Jan 30, 2012

What Does the Future Hold for Us?

Thanks to Stephen Tremp for visiting Wistful Nebulae today. What a treat! I started reading Opening on my Nook and have to tell you all that it's very exciting and action-packed. The plot just keeps ramping up. Can't wait to read more later today.

What Does The Future Hold For Us? Moving beyond the use of fossil fuels? Awesome inventions and cures for diseases? Colonizing the Moon and Mars? Or does a dystopian period marked by war, famine, disease, pollution, and mass starvation await us as we exhaust our natural resources? What do the Futurists and Visionaries say?

Futurists: Think Tanks consisting of theoretical physicists, economists, architects, sociologists, and technology experts attempt to predict what our immediate and long-term future holds and what we should do now to either avoid catastrophe or position ourselves to move forward.

Visionaries: Experience the future through dreams or supernatural means with little or no regard for what is actually possible. Nostradamus is considered to be a visionary. So are the prophets of the Old and New Testaments.

What Lies Ahead: Will there be a second Age of Enlightenment? Will innovations in the Nano-Bio-IT-Neuro sciences change our lives, economy, and culture and help to secure our future? Or will they be the accelerants that send mankind back to the Stone Age? This is an excellent topic to Google.

Theme For Opening: As I researched this very topic, I thought I would use this theme as the driving force behind the antagonists stealing the breakthrough in wormholes in order to implement their vision to change the world and place its future in the hands of a scientific oligarchy. They have a disdain for the current state of the world and a vision to replace current failures caused by inefficient governments, large greedy global conglomerates, and even larger banking institutions.

They believe physics, biochemistry, and nanotechnology should replace government, corporations, and religion, at least as we know them to presently exist. They feel science is government, corporations, and religion all packaged together.

We Live In Exciting Times! Our world is changing right before us at breakneck speed. Our planet is becoming a much smaller place. CERN and other research and development centers around the world are on the cusp of discovering wonderful and awesome breakthroughs in physics, biochemistry, and nanotechnology (all of which I use in OPENING).

Question: Will mankind use these inevitable discoveries to further civilization? Or will they be used to pad the pockets of an elite few and sell us out? Please leave your thoughts in the COMMENTS.

If you feel this post is worthy, please Tweet or share on Facebook if you feel so inspired. Thanks for stopping by!
Stephen Tremp is author of the recently released suspense thriller OPENING, the second book in the BREAKTHROUGH series. You can visit Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs. Opening and Breakthrough are available for download at:

Amazon for $1.99
Smashwords for $1.99

Jan 26, 2012

Dreaming of Summer

I'm being interviewed at Lynnette Labelle's today. It includes an excerpt from Semper Audacia. Pop by for a visit. :)

I really started missing the observatory about last week or so. Maybe a week earlier. We don't open again until Memorial Day weekend. Siigh.

The long off-season is good for me though. I have more time to write. All that wishing gets me thinking, gets put into my stories or ideas for new ones. Like the give and take between planets and moons, I need the give and take of the short season and long off-season.

Here's a photo of M17, known as the Swan Nebula. It's above Sagittarius, looking toward the center of the galaxy. You can see the swan shape, yes? Taken by the camera attached to the 24" telescope.

Here are some shots I didn't share during the season of flora, etc... I love photographing all of nature--what's below my feet as well as what's over my head.

What does winter have you missing?

Jan 23, 2012

Oracle Mystery Tour

The cover for JC Martin's Oracle is out and the revelation of her cover has a mystery attached to it, one that the readers can solve for a chance at a $20 Amazon voucher! For more details on the contest and how to participate, see JC's blog HERE.


As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Lindsay Buroker has a new story out

The Assassin's Curse

When outlaws Amaranthe and Sicarius chance upon spies stealing military prototypes, they immediately give chase. Well, immediately after Amaranthe talks Sicarius, former assassin and all-around non-altruistic type, into the mission. She wants an imperial pardon, and what better way to attract the emperor’s favor than by looking after the empire’s interests? 

99 cents at Amazon / B&N / Smashwords


Origins Blogfest, Monday, February 13th

Hosted by DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude 2.0, and cohosts Katie Mills, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish

On Monday, February 13th, you should post your own origin story.  Tell us all where your writing dreams began.  It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog.  How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or the teacher/mentor that helped nudge you along and mold your passion, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer.  It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own, unique, beginnings.

Sign up at any of the four blogs.

And don't forget about the I'll Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest hosted by Nicki Elson, Suze of Analog Breakfast, and myself. You can read all about it and sign up HERE

Support JC's cover contest, sign up for festing, checkout Lindsay's books

Have anything to share this Monday?

Jan 19, 2012

A Simple Method for Creating Greater Conflict and Better Characters

This past Saturday I went to the Rose City Romance Writers monthly meeting in Portland with two of my local writing buddies. It was a great day and we had lots of fun.

There was a mini workshop during the meeting on "Five Simple Ways to Identify and Increase Character Conflict." It was really very informative, constructive and as simple as promised. It was basically doing a Glasser analysis for characters. I found it so useful, thought I'd pass it on. You can get more information and the worksheets at www.JudithAshleyRomance.com

Not only is a great method to help create more conflict and tension, it's also useful for finding common ground between characters, motivations and just generally getting to know your characters better. Also a great tool for creating depth in the story, plot and characters.

Francine Howarth is hosting the Indie-Author Tag Party on February 4th & 5th. Go HERE to sign up.

his blogfest is just a simple fun game of playing tag on Amazon to up your profile and that of your book/s.

You'll not only meet other Indie authors along the way, ones you've probably never met before, you can guarantee readers and writers who are on the cusp of going Indie will all be watching from the sidelines and taking note of books that catch their eye and its link!   

So what do you have to do?  

The Rules!?  I hate that word and prefer "Criteria required" for entry to the tag-party:
First off: how tagging works

a)      be prepared to tag all those who join the tag-party = fair play
b)      basically follow tag-players’ links to Amazon
c)      scroll to tag and add appropriate tags

Secondly what to do on your own blog: 
d)      post details of your Amazon link to your blog on 4-5th Feb.
e)      copy-paste the banner (from my sidebar) to your blog's sidebar  
f)        lastly: sign-up

Stephen Tremp's--Breakthrough Blogs--new novel, Opening is out!

“A scientific breakthrough of such magnitude it could radically alter the future of humanity—for better or worse—is in the wrong hands.”

Available from Smashwords and Amazon.

Ciara Knight has a new release coming out:

The Curse of Gremdon

In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures, Arianna fights to protect the life of her only living relative, her brother.

Tardon, an elite warrior, is granted anything he desires by the Elders, but finds little joy in the voluptuous women presented to him. Born for the bloodlust found only in battle, complicated emotions emerge when he discovers his equal in the alluring warrior, Arianna.

Charged by the Elders with saving the castle from attack, Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum from the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever. Will their love carry them through or will the discovery of a great deception be their ultimate demise? See Ciara's blog for more details.

And a new release from Li of Flash Fiction:

“Small Doses” is a collection of flash fiction built around medical themes. They are not clinical accounts, nor are they to be used as any sort of factual reference; they are pure fiction. However, several are based on existing, documented conditions. There are tales of love, loss and betrayal which examine health and illness from varying points of view; a man who is dying to sleep, a hand with a mind of its own, and an efficient if somewhat unemotional caretaker. Whether the maladies are real or imagined, they have one thing in common: the struggle which we, as humans, endure as ultimately mortal beings.

Currently available at Amazon and other outlets. See Li's site for more links. 

Have you made any great discoveries this week? On the website's blog this week: How I Miss the Observatory / tomorrow: Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair -- www.mpaxauthor.com

Jan 16, 2012

I'll Tumble 4 Ya

Ahh, the 80s.  Everything was so fun & easy, and nobody took themselves too seriously---how could we with those NFL-worthy shoulder pads stuffed into our shirts and all that...hair?  In the spirit of fun, easy & frivolous, I've teamed up w/ fellow 80s girls Nicki Elson from Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep Thoughts and Suze from Analog Breakfast to ask you one simple question:

Who was/is your 80s celebrity crush?

Please join our Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest in the Linky below and on 
Friday, February 10

Post a picture, video, or whatever of the celebrity you most tumbled for in the 80s---along with your feeble justifications, of course. ;) Or, since it's come to our attention that there are, in fact, persons roaming the planet who weren't of crushing age during the 80s, which 80s star most makes you tumble now?  Jon Bon Jovi, perhaps? Christie Brinkly? Or were you more the ambiguous Boy George type?      

C'mon, tell us who ya tumbled 4!

(P.S. It's safe to assume we'd love for you to put our Blogfest icon in your sidebar & tell all your friends about it.)

Jan 12, 2012

Methods of Visiting Blogs

Connecting and networking and participating is the key to making a blog effective. Yes, it takes a lot of time, mostly in the visiting of other blogs.

So, I thought those of us with more experience could share how we go about blog hopping. Got any great tricks to share?

My method--

*First off, I have a scheduled time Monday-Friday for visiting blogs. Somewhere between 70-90 minutes. Somedays I might spend less time, 30-60 minutes, if I have other obligations. And, I usually take weekends off. We all need scheduled down time, or we'll burn out.

*I visit everyone who visits me. For example, today I'll start by going to blogs of everyone who left a comment on this post. Then, I'll go to Monday's post and check on the blogs of those who left comments on Monday.

*Then I use dashboard to systematically go through the blogs I follow. I jot down on a post-it where I leave off and stick it to the edge of my monitor. Otherwise I'll forget.

*I usually visit links left by others in their posts

This is the method I came up with to deal with visiting blogs. What's yours?

Jan 9, 2012

The Glory of Options in Publishing

With the publishing industry in a state of flux and the stigma lifting from self-publishing, there is no longer one right path to publication.

JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking began on their own and ended up with lucrative publishing contracts.

Traditionally published midlist authors like Bob Mayer have decided to leave their publishers and go off on their own.

Epublishing has changed the game. It’s the fastest growing market for books. Ereader folks are voracious readers. This is great news. It means the written word won’t die. It’s just changing formats.

These were some of the factors which made me decide to go indie. Science fiction is not a big market. Most of my readers are digitally savvy. So, it made sense to me to get out there and tap into my market myself.

Sure, writing is an art, but it’s also a business and a career. In the end, I want to make money and quit snuffling around for peanut shell crumbs. Going indie is my best shot at achieving that.

Just because that’s what I decided, doesn’t mean it’s the best answer for you. We all need to respect each other’s decisions. No matter how a writer publishes—indie, traditional, or a smaller press—we all work very hard and put a huge amount of effort into what we produce. We all pour our souls into our stories, sentences and words.

It’s wonderful that we now have so many options.

And check out The Missing Link, a novel by Brandon Meyers and Bryan Pedas of A Beer in the Shower. Available at Amazon.

And there have been noises in the blogosphere of this year's AtoZ Challenge. Arlee Bird has a separate site for it this year HERE and several cohosts for the mega event.

Yes, it's a bit of extra blogging work, but it's worth it. I know I met several of you last year during the challenge, and am damn glad of it.

Load up the posts ahead of time, so that you're not blogging and visiting all at once. There's no way to visit everyone. Last year I started in the middle of the list and went as far as I could. I plan on signing up again.

I'd actually like to feature many of you this year, so if you have a book, a short story to promote, blog post send it on over--mpaxauthor[at]gmail[dot]com. Flash fictions, etc.. would also be great. How about your favorite blog post? Maybe could all trade posts and made the load lighter. :) Shrug. Just an idea.

Anyway, hope you all had a great weekend.

Jan 6, 2012

The Universe in 2011

A video from NASA, an overview of 2011. Looking forward to what 2012 brings.

This week on the website: www.mpaxauthor.com : Talking about sources of inspiration and a video from NASA on Saturn's moon, Enceladus.

Next week, this blog returns to Monday & Thursday postings.

Jan 4, 2012

January Angst

My January entry for Insecure Writers Support Group ...

Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group where us writers reveal our warts and cheer each other on. It's cheaper and more effective than therapy. It's not too late to join if you're interested. Just click on Alex's name and it'll take you to his blog.

I feel like a stuck record ... biting my nails with feelings of inadequacy. Probably what I talked about last month, too. Huh? It's deva ju. Yeah, I know the v and j are switched. The way I wrote it comes from a SG-1 episode. Any Stargate fans out there?

Oops, got distracted. Anyway, as I was saying, some days I just feel like I have no idea as to what I'm doing. I'm grateful I don't feel that way everyday. I have a suspicion I'm feeling that way now, because I'm getting closer to rolling out Stopover and it's making me nervous and seriously question whether it's ready for public consumption. I hate every sentence I write lately.

I also hope I can find an editor I can work with. Another source of stress. I worry I don't have that going right -- the editor thing. Maybe I need to say more, ask more questions. What do you do if you're unhappy with the editing you get? It's not about being corrected, I want to be corrected; it's what gets overlooked by an editor and isn't corrected that bothers me. I pay for that person to catch what I miss and to fix my commas and punctuation.

I know my comma usage is far from perfect. I'm not sure of my semi colon, colon and dash punctuation at times either. So, I really rely on an editor to get that right for me and I really need to rely on that person for longer work.

I know someone I trust to get all that right for me, the anxiety comes in as to whether I can afford the person I trust. I really hope I reach a point this year where costs won't be so much of an issue. Yeah, I worry a lot. The theme of this post ... And it's one of the major reasons I write -- writing sends all those stresses to the background where they belong.

Despite all this jabbering, you know what? I'll overcome all the doubts and insecurities and I'll publish The Backworlds, Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge, and The Augmentation of Hetty Locklear this year. I always get past them ... until the next time. This time will be no different. I'll inhale a deep breath and I'll publish and I'll keep going.

So what worries are on your plate this January? Any advice on working with editors? What do you do when the "every sentence sucks" blues come around?

Jan 2, 2012

Stopover's Second Draft Done

Despite all the frivolity of the past few weeks, I was able to power through finishing up the 2nd draft of Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge. Right now I'm lining up an editor while putting on a second coat of polish. The third draft won't take too long, as it's mostly detail work and no major changes, and it's the 3rd draft which will go to an editor. Then guess what I get to do? That's right, edit again when it comes back. And again. I went over Semper ad nauseum. I expect that trend will continue. Then comes formatting. I'll be doing paperback this time, too. Busy, busy.

The Backworlds is supposed to go out before Stopover as a freebie. I'm still writing its first draft as I decided to write it in the middle of Stopover. Then Stopover caught momentum, and sometimes I just have to go with what has momentum. Does that happen to you? Write faster me, writer faster. I intend The Backworlds to be a short story, but seems my idea is too lofty for brevity. That's OK, I have a clear idea as to how that one is to go, which should help me finish it up. I'm aiming to have the second draft of it done by mid-February and hope it'll come in under 30,000 words.

Then what? I have to finish up Hetty Locklear's 1st draft, which is about 2/3's written. It'll be a lot of work to get that mess into second draft shape. I'll do it. Seems my life revolves around revisions. Always. Polishing, revising and editing. Anyone else feel that way? Anyway, I hope to release it this summer.

Then what? Sequels for both series -- Boomtown Craze for the Backworlds series, no title for the Hetty sequel but I know what it's going to be about. So, that's something.

My aim for 2012 is to get both of these series going and to concentrate on growing my audience. What are your plans for 2012?

Did you all have a nice holiday? Was good here. Still haven't had much snow, which is really, really strange. It snowed for the first time last Friday night and was merely a dusting. Not the normal bluster of winter this time of year. Not complaining though. I hate driving on ice and snow, so the lack of it is fine with me. I did some stargazing over my break. On Christmas night, in fact. I took Orson Bradbury out in the driveway and looked at Jupiter, then the Orion Nebula. Tested out my new magic eyepiece. :D Awesome.