Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.


ORU Artifact #24: Background Painting for Opus 6 Cover by Stephanie Johanson

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

Background Painting for Opus 6 Cover by Stephanie Johanson

Opus 6 Background

The blue cloth and red cloth are a tie in with Randy's story, because in his story the sports jerseys become red or blue to show each player what team they are on. While Randy's story is not the only one in Opus 6, the red and blue seemed as if it would be a bold background for the cover image.

I am very fond of portraying texture in my paintings, but not through the texture of the medium, the thickness of the paint. The cloth presented an interesting challenge. I wanted to show folds, light, and shadows. I looked at many photos of cloth, and dug into my collection of sewing material looking for red and blue pieces that might show me the way the cloth might reflect the light. I even pulled out some of my husband's hockey jerseys.

I took photos of the different materials with the light from different angles. I was not completely sure I liked my plan, but it was time to start. I hoped that it would come together as I mixed the paint and let my brush express the shape. When I finally stood back from the painting, the shades of blue and red weren't exactly as I pictured them in my head, but they did seem to flow and have the motion of cloth.

I decided to do the background and the foreground as separate paintings. They are acrylic on canvas. I photographed each and combined these elements digitally. This gives the full impression of a painting and still allowed me to have the advantages of a layered digital image. The plan was to be able to reposition elements if the layout wasn't exactly what was needed for the cover.


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 26

Golden Souls 26

Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.

The Gun

"Yes, I know, I should be threatening this vile imposter with a sword, instead," Ril said bitterly. "But Dee has no men of honor to defend you. There is only me. And I will damn my immortal soul before I let another Golden Princess be sacrificed to vulgar conquerors! You will not be another Sacrifice, my dear, dear Dela!"

Amel stood facing Dela with his eyes half-closed, fighting for control of the demons in his memory.

He's going to have another fit! thought Dela. If he did, Ril might actually shoot him! Then there would be no saving any of them.

Dela sprang up and knocked Amel down to get between him and Ril's line of fire.

"Dela!" Ril cried, horrified to come so close to shooting the Golden Princess she was trying to defend.

Amel curled up in a ball on the floor at Dela’s feet. Dela fell to her knees beside him saying, "oh no, oh no," in little gasps. Her hands fluttered, trying to decide whether to risk touching him or not, to see if he’d been shot. She had so little experience of firearms she’d no idea.

"Leave him!" Ril exclaimed, excitedly.

Dela scrambled to her feet, wrenching her skirts, and stood firm between Ril’s gun and the fallen Amel.

“No!” she cried. ”Ril, he won’t hurt me!"

Ril's hands shook as she held the gun. "You are too innocent to know what horrors you face! Besides, whether I shoot or not, I am already dead. He has seen me with the gun. It is too late.".Ril’s voice was shrill with fear. She really meant to shoot Amel!

Golden Souls 26

Butt Out of Chair: Join the Healthy Writers Club by Beth Barany

Beth BaranyBeth Barany is a fantasy novelist who writes books to empower girls and women, and a creativity coach for writers, helping writers get their books done and in the hands of their readers. For more about Beth, her writing and her services, check out her site here: You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

I love the Healthy Writers Club. I'd been searching for a way to be a part of a community of writers who also like to work out. But, like a lot of creative people, I didn't want to be locked into some kind of outside structure that didn't match my busy schedule. So when I stumbled upon a blogger's post about the Healthy Writers Club, I jumped on it.

I followed the link to Shallee McArthur's page: and added my blog to the list. On this page, Shallee explains how to partcipate: just do it. It's easy, fun, and free.

Healthy Writers Club

Shallee suggests that we post once a week, on Fridays, or any day we want, and write about our workouts and how it relates to writing. I use writing about my weekly workouts as a way to stay accountable. A list of my Healthy Writers Club posts are on my Writer's Fun Zone blog here:

To join just 1. Be Active; 2. Write about it weekly; 3. Sign up on Shallee's site:

Welcome to the Healthy Writers Club!


ORU Artifact #23 – Cover of Artbook for Chicon 7

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

Michelle Milburn's beautiful cover for the Okal Rel Art Book distributed, in limited edition, at Chicon 7 in 2012. The art book was made possible by ORU patron Kathy Plett. David Lott facilitated its production.

Cover of Artbook for Chicon 7

On the left is cover art from the 2011 edition of ORU novella Kath, showing Kath holding baby Vondar. On the right is the 2011 version of cover art for ORU novella Mekan'stan.


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 25

Golden Souls 25

Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.

Amel and Ril square off

The door opened behind them.

Amel began to rise and turn, then threw himself down over Dela.

Fearing another fit, Dela gave a shriek and thrashed to escape.

"Get away from her," ordered Lady Ril.

Past Amel’s shoulder, Dela could see Ril standing in the door, holding something she was pointing at them. She stopped fighting. She could feel Amel shaking. He loosened his hold on her slowly and straightened, keeping himself between her and Ril.

"Look at me, monster," Ril demanded.

He did not turn, but kept his eyes on Dela instead.

Dela sat up starting to fix her hair. All the wrestling with Amel had shaken thick locks loose. But she froze in shock at the impossible sight of Ril, in the doorway. She was holding the stable hand’s gun in both hands, and pointing it at Amel's back where he stood between Ril and herself.

"Ril!" Dela could hardly breathe. She paused to cough.

"Ril you are holding a gun! A gun!"

Ril could be executed by Vretla Vrel or any of the Dem’Vrel for such a trespass!

Golden Souls 25

Interview with Alessandra White

Alessandra White My name is Alessandra White. I am a technical writing student and I have a degree in history (with an emphasis in English). I love to read and write and I will discuss my appreciation for reading and writing below.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing as a child. I was surrounded by books at a young age and writing was just a natural progression, I think. I was shy, too, and writing was a way to express my feelings rather than by speaking with someone face-to-face.

My parents bought me a collection of children’s encyclopedias when I was a baby so that I could one day read them, which I eventually did. I also spent so much time at the library as a child that I never thought anything of it. I remember one of my earliest and one of my favourite books as a child was Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson. To this day I still consider it one of my favourite books, maybe for nostalgic reasons.

What do you write about?

I write about anything and everything. When I was younger I kept a journal which I wrote in a lot. Then I started reading young adult novels as I got older and decided to write stories about those characters. After that I took a break from writing until I started university. I was constantly writing essays and reports for different classes and I realised then how much I truly loved writing. I would sit in my room or in the computer lab and feel such excitement writing and editing and switching words around and trying to come up with clever opening lines for each paragraph. I also loved looking back at my first draft and final draft and seeing what a difference was made.

What do you enjoy reading?

That I like to read is always changing. I enjoy reading books about my different hobbies and interests. I am interested in nutrition, so I find books on this subject useful and interesting to read about. In the last few years I have realised how much I enjoy history books, so I am always trying to find a good one to read. I also enjoy fiction books which are funny and light.

Is Writing Still Important?

Well, I hope so. Even though we are in an age of text messages and twitter and message boards, I think being able to write well has its place, especially at work, no matter the field. Well written e-mails, documents or presentation slides can make a world of difference.

Also, changing technology has not necessarily changed the importance of the written word. For example, using a Kindle e-book to read a novel or magazine instead of having a physical copy does not take away from the fact that people still want and desire written information.

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