Meet Ian Whitlatch: Secondary Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

Ian

Ian at graduation. Digital Painting by me.

Ian Marcus Weaver Whitlatch is the only child of a doctor and the manager of a charity soup kitchen in Salisbury. Dad helps everyone whether they can pay or not. Mum doesn’t take a salary for her work instead donates her time to feed the impoverished.At the beginning of the novel, his parents employ two domestics: Ian’s tutor Mr. McKay and Ms. Blacksmith the housekeeper and cook.

Note: For the Other System’s Universe, they are upper middle class, however, their lifestyle for the average family in today’s world, they would be lower-middle class.
For example: like most people on Earth at this time, they don’t own a car. Since Dad’s clinic and Mum’s Soup Kitchen is across the back garden, they also generally have no need of one.

Virtues: Respects every person, doesn’t believe in violence, hard worker, kind-hearted

Virtue that hurts him: Unfaltering idealism which presents as pretentiousness

Vices: Judges by outer beauty, doesn’t always get along with his parents, can be self-absorbed

Parents: Grace Alice Teague. Weaver, Royce Xavier Langly Whitlatch  No Siblings.

Education: Home Tutor until age fifteen, then Oxford undergraduate studies and Oxford Medical School

Description Excerpt

Age 13

Ian yanked off his apron and washed his hands. The cut was deep, but not bad enough to show Dad. Pressing a handkerchief to the wound, he scrutinized himself in the mirror and tucked in his shirt. An angry pimple had formed between his nostril and cheek. Ugh. Even when his skin was clear, his nose was too big. Mum always said he had Dad’s handsome looks. That was unfortunate for them both.

*

Age 21

Ellie jumped for it. Knowing momentum might carry her in medium gravity, she forced herself to fall and hit the decking. Her legs burned as she skidded the last four meters, but the luggage stopped moving. She pressed her lips together and blinked back tears. 

“Vous allez bien, mademoiselle?”

Light created a halo from his straight hair, but when her eyes cleared, she looked past his nose into his deep green eyes, filled with concern.

Without thinking she answered back in English. “Yes, thank you, sir.”

He wore an officer’s uniform, but she recoiled from the soft, delicate hand that reached for her. He was probably going to yell at her like everyone else did.

“You’re an Englishwoman?” he asked helping her to her feet. 

“I speak English. I’m from Seattle. My name is Ellie Sethdottier. How do you do?” She curtsied though she wore pants.

“I’m Dr. Ian Whitlatch, and I’m just fine, but that looked like a nasty spill you took.”

Coming this Summer

The Light Side of the Moon Final

Summer Reading Program Library Appearances in King County

I have some great news that I hope local folks will add to your calendars. I have my schedule for summer workshops for King County Library System.

Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes for ages 9+

I will show students how to draw aliens and their environments using basic shapes. Drawing, perspective, and observation techniques are covered. Other topics of discussion may include planets and moons within our solar system and planetary systems outside our solar system, both fictional and real.

STREAM Science & Arts

Audience: Elementary 9+, but we welcome everyone!

Drawing Aliens and Superheroes is part of the 2015 King County Library Summer Reading Program “Every Hero Has a Story”

and Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics for teens

In this workshop, we will discuss plausible spaceships and show students how to draw them using basic shapes. Drawing, perspective, and observation techniques are covered. Discussion includes the myths of space travel in popular media and exciting current or soon to be tech. Depending on audience, other topics may include time dilation, multiple universe theory, oxygen gardens, radiation shielding, aliens, and where to find inspiration.

Spaceship Concept by Elizabeth Guizzetti

Spaceship Concept by Elizabeth Guizzetti

STREAM Science Technology Engineering Arts

Target Audience:  Teen (ages 13-18) but all are welcome!

June 17: Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics – Greenbridge Library 1:30 – 3:30 pm

June 18: Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics – Fairwood Library 7 PM – 9 pm

June 29: Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Enumclaw Library 4 – 5 pm

July 8: Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Covington Library 1 -2 pm

July 8: Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Kirkland Library 7-8 pm

July 9 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and SuperheroesSnoqualmie Library 3 -4 pm

July 11 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Maple Valley Library 2 -3 pm

July 12 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and SuperheroesSammamish Library 3 -4 pm

July 14 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Woodinville Library 2 -3 pm

July 20 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and SuperheroesFoster Library 7 -8 pm

July 21 Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics – Auburn Library 1:30 – 3:30 pm

July 27 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Kenmore Library 7 – 8 pm

July 28 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Greenbridge Library 3 -4 pm

July 29 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Black Diamond Library 2 – 3pm

July 31 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes – Woodmont Library 1 -2 pm

August 4 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes Valley View Library 2 -3 pm

August 5 Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics Newcastle Library 6:30 – 8:30

August 6 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes Bellevue Library 1 -2 pm

August 8 Drawing Comic Books Aliens and Superheroes Algona Pacific Library 11am – 12 pm

August 11 Designing Concept Space Ships for Science Fiction and Comics Kent Library 3:30 – 5:30 pm

New grammar addiction: the word “then”

This is just a short post and this post has a moral: Listen to your editors.

While editing The Light Side of the Moon, I have found, or more appropriately, my editor has found that I have a new grammar addiction: “then”

Merriam-Webster defines then : at that time : at the time mentioned

—used to indicate what happened or happens next 

—used to indicate what should be done next

You might remember, that when I was going through editing of Other Systems,  my poor editor (someone else) found and cut at least fifty semicolons. I am not exaggerating. In the second round of edits, I overused the word “as.”

Apparently I needed a new way to combine sentences–so I moved on to “then.”

For some logical reason, I thought it looked cooler to use “then” to combine sentences instead of the almost invisible “and”. I have no idea why, but thankfully my editor caught it and conducted an intervention.

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Light Side of the Moon!

Coming Soon from 48Fourteen in paperback and e-book! 

I am pleased to show the cover for The Light Side of the Moon! This stand-alone book focuses on what happened on Earth after the Kiposians came. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do the cover illustration, while Lyndsay Johnson did the wonderful lettering design.

The Light Side of the Moon Final

Summary:

Due to overpopulation, lack of natural resources, no public education, and a surplus of political bickering, Earth is a cesspool and our solar system’s colonies have failed. Nevertheless, outside our solar system, exploration has thrived.

Encouraged by the conquest of Kipos, idealistic dreamers look beyond Earth to build a utopia from the abandoned Lunar Colony Serenitatis. Industrialists reconstruct the colony, but struggle to turn a profit while encouraging scientific discovery.

Brimming with hope despite intense uncertainty and physical hardship, the impoverished Ella Sethdottier follows rumors of plentiful jobs on the moon. On roads fraught with danger, she discovers Earth is a bigger place than she ever imagined, but Serenitatis is little more than a prison colony. Ella forges unlikely friendships with corrupted androids and the quixotic prison doctor, Ian Whitlatch, who champions equality and rights for inmates. Amid corruption and nobility, tragedy and victory, the fate of the colony hangs precariously in the balance.

Other Systems Cover

I need advice for The Light Side of the Moon!

Author buddies, folks who just love reading, and even people who go to author events, I need advice.

I’m trying to decide which chapter should be my free excerpt for conventions and appearances. It must be full of gut wrenching emotions, plus introduce Ellie. It must make people think “What to know what happens next?”

I want to know what you’d rather read?

Chapter 2:
4-year-old Ellie is watching her parents argue which culminates in her father attacking her mother and abandoning the family for a new planet.
Cons:

  • its incredibly violent and features a few swear words.
  • Ellie is not shown to be strong.

Pros:

  • I’ve read this chapter at events before and it always gets a “OMG, what happen’s next? What! I have to wait till the book comes out?” response.

or

Chapter 6:
Ellie, age 11, disobediently hanging outside with some corrupt androids while her brothers are at work. She goes back inside and finds her mother dead from the flu. She and her brothers must dispose of the body without getting caught.
Con:

  • its Chapter 6.
  • I’ve never read it in front of an audience, so I don’t know how people will react.
  • Ellie is not a “perfect child,” rather she is shown disobedient.

Pro:

  • Not violent, but sets up Ellie’s family’s poverty and the environment better.
  • It has androids!
  • Ellie obviously has a mind of her own.

Chapter 1, 3, 4, and 5 are from someone else’s POV. The back cover copy features Ellie as the protagonist. I must introduce Ellie and make people care about her.

If anyone wants to read the chapters, please message me or comment and I’ll send them to you.

Elizabeth Guizzetti appearing at Issaquah Library AuthorFest

May 1 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 pm | Free

In collaboration with Downtown Issaquah Association’s May “Wine Walk”, the Issaquah Library and Pacific Northwest Writers Association are hosting the first annual “Author Fest” on Friday, May 1st.

Activities will include:

Panel discussions with local authors!
6:00pm panel will feature authors who write for kids: Lois Brandt, Dori Butler, & TJ (Tim) Spencer and Elizabeth Guizzetti
7:15pm panel will feature authors who write for adults: Alan Bauer, Robert Dugoni, Mike Lawson, Pam Binder and Elizabeth Guizzetti. (I’m a double feature!)

Afterwards there will be time for one-on-one author chats and a chance to purchase an autographed copy!

Hope to see you there

Why I believe in diversity in science fiction: an answer to the counter-arguments.

A number of people in the science fiction community are screaming about diversity in books and films. Either they want to bring back the good ole days, or they want to see characters that look how the world looks now. It saddens me that this argument has gotten very nasty. The 2015 Hugo Award Nominations are just the visual tip of the anger iceberg.

266d732dd0258d460ee8444a45892cc0

I saw this on PinInterst, Originally found on yahighway.tumblr.com

Anyone who follows my blog knows how much I love StarTrek. I’m going to explain why I think diversity is important for the sci-fi community, but how there is room for all of our visions. I was a young teen with TNG and in highschool, early college with DS9. I loved those show’s wide open universe with all those planets and races. The meme is getting popular now, but I remember the first time I heard Whoopie Goldberg’s story about how she and Gene Rodenberry spoke about how before the original StarTrek there were no black people in sci-fi and how Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols during 1966 to 1969, was a trailblazing role for African-Americans.

When I heard the story, it reminded me of being a kid and watching GI Joe, Thunder Cats, or almost every other show and wanting there to be more than one token girl or woman character. That’s when I realized “the girl” was a type, just like “the black guy” or whoever. And I didn’t want to write “types,” I wanted to write characters. I want to tell their stories. I still do.

StarTrek and Ms. Goldberg’s story encouraged me to always look at my “cast” and make sure that there was a fairly even split of men and women–and if there wasn’t, it needed to make sense why. That if there were “colors” of skin in my book’s universe that they are shown–and not just in the background. That sexual diversity was shown.

The cry for diversity rings loudly. Readers want characters that look like them, that they can relate to, but I don’t think anyone is really saying, “Every protagonist needs to look like me!” Though a few vocal white, cis-gender, heterosexual males are certainly coming close to that.

I believe in listening to people, which means I also believe it is also important to answer the (sometimes-bitter) counter arguments with kindness and generosity of spirit.

Counter Argument #1: So you are saying that I shouldn’t write all white or all male books? Maybe that’s my vision!

People should write what they want to write. Just don’t be surprised when the market makes the final call. I would also add no matter what type of characters you write, you may find you end up with a different market than expected.

An example of a terrific all male cast is John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing. They are twelve guys in a small science station in Antarctica so they are cut off from the world. Sexual diversity is not mentioned. However, there is some racial diversity in the cast with Keith David as Childs and T.K. Carter as Nauls. All in all the cast did a great job.

So if for whatever reason, if a non-diverse cast works, go with it. I think your collection of work shows your heart more than a single work.

Counter Argument #2 Authors are just adding this stuff so they can be edgy.

Really, you think authors care about being edgy? I don’t speak for every author, but I care about writing characters that make readers care and I care about finding readers. That’s it.

Counter Argument #3: White people shouldn’t write/explore other cultures because either white people can’t understand it or it is cultural appropriation.

For me this one is insidious, because I want to be an ally to others. To listen and tell stories. How do I get around this? First of all, I admit I’m a white American, cisgender, and heterosexual. I’m mixed European ancestry, a large chunk of that being Italian. This means I grew up with white privilege. This means there are things that happen I will simply not understand, I own up to that.

Then I figure out what I do know. While I never feared the police would racial profile me, I know what if feels like to be afraid. While I don’t know what it is like for a homosexual young man to want to kiss a boy when all your life you are told you can only kiss girls, but I can imagine what that first kiss is like. Love, pain and isolation are part of the human condition.

By admitting my ignorance of certain aspects of culture and then using my own experiences, I can research with an open mind. We all have the Internet at our disposal and we can take the time to do interviews. So, authors, no matter what your background, don’t fear writing about other cultures, but its important to research and write from a place of respect. Don’t rush the details, don’t force teachable moments, just do the work.

Counter Argument #4: What’s the point of writing diversely, the cover artist is just going to make them white?

So far, I’ve always done my own covers, so this hasn’t been a problem for me, but authors have agents and lawyers for a reason.
Authors, make sure you have some authority in your cover. And if you don’t. Guess what we all have blogs. Use them, show your character sketch. Be proactive.
Fans, if you want diverse covers, write, tweet, email publishers.

And the Counter-Counter Sad Puppy Argument to #4.
Why can’t a book with a spaceship on the cover just be about space adventure? Why does it always have to be out race or feminism or…?

Science fiction authors have a long history about putting “second stories” into their worlds. George Orwell and Margret Atwood outwardly wrote/writes social science fiction, but Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Joe Halderman also delved into issues with their stories. So I don’t know when these readers thought science fiction only focused on escapism. That being said, there are escapist stories. Just look for them. I’m sure a google search of “escapist science fiction” will give you somewhere to look. In the bookstore, ask the bookseller, don’t just look at the pretty picture on the cover, flip the book over and read the blurb. Open the book and glance at the first chapter. Online, Check out the reviews. Look at the sub genres.

Authors create worlds. Sometimes the author will delve deep into the political or sociological issues of that universe, other times, not so much. I personally love to delve into issues with my writing, but not all my writing is about how I view the world.

In closing, I think there is room for all types of science fiction and all types of science fiction fans. I don’t need to like every single book to be a fan, nor do you. We can have conviction and still be respectful. Please remember, that we’re are a community and behind every avatar is a person wanting their voice to be heard.

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