Feb 28, 2011

Nidbits and Tibbles

From Sammy Sutton, I won a copy of her book King Solomon's Journey. I love ancient history and stories which use it. So, I look forward to reading it. Thank you, Sammy! You can check out Sammy
here: Sammy Sutton Author. Lovely lady. We bumped into each other on the Twitter. I must say, I meet a lot of interesting folks on the Twitter.

My copy of Alex J. Cavanaugh's book, CassaStar is here. Can't wait to get started on it.
I got so excited when my brother sent me this link and it said, "Firefly Returning to Cable". Yup, I thought NEW EPISODES!!!!!! AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!! As awesome as Henry Cavill starring in everything with Gerard Butler. Wrong. Damn it. But there's a recent interview with Nathan Fillion who says he'd love to captain Serenity again. Does he love it more than I want to see it? I think not, but you can read what he has to say here: http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/02/17/firefly-returns/

Here's something cool from NASA. Sounds of a Comet Encounter:

During its Feb. 14, 2011, flyby of comet Tempel 1, an instrument on the protective shield on NASA's Stardust spacecraft was pelted by dust particles and small rocks. For more information visit: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA13866

And thanks to Misha Gericke for the Stylish Blogger Award. She writes over at My First Book. Pop over and say hello if you haven't met yet.
Thanks to you all for popping in today. Hope something piqued your interest. How's your week going?

Feb 26, 2011

M Fifty

I'm participating in Tizzy Potts of Impossible Dreams Nifty Fifty Blogfest.

Some of the easiest objects to find in the night sky are the Messier objects. Charles Messier catalogred 103 celestial objects. He searched for comets, so almost all Messier objects are fuzzy. None of them turned out to be comets. Seven more were added to the Messier catalogue to total 110 deep sky objects.

M50 is an open star cluster in the constellation Monoceros. It was discovered by G. D. Cassini in 1711 and independently discovered by Charles Messier in 1772. About 3,000 light-years away, it is a 'heart-shaped' grouping of stars.

photo courtesy of Wkipedia

I have not viewed this cluster with my telescope, but I miss astronomizing and dream of the 2011 season. There are definitely more than 50 days until the observatory opens again. 90. 90 whole days!

What are you dreaming about?

Feb 25, 2011

Terror in the High Desert - Blasted Blessing

Episode 9

Brett didn't know how the swarm sensed her. Did the bugs see? Did they smell? Did they hear? One then two found their way under the truck.

Her muscles quaked like the west coast, making her teeth chatter. "Crap and the text it came in on."

Stand still for bees, she remembered and held her breath. She had no confidence in that advice. These were not ordinary bees. Holding still would probably get her killed. What did one do about killer bees? Wasps? A movie she once saw put the killer bees into hibernation in air conditioning. Paul's truck didn't have any and she didn't want a hoard of those things inside the cab with her anyway. She wouldn't survive the ordeal. "That leaves running and screaming."

She flinched when the two scouting bees buzzed near her ear. The pitch of their hum changed. Calling their friends? Without waiting for the rest, they attacked latching onto her face and biting with a sting like molten lava.

Brett screamed as loud as she could trying to mimic the ring on her phone. She rolled toward the passenger side of the pickup, reached for the door handle and pulled herself up. She stabbed at the lock. Missed then missed again.

The swarm closed in. "I'm doomed."

Knees knocking, she fell to the dirt. The key screeched taking off paint. Her arm stretched up, jabbing. Jabbing. Then hit its target. The key slid into the slot.

Brett let out a squeak in relief. For a split second. Then her back erupted in fire. The swarm's hum drowned out all in a tempestuous lullaby. She covered her mouth and curled into a ball, wondering if Bill would find enough of her to identify.
The bees ate her alive. In vain she swatted at them then gave up, using that hand to cover her eyes. Brett prayed for the pain to end, accepting these were her final moments. What a horrible way to die.

Then fate intervened. Behind her an air horn went off. It startled her so, she almost jumped out of her skin. The awful noise clawed at her eardrums. It also stopped the bees. They backed away.

"Thank God!" Brett pushed up onto her knees, twisted the key and yanked the door open. She jumped in and slammed herself in, pounding on the lock until it engaged. Over her shoulder she glanced at where the blast had come from. A familiar tall man in a brown uniform waved in her direction. Only one policeman stood so tall. "Deputy Doohan."

Brett swiped tears off her cheeks and blood. Then she crawled over to the drivers side and started up the Chevy. She floored it and headed in the deputy's direction, the horn blaring louder and louder as she went. It kept those murderous bugs away, so she didn't curse it. The most obnoxious clamor on the planet just became a blessing.

When she reached the upper parking lot and Bill's colleague, she stopped and got out, throwing her arms around him. "Gary. Gary." She could do nothing besides sob and repeat his name.

He took his finger off the air horn. "Bill says you're in trouble, Brett. What the hell are those things over there?"

She shrugged. "Some sort of bees. Killer bees."

With the horn off, the swarm was on the move again. Straight toward them.

Brett pulled Gary back. "You better turn the horn back on."

Gary pushed her behind him. "We need a sample."

Brett did not like the sound of that. To get a sample, the bees would have to get close. Way too close. Then she remembered. She plucked the smooshed bee from her shirt pocket. "Here."

He picked it up by the wings and squinted at it. "I've never seen a red bee. Is that blood on its face?"

Brett pointed to her gnawed face and showed him the chunks of skin missing from her arms. "We don't want to stick around for samples, Gary. There was little left of Paul and Jen. We have to go." She picked up the horn and blasted it toward the swarm.

"You go and get some help. Somebody's got to keep an eye on these things."
She handed him the horn. "Hope you've got a lot of air in this thing."

"It's refillable."

"You got a pump?"

Gary shook his head. "Not with me."

Brett gave him her phone. "Recharge it. They hate my ringtone. I won't be long."

Does Gary make it? Will he still be alive when help arrives? Will Brett make it to the sheriff's office without mishap? You get a say.

Get links to previous episodes HERE

Feb 23, 2011


Hart Johnson of Confessions of a Watery Tart is hosting the Delusional Doom Blogfest on March 15. To find out more and / or sign up, go HERE.

And I'm sure you all know of Arlee Bird -- Tossing it Out -- A to Z challenge by now. I summoned up bravado and signed up. I figured I can make it work by divvying up the fellow A to Zer's over the whole of April into manageable amounts. I can double up on Fridays, since I take weekends off from cyberspace.

So my time management schedule will stay intact. That was my biggest worry as I didn't want to eat into my writing time and the various other things I have to get done in a day. That and I wasn't sure of what life had in store for us for April. I've said it before, but limbo really sucks.

Still slogging away at the two novels. My schedule is holding. They both keep moving forward. Rewrote the beginning of the 1st novel which put a different spin on character arcs and interactions. So, I'm going to have to go through the whole WIP and revise for that. Had a fit of frustration with that one. It's over now and I'm happy with how it's going. Just plain old revisions going forward on the 2nd. Have one of those niggling inklings on the 2nd, but will ignore it for now and forge ahead. It's something I can fix later and will probably find easier to fix later if I need to.

Got more rejections on the short stories. Been saying the same thing lately, 'not for us, but encourage you to keep submitting this, it will find a home somewhere.' So onward and onward. Will have to find time to do another round of submissions. Some are still outstanding. I try not to hope. Every time I send them out, I try not to. But I can't help it. I feel like I'm dancing on the edge, so I think 'this time is it'. Every time. A certain type of delusional belief is a requirement in this profession. And tenacity. Never surrender, never give up.

I will add titles to the 'published' column. I'm determined. Already have the next round of submissions sent out. That makes six out for sale, one in a contest and one with a yes. Will get another entered in a contest shortly.

What all do you all have to say this week about your journeys?

Feb 21, 2011

E. Coli and Original Art

What? Goodies came to me last week from a couple of awesome bloggers.

I got E. Coli in from Lydia's blog The Word is My Oyster. If you haven't found Lydia yet, she posts great diseases every Monday to get your inspiration going. She's inspired one of my stories and I have notes for others in my idea journal. Maybe getting E. Coli from her blog doesn't sound like the greatest endorsement, but it's not what you think.

Here is Makayla giving Mondo the evil eye. Those are her shoelaces on E. Coli's head. No way is she sharing with the likes of a Mondo. No self respecting cat would wear aluminum foil on its head anyway, she says.

Also last week, from the great Bloggerland, I received a Valentine made by Tabatha's daughter. I just love it! I put it in a place of honor on my bookshelf beside the pen Ursula K. LeGuin used to sign my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness. That way I can look at my speical art all the time. It's just to the left of my monitor and the wall of inspiration.

Have you run across Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference ? Her blog is always thought-provoking - full of beautiful art and poetry. I find her inspiring, too.

And the rest of you. Bloggerland is a very special and inspiring place. I consider myself fortunate to have bumped into all of you.

Feb 18, 2011

Mondo Visits Cybex

My name is Mondo. I am a spaaace Cat.

Mondo [M]: Mr Snuggs, stop the ship!

Mr Snuggs [S]: Are we going to that planet?

Penny Paws [P]: The star charts say it's Cybex.

M: Puurfect. I always wanted to visit. Hello? Are you a Cybexian?

Robot: No. I am a robot.

M: Boooring!

S: But he's great for hiding, Mondo. We could have such fun!

P: There are all kinds of robots, Mondo.

Robot: Not all robots originate from Cybex. That kind does.

M: Ahhhhh! What's that? What's that?

M: Take that Cybug! And that!

P: Hurry and jump on, Mondo. I'll save you!

M: Let's get out of here. Cybex is not so great. I think that beady eyed droid stole my cat nip. Emergency! We must get back to civilized space.

M: Warp 9, Mr Snuggs.

I'm being interviewed today at Alexander Zoltai's Notes From an Alien. Alex is an interesting dude. I bumped into him on the Twitter. He has a book out called Notes From an Alien. Don't think I'm that interesting, but there you go. Pop on over.

Feb 16, 2011

Invading Baggins and Gravity

Husband and I watched Iron Invader on Syfy Saturday night. The basic premise, a satellite infected by an alien bacteria crashes to Earth and animates a scrap metal sculpture which then goes off on a killing spree. It starred Major Lorne from Stargate Atlantis and Dax#2 from Deepspace Nine. Also appearing was Dr. Beckett from Stargate Atlantis with no Scottish accent. I scored bonus points for guessing why the daughter wasn't infected when she touched the alien bacteria. Not quite as campy as usual, it wasn't bad. I do love the camp, though.

I shall share with you one of my favorite videos - Leonard Nimoy and Bilbo Baggins. This always makes me smile. Thanks for the great entertainment, Mr. Nimoy.

While doing some research, I stumbled across this great sciencey blog. Selenian Boondocks. Thought I'd share.

Do you have a favorite bad song? Done any research lately?

Feb 14, 2011

You Guys Rock!

First off, I have to say how much you all rock! Really! A thousand times thank you for all the shared enthusiam on my first yes.

Special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for the shoutout on his blog about it over the weekend.

So yes, I got my first yes. Which leaked out on Friday. It was supposed to post today, but I suspect the war between my printer and Windows 7 got in the way and blogger did not get the 'scheduled at' message before HP rebooted my computer. :-O I won't go into how idiotic a reboot is when you are in the middle of the help instructions for resolving an issue. Yeah, if the computer reboots, the instructions disappear. Really HP! Did you test your instructions? I don't think so.

Anyway, The Tumbas will be published in an anthology. I will certainly let you know when it comes out and all the other gory details as soon as I know them. You can find out more about the story here: http://www.mpaxauthor.com/biblio.php?storyid=37

Just so I wouldn't go getting a swelled head, the universe sent me a rejection a few hours later. No matter. I keep at it. Another yes will creep in somewhere. Eventually. Never surrender, never give up. Otherwise, you'll never get that occassional yes. And they are wonderful.

I read Recycled on Sunday at open mic. A nice contrast. Recycled is the shortest story I ever wrote and The Tumbas is the longest. The crowd was bigger than usual, about 80 people and I had an off day. I was more nervous than usual for some reason. I got through it. Got a few nice words from folks afterward. Said they thought my writing was beautiful. We all have off days. You just keep going. And I still got applause and a few friends in the audience. So, it wasn't bad. Just not as good as I've done.

Got my short story submitted yesterday for a local contest, titled A Calling Home. It's basically my love letter to Central Oregon. I imagined being back in Portland and yearning to return here. If we move, I will be grieving for this place. Still have no idea about that. Limbo sucks.

My new time management schedule is going pretty well -- until I hit the glitch with the printer drivers on Friday. I did not schedule in 'computer frustration from hell'. Yet I hit my goal for revisions on novel#2 last week. So setting goals is working out. This week I am reworking the start of the first novel and continuing with revisions on the second novel. Hope my head doesn't explode. So far, so good. I set a 2 hour time limit for one then switch. 2 hours for the second. Then I have to get onto other things. Like queries and cyberspace and research and feedback. I like to sneak a workout in, too.

How's your week shaping up? Discover any secret weapons for managing a busy life? Writing career?

There was clamor for a party on Friday. Any suggestions?

Feb 11, 2011

Recycled Yes Never Gets Old

I got my first yes! My short story "The Tumbas" is to be published

Between the Tigris and Euphrates

Fridays at the Met. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Alas, we reach the end of the tour of the ancient Near East and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I hope you enjoyed this little virtual trip. Hope something spiked your wonder and curiosity ... maybe kindled some sparks of inspiration.

Here are some miscellaneous objects from Mesopotamia.

The Sumerians had the first chariots pulled by asses - the equine
type not the human type.
Some ancient trinkets. Accessorizing has been around a very long time.
There is a theory these are representations and proof of
ancient alien visitation. See, the Sumerians shared my
love of sci-fi ... no wonder I think they're cool
Some other various trinkets
close up

More aliens?
Back then you would have had your own personal seal.
These cylinders when rolled out on clay made
these individual seals.

More seals.

Feb 9, 2011

Universe's Most Distant Object

The universe's most distant object. From NASA and Hubble. Cool!

This video is a zoom into the Hubble Space Telescope infrared Ultra Deep Field, first taken in 2009. It is a very small patch of sky in the southern constellation Fornax. The zoom centers on the farthest identified object in the field. The object, possibly a galaxy, looks red because its light has been stretched by the expansion of the universe. Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon, STScI (no audio)

So, I return to normal life this week. Last week I got caught up in revising my first novel. I decided on the spur of the moment to enter ABNA. I did not make the cut off. General fiction closed about 5 minutes before I entered. That's OK. It motivated me to revise my first novel and get it done a helluva lot quicker than I would have without such a tight deadline. Now it's ready to go back out into the agent gristmill. So, I'm getting queries together. Every time I send one, it will be like entering a contest.

Anything that motivates me to get something done is worth the effort. If only I could find such a thing to motivate me to move faster on my second novel revisions. I decided I have to set weekly goals and get better about time management. This time to the novel. This time to short stories. This time to queries / submissions. This time for editing. This time for cyberspace. My goal this week is to edit the next chapter.

Thank goodness I love writing.

This coming Sunday is 2nd Sunday at the Bend Public Library. Ellen Waterston is the author of note. Program begins at 2:00 p.m. I'll be reading "Recycled" if there is open mic. You can find out more about this piece of flash fiction on my website: http://www.mpaxauthor.com/biblio.php?storyid=36

So, that's what I've been up to. How about you? What have you got going on?

Feb 6, 2011

Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes

This blogfest sponsored by Ellie Garrat.
Much thanks to Ellie for hosting a great blogfest. All of my quotes come from science fiction movies. Shocker, huh? Mostly these are things said in my household over and over again.
Never give up. Never Surrender
Jason Nesmith: GalaxyQuest

Luke, I am your father.
Darth Vader: The Empire Strikes Back

She's beginning to damage my calm.
Jayne Cobb: Serenity.

Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
Princess Leia: Star Wars

You Klingon bastards. You killed my son.
The Kirk / Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Planet of the Apes 1968
Taylor: Oh my God... I'm back. I'm home. All the time it was... we finally really did it. [screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

It's full of stars.
Dave Bowman / 2001: A Space Odyssey

There is noo saaanctuaaary.
Logan: Logan's Run

And this - one of the greatest speeches ever from Independence Day:

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!

This one still makes us laugh for a good 5 minutes, because this line is blurted out, out of nowhere. Granted, much of the 1st half of this movie has no plot. That's what makes it entertaining. That and the dude that jumps out of the ship and goes 'splat' on Mars. I consider it the funniest scene in all of sci fi. 

The quote: "Do you know what day it is? Why it's Christmas, Lucy." Assignment Outerspace. Want to know more? Click HERE. You can bet I heard that line a lot in December.

Do you have a favorite quote / scene? Thanks for popping in!

Feb 4, 2011

First Written Language

Fridays at the Met.

Sumer had the first written language. Pictographs predated cunieform, and there was an intermediate writing. Sumerians kept meticulous records on clay tablets. Because of this, modern archeologists have been able to translate other ancient writings. Lexicons of the cultures they interacted with were kept.

Both of the above tablets are examples of the earlier pictograph writings.

This is an example of cunieform. The unique marks were made by
pressing a cut reed into wet clay.
I am such a Sumerian geek, I took to teaching myself to read and write the long dead language.

Still slaving away to meet a deadline. I'll talk more about it next week after it's done. I should be done soon and then will catch up with you all and return to cyberspace as a more active participant.

The first PMO meeting is tomorrow [Saturday]. I dreamed of it and telescopes and stars last week. I miss the observatory so much. I just hope I'm still here in May to indulge in my passion. I miss the mountain. I miss the view from the summit. I miss my buds. I miss the drive. I miss the crowds. I miss the telescopes. I miss freezing my ass off and not getting warm until the next day. I miss everything about it. Four more months, if we don't move. Longer, if we do. Siiiigh.

Are you a geek about anything? Please do share. :D

Feb 2, 2011

What the Heck is a Gatoroid?

With a title like Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, saturday was a 'must watch' Syfy night for me. Tiffany also starred in my all-time favorite thus far, Mega Piranha which aired before the feature. The first time I saw Mega Piranha I missed the 1st twenty minutes, but no, they never explained why the fish exploded upon impact when attacking the town. No matter. It was still great that they did explode.

Seems Tiffany is a real menace. She must be stopped. First she created the mega piranha. Now she's created gatoroids. Gatoroids are gators she fed steroids to. Husband's favorite part was when a gatoroid gulped down a plane. My favorite was when a mega python swallowed a train.

There's also a big fight scene between Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Lots of death and mayhem. Lots of stupid decisions leading to more death and mayhem. Really liked when the gators and pythons teamed up and marched upon Miami. Looking forward to the next mega creature feature film.

Category 7: The End of the World - I'm confused as to how it starred Randy Quaid and Shannon Dougherty. It certainly explains why they were stuck in there at the end like an arbritrary scene [which still has me very disturbed]. Granted, I only came in at the last half of the movie [husband claims the two actors were in scenes at the beginning], so I can't judge the entire thing. I was entertained though. What was it about? I have no idea. Didn't get what the kidnapped kids had to do with the end of the world. Anyone see the whole thing? Do you know?

The Cape  / Waited a few weeks before giving my impressions on this one. So far, so good. The Cape harkens back to an old super hero feel ala Batman and the like. He has a lair and secret friends. Do carnivals and superheroes naturally go together? There seems to be a trend lately [the late Heroes]. Nice to see Summer Glau again. I don't think she aged a day.

This show reminds me of the old time super hero shows where glasses [in this case a mask] were enough to disguise your identity. And you wonder why people don't do things you would in a situation. Like, the bad guy could have snatched the Cape's mask off to find out who he is, but didn't. I know I would have. However, this sort of thing is part of the show's charm. Like in Batman and Superman.

Ever wished for super powers of your own? What kind of power would you like to have? Can say here or add it to my website discussion on the lower left hand side / http://www.mpaxauthor.com/ / vote on whether you think Pluto is a planet or not while you're there.