Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Up Next

There's this series of questions that's been going around lately; sooner or later it had to come to me, so here goes:

1) What is the title of your next book/work?
Not sure yet, in fact. No doubt something snappy and alliterated in the theme of its inspiration. One option is Arachnids and Aristocrats, except that suggests more spiders than I intended. Bugs and Bluebloods? Suggestions welcome.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
I always wanted to do one of those rewrites of a famous novel from the public domain, but transforming it into my genre. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do, but basically the best way to explain it is Pride and Prejudice in space.

3) What genre does your book/work fall under?
Science fiction, with maybe a touch of fantasy blended in.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh gosh. That's not something I ever think about, really. Off the top of my head: Keira Knightley as (wait for it) Darcy Mac; Liv Tyler as her trusty sidekick Carla Bingley; and a selection of stubbly dark-haired action heroes as the Bennet brothers, diamond miners all: let's say David Tennant, Robert Downey Jr., and more of that general type. 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A pair of rich kids from Avenir station go down to the planet Eclectia to seek adventure hunting its giant beetles, but they don't expect to get involved with an array of suitors...

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither, my dears. We are the independent press and we do not approve of the wording of this question. :P

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Haven't started. Hope to get through it within the next year, alongside other projects.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Don't have a clue, sadly. Anyone got a good idea? There's space chases, romance, a whole lot of dust, narrow escapes from volcanoes, fights with huge bugs, and intercolonial politics. What do you call that?

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See number 2, thanks.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It takes place in the already existing world of Avenir Eclectia, a multi-author project with room for microfiction and full-length novels and everything in between. The first "novel" is out now for the amazing price of $5.98.

Now I'm supposed to tag people to carry this on, but I hate doing that, and besides I know a ton of people have already done this. So if you would like, feel free to steal the questions and go for it!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Avenir Girls' Day

It was a surreal experience to look at the faces around me and realise that they understood about the Bug Wars, Ash Lung, angels and spiders, nomads and miners. Four of us in one room for the first time ever! As we discussed our characters and stories, reconciled different elements and brainstormed new ideas, reminisced on Walt's legacy, and exchanged signatures in shiny books, it came home to me once again that I know these people very well, even though we only met that morning.

Stories do that. I've been following these ladies' work for a long time now, editing, tweaking, and enjoying. There are real people behind this world, and it was my great pleasure to meet some of them.

Above, back: Deborah Cullins Smith, Kaye Jeffreys and Mary Ruth Pursselley, contributors to the Avenir Eclectia project. Grab it now!

Avenir Eclectia Volume 1 - Paperback $5.98 (or 4 for the price of 3!)
Avenir Eclectia Volume 1 - Kindle $2.99
Avenir Eclectia Soundtrack by Michael L. Rogers - CD $15.00 or $8.99 on MP3.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Avenir Eclectia - The Beginning

Last week, the first print collection of stories from the Splashdown project Avenir Eclectia was published. I'm so excited! We've been working slowly at this for almost two years now and it's wonderful to see this culmination. Of course, it's just a start - there's much more to come.

There are a bunch of other blogs posting about it this week:

Heather Titus, another contributor, interviewed me about it here.
Travis Perry, my intrepid co-editor, considers the scientific basis for the existence of such a planet.
Contributor Jeff Chapman interviewed Greg Mitchell about his stories.

And much more... a search would serve you well :)

So for my part I'm going to go all the way back to the very first story that I wrote, at a time when nearly no one knew about the project and no one else was writing for it. Thankfully, that all changed! But this first tale was my attempt at setting the bar - I wanted my contributions to be short, punchy, evocative and deep.

I did as every Avenir writer after me would do: I created a character, gave her a name (a somewhat unusual one in this case, because of the cultural shift), a location and a position in life. Then picked a turning point for her to experience in the moment that my window looks in on her.

The part with the song was inspired by a track that had already been written for the project:

I felt the potential in the spawning world, but wanted to begin gently with just a tiny peek. And this is what came out of it...

COOL, SMOOTH METAL by Grace Bridges
First published online on March 12, 2011
Story no. 1 in Avenir Eclectia Vol. 1 (click for buying options: $5.98 paperback, $2.99 Kindle)

Cool, smooth metal met Ave’s fingers as she slid down the wall to sit in the corner. No one would bother her here in this obscure corridor—not for a while, at least. She concentrated, and felt the distant, almost intangible vibrating of the station. Its comfort calmed her, and she hummed to herself, head down, hair shutting out the world and thoughts of Smith. A good kid, but they were both too young—only fourteen Foundings.* And the children—the beggars, the poorest of all beings, who didn’t even have a claim to parents—they looked up to her. She must do right, and not be distracted by an obsession for love, as heady as it was. The time was not yet come.

Ave recognised the tune she hummed, and smiled a little: her name-song, and that of the colony. “Arise, Avenir Eclectia; be strong, Avenir Eclectia. Stand firm, Avenir Eclectia; live on, Avenir Eclectia.” A rousing anthem that gave her the tingles. Her first carer had given her the name of the entire colony: Avenir, though she went by Ave. She placed her hands on the floor, felt her connection to the huge space habitat and the presence of the planet below, and hoped she hadn’t hurt Smith beyond repair. He’d understand, someday. Wouldn’t he?

The beings on the planet called to her and she rested in their mental embrace, sensing only the living station through the cool, smooth metal.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Devil's Hit List by Frank Creed

Splashdown's first new release for October is here!
Check out this excerpt...


The three of us entered the three-story catwalk ringed room.
One of the two figures on the first floor looked up at us, and then exited the room.
“Uh, guys, you may want to hurry,” I said.
“Okay. It will be in this batch,” said Tom.
As he swapped out e-girl’s case of trays, she put a hand on each and closed her eyes a moment, searching for the circuit board. Then she nodded. “Yep, it’s in this one.”
They swapped out my case with miscellaneous boards as well. It was not necessary, but as long as my sister insisted on having me along, it would make Enertech’s lab technicians guess harder at what we had really been after.
The door through which we had entered clicked open. The man who entered wore a rumpled suit and had to be security. His clothing bulged in all the right places for concealed weapons—including at his shoulders that could, by-the-way, bench-press a Buick. “Hi, Tom, how’s it hangin’? Some of the boards we need today were among the ones that cycled up here. Could you check…” His eyes fixed on me and widened slightly.
I’d only once been recognized by a stranger before, and for this, inside a MegaCorp Ancology, to be the first time on an op? It made my head hurt. My body relinquished control to my mindware, and I slipped into overdrive. With a thought I drew one I. M. I. nine millimeter Baby Eagle from a Quick Draw holster, and splattered a tranq on his forehead. With reformed speed I rushed to the sec-man and eased him to a seated position before he could collapse on the catwalk and alert his two friends below.
Control of my body ebbed back to me. Without a word I walked to my case and closed it.
“Even if we weren’t done, we’re done,” said e-girl. Without waiting for Tom to lead the way, she opened the door, stepped into the hallway and dragged her case as quickly as she could to the elevator.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Interview with cover designer Kura Carpenter

This post is part of SpecFicNZ's Blogging Week... find out more at!

Kura Carpenter is a New Zealand based graphic designer who specialises in photo manipulation and Book Cover creation.

Q) I really enjoy finding the perfect theme that goes with a book's subject matter. What is your favourite part about designing covers?

A) In general what I like about graphic design is the create problem solving aspect. Just like a standard print advert, a cover has to do several things at once, and I like figuring out to make the graphic and font elements work together to represent the genre, theme, and also appeal to the right audience. But my ultimate favourite part in making covers is working with the authors and knowing what I’ve done has helped them and made their day.

Q) As a publisher I read all the books I help design, but of course that can't be expected of a pure designer. What kinds of things do you ask the author to make sure you are getting the right feel?

A) Getting the feel right very important and I have series of questions and things I ask for. I start with the basics including: genre, age group. I also ask the author to give me a list of covers they love and a list they hate, that have been published recently and are of the same genre and age group as their novel.

Once I have that info I get more details to understand what sort of attitude any character needs to convey, and what’s the overall tone of the novel. Good Design is all about communication and I feel it’s very important to think beyond the physical props and capture the emotional tone of the book. Only once I understand the emotional aspect required do I actually start thinking about what images to use.

When I work with authors I advise them to be open when choosing cover models, and don’t think about looks, but rather seek the essence of their character’s attitude.

Whether the woman has curly hair or dimples isn’t as important as capturing the spirit of who she is. Is she sad? Defiant? Because that’s what cues the Reader in to the true tone of the story.

Q) At Splashdown, we benefit from having the whole team (or whoever wants to) give input on design and the final product is often a combination of many people's ideas and inspiration. Where do you get your ideas?

A) I think about the key elements the final product will need to convey, for example, an romantic comedy needs images with a positive feeling, whereas a gothic romance needs something you can look at think ‘creepy’ or ‘ghostly’ or whatever.

So with the genre and age group in mind I start looking through lots of image libraries for my base photos that I will manipulate.

The main thing I have learned is staying open to ideas and letting the material inspire me rather than looking for a fixed image. How I know something that looks like an ordinary photo to start with will work as cover graphic is where my own experience as a Photoshop ninja comes into play. As well as my ninja training I have a Fine Arts degree and an obsession with adverts so that probably helps.;)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Authors in Arkansas

This week I've been visiting Greg Mitchell, and here's a part of the conversation that has been going on since I got here... We especially like talking about how different stories fit together into a multiverse or shared world concept.

Monday, 17 September 2012

SpecFicNZ Blogging Week: Interviewing Grant Stone

Right now is SpecFicNZ Blogging Week and I'll be hosting a couple of guests from the Kiwi Speculative scene. First up is Grant Stone...

Hi Grant! Would you please first of all introduce yourself for my readers? I live in Auckland and I write strange things. You can find my stories in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Strange Horizons and many other places.

What got you hooked on speculative fiction in the first place?One of the first books I can remember reading is Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen Donaldson, which I read long before I discovered Tolkien. It was a remarkably grim and complex introduction to fantasy - I suspect (I hope) the grimmest scenes went over my head. Even so, The Land became a real place to me, one I can still see if I close my eyes.

I think I’ve been looking for imaginary places to live in ever since.

In your opinion, what is it that makes a SF book a classic?Each book is different, but a story packed with scenes and characters you remember for years afterwards .

Please share some of your favourite SF titles that you consider classic.Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. The scope, from the first landings on Mars, all the way through to Mars’ secession from Earth, make this a series I find myself returning to.

Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow about an ill-fated Jesuit mission to an alien planet. It’s a heartbreaking book, but it sears itself into your mind.

I really like Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. It borrows the structure of The Canterbury Tales, with pilgrims sharing their stories of how they came to be travelling together. I’m a fan of novels with multiple narrators and multiple stories thrown into a bag and mixed up and Hyperion fits the bill perfectly.

What’s your top NZ SF read?I’m really impressed with Helen Lowe’s Wall of Night series so far. It feels fresh, yet at the same time squarely in the tradition of David Gemmell and Raymond Feist, so for The Heir of Night to win the Gemmell Morningstar award was excellent.

Tim Jones’ collection Transported is a few years old now, but it holds up very well. It’s a mix of stories that are clearly SFnal in nature, with others that sit perhaps more on the literary side of the fence. Some of my favorite stories are more literary than SF, so Transported felt like it was written just for me.


Find Grant:


@discorobot on Twitter

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Kat Heckenbach: Kalek the Rocker Elf

Today it is my very great honour to bring you an excerpt of Kat's first book, Finding Angel. I have to say, this segment is possibly my favourite of everything she's ever written; we can only give you the start of it here, so believe me when I say you MUST read the rest. Is that biased because I am her publisher? That's as maybe. But perhaps in fact I'm her publisher partly because I love this so much, eh?


Kalek held what appeared to be an ordinary electric guitar. He positioned his hand in front of the strings and spoke.
“One, two, three…”
The music took Angel’s breath away. It didn’t come directly from the instruments, and there were no microphones or speakers to direct it elsewhere. It emanated from the surrounding forest, the very trees themselves, and drifted down from the sky. Angel could feel vibration in her feet—it even rang from the grass and rocks on which she stood.
The leaves on the trees and bushes changed color before her eyes, from green to red to gold and back, sparkling in the brilliant sunshine. Butterflies swarmed out from the forest, fluttering in yellow clouds around the flowers in the clearing. The music seeped all the way into Angel’s bones, stirring her soul.
The Elven band played slow and soulful at first, and Angel involuntarily closed her eyes. The darkness behind her eyelids brightened to a soft glow, which dispersed and swirled, and then coalesced into images of a savannah that was as real to her as the forest in which she stood.
A strange, disconnected feeling overtook her, as though her spirit had been pulled out of her body and transplanted someplace else. It wasn’t frightening, only disconcerting at first, and then something surged inside her like an instinct she’d never experienced, an animal hunger that urged her to lower herself to the ground. The positioning of her limbs didn’t feel human—more like the way she imagined a cat would feel stalking a mouse.
The deep grass swayed before her, and her strong lioness muscles tensed and twitched, her belly scraping along the ground. The scent of her prey wafted into her feline nostrils as her lungs filled with the dry, pungent air. 
She pounced, and her massive paws slid across the grassy plain, her legs spreading out to her sides, becoming raven-black wings that caught the wind and lifted her from the ground.


Here are the other blogs where this week you can find more excerpts, interviews and other cool stuff from Kat! Don't forget to check out her new release, Seeking Unseen, for more adventures on Toch Island.

R. L. Copple
Ryan Grabow
Diane M. Graham
Travis Perry
Paul Baines
Caprice Hokstad
Keven Newsome
Greg Mitchell
Robynn Tolbert
Frank Creed
Fred Warren


In case you don't know, it was Kat who first gave me the name Space Kiwi, and it seems to have stuck :)

And... here's something else just for Kat, since today is sadly the day I have to leave her house. Waah!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

My battered faith meets the Bible Belt

As I continue my trek around America, I find it to be a land of friends and faith. Faith is a beautiful concept, but not always easy to process by one who's been through spiritual abuse. I blogged about that a few years ago and you can read some of the details here. If you haven't read that, please do so now. I'll wait right here.

Symptoms I’m still dealing with years later: an inability to pray sincerely or at all, including over food; a restlessness in church services, or skipping them entirely; I can't sing most songs in church because I don't mean the words or I dislike that they are not my own.

If I seem to avoid spiritual topics, prayer, etc., please understand that these areas are painful for me to this day. I am forever changed, but I am not dissatisfied.

Not that I hate God or Christians. I mean, I think I still am one, given the fairly reliable report that Jesus doesn't go away unless you tell him to. Let's remember that. What, really, does Jesus in me have to do with any visible religious behaviour? I want to BE like him, not be bound to DO the things his followers have decided are standard for the faith. Make sense?

Groping for ground zero, for a foundation on which to build, I am most comforted by friends who allow me space. Who don't ask me to pray, who don't assume I want to go to church, and if I do go, who won't look askance at me for remaining seated during the singing and scribbling wildly in a small notebook the entire time. In fact, you may have trouble getting me to stop the flow of story in order to get up and leave afterwards. To me, that is a highly spiritual experience and I know dang well where it comes from.

Don't get me wrong - I'm loving my journey here! But please, if I am going to see you soon, I would love for you to understand where I'm coming from on this. And if you forget, and ask me to pray, I'll likely decline. It's nothing personal - just where I am right now. Thank you for extending grace to me.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

On the road - exhausted but NOT bored!

Be forewarned: this is going to be a bit rambly-random. My brains are kinda scrambled, you see.

I'm in North Carolina, my 5th stop of 20 (see the 3rd-last post) and this week is one of the most intense of the whole trip as I visit Bethany School with Ann and do the equivalent of a full day's work interacting with students all day (and getting up at 6am, bleh!) - it's certainly fun, but full-on. I am at school until Thursday afternoon and then after midnight I get on a train to Atlanta to go to DragonCon. Yes, crazy.

The book publishing continues more or less as normal or even a little faster. Currently I'm doing final edits on the Avenir Eclectia collection and you are going to hear a lot more about that in a few short weeks. I'm very excited about this project!

I found a scribbled piece in my journal the other day, something I wrote a few months back - of how I wished for real life friends, people I could look in the eyes, kindred spirits who are in front of me and not just on the internet. Well, I've been enjoying just that since coming on the road - sure, only one set of people at a time, but they're real and here and with me and it's amazing. Of course, the goodbyes tend to get to me as well, because who knows when the next time will be? But it's so worth it.

I feel so lucky to be doing this. It is a strange old life I've chosen: hermit-like and solo at home for the most part, with occasional crazy trips to fill up on people and remind myself that all this is real and truly not just virtual.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Space Opera Character Profile of Davi Rhii from The Returning by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Character Profile: Davi Rhii with Excerpt

Davi Rhii, our protagonist, is the former prince of the Boralian Empire whose adoptive grandfather and Uncle Xalivar helped enslave their ancient Earthen enemies, the Vertullians, the people group in which Davi was born. Secretly adopted by Xalivar’s sister, Miri, when Davi’s discovery of his true genetic background is revealed, he goes from Xalivar’s adored heir to hated enemy and his life is turned upside down.

A talented officer and pilot, Davi has been raised by Miri with the best private education and opportunity her family’s power could buy and also, unlike many, he was raised to question and think for himself. This continues to get him into trouble, not just with friends and family, but with his fiancée and his superiors. Yet Davi’s skills helped win the Vertullians their freedom and now he’s tasked with finding out who is trying to take that freedom away.

Davi’s days of special treatment as royal heir are long past. He can’t get by on his status or family name. Instead, he has to earn his way and it’s harder than he expected. Especially when it comes to his family, friends, and Tela, the love of his life.

In the trilogy’s second novel, The Returning, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancée, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.

Here’s an excerpt from The Returning with Davi in action.

Davi and Uzah headed for the commissary at a casual pace. As they turned a corner, someone pushed between them roughly, in a hurry to pass. Davi recognized the Major from the meeting. Davi exchanged a look with Uzah as the major spun around.

“Sorry, sir,” he nodded to Uzah, but his sneer was anything but apologetic. His eyes turned toward Davi’s glare. “Did you want something, Captain?” He pronounced Davi’s rank as if it were poison.

“No, sir,” Davi answered, continuing to walk as their eyes met.

“Let me inspect your weapon, Captain.”

Davi stopped, Uzah beside him. They exchanged a look. Davi didn’t know whether to comply. What was the Major after? He couldn’t shake the feeling they’d met in the past. Uzah motioned for him to hand over his weapon.

Davi pulled his blaster from the holster and grabbed it by the firing tube, offering it handle-first to the major. Officers were allowed to make flash inspections of their inferiors at any time. The major tore it from Davi’s hand and looked it over carefully. “Are you fully trained in its use, Captain?”

“A crack shot, sir,” Davi answered with a smile.

“You’d better be.” The Major frowned. “If one of my men dies because you can’t pull your weight, I’ll have you up on charges.”

Davi frowned, fighting the urge to snap back. “If you make one more such comment, Major, I’ll have you up on charges,” Uzah said, his voice rising in anger.

The Major merely glared as he offered Davi back the blaster, ignoring safety protocols and holding it out firing tube-first. Davi grabbed it angrily, and the Major turned without a word and started back down the corridor.

Davi pulled the trigger and a laser beam charred the floor between the Major’s boot heels. The Major spun angrily around, raising a hand in accusation.

“Ooops. You handed it to me the wrong way, sir. It accidentally went off as I tried to holster it.”

The Major looked at Uzah, who kept a straight face despite the sparkle in his eyes. Davi holstered the weapon and stood at attention. The Major’s eyes met Davi in a warning before he turned again and headed back up the corridor at an even quicker pace.

Davi waited until he’d turned the corner then laughed as Uzah shook his head. “He could charge you with insubordination.”

“You could charge him with harassment.”

“Officers can inspect weapons of anyone they outrank with a moment’s notice. Be careful, Davi. We have enough against us already. We don’t need to make enemies.”

Davi bristled. Why was Uzah taking the idiot’s side? “Sorry, General.”

Uzah smiled. “At least he knows you’re a damn good shot.” They both laughed as Uzah clapped him on the back and they started down the corridor again toward the commissary.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured in anthologies and magazines. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal,

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Another Taste of Rift Jump

In the midst of the multiverse, Michael saw something else. No, not saw. Felt. Sensed. A
presence there, dark and undulating, worming its way through the layers of Creation.
And, in one terrible moment, the presence saw him too.
Michael…the Black called out to him, beckoning him. Michael
“No,” he whispered, twisting in the nothingness, trying to swim or fly away. But there
was nowhere to go. There was nothing. Yet, in the nothingness, the presence slithered for
him, caressing his soul, whispering to every cell in his body.
Welcome back

Read more in Rift Jump by Greg Mitchell, out now from Splashdown Darkwater. You can also find more tidbits, excerpts and interviews, at these participating blogs:

Find Greg:

Monday, 9 July 2012

Splashdown Tour - Rift Jump by Greg Mitchell

The day Michael Morrison died was the day his life began.
A sinister threat is growing in the void between realities, and Michael has been recruited to stop it. Ripped from his own violent life, he is sent rift jumping to other worlds seeking out the agents of the Dark and putting them to an end by any means necessary. The love of his life, Sara, joins him as he battles Civil War space ships, sea serpents, superpowered humans, and even his own duplicate from a parallel timeline.
But the darkness he fights is growing within him too, calling him to the same destiny as every other Michael from every other world. If he is to change his fate, he must learn to love, to forgive, to trust, and to let the man in the Stetson guide him to become the warrior of the Light he was always meant to be.

Mini-Interview with Greg Mitchell

What was the first book you ever wrote?
Ever? My first book was a Gifted and Talented Program project in the fifth grade, I think. We typed our own pages, drew illustrations, then bound them together with rubber cement. Mine was about a team of superheroes with such sterling names as Candy Man, Lasso Man, Diaper Man (threw dirty diapers, naturally), and Meat Man. They fought off a guy named Mr. Bad, I believe, and, once defeated, they realized they had vanquished all evil everywhere and were out of jobs. Then they retired. And that was the first book I ever wrote.

Hm. Well, is your latest novel any better?
I hope so! My new book is Rift Jump. It’s a hodge podge of everything I love—monsters, aliens, horror, light-hearted adventure, heart-pumping action, and a thrilling teen angst-ridden romance! It’s about a young man named Michael Morrison who travels the multiverse, pounding evildoers and righting wrongs. At his side is the love of his life, Sara. But rift jumping is not all sunshine and roses. A dark thing in between the worlds has it out for Michael and wants to recruit him to Evil’s cause. Can Michael resist or will he succumb to the killer inside him? Find out in the pages of Rift Jump—now on sale!

Greg Mitchell can be found at:

Visit the following blogs on this Splashdown Blog Tour for Rift Jump by Greg Mitchell.
Grace Bridges   
Fred Warren     
Caprice Hokstad
Paul Baines       
Travis Perry      
R. L. Copple     
Keven Newsome
Kat Heckenbach
Ryan Grabow    
Diane M. Graham
Robynn Tolbert
Frank Creed      

Thursday, 5 July 2012


So I'm heading for America in early August. I'm posting my general itinerary here, so that you, my friends, can figure out if I'll be near you. Here goes...

01 - 08 August - Rural British Columbia
09 - 16 August - Rural Manitoba
16 - 19 August - Hamilton, Ontario
19 - 23 August - Butler, PA (near Pittsburgh)
23 - 30 August - Winston-Salem, NC
31 August - 3 September - DragonCon, Atlanta, GA
03 - 11 September - Valrico, FL (near Tampa)
11 - 16 September - New Orleans, LA
16 - 19 September - Paragould, AR
19 - 23 September - ACFW conference, Dallas, TX
23 - 30 September - Rural Oklahoma
30 September - 12 October - Colorado Springs, CO
12 - 18 October - Rural Illinois (near St. Louis)
18 October - 15 November - Rural Iowa (near Cedar Rapids) (including 8 - 10 Nov HACWN conference)
15 - 18 November - Lincoln, NE
18 - 21 November - Lenexa, KS (near KC)
21 - 26 November - Topeka, KS
26 - 30 November - Layton, UT
30 November - 3 December - Boise, ID
03 - 07 December - Portland, OR
07 - 11 December - Escondido, CA

Things might change a little bit here and there, but I already have most of my tickets. Get in touch if you're nearby and want to meet up! Or if you have a writers' group I am able to run seminars on a couple of different topics - Indie Publishing 101, and Cliché Man to the Rescue!

See you round?

(Drag the map to see it better, sorry about the off-centre thing!)

View 2012 in a larger map

Sunday, 1 April 2012

I'm in a Space Battle!

Just a few months ago my story Never Look Back was selected to appear in the anthology "Space Battles" - and now here we are almost published! I'm excited about being in such good company and the process has been thoroughly enjoyable. Here's the details:

Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6
Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Flying Pen Press, 264 pp., $16.95, April 18, 2012

Red Alert! Red Alert!
This is not a drill…
Anna Paradox’s “Between The Rocks”: The Courtly Vizier, a
utility truck, renders aid to a colony ship but when they return to their
asteroid home from supply runs to mines on Old Lumpy from Jupiter’s atmosphere, the colony ship they once helped attacks them. But the situation is not what it seems, and strange circumstances are at hand.
David Lee Summers’ “Jump Point Blockade”: While pirating a mine on an asteroid, Captain Ellison Firebrandt and the crew of the Legacy find themselves forced into battle by Captain Stewart of the New New Jersey, serving as shields against the Alpha Comas at a jump point to Rd’dyggia. But instead of obeying Captain Steward, Firebrandt has plans of his own.
Jean Johnson’s “Joystick War”: Scavenging a storage bunker for salvage, Scott Grayson and Rrenn F’sauu stumble onto mint condition Targeting Drone A.I.’s, joystick controlled combat suits and can’t resist taking them for a test run. Then an old enemy, the Salik turn up, and instead of joy rides, they’re fighting for their lives and their people...
Mike Resnick & Brad Torgersen’s “Guard Dog”: Watchfleet sentinel Chang leads a lonely life of extended, dream-filled sleeps in between frenetic, life-or-death battles. The Sortu had almost defeated humanity and the lives of everyone, including his wife and son, depend on men like him. Then, called to battle again, he finds himself up against the last opponent he’d ever expected...

These and more stories await inside…

All personnel,
report to battle stations!

9 Introduction – Bryan Thomas Schmidt
13 Acknowledgements
15 Dedication
17 Between the Rocks – Anna Paradox
29 The Thirteens – Gene Mederos
45 Like So Much Refuse – Simon C. Larter
61 Jump Point Blockade – David Lee Summers
73 First Contact – Patrick Hester
83 Isis – Dana Bell
95 The Book of Enoch – Matthew Cook
113 The Joystick War – Jean Johnson
133 Never Look Back – Grace Bridges
147 The Gammi Experiment – Sarah Hendrix
161 Space Battle of the Bands – C.J. Henderson
175 A Battle for Parantwer – Anthony Cardno
187 With All Due Respect – Johne Cook
209 Final Defense – Selene O’Rourke
219 Bait and Switch – Jaleta Clegg
227 The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii Story) – Bryan Thomas Schmidt
245 Guard Dog – Mike Resnick and Brad R. Torgersen
255 About the Authors

Friday, 16 March 2012

So long, Wal'.

He can't be gone...I've muttered it to myself for the last 24 hours. He's gotta be out there still, ready to pop up in my chat window at zany hours and what seems to be the most inopportune times. Why, just the other day we were chatting and he told me he was worried about his brain.

He can't be gone. Just six days ago he received my envelope with a couple of New Zealand comic books. He devoured them and wanted more. There were dozens in the series, yet to be enjoyed. He was so taken with them that he'd begun signing off as Wal' - the anti-hero of Footrot Flats.

We had just arranged some details for my visit to Pittsburgh in August. He was getting all excited about showing me around. And of course, we were discussing the publication of his collected Avenir Eclectia stories, in a book all his own, to be called Transfer Orbits.

It's not even been three years since I lost my own father when he was only sixty. Walt was doing a fine job as a often I thought he should have met my dad. They have the same twisted humour. Well, I won't pretend to know what the afterlife is really truly like, but I'll betcha my spaceship that they've met now.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's got his own spaceship, too. To him, discovering the universe piece by piece would be an utter act of worship. He may have left this life in a bus stop, but he'll be enjoying the next with rather speedier transportation, I suspect.

It sure is an odd thing to lose someone you've never met. I guess we're lucky we found out; it would be so easy for an online friend to disappear and we'd be never the wiser. But apparently he spoke of his Internet buddies enough to his family that they searched us out.

I don't even know what he looked like. He did say he bore some resemblance to Wal' in the cartoons, so I guess this is the image that's stuck with me.

So long, Wal'. Can't wait to see that spaceship.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Songs of the Stars

I just have to blog about this so that I can find it again in future. Did you know that the stars actually sing? Their sounds are eerie and individual, depending on size, brightness, pulse rate and more.

This site can tell you more:

In the box to the side, you can download the sounds of particular stars, and the final download is a symphony built from the tones of various ones. Amazing stuff.

Here is just one video with some more.