Welcome to Fall

The weather in my native North Carolina is finally starting to feel like fall. We routinely have very warm nights in October all the way to Halloween but this year we are already getting low temperatures in the 50’s and 40’s. The leaves are turning and the mountains are even starting to get frost warnings. I love the fall.

I rearranged all of my furniture and stuff a few days ago. It had been over a year. I didn’t realize it had been so long. When we don’t change things up we get stuck in a rut. We may not realize it but we start to stagnate in our own stench. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

Our energy, our chi, flows around us and moves with us. When we don’t let it have some room to breathe it becomes stale. It needs fresh air now and then to re-energize it. That includes our spaces and how we arrange the things around us. Yes, the way you stack the magazines on the coffee table can actually be important. Did you know that the principles of feng shui say not to store anything under your bed? It blocks energy flow at night when you are the weakest. Now, ask me how much stuff I had to relocate from under my bed after a whole year…

Turn off the news. Ignore the politics for awhile. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and the cooler breeze. Appreciate the leaves turning red, orange, and gold. Decorate your porch with pumpkins and scarecrows and mums. Recharge your energy before winter gets here.

th_windows7theme2

Guest Blog: Karina Fabian

I’m doing my favorite thing for my birthday. I’m hosting one of my favorite people on my blog. Karina Fabian is a wonderful writer I have been honored to call a friend for several years now. She has several books available through Amazon, her site Fabianspace, and all over the internet. Seriously, Google her.

Her latest release from Full Quiver Press, Discovery, is about nuns on an exploratory mission to investigate a crashed space ship on an asteroid. I asked Karina about how science fiction and our current technology were related. It got her started on why she loves writing science fiction. Check out her response below. Then go over to her site and check out all of her work.

discovery-front-final

 

Why I Love Writing Science Fiction

One of the best things about being a writer of science fiction and fantasy is that sometimes, science fiction comes true. Communicators and replicators of Star Trek are cell phones and three-D printers of today, for example, but there are scores of different technologies that were imagined or popularized by science fiction writers long before they became practical technologies.

There are three reasons for this. The first is that scientists are often science fiction writers. Isaac Asimov, who wrote Foundations, I Robot and other famous science fiction stories, was a biochemist. More recently, we have Michael Crichton and Travis Taylor, both science fiction writers with science degrees.

Second, science fiction authors, even when not scientists themselves, often study science and think about the applications. For my own stories, like Discovery, I had to study VASIMR drives and spacesuit technology. I then pushed that technology about 150 years into the future, imagining what we could do if untried research came to fruition and widespread use. Other writers (and me, in other stories) push the envelope further, taking wild theories and imagining their applications and consequences, and when no theory is available, creating one in a “What if”?

The final reason – and my favorite – is that scientists are inspired by science fiction. It’s no surprise that the communicator of the 1960s Star Trek became the flip phone of the 80s. The inventor was directly inspired by the design. Many other Star Trek technologies, even the outlandish idea of warp drive, are being studied by scientists today. In print, we can point to Jules Verne, whose story, “Five Weeks in a Balloon” inspired Sirkorski to invent the helicopter.

As technology grows, so do writers’ imaginations, and those imaginations spark further growth in science and technology. It’s a wonderful symbiotic relationship that makes me proud to be a science fiction writer.

Be True 2 You

How many masks do you wear? Are you one person at work? Another person at home? Someone else around your friends? Do you know who the real you is?

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme today about being true to your authentic self. It struck a chord with me. I’m certainly a different person at work than I am at home. The real me is still inside there but she doesn’t come out much. Why do we do that?

For me personally, I only feel like Me when I’m alone or with someone I trust a whole lot. I was Me when I was in my dorm room alone, dancing with my headphones on. I was Me sitting up until 3:00 am reading because I loved the story so much I couldn’t put it down. I’m Me when I put down the car windows and sing at the top of my lungs.

I’m the most Me when I’m passionate about what I’m doing. If I can’t show you how I feeldancingfairy about something then I either don’t like it a lot or I don’t feel comfortable showing you the real me. The problem starts when other people tell us how to act. Don’t get me wrong. There are times and places for everything and appropriate behaviors accordingly. But when you’re a child and you’re told to put down the book your reading or to stop singing and go clean your room or to go change clothes because those colors don’t match…you lose a part of who You are.

Find the parts of you that you hide from the rest of the world. Find those things you are passionate about. Share them with someone who has no clue who you are. Go play in the rain. Dance and sing. We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Remember the things that make you happy and bring them out for the world to see. Be true to you.

Evolution

Don’t get your panties in a wad. I’m not talking about diverging arguments on the origin of life. I’m talking about how we change as people. Maturity comes with time and experience. Note I didn’t say age. You can be in your 40’s and still act like a 12-year-old. I said maturity, all the changes you go through (hopefully) as you experience life and learn how to interact with other people.

Think back to the person you were at age 9, 15, 18. Are you the same person now? I know I’m not. I have learned so much in those years since then there is no way I could still be the same person. Experiences in life change us, whether for better or worse. If you become a famous writer, would you want new readers to know the person you are right now? Or do you want them to judge you based on memories of the kid who sat behind you in English class? If you meet someone and they talk about how a person was in high school or college, there’s a really good chance that person is nothing like they are now at 30, 35, 40 years old.

Whether we like it or not, we judge other people. Everybody does it to some degree. We learn to judge because we learn to make comparisons. As little kids we are open to everything and absorb the world like a sponge takes up Kool-aid. Then we start to compare things. Do I like the blue one or the green one? We may not understand our choices but we make those choices just the same. As we get older, we realize we love blueberries but we hate green apples. Green apples become evil. We judge them. We look down on them. But there is nothing inherently evil about green apples.

The same thing happens with people. We may not like certain behaviors so we vilify people who exhibit those behaviors. But people change. You can’t judge a 40-year-old person you have never met based on the opinion of someone who knew that person when he/she was 16. Well, you can judge that person but how is that fair to them or yourself? You limit yourself when you don’t do your own research and form your own opinion without bias.

We all have our own behaviors that others might find strange or disagree with. Does that mean our behavior is wrong? Does it mean the other person is an asshole? Why does it even have to be an issue? In order to grow as human beings, stop judging people. If you don’t want to get butthurt every time somebody disagrees with you, stop worrying about what other people think. Learn. Research. Study people and life and behaviors and the universe and everything else. Then form an intelligent opinion without bias from somebody else. That is maturity. That is evolution.

A whole forest or just some trees?

Sometimes we need a little help to figure stuff out. The big stuff. Deep stuff. Stuff we don’t always like to examine in the light of day. I came across a blog post today that really struck a nerve. Here is the part that brought me to tears:

“When I feel better, I am more creative and more willing to allow myself to take the risk of feeling good about myself. Isn’t that strange? It’s a thing that I do, that I’ve done for my whole life: I don’t want to take the risk of feeling good about myself, because I’m afraid that I’ll get complacent, or arrogant, or someone will discover the Truth that my Depression tells me: I’m not that great and I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.”

I’ve never felt like I was depressed. Sometimes aggravated and upset with myself that I haven’t ended up where I thought I would be by now. But I never considered it depression. When I found this blog post from Wil Wheaton, I realized that what he described is exactly how I feel. I don’t know when it started but I have the feeling it goes way back. Mom had a way of making me feel guilty for doing something well, even my grades. I wasn’t given a choice but to make good grades. Yet she would fuss at me for always having my nose in a book whether it was for school or not.

How do you learn to break free from that when it’s all you were ever taught by the one person who’s supposed to love you and encourage you and nurture you above all others? For a lot of the time I remember, my mother was a miserable person. Nothing I could do to make her happy, nor my dad or my brother. She seemed to revel in it. The more I read about depression, I’m not sure she had a choice. That doesn’t make it any less tragic to instill that thinking into your children.

Now that I recognize what’s going on, I have to stop the cycle. I don’t have kids but I do have friends and family. I don’t want my behavior to be a negative influence on anyone. I recently had a meltdown. I hit my breaking point. And I am now medicated. Hopefully, the medication will help me find my way back to the right path. The path I should have found my way to when I was supposed to be learning who I was.

Here’s the entire blog from Wil Wheaton: http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/seven-things-i-did-to-reboot-my-life/

Get moving…

It’s raining again. I’ve been wanting it to rain. I have arthritis. I feel the rain coming three or four days before it gets here. After the first few hours of rain I stop hurting. I’ve been looking forward to the rain. But now it’s been raining for almost five days. Did I mention I’m allergic to the mold spores that are now piling up on the ground because of all the moisture? Yeah, the weather will always find a way to get me.

The lack of pain that commenced with the rain has helped boost productivity the last few days. Today I’m not feeling very motivated. So I turned to my drug of choice: music. For motivation it needs to be fast and loud and usually rocking. Here’s something to get you started:

Show a little love

You knew this day would come. It happens without fail. Every week of your life. Yes, it’s Monday. Stop whining.

I don’t understand why so many people fear Mondays. We all know it’s going to follow Sunday. Maybe it’s because I don’t work a regular Monday-Friday job. Nah, I’ve done that before and I still didn’t hate Monday.Smile-960x854

This is how I look at it. I woke up. I have a safe place to sleep. I have food to eat. I have people who care about me. I have music and books and football games and crafts to make.

Do I have everything I ever wanted? Am I wealthy? No. And I’m okay with that. I have all of what I need and enough of what I want. Next week when you start to complain about it being Monday again, stop and count all the things you have that you are grateful for. Then think about where you would be if you didn’t have it. It’s time to remember how to be happy for what you have.

Let’s show Monday a little love for a change.

Review: Edward M Erdelac’s With Sword and Pistol

With Sword and Pistol by Edward M Erdelac is a wonderful set of stories. Each involve some type of battle with both steel and pistol in some fashion. Erdelac has a swift voice that quickly immerses you in the worlds he creates. He is a student of fiction and his knowledge shows. You’ll find yourself hanging on every page, absorbing words like oxygen. His imagery is applied with a deft hand. In Night of the Jikininki you get samurai and zombies with images standing out so clearly you can almost hear the Tarantino-esque 70’s music while you read. Red Sails gives you vampire and werewolf pitted against regular mortals in a battle that keeps you spellbound. Sinbad and the Sword of Solomon is everything I remember from watching Sinbad movies as a kid. You get the sailing, monsters, a double cross or two, and a dominant Sinbad that’s true to his swashbuckling inspiration. And finally you have Gully Gods, a tale of former child-soldiers and gangbangers in modern Chicago that delves into the darkness of blood gods and dark magic. If this is your first experience reading Erdelac, you will want more.

Ready, Set…maybe next time

How comfortable are you? No, not your chair. In your skin. When was the last time you tried something new? How often do you step out of your comfort zone? Having a comfort zone can be a good thing. It’s where you feel the strongest, safest and most comfortable. When you feel secure, you have more confidence.

But it’s not always a good thing to be that comfortable. It can lead to a rut so deep you may not realize you’re in it. That can lead to boredom, missed opportunities, a wide posterior. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone. The fear of making a change or trying something new can become monumental if allowed to grow unchecked.

So how do you tell if you’re stuck in a rut? For starters, pay attention to how many times you opt not to do something. Why are you saying no? Is it always for the same reason? Are you too set in your ways to get up and do something? Also pay

attention to how often you chose not to do something that you use to a lot of. When an old friend asks you for a long overdue lunch date or to go for coffee, are you saying no because you’ve had too much coffee already or because you just want to go sit in your comfy chair and not move? Do you find yourself saying, “I’m just too set in my ways” or “I’m too old for that anymore” or “maybe next time?” Pay attention to when and why you say these things. It could be that you’re trying to avoid stepping out for some reason.

We all get tired. We all have days we just want to go home and not deal with the outside world for a few hours. But we all need human contact. We all need to get out in the sunshine and enjoy life. Don’t be afraid to put on some sunblock and step out the door.