Author Archives: Natacha Guyot

About Natacha Guyot

Natacha Guyot is a French author, scholar and public speaker. She is passionate about Science Fiction, Fantasy, Transmedia, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. Find more about her on natachaguyot.org and follow her on Twitter @natachaguyot.

#SciFi Women Interview: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

This month, I am honored to welcome Sally Ember, Ed.D. as the guest of #SciFi Women Interview feature. Sally Ember reached out to me via email after one of my blog posts and I was delighted to make her acquaintance and hear her interest in being interviewed as a #SciFi Woman!

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Sally Ember, ED. D.

Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old. She’s won prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays. She began meditation in her teens. Now, Sally delights fans of paranormal and romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science-fiction and Buddhism. Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally’s life has been infused with change.

In her “other” professional life, Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits in many parts of the USA before returning to live in St. Louis, MO, in August, 2014. Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).

Her sci-fi /romance/ speculative fiction/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian books for New Adult/adult/YA audiences, “The Spanners Series,” are getting great reviews.

Sally blogs regularly on wide-ranging topics and includes reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and excerpts from her books. She also meditates, writes, swims, reads and hosts her LIVE video talk show, *CHANGES*, conversations between authors, from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

You can find more about her at the following links: WordPress Blog and main Website, Tumblr, Twitter, Patreon Crowdfunding Campaign, Pinterest, Youtube Channel, Goodreads and LinkedIn.

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science-Fiction?

EMBER: My Pinterest has a Board, “Writers I Love,” that displays the writers who influenced me and whom I admire. From there, my earliest favorites: I have to credit “Mrs. Pickerell Goes to Mars” with some of my plot ideas for “This Changes Everything.” Read it when I was 8. Thanks, Ellen McGregor! Would never have known I loved sci fi or writing if not for Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” Read it when I was 9, then I wrote my first story, “Princess Why,” published in the Central School newspaper. Still have that. Have to thank Betty MacDonald for the “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle” fantasy series. Read my first ones of hers when I was 7. Loved every one! I must have read every story in and every “color” of Andrew Lang’s “Fairy” anthologies. Truly entertaining for a elementary girl. Kate Wilhelm’s “The Downstairs Room” stories still inspire me,and she introduced me to many other great spec fi and sci fi authors. I also love her mysteries.

NG: What are your top 3 favorites for Science-Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

EMBER: Also from this Board and another, you can find my later faves and influences, with movies and TV shows, “TV Shows and Movies I Actually Like” and from recurring blog posts in which I review current and recurring TV shows, I discuss most of them. I have mostly been disappointed with recent new shows, however. What can compare to the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Time Machine films or The Invaders and Star Trek (original and TNG) TV shows from the 1960s and /70s?

I wouldn’t want to have a world without Joss Whedon in it. Thanks for Buffy, Firefly, The Dollhouse, the Marvel shows and so many more! Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” informed me that I am bisexual while I was still in high school. Heinlein’s work inspires me to this day as a novel of great vision and writing. Joanna Russ inspires me with Utopian rather than dystopian sci fi.

I especially admire “The Female Man.” Sherri Tepper is a marvelous, inspiring, unique-vision writer. “The Gate to Women’s Country” stands alone of its kind. First feminist utopian sci fi I ever read: “Herland,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Inspiration to this day. Marge Piercy’s books and poetry first showed me the intersections of politics, personal and fictional worlds and changed my perspective forever. Thanks! “A Door into Ocean” is a another feminist science fiction novel I am inspired and thrilled by. Thanks, Joan Slonczewski! The stories from Zenna Henderson’s “The People” series still influence and resonate with me, over 50 years after reading them! Extremely powerful and first influence from an amazing author, Ursula K. Le Guin. Still writing, in her 80s.

NG: What place does Science-Fiction have in your writing?

EMBER: It is my main and only fiction genre at this time. Science-fiction/romance/utopian. I have entire blog posts about why I write sci-fi utopian fiction: go read some!

NG: Can you tell us a bit more about your writing projects?

EMBER: I was awakened one night by hearing a voice (my own) narrating Clara’s first encounter with the alien holograms. I got up to write it all down and also the outline of the entire first book and the synopsis for each of the subsequent nine volumes for the series that same night. It took about two hours!

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NG: What brought you to write a multiverse in The Spanner Series?

EMBER: I prefer to write from multiple points of view so I have many narrators and types of chapters in each volumes of The Spanner Series, probably because I see things in multiple ways and I get bored easily. “The Spanners” are the generations of people (and animals) whose ages make them the Earth inhabitants who are alive through both the turn of the 21st century AND the public announcement of the Many Worlds Collective’s existence, previous visits, and intentions to help Earth survive, thus bridging, or “spanning” both ways of living/thinking/being.

They are the “before” and “after” characters who narrate my stories, attempting to understand and live with the knowledge that all time is simultaneous (timultaneity, in my books), which we are all beginning to grasp ourselves in actual reality. Some people can view or know things (timult) about more than one timeline, alternate presents, pasts and futures, such as my main characters and those who get trained in the Excellent Skills Program (ESP) training and some are “natural” timulters, as Clara and many in her bio family are.

Necessarily, I can’t present infinite numbers of alternate versions of each scene, so I choose some to present multiply whose variations have immediate meaning for the characters. I know this can be confusing and reading books written all in the present tense is unusual (and awkward for English and other languages to manage), but I hope the challenges and intrigue make the difficulties worthwhile for readers.

NG: How do you enjoy mixing several genres in your books, like romance and Science-Fiction?

EMBER: I write, tone-wise, humorously serious or seriously humorous with a lot of science and spirituality, romance and family relationships included because LIFE. Compassion, caring, empathy, acceptance, inclusiveness, and more cooperation with less selfishness/greed and eliminating violence are the ONLY routes to Earth’s survival. Also, WE ARE NOT ALONE in the multiverse.

NG: Do you think that Science-Fiction can influence writers outside of the genre?

EMBER: I and many other authors certainly hope so, since we invite readers to reconsider and enlarge their points of view for many immediate and imminent social, political, interpersonal, interspecies and environmental issues regularly. Speculative fiction is famous for making us revisit our lives and choices from the micro to the macro levels. (and, hopefully, do better…)

Regarding science, there are websites devoted wholly or in part to delineating the inventions and discoveries which were first mentioned or “invented” in sci-fi books, movies, and TV shows before showing up IRL. Many scientists and inventors have mentioned being inspired by having learned about these potentials in sci-fi first!

NG: Do you believe Science-Fiction is a genre open to all types of age ranges?

EMBER: I write for adults, New and Young Adults together because that is the way I read sci-fi growing up (there were no YA or NA sections). I do not believe in the age-segregation that publishers and libraries have created in recent decades and I know many adults read YA and many teens read “adult” fiction. Age categories are mostly a convention for shelving and marketing that have little or nothing to do with what actual readers want to and do read.

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

EMBER: When the authors are feminists, yes. When not, no. Graphic novels and “comics” are infamous for creating 2-D female characters scantily dressed and horribly depicted, but not all are like that. Certainly many genres in fiction are just as guilty of underestimating and denigrating female characters.

Joss Whedon is famous for replying, when asked why he creates such strong female characters, that he won’t have to do that when people stop asking him that, or words to that effect.

NG: What is Science-Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

EMBER: As a life-long feminist, activist and social justice advocate who understands and lives better having learned about intersectionality (the impact of the overlapping oppression of sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, and others), I hope my writing reflects my insights and shows my utopian views of how life can be better when we all understand and reject such oppression, singly or in combinations. I do believe more “majority” authors should be more aware of creating characters that do not all look like and live the ways we do, but since I based my main characters on myself and my family, I am just as guilty as many of starting there.

However, I deliberate created a Latina main character, included many younger characters, made sure the main and other characters are not assumed to be hetero or cis-gender (Clara is bi, others are gay and lesbian, and some are undetermined regarding gender,) and I up-ended some age, class, religion and other foundations for biases in my stories’ plots and premises. So, I try and I hope others do, too.

NG: Thank you very much for your answers, Sally! I am sure my readers will be happy to connect with you.

SciFiWomen Interviews 2

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Quick Blog Update

I have decided to migrate from WordPress.com to Worpress.org (using BlueHost to cover the web hosting). While I have spent hours reading tutorials, I am having issues with some aspects of the transfer, so if there are some connection hiccups with my blog in the next few days, that will be why! I am working on having everything works smoothly again as soon as I can.

Thank you for your patience and have a good week!

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Source: Unknown.

Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection Has a Goodreads Page

Thank you so much to everyone who made Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection possible and who shared the link to the eBook! I am blown away by the outstanding support this title already got!

It was accepted as part of Smashwords Premium catalog (thank God for formatting guides!)

I also set up its Goodreads page and I hope that everyone who got their copy is enjoying the read!

Sci-Fi Women 2015 - Detail

#Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection is available for free download!

My cover designer friend Jennifer A. Miller is awesome! She finished the cover for the free eBook Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection, tonight! It means the book is now available for (permanent) free download on Smashwords as a celebration of International Women’s Day. I will set up the title’s Goodreads page tomorrow.

Look at that stunning cover!

Sci-Fi Women 2015 - by Jennifer Miller

Cover designed by Jennifer A. Miller.

The eBook features all 2015 interviews, with the following guests:

  • Johnamarie Macias
  • Yolanda I. Washington
  • Saf Davidson
  • Neelu Raut
  • Natalie McKay
  • Tricia Barr
  • Rose B. Fischer
  • Jo Robinson
  • Patty Hammond
  • Laura M. Crawford

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day and Book Release Delay

Happy International Women’s Day!

I was planning to release Sci-Fi Women Interview: The2015  Collection today to celebrate it, but due to design delays, the free eBook gathering all 2015 interviews for the monthly feature is postponed until later this month. I will share details as soon as I have some, and I know that it will be worth the wait!

In the meantime, feel free to check the first amazing guest ladies I had since January 2016: Robin Rivera and Heather Jackson, and Jennifer A. Miller. You might also want to check out Rose B. Fischer’s blog series Fangirl: Doing’ It For Herself – A Writing Journey.

I am grateful for all the amazing women I have got to interact with on the blogging scene and I am looking forward to all the future collaboration there is in store for us!

Delenn

Delenn from Babylon 5.

What I’m up to on Pinterest

I am still alive! I am closing in on the end of my vacation (which had turned out to be a whirlwind on many accounts!) Life has been very busy especially in the past two weeks. As I joke, I might need a vacation after my “vacation”! I am plotting many things, from books to blog projects, so stay tuned!

I have recently reorganized my Pinterest boards and am planning to be more active there from now on. I find the platform more interesting and engaging than I used to, so that’s a good thing!

by Ales Krivec

Photo Credit: Ales Krivec.

I thought I would share the different boards I have with my readers and fellow bloggers! Since writing descriptions isn’t my favorite thing in the world, I made sure to have self-explanatory board names.

‘Blogging Paradise’ and ‘Healthy Living’ are the most recent, which is why there are way fewer pins for the moment!

I was also invited to  contribute to the following boards: ‘Writers Blog Posts‘ and ‘Share Your Blog!’

What about you? How do you feel about Pinterest? Do you use it? Are there any types of boards/subjects you’d be interested in me expanding to with my own boards?

Have a good week!

#SciFi Women Interview: Jennifer A. Miller

I am happy to have longtime friend Jennifer A. Miller as February 2016’s guest for this monthly feature. I met this creative and kind lady on the Star Wars roleplaying board I joined back in 2008. You would also be familiar with her name as she designed most of my book covers!

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Jennifer A. Miller

Jennifer A. Miller is a graphic designer by trade and writer by calling. Her design experience is based in advertising, identity and print design, with novice and expanding capabilities in web development and photography. You can find more about her work on her website.

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

MILLER: I grew up in a Western watching family. My mother liked science fiction and fantasy, but I never remember her introducing me to it (she might say otherwise…I have a terrible memory). I have a collection of defining moments when I was a kid, but they’re kind of jumbled and I don’t remember what came first. I was living in Oregon, so this would have been younger than eight. I remember going through the satellite channels and finding the tail end of a movie that just captivated me. I don’t think I knew how to see what the movie was called at that time because I remember agonizing over figuring it out so that I could rent it. Trying to describe it to my parents was frustrating (for all involved). Turns out it was Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. It also turns out it was part of a trilogy. Fast forward a couple years when we were in Wyoming I remember going to Albertson’s as a family on our usual Wednesday run when they had 99 cent rentals and trying desperately to find them all. They never seemed to have all of them at once, so it took a couple rentals, but I was completely hooked.

NG: What are your top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

I only get 3?! These aren’t in any particular order, just the ones that first come to mind.

Books

  • I, Jedi – Michael A. Stackpole
  • The Starlight Crystal – Christopher Pike (it took me forever to find the name of this…I’ve been searching for years!)
  • Shapechangers – Jennifer Roberson (this is technically Fantasy and I love the whole series)

TV Shows

  • Firefly
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Battlestar Galactica

Movies

  • Return of the Jedi (because it was my first)
  • Back to the Future
  • Fifth Element

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

  • Samantha Carter (Stargate SG-1)
  • Leloo Dallas (Fifth Element)
  • Princess Leia (Star Wars)

NG: How has your roleplaying experience affected your creative endeavors?

MILLER: When I am actively roleplaying (and reading), my wordsmithing/sentence creativity is the first thing affected, although I tend not to notice until I’m absent awhile and read what I’ve written in the past. I’m always pleasantly shocked at how good I was compared to the current. Funny how you lose skill when habits aren’t exercised regularly.

I am a print graphic designer and I will be the first to say that my creativity has been completely lacking the past several years. I’ve also just fallen out of love with the profession. When I look back at projects and times in my life that I felt my most creative, they were times that I was constantly writing/roleplaying and surrounding myself with people that had similar passion. My brain was always thinking about characters and scenes and influenced by literally everything in my physical environment. I lived in movies trailers for my characters. It definitely makes me think about carving time out to do it again. Perhaps I’d get my actual writing projects more than partially finished!

NG: Can you tell us a bit more about your writing projects?

MILLER: I have quite a few that I’ve started… I tend to get really hyped about them around NaNoWriMo season, but sadly none have developed much further than that month.

I have a trilogy that I started in middle and high school based off a dream I had. It involved all of my favorite people (and crushes). I loosely based the characters off of them. I finished the first and most of the second. Unfortunately the documents were saved on some floppy disk (this dates me…) that was corrupt. I don’t mind TOO much because I still have most of it printed out and honestly it needs to be rewritten. I’ve been trying to figure out how best to do that. It originally started as a group of kids having a sleep over and getting sucked into a fantasy/sci-fi world in which the lead character actually hailed. The first book was a big long adventure figuring out her past and getting introduced to the villains. The next two involved defeating the villains with the help of her best friends and then figuring out her future (whether she’d stay there or on Earth). It was fun to write as a kid, but a little hokey for my tastes now.

I started a series a couple years ago that involves a lonely kid that lives in a not too distant future where natural disasters are happening on an epic level all over the globe. He soon discovers that there are invisible fissures/rifts in his town and he might be the only one that can see them. After testing what happens to a baseball when thrown through one, he adventures through and gets sucked into another plane of existence… There’s much more to it, but I don’t want to give anything away! I realize that most first novels tend to be horrible, but I’m hoping it turns out decent because I really love the concept, story, and characters I’ve developed!

NG: What is your favorite type of character to write in a Science Fiction setting?

MILLER: The accidental hero. And this goes for all genres, really. I just love characters that aren’t setting out to be a hero, lead ordinary lives, and somehow get pulled into a situation that tests their mental strength and moral compass. I love the complicated types, the lessons they learn, and the inevitable roller coaster ride of their journey.

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

MILLER: Definitely! My favorite movies, shows, and books are great examples of such complex female characters. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find Sci-Fi media that doesn’t have at least one.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

MILLER: I think it’s every genres responsibility to be diverse. Our world is not just one type of person or another—whether a certain skin color, culture, or gender—at its core, it’s a collection of human beings all trying to live. We’ve been experiencing gender division and overall bigotry for centuries, which is why I love that most Sci-Fi is futuristic and depicts the human race having accepted all skin colors and genders as equal (usually). I can’t wait to see that in real time!

NG: Do you think that Fangirls are an expression of Feminism?

MILLER: I rewrote this answer twice. I’m not big on putting labels on people. The terms fangirl and feminism get such a bad rap because the definitions mean something different to everyone. Fangirl makes me think of a teenager obsessing over a pop idol. I would probably only use fangirl and fanboy in that reference. But that doesn’t mean I’m not considered a fangirl by someone else for loving Star Wars and Firefly. I use the term fan because dividing it out into gender does just that; divides.

That said, I think fans (girls or boys) are an expression of self (at least that’s the idea…).

As for Feminism, I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t share the same passion for women’s equality. I am most certainly an advocate.

So, I guess my answer is not really. You can certainly be both, but I don’t think one is necessarily an expression of the other. I think it’s an expression of yourself, your individuality, and your passions.

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?

MILLER: Yes! Anyone can! As long as they have passion for what they love and do, they can most definitely impact the media industries. If you take a closer look at the people behind books, television shows, and movies, you’ll find both men and women that have positively influenced the media because of their passion for it. Passion is the basis behind any fan and with it we can create incredible things that shape and influence all sorts of industries and like minds.

NG: Thank you so much for accepting to be part of this interview series! I am certain my readers will enjoy reading your answers.

SciFiWomen Interviews 2

Background by Rose B. Fischer.