28 November 2011
27 November 2011
I think this really hit home for me because last year at this time we had snow and we were below zero for temperature (I'm sorry my temperature readings are going to be in Celsius, I am Canadian. LOL!) and currently it's 15 degrees. We have no snow, in fact it's raining. I've been on this Earth for thirty some odd years and I don't ever remember a November like this.
Usually I dread November. It's the first kiss of winter, but this November has been ... nice. So it got me thinking, what is the weather of the future going to be like?
I mean, they found frozen palm trees in Antarctica. Was Antarctica a paradise much like the Caribbean or Hawaii?
I mean, look at how our glaciers are receding.
This is the Athabasca glacier in Alberta (which I get to go see this summer). Just look at how much it's receded in the last nineteen years.
Even Niagara Falls is on it's own progression of recession.
I guess that's why I've always been curious on people's ideas about how the world will change. I remember being awed by the possibility of 2010 a Space Odyssey and the Jupiter turning into another Sun so that Earth would no longer be in darkness. Think about how the world would change then. I was also obsessed with post apocalyptic novels, still am actually, and the landscape of the world after a devastating war. The first one I can remember reading was John Wyndham's The Chrysalids.
The future has always intrigued me, but I'm looking towards the changing landscapes, the shifting of plates and environmental aspects.
What do you think the Earth will look like in the next century?
25 November 2011
Science insists that we crawled from primordial ooze. Various mythologies, however, give us beautiful accounts of the creation of man by gods and goddesses - all of which sound way better than evolving from bog bacteria. But those creation stories and our faith in them can seem very foolish in the face of the Almighty Scientific Fact.
What place, then, will mythology have in the future? Will there be room for stories about the big questions of humanity as anything other than something at which people far more educated in facts can point and laugh for our primitive beliefs and thought processes?
Will there be new gods and goddesses? New pantheons? New heroic sagas? Or are we at a place now where there is nothing new, only old stories and old gods that get recycled and retold for each new generation?
If that's the fate of our myths, our gods, then perhaps the new myths will be metaphors that turn the old gods new again. We will find new heroes who echo Hercules and Beowulf from a perspective we can't yet see. I hope the old stories will always be useful, will always teach us that there are things more powerful than mere facts. And I hope that our new myths reflect a better world.
24 November 2011
While the American holiday of Thanksgiving has been celebrated from Colonial times, it wasn’t until the American Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln decreed it would be each year in November. When the first European settlers landed in the New World in Massachusetts Bay, they stayed in their ship for the winter – where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and disease. Scurvy is caused by a lack of Vitamin C, and British sailors would be given limes in later years – hence the term “limey” to refer to a British navy man.
Or, alternatively, to a really scary British father looking for his daughter's killer, but I digress...
According to many, the first Thanksgiving festival was held in 1621 as decreed by the Governor, William Bradford. The festival lasted for three days and is a fall harvest festival. Alternatively, some have argued that the festival in 1621 was not the first Thanksgiving on American soil, but that Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé held the first such festival on American soil.
(Pedro Menéndez de Avilé)
Others say it was in December of 1619. Native American peoples object to the celebration and portrayal of the holiday, saying that it glosses over the violence and bloodshed between the European settlers and the indigenous population already living here.
Regardless of the exact lineage of the holiday in America, it is certainly true that Harvest Festivals have occurred since ancient times. While many of the trappings of ancient celebrations have not survived to present day, gathering around a family table with our loved ones to celebrate with a large meal is something likely to continue. How might it look in a hundred years?
Assuming we don’t suffer an environmental cataclysm, it’s probably safe to say we will have turkeys. I think, though, that due to the rising population of people of Mexican descent, we will probably have other dishes incorporated into the traditional fare. Perhaps Turkey with Molé Sauce (composed of chocolate and chili and spices) will be on the traditional table of the future. It is probable that other sources of protein will become more popular, particularly as populations rise; soy is a viable and sustainable alternative for protein. Tofurky is a brand of today; will we have Tofurkey on the traditional table of the future? (My husband shouts “No!” in a resounding voice, but people a hundred years from now will see food differently and might not be as stuck on having meat at every meal.)
Mashed potatoes are a stable item in traditional Thanksgiving meals, but the starch place on the table is taken up by bananas in a large portion of the world (over 50% of the population of the earth consider the banana to be a staple food). In the U.S., the common “banana” is the Cavendish variety, and these trees have suffered a cataclysmic blight and may well be extinct in the next ten years. This will lead the American consumer to have to select a different banana from the over 500 types available – and it’s possible that one might “take off” as the next starch in our diet. Plantains instead of mashed potatoes might grace the table of the future.
How will we prepare the meal of the future? As fossil fuel prices continue to rise and reserves to fall, it’s probable that what we take for granted in terms of transportation today (trucks and trains, ocean liners and air freight) will not look that way in the future. As the localvore movement expands (placing a strong focus on foods purchased from local farmers), regionalization of the Thanksgiving menu is likely to occur. Rather than the homogenization of the menu, we might have regional favorites – beef in the upper Midwest, fish on the coasts, etc.
One thing uniquely American is the pumpkin. Found in the New World by the settlers, it’s become ubiquitous and a symbol of Thanksgiving and of Autumn (who has seen Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latté?), and as such it’s likely to continue. But with rising obesity rates in the American population, will we continue to indulge in pie?
I hope, since I love pumpkin pie, that we don’t take it off the table but instead change how we relate to the dinner itself. Rather than settle on the couch afterward to watch a football game, what if we started a tradition of walking? Perhaps the Thanksgiving of the future will have elements more like the “Trick or Treat” of Halloween where folks wander from house to house, sharing a beverage and conversation.
There’s another angle we haven’t considered yet, and that’s whether or not we’ll even be ON this planet in a hundred years. Richard Branson is hard at work, developing his in-space hotel, and President Obama has spoken of revitalizing the space program and missions to the moon, Mars, and the International Space station. It’s entirely probable that humans will be in space in a hundred years, so our Thanksgiving meals might be in small packets to avoid mucking up the zero-gravity space we’re living in. Vegetables might be raised in hydroponics on a space station or even a Moon colony. Your turkey might even come from a farm on the Sea of Tranquility (the site of the first moon landing in 1969).
Whatever the tradition, I think some form of celebration of the harvest will continue long into the future. I hope that you have your own traditions and, if not, that you decide this year to start them. After all, “First Annual” is a perfectly fine title for a tradition that could have a long, long lineage.
May you have much to be thankful for and always remember to be grateful.
History .com, “Thanksgiving” A&E Television Networks, 1996-2011, http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/ Accessed 11/21/2011
Crosta, Peter, “What Is Scurvy? What Causes Scurvy?” MNT (Medical News Today),
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155758.php Accessed 11/21/2011
21 November 2011
20 November 2011
One of the first ones that comes to mind is the classic movie Metropolis - if you haven't heard, this year they released a new version of the film finally pieced together after years of retrieving bits cut out after the initial showing. Paired with a silent movie soundtrack it's easily the best version around. I look at the images and just wonder how, back before World War II, how these minds came up with these visions of the future.
I should point out that if you can get your hands on the original Metropolis novel, it's well worth reading. It might seem a bit dry and preachy for the present-day but the language is a powerful reminder of how much words matter. And the heart!
The next movie that comes to mind is a version of H.G. Wells' "Things To Come" - dealing with a futuristic version of the world that starts off much like our own but takes a drastic twist after what, for them, is World War Two and projects a new society far into the future. Wells actually wrote the screenplay for this movie based on his book and it gives us images that may seem familar today but were extraordinary for 1936.
And last, but no means least, let's remember The Time Machine. Based on another H.G. Wells novel, originally published in 1895, it extrapolates a world where once again war takes over - but society eventually evolves into a kinder, gentler version - as long as you don't look too closely. The movie was released in 1960 with Rod Taylor and became an instant classic. Taylor's pretty easy on the eyes too, I must admit.
If you've never read the original novels I encourage you to get thee hence to a bookstore or grab the ebook copies for some faboo reading. These classic novels show a version of the future that came eerily close to the truth and shows the depth of the human imagination.
Are we headed for a Hunger Games in our future or a Mad Max? Are we going to end up in the dysfunctional world of Logan's Run or the idealistic world of Star Trek? Who knows, but by looking into our past we might just see some of the future.
19 November 2011
16 November 2011
And my gift to myself for signing with an agent came today - a shiny new Kindle Fire. I am not usually a new adopter, but in this case I had been waiting for a tablet ereader. This is like a mini iPad. I am in serious love. All the books I bought for my old Kindle are there, plus I can check email, facebook, surf the web, watch Netflix (yes I can!). Now it's not 3G, so I have to be connected to a wi-fi hotspot (which my phone happens to have, if I'm really desperate for wi-fi), which would have jacked up the price to an iPad level, but this thing is AWESOME. My old Kindle will live a respectful retirement in my son's care. After the week he's having, I think he deserves it.
Finally, this weekend is Philcon. The annual SF/F convention of Philadelphia, which is actually held in Cherry Hill, NJ. I am on the guest list, and here is my schedule.
Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
THE EVOLUTION OF YOUNG ADULT FICTION (842)
[Panelists: Annette Curtis Klause (mod), Jonathan Maberry, Christine
Norris, Cory Doctorow]
What is now allowed in YA fiction that wasn't allowed in the past?
What elements have remained the same
Sat 9:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
HAMMERING DOWN THE EXPOSITORY LUMP. (823)
[Panelists: Michael F. Flynn (mod), Christine Norris, Peter
Prellwitz, Alison Campbell-Wise]
It is a characteristic of bad science fiction that, after some brief
attempt to hook the reader's attention, the author steps in for "And
now a history of the world up to this point," stops the story cold,
and lectures for several pages. It IS sometimes necessary to fill in
more background in a science fiction story than in a mainstream one,
but how do you do it with a little more flair (and readability) than
by mere lecture
Sun 11:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
HARRY POTTER: THE BOY WHO KEEPS ON LIVING... (837)
[Panelists: Christine Norris (mod), Gail Z. Martin, Marvin Kaye,
Michael A. Ventrella, Susan Toker]
The Battle of Hogwarts has been fought, the Dark Lord defeated, and
the books, movies, web pages, etc. are still going strong. Discuss
the future of the HP universe, and your favorite memories of it
Extremely light,I know. And now that they've changed the time of my son's playoff football game, I will not be at the exposition panel. But I'll be around the con, in the dealer's room signing books and crashing other people's panels and causing general mayhem. Come by if you're in the neighborhood - it's a nice, relaxing con and we have fun.
Happy Turkey Day!
15 November 2011
When I came up for air, I was on page twenty-two.
The “narrative hook” is what happened. When you induce the reader to turn the page, because they just have to find out what happens next, then you have successfully crafted a narrative hook. It’s that “certain something” writers can do, and do on purpose, that makes their work memorable and compelling. Jody Lynn Nye is one such author.
With more than 40 books and over 100 short stories to her credit, not to mention collaborating with legends like Robert Asprin, Anne McCaffrey, and many others, Ms. Nye in a perfect position to teach us about writing in general and narrative hooks in particular. Evanston Writers Workshop is pleased to announce that Ms. Nye will be presenting for us on Saturday, December 10th, at the Wilmette Public Library just north of Chicago, Illinois. If you are nearby, we invite you to join us. Dues-Paid Evanston Writers Workshop members are only $20 (membership has its privileges and we'd love you to join us!). (Your contribution will offset the cost for the space and an honorarium). Non-Members are only $35.00.
To register, please visit our Events page on our main website.
To whet your appetite, I’d like to share a wonderful interview with Ms. Nye crafted by my fellow Beyond the Veil author Jean Marie Ward. Jean Marie has a long career interviewing some of fiction’s brightest starts and is an accomplished author herself. If you like what you see in the interview, consider coming on the 10th to meet Ms. Nye in person. If it’s not within reach, do please stop by Jean Marie’s interview and let her know we sent you.
And when you have a moment, check out Louis L’Amour. You’ll be glad you did. I promise.
14 November 2011
Since we are talking about the future, I borrowed the idea from Brad Paisley’s song, “Letter to Me” and had my 100-year-old self visit present-day me.
First off, Kimberley, don’t get freaked out. This really is what you are going to look like in the year 2065. Smokin’ hot, right?
And no, I am not visiting you from the Great Beyond. I’m still alive, thank you very much. Time travel is not such a big deal from my side of things.
So…why have I travelled sixty odd years to see you? Well Kimbo, you need a little guidance on this journey of ours. That email you keep staring at like it's a death sentence is liable to create stress that could sabotage our full life. Trust me, you don’t get to be this smokin’ hot by carrying stress baggage day-in-day-out.
My first piece of advice?
Dump the baggage. It’s heavy, ugly, outdated and gives you wrinkles. Let it go. Find your bliss instead. Work at being happy and you will, well, be happy. And so will I.
On that note, it is awesome to be wealthy and famous (more on that later) but you can’t place a value on love. Make sure your family and friends know how much you care. Nothing is more important than love. Not one thing. Especially not that email. Stop looking at it!
From this side of the journey, time is measured in days, not years. Each day is a gift and I’ll slap you silly if you squander your gifts! Get up each morning, put your big girl panties on, and face the day with a smile. Smiling works wonders.
But don’t keep things bottled up, either. Biting your tongue only gives you a sore tongue and a future full of trouble. Remember the melt-down at Targas Eight? Um, sorry. No you wouldn’t remember that since it will happen in 2045. The point is: Arm yourself with love, flood your heart with compassion, and speak your mind. Always.
Be strong. Living for over a century is not for the weak of heart. Hell will come at you when you least expect it, but know that God will be there too. He’ll send angels on earth to comfort you. He always has. And you will survive. Even hell has its limits.
Keep your faith strong. Do you think God would have given us this crazy butt-kicking writing dream slash talent if He didn’t expect us to use it? Would I have made it on the list of Intergalactic Wordsmith Masters if I didn’t believe I could? Believe, woman. Don’t let the fools convince you that you won’t make it. I may be gritty and sassy, but I assure you, I am no fool.
Which leads us to today. Stop fretting over that rejection. Sweet Heaven, you’re going to get at least a thousand of them, might as well make some peace with those bad boys. Each rejection moves you closer to becoming the writer you always wanted to be. Listen to the naysayers, but don’t let them wallop you. Shield our dream in a safe place so that we can succeed.
And believe me, we DO succeed. Gotta run. My broadcast interview is on Mars today and afterwards I’m taking the great-grandbabies for triple-decker chocolate sundaes. Great things, like dark chocolate, never go out of style.
Readers: What would 100-Year-Old YOU tell yourself?http://kimberleytroutte.com/
13 November 2011
One man possessed her heart. The other possessed her soul.
Both had betrayed her.
Leah Wolfe, a federal agent for SINS, Supernatural Investigations of Non-Human Species is determined to move on with her life and master her own gifts, including the ability to speak to the souls of the dead. Her ex-fiancé, Joaquin Wildhorse, was unable to accept her gifts and gave himself to another. Ian Nightwalker was more than willing to soothe her broken heart and use her abilities to seek vengeance on his enemies.
With a prominent member of The Marquis, the vampire ruling council, intent of coming to Leah’s hometown, the threat of Chaos touching everyone she loves brings her down a path that leads to Joaquin and Ian once again.
He turned me around and melted me with a look that skimmed me from the top of my head to the toes of the stiletto heels that I still wore. I started to kick the shoes off but he stopped me. “Leave those on.” His voice grew deeper, sultry.
I did a little spin that would make any runway model proud. He grabbed me and tossed me onto the bed while we laughed. “Yes, definitely keep the shoes on.”
“You owe me.” I reminded him.
He stripped off my jeans and flipped me onto my stomach. He began caressing my neck, my shoulders, then further south; alternating between gentle sweeps of his hands and a firmer kneading motion that sprang Goosebumps from my body. I felt the bra strap come undone before his hands slid to the flimsy piece of elastic of my panties. His fingers trailed them down my legs until he removed them completely. Then those magic fingers began caressing their way up my legs, teasing the tender skin on the back of my knees and inner thighs. I heard the Velcro of my holster tear away and felt the weight of my pistol lift off my waist. “Nightstand.” He murmured knowing that I felt more secure if I knew where my weapons were. Then his mouth blazed molten lava on my thighs and I forgot all about weapons.
09 November 2011
For those not in the writing business, November equals turkeys, Black Friday and football. For us writers, November also equals NaNoWriMo. Or, National Novel Writing Month.
What that means is that crazy writers (like me) vow to write an entire novel in one month. 50,000 words in 30 days. 1600 words a day. Its dirty, no-holds-barred writing. No editing, no polishing, simply writing.The purpose is to get a novel written. Not a pretty novel and definitely not a novel completely edited, but at least the framework is there.
I like to do it because it takes me back to the roots. To the time before I knew about "rules" and passive writing and those dreaded -ly words. When I wrote for the sheer joy of writing.
The problem is that we're nine days into it and already I'm waaaay behind on my word count. Not because I don't want to write. I actually am writing. Just not on my NaNo novel.
Years ago, when I first started doing NaNoWriMo I didn't have any other writing commitments. I could dedicate an entire month to one story and type until my heart was content. Now, things have changed. I have a story that is this close to being finished and this close to being sent to my editor. A finished novel has to take precedence over a barely-even-started novel.
So the NaNo story has been put on the back burner while priorities take place. But hey, I'm still writing and any kind of writing is better than no writing. Right?
Except the characters in the NaNo novel don't think so. They're a little ticked off at me right now.
So, all you authors out there, are you doing NaNo? If so, are you doing better than I am?
07 November 2011
|Telephone operator circa 1945|
The future. I've thought a lot about the future, about what things are going to be like in 100 years. Logically, to do that we need to look at what life was like 100 years ago.
A century ago, in the USA, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory burned, taking the lives of 145 workers—mostly women—with it. This one event changed the way we thought about factories and led to reforms that benefit workers today. At the same time, women were struggling to gain the right to vote.
The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910. The Incan city of Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911. In 1912, the Titanic sank. The Model T automobile was spreading the luxury of driving to the masses. Electricity use was becoming widespread. Big changes, and bigger changes were on the horizon.
Today, the world has changed so much as to be unrecognizable to a person from the early 20th Century. In the 21st Century, the car is a necessity in most of the United States and a lot of the rest of the world. People tend to view electricity as a right. American women don't bother to vote, even though we've only had the right for 91 years.
The 20th and early 21st centuries have seen such amazing technological advances that some have speculated we had help from aliens from far away planets. While that idea intrigues me as a writer, as a science lover, I'm just thankful to have been born in a time of such forward thinking. I've seen so many things change, from typewriters to computers. From phones that required a human to physically switch the calls, to a phone I carry with me everywhere. Humankind has walked on the surface of the moon. We've learned to use the power of the atom. We have the ability to instantly communicate with anyone, anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Maybe one day we'll even learn how to live together in respect and peace.
I hope so.
05 November 2011
“Look to the future.”
What do you think of when you read that phrase? Do you think about what you’re doing this weekend or where your kids will go to college? Or do your thoughts go further into the future?
If so, do you think of flying cars? Perhaps you imagine a world without pain or war? How about a world where doctors are no longer needed (sorry, all you physicians) because no one ever gets ill or injured? A world of possibilities exists if you simply let your mind wander.
If your own imagination fails you, all you have to do is look to your favorite bookseller or television shows.
What about a world without death? Sound like Utopia? Try watching the television show, Torchwood. After seeing what could happen when people no longer die, where the population explosion escalates, and where people who fall ill are placed in incinerators and disposed of yet not really killed (You’ll have to watch the show to understand that concept), I’d rather embrace the concept of death.
What about a world filled with unimaginable technology? I grew up in the era when mobile phones (that’s the precursor to cell phones, kiddies) and CB radios were the big thing. Captain Kirk could talk to others using a small handheld devise, but who knew I’d live to see the day when I could talk, text, email, and web surf with a small handheld devise? What’s next? “Beam me up, Scotty”?
But what does the future entail for books? We’ve already taken the first step toward a paperless world. Bookstores are closing, in part because some of us, including myself, would rather read an eBook than a paperback. What’s the next step? Books written on a pill that you could swallow and then close your eyes and read?
What about authors? Will technology advance to the point where they’re no longer needed? Think about the advances made with movies. Actors are sometimes replaced with digitally created characters like in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What if anyone could write a book simply by encoding specific ideas into a computer and having it spit out a work of fiction? I shudder at the idea.
Still, even if I tend to see the worst happening in the future, I’m an optimist at heart. I like to think that for every advance that may take away something I love, another advance will give me an even greater treasure.
The future is and always will be a product of the past. What we do today will become tomorrow’s history and the next day’s future. It’s up to us to make the future a good one.
Beverly - www.beverlyrae.com
04 November 2011
Honestly, I think that's for the best. You can revisit the past... mourn it... celebrate it, too... but that's as far as it should go. Sometimes it's just best to put it to rest and move forward. I think that's where I'll head now. Forward.
For now, I'll let my wonderful colleagues take on this topic with their usual insightful observations. I'll be watching on the sidelines. :)
Indulge your senses...
03 November 2011
Dragon Shifter Kryssa Drake works twenty-hour days, seven days a week racing toward a sabbatical and hiding from the dating world after a devastating break-up that left her questioning her sense of self. The highlight of her day is the two hour lunches spent listening to Near Human, Xander Luciano, co-owner of Luciano's Deli across the street, and living vicariously through his on-again, off-again relationship with Avian, Caleb James. Over the years and countless intimacies of their friendship, Kryssa has grown to love Xander and the idea of Xander and Caleb but ideas and potential are not enough to brave the pain of the past so soon.
Pastry Chef and Near Human, Xander Luciano, has spent the last two years trying to charm Kryssa out of her vow of a five year isolation following her break-up. He's spent that same two years sorting out his feelings for his college sweetheart, Caleb, and trying to figure out a way to pin the restless Avian down or to finally make peace with a few months of happiness at a time. When Caleb opens the pastry café they always dreamed about and invites him to become a partner, Xander sees the flicker of hope that maybe half of his dream is about to come true. When he's volunteered by Kryssa's brother and boss to assist her in her current projects as well as help her relax in his cabin up north, Xander thinks his persistence and culinary skills just might help him have it all.
Sometimes the only way to get a good man to settle down is to have a good woman help. And oft times the most direct way to a Dragon's heart is through her stomach.
Contains: Scaly sex, make-up sex, not quite breakup sex, all marinated in an M/F, M/M and M/M/F awesome sauce
Read An Excerpt Here