterisms of the summer sky – The Summer Triangle!

Soon after dark, look into the eastern sky. You will see one very bright star, Vega, and two more stars, lower down, that are not quite so bright. They are Deneb, to the North, and Altair, to the South. They form a huge right triangle, with Vega at the top right angle. This grouping of stars dominates the Northern Hemisphere’s summer sky and spans the Milky Way. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere will see it rise in the extreme North East.

As the evening progresses, and more stars appear, you should be able to see the three constellations that make up the Summer Triangle asterism. Vega is the anchor star of the Lyra (Lyre) Constellation. To the ancient Greeks, this was Orpheus’s magic harp, you know, the grandmother of J.K Rowling’s Hogwarts’ harp. Deneb is the tail feathers of Cygnus (the Swan) flying down the middle of the Milky Way. Follow the line of stars south from Deneb, which looks like a cross within the Summer Triangle, and you and you have all of Cygnus, who was either Orpheus, trying to get his harp back, or Zeus, out for an illicit tryst with Leda. It all depended upon who you listen to.
The last bright star of the Summer Triangle is Altair. It is the north point of a diamond shaped constellation named Aquila (the Eagle), which is flying up the side of the Milky Way toward Cygnus. Altair is the head or beak of Aquila as Zeus, again out for an illicit tryst, but this time with Ganymede, a Trojan boy. Looks to me like he dropped the poor kid, but what can you expect from a pervert. Zeus was a randy old goat, and not especially particular about where he randied. He was one of our original shape shifters, and I don’t think that it’s any wonder that his wife, Hera, was always in a murderous mood. You’ve really got to have sympathy for the woman even if she was a goddess.

Have fun, and happy viewing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm doing the Happy Dance!

I've been working diligently for some weeks on a short story set as a pre-prologue for my novel length Science Fiction Romance, THE HUSBAND. That's right, my novel has a title (in my mind at least). I had not actually finished THE HUSBAND; so, I would just tell people that I was writing a Science Fiction Romance. I hesitated, however, to claim the august title of writer. Until that crucial, orgasmic moment, when I would reach the end of a work, I still considered myself to be a Wirgin!

However, in the wee hours of this morning, I officially lost my Wirgin status. I typed THE END on my short story, "SCARS: An Excerpt from The Solaris System Watcher Chronicles". I are now a writer.

The Set-up:
Following a catastrophic war on Homeworld, humans have been scattered to other star systems within the galaxy. As these people adapted to their new worlds, first technology was lost, and over thousands of years, all memory of their origins on the Homeworld of Solaris System faded.

The remnant left on Homeworld have worked hard to reclaim their planet from devastation, and have turned it into a paradise. Technology has flourished, and they can now travel between the stars. Yet, they have never forgotten those who were exiled to other worlds. Therefore, the Watchers of Homeworld walk anonymously among those exiles, to monitor and to help them. But they are forbidden to interfere without permission.

The hero of SCARS is such a man. In SCARS, the hero, Joran, is called upon to rescue the only heir to a principality that is experimenting with freedom on a planet which has never known any freedom. In this rescue, Joran acquires the scars which his Lady will find in THE HUSBAND. What kind of man would willingly submit to torture in order to save a child... or even save an enemy?

As I told you, I started my blog, Frances Writes, as shameless self promotion as a writer. My next step in preparing to become a published author will be to build a website. SCARS is going to be a freebie on that website. I will keep you posted upon the progress of that endeavor. It's like when I started blogging, "Miss Scahlett, I don't know nothin' 'bout building no web sites!"


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Saturday, July 5, 2008

BLOGGING... The Ongoing Saga

Why am I doing this? It takes a lot of time!

Well, I'll tell you. Number One: Shameless Self Promotion. Yes, I know, sad but it's true. I am an aspiring writer. This is a business. I am soon going to have a manuscript to present to agents and editors. The first question that most agents and editors will ask is, "Do you have a web site or blog?"

Agents and editors want to know: 1) what an author's writing voice is like; 2) how an author will present themselves to the public; and 3) is an author is willing to help with his/her promotion. Do you begin to see a pattern here? Agents and editors!

But who else? You. I want to put my writing and name before you. If you like what I write here, perhaps you will look forward to reading my book when it's published. If you like what I write here, perhaps you will comment on my posts, and I will have a new friend. Therefore, I work really hard at making this blog a pleasant place to visit on your web rounds.

Artistically, it must be attractive, easy to navigate, and fun. Fonts need to be large enough to be easily read by anyone. Content must be applicable, and fun. My emphasis is on the business of becoming a published author. Next, I like to post about astronomy because it is fun and plays such a large part in my Science Fiction Romance. Today, I have added a cool widget on the phases of the Moon (another fun). Also, I love my pets and my garden, so you'll just have to put up with occasional post about them because I think that they are fun. See another pattern forming? I get a serious charge out of meeting people from around the world as they stop in and enjoy this blog with me. It is even better when you comment.

Frances Writes is step number one on my Promotion Game Plan. If you are an aspiring writer, develop your own Promotion Game Plan.

Happy blogging,


Writing Science Fiction Romance

Real Love in a Real Future

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, AMERICA !!!

Today is the day that we Americans celebrate the birth of our Nation. Some of you, around the world, may not know exactly what was involved. July 4, 1776 was the day that the Founding Fathers of this country began the process of signing The Declaration of Independence, legally separating us from English rule. Thus they bet their fortunes and lives on the dream of a better future for all mankind. Sometimes we have faltered in that dream. However, at other times, we have succeeded admirably. Our responsibility is to continue to do so.

Second only after the Bible, The Declaration of Independence is the most revolutionary document in the history of the world. In any time, it is a document, dangerous beyond belief, to those who would be tyrants. It challenges all men to be responsible for their government, and thus regulators of that government. Therefore, every American should know what The Declaration of Independence says.

It is one of my fondest dreams that every American would read both The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States at least once a year. What one does not keep in one's mind, one quickly forgets. I would want these two documents to be required reading for every school child at least once every year until they graduate. I would go so far as to say that I do not believe that a person should have the privilege of voting unless he or she can show knowlege of these two documents.

Upon signing The Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." That holds true today, just as it did in 1776.

If you have not read The Declaration of Independence recently, or if you never have read it and would like to find out what America was founded upon, go to the following URL and click on the "read transcript" button.

God bless America,

Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

On Writing Love Scenes...

Whenever I run across an article or a blog post which I think to be outstanding and relevant, I will pass it on.  This morning I visited Angela Knight's Blog and she had a wonderful post on writing love scenes.  Here is the link to her Blog:

Knight Errant

Thank you Angela for sharing your wisdom, and good luck for her new futuristic release, Warrior.  That is a great cover, BTW.

Happy writing,


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, thank you for visiting.

The times that I have visited Canada, was first by hydrofoil from Seattle to Victoria (a real blast, at over 60 mph over Puget Sound), and then the ferry across the Juan de Fuca Straight from Olympia to Victoria. Both trips were wonderful and I fell in love with the city and country. One of the big draws, for me, is Buchart Gardens. If you ever have the chance to go, do. It is a breathtakingly beautiful botanical garden in any season. You will find its link in my "Very Fun" side bar.

This picture was taken by a friend, Frank Heinish, in November 2001. He is an amazing photographer. Thank you Frank and Linda for sending them to me. Thank you John for taking me.

Enjoy life,


Writing Science Fiction Romance

Real Love in a Real Future