Welcome

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my website!  Feel free to take a look around.

In work.   My primary work in progress is currently an episodic science fiction series code-named the Salvage project.  I’m also developing a few essays and articles when I take a break from Salvage.  My mainstream novel, the Sifa and Peter project, is on hold.

Background.  In my former career I worked on software for over a million personal computers, for three multi-million-dollar NASA spacecraft, and for helping pilots navigate.   Read more about my background here.

Want Updates?  You can subscribe to my email newsletter in the sidebar of this website.   It’ll give you an inside look on my upcoming works, including excerpts, and from time to time it will contain special offers.   If you just want updates to this website, that’s fine, too — you can subscribe by email or RSS in the bottom of the sidebar.

Contact Me.  I’d like to hear from you.   You can reach me through the contact form, Facebook, or email.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cindy Rae Johnson

Through the surging crowd she glimpsed Master Geary talking with an older man — the grandmaster? — who often led the lessons. The grandmaster nodded, Master Geary bowed, then Master Geary worked his way over to the table where her mother now read.

Her smile faded. Uh-oh. Did… did I do something wrong?

A few minutes later, Master Geary navigated the crowd and approached her with an encouraging smile. “Hi, I’m Master Geary.”
Kaylah nodded. I know. She darted a look at her mother who was once again immersed in her book.

“I talked to your mother.”

At Kaylah’s expression, he quickly added, “You’re not in any trouble. In fact, you did very well on the course.”

“Uh…” She stared at her shoelaces. “Thank you.”

“Would you like to train with us?”

A broad grin returned to spread across her face. She nodded vigorously, her short curly hair bouncing around her face. “Sure! That would be great! Tuesday and Thursdays, right? I’ve never really did sports, but I really liked running the course. I’ll need a uniform, right? Will I—“

Alarms blared.

For a split second, all movement froze.

In the next instant, everyone scrambled for the door. As the crowd surged around Kaylah, crowding her, looming over her, she worked to keep on her feet.

Maybe this drill will go better?

 

Treasured Favorites, Round 1

What books I have read and re-read are many.  Some are special treasures.  Here are a few:

  1. Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World

    Excellent writing, as much of Dahl’s works are, including the more famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.   Beyond the quality of writing, I like Danny because it’s more realistic and because of the imagery of the young boy doing brave things, but, most of all, I like Danny because of the warm relationship between father and son.  The humor also helps.

  2. Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

    My favorite of Burnett’s novels, this story is engaging and even captivating.  It’s also one of my favorite go-to’s when I read writing advice — it breaks many of the modern tidbits pundits try to make into rules.

  3. L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

    The richness and depth of the newly-married Anne and Gilbert outstrips in some ways the delightful stories of younger Anne living at Green Gables.

March Writing News

Work continues on the Salvage project.  I’ve leveled up (so to speak) in my writing, and I feel like I’m actually adding layers to Part 1 that add depth and, interestingly enough, streamline the story flow some.  Work on Part 2 continues, sketching scenes in terms of dialogue and some action.

Meanwhile, I’m branching out with ideas about an article for Christian homeschoolers and an essay about Christan contemporary music’s lyrics as a reflection of society.

Raw Writing from Salvage

Okay here’s the writing snippet, but, a disclaimer — it’s raw writing, very little revision:

“Come to order!” The assistant director’s voice blared once again through the ancient megaphone. “Come to order!” The A.D., the diminutive Mrs. Holang-Lee, stood near the back wall, in front of a stack of crates, the black strands of her hair sweeping her face as she shook her head at the crowd.
Milling around, the colonists filled the converted cargo hold, their excited voices adding to the clamor of the kitchen staff working furiously. A few latecomers entered and passed Kaylah’s perch on a storage unit by the hatch. After the tank puncture scare, the animosity of the other passengers, and the complete ineptness of most of them when it came to ship drills, she felt safer near the exit.

Favorite Fantasy Reads

Where should I start when reading fantasy?

As with science fiction, this is a tough question — for the same reason.  Fantasy worlds can be entirely different than our own, eerily similar, or a mash-up of the radically different and the every day.

Fantasy can be humorous (Anthony’s Xanth series or Terry Pratchett‘s works), character-driven (Alan Dean Foster’s Flinx series), epic (Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), a mashup with science fiction (Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer), fairy tales, portal fantasies, and much more.

Read on for the list.

Continue reading

Starting Science Fiction: My Recommendations

“If I want to start reading science fiction, where should I start?”

Tough question.

Science fiction encompasses a wide range of sub-genre, ranging from space opera to alternative reality, from military sf to time travel, from alien contact to apocalyptic thrillers.

So, here’s some of my recommendations:

Continue reading

Kowal’s Advice and Works

Recent read: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Antoinette Kowal.

I’ve enjoyed listening to Kowal’s advice via Writing Excuses and decided to give her books a try.  I liked the work, reminiscent of Jane Austen with a fantastical touch, and found it a bit unexpected — but I’m not sure why.

I’m looking forward to finding some of her short stories, especially “In Want of a Nail”.