Wednesday, January 25, 2017

After watching the protests and total lack of coverage for pro-life marches

Years ago I was part of a 4,000 or so protest march around the Texas Education Association building in Austin while hundreds vied for the 60 spots open to talk for two minutes about the law the Texas senate was considering. Someone had planned to sneak through a law making homeschooling illegal and all of us liable to go to jail. No internet then. We homeschoolers called each other in a panic that night, and the next day we drove to Austin for what we ended up calling a TEA party (no relationship to the present tea party)
So as I was walking around with the thousands of peaceful protestors, their multitudes of children, and my oldest son who was 9?, and a batch of police cars came squealing up and police exited to stare at our crowd. Josh clutched me and asked if we were allowed to do what we were doing. I proudly taught him about the first amendment. There were television cameras everywhere.
Back in San Antonio, I watched the news all night and read the following morning paper. Nothing about us. Not a single line, not a single word.
I called up every station in town and asked them why. They said a satellite transmission had gone awry. Uh-huh. A short time later twelve teachers also picketed the TEA because of retirement fund issues. That was front-page above the fold news.
Just because you don't hear about it (like you don't hear about the Muslim protests against extremist jihadi terror or pro-life marches) doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Robert Don Hughes

I'm so happy I got permission from the company that reissued the Pelmen the Powershaper series by Robert Don Hughes to use excerpts from his books in the Writing Speculative Fiction textbook. And he's still alive! I forget if he was a missionary or a professor when he supplied an endorsement for the very first version of Shatterworld so many years ago, but I'll always be grateful to him for that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Well, I'm embarrassed. I have a story in the Fantastic Creatures anthology. That's not what embarrasses me. I was told to write a family-friendly story, so I wrote one thinking age 6-8. So I wrote a very simple story, simplistic even. The anthology is out now, and my story is the simplest, aimed at the youngest reader story in there. But even that doesn't embarrass me, though I now wish I had written something a little more complex about a kappa and a maneki-neko. *shrug* What's done is done.
Here's what embarrasses me. Someone read the book and left a good review but let the editor know I had made a mistake. It's been thirty years since I lived in Japan, but I remembered the honorific -san added to names. Adding -chan to a name indicates affection toward a child. -san indicates honoring an older or more authoritative person. So I had the little girl call her mother mama-san. I didn't think to track down one of my far-off Japanese friends to ask them to read through the story. I should have.
The reader told the editor that mama-san means the owner of a brothel.
Ack!!!! Fixitfixitfixitfixit! I wrote to the editor every few hours until she said she had sent the correction to the formatter. In the meantime I don't know how many hundreds of people downloaded the free book before it was fixed. My kindle version still has mama-san. When the print books arrive, I hope the mama-san has been changed to mama. If not, I guess I'll go through and cross out the -san.
Oh, man....My oldest son is always editing my writing, telling me, um, Mom, did you know this phrase was dirty? And my reply is always, Really?... I don't even want to ask what I inadvertently said.
So, if you get a hard copy with mama-san in it, could you kindly cross out the -san?…/…/ref=sr_1_1…
Here be dragons ... and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two. Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend…

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fantastic Creatures Anthology

I have a story in the Fantastic Creatures Anthology put together by the Fellowship of Fantasy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Project!

I am so excited about a project I have begun. The shiny thing has interfered with my work on the Tales of Talifar series, but it's so SHINY! I am putting together an elective high school course aimed at homeschools and private schools titled WRITING SPECULATIVE FICTION: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Janeen Ippolito, a teacher, is collaborating with me, and publisher has already asked for the textbook and package.
I will be citing works not only from the old masters, but also from present day indie writers. Those of us whose books will not end up on library or book shelves unless we know the managers. I hope to introduce high school students to writers they don't yet know exist.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Happy-making book review

This review of Circumnavigation of Shatterworld made me happy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Remembering North Pole

Yesterday I was talking to the guy fixing my computer. (When I don't hate my computer, I love it.) He was trying to explain computer stuff to me, and I was talking about other stuff. He wanted to know about all the novels I have saved in the computer and in the course of conversation I mentioned that from time to rarely time I'll save the novels on a thumb drive and wrap the thing in aluminum foil in the case of an EMP pulse or a Carrington Event. He said that wasn't the best way to save them, but he didn't say what was as he talked about a Russian missile meant to use an EMP pulse to incapacitate some enemy in a war. Later I mentioned the house we are building will use metal studs instead of wood and a metal ceiling as we try to build a house our autistic daughter can't destroy. He thought I wouldn't need to worry about an EMP. That's right. We're going to be living in a giant Faraday cage.
And all that got me to thinking about North Pole and I'm remembering how much fun it was to live in North Pole, Alaska in a log house on a street named after a famous Husky sled dog, across the freeway from the forty-foot tall Santa Claus statue next to the Santa House where the Millers sold trinkets made in China to tourists from Germany.
We had to wrap all our electronics in aluminum foil or they would quit working in a few days to weeks because we also lived close to KJNP radio station. King Jesus North Pole. We would pick up the phone to call someone and we could hear what they were broadcasting. We had to talk over announcements like Jimmy Whitefish wants to meet Stan Happy at the confluence of the (Aluet name and Aluet name) Rivers in five days. And Everybody in (Yupik name of a village of 60 people) wish Grandma Jenn a happy birthday. During the day KJNP broadcast news and announcements to the Alaskan Bush. At night, they beamed sermons into Russia. Their broadcast was so strong they got fan mail from as far away as New Zealand.
I loved the missionaries who lived in tiny log cabins on the grounds of KJNP. The owner of the station was a millionaire who slept in the men's barracks and wore shirts that were older than I was. (Yes, this was some decades ago).
Maybe because Alaska was the Last Frontier, or Last Resort, or the last place you can go before you end up on an iceberg, eccentric people abounded and were tolerated. If you went to a play or concert, there would be a woman in slinky formal dress and high heels on one side of you, and on the other a wooly man in carhatt's and mukluks.
When it was -30 or below, the kids would tumble on the gym mats I laid on the floor of the basement and watch Princess Bride and UHF and memorize the dialogue. The autistic daughter only wanted to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Twice a day, from beginning to end.
The public school system encouraged homeschoolers and handed out all the curricula a family could want. For them, the largest part of the education budget was running heated buses from isolated cabin to isolated cabin. Once the temperatures dipped below -30, no one but the teachers were required to go to school, but you could go if you were willing to risk your life.
One of the things I discovered and really liked about Alaska, was if you pull over to the side of the road (which I needed to do whenever my autistic daughter assaulted me) people will stop to check up on you.
I loved the moose ambling through the yard, the rabbits, the foxes. Not the mosquitoes. Instead of going for walks, my husband and I rode bikes together in an attempt to stay ahead of the clouds of mosquitoes.
Yeah, North Pole was fun.