Friday, April 29, 2011


Tonight, I saw Saturn.

It was meg awesome.

The planet was smaller than expected, and white, not red or even orange, shaped like an engagement ring flipped on its side, but still, undeniably Saturn.  The astronomer at Purdue, who planned the public viewing, and through whose cannon-like telescope we viewed the planet said we were lucky--the clouds had parted just in time for us to see.

Someday, perhaps we will take an upcar, like Titus did in the novel Feed, and vacation in low-grav on the moon, visit an aunt on Saturn. Maybe we will, or maybe we won't, build a spaceship, populate the craft with frozen parents, odd cows, and fake rain and sun, and travel through gravity tubes, like in the novel Across the Universe.

Until then, I will have to remember the cloudy nightsky when  I saw Saturn, so close I could touch it's ring, if only through reflected glass.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WAKE, and UNDER THE DOME in thirds.

I loved these books!
First up, "For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old." Wake's main character slides in and out of the dreams she catches, the moment someone near her falls asleep.  WAKE has voice, chutzpah, and is written in a refreshing third present viewpoint (which works) with a truthful, honest narrative. 

WAKE was released in 2008, but I will put this as one of my favorite books read in 2011, and will definitely pick up the sequel, FADE.

On the other side of the literary world, "
On a beautiful autumn day in Maine, a transparent dome materializes over the town of Chester’s Mill. Once the Dome falls, all vestiges of normal life are suspended. Things run amok. They get scary."

UNDER THE DOME, by Steven King is a study in dizzying third-person omniscient multiple *MULTIPLE* viewpoints. Clocking in at just over 1,000 pages, DOME, is pure scary, graphic King and a terrific study for anyone hopping around in multiple heads in your works of progress.

If you're a fan of the King *I'm a fan* you won't be disappointed by THE DOME--the book's hefty, but hard to put down.  A win/win with a terrific read, and a good upper body workout.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Put Your Title to the Test

We all know that titles are important when you're querying your novel. And, when I set out to purchase a book, it's the first thing that I notice. That said, can you imagine if Carrie Ryan's wonderfully named Forest of Hands of Teeth was entitled Zombie Woods?  Kind of generic, boring, right?  Or if Pride and Prejudice was published as its original title, First Impressions (which, gave Jane Austen a form rejection)?

Lulu is a self-publishing house, but they also have an app called Titlescorer.  With Titlescorer, when you input your proposed title, the experts will score your title. The score you garner is based on data that Lulu researchers have "gathered from a total of some 700 titles to create this 'Lulu Titlescorer;' a program able to predict the chances that any given title would produce a New York Times No. 1 bestseller."

I'll go first. Hmm, lets see; my first choice title rated a 63.7%. Maybe I'll try something else. Okay, my second option received a 63.7 as well!  Next, I input a really crazy title I've been banging around, and lo and behold, I received this message: 

"The titleTwilight has a 63.7% chance of being a bestselling title!"

Rockin'. I'm all set! So, will a high Titlescorer guarantee that your perfectly titled novel is a NYT bestseller?  Probably Not.  But it's fun to try!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It is a Small, Real World, After All.

My family spent time in Mexico these past two weeks. Many of the hotels that line the sand beaches of Mexico's coast are modern and beautiful, but with infamously poor water purification facilities. You've heard it: Montezuma's Revenge; Don't Drink the Water.  And it's true. We were careful with our food preparation and water sources, and suffered our trip with only mild stomach bugs.

Back home in the Land of Plenty, I am mindful of how fortunate Americans are to flip a faucet and have access to clean, good water.

Hubby tells me our experience in Mexico reminds him of another water-challenged country to which he traveled; for two years, he made frequent trips to a remote village near Sierra Leone, West Africa. During this adventurous time, he befriended many Sierra Leoneans with whom he still corresponds--guides, kingdom chiefs (yes, they exist), miners--mostly young, because in Sierra Leone, due to the lack of food and accessible drinking water (not to mention the prevalence of mosquito-borne malaria) reaching old age is coveted and rare.

Now, back home, I am finishing edits to my current work-in-progress (ironically, a novel based around the concept of living in a fantasy world built around water). I turn the faucet to cold for a cool drink, and am thankful for the people who are working to make a difference to provide clean H2O to our friends in Africa, and around the globe. For after all, we are one small, real world.