Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest by the debut author Amber Bird.

About the author:

Amber Bird is a writer, a rockstar, and a scifi girl. She is the author of the Peaceforger books, the front of post-punk/post-glam band Varnish, and an unabashed geek. An autistic introvert who found that music, books, and gaming saved her in many ways throughout her life, she writes (books, poems, lyrics, blogs) and makes music in hopes of adding to someone else's escape or rescue. And, yes, she was on that Magic card.

About Peace Fire:

In 2050, the world is a little denser, a little greyer, and a little more firmly under the corporate thumb. Wriggling carefully under that thumb, in their dimly lit flats, Katja and her friends have tended to walk the fine line between cyber criminals and cyber crusaders. For them, no physical reality compares to their lives built on lines of aggressive code.

But then somebody blows up the office where Katja is pretending to be a well-behaved wage slave and jolts them into the concrete and clouds of corporeal Seattle. Of brains infiltrated by a clandestine threat.

Can a handful of digital warriors win a war that stretches into the world on the flesh and blood side of their computer screens?

"A smart, fun, fierce tale of geek revolution and high-stakes adventure." - Ernest Cline, Bestselling Author of Ready Player One


Book trailer: https://youtu.be/cwC-le5hFT8

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Fire-Peaceforgers-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01IKACZOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475875734&sr=8-1&keywords=Peace+fire

Website: http://amberbird.com/

GUEST POST: Brains Go Banzai! by Amber Bird

I was lucky to grow up with Buckaroo Banzai as a part of my geek hero pantheon. I was even luckier to have a copy of the novelization (by Earl Mac Rauch), which added important details and got into some of the philosophies of the Banzai Institute. One of the philosophies is “the Three Bs,” which posited that the bus, the bath, and the bed are where all great discoveries are made. (In their case, the bus is how this group of rockstar scientists tours.) They were talking science, but I think all of us creators will agree this applies to art as well.

One problem with being creative is that there often seems no time to do your creative work and also do everything else you’re supposed to as an adult human. You cut down sleep and speed through showers (baths take too long) and…I mean, I guess maybe you tour less if you have a band that’s doing that, but you also maybe spend your travel time trying to make phone calls or (hopefully when you aren’t the driver) reply to emails. We live in a world that is 100% GO!GO!GO! and that can leave us feeling either uninspired or like we’ve got no way to work out the details for our projects.

Fortunately for me, right before I wrote Peace Fire, my first novel, a few things happened that slowed me down and made me take more time. I got an autism diagnosis, which made me stop to examine the way that my life was structured to make me less functional, and I wrapped up a writing project, which left me with more time. I was suddenly prioritizing sleep better, which meant that I wasn’t so utterly wrecked that I fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow. I wasn’t treating showers as a desperate obstacle to scramble over as quickly as possible on my way to my day. There wasn’t a bus habit to change, but I could justify stopping whatever I was doing to just eat, not multi-task through meals.

Suddenly, I found that my muse was back. Back as I tried to fall asleep and my mind flooded with new ideas or with realizations of things that needed to be fixed or added to the story. Back as I played out scenes over and over in my head whilst I ate and found the sticky bits so that I had to restrain myself from diving for the keys until a meal was over. Back as showers became prime inspiration time. I probably owe neighbors an apology for the times I shouted, “Oh, yes! That! Yes!” at a new idea. Special apologies to the ones whose windows face mine. I imagine your toddler saw me rushing to my computer in nothing but a towel many, many mornings lest I forget some perfect phrasing or idea that I couldn’t believe was in my head.

Of course, at this point, I assume they’re used to it. Though I’m better at closing the blinds before I shower. Better at keeping a pad and pen by the bed and in the kitchen. I’m still shouting random things, sometimes sweary, in my excitement however...

There’s science behind this, of course. Our brains need stillness to create. Our brains need spare cycles to process. But most of us have been sucked into the culture of busy-ness that seems to have taken over a few countries. We are only of worth if we are demonstrably busy. I’ve had friends who are writers for employers who install key trackers so that they can punish employees who aren’t literally pushing the keys every second of the work day. And I know that plenty of us, after a brutal chunk of hours at the day job, come home to turn on the TV and give our brains a rest whilst keeping our homes noisy in a way that doesn’t have room even if our brains want to work.

But if you want to create, you need to believe this: There is more to writing than pressing the keys on your keyboard. There’s a whole list of things that are writing (that I seem to keep having reasons to remind people of), and one of those things is giving yourself those times when there is nothing your brain needs to actively work on so that it can tell you all its ideas. So that it can chew on problems and play through scenarios.

I know that finding the time and energy are hard, and I’m not big on guilt, so I’ll just say that studies have shown that even 5 minutes of daily meditation time has positive mental effects. Maybe just 5 minutes of letting your brain have no demands will start you and your muse talking again.

Right now, my Three B’s are the bath, the bed, and…the breakfast (the buffet? the bread? the belly-filling?). If you want to reconnect with what’s in you, whether you’re creative or not, find a few B’s of your own. In the stillness, your brain will thank you.

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