Category Archives: Life

Honoring Those Who Serve(d)

I come from a military family. My dad was a fighter pilot and career Air Force officer. My brother also served in the Air Force. My husband’s dad was in the Army, my husband in the Reserves, my godson’s dad was Navy and his brothers Marines. I live in a town where lots of former military retire and the Air Force base is a big influence on the local economy.

Despite that, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Memorial Day parade or service. Military service was ordinary, just part of my family’s life. We never made a big deal out it. And yet when I stop to think about what those men chose to do, I realize how extraordinary and praise-worthy their choices were–and are. Some of their duty assignments were dangerous, others were supportive, but all were necessary.

I’m a little shy of saying it out loud, so I’ll say it here: I’m grateful every day for those who serve, including police and fire fighters, and I’m grateful when they come home safely.

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Happy New(ish) Year (and a Sale!)

 

BBT500x800By now most of us have made our new year’s resolutions, kept some, and failed to meet others. I like the idea of resolutions. I like the idea that every year (and in fact, every day) we have the opportunity to do better work, to establish better habits, to be better people. We aren’t stuck with how things are. We can choose to change–if we want to–and are willing to pay the price. Whatever change you’re contemplating comes down to this: what are you willing to pay/give up/sacrifice to get what you want? When we answer that question honestly, sometimes we find out that we don’t REALLY want what we think we want, or at least not enough to pay the price for it.

I have one resolution that I’ve made every year for the last ten years or so. Every year I say I want to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. I usually manage this for a few days and then the old habits reassert themselves. I’ve come to the conclusion that up to this point the payoff, the gratification that comes from following through, and the improved productivity that I think will come from getting up earlier, haven’t been enough to entice me away from the pleasure of reading just one more chapter (or whatever it is I’m doing when it’s time to go to bed).

Sometimes the only way to find out what we really want (as opposed to what we think we’re supposed to want) is to try for it, fail, and then try again. Eventually, we either decide we don’t really want it (which isn’t the same as failing), or we figure out a different way to get it.

So what do I really want? Well, lots of things. But this weekend I want lots of people to discover my Celestial Affairs books, so I’m making BETRAYED BY TRUST available for FREE today thru Tuesday, February 2nd. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope this will entice you to take a chance on it, and leave a review.

Happy reading!

 

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TusCon 42: The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything

TusCon 42 (Tucson’s science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention) concluded yesterday. That’s a bittersweet thing, because the panels, art show, dealers, films, anime, computer gaming, belly dancing, music, LARP, and costumes were so much fun that  I wanted it to never end, but if it went on any longer we’d all be zombies. Which shouldn’t be too shocking because it was held on Halloween weekend, but some of us had to get back to work writing those  books you love to read.

Seanan McGuire was a wonderful author guest of honor, and Bridget Wilde was lovely to have as the artist GoH. There are too many people to thank individually, but a few are Autumn Ivy, Geoff Notkin, Eric Flint and Ed Bryant. Thank you also to Fearless Leader Sue Thing and the TusCon committee. This is an all volunteer group that puts in long hours to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone has a good time. Which we do.

Next year, the TusCon 43 Guest of Honor will be George R.R. Martin. Don’t miss it.

 

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Happy Holidays!

I want to wish all of my loyal fans and occasional readers a very happy holiday! May the new year bring you closer to your heart’s desire.

Frankie

~*~

If you’re looking for books to load onto your new tablet or ereader, LIGHTBRINGER: A Celestial Affairs Novel  is on sale for the next two days at only $.99. It makes a great gift, too. 😉

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In the Gloaming

"Desert Twilight" by Bo Mackison, Seeded Earth Studio

“Desert Twilight” by Bo Mackison, Seeded Earth Studio

I’m torn. I love the fall here in the desert, when it finally gets cool enough to take a walk during the day. The bright sunshine always lifts my spirits.

But the twilight calls to me. Like many before me, I hear the whisper of other worlds across the veil when the light fails. Twilight isn’t frightening the way night can be. It offers magical possibilities without the threat. Taking a walk at twilight stimulates the imagination, especially when you walk somewhere away from traffic.

On a practical level, here in the desert, I do have to be aware of the possibility of encountering wildlife if I stray too far away from civilization. So I choose places to walk that are safe enough that I can let my mind wander to other, more magical lands, and let he people I meet there tell me their stories.

And then I tell those stories to you.

If you want to be the first to know when a new story will be available, please sign up for my new release newsletter.

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Thinking like an Italian Race Car Driver

raul juliaMany years ago my husband introduced me to the movie “The Gumball Rally” (1976) about an amateur coast-to-coast road race. In it, the Italian driver, Franco, (Raul Julia) says what for me was a memorable line as he ripped off the rear view mirror and tossed it away. “The first rule of Italian driving: what is behind me is not important.”

Ah, if only it were that easy. When I haven’t produced enough new words I’m very adept at looking behind and torturing myself with what I haven’t accomplished, even if I’ve been doing other kinds of productive work like editing and marketing. I found Rachel Aaron’s book 2000 to 10,000 (which she recently updated) both helpful and daunting. I’m still working on regularly producing the 2000 words a day, let alone 10,000. That’s why I found Rachel’s post “Don’t Stomp on My Cake” from 8/22/13 so reassuring. (Thanks to Caroline Mickelson for telling me about it.)

Even someone like Rachel, who is very organized and is productive has days, or weeks, or even months, when other things get in the way of creating. Sometimes those things can be avoided or ignored, but some of them you just have to endure, or in some cases, enjoy.

In The Gumball Rally, Franco is very clear on his priorities. Have fun. Win the race. In that order. He was frequently distracted by beautiful women along the way, but he still came in second and he got the girl. Several girls, actually. Lamenting time lost while making love to a lovely woman wasn’t even on his list. Obviously, a certain amount of reflection is necessary to learn from the past so we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over, but what constitutes a mistake is not always so obvious. Not every side trip is a mistake. Not everything that takes us away from writing is to be lamented.

Lamenting the past steals energy from the present. Don’t give it that power. Relax. Take a  a deep breath. Are those flowers you smell?

Now that you’re re-energized, get back to work. 🙂

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And The Winner Is . . .

First, thanks everyone for your comments on my last post! It’s nice to know you’re out there reading.

And now without further ado, the winner of my drawing for a copy of DANGEROUS TALENTS is . . . J.D. Revezzo! Congratulations!

Please contact me at frankierobertson (at) earthlink dot net to let me know if you’d like a Kindle edition or a paper copy.

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Is Spock the Ultimate Alpha?

A lot of you responded to my last post saying that Spock was the man for you. Tall, dark, and brainy, he played second fiddle to Kirk, but does that mean that he wasn’t an alpha male?

What is an alpha? According to AlphaMen, the characteristics of an alpha are leadership, confidence, inner-directed, humor, consideration of others, protective . They left out integrity, but I’d include that on the list as well.

Spock hits on most of these. He knows who he is (confidence), he does what he thinks is necessary (inner-directed),  he does what must be done to protect the ship (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,”) and a case could be made that he even has a sense of humor (his ongoing debates with McCoy).

But he’s not a true leader. While Spock’s integrity and ability earned the respect of the crew, he doesn’t have the charisma necessary to inspire people to follow him–nor does he particularly want to. And that more than anything else is why Spock is a beta.

How does a beta differ from an alpha? He’s not a wimp, but he’s no pushover, either. He doesn’t need to be in charge, but he can be when he has to. He’s perfectly happy doing what he’s good at, but he’s able to step up and take command when necessary–and to relinquish that control when he’s no longer needed.

If alphas are the most popular romance hero trope, why is Spock so appealing? I think it’s because he’s the ultimate challenge. He doesn’t give his attention to every woman that comes along (unlike a certain alpha we could name). Only a rare and very special woman can attain his regard, and many of us, who are drawn to the brainy type, like that. We don’t want to be one of many. We want to be the One. (That’s one of the reasons I married my brainy beta. It didn’t hurt that he was pretty darn cute, too. :-))

So why does Spock do it for you? Or not?

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Which Classic Trek Character Are You?

I’m old enough to have grown up when reruns of the original Star Trek were one of the few sources of science-fiction on TV. (Lost In Space doesn’t count. It just doesn’t.) SF wasn’t mainstream back then. Trekkies were geeks and nerds long before there was such a thing as geek chic. Did that make us cutting edge? Well, uh, no. At the time it just made us different.

Or maybe it was because we were already different that we loved the show. Instead of playing cowboys and Indians, I imagined Away Team adventures. I never put myself exactly into the shoes of any of the original characters, though. I was a Russian/Vulcan hybrid. Emotional and analytical. “It is logical that humans are emotional, Spock. It is their nature,” I’d tell him. Like he didn’t already know.

I knew at nine what I was. I wasn’t impulsive and egotistical. I wasn’t decorative and supportive. Grumpy, stubborn, sneaky, or technical. (Hmm. The seven dwarfs as an away team . . .)

And yet, I’m all those things. The crew of the Enterprise (in the original show) represented the individual traits of a whole personality. The show wouldn’t have worked as well without any one of them. They even addressed that in the awful episode where Kirk’s personality was split in half. Still, some traits dominate.

But at nine, none of that was on my sensor array. At nine, I was just a Vulcan, with enough Russian in me to justify my illogical emotional outbursts.

Which character were you?

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Get Off Your Ass!

I have a mug that has a black and white cartoon on it of three angels screaming. The caption says, “A message from God: GET OFF YOUR ASS!”

Recently the news has been reported that spending long periods sitting is as dangerous to our health as smoking. I assumed it was because being sedentary contributed to our collective asses getting bigger, but even regular exercise is apparently not enough to compensate. I hadn’t heard any explanation of this until today, when I stumbled upon this post by Linda Stone about computer apnea.

Apparently we tend to hold our breath or breath shallowly when we read email and do other computer related tasks. This is a bad thing. It causes a complicated cascade of physiological responses that lead to the fight or flight response. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately–I’d rather not be facing a grizzly, thank you) we ‘re sitting at our computers. As Stone says, our bodies are all dressed up with no place to go. This leads to all sorts of health problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, increased hunger signals, etc.

We think of breathing as automatic, but apparently there’s something about sitting in front of a computer that interrupts our natural rhythms. This is bad news for writers, and a lot of other workers in western style economies.

We can’t change our entire work culture, but we can breathe. Deeply. And sit up straight so our lungs can expand. And get off our asses once an hour so the blood gets moving. (I know one writer uses a 48/12 pattern. Forty eight minutes of writing, twelve minutes of out-of-chair time. His mind has adapted to it, so when he sits down at the computer again, he steps right back into the story.)

Two years ago (with my husband’s help) I created a workstation combined with a low speed treadmill. I used it faithfully for about a year, and then, gradually, my recliner became my preferred work location. (Bad writer. No biscuit.) It looks like I need to get off my ass. Again.

 

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