Smashwords update

Hello! I’ve updated my Smashwords profile, and my updated interview is here.

I have a variety of works for sale on the site, including a fantasy romance, some silly stories involving my characters Agent Diamond and Charming Guy, a science fiction story about romance gone wrong, and a story based on a character from my recently finished novel Infinity. All of these stories are, to a degree, intended to be humorous. You can download excerpts for free, and I’ve set the price of each story to $1.99 USD, which is less than the price of a cup of coffee. I formatted these works myself, so I apologize if there are imperfections in the resultant ebooks, and if I’m made aware of them I’ll try to fix these.

I’m currently editing the final drafts of Anagama and Infinity, but once I am finished with this I will probably start posting a few more works for sale on Smashwords.

Some shows somebody should make

It occurs to me that TV is a great medium for reaching a lot of people, including people who don’t really want to enroll in classes or take online courses, or do a lot of their own research. This is, I think, most people. They may lack skills, time, inclination, or all these things, when it comes to seeking information- but TV can bring it right into their homes.

As such, I am embarking on a difficult task- I have ideas for two nonfiction series which I think would be of great public benefit and might actually help change minds. The first is a sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos- I am not Carl Sagan and I do not have his stature, and I have not written an amazing book like Cosmos which explains a lot of scientific phenomena. I am, however, a scientist and a biologist in particular, and I have thought of a string of topics related to my specialities which would encompass discussion of not just neat things like astrobiology, but topics that people actually need to know about, like basic molecular biology (how DNA and RNA work and what they are, and what genetic modification is and means), basic immunology (how vaccines work), risk assessment (is this technology risky? What common sense approaches do we use to assess this?), and some psychology (resistance to climate change information). I’d like to put all these important topics into perspective, especially for people afraid of vaccines and GMOs, or who are skeptical of climate change being a man-made phenomenon.

The second series is less well-defined for me- I’d like to focus specifically on critical thinking, logic, media literacy, and discussion of a variety of topics, starting with innocuous ones (is a hot dog a sandwich?) and going on to discuss more controversial ones. I want to put all this in context of Russian disinformation campaigns, which the USA is still woefully vulnerable to, and I want to do this as soon as possible- preferably before the 2020 election, though since I have no contacts in TV or entertainment this seems unlikely.

I have tried reaching out to people who might be interested in and able to do these shows, with predictably no result.

I’m putting the concepts here because I know I lack the required skills to do this quickly and I’m hoping someone picks up these ideas. I don’t even care that they are “stolen”, I have plenty of other ideas and I simply care about someone making and releasing these shows before November 2020.

I hope somebody, somewhere, reads this and decides yes, this sounds like a good idea.

On the mass shooting in Dayton, OH

I’m contemplating a mass shooting in Dayton, OH, a place I visit often.

I think that part of the reason people are so angry at strangers and lashing out is lack of support- lack of friends and a social circle, which could be alleviated by mental health support services, lack of those services for the mentally ill, lack of health care and money for things like medication, lack of money- not being able to get a good education or find a good job, and the frustration that might envelop people who want to blame someone for why they are in such a predicament. I think people will lash out- at people they consider are to blame (like other ethnic groups or minorities) or they will lash out at anyone that seems to be better off or happier, which might have been the case with the Oregon District in Dayton.

It’s a sickness exacerbated by austere social program policies which stem from failing to tax the wealthy adequately to pay for those programs, and by President Trump and his hateful white nationalist rhetoric where he’s identifying “others” who are “responsible” for everyone’s apparent problems all the time. Liberals, journalists, immigrants, “elites”, etc. etc. etc.- all these groups have been demonized and it’s also possible that the shooter in Dayton was motivated by hate for liberals, as the Oregon District is know for kind of nicer, “hipster” places. It’s a toxic brew and the only thing that will change it are (a) making it more difficult to get and keep guns that are designed to carry out mass shootings, and (b) changing government policies to make life easier for people who don’t have strong social support networks, or the ability to find a good job- there are so many roadblocks, especially in red and “purple” states, to financial stability and mental health support and so many people really need help. The United States and each state in the union really needs to tax, and spend it on things that will alleviate suffering. It really has to happen, or this county will continue its slide into demagoguery, and despair.

3rd novel is shaping up!

I’ve written three novels, and strangely enough, the one that started first, in 1998 or so as a short story, has taken longer than the others. It’s called Anagama, and it’s set in the first universe as my first novel, Perigee (which I finished in a matter of months in 2001, and re-released with new scenes in 2013). I really like this novel, not just because it’s been such a struggle to get it to work- I kept changing my mind about the plot and characters. Anagama is set in a future dystopian Earth where large corporations are allowed to experiment on anyone whose DNA does not pass threshold for “normal”, and retroviral infections can make a person suddenly a non-person.

I added a new character, Beatrice Holloway, about a year ago and I love her to bits. There is one more character left to change (one of the bad guys- he’s kind of boring as written, so I am giving him a more interesting backstory and life, and have been researching the religion Santeria as a part of this today). Once that’s done, and a few details added in, like the names of operas or references for the sake of continuity, this work will be ready for final proofing and I might actually be able to show it to agents. This novel is more likely to be of interest for sales than Perigee, which was an odd little book I wrote for a friend, or even the novel in between these, Infinity, which again I wrote fairly rapidly. Infinity is a story involving romance, time travel, assassination attempts, and terrible floral arrangements.

I’ve got about 50 ideas for stories for screenplays (which I am learning to write), short stories, and novels which I have not shared and which are largely the product of bipolar dreams. I look forward to finishing Anagama and getting to work on the rest of these.

Have a great day,

Liz

Tick, tock

Creepy story idea based on memories of my high school.

It started in high school. Evelyn found me via one of the guidance counselors who had started a gifted program and insisted I needed to join. I did. I had naively thought that it might help me make some friends.

Upon finding this out, my tormentors decided to do a little “experiment” involving me, where they would find out who I called my friend, and then subject these people to increasing levels of torment until they avoided me. The goal was to isolate me completely. I felt so alone in high school, numb from emotional pain, and I was often suicidal. The fog lifted when I managed to leave campus, so I did that as often as possible. I still managed excellent grades, mostly because my schoolwork was not that difficult.

They decided to up the ante and attack me physically. They thought they were being really clever about it, took their time, made sure different people carried out different parts of the plan. They communicated on one of the early social media boards- a bulletin board- and then they collected as much information about me as they could find.

They would call me, and I would lie.

One of the things I lied about was my whereabouts the night that they decided to kill me. Instead, they killed my pregnant teacher, ironically the same one that had introduced me to Evelyn, dismembering her in Exhibition Park. While Evelyn had help carrying this out, I believe the general concept of the psychological torture I was subjected to was her idea. How clever!

When they realized I was still alive- much much later- that’s when it really began. The many attacks on me, designed to terrorize and make sure I never understood what had happened, could never speak. The witness tampering, the conspiracy to lie under oath, and yes, even impersonation. I was never contacted by police that I can recall. Just to be sure, so many years later, I wrote the local police department this week and asked. I was quite polite and very direct. My seven questions have easy yes or no answers, and will lead them to investigate the subsequent attack I endured, in the Toronto area.

The letter is in the post. It will arrive any day now.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Magnum Opus

I was inspired by the news about Jeffrey Epstein to write a segment involving some recurring dreams about events in Vancouver in 1996 or so. This character is a graduate student that is kidnapped by a vicious woman, drugged, raped, and subsequently arranged by the woman (Evelyn) to be sold into sex slavery “on a boat to Riga” (or that is what I remember him saying, the man in the hotel).

 

 

I believe it was Evelyn in the hallway of the hotel I was in that let me out- a blonde woman, young, I think it was Evelyn, but it might have been the other one.

I think I also took some of the blood on me and drew a pair of lines on my cheek, like the goddess Erzulie, benefactor of slaves. And I think when I woke up after forgetting everything and showered, I realized I had weird bruises and bite marks on my thighs, lower back, breasts. I was scared but I literally could not remember a thing, and then Evelyn called me and said stuff like “you were hiking yesterday, I was with you, you fell down a hill, remember” and that is what I thought happened after.

What I remember now is waking up in a dark room, someone trying to inject me with drugs and I pulled the syringe so it just spilled on my wrist, not in my body, and then I waited. I waited for them to go, for noises to stop, I went outside and my clothes were on the floor in the hallway, tossed like so much garbage. I took them and my worn lace up boots and ran, naked, until I found a stairwell. I dressed in the stairwell, quickly, no boots yet, and ran until I found a doorway and ran outside. I ran until I felt safe enough to put on my boots. No buses running. Early in the morning. I ran and ran and vowed revenge on the people that did this to me, I ran and evaded people in cars and people in long coats and I ran home, and when I was home, the programming Evelyn had put in my head before it all began- that after the third doorway I’d forget everything that had happened that night, I would relax and feel at home- this took effect. The man in the hotel had said I would be the “star attraction” and said something about boats and Europe. Touring Europe. I was supposed to become a sex trafficking victim, unable to go home, no money or resources, trapped in Eastern Europe on boats owned by rich men.

I slept well and deeply, in my own bed, and woke with blood on my face and bite marks and bruises, and I sat in the shower and cried, and then I vowed revenge. I would find out who had done this to me and I would bring every single person responsible to their knees, one by one. It has been a very long time, over two decades.

The wealthy hotel family that nearly bought me figured out that I was no threat to them when I failed to recognize D___ at a party that Evelyn brought me to where he was there.  She told me that I had cost her a lot of money after that, and I did not recognize her at all, she was a random woman on the street. She said she would take it out of me somehow. I forget what she might have arranged to have done but I left for Alabama in 1997, and I felt really strongly like I needed to go there, and I thought for ever so long this was Evelyn’s doing, but in reality, it might have also been mine. And then Evelyn destroyed my marriage, psychologically and sexually tortured me, held a loaded gun to my head, played Russian roulette with me, all while seeming to be my husband whom I married in 1998, and so my mind warped and broke and I became suicidal, and when I realized this I decided to leave. And I did, without telling anyone. She found me again in 2001 in London, ON, after my divorce, and I left there again without telling too many people, and she found me again in 2002 in Riverside, CA. And on and on. I think she “got her money back” by selling pornography of me, drugging me and arranging for me to be raped in an apartment in Etobicoke, ON, first (I thought I was visiting a boyfriend) then later in Riverside, CA, where I lived alone; and by torturing me in various ways. I also think she embezzled money meant for me once she realized she could not keep raping me and she took payments of blackmail for sex crimes committed that were arranged by her, and involved powerful men, and I think she also sold my ideas or thoughts or recordings of me that were not pornographic and pocketed that money as well, pretending to “represent” me. And so on and so on. I don’t know how much blood and misery money she has pocketed and spent upon herself and her “hobbies”. She told me once that I am her “Magnum Opus”.

Evelyn will be the first of these to go. When she goes, the rest of you will know that you will soon follow. I cannot be stopped, I cannot be contained, and I cannot be bribed, pleaded with, or killed. You tried, remember? The marina in Coal Harbor, Vancouver, where you put a plastic bag over my head and dumped my body in a pile of garbage bags?

I survived, I have regained my memory, I am regaining my powers, and I will not be stopped.

Sleep well, while you can.

Found it

At the beginning of 2016 (January 2, to be clear), I had finished a final draft of my manuscript for Anagama, which is set in the same universe as my self-published novel Perigee, ready for review. I thought. I sent it away and hoped for good feedback.

I was puzzled that my reviewers were not able to follow the story, until I looked at the file I had sent- it was corrupted! Somehow chapters from an earlier version of the manuscript (which had a completely different plot) were interleaved with chapters from the actual, finished manuscript. And when I tried to look at my many backups, all of those were corrupted, too.

I won’t speculate as to what happened, though I have my theories. But suffice it to say, I was very pleased when I went through old emails to a friend and found an uncorrupted copy of my book manuscript! I have to read it through carefully, but despite not having proofreading touches added in (like converting en dashes to em dashes, that sort of thing), on first glance it looks like it’s mostly the correct version. I’m so pleased!

I also have spent a bit of time in the intervening years pondering, and there are a few changes I want to make to characters in my “final” draft of Anagama– so while I’m pleased to have a good version of my work in hand (I had spent a lot of time on it, particularly over the Christmas break in 2015), it probably isn’t going to be my last draft.

I’ve been very busy with my two paying jobs for now- I have a backlog of work lined up from when I became ill over the winter, and until I clear that up I won’t have a lot of energy to devote to writing. But I thought I would share this one small triumph with you.

I hope you have a wonderful night,

Liz

 

 

Some thoughts on By Silent Majority, written by Roger Stone’s laywer, Robert Buschel

So, I just read @erinscafe’s brave live-tweeting of wading through much of the novel written by Roger Stone’s (yes, the man arrested yesterday morning and indicted in the Russia investigation) lawyer, Robert Buschel. Apparently By Silent Majority is a mess (I feel much, much better about my writing now) but I would like to bring this to your attention:

 

Note in particular that this is a terrible book, that later in the thread describing the book, a tweet where Roger Stone is credited as providing ideas is indicated, and that in this rather uninspired, unimaginative, and poorly written work, a rather creative idea such as electronically stealing an election is given. I’ll admit that I haven’t read the book myself, but I trust from the criticisms given to the book by @erinscafe are mostly accurate, I really don’t want to.

But, getting back to the electronic election stealing:

Hmmm.

I’ve tweeted to the FBI about this, but it seems to me that this is highly coincidental, perhaps a bit too much so.

 

Back to work

Hey, readers, I struggled for a little bit with health issues (long story), but I seem to have gotten my productivity back. I am behind with Wings but I have to clear out a backlog of work for my two research jobs first. I had hoped to finish Wings by the end of the year, but that seems unlikely as my paid workload is only going to increase over time. I’ll keep you posted on when a first draft seems likely to be completed. Right now it looks like end of February.

I am still working on Cloak. I really, really want to write this one but I don’t yet know the ending! As I’ve mentioned, it is going to be based on current events, borrowing heavily from them, but with some “behind the scenes” information. I have been toying with a variety of endings, but I want them to mesh with real life so that the suspension of disbelief is maintained. So, for example, I can’t end it with the President resigning unless Trump himself actually resigns.

The dreams I’ve had which involve Trump continue. Aside from dreams I’ve had where he asks me, annoyingly, about cheating in elections “for a president, like a high school president” and asks me if it is okay if he has some “friends” help him, and if it is okay if they are “foreign students”, I’ve had others (and those have been recurring for well over 18 months now). Here’s an excerpt from an email I wrote to a friend describing one persistent dream:

“Have two jobs and they’re hard to stay focused on all the time with the circus going on in my head. One of the less distrurbing things going on that I can tell you about: I had dreams that I[‘ve] met Stephen Colbert (late-night show host)… I keep thinking I’ve met him many times before and that he is undercover on some kind of secret mission to overthrow Trump that I’m involved in, and that after the midterm elections in the USA there will be a sex tape of Trump involving pig noises (it’s an audiotape) released. “

So there you have it, folks. This would, of course, make a truly excellent ending to my book, but I want to stick with suspension of disbelief.

Hope you have a great day.