Friday, July 25, 2014

Intrepid Eavesdropper

Sound Bites from the Coffee Shop

Over the past month or so,
I've collected these little tid-bits from four different
conversations as I've worked on my novel in my
favorite coffee shop, Zoka Coffee, in Seattle, WA.
I do hope you enjoy them!
1)  "What happened?" asks a woman. Pause, pause, pause...then the friend answers: "Oh, nothing too terrible."
Nothing TOO terrible? It was just a little terrible? What on earth happened? Now I want to know!
2)  "We want them to look as big as possible without looking ridiculous."
I'm awful, but the first thing that came to mind was...wait for it...a breast enlargement! I didn't manage to hear enough to know what the two men were actually discussing, but it probably wasn't breast enlargement.
3) "You’ll get your two million dollars out of the project in thirty-six months. I’m a property developer, and I can tell you that with confidence."
Oh. Okay. Nice then. Tell me where to sign the check.
4) "As soon as a bear charges, you're done. That's why I was up there testing different kinds of bear spray."
I'm serious. He said bear spray. The two men (different men from the ones above) really WERE talking about bears. The man was testing four brands of bear spray. He was lean and tall and wore a dingy gray baseball hat. He stood leaning forward on his toes, looking as if he wanted to go out searching for bears right then and there.

Let's Talk About Blood

At the Starbucks I frequent in the hospital lobby, two women are speaking Spanish. They're both doctors, maybe. One is slightly older, and American, as white as can be. She is dressed in blue scrubs and has curly hair. As for the second woman, as far as I can tell from her accent, which isn't Mexican, she is from somewhere in South America. She has on a flowery dress, a light-weight sweater, and is wearing high heels. She can only be described as perky.

I can't help but listen in. I speak Spanish, and their discussion tugs for my attention even though this time, I have an important project and I really don't want to eavesdrop. I'm at a critical point in my novel. I'm not looking for fodder for my blog. But it's a losing cause. The more I try not to listen in, the more I have to. Because this is a language lesson, of sorts. And also, because they are discussing ... blood. How could I not listen?

"Sangre. That is blood, in Spanish," says Dr. Perky. "But you know that already?"

"Oh, yes," says Dr. Scrubs, pen in hand. "Everybody knows that one. But I'm looking for details. Wait a second." She bites her lip as she turns pages in her notebook. "Watery blood. How would you say that?"

At my table across from them, I stare at my computer screen. Watery blood? There was such a thing? Apparently so, because they're discussing it.

"Sangre aguado." Dr. Perky says, nodding. "Aguado means watery."

"Coagulated blood?"

"Sangre coagulado."

"Almost the same as English, then." Dr. Scrubs takes her hair out of a ponytail holder, then re-twists it and puts the band on it again.  "How about ... um ... iron-deficient blood?"

"Deficiencia de hierro. Anemia. Where did you learn Spanish?"

Dr. Scrubs writes in her notebook, then looks up. "I lived in Spain for two years, before medical school." She scribbles something else. "I loved it. I almost gave up on med school. I almost stayed there."

"Two years!"

"How about uncontrolled bleeding?"

A vibrating phone suddenly starts to rattle on the table between them. "Oh!" says Dr. Scrubs, standing up. "I've gotta run." Before I know it, they're both gone, and all I'm left with is visions of watery blood and uncontrolled bleeding as I stare into my mocha. Just another day at Starbucks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Who Loves Science Fiction?

I Do!

I've been a fan of Science Fiction almost since I could read. Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, name it, my nose was buried in it. And later, when I was more grown up, there was Octavia Butler (my idol) and Kage Baker (my other idol) and Sherri Tepper and Stephen Baxter and ... oh my, I can't begin to name them all. Reading good science fiction has a way of opening my mind to new ideas, of making me look at things in a different way. I never get tired of it.

My first full-length novel, The Architect of Grayland, is unabashedly, proudly Science Fiction. I wrote it several years ago - but recently lightening struck me in the form of a FANTASTIC idea, a dual story-line to insert into the story that will give it extra dimension and depth.

I HAD to do it! 

I must follow the muse where she leads. As many of you know, I have been working on an erotic horror novel called Over the Edge for the past six months. It is the sort-of-sequel to Inn on the Edge. I am currently about two-thirds of the way through writing it, I still love the story and the characters - but it can wait until my (very non-erotic) The Architect of Grayland has its day in the sun.

A mock-up cover I designed for "Architect"

The Blurb (as it stands right now):

The Architect of Grayland is a Science Fiction survival story with strong female characters who are engaged in a high-stakes battle over what it means to be human.

Elaine is one of eight people abducted by scientists of the distant future. She has been brought forward to their time and dropped into a barren gray habitat designed for the study of "primitive" human beings.

Awakening in their cruel experiment, never knowing where she is, Elaine must figure out how to create food, clothing, and shelter - or die. After finally making the things she needs, she strikes out on her own to search for others like herself, finding two fellow captives with whom she forms a tiny community.

But now Elaine is about to lose it all. Staying alive has just become immeasurably harder.

Assistant Professor Mirri Daaha, the Historical Anthropologist in charge of the experiment, is purposefully destroying Elaine's carefully constructed world for her own scheming ends. Elaine, however, refuses to give up. Drawing on her creative survival skills, she confronts one obstacle after another in her quest to bring herself and her friends safely home to the 21st century. What she never expects is the final cataclysmic confrontation with Assistant Professor Mirri Daaha.

Pitching The Architect of Grayland - YIKES!

A week from tomorrow, on July 17, I will be attending the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference (PNWA) in Bellevue, Washington. My plan is to pitch the heck out of Architect, to do my utmost to get someone interested in it. I have two scheduled sessions to pitch it to literary agents and editors, and with the help of my husband, I am scurrying to perfect my verbal pitch. I will be pitching under my real name, Evelyn Arvey, which seems odd after having been a professional author for several years under my pen name, Gail Bridges.