Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Game time

I've only played two computer games obsessively, and that's enough to make me realize I shouldn't take up the hobby again because of the risk they'll become time wasters. In the 80s I played Gyruss, a shoot-em-up with a spinning space ship that I liked in large part because of the soundtrack - Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Here's a You Tube demo clip of the game. (This is the arcade version, not the Commodore Amiga version that I played. The music sounds a little different from what I remember.) There are all kinds of cool remixes of Toccata, by the way, most famously by the group Sky with John Williams on guitar. And just thinking about that has sent me to Amazon to purchase Sky's second album.

The other game was Sim City - my love of this game is probably related to my childhood obsession with Lego bricks. I love the way the game "plays itself" once you've zoned areas for construction, and you can sit back and watch the buildings pop up all over the place.

These days MCP and I are into the much more social hobby of playing strategy board games with friends. A current favorite is Ad Astra, in which you explore planets, collect resources, and build space ships and colonies. I'm a sucker for cute little game pieces - here are the ones from Ad Astra. (Of course, the cuter the pieces, the more expensive the game.)

From L to R: space ship, colony, factory, terraformer

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Who's your favorite sci-fi hero or heroine?

Today I'm interviewed at Dark Faerie Tales. A copy of Song of Scarabaeus is up for grabs - to enter, go to the interview and name your favorite sci-fi hero or heroine.

As for my favorite... I'll take the easy way and pick the heroine of my favorite sci-fi movie, Aliens. Yes, Ellen Ripley is just the kind of kick-ass heroine that I didn't imitate in Song, but the movie itself is a superlative example of blending characters, action, story, special effects and worldbuilding, and even science (in terms of the aliens' life cycle).

Whenever I watch sci-fi movies from the 80s, I marvel at how amazingly realistic Aliens looks by comparison. Hard to believe it came out almost a quarter-century ago (1986).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest blog

Head over to Literary Escapism where I am guest blogging today. You can also win a copy of Song of Scarabaeus!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clutter free

All's quiet on my blog but things have been hectic in the real world. I'm finding tiny pockets of time to write, with a deadline looming for my final rewrites on the manuscript for book 2.

We're preparing for a garage sale on Saturday and it's got me thinking about why people keep stuff and why they throw it out. I'm a fairly unsentimental type. I find it easy to throw away just about anything. I've moved my entire set of possessions to a new country four times in my life (first time when I was 13) and each time required severe culling. A few childhood things have survived - the more meaningful ones aren't the trinkets but the school books (okay, and the teddy bears). Stories and news reports that I wrote in grade school, and weird poems from my teenage years.

I wrote a lot of fantasy stories, but the first science fiction story I wrote was in grade 6, about a holiday my family took to the moon. It must have been a working holiday, because while on the moon we had to collect rock samples for scientific research. Someone fell into a crater. Exciting stuff. (For one of my second-grade creative writing efforts, click here.)

But back to stuff: I'm morbidly fascinated with those hoarding TV shows - and seeing how those people live only firms my resolve to continue to minimize the clutter in my life!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First or third person?

Kristin Nelson blogged this week about an author's choice of first or third person, and I am stealing her topic today. The conventional wisdom is to use third person if you have two or more points of view, and first person for a single point of view where you want to bring the reader into the protagonist's head.

I don't know if I'm alone here, but I disagree with the generally accepted idea that first person is more intimate. First person is someone else telling you (the reader) the story. The reader doesn't become the protagonist, he becomes the listener. When I read first person, I feel a sense of distance - especially if the protagonist has a distinctive voice that's vastly different from my own.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing - only that it's the opposite of what the writer may be trying to achieve. And maybe it's just me. Maybe most readers do find it easier to immerse themselves in a first-person novel.

A third-person novel can still be entirely from a single POV, of course, and the trend these days is for close third person rather than the more distant narrator-style POV. This makes it essentially the same as first person, but without the "Buy me a drink and I'll tell you a tale..." distancing effect.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Art for Song of Scarabaeus

Over the past few weeks, I ran a contest at my favorite 3D art site, DAZ3D. The contest required forum members to create images relating to Song of Scarabaeus (the first three chapters, anyway, which were available at the time). Here are the winners! They received signed copies of the book and gift certificates.


Edie and Finn from chapter 1 - I loved this image because it matches almost exactly the one in my head when I wrote that scene!


An imaginative, otherworldly image showing a terraforming team at work.

THIRD PLACE: scorpio64dragon

This one appealed to the romantic in me.

If you're interested in making 3D art (great for fantasy and sci-fi images), click the icon below:

New 3D Artists Start Here

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review from BookPage

A really nice review from BookPage today, by Tom Warin. It has the best plot summary I've read so far. Here's what else he says:

"Song of Scarabaeus is an enjoyable, fast-paced slice of adventure science fiction, infused with a measured dose of romance. The technological and political background is revealed with a deft hand, never getting in the way of the action."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Song on the stand

It's me! In Barnes & Noble! With Song of Scarabaeus! I was thrilled to see it out there on the new releases stand. My husband forced me to ask the clerk if I could sign them (I was going to call first and arrange it) and she was happy to pull out her "Autographed Copy" stickers and let me do it. (Photo was taken before the stickers went on.)

So if you're out and about in Tucson, head to the B&N on Broadway & Rosemont and grab a signed copy.

Next we tried Borders at Park Place, but there were none to be found. The clerk checked the computer and told us they have a shipment on the way. I'll go back next week to see about signing those.

Where I am today

Busy day online for me:

I'm guest blogging at Dawn Chartier's blog, where I talk about the infernal internal editor.

Over The Edge Book Reviews has an interview with me as well as a Song of Scarabaeus giveaway if you hurry!

On the Babel Clash blog, I've asked Robin Hobb a few questions about writing, dragons and microwave ovens.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Here and there

Lots of stuff going on this week and next.

Agent Kristin Nelson features Song of Scarabaeus in "The Story Behind the Sale" section of her April newsletter (you have to be signed up to receive it). When Kristin offered me representation, I felt I was 99% of the way there toward seeing my name in print. I never had a doubt she'd sell the book eventually, but it did take a few months. In the end we had two similar offers on the table and could take our pick.

This weekend, you can read a short interview with me at Over The Edge book reviews. I'll be dropping by to answer any questions that crop up.

I have several other online interviews and guest blogs lined up, so I'll post about them as they happen.

And a reminder that for the next few days I'm blogging with Robin Hobb at Babel Clash and it looks like we'll be covering a wide range of topics.

Oh, and yesterday I achieved my dream of joining the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) - yay me!!