Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Whoops! Belated Monday

I ran off on vacation this past weekend... and forgot Monday's post. Whoops!

Image now public domain.
I at least offer the spoils of the trip... a couple of Washington Monument pictures, to use as you will if you want.

Have a great late Monday! (And by that, I mean Tuesday.)
In case you need a monument for your blog.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Character flaws, insecurities, and fiction heros

We all have days we're scared. When we just feel worthless.

You already know this, because you've had them too. But one of the things that helps getting past them is the reminder that you're not alone in the feeling, and that it's normal sometimes.

My readers tell me they enjoy my book. Yet sometimes, yes, I wake up thinking it's a polite lie, and someone is going to catch me trying to be an author and fire me from authoring (because that can happen, right?). And then, just because, my dayjob will fire me, too. Those are the cold, dreary, irrational days that get me down, when I think from one end of the day to the other that I'm an imposter and a failure.

But that's normal. Everyone has days like those. Mine? They happen when I don't sleep enough--pretty consistently connected, in fact, which is one reason I try to get enough sleep. It's been a rather insomniatic week for me, so needless to say I haven't been at my best. At least in my case, I know the feelings will probably pass after I get a good night's rest. That really does help.

I went to a book signing for Scott Westerfeld last night, and I've been thinking that it's that feeling of perpetual awkwardness, that imposter syndrome, that made me really connect with Tally in his novel Uglies. Because we all feel ugly sometimes. Because Tally didn't consider herself someone special, but rather someone inadequate. And just when she does begin to feel special, it leads her to make mistakes, and causes her suffer through the loss of those she loves most.

A really good series
Yet she does some amazing things in the novel. She faces her fears and, despite winding up over her head, survives. Eventually, her journey forces people to face the ugliness of their beautiful city.

She's no "look at me, I'm a special snowflake" sort of person; she pushes on despite feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, afraid. She loses some battles, some major battles. But she doesn't quit.

It's reading characters like her that have given me the strength to get through the grey days. That's one of the secret superpowers of fantasy and scifi: they give us role models who teach us how to get through our own troubles. That's the power of characters with flaws, characters who struggle and fall apart. Because reading how they keep going, how they win--that's where I learned the courage to face my own struggles and insecurities.

We all have days when we think we're not good enough. Days we think we'll never be good enough. And half the days we think we're awesome, we'll end up being knocked down a few pegs by our own mistakes. That's part of being human.

But the characters we love have shown us how to get past our own dark sides. It's their real superpower, because despite being fiction, they can teach real people. And those of us who learn from them, who face our fears with lessons learned from fiction: that's a superpower, too.

If you're a writer, don't be afraid to give your characters flaws. That's the greatest strength you can hand them.

And if you're a reader, having a bad day and turning to stories to cheer you up: not all courage is about facing villains or monsters or bubbles of magic. Sometimes, the greatest battle is fighting your own doubts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Bonus: Into the Tides trivia!

Trivia Time!

When they're bad, they're bad:

One rule I tried to follow throughout the book was that Kelly does not know how to fight. Ever. It's not something she's studied, and so she sucks at it every times she tries, which is why it was important to pair her up with two physically capable characters: Elizabeth and Derik. The only fights she shows any talent with occur in the Tides, where the video-game logic of the Tides (unbeknownst to the characters) plays in their favor.

Had Kelly tried to fight a seal by closing her eyes and jumping at it with a knife anywhere else, well, she wouldn't be fighting extinct seals, so it's probably a moot point. However, she doesn't have anywhere near enough combat expertise to realize her luck.

Lost Goods:

In the beginning of Chapter Two, Derik is dressed for a meeting in a button-up cotton shirt. Earlier drafts of the story described the suit as having an "American cotton" undershirt, as the American cotton industry became crippled after the Tides struck. Indian cotton, as of the beginning of the story, is more typical and far cheaper. The explanation was eventually cut for length, which meant the descriptor also had to be removed.

Dogs or horses?:

The horse trailer Valdez gets for his stowaways used to be a kennel for hunting dogs, before a little research showed just how cramped a truck bed kennel would be!

A cameo:

In Into the Tides, there's a scene at the beginning of Chapter Twenty with a book called The Dragon Reborn laying around. This was actually added in during the edits (there was a different book, originally) I'd been thinking about the Wheel of Time series, and skimmed through several of the books trying to figure out which one had the first, best references to the dream world, which in terms of surrealism have some similarities to the Tides. I then started re-reading the Wheel of Time series (... and have stalled out on book 8, to no one's great surprise).

Smarter than he sounds:

Valdez is actually one of my own favorite characters, although his appearance in this first book is relatively light compared to the backstory (never introduced in the actual novel, sadly). His accent wasn't one he was born with. Growing up in Austen, TX, he had a slight Texan accent, but got rid of it in his first year in undergrad. However, by the time he got into Yale, he'd discovered emphasizing his accent made people underestimate him--giving him an advantage in the courtroom as a contract lawyer. However, working in a field that often left him looking for exploitative loopholes burnt him out quickly. He joined the Army Reserves four years in, moving to a smaller firm in Madison, WI, whose main clients are nonprofits.

After the Tides, like most of the Reserves, he was placed on active duty for Recovery missions. In the three-month intervals when Recovery missions aren't possible, he's allowed to return to his normal job. Because he spends so much time on the missions, he primarily helps others with their case loads. He still affects the Texan accent, except when stressed enough to forget it. Other peoples' stereotypes often work to his advantage.

Although it's not directly mentioned in the book, after the trip south, he's removed from active duty for the rest of the Tide cycle, and is taking advantage of the not-so-voluntary vacation for some counseling (at the recommendation of his commanding officer) and some actual R&R.

Tone-deaf Kelly has long considered her inborn music magic to be useless. But after a disaster drowns the American South in magic, including her whole family except her twin brother, she discovers her “useless” magic lets her hear the voices of those lost. Now, with the help of her twin and her handsome, green-eyed neighbor Derik, she’ll face magic itself to save them–only the attempt may cost her everyone she has left.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Dragons

Bulk gems, loose, mostly flawed but sparkly in the sun.
How do you make a happy dragon?

You order loose bulk gemstones for under $20 and pour them out into the sun.

Because, that's why.

 If you're wondering if I've been playing around with my camera lately, the answer is yes. Yes I have.
She looks so very happy. I don't want to tell
they're cheap gems...

In case you ever wanted a dragon on a pile of jewels.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 9/5-9/19.

Publishing News

Barnes and Noble experienced a glitch delaying payments to some Nook Press authors in late August, but the glitch has now been fixed and authors are in the process of being paid.

Amazon has introduced a new, upgraded suite of tablets. Amazon also gives Kindle Unlimited authors a bonus, $2.7 million in total, divided among the most popular KDP authors and titles.

Amazon also e-mails Kindle customers a notice of Apple's recent settlement in regards to damages in from the e-book price-fixing case (a "you may be entitled to a refund" notice). Receiving the payment obliges the customer to relinquish the right to sue individually, and customers must opt out by October 31; this is also the date by which customers who want checks instead of an account credit must declare the preference.

In the European Union, judges rule that European libraries can scan and digitize works within their own collections, but may only display the works at dedicated reading terminals (within their own facilities). The works may not printed or stored on USB or other digital storage methods, or otherwise distributed beyond the library itself, without permission from the rights holders and appropriate payment.

E-book platform BookShout begins offering deals to provide bulk orders of bestselling e-books to public radio and TV stations, for purposes such as promotional giveaways or for ordinary sale.

OverDrive, the platform many libraries use for e-book e-lending, seeks to introduce a change that requires new users of the app to register directly with OverDrive and not just the library. The ReadersFirst coalition of libraries protests this move.

For its latest call to action, Authors' United sends a letter to each of the ten board members at Amazon asking them to sway the company in the Hachette vs Amazon dispute. The letter is also published online for anyone to read.

Romance novelist Rachel Ann Nunes sues Tiffanie Rushton for plagiarizing. The suit charges Rushton with copying Nunes' work, but adding additional explicit scenes to the sweet romance ("sweet romance" in the romance industry means no sex is actually included in the novel; think anything from a G to a PG-13 rating, with Nunes leaning closer to G).

Canada's biggest fiction award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, doubles its prize money.

Industry Blogs

Ellora's Cave, one of the original digital publishing pioneers, has been having trouble lately, including low sales, a few author reports of poor royalty payment schedules, and the resignation of the COO and managing editor. Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware details the issues and advises against submitting, at least until things get settled.

Agent Rachelle offers 13 tips on how to build a blog audience.

Professional editor Katherine Pickett explains how to find the right editor for you.

Agent Nephele Tempest posts some interesting writing links on 9/5 and 9/12. She also writes a post on how to write realistic dialogue.

Agent Janet Reid offers advice and answers questions. She gives the 5 most important things to know about when to personalize a query, such as you should include one if you had a positive interaction with the agent. If you have a book based off a film, how do you go about obtaining the rights? (Not likely to happen; they're more likely to hire someone to write their movie tie-ins, not go with an already written work by someone they didn't hire.) Is it useless to query in August? (No. Publishing doesn't shut down for query-readers in August, not anymore.)

More from Reid: If you have a long name, will you be forced to use a pen name? (Not likely.) If an unshopped manuscript had formerly had an agent, should it be mentioned, and when? (Depends on the agent; some say will yea, some will say nay. Don't open the query letter with that, though.) If you get requests from two agents and both seem good on the first look, what do you do? (If they're okay with it, ask if you can contact any clients and find out what they're like to work with.) Someone expressed interest at a conference, but you won't be ready for a few months yet: What to do? (Send a short e-mail 30 days before the 'due' date about how you're still working to keep in touch.) And an agency has some odd-sounding language about how authors submitting acknowledge that the agency might produce something similar. Is that bad? (No, it's just CYA on their part.)

Agent Kristin Nelson reminds us that if something sounds too good to be true, such as a 100% royalty rate, it probably is too good to be true. In the case Nelson describes, Blue Ash Publishing, she does some digging and finds the house isn't a publishing house but rather selling packages for self-publishers, and mostly at higher prices than you could find yourself.

On the Editor's Blog, "nothing" words--filler words that can be removed and strengthen your writing by their loss--include most cases of "thing" and "people." Not all cases, but the posts offer suggestions for how to avoid these words with they are just being fillers. Also, when should you include the words "The End" (or skip them) when submitting a manuscript?

Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang gives advice on writing outside your culture and talks about why it's important to have diversity in literature.

Next week is Banned Books Week, and publishers are holding events to celebrate.

The New York Times plans to add twelve new best sellers lists for genres not previously covered, with yet more to come in 2015.

Personal Creations posts an infographic on how long it takes to read certain popular books (on average). Pride and Prejudice, for example, clocks in at 6.74 hours, Gone with the Wind 23.23 hours, and Frankenstein 3.85 hours.

DesignMantic gives the 10 commandments of logo design through an infographic.

A Pew Research study finds that 88% of Americans under 30 have read a book in the last year; Millennials are just as likely as older Americans to have used a library in the past year; that high schoolers (age 16-17) have different habits from college-aged (age 18-24, regardless of actual college attendance) and post-college (age 25-29); and lots of other interesting statistics.

What other publishing news have you encountered in the past two weeks?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Bonus: Travel Powers Jobs

Travel Powers have a teleportation-like skill that allows them to move faster. See what exactly they can do here.

James Ottosparrow is a fifth class travel Power. He works in a mine, where his ability to sense objects in the dark helps him map out new areas and ensure the structure of older areas. While being able to sense obstructions doesn't provide fine details, it's enough to avoid running into walls or missing a crevice. He works with earth Powers to construct a safe working environment for the other miners. In his free time, he volunteers at a community theater, managing props and handling the stage lighting.
Travel Powers can usually outrun their foes,
unless their foes have cars or horses.
Then the travel Power waves goodbye,
just like everyone else.

Giovanni Ross is a fourth class travel Power. He works for the FBI, investigating international crimes. While travel Powers are not encouraged to work in espionage, criminal activities, especially those that cause human suffering. Saving people through investigation and being able to move quickly--or sense people within forty feet--give him an advantage in the field. His partner is always willing to make sure his uncontrolled skips occur in safe environments, pelting him with ping-pong balls at unexpected moments.

Sara Nyugen is a third class travel Power. Her ability to skip without interference allows her to enter the planes she works on without removing paneling, performing maintenance on hard-to-reach areas. She's part of her local live action roleplaying group, as well, where in addition to participating in the LARPs, she sometimes helps the game masters at night, monitoring for trouble and helping LARPers recover lost items.

Marra Adeyemi is a first class travel Power. She works for the government, of course: investigating rogue Powers and bringing them to justice (or, if needed, rescuing them). She also helps handle diplomatic relations between the Powered community and those without magic, paying damages and settling wrongs caused by magic. Unlike many Powered, her hobbies have nothing to do with magic: she and her husband share a passion for music, and relax by flute and violin.

Tone-deaf Kelly has long considered her inborn music magic to be useless. But after a disaster drowns the American South in magic, including her whole family except her twin brother, she discovers her “useless” magic lets her hear the voices of those lost. Now, with the help of her twin and her handsome, green-eyed neighbor Derik, she’ll face magic itself to save them–only the attempt may cost her everyone she has left.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Striped Queen

 In the mansion on the hill, there's a small cat. She sashays across the bridge as if it were built for her. Perhaps it was. For there are no humans in this mansion, not anymore.

Decades ago the gardens planted were tame and sweet, flowers dancing in their boxes at the touch of the wind. Now their grandchildren pour out of their beds and swallow the gardens whole, chasing away visitors with rowdy untidiness.

The striped queen lays her claim to a mouse that begs its freedom. But a merciful queen is a hungry one, so the end is quick, but satisfying to only one party.

Yet an empty mansion eventually calls for a resident of the two-legged kind, just as a friendly cat eventually calls for a friend. And the two together... perhaps the stranger's feet rattling the bridge was inevitable.

The little queen popped over the edge to see who broke into her lair. One large and time-worn hand stopped to scratch her ear, and she decided the female human smelled decent, aged but sound and kind. With a purr and rub, she invited her new friend into her home.

No judgement was passed for the dusty state of the furniture, nor of the lack of sustenance in the dirty kitchen.
There may have been a pause at the doorway of the bedroom with the ex-human, but the bones were decades past being troublesome, and in the little queen's mind had always been there, because of course for her, they had.

But the boots trod silently on, and stopped in the stillest room, which hadn't ever held much human smell to begin with. Here the woman lay herself on the bed, and made her hands properly busy digging into the fur of her host. The tattered rags of the jacket wouldn't have kept the cold out, but the smooth fabric of the bed held on to warmth, and soon the ladies, snuggled back to knees, slept.

Every queen finds herself nose to nose with danger eventually, and when morning came, the dogs rose with it. Howls and hunters crashed the gates, feet swarming across the bridge.
So the little queen ran for the garden, a garden no visitor dared to trespass. But this visitor was her friend, and despite her clumsy human size, followed her close, through bramble and rose and under the delicate flower that stung like fire at the barest touch.

There they waited, in the center, in a garden running free. And the dogs howling at the edges of the garden argued that the flowers would not keep them safe, and their masters--for dogs had masters instead of friends or roommates--howled with them.

Then the fires began, and the smoke rose. The little queen meowed and yowled, but the smoke didn't abate, and her new friend smelled of salt and wetness. So she dodged between the flagstones and into the fountain, the root-pried mortar opening into the tunnels below, where puddles of water still flowed. Distressing, yes, that a queen must wet her feet; but the air boiled above.

Her friend, though, proved her worth, plucking the queen from the puddles and holding her dry. Together they roamed the dark wet chambers, until the queen smelled the way they should have gone: dry, the scent proclaimed. The striped queen struggled and squirmed her way free, and her friend with a confused cry followed. Into the hill the tunnel went, up and up and up, far beyond the mansion's walls. And then they came to the secret place, where mice never went and no birds stayed. The air barely churned and nothing grew.

But her new friend cooed and jumped, and dove into the chunks of metal and strange perches. She became wild, unpredictable and loud in her frolicking. Whatever catnip the metal was to humans, it stole the senses from the queen's friend.

The queen thought to run, to run and hide, but her friend caught her up and placed her high and out of danger. And when the night came, and they slipped out together, her friend had calmed enough to offer her the first bite of dinner, fish caught from the stream a day and half past the queen's territory and served on one of the metal plates her friend had carried with them.

Three weeks later, the two queens sat by a tame fire of the warm new cottage, feasting on fish from golden pans. And if the human's hands were a bit dirty, well, the striped queen wasn't one to judge--for what good was a home, without a garden to roam?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Capability mindset

I find one of the best ways to keep myself growing in opportunities and abilities is to have a capability mindset. It's not just for writers (in fact, although it applies to writing as well, I consider it just as useful in the business world).

It's not automatic. Keeping a capability mindset means actively pulling myself out of a limit mindset.

What are the benefits of being "capability-minded" instead of "limit-minded"?

First, I should probably define the terms.

What Is Capability?

Capability is not potential. It is not possibility, either. It is what you can do. It is what can be done, based on one's current assets, abilities, attitude, and desires.

Capability changes day-to-day, but one can usually get a reasonable idea of what people are capable of. It emphasizes what people can do, not what they cannot; it highlights their strengths, not their weaknesses.

For example, one coworker might be extremely efficient, but not exactly detail-oriented. The capability set of this person might be speed with a moderate level of precision.

Another coworker might be extremely precise, but not particularly fast. The capability would be an extreme level of precision.

Today, I might be feeling tired. My capability is that I'll be able to go to work, with a little energy left over to put towards one or two small extra things, such as either writing or cleaning.

What Are Limits?

Limits tend to be the default mindset. It's what we cannot do. This is easy, because our minds tend to try to define people by what their limits are.

The first coworker's limits might "not particularly precise, but fast." This person has a higher than average number of errors, but works fast.

The second worker's limits are that he's slow, but does a thorough job.

I'm tired, so I can't do much after work on this particular day. I'll only be able to do one extra task, such as cleaning or writing.

What's the Difference?

The reason to be capability-minded is that it puts a person's strengths before his or her weaknesses.

However, we rely on strengths to accomplish our tasks. Focusing on limits invites comparisons--coworker #2 might say, "I'm not as fast as #1." Then coworker #2 tries to increase speed, but begins to make more mistakes, because he is trying to remove his limits without acknowledging his strengths. Although he wants to keep his precision high, he has prioritized speed.

If he were capability-minded, thought, he might say "I'm really precise. I would like improve my speed, too, but it's my precision that my coworkers rely on." Coworker #2 then begins working on getting faster, but this time, because he focused on what his strength was first, he takes care to maintain his precision and perhaps even manages to improve it.

If I'm feeling tired, and focusing on how tired I am, I might husband my resources and pull some of the attention I should be able to put into work elsewhere. I also get more tired because I'm thinking of my tiredness. I go home, do the shopping, and then crash on the couch.

By focusing on the energy I do have, I know I can put full attention at work. Then, afterward, I have enough energy for something small, like shopping. After that, I re-evaluate. Perhaps I have enough energy left over to go on a walk and get some exercise. Perhaps I don't, and still fall asleep on the couch.

The Advantage

It's a form of positive thinking, one that rewards productivity. It also makes opens my mind to possibilities. If a project comes in, I evaluate it: how important is speed? How important is efficiency? How do I maximize both?

Say speed is the only thing that's important. I get Coworker #1 to do it for me. The rate of error is within acceptable bounds, because otherwise Coworker #1 wouldn't have been hired; therefore, the product is what I want.

But say high-quality is most important. I get Coworker #2 to do it for me. I carve out the time and ensure there's enough for Coworker #2 to get the job done. This may mean I hand off a couple of items to #1, if need be.

Say it needs to be done fast but clean. Who do I get to do it?

I might have Coworker #1 do a first job, and then ask Coworker #2 to skim through and check grammar and formatting, taking no more than 10 minutes. Or, I might as #2 to craft the introduction, #1 to do the rest, and #2 to edit at the end.

Thinking about their capabilities--what each does well--makes me want to take advantage of them. It seems simple, but if I were thinking of their limits, I'd probably have handed the document to #1 and just hoped for the best.

Thinking about what people can do encourages me to think creatively, and makes me more likely to problem solve. When I think about limits, I confine myself by accident. And that's why I work with a capability mindset: because I find I do more when I focus on what's available, instead of what's not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Started playing EarthBound, the 1995 classic game, for the first time. So far I've beaten up a lot of skater punks, stepped on bunches of ants, and watched my beloved bee mentor get squished. And not in that order.

It's supposed to be a great game. I'm excited to finally discover it--and how did I miss it for this long?!

Also got my hands on a tablet. There may be more "art" soon, depending on how long it takes me to figure out what I'm doing...

So no book bonuses today, I'm afraid! Author got distracted. Bad author, bad... Go play more EarthBound as punishment. (Yes, me'am).

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Face Thief

How do you tell a story without words?

"The Face Thief" is a cute animated short movie about a detective hunting something that steals faces, and discovers a surreal world the more he investigates. Oh, and the whole thing is done without words, which is useful because it's not actually in a language I speak. (Warning, it's a beautiful story, but you may cry at the end.)

Click on the link to watch it.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 8/22-9/4/14.

Publishing News

Authors United prepares for another letter addressing Amazon's sales tactics.

Ellora's Cave publishing house confirms their sales have dropped dramatically on Amazon, likely to to revised algorithms. Many of Ellora's Cave books are erotica, and this may factor in to the sudden sales drop due to lower visibility following the search algorithms' modifications.

Bath reader? Kobo debuts a waterproof e-reader.

Amazon unveils KDP Kids, with the aim of making it easier to create and distribute illustrated digital children's books.

Barnes and Noble experiments with the Espresso Book Machine, the POD printer that allows customers to print and purchase any desired title even if they can't find it on the shelves (including self-published, traditionally published, digital-only, and public domain titles).

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 8/29.

Also on QueryTracker, how to format e-mail queries, and why it can be so tricky to do so (and how to avoid those pitfalls). Also, how to ensure your payoff scenes have maximum impact.

Is AbsoluteWrite a great resource for writers, or a bully-board? Victoria Strauss weighs in, and her verdict is that the smear campaign against AbsoluteWrite is unjustified. Not just with an endorsement, but with a critical look at the major sites behind the AbsoluteWrite criticism, she says it really is a valuable resource and shouldn't be dismissed based on rumor and trolls run amok.

On The Editor's Blog, you'll find out how to diagnose your characters to see if any of them have the highly fatal Right Place, Right Time syndrome, that kills not them but your readers' suspension of disbelief.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and offers advice. One common misconception is that writers shouldn't write series; Reid counters with writers shouldn't mention a sequel in the query. After many queries, the writer gets lots of "it's good but not for me"; is there something wrong with the story or has she just not found the right agent? (Probably needs some work to get the final push. Try writing another book, or checking the pacing.) She also comes across a definitely-a-service-to-avoid.

Agent Nephele Tempest has a nice set of writers' links, including opportunities for writers for September and October.

Mythcreants blogger Chris Winkle tells us how to know when to cut a scene. Yes, even if it's a darling: if there's no purpose to the story, it'll only weigh you down. (Hat tip to another of Tempest's posts.)

Diversity in fiction is important. Author David Mack and Buzzfeed writer Daniel José Older remind us of just how important, and why representation--or rather, the lack thereof--is still systematic and needs addressing.

And have you considered buying a BookBook? Rather hilarious ad on the newest technology: paper and ink books.

Copyright free, or in this case,
expired copyright; that is, images so
old they're now considered public domain.

How about some copyright-free images for your blog? 2.6 million copyright-free images were released through the Internet Archive on Flickr by academic Kalev Leetaru.

Which is a great time to bring up  The Visual Communication Guy's infographic on image copyright, "Can I Use That Picture?"

Also, on another note, one of my writer friends is teaching a course at Wake Tech in NC. If you want to take a fiction-writing course, check it out. The details:
A new fiction writing class is starting at Wake Tech. Learn to find and trust your creative voice.  Whether you have started to write and need to finish something, or if you are just getting started, this class will help you.

Turn your experience and imagination into marketable fiction. Learn tricks for overcoming writer's block, and creating characters and plots.

Dates: Wed’s, Sept 10 – Oct 29, 6:30-9:30pm     
CE Non-Credit #: 127035      Location: Leesville High School

What publishing news have you encountered in the past two weeks?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Bonus: Sample Jobs for Telekinesis Powers

Some Powers have obvious jobs, such as regeneration Powers, who become doctors and medics. Others, such as telekinesis Powers, have a less obvious career path, and find themselves useful in disparate fields.

Jerald Mayers, a third class telekinesis Power, works in an army warehouse, where he stores and retrieves crates via magic, and occasionally rescues falling things from landing on peoples' heads. With magic, he can shift around crates and loose items that are inconvenient to reach, saving time when crates in the back or on the bottoms of stacks take damage.

Lucinda Wong works at a steel factory as a fourth-class telekinesis Power. She works with the machinery that handles hot steel, from checking the grip of mechanical arms to replacing parts in the machinery, even moving small cameras over the machinery for trouble shooting. With her magic, she minimizes the time spent waiting for metal to cool before problem-solving, and helps ensure no person has to approach the metal while it remains at burning temperatures.

David Goldsmith works construction as a fifth-class telekinesis Power. His magic can't lift much weight from a great distance, but he can operate some equipment remotely, although for safety reasons he only operates push-button items that require no steering or supervision. This eliminates activating cranes, which might swing wild or strike objects he couldn't see, but includes pressing elevator switches or opening doors when everyone has hands full. With his ability to "see" obstructions behind himself, he can walk backwards without fear of falling or running into things--nice with two-person hauling jobs. His magic also allows him to "handle" dangerous objects, such as live wires that escape hands, by pinning them down until they can be safely retrieved; and delicate jobs, such as setting wires in hard-to-reach areas.

Stacey Martins, a first-class telekinesis Power, works in the military on an explosive ordinance disposal task force. Diffusing explosives might be terrifying work, but when robots cannot provide a careful enough touch, with a good camera image, she can work with dexterity at 40 feet, employing up to ten "hands." When not on emergency diffusing, her unit works full-time in demining. Her unit is often called on to clear areas near civilian locations, or areas where people would like to settle but that have been historical war sites. Once mines are located, she can remove them from the ground at a safe distance, keeping all personnel out of the potential blast zones, or if necessary remotely detonate them. 

Tone-deaf Kelly has long considered her inborn music magic to be useless. But after a disaster drowns the American South in magic, including her whole family except her twin brother, she discovers her “useless” magic lets her hear the voices of those lost. Now, with the help of her twin and her handsome, green-eyed neighbor Derik, she’ll face magic itself to save them–only the attempt may cost her everyone she has left.