Friday, April 18, 2014

Stein #16 - Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday

Wow, I blinked and like three weeks went by.  I’ve missed out on the last few Saturdays but here I am just in time to offer up my own Sci-fi Fantasy Easter Eggs in time for the pending holiday.  Make sure you take a moment and check out all the goodies in the reading basket.  Always brimming with excellent writing snippets!  This week, I’m back with STEIN, one of my current WIP’s.  Chased by hungry zombies, Annie is saved by a mysterious stranger, who seems to have more than a few secrets of his own.  On their way back to Annie’s friends, holed up in a garage nearby, STEIN is mistakenly gunned down by one of Annie’s fellow survivors.  And…we pick up from there.  Enjoy!
          Annie leaned in closer to the large hole in her new friend’s chest.
          “There’s hardly any blood and he shot you right below your heart.”
          Stein pulled the rags wrapped around his chest tighter to cover his wound and pulled himself up to his knees.
          “I’ve shed my share of blood.”  He looked up at Annie’s friend and asked, “Care to point that somewhere else?”
          Brody jerked the barrel of his rifle away and reached down to help his accidental victim up from the pavement.
          “Man, I am so sorry but I thought you were part of the meat patrol the way you’re dressed and…well, look.”
          “I get that a lot.”  Stein looked at Annie and asked, “Are we still going to your base?”
          “You’re bringing him back to the garage?”  Brody grabbed Annie by the shoulder.
          Annie reached down and took Stein by the hand, leading him across the street.
          “He saved my life, okay, so I told him he could come back with us.”
          Brody slung his rifle over his shoulder.  “Oh yeah, he should fit right in.”
Wondering how Stein fits into a group atmosphere?  Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too.  Thanks for reading and please drop a comment or two in the hat before you go.  They’re always appreciated.  Have a great Easter and see you in seven!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Reboot or not to Reboot - it's really no question!

Today, I have the honor and pleasure of having author Pippa Jay sharing some insight, wisdom, and general literary mischief on my site. Sit back, relax, and be entertained. 
Pippa, welcome to my blog and I want to hear all about it:

Who are you and what brings you by today? Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, a girl who writes SciFi and the supernatural. Whovian, Scaper, and Sith-in-training. Come to share my new release with you, I have, hmmm. :P
What drives you to write the kinds of books that you do? Insanity? Lol. I generally blame my muse. She won't shut up once she has an idea, not until I've written it all down.
How would you describe your writing style? Lyrical. I have a tendency to lean toward the poetic, though my editor ensures I don't stray too far into purple prose.
What are your influences?  Favorite books? Mostly a diet of SciFi and fantasy books, films and TV shows since the age of three. These days I generally read and watch SF, usually read SciFi and SciFi romance by my peers, or straight SciFi from authors like Neal Asher and Jaine Fenn.
What songs would be included in the soundtrack of your life? What I've Done (Linkin Park), Sail Away (The Rasmus), Wither (Dream Theater), Don't Stay (Linkin Park), Walking In Circles (Dead By Sunrise), It's Your Night (The Rasmus)
Could you share the best advice you’ve received as an author?  What advice would you share? Actually, the best advice came from one of my favourite films - Commander Quincy Taggart in Galaxy Quest. "Never give up - never surrender!" And that's always the one thing I would tell another author. Also read, write, and research.
Can you talk a little about your writing process? Chaotic is the best description. I don't plot and I don't write linearly. Usually I start with one or more scenes in my head (not even necessarily the opening scene) and get them down. Then I go back and start filling the gaps. Not something that would work for most people but it does for me.
Tell us about your latest release! Reboot is a dystopian cyberpunk short story, although it appears utopian at the start. It's a little like Logan's Run (for those old enough to remember that) crossed with The Matrix. Here's the blurb:

Welcome to immortality in utopia! 
From the moment Damien signed up for a perfect life with ReGen Inc., he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t want or need to know. But after he's rebooted this time, there are gaps in his memory he can’t ignore, and people he no longer recognizes are accusing him of betrayal. When someone dies, he’s determined to go looking for answers…but sometimes it really is better to forget.
You can find out more at my website here:!reboot/c20an
Talk about one specific theme in your latest book. The idea that something too good to be true will come at a price, and a higher one than most. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Can you share a passage?
 “Blinds.” The automatics obeyed, drawing gray bar blinds across the windows, but leaving the slots open. He lay on the bed, closed his eyes and went into cybermode. The Wi-Fi connection in his head instantly linked him to the internet, and he accessed Help. Options flickered past him. He selected Tools and went into Diagnostics.

“Can I help you?” The question overlaid the Tools screen, an unexpected popup.

“Er, yes. I rebooted yesterday and everything seems fine, but I’m worried one of my memory files got missed in the process.”

“That’s not possible. Instantaneous memory backup is active 24/7 and saved in three isolated locations to ensure a full copy. All are merged before reload.”

“Well, maybe it got corrupted? Maybe after upload?”

“No. But you can run a full body and memory diagnostic to check. It’ll take half an hour downtime. Is that acceptable?”


“All right. Do you want entertainment while the diagnostics run?”

“Yes, please. Music.”

“Any particular artist or playlist?”

“Cruize, on audio only.”

“Diagnostics running. Enjoy your music.”

Tell us about your book’s cover! The cover was created by Misa Buckley at Scorched Flower from a rough draft I came up with. I had a very strong idea of what I wanted right from the start and went looking for some images. I really liked the intensity of the guy's expression, and I went for the double image because he's a clone. The background Misa chose is spot on - I sent her a few examples of what I had in mind but was open to alternatives.
What else can you do besides write? I can sew, dance, play guitar very badly (that's a real talent, I promise you), sing (also badly according to my family), and look after chickens.
After the last page, what do you want the reader to leave with? A sense of utter futility for our future, bwahahaaa! I have a rather bleak outlook on humanity's future myself. I guess I'd like readers to think about the way our society might be heading and what they could do about it so the future in Reboot isn't one of the possibilities.
What’s next? Well, I signed a contract for two novellas just last month - a scifi romance with cloned succubi-like assassins and a YA paranormal set in Louisiana with teen zombies. I also have a paranormal romance short story coming out in October. For some reason muse went all supernatural toward the end of last year! I also have a decopunk superhero story out on submission, and a super secret project I'm working on to self publish. This year's going to be very busy!
Where do you see the publishing industry heading in the next five years? I see a lot of changes coming fast. I think sales on eBooks have peaked now. I don't think print will die out completely. I could see the Big Five shrinking to Two or Three. The bigger publishers may buy out some of the smaller digital first presses in the hope of continuing their existence. Literary agents will dwindle, but many may adapt by changing what they do.
FAST FIVE QUIZ (in no particular order, meaning, or sense!)

1)      What movie could you watch no matter how many times it’s on? Warm Bodies

2)      What side of a tree does moss grow on? The other side.

3)      What would you do if you were allergic to Kleenex? Use my sleeve, since that's what my kids often do. O.o

4)      Have you ever wondered what happened to the #1 pencil? No.

5)     Can you really read a picture book? You can picture words...

And there you have it! By the way, you got all five of the last questions completely wrong, Pippa! All kidding aside, make sure you check out this fantastic author and ALL of her literary catalogue, to include her newest addition - Reboot! Follow the link at the bottom to find out more:

Pippa Jay - Adventures in Scifi
SciFi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Double SFR Galaxy Award Winner. Readers Favorite Contest and GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards finalist.The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stein #15

In the world of literary mathematics, success = drive x desire, 3 = the time in the morning you usually have a good idea, and Saturday = Science Fiction Fantasy writing snippets! It's downright mathmagical. Don't believe me? Just check out all the great writing snippets from some equally great writers over at and you'll see. My snippet this week is from Stein, a zombie/action/horror/mystery/romance - ok, maybe I'm over-genring (is that a word - it is now). Zombies attacked Annie. Stein saved Annie. Some guy shot Stein.  There, you’re all caught up. You can find all the previous snippets posted here, in case you need to catch up with a bit more detail.

It felt like someone dropped a load of bricks across Annie's legs, lying there pinned face down to the street.  She tried to pull herself free but she was held tight under the weight of his body.  Panic didn't set in until she saw the pool of blood forming near her shoulder.

"Annie, are you okay?"

She twisted enough to see Brody running towards her, rifle in hand.

"What exactly were you shooting at?"

Brody dropped down beside her, grabbing her arm to help free her.

"That thing was right on top of you."

"He's not a zombie, you idiot. He's a friend." Annie squirmed free and spun around. "Mr. Stein, are you okay?"

She saw the hole in Stein's chest and gasped.

His hand slowly worked its way up to the tear in his shirt as he stared at his blood covered fingers.

"I've had worse, and it's not mister, just Stein."
And there’s your fifteen for this week. I hope they entertained or at least amused. If you’d like, please leave a comment on your way out. They’re always appreciated! Don’t forget to check out all the great writing snippets over at the main site for SFFSat! See you in seven!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stein #14

Hi, everyone.  Welcome back to another edition of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!  What is SciFiFanSat you say?  Well, let me enlighten you.  It's a fantastic group of authors and writers who post up to fifteen sentences from either a published work or maybe a work in progress that they want to share with the rest of us.  After a short hiatus, this is the second week the site has been back up and posting sci-fi /fan goodness.  Don't believe me?  Stop over at the main site at and see for yourself!  Want to participate?  Just check out the guidelines for posting and join in on the fun.  This week I'm offering up another snippet from my WIP, Stein. Annie was saved from a ravenous pack of zombies she affectionately called the meat patrol by a mysterious stranger in a dumpster alley.  Now, after semi-formal introductions, they're getting to know each other a bit. 
          “Friend. Haven’t heard that word in…a long time,” he said.

          His smile was a lot creepier than Annie expected but she appreciated the effort.  Something growled outside the garbage dumpster and she fell back into an open bag of trash.


          Brushing what she hoped was discarded pizza sauce from her sleeve, Annie pulled herself up and peeked out into the alley.

          “While the stockile of dog food in your man-cave is impressive, I think you need to come with me before the meat patrol regroups.”

          “Where?” Stein grunted and followed Annie out into the alley. 

          “Back to the garage. We’ll get you a blanket and some fresh, well fresher, clothes and get you settled in.  I saw a wrecked ambulance a couple blocks away that I need to stop at first.”

          The unlikely duo, him an easy foot and a half taller than her, walked out to the street when someone yelled from behind a parked police cruiser.

          “Annie, get down,” the voice screamed as the sound of rifle fire pierced the darkened street.

          Annie felt the full weight of her new friend as his body slumped over, taking her to the ground with him.
Whaaaatt?!  What does this mean for our haggard hero? Who fired that shot and how do they know Annie?  And what about poor Zach?  Will he get his medicine in time?  And will Timmy ever get out of that well?  Oh, wait, wrong story.  Tune in next week to find out, maybe.  Hope you enjoyed.  See you in seven!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Cool, The Dad, and the Muggle

So, my friend, the always impressive and multi-talented J.M. Blackman, tagged me in a blog hop centered around our individual writing processes and what it takes for us to shape and produce a book. While my responses will pale in comparison to her colorful prose (she just finished a THESIS - THESIS, I say), I'll try to put something worthwhile down to maybe enlighten but at least entertain. Make sure you stop over at her page and check out what she had to say here!

What am I working on?
I'm always working on something, usually multiple things. The ideas come quicker than the fingers can put them down and that's a good thing but a writer's worst enemy always seems to be time. One of my favorite sayings is, "If time is gold, then crown me the king of nickels". That's a Check original by the way and I get a nickel if you use it. Just kidding. Not really. Juggling a family, the job that pays the bills, and trying to squeeze in a few words is always a challenge. I truly believe that there are so many talented folks out there but success, in whatever degree you're searching for it, comes down to hard work and discipline. I have a finished novel that is awaiting the green light (hopefully) now in the hands of a publisher and I'm three quarters into a first draft of a third. I'm looking to shop around a script for a graphic novel (yeah, I still call them comic books too) and I'm outlining two more books that I'm anxious to build on. And, I'm looking forward to returning to the world of Welcome to GreenGrass soon and re-visiting all those great characters. So, when they say that the first rule of writing is don't talk about writing, wait - that's Fight Club, the first rule is get some words on the page, it couldn't be more true.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write what I like. Simple as that. It doesn't matter if it's trending or a hot niche. That doesn't really pull me in any direction when I decide what project to move onto next. I think my work is approachable by a wide variety of readers. When I was a young(er) reader, there was no Young Adult market, or at least cornered as such. I was influenced by adult characters that I found something to relate to. I don't think every character has to be an adolescent wizard or paranormal teenager for a kid to connect with them. I think it's great that those stories are out there and are such successes but I believe there's still a place for stories that appeal to the masses and aren't confined to certain demographics. That said, my latest book probably falls into the "new adult" genre but that didn't even exist when I penned it out.
Why do I write what I do?

Hey, I was a kid who grew up reading comic books. I was in awe of the superheroes I read about every month and the moral conflicts they faced. I saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the theater. I read Robert Asprin and Terry Pratchett and became lost in their worlds. The violence was toned down, the action was amped up, and the language was PG-13ish. It's where I found my creative center and where I'm most comfortable. I guess I look at writing like this - is it a reflection of society and needs to ring true? Yep. But in the same vein, don't the stories we put out there influence the people who read them? Don't we help to shape that image? I hope so. Does that make me cool? Probably not but I'm okay with that.
How does your writing process work?
I get an idea I like. It might be while I'm cutting grass, maybe driving home, or possibly at 3 a.m. in the morning while I'm sleeping, and, yes, I'll wake up and type notes into my phone. My wife will ask me what I'm doing and I'll say, "Nothing, just had a thought." From there, I let it percolate, maybe for a couple days, maybe for a few weeks. I'll make more notes and add to it and weave in some characters and work out the main plot. If it keeps me excited each time I re-visit it, I'll eventually work it into an outline to see how it flows. It's this point in the process that I have the most fun scribbling down some mad free hand notes. I love the organic feel of pencil, well okay, pen to paper for this part of the process. I may spend a few weeks working on the outline and making sure key points are in place. I love to outline but I don't let it dictate my story either. It's more of a guide. The first draft is all about putting words on the page and the revision process lasts until I'm comfortable with the book, switching chapters, cutting chapters, more taking away than adding. The process is different for everyone and if whatever you do to get to the last page works for you, then more power to you. Let me get another dozen books or so under my belt and then ask me again.

Speaking of multiple books, follow the blog hop along and make sure you visit the next stop on the tour - author extraordinaire T.K.Toppin.


T.K. Toppin's impressive book catalogue includes the popular Jax Marlin series, The Lancaster Rule, The Master Key, and The Eternal Knot, not to mention what's she's got in store for readers coming in 2014. She's an author who crafts her words with a veteran's touch, allowing us into her fantastic worlds of adventure and fantasy. You can visit her blog at T.K. Toppin to see for yourself and shoot her a tweet @TKToppin.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Welcome Back - SciFiFanSat! STEIN Snippet#13

Heeeeerrrreeeee’s Saturday!  Or my alternate title – All Work and No Snippets Make Saturday a Dull Boy!  It’s back and up and running on all cylinders. Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday has returned and to celebrate, we’re going to turn the clocks back this weekend here in the U.S. to give everyone a whole extra hour to read some great snippets over at the main site – . Make sure you stop over and check them out – now expanded to a new length of fifteen – that’s right, count ‘em – fifteen sentences in length. All the same great snippet goodness, now with fifty percent more content. This week I’m re-visiting Annie as she struggles for survival in my WIP for SFFSat titled STEIN. She’s already been attacked by a hungry horde of flesh-eating zombies and narrowly escaped with the help of a mysterious stranger lurking in a nearby garbage dumpster. Here, she’s learning a little more about her knight in tin foil armor. __________________________________________________
          "They call me Stein," he said.
          "As in...," Annie asked, hoping he would finish.
          "As in I'm a monster."
          Annie watched his hand involuntarily brush across the scar running the length of his cheek and neck.  His face may have haunted her dreams a few months before but barely caused her to pause in the nightmare world her life had become since. 
          "You're going to have to work a lot harder than a couple scratches to be a monster in my book, Mr. Stein," Annie said as she touched his shoulder.
          "You're not afraid?" The man brushed back the thick black hair covering his face.
          Annie was more startled by the pain swirling behind his pale green eyes than the patchwork of flesh on his face.
          "You’re not planning on making me a midnight snack, are you?" she asked, half-smiling.
          "You know, go all brains brains on me."
          His laugh sounded like a mix between a gag and a cough and caught him as much by surprise as Annie.
          "Well, good, it looks like I made a new friend then," she said.
          And there you have it! Another installment of STEIN.  I hope you enjoyed it and I’m definitely glad SFFSat is back in the saddle and sharing snippets again. If you haven’t checked out the site, make sure that you do and, if you’re a writer/author, consider contributing some snippets of your own. It’s addicting but fun. Have a great weekend! See you in seven! (Wow – I haven’t got to type that for over a month!)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review of Welcome to GreenGrass by J.M. Blackman

A really great write up and review for Welcome to GreenGrass over at the always entertaining, J.M. Blackman's site plus she's giving away a free copy of the book. How great is that? 
She's also prepping everyone for the re-launch of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday in early March.  A truly great site that more writers / authors should take advantage of.
Check out the post below for the review of GreenGrass and her main page for more details about SFFSat!