does anybody really know what time it is?

Does time travel mess with your hair, and do you need passport?

So I just finished reading the latest work from one of my favorite authors, Katie MacAlister, A Tale of Two Vampires.  It is another sequel, if one could call it that, to her Ben & Fran series. (Two of my all-time favorite characters, EVER.)

Although KM is primarily an adult romance writer, she had written some Young Adult (YA) work through the POV of Francesca (Fran) Ghetti and her Dark One, Benedict Czerny in Got Fangs? and Circus of the Darned.  For her adult readers she created a third novel featuring these two characters with In the Company of Vampires.

If you’re reading this, Katie MacAlister, I signed up to join the Moravian Society over a month ago. I’m a super-fan, and I know you’re busy with (hopefully) the next Light Dragons or Dark Ones series, but… I like stuff and am waiting for my free stuff.  <sheepish smile.>

Now, although A Tale of Two Vampires, is separate from Fran & Ben’s story, it is a continuation of that plotline. Focusing on the POVs of Iolanthe Tennyson (Io) as the Beloved and of Benedikt’s father, also a Dark One, Nikola Czerny.  It’s one of the first of KM’s works that features both POVs of the heroine and hero.  Typically her Dark Ones series focuses only on the heroine’s POV.

It was quite refreshing to having both POV’s. As a reader, and in my personal life, I’m quite nosy and prefer to understand exactly what the characters are thinking, whether it is a female or male perspective. I’ll admit, it’s been a little frustrating reading KM’s works from only a female POV.

We’ll get to which POV I prefer to write from at a later time.

Also new to her Dark Ones series is a new turn of events, or rather a sidestep of events by using time travel through ‘portals.’  The idea of portals themselves are not new. Portals have been a longtime part of several of her more recent Dark Ones series; however, the use of portals for time travel is new.

I have yet to watch the old and new series of Dr. Who and focusing on time travel, but it’s on my list of to-do’s.  One of my all time favorite film series is Back to the Future with Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox, and a non-favorite Just Visiting, a failed attempt at campy humor by a typical-favorite-but-disappointed-in-this-film with Christina Applegate.

The protagonist, Io is unknowingly a “Weaver,” a person with the ability to open and close portals through time. She falls through one of these portals back to the eighteenth century, not only to literally crash into Nikola, but she’s actually met his children and has knowledge of his impending doom.

So this brings up a question to you, Precious Readers. If you had knowledge of something horrible happening to someone in the future, and had the ability to stop it, would you? Even if it meant seriously screwing with the space-time continuum or time thread, or plane, or whatever you want to call it?  I’m sure in my youth when I was very easily able to view the world in black and white, my answer would have been “Heck No! Don’t mess with time! It always screws things up!”  Events such as KM describes it, creating a future run by lizards instead of humans.

Yeah, I’d definitely want to avoid that!

But now?  Hmm… I don’t know. There are some things I wish I could erase or fix that hopefully wouldn’t have a large impact in our future world.  The thing that I never understand about time travel plot lines is we only know what is happening to the current environment. Perhaps changing the past doesn’t do anything to our future, but what if it had a direct impact to some other nation?

For an extreme example: What if someone prevented Hitler from being born?  This would greatly affect the whole world’s history, let alone just his family or Germany’s history.  Entire nations may have been shaped completely differently!  And even if those events hadn’t been caused by Hitler, would that mean an event as similar would have happened later, like the USA would have had a brief stint of the KKK ruling for a while or something?

Ew, can’t believe I went there, but… Do you know what I mean?

Speaking of time travel, can we address the spaceship in the room?  What do you think of the new Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams? (Yes, I went with J.J., again.)  By creating a time-loop, similar to what KM was using as a plot device, he was able to open a completely new can of “wormholes” to develop an entirely new, (dare I say, cooler), version to kickoff all new plotlines.

Portals, wormholes, linen closet (for you Sabrina the Teenage Witch 90’s fans).

I was delighted (and frustrated) that the end of A Tale of Two Vampires left a lot of open-ended questions for me, as a reader. With the delight of knowing there would be more to come for these wonderful characters, but a frustration that her next novel featuring Io and Nikola may not necessarily be a standalone novel.

While KM is amazing at creating this paranormal world rich with wit, sass and good humor, she’s not the greatest at leaving a new reader who is introduced in the middle of a 3+ novel story arch with all of their questions about who characters are or environments easy to figure out.  The only reason I’m able to keep up is due to reading her Dark Ones series in order.

I recently finished KM’s work on her Light Dragons series, which I was slightly upset that there was an abundance of characters in the stories from previous Dragon series.  Although the ensemble cast was fun and entertaining, having not read her earlier works of Aisling Grey or her Silver Dragons series, it became difficult to keep everyone and their previous plotlines straight.

Keep in mind there are 4 Aisling Grey novels/novellas, and 3 Silver Dragonsnovels in the series before the 3+ Light Dragonsseries.  (At least there better be more than 3 Light Dragons novels because, again, there were waaay too many open-ended questions left in Sparks Fly, novel 3 of the Light Dragons series.)

You could go as far to say that I started at the end of a timeline and now have to work my way back to the beginning to figure out what the fuck is going on with these dragons of hers.

BTW, KM does address the ‘messed up hair’ issue with the idea that dragons do not like portal travel and it messes them up physically and mentally.

As much as I enjoy reading about time travel, I do not personally prefer to force myself to go through it. Especially with plot lines.

What do you think? Do you think time travel is a fun plot device used by writers? Do you prefer everyone just stick with the time space continuum they’re a part of and let that sleeping dog lie? What about the idea of interacting with someone from the future or past? Which are some of your favorite time travel books and films?  (Also, do you recommend the recent Dr. Who, series?  Is it good?)

don’t worry, i won’t reference Thor

Can’t we all just get along?

So, of course, my first attempt at a weekly blog post would be to tackle a highly sensitive topic: Science versus Faith.

That’s right.

This topic is one so passionately discussed, it has divided and united colleagues, friends and even family. It has been the tiniest kindle to spark a conversation, all the way to being the vessel that spawned wars amongst great nations.

The Crusades, anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

One of my all time favorite shows, which is of course the entire world’s favorite: J. J. Abram’s, LOST Heck, an entire episode was dedicated to this debate.

Are you beginning to grasp that I’m a huge J. J. Abram’s fan, yet?

Though several critics believe the titular battle was between characters Jack and Locke, the producers insist it was actually an internal struggle of the character, Dr. Jack Shepard, a gifted spinal surgeon or “man of science” who must confront several spiritual questions by The Island, such as the concept of free will, fate and destiny.  Several plot devices are the direct consequence of a “leap of faith” choice each character makes.

Now, from previous posts I’ve made, it is clear that I am a woman of faith. But I promise, Precious Readers, I’m not going to use this blog to get preachy.  This is an important topic for any writer to explore, and this post is just to open the door for some friendly debate. 

Keyword: FRIENDLY.  Let’s keep it nice here.

Now keep in mind: religion is the “showboat” of faith, it’s the sexy representation of “faith.” But remember, “faith” is a concept. Not a religion itself. Many people forget this, but it’s true. In fact, organized religion isn’t even the top definition: defines faith as:

1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
5. A system of religious belief

Now bear with me, sciency-based peoples, you’ll have a turn too.

It’s important to note that faith was first described as “confidence or trust in a person or thing” and that “belief that is not based on proof” was definition #2, NOT #1. Having faith is not directly tied to a religion.  It is the idea of believing in something.  It can be yourself, in others, in another concept such as “love” or “destiny.”

And what about science?  Is science strictly all numbers, equations, and hard fact?  Read this next description and you tell me:

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines science as:

1. The state of knowing: knowledge as distinguised from ignorance or misunderstanding
2. A department of systemized knowledge as an object of study
3. Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
4. Such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena: natural science
5. A system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws

The way I’m interpreting this, is that humanity has driven a hard line between science: a concept of discovery or search for understanding, and faith: believing in something without understanding.  But are these areas so clearly separated?  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. I think these two concepts are more intertwined than we care to admit.

Discovery is the journey of finding something we haven’t seen or understood. Science is the process of making a discovery. But, wait a second.  Isn’t believing that “the truth is out there” its own version of faith?  Wouldn’t a scientist have to believe that there is more knowledge “out there” to pursue discovering it? Research is just a method to prove their belief, whether that proof is right or wrong. A researcher must have faith that the proof is “out there.”

Now, you may be wondering, what’s my theory?  It’ll probably be just another “Bible thumper” answer and that Christianity is the end all/be all. That believe in Jesus Christ is all that matters, and that’s it.

Well, you’d be wrong.

It is human nature to want to understand our surroundings. “Science,” the need for discovery and understanding of our world is a necessary thing. Nature, humanity, love, connection – these are all mysteries that should never go unsolved. Sure my foundation of how this world was created may be different than yours, but maybe you and I aren’t that different after all.

Some find it surprising, but I’m a Christian and I have a love of science fiction. I’m a semi-Trekker and paranormal enthusiast.  But even Star Trek was “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Isn’t that having faith that there is more to understand, even though we don’t have proof that it’s out there?

I know. Long-ass way of getting here, but this is a lengthy topic.  But…

Riddle me this:

What is the absolute question that everyone asks themselves at least once?  Of course, the answer is: Why are we here?  The core of any human is the pursuit of finding a greater understanding of who we are and our purpose.

But wait, a second… Didn’t we just decide that was also the entire purpose of science, too?  The pursuit of understanding?

I am a Christian, but I also believe God gave me a brain. I enjoy using it. Although there are some individuals I swear have theirs shoved up their a- Oh, never mind. Back to the topic at hand! 

I believe there is a place for science and faith in this world, and discovering the unknown is the the ultimate pursuit, whether it’s science-driven or faith-driven.  Instead of thinking of them as enemies, think of them more as concepts that need each other. They’re not at war with each other. They’re at perfect balance and will help us to understand more than we ever dreamed of.

What do you think?  Does faith have a home in science and vice versa? Or are they really two different animals?

And… Ok, I can’t help myself. Maybe ONE Thor reference. Enjoy.

destroying what little privacy there ever was to begin with

It’s a lot of work to be a nobody.

Trying to keep up with the world as it is today means being a public figure. (Don’t worry, I have zero ambition to become a politician.  I’m so accident-prone, I’d probably get impeached within five minutes for accidentally breaking something valued at a number worth more than my life and all my possessions combined.)  In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to meet an American without connecting through some form of technology.

  • Desktops, laptops, “air” laptops
  • iPads, tablets, readers
  • Cordless phones, cellular phones, smart phones

Um… Since when did inanimate objects begin having fiercer competition than the Olympics?

The relationship between technology and its user is a fluid, living, organic being.  Technology can create, shape (and sometimes disastrously fail) its users.  Technology can make or break you.

One of my favorite director/producer/writer/guest lecturer and all-around smart guy, J. J. Abrams, once gave a guest lecture for, discussing the idea of the “Mystery Box.” Now, although his lecture was not directly about technology, there was a portion of his lecture where he discussed YouTube and today’s technology, mentioning how he is excited about the videos on YouTube.

Are you kidding me? J. J. Abrams is glad about YouTube?

His comment was (and I’m paraphrasing his quote, here) when he was a child, video equipment was so expensive for a young filmmaker, that you could only have your movies viewed if a large production company was covering the bill.  With the advancements in technology, the ability to have access to technology is easy and cheap despite your background or home life, upload the video to your computer, feature it on your YouTube page and ta-da! Anyone can be a filmmaker.

You might think, he’d be worried about the competition. (Oh, please. Let’s face it. It’s difficult to compete stylistically with that guy. Abrams = Awesome.)  But no. He celebrates the fact that people of all ages, gender, background, income, etc. can make a film and publish it to YouTube and garner a fanbase.  (Anyone noting the correlation of this statement with the fact that I’m an unknown author with not-quite-yet-published work?)

How many vocal artists today have become international sensations due to YouTube?  Writers and authors (there’s a difference, but that’s also a topic for another time), are able to get their work out to the masses through self-publishing on places like Amazon and iBooks.

WordPress, anyone?  Hint-hint, nudge-nudge, wink-wink?  <Cough!>

Quick time warp to 1993: I remember looking at my grandma, wide-eyed and shocked at the fact that she had lived before cars were invented.

(Stay with me here, there’s a point.)

Slight flash forward to 2001: I remember babysitting a family friend’s 7-year-old daughter. We’ll call her Jazzy.

Jazzy was in the back of my first love, my car Bob (more on him another day), and her giving me the same wide-eyed and shocked look as she stated, “You were alive before the Internet?”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Technology can change in a flash, or sometimes a literal spark depending on what tools you’re working with, and it’s important for one to keep up with the times.  Sure, starting a blog in 2012 is not necessarily rocket science.  In fact, having some sort of online presence is much more common than it is to go without one.

Here’s my point. Thanks for sticking with me.

Having a blog that’s sort-of out there isn’t enough. Taking the initial initiative by starting this blog was great, but now I need to push further.  That way, when (note: I didn’t say “if”) I’m published in the future, all of you (or maybe all five of you?) will have shared this journey with me.

You may be few, but you’re precious to me.  <singing> We shall overcome!

Ok… Sorry. I’ll stop now.

Our online relationship via technology can reach the next level. I get to share my joys (sometimes sorrows, but hopefully more joys) with me.  And I thank you for your loyalty even before I’ve gotten anywhere near my goal.

To boost more pre-publication fans and maintain my little corner of the virtual world, I’ve just setup a Facebook page!

Oh, Facebook. You’re truly a blessing and a curse.  You help me stay connected with my most precious loved ones (and some funny games), but curse me to review you constantly throughout the day.

Pityingly enough, my poor page has just little ol’ me on it.

Help me. I’ve ‘Liked’ myself.  That’s like giving yourself a high-five.  (Although, per my “About Me” page, we have already established that I enjoy high-fives.)

Please check it out, ‘Like’ my page, and let’s see if we can get this global!

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 8: What about their earlier school days? Write a scene of your character in grade school or middle school.

At the sound of the bell, Hallie packed up her notebook, slinging the padded strap of her orange backpack over her shoulder and headed out the door to get ready for another lecture on the French Revolution.

Slamming her locker shut, she turned and smacked face-first into a wall, her books falling to the floor.  The “wall” turned out to be a chest. She looked up. And up. And up. Being 5’3” Hallie was used to being shorter than everyone, but the boy attached to this chest had to be just over six feet.  He also happened to be the most drop-dead gorgeous boy she’d ever seen.

“Oh!” Words. Words would be good to use right about now.  “I-um… Sorry.  I wasn’t-… I mean… I didn’t look where I was going.”  Letting out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding, she blinked a few times, temporarily forgetting how to speak.

A voice, deep and smooth, enveloped her like a warm blanket.

“No problem,” he replied. “Here, let me help you.” He stooped down to pick up her books. As she leaned down gathering the papers that had fallen out of her notebook, she stole glances at him.  His eyes shifted up briefly and grinned at her.

Oh dear lord.  Eyes a deep shade denim, with a straight nose, charcoal black hair, and lips that were so kissable they were causing her stomach do all kinds of backflips at the moment.

“Thanks… I, um… Yeah. Thanks.”  She gave him a weak smile and felt a blush crawling up her neck.  After returning her history notes, he cocked his head slightly and softened his grin as if amused by her lack of ability to put words together.

“I’m Wes.”


They stood in the hall, the sounds of the other students fading into the background to a soft murmur and stared at each other. Analyzing each other.  A very unconvincing coughing sound outside of their personal bubble space made her snap back to reality.

“Am I interrupting something?” Hallie’s brother Henry appeared. How long had he been there?  Henry watched both of them, switching back and forth from each face as if witnessing a tennis match.  Curiosity at her and with skepticism towards Henry.