(Not So) Obscure References

I was reading Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. Most of you know Douglas Adams as the writer of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and other quirky fiction. Last Chance to See, is non-fiction.

Carwardine is a zoologist. Adams is definitely not, but he is—was :(— incredibly intelligent and much better at expressing his thoughts in a digestible way than the average incredibly-intelligent person. The book documents their travels looking for rare and endangered species. While the species still existed, hence the name of the book.

It’s an excellent book. Hilarious, and a little sad given not all the species they saw are still around. I highly recommend it.

Another, and one would think unrelated, book I read sometime before getting around to Last Chance to See was The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. First published in 1951, this sci-fi novel has a definite Cold War Era ‘the arms race will end the human race and it must be the Russians fault’ thing going for it. Not a bad read. I don’t recommend it quite as highly, but if 50s sci fi is your thing you’d probably like it. Actually, if 50s sci fi is your thing you probably already have.

What made me laugh, or I should say one of the many things that made me laugh, reading Last Chance to See was the following passage:

“It’s hard for an Englishman to think of something like privet as being an exotic and ferocious life form – my grandmother has neatly trimmed privet bushes lining her front garden – but in Mauritius it behaves like a bunch of marauding triffids.”

I laughed because, had I read these books in the reverse order, the triffids reference would have been totally lost on me. Not sure if it’s my generation, ignorance, or if this reference is really that obscure, but ‘triffids’ is not a term I had picked up through cultural osmosis. I guess reading really does make you smarter.

Note: In case you don’t know, a triffid is a huge plant that has not only learned to walk, but will hunt you down and clobber you. Not even vegans are safe.

Mad Scientist Journal Spring Anthology

Announcement time! The latest anthology of Mad Scientist Journal is now available for download at Smashwords and Amazon. This edition is particularly exciting for me as it includes my story Mabel’s Mission–along with number of other great stories including some exclusive fiction not previously published on the MSJ website.

If you like a fun read from the slightly-weird side of the sci fi world (or if you just want to support me as a writer 😉 ) check it out.

Mad Scientish Journal Anthology: Spring 2013

Mabel’s Mission Published by Mad Scientist Journal

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

Read about the Mabel’s adventures in a world where human experimentation is as common as getting a haircut…but–like haircuts– sometimes it goes horribly wrong. You can read Mabel’s Mission now  (free, no log-in or other effort required) at Mad Scientist Journal.  

And thanks to Shannon Legler for the awesome art.

Dosterra Chapter Eight

Hello everyone,

First off let me share that, more often than not, the hardest part of finishing a piece of writing is actually submitting it. I’m definitely finding this to be the case with publishing chapters on JukePop. I will be perfectly happy with what I have until the moment when I have to hit that final submit button, because I know that, no matter how many times I’ve checked and rechecked it, a few typos are going to slip through, and once I hit that button there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

That said, I”m happy to announce that Dosterra Chapter Eight is now available on JukePop Serials in all of its not-perfect glory–and I”m learning to be ok with that 😉

If you’re interested in checking it out, remember that you can read for free and you no longer need to sign up for a JukePop account if you don’t want to. You can sign in via facebook and have access to all eight chapters. I’d love to hear what you think, so as always, don’t be afraid to comment here on my blog or directly on JukePop.

Almost Time for Mabel’s Mission

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

The crazy adventure of Mabel, a mad scientist’s assistant (written by yours truly) is scheduled to appear on Mad Scientist Journal April 1st 2013. This unique online magazine publishes a new essay every week from the world of mad science. You can view these stories for free on the website–always a fun and unusual read–and/or download their quarterly anthologies for 99 cents on smashwords, with some exclusive fiction added, well worth the 99 cents. The anthologies include variety of short stories (from more than the mad scientists’ realm) and quirky classified ads including my own Osteo-transplant Specialist published in the latest anthology.

So head on over to Mad Scientist Journal or smashwords and mark your calendars for April 1st!

Learning to Write a Novel The Journey Continues.

Anyone who has been following me is aware that I recently sought out a few reviews of my serial novel, Dosterra, being published on JukePop Serials. My main motivation for doing this was feedback. Creative writing is still very new to me. It’s not something I even considered trying my hand at until a little over a year ago, so I need people to tell me where I’m getting it right and where I’m getting it wrong (My husband and my mother are great, but lack the objectivity I’m looking for).

As far as Dosterra goes, after x-number of reviews are in–there are a few more to come–the consensus seems to be that the first chapter is the roughest, and the story (and my writing) improves around chapter 3.

Case in point, the latest review by hidingbehindbooks came to the same conclusion.

The upside of this feedback is that it tells me I’m improving. The downside is that given the medium in which I have chosen to publish Dosterra people are unlikely to go past chapter one if they don’t like it. The way JukePop Serials is laid out, readers can access chapter one of any story without signing up for the site, but to go farther creating an account or signing in via facebook is required. Plus with the number of stories available, even those with an account will probably move on to another story if they are not enthralled by the end of chapter one.

Now for the confession,

The roughness of chapter one does not come as a huge surprise to me–in retrospect at least. When I first got the idea for Dosterra I had only ever written short stories, but when I started writing I quickly realised that I couldn’t fit the story into an accepted short story length. I was considering making it a series of short stories—but still had not even considered attempting a novel—when I stumbled across JukePop Serials looking for the first 5000 words of potential novels to serialize. Lo and behold, I had about 5000 words. Figuring it was a long shot, but what the hell, I sent it in and, holy crap they liked it! Now I have to learn to write a novel. I had a feeling that what I had was not the best start to a novel, but lacked the skills at the time to fix it and figured that I would learn as I went along.

And learn I have. One big difference between a short story and a novel: the amount of time you have to fit in all the relevant information. In chapter one of Dosterra, I basically tried to fit a novel level of information into a short story slice of time.

Lesson learned: Give the reader some time to engage before confusing the crap out of them.

I must say I am very much enjoying this learning process and am thankful to JukePop for accepting my story, which gave me that little extra push to dive in. I am very appreciative to those of you who have had the patience to get past chapter one and on to the rest of what Dosterra has to offer. I hope you will continue, and I hope these reviews will encourage some others to follow suit knowing there is something to look forward to.

In case anyone is wondering, chapter seven is only a few days away 🙂

Dosterra Review by The Word Bookie

Another positive review of Dosterra comes to you via The Word Bookie. This review has some good things to say about my writing and characters ( 🙂 ) and has also given me some constructive things to think about. What more can a new writer ask of a review?

I’m glad to have gotten a review from The Word Bookie, an all-around book blog written by a freelance writer–getting another writer’s perspective is always beneficial. This blog gives perspective on everything from best sellers to newbies like me so I recommend book lovers check it out.