Random Friday

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it, enjoy these writers’ quotes and have a great weekend! 🙂

Do not make escaping your day job a goal for your writing.

I hear this all the time, but the pressure is too much on the writing because the day job, the “real job,” is what makes everything tick.

But don’t worry, if you keep the writing fun, keep your family supporting you, keep learning, eventually the money from the business side will overwhelm the day job money. And by then you will have gotten help to deal with it all mentally, right?
Just don’t make the writing so important, so special, that it threatens the “real job.” If it does, you will grind to a halt fairly quickly because how we were all raised doesn’t allow threats to what pays the bills.

Dean Wesley Smith


You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

– Octavia E. Butler


I think it’s fairly common for writers to be afflicted with two simultaneous yet contradictory delusions – the burning certainty that we’re unique geniuses and the constant fear that we’re witless frauds who are speeding toward epic failure.

– Scott Lynch


So, what am I telling you, exactly? Am I telling you not to seek help?
No, of course not.
But I am telling you to trust yourself and your instincts as a writer. Your voice is what makes you who you are.
Sometimes your voice isn’t suited to a particular subgenre of fiction. That’s okay. Genres and subgenres are >marketing categories, nothing more.
Write what you love, and you’ll always do better.
You do need to learn your craft. You need to learn the rules of grammar before you can break them. The same with the rules of storytelling—whatever your culture. (Not every culture appreciates the same storytelling rhythms. Accept that, too.)
You need to keep learning and growing and improving—which is precisely the instinct that caught both of these stupendous indie writers. Because in continuing to learn, they forgot that they already have mastered a certain level of craft.
They also both asked the wrong questions.
Kris Rusch


Don’t screw around with history. The study of history isn’t just an exercise in saying where we came from – it is an examination of who we are now. We all of us will see the past through the lens of the present, and if you decide that your past is a shiny one in which busty maidens loved to flirt with sword-wielding kings of justice while happy peasants enjoyed a humble life of shovelling cow-dung, then your world is… in need of a bit of a kick in the nethers, pardon my saying so. Because if you cannot see the past, and cannot see that the act of seeing expresses something about yourself, then you will never know your present.
Screw around with history! I know you put a lot of effort in finding out exactly what kind of throne Suleyman the Magnificent sat upon while holding his divan… however if it doesn’t have a bomb hidden under it, or the secret of eternal youth hand-stitched into the upholstery, it is dull. Atmosphere is not the same as pastsplaining. You’re here to create fun stories full of sound, colour and soul. History is full of stories that can be the starting point for something else – and if it teaches us to see ourselves differently, then permit yourself to see it through the prism of wonder and imagination too.’

Claire North, “Hurrem and the Djinn”


Sunday Surprise

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

I’m here today with someone I know a certain author looks forward to meet… but she’s waiting a certain date to binge-read this mini-series! 🙂

So, hello there! Tell me a little about yourself (name, age…)

“My name is Enid, and I’m the Spirit Fairy. It doesn’t matter how old I am.”

Of course not. Fairy! We immortals don’t need to tell our age! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

“Five inches tall with jet black hair, wings, and eyes.”

Pretty little thing… What is your role in the story?

“I’m using my magic to keep my sisters out of the way, and to remind the creatures of the world that there are five elements – and five element fairies to go with them – so they’ll never forget about me again.

At least, I’m trying to. It would be easier if that irritating faerie dragon, Zeena, didn’t keep getting in the way of my plans.”

Ah, yes, the five elements of the aforementioned author’s fake Silvery Earth… but I digress. What is your relationship with the protagonist(s)?

“I hate that faerie dragon!

I keep coming up with excellent plans for reminding the world I exist, and she spoils them. It’s so unfair! I hate her!

I also hate that annoying little pixie friend of hers, who shouldn’t be sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong.

Stupid faerie dragon, and stupid nosy pixie!”

Wow, that’s a lot of spite in such a small being! Where do you live?

“I usually live in the woods. But I can go wherever I want.”

Great! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

“I’m trying to remind the world I exist, which is hard enough in itself, without certain faerie dragons getting in my way.

Most people forget there are five elements, not just four. They remember about Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. But they forget about Spirit. Forgetting about the element of Spirit means they forget about the need for a fifth element fairy. That means they forget about me. My sisters always get remembered, but I never do.

I’ve had enough! I want people to remember I exist. I want people to believe me when I say I’m the fifth element fairy. So I’m trying to make sure they’ll never forget me again.

As I mentioned before though, it would be a lot easier to remind them I exist if that stupid faerie dragon would stop spoiling my plans.”

I do believe in faeries, so don’t worry. I’m sure I’m not the only one! And hey, the fifth element is Ether! At least according to that author… Let’s agree it’s five elements and leave it at that! I am aware that you exist or we wouldn’t be talking right now! Do you have a moral code?

“I did, once. But why should I care about others any more? Nobody cares about me, after all. They don’t even remember I exist.”

Fair enough… Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

“I used to have silver-blonde hair, silver-grey eyes, and wings that were white with silver patterns in them.

Their colours changed to black when I reached the point where I’d had enough. My rage at being forgotten blackened my heart, and the change you see is an outward projection of that.

I’m the only creature in the world who has such an obvious change to their physical appearance based on emotional changes.”

Okay… What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

“There’s only one thing you probably should have asked: what’s so special about that faerie dragon that makes her able to spoil my plans when others can’t?

The answer is that she’s the only other creature in the world – the only creature besides me, in other words – who can wield the magic for all five elements, and harness the power of more than one element at once.

Zeena can harness the magic of all five elements equally. I’m best with Spirit magic – being the Spirit fairy – but can harness the magic for the other four elements too. Don’t tell her I said she has more skill with the other four elements than I do though. I’d never admit that to anyone, and probably shouldn’t have even told you that.

Anyway, every other creature who can use elemental magic can only harness the power of one element. That’s what makes us special. Zeena being the only other creature as special as me makes her the only one who’s really a match for me, and therefore the only one who can stop me. She’ll need that special magic if she’s going to put a stop to my plans.

Of course, I’m not going to make it easy for her, and she’ll need more than just her magical skills if she wants to completely ruin my plans.”


Book(s) in which the character appears and links

Written by Victoria Zigler, and now with audio versions narrated by Ella Lynch, the “Zeena Dragon Fae” series tells the story of a faerie dragon named Zeena, a pixie named Saarik, and their quest to save the world from the evil Spirit fairy.

Book 1 – Zeena And The Dryad

Zeena the faerie dragon doesn’t think she’s special, even though she’s the only one of her kind to have mastered the magic for all five elements equally. But when a dryad named Kishi comes to her for help, she doesn’t hesitate. Together with her best friend – a mischievous pixie named Saarik – Zeena sets off to free Heidi the earth fairy, as well as to save the woods and the creatures of Earth.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Zeena-and-the-Dryad-Audiobook/B07FKWM38K

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/543250

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zeena-and-the-dryad-victoria-zigler/1121956462

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zeena-and-the-dryad

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/zeena-and-the-dryad/9781311814449-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zeena-and-the-dryad/id996128706

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/zeena-and-the-dryad-zeena-dragon-fae-volume-1-unabridged/id1412903618

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zeena-Dryad-Dragon-Fae/dp/1512360430/

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Zeena-Dryad-Dragon-Fae/dp/1512360430/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Zeena-Dryad-Dragon-Fae/dp/1512360430/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Zeena-Dryad-Victoria-Zigler/9781512360431

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25547463-zeena-and-the-dryad

Book 2 – Zeena And The Gryphon

With their quest to free the earth fairy barely completed, Zeena and Saarik are approached by another creature in need of their help; this time a gryphon named Aquillo. So the two friends set off on a quest to free the air fairy, Ora, and save the mountain dwelling creatures from the goblins.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Zeena-and-the-Gryphon-Audiobook/B07FWSFTHS

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/575822

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zeena-and-the-gryphon-victoria-zigler/1122636780

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zeena-and-the-gryphon

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/zeena-and-the-gryphon/9781310442353-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zeena-and-the-gryphon/id1038551008

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/zeena-and-the-gryphon-zeena-dragon-fae-volume-2-unabridged/id1418194473

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zeena-Gryphon-Dragon-Fae/dp/1517472555/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Zeena-Gryphon-Dragon-Fae/dp/1517472555/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Zeena-Gryphon-Dragon-Fae/dp/1517472555/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Zeena-Gryphon-Victoria-Zigler/9781517472559

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26255227-zeena-and-the-gryphon

Book 3 – Zeena And The Mermaid

The adventures of Zeena and Saarik have already taken them through the woods and up the mountains. Now they’re answering a plea for help from a mermaid named Naia. With the help of both Naia’s magic and Zeena’s own magic, the two friends head on an underwater quest to free the water fairy, Lana, and make the ocean safe once more.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Zeena-and-the-Mermaid-Audiobook/B07G2NTLSV

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611061

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zeena-and-the-mermaid-victoria-zigler/1123334828

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zeena-and-the-mermaid

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/zeena-and-the-mermaid/9781310189609-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zeena-and-the-mermaid/id1079536281

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/zeena-mermaid-zeena-dragon-fae-series-volume-3-unabridged/id1422133093

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zeena-Mermaid-Dragon-Fae/dp/1530023521/

AmazonUS: https://www.amazon.com/Zeena-Mermaid-Dragon-Fae/dp/1530023521/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Zeena-Mermaid-Dragon-Fae/dp/1530023521

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Zeena-Mermaid-Victoria-Zigler/9781530023523

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28791585-zeena-and-the-mermaid

Book 4 – Zeena And The Phoenix

After all their recent adventures, Zeena and Saarik aren’t surprised when a plea for help comes again; this time from a phoenix named Uri. But the two friends have more than the freeing of the fire fairy, Tandie, and the safety of the fire creatures who live in the volcano to worry about. An elven village lies near the base of the now very unstable volcano, and the fate of the elves is in Zeena and Saarik’s hands.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Zeena-and-the-Phoenix-Audiobook/B07GTCPW96

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/zeena-and-the-phoenix-zeena-dragon-fae-volume-4-unabridged/id1434333938

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/637030

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zeena-and-the-phoenix-victoria-zigler/1123809626

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zeena-and-the-phoenix

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/zeena-and-the-phoenix/9781311850393-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zeena-and-the-phoenix/id1114646586

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zeena-Phoenix-Dragon-Fae/dp/153350556X/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Zeena-Phoenix-Dragon-Fae/dp/153350556X/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Zeena-Phoenix-Dragon-Fae/dp/153350556X/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Zeena-Phoenix-Victoria-Zigler/9781533505569

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30200194-zeena-and-the-phoenix

Author bio & social media/website, etc.

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK, with her hubby and furkids. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world. She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time.

To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the future. She makes her books available in multiple eBook formats, as well as in both paperback and audio. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, which is available in eBook only.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Google+: https://plus.google.com/106139346484856942827

Random Friday

One more author of the Sci-Fi Stories Space Opera Mashup (Ebook universal link and paperback)! I haven’t had the chance to meet him (yet) but I was impressed by his story, “Funeral Sails” – you should read it too! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Scott T. Barnes!

1. What is it about space opera that draws you to it?

I love epic stories and faraway places, what David Farland calls “Wonder Literature.” Space Opera has the wonder, adventure, and romance of fantasy, with the tantalizing possibility that some of it might actually happen.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

“Funeral Sails” starts out as a simple revenge story but becomes a much more complicated story once the lead character realizes she has something worth living for. What I really enjoyed was creating a rich culture of tradition and honor that human, off-world salvagers had adopted from an alien culture as their own. It gives purpose and meaning to their often lonely lives, but also creates wonderful complications an author can explore.

3. What inspired your story?

Reading about solar sails and satellites in geostationary orbit somehow got me to thinking about cemetery monuments, and I thought, Why not combine the two ideas?

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

Most of the time I write fantasy. I don’t read enough science to work in the field of “hard” science fiction. But if a futuristic setting comes to me in my musings I won’t hesitate to write a character-drives sf story. With “Funeral Sails,” I started by doing a lot of research on solar sails, then basically kept that in the back of my mind as I was writing. Or maybe I threw it out and just went for character and action. I’m not sure.

5. What should readers know about you?

I write fantasy and science fiction short stories, with novels in the works. My writing is as eclectic as my reading tastes. Besides “Funeral Sails,” recent publications include a humorous zombie tale from the Zombie POV called “Zombie Nation”, a fantasy thriller “The Mark of Blackfriar Street,” and a western horror tale “The China Queen.”

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Besides writing I practice kenjutsu, so don’t break into my house at night! My website is www.scotttbarnes.com

Native to Southern California, Scott T. Barnes grew up on a farm, lived, studied and worked in multiple countries, and now resides in Orange County, Calif. as a proud husband and father of two girls. He studies samurai arts (Nami Ryu Aiki Kenjutsu) with James Williams and Russian Systema with Joseph Stoltman. In both the fantasy and science fiction genres, Scott’s short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline, Gaia, Shadow and Breath volume 3, Shambles (fiction bundle), and many others. His science fiction story “Insect Sculptor” won the Writers of the Future award. He also edits the magazine NewMyths. You can find him at work in independent coffee houses all over the southland, or on the internet at www.scotttbarnes.com.

Random Friday

And it’s another anthology author! She was also part of my first bundle and I met her at my first offline workshop on the Oregon Coast, back in 2011. She’s a sweet Canadian who writes gripping stories. You can find her work in Sci-fi Short Stories Space Opera Mashup as well as her own site below. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Marcelle Dubé!

1. What is it about space opera that draws you to it?

I love the vast scope of space opera, and the mystery of what might be out there, and the adventure of discovery. And if there are aliens, even better!

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Station OSCX-9 is the story of Stokes, a young machinist working on an Orbital Station being constructed around Star CX-9. He and his crew are on a shuttle, heading back to their work site after leave, only to discover the construction site abandoned.

3. What inspired your story?

I’ve written a couple of other stories in the Alliance world, though none related to Stokes. Those stories are Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside. While they both feature star ships, they aren’t technically space opera.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

Nope—in fact, I was very surprised to discover that I had actually written a space opera story. I usually write fantasies and mysteries. While many of my SF stories feature starships, many don’t.

5. What should readers know about you?

My stories never fit neatly into one category or another. My A’lle Chronicles series, for instance, is an alternate history / SF / mystery series. My Mendenhall Mystery series is technically a police procedural that feels like a cozy. I can’t help it…

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m tickled to be in an anthology with a collection of such fine authors!

Marcelle Dubé grew up near Montreal. After trying out a number of different provinces – not to mention Belgium – she settled in the Yukon, where people outnumber the carnivores, but not by much.

She writes science fiction, fantasy and mystery stories, and has 11 novels to her name. Her upcoming novel, Epidemic: An A’lle Chronicles Mystery, will be released in Fall 2018. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies.
If you liked Station OSCX-9, you might also enjoy Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside which are also set in the Alliance universe.

Learn more about her and her published work at www.marcellemdube.com

Sunday Surprise

And again an author from the Sci-Fi Anthologies! I met her in person at an offline anthology workshop, but she surprised me with the story she sent me and that I included in Sci-Fi Stories Space Opera Mashup (ebook universal link and paperback)! Please welcome Mary Jo Rabe!

1. What is it about space opera that draws you to it?

It’s what I love to read; I love the idea of exploring the universe.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It’s about baby steps toward possible trips to other/parallel universes.

3. What inspired your story?

It was an assignment for an online workshop.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

No, I write science fiction, some science fantasy, some fantasy, and occasional historical fiction.

5. What should readers know about you?

That I want to write optimistic fiction so that people can escape from a depressing reality (see the evening news) for a few minutes.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m very grateful to you for accepting my story.

Mary Jo Rabe grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa, got degrees from Michigan State University (German and math) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (library science) where she became a late-blooming science fiction reader and writer. She worked in the library of the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany for 41 years, and lives with her husband in Titisee-Neustad.

She has had stories accepted for Fiction River and Pulphouse. She has published “Blue Sunset”, inspired by Spoon River Anthology and The Martian Chronicles, electronically and has had poems and stories published in Alternate Hilarities, Pandora, Stygian Articles, The Martian Wave, Astropoetica, The Sword Review, Raven Electrick, Mindflights, and Space and Time.

Personal blog: https://maryjorabe.wordpress.com/

Publishing blog: https://teedsgalaxypress.wordpress.com

Website: http://www.teedsgalaxypress.com

She indulges in sporadic activity on Facebook and Twitter

Random Friday

And it’s another anthology author! His story is very funny as is this  brief interview. I never had the pleasure to meet him in person (yet) but he can tell you how to make a living with short fiction! In fact he is both in Nightly Bites Volume 1 and Sci-Fi Stories Starships. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Douglas Smith!

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

Usually the tractor beams.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It’s about 6,700 words. It’s also about what happens when a star ship hires a crew member who is a real “Murphy” — the living embodiment of the law that if something can go wrong, it will. And an interstellar space ship and Murphy’s Law do not mesh well (except in my story, where hilarity ensues. Along with flying mashed potatoes.)

3. What inspired your story?

It came out of an anthology workshop at one of Kris Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s Oregon Coast workshops. We had a day to write a story. So you could say I was inspired by fear of Kris if I didn’t submit something. The theme, I think, was “Bar Flys” or something like that. Anyway, it was to be an SF antho, and it brought to mind for me Spider Robinson’s “Callahan’s Cross-Time Saloon” stories, which I always loved. That was the mood and level of silliness I was going for. The story first appeared in Baen’s Universe.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

My short fiction has been a mix of SF and Fantasy, mostly in the darker vein. “Murphy’s Law” is a rare humour (yes, that’s spelled correctly — I’m a Canadian) piece. My novels so far have all been urban fantasy (THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD and a current two-thirds finished YA trilogy) but I have a standalone SF novel planned, based on several of my short stories.

5. What should readers know about you?

I’m a multi-award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (but then what do they know, right?). My fiction has been published in twenty-six languages and thirty-two countries (but who’s counting?) and includes the novel The Wolf at the End of the World and the collections Chimerascope and Impossibilia (all of which are awesome).

I’m a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award (try saying that three times fast) and have been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane (the latter cuz I had a translated collection of my fantasy stories).

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Buffy remains the single most creative piece of television ever. Discuss, citing specific episodes. You have 60 minutes. Use both sides of the page.

Douglas Smith is an award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction.” His fiction has been published in twenty-six languages and thirty-two countries. His work includes the urban fantasy novel, The Wolf at the End of the World, and the collections Chimerascope, Impossibilia, and La Danse des Esprits. His non-fiction guide for writers, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction, is a must read for any short story writer.

Doug is a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award, and has been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane. A short film based on Doug’s story “By Her Hand, She Draws You Down” won several awards at film festivals around the world.

His website is www.smithwriter.com and he tweets at twitter.com/smithwritr

Random Friday

And here’s another author of Sci-Fi Stories – Starships! I did meet him, twice! On the Oregon coast, for those offline workshops that will be held in Las Vegas from now on. Anyway, I met Russ and his lovely wife Rita (who is in Sci-Fi Stories – Space Opera Mashup) in Lincoln City in October 2011, then again in October 2014. They are both great writers and I’m glad they sent me their stories.

He’s also been on this blog before because we shared bundles as well as anthologies (he’s also in Nightly Bites). But here’s six questions about Starships to Russ Crossley.

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

I have been an SF fan going to back to the 1960’s when the NASA space program was in full swing. I watched every launch and watched every SF show/movie, and read every book, comic book etc I could get my hands on with a starship because I thought that is where we were, and still are today, headed.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Solitary Man is about a man alone on a starship with an artificial intelligence on a mission to a newly discovered planet far across the galaxy. When he learns he and the AI are expendable he joins with the AI to survive. When when they meet the alien race inhabiting that far away world they may have found the answer they are seeking not only for themselves but all humankind.

3. What inspired your story?

The idea of people traveling great distances across the galaxy has always intrigued me. I think we will need artificial intelligence or learning machines to help us. This was the kernel to write this story.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?
I’ve written on many topics in many genres but right now I write a lot of stories about starships in my Blaster Squad series set in the 42nd century. Book seven will out later this year.

5. What should readers know about you?

I live in a small town in British Columbia with my wife and two wonderful dogs.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have a massive DVD movie collection and I have a large collection of Star Trek paperbacks dating back to the 1970’s.

International selling author, Russ Crossley writes science fiction and fantasy, and mystery/suspense as well as their various subgenres.

His latest science fiction satire set in the far future, Revenge of the Lushites, is a sequel to Attack of the Lushites released in 2011. The latest title in the series was released in the fall of 2013. Both titles are available in e-book and trade paperback.
He has sold several short stories that have appeared in anthologies from various publishers including; WMG Publishing, Pocket Books, and St. Martins Press.

He is a member of SF Canada and is past president of the Greater Vancouver Chapter of Romance Writers of America. He is also an alumni of the Oregon Coast Professional Fiction Writers Master Class taught by award winning author/editors, Kristine Katherine Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

Feel free to contact him on Facebook, Twitter, or his website www.russcrossley.com. He loves to hear from readers.

Sunday Surprise

And here’s another author of Sci-Fi Stories – Starships. I haven’t had the pleasure to meet him in person, but he belongs to a wonderful group of writers (Writer Club, remember?). I thought he wrote mostly non-fiction, so I was surprised by his submission for the anthology. And I liked it a lot.

So, there you have it. Six quick questions with Gerald M. Weinberg.

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

If/when we figure them out, our horizons expand to the whole universe. Lots of human troubles are amplified by our confinement to one tiny planet.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Technology soon becomes magic, and thinking disappears.

3. What inspired your story?

I was on the Mercury Project system engineering team. I saw what can happen when technology is understood, and when it is taken for magic.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

I write about anything that interests me, but particularly thinking and smart people, but in fiction and non-fiction.

5. What should readers know about you?

Maybe that I’m a charter member of the Computer Hall of Fame in San Diego. They can read what my students and colleagues said about me on my 75th birthday, in The Gift of Time, edited by Fiona Charles.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I love all the authors in this collection, and I’m honored to have my little story placed among theirs.

Jerry’s always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, he’s published more than 50 award-winning best-selling non-fiction books on human behavior, thinking, leadership, and all phases of information technology. He incorporates his knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all his writing, including such classics as Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting, General Systems Thinking, Weinberg on Writing, Perfect Software, Errors, Do You Want to be a (better) Manager, as well as the 9-volume Quality Software Series.

He writes mysteries, science fiction, and technothrillers about smart people: Freshman Murders, Where There’s a Will There’s a Murder, The Death Lottery, The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, Quantum String Quartet, Quantum String Sextet, Quantum String Band, The Hands of God, Earth’s Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules. In them, his brilliant protagonists solve problems and learn to be happy.

Jerry is a charter member in the Computing Hall of Fame, but the “award” he’s most proud of is the book, The Gift of Time(Fiona Charles, ed.) written by his students and fans for his 75th birthday. These stories show he’s been quite successful at helping smart people be happy.


EDIT 8/8/2018: It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Gerald M Weinberg. RiP Jerry, even if I never had the chance to meet you in person, I will miss you! 😥

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! More fantasy during the sci-fi month, yay! Epic fantasy no less! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sarah Ashwood!

Where do you live and write from?

I’m a genuine Okie from Muskogee (Muskogee, Oklahoma), in the USA.

Why do you write?

Writing allows me to tell the stories in my head and give life to the characters who live there.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories off and on throughout my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 and discovered the epic fantasy genre that I found my passion. My Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was born from this.

What genre(s) do you write?

As already mentioned, I write epic fantasy, but its subcategories would be portal fantasy and fairytale fantasy. There are elements of both in my fantasy novels. I also write historical fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I am a stay at home mom of three young boys. There is no writing routine for me. It’s write whenever and wherever I get the chance! However, I always, always drink coffee when I write, so I guess you could say that’s a routine.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My gift of description has been complimented by readers and fellow writers. I’m not sure how I developed that particular quality. I simply try to describe what I see in my head without it being too wordy, since there is such a thing as being too descriptive.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Inspiration comes from all over. The world around me, music, other people, my own life…
I would say the MC in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, Hannah, is the closest I’ve ever come to putting myself in my writing. She reeks of my sense of humor. She’s also a caring person, but rather quick tempered. She definitely gets that from me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I always start with a brief outline, but it usually gets trashed as I write. I tend to be an extreme pantser. You should see the jumble of notes I jot down to try and keep everything straight while the novel grows! As for the other question, I tend to set a daily goal of about 1,200 to 2,000 words a day, and I usually accomplish my daily goal. You can get through a novel fairly quickly at that rate, I find.

Tell us about your latest book
Aerisian Refrain is the first book in a brand new fantasy series called Beyond the Sunset Lands. It’s a follow up series to my current fantasy trilogy, the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, and has many of the same characters. However, Aerisian Refrain can be read as a standalone.
Aerisian Refrain tells the story of a world-famous performer, Annie Richards, who is haunted by troubling nightmares to the point that she’s given up her career and is on her way to her childhood home to convalesce, when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, a world inhabited by fairies, giants, immortal warriors, dragons, and pirates. Not only must Annie stay alive, but she has to track down the truth behind why she’s there and who she is meant to be.
Currently, Aerisian Refrain is on a special pre-order sale of just $0.99! Find Aerisian Refrain on Amazon and Goodreads.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was published by a small publishing company, but I’m publishing my Beyond the Sunset Lands series (a planned four book series) myself. I loved having a publisher for handling a lot of the leg work (and expense!) of getting my first books off the ground, but as an Indie I also love the control I have over every aspect of the process.
Currently, I also have three books with an agent. Been traditionally published by a major publisher has always been a dream of mine. I long for the day when I can walk into a bookstore and pull my book off the shelf! However, even if that happens, I will likely still remain a hybrid, and go Indie on certain series.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! Watch for a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My ultimate goal as a writer is simply to tell my favorites of the stories I create, and share them with the world. When I get reviews or messages from readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my work, that inspires me to keep going!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Write. Just write. You can polish it later, but you can’t polish what isn’t written.


Author Bio:

Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University.
She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.

Sarah’s works include the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy and the fantasy novella Amana.

To keep up to date with Sarah’s work and new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can also visit her website, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.


Random Friday

Since it’s the summer, it’s hot outside and I’m half-hibernating as usual, I’ll use these random Fridays to introduce you to the authors of the sci-fi anthologies. I might get to August, or not… Anyhow, I shall start with my Jedi Twin, Fulvio Gatti, the guy who wrote 30 stories in 30 days as a challenge and kept me busy all of May.

But among those 30 stories there was the one I chose for the Sci-Fi Stories – Starships anthology! The rest mostly is being submitted to traditional markets, so I’m glad he let me add his story to this indie project. I’m sure you’ll hear about him again in the near future! 🙂

Here he answers six very quick questions.

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

They are the best way to sail into infinite adventures in space!

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It tells the story of a bunch of funny space travelers I hope we’ll meet again in the future.

3. What inspired your story?

I just let my imagination create some characters that would be funny to follow around in their adventures. This is the result, I hope you’ll enjoy.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

I’m interested in any kind of fantasy, suspense and speculative fiction that let us travel through time and space while focusing on compelling characters. We fight along with them through new places, surprising discoveries and mystery solving.

5. What should readers know about you?

I want to write funny, compelling and imaginative stories like the ones I’ve grown up with, from Star Wars to Ninja Turtles.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I hope my stories will speak for themselves!

Fulvio Gatti is an Italian journalist, writer and mostly a geek, so much so that his latest nonfiction book published in Italy is about how geek culture is taking over the world. He has written graphic novels, nonfiction books and short stories. In the northwestern part of Italy where he lives he is an event organizer, translator, radio speaker and even deputy mayor of his town. He has now started the conquest of English-speaking markets, so reader beware!

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