Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is the author of Relocated, Geek Games, and Broken Bonds, and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. Learn more about Margaret at her website.
In mid-September of 2010 I decided to write a science fiction novel. My main motive for this was a desire to overcome my phobia about writing in the genre. As a long-time sci-fi fan, I'd read reams of the stuff but never written any. At the time, my middle son was in the army and doing a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Looking back, I believe that played into my choice of a desert landscape for the alien planet, Aleyne, where I set my story. NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) was about six weeks away, and I quickly joined an online sci-fi and fantasy writing group.
Most of the advice I got was to lay out the plot in as much detail as possible. However, since the world-building was giving me anxiety attacks, I concentrated on that. The planet I envisioned had glittering sands that sparkled with red, blue, purple, and gold in the light; mountains of purple stone; and brightly colored flowers. My alien city had wide boulevards paved in sparkling stone that glittered with the colors of the desert sands. The stone houses by-and-large had center courtyards, tiled roofs and were surrounded by the fragrant flowers. The foliage was red instead of green—I have long been fascinated with red leaves and by the idea of red ground cover—and the trunks of the trees gray. The flowers I pictured as mainly purples and reds.
I could visualize the landscape in my head, but I wanted to see it. Fortunately, I'd already discovered GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), a freeware program with many of the features of PhotoShop. I set about generating digital drawings of the landscape as well as manipulating some of my own photos. Not only did I draw pictures from scratch using GIMP, I manipulated the colors of my photographs as well as 'painting' over parts of them. Pictured ere are a few of the many images I generated. You can see more of my digital artwork here.
Broken BondsSex with aliens? How about romance with aliens? A treason accusation? Brad Reynolds has his hands full. When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval's feelings for his former partners -- and theirs for him?