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L. Shelby - Cultivator Universe

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Peluge's Preposterous Adventures

See what Ice Wolf's blue furry investigator is up to today.

Cultivator Universe News

Safari Photo of Polaris

Here’s the book sighting I was talking about in the previous post:
Polaris- A celebration of  Polar Science sighted in Cardston, Alberta

I asked if I could repost it somewhere public so that my fellow contributors could make use of it, and was told “Permission given. We are all very impressed with this book.” Feel free to link to it directly, I got plenty of bandwidth.

Maybe more like the zoo?

If your sister uploads a whole bunch of family reunion photos (from a family reunion that couldn’t make it to) and one of them shows your mother reading your book (or more precisely an anthology that has your story in it), does that count as an “in the wild” book sighting?

Does the fact that you did not give your mother a copy of the book and she (or someone else in the family) must have gone to an actual bookstore to get it, have an effect on whether or not it’s an “in the wild” sighting or not?

And would it count as an “in the wild” sighting for the *other* authors in the anthology?
(If so, I ought to check if that album is available to to the public so I know if I can share a link with them… but not right now, I’m off to Lissa’s next appointment.)

Making it look like a book

My husband was home today, and is very determined about getting his own private copy of Eyes of Infistar as soon as possible, so we spent most of the day turning the submission manuscript into a print ready pdf. He’s mucking with the cover as I write this. (We’ve been getting a lot of ‘can’t save, program error’ messages with that one, I think just because it’s so huge.)

He said that his design goal for this project was “just slightly tacky”.
I told him the correct term was “camp”.

However, as he has included on the cover the line “The Greatest Adventure since Zargoth and the Death Ray.” I think maybe “tacky” has won the day. 🙂

I did try to get some stuff done on my own projects, but forward progress there was minimal. Ah well.

Polaris nominated for another award

Apparently, not only is Polaris (the anthology that contains my story “Frozen Witness”) on the ballot for an Aurora, it has also been short listed for the Canadian Science Writers’ Association Awards.

I remember being rather nervous about the fact that my story had to be vetted by a team of scientists before it could be published in this anthology. I guess this is what makes that extra bit of fingernail chewing worth it. 🙂

Forward Motion

Dicing With Flames is back in production.I’m not up to full speed yet, but while nattering in rec.arts.sf.compostion about what all I’m working at, I got a ‘sounds fascinating’ about Song of Asolde, a ‘sounds fun’ about Eyes of Infistar, and a ‘will you get these stories finished already!’ about Black Flag all within a 24 hour span, so I’m feeling too happy-bouncy right now to angst over being 1105 words shy of my week’s quota.

Another one done

Eyes of Infistar is submitted.
It is now too late to worry about it anymore.

Hopefully I have a year before I have to think about it again much, and I can finally get back to Asond, Samanth and company.

Although, maybe that's being a bit too hopeful. Boyd wants a private printed copy of Eyes, and thus has got cover pictures on his brain. What do I think, he wants to know, of having Algernon striking a heroic pose while Peluge holds up a couple fingers behind his head?

I think that Peluge and Algernon, fun as they are, are not the main characters and shouldn't be allowed to dominate the cover.

Besides, I don't have *time* to work on cover pictures, which are BIG and require a great deal of time consuming attention to detail. Black Flag is behind schedule, Dicing With Flames is supposed be done in February, and I promised myself I would complete the storyboards for Scent of Spring before the end of December.

I'm also in the middle of an overhaul of my writing site.


I have 116 pages worth storyboards for Scent of Spring now, and have reached page 53 of 60 in my script. My calculator says that's 88%, which would make the total length estimate 131 pages. Fifteen more pages to go. My estimated start of 'actual writing' date was today, which I'm obviously going to miss, but I might not be more than a month behind. That's not bad considering this is a third or fourth string project.

Dicing With Flames continues to remain on hold while I do revisions on Eyes of Infistar.

When I'm doing revisions I have a much harder time sticking to a do-so-much-and-no-more type schedule than when I'm writing, so I have a tendency to do a whole lot one day, wear myself out, and spend the next day doing nothing much at all. I'm probably doing just as much actual “work” as I do normally, but the stop and go format is a lot more frustrating. Today I'm on stop, so I need to find something I can do while brain-dead. Blah.

What I did yesterday while brain-dead, was read aloud the first three volumes of Girl Genius, while my kids followed along over my shoulder. I'm pretty good at reading aloud (even if I do say so myself) and it's great material to work with. As I've already read through what's available on my own at least three times already, I only ended up laughing when I was supposed to be delivering lines once or twice. It's a bit awkward working off a web-page, though. Sometimes I don't scroll down far enough, and I miss a speech bubble or two down at the bottom of the page.

Eyes of Infistar

The Donald Maass Literary Agency has a page “This month we are looking for….”, and the latest is Quirky detectives we would like to meet. It just so happens that I have this story I'm supposedly revising, which features quirky detectives. Of course, they seem to be expecting detectives to be found in mystery genre queries, not science fiction, but this way I can give them (almost) what they ask for and surprise them at the same time. Sounds perfect, right?

Okay, maybe not perfect. But it was a tempting enough situation that I have written and snail-mailed a query letter, hoping it would arrive while “this month's” request was still in effect and maybe, therefore, get a smidgen of extra attention. Which means I really can't afford to delay working on Eyes anymore, because you never know, they might ask to see it. (It seems a pity to abandon the characters of Dicing With Flames in the situation they are in, but the mountain can't collapse on them if I'm not there to tell it to, so they can wait.)

So, if you have read Eyes, and sent me comments, and I did not respond saying, 'yes I got them, thank you very much', then I didn't get them. Could you please try sending them again? I would love a chance to thank you for the effort you have gone to on my behalf.

And if you haven't sent me any comments, well, anything you can get to me in the next three weeks or so, will be greatly appreciated. 🙂

Hero Archtypes

I was reading Romancing the Blog (because I can't find the oompha to do anything) and happened on this discussion of romantic hero archetypes listed as being: Chief, Bad Boy, Best Friend, Lost Soul, Charmer, Professor, Swashbuckler and Warrior.

And I found myself thinking: “Is Silver a Lost Soul? I hope not, because Heathcliff is the listed example, and I couldn't stand Heathcliff. And yet, Silver is a Lost Soul. Phooey! And Blood is a Bad Boy, another archtype I despise. Grumble. That isn't all they are, though… they are both Chiefs. And, both Professors…”

Bad Boy Professor. Lost Soul Chief.
Okay, realizing that you have put together some unusual combinations is sort of fun…

…but mostly I don't get the attraction of classifying one's heroes this way. If, say, Darcy from _Pride and Prejudice_ is a Chief and my Ikhsior from Cantata is a Chief, where does that get me? Trying to equate the two in my head just makes me go :glurk!: Other than that they both have a commanding presence (as they would say at the Coral Palace) what have they got in common, and why should I care? (Actually, I think Silver has a lot more in common with Darcy, although I would not classify Darcy as a Lost Soul.)

But, for the record, as close as I can figure, my hero's archetypes
Ikhsior: Chief (That seems so inadequate, but what else fits?)
Asond: Chief (Those two are the *same* archetype? Pardon me while I glurk again.) Professor
Algernon: Swashbuckler
Kide: Charmer
Silver: Lost Soul, Chief, Professor
Blood: Bad Boy, Professor, Chief
Talon: Charmer, Chief, Swashbuckler
Turner: Swashbuckler, er… Turner's reflexes are so fast and deadly that he tends to kill people without really meaning to. Does that make him a Warrior, a Bad Boy, or a Lost Soul?
Harchung: Chief
Cabal: Lost Soul, Professor, Warrior

I'm a bit short on Best Friends. Maybe because I married one?

I think the overabundance of Chiefs is not a romantic issue but something else entirely. It goes back to the question “Why are the main characters in fantasies almost always royalty?” If I take that one on it probably ought to be a different post.

Author's Note on the Cultivator Universe

I had created two fantasy worlds, and wanted to do a science fictional one. But I kept having problems. I could build a science fictional universe around a story (see Black Flag for an example of a universe built around a specific story) but to just build one that stood on it's own was for some reason giving me trouble. I finally realized that it was because I was tripping over the fact that science fiction universes are often seen as a continuation of ours: a possible future. My imagination was choking over my conviction that I was incapable of guessing what the future would be.

So instead of creating a possible future, I created an impossible one.

As soon as I had detached the universe I was building from the real world and real life, by centering it on a concept that was scientificly impossible, I was free to be as scientificly rigorous as I wanted to be in everything else. At the same time I remained free to ignore scientific realities when I thought they were getting in the way of a good yarn. The best aspects of both worlds were mine to play with.

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