A working cover and a motto

For years I’ve resisted the obvious motto for the Spaceport stories as perhaps being just a little too campy. But who am I fooling? Most of the stories begin with an alien walking into a bar. Except book 2. That begins with a bartender falling out of the sky. But it’s okay. She survives.

I’ve decided to just embrace the campiness. It’s part of my voice.

Along with the motto, I’ve also been wrestling with the first cover. Covers are expensive investments, and they matter. The mood has to be just right. While I love starscapes and will definitely have those on some of the future covers, this first one needed to feature the Spaceport in all of its Earthly glory. While these stories are always full of aliens, they center on some very human characters — whatever planet they may hail from. In the center of this swirl of intergalactic activity is one very human building…that does happen to house a bar among other things.

Here’s the working cover:

Spaceport cover

Living in the World of Dreams

green nebulaMy daughter told me about a dream she had the other night. She ended with, “And then I woke up and that made me sad because I really liked that dream.”

I told her that this was one of the joys of being a writer — that if she wanted she could capture that world on paper and then share it with others. I explained that as a writer, I get to live in the world I’m creating for days and days, talking to imaginary people, working out their problems, throwing surprises at them.

And that’s why I’ve been so quiet on my blog and in public of late. I’ve been working. Writing. Creating.

Living in an imaginary world that I can hardly wait to share with you!

NaNo Winner Badge

Finished NaNoWriMo 2012

I’ve managed to finish a draft of “The Spaceport” for NaNo! NaNo Winner Badge

This was an interesting experience. I had to fight through food poisoning, holiday planning, emotional ups and downs…and yet this was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever taken on. It took me back to my early years as a writer, when I could work with complete abandon. The quality is maybe a little better than it was back then, but not much. The story still needs a lot of editing as several characters changed significantly as the story unfolded. I need to go back and add in all of the layers of interpersonal dynamics and clean up some serious point of view issues, but it is done.

Now I need to return to real life and do things like laundry and cleaning the house.

I’ll also be pondering: could I do this on a daily basis? Because this is the pace a professional author needs to maintain in our modern world.

Graph of Nanowrimo word count

Writing by Statistical Analysis

Graph of Nanowrimo word count

It isn’t that I’ve never tracked my word count before, but I’ve never looked at the words on a graph like THIS. I find it interesting because in plotting you want significant stages (act 1, act 2, etc.) to fall at predictable places in the story. This graph looks useful. I can see that I’m approaching a point where I should have a major turning point. Hmmm.

Why yes, I am writing this one by the seat of my pants. Fun. I haven’t done this in a long time. I have a general idea of the arc of the novel, where it is going, how it will generally end, but all of the fine details, the characters, the threads… this is a blast.

Or insanity.

Nano Day 2 — sort of

I started 4 days late and 5000 words short, but I’m hard at work. I’m delighting in finally getting the first novel in my Spaceport series on paper. I’d written a draft of it years ago — and managed to lose it. Over the years, I became convinced that was a good thing as the entire story needed to be re-worked and re-written from scratch. Finally putting fingers to keyboard feels very healing.

Of course, this draft stinks, but that’s what it is supposed to.

Take the most awesome amusement park ever and insert — one little-green-man. What could possibly go wrong?

Dream of a New World

I do not need to dream up more worlds. My fingers are already flying as fast as they can… but this morning, I had a lovely dream.

Waking with a smile on my face, I rushed to jot down as much as I could remember.  It was a beautiful world, full of virtual technology that worked. You know…really worked. While I was trying to post this tiny blog post, I was forced to wrestle with two pieces of technology that did NOT work. One was a tiny portable device that should have enabled me to post the blog remotely. It did allow me to write the blog, just not  to save or post it. I suppose it was helpful in a theoretical-putting-words-in-order frame-of-mind.

The second was an editor that refused to show me the text on a visible background.  Okay, so that second one is my fault. Still, shouldn’t my computer default to something readable?  I mean, wouldn’t you expect that to be the default setting?

And now I have another story to write, because everything was not rosy in that world. Just helpful.

A world where computers are helpful.  I must’ve been dreaming.

Lightning bolt Cover

Thundertime

Lightning bolt CoverToday I released a story I’d written years ago on Smashwords, exploring the options of free epub. If you learn about me through that story, know that it isn’t my usual. I wrote that story after an all-night reading binge for a modern-American literature class. The teacher allowed me to use the story as the final assignment for the class.

The thought was to pick up on the style and approach used by many authors of the day. Now mind you, that day was a few years ago!

I hope it amuses you!

A Living Wage Should Not Be Science Fiction

Earth in SpaceAll I want is a living wage.

That’s all I wanted when I got out of college. Of course, the term was new then. Now it is almost obsolete. Workers are supposed to be grateful for 20 or 30 hours/week. When I became an employer, I determined that we would pay our employees a living wage. The business went bankrupt.

The Spaceport is my daydream business, the place I would work if I could. It has great benefits: healthcare, on-site apartments, intense mental health care.

You need the mental health care, because of the aliens.

I mean, when you’re working among humans and turn around to see some bug-eyed sweetheart staring down at you like you’re lunch, you really appreciate those on-staff psychiatrists.

Thinking about the benefits of working at the spaceport, I realized they’d have a great educational benefit, too, because they’d have an exchange program with off-world universities.

It would be a great place to work. Youth would be an advantage, because young people tend to be less traumatized by the unexpected.

In my years of dreaming about the spaceport, I’ve met the most amazing folks who have come to work there. Folks like Annie: sweet, homeschooled Annie who works in the gift shop…and her husband Trevor the grunge security guard. Then there’s “Bugs” (the entomologist) and Blue, the barkeep. Blue does have a name, but no one can pronounce it, so they just call her by the one word that comes to mind in her presence.

Blue invaded my mind in college. She’s snarky, sarcastic and makes a wicked Denebian sundown.

So come along with me as I bring these stories out of the closet and into your hands. If someone has the money to invest, I’d love to build the Spaceport for real.

I don’t have that sort of cash. I’m still looking for a living wage.