Friday, December 31, 2010


(This is a busy month for me, so I'm re-running this blog. I think it's one I needed to re-read, anyway. Just FYI, I met my goal of ramping up my efforts and targeting agents and publishers, I did not meet my desire of finding a home for Live and Let Fly. I did find homes for three of the DragonEye, PI, stories, however. Next year, I'm looking for a small press home. Guess DragonEye, PI does not appeal to the big NYC publishers.)


Oh, bleah! Can you imagine a less original topic for Dec 31? Tell you a secret: I don’t make resolutions. I set goals. Here’s how I do it:

1. I think about where I want to be in the far future, and what I want to be remembered for.
2. I think about the past year—what didn’t work and why, and what did advance me toward my ideal life.
3. I think about what I can do differently (or continue doing) in order to keep advancing.
4. I write those as my goals, assigning them appropriate time frames.
5. I break them down to tasks and deadlines.
6. I get to work.

So, let me give you an example.

1. I would like one day to have my DragonEye, PI books be sharing the spotlight with Discworld and Myth, Inc.
2. This past year, I published Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, got good reviews and regular sales. However, I’ve not been able to sell Live and Let Fly yet, nor did I achieve my goal of writing Gapman! Also, my stories on my website are not selling well, though my newsletter is getting thousands of hits now that I publish it on
3. This next year, I will ramp up my efforts at shopping L&LF, sending out queries more often. I will make some modifications to my newsletter to draw folks to the website and stories. I will consider new venues for selling the short stories.
4.& 5. Deadline to finish Gapman: June 2010. Deadline for shopping L&LF to agents and big traditional publishers: October 2010, after which, I will return to small press. Have a new story written and on the website or being submitted each quarter. I will send out a query a week minimum. I will not wait for a rejection before moving on.

Still not enough for you? Want more information, tips and ideas on making resolutions, setting goals and getting organized? I’m going to post a link or tip every day in January, then have the whole file for download on my website in February.

Working toward making your life better is not a matter of a single night of resolution setting. Take your time, learn, tweak your ideas and build your habits.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

How many of these classics have I read?

Right now, I'm up to my assets in alligators (and my brain is my best asset, so you can see how deep that is). So I was glad to snag this post for blog fodder:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

If you put this on facebook: Copy this into your NOTES, and put your own answers in. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses! Feel free to add comments too.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 1984--George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch-22 --Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy--Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (All 7 of them!)

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (and Seamonsters?)

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, wisemen. Help us to rise bigger than we are. Amen.

Prayer from Catholic Online

Monday, December 20, 2010

Roundup of Reviews for Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator

First, thanks to everyone who participated in the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator book tour. I had a lot of fun with the interviews and the articles and enjoyed seeing the responses. Here are some quips from the reviews I've received as a result.

By Caprice Hokstad

This book is so full of comedy, it’s hard to believe there’s room for anything really can suspend disbelief and accept this world where the “shambling undead” have become a frightening menace. Beyond that, the plot really works. There’s lots of action, plenty of drama, and even some romance... This is the brilliance. Karina doesn’t feel the need to knock you over the head with every little joke. She’s put out such a sumptuous buffet that she can afford for you to miss a delectable item or two.

By Kat Heckenbach
"Hell's Kitchen" with heart. Pretty much sums it up :). Neeta's got to whip her students into shape, so they can learn to slice and dice zombies. She's not the heartless terror that Chef What's-his-name is, but she can't afford to be soft when dealing with the undead. I laughed SO hard while reading Neeta Lyffe. But humor is not Karina's only strong point. The book has an actual plot and real characterization--two things that often lack in parody and humor writing.

By Nicole Langan
Fabian shines in her ability to create believable supporting characters. Each participant on the show has a distinctive personality full of their own idiosyncrasies and quirks. It is a difficult enough for an author to mold a strong, multi-faceted protagonist, but Fabian succeeds in bringing an extensive cast to life as authentic individuals, not cliched stereotypes. Fashioning scenes of dialogue with eight people requires a skilled writer, and Fabian delivers with clear, precise conversations.

My favorite line: "Overall, Neeta is to zombies what Buffy is to vampires."

I made a new Buffy! SQUEE!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Questions about Neeta Lyffe, not asked in interviews

How do you pronounce Lyffe? Is it a pun? Yes, it's pronounced Life, as in Need A Life. (Honestly, don't you know me by now?)

That's What were your parents thinking? Neeta was names after her maternal grandmother, and like I think happens with some parents, they didn't put the first and last name together until it was too late. She will, however, consider seriously whether hyphenating her name when she marries is good for business or just too silly. (If I write the sequel. No promises.)

How do you become a zombie exterminator? First, you study to become a regular exterminator. You take the tests, pass the background checks, etc. Then you have to pass some preliminary psychological and physical tests. If you make it that far, you get a temporary license to re-kill. Then you apprentice with a regular exterminator.

How do you re-kill something that's already dead? That's why it's re-killing, and not murder. Zombies aren't alive, but they aren't fully dead, either. Brain activity has been restored on a rudimentary level. So there had to be a new classification for taking them out.

Why did Neeta choose this career? It's a family business.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Zombie Death Extreme Website is up!

OK, dirty little secret time: I played with some formats in Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator in part because I didn't want to write some of the background scenes. Rather than slowing down the story with a lot of background and explanation, for example, I would put up a forum announcement by a fan saying, "Whoa! Check out this article about Neeta's lawsuit! Did her really sue her for $500,000?!" or I could refer to a previous episode of Zombie Death Extreme with only the words, "Goldie's responding well to medication--right?"

But when you have an ambitious publisher with a sense of fun, shortcuts can backfire.

Kim contacted me last week withe the suggestion that we build a website and fake forum with all the reference stuff I'd put in the book. I told her I thought it would be fun, then I went back and realized just how much background stuff I had. By then, however, she'd bought the domain name, set up a strawman, created a forum, and even made a subdomain for Lyffe Undeath Exterminations.

Oh! uh, guess I'd better fill that up then. So I looked at some reality tv show sites and some exterminator business websites and created

The Zombie Death Extreme website is full of fun stuff. I didn't put in all the references--I can't afford to hire actors for the video blogs, and haven't gotten to the articles yet--but I do have the characters and all the episode summaries, and a little bit of fun about zombie extermination. There's a forum up, too, and I already have at least one friend willing to play crazed fans (he's multi-tasking) and post for me. Go join in the fun.

I'll go back and add stuff later, too. Shortcuts are nice, but sometimes, the long scenic route is fun, too!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Squee! My Sister Poses as Neeta Lyffe!

I was days away from book launch and had no ideas for photos for Neeta Lyffe for my book trailer video. I thought about posing myself, but well, I'm fat. So I decided to call one of the most fit and beautiful women I know--my sister, Regina Koske.

She was thrilled. She vowed to find the biggest, toughest chainsaw she could and make very good use of those cardio-boxing classes she was taking. A few days later, seh sent me 50 photos taken from her iphone by her husband, Chuck. Thought I'd share a few with you:

Here's Neeta meaning business. (Go ahead and guess Gina's actual age. Bet you're off by 10 years.)

She and Chuck had a lot of fun doing some action shots. Chuck even suggested they take the chainsaw to the refinery where he works. I'm thinking "What a great place for a zombie attack!"

This one, of course, made the video. I think I laughed and squealed like a crazed fangirl for 20 minutes over this one. Gina said Chuck was egging her on, "Come on, Babe, give me the look!"

I so love being able to include my family in my creative fun. Glad I have a family willing to play with me! Thanks, Gina!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Neeta Lyffe Zombie Exterminator Book Tour

By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money, fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag. But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?

The workout room had a weights set and an elliptical in one corner, but Neeta ignored them. She needed more vigorous exercise than that if she wanted to burn off her emotional funk.

None of the plebes had done the routine she'd just set for herself. It didn't really reflect the reality of zombie movements, either. Although the crew had designed the targets to look much like actual undead, they moved too quickly, changed direction too suddenly, lunged and retreated in ways zombies couldn't imitate. They zigged and zaggged, dropped from the ceiling to zoom back up, flung themselves from the ground to trip the unwary. For once, this wasn't about training.

Neeta steeled herself, found an opening and dove in with a roar. She swung high, tagging the first zombie with the edge of her blade just as it got within her reach.

This was about reflexes,

She jumped over the arm that sprung up in front of her, doing the splits as she brought down her chainsaw to slice the hand off at the wrist.

…about burning aggression,

She spun a full circle, moving the saw in a sine wave. She took one target out at the knees, sliced another sideways across the chest, beheaded a third.

…about moving beyond thought and planning and negotiations with writers and directors and people who cared more for ratings than lives,

She lunged, spun, kicked and swung, her battle cries a perfect accompaniment to the pounding music.

A buzzer sounded, and the lights brightened and steadied. The targets stopped their frenetic motions and presented themselves for her to examine. She dropped the saw where she stood and braced her hands against her knees to catch her breath. Her arms felt like lead. A good feeling. She moved among the grimacing targets, noting the strikes that would have severed limbs, the ones that would have beheaded... When she came to the long-haired one with the pot belly, she gave a feral grin.

She's landed the blade in perfect position to slice Dave's manic smile right off his face.

Want more fun? Check out the Zombie Death Extreme show website!

Check out the Tour!

Dec Interview in newsletter
4-Dec interview
6-Dec Guest post: why write about zombies?
7-Dec Guest Post: what do you do with a zombie novel
8-Dec interview
8-Dec Guest Post : Building Neeta's World
9-Dec blog--why zombie fic
10-Dec Guest post
10-Dec interview
11-Dec review
12-Dec interview
13-Dec feature
14-Dec Character interview
15-Dec review
17-Dec Character interview
17-Dec Catholics and Fantasy
18-Dec interview
19-Dec review + interview
19-Dec review + interview
20-Dec Review

Order it now: (Print coming soon!)

From the publisher:

From Amazon: KINDLE:

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reviews of Infinite Space, Infinite God II (so far)

Haven't had a lot of reviews yet on ISIG II, but here are the two that resulted from the book tour:

"In Infinite Space, Infinite God II, the creativity of science fiction is merged with the morality of Catholicism. The result is a collection of 12 short stories edited by the husband and wife team of Rob and Karina Fabian. While fun and imaginative, the anthology forces the reader to confront some serious issues. Would a human clone have a soul? Would aliens be considered a part of God's creation? Would religious vocations continue to exist beyond Earth's gravitational pull? These thought-provoking issues are explored in a way that satisfies both the techno-geek and the religious philosopher." --Nicole Langan, Scranton Examiner

"…these are stories about people–ordinary people of faith thrust into extraordinary situations. Their faith guides their actions, and it makes a difference in their world. It’s a practical faith that guides them to serve others, sacrifice their own ambitions, and endure suffering with patience and hope. This anthology is also unique in that it showcases the Christian faith from a Catholic point-of-view. This means that you will encounter a Church whose structure and practice remain intact and consistent into the future, adapting to change while tenaciously preserving and applying the lessons of its heritage. Human frailty and divine intervention meet in the act of prayer, and wonderful things happen….a nice variety of imaginative tales, serious and lighthearted, introspective and action-packed, from near-space to the other side of the galaxy. Some could happen tomorrow, others are set thousands of years in the future. There’s something for everybody here." --Fred Warren, Frederation


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why We Chose the Stories in Infinite Space, Infinite God II

I already talked about why I liked the stories in ISIG II in Sara Reinhard's blog, so today, Rob talks about what impressed him. Please keep in mind that he's not read these since we put this anthology together almost two years ago.

The Ghosts of Kourion: Professor Robert Cragg thought that he could escape the grief of losing his wife and daughter by traveling back in time to study a city soon to be destroyed by an earthquake. He felt safe in the fact that he could do nothing to save these people, but when he befriends a local family, however, he realizes he must try. In the end, he cannot save them, but he learns that if he cannot save the ghosts of Kourion, he can at least ease their sufferings.

Rob: I was captured by the main character. The author made Professor Cragg come alive; you could empathize with him and the struggles he was going through.

An Exercise in Logic: An ancient alien satellite has diverted an asteroid toward a human colony planet. The people who built the satellite refuse to veto programming logic installed by their ancestors. Can an Ursuline sister who is also an alien contact specialist change their minds?

Rob: In a lot of ways, it felt like th old pulp sci-fi. I just really enjoyed it. In some ways, I could see Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry walking around in the same universe.

Cathedral: Katarina's kind were engineered to love scientific research and dedicate themselves to bettering mankind until their jumped-up neurology caused them to die an ignoble death while in their twenties. Perhaps Katarina could have lived with this, but when she discovers the medicines she created were actually drugs to control the population, she spends the last of her tortured days righting her wrongs.

Rob: I found the concept of an engineered human who "burned more brightly" an interesting approach to human intelligence and creativity.

The Battle of the Narthex: What do you get when you mix a royal assassination, alien militia and the Saturday night Mass-and-Spaghetti dinner? Battle of the Narthex tickels the funny bone and touches the heart!

Rob: Alex always writes a good, rousing story.

Tenniel: Bishop Tenniel must fight the leader of the Wolfbane clan to win the conversion of the tribe to Christianity, saving their lives as well as their souls. Another exciting tale from Colleen Drippe's Lost Rythar universe.

Rob: I've enjoyed all of Colleen's Lost Rythar stories, which are always well written. Again, it had a "pulp feel," though more reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover universe.

Tin Servants by J Sherer: Father Paul's desire to serve his people in war-torn Ghana that he allowed himself to altered to resemble the androids sent to provide medical help. Once there, however, he finds himself limited in the comfort he can offer, and embroiled in a conspiracy to convert the andorginacs into soldiers.

Rob: Well-written and in some ways, cut a little close to home when it comes to modern politics; which is good, because science fiction is often at its best when it comments on issues of the day.

Basilica by John Rundle: A Navy buddy needs help fixing up an old clunker of a spacecraft and Father Carpizo arrives to do his old friend a long overdue favor. As he turns wrenches, however, Carpizo finds a mystery to whet his appetite: a riddle deep rooted in the history of the Church. The scholarly priest unwittingly uncovers a dark secret which others have paid for with their lives. He is suddenly confronted by unspeakable evil and now Carpizo must make the ultimate sacrifice to destroy it…if only there is enough time.

Rob: I can't remember anything deep or specific. It was just a fun read. You know, the thing I looked for when reading these was if I would have liked to have read it when first exploring science fiction. "Bascilica" fit that bill quite well.

Cloned to Kill by D Mak: The power of Baptism helps a clone programmed to kill find her humanity--but to what lengths will Father Markham have to go to protect his new ward?

Rob: I liked that one because it really played at the definitions of what it means to be human and to have a soul.

Dyads, Ken Pick and Alan Loewen: Father Heidler's latest assignment takes him to Cathuria, where the Catholic Church and all of Earth are blamed when a failed missionary's desperation boils over into terrorism. With the planet in the midst of riots and the Archbishop/Ambassador to Cathuria severely injured in a retaliatory strike, Father Heidler negotiates a delicate maze of politics and religious convictions to find a way to restore peace and reconcile the two worlds.

Rob: This is another one that gave me the feel of old, classic science fiction. I also have a preference for non-dystopic futures.