A Truant Disposition

"I must be idle."

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

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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:

If Wishes Were Spaceships: The Carnivorous Plants

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Mar• 15•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

In the future postulated in my upcoming book, If Wishes Were Spaceships, carnivorous plants are presumed extinct, yet someone has resurrected them (probably from tissue samples). We hear a lot of GMOs these days, but genetic alteration of plants in labs is not a new thing. Plant breeders have been doing it to flowers for ages. It takes time to breed and select plants the old fashioned way and hope for some variation that’s good, eventually, maybe. Many of the hybrid garden flowers we see now are the result of genetic manipulation, bombardment with radiation, or chemicals — anything to force a genetic change. Not all changes are good; those not deemed interesting or beautiful are discarded, and only the flowers the breeders want are kept for further breeding. So we’ve ended up with flowers with many times the number of petals found in nature, flowers with monsterous heads too heavy to be held upright on their stems, flowers in colors not found in their natural state, flowers that are bigger and bigger, and bolder and bolder, and sometimes stranger and stranger…

So, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to imagine that sometime in the far distant future and in a far distant place, that someone would create giant carnivorous plants. But could such a creation function like its much smaller ancestors did? I think not. But the possibilities are tantalizing for a fiction writer. Giant carnivorous plants are a staple of pulp sci-fi.

There are, in real life, carnivorous plants that are big enough to catch a small rodent, but these are fairly rare. In fact, carnivorous plants in general are pretty rare — and endangered — in their natural habitats. Those venus flytraps you sometimes see in garden centers are propagated in labs and greenhouses. But what if they were big…would they truly be dangerous? Well, no, probably not. I took a slight liberty in the way they operate in the book, having only a single trigger in the trap have to be hit to make it the trap close, but even so, as our protagonist, Jazlyn, notes: “These plants didn’t evolve to eat prey the size of human beings.” The plants were designed by humans, shaped by human desires, not by the requirements of the environment. That’s an important thing to keep in mind. The whole planet was designed to meet a specific human whim.

In addition to making the plants big — and really, they’d be totally harmless if they weren’t — I also hint that they may be aware in a way that plants usually are not (at least not that we know of). Jazlyn catches herself anthropomorphizing them and speculating on sentience. Although Jazlyn is a pilot and a business person, her mother is a botanist. So Jazlyn tries to observe the plants, to document them and their behavior. Her mother belongs to a future Buddhist sect which believes in the sentience of plants. Jazlyn doesn’t share her mother’s beliefs, but these plants make her wonder.

They made me wonder as well….so a sequel is in the works featuring Jazlyn’s Buddhist botanist mother. Next week I’ll take a look at the subtle affect technology has on the way the characters and story in The Tech Between The Lines. The previous post on If Wishes Were Spaceships is Microcosms.

Microcosms

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Mar• 08•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

I sometimes feel like I’m out of step with the world because the trend in books these days tends toward big sprawling stories, with potentially disastrous galactic consequences. Stories that span vast amounts of space and time. Stories packed with physical action, often violent action, on every page. War stories, stories of ordinary people caught up in huge events that they have no control over, but nevertheless must, against all odds, prevail against. I don’t usually write those kinds of stories and If Wishes Were Spaceships is no exception. I love reading those types of stories, but what I really love writing are stories about people very much like me and you, who have more or less normal lives filled with normal routines, but who find themselves in conflict with the people around them. Sometimes, you just have a very bad day. If your life revolves around spaceships and planetary or galactic travel, your “bad day” may be considerably worse than a typical “bad day” here on Earth in the early 21st century.

That’s where If Wishes Were Spaceships begins. Jazlyn is having a bad day. Her ship malfunctions and she has to ditch on a quarantine planet. Which is worrisome. It’s even more worrisome when she realizes that the bizarre “that’s not standard terraforming out there” plants are giant carnivorous plants created by a biotech lab at the request of the dynastic scion, Sterneworth, who is currently only one of two residents on the planet. The other is an anxious techie who, with the arrival of Jazlyn, is reassessing just what he’d be willing to do to get off the planet.

Three people, one small ship. Everyone is doing the math, but not everyone has the same ideas about that disabled ship. In fact, the three of them have very different ideas about all kinds of things. It’s the differences between people that interest me most; the friction of interaction, even between people who should be allies, not to mention the people who would naturally be enemies.

This is a small story of three people who are thrown together and none of them really know what to do with the others. Sterneworth doesn’t want Jazlyn there. Blaine doesn’t want to be there. Jazlyn doesn’t understand Blaine or Sterneworth. But she understands her ship. At first that’s all that matters to her, but she begins to realize that everything both large and small on a hostile planet, with no access to comms and no allies, can be vital to her freedom and well-being.

It’s a big planet, but it’s not big enough for the three of them…and the carnivorous plants complicate things, though not in the way that you’d expect…

Next week I’ll take a closer look at those interesting, hungry, plants: If Wishes Were Spaceships: The Carnivorous Plants and the week after that: The Tech Between the Lines

If Wishes Were Spaceships will be released March 29th. It’s available for preorder from many bookstores: Amazon US, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, and will be available from Barnes and Noble soon.

Countdown to Book Launch!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Mar• 01•16

If Wishes Were Spaceships by Ainy Rainwater

It’s March!! You may think that it means that spring is just around the corner, or you may be looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day, or March Madness. Well, you’ve got something else to look forward to: If Wishes Were Spaceships will be released March 29th! It’s available for pre-order from most stores. It’s a standalone novel, but I’m already hard at work on a sequel to it because I just enjoyed writing this “stranded on a planet” story so much.

If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

…And didn’t Donna Harriman Murillo do an amazing job with the cover art? Well, okay, most of you haven’t read the book yet (waving “hi” to beta readers), but she really captured Jazlyn perfectly! I don’t blog copiously here, but you’ll be seeing a lot more posts from me this month about the characters and story, and my thoughts on writing it. I’ve also got at least one live online interview lined up, though that won’t be for a few months, so stayed tuned for more science fiction adventures, and happy author blogging!

Here are some of the stores that have the book available for pre-order. More coming all the time until book launch March 29th! 🙂 Amazon USAppleKoboSmashwords.

Her Voice, Everywhere

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Feb• 12•16

It’s been a while since I dropped a little story here. Here’s something for Valentine’s Day. It was inspired by an article I read a few years ago, about the widow of the actor who gave the “Mind the Gap” announcement on the London Tube stations, or used to. It’s a sweet story with a happy ending. But I got to wondering as our world is increasingly filled with voices for everything, what if you got your heart broken and then had to hear their voice daily? That’s a different story. That’s “Her Voice, Everywhere”.

Her voice was everywhere. Telling him provocatively that there were special deals in lingerie, reminding him that preferred shoppers were eligible for discounts on some items, singing out the names of the cross streets as he made his way home through traffic. Telling him he had reached his destination, or if he rode the bus, that this was his stop. Her stop. Their stop. Before she stopped.

Someone should’ve been able to fix this. He had never quite been able to let go of that idea. If she had had some illness they would’ve been able to make her well. If she had been a machine they would’ve been able to repair her. But so far no amount of progress, technology or therapy had been able to find a way to change a human being’s mind about affairs of the heart. They had talked to several people, or at least he had. But she had said that counselors could only help a relationship if a relationship existed. And it didn’t. Not really. Not any more. That much he admitted to himself. He had reached the point of almost accepting that she was gone, gone on to a life without him, but couldn’t as his friends said, “move on” when she was still following him everywhere like some creepy psycho stalker. That’s what it felt like every time he heard her voice, prompting him to buy something, to make a right turn, to change his socks and his life, to upgrade his home system, to do something. She hadn’t nagged when she was there. They had thought it funny then, that one time when her recorded had voice echoed her real voice. He had bought the socks. He was still wearing them.

It was aggravating the way those socks lasted. When nothing else had. Every time he put those socks into the wash or took them out of the dryer he silently willed them to be shredded or one lost so that he could throw them out. He stared at them so hard when he put them on that he wondered that his gaze hadn’t burned holes in the toes. “You need new socks,” she had said prettily. “A new you begins with your feet.” Echo. Echo. Echo. It stuck in his head. A new life had certainly begun with her feet: she’d walked right out of his life and into another life.

“Fresh juicy oranges,” she said succulently at the supermarket. The produce section was one of her specialties. He had taken to ducking out of produce so quickly that he feared he would come down with some dreadful archaic disease like scurvy, from the lack of vitamins. A smooth robust male voice prompted him to take vitamins. He took them. They didn’t help. Vitamins are no help at all for heartbreak and haunting. Not that he wished her dead. No, he wished her silent. She was a noisy ghost in his life.

He started wearing ear plugs. When that proved less effective than he hoped, he opted for music. Loud. With any luck he’d become deaf, he figured. Conversation became impossible. His friends began to give up on him. He stopped talking to strangers. The genial man who chatted briefly and amiably with everyone was now a lone shopper, a lone pedestrian, alone.

Until that day when he found a woman slumped against a shelf of vitamins crying uncontrollably. He unplugged his earbuds and helped her gently out of the store as she, hiccuping and gasping through her tears, recounted to him his own story. They would, he told her, find a store where his ex cajoled people into buying vitamins. And maybe in return she could do a little produce shopping for him. He was getting awfully tired of loud music and pre-packaged food. So off they went, picking up everything they had missed, chatting so happily that they never again heard their exes voices.