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.


Interview with Angela Lott

Interviewed by Sarah Trick


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.

Your story "Diff the Dragon" begins with a dedication to "Alivda, who never got to have her story told." What inspired you to want to fill in this gap in the canon? What attracts you to the character of Alivda?

When I decided to write an Okal Rel story for my mom for Christmas last year I knew right away that I was going to write canon and it was going to take place in the time gap between books three and four. I had two stories come to mind right away; one was Alivda’s story and the other was Erien’s. I tried to start writing both for a few weeks and eventually found that I wanted to write the Alivda one more. It just felt more natural flowing from my mind to my fingers and onto the computer. I found it got easier and easier to write and I wanted to write it so I stopped writing Erien and finished Alivda. I didn’t put much thought into why this was until I read your question. I think what attracts me to Alivda is that though her character was loosely based off of me when I was a toddler, now, as an adult, I admire her. She is all the things I am not, or at least that is the way it feels. I always thought her relationship with Amel was unique and have a special place in my heart for parents who raise and love others' children as if they were their own.

Both your writing and your vlog show a real gift for humour. Did you have to develop your sense of humour, or was it always there? What is the value of humour in storytelling?

I am really glad that I have a sense of humour in my writing 'cause in real life I am not funny. And when I say not funny I mean it. I have discovered that I am really only great at humour when I get to control what is said and what is said back. When you can control the situation you can work the humor in and see if it fits then you can change it around till it works perfectly and is hilarious! Same with writing a script, I can control everything so I am not totally dull. I think whatever sense of humour I have was definitely developed over time and I think humour has great value in storytelling. If there is no humor in a story, no laughter, it doesn’t feel right to me. Even Sci Fi, Fantasy and Action almost always have some humour. It gives a story life in my opinion. I am very fond of laughing and would recommend it to anymore. Laughter is the best medicine.

Your vlog (video blog) talks about both your love for the ORU and your experiences as a nerdfighter. For the uninitiated, what on earth is a nerdfighter? And what does the T-shirt on your wall mean?

Ah yes… Okay, how to put this….

Let’s start with defining the word Nerdfighter. For starters we don’t fight nerds. Think of it as a freedom fighter; do they fight against freedom? The technical definition of a nerdfighter is someone who, instead of being made of muscles, organs, bones and skin is made of awesome instead but as that definition doesn’t tell you much I will elaborate.

In 2006 a guy John called his brother Hank and was like “Hey, I never see you, we live super far away and I want to reconnect, let's vlog at each other every day for a year.” Now Hank knows his brother has a really great random idea every 45 minutes that never pans out so he agrees. They both go and buy cameras, and starting January 1st 2007 on the youtube channel vlogbrothers John and Hank Green started vlogging at each other every weekday. Most of the early vlogs don’t have much to them since the brothers only intended it to be seen by each other, but within half a year they have 10,000 people watching them. By the end of the year they didn’t want to stop so they kept going. Just recently they celebrated their six-year anniversary at Carnegie Hall. They have published over 1,000 videos featuring everything from the top ten weirdest diseases, to showing what their charity work did in Africa, to advice and thoughts about the meaning of life. The main goal of Nerdfighteria is to decrease world suck which is just what it sounds like. All these accomplishments, in my opinion, stem from creating a community where it doesn’t matter where you live, what race you are, or what you believe, you can be part of it. Part of a community that is made of awesome.

As you can probably guess, I can go on about this community for hours but I will stop there. I think that is the gist of it. What am I missing? Oh right DFTBA! That not surprisingly means Don’t Forgot to be Awesome.  There is a rap:

There is also a video where they answer all your questions:

Within Nerdfighteria there are a lot of inside jokes that sounds really weird to other people.

So Jokes = So cool!

ftl = French the Llama

p4a = project for awesome

DFTBA = Don't Forget to Be Awesome!

Tiny Chicken Disease = the common cold

CrashCourse and SciShow = ftl LEARNING

Decreasing World Suck and Increasing Awesome!

You chose to make a video blog rather than a traditional blog. What attracted you to this medium? What do you think are its strengths and weaknesses? What are your future plans for the vlog?

A traditional blog never really interested me. The only reason I started vlogging was to be part of the community I love. Nerdfighteria and the rest of the youtube community helped me so much I wanted to join them. Its strengths and potential are endless! I am sure it has weaknesses but I don’t know what they are. My future plans for my vlogs are yet to be seen. I hope I keep doing it and get better and better. I love creating things, I just haven’t done anything creative in a while and am hoping now that I am settled into my new job I will start being creative again. I want to do more funny video and convert a few more people to the ORU. My best success story so far is Ashley in my video Converted.

Judging from the poem your mom posted recently on the blog ("Alison is on the Phone.") you and your sisters weren't always as big fans of the ORU as you are now. How did the ORU turn from something of your mother's to something you can enjoy and participate in yourself? What is it that draws you to the ORU?

I always knew Amel’s name and I always knew mom was writing when she was hiding in the basement but it wasn’t till high school that I knew more than that. I don’t remember exactly when but at some point mom and I decided we were going to read Courtesan Prince together. She would read and I would sit next to her. We got through the first four books like that. And while that was happening Jennifer, my older sister, organized weekly readings on Saturday mornings where we read from books she had in her collection she thought we would like. Then when Jennifer started writing her own stories she started reading those and then mom joined in. And it became a Saturday tradition that mom made crepes and we all listened to Jenny’s and mom’s most recent chapter. I heard the rest of the books like this, one chapter at a time as they were written. Then I would read them again when they came out in print. It was a great environment to get feedback and helped us all a lot. Then when I started writing I started reading on Saturdays too. My little sister sometimes read her poetry and we even had guests sometimes. Friends who would come and join in. Sometimes they brought something of theirs to read and sometimes they just listened. It was a great motivator to keep writing. What drew me to the ORU is the same as what drew me to any story I love: the characters. It is a very character based story full of action, comedy, romance, politics, and culture. It is complicated and something you can really sync into.

Do you plan to write anything more in the ORU or out of it after "Diff the Dragon" is done? What are your next plans for creative projects?

As I said previously in these answers I also started an Erien story when I started Diff’s story. I may one day get back to that and finish it. And who knows one day I say start an Okal Rel story that is entirely different. I am a good way through a fantasy story I started last year that I rather like but am totally unsure where it is going. I may work on that. I also started a Sci Fi short story about a girl who becomes two of herself. There is also a very hardcore Sci Fi story I started which is about the end of the world by accident. So next projects are most likely those but you never know.


ORU News – January 2, 2013

ORU News - Opus 6's final cover is submitted!

Cover for Opus 6

Cover Illustration is by Stephanie Ann Johanson

Contributors to Opus 6 were tasked with portraying failure, but not necessarily in a bad way. After all, the inspiration for the topic was Amel’s multiple failures in Avim’s Oath, Part 6 of the Okal Rel Saga, and Amel comes out ahead in the end. One suggestion to sum up the theme was “fail better.”

Editor Paula Johanson took on the job of editor. Author Randy McCharles looked at planned failure in a story set during Erien’s childhood on Rire. In “Passion Past”, Elizabeth Woods tackles a miscarriage of romance.

The story by M. Alexis Pakulak deals with a grim situation from a time when Lorels were earning their bad reputation with the rest of Sevildom, while Angela Lott takes a humorous perspective on Perry D’Aur’s failure to cope with her little granddaughter who is, after all, Alivda. So it’s hardly Perry’s fault. Dive in, enjoy, and remember there’s more than one way to bomb the next time you need to “fail better.”


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.


ORU creative front – Oct 22, 2012

Detail from art in development for cover of Opus 6

Detail from art in development for cover of Opus 6

On the creative front, luscious painting in the works for background of Opus 6 cover by artist Stephanie Ann Johanson.

Also collecting bios and pictures for Opus 6 and have made arrangements for bringing a new blog admin on board to join the team, starting in November 2012.

515f981ae6" />