A Truant Disposition

"I must be idle."

Writing in the (Rain) Cloud

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Aug• 31•16

It’s been a wet summer, with lots of storms. We’ve lost power a couple of times. This tendency for really violent thunderstorms to crash down on us, has made writing a bit iffy. Sure, I’m plugged into a surge protector, but my laptop is so old and erratic that it doesn’t react well to a sudden loss of power, or a sudden loss of connection. It doesn’t react well to anything these days. The modem is on the fritz, which is a problem for someone who now does all her work in the (rain) cloud. The router gets twitchy during storms. The laptop’s modem also gets twitchy for no reason, so sometimes I have to cut writing short or save edits and new paragraphs offline. Oh, and the fan has problems too. It’s a really ancient laptop, with a screen so big you can see it from space. I may have the only extant laptop that’s bigger than my lap. I’m expecting it to die any day now because I have problems with it weekly, even on sunny days. As a result of this and other unexpected things I haven’t gotten as much done on the Seaport series as I’d hoped, though all things considered I haven’t done too badly. The result of frequent interruptions of power or modem, or other things in life (you can always count on life to throw in a few interruptions) is that I’ve been writing whenever I can rather than at my usual time of day. I write around lengthy power outages, write around stuff that happens that discombobulates my day, write around laptop seizures and quirks. I use “do not disturb” mode on my phone when I’m writing, with my husband as the only exception. (I’m not ignoring you: I’m doing work that requires uninterrupted concentration.) It’s set for my regular writing hours, but I also turn it on and off manually, writing when I can. As August winds down I feel like I’ve probably done about as much on the Seaport series as I can for now. I need to put it away and think about some things before I pick it up again. Would I have gotten further along without any interruptions this summer? Maybe, but then I’d have spend part of the summer thinking about the things I need to think about now, and then when I reached here — the end of the summer — I’d have felt like I didn’t get enough done, because thinking can’t be quantified as neatly as word count or chapters.

So, what’s next? I’ve always tended to be very productive in the fall. I don’t know why, but it’s always been a good time for me to work on creative projects. I’m going to take a few days off, catch up on some things that I’ve let hang fire, then next week tackle the comments from beta readers who’ve read the draft of the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships. I’ve caught my mind drifting off to that story a bit in the past week or so, thinking about things I need to change or do, so my brain is already starting to slip from one project to another. I’ll have a good three months to work on that draft, fixing what needs to be fixed, rewriting and polishing, before I take my usual December break. I’m giving some thought to doing shorter things on a regular basis in the coming year…but books take so much time and energy I’m not sure how well that would work. One of the things I love about being a writer is that every day is filled with possibilities! Fictional possibilities are real possibilities when you’re writing them down! Writing is a real thing. Novels take time and energy, but writing them is ultimately very satisfying. I’ve got decent drafts of books in progress and I’m just chugging along with rewriting, pushing each one closer to publication. When will the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships be out? When it’s done, when it’s ready for publication — when it has a proper title! LOL

Love and Respect

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jul• 08•16

I am so sick of all the violence. Killing isn’t the answer to anything. Hate is never a good thing. Over the 4th of July weekend, there were terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad, & Medina. Here in the US, more young black men shot by police. Now sniper(s?) killing police. Mass shootings in the US have reached a new record. Is lots and lots of death really what we want to achieve as a society? Is this really the society we want to live in? I’m a science fiction writer (among other things). I thought by now we’d be living in a utopia. Why aren’t we? Because people don’t treat each other with love and respect. If we all did that, just that, then all the injustices in the world would be corrected. Everything flows from love and respect. If every person thought about all their actions in terms of the consequence for any other person who might be impacted and made their choices thoughtfully in light of whether they were treating, and thinking of, their fellow human beings with love and respect, there would be very little bad shit in the world. It wouldn’t be totally eliminated because sometimes we make mistakes with the best of intentions, but that intentionality to love and respect your fellow human beings would make the world an infinitely better place. Killing people does not make the world a better place. Killing people makes the world a much worse place. Why? Because it’s a world where people kill each other. Who wants to live in that world???

Every death is a loss of potential. We have no way of knowing the impact someone’s life may have had once they are gone from this world. Perhaps as a science fiction writer who has read my share of alternate universe and time travel stories I’m more acutely aware of this. Remove anyone from this world and the trajectory of hundreds, if not thousands, of lives shift. Every human being makes a difference in the world around us, in the lives of friends and families. No one lives in isolation. This is why we need to treat each other with love and respect.

If you need a more explicit (albeit necessarily incomplete) list of who you shouldn’t kill, see my previous post, “…don’t kill them“, written in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings. I am saddened and dismayed that I’ve now written two back-to-back posts about violence. Both posts are also about the positive creative potential of human beings, but with every death we lose a bit of that. It hurts. I believe that we as a society, as human beings, can be better. I’m fighting to make the world a better place. I’m armed to the teeth: my weapon is words.

…don’t kill them

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jun• 17•16

So much has already been written about the events in Orlando that my own thoughts will be brief. It’s almost too painful to think about. The biggest massacre ever in America. A lot of people have focused on the gun issue because as difficult (well-nigh impossible) as it is to pass legislation prohibiting gun sales to people who might be considered at-risk for using a weapon to slaughter other human beings, it is still thought to be a more do-able prospect than to teach people not to kill their fellow human beings because they don’t like them. Here’s my opinion in a nutshell:

If you don’t like someone, don’t kill them.
If you hate someone, don’t kill them.
If you disagree with someone, don’t kill them.
If someone is different from you, don’t kill them
If someone believes something different from you and you sincerely think they are wrong, don’t kill them.
If someone has a different religion from you, don’t kill them.
If someone looks different from you, don’t kill them.
If someone dresses in a way that you don’t like, don’t kill them.
If someone has an accent or skin color that doesn’t match yours, don’t kill them.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t kill them.
If someone is rude or mean to you, or cusses you out, don’t kill them.
If someone broke your heart, don’t kill them.
If someone treated you unfairly, don’t kill them.
If you encounter someone who clearly cannot be human, and must be a space alien, don’t kill them.
If your children scream, cry, or misbehave, don’t kill them.
If your pets misbehave, don’t kill them.
If someone makes you mad, don’t kill them.

The list could go on and on because there are literally millions and millions of circumstances in which killing another human being is not the right thing to do.

Bottom line: Stop acting like a wild animal with a small brain and no concept of civilization. We are human beings. We create culture, art, music, architecture, books, movies, TV shows, webcasts, podcasts, beautiful photos, amazing technology that our ancestors would’ve regarded as magic, gardens, dances, celebrations. We have the power and imagination to create…anything we can imagine. We have the power and imagination to make the world better, and to make the lives of the human beings who live on planet Earth better. We treat and cure medical conditions which would’ve killed or shortened the lives of our ancestors. These are just some of the wonderful and beautiful and joyful things that human beings do. Don’t ever for a moment think of taking yourself and others out of the generative flow of human civilization. The creative power of civilization is always better than the destruction and annihilation of life and all its potential. We are, all of us, part of this great civilization…until one of us steps out of this flow and kills their fellow humans. Then all of humanity is wounded and dies a bit, and cries a lot. Every human being is unique and should be honored for their contribution, be it large or small, to the whole of human civilization and history. Stand on the side of humanity and human civilization and you will always be on the right side, on the side with the geniuses and creators, on the right side of human potential. Don’t kill anyone.

“You gotta have a plan”

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jun• 07•16

As Earl said in Tremors: “You gotta have a plan.” I’ve got a lot of book projects in progress right now, so I thought I’d update everyone on what’s in the pipeline and the status of each project, as well as what my work schedule for the various books is right now. This is my plan, though as the military saying goes, “no plan ever survives contact with the enemy”. 😉

I’ve finished the second draft of “Sterneworth’s Planet” (working title), which is the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships. It will be spending the summer with beta readers while I work on other things. I want to thank the people who have graciously agreed to beta-read for me. It’s a big help to my perspective on works in progress, as well as giving me a break to do other things. Yesterday I returned to work on the Seaport series, which is the chick-lit/fantasy series that I’ve been working on for some time now. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it in the past year because of work on getting If Wishes Were Spaceships ready for spring publication, and drafting the sequel. Thank you to everyone who has bought the book! You’re making me very happy! 🙂 Response has been very good, and I’m so glad people are enjoying the book! If you want a light fun sci-fi adventure for your beach bag, this is the ebook for you! 🙂

So, as I was saying, I’ve returned to Seaport after a long absence and it feels really good to be working on this series again! 😀 I’m in the middle of a rewrite of the first book, though I may end up doing small revisions to the second book as well. I’ve got drafts of the first two books, and notes on the other two. Seaport is where I’ll be spending the summer, creatively speaking. 🙂

The plan right now is to work on the Seaport series this summer, then do a rewrite on the sci-fi sequel in the fall after going over the notes from the beta-read. I do not know when sequel will be published: it depends on amount of work that needs to be done in subsequent drafts.

Once the sci-fi sequel is finished, I plan to work on the Seaport series full time. As I mentioned, the first two books of the series are drafted, but the drafts still need a lot of work. The way I work I need nice big blocks of time to work on each project, just as I need nice big blocks of time to write each day. I can jump back and forth between projects if we’re talking about doing small revisions, but I’m not quite to the “small revision” stage of any of the drafts, not the sci-fi sequel and not the first two books of the series. The next year/year and a half is going to be very busy, but I’m hoping that 12-18 months from now I’ll have one, maybe two, books finished. The sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships will be published as soon as it’s ready to go. On the other hand, for a number of reasons, I want to complete the Seaport series before any of the books are published. When the Seaport series does finally launch, it’ll be on a book-a-year schedule, which will be great for readers, and also great for me because: no pressure. 🙂

So, that’s the plan for the foreseeable future, subject to mad whims (which is how the little sci-fi adventure series got started). 😉

Great Fun! Audio Interview Now Available Online

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - May• 01•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

I had a great time Thursday night with the Deadly Reads people live online.  The audio is now available in the archive. It’s long, so you might want to listen while you do other things. Or just pour yourself a beverage, settle in and listen.  🙂 Stay Up Late Ainy Rainwater on Deadly Reads Radio.

Tonight! Live Interview!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 28•16
Live Interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio Tonight!

Live Interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio Tonight!

Reminder: This Thursday, April 28th, I’ll be doing a live online interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio at 9 pm, CDT. Call in number: (646) 668-2716.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyintothenight/2016/04/29/stay-up-late-with-sci-fi-author-ainy-rainwater (If you can’t join us, the interview will be available later online to play at your leisure.)

Live Interview, Cover Art, and MORE!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 15•16

Lots of things are happening around here! Everywhere! With pictures! And live! This is a fairly short post, but it’s one of those that’s just packed with news. If you follow me elsewhere, you may have seen or heard some of it, but I’m widely scattered these days (LOL) so hang onto your hat…here we go!

If you missed it If Wishes Were Spaceships was released last month! I’m working on the second draft of the sequel right now. It’s too soon to say if or when it will fly, but I’m hoping to get it to beta readers by summer. (Then I go back to working on the Hotel Reverie rewrite.) In two weeks I’ll be doing a live online interview on Deadly Reads Radio. That will be Thursday, April 28th at 9 pm Central Time. (Note the time: the show has recently moved up to the 9 pm slot.) It’s a call-in show and I’ll be posting the number and a reminder closer to time. Bookmark the site, and mark your calendars! I’d love to chat with you and answer your questions!

Yesterday new cover art was released for my old horror novel, Miasma.

Miasma

Cover Art by Ainy Rainwater

Click on through to buy: Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Kindle (DE), Amazon Kindle (FR), Amazon Kindle (IT), Amazon Kindle (ES), Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Diesel, Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo.

In non-book news I’ve posted some pics from the annual Art Car Parade over on my Mighty Microblog. Such fun! AND, today I’ve got a new post over on The Usual Suspects, the group food blog I occasionally contribute to.

Shakespeare’s First Folio

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 04•16

IMG_20160331_200539

Last Thursday we went to see Shakespeare’s First Folio, which is on tour of the nation right now. Some of you may have seen my pics on social media. As you may have guessed from the name of my website (and tagline), I’m fan of Shakespeare, and Hamlet in particular. So, of course, I had to see the First Folio on its national tour. Here’s some of my reflections on the folio and the experience of seeing it.

The folio was in a glass case in a small room in the Stark Gallery which is an art gallery in the student center, at Texas A&M. It was in better shape than I expected. There are only 233 First Folios left in existence (the Folger has 82), out of a print run estimated at less than 750. I don’t know how the Folger, who mounted the tour, decided which book went out on tour, but probably they sent one of the books which was in better shape, rather than one that was falling apart — or which was put together from pieces of other folios, something that was commonly done in the distant past. It was truly awe-inspiring to stand there and see the book which gave us 18 of Shakespeare’s plays that, prior to its publication, had never been printed. Without the first folio we wouldn’t have: All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, or The Winter’s Tale. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Shakespeare’s colleagues who brought out this edition and made it possible for these plays to come down to us through the ages.

The book, too, has come down to us through the ages. Looking at it I couldn’t help but think that this book has come to us through time, that it existed in what was, more or less, Shakespeare’s England. (It was published 7 years after his death.) This book existed in a time and place that only now exists in history books and our own imagination. I felt a strange sort of sensation, like I was teetering on the edge of time travel, because this book had, indeed traveled through time…and neither it nor I needed a Tardis to do it! It is extraordinary that something so ephemeral as a book made with organic materials has survived handling, use, weather, atmosphere, light (which can damaged art, including paper and ink), and people, to end up in front of me in College Station, Texas, with the Bard’s own words printed there, and me reading them, just as they were read by the printer, and the Jacobian readers of the time. (We tend to think of Shakespeare as “Elizabethan” but James ascended the throne while Shakespeare was still writing plays in London.)

What impressed me about the First Folio, was not just that it was old — I’ve seen old artifacts before — but that it was old and packed full of meaning. By tremendously expanding the printed work of Shakespeare, it ensured that his work — in all its mind-blowing brilliance — would survive. This book has had a huge impact on innumerable people over a vast span of time. It is old and packed with meaning for millions of people over hundreds of years. One usually doesn’t say something like that about a secular text. And not only is it packed full of meaning in general, it is packed full of meaning for me. I am a Shakespeare fan.

Words can live forever far more easily than books, because they can be passed down from person to person, as many historic utterances on great occasions were. But, in the absence of Bradbury’s Book People, great chunks of text cannot. For that we need documents and once people stopped carving their ideas into stone, the medium for recording people’s lives and their stories became tremendously less durable (though even stone can be broken or eroded, I’ll grant you). We value art, not just for its beauty, but for its transcendence. Art is transcendent in two ways: its content and also, with care, its physical form can transcend its own time. Shakespeare’s works are transcendent. The stories transcend their time. I am grateful that the First Folio was created, and that it has endured in both physical form and content. The world is a far richer place for the existence of the “lost plays” that the First Folio preserved from loss. I am enlightened not only by those plays, but by the experience of seeing this incredibly rare book which has passed down through time to that moment when I stood, rapt, before it.

For more about Shakespeare’s First Folio, including links to the tour and a digitized copy see: http://www.folger.edu/publishing-shakespeare#firstfolio.

2016-03-31 15.54.06 2016-03-31 15.54.49

If Wishes Were Spaceships! Released today!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Mar• 29•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

Today! If Wishes Were Spaceships is released today! If you pre-ordered the ebook, then it’s already in your pocket. If you didn’t pre-order, grab your copy today! I’ve been doing little posts here about various aspects of the book, but today I have a guest post on author Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, part of her My Favorite Bit series spotlighting new releases in the science fiction and fantasy field.

For other posts about If Wishes Were Spaceships, see these posts:

  1. Microcosms
  2. Carnivorous Plants
  3. The Tech Between the Lines

 

If Wishes Were Spaceships: Tech Between the Lines

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Mar• 22•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships looks like a fairly simple science fiction story, but for those readers who want something to think about, there’s a subtext in the book about our relationship with technology. We all use technology, but most of us do not have an in-depth knowledge of every piece of tech we use. We know enough to use it, but we usually do not know enough to fix it if it breaks. This makes us vulnerable, but it’s a vulnerability that’s invisible to us until the moment when something goes wrong. We can backup data, but devices and systems don’t come with spare parts or techies.

On the surface, the book is about a power struggle, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the real power isn’t held by the humans (or the carnivorous plants). The people are all, to a great or lesser extent, dependent on technology and their lives are defined by their skills — or lack of skills — in dealing with technology, whether it be simple everyday technology like the food synthesizer, or more complex systems like the ship that Jazlyn made the emergency landing in.

Our dependence on — and understanding of –technology impacts us in ways we scarcely realize until the technology doesn’t work. Our dependence on smaller bits of tech such as kitchen appliances may not be things that we are aware of until some unusual circumstance brings it home to us, but big stuff, like when your spaceship (or car) malfunctions in the middle of nowhere…

The thread that’s woven through the book — the tech between the lines  — is about how each of the characters interacts with technology. Jazlyn is extremely comfortable with the technology of her ship. It’s complex, but she knows how to operate the ship, run diagnostics, and make repairs on some of the systems. She has a high level of confidence in herself and her ability to cope with whatever happens. Blaine has a high level of technical competence with integrated systems, but he has inadvertently created a system which is working against him, and he’s lost confidence in his ability to extricate himself from the situation he’s in.

On the other hand, Sterneworth has no clue about about anything of a technical nature. He prefers simple user-friendly interfaces and is loathe to learn anything new — why should he when he’s one of the wealthiest people in the galaxy and there are lots of competent people to do things for him? He’s an arrogant bully who values power, but technology exercises power over how he lives his life…and yet he remains willfully ignorant of all but the user interface. You might even say that he views Blaine as a sort of interface between him and the technology he’s surrounded by.

This book is not a heavy meditation on our relationship with technology: it’s a fast action adventure tale about the conflicting desires of three people stuck on a planet with giant genetically engineered carnivorous plants. Jazlyn has a ship; it’s broken, but the ongoing repair effort is at the center of the conflict…and the implications of the complex system Blaine has created for Sterneworth exerts a pressure of its own between the lines.

Next week I’ll have a guest post of “My Favorite Bit” on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog.

Previous posts in this series about If Wishes Were Spaceships here on my blog are: