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.


Golden Souls by Lynda Willams – Post 29

Golden Souls 29

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

Soul of Light

Amel excused himself, saying, “I had better go see to what Sen is doing. Can you take care of Lady Ril?”

“Of course!” Dela said. “And please, accept her thanks through me! She’ll come around and understand. You’ll see!”

“Understand what?” Amel asked, looking puzzled again.

Dela dismissed him with a waggle of her fingers and a joyful grin. He smiled back ruefully and slipped away.

Lady Ril spoke up the moment Dela was alone with her. "He forgot," she said. "He forgot what I'd done when the fit took him. He didn’t purposefully shield you, or protect me."

“Nonsense!" Dela exclaimed. "Amel protected you. He wants me to adopt him. He was sad about the horse. He's even reads Fahandlin!” Dela's blue eyes grew wide, "oh dear! He could be Fahandlin! And I said I preferred Princess Darleema's poems. I am so embarrassed."

Ril's head swayed from side to side. She bit her lip. Her stoic old eyes brimmed. “No,” she whimpered. “He can’t be …”

“Yes!” Dela tried to douse her enthusiasm enough to grasp what made her friend so miserable. “Why ever not!” she cried. “Oh, Ril, it fixes everything. It has to be!”

"If he is a Soul of Light," Ril mumbled clutching Dela’s soft hands with clawed fingers. "Oh Dela!" She stared into Dela's open-hearted innocence. "Don't you know what happened to him?"

"He said something about Gelion," Dela groped unwillingly toward seeing what Ril was alarmed about. " When he was a child."

Ril gagged as if her heart had broken. She cracked like an old, dry twig, and fell into Dela's arms.

As she stroked Ril's hair, Ril got out an explanation between sobs. "Consider every reason I could not bear to think of you harmed. Then imagine it all happening to Amel!"

Golden Souls 29

Thoughts on Optimistic SF by B. Pine

B. PineB. Pine is an award-winning fantasy and science fiction author who keeps her days full by writing, gardening, reading and raising her little ones. She is an avid reader of fantasy, science fiction, and vampire novels, particularly stories with backgrounds based on medieval culture from Western Europe and England, where she lived for four years. Her passion for writing was born after taking a college course in creative writing. She graduated from the University of Maryland and Wilmington University with degrees in Business Management and Accounting, respectively. Her debut novel, Familiar Origins, has won two Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, and her Draca Wards series will be continued in 2013. She also has a short story published in The Imperium Saga: Anthology with fellow authors from Silver Leaf Books, LLC. She is currently working on the next installment of her fantasy saga.

My thoughts on Optimistic SF

Our world today is a wondrous place. It is not perfect; there is still too much hunger and suffering. Still, as the saying goes: “There is no time like the present.”

Yet despite all we have accomplished this past century alone, many still worry about our world ending horrifically. The media and speculative TV documentaries have convinced people that we are one disaster away from the end of the human race. Or at the very least, we will experience an apocalypse that will set us back to the Dark Ages.

This does not have to be the case. Technology has evolved at an exponential pace. One hundred years took us from the Wright Brothers to the International Space Station. The planet is now connected in a way no one would have even tried to comprehend when two computers were first hooked up together in UCLA forty-three years ago. Humans are problem solvers. This is why we are not extinct.

We have to believe that we will continue to evolve, not devolve or die out. We have to work on solving problems instead of blaming others for those problems and trying to maintain the status quo.

And how do we solve our problems? By using our imagination.

Stories should fire up the imagination and give readers a sense of hope instead of futility. And that is what I want my stories to do. Once we stop believing we can someday reach the stars, we have doomed ourselves to never doing so.

B. Pine [email protected]

twitter: @B_Pine

ORU Artifact #26 – Proof Reading for Book 9

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]

Proofing Glitch Book 9

Jennifer Lott completed proof-reading for Part 9 of the Okal Rel Saga in December 2012. Here's sippets of the more humorous corrections.

Many thanks Jennifer! And any remaining glitches remain the responsibility of typo-prone author.

Note: Production process is: Lynda's first draft, Lynda's 2nd draft, submission to Edge, Richard Janzen edits Lynda's draft, corrections made by Lynda before re-submission to Edge, Edge returns laidout MS to Lynda for proof-reading, proof-reading corrections returned to Edge.

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Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 28

Golden Souls 28

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

Immortality and Assination

"You will rest now, Immortality," Sen told Amel. "All this has been too much for you, I think. I wish I had the rank to dress down Vretla for making you upset!"

"You mustn't ever, ever challenge Vretla over me!" Amel implored Sen.

"I'm not a fool," Sen Lekker said sourly. Then she softened. "Lean on me," she ordered Amel. He accepted her help to rise. Sen Lekker to keep her arm around his back.

"Really, I am fine now, thank you," Amel said. But he had to tug gently to detach himself.

Dela decided she didn’t like Sen Lekker. The woman was far below Amel’s station as a Pureblood. She would have to have a word with Amel about predatory females. Such things were a mother’s responsibility!

It took Amel nearly five minutes to convince the Dem’ Vrel there was no need for them to stay in the room with himself, Dela and Ril. During those five minutes, Ril said nothing. She stood like a statue, looking devastated. Ronan skulked about, hanging his head, and left with the Dem’Vrel.

The moment they were alone, Dela her arms around Amel’s neck and hugged him.

“Princess Dela!” Amel hugged back, and laughed gently. “You are welcome. But I hope you will make sure Lady Ril doesn’t try to assassinate me again.”

Dela drew back enough to grin at him. No doubt he thought she’d hugged him for saving Lady Ril. And that was part of it. But there was so much more!

She was so happy and excited she couldn’t put her feelings into words.

Golden Souls 28

Congratulations! – A.E. Van Vogt Award

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing is delighted to announce that author J. Brian Clarke won the the inaugural A.E. Van Vogt Award for his novel Alphanauts. The award includes a $1200.00 honorarium (The largest in Canadian Science Fiction writing) and a certificate.

Congratulations as well to finalists Karl Schroeder for Lady of Mazes (Tor) and Matthew Hughes for The Other (Underland Press). The award is sponsored by the Winnipeg Science Fiction Association. The Award is for a book that must be a first-edition full length science fiction novel or full-length science fiction short story anthology, written by an author linked to Western Canada by birth or residency.

A web site dealing with the award, celebrating A. E. Van Vogt's contributions to Canadian writing, and Brian J. Clarke’s win, will be announced ASAP. It will provide details as how one may enter for the 2013 award.

About A. E. Van Vogt (from Winnipeg Science Fiction Association posts)

April 26, 1912, Alfred Elton Van Vogt was born on a farm in Edenburg, a Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada. By July 1939, he had written his first Science Fiction story and had it professionally published. He continued to write in Winnipeg until 1944 and it was during this time that one of his major stories “SLAN” was written. By 1995 he was awarded the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) . He has been the ONLY Canadian Science Fiction Writer to be awarded this major title.

EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

[email protected]

ALPHANAUTS - J. Brian Clarke


The Marlene Awards – Deadline for Submissions January 15,2013

Jean Marie WardJean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as the 2011 WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” (from the anthology Dragon’s Lure) and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. She edited the web magazine Crescent Blues for eight years and now writes for other online venues, including Buzzy Mag. Her web site is

Interviewed by Michelle Carraway

Could you explain what the Marlene Award is awarded for?

The Marlene Awards are an annual contest for unpublished romance novel manuscripts sponsored by Washington Romance Writers, the Washington, DC, chapter of Romance Writers of America.

What is the criteria for entering?

The complete rules for entering can be found at But the short form is we're looking for the opening pages of a book-length unpublished manuscript in one of six romance categories: Contemporary Series, Single Title, Historical, Paranormal, Romantic Elements and Young Adult.

Writers in other genres shouldn't be scared by the romance label, however. The genre is very broad. Series, Single Title and Historical submissions need to be relationship driven, with the focus squarely on the relationship and ultimate Happily Ever After of its hero and heroine (or hero and hero, or heroine and heroine--our contest doesn't put limits on that, though some judges may be more sympathetic than others). You have more latitude with Paranormal, Romantic Elements and Young Adult, but the romance between the principals needs to play a major role in the plot, driving at least 40 percent of the action.

The other important thing is the manuscript must be unpublished. It used to be RWA chapters restricted their contests to "unpublished writers", but with the explosion of indie publishing, it became impossible to define a "published writer" according to the old criteria--published with a sizeable advance by a traditional New York publisher. For example, can you say that Amanda Hocking wasn't published before St. Martin's offered her a contract? Alternatively, how long does it take before a traditionally published writer loses their "published status"? Five years? Ten years? Twenty? What about if they're making money selling directly to their fans? How much money does it take before they regain that status?

It got too crazy. The only thing you can be sure of in today's publishing environment is whether a manuscript is published--i.e., released for sale or wide distribution--or not. So WRW's officers opted to take the contest in that direction. After all, whatever your authorial status, unless you're a bestseller, a writer is always looking for two things: a paying market and good critique.

What is the prize for winning?

Winners in each category receive a critique by a published author, a silver and mother of pearl pendant, and a certificate of achievement. Some receive offers for their winning manuscripts by the final round judges. That happened to two of last year's category winners. A third received an offer for her manuscript from a different editor within six months of winning.

Most entrants, however, focus on having their entry submitted to the final round judges. The final round judges are editors actively acquiring for their respective publishing houses. Finalists know the editor will read their work and come to a quick decision. They won't be left in submission limbo for months or years.

But every entrant's manuscript is reviewed by three first round judges, many of whom are published writers. The score sheets cover ten specific area and provide several sections for lengthy commentary. In addition, judges are encouraged to comment directly on the manuscripts. This means that every entrant is a winner in the critique department.

What is your personal connection to the Marlene awards?

I've been a WRW member for more than ten years, and like most writers I wanted to pay forward all the help and mentorship I've received from chapter members. I coordinated the contest in 2002, way back in the Stone Age when we still required hard copy submissions. For several years, real life kept me too busy for a repeat performance. But a few years ago, I volunteered to coordinate the Paranormal Category. When our last contest coordinator, Candy Lyons, became chapter secretary in 2011, I offered to help out with the 2012 competition. Thanks to the truly fabulous team of category coordinators Candy put together, I'm still at it.

Why was the Marlene Award begun?

The Marlene Awards were first offered in 1996 in fond remembrance of writer and chapter member Marlene Montano. The purpose has always been to give aspiring writers a leg up on the submission process. In that sense, the critique provided by the first round judges is as important as the selections made by the editors in the final round. Over the years, several winners, now multi-published writers, honed their craft by repeatedly entering the contest until they had a publishable manuscript.

What advice to you have for people thinking of entering the awards?

Read the submission criteria carefully If you've got any questions, please, ask the category coordinators (they really are amazing!)--or me Most importantly, submit your very best work.

What is the most common mistake people make when submitting a manuscript to the Marlene Awards?

That's a complicated question. Formatting to submission guidelines has become a lot easier since we went to an automated submission process. Almost no one gets disqualified for improper formatting anymore. Beyond that, success depends on a combination of good writing and the enthusiasm of the first round judges. It's hard to pin that to specifics.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don't give up.

Consider all critique and criticism of your work. You don't have to agree with it, much less accept it. But it's like what your mother told you about vegetables--try it before you dismiss it.

Don't give up.

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