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 ...

Jun 22, 2012

Library 010101 6.22.12

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

  For you Wendy Lu               




 May good fortune fall on you in plenty
throughout the year as you turn twenty

Happy Birthday, Wendy Lu

Part of Wendy's Roaring 20's Blogfest. There's still time to sign up at The Red Angel.


  What to Read                    


Congrats to Christine Rains on her acceptance of Red for publication by Pill Hill Press. It's her sci-fi flash piece.




Anna Marie Smith released Alphabet Wishes: A Collection of Poems. Congratulations to Anna.




Laura Eno releases Wraith, June 27th. Congratulations Laura!






 Awesome                         


Went to see Prometheus in 3D last week with one of my writing pals. What made it worth the price of admission was feeling as if I stood on an alien world. It's something I've always dreamed of doing. Just awesome. It was an enjoyable movie, but I thought they could have upped it a notch on the suspense and scary factors.

 Writers Desk                    


I set a release date for Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge. July 23rd. I'll be doing another launch party and will be putting up the linky link shortly.

Polishing the chapter ones of Earth Hereafter and Boomtown Craze, the next two stories in the Backworlds series. Madly writing to complete The Renaissaince of Hetty Locklear, anticipated release end of October 2012.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Jun 20, 2012

Wistful News

Astronomy Report                 



Last weekend's astronomy report is on the website: www.mpaxauthor.com  It was a great weekend. Much warmer. Fairly clear.




Thanks To:                               



Jonathan Allen, Karen Elizabeth Brown, Jemima Pett, Paty Jager, and Trudy Schoenborn for the blog awards. I don't recall who awarded me what, and I feel like I'm missing somebody. If it's you, forgive me.


This was one of them: Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript. Go to line 7. Post on your blog or Facebook page the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating

I'm currently working on The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear, which is a departure from all-out science fiction. It's more in the Plantgirl vibe if you've read that. It's womens fiction mixed with contemporary science fiction, later some contemporary fantasy, then a healthy dose of weird. I really like weird.


“I’m beginning to suspect Varren is a twelve-year-old girl, or a very old lady.” Maisy giggled.
That produced a smile from Hetty. If the Hysics transformed stern, practical Maisy into a soft, fun-loving girl, how could playing be bad?
“Then you don’t have to worry that he’s Ken if he’s a she.” Raspberry stretched her arms over her head before settling her fingers on the keyboard.
“I wasn’t worried until you mentioned it.” Hetty sighed, hitting reply.


Wistful Nebulae News         


So last week when I signed into Blogger to check on my posts and give them a look over before they went off, they were gone. All of them. Scheduled, drafts, old, new, all of them. That's part of what the grrr post was about on Saturday. I was actually writing this post and hit publish instead of schedule. But because I couldn't see any posts when signed it, I couldn't delete it. I was also unsure what was scheduled when, so this week had the potential to get really interesting ...

They did finally fix my issue, but I have other issues with Blogger. For instance, I can't sign in with google to follow with friend connect. I have to use my Twitter. Which I think is really moronic because I have a gmail account.

After my temper cooled ... yes, I do have one ... I decided that I'm being an idiot. I pay for a perfectly good website, and maintaining both sites is getting too time consuming. So, I'm going to condense to one, and I'm going to be moving completely onto my website. www.mpaxauthor.com


 Painful as it will be, I believe it is the right choice. Starting next week, I will sync the two blogs, same posts publishing on the same days -- MWF. On Monday, August 20th, I will make the switch to the website only. This blog will remain up to direct stragglers there.

I know not everyone will follow and it will be like starting over, but I need to make the move at some point and I might as well get it over with. I'm waiting until after my next book release -- Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge -- July 23rd. Next week I'll start making plans for the launch party.

Talked to my web guru who gave me the ability to lighten pages as I wish, so the blog on the website will be light gray background with dark text -- similar to here -- from now on.



Jun 18, 2012

Spacedock 19, In the lounge with Bryan Thomas Schmidt


Breakthrough Breakout Book Giveaway                                    


First off, Stephen Tremp is having a Breakthrough Breakout Book Giveaway June 18-19th. That's this week Monday and Tuesday.  Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan will be available to download for FREE from Amazon

Yes, I am still having Blogger troubles. They have yet to answer me. Being ignored does wonders for my temper ... will go into that more later this week. You have no idea how difficult it was to edit this post before it went off ... If it looks stupid, that's because Blogger is being stupid. Grrr.

Now onto Spacdock 19                         


In the lounge today, Bryan Thomas Schmidt has stopped by. I've got some of Craze's special handcrafted malt on the table today.

Space opera is a marvelous subgenre of science fiction entailing stories entirely or partially set in space. It's captured the imaginations of many from the early days of the genre to the present day. A staple, especially, in genre representations on television or film, it’s also popular in literature. As fans and writers of space opera, I invited science fiction author Bryan Thomas Schmidt to discuss with me his own passion for space opera and what we like about it as well as our influences. M. Pax

BTS: Mary, thanks for the invitation. Like you, I’m heavily influence by space opera series like Star Trek TOS, Firefly, Farscape, and Babylon 5. I’d add Battlestar Galactica, in both incarnations, Buck Rogers and Star Wars to the list as well. I also really enjoy pulp stories like those of EE “Doc” Smith, A.E. Van Vogt, Robert Silverberg, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. Modern day authors who’ve influenced me include Timothy Zahn, A.C. Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Jay Lake, all of whom have written space operas in series or standalone form, sometimes several. Who have been your author influences?

MP: The newer incarnation of Battlestar Galactica had some of the best space battle scenes ever. It was a great show. I was a big Stargate fan. I loved the idea of stepping through a ring to another world. What would we find? Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. were my early influences in the genre. Made me sad to lose Ray recently. Tanya Huff's Confederation novels remain one of my favorite series. I also really enjoy Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood. I've read a lot of classic literature which has a hand in my writing style, too.

BTS: Yes, I think to be a good writer, we need diverse influences, not just from our genre. Bradbury was an early influence for me. I read some Clarke, because of the famous 2001: Space Odyssey movie. I have yet to read Herbert, LeGuin, Butler, Atwood or Vonnegut but I know I need to. I have Dune right here on my nightstand. But let’s talk a bit about why we like space opera. For me, I like the larger-than-life heroes whom I can look up to. I like the kind that make a difference and make me want to do the same, rising above their faults against the odds to bring about good. I love action, especially when some good character banter and comedic aspects are mixed in, and I definitely like a fast pace. But I also enjoy the political maneuvering and scheming that often comes along with it. I know I wrote a lot of that in The Worker Prince and The Returning. The Returning in particular has a breakneck pace and some action scenes that are 10+ pages of nonstop action.

MP: The setting gets me. What's out there? I wonder so every time I'm out under the night sky and peering through a telescope. The frontier and exploration aspects of space opera are what I like best; the need to be self-reliant and resourceful. I borrowed most from Firefly when creating characters for The Backworlds -- not always good, not always bad. I like humor, too, and the characters, atmosphere, and the story take front and center for me.

BTS: I love the exploration and discovery as well. The settings can really provide great opportunities for imagination, not just for authors, but for readers. It’s also a great medium to examine our culture and mores and ask questions about who we are, why we are that way and where we should go. You can do it without being preachy and while still being entertaining. I think the most recent BSG is a prime example of that. Babylon 5 and Star Trek in its various incarnations also did it really well.

MP: If the message is we can become better than we are, then I like it. But I don't need a message to enjoy it, and probably like it better if there isn't one. I'm a rebel in that I enjoy making up my own mind and not being told what to think. Which is why I believe Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 is one of the most perfect pieces of fiction out there. Pondering that enigma is what drew me into other science fiction. I loved that he left me to think about the meaning of the monolith.

BTS: Well, I’m not talking about a preachy message. I’m talking about the message inherent in the way the character reacts to situations and the world and the ideals they strive for in living their lives. Confidence that they can make a difference, that others matter, for example. Perhaps belief in honor or goodness, etc. Those are the things that inspire me when I’m talking about the exploration and questions. 2001 was very much a Godmachine story that asks a lot of questions and leaves a lot up to the receiver for interpretation. I think the best storytelling does just that. Preachy morals are a turn off for many modern readers but having characters you want to imitate isn’t the same as a message to me. Who are some of your favorite heroes and heroines from space opera?

MP: I'm a big fan of the anti-hero. I'd never emulate him or want to know him, but Jayne Cobb in Firefly is one of my all-time favorite characters. Mal Reynolds is a close second. Torin Kerr in Tanya Huff's Confederation novels is great. Zoe Wash in Firefly. OK, pretty much the entire cast of Firefly. Loved Samantha Carter in Stargate, and Claudia Black in Farscape was fabulous. How about you? Who are some of your favorites?

BTS: I loved Han Solo, the anti-hero who become more heroic and admirable as time went on. I think Kaylee was my favorite on Firefly. I like Claudia Black in Farscape but Ben Browder is the heart of that show for me. I like Frank Compton in Timothy Zahn’s Quadrail series. Other characters, Valentine of Silverberg’s Majipoor cycle, Ender of Orson Scott Card’s military scifi/space opera Ender series and Bean as well. Those are off the top of my head. I am a Captain Kirk Trek fan all the way as well. So we touched on common tropes. In my series, I already mentioned using the politics and scheming as well as action. I used a coming of age story in the first book and more of a chase/thriller story in the second. I have aliens who are friendly and aliens who are menacing, a powerful overlord who is the dark antagonist, family drama, a kick ass love interest but she’s no damsel in distress prisoner (defying tropes), starships, laser battles and diverse planets the characters explore. Which elements do you employ in your series?

MP: Yes, definitely love the Kirk. I envisioned the Backworld series as a Firefly meets the Twilight Zone sort of thing. There are enemies and mercenaries, mysteries and loves lost. Successes and failures, survival, friendship and loyalty are key themes.

BTS: Interesting combination you have there. That’s great. And I’m glad people are still writing these stories for whole new generations to discover, aren’t you? I enjoy continuing to discover new space opera worlds and characters and it’s fun to watch readers do that with The Saga Of Davi Rhii books, The Worker Prince and The Returning. Thanks for the chance to visit Spacedock 19 and talk about our mutual love of space opera, Mary.


I hope the space opera always lives on, Bryan. It's a thrilling ride every time I open a book in the genre or start up a dvd of one of the old shows. Hope someone airs a new space opera soon. I miss it on TV.

In Bryan’s second novel, The Returning, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancĂ©e, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.



Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured in anthologies and magazines. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

What are your favorite things about space opera?

www.mpaxauthor.com has the astronomy report.

Jun 15, 2012

Spacedock 19, In the Lounge with Susan Kaye Quinn


Spacedock19 is part of a new feature where I chat with other sci-fi and fantasy authors.


Today I’m chatting with young adult sci-fi paranormal author, Susan Kaye Quinn. She’s been publishing her Mindjack Trilogy, the second in the series, Closed Hearts, the latest release.

Thanks for joining me in the lounge of Spacedock 19 today, Susan. It’s a pleasure to have you here. Can I get you a drink? Last year’s vintage of Romulan Ale is rather nice.

I prefer a cup of Earl Grey, hot, if it’s not too much trouble. Romulan Ale is one pretty drink, but my tolerance isn’t what it used to be (I guess that’s what being a mom of three kids does to you). :) Thanks for inviting me to Spacedock 19, though! I didn’t know you could orbit this close to a singularity without collapsing the structural integrity of the ship. (You have checked for that, yes?)

Oh, yes, I’ve checked. We’re good. The idea of mindjacking is unique. How does this play out in your world? What advantages and disadvantages does it present?

I don’t think mindjacking is so much unique - mind control is one of the oldest tropes - but I do try to give it a fresh twist in my Mindjack series by creating a world where mindreading is the norm, but only a few people can jack into your head and control your thoughts, emotions, and memories. The biggest challenge in writing about mindjacking is bringing a visceral feeling to what is essentially a mental exercise - creating an experience that no one has actually experienced. (Also: it’s a lot of fun.) The challenge for mindjackers in the story is that society isn’t so fond of having people that control them, so they endeavor to even the playing field by controlling the mindjackers first. That tug-of-war and the larger societal issues that go with it, drive a lot of the story.

What sparked the idea?
The initial idea came for just a mindreading world, and my main character Kira, being the one person who couldn’t read minds. It wasn’t until the story started to unfold that I realized she actually was a mindjacker. (Yeah, I pretty much pantsed my way through that first draft.)

Did the world or the characters come to you first?
The world and the central character occurred simultaneously, in one image: a girl sitting in a classroom filled with mindreaders, but she couldn’t read minds. Everything, and everyone, else evolved from there.

If you were to be transported into the world you created, what attracts you to it the most? Which character would you most want to be? Or would you decide to be someone else not in the novel?
I think I would be terrified in this world, not wanting everyone to read my thoughts or control them. I wouldn’t want to be Kira - she has way too many bad things happen to her (sorry, Kira!). If I was in the world, however, I prefer to be a mindjacker and would probably end up signing up for Julian’s cause. That guy makes a convincing case for revolution. :)


What appalls you about the world you created most? What wouldn’t you want to deal with if you were there?
The idea of no private thoughts? The prospect of anyone, anywhere, being able to jack into your head and make you do anything? There’s a lot of horrors there that I haven’t explored, simply because I’d like to keep this suitable for YA. And so I can sleep at night.

What drove you to create this series of novels? Is there a theme behind the characters and drama?
There’s a couple of intertwined themes, and I generally like to let readers take what they will from the novel. It’s endlessly fascinating to me to see just what resonates with readers that review or send me notes about the stories. But one obvious theme is intolerance: the world’s intolerance of Kira when she’s a zero (someone who can’t read minds) and later when she’s a mindjacker (and a threat of a different sort). The way that society deals with the others in their midst shapes a lot of the story and drives Kira’s character through the trilogy.


Thanks for the insights and for stopping by, Susan. It was wonderful to learn more about your series and Closed Hearts.
Thanks so much for having me in Spacedock! Which way to the zero-gravity holodeck? I’ve heard they have a good extinct rainforest simulation. :)

Down three levels, then follow the arrows.



~~*~~






Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2) $2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print) 
When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, which is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released. Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead


Jun 13, 2012

Journeys of Wonder, Ciao

Journeys of Wonder                                                


Leslie Rose of Yes, This will be on the Test Leslie S. Rose has a story out in the world. Part of the Journeys of Wonder Anthology, Afterdeath by Leslie S. Rose: In a future where our journey beyond death is no longer a mystery, the promise of eternal love waits, unless you break the rules. 

On sale only at Amazon.com now! $.99 or free through the Amazon Prime lending library!

Congrats, Leslie Rose!




Ciao by Bethany Lopez                                       



Ciao:

Melissa has had a fantastic summer, hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months.


 Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novels. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her contemporary Young Adult series, Stories about Melissa. Ta Ta for Now! and  xoxoxo are available now. Book three, Ciao, will be released in Aug 2012.
Bethany Lopez
Stories About Melissa Series

Astronomy Update                                                                    

Report and photos from this past weekend at PMO were posted on my website yesterday.


PS, I'm having a major Blogger issue. All of my posts have disappeared ... anyone else have this issue? I'm speaking some very unpleasant words about blogger right now .... I'm glad this still went off as scheduled, otherwise my choice words would be more vehement than they are.

Honestly, I'm thinking of dropping this headache and just going with my website ... Depends how quickly they fix the issue.

   

Jun 11, 2012

Why a Newsletter, Interview & Don't Surrender

Lorna Suzuki interviewed me yesterday. Met her talented self on the twitter. Flattering that she thinks I'm doing everything right. Nice thing for us insecure types to hear now and then.

I'm at Libby Heily's today. Also a great talent. I'm looking forward to her new collection of short stories and the release of her novel, Tough Girl. I'm talking about how to get books FREE on Amazon if you're not doing KDP Select, and if you're publishing, why you should create a newsletter and have a mailing list service.

Never Surrender Blogfest                                  


I signed up to take part in Elana Johnson's Never Surrender blogfest. Her new book Surrender came out June 5th. Congrats to Elana.

In the early 90's my battle with bilateral carpal tunnel began with a case of severe tendonitis. It quickly progressed to tenosynovitis then CT. It affects my wrists, my hands, and both arms all the way up to where the shoulder connects to the spine. It was so bad, my husband had to help me dress for work. I shouldn't have been driving. I couldn't really steer my car. Despite the constant pain, my hands were numb, and I'd often burn myself when cooking and not know it. I couldn't hold onto things. I still have problems with that and writing with a skinny pen. One of the reasons I don't write by hand very often.

I refused to believe I couldn't get better. Just flat out refused. But the doctor told me one day that if I didn't stop what I was doing, I'd lose the use of both hands permanently. A war at work raged. I won't even go into all of that. That's a novel unto itself.

I fought for myself. I fought for my health. Let me tell you, that's a very unpopular stance to take in the corporate world. I made plans to go to grad school and left my job. It was the wrong decision. Not leaving or going to school, but what I decided to major in. It's something I regret, but I keep telling myself it got me out of the hell I was in and to here. Here is a damn OK place.

When I didn't know what else to do, darkness does not begin to describe the place I was in, my mother said, "Write me something. You were always good at writing."

And so me, version 9.0, began. My hands are a lot better, but I still have to be very careful. Sometimes I have to take several days off from the computer. (yes, I have ergonomic everything -- why I remain on a PC) Thank goodness I discovered licorice root can help when it starts acting up. When it does, I wonder how I survived all those years in all that pain that never stopped. Never.

It may have taken me awhile to figure out what to do, but I never gave up. My mother's words offered me a lifeline inside a dark pit and I followed it out. Writing did that for me. A wonderful husband who gave me the space and time I needed to figure it all out, did that for me.

What obstacles have you overcome because you wouldn't give up?


Now come visit me at Lorna's and Libby's. Libby is the last official stop on The Backworlds blog tour.

Umm, I had some major technical issues today that have had me pulling my hair out since this morning. Grrr. Will catch up with you all tomorrow. Need to figure out how to get my new printer to work. Grrr. New printer works. Yay. Somehow I don't think having to buy a new one is a victory for me though ...

Jun 8, 2012

Ode to Ray Bradbury

Four science fiction authors influenced me more than any others: Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The last of my quartet of idols passed away earlier this week. Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91 on June 5th after a long illness.

I devoured his books after being introduced to his short stories in literature class in college. He was a true inspiration to me and a factor as to which genre lured me to writing. Some friends have said they think I write like him, which is very flattering. To have an ounce of his talent, I'd never claim. Any similarity is unconsciously done.

He leaves behind a tremendous legacy and volume of literary work. Fantastic stories that took me to the future and into the stars. A legacy I treasure. I'm glad I named my telescope after him.

Will miss you Ray and your incredible talent. You definitely created something memorable.






This news made me very sad this week. I don't think any of my writing heroes are alive now. Ray was the last one. Sniff.


Passion                                        


Passion fueled Ray and it fuels me. I'm at Greta van der Rol's today talking about one of the biggest passions that inspires me and my writing.

Sunday, I'm being interviewed by Lorna Suzuki. Who told me on the Twitter she believed I did everything right. That's nice to hear now and then. Yes?

Will be up at PMO this weekend. What are your plans for the weekend? Hope you have a good one.




Jun 6, 2012

Spotlight on Venus, Space Opera, and IWSG

JL Campbell is kind enough to host me on her blog today, The Character Depot. I'm discussing the space opera and my favorite TV shows that inspired my love for the genre.

Very briefly, I was able to see the transit of Venus yesterday. Some of my astronomy buddies set up telescopes with sun filters (an accessory I do not yet have) on Pilot Butte, which is just a few blocks from my backyard. So, I hiked the mile up. There was a still a reasonable amount of blue among the clouds, although not warm. I had on a sweater, a fleece, my down vest, and was kind of sorry I didn't bring gloves and a hat. Seriously. It was barely 50 degrees here yesterday.

I got up there, said hello, and got a quick peek through both of the telescopes when the clouds broke. It was really neat. Venus was much bigger than I expected it to be. That peek was all I was going to get. The clouds swarmed in, it started raining, and then ... snow. It snowed on us. I swear this year the observatory season is just cursed.

Anyway, photo taken and provided by Bill Logan, a devoted observer of the sun. He's often at the High Desert Museum or on Pilot Butte, sharing his hobby and his passion. And he sends us all emails on what the sun is up to.

Photo taken by Bill Logan

Here's some photos from my hike ...


Moody skies over Bend, OR, from the top of Pilot Butte.


Juniper berries. Juniper, cedar, and sage, that's what this area grows very well. I must report that it smells just fantastic. Instant air freshener any time I open a window.


A sign of spring braving our crazy weather.



Last, but not least, it's IWSG day. Insecure Writers Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, writer and ninja extraordinaire. The first Wednesday of every month writers gather to share their insecurities or encouragement and support. It's not to late to sign up if you'd like to join us.



I wasn't sure what to expect with the launch of The Backworlds in early May, but am humbled and deeply grateful for all the support from all of you. The blogging community, you, helped me create a buzz, get Amazon to price match, provided reviews that made me warm and fuzzy, provided me time and space for touring, and also put me in touch with a great editor, who I look forward to working with again.

You helped my work get noticed. 2,000 downloads and growing. Thank you.

You know what else makes me happy? Seeing how many of you are publishing and getting published lately. It's fantastic. It really is. So, congrats to all of you for being fantastic, awesome people. The sky's the limit for all of us if we continue to support each other the way we do.

OK, that got a bit sappy and gooey. But that's OK. You're all worth it.

Now come visit me at Joy's.

Jun 4, 2012

Transit of Venus

Catherine Stine is hosting me at Idea City today. I'll be discussing bioengineering and human evolution. What improvement would you like if you could get one?

Been playing around with book covers again ... mostly because I was brainstorming the next few stories in The Backworlds series, then wanted to do covers. See them HERE, scroll down to see Earth Hereafter and Boomtown Craze. They turned out so well, it put The Backworlds to shame. So, I redid it. Still working on Stopover's.



Venus transits the Sun this week. Tuesday for US, Wednesday for others. Check this site for more info: http://www.transitofvenus.org/  Some of my astronomy buddies will have scopes up on Pilot Butte, which is out my back window, so I'll be popping up to see what I can see. Forecast says partly cloudy, but we may get some glimpses. It's the last transit of our lifetime. The next occurs in 2116.

It didn't snow us out up at Pine Mountain Observatory this weekend, but there was a lot of cloud cover. Was able to get glimpses of the Moon, Mars, and Venus Friday night. Not even the Moon on Saturday. Got a few photos. For larger views, click on a photo.


 The clouds started out so innocently Friday night ...


My best Moon shot of the weekend. Clouds made it a little hazy.


Saturn. Clearer skies would have given me more time & more chances to get a great shot. This will have to do for now ...


Came across a herd of deer Saturday evening.


This was the best view of the Moon we got Saturday night.

How was your weekend?

Come visit me over at Catherine Stine's.