Category Archives: Science Fiction

Terminology and Usage Lesson


Today, terms describing phenomena normally reserved for science fiction, science fantasy or paranormal genre stories also appear in romance, mystery and historical fiction books. Thus, it is important to stay current with terminology and correct usage of trending language and terms, whether you are a writer or editor.

The lesson today centers on the term psi power. It is appearing frequently in literature or articles. From the website wyndology.com:

Psi Power

The term psi comes from the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and is used as an informal abbreviation for “psychic phenomena.” As such it covers all uses of the mind beyond the reach of accepted science. It is not an acronym and should therefore not be typed as “PSI.”

What Is Psi? What Is ESP?

The term psi refers to any ability to achieve apparently paranormal or psychic phenomena through the power of the mind. There is no generally accepted mechanism in conventional  science by which such abilities could operate.

Although “psi” is sometimes used interchangeably with ESP they’re not quite the same: ESP stands for “Extra Sensory Perception.” As such ESP covers phenomena known as “anomolous cognition”, for example mental telepathy. Psi is a more general term that also covers “anomolous operation”. In other words, ESP is the subset of psi that deals with knowing things – psi itself is a much wider field that also includes using the power of the mind to do things.

Writing Seminars in the Greater Washington, DC and Baltimore Areas


Writing & Publishing Events: Sign Up Now!
Fall 2013
Lauren Carr Schedule of Events
Courses, Workshops & Conferences to Fit Any Schedule

Dear Fay,

This is the greatest time to be a writer.
The good news: Technology has turned the publishing industry on it’s ear so that any  writer who is serious about being a published author can get their book  out into the hands of readers.
The bad news: Poorly written books that are sloppily published are leaving uninformed authors confused and down heartened where their books don’t sell, or worse, reviewers rip their beloved books apart.
There is more to writing a book and publishing it than typing it up and uploading files to an online publisher. It takes more to becoming a best-selling author than getting a feature in the local newspaper and setting up a table at the local bookstore.
Unfortunately, most writers don’t know how or where to go to get the information they need to become successful authors.
Now is your chance to be informed. Over the course of the next several weeks and through the fall, I will be appearing at numerous workshops and conferences on writing, publishing, or both. Some will be during the day, others in the evening, and even a few weekends. Cost vary as well.
So, if you are a budding writer, or even a published author who wants to learn how to succeed in today’s literary arena, check out this schedule and sign up today!
Sincerely,
Lauren Carr Best-Selling Author and Publisher

Creatures, Crime & Creativity Conference: Friday-Sunday, 9/13-15
Meet Acorn Books Authors Lauren Carr, Cindy McDonald, and Fay Moore at the C3!
The conference is scheduled for September 13, 14 and 15 of 2013 in the  Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore. It will present three days of panels and  workshops of interest to both writers and fans.

Everyone who attends the C3 conference will receive an anthology, published by Acorn Books, which is exclusive only for conference attendees. This anthology is filled with stories written by attending authors, including Lauren Carr and Fay Moore, whose debut novel will be released in September. There is still time to register to meet authors of mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, and other creatures!

From Writers to Published Authors Conference: Saturday, 10/5. 8:45 am-5:00 pm
First Annual Conference in Charles Town, WV

The From Writers to Published Authors Conference offers writers the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of writing and publishing directly from those who have gone before them. At this first annual event, authors and publishers will gather together to spend the day helping new writers to reach their goal of not only publishing their books, but doing it right.
Click here to view the list of authors, illustrators, and publishers attending.
Click here to view the panels scheduled for the day.
Visit Acorn Book Services Website for more information. Click Here to download brochure.
Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013
8:45 am-5:00 pm
Place: Oakland Church
  70 Oakland Terrace
  Charles Town, WV
Cost: $60 (early registration) $75 After Sep 23

10-Plus Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers: 4-Week Course Starting Tues, 9/3
10 Plus Most Common MistakesJefferson County Adult & Community Education   Does your book suffer from Good-Parent Syndrome? Do you know what your crutch word is?  Lauren Carr will discuss all of these topics, and other writing errors that can negatively impact your book’s success, during her four-hour presentation entitled: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers (Grammar and Punctuation Are Not On the List).

Dates: Tuesdays, 9/3-9/24. 6:00-8:00 pm
Place: Charles Town Middle School
Cost: $35
Contact Judy Slusher, Facilitator, Adult & Community Education, Jefferson County Schools at 304-728-9237 to register or for more information.

Speaking Engagement: National Novel Writing Month: Mon., 9/16: 6:30 pm
National Novel Writing MonthWriting a Novel: You Can Do ItIn preparation for the 2013 National Novel Writing Month (November), Havre de Grace Library, in Havre de Grace, Maryland is offering 4 sessions to help writers get started. Lauren Carr is scheduled to appear at this first session to help new writers in this introduction, which will  offer tips, planning, and much more. Sign up for a single session or all four sessions scheduled. Visit the Havre de Grace Library website for more information.

Date: Monday, 9/16. 6:30 pm
Place: Havre de Grace Library, 120 N Union Ave  Havre de Grace, MD 21078. (410) 939-6700
Tuition $50 for Four Weeks. Pre-registration required.

Authors in Bathrobes:  How to be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed: 4-Week Course Starting  Thurs, 10/10
Authors in Bathrobes Berkeley County Arts Council: Berkeley Art WorksEvery writer dreams of big book events in book stores with lines going out the door. Unfortunately, for 95% percent of published authors, this is not a reality. It is not uncommon to have a book event and have no one show up. Today’s technology has made it possible for authors to gain a following, and make money with very little overhead and without getting dressed.In this course, author and publisher Lauren Carr will discuss how writers can now walk through the doors that have opened to not only write and publish their own books, but how to do it successfully-without getting dressed!

Dates: Thursdays, 10/10-10/31. 9:30-11:30 am
Place: Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV – 304-620-7277 web: artworks.berkeleyartswv.org email berkeleyartswv@gmail.com
Tuition $50 for Four Weeks. Pre-registration required.

Authors in Bathrobes:  How to be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed Writing  & Publishing Workshop: Sat. 11/2: 9:30 am-4:30 pm: FREE
Authors in Bathrobes Washington County Free Library: Central Location
9:30 am-12:30 am: Book Writing: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers

 Does your book suffer from Good-Parent Syndrome? Do you know what your crutch word is?  Lauren will discuss all of these topics, and other writing errors that can negatively impact your book’s success, during her four-hour presentation entitled: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers (Grammar and Punctuation Are Not On the List).

1:30 pm-4:30 am: Book Publishing: Authors in Bathrobes: How to Be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed

Every writer dreams of big book events in book stores with lines going out the door. Unfortunately, for 95% percent of published authors, this is not a reality. It is not uncommon to have a book event and have no one show up. Today’s technology has made it possible for authors to gain a following, and make money with very little overhead and without getting dressed.

In these two presentations, author and publisher Lauren Carr will discuss how writers can now walk through the doors that have opened to not only write and publish their own books, but how to do it successfully-without getting dressed!

Date: Saturday, 11/2. 9:30 am-4:30 pm
Place: Washington County Free Library, Central Location 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown  MD 21740 Phone: 301.739.3250 For more information about this and other Washington County Free Library events, Phone: 301.739.3250 or email Pat Wishard at pwishard@washcolibrary.org. Visit http://www.washcolibrary.org/index.asp for more information.

Acorn Book Services                 415 Moonridge Lane
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia  25425
If you’re a budding writer, or even published author who wants to learn more about being successful in today’s publishing arena, then come out out. Take note of the deadlines and which courses you need to register for.
I look forward to seeing your there!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THESE EVENTS, CONTACT acorn.book.services@comcast.net

First, an Apology, Then an Announcement


Hi, sweet people. I owe you an apology. During August, I have been swamped and inattentive to you, to your comments, and more. Sadly, I remain under water with obligations and medical care until sometime in October. I want you to understand why I am behaving badly and not getting back to you when you write. Very soon, I promise to make it up to you and get back on top of things again.

I want to announce that I have started a Facebook page. Oh, heart, don’t fail me now. I swore I would never go on Facebook or any other similar strictly social network. Well, it seems that Facebook has evolved into more and so have I.

Since I am only, I don’t know, a millennium behind everyone else on the planet and haven’t a clue what I am doing, please be patient with me as the Facebook page evolves.

Finally I want to remind everyone who is interested in the FROM WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS CONFERENCE on October 5, to get your registration in. The price of $60 for 6 sessions will rise to $75 in September. Why pay a penalty for procrastination? Be proactive and save $$$. Remember, lunch is included in the admission.

Click here to register:

Email acornbookservices@gmail.com or phone 304-285-8205 for more information.

You may read about the conference at http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html

or see the brochure about the conference below.

WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS BROCHURE USE THIS

Future or Fiction


The story opens. A man sits in a lavishly furnished home office.

He is obsessing again. Outside his window, Fall is throwing dying leaves to the ground. Dust to dust. The scene is an in-his-face reminder of his own mortality, a mortality he will shed tomorrow in exchange for immortality. Tomorrow he will join the others. He will no longer be human. He will become nonbiological.

If futurist Ray Kursweil is correct, the man’s choice, described above, is our future. Lest you think becoming Borg is fiction limited to Star Trek episodes, know this. There are those who believe that this morphing of man into machine is the factual future. Influential people support Kursweil’s vision.

Ray Kuzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations—transforming our lives in ways we can’t yet imagine.”

–Bill Gates

Does this prompt your inner storyteller? If a choice such as this were a reality, what would the future look like? What would your family look like? Your relationships? Your work? Your home and world? Who would have this option open to him or her?

Would the earth’s environment have to change to accommodate your new nonbiological form? Is the moist air corrosive and, therefore threatening, to you? Which is more vital to your survival: water or oil? Would a population of biological entities have to be maintained? If so, for what purpose?

Happy imagining.

 

Science Fiction Writing Workshop August 2013 in Baltimore Area


One of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe brought a Maryland-based writing workshop to my attention. It is an annual event called Shore Leave, a fan run Science Fiction convention. Scenes from my favorite comedy The Big Bang Theory with the male cast dressed as favorite Star Trek characters filled my head. But the writer was quick to tell me she attends the convention for its writing workshops.

The convention runs over a long weekend in August in the Baltimore area. It is readily accessible by car to those living anywhere from Richmond, VA to New York City to Pittsburgh, PA.

I will provide a link at the bottom of this post to the Shore Leave web site. I don’t find the site very helpful in providing information for writers about the writing workshop schedule. I have pasted what information is there below:

Shore Leave 35 will include:

Writing Workshops: Learn how to improve your writing from some of your favorite writers.   Past panels have included writing about the non-fictional part of Trek; How to express point  of view in your story; The trials and tribulations of being a writer and more.

Joining us this summer for Shore Leave 35 will be Media Guests William Shatner, Amanda Tapping and Julie Caitlin Brown.  Note: William Shatner will be appearing on Saturday, August 3, only. More Information is available.

Also joining us are Author Guests:Rigel Ailur, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Ann C. Crispin, Mary Louise Davie, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Michael Jan Friedman, Dave Galanter, Allyn Gibson, Phil Giunta, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Jim Johnson, William Leisner, David Mack, James Mascia, Kelly Meding, Susan Olesen, Scott Pearson, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Peter Wacks, David Mark Weber, Howard Weinstein, andSteven H. Wilson.

Science Guests:Paul Abell, Lucy Albert, David Batchelor, Wayne Bird, Kirk Borne, Caroline Cox, Jerry Feldman, Larry Hubble, Yoji Kondo, Eric Schulman, Stephanie J. Slater, Timothy F. Slater, andRay Villard.

And Special GuestsTye Bourdony andT.A. Chafin.

Shore Leave web site: http://www.shore-leave.com/

Registration form: http://www.shore-leave.com/registration/

Hotel info for the convention: http://www.shore-leave.com/hotel/

Science Fiction: Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace


When one writes futuristic science fiction–or any other science-related genre–one has to rely on modern scientific fact to support future fiction. Most science fiction story telling relies on conflict. Think Star Wars,  the Star Trek syndicates, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Armageddon, Stargate series, Twilight Zone, and many more.

So today’s lesson for fiction writers covers the current military electronic warfare environment for the U. S. military. All information comes from DefenseNewsTv.com’s “Electronic Warfare Roundtable.” Panel members are from different branches of the armed services.

Today’s military operates in a global environment with a need for 24/7 communication and control capacities. Electronic warfare, the primary tool of modern military action, is based on a cyberspace platform. Thus, the armed services recognize how intertwined the cyber community is with electronic warfare.

The various branches of service identify the following threats from enemy command and control operations:

Soldiers encounter field environments that differ from the norm to which they are accustomed. For example, the military is used to operating with nearly unlimited bandwidth. What happens to soldiers where bandwidth is denied or limited? The Navy panelist admits that, as a service branch, the Navy has let skills atrophy in the modern electronic surveillance and communication environment. The Navy plans to re-learn traditional skills to manage signatures in a non-electronic circumstance. It has to live up to its credo to “operate forward and be ready.”

The Army says it is responsible for enemy command and control, such as disabling enemy communications, sensors or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The Army panelist says he is most concerned by an enemy who is able to maneuver inside the electronic warfare spectrum and go undetected. A dangerous enemy can synthesize an existing system, then change software code and modify the Army’s systems remotely.

The Marines are proud of existing radio battalion systems on the ground. To improve the systems, the Marines want to marry their operations with resident capacities in the air.  However, they face an enemy that adapts quickly. The Department of Defense is scrambling to stay ahead of enemy capabilities.

The Air Force fears an enemy that uses the electromagnetic spectrum to destroy weapons systems.

The Air Force panelist says, “What keeps me up at night is the imagination and innovation of the adversary.”

Today there is a danger of turning commercial products into weapons. Cell phones operate on former military signals. A smart enemy leverages the commercially available technology to defeat or confound secret military technology.

So where is military strategy going? Thus far, the focus has been to give technology to the brigade commander for operations. In the future, overarching architecture will aid higher command authorities, too. Tactical assets and systems will be integrated across service branches. Finally, there will be a greater emphasis on speed–of adaption, of control, of meeting capacity.

Cooperation and synergy, through joint exercises and co-development of tools and technologies, is mandatory in the current fiscally austere environment.

Electronic warfare and cyberspace management is as much art as science. Listening becomes critical. Electronic surveillance will have to increase, as will service branches working together for better upfront planning.

Vocabulary for Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels


In science fiction and fantasy, there is normally a cornerstone culture, central to the story, that is malevolent. It is oppressive of its citizenry, setting the stage for the rise of a hero, an avenger of the people.

There are two words to describe such a culture:

  • cacotopia
  • dystopia

Both words define a world that is the opposite of Utopia, or paradise: a world of deprivation, horror and exploitation. Usually the people are enslaved, if not physically, then through economics or some psychological method. Or earth changes, like  global coastal events caused by meteor strikes or the aftermath of world wars, have disrupted normal society and destroyed convenience systems, such as the electrical grid or banking. Whatever the cause, the new world order is a system that grinds those under its bonds to grist.

Now that your imagination is twisting, turning, leaping and bounding with images, get writing!