Author Photo

Author Photo

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review of Amish Zombies From Space by Kerry Nietz

Kerry Nietz did it again. He took a horror trope and turned in into a science fiction premise that works while simultaneously talking about how people cope with change, community, and family. I did not get the book for free, I paid full price and feel like I got a good deal. In some ways, this is not great literature, in that the writing is not lyrical by any means, which a five star book must usually have for me to rate it so highly, but the story-telling is clear and intelligent. I would have preferred more technical details of how this all works, but Nietz wisely neglected to write a manual to please me, and chose to tell a rollicking tale that at the end made me cry and will please everybody who likes stories of endurance, family, and the big questions of life. I can't look at the cover because it's so icky, but I have grown to trust the author despite his choice of shlocky titles and the occasional unsettling art. This book can be easily read as a stand-alone, though reading the previous Amish Vampires from Space will surely help. There is an indication at the end that there be a sequel to AZfS, and if there is I will buy it. I just hope I won't take so long to get around to it, as I did this, because, you know, zombies, yuck. If you haven't read any of his previous books, such as A Star Curiously Singing, I would like to recommend his other books as well. Do yourself a favor and read at least samples of his novels and see if you would like to go for his rides.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The End on the Kruliss novel

I reached the end of the Kruliss novel on the plane flying home from Florida and the visit with grandchildren there. Yesterday I typed in what I wrote in long hand in the notebook on my lap where I sat next to a window with a view of clouds. I was beginning to feel the Yay! of finishing a book when I remembered I need to insert about ten more flashbacks. And someday I've got to come up with a title for book number nine in the Tales of Talifar series.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Two places you can buy Shatterworld

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Tuning Station by Chris Crawford


There have been plenty of debates between a Christian and an atheist in fiction. But only rarely are both characters as compelling as they are in The Tuning Station, in which we are offered what is arguably the most original approach to this scenario. What if you could have such a debate with a person from whom you could hide very little - because that person is you from a parallel universe? Finding themselves in a mysterious station which allows them to revisit scenes from their lives, the two set about trying to figure out where their lives diverged from one another. What follows is quite literally a journey of self-discovery, as the two iterations discover what they share, what distinguishes them, and what each gained and lost by following the path they did. The story that Crawford tells is deeply moving and powerful, and it works well not just as science fiction, but as a profound and poignant dramatic exploration of religious questions. I highly recommend it. 

Dr. James F. McGrath
Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language & Literature
Department of Philosophy and Religion, Butler University

I went to Amazon to copy my review and paste it here, but my review had disappeared. I liked the book.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Feeling a bit twitterpated

Two days ago I received an email saying Shatterworld will launch on June 23. Trying to figure out how much promotion to do, and thinking I should wait until the book is physically in my hands in case something goes wrong. Finding it hard to finish up the Kruliss novel. I write a sentence, and then think about who I should contact.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Recently we were in Kirkland, WA visiting with two of our sons. We had taken them to The Red Robin restaurant for dinner, and two of us were enjoying our hamburgers on gluten-free buns, when Josh, the collaborator, leaned over and said, "Mom, you are so good at this, I can't believe you haven't done it already. You ought to write a novel from the viewpoint of a Driddion." All I could think was, "Yeah, right."
His teen-age son heard this and said, "Oh, I can see this. The dialogue goes, "Click click click click click." I laughed.
Last year, Josh said he wanted me to write a Game of Thrones type book involving the Gigantics. That seems so far outside my skill set. I don't understand politics, jockeying for position, outflanking opposition, gathering allies, and all that sort of social maneuvering. I do understand stabbing enemies with a knife. I think he's going to need to hire someone else to write that book. Still....that could be fun if I could write like that. We're going to have to work a lot harder on the Gigantic society for me to understand them well enough to write from their viewpoint.
I was thinking that when I finish the Kruliss novel (still looking for a title) of maybe telling a Mountain Man's story. Maybe Montee. I assumed he survived the Warrior Woman attack, but since he never ran across Bowmark again, I just let him go off and do his own thing. A Seafolk story would be interesting. Thinking.
So far:
Scarred King I, II, and III--Bowmark POV Human young man
Sailing From Stoneshell--Spearmark POV Human young man
Killing the Siij--Eberamend POV  Garloon buck, from youth to adulthood, Risli POV Human young woman, Chanter I POV Siij, male pre-birth to adulthood
The Ungols Ride to War--Klikatak POV Ungol male youth to adulthood, short story
Finding Home--Cryout POV Human young man
A Little Magic--Dawn POV Human Little young woman
The Journey of Pledgekept--Pledgekept POV Human young man
The Kruliss novel--Atiuk POV Kruliss male youth to adulthood

Hmmm, our intended audience is young adult, so I won't apologize for the ages of the main characters, but that so many of them are young men tells me I do need to add more variety. Maybe I do need to add some dialogue in clicks.

correspondence for collaboration

In case you're interested, here's a little correspondence between my son and I about the series we are collaborating in:

On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM, Lelia  wrote:
I think I have an idea for the ending of the Journey of Pledgekept. What’s been bothering me is so far in Stone Grove, is he’s been watching Bowmark act. At the ending, HE needs to be the actor, not the watcher. So, I’m thinking, when the nobles convene to vote for the first time in their lives, Pledgekept will address them in story or song. He can’t fight. I’ve spent an entire novel establishing that. But he can tell a story. So I’m running through scenarios right now, not writing, but thinking through this conversation and that. What would be the most dramatic? Thinking, thinking.

Still waiting to hear from you on whether or not the slight changes I put in the Kruliss novel pass your inspection before I go too deeply into the rest of the novel.
From: Josh Foreman 
Sent: Friday, May 08, 2015 6:35 PM
To: Lelia
Subject: Re: end for journey

I'll try to read that tonight.  Been a very busy week at work.

From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 7:35 PM
To: Lelia
Yeah that works.  The only minor thing I'd like is if there was an indeterminate amount of days between the first and second Gigantic encounter so I can fill it with other stuff in a movie if needed.

at 7:45 PM, Lelia  wrote:
I’ve seen enough movie adaptations of books to know the movie director can put in as many days as she likes between scenes.

On Sun, May 10, 2015

From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 11:48 PM
To: Lelia
Subject: Re: end for journey

You're forgetting the ENTIRE POINT OF MY WORLD, which is that every story told in every medium is canon and DO NOT CONFLICT. If the book says "the third day on the river..." then a movie I make is not going to move that stuff around.  Part of the reason this isn't done in other fictional worlds is because the material being made in one medium isn't designed to be flexible for other mediums.  But if we make sure our stories are approached from the ground up with that flexibility then that will make the multimedia expressions much easier to manage. What we are building is unprecedented, and so this stuff has to be figured out as we go.  But it's that ground-breaking approach that is going to bring success!   

On Mon, May 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM, Lelia  wrote:
Oh, right. You have a lousy employee.

Subject: Re: end for journey
 Well you have seniority so I'll never fire you.  ;) 

Josh has to put up with a lot with his stable of one writer so far. From book to book, sometimes from chapter to chapter, I change what is capitalized and what isn't. I change the names of things. I change what is hyphenated and what isn't. I forget the names of cities and continents. 

What I have to put up with is his occasional changing what an alien looks like. Then I have to go back through all the novels and change all my descriptions. And after I'd written about a particular alien that I had invented (and he graciously let stay in the pantheon) for five books, he GAVE THE ALIEN FOUR LEGS! Huff huff huff. It is his universe, so he gets final say. Still....go back and change. The Giants became the Gigantics and lost a pair of arms, and changed the nature of their feet, and hands, and everything else. Go back and change.

Then there was the time we were working slowly through the first long book (which later became a trilogy). The first book took years to write as we were still working through the geography, peoples, and rules for the world of Talifar. So here we were, two years in, and my son tells me, "Oh, I forgot. Bowmark needs to be chased by a Warrior Woman through the entire novel." Explosion ensues. So Bowmark (who Josh had initially named Bomar) now is chased by a Warrior Woman for the second half of the novel, or, one and a half novels, unless we change the book again.

We wrestle from time to time about the names and their spellings of the aliens. I usually win those arguments (ie. Bomar to Bowmark). When everybody in my critique group trips over a name, even though it's OBVIOUS to me how it should be pronounced, I change the spelling. And go back and change.