writing

  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • July 3, 2017

    What Gets You Up in the Morning?

    Sometimes I have too much time on my hands; sometimes I never seem to have enough. I don’t know, I can be a big procrastinator. But I can be so crazy-focused on the job at hand that I won’t rest until it’s done. Go figure. I love to exercise, and I love to write. And most of the time I get to do both. But there are times when I go through periods that I won’t do both. I don’t know why. Anyway, I wake up one morning and all of a sudden I’m driven again to work on my body and my books! I know it may seem weird but it’s me. What can I say? And when the writing gets ratcheted up, I feel amazing. I like that amazing feeling. I suppose that’s what gets me up in the morning. That promise that today I will create something new and awesome! With that in mind, here are few things you can do to help motivate you in the morning to be productive: Get up early. Yep! That’s a oldie but a goodie. Getting up early will always make you feel more alive and in touch with the day to follow. Even if you stayed up late, it’s better to sacrifice a little sleep for a more productive day. And, you will “hit the sheets” a little earlier that night! Have your coffee before your morning workout. That’s what I do. Some people will hold off until after their workout but I really need a jolt of java to get me going, and get me downstairs to my home gym. Also, get a coffee maker with a auto-timer/brew function. You’ll be so glad that you came out to the kitchen with a hot freshly brewed pot of JOE waiting for...
  • Not too long ago I entered into a very special writing contest: 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest hosted by Arizona State University. Not only was it a good way to jump start my writing that had been a little stale lately but also it was an opportunity to have my work read by one of my favorite Science Fiction authors: Kim Stanley Robinson! As from the Wikipedia link above details, Robinson is one of the greatest modern sci-fi authors and overall fiction authors of the 21st century. His books are both captivating and epic in scale. He covers every aspect of a topic with the utmost dedication. For example, his pan-Antarctic adventure, ANTARCTICA, was so incredibly precise due to the fact that he actually spent 6 months down there and almost lost his hand due to frostbite while writing this amazing book. His Mars Trilogy (RED MARS, GREEN MARS, and BLUE MARS) are Hugo award-winning seminal works that are considered the most accurate fictional account, scientifically speaking, of what it would truly be like to explore and terraform the planet Mars. His take of ecological science that pervades all of his books are the final word in how to write about climate change. But Robinson never lets the science, politics, or plot get in the way of writing about some of the most amazing characters in the genre. So when I found out that HE was judging the contest, I had to…had too…submit a story! So I wrote one called: THE NITRITE PARADOX. In a future Earth where humanity is all but extinct. Those scant few that remain, live on a mostly lifeless world that seems destined for sterilization. This is the lonely story of Millie Li. An aging Asian-American woman who struggles to plant her garden in the...