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.

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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.

A utopian vision of the future from a dystopian author

I was having trouble coming up with blogging ideas and some friends started throwing out ideas. Since Other Systems and the upcoming The Light Side of the Moon are dystopian hard science fiction, a friend of mine challenged me to explain my vision of a utopia. Well, I accept that challenge, Sir.

He thought it would be hard. I told him it’d be easy.  I know what I believe. Once he sees this list, he might think I took him too seriously.

I will describe my ideas honestly, however, I understand that not everyone will agree with me. You don’t have to. There are ideas that my entire family won’t agree with. Below are my opinions which were formed because I was born in a certain place and time, I was raised a certain way, and I love StarTrek. While many of the ideas I’m describing are in my science fiction work, this society I am describing is not in any of my books.

***

As an individual, you have the right to your person. No one owns anyone else. No matter who or how you are born, you have the right to choose your life in pursuit of your own happiness as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Whether you were born man, woman, pangender, or agender, all were born equal and able to pursue your own happiness. Whether your skin is peach, tan, chocolate brown, or blue, no one is born better or worse.

As a species, humans will change our focus from consuming and gathering wealth to living as one’s authentic self, building something that matters, and helping our fellow humans.

We will live beside computers, androids, and other intellegent technologies, we will look toward the future. IMG_2703

As we have domesticated animals for thousands of years, animals might still be kept as pets and livestock, but their lives would be treated with respect. Pets would be cared for with respect and dignity. Farm animals would live pleasant lives until they are harvested. Working animals (police and service dogs) will be treated well and have places of honor upon their retirement.

Let’s look at some specifics.

Education: From age 5, all children get to go a fully funded public school. Since this is my utopia, I am maxing class size at 10 students per 1 teacher. They will learn reading and writing in their home language, arithmetic, at least two foreign languages, art, music, science and technology.

Somewhere in adolescence the focus will shift from general knowledge towards career knowledge. All adults will have the opportunity to find gainful employment in a chosen field of study. This means “Hey, I want to be an electrician?” There is a FREE school for that with a workstudy program that’s paid with a LIVING WAGE.

Once finished, the school puts the student in touch with their local union and the union delegates job is to put me to work at a JOURNEY PERSON’s WAGE. They also make sure as technology changes there are opportunities to learn new tech. And as they advance in their careers they can make more money.

Wait! Free Education! Does this mean that somebody can cheat the system and go from educational track to educational track without ever finding a real job? Yes. But I don’t think that would be the norm, because they could not succeed in any field if they didn’t take the next step to go on to journey person level.

What happens when a child is born? In my utopia, each family will have 5 year of PAID Leave for childcare until child begins school.

What if someone is passionate about their work or just isn’t sure they’d be good at childcare? Choose to take it as a credit to pay a nanny or pay Grandma. This can be for Moms or Dads. Or they can mix it up. Maybe, mom stays home for the first year, then dad stays home for the next, then they use the credit to pay for the nanny. It’s up to the family to decide.

What about technology changes during the time off? Since education is free, parents are able to get the education they need to catch up!

What if someone is taken ill or otherwise has a health problem that doesn’t allow them to work? In my utopia, medical care if free and they will be surrounded by members of their multigenerational home. If more care is needed, there is nursing establishments etc.

Safety Net for Families: Baby won’t stop crying? Is your toddler bullying another kid at the playground? Are you just at your wits end with sibling rivalry? Is Grandpa is giving you advice that feels wrong? And you’ve read dozens of parenting blogs and everyone is saying something different? In my utopia anyone can just call CPS. Don’t worry, CPS isn’t punitive; a social worker will set you up with a family counselor, help you locate a capable babysitter, local pediatrician, or whatever you need to be a better, more productive parent. One thing the reader of this post will notice that I find a lot of wisdom in the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If we can solve problems early, we can cut crime and delinquency. 

Family Structure: Most families, whether by blood, marriage, or friendship, will live in multigenerational homes.

Marriage: as long both people are consenting adults, in my utopia, nobody cares who marries who. However all marriages will start with a trip to the premarital counseling which includes the family members the couple are living with and leaving. Families will also discuss with mediators present distribution of wealth. If marriages need a tune up, marriage counseling is also available from CPS and other healthcare establishments.

Wait… whose in charge then? No one. Or it is decided within the family.

Personally, I have never met a married couple with an unequal relationship where at least one person did not resent the other. We are capable of love and respect and it is especially important in marriage. Divorce is hurtful to all involved. In my utopia, divorces will become rare, because of mutual respect and the work done in advance.

Wait…Are you saying homosexuals get to raise children! Gasp!

Yes. As long as they raise that child with love, tenderness, and care.

Elder Care: The elderly will work as long as they can, perhaps changing jobs to something easier, then be given a living wage until death.

Hopefully, their living wage will be supplemented with extras from family or friends in their multi-generational home, but if not, nursing homes with a caring and well-educated staff will also be available.

Hospice care will fill everyone’s final days.

Health Care: EVERYONE from birth to death gets universal free healthcare including nonjudgmental information on birth control and family planning.

What about Vaccinations? In my utopia, they are required except for medical reasons.

Abortions? In my utopia, they will be completely legal. (However my hope is with everyone having nonjudgmental family planning, they won’t be needed except in the most dire circumstances.)

How are doctors paid? Handsomely by their medical establishment as their education and specialties dictate.

Anything else? Yes, there will world-wide standardized forms in every language, so the average person can understand them and fill them out. What, standardized forms! You can’t do that!  Yes, I can. It’s my utopia, if you don’t like this you might want to skip the rest of this blog post.

Assuming you are still reading, here we go:

Exploration: In order for us to continue to explore and evolve as humans, we need to map every centimeter of Earth and we need space travel. In order to be able to afford it, we need a world-wide government (or at least a world wide coalition)

Government: The overall government will be broken up by regional districts so everyone feels represented. The government will serve the people. All adults vote and their votes matter.

To solve the problems we see in our current government, NO LOBBYEST GIFTS would be allowed. No free dinners. No free boats. Every campaign will be run on an itemized budget. It’s the age of computers! The IRS’s focus will shift from the individual taxpayer to corporate and campaign budgets.

Measurements: The world would all be on the metric system (or another standardized system). The United States will stop holding out.

Infrastructure: The world would make advancements in clean, renewable fuels from methane collection to solar power.

Computer and communication technology will be available to all.

Roads will be clear for society’s use. There would be many modes of transportation available.

Houses and Buildings would be clustered together with use in mind, with open green space for everyone’s use.  Park lands would be consider sacred.

giant

As my readers know, I’m pragmatic so let’s move on to Crime: Jail time and fines will be non-existent for misdemeanors—but community service based and focused on rehabilitation. Accidents will be dealt with by mediators and judges.

If it is such a big mistake that one must be removed from society (murder, rape, assault with the intent to kill, etc.) the person will serve jail time. Even in jail, the person would be treated with personal dignity to ensure this Correctional Officers would receive proper education and training. Prisoners will see their families as long as the families want to see them.

What about the family of a criminal? In my utopia, no one pays for the crime, except the criminal. You and your family will be given the needed care to help rebuild trust.

Personal Weaponry: People can have handguns and riffles, BUT must be licensed which includes gun safety courses for the entire household. Also every gun comes with a safety pin or some sort of biometrics reader and a camera on it. (That way only authorized people can fire it and the camera can be used in case of accident or murder.)

Civilian Police: The police would only use nonlethal weapons and ALL police must have cameras that would be allowed in court. They would also not fear reprisals for entering therapy and have plenty of personal time.

Military: It’s a sad fact that I believe we would always need some kind of defense system. In my utopia, however, we will not need anyone to protect a nation against another nation, because with a world government comes world peace. We can serve the goal of world peace with space travel and education. This military would work hand in hand with private corporations and government agencies in order to train soldiers to develop non-lethal weapons, and the building of infrastructure, and space exploration.

Distribution of Wealth: A true progressive tax system would be installed to pay for the social benefits above. With standardized forms and computers to tabulate data, information is cheaper than ever before. The wealthy will pay more than the poor, and all debt forgivable.

Business Taxes: Other than cost of business expenses, other tax relief for corporations will be non-existent.

Usury laws: While some debt (business debt, mortgages) is a constant, usury laws will be in place to protect the poor. 1 – 5 % would be standard.

Religion: All the world’s religions would stop fighting over dogmatic differences and decide to act with respect of individual worship styles. If you believe God has something against pigs, don’t eat pork, but that doesn’t mean you can burn your neighbor’s pig farm.

Taxing of Religions: If an individual church, house of worship, mosque, or temple turns a profit, and sits upon the profit then yes they should be taxed as a business. However these entities can forgo taxes by running as Non-Profit Charity and serving the needs of the people surrounding them.

Well that’s pretty much everything I thought of. Challenge complete. Achievement unlocked.  This started as my dearest, yet pragmatic, dream for humanity, so please everyone be respectful.

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