Cis Writer, Non-Binary and Queer Characters

Chances are, none of you read my author blog on Goodreads. I wonder realistically if anyone does. Anyway, here is my recent entry. Feedback is welcome.

My first novel, Atmosphere, is very cis, as is to be expected, since I am. There are gay characters in both Atmosphere, and the followup, Ocean, but, even though the aliens in my world are intersex, I didn’t explore gender in depth. One minor character towards the end of Ocean uses they/them pronouns, but that’s about it. With my new book, Moon, third in the series, I’m diving in. The challenge, as a cis man, is to write evocatively and approach issues I have no first-hand knowledge of without presuming to speak for trans and queer people today. I’m doing this by having the experience of the character, born intersex, distinct from the experience of present day queer and trans people, but at the same time, identifiable. This is my goal, anyway. here is a brief excerpt from an early chapter:

Sonu bounded from the skiff as soon as it touched the shore, turning to catch Ryne as xe followed. They spun around in one another’s arms. “We did it!” Sonu cried. “We are free!”

“Free from what?”

The voice froze them mid-spin. Sonu’s exuberance deflated, xe knew that voice. Sure enough, there was xir brother Bren standing at the edge of the woods, a flight suit folded under his arm.

“Free from a family who love you? Free from people who have cared for you and taught you for your entire life? Free from resp…”

“No!” Sonu interrupted furiously. “Free from having to become half a person, like you!”

Bren flushed, but said nothing. “Thank you, Lander,” he said, handing the boatman some money. “We will be going back now.”

“No, Bren, you don’t get to decide for me.” Sonu backed away, holding Ryne’s hand tightly. “Nobody does. That is why I left. Why we left. Everyone wants me to become someone I’m not. I’m not male, I’m not female. I’m me. I’m Sonu, and I don’t want to change!”

Binge TV, Jazz, and a Karen

I don’t watch Mexican TV. I probably should, for my language skills, but I don’t. I have Paramount+ for Star Trek, Disney+ for Star Wars, and Netflix.

I recently binge watched all of NCIS New Orleans with Scott Bakula, of Quantum Leap fame. I enjoy the long story arcs in shows like this, even when the individual episodes can be formulaic. I mean, how many times do you yell “Federal Agents!” from a block away before you realize that people run every time? The characters are often good in these shows, though, which is what makes them addictive.

On my way back from Maine in March, I had a long layover in Atlanta and stopped to get a $22 burger. I’m sitting there reading and this young guy comes in. He perches at the end of one of the high tables, only to get a nasty look from the Karen sitting there. (He was Black). So I invited him to join me and we had a nice chat. Turns out he is a jazz bass player, and had played in one of the many bands featured in Dwayne Pride’s bar in NCIS New Orleans. He said Scott Bakula was really nice, and quite good on the piano.

Photo: My sister’s cat, not remotely interested in any of this. She took the pic.

The Prologue to my WIP

This is the third book in a series. The story and I have both evolved during my adventure into writing Science Fiction. You can find the first two books here.

Prologue: They Called Me ‘Friend’. They Called Me ‘It’.

Firstly, I must affirm that I love my human friends, past and present. Cohl, Dab, and their crewmates were instrumental in saving our planet.

At first, they were so alien that I could not understand them. They had emotions like we do, memories like we do, but there was a layer of complexity that I could not understand because I did not have speech.

Complexity and ambiguity. Humans organize and edit their thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and experiences through language. Because of the disconnect between actual emotion and memory and the spoken word, they lie constantly, to themselves and others. They build complex logical justifications for these lies, making them so real in their own minds that they are actually capable of lying telepathically, something that was unheard of, even incomprehensible to Charans before humans arrived. We had only truth until they arrived. Now many of us are building our own structures out of lies, especially the younger Charans who have embraced implants, speech, and the written word.

Humans are often simplistic in their naming of things. At times, this makes their language easier to learn and understand. A bluebird, for example, is a blue bird. A doorknob is a knob on a door. I might call it a door opener, but doorknob is accurate and descriptive. When they first encountered Charans, they called us Deer People – actually Deer Men – because we have a superficial resemblance to an animal from Earth. Like Charans, humans are very visual when it comes to naming.

Until you get to pronouns. We Charans had no need for names or pronouns, because we communicated in images. To indicate another person, we would simply share their image. We have only one sex and gender, so we have no need to distinguish each other in that way. Humans have two sexes and multiple genders, so they have a constellation of pronouns with which to identify themselves and others. They could have chosen they/them or xe/xem to speak of us. Instead they chose “it.”

I suppose, since we had no language, this could be excused. After all, pronouns are to a great extent a matter of preference for the individual being referenced. Using appropriate pronouns, however, is also a sign of respect. Even when referring to Terran animals, humans refer to them as “he” or “she” if they know the sex of the animal in question. But for me, they chose “it.” They named me “Friend,” because I was, in truth, their friend, but they designated me as “it,” no better than an inanimate object, or generic animal. They relegated me to a lesser position, inferior and disposeable.

I understand that this was not their intent, and I forgive them for it, but it does indicate the self-centered and thoughtless way in which humans use language to elevate themselves at the expense of others.

A great review of my book Atmosphere (Slightly spoilery)

“David Scott Moyer must have visited Chara IV, the world described so immersively in Atmosphere. After reading it, the deer people mill around benevolently in my mind. I feel a deep connection with Prithya, Mags, Dayv, Manders, Dab and Cohl, the human crew of the mission, whom have been given life histories and characters that are so real to life, so believable, yet each unique. The ambiguously malevolent “All” telepathically pervades the thoughts of every sentient being on Chara IV. The plot is sprinkled with fascinating bits of nearly accessible, aspirational astrophysics and the action keeps the reader on the edge of their seat eager to find out what happens next, simultaneously hoping not to come to the end of the story. And if that wasn’t enough, a complete surprise, bombshell ending parachutes in*. Luckily, there are two more books in the series.
*P. S. The wording here in no way gives hints as to that stunner of an ending.”


Machu Picchu, 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since I visited this awe-inspiring place. I was still married, still working freelance for McGraw-Hill Education as a photographer, still had a gallery in Tucson, and even still painted a bit. The thought of writing a novel, much less two or three, hadn’t even crossed my mind.

Now, I’m seven years divorced, my grandkids from that marriage are 14 and 19, I’m retired in Oaxaca, just published my second novel, and am working on my third. This year I allowed both my painting and my photography websites to expire. I rarely take photos except with my phone, and I see no paintings in my future (although no door is ever closed).

Many people feel lost when they retire. Their identity through life is wrapped up in and dependent upon their work. In the United States, very few of us have more than two weeks of vacation a year. We work all week and spend the weekend doing chores, watching TV, online, and occasionally socializing with family and friends. We cram so much into the two weeks off that we can’t even relax before we have to get back to work again. We spend our money on things we are told we need or should want.

In the end, it is empty. When we retire, what do we have except back to back weekends with TV, internet, and friends and family we don’t know what to do with after a few hours?

I feel lucky. My work was never my identity. I was an artist. Not a hobbyist, an artist. The only reason I had jobs was to pay for the basic necessities of life. My jobs were never my identity, except for my brief stint photographing for McGraw-Hill. I didn’t have children so I wouldn’t have the responsibility. Maybe I missed out, but I do have two wonderful grandchildren from my marriage. When I retired, I wasn’t abandoning my identity, I was freed to pursue it full time.

That identity has always been “creator”, whether it be painting, photography, or writing. That is who I will be until I die, hopefully a long time from now.

The Antisemitic origins of Pizzagate

Jordan Klepper is best known for following Trump supporters around and making them look stupid by asking seemingly sincere questions which expose either their ignorance or hipocrisy. This is a serious investigation and expose of the long history behind the Q-Anon Pizzagate trope and other conspiracy theories.

Ocean Has Arrived

Finally! Two years in the making, Ocean is here. The sequel to Atmoshphere picks up 10 years after the events of the first book, with a second mission arriving on Chara IV, an imaginary planet circling a very real Class G star (I researched).

Funny side story: I originally cast these two books and the upcoming third as The Chara Series. Yesterday, I went on Amazon and found that some guy named Ben Zwycky wrote a fantasy novel in 2016 and subtitled it “Book 1 of the Chara Series.” This didn’t show up when I published Atmosphere two years ago, so I have been using the title all this time. He still hasn’t published a second book. I assume his series name comes from a character in his book, rather than hours of research to find a plausible location for the setting of a science fiction novel. It’s annoying. Still, he had the name first, so I changed mine to The Chara IV Series. It doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well, but the last thing I wanted was someone else’s book showing up in a search for mine. Then I discovered that my books were now connected to a bunch of cutesy Manga volumes. So I switched back. If Ben Zwycky Ever writes a sequel to Beyond the Mist, I suppose we can fight over the series name.

That’s why I chose such unique names for the three volumes in my series: Atmosphere, Ocean, and Moon. How may books could there be with those titles?

Search for any of them on Amazon: over 60,000 results.

Humor aside, I really am proud of this book. Both of them, actually, although I think the second is better. How could I not have learned and improved by writing the first? The third, which will probably take another two years, will hopefully be even better still. Here is a peek at its cover.

If you read Atmosphere, thank you! If you reviewed it, thank you even more! If you haven’t yet, I have reduced the price in all formats on the release of Ocean (to drive sales of the second volume, of course.)

Link to Atmosphere.

Link to Ocean.

Link to Janny Taylor who created the original artwork for all three covers.


Guanajuato is an enchanting city. The historic center is perched atop a maze of tunnels, once used to channel rain and wastewater out of the city, and now pedestrian and automobile routes. Google Maps won’t help you down there. I drove in circles a few times before I figured it out. If you drive there, expect to pay a lot for parking. There is almost no street parking in the center. I paid a dollar an hour, with no discount for the day. Still, it was worth it. I felt every one of the 6700 feet of elevation walking up to my hotel and around the city. I was only there two nights, and spent the day in between exploring a couple of nearby archaeological sites, so I will need to go back at some point. In the meantime, here are a couple shots.

The Water Boils

Hierve El Agua, San Lorenzo Albarradas, Oaxaca

Hierve el Agua is a spectacular travertine formation outside of the capital city of Oaxaca. It is a very popular tourist destination. Like many, it was closed during the pandemic. Mexicans were and are much more sensible about Covid 19 than Americans. There was no politicization here. Early on, there was limited information, and access to vaccines trailed the US by about three months. Nevertheless, people waited hours in line to get their shots, and the percentage vaccinated is now equal or better to that of the United States. Masks are still worn by almost everyone except a percentage of entitled and often arrogant American tourists, temperatures are taken, hand sanitizer used. If you go by the NYT map, cases per capita are far lower than in the States.

Hierve el Agua was closed longer than most of the bigger tourist destinations, such as pre-Columbian sites like Monte Alban and Mitla. There are two communities who control access to the site, one via the autopista, and one by a dirt road over the mountain. They were in dispute for some time over whether to open to tourists. One did, the other didn’t. It got unpleasant for a while. I chose to stay away until they reached an accord. That finally happened in July, so I took a couple visiting friends up. We went in by autopista and (accidentally) left by the mountain road, which was gorgeous. Here are a few shots.

Taking the plunge!

I finally overcame my inertia/fear and upgraded this site, eliminating my long unused painting and photo websites in the process. I guess it will take up to 5 days (seriously? in the age of FTL communication?), but eventually this blog will be at I’m not sure if will still work. Anybody know?