World Building Pantser-Style

Woman with umbrella walking across plaza in the rain
Since we’re getting rainy (and snowy) weather, I thought I’d share that with you with a picture.

A few years ago, I went to a panel on world-building at a con  I was kind of cautious because my experience with any kind of world-building always started with this recommendation:

Buy a 3-right binder and a pack of tabs.  Take this list of questions and answer every single one about your world.  Only then can you write your story.

Pretty much a huge turn off to a pantser like me.  It was one of the reasons I didn’t do speculative fiction for a long time.  By the time I did all that recommended world building, I’d have lost interest not only in the story but even the world.

But this panel did something different, and I was reminded of while I was working on a scene.  They said, first just start writing the story, then world build…because otherwise it’s possible to never get around to writing the story.

They also said to think about why cities or towns were built in a particular location, and this got really interesting because I hadn’t thought of cities like that before.

With a lot of the modern cities, it’s not always that obvious.  If you walked out to Alexandria, VA today and looked around, you would never know that it was site of bustling tobacco trade in the 1700s.   Now pleasure boats are hooked up to the docks and people feed the ducks.

There are also ruins in Egypt for places that no longer exist because the Nile changed course and that part of the world dried up.  Clive Cussler did a novel called Sahara with something similar where there was a river in the 1800s and a Confederate ironclad got into the river.  Shipwreck in the desert!

Still one of my favorite books.  But I digress.

I wandered in this direction today because in my scene I have a town that’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.  And it really is about connecting the dots and making sure all those connections get into the story.  I was surprised at how many pieces were already there…creative brain was just sitting back and laughing at me until I figured it out.

For your reading pleasure, some interesting reading on why cities are built where they are.



Interview over at Sherry Ramsey’s Site

My short story Watcher Ghost is in a bundle called Short Flights (of the Imagination).  You can find more details at this link about the bundle.  Story bundles like this are pretty cool because you can buy one book and get a bunch of different writers.  I bought one last year and found a series that I had to buy all the books for because it was so good.  So it’s a great way to find new books to read.

Sherry’s got up an interview with me on her site.  It was fun to do, so drop by and take a look.

Distractions of Space, Gravity, and Chia Seeds

The other day I was making breakfast and managed to spill chia seeds all over the floor. If you’ve never seen them, they’re very small seeds, about the size of a pinhead.

And they got everywhere!  I’m still hunting down errant seeds.

So, while I was checking out zero-gravity on YouTube, I decided I’d probably be a disaster in space.  Check out these guys eating pizza.

Can you imagine chia seeds all floating around in zero gravity?  Oh, dear…


Spotlight on 5 Selected Links About Books

Girl lays on a bed, reading a book with a big smile on her face

Reading isn’t just the books, but sometimes the history of them, the libraries, or even how the world used them.  And sometimes it’s just wandering through the aisles looking at all of them and not knowing where to start.

7 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Bookstores This is a mostly fun list about bookstores.  I had no idea that books from different publishers had different smells! (16).

25 Interesting Facts About Libraries Did you know that there are libraries  where you can check out a storyteller?  Might have to steal that for a story.

Coalesce . . . A Bookstore & More.  This is a shout-out to a bookstore in Morro Bay, CA.  When my family visited my grandparents, I always ended up in this little bookstore, just a few blocks from the harbor.  Despite all the changes in the industry, the bookstore is still there.

Book Castle/Movie World: This bookstore in Burbank does not appear to have a website.  It’s a place I would check out frequently because I could find books and scripts and photos.  Just an awesome place to explore.

20 Interesting Facts About Science Fiction.  This has a lot of predictions that science fiction writers made in their stories that came true…like the internet.

First Night

Dog tags resting against a military uniform
Arriving the first time in-country is a profound experience for every soldier. We’re leaping into it blind and we don’t know what we’re going to get.

Fear is something Private Carolyn Mendez can’t admit to. Yet, as she arrives in Saudi Arabia, for Desert Storm, deploying to war, it’s all she can think about. All she has is herself, and even that is scary.

A flash fiction military story available from your favorite booksellers


Rogue God

Cover for Rogue God, showing a tiki face on a surfboard.
NOVEL: This, believe it or not, originated from fan fiction.  I never much liked other people’s characters; the ones I created kept taking over, so I turned it into a story.

Anton Keymas is part of a magical Special Forces, the Vai, and blessed by a party goddess. His mission? Hunt monsters that no one believes in any more and try not to get killed.

But this new monster has killed two soldiers. Now that it’s gotten a taste of human flesh, it will be back for more.

Keymas has little time to stop a monster that is intelligent and cunning. He may have to do the one thing he has refused to do, and even that has a cost, especially when gods get involved.

A fantasy novel available from your favorite booksellers.

Women at War: Stories & Poems

Dog tags against a brown background
This is a collection of stories and poems reflecting my military experience.  There are poems written during Desert Storm.

Desert Storm war veteran Linda Maye Adams shows the diversity of what war is like for the women who deploy in this collection of short stories and poetry. The stories run from “First Night,” and “Between Black and White,” because war seldom ends when the war does.

The poems include:

  • A Woman Goes to War
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Only Questions
  • Little One
  • The Lonely Sounds of War
  • No Safe Places
  • Just Like Me
  • That Wish

Flash fiction stories and poetry collection available from your favorite booksellers.

New Robot Smell

Cover for New Robot Smell
This is a dark science fiction story, a legacy of my Desert Storm days.  I knew a person like the character’s friend in the story.

Technology is taking over the military. To help money, robots now perform many of the duties like cooking.  Private First Class Rachel Drake wonders what the next steps will be.  She doesn’t like the answers she is getting.  She thinks they will be replacing soldiers with robots soon.  But that’s far from what the truth will be, and far more dangerous.

A dark science fiction short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Blink of a Moment

Back of man with digital code on his skin
This was for an anthology call and provided the opening sentence.  Everyone was going to do first person or dialogue, so I wanted to be different and started with a tweet.

The world stops for Trey Howard, like a camera rewinding and then starting up again.  All he wants to is hide in his job as a janitor and pretend like he doesn’t exist, like can’t make the world blink.  Then the government finds him,  men who are not affected when the world blinks, and they want to talk to him…

A time travel short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Alien Traps

Cover for Alien Traps

Thirty years ago, Lily Chun saw a UFO in the desert and the memory disappeared into a child’s fantasies.  But after a dream called to her, she’s back out to the same place, drawn by the emptiness of the life she’s abandoned.  A chance meeting with a stranger convinces her that maybe there’s a reason to be here now, and it isn’t just to see aliens.

A science fiction short story available from your favorite booksellers.