Tag Archives: science fiction

October

October is my favorite month of the year. I’ve made no secret about it. The temperatures suit me just fine, I like the Autumn colors, and seeing pumpkins everywhere. It’s the month of my birth, so maybe that’s part of the attraction. I think you can see how some of that influences my writing choices.

I’m about to go back on the road with a new book. I always try to have something for the Halloween season. It’s been a good month for me, year in and year out.

Somewhere along the way, I’ll give Entertaining Stories a facelift. Some kind of creepy background and an updated banner to help with my new story. By the time this goes live, I may have already done it. No firm commitment, but it’s happening.

All of my regulars have read at least some of my work, but there are new people surfing through all the time. Today’s post is to give you some samples, but sticking to the October theme.

Let’s start off with FREE. I appeared in an anthology along with some other great authors called Macabre Sanctuary. These are all dedicated to Halloween themed scary stories. You can’t really argue with free, and there are some great tales inside these covers.

There is another anthology with a science fiction bent called Quantum Wanderlust. As you might guess, this one is about time travel. It’s also FREE. Most of the speculative genres have found a home during Halloween, and I’ve had any number of robots and even a couple of Dr. Whos trick-or-treating at my house. In my story, the hero winds up exploring King Tut’s tomb, so you might see the tie.

Now we come to the 99¢ price point. I have several collections of my own at this price. Two of them are called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. (One and two.) If you might be interested in the nefarious things magpies do, or ever wondered about the Soup Ladle of Destiny, this might be the collection for you. There’s even a nuclear murder in one book.

What I like about collections and anthologies is the ability to read an entire story while waiting at the DMV, or during lunch. The anthologies are a great way to find new authors you might enjoy.

Now we come to the novels. I price my novels at $2.99. I have several that fit the Halloween theme. Maybe you want to chase a demon through the jungles of Panama, or help Patty Hall solve the mystery of the Will O’ the Wisp before it kills her. You might prefer a more urban setting with a secret society out to stop a possessed businessman before he brain washes the nation’s children. If so, then The Playground is for you.

There are other titles, and if your imagination stretches to fantasy as a possible Halloween genre, I have some things you might consider. This post is already link heavy, so I won’t include individual titles.

I also have a series of short novels that fits the theme perfectly. These are short enough that you can read the whole story in an afternoon. I like the length, because sometimes we don’t have three days to read a longer piece. I’ve also worked pretty hard to keep you from having to read them in order. It’s possible to pick up any of them and not feel lost. I admit, I’m one of those who has to read in order, but you really won’t lose much if you don’t.

This is The Hat series. It’s about a hard working, twenty-something girl named Lizzie St. Laurent. She comes into possession of her grandfather’s old hat, but it’s not what you might expect. The hat is actually a being from another dimension who’s been trapped here by witchcraft. Together, they form a symbiotic relationship and take up monster hunting. It’s full of snark, dark humor, and a few scary moments along the way.

Book one, creatively titled The Hat, is the origin story. Lizzie and the hat take up a new case in Viral Blues, and it involves a team-up similar to some of the recent super-hero movies you all bought millions of tickets for.

I’m about to take my show on the road to promote The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’ve priced it at 99¢ to get it a good launch. It’s respectful of your time and your wallet for a while. You might even have a sinister laugh along the way.

Halloween 2020 is likely to be a shadow of its former self. Festivals, parties, and even trick-or-treating will be drastically stepped down. You can still curl up with a good book and have a good time. I hope you’ll consider some of my work when you do.

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The Astral Conspiracy Series

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Staci Troilo to the blog today. She’s a great author, one of my Story Empire colleagues, and a true friend. She’s here to tell us about a series she’s published under the pen name of D. L. Cross. I’ve read the first part of these, along with a supporting short story, and they are outstanding.

***

Ciao, Craig. Thanks so much for having me back today. And a hearty hello to all your readers.

I’m here today to talk about my Astral Conspiracy series. It’s technically science fiction, as it’s part of the acclaimed Platt and Truant Invasion Universe, but my saga is as much thriller as it is sci-fi, so I thought I’d have a little fun with my marketing and include pages from the top-secret government files on my main characters.

Today, I’m sharing info on Landon Thorne.


DOSSIER

Name: Landon Thorne

Occupation: Archaeologist and sometimes professor

Of Note: Professionally disgraced due to belief in the ancient astronaut theory

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW BETWEEN AUTHOR (Staci Troilo a.k.a. D.L. Cross) AND CHARACTER (Landon Thorne) ON ASTRAL DAY (the day the world is alerted to the approach of alien ships) via video conference. (Video is eyes-only, file #4021940-V, director’s approval required.)

Subject photo available, file #4021940-G

Staci: Hi, Landon. How are you?

Landon: Hey, Staci. Well, about as stunned as everyone else, I guess. You?

Staci: About the same. But I’m surprised to hear you weren’t prepared for this. Your theories are being proven true.

Landon: I don’t know about that. I posited aliens were here in our ancient history, not that anyone believed me. But I never expected them to come back. Especially in my lifetime.

Staci: Well, now that they’re on their way, what can you tell us?

Landon: (scoffing) You know what I know. An alien fleet is headed this way. Are they benevolent or malevolent? No idea. And what to do about it is well above my paygrade.

Staci: Don’t you think it might be a good idea to find out their intentions? Maybe talk with them before they get here?

Landon: Sure. Let me just see if my cell phone has a strong enough signal to reach Jupiter… (holds device in the air like he’s looking for service) Too bad. It doesn’t. So, unless SETI or NASA or some other observatory knows how, we’re out of luck.

Staci: And that’s the only way you can think of to reach out?

Landon: Well, Rysoft made the app. Maybe they know how to…

Staci: Professor?

Landon: The gate.

Staci: What gate?

Landon: Of course! The Gate of the Gods. Puerta de Hayu Marca. In Peru. Legend states if you have the solar disc, you can open what’s essentially a wormhole. Long ago, aliens were said to have come to Earth from there. And some people claim to have traveled through the gate from here to their home world. If we’re going to talk to them, that’s how. Thanks, Staci. You’re a genius!

Staci: Well, I wouldn’t say that. But if you really want to… (she chuckles, shrugs, and blushes)

Landon: I gotta go.

Staci: You heading to Peru?

Landon: Not without the disc.

Staci: And do you know where to get the disc?

Landon: Sorry to cut this short, Staci. But I really need to leave. Plans to make. Be safe!

Staci: You, too… (voice trails off because he’s already gone)


Landon makes his debut in the Astral Conspiracy series in book one, The Gate. You can read a brief synopsis of all five books below, and each one has links to its product page and a purchase link.


The Gate: When the hypotheses of disgraced ancient alien theorist Landon Thorne prove to be true, he travels across the globe in search of a way to communicate with—and perhaps stop—the approaching alien armada. Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Stones: The invasion couldn’t be prevented, but there is a chance the Astrals can be driven away… if Landon Thorne can reach the Georgia Guidestones, unearth its secrets, and decode the mystery before the aliens stop him. Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Nine: Landon Thorne and his team of resistance fighters seek a cipher to decode the message accompanying a cache of alien artifacts they’ve unearthed, but the government, a clandestine cabal, and the Astrals themselves stand in their way and might not only put an end to their plans—they might put an end to their lives. Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Twins: When all factions converge for a human-versus-alien showdown, resistance fighter Reverie Sterling gets help from the least likely source. But even then, it may be too late for everyone she loves to make it out alive. Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Lab: In the final showdown between Earthlings and Astrals, twins Asha and Vonn insist their long-lost grandfather has a plan to save humanity. It’s a long-shot, but the resistance takes it—and no one is prepared for the consequences. Full Blurb | Purchase Link

About Staci Troilo/D.L. Cross

D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

Connect online:

Website | Blog | Troilo Amazon | Cross Amazon

Troilo BookBub | Cross BookBub | Troilo Goodreads | Cross Goodreads

Social Media


I just wanted to once again say thank you to Craig. And to all of you who visited today. This post was as fun to write as the stories were, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Grazie!

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Murder They Wrote #Anthology #Murder

I’m visiting with Gwen Plano today. The topic is the anthology I contributed to, and my character, Jason Fogg. Stop over and meet this amazing author.

Summer is slowly slipping away, but at least in the Midwest, family pools still offer a welcomed escape from the heat. If you’re searching for a good poolside book, I have one for you. It is a collection of short stories by seven writers, each using a different genre for their story. Murder They Wrote features award-winning authors and edge-of-the-seat dramas.

One of the writers, C.S. Boyack, is a friend from Idaho. His stories always bring a smile, because in his paranormal world, anything is possible. Even unlikely creatures such as a yak, speak. Really? Yes, really. And, to top it off, he writes great stories. Craig visits with us today to tell us about the anthology. Let’s see what he has to say.​


Thanks, Gwen. I believe this is my first appearance here, and I’m excited about it. My door is always open to you if you ever want to spread the word about one of your projects.

​Today, my topic is an anthology called Murder They Wrote. Seven fabulous authors contributed a short story, and I’m honored to stand among them. Keep reading here.

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A very busy flex day

Today is my flex day, and it started out in a way I’m not a fan of. I had to get a hole drilled in my head. I probably need more holes, but this one involved filling a tooth the dentist had been watching for a decade. He also removed an old filling, replaced it, and fixed a chipped tooth I’ve had for about four years. None of that was a real problem.

Deep cleaning was a problem and hurt like hell. Then the lady only did one side, as if I’ll ever go back and do the other side. She doesn’t know me very well. Old What’s Her Face pointed out that I’ve never been in for tooth cleaning in the 30 plus years we’ve been together. I don’t see the point. In my case, there is no gum decay and no bone loss. I’m not saying it isn’t a valid procedure, but I just don’t seem to require it.

I wrote and sent out the last two posts for my Lanternfish tour. I planned on ending it in August, but it will carry into the first week of September.

I managed to play two rounds of pumpkin ball today. One at mid-day and one after supper. They’re still crazy about these things.

Tonight, I paid the invoice for formatting The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This one is coming in October, and makes for a good Halloween themed push for me. October has always been good to me, so hoping I can keep some of that magic flowing.

Then I got an email that said Murder They Wrote is now available in the book store. I knew this was coming, but it looks like I’ll be doing promo into September this year. It could have been worse. At least it doesn’t overlap Lanternfish and Mrs. Molony. It will fit right in the middle.

Seven great authors came together to produce this anthology, and I’m proud to be included. That image up above is a purchase link if you want to get in early.

I was invited because they wanted a science fiction author involved. This posed kind of a conundrum, because I was right in the middle of drafting both Mrs. Molony and HMS Lanternfish. I actually had a character who could stand in perfectly.

Jason Fogg has been with me since my trunk novel days. He first appeared in public as a short story character, earned a second short in my second collection, then became a player in the novel Viral Blues.

Jason returns to short stories in Murder They Wrote. He also returns to his first person POV style. I don’t want to say too much here, because I have promo posts to write. This is just a first strike as part of my busy flex day.

I actually took vacation time tomorrow. I anticipated sore gums and wanted a day to kick back, maybe do some reading. Old What’s Her Face struck like a viper and now I have to take Frankie in for one of her vaccinations.

Sounds cute right? Dad and his girl going to the vet for something that isn’t an emergency. In reality it’s more like a cage match. She doesn’t like her harness. Doesn’t like riding in the car, and doesn’t like going to the vet.

Catch you guys later. I might be able to write some Jason Fogg promo posts before I go to bed tonight.

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We interrupt this blog tour…

I’m supposed to be promoting the heck out of HMS Lanternfish, my new book baby. I’ve done it all week, but it’s the weekend now. Since the free days for Voyage of the Lanternfish have lapsed, I’m going to tone the tour down to a couple of days per week.

Today, still finds me promoting to a certain degree, but stick with me, because I think it’s interesting.

Once Upon at Time (2019) I wrote a book called Grinders. This is a cyberpunk tale about Earth’s near future. I published it on February 18, 2020. Most of my followers understand the writing process, and most of this was a project dating back to the summer of 2019.

Check the publication date once more: February 18, 2020. This was before the world went to crap and everything became one massive upheaval. Some of what I’m about to share with you kind of freaks me out, even though I should feel somewhat justified.

Part of writing in the near-future involves making some guesses at the changes that might happen between now and then. I really put my effort into the world building here.

Since I’ve published, COVID-19 has changed our world, but there have been many changes aside from that.

I wrote about cyber-shut-ins in the book. This was based on the ability to work from home, and have virtually everything delivered, including groceries. We’re already living in that world mere months after I published. I made quite a few projections about things like Alexa and how artificial intelligence would improve over time. These haven’t come true, but I almost think it’s inevitable.

I’m a big believer that history repeats itself, and I’ve seen it too many times to think otherwise. I knew that historically there were many kinds of currency in the United States. This could be anything from Army scrip to company dollars that you could only spend in the company town at the company store. This was a way for big businesses to create a captive labor force, because they couldn’t afford to leave the coal mining community, for example.

I took part of this concept and projected it into cyber-currency. Many cities in Grinders have their own cyber-currency and this led to an active exchange business where executives can work from home as modern-day money changers.

This week, I found a news article involving local currency. It appears one small town in Washington is going back to something they did during the Great Depression. They are printing their own local money to help people get through the C-19 crisis. This money can be spent all over town, and is somehow redeemable for US currency eventually.

This will provide the locals a way to keep the wolf away for now, but it also traps them into shopping local. That helps the local businesses stay afloat, because places like Amazon aren’t going to accept this local currency. You can’t drive down the coast and spend it either.

I see it as one more step toward the world of Grinders. Check out the article here.

I also projected what global warming might do to us a hundred years down the line. The temperature belts have drifted away from the equator. My story is set in San Francisco, which is almost sub tropical now. It still has its cold snaps, but the weather patterns are different.

The seas have risen, and the entire coastline has been changed. Some of the original buildings still stand slightly offshore. These have been modified to allow occupancy of units that are below the waves. You might stumble across Telegraph Island if you’re reading the story. This doesn’t exist today, but could if things keep changing.

Then I found a recent news article. The last Canadian ice shelf has broken up. Read that again. The LAST Canadian ice shelf has broken up. There is a chunk of ice floating around now that is bigger than Manhattan. The article says it will melt rapidly now that it’s surrounded by sea water. Here is the link if you’re interested.

I don’t have links for other articles (sorry) but this has been happening in Antarctica, too. The point is that when all this ice melts, the seas are going to rise. Some of this has been predicted for a long time, but I never actually thought I might see it in my lifetime.

One of the things they’ve predicted is that the Pacific will get the worst of it. There is more melting ice at that tip of the South Pole. Maybe the California Coast will wind up like I predicted.

There are a couple of scenes in the book with holographic projections, even one involving a doctor. Is this so far removed from the tele-medicine we have making headway in the country?

Since all of this seems to be happening now, maybe someone will get to work on some of the good things in the story, like The Grid. A programable surface on the street that pairs with automobiles and drives them for us. No more traffic, because it handles all the cars at once. Oh, it also generates electricity as a kind of solar panel system.

If Grinders sounds like something you might like to check out, I would really appreciate it. I’ll drop a cover and blurb while I’m at it.

We will return to our regularly scheduled blog tour next week.

Blurb:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with a veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Don’t forget you can read it for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders

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A quick update about Grinders

I love hour-long lunch breaks, they allow me a moment for things like this. The WiFi came back on yesterday, so last night I spent some time on Amazon and uploaded Grinders. This morning they notified me that it is a book. Here is a little bit about it:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

This is the all-important purchase link, if you have an extra $3 lying around:  http://mybook.to/Grinders The graphic in the sidebar is also linked if you prefer that one.

***

Grinders satisfies my love of stand-alone stories. I will always try to have one of these in process. This does not mean I’ve given up on the series work. Lanternfish has surpassed 60,000 words, so far. The next book about Lizzie and The Hat is my side project, but it only has 6000.

It’s the middle of the work week, so that’s about all I can manage right now. This weekend I’ll start reaching out to some of you about the possibility of some promotion.

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Got some things accomplished

Not having WiFi sucks, but now that I have a hotspot available, I decided to get busy.

I skipped out on most of my social media lap this morning, opting instead to address my work in progress.

My writing days always start by reading the last section I wrote, and this really helps when I’ve been away from it for a few days. The Lanternfish crew arrived in Giapon and got into a bind with the political upheaval in that country.

I picked it up from there, and approached this problem with more of a diplomatic approach. At 1.5 books in, they’ve blasted their way out of plenty of issues, so I felt like something else was in order.

Of course, this poses even more problems when it comes to reaching the ultimate war in Prelonia. They now have a third ship, and only Lanternfish can jump ahead and speed up the travel time. At this point, what’s one more when you have to sail the old fashioned way.

However, this new ship is full of disgraced soldiers, criminals, and even soldiers from the opposing side of their own local conflict. This is not going to be an easy group to manage.

It also poses the problem of not having enough veteran sailors. James has spread the Lanternfish crew thin by trying to man the two ships he has already. There is a small hope that some of these new people will have some sailing skills, but getting them to embrace the mission could be a deal killer.

In his mind, he’s acting as a privateer. The job is to provide war materials to his queen. They still have most of their captured gold. Add in two new ships, and possibly some soldiers, and it may be a successful voyage. Even if the soldiers serve as nothing more than cannon fodder, it could buy some time for the Prelonian forces he’s supposed to be supporting.

Oh, and I also wove in a ghostly encounter. It wasn’t much, but it turned out pretty cool. Every stop in this series has provided some kind of fantasy element, so why not Giapon. I’m still thinking about revisiting it for a bit more fun. I ought to be able to milk it just a bit more.

I didn’t do a strict word count, so I’m estimating here. I know where my last critique submission ended. I know about where I stopped writing after that. It isn’t perfect math, but it comes to around 2500 words today.

That’s a pretty good day by my standards. It’s going to need another 500 to 1000 words before I’m ready to submit the next section to my group, but it’s more than I had yesterday. Then, of course, I need to comb through it and try to fix all the stupid mistakes before I ask them to do all that work.

My “shift” ended with a short tour through blog land. I didn’t get to all of them, and many of you got a like and a tweet. I’m working without WiFi here, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I ought to be back online once the regular work week resumes.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. If I do manage to get WiFi back, my first priority has to be publishing Grinders. I had it earmarked for this weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. Don’t give up on me here. Grinders is a fun cyberpunk story, and I think many of you would enjoy it.

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My side project

This year, I started dabbling with the idea of two projects at a time. I always thought I couldn’t do it, but it’s made me more productive in the long run.

My only explanation is that when I get stumped in my main project, I can pick up the other one and move ahead. Usually by doing this, it unwinds the issue I had in the main project.

With Viral Blues and Serang out the door, I can concentrate on new fiction once more. The main goal is HMS Lanternfish, but it’s been “at anchor” since September. My side project is close to completion, so I’m focusing more on it right now.

Old What’s Her Face was off all weekend, and that prevents new fiction from happening. It’s one thing to write a blog post, or exchange a few emails with various hosts, but new fiction requires concentration.

We decided to rearrange the garage yesterday, and that was a more productive use of time. We threw some things out, swept up, moved the shelving around, then brought in the patio furniture for the winter. It was a good day, and the weather was perfect.

She took over the television, so we had Hallmark Christmas while I gnashed my teeth and prayed for a national emergency or something to interrupt. After that it was some red carpet event followed by an awards show. I’d moved on to bourbon by then, so it didn’t matter.

Today is a different matter. She has to work today, and my time is my own. The side project is called Grinders. This one is a niche bit of science fiction called cyber -punk.

Grinders are a group of people who implant technology into their own bodies, or those of friends, in the hopes of becoming more than human. This goes on today, so I ran with it.

Cyber-punk usually doesn’t have deep plots. It’s more about exploring this futuristic world, and all the fantastic new things it holds. I kept my plot pretty basic, but there is one – just in case.

It is science fiction, so I made sure to poke a stick at some of our modern issues and push them to extremes in the future. It’s small stuff, but kind of what science fiction is good at. You’ll see advertising pushed to the extreme, helicopter moms, safe spaces, plastic contamination, and global warming, but not in a preachy way.

I added about 2000 new words to it today, and moved from end-game to denouement. There are a couple of threads to sew up, so this section is longer than I usually do. It all works, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ve decided to write my first epilog, too. I know those are out of vogue, but there are a couple of animals who get abandoned about 3/4 of the way in, and I want to wrap their story. They no longer influence the plot, but a couple of paragraphs aren’t really a deal killer. Might even finish it next weekend.

Yesterday, I shared the Pinterest Board for Serang. A few people seemed to enjoy it, so I’m going to share the one for Grinders. You’ll see some cityscapes, character studies, and even a maze of pipe for a rat. Here’s the Pinterest Board.

One of the cool things about Pinterest is the boards stick around. If you want to write something about China, or your own cyber-punk story, you can snipe from these to start your own board. Just cruising them might give you a brand new idea.

Sean Harrington is sharing Lisa’s catfish poster on his DeviantArt site. Sean and I have a long history, and he might appreciate a bit of traffic. Here is the link if you’d like to visit him.

I’m still watching for reviews. Serang is too new to have anything, but Viral Blues is ripe for some fresh reviews. If you enjoyed this story, it’s a huge help to say something on Amazon. It doesn’t take much, just a line or two and it counts as much as those who write paragraphs of commentary.

When I finish Grinders, I’m going to take Lanternfish back up. I probably won’t start a side project for a while, but once I add about 30K words to that story, It’s likely I will start another one… on the side.

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Vacation time trickles out…

I have everything I need to publish Serang today, but I procrastinated. People aren’t hurting for something fresh from me, so I have time.

  • Side note, still time to read Viral Blues for Halloween.

I’d like to publish this before the year runs out, and next weekend is a fair option. I need to devote some time to the blurb for this one. Because it’s a supporting story for Lanternfish, it takes place in a mildly fantasy setting. It isn’t quite as big as Lanternfish, but there is a dragon of sorts, (Maybe two or three depending on how you count) and I don’t want to mislead anyone.

Serang is a coming of age tale, so I need to communicate that. It takes place in a time of great political upheaval, so that has to get in there. I don’t want people to be upset because there are fantasy elements, or disappointed that it isn’t epic fantasy. A bit more thought might help when writing this blurb. By next weekend I might have it all sorted out.

What did I do with my spare time? I spent some time supporting the Something Wicked blog tour, along with some of my older posts. Today there is a blog push from the paid promo I did, and I already saw one sale from that. Fingers crossed for more.

I’ve also been staying up late for the World Series. So far the home team hasn’t won a single game. That’s never happened before, and it’s been a great series. Game seven is tonight, so I’ll be tired at work tomorrow. A nap seems like a good idea so I’m not too flat in the morning.

We had a chore day, so we got the camper put away for winter, and managed a date night out of the deal. Halloween is the only beer tour I participate in these days, and got my glow in the dark tee-shirt. I’m wearing it right now.

I spent a couple of days adding thousands of words to my side project. This one is a cyberpunk tale set in a futuristic version of San Francisco. It challenged me to use science fiction to exaggerate some issues we see in current society, and it challenged my world-building skills, too.

I’m very happy with a piece I wrote yesterday that went down during the Chinese New Year parade. A cyberpunk version of that parade. If the stars align, I can publish it on actual Chinese New Year for a bit of extra luck. I’m year of the rat, next year is rat. Maybe I’m due for some luck. There are rats in the story…

The story is called Grinders, and I’m at 71,000 words right now. Getting it done this year shouldn’t be too tough, and if I can afford the artwork, publishing on Chinese New Year seems realistic.

I didn’t do anything particularly exciting, and it felt great. I did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I was mildly productive and I wasn’t at the office. Sometimes it’s good to have a break from the workaday world, and that’s what I did.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween, and finds a way to take a small break on occasion.

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Something Wicked: The Astral Conspiracy Series

Your Story Empire authors are on tour this week. It’s my great pleasure to host Staci Troilo today, but she’s incognito. This series is published under one of her pen names. Make her feel welcome, and share this on your social media if you can. I’ve read this one and think it’s awesome.

Thanks for welcoming me here today, Craig.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! For the last two days in the Story Empire Something Wicked tour, I discussed some of the ancient lore woven into my Astral Conspiracy series (specifically the first book, The Gate).

Today, I’m going in the other direction.

My series is a combination of ancient history and futuristic tech. It’s time to delve into the futuristic tech part.

Science fiction can be a fascinating genre, with story worlds as rich and complex as the fantasy genre. But instead of magical realms filled with dragons, elves, and ogres, we’re looking at medical, communication, and transportation advancements.

A Typical Unwatering

Photo Attribution: Phylyp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

There’s a trick to writing sci-fi tech that fantasy writers don’t necessarily need to concern themselves with, though. And that’s believability. To an extent. Let me explain.

In every novel (set in “real life” or not), readers have certain expectations about what the world is like. Obviously, the real life stuff is easy enough to deal with—research the time period or, if it’s contemporary, design the story-world to be like what you encounter every day. Fantasy worlds are limited only by their imaginations. If they want something to be a certain way, they only have to attribute it to magic. (Most fantasy fiction has an element of magic in it.) It’s a little different for sci-fi.

Science fiction has “science” right in its name. That means the author has to rely on scientific principles, or the readers won’t buy into the story. Those principles can be pushed well beyond our current bounds, but everything has to be rooted in science fact.

Take, for example, worm holes (a favorite subject of mine, and if you’re interested, you can read more here). Einstein proved worm holes are theoretically plausible. Do we have the technology to use them now? Not even close. But they’re a possibility authors can use in science fiction because the theory is rooted in proven fact.

In the Invasion Universe, a lot of scientific technology is introduced. Some things, like self-driving cars and holographic entertainment, are easy for readers to accept. We’re on the cusp of those technologies becoming commonplace, anyway. Other things (like intergalactic space travel and medical mesh that heals injuries) are barely on our radar.

So, how do writers get away with these advancements?

Simple. It’s a matter of introduction.

Things that take a lot more explanation and suspension of reader belief are better introduced as alien technology instead of human invention. That way, readers aren’t bogged down with trying to understand something that isn’t logically explicable. (It’s kind of the scientific version of the magical workaround fantasy authors can use.)

It doesn’t have to be that way. But it helps. It’s a solution I relied on to make things more acceptable to my readers.

How a sci-fi author handles writing about advanced tech will inevitably vary. The most important thing is to not get lost in techno-babble. Readers don’t want or need a four-page description of how something functions. Fiction is an immersive experience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You want to experience this world just as you experience our reality. In real life, you don’t get a dissertation anytime you use technology. You turn on your television and expect to watch a show. You aren’t told how that happens (and thank God for that); you just trust that it will.

That’s the most organic way to introduce technological advancements in fiction. The characters live with it, so they know what it does and don’t over-think it (or maybe don’t think about it at all). And if the characters come across alien tech, they would discuss it in their own terms. They might marvel at what it does, but they won’t take it apart to learn how it works.

Save that kind of writing for instruction manuals.

There is a lot of advanced technology in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. I think I introduced these advancements in a believable and organic way. If you’re interested in seeing how I handled it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

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That’s some awesome advice that goes beyond science fiction. Thanks for that Staci. We’re all on tour today, and we’d appreciate you finding us and checking out our posts. I’m over at Staci’s today, by pure coincidence of the schedule, if you really miss me.

Connect with Staci online:

Website | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads | Social Media

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