I woke up this morning to find a Bookbub ad in my inbox for The Reinvented Heart. This fabulous anthology featuring Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Naomi Kritzer and others including me (still hard to believe!) will be on sale for $6.99 until it is released next February. But chances are a lot of you will forget all about it between now and February, so order it now. My never-before-published “Etruscan Afterlife,” plus other stories, will be a big batch of sweet surprises when the book shows up on your electronic To Be Read pile, I promise you.
On the day after Wally Funk successfully completed her flight on the Blue Origins rocket ship, what could be more appropriate than some thoughts about how the 1960s space program could have really included at least one woman astronaut? My Analog story, “The Next Frontier,” explores this possibility. For readers and writers, here’s how I took my initial idea all the way to the completed story, which I hope you will read, too!
Hey, you can watch my second appearance on Joe Compton’s Go Indie Now. Our panel of all women had a great time discussing what draws us to alternate historical events and how we go about turning these “what ifs” into stories. We look at how we weave together real events and historical figures with made up ones. Turns out, we’re all quite willing to discard some of what historians tell us when it gets in the way of a good story. Joe asked a bunch of insightful questions of Madeleine Holly-Rosing, A.F. Stewart, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Jenn Thompson and me. Check us out!
In case you missed my alternate history of space exploration during the 1960s, it’s available in the July/August 2021 issue of Analog Science Fiction.
I’m excited to announce that not only is my new story, The Next Frontier, in the current July/August issue of Analog Science Fiction, but you can read an excerpt! I hope you’ll love the heroine of my alternate history tale of the competition to reach the Moon. I had so much fun inventing her!
You get to read my story, “The Next Frontier,” in Analog Magazine beginning June 15. I branch out into one of my favorite topics: the early days of humans venturing out beyond our home world. It’s an alternate history tale that I hope you will have as much fun reading as I did writing. Ah, it’s so tempting to say more, but nope. You’ll have to find out for yourself. Check out the July/August issue of Analog in print or digital.
What's that you say, it doesn't feel like you're doing better work? Your in-box still collects all those disheartening rejections? No matter. Seriously. Here's the evidence: Pull out something you wrote years ago, way back when you first got the urge to write fiction and began putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or whatever your early method was. Start reading through that piece. Do you see stuff in the first few pages, or paragraphs, or even sentences that makes you cringe? You would never make those rookie mistakes today, would you? Well there you have it! These are all signs that you've honed your technique, at least to some extent, given that you know at least some of what needs to be improved. Yeah, figuring out the best way to transform that early effort into a story you'd be proud of today is harder. But heck, I bet you have a few thoughts on how you can improve it. Now, I'm not saying that early piece is thoroughly professional, even with reworking. But then again, you never know. It just might be. I once sold an early story after it sat around for twelve years. That was how long it took me to figure out what it needed. Give it a shot! I wish you the best.
I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo (a little late) and National Dinosaur Day (hey, that’s today) by looking at fossils of a “new” Mexican dinosaur akin to Parasaurolophus. That’s my buddy above, the one with the incredible hollow tubular crest that produced sound when air passed through its chambers.
The newcomer on the scene is Tlatolophus galorum. Angel Ramírez Velasco and Ricardo Servín Pichardo recently published all the marvelous deets about this creature after years of painstaking work. They found an extremely well-preserved skull (80% complete) that provides a great sense of proportion. So often, bones are shattered, bent, or crushed, making it quite difficult to ascertain what an animal actually looked like.
Seventy two million years ago, did these great beasts use their impressive crests to vocalize? I’d love to think so. Maybe one day, paleontologists will have an answer. For now, I’m envisioning them calling to their mates, or prospective mates. Perhaps they issued warning calls when predators lurked. Then again, they might have given a shout to their gang when they found some tasty food.
You don’t want to miss Louis Rey’s colorful depiction. Oh, and it’s great to see that when paleontologists had studied the fossils and determined they constitute a new genus and species, they created its unique name using the indigenous Nahuatl language, with a nod to local people who assisted in the work.
I had lots of fun talking about writing short stories as a panelist on Joe Compton’s Go Indie Now. You can watch it on You Tube and find out how creators of short fiction do what we do. Joe asked a bunch of insightful questions of Jae Lavelle, A.F. Stewart, Alexander Gideon and me.
It turns out we came to short story writing in quite different ways, ranging from starting with novels, poetry, etc. You see, there’s no single path to becoming a published author. You definitely don’t need to be an English major much less get an MFA degree.
We also talk about starting with ideas characters, themed anthologies, and a bunch of things we learned along the way. Check us out!
If you follow new developments in dinosaur research (doesn’t everyone?) you probably heard or read that an estimated 2.5 billion (yes billion with a “b”) Tyrannosaurus rexes roamed the Earth. That’s at least 127,000 generations over two million years. Nevertheless, that’s (gulp) rather a lot of tyrant lizards to contend with. But wait, how many might you be apt to encounter if you lived (tried to live?) in their territory?
This is where the figures get less definitive because they are based upon several estimates: longevity, growth rates, body mass, metabolism rate, geographic range of their habitat, acreage required to sustain a full-sized T. rex, population density for post-juvenile individuals, total length of time the species endured, etc. Some of these calculations are based on extrapolations from modern-day figures for large predators. Kudos to Charles Marshall (UC-Berkeley) and his team for tackling this question and putting together some figures appearing in Science, which they acknowledge could be off by two orders of magnitude.
Suffice to say, there may well have been around 3,800 of them roaming around an area as big as California. This comes down to two for some place the size of Washington, D.C.
Now here’s the question for today: If you could go back in a time machine to the Late Cretaceous of say 68 million years ago, where there was a risk/opportunity to see one of these great uber-carnivores, would you? There could be no guarantees as to your own personal safely or an actual sighting.
This question formed the basis for my interactive adventure novel, T-Rex Time Machine. You can take my time machine out for a spin and see how you fare during the heyday of the dinosaurs. No need to fret about a bad outcome, just play it again. I’d love to hear how you did!
Check out the gorgeous cover for The Reinvented Heart, an exciting anthology of new stories about love and other relationships in the future, coming February 2022. I can’t wait to dig into the stories editors Jennifer Brozek and Cat Rambo have assembled. In their wise and gently insistent ways, these two editors have helped me keep on writing during deeply troubled times. I’m thrilled to have a story included among those written by such talented writers!