Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SQUEE! New Banner

I've been thinking about a new banner for my website for a long time now. Ann Lewis, my dear friend made my other one with my logo and I love it, but like any style, it needed updating.

I knew I wanted something that reflected the idea of Fabianspace as well as the different genres I've written in, and I wanted something that was fun but also steadfast. (I'm a miser. I really don't want to buy a new banner when I put out another book!)

I asked several folks to give me some ideas and designs and Donelle Lacy (http://www.dversecreations.com/) came up with this beauty. I had such a squeefest when I saw it. It'll be going on my website soon, but I need my webmaster's help with that, so I put it on the blog for now, and changed the look of the blog to better match.

So what do you think? Especially, is the blog readable and are the colors OK?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Video Trailer for Live and Let Fly adn Excerpt Picked!

by Karina Fabian

I was goofing around with my new video maker and created this trailer for Live and Let Fly.  Don't forget; it comes out in April!

I've taken all the comments on the mini blurbs into consideration and am going with #3:
Festival was Friday. We had two days to stop a Nordic demigod evil overlord—overlady, overbeing, whatever—from blowing up a nuclear power plant, possibly destroying half an island full of revelers in the process, and creating an Interdimensional Gap through which she can bring the rest of her giant relatives to set up housekeeping where the Faerie Catholic Church didn't have the power to control them. In other words, two days until Hel broke loose.
I've had worse deadlines. I could afford a long bath in our whirlpool tub and a good meal first.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Notes From Homilies: Listening and Acting on the Word of God

Today's take-away from the homily today:  You don't get to ignore God's prophets just because you don't like what they have to say.

As Catholics (and that's who I'm speaking to today), we have a wonderful and sometimes demanding set of beliefs based not only on the Bible, but the Traditions of the Church and the Magesterium (those given authority to teach the beliefs of the Church; i.e., the clergy, in particular the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, as long as they are not speaking falsely themselves). 

That often puts us at odds with what society calls compassion and tolerance, which in America, especially is highly valued.  So we get beat up, put down, etc. online and elsewhere for standing up for things like abortion is wrong, marriage is between a man and a woman, contraception is wrong, etc.  It's hardly a surprise that so many Catholics shy away from these topics, or choose to side with the supposed majority around them, or to adopt a "Well, it's not for me, but if that's what others believe..." attitude. 

I know exactly how they feel.  For years, I've hesitated to put anything "controversial" on my
social pages.  After all, I'm there to sell books; why should I alienate a reader?  I also hate controversy, and don't want to spent my precious online time researching to refute others. Unfortunately, silence can imply consent. 

This week, Father brought up one issue that is important not only as a Catholic, but also as an American.  Most of you know President Obama wants to mandate that ALL insurances, even those by religious institutions, cover sterilization and contraception in health care.  The Catholic teaching on contraception and sterilization is that it is wrong.  (The only exception being use of birth control pills to treat certain medical conditions.)  Some people, even some Catholics think this is no big deal: after all, the Church has non-Catholic employees and some folks use birth control for treating medical problems.  But this is an issue for a few reasons:

1.  The Church, as an institution, is being asked to violate its own beliefs. 
2.  It violates the separation of Church and State.  Just as the government should not force anyone to follow a particular religion or face penalties, they should not force a particular religion to act against its stated beliefs--or penalize them if they do.
3.  It sets an ugly precedent.  If the government can force a religious institution to support contraception in violation of its beliefs, what's to stop it from mandating that religious organizations pay for abortions, or church-founded hospitals perform abortions and euthanasia...or religion-sponsored nursing homes allow (or even fund) euthanasia?
4.  It sets the government above God.

I found this petition against the Contraceptive Mandate.  If you agree (and if you are Catholic, you should), please sign it.  I also encourage you to write your senator and representative to put pressure on the White House to stop this travesty.  http://stopthebirthcontrolmandate.org/sign-the-petition/

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Old Man in the Void

This week was filler week for me.  Since I had that month-long break before jumping into the manuscript again, I thought I should go back and reread, and since it was a yucky week, it seemed a good assignment.  I discovered a couple of consistency errors, like I was calling the alien ship "she," or "it," and I found a couple of spots where I decided to strengthen the descriptions, add some dream sequences, and such.

I have a lot of dream and memory sequences.  Dex is old, getting into his eighties, but even more, he's been working on the edges of a black hole for a long time, and time moves at different rates depending on how close you are to the singularity itself.  This had been fun to try to figure out as far as navigation, but even more interesting for how it affects the human body.  I postulated that this can affect both the body and the mind, separately or together.  His wife, Scarlet, died from the physical effects; her body aged at different rates.  Dex will suffer neurological symptoms, where memories become very real.  There is medication to help allay the effects, but even as they are battling the other ship and the black hole, he and his ship's AI are battling the ailments of his own mind.

It's kind of interesting to see it played out.  Sometimes, Dex is aware of his lapses; sometimes, they leave him confused; on a few occasions, he can fight the memory.  Santiago, the AI, knows the warning signs and will try to draw him back to the present, but it doesn't always work.  Here's an example:

He saw Scarlet sitting at the console, slouching back, her head tilted over her shoulder so she could look at him.  Her hair shone like moonlight and her eyes sparkled with love and admiration.  You and your mysteries.  You haven’t lost your need to find something new, her memory chuckled.
“Still haven’t,” he muttered to himself, as his hands roved the swell. 
He’d found the first relics, to be sure, even adapted its shield technology to protect Santiago, but he still hadn’t unlocked their secrets.  The small ships that escaped the disk were too damaged, and they lacked a Rosetta stone to unlock the language of either alien race.  They only guessed that there were two races or species at war based on the disparate sizes and shapes of the drones as well as the stylistic differences of the languages.
He grunted to himself.  Leave the language to the linguists.  Even the physics had progressed past his understanding.  That wasn’t who he was, anyway.  Scarlet had seen that early on, on the cliffs of Squatty Mountain “You’ll never be satisfied just thinking about someone else’s discoveries,” she’d told when he debated about applying to Keldar.  “You want to be out there, hunting down the data yourself.”
Pretty Scarlet with pretty wavy hair.  Where had she gone?  He wanted to talk to her about Keldar, ask her to go with him—
“Dex?” A ship’s voice pulled him from his memory and he blinked, confused by the colorful miasma around him.
“Dex, are you all right?”
“I…”  Dex.  That was his name.  And the ship?
“Dex.  You’re onboard Santiago.  Do you remember me?”
“Of course I remember you,” he snarled.  But his hands shook and his breath came fast and shallow.  He felt a tingle on his wrist and looked at the blue medical band.  The digital display noted the time and date and amount of medication it had just dosed him with.
 It's been a challenge to me to write a man twice my age yet probably my equal or more in strength and physical ability...but that's another blog.  (Oh, and because I get asked this a lot, but seldom have an answer.  For once, I know who I'd like to play Dex in a movie.  Harrison Ford, hands down!  Ironically, it's his voice more than his looks that I'm identifying in Dex.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Notes from Homilies: Suffering & Sacrifice

Saw an interesting blog post by Roman Catholic Cop.  He was challenged to record one thought from the weekly homilies at Mass.
In Matthew Kelly's talk, "The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality"  he suggests taking ONE thing from father's homily on Sunday and to write it down in a journal.  He says after one year of going to mass you will have an amazing guide to spirituality.
I like this idea, so I'm going to attempt to do the same here.  Too often, I find something at Mass really touches me, but as soon as I get out the doors and have to deal with lunches and kids and to-do's, I forget what it was that made such an impact.  Writing them will give me a chance to remember, and I thought you might like to share in them as well.

Today's homily was about sacrifice and suffering, and how our vocations in life involve each.  The priest spoke of a high school boy paralyzed in a hockey accident, and in an interview he said that this was his calling, his vocation.  "It is a mystery, but I embrace it."

What an amazing attitude for a teen to take.  I think about the days I just want to give up on everything because I'm tired or have a headache or someone got mad at me, but this kid may never walk again, but he's not only not giving up, but embracing this mystery he's been dealt.  I'm humbled.

The other thing I'm taking, which applies to the first, is the idea that suffering can mean putting yourself aside to serve others.  That's one I have a hard time with because (like I said in my book, Why God Matters), I tend to have a martyrdom streak, and a loud martyrdom streak at that.  Instead of putting myself aside in my suffering in order to serve others, I tend to make a noisy point of my suffering as I serve others.

What about you?  What did you take from today's homily or sermon?  What do you think about suffering and service?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Help me pick a excerpt!

There are two things I hate about writing a book:  the back-cover blurb and picking an excerpt.  And with Live and Let Fly, I've been asked to pick not one, but two!  Help!

I went through the manuscript and picked three likely candidates for the mini excerpts.  Would you read them and vote in the comments section on your favorite?  I'll sweeten the pot by putting your name in a raffle for one of my books, including Live and Let Fly!

Based on feedback, I'm removing #2 from the race.  It seems to appeal most to Vern fans, and of course, we want to reach readers who don't know him yet.  Thanks guys!  This does help!

Tomorrow, I'll add three possibilities for the long excerpt.

Possible 1-mini

A part of me was thinking this drug was suspiciously well-tuned to dragon physiology. Another part of me was thinking, Duuuuude! What a ride.
"Go wait outside. I'll make the call."
I didn’t notice the police wagon on the curb until Santry called my name.
"Oh, look," I said. "The heat's come to help me up my street cred."
"Funny. Get in. I'm taking you to the station."
"Why should I?" The words popped out of my mouth. They seemed about right.
Santry took three steps forward, then stopped, and folded his arms. "Vern, get in the van. I've had a bad day, and I'm not interested in taking any crap from you."
Suddenly, I was the one who was tired of taking crap: crap from cowards who attacked me with drugged drinks instead of swords and lances, dukes who thought exiling creatures made a great joke, reporters who burned me in effigy and got all the sympathy, and police chiefs who thought their bad day meant they could lord it over the dragon.
I pounced.

Possible 2- mini - REMOVED FROM CONSIDERATION, but here for fun, anyway.

"Keep going. Don't break rhythm. This is an unusual spell. You have to let it get into you."
Eighth...two sixteenths, eighth, quarter, eighth, eighth, eighth. I started tapping with claws on all four limbs.
"You know, I don't really like that idea."
"You don't have to go."
"No. I'm fine. But I don't think it's—ergh!"
Suddenly, my whole body heated up and got all...gooey. Then I felt like I was being forced into a trash compactor, or maybe a mold that was too small.
I got heavy, boulder heavy, and fell to the ground. I didn't understand how I could make crashing sounds when I was so much flubber. After what seemed an eternity, I started feeling a little more solid, but lighter, which panicked me, or would have if I weren't so distracted by being gelatinous.
Then it ended, and I was on human hands and knees, panting and fighting the urge to throw up on the bathroom floor.
"Vern!" Grace banged on the door.
"I'm fine!"
I rose slowly, dreading what I thought I'd see.

Possible 3- mini
Festival was Friday. We had two days to stop a Nordic demigod evil overlord—overlady, overbeing, whatever—from blowing up a nuclear power plant, possibly destroying half an island full of revelers in the process, and creating an Interdimensional Gap through which she can bring the rest of her giant relatives to set up housekeeping where the Faerie Catholic Church didn't have the power to control them. In other words, two days until Hel broke loose.
I've had worse deadlines. I could afford a long bath in our whirlpool tub and a good meal first.