Trusting the Path

If all else fails in the universe, there are at least two things of which I am always certain.

The first, is that Book Ron and Book Ginny will always be better than their film counterparts. (Even though I love Rupert & Bonnie. They couldn’t help bad character development in the scripts, poor dears.)

The second, and what this post is actually about, is that nothing in this universe gets me more excited or filled with hope than NaNoWriMo.

Growing up, NaNoWriMo was always a frantic rush to 50K during November. It came when the air was cooling, the leaves were crisping, and the hot chocolate cravings were calling. But as with most things that we do for many, many years, NaNoWriMo has changed, and last year was the first time I decided to increase my yearly amount of noveling shenaniganry by participating in my first two Camp NaNos.

The idea behind Camp NaNoWriMo is simple. You get the same creative rush, but you use it towards a word goal you choose for yourself, or you can use the month to edit. It’s more loose in its creative restraints, but no less thrilling than November, when you get to share in the energy of lots of people all creating at once.

My very first Camp NaNo attempt was supposed to be last April, but due to uncertainties about the story I was trying to do at the time, and a certain trip that changed my life, I didn’t get past a few thousand words. It didn’t feel like a real crack at it to me. It did, however, end up being the month that set me on the path back to Alteria. That call made in a small cafe in Edinburgh ended up informing the rest of my year, as I would come to spend July’s Camp NaNo, and November’s official NaNoWriMo 2015, working on versions of They Are The Last.

Funny how you can start off thinking you know precisely where you’re going, and life can be like NOPE, RIGHT THIS WAY PLEASE. IN THE EXACT OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF WHERE YOU PLANNED. Kind of like a story, if you ask me.

All that being said, the plan I’m attempting to carry out will involve me writing 50K this April, something I’ve never achieved outside of November. While time is running short, I’ve actually yet to decide if the 50K I write will be towards my second draft, or if it will be 50,000 words worth of backstory short stories. We’ll see what happens. Regardless of which path I choose, I’m sure I’ll end up right in the place I’m supposed to be.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here, being alarming levels of excited by the fact that I have no idea where that place will be.


WSSF: Deus Hex Machina


Deus Hex Machina by Amanda Orneck

It is a refined skill to take radically different worlds and combine them together into a single seamless story, but honestly, Amanda Orneck is currently doing it brilliantly in her novel, Deus Hex Machina. The writing is rich with vivid imagery that paints a picture of an ancient Cloister, but not like the familiar kind that dot the European countryside. Hers is one filled with computers, where the Code replicates eternal. The Church of Technology is the religion of the day, and among its sisterhood, we find our heroine, Isidore RAM.

We meet Isidore on the Grid, experiencing an ancient version of New York City’s Harlem that is made up of numbers and code. Isidore is a Hexer of seemingly incomparable skill, who encounters something unexpected, and seeks out her mentor for help. In that way, it’s a classic tale, but the telling of it is something you’ve never seen done before. There’s ancient mystery mixed with advanced technology that’s beyond our time.

It had me immediately hooked, and if you give it the chance, I hope you’ll find the same for yourself. This Bechdel-crushing adventure isn’t one to be left unread.

From Amanda Orneck

Women Slaying SciFi is about women supporting women, therefore each featured author is asked the following question about why female narratives and authors matter . . .

Why do you think female authors and protagonists are so important to the future of sci-fi?

“I think female authors and protagonists are essential to the future of SciFi because, really, they are essential to the future.  The female mind is just built differently than the male one, is more collaborative, faster to make nonlinear decisions, better and handling complex multithreaded tasks.  It’s how we are built.  It’s exactly these sorts of minds that our future world will need.  We are living in a global economy, one that is pushing toward interstellar flight and habitation. In these situations having women making quick decisions will be key to our future success as a species.

Now how do you build a future populated with strong, stakeholder women making important decisions that will diversify our people and spread them amongst the stars? You plant the seeds of inspiration in today’s fiction.  In some way I think that we are creating the literature that will inspire the next generation (or even that beyond the next) of women to dream of being the leaders and the achievers.  That is a powerful position to be in as a creator.  We can build worlds that get the future of our reality jump started.

It’s all in the power of the reader’s imaginations. We can shape what they perceive as normal by providing strong, complex women as lead characters, and as stepping up as women who can build complicated, important worlds. This is where I want to take a moment to defend liberal arts.  Yes, STEM education will help our girls to learn to be scientists, but it’s creative writing in the hands of women scifi authors that will show them what is possible with those educations.” —

Follow Amanda Orneck on

Inkshares  |  Twitter

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Screen shot 2016-03-26 at 11.28.13 AMAmanda Ornecks’s novel, Deus Hex Machina, is currently available on Inkshares! Check out the links below to read the first chapter and pre-order the book in e-book or paperback form!

Read Chapter One

Pre-order Deus Hex Machina

WSSF: Lucky


Lucky by RH Webster

The thing that makes me marvel at Webster’s space opera, Lucky, is just how quickly she manages to pull you into the story. The current first four chapters take all of 17 combined minutes to read, but by the time you’ve finished, you’re distraught that there isn’t more! I don’t remember the last time I read something that made me care this much about fictional characters in so short a time frame.

Lucky begins with Felina, a bartender who’s happy to have her brother come see her at the cantina where she serves as an indentured servant to a mysterious woman named Rosa. Within the first few paragraphs we learn that people on this space rock speak Spanish, which immediately lets you know you’re in for a diverse and inclusive narrative, which is so incredibly important. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

From there, the story takes a sharp turn for the worse, and Felina is thrown into a terrifying situation. If the story hasn’t captured your attention by this point, you might want to check that you’re still among the living.

Lucky is everything you loved about Firefly, except its the crew of the Rosebud that you fall for. Trigg Donner is a Malcolm Reynolds for a new generation, and the titular character, Lucky, (full name Cassandra Luckenbach) is so relatable, despite the fact that her attempts to get into grad school just happen to take place in space.

Webster’s story is absolutely worth every minute of your life it takes to read, and is the kind of book I can’t wait to hold in my hands and add to my shelf. So seriously, what are you waiting for?

From RH Webster

Women Slaying SciFi is about women supporting women, therefore each featured author is asked the following question about why female narratives and authors matter . . .

Why do you think female authors and protagonists are so important to the future of sci-fi?

“Firstly, I consider science fiction to be an important literary and film genre. I think in a way, science fiction is as much of a reflection of the author and the time in which it was written as it is a vision of the future to come. So many science fiction and dystopian future novels have been written that have either predicted what was to come (Fahrenheit 451) or have scared the populace into avoiding that fate at all costs (1984) that it’s impossible to ignore the impact of science fiction on our culture.

Secondly, as for female science fiction authors, I feel that it is a mistake to exclude nearly half of the world’s population from writing and publishing in a specific genre because it’s just not a “girly” thing to do. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been in the science fiction section of a store only to get eyeballed by the guys in the same section. Most of them thought I was “faking” my interest in science fiction to pick up dates. (AS IF.)

The importance of female protagonists in science fiction is tied closely to the need for female authors. Think about it: as girls, who did we want to identify with in science fiction films? Princess Leia. Ripley. Sarah Connor. But, to be honest, the majority of strong protagonists have been male while women have been used for eye candy or plot twists (think James Bond movies). In a genre where anyone can be anything, why are the boys getting to run around and play hero and the girls are wearing tight clothes and just there for fanboy gratification?

I want to see a future where young girls and women can watch TV and read books where a strong female protagonist is present because she has value to the story, not because she looks sexy in a jumpsuit. I think that future starts with us, as women and female authors, and I think it continues with our protagonists that we create. I have created three female protagonists now (Lucky, and two unpublished characters named Jael and Allegra). They have their flaws, true. Sometimes they get squeamish if they see something gross. But at the end of the day, they’re as intelligent and as brave as the men they work with. And those are the sorts of women I want my little sister to be able to look up to and say, I can do that.” -RH Webster

Follow RH Webster on

Inkshares  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Screen shot 2016-03-04 at 6.37.13 PM.png

RH Webster‘s novel, Lucky, is currently available on Inkshares! Check out the links below to read the first chapter and pre-order the book in e-book or paperback form!

Read Chapter One

Pre-order Lucky

Women Slaying SciFi

For a myriad of reasons and a great deal of deep seeded issues that would take years worth of blogging to unpack, there seems to be a pretty sweeping misconception that Science Fiction stories are for men. From guys who think we’re all just interested in SciFi because we’re trying to get their attention, to executives at Disney thinking no one would want Rey merch, (REY IS EVERYTHING, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??!!?) its something that’s hard to ignore. Who wants to have their passions called into question because of someone else’s insecurities. Seriously, who I ask you?


The truth is, women fucking love science fiction, and this is a stereotype that needs to end like, 50 years ago. Not only do we love these kinds of narratives, we also love creating them. For goodness sakes, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered to be the first science fiction novel – how can you tell women we can’t be part of a genre we invented?


So given all of that – AND the fact that March is Women’s History Month – I will be doing something special here at Elayna Musings by highlighting the works of some of my fellow female authors participating in the Nerdist Space Opera Contest on Inkshares, where my book They Are The Last is currently in the running be published.

When I first joined the contest, I couldn’t help but notice that women make up pretty small fraction of the 89 authors currently competing for publication, and so I thought what better way to show these incredible stories some love than by featuring them here! There are several author’s books that I’ll be featuring, and each post will not only tell you about their story and why you should support it, but you’ll also get to see these amazing ladies answer the following question:

Why do you think female authors and protagonists are so important to the future of sci-fi?

Nothing excites me more than discovering new, complex narratives written by women and about women. It’s become easy for so many men (and sadly even some women) to throw in an obligatory female character to support the men around her, usually have her wearing some kind of skin tight spandex, and then most likely, kill her off to further the man pain. I’m not about it y’all.

Rey ain’t about it either.

These authors you’ll be seeing featured are forces to be reckoned with, and their representation of women in the genre is so tremendously on point. First post in the series goes live tomorrow, so be sure to check in to hear all about RH Webster’s book, Lucky!

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Elayna’s debut novel, ‘They Are The Last‘ is currently available on Inkshares! Check out the links below to read the first two chapters of the first book in this upcoming space opera trilogy!

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Pre-order They Are The Last