August 16, 2007 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Rob and Karina FabianRob and Karina Fabian

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Infinte Space Infinite God

August 16, 2007 at 1:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Here’s some news about the new Catholic sf anthology edited by Karina and Rob Fabian:
Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion?  The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (www.twilighttimesbooks.com) have so seamlessly combined the two that it’s hard to tell.
Infinite Space, Infinite God is an anthology of fifteen stories about how the future Catholic Church uses–or fails to use–its faith, wisdom and imagination to grow with the changes of the future. Within its pages, you’ll see the Church struggle to evangelize to aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand. You’ll read the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers and inner-city priests, and experience how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession.
Karina and Robert Fabian, editors the Christian SF anthology Leaps of Faith, which was finalist for several e-book awards for best anthology, have applied the same high standards of writing, doctrine and science to Infinite Space, Infinite God. Its authors span the spectrum of faith and writing experiences, from published writers like Colleen Drippe and Maya Bohnhoff to promising new talent like Alex Lobdell, former editor of Montana Catholic.
This book contains not only fantastic stories from new angles but introductions exploring the issues and the Church’s current thinking that aim to spark discussion among Catholic and non-Catholics alike.
Entertaining and thought-provoking, Infinite Space, Infinite God represents the best in SF tradition.

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Now I Know

May 7, 2007 at 7:23 pm (Uncategorized)

Now I know what a blogsite is for — at least for us ordinary people.  It is a place to continually apologise for not posting anything.  Oh, we can make excuses, of course, and those can be interesting in themselves.  But golly!  Some of those bloggers out there toss off essays and link up to other peoples essays as though they were getting paid for it.

Oh well.  The Summer Hereditas is all put together.  In a work marathon that has left me still rather dazed, and some of the writers more than dazed, we got it all assembled and the layout done.  Now  to await the birth of the baby — the beautiful print issue with our first ever color cover.

And here I would like to post in advance one of the book reviews included.  I put it here because it’s a book for young readers, a mystery story.  It’s nice to see someone else filling the need for Catholic books.

<Bank Robbery
Volume 1 in the Spencer Family Mystery Series
Michael J Rayes

Rafka Press
PO Box 8507
Surprise, AZ 85374-0125

Mystery thriller, BANK ROBBERY begins a new series of Catholic adventure stories for young readers.  In this, Michael Rayes’ first book, we meet two young sleuths, Tom Spencer and his friend Rick Kline, along with Tom’s detective father — and his uncle, the local parish priest.  All of them pitch in to solve this mystery.
In clear, simple language, BANK ROBBERY enthralls, teaches and even edifies, readers from about fourth through eighth grades.  The crooks are mean, the police are competent, the parents are sensible and firm.  The boys – well they are real boys.  They are impulsive, brave and scared at the same time, resourceful and not always inclined to think ahead.  But despite a few mishaps, the case is solved, the villains caught and at least one soul brought back to the Faith thanks to the efforts of Uncle Father Paul Spencer who is a bit impulsive himself.
An unusually good first novel.  Hopefully Mr. Rayes is already working on the next one.>

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Genesis of a Story (heh heh)

March 27, 2007 at 6:33 am (Uncategorized)

It is always best to have a piece of writing growing in mind and word processor.  I have been happily engaged in a new science fiction story which entailed a bit of research.  As sometimes happens, the research took on a life of its own and will probably generate more stories.  Writing is often better for this — wandering afield.  This one, fortunately, has a more distant deadline, and can benefit by dreams, digressions, and small tweaks at intervals.

That is a good thing, this being the season for early gardening.  If I made more money writing, I probably wouldn’t have (or tolerate) so many interruptions.  But maybe I would anyway.  Everything is grist for the mill.  When my children were growing up, some of the stories were written for their entertainment.  Some incidents in my children’s books were based on real happenings.  Kneading bread is another great opportunity to compose an essay or two.  And certainly, time spent in the garden sprouts more than just lettuce.

I’m not sure I could go on from here and justify shopping trips or vacations.  But maybe if I did make a lot of money I could tell the IRS I was doing research at the mall — or I just had to fly to Europe to check out some details of the setting.  I suppose some writers do —

Of course my literary conscience is a lot tougher than the IRS.  I really have to wriggle about to get away with my reading binges.  I owe quite a bit on “back writing” and am likely to be penalised if I don’t get busy.  I ask my conscience humbly not to ban me from the library.  There are some interlibrary loan books I want to request.  And how is my budget, Oh Conscience, on Amazon book orders?  And do I need to buy a new bookshelf?

Actually, I must go out and weed the strawberries.  And while I do so, my mind will be some seventy years in the future and quite a few degrees north at the setting of the story I’m working on.  I am rewriting a bit of the middle, you see — and yes, I think that spin off into Icelandic literature, global warming, arctic archaeology, and a few other things, can be justified.  Maybe.

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Encouragement From an Emperor

March 2, 2007 at 4:50 pm (Uncategorized)

And on the subject of rejection, I found this prayer by Emperor Ferdinand II.  It was in a wonderful book titled, Seeds of the Kingdom by Father Almire Pichon, SJ.  He was the spiritual director of St. Therese of Lisieux (and of her whole family) so he must have known what he was doing.  Anyway here is the prayer:

“Lord, if Thy glory and my salvatoin require that I become greater and more powerful than I now am, raise me up, and I shall glorify Thee.  If it be to Thy glory and my salvation that I remain in the state in which I now am, preserve me therein, and I shall glorify Thee.  But if through humiliations I can contribute to Thy praise and my own spiritual well-being, abase me and I shall glorify Thee.”

I think I will tape this to my computer.

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Rejection slips

March 2, 2007 at 4:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday I got a form rejection.  It happens — especially if you are prolific and persistent.  I am prolific and persistent.  But there is always a little black cloud waiting for me to submerge my head in it.  Doubts, questions and the general drivel of an artist scorned.  And then, of course, common sense takes over.

Why am I writing?  Lots of things would probably be more lucrative.  Do I want to be famous?  Well, no, not really.  That would take up too much time.  Do I want to get paid more?  Certainly.  But I don’t want to write the things that get more pay.  I can’t write Romance with a straight face.  I’m not smart enough to write a how to book on anything except maybe taking care of children (or homeschooling, come to think of it — maybe I’ll write that one someday).  So what excuse do I have for wasting my time like this?

Well (emerging from the black cloud a little) I do have a dream.  It goes like this — there is a lot of fiction writing out there.  Most of it is ephemeral, much of it is worthless.  But at least some of it is enduring.  We have good books, even classics.  And I would like to see good books better.  They don’t have to be world-shaking deep but they should be books that build up, however slowly, our crumbling civilisation.  To me, that means Catholic books — not polemics (that sort of fiction puts me to sleep) but books that assume a healthy Catholic world view.  And they should be in all genres (except those where such books would be impossible).  And as many of them as possible should be for children.

It is true, I write books like that.  And they do get published.  Check them out at my book site — http://cdrippe.tripod.com  .  I wish more other people would write books like that.  I have barely touched the surface — family life stories, mystery stories, and science fiction for older readers.  But who is doing westerns?  I don’t know if there would be a doable romance series — but someone should at least try.  And then there are historical novels for children — some good ones out there already.  Sports?  I haven’t seen any.  But you get the idea.  To take what is read and — baptise it.

Anyone doing that?

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Orphan Manuscripts

February 19, 2007 at 5:31 pm (Uncategorized)

We all have them — the burning inspiration, the gripping introduction, the outline and those first few chapters.  And then something came up — sometimes a series of things — and the poor book in progress was placed in a suspended animation folder.  For whatever reason, mayabe the approach of spring, I have taken out one of these and spread it’s poor undeveloped pages all over the dining room table.

It’s not bad, really, and I think I’ll finish it.  Science fiction, one (but maybe I’ll make it two) pov(s).  Lots of action and already after the intro and two chapters, a respectable body count.  There’s part of an outline, but I’ll probably rewrite that.  And so it goes, a book in progress.  I’m not yet gripped, still playing around, but — maybe this time the baby will come to term.

A lot of writing happens that way.  I read about all sorts of complicated methods for writing a book — everything from making a contract to crank out so many chapters a week to writing ideas on little cards and then putting them in order.  Or maybe shuffling them?  That might make an interesting book.  Off on a tangent here — but suppose you wrote up a series of incidents and then changed their order.  Could you take the challenge?  That’s how some of the best mystery books get written.  It’s like solving a maze by starting at the other end.

But, back from the tangent (blush) to my own book — I can truthfully say that I won’t give it all my time and attention until and UNLESS it seizes me by the throat and makes a few demands.  How does a piece of writing do this?  That depends on what sort of writer you are.  I’m the character driven sort, so at least one of the characters is going to have to rebel against my outline.  They often do it and, pushover that I am, I just go ahead and accomodate their wishes.  In fact, sometimes, I usually don’t make a detailed outline — just enough of a series of events to make sure that the book will come to an end within a reasonable number of pages.  But even so, those characters will take over.

Another way a piece of writing grabs my attention is to enter my dreams.  A dreamed incident or just quick visual bit can leave quite an impression.  Dreams being the subjective (and muddled) things they are, this is seldom enough to make up a scene or new direction for a story, but it certainly lets me know that the creative juices are flowing.  A similar effect comes when I look through art books or photographs.  Sometimes a certain landscape or face hooks itself into the story, making the writing flow so much more easily.

And I think (as my interest grows here) a bit of research might be in order.  Sure, we’re on another planet here, but still — part of the city is underground and there are rivers and tunnels and unknown bits off where most of the people don’t go.  So what do you find in tunnels and underground rivers?  Whatever you like?  Not quite — even on another planet.  Nature is nature after all, and life is life.

So I’m having fun here, messing around.  That is how this book was conceived in the first place, and this is the way it’s probably going to be finished.  You’d be surprised how quickly writing goes when it isn’t forced.

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Hello Word Lovers

February 11, 2007 at 7:19 pm (Uncategorized)

My scintillating introduction:  The purpose of this site is to discuss writing and books. Hmm. Writing and books as tools, I think. Tools to educate, to build things. People, countries, civilisations. Why not? Words are powerful. Narratives are powerful. They have a way of gathering you up and taking you somewhere, of changing you. You never know where you’ll end up when you write or hear those fateful words, “Once upon a time”.

I know this, because I’ve done it. I didn’t exactly mean to write (four) children’s books, but I seem to have done it. And a few science fiction novels for us grown up children.

So here is a place where I hope readers and writers will join me to talk about this reading and writing habit of ours.  Until we get a little better at telepathy, language is where it’s at.

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