Tag Archives: Science fiction

Write a Story with Me #62 – Julie Catherine – “The Steel Dragon”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

62 – Julie Catherine – “The Steel Dragon”

The dust cloud swelled and Morath seemed to grow before their eyes as her form expanded into a gigantic wave. As she reared to expel her force against the Establishment fleet, a monstrous steel dragon blasted out of the sky, hurtling it’s huge body directly towards the Fey. Its ice-blue breath shot a laser beam that swirled around Natalia and the baby, surrounding the two and forcing the infant from Natalia’s arms.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Natalia shrieked in agony and fell to the ground, writhing in pain and shock. In the seconds the group were immobilized with fear, the vortex lifted the baby into the cold belly of the steel dragon, and it sped back to the protection of the Establishment fleet before the wave could be launched.

Morath cried out in anger, and the dust wave subsided as she sank to the ground, grinding her fists in the dust in despair. They had been so close to annihilating the Establishment! But she could not risk harming the infant, and the High Commander had counted on that.

“Peoples of the Fey!” The voice boomed through the air, surrounding them with its force. “You have one hour to surrender the traitor Captain Yoran to us, or the child will die – and all Fey will die with him!”

Natalia shook her head wildly and her eyes pleaded to Morath. “Please, they will kill us all, whether they have my husband or not. There must be a way to save my baby!”

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Fifty Click Here

Part Fifty-One – Joe Owens

Part Fifty-Two – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Fifty-Three – Jennifer Eaton

Part Fifty-Four – Shan Jeniah Burton

Part Fifty-Five – Jenny Keller Ford

Part Fifty-Six – Susan Rocan

Part Fifty-Seven – Susan Roebuck

Part Fifty-Eight – Elin Gregory

Part Fifty-Nine – Nicky Wells

Part Sixty – Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Part Sixty-One – Ravena Guron

Part Sixty-Two – Julie Catherine

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

  Kai Damian — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Write a Story with Me – Part 45 – Final Judgement by Julie Catherine Vigna

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

45- Julie Catherine Vigna

They were brought to the Court of Adjudication; highest legal court of the fae. Here Yoran would be required to defend human-kind on the charges of oppression and crimes perpetrated against the peoples of Argot. The second charge was against Yoran himself, high-ranking member of the Establishment, for the assassination of Morath, Queen of Queens of the Fae. At the end of what proposed to be a lengthy court session, Final Judgement would be pronounced, and the Ceremony would commence.

The outcome of the Trial would either bring human and fae together in everlasting peace, or would forever set them apart and commence the war that would surely bring total devastation and extinction to both their worlds.

Sian, Marci and Bethany, cleaned up so as not to disgrace the dignity of the court, and leg shackles exchanged for light but strong chains linking them together, were escorted to a private bench to the right of the Adjudicator’s Throne by Janosc.

Court attendants wheeled in the Defender Chair— Yoran’s wrists and ankles strapped securely to its frame and base. Marci cried out and made to rise from the bench, but was stopped by Janosc.

A gong boomed, the sonorous vibration resonating throughout the building, and the courtroom stilled. Everyone rose and bowed their heads as the Court Adjudicator swept in and settled on the throne.

Yoran’s eyes widened in disbelief and he rasped, “YOU?!!”

Morath, Queen of Queens of the Fae and Court Adjudicator, gazed directly at Yoran, her smile frosty and eyes piercing his brain with blue ice.

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Forty Click Here

Part Forty-One – Vanessa Chapman

Part Forty-Two – Susan Rocan

Part Forty-Three – Kate Johnson

Part Forty-Four – An Elephant Can’t

Part Forty-Five – Julie Catherine Vigna

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

  Kai Damian — TAG!  You are “It”

Science is moving faster than Science Fiction

There used to be a time when science fiction writing was safe.  The Earth didn’t have any really cool technology.  Times are changing.  As writers, we need to think up new and exciting things.  Our imaginations need to be bigger and better!

I recently read the attached article from Popular Science.  Click on over if you want details, but in a nutshell, MIT has created a synthetic/organic muscle that will respond to light.  They think they can create robots with this that will move fluidly.

Good thing?  Bad thing?  I’m all for progress.  But there’s a “but” in here somewhere.  What that “but” is will be up to the individual reader.

What I love when an article like this comes out, is the banter in the comments.  Some people make good points, some are just crazy.  Either way, it’s good entertainment.

If you like to write Sci-fi with robots, take a click on over and read the article.  There is definitely a great novel brewing in there.  – Just watch yourself, because there is fiction written about stuff like this that is forty years old or more.

I’ll pass on this, thanks… I like organic aliens, thank you very much.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-08/light-activated-muscle-could-make-robots-move-real-creatures

JenniFer_EatonF

Win a free, autographed print version of A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

You’ll all remember Danielle from the “Give that Publisher What They Want, Dernit!” Series here on my site.  Now she has a giveaway!

Check out the details below!

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I received a wonderful review yesterday for my solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars (DTF Publications/Dark Quest Books). It made my day, but it came with something of a mystery, which I’ll quote here:

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“One of the cleverest first contact stories to come along in a long time.” Analog June 2013 issue

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Where is the mystery, do you ask? See…there are two first contact stories in the collection. Now I could just ask the reviewer which one he thought was the cleverest, but where is the fun in that? I say this calls for a contest.

For the next week I will be taking a poll on what you thought was the  cleverest first contact story in the book. How it works: If you really like me and want to give some support to a small press author buy the ebook version of the book for $2.99 and give it a read.
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Or, email me at _greenfirephoenix@aol.com_ and I will send you a PDF file of the two stories in question. Whichever route you take, read the stories: Building Blocks and To Look Upon The Face of God and click the below rafflecopter by April 12 (EST) with your pick for which is the cleverest. On April 13th the reviewer, Don Sakers, will answer the question on my Facebook page. Two people will win a free, autographed copy of the print version of A Legacy of Stars.
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Danielle Ackley-McPhail www.sidhenadaire.com www.badassfaeries.com NEW RELEASE – from Dark Quest Books – A Legacy of Stars – A Collection of Award-Winning Science Fiction
Author of Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court Editor of the Bad-A** Faeries Anthology Series

Scoping out locations for your novel #1

First of all, if you’ve noticed that I haven’t responded to comments since Thursday, it’s because I am on a writer’s retreat.  Yay!  Another one?  Yeah, I am giving it a go.

I have higher hopes for this one, and I am not up against a super-steep deadline, so I’m not in a panic about time constraints. I’ll be back on Monday.

Okay… back to today’s topic…

In general, I am a Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer.  The settings of my stories are different planets, or fantasy worlds.  For my new novel, though, I decided to try something different.  Yes, it is Sci-Fi, but instead of taking my readers to the alien’s planet, I decided to bring the aliens here.

Has this been done before?  Yes, of course.  I’m just putting a little different spin on it that I think will be fun.

So, I need a setting.  Since we are on Earth this time, I can’t make everything up, so I am trying to force the story into buildings and locals that actually exist.

I have to admit… it’s a lot easier to write about another planet.  If I need something for the story, I just create it.  I’m grinding my teeth looking at maps and judging distances.  It’s so much easier to build a world from scratch exactly how you want it.

Where’s my setting?  I chose Southern New Jersey on the East Coast of the USA for two reasons.  #1:  I’ve been there a lot, so I can relay the “feel” of it.  #2:  I need four separate “places” for the story to develop.  South Jersey has all four.  Easy breezy, right?  Well, not entirely.

As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to split this post up into a couple of weeks, because otherwise this post will definitely get too long.  We’ll start next week with the road trip I took with my kids … driving the route my characters would be walking.

What about you guys?  Have you ever tried to develop a story from REAL places?  How’d you do?

Guest Post and Giveaway: “There are no limits to what you put into your stories, as long as you follow a few simple rules.” by Rosalie Skinner

Thanks Jennifer for having me as a guest today.

It’s great to be here. My name is Rosalie Skinner and I write Epic Fantasy with a twist of Science Fiction.

Why did I choose this genre?

Well, we are surrounded with science facts. Gene mapping, clones, implants, microchips, GPS and nanobots and satellites are all factual. The idea of computer obsession and total immersion virtual worlds are not so far out of our reach. So when I started writing, the temptation proved too great. I wanted to include these ideas in my epic Fantasy. Strangely they fitted in well.

My hero comes from a world where space travel is common place. His background as an obsessed teenager, totally focused on his progression through a virtual reality game, works in well with his epic fantasy quest. He must learn to survive in a world similar to those he has experienced while competing in the Game.

The world of The Chronicles of Caleath include magic, dragons, alien species, heroes and heroines. There are visitors from other worlds, but most of the characters are home grown in a world where magic happens.

Caleath’s adventures include several seafaring journeys. Book One opens when he survives a shipwreck. His plan to escape back to the stars begins to unravel soon after. He must survive being hunted by off world assassins while trying to help the people of the southern continent destroy another alien species that threatens them.

It is the little twists of combining science fact, science fiction and fantasy that has made writing the Chronicles so much fun. There are no limits to what you put into your stories, as long as you follow a few simple rules.

Keep your readers believing. Share your ideas with simple concepts, familiar ideas and common sense characters. Even outrageous ideas must have some basis for belief.

Keep your plot moving. Every scene should push the plot forward.

Keep your characters true to their nature. No matter what they face, they must behave consistently. They should grow and develop as they face challenges, but only within the realms of believability.

Have fun!!

The first four books in the Chronicles of Caleath are now available from Museitup Publishing.

You can find more about the Chronicles  at

https://www.facebook.com/ChroniclesofCaleath

http://www.RosalieSkinner.blogspot.com

http://www.Rosalieskinner.com

As a special treat, one person who comments below will be choosen to recieve a Kindle version of book one of  the Chronicles of Caleath  “Exiled: Autumn’s Peril”

Thanks for dropping in today.

Rosalie Skinner lives on the east coast of Australia. When not immersed in her fantasy writing she enjoys watching the humpback whales migrating in winter and all the coastal environment has to offer during summer. There is nothing she enjoys more than hearing from readers who have enjoyed Caleath’s adventures.

The Cover Reveal-Seeing your name on a book jacket for the first time.

***Woa.***

So, I was rattling through my email the other day, and my buddy Jenny Keller Ford sends me a message saying: “Did you see the cover with your name on it yet?”

So, yeah, I scrambled through all my emails, searching frantically, and low and behold… there it was.

The contract felt pretty real, but let me tell you—seeing your name in big bold print with cover art…

I called my kids in.  My five-year old said, “Oh, okay.  Can I have a snack?”

The Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer looked at it, gave me a hug, and went on about his business.

My eight year old, Thank Goodness, stared at it with wide eyes and a big poop-eating grin on his face, saying, “That is soooo cool!”

Later on, my husband came home and finally got to see it.  I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something like, “Wow.  This is real, isn’t it?”

I think he actually needed something to validate it in his mind.   I tried to explain what an anthology was, but until he saw the cover, I don’t think he actually “got it.”

So, without further ado, here is the cover for the Make Believe Anthology.

So, what do you think?  Pretty cool, huh?

What stupid writing error did your Beta point out this week? Beam me up, Scotty!

You need to find a balance.  Really, you do.

While working on my “Writing to a Deadline” piece, I was trying very hard in the first draft not to make any of the mistakes I made in my larger manuscript.

I may have over done it, though.

In trying to make sure that my characters don’t “step” too much, and after hearing feedback from a beta that said “we don’t have to know about every move”—Now at times, my characters don’t move at all.

A new beta pointed out that my characters magically disappear from one spot, and appear in another, with no explanation whatsoever.  Well, obviously they walked.   (There are no Star Trek transporters in my current WIP)

The problem is, I tried to write this story in a way that inferred that they walked… but it didn’t always work.

Now back to editing, and make sure to make them move without stepping around a lot.

Ugh.

Writing to a Deadline Part 11: To submit, or not to submit?

This is where uncertainty creeps in.

I’m done.  I can’t make it any better than it is… at least not in the next few hours… So I just sit and stare at my screen.

I made the mistake of beta-reading my writing buddy’s submission, and her final version knocked my socks off.  It also made me sick to my stomach.

Yeah.  You guessed it.  Mine suddenly stinks.

What was I thinking?  I’m a Science Fiction Writer!  I explode things.  It’s what I do.  What the heck was I thinking with this Dystopian Romance?

But are they just being nice?  Were those just required “cheerleader” Whoots? And one of them didn’t like it at all!

But the other submission is so much better than mine.

But what if all the others are that good?

I’m afraid.

Sweat pours down my temples as my finger hovers over the submit button.

Maybe if I rewrite the climax one more time?  Maybe I should read it once more for syntax errors?

I took a deep breath…

And I pressed the stinking button.

Relief swept over me.  Tension left my muscles.

Now for the worst part…Waiting.

Lesson Twenty-One from a Manuscript Red Line: Common, and Cliché Themes

This one made me laugh.  There is a point in the Gold Mine manuscript where a secondary lead character finds out that someone is his father.  His reaction is “You’re . . . my . . . father?” (minor action element for dramatic effect). “My father?”

What made me laugh is that the publisher said “This immediately bought to mind Star Wars”

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?  You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar.  Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.

Now, I actually did not think “Star Wars” when I read it, but there is another element in this story that has since been removed…  My son and I (he also read the manuscript) were talking about this other element, and my husband said:  “She stole that from Star Wars!”  I was thinking it in the back of my head, but he verbalized it very well.

The problem is, Star Wars is not just a story that was written over thirty years ago.  It is a piece of Americana.  There are too many people in the USA, and in the world, who have seen Star Wars… even memorized it.  You simply CANNOT mess with themes like that anymore, unless you are careful.

Now, is this to say that no person will ever find out about questionable parentage again in literature?  No, of course not.  However, you need to be VERY CAREFUL when you do it.  Like this publisher stated in an earlier post… Find the uniqueness in what is not unique.

You need to make this your own.  When they read your tear-jerking scene, they should see only your characters in their minds, not Luke laying on that platform and then falling down the shaft.  If an element has been used before, and notably so, work that scene harder than any other scene.  Make sure, without a doubt, that the element is now YOURS.  Make them forget all about Luke Skywalker.

 

 Jennifer Eaton