Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Take a Ride--Create a Book

A fantasy came out of nowhere and clobbered J.K. Rowling over the head--she'd found her destiny. She took a train ride to discover the idea of Harry Potter; a kid on his way to wizard school. I didn't realize how potent that ride was until I experienced one myself. Here's a short article on what happened to me on a long car ride. 

The Little SF Dystopian that Could and Came out of Nowhere

I'd been a slave to the keyboard and typing chair for six months, having not been out of the house. So I jumped at the chance when my niece, Jamie, ask me to come along for a ride. Driving down a back road with Jamie and her daughter, Fia, on a balmy summer day, we were discussing how low our gas was and if we could make to a town called Fort Payne. Fia was acting up in the back seat, broadcasting 180 decibels from the hole in her face. Jamie reared her head and said, "Shut the hell up, please. Or we'll pawn your azz for gas money at the next pullout, I swear!"

Fia tried, "But I was just--"


I thought about that outburst for a minute. My ears were still ringing. Then it hit me... What if, I mused, that in a distressed (dystopian) society, heads of households were allowed to pawn dependents to a company called Family Trade & Loan for huge cash advances? And what if that dependent was a teenage girl who ended up with a six-month sentence at the Tranquility Harbor Moon base on Luna, assigned to a rough and tumble mining company filled with slobaholic miners?

Wait. What about a Burlesque  in Space? 'Cause maybe she's forced to work as an exotic dancer and given an "Attractapeal" rating for her physical attributes. Oh, gawd, yea. And let's give her a tin number tag and a jumpsuit that identifies her as a Sunshine Class (12 to 18 year-olds) ward.

All this brainstorming materialized in about 20 minutes and all I could hear was white noise in my head--I'd tuned everything else out.


I couldn't get home fast enough to start pounding plastic and scribbling notes. I'd heard plenty about the sex slave market but this would be a sanitized, legal work program sanctioned by the government. What kind of abuses could such a powerful entity inflict upon its slave labor wards? Unlimited, I decided. Because most of the cash advances levied out were screened to force the payment of huge delinquent back-tax settlements.

Out of sight, out of mind, wards wouldn't stand a chance in hell. Let the personal rights and freedoms be damned and trampled.

And that's how it all began for The Girl They Sold to Moon, a young adult dystopian thriller.  The cover art is stunning, filled with glitter and soft hues. It has large font for easy reading.

I think the lesson here is that lightning can strike at the most uneventful and unexpected times. Rides, walks, runs and vacations--they're all ripe for the muse to appear and start the creative dance. Get out and change your scenery. It's good for what ails you if you're blocked. It sure busted me out of a creative freeze.




  1. Love the title and the cover to The Girl They Sold to the Moon. I hope it made you buckets of money.

  2. Thank you, Richard. Far from buckets of money. It did all right, but sure could have done better. I firmly believe we're in an industry squeeze, which has been going on for a while. I also love the cover.