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.

27Nov/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fiftyfive

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Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 55

“That is 5/2 to me,” Alivda said, smiling hugely while she expended yet more energy jumping up and down.

“Yes, it is,” Korbin said, sheathing his sword, “and it is also the end of my shift.” He turned around.

“Oof!” he yelled as Alivda jumped onto his back.

“Never turn your back on your opponent,” Alivda whispered in his ear.

“Correct,” Korbin said. “But I am your friend, not your opponent.”

Alivda manoeuvred her body around so she was still clinging to him but she was on his front instead of his back.

“Friends with benefits,” she said, and kissed him.

“Yes, benefits,” Korbin said.

“Just one more round,” Alivda pouted, her lower lip and eyes milking it for all it was worth.

Korbin moaned. “But you will just beat me again.”

“But it will be fun!” Alivda said.

“For you!”

“Fine, what do you want to do?”

“I am tired, actually,” he said.

“Lame!” Alivda said, sticking her tongue out. Since she was still clinging to his front this resulted in him having to wipe his face.

“That I am,” Korbin said and tried to shake her off, but she clung on.

“Please let me sleep,” Korbin asked softly.

Alivda wasn’t happy, but she let go, and he walked out of the practice area and back to his room for a nap.

This planet is too small, Alivda thought, too small.

Then she got an idea.

She left the practice area and ran back to where she knew Perry was. At this time of day Perry was always in operations working on PA stuff.

“Grandma,” Alivda called. “When do I get to fly?”

“When you are older,” Perry said, distracted.

Alivda was sick of hearing that. Totally sick of it.

So why was she here?

“I am going to fly!” she whispered to herself. Perry was too busy to hear her. She left her Grandmother to her work and ran for the docks.

26Nov/14Off

Sherry Ramsey interview

Sherry Ramsey

Bio:

After a brief stint of legal practice, Sherry turned her attention to writing. She is a member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia and a past Secretary-Treasurer of SF Canada, a graduate of Writer’s Digest School’s Novel Writing Workshop and a local community college Creative Writing course, and a founding member of a local writer’s group, The Story Forge. She spent several years as a copyeditor for The Internet Review of Science Fiction and is an editor for Third Person Press. Furthermore, she is an active member of several online writing groups, including the Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop in Second Life. You can find more about Sherry and her publication credits at http://www.sherrydramsey.com/

Interview by Christel Bodenbender

It is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), and I am impressed how many years you have been participating in the event. Tell us more about the story you are writing this year?

This year, I’m writing a sequel to my novel The Murder Prophet, titled The Chaos Assassin. These books are set on a future Earth where, thanks to spores from a shattered meteorite, the human race now has, to greater and lesser degrees, magical abilities. The main character is a private detective, so these books are a fun mashup of contemporary fantasy and mystery. Did I mention there's also a sentient goose and some sort of magical intelligence in the Internet? Like I said, fun!

For NaNoWriMo to what degree are you already laying out the story before the start of the event? If so, how closely are you staying to your outline, considering the word count you have to reach in a short time?

This is my thirteenth year of NaNoWriMo, and I think I have finally figured out my writing process (to some extent). Every year I think I'm going to work up an outline beforehand—but I'm terrible at outlines. I like to start with a general idea of the story and the central conflict and maybe some character ideas. If I’m really planning, I might scribble out a lot of disjointed ideas and notes and scene fragments. That's about it, though. Then I just start writing. By the time I get twenty-to-twenty-five thousand words in, I begin to see how things are going to fit together and how the story is going to go. A discovery writer (aka "pantser"), all the way! This is, admittedly, more problematic when writing a mystery, because when it's time to start scattering clues—you'd better have a clue! But I firmly believe that the really hard work comes later, in rewriting. First drafts, for me, are for exploration, listening for the muse, and having fun with the story.

While many authors work with sequels within the same universe, you have penned an impressive array of stories that are unrelated from one another. What is your inspiration?

I have written a couple of sequels—my novel this year, and the sequel to One's Aspect to the Sun. And I do have a series of short stories centered around the same character. But you're right, I do write more stand-alone stories than sequels or series. I’m not sure I can pinpoint any particular source of inspiration—like many writers, I think I simply have more story ideas than I could possibly write, and NaNoWriMo is a great chance to dive into one of those every year and see where it goes. The one time I didn't have an idea going into NaNoWriMo was the year I wrote The Murder Prophet. So I settled on the idea of using online generators for inspiration. That's where the title came from first—so then I needed to come up with a story to fit it. I really wanted it to be no-holds-barred, so whatever the generators suggested, I worked to fit it in. I don't think I'd like to use that technique all the time, but that year it was fun and exciting and I do love the novel that grew out of it. So I guess inspiration can be found wherever you go looking for it!

Tell us what writing means to you?

To talk about writing, I think I have to talk about reading, as well. While I do read to learn and explore, my primary reason for reading is for entertainment. What I generally want from a book is a gripping story about interesting people. It might also be funny, or suspenseful, or a puzzle to figure out, but I'm looking for an escape from the mundane world—give me something that triggers my sense of wonder. So in turn, those are the things that I want to write. Those are the kinds of ideas that crowd my brain, and the characters who come knocking, wanting me to tell their story. And once an idea really takes root, then I want to write it. I suppose writing might be, first and foremost, a way to entertain myself…or at least to explore those ideas and characters to see if they will also entertain others. Often, they turn out to have something more to say about us and the world, but I don't discover what that is until the writing is well underway.

Could you tell us about some future projects?

The sequel to One's Aspect to the Sun should be out from Tyche Books sometime in 2015, and I hope to be able to share some new novel news soon, as well. Over at Third Person Press, where I wear an editor/publisher hat, we're launching a new anthology in a couple of weeks, and we'll be accepting novel submissions for the first time in February, so I'm looking forward with interest to see what that process turns up. I hope to have the next book in the Magica Incognita series out in the spring. As a "hybrid" author, I juggle both traditionally published and self-publishing projects, and with a stack of NaNoWriMo drafts in various stages of completion, I have no shortage of things to work on!


Sherry Ramsey

26Nov/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fiftyfour

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Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 54

Years passed and Alivda turned ten. Perry was still employing Korbin and Amel still dropped by as often as he could, but things were changing for Alivda.

She was fully grown now, even though she was only ten, and she had already decided that one day she would get Amel like she had Korbin.

“Oh, come one!” Alivda whined. “Just one more time!”

“No.”

“Why not!”

“I’m tired.”

“I am not tired!” Alivda said. “And if you sleep I will be bored!”

“Tough!” Korbin said. “Night.” And he rolled over and closed his eyes.

Alivda got out of bed, not bothering to pull a sheet around her naked body as she did so.

Grandma Perry didn’t know how she was enjoying her babysitter and Alivda wanted to keep it that way.

After she got dressed she went to the kitchen and got herself something to eat.

Alivda knew that she could have played the you-are-my-babysitter card to get Korbin to stay awake, but she had hated using that card since they had started lying together.

So instead she decided to go to the practice area and see if anyone was there.

25Nov/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fiftythree

Diff-64

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 53

Alivda was put under till the caffeine wore off and then she and Amel left.

They went back to Barmi.

“So how was your visit with Ann?” Perry asked upon their arrival.

“Awesome!” Alivda said. “And then really sucky.” She pouted.

“She managed to get her hands on some coffee,” Amel said and then collapsed on Perry’s couch.

“Oh,” Perry said. “I can’t even imagine.” And she collapsed down next to him.

“Oh!” Alivda yelled and then ran off.

Amel sighed and followed her.

He found her in her favourite sword practice area.

“Here!” she said, and she handed him her old sword.

“Thank you,” Amel said genuinely. “Thank you a lot.”

“I am too big for it anyway!” Alivda said proudly. “So when do I get my new sword?”

“Why don’t we go get it now,” Amel said, throwing caution to the winds. “But first there is something I have to do. Follow me.”

Alivda followed Amel through the familiar corridors of Barmi until they got to Amel’s room.

Amel walked over to his bed. Above his bed was the silver locket with his Diff’s hair in it. He got up on the bed and fastened the sword to the wall next to it.

“There,” he said when he was off the bed again.

“Why do you keep things like that?” Alivda asked.

“Nostalgia I guess,” Amel said wistfully.

“You are really Demish for someone with such dark hair and so many mekan’stan,” Alivda said, as if she knew everything.

“Oh and you are one to talk!” Amel said, mussing her white- blonde hair.

She giggled.

When she stopped giggling, she looked up at him admiringly. He was hers.

“You’re mine,” she said.

Amel smiled. “And you are mine.”

24Nov/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fiftytwo

Diff-63

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 52

“Get down this instant!” Amel yelled. Alivda just giggled.

“What is wrong with you?” he yelled again.

“Yummy, yummy black stuff in my tummy!” Alivda yelled down.

“What?” Amel said to himself. “Could that be…oh no!” he moaned.

“WEEeeee!” Alivda cried as she jumped from branch to branch.

They were in a park. Reetions seemed to have them all over the place. Amel wasn’t sure why. All he cared about right now was how to get Alivda out of the trees in the park.

Amel flinched as he watched her, scared she would fall. She was swinging on the highest branches she could find.

“I like this better than that really big square one,” Alivda yelled as she swung. “It wasn’t this much fun!”

“Please,” Amel begged, “get down and let me help you!”

“Allow me,” Ann said. She had just arrived.

“Allow you to do what?” Amel asked as he turned around to face her.

The scene he saw took a moment to register.

Ann had a gun pointed at his Diff! He couldn’t believe it, but before he could do anything about it she fired.

Thick white foam covered the tree and Alivda.

“NO!” she yelled as she squirmed.

“Restraining foam,” Ann said, lowering the gun.

“Oh,” Amel said, relieved. “But won’t she wriggle out of it?”

“It gets tighter the more you move,” Ann said. “It’s designed to hold you till you calm down.”

Alivda was thrashing so much now that she was falling out of the tree.

Ann quickly squirted a whole pile of foam right where Alivda was about to hit the ground. She landed with a squelch and continued squirming.

“So how long does it take for Vrellish people to calm down?” Ann asked after a few moments of Alivda failing to become tranquil.

“If they have had coffee?” Amel said. “Who knows?”

“How do you know she had coffee?” Ann asked. “She is usually this crazy anyway.”

“She isn’t usually this bad,” Amel said, as he watched his Diff fight against the foam with all her might. “And she usually listens to me.”

“If you say so,” Ann said. “I will call for first aid.”

“But remember she is a regenerative Sevolite,” Amel said, wary of Reetion medicine. “No robots or anything!”

“We learned our lesson with you,” Ann said. “Don’t worry.”

“Well, at least my being a guinea pig was useful for something,” Amel sighed.

23Nov/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fiftyone

Diff-62

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 51

Ann was still calmly walking around where Amel had left her. She had asked the Arbiter where they were and was about to board a public transit vehicle to meet up with them. She was carrying something with her that she was really looking forward to using.