Category Archives: Blog

$10 off Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity

Somewhere in the Middle of EternityRight now on Amazon, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity is available for only $7.95 in paperback! That’s $10 off the standard retail price. I have no idea how long this sale will last as Amazon seems to adjust prices at their whim. Read below for more details about this remarkable speculative fiction anthology!
 
In eternity, all stories are timeless.
 
Devastated by war, a young couple finds healing through the intervention of a magical fox… A man obsessed with a burlesque dancer discovers she may not be the beauty she seemed from afar… Desperate to save his dying wife, an exiled scientist makes a discovery that could change the fate of a galaxy… An Irishman finally confronts the specter of death that has tormented him since childhood… An ex-con’s hearing aid picks up a vintage radio show that never aired, leading her to a confrontation with the unexpected…
 
These are but a few of the imaginative tales awaiting you within these pages as chronicled by Daniel Patrick Corcoran, Michael Critzer, Phil Giunta, Amanda Headlee, Susanna Reilly, Stuart S. Roth, Steven H. Wilson and Lance Woods.
 

One. At. A. Time…

Wait… whatever happened to the first draft of that science fiction novel that was in progress between 2016 and 2017? Heh, well ya know…
 
Thinking back, when I wrote my first two novels between 2007 and 2013, those were the only writing projects I was focused on at the time. No short stories, no editing anthologies. Just the novels. Testing the Prisoner then By Your Side
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One. At. A. Time.
 
Among the excitement of having my new Miranda Lorensen novella accepted by my publisher back in June—and a finishing the outline to her next full length novel earlier today—I don’t want to lose sight of the science fiction novel that I outlined in 2015, started writing in 2016, lost traction after four chapters, picked up again at the beginning of 2017, then lost traction again after four more chapters. To say that was frustrating as HELL would be putting it mildly.
 
That has never happened to me before. I typically stay with a project until it’s finished. So what the frack happened?
Well, in 2012, I pitched an idea for a speculative fiction anthology to my publisher (Firebringer Press). I became the editor and project manager on the book, as well as a contributor, and Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity was released two years later. That led to last year’s Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity and now, Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity is in progress. 
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On top of that, I finished three home renovations over the past year and a half, a violent storm collapsed part of the roof at my workplace this past July which meant weeks of recovering our IT systems (working around the clock early on), and I completed several short stories for various contests and anthologies, which was a blast.
 
While I’m proud of every anthology and short story as much as every finished home project, now it’s time to prioritize and get the science fiction novel back on track. I believe everything happens for a reason and perhaps time away from the novel will provide a fresh perspective when I sit down this week and read the first eight chapters and review the outline.
 
However, focusing on these next two novels will also mean declining any new short story work in 2018 (with one exception to which I’ve already committed). Fortunately, I wrote several short stories in 2016 and 2017 that are ready for submission to a few anthologies in the coming year. I also stepped down as editor of the Middle of Eternity series after volume three is released. 
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It’s time to get back to novels.
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One. At. A. Time. 
 

Book Review: The Time Machine and Other Stories by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine and Other StoriesFour tales comprise this collection, the first of which is the story for which H. G. Wells is most known, The Time Machine. The adventures of a time traveller who builds a machine that propels him 800,000 years into a future that appears utopian only—and quite literally—on the surface has been reprinted thousands of times and adapted into at least a half dozen films that I know of.

However, the other three stories in the collection were new to me: “The Empire of the Ants”, “The Country of the Blind”, and “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.”

Of these, the first is forgettable, the second compelling, and the third entertaining. In “The Country of the Blind,” we join professional mountain climber, Núñez, as he survives a fall from Parascotopetl in Ecuador only to discovers a hidden land occupied by a population of blind natives. Núñez learns that these people have been without sight for generations and somewhere along the way, lost all knowledge and belief in the world beyond their own village. Núñez recalls the old adage, “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” He quickly learns just how wrong he is…

In “The Man Who Could Work Miracles,” a nebbish clerk with the unlikely name of George McWhirter Fotheringay does not believe in miracles and is all too happily debating their impossibility in the Long Dragon pub when, to his utter astonishment, he performs a miracle by ordering an oil lamp to turn upside down and continue burning. This leads Fotheringay on a journey of escalating marvels that eventually leads to global consequences…

 

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, David Gaughran and Anne R. Allen analyze Amazon’s heavy-handed measures of fraud detection that are forcing the innocent to suffer for the guilty. P.J. Parrish illustrates the revision process using one of her own manuscripts while Ruth Harris and Andrew Falconer offer tips on writing historical fiction.

We strike gold with… who else, but… Jami Gold! Jami is busy with NaNoWriMo, so she has invited guest bloggers to discuss such topics as Imposter Syndrome (Kassandra Lamb), Deep POV (Lisa Hall-Wilson), and Productivity (J. Rose).

From the latter, this statement leapt out at me: “We’re trained to work ourselves to the bone, and that we should best each other about “who’s the most busy” or “who has the least amount of time.” I challenge you to step away from this game! Do you really want to be #1 at being stressed and being busy all the time so you don’t have time to enjoy your life?”

All that and a little more. Enjoy!

Amazon’s Hall of Spinning Knives by David Gaughran

Don’t Let Impostor Syndrome Ruin Your Writing by Kassandra Lamb via Jami Gold

Deep POV and Hidden Messages in Subtext by Lisa Hall-Wilson via Jami Gold

Creating the Right Mindset to Be Productive by J. Rose via Jami Gold

Cutting Open the Sausage: A Hard Look at Rewriting by PJ Parrish

Plunge Into Story Action—and Genre by Kathryn Craft

A Character’s POV = A Character’s Truth by Sarah Callender

Five Essentials of Historical Fantasy by Andrew Falconer

How to Use Authentic Historical Detail to Trigger Emotions and Memories in Your Readers by Ruth Harris

The Most Important Rule of Backstory by Andrea Lundgren

Amazon’s Latest Crackdowns: Do They Include Amazon Review Trolls? by Anne R. Allen

 

 

Book Review: Tales From the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Tales of the White Hart by Arthur C. ClarkeHarry Purvis is a master storyteller who regales his fellow patrons every Wednesday evening at the White Hart pub with fantastical yarns of eccentric characters and outrageous scientific catastrophes.

While Tales From the White Hart is considered one of Clarke’s most popular anthologies, I found a handful of the stories—such as “Big Game Hunt”, “Critical Mass”, “Cold War”, and a few others—to be either prosaic, mundane, or anticlimactic. However, there were a number of humorous and rousing romps, including:

“Patent Pending” – After a professor invents a device that records brain waves corresponding to human sensations, his assistant envisions a far more profitable, and sensual, use for the device…

“Armaments Race” – While working on a low-budget SF series for Hollywood, a special effects expert is tasked producing ever more impressive ray guns… until he creates one that actually works—with devastating results.

“The Pacifist” – The military presses a mathematician to construct a computer capable of flawless combat strategy. When the project begins falling behind schedule, the scientist is bullied by a clueless general. In response, a hidden circuit is built into the computer—one that turns out to be hilariously insubordinate.

“The Man Who Ploughed the Sea” – Harry Purvis travels to Florida with a lawyer friend to explore the coastal waters in a small submarine. During their expedition, they encounter a large yacht owned by an elderly chemist who invented a method for collecting elements and precious metals directly from saltwater.

“Moving Spirit” – When an eccentric, reclusive scientist’s still explodes, he finds himself arrested for manufacturing illegal alcohol and requests help from his nephew, Harry Purvis, attorney-at-law. With the odds stacked against them, Harry literally concocts an incendiary defense for his uncle.

“The Reluctant Orchid” – A meek, timid clerk with an affinity for orchids is routinely intimidated by his imperious Aunt Henrietta. After planting a rare, carnivorous species of orchid in his greenhouse, he soon devises a plot to get rid of her…

“What Goes Up” – In the deserts of Australia, a team of scientists are confounded while testing a new design of nuclear reactor. Rather than an explosion, the reactor forms an anti-gravity bubble several hundred feet in diameter. Entering the bubble, however, could prove as dangerous as falling off a mountain…

 

 

 

The Musketeers of Stranger Things…

The one aspect about Stranger Things that captivates me most is the bond between the four main kids, Lucas, Dustin, Mike, and Will. They might bicker on occasion, but they are loyal and care about one another deeply. The safety of each one is paramount to the others. They are the Musketeers of Hawkins, Indiana.

I never experienced that growing up, not even within my own family let alone friends who drifted in and out of my life. I’m sure such friendships as depicted in Stranger Things existed back in the 80s, but I’m not confident that they still exist today in our self-absorbed, self-obsessed, technologically overdosed world.

Of course, Stranger Things isn’t the first to show us such devotion among childhood friends from previous decades, so I can only imagine that it isn’t a complete fabrication. There must be a kernel of truth there, based on the life experiences of the writers. Regardless, it’s that teamwork, camaraderie, and devotion between these four kids who believe in the fantastical dangers unnoticed by oblivious adults (except for Joyce Byers and Chief Hopper)—and who come together as one cohesive, amazingly organized unit to combat evil forces—that makes Stranger Things so enjoyable above and beyond the other excellent characters and the unnerving tension of a well-crafted story.

 

Stranger Things Kids