Archive for May, 2014


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It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop featuring 200 words or less from published or unpublished works. Click on the logo above to find other participants. This excerpt is from a WIP, tentatively titled Both Sides Now. Doc has just led Roi into a space in the hay bales occupied by a panicky little girl (who’s been raped and has broken her arm) and the woman attending her who is equally, though less obviously, apprehensive of strange men.

“It’s all right,” Roi said, pitching his voice deliberately high and making sure his emotional broadcast had nothing of “male.” “I’m not even going to touch you, except to put my hand on your forehead. You just relax and listen.” He modulated his voice into a singsong as he placed his distorted hand above the child’s eyes.

He’d have had a hard time doing this using the pure Jibeth tradition, with the muscle tension in the face giving him the feedback he needed to adjust his singing. Luckily his empathic sense gave him much of what he needed. It still took close to ten minutes of singing until the little girl was relaxed enough he could add the second component, moving his free hand in a complex pattern to catch her gaze. Finally he was able to move the hand toward her eyes, very slowly, as he sang the command to sleep. Her eyes closed, and her breathing steadied. He looked down at his distorted hands, and grimaced. There was no way he could set the arm himself.

“Keep her that way for a few minutes, can you,” Doc said, and proceeded to straighten and splint the arm.

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Year 10 Day 33

SnowMost of the People have arrived, but the valley where I put the ice is not a place where they normally go. They have discovered the outflow stream, and there is a good deal of conversation about both its purity and its coldness, but so far they have not discovered its source. Until today.

Songbird, Giraffe and their children were with the group that came in last night, and I could not deny myself the pleasure of seeing how WildDog and Swallow reacted to snow. Quite a number of the others joined us as we followed the cold stream uphill, and more than a few enjoyed the novelty of walking in the cool water. I knew what was coming, so I kept my feet dry.

Only Songbird recognized the white coldness when it came in sight. “It’s snow! But how did it get here?” The rest of the People just looked confused. Hardly surprising, since she’d used the word I’d taught her for snow, which was a nonsense syllable to most of them.

“Is that what you’ve been talking about?” Giraffe asked her. “How did it get here?

“I brought it. This is what covers the ground in winter far to the north, and the tops of the mountains when they are white. It covers the ground in winter in my homeland too, and children play in it. It will melt soon, since it is so hot here, but it will give cool breezes and cool water for a while, and it will be something new for the children. Look.” And I gathered a handful of the damp snow into a ball, and then began to roll it along the snow surface.

WildDog’s eyes widened almost as fast as the growing ball. He seized a double handful of snow himself, patted it into a ball, and began to copy my rolling it. Soon others joined him, squealing with delight and surprise at the coldness of the snow.

Some of the more serious adults grumbled that the children should be doing something useful like looking for food, but most seemed to find the snow as fascinating as did the children. Torch Flower, to my surprise, looked as if she were thinking for once.

Well, I did it again.

Verbenias 5-25-14The 2014 Blogathon is a good deal more a DIY project than in previous years, but I’ve once again signed up to do a blog a day for the month of June. Since I have regular features on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this just means I’ll be posting—mostly garden pictures—Tuesday and Thursday as well. Since there is no “official” badge this year, I might make one up myself. Am I totally insane?

Here are the contexts of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling between May 22 and May 28. All but the last are from J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers.

Map of the Misty Mountains, from the original English version of the book.

Map of the Misty Mountains, from the original English version of the book.

“I could have been happy here, if I had come in days of peace.” Legolas, speaking to Gimli about Fanghorn Forest.

“I have forgotten much that I knew, and learned again much that I had forgotten.” Gandalf, first meeting Aragorn’s group after his return.

“A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.” Gandalf, explaining that he is speaking to himself.

“That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind.” Gandalf, speaking to Aragorn of Sauron.

“I have spoken words of hope. But only of hope. Hope is not victory.” Gandalf, speaking to Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli as they prepare to ride to Edoras.

“We are all friends here. Or should be, for the laughter of Mordor will be our only reward if we quarrel.” Gandalf, when the doorward of Edoras tries to bar their way.

“I don’t have to buy anything to shop.” Sue Ann Bowling, Tourist Trap. Flame, as she prepares to visit the ship’s store on the way to Faleron.

Herb bed 5-25-14The sun will rise at 3:50 this morning, and set 19 hours 57 minutes later at 11:48 this evening. By next week, it’ll be setting after midnight. The rate of gain of daylight is slowing down by a few seconds a day, now.

It’s also warmed up at night, although cooling down in the daytime, as the air flow has shifted to the southwest, bringing moisture to the interior of Alaska. Not Strawberries 5-25-14much precipitation yet, though we’ve had a few sprinkles and enough clouds to warm things up at night and cool them down during the daytime. With luck, it will stay above freezing now. With even more luck, the fire danger will ease off.

I’m crossing my fingers on the squash and basil, but we planted most of the garden Saturday. I still have the plastic up on the hoops, but I hope I won’t have to use it on anything but the squash. I’ve planted two of the raised beds with mints and herbs, surrounding them with flowers, and tried something new this year with strawberries. If it works, it should keep the berries cleaner and much easier to pick, but I won’t know for sure for a few weeks yet.

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It’s Sunday, time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above) and Snippet Sunday (click the logo below.) I am continuing with the hang glider scene from Tourist Trap.

“What happened?” Timi was checking Roi’s pulse and breathing as he spoke, his mittens thrown to the ground beside them and his bare hands against Roi’s skin.

Roi had always hated the thought of invading another mind unasked, even in emergency Healing. Derik had insisted he learn the technique of such invasion, assuring him repeatedly that there would be times when it would be necessary for his own safety to know exactly what was in another’s thoughts. This, he thought glumly, looked like being one of those times. Hating himself even as he used Timi’s hands against his face as a focus, he slid into his friend’s mind.

Nothing. Timi had prepared dinner the night before, felt tired and gone to bed early with the rest of the group, and slept soundly all night.

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; 5 star)

“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:

iUniverse, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, in dust jacket, trade paper, and e-book formats.

Snippet Sunday logo

SFR Presents logo

Saturday is time for the Science Fiction Romance Brigade; click on the logo above for more snippets. This excerpt is from a WIP tentatively titled Both Sides Now. Roi is following Doc through a maze of hay bales in a cave.

Roi limped after him, the roughness of the floor increasingly painful to his bare feet. “In here,” Doc said finally, and gestured Roi through a gap in the piled bales.

Greenstick fracture. No problem to set, as long as the child could be kept quiet. But rape? She couldn’t have been more than ten, Roi thought angrily. Zhaim had clearly thought he was more effective than Roi had been. But the Confederation was built on trust, not on military might. If this was any sample of what Zhaim thought effective, he’d destroy the Confederation in a Human generation.

The little girl cowered back when Roi and Doc entered the room. The reaction of the woman nursing her was less overt, but Roi automatically moved out of the doorway, making sure she had a free route to escape.

The child needed treatment for more than her broken arm, but that would only make her mental condition worse. Better get her quieted down and sleeping now, get the arm set, and then find out what resources Doc might have.

Year 10 Day 31

Next time I have a bright idea I’m going to figure out the energy required before I decide to go with it.

It takes energy to control energy. Not as much—an exchange teleport, where I’m swapping two things of equal mass, doesn’t take anything like the actual potential energies involved. But it does take something. Quite a lot, when I’m exchanging that much mass over that much distance. Rainbow has been astounded at the amount I’ve had to eat.

The place I had in mind as my ice field seemed even better on a second look. It was once a pond, but the water cut through a ridge of gravel and cinders to drain to the lake. The drainage channel is conveniently located, and can easily be bridged by a couple of palm trunks. I had to abandon the tabular iceberg idea because of the salt near the base of the drift ice, but a chunk of land ice from the island, upwind of the volcano (which is still erupting) seemed a reasonable substitute.

What I had not calculated in advance was the sheer mass of ice it would take to replace the mass of silt I removed from the former pond bed.

I wound up doing exchange teleports of partial ice masses and silt over two days, with frequent breaks to eat. About half of the People had arrived by the time I added the top layer of snow and staggered back to my home to demand more food from Rainbow.

Quotes from Andre Norton

These are the contexts of the quotations tweeted from @sueannbowling over the week from May 15 through May 21, 2014. All but the last are from The Warding of Witch World, by Andre Norton.

Warding cover“With a common goal even enemies swear battle-oaths.” Merith is telling Liara what her brother Kasarion has already learned.

“I have the foresight—which is more of a burden than any blessing.” The witch Mouse to Keris Tregarth, when he expresses his doubts about her selection of him as one of her party.

“That which is born to the Light cannot be taken—unless it turns willingly into the darker path.” Mouse again, this time speaking to Liara.

“It is the choices that we ourselves make which can change the weaving patterns.” Mouse to Liara, emphasizing that ancestry is not destiny.

“Great evil ones do not return any loyalty to those who serve them.” Mouse, trying to explain why the Dark One is destroying his own followers for Power.

“Legends have a habit lately of coming to life.” Discussion at Lormt, about the things the searchers are finding.

“He’s nice—a little too nice, maybe.” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Coryn, describing Roi to Penny, before she meets him.

The sun will rise this morning at 4:14 am, and set 19 hours 10 minutes later at 11:24 this evening. It’s now reached above 45° elevation at solar noon, and it never gets darker than civil twilight.

Mints. I pulled the plastic sides down last night.

Mints. I pulled the plastic sides down last night.

Unfortunately the lovely warm weather of the past couple of weeks is fading, even as the trees continue to green up (and shed pollen.) We are once again skimming freezing at night. I now have almost more flats of plants hardening than I have room to bring them in at night, but even with floating row cover I hesitate to leave them out overnight. It would probably be all right if the clouds stayed in place, but with this much cold air aloft even a brief clear spell at night will bring a touch of frost. Only the mints are actually planted, and they will take some frost. (I have the mint bed under plastic, too.) But the other herbs and the flowers still have to be brought into the heated garage when frost threatens.

At least this year the radiation and Herceptin aren’t bothering my energy level much.