Archive for March, 2014

Intersection 3-30-14It’s the last day of March, and the sun will rise at 7:10 this morning, stay above the horizon for 13 hours and 31 minutes, and set at 8:41 this evening. Yesterday I had no problem driving home from the symphony, aside from the glare of the sun on snow.

Temperatures have been about normal, and are expected to stay that way. It gets a little above freezing in the daytime and the heavily traveled roads are generally dry, but the white ice roads (including mine) are just glazed. At least they’re not collapsing yet. They’re several inches deep in packed snow, though, which makes quite a step when the plows push back the berms along the main road.

We have a possibility of snow showers a week from now, but so far there hasn’t been much melting of the undisturbed snow. It’s still 22” deep in my yard.

Me 3-19-14I’m feeling fine and the pathology looks good after the latest surgery (10 days ago) and should find out today what’s ahead in the way of radiation and chemo. Very annoying, just as I’m getting my hair back, even if it does look more like a poodle’s coat than like me.

Note that Horse Power, my Amazon short, will be free through April 4th. The weather video isn’t up as of 10 pm Sunday; I’ll add it Monday morning if it’s up by then.

logo WWW Vet

It’s Sunday again, and time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click on the logo above) and Snippet Sunday (click on the logo below.)

Roi has the glider flying again, but heat and smoke have convinced him he still has problems.

As the orange roof came around in front of him again, he straightened the glider and headed northeast and down, dropping the nose for maximum speed.

“Roi?”  Penny’s voice was anxious.  “Are you going to make the cabin?”

“No,” he replied, “though I won’t be far from it.  I think I’ve got an electrical fire in the control circuit, and I’m in a bit of a hurry to get on the ground.”  Had he really been wise to get rid of the escort craft?

He heard Penny’s sudden intake of breath before she continued.

This snippet is from Tourist Trap, my second published book.

A vacation with his three best friends from slavery and a manhood challenge: Roi is given the graduation present he has dreamed of. Dogsledding, hang gliding, a chance to see Pleistocene animals transplanted to a Terraformed vacation world, horseback riding, sailing … all the sports he has returned to with his recovery from paralysis, and a few new ones to learn.

They’re prepared for danger from weather, wild animals and extreme sports. But none of them realize that Roi’s half brother Zhaim, determined to recover his old position as Lai’s heir, intends to kill them if he can—and he’s decided that the dangers of the trip will make a perfect cover for his schemes.

How long will it take them to realize that the “accidents” they keep running into are more than just accidents?

Tourist Trap, the second novel of the Jarnian Confederation, won first place in science fiction and fiction book of the year in the 2011 Reader Views contest.

Reviewers say:

“Fans of Sue Ann Bowling’s novel Homecoming will not be disappointed with its sequel. Tourist Trap returns the reader to the world of the Jarnian Confederation—to Roi, Lai, Marna, and all of their friends and relations. The author does a stellar job of bringing these characters to life, allowing the reader to not only see their actions but to understand the culture and politics that motivate them. (ForeWord Clarion review)

“Tourist Trap” is a great read for anyone that wants motivation and feeling to accompany the action in their sci-fi adventure. Alien beings and super powers are an integral part of Roi’s story but what makes this novel really shine is the heart. Nobody is good or evil just because that’s their assigned role. Just like in real life, everyone has their own motivations and desires, and Bowling does a great job of letting the reader see what it would be like to walk in the shoes of Roi, Xazhar, and even madman Zhaim. (ReaderViews review)

Tourist Trap (iUniverse, 2011) is available from: Barnes and Noble, iUniverse, and Amazon in dust jacket, trade paper, and e-book formats.

Snippet Sunday logo

SFR Presents logoHomecoming coverIt’s time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade again. (Click on the logo above for more information and the links to this week’s participants.) I’m still posting from Homecoming, my first book published. Cinda is replying to Marna’s question on what is the relationship between R’il’nians and Humans.

“Parent and child,” she responded, “or maybe parent and teenager would be more like it. All Humans have a little R’il’nian ancestry. A long time ago–over a hundred thousand years, Lai says–my ancestors were just starting to learn to talk. They could communicate, and they were pretty good group hunters, but they weren’t really good at abstract ideas. It’s gotten all mixed up in religion, and history and philosophy, but a R’il’nian got stranded on the Human home planet. My people thought he was a god, because he never got older. And he had children, and those children had children, until all of my people had a little bit of his line behind them. And he taught them, too. Eventually he taught them to build starships, and led some of them back to his people. Those he led were my ancestors. Those who didn’t follow him are still on Earth–or rather, their descendants are.”

Next month I’ll be participating in the A to Z Challenge. I think I’ve figured out how to use the letter of the day for all of my SFRB posts, but I will be jumping around quite a bit from book to book!

Year 10 day 3

I haven’t tried to explore the oceans, for the simple reason that they don’t have landmarks. For some reason it was not until early this morning that it occurred to me: couldn’t I teleport directly to a given latitude and longitude? I wouldn’t dare do it over uneven ground, of course, unless I teleported to a point high enough there was no chance of arriving underground. But a latitude and longitude where I had been before, where I knew there was nothing but water beneath me ….

I checked the coordinates I have recorded, and found two points from which I had gone high enough to be sure there was nothing but the tideless sea in sight, and where I could triangulate to a point at a latitude and longitude that I was sure was over water. It worked! So if I flew directly north from the northernmost land mass I have found, and teleported back to my home when I was tired, I could resume flight the next day from the latitude and longitude I had reached the day before.

I’ve been worrying about whether there was a northern ice cap, and this way I can find out.

I’m confident now it does not reach the peninsula I have been exploring; there is a warm current from the south washing its shores. But if I head due north, I can at least find out if the pole is ice-free. The northward equinox is the ideal time; I will have enough sunlight to see easily but any ice will not have melted yet.

Besides, it will give me something to do until the People return.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake.

I still remember it, though I was over 300 miles from the epicenter, on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks where I was a graduate student. I had a basement apartment that year, and shortly before dinner the hangers started rattling in the closet. I’d never been in an earthquake before, but when the shaking continued it occurred to me that a basement might not be the safest place. It took me a while to grab a coat and climb the stairs, but when I got outdoors, the flagpole and trees were still swaying and the ground was still shaking.

Were earthquakes supposed to last that long? I wondered as I headed for the university dining commons. The sidewalks were icy, and I slipped and fell, dislocating my knee (a common occurrence at that time) and doing something to my elbow. As usual, I asked a passing student to help me straighten the leg while I put pressure to get the kneecap back in place. (At this time the joint was so used to dislocating I was able to get up and walk as soon as the dislocation was reduced, though I trouble getting everything in place without help.)

In the cafeteria all of the discussion was about the earthquake, and some pretty wild rumors were circulating. (Anchorage had fallen into the ocean; other cities in south central Alaska were wiped out.) As I recall, the phone lines were out and it took a while to find out what had really happened—which was bad enough, even if not as bad as the worst rumors.

Television would have been no help even if I had owned a set. This was before satellite communications, and television news was flown to Alaska (and within Alaska) on tapes to be shown the next day if we were lucky. Even the radio news was pretty confused at first, as most of the news from Anchorage arrived (I think) via shortwave radio hams. (That was definitely true a few years later during the Fairbanks flood.)

As it turned out, Anchorage suffered most from the direct effects of the shaking, but the greatest losses of life were in coastal communities – Valdez, Seward, Kodiak – which were struck by tidal waves triggered by the earthquake.

I’ll be taking an adult learning class next month about the earthquake, and while I understand the basic geophysics of what happened, I hope to learn more. Maybe I’ll do a blog on it. But for now, I wanted to remember the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake.

These are the contexts of the quotes tweeted over the last week from @sueannbowling. All but the last are from Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. Happy 200th birthday, Mansfield Park! If you’re wondering why two this month from Mansfield Park, blame the A to Z challenge next month. I needed a letter H for this post, and it was simpler just to go with an “H” author and double up for a month using Jane Austin.

Mansfield Park Cover“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.” Edmond’s thoughts of Maria’s suitor, Mr. Rushworth.

“Nobody can think more highly of the matrimonial state than myself.” Henry Crawford, who goes on to say that a wife is “Heaven’s last best gift.

“Every body is taken in at one period or another.” Mary Crawford’s comment on courtship and marriage.

“Mothers certainly have not yet got quite the right way of managing their daughters.” Mary Crawford, commenting on the confusion sometimes caused by whether a girl is “in’” or “out.”

“Every thing is to be got with money.” Mary Crawford, saying how she has always considered thing to be in London. Not at Mansfield, where she has run into problems in getting a conveyance for her harp.

“The player must always be best off, for she is gratified in more ways than one.” Mary Crawford, commenting on playing the harp.

“Even having been a slave didn’t count next to the promise of talent.” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Roi has just been introduced to one of his idols, the dancer Loki Faranian, who acknowledges but is clearly untroubled by Roi’s past.

This is a Test

This is the first time I’ve tried to embed a slide show. All are this year’s ice sculptures, and most have been on my blog before, but this is primarily a test of the gallery feature in WordPress. This show includes the Governor’s Choice, the four winners of the Artists’ Choice awards, and the four First Place winners, along with my personal favorite, which took 4th place in the realistic category. Click on any image to get to the slide show.

The main problem at this point seems to be getting in the names of the artists. They’re in the description field, but you may need to scroll down on the slide show photos to see them.

The ice chapel still shows the transparency of the ice.

The ice chapel still shows the transparency of the ice.

This will be a short post, because my modem is acting up. I will try to get the information I need and upload it (on Sunday) from Safeway, the closest place I am reasonably sure I can get Wi-Fi, if the modem goes out again. Apologies to those I was unable to visit on Weekend Writing Warriors; even my e-mail is affected, and the store where I can get the needed parts won’t be open until today.

The sun will rise this morning at 7:36, and set 12 hours 44 minutes later at  8:20 this evening. It’s getting a little sloppy in the daytime, though night-time temperatures are still below zero. Not to complain – we can have 40 below as late as the end of March.

The train station show how the ice turns milky due to partial internal melting.

The train station shows how the ice turns milky due to partial internal melting in the sun.

When I visited Ice Alaska Friday, the sculptures ranged from slightly drippy to total collapse. Generally the south faces of exposed blocks had changed from transparent to flat white due to internal melting. For those who may have worried about my surgery last Wednesday, it went well enough I was walking around the ice park Friday, though some of the pictures were taken from the train.

logo WWW Vet

Another Sunday, another snippet. For other authors participating in Weekend Writing Warriors click the logo above; for Snippet Sunday click the logo below.

Setup: Roi has managed to pull the power pack and convince his father not to have the Trek company guard him. Now he has the glider circling in an updraft to regain some of the height he has lost.

The glider was responsive now, if cranky, and he thought back to Derry’s lessons on his own uncompensated wing. He had sworn the task was impossible when he had first tried uncompensated flight. After the negative compensation he had just experienced, the natural instability of the little craft was a joy to work with. He didn’t even want to think about what the glider would have been like if he’d been using full compensation, rather than a quarter.

An acrid smell brought his attention back from the world circling below him, and he groaned as he saw smoke pouring out of the empty power pack compartment. Cautious exploration with his bare right hand confirmed the heat in the left uptube, in the region of the compensation chip. Whoever had sabotaged his wing had made sure that the evidence would be destroyed, and the glider’s misbehavior probably attributed to a short circuit. Come to think about it, he wasn’t sure how much heat the synthetic that made up the control bar would stand without weakening or even igniting.

Maybe he shouldn’t have insisted that the escort craft leave him alone!

I’m going to keep posting from Tourist Trap (available from Barnes and Noble, iUniverse and Amazon) until Roi is faced with a decision that will have repercussions for the rest of the book. Meanwhile:

1. I try to return comments, but I will take at most ONE try at a captcha. If I don’t get it (and some are pure guesswork to my eyes) no comment.
2. I don’t go to adult only posts unless they comment on mine.
3. Although this post was already scheduled, I went into the hospital Wednesday for a lumpectomy. (Outpatient. Ha!) I may not be up to much in the way of coherent comments.
4. Everything went fine and I’m feeling well, but my modem is acting up so I’m on and off the internet.

Snippet Sunday logo

SFR Presents logo

Homecoming coverTime for the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents again.  I’m continuing from last week with an excerpt from Homecoming. Marna has just asked Cinda what Lai, the sole surviving male of her species, is like. Click on the logo above for information on how to participate and links to other snippets.

Cinda chewed thoughtfully before answering. “It’s a stupid word, but I’d have to say he’s nice. When we heard we’d be transporting him out here, we all figured he’d be–well, aloof, at the very least. He’s not. He’s interested in us, in our work, in why we’re in the exploration service–maybe even nosy, except he backs off if we’re even a little hesitant about answering. I suppose he could read our minds if he wanted to, but I don’t think he does, or wants to.”

Marna bit into a crisp slice of jagga root, enjoying the sweet-sour, slightly nutty taste. It was not unusual for two space-going species to be friendly — an inherently unfriendly or warlike species rarely developed the technology for star travel without destroying itself. One species taking orders from another — that was unusual. And actual cross breeding — that, she would have said, was impossible both biologically and socially. But from what Lai had told her it had happened. “What is the relationship between the R’il’nai and your people?” she asked.

Snowy is a slave, a dancer. His first priority is keeping himself and his friends alive, and this means hiding the odd abilities that could get him killed. How can he cope with being totally paralyzed and sent to school with a group of telepathic bullies?

Lai is the last survivor of the R’il’nai, the species that has kept the Jarnian Confederation going for a hundred thousand years. He is in mourning for his Human lover, Cloudy, but now it seems there might be more R’il’nai somewhere beyond the borders of the Confederation. Can he find them? Should he?

Marna was on an isolation satellite when a plague wiped out all the rest of the population of her planet. Now the life-support system of the satellite has failed, and Marna must try to return to a planet where no other intelligent creature is alive. Is the plague still there? Can she survive? Does she want to?

Homecoming, the first novel of the Jarnian Confederation, won second place in science fiction in the 2010 Reader Views contest.

Reviewers say:

“If you’re looking for a science fiction adventure that has some thought behind it, I highly recommend this story.” Marty Shaw, Reader Views.

“Well-written science fiction expands the imagination. It is a book genre that explores the outer limits of reality, based on the reasoning and endless possibilities of science….

Homecoming is a truly compelling book. The author has done a superb job of creating characters that are well rounded and emotionally real. The plot is original and thoughtfully crafted, and the supporting science is fresh and exciting.” Catherine Thureson, ForeWord Clarion Reviews. 5 stars.

“Homecoming” is one of those novels that grabs the reader and pulls you in. It flows smoothly, sometime at a breakneck pace, but always making sense. Bowling’s characters are very well developed, with flaws, skills, doubts and dreams.” Libbie Martin, Fairbanks News-Miner

Homecoming (iUniverse, 2010) is available from:
Barnes and Noble  in dust jacket, trade paper, and e-book formats.