Writing Spaces: Art Deco Style Home Office

Art Deco Style Home Office

The writing space was taken from This Old House Magazine, the Desk Set, April 2006

There is much to love about this open and cheerful writing space. The golden walls contrast the white built-in shelving and desk to create a cozy, yet open feel. There is plenty of room for your books, art and a couple of friends. The art deco style windows bring in lots of light in a stylish manner that sets the mood for the room. The old-fashioned Persian rug softens the hardwood flooring. About the only thing that I don’t like about the room are the chairs. I’d prefer a comfortable leather roller chair to work in. All in all, there is plenty of inspiration to this home office.

Book Review: Hyperion

Book Name: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
First Published: 1989
Hugo Award for Best Novel 1990
Locus Award Winner 1990

Dan Simmons was born on April 4, 1948 in Peoria, Illinois. He received his B.A in English from Wabash College in 1970 and his Masters in Education from Washington University the following year. He became an elementary school teacher for the next 18 years.

Simmons writing career took off in 1982, when he released his short story The River Styx Runs Upstream with Harlan Ellison’s help. It won first prize in a Twilight Zone Magazine story contest and was published in 1982, the day Simmons’ daughter Jane Kathryn was born. He considers the coincidence useful to “keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life.”

Song of Kali, Simmons’ first novel, was then published in 1985. Simmons gained popularity in 1989 when he released Hyperion, a science fiction novel that won the Hugo and Locus Awards. The novel’s structure was inspired by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio’s Decameron.

Simmons grew up in several places in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Elm Haven in his stories Summer of Night and A Winter Haunting. He has been writing full-time since 1987. He and his wife Karen live in Colorado and he sometimes writes at Windwalker, their high-altitude cabin near the Rocky Mountain National Park. A sculpture of the Shrike — the demon-god in Hyperion — made by his friend and former student Clee Richeson stands near the cabin.

Simmons has successfully written books in different genres: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, and suspense. His books have been published in the USA and Canada, as well as 27 other countries. Many of his novels have been optioned for film, such as Song of Kali, Drood, and The Crook Factory. The Hyperion books, meanwhile, have been bought by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films and are in pre-production.

“It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” – Dan Simmons, Hyperion

It is the 28th century and Earth has long been destroyed. Humans colonize the galaxy via “Hawking drive” ships that carry portal machines to new worlds known as “Farcasters”. These portals permit nearly instantaneous travel no matter how far apart the two portal gates are. The farcaster network is the basis of the Hegemony of Man and determines the entire culture and society of humans. Running all this technology is a vast agglomeration of AIs known as the “TechnoCore”.

The Hegemony is a decadent society, ruled by a human executive advised by the TechnoCore advisory council, that relies on its military to protect and defend the Hegemony from attacks by the “Ousters”. They are considered interstellar barbarians who live beyond the dictates of the Hegemony and shun anything to do with the TechnoCore AI machines.

The advice and predictions by the ‘Core are confounded by mysterious structures of the Time Tombs on the remote colony world of Hyperion. The aggressive Ousters are obsessed with the planet and their planned invasion to take Hyperion is imminent.

The Shrike, a very powerful but mysterious being, guards the Time Tombs of Hyperion, a remote colony that the Ousters want to invade. According to legend, when pilgrims visit the Time Tombs, the Shrike will kill all but one of them then grant the survivor his wish.

This time, seven pilgrims make the voyage. They meet each other after coming out of a cryogenic state and each one tells his story during the long trip, in a manner that is reminiscent of the classic Canterbury Tales.

Het Masteen is a Templar who captains the treeship that the pilgrims are riding to Hyperion.

Father Lenar Hoyt is a Roman Catholic priest who once accompanied another priest to Hyperion. There, he got infected with cruciforms, parasites that rebuild and reincarnate dead bodies. The cruciforms cause him excruciating pain and he has built a tolerance for painkillers over time. He is going back to Hyperion to find out what will happen to him.

Colonel Fedmahn Kassad has discovered that his previous lover Moneta has been working with the Shrike to use him to start an interstellar war that will kill billions. He is on the pilgrimage to kill her and the Shrike.

Martin Silenus is an old poet who is working on his greatest poem: Hyperion Cantos. He once lived on Hyperion in an attempt to find his lost muse but the Shrike began murdering the people he lived with. During that time, his muse returned, which convinced him that the Shrike was his muse. Silenus eventually left the colony but has been waiting for centuries to return to finish his poem.

Sol Weintraub‘s daughter Rachel was an archaeologist who contracted the Merlin disease while she was exploring Hyperion. The disease makes her age backwards. She is now an infant and may become nonexistent in her upcoming birthday. Sol is on the pilgrimage to ask the Shrike to cure his daughter.

Brawne Lamia is a private investigator whose client Johnny, a John Keats clone with AI-controlled electronic implants, wanted her to investigate his murder. The assault on Johnny left him with a limited amnesia that Lamia discovered to be connected to his knowledge about Hyperion. Lamia joins the pilgrimage pregnant with Johnny’s child.

The Consul tells a story about his grandparents, Merin Aspic and Siri of the ocean-planet Maui-Covenant. Merin was on a long-term contract to build a farcaster portal to connect Maui-Covenant to the Hegemony. He falls in love with a native girl. They reunite only seven times, with the time dilation causing Merin to barely age as Siri follows time naturally and dies of old age. At this time the farcaster is about to be activated. Merin chooses to sabotage the portal, starting “Siri’s War”, in order to prevent the Hegemony tourists from ruining the ecology of the world and destroying the human and dolphin inhabitants.

The Consul was forbidden by Merin to join in the war and instead he bides his time in the Hegemony diplomatic corps, waiting for a moment to betray the government and obtain his revenge. The consul is instrumental in an Ouster plot to release the Shrike from the Time Tombs where it would have a chance to enter the datastream “WorldWeb” of the Hegemony.

As a former secondary school teacher myself, how can I resist a science fiction novel that is structured like the Canterbury Tales of old? Simmons uses the pilgrimage as a tool to bring together a diverse group of characters who do not have much in common, but soon all share the same goal. Each story has a different feel and the pulls from classic literature transformed into science fiction is well done. Be warned: the book does have a cliff-hanger ending. You will need to read The Fall of Hyperion to find out what happens next.

Hyperion Book CoverHyperion Cantos:

Hyperion (1989)
The Fall of Hyperion (1990)
Endymion (1995)
The Rise of Endymion (1997)

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThis week I was surfing more general writing tips and experiences and below is the result. Enjoy the latest batch of writer’s links here on No Wasted Ink.

7 Easy Steps to a More Pretentious Poem

Secrets of getting your book into bookstores

Kick it up a Notch: Top Tips on Writing a Page-Turning Novel

Worldbuilding Lessons From History

Reflections on a Writing Retreat: A Review of The Porches in Virginia

Creating story flow: the secret power of cause and effect

10 ways to make editors fall in love with your work

The Secret Tool That Will Put Your Writing Over The Top

Twelve Questions You Should Ask Before You Enroll in an MFA Program

How to Create the Habit of Writing

Kidding Around at the OC Children’s Book Festival

People at the Book Festival 1

When I arrived at the Orange Coast College campus, I was not sure what to expect. I had heard of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival for years, but because I did not have children, I had never gone. I decided that this would be the year I changed that. It was a beautiful southern California day of bright sunshine, a cool breeze and temperate temperature. I discovered ample parking in the campus lots with signs clearly stating that I was free to park without a permit or a charge.

It was a short walk between buildings to find the fair, which was free of charge to enter. There were large canopies everywhere, each one filled with authors, exhibitors and educational vendors. There were booths with tutoring services, illustrators, and plenty of authors that specialized in children’s books. A large main stage dominated the open area with a few smaller stages for other child friendly entertainment available. One popular booth had a kitchen and cooking demonstrations. Many of the Moms stopped there to catch a cooking show and relax in one of the shade covered chairs.

Wow. All The Children!

For every adult there were at least two to three kids running about. Most were between the ages of 3 to around 12 years. There was plenty for them to do; from having their faces painted, to making bookmarkers, listening to live storytellers on the stage, or stopping to pose for a photo with various “monsters” in bright costumes. The trackless train that wended its way through the festival seemed to be popular with the little ones. The ride was full every time it passed me while I was there. I did not see many children thumbing through books, they had far too much energy for that, but their mothers did seem to stop and look over the book booths with an eye toward purchasing. I liked that the Children’s fair was enclosed by the college buildings, so even if the little ones were running about, there was no danger of them running off too far.

There were dozens of authors with tables promoting their YA or children’s books and there was no way to review them all. However, a few struck my interest.

Nikki White - Author and BallerinaNikki White’s table was not far from the main stage. For an author, this might prove to be deadly since you are off the walkway, but in Nikki’s case, her booth decor and striking ballerina costume drew people over. Her book is called Prima: The Ballerina and it is a book designed to teach ballerina dancing to children who might not have access to instructors.

The illustrations in her children’s instruction book were created by her husband Ethan White who created a posable doll that the couple later photographed in the various dance positions being discussed in the book. It created a colorful and friendly character for children to relate to.

Dani Dixon - Illustrator and AuthorDani Dixon is an artist connected with Tumble Creek Press. It is a website of comic books, webcomics, trading cards, and more. Dani had several portfolio books of her artwork on display at the children’s book festival which was quite intriguing.

Dani-s artwork

My last highlight is a small press that had booked a double table and featured a full stable of children and YA books. Ink Smith Publishing is a small independent publishing house with big aspirations. Their authors and editors work together to develop books, marketing plans, and sales. They have only been around since 2012, but they are growing steadily. Their books sell internationally, including Canada and the UK.

Ink Smith Publishing

I enjoyed my time at the Orange Country Children’s Book Festival. I found it well attended by several hundred people, the majority of them small children with their mothers or fathers. There was far more there than books and authors, the exhibitors offered a great deal for parents and homeschoolers to learn from. It was a comfortable event with plenty of restrooms available, a food truck court and wholesome entertainment on the various stages. All of the authors had full tables and professional style canopies to protect them from the sun.

If you are a YA or children’s book author, it is an event you should consider attending. Authors of adult books might want to think twice. While there were people of all ages at the event, it did attract children the most.

Main Stage at Book Festival

Storyteller Booth

People at the Book Festival 2

Cooking Pavillion

Author Interview: Matthew Pallamary

I asked Matt to give a short description of himself and he replied: “Author, Editor, Shamanic Explorer.” No Wasted Ink is honored to feature this writing instructor and author for your consideration.

Author Matthew PallamaryMy name is Matt Pallamary, a perspiring writer who has been teaching a Phantastic Fiction Workshop for the past 25 years at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, The Southern California Writer’s Conference and many others.

When and why did you begin writing?

As far as dramatic writing and storytelling goes, I had a good friend killed on his motorcycle around 1982 or 1983, which prompted me to write a novel about a guy who gets killed on his motorcycle and wakes up outside his body caught up with dark forces in the spirit world.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always loved words and language. I won first place in the school spelling Bee in the 6th grade and went on to a citywide spelling Bee. English was my favorite subject in high school and my writing caught the attention of my college creative writing teachers.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

DreamLand was written with legendary DJ Ken Reeth, who left the planet on May 9th 2005.

Fueled by breakthroughs in technology and neuroscience, the terminally ill, while in an induced slumber, in a pain-free, medically supervised environment, can literally dream their lives away in pre-programmed situations of their choosing, controlled by a super computer.

The well-meaning creators of computer generated dreaming plan to conquer the stigma of death by making its wonders available to all, so people can die in vivid, pre-programmed dream surroundings, reliving blissful moments from their past. All goes according to plan until the dream of DreamLand is shattered by the profit-seeking backer of the project.

What inspired you to write this book?

Ken and I were in writing workshops together and we became friends and fans of each other’s writing. He kept coming up with these short dream sequences that were vignettes more than stories and was wondering what to do with them. We got to talking and the next thing you know we were writing a book together.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is specifically my own that I consciously developed. As I tell my writing students. The brain is the canvas and the words are the strokes of the brush from a giant palette, and it must be dynamic, moving, and full of energy, making every word count. The act of reading is an act of co-creation between the writer and the reader. It is the writer’s job to paint the significant details of their story that the reader can hook into and fill in the blanks that come from their own subjective experiences and interpretations.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It is the world where the story takes place.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Technology may seem to perform certain tasks flawlessly, but human motives and their skewed cross-purposes can bring dire consequences.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In a nutshell, I realized that my life was stranger than anything I could make up, so I wrote about it and the response has been gratifying. I have done extensive dream work and dream studies, so I know this territory well.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I was blessed to have Ray Bradbury as a mentor. Ray kicked off the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference for 35 years and through Sid Stebel I got to know Ray and learned much from him. Ray was not one to give out blurbs, but he blurbed my first book, a short story collection titled The Small Dark Room of the Soul saying “Bravo! More!”

My recent long overdue follow up to The Small Dark Room of the Soul, titled A Short Walk to the Other Side is dedicated to him. Ray always said, “Write for the love of it!” His opening speeches at the SBWC were epic!

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I am proud to say that I designed the cover of my book and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

As a wise writer once told me: Writing = Ass in chair.

Believe in yourself and what you have to say and do it because you love it. Writing workshops and conferences are awesome proving grounds and wonderfully supportive environments to thrive in.

Dreamland Book CoverKen Reeth & Matthew J. Pallamary
San Diego, CA

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Cover Artist: Matthew J. Pallamary

Publisher: Mystic Ink Publishing

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