Short: Dugong Dreaming

This sounds like a fun read: A short story about an opera singer stranded on one of Saturn’s moons, the tough choices of motherhood and some very musical Dugongs.
It’s nice to see some spec fiction from down under. I’m trying to read more world fiction. What’s your fave non-US/European novel?

Shel Calopa

A short story about an opera singer stranded on one of Saturn’s moons, the tough choices of motherhood and some very musical Dugongs.

Available February 2020 in ASF’s Aquarius Anthology.

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Prepping a sequel

Four years on, I am finally ready for a longer visit to my alt 1880s world of automatons and artists in Paris. I’m plotting the full sequel to The Archimedean Heart, my first full-length novel. This time, the protagonist is the roboticist Adelaide Coumain, although Henri will appear in an important role. No more hints!

I did write a short novella featuring Adelaide that was published in The Clockwork Oracle. That was set just after the events of Arch Heart. This new story will occur the following year. Much has happened in France when the book opens. Oh dear, I said no more hints, but there I go again.

I am planning on starting to write the book in November, during #nanowrimo. Yep, I signed up for the madness once more. This means that to make my word count, I will be scribbling madly on the train to Reno when we go to the High Desert Steam Festival mid-November.

And since I generally struggle with titles, my dear daughter C came up with the perfect title:

The Vitruvian Mask

I’ll talk about the meaning in another post.

Taste the Rainbow: Diversity, Inclusion, and the Outdoors Community

Something I wonder about a lot whenever I’m “out in nature.” Where ARE all the POC? As a kid who grew up in poverty, I get that’s a huge barrier for some

Write Inspiration

“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Wallace Stegner said that, in 1983. That viewpoint, however, has come under ever greater scrutiny as we move into a century that will see a white minority by the year 2044 or 2045, according to U.S. Census data projections. The National Park Service has taken note of this and have consequently initiated outreach programs to minority groups in an effort to save their own lives. Why? Because outdoors spaces, national parks specifically, are and have been predominantly white, straight, cisgendered spaces. In recent decades this has become an unconscious trend, where minorities simply don’t see themselves reflected in the park advertisements or in park employment; on the other hand, this stems from a long history of racism that includes a park ranger telling Henry X. Finney…

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Should your protagonist be likable?

Evelyn M. Hill’s blog post struck home with me. While part of me resists the conventional wisdom that your protagonist be likeable (or at least respect-worthy), the fact remains that if you totally loathe a main character, it’s hard to want to keep reading. But some famous classics have awful protagonists and people read (and love) them.

So how do authors pull it off?

This is not a rhetorical question. The main character in my as-yet-unpublished novel Escaping Andronicus is decidedly unlikable. She detests her children and is having an affair with a married man. She’s a spoiled dilettante. She does find herself in jeopardy (one of the ways to make a character interesting), but not until midway into the book. But she gets better <insert obligatory Monty Pythonesque accent here>! She has a positive character arc. But it seems like I need to make her more sympathetic, or no-one will want to read the book. Or does she just need to be so compelling that readers love to hate her?

What would you do, dear readers? Re-write her to be more likeable or hold onto the initial character concept?

One flaw in many books is that even though the writing is good, the hero or heroine is a person that I would not want to spend five minutes with in real life. It’s rare for me to start a book and not finish it (DNF), but when I do that’s generally the reason. I’m […]

via Novel elements: characters you want to spend a whole book with — Evelyn M. Hill

Ways to Remain Loyal to your Novel, When Inspiration Strikes

When the plot bunnies are bounding around in your head and you need to actually FINISH that novel/screenplay/other long writing project first, try these techniques. I particularly like the idea of writing a short story based on the shiny new idea. It takes less time away from my big project but I capture the feel of the new idea.

Uninspired Writers

Writers find ideas everywhere. They pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and you can often find yourself brimming with inspiration. When this happens, it can be hard to focus on your work in progress. It’s so easy to become gripped by the excitement of a new idea. As such, I’d like to share someways to remain loyal to your WIP, when inspiration strikes.

Write down new ideas in a separate notebook
I am in support of ignoring the shiny new idea, until your current project is complete. But that doesn’t mean you should shut it down completely. Jot down every idea, and store it away for another day. Writers write, after all, and you’ll want those ideas for projects in the future. Keep them in a separate notebook, so you’re not tempted by then, but keep them all there. The act of writing them down will stop your mind from resurfacing…

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