Aug 5, 2012

This Blog Has Moved



Thanks for stopping in.


This blog has moved to
 http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/


Please join me there. 


 

Aug 3, 2012


Woot! For Karen Elizabeth Brown! She launches her debut book, Medieval Muse. Congratulations Karen!

 

Medieval Muse
What happens when Victoria Budroix receives a cameo that promises to give her the desires of her heart? Since she doesn’t know what that would be, a trip to medieval times, intrigue, threat of war and an overbearing lord are on the list for her to choose from. Or could it be meeting her one true love? Sir William of Conrad has escorted a stranger home to be under his protection. He discovers this woman speaks her own mind and melts his heart. He faces his father’s outrage and a broken alliance with the neighboring clan by falling in love. Medieval 

Muse is available as a free read from Smashwords.com.

Karen Elizabeth Brown’s passion for writing is what fills her entire life with exhilarating inspiration. She spends her days writing, doing research and studying about the subjects of her stories.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys music and reading, especially medieval fantasy. Born in Southern California, she migrated to Southern Oregon in 1974 where she now resides in the Rogue Valley with her family and friends. Find out more about the author at her official website: www.karenelizabethbrown.com
 
I'm still madly scrambling to finish up The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. I'm on the polished draft, but still have a lot of work to do. After pretty much rewriting the first eight chapters, I freaked most of this week about my slow progress. But it seems to have smoothed out, and the polishing is picking up speed. So, I feel pretty good about where I'm at and how much time I have left. I can do it! You know what I say ... never give up, never surrender. 

Because my publisher is such a slave driver, that damned M. Pax, I'll only be up at the observatory Saturday instead of both nights. I just can't afford two late nights right now. There's a lot of moon again anyway. So I won't miss much. Here's a moon shot from last Saturday:
I took this one using my special eyepiece I call, "Precious." An 11 mm Nagler. I know that means nothing to most of you, but it's a very, very nice eyepiece which gives me lovely, lovely views through my 8" Dob. Some of which rival the 24" scope under the dome. Had the polarizing filter on, too. Helps me get a better shot, because I can control how much glare is bouncing off the moon.

Other than those few hours of astronomizing Saturday night, I'm working, working, working. Unless the kitties need a hug, which they often do. What are your plans for the weekend? Going to read some Medieval Muse?

NOTE: This is the final post at this URL. This blog has moved to http://mpaxauthor.com./blog/

Aug 1, 2012

Category for $??


 Photo taken by moi last Friday night at Pine Mountain through my 8" dobsonian telescope. 25mm eyepiece. Polarizing filter on the eyepiece. Creative Commons -- meaning you may use my photo as long as you credit M. Pax. Click on it to blow it up. It came out awesome. Honest.

Please Note: This blog has moved to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ Please join me and your other bloggy friends there. This coming Friday will be the last simultaneous post.



Happy IWSG. Every month writers gather around the blogosphere to offer encouragement and garner support. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, it's not too late to join in. Go on! You know you want to.


I was tagged some time ago by the lovely Tara Tyler with the magic eight ball meme. Maybe I'm getting this wrong, but I'm supposed to ask all of you to be my magic eight ball. My current dilemma isn't with writing [although I could use two more of me to finish up the manuscript by August 13th, gah!], it's with the marketing. So my first question is about categories and genres ...

I don't know how many of you read, Plantgirl [free read LINKS]. The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear centers around some similar elements -- a rather sad gal with a rather sad life, searching for a way to make herself better. There's some ghosts, invisible people, cloaks, DNA experiments, Renaissance Faires, and more. Although I do use some contemporary science fiction with the cloaks and experiments, I don't want to market this series as science fiction.

I wrote this one more for women and it's women I want to target. So, I don't want to sell under sci-fi this time. The most accurate description is speculative fiction -- a combination of contemporary fantasy, contemporary sci-fi, and plain strange. The focus is more on Hetty and her issues. While she's trying to figure herself out, she encounters a lot of strange, including her parents. However, no site lets you choose speculative fiction as the genre.

Some sites will let me select general fiction, which I've noted Margaret Atwood sells under, but others won't let me be so vague.

Basically, my main character gets pulled farther and farther into a hidden world on our world which is cloaked. There's an Area 52. There will be superhero-ish elements. Can I market it as fantasy? Or what would you do with it?

OK, that was a bit long for one question.

Second question, much shorter: This is the first in a new series. It'll end up around 70,000 words. My local crit group insists it's too good not to sell. They say it's my best work yet. But it's targeted to a different audience than Backworlds. And I still need to be seen and discovered. At what price would you sell it?

Any thoughts on my marketing quandries welcome.

  Announcements:            


Fight Club Begins! Hosted by the talented, DL Hammons. I signed up so I can vote. Best of luck to the contestants.

Tyrean of Tyrean's Writing Spot has a poem published. Congrats Tyrean!

Stephen Tremp is having a blurb bloghop on August 15th, where we work on blurbs and tweet each other. Fabulous idea, Stephen.

L. Diane Wolfe is sponsoring the Supportive Blogger Extraordinaire Contest. Nominations are open until August 5th for whoever you'd like to nominate. It was tough coming up with just one for me. You've all been so incredibly supportive. I'd rain riches and praises on all of you. Anyway, it's a great way to pay forward acts of kindness and support that make you all warm and fuzzy inside.

And keep September 17th open! A first for me, into which I'm dragging a few other blogging writers. I hope to say what next week. :D

OK, thanks for listening to me ramble. Time to get back to work. The clock's ticking and Hetty and the invisible people are waiting ...


Jul 30, 2012

Oracle Olymplic Event

* I know I said Friday I'd not be posting. Forgot I made this commitment ...    

Also, please note THIS BLOG HAS MOVED. http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ Please join me there.  This will be the last week of simultaneous posts.


Olympics-mania is at fever pitch! What better way is there to get into the Olympic spirit than a book set around the London Games? J.C. Martin releases her debut novel, crime thriller Oracle, today

To celebrate, she's holding a month-long Oracle Olympics Blog Tour, with tons of games and prizes, including a possible grand prize of an iPad3 (for more details, visit J.C.'s blog)! And it all kicks off with today's Opening Ceremony!

ORACLERead on to find out how you could win a signed paperback copy of Oracle right off the bat! So what is Oracle about, anyway? 

Here's the blurb: Oracle With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway. Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability. Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims. One of whom could be his own daughter. Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

  Purchase Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble  

Intrigued? Here's your chance to win a signed copy of the book! All you have to do is visit all the blogs in the Parade of Nations in order (for a complete list of blogs, visit Olympics HQ here), including this one! Each blog will have a secret letter. Collect them all to decipher the secret message. Then go back to J.C.'s blog and enter your answer in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Answer some additional bonus questions to multiply your chances of winning! The contest will remain open till midnight EST on Friday 3rd August. The winner will be announced on J.C.'s blog!  
So here is my secret letter: L  

Click on over to Rachel Morgan for the next letter! Good luck!

Jul 27, 2012

Renaissancing at Canterbury Faire



Last weekend, Husband and I drove over the Cascades to attend a Renaissance Faire in Silvterton, OR, The Canterbury Faire. We drove through a place aptly named Sublimity which provided this feast for the eyes. It's worth clicking on the photos for larger views. Honest.



We arrived in time for the knight's show with feats of skill.



And jousting.




We were for the green knight, Cody, who did not fare very well. In fact we were soon chanting, "Dead Guy, dead guy, dead guy."



Afterward, we snagged some victuals and found a hay bale to sit upon in the beer garden. We were well entertained by the Scottish Tarts who sang bawdy songs. Which were quite funny.



We walked around, saw jugglers. Met venders. Very nice people who happily answered my questions and gave me their cards. We met the Queen.




Lots of fodder for my next book, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. We had such a good time, I look forward to attending the next Renaissance Faire. With scenery such as this, I never mind a trip over the Cascades.

Mt. Jefferson and Detroit Lake

  Mt. Washington. A forest fire about 10 years ago left the trees bare in this area.

I must say, I love Oregon. Beautiful, beautiful, Oregon.

I'm up at the observatory this weekend. Hope to get some Moon shots. Note: I'm buried trying to finish up my manuscript for Hetty Locklear, so I won't be posting again until next Wednesday.

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend.

Please Note: This blog has moved to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ Please join us there. I will only be simultaneously posting on this blog two more weeks.

Jul 25, 2012

Becca Campbell's Foreign Identity


NOTE: Wistful Nebulae has moved to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/  Please come join the rest of us there.


Today in the lounge of Spacedock 19, I'm chatting with science fiction author, Becca Campbell. She's had a short story published in several anthologies and today releases her first novel, Foreign Identity.

Two nameless strangers, a man and a woman, find themselves imprisoned together. With no memories of their own identities, let alone their captor and tormentor, escape is the only option. 

The pair faces a bizarre labyrinth of rooms and clues that confuse more than they explain. Every discovery only brings more questions. Who captured them? Why were they taken? What does their captor want from them? What can the riddles mean? Who are they? Lacking allies and options, the duo must learn to trust one another.

Mazes, puzzles, and even strange, lurking creatures force them to rely on their wits–and each other–for survival. But survival isn’t enough. They need answers. Will the answers be enough? Will the truth bring them closer together, or drive them forever apart? Will discovering their identities finally bring them home?
 
  MP: Interesting concept for a novel, Becca. What is your greatest inspirational source? For me, it's television and observing what's going on around me.

BC: I get most of my inspiration from watching television and movies, but sometimes the ideas come from books, too. It's often just a tiny spark that leads me down a train of thought to some new and often unrelated idea. When I wrote Foreign Identity one of my influences was the television show Lost. That came out not in plot as much as style. I really wanted to write something that drew the reader in with questions the way that show did and to create a sense of mystery.

MP: Lost excelled at answering questions with more questions, which the description of your book mentions. How do your characters encounter these puzzles?

BC: When the story begins Kel and Jax wake up with no memories. The question of who they are and why their memories are missing is one of the driving mysteries throughout the story. But on top of that, they encounter other puzzles as they explore their surroundings and look for a way to escape. Soon other strange things begin to happen--things that, although they don't remember their pasts, they know aren't normal. In addition to all that, Kel and Jax keep getting clues about who they are when they make contact with certain things that trigger a strong sense of familiarity.

MP: Since they don't remember who they are, it must have been tricky to write without character names. How did you handle that?

BC: I quickly realized I needed a way to refer to each of them, because simply using "he" and "she" was going to get old fast. So I wove into the first puzzle a way to overcome that problem. When they stumbled on a closet full of keys (individually labeled with mysterious letters) and eventually unlocked their chains, the matching labels became nicknames for each other. Thus, "KEL" and "JAX" are not their actual names, but a way to identify each other.

MP: Very clever. What about this world you created intrigued you most? If you were there, what would awe you?

BC: I'm not quite sure how to answer that without a spoiler. Let's just say that my favorite part about the place where the story happens is not the surroundings but the creature(s) involved. [Hopefully that's not too cryptic!]

MP: Guess we'll have to read and find out then. Becca Campbell's Foreign Identity is out today.

Foreign Identity is available as a paperback or ebook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

In celebration of the blog tour, Becca is giving away a free ebook of her short story Not the Norm to anyone who buys Foreign Identity. But the deal ends today, July 25th. Once you've purchased a copy, go to this link to download your free ebook: http://eepurl.com/nfeWf.

Now enter for your free paperback of Foreign Identity! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YjIwNzc2NGQxYmM0OTliNDg0MTAwODc2NzdhZmFhOjQ=/

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca J. Campbell looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. Becca’s journey into writing began as many of her other creative endeavors do – by daring herself to try something new. The question “what if I wrote a novel?” and some hastily scribbled notes on a church handout were the inspirations that jump-started her first book. 

Since then, she has written three additional novels and several shorter works. As the wife of a musician and mother of three young boys, Becca’s life is never dull. Whether it is writing, painting or knitting, she enjoys making stuff that wasn’t there before. Where to find Becca on the internet:

Jul 23, 2012

It's Out! Book 2 of the Backworlds series, Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge

Backworlds Book 2


Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Smashwords /

 

AmazonDE / AmazonFR / AmazonES / AmazonIT

 

The interstellar portal opens, bringing in a ship that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight, yet the war with Earth ended two generations ago. The vessel drops off a Water-breather, a type of Backworlder thought to be extinct. She claims one of Craze’s friends is a traitor who summoned the enemy to Pardeep Station. A betrayal worse than his father’s, if Craze lives to worry about it.

 

  Thanks to these great folks for joining the party! You're all awesome.


 Please Note: This blog is now at http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/  and will be moving only there August 20th. Please join us there.

Jul 20, 2012

Real and Virtual Festing

*
Happy Friday everybody!

Chocolate Makes the Galaxy Go Round. The topic of my guest post on Becca Campbell's Inspiration for Creation.

The official launch of book 2 of the Backworlds series, Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge is this coming Monday. It's not to late to join the party. Sign up HERE. Or send me an email at mpaxauthor [at] gmail [dot] com and say you'd like to help announce Stopover.

Congratulations to Leigh T. Moore on her three book contract with Simon and Schuster's Pocket Star imprint. Really, really awesome. 

Tara Tyler thank you for the Magic Eight Ball tag. I decided to answer you for IWSG on August 1st.

Karen Elizabeth Brown is looking for assistance in putting together her launch party for Medieval Muse, August 1-6.

Christine Rains is having a blogfest to celebrate her release of Fearless. August 7th-9th, post your childhood monster. I <3 Tawa, do you?


Husband and I fested at Summerfest here in town last Sunday. This weekend we're festing at a Renaissance Fair. I checked the year five hundred times. 2012. Monday we fest for book 2 in the Backworlds series. Yay.

 

Some crazy Barbie art at one vendor's booth.

Have a great weekend!


Reminder: This blog is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. You can read it there now, same posts on the same days. Hope to see you there soon.

Jul 18, 2012

Author, Screenwriter, and Professional Writer, Peggy Bechko Visits Spacedock 19

 

Visiting Spacedock 19 today is writer, Peggy Bechko. Her books have been published since she was 22, and she has sixteen novels out there. She's done Contemporary Romance, Historic Romance, Western & SciFi Fantasy in books. Screen scripts have included SciFi, western, horror (vampire), drama, children's fantasy & animated. She's also ghostwritten on, of all things, "ghosthunting". Ooo!

Her novel Stormrider is Sci-Fi and fantasy: Stormrider, young woman Janissary, quests for justice and peace on her rebellion-torn world, several continents away from what she considers home, and for the missing Amulet that can choose the leader of the worlds in concert. Stormrider is cast adrift in a sea of intrigue, mysticism and magic. Isolated, she is dependent upon her own wits and skills to survive.

MP: Welcome to the lounge, Peggy. Care for a drink? I'd stay away from the chocolate if I were you.



PB: Oh, drat, and I'm so chocolate addicted. Guess I'll have to choose the "you can chew it while you drink it coffee" of yore or maybe just a cup of green tea. Happy to be here, MP.

MP: One thing fantasy, historical fiction, and westerns have in common, is they take us to worlds we normally can't touch. We can't go to the past and we can't go to another world. Do you find world-building easier for fantasy or in the other genres?

PB: I can't say I find any of them 'easier'. They're just different. There's a lot of research that goes into any of them really. With historical fiction and westerns it's a bit more direct since, as you say, it's in the past and details are readily researchable. That means, however, you have to watch the details. You'd be surprised how many letters you can get from folks who read a historic novel and then point out some detail they don't think is right (sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong). But, if you throw a vampire into a western that churns up a lot of detail dust. The setting remains the same, 'the west', but the reality line begins to blur.

On the other hand when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy (and really I don't like seeing them lumped together, yet can understand the underlying reasons) you have a lot more freedom. With SciFi, of course there are many elements that are reality and must be taken into account although with Quantum Physics in the mix, hmmmmmm. Anyway, in that realm, both Sci Fi and Fantasy it's more like building a world from scratch while using some underpinnings of what everybody perceives as reality (which of course is a whole 'nother question when dealing with weird physics these days - what the heck IS reality?)

The real key, I think, is staying true to your story and your world.

MP: I learned in philosophy class that we're all just swirling atoms in shopping carts drifting down the Delaware River ... Maybe. I was half asleep when the professor said that. You write many other things besides fiction -- screen plays, non-fiction, ghost writing. How did you get involved in these other projects?

PB: LOL - it was just one thing after another! And BTW I DO feel a bit like flotsom drifting down the Delaware River at times. Seriously though, as I was drifting along as a novelist and earning some money, but not enough to support me entirely and still juggling part time jobs I began to think it would be nice to do some sort of writing as my part time job - one that paid a bit more than novel writing.

So I started looking around and in short order found myself taking classes on copywriting (advertising) pitching articles to magazines and then online, connecting locally to take on some ghostwriting and then, finally, discovering my mentor in screenwriting, Larry Brody, a Producer and Screenwriter (who runs http://www.TVwriter.net) who was teaching a class at the local college.

I took the course, we became friends and he truly helped me hone my screenwriting to where I've optioned a number of scripts and had a half hour animated script for a series produced over in France. It was called Diabolik and mine was one of many episodes, but it made me feel great. Since I've always written by viewing the pictures in my head adding screenwriting to my skills seemed a natural. I share your 'easily bored' problem so I enjoy doing different things.

MP: I know script writing is hard to get into and requires a whole different skill set. You've had a script optioned. Would love to hear more about that.

PB: Well, I was greatly inspired by Mr. Brody who pretty much held my hand and taught me the basics both of screenwriting and pitching to producers. There are books on screenwriting though that'll teach the basic format and length (generally a max of 120 pages - less is better. Screen time is about 1 minute to 1 page of script). And there are free screenwriting programs availble online.

Anyway, from class and mentoring (with his continued encouragment) I dove into the Hollywood Creative Directory (very expensive book, but you can get it at libraries) sought out production companies that matched what I was doing and started submitting. I also entered the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship awards and reached the finals, after which that script was optioned. It's a killer process when you don't live in southern CA.

I also flew to LA to a pitch opportunity once and pitched a couple of times at conferences where there were producers about. There are also opportunities online. As a lark I answered an ad by a German producer looking for scripts in English in kids genre and ended up optioning a script to them. Very nice-payment wired directly to my account.

It's definitely a long, grueling process with lots of rejection and disappointment along the way, but I'm still doing it and enjoying it. Wouldn't want to give up my novel writing though!

MP: That sounds more grueling than submitting novels, however, the shorter length is appealing. How do you juggle all your writing projects?

PB: Actually screenwriting was and is more grueling - but also a lot of fun, and screenwriting teaches the writer to 'write tight'.

Novels are a whole other ball of wax. The writer can get into much more detail and into their characters' heads, as I had the fun of doing in my fantasy Stormrider http://amzn.to/pjY0HP (Kindle) http://bit.ly/9R0Gcn (Smashwords) and my historic romance set in early 1600's New Mexico, Cloud Dancer http://amzn.to/LMkCUT (kindle) http://bit.ly/mSefTW (smashwords) and the writer has the opportunity to get better acquainted with his or her reader (like the wonderful comment I received from actor John Cullum declaring Stormrider "exciting" and "couldn't put it down"), than the screenwriter has to connect with an audience. Each one is different and I greatly enjoy both novels and screen scripts for entirely different reasons.

As to how I juggle it all - sometimes I don't know! It takes organization and, for me, a schedule. Frequently I'll work on two or even three projects at once, alternating between them. For me, that keeps things fresh. But at times I feel as if I'm accomplishing nothing, then suddenly everything seems to reach completion, one after the other, and I begin a new slate of projects. I admit I can get scattered at times, which is bad and I then have to allow a bit of procrastination time and get back on track. Everything seems to take more time than I anticipate, but when I've had them I've never missed a deadline and when I don't have one imposed from the outside, I set one for myself. Hope that's not too convoluted and answer to your question.

MP: Well, thanks for joining me in the lounge of Spacedock 19 today, Peggy. Come back any time. I'd love to chat with you more about your projects and your jewelry making.

PB: Thank you, I've enjoyed it very much and I'll be following along at Spacedock 19 to see what fellow wordsmiths you have come in for a visit. Very exciting that the web has helped to take away some of that isolation we writers have dealt with in the past. A big shoutout to all your readers and please feel free to visit me any time.

Peggy's blog: http://www.PeggyBechko.blogspot.com
And website at http://www.PeggyBechko.com

Peggy also makes jewelry and has an online shop at http://www.Silverstreak.etsy.com

 Elsewhere in the Internet              

*I'm being interviewed over at Darke Conteur's. Pop by for a visit.

*Stephen Tremp names me author of the week. What a great honor.

*Peggy interviews me on her blog, Peggy Bechko.

Reminder: This blog is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. You can read it there now, same posts on the same days.

Jul 16, 2012

Astronomizing July 13th and 14th

 

It was a good weekend at Pine Mountain Observatory. Friday night, the sky was crystal clear. With a crescent Moon not rising until 2 a.m., it gave us plenty of dark sky to explore. It had been a hot week in Central Oregon, so it was pleasantly warm as well. Clicking on any photo will give you a larger view.

Here's my best Saturn shot from Friday night. I took this through my telescope -- an 8" Dobsonian with the 11 mm Nagler as the eyepiece. I'm still using my Sony Cybershot to shoot through the telescope. That may change soon.



Mars is getting low in the sky. I took a movie through the 24" Cassegrain. You may hear Jim and Eric chatting some. Being low in the atmosphere is what makes it as wavy as it is.

video


With Jim and Gary outside with me, it made for a pleasant evening where we were able to give more attention to small groups of people. Got the first look at Andromeda this season. So, that was exciting. I love looking at Andromeda.

Saturday night didn't start out very promising. When I took my hike up to the summit. I felt splashes of rain and saw it coming our way.

 
 

I came down the summit and told Eric we were going to get rain. A few minutes later I was yelling up the dome, "Rain! Rain! Rain!" We can't let the mirrors get wet. So he shut the dome and I packed my telescope up.

We sat in the dome jawing and I started playing with the menus on my camera. All the muck cleared up and we had the telescopes going by 11 p.m. The playing with the menus during the rain allowed me to get my first Milky Way shots ever.


 


You can clearly see the Big Dipper over the dome.

We viewed a nova in Sagittarius when the crowd went home. Late nights both nights. Good groups both nights. I was hoping to see the Northern Lights on Saturday, but they didn't come far enough south, so I didn't get to see them. I was very disappointed.

This coming weekend, I'm taking off from star guiding for an adventure with the Husband Unit.

Please note, this blog is now at http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ and will be there only beginning August 20th.

Jul 13, 2012



Only little more than a week until Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge? Wow. Time flies. I'll be uploading it to Amazon and B&N shortly. I'm having a launch party on Monday, July 23rd. I would love your help in getting the word out. If you're so inclined, you can sign up HERE.

 I'm four chapters away [maybe six] from finishing The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Then I immediately go into creating the polished draft to send to my very talented editor, Leigh T. Moore. We made a great team on The Backworlds, so I'm thrilled to have her talents. I had intended it to be free, as it's the first in a new series, but my critique partners are adamant that I have to charge for it. So, I'm scratching my head, mulling price over for that one. It's very different from The Backworlds, more like Plantgirl if you've read that.

I've also started on book three of The Backworlds, Boomtown Craze. Since my focus is on Hetty, it doesn't get worked on every day yet. Soon.

 
Quaint downtown Bend. Hardly this crowded on a weekend. This was a food festival a few years ago. Guess I need to go downtown with my camera sometime. 

Last Sunday, I met with my writer gal pals for tea downtown. Ten in the morning was a little early for me after a weekend working as a star guide. I think I managed some intelligible sentences though. We talk about publishing and writing. We span the spectrum from published through the big six with an agent, publishing through small presses, indie publishing, and unpublished. We talk about TV and movies and books. Had lunch at an Indian buffet, visited downtown shops, then mosied over to the library to hear Paty Jager read from her latest release, Spirit of the Sky. She did a fantastic job.

At the library, I found a book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a nonfiction on cells and medical science. The name and premise are so similar to my Hetty Locklear, that I had to check it out to read. Also bumped into CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh. It looked very well-read. I was going to take a photo for him, but my phone was dead. Next time, Alex.

Finally got hot here. We shot from the pleasant 70's straight into the 90's. Will be hot all weekend. Supposed to have clear skies, too, but there may be some thunderstorms. Moon is out of the way this weekend, too. So, I hope for some great stargazing.

That was my writing week. How was yours? 

Reminder: This blog is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. You can read it there now, same posts on the same days.

Jul 11, 2012

Speaking of the Supernatural with Darke Conteur: Spacedock 19



Today on Spacedock 19, fantasy author, Darke Conteur, has stopped by for a drink and a chat. She's written the Watchtower series: The Watchtower, Under the Cover of Wicca, and Of Covens and Packs.  

 

MP: Craze is off getting ready for the next unveiling, Darke, so I'm tending bar in his place. Have a seat. What'll you have?  

 

DC: Sweet! And it's not even nine am! Rye and coke, wait, I like those too much. If I have one, I'll want another and then I'm rambling about stuff that makes no sense. Better make it a glass of white wine, please. 

 

MP: I see supernatural and paranormal used in fantasy. Is there a difference?

 

DC: People claim there is, but honestly, I don't think so. Two sides to the same coin as far as I'm concerned. I believe these words were invented to give some kind of identification to things man couldn't, or weren't allowed to understand. Things that were considered to be part of the Divine or unholy. 

 

The word PARANORMAL is somewhat new. Created to describe occurrences that were considered outside the range of normal day to day life. If you want to get technical, any science fiction could be labelled 'paranormal', as it's outside the norm of how we live now.

 

Both words conjure images of spooky things that go bump in the night, lurking in the shadows to harm mankind, To me, both of these words feel wrong though. SUPER=greater than, NATURAL= nature. Nothing is greater than Nature, but we need these identifying labels to distinguish a frame of reference for our stories.

 

MP: So, it's a fine line distinction, if any at all. So what exists in your series that some would label as outside of nature?

 

DC: My series has many aspects; a half-breed demon, a Druid who controls the elements, two psychics; each having a different talent (psychometry and claircongnizance) and a medium. They live in our world, but see things that a normal human can't because of their connection to the paranormal. Each of them are 'the best' (so to speak), so their talents are powerful. For example, one character Barbara Dole can learn things from touching items (psychometry), but more than that, she can move through the timeline of the object she's touching; right to the point of it being made or born AND she can stop time and look around at her surroundings. 

 

MP: Now that's a fascinating ability. A bit like time travel. How far back in time has she gone?

 

DC: In the stories, not that far back; maybe a couple weeks. In the character's backstory though, she's used her talent to swindle people out of their money. Imagine touching someone and learning their bank account numbers or pin numbers for their credit cards, combinations to safes, knowing where these things are. It caught the attention of the police, not to mention other unscrupulous people. Unfortunately, this has come back to haunt her. 

 

MP: So do these extra abilities your characters have, are they known by everyone, or do they have to keep them a secret?

 

DC: No, the other characters know about them. It's one of the reasons they're all together. These people, coming together at this particular time, is a prelude to a major event within the paranormal world. Martin Cunningham will be the final 'piece'. 

 

MP: So, if you were to enter your story, would you become a character you've already written or write yourself in fresh?

 

DC: I think I would enter fresh. The fun part about creating in this world is coming up with new abilities. To see just how far I can stretch my imagination. 

 

MP: If you lived in the world you created, what fascinates you most about it?

 

DC: I think it would be the mythology behind the story. I've tried to model Hell off of Dante's Inferno so a hell with different levels and different punishments for that particular sin I found very interesting. Mind you, there are no witches or fortune tellers in hell. :D The thing that fascinated me the most, was a scene I wrote where the characters had to travel during a full moon. The supernatural world was revealed in the moonlight, and it also revealed what our souls looked like; who we really are or would become, or were. The idea that we could look at who we really are/were/would become was fascinating to me. So many possibilities. 

 

To learn more about Darke Conteur and her work: Darke Conteur's Books / Facebook / Twitter

Her latest release, Of Covens and Packs is now available:


Terin Global is on the brink of exposure. Something Detective Raleigh Darch could do with a simple warrant. Yet there are other problems. The increase of paranormal activity worries Jezryall and dregs up personal demons for some of her staff. A planned visit to the Spire-a forgotten relic from the ancient world leaves them with more questions than answers, along with a cryptic message from the spirit of a werewolf. One thing is certain; something is stirring within the bowels of Hell. Jezryall and her team must discover the reason behind the increase in demon activity before things become too big for even them to handle.

I'm really partial to that ability that lets you see the history of an object. What ability would you pick?


Sorry ... Blogger is being a butt again. Won't let me add photos where I want them. I can't wait until I have just one blog to deal with. Be sure to switch over to the website. This blog is already there and will be there only as of August 20th. www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/




Jul 9, 2012

Moon Girl and Rock Castles

Note: Wistful Nebulae is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. The website and this blog are the same, publishing the same articles on the same days, MWF.

 


Big thanks to all of you who have signed up to help me with the launch of Book 2 in the Backworld series, Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge. There's still time to sign up to help me get the word out July 23rd, or any time after that. SIGN UP

Julie Flanders interviewed me for The Examiner. Read all about it HERE. Congrats to Julie on her new gig, and thanks for thinking of featuring little ol' me.

Did you all have a great last week? My cat is all better and I'm better now, too. Finished editing Stopover and formatted it, too. Now I'm madly scribbling away at The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear to meet my August 13th deadline with my editor. So, I was productive. Also took some time out to have some fun.

July 4th the Husband Unit and I took a drive over to Fossil, OR. Lots of backroads with spectacular scenery. Found a rock castle ...



Dug some fossils up, got a sunburn, checked out this funky little grocery and mercantile.



The observatory didn't happen for me for two weeks with a sick cat, then a sick me. The weather was crappy, so it didn't really matter. I didn't miss anything. This past weekend was great. It finally heated up here, so it was warm. The only drawback was the moon rising shortly after the sky went dark both nights.

Viewed Mercury, Mars, Saturn along with the globular clusters, open clusters, stars and nebulae. Good groups both nights. Not too big and interested people. Made new friends.

My best shots of the weekend:


Moon Friday night.

 Saturn through the 24"

Moon Saturday night.

Clicking on any photo will enlarge the image.

I leave you with a gangsta cow:


So tell me, what have you been up to?

Jun 29, 2012

Upcoming Release: Book 2 of The Backworlds, and Feathers

Note: Wistful Nebulae is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. The website and this blog are the same, publishing the same articles on the same days, MWF.

I'm taking next week off from blogging for the holiday and to finish final edits to Stopover at the Backworlds Edge. I also hope to get it formatted next week and ready to go for launch.

Launch is set for Monday, July 23rd. If you'd like to help get the word out, sign up for the LinkyLink below and I will get the announcement emailed to you on or before July 18th. You can post any time the week of July 23rd, and you don't have to visit anybody else. If you'll be on vacation that week, you may post later. Just want to make some noise to let people know it's out. As a thank you for helping me out, I'll be sending you a coupon for a discount on Stopover.


IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh the first Wednesday of every month.

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.  ~Kurt Vonnegut

And don't let anyone clip your wings along the way. ~M. Pax 

Thanks to all of you who helped me get airborne, and to those readers who want me to keep flying.

Nini report: Nini keeps improving. Finally started eating again. She's back to doing obnoxious things, which I no longer find obnoxious. On the flip side, now I'm sick. Don't know what this means for stargazing this weekend. The sky is iffy, too. Will be back on July 9th.

Everybody have a great week. Those in the US and Canada, have a great holiday.

Jun 27, 2012

Laura Eno Visit Spacedock19, The Carriena Oracles

Note: Wistful Nebulae is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. The website and this blog are the same, publishing the same articles on the same days, MWF.


   

I'm privileged to chat with the talented Laura Eno today, author of many wonderful stories. I've personally enjoyed Tempest's Child, am currently reading Immortal Desires and Raven, the first book in The Carriena Oracles series. Book two, Wraith, comes out today. 

First off, I envy at how fast Laura produces new work. Second, I enjoy reading what she produces. The Carriena Oracles series has many things about it I love: space travel, exploration, discovery, archeology, history, action, drama, and romance. And it touches on the theme of equality, a trope I enjoy toying with myself.

 MP: Welcome to Spacedock 19, Laura. I was able to get Craze to tend bar for us today. Be careful not to touch him. I'll have some of your nice ale, bud. Thanks. You? 

LE: Thanks for having me. I'll try a cup of his famous Verkinn malt, if you don't mind. 

MP: I noted in Raven that your main character was once a slave. Science fiction is a great venue for exploring our humanity or lack of it. Were you consciously thinking of class/equality when you came up with the plot? 

LE: Not at first. I often find my theme growing organically as I write. Mostly I was hunting for a woman who had overcome adversity to get where she was. Later on I realized that her story repeated throughout the Carriena system as I began to populate it. 

MP: I love those overcoming adversity stories. Perhaps why I'm enjoying Raven so far. There's a thought that it's a mistake to write a female lead in science fiction or any story in which we want to attract a wider audience. 

LE: I think science fiction has traditionally been the domain of male readers throughout the years, but I also think genres had more rigid lines than they do now. After all, we've come a long way from the '50s sci-fi movies with the pretty girl screaming and fainting before the hero rescues her. Science fiction is expanding into different sub-genres as well, engaging a wider audience. I love writing space opera because it's about the cultural aspects of the future – the people in it and how they interact with situations – not the hard sci-fi that gets so technical. Will some be turned off by my use of a strong female as lead character? Quite possibly. But I may attract others to the genre that might not have considered it before. It wasn't very long ago that female authors couldn't write sci-fi either, unless they used a male pen name. The walls aren't down yet, but there are cracks in it. 

MP: I've noted in fandom online, a lot of the avid followers of science fiction and fantasy seem to be female. I'd say it was Lois Lane who drew me to the genre early on. Not many women had jobs like hers at the time, and she was brassy and outspoken. Besides Mary Tyler Moore and That Girl, science fiction seemed to break barriers more than any other genre. Perhaps why it draws more and more female fans and writers. I'm happy to see it. 

LE: In some ways, Raven starts out as the antithesis of Lois Lane. She's a loner; her only friend is an android. Though she's come far from her slavery roots, she's stopped growing – stopped healing. Raven shuns any kind of contact that could lead to friendship for fear of feeling emotions.  

MP: A past like that would take a long time to heal from, I'd think. So Raven's remaining scars and scabs make sense. Sometimes I wonder whether our tendency to oppress others is innately human, a universal law, or something we learned that has become intensely ingrained. Either way, I love stories where those deemed not to matter rise up and make a difference, a statement that no one is insignificant.

LE: Definitely. Power shapes our thinking and with it, some people choose oppression to keep it. But like with anything else, it can be lost. With my Carriena Oracles series, there will be times in which that loss of power might not benefit people as much as it should, even as it removes the horrors of oppression. There is a compromise to justice.  

MP: That sounds mighty interesting, Laura. Can’t wait to tear into my copy of Wraith and see how this all plays out.  

LE: I've had a great time chatting with you today…or is it tonight? My hours are still mixed up out here in space.  

MP: Says it’s evening on my chronometer. Don’t worry about leaving any chips, Craze and I have an agreement.  

To celebrate the release of Wraith, Laura is making Raven a free download for today only. Go to this link and use the code: PU65D  

And, of course, Wraith is available today for only .99 on KindleUS, KindleUK, Nook, and Smashwords.  

Someone wants them dead. Another wants them captured. No one can be trusted. Secrets, lies, and revelations await Raven and Mikael as their search for Mikael's missing friend leads them to Wraith, a mysterious moon owned by Jeffrey Hamilton, cybernetics genius and Ben's creator. How much of the Oracle's technology does Hamilton possess and where did it come from?  

Raven's nightmares from the past threaten her sanity, while Mikael's guilt slowly consumes him. Ben's in more danger than anyone as they race to find the answers to uncertain questions—questions which could lead to death for them all.  


What are your thoughts on how equality struggles and power shape fiction and worlds?

Jun 25, 2012

Martian Snow


Note: Wistful Nebulae is moving to http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ on August 20th. The website and this blog are the same, publishing the same articles on the same days, MWF.


Did you hear about Martian snow? http://news.yahoo.com/mars-
snowflakes-tiny-red-blood-cells-162342554.html Apparently, the size and kind of dust has an impact on whether it can snow and what the snow will look like.





In sci-fi news, Falling Skies returns to TNT on Sunday nights. Season 2 started off with a bang. Noah Wylie returned from his time with the aliens. Cue Twilight Zone music ... It gives me my alien fix. Yay aliens.

Since I was home all weekend, Husband Unit and I finished watching Torchwood IV. I love this show. I hope there will be a season 5. All's I know is, one shouldn't work with Jack and Gwen. I know some griped that the show was Americanized or something. Shrug. It still surprised me, which is what I love most about Torchwood.





About half way through season 1 of Game of Thrones, too. Makes me want to start reading book 2, but I have so many books ahead of it. Siiigh.


 

On someone else's blog ... can't remember who ... they recommended watching the documentary Dear Zachary on Netflix. I have to second that recommendation. It started out being about a man who was murdered, then became something else, at least twice during the film. It was surprising and gripping, and if you write about crime at all, I think you should see it. That said, have a box of tissues handy when viewing. If you're not moved by the film, have your pulse checked. At any rate, I keep thinking about the story and the people in it.

Well, I'm back at the vet today. I hope to come out intact ... have to get the IV thingy out of her leg. Anyway, still nursing my poor cat. I think if she hadn't of been poked so much, she'd be much better than she is. Siiigh. 

On a side note ... Blogger seems to get glitchier by the day. Maybe it's just me. I can find bugs in computer software / code no one else can. It's quite a talent. At any rate, I can't wait to be done with Blogger. But then I'm in a mood today ...