I found out just before I headed out of town last week that I was invited to attend Viable Paradise 17. VP is a week-long writer’s workshop held in Martha’s Vineyard where I’ll hopefully learn so much about writing that my head will explode. I’ll be workshopping the first two chapters of Forgotten Magic while I’m there so I’ll have to struggle not to change anything during the long couple of months until then. I’ve been working on a scene that I want to add at the end, a sort of post-climax wrap up. Hopefully that will keep me out of trouble for the couple of months until October.
A couple of other random pieces of news:
All of my books are half off over at Smashwords for the month of July. Get Broods of Fenrir for only $1.50 and Elements of Rebellion for $2.00. Just add the books to your cart and use the coupon code SSW50. Offer expires July 31st!
I saw Pacific Rim while on vacation (it’s kind of a tradition of ours to see movies while out of town, don’t ask me why) and while there were quite a few physics/science plotholes, I thought the movie did a great job of creating a male/female working relationship that wasn’t romantic. I’ve had a story brewing for a while that has a platonic relationship between the two main characters and that showed me that it can really work when done right. Sorry, no giant robots in mine… so far! No really, no robots. The story is a sort of western distopian right now, though it’s so early right now it’s hard to say what the final form will take. (more…)
Earth lies in ruins, destroyed by an unknown enemy. Humanity flees their burning homeworld, seeking a safe place to hide before they can be hunted down and eradicated.
Alliance Captain Michael Hane watches helplessly while his wife and unborn child fall victim to the random slaughter of Earth. With time running out, he is burdened by the last bits of humanity to find a way to stop this menace before it wipes the galaxy clean of every last human being.
And now, on to the interview: (more…)
This is a bit of a silly little story that was an exercise for my fiction seminar class last fall. The assignment was to take a story we had written previously in the course and change the point of view and style as much as we could while still maintaining the same storyline. I chose Plague Vector as the subject of my rewrite and decided to write from the point of view of one of the frogs. Terminal Velocity is the result of that exercise and an interesting story in its own right. I actually might revisit this one sometime soon and try to expand on the idea a bit because I like it so much.
This week’s science links are brought you to by the letters Z and Q and the number e.
ichi) An interesting article about Titan’s atmosphere and how similar (and different) it is to Earth’s. Proof that you don’t need to make up exciting new planets, there are plenty of real ones out there.
ni) I linked a while back about the plastic garbage patch we’re growing out in the Pacific Ocean. Well now some scientists have discovered we’re growing another garbage dump in the deep ocean. Sounds like something out of a horror story to me.
san) Pigeons can use technology too! A study demonstrates that pigeons can pass a simple intelligence test called the “string test” on a touchscreen. Watch the video linked in the article, it’s awesome!
shi) In Australia they are having a problem with feral cats are growing huge and eating anything that will fit in their mouths. This brings up interesting ideas about domesticated species and what might happen to them if humans are eliminated from the food chain. WARNING: Article contains pictures of dead cats. If that’s the kind of thing that upsets you don’t click.
go) To make up for the ugliness of the previous entry, here’s a beautiful time lapse video of the aurora over Crater Lake earlier this week.
I hope you enjoyed the quick tour around the world of science this week!
Hearts and puppies,
Edited to add: I had bookmarked this early on in the week and meant to pass it along here, but I forgot, so you get an extra bonus link! Robot bees. Nuff said.
I bet you thought I forgot about you, didn’t you? Come on. You can admit it. Well I didn’t! It just so happens I was actually writing something new. Since November last year I haven’t written anything but Forgotten Magic so I’m kind of relieved I actually felt the itch this week. I decided to change the name of this little column, because I like how Moore Writes sounds.
This is a bit of a character profile from something new. It will never make it into the book, but it’s part of my ‘getting to know you’ process to write out a few scenes with my characters just so I can get a sense of them and find their voice. Right now it feels like this will be a straight-forward distopian, but that could always change. This particular lady wakes several decades after some sort of cataclysm and finds the world very different from the one she fell asleep in. Only about a thousand word peek. I have to keep some mystery!
This is a completely unedited first draft, so please excuse the roughness.
Andi lifted her face into the sunlight and concentrated on blocking out the cacophony of sound behind her. The warmth of the sun drove the lingering chill from her body, but didn’t feel quite right. Not that she trusted the fragmented memories that rose like waves into her awareness, descending once again into the inky darkness of her subconscious too quickly for her to sense more than the vaguest of forms.
The droning alarm gave a final choked whine before cutting off once and for all. The silence left in its wake was almost disorienting after the constant noise. She shook her head, hoping to clear some of the fog that drifted there, but was only rewarded with a cloying dizziness that would have emptied her stomach if there had been anything inside. She rested her head against the metal door frame to avoid falling to her knees as her stomach heaved. Her hands shook as she drew in a harsh breath and steadied herself.
She looked around the room she had just passed through to reach the outside. Dark computer terminals, two chairs knocked to the ground, and a closet marked ‘emergency use only’, it had to be a control room for the complex she’d been in. She headed to the closet and fumbled with the latch for a moment before her fingers cooperated. She didn’t know what she’d hoped to find hidden away for just such an occasion, but inside there was nothing, not even a layer of dust.
“Figures.” The rough sound of her voice echoed in the empty room, upsetting the uneasy silence that had replaced the dying klaxon.
Andi didn’t dare go back to the room she’d woken in. The choking cloud of chemicals had almost done her in the first time. Then there were the forms she’d only barely made out in the darkness and confusion, mummified corpses entombed in enclosures exactly like the one she’d found herself in on waking. Curling fingers of dread gripped the back of her neck. With effort she willed the gruesome images away and concentrated on getting herself out of this alive. Though she was having trouble with her memory, at lease her sense of self was intact.
She checked the pockets of the white coveralls she wore and found nothing, not even pocket lint. The logo sewn into the right breast wasn’t one she recognized, the letters A and E inscribed in a circle in green and blue. She searched the drawers in the control room, coming up with a disappointing handful of paper clips and rubber bands that she stowed in the hip pocket of the coveralls.
Glancing back at the room passageway she’d entered through, she dismissed the idea of going back to scrounge a second time. She had no idea about the source of the black smoke, or what prolonged exposure might do to her. She returned to the exit and climbed the stairs to look outside, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the brightness. Cracked earth and scrub brush stretched to the distant horizon in every direction, unbroken by hills or trees.
A rumble from somewhere under her convinced her that she needed to get moving. She climbed the rest of the steps and hauled herself outside, crouching for a few seconds and looking around before standing. Even from the higher vantage point, nothing in the landscape stood out. Where the devil was she?
She strained to put together her memories of where she’d been before waking, but they eluded her. The harder she tried to grip them, the quicker they seemed to slip away. She filed that as a problem to deal with later when she had the luxury of time without the threat of something exploding under her feet. She picked out the largest shrub in her field of vision and moved toward it.
When she reached the bush, she snapped off a twig and sniffed—sagebrush. That narrowed her list of possible locations considerably. She planted the twig in the ground and marked where the shadow fell by scratching with her finger. She scanned the area around her as she waited for the shadow to move so she could figure out which way was which.
Black smoke billowed out of the hatch where she’d come out. She’d be able to use that as a landmark of her progress for a while. The aimless confusion she’d been mired in upon waking subsided somewhat—having a plan felt good. After a few minutes she determined she’d been heading north. Without knowing where she was, north was as good a direction was any, as long as she avoided walking in circles. She picked out another bush in the direction she wanted to move as a target, memorizing its shape before setting out again.
She kept her eye out for signs of water or habitation, but didn’t see either as she moved from one landmark to the next, until the rising smoke was only a speck on the horizon. The lack of wildlife concerned her more than the absence of human presence. In the worst deserts she’d encountered there was always a lizard or a bug scratching out a living under rocks or between shrubs. The evening sun was intense, but the temperature was bearable. She should have been able to find evidence of some animal life.
A more pressing issue was the speed with which she seemed to be dehydrating. It had occurred to her that whatever kind of tank they’d been keeping her in might not have kept her in top condition and that she might have started this stroll already partially dehydrated, but even so the symptoms were coming much too quickly.