Insights into Writing, Editing, Turning Dry Facts into Compelling Stories,
and Anything Else That Interests Me at the Moment
and Anything Else That Interests Me at the Moment
The Kindle version of Swallowing the Sun is now available for preorder! The book description may still look a bit odd if my changes to the 'Zon's HTML coding haven't percolated through yet, but at least there's a link to the book. Now I just have to wait and see whether the uploaded files get accepted the first time or require more tweaking.
When an ambitious Rainsinger reaches for even more power, the fear and hatred he spreads threaten to destroy the People of Two Rivers.
The copyeditor is partway through Swallowing the Sun, and the cover designer should return from a photography workshop in a few weeks, so the first volume in the Tales of the Watermasters series should be ready to go into production soon.
I received my new business cards and bookmarks yesterday. I'm so impressed with everything the designer, Kara Hudgens, has done for me!
This is another bit of trivia that I've incorporated into Swallowing the Sun, the first book in the Tales of the Watermasters series: the frequency of albinism found in Hopi and Zuni villages is (or was) much higher than the global average: at least 1 in 200.
That became significant because I was looking for something that would mark one of my major characters as an outlander. From the moment he came into existence in my mind, I understood him as having been born outside the Valley of the Sun and thus looking at the world in a unique way. But I didn't know precisely how he might be different until I broadened my research to other peoples of the region and came across this historical photograph of a light-skinned, pale-haired Zuni boy.
The Zuni form of albinism often involves uncontrolled movements of the eyes, sensitivity to bright lights, and rapid sunburn, as well as a lack of pigmentation in hair, skin, and eyes. These characteristics can become less obvious with age.
Traditionally, depigmented Hopis and Zunis appear to have been accepted as people with gifts, or powers, connecting them closely with the spiritual world. This belief that albinos bring good luck to a village or have special supernatural or religious significance appears to have faded during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries as these Indian nations became acculturated into larger American society.
It seems like every time I start working on the wiki, I find a new source of information that I have to stop and read. Today's was Michael Kyle Woodson's "Re-Drawing the Map of the Hohokam Canals in the Middle Gila River Valley." His map doesn't show the canals right around the Casa Grande Ruins, which is where my upcoming novel Swallowing the Sun is set, but it does show an area that is of great concern in the second book in the series.
I love archaeology!
Oh, how I hate that word.
I would prefer to call them "specks," maybe, or "tips" or "dabs." The sound of "blurb" reminds me of something going under the water's surface in the toilet.
But I've manned up and written many blurbs today, to be doled out over the next several weeks here and on social media.
Here are a few:
Swallowing the Sun is done and off to the copyeditor.
There's an interesting comparison of GRR Martin's storytelling approach versus the Hollywood formula that finished the HBO television series in Scientific American. I see a distinct parallel between my storytelling in the Tales of the Watermasters series and what Zeynep Tufekci (author of the Scientific American article) says GRRM tried to do in GoT.
Sometimes, unfortunately, somebody has to die. For the sake of the plot, one way of dying may seem more appropriate than another. This means research of a kind that normal people never have to do.
This week's death scene involved a knife wound to the belly. I learned all kinds of things about slow death as caused by damage to many organs: the vena cava (near the spine, so more at-risk in an attack from the rear than from the front); the liver, kidneys, and spleen (which have many connections to blood vessels); the bowels (which tend to slide away from a slow penetrating object such as a knife but if nicked can lead to septicemia); and the stomach (gastric leakage can cause peritonitis). Any stomach wound is likely to result in incredible pain but would probably take hours to days to kill someone and may not actually prove fatal.
In fact, modern medical care can repair almost any injury in the lower torso, as long as emergency facilities are close by. That should be some consolation to anyone worried about being struck with a ritual obsidian blade.
"So how is the final editing coming along, Sally?"
"It's coming along, just more slowly than I ever imagined."
"Why? What are you changing? I thought it was in pretty good shape for the beta read last year. A lot of people really liked it."
"Some of my readers had really good ideas for tightening it up and making it better. A few suggested new scenes that would help advance the plot. So far, I've cut out about 25,000 words and added three new scenes."
"Wow! I can see why you blew past your deadline."
The turning of the sun.
The Hohokam of central Arizona had several ways of marking the sun's movement. The most amazing one that remains is Hole-in-the-Rock in Papago Park, Phoenix.
The sun shines through the hole in the top of the rock formation and into depressions in the ground below during the solstices.
In my "Tales of the Watermasters" series, I imagine the lighting of huge fires, which could be seen from all the largest villages, at the time of the winter solstice. I call this the New Fire ceremony. I'm a few days off in the final editing of "Swallowing the Sun," though: the New Fire ceremony is still about 10 chapters away! It would have been serendipitous to be working on those scenes while the solstice was actually going on. Oh, well.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.