The Turtle Will Write

The Turtle Will Write

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Friday, March 27, 2015

I Am Not a Feminist

With the release of Daughter of Anasca, this suddenly seems important to say. DoA has many capable female characters, so it's tempting to think I'm all about woman power.

I'm not. I'm about people power.

I don't think woman are oppressed any more than anybody else. I don't think we need special laws, or special interests, or special salaries, or whatever. I think every person is responsible for himself (yes, I even still use the masculine as a generic pronoun because that's how English works). I hate things like that test - whatever it's called, starts with "B" - that women dreamed up to quantify how much time women spend talking to each other about "not men" in movies. Every time I see a reference to that sort of nonsense, I want to put on an extra bra in protest. Stop telling me I'm oppressed. I'm not.

If I'm anything, I'm a female male chauvinist, because I do believe whenever possible, men should be "in charge." I find it sad that we live in a culture that thrives on emasculating men. This is a worldview issue for me, created not only by my family of origin, but my training and education. I wish more men would step up and stop letting the women do all the work.  

I didn't write DoA as a book about oppressed women overcoming society's unfairness, although I understand if some readers take that away. I wrote about two girls and two boys growing up. I put Cahnar and Spidraax in there because boys grow up, too, and they also have trouble doing it. 

That's all I have to say about that. Today, anyway. Breakfast is calling.

Applaud the jellyfish.




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Procrastination or Inspiration?

With the release of Daughter of Anasca and my current Farmville fast, I have no excuse not to be writing. My official WIP is Dangling Justice, the prequel to Star of Justice.

However, I just read a not-good book by a best-selling author about psychics in New Orleans, and it left me with a strong urge to write something better. I haven't felt an urge like this since college, when I listened to secular music and got writing ideas all day long.

TT: I've tried listening to secular music nowadays, but the stuff is so coarse and inappropriate, I don't want to write any stories it might inspire. 

The prequel to Dangling Justice, and the story that really started it all, is Past Ties. This idea also sparked 20 years ago, like Daughter of Anasca, and could be considered the first story I ever "finished." It was about 50K words and ended on a cliff-hanger, but I'd never written anything that long before with a continuous timeline.

Past Ties is more sci fi than fantasy, set in future Kansas and involving time travel, psychics and cyborgs, inspired by Arnold Schwartzenegger's Total Recall, Jon Larroquette's Second Sight, and a campy B movie called Jack's Back starring James Spader as identical twins (that remains unavailable on DVD, even though I check Amazon every year). Originally it was set on Mars and Earth. I ultimately scrapped it because a) it was melodramatic crap that served mostly to boost my word count to the magic one million, and b) because I didn't want to do the loads of research necessary for all that egghead stuff.



Anyway, I've realized a couple things. One, I write space opera, not sci fi. I don't claim to prognosticate the future or even accurately describe current scientific possibilities. All I want to do is suggest that certain things might be possible, and hopefully not be too wrong. Two, and I give credit to Kessie Carroll's guest post on NAF for this, I don't have to write a brick to tell this story. It might make a fine novella. I did have plans to write two other books to complete the story, so three novellas might first be ebooks and eventually, a combined print novel.

Finally, and most importantly, Past Ties makes Dangling Justice make sense. It introduces the main characters in their own element and explains why they end up causing so much trouble in Ah'rahk in the first place.

So, there's a good chance Past Ties will appear as an offering to the reading public. It may be the death blow to any future non-fantasy writing attempts on my part, but it might not. I do know a few die hard geeks I suspect would be happy to provide some balance on the science. Or mock the compost out of it. 


I'm transferring the file to Scrivener. I'm determined to let go immediately of every 20 year old word that doesn't fit in my new idea of what this story could be. I will accept the challenge. I will Spock my own fiver.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spock My Fiver

I saw this article on Facebook shortly after the death of Leonard Nimoy.

"Spocking the hell out of fivers" instantly became my happy thought of the day, combining both the idea of the stereotypically infinitely accommodating Canadians bucking the system and my favorite Vulcan (sorry, Tuvok, I loved Spock first) and his foray into the world of bad language (even-numbered Trek films don't suck). It also became my mission.

I began a one-woman campaign to bring "Spock my fiver" into the American lexicon. To do this, I offered definitions. The phrase must be useful, but also respectful of both the human Leonard Nimoy, and the Vulcan philosophy of logic and order.

"Spock my fiver" is the positive, which connotes "icing on the cake." To Spock my fiver is to do me one better, take it to the next level, put bacon gravy on those biscuits. It can also connote friendly one-upmanship, as in "you did that? I can Spock your fiver. I did this."

"Don't Spock my fiver" is the negative, which is still respectful but in the other direction. Telling a story and someone else finishes it, probably better than you would have? "Man, don't Spock my fiver." Akin to "Live long and don't steal my thunder."

I will autograph books to young writers with "Spock my fiver" as an encouragement to dream bigger than my success (not hard at the moment). I've already signed one, matter of fact. I will use it in at least one of my books, right alongside Solar Roadways.

I have made progress. Today, a co-worker used the phrase in context. Several Facebook Friends seem intrigued by the idea. I hope they, too, are spreading the seeds of the Canadian Vulcan fiver mythology. Perhaps, one day, it will find it's way into a Heavens to Betsy book. Dare I dream the Turtle may even have a footnote? What a fiver that would Spock.

Spread the word, my friends. Spock my fiver. Spock the hell out of my fiver.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Daughter of Anasca

It's done. And by "done," I mean Daughter of Anasca is available on Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Unlike Star of Justice, this is a young adult fantasy, suitable for ages 12 and up (maybe younger, depending on the child). I wrote it as a stand-alone, but I have a few ideas that could end up a sequel.

I plan to offer it on Barnes & Noble in print and Nook-compatible, but that "next thing" involves another learning curve. I'll tackle it with the slow and steady approach.

Here's the print link and here's the Kindle link.

This all happened this weekend when, quite ahead of schedule, my second proof copy got delivered on Saturday. Since it looked fine, and I'd done everything else, I clicked "approve proof," and BAM!, it was published. Bit startling, really.

I now have to figure out if there's a way to order bulk copies that doesn't involve me paying taxes twice. Until I've solved that conundrum, which involves reading a 52-page pamphlet (HA!) by the Kansas Dept of Revenue, I won't be ordering bulk books. If you want it now, order it from Amazon, and I'll sign your copy next time we see each other.

I did want to post a little excerpt from the book:  

Special Thanks

To my final proof readers, Theresa, Kat and Hilary, who found everything from missing periods to giant plot holes.

To my friend, Grace, for all her encouragement and help.

To Matt, for swooping in like a tech-wielding superhero,

To Larissa, who not only read the first and final drafts, but provided the accountability to finish, and

Finally, to my God, for limitless love and grace. 
Thank you, also, to my fans, whoever you are. This story isn't set in Caissa's world, but I hope you like it, too. My next project is back to Ah'rahk for the Star of Justice prequel.

Keep the faith.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Progress Report

You all know I'm trying to self-publish. This is a thing at least a dozen of my author friends have done, so it shouldn't be that hard.

Enter the Turtle.

I am not an autodidact (self-teacher). Thank you, Katherine Coble for an introduction to that word. I am a teacher. I would rather teach a man to fish than fish for him, but everything I know I learned from a teacher somewhere in my life. I don't forge new paths. I don't test every button or option in a program to see what it does. I don't fiddle with every setting because I can't remember how to replicate those results. I follow the manual.

Grace taught me the margins that have worked for her in the 28 (?) books she has published in the last six years. I discovered my ancient Word program doesn't convert to PDF specs that CreateSpace wants. I could just keep sending huge files to all my friends to convert for me, but I don't want to do that for the rest of my publishing life. I found a Friend who helped me find LibreOffice, free software that does convert to CreateSpace specs. Fabulous.

New hurdle: the LibreOffice converted files add 8 pages to the finished CreateSpace project and I can't figure out why, how, or if it matters. It does matter a bit because it makes the book bigger, which affects cost and cover size (a whole other learning curve). Are eight pages that big a deal? Not necessarily, but before I just sigh and accept, I'd kinda like to know what I'm doing or not doing that's causing it.

I'm not suicidally frustrated, like I was when Star of Justice was being prepared. The benefit of total control is I can walk away and sling mulch if I need to. But I really thought this would be easier - the number one cause of conflict in life, by the way: false expectations.

I'm going to keep trying, like Edison with his light bulb, and tonight I'll convert and upload the 18th (at least) attempt in the last six days to CreateSpace. Eventually, by accident, I'll stumble on the right magical formula to please the Machine Overlords, and with my newly acquired experience points, I'll  move on in the Publishing level of the writing game I call The Swamp.

On a more satisfying note, God finally provided a dump truck load of free wood chippings on my lawn, so I have plenty of mulch to sling when it all gets too be too much.

Keep the faith.