Sunday, July 18, 2010

Disasters, like war, spawn inventions

In light of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of chemists led by Dr. George John at CCNY, has developed a new, nontoxic, biodegradable, renewable, etc etc oil recovery agent.

More details here:

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. And disasters on this scale put money in the development.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Long Quiet

I have to be honest. I've been struggling with Einstein's Blues for a while. Trying to find the voice of the novel and more, trying to figure out its plot. It's been frustrating. So I took a break.

For the last month, I've been busy writing. First, I've finished the first draft of a novella set in Jeff Duntemann's Drumlin world, tentatively titled On Gossamer Wings. It still needs much editing and refinement, but I'm pleased with the first draft. It's about 1/3 the length of a novel, and while there were times when I had to wrestle with it, it came a lot easier than work on Einstein's Blues was coming.

On Gossamer Wings started out to be a short story - primarily an exercise in third person writing and in writing characters without lengthy introspective inner dialogues, and finally, in harming my main characters, something I've found more difficult to do while working on Einstein's Blues.

Right now I'm working on a short story to submit to an anthology. It's a bit of a departure for me, being more Steampunk-horror-western than cyberpunk/scifi. But I've written steampunk before. The very first novel I ever wrote was called Codename: Mata Hari, and was set in a steampunk universe around 1905. This one's set in the late 1800s in a town I'm calling Perdition, Nevada. Horrors lurk there. It's going to be a very dark story.

So the upshot? I'm doing a lot of work refining my writing, and figuring out where my writing is now, as opposed to 2006, when I started work on Einstein's Blues. There will probably be a heavy rewrite of Blues coming when I'm done with these two projects.

As far as publication of these two pieces, nothing's definite on either one. Jeff and I are talking about rolling On Gossamer Wings and his forthcoming Drumlin novella called Drumlin Circus together in something like an old Ace Double, which would be a ton of fun. Jeff's a great writer, and it would be an honor to share the book with him as much as it has been to use his world.

The other is for an anthology I was invited to submit work for. I've never done this before, so I have no idea whatever if they'll like the story I'm writing, so it's all very much up in the air.

Even if neither piece ever sees the light of day the work on my writing has been worth every second. I'll probably post more about them once my editing passes are done on both. I'm always loathe to say "it's a story about foo" only to discover that "bar" turns out to be more important as I edit.

I'll keep y'all posted.


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