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Mar. 11th, 2012

My great-grand-uncle Richard Shaver was an interesting character, and wasn't the only writer int eh famil. His sister, my great-grandmother, wwrote Green Immigrants

At a family gathering, my cousin found a piece of poetry written by his oldest brother, Taylor Victor Shaver. Fans of Uncle Richard's work may recall this was the beloved brother who died unexpectedly. Uncle Richard's (self-insertion) character Mutan blamed his death on the dero.

Uncle Taylor took flying lessons with no less a person than Charles Lindbergh. I'd like to share his words with you, echoing through the generations.

FIRE

by Victor Shaver

Fire waves her flames
tosses bright sparks
coils smoke sinuously
in artful curvings -
Fire eats
Fire, the vampire, takes
solid things unto herself
embraces, kisses, languishes
over the roundness of the real
moves ecstatic hands in quick touchings
Fire loves
devouringly, warmly, radiantly
Fire eats its love, and dies
satiate.


Ashes remember
stir faintly -
lift and fall and drift
gray fragments
of bright what – has – beens
little grey faces
sifting, seeking
a glittering past
ashes
the dull present
the flat now
exhauster
Fire dies – of hunger.

The Freedom Maze

Well, I'll be buying this. It's a Historical Fiction YA novel set in 1860.

http://smallbeerpress.com/forthcoming/2011/03/02/the-freedom-maze/

Amazing Returns!

My rather infamous uncle Richard Shaver published his first letter in Amazing Stories magazine. His writing helped revitalize a declining magazine.

Since then, Amazing went through ups and downs before fading out entirely.

It will be returning once more: http://amazingstoriesmag.com/

I sent the editor a note, and now I really have incentive to finish the story continuing my great-uncle’s world.

Disability in SF.

I've seen a lot of blogs about the lack of disabilities in futuristic Science Fiction, and how it frustrates the folks who have to work around them. I hadn't given it a lot of thought until today.

In the story I'm writing, I have to seriously limit my futuristic technology or the story is too perfect and therefore has no tension. One of my aliens becomes blind, and has to rely on my humans for assistance. I thought it'd be interesting to have my main character's grandmother be blind, and train seeing-eye dogs. (This is mostly an excuse to write lots of Labrador Retrievers into my books. I love labs.)

I've been struggling with the "grandma, my alien friends need help" reveal. In one version, the MC concealed the aliens' nature from her blind grandmother, but that made the grandma seem stupid. My next attempt had the aliens cure grandma, but if felt...wrong. At the gym today, I realized I was bothered by the act of taking away the character's disability. It felt like I was doing a disservice to the people who have to live with handicaps, who spend their lives struggling to overcome them.

I'm re-writing the scene so that they restore grandma's vision for a few minutes, proving they have super!tech, and then it fails and grandma's

Thaughts on Captain America

My partner and I are going to see Captain America tonight. I don't really like the Big Two, but ever since I saw this panel, I've really appreciated The Cap.

The movie is set in WWII. Nazis will die on screen, which makes me glad. My mother made the mistake of telling me I was "Jewish enough for Hitler" when I was about five, and my bio dad told me about how much he loved German beer as a kid. I put this together and thought my father's family escaped Germany. (Years later I looked at the dates and realized this was incorrect.)

And yet, when I see anything about the concentration camps, my gut reaction is, "That could have been my grandparents."

mabfan's story Kaddish for the Last Survivor described better than I ever could, but he's a practicing Jew. I don't follow any of my parents' faiths, but I would have been Jewish enough to be sent to a concentration camp.

There are people who try to deny the Holocaust happened. I'm glad that fictional and remembered accounts keep the past alive.

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Writing Group Silliness

Overheard at an Illiteratus Meeting:

Nice critiques are like Virtual Hand Jobs.

All right, you've had your Arbor Scene. Can we move on now?

My great-grandma's book

Alright, I've started a new project. Yes, I'm crazy.

My Great-Aunt Alice mentioned at my cousins' graduation that her brother, my grandfather, wanted her to be in charge of getting their mother's book, Green Immigrants, reprinted. Aunt Alice doesn't really have the time or the know-how to do this, but I have a bit more of an idea of what's needed because I work in the publishing industry.

No, I don't really have a lot of time myself, but for my great-grandmother's book, I'll make time.

Thanks to my wonderful friend and mentor mabfan, I know the first steps I have to take. I sent an Official Email to my Grandfather and Great-Aunt just now, asking their permission to contact the original publisher on behalf of our family.

It's a big job, but I want to do it. All I want from my family is to have them turn the copyright over to me, since I'll be doing the work. That way I can add my own Forward to the new edition.

Since I'm working on a book based on Claire's brother Richard's stories, having my name appear next to hers on the cover of a book is no bad thing. Speaking of which, I need to start working on that again, it's been on hold for too long.

A Pagan's Thoughts on the Thor Movie

Years ago, Marvel Comics decided to do a take on the Norse myths and make Thor an Avenger. Thor's a rather popular deity, since its his job to protect the other gods and humanity from giants, trolls, and other threats. Thor was widely worshiped, and his hammer, Mjollner, was worn as a symbol of protection. (I have a personal theory that the Christian idea that the symbol of the cross protects wearers from evil beings comes from Mjollner pendants, since archeologists have found cross and hammer pendant casting molds together.)

However, Marvel's interpretation of Norse Myth was done through the eyes of Americans, who like to have very black-and-white, good-verses-evil stories. Marvel's Norse Myth isn't a waring of the dangers of precognition; it assumes that Loki had it in for the rest of the gods from the start.

This does not sit well with me. Loki isn't a stand-in for Satan, and Odin's promise of eternal brotherhood isn't an analogy of the snake offering Eve an apple. Odin and Loki's brotherhood was necessary for them to stand against the monsters of the ancient world. In the end, Loki worked against Odin because Odin imprisoned his children. And this all happened because Odin saw the future, where the world was destroyed by Loki's children.

Bloody self-fulfilling prophecy. The Norse myths are a perfect example of why seeing the future is a bad idea, right up there with MacBeth.

So, before you go see the Thor movie this weekend, I encourage you all to watch the video of Sassafrass' song, My Brother, My Enemy.

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That song!

At Arisia last month, I figured out how exactly Shaver's Mystery will end. During Sassafrass' concert. While they were singing Daughter of Apocalypse, actually.

I've had trouble with an upset stomach for the past few days, and have been struggling to write a scene in the book. This afternoon I decided to write the next few scenes and go back later and fill in the missing bit. (I spent some time watching travel videos few Hawaii. It's beautiful.)

So I was stepping into the shower this evening and the lyrics for Daughter of Apocalypse were running through my head, and damned if I didn't figure out what was missing from that scene! Gaa! Clearly, I need to listen to that song every time I get stuck.

When I get published, I'll have to write and ask if they'd like to be thanked in the Acknowledgments.

Thoughts on Critiques

After I hit "Save" on my manuscript tonight, I started thinking about just how much I trust my critique group. I'm writing Shaver's Mystery on their advice, and I'm tossing chunks of manuscript on their suggestions.

I'm doing it because Architecture taught me how hard it is to judge your own work. When you're a foot from the drafting table, its hard to see the way it'll look pinned to the wall. (Architecture also taught me to live with really nasty critiques. Writers are much kinder.)

So here I am, a woman with trust issues, taking the advice of other people who haven't gotten published. And you know what? It's the right thing to do.

I have an awesome writing group.