May Stats

Here are my stats for May.  My words/hour ratio is lower than April because I spent the month editing two stories.  But I almost got in my age-old goal of an hour a day (although the current goal is 100 words a day, which seems to work a lot better).




Fireball Sighting

Yesterday, as my family was driving down the freeway, I saw a bright light in the sky.  Initially, I thought it was a helicopter with its lights on, but it was moving too fast and disappeared midair.

Since watching meteor showers and trying to “catch” a meteor with my camera is a hobby of mine, I suspected I had seen a stray fireball, so I took note of the time and our location (and wished we had a dashcam that would have caught the event).

When I got home, I checked the American Meteor Society web site, and someone else in the area had reported seeing a fireball at the same time!  So I contributed to science and added my observation.

I also checked my favorite satellite visibility web site, and the time and trajectory did not match up with any visible satellites or Iridium flares (and I think it was moving too fast to be either).

That event is now AMS event 1149 with three observers to date.

Did anyone else in the Houston area see it?  Do you have any stories of other fireballs you have seen?

The most amazing one I’ve ever see was over Florida almost 20 years ago.  Amazingly bright and I was convinced that one landed somewhere.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to capture or report that data at the time, but I’ve always wondered what happened to it.

Human Characteristics in Aliens


I am working on revising a short story I wrote about sea aliens earlier this year.

The sea aliens are, physically, nothing like humans.  They look like saucers, move by sucking in and blowing out water, and communicate by wrinkling their surfaces.

Even though it is critical to the story that the sea aliens communicate with one another, I missed two obvious opportunities to have them do so.  In both cases, the aliens are in a dangerous situation.  If humans were in a similar situation, we would be nattering away to each other about what to do.  I live on the Texas gulf coast, and whenever a hurricane comes into the gulf and especially when Hurricanes Rita and Ike were headed for us, we were continuously talking about what the hurricane would do, what we should do, and what we could lose.

So why didn’t I have my aliens doing the same thing?

After all, part of the fun of creating aliens is to think about what life would be like for a different type of intelligent being.  What would threaten them? What would be important to them?  What goals would they have?  The answers to these questions depend up on the aliens, of course, and I find them fascinating.

And yet I didn’t have my aliens communicating when they would be.

I think that is because I fell into the laziness trap and didn’t think through how the aliens would behave in these situations.  And, because I didn’t think, I had them behaving like the animals they look like instead of like the aliens they are.

That was wrong, and I am fortunate that some excellent critiquers pointed that error out to me.  I will be fixing it in the rewrite.

Have you thought through how the aliens behave in your SF?

Have you read any SF where you thought the aliens were too much like animals?  Or too much like people?

Broken Collarbone Inspiration

A month ago, on a rainy day, I slipped and fell on my tile floor while walking into my own house.  I was so stunned when I fell that I think my brain stopped working for a few minutes because I could not do anything.  When my brain cranked back into gear, I had a hard time getting up because my right arm (my dominant arm, of course) hurt so much.  A trip to the ER revealed a broken collarbone.

The bad news is that this has cut into my writing time because I haven’t wanted to do much.  The good news is that I’ve had lots of time to read.

I’ve been enjoying the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear.  In the author interview at the end of the first book, she says that she had an accident while writing the book that kept her from using her right arm.  Apparently a friend asked her, “Well, you’ve got a left arm, haven’t you?”  So she wrote much of the book with just her left hand.  Inspiration!  I still have a left hand, too, and I can even use my right hand some of the time.  I need to get back to writing.

It has taken a month, but I am finally able to get through a day without taking pain medicine (NB: I hate taking medicine, so that doesn’t mean pain free).  And so far today has been a 830 word day.  Yea!

What inspires you?

April Stats

Here are my stats for April.  Late and low this month, for reasons that will be explained in my next post.  My words/hour ratio is better than March, mostly because I was writing something new instead of revising.