Monday, November 29, 2010

My stories in Infinite Space, Infinite God

Today for the Infinite Space, Infinite God II tour, I thought I'd share with you a little about the stories I wrote for the anthology.

Antivenin: Three nuns from the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue offer help to a ship that is off-course and not answering hails. They find the ship crawling with venomous snakes who have killed their handler and bitten the pilot. When one bites her partner, Sister Rita must conquer her phobia and snatch the antivenin from their nest.

This is probably one of the creepiest stories I've ever written. Like Sister Rita, I hate snakes. Although I have handled pet snakes, I get very nervous about walking in the prairie for fear that I'll disturb one. I don't even remember how I came up with this story, but the research was grueling. I had the heebie-jeebies for weeks. I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about it.

Otherworld: Father Jonas is haunted by the loss of his mother, who died while in a virtual reality world. As a priest, he's driven to evangelize to the players in Otherworld--to remind them of reality and the God who cares about what they do on both worlds.

"Antivenin" was supposed to be the only one of my stories for the anthology, but we really wanted a story with virtual reality or cyberpunk, and we didn't get any we liked. I had recruited my friend, Frank Creed, to write one in his Flashpoint universe, but he wasn't able to complete it; I don't remember why now. However, with the extended deadline passed, and no prospects in sight, I tried my hand. I really liked how it turned out. (BTW, check out Flashpoint; it's very cool.)

Frankie Phones Home: Sixteen-year-old Frankie was kidnapped by aliens who wanted to understand the mysteries of her human religion. Now, as they return to Earth to make First Contact, Frankie calls her family.

This is a flash-fiction piece, written in a script format, as a sequel of sorts to "Interstellar Calling" in Infinite Space, Infinite God I. I wrote it because I'd been scolded by a friend of mine who said no well-raised daughter would just up and leave her family with nothing more than a note on the dashboard, even if it was to preach the Gospel to aliens. So Frankie calls home to apologize and try to explain.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tom Turkey and the Redcoats by Liam Fabian

My son Liam is in fifth grade, and they're learning about Tall Tales. I remember doing the same thing in fifth grade, so I had a lot of fun going over what they are and finding a few on-line to read to him. He had to write one of his own, and it's so cute, I wanted to share it. The italicized part is the teacher prompt:

Tom Turkey and the Redcoats
by Liam Fabian

Tom Turkey was a big turkey. Now, I don't mean an ordinary big turkey. No, sir! I mean an extraordinary, gigantic, big turkey. In fact, Tom Turkey was so big that if he stretched his wing, he could touch the moon. He was so smart, he learned to speak human.

One day during the Revolutionary War, the Redcoats came. They wanted to take the farm as a base. Tom Turkey said, "Stop!" The commanding officer said, "Kill the bird. Three thousand men shot him. It tickled.

Tom started to step on them.. That day, he invented tap dancing.

Ben Franklin soon heard about it and nominated him for the national bird.

The End.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Infinite Space, Infinite God II Book Tour!

Twelve science fiction stories featuring Catholic heroes. Meet a time traveler who sacrifices his life to give a man a sip of water, and the nun who faces venomous snakes to save a friend. Share the adventures of priests who battle aliens and machines in order serve the greater good.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan--a must-read for the Catholic sci-fi lover.

Tour places and dates:
18-Nov Tour schedule, info
20-Nov Writing Faith-Filled Fiction
21-Nov Interview
22-Nov Interview
23-Nov Review
23-Nov Interview
24-Nov Interview
25-Nov Interview
26-Nov Interview
29-Nov Interview
29-Nov http:// About Karina's stories
30-Nov Karina Talks about the stories
1-Dec Interview
2-Dec Interview
2-Dec http:// About Contributors' stories
3-Dec What is Catholic Fiction?
3-Dec Interview
4-Dec Interview
5-Dec Interview with Contributors
6-Dec Information
6-Dec http:// Reviews

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My novel's Journey: Inventing a sport for Discovery

JK Rowling had quidditch. I have splat.

I needed a zero G ball game for the crew of Discovery--something that Sister Ann would be very good at, so it's something that takes a lot of maneuvering skill, but not necessarily a lot of strength--oh, and a stable middle ear and a strong stomach.

Last week, I came up with splat.

Splat is played in a dodecahedron in zero gravity. Four sides have goals—holes into which you toss the ballast. The holes are in the center of a side, which have magnets on a switch. The softball-sized ball carries a positive charge. The players wear suits and helmets that are positively charged and have a paddle that is also positively charged. They can use the paddles and their bodies to move the ball, but they can't touch it. They can also use their bodies and paddles to move other players. (Remember similar charges repel.)

The object of the game is two-fold: to get the ball into the goal and to be nowhere near the goal when that happens. That’s because when the ball goes through the hole, it activates the magnets on that side, which are negatively charged. If you’re too close to the side, you get stuck on the wall! Every team gets points when they make a goal and when someone on the other team gets stuck on the wall. People who vomit on the field are disqualified, and their team doesn’t get a replacement.

Still working out the details of how many on a team. I also need a good team name for the nuns on the St. Joseph of Cupertino convent. "Flying Nuns" would have been taken ages ago, so don't suggest it. :)

Who knows? Maybe they'll be playing splat in a hundred years. That would be cooler than quidditch!

Monday, November 08, 2010

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Last week, I saw this headline on Yahoo: Nicest Canadian couple in world dole out lottery winnings.

I remember a writing assignment from when I was in third or fourth grade: What would you do with a million dollars. Our family was living on a thousand dollars a month at the time, so I had no concept of a million. I was giving away a thousand here, a thousand there to friends and family before I gave up and wrote, "It's hard to spend a million dollars!"

Now, I'm an adult, and our family makes six figures a year, and I'm pretty certain I could spend a million without thinking. Occasionally, Rob and I play the lottery--when the winnings pass a hundred million. We dream about how we'd spend the money, and have a basic plan of action in mind. (Thus, I'm sure, ensuring that we never win.)

First, the Must Do:

100,000,000 (Assumed winnings for this exercise)
- 35,000,000 (Taxes as calculated online)
- 15,300,000 (Social Security)
59,700,000 That we can actually spend

Next, the No-Brainers:

59,700,000 to spend
-32,000,000 to charities (And any that call me on the phone get told NO)
- 500,000 for dream house
- 400,000 for kids' college
- 12,000,000 for parents/siblings/children/nieces and nephews
- 7,000,000 for godchildren
- 5,000,000 to pay off friend's bills (We have a list--don't call me.)
- 2,000,000 into savings as a nest egg
800,000 to play with

I'm just about back to my writing assignment in third grade. However, times have changed; prices are higher, and our toys are more expensive:

800,000 to play with
- 500,000 for cars for the family
- 30,000 computers for the family
- 100,000 dream vacation(s) for the family
- 30,000 mad money spending spree for the family ($5000 each)
- 20,000 new furniture (We keep talking about a bedroom set and our living room furniture is piecemeal from when we first married. Our dining set is drop-dead gorgeous, but I'd like to get new seats for it.)
- 50,000 for marketing my books (obviously to be spent over many years)
$70,000 that I have no idea for. If some other insane expense doesn't pop up, like paying for the hospital stay when I have the heart attack over winning a 100 million dollars, then it will go to charity.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Change of plans

Man proposes; God disposes.

When I teach classes about the writing life, I try to emphasize two points: (1)If you want to succeed as a writer, you have to make time to write, and (2) if you're not depending on this for your income, you need to remember life comes first.

This month, I've been challenged to learn my own lessons.

2010 was an amazing year for writing. The kids were in school, and I had a great schedule that worked. I wrote two books, and will have three published. I also wrote two school planners and three new workshops, as well as a couple of short stories. I was averaging over a thousand words a day just in new writing on a novel or story, and up to 10,000 in other venues. In addition, I got my housekeeping down to a habit, which has done wonders for our home and I'd figured I was finally on my way to a nice, regular, long-term schedule.

Then Liam started having problems at home and school, and moving to Utah has not made it easier as we'd hoped. We're in for a long haul of getting him the help he needs. The schools here have been wonderful--much better than in California--and they're working with us, but right now, he's studying at home and will be for awhile. Even when he returns, there will be a lot we need to work on. Rob has been wonderful in taking time off, coming home early and doing what he can, but he con only do so much before his work suffers--and when you work with nukes, that's a Bad Thing.

I want to write. I need to write. But it doesn't put the food in our mouths. My first job is to nurture my marriage and raise my children to be intelligent, compassionate good citizens.

So, time for a new proposal...

DISCOVERY isn't going as smoothly as I'd hoped. It's serious sci-fi, and with all that's happening, I don't have the leftover mental or spiritual energy to tackle it by year's end as I'd hoped. However, I have a dear friend who has agreed to look over my mess of a manuscript, kick the tires, poke the holes, and give me some suggestions. It's off to him. I'm not giving up, but it's back in the percolating stage to be dinked with as I get inspired.

In the meantime, I will concentrate first on marketing the books I have coming out, and selling my short stories, which I concentrated on this week. Then, I'm going to write something else that I've been wanting to do, but which is light, easy and makes me laugh--maybe Gapman or Redcap. I'm not sure yet which. I'll only work on them in spare time, however; this is now at a thousand words a week kind of goal, and a loose one at that. I may even cut down to "one sentence before bed" if necessary. The key, as I've told my workshop students, is to have a consistent writing practice, even if it's a tiny goal.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Because it's been that kind of week...

Here's something my daughter helped me discover on the Failblog:

Funny Tattoos - Cause This is THRILLER!
see more Ugliest Tattoos

What gets me is the expression. I'm sure it was inked during the last presidential campaign.

As long as we're in pop art... Got to love Post-It. Think the NEA gave them a grant?