Dec 22, 2011

I Want an Alien For Christmas

Best of the holiday season to you all!



See you in 2012!

Dec 19, 2011

Reframing and Repackaging

My perspective on my writing career received some reframing this year. All the changes in the industry made me pause and mull a number of things over. Meeting Lindsay Buroker was another shove in reframing my ideas about becoming a published author: I could do what I love and what I wanted to do. I could do it now. Thank you, Lindsay. If I can follow in her footsteps of success, I'd be thrilled. In one year she's sold over 10,000 ebooks. Woot, Lindsay!

The growth of the ebook industry, some positive rejection I'd been receiving from some of the big science fiction rags [SFWA worthy], and the uncertainty of the traditional publishing model led me toward taking my career into my own hands.

It began with releasing Plantgirl, Small Graces and Translations in late June. Free reads I initially released on Smashwords. They're now also up on Scribd and Feedbook. The point of releasing free reads is to get the work into as many hands as possible. I recently discovered reads can be uploaded to Goodreads, too. So, I'll get that together in the next couple weeks and get them there, too.

Putting out the Free Reads was a very positive and rewarding experience. I received a lot of feedback, and after adding the newsletter signup to the end of my stories, I've gotten people I don't know who want to be kept in the loop as to my future releases.

Downloads stagnated for a bit. I had never really liked the cover for Translations, but it was the best I could do at the time. I kept playing around with Paint.net though and began formulating a better idea. Then I stumbled across the perfect piece of art for it and it all came together beautifully. Everything else got repackaged after that so they didn't look like cheap cousins beside Translations.



I liked the original Semper cover a lot, but in thumbnail [which is what most people see] it just looked like a brown square. My skills at Paint.net were improving, so I tried something new. It turned out beautifully. Yea.


Repackaging can work to improve downloads and sales. Although, I'm no bestseller yet, I've made inroads into a start. I think sometimes my problem is I'm not as confident after a release as I need to be, and probably should be. I think, 'Oh, it's just a short story.' If I short change it, well, I have to quit doing that. I love Semper Audacia. It's a good story. It deserves a better attitude from me than it's gotten. I'll do better. Perhaps a topic I'll address in more depth for IWSG in January.

I'm not stopping. The polished draft for Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge should be done by the end of the year. Then it goes through a second coat of polish. Refining, adding some new detail, and making a few changes per my local crit group. I redid its cover, too. Mostly because I noticed video gal and I had a typo in the title -- which I didn't notice for several months. The apostrophe goes after the s in Backworlds, not before. But now I think I might release Stopover in paperback, too, which means redoing the cover again. That's OK. I'll manage.


The Backworlds is a prequel, which I intend to release before Stopover as another Free Read. It will come in somewhere between 20-30,000 words. Thanks to my crit partners Misha Gericke and Tony Benson here in bloggyland for their feedback.



The Backworlds Series will be a space opera series set on planets in our galaxy. My premise is that humans on Earth 'improved' ourselves to be able to live on a variety of worlds. Then humans decided they didn't like what they had created and try to take it back. This resulted in a war. The series begins during a truce between the Foreworlds and the Backworlds. Thank you to the Husband Unit for the last bits of inspiration both of these stories needed.

Also coming in 2012: The Augmentation of Hetty Locklear. Redid her cover, too. She's still in 1st draft stage. This will also be a series. A mix of contemporary sci-fi and urban fantasy. It will eventually morph into sci-fi. Right now it's envisioned as a trilogy. Folks' love for Plantgirl was its inspiration.



Wandering Weeds Anthology should be coming out this year, too, in which is my novelette, The Tumbas. I wrote it so long ago now, I'm not sure what I think about that.



Anyway, all of you are the ribbons on my year. Thank you for the inspiration, the support, the encouragement, the new directions and the success I've found. It's not measured in dollar signs at this point, but in winning over some grains of sand to my beach. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings for all of you. There's an amazing amount of talent out there and I'm fortunate to rub elbows with a lot of that great talent.

Happy Holidays and a Joyous 2012. You're all my stars. [This is my last post for the year -- there will be a holiday themed post going up on Thursday -- regular posting will resume January 2 -- Will be talking about Super 8 on the website tomorrow, then it goes on hiatus until January, too].

Dec 15, 2011

Deja Vu - Never Surrender



The Deja Vu blogfest, hosted by DL Hammons.

Here's one of my first ten posts ever, from 4/6/10.



That's today's motto: Never surrender, never give up.

Some of you may recognize it from Galaxy Quest. I have to say, it remains a favorite - the movie and the quote.

Sometimes we look at other people and think they have it easier than us. That perception is probably not true. In most cases there's probably a lot of work and effort that went into achieving whatever it is of that person's being coveted.

This much is certainly true. If you give up, you will never achieve it yourself.

Frustration is part of the game no matter the goal. Obstacles and challenges are part of any road. They're just bumps and potholes. Nothing to let yourself get intimidated over. Not good enough reasons to stop. Not if you have passion and drive.

If you look past the potholes and ignore them, there's still a lot of road and asphalt. There's grass and trees and an endless sky. At some point the road crew will come by and fix the road. It will smooth out and you'll forget about the potholes for awhile. When they show up again, as they always do, just steer around them or pick an alternative route. But don't quit. There's people honking behind you.

Yeah, it's a metaphor. Take it how you wish. Keep your eyes on the road, the sky and the future road crew. Most importantly: Never surrender, never give up. As Jason Nesmith says.



Sir Alexander Dane: You're just going to have to figure out what it wants. What is its motivation?
Jason Nesmith: It's a rock monster. It doesn't have motivation.
Sir Alexander Dane: See, that's your problem, Jason. You were never serious about the craft.




If you're looking for my lunar eclipse photos, see: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/  Tomorrow's post at the website is on a mysterious object found near Mercury.

Dec 12, 2011

More Weird Light Stories

I haven't seen any more strange lights, although I've wanted to. I'm constantly looking, especially on Route 20 where the observatory is.

I've not been so fortunate, but the husband unit was. He saw strange lights on that same road last week. He had to work in Burns, which is East of PMO, and saw two orbs in the sky. He said he never saw anything move like them. They came from different directions, moving at variable speeds, then one went straight up and the other shot to the East. There was no sound. He actually pulled over and got out of his truck to watch.

He had to go back to Burns the next day. Locals asked how his trip home was the other night. He said, "Interesting." They asked what he saw. Then one after another, stories tumbled out of other's experiences with light on Route 20.

One lady had the same UMO experience I did [unidentified moving object, the lights were not flying when I saw them]. I was excited to hear I'm not the only one who witnessed those weird lights, not the only one who had something strange chasing them. Whenever I turned around, the lights would disappear. She said, she saw them move off, that they moved incredibly fast.

Anyway, I thought it was some interesting information to relay. Husband unit tried to film his sighting, but his cell phone did a poor job of it. What is it with that road and strange events? Perhaps I need to open my own X-File.

I did get to see the lunar eclipse Saturday morning. It was awesome. I'll be reporting on it and will have photos up on the website's blog tomorrow: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/

Dec 8, 2011

December 10th Lunar Eclipse


I took the above photo at last year's lunar eclipse, also in December.

For North America, the eclipse this weekend will happen as the Moon is setting and the Sun rising. The eclipse will begin around 4:45 in the morning, Pacific time, and will set while in full eclipse.

That part of the sky is tricky for me to see. There's a lava butte in my way. So, if the roads and weather permit, I'll have to get up and drive out to Pine Mountain and watch from Millican Valley ... if I want to use my telescope.

Will depend on the weather. Even if it's not snowing, it's going to be bitter. It's the last lunar eclipse until 2014, however, so I hope I do get to see it.

From NASA:

The Moon's orbital trajectory takes it through the southern half of Earth's umbral shadow. Although the eclipse is not central, the total phase still lasts 51 minutes. The Moon's path through Earth's shadows as well as a map illustrating worldwide visibility of the event are shown in Figure 6. The timings of the major eclipse phases are listed below.

Penumbral Eclipse Begins:   11:33:32 UT
   Partial Eclipse Begins:     12:45:42 UT
   Total Eclipse Begins:       14:06:16 UT
   Greatest Eclipse:           14:31:49 UT
   Total Eclipse Ends:         14:57:24 UT
   Partial Eclipse Ends:       16:17:58 UT
   Penumbral Eclipse Ends:     17:30:00 UT 
 
For more information see: NASA Eclipse Website 


In other stargazing news, I met up with a fellow star guide up at PMO last Friday night. You can read all about the account at www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/ There are photos I took. Moon images were takend with a new filter my wonderful video gal sent to me. And I finally got to see Orion. Woot!

Dec 5, 2011

The Pits of Frustration



Since I've changed posts on this blog to Mondays and Thursdays, I'm posting up my Insecure Writers Group article today. So, that it's here on Wednesday. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for spearheading this great brainchild.



I recently went through a bout of "I suck", "Everything I write sucks". These bouts of insecurity and doubt come in waves. Then I wonder if I'm delusional or certifiable ... maybe.

Most of the worry probably stems from the fact that I'm impatient for the most part. Impatience causes bouts of frustration. Frustration leads to the "I suck" insecurities. Pretty much every creative type goes through these bouts, fearing their work is terrible and unoriginal and all sorts of other despicable things.

Does it stop me? No.

To do what we do, we have to be somewhat original, folks who forge their own path. That's what drives us to do what we do. It's also what then makes us insecure when our 'genius' gets exposed to the public at large. Not everyone will get our vision, or what we do. Our output is subjective. Not everyone has our tastes.

Don't let it stop you. To sparkle, we must brave the sunlight and embrace what makes us different. And we must realize that we will continue to grow and improve.

On those days, I go over all the positives. One by one. I enumerate them and relive them, bolster myself back up. The truth is, even if I do suck, I'm not going to stop writing.

Do you have these bouts, too? What do you do?



On another note, I spruced up all my book covers. All of them got new wrappings over the weekend. All shiny and pretty for the holidays, for all the folks getting new Kindles and Nooks. My skills at Paint improve all the time. Sometimes I have no idea what I want when I start a cover. So, I keep playing. I found a great new image for Translations, which inspired its makeover. Then I felt the others should get a makeover. Then when I finished those, I thought Semper should get one, too.

Dec 1, 2011

Around Oregon -- Benham Falls

Sharing some photos from over the summer. This is a trail in the Deschutes National Forest on the other side of the river from the Lava Lands [where the astronauts trained for the Moon].




video

Here, we're looking at the lava flow on the other side of the river.


Despite the alien manipulated mosquitoes trying to devour us, the best thing about living where I do is beautiful places like this.





DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude is hosting the Deju Vu blogfest on December 16th. Easy as you post up an article you wrote BC - before comments.



Posted a photo of comet Garrad taken at the observatory this summer on the website's blog -- M. Pax. Will be talking about Odyssey 5 tomorrow (where I learned more about transhumans by a former transhuman -- Peter Weller (Robocop)). Odyssey 5 was a series on Showtime.

See you here next week for IWSG -- Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh -- and I don't know what my other post will be about yet. It'll be a surprise.

Nov 28, 2011

Transhumans

The question of what are transhumans came up when I reported Syfy developing a new show set in space ... yes, actual science fiction. Astounding enough, yes, but not the topic of this post.

I've been watching Odyssey 5 -- which I'll talk about more on Friday on the website -- and there was an episode on transhumanism.

It has to do with the belief that humans can transcend using technology. The belief is technology can help us evolve to something greater, using technology to eliminate aging, physical disabilities and improve individual lives.

From Wikipedia: Transhumanists believe it is imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition. That it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change.

So, imagine then that a sci-fi show having transhumans, would be humans enhanced and improved by technology, therefore, pulling in the subgenre of cyberpunk. Although cyberpunk does not necessarily 'improve' us [think borgs], transhumanism does. So, that's it's distinction.

Some prominent examples of transhumans are:

Darth Vader



Robocop



The Replicants in Blade Runner



Bionic Man & Woman



Leda in Semper Audacia
(I wrote about one and didn't even know it)



Grace in Small Graces





Side note: Posts on this blog will now appear on Mondays and Thursdays. Will be posting Tuesdays and Fridays on the website: www.mpaxauthor.com



And an announcement from Wendy Ewurum of Fabulosity Reads launching a new book site:

Fabulosity Galore is an online book store and blog created and run by Wendy G. Ewurum, author of Fabulosity Reads (a book review blog).

Fabulosity Galore is affiliated to a number of booksellers, Amazon.com and Kalahari included. It's a  quest to find the best book and accessories deals. It will also make the best effort to prominently feature books which have been reviewed by at Fabulosity Reads. Fabulosity Galore strives to support our writer friends and favourite books in their endeavour to promote and sell their books. Readers are more than welcome to submit their bookish requests and comments to us. And last but not least writers  we also welcome news from writers about any promotional activities concerning works/books.


So, now we know what transhumans are, realize we even know a few, in some cases realize we created a few. Have any thoughts on the transhumanist movement? In reality or sci-fi?

Nov 23, 2011

The Pilgrims were Aliens

The Pilgrims were aliens who brought to us the alien technology of stuffing. I saw it on an episode of South Park while Stan, Kyle and the boys were watching the History Channel. They even had photographic evidence. Therefore, it must be true.



I'm very thankful for each and every one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week.

Nov 21, 2011

Weird Tales of Pine Mountain

The bottom of Pine Mountain, where the observatory is, was the sight of several cattle mutilations in 2000. There were reports of strange lights in the sky in Millican Valley. One of the mutilated bulls was found in a tree.

I've heard reports of strange lights on that road from others -- encased in a bright light. I had my own encounter with lights the first summer I worked up at the observatory. I thought it was another car, but the lights traveled at strange and inconsistent speeds. At several points I thought they were going to pass me, so I slowed up. Only there was no noise and no brightening, and when I turned around, there was nothing behind me. The second incident, I realized the lights were vertical and not horizontal. They'd start off far behind me, then zoom up as if traveling several hundred miles per hour. I called them an UMO [unidentified moving object] as they didn't appear to be flying.

Every night I've returned from the observatory since, I've looked for those lights. I've never seen them again though. Disappointing as this time I'd investigate more. I'm just so curious. What were they?

Yes, I'm always on the look out for weird, but I'm not prone to seeing things. I've been wanting to see a cougar for 4 years and haven't. Bet they've seen me though [so, I tease one of the other volunteers that the lions are in the bushes watching us]. Sure, I've made up stories about yetis for the guests, but I've never seen one. Which brings us to another weird tale. The Pine Mountain is part of the Deschutes National Forest, which is known for Bigfoot sightings. Cool.

Maybe the lights were Yeti with mopeds. Shrug. ??

So on with the cattle mutilations. One of the new volunteers worked for a national park in Arizona, and told me how he was called in to investigate a cattle mutilation down there. He said it was really strange as there were no tracks near the carcass. He said just the udder was missing and the wound appeard as if it had been cut out. There were no tears or teeth marks, just a precise hole. He said no animal had done that. There was also very little blood which is a characteristic of all reported mutilations.

Since reports in Millican Valley noted strange lights, I wonder how the two are related. But like all great mysteries, I'd hate for it to be solved and to really know. I doubt the reality is as spectacular as what can be imagined. The imagining is where all the fun is for me.


Millican Valley coming down off Horsehead Ridge

Looking East in Millican Valley. A couple of antelope add to the scene.

Looking West from Millican Valley. The Cascades in the distance.

The gangsta cows of Millican Valley
 What mysteries do you like to think about?

PS, I have a guest post on The Capillary where I talk about physical limitations.

Nov 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Talked about The Dark Tower and Game of Thrones this week at M. Pax.

Finally saw the final Harry Potter movie last weekend. We're DVD kind of people in this household, so I'm a bit behind the curve with movies most times.

With that said, Deathly Hallows Part II was a nice conclusion to the series. I felt it could have used a bit more edge and grit. It was very good, but I was wanting a bit more spectacular.

I think I need to read the last book, because I feel as if I missed something about Snape. Probably glossed over in the film in the interests of time and drama, it seemed as if that part needed more time and attention than it got. It left questions reeling in my head. The answers I seek are probably in the book. Right? Those of you who've read it, are they?

My TBR pile is huge - both book books and ebooks. I still haven't finished Perdido Street Station and feel enormously guilty about that. Been reading a lot of ebooks though, which is noted on my website this week - www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/ - also talked about The Gunslinger series this week. I'm dying to get to Tanya Huff's new book in the Confederation series. OK, I'm anxious to get to all of the books in my growing stack.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Nov 16, 2011

Jessica Bell's String Bridge


String Bridge is an emotionally provocative story about a family dealing with the fallout of decisions made. Sometimes it’s as sweet as a ballad, strumming on harmonies of the golden moments. Sometimes the emotions are raw and sour, hitting off-notes

Melody Hill struggles with a decision she made to give up music. The decision is made before the story begins, and the tale begins with the aftermath. She and her husband Alex struggle with individuality against the fabric of family.

When Alex and Melody gave in to being a family, seemed to me, the music of their lives became the most harmonious.

It’s a great read, and I’d highly recommend it.

Here’s the official blurb:

Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a ‘proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits ....


ebook available from:


For links to the paperback and accompanying cd, see Jessica’s website: http://www.jessicacbell.com/  She blogs at The Alliterative Allomorph.

Jessica is an amazing talent. I wish her all success.

Want to talk about what influences your creativity? I'm blogging about that over at my friend, Stuart Nagler's blog today. Something about people with eyes in the backs of their heads. Ooo!

Nov 14, 2011

Outer Space! Really?

Syfy announced plans for a new drama set in ... OUTER SPACE! Seriously? The Syfy channel is going to make a science ficiion show? I'm speechless, and trying not to get my hopes up too much.

As reported on Gateworld:

Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who worked on Star Trek: DS9 before shepharding Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, is developing a currently untitled series from Universal Cable Productions, set on the Starship Defender.  “After decades of war, the newly formed Unity Democracy orders a volatile mix of humans and trans-humans to lead the Starship Defender on an expedition in search of lost worlds requiring law and order,” says Syfy.

I'm wondering what they mean by transhumans. Ghosts in space? Animal-human hybrids?

At any rate, just because they're thinking about doing this show doesn't mean it'll ever even make it to the pilot phase. So, I'll try and forget about it until it happens, and hope someone creates a science fiction internet channel with plenty of spaceships and aliens and planets and stars.

With that said, they're also developing two new dramas that seem to use ghosts. Um, Syfy, you don't need any more ghosts on your channel.

Nov 11, 2011

NASA's Journey Over Vesta

NASA's Journey Above Vesta

Asteroid Vesta as seen by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.



In case you haven't seen yet, here's what scientists saw of the asteroid passing so close by this week -- this is a different asteroid. So, yes, asteroidmania on Wistful Nebulae today:



Talking about Battle: Los Angeles today on the website: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/

Nov 9, 2011

Flying Alien People

I'm at Jon Mac's Mythik Imagination today, contributing to his Weird Wednesday feature. I adore weird. Such stories fuel my imagination and spark me up with inspiration.

If you want to hear about my latest stargazing adventure, visit: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/ My fellow star guides and I met up at PMO last Tuesday night (November 1).

And, I'm talking about blogging at Savvy Self-Publishing.

Yes, another busy blogging week.

Nov 7, 2011

At Nicki Elsons

I'm over at Nicki Elson's Not So Deep Thoughts today.

If you haven't read Nicki's Three Daves yet, it's awesome.

I'm also interviewed about Semper Audacia at Maria Violante's. Want to know where the title came from? The idea of the suit? The ghosts?

This being November thing is tripping me out. October really flew by. My best to all of you participating in NaNo.

Nov 4, 2011

Twists and Turns

Wendy Ewurum was kind enough to invite me over to Fabulosity Reads for a guest post. I'm talking about twists and turns and the unexpected.

Here's an astronomy tidbit:

Asteroid 2005 YU55

Scientists will be tracking an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier as it flies by Earth on Nov. 8, 2011.



Have a great weekend everybody!

Nov 2, 2011

Some Folks Will Love What You Do

I'm going to keep this short. Here's one simple truth I've learned since beginning my publishing journey:

Some people will love what you do

And if you care to pay attention, their enthusiasm will see you through everything else and give your confidence a nice jolt in the arm. When we're starting out, we really need that.

Thanks to all of you who have given me a nice jolt in the arm. It keeps me going. I do my best to return the favor. Not only are you fabulous people, there's a lot of amazing talent out there. I've read so many great books and stories recently, all by folks I know out there in bloggyland. Very well done, you guys. Bravo!

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Thank you, Alex. 

Nov 1, 2011

Inventing the Future: Technology

I'm hosting the lovely Susan Kaye Quinn today. Her book, Open Minds releases today. I was fortunate to bump into her recently in cyberland. Besides a great trilogy, she writes a great blog and is a great person.

Inventing the Future: Technology

by Susan Kaye Quinn, author of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)

Sometimes I’m asked if I use my engineering background (Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, worked for NASA, studied global warming) in my stories. The answer is, of course, YES! But I also use my background as a wife and mother, bike rider and cake baker. I think writers put bits of themselves in their stories—it’s hard not to. But my techie background does come in handy when dreaming up gadgets and technology for the future.

In my paranormal/SF teen novel Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy), I fast forwarded the world nearly a hundred years, to give time for the evolution of mindreading (and mindjacking) to occur. But the world didn’t stand still in that time. We certainly wouldn’t have the same cars or computers or phones, but how can you know what the future will look like?

Sometimes I can barely figure out what tomorrow will bring.

I started out looking at the past. What had changed in the last 100 years? What did the world look like in the 1910’s? I could expect similarly large changes to happen going forward (probably more so). In the 1910’s, refrigerators were invented and Ford christened their moving assembly lines. We had tanks and machine guns that required 4-6 people to run them. We fought a war with U-boats (submarines) and aeroplanes (airplanes). Much was different, but much was the same.
I tried to keep a different but same flavor in the future world of Open Minds.

I envisioned phones would still be around—they’re handy—but they would get exponentially cooler. With the world becoming filled with mindreaders, I pictured an exodus of people from crowded cities for the suburbs and countryside, where they could spread out and escape each other’s thoughts. Range (thought-wave-range) ordinances would spring up to enforce the separation that would keep society civil. A sprawling metropolis of well-spaced dwellings would require extensive public transportation, something that could be reasonably accomplished in a hundred year time span.

The engineering came in handy for dreaming up taxicabs with programmable autopaths and mindware interfaces. But I feel like I’m running out of room as the world catches up with the e-readers I put into the story just two years ago! The risk of science fiction is always that science fact will show you up.

I’m currently writing Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy) and having more fun with gadgets and technology. If you’ve read Open Minds, you know the changes are just beginning, and some of those Book Two changes will be in the technology as well. Time to study up on my neuroscience …

*********************
See more guest posts about Open Minds at the Virtual Launch Party!

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).


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431883365v1_350x350_Back.jpg
PRIZES!
Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post
2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds
Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)
Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes! http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

***********************************

Bonus: Me and Kai Strand last Thursday at our local writers meeting with Susan's Open Minds on Kai's Kindle. 



Oct 31, 2011

Aliens are Human, Too

Guest posting over at JL Campbell's blog today. Hope to see you there. :)

So, to alleviate my astronomy withdrawal, I went out last Tuesday with one of my fellow star guides. We met at the bottom of the mountain and set up down there where the hang gliders usually turn off to go up to the other peak. We toughed it out for about 90 minutes. Considering how cold it was, that's amazing.

Although I had bundled up, my fingers and toes protested their numbing experience for two days. No photos. For one, there was no Moon. For two, I didn't even change eyepieces after the first 10 minutes. It was too damn cold to expose my fingers. I thought about snapping a few of Jupiter, but not for long. I couldn't feel my fingers enough to have taken a decent photo.

The sky was amazing. So, clear. The Milky Way just sparkled. Viewed some star clusters in constellations I've never viewed up at the observatory [because they aren't visible up there during the season].

How do you know you really love doing something? The willingness to suffer. I suffered the cold -- it was in the 20's -- to watch stars. And I will again.

I hope the sky is clear December 10th to watch the lunar eclipse. I plan on filming it this year if the sky does cooperate.

Oct 28, 2011

47North

Earlier this month at BookExpo America, Amazon announced 47North, a science fiction and fantasy imprint. Yes, that's right. Amazon is getting into the traditional publishing game.

It already has several imprints: AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Powered by Amazon, Montlake Romance, and Thomas & Mercer.

47North will launch with established science fiction and fantasy writers and some new voices. The imprint name comes from Amazon's hometown, Seattle. Makes sense. In Oregon here, I sit at the 45th Parallel.

Rife with Hugo and Nebula award winners, 47North launches with some big splashes.

Amazon has positioned itself as a giant with the potential to grow even bigger in the publishing world. It's hard to know which way is up these days. All I know is, the future is here in cyberspace. The good news, we're all already here working our little fingers and butts off.

Yes, Amazon is now signing authors and getting into the publishing game. Sure, it already has been in the game through Kindle Direct and Createspace. But now it's shaking things up even more.

What are all your thoughts on these new developments in the publishing world?

Added note, I wanted to let you know of Ciara Knight's release:

Love's Long Shadow

Sammy Lorre was cast from Heaven for conduct unbecoming an angel. Living in a demon-infested small town with no memory of her previous life, she faces never-ending purgatory until Boon saunters into her life with a promise of angelic love. But is he an angel from Heaven or a minion from the underworld preying on her human emotions? To discover his true identity, she must risk eternal damnation and her heart.

Ciara's website is at http://www.ciaraknight.com/


Jon Mac has a new FREE read out. On Smashwords. 99 cents on Amazon. But should be free on Amazon soon, too.

It wasn't just any other night in the unlife of Ned The Undead, it was Halloween! But the world had changed a lot lately, and nothing seemed to turn out the way he expected. Find out why Zombies are people too, in "The Human Ate My Pumpkin!"

Jon blogs at Mythik Imagination.



And thank you to Madeleine of Scribble and Edit for the Friendly blogger award.

Everybody have a great weekend!


Oct 26, 2011

Doings on Planet M. Pax

What's happening on planet M. Pax:

1) Blogging. Here comes the split. Beginning this week, I split the blog on my website off from this blog. The website is geared more toward readers, so the blog there will be geared toward readers and fans. When I get some. Yesterday's post is on things to consider when choosing a telescope. Photos of Saturn, the Moon and Jupiter are included.

On Tuesdays I will publish an article there on science fiction, astronomy or things to do with my books/stories. www.mpaxauthor.com  I made some changes over on the website ... again. I dropped Spacedock 19, as that will now be covered in the blog. I added a 'Coming in 2012' tab between the MPaxWorks (published work) and WritersDesk (finished work still searching for a home). Eventually the stories in WritersDesk will get published in short story collections for econsumption, or expanded into longer pieces for epublication as novels or novellas.

2) Revisions on Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge are moving along. The once was novella has blossomed into a novel. I should be done with the polished draft by end of November. Hope to have it through my crit partners before Christmas ... then off to an editor. I anticipate the release to be February 2012.


In the far future humanity, bioengineered humanity created to deal with different environments, has spread out to other stars and planets in the galaxy, called the Backworlds. Craze’s Tavern sits on the fringes of expansion. Last stop for one hundred fifteen light years, Pardeep Station is a heap of dust and little more.
 
The lepper opens, bringing in a ship that should no longer exist. Stamped with the Foreworlds’ mark as if spoiling for a fight yet the war ended two generations ago. The vessel drops off a Water-breather, a type of Backworlder thought to be extinct. She brings rumors and subterfuge, danger and troubles. Craze knows he has stepped into her trap the moment she walks into his bar. His only hope is that it isn’t too late to find a way out.

Video Gal is hard at work on a new video for Stopover. Hope to unveil it soon.

I'm working on a free story to go out before Stopover, which will be the story of how Craze and the other characters in the novel get to Pardeep Station. It'll be called The Backworlds and I should have the book cover and blurb ready later this week. I also started the second novel in this series, Boomtown Craze. My ideas on it are still a little fuzzy. When I have more time to devote to developing the first draft, I'm sure they'll get clearer.

3) The Augmentation of Hetty Locklear. This was my previously untitled work based on the popularity of Plantgirl [my free read]. Thank you to the Husband Unit for coming up with the awesome title. It now has a cover, and chapter one has come back from all my crit partners. I'll be attaching chapter one to the end of Plantgirl, and I'll let you know when it's up. That'll be one way to get chapter one early. The other is to sign up for my newsletter.

So, I'm really excited about this cover. Video gal and I got smarter and pick out stockart before I finish a first draft now. We pick models and art that have multiple selections. Video Gal gets annoyed if she only has one photo to create a whole video from. I do what I can to keep her happy. Anyway, we had picked our model for Hetty Locklear, and when I went to purchase one of the images to create the cover, there were a bunch of new photos. One of which was the most perfect photo for the cover ever. I was so excited. Because that never happens -- the perfect artwork.



Hetty Locklear somehow passed the initial screenings and assessment tests to land an interview. Finally. She desperately needs this job. Her internet is about to get cut off. The interview starts off terrible and never gets better yet it never occurs to her to question why she's hired. Not until it's too late.

A loner who spends most of her time in cyberspace, the new job at Willamette Research Dynamics transforms Hetty's life. No longer alone, she gains a hot boyfriend and a stalker. Some things at the new job are kind of strange though, and she finds something at work she shouldn't. A hellish experiment. She won't ever be the same.

Hetty Locklear is the first novel in a second series. Contemporary sci-fi. I will begin its polished draft when I'm done with Stopover's and have The Backworlds first draft done.

The plan is to then get a sequel out in each series by the end of 2012. Hetty Locklear is planned as a trilogy. The Backworlds series has no limits


Sometime in 2012 The Tumbas will be out in the Wandering Weeds Anthology, too.

Found two new outlets for free reads. Scribd and Feedbooks. Feedbooks has been great. Almost 200 downloads a piece for Translations and Small Graces in two weeks. Scribd is slower, but I'm still reaching new people. The more hands I can get the free reads into, the better. I updated Translations and Small Graces, attaching the first four chapters of Semper Audacia to the end. Hoping it will help generate some sales. Haven't uploaded Plantgirl yet. Waiting to attach chapter one of Hetty Locklear, then I'll upload it.

So, yes, my summer job may be over, but my schedule hasn't slowed down at all. How are things on your planet?

Oct 24, 2011

Giving Authors a Hand

I'm on the lovely Damyanti's blog today: Daily (w)rite

Would love to see you there if you're so inclined. :)

Oct 21, 2011

PMO Closed

So, yes, the observatory season ended, Saturday, October 1st. It was such a crappy day all day Saturday, we were all pretty bummed that we might not get any sky. It looked pretty darn hopeless, honestly.

The sign says closed. :-(


We got some glimpses of the Moon, and I jokingly said I'd try my Hogwarts spell [which worked once earlier in the season]. It's pretty simple. I flick the fingers of my left hand at the sky and say, "Clouds go away."




We laughed, not expecting it to work. I packed Orson Bradbury up in the car before total dark. Two of the volunteers and I shared 'Cannon', our name for the University of Oregon's 10" dobsonian telescope. Our newest volunteer entertained us with a story of a cattle mutilation he had witnessed -- which I'll tell you sometime soon -- when he was down in Arizona. He just moved up here from there and spent many years working for the National Parks. Yes, we like science, but we also share a like for weird.

Lo and behold, my spell worked. The sky cleared to almost perfection. We looked at all our favorite objects and shared them with the visitors. Our guests went home. I went into the 24 to hang and look through the big telescope the rest of the night. I fought the sleepies to stay up to see Orion and all its splendors. Well, ten minutes before it rose high enough to look at, the clouds came rolling back in. Like a huge black curtain, saying, "Good night and adieu until next May." Siiigh.

Just as sad, I had to return the magic eyepiece [the 11mm Nagler] to the kind volunteer who lent it to me for the summer. I've got to get my hands on one of those. It gave me views through my 8" dob which rivaled the 24". No lie.

At any rate, I did capture some photos of Jupiter through the 24. We didn't have a filter on, like we should have, so the glare made the pictures a bit blurrier than they otherwise might have been. Still, they're not bad. You can see Europa peeking up over Jupiter, a little left of center, looking a bit like a pimple. The red spot is also visible in the large band of red closest to Europa and just above center.





Can you believe I already miss it? I can't. I was so ready for the break, and have been going 200 mph since. Yesterday I had convinced Husband to go out with me last night, but the clear day turned into a cloudy mess. So, we didn't go out. He was able to fix my telrad, and rumor has it the holiday season could bring me a magic eyepiece of my very own. :D

Have a great weekend everybody!