My dream is not dead…

Well, the PitchWars selections have been made, and as I had expected, I wasn’t one of them. How do I feel about that? In truth, I had resigned myself to the fact that PitchWars was likely a no-go within the first few days after submission. (In fact, I had written this post nearly two full weeks ago, knowing in my heart exactly what the outcome would be.)

The regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve had mental hangups about my novel for some time, mainly because of the word counts being over 100K words. This feeling did not improved when the mentors I had submitted to began tweeting comments about word counts, commenting in particular how some of the submissions they had received were way too high, even for fantasy.

Now, in my opinion, my manuscript is not way too high. Christopher Paolini’s Eragon was 157K words. Terry Goodkind’s novel Wizard’s First Rule was 280K words. Brandon Sanderson’s debut novel Elantris was 203K words. And Steven Erikson started his publishing career with Gardens on the Moon at 209K words. All debut novels. All of them well and truly above the so-called maximum word count for adult fantasy of approximately 120K words. (Eragon is actually classified as YA, which has a maximum of 90K words.)

My word count… Well and truly under all of these, but still over 120K words. Okay… I’ll say it. When I closed the file back in June 2016, it clocked in at 134K words.

Now, I’m not saying any of this to complain, trying to protest that my word counts are not excessive. Certainly not. I mention all of this because it actually gives me a thread of hope seeing my novel is actually half the size of the debut novel of my favourite author. In my mind, it means that there is a chance. However, I know that there is a stigma attached to the debut writer word counts.

So, I have spent the last few weeks trying to decide what my path forward would be if I didn’t get into PitchWars, knowing in my heart that answer would likely be “no” almost as soon as I hit that submit button.

As I mentioned in previous posts, the word count stigma has crippled my efforts and has sent me on an emotional roller-coaster. The lows have been so low that my husband has even suggested that I give up writing altogether. Here’s the thing. While the word count stigma has halted my submission progress, the thought of NOT being a writer actually makes me nauseous. I can’t NOT be a writer. Writing is what I love and is so ingrained in my make-up that I’m positive I have ink running through my veins, not blood. I MUST be a writer.

So, with that decided, how to proceed.

Mentally, I have to get rid of the stigma associated with the word “debut”. If I can do that, then my word count of 134K is insignificant in the scheme of things. So in talking to several of my fellow writing buddies, I have come up with a plan, and it has three sides to it.

Side One:

Shelve my current finished novel which I strongly believe is submission ready but will encounter the “debut” word count stigma. While it is shelved, write the next three novels in the series and get them edited to the same standard as the first novel. This would mean that when I begin the submission process with that novel again that I will actually have the first four books in the series ready to go, with the next ones in the works. (Yeah… I’m admitting the truth here, it’s a long series I’m working on. I don’t think small. I never have, so why should I start now?)

Side Two:

Get my A into G and get the military science fiction that I’m working on with writing partner Ann Bell Feinstein actually written. It’s another series, looking at six novels and a collection of short stories. It might actually be this that gets published first, giving both of us the ability to lose the “debut” writer stigma.

Side Three:

Write the standalone thriller novels that are running around in my head and have been for some time. (My editor challenged me to come up with a standalone story and I did; I came up with two.) I’m well aware that thrillers carry a different word count limit (one that is lower than fantasy), but I’m more than up to the challenge. And seeing as how both my high fantasy series and the military science fiction have thriller elements to them, I feel that I can write something that readers would love.

So there you have it. Just because I didn’t get into PitchWars, I’m not stopping. I’ve always had to work my ass off for the things that I wanted most.  Why should this be any different?

There is one saying that drives me forward:

There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.
—Joe Konrath


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

The Editor’s Blog

Hi all,

There are some that follow me expecting to see tips on editing here. However, this is my personal blog and is about my personal journey down the road toward publication, parenting and life in general. My editor’s blog can be found at here.

Below is a list of recent posts on the Editor’s Blog.

  • Tip of the Day: A writer’s platform consists of more than just Twitter August 26, 2016 11:00 pm
    For writers like me who enjoy the community on Twitter so much, it can be easy to forget that a writer’s platform consists of more than just Twitter. It’s everything that can be found on-line and off-line about you and your books. On-line presence might consist of Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon author’s page, website, blog, … Continue reading Tip of the Day: A writer’s platform consists of more than just Twitter
  • Tip of the Day: It’s never too early to start a writer’s platform. August 25, 2016 11:00 pm
    The moment you make the decision that you want to become published, start thinking about a writer’s platform. It’s never too early. Get involved in Twitter — start connecting with other writers. Connect on Facebook — lock away a custom author’s page. Think about a blog/website. Maybe you like taking photos, so use Instagram. There are so … Continue reading Tip of the Day: It’s never too early to start a writer’s platform.
  • Tip of the Day: Patience is a skill all writers need. August 24, 2016 11:00 pm
    The publishing industry as a whole is a hurry-up-and-wait industry. We send manuscripts out for critiques, but must wait for the reports. We send a chapter to an editor, but it could easily be a week, or longer, before we get it back. We send out the query to an agent and it could be … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Patience is a skill all writers need.
  • Tip of the Day: Remember your family… They want you to succeed. August 23, 2016 11:00 pm
    While your family might not understand the ups and downs of what it means to be a writer, they do want to see you succeed. They want you to be happy. Remember to take a break from all the crazy that writing brings and spend time with your loved ones. Just a few cherished moments might be … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Remember your family… They want you to succeed.
  • Tip of the Day: Don’t second guess yourself, but be open to feedback. August 22, 2016 11:00 pm
    It’s hard to remain positive about our writing. We see so many comments that don’t necessarily pertain to us, but we can’t help but think it does. Don’t second guess yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anyone else? That being said, you do need to be open to constructive criticism and … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Don’t second guess yourself, but be open to feedback.
  • Tip of the Day: Connect with the writer community through social media. August 21, 2016 11:00 pm
    Writing can be very isolating. Family and friends, unless they are writers too, won’t understand the emotional roller-coaster that comes with the publishing industry. You need to reach out. A great way to make writing friends is through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. There are many groups out there; all you need … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Connect with the writer community through social media.
  • Tip of the Day: Don’t feed the trolls! August 20, 2016 11:00 pm
    Common advice, but one that is so tempting to NOT follow. Let’s face it, the nasties on social media do, at times, go for the jugular and start making personal attacks. It’s natural to want to get in there and defend yourself, or your friends. But you can’t. No matter how much you want to lash back, … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Don’t feed the trolls!
  • Tip of the Day: Play nice, kiddy-winks. August 19, 2016 11:00 pm
    As writers seeking publication, either traditional or self-publication road, how we behave on public forums does play on our marketability. Let’s face it, published writers are public figures, maybe not as famous as some big-name movie star, but our fans still want to know more about us. If we behave badly on social media, that … Continue reading Tip of the Day: Play nice, kiddy-winks.
  • Tip of the Day: There are many things a writer can do while waiting for news. August 18, 2016 11:00 pm
    There are so many things that a writer can do while waiting to hear back on something that they sent out. You could write something else (although some struggle with this idea). You could read another book or manuscript written by someone else. You could work on your writer’s platform, writing a new series of … Continue reading Tip of the Day: There are many things a writer can do while waiting for news.
  • Finding value in a critique… August 18, 2016 9:30 pm
    Every writer who puts their work out there will have to face critiques of all flavors: the good, the bad, and the outright mean. For the new writer, one just starting down the journey, sending that baby out for review can actually be a terrifying experience. “What if they don’t like it? What if I’m … Continue reading Finding value in a critique…


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

Another Guest Blog to be Proud Off

After all the emotional downs I’ve had lately, I’ve needed a bit of a pick-me-up, and what better way than to get my name onto another guest blog. And this one I’m particularly proud of because it used my PhD knowledge, something that I haven’t taxed on in quite some time.

Check out the latest post on Dan Koboldt’s Science in Science Fiction series.

Imaging Over Long Distances (Published: August 18, 2016) The satellite whizzes overheard, being realigned by the technician in some bunker in a secret location. After moments of clicking at the keyboard, a series of images flicker across the screen. Details of the landscape come into focus, but that detail is not enough. The technician taps the keyboard, clicks the mouse and the cameras on the satellite overhead zoom in. They’ve found him. They can see exactly what he’s wearing and the backpack he has slung across his shoulder. Oh no… The hero is now in danger. RUN, JASON BOURNE! RUN!  While Hollywood would in reality take those zooming-in shots using a hover drone, believe it or not, the concept that the movie makers are trying to portray is very real. As much as you might try and hide, you can’t; the spy satellite will see you.

[Read more]


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Please, PitchWars, be kind.

Okay… So, I’ve submitted to PitchWars and now wait anxiously for the results, along with all the other hopefuls. My non-writer followers out there will likely be wondering what PitchWars is. (Some of my writer-type followers might be wondering the same.) Well, PitchWars is a writing contest run by Brenda Drake.  However, it’s a contest where successful candidates (called mentees) are mentored by an established author through an intensive editing cycle, polishing your manuscript to the nth-degree, getting it ready for the agent rounds come November.

Well… I really don’t know how to feel about this. Last year when I submitted to PitchWars, I found myself religiously checking my email everyday. However, when the announcements came out and I wasn’t among the successful mentees, I wasn’t upset. As I had mentioned in a post back then, I was already a winner.

Last year, during the lead up to PitchWars, I met Ann Bell Feinstein. She and I have become very close friends, on video chat most days and helping each other through more than just the ups and downs of writing. There is no doubt about it: even though I wasn’t selected, PitchWars 2015 changed my life.

PitchWars 2016 will be no different. But if I’m truthful to myself, unlike last year, this year I’m actually terrified.

My fear is entirely focused on the word counts of my manuscript. I’ll admit that for a debut author, the number is considered too high by many, even though it sits dab-smack in the middle of the range that my dream publisher, Tor, says they are willing to accept for fantasy.

But here’s the thing… Many will see it as too high and I’m consciously aware of that. I will likely need to bring that word count down even further, but bugger me if I can figure out how. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve removed characters. I’ve deleted whole scenes. I’ve removed entirely subplots and reworked the entire ending, all in the effort of dealing with the word counts. I’ve had a developmental editor look at my manuscript too — it was with her help that I reworked the ending of my manuscript — and as far as she’s concerned, my manuscript is submission ready.

But that word count is still high. I know many agents will balk at that number, even if it’s not outrageously high. That is why I’ve submitted to PitchWars. Perhaps one of the mentors will see something that I (and the editor I hired) could not.

It is this that terrifies me the most. I struggle to fathom what possible changes a PitchWars mentor could suggest, but I will consider all ideas. There are a few subplots and characters that I would be incredibly resistant to touch though — little Gracy is just one of them and if you have read my manuscript, you’d instantly know why.

I want to be published so badly that I can taste it. I know I could self-publish, but then I would be cheating myself of the real dream. There is a reason I chose the traditional publication road and those reasons haven’t changed.

I want this.  I’m ready for this.

Regardless whether I’m selected or not, I will continue to push for my manuscript to be published traditionally. It’s the path I want and this is my year!


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Self-doubt and Jealousy Strikes Again

I think everyone goes through these bouts when the Green-Eyed Monster and his cousin, Self-Doubt, come to town and refuse to leave. I certainly do, and on this journey toward publication, this isn’t the first time either.

Back in March, I had a bad case of it (something I wrote about here). At the time, it was brought on by a client who had gotten a publishing contract and was so excited about it. They thanked me profusely because they honestly believed that it was my feedback that helped them to shape their manuscript into that sparkling gem that was accepted for publication. As the editor, it felt great. As the writer…

The Green-Eyed Monster had snuck up behind me and clobbered me over the head. Why couldn’t that be me? Then I remembered… I was still editing my own manuscript and hadn’t actually submitted it anywhere.

Then Self-Doubt grabbed me by the throat so I could hardly breathe. Do I really have what it takes to make it as a published writer? What if I’m a fantastic editor, but my writing is the worst dribble that anyone has ever read?

While similar questions still float around in my head, in my recent bout of Self-Doubt, others have come to the surface that actually make me cry. What if someone sees the word count of my manuscript (which is higher than 100K words, but not overly so, at least not in my opinion) but says that debut writers need to be under 100K, end of story, so it’s not only a NO, but a HELL NO?

And you know what… It is that question, and that question alone, that has halted my progress in my submissions to agents/publishers. You see so many articles that say debut writers should be under 100K words. I’ve tried. I’ve removed characters, scenes, whole sub-plots and have whittled that manuscript down as far as I can. I honestly feel that if I remove anymore then the story won’t make sense. How one would make that story below 100K words completely eludes me. I don’t think it’s possible.

So I gave up trying. Instead, I turned my focus on making the writing so stellar that it won’t matter that it’s more than 100K. At least, that’s the plan.

But I still haven’t queried. Self-doubt about that number has crippled me beyond belief. Meanwhile, my clients are continuing to get offers of contract or going on to self-publication, getting their stories out there. And me…

My latest bout of self-doubt was actually brought on by PitchWars. On August 3, the submission window for 2016 opens. I will be submitting. I NEED to move past this 100K wall and actually get my manuscript out there. If I get in, I’m sure that my mentor will help me find a way to bring that word count down, but how far down? And I have no idea how… However, if I don’t get selected for PitchWars, I have already decided that I’ll be going for broke and submitting to agents. From what I can see, my manuscript is ready. It is only the word count that is holding me back. I have to move past it or the Green-Eyed Monster will replace Self-Doubt again as another one of my clients gets the contract that could have been mine had I actually submitted.

There is a video from Chelsea Handler that was released by Elle Magazine earlier this month. In that video, Chelsea spoke of the green-eyed monster. I have found myself watching that video over and over, trying to drum it into my head. It’s okay to have the feelings that I’m having — jealousy and self-doubt are perfectly natural — but I must never act in such a way that demeans the efforts of others. To paraphrase Chelsea: never blow out someone else’s candle to make mine brighter.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Kiwi in US Writing Market

I had originally written this post for a site called EpicFantasy.org. However, since the post went live back on April 25, 2016, the site has gone down. As such, I’ve decided to include the post here on my personal blog instead. So here goes:

Kiwi in US Writing Market

New Zealand… Aotearoa, as the native Maori call it — the land of the long white cloud. It’s a country filled with majestic beauty: a mountain range that spans the length of half the country; volcanic lakes and desert terrain; beaches within a few short minutes drive of any major metropolis; secluded forest bush that takes you back in time; and farmland everywhere you turn. Many settlements could be frozen in time, and with the exception of the cars driving down the street, you would never know that you were in the 21st century. New Zealand has become the film industry’s location of choice with many historic and fantasy blockbusters filmed here, including The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and the epic drama The Last Samurai. (Sorry to burst the bubble, people, but the images of Mount Fuji in that film were actually of Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont.)

With so much beauty and diverse scenery in such close proximity, it’s no surprise to find that many writers who live in New Zealand draw so much inspiration for our story settings from our environment. But when it comes to publication, many New Zealand writers I know wish they were in the US or the UK. Publishing within New Zealand for genre fiction is practically nonexistent.

The publishing industry within New Zealand is extremely limited, with most publishers focusing on non-fiction and educational materials. The few that do publish fiction focus on children’s books or literary stories that focus on New Zealand culture. These are niche market books and are unlikely to survive on the world-wide market. But for those of us who write genre fiction, overseas markets are really the only option.

With the exception of Australia, New Zealand is so far removed from the rest of the world. It takes nearly a full day to travel to anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, especially if you include all the layover times. It cost thousands of dollars for the airfare. Traveling to one of the coveted writing conferences is not something that I can feasibly afford. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to go, but I can’t.

This is where technology has become my best friend.

In the past, writers from New Zealand would have been forced to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on postage, sending manuscript after manuscript to agents and publishers. With the introduction of the internet, submission to an agent in New York City is now just the click of a mouse.

For those targeting the self-publication road, selling books in Alaska is just as easy as selling books to our neighbor down the street. Print-on-demand services and eBooks have revolutionized the industry. Social media has changed the methods in which one must market our books. And all these changes have opened the doors to those of us on the other side of the world.

For me, being in New Zealand has proven to be an advantage. I’m a professional editor, occasionally offering mentoring to my clients. For me, a standard work day is from 9am to 3pm while my two teenagers are at school. Because of timezone difference, it means that it’s morning where I am when my clients are enjoying the afternoon and early evening. For those that work until the wee hours in the morning, they’re likely to still catch me during the standard New Zealand work day. (I just have to remember that I’m a day ahead.)

Social media has become my best friend. Through my actions on Twitter and Facebook, I have made contacts with many amazing writers from around the globe. I have been invited to guest blog (this post being only one of them). And I have managed to build a support network that I will cherish for years to come. Will all my hard work in trying to break into the US publishing industry actually pay off? Only time can tell.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Space… The Final Frontier…

The geek in me is getting incredibly excited. I’ve seen the preview for the new Star Trek movie coming out this week and, oh man… I CAN’T WAIT!

Yes, I am a BIG Star Trek fan. I won’t go as far as saying that I dress up like the characters or anything, because I don’t, but I love the stories, I’m in love with the characters, and I get excited with the big space battles. But more importantly, I have many fond memories that are all connected to Star Trek.

(And before anyone asks… Although I’d likely be wearing either a red shirt (original series) or a yellow shirt (TNG and later), I’d prefer to be wearing a blue shirt. The red/yellow shirt were always the first to die on away missions.)

I grew up watching re-runs of the original series. Trouble with Tribbles has to be my favorite episode, but I also loved watching the original pilot episode with No. 1.  (Majel Barrett… I just loved seeing, and hearing, all the Star Trek characters she played over the years.)

We were even able to get a dose of Star Trek as we flew across the Pacific Ocean when we migrated to New Zealand. My father was already in New Zealand, but my mother and I flew a month later. (Dad had moved a month before school had finished for the year, and it was my 5th grade year. Last year in elementary. I had to finish the year out. I begged to finish the year out.) Anyway, Voyage Home was our in-flight movie. This is back in the day when it was a single screen in the middle of the plane and you have to plug in headphones to hear it. There was only one movie option; if you didn’t like it — tough. Mom and I liked it, so we weren’t complaining. It was the second time I had seen it.

This little piece of memorabilia was given to me for my 21st -- the perfect give for an engineering graduate who was a fan of Star Trek. It's embossed with the StarFleet seal and everything. One day, I'll get it framed, but I'm not in a rush. And if I ever get it signed... there is only one actor that will be allowed to sign this baby.
This little piece of memorabilia was given to me for my 21st — the perfect gift for an engineering graduate who was a fan of Star Trek. It’s embossed with the StarFleet seal and everything. One day, I’ll get it framed, but I’m not in a rush. And if I ever get it signed… there is only one actor that will be allowed to sign this baby.

The Klingon warbird had lost its power and was coming in for a crash landing. The officers at Starfleet were staring out the window toward the San Francisco Harbor, and… The movie was turned off. The entire plane erupted. “HEY!” Mom and I laughed. We honestly thought we were the only ones awake watching the film. I think the stewardesses were thinking the same thing. Boy, were we wrong. They got the film going again, and we got to watch the crash landing from the beginning.

(Of all the movies, I have to admit Voyage Home is my favorite. I can just imagine what it would be like to have someone from the future suddenly immersed in our culture and trying to pick up the slang. It still makes me laugh.)

TNG first aired when I was teen. Every week, my parents and I would sit and watch the latest episode. It was a ritual. The opening credits would start with Patrick Stewart saying those famous lines: Space… The final frontier…  All three of us would join in, practically shouting. Then we would sing the original theme song at the top of our lungs. We didn’t care that the theme song had changed. We were enjoying the moment.

Data had to be my favorite character from that particular series. He was just so innocent, but yet so complex. I never had a crush on any of those characters. I just loved them all. (Sorry to admit it: I actually cried when Data died in Nemesis.)

But of course, the family fun wasn’t limited to our lounge. When Generations came out, there was no question that we were going to see it on the big screen. (Big space battles just don’t have the same impact on a TV screen.) Opening credits and there is a small random object flying through space. My father started analyzing what it might be, listing off every single ship that he knew: the Romulans, the Klingons, the Vulcans, Starfleet. My mother said, “Nah, it’s a champagne bottle.” Of course, my father argued this point for the remainder of the credits. There was no way it was a champagne bottle. Let’s just say that I burst out laughing; so did everyone else around us that was in earshot of my father’s analysis.

DS9 and Voyager were next. My husband (then fiancee) had joined in on the Mohr-family rituals surrounding Star Trek, and he was just as into it as the rest of us.  So let’s just say that when my husband and I moved the Christchurch, we had to drive by Te Papa (the New Zealand National Museum) who were running an exhibit on Star Trek at the time. (So much fun.)

On a visit to Te Papa (New Zealand's National Museum) my husband (then fiancee) and I just had to go to the Star Trek exhibit. This was the only piece of memorabilia we got from that. I'm in the middle and Gijs is hiding behind Miles and Keira.
On a visit to Te Papa (New Zealand’s National Museum) my husband (then fiancee) and I just had to go to the Star Trek exhibit. This was the only piece of memorabilia we got from that. I’m in the middle and Gijs is hiding behind Miles and Keira.

Every movie since, my husband and I have done our best to go and see the movie in the cinema. It hasn’t always happened (when you have young children and no family in the same city, getting out can be a chore). However, our son has also developed a taste for Star Trek. When we were displaced from our home while it was repaired from the quake damage, we spent 3 weeks watching old episodes from the various series, including Enterprise.

The new movie is coming out mid-July, just in time for mine and my husband’s birthdays. Guess how we’ll be celebrating. However, I’ll gladly forgo the popcorn.

(Featured Image: The original USS Enterprise: NCC-1701. Photo credit: theatlantic.com)


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

My Birthday Wish

Today, I celebrate my 40th birthday. It’s a big one and many have asked me exactly how I intend to celebrate. For some bizarre reason, all I want is quiet and seclusion. I don’t want to party. I would love just to sit and read — or write. I want the quiet me time.

But in case I get the cake, I’ve forced myself to think of what might be my birthday wish.

If we are looking at materialistic things, I wish I could have a new phone. I want the latest and greatest — a phone that I could actually take decent photos with and share them with my family and friends. It was one of the reasons that I bought a smartphone all those years ago, but my phone is so old that it can’t cope with any form of internet or social media now and the camera on it… Well, we won’t even discuss that.

If the wish is to be the non-materialistic kind but goal driven, then I would love to have snagged myself an agent for my high fantasy novel. Publication is the ultimate dream and I know I will get there eventually, but exactly when or how is the big question. Everything I do on social media (be it here on this blog, on Twitter or Facebook) is working toward that goal, setting up an author’s platform. There is so much to do. Meanwhile, regardless what happens, I will continue to chip away at the various tasks.

I could wish for joy in life and world peace. Yeah, right… I might be all peace loving, but I’m still selfish.

So what could be a perfect birthday wish? You know what… I think I’ll forego the birthday wish all together. I have all the things that I could actually wish for and the added things that I want in life, I’m working my ass off to achieve those goals. All I want for this birthday is quiet and a good book to read.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Juno and Radio

Last week, I was invited to talk about NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter on AOTR The Jen and Rick Show, an Internet radio show on K98Talk. The links to the show are found below.

 

In my preparation for the show, I realised that not many of my readers, or the listeners of the radio show,  will necessary know why Jupiter is so important to astronomers and our understanding of our planet. As such, I’ve decided that I need put my PhD in Astronomy to good use and start a new blog series about Jupiter and what NASA is attempting to do with the Juno mission.

The outer planets have always held a level of mystic over astronomers and scientists. Here we have four gas giant planets, each of them with unknown structures. (Sorry, folks, this does not include Pluto. Besides, Pluto is not a planet anymore, but that will be the subject of a future post.) What is in the core of the planets? Why is there such diversity in the moons around these planets? Why is there a vast difference between the outer planets and the inner planets?

The only thing we know with any certainty is that the differences in our solar system is a result of what happened during the birth of our solar system. But here’s the real issue. All our years of ground-based observations of Jupiter had led to assumptions that proved to be wrong by the Galileo mission during 1995 through 2003. We learned so much about Jupiter, but we also were left with more questions.

This image of Jupiter and its moons Io and Ganymede was acquired by amateur astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 12, 2010, when Jupiter was close to opposition. South is up and the "Great Red Spot" is visible in the image. Ground-based astronomy will play a vital role in the success of NASA's Juno mission. (Image Credit: NASA/Damian Peach)
This image of Jupiter and its moons Io and Ganymede was acquired by amateur astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 12, 2010, when Jupiter was close to opposition. South is up and the “Great Red Spot” is visible in the image. Ground-based astronomy will play a vital role in the success of NASA’s Juno mission. (Image Credit: NASA/Damian Peach)

Jupiter is believe to be among the first of the planets formed in our solar system, with evidence that the cloud atmosphere has a similar composition to that found in the Sun. In fact, it is believed that if Jupiter had been 80 times bigger, it could have been a star too. But there are still too many things that we don’t know about Jupiter. Is there any water in those cloud formations? Does Jupiter have a solid core? And what about the strong magnetic fields that surround the planet? It is these questions and others that Juno was sent to find the answers to.

Juno, named after the Roman goddess and wife of Jupiter, was launched on August 5, 2011. Nearly five years in space, and it successfully made insertion into Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. As I write this post, Juno will be performing a series of start-up sequences, restarting the science instruments and running its systems through a series of calibration and operational tests. On August 27, 2016, Juno is expected to do another close pass of the planet, science instruments on and a preview of what we can expect of the future science orbits. It’s an exciting, but nervous, wait.

The satellite itself is an instrument worth marveling about — its a system of firsts. Not only is Juno solar powered, the first solar-powered spacecraft to venture out so far from Earth, but it also has a number of components on-board that were 3D printed in Titanium, including the Titanium vault used for radiation shielding the science instruments. But one of the things that I mentioned during the radio show was its power consumption.

With all the instruments on-board, Juno was designed to operated on only 500W of power. You read that correctly, folk. Only 500W.(However, I may have said 5000W on the radio show, but still…) The average light bulb used for domestic purposes is a 50-60W bulb. Meaning that Juno uses the same power that it takes to light 10 bulbs. Many of us would struggle in a big way to power our homes on such low power consumption rates, yet NASA engineers and the team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory succeeded to design a complex system that could do just that.

2001: A Space Odyssey actually set at Saturn

The famous movie 2001: A Space Odyssey depicted a story of a team on a mission to Jupiter to study a monolith orbiting the gas giant. Ironically, the book by Arthur C Clarke, written concurrently during filming of the movie and published shortly after the movie’s release, had the monolith in orbit around Saturn. In a preamble to the book 2010: Odyssey Two, Arthur C Clarke commented about this confusion and explains why he shifted the story to around Jupiter for the sequels.

The Juno mission will continue for another 19 months, and it will take many years for all the data to be fully analysed. So much to do.

As the Juno mission progresses, expect to see more posts from me about Jupiter and Juno, along with some of the other missions that NASA is up to. As I said above, it’s time to put my PhD in Astronomy to use.

More information about the Juno mission to Jupiter can be found here.

(Featured Image Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

It’s July and I’m still here…

I can’t believe that it’s July already. Half of 2016 is gone. So it might be an idea to review where I’m at with the goals that I’d set myself at the start of the year.

I had announced my 2016 writing-related goals publicly in a post on Black Wolf where I spoke about the merits of making goals and what they can do for you. That post can be found here. As part of that post, I included my own goals, so here’s the rundown as to where everything is at.

  1. Finish the final lot of edit on my fantasy novel and start querying again.
    • Novel is done, edited and polished. Query letter written and edited. Synopsis written and edited. Submission packet ready to go. Now I need to do the research into agents and proceed from there. (I’m contemplating entering into #PitchWars with it. We’ll see.)
  2. Get in place a publication plan for my first novel. This includes snagging myself an agent.
    • Yeah, this was my big bad. When I was posting the original post, I realised that I had already completed this particular task because of the way I had actually worded it. I already have a publication plan and it does include snagging myself an agent. DOH!!!
  3. Finish the first draft of the first novel in my collaborative writing project
    • My good writing buddy, Ann Bell Feinstein, and I intend to work on this during July/August. We recently completed a short story that we submitted to an anthology using the same world and characters, an attempt to see if we are on the same page with the characterizations. Good news… We are. Now to get writing.
    • The story will be written under the pen name of Syrese Smalt. We need to update the website and start making ourselves active on social media, but things are happening.
  4. Get the word out about Black Wolf Editorial Services and obtain more clients.
    • It’s a slow process, but the clients are starting to come in. Word is spreading. I’ve been presenting at workshops, writing blog posts on Black Wolf, and have been invited to participate on an internet radio show. The world is my oyster and I’m loving it.
  5. Obtain more inspirational art by Andrei Kope.
    • Before I can do this, I need to work out what images I actually want. I better get writing.
  6. Finish the first draft of my second high-fantasy novel.
    • I had originally planned to finish this by the end of June, but I got sidetracked by editing for clients and my first novel. That’s okay. I still have another 6 months left in the year.

I have other writing projects that have also cropped up during the last 6 months and I’m excited about them all. Things are happening, and I feel that I’m on track. The trick is to not lose sight of the ultimate dream. Everything is a small step toward that ultimate goal.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Writer of High Fantasy & Science Fiction, Freelance Editor, and just plain crazy

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