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Oct. 14th, 2011

The Princess at Bible Grove

Synopsis of: A Princess at Bible Grove

Human beings abducted over the centuries by various aliens have found each other, established families and Earth-like societies, and have become prosperous and influential in the interstellar society. The abductees cannot return to Earth because contact with the Earth at this time would have grave consequences for Earth’s societies. They know magic as well as advanced technology. However, some are allowed to visit Earth secretly, to seek their pre-abduction ancestors and to gather information to model their societies after those on Earth.

The PONTARIUM OF PROMETHEUS is an organization of Earth people that helps off-world humans to visit the Earth secretly. They have established places for the starship landing craft to come in without being noticed. One such place is GRANNY GRAFTON’S ORCHARD.

PRINCESS AMARANTH, of the world BALMORAL, has come to present-day Earth to attend high school, incognito. The Pontarium has found and recruited fifteen-year-old KAREN BILLINGS, of Philadelphia, to accompany her. Karen had run away from home to avoid her parents’ sending her to BIBLE GROVE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY -- the very school where Princess Amaranth is going. However, Karen has now agreed to go. The Pontarium members have impressed upon Karen the importance of keeping the interstellar society a secret, but she has also learned of some factions that want to precipitate contact now, despite the damage it would cause.

A UFO follows their airplane on their flight to the school. Karen learns some political factions, including members of Princess Amaranth’s own family, want to bring about contact with the Earth for their own political reasons.
Karen and Amaranth meet MRS. NIELSEN, the girls’ dorm mother, who also is a member of the Pontarium. Mrs. Nielsen does another search of Amaranth’s trunk and finds various contraband. Amaranth blames Karen for the discovery and storms out of the room. She does not speak to her for part of the next day.

At breakfast, Karen Meets TARK BYNUM, a UFO enthusiast who will talk of little else. He shows her a tabloid article about their encounter with the saucers. His speculations about the matter make Karen feel uneasy.

At a different table, Amaranth meets KEVIN LANCASTER, along with SHERIDAN OVERSTREET and MOLLY IVERSON. All three, Karen is told, are religious.

Their first full school day begins. BROTHER BOB is the Bible studies teacher. The class gets into a discussion about the right and wrong of magic. Karen takes special notice of LUCINDA CARMODY, a girl in the aviation class who is also very interested in magic.

Amaranth apologizes over her snit of the night before, and they discuss Kevin. Amaranth tells Karen that Kevin “may have his uses,” but will say no more.

The two of them sit with Kevin, Molly, and Tark at lunch. The talk turns to where they plan to go to church Sunday. When Amaranth decides to go to Kevin’s church, Molly, who has an interest in Kevin, leaves the table in a huff.
At supper, Tark corners Karen to talk about UFOs, again. Lucinda joins them. When Tark brushes her off to talk to Karen, Lucinda explodes, threatening Karen with some unspecified magic.

The next day at riding class, Amaranth's horse is stung by a shot from an air pistol. Because of Molly’s snit, she is suspected of the deed. The adults want to get the air gun. Karen and Amaranth go to bed wondering how they might find it. Then the fire alarm goes off.

The fire alarm is a ruse for Mrs. Nielsen to search the dorms for the air gun. She and MISS FARNSWORTH find it in a trash can near Molly’s room. She becomes a suspect due to her apparent jealous snit the day before. Karen and Amaranth believe her protests of innocence, but she remains the only suspect.

Karen begins to worry about the attention Amaranth is giving to ROJO BRAVO, a lame dog who is the unofficial campus mascot. She thinks Amaranth may be thinking of healing him, which she is strictly forbidden to do while on Earth.

Sunday comes, and Karen and Amaranth go with several others to Kevin’s church. There is a healing service, where a blind teen-age girl’s sight is restored. This is the first time Karen has seen healing. The students’ conversation on the way back to school try to relate miracles to magic and the paranormal.

When they get back to school, they find Mr Bailey and Amaranth’s cousin, CLARION VON DRAKENBERG, commandant of the fleet protecting Earth, waiting for them. Von Drakenberg has reason to think the air-pistol attack on Amaranth’s horse may be part of some intrigue. This would mean the conspiracy has a member at the school -- a mole.
The four of them go to the riding trail where it happened. As they investigate, they are shot at by an alien. They capture her and stash her in Mr. Bailey’s plane to be picked up that night by a landing craft from Clarion’s ship.
However, Clarion’s landing craft is attacked by another craft belonging the conspirators who sent the alien. Clarion’s people get the alien, but the attack destroys Mr. Bailey’s plane and military investigators find a dead member of the conspiracy in the wreckage. But the military finally declares that the noise and the damage to the campus was caused by a storm. Most of the public accepts the storm story, and things settle down. Karen continues to learn about the galactic intrigue surrounding Amaranth and the controversy about making contact with Earth.

Karen has a strange dream, which Amaranth declares is a Hunch, the sort of premonition that is the basis of magical skills. She insists Karen tell Mrs. Bailey and Miss Farnsworth about it. That evening, four strangers attempt to kidnap Karen and Amaranth. Three Bible Grove boys come to their rescue. Amaranth kills one of the kidnappers in the fight and they subdue the other three survivors. Amaranth uses her healing skills to calm Karen’s emotional upheaval from the events.

Karen and Amaranth return to their room after the police finish their investigation. Miss Farnsworth tells Karen that she has notified her parents of the incident and they are flying to Bible Grove with Mr. Bailey. Karen fears they may take her out of the school. Amaranth assures her that Mrs. Nielsen will convince them otherwise. They all meet the next day with the headmaster. Mrs. Nielsen has indeed convinced Karen’s parents to let her stay at Bible Grove.
Mr. Bailey introduces them to MARK KINGSLEY, who he says works for a private security firm which he has engaged to investigate the kidnap attempt, on behalf of Amaranth’s father. Miss Farnsworth has already told her the agency is a part of the Pontarium. Mark tells them the surviving kidnappers have started talking, and that the gang has kidnapped eight other girls, who have not yet been found.

As Mark gives his report, Karen seems to “see” the abducted girls. She suspects she is beginning to have Hunches. Then as Mr. Bailey and her parents are leaving the campus, Mr. Bailey calls her aside and presents Karen with a wand.
Mark is assigned to the campus to assist MR. SITES, the campus security guard, with watching the campus. He and Amaranth begin to teach Karen how to use a wand, introducing her to a magic web site with tutorials and magical drills.
Lucinda Carmody, who has an interest in Mark, becomes jealous of the time he is spending with Karen and pulls a fake wand on her in the parlor of the girls’ dorm. Karen doesn’t know the wand is a fake, and she puts Lucinda in the hospital and damages the parlor.

Lucinda’s Parents come to the school. They tell Karen that Lucinda’s Aunt is involved in magic. Using Hunches, Karen hacks Lucinda’s computer and finds a link to the magic web site on it. Karen and Amaranth suspect Lucinda of being the mole, or knowing who it is.

Amaranth “uses” Kevin to cure Rojo Bravo’s lame leg. In doing so, she causes Rojo to pick up some magical abilities of his own, Hunches in particular. Amaranth denies any Romantic interest in Kevin.

Spring Break is split between some days at the Orchard followed by some at Karen’s home with Amaranth as a guest. At the Orchard, Mr. Bailey introduces Karen to LUMAL HATTER HORSEHAND, who teaches her more magic.
From an Ilv family who are friends of Amaranth’s parents, Karen learns that the conspiracy runs deep in Amaranth’s family, and the group probably causing Amaranth’s trouble is known as the IMMEDIATE VINECOURT FACTION, or FACTION IV.

They go on to Karen’s house. They go shopping at the local mall, where Karen thwarts another attempt to kidnap Amaranth. The Pontarium sends a landing craft to take them directly back to Bible Grove. The pilot tells Karen he has been asked to teach her to fly the landing craft because of a Hunch by OLD MOSH, the Vinecourt family Kabalist. He instructs her on the trip to Bible Grove.

Another Hunch of old Mosh is that Karen and Amaranth have the best chance of discovering and thwarting Faction IV’s plans. Karen and Amaranth decide that Lucinda is either the mole or knows who it is. Approaching Lucinda has the difficulty that Lucinda is jealous of Karen over Mark and Karen has just put her in the hospital. Nevertheless, they decide they have to try.

Karen goes to church where Brother Bob is pastor. His sermon is about patching things up with someone after an argument. The conversation continues after church, at the home of some church members. Brother Bob seems to know more than he can say at dinner. Karen has Hunch she should talk to him.

Karen visits Brother Bob in his classroom. She finds he knows about the magic Web site and has been using it, himself. He does indeed have Hunches. He gives her some advice on approaching Lucinda, suggesting that Lucinda herself may be ready to talk.

A plague of food poisoning strikes the school. On the morning after, everybody except Karen, who didn’t eat any of the chicken and rice, have been up all night sick. A bat-like creature shows up. He gives Karen two wands, which he says she is to give to Brother Bob and Lucinda. She approaches Lucinda at breakfast. Lucinda shows her the web site and says she has been making progress on it with her Hunches. At this point, Karen doesn’t want to reveal what she knows to Lucinda, and so doesn’t give her the wand. However, she does give Brother Bob his wand.

Amaranth and Miss Farnsworth discover that the food poisoning was not salmonella but an organism from off-Earth. Karen and Amaranth agree that the organism was likely brought to Bible Grove and that the food poisoning was deliberate. Lucinda tells them she has been looking for a cure on the magic web site, and incidentally tells them PAISLEY DONOVAN first gave her the link to it. Paisley immediately becomes suspect as the mole.

Amaranth gets Rojo Bravo to deliver Lucinda’s wand without her knowing where it came from. However, Lucinda soon calls Karen aside and shows her the wand. Lucinda tells her she has not shown the wand to Paisley, who has made no progress with the web site and seems to have no magical ability, and would be envious. But Paisley has told Lucinda that her uncles are involved in some kind of political movement and that something is going to happen, at the beginning of summer, that will change the whole world.

They still don’t have much information about Paisley or how she might be connected with Faction IV. Using magical stones to avoid notice, Karen and Amaranth crack the headmaster’s safe and copy Paisley’s student folder. They find that her grandmother was an abductee, illegally returned to Earth, probably by Faction IV.

With Paisley firmly established as the mole, Karen and Amaranth’s task is to extract Faction IV’s plans from Paisley. They don’t quite know how to go about this, as Paisley is unfriendly to both of them.

Lucinda tells them Paisley has seen her practicing with her wand. Paisley has told her Amaranth is from another planet, and that after the planned event in summer, she will be able to go to magic school on this other world. Amaranth confirms to Lucinda what Paisley has told her, and enlists her help getting Faction IV’s plans from Paisley.

Brother Bob’s church hosts an end-of-school picnic at Lake Showme, near the campus. Kevin can’t go, because he is in the school's aviation program and has to fly a cross-country solo that day. Part of his flight plan is to land at the small airport near the lake. As he approaches the runway, his engine fails and he crashes into the lake. Brother Bob and Amaranth rescue him, and the wrecked plane is hauled back to the school and locked up in the hangar. Using the magic stones, Karen and Amaranth break into the hangar and examine the plane. They find it was sabotaged. Karen and Amaranth tell Brother Bob about the Pontarium.

As they pack to go home, Paisley comes to their room and taunts Amaranth, revealing that she knows who she is, and indeed has been involved in Amaranth’s troubles the whole term. They manage to turn her, and she reveals that Faction IV is using her grandmother’s mansion in Scotland as a hideout, and they plan to land a saucer publicly in front of Buckingham Palace the next day. All the Pontarium people at the school pile into the landing craft that had been flying cover over Bible Grove and head for the mansion.

They prevail in the magical shoot-out at the mansion, but a saucer escapes and heads for London to make the public contact anyway. Karen and Mark take a landing craft and manage to shoot down the saucer and prevent the contact. Faction IV is rounded up and taken to Balmoral, and Karen and Amaranth go to spend their summer at the Orchard.

Sep. 22nd, 2010

70 is not a speed limit.

70 today.
Thank you, I accept the curmudgeoncy.

Aug. 17th, 2010

Cordoba House

Talk about a tempest in a teapot. The vitriol over Cordoba House is one of the bigger ones. It has afforded the opportunity by some politicians to distract attention from their own corruption by raising a phony religious issue.

The builders of Cordoba House have the constitutional right to build it. I haven't seen anyone try to dispute that. The appeal is made to the builders' sense of decency, pandering the pain of the families of 9/11. The claim is that the presence of Cordoba House will reopen old wounds and cause further grief, because Muslims flew those planes into the Trade Center.

No, that isn't what opened the old wounds. Cordoba House would have been built with no objections. Nobody would have paid it any attention. The 9/11 families would have made no connection. The wounds were reopened by unscrupulous politicians and commentators, to distract public attention from their own corruption.

I wish the 9/11 families well, and hope they can finally work though their grief. But it is simply none their business what people who had nothing to do with the attacks, do with their real estate.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson both spoke approvingly of the attack, calling it God's retribution for the Sin of the Month. To the extent one considers either of them Christian, 9/11 was much a Christian atrocity as a Muslim one.

Jul. 20th, 2010

Church and State

Back in the old days, each nation had its religion. There was no separation of church and state. The government and religion were one. The state enforced some particular religion to the exclusion of others, while the clerics of that religion told the people that the present government was the will of God-- Divine Right of Kings. Religious worship was a civil activity. You got to God through the state.

The separation of church and state is at the heart of the Christian Gospel. When as a Christian you take Christ as your savior, you repudiate any condition the state may place upon your salvation, or to your access to the grace of God.

Scary part is, we have politicians who want to get rid of that separation for their own reasons. They may use some religious pretext to slur a rival. They may appeal to some religious issue to support their agenda. In any case, they seek to blur that separation.

And some clerics play along. They have found they can get donations for their institutions from commercial and political interests in return for delivering the votes of their people. They have abandoned moral prophecy to purse the will of Mammon.

I’m not complaining here. It’s a simple fact of nature and we just need to deal with it by keeping that separation wide. Simply having prayer in public schools seems innocuous enough. But it turns out to be the secular administration of that school that names who will say the prayer. And so begins the subjugation of the church to the will of secular politicians. We just have to be careful.

Jul. 14th, 2010

You Write like Who?

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Be prepared to send a sample...



Jun. 26th, 2010

A Christian Nation?

It would be amusing, if not so disheartening, to watch the argument over whether the United States is a Christian nation. The argument comes from there being at least two different ideas about what the term “Christian Nation” means.

Certainly, more US citizens claim to adhere to some form or other of what is commonly called Christianity, than to any other religion. Certainly also, many people are born again--have a direct relation to the Divine, as brought to us by Jesus. In these two ways, we are without doubt a Christian nation. Amerians are fine people.

That is about the people. In the Constitution, The United States makes no claim of an official alignment with any religion. In fact a state religion is expressly prohibited. While the exact words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the wording, there’s really no way to follow the Constitution without such separation.

As a nation, however, The United States has gotten involed in some things most wouldn’t call Christian behavior. The contry at its founding permitted slavery, even in its constitution. After nearly ninety years of slavery, thousands died defending it and killed thousands who sought to end it. Then followed a century of Jim Crow laws and customs.

In more recent history, we propped up dictators in small countries to take those countries’ natural resources. We got into wars for questionable reasons.

Oddly enough, those who most loudly insist that this is a Christian nation tend to associate themselves with corrupt politicians, and corrupt politicians tend to wrap themselves in religious garb. Nothing diverts public attention from political corruption like a phony religious issue.

As Christians in a Republic, we vote. We participate in rallies, and we talk to our neighbors. The United States is a nation -- a republic -- with Christians in it. That’s as close as we can get.


May. 20th, 2010

razberry II

First Razberry got in the laundry. This is from the replacement.

May. 11th, 2010

(no subject)

Went to the Sprint store to get battery for Jan's aging Treo. Came out with 2 Razberries.

Mar. 11th, 2010

Rejecting Books

Suppose when you browse a shelf in your favorite book store, you had to write a short note to the author of each book you didn't buy, explaining why you didn't purchase their book...

Jan. 12th, 2010


I just realized, with Google Maps at the 200' scale, You can't drag the map as fast as you can drive.

Jan. 10th, 2010


A synopsis! I actually wrote a synopsis! Not only that, I wrote it before the book was done!
If you really think you want to...Collapse )

Now I wonder if it will look anything like the book...

Charlie Alpha November Tango Romeo Echo Foxtrot Uniform Sierra Echo

India Foxtrot Yankee Oscar Uniform Charlie Alpha November Uniform November Delta Echo Romeo Sierra Tango Alpha November Delta Tango Hotel India Sierra, Charlie Oscar Papa Yankee Alpha November Delta Papa Alpha Sierra Tango Echo India Tango Tango Oscar Yankee Oscar Uniform Romeo Lima India Victor Echo Juliet Oscar Uniform Romeo November Alpha Lima.

Hotel echo echo Hotel echo echo!

Jan. 7th, 2010

Languages in Translation

Joe spoke to the man in Russian. "The Red Cross is sending a..." He turned to Moe and switched to English. "What's Communist for 'truck?'"

"Say 'Studebaker.' He'll get the idea."

Joe turned back to the Russian man and went back to Russian. "The Red Cross is sending a Studebaker with supplies."

Dec. 14th, 2009

Just a Heads-Up

This from a cousin:

If you don't know, as of today, Facebook will automatically index all your info on Google, which allows everyone to view it. To change this option, go to Settings -- Privacy Settings -- Search -- then UN-CLICK the box that says 'Allow indexing'. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and paste onto your status for all your friends ASAP.

Writer's Block

Writer's block isn't always about word constipation. Sometimes, the words flow like too much chocolate. They just don't take the story anywhere. You reach the point where you know that if you write anything, you're gonna have to take it out. My writers' group is already complaining.

Sometimes, writer's block isn't about words, it's about plot points. My character, a discipula incognita from off-world, was given something before she left for (present-day) Earth. She is supposed to leave it here when she goes home. But how she should go about that she has no idea. What I know so far is that the Bad Guys® want to destroy it, and yes, I do know why. So, it seems she must get the thing into the hands of some particular somebody who can and will protect it. But how?

See, I have to decide that before I can go on with the story.

Nov. 21st, 2009

Chilven Wars

25,399 words on the Schuleroman and it's still the first week of term! ⚉

Three of the guys are wearing pink shirts until I get the plotting done. I only plan to thwack one of them. ♟

Oct. 30th, 2009

Two New Characters--Flight Instructors

My friends over at the aviation Community tell me I need more than one flight instructor at the school. We have so far only seen Embry Fishawk, (I do get grief from my critique group about character names.) He is a retired Marine chopper pilot who has seen combat, and may seem a bit curmudgeonly to a sixteen-y.o. girl. Another reason for more instructors.

So, Schyler Riddle, affectionately known as Captain Skyhook to the girls. He's a certified instructor, saving his pennies for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He spends summers dragging advertising banners up and down costal beaches. 1:1 instruction = tutor = teaching aid in pedagogical parlance, so the school doesn't have to pay him a full teacher's salary, nor would he need a state teaching certificate.

Third, an as-yet-unnamed forty-ish lady, understanding but firm. She's been an instructor most of her life, but she hates doing ground school. She is the preferred instructor for the serious girl students.

I figure maybe two-hour classes for the whole school, for junior and senior students. That way, the lessons can alternate with academic classes. Two-lesson weeks alternate with three-lesson weeks, and also for the academic classes.

Four, two-hour classes is a long day for high-school students, but might allow an extra-curricular block, now and then.

Sound good?

Oct. 28th, 2009

On Switching POV

And now, dear reader, I think the time has come for a pause to consider the path of our story: where it has been, where it is, and where it is going, leading me on in such a way that I have chosen to execute this pause in the telling in the old Victorian manor--not the ancient house with the great feasts, distraught characters with baroque strings at their balls, the ghosts of murders of most fowl moaning at passersby through stained-glass windows, and which contains an O, but rather the one which contains an E and two Ns, and refers to custom, thus using the term in the Bulwer-Lyttonesque sense to partially vent my frustration of the lack of market for us aspiring Writers of the Purple Page.
The fulcrum of my distress Collapse )
And so begins my adventure in POV switching.

Oct. 11th, 2009

Changing POV

Some writers swing from POV to POV like Tarzan on his grapevines. That's not me. I wrote The Princess in a tight third. First person really, but with "she" replacing "I."

The Talisman starts the same way, In Karen's POV. But Karen and Amaranth are juniors, now, and The Talisman revolves around two freshmen girls, Kelly O'Banyon and Holds-Two-Moons Cody. I find I have to finagle to have Karen in various scenes where she, a junior, would not be expected to be around freshmen. Her only function in the scene is to hold the camera.

So, I need to use Cody and/or Kelly for POV. And I would still need to switch back to Karen now and then, to explain things.

Oct. 6th, 2009

Just So You'll Know

When replacing the flush handle on a toilet:

The nut isn't rightie tightie, it's the other way.


Oct. 2nd, 2009

Backstory that Can't Go in the Book

A Brief History of Usania
Backstory of Tease-Coyotes
and Holds-Two-Moons

Urumang left her mother and aunts in the camp and continued up the well-worn path toward the top of the mountain. She would sleep there, and Mother Ogmandru would give her the Wisdom of Women. Then she could marry, have her own household, perhaps someday serve on the Counsel of Mothers. She laid out her blanket in some soft sand and settled down.

She awoke surrounded by strange beings. Surely one must be Mother Ogmandru, but which? And who were the others?

She was taken to a wholesale slave market on Hotzuma. Collapse )

Synopsis II

One-line Synopsis: McGuffin must be delivered to its rightful owner or Bad Things® will happen.
__The rightful owner is trying to steal it, not knowing she is the rightful owner.
__Holds-Two-Moons was asked to give it to somebody on Earth, but not told to whom.
Bad Guys (BGs) are also after it.

Sub plot 1: Native American boys being abducted by aliens.
__Different objective of the same bunch of BGs, looking for info about the McGuffin. (They don't know what it is. The girl has already stolen Holds-Two-Moon's 20-buck piece that she got for her fourteenth birthday , not realizing it's just a Usanian coin.(It's artificial diamond with a holographic inscription))

Sub-plot 2: Redemption of Lester (Hands) Moriarty, the campus looser.
__Flatal Faw in his loserhood causes fall into heroism.

sub-plot 3 ... sub-plot n: Romances
__Holds-Two-Moons + Moriarty (stormy relationship due to hand's habits)
__Kelly + UFO freak Tark Bynum (Walking in Wide Circles--He's guessing, but Kelly can't tell him anything.)
__Lucinda torn between Stewart, the chap she met in Scotland, and Holds-Two_Moon's brother, Teases-Coyotes.
___Hint: Stewart is located in Scotland vs. TC working at St Sithney's, in Maine--a bit closer and he has an airplane.

What I don't have is a time line.

Oct. 1st, 2009

The Brane

In my WIP, the galactic society's equivalent to the WWW is what they call the Brane. There are hidden WWW servers here on Earth, if you know the URL; conventional Earth-level computers but for quantum modems cleverly disguised as USB memory sticks. Of course, our computers can't handle a Brane document; it would be like trying to browse Google.com with Netscape 4.0. But the Brane has virtual servers that take a Brane document and dumb it down to a Web page a modern Earth computer can handle. You don't get the full benefit. You get a flat, two-dimensional picture instead of a total-immersion holographic projection. But you can get an idea of what something looks like.

Then, I start to think about my old Classic Mac. Even with Netscape 7, it chokes on a lot of fancy Web pages. Remember the terminal emulators, back before Graphical Interfaces? I start to wonder if somebody were to write some mouse-able emulators, that would connect with a modern computer and deliver screenshots of web pages, and allow you to mouse and click on the representations of the links. It would have to be an eleemosynary project, but it would help a lot of people.

Sep. 29th, 2009


I'm in bud_webster's writing group here in Richmond. He wants a synopsis of my novel, which I don't quite understand. He knows I haven't finished writing it yet; how am I supposed to do a synopsis?

Okay, here goes.

One-line Synopsis: McGuffin must be delivered to its rightful owner or Bad Things® will happen.

Sub plot 1: Native American boys being abducted by aliens.

Sub-plot 2: Redemption of campus looser.

sub-plot 3 ... sub-plot n: Romances

Sep. 27th, 2009

The Nookie Monster

Do you you know who I mean? He perches on your shoulder in late-night writing sessions whispering, sometimes screeching, “Fade to black! Fade to black!”

Well, I don’t want to.

I have reasons for my characters--most anyway, certainly the main ones--to graduate summa cum intacta. My target audience is MG/YA (No comments about the slash, please), And I don’t want to scare editors.

I don’t want to sound noble, here. I can write erotica and I do. I just don’t intend it to see the light of day. (Except perhaps for my grandson in a few years--anything to get him reading) It’s just that, in this arc, I don’t have time for it. The Nookie Monster is most persistent when something is about to blow up. We’ve read stuff like that, haven’t we? A forest fire bears down on the logging camp from the west, swamp daemons from the south, the New Russian Confederation invading from the north with nuclear hand grenades, Miskatonic University alumni from the east. And our hero is in the bunk with the camp’s social director. The nookie monster delays the story, unless the whole story is about the nookie.

Besides, POV is sixteen and her main squeeze is older. They need to wait until she’s “legal.” right?

But mainly, I don’t have much nookie because the story doesn’t need it. The story isn't about nookie. The story is about a lost token that needs to be placed in the hands of its proper owner, or Bad Stuff© is going to happen.

Oh, yes, they are teens; banter there must be. Mainly, I just want to show sex in a proper perspective, and not as something to keep the story moving through the slow parts, any more than I'd want my teen readers going through life depending on sex to get them through the slow parts of their existence.

Sep. 10th, 2009

Harry Potter and the Fearsome Gastroscope

Saw the latest Harry Potter movie. D-dore had to drink all this magical water, in order to get the horcrux. Thinking about it later, I wonder if Rowling had just prepped for a colonoscopy when she wrote that. It looked like about the right amount of liquid...

Aug. 26th, 2009


Got FIOS. You may not understand what this means to somebody who's been on dial-up since the 70's

Aug. 22nd, 2009


She frowned and called him Mr.
When by chance he Kr.
And though he knew it Pr.
He went on and Kr. Sr.

I have no idea who wrote this.

Aug. 5th, 2009


I have intermittent noise on my phone line. So my dial-up is foober, most of the time. Verizon says maybe Friday.

See y'all then.

Jul. 26th, 2009

(no subject)

I've been considering posting author-character dialog, but I'm not sure I can bring it off. But I thought I'd try. suzannemcleod gives us a fine example over on fangs_fur_fey.

So, here's Paisley:Collapse )


And Lester Collapse )

Jul. 23rd, 2009


Got a personal reject from an agent. Yes, I could see plainly what he was objecting to; a matter of how strangers react to each other in a strange situation; the nonchalance of a "normal" person running into magical space people, as well as the space people seeming quite indiscreet in their conversations around a new person.

Yeah, I can fix that.

I'm thinking though, this is a kid book. Kids probably wouldn't have such a reaction to the situation. While this particular objection may be legitimate, and of course you need adult beta readers, I wonder if a book targeted for kids shouldn't have at least one kid beta.


Jul. 12th, 2009

Phase Book

Okay, I'm on FaceBook. Jan's cousin put up some pix, which you supposedly couldn't get to unless you were a member. So I got an account, and I still can't get to the pix.

However, it found somebody in my High school class (Channelview, TX '58) Who had set up a web site for the class of '58. Spen half a day reading about people I haven't seen in fifty years.

Anybody else around here on FaceBook? It's supposed to be a great writers' thing, but haven't found an writers yet.

Jul. 8th, 2009

The Plot Dawns as the Light Thickens

I've heard there are but four story plots. OTOH, I've heard there are sixteen. Or more. And all between. In fact there is but one: He went there, he did that, he got the t-shirt. The writer's job is to keep the reader wondering if he's going to get there, if he will succeed in doing that, and whether he will get the t-shirt, after all.

In a boy-gets-girl story, he may win the girl by getting the t-shirt, or if you have a damsel in distress, she may be the t-shirt.

Jul. 3rd, 2009

Incoherent Ramble...

... Because it's been seven weeks since I posted anything.

Well, this morning the dishwasher dumped on the floor. Now bailing it out, in a meaning different from banks. Looks like maybe its drain stopped up. The sink drains okay, so I doubt it's a house problem. Gotta call the Sears dude.

In other news, I got an Asus for Father's day. (Named it Hay-SUS, of course, because what else?) It's LINUX. Anybody know how to establish a LAN between a LINUX and a MAC(PPC G4, OS 10.4.11)? The house is on dial-up, and Hay-SUS doesn't have a dial-up modem. Been visiting Starbux and the local library a lot, lately, for their wii-fii.

Jan's gone to the beach with her old teaching buddies.

Still looking for an agent for the Princess. Hard to find anybody looking for teen-agers in a boarding school dealing with aliens and magic but no vampires, werewolves, or zombies.

But, I'm getting into the second book. Looks like Lester (Hands) Moriarty is going to get a bigger part than I'd planned. He's the campus loser, but a flatal faw may cause a lapse in his loserhood.

I've also started messing around with a fantasy-quest kinda thing. It may have a dragon. But the protag's name is Perry Green, so it has to have a falcon in it, somewhere.

Then, there's that Bomb that resulted from NaNoWriMo. YA SciFi nookie monster.

But Jan wants me to write the Great Southren Novel. I may do that for NaNoWriMo, this year.

Hay-SUS has Freemind, a sort of idea mapping thingie. It's buggy, and not compliant with anything, but I gotta get organized some way. I'm trying to use it to develop the fantasy and the Great Southren Novel. The Princesses stays on the MAC.

May. 12th, 2009

Of Pigs and of Possums

Science is tentative. You’re supposed to know that. People don’t. If you say it, the science deniers are all over you. They say evolution is “only” a theory. It isn’t, of course; it’s a bunch of observations. There are theories about the evolution we observe. But evolution itself is there to see. It’s the same as gravity.

I have questions about a couple of theories. But if I say that, the deniers will say I admit evolution is wrong. Some of them know better; they’re lying to the others for their own purposes. But here I go anyway.

Natural selection is one problem. It isn’t natural selection; it’s natural rejection. Generally, mutation causes either loss of the organism or its descendants, or it’s innocuous, having no effect on the organism’s survival. But a collection of such mutations sometimes combine to give the organism some advantage in a possibly new environment. That is, the environment doesn’t cause the evolution; the evolution happens before the environmental change. Granted, that is natural selection in a sense, but it’s secondary.

But that question is less interesting to me than the idea that we’re all cousins; that we’re all descended from a common ancestor--that I’m eating cousins whenever I eat a hamburger, not just the cow, but the lettuce, the pickle, and the mustard. All are family. That is, of all the primal organisms that must have evolved given that one did, all the others and their descendants have become extinct.

Now the notion is plausible; it’s a cell-eat-cell biosphere. Or maybe the first organism to become alive beat all the others, like the single sperm racing to get ahead of you. Indeed, the most convincing evidence is in the DNA. We all have the same parts of DNA. That would seem to indicate relation.

We also have viruses. Viruses incorporate DNA from a host. Probably that has to do with defeating an organism’s defenses against the virus. Then they go to other hosts, and pick up DNA from them. H1M1 has pig and bird DNA. Viruses monkey with DNA. They reproduce by making the new host make more viruses. They cause mutations in the host. They insinuate their DNA into that of the host.

Which means DNA can transfer between species. So it’s understandable. We all do share DNA. We get it through viruses, by all the ways we pick up viruses. You don’t cook your food, you get viruses from whatever infested the food. “You are what you eat” gets a whole new meaning.

Like those strange people in isolated rural areas--maybe the strangeness doesn’t come from inbreeding. Maybe it comes from eating possum.

May. 11th, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

Obama cut government funding for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle development.

More than You Probably Want to Know

Well, the White House has a point. Funding for hydrogen fuel cells is continuing, just not for cars. So, if the time comes, we can just drop the fuel cells into the cars then. They'll be ready.

The problem with hydrogen cars isn't the fuel cells; it's the hydrogen--both the production and distribution.

For production, there's electrolysis, but that's expensive, unless electricity gets cheap. That's another energy issue. Another way is to use superheated steam and coal or petroleum to produce CO2 (which is another problem) and the desired hydrogen.

Then, you have to get the hydrogen to the cars. Developing the whole network of trucks and pipelines replicating the present system for gasoline is another headache. It took most of a century to evolve the gasoline distribution system.

However, cheap electricity, making electrolysis feasible, would solve that. Electrolysis can take place at the filling stations, using electricity and tap water. No trucks, no pipelines. Also, local production allows High-pressure electrolysis, so you don't have to compress the hydrogen; just electrolyze it at storage tank pressure. You might even have an electrolyzer at home. Or if you have one aboard the vehicle, you can use the public chargers built into parking meters for electric or plug-hybrid cars. So, most filling station visits would be on long trips, or during a very busy driving day.

But all that depends on cheap electricity, which is a whole 'nother topic.

Apr. 20th, 2009

Advice Needed

Working on a steampunk story. It involves a dodo bird, so I needed to be sure they existed at the time of the story. One of the Google hits said, "BEST PRICES ON DODO BIRDS".

Curious, I clicked on the link and found them offering two for five dollars, so I ordered two. They sent me six, with a letter that said I was the only one who had ordered any and they were closing out their inventory, so they sent me all they had rather than to drown them.

Now, what I need to know is, what do they eat? I don't have a Tambalacoque Tree.

Apr. 10th, 2009

Hoppy Equal-Nights!

Painter's in, now. Almost got the house back.Some History

Replaced one rafter, one interior wall was buckled, lots of cracks in the drywall. The tree took a bite out of the (brick) gable of the house. Took out the rail on the brick porch, along with some bricks from the steps.

Wrote 452 words on the restart of Book II. I think I can salvage some of the 400+ words from the false start. It has some of Mark's backstory.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Apr. 6th, 2009

Mumblings and Meanderings

Evolution and manners
Humans share most behaviors with animals. That's because such behaviors developed in our ancestors before we ever were humans. Thus we see in the actions even of flatworms the beginnings of human behavior.

Now, there have been some recent flame wars on LJ. Indeed, they happen all the time on the Internet. Our flatworm cousins may have the explanation.

Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and Teen Girls' Boyfriends
Why are these critters so popular? I'm thinking it's because they reflect teen girls' experience with boys.

They're dead--cold and stiff. They don't smell good. And just when you need them most, they fall apart.
Another dead boyfriend. They live on your essence, sucking out your very being. And they make you what they are. Boy bites girl bites boy, until the whole high school is a student body of life-suckers. Moreover, the term, "to lay a vampire," now means something entirely different from what Stoker had in mind.
These at least don't have to be dead. But like Vampires, they bite. And like some boys, they can alternate between lovely human beings and monsters--again, a too frequent experience for the teen-age girl of today. I will leave to others to decide if or not this situation is timeless.

To me, the bites are more a matter of recruitment than of reproduction. Of Werewolf reproduction, I only know of Harry Potter's friend Lupin, Who fathered a child by another friend Tonks. That was Harry's Godchild, whom Harry ended up raising. (Note to fantasy characters: Never ask a person marked for death by an evil super-wizard to be your child's Godparent.)

Apr. 5th, 2009

I'm Back, Maybe

Still got a bit of tummy-rumbles, but I'm getting around better. Did the usual three-mile walk with decent times both ways. Make that dang good times. I think it has a lot to do with temperature.
The Tale to Now
Book II has morphed. It's not about Holds-Two-Moons, although she and Kelly O'Banyon will both be there. But it's about Tark. Tark is the working title of Book II, for now.

It starts in a different place, later, which means Kevin already knows about Amaranth's origins. Karen, Amaranth, and Miss Farnsworth meet Holds-Two-Moons at the Memphis airport in the middle of the night. She arrives aboard a UFO mimicking an airplane. (I have to find out how much lighting the place has. It's a Usanian Stingray, and looks nothing like an airplane in decent light.)

Writers, have you ever been asked if one of your characters was really you? Well, parts of me are in all of them, of course. Of the boys, I see myself in Kevin, some even in Moriarty.

But Tark is the UFO phrique that defined me throughout my teens. He also doesn't read people well, especially not girls his age. He's not as religious as I was; that part is in Kevin. But he has some interest in the paranormal. So, while he generally can't tell if a girl has an interest in him or not, he will at least approach her if she's into the paranormal, as was Lucinda, or, like Karen, had seen or been involved with a UFO. And Kelly O'Banyon was abducted and rescued. She has a lot to talk about to Tark.

Tark doesn't know Amaranth is from another world, nor that Karen has actually piloted a UFO in a dogfight. He knows nothing about the galactic civilization, or about the Pontarium. But he does make some uncomfortably accurate wild guesses. I don't know yet if he will learn the truth in this book, nor how he and Kelly will get on. But I do see an opportunity for fireworks.

Autobiographical? No, Tark's story is not mine:
I've never seen a UFO;
I hope I never see one;
but this is what I'd have you know:
I'd rather see than be in one!

Mar. 30th, 2009

Rumblings and Ramblings

Carpenters and Brick Masons And Roofers and Plasteurs, Oh, My!
Dudes are working on the house. Gonna be noisy.

A Forum Phrique enters the Chat Room
Got in a chat last night. I don't do chats that much. need to stop or do more, to stay in practice. It's hard to figure out the threads--who is responding to what. Well, I guess that's what makes it a like a conversation. m_stiefvater's chats are always interesting. I think I was by far the oldest one there.

YA: Barriers to romance, Parents, and Other Thunks.
Either the conversation got onto barriers to YA love or something that made me think of it. I went back and tried to find the string, but it was gone.

I have a character, Tark Bynum, who may be mildly Asperger's, or something. He's polite and smart. He obsesses on UFOs and the paranormal, especially paranormal UFOs and their alien occupants.

He doesn't read people well. He can't read a girl's interest in him. He would like to ask a girl out, and sometimes manages to do so. But he never has any idea about the girl's true feeling. When he asks a girl out, usually it's because the girl has seen a UFO and he wants to talk to her about that.

And now, there's Kelly O'Banyon, entering the freshman class. She got abducted when she snuck out of the eighth grade dance for a smoke. She got rescued, and now here she is at Bible Grove Christian Academy. And She recognizes Miss Farnsworth from the shoot-out leading to her rescue. She's stressed. And can't smoke.

An ideal situation for our Tark. Yes, he will listen. If there's a UFO involved, he will listen. But he's not supposed to know about the galactic civilization, the Pontarium, or anything else. He may find out about it in Book II. Will he and Kelly get together? Maybe Brother Bob can help.

But Lester (Hands) Moriarty also listens. He knows listening is a fast way to a girl's heart. He listened to Paisley, telling him she was going to go to a magic school on a distant world. How much he believed, we don't know. Will he believe Kelly? Can Amaranth and the other Pontarium kids keep her quiet? I was mean to Hands in Book I. I almost got him killed, then shipped his girlfriend off to another planet. (He doesn't know where she went; Belize, officially.)

And then we have Cody Holds-Two-Moons, from Usania. Not a princess, exactly, but her dad's loaded. Will she be part of a triangle? And all this has nothing to do with the conspiracy of the bad guys to use her to influence American politics. I think.

Maybe I should have a talk with them all.

Parent and other authority characters in YA, I'll have to think about some more. Karen's mom is pretty cardboard, I'm afraid, but we don't see a lot of her. We don't see Amaranth's mother at all. But see reads romance novels from Earth. How cliche' can that be?

Mar. 27th, 2009

Writer's Block: Previously on My Journal

If a friend started reading your journal today, what would you need to fill them in on so they could understand what you're writing about?

Well, some stuff was about current events they might not remember, but I probably wouldn't either. Then there are a lot of ruminations.

No, at present, it makes no more sense to me than it would to them.

Mar. 22nd, 2009

The Space Shuttle and the Horse's Rear End

Say friend, did you know that the US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
So, just what does this have to do with the exploration of space?

Mar. 20th, 2009

(no subject)

Okay, burger_eater, Here's your flying car!

I'm still waiting. This one has to convert from one mode to the other because the wings are too long for the road.

Mar. 19th, 2009

Writer's Block: Divided Self

Do you behave differently online than you do in real life?

Yes. In real life, I walk around, do chores, go places, etc. Online, I just wait for the next screen to load.

Mar. 18th, 2009

Some Random Stuff Makes a Post

I'm starting to get what burger_eater and some others are doing when they do "X Things Make a Post" Posts. A few thoughts on a few things rather than trying to flocculate related thoughts into a single topic. Sounds worth a try.

So, without further expectorations:

1) The Coming Evangelical Collapse v.1.4:
The Story Thus Far:

No, I don't expect evangelicalism to collapse. I expect reformation. Evangelicals need to remember that evangelical does not = conservative. That's an illusion cultivated by politicians in and outside the churches who had their own witches to grind. jesus was so far to the left of his culture and society that the religious right got him crucified.

The atrocities of the religious right is more visible to us when we see them in in other countries where most people are other than Christian. Back home we don't see it so clearly, because A) it's of a kind we're used to seeing, B) We have a secular society that enforces freedom of faith and protects us more than happens elsewhere, and C) So far, most of us can see it for what it is, and it isn't evangelism. It's bullying and extortion.

That's not to say evangelism (Yes, I understand that word is normally used to refer to marketing activity.) will look like what it does today. But it will still be the Good News.

2) The Fourth Wall

Just "got back" from flycon2009. There was a workshop on the "Fourth Wall." I left unsure what the Fourth Wall was, and with no idea what the other three walls are, but some of what got talked about was conducting interviews with one's characters in chat or on a blog. We discussed what to cover in the interviews, in order to be intriguing and attracting readers to the book, while not releasing too many entities of the feline persuasion from their flexible containers.

While unpacking after returning home, I realized: This is the perfect place to dump all the backstory you can't put in the book!

Huzzah! Be looking for the Constitution of Balmoral in a blog near you!

Mar. 14th, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse v.1.3

The Tale to Here

We don't need no stinkin' collapse. I don't expect fewer evangelicals in the future than now. What I expect is the exit of some hypocrites (in the sense Jesus used the word) who were only into it for political reasons and to make business contacts. At the same time, there will be those returning from exile; those who went into hiding when the politicians stole their churches.

That will put evangelicals in a much stronger position--a much more credible position--to witness and to lead.

Mar. 12th, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse v.1.2


The Story Thus Far:

This guy is good. I don't share all his concerns, but he points out what i think is going on in America. I need to read more of his blog

Now he didn't say all of what I think needs said. He's concerned about the demise of evnagelicism.

What I want to add is that I think evangelical Christianity is not in that much trouble. Evangelical Christians need to get away from the Religious Right, which isn't really evangelical, just opportunistic.

The religious right, however, may be about to diminish. That's because the religious, "Christian" establishment in America has abandoned Biblical prophecy and sold out to commercial, and political,and foreign interests that want cheap labor, an ignorant electorate, license to commit fraud and rape the environment, and a non-competitive America.

For what to do about that, Ii need to think some more.


Mar. 11th, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

Not bad news, not good news. Just depends on what we do about it. I'll say moron this after I've read and thought some more.

But this guy is interesting.

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

More from this dude

Mar. 10th, 2009


Still got brain sludge. Got where I can't read though my friends page, let alone write. I mean I have trouble writing even what I have planned out in rough outline. I can get words to say almost what I mean; but I can't be satisfied. So what you read here isn't true, it's just as close as I can get.

The intestinal whoopies don't help.

'Nuff whining. Gonna go look at breakfast options.

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