Category Archives: blogfest

Prologues and Epilogues: Yes or No

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This month’s topic is prologues and epilogues: yes or no, and can you have one without the other — or, more properly, should you have either or both.

I have never written either a prologue or an epilogue — at least, I’ve never published a book with a part so-labelled, so I decided to check out my stack of library books :

 

First one: The Secret Game, a non-fiction book about a basketball game held during World War II. This book has both a prologue and an epilogue. Yes, I read both, but, then, history is not my thing, and I figured I could use all the help I could get.

Book two: Latest novel by Danielle Steel. No prologue, no epilogue.

Book Three: Oldie but Goodie by Elizabeth Cadell, one of my favorite writers: ditto — no prologue, no epilogue.

Book four: Mystery set in Victorian London, first of a series: Prologue but no epilogue. Yes, I did read the prologue.

Book five: An oldish novel by author Ann Hood: again, prologue but no epilogue. I haven’t read this one yet, but when I do, I’m sure I’ll read the prologue. I don’t skip beginnings, nor do I skip endings. Middles, now – -I might skip some there if the book is slow, but I aim to give everything I read a fair chance at the start.

I don’t skip beginnings, nor do I skip endings. Middles, now – -I might skip some there if the book is slow, but I aim to give everything I read a fair chance at the start, so I always read the prologue and first few chapters, even if decide not to read the rest of the book. And I might very well read the last chapter and the epilogue if I’m interested in how the plot turned out.

So how close have I come to writing either one in one of my novels?  Not so close. I briefly considered a prologue for Broken Bonds, but it turned into a 5000 word first chapter. I also considered — again, briefly — labelling the final, short, chapter of Rob’s Rebellion as an epilogue, but, again, decided against it. Why? Simply because they have a bad reputation. Ah, well. Clearly not everyone feels the same.

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Finding Their Voices: Using Language to Build Character

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Broken Bonds was the first novel I wrote with more than one point of view. The final version has five point-of-view characters, the four characters involved in a romantic relationship and the antagonist who is the “villain” in the political plot. There are three aliens and a Terran: Major Brad Reynolds, a major in the Terran Federation Guard, Ardaval Namar, an BrokenBondsCoverAleyni scholar and teacher, Imarin Namar, one of his former partners, involved in government, and Nidrani Namar, another former partner, a woman, and a musician. As well, there was Senator Hank Manning, a member of the Terran Federation senate.

I wish I could tell y’all that I was wonderfully methodical about this, but, alas, it would be a lie. Ardaval and Brad had appeared in a previous novel, Relocated, so their voices were pretty clear to me. I had little trouble finding a voice for Imarin and Hank Manning, but Nidrani was slower to come clear, and I ended up searching out clothing I thought she might wear to help me out.

I pay attention to grammar, sentence structure, word choice, pet phrases, how formal or informal they typically are in their speech,  pet phrases, etc, but a lot of it involves my being able to “hear” my characters.

One of the things I did was collect up all of the pieces from each character’s point of view and put them together. Then I read through them for consistency of voice and to make sure that they sounded distinct.

I do use grammar and word choice with far more intention for minor characters, where there is less time and space to paint a full picture.

 

 

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-OB
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

 

Writers To Do list for the new year

rndrbnlogo This month’s topic is what one (or two) projects do you hope to accomplish, and what will stand in your way?

Gosh, a confession — I have more than two things I want to accomplish, and thereby hangs a good deal of my problem: too much to do and too little time to do it.

I have a day job, so I do my writing in the evening and on weekends, but you’d never know it from my project list.

First: I’m part way through revising another science fiction novel, one that would be a prequel to my Novels of Aleyne science fiction series — the fourth novel in the series, “Rob’s Rebellion,” came out at the end of December. I keep getting side tracked (read on for at least some of the reasons why). But I’d really like to get this novel revised and submitted this year.

I also have a fantasy novel I set aside about a year ago that has about a quarter of the first draft written. This would be my first fantasy novel, and I’m excited about it. However, it keeps falling to the bottom of my to-do list.

I’m one of six authors of a poetry anthology that is out of print because we didn’t renew our contract with the publisher. We want to republish the print version and then put out an ebook. I’m on the line to do the formatting. I started, but I’m not done. Oh, yes, and a couple of us are contemplating putting together another anthology.

Why? Well, I also work as an editor for a small print house, and I’m editor for a wonderful Young Adult novel. This, at the moment, is at the top of my list. I owe my author the next round of edits (mostly typos, with a few questions — the manuscript is really in great shape), but if I find an error in a chapter, then I have to go back over it again until I read it without finding any errors. I’ve discovered that this is the only way for me to find all (or most) of the errors.

So this weekend I’ll be working on the edit (I’m up to chapter 27), trying to promote my latest sci fi novel, and work on the formatting of the poetry book.

Anyone want to sign my petition in favor of 36-hour days?

Check out the posts of my fellow bloggers:
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Bm
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Hollie Glover http://www.hollieglover.co.uk
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

I’ll be touring

Here are the dates for my upcoming blog tour

October 29 Guest blog
Books in the Hall
http://www.booksinthehall.blogspot.com/

October 30 Guest blog
Lisa’s World of Books
www.lisasworldofbooks.net

Forget About TV, Grab a Book
forgetabouttvgrababook.blogspot.com

November 6 Interview
Michelle @ Mom With A Kindle
https://momwithakindle.blogspot.com

November 7 Interview
Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
www.creativleygreen.blogspot.com

November 9 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

November 10 Interview and review
Always a Booklover –
http://alwaysabooklover.blogspot.com

November 12 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

 

And in honor of my blog tour, you’ll be able to download the book of poems that goes with the book, Sand in the Desert, FREE on October 29, 30, and 31!

Black Sci Fi, week 7: The Grand finale

So, it’s been a great six weeks. Thanks to Alicia McCalla for organizing this amazing event. I hope y’all have added to your reading list. If anyone still needs suggestions, check out last week’s posts — or any of the weeks before that. As for me, I still have a stack of five books waiting to be read.

And now for a short — or not so short — poem, art work, or whatever, in which we all respond to the prompt, “bracelet,” and announce the grand prize winners, and in which I search the dictionary, read the definitions, and, swept by an impulse, pen a very silly poem in which a bracelet plays but a small part, and a collar a larger one. I have no excuse, except that “bracelet” had only three entries, and “collar” had ten.

Neck Less

An ornament, band for the arm
intended to adorn or charm,
made out of silver, gold, or wood,
that hopefully looks really good.

A pair of handcuffs for attaching
a thief whom I am bent on catching.
Clamp them on, take him to jail
where someone listens to his tale.

Perhaps a collar on a dress
to fold or roll or sometimes press,
sometimes too loose, sometimes too tight.
It’s rarely that they get it right.

A band, a necklace, garland too,
in pink or purple, green or blue,
that you may hate or may adore.
seen in the window of a store.

A band around a horse’s neck
meant to restrain, retain, or check,
so that they cannot run away,
or bite or nip, or nibble hay.

A piece of hardware, shaft or rod.
I found the definition odd,
involving sizing of a band
that I did not quite understand

A cut of meat, a piece of bacon
at present in the frig, forsaken,
meant to go into some penne,
a piece or too or maybe many..

To seize, arrest, perhaps detain
some person whom you must restrain,
reach out and grab them by the collar
and listen to them yell and holler.

There are no words that rhyme with bracelet,
not even one that sounds like facelet,
and definitions, but a few,
That’s why I wrote of collars, too.

.. And now — drum roll — the grand prize winner, the winner of another copy of the Poetic Muselings’ poetry anthology, “Lifelines.”

Chris Burton.

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.


Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

The state of Black sci fi, week 6: Samuel Delaney

I read Delaney’s trilogy, “The Fall of the Towers,” in the first omnibus edition, which was published in 1970. I was twenty-two years old, and I still remember the cover, which you can view in the Wikipedia article on the book here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_of_the_Towers I found the novel both completely entrancing and completely confusing, a not uncommon state, I suspect, for readers of Delaney’s early work. The epic plot, the three races of man – men like modern-day humans, futuristic, telepathic forest giants and the small neanderthal-like race, hooked me from the start. The extravagant language, which I did not completely follow, swept me away, as did the multiple voices in which the story is told and the sweep of the plot. It impressed with the myriad possibilities the future may hold in a way that no work before or since has quite managed to do.

I have read a fair amount of Delaney, including his autobiography, “The Motion of Light in Water,” which I highly recommend, and a number of less confusing science fiction novels. But this work has a special place both in my heart and in my imagination.
Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.


Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

The state of Black Sci Fi, week 5: Cons


I’ve never been to a sci fi con of any kind, or indeed, any in-person writer’s convention, but I’d love to go. I never even made it to last year’s Mass Poetry event in Lowell – some family thing came up. I’m a sucker for workshops, though, so an event or a con with lots of books I haven’t read, authors I might want to read, forums, and discussions sounds terrific.

Last year Alicia McCalla posted about OnyxCon. This is a relatively small con, and it takes place in Atlanta, which, I’m told, is a great city to visit. The con itself seems to be a manageable size. http://www.aliciamccalla.com/blog/44-onyxcon-fills-the-gap-in-speculative-fiction-in-color

Other Conventions: East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention http://ecbacc.com/wordpress3/
Here’s what they have to say about themselves: America’s premiere Black comic book convention encouraging youth literacy and expression through reading, writing and drawing comic books. They have workshops — no need to register, simply show up — and other events. It takes place in August in Philadelphia. My middle son, who as a teen ager enjoyed drawing comics, would have loved this. Maybe he still would.

If you’ve been following this blog tour, you’ll know I’ve expressed my frustration on the dearth of sci fi and fantasy books available in my local bookstores or on the shelves of my local library. Yes, they’re out there. But why should there be only one — yes, only one — book by Samuel Delany in my local Barnes and Noble, nothing by Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, or the many other fine Black writers of speculative fiction? There’s strength in numbers, and cons give writers and readers the chance to come together and encourage each other.

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.


Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

The State of Black Sci F week 4: Giveaway and something about my novel

Back in 2010 I decided to participate in Nano for the first time. National Novel Writing Month, Nano for short, happens every November, and participants attempt to write 50,000 words in a month. I decided to write a sci fi novel, because I love the genre, have read it for years — many — but had a phobia about writing it.

Being, perhaps, terminally crazed, I decided I would participate in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Chapbook challenge as well, and to produce 30 poems which would form a chapbook.

I decided to make the poet part of the universe of the novel. That way I could include the poems in the 50,000 word line count and use some of the poems in the book.

I did far more world building than I did plotting — I had an outline with about a page of notes and a fifteen point plot line. Many of the specifics went right out the window when I started writing, but my world building remained.

My aliens form relationships involving four people (or three, or, very occasionally, two), and they’re all lovers. I choose what I hoped would be alien sounding names, made their society based on personal responsibility, lack of coercion, respect for the environment, rather than rules and laws. I made up stuff about their art (my mother was an artist who specialized in portraits in oils), and, later, a bit about their music (I play the flute and the piccolo).

And because I (warning, spoiler alert) wanted my 14-year old main character to be a “cross” — part human and part alien — and be believable, in terms of appearance, I wanted to choose among the naturally occurring human skin tones for my aliens, and I needed my aliens to look distinctive, but not too, too alien.

I made them Black. Very, very dark skinned. And why? Because I didn’t want them to be white. First of all, white is too, well, bland and predictable. And by making them Black, I added a source of conflict to my story, and stories are all about conflict. And, face it, too many of the good guys, in my opinion, are white. I wanted to play against type, so the good guys in my novel are dark skinned.

I’d be thrilled to learn I’ve made my readers squirm, to twist in their seats as they come up against their prejudices and unconscious assumptions. Hopefully, I’ll find I’ve succeeded.

And here are a couple of poems from my imaginary poet, Raketh Namar, the namesake of my main character, Raketh Frey. Because the poet was a revered spiritual leader, and his poems are one of the Aleyni’s sacred texts, I found myself writing in a way that I, as myself, would not have, and writing a good number of what might be taken as poem-prayers.

Poems of this type, written in a voice other than that of the author, are called persona poems. You can learn more about persona poems here
//poetic-muselings.net/2012/01/11/persona-poems/

Here are a couple of Raketh Namar’s poems that don’t appear in the book

Looking For My Fears

Muted buzzing in my ears
resonates to hidden fears.
Drag fears forward into light.
Exposed to air, see them take flight.

Fear’s seeds sprout best deep in dark
so let cleansing sunlight mark
paths for spirit’s shining light
to cleanse my mind, root out fear’s blight.

Who Will Play Music?

Who remains to play the music, now musician’s dead?
Which lips set bright brasses blowing? The man’s cold in his bed.
Whose hand renders strings a strumming now the fiddler’s gone?
Whose hand genders drums a drumming as night turns to dawn?

Our hands start the drums a drumming as dawn turns to day,
ours the fingers on strings, strumming,. We’ll sit down to play.
Our lips put to brasses blowing, knowing he will hear.
We will keep his music going, from us to his ear.

And now, {drum roll}, for the winner of a copy of the Poetic Muselings’s, (of whom I am one) poetry anthology, Lifelines:

Kathryn Scannell. Kathryn, I’ll be emailing you. Congratulations.

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.


Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

The State of Black Sci Fi, week 3: Why Is it important to show race, culture, minority politics or ethnicity in SciFi?

Why Is it important to show race, culture, minority politics or ethnicity in SciFi?

Are you kidding me? I mean, come on. Race, culture, minority politics, and ethnicity all play a huge role in the real world. Why would I ever want an imaginary world that fails to reflect such an important part of everyday life? Why would I want to gloss over something so large? Why make the sci fi world dull, boring and bland?

Sure, not every novel is going to focus on race and the like, but I want my science fiction to stretch my mind. I want it to boot me out of my comfort zone. I want it to make me realize all the possibilities there are for different points of view and explore ways in which we might make our real world different and better. I want science fiction that does all that. I don’t want it to gloss over the hard stuff. Please don’t leave me in the middle of my comfort zone. Shock me, surprise me, make my jaw drop.

I wish I could come up with examples of books that don’t address race, ethnicity, and cultural differences, and how they fall short because of that, but unfortunately I can’t. Readers, if you can, please leave a comment. I can put them on my list of books NOT to read. When I come across a boring book, I either don’t start it in the first place or, if I find it boring, I put it back down. Life is too short, and my reading time too limited, for me to stick with a book that doesn’t grab me. Not without some kind of compelling reason anyway, and compelling reasons for that are few and far between.

And here’s another question: Is it fair to hold a writer’s — or any kind of creative artist for that matter — to account for their personal views?

How do you, reader, feel about this? Do you listen to Wagner in spite of the fact that he was an anti-semite? Do you read Orson Scott Card in spite of the fact that he was a bigot? Me, I don’t want to support Card, and hence, IMO, lending credence to his views, by buying and reading his books.

And why am I willing to listen to Wagner but prefer not to read Card? Perhaps it’s because, IMO, Wagner’s views didn’t taint his music, but Card’s views do taint his work. {Grimace}. I don’t have the answer to this, but, readers, I am interested in your thoughts.

As to science fiction books, books that do take on the hard issues, what do you, reader, find are at the top of your list?

The one that comes most readily to mind, because we’ve mentioned it in the course of this blog tour already, is Walter Mosley’s 47, a novel that attacks the issue of slavery head-on. Another is Tananarive Due’s “Blood Colony,” which is about a hidden race of African immortals taking on the AIDS pandemic. Octavia Butler is another writer who takes on these issues.

Black writers can’t help but be aware of these issues, and to bring them to the table when they write. We need more books like these.

I can understand that many white writers are unwilling to take some of this on. I can understand not wanting to “get it wrong,” to do an inadequate job, to fall short. But is this any reason to sweep the whole race and class thing under the rug, to pretend it doesn’t exist, to never even (or rarely), put any Black faces into a fictional world? I don’t think so.

Here is an interesting blog post that talks about white writers including Black characters.

Is my character “black enough”

The reader who wrote in focused on speech patterns. Personally, I’d focus on cultural values and personal experience. I live in the Boston area, and I still recall an appalling in which a Black athlete was stopped by cops in Wellesley simply because of the color of his skin.

As my father used to say: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried. Writers, whatever the color, please don’t shy away from the hard stuff. You’ll do yourselves and your readers a favor if you do.

And readers, do please comment. What are your views?

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

State of Black SciFi 2012: Why I love Black Sci Fi?


I was already a die-hard sci fi fan by age 10. A self-confessed book addict, by the time I was a teen ager, I haunted both the local library and the drug store looking for new reading material. Books were considerably cheaper then, and the particular store I remember looking in most often was a couple of blocks north of our apartment. There I came upon a copy of Samuel Delany’s first novel, “The Jewels of Aptor,” published by Ace books. I was hooked.

Delany, by the way, was a fellow New Yorker and was married to poet Marilyn Hacker.

I’ve continue to read Delany in the years since His explorations of language, race, class and sexuality continue to fascinate me.

I no longer remember my first Octavia Butler novel — I started to read her sometime in the mid to late 1970’s, but I remember my fascination with her “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy and her three-sexed aliens. The trilogy explores issues of both class, race, and sexuality. And “Fledgling” has to be my all-time favorite take on the vampire theme.

I love science fiction, and I read it from an early age Now, I’m as fond as the next guy of a good spacee battle as the next reader, but at bottom I am much more interested in personal interaction, in clash of values, than in the sweep of empires That’s one reason I pick up novels written by women before those written by men

Cavveat: back when I was in grad school — in computer science — we used to quote the following: All generalizations are potentially dangerous, including this one.

Note “potentially.” So, yes, if you disagree, if you have counter-examples — or if you agree — l;eave me a comment.

What I like about Black Sci Fi is the variety of voices, of points of view, of subject. The willingness to tackle difficult subjects And including race as a factor in a novel opens up a whole bag of oppression, exploitation, clash of values. I remember Samuel Delaney’s “The Fall of the Towers” trilogy, which I read in the single-volume edition It involved three races of humans who co-existed. I found it both completely absorbing and very confusing. I’ve requested it from Inter-Library loan. I’ll tell you all what I think of now after I finish it — providing, of course, that I actually get hold of it.

I have a stack of five novels by Black authors on my bookshelf at the moment (thank you, public library): Tananarive Due’s “Blood Colony,” about a group of African immortals is the one I’m reading now. Tananarive Due may very well be my new favorite author. The main character is seventeen, yet this is an adult novel, as far as I can tell.

I’d love to see more books by Black science fiction authors actually in stock in book stores and on the shelves in our local libraries. When I was younger, I discovered many authors — including Delany and Butler — by browsing through my local bookstore or my library. I was fortunate in my library, as I haunted the Donnell branch of the New York Public Library when I was in high school. Not many teens are so lucky.

And I’d love to see more science fiction by Black authors for young adults. And I’d love for it not to be so hard to find.

So, readers, what do you love about Black sci fi? What was the first science fiction book you read by a Black author? Did you realize they were black? Keep those comments coming.

Here, again, are the links to my fellow bloggers.

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd