So let me know which is best for you – #1, #2 or #3 – and why 🙂 Thanks!
|Natalie Wright, Manic Monday|
Arrives Spring, 2015
What the … Insect Drones? Is this for real?
Here is the story that I saw floating around the internet:
“No. It’s an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by the US Government. It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it may have the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin. It can fly through an open window, or it can attach to your clothing until you take it in your home.”
As a writer of speculative and science fiction, I was like “Wow! I can use that in a story!”
But the non-writer part of me was creeped out. I mean, what kind of “Big Brother” kind of bullshit could this be used for?
But a bit of poking further into the story gave me a bit of relief. But only a bit.
According to Snopes, “One of the current areas of research reportedly being undertaken in the scientific/military field is the development of micro air vehicles (MAVs), tiny flying objects intended to go places that cannot be (safely) reached by humans or other types of equipment. One of the primary military applications envisioned for MAVs is the gathering of intelligence (through the surreptitious use of cameras, microphones, or other types of sensors); among the more extreme applications posited for such devices is that they may eventually be used as “swarm weapons” which could be launched en masse against enemy forces.”
“The specific mosquito-like object pictured above is, however, just a conceptual mock-up of a design for a MAV, not a photograph of an actual working device “already in production.” And although taking DNA samples or inserting micro-RFID tracking devices under the skin of people are MAV applications that may some day be possible, such possibilities currently appear to be speculative fiction rather than reality.”
While no government official or agency will admit to currently having such technology, there are anecdotal accounts of dragonflies hovering over protesters at rallies and even at the Republican National Convention.
Let’s hope that, for now, spy “bugs” remain fiction.
What say you? Do you think these “bugs” already exist? Or is it the work of overactive imaginations? Chat about it below in the comments section.
* * * * *
In other news, ONLY 8 MORE DAYS until Emily’s Heart officially launches! *squee* Make sure you come back often as I’ll have lots of announcements, launch news and giveaways galore all through February 😀
A tiny teaser from Emily’s Heart:
|From Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright|
For those of you who have read Emily’s House, you know that one of the themes of the story is the convergence of mysticism and science. And it’s little wonder that came through. I love science, and I’m intrigued by mysticism and spirituality.
Reading avidly in both areas, I’ve long noticed how physics and metaphysics are closely aligned. It’s like they’re talking about the same things, only in different languages.
The other night, I was watching one of my favorite shows, Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. To be fair, I’d probably listen to Morgan talk about snow shovels for an hour – LOVE that guy.
|Morgan Freeman, photo by Colorstorm Media/Eyevine|
But combine Morgan with far out, freaky, cutting edge science and I’m all in.
|What up with the cat on his head?|
So I was all settled into the small dent my butt has created on my couch (okay, big dent), Morgan cranking on the set. The episode was about eternity and time. Toward the end, along comes Dr. Jeff Tollaksen, of Chapman University, and says this about time:
“There’s an ocean flowing here. There’s a current flowing, from past to future and future to past.”
|Dr. Tollaksen of Chapman University. I wonder if he has
this much attitude because of something his future
self has done?
Dr. Tollaksen was referring to the results of over twenty years of experiments he and his colleagues have performed – experiments which have led him to the conclusion that the future affects the present.
According to Dr. Tollaksen, not only does the past affect our present, but the future does as well.
Can you get your head around that? I’m not sure I can – not really. This would mean that I’m doing shit right now, in a future I’m completely unaware of, and it is affecting what I do now. But what I’m doing now – wouldn’t that affect my future? Doesn’t this create one *ucked up paradox?!
But here’s the thing that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when he said that time was like a stream. This is a section of Chapter 50 of Emily’s House – a chapter entitled “Put Your Boat In”:
Brighid said, “But time is very much like a stream . . .“
Emily replied, “So if the stream is like time, then if I put my boat in back there, by the big willow . . .”
“Then that is what you observe . . .”
“And that’s like the past.”
“But if I put the boat in way up there, by that big oak . . .”
“Then you are with the oak in that moment . . .”
“And that is like the future.”
“I can put the boat in the stream wherever I want to go. So I can go to any time I want simply by choosing it?”
“Your Anam is eternal. You already exist in all time that ever was or ever will be.”
When I wrote this exchange between Brighid and Emily, I had not heard of Dr. Tollaksen or his experiments. This idea about time – how it’s a stream with past, present and future connected – was influenced by metaphysics and new age spirituality. And I thought it was a cool way to deal with the concept of time travel, a device I needed to use to make the story work.
But doesn’t it sound similar? Isn’t it intriguing that science is now proving what some mystics have long believed – that time flows freely from future to past, and past to future?
What do you think?
I’ll see you in the future. Oh wait, we’ve already been there . . .
|Pippa Jay, author of Keir|
Every now and again, I read a book that is so intriguing – so unique – I just have to get to know the author a little better. I recently read Keir (my review coming this Friday), and when finished immediately contacted Pippa Jay, the author, to request an interview. To my delight, she said “yes.” For those of you have not yet “met” Pippa Jay, I’m excited to bring this newish author to you:
Natalie Wright (NW): Keir is your most recently released novel – and I loved it! What was your inspiration for Keir?
Pippa Jay (PJ): Aww, thank you! It might sounds a bit corny, but the opening scene and idea for the book came from a dream. When I woke up with that image – a man crouched in the dark, beaten and broken – I instantly had a name for him, and I wanted to know how he’d gotten into that state because it seemed more like a tragic ending than a beginning. I think his appearance was inspired by a couple of characters from X-Men and from reading Stephen Lawhead’s Merlin as a teenager.
NW: The male lead character, Keir, was born blue. And then he got tattooed all over, not of his choice. So he is sort of strange looking, maybe even what some might consider ugly. Did you see this story as a beauty and the beast sort of story?
PJ: Do you know, I’d never even thought about it like that? But you’re right, it is that kind of story. Keir is very much based on the idea that only certain ‘types’ of human beings are considered beautiful, and that anyone outside those often unrealistic stereotypes is ‘ugly’. There’s an increasingly unhealthy obsession with attaining a media-hyped, photo-shopped ideal of the perfect body, and too often we judge by appearances. But beauty is only skin deep. While Keir’s society might have rejected him as a monster, Quin can see beyond that. In her eyes, he’s beautiful.
NW: Okay, the chapters where Keir and Quin are stranded on the deserted island together – HOT, HOT, HOT! I mean, this is what the movie Blue Lagoon could have been, if the people were grown up – and hot! And their intimacy, I love the way they come together not just in a physical way, but you added the dimension that they can read each other’s thoughts. So they’re actually feeling what the other feels. *Wipes the sweat beading on her forehead.* What I want to know, is did you have a real life inspiration for these wonderful scenes? Or is it your vivid imagination?
PJ: Thank you. Well, that’s a tricky one. I’d say a combination of both, although I’m not going to talk about some of the real life inspirations. *blushes* One of my favourite ways to spend the weekend is on a local beach, which is the main inspiration for the island of Kasha-Asor. But I’ve always had an obsession with psychic abilities, so most of my characters have been telepathic at least. Being in someone else’s head and knowing how they feel – and how you’re making them feel so much more intimately – would be an amazing experience. It makes it more complicated to write, but I think it’s worth it.
NW: And I have to know, is there a sequel in the works to Keir?
|Here you go Pippa, one Full English breakfast.|
PJ: A lie-in (never happens). A full English breakfast. Some quality family time, maybe at the beach or on a walk, without anyone squabbling. Sneaking in some writing time without getting that ‘should you be on the computer?’ look from my husband. A quiet evening with said husband. Again, that rarely happens. By the time we get the kids to bed, we’re about ready to head that way ourselves.
|Young Reader and Her Best Friend
at the Tucson Festival of Books
This past weekend I attended the fourth annual Tucson Book Festival on the campus of the University of Arizona. It was a fun, educational and exhausting weekend dedicated to the love of books. For writers, it is a great opportunity to attend workshops and panels – for free!
I attended a funny and informative workshop on World Building in science fiction and fantasy. The panel included Maxwell Alexander Drake, an award-winning fantasy author, Sam Sykes and Janet Hobbs (among others). These fabulous writers shared how they go about creating their amazing fantasy worlds and gave tips and pointers. For example, if your story is set in a current or past time on Earth, make sure you do your research to ensure that you are accurate about details. Drake commented that that’s why he “makes it all up” – that way he doesn’t have to worry about accuracy!
I was impressed with young Sam Sykes and decided to purchase one of his books, Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons’ Gate, Book 1)
and get an autograph. Fortunately for me by the time I got through the purchase books line, there was no signing line in front of Sam. I got to spend a few minutes chatting with him. Sam’s twitter profile (@SamSykesSwears) says that he’s the “angriest man alive.” Yikes! But I found Sam to be funny, personable, and passionate about story. Sam and I discussed whether male fantasy writers and readers tend to prefer a more “world” driven story while female fantasy writers and readers prefer character-driven stories. Sam thought that was true to an extent and commented that he thought female writers were “ahead of the guys” on creating character-driven fantasy fiction and that the guys were playing “catch up.” Sam says that he’s a character-driven writer and that the worlds he builds and details he includes have to relate to the characters and make sense from their point of view. I’m looking forward to digging into Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons’ Gate, Book 1)
and read Sam’s character-driven high fantasy. If you enjoy fantasy, check it out and let me know what you think.
One of the things I love most about the Book Festival is wandering around, coffee in hand, checking out all of the booths. One of my favorites this year was the booth for the publishing company Inner Traditions Bear & Co. They specialize in “books on indigenous cultures, perennial philosophy, visionary art, ancient mysteries, spiritual traditions of the East and West, sexuality, holistic health and healing, self-development, as well as recordings of ethnic music and accompaniments for meditation” (from their website). I love to read this kind of stuff as inspiration for stories, sub-plots and theme. Science, metaphysics, religious and spiritual theory and philosophy. I know, I’m a geek of epic proportions! Here’s my haul from Inner Traditions.
Then there’s that book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body. In Emily’s House, there is quite a bit of time travel. I didn’t want to create a machine for time travel but instead created an energy form of time travel. I thought I’d just made it up. But this Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body
book is discussing the same thing. Who knew? Since I’m revising the second book in the Emily series, Emily’s Trial, right now too, maybe these mystical books will inspire me further.
Do you have a book festival where you live? If so, do you attend and what’s your favorite part?
But when it comes to physical description, I have found it hard at times to physically describe a person (or entity) that doesn’t really exist. Because I’m a visual person, I find that drawing the character can help me get a better handle on physical description, especially for non-human characters. Here a few that I’ve done.
|Drawing of a ‘Grey’|
|‘Tex’, a H.A.L.F.|
When I morphed them, the head is human just more bulbous. He has ears while the alien does not. His nose is more prominent. His mouth is still small but slightly larger. One of the things that came from this exercise is that Tex has a more human chin and jawline, not quite so angular – more square.
But the eyes are the same overly large, dark eyes. This is a prominent feature of Tex and has impact on the storyline.
Do you find the last one, the drawing of Tex, unnerving? He’s hanging up in my office now on my bulletin board and I have to say, I find him a bit scary! When I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye he sort of freaks me out!
If you’re a writer, do you ever draw your characters?