About The First Book

Wrenched awake by a nightmare, Antonia’s world collapses around her. Only twenty and newlywed, the devastation leaves her heart as bleak a prospect as the city where she’s built her life. The loss of her family, and her husband Pedro’s head injury, leave her isolated in an increasingly hostile world. Camping on the street with refugees and tormented by thoughts of what her family must have endured as they perished, another dream sweeps her away to a beautiful new world. 
In Nevada, Brian has isolated himself in the desert, and is soloing on a project that should be done with a team of six. Haunted by a beautiful dream, he searches the web at night and discovers he's not the only one. 
Nearby on Twin Peaks, Charlie Teng tries to hold his family together in the face of three tragedies, little realizing this last one will cause his path to cross a dreamer's, changing their lives forever. 

Shimrit Hanes’ debut novel transports the reader into an exciting, plausible world.  
Antonia’s journey to join The Dreamers and colonize a new world is fraught with dangers and tension. 
Hanes is a gifted storyteller who delivers realistic characters I care about and a world I want to explore. Looking forward to book 2. 
Terri Gillespie 

Terri is the award-winning author of Making Eye Contact with God, She Does Good Hair, and CUT IT OUT! www.authorterrigillespie.com 


All Things 'Terra Colony'

Book 2 Manuscript Finished! 

The manuscript for book two, ‘Flight of the EsCargo’ is finished! 

I’m now working hard editing it. I decided to do the book in two parts, rather than have it as long as book one ‘The Dreamers’ (400+ pages!) and have it another six to eight months late on the goal I set for its release. My goal was to have it finished by October 1st, but I don’t want to put out a less than excellent book, and matching ‘The Dreamers’ quality is important to me, so I’m hoping to have it out by November first. I’m also working on the cover design and I’m in a good place to do that! I have a household full of people that I can use to stage it, illustrating one of the exciting scenes from the book for the cover.  

            Book two overlaps book one, from the point of view of two members of the Teng Clan, a Chinese American family who five generations ago fled China to find religious freedom in the USA. Mark and Emily Teng are chosen to help staff the last training year for the final colony ship of the five ships launching, the EsCargo.  

Meanwhile a young, depressed ‘wealthie,’ Daxton, feels purposeless and empty. After experiencing the violence outside the safety of the Arroyo Del Mar compound, he decides on an adventure! He’ll stowaway on the last ship. In his words, “How long will it be before the violence spills over the compounds walls?” and “What is there here for us anyway?” He and his childhood friend Charlotte convince several other college friends to join them. 

I'm having fun editing, refining and streamlining it. New things are added as needed to focus a scene, others are subtracted to get rid of unnecessary fluff and distractions that make the storyline drag. It can be a fun process.

Writing Christian Sci-Fi: When Imagination Takes Flight and Characters Change Your Script!  

I had an incredible writing day not too long ago. I got two chapters written that day and something unexpected transpired in my story! I was staging a rescue operation in one of the Earth Terra villages when a long-lost sister to one of my side characters (a rescue crew security team member) showed up and caused a future shift in my story line that will change something major. I didn’t even know that she had a long-lost sister when I started writing the chapter. 

This is something that happens now and then in a writer’s day and brings joy to our hearts. It’s an unanticipated reward in the writing process. Think about it. When I have a story in mind, it already has a sketched outline. I just have to flesh it out and breathe life into the characters as they move through their pre-planned action. To have something happen that wasn’t planned, is like having an actor suddenly begin to ad-lib, creating a scene that’s not in the script. 

This can be good or bad, depending on how you, the director, look at it. If it’s brilliant, it’s a welcome blast of cool air on a sweltering summer day. It can also be completely extraneous and take away from the story as a whole, but even that is not a loss or waste of time. A new story can be woven from it, or, as I will do, it can add an element that changes everything for a major character, or characters down the road. 

I march forward, pen in hand. (That sounds more poetic than ‘laptop on table.’ Besides, who can march with an open laptop?) Completing a chapter here, reading aloud to my hubby and editing there. The work moves forward toward the release date in October. Will she finish in time? Time will tell!

The Fine Line Between Science Fiction and Fantasy 

Before we look at where one leaves off and the other begins, let’s define each of these terms.  

Oxford Dictionaries defines Sci-fi as:  

Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.  

I found a good brief description of Fantasy on Wikipedia.  

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore.  

Of course, there are fantasy books that bring magic, myth, and folklore into our world too. So, a fictional universe isn’t a necessity. A fantasy world can be an alternate universe as in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The clever author can invent his/her own mythology.  

Where the lines tend to blur is in a story where the supposed science bends into the scientifically impossible. Invented technologies that break or bend the laws of physics, such as, a spaceship that flies through a black hole and survives, as I once saw in a Disney film, I can’t remember the title of. (Comment below if you remember it!) The writers of hard science fiction shake their heads at such impossible scenarios. Space travel also gives the writer an opportunity to create new worlds. This is another place where imaginative fantasy kicks hard science into the back seat.

Authors have fun blending the probable with the improbable and that’s what makes the fluidity between genres so much fun! Most books include sub-themes such as romance, and adventure, to round them out and make the story more interesting and attractive to a wider audience. I did this in book 1 The Dreamers with minor adventures such as Antonia’s escape, and the battles with the rovers in San Francisco and Oregon, plus a romantic element as Antonia and Brian’s relationship deepens through their common struggles.  

The science fiction aspect was challenging as I looked at how progress historically happens in waves. How much farther along will we truly be in one hundred years? I pondered. In some books you have a radical difference in all areas, innovative technology affecting many areas of peoples lives; flying cars, spaceships that can travel faster than the speed of light, neural/brain implants that allow people to learn exponentially. Also changes in culture and fashion from a turn back to more primitive wear in time travel sci-fi to wild extremes as we saw in The Hunger Games. But, there are some important things to consider.  

How would people react to some of these changes. In the future will people allow themselves to be altered (neural or brain implants) if it also means allowing intrusion/hacking into their minds? Would convenience trump independence? I don’t think so. Would I accept transplant organs or distilled life essence to extend my life indefinitely from unwilling donors, or prisoners of conscience? There are some advances that raise moral, privacy, and personal freedom issues.  

It’s very unrealistic to imagine a Utopian society where these issues would not be raised, where these advances would not lead to abuses with no rebellion or push-back. Many novels raise these issues as the core good versus evil theme popular in much of our modern fare.  

For me, I wanted to be as realistic as possible, but also raise the issues. It’s a small subplot within my first book, but it’s there. I didn’t want my future world to be unrecognizable. I don’t believe it will be as different as a hundred years back. Look at how clothing has developed throughout history. It went from comfortable and useful in more primitive cultures, to ridiculous, fluffy, and completely impractical, and back to simple and comfortable, with the more ridiculous and impractical used only for special occasions, rebellion against the standard, or questionable occupations.  

I believe the comfortable and practical has won out and is here to stay. So, I didn’t change clothing. Too many prefer natural fibers for those to pass away as many people thought would happen when synthetics made their debut. I foresee technology continuing to improve on what is now being developed, but things will slow down as economic downturns play a big part and affordability becomes an issue. So the world I created in Dreamers, is not that much different than ours. Just more of the ugliness that is already spreading like a cancer. 

Transportation is bound to change, as well as leaps in space travel. I don’t believe there will ever be a big colonization of Mars or the moon. Conditions are too severe there, and accidents always life threatening. But small research facilities manned by rotating personnel are more probable.  

Balancing practicality, a dose of tragedy seasoned with love, fun, and good science is part of the genre. I enjoy novels that blur the lines between sci-fi and fantasy.

More About Book Two ~ Flight of the EsCargo 

Book one was so much fun, and so fulfilling to me. It was the book that launched an author, me! Now I'm working on book two of the Terra Colony Project series, and having as much fun with this one as I had with book one The Dreamers. 

I just finished chapter eight, and though it's been tough as my time is very limited and divided between my writing and other responsibilities. I have one day a week to write, Sunday, and sometimes I can grab time in the early mornings on weekdays. If I can hammer out two chapters a week, I should be able to get book two released by the first of October, which is my goal. 

Book two is called: The Flight of the EsCargo. A tongue in cheek reference to the fact that this last Colony ship in the Terra Colony Project's five, has the fewest colonists and more cargo than the first four, also that it is the last ship to leave Earth for Terra. 

In this part of the saga a college student from the highest social strata, a "Wealthie." Forms a group of troubled Wealthies, with a famous surgeon's daughter who's life is ruined when her father refuses to perform an elective abortion, and a couple of brilliant "Mids" (lower middle-class) students from his college to try the 'heist of the century'. They will perform a disappearing act, by stowing away on the EsCargo. 

They need to hack into both Frontier Space shipbuilders, and the TCP's databases, break into a protected warehouse, and figure out how to survive in crates in a cargo hold for long enough that sending them back will be impossible. Can this rag-tag group of college kids pull it off? They have to, once they've begun, there's no turning back!

Book Two the the Terra Colony Project Series 

I hate to admit it, but this past two months have been a struggle to make time to write! I want to be working on book two now, but I must have a webpage to list in the Book Club webpage I'm trying to list book one 'The Dreamers' on. Is that sad? No. It's just the life of an author which I am learning the ropes of as I go. I'm writing this blog for my Amazon Author page, which I'm working on to use as an Author web-page till I can get an actual web-page.

I was so excited to steal some time while sitting in the doctor's office on Tuesday, waiting for mom to be seen. I actually got one sentence written! Yes, over three different moments being shuffled from one place to another, I started a sentence, added to the sentence, it was clumsy, so I rewrote the sentence. I got home and started dinner for the family, then sat down while the things that take longer to cook cooked and wrote a whole paragraph! Whoot!

I kept at it between adding new things to my two burner stove and switching out the done food to the microwave to stay warm. Then I'd sit back down and write another paragraph.

After dinner it was time to get mom to her trailer and to bed. She doesn't need help with everything and I'd carried my laptop with me, so I wrote another couple of paragraphs finishing the scene. I even started scene two between spurts of care-giving. Soon mom was tucked in, clean and happy. We prayed together and then I carted my laptop back to our RV. I didn't want to stop, though I was tired and had a busy day planned with an early morning dentist appointment for mom. I set my laptop on the table and wrote scene two till one am.

Did you know, no, of course you didn't, ...I wrote my first book primarily on my iphone while we drove from here to there. We live in the country and most of the places we have to go are at least a half hour away. I got most of my writing done on long trips to visit our kids and grandkids and on plane trips. Am I passionate about my books and my writing? It amazes me the desire and passion I have for writing. Once I began my first book, I was on fire. I loved it, every minute of it.

So here I am with one published work and a start on the second. Did I ever have aspirations to write? No. Never did I dream of a writing career. I liked writing poetry as a child, which turned into songwriting. That was my only writing experience, except for creative writing assignments in school. I did enjoy those. They were the only homework I ever did. Hmmmm...