Thursday, October 17, 2013

My book "A Trip to the Hardware Store" won "Indie Book of the Day" today!

I'm very excited to announce that my book, "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities" won the Indie Book of the Day Award. Here it is. :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Alternate Realities

Like the comedian Steven Wright, when I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.  I feel it's the least I can do after all science fiction has done for me. While I couldn't get enough Harry Potter, I also enjoyed classical science fiction and fantasy: Asimov, Clarke, Tolkien, Herbert, Dick and so many others as a child.  It's not that I have anything against reality; I just like to visit alternate worlds in my free time. Only now, as an adult, have I realized the lessons I learned along the way: be loyal to your friends; never lose sight of your goals (no matter how rough it gets); accept cultural diversity; be open to possibilities; and don't assume that if someone spits in your hand, it's an insult. That may be a respectful greeting on a desert planet.         

As a native Floridian, I have yet to encounter any desert-dwellers from this or any other planet, but I know I'll be ready. Being in a culturally diverse family myself, I enjoy the cultural mix of my hometown and am at ease speaking with anyone. The ultimate test to my people skills came when I went to India to visit my husband's relatives, many of whom I'd never met before. It was the strangest place I'd ever been and I credit my science fiction background for my quick assimilation. From the food, to the languages, to the throngs of strangely-garbed people, to the monkeys and elephants in the road, India opened my eyes like no National Geographic special ever could. But I found that, whether you are on the planet Dune, in the Shire, or in India, people everywhere want the same things: respect, security, and the ability to provide for their families. And most are quite welcoming to strangers.        

There also came a time when I wished I lived some place with low gravity. The day I threw out my back bending over and couldn't get off the floor, I would've paid anything to be weightless and pain-free.

Recently, I found myself in another reality when I volunteered at a low-income elementary school just a few miles away. Whereas my children had a life of comfort and ease, never missing a meal or a dental appointment, these kids lacked the basics: decent clothing, adequate food, and health care. They wanted the same things every kid does, but somehow found themselves living in this alternate reality. I vowed to do what I could to help.  
And so, as much as I'd enjoy it, I'm afraid traveling to another dimension will have to wait, because there are people who need me right here.