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poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘Meniscus’ Category

Meniscus: The Struggle … Creating the Cover

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Sometimes choosing the theme for a book cover is difficult. Sometimes it is so easy.

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In my new book, Meniscus: The Struggle, Abra is trying to discover a way to overthrow the alien Dock-winders. As she wanders along the shore of the Vastness, she thinks she sees a Dock-winder from the corner of her eye.

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Startles as she sees a shadow.

Parody of Dock-winder physique—

purple, angular, thin,

long neck, single coil of hair.

Abra relaxes with a nervous laugh.

The shadow an anomaly, a teetering pile

of pebbles built

by some wandering child.

All the real Dock-winders

are gathered in arrogant bouquets

on the streets of Sintha, Enbricktow,

Prell and Bleth.

I liked this idea of the Dock-winders casting their shadows across the sands of Meniscus.

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The cover painting took less than a day to paint. The colours are mellow and there is lots of room for the cover text. All of the Meniscus books have included the two Meniscus moons: Cardoth roe and Cardoth grill’en.

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A lot of the work for the final book is done. The edit is complete, as are the drawings. I was without a scanner for a while but with our new printer, I can scan each drawing and place it in the text where it should be.

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Then I will order a proof and use it to make any final adjustments. Once my beta-reader has had a chance to react to the book, I will be ready to publish.

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June, sometime in June.

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All my best!

Alexandra, a.k.a. Jane

Written by jane tims

April 28, 2022 at 7:00 am

Next Meniscus: The Struggle

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In the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, I am now working on Meniscus: The Struggle, the sequel to Meniscus: Rosetta Stone.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone introduced us to Abra, a translator who has discovered a manuscript containing the mysterious Dock-winder language. As Abra works on the manuscript, she begins to think the words will hold the secret to the downfall of the cruel Dock-winders.

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In the sequel, Meniscus: The Struggle, Abra will enlist the help of Tagret, a chemist, to decipher the symbols in the manuscript. She will also try to get the help of Don’est, the Dock-winder child adopted by the Humans of Themble Hill. But will peculiar Don’est be a help or a hindrance?

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Meniscus: The Struggle will be available in June, 2022. Next post, I’ll show you some of my work on the cover of the book.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 25, 2022 at 1:58 pm

A Milestone: Ten Books in the Meniscus Series

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With the publication of Meniscus: Rosetta Stone, there are now ten books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series. Well, since I always make life difficult for myself, there are actually eleven books (if you count Meniscus: 1.5 and you should – it’s a great little book).

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In any case, this is a milestone in another way. Rosetta Stone is the first book of a Trilogy aimed at ending the oppressive rule of the Dock-winders, overlords of planet Meniscus.

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The Meniscus Science Fiction Series tells:

  • the story of abducted Humans and their fight for freedom

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  • the love stories of memorable characters:

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  • the adventures of characters pitted against the wilds of planet Meniscus:

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The stories are told in free-verse poetry (do not be afraid) and illustrated. Each book includes maps, character backgrounds, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary.

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Try them, you’ll like them. Click on any of the covers to the right to see the book for sale on Amazon.

All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2021 at 11:34 am

Meniscus: Rosetta Stone – now available

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The tenth book in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series is now available:

at Westminster Books in Fredericton,

at Amazon (click here) as an ebook or paperback,

at the Fredericton Public Library,

and from me.

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Even if you haven’t read any of the Meniscus stories to date, this book will introduce new main characters and begin a new story.

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Abra, translator and historian, has found a previously unknown Dock-winder manuscript. She thinks it may contain a clue to overcoming the evil Dock-winders but first, she will make a hazardous journey to Hath-men, the centre of the Resistance movement. Join her as she faces dangers in the Meniscus woods and capture by the disgusting Gel-heads.

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All my best

Jane

(a.k.a. Alexandra)

how much for a trip to space?

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Yesterday, October 13, 2021, will be part of Star Trek history since William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain James T. Kirk) took a real journey into space, on board the space tourism ship, Blue Origin’s New Shepard. The cost of a ticket is variable, but in the range of hundreds of thousands into the millions. I said to my husband, “I’ll pass. I’ll just let the Dock-winders come and get me, and ‘take’ me to Meniscus.”

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So, if you are a reader of the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, you will know that the Dock-winders of Meniscus have visited (or will visit Earth) seven times: 1982, 1988, 1995, 2008, 2013, 2020 and 2023 (two years from now). Each time, they harvest Humans for transport to their planet. In every Meniscus book, there is a list of characters and the years they were taken. Next year, I will be publishing three novellas, short urban mysteries, in the Meniscus Peripherals Series. In each book, set on Earth, there will be a mention of a Dock-winder abduction and a connection to a Meniscus Science Fiction Series story.

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If you are not fussy about being ‘taken’ to Meniscus, for free, you can still be transported to the Meniscus world, for the small price of a paperback or e-book. There are now nine Meniscus adventures (ten if you include 1.5), and the tenth in the series, Meniscus: Rosetta Stone, will be released tomorrow, Friday!

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The books in the series are:

Book One – Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

Book 1.5 – Meniscus: One Point FiveBook One – Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

Book 1.5 – Meniscus: One Point Five

Book Two – Meniscus: South from Sintha

Book Three – Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb

Book Four – Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill

Book Five – Meniscus: Karst Topography

Book Six – Meniscus: Oral Traditions

Book Seven – Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod

Book Eight – Meniscus: The Knife

Book Nine – Meniscus: Meeting of Minds

Book Ten – Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

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Reading will transport you to Meniscus, second planet in the solar system of Tathlet-Amblyn, a double sun. Meniscus is a world of woodlands, deserts and mountains and the cities of Prell District, North and South. The plants and animals are peculiar and sometimes dangerous. And water moves upward, not down. Rivers do not flow and water is hard to swallow. The Humans who find themselves on Meniscus are the slaves of the Dock-winder system. But sometimes they are able to escape and, with other Humans, build relationships and communities and have exciting adventures.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will introduce two new characters, Abra and Trath. Abra, an historian, finds a manuscript written in both Dock-winder and Gel-speak. Abra believes translation of the document may reveal a secret to overthrow the Dock-winders. She sets out for Hath-men, a village where The Resistance is centred. But traveling alone on Meniscus can be very dangerous.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will be available on Friday, October 15, in both paperback and e-book versions. Once I get copies, it will be available from me or at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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All my best.

(The Dock-winders are fictional.

You don’t have to worry about them!)

Jane

(a.k.a. Alexandra)

Written by jane tims

October 13, 2021 at 5:24 pm

An Upcoming Trilogy in the Meniscus Series

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To the right of the post, you will see, in a column, a list of the nine existing books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series. This summer, I am working on books 10, 11 and 12, a trilogy in that the books are connected in theme and story. The three books are (provisionally) entitled:

Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

Meniscus: The Struggle

Meniscus: Return to Sintha

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The books tell the story of how Abra, historian and transcription expert, works to solve the mystery of the Dock-winder language, hoping an ancient manuscript written in Dock-winder will contain a clue to the downfall of these oppressive overlords.

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The books contain many old friends from previous books in the Meniscus Series, including the people of Themble Hill. They also introduce two new characters: Abra and her husband Trath, a Slain.

From the list of characters at the end of each book:

Abra– an historian; transcribes, transliterates and translates Museum manuscripts from Gel-speak to English; brought to Meniscus in the 2013 harvest; taken as she worked in the library of the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Connecticut, translating a codex of Maya glyphs into English; used as a processor of the beelwort drug by the Dock-winders of the Prell-nan Ogle-hath syndicate; met her husband Trath when he brought raw beelwort to be processed; lives with Trath in the Museum of Dock-winder Legacy, Prell; as she works in the Museum library, she sometimes forgets she is no longer on Earth.

Trath – a trader; gathers wild beelwort for sale to the city syndicates and hospitals; brought to Meniscus as a baby by the Dock-winders in the 1988 harvest and genetically altered to be a Slain; makes his home in the Museum of Dock-winder Legacy, in Prell; addicted to beelwort; married to Abra.

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Here is an excerpt from Rosetta Stone:

“Why did you leave me?”

says Trath.

Abra lifts her head.

Stares at Garnock,

the Wandering Star.

Careful of her words.

“You are never home.

Never tell me

where you have been.

Hardly speak to me

when you are there.”

“You are always

in the archives,”

says Trath,

“with your books and papers.

Never seem to care if I come or go.”

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All my books are illustrated and include maps, a character list, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will be out this fall.

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All my best,

Jane (a.k.a. Alexandra)

new in the Meniscus Series: Meeting of Minds

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For your summer read, visit another planet. The plants and animals are strange, the aliens are evil. But some things don’t change. Good memories. Love and friendship. Family.

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But sometimes memories, love and family are lost. When Odymn is captured by the Dock-winders, they erase ten years of her memory. There are two moons in the night sky. Her husband, Daniel, is a stranger. Food and even water are unfamiliar.

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Follow Odymn and Daniel as they get to know one another again. And when the Dock-winders capture Daniel, how will Odymn rescue him?

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Meniscus: Meeting of Minds is available now on Amazon, here, in paperback and ebook. By the end of June, you will find the paperback at Westminster Books in Fredericton. This is the ninth book in the Meniscus Series … time to introduce yourself to the series by reading Volume 1, here, or Volume 6, here. Lots of love and adventure.

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All my best,

Jane

Starting a new book 2

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Today, I finished the rough draft of my new book in the Meniscus Series. This book will deal with discovery of a secret that will bring down the nasty Dock-winders.

The working title of the book is Meniscus: Resistance.

Before you become amazed at my productivity, remember that my Meniscus stories are in narrative poetry and are a quick read. At this early stage, this book has 11,600 words.

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The next step in my process is tedious, but very helpful.

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I create a Table of Chapters. Each ‘Chapter’ in the table is described by ‘What happens,’ ‘Setting.’ ‘Point of view,’ ‘Characters,’ and ‘Theme Progress.’ I can work through my entire document:

  • change all the place holders to actual Chapter numbers;
  • make certain the setting is described in detail;
  • ensure point of view in each chapter is clear and does not waver;
  • list the characters in the chapter and ensure everyone has a role to play; and,
  • check on progress made towards resolution of the story.

Table of Chapters for Meniscus: of Resistance

ChapterWhat happensSettingPoint of ViewCharactersTheme Progress
PrologueJames escapesSpace dockJamesJames, D, DW, GH, Drag’onIntroduce  antagonists
1.Trath crawls from minebase of Flame MtnTrathTrathTrath escapes
2.Abra finds six glyphsobelisk at The TipAbraAbraAbra finds glyphs
3.Evening meal at Hath’menVillage of Hath’menOmniscientJames, Drag’on villagersDrag-on set apart
etc.     

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If the story is missing an ending, or has continuity issues, this building of the table helps me to focus on the story progress and, by the time the table is completed, the story is more complete.

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Once these tasks have been done, the Table of Chapters can be set aside and used later for any stage of the revision process. For example, I can check each chapter for phases of the moon, so the full moon doesn’t occur two days before the crescent moon! I also use the table to make certain the illustrations are evenly distributed throughout the text.

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Off I go, to fill out the Table of Chapters and to find an ending for my book.

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All my best!

Stay safe.

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

starting a new book

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I love working on multiple writing projects at once. So it is no surprise to me that I have books and projects at all stages in development:

  • The next book in my Kaye Eliot Mysteries is in final draft (‘Land Between the Furrows,’ release date March 2021)
  • The next of my poetry books (‘niche‘) is in proof stage (release December 2020)
  • I have just released the next book in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series (Meniscus: The Knife) and the next is in final Draft (‘Meniscus: Meeting of Minds,’ release date May 2021).

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So, this week, in the narrow crack between revisions, I have started to draft another in the Meniscus Series. Tentatively entitled ‘Meniscus: Resistance,‘ this will be the last in the Meniscus Series (she says).

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It has been so long since I started a new book, I have forgotten how the process unfolds.

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1. A long time thinking, while doing other things, about the theme … how this book will connect with the last, who the characters will be, where the action will occur and so on.

2. A few sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling, thinking about opening scenes, how my characters are feeling and precipitating events.

3. Eventually I am ready to start the first drafting. For this, I need a relaxing, familiar space. I like to sit on the sofa in my living room, so most of the drafting will be on my iPad in the Word app. At some points, I may shift my focus and do some writing in longhand.

4. Even during drafting, I start revising. I go back and forth, moving details around, gleaning from earlier books to avoid inconsistencies, refining ideas. Some days I turn to the main computer to do a read-through and correct spelling and syntax, and to start to refine the poetry of the story-telling.

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Of all the parts of the writing process, the early drafting is my favourite. It is also (for me) the quickest. By starting a new project, I have resolved to follow through with later revision work, illustration (including the cover art), formatting and marketing.

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So, here I am in happy land, pushing my characters around, and sometimes trying to catch up to them …

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 12, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the Gel-head dictionary

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From the beginning, I have included an alien language dictionary at the end of my science fiction books. Gel-speak is the common language on the planet Meniscus. Many of my Human characters speak a little Gel-speak; the genetically-altered Humans, the Slain, speak it fluently. In each book, there are lines of Gel-speak, usually translated, occasionally not.

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The Gel-speak language originates with the Gel-heads, the most maligned of the aliens on Meniscus. The intelligent Dock-winders also have a language but it is not spoken in the presence of other species.

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By the eighth book, I have added to the dictionary until there are 170 words.

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The Gel-speak language has a grammar, or set of rules governing the words and their order. There are verbs and nouns, articles and adjectives. The Gel-speak language includes many of the same sounds as English and includes a ‘click’ at the end of certain words. Any linguists among you are now laughing.

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So, with the dictionary, you can count in Gel-speak to five:

u-hath – one

ull – two

undel – three

urth – four

v-hath – five

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Gel-speak words have ‘roots’ and build on one-another. For example, here are words associated with the female gender:

ora – light

ora-nee – home

ora-nell – female

ora-nell-elan – mother

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or, with the idea of sharing a hearth:

parelan – family

parennel – friend

pargath – hearth

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OK linguists, you can stop laughing now. This is fiction, after all.

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Want a look at the entire dictionary? Have a look at the books in the Meniscus Series, beginning here.

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`chased by a Gel-head`part two

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All my best,

staying home (ora-nee),

and staying in my two-family (ull-paralan) bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

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