Jacqueline Lichtenberg – An Enduring Author

JLGood morning, Blog Buds.  This week’s Enduring Author was the person who flipped the lightbulb on for me, back when I had no idea how to sort the piles of images crammed in my imagination into stories other human beings could understand and enjoy.  Besides her massive backlist and huge amount of writing resources, Jacqueline Lichtenberg also pointed me to Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.  This is a book on screenwriting, but it transformed my writing by teaching me how to structure a story.  I don’t come by that naturally.  I still have to work very hard and deliberately.

Search Jacqueline’s name at Goodreads and you get 53 hits, no kidding.   https://www.goodreads.com/search?page=1&q=jacqueline+lichtenberg&tab=books

Check out Blake Snyder’s website and you’ll find that I’m not the only author who’s found help there.  http://www.savethecat.com/

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Pop over to Jacqueline’s website and the Sime-Gen website and find a huge amount of writing resources or directions to writing resources.  It boggles the mind.

http://www.simegen.com/jl/

http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com/

Jacqueline goes way back.  In fact, she goes all the way back to original Star Trek fandom.

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And she contributed to Trekkies 2.  I love those babies.  Aren’t they cute?

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Guess that makes Jacqueline Lichtenberg the most enduring of my Enduring Authors.  So, I asked her what she’s been up to lately and she offered a guest post on the headaches of writing a concordance.  Wow!  Gold mine.  Here it is-

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How Do You Know If You Are A Writer? by Jacqueline Lichteberg

Before you even start writing fiction, maybe at age 5 or 6, those who will write for publication are generally thinking differently from others.

Writer-types are jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none other than storytelling.  Non-fiction writers who are successful at it (even writing physics textbooks) are storytellers.  Even journalists who take enormous care not to allow their opinions to show, just recounting the facts of what happened, are telling a story.

A “story” has a lot of moving parts, but it does have parts and they come in a sequence.

We live in a linear-time universe – it is one of the few things we have in common.

So, things happen one after the other, though sometimes the motive or reasons (or excuses) for something that was done in January actually exist only in March.  We, as humans, “time-bind” or learn from our mistakes and act to cause things to happen later.

That trait gave rise to agriculture (plant now; reap later), animal husbandry, and building sturdy shelter for the winter that isn’t here yet.

So when a writer arranges facts into a sequence for someone else to read in sequence, the writer is “telling a story” by selecting specific things to mention before other things.

Writing is linear.  But the truth is, we live in a multi-dimensional world of past, present, future, imagined future, desired future, etc.  We make it up as we go along.

But we also absorb much lateral information about every moment. Meet someone, and notice their eye-color before finding out their name.  Use one form of address, discover that’s wrong, try another form.  We modulate our voices to suit a situation, “he said, gravely” or “he shouted.”

Or he has a bass voice that projects to the back of the auditorium without a microphone.

She refuses to wear yellow.  He always dresses in black. Even as a kid, he wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt.

A good writer discovers or invents these details on the fly while pushing the narrative line forward, chasing the plot and dragging the story behind.

The problem is, writers forget what we’ve established when it is a detail grabbed off the mental shelf to support the mood of a scene or flesh out a character.

20 novels later, we can’t remember if this character ever met that character and if so what form of address did this character use to that character (and was that a protocol error?)

That is actually a real life example.  On her blog, C. J. Cherryh is doing what I do — and what my mentors did — asking the FANS if this character “ever” met that character.

Thing is, the writer would remember clearly if there was a large, pivotal, plot-critical scene between those characters, but not necessarily remember a bit of throw-away dialogue or unspoken thought about some prior meeting.

If the two went to school together, were on rival sports teams, or perhaps read articles about each other but never spoke on the phone, the writer might use such a tidbit to flesh out the dynamics of a crucial scene, but 15 years later, having never mentioned it again in print, would honestly not know if that half-sentence tidbit remained through all the rewrites and edits.

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Those who have only read the cold printed pages would remember such a detail because that detail made it through editorial to carry a certain implication.

The author, however, knows the initial story idea, the imagined story after outlining, and all the different versions as the outline morphs.  The author knows what she wrote, but not what got cut or moved or morphed from “met in rival sports teams” to “never met face to face.”

So what is the writer of a long running, successful series like C.J. Cherryh’s FOREIGNER series to do?  Ask the fans!  And she’s by far and away not the first.  As a fan, I was asked by writers for details like that, and as a writer, I ask my fans.

Rewriting, re-arranging the story we originally come up with, is one of the signature mind-functions of writers, even baby writers just learning to babble and scribble.

We modify, rewrite, carve and polish our reality constantly.

So what happens when a writer has produced a series that has been contributed to by other writers (as my Sime~Gen Series has)?  The originator may have done a semi-final edit on everything that went into print — but not the final-final as required by the editor.

14 books down the line, how could you possibly remember every detail of every character, and who knows whom, and who calls who what, and what year on the invented calender this or that one was born?

And then what happens when a film or game company comes along and offers a contract to make NEW entertainment items set in your series, involving the descendents of the characters you wrote about — characters who made history and whose lives are an open book in the historical timeline?

In TV Series writing, the reference book for all these details is called a “bible” (which word merely means library).

In novel writing, the reference that presents all these unremembered but crucial details is called a Concordance.

Usually, people first encounter that word, Concordance, when studying Shakespeare or other ancient playwrights.

In the 1970’s, we saw the advent of the Star Trek Concordance which went several editions and was finally published professionally and updated and morphed into a very slick compendium.

Years ago, a series of fans waded in and tried to create a Sime~Gen Concordance — one write an entire book, another created a shoebox full of index cards, and others tried other methods.

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Today, with Sime~Gen under contract to become a videogame all about the space war humanity gets sucked into when venturing into interstellar space, where the extant novels are all laid out in History books, in song and legend, and vastly distorted in memory as politics shifts, we have yet another attempt by fans to create a Sime~Gen Concordance.

This monster incorporates previous attempts and adds the new material (the problem being we keep writing novels), and exists for reference on a wiki.

http://simegen.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Currently, two of the three professional novelists writing the series are collaborating with two fans to transform the wiki into a printable book.

As the original creator, I have supplied the project with my original notes on characters — but I’m not a great note-taker and there could be contradictions between notes I made and what appeared in print.  So we are going by what made it into print.

I wrote the first two novels in the Sime~Gen Series, House of Zeor, and Unto Zeor, Forever (on typewriter), and then Jean Lorrah (a fan who happened to be an English Professor and a professional writer) joined me, and wrote First Channel.  Yes, of course I edited, rewrote, and we brainstormed and created scenes together, but she wrote the novel.

I wrote more by myself, she wrote some by herself, and we collaborated on others — sometimes my name comes first because I first-drafted, and sometimes her name comes first because she first drafted, but in the end we both wrote all the words.

That does not mean we exactly remember every detail.

This year, a third professional writer, Mary Lou Mendum, has joined the ranks of professional creators of Sime~Gen by turning a series of tales she did for the Sime~Gen fanzines into professional novels.

Fan fiction is for fans – people who read and paid attention to the novels that have been published  The fanfic writer can just assume readers know everything.

We have more words of fanfic posted online (all as well written as any professional novel, just leaving out much background the reader is expected to know).

http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/

For professional fiction, explanations are necessary, but exposition is forbidden.  Also a novel has to carry the history forward, and show how the story inside the characters inflicted their ideas and shortcomings upon the historical record.

Mary Lou Mendum has a Ph.D. in plant biology, and has contributed the species of the plant much-mentioned in all the novels, Trin, from which a tea is made.  And the trilogy (already sold to the publisher) delineates how the battery technology (that eventually powers space flight) was first developed.  It is organic using organic compounds instead of copper wire and other metals and minerals.

The first of her trilogy came out in February 2017 in almost all formats:

The cover art was done by a fan of Mary Lou’s fan fiction about these same characters.  Mary Lou’s name is first in the list of authors because she first-drafted it, then I edited it, then Jean Lorrah did a polish draft rearranging the sequence of information.

These novels have not been broken down into facts for inclusion in the Sime~Gen Concordance yet.  There will have to be more volumes.

So how do you know if you’re a writer?

If you invent things that grab other people by the imagination and make them invent things — you are a writer.

As is often said of Leaders — a Leader is not someone who gathers Followers, but rather is someone who fosters more Leaders.

Likewise a writer whose work will endure is a writer who touches off explosive creativity in other writers who go on to write more.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com

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Thanks, Jacqueline!  SimeGen a videogame, very cool.  One thing I learned at Enduring Romance is that the best authors always keep learning and growing and going and doing.  😉

Laurie A. Green – An Enduring Author

Farewell_Andromeda-Final-200x300Okay, now it’s Laurie’s turn.  Sorry about the mix-up last week.

http://www.laurieagreen.com/category/books/

Laurie’s been a busy girl the last few years.  Here’s what she sent me-

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Hi! Thanks for the opportunity to catch up from days of yore on CritiqueCircle. Let me start by backtracking about six years.   https://www.critiquecircle.com/default.asp

In 2011 and 2012, I was a three-time finalist in the RWA Golden Heart© Awards for three different unpublished science fiction romance novels. Since then, my first novel, (originally titled P2PC) was published as Inherit the Stars in 2015.

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Inherit the Stars won the 2016 Carolyn Readers Choice Award and was named by LibraryJournal.com as one of the Best Books of 2015 in E-Originals.

But my novel wasn’t actually my first published work. That was a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, a romance between a female deep space charter pilot and a famous astronomer (…or is he)? It’s currently available at no cost via InstaFreebie as a special bonus for my newsletter subscribers, so I’ll extend that invitation to your readers, too. Here’s the link:  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/k6LUH

Last year, I was invited to take part in a themed science fiction romance collection called Pets in Space. You got it, the central theme of each story in the collection had something to do with a pet. My story, StarDog, took place in the same universe as my previous books. In fact, it’s set just six months before the beginning of Inherit the Stars and that allowed me to explore the Inherited Stars Universe at a time when tensions were just starting to come to a head between the Ithian Alliance and the rest of the known galaxy.

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I was thrilled when LibraryJournal.com also chose Pets in Space as one of the Best Books of 2016 in E-Originals Fiction. In addition, it won two SFR Galaxy Awards. Sadly, Pets in Space went off sale at the end of April and it’s no longer available. But…

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This year, I’ll be releasing Courting Disaster: StarDog2 which will be part of the second Pets in Space collection titled Embrace the Romance. This new story will be a sequel to both StarDog and Inherit the Stars, and involves another high stakes adventure and conflicted romance in the aftermath of the history-altering event known as Operation Reset. It features two of the minor characters from the novel who were always destined to end up in an adventure of their own. Here’s a teaser:

Captain Navene Jagger, commander of a mysterious, derelict starship, must pretend to be married to Ketsia Tayah, the woman he is escorting through a dangerous section of space. As he deals with threats that might get them both killed, he’s unaware of the power of the StarDog at her side.

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 will be out this October.

In the midst of all this, I also retired from my day job after twenty-one years as a military budget director, so being an author is my career now and I have a lot more time to devote to it. I plan to release many more titles in the years to come.

Thanks for allowing me to check in with news about all my authorly doings!

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You’re welcome, Laurie.  Thanks for catching me up!

Heather Massey – An Enduring Author

***This post was originally about Laurie A. Green, another Enduring Author, but I realized I mixed her information with Heather’s.  Sorry!  It’s fixed now.***

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I encountered Heather in cyberspace a long time ago, can’t even remember when.  I think it was at Critique Circle.   If you’re an aspiring author,

https://www.critiquecircle.com/default.asp

is a great place to start.  I still have online friends I made there and I think all of them are published in some way now.

So, I contacted Heather to see how things are going for her these days.  Here’s what she said:   “I’ve been kind of quiet online lately because of Real Life Stuff, but I’m still blogging occasionally and I had a book out recently from Red Sage (The Inventor’s Wife). And I’m working on a big ass steampunk romance. So that’s my life right now in a nutshell lol!”

http://www.heathermassey.com/

I’ve thought about subbing to Red Sage, but I suspect they may be too erotic for the kind of stories I write.  Mine don’t get any more graphic than Harlequin’s Special Edition line.  Red Sage has been around for a long time, so way to go, Heather!

http://www.eredsage.com/

Susan Grant, An Enduring Author

cover-contactI went searching for one of my old reviews of a favorite book by Susan Grant.  The oldest one I could find was Contact.  I know there’s an older one, but I think it got lost when I changed blogs.  In any case, I posted the review of Contact in July of 2007!

That’s ten years!

My last child hadn’t even been born yet and now she’s big enough to steal my shoes and walk out the door in them.

So, I emailed my favorited authors from my book review blog and Susan was the first to respond.  The best thing I learned from communicating with those authors through that blog is that the best ones constantly work at getting even better.  Check out Susan’s massive backlist-   http://www.susangrant.com/books/     And she created it while also flying as a commercial airline pilot and raising two kids.  Awesome.

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I found several of the authors have gone Indie and Susan is one of them.  Hey, they already know the ropes and have a bunch of readers who love their books!  I’m looking forward to reading their stories totally their way.

Pop over to Susan’s site to learn more about this Enduring Author.  Did you know she graduated the Air Force Academy and trained pilots to fly fighter jets?

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Did you know her Indie Pub, The Champion of Baresh, is a Finalist for the Romance Writer of America’s Rita Award?  Well, go see, but first I asked Susan a couple of questions of my own and here they are with her answers.

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Me:   Do you have any New Releases out now or coming out this year?

Susan:   I will have one novel and one novella in the Star Series world. I hope to have more, but those are on the schedule. No release date for the novel but I’m writing it now, and the novella is part of a special project I’ll announce in my May newsletter. An October 2017 release. I’m feeling I want to stretch my wings, writing-wise, so I may write a surprise story next. We’ll see.

Me:   What have you been up to lately?  Any valuable new insight into the writing craft or authorly business you can share?<<
Susan:   I am working the day job while trying to write as fast and as well as I can. Loving the indie author life where I can call the shots. I recently did both a podcast and a video interview with Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula, and i have the link on my writing blog. It will catch you up with where I’m at…as of January.
So glad you got in touch. OK, back to writing!
–Susan
And now I will share with you my 2007 review of Contact by Susan Grant, which won the Rita Award in 2003.  I’m using the new cover.  You can see the old one by clicking on the link below the review and going to the original post on Enduring Romance.
Besides great storytelling, Susan was the first Romance Genre author I’d encountered who wrote strong heroines *who were also mommies!*  I have always resented the implication that mommies can’t kick butt, because I’m a mommy and I know the maternal instinct is one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy.  It was such a delight to find Susan’s stories.
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BONUS:    From Susan:  I don’t know if you realize, but when I rewrote/revised my books upon getting my rights back, for Contact I put in a reunion scene between Boo and Jordan. It was always a missing piece of the puzzle. ❤
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Now, enter my Time Traveling machine and read on.
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CONTACT by Susan Grant, a book review from July 2007
HOW TO LOSE AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN 10 DAYS is new on the bookshelves today, Blog Buddies. Since Lady Bronco reviewed the ARC on June 9th, I’m reviewing an older release, CONTACT, to celebrate this momentous occasion.

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For me, the beauty of CONTACT is that it showcases all of Susan Grant’s strengths as a writer and it plays to what I like in a story too. It starts out behind the eyes of Jordan, a First Officer on a red-eyed flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. I know a little about this because I’m married to an airline pilot myself. Of course, my husband never tells me the scary stuff. He only tells me the funny stuff like having to chase bald eagles off the runway with the jet. Don’t worry – no eagles were hurt. We love our eagles. That’s why they’re as plentiful as pigeons here in Alaska. Oh, sorry, I’m digressing.

Susan expertly weaves Jordan’s thoughts of her daughter in and out of what she’s actually doing in the cockpit. This is very real. I used to be a nanny. I was trained to know this. Let me tell ya, there’s nothing sweeter than a high-powered attorney going all gushy over the phone with her baby! “Oh, my baby! Oh, baby!” Jordan is blessed with an excellent caregiver for her daughter – her own mother – and that enables her to stay focused on the job. This leads to another real-feeling aspect. The daughter senses things about her mother. Babies and young children are so in tune with their mothers that they do pick up on things. Experts say it’s a leftover biological function from the womb when Baby heard Mother’s every heartbeat, but I’ve seen it go beyond that. Human beings are spiritual beings, regardless of religious affiliation. Leave that dimension out of a story and you’re only meeting part of your reader’s needs.

So, the story kicks off with the Intimate Adventure of Jordan, airline pilot and single mom. What happens next would have really freaked me out a year ago, but I think I’m finally toughening up a bit. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband I said that or he’ll laugh his head off!) The plane gets hijacked, in a manner of speaking, and of course that’s what Jordan and everybody else on board thinks. The captain has a heart attack and croaks. Now, this part I love too – Jordan has to take over. I looove heroes or heroines who are a bit unsure of themselves, going along minding their own business, and BOOM! They get shot out of a cannon and have to deal or die.

The airplane actually gets picked up by a spaceship and taken right in whole. The command crew thinks they’re rescuing the humans. The humans think they’ve been abducted by Darth Vader. Jordan extends an inflatable escape slide from the aircraft and knocks the hero right on his butt. Oh, I loved that part! Shoom! Wham! I throw my head back and laugh haughtily into the rafters.

Of course, Jordan and company can’t stay on the aircraft long. Things are getting pretty stinky. Kao (the hero) tries diplomacy, but when that takes longer than expected his trigger-happy subordinate sedates all the humans. Jordan wakes up first and she’s not at all happy. A couple men die and all the pregnant moms miscarry because of the sedation. And she gets the news about Earth being destroyed.

No survivors. That includes her daughter.

Not exactly the best way for a guy to impress a girl he likes. But, Kao knows the pain of loss and he knows what it means to sacrifice self for a loved one. He’s real and worthy.

You’ll have to read the book if you want to know more. 😉 Before you do, you must swear the Enduring Romance oath first because this is an older release. Raise your right hand and repeat after me- “I (insert name here) do solemnly swear to always buy my favorite authors’ books new.” Congratulations! You’re now a member of the tribe.

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Here’s the link to the original book review on Enduring Romance-   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2007/07/contact-by-susan-grant.html

Enduring Authors

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If you scroll down, you’ll see have changed the posting schedule.  This Friday will be my first Interview & Review feature for my favorite authors from my old book review blog, Enduring Romance.   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/

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Susan Grant will be my first Enduring Author.   http://www.susangrant.com/

April 13th, good morning add:

Michelle Willingham just responded and will be our Enduring Author next week!

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Thanks, Michelle!  http://www.michellewillingham.com/