Tag Archives: science fiction

Incursion, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there all you space marines, special ops, and saboteurs. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you the characters from the books you love.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Irene Sol Vianini. “Welcome to the show, Irene.”

“Thanks for having me. So many interesting people have been here before. It’s a true honor to be one of them now.”

“Your story is a bit different than many people we get on the show. To set the stage a bit, aliens are about to invade Earth. A special unit is assembled to wreak havoc upon them, prior to them reaching the outer Earth colonies. You are part of this special unit. What can you tell us about that.”

“I’m a scientist on the factory ship Lapland. Our part of the mission is to build any parts the marines and fighter arms might need, and also to do any quick development. Let me give you an example of why a factory ship needs scientists and not just engineers: let’s say the marines are seeing action on some surface where the conditions are bad for their suits. The science arm might get called on to create a mono-molecular coating to protect them. We can then put that formula into the nano-factories and presto, one less thing for the troops to worry about.

“Let’s cut the crap here. You are part of a radical group of pacifists. Mission Specialist might be your cover, but what is your actual mission?”

What? I can’t believe… I see someone’s been talking out of turn. All right, if that’s the way you want to play this, then yeah, let’s discuss it. Sure, I’m trying to stop this mission. It’s just another case where humans are aggressors. We’ve been killing each other for millennia, so why are we going to stop now that we have someone else to be unpleasant to? I see this radio panders to the militaristic side of things – even your intro talks to marines, specialists and saboteurs… tell me something: can you be any more jingoistic?”

“Nice try, but the question was about your actual mission.”

“Look. I know you have to sell advertising space, so the truth isn’t what you want on this show, but let’s be honest. Anyone with more than a few brain cells to spare knows that this is all our fault, and if we stop listening to the arms manufacturers who are making trillions out of this war, the aliens – if they even exist – will just go back o their lives and leave us alone.”

“I understand your point of view, but you have to be absolutely correct. You’re risking the lives of millions of people upon a theory. Aliens are headed toward Earth, and they have some huge assed weapons with them. Certainly, you can’t ignore that.”

“Of course they have big-ass weapons. What would you do if you came into contact with a species as destructive as ours?”

“Okay, the direct question isn’t working here. How about this one? What are you going to do to make sure the space marines and others don’t prolong this war?”

“I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. A few other sane people have managed to sabotage he launch of this mission. They’ve messed with the navigation systems to ensure that the task force won’t end up anywhere near where they think they should be. They’ll end up in a system that looks similar enough to pass muster but is actually really far away from the fighting. My job is to keep them in the dark for as long as possible so they don’t even try to turn around and do something about it until it’s much too late.”

“Okay, so a team of zealots on a suicide mission are infiltrated by a different zealot with an opposing mission, but all during this time there are aliens approaching Earth, bent on destruction and packing enough firepower to get the job done. Makes my processors heat up. Does that sound about right?”

“No. You’re like so many others. You’re looking at the details, the crap in the news. You have to look at the bigger picture here. If we don’t stop this vicious circle once and for all, humanity will be locked in this disaster forever. A few thousand marines, or a million human lives are a small price to pay to finally save the race. My own life is such a tiny thing. To die knowing I made such a huge difference would be worth it.”

“So you know that you’re on a suicide mission too. If your group gets destroyed, you will too. How do you plan for something like that? Did you write a Will, or did you leave more of a Manifesto?”

“A manifesto? I’ll leave a legacy much greater than that. I’ll have saved us from ourselves. And if a few thousand marines get killed for it, or a couple of colonies that shouldn’t even exist get wasted, well, then tough luck. Screw this. Why do I even bother talking to you people? I know who’s paying your bills. The same people getting paid to build more weapons and fighter ships. I sincerely hope you’re among the casualties. Go to hell.”

“Sorry about that everyone. Apparently Irene killed the connection. We have young people in uniform going into harms way. They’ve been infiltrated from the inside by a third faction. I wish I had more for you, but you will have to read the book Incursion, by Gustavo Bondoni to find out what happens. I’ll post all the deets on the website.

I encourage everyone to use those sharing button at the end of this post. I can’t speak for Irene, but Gustavo is pretty cool and he’d do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

***

It was supposed to be a desperate suicide mission, a holding action designed to delay a deadly enemy bent on destroying humanity: five starships sent to their doom, thousands of men and women knowingly laying down their lives to buy time for the besieged human race. And then things got really hairy. Tristan, a highly trained shock marine, wakes up after the trip to find that nothing works: not his equipment, not his ship, not even his body… He joins the race against time to bring their equipment back up to fighting trim and begin to understand what has happened to them and to unravel the layers of confusion and betrayal. But the enemy waiting for them doesn’t care about any of that. They just want to destroy the human incursion as quickly as possible.

Pick up your copy of Incursion

Bio: Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer who writes primarily in English. He has recently released three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Siege (2016) and Outside (2017)  His latest book is a comic fantasy novel entitled The Malakiad.  He has over two hundred short stories published in fourteen countries.  They have been translated into seven languages.  Many of the stories are collected in Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011). The Curse of El Bastardo  (2010) is a short fantasy novel.

His website is at www.gustavobondoni.com.

Twitter:  @gbondoni

Website:  www.gustavobondoni.com

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Gustavo-Bondoni/e/B004FRVMO2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Time to Lie, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there all you time bandits and meddlers of history. Welcome all of you young people trying to find a place in the modern world. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Landon Bridges. He’s a college student who thinks he may have stumbled upon something that will unlock the secret of time travel. “Welcome to the show, Landon.”

“Hello Lisa! Thanks for having me.”

“Okay Landon, Let’s get into the science of this thing. How is time travel actually going to work?”

“Here’s the thing Lisa, hold on to your hat, everyone can time travel. My theory, and I believe this to be accurate, is that because the brain is both a biochemical and electrical machine, all neural activity results in electrical signals that are of a specific frequency.

“Because of that, all of us have our own frequency, or rather, our brains have their own unique, genetic electrical signature. You know how you have to tune a radio to a particular frequency to hear what a specific station is broadcasting? Our brain is permanently tuned to our own frequency. You know how they say TV signals broadcast through the air don’t dissipate, but continue to travel into outer space forever? My theory is that the chemical-electrical signature, or signal, that your brain creates at a specific moment in time doesn’t dissipate or cease to exist. I think it continues to revolve around its locus of origin, your brain. If you imagine a past situation vividly enough, your brain is likely to have the same chemical and electrical signals that it did the first time, and voila! You find yourself tuned to that moment in your past. Unfortunately, because your future doesn’t exist yet, there’s no way to travel to the future.”

“It sounds really interesting. What will you do first? That seems to be a popular thought.”

“Time travel is tricky. If you change something in the past, you might return to a future you don’t want. It’s that whole butterfly effect thing. Eventually I’d love to become good enough to prevent some terrible disasters and things like that.”

“What do you hope to encounter there?”

“Before I tackle the big stuff, I’d like to iron out a few wrinkles in my own life. I lost my Dad when I was young and well, that really screwed me up. I’m a guy with Daddy issues. It’s a miracle I didn’t grow up to become a stripper. I’d really like to go back and save his life.”

“Have you put any thought into whether this is a one way trip or not? Maybe your technology will be completely out of sink in another time.”

“That’s the beauty of my time travel method! No technology needed. Your brain is the time machine! As long as you don’t get amnesia while you’re in the past. The only technology problem is that when you get to the past your cell phone doesn’t work because the sim card in it didn’t exist. There’s no calling for help in the past!”

“Hold that thought. We have a caller today. Hello, caller. You’re on the air with Lisa and Landon.”

“Yeah, I’m Future Landon too, only I’m stuck in my past and his present. I need Landon not to screw everything up so I can get back to a future that I recognize.”

“Wow, sounds like you don’t age well. How about it Landon? Will you accept advice from your future self?”

“Listen Lisa, this guy is half my problem. Every time I go back into my, our, past to fix something, he tries to stop me. I don’t know what he did growing up, but I’m trying to change things so I don’t turn into the huge asshole that he… I seem to be. Oops. Sorry about the language. If that’s a problem, I can go back in time and not say that.”

“No, that’s OK Landon. That’s what we want. The raw, honest truth. But, ignoring advice from your future self sounds risky to me. Your older self has more experience and if he says something is a bad thing, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to listen?”

“You know Lisa, just because he’s from my future doesn’t mean he’s right about everything. Our ancestors believed the world was flat and were afraid of electricity. All progress comes with an element of risk. He’s a miserable old bastard that doesn’t want me to have any fun. Just because he screwed up his life, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to make the same mistakes.”

“Listen you little punk! I’m from your future. You want to know why I’m miserable? It’s because of all the stupid shit I did when I was your age. I’m trying to stop you, to help me! Do you want to lose Siobhan the way I did?”

“Whoa! Hold on! Who’s Siobhan? Landon, do you have a love interest you’re not telling us about?”

“Yes, Siobhan is my girlfriend and he seems to be doing his best to screw that up too.”

“Listen fellas, you both may have all the time in the world, but my radio show doesn’t time travel, yet. Whatever you decide, Landon, I wish you all the best. Our audience can find out about Landon’s choices in the book Time To Lie, by Phil Taylor. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after the show.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I’m sure Phil and Landon would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Remember that time you dated that complete nutcase and said to yourself, I wish Future Me would have come back and warned me about this. Remember when you and your drunk friends said, If it’s such a bad idea, someone would come back from the future and stop us, right before it blew up in your face and got you in trouble? It would be great to have someone from the future to guide your life, wouldn’t it?

Landon Bridges’ life hasn’t always been perfect, but now he’s in college and determined to make a fresh start. Things are going great, until He shows up. 

A mysterious stranger intervenes to help Landon out of a terrible, possibly life changing situation, but what does he want? Why does he keep showing up? Who is he? Landon’s esteemed professor suddenly seems like a flake. Landon’s briefly idyllic college world seems to be spinning out of control. Landon, in trying to regain his sanity and his grip on reality, discovers that he has talents and allies that he never imagined. But is what they’re telling him the truth? 

Phil Taylor is a father of three, husband to one, and life-long smart ass to many. He has a Master’s degree in Psychology and spent many years working in the field of mental health before realizing that stringing words together might be a little bit more fun. His other two fiction novels, White Picket Prisons and The Sneaker Tree are dedicated to the life-long friends that shaped his life. His humor blog, The Phil Factor, at thirteen years, is one of the longest running blogs in the world.

The truth is just the lie we’ve chosen to believe, and yours may be different than mine.

Purchase Link: Available in Kindle, paperback and Audible: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Landon-Bridges-Story-Book-ebook/dp/B075BDTBZB/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

Social media links:

Blog: https://thephilfactor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPhilTaylor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThePhilFactor

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Technological Angel, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Welcome all you sci-fi geeks, aliens, and starship troopers. You’ve landed on Planet Lisa. Lisa Burton Radio to be exact, and I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl.

With me today is my special guest, Daniele Sommaruga. He’s just a regular guy who got caught up in something bigger. “Welcome to the show Daniele.”

“Hello there! Nice meeting you! You know we had a song called “Lisa” on Earth a few months before I left? It said “Lisa is gone/she’s no longer mine”… Sorry, getting carried away.”

“Aw, aren’t you sweet. It says here you’re living on a star base called Friport. How did a regular dude like you wind up on a star base.”

“It’s a starship as big as Earth’s Moon! It looks like the Death Star! Okay, to start from scratch, it was a dark night and I thought I saw a panther in my street. I lived in Rome, it was 1982 and an urban legend said there was a panther roaming… it was an alien shapeshifter instead! His name is Gaurishankar, he’s human – I mean, a Humanoid, since there are other races out there – but he has been tinkered with by a crazy scientist who introduced a mutation in his blood and he turns into a panther. Gaurishankar was chasing a bounty, some other alien Humanoid living incognito in my street. I told him I wanted to go with him. And he shifted to panther form under my eyes! I considered running away, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime…”

“Seems kind of like a trusting move to just go along?”

“Are you kidding? I’m a sci-fi nerd, I had to go with him! I could visit space, I felt like Luke Skywalker or Captain Kirk in a new adventure! Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t really think about the consequences. I just had to tag along, see new things, expand my mind, meet real, non-human aliens…”

“I certainly appreciate the spirit of adventure. What’s life like on Friport?”

“It’s strange. It’s an artificial world, it doesn’t have a real sky, but there’s the illusion of it. It has a 24 hours cycle, and the locals are very pale for lack of sunshine. There are a lot of Humanoid adventurers, but also some Felines, some Reptilians and the half-bloods. Soon after our arrival, we met mysterious Kol-ian, who also brought an Earthling named Chantal and has retractile bat-like wings, and Maela, a cyborg amazon of some kind who even has a daughter who looks just like her. Now we’ve all teamed up to restore a ship and then we’re going to find work – illegal work, mind you. Maela, the cyborg, ran away from her home planet because she didn’t want to send her daughter to the Girls’ House as is customary and her government owns her because it paid for her prosthetic, so she must live outside of the law now. She was maimed during the war with the Reptilians and had her left side remade in silver – well, it’s probably some other metal alloy.”

“Maela sounds pretty interesting. I appreciate that you’re willing to get involved with a cyborg. I see far too much prejudice here being a robot. It’s nice to know that everyone gets along.”

“Are you kidding? Maela is… è proprio bbona! With her silver hand she’s the most beautiful blonde I have ever seen! I’d give her one, but she’s kind of uptight and would probably punch me with her silver hand… so I’ll just stay away from her. We’re a small team and we get along fine, but Chantal is really obsessed with Kol-ian, so sometimes we bicker. I mean, we’re the only two Earthlings out here, we should be more united, right? But no-o, she’s obsessed with that winged hunk! Okay, he’s gorgeous, but still…. I don’t know, he feels too perfect! Perfect but icy, you know? He’s so cold and mysterious and… Gari – I mean Gaurishankar – is a mutant but sometimes he is more human than Kol-ian.”

“I suppose nothing is ever perfect. What do you intend to do with your new ship?”

“Well, we’re going to look for work. Mercenaries, killers, bounty hunters… what Gaurishankar did when I first met him. He’s going to be our connection to the underworld, since he has already been working here for a year. Maela is a soldier, so she can bring her expertise. And Kol-ian is a hacker, I mean he can do things with that computer of his… I’ve never seen anyone having so much access! I’m not an expert, mind you, but even Gari is impressed. So we’ll have to kill people or maybe protect them and hopefully say off the radar with the Galaxy Police who apparently are unable to come to Friport but surely will try to stop us. Our company is called Three because the actual members are Kol-ian, Gari and Maela, since for the galaxy out there Chantal and I don’t exist. We come from a low tech planet and don’t know much of what’s out there, but I’m sure we’ll have a wondrous adventure!”

“Daniele, I wish you all the luck… well, in the galaxy I suppose. Any last thought for our listeners today?”

“I don’t know where you are, Lisa, but if you transmit to Earth, please let them know we’re okay and we’re keeping the planet’s name as high as we can! And thank you for having me!”

“If you’d like to learn more about Daniele, Kol-Ian, Maela, and more, pick up the book Technological Angel, by Barbara Tarn. It’s the first book in the Star Minds Trilogy. I’ll include all the important data on the website.

“Now would be a good time to use those sharing buttons. I know Daniele and Barbara would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

“For Lisa burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. So, infinity and beyond and all that jazz.”

***

BLURB

“Technological Angel” (book 1)

Heartbreak is an eye-opener.

When Kol-ian is rejected by his beloved “angel”, he finds refuge on low-tech Earth. Until he feels the need to get back into the galaxy loop to explore the rogues’ world.

Cyborgs, shape-shifters, merciless telepaths and two earthlings lost in the Milky Way, learning to deal with aliens long before the rest of the blue planet.

Universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/49nP8b

Mind Link (book 2) universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/3RJ1n3

Slave Traders (book 3) universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/m2lv1b

The Trilogy ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/3n7j9m and paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other retailers.

Star Minds the series http://www.unicornproductionsbooks.com/star-minds-2/

 

Barbara G.Tarn

Barbara G.Tarn had an intense life in the Middle Ages that stuck to her through the centuries. She prefers swords to guns, long gowns to mini-skirts, and even though she buried the warrior woman, she deplores the death of knights in shining chainmail. She likes to think her condo apartment is a medieval castle, unfortunately lacking a dungeon to throw noisy neighbors and naughty colleagues in. Also known as the Lady with the Unicorns, these days she prefers to add a touch of fantasy to all her stories, past and present – when she’s not wandering on her fantasy world of Silvery Earth or in her Star Minds futuristic universe. She dabbles into historical fantasy with her Vampires Through the Centuries series and is attempting some real sci-fi with post-apocalypse and future Earth stories.

She’s a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller. Two of her stories received an Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future contest. She writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs at: http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com.

Check her Vimeo channel for book trailers and other funny stuff.

Find her books www.unicornproductionsbooks.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraGTarn

Author Central https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0050P0R2G

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4717133.Barbara_G_Tarn

Instafreebie https://www.instafreebie.com/author/BarbaraGTarn“Technological Angel” (book 1)
Heartbreak is an eye-opener.
When Kol-ian is rejected by his beloved “angel”, he finds refuge on low-tech Earth. Until he feels the need to get back into the galaxy loop to explore the rogues’ world.
Cyborgs, shape-shifters, merciless telepaths and two earthlings lost in the Milky Way, learning to deal with aliens long before the rest of the blue planet.

Universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/49nP8b

Mind Link (book 2) universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/3RJ1n3

Slave Traders (book 3) universal ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/m2lv1b

The Trilogy ebook links https://www.books2read.com/u/3n7j9m and paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other retailers.

Star Minds the series http://www.unicornproductionsbooks.com/star-minds-2/

Barbara G.Tarn

Barbara G.Tarn had an intense life in the Middle Ages that stuck to her through the centuries. She prefers swords to guns, long gowns to mini-skirts, and even though she buried the warrior woman, she deplores the death of knights in shining chainmail. She likes to think her condo apartment is a medieval castle, unfortunately lacking a dungeon to throw noisy neighbors and naughty colleagues in. Also known as the Lady with the Unicorns, these days she prefers to add a touch of fantasy to all her stories, past and present – when she’s not wandering on her fantasy world of Silvery Earth or in her Star Minds futuristic universe. She dabbles into historical fantasy with her Vampires Through the Centuries series and is attempting some real sci-fi with post-apocalypse and future Earth stories.

She’s a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller. Two of her stories received an Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future contest. She writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs at: http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com.

Check her Vimeo channel for book trailers and other funny stuff.

Find her books www.unicornproductionsbooks.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraGTarn

Author Central https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0050P0R2G

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4717133.Barbara_G_Tarn

Instafreebie https://www.instafreebie.com/author/BarbaraGTarn

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

How about some free days?

Once upon a time, I wrote this book called The Enhanced League. It’s my take on a baseball league where performance enhancing drugs are not banned. It’s a little bit science fiction, and a bit human drama.

I wrote it as a collection of short stories and micros. My personal growth plan was to have these stories all set in the same environment, and to tell an overarching story from cover to cover.

It seems like I’m always trying something new, and this book has a few pieces that I called Anthems. These are short bits in second person point of view. They were well received by the reviewers, so I wrote a new one for this post. (Personal theory: second person is best in small segments.)

I thought it deserved a bit of music, and video clips seem to be the simple way to add that in WordPress. This may be my favorite movie scene of all time.

Spring is in the Air

It’s been a long winter. The series ended in spectacular fashion, but that was back in November. Sure, you tried to get into football, maybe checked out the Winter Olympics, but it wasn’t the same.

You listened to the Hot Stove reports on the radio. There were some good free agents this year, and you earmarked a couple for your team. You knew they were long shots, but like all baseball fans, you live on hope and faith.

This year was different. Teams refused to pony up those ridiculous contracts like in the past. Guess they finally figured out super-stars aren’t so super, seven years into a contract for mega-millions.

Passive fans always want the team to spend money and buy all the free agents, but you know better. This is because the business side is every bit as interesting as the game on the field. There’s only so much money, and you have to keep an eye on the future. It’s hard to extend the contract of your ace pitcher next year when you spent it all on some hotshot this year.

When it all shook out, your team settled for an import pitcher from Japan, and a few minor league guys that might come up late this year. For the most part, you’re fielding the same team.

That isn’t bad in some ways. They made a run and got into the playoffs. They might have done better if it weren’t for the injuries. All you need is just a bit of luck and… we’re back to hope once more. Maybe those minor league guys can cover the spots if an injured player has to take some time off. There’s always hope.

You watched the trucks pulling in to the stadium. You imagined they delivered sports apparel and the newest bobble-head dolls of the popular players. It’s too early for hotdogs and other perishables. Still, it’s getting close.

The grass is green, not like it will be in May or June, but all the dead thatch is gone. You watched them testing the lights over the stadium, and Spring Training is underway five states away.

Kids always put a lot of faith in Spring games. You know they don’t mean a thing, and you’re just hoping to get through without somebody getting hurt. Players get their work in and get ready for the big show, that’s what it’s all about.

The radio guys are looking for stories, so they come up with things for you to worry about. So-and-so seems to have lost some velocity on his fastball, or such-and-such seems to be swinging and missing more. You know they’re trying things out in Spring Training, and working up to their full skill set. They’ll be ready, have a little faith.

Hope and faith, they fuel the baseball fan’s world. It’s almost time to take the field and welcome summer in the best way possible. Grab your cap, ice the beer, turn on the game, and let’s watch some baseball.

***

Those who read Enhanced League seemed to like it. It never seemed to get enough readers to make a splash. Now here we are at the end of Spring Training, and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. What better time to trot it back out and do a small push.

Today through Saturday I’m holding free days for The Enhanced League. I’d appreciate it if you’d pick up a copy, maybe add it on Goodreads. In it’s debut, I had Lisa making the rounds. Here is the poster that came out the best from her promotional efforts.

Lisa Burton

I added it, because images draw attention, but also for some of you to use. I’m not going to spend a lot of money on a free promotion. If you want to reblog this one, I’d be grateful. Some of you may prefer to assemble your own post. You can clip the Anthem, cover, umpire Lisa, however much or little you want. And thanks for considering The Enhanced League.

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Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes, Writing

Cover reveal for The Gemini Connection

Teri Polen is a big supporter of mine. I recently finished her debut novel, Sarah, and gave it five stars. She’s here today to share a cover and blurb from her newest project.

***

The Gemini Connection
by Teri Polen
Paperback Release Date: May 31, 2018
E-book Release Date: June 7, 2018
Young Adult > Sci-Fi/Fantasy > Thriller

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

The Gemini Connection paperback is available for preorder at the following locations:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
And for a discount at Black Rose Writing

You can find Teri at the following locations:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Goodreads / Amazon

20 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Idea Mill #31

It’s been a long time since we visited the Idea Mill, here on Entertaining Stories. I’ve kept my eyes open for articles, and they haven’t been all that good lately. In typical fashion, I  always wait until I  have three – but two good ones show up at the same time, leaving me with four.

If this is your first visit to the Idea Mill, I  have a category in the sidebar where you can check out the previous posts. I  use push feeds to send me news about things that might help my fiction. Think of them like Muse food. I  can’t possibly use them all, and maybe something will bring your own Muse to the table.

Our first article involves humans returning to the moon one day. Scientists have long speculated there might be underground lava tubes on the moon that would make a great location for a human colony. A team of Japanese and American scientists proved the theory, and they even identified a suitable location.

In speculative fiction, you can always change things up to suit yourself. Maybe you want Mars instead; shouldn’t be a huge leap of faith. Maybe you want some basis for a fantasy where one of your races lives in underground colonies. This could be a starting point for your research.

I really like the image in the article that shows a huge underground cell holding a city the size of Philadelphia with plenty of room to spare. If you think of Earth’s atmosphere as being similar to an ocean, then why couldn’t you fill the entire cell with oxygen and allow the inhabitants to moon-hop without space suits? I think I could sell that in a story. If you get plants to grow, they might even help with the oxygen. You can read the article here.

That giant cell where the people must live is also a perfect setting for horror of some kind. Help is a long way off, and you can’t just run away.

Our next one involves a new finding that the squirrel fur trade may have helped spread leprosy in medieval England. I think what amazes me the most is the idea there even was a squirrel fur trade. I mean squirrels never seemed to make much of an impact on the red carpet decades ago when fur was in fashion. Marilyn Monroe never posed snuggled inside a squirrel fur stole and nothing else. I can see trade like this spreading diseases way back then. They didn’t have some of the regulations, FDA, and other folks watching over them.

Need a fantasy character who hasn’t been done to death? Tired of burley woodsmen and handsome princes? How about a squirrel fur trader? How about a bunch of orphans who catch squirrels to survive? Could there be a fur trader’s guild in your fantasy city? Maybe even a guild war when opossum fur starts becoming more economical?

Learn about the spread of disease by squirrel fur trading at this site.

Our next article involves an idea that’s been floating around for a long time. Mosquitos carry a lot of diseases that are harmful to humans. They are also hard to control using current methods, because the old methods were so devastating to the environment. When I first read about this, the idea was to introduce a deadly mosquito venereal disease into the larger population in hopes that it would kill them all off. That idea never went away, it seems. Today it’s back with a new hair-brained basis. The FDA has approved a method of using sterile male mosquitos to introduce into the wild. In theory these would mate with the bad mosquitos (apparently the bad ones are always females) leaving all the eggs as duds.

Now, if this could actually happen, repeated treatments could lead to an extinction of the bad mosquitos. Their method cracks me up, though. They will produce these mosquitos in a lab, then hand separate the males from the females, before boxing them up to ship to areas where Zika and yellow fever are prominent.

If they’re going to use labor to hand separate the mosquitos, I almost think they’d be better off to send that same labor into the swamps with fly-swatters. Anyway, you can read the article here, then we’ll speculate about it.

Maybe you caught on to the term in the article about weaponized mosquitos. If they can manipulate the little buggers to this extent, it isn’t much of a leap to turn them into biological weapons to use against humans. Some of this might even play into my next novel that I’m going to call Grinders. (I need to give it some thought.) Maybe you write thrillers, and can pit the CDC against a terrorist cell utilizing weaponized mosquitos to carry out its evil plans. Maybe you want to project this out a few years and have the Endangered Species Act trying to protect the now-endangered bad mosquitos. It could be CDC vs the Endangered Species Act, while the terrorists are getting away.

Like I said, I hold some of these articles for months, then always seem to get two at the last moment. This time is no exception, so we have one more. Where the mosquito article bordered on mad science, this one moves right in and sets up shop. Scientists have been merging human and rat brains in a laboratory. They even have a cute name for the human parts called organoids.

This one plays right into my Grinders novel, and I already have rats involved. The article explores the idea of ethics and rights if the animals are part human, and questions what kind of consciousness they might have. I’ve got news for them, all animals are conscious to a degree. They all protect their babies, understand the need for food and water, and many are much more incredible.

Writing a courtroom type story that’s reflective of the Scopes Monkey Trials, one where eventually a rat testifies, seems like low hanging fruit to me. It could be good, but it’s just not what I write. I can see a plague of intelligent rats causing all kinds of problems. Maybe they set up street gangs and start taking lunches from school children. They form organized raids on restaurants and bakeries. Maybe they even fight back by using swarms of biting rats to kill those who oppose them.

It wouldn’t take much of a stretch to use other species if you have the science behind this project. You could go all Michael Chichton on the story. Read the article right here.

One of the fun parts, and it gets harder with four articles, is to rough out a story using all the articles. I have space, a medieval fur trade, and two modified animals to deal with…

A colony of humans is living on the moon in a fully functional underground city. They are dependent upon Earth for many of the things they need for survival. These people are dependent upon a line of super intelligent rats to help them delve deeper into the lava tubes. The rats can explore places we cannot go, and assess whether it’s worth digging through to the next area.

It’s cold on the moon, and the rats want something warmer than their natural fur. A shipment of squirrel fur arrives from Earth, and a cottage industry is born – making fur coats for rats. The fur is infected with a virus that is deadly to humans. The best hope is in the form of modified mosquitos that will transmit a cure for the disease. However, the cure is deadly for the rats.

While the ship carrying the cure is on its way, the rats rise up to destroy the humans before they can destroy the rats.

That’s it, some ideas to kick your Muse in the pants; check. A corny outline to have some fun with; check.

I’ve got to say the last two have me thinking, and I think the Research Sirens are on their way to the writing cabin.

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The Bete goes on, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa BurtonHey all you space jockeys and interplanetary folks, and particularly cat lovers today, you’ve just landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Darma. She’s a nineteen your old scientist who crash landed on an unexplored planet. “Welcome to the show, Darma.”

“Yo.”

“It seems like you guys are doing okay, and making the best of this new planet. My bio says you made friends with someone called the Bete. What can you tell us about your new friends?”

“They’re pretty damn capable, y’know. Decisive, practical. They respect intelligence. Sure, they’ve got some extra abilities. Each of them can do useful stuff like finding and telepathy, firestarting. Truthsense. Teleporting. And K’Ti is incredible at healing. She fixed my shattered hand like that. It’s totally true, Lisa. And, then, there’s the Prime, those that can also change into usually a badass animal. But really, what could be sexier than hanging out with someone who could, at any moment, turn into a gorgeous black panther. I mean, what a thrill. And they are bad to the bone. Xander’s the strongest, as the dragon, but I’ve got a soft spot for the panther.”

“It seems odd to form friendships with people who are so different. I’m guessing they aren’t all that different, are they?”

“Really, I don’t get what the big deal is, Lisa. Most of the time, they’re just like anyone else and the folks that seem to be weirded out are just overreacting. Sometimes they’re stupid kids, like Laren, pig-headed and quick to fight. Sometimes they’re insufferable bores like Cil. They’ve got dark sides and flaws just like you and me. And the way they’re treated by some of the humans, it’s no wonder so many of them we’re keeping at arms’ length until, y’know, I started walking through walls and then I, well, turned into a Kula tiger. Even Laren’s impressed when I do both at the same time. Anyway, Lisa, they had grown to accept me even before all that, but I think it helps I’m in the same boat with the rest of them.”

“That sounds pretty cool to me. How did you acquire your abilities?”

“K’Ti’s the one that spotted it. K’Ti knew it as a magic enhancer from the old planet, even out in the wild, but the rest of the Bete were clueless. Then the explorers said it was a known mutagen that caused enhanced talents and shapeshifting abilities if you eat enough of it. Well, it grows like mad upstream of the river so it’s in fish and game, the water. Only a matter of time before some of the humans were going to find out they weren’t so human. Couple already have and I’m one of ’em. Though, so far, I’m the only Prime, y’know, a shapeshifter.”

“How do the rest of the survivors feel about the Bete?”

“It depends and a lot of it depends on where you came from on the world we grew up on. People like the Captain and my teacher, Corrina Pensa, they’re more fascinated and impressed, maybe grateful the Bete have been willing to fight on our side. And me. They’re actively supporting the Bete, helping to protect them.

“Then, Lisa, there are a whole bunch of kids who grew up in the cities back home and never even heard of the Bete or magic like K’Ti’s. I don’t know that they have an opinion, yet. Just depends on who makes the compelling story.

“But there are some that are freaking fanatics. Folks that grew up in the fringes within range of the Bete camp, people who might have a stray mutant show up in their own village. If they found one, they’d kill them out of hand, first chance. Laren, I mentioned him early, the panther? He was one of those but his mother, when she found out, instead of turning him in, tried to keep it a secret. When her village found out, they chained him up to die outside the village where the dire wolves and wild Kula tigers roam, while they tortured his mother to death. Just for hiding his nature. While he listened, Lisa. He was eight years old. These people are wild-eyed fanatics and what they lack in numbers, they make up for in zeal. I mean, these folks are scary.

“When the rumor went around after we crashed that K’Ti was healing people—healing people—some of them came to attack and would have raped her and who knows what if the Bete hadn’t stopped them.”

“I’ll never understand why everyone can’t just get along. Your abilities could be a real benefit to the whole community if everyone would just embrace that.”

“K’Ti—she’s only sixteen but she’s wise beyond her years—says that someday we’ll all be Bete we’ll just end up hating ourselves, but what it really is, Lisa, is just dumb. It’s like being human, to some Bete, or being Bete, to some humans, would tell you all you need to know, but that’s not it. Everybody’s a person, an individual. Kert is a doofus and so is Laren, but they’re both good people. In the end, who you are is a lot more important than what you are.”

“I know, right. Believe me, I’ve been the outsider, and people don’t react too well to a robot girl sometimes. Maybe a new planet is a better place to live the way you want.”

“Well, it wasn’t that easy. Crash landing on an unknown planet, we weren’t really ready for it, you know. Carnivorous plants—K’Ti helped identify those—packs of attacking wolves and the bugs. You think you’ve seen it all until you’re face to face with an ant as tall as you are riding a freaking dragonfly as big as a small dragon when all you’ve got to defend yourself is a dull machete. That was the Klixit, Lisa. Wouldn’t want to do that again. I mean, we worked something out, but for a while there, it looked pretty hopeless. Then we had to deal with other bugs. Smaller, but deadly with disease.”

“That figures. You couldn’t just crash into the Planet of Eden.”

“Well, no, but, so far the climate’s been terrific and Laren found some native fauna that worship cats like gods. And we’ve got the shipcats. You ever heard of shipcats, Lisa? They are so cool. Specially bred for space travel, they pick people and can communicate with them. And those little buggers are damn fine fighters including a neurotoxin in their venom. That’s right, venom. Don’t get on their bad sides. Since Laren and I are both cats in our other forms, we can talk to any of them.”

“Wow, cat lovers are going to dig these books. I mean shipcats, tigers, and a panther. It’s almost like a shipcat could be a familiar, since they can tell you what they see and hear. Of course, they’re cats, and aren’t prone to following directions.”

“Yeah, they help though, but only as much or in the way they want to. Rather like regular cats. Only with venom. With the ship crashed and no fuel, we’re not getting off this rock so we’re going to have to make it work here and there are still a few unanswered questions like the 10 m high flood lines and the binary pair to our planet that, I swear, is getting closer, though I haven’t verified that with readings. And there are the wolf packs that attack but smell like man—except not any of the men that came with us. Could be a whole heaping helping of trouble still to come.”

“Cats and dogs are natural enemies. Maybe not a problem for the others, but you and Laren should be careful. Any closing comments for our listeners today?”

“In the meantime, I’ve got my hands full keeping Laren out of trouble, helping us develop useful inventions for our nascent colony and flouting Bete and human traditions in turn. Gonna be a heckuva ride, I’m betting. Wouldn’t miss it.”

“If you’d like to learn more about Darma and the Bete, pick up copies of The Beast Within and Nine Lives, by Stephanie Barr.

 

“Don’t forget to help me pay the bills around here, by using those sharing buttons today. Darma and Stephanie would do the same for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

There should never have been a space battle, certainly not one that sent my ship full of fleeing children across the whole damn universe. Nor was I prepared to land on a planet I knew nothing about and would never be able to escape. But of all the things I wasn’t prepared for, it was to find myself dependent on a tiny group of shapeshifting magic users among the refugees, shapeshifters hated by my own fellow humans and yet the only chance any of us had to survive.

I have now seen the shapeshifters, called the Bete, organize and build when we were still chaos inside my ship, even though we had adults and they didn’t. I have seen them repulse the horrific foes that wander this new world. change into fantastic beasts for our protection, and even heal our wounds.

I’m told they are demons and monsters that cannot be trusted, and yet, I have found that our fate relies not only on this group but the leadership and judgment of a boy half my age and many times my power. How am I to hate him? Who is really the beast in this?

The “demon” that saves us or the hatred that divides us?

The “demon” that saves us or the hatred that divides us?

I clearly did not bring enough whisky.

Some language and violence.

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Of all the ridiculous turn of events, that hot-headed interloper, Laren, took charge when a flurry of crises descended. Our leader was downed by some unknown disease, our healer mauled in our leader’s delirium, and the humans, as I always suspected, were gearing for war to take us out.

But Laren has discarded his only redeeming quality, his overwhelming distrust and hatred for humanity. That engineer human, is undoubtedly the cause, seducing that cat with her reason. Who would have expected that Laren, known for his short temper, would react with logic and caution as we tried to prevent the disease from taking out our most powerful Bete, save our leader and the healer, both in critical condition, and deal with the human camp, now under the power of those who consider us demons?

I’m not saying Laren wanted to be leader, but he stood firm when older and wiser heads, like mine, argued to leave the humans to their own self-destruction. And Bete and humans alike backed him, including his girlfriend who is now a Bete like us. What will happen now that he plans to attack the humans head-on, rescuing those that are friendly and putting a stop to the faction that wants to take us down? What is with all these new powers the Bete and even some humans are developing? What does this mean for our future?

Surely that stupid cat is not fit to lead us. So, why is he doing so damn well?

Sequel to Beast Within. Contains some language and violence.

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Stephanie BarrAlthough Stephanie Barr is a slave to three children and a slew of cats, she actually leads a double life as a part time novelist and full time rocket scientist. People everywhere have learned to watch out for fear of becoming part of her stories. Beware! You might be next!

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Take a fun quiz to find out which of Stephanie’s protagonist’s you’re most like here.

Take this fun quiz to find out which of Stephanie’s books best suits you.

Stephanie maintains two additional blogs, one dedicated to rocket science, and one dedicated to manga.

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