About the Gaiaverse blog hiatus

I have no excuses. None. Of course, I could have kept my blog going, but alas, I just didn’t.

snowybalcony3Truth be told, the main reason the blog writing stopped is that I stopped writing the third Gaiaverse book…again. I think because it is a complex story, if other things intrude from my life, I don’t have the focus to work on it. However, I now have things lined up to actually finish the book. I re-read the story, which was a bit over 300 pages long, last week during yet another snowfall. It gives me great pleasure to report that I immediately got right back into what was going on with all my characters…and there are a fair few. I still haven’t decided if I should add an appendix with the names of every character and their roles, or instead add a cast of characters list to the front of the book.

This book takes place five years after the second one. It is fun to see how the characters have grown and changed in that time. For instance, Samantha, Sam, is now twelve, which is a very different age than when we last saw her in book two. The story includes danger, adventure, politics, paranormal abilities, new technologies, and of course, the Gaia mind. As the town moves beyond pure survival, they have tough choices to make about how the community will function best for all the Gaians, old and new.

I’ll have to stop writing this blogpost now as I find that I’m tempted to start giving away all sorts of information about the characters in this book. I’ll keep posting to let people know when we get close to the time of publishing the third book, so that you can re-read Gaia Dreams and Gaia Lives before it comes out.

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Where the Gaiaverse began…

hosta plants Back again to blog. I meant to show up sooner, but time got away from me. The picture is of some hosta plants in front of my apartment building. I’m surprised anything is still green and leafy with all the heat we’ve had. I know, we aren’t having 118 degree heat like out in Phoenix, but the humidity is killer. I’m spending my time inside air conditioning at my computer. Except for yesterday. I was sorting through some old files and ran across a notebook I thought I’d lost. It had all kinds of research notes for the third Gaiaverse book. I am very excited to have that information back. Just shows me I should always copy things over to the computer, but at least this time I got lucky.

Smith College I shot this photo from a car as we drove by one of the entrances to Smith College the other day, my old alma mater. I enjoyed going to Smith and learned a lot. And of course, the Gaiaverse started during my time there. At least half my classes, if not more, were direct research for the first book, Gaia Dreams. I studied Anthropology there, along with a number of courses on the effects of human cultures on the environment. I was even fortunate enough to take a class called ‘Natural Disasters’ that was very useful. I had one creative writing course taught by a marvelous professor, Sherry Marker. Her class inspired me to keep writing when I was ready to give up at one point, and I’ll be forever grateful to her for that.

The third Gaiaverse book is progressing slowly but surely. I refuse to say when I think it will be completed because then, of course, I would miss the deadline. ;)

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my Amazon store is here

I’ve put up an Amazon store with cool stuff to buy on this website. It’s been loads of fun to add items to the shop, picking out my favorite books, movies, and other things to share.

books to find in Amazon storePutting the books up in that section of the store reminded me of when I read each of them. It made me want to re-read every single one, but I don’t think I have the time right now. Still, remembering the stories, the places, the characters, is all fun. You can see on some of the books in the photos here that they are worn from being re-read. I remembering being in 4th grade and reading past my bedtime under the covers with a flashlight. Books were my escape. They were my friends during hard times, and they were a treat in the good times.

Hopefully, you will find some great books in the new store. Have fun!

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another idea

photo of Arizona hills

Outside Phoenix? or Alien Landscape?

This photo comes from my trip to Arizona back at the end of January this year. I was looking at it and immediately had an idea for a science fiction novel. The rocky, almost barren landscape that looks down onto a valley filled with rows and rows of houses. But from that viewpoint, they could be rows and rows of anything. I have to admit that the regimented look of all those streets laid out so straight does feel a bit alien to me, coming from New England. The old towns in the oldest part of the country, where I live, very rarely have straight streets.

Then there’s the heat in Phoenix. Whenever I hear of temperatures over 100 degrees, it’s easy for me to consider it an alien environment. But what kind of aliens? Aliens who like heat and straight rows of streets, perhaps a militaristic society or dictatorship. A society that has been at war for so long, they don’t know how to live at peace. In fact, peace is such an anathema to the higher-ups that they must create wars to keep control of the population. Until one day…

Yes, that’s how the story would start. I’m not sure yet just when I’ll have time to write it. Soon, hopefully.

I’m in need of another music group to listen to when I write. Everything feels like I’ve heard it death. Adele, Lady Antebellum, Florence & the Machine have been listened to so often that I know every note. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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I was talking to my best friend today, and the topic was cats. She has three and I love hearing about their antics. Much as I love cats, I’m allergic and don’t have one of my own. While we were discussing the most recent funny things her cats were doing, I mentioned that it was a real cat who was the inspiration for Perceval in the first Gaiaverse book, Gaia Dreams.

I had a family member living in the country who had one cat who lived in the house and about ten that lived outside. Most of them were somewhat feral, but there was one cat who always let himself be held and petted. This cat had protected the family one summer day, by attacking a poisonous snake that was entering their yard. Cats have been known to keep snakes away from yards, attacking them.

In this case, the cat did kill the snake, but was bitten in the process. The side of his face swelled up massively, and my friend was sure the cat was going to die. But over several days time he didn’t die, and gradually after that began to improve. He was soon back to prowling the grounds around the house, protecting his family.

This cat’s behavior made me think about how humans and cats have been joined throughout the ages. And the more I thought about it, the idea kept coming up in my mind…what if cats were more aware of things than we ever suspected? From that, eventually, came the character of Perceval the cat, and his partnership with Mrs. Philpott.

It’s funny how inspiration happens. Never the same twice, it can hit like a bolt of lightning or be quiet and sneaky, creeping into the mind until suddenly a true idea is formed. There is one part of my current work-in-progress, the third Gaiaverse book, that has been sitting in my head since 1998, and will now get its chance to be written. It was inspired by watching a squirrel throw an acorn on top of a student’s head on a college campus. You never know when, or from where, the inspiration for the next great idea will strike. So keep your mind open. And pay attention.

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big thoughts

As I sit around waiting to get well, I find myself pondering issues from the Gaiaverse books…what I call the ‘big thoughts.’ Lately I’ve been focused on thinking about how much do people actually change? What makes them change behaviors? As an individual or as a group or both?

Big events, devastating events, would seem likely to change things depending on the event. Did 9-11 change us a population? In some ways I would say it did, and those ways weren’t great. We are more suspicious than before. We are, some would say, more war-mongering. Or have we not really changed at all?

The shootings at Newton of all the children…this would at first glance appear to be something to change us all profoundly when it comes to gun control. Yet the debates over even something as simple as background checks, makes it clear that even so horrible an event does not change our deep-seated thinking.

I’m not debating terrorism or gun control here, but I am wondering about how it all works in life as opposed to stories. In a good story, there is an arc. A person starts at point A and things happen to him or her, good or bad. These events often change the person in some way, so that by the time he reaches point C at the end of the journey, he is a different, evolved human being/alien/monster.

I realize that I have the freedom as a writer to make changes in my characters’ beliefs and behaviors. But I wonder if we ever make any real changes at all when it comes to actual life.

Medical update: I am getting better. Still can’t do much, or focus for long, but there is big improvement, so yay!

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step away from the computer…

Here’s what I’ve learned as I am on day 8 of my illness: I must stay away from the keyboard at all costs, because when I’m sick I can’t write a damn thing.

The other day, after an intense coughing fit, I was suddenly struck by the urge to write, to work on G3 (third Gaiaverse book). I immediately got the words and ideas down, and felt good at what I’d accomplished. Then I collapsed back into bed.

Today I reviewed what I’d written and all I can say is, “I must have been crazy!” In a few short paragraphs I’d run the story off into an entirely new plot line that basically makes no sense at all to the rest of the story. Clearly, it is not safe for me to write when I am off in never-never land.

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Tuesday – April 2, 2013

I decided today, in a fit of delirium as I am currently sick with some kind of bug, to pay more attention to this blog. By that I mean I’m going to blog more often.

Yes, I’m sick and I’m not a good sick person. Although, who is, right? When sick, I’m fond of pathetic whimpering as I am curled up under my favorite soft blanket. Random moaning and groaning are required.

I’m currently working on the third book in the Gaiaverse series. This book takes place five years after the events of the first and second Gaiaverse books, and that poses more problems than I’d anticipated. The last week or two, this book has been kicking my butt. But I’m not giving up! The book and I will come to terms at some point here.

I don’t usually listen to country music, but I found a group I like called Lady Antebellum. I’ve been listening to them as I write, alternating with a very different musical group, Florence and the Machine.

Two entertainment events I have been looking forward to just took place: the new episode of Doctor Who on BBC America, and the beginning of the next season of Game of Thrones. GoT impressed me as usual with wonderful production values and cinematography. The show does a good job of making a confusing story, with so many characters, understandable. My fave character: Lord Tyrion. The Doctor Who episode wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting, but with a new companion it may take another episode to really work well.

That’s it for today’s update. Oh, and I wrote 65,509 words in March 2013.

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Gaia Lives…lives

Gaia Lives CoverThe second book of the Gaiaverse, Gaia Lives, is now available on Amazon as an ebook. I’m very excited to finally get this book out there.

It picks up shortly after the end of the first book in the series, Gaia Dreams. All the same characters are back in the Cape Fair safe zone, exploring new abilities and ideas as they plan for the future. Animal and human communication is expanding, along with awareness of the Gaia mind. But trouble looms for the Gaians and they are all tested before it is over.

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A new day

I recently acquired the rights back to my books, Gaia Dreams and Gaia Lives from the small press I’d been under contract with the past year. This means I am putting the books up for sale on my own, through self-publishing. It is an exciting time!

Gaia Lives is in the process of final editing, then it will be on Amazon. Gaia Dreams is already up there. A third book in the Gaiaverse series is being written.

Any reviews of Gaia Dreams on Amazon.com would be greatly appreciated. ;)

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