No posts for the rest of the week


My last living grandparent passed away last night. It isn’t that it’s so much of a shock – when a person gets to be her age and gets the diagnosis she did and makes the decisions that she did – as it hurts. I’ve rationalized a lot of it, I’m okay with her death – it’s hard to begrudge someone who lived a happy life – but it still hurts. And, due to when the funeral is, I will not be able to attend it. Most of my family resides in Northern Michigan, and I’m here in Oklahoma.

I will be continuing to work on the Arc of Fantasy series, but I need to decompress and allow everything to process.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.


Book Review Tuesday – The Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove. Spoiler Alert


I have some new ebooks to add to my ever expansive reading list. Two are David Farland stories, and the others I picked up during a free fantasy novel shoecase. I have like five or six titles here that I’ll get around to reading. Eventually.

Oh, and I also have The Age of Aztec by James. We’re getting there, I promise!

In the meantime, to finally get to The Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove.

I have to say that James Lovegrove has definitely carved out a genre for himself within the science-fiction and fantasy realm. It’s like modern science-fiction, a little bit of Marvel comics meeting mythology. It’s a bit of a unique blend, something to be fascinated by even as you realize he’s not 100% faithful to the mythos he uses. I could go through the first two books I’ve read by him and tell people exactly what was done wrong but at the same time made the stories all the more interesting. Wrong! But nonetheless interesting.

I don’t know enough about the Hindu religions. I refuse to call them myths (and the same now goes for the Greek and Roman lends, the Norse, the Celts, and so on), mainly because the Hindu gods managed to persevere, despite the thousands of years of attempted oppression and destruction by Christian and Muslim fundamentalists alike.

Lovegrove calls them myths. Perhaps to make it more palatable for the more Western reader. I don’t know. That’s actually my biggest beef with this story, the referencing of the Hindu stories as myths for the Westerners.

Fortunately, he does save face by acknowleding in his story that Indians (from India, not North and South America) still worship the likes of Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, and Brahma. He recognizes that there’s a conflict between Pakistan and India for a variety of reasons.

And he goes the complete exact opposite for his Gods as he did in The Age of Zeus. If anyone recalls that review, the Gods of Olympus were dickheads in that book. They brought about peace through fear, death, destruction, and intimdiation.

The humans representing the Hindu gods are the exact opposite. They’re actually embodying the spiritual aspects of the Avatars of Vishnu when the world itself was imperiled. Our main character, a comic book artist, is called in to design their costumes and is eventually recruited to become Hanuman, son of the Vayu, God of the Wind.

My personal favorite of the Hindu embodiments is Rama, the archer. The way this character was written, the guy chosen to be Rama, was so perfect for me. Rama is one I have read up on (The Ramayana is his story, after all), and the guy . . . I have no words because all I want to do is gush. Just wow and a trail of hearts.

Now, you’d think that, because we’re dealing with the comic book angle of the world, with superheroes and villains, that’s what the story would be mostly about, including the threat to the planet.

Yeah, no.

If anything, the story isn’t that cut and dry, which it should never be. It’s like Lovegrove took the story of Captain America and the Super Soldier serum and made the Red Skull Steve Rogers’ benefactor. He needs a hero to his villiany, to see if what he’s created is going to work, and then decides it’s worked a little too well in Steve and so he’s got to get rid of him and the other super soldiers.

The Hindu embodiments LOSE their neutrality in this story. I’d read this and The Age of Zeus before watching Captain America: Civil War and everything people feared in that movie, the ways things could go wrong played out in these books.

By far, of the three books I’ve read in the Pantheon series, this is the best one. Each has an amazing plot twist. I definitely recommend this story.

Moving Forward Monday – Writing Contemplations and Inspiration


I love it when inspiration for something not only comes from within but from out of nowhere.

I’m giving a big shout of thanks to the Star Ocean players who compiled the cutscenes from the games and put them up on youtube. I don’t own a television, a PS3, or a PS4, so playing the games I love is relatively difficult. Being able to watch them on my laptop has been a great help for a lot of different things.

Watching the opening sequence for Till the End of Time has been absolutely amazing for me. Fayt Leingod is still one of my most favorite and beloved characters and the inspiration behind Fen Willows, and being able to watch the opening sequence puts a great longing in my heart. I would love to visit new and strange worlds in addition to creating them. I would love to meet beings from other planets and sit down to have discussions with them. Yes, I realize not all alien races are going to be friendly towards others and that humans aren’t always going to be friendly to them, either, which makes writing science-fiction all the more fun, complex, and fascinating.

It’s also helped me to move forward with Ravensrealm and to give me ideas for the expanded edition for Portal to Gaming, which, yes, The Expansion Pack Edition is still a go! I just need to finish the originals first!

I wonder what kind of alien races will live on Earth in the future. It seems like most science-fiction writers will write about humans colonizing the moon and other planets but, with perhaps the exception of Star Trek (and that feels iffy to me, too), no one ever ponders about aliens living on Earth. If they are coming here, it swings one of two ways – idle curiosity with the intent to leave or colonization/invasion.

The idea of aliens living on Earth has helped me to move forward with Ravensrealm. I love it.

I also feel very good about the direction of my life. I’ve realized a lot of things about myself over this past weekend, when I was able to drive myself to work and in near silence (ie, no music). I’m confident, and I’m heading in the right direction.

Now to get back to writing. I still plan on querying a series out to a major traditional publishing house but I do expect to be a self-publisher as well.

Life is quite beautiful right now.

Themecraft Thursday – World War III in Science-Fiction


Here we are, Themecraft Thursday! As stated in a previous entry, I meant to start this last week, but work life got in the way.

As authors of genre writing, we tend to find ourselves facing similar themes as our predecessors. Each genre is different but not entirely able to stand on its own, given the amount of crossover that happens, but there are no doubts each genre has a theme many writers tend to follow. For Romance, it’s Characters A and B struggling to stay together. For crime thrillers, there’s usually a crime involved, either theft or murder (mainly).

For fantasy, it’s often some kind of threat that will bring down death and destruction upon the inhabitants of said world, an imitation of war in real life. There’s also the epic quest aspect to either obtain or be rid of some mystical artifact.

For science-fiction, the biggest catalyst for what the future could be like is World War III. Star Trek used it, Star Ocean has used, and I have used it (Arc of Fantasy is set in a distant future with World War III and IV having been fought long before the main characters were born). These are only a few examples of speculative fiction where World War III has taken place and brought about a much brighter future. If I recall Star Trek: First Contact correctly, the Earth didn’t sustain a lot of environmental damage during the War – if it did, my apologies. It’s been years since I’ve watched the movie – but, in Star Ocean, the damage to Earth’s environment was quite extensive. A lack of resources, humans living in cities deep underground, and serious damage to the land, air, and oceans. Arc of Fantasy follows a very similar vein in that respect.

So what is it about World War III that science-fiction authors find fascinating? I once saw a meme that said speculative fiction writers aren’t always trying to predict the future. We’re trying to prevent it, and there’s something inherently terrifying about World War III. It’s the one World War in which the powers that be have access to nuclear weapons. World War II prompted their invention and their usage but on a smaller scale. We know firsthand what the first atom bombs did to cities like Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan.

And those bombs were nothing compared to what’s been created in the years since. They’re stronger. They’re more powerful, more concentrated. We know their negative effects from the testing done in Arizona and from power plants going critical in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Chernobyl, even twenty-some years later, is still inhabitable for humans.

It’s the idea that loss of life on a massive scale and the destruction of the very land we need to survive is in the hands of people drunk on their own power and, sometimes, with no regards to the lives of others. Yes, in the United States, there are checks and balances put into place to keep such a thing from happening, but that wouldn’t stop an enemy from initiating such a war.

Now, personally, I feel quite certain that weapons of mass desctruction would only be used as a last resort if/when World War III takes place. It all depends on who is in power and where.

There’s also another aspect to this, one I think that tends to enamor science-fiction authors more than anything else.

After each event of World War III, the advancement of technology just explodes. The Earth is often in a dire enough situation that sitting back and relaxing just isn’t an option. Space flight would not only be resumed, but space exploration would be hot on the heels of man heading back into space.

That’s what truly enamors us the most. Space exploration and what other planets will look like when we visit them. What kind of life will we encounter? It’s the idea that, in the aftermath of World War III, we will encounter aliens and be ready to accept them, that we’re going to be able to accept ourselves and others for the differences that reside amongst us but be able to celebrate and acknowledge those diversities. It’s my personal belief that, when we speculate on the aftermath of World War III, we’re hoping for a better future than what we currently have for our real lives, where it’s going to be okay and accepted to be a woman, to be a person of color, and to be gay or transgender. We hope that we’re no longer going to be ruled by politics and greed.

This is just the hopeful aspect of World War III, the distant and shining future we dream about, though we never truly touch upon the immediate aftermath of the fallout of World War III. (Expect bumpy roads and a toss back in time, quite honestly.)

And not all science-fiction writers use World War III as a catalyst for technological advances. It isn’t the only vehicle used when writing speculative fiction. There are no doubts, however, that it is an interesting once.

Words of Wisdom Wednesday – Words of Encouragement


Don’t give up.

I’m sure this has been said before, not just by me, but by every writing meme and group that even exists out there.

Don’t give up.

The journey is always going to be filled with agony and torment: getting those first words down; turning that sentence into a paragraph, that paragraph into a page, and that page into a chapter. Taking all of the tangled, confusing ideas from the grey matter in your brain and turning them into something coherent will undoubtedly scare you from time to time. You might even have an idea you think is great but others will tell you that won’t sell.

Don’t give up. Write those first lines, write that first draft, and do the editing. Don’t become mired in a single idea on how to obtain your success. Amazon has revolutionized the publishing industry. Ideas that wouldn’t be accepted twenty-years ago by unknown authors are often what helps the unknown author become known.

The path to success is daunting. It is not going to be easy. You, me, and everyone who decides to take those steps, to begin the process, to be an author, faces rejection. Published authors face rejection many times, and they face failure. Not everything will be a success.

But don’t give up.

Moving Forward Moneday – Learning to Talk to Others About My Books


Well, Thursday’s Themecraft entry is temporarily delayed. Only because it’s Monday, and I worked a fourteen-hour shift on Thursday. As a result, ThemeCraft Thursday will start this upcoming Thursday, and I will be exploring the theme of World War III and its impact on the science-fiction genre. It’s very fascinating, and, if I could skip the whole living through World War III and witness the space exploration aftermath, I totally would do that.

Anyway, that’s for Thursday. Onwards with Monday!

Yesterday, one of my former co-workers and a very good and dear friend of mine (I call her my “child” because I’m old enough to be her mother) turned 21. (Yay!! Happy birthday, again, Erika! Woohoo!!) I went to the first part of the celebration at Osaka, where I sampled sake for the first time ever. Not bad. Now I want fruit-flavored sake.

I got to meet some of the people that have played a major part in Erika’s life. Good friends, family, co-workers – we took up two hibachi tables, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a hibachi steakhouse. (Thank you for inviting me, Erika!)

One of Erika’s friends, a young man named Cody, was asking me questions about myself. For once in my life, I wasn’t stumbling or deflecting. We’d just met, we had someone in common, and we were sitting at the same table. Always good to chat with people when at a restaurant birthday party.

Cody asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and my reply was, I’m already doing it. His curiosity was sparked, and I got to talking about my writing career, the books I’ve published.

I spent a lot of time talking about Portal to Gaming and my source of inspiration for that story. (For those of you who aren’t aware yet, it’s inspired by the PlayStation 2 game, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time).

I admit. I stumbled a little bit, but it was nowhere near as agonizing as in the past when I was working on The Summer of Fireflies and Dragons (which still exists, by the way – I have to type it up and do some major revising), and I’d get those questions. It’s encouraging to know that the paralyzing fear and the “Oh my gods, why did you have to ask me that?!” wasn’t there last night. Maybe it’s because it was a lot easier to relate Portal to Gaming and what I’m trying to accomplish with the Arc of Fantasy series due to the inspiration that’s behind the series.

So, for me, this is huge. I’m excited to keep pushing forward, to getting the next three stories in the series – Ravensrealm, New Atlantis, and The Intergalactic Chase – finished and ready for publication.

I’m celebrating with coffee.

In the meantime, I’m plotting out what else I need to do. I know when Tulsa Comic-Con is taking place, and I just need to pay for the pre-registration to go to that. I do want to start a marketing/discussion group in the Tulsa area, one that meets at least once a month, for science-fiction and fantasy authors. Virtual Fantasy Con is also coming up.

I’ve also opened up some older novels I’d begun working on, and I’m just super excited while cringing at the same time because I know they’re rough and in need of attention, finishing, and revising. But there’s a lot of wonder to be had and fear to be faced when writing in the genre that I do so . . .

Moving forward!