Why why one?

After finding out that naming my first novel with a superscript was not such a hot idea, ( see “Hugs and Kisses“) I turned right around and named my second novel y1.  Why? Why “y”?

Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier

Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier

Well, the name was supposed to be x1 to be honest, and early on I had a vision of writing a six book series of novels called x0, x1, x2, x3, x4, and you guessed it x5. (Every one of those numbers are supposed to be a superscript.) You have to admit it does sort of have a pattern to it. Unfortunately the hero of my second book is a big X-men fan, with professor Xavier himself being the most favorite of all heroes. And I personally love Patrick Stewart. Suddenly having x in the title seemed just too derivative. Maybe even edging into plagiarism. The “x” had to go.

But by this point I had come to love the fact that any number at all raised to the power of one is itself.  This second novel was meant to be a counterpoint to all the oneness in the first novel.  I wanted to celebrate the individual here. I wanted to rejoice in the wonderful ways we are all different.  My protagonist was a young gay man learning to embrace his uniqueness.  Why not use “y”?  Zane, my savvy hero, does ask the question “why?” with great frequency.

It turns out that the letter y is not quite as common in book titles as the letter x.  There is Brian K. Vaughan’s series Y: The Last Man (oh yes, I’d forgotten about  the Y chromosome).  And author Marjorie Celona has recently published a book called “Y: a novel” that sounds fabulous and also plays on the the word “why”. There are a few religious books out there simply called “Why” and a host of other books that start with the word “Why” and end with everything you can imagine and a few things that you probably can’t.  (“Why Men Marry Bitches” and  “Why are People so Stupid” seem to me to both try to answer universal questions.  Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers surprised me a little but, hey, give the idea a chance. )

So my second novel became y raised to the power of one, and friends and family dubbed it “why one”.  The electronic world refused to show it as anything other than y1.  To me, it’s just called “y”.  As in, it’s just being itself.  As in, why did I get started on this to the power of thing and now what am I going to call that third novel.

Luckily, a fellow blogger solved that last dilemma for me with an offhand remark. Please visit my blog “Treasure Hunting for a Good Time” to learn more.

How is that even possible?

Nature is filled with creatures that challenge our definition of normal and even some that push our definition of possible.

y1 hero Zanstock-photo-chameleon-48221917e Zeitman forms a childhood friendship with a chameleon he names Balthazar. Lest you think a creature that turns bright orange in your hand is make-believe, please check out the video below. Of course, if you are interested in developing a friendship of your own with a chameleon,  please consider buying yours from the person who posted this video.

The music may not be to your taste and need to be turned down, and if the informative text at the start of the video does not interest you, just skip ahead to about the half way point to see the chameleon do his thing. It’s very, well, very orange. You would be truly astounded if the neighbor’s cat did this.  And probably even more astounded if the neighbor’s kid did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaKk5dDWo-U

 

Crime collides with speculative fiction at a fascinating new intersection

I struggle with whether to call my novel y1 a  crime novel or speculative fiction, and so I have developed a soft spot for other authors facing the same quandary. Recently I learned of S.J. Hunter, and her fascinating series of books that combines both genres. I’m very excited to interviewer her on this blog, but first I’ll let her describe her series to you in her own words.

Longevity Law Enforcement:  In the 21st century molecular biology gives humanity some nifty gifts: perpetual youth, enhancements to intelligence and physical attributes, and extreme life extension.  The trouble is, not everyone thinks they’re nifty, and even among those who do, not everyone can afford them.  Most of all, no one really wants to be ruled by immortal superbeings if they can’t be one themselves.  That’s not all that unreasonable.  While much of the rest of the world descends into repressive oligarchy or anarchy, in the United States we establish Laws to govern the use of these gifts, and a special agency, Longevity Law Enforcement (LLE), to catch the lawbreakers.

L1 Cover DNA USEAbout Longevity (Longevity Law Enforcement Book 1): The suspicious disappearance of a brilliant, evil doctor.  A devious plan that threatens national stability.  A near-future world where the U.S. clings to laws that have preserved it from the almost worldwide abyss of anarchy, where a man can be both 32 and 102, and where a perceptive and clever woman and a uniquely smart dog can be kick-ass rookie partners.
No longer solo, legendary detective Chris McGregor and his new partners, Livvy Hutchins and Louie, relentlessly search for the mastermind before he can complete his plan.  Their opponent’s only option: kill them first. Available at Amazon here.

L2 Paper Cover 3 USEAbout The Burning Rivers (Longevity Law Enforcement Book 2): When LLE’s top team, Chris, Livvy, and Louie, Chris’ neuro-enhanced dog, investigates a brutal Syndicate of illegal labs trying to force its way into D.C., Louie finds key evidence that might help his partners crack the Syndicate’s power. If they can survive long enough.  Available at Amazon here.

L3 Cover resized USEAbout The Dog on the Moon (Longevity Law Enforcement Book 3):LLE detective Chris McGregor is still learning to rely on his new partners, irrepressible Livvy Hutchins and Louie, a dog with phenomenally useful talents. Together they must find a way to battle a deadly conspiracy of corrupt politicians and industrialists without exposing them to the public. Their goal: to preserve the Moon for the rest of mankind. Available at Amazon here.

Sheila provides this biography: Although she grew up on a small family farm in Wisconsin, since then she’s worked as a veterinarian and a librarian and lived in Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, California, Oregon, Florida and many places in-between, including twice in Washington D.C. The whole experience, meaning life so far, has taught her that it is essential to keep a sense of humor handy. Dogs and cats and people with infectious laughs help, too.

A short interview with author S.J. Hunter.

Me: You’ve lived a lot of places and done a lot of different things.  Did any one location or occupation particularly influence your trilogy? Her: I worked as a veterinarian in D.C. – it was my first real veterinary job – and I’ve always loved the city.  We lived there twice, about 6 years total. It has amazing character and opportunities, and constant reminders of our history, but access is very important, and in D.C. that means public transportation. The city plays a role in all three books; that makes sense because Chris, Livvy, and Louie work in the D.C. LLE office.

Me: It’s impressive to have written a entire series like this.  Do find that each book has gotten easier or more difficult to write? Her: Each book got easier.  I enjoy my characters, and since they are strong individuals, they started carrying the story forward for me.  The books are case-based, so they easily stand alone, but there’s also an important thread from Chris’ history that’s woven through all three books.

Me: You have a genetically enhanced dog as one of your characters.  Did a real life pet inspire this character? If not, what? Her: Okay, no surprise here: I’m a sucker for dogs and cats.  No one pet inspired Louie, but I thought a lot about service dogs, and how lucky we are to have dogs in our lives as companions. There’s so much we don’t know about the way they think, but a lot we can conjecture and some of that conjecture can be great fun.
Me: Will there be more Longevity Law Enforcement books in the future or will you be moving on to another subject? Her: I tried to move on.  In fact, I have another, very different book started, but about 20K words in I found I kept thinking about a case Chris had been involved in earlier in his career.  So I found myself writing a prequel.

For more about S.J. Hunter and her books please visit her blog at http://sjhunter123.blogspot.com/.