Saturday, October 29, 2011

Getting Ready for Nano

Nano starts next week.  And in preparation, I've put together the back-of-the-book blurb for Golem.  So, here it is:

Odessa, Russia in 1905 is a place where the future is being born.  Industrialists, artists and philosophers meet in smoky caf├ęs and invent a better world.  Of course, the Tsar and his cronies aren't at all sure they want a new world.

Rachel Vainshel has one foot in each world.  She has a job in the factory and her father is the Rabbi of their Temple.  At 16, the word is full of possibilities, including those of Yakov Mueller, the jeweler's son.  Yakov has a talent and a trick – he makes exquisite little insects out of watch parts.  And can bring them to life.

When her father, Reb Kolya, finds out about it, he encourages Yakov to create a mechanical man, a Golem, to protect the synagogue from the anti-Semitic riots that are growing more frequent and more violent.

Rachel helps when she can, but she doesn't have the magic. She will do whatever she can to protect her family and her people, even as the world around them goes mad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where We Come From

I've been quiet for the past week because I've been working on a photo book.  Several years ago, I collected family photos, some of which go back more than a hundred years.  I finished it and sent it off last night.

So, as is my habit, I look at everything, and I mean everything, as what it can teach me about writing.  And this photobook has something to do with Backstory, with where we come from.

Every character has a past, hinting at that past can tell you a lot about that character, what matters to them, what motivates them.  For instance, my mother is a nurse, I have a master's degree (education, if you must know) and my father went to college.  Of course.

But my grandfather didn't go to college and my grandmother went to business school for a year, I think.  Most of my mother's family were farmers – not the intellectual elite that I'd assumed we were.  Because that's what we are now.  We have a slew of teachers: art, music, science and special needs.  And education IS very important to us.  But would I have had anything in common with my great grandmother if I'd known her at my age?

Probably not.  She had been married and had 7 kids (one of whom died of disease in the nursery) by the time she was my age.  And I'm not sure she graduated from high school.

So, back to characters.  One of my characters lost her parents in an accident when she was a teenager, another used to belong to a gang.  The romantic lead is more than shy, he's gun-shy.  His family has money and a gold-digger had him going before he figured out what she was really after was the money.  Knowing this about them is essential to how they react and what motivates them.  I may never say what happened to them, in so many words, but their past is there.

What are the pasts your characters have to deal with?

Photo: I'm not sure who took it, probably my grandfather.  It's my aunt and my mom, as kids.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not really a post

This is the icon/ cover I made for my nano wrimo story this year:

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Cheers to Writer Friends!

This weekend is a writers' weekend.  I'm going to Capclave with two of my writers friends and I will make more writer friends.

Whenever any of my writer friends are anywhere near me, I've got to get to them - we NEED to get together.  More accurately, I need to see them.

Because writing is a lonely thing.  I can write and live with my characters and I lose perspective.  My writer friends encourage me, are honest with me, and they're just really good company.  When I connect online, they're disembodied, but in real life (RL), they're, well, real.

So yay for the friendship, yay for the connection and Cheers for other people who just understand.

Thanks folks - huggs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beautiful Betas

Okay, that's beautiful and he's a beta splendens fish, but I'm talking about Beta readers.

Beta readers are those wonderful people who can look at your writing and tell you things that you can't see clearly because you're too close.  They tell you when something's not clear, they tell you the theme of your story when you can't see it - they ROCK.

If you haven't connected with beta readers, find a writing forum and offer to read - it's polite to offer time and energy before asking for the same.  And I've learned as much or more from reading others' stories as from others reading mine.

Last night, a good friend who read Lawgiver in all its first draft glory let me bounce things off her and she nailed the quality I need to emphasize.  Thanks, Lisa!

For those of you who've read Lawgiver, thank you.  And here's a snip, so you'll understand what I'm talking about:

"What is it about the past?" asked Pel.  He took off his sweater and draped it over her shoulders.  Su pulled it close – it smelled like Pel's soap.  Just a hint of sandalwood.

"Thanks," she muttered, pulling the collar up to her ears.  "I'm not sure what you mean."

"Why do you spend so much time with the past?  You're as pure a Mercian as I've ever met.  But most Mercians look forward, worried about inventing the future.  Why do you look in the opposite direction?"

"Because it was better, more hopeful.  There was magic in the past and we've lost it."  Su had stop, to blink back the tears that were threatening.  "We're killing each other, Pel.  If it's not the bombers, it's the gangs in the cities.  So I look backwards."

He rubbed her back through the sweater.  She leaned back, relaxing a little.  "As I remember, there were wars and robberies back in Vidar's time.  They weren't very peaceful."

"But God did something about it.  He sent Vidar and D'Guerre to stop us from killing ourselves."  She thought of the three-foot high letters spray-painted on a ruined wall – God is Dead.

Pel pulled her close and laid her head on his shoulder.  "Give him time, Su.  That's where Faith comes in."

Su smiled and let him hold her.  Faith had never been her strongest talent.

Betta fish photo gakked from under creative commons license.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SF Plotbunny Snip

The dream has become a five-book series.  Sort of a Leverage meets Firefly SF Romance.  Five books, five couples.  And one giant conspiracy.

It's set in the near future, when Man has ventured into the solar system, but no farther.

In the first book, Marlowe (Helene Marlowe) is the FMC and Daniel Lyons is the MMC.  Enjoy.

Marlowe took out her glasses and held out her hand.  "Let me get a closer look at that."

Lyons glanced at Chan – he had no reason to trust her, she reminded herself.  Chan nodded.

Slowly, Lyons placed the orb into her palm and her fingers caged it.  Smooth, cool to the touch.  Practically seamless.  "Do you know where it was made?"

Lyons stared at her, his mouth slightly open.  Hadn't he heard her?  "Do you know where it was made?"

He shook his head, maybe he just shook himself awake.  "Sorry.  I haven't a clue.  It's not old, though.  Not hand milled, but not mass produced, either."

Marlowe nodded and touched her hand to the left earpiece.  First step in and the surface of the orb focused.  Still smooth.

At the far edge of her vision, she saw Jerry approach Chan with a whisper.  They left, leaving her alone with their client.

"I like the sexy librarian look."

Marlowe looked up at him, over the rim of the black plastic glasses.  "My eyes were corrected to 20/20, same as everyone else.  These are glassicals, not your typical glasses."

"Now I'm curious."  He took two steps closer and looked at her face, at the glassicals.  "What do they do?"

Of course he was curious.  But she didn't like how unsettled she felt with him looking at her face like that.  "They act like a 3-D microscope.  Nano lenses focus and enlarge, then the image is sharpened via computer enhancement."  She tapped the drive at her hip.

Lyons glanced at the drive, but before she could focus on the orb, he looked up, at her, not the glassicals.  He was too close.  But her breath had seized and she couldn't move.

He grinned.  "Can I see?"

And she could breathe again.  "No."  She nearly laughed when he pouted – that was the only term that could apply.  "They're keyed to my ID.  They're designed to only work with me."

He looked so disappointed, just a slumping of his shoulders, that she relented.  "I've got a non-keyed prototype in the office.  If we've got time, later, I'll show you.  Right now, I've got to see what I can learn about this thing."

"We should probably call it something else, don't you think?" He glanced at the orb.

"If you want.  The orb?"  She pulled out a small round tube, shrank the diameter and set it on the luncheon table.  The orb settled into the circle, not moving, and she braced her elbows on either side.  The computer still didn't compensate for the jiggle quite enough yet.

"How about Lyon's Orb?"  But she was already concentrating and he sounded miles away as she focused on the sphere in front of her.

Image:  Orb: Recursive by Giovanni Rubaltelli under Creative Commons License