Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Plant People Are Coming!

Actually, they're already here. Most of my friends and followers know I have a small big obsession with weird and wonderful plants. So not many would be surprised that this post - 10 Creepy Plants That Shouldn't Exist - was an instant must-read for me. Some might be surprised that even I struggled to find some of the plants beautiful. Bleeding Tooth Fungus. The Doll's Eye. And the Cedar-Apple Rust Fungus. Weird definitely (although I'm going to admit to loving the Chinese Black Batflowers). Anyone looking for inspiration for alien and or gruesome flora could certainly find it here.

But one plant on the list just seemed a step beyond reality - the Chinese Fleeceflower. Now I know that there are often photos whizzing around the internet of plants shaped like people (or more often of a certain body part, ahem). But this isn't just a one-off humorous coincidence. No. The plant typically looks like a human being, and often a particularly well-endowed male one.

Of course, these aren't sentient. They aren't going to start walking around and taking over the planet. But there are plants that can move. Venus Flytraps, Sundews, the Mimosa plant that folds its leaves when touched, and various tropical vines that grow so fast you can watch them doing it. Plants will move themselves toward sunlight. It isn't a huge leap of the imagination to thinking about a sentient form of plant life existing. If one doesn't evolve here, then perhaps elsewhere it already has.

Sentient alien life forms that are plants aren't a new idea. Zhaan from Farscape, Jabe (a humanoid plant being from the Forest of Cheem) and the Vervoids from Doctor Who, and even Flora and the Monster Minds from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (anyone remember that?) had human-looking intelligent plant life.  So imagine these strange human-looking Chinese fleeceflowers developing the ability to move, and perhaps to think, and an intelligent race of plants doesn't seem too farfetched. As long as the triffids don't come first...

Pippa's Journal

I had a lot of trouble sitting on this one yesterday, but I have an exclusive cover reveal for Spacefreighters Lounge - for my sfr short story Terms & Conditions Apply. Ta dah!


What do you think? Isn't it pretty?! This was done by the oh so talented Danielle Fine, who was my editor for Keir at Lyrical Press Inc.  She's now free-lancing - doing covers, book trailers and editing - and she currently has my story in her queue for edits. So no release date as yet, but I just couldn't wait to show off the cover. :)

So why am I self-publishing this instead of submitting it? Well, I did consider submitting. The story was originally written for Misa Buckley's planned Venus Ascendant anthology, which unfortunately never launched. I wanted to self-publish another short story earlier this year (Samaritan), but after receiving some feedback on it via Critique Circle, I decided it needed a lot more work and put it back into the WIP pile. T&C started to play on my mind. I considered rewriting some of the elements that removing the canon for Venus Ascendant would entail, but after a discussion with Misa, she graciously gave me permission to use those elements. I could probably have found a publisher for it (oh, the arrogance! No, seriously, there were several options for submitting it) but 40% of a short story sale isn't very much. I love the bit of creative control I have from self-publishing shorts while submitting my novel-length works to publishers, so it seemed more practical to do this one myself.

The one thing I decided I would do is that I would be charging for this short, unlike The Bones of the Sea (which I self-published last year). That is, and always will be, a free story. T&C is three times the length of Bones, and will be professionally edited - and with its beautiful cover - so I feel putting a price on it is justified. And with Gethyon contracted by Champagne Books for a release date of June 2013, that will give me four titles out in the world by this time next year. Not bad for someone who sat and started writing their first full length sfr novel just three years ago this month.

But before you think I'm too busy patting myself on the back, I do have one confession. I didn't complete Camp Nanowrimo. Between children home for the school holidays, having my other half home for two weeks of that, the arrival of the contract, and much other excitment, When Dark Falls sidled to a stop at 29,427 words. I'm happy with that word count, although I would have liked to complete it. Ah well, maybe next year...


  1. Once, while working in a restaurant as a cook, I encountered a parsnip shaped like a horned Satan. It had a massive phallus and had spread-eagled arms as if it was being crucified. I hung it up in the kitchen and kept it there until it started to smell funny. I loved that parsnip!

    Your cover is just lovely. Best of luck with sales!

    1. That sounds like some parsnip! But that's the kind of thing I would have done with it too. :P Thanks, Diane.

  2. Just as long as poison ivy doesn't pick up roots and start chasing us, we should be okay. But that thing IS creepy looking! Sure wouldn't want to find it in MY garden!

  3. How exciting, Pippa! Many congrats and kudos. Great cover. Can't wait to snap this one up.

    Ohhhhh, and I LUV the Chinese Fleeceflower man. Looks like a giant voodoo doll on Viagra! Definitely some creep factor involved there.

    I once read a SF novel with a hero who lived on a jungle planet with all sorts of nasty critters. His species developed an interdependence with another that were like green apes who would be born at the same time as a human partner and pair up with them throughout their life to help them survive. At the very end of the book, the reader discovered the green apes were really plants...a sort of gift from the jungle. (If anyone remembers what novel this was, please let me know. I read it as a kid and haven't been able to find it.)

    I think the capabilities of some flora species and how humans interact with them can make for some fascinating SF/R stories. Hmmm, like Little Shop of Horrors? :)

  4. Donna - imagine how great it would be to dig one up for Halloween though. :)
    Thanks, Laurie. I'm hoping to get this one out before the end of the year, but we'll see. As for the plants - wouldn't that be great for voodoo!


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