plants on an alien planet

I am a botanist, so when I write about the alien planet Meniscus, it is only logical that I should populate the planet with lots of plant-like species.

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A few of my characters are also interested in the plant-life. Odymn, my parkour-loving protagonist, wants to be able to live off the land, so she samples a tiny bit of every plant she finds and has gathered a considerable list of edibles (do not do this at home!). Madoline, who loves to cook, is interested in the edibles as well, since she can put them in her delicious stews. She is also interested in poisonous plants since she hates the local aliens; by Book Five, she has a reputation as Nan’math Madoline (Madoline the Contaminator), poisoner of hundreds of Dock-winders and Gel-heads. Kathryn, an artist, is interested in plants because they are great subjects for her drawings.

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Odymn shows Madoline the toxic plant ‘dagger-drip’

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As Kathryn drew more and more plants to illustrate the Meniscus books, I got the idea of creating a Flora of Meniscus. For the last few weeks, Kathryn and I have been drawing new plants, adding colour using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and thinking about plants on other planets.

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‘find-a-way’ vine

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Are these classifiable as plants? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But to the Humans, the non-botanists of Themble Hill, they look and act like plants.

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Why do ‘plants’ on Meniscus resemble plants on Earth? Since they do not know the local names for plants, the Humans name the plants they find by the names they know. So the slag-ferns look like ferns, but they may not be ‘ferns.’

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‘slag-fern’ looks like a fern, but may not be a ‘fern’

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The plants that populate Meniscus illustrate a principle in biology: ‘form follows function.’ Over and over again, living things solve problems in similar ways. So the slag-fern, needing to access sunlight for energy, maximizes leafy area, using a strategy common to ferns on Earth. The principles of parallel and convergent evolution are expressions of similar strategies (for an explanation of parallel and convergent evolution, see https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/convevol.htm )

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In creating a Flora of Meniscus, I have learned so much. First, I have realized that passing mention of a new plant by one of my characters can never hope to detail the morphology of the plant. As a writer, I need to have my characters pause and report the sights, smells and even sounds that characterize these plants. Secondly, publishing this Flora will mean I have to learn to work with colour in my publishing platform, KDP. And lastly, I know I can use the Flora as a method of keeping my descriptions consistent in future stories.

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At the rate I am working, I think the Flora of Meniscus may be out by the end of this year!

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I hope you enjoy these samples of a few of the coloured drawings.

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All my best!

Notice the plants around you!

Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane)

Meniscus: Meeting of Minds

When Daniel, the Slain, rescues his wife, Odymn, from the clutches of the Dock-winders, he is bewildered to discover: Odymn does not know him. She does does not remember the last twelve years of her life.

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For the reader, Meeting of Minds means seeing the alien planet of Meniscus through Odymn’s eyes as if for the first time.

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For those who have read the earlier books, this means knowing more than the protagonist. The reader knows Odymn should not wander by herself in the woodland. She should not eat that weird plant. Water will not go down the throat so easily as on Earth. If she only knew, she can trust Daniel, the Slain.

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For those who have not read the series before, this is a great book to break in to the story. You can see this weird, dangerous world through Odymn’s eyes and get to know the characters she meets.

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Meniscus: Meeting of Minds is the ninth book in the science fiction series. It is now available through Amazon (just click here) or, if you live in the Fredericton area, in Westminster Books.

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All my best,

Alexandra ( a.k.a. Jane)

Meeting of Minds

You wake.

You are in an unfamiliar world where the trees have glandular bark…

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and the plants on the forest floor drip acidic sap…

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there are two moons in the sky at night…

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you try to take a drink of water, but it effervesces in your throat and refuses to be swallowed…

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and the man beside you claims he is your husband, but you have never seen him before…

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you do have vague memories of a purple creature with a long neck, speaking in rapid clicks and consonants, stealing your memories…

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So you can empathize with Odymn,

and look forward to seeing how she reacts to the strange world of Meniscus…

A quick read, illustrated, lots of romance and adventure…

Meniscus: Meeting of Minds

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book nine of the Meniscus Science Fiction Series

a dystopian saga, on a planet far from home…

paperback or ebook available here

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all my best

Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane)

Reminder: Free e-book science fiction

Get your free e-ook copy of Meniscus: Oral Traditions on Amazon.com from December 7 (Monday) to December 11 (Friday). The book is written in narrative poetry and is illustrated with my drawings. It is a quick read and includes maps, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary. Just click here.

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This is a story about Tagret who is waking on the alien planet Meniscus for the first time. Perhaps strangest of all her encounters is with the Slain, Rist, who saves her from an unsavory attack by a Gel-head. Rist is likeable and someone Tagret thinks she could make a life with. But Rist has a secret.

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All my best. Hope you enjoy the story!

Alexandra ( a.k.a. Jane)

Free E-book Promotion: Break into the Science Fiction Series Meniscus

Want to give yourself a free gift during this Christmas season? If you are staying at home and would love some down-time with a good book, here is your opportunity.

The Meniscus Science Fiction Series follows the adventures of humans trying to build a life and a community in an alien, dystopian world. The first five books focus on Odymn and Daniel the Slain as they flee from the Dock-winders and find love in the strange Meniscus landscapes. Book 6 … Meniscus: Oral Traditions … introduces two new characters and the unique problem they encounter as they get to know one another in the streets of the alien city Sintha.

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The story focuses on Tagret, newly kidnapped from Earth, as she opens her eyes on Meniscus and tries to understand the weird world she discovers. A world where taking a drink of water is a challenge and the local sentients are purple Dock-winders and transparent green Gel-heads. Then she meets the Slain, Rist, and comes to understand what those tattoos on his arms really mean.

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Get your free ebook copy of Meniscus: Oral Traditions on Amazon.com from December 7 (Monday) to December 11 (Friday). The book is written in narrative poetry and is illustrated with my drawings. It is a quick read and includes maps, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary. Just click here.

Enjoy your reading.

All my best,

Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane)

Meniscus: The Knife now available in e-book

Meniscus: The Knife, next book in the science fiction series about planet Meniscus, is now available in paperback and e-book. Just click here to order the book on Amazon.

This is the story of Tagret and her quest to save Rist, the man she loves, from certain death at the hands of the Brotherhood.

On her journey, Tagret will encounter dangerous geysers and the half-inundated city of Nebul-nan. As always, the book includes maps, a glossary, a Gel-speak dictionary, a character guide and my original illustrations.

a map of Tagret’s travels

I hope you enjoy the book!

All my best,

Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane)

Meniscus: The Knife available today!

What is a Hooplore? Find out how the Hooplore help Tagret in her quest to find and save Rist. https://www.amazon.ca/Meniscus-Knife-Alexandra-Tims/dp/B08M2KBKN5

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Meniscus: The Knife science fiction adventure is available today from Amazon in paperback.

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I will have copies to distribute in the Fredericton, New Brunswick, area by November 20. If you prefer e-books, the Kindle version will be available by November 4.

All my best,

Alexandra Tims

a.k.a. Jane

New book in the Meniscus Series – available soon

The next book in the Meniscus Series will be available in six days. Meniscus: The Knife continues the story of Tagret and Rist. Tagret goes on a quest to rescue Rist from the Brotherhood.

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Tagret is brave and resourceful … armed with her knowledge of chemistry and her love for Rist, she will overcome the dangers of Meniscus and seek the help of some very unlikely allies to rescue Rist and bring him home.

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In this book you will get a better look at the Hooplore. Shaped like forkfuls of spaghetti and able to communicate telepathically, the Hooplore will show up just when circumstances are desperate.

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Meniscus: The Knife is the 8th in the science fiction series.

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Meniscus: The Knife will be available October 30, 2020 on Amazon. The countdown is on!

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All my best,

stay safe,

Alexandra ( a.k.a. Jane)

Meniscus: The Knife … Getting the cover ready!

The next book in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series will be released in October. Meniscus: The Knife is ready to go, except for my two scheduled beta-reads and format of the final cover.

The theme for the cover comes from a drawing I did for Meniscus: Oral Traditions. The drawing shows a trio of Dock-winders and a lone Hooplore travelling towards the mountains known as The Flames and The Knife. A lot of my new book takes place on the road to Nebul-nan.

The temporary cover for Meniscus: The Knife shows this drawing.

Today, I finished the painting based on the drawing. It still needs the touch of a professional photographer but this is a poor photo of the finished painting.

And here is what it will look like on the final cover.

Meniscus: The Knife tells the story of Tagret’s quest to find Rist and rescue him from the Brotherhood. Lots of action, twists and turns. The book also includes the story of Don’est (a Dock-winder child) and her quest to fit in with the Humans of Themble Hill.

Soon I’ll post the release date for Meniscus: The Knife.

Stay safe!

All my best!

Alexandra ( a.k.a. Jane)

Next book in the Meniscus Series… Meniscus: The Knife

The next book in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series is in production. Meniscus: The Knife has been written and edited and is in the process of illustration. The book will be available by October 1, 2020.

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first eight books (2)

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Meniscus: The Knife continues the story of Tagret and Rist. Tagret sets off on a dangerous and deadly mission to rescue Rist who she knows is in trouble. Only her skills as a chemist will make Tagret’s journey possible. And if she finds Rist, can she save him from the terrible justice of the Fraternity?

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knife romance split ~

Keep checking, as I will be publishing some of the illustrations for the story here at offplanet.

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All my best, Alexandra