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Monday, August 22, 2016

Why Taldra’s Family is Iroquois

For Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, I created a Native American family that provides the heart of an expansive narrative. That novel takes place in an alternate reality where Earth (Valchondria) went straight from tribes and villages to the one-world government that rose up in Valcine. The descriptions of Valcine in that book and its sequel, Sons of Taldra, often imply that it parallels our New York City.

The problem with no countries is that I couldn’t refer to them as American Indians or Native Americans. And even First Nation or First People seemed a little off, though I considered them. Many Native peoples use those terms, but many other people wouldn’t recognize them. I settled for calling Taldra’s family (and many other characters) red-skinned. It worked for most readers, but some asked “As in red paint”? I didn’t mean it as racist in any way, and it’s a term many Natives use, so that wasn’t a problem, but it still didn’t quite get the idea across.

For Sons of Taldra, I went more into Taldra’s background and decided she is Iroquois. That didn’t conflict with anything in the first book, since I had never identified her lineage. More on that choice in a moment.

When I wrote the fifteenth anniversary edition of Degranon, I added references to other Native nations as well. I decided Taldra’s spouse was mostly Iroquois but with a dash of Navajo. The Navajo provide some of the mythology for Sons of Taldra, as I discuss in an upcoming blog entry.

Back to my choice. The Iroquois have lived in the New York area for centuries, so that works with Taldra being one, and with her son Telius encountering Iroquois on the other side of the temporal doorway. My alternate reality might establish them even earlier than real life, though.

The Iroquois are a largely matrilineal culture, while the Taldra novels feature strong women throughout, often in leadership roles. Those parallels helped me make the characters come alive.

Though it’s a long-running debate, many people believe the Iroquois Constitution influenced the US Constitution. Some links about that topic follow in the list of resources below. That appealed to me because the Taldra novels focus so much on the Valchondrian government, with Taldra becoming Leader and impacting its laws. So, even if readers might disagree over the historical accuracy of that influence, it still resonates as part of my world-building.

No one in either novel actually says it, but I imagine events took place that caused the varied Iroquois to unite as one people under a Constitution. Other people travelled there from lands they sometimes referred to as North and South Turtle (North and South America, adapted via Native terminology). As Valcine became a trade center, other people kept joining them out of necessity, until the world united as Valchondria. It all seemed ideal, until the Degrans and the Maintainers rose. Read Degranon and Sons of Taldra to find out what happens from there.

More importantly, please take the time to learn from and about the creative, amazing Native cultures that we so often ignore or mistreat in the real world. They’ve inspired my writing, and I can’t begin to acknowledge their struggles or their accomplishments.

Related reading:

Engines of our Ingenuity: The Iroquois and the US Government

First People of America and Canada - Turtle Island

Indigenous People: Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Iroquois Indian Museum

The League of the Iroquois

TeachingHistory.Org: Iroquois and the Founding Fathers

UPenn Gazette: Franklin and the Iroquois Foundations of the Constitution

US History: The Iroquois Tribes

Please also see the Degranon/Sons of Taldra glossary.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Olivia Newton-John Concert

If you get a chance to see Olivia Newton-John in concert, go! She's still a great singer and performer, as well as someone who loves her audience.

Please Visit Equality Speaks Blog

Please visit the Equality Speaks LGBTQ blog. Recent post topics include gayming, transitioning, out athletes, non-binary, a lesbian resource, and much, much more.

From the blogger:

"I'm Georgia, from Australia. This is my blog for the LGBTI+ and gender diverse community. I'm passionate about equal rights, medical science and helping others. I provide advice, post news and resources. Sometimes I may put up some personal posts. All articles/news/resources and photos I share I do not own (unless otherwise stated). I ensure that I credit/source everything I share."

Blog entry about my books.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gay fans of science fiction, fantasy, and horror

Please visit my twitter list Gay SciFi/Fantasy/Horror: "Science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror with LGBT themes &/or characters. Or LGBT fans of sffh." Of course, the posts aren't limited to those topics, but there's plenty to geek out about anyway. From there, you can find my other twitter lists, such as movies/TV/theater, LGBT, or general geekiness.

Updated guide to my gay scifi novels

I've updated the entry Glossary for Degranon and Sons of Taldra. It originally just covered Degranon. Watch for more posts about how Sons of Taldra took shape.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Secrets and Scandals in Texas

People tell me a little more than they should. Well, a lot more than they should. Actually, people tell me way too much. Or they say too many things where I can hear them, which is just the same as telling me, as far as I’m concerned. Do they really think I won’t share what I heard with anybody? I mean, stories like these can’t just sit on a shelf in somebody’s brain. The more I think about it, the more sure I am that my neighbors want someone to tell their Acorn stories, that they don’t want to be just a small part of a small town in a big state in a big country. People aspire to leave something behind other than babies, a mortgage, and a nasty rumor or two. And they certainly want someone reliable telling it, like what my grandmother did when she chronicled the early folks of Acorn.

The Acorn Stories

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sons of Taldra: A Science Fiction Adventure

In an alternate reality, an Iroquois woman and her twin gay sons battle shapeshifting aliens.

Valchondria (Earth) developed a one-world government, consisting of Leader, the Maintainers, and the Supreme Science Council. A millennium ago, the Valchondrians sent two ships of colonists into space. The first ship became radicalized by a violent religious cult. Alien creatures called the Naadloosh attacked the second ship. Valchondria banned contact outside its atmosphere and shut down the space program. Over the centuries, freedom and progress decayed.

Now the Naadloosh have found the human world. Leader and her sons must stop the invasion. Maintainer Admiral Nil blames Leader for a series of tragedies and might pose an even greater threat than the changelings that want to feed on humanity.

One of Leader’s twin sons, Telius, simply wants to marry the man he loves. The other, Argen, struggles with the residual effects of a deadly drug addiction. The young men rally to Leader’s side as she faces humanity’s greatest threats.

Advance order!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gay SciFi Adventure Returns!

An Iroquois family gets tangled in a war between two repressive planets.

Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure is available again through Nook and Kindle.

Revised third edition eBook released in 2016.

In an alternate reality, Earth is the planet Valchondria. No illness exists, gay marriage is legal, and everyone is a person of color. However, a group called “the Maintainers” carefully monitors everyone’s speech, actions, and weight; the Maintainers also force so-called “colorsighted” people to hide their ability to see in color.

The brilliant scientist Taldra sees her twin gay sons as the hope for Valchondria's future, but one of them becomes entangled in the cult of Degranon, while the other becomes stranded on the other side of a doorway through time. Can they find their way home and help Taldra save their world?

Keywords: gay, sf, scifi, sci-fi, science fiction, teen, youth, gayscifi, #diversityinsff, time travel, diversity, dystopia, social issues, weight control, free speech, Iroquois, QueerSciFi