Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kathy Tyers Blog Tour 8-06

I'm joining other bloggers who love speculative (sci-fi/fantasy) fiction by Christian authors, to feature gifted author Kathy Tyers.

Several years ago, a friend recommended her Firebird series and I devoured it. When I mentioned how much I enjoyed it to my adult son, he said, "Oh, I know her name. She wrote a Star Wars novel." Sure enough, Balance Point was on my shelf - one of my favorite of the novels created for the Star Wars storyworld. On top of that, she's co-written a book with Christopher Parkening. When I was a choreographer, I created a modern ballet to a collection of his Bach classical guitar works, and my son (a composer who studied classical guitar in college) had a professor who had studied under Christopher Parkening.

Anyone else want to play six degrees of separation? No wonder I enjoyed her Firebird books.

The blog tour this week has led me to ponder why I'm a sci-fi geek. Yes, I confess it. If you've read "The Secret Life of Sharon Hinck" on my website, you know that I once hosted a Star Trek mystery party, dressed as Deanna Troi. I own a pile of Star Trek Next Generation paperbacks, and a few Star Wars novels, as well. I adored Randy Ingermanson and John Olson's books, Oxygen and The Fifth Man. This summer I was delighted by Relentless by Robin Parrish (which is the sort of blend of fantasy/sci-fi you find in comic books storyworlds like X-men).

Maybe my brain likes the exercise of being stretched in new directions by sci-fi issues such as the paradoxes of time travel. Perhaps I enjoy exploring alien civilizations through the eyes of a character. But most of all, I like the insights into "real life" that sneak up on me while enjoying a sci-fi perspective of the world.

Reading C.S. Lewis' space trilogy had a huge impact of my spiritual walk and some of the planet-earth questions I had about evil and redemption. Mary Doria Russell's book, The Sparrow, made me ache to bridge communication barriers. Kathy Tyers' book stirred in me the passion to examine ways the kingdom of darkness has lied to me.

Sci-fi is fun. Sci-fi is thought-provoking. And sometimes, sci-fi can give us a lens to see truth in a new way.

Now, to explore "strange new worlds and new civilizations" pop by some of these other members of the Blog Tour for a visit!

Jim Black
John J. Boyer
Valerie Comer
Bryan Davis
Beth Goddard
Rebecca Grabill
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Pamela James
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Cheryl Russel
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith

Sharon Hinck

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Checking in with Friends

Every now and again, I love to pop around to the blogs of friends and see what they are thinking about. I have to ration myself or I'd never get my writing work done. But this week, I took a bit of time off on my WIP (Work In Progress) and did some visiting.

My friend, Kelli, shared some heartfelt thoughts on this year's Christy awards. If you were there, you'll want to read her take on it, and post a comment.

A woman whose intelligent and passionate views on Christian speculative fiction have encouraged me for quite a while, wrote about THE SECRET LIFE OF BECKY MILLER on her blog. Her name? Becky Miller (no relation!). She's also been posting some great thoughts about critical thinking, critique, and being kind - they don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Karen Hancock wrote some powerful and encouraging words about fear - something every writer spends time battling. If you have a moment, drop by her blog and be uplifted.

My irrepressible friend, Camy, did an interview today with one of my critique partners and writing buddies, Jill Nelson. You can enter a drawing for a free book if you stop by Camy's site! And Jill has some cool goodies on her new website. She and I are planning some book signings together this fall (more info on that to come!)

Over at Faithchicks (where I blog once a month), author Judy Baer is joining the party. She's a Minnesota author, so you KNOW she's cool! And be sure to scroll down and read Sharon Dunn's awesome post, "Icky, Icky." Her humble wisdom always blesses my socks off. And no, I'm not biased because of her name.

Then I visited Meredith Efken's blog and saw that I'VE BEEN TAGGED! This means I need to answer her question ("If you could write a novel about ANY topic, what would it be?") and then tag some other friends.

Okay, some of my FAVORITE kinds of story are the "step into the book and live it," sort. Or the "character steps out of the film and comes to life" story (ala Purple Rose of Cairo). Better yet, a "create it and make it happen" story. Harold and the Purple Crayon for adults. That would be a novel I'd love to write!

So I'm tagging Jill Nelson - because she's bursting with energy after getting her very first copy of her very first novel in the mail yesterday.

And anyone else I mentioned in this blog who wants to play. :-)

See how much fun it is popping by a friend's virtual front porch for a visit?


Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Few Writer Trials

Last night I kept waking up from stress nightmares: free-falling elevators, long chase-scenes through abandoned buildings.

What had me in a cold sweat?

I needed to get some new head shots taken today.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

See, I don't usually wear make-up. Didn't really own any until Saturday when I stood and stared stupidly at the shelves of cosmetics at Target wondering what I needed to buy to look like a semi-professional grown-up. Appearance isn't one of those high-value issues in my life. Which can be a good thing. I have a friend who used to spend a full hour each day on hair and make-up.

My splash-water-in-my-face-and-head-out-the-door approach has given me an extra hour to do the things that my life has been rich and full with. Things I wouldn't have had time for if I did a lot of fussing.

I also don't do much with my hair. So when I NEED it to look good, I have no wealth of experience to draw from. And clothes? Because of twenty years of teaching ballet, I like to wear something I can do the splits in. Anything stretchy and cotton and completely comfortable.

Yet today I needed to choose clothes, fix my face, tame my hair - and take a picture that would embody what I want to convey as an author. Last year's photo was used on posters, in newspapers, on blogs, in book catalogs, websites, business cards.

Ha! Talk about pressure!

Ted came to my rescue. As a video project manager, he knows lots of make-up artists and called a friend to come help me out. That was a surprising treat. She didn't turn me into a caricature. She really fixed my face to be me - but a me that would look better for the camera.

Then daughter Jenni and I headed to an inexpensive mall studio, where a bubbly high-school junior was the photographer.

I tried some "serious-intelligent-author" looks, and quite honestly, the photos looked like I was a sad-eyed Basset Hound. I tried some mysterious smiles and only succeeded in looking nauseated.

So I gave up and just did the same old smile as my past head-shots.

I know, I know. It's a tremendous privilege to get to write books, and I don't mean to gripe. And isn't God good to let me have a career where I don't usually HAVE to gussy up to do my work? And I'm thrilled that my husband loves the flower-child-throw-back natural style that is me.

But we all have things that stress us out, don't we? Experiences that are a snap for others, are just not part of our comfort zone.

Whatever scary thing you had to face today - congratulations! You did it!
And I pray that if you have anything scary to face tomorrow, God will send you support in many forms, just as He sent me a kind make-up artist, an enthusiastic photographer, and a family that loves me the way I am.

Sharon Hinck