Tag Archive for Science Fiction

600 Second Saga: Toy Maker

warrior queen toy

I am very happy to share a performance by Mariah Avix of one my short stories, Toy Maker. Mariah is an author and reader — her voice adds an amazing dimension to the telling of a tale. I feel like she brought my characters to life. I hope you enjoy her performance as much as I did. And please listen to her other readings of science fiction and fantasy — 10 minutes per week to listen, yet enough joy to last much much longer. *** This story is dedicated to little Ian — may you grow up strong, smart, and perceptive.

Radio Interview: Speculative Fiction Cantina

Speculative Fiction Cantina

On March 24th, I did a radio interview with the host of Speculative Fiction Cantina, S. Evan Townsend, and William J. Jackson, another indie writer. As it always happens in life, planning a speaking even several months in advance almost invites fate to give one laryngitis! I was luck to prepare my reading piece days in advance, and with the assistance of lots of tea and Advil went on the air. It was an interesting interview and I did manage to talk about ideas for creating sympathetic, diverse characters that evoked empathy among my readers. I am very grateful to Evan for this opportunity. Please visit the Speculative Fiction Cantina for many many interviewers with authors from all over the country. Evan has been doing these for years and has quite a library of conversations and readings. It’s worth the exploration — one never knows where your new favorite author will be discovered! As for my reading, here’s a little video of the first chapter from The FATOFF Conspiracy. You can read a few more chapters here, or get a free ebook from Amazon Prime. Enjoy! And thank you for listening.

100% Life-Light Child

Life-Light

“Order! Order, Honorable Educators!” The lights and devices flashed again, as the power was cut and restored in rapid successions to bring the room back into a productive discussion mode. The screaming and arguing had gone on for at least two minutes now — unacceptable, life-light dimming behavior. “The school haven’t had a perfect child in over two decades,” Educator 1 said. “This is our chance to regain our standing in the World School Rankings.” “Be careful, Educator 1, envy is punishable by bedimming,” said Administrator. This was the second reminder during this session alone. Some teachers were sure to have their life-lights bedimmed before this incident was over. “Twenty three years!” said Educator 2. “I wasn’t even a teacher at the school back then.” “It’s unfortunate that the latest generations are not as bright as they were during our own time,” said Administrator, gently rubbing her own life-light still at nearly 75% after all these years. “But the question stands — do we accept Addam’s account of the incident and allow the dimming of his life-light? Or do we reject it as a bias story, told to save a friend from becoming a darkling?” “I understand Addam’s desire to…

What’s in the Cover Art?

Coding Peter Suddenly Paris 2 Covers

This month we have released a sequel to Suddenly, Paris — Coding Peter — AND changed the covers of both books! Above is photo of before and after for the cover art of both books. Can a cover make a difference in the sales of these books? These products? Yes! Cover art makes a huge impact on how a book is perceived by its audience. Or to put it even stronger, the art on the cover of the book helps the potential reader recognize the book as something that they would like to read. Personally, I thought the original covers with strong black, red, and white design were striking. But that design didn’t communicate the genre of the books to its audience. We needed to come up with illustrations that made it clear that these stories were science fiction, and action adventure, and aimed at a new adult readers. We needed to covey a sense of mystery and danger. We wanted people to stop and notice the books based on their covers. And so we made it change. The new covers are a lot more narrative. And hopefully it would make a difference as the potential readers browse pages of…

SciFi Bites: Toy Maker

warrior queen toy

The cold crept in like a thief in the night. “Is that you Ian?” Toy Maker called from his workshop. “Close the door!” Ian walked in quietly and shut the door. The snow that sneaked in with him twirled at his feet before melting on the stone floor. The toy workshop was large but dark, lit only by the two power tables — one was the Toy Maker’s work desk and the other served as a kitchen table. Two circles at the center of each table glowed red-orange, giving the whole space a look of warmth…just not the feel of it. Ian shivered. Behind one of the glowing tables, there was a wall full of Toy Maker’s newest creations. They were arranged in rows on shelves, organized by species. There were about two hundred on display there, all still gray — the color didn’t come until much later. The maker first sculpted the essence of each figure and then scanned it into the computer. The final details were added virtually and then printed in 3-D. The painting was the last touch. Ian admired a shelf of warriors. They were lithe and tall, with elongated, almost wasp-like waists. Some had wing…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Black Queen

The Black Queen

The Black Queen I’m a seed. Plant me. All night it called. A rat came by to investigate. It sniffed the small smooth sphere, but the object didn’t smell like a seed or food of any kind. The rat scurried away. I’m a seed. Plant me. The cat passed by without even a glance. A family of raccoons stopped by. Poked. Left. The sun came up. A fractional mind crawled over. It tasted and touched, walked about and left a pheromone trail for others to follow. Soon dozens of fractional minds surrounded the sphere. By this time, the object grew to the size of a very large marble. I’m a seed. Plant me. It kept repeating to them, flaunting itself for them. And they gathered in greater and greater numbers to roll the sphere underground. Just about the time small sinuous lines started to appear of its surface, a big black bird flapped over. I’m a seed. Plant me. The sphere called to the raven. The bird prodded the object, which was now the size of a tennis ball, with its beak. It wasn’t food, like it claimed. And it wasn’t one of those shiny, sparkly objects that the bird…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Boy Who Finds

Accident_with_Dog

Short Science Fiction Stories for Kids Timur has always been good at finding things. Need to find that screw that rolled under the desk? Ask Timur. Need to locate the missing reading glasses? Timur is on it. Lost some change in a couch? Timur knows just where it is. The boy had a gift. One day, he and his mother were driving to school and a large dog ran across the street. Timur’s mom veered and swirled and the car didn’t hit the foolish animal. But the mother was freaked out. Her body shook, her heart beat faster, her hands got sweaty. But most significantly, Timur’s mother lost something in that almost accident — she lost a day of her life. And Timur found it. At the time only six years old, the boy didn’t know what he found, but he carefully picked it up and put it away for safe keeping. Over time, he found more and more chunks of time, sometimes whole days, mostly an hour there, a few minutes in another place. But time adds up. As the world gently span on its axis, the people living on it marched steadily through time, spending the lives a…