Human Rights Day commemorates the day the General Assembly of the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR is one of UN’s major achievements as well as the first enunciation of human rights across the world.
Adopted on 10th December 1948, the Declaration stipulates universal values and a shared standard of achievement for everyone in every country. While the Declaration is not a binding document, it inspired over 60 human rights instruments that today make a common standard of human rights. It is the most translated document around the globe – available in over 500 languages.
The 2018 commemoration of Human Rights Day will mark the beginning of a year-long celebration of 70 years since the international community adopted the Declaration. We celebrate all our inalienable rights and freedoms including a right to education, a decent living, health care and a right to live free from any form of discrimination among others.
Despite the efforts to protect human rights, the hostility toward human rights and those who defend them continues to rise.
As a result, this year’s Human Rights Day advocates for everyone to stand up for their rights and those of others – civil, economic, political and cultural rights. Additionally, the day aims to enlighten us about how our rights are a foundation of sustainable development and peaceful societies. The day also acknowledges the advocates and defenders of human rights around the world.
My Bookmarks! And then I decided to make my own SWAG. If you've ever seen me at a live show or won a prize at a takeover and live in the US, you've discovered a prize option of swag. SWAG is an acronym for Stuff We All Get. Many authors use these as reminders to buy a book and they have something with their email or website imprinted. These can be pricey. I decided to make my own. The Child Stone Bookmark was born. Below is a picture of one with purple, a dolphin, a pearl and more purple and silver sent by a happy recipient. Here's how they got started.
Back in the early days of the idea of Children of Stone, I used to give friends and fans (or those who meditated with me) stones just like the Children of Stone gave Marai. My Author page background shows my stone pile of stones I keep. My stones can't upgrade your DNA or give you superhuman abilities, but they (made in the form of bookmarks) can remind a reader of me and my stories. When you request one, I ask you for your color and your color stone as well as your metal. I also ask you for a totem. That's the hard part because most of you want wolves, dragons or hawks -- and they are not to be had in any of the craft stores where I shop. So I look at your page and go with some choice that "speaks" to me using my minor psychic ability and a lot of guessing. I choose 5 or 6 pieces and construct them on copper wire. Then I send you the finished item with my card.
If you are at a show I have pre-mades (or if you buy an autographed print book from me) you get a free bookmark. You may also buy a bookmark without a book for $5.00 or win a bookmark in place of an ebook if you aren't going to have time to read the books. Either way, it's how I do my SWAG.
Last week Greg Krojac (Taylor) told us about his writing. Today we meet his character character Coppelia
1.Go ahead and introduce yourself.
My name is Coppélia and I’m named after a character in the ballet of the same name. In the ballet, Coppélia is a life-size and lifelike mechanical doll. I suppose that’s how some people might describe me, since I’m an android.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I wasn’t born – I was constructed in a laboratory. I was activated 5 years, 7 months, and 23 days ago.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I’m a gynoid. That’s the technical term for a female-form android. People say that I am aesthetically pleasing, but I have no real opinion on the matter other than that I like my appearance.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I didn’t grow up. From what my human friends have told me, I think I would like to have had a childhood. I don’t think humans would like to grow up in a laboratory environment –
there were no toys and nobody to be friends with, just assembly equipment and technicians.
5. How old are you?
I’m 5 years, 7 months, and 23 days old
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
I didn’t have a childhood. I was never a child.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I’ve learned a lot from my interactions with humans. I like learning, rather than just downloading information into my memory cortex.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
Humans. But I’m programmed to do so.
9. What are you obsessed with?
I have no obsessions – unless you count my love for learning as an obsession.
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I have no beliefs. My friend Karen says that’s probably a good thing as beliefs have caused trouble throughout history.
My programming is restricted so that I don’t feel strong and potentially destructive negative emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy, or panic. I don’t feel fear but I do experience wariness. That’s necessary for self-preservation, whether you’re android or human. Neither of us should take unnecessary risks – although, of course, I can calculate those risks more quickly and efficiently than a human can.
12. What line will you never cross?
I will never contravene the Three Laws of Robotics. I will never injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. I will obey orders given me by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. I will protect my own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best thing that ever happened to me was meeting Detective Inspector Karen Chambers. She’s my best friend. She’s in charge of the Sexdroid Unit of the New Metropolitan Vice Squad. They check that all sexbots are licensed and that kindbots (child sexbots) are only used for therapeutic purposes by licensed psychotherapists in strict accordance with the Kindbot Regulation Act. That’s the most important part of her job; human children’s care and well-being are society’s number one priority. She’s a good friend; she’s going to help me find out why I was created.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
I’m not programmed to feel embarrassment.
15. Biggest secret?
Karen’s the only person that knows that I fart. That’s what she calls it anyway. It’s actually the disposal of waste gas that’s produced when I eat human food (I don’t require food as sustenance but sometimes eat it when required in certain social situations). She says that’s what farting is.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
I hope that I can discover the reason why I was created and by whom. That’s what I really want to know.
And now let's meet Patrick Tylee (Rick Eve)
First, from the back of his book UNIMAGINARY
The girl from space breaks nearly every rule to escape her lonely life in the Joining. She rescues a human boy, and will stop at nothing to become his perfect mate.
To protect Wynn from harm, she destroys the bees, the bully, and the spy. She's banished from Wynn's presence, and when her kind come to return her to the Joining, she faces the truth of all she's done to his planet and its people. But she can create an entire world within herself.
Just one rule left to break.
And now Patrick himself, in his own words!
What made you want to be a writer?
To use my imagination within a structure, like a scene, a story, or a book. I’ve always been a story-teller.
When is the release of your next novel?
My next book should be ready by early 2019.
Name genre or if it’s part of a series. (see above) If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
It’s a Mystery with sci-fi and fantasy elements, no plans for it to be a series.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
Reading other author’s work helps you to measure your own. Not that you should compare yourself to anyone. But if you don’t have clear examples, goals and boundaries, a writer can get off track. When you stay immersed in words, then you gain perspective.
Do you remember the first book you read?
The Cat in the Hat, I believe. That dude’s psycho, btw.
What book are you reading now?
Stormhaven Rising by Eric Michael Craig.
How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?
You discover someone amazing. But they can’t exist in your reality, only in your imagination. What if you could change? What if you could change them? What if you could change reality? Your relationship could be UNIMAGINARY.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
I would have to say Ahnim. Curious, adventurous, impulsive, can’t leave well enough alone, not from Earth…
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Taking a girl to a rock concert in a fast car. And liking the wrong girl in high school. Pretending to be someone I’m not.
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish! Would’ve loved to see Baton Rouge, Russia, the dark side of the Moon, and Cygnus X1. Okay, maybe not the black hole.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
Quiet…except for below…
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
A 1954 LeJohn cast-iron desk fan. It howls like a WWII fighter plane, masking the reality around me.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Trying to be something I’m not. Instead trying to be what some literary agent is looking for today.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
The worst thing I’ve had to overcome is letting go of the controls. Especially the cover art. In the beginning, it felt like giving my artful dream to another artist to render. And of course, it turns out fantastic.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
My best friend, John. He could make you feel positive about jumping from a plane without a parachute. “Have faith, Brother! It’ll likely kill you, but you’ll go out with a bang!”
How do you market your book?
I have a professionally produced book trailer. It’s fully cinematic and well done. I wear that thing out. At live events, I show it to a hundred people and sell fifty books. I wrote the screen-play, and Crimson River Productions of London did amazing work. I do use social media, but find that it’s easy to lose track of the most important goal - meeting new readers, making new fans.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
“Hey, I bought UNIMAGINARY yesterday and stayed up all night reading it. It was terrific! I’m back for something else.”
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
I have a pre-read group of a half-dozen fans of SF&F. They get the draft for a month. Then I’ll sit with each one and go through the good and the bad.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
In the back room of Mostly Books, an Indie store in Tucson. A bunch of loyal family and friends showed up. We crammed like fifteen people in chairs into a bedroom, plus the store kept extra folding tables stacked along the wall. Only one person could walk around at a time. I had printed signs and arrows so visitors in the front might find their way back. I wanted to bake a big pan of Chicken Chooza, which is a spicy African dish featured in my debut novel. My wife envisioned a dozen people becoming ill from room-temperature under-cooked poultry. We settled on chilled waters and candy. You can find my recipe for Chicken Chooza on my website. I always feature food in the stories.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Yes, that things aren’t necessarily as you perceive them. Your reality is not all there is. Beyond what your five senses are telling you, is a hidden world. Open yourself to the idea that we exist in a very narrow band of frequencies for light, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Just because you cannot feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ahnim would be a good fit for Sadie Sink, of Stranger Things Season Two. She has the look, the innocence, and the bold ferocity displayed by the feminine alien. Wynn Dubroc is Creole, so I envision him to be like Damon J. Gillespie of NBC’s show RISE.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Nicolai Tesla. He knew something that no one else has yet to discover. Consider the vast resource and potential of all the crude oil reserves ever found under the earth. He found that in the skies above, in a peculiar frequency of solar radiation.
Do you have any hobbies?
Jeeping! and…fixing broken Jeeps!
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a big fan of sci-fi series like: Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek. Heck, I’m even watching the Lost in Space remake. I watch Big Bang Theory. I really have learned to enjoy British TV series - Poldark, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey. Superb acting, and the sets and scenery are fabulous.
Mashed potatoes and gravy, please. All day, Just keep em coming.
What’s your sign, lucky number.
Taurus, but I stubbornly refuse to believe in that stuff.
What’s your favorite color.
What music do you hear in your latest book.
Don’t Save Me, by HAIM. “Take, take me back to the song, how it used to go. Screaming for what was to come. Now I’m dreaming ‘bout the way it was.”
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would teach children to read.
You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Recording life messages for my sons. Road trip to Payson with my wife. Tell a bunch of folks ‘thank you’.
What do you want written on your head stone?
SAFETY EQUIPMENT REQUIRED BEYOND THIS POINT
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
Yes, don’t publish until you know what you are doing. And it takes a few books until you know what you are doing.
What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring authors?
Try singing first. Know that you likely write as good as you sing. Keep practicing.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
Jesus saves, sometimes a little every day. He’s not the guy you might have heard about in some church. He’s willing to show you the right direction if you are willing to stop and ask.
Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)
There are three books available in print and various e-book formats:
WISDOM & REBELLION (two-book series) and UNIMAGINARY at Amazon, B&N, and iBooks
In print only for Mid-Grade is Mrs. Tricker is Not Herself on Amazon
Most of you have heard my story of going to print with a virtually unedited first novel then trying again the following year with a bit more editing and an e-book.
As I completed Book 4 and saw the reviews were doing well, I re-visited my first book, took into account what I had learned. I decided I could do better on a third try of Voices in Crystal.
So what do you think?
The scene up for comparison is the first meeting between Marai and Count Prince Hordjedtef. First, the published version:
The morning sun on the plaza cast the form of the old man seated on his dark, throne-like chair in a ghostly light. He sat facing the approaching men while he took in the sun's warming rays. A nice indigo and white striped linen awning shaded him from the direct light this morning. His mere nuance of a glance sent the peacekeepers back to their posts at the gate to wait until they were needed again.
I wonder if this is what it would feel like, if I were really a god. Marai thought.
For a moment, a whimsical vision of a time many years in the future formed in the sojourner's thoughts. He saw himself seated on a throne like this, except that it was solid gold. The throne was on some remote and cloud-shrouded mountaintop, as if he had become the god Sin.
He blinked slowly, coming back to the present.
It showed a bit of bravado for the elder to face him alone after last night, he thought. This morning, other than the gate guards, Marai had seen only a servant or two moving around the plaza. These were young personal grooms. They bowed and asked in almost silent whispers, if “his highness” wanted or needed anything before the meeting commenced.
The inspector priest who had come to his apartment yesterday, the other attendants and the boy from last night weren't present. From time to time, a domesticated cat or hound would appear, then saunter quietly away.
Marai noticed a strangely familiar strength and intelligence hanging in the air that he hadn't sensed anywhere other than on the Children's vessel. That energy washed about him, but quickly took on a watchful and sinister tone as he remained lock-kneed and standing before the priest. Marai grinned, placing his hands on his hips and swelled so full of the Children's joyous, projected thoughts, that pride obliterated any uneasiness he had begun to feel.
The old man’s head craned up, like a turtle head emerging from its shell. He gasped slightly, with a sharp intake of air, like a reverse serpent's hiss. His blackest eyes widened in odd delight as he contemplated his guest for a moment, with bird-like fascination.
This, he nodded approval, is no bedraggled shepherd and no foreign merchant either.
It had never occurred to the so called Great One to contemplate the fine details of his guest’s image beyond what he had sensed eons ago. Today, he regarded a tall, excellently formed man who looked just as sure of himself as he looked friendly. That man smiled warmly down at him from the other side of the pool. Marai's lack of reverence stunned the elder. Such insolence simply wasn't allowed of any visitor to royalty. His own father had been famous for ordering the immediate execution of any man, woman, or child who failed to show proper reverence. This sojourner's behavior was especially unforgiveable after, through his heka, young Ausebek and even his own protege had almost drowned in chest deep water last night. On your knees, Akkad! I know you can hear my thoughts! His cold, stern spirit voice rang like the clash of ancient weaponry. The old man sat taller in his dark stone chair. He looked as if he really wanted to leap out of it, seize Marai by the hair, and ram his head into the floor several times in forced respect.
Long ago, with his father and men at his side, he might have accomplished that. It was only the current king, his great nephew Menkaure who had become unusually famous for his accessibility. In his reign, the king conducted many fine entertainments and even allowed children to play and study with his own children as they grew. That change had rippled through Kemet in that the king's actions toward outsiders were to be followed by his court. The old man and many others felt it was a dangerous trend, but complied with measured civility. Marai bowed his head politely, hand at his chest in deference, knowing he had to make some sort of respectful gesture. His knees remained locked in an unbent pose that said: Why should I? Are we not both free men? And that you began this by sending your lackey with his message yesterday. His own inner protest stirred. Marai knew well enough that the old prince could order him executed with a gesture. Kill me? You could try...he returned. Marai knew he didn't have to worry about that this morning. He sensed this imaginary Djedi already knew if he provoked his guest, it would result in a bloodbath. The big man remained standing, somewhat at ease, but watchful. **************** One of the biggest problems I needed to resolve was Point of View shifts. Oeiginally they were handled by a distant narrator. There were also longer descriptive passages of history, which while interesting, had nothing to do with the movement of the story. The second version is from the current WIP in the same scene. I chose Marai's voice and POV throughout. To illustrate I've included a drawing I did of the scene in 2010
An old man sat in a dark stone chair beneath an indigo and white awning, sunlight bathing him in ghostly light. Just his nuance of a glance sent the peacekeepers back to their posts at the gate to wait until they were needed. Looks like he thinks he’s king, or a god, Marai thought. Wonder if I'd feel that way if I sat in that chair. The sojourner formed a vision of his own possible future in which he sat on his own throne. His chair was made of solid gold, not black marble. The vision didn't last long. Soon the sojourner returned to the present moment where he stood at the entryway to a nobleman’s plaza and pondered over the instructions the men gave him for presenting himself to his elder host now that they had announced him. This morning, as Marai slowed down time to a crawl so he could take in the scene, he saw a servant moving in the plaza. The young man bowed to the elder and appeared to be asking if “his highness” wanted or needed anything. The old man’s head craned up, like a turtle head emerging from its shell. He gazed past the attendant, ignoring him and gasped. His black eyes widened in delight as he contemplated his guest with a bird-like fascination. Marai focused on the elder’s thoughts about him, hearing them as clearly as if the man had spoken aloud:
This is no mere shepherd as I’ve been told and certainly no foreign merchant. He has no upbringing, I see, however. Did no one tell him who he greeted today? then a pause as the elder’s face took on a look of irritation as if he knew Marai was reading his thoughts: He at least should have realized I am one of his betters. He is the one whose spirit visited last night. He nearly drowned two of my men last night--a spell without even inquiring. “Ahem.” the old man cleared his throat and called across the plaza “Is something the matter with your knees, Akkad?” Marai knew the man was pretending aloofness as a cover for growing anger. He found the man wishing for the physical ability to leap from his seat at the insult, seize him by the hair and ram his head into the floor several times in order to force respect. Oh, he's upset.I’d better acknowledge him. Marai bowed his head politely, hand at his chest in deference. As another test, he sent his own thought to the elder. Why should I kneel? Are we not both free men? I know this strife you feel started when you sent your lackey with his message yesterday. Marai knew well enough that the old prince could order him executed with a gesture, so he added another thought: I already know you want to kill me like your father would have done. You could try...he returned, but you won’t. You want to know more about me and my death would prevent that, wouldn’t it? ****************** WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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