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Time Travel Stories Never Account for This One Thing

Don’t be surprised to see flashing lights behind you and hear a police siren while you read this blog post. And it’s not because that slightly illegal prank you pulled in your youth has finally caught up with you.

You’re speeding.

Yep. Sitting in your chair, sipping your coffee or munching on your favorite snack, you are moving at a pretty ridiculous clip.

We experience day and night because the Earth rotates. Being an inhabitant of the Earth and subject to its gravity, that means we are spinning along with it. Standing at the equator, you would be moving at the rate of just over 1,000 miles per hour. In the middle latitudes, where most of the human population resides, it’s roughly two-thirds of that, or six-t0-seven hundred miles an hour.

And your mom always complained about you being so slow to get ready for school in the morning!

We can’t stop there, though. We all know the Earth revolves around the sun. How fast does it have to move to do so? Pretty damn fast, as it turns out. In order for the Earth to make a complete trip around the sun in the span of a year, at a distance of ninety-three million miles away from the burning ball of hydrogen, it has to move approximately 66,000 miles per hour.

You’re really booking it! No wonder the cops are after you!

But, back to the headline of this post: time travel. Why is this movement through space important?

Let’s look at one of the most famous examples of time travel from popular culture: Doc Brown’s first experiment with Einstein the dog in Back to the Future.Bf1firetrails In the movie, Doc sends his pooch, strapped into the famous DeLorean, one minute into the future to arrive at the exact same spot. Yet, in order to do that, he would not only have to travel through time, but space as well. Consider how far you move, sitting in your chair, in the span of a minute.

Rotationally, spinning along with the Earth, you travel ten or eleven miles in that single minute. In addition, you’ve moved about 1,100 miles with the Earth following its orbit around the sun!

“All right then,” you say. “Maybe we can travel through time in exact-year increments.”

Interesting thought, but we’re not done calculating your speeding violation.

In addition to the Earth rotating and revolving around the sun, the sun is also moving at a pretty astounding pace, and dragging all of us with it in the general direction of the star Vega, within the constellation Lyra. That motion is calculated at roughly 43,000 miles per hour. Yet, even that isn’t all. The sun and our solar system also orbit within our Milky Way galaxy as it spins. Our speed as we waltz around the mysteries at the center of our galaxy? Merely 483,000 miles per hour.

That’s over 8,000 miles per minute. And we’re still not done.

The Milky Way itself is also moving, hurtling away from a universal central region we associate with the Big Bang. That speed? 1.3 Million miles per hour, or over 21,500 miles per minute.

So, in a single year— one trip around our sun— the Earth is displaced several billion miles through space from its starting point across a number of vectors of direction.

In order to travel through time to visit our own past or future, we must travel vast distances through space as well. I turned 50 years old this past year. If I wished to witness my own birth, I’d have to not only pass through those years of time, but also half a trillion miles of space!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore time travel stories— I’ve written a few! And Back to the Future is one of my all-time favorites, but it’s also fun to think about the bigger picture of time travel and what it entails. Our universe is an incredibly complex mechanism that we’ve only barely begun to understand. Maybe one day we’ll crack the code that will allow us to bounce around willy-nilly through space and time. Until then, we’ll just have to let our imaginations wander the reaches and laugh at the exploits of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

“I’m sorry, Officer. I had no idea I was going that fast.”

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Blog Hop for Children’s, MG, and YA Authors

As the title suggests, a bunch of Children’s, MG, and YA authors are participating in a blog hop with interview questions so you readers out there can get to know a little bit more about who we are and what we’re working on. I was tagged for this hop by the wonderful and talented Sharon Ledwith, author of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and forthcoming Legend of the Timekeepers. Here is Sharon Ledwith’s post.

Now, before I begin answering questions, I have a confession to make.

I’m a terrible person.

From the movie Problem Child.

From the movie Problem Child.

If I play a bit of psychoanalyst on myself, I think it stems from being an only child who never wanted to follow in anyone’s footsteps. In fact, I was so contrary as a kid, I’m astounded I had any friends at all. If someone mentioned they liked chocolate, I immediately chimed in that I preferred vanilla. Tell me to act a certain way, or do something, was a sure fire way to have the polar opposite result occur. Unless I figured that was the goal to begin with, then I’d fly off in another direction. While this obstinate, cocksure attitude aided me in never succumbing to negative peer pressure (and today saying, “No!” to telemarketers) it’s not without negative side effects. One of which is my aversion to “tag” posts.

My logical mind knows it’s all in good fun, but the baser side of my brain instinctively digs in its heels and thoughts of pyramid schemes and chain letters trounce through my head. (I can’t count the number of chain letters I’ve broken. I could have smashed a mountain of mirrors and had better luck than the doom and gloom I’ve brought myself by not continuing those chains — at least according to the letters.)

So, Sharon, I apologize. I have no one to tag. *throws another mirror at the wall*  I will offer this: if any readers of this post would like to be tagged and answer the following questions on your own blog, say so in the comments and I will link your post and shout it to the heavens 🙂

On to the questions!

1. What are you working on right now?

I am roughly three quarters of the way through a sequel to Knot in Time. My hope and goal is to have it published some time this fall. It’s titled, Abandon Hope, and you heard it here first!

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

Dare has been a fun and interesting character to write. These stories are pretty atypical in the time travel genre, I believe, in that they loosely incorporate some of the newer theories of physics, like string theory, and view time as a multiverse of possibilities and probabilities. As a result, time and space are more fluid than other stories I’ve seen and read. The emphasis is on adventure, humor, relationships, and self-discovery.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Everything I write is entirely based on what I’d like to read. If I’m ever working on a project that morphs into something I wouldn’t enjoy reading myself, I change it or scrap it altogether. Reading is a way to escape and be entertained. If my works don’t function on those levels, I’ve done something wrong the way I see it.

4. How does your writing process work?

These days people often picture writers plopped in a Starbucks with their laptop, pecking away with the buds to their iPod firmly planted in their ears. For me, that scene couldn’t be farther from the truth! I’m not a coffee drinker, for one, *gasp* and that environment would drive me batty. I work much better in a cave-like situation. No distractions, no music. Just me and my thoughts. Often, I play scenes I’m about to write like movies in my head, then I describe the action as if it were showing in the theater or on television. I don’t dwell on details except to paint as quick and vivid a picture as I can, then get on with the story. I don’t know if that’s much different than other writers, but it’s generally how I work. I don’t outline much, although I am trying to get myself to do more of it. I come up with characters and goals for them, then drop them into sticky situations and see how they climb out. Going into a story, I usually have a beginning and know where I want to end. All the stuff in the middle bubbles up as a result.

So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the curtain. There’s really not much to see here aside from some dust bunnies. 🙂 How does your writing process work? Or your reading process? Do you like to hide in a cave like me, or be out in the wide world? I’d love to hear your answers. And remember, if you want to be tagged for the hop, post in the comments and consider yourself tagged!