Tag Archive: A to Z Challenge

AZ 2014 logoWell, I signed up for the A to Z blog challenge again.

Not the way I did it last year! As those who follow this blog know, I have four regularly scheduled posts a week: snippets from my books on Sunday, Alaska weather on Monday, contexts of quotations from books on Wednesday, and Jarn’s Journal (part of the background story of the universe in which I set most of my science fiction) on Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday have posts if I have something to say. Last year I kept those up in addition to 6 posts a week on letters of the alphabet.

Ten posts a week? Too much for me and I suspect too much for many followers, not to mention the cross indexing of the posts needed.

This year I’m doing things a little differently. The four scheduled posts a week will continue, but each one will incorporate the letter of the alphabet assigned to that day. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I’ll post something that interests me that starts with the letter of the day. Meteorology, science in general, and writing will be dominant, but I don’t promise not to break out of that framework completely.

A second change, which I will implement fairly soon, involves the time of day that the posts go live. Aside from Sunday, I have been scheduling posts to go live at 8 am Alaska Time. The problem with this is that Alaska time is so far west – 9 hours after UT. 8 am here is noon on the East coast, and the next day in much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Since A to Z is a global blog challenge, this means that many people will find only the blog for the previous day. So I am going to start scheduling blogs for 00 Alaska time (4 am Eastern, and 0900 UT aside from the daylight time shift.) I will try to implement this change in February.

If you’re interested in the A to Z blog, it opened for sign-up Monday. You can reach the website by clicking on the logo above (new window) or the one in the sidebar (I haven’t yet figured out how to set up a sidebar image to open a new window in WordPress. Suggestions are welcome if you know how!)

Elyra is very small (around 4’ tall) but perfectly formed. She is milk chocolate in color, and (like Derik) monotone in that skin, hair and eyes are all the same shade, though her eyes are veined with copper. She is R’il’noid and an important member of the genetics board. Like many R’il’noid women she is sexually active and easily aroused when she is not pregnant, but loses interest in sex when pregnant or nursing. At the start of Homecoming she has agreed to try to have a child by Lai “the old-fashioned way,” although most natural pairings with R’il’nians are infertile. Laboratory manipulation has been the norm since Çeren’s work made it possible. I’ll let her explain it.

Homecoming coverR’il’noids are essential to the survival of the Confederation, especially now that the purebred R’il’nai are almost extinct. Most have at least some degree of ability to detect and remove Maung parasitization, and many have the even more important talent of conditional precognition. My job as the chief geneticist of the Genetics Board is to encourage pregnancies that could produce R’il’noids without undesirable traits, and since Çeren’s work, that generally means laboratory pregnancies. Natural matings of R’il’nian males with human females were producing about one pregnancy per R’il’nian a century, and Çeren was getting a much higher rate with his lab technique.

But with the lab technique we were getting an increasing number of R’il’noids with no sense of responsibility.  Lai, the last of the R’il’nai, suggested that might be due to the laboratory techniques. Further, he’d gone back to Jarn’s Journal, where he detailed the first, natural cross-species pregnancies, many millennia ago. “I think I’ve figured out what he was doing,” he said. “Emotional connection — love — is necessary. Knowing what I now do, I think I can manage it with strong liking and desire for a child. I won’t claim to love you as I loved Cloudy, Elyra, but we’re good friends, and I think it might work. Are you willing to move in with me and try?”

I’ve never been exclusive in my loves, but Lai is special, special enough that whatever my doubts about whether he could get me pregnant, I was more than willing to try. “Of course,” I said.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. Background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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The sun will rise at 8:13 this morning. (I get up and this post goes live at 8.) It won’t set for 9 hours 43 minutes, until 5:56 this evening, and we’re still gaining 6 minutes 47 seconds a day. Even seconds add up! Next week the sun will rise before I do, but the week after that we’re back on Daylight Savings and I’ll be getting up before sunrise again until March 18, which happens to be the same day we start getting 12-hour days.

Clouds, sky

It’s really brightened up. This was taken less than a month ago, only about half an hour after solar noon.

Why before the solstice? Most obviously, because sunrise and sunset are defined as the time the upper limb is level with the horizon, not the center of the sun. Here, at high latitude, the sun rises at a rather shallow angle, and it takes quite a while from the time the upper limb appears until the whole sun is visible.

The moon is full today, but it’s no longer as high in the sky as it was at midwinter – only a little over 30 degrees elevation when it crosses the meridian. It’s been too cloudy to see it, though, or the aurora the active sun should be giving us. For that matter, it’s been a little nippy to go out at night – generally below 0° F, though it’s getting above zero most days.

I have decided to do something totally crazy and sign up for the A to Z blog challenge in April. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays I have regular topics, so on those days I’ll be double-posting, with the A to Z post probably going live around 8 pm. The topic? Well, I went through the character list and glossary for my books, and found that I’m missing only one letter: Q. I’ll probably do Query letter for that, but the rest will be posts about my books, introducing the major characters and some bits of their world. It’ll be in kind of a strange order, but I’ll be able to give some background not in the books. I’ll try to remember to put the logo with a link at the bottom of each A to Z blog, as it is on this one (which is not an A to Z blog, but my regular Monday weather blog.)

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