Margaret Fieland: Poetry and Prose


Writing and Revising

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 29th, 2006

I started writing short stories a couple of months ago and I’m finding I’m doing far more revising of the st ories than I usually do on my poetry.

Part of this, I’m sure, is my lack of experience in writing fiction but a big piece of it is, I think, intrinsic to the way I write.  I seem to be able to wrap my mind around a whole poem in a way that I can’t seem to with a story.  With a story there is simply too much going on, and I need to just get it down on paper so I don’t get lost in a morass of details.  Until I get it down on paper I can’t really think about alternatives — differenct pieces of dialogue, different plot twists, or whatever.  With a poem, I think, I’m much more putting down what is a single thought — anyway I don’t seem to get quite as lost in the details.

In any case, the difference in the process interests me.

Lost in the desert

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 28th, 2006

I was talking to one of my sons at lunch today about the experiences he and my oldest son had while traveling through Egypt and Morocco in search of details I could use in the story I’m writing. Too bad I didn’t have a notebook and pen handy. They had lots of “adventures” which could be turned into stories, including one incident where my oldest was lost in the desert for several hours. More stuff I am probably glad I didn’t know until they were safely home.

My own adventures traveling where much tamer, merely involving lost passports, no money and the like. Oh, yes, and getting sick eating too much local food, refusing the carbonated water that probably would have fixed me up (this was before the stuff was so popular over here) and not feeling better until I took Alka Seltzer at lunch time. But not until after lunch, which I was too sick to eat. Too bad — it really was a lovely meal.

Registration for 2007 Museconference open

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 23rd, 2006

Register,folks.Last year’s conference was terrific.

http://www.freewebs .com/themuseonli newritersconfere nce/

Cell Phone Replaced

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 20th, 2006

I now have my replacement cell phone.  It’s not a flip phone but it is nice and sturdy and it was $50 less than the equivalent flip phone.  Since I seem to have such a poor record with cell phones I went for sturdy.  Still, no fabric softener is even gonna *breath* on this phone.

Spam

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 19th, 2006

I just rescued some non-spam from my bulk mail folder on my personal email account and one real comment from the over-enthusiastic spam identifier for comments for my site.

It is nice to have the spam in separate folders and all that but I haven’t met one yet that didn’t want to delete some pieces of real email.   And I can’t help wondering what I sent to email heaven that really shouldn’t have gone there.

Translating Poetry

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 18th, 2006

I’ve been reflecting recently on the extreme difficulty in translating poetry — I was just thinking, for example, that as French doesn’t have word accents, there is no way to reproduce the meter of English verse in French — and conversely.

It leaves me all the more in awe of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubayait.

Kathryn Porter: Too Much Stuff — interview coming in January

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 12th, 2006

In January I’ll be interviewing Kathryn Porter, author of “Too Much Stuff”  about organizing for writers.  I’ll also be running a contest to give away a copy of her book.  Stay tuned to learn more.

Omar, Robert A. Heinlein, and What you read in school

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 11th, 2006

The only two Omars who come to mind are first, Omar Khayyam and second “Omar the Tentmaker” whom RAH mentions as the person from whom Dak Broadbent must have bought his clothing in the beginning of “Double Star.” (And, no, I didn’t have to look it up).

Who comes to your mind when you hear the name Omar?  Did you read the Rubayait in school? Was it the Fitzgerald translation, which by the way I just realized this morning is written in blank verse?  Did you have to memorize “The Highwayman?”  Carl Sandburg? Robert Frost?  Shakespeare?  George Bernard Shaw?

Cultural blinders

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 6th, 2006

I was thinking about writing this morning and remembering a story I wrote in College for one of my French classes. The assignment was to write (in French) a Christmas story.  I was raised Jewish, so I chose the traditional Christmas story from the bible — one of them — and when the teacher went over the assignment her comment (translated) was, “… everyone knows it” — which, until I read it  a couple of days previous, wasn’t true at all.

Have y’all ever had your eyes opened this way?  Write and tell me about it.

Interview with Karina Fabian

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 4th, 2006
Check out Karina Fabian’s new book, Infinite Space, Infinite God, now available at www.twilighttimesbooks.com

Karina Fabian

www.fabianspace.com

Editor, Infinite Space, Infinite God, now available at www.twilighttimesbooks.com 

Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion? The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God have seamlessly combined the two. The fifteen stories of the Catholic Church meeting challenges from genetic engineering to time travel both entertain and make you think.

 

Your book looks fascinating and I’m eagerly awaiting its appearance in paperback.
I understand that it’s available now in Ebook format and will be coming out in paperback later on.
Yep, and we’re anxious, too. It’s taking a little longer because the artist is creating an absolutely fun book cover—a Marian procession with aliens. He’s got photos of most of the contributors and will be incorporating our faces into the procession!
You are a military wife and the home schooling mother of four children. How do you manage to balance your life as a writer and your life as a mother? Balance—it sounds like those graceful high-wire walkers. I’m more like the Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz as he first learns to walk—staggering, leaning precariously, and getting lots of help as he finds his feet.

I do tend to wobble. For instance, this November, I decided to enter the National Novel Writer’s Month contest, for which I needed to write 50,000 words on a new manuscript in 30 days. The house was a shambles, we ate more than the usual amount of prepared foods, and between that and illness, we only did two weeks of school. When DAW expressed an interest in my Miscria Trilogy, I spent an entire month of May finishing the second book. Other times, I’ll be so busy with kids and schooling, I’ll abandon all writing except for my two Montana Catholic columns.
However, I have a lot of help to keep me stable and moving forward: first my husband who supports me financially, emotionally and intellectually. He keeps things in perspective, finds the solution to things I think are insurmountable, and gives me encouragement when I’m ready to chuck it all, send the kids to public school and spend the day with the vacuum cleaner, reruns of StarGate and a box of chocolates. (The vacuum is to alleviate any guilt, of course.) Next, we were gifted with wonderful kids. When they are on, school is fast and easy and chores are done on time and we can all have fun. (When they’re off, I go insane, but that’s another interview…) Next, I have Katy, who cleans the house twice a month. It’s a joy to me to know that every two weeks, the toilets are clean, the floors are mopped and the shelves dusted. Plus, it makes me pick up the house the day before, so things are actually in place twice a month. I’m the kind of person who needs that outside motivation, so this is as important as her actual scrubbing. Finally, I have some terrific friends and on-line groups who encourage me.
I’m also a big multi-tasker, and having a laptop helps with that so much! I take my laptop and write everywhere—while cooking, in between teaching subjects, even (yes) in the bathroom. As a matter of fact, I have it perched on the ironing board right now and am typing this as I exercise. Do you have any kind of regular writing schedule? Not lately. I did when the kids were younger, but right now, it’s catch as catch can. One thing I do faithfully, however, is write a little something every day. Sometimes, I only manage a sentence on my next novel or an outline for my next story idea, but I won’t go to sleep until it’s done. I also let my husband drive and take a notebook with me when I’m in the middle of an idea, and while my older kids are doing their work, I’ll take the laptop in the room and work with them.

What convinced you to write professionally, and how and why did you start writing science fiction? I’ve loved reading science fiction ever since I discovered James Blish’s novelizations of Star Trek. Like so many authors, I’ve been writing ever since I could put two sentences together. My first science fiction was a fourth-grade essay on the Planet Gololooney, and I wrote my first novel in college (oh, it was awful!). However, I lost my enthusiasm for it when I joined the Air Force. (Imagine the irony—living alone in Italy , having only straight 8-hour shifts, and I could not write a word in my off time! Take that back—I attempted a Star Trek novel.)

I left the Air Force and we just moved back to the United States from Japan to Cheyenne , WY , where Rob (who was a Captain) was commanding a flight of missile maintainers. I hadn’t made friends yet, and had two toddlers who were smart, but not quite to my intellectual level. Thus, writing was a way of having adult conversation and keeping my sanity.
Now what ignited me was reading a Harry Turtledove novel while the kids watched Cinderella for the thousandth time. I remember thinking about how Turtledove was a busy professor of history yet manages to crank out all these great books. Here I was with nothing more to do than play with my kids—who often were happy to play on their own—and what was I doing?! It was right before Lent, so I decided to give up reading, take up writing, and ask God to direct me toward His will. And He has.
My first serious nonfiction writing was for Wyoming Catholic Register. My first fantasy story was an alternate Cinderella—she stayed out after midnight; dress, coach, horses, all of it, changes in front of the Prince’s eyes; she gets burned at the stake as a witch. (I was really tired of Disney’s Cinderella.) My first SF sale (to Aberrations) came the next year. Around that time, I was researching religious orders for women for a series and Rob was getting involved in the Artemis society, so on a date, we came up with the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue—spacefaring nuns who provide space search and rescue operations for “supplies, air and the Love of God.” Two stories from that universe are in Infinite Space, Infinite God: “These Three” and “Our Daily Bread.”

 

 

How do you feel about labeling your book “Catholic Science Fiction?” Since it was my idea, I guess I’d better like it. We labeled it that when we first started looking for stories, and it’s stuck. I don’t mind it. It lets people know what to expect.

Do you think labeling it this way will narrow your audience? From what I saw I think it has far wider appeal. (Aside for my readers: I am not Catholic) We do hope that it will reach a wider audience, and for that reason, we were very particular about making sure the Catholic faith and practice is woven into the plot rather than discussed. We wanted characters living their faith, not preaching about it. At the same time, we wanted people to learn and think about the Catholic Church as they read. That’s why there are several introductions about the history and present status of Catholicism. The “Chewing the Bones” book reviewer said the stories are awesome and that (as a non-Catholic) she learned a lot, so I think we’ve succeeded. Having a secular publisher also helps us reach a larger audience.
We do hope that it will reach a wider audience, and for that reason, we were very particular about making sure the Catholic faith and practice is woven into the plot rather than discussed. We wanted characters living their faith, not preaching about it. At the same time, we wanted people to learn and think about the Catholic Church as they read. That’s why there are several introductions about the history and present status of Catholicism. The “Chewing the Bones” book reviewer said the stories are awesome and that (as a non-Catholic) she learned a lot, so I think we’ve succeeded. Having a secular publisher also helps us reach a larger audience.
How long did it take you to put together the book? I can’t even remember now. We didn’t know a lot about advertising for submissions and didn’t have a publisher, so we were loathe to put out money for big ads. Thus, it took about a year to collect enough stories that we really enjoyed, then a couple of months to write up the introductions and put it all together. Much longer to find a publisher, though. I hope if we get to do an ISIG II, we’ll have more stories faster.

How did you find the experience of putting together an anthology? Mostly it was fun. Whenever Rob and I collaborate on something, whether creating a child or a story, it’s a thrill. Of course, just like with creating a baby, a lot of the work fell upon me. I read the stories first, rejected the ones that weren’t right, and passed the others to Rob for his opinion. Writing rejection letters was tough but kind of enjoyable. I wanted to encourage writers and give them some editorial advice. Sometimes, someone would write back and thank me. One person wrote back to argue that I didn’t understand his work at all. It actually bothered me at first, but Rob (Mr. Perspective, remember) told me it wasn’t our job to work to understand him; it was his job to make his work understandable to us.

When we had the stories gathered, we went out to dinner, and over Italian food worked out the story order and what we wanted to say in the introductions. Then I wrote those, Rob did the editing, and the REAL work—finding a publisher—began. How did you pick the stories? Our guidelines were strict but simple:

#1 The stories had to be fun with believable characters, enticing plots, and solid writing. Basically, people better get their money’s worth out of this book.
#2 The science had to be plausible and believable. No “reversing the polarity of the warp drive to create a trans-hyper communications link into Dimension Y.” Even the outlandish stuff—like “Mask of the Ferret”—reads very realistically.
#3 The Catholicism had to be true to the Magesterium (the official teachings of the Catholic Church) or there had to be an iron-clad, spiritually acceptable reason why it didn’t. This gave us some difficulty on occasion, but the authors were great about going back, re-examining and re-writing where need be. The great thing was that I learned a lot about my faith along the way, too. We also didn’t want Christianity with an icon tossed in. (We have a Christian SF anthology looking for a print home right now, incidentally.) How did you pick your publisher? We had a Catholic publisher interested in our Christian SF anthology, but who—naturally—wanted all Catholic stories. So Infinite Space, Infinite God went to him. Unfortunately, his company wouldn’t take a chance on genre fiction. After that, it was long years of sending it, waiting, hoping, and sending it elsewhere.

I feel like God directed us to Twilight Times Books. They’re a small press, but a growing one, and a friend in my Christian writer’s group online had been very happy with them. Are you happy with them? Lida Quillen at Twilight Times is the best! Not only has she worked with me every step of the way, even with some last minute changes I asked for—and I mean LAST minute. She allowed us to see the concept sketches of the book cover and to make suggestions. (Oh, the cover is going to rock!) She’s alerted me to opportunities to grow as a writer (like the MuseOnline Writers’ Conference this October), guided me as I now explore the world of marketing a book, and has always been available to answer my questions. She’s also dedicated to making her business grow, so I think we’ve gotten on the ground floor of something good.

What are you working on now? I have a couple of irons in the fire:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do hope that it will reach a wider audience, and for that reason, we were very particular about making sure the Catholic faith and practice is woven into the plot rather than discussed. We wanted characters living their faith, not preaching about it. At the same time, we wanted people to learn and think about the Catholic Church as they read. That’s why there are several introductions about the history and present status of Catholicism. The “Chewing the Bones” book reviewer said the stories are awesome and that (as a non-Catholic) she learned a lot, so I think we’ve succeeded. Having a secular publisher also helps us reach a larger audience.

–I’m shopping my SF/fantasy trilogy, The Miscria, with publishers and agents. (I may have news mid-December.) In the Miscria, the human psychic Deryl Stephens is torn between three worlds: his home of Earth, where his psychic abilities have resulted in his having a perilous hold on sanity; Kanaan, where the mysterious Miscria believes he is a mystical font of knowledge (which she taps directly from his mind and leaves him with a compulsion to learn more); and Barin, Kanaan’s enemy, where their high priest is telepathically trying to forge him into a psychic weapon. When he escapes the asylum and teleports to Kanaan, he discovers he has even bigger problems: Kanaan and Barin are on a collision course.

–I’m finishing a Catholic SF novel, Discovery, which I started during NaNoWriMo. It’s set in the Our Lady of the Rescue universe. Sister Rita of the OLR has been struggling for years between her dedication to serving Christ and her love for James Smith. Can the discovery of an alien ship help Sister Rita discover her true vocation?
–I’m always writing stories and hope to work on a novel featuring Vern, a dragon private detective. It’s a fun universe, in which a combination nuclear explosion and magical mishap has caused a Gap to open between our universe (Mundane) and the magical one (Faerie). It’s in the fantasy/film noir/detective style, but very funny. I love playing with the cliché’s from the point of view of a cynical, immortal creature who is nonetheless underpowered and bound to serve man and God. I started a website for Vern; check it out: www.freewebs.com/dragoneyepi.

–I have a blog on my website, www.fabianspace.com, where I talk about writing, home schooling, and anything else that interests me and I think will interest you.

Of course, my main project is caring for the loves of my life—my husband, Rob; and our kids, Steven, Amber, Alex, and Liam.
And to that end, I need to go grade papers and run to the dry cleaners. Thanks for hosting me!

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