Books are a forest and it’s hard to see the trees, except the tall ones or the old ones. But when you enter the forest, it’s the new growth that emits the sunlight....

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Early Reading and How It Happened

Although there has for decades been much discussion about reading and the teaching of reading, I’ve held my own opinions since I was a child. I didn’t learn to read in school. In my town, there was one other girl my age that went to kindergarten reading. 

I grew up in a house with books. I also spent my early years in a house with five other siblings while my parents separated and divorced.  Of course I sat on a few laps with a book and got a read-to at bedtime but that was hardly with the intention of teaching me to read early.

How did I start reading early?  I will always think that it was The Book. It was The Story. And it was the voice. It was The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  As my story goes, once that book was read to me, I begged for it to be read again and again, with anyone in the family who would read it. Then I read along with my finger on each word until I had memorized the book. It didn’t matter that the book had a few impossible words such as implored, exert, and chamomile.  Somehow I began to recognize easier words such as the, a, and blue. 

Where is this book?

Peter Rabbit led to other favorite books. I was a firm fan of  Dr. Seuss although when I got to school I found out that the school librarian had banned him.  Because I was reading Grimm and children’s novels,  she decided to confine me to the picture book shelves for a time.  She wanted to see what I would pick out.  She would say, “Why don’t you like this book?” and  “I want you to find a book on these shelves that you like.”

I used One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish   to help another child with reading. That was because I was appalled at Dick and Jane when I got to school. Their story was usually boring or nonexistent.

I recall that the newspaper became a learning tool. I would sit next to a sibling on the couch and demand to know what the words were in ads and in headlines. Pictures went with them so there was some curiosity.  A brother had a newspaper route, and I still remember being the first to see the funnies. That was reading development.

The public library was about four blocks away. As soon as I could, I walked there.  I remember the children’s librarians being wonderful to me. They became tutors and that was because the children’s room was often pretty much empty. They would try out new books on me and found my next books. I got an early pass to the adult section.

All of that made me think that it was not about the words and the ease of reading.  For me, it was about the material. In sixth grade, my language arts teacher challenged me to read David Copperfield. I read it in two weeks, fifty pages a day, and it made quite an impression on me. Never would I forget the oozing in the law office. I knew I was in a habit of guessing words from the context and as they repeated, I learned them. I was too lazy to reach for a dictionary but that was always possible. I think I read dialogue to get the story and probably skipped many paragraphs. 

But isn’t that the way that humans learn spoken language? A toddler begins picking out words, recognizing them in conversation, and adding to their verbal stash. Out of the desire to talk with people in the room.

1960's Book Club book
I cannot recall discussing a children’s novel with another child though I loved them and had a book club subscription. When I was in junior high school, I knew plenty of girls who cruised the adult section of the library, read books outside of school, and discussed them.

I still retained a love for children’s novels because of their creativity and their unpredictability. So even though I knew that grade school kids didn’t read after school - because they were being drummed with books and words 35-hours a week  -  I still wanted to write them later on.  It is a delightful genre.

That, of course, led to my collecting children’s editions. Somehow I had moved into adult life without taking any of my books. I have a few back now and their condition from my old bookshelf makes them saleable but not that desirable. Good condition in collectible children’s books is an infrequent find. Those books are the ones that are soon gone – early editions of Pooh, Dr. Dolittle, George MacDonald, The Lonely Doll, Horton Hears a Who, 1800’s Louisa May Alcott, The Little Prince, Little Black Sambo. As a child, I hadn’t known that many of the books I was reading were books read in my parents’ generation. Perhaps I wouldn’t have read them if I had known that.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tug of the Wishbone, a new novel, on Kindle Scout

On and off for years, I have worked on a book of adult fiction which is now titled Tug of the Wishbone. The novel chronicles the first thirty years in the life of a child of divorce, especially her issues with relationships and marriage as she makes gains as a photographer.
Today, the first 5000 words of that book are at Kindle Scout for the public to sample and nominate if they think the book is one to read. All you need is an Amazon password. Anyone who reads this can click here and see my submission to the Kindle Scout program. Kindle Scout discovers new books, presents them to readers, and chooses books for digital publication. 

I think I have a stunning cover, designed by Bradley Wind.
Tug of the Wishbone began as short stories, five of which were published in literary journals. When my protagonist, Maureen, became a teenager, I found myself writing a novel. One year I finished the novel and then, later on, spent months with major revisions that made the novel shorter and more readable at 112,000 words. Book settings are in rural, town, and metropolitan Minnesota from the 1960's through the 1980's.
Kindle Scout has the entire manuscript though they publish only an excerpt for their program. Tug of the Wishbone can be sampled until September 4. I hope you will click to see the book, read the excerpt and about it, and nominate it. And explore Kindle Scout if you haven't already.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Coincidences in fiction and how the last name Trumper got in my fantasy novel

The House in Windward Leaves will be FREE Kindle June 24-28

In this blog post, I would like to explain about the name Trumper in my fantasy The House in Windward Leaves. Simply said, I chose that last name for two boys in the story before I had ever heard of Donald Trump. That book was actually drafted in the 1980's, and then revised before I published it in 2011. In 2011, Donald Trump was in the news but fleetingly.

Statement made. Such as the statement made in books of fiction about any similarity of the characters to real life people being coincidental.

For a week, I thought of changing the name of the two brothers in my fantasy. With self-publishing, that's fairly easy. I could just change the names in my publishing file and re-submit the files for the printed book and for the e-book. So I made a list of names to replace Trumper.

Somehow, I couldn't come up with a name and I dreaded to change the book that way. Traditional publishing would never do that, I realized. Subsequent editions change covers and formatting, but if the text is changed, that is usually a big issue and explained in a preface.

I decided not to change the name because of that, and because books have traditionally gone through their time in a stable way. Being a used book dealer, I know that books need to surmount reader ambiance.

So Trumper remains the last name of the two boys. In the fantasy, they leave their parents' world and enter an enchanted world where their Halloween costumes become real. That world is basically run by children with only a few adult characters who don't mind being overwhelmed. Well, while the costume of one brother was that of a musician, a trumpeter, the other brother was dressed as George Washington.


Of all the coincidences! Of course, Roger Trumper's interior was not George Washington but he was compelled to be the president of the fantasy people. My imagination brought him to some confused moments of having “greatness thrust upon him.”

In the past year, some of my blog subjects have explored imagination. The idea of coincidence, I'm sure for other writers, has made them wonder about their imaginations and where their imaginations lead them. I've had this sort of thing happen before. It has seemed a trick of the collective consciousness – like the portal into a fantasy realm.

When I wrote The House in Windward Leaves, I was confronting the idea that children can decide what they want to be when they grow up. The book gave its children a chance to live that decision and the relief, finally, that they could find out for themselves because they had time.

Since, in my acquiring of collectible books, I bought a biography of George Washington that was published in the 1850's, and contained letters and real witness of the man. The book made me feel a little guilty about my handling of his legacy. I had a chance to change a few paragraphs. George Washington inherited Mount Vernon when he was fourteen-years-old. Within a year, he was persuaded to enter the English navy (his mother didn't understand how) , and then, was transferred to the English army that fought the French in the new world. Letters to his mother told how he was nearly frozen and starved. It is no mystery why this adolescent with land of his own eventually fought for his freedom and his inherited property. British law was keeping him from ownership until he was of age.

I hadn't learned that about George Washington. I thought it was alright for my fantasy characters to have a real challenge in a “new world.” Then I found that George Washington was only an adolescent when he had to live the days of a grown man. No wonder that his adult wishes eventually were to farm.

This had nothing to do with my fantasy. The name Trumper has nothing to do with the current election. A book should be within its own frame, and while it might rely on information the reader has, it is a story on its own.

In the year 2011, The House in Windward Leaves was a Finalist in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Then in 2013, it made Finalist in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards and The National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also in 2013, it was in the Top Ten Books at Kid Lit Reviews.

The House in Windward Leaves will be a Free Kindle book for five days, June 24-June 28. Readers can find out for themselves if the book still holds its own despite a last name that might remind them of the current election.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Interview with Annie Douglass Lima, author of The Gladiator & the Guard

Since the 1990’s, a surge of fantasy writing has established new categories such as paranormal and dystopian. Dystopian is somewhat the opposite of utopian in that there are horrifying features in the fictional landscape. At, a site HarperCollins maintained for book writers, I read the first chapters of many such novels, usually vampire, zombie, and apocalyptic scenarios. These imaginative ventures made me curious about the popularity of the genres and why young authors chose them or were driven to write the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Annie Douglass Lima interviewed me about my fantasy, The House in Windward Leaves, at her blog, Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima. In her Realm Explorers weekly interviews, the blog covers a variety of fantasies and science fiction novels. These interviews are intriguing in that authors answer questions about their speculative world.

I’ve interviewed Annie in this post. Published in April, The Gladiator and the Guard is the second book of a series. The series presents a dystopian society that might be startling because such societies have taken hold in human history, and to the demise of the society. Yet the fight against slavery continues as a concept.

Annie's first book from this series The Collar and the Cavvarach was recently reviewed in Publisher's Weekly! She gives more information about that book after the interview.

Interview Questions

Congratulations, Annie Douglass Lima!   You published your book The Gladiator & the Guard on April 22nd.
1) Could you give a synopsis or some words about your book? 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

This is actually the sequel to another book, The Collar and the Cavvarach. Here’s the synopsis of that first book:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

2) Where can the book or information about it be found?   Links?
The Collar and the Cavvarach is available on Amazon here.
The Gladiator and the Guard is available on Amazon here and Smashwords here.

3) Thinking on your book, how do you remember its beginnings as an idea?   After you decided to do this book, how did it proceed?

I’ve had the idea growing in my mind for the last few years.  It started as just a picture of the setting and its culture: a world almost exactly like ours, but with legalized slavery.  The main characters, Bensin (a teenage slave and martial artist) and Steene (his owner and coach) emerged gradually, along with the plot (Bensin’s struggle to protect and free his younger sister, and then later his struggle to survive as a gladiator).
4) How did your fantasy panorama develop? Would you describe it as a parallel reality or as a place of its own? 
You could say it’s a little of both, actually. Though the Krillonian Empire, where this story is set, is a world of its own, I purposely made it almost exactly like our world. I wanted it to seem so real and immediate that readers would be able to relate to it all the better – and be all the more disturbed by the injustice of slavery there. To read more about the culture of the Krillonian Empire, take a look at this post on my blog.)

5) Did you understand the characters in your book at first or did they reveal themselves as you wrote the story?  Did they respond to your plot as you planned?

I planned out all my characters beforehand, and for the most part, they cooperated with my ideas. But some of my characters seemed to take matters into their own hands and decide they wanted a different role than the one I had planned for them.  For example, City Watch officer (the equivalent of a police officer) Kalgan Shigo ended up playing a much bigger part than I had anticipated.  While still a minor character, he is a more important one (in both books) than he was originally supposed to be, and he plays a different – and much needed – role in Bensin’s life.  I loved watching him take charge and step into the position he wanted!
6) Why did you choose the fantasy genre?

Reality just doesn’t offer me enough freedom as a writer!  I like to be able to make the rules.  When I read, I like knowing that things could happen that just can’t in the real world.  Having said that, The Collar and the Cavvarach isn’t really fantasy, at least not in the typical sense. If you were to step into that world, you would probably assume you were still in our own world – except for a few key details, like the prevalence of slavery.
7) How do you like to describe your background? How has that affected your imagination and your writing?

I have an international background! I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya.  As a young adult, I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia, which was an incredible experience.  Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived there for several years before moving to Taiwan, where we live now.

I’ve been privileged to visit or live in a total of twenty different countries so far, and those experiences have definitely played a role in my writing. I love getting to know different cultures and the differences between them, and I was glad for the chance to illustrate this in my recent fantasy novel Prince of Malorn (part of my Annals of Alasia series). Prince Korram has to deal with when he travels into the Impassables to seek the help of the Mountain Folk.  In Malorn, Mountain Folk and Lowlanders tend to distrust each other and avoid contact whenever possible, and both sides claim that the other mistreats them.  I wanted to show that often, it just takes better understanding to lead to acceptance and appreciation of another culture.  That, and the willingness to learn new ways of doing things and respect others’ customs even when they’re different.

I’ve based a few details of Jarreon’s culture on the culture here in Taiwan. The convenient boxed meals and the importance of New Year, for example. In addition, competition winners receive award money in red envelopes. As in Taiwan, some in Jarreon’s lower class chew betel nut, a legal drug sold in shops decorated with flashing colored lights.
8) What books in the genre of yours were your favorites?  Did they inspire you to write?
I’ve always enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings series. More recently, I’ve grown to love the Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. They didn’t really inspire me to write; I’ve just always known I wanted/needed to write. I started my first novel (never finished) at age seven. But those books, and many others, have definitely fueled my imagination.

9) During the times when you’re not writing, what sort of activities feed into your imagination?  Do you take walks or talk with others in person or on the internet?
I love to read; that definitely feeds my imagination, as mentioned above. When I’m stuck on a scene, I often talk it over with my husband, who is usually able to give me good ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Sometimes I ask for suggestions on Facebook, especially if I’m trying to come up with a name for a character or place. I have lots of online friends who have enjoyed giving input into my books like that.

10) Do you have another job?  It seems that some jobs work better with writing than others.  Is yours compatible?

Yes, I’m a 5th grade teacher in an international school. Though I love my job, I must admit I wish it left me with more time for writing.  In the evenings my brain is often so fried after a long day that I just can’t get much done, so most of my writing happens in the early mornings or on weekends or school holidays.  But one thing I really enjoy is the fact that my students are at the right age (though at the younger end of the spectrum) to enjoy most of what I write.  I read one or two of my books aloud to my class every year, and their feedback helps me polish and improve them.  It’s really helped me see what kinds of scenes and characters appeal to readers of that age.
11) What are your plans for writing?   Will you write another book in this series or strike out into another direction?
There will probably be one more book in this series, though I’m tossing around ideas that may eventually lead to other stories set in the same world. In the meantime, I’m working on a final book in my Annals of Alasia fantasy series, which should be ready to publish in the next few months. I also have a science fiction novel that I drafted for last year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in November). I hope to have that one polished and ready for publication in another year or so. Lots of irons in the fire!

Thank you, Annie!
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for letting me visit your blog!

From Annie
I'm excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

On individual attention for trees, people, and books

Because of an antiquated sewer system and a plan for road widening, about 200 boulevard trees were chopped down on East Fourth Street in Duluth a few months ago. Third and Second Streets are both one-way so most people could skirt the process conveniently. It all happened in about a week. One day, walking, I saw the tree removal and my footsteps seemed to sink into the ground as my spirit sorrowed. I could only walk by once.

Fall on Fourth Street, 2014

Fourth Street, March, 2016
I am glad I took this dreamy picture on the sidewalk of one residence when all the trees were there. A lovely entrance to a front yard. But the vines on this portal were ripped, I last saw, and stumps were near it. 

Although there are many troubles in the world and although the Duluth area is filled with trees, this symbolized something for me. It was the lack of individual attention. Sewer work has been going on in Duluth for years. Roads have been excavated with huge cushioning tires revealed under them. 

At another location where I lived, a side street was opened up. The workmen finally removed a boulevard tree. An elderly woman in the house behind the tree was angry because that tree had beautiful fall color. The tree wasn't very old so it was said that its root system wouldn't survive the bulldozer. 

A boulevard tree in my current view was near an excavation but it wasn't felled. Unfortunately, its spectacular fall color, what enhanced my bedroom view, was a dull, short-lived yellow the next year. Two springs later, the tree did not grow leaves at all. The city finally put a red X on it, and a few weeks later, chopped it down. Before they did, a crow sat on it. Quoth the crow, nevermore. I'm sorry I didn't get the picture. But it would only look like a crow sitting on a winter tree.

There is a fragrant lilac smell and blossoming on young trees in the neighborhood. I asked people what these new trees were but didn't encounter anyone who knew. Someone on Faceboook suggested that they were Japanese lilac trees and linked me. That was the tree.

University tree experts could not predict how many of the 200 trees would survive the Fourth Street excavation. I wished they had been allowed the chance to survive. I know that when a tree dies and a crow mourns it, the tree removal guys are not resented. But the widening of Fourth Street caused the trees to be treated as a group or even a population.

This brought to mind refugees and the challenge of numbers versus individual attention. The displacement of so many people presents a much more urgent crisis for governments. Books are the focus of this blog and the problem is there. More books are being published than ever before while the sorting of them is difficult, more important than it would seem to be. I have to admire the used books trade for sorting old books. Young people looking for jobs often feel that they are not really considered. People displaced don't want their lives sorted out in large groups. 

Before the internet, many people felt anonymous, desperate for their resume to be noticed. Urban identities tended to be stereotyped to a group. The internet and its documentation was a kind of savior. At its advent, people thought they would be treated as numbers in the hands of a robot. Surprisingly, computer life developed into a restoration of identity, easily found. There appeared to be hope that a person could find themself amid large numbers of people. And the computer saved trees.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Writing poetry and how that becomes diary

One of the things I'm happy about this New Year is that in the past months, I went over all of my poetry, formatting it digitally for editorial benefit and revising when needed, and it was needed. The formatting was technical. I removed all tabs and used the digital spacing in Word paragraph formatting for any lines that didn't start flush left. The revising was another project. I had organized my poems into three books, and then there were others.

I have never kept a diary and though I've tried to journal in my lifetime, I didn't keep that up. But I kept up a poetry journal, small notebooks with images, reflections, realizations, and piquing moments. The entries were sketchy, ideas to fill out.

The poetry I wrote over the years became a private diary. As poetry, it was written for others and for poetry itself. But for me, a poem told about a season of my life and what I was contemplating then. The test was how evocative it was, recalling scenes and moods and concerns. When the poems brought back particular months, places, and sights, I could relive the days that inspired them.

Memory is a funny thing. As I got older, the feelings of the past seemed to drain from memory and events remained. That can be disheartening! I remember what happened but often I don't recall the sensations, the moods, the thoughts I had then. Beyond a diary entry, a poem recalled the person I was before I had changed and lost my younger attitudes.

The poems I wrote were in about three varieties: poems where nature could reflect human issues, poems about the dream world and its relation to life, and narrative poems. I had many published in literary journals along the way. I usually worked during the day, and, while I liked to write fiction before work, only spending an hour or so on those projects, I wrote poetry after work, usually before I made dinner or while it was cooking. That was a relaxation time, a period where a poem might allow me to forget the day and ponder something I'd seen or wanted to explore. I often had a glass of wine when I was writing. The experience established my own time and it opened up the evening.

Because I also wrote fiction, poetry became a more confidential and honest expression of creative writing for me. Besides its being a private diary, it was revised to be snapshots in words and thoughts. I realized, rereading the poems, that some of the happenings were beginning to fade and I might not have recollected them - and especially because they connected to inner life.

My most recent poem published is in Review Americana. That is the literary journal published by Their book publishing branch, Press Americana and Hollywood Books International was the publisher of my short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Short Stories (seen under the blog tab Short Fiction and Plays.)

In the last year, I was also published in three excellent print journals, Cider Press Review, Thin Air Magazine, and  Agave Magazine, besides being published again in the internet journal Shadowtrain.

Before the internet, I found good lists of literary journals in the annual Pushcart volumes and also at literary organizations such as The Loft in Minneapolis. When I went to the internet, I found a site named NewPages. They maintained extensive lists of literary journals, both traditional print and internet journals. Since the early 2000's, it was interesting to watch the traditional journals adding internet reading to their publishing. I've thought it fantastic how the internet could support art with poetry, short stories, and prose nonfiction. Reading these journals is never time wasted and usually illuminating.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

True or false? The imagination as scientific theory

**Claude:  A Dog of the Sixties is FREE Kindle Nov 26-30**

Imagination usually has a positive connotation. Lies are “falsehoods uttered or acted to deceive”, my old Webster's dictionary says. There was a period, it seems in the 1990's, when some interviewed about the fictional process claimed facetiously that they were good liars.
I guess a person uttering a falsehood without knowing the truth is not a liar. They are incorrect. A lie operates with the intention to deceive.
The term “meant to deceive” is used by antique dealers, less often by used book dealers. I discussed with a seasoned book dealer the issue of signed copies and whether people could get away with forgeries, thinking it could be risky to be certain of an autograph.  One grade school year, I practiced handwriting by copying the signatures of my parents, one backhand and the other forward. I didn't think about signing checks, however a person can get pretty good at another person's signature.
A few years ago, I found a confusing book at an estate sale. It was a perfect copy of A Christmas Carol  marked only with Chapman & Hall MDCCCXLIII.  I wanted it for the original illustrations but of course, the perfect condition was suspicious. Usually, facsimile copies are marked by the publisher as such and the publisher is identified on the copyright page. I would not be a liar and yet it made me wonder what would happen if a person knew how to dirty up the book and wear off the edges of the binding. Charles Dickens self-published A Christmas Carol, but soon afterwards Chapman & Hall became the book's first publisher. I see on Abebooks today that a First Edition copy is priced at $9000.

Photo from Wikipedia

At the time, I didn't see what is on Abebooks today, that Chapman & Hall published a facsimile of that 1843 book, however they didn't mark it as a reprint or facsimile. I felt that my book, in its condition, would have had to have been stored in an lead box and kept in a cool place to be a book from 1843. I researched it, and couldn't find the information about Chapman & Hall's facsimile. Yet the spine binding, I felt, would prove its reprint or facsimile status. Its components, a color dye, seemed to be  from a later period. I guessed my book could be from the early 1900's.
Chapman & Hall might have published the facsimile before their business merged with another publisher in 1930. That was all I could figure. But it looks as if I was right and re-sold my copy with acceptable information.
After I began working with antiques, I started an inkwell collection. I made a mistake with a porcelain inkwell that was probably “made to deceive.” On the internet was a Limoges inkwell in the French style, and quite beautiful.  When I got it for too good a deal, I was still stunned at the Limoges mark – looked like someone wrote out longhand Limoges. After that, an antique dealer told me that inkwell reproductions were being made in China. I knew I had one and I re-sold the inkwell, making it clear that it was not Limoges of France. I didn't lose much from that lesson.
The informed reader often comes across books where the settings or the characters seem replicated from other media or produced from a wishful imagination because details give away the author's ignorance. Yet many can be fooled and don't mind it. 
Then there are the authors who are not trying to deceive but they prove to be incorrect. I haven't read a lot of science fiction but the speculative nature of it makes flaws acceptable. The book Perelandra by C. S. Lewis was a favorite of mine way back in the 1960's. Then I re-read it after the Venus probes.  I couldn't finish it, a book I had loved. I tried to re-imagine for C. S. Lewis, that a watery planet with floating islands was in another solar system rather than ours. But my disappointment about Venus kept intruding into the story.

Image arztsamui @

Image Victor Habbick @

When people don't know, the imagination is like scientific theory. From ancient times, prophets were hailed or cast out for their true or false predictions. I like to think of fiction that way, as a speculative venture, based on what an author knows, researches, or fathoms. The unknown fascinates and the author tries to fill in those gaps.