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.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I love this review of Pacifists' War

Pacifists’ War (Shatterworld Trilogy, Book 3) by Lelia Rose Foreman
A while back I reviewed Shatterworld (Shatterworld Trilogy, Book 1). It was a wonderful “Pilgrim” space story with excellent world-building, amazing aliens, and a smart heroine named Rejoice.
Pacifists’ War picks up years later. Rejoice is married, has children, still looks to the stars, and still loves the hexacrabs. But life is about to change when a new group of colonist arrive with opposing views on all of life. Let the conflict begin!
The thing I enjoyed most about this book was the realism mixed so firmly and beautifully in with the science fiction. Hexacrabs are just the beginning of all the strange and dangerous life surrounding the colonists. But it’s the real life marriage problems, health issues, damaged relationships, broken trust, sin, and very real humanity that sucks you into this story and keeps you reading, reading to find out if all that is broken can be redeemed. There were many times when I felt emotionally drained by the book because the relationship issues were so realistically portrayed. And, trying not to spoil, the ending was the refreshing hope you longed for through the whole book, even if great darkness had to be traversed to reach it. Foreman doesn’t use epic battles or huge mountains to create valleys of shadow, she uses interpersonal conflict on a faraway planet. Well done.
The other thing I loved about this series was the way it’s written. Rejoice was a child in Book 1, and Book 1 was written in that voice for that audience. As Rejoice grows, so does the depth and maturity of the story culminating in a very adult book in Pacifists’ War. This gives the reader a real sense of time and development of the characters. Parents may tell young children who loved Shatterworld that they have to wait to finish the trilogy, but if you’re a more mature reader, it can provide a safe setting to discuss many different topics ranging from marriage issues, parenting, rationalism, faith, Scripture’s authority, pacifism, death, homosexuality, and so much more. All of this is touched on in Pacifists’ War, providing excellent opportunities for some lively discussions if you feel your older kids are up for it. This also makes this the kind of story that can be read again as the reader grows themselves. You will see it with fresh eyes as you experience more of life.
This is a great book and a great trilogy!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fussing about

So I'm proofing the paperback copies of the Shatterworld trilogy and finding things to correct that are really minor, finding sentences I would like to reword but firmly telling myself good enough is good enough. No matter how many times I read it I will find things to change. It's time to stop fidgeting with the text and Move On to the next thing.
And then I find a big mistake. So I'm thinking, change the word doc, change to PDF and replace old PDF, reupload to Createspace, oh, and contact the guy that made the mobis for me for Amazon ebook and find out what he will charge to repair those, and then 'fix' the ebook copies.
I had planned to leave the ebook copies alone because people don't seem to mind the occasional typo, but, nope, I gotta fix them, too. And then I'll move on to the next thing.
Yes, eventually I need to say "Who cares?" when a minor typo is found, as all books have them and I will be no sainted exception. But I'm not there yet.
Lesson to me: Proof the print version BEFORE I upload the e version. I catch mistakes on paper I simply cannot see on the screen.
So, time to fuss with stuff.
And then I'm MOVING ON.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gratifying review

This trilogy has Shatterworld, Circumnavigation of Shatterworldand Pacifists’ War

Don’t let the enigmatic nature of the covers or the 12 year old heroine in the first book deter you. These are seriously good novels. The basic plot is an old one: a group of persecuted Christians escapes Earth and flees to a remote barren, seemingly uninhabited planet.
In the first book of the series, Rejoice is a 12 year old genius who saves the planet. In the second, she’s a teenager sharing in a missionary journey around the planet. In the third, she’s married and back to saving the planet again [well, sorta].
Rating the book as a whole

This is serious, powerful Christian fiction

I don’t want to spoil this for you at all, so I’ll be purposely vague.

The world-building

It is wonderful! This is one of the best planet and colony culture descriptions I’ve read in a while. It’s not geologically or scientifically in depth, yet it’s quite believable for a former scientist, like myself. While it doesn’t match the more comfortable, traditional scifi worlds found in Ben Patterson’s galaxy, it is shared in satisfying depth. It is understandable, the suspension of dis-belief was easy, and the aliens are spectacularly enjoyable. The colony culture is irritating, realistic, and compelling. The alien culture is one of the most detailed alien ways of thinking and interacting I’ve seen in a while. It is immensely fun.
In books 2 and 3, the additional alien cultures and the animal life are amazing. Through it all, the spiritual growth of the characters [as Rejoice grows up] and spiritual issues of the colonists and the aliens are realistic and compelling.
In the third book, the invaders provide a strong jolt of reality orientation to the entire world. I don’t want to say it is fun. But, it is realistic, believable, and often emotionally disturbing. The trials and joys of the colony mission are presented in an authentic manner, as far as I know. They deeply touched me, in any regard.

Spiritually, this is clear redemptive fiction

Redemptive Shatterworld Award Redemptive-CircumShatter Redemptive-PacifistsWar
Yes, I gave all three of them individually, and as a series, Reality Calling’s Redemptive Fiction awards. The evangelical roots are showing. In my mind, these are novels for believing readers. I’m not sure non-believers will have the stomach for the blatantly Christian stance of the books. However, I am certainly praying that they do.
These are the stories of missionaries to a very foreign culture. They are realistically drawn, spiritually mature, and very complex. Many times during the reading of the books, I was made quite uncomfortable by the very realistic emotional reactions to the events of the books. But then, I’m not an emotional guy. I definitely assert that these spiritual growth struggles have the ring of Truth.
These are very good books!
Lelia, who I do not know, gave me both beta reader versions and final review copies in exchange for a hoped-for review. I am really glad I had the opportunity.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Amazon preview link for Circumnavigation of Shatterworld