31 August, 2012

Cover Reveal: Rise Of A Rector

More book news today, everyone! (Three book-related posts in one week and a post on a Friday . . . I must be hitting records here at The Eagle's Aerial Perspective. All in the name of reading!)

Heather McCorkle recently released the cover for Rise of a Rector, which is book 3 of her Channeler series.

Blurb for Rise of a Rector:
With graduation--and the hell of the last two years--behind her, Eren is hoping to finally explore her relationship with Aiden and deepen the bonds with her Society. But it seems there's no rest for a soon-to-be legendary Mayan warrior of the apocalypse.
   From the green hills of Ireland to the jungles of Mexico, and deep into lands unexpected, Eren and Aiden will stop at nothing to discover all they can about their rare power in an attempt to alter destiny. Learning about ancient secrets that no one can remember proves to be more than challenging with Eren seeing old ghosts at every turn though. Worse yet, behind the ghosts lies something darker and far more deadly than any of the trials she has endured so far.
   In the jungles of Costa Rica entire villages are dying inexplicably. Near the carnage live a group of channelers who are hiding a thousand year old secret, one that could change the very fate of the planet. But the ghosts of Eren's past have other plans, plans to seize the thread of destiny--and Eren--and manipulate both.

-from Goodreads

Heather's novella, Born of Fire, is currently free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also giving away two e-book copies of To Ride A Puca; the only requirement is to spread the word about her book. To enter fill out the form below.

About Heather:
Heather is an author of young adult fantasy, in all its many sub-genres. Helping other writers and supporting fabulous authors is one of her many passions. When she's not writing or surfing her social networking sites, she can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, she enjoy the outdoors almost as much as the worlds she creates on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though, you can find her on her personal blog four days a week, on her critique group's blog on Wednesdays, and Monday nights on Twitter where she co-moderates the #WritersRoad chat.


Do you follow Heather's blog? Read any of her books? Do you enjoy reading YA Fantasy?

-----The Golden Eagle

29 August, 2012

Book Release: The Lost Girl By Sangu Mandanna

Yesterday, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna (from Echoes of a Wayward Mind) was released. I've been following Sangu for so long I can't remember when I started, and finally, her book is here!


Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.
   But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.
   Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.
   What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.


“Both an interrogation of bioethics and a mesmerizing quest for identity, this debut succeeds through its careful development of the oh-so-human Eva and those around her. A provocative and page-turning thriller/romance that gets at the heart of what it means to be human.” 
(Kirkus Reviews)

“THE LOST GIRL was the most honest portrait of grief and loss that I’ve read in a long time. Filled with heartache, love, and things that would stir Mary Shelley’s ghost, this is a story not to be missed.” 
(Lauren DeStefano, New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy)

“Mandanna’s debut novel is lovely and at times heartbreaking... A thoughtful study of both a girl’s search for her identity and the human reaction to death.” 
(Publishers Weekly)


Purchase links:

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository

About Sangu Mandanna:

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant and wrote her first story about it and decided that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became THE LOST GIRL, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together. Sangu now lives in England with her husband and baby son.
Twitter: @SanguMandanna


Have you read The Lost Girl? Know Sangu? Have the book on your TBR?

-----The Golden Eagle

28 August, 2012

Alligators Overhead Blog Tour: Teaser Tuesday With C. Lee McKenzie

As you may know, I usually reserve Tuesdays for Teaser Tuesday, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. But today, I'm not the one who'll be sharing some teasers: Instead, C. Lee McKenzie, author of the Middle Grade Alligators Overhead is here with some sentences to share.

Here's Lee!


You’ve been a great supporter of my launch. You created a terrific badge (proudly displayed on my webpage) and you’ve opened your blog to me today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
   Since you post a lot of teasers on your blog, I thought I’d give your readers a few teasers that I’ve loved, but since you’re all about Aerial Perspective, I’ve chosen to tweak your rules just a bit. My teasers are in keeping with the eagle’s view theme and not randomly chosen. These should be familiar to a lot of readers.

“The Eagles! the Eagles!” Bilbo cried, dancing and waving his arms. If the elves could not see him they could hear him. Soon they too took up the cry, and it echoed across the valley. 
(The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien)

In no region had the messengers discovered any signs or tidings of the Riders or other servants of the Enemy. Even from the Eagles of the Misty Mountains they had learned no fresh news. 
(The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien)

Well, I have no eagles flying in my book, but I do have a few alligators that I’ve managed to put overhead. So here are a couple of teasers from Alligators Overhead.

If Lizzy Glopp (spelled with two P's) had heard about the sightings over the Ornofree Swamp, the suspicious-odd shapes almost like—maybe exactly like—alligators she would have known there was something brewing.

The alligators hovered near the tree tops, closing ranks and throwing a huge
shadow over the ground. In perfect formation, they swooped down on the bulldozers, and the crews scattered for cover.
Hope these entice readers to take a look at my middle grade adventure. If they do, I’d love to hear what they thought of the story.

So great to be here!


Blurb for Alligators Overhead:
Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

Purchase links:
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (paperback)
Barnes & Noble

Book Trailer:

About C. Lee McKenzie:
C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can.
   She takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010.

TWITTER : @cleemckenzie
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0042M1KYW 
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2809083.C_Lee_McKenzie

-----The Golden Eagle

22 August, 2012

We Can Be Heroes Blog Tour: Interview With Scott Fitzgerald Gray

Today I have an interview with Scott Fitzgerald Gray, author of the recently released We Can Be Heroes, a Science Fiction Thriller.

Death and Friendship.
Love and Gaming.
Mind and Machine.
The Meaning of Life.
High School Graduation.
The End of the World.
That Kind of Stuff.

If you press them, anyone who games will admit to some variation on the idea of how they'd love to be the hero for real, just once. Just for one day. But right now, I'm on an empty street five hundred kilometers from home, barely able to walk. I'm soaked and shivering, wearing someone else's clothes, and with way too many memories of almost dying rattling around in my head. And right here, right now, all I can think about is what I'd say if anybody asked me how much I want to be a hero...

I try to focus. I need to bring the previous days into some sort of relief that will let me sum things up.

"Me and some friends of mine, we got caught up in something. We thought we were beta-playing a game. An online tactical simulation, but the game turned out to be... you know what, that doesn't matter. But none of it was our fault, and now we have something this guy Lincoln wants. A piece of tech. I want to give it back to him, but I can't trust him to leave things alone after that."

"What kind of tech?"

"A Soviet-era mobile weapons platform, whose heuristic on-board systems developed advanced artificial intelligence capability while it sat forgotten in a bunker in Smolensk." Saying it sounds just about as ridiculous as I expect it to.

"I didn't think you wrote fiction." Connor tries and fails to laugh. It's like he has some sort of esophageal deformity that routes all intent to guffaw straight from his lungs to his nose.

"Not fiction. This is the truth..."

And now, for the interview!

What inspired We Can Be Heroes?

The story behind We Can Be Heroes is one of those uber-geek recollections that really has no interest for anyone except me. But since you ask… :-)

The novel is a kind of homage to my own experience of high school, and being a geek and a gamer, and developing friendships at that age that helped shape the person I was and the person I became. The book starts out in a kind of analogue version of the small town in which I grew up, and features an analogue version of the high school in which my precocious intellectualism was first given voice, and its characters are an analogue version of me and analogue/gestalt versions of the above-mentioned friends, and its baseline emotional story is built largely on a question that really defined much of my own adolescence — How we meet the challenges of a world so large, so impersonal, and so out of control that we as individuals have no ability to face up to it?

Then as a kind of ironic metafictional thing, the larger techno-thriller plotline that sees the main characters on the run from a private paramilitary group with a load of stolen technology is actually inspired by a roleplaying game that was a big part of the high school experience of my friends and I. For me as a writer, it was fun to play with the resonance between the different layers of the story, knowing how they related to each other. And though the book contains pretty much nothing in the way of actual events drawn from real life, I was able to write it very much with the feel of something “based on a true story”. To judge by the initial feedback I’ve had on the book, that sense of the story feeling real — of it feeling very personal despite a fairly high-concept plot and a lot of action — has come through in the writing, and that’s very gratifying.

What draws you to speculative fiction?

Like a lot of bored middle-class North American kids coming of age in the 70s and 80s, I was first drawn to speculative fiction because it represented a great alternative to a real world that seemed pretty profoundly dull. (With the benefit of much hindsight, I’m happy to report that I understand a lot of significant things actually happened during the 70s and 80s. But growing up in a very small town in Western Canada, I wasn’t in a much of position to appreciate them at the time.) And though my interest as a reader covers just about every genre and type of fiction, I continue to focus on speculative fiction and fantasy as a writer because I like to be able to tap into the broad possibilities of those genres.

It’s been said before by people smarter than me, but working within a fictional world limited only by your own imagination is both a blessing a curse. A blessing because you can tell literally any story that comes to mind; a curse because it gets very easy to tell stories that disconnect from the core essentials of dramatic storytelling — morality, the struggle for survival, and what William Faulkner famously called "the human heart in conflict with itself." SF & F writers can too easily get caught up in the world building that's a core part of speculative fiction and fantasy, and character story too often suffers as a result. Even working within SF & F, I'm a writer who believes pretty strongly that real character story is the ultimate point and purpose of fiction, and I like the challenge of crafting effective character story within the wide-open narrative vista that speculative fiction represents.

How do you view the future of indie authors/publishing?

Again making full acknowledgement that this has been said by smarter people than me, the publishing world is obviously at a point of massive upheaval and transition, and it seems pretty clear that the larger publishers (what many call the Big Six or "legacy publishing") aren’t doing a particularly good job of navigating that upheaval and transition. I’m fairly ambivalent about the whole tradpub-vs.-Amazon/indie-vs.-legacy debate that a lot of writers get very passionate about, though I don’t begrudge anyone the right to voice their opinions and back them up with action. But I think the one thing that is clear is that indie-author publishing is a great opportunity for those authors willing to take advantage of it.

I think that in the future of indie author/publishers, you’re going to see a lot more authors making the leap to define themselves as publishers first and foremost, in recognition of the importance of the full process of publishing — writing, story/developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design, promotion, distribution. And I think that indie author/publishers are going to have to do so in order to separate themselves from the increasing numbers of authors who simply focus on the first and last steps in that process — writing the book, then getting it out there without any real sense of whether the book is ready to be out there. Uploading to Amazon, Smashwords, Lightning Source, or what have you is only the final stage of the publishing process, and the unfortunately large number of writers who don’t understand that are missing out on the ultimate rewards of what indie publishing can do for authors.

If you could have a conversation with any author (living or dead) who would it be?

Probably Joseph Conrad. There are any number of writers who have inspired me that I’d love to sit down with for an afternoon over a beverage. But for me, Conrad had a singular ability to weave intellect and emotion into his narratives in a way that made each aspect of the narrative stronger. A lot of literature does intellectual narrative really well, but at the expense of emotional resonance; a lot of literature focuses on the emotional journey of characters but creates a kind of internalism that comes up short when dealing with broad ideas. Standing right at the transition point between romanticism and modernism, Conrad managed to nail down both the internal and external, the emotional and the intellectual, with a degree of skill that gives his works an incredible resonance for me.

Additionally, I think Conrad's writer’s journey is a pretty interesting one, and I'd love to be able to hear about that first hand. He didn’t speak English until well into his twenties and didn’t publish his first works until nearly forty years of age, but still managed to create some of the most significant works in English literature. That seems pretty cool to me.

What's a random fact about you that isn't a secret, but which few people know?

I spend much of my day in a state of seething rage at the world and all the people in it. (Except for all of you reading this; you’re totally awesome.) This usually comes as a surprise to people who know me casually, though most of those who’ve put up with me for a number of years know of what I speak. I've always had a somewhat dark view of things that I’ve spent many years trying to deal with (thankfully mostly successfully). In We Can Be Heroes, the first-person narrator Scott is a semiautobiographical version of me during my high school days, and his somewhat bleak view of the world is very much an echo of me on my bad days. The book ultimately is a kind of expression of the process of coming to terms with understanding that the world is only as bleak a place as our own fear of the world allows it to be. The Scott in the book figures that out in the course of the events of the novel, which means that on some level he did a better job of getting his life in order than I did. Still, the fact that I was able to write the book means I caught up to him in the end. :-)

About Scott:
Scott Fitzgerald Gray has been flogging his imagination professionally since deciding he wanted to be a writer and abandoning any hope of a real career in about the fourth grade. The time since has seen him indulge in educational forays in science, arts, and film, and the bewildering variety of occupations that have driven his search for the secret of the human condition include information systems specialist, multimedia developer, teacher, facilitator, journalist, production manager, editor, graphic designer, and logger (because this is Canada, after all).

Purchase links for We Can Be Heroes:


Also: I've been interviewed myself over at the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge blog! Hope you'll stop by--I talk about my favorite scientists and post subjects, and even what I might be doing for 2013's Challenge.


What do you think of self-publishing? What author would you meet, if you could? Have you read We Can Be Heroes, and/or do you know Scott?

-----The Golden Eagle

21 August, 2012

Book Release: Weighted By Ciara Knight

The awesome blogger/writer Ciara Knight has a book coming out today: Weighted, which I posted the cover for back in May as part of its reveal. Now, the actual book (a prequel novelette to The Neumarian Chronicles) is available.

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Read Chapter One of Weighted.

Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble

About Ciara:
Ciara writes to "Defy the Dark" with her fantasy and paranormal books. Her debut novel, The Curse of Gremdon, was released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Also, book I, Rise From Darkness, from her debut young adult Battle For Souls series, secured glowing reviews and won July Book of the Month from Long and Short Reviews. 
Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska. 
Ciara is extremely sociable so please feel free to connect with her at her blog, website, Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook.

Release dates for the upcoming Neumarian Chronicles:

Escapement (Book I) - Early 2013
Pendulum (Book II) - Mid 2013
Balance (Book III) - Early 2014

Other books by Ciara Knight:

Battle for Souls Series:
Ascension of Evil - Coming in October


Have you read any of Ciara's books? Do you know her?

-----The Golden Eagle

16 August, 2012

How To: Writing An Awesome Blog Post

If you're a blogger, then you've probably been in that position where you have a hard time coming up with something--anything--to write about.

Fear this stage no more, my friends, because I've compiled a List of Things To Do When Stumped for Post Topics. Ready? To the first item!

1. Stare at the Post Editor/word processor in vain for an hour and systematically erase all post titles you come up with. Yes, even "Look, A Fabulous Post You'll Definitely Want To Read!".

2. Fidoodle around old drafts you never published but decide they're not good enough to post. Do some cleaning out while you're at it: Finally, no backlog of random posts that shouldn't see the light of day!

3. Check your reader stats. Nothing is more intimidating (and more likely to stop you from writing another word) than scrutinizing a graph and trying to figure out how to increase your numbers.

4. Read a book you've been meaning to finish. No, you're not going to finish it in time to use it for a review. But forget the present--in the future you'll need it . . . see, you're being sensible!

5. Wonder if anyone else in the blogosphere is up for guest posting within, say, fifty minutes. Someone else has got to be available to do the work for you, right? What was that? Darn it, reality is twisted.

6. Get something to eat. Food. Cures everything. Must have food to write a good post.

7. Discover that food does not always bring flashes of writing brilliance. Drink something to compensate.

8. Notice the device you're using needs a clean-up job. Ugh, fingerprints are so unsightly. And for the love of blogging, DIE you evil smudge!

9. Consider Rickrolling your readers but decide that isn't going to get you extra views. How about a duckroll? Anyone?

10. Decide to write a post with blogging advice because you're obviously such a success at this thing. Attempt to be entertaining. Doom and gloom and the zombocalypse always work.


But in all seriousness, how do you go about coming up with blog topics? Do you write down your ideas beforehand or just type down whatever comes to mind?

-----The Golden Eagle

14 August, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (88)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. It is great for finding new books to read, though does anyone who blogs not have an exploding TBR pile?

Rules for participating:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser is from Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, one of the most awesome speculative fiction couples ever. Also, there are some amazing writers in this collection: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Ysabeau S. Wilce, and others, including a few I haven't heard of before. I'm sure they're interesting, too.

(I am not a huge fan of this cover. It's not bad, but when I think steampunk I usually call up something closer to the cover of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld--sharp, intricate, and packed with gadgetry. This one is less of all of the above, though I do like the creepy aspect of the clock-spider and black fingernails with butterflies.)

Master Crawford taught me about getting inside the clockworks, that you have to shut out the distractions till it's just you and the gears and you can hear the smooth click tick, like a baby's first breath. You can give lovers their moonrises off the Argonaut Peninsula or the wonder of a seeding ship with its silos pumping steam into the clouds, bringing on rain. To me, ain't nothing more beautiful than the order of parts. It's a world you can make run right.

-p. 31, "The Last Ride of the Glory Girls" by Libba Bray.


What are you reading right now?

Do you like steampunk or its origin, cyberpunk? Have you read either? If so, what was (were) your favorite book(s) in the genre(s)?

-----The Golden Eagle

08 August, 2012

What Was Your Childhood Monster?: A Blogfest

To celebrate the release of her new book Fearless, Christine Rains is hosting the What Was Your Childhood Monster? Blogfest.

From her blog:
I'll be hosting a blogfest that will go from August 7th to the 9th. You can post on any one of those three days. (I like it when blogfests give you an option of which day to post on!) For this blogfest, all you need to do is write about your childhood monster. Did you have a beast living under your bed? Or was the scary clown in your closet? 

By Daniel Govar, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
There have been various creatures that scared the heck out of me. For example, soon after the first Harry Potter movie was released on DVD/VHS (back in the days when there were tapes, people!) we got the video; I watched it and was terrified for weeks that people were hiding faces on the backs of their heads. But that didn't last as long as the other creature that I was sure was hiding under the bed.

When I was around eight (or seven . . . I'm not precisely sure) my mom read The Hobbit to me. Soon after we started The Lord of the Rings, which I finished on my own because I found I could get through it faster if I read it solo. The character that stuck with me was Gollum. I didn't want to put a limb off the edge of the bed, afraid he would hiss and drag me down to some pitch-black cave and then kill me. I've since gotten over that fear (when I watched the LOTR movies I barely batted an eyelid) but yeah, Gollum creeped me out.


About Christine's book:
Abby White was seven years old when she killed the monster under her bed. Now she slays creatures spawned by the fertile imaginations of children, and the number of these nightmares are on the rise. Neither she nor her guide - a stuffed hippo named Tawa - know why.
   When she rescues Demetrius from an iron prison, he pledges his life to protect hers until he can return the favor. She doesn't want the help. And how can she concentrate on her job when the gorgeous wild fae throws himself in front of her during every fight? No matter how tempting, she can't take the time to lose herself to him.
   To save the children and all she loves, Abby must be truly Fearless.

Purchase/download links:
Createspace (print copy)
Smashwords (free)
Barnes & Noble
Kobo (free)


But how about you, dear readersss? What were your childhood monssterssss? Have you got a copy of Fearless yet?

-----The Golden Eagle

07 August, 2012

Ultimate Sacrifice by Madeleine Sara: A Chapter Review

No Teaser Tuesday this week, everyone: Instead, as part of a launch for Ultimate Sacrifice by Madeleine Sara (Madeleine Maddocks from Scribble and Edit), I have a review of the first chapter of her novella.

The Review:

Chapter One opens with an ominous note: Two soldiers show up at Lyndsay's door, which can only mean that her boyfriend is dead or injured. It quickly establishes an emotional connection to the character along with tension as the bad news impends over the scene. The chapter is a strong hook for the novella, and based on it alone, I would recommend reading Ultimate Sacrifice if you enjoy Romance/Realistic Fiction.

Purchase links:

About the Author:
I am a writer by nature. With a creative imagination and a make believe friend I spent much of my childhood writing stories and creating books. These days I enjoy blogging on the topic of creative writing and I also explore my creativity through textile crafts, magazine editing and website design. I live in Devon, England with my husband and two cats and am a qualified Speech & Language Therapist with a Psychology degree.
   I've had flash fiction, haiku and the opening 250 words of a story accepted for competitions by magazines/ online groups for publication. Ultimate Sacrifice is my first eBook short story/ novella (just under 7,000 words). I am toying with 2 further eBook novella ideas: One entitled Forsaking All Others (chick lit/realistic fiction/romance); the other Embroidering the Truth would be set in 1800s in a lunatic asylum, as a suspense thriller. I also have a realistic fiction/ suspense story in the pipeline as a WIP that I intend to send out to agents.

My blog: http://scribbleandedit.blogspot.co.uk

Do you know Madeleine? Have you read Ultimate Sacrifice? If so, what did you think of it? If not, do you think you might?

(And I must say, it's been quite interesting as a reviewer to post reviews of previews and first chapters, as opposed to entire books. I'm not complaining at all; it's just a change of pace I find intriguing.)

-----The Golden Eagle

06 August, 2012

The Successful Curiosity Landing!

Last night, the Curiosity rover (which I posted about in further detail yesterday) landed on Mars.

It was successful, with everything going to plan, and the first pictures of the red planet were posted just a few minutes after:

And then more pictures came:

Including one of the landing of the rover, via the HiRISE camera, which is orbiting Mars:

If you'd like to know more, this video sums up (some of) the most exciting things about the Curiosity rover:

-----The Golden Eagle

05 August, 2012

The Curiosity Rover: Will You Be Watching The Landing?

Tonight (or tomorrow morning, depending on how you look at it and where you are geographically) Curiosity will be landing on Mars. Its payload has ten times the mass of other rovers sent to the planet, and the goal for the rover is to check if life could or did exist there.

Curiosity, unlike other craft sent up, is capable of testing rock and dirt samples onboard itself; the plutonium power supply is predicted to last for 687 Earth days/one Mars year. Scientific instruments carried by the rover include spectrometers, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (designed to take highly magnified images), the Mast Camera (for taking pictures of the landscape), and the Radiation Assessment Detector.

The news, as you might expect, is causing quite the buzz. The only problem? EDL, or "Entry, Descent, and Landing". It takes several stages for the rover to descend from the atmosphere to the ground and for seven minutes there will be nothing from Curiosity. It may even be longer than that until we on Earth know if it successfully landed (due to the position of two satellites around Mars and the rover's position relative to Earth); if it doesn't reach the planet all in one piece, there will never be a signal at all.

This span of time between entry and landing is (rather aptly) called the 7 Minutes of Terror.

In the words of NASA scientists:

Or if you'd rather not watch a video, this graphic sums up the process:

Detailed animation of what the landing should look like:

If you'd like to find out when the rover will be landing in YOUR timezone, go HERE. You can bet I'll be up in the middle of the night checking the feeds; and speaking of feeds, BoingBoing has a handy list of resources, and I believe that SciShow, MarsCuriosity, and NASA TV will be streaming live about the landing.

Sources of information:

Images found via www.nasa.gov
(If you want more stunning images of Curiosity, check out this photo gallery. )


So, will you be watching?

-----The Golden Eagle

01 August, 2012

Plausibility: An IWSG Post

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

About the group (from Alex's blog):
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.

Recently, I've been trying to come up with ideas for a new novel (or novels). I've been racking my brain for subjects, but every time I think of something I like there are always the same dilemmas: I think the character motivation is unrealistic, the setting too fantastical, and/or the plot twists unbelievable.

Then the other half of my brain shakes me and says, "You're an SF/F writer! You're supposed to create things that are fantastical, for goodness' sake!"
   "No one's going to think my story about semi-human-part-alien people is realistic--" the other side replies.
   "So? Who's going to believe your story about revolution that you spent 1.5 years of your life on? Get some ideas together and write!"
   "I can't just connect plot points and characters willy-nilly or it will be a horrid mess."
   "You won't have anything to even question the plausibility of unless you go open that word processor, shut your mouth, and start writing."
   "I know. But having a concept beforehand does help. And even if I did start writing the story mentioned before, I don't even know if that character goal is consistent with the rest of the world."
   "Then make it consistent!"
   "Yeah, but then I would have to change all the other characters, which would mean more setting fixes, which would have a different influence on both the characters and plot, which would mean I'm back to the drawing board anyway, so why don't I just scrap the whole idea?"

Hence, my problem. It didn't used to get in the way (or I was better at shoving it aside) but now I keep wondering if my stories are plausible--realistic--enough.

How do you balance plausibility and imagination? What do consider the most when trying to estimate the chances that such a scenario could really happen: Characters, plot, setting? Or is this not something you worry about at all?

-----The Golden Eagle