My next upcoming novel is called Becoming Queen. I'm doing final edits and formatting. Release Date: May 15, eBook only. Here's the blurb:
19-year-old Daneli is a tomboy who doesn’t get along with her mother. She’d rather be riding her horse or perfecting her archery skills than wearing finery and ordering servants around. But as the eldest daughter of House Trageri, Daneli is the inheritor of long-standing tensions, and a mission far larger than she is. First, she must undergo an arduous training process, then pass a series of tests in order to become Queen. Afterward, with the help of ten hand-picked spouses of both genders, along with her secret Gift, it will be her job to create peace between her cooperative, matriarchal nation and the violent, fiercely hierarchical patriarchy to their north. As if that weren’t challenge enough, Daneli is also in for a big surprise. A spaceship is speeding toward her colony – and its arrival will change everything.Blog Category: Tweet
I am between fiction projects, and I decided to really push on a project that has been on the back burner for over a year. It's a book about nonprofit technology, the field I've spent the last 18 years in, 12 years full-time.
Writing non-fiction is in some ways a nice break - it helps me work on something very concrete, and takes a very different kind of creativity. I don't get to make stuff up - I have to spend time doing research. But I do get to determine how I talk about things, and how it's arranged, and how to keep it moving.
There isn't a plot, in the same way, to keep the pages turning, but there will be threads that can be followed (or not), and an arrangment of information that will be conducive for reading and study. And I get to put on paper things that I have had either in my head, or in blog posts or presentations scattered about, all in one organized place.
In this case, production is going to be similar - it will be a self-published book, both in paper and e-book formats.
Anyway, I'll keep everyone posted on how it's going. And also, check out the Indiegogo campaign to help me get time to write it!
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Did you actually think I had an answer to that? OK, well, I sorta do, but I think there are many ways to do it.
Dystopia and, it's converse, utopia, are two of the most common subjects and themes in science fiction. Even when novels don't make the dystopia itself a subject, the setting might well be dystopic in nature. Firefly is a great example of doing this well. The first dystopic novel I ever read was George Orwell's 1984, which I imagine would top the list of many dystopic SF classics. One of the earliest dystopias I really appreciated was John Brunner's "The Sheep Look Up." It was written in the 70s, and was a scarily prescient look at the future environmental crisis. It did get a few things wrong - we are struggling more with climate change than we are with air pollution, but a lot of what he wrote has come to pass. One of the more interesting things I remember about that novel was that elected officials weren't from states or geographic districts, but from corporations.
The secret to writing dystopia well is to extrapolate logically from our dystopic present, with believable and imaginable steps along the way. John Brunner extrapolated trends in US governance and environmental policy. Octavia Bulter wrote what I would say was the most believable dystopic novel I'd ever read in "The Parable of the Sower.". She was really good at this. She extrapolated current (at the time she wrote it, and worse now) economic inequality to it's logical result. In some ways, the further in the future you are trying to predict, the less accurate the extrapolation is going to be. In some ways, "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood is another good example. The scenario of a staged terrorist attack, and religious fundamentalists taking over somehow doesn't seem all that farfetched.
But there's more than just the mechanics of writing a believable dystopia. What's the point of writing a dystopia anyway? For me, it feels like it's a warning bell, telling us to look at where we might end up if we keep going in the direction we're going in. It gives writers a chance just to play with the possibilities, and explore what characters do with the exigencies of dystopic life. And, my favorite reason, is to write about how we can emerge from dystopic futures, find hope and a new way to live. In that way, I hope that it finds us able to emerge out of our dystopic present.Blog Category: Tweet
A few odds and ends today. Fridays are good days for odds and ends.
First, I wanted to let people know what I'm working on, and what to look out for in the next few months. I have two books that are completed in not-so-drafty form. I think I've mentioned them both before.
One is called "Becoming Queen," a fantast/sci-fi hybrid, sort of. It's the story of Daneli, who is heir to a throne, the conflict between two nations, and the impending arrival of something that will change everyone's lives forever. I hope to publish this book by mid-March. The second is called "The Artifact," a straight-up hard-sf novel about a woman who grows up within a fundamentalist, patriarchal, backward colony, finds her freedom, and ends up helping to save her people from a horrible fate. I hope to publish this sometime toward the end of spring.
I'm almost finished with my newest novel, tentatively titled "Friends with Wings," about a woman who is stranded alone (well, she has intelligent, non-human companions) on a planet far from Earth. It is set 90-130 years in our future, and includes my first dystopic future, which takes up about the first 1/4 of the book.
And for you Casitian fans, I am still in progress on the novel which describes the original capture of humans during the bronze age by the Tud'scla, the species that enslaved humans for a couple of thousand years.
Over the next few weeks and months, I'm doing a guest blog exchange, so there will be guest bloggers here. This is new for me, but I'm excited about having new and different voices here, as well as getting to talk to other audiences.
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"Going vertical" is a phrase used often in non-fiction and memoir writing. Going vertical means that in a sense, you are going deeper (and sometimes also higher) in perspective and description at certain points in a book. In memoir, this might involve delving much more deeply into a specific happening, or zoom out to look at the very big picture. Going vertical gives the reader a chance to understand the narrator in a much deeper way than just relaying what happened next.
My current work in progress, with a working title "Friends with Wings," involves a woman who is alone on a planet that is not Earth. Alone, except for intelligent winged creatures, who she can't really understand, but who treat her well. The plot is fairly straightforward, and unlike many of my novels, there aren't many sub-plots, or other things going on. Most of the book is Trina, the protagonist, alone on a planet named Johannes.
And so, I'm going vertical. What is it like for her to live alone on another planet? Does she miss human contact? How does she learn about the other intelligent creatures who share the planet with her?
I tend to write novels that are very plot driven. This novel gives me a chance to delve deeper into a personality, a psyche. I delve into the details of her life, so that an understanding of her, and how she survives emerges. It's a fun challenge.Blog Category: Tweet