It’s a widely-held belief that writing is a form of catharsis — not only for the author, but often for the reader. It’s all about our author’s and the stories they want — and sometimes need — to tell.
Catharsis isn’t so much the airing of frustration,s as it is the process of letting those frustrations brew down and condense into the fuel that drives the creative spark; the fuel that leads you to reassert your imagination, your creativitiy, your humanity. It’s the reclamation of the possibility of a better world, a world that isn’t so extractive, and that retains the elements of the fantastic that we can visualize as being a part of it.
You hold in your hands twelve stories written by people who have passed through the corporate world with their creativity intact. Some are realistic; most are fantastic. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed gathering and bringing them to you.
I work from home, and those of you who also do this know that there can be some awesome good points and frustrating bad points.
First off, you have to love the commute, which goes from my bedroom, to the bathroom, to the kitchen to pick up a cup of coffee, then to the study to log into my remote office. In truth, the traffic in the hallway can sometimes slow me down, making the trip 10 or fifteen seconds longer.
One of the downsides is that The Employer expects me to be online and productive by six in the morning, which necessitates waking up at – ugh – 05:30. This is my fault, though, as it was one of the many selling points I used to convince The Employer to let me work remotely.
What’s the advantage of working remotely? You mean, other than the fact that the current population of the San Francisco Bay Area (depending on how it’s defined) is about 7 million, and the entire state of Oregon has only about 4 million people? Really?! You have to ask?
I’ve never been a fan of crowds. In spite of the mega-cool music, I’d’ve gone insane at Woodstock, probably to be discovered by the cleanup crew, curled up in the fetal position under a rock. I lived in Los Angeles during the summer after my sophomore year in college. I didn’t like the town before I lived there, and spending three months there didn’t improve my attitude any. Though, I’ve been told that L.A. has matured since then.
Don’t get me wrong – Los Angeles is a fine city. But it’s not for me. Big cities are a fine place to visit but … you know the rest. Besides, I’ve been conditioned by a lifetime of weird decisions, and I can’t think of L.A. without thinking of the old Freddy Martin song, Pico and Sepulveda.
However, I sometimes get tired of sitting in my study all the time, and take full advantage of the remote technology to work from a local library.
We have some very fine libraries near-by. Though that depends on what you mean by near by. The Monmouth and Independence libraries are close enough to ride a bike to, but they’re closed on Sundays, so I sometimes use the Salem Public Library or the Corvallis-Benton County Library. The Salem Library is closer, bigger, and very comfortable, but because of the way the highways are routed, it takes just as long to drive there as to Corvallis.
All of these libraries have comfortable places to set up, and provide power strips for the electronics, and free Wi-Fi. Though I’m paranoid of open public Wi-Fi, so I alway bring my own. All of them have free parking within walking distance, except for Salem, but it has free parking on Sundays.
So, that’s it. That’s my favorite aspect of working remotely. The only downside I’ve encountered to working in a library is when I have Skype meetings. Then I pack everything up and go somewhere else.
My Freshman novel, Memory and Metaphor. Available in digital, paperback, and hardback, today, February 1, 2019, at Amazon, Barns & Nobel (bn.com) and Lulu. You can get signed copies from me, also. The best way to do that is to order it through the publisher, Paper Angel Press, and tell them I sent you, and said you could have a signed edition.
Civilization fell. It rose. At some point, people built starships.
A millennium after the Earth was abandoned to climate change and resource depletion, Sharon Manders wakes up in a body that used to belong to somebody else, and some say she was a terrorist. She has no idea how she could be digging for Pleistocene bones in Africa one day, and crewing on a starship the next. That was just before she met the wolfman, the elf, and the sex robot.
Struggling with distressingly unreliable memories, the expectations of her host body’s family and crewmates, future shock, and accusations of treason, Sharon goes on the lam to come face to face with terrorists, giant bugs, drug cartels, AIs, and lawyers.
All things considered, she’d rather be back in 21st Century California.
I started this project in 2013, writing the first 15 thousand words in a fever during a long weekend. We all know what happened after that, right? Yeah, it progressed slowly, a couple thousand words at a time for two years.
I presented it at a Writers’ Clinic at BayCon in 2015, and the critics were generally impressed. Enough so that I was encouraged to press on and finish it. One of the panelists gave me the calling card for her agent saying, “She’s looking for a good space opera.”
Turns out she wasn’t. Or, at least, wasn’t looking for my space opera.
After putting the final touches on the book in the fall of 2015, I spent the next two years trying to find an agent. To no avail. Literary agents, it would seem, are much more difficult to impress than panelists at the BayCon Writers’ Clinic.
The project languished in my hard drive, all but forgotten.
Then there was WorldCon in San Jose, California. I was feeling pretty good about myself for reasons unrelated to writing. I had lost 30 pounds on a new diet, made some new, very cool friends in the Royal Manticoran Navy, and it was a gorgeous day in the South Bay. I wandered around the vendors’ area, purchased a few books for future reading, and admired the crafts of some very imaginative and creative people.
And stumbled upon the booth of Paper Angel Press. I don’t remember, at this late date, who it was crewing the booth, but she mentioned that they were looking for new writers.
I took their business card, and when I got back home I dusted off the digital manuscript. Made some changes, and submitted the first 10 thousand words.
Then forgot about it. I went back to daily life, lost more weight, and considered ideas for a new writing project.
The publisher, Steven Radecki, sent me an email two months later. He wanted to see the rest of the manuscript!
So, here we are. Five months later, and the book will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble (bn.com), and Lulu on February 1.
I have aspired to being a published author since I was a child, and now I will be one.
I attended WorldCon76 in San Jose, California last August and met the lovely people of Paper Angel Press at their booth. I remember it quite vividly. I was looking quite dapper in my Royal Manticoran Navy Lieutenant’s uniform, with a daypack to carry all the books I bought. I don’t remember the name of the woman who was crewing the booth (I really suck at remembering names), but we had a lovely conversation and she invited me to submit a manuscript as they were actively looking for new authors. I took a business card, and continued my treasure hunt.
Upon arriving back home, I dusted off my last completed project, made sure it was in proper submission format, and sent it off. Paper Angel Press promised that they would respond within 30 days.
Forty-two days later, I received a reply saying that they are looking forward to working with me. They sent a draft agreement, and later a physical copy of the final draft arrived in my mailbox yesterday. It sits on the table next to the computer, and I have a pen in hand. Now what?
I have a feeling that after I sign this contract, my life isn’t going to be the same. I’ll be able to divide my life easily into two parts: Before Contract and After Contract. While I wrote prodigiously in my youth (usually when I should have been doing calculus homework), writing has been a hobby lately. Something I did for NaNoWriMo, or when I had a free weekend. Now somebody is going to pay me, not just for my wordsmithing, but also for the marketing of it, which comes part and parcel. Nobody is going to read it if I don’t do some marketing, and quite frankly, I suck at marketing as much as I do remembering names. I tried to be a salesperson once. It didn’t end well.
Now, writing will be a business. Assuming that I make a buck or two on the sale of the book, I’ll have to declare it on my taxes, list the expenses of traveling to science fiction conventions and book promotions on my tax forms, and all that other businessy stuff. And if the book sells well, I’ll be under pressure to write a sequel, or some kind of follow-up story, and people will be breathing down my neck for a deadline. If the book doesn’t sell well, I’ll be under pressure to write something better.
I just wasted two hours of writing time calculating the specifics of a starship traveling from Epsilon Eridani to Rigil Kentaurus, little of which will be appreciated by the reader. We demand accuracy in other forms of literature, but for the most part, people are willing to give science fiction a pass.
I’m one of those people who cringe whenever we see spaceships flying like airplanes, when there’s sound in space, when robots “bleed” motor oil, or, and this is the worst, when aliens come to Earth to steal the water. It gets really bad when you see all of those in one movie.
Fans have complained to the creators and writers of Star Trek that warp speeds are not consistent, and that’s probably the least of Star Trek’s sins. I understand that the point is to tell a story, often one of social commentary, not give a physics lesson.
In the television show Firefly, there was no sound in space, but they abandoned this convention in the movie Serenity. In the book The Making of Star Trek, Stephen E. Whitfield describes how the showrunners actually added the Whoosh! in the credits after the fact, because it didn’t feel right when it wasn’t there.
If we encountered these kinds of factual errors in a murder mystery, we would cut the author no slack, because details are important.
Well, they’re important in science fiction, too. Or, they should be.
It doesn’t surprise me that the MAGA party would condemn Weinstein and defend Moore. I predict that Moore won’t step down, and that he’ll win the election.
What does it mean when your party is more important to you than justice, than a balanced government, the lives of your children, and even your God? What does it mean when your love of your party is so important, that there is no line you won’t cross just to get another check in the W column?
Damned if I know. I’m an independent. But I wish somebody would explain it to me.
After decades of debate, name calling, and late night talk show jokes, a group of researchers got together and decided to determine, once and for all, why the dinosaurs went extinct. Was it an asteroid? Climate change? STDs? What?
So they built a time machine, set the auto-pilot for 65 million years BCE and took a bunch of cameras with them.
Much has changed in 65 million years, and while plants and animals evolved, so did microbes.
”Oops,” said one of the researchers, as they watched all the dinosaurs die from runny noses and upset stomachs. “How are we going to explain this?”
”What do you mean, ‘we’? This wasn’t my idea.”
”Crap! My career is over!”