Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday's Tour Stop!

Today, I get a little bratty over at Daniel Ausema's blog, talking about music.  Check it out here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings - Books Within Books

Books – physical books, stories contained within pages and ink – play a small but vital role in Scylla and Charybdis.  This is, admittedly, a product of personal bias:  as a reader, I am devoted to the book you can hold, the tactile sensation, the subtle scent.  I am a highly kinesthetic person and related to the world via movement, touch, and the intangible “feel” of things.  (Just to prove Mother Nature can have a twisted sense of humor, I also have an ocular-motor dysfunction:  a disconnect in my eye-hand coordination.)

The world of Scylla and Charybdis is highly digitized, and nowhere is this more evident than on Themiscyra space station.  Fleeing the chaos of a dying universe (or so it seemed), the women of the station preserved few physical books, and those have been locked up in climate controlled chambers.  Anaea has seen them only through glass.  Removed from the days of pure survival, the space station has made room for the arts and has a rich repertoire of entertainment – often in the form of holo movies – but books are not part of that reality.

In the broader universe, there is room for this niche art, for physical printing, and even new volumes.  For Anaea, part of the charm of books is the fact that they are unchanging; an electronic fictional work might be updated to adhere to the tastes of the times, but an old Harlequin (… not an actual example) still has the same flowery language and heaving bosoms it always did.  For someone whose world is in upheaval, there’s comfort in that stability.

There are a few specific books referenced throughout.  One of them, Falling Stars, is an Earth science fiction novel, written pre-colonization, which inspired the popular name of one of the colonized planets.  Given that science fiction geeks are already naming astrological bodies, it didn’t seem that much of a stretch.

My editor encouraged me to quote a few of these books.  At first, I was uncertain about this:  the imaginary book always has a mystique, and can an excerpt ever live up to what the reader imagines the content might be?  But I decided to tackle it, and I was pleased with the results.

There’s also a reference to a compendium of zombie stories, because why not.  It can’t all be great literature.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday's Tour Talk!

Visiting Joanne Hall today to talk about culinary nonsense!  Check it out:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Today is the Day! Scylla and Charybdis out (ebook)

Today is the day!  My space opera / soft science fiction novel, Scylla and Charybdis, is now available!  Check it out HERE!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings - What's In A Name?

Some writers use placeholders in their works instead of character names, using Find-Replace when the right name comes to them.  I can’t even imagine being able to do that.  While I’m not a writer who gets clever with hidden meanings and inside jokes, to me, a name becomes inextricably bound up with the character.  I don’t have a clear picture of the character until I know their name.

(Changing a name, which is necessary every now and again, is torture for me.)

In Scylla and Charybdis, the individual names may not have meaning, but there is some structure and theme.  The all-female space station is populated by women with the names of mythological Amazons.  They’ve retained surnames from their various pasts, which sometimes makes for unlikely combinations and/or a contrast with physical appearance.

The same sort of unusual combo shows up in the rest of the novel's setting.  When I considered the history of the universe I had created and the circumstances that sent people into the stars, it seemed only natural that the ethnic distinctions of names would blur, be adopted in unusual places, and be handed down to children, grandchildren, etc, with a different surname or origin.  So without trying to make every name "weird" to our modern ear, I did apply some mixing of name origins.  The bubbly Upala Manuel, who shows up later in the narrative, is one example.

In the original short story, there was a particular reason for Gwydion’s name.  Since I had chosen Greek mythology for my female characters, it seemed fitting that Anaea’s male counterpart would have a name derived from a different mythos, and I chose Welsh.  The name of his unrequited love, Sophie, was also deliberate:  it means wisdom.

Don’t ask me why the kearl (a genetic cat-monkey hybrid kept as a companion animal) is named Penelope, though.  She just is.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Song Styles

Since it was put together when I wrote the novel, most of my Scylla and Charybdis soundtrack is older.  My music tastes have drifted and acquired new nuances since.  But there is one more recent song that I simply had to add, because it has a heartbeat to it that works beautifully for Anaea:

Fire Under My Feet - Leona Lewis

(As is usual with many of these ... I don't think I've seen this music video before.)

For anyone who enjoys this song, I have to put in a plug for the rest of the album, I Am.  As I've described it, it's not a breakup album:  it's a "goodbye and good riddance" album.  Very powerful.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Touring To ...

Well, hey - I'm over at Marco's blog today, talking about worldbuilding!  Check it out.