Tag Archive: Marna

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It’s Sunday, and time again for Weekend Writing Warriors (click on the logo above) and snippet Sunday (click on the logo below. Both blog hops involve authors posting 8 sentences or less of their work, anywhere from first draft to published. Mine for this week is from a published work, Homecoming, available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in a variety of formats.

Last time I quoted from Homecoming I covered Marna’s discovery of the mummified body of a plague victim and her immediate response. Here is the follow-up to that discovery. I’ve done a little creative punctuation to get it under the 8-sentence limit.

Starburst galaxyLogic said she should get away, that the person was long gone and the body might still harbor the plague.

She could not abandon the remnant.

The body refused to be composed into any semblance of rest, but she brushed away the last of the sand and carried it into the sun, now high in the sky. Deaths among the R’il’nai had been rare, and she finally had to ask the computer for the proper words.

“I do not know who you are,” she told the body finally, “so I cannot speak of your life and the joy you brought those who knew you. I can only say the final farewell. Take the goodness and joy of your life with you as you go before, and let all sorrow and evil be consumed with your body in the furnace from which it came.”

She reached out to cup her hands around the skull-like face, locking her mind on the body; then she gathered herself mentally, reached for the sun, and thrust the body into its nuclear heart.

Funeral rites of the R’il’nai.

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

My snippet this week is from Homecoming, published in 2010 and available in print and electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse. Marna has returned to Riya, which was depopulated by a plague two centuries earlier, and is wandering over her home planet. She has just found an isolated stone hut in the desert, and while her eyes are adjusting she lets herself believe she might have found a survivor. I’ve used a little creative punctuation.

Egg Nebula in IR; HubbleSomething dark protruded from the sand to her left, and Marna thought at first it was a tree branch, oddly shriveled and distorted. She scuffed her way across the room to try to pull it free, and only then realized that what she held was a hand.

Her knees buckled and she collapsed into the sand, still holding that poor, withered travesty of a R’il’nian hand. She stroked it gently while tears ran down her face and the trained Healer in her mind noted the spread, backward-stretched fingers and bent-back wrist. A plague victim, no doubt hidden from scavengers by the drifting sand and mummified by the heat and dryness of the desert.

Gently she dug the sand away, revealing a contorted body that seemed little more than a skeleton covered by stretched, dried leather. Someone tired of the press of crowds had come here for rest and renewal, perhaps, but had brought the plague along and died in agony, far from any help. Elsewhere, the last to die had been reclaimed by the life of the planet, not even their bones remaining, but here, there had not even been a scavenger to accept the poor body.

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It’s Sunday again, and time for 8Sunday (click on the logo above) and SnipSunday (click on the logo below.) I’ve posted as much as I’d planned to from War’s End, and for a while I’ll take turns posting random snippets from my published science fiction. Today’s is from Homecoming, available in all formats from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. This snippet is from Marna’s re-acquaintance with her home planet, Riya, after a plague has depopulated the planet.

HubbleBack among the trees, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, and caught her breath with delight as she managed to make out the form of a butterfly cat, as long as Marna was tall, even without its tail. Its sleek coat was greenish yellow with dark green swirls on its sides, rings of the darker green on its legs ad tail, and four angled swirls like butterflies flaring out from its forehead to encircle its eyes and its tufted ears. Butterfly cats were solitary hunters, and rare, and Marna felt privileged to see one.

She kept walking, afraid any break in her steady movement would frighten the animal away, and tried to watch it out of the corner of her eye. Its peridot eyes clearly saw her, but the creature showed no sign of fear. It was stalking something, she thought, its movements as fluid as the river and utterly silent. She reached out with her mind, wanting to feel its wildness ….

The beast was stalking her, and preparing to spring.

Sorry if I don’t get around much this week, the chemo has really caught up with me.

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Homecoming coverLetter MCentral was not the only planet settled by the R’il’nai when their home system became uninhabitable – but the groups fleeing R’il’n lost touch with each other. One group settled on Riya, a planet outside the region encompassed by the Confederation. Here Marna, a Healer, was a young researcher into infectious diseases. (Though the R’il’nai were immune to most such diseases, they were still cautious.) She was on an isolation satellite, studying a new disease, when a plague which did affect the R’il’nai struck Riya and the few colonies it had managed to settle. Everyone was infected. Everyone died. Only Marna was left alive, protected by the isolation satellite designed to protect Riya, and ordered by her mentor to stay on the satellite and keep sending a warning to anyone else who might try to visit the doomed planet. Her only company, aside from the satellite’s computer, was the Tinerals (monkey-like feathered singers with wings) whose ancestors she brought to the satellite as pets.

Physically, Marna has red-gold hair, dark blue eyes veined with silver, and a skin tone a bit lighter than Lai’s, but not by much. Here she is speaking from her first appearance in Homecoming, after she has realized that the life-support system of the isolation satellite is failing after two centuries.

At least I can save the Tinerals.

They’re vulnerable to predators, but there aren’t any predators on the island of Windhome, so they ought to be safe there. And it’s no trouble to teleport them down, now that I’ve reviewed how to do it.

Only three left, now, and we’re all gasping for breath. This is the last oxygen bottle. I have to send them now, while I still have the strength – but I’ll be so alone. Not for long.

Oh, Tyr, I did my best to stay alive, to keep warning off any other R’il’nai. If there are any. I did program the planetary computer to keep broadcasting. How I wish I could feel a Riyan wind in my hair once more, but if I go back the plague will kill me, and I’ll no longer be able to do my duty.

Use your head, girl. Your job was to provide a warning. You can’t do that if you die here. It’s time to come home, Love.

Win? But Win’s dead! I felt him die! Or ….

Common sense, that’s what it is! I can’t do my job if I die here, so I might as well die on Riya and join the rest of my people. Just let me get the few things that are truly precious to me, like the hair clasp Win gave me when we decided to try for a child.

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. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.Banner AZ logo

Six Sentence Sunday

Six sentences from Rescue Operation, following directly from the six I had last week.

But he had another heritage as well, one that he was even less comfortable with. His father had left him in charge of the Inner Council of R’il’noids that effectively ruled the Confederation. Not the planets that made up the Confederation; in fact he as the regent of the Confederation had no voice at all in the laws of Central, where the Councils met and he lived. Now and then Council duties included fieldwork when the specialties of individual Council members were needed, and in truth he’d been eager to get away when the government of a distant planet thought (wrongly) that others were making it the target of biological warfare. Wif, the other medical expert, had already been away from Central, and Derry’s specialty of xenotelepathy and Kaia’s of communications had been needed in the field while Roi was gone, leaving Roi’s older brother Zhaim in charge without the steadying influence of the other two.

Roi had never expected a disaster like this.

Again, I know this is more telling than showing, and this, with the last week, makes up a section separated from the action. Suggestions for improvements are welcome!

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This is telling, not showing–I know it, but this and next week’s snippet are information the reader needs to have. Any suggestions for livening it up are welcome!

By choice, Roi was an esper Healer, an artist and devoted to his family. The Healing talent was a legacy from his R’il’nian father, the last survivor of the now-extinct R’il’nai. His creativity was a gift from the Human mother he could barely remember. His love for children and other small, helpless things might have come from his mother as well, though he thought it just as likely to have been learned from Marna, the R’il’nian stepmother who had taught him to use the Healing ability he’d been born with. His birth mother had also given him a gene that was far too dangerous to be passed on–on that, he agreed with the Genetics Board. Luckily Wif had been born before the problem was recognized and was not even a carrier, but Roi had no other children of his own.

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