eyE[before]Tammy

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This week, I put the inquisition to the talented Tammy Salyer. Tammy is an independant author, editor and all-round awesome human being. A former para-trooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, Tammy has a uniquely gritty writing style which makes me personally a big fan of her speculative fiction. The debut novel in her Spectras Arise science fiction series, ‘Contract of Defiance‘, dropped last year, while the sequel, ‘Contract of Betrayal‘, hit Amazon in February this year.

On top of all this, Tammy maintains her blog and runs an editing service called Inspired Ink Editing, available for proofreading, copy, and manuscript evaluation. She is also an avid cyclist and has asked me to drop the secret cyclist’s code word: Wiggo (or Cadel for Australian readers). I don’t know what this means, and if I have offended anybody, it’s Tammy’s fault. 🙂

Without further ado, the brilliant, beautiful and definitely-not-bombastic Tammy Salyer.

What first made you want to become a writer/author?

“Someone said that they write to quiet the voices in their heads, and in short, that’s true for me as well. If I hadn’t become a writer, I would have become a linguist. First, because I think Noam Chomsky is super cool, but second, and more germane, I think humans have access to few things more powerful than words. War and peace (negotiations) hinge on language; marriages, births, and deaths, are memorialized with words; all our memories and the events of our lives are conveyed to others and made immortal through communication. Words are our link to the future and past, and those truths have always fascinated me. I didn’t become a writer because I have a vivid imagination (though that’s part of it); I became a writer because it is a good way to live forever in the absence of becoming a member of the living dead (which, in many respects, I hold out hope for).”

You are predominantly a science fiction author. What is it about speculative fiction that most appeals to you?

“I grew up reading science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I believe all those stories severely warped my grip on reality. Writing speculative fiction, besides being loads of fun, lets me access things that are firmly rooted in real life, yet still transcends these quotidian tropes in limitless ways. Also, when I get tired of doing research on any particular topic, speculative fiction gives me the nod to go ahead and make up what I need to.”

How important a role does ‘world-building’ play in your writing? How much time do you spend constructing fictional settings, and what processes do you go through?

“The world of a story is just as much of a character in any story as the people who populate it. For me, the world-building part of writing is an ongoing and integral part of the process that is consistently unfolding in my subconscious. I’m very much a discovery writer, so I rarely sit down with the sole purpose of designing aspects of the events and social structures of my fictitious worlds — until I hit a plot question that requires my undivided focus on knowing some specific detail of the world in question to keep moving forward with the story. For more on my process and questions regarding world-building, I recommend reading a guest post I wrote for mystery author Susan Spann here.”

As a science/speculative fiction author, how much do you borrow from modern social and technological conventions to build a futuristic world? How do you see our species evolving culturally, technologically, or otherwise?

“Wow, great question, and one that could be an entire post all on its own. I think it’s best to just take a couple of points. My military science fiction trilogy is heavily influenced by some of the experiences and stories I heard from other soldiers during my time in the US Army. I don’t know if “borrowed” is the correct term, but definitely influenced by and extrapolated from. I’ve always been a technology buff, too, so I really enjoy challenging the limits of known physics and technological innovations to bring in new inventions.

“As far as our species evolving, I firmly believe that there will eventually be some type of whole-planet unification once we get to the point of realizing that continuing to exist as independent cultures and corporations is going to end up with us fighting against unbeatable odds for the last scraps of resources and physical space. Our evolution, if we’re lucky enough to get there, will be a giant kumbaya of homogenization. That, of course, can play out in myriads of interesting ways. I guess it will all depend on who has the best-smelling peace lilies.”

The crew of your interstellar survey vessel, the ‘S.T.S. Melchizedek’, have succumbed to violent food poisoning, congesting the air recycling vents with their stomach bile. In accordance with Star-Trans protocol, what is the appropriate action you should take in order to resolve this crisis?

“Clearly, in a case such as this, it would have been better if Star-Trans had given me that raise I requested last year, and the captain and first mate really ought not to have barred me from the bridge and denied my request for leave when we’d overnighted on planet Kali. If these fops had done the necessary, I would not be quite as inclined to jettison the entire crew during one of their goosestepping vomit party dropout sessions (nodding to the Breakfast Club) and take the STS Mikshake to my shady cousin Viggo, who can part out and scrap a Class D freighter faster than you can say “My King Most High“. I really could use the money. After all, vacationing on Kali isn’t cheap.”


Tammy’s blog can be found here – Tammy Salyer: Alternative Reality Engineer

The first Spectras Arise book can be found on Amazon here – Contract of Defiance

The second Spectras Arise book can be found on Amazon here – Contract of Betrayal

And Tammy’s editing service can be found here – Inspired Ink Editing

Also, feel free to look up Tammy on Twitter here. She is lovely, and will probably not hurt you unless you are a zombie.

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Welcome to Atlantis

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Let’s talk about crystals.

Crystalline mineral structures are one of my favourite subjects to talk about. They are singularly weird and enigmatic natural constructs that have fascinated man-kind for thousands upon thousands of years. Crystals have historically been reserved for the elite few who could afford to splurge on their shiny-ness, adorning the crowns and ornaments of rulers long past. When accessible, they have been used for scrying and fortune-telling. In the Old Testament, the High Priest Aaron adorned his breastplate with twelve different jewels, including Urim and Thummim; the heavenly-sanctioned stones of divination. As a species, we have marvelled over these gleaming protrusions spied in the dirt for a long time, and it turns out that it wasn’t without good reason.

Has it ever occurred to you guys that nearly all the technology of the modern era only works because of crystals? You see, crystalline mineral structures have some unique physical properties concerning their energy conversion, piezoelectric charges and electron valences. As a result, certain crystals make excellent semiconductors.

So, we started building radio transistors out of them. These transistors would then be used in clocks, televisions, computer chips, and so on. In the modern age, chances are that when you buy something electronic it has a micro processor in it, and that micro processor is in turn made out of a crystalline silicon compound. Crystals have given us telephones, television, and the internet, inventions which would have been decried as witchcraft not 200 years earlier.

I’ll leave you all with this fascinating video on Quantum Trapping, my favourite experimental application of crystal technology. If you have never seen or heard of Quantum Trapping, watch this video now. It’ll blow your mind.

Welcome to Atlantis, my friends. 🙂

Also, I did a guest post on Tammy Salyer’s blog this week, about the innate spirituality of story-telling – The Importance of Spell Check. Check it out. #punintended

(Image credit to stomaster)

A Logical Conversion

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For anyone who missed my ‘How Many Parsecs in a Samadhi?’ post a few weeks back, let it be known that I enjoy blending the disciplines of science and spirituality. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am dubious as to whether science and spirituality will ever truly find a satisfying common ground, though my hope springs eternal. Today I want to talk about something in a similar vein.

I want to take a look at the role of logic within modern spirituality.

For most people, the suggestion of reconciling spirituality with logic is a strange one. These two abstract ideas are generally perceived to be opposing concepts; spirituality being largely concerned with the illogical constant of ‘faith’, while for many people it is ‘illogical’ to believe in something one cannot prove through quantification. Personally, I do not hold my understanding of either logic or spirituality in alignment with conventional paradigms.

Let us first consider the true nature of logic. It is generally agreed that logic is defined as the application of reason. For example, if I climb the apple tree I can more easily pick an apple, and therefore it is logical to do it.

Let us then consider whether or not it is truly illogical to believe in the metaphysical. It is my understanding that engendering a positive mental outlook has demonstrated beneficial effects on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Furthermore, it is illogical to presume something does not exist simply because it hasn’t been proven. Therefore, if believing that something exists beyond the physical regardless of scientific verification gives an individual an increasingly positive mental outlook, is it not logical to do so?

In the interest of being fair, let’s look at the other side of the coin. What are the disadvantages, from a logical perspective, in believing in the metaphysical? It has been suggested that spiritualists have historically proven to be innately illogical, particularly those stemming from religious sects. Obviously though, if we choose to believe in the metaphysical to satiate the perceived logic of doing so it is unlikely to compromise our ability to perceive logic, so that is a moot point. One might suggest that believing in the metaphysical gives a person cause for bias and that it is logical to remain impartial, particularly when impartiality is so important to the scientific model of analysis. However, I dispute this. Not believing in something and being impartial are two different characteristics. Deciding to not believe in the metaphysical does not make a person any more impartial than one who does believe in the metaphysical, for the simple reason that bias is the act of becoming attached to a concept. Whether you choose to believe in the metaphysical or not, it is equally possible to become attached to the abstract constant that you have invested yourself in and equally possible to lose impartiality. Therefore, I believe this to be a moot point also.

As far as I can tell, there is one key flaw we must accept when we choose to believe in something that hasn’t been scientifically proven and may never be; we might be wrong. The greatest loss to those that choose a spiritually-inclined outlook is that, in all honesty, our beliefs could potentially be disproven someday by some guy in a labcoat that works adjacent to the CERN supercollider.

I guess my question is – would that really be the worst thing in the world?

It can be easy to become attached to ideas and concepts in the information age. I believe that the most sensible outlook is to hope for the best and plan for the worst, as the saying goes.

And that is why it is logical to be spiritual.

On a side note, eyE[before]E just mounted 1,000 hits after only a month and half!

You can’t take the sky from me. 😉

(Image credit to Quirky)