Friday, June 22, 2012

How Amateur Astronomy Connects to My Writing


Several years ago when I struck up an interest in amateur astronomy, my passion for that soon became mirrored in some of my books.  In the beginning, I took a basic “backyard astronomy” class at a local community college and used my dad’s old binoculars, which weren’t too bad, in terms of their clarity.  (I even identified a few of the closer galaxies in them—a thrill for a beginner!)  Soon my basic education wasn’t enough to satisfy me, and I joined the Rose City Astronomers here in Portland, Oregon.  I purchased“giant” binoculars, specifically intended for stargazing—the kind sold in catalogs for telescopes.  And I chose the binoculars instead of a telescope because I loved the flexibility in being able to sweep the skies, as opposed to staying “stuck” in one part of it.  (The binoculars were very heavy, and eventually I purchased a tripod-type mount for them.) 

I also bought astronomy manuals, star charts, and the red-lighted flashlights for reading the charts.  (White light interferes with one’s night vision.)  After about a year, I earned the Messier Binocular Deep Sky award for having identified 100 deep sky objects.  What a challenge and what a thrill!  For several years, every summer, my husband and I attended their annual Star Party in the high desert of Central Oregon, many miles away from the closest town.  The night skies there, the darkest I’d ever seen, were spectacular, especially the Milky Way with its myriad of glittering star clusters in all sorts of fascinating shapes and forms.  The event, attended by several hundred other astronomy enthusiasts, also gave me the opportunity to schmooze with others who shared my passion. 

Well, I could go on and on, but the point is:  I wanted to share my love for astronomy in my books as well, hopefully give my readers a taste of its glories.  And so in Her Sister’s Keeper, my most recent book with Books We Love, I’ve created a romantic scene that portrays a summer meteor shower.  Herein my heroine Logan R.N. and the sexy pediatrician, Dr. Zack whom she works with, are camped out together on a mountain hillside while they watch this breathtaking show of celestial fireworks.  There, far away from city lights—plus the other campers--they ooh and aah at the trails of light streaking through the dark skies.  They also share kisses every bit as breathtaking.

After Her Sister’s Keeper, I published additional books with astronomy scenes, plus a handful of articles with astronomy-related themes in national magazines.  And I will continue to portray the splendor of the night skies in my writing—a celestial treasure trove, really—whenever the project seems right for that. 

So, if you’re planning on a writing venture in the near future, take stock of your passions and “write what you know”—even better, write what you love.  Your readers will be glad you did—and so will you!

  
Logan Corbett, registered nurse, suddenly becomes the guardian of her 10-year-old sister, Kim. A former prizewinning gymnast, the girl was seriously injured in the same plane accident that killed their parents. Logan admits she's overly protective of Kim, but only wants what she thinks is best for her. Dr. Zachary Dellinger, a pediatrician at the hospital where Logan works, suggests that Kim should attend a summer camp for children with special needs. Logan agrees, but on one condition--that she will volunteer to be the camp nurse so she can keep a close eye on Kim. Under starlit skies and breezy summer days, Logan struggles with her growing attraction to the handsome pediatrician--all the while, battling the urge to hold on too tightly to Kim. Will Logan ever be able to let go enough to allow love into both their lives?

"Her Sister's Keeper is a wonderful story of sisterly love and devotion. Delightfully written characters are a key part of this believable and enticing tale...a highly recommended read for contemporary romance readers..."
-Penny, Fallen Angel Reviews

A wonderful tale of the ability not only of the adult, but definitely for the children to survive life's foibles. You will gain a better understand of overcoming adversities whether you are young or old.
--Rendezvous Magazine

Logan Corbett, registered nurse, suddenly becomes the guardian of her 10-year-old sister, Kim. A former prizewinning gymnast, the girl was seriously injured in the same plane accident that killed their parents. Logan admits she's overly protective of Kim, but only wants what she thinks is best for her. Dr. Zachary Dellinger, a pediatrician at the hospital where Logan works, suggests that Kim should attend a summer camp for children with special needs. Logan agrees, but on one condition--that she will volunteer to be the camp nurse so she can keep a close eye on Kim. Under starlit skies and breezy summer days, Logan struggles with her growing attraction to the handsome pediatrician--all the while, battling the urge to hold on too tightly to Kim. Will Logan ever be able to let go enough to allow love into both their lives?

"Her Sister's Keeper is a wonderful story of sisterly love and devotion. Delightfully written characters are a key part of this believable and enticing tale...a highly recommended read for contemporary romance readers..."
-Penny, Fallen Angel Reviews

A wonderful tale of the ability not only of the adult, but definitely for the children to survive life's foibles. You will gain a better understand of overcoming adversities whether you are young or old.
--Rendezvous Magazine
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