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.  Simmering behind Salvage is a science fiction short story, Out of the Blue, that may be evolving into a novel of its own.   My mainstream novel, the Sifa and Peter project, is on hold.  And, as much as my son loves Zeddy and Bubba, my planned children’s series, I may drop the concept due to the unwieldiness of a science-based travelogue for kids between 7 and 10.  My main focus right now is honing my writing skills with the science fiction series to better prepare for Sifa and Peter.

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.

Get Updates.   You can also 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

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”.

2019: Looking Ahead

A new year dawns, and we think about what is to come, what to do differently.  Sometimes we dream big, sometimes we dream small.  Sometimes we see that resolutions are rubbish.

This year, my personal theme is moving forward.  I know what I need to do, and I will push forward in several areas.  Not too many — just those areas of health, of writing, of relationship, where God leads me.

Goals are worthless unless they are the right goals, unless they are achievable, unless one at least knows a direction to try.  It doesn’t matter if it’s baby steps; it doesn’t matter if it’s a dance of two steps forward and one back.  It’s the direction and the movement that counts.

So, in 2019, get moving!

Salvage Premise and Synopsis

As a beginning writer, I’ve struggled with describing my story ideas.  After research, thought, and effort around the definitions of idea, concept, premise, synopsis, and theme in writing, I discovered a solid concept, premise, and synopsis can help me craft the story more robustly.

I came up with the following premise and synopsis for Salvage:
Continue reading

Brio’s Hope

Here’s a little backstory on the ship in Salvage, Episode 1.

Brio’s Hope is a solid workhouse of a space transport.  It’s old but serviceable, and the crew are used to working in a pinch and using what’s at hand to fix problems.

The small crew consists of the captain, first mate, cargomaster, engineer, doctor, and a new hire.  Possibly few other unnamed crew.  Most of the crew have been together a long time.  While the captain owns the Brio outright, money is tight.

They’ve ferried colonists in the past but not recently, so this trip required some re-tooling.

The ship consists of a cylindrical dome on the front, followed by a ring of crew quarters, then the massive drive and engine, then the cargo holds.  At the very end lie the crucial water tanks.

Water onboard is used for drinking and, in limited fashion, for hygiene and cleaning the ship.  Water is also used to preserve valuable seedlings and embryonic tanks for the colonists.  It’s also used to generate oxygen and in CO2 removal systems.  Solid waste is not reclaimed/reprocessed but stored for to be sold for composting later.  The colonists worked out a deal for the compost to be used on-planet when they get there.

The Brio uses a water reclamation system that’s usually about 90% effective, but slow.  Inefficiency in the system comes from the planned non-use by the crew of solid waste recycling, in oxygen generation, and from losses within the CO2 scrubbers.    The colonists brought onboard a system that processes the solid waste into fertilizer, but the process doesn’t reclaim that much water.

So, the Brio has planned water stops along the long route, as well as secondary stops favored by the crew and noted in an open-source database used by most spacecraft

December Reading Corner

Recent Books

  • Turning to the fantasy genre, I read Deerskin by Robin McKinley, a nicely done story; then started a re-read of Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Cycle, a favorite of my youth.
  • Re-read Crosstalk by Connie Willis
  • The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson.  Mainstream fiction?  Chic lit?  However you define it, an excellent read with surprising depth.

Recent Articles

Merry Christmas!

A milestone of a finished draft… of part 1

I’ve completed a draft of the first part of the first episode of the Salvage project. May not seem much, but it took a great deal of honing my writing craft to get here.

If you’re interested in being a beta reader, let me know. I will — hopefully — cruise to the novel’s midpoint by early next year. The time I’ve taken to hone the plot and supporting scenes should really help.

November Writing Status

Part 1 of Salvage, Episode 1, is almost drafted! It’s taken awhile, but it’s closer than it’s ever been. So exciting!

There’s always more to learn about the craft of writing, and more to revise. Meanwhile, I’m also starting to work on finding beta readers. If you’re interested in being one, let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dim lights flickered on, illuminating curved metal walls extending into darkness. While he waited, he put one hand on the smooth metal, envisioning the giant struts just outside, encasing the tube and holding the water tanks fast to the body of Brio’s Hope.
From down the corridor came soft sounds, a light series of tapping soon followed by tiny green lights swirling around the tube, moving closer. Soon he could see the crowd of centipede-like robots spiraling around the corridor walls, the cleaning brushes sweeping around conduit and pipe. They soon streamed around him, on their way to their docking stations.