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Oct 192012
 

Alpha Male: The leader of the pack: the strongest, most virile.

The one who makes all the ladies swoon and wish that he would turn his attentions her way. At least that’s how he’s portrayed in fiction. So often, especially in the romance genre – but not exclusively – alpha males are romanticized. They are held up as the ideal that all men should aspire to if they want to “get the girl.” Even I will admit to enjoying a good story with an alpha male.

Oct 032012
 

I’ve been watching the news lately with a strangely distanced eye. Mostly because I’m so tired of the current debates that I just don’t want to see them anymore and yet there they are so prominent and so full of misinformation on all sides that it’s rather disheartening. But from my writer’s observatory I look out over the issues causing all kinds of consternation today and see parallels with the issues of the past and with issues facing other cultures around our world. I see them reflected in the stories we tell ourselves of other worlds and gods. The patterns are there, even if the issues are different.

Sep 212012
 

The first thing I remember learning about geology was that gravity was always in charge. This was way back in grade school and we were given the impossible task of making water run up hill in model water system. Our teacher was a great believer in hands on learning, and also, I think, had a cruel streak that enjoyed watching us get frustrated when we couldn’t complete the task assigned. In this case it took us all of about fifteen minutes before every group had given up. Then we got the lecture about how the water system worked. He pointed out that somehow the water had to get back up into the clouds so that it could fall as rain and sent us home that day with the assignment to figure out how that was possible.

Aug 272012
 

Some characters come to me fully formed with a story to tell. Others hang out for a while, watching and waiting, trying things on until finally they manage to introduce themselves. A few come into my life as a full person and hang around long enough to grow. These are the characters I love. They are my friends and the most likely reason that I will be mistaken for a schizophrenic (although I have it on good authority that as long as I know the characters are in my head I’m still as close to sane as I’ll ever be).

Aug 202012
 

Everyone believes in something. Even Atheists. The problem arises when that something, isn’t the same thing as someone else’s something. Worse yet, when those two someones who believe in different things use the same words for them. Differences over the meaning of “god” have caused wars. There have been great upheavals when two powerful people have looked at the same ancient text and decided that it tells them radically different things about how to live.

And these are just examples from real life.

In fiction, you would think that we could come up with some truly spectacular stories about the differences between various sects. We probably could… but for the most part, we don’t.

Aug 102012
 

Recently I was taking a walk with my dear friend E.P. Beaumont. We were walking along the river talking about our recent projects and Day Job frustrations when she paused to notice how green the trees were. It took me by surprise, not because I hadn’t noticed that the trees were green, but that it was worth mentioning. I had a similar response to my Great Aunt’s visit and her constant chatter about trees in the city.

Aug 012012
 

Let’s talk about vampires. I know, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Vampires are a popular topic for a reason, and that is what I want to look into.

First there’s a whole range of vampires from the cute to the terrifying. The Cute extreme goes to Count von Count from Sesame Street. He is not much of a blood sucker, despite the fangs. His claim to fame is his ability to call thunder and lightning when he has successfully counted something. On the other end, I put the sightless creatures from the movie Priest. That’s just my opinion. There are certainly plenty of other contenders for terrifying, but that is up to your point of view.

Jul 302012
 

I’ve had several encounters recently with people complaining about the way that English is changing. When I stop laughing, I feel a bit of frustration. One of the things that is a constant in language is that it changes. Exactly the same way that the rest of life changes.

 

There are the obvious changes that happen, like when a new technology shows up and we suddenly need new words to talk about it. For example, prior to the invention of the microwave, we didn’t have that word. Now it has transformed from a noun to a verb, as in “I’m going to microwave my lunch now.” Not such a bad thing if you think about it. If language never changed we’d still be talking about every thing in terms of rocks and fire.

Jul 112012
 

I recently spent the a weekend, well six days really, in the company of close to 6,000 fellow geeks. At CONvergence science fiction convention – 4 days of convention plus set up and tear down. It was a wonderful break from the pressures of the real world – the world that tells me daily to hide my geekiness. That’s not to say that there weren’t pressures. Actually quite the opposite. Both Sweetie and I are department heads, meaning we are two of the people responsible for making sure that the weekend goes off without a hitch. There were hitches, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

Jul 042012
 

I have phrases from “Fiddler on the Roof” running through my head as I write this. It happens whenever I think about the traditions of my life, of American life, or of my characters’ lives. “Tradition” is the answer we give when we’ve forgotten why we do something. Why do we eat turkey for Thanksgiving? Tradition. Why do we bring a tree into the house and cover it with baubles? Tradition. It’s more than that though.