The Sorrow and Joy of the Last Page

The writer and the reader experience the sorrow and joy of the last page. Not in exactly the same way, but pretty close. A good book drives you to that last page then, if you’re like me you sit there, hugging the book and feeling lost. This feeling comes from what psychologist and other scientists call deep reading. Most of us make pictures in our minds. We experience sorrow and joy. Science has shown that our emotional reactions are close to the same emotions as the characters we read about. The deeper, the more intense the reading–the more we exercise our brain. We become more empathetic. There are people who are not natural readers. Shocking, I know. They don’t experience reading in the same way. But, they can improve their reading skills and enjoyment. Parents reading to children is a critical step in helping poor readers learn to enjoy reading more. It’s important to read because reading increases the white matter in our brain. (A brief discussion of the science can be found here.) Reading nonfiction doesn’t do quite the same thing. In studies, reading nonfiction lights different areas of the brain than reading fiction does. Not better areas, different. Our emotions aren’t […]

An Early Draft Outtake from My Soul to Keep.

Outtake: An Early Prelude

Long ago, I wrote the first draft of My Soul to Keep. It was a fantasy with dragons. What was I thinking? My next draft or two or three were just as far afield as the fantasy, though they were closer to a science fictional approach. Then, after many discussions with my husband and friends, I came up with the alternate world in which the story now takes place. I thought readers might enjoy a look back at some of the outtakes from those earlier drafts. So, without further ado, here’s an outtake: an early prelude to My Soul to Keep. ~~~~ A Testament for Modern Times The New Book of Samuel Chapter 3, verses 1-17 1. Now it came to pass, in the days after the Great War, that the children of the world did evil in the sight of the Lord. 2. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people and He delivered them into the days of darkness called the Great Depression.  He overthrew the tables of their moneymakers and money changers; and gold became as water. 3. Thieves, drunkards, and  murderers ruled the land known as America.  The American leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was […]

A Surprise Written in Mud

I received a free copy of the January/February 2019 copy of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine from my friend and mentor, Bill Wu. He autographed his story in this issue, personalized for me. It was a surprise “Written in Mud” on two levels. If you have a chance, grab a copy. This Tall Tale is worth it. “Written in Mud” is the story of four friends who try to figure out how they are going to survive after fraking for shale oil in Oklahoma caused massive earthquakes along the Humboldt fault in Kansas and the New Madris fault in Missouri. The friends are on what used to be a farm belonging to one of them. It is now the shores of Kansas. These four friends try to find a new occupation. They make a trip upriver and discover that the answer to their dilemma was…well, you’ll have to read it. Not only did Bill not give me any warning that he sent this to me, he didn’t tell me the story existed. It’s arrival was a Christmas surprise gifted to me without any expectations or obligations. This story is especially delightful to me because it contains a lot of nuggets or […]