Kissing the Hand

May 24, 2013

The rush, stress, and practicalities of modern life have cost us more than we know. Many of the polite acts of chivalry have been abandoned. I know that a strong, modern woman is fully capable of opening their own restaurant door, but I feel it is my duty as a gentleman to graciously hold it for her. Perhaps she will reward me with a soft smile?

As recently as WWII, it was common among polite society for a gentleman to kiss the back of a lady’s hand when introduced. This fell into disrepute for several reasons. It is way too easy to trade nasty germs when lips meet hands, it requires an extra second or two from a busy day, and too many boorish men used it as an excuse to slobber over pretty ladies.

A knight and fine gentleman in the SCA taught me there is a polite and politically-correct manner with which to bring back this reminder of bygone manners. I would share this technique, now.

Step One: The gentleman takes her proffered hand and turns it slightly so that the back is facing up.

Step Two: He places his thumb over her fingers and bows slightly from the waist.

Step Three: Keeping his eyes on hers (not her breasts), he then lets his lips touch just his thumb.

Step Four: Don’t hold it over long. Just take a second or two at the most.

This simple technique provides the proper intent without drooling and smearing germs on her hand.

Keeping your eyes on hers, serves to hold her attention and let her know that you appreciate her as a person.

As the gentleman straightens up and releases her hand, the lady, in turn, should reward his chivalric display with a smile and a small curtsey.

I have used this technique at SCA events as well as at various conventions.  The only down side is that the gentleman might get a jealous glower from the lady’s companion.

Gentlemen, give it a try the next time you find yourself among polite society. If nothing else, it will start a discussion.

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A few years back a good friend patiently explained something to me. “There are two parts to becoming a published author. One is the craft of writing and the other is the business of writing. They are two entirely different skillsets.” He was quite right.

These days, the business of self publishing not only includes reading the fine print, but also preparing your book so that it can be easily read on multiple devices. The problem is that authors are the unwilling pawns in a war between the media distribution giants. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and other companies require totally different formats for their books. The reasoning is simple. They want to be your only source for new reading matter on their proprietary devices.

If you are going to self publish, then you will need to convert your original document into four or five totally different formats. While this can seem intimidating, it’s really not that difficult.

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Selenaphiles is the second book in the Multiplarity Trilogy and it focuses on the problems of building a permanent human colony on the moon. The tagline for Selenaphiles is: “Even with the perfect health and longevity of Omniphage, the moon will not be settled easily.”

Although the storyline and direction of the tale was in my head, I did a tremendous amount of research before actually starting the tale. Much of the research was accomplished on various NASA, JPL, and USGS websites. I understood from recent news articles that water had been found in the bottom of lunar craters. This has been an incredible stroke of good fortune since water, coupled with an unlimited amount of electricity via solar cells, will provide most of the raw materials needed.

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Although I’ve written and published more than a dozen urban fantasy titles over the past six years, the core elements of the Multiplarity Space Opera Trilogy has been more than ten years in the making. I think the time has come to document at least part of this journey, keeping in mind the old adage, if you can’t serve as an good example, perhaps you’ll do as a warning. We shall start with the first book, Omniphage.

In the Beginning

Several of the core concepts have been bouncing around the back of my head for many years. It wasn’t until about four years ago, that they started to come together. Like many of my longer works, I began with a short story that was, inspired by a photograph or a fantasy image I saw online. Steven Stahlberg is an incredible 2D and 3D artist. Check out some of his work at: http://www.androidblues.com

He also has a FaceBook presence. https://www.facebook.com/steven.stahlberg.7

Several of his images stick in my mind, but one of his old 2D drawings of a Cat and Mouse in a film noir setting, got me thinking.  http://www.androidblues.com/gallery/catandmouse.jpg

What if they were real people in our modern society? What would cause them to look like that?
About the same time, I read about some genetics research that was experimenting with nanotechnology in the search for a cancer cure. I had to start writing.

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Echopharte!

October 31, 2012

The forth book in a five book shifter series from Red Rose Publishing, Echopharte tells of the origins and evolution of the shifters.

The ancients revered them. The colonists feared them. Today, no one believes in them. Shifters have lived and worked among humans since before recorded history.

Echopharte tells of the first community and how both good and evil have continuously shaped our society, from ancient times up to the present day.

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Omniphage Cover Art

October 14, 2012

We are getting ready to release Omniphage, the first novel in a science fiction trilogy. I’m proud to present the front and back cover art.

Omniphage Front Cover
This is what will show as both an eBook and trade paperback front cover.

The lower image will be the back cover for the trade paperback release.

I want to thank my critique crew for a lot of valuable feedback. The cover art has gone through a lot of changes since the first concepts arose, more than a year ago.

For the record, this was developed using Inkscape and GIMP.

Omniphage Back Cover

A Peek Into a Novel

September 22, 2012

I’ve been working on a novel that includes a plot line of colonizing another Earth-like planet. One of the problems that I’ve enjoyed working out has been the means for delivering large groups of colonists to the new world, known as Micasa.

Initial exploratory expeditions required small groups and the ability to both land and return to orbit while the follow up colonial ships need only one-way capability. Additionally, a colonial ship must provide tools and emergency shelter for the colonists after they arrive.

In my tales, we have discovered a working warp-drive system. There is a major drawback, however. The warp transit wipes out the entire nervous system of any mammal, including humans. The problem was solved by placing them into cryogenic sleep chambers called CryDox, that essentially shut down the nervous system and then restart everything after transit.

The CryDox are environmentally sealed boxes about a meter and a half wide, one meter deep and three meters long. Without external power sources, they can maintain the cryogenic state for up to a couple of weeks.

Since the planet Micasa is very similar to Earth, two types of colonial landers are used. The Type One is designed for a parachute-assisted vertical landing on dry land. It holds one hundred and twenty eight CryDox to be decanted after landing and four crew chambers that are decanted after warp, but prior to landing.

The Type Two Colonial Lander has a fuselage shaped like a much larger version of the NASA space shuttle with the addition of biplane wings and twin vertical stabilizers. It is designed with the highly-reinforced bottom hull of a seaplane. Once safely landed, the crew will beach it and unload above the high-tied mark. It holds ninety six CryDox to be decanted after final landing and four crew chambers that are decanted after warp, but prior to landing.

Since these spacecraft will only be used once, they waste no space on monster main engines and fuel tanks. While in orbit, they use small thrusters for attitude control. Plasma Magnetosphere Aerobraking is used for re-entry and upper atmosphere manuvering. The Type Two lander uses normal aircraft control surfaces for final approach.

In both cases, the interior of the spacecraft are disassembled to provide some of the initial building materials for the colony.

After working these ideas out in my head, I decided I needed a break from being a wordsmith and fired up my favorite vector graphics program, Inkscape. The result is this simple, 2D CAD image of the two spacecraft. The green rectangles simulate CryDox. A discussion of Buzzards and Skeeters will have to wait for another post. As usual, comments and questions are welcomed.

 

Old City, New Blood!

September 12, 2012

Whoopee!

I’m going to be attending a brand new convention for readers and authors of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Paranormal Romance. It’s called Old City, New Blood and will be held February, 2013 in St. Augustine, Florida. Besides the literary shenanigans, there will be a ghost tour of the ancient city and time to play tourist.

I’m going to be participating in several panels and am planning a book signing as well.

This is going to be an incredible amount of fun and I’m hoping to meet some of my fans, face-to-face.

Come on! Join the fun!

First Draft, YAY!

June 28, 2012

The good news is that I finished the first draft of Shifting Shadows, the last book in the Shifter Series. The bad news is that something about the last few lines didn’t set well with me and I rewrote them in my head several times. I think I’m going to let it sit for the next day or so and redo it as part of my normal edit cycle, this weekend.

After it goes through at least one edit cycle, I should have some excerpts to share with y’all!

 

Story Fodder

June 23, 2012

Since high school, I have always told stories in the old bardic tradition. That is, by passing them on in word of mouth. When folks ask where I get the ideas for some of my own tales, I can’t help by be surprised.

Someone once commented that the biggest problem with writing fiction is that you have to make it believable. In many cases, real-life is not. We are surrounded by marvellous tales that defy explanation and any one of them can be used by the aspiring author as a jump-start for their muse. Allow me to provide a few examples.

Lead coffins are tossed about a sealed underground tomb on the island of Barbados.

An entire regiment of 250 men and 16 officers attacks a cloud-enshrouded hilltop and is never seen again.

Two ladies visit a royal court as it was more than a hundred years before their time.

All three of these links showed up in the last day on my G+ feed. I see similar items flow by at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes they are even modern news items.

Inspiration is all around us. Just keep an eye peeled and when a headline article catches your attention, try your hand a finishing the story.