The Edge of the Map – No. 2

Greetings, friends and followers, and welcome back to the home of edgy fiction.  Before I get into this week’s books, I want to drop a quick update here:  My new project, working title Roswell Avenue, has surprised me in a most pleasant way.  The outline is growing and becoming richer with detail by leaps and bounds.  I haven’t had a project draw me in with this level of engagement and enthusiasm in over a year, maybe several years.  I don’t know, well, yes I do know how this will affect Stingaree.  It will slow it down, as Roswell vies for its share of the limited hours in a day, but I will not abandon Stingaree.  There are too many people who like it, and I have far too much invested in it to toss it aside, but at this point I’m thinking about dividing calendar weeks between the two.  There’s still quite a bit of sorting out to do there, so for now I’ll return to the blog.  I have quite a bag of goodies for your consideration today, so without further ado, let’s journey past the edge of the map and see what the true innovators are doing this week . . .

~~~

USAEliminated

USA: Eliminated by William D. Nash.  Jack Slater has chased UFOs his entire life – and now, he’s found one!  It’s real, it’s abandoned in an alien hangar – and it’s in perfect condition.  As the director of a governmental agency that studies aerial phenomena (OSAP), he knows he’s just discovered the find of a lifetime . . . and he wastes no time learning to fly it.  But as Jack and his OSAP colleagues explore the saucer’s secrets, the world watches as a deadly meteor plummets to earth, leaving a devastating path of destruction in its wake – including two important space stations.  Too late, it becomes apparent the meteor is a missile, apparently fired by the Russian Federation.  Detonating, it releases a terrible bio weapon, seemingly beyond the capabilities of Russia’s current weapons technology.  The alien technology Jack has discovered is the only hope of survival for the United States.  But that technology has appeared at a suspiciously convenient time, in Jack’s opinion.  What are they dealing with?  Is humanity truly at war with itself or is an alien external force playing a deadly game determined to see the USA eliminated?  $3.99 on Kindle.

WhiteWomanBlackHeart

White Woman, Black Heart by Barbara Miller.  Barbara often found herself saying, “the stork dropped me at the wrong house” only to find she was repeating her mother’s words.  In this riveting memoir exploring race relations and social change, Aboriginal elder Burnum Burnum, told her, “you may be white but you have a black heart, as you understand my people and feel our heart.”  He suggested to International Development Action that she take on the Mapoon project and played matchmaker by introducing her to Aboriginal teacher and Australian civil rights movement leader Mick Miller.  The Mapoon Aborigines were forcibly moved off their land by the Queensland government in NE Australia in 1963 to make way for mining.  With an effective team behind her, Barbara helped them move back in 1974 to much government opposition which saw her under house arrest with Marjorie Wymarra.  It also saw Jerry Hudson and Barbara taken to court.  In helping the Mapoon people return to their homeland, she found her home as part of an Aboriginal family, firstly Mick’s and later Norman’s as she remarried many years later, now being with her soulmate Norman about 30 years.  It is a must read for those interested in ethnic studies and political science as an isolated outback community whose houses, school, health clinic, store and church were burnt to the ground rose from the ashes and rebuilt despite all the odds.  It is a testimony to the Mapoon people’s strength.  $3.99 on Kindle.

AuntEnid

Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire by Karen J. Carlisle.  Daemons, fairies, magic; it’s all real!  The Otherworld is bleeding through cracks into our world.  And Adelaide is ground zero.  Something is coming.  Something dark – trading souls for passage.  And only one person stands between The Dark and the fate of the world.  Aunt Enid is just your average seventy-something year old.  She loves to cook, is a regular at bingo and spends hours in her garden, talking to her army of garden gnomes and fussing over the colour of her hydrangeas.  When people start disappearing, her great niece, Sally, is drawn into a secret world and soon discovers her great aunt is a Protector Extraordinaire.  Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire is the first book in The Aunt Enid Mysteries, the first series in The Otherworlds Chronicles$2.99 on Kindle.

fear-is-in-the-air

Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann.  Kinky, charming, flight attendant and serial killer falls in love with an astrophysicist and they discover they both carry alien DNA.  Takes you on a wickedly funny ride around the world.  The book is colourfully illustrated with paintings by the author.  $1.99 on Kindle.

MatterOfTemperance

A Matter of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance.  “Hello, is anyone there?  This is Ichabod Temperance, transmitting from the year 1875.  Do you read me?  Oh my Goodness!  We’ve got trouble, y’all!  Ever since that strange comet passed our world, not only have there been more than just an overwhelming amount of steam and spring inventions popping up all over Earth, but there also have been uncanny monster sightings as well.  Well, almost sightings, as these inter-dimensional, over-legged, eyeball-clustered beasties are nearly invisible to the human eye.  That is where my own enhanced inventiveness has gotten me into misadventure as I alone have created a device that allows me to see the hippo-sized craw-daddies.  Maybe Fate had a hand in my goggle development, for it led to my meeting the most beautiful girl in the world.  Now it’s up to me and Miss Plumtartt to save our planet from being gobbled up gone!”  The first in an ongoing series of delightfully quirky adventures, A Matter of Temperance is sure to appeal to those who like their fiction as far from center as it gets.  99¢ on Kindle.

EscapeOspreyCove

Escape to Osprey Cove by Luisa Marietta Gold.  What Doug finds in the secret compartment of his new red Corvette will forever change his life.  It will also change Catherine’s. Doug and Catherine come from two different worlds.  Catherine’s world is one of privilege and wealth.  Doug grew up dirt poor and full of envy of others who had the things that he wanted but could not have.  His goal was to one day have all the things he coveted.  Their worlds collide when Catherine, VP of a large New York City marketing firm, hires Doug.  As soon as Doug learns of Catherine’s wealth, he sees Catherine as his ticket to all the things he covets.  After a whirlwind courtship, they are married.  Poor boy meets rich girl should have resulted in “happily ever after,” but not exactly.  Doug quickly learns he also covets independence.  Events begin to unfold in each of their lives.  For Doug, it is his mysterious discovery in the secret compartment of the Corvette.  For Catherine, it is a business meeting with Alex Droxell at the Osprey Cove Lodge.  When Catherine enters the beautiful and serene lodge, it’s as though she is entering another place and time.  The lodge is an escape from the nightmare she is living back home.  Follow the twists and turns of Book 1 of the Osprey Cove Lodge Series.  Follow Doug and Catherine’s story to see if there is a “happily ever after” and with whom.  Free on Kindle [reg. $2.99].

ScionsOfAzazyel

War in Heaven by R.K. Wheeler.  The oldest of the archangels was Satanel who became Satan after he was cast out of heaven.  Satan was followed by his twin brother, Sandalphon who was known among men as Odin.  Another set of twins, Raziel who was known as Zeus and Jophiel who was named by mortals Poseidon, followed.  Odin, Zeus and Poseidon came to earth to battle Satan, where they were worshiped as gods of the old world.  Next were born Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, “The Faithful.”  Finally, Zadkiel, Camael, Sachiel and Azazyel, “The Unvaliant” were born.  These last four archangels remained neutral in the War in Heaven.  As they refused to take up arms to fight Satan and his followers, they and their legions were later cast out, but not into Hell.  The Scions of Azazyel saga begins with War in Heaven.  $2.99 on Kindle.

PostApocalypticSociety

The Post-Apocalyptic Society by Stephanie Kato.  The Nelson family and their allies are still marching forward in a dystopian environment.  Danger is just a normal part of their world.  Along the way, the Nelsons will encounter a mad scientist and his bizarre creations, ruthless desert bandits, and genetically engineered humans who might put the entire Steampunk culture in grave peril.  Fortunately, the Nelsons still maintain hope and perseverance.  How long can they survive in a nation that’s falling apart? $3.99 on Kindle.

ConnorsGambit

Connor’s Gambit by Z. Gottlieb.  Brad Johnson, a lone witness to a UFO sighting becomes an alien target and quickly finds himself on an off-world adventure, relying on his skills to survive an intergalactic war.  As Brad struggles to understand the conflict between the aliens, as well as his place in the universe, he learns one group threatens Earth’s security and the other wants something entirely different.  All Brad wants is to return home to his family, but not until he embarks on the greatest adventure of his life.  99¢ on Kindle.

And that’s the roundup for this week.  Join me Sunday for a look at a couple of live-action shows, and how I think they’ve impacted my writing.  Read well, and write better!

The Language of Deceit

…a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”

~ WINSTON CHURCHILL

Ever notice something funny?  How many people have you ever asked a question, only to have them ask another question in response?  Usually, they repeat yours back at you.

“Where were you at ten o’ clock last night?”
“Where was I at ten o’ clock?”

“What are you doing in here?”
“What am I doing in here?”

Welcome to a more detailed look at using deceptive dialogue to give clues about a character.  I find it hard to believe that anyone who isn’t in managed care can hear a question like this and not understand what it means.  That leaves us to draw the conclusion that they have no good answer, and are stalling for time until they think of one.

I suspect that most writers wouldn’t write a piece of dialogue like the examples above, because they think that readers will see it as laziness in the author.  Certainly, they can if you overdo it, but all things in moderation, as I’ve read somewhere.

Consider the examples above:  The first is being asked by a detective of the character who he thinks might be the criminal.  The criminal doesn’t want to say, “I was murdering John Smith.”  Maybe he didn’t, but he also doesn’t want to say, “I was holding up the corner liquor store.”  Or maybe he was in bed with his partner’s wife.  He won’t want to say that, either, so he’s going to play for time while his mind frantically races to cook up a story that he can support later.

And who are the players in the second example?  Has a brother invaded his sister’s bedroom, perhaps looking for her diary?  Is he older and used to bullying her?  Maybe he’s younger, and she dominates him pretty badly.  Are they middle school-age?  High school?  College?  Maybe they’re adults, and live in separate houses, and she finds him in her personal space.  Why is he there?

Or maybe they’re both someplace they aren’t supposed to be, perhaps their parents’ bedroom.  Or maybe a detective has caught a uniformed officer poking around in the evidence room.  It could be a military situation, or two crooks before or after a job.  Where is this conversation going?  The possibilities are endless.

The point is that answering a question with a question is far from bad writing if you use it correctly and sparingly.  You can readily see how, using the above examples in a wide range of situations, you can speak volumes about a character just by having him repeat a question that he’s been asked.  The reader will immediately flag that character as someone suspicious, and watch him like a hawk from that point on.  You can lead said reader wherever you want from there, and he will eagerly follow, looking for the next breadcrumb.  That, my friends, is immersion at its finest, and you all know that immersion on the part of your reader is the holy grail of writing.

This will be a short post this week, and not because I can’t think of anything else to say.  There are some chestnuts that I want to drop clean for you to pick up and examine without a lot of background noise and clutter, and this is one of them.  Take this concept, think about it, modify it for your own use, and look for places to slip one in.  The effect on your readers will show up in your comments and reviews, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be amazed at the results.

View from the Blimp

Since we last met, I have become a freelance cartographer of sorts.  I shared the new map for the Port Reprieve anthology last week, and I am now working on a polished map of Railroad City for William Jackson’s series of the same name.  The map will be as detailed as a map can be for a Kindle display, and it is both time-consuming and pain-inducing, bringing on muscle fatigue and occasional cramps from fingertips to elbows.  In addition, time I spend on this map is time I would be spending on The Darklighters, although  I am plotting, planning, and making the occasional note as I work.  William is a very good friend, and I never want to say no to friends, but I’m going to have to limit this to one or two a year if these last two are any indication.

Speaking of The Darklighters, I still have slots for beta-readers.  I’m going to try to create something if not unique, at least unusual in the world of steampunk.  Read the completed story above, and if it holds your interest, join the team.  Free books and shout-outs are on the table.

In Other News…

If you happen to be in the New Orleans area this Friday, May 25th, you might want to include a visit to Boutique du Vampyre at 709 1/2 St. Ann Street to meet multi-faceted author David Lee Summers, and pick up your signed copy of one of his four vampire, New Orleans, or just generally creepy books, “creepy” referring specifically to The Astronomer’s Crypt, which I reviewed here.  Make it a visit to remember!

*          *          *

Readers of recent posts will know that good friend and talented author Karen Carlisle has a book release party coming up next week.  I’ll be covering that in detail on Saturday’s blog, but while you’re waiting, catch her interview by Amanda Howard, true crime and crime fiction author.

And that’s 30 for this issue.  I’ll be back Saturday with another edition of Blimprider Times; who’ll be in the spotlight this week?  Until we meet again, sing your song so the back row can hear you!

Blimprider Times, No. 11

Featured Site of the Week

Good morning, all, and welcome back to the exciting world of whatever this is . . .  This week, I’m going to introduce you all to Richie Billing, a fairly new friend I met in a Facebook group, The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writing CollectiveHe is the administrator of said group, a collection of like-minded writers of various levels of experience who get together daily to discuss our Craft.  As anyone who has spent time in an internet group knows, its success or failure rides on the attitude of the admin, and Richie is proving to be a most admirable example of that particular life form.  We hit it off immediately, and I have joined his website, Richie Billing.  His approach to his web page is very much like my own:  He talks about his writing projects and offers insights into the various lessons he has learned in pursuit of the Craft.

I don’t have much personal information on Richie.  He’s from Liverpool, though whether he’s still there is an unknown.  He comes across as being about half my age, and my current understanding is that he has several short stories out there in anthologies while he edits his 47-chapter novel.  He has some very good ideas about the Craft, and is friendly and open with his opinions about the same.  My recommendation, if you have an interest in writing or writers, is to read his work at the group or his page, then drop him a line and get acquainted.  This young man is fun to talk with, and a worthwhile contact.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to meet him.

View From the Blimp

Regular readers will be aware that I completed A Visit of State, the first novella of the first collection of Darklighter stories, and that it is available to read for free by clicking the corresponding tab below the blog’s title above.  Think of it as lightly steampunked alternative history concerning a Victorian-era organization similar in concept to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  If that sounds in any way interesting to you, read the story above, and when you come back, I have an offer for you.

All right, finished?  Good.  Here’s the offer:  Over the course of the next eight to twelve months, I plan to be writing four more similar stories connected by a story arc which will become a book titled The Darklighters: Hong Kong.  Those four stories will only be released to the public when they are published for sale on Amazon.  But I’m offering a select few people the chance to read them free as they are being written.

Writers need extra eyes on their stories as they are under construction.  You may be shocked to hear this, but writers aren’t always infallible.  We make typos, use erroneous grammar, even leave gaping plot holes in our haste to complete that all-important first draft, and one of the most important tools we have to combat those shortcomings is a pool of beta-readers.  I would like to have about a half-dozen knowledgeable readers for this task, and here’s what I’m offering to anyone who would like to join my team:

  • Obviously, you’ll be the first people to read these stories, as I’ll be sending them to you for comments and suggestions before publication.
  • You’ll be mentioned by name with your web addresses, for those who have blogs or other sorts of pages, on the book’s acknowledgement page.
  • When the book is published, you’ll receive a signed copy for your library.

I’d love to pay $100 per chapter, but I don’t have that kind of cash to throw around.  I’m hoping that this offer can attract a half-dozen readers with some experience in the action, spy, or steampunk genres.  Interested parties may use the contact form or my Facebook page to set it up.

In other news, I recently blogged about the upcoming Port Reprieve anthology, and posted the beautiful map that we can’t use because I don’t know who owns it, nor how to apply for permission.  Factually, we couldn’t use it anyway, because any map we attach to our book has to be in black-and-white, so I put this together:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Primitive though it is, it shows all the pertinent locations around the port that might appear in the stories.  We’re hoping to produce stories with a wide assortment of styles, tones, and moods, so keep an eye on the Blimp; I’ll be announcing its release here.

Yesterday, the 17th, this site sailed past the 1,000 visitor mark.  That’s over the first three months, which puts it on track for 4,000 in the first year.  Not much in the grand scheme of things, but that’s a better pace than any site I’ve had yet.  Now all that remains to be seen is where the balance lies; will more people find it and speed the pace, or will the people who found it and didn’t find it interesting enough to come back predominate?  Guess which outcome I’m hoping for . . .

Finally, in the Ain’t it a Small World department, I went to the clinic yesterday to leave a blood sample; can’t be too careful when you have pre-diabetes.  Well, I wore my patrol cap with goggles, as I always do when I go out in public, and one of the technicians asked if I was a steampunk.  She was an older lady, so I was a little surprised, but always happy to answer.  “Yes,” I said, “I’m actually a steampunk author.”  She replied that she is the mother of one of the members of Steam Powered Giraffe, so no surprise she knew about the punk; she has better cred than I do!  I was suddenly answering questions about being an author, and I won’t pretend that it was in any way annoying, but between the conversations and having a needle stuck into my elbow joint, I’ve lost the name of which member it was, but I gave her one of my classy cards, and hopefully, she or her son will stop by soon and get me sorted on that.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

In Other News…

Regular followers will know that one of my favorite authors, Karen Carlisle, is about to launch a new book series, Aunt Enid, Protector Extraordinaire.

AuntEnidPromo

I’ve posted about the subject matter a couple of times, but what I want to tip you off to here is that Karen is having a Facebook launch party on the 29th of this month.  She’s in Australia, so she’ll be coming to US and European audiences from the future.  I’ll leave you each to work out your local parameters, but this will be the 28th in the US.  She’ll be on Facebook all day, chatting, answering questions, and making new friends, so drop in at your convenience and get to know a great person who really knows how to write.  There are some other associated events listed on the announcement, so you don’t have to wait for the main event.  Click the link and go visiting!

And that’s thirty for today.  Join me again Tuesday when I’ll be looking at the words we use to deceive one another.  I promise I won’t use them on you though, so be sure to drop in and add some new tools to your writer’s bag of tricks.  Now, get out there and live life like you mean it!