https://link.medium.com/2LDqoJTWtlb

I don’t necessarily agree with this guy’s premise, but his map of a Balkanized United States is very similar to what I imagined in THE PONO WAY.

Some of my workshoppers were shocked by that. But a Balkanized future US has been a staple of science fiction for a long time.

I have to say, I didn’t imagine the Republic of Orleans, though. Shame on me. That ties right into my last post, doesn’t it? **makes notes.**

Murphy’s Law

So I barely left the house for two whole years.

Then I tried to start living again, and went to a writer’s conference.

The conference was great. But I caught Covid-19 out there.

I’m fully vaxxed of course. But you can still get it.

I got the monoclonal antibodies today because of my underlying conditions. It’s supposed to help me feel better quickly. I don’t feel better.

Don’t travel these holidays. Cases are rising. It’s not worth it. Wait a year.

This Can’t Go On

After Hurricane Ida last month, our power went out for, it turns out, a whole week. The eight major transmission lines for the city of New Orleans and suburbs went through one single decrepit tower, which collapsed under the storm, draping the lines into the Mississippi River and leaving the whole region without power for days.

After a late-summer hurricane it always becomes extremely hot. The storm sucks up all the moisture over the Gulf of Mexico and precipitates it, so after the storm passes, the sky is clear and the sun in August or September is absolutely brutal. And with the power out, no AC. People die in these circumstances. My husband couldn’t handle the heat, so we decamped to his parent’s house north of Baton Rouge. Their power was out for less than a day.

“We can’t keep doing this, ” I said as we drove north, skirting Lake Pontchartrain, the water and sky a vista of blue.

“We can go to my sister’s if we can’t go to Mom’s next time,” he said.

“No,” I said, “I mean Louisiana! This is going to keep happening. These storms that spin up from nothing to a Category 4 or 5 in 48 hours. That’s not enough time to prepare. To evacuate.”

“Nope,” he said.

“And we can’t keep cleaning up these messes. My God, all the power going through one tower, what the hell! It’s climate change. These storms are going to keep happening. We need to harden this place, south Louisiana. We can’t keep getting caught with our pants down. Spending billions of dollars we don’t have for recovery.”

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. Louisiana is a very poor and red state.

“It has to! Somehow.” I looked at the marsh grasses beside the lake, shining in the sun, ideas tumbling in my head. “Maybe I should write a book about it.”

“You just did!” he said.

I did, sort of. Climate change and the ensuing havoc are part of the backstory of THE PONO WAY, an integral part of the character’s lives. The very first page mentions how coffee, real coffee, has become a scarce and expensive luxury. The second page lists a litany of chaos and destruction that is the normal course of events “two centuries into the Anthropocene era of mass extinction and climate change.” The destruction of the environment is part of the background tenor of everyday life in Pono, my island state. It’s largely why Pono was created (it’s an artificial sea-steading) and why many of its inhabitants migrated there, to escape the instability of the mainlands. Including my protagonist, Jake Weintraub.

But the Ponoans come to discover that even a thousand miles of ocean can’t really protect them from the danger and dysfunction of the broken, corrupt remnants of North America forever.

So yes, calling attention to climate change and its ensuing disasters is part of why I wrote that book. Part of why I write at all. My last book was about an epic, civilization-ending apocalypse too. [Daughter of Atlas: A Novel of the Fall of Atlantis, if you haven’t read it yet. 😉 ] And that, too, was caused by unchecked human greed and pillaging of the earth.

It’s important to me. Society has been talking about ecological collapse and doing nothing about it for my entire lifetime. This is my way of doing something.

But there’s more yet to write. I was imagining a story where a bunch of solarpunk misfits take over Baton Rouge and turn it into a green, sustainable, New New Orleans. Baton Rouge is as far north as the Mississippi is safely navigable for the huge container ships that provide so much of Louisiana’s revenue. Far enough north that it won’t be under water in a hundred years. It is the state capitol and a university town, home of LSU, my alma mater. It’s the logical place to migrate to.

Because we will have to migrate, one day. Everyone in south Louisiana. I hope it’s done in a just and peaceful manner. Instead of some kind of Mad Max land rush.

To make something happen, you first have to imagine it.

That’s what I do. You can help me by reading my books, yeah? 😉

Home and safe!

We evacuated subsequent to Hurricane Katrina — er, Ida. Ida hit on the 16 year anniversary of that monster storm. You better believe that was pretty hard for south Louisiana to take.

My husband just couldn’t take the heat without AC, and he has a medical device which needs electricity. So we decamped to his parents north of Baton Rouge. They only lost power for a night.

We were there for about a week, but now we are home: cool, dry, and safe.

Sixteen years ago, in Katrina, we lost our home, my job, and everything we ever owned. So believe me, this last week was NOTHING. A minor inconvenience. My heart is with the people who lost. everything this time. I’m angry. South Louisiana should be more prepared. We all know this isn’t going away.

But now I am home with power. You don’t know what a luxury that is until you don’t have it for an extended time. The Internet is spotty, but that’s okay.

I am continuing to work on getting my full paper and ebook copies of THE PONO WAY properly online. Let’s say it’s an iterative process. My friend Charlie is helping me.

So I am good. I feel good. Very grateful and happy to be able to work. Check back with you soon.

Update

Just a quick update. I have to conserve my phone battery.

My family is safe so far. But all of New Orleans is without power. Catastrophic flooding north of Lake Pontchartrain.

Don’t expect to see me online much for a while.

Hurricane Comin’

Hurricane Ida, right on the anniversary of Katrina. I hate how that happens. The end of August is cursed.

Credit: weather.gov

I live in New Orleans and went through Katrina, if you didn’t know. (It affected the drafting of The Pono Way, but that’s another story.)

That is going to affect my rather desultory book launch. As I will shortly run out of power, and possibly have to evacuate. Thank goodness for cloud computing.

I’ll do what I can before the power goes out. We think we can hunker down and ride it out. Where could we go, anyway? Every relative we could go to is in the storm track, some worse than us.

I’f you’re of a spiritual bent, prayers to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, the divine protectress of New Orleans, are welcome.

Otherwise, happy thoughts.

I’ll check in tomorrow. The storm is predicted to make landfall Sunday night.

It’s ALIVE!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CKFV48X/

My new book is live in paper on Amazon! Check it out!

Still working on the ebook.

If you want to help me with it, the best thing you can do now is buy a copy. Or, if you’ve already read it, write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Even just a couple lines greatly improves the book’s rep in the eyes of the almighty Algorithm. Especially now that it is new and fresh. 

Incredible feeling. The one thing I actually wanted to accomplish this year is publish this book. And now I have!

Cover Reveal!

Today’s the day! I said I would do it and I am. So happy to be able to reveal the cover for my next novel, THE PONO WAY!

I’m very happy with this cover. I got it pre-made from The Book Cover Zone, with a couple tweaks. Both of my covers so far are pre-made, and I’m very happy with both of them.

For an indie author, a cover needs to signify your genre/subgenre of fiction clearly in a small thumbnail, and I think this cover does that well. If you Google “solarpunk” in Image Search, you quickly understand the aesthetic — futuristic white cities with lots of greenery tumbling everywhere. I think his cover captures that very well.

The PONO WAY should be live early next week! Publishing this book was the one thing I actually wanted to accomplish this year. So I feel PRETTY DAMN PLEASED with myself right now.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Inching Closer

Still a couple fiddly layout bits to fix with my manuscript, and then it will be ready to publish! I’m so stoked! Publishing THE PONO WAY was the one thing I actually wanted to accomplish this year.

Credit: OCEANIX/BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

This picture is much what I imagine my island-state, Pono, to look like, although this is a coastal city and my Pono is in the deep ocean. This is an architectural concept of a floating city called Oceanix. It’s synchronistic how it popped up in the news as I was drafting my novel.

Tomorrow I will share the cover reveal! Meanwhile, here is the blurb for Amazon. What do you think?

A refugee crisis tests a utopian island community to its limits.

In 2050, the United States of America finally crumbled.  Jake Weintraub’s family fled the burned-out ruins of Chicago for the safety of the artificial island steading of Pono. Now grown, Jake works as an independent journalist, but the horrors of the Chicago River Riots still haunt him.

As Pono watches, safe in the Pacific Ocean, the successor West Coast state of Cascadia collapses under a further series of catastrophes.  Thousands of desperate refugees arrive on Pono’s shores – homeless, stateless, and hungry.

Jake throws himself into covering their story, even as their plight evokes memories of his own trauma and flight.  Can Pono, a carefully constructed island society, accept this influx of strangers? Or will this crisis tear Ponoan society apart?

THE PONO WAY is a solarpunk science fiction novel in the vein of Kim Stanley Robinson’s THREE CALIFORNIAS or THE FIFTH SACRED THING by Starhawk. Find out what happens by buying your copy today!