Tag Archives: monsters

The Idea Mill #37

I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately. Some of this is because I’ve been writing tour posts for Viral Blues. I’m trying to trickle these things out a bit this time, rather than crunch over a ten day period.

Fall is finally here, and October is my favorite month of the year. I’m looking forward to it. I’m already surrounded by pumpkin beer and a few other Fall favorites. My Asian pear tree is loaded and I’ve been eating those like crazy.

Viral Blues has already been a topic here, and there will be some reblogs from the sites I visit, but I also need some new content at Entertaining Stories. This brings me back to the Idea Mill.

I write speculative fiction, and require a source of inspiration for my stories. You guys might, too. That’s why I share these articles on occasion. They also tend to give a bit of legitimacy when you decide to push the envelope from here on.

Our first article involves brain reading technology from our old friends Facebook. (Scary enough) Currently this involves implanting sensors on the surface of the brain, but Facebook wants to move beyond that. The technology started off trying to improve the lives of the handicapped.

It seems to involve a kind of predictive text, and the article makes an interesting conclusion that eventually the technology will outpace the human. Could it be that some kind of AI will pay our bills before they arrive? Maybe it will write our next novel, because it can predict what we’re going to come to eventually?

The real loss is invasion of privacy. Our most intimate thoughts could go into a database somewhere. In the hands of Facebook, this is already a nightmare.

Imagine a future world where people start tossing around words like sedition, or treason based upon minor thoughts that flashed through your brain. The article goes on and makes the frog in a pot of water comparison, that we could lose our freedoms slowly and not understand the ramifications until it’s too late.

Elon Musk is involves in a competing project, but his goal is to merge artificial intelligence with humanity. His project wouldn’t just predict our thoughts, the technology would also be able to write to the human brain. Imagine a planet of worker drones with no thought the AI didn’t give them.

There have to be a million novels that could be written about this. Read the article here.

Next, how about some stowaway creatures on the moon. It seems Israel crashed something into the moon. There was an experiment onboard involving microscopic creatures called water bears.

These little guys can survive nearly anywhere, but are unlikely to colonize the moon. The article indicates the experiment was snuck onto the capsule at the last minute. There are no laws or protocols for shipping organisms into space.

That’s where the real beauty of this article lies for a fictioner. Imagine someone like… Elon Musk, operating without regulations and contaminating space vessels or celestial bodies. I seem to remember experiments with bees on Skylab or something. It wouldn’t be too hard to seed a Mars colony with killer bees.

We all know to keep away from large predators. You don’t hug a grizzly in Yellowstone. What about microscopic predators we never give a second though? Put them in space, add some tonnage based upon a different environment with no natural predators, and you could have a crew facing giant blood sucking mites.

Take a space station, like Skylab which actually crashed back to Earth, and you can write a story similar to The Blob, only use gigantic amoeba that were originally an experiment. This is the article.

The final article blew my mind. It isn’t the subject itself, it’s the implications of the story. First the story. There is a piece of music that seems to be some kind of pop tune from the eighties. Nobody knows where it came from, who performed it, or who wrote it.

Thousands of people have spent thousands of hours trying to solve this mystery. If you think about recording studios, artists, agents, contracts, and the idea that someone would normally claim it, this lack of records is baffling.

This is how it went crazy for me. Humans have always saved things. In ancient times, there was the library of Alexandria. Post Gutenberg, we came up with different libraries, including the Library of Congress. We have patent offices, copyright registries, and more.

Today, everything is electronic. There isn’t a paper copy of any story I’ve written. They’re created on a word processor, and the entire process is electronic. ICloud and huge databases are our archives today. And yet, something has gone missing in the background of this song.

Think about deeds, marriage certificates, Supreme Court decisions, all in the future of course, and corruption could be a real problem. One missing line in a contract could change the entire meaning of the contract.

I also remember a bit from Jurassic Park about referring to DNA as lines of code. This is where they revealed using frog DNA to repair the lines. Electronic documents are just lines of code. We view them by feeding those codes to a program that reveals them as documents.

My mind goes to any of those archaeological adventures we’ve all seen. We need to recover the pieces of X before the bad guy does. I feel like I’m on the verge of a whole new genre here, only my hero could be searching the cloud for missing lines of code that change the way a court decision is interpreted. This would have to be futuristic, but in modern comparison, imagine a few lines missing from the Rowe vs. Wade decision. The entire thing could be interpreted differently.

Maybe the bad guys are hackers who intentionally delete lines of code to change the world to their image of what it should be. Maybe they replace them with words of their choosing… It blows my mind to think about. I hate to give credit to anything in the blockchain world, but the idea that multiple people have a copy makes it nearly impossible to tamper with those records.

Here is the simple article that sent me down this path. Yes, you can listen to the song on one of the links. Whoever it is.

Part of these posts is me hashing out a corny story using all of the posts. Away we go…

Mars is overrun by giant man-eating poodles. The evidence seems to suggest NASA approved a program where all of the colonists were allowed a service animal, but nobody told the colonists. They didn’t bring them to their new home.

Our hero has spent a year trying to find the original mission orders, but suspects they were corrupted somehow. He meets up with someone who has the brain reading technology that allows her to dive deeper into the internet and search for the missing lines of code that will reveal the true orders. The only problem is the poodle-master is writing code into her brain faster than they can repair the changes.

Corny enough for you? Can you see stories centered around any of these articles? What would you do with one of them?

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Even more teaser fun

Time for another taste of my coming publication. Like before, turn your speakers on, click the video, then ponder Lisa’s new poster.

Lisa Burton

Feel free to share Lisa’s poster around, use for your iPad background, whatever. Big old No-Prize if you know what she’s curling her hair with. Standard reminder, Lisa’s posters make great Pinterest pins.

Let’s hear it in the comments, have you figured out what’s coming for your Halloween reading?

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More teaser fun

Time for another teaser leading up to publication of my next book. Tap the video and turn your speakers up. Then ponder Lisa’s poster and see if you’re imagination gives you any clues about this story.

 

Lisa Burton

 

As always, feel free to use Lisa’s poster for your phone background, or whatever. She makes for great Pinterest pins.

How about it, gang? Any idea what this Halloween story might be about yet?

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I came up short

I knew writing time was going to be at a premium this weekend. My ultimate goal was to break 30K words on Lanternfish, but I didn’t make it.

I’ve been stealing an hour here and there in an alternate room, and it just isn’t the same. I’m a firm believer that all progress is progress, so I have some of that to keep me positive.

A big part of my slower pace comes down to logistics. I’m dealing with a fantasy world in Lanternfish, but ships don’t just sail from point to point. Even with James’s sextant, there are weeks and months involved in moving the ship.

I have them with an easy appointment to make with the Prelonian Navy, but too much time on their hands. They decided to go chasing information about a new enemy in the war, but still need to make their rendezvous.

I like the extra tension this brings, but I’m writing myself into a corner to a degree. They need to visit two or three places, but still make the appointment. There are going to be delays with piracy, exploring, and more.

It’s easy enough to “magic” my way out of this issue, but that isn’t fair to readers. Even with James’s sextant there have to be rules. It has a limited range, even though it’s much greater than other ships can sail in a day.

They’re going to be doing some exploring in what is similar to the South Pacific. Since this is a fantasy world, I don’t have to place all the islands exactly like they might appear on Earth.

Now a bright author might just back up and change the time of the appointment to allow for all this exploring. I could do it, but I want to challenge myself. I’m even toying with the idea of being at the rendezvous point late. This could add some extra tension to the series. What sort of disaster could this lead to? (It is book two of a trilogy, so a bit of tragedy is allowed.)

There are other forces at work here, too. I have a tropical storm hinted at that will cause some delays and diversions. So I have partial information they need on two different islands, plus a tropical storm, and a tight deadline they have to make. Let’s face it, there needs to be some piracy going on here too.

One fun bit today. I included a mermaid in my story. I swore to avoid traditional monsters and legends in this tale, but there she was. She isn’t like anything you’ve likely seen before. She’s about 90 feet long and towers above the ship when she visits. She could easily pull them down to the depths, but is a benevolent creature/person. (For a change.)

In my mind it’s a good time to go back to the paycheck job. Some of this stuff tends to work itself out during the commute. I may have to adjust my outline a bit to make it all come out the way it should.

Lanternfish spent the entire first book without having everything they need. It involved crew, guns, munitions, etc. I’m also thinking about what it might do to the crew to have too much. How motivated might they be to assist in the war when their hull is overflowing with treasure? People with nothing to lose see the world differently than those who have more than they’ll ever need. It’s an interesting concept if James has to hold the crew together in face of this new challenge.

Again, putting it aside for a week often brings more clarity to issues like this. I may even have a solution in mind, but need some time to work it all out.

That was my writer’s weekend. As a couple, we managed date night at Old Chicago and I sampled the seasonal beers. We also rented Godzilla King of the Monsters, and I really liked it. I like the way they worked in the fever theory of global warming. The theory is that living creatures get a fever when they’re sick to kill off the bug that’s causing the problem. In the fever theory, Earth is the creature, global warming is the fever, and we are the virus that’s making her sick. This theory has been around for a long time, but it was cool that the film went with it.

For those of you who get a holiday, I hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day. For everyone else, I wish you a happy Monday whatever you’re doing.

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Teaser fun

Time for another musical and poster teaser, leading up to my next book release. Turn on your speakers, tap the video, then check out Lisa’s poster.

Lisa Burton

 

As always, any collectors out there are welcome to download Lisa’s poster. Reminder: They make great Pinterest pins.

Pondering in the comments is always welcome.

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Some teaser fun.

I’m fast approaching a time where new fiction has to take a back seat to promotion. I always try to target the Halloween season, so this may seem weird to see in August. It really does no good to release a book on Halloween. The season is over, and there isn’t enough time for people to find it for their seasonal enjoyment. My goal is to have the new book out in mid September, thus a few advance teasers.

Here’s how they work. Look at the graphic. Listen to the music (It’s pretty awesome stuff), then ponder what the heck I’m up to now. If I can schedule this correctly, it will lead up to a cover reveal and a shiny new book. I’ll try to run one of these out every week. Feel free to ponder in the comments.

You collectors are welcome to snag the new Lisa Burton posters along the way. They make great Pinterest pins.

 

Lisa Burton

What is headed your way for the Halloween season?

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Cover reveal for Eventide

Mae Clair is a dear friend, and super supporter of her fellow authors. She has a new book on the way, and is here to share the advanced marketing with you. Please consider using those sharing buttons today.

Book cover for Eventide, a Hode's Hill novel by Mae Clair shows an old abandoned house in a wash of blue tones

Release Date: December 31, 2019
Genre: Supernatural Thriller / Suspense /Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Publishing • Lyrical Underground Imprint


As with the first two novels in the Hode’s Hill series, Eventide features a dual timeline with two mysteries—one set in the present, one in the 1800s—that intertwine at the end.

Blurb:
The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…


Eventide is available for pre-order through this Universal Purchase Link
and available to add to your Goodreads to-be-read list here.

The first two Hode’s Hill novels—Cusp of Night and End of Day—can be read as stand-alones, but Eventide is best enjoyed with the knowledge of what occurred in End of Day.

There is still plenty of time to catch up with the series as Eventide does not release until December 31st. Books 1 and 2 are available through the links below:
Cusp of Night
End of Day


Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up
Website & Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

bio box for author Mae Clair

 

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