Showing posts with label Speculating Among The Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Speculating Among The Stars. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Perfect or Imperfect Future?

The future may not be perfect, but we can always keep working to improve it! What would a perfect future look like to you? These are the types of concepts that keep sci-fi writers up at night. These are the concepts that keep us inspired to explore new worlds and new ideas in our writing... Because of this, we tend to get very excited to share new science fiction books with new readers! To us, it is like sharing a science fair project sometimes! *Look, COOL! A new shiny!*

Simon Rose
Which brings me to my guest today!
Simon Rose is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children and young adults. Simon’s books include The Alchemist's PortraitThe Sorcerer's Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald CurseThe Heretic's Tomb, The Doomsday Mask, The Time Camera, The Sphere of Septimus, Flashback, and the recently published Future Imperfect.

Future Imperfect
Simon, would you please tell us about your latest novel?

Future Imperfect is an exciting technology-driven adventure featuring teenage geniuses, corporate espionage, and mysterious messages. In the novel, we’re introduced to Andrew Mitchell, who was one of the leading experts in highly advanced technology in Silicon Valley, until he vanished following a car accident, which also injured his son, Alex. When a mysterious app later appears on Alex’s phone, he and his friend Stephanie embark on a terrifying journey involving secret technology, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and murder in a desperate bid to save the future from the sinister Veronica Castlewood.  This sounds very exciting.

Why do you think kids will enjoy Future Imperfect? 
The story will appeal to all young readers for whom technology plays such a large role in their lives, whether it’s cell phones, laptops, tablets, gaming, or the online world, but it’s also a very compelling adventure story, with lots of cliffhangers, twists, and turns. There might even be a couple of sequels, but we’ll wait and see what the future holds, I guess.

Where can people buy the book?

Future Imperfect is available at local bookstores, online at Amazon Canada, Amazon USAIndigo/ChaptersBarnes and NobleAmazon UK, and other locations, and autographed copies can also be purchased directly from me via my website.

Future Imperfect is very much in keeping with the themes you’ve explored before in science fiction and fantasy, but very different to your last novel.

Yes, my previous novel, Flashback, is a paranormal adventure involving psychic phenomena, ghosts, imaginary friends, mind control experiments, secrets, conspiracies, and time travel with a difference. The story was inspired by numerous ghost stories, books, and movies about psychics and the paranormal, past lives and hypnosis, and the concept of going back into your own life armed with your current knowledge to somehow attempt to change the previous course of events, for better or worse. Flashback has two sequels coming out in 2017, one in the spring and the third installment in the summer.

Is all of your work for young adults?

In addition to the novels, I’ve written more than 80 nonfiction books for children and young adults, but have also written books for adults. These include The Children's Writer's Guide, The Working Writer's Guide, The Social Media Writer's Guide, School and Library Visits for Authors and Illustrators, and Exploring the Fantasy Realm. These titles are all available as ebooks or as paperbacks. I’m also a contributing author to The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction and have written some picture books for younger readers.

What do you do to promote yourself and your books?

I’m in all the usual places online and on social media but I’m also active in the local writing community and conduct book signings at local bookstores on a regular basis. This spring I was at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and connected with readers at schools and libraries in Montreal and Quebec City during Children's Book Week.

What other work do you do?

I work as an instructor for adults at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary. These classes and courses focus on writing for children and young adults or preparing your work for publication. I also offer coaching and editing services for writers in all genres and conducts online writing courses, such as Writing for Children and Young Adults and Writing Historical Fiction. I write screenplays, articles for magazines, and offer copywriting services for websites, blogs, social media, and businesses.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

You can visit my website at or subscribe to my newsletter, which goes out once a month and has details of my current projects and upcoming events.

Thank you so much for agreeing to stop by and share your work with my readers Simon! I want to wish you luck and congratulations on your new release! Just in time too! Many parents are hunting for some new books for their kids to read this summer!

Readers- If you are looking for a new book- be sure to add Simon's to the list! They are certain to keep you entertained!

Meanwhile be sure to check out:

Simon's Social Media links

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Being A Writer In A World Of Free

Boy Meets Girl Meets Boy Meets World: Waiting for Topanga's Bra to Fall
Speculating among the stars- none too happy about what I see...

I've been an author for, oh, going on 11 years now... I've never seen anything strike me so hard in my gut as what I found out yesterday.

Let me explain, Yesterday I was alerted to a call to arms by a colleague of mine, fellow author, and social media guru Kristen Lamb in her post: A Culture Addicted to FREE—How FREE is Poisoning the Internet & Killing the Creatives.

Apparently a performer, Revolva, was approached by Oprah's team to perform at an event that they are charging up to $999 dollars per ticket. The kicker... Oprah's team wanted this performer to do her work- FOR FREE. Kristen has checked back in with this performer and although Revolva's post has received thousands of hits, nothing was ever said by Oprah's team. Wil Wheaton, a well known actor, was also approached by Huffington post who asked to repost his blog post on their site for free as well! Will commented on twitter: "If you write something that an editor thinks is worth being published, you are worth being paid for it. Period."

 I'd like to point out that it is not only hurting creatives but also the economy at large!

Think about it. Bookstores (who were once willing to host book signings) are now few and far between. So, in order to reach you, my audience, in person I must pay for my exposure. A lot goes in to being an author.

See that price on the back of the book, preferably above the bar code? If you are buying direct from the author- TWO THIRDS of that cost is money that pays for the printing and shipping of the book, as well as paying the illustrators and the editors! The other third (if the author is lucky) is profit. When you buy the book elsewhere a store like Amazon or Barnes and Noble- that third gets cut into a further half (IF the author is lucky).

By the time an author buys bookmarks or business cards and a table space from which to sell their books. That money is gone. Add in the gas and the hotel to come to the event, the author is now in the red.

BUT in this case at least the author is selling some books.

So they CAN make some of their money back.

 Not only that but the author's money is being funneled back into the economy through the event staff who will likely spend it elsewhere too. The author pays the hotel and the eateries so that helps the economy too.

PLUS If the author has been lucky enough to pay for all of this and STILL have money when they get home? Well then the economy benefits even more- someone's tuition gets paid, the light bill gets paid... Or... the author makes enough money to contribute a few bucks toward the jar saving up to get their roof fixed. (Exposure makes the whole family sick when it is 25 degrees outside and raining!) And now the economy thanks you because a general contractor can be paid too!

This is not always the case at events where you see creatives though. 

Free entertainment in trade for 'exposure' has become an epidemic!

Lately it has become commonplace for events to "hire" creatives to speak or perform at their events on the premise of exposure.  I didn't know this till recently but many of these large Sci Fi conventions do this. Consider many of the panels where you get to spend an hour listening to a creative talk about their job and answering your questions, unless the creative has a table where they are selling their stuff, that creative is there working for FREE with very little chance of making even their lunch money back for the day.

By the way, I don't see them charging an extra fee for those who want to participate in the gaming rooms- which is also entertainment!

Which leaves the author inevitably saying:
Indien: Mumbai
"Sure! I'll work for free! I'll just sell my wares out of my purse for the rest of the weekend."
Because THAT looks completely professional right?

Consider this... If I manage to make $4 in profit off of a book...when you already assume $200 in expenses for the cheapest hotel, gas, and food- I'd have to sell 50 copies in a weekend to break even! This is equivalent to spotting a rainbow- it doesn't happen every day! I've already had to turn down a few myself!

 Not all events treat artists like traveling salesmen either. I've been to some events that have just a small table fee for authors/illustrators who each get a 3 foot space. In return they request that you (the creative) speak at their panels which are pulled together for the benefit of their guests. Sure, you are working but you are also being treated as a professional and given the opportunity to make some money.

Consider what happens if your authors and artists realize they can't afford to show up to your event? Then your event will have dwindling amounts of entertainment, in which case your audience will slowly start to dwindle. What happens then? You will slowly die off... which in turn, further hurts the economy! 

On the flip side of that...

 I have also come across libraries holding book expos that PAY their author speakers. Why? Because you are doing that library and that event a service. You are providing their audience for a REASON to show up and hopefully spend money which in turn supports their event and the economy. KUDOS to you Birmingham Author Expo!

 Even if it is something small... 7$ an hour even! It is something!

HECK I can get paid minimum wage to sort through lose electronics wires and bits at my local Technical College under their work study program!

I submit that taking hours putting words to paper, having them professionally edited and illustrated, and then talking to an audience and allowing them to pick my brain for hours is much more emotionally and physically taxing then sorting electrical bits.

If someone small like a library event can afford to pay their speakers something than YOU CAN TOO (here's looking at you- international scifi conventions! )

The Solution:

Time= money... and all I'm saying is (for our bills sake), We creatives would love to be able to earn even just a little for the time we spend being entertaining!

Those of you who are sending your work out there for free (here's looking at you- amazon authors) all you are doing is shooting yourself in the foot and teaching MORE people that your work is worth so little that every creative SHOULD give their work away for free.


-Perhaps offer up a 'sampling', a free chapter or two from the middle of your book to those who sign up for your news letter? (Putting my actions where my mouth is... once I pull the file together I'll be offering this shortly! Stay tuned!)

-Please stop offering to trade your books with others- it doesn't look very professional unless the other person is already a good friend of yours. PLUS- every book that is given away for free eats into the funds required to buy the next shipment of books!

Conventions, events, trade shows..

-Please pause and consider how much your vendor would need to sell in order to make it worth their while - AS WELL AS what you need to be able to afford the space fee, before you set your table fees. (I'm not completely heartless, I know you need money to be able to run the show next year!

-Perhaps consider us paying you a percentage of sales instead?

Consumers- We are consumers too. We know how wary you are to pay top dollar for a performance by an unknown artists, or for a book by an unknown author. But before you give in to the disease that has become the dime store/ free epidemic... please consider asking any of us if we have a small sample that you could try for free before buying. We would be honored that you even asked!

With that in mind... sign up for my newsletter if you'd like a free sample of The Alien Mind! 


"If you enjoyed my writing, but can't buy a book, would you care to buy me a cup of coffee?"

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*Photo credit 1: Boy Meets Girl Meets Boy Meets World: Waiting for Topanga's Bra to Fall via photopin (license)

*Photo credit 2: Indien: Mumbai via photopin (license)

Friday, December 18, 2015

I need your help! Name that program!

I need a name for a program that checks the chemical and elemental composition of an object in space. something that would check to see if there were any lifeforms or potential for life forms... any ideas? If your idea is chosen I will be sure to add your name to the acknowledgement section of the book when it is published!

8554367793 ed17a7277f

Visionary From The Stars, sneak peak excerpt for reference: (Bare in mind that this is a non edited excerpt)

Jean realized in awe that a comet was coming slowly into her view. She spared a few seconds to peel her eyes away from the viewscreen to make sure her instruments were recording the comet’s majestic passing. Sure enough, they were all doing what they were supposed to do. Crediting the [previous to this passage] strange signal to her bored imagination, Jean welcomed the chance to observe the passing comet. 

Jean crossed over to another window to get a better view and realized the “comet” didn’t look quite right. It was round, but instead of the usual comma tail, five spire-like objects extruded from its sides bending backward to meet and produce a fiery tail. Uneasiness filled her stomach. Jean jumped as the (Insert Name Of Program) sent out an alarm. She ran around the center circle and rounded on the culprit computer console. Jean frowned as she realized what the huge load of information scrolling down the blue glowing screen was trying to tell her. Horrified and mystified, she turned to the viewscreen across the room. 

What is this thing? 

Slowly the comet’s pace slowed until it matched her own ship’s relative speed. The comet turned slowly towards her ship, beginning its approach. Confused, Jean looked back and forth between the nearest computer terminals. One of them began screaming a proximity alarm. Six others sent out computerized voice messages meant to alert Jean to the comet’s possible time to impact, probable future course, and various choices of evasive actions to choose from.

 “Impossible!” She exclaimed, aloud, to the viewscreen. 

Comets just don’t change direction like that!

##End Excerpt##

photo credit: Comet C/2011 L4 Through Telescope via photopin (license)
Photo is not intended for the book.


Find The Alien Mind on Amazon!
And wherever else books are sold!

Did you like this post? If so you might enjoy my first book (while you are waiting for Visionary From The Stars to be released)!

For adults and teens alike, it is truly a science fiction adventure for the whole family!

If you'd prefer an autographed copy straight from the author you can buy one here as well!
Autographed Copy:$13.00 + Shipping

And remember! If you liked this excerpt or any of the other flash fiction pieces on my blog... you can sign up to get them straight in your e-mail box by plugging in your e-mail in the box on the right hand side!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Whisker Brings The Rain- Flash Fiction

Henry craned his neck to stare out the window as Fred landed their ship on Unaris, the 2nd planet in orbit around a set of binary stars. Gloria had been here once before so instead of peering out the window with her crewmates she sat going over the scans of the ruins below.

 Henry threw off his harness and patted Gloria’s shoulder he passed her on his way to the airlock. 

“Well, if we are going to get this planet ready in time then we better get moving,” Henry said with a shrug.

Gloria sighed. ‘I am not looking forward to this.’ 

Due to the lighter gravity the three of them hopped lightly over the dry grassy field towards the ruins. Unaris had oxygen so they didn’t need their suits, but the air was dry and stale. Fred stopped a moment to take a drink from his water bottle.

 “You might want to conserve as much of that as you can,” Gloria said, pausing to watch him take in another big gulp of water. “The rain system could be on the other side of the planet, by the looks of things it hasn’t rained here in a while.”

 “Isn’t that your job, Whisker? To get the rain to come back?” Fred said with a chuckle.

 Gloria narrowed her eyes at him and sighed. “It’s not that simple,”

“What does the machine feel like when it turns on Gloria?” Henry asked curiously as they walked up the dusty metallic steps into a giant metal tower.

 Whoever had lived here had long since moved on. Buildings farther down from the tower were either caved in or over grown by thick dead plants.

 Gloria gulped, she really didn’t want to think about how it felt.

 “It’s a little creepy, the machine transmits impressions from the designers. It helps you feel what the planet needs and where it needs it.” Gloria answered. 

“Man that is creepy.” Henry said shuddering.

 At the top of the tower a giant machine stood in a roofless room. The machine held huge metal prongs pointed high into the sky above them. Taking a deep breath Gloria climbed into the odd control chair. At her touch the machine lit up, recognizing a living being’s electrical impulses again after so many years. A metal band lowered around her forehead and after one last thumbs up to Henry and Fred she closed her eyes.

 In her mind images of the world around her invaded her mind. Memories of the world as it once was, as well as its current state. She could see the rain system, stalled out over the western ocean. She could see the air currents, barely moving due to the lack of convection from the suns. Something inside her felt the designer’s intentions.

 ‘Bring life back.’ 

 Gloria waved her mental hand over her spot on the globe floating in her mind. Vibrations shook the machine gently as the metal prongs came to life, stirring the air into motion.

**Photo Credit: via photopin (license)

This post was part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook (somehow I never hit publish here on my blog so it is a bit late.)
Week 9 word prompt: Whisker
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at 500 words.

Readers: Would you like to have the whisker's job of keeping the planet's weather system going? Do you think it would be stressful or peaceful? What do you think would be your favorite weather system to control?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Different Worlds, Different Minds- The Alien Mind VBT post

I get to do all sorts of interesting things with my characters! Last year, for The Alien Mind's e-book release book tour I was asked if it would be ok for an alien to interview my character Rivi. What an interesting request! Turns out, the alien was actually a character in Clay Gilbert's 'Annah' 

Anyhow... Stop by and see how the two girls got along!

And please don't forget- The Alien Mind (paperback) is available for pre-order! Those who order in time to get their copy for the release party July 10th and post a picture to of them holding the book (or e-book) will be entered into a drawing for a special prize!

Pre-order your copy of The Alien Mind today! 

  Character Interview on Portals and pathways

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Lies Behind Snippit

Excerpt from What Lies Behind

Cass let her eyes wander over the fields and farms they were flying over. The air was clearer here, away from the city. Up ahead, through the bug splattered glass of the windshield, she could see a wall of white billowing up into the sky.

“What’s that?” Cass asked.

“Don’t you know?” Brandon smiled over at her. “Doesn’t your programming show you that?”

“I’m a home unit,” Cass reminded him. “Enlighten me.”

He chuckled. “That’s a cloud whitening facility,” he told her. “Back a couple decades ago, when global warming was becoming a big issue they started this kind of ecological engineering where they could change how bright or dark clouds were to help either cool the planet or warm it.”

“Strange,” Cass said. She looked around at the green fields and the towering trees off to the left of the hover car. “So, what, things were deader?”

Brandon shrugged. “More pollution I guess. I’m not really sure. I haven’t looked too much into it. I just know that this is one of the ways they’ve corrected the issue.”

They were flying closer to the mass of white clouds drifting up from giant smoke stacks and into the sky. “We’re by the ocean,” Cass said.

“Yea, that’s where they work on the clouds,” Brandon said, pointing with one hand over the ocean so she could see the clouds drifting on the wind out to sea. He pulled back on the steering wheel and they began to slow and drop to the ground.

The car alighted in a green field. The wind blew the hay like ocean waves around the car. He turned the vehicle off and stepped out. Cass could hear the wind outside rushing over the tops of the tall grass in fits and starts as if a great inhalation and exhalation of breath. Cass didn’t wait for him to help her out this time. She opened her own door and followed him out into the warm afternoon.

Brandon took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. “Makes you wonder what the air was like before they started purifying it.”

Cass looked at him. She couldn’t smell what he was smelling. She could tell the quality of the air thanks to her visual overlay but she had nothing to compare it too. Cass didn’t know what the air used to be like, so she took his word for it.

“It’s so quiet here,” she commented, leaning against the hood of the hover car. “You’d expect there to be a lot of noise from those stacks, but it’s just silent.”

“Very peaceful,” Brandon said.

It was a sight that Cass could live in forever.

“So what about this android thing?” Brandon asked, turning to her.

Cass sighed. The thought made her nervous. She looked behind her as if someone might be there to hear them, be there to hear her talking about going against her owner.

“I don’t see how it’s possible,” Cass said. “I’m someone’s property, and that someone isn’t likely to give me up.”

“Right,” he said and sighed. “I want to show you something tomorrow. Natalia is working late tomorrow so we have time to sneak you out without her knowing it.”

“What is it?” Cass asked, her curiosity piqued.

“You’ll see tomorrow.” Brandon smiled and pushed away from the car. Cass turned to the passenger side door to get in. “Now, how about you take us home?” he asked.

“Me?” Cass pointed to herself. “I don’t have a license, and I’ve never flown before.” Her hand was starting to shake again.

“Yes, you, and I will be right there with you, showing you the ropes. Don’t worry about it, you can do this I’m sure. And how do you know you’ve never flown before? You don’t remember your life before coming to Natalia’s. There could be all kinds of things you’ve done that are secret to you.”

Cass looked to the clouds billowing out of the smoke stacks. “Maybe. Someday they might start coming back.”

“If Natalia keeps knocking you around they might,” Brandon said. There wasn’t any humor in his voice. “Come on, let’s get you home. Or rather, let’s have you fly us home.”

Brandon rounded the end of the vehicle and steered Cass toward the driver side with his hands firmly on her shoulders. “Alright, I can’t make you sit in the seat, so you’ll have to do that on your own,” he told her.

Her stomach in turmoil, so to speak, Cass slipped in behind the wheel. Brandon closed the door, sealing her inside.

He adjusted himself in the passenger seat and closed the door. Cass thought she flinched at the noise, as if it were a tomb sealing her fate.

“Alright, seatbelt,” he told her, buckling his own.

“Afraid I’m going to get injured?” Cass shot a smile at him, despite the nervousness she felt.

“No, I’m afraid that a cop might see that you don’t have your seatbelt on and pull us over, and then he will find out that you aren’t a human with a license, and I’m being an irresponsible adult. And then there is the robot graveyard for you, and I will have my home taken away and I will be put in prison where I will become the girlfriend of a very beefy man named Javier.”

“All that, huh?” Cass looked at him sidelong. She buckled her belt.

“Well, I’m not sure if my prison boyfriend will be Javier or Bruce. I think if I was going to be the man bitch for a prisoner I would like the name Bruce more.”

Cass smiled. “I hope he treats you right.”

“Oh yea, Bruce is a generous lover,” Brandon said.

“Lucky you. Sounds like you might enjoy prison,” Cass said.

Brandon smiled and shrugged. “If it takes a little man love to teach you to fly, I will take my lumps. Alright, start the car,” he told her, clapping his hands together.

Cass knew she’d flown before because the moment he told her to start the car, she entered the correct button sequence on the steering wheel. The hover car rumbled to life.

“Look at that,” he said. “I bet you were a captain in your past robotic life. Let’s see what else you remember. Take us home, Cass.”

Cass pushed down on the steering wheel as she’d seen Brandon do, but the way she pushed down on it, how she eased into the launch sequence was too familiar. The car shivered a couple times, but the engines engaged. The grass rippled away from their hover ports and the car listed up into the air.

“Not as gentle as the fake clouds, but pretty good,” Brandon told her.

Cass saw the green dotted path on her visual overlay that pointed the direction home. She flipped the lever up beside the steering column, and the hover car pushed forward.

“Wow, I don’t have to teach you anything,” Brandon said. “Maybe I will take a nap.”

“I’d rather you tell me what this surprise is tomorrow,” she said.

“I’m going to take you to meet Bruce,” Brandon told her.

“Oh, perfect, I’d love to meet him. Is he as beefy as you enjoy your prisoners?”

“Nah, Bruce is thinner, not so muscular. Javier can’t figure out why I prefer Bruce over him. He calls Bruce a wannabe man,” Brandon shrugged.

“Poor Bruce,” Cass said. “I hope you make it up to him.”

“Yea, I make him feel like a man,” Brandon said.

“So either you’re really nice, or you aren’t very masculine,” Cass joked.

Brandon laughed. “Is it that obvious?” he asked.

“You seem like the type,” Cass told him. “Slender hips. Small hands.”

“Seems like you’ve been getting pretty familiar with my physique while I wasn’t looking.”

The whirring in her stomach kicked up another notch and her hand jerked. The car shuddered to the side and Brandon laughed at her, placing his hand on the wheel to steady the car.

“Bruce told me,” Cass said.

“Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you certainly aren’t taking us to Natalia’s,” Brandon said. “Where are you taking me? Out in the forest to kill me? You going to introduce me to your secret tribe of robots that are aiming to take over the world?”

“I didn’t know you were a conservative,” Cass told him as she frowned. “And I’m taking us home. The green dot points toward home, and I’m following that.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to argue with your green dots, but this isn’t going home,” Brandon chuckled.

Three green dotted path was starting to get lighter and steadier. They were almost there. Cass eased down on the lever, slowing the car to a halt. She pulled back on the steering column and the car drifted down easily onto an old, cracked driveway.

“Where is this?” Brandon asked sitting up straighter. His eyebrows furrowed in concentration. “I recognize the neighborhood, but I don’t know this place.”

Cass shook her head. “I’m not sure,” she told him.

It used to be a house, that much was certain, before it had burned. Whoever had lived here hadn’t bothered to rebuild. The two-car garage was mostly unscathed, but the house was blackened and crumbled all around the foundation.

Cass unbuckled her belt and pushed open the door. When she stepped out into the open air, it was almost as if she could hear the screams all over again.

“Cass! Save me!”

Cass looked around. “What was that?” she asked.

“I didn’t say anything,” Brandon said. All traces of his mirth were gone. He was looking at her funny again, almost like he did in the doctor’s office.

Her hand began to shake.

“I remember this place,” she said, taking a step forward, but her knees were weak and she had to lean against the car for support. “From before.” Her voice was dull, distant.

“Cass, are you okay?” Brandon asked. His voice was distant too, almost as if she were hearing him through a tunnel. He raced around the front of the car as the air around her darkened. Shadows were settling at the edges of her vision. Cass was lost to darkness before she fell into Brandon’s arms.

About Travis Simmons
Travis Simmons was kicked out of magic school for his refusal to study and his penchant for mundane activities like cooking. While selling his sword he stumbled upon dogs that he wrongly thought were magical and imagined he could commune with them. After a vicious zombie attack in which witches helped him push back the undead horde, Travis found himself apprenticed to a necromancer.

Afraid that winter was coming, Travis tucked into his magical studies, but always chased his dreams of writing tales science fiction tales and fantasy stories where he could explore his wild imagination about life on other planets. Adamant that Travis learn the esoteric ways of the occult his master made his life a horror of practice and studies. But no matter how he tried, he could never conquer Travis' questing mind.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bad Idea- Flash Fiction

By: Etta Jean

"At what point is this a bad idea?" Eliana asked her cousin warily as they crept outside the castle walls.

"At the point where Alex and Maduin find us and yell at us." Mai felt no fear as she trudged into the trees. She had wanted to go exploring, and at thirteen, she was finally starting to really develop in her angelic gifts.

Eliana didn't feel quite so confident. Not that she didn't have faith in her magical gifts as a Wizard, or her younger cousin's gifts as a Shaman, but, well, she always felt a tiny bit more comfortable when Maduin or Alexander was around to babysit. "At the risk of being the voice of reason, I kinda don't think we should have ditched our guardians. Also, Alexander knows everything you do, Maitena. He's going to tan your hide."

 "If he can catch me."

 "He'll clip your wings and have no problem."

 "For the love of the elements, Eli, you wanted to explore too!" Mai swung around on a glower. "Just go back if you're uneasy."

 "And leave you alone? Oh, hell, no. Then my hide is toast." She closed her eyes on a sigh as a growl rose on the air. "Do I get to say I told you so?"

Mai turned quickly and scowled as several monstrous beasts lumbered out of the trees.

Her sword appeared in her hand, and though her heart tripped madly, she kept her nerves down. She had to protect Eliana. Wizards were much squishier than their Warrior and Shaman counterparts. "You blast. I stab."

Eliana drew her wand and gulped back a yelp as a beast lunged at her. Mai cut it down first and then went after the others. Eliana started casting Sun spells, and the energy blasts either obliterated beasts entirely or made them easier for Mai to kill. The cousins seemed to be winning, but Mai looked a bit bloody. She did not have time to heal herself.

One beast made it past Mai and knocked Eliana flat. She threw her arms over her face as it lunged for her, but it never landed. She cautiously lowered her arms and saw a familiar figure standing in front of her. He turned and narrowed his red eyes on her, and she gulped.

"Uhm. Hi, Maduin."

Mai thought she had gotten all the beasts only to hear a growl and jerk around sharply. The monster never reached her; a bullet took it down first. She slowly turned around and found her guardian looming behind her, and his violet eyes had turned black with fury. She winced as she realized the sight she made. "Uhm."

"We found the point where it was a bad idea," her cousin muttered. "And I definitely told you so."


~ Thank you for reading! This story comes to you from a dear friend of mine! She is celebrating the release of her newest novela called Shadow On The Sea. While the story you just read above is not actually IN the book it IS about two of the characters in the book. Think of it sort of like a deleted scene! 

I know it has been about a week or so since my last post. My school started and I am preparing for a Sci Fi Convention so I have been a bit busy. I hope to get back to blogging regularly by June though, once I get into the swing of these electrical engineering courses. 

We hope you enjoyed the mini story and please take a moment to check out Etta's links before you leave! ~


Shadow On The Sea

The world of Ceres has been ruled for millennia by the winged race known as Lightlings. When the Chalice Kingdom celebrates the birth of the next crown princess, they have no idea just what events have been set into motion. The beautiful angel has a special, shadowy, gift, and only by learning to control it will she be able to claim the lover rightfully hers by destiny, and save her world from an evil bent on consuming them all.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rocks Are Not Alive- Flash Fiction

MB Balances RocksEdward knelt, trying to console his crying son. Jacob held his knee and rocked back and forth, tears making streaks down his dusty cheeks.

 “Son, I told you not to run out here, there are too many rocks.” Edward said, carefully trying to hold his voice steady. 

A trail of blood ran down Jacob’s knee and pooled around the rock beside him.

 “Jacob, please let me see your knee. I can’t stop the bleeding until you let me see your knee!” Edward pulled his son’s bloody hands away from his knee.

 Pulling out a cloth from his pocket he wiped away the blood only to realize that his son’s knee wasn’t even cut. Sure, a little red maybe... but there was no injury to be seen.

 “Odd.” Edward looked at the pool of blood that had collected around the rock. “Jacob, can you tell me what happened?” 

“I... tripped, on that rock, coming up the hill.” Jacob said between sniffles.

 Edward picked up Jacob’s foot and inspected every inch of his leg.

 “Nope no injury.” He commented matter of factually, tousling his son’s dusty hair. “Slow down, next time ok.”

 “But dad, where did the blood come from then if it wasn’t mine?”

 “Did you notice it on the ground on your way up here?” Edward asked. Jacob shook his head. 

“Hmm... maybe we should take some of the blood back to your mom, there’s some on this rock here.” Edward passed the rock to Jacob who held it gingerly with disgust. “Mom can put it through the scanner and figure out where the blood came from.”

 Back at the campsite Edward’s wife had set up a laboratory in one of the big orange tents. Recon had sent them to catalog the species indigenous to the planet to see if it was a candidate for terraforming. Edward placed the blood drizzled rock on a plate and slid it across the table to his wife who was intently peering into a microscope.

 “Take a look at this honey. This is the oddest thing I have seen in a long time.” Edward said, waving his hand under the microscope to get his wife’s attention.

 Marrisa eyed the rock out of the corner of her eye and rolled her eyes in exasperation. “You and your rocks! Must you bring them in here? And what’s up with the bloody mess all over it anyhow?”

“Thats what I wanted you to see! I just ran a few tests on it. The bleed is coming from the rock!” Edward explained.

 “Rocks don’t bleed dear.” Marrisa said chuckling, “It’s probably Jacob playing a joke on you again.”
“Watch.” Edward insisted. He picked up the rock and gently wiped it clean with a soft cloth.

The rock clinked against the plate as he set it down once again. Marrisa eyed him suspiciously. Then suddenly she heard it!

Marrisa’s eyes widened in shock as she realized a delicate song was coming from the rock. Almost as if in gratitude.

photo credit: MB Balances Rocks via photopin (license) 

This post is part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 7 word prompt: Bleed
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at 500 words.

This one is a bit late (was due last friday) but I took a bit of a break after the AtoZchallenge to catch my bearings again.
Readers: How do you think you would react if you were suddenly faced with real life aliens? Would you be shocked? Scared? Would you panic? What if the aliens were part of the very ground you were walking on?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

W: Everyone Needs Water- Flash Fiction

When nothing will do“You are weak and worse yet, you do not even realize you are weak!” The Aruk named 12 hissed at a group of children as he marched them along a grueling sandy terrain.

 Back inside the station the Aruk leader, called 1, glared through the window as he watched the children’s progress. 

“Why haven’t they given up by now?” 1 asked his 2nd in command beside him.

 “They’ve only been here for just a short time sir, but we do need to figure out how to break the human species’ spirit soon if we are going to have a chance at winning the war in the future.” 2 replied, his body flickering and never gaining solid form.

 1 huffed. 1 knew, being a temporal histographer, 2 could see how much longer they had if they had any hopes of changing their future.

 “This species gaining our powers is NOT in our best interest. If they fight this hard now to keep going, they would have been an unstoppable foe if they had been allowed to develop to their full potential on their home planet.” 1 said, his voice dark and brooding.

 Outside, the children were growing tired and thirsty. The sun high in the sky burned on their exposed skin. Still the Aruk guards shoved them on.

 A young boy by the name of Nathan stumbled a little in the sand. His guard shoved him and ordered him to keep up. His mind felt like jello, his stomach churned in the heat, his muscled weak from dehydration and yet he continued on.

 I won’t be the one to cause my friends pain because I failed the test, Nathan thought about the rest of his friends still back in the cells.

 If only I had some water!

 Spreading his arms out beside him, being careful not to disturb his fellow runners, he wished for a breeze to take away the heat.

 Or maybe even some rain! 

There was no rain or even the slightest breeze on this desolate planet the Aruk lived on though. Nathan’s eye was suddenly drawn to the forehead of the Aruk guard running beside them where sweat beaded on his purple skin. The guard wiped his three fingered hand across the red and black tattoo’s and flicked the sweat to the ground.

 Water! Nathan’s mind reeled.

He stopped running and held his hands out toward the guard in desperation.

 1 leaned closer to the window and watched in horror as the purple skin of one of his guards faded with almost instant dehydration. The guard stumbled back horrified. 1 waved his hand over the window to open it and called out to his guards.

 “Dispose of him quickly!” He ordered, The children mustn't be allowed to develop those powers!

The guards circled around the children and two guards pulled the kicking and screaming boy from their midst.

 “How, in the midst of all this, did he manage to develop the ability of a healer?” 1 demanded of 2 after he closed the window once more.

 2 didn’t answer. His form flickered even more feverishly now as he scanned the timeline.

 “Don’t dispose of him just yet,” 2 told the guards as they dragged the terrified boy past them. “Sir, the timeline has changed. If we can develop these humans’ abilities we can use them to fight FOR us in the coming war!”

This flash fiction piece takes place before the events of The Alien Mind. Just something I am working on to help me analyze my antagonists motivations and frame of mind. Bear in mind that none of this is edited or finalized- just me doing some free range writing ;)

photo credit: When nothing will do via photopin (license)

Today's post was also inspired by the letter W. W is for:   as part of the Blogging from A to Z April 2015 challenge! Click on the letter to join on in the fun!

Every day (excluding sundays) I will be writing a post about something that begins with the letter for that day. Most of the time you will find a sci-fi flash fiction piece here.

For Readers: I leave you with this quote: The best weapon is your mind. Without it you are defenseless. Without it you are weak and worse yet you do not even realize you are weak.

Tell us about a time that some fast thinking got you out of trouble...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

U: What is an Umbilical Cord- Flash Fiction

Mui ne -  Sanddüne
Christy sat on the cool rock under the shade of a strange tree. Her friend’s spaceship burning in the distance. The crash had done it, she knew it had. Far away from any birthing center and on an uninhabited planet no less.

 The tightening pains were every 4 minutes or so. Her friend dragged a piece of metal piled with everything she could salvage from the wreck.

 “Janice do you think the baby will be ok?” Christy mumbled through gritted teeth.

 “He should be old enough to survive birth, yeah,” Janice answered.

 “Did it hurt this much when you had Daren? What was it like?” Christy asked, begging Janice to distract her.

 Janice looked worriedly at their surroundings, at their meager pile of equipment, and then to Christy’s swollen tummy hidden under the floral print of Christy’s dress.

 “I didn’t have any pain at all, I checked in at the birthing center. They took care of all that. I lay down and mostly just daydreamed... watched a few vids... a few hours later looked up to see my little Daren in the nurse’s arms.”

 Christy gulped and gritted her teeth again as another particularly strong wave of pain cascaded over her.

 “Do you think something is wrong? Is it supposed to feel like this?”

 “I dunno, we were just told to go to the birthing center at a certain number of days.” Janice knelt down beside Christy and felt her tummy, “My grandmother told me that birthing used to be different but she never explained it.”

 Janice unlaced Christy’s boots and invited her to put her feet in the sand to help keep her cool. A gentle breeze blew the soft sand and the hem of her dress soothingly around her ankles. Christy let her mind wander through the swaying of the leaves in the tree above her as she rode through each new wave of pain.

 Suddenly Christy’s watch beeped at her shaking her from her zone. Irritated she unclasped it and threw it out from under the tree and into the sand before heading back into the solace of the swaying branches. Janice jumped up and chased after the watch, brushing off the sand.

 “Hello! Hello!” She cried. “Yes, Kipling 1 we heard your distress call. Do you need assistance?” A voice called over the watch through the static.

 “Janice!!!” Christy cried out loudly, arching her back with a particularly large contraction.

 “Yes, I need to get my friend to a birthing center immediately!” Janice answered in a panic.

 “Ma’am, from the sounds of things it is a bit too late for that. The baby is coming already. You have two things to remember:
  •  Keep momma comfortable 
  • And tie off the umbilical cord so the baby doesn’t bleed to death."
 Janice looked at her friend in fear. Why oh WHY didn’t they teach you how to do this in parenting classes! What in the universe is an umbilical cord!

->photo credit: Mui ne - Sanddüne - Vietnam via photopin (license) <-

Today's post was also inspired by the letter U. U is for: Umbilical   as part of the Blogging from A to Z April 2015 challenge! Click on the letter to join on in the fun!

Every day (excluding sundays) I will be writing a post about something that begins with the letter for that day. Most of the time you will find a sci-fi flash fiction piece here.

This post is ALSO part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 5 word prompt: Bleed
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at  491 words.

For Readers: I was trying to capture a moment in time where certain things we learn today might be missed as our technology advances if we don't continue to pass down the "old ways".  What are some things now that we have "forgotten" how to do because we have technology? Do you think we can do without those lessons or do you think they are still important?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P: Catalaide's Purple Miracle- Flash Fiction

ShawlThe running lights of Catalaide Station glittered off of the shimmering rings of dust that encircled Saturn. A shining diamond in a sea of glitter. Ignoring the view, Inspector Cade poured over his reports while his ship docked with the station. The ‘blessed station’ is what the locals called it. Its reputation was reaching so far that shuttle tickets to get here had reached astronomical prices. His job was to find out why.

 Ignoring his pilot’s protests on social courtesies, Inspector Cade picked up his briefcase and left the shuttle as soon as the airlock seal hissed. He learned long ago that he would find out more about a place than he would if he had announced his arrival. He turned down a short hallway and headed toward the center of the station. As he neared the elevator doors he brushed the wrinkles out of his jacket, straightened his tie, and looked at his watch.

 Great! I’m late! 

 The elevator took him down to level 7. Deep organ music trickled in through the doors and Cade took a deep preparing breath before the doors swished open. Light, music, singing and prayers filled the room that Inspector Cade walked into. Hundreds of people and no chairs, or aisles. Cade politely made his way to the front of the room to see what all the commotion was about.

 He couldn't believe what he saw as he neared the front of the throng. A purple shawl, surrounded by fog, hung in midair swaying ever so slightly. No one was holding it, no one touched it.

 “This is what people are paying their entire life’s wages to come see?” Inspector Cade asked a woman to his left. 

“Oh yes Sir! Isn't it amazing? It’s a miracle!” The spry young woman responded.

 “Is it always there or does someone take it down?” Inspector Cade prodded.

 “Oh no sir! No one touches it,” The woman answered, her blonde curls swaying as she shook her head in objection to his question. “It disappears before lunch and doesn't come back till next Sunday.”

 Inspector Cade looked around the room and noticed a large mirror hanging above the elevator doors.

 What an odd place to put a mirror.

 He stayed there till almost noon watching the purple shawl floating in the fog. Inspector Cade walked around the room, talking to different people, asking questions about the shawl. A few mentioned some rumors of miracles that had happened in the room, but most said the same thing. The fog collects, the shawl appears and stays for a few hours and then disappears again right before the fog dissipates.

 Convenient. Inspector Cade considered the location of the mirror again.

 Later after the fog had dissipated and the people all left the Inspector turned off his gravity boots and floated up to inspect the ceiling. It wasn't long before he found the small projector unit aimed down at the mirror.

 Just as I suspected... it’s all an illusion!

Today's post was inspired by the letter P. P is for: Purple  as part of the Blogging from A to Z April 2015 challenge! Click on the letter to join on in the fun!

Every day (excluding sundays) I will be writing a post about something that begins with the letter for that day. Most of the time you will find a sci-fi flash fiction piece here.

This post is ALSO part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 4 word prompt: Shawl
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at 496 words.

Thanks for reading!

For Readers:  Would you expose the illusion or would you let the people continue in their delusion?

-> photo credit: Shawl via photopin (license) <-

Friday, April 17, 2015

O: Transporting Octopi- Flash Fiction

P4181541Teddy dropped the gushing hose over the top edge of a tank so large it almost filled the entire room. 

"I TOLD the boss that it would be a hassle trying to transport this 8 tentacled beast on board a star ship," Joe grumbled.

"They are transplanting him on that planet they are terraforming right?"

"Yeah, his mate is traveling on the Ordova."

"Oh gee, he better like his mate then, not much choice!"

->photo credit: P4181541 via photopin (license) <-

This is 5 Sentence Fiction. Originally started by Lillie McFerrin, today I chose to find a picture and use a word of my own.

Today's post was also inspired by the letter O. O is for: Octopus  as part of the Blogging from A to Z April 2015 challenge! Click on the letter to join on in the fun!

Every day (excluding sundays) I will be writing a post about something that begins with the letter for that day. Most of the time you will find a sci-fi flash fiction piece here.

For Readers:  What's your view on moving animals to help repopulate areas- or even other planets?