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Note: Posts are bi-weekly.  For information about me and my novels, visit my website  elizataye.com .  Disclaimer: This blog is solely fo...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Blog Continuation Announcement

Due to the fact that I hadn’t originally planned on Oceania: The Underwater City becoming a series, I planned on a string of blog posts about Oceania to continue until I wrote another novel. Now, that the story is continuing in Allie’s Return, I will be reducing the blog posts to once a month instead of bi-weekly. Each post will relate to Allie’s Return instead of Oceania and will include some character backstories, another special on the sea creatures in the novel, other special extras, and more. New posts will not begin until Allie’s Return is released.



Allie's Return

Coming out September 22nd on Amazon Kindle

Friday, August 18, 2017

Final Exclusive Post for Oceania: The Underwater City

This is the last blog post I will be writing about Oceania: The Underwater City. The next blog posts will be all about its sequel, Allie’s Return. I wanted this farewell post to make a difference, so I’ve chosen the topic of this farewell post to Oceania to be a call to action.

I envisioned the future world that Oceania is set in to be one where humans have done a much better job of caring for the earth and cohabiting with the plants and animals that live here too. But this is only after several hard lessons have been learned. Humans continued to use fossil fuels and other nonrenewable sources of energy until they were entirely depleted. Only then did they decide to change over to energy sources that better protect the planet. To me, this was a more realistic future, even though it’s not one that I hope comes to fruition. I hope that through education and the spreading of our knowledge about protecting the environment that we will voluntarily make these changes as a species, not be forced to do so because we’ve run out of other options.

One of the reasons I wrote Oceania: The Underwater City was to prompt people to consider the ocean as a possible frontier for both research and human colonization. As someone with a passion for both marine and space science, I wanted there to be more books out there that explored humans living under the sea rather than in space. However, in order for that to even be a future possibility, we as humans will have to learn how to become better stewards of our earth. Our human actions over the last two hundred years have caused a lot of damage to our planet. Some of this damage can be reversed if we all make changes starting now.

You can make individual choices every day that impacts the environment and our oceans, even if you don’t live near the sea. One thing you can do is to ensure that the fish you eat is caught sustainably. Or you can choose to not eat unsustainable seafood or seafood that causes a lot of bycatch during fishing for it. Other things as simple as making sure you place your trash inside of a trash can where it can’t blow away can make a difference. Although they might seem unrelated, using less energy can help the ocean. Ocean acidification is caused greatly by carbon dioxide emissions, so doing simple things like turning off the TV or lights when you’re not using them can reduce energy consumption. Other things you can do are reduce your use of plastic or use recyclable plastic, help clean up the beach by picking up garbage and throwing it away, and choosing to walk or bike somewhere close by instead of driving. It doesn’t have to be anything large, the small things add up. Something as simple as your attitude toward the environment can make a big difference. If you are looking for bigger ways to make a difference, donating to non-profit organizations that work to research and conserve marine life is always appreciated to those organizations. Conservation research isn’t cheap and any donation to a conservation organization is helpful.

So this is my call to action to all of you. Take care of the environment. Think of this world as a place that we all have to share, not only existing for any one person’s wants and needs. Rather treat every other human and animal with the kindness and respect we all deserve.



Some Places Where You Can Learn More About How to Help the Ocean


Notice:
Of course, it is up to you whether or not you follow any of this advice. I’m sure if you’ve subscribed to this blog or read Oceania: The Underwater City, that you already have a care for the marine environment and all its inhabitants. But in the case that you have been inspired by Oceania to learn more about the ocean and how to maintain its health, I hope this blog post gave you some ideas.



You’ve reached the end of the farewell blog post for Oceania: The Underwater City! I hope you’ve enjoyed the last twenty-eight blog posts about Oceania: The Underwater City. The next blog post will be regarding Allie’s Return, which is book 2 of the Oceania: The Underwater City Series. If you have any questions about how you can do more for the ocean or any general comments, feel free to leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ocean Exploration and How It Relates to Oceania

Exploring the mysteries of the deep sea has always been an interest of mine. For the longest time, whenever I saw a documentary, book, or article about the deep sea, I’d immediately devour it. So much below the photic zone is a mystery and little is known about the creatures who live there. Yet, it’s not just the deep sea that is largely unexplored. There are many places in the ocean that are yet to be thoroughly explored and numerous species who have yet to be discovered and described.

In 2010, the Census of Marine Life reported the collective results of a worldwide research effort to document the biological diversity of the ocean. Although ambitious, this marine census collection was crucial to determining a baseline for marine life so that any effects on their diversity and well-being over the years can have a basis for comparison. Over 6,000 (potentially) new species were discovered and a database called the “Ocean Biogeographic Information System” was created to catalog the species of the sea. According to their research, an estimated number of a billion different microbes could live in the ocean (1). Could one of those species be like Geobacter omnescomedenti?

Even though the Census of Marine Life project complied and reported their results in 2010, efforts to explore the ocean continues. There is an entire trust dedicated to exploring the ocean and they’ve lead expeditions every year since 2009. Called the Ocean Exploration Trust, it was founded by Dr. Robert Ballard (discoverer of the final resting place of the Titanic). Just last year they used their vessel—the Nautilus—to explore the waters off the Pacific Coast of North America from Canada all the way to Los Angeles. According to their website, the seafloor of the Southern California Margin is less than 50% mapped in high resolution. During their exploration, they researched bathymetry (the seafloor), marine wildlife, shipwrecks, marine geology, hydrothermal vents, subduction zones, and the abyssal plain (2). Expeditions such as these are crucial to understanding how the ocean impacts our own terrestrial environment and human lives.

So how does ocean exploration relate to Oceania? Well, for one, a good deal of the book is about exploring the ocean and its wonders. I wanted to instill in my readers a curiosity about the ocean and its inhabitants. My first blog posts (after the inspiration for the story) were about the sea creatures that appear in the novel. Some of the creatures I wrote about were easy to find information on, like dolphins, sharks, whales, and sea lions, but others like all of the deep-sea creatures were difficult. Other things like the depth at which Oceania could sit at and where it may be located were more difficult to determine due to the lack of exploration of the deep sea. So instead, I had the founders of Oceania discover the things lacking for our current research on the ocean.

For another, the only way Oceania could exist was because of ocean exploration. In the future world that Oceania exists in, ocean research has come to a point where so much of the seafloor has been mapped that the T2N was able to find a suitable location for the city. In creating the city, there was enough information on ocean species that the underwater city could be designed to be supported without aid from the surface world. Oceania further relates to ocean research partly because the entire city was created to aid in ocean exploration. From living under the sea, it allowed the scientists residing there to have greater access to the ocean environment. Proximity to the focus of study makes any scientific study more efficient than having to constantly travel to your study location. With Oceania in the deep sea, understanding of the undersea world on the seafloor could increase dramatically.

Many of the deep-sea creatures that appear in Oceania are still mostly a mystery to science. Even so, knowledge of various aspects of animals (even iconic ones like great white sharks) is still less than ideal. Anyone who watched Shark Week this past week would know that things as simple as whether or not sharks create familial bonds or learn from each other wasn’t known until recently. The full life history of sea turtles is also still a mystery to science. When there’s so much more to learn about iconic animals like sharks and sea turtles—animals that are immensely easier to access than the creatures of the deep sea—it’s no wonder little is known about the abyssal plain regions. It’s a reminder of why ocean exploration is so vital. Further exploring the ocean will lead to more discoveries and a greater understanding of both how we impact our oceans and how the ocean impacts us.


You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. The next post will be my last one regarding Oceania: The Underwater City. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of the next post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.


Sources and Further Reading

If you want to read up on more current marine science research and projects:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Oceania: The Underwater City Character Personality Quiz

This week, based on the suggestions, I’ve chosen a character personality quiz! You can take the quiz to figure out whether you’re most like Dylan, Allie, or Dr. Wilcox. The quiz is only 12 questions and doesn’t take too long to complete. Give it a try and see which character from Oceania: The Underwater City you’re most like!


Note: The quiz is from snacktools.com. It wouldn't embed in the blog post, so if you want to take the quiz, you can there. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Deleted Scenes/Passages

Like any completed novel, Oceania: The Underwater City went through many revisions before I came to a final manuscript ready for publication. I removed many scenes and passages I liked at the time of writing it, but later thought was either unnecessary or didn’t read as strongly as I wanted it to. So now, I’m going to share some of the scenes I removed from Oceania: The Underwater City before it reached its final version. But don’t worry, I’ve edited out any and all grammar mistakes. The only thing that remains unchanged is the scene or passage content itself. I hope you enjoy it and if you did (or didn’t) leave me a comment below and let me know.


I went through several different rewrites of the opening chapter of the novel. I knew that I wanted Allie to be leaving her grandmother’s house, but I wasn’t sure which was the strongest way to write it. The following passage is one of the previous rewrites I decided not to go with:

The burn in my eyes threatened to overtake them, pouring frustrated tears of anger down my cheeks, but I resisted them. This always happens whenever she calls. Sometimes I wonder if she even cares about me.
Stopping for a moment, I glanced back at Grandmother’s house. Paint cracked and peeled off the edges of the siding. A once vivid yellow house now faded to a pale beige color. Two lonely-looking windows fanned the sides of a shaded brown door. All around the property was a limp brown fence, encompassing a yard with brownish-yellow grass.
Grandmother’s face appeared in the window to the left of the front door. On the other side of the fence, I stood too far away to see her eyes but I knew they held sympathy for me.


At first, I struggled with how Dylan could show Allie around the city in an exciting way without it being redundant. I also wanted to somehow integrate the OVRR into part of it. I ultimately decided to take my time with Allie’s tour of Oceania and give away pieces bit by bit. Early on, the following passage was how Allie toured the city:

  “Hold on, I’ve got a better idea.” Dylan pressed a few buttons midair and the entire room went black. “It’ll take forever for me to show you around Oceania by train or foot, so I’ll give you a virtual tour. You’ll still feel like you’re getting a real experience, just quicker.”
The black void vanished and I found myself floating in the air. It felt so real that I screamed, kicking my feet loosely.
“Allie…Allie, it’s okay. You won’t fall. I just thought this would be a cool way to see the city.”
I looked over at Dylan with wild eyes. His face was calm and he held his hand out to me. I grabbed it and steadied myself in the air.
“Just think about what you want, this is virtual reality, I might be in control of designing the world, but you’re still in control of what happens to you here if you focus hard enough. Concentrate on being stable in the air and you will be.”
I nodded furiously like a bobble head, trying to calm down. Closing my eyes and forgetting what all was around me, I drew in a deep breath through my nose and let it out through my mouth.
When I opened my eyes, my feet were steady as if they were situated on solid ground.
“Are you good, Allie?” Dylan slowly released my hand and backed away.
“Yeah, I’m fine. What was it that you wanted to show me?”
He gave a white-toothed grin. “Follow me.”Dylan began to dive down and fly through the air like he was Peter Pan, arms out, gliding down with both legs pressed together.
Shocked, I followed, concentrating on maintaining my stability in the air. I mimicked holding my arms out and legs tightly together like Dylan had done and was easily able to keep up with him.
Gliding through the air like eagles, we flew in the direction of downtown. Before we got too close, however, Dylan veered to the left towards a grassy area with lower buildings scattered around in concentric circles.
“The city of Oceania is broken down into several zones or districts. There are districts for every major part of the city.” Dylan pointed to the zone just to the left of us. “That’s the Center of Knowledge, located in the Education Zone One. The university is housed in the silver building; it’s the tallest one in the Center of Knowledge. There are thirty different floors and three basement levels. Every different discipline or area of study has its one entire floor, except for marine studies; they have the all three basement floors.”
Scanning the area, I pointed to a shorter building with a domed top. “Which building is that?”
“That one is the library. It’s hard to see from here but it is six stories and has both a physical and digital collection.”
I glanced over at Dylan in excitement then back down at the building. Tucking in my arms against my body and straightening my legs, I took the shape of a torpedo and plummeted toward the center square right in front of the library. Wind kissed my cheeks as my velocity increased. About ten feet from the ground, I flipped my body around, landing on the ground light as a feather on my tiptoes, easing myself down.
Dylan dropped down hard on the ground as if he were Iron Man. “Guess you got used to the feeling of flying.”
I took off up the four steps to the building with Dylan right behind me. “Yeah, I really want to see the physical books. I’ve never seen a physical book collection. The only ones I’ve ever seen were from 3D printers. They weren’t quite the real thing.”
“They don’t have any in your city?” wondered Dylan, perplexed.
I opened the glass door to the library as I replied, “No, in most cities on land the libraries housing physical books are extinct except for a few in select cities. Chicago had lost all of theirs long before I ever moved there…Before I knew it, we were whooshed out of the library and I found myself hovering next to Dylan in the air again.
“Sorry, Allie, we need to keep moving if you want to see the majority of the city.”
My senses returned to me and I understood what Dylan was saying. “I understand, that’s fine.”
Pushing off an invisible ground, I flew as high in the sky as I could. From up here, I could see everything in the city, albeit it was so small that it looked like an ant farm. “Hey, Dylan, what is that district? Can you point them all out to me?”...

There’s more to this scene, but it would be giving away too much of the novel if I included. I don’t want to have any spoilers in this post.  


So what do you think? Do you wish any of these scenes or passages should have been in Oceania: The Underwater City final version? If you want to, leave me a comment below and let me know.


Remember, this is the last chance you have to suggest a topic for the week of July 17th’s blog post. Send them to me at elizataye@gmail.com by this week!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Reader’s Questions Answered!

I’ve had some questions from readers about a few things in the novel that I thought I’d address in this blog post. Like my earlier blog post titled “Relevant Scientific Research to Oceania: The Underwater City,” this blog post will be updated and/or added to when more questions or concerns arise about the novel from my readers.

T2N (Top 20 Nations)
Why the T2N not the UN?

I choose to create a completely different organization to establish the underwater city of Oceania for two different reasons. The first was that I wanted to refrain from using any real-world organizations in my novel. However, the main reason was that in the futuristic world, I envisioned that a lot of things in our world would change. Looking throughout history, very few organizations have lasted several hundred years. Since the UN was formed in 1945, at the time of the novel, it would have been 331 years since its inception. Although I do hope that a worldwide organization like the UN does continue for many years into the future, it is not the case in Oceania: The Underwater City.
Also, I foresaw that the Great Plague would change things as well. Usually, in the case of catastrophic events, the world changes drastically (think of WWII). Anyway, the T2N is a group of powerful (rich) nations around the world who joined together to try to prevent another Great Plague and address the issues that lead up to it. The identity of these countries will remain ambiguous. I want the readers to imagine which 20 countries would be the most wealthy and influential in a world very different from the one we know today. The intergovernmental organization uses its collective funds to help with worldwide issues such as universal healthcare and access to clean water that smaller and less fortunate countries could not afford after the devastation of the plague. One of the main consequences of the plague was the realization that although humans may look different, have different preferences and values, that all of humanity can all be susceptible to disease. The result ended a lot of inequalities of all kinds around the globe as all of humanity had to band together to heal. Some countries’ populations were severely decimated, leaving very few people left to clean up the aftermath, which lead the countries still in good fortune to aid those who weren’t. Thus, the birth of the T2N.  


The Declaration of Independence
Why is the word “united” not capitalized?

In a part of the book, there is a historical reference to the Declaration of Independence in which Allie notes the following:
Near the top of the parchment were the words “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” written in beautiful script….Funny, I’d never realized that the word “united” wasn’t capitalized in the title.
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

When I wrote this section, I looked up images of the real Declaration of Independence from the National Archives in Washington D.C. What I found shocked me too, which is why I thought it would be interesting for Allie to note the same thing in the book. In fact, my editor tried to correct me on the lack of capitalization of the word “united” more than once, leading me to go ahead and add Allie’s statement for clarification. Besides, I didn’t want Grammarians sentencing me to death for it (just kidding, I know no Grammarian would commit murder). I never found any solid reasoning for why united isn’t capitalized but it’s something I found interesting nonetheless. So it is not a typo, just merely a direct quote from one of the most important documents in US History.
If you want to read the National Archives’ complete unedited transcript of the American Declaration of Independence, you can click here.



You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Extra Information About the City—Exclusive Info

Originally, this blog post was supposed to contain exclusive information about the underwater city in which my novel takes place. However, I’ve decided to make Oceania: The Underwater City into a book series (yay!). At the moment, I’m in the process of editing the second book, Allie’s Return, and I realized that if I write this blog post the way I intended to, it could include spoilers for Allie’s Return and future novels in the series. So instead I will be leaving this blog post with this message until I decide to finish the series. When I finish it, I will go ahead and write this blog post the way I intended to.


On the week of July 17th  I plan to have a reader suggested blog post topic, so please don’t forget to email me with suggestions at elizataye@gmail.com at least a week prior to the date. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Brief History of Oceania as a City

At the time of the story, the summer of 2276, Oceania as already been an underwater city for 146 years. Although Allie is told some of the city’s history, there’s a lot of information not included in the novel. So, I thought you’d like to read a little more about the history of Oceania as a city. The following is only a brief history and will not spoil the contents of the novel.
*Note that the following is fictional and all references of Oceania refer to the fictional underwater city, not the real-world location of Oceania, the region comprised of a group of Pacific Islands.


2130
Oceania was founded in 2130 by the Top 20 Nations (T2N), a coalition of the richest world governments on earth at the time. Residents of the city comprised of people from every country across the globe. One million people populated the city at its inception with all individuals being experts in a variety of fields, professions, and abilities. The residents got along well from the start, creating an engaging environment for research of all kinds and a welcoming environment for all. After settling into jobs, homes, and family life, the residents found the underwater city to be an easy transition.


2132-2138
At first, the connection between Oceania and land was constant, but it was soon determined that Oceania could function quite well on its own without assistance from land. Instead, the connection between the sole underwater city and the surface world became a sharing of ideas and technology more than support.


2134
A few years after the city’s founding, the citizens began to feel a void in the land to sea transition. Missing some comforts of the land world that was lacking in Oceania, the city’s residents started developing their own technology to compensate for it. A focus on finding ways to replicate the land world under the sea drove the city to establish the Entertainment District.


2135
An extensive survey of the ocean floor surrounding the city is conducted. The sediments on the ocean floor are checked for organisms, microbes, and other forms of life to study their potential uses. A large edible species of deep-sea fish is discovered, leading the Oceanian scientists conducting the survey to consider depending on the ocean more for food.


2140
As an underwater city, Oceania had strong ties to the sea from the start. Ocean exploration was a big part of the city’s research focus and within ten years, marine scientists nearly doubled the prior amount of information known about the ocean. Other scientific fields flourished under the special conditions of the sea. Psychologists and sociologists had a unique opportunity to study the effects of artificial sunlight, diurnal simulations, and multi-cultural interactions. The compartmentalized nature of the city helped others to thrive like artists, business people, doctors, educators, and other professionals by having a network of like-minded individuals nearby.


2144
The complete survey of the ocean floor surrounding Oceania for miles in every direction is completed. The discoveries of the survey immensely change the Oceanian way of life. The discovery of a variety of edible deep-sea fish species changes the entire cuisine of the city to more ocean-based and less old world (aka land-dweller) food.


2152
A mechanical error in the robotic bees used to pollinate the plants in the greenhouse sublevel causes a produce shortage for the year, leading the entire city to go on ration and find more uses for the ocean fish they’d been eating.


2154
An undersea earthquake causes the entire city of Oceania to quake for a full twenty seconds. It was the city’s first natural disaster. No major damage occurred outside of plates and other breakables falling inside people’s homes. The survival of the city attested to the greatness of the city’s engineers and architects, making the residents of the city feel invincible against natural disasters.


2167
Contact between Oceania and the land-dwelling world is lost.


                        2172
A leak in one of the maintenance tunnels to the ocean nearly causes a disastrous flooding of one of the maintenance sectors leading to the rest of the city but was contained at the last moment by the marine engineering team. The only damage was to the maintenance tunnel, which was promptly fixed by the team.


2183
The first OVRR was developed to simulate entertainment experiences unique to land at the time like theme parks, surface water sports, and field sports. It was the final piece in filling the void left from the move underwater.


2191
A fungus-born illness created a small epidemic in the city, leading to an explosion of medical research for the prevention of all sorts of diseases.


2214
Oceania’s diet consists of food sustainably taken from the sea by nearly 80%.


2226
In 2226, Oceania discovered the cure for the common cold, leading to sick days across the city becoming almost nil. Due to the success of the city and the low rate of illness, the population had exploded. In the same year, the Oceanian government implemented a one-child per family policy to slow the rapid growth of the city to a sustainable manner. The policy is set to expire at the start of the year 2336, a 110 years after the initial policy setting.


2230
Oceania celebrates its one-hundredth anniversary with an undersea voyage to the Marianas Trench for the winners of a city-wide raffle.  


2250-2260
To promote marine exploration, a new line of deep-sea exploration vessels are released for scientific research, opening up the ocean for further exploration.


2270
Nearly all research has been reduced to the deep sea and twilight zone. Very little research is done in the photic and intertidal zones.


                        2276
The year in which the story takes place.


That’s the end of the brief history of Oceania. If you want to learn more about Oceania, you can read the book (if you haven’t already) or wait for the sequel, which will be coming out later this year.



In a couple weeks, I have a blog post coming up that I want suggestions for. If you have any suggestions of anything about the book you want to know more about, or just want to read about, send me an email at elizataye@gmail.com. I may just choose yours to feature!

You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.