Uncategorized

Submitting my stories

Posted on

It’s been busy the last month. I participated in #PitchWars 2018 for my newly polished manuscript of The Revolt on Mars. I’m still waiting to see if I get a request for the full manuscript, but I need to stay busy until mentors are announced in October.

On Sept 7 I submitted IX – The Messenger to #PitMad and got one like. After that an agent tweeted she was accepting queries and IX – The Messenger fit her wishlist, so I submitted a query there as well.

Now I’m working on editing some of my short fiction after some rejections and additional critiques. I’m not sure my perspective fits very well with recent SF but I’m writing what comes out of my own experience.

 

Uncategorized

PitchWars is on!

Posted on

So I did it. I submitted The Revolt on Mars to PitchWars. It’ll be a month before I know for sure whether a me mentor chooses me. Until then I languish here in limbo. Please read and comment on my short fiction. It’ll give me something else to think about.

Uncategorized

Help! I need somebody!

Posted on

This week I am obsessed with #PitchWars. My first completed novel, IX: Awakening, has languished in Rejectistan for over a year. I took some writing courses to help polish my writing and mashed up two short pieces into The Revolt on Mars, which ended up being 71,000 words. Revolt is the piece I am readying to submit to #PitchWars in the search for a mentor who can help me make my writing more likely to be published. Everything is pretty much ready to submit next week, after which I will have a month to wait before I find out if I have attracted a mentor. This process is higher probability than querying an agent, but it’s still very low probability of success. When I was a Navy helicopter pilot a lot of my fellow Naval Aviators wanted to fly for the airlines. When I left active duty, one airline advertised for six pilots and got over 8,000 applications. There is no way this can be weeded down to 6 without a huge helping of arbitrariness and personal connection. Same with writing. So the probable #PitchWars odds of about 100:1 against isn’t as bad as it might be.

While I wait I am working on a third novel and trying to get several finished short stories published. I just joined critters.org as a way of getting more feedback on my writing. I plan to critique some short stories and submit a few of my own for critique. It will keep me focused on writing and make the time go faster.

Fingers crossed!

 

Uncategorized

Confusion with Names

Posted on

Names are more than a convenient reference to a person. Names have content, meaning. I just read a Facebook thread about a made-up character name that evoked an unbelievable potpourri of reactions and wondered what the name of an alien who came to Earth would do when it resonated with some cultural reference to (some of) us. Think  L U Cipher.

I’ve had fun with character names. Ignatius Xavier Ryan was based on the names of Jesuits I knew and their family members. It turns out IX, his first initials, are the the Greek initials of Iesus Xristos, an entirely unintended consequence.

I have detectives in my one sci fi detective short whose names were fun to create. Ken Bell and Jacqueline Russell were partners. Ken has encyclopedic knowledge (ken = know) and has good ideas (the bell representing the sound of a good idea arriving). Jackie Russell is hyperactive to the extreme, full of energy and ready to react to almost anything. Sophia Weiss (wisdom knowledge) is a truly wise detective partnered with Virgil Goodenough.

In a haunted house story, Amanda Hughes (lovable spirit) is a smart real estate agent pining for her true love Ezekiel Robbins (god strengthens / fame bright). I wanted his name for the positive and negative implications, not its meaning, but he turned out to be unexpectedly strong for a geek and very bright.

An android named Jay Myriad in my story about an android with memory loss was a tribute to Eric Frank Russell, one of my favorite authors in my early days. He had a character named Jay Score, who turned out to be a robot with the designator J.20. Jay Myriad, in addition to being a member of a large class of androids, was actually J1000.

In a story about the outcome of climate change, my main character was named Brunna, from Brunhilde, the name of a Valkyrie. Brunna was the one who chose who survived from an apocalyptic battle.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a name that sounds right and also has the right meaning. A character name I find myself going back to is Jack. It’s popular, strong, terse and a slang word for man in the middle ages. Also the names of my father and my youngest grandson, both of whom are “as independent as a hog on ice.” I never knew exactly what that phrase of my father’s meant, but it surely conjures up an image of a new but determined ice skater.

Uncategorized

Hunting in the Woods

Posted on

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my 8-year old grandson. He wanted to write a story and asked for help. We’ve written four short chapters of Hunting in the Woods involving him and his three young cousins. I read it to all the cousins at a recent family dinner. Beatrix, who’s 10, listened and then patiently told me that while she likes it, it’s mostly ‘he said, she said”. She suggested with infinite tact that it might improve if I wrote how the characters were feeling too.  She reads and writes a lot. I think she’s going to be published before I will.

Uncategorized

Camp NaNoWriMo

Posted on

This month (July 2018) I’m participating in Csmp NaNaWriMo for the first time. I’m interested in finishing off my novel WiP The Revolt on Mars. It should be an interesting experience.

Uncategorized

Mars Ain’t What It Used To Be

Posted on

In 1964 NASA retrieved pictures of Mars from Mariner 4, the first close-up images that revealed Mars to be (seemingly) a dry, dead world. The striking Mariner Valley (Valles Marineris) was one of its most important features. It started our understanding of Mars as we know it today.

At the time I was working as a courier and chauffeur for NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. When the Mariner team came to DC to be feted by Congress and the President, I was assigned to drive a few of them from venue to venue. My first trip with them took them to Congress, where they were in a hearing for hours. I knew a long wait would be boring so I brought a paperback novel to read: Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. On the cover the backdrop showed a ruins remniscent of Ozymandias’ kingdom, fallen marble pillars and broken-down walls, with shifting red sands beyond. In the background a giant, green, four-armed Martian with a four-handed broadsword as long as a car was moving toward the viewer. In the foreground was John Carter, somewhat larger and more muscular than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, with a similarly long two-handed broadsword. In the middle ground was a buxom, scantily clad maiden, the eponymous Thuvia.

After the hearing, the team was in a voluble and excited mood. One of the engineers decided to join me in the front seat. He hopped in with a grin and spotted my book which was lying face down on the seat beside me. He picked it up, turned it over to see he cover, then paused just a beat.

“Look, guys,” he said with a broad smile, turning to his colleagues in the back seat. “We were wrong. There is life on Mars after all.” Haw haw haw.

I’ve never forgiven them.

For a glimpse of what Mars might be, check out Life on Mars.

Uncategorized

Climate Remediation

Posted on

Earth’s climate is changing rapidly due to the increasing load of CO2 in the environment. While governments have addressed the problem, they have failed to stop its trajectory toward an unguessable future. InIX: Creation, the prequel to my World of IX series, a group of researchers genetically modify their own children to have extremely long life and high intelligence, hoping that their extended time horizon and deep insights into climate science will allow they to find a solution that eludes their parents and national governments. By the time the Young, as the gen-mod children are known, are adolescents they have far surpassed the technical prowess of their parents and normal siblings. Unfortunately, they are still adolescents. The solution they devise is to release a package of lethal viruses globally to virtually exterminate humanity. They plan to stay alive with a small cohort of others to remediate the climate after humanity is no longer contributing to the problem. But they split along gender lines about whether to do a partial release of the virus to blackmail national governments into acting or to do a global release and settle the issue themselves. To resolve their disagreement they enlist Brunna, a star geneticist who works with the Young’s parents but is part of neither group, to break the deadlock. Brunna  has 24 hours to  decide the fate of humanity.

The short story IX:Creation is currently being marketed to my favorite sci fi magazines.

Uncategorized

An android with dementia?

Posted on

In my latest story Jay Myriad, an android, is suffering from irreversible memory loss which will destroy his current personality. He enters a memory care facility as its first emergent person client. There he meets Ray Carney, a human angry that an android has been admitted and takes up a bed a human might use. Myriad attempts to befriend Carney and is rebuffed. A later encounter late at night in a common room gives Myriad an idea of where Carney’s antagonism arises. A subsequent health event illuminates what they have in common.

November Skies is currently being submitted for publication.

 

Uncategorized

Far future

Posted on

I have a story set in a far future in which all record of humanity has been lost. A  collective intelligence compiling a history of the universe discovers that, although Sol should have had intelligent life, no record exists that shows it participated in galactic civilization. A collective committee journeys to Sol and finds a museum on the North Pole of the Moon. The Rosetta  Stone that can unlock the mystery of a spacefaring civilization that never achieved interstellar travel is found in an ancient artifact from the dim prehistory of the Hemmen, an intelligent species that arose near Sol.

I am currently revising it to account for the collision of the Milky Way with Andromeda.