Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Summertime. That means ALIENS are going to invade!

Summer is synonymous with movie blockbusters - although I think it started a little early this year with The Hunger Games. When I think of summertime movie fun, it seems the alien invasion genre comes out in full force as we slip into out swim trunks and sandals.

I actually had a dream last night about aliens. I was out walking and a tornado came barreling down at me. Once the twister disappeared, the sky filled with tons of alien spaceships breaking through the clouds and hovering above. It was an ominous sight, and it jolted me awake.

Anyhoo, enough about my dreams. Here's what we have to look forward to this summer:

1) Men in Black III
2) Prometheus (Originally supposed to be a prequel to the Alien movies, but took on a life of its own)
3) Year 12 (Aliens invaded Earth, and now 12 years later in Manhattan, humans fight back using Broadway showtunes)
4) Battleship (Looks like this movie is a total bomb. Pun intended)
5) Pacific Rim (We fight aliens while wearing mech suits. YES!)

Despite the popularity of this science fiction sub-genre going back to the 1950s, some scientists disagree with the notion that aliens would be hostile (take that Sir Stephen Hawking!!!).

Astronomer Jill Tarter, who is retiring from the Center for SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), believes that "if aliens were to visit Earth, that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets."

Sir Hawking, however, contends that aliens would come here to strip us of our planet's resources and assets.

I'm not sure on which side of the fence I sit on, but I do have to admit that Hawking's version does make for better movies.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wish I Was Gone Fishin'

My new job (new as of February) has really got me running ragged all over the place. I was in Dallas a couple of weeks ago for four days, and then I've been all around Southern, IL. Next up: Central Illinois Monday - Wednesday.

Sorry I've been a little absent, but I hope to do some catching up when I can. While all alone in my hotel room, I hope to do some writing, as it's been a good week since that's happened. Balance life, work, and writing is pretty tough these days, but hopefully I'll figure out an efficient way to squeeze forty hours into twenty-four.

How about you? How the heck do you make time for writing with all that the rest of your life demands?

If you're curious about what I'll be talking about with opticians the next few days, check out the video below.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ms. Veronica Sicoe has bestowed one of her fifteen Versatile Blogger awards to me!

My blogging this past week has been pretty non-existent, as work has me all over the place yet again. So this is a good opportunity to share SEVEN not-so-well-known things about me. Although I might have posted a couple of these tidbits on here before.

1) I grew up playing tennis and played Division I in college to help pay for school. I also taught tennis at various country clubs and tennis facilities, along with coaching high school boys and girls tennis. The coolest tennis job I had was coaching the top 12-and-under kids in the nation, and these kids could have easily beat high school kids at the time. Three went on to play professional tennis, and one of the kids I coached is now a reporter on ESPN.

2) Writing short stories is how I got my start on this fun adventure. I feel it was good training for writing novels, as each of my chapters reads like a short story. I work hard to maintain a minimalist style, as I am verbose in real life. I want my stories to move fast and be accessible to those with ADD or who get bored with too much flowery description.

3) I have recently dedicated myself to eating better and exercising more, and I've shed 28 pounds in the last four months. My plan is to lose the extra weight slowly and steadily, and see how close I can get to my college weight.

4) I'm turning 40 in December. Yuck. 

5) Or maybe not so "yuck," as I nearly died at the age of 29 and wasn't sure I was going to see 30. So turning 40 is actually a good thing. Some of you know I had a "near death experience." I don't talk about it much, but I did broadcast a podcast of a past lives regression therapy session I had for my old blog. It was trippy. I was supposedly a Conquistador, a Japanese window, and a Roman slave from Egypt. 

6) I loved steampunk before I knew what it was called. I have an old blogger buddy The Weird Girl to thank for doing a post on the topic and I had a massive "a-ha" moment. We're talking seeing the face of Elvis in the desert moment.

7) I've practiced kenpo karate, eskrima, and kang duk won (predecessor to taekwondo). I've been in six real street brawls (I didn't start any of them, naturally), and I'm proud to say I've never been beaten up or taken out. I have sent four dudes to the hospital, however. Recently, I've taken up tai chi, and surprisingly, after just 30 minutes, I am drenched with sweat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

M. Pax's The Backworlds

Is that a ring around Uranus?

M. Pax is a wonderful blogger, and a fantastic science fiction writer. She's also an astronomer who gives star tours at the Pine Mountain Observatory in Bend, Oregon. I'm so excited about her latest work, and I'm currently reading it. It's great, and I'm sure you will love it too.

And when I stare at the cover of The Backworlds, I swear I see the face of Jesus. Or Jimmy Smits.

# # # #

The Backworlds is here!

The first story in the Backworlds series by M. Pax. A vision of how humanity might colonize the galaxy some day in the distant future.

The Backworlds
After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Available from: Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks
Other links to more outlets can be found at either Wistful Nebulae or MPax

The Backworlds is an ebook and a free read. All formats can be found at Smashwords and Feedbooks.

It’ll take a few weeks to work its way down to free on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available on B&N and iTunes. Sign up for M. Pax’s mailing list to be notified the day it does go free on Amazon, and when the book becomes available at other outlets. You’ll also receive coupons for discounts on future publications. NEWSLETTER

M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, and at Wistful Nebuae. You’ll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

The sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, will be released in July 2012. It will be available in all ebook formats and paperback.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Reflections Post

This was my first time participating in this challenge, and I really didn't know what I was in for. April was particularly a difficult month to begin with. I just started a new job that requires travel, I had a big deadline with my publisher, and my oldest son's dance competition season was in full swing - which drained my weekends.

So there wasn't a whole lot of time.

But literally the day before the deadline to enter the challenge, I read posts from many of my blog friends and they were excited about participating. Michael Offutt was particularly persuasive. And I thought this Challenge would be a great way to a daily post about steampunk stuff.

Although I wasn't as organized as I wanted, it was a struggle to keep it going - but it was so much fun. I got to find all kinds of new wonderful blogs, and many found me.

I'm proud to wear the A-Z Challenge Survivor Banner. Like anything that's both difficult and fun, it always ends up being so rewarding. I plan on doing it again next year.

Thanks goes out to all of those involved with A-Z, especially the team that helped put it all together.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Music to Write To

So many of us writers perform our magic with music in the background. For some, it's to drown out some of the outside noise. Others use it to help capture a certain mood and use as inspiration. For me, it's BOTH!

Below is some of my absolute most favorite stuff to write. My books normally have tons of action - always something happening, so I think my musical inspiration reflects that. I need dramatic, intense tunes to awaken my muse.

Yoshida Brothers "Storm." My current project (just sent off to the publisher Monday) is heavily influenced by Asian mythology. Since I love the fusion of old and new, "Storm" is just a perfect song to get me hyped up and ready to write something with action. Right at the 1:38 mark of this video, the song just explodes!

2 Cellos "The Resistance." As you can tell, I love stuff that turns the classics upside down on its head. The music in this piece is contemporary enough even for non-classical music lovers to enjoy. This song is aptly called "The Resistance," and is a cover of Muse's dystopian-laden song by the same title.


Nero "My Eyes." Had to get a little electronica on here! This song is dramatic and dark. A good tune to listen to those who love dark paranormal, horror, or science fiction.

Epica "Dies Irea." Epica takes a classical song and just shreds the hell out of it. If you want music to write a fight or battle scene to, you need to listen to this "epical" song. It's great music to fight demons to!

Craig Armstrong "Escape." My final song is AMAZING. This song was used in the pilot episode of Dark Angel and has also been used in film trailers for Spiderman 2 and Daredevil. A few Premiere League and Rugby teams will play "Escape" for their entrance music. Craig Armstrong has composed scores for tons of movies including Romeo + Juliet, Kiss of the Dragon, and The Incredible Hulk.

Why? Because it starts off subtle, but the drums remind you of soldiers entering the battlefield. You just imagine warriors carrying their weapons, saying their final prayers, and tasting death.