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Book Release Party

This Friday is the book release party for Val Roberts and me at Rediscovered Books in Boise. The event starts at 7 pm, and both Val and I will be reading from our work.

Finally

Life gets in the way. The last couple of years I have been trying really hard to finish the first chapter of my book. It always felt like things kept getting in the way. I can finally say I think I am in the home stretch. This morning I finished the final section of chapter one. Now for a little editing, and review by my editor then it is on to the synopsis. My goal is to have a decent copy for our next writers group that i missed this month. Wish me luck.

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Note to contributing writers of Genre Bender. I know we all have busy lives and such, so if you want to reprint a post from your personal blog to this one, feel free. This helps the search engines link to you and your site more often and that helps people find you. So it’s kind of a win-win scenario for everyone.

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Homemade Novel Art

I’m a bit unconventional when it comes to being a writer. I started out my creative life wanting to be a film maker. In those early days, I shot a lot of film and video tape. I also did plenty of drawing. Storyboarding is a concept used in film making wherein you draw out your scenes like comic books in little squares or rectangles. The idea is to let you visualize a scene from beginning to end, before you start filming it.

There really is nothing like this in writing a novel, except working out and sticking to an outline. But I’m a visual person. Remember, I was a film major in school. Yes, I’m actually in the IMDB. Anyway, early on in my film making career; so early that I was still in Junior High School, my friends and I started drawing scenes from a SF movie that we planned to make in our back yards that would rival Star Wars. Did I mention we were only 14? Yeah, delusions of grandeur.

Anyway, that movie never really got made, but it was so fun drawing the starships and then actually making little cardboard models of them, that it kept us entertained for hours on end and as my dad used to say, kept us out of the pool halls. Being a diligent archivist, I kept everything we drew. From age 13 through our early twenties. Much later in life, I decided to turn those drawings into a novel. The end result was Starstrikers.

Eight-wing Starfighter

This week on my blog, I’m opening up the vault and showing off some art that we drew as kids that I’m now using for inspiration as I start writing the prequel to StarstrikersStarforgers. Not all the art that I will be showing off was drawn when I was a kid. I continue to sketch scenes from my novels to help me visualize them. I can’t help it, I think in visual terms. But fair warning, I’m not an artist in real life, I only pretend to be one. So some of the drawings are less than spectacular. Well, okay, most of them suck. But you can still see where I’m coming from with each brief description.

So how about it, do any of the other distinguished writers on Genre Bender doodle before they write?

New Cover Art

Thought I’d post here, since it’s been a while. Well, okay, maybe like a year or more. So long ago, I can’t remember when I last posted here. Anyway, I have some news. This week I’m launching my first anthology of SF stories. It’s called, Tales From Ocherva Vol 1, and here is the awesome cover for it:

You can find out more about the e-book only anthology over at my web site: http://ken-mcconnell.com. I promise to post here a little more often in the coming weeks. Anyone else join me?

I Have Cover Art

Cover art for Warrior Wisewoman III is here!

http://www.norilana.com/WarriorWisewoman3-TPB-ARC-Front.jpg

Good News

I have some good news to share: my science fiction short story, “The Truth One Sees” will be published in the Warrior Wisewoman III anthology, due out in June.  I had a lot of fun with this story, which is my only work of science fiction to date.  I’m looking forward to seeing what people think of it.

I wrote an article on parapsychology for a local newsletter and someone else (Gothic romanc writers?) picked it up for a reprint, so I thought the Genre Benders might be interested, too. Enjoy…

Parapsychological phenomena fall into two categories, Psi-gamma (cognitive) and Psi-kappa (active). Both were the subject of significant scientific scrutiny in the 1970s, but almost all parapsychology laboratories were shut down before 2000. Apparently ghosts and mediums are currently in fashion. Go figure.

Cognitive Forms

Telepathy is mind reading, the ability to tell what someone is thinking. It’s not all that difficult to fake with a working knowledge of psychology and a subject who isn’t crazy—people tend to think about the same things and body language can be highly informative.

Precognition is the prophet’s talent, knowing what is going to happen in the future. Prophetic dreams are considered forms of precognition—but memory of dreams tends to be selective. I once dreamed that Sting, the rock star, was chasing me around a convenience store, trying to kill me. It wasn’t precognitive, although it was memorable.

Clairvoyance is knowledge gained without communication. The two most interesting forms are psychometry and remote viewing. Psychometry is the ability to glean information from objects—get a piece of the kidnap victim’s clothing and a psychometrist can tell where said victim is being held.

Remote viewing is the ability to see a location without being there. I hate remote viewing, because it’s so very easy to fake by cold reading. I see a grassy area….near a parking lot next to a building…with a stream. Or a ditch. Maybe with a bridge. Yeah. Right.

Are any of these actually possible? Take telepathy, for example. All living humans have electromagnetic fields created by their brains and bodies; someone might have a particular sensitivity to those kinds of fields and be able to decipher thought patterns from particular EM field patterns, sort of like an inner EEG interpreter. But it would be overpowered by the nearest light bulb.

For the rest, you need to go into quantum mechanics and probability fields, and I can’t format for the math here. Let’s just say that sorting the quantum probabilities of a future event or a remote location would take a super-savant. And it would most likely drive him or her crazy.

The Active Forms

The active forms of psychic phenomena all fall under the category telekinesis.

Psychokinesis, the ability to move things with the mind, has been studied by many parapsychologists because results are unambiguous: the object either moved or it didn’t. However, I haven’t been able to find any record of telekinesis performed in a controlled environment. Somehow, people just can’t reproduce it in the lab, using the scientists’ equipment.

I would say psychokinesis is a lot of hooey, except for one thing: my husband.

He’s a gamer who can make dice—mostly 20-sided dice—bow to his will on a regular basis. If he needs to roll a high number, he almost never rolls something less than 15. Conversely, if he needs to roll a low number, it comes up less than 6 at least 70 percent of the time. Statistically, his results are highly improbable—yes, I’ve done the math. Probability math is a lot easier than quantum mechanics math.

I can use the same dice he does without being able to replicate his results, so it’s not the dice. He can replicate it with different dice, though. And he refuses to be scientifically tested—or to go play craps in Vegas. Sigh. If I hadn’t seen him do this with my own eyes, for years, I wouldn’t believe it.

Pyrokinesis is the ability to control fire using only the mind, which was popularized or possibly coined by Stephen King in the novel/movie Firestarter.

Other forms include psychokinetic explosions (possibly a form of pyrokinesis); thermokinesis, or temperature manipulation; magnokinesis (including computer information); aerokinesis; and mind control. There might be other subdivisions, but I haven’t found any scientific explorations of these, let alone anything more esoteric. Most of these subtypes came from comic books.

Scientifically, well, it’s theoretically possible. Matter and energy are different forms of the same stuff; that’s why e = Mc-squared. We routinely use matter to manipulate energy, every time we flip a power switch. Maglev trains use energy to manipulate matter by raising the train cars off the rail. So a human energy field might be able to affect matter—but, as with telepathy, the electromagnetic field of the nearest light bulb would flood out the human signal.

Hey, even my spooky husband has to be touching dice to make them behave strangely.

It takes a different kind of person to make their own dreams come alive. Not everyone is prepared to put in the long hours and hard work it takes to bring a novel to the store shelves in non-traditional ways. I’m one of those crazy, annal retentive, ego centric fools who just has to do things his own way. I’m not content to let others tell me how my books are going to look or even if they get published. That’s just not in my character.

As a youth, I saw the movie Star Wars. Not the Jar-Jar Binks version, the Han Shot First version. It captured my imagination and made me curious about how movies were made. I was all of thirteen years old when I started making my own movies and finding creative ways to reproduce the fantastic special effects showcased in that film. I didn’t just dream of being a film-maker, I rolled up my sleeves, inspired my buddies and together we made movie magic in Super-8 film. Along the way, I learned quite a bit about how films are made, I even majored in Film Production in college. In fact, you can find my name in the credits of some feature films I worked on.

Back when I was a teenager, blowing up cardboard models of space ships that I had designed, I also started writing a story that would languish in my mind for the next twenty years. It was my homage to Star Wars and all the fun times I had making movies as a kid. Eventually, I decided that the only way that story would get finished was to write it as a novel. At least that way I could control the lighting, script, camera and special effects just like a Hollywood director does in a film. After completing the novel, I shopped it around and was routinely rejected from everyone in the publishing business. I felt like I was at the mercy of an establishment that was not really interested in fulfilling my dreams. So I trunked the novel and went on with my life.

Eventually, technology started to catch up with my do-it-yourself attitude. First came the Internet and I saw the potential in HTML to bring my story directly to the people. So I created a website to showcase my novel and all the drawings of space ships and aliens my friends and I made when we were kids. The novel was on display for many years until once again, technology caught up with me. Through Print On Demand services, I could now make my own novel and sell it directly to the people without bothering to go through the traditional publishing process. But there was a problem. I didn’t know how to make a book. I was well versed in screenplays, storyboards and film editing, but I knew nothing about interior design, cover art or copy editing. So I rolled up my sleeves and started to learn.

I’ve now published two books on my own and each new book I write, edit and print; adds to my knowledge about the publishing business. I don’t know everything yet, nor will I ever. But I keep working at it and I keep learning as I go. In a way, it’s no different then when I was a kid and spending my allowance on five minute rolls of film. I was just an amateur back then, and I’m pretty much an amateur now, but I still have that desire to do it myself and make my own dreams come true. My latest book is in the process of being forged into awesomeness with the help of my friends, just like those short films I made as a kid. I have started my own press label to release my books and the books of my friends. Together we will make our dreams come true by taking our publishing future in our own hands. Will we sell millions of books and become house-hold names in the publishing industry. Probably not. But the one thing I have learned is that most of the fun in life is in the journey, not the destination. As long as we have the means to follow our bliss, we should not be afraid of the journey.

Boise Novel Orchard

Boise Novel Orchard is sponsoring a contest! With prizes! For North-West writers and artists!
What do you need to do to win? First, you need to enter. To enter, you’ll need to write something using the theme “bridges.” Fiction and non-fiction should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words, poetry no more than 22 lines. We’re looking for black and white cover art too! There’s a $10 entry fee, with one entry per person.

What are we offering up? Winners will be published in a chapbook, due to be released in May. There’s also a cash prize. Entries are due no later than March 20, 2010.

There are more details here, on the website.