Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Companions for Clever Old Souls

Companion Karen by Karen Gadient, 2014

Just in time for our anniversary, here’s the companion ‘me’ to my darling husband’s Doctor (Who) portrait.

Although I don’t have regeneration as an excuse, I created a younger alternate self with slightly different features (hey, David got an upgrade and I wanted one too). I gave her my unevenly-cut hair, though; I’m always snipping the ends myself instead of going to the salon and I suspect I’d keep that quirk if I were busy with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

17 Comments

Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Graphic Design, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Portraits of Clever Old Souls

Doctor David by Karen Gadient, 2014

When I first ‘met’ my husband, he was an El Aurian on a Star Trek RPG. Even being Betazoid in the game, I had a hard time figuring him out. He can be delightfully enigmatic. Back then, I did portraits of our characters. I can’t find them to show you, but it’s one of those things I did and do.

Now, a decade and a half later, David and I no longer play RPGS, but we’ve been watching Doctor Who together. He occasionally jokes about having once been a Time Lord and says he gave up all that for me.

Which is damn charming. And nearly believable. He’s always been so sharp and intense and yet silly and generous and wonderful and more adjectives than I can list. Old soul, as they say.

And so, since our wedding anniversary is approaching, I decided to make a comic-style portrait of him as the Doctor. Different, a bit—regeneration will do that to you—but still with the intensity and of course: epic facial hair (David and his mustache surely go back many lifetimes). And a scarf. Because I prefer Doctors with scarves.

I just realized El Aurians are sort of a Trek version of Time Lords. Slightly. Okay, not so much. Well, at least they’re long-lived. Not sure if I can imagine Guinan in a TARDIS. Picard would have been a fun companion. Nah. Data. Maybe.

Suppose I’ll have to draw myself up as his companion next?

Happy Anniversary, David!

I last did this style of illustration for the Fly Into Fire posters for Candlemark & Gleam. I had a lot of fun with this portrait, so I may make others in a similar style. If I do, I’ll list them for print. For now, this one stays on our walls.

26 Comments

Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Love, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Jump In: NaNoWriMo and Imagination

Zuzamele in Blossoms by Karen Gadient

Artwork: “Zuzamele in Blossoms” | Zuzamele, the first daughter of the Exalted Sovereign of Mahanizeh, disappears after leaving her eighth groom alive on the first year of their joining—an anniversary that traditionally allows royal grooms to relinquish their lives gratefully in the Rite of Delivery. Mahanizeh officials quickly announce her capture and imprisonment in Avizhdolin, but rumors flourish of her escape to Ruhizeya aboard a celestial freighter.

Oh hey—did you know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming? Yep, less than a month. As I have in previous years, I’ll be participating. Are you?

Zuzamele may not be the story I’ll be writing in November, but it could be. You see, that’s the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo: you can use anything your mind thinks up and run from a single paragraph (I wrote the above details on a whim after I created the artwork) well into an epic tale.

Jump in. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and make a mess. Scatter ink everywhere and watch the magic trip into life. I make new friends every year during NaNoWriMo (my user name is Keyrover). Hope to see you there.

10 Comments

Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Fantasy, Friendship, Imagination, NaNoWriMo, Portrait, Science Fiction, Sketchbook, Writing

Phoenix Lights

Our Phoenix Lights, 2/18/13

Last night, we happened to go outside just as a series of strange lights passed over our house. When we first saw them, they were in a staggered zig-zag pattern. By the time I’d managed to get my dying cell phone to snap a picture, the lights had spread out to what you see above.

Neighbors were standing here and there to watch the sky too. At first I thought it was a huge group of helicopters, but my husband pointed out the lack of noise, plus the things were a very bright yellowish color.

Never saw anything like it.

After a while, I got creeped out and we hopped in the car to head off on our grocery-shopping errands. We made jokes about alien invasion and how weird Arizona can be. This state is a weird-magnet.

Eventually, the lights disappeared. Helicopters circled the area. We figured we’d see something on the news later. Nope. Not a thing. Can’t find anything about it online, other than old reports of the Phoenix Lights.

So, I’m blogging about it. Have you ever seen lights like this? Or anything else that made you consider the odds of UFOs checking out your neighborhood?

What do you think they are?

37 Comments

Filed under Arizona, Journal, Life, Photography, Science Fiction, Space, The Unknown

Coin Tosses and Novel Choices

Chute Image with Ladder

I promised my husband I’d figure this one out by weekend’s end.

I have two novels that have a chance of seeing the light of published day this year.

Both are science fiction. One is alternate-universe stuff, with lots of comedic touches and a very television-show like feel. The other is more Asimov-ish, but also easy reading, because I come from a background where I started writing scripts long before I ever tried novels.

For a debut novel, I’m overanalyzing which should go first. Concept, marketing, just the general “wow factor”… the less comedic one looks in line for the most success (well, maybe). However, there’s one problem bugging me:

First half of the book feels like a YA novel, as the main character is a teenager. Only I don’t think it’s YA. The second half of the book (and any series books to follow) show the main character as an adult. The book has adult themes.

Anyone reading the first two chapters would never guess that the book evolves straight out of the teen years and right into a sharp reality of a new world.

I can’t change the fact that the main character starts out young and doesn’t stay that way. It’s important to the tale. YET…

He may become an adult, but under his skin, he’s still a teenager.

Tricky to categorize, right?

Truth is, I’m not sure where the edges of YA and adult fiction are these days. Is it still YA if the character is in his 20s and older as the story goes on?

I doubt it. But… geez, it starts out in that category. So. *head-desk*

I’m stalling on this project because I can’t define my audience. I don’t want to set readers up to think they’re getting a YA novel and then leaving bad reviews because they end up with a grown man in a violent world after half a book.

My husband flipped a coin for me on these novels. The coin fell on the floor the first time—unofficial results chose the alternate-universe-semi-comedy. The official coin toss chose the maybe-not-YA-sci-fi.

Which one really won? I still don’t know.

Maybe we need a fresh coin toss.


Anton Chigurh: Just call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Well, we need to know what we’re calling it for here.
Anton Chigurh: You need to call it. I can’t call it for you. It wouldn’t be fair.
Gas Station Proprietor: I didn’t put nothin’ up.
Anton Chigurh: Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life you just didn’t know it. You know what date is on this coin?
Gas Station Proprietor: No.
Anton Chigurh: 1958. It’s been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it’s here. And it’s either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Look, I need to know what I stand to win.
Anton Chigurh: Everything.
Gas Station Proprietor: How’s that?
Anton Chigurh: You stand to win everything. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Alright. Heads then.
[Chigurh removes his hand, revealing the coin is indeed heads]
Anton Chigurh: Well done. Don’t put it in your pocket, sir. Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.

11 Comments

Filed under Decisions, Fate, Life, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing

Dreaming the End of the World

End of Earth, artwork

Plenty of people are writing holiday posts, but I’m gonna talk about the upcoming armageddon. No, I’m not talking about the movie with Bruce Willis; I’m talking about December 21st. You know, when life as we know it is going to end.

I don’t really believe the world will end before I get to the see the latest Tarantino movie. Because that would be a downer. Although, at least I wouldn’t miss The Hobbit. Well, the first movie, anyway.

Nasa doesn’t think the world will end either.

So, screw intellectual discussion. Instead, I’ll tell you a story.

Recently I had a dream where the power went out and the zombies came in. I blame it on watching The Walking Dead and Revolution in the same evening. In my dream, we were home here in Arizona, and our house was surrounded by Republican zombies—the most stubborn kind of zombies, but the most common here in the Grand Canyon State. Worse yet, I was under the distinct impression that they did not want us for our brains (or our vote) but for the plentiful supply of coffee in our pantry.

No way, no how.

The zombie situation turned out okay, since my husband and I have seen Zombieland enough times to have practiced our cardio and perfect our double tap. So we slaughtered them and buried them in the garden next to our roses. Like they said in Book of Eli: it’s good for the soil.

This wasn’t the end of the dream. Our neighborhood had gone all Mad Max and built a thunderdome near the community pool, which of course we had to check out. But just as things got rolling with neighbors about to fight the HOA, there was a screaming streak across the sky and a flash over the skyline. Phoenix was in flames. We waited for it to rise from the ashes. Nope, it just burned.

Cue long section of boring-part-of-the-dream where we roasted marshmallows and sang “Que Sera, Sera.”

Finally the dream shifted to being a combination of Night of Comet and 2012. Zombies were gone, but the yuppies were raiding the malls. While all this was going on, California must have been drowning: Tool’s Ænima in reality. Soon, the Pacific ocean washed over Yuma and was on our front doorstep.

We’d finally gotten an ocean view. Woohoo.

I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

You’d think that’d be it. It wasn’t. The aliens arrived. However, it wasn’t like Independence Day, even if their spaceship was a huge manhole cover. Although… once I saw what it really was, I would have preferred something with tentacles: we were joined by the cast of Jersey Shore. Truly the apocalypse had arrived.

Oh, here go hell come!

On top of that, Snooki was clearly a zombie. Or maybe just drunk again.

Wait for it…

Then Daryl Dixon appeared and shot each of them in the face with a crossbow. After which, we all enjoyed some bourbon and played horseshoes until J.J. Abrams showed up with one of those power pendants and a script for the Fringe finale. We finished the bourbon and read ourselves to sleep.

What? You expected a complicated ending? I told you I blamed the dream on watching too much television. See, kids? Too much television is baaaaad for you. Either gives you weird dreams or insomnia. Stick to books.

Just in case the world ends, though: always remember the rules.

Happy holidays!

3 Comments

Filed under Dream Stories, Entertainment, Journal, Life, Science Fiction, The Unknown, Writing

The Value of NaNoWriMo

Character Artwork: Version Two - for NaNoWriMo 2012, Karen Gadient

I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?

However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.

My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.

Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!

“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”

NaNoWriMo Banner

This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.

I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.

Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?

No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.

As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.

Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.

My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.

Natania speaks of writing and NaNoWriMo, and shares some of her story.

Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.

As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!

NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.

That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.

My favorite pep talk from NaNoWriMo this year, by Nick Hornby.

Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.

24 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Imagination, Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing