Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FINN: Crazy Like An Elf

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN LUNA

 

I grew up in a family of writers.
As a college professor, my father wrote his own textbooks. He even wrote murder mysteries, one of which that I just polished up and published. Twenty years ago, my sister got an English degree because she wanted to work in publishing. My mother went through the newspaper with a red pen.
Now? My wife writes faster than I do.
Back in the dark ages, when I wrote my novel A Pius Man (I was still in college), my father added a line. Just one line. It was a reference to our hero having faced off against “Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Assassin.”
Then this became a thing.
I went back to a previous novel, It Was Only on Stun! and introduced Galadren

“He was only known by one title: Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin.

Don’t you look at me like that: Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin happened to be about 5’9”, with blond hair, blue eyes, and enough sleek muscle to make jaguars back away slowly.  His daily routine consisted of eating his own homemade Mueslix, with enough healthy food to make most health food freaks run the other way.  He did everything short of picking his own fruits and harvesting oats personally—though he thought the Quaker Oats man was one of the oddest looking elves he’d ever seen, and he wouldn’t even discuss the Keeblers (he had long ago concluded they were Wood sprites, and someone was just too lazy to make a distinction).”
He was nuttier than squirrel mix, but boy, was he useful.
Along comes Luna, an anthology about madness.
Mysteriously enough, I also happened to be the editor. I could very easily make this work.
But this is about the moon, isn’t it? But this is very Earth-bound. That’s why God made astronomers, of course.
Hilarity ensued. It was more my usual theme of madness and shootouts. But I knew the editor, so it was okay.
   – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 
Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: A Series Within The Series

Tuscany Bay Books’ co-Publisher Richard Paolinelli is today’s blogger as we continue our series of blog posts regarding Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Richard is the co-editor of Pluto and has stories in six books in the series so far.

 

My first two posts in this series by authors and editors of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series have dealt with how I went from just being one of the authors in it to publishing it and my experiences in editing Pluto. So today I’d like to talk about my stories in the series. I’ll touch on the six that were accepted and the two that were subbed and await the editors’ decision.

Aside from the story that appears in Pluto, there is an overall theme to them. A.M. Freeman, who looks to be on track along with Bokerah Brumley to get a story in all 11 books, also has a theme for her 11 stories.

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spaceIn the case of Pluto, my story was Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto is a planet. It is set around a vacationing family visiting Disneyland in the late 1950s. And, if you are wondering how that can fit into the definition of science fiction then all I can say is wait until you get to the end of the story. You won’t be disappointed.

As for why I included it, I felt a collection that took on the subject of death should have a light-hearted ending. Something, well if you will indulge me, goofy, shall we say?

As for the rest of my stories in the series, the theme is: The Last Humans. Be it the last human in space, on Earth or even in the entire universe itself. Each story, aside from Pluto, casts one human being in an incredible situation.

You might think that would be all doom and gloom in the finest dystopian fashion. But recall, Superversive Press was not just a publishing house. It was the flagship for a movement. Superversive storytelling does not buy into the subversive, dystopian, everything is horrible mindset that has infected SF/F these days.

So yes, my characters are in the soup and things don’t look so good for them when we encounter them. But at the end of the day, there is still hope. For them and for us.

So let’s look at my last humans and see if I can pique your interest in them a little.

For Luna, I wrote Polar Shift. We are immersed into the story of one Samuel Peck from Peck’s point of view. And Sam is having a very bad day shortly after we meet him. Of course, everyone else on Earth is having an even worse day and Sam comes to the realization that he may just be the last surviving human in the universe.

As a rule, I tend to insert myself into the main character and ride along the adventure I have set out for them. Which is why, more often than not, the finished story seldom ends up the was the story was originally laid out.

In Polar Shift, I really put Sam through hell and, as one of Luna’s themes was madness, I went down the rabbit hole of insanity with Sam on this story. But it is safe to say we both emerged out the other side filled with a renewed sense of hope.

Next comes Uranus and The Last Human. This was a story I originally wrote as a screenplay for film school (yes, I dabbled in screenwriting for awhile and took a couple of actual film classes) a very long time ago.

You might read this story and think “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and perhaps it has some elements of it in there. But there aren’t any actual alien pods replacing humans to be found in my story. Rather, this story introduces us to a young scientist who returns from a vacation to find the world has changed. What remains to be seen is was the change for the better or for the worse? And she holds the power to undo it all. For Anne Fontana, the questions she must examine are: What does it mean to be human? And, which version of humanity is the right one?

This story was the first time I wrote a female main character. I’d never done it before. Oh, I’ve created several female characters with major roles in my stories right and left. But never as the focus of the story. It was something of a challenge, as I mentioned above, I tend to insert myself into the main character a lot, and I’m a guy, sooo….

At any rate, I think the story worked out nicely and I think you’ll agree too.

In July, Earth will be re-released and my story is Extinction Point. In this, a

descendant of Neil Armstrong is about to  become the first human to leave our solar system. On the way out, he will become the first human to step foot on the surface of Pluto.

This story was originally intended for Pluto had I not become Pluto’s editor and wanted to run the story above in it.

It is on Pluto that our star voyager runs into a slight detour that becomes a First Contact, a visit to an inhabited world not called Earth, a discovery of the reason why we’ve never been visited by another intelligent species, and a race against the clock to save Earth from a fate shared by countless other worlds.

In September, we will re-release Jupiter which holds my story, Icarus Falls. In this

we have another astronaut, on his final mission in space before a well-deserved retirement, finding himself on the wrong side of a disaster.

This one, from a cascading collision of debris from the destruction of an orbital space station has formed an impenetrable ring around the planet. Nothing can leave the surface and nothing can return to the surface from orbit.

It is easily the longest story in the collection but I needed every word of it to set the stage for the final act, when two people make impossible choices and both in the name of love.

In early November the last of my currently accepted stories, At Homeworld’s End,

will be published in Sol. This one is one of the shortest stories I’ve ever written. And like I did with Sam Peck in Luna, I went down the rabbit hole with the main character in this story. But unlike Sam, I didn’t go all the way here.

This is a story told from a first-person POV. And as you read it you begin to wonder why I have not named the person, nor given you any kind of description – not even if they are male of female – this was done on purpose.

Because I want each individual reader to put themselves into this character, as I did when writing this story. And possibly to fully understand why “the observer” made the decision, millions of years into our future, to stand on the surface of the Earth as it meets its ultimate fate to be consumed by our dying Sun. And to do so for no other reason, ultimately, because it was only right that one of Earth’s far-flung children had returned so that it would not die alone in the night.

So those are the six stories that are/will be in this 11-book series. I have two subs, one each for Neptune and Saturn, that are awaiting their fate with each editor. They are NOT automatically going to get in. They will have to earn their way in like all of the others that the editors will choose. I hope they do but will understand if they do not.

In their own way they each hold to the last human theme. The 13th Medallion, subbed for Neptune and a pre-Christmas Day release, sees an interesting take on the old adage: Be careful what you wish for. Phantom’s Lodge, sent in to Saturn and a Feb. 2, 2020 release, is set on Earth and has, shall we say, a more supernatural slant.

If either or both are eventually accepted, I’ll be back to discuss them in a little more detail. But even if the final count is only six, I am very glad I was able to add to this incredible series. I hope you enjoy reading all 180 stories as much as I have so far.

   – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

Find out more about Richard, his books and his free-to-read 1K Weekly Serial Series at this website: www.scifiscribe.com

 

PAS_TWITTER_PROMO

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FINN: Editing Luna

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT EDITING LUNA

 

I generally hate short stories. I hate anthologies.

They’re always a grab bag of “who?” and “what?” and “How did you get published, ya hack?” There are always exceptions. There are some anthologies I’ve purchased just for the joy of reading something from Jim Butcher. Maybe a JD Robb scifi murder mystery. Thankfully, both of them collect their short stories, so I no longer feel the need to buy an anthology for one lousy person.

Why edit any anthology, then?
Because if the short stories can get past me, then they’re GOOD.
When I started, I began with taking a note from something Larry Correia noted at DragonCon: start by inviting authors you want to play in the anthology. Now, apparently, I couldn’t restrict myself to just this list, because when I started editing the anthology, the now-deceased publisher has a stable of authors, and like any other livestock, it had to be used regularly. So I had to at least look at them closely for the sake of good form, even if I had known nothing about them. They got first dibs.

I was assigned as co-editor L Jagi Lamplighter, a 20-year editing veteran of the publishing industry. I don’t know if it was because of my relative inexperience or because I don’t play well with others, but I wasn’t going to complain, especially not with someone who has that much experience. And we’re friends, so hey, I get to actually be sociable with someone I like and get paid for it.

Yes, I get paid to do this.

What? Did you think I would do this for free?

Or worse, for “exposure”?

No thanks. In God we trust, all others pay cash.

So, as I said when I started out this post, and got lost in the weeds, I was going to generate a list of people to invite. And I’m not exactly shy. I invited anyone who I thought was talented, whether or not I had a hope in Hell of actually getting them on board. I reached out to Larry Correia and John Ringo, Steven R Green, even Jim Butcher. I’m not sure those emails got through, since three out of the four of them have been polite enough to tell me “No” in the past.

And then there are the heavy hitters.

Because if I say “short stories” in SFF, three people should come to mind immediately: Lou Antonelli, Brad Torgersen, and Jody Lynn Nye. If you read this list and say “Who?” I’m going to have to ask you to please go to Amazon.com and look them up, then get back to me. Thank you.

Lou, of course, is the author of Another Girl, Another Planet, nominated for the Dragon_Award-221x3002017 Dragon Award for best alternate history novel. Brad ran Sad Puppies 3 and wrote The Chaplain’s War. And Jody, among other things, has been running Robert Aspirin’s “Myth” series.

All of them have generated more short stories than I can even keep track of. As I write this, the last count I saw from Lou was over a hundred.

As I had Jagi editing the book with me, I had her and John C Wright throw in stories for fun.

I went down 2017’s Dragon Award finalists, and started throwing out invites: Richard Paolinelli (his Escaping Infinity was excellent). Mark Wandrey of the Four Horsemen series.

And since it’s The Moon, I looked up William Lehman, who I knew from doing a short story about a werewolf. If he couldn’t make a story around the moon, I would have dropped dead from shock (I had mild shocking sensations when it was completely different).

While I was at it, I also had some people in my Rolodex to summon: Ann Margaret Lewis, who had just finished one of her SF novels. Lori Janeski, who was working on a novel set around the moon. Karina Fabian, who has some awesome rescue nuns.

And I got some fun ones. As I said, I generally don’t do short stories. I’m very hard to please.

There’s one problem. We got a LOT of submissions. A lot. Don’t believe me? Order a hard copy of Luna. I dare you.

I presume that people just found the ideas and themes of the anthologies more interesting than some of the earlier ones. I can’t imagine anyone went out of their way to have me as their editor. I’m sure I cured them of that idea. (more on that in a moment.)

We had so many submissions, it was suggested at the previous publisher that we make two anthologies! One is the dark side of the moon for the darker stories!

When we came to Tuscany Bay, it was decided, nah, we’ll do one anthology. I made the mistake of not culling the short stories again. Hence the two-pound anthology that you can break your foot with if you’re not careful ***.

Oops.

   – DECLAN FINN

 

(***-Publisher’s Note: Yeah, we didn’t chew that decision all the way down to the bone, did we?)
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 
Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Pluto

Tuscany Bay Books’ co-Publisher Richard Paolinelli is today’s blogger as we continue our series of blog posts regarding Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Richard is the co-editor of Pluto and has stories in six books in the series so far.

 

A couple of days ago I talked about how I went from subbing stories to the Planetary Anthology Series, to editing Pluto in the series and finally to publishing the entire series. To say the three years since I first heard about the series have been eventful would be an understatement.

But today I want to focus on editing Pluto. Having never edited an anthology before I was both excited by, and terrified of, the challenge. You’d think having edited an entire section of a daily newspaper would mean that taking on a long-term project like this would be a breeze. And you would be wrong.

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spaceIt’s an entirely different critter to tackle. So the first thing I did was call in reinforcements and asked Dawn Witzke if she would be a co-editor. Dawn had gone through the process as Earth’s editor and her experience was invaluable throughout the process. It’s why her name is listed first on the cover.

Then came sorting through the subs. We received nearly 50 stories and read each one of them from the first word to the last. Aside from one or two exceptions, they would have all made a great collection and were worthy of inclusion. Unfortunately, we had a word count limit – which I violated by 10% – and could only accept 21 stories.

As a writer, I know rejection letters and e-mails come with the territory. It doesn’t make them any easier to accept, but if you do this for a living, this is the reality you have to deal with. As someone who hates getting them, imaging how much more I hated having to write nearly 30 of them, especially when most were for stories that were very good, but just didn’t quite fit the bill for Pluto?

Ugh. Writing those rejection letters was easily the one thing I hated about this process.

Actually editing the stories was just like my old days on the copy desks at the newspapers I worked at over the years. The writers we worked with were professional and that part went off without a hitch.

Then came deciding the order the stories would appear in. The choice for the first story was an easy one for both of us as B. Michael Stevens’, Like So Many Paper Lanterns, was an amazing story that set the tone for the entire collection.

But setting the order for #2 thru #21? Wow, that took some time. In truth, we could have arranged them in any order and it would have worked. They were all that good. And I can’t say I have any favorites over the others because if they already weren’t a favorite, they wouldn’t have made the cut in the first place. We have stories by established authors and by first-timers and all of them fit the requirement of a story of great wealth, or of death or set on the planet itself.

But there is one line from the book that will always be a favorite opening line for a story for me. It comes from Bokerah Brumley’s, Pluto Chronicles.

“The chicken had to die.”

That line all by itself ensured that her story was going to make it into Pluto. Trust me, the rest of the story lives up to that opening line.

Yes, Pluto has chickens in space and Vikings in space. It has military sci-fi stories among fantasy tales. It has heartbreaking stories and some that are guaranteed to make you smile when you finish reading them. There’s even a Rainbow-Colored Rock Hopper.

And, oh by the way, Walt Disney himself even pops in to say hello.

And after you finish reading the collection which concludes with my story – Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet – and you find yourself wondering what inspired that bit of madness… well, here’s a hint:

1193_pluto_natural_color_20150714_detail

pluto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I swear, the man knew exactly what we were going to find when we finally got out there. Exactly how Walt knew would probably make for a very interesting episode of Ancient Aliens.

Unless of course, my little story isn’t actually a work of fiction after all…

 – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

Find out more about Richard, his books and his free-to-read 1K Weekly Serial Series at this website: www.scifiscribe.com

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FINN: Love Boat To Venus

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN VENUS

 

I am a romantic. I think Don Quixote didn’t quite go all the way.

However, having grown up on films like Commando and Die Hard, I think he should be carrying some C4 to take on the windmills.
Fast forward to my short story for the Venus anthology — Love Boat to Venus. This was one of three short stories that I submitted for the anthology. This one was chosen for one odd reason. It actually featured THE PLANET VENUS. Apparently, I was one of the few submissions who wanted to play on the planet. Granted, having seen the research on the planet … well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to go there either.
But I figure, humans in the future will be just as tacky as humans now. Who could resist a romantic cruise to Venus? The answer is anyone who knows just how HOT the bloody planet gets.
But aww, isn’t it romantic?
So I have the obligatory old couple / new couple scene. Let’s face it, it’s a trope that goes back farther than I can recall, and I don’t mean Nicholas Sparks books (that was the point of The Notebook, wasn’t it?). But since these are my characters, the older married couple is at a point in their relationship that they can relax, be calm, and just enjoy each other.
And then someone tries to hijack the cruise ship … because in my stories, if there isn’t some sort of confrontation, I’m not doing my job. Remember: romantic, but with C4.
Like with some of my other stories for the anthologies, I used older, familiar characters…. from work I hadn’t published yet. Why? Because I’ve been writing for over 20 years, and only publishing for 7. I have a bit of a head start on my readers. And the background on these characters is a bit more colorful than the average cruise ship passengers.
Because if there’s one trope that doesn’t get old, it’s “Criminals try to victimize an easy target, and discover that OY, did they pick the wrong people.”
  – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 
Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: An Unexpected Adventure

Tuscany Bay Books’ co-Publisher Richard Paolinelli is today’s blogger as we continue our series of blog posts regarding Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Richard is the co-editor of Pluto and has stories in six books in the series so far.

 

The last few days we’ve had a few of the authors and editors here on the blog to talk about their experiences with Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Several other authors and editors will follow in the coming days.

I figured it was time I should join in on this as I edited Pluto and, as of this writing, have stories in six of the 11 books in the series. In addition to my story in Pluto I have a story in Luna, Uranus, Earth, Jupiter and Sol. I have subbed to both Neptune and Saturn, the final two books in the series, but it will be awhile before I find out if they will be included. Yes, just because I’m publishing the series now it doesn’t mean I’m automatically in. That call remains solely within the capable hands of our two editors and they have the final say on what stories get in and what stories don’t. In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about my stories in the series.

But for today I want to focus on the road taken to get to this point. How I went from writing a story to sub to the series, to editing Pluto and finally to publishing all 11 books. It was quite the journey, so grab your refreshment of choice and settle in.

SuperversiveIt all started nearly three years ago when Superversive Press announced their plans for an 11-book anthology series of science fiction and fantasy, along with all of the sub-genres contained within, stories. They would be based on the nine planets – yes, Pluto is a planet so lets get that settled here and now – plus our own Moon and the Sun itself. They would also incorporate the mythology and the gods associated with the planets as well.

I loved the concept from the first second after it was announced. After scanning the requirements, I targeted eight of the 11 books – Mercury, Venus and Mars didn’t make the cut for me – to write stories for. And I had something else in mind for one of those eight books.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Pluto is my favorite planet. So it was only red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spacenatural that when Superversive was still looking for an editor for Pluto in the series, I decided to step up and take the job. But, because I’d never edited an anthology before, I asked Dawn Witzke to be a co-editor. She’d done a fantastic job editing the Earth volume of the series and Pluto would not be as good a collection as it is without her. My story, Extinction Point, appears in Earth and was originally intended for Pluto until I became its co-editor. So, off to Earth it went. Which was fine because I had a second story in mind for Pluto: Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet. Have you guessed what my opinion of the conference that demoted Pluto is yet?

For  the next two years I focused my attention on culling through the subs for Pluto, editing the ones Dawn and I agreed were best, all 21 of them, and awaited Pluto’s turn in the rotation to be published by Superversive.

Then disaster struck. After publishing only five books, Superversive Press shut down. For the six editors left hanging it was, to say the least, a huge disappointment as it was for the authors who had been accepted into many of them. But there was a ray of sunshine to be found among the dark clouds. Jason Rennie, the publisher at Superversive Press, announced he would be willing to turn over all rights to the series to another publisher should one be found with an interest in doing so.

As you know, I just happen to have a small publishing house, well at least one-half cropped-tbb_website-1.jpgof one, in my back pocket. And we’ve already established my interest in this entire series. So I put in a call with the other half of Tuscany Bay Books, Jim Christina, and we decided to pick up the series.

We also decided to re-release the original five – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter – under our own imprint. This meant waiting for Superversive’s first editions to come off of Amazon after a three-month wait.  Instead of sitting and waiting, we decided to release the three new books that were ready to go.

Pluto was first, followed by Luna and Uranus. Then we reached the point where we could start re-releasing the originals and Mercury came out earlier this month. Venus will be released in late May and every six weeks after that a new release will become available until all 11 books are out.

When we took over the series we wanted to keep the interiors the same as they were in the original five regarding the editors and the stories within. It didn’t work out that way, but we managed to keep nearly all of them intact. We lost one story in Venus by the author’s request as she was using it elsewhere. We lost one of the editors, Mars, who choose not to continue on in the role under TBB’s banner. But aside from those two losses, these original five appear exactly as they did before. And, as a bonus, we picked up two brand new stories for Mars along with our new editor.

PAS_TWITTER_PROMOThe big difference is the exterior covers. Superversive went with the “Golden Astronaut” theme in an anime style. But we decided to go a different direction, wanting to feature the astronomical body and the associated god each individual book was based upon. Looking at all 11 together, I’m very pleased with the way it all turned out. And I’m very much looking forward to the coming February, when all 11 books will be out and I have each one of them sitting  on my bookshelf in my office.

It has been an incredible journey with this series, an epic in its way, these three years. When it began I never for a second imagined it would turn out the way it has. I’d like to thank Jason for creating this series and, when circumstances forced him to shutter Superversive, that he was willing to allow another publisher to pick up this series’ banner and carry it on to completion.

But without the efforts of the 12 editors (Venus also had co-editors), the nearly 90 authors who submitted nearly 180 stories that make up this series, we wouldn’t be here talking about it today. Thank all of you for writing these great stories, for editing these great stories and – in the case of the original five books – keeping them in the second editions that TBB is publishing. We could not have done this without you.

And, finally, thank you readers, who have and continue to make this series successful. We hope you enjoy the books to come as much as you have those that have been released.

  – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

Find out more about Richard, his books and his free-to-read 1K Weekly Serial Series at this website: www.scifiscribe.com

 

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FINN: Deceptive Appearances

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN MERCURY
My first creation was Sean Patrick Ryan. I was writing a space opera and wanted someone who could have a reasonable chance against a Wookie if it came down to it. It’s why he ended up being two meters tall and one wide. Then, for reasons I can’t recall, I made him a telepath. It was probably useful at the time.
Anyway.
The space opera I wrote was four books long, at 400 pages each, and I wrapped up writing them within 15 months…. Keep in mind, I didn’t know that publishers also used double-spaced type, so I really wrote 800 page novels.
So that was fun.
When it came down to writing a short story for Mercury, in an anthology that involved themes of tricky, I had one character to call on. My first. Because Sean Ryan wasn’t dangerous because he was big and knew how to fight. He was dangerous because the only fair fight was one he finished. He’d smile in your face and talk you to death, because he already wired the floor with explosive charges and he’s trying to remember when button triggers the explosive you’re standing on.
Sean Ryan is very much a combination of growing up with a cinema library of Commando, Die Hard, Sleuth, Deathtrap and The Sting. We end up with a product that’s one part shoot ’em up, one part con.
And I’d already written a short story that was “Sean Ryan is being a sneaky sumbitch.” I didn’t have any particular place to put this one. So I made a minor rewrite and placed it on Mercury. It was called Deceptive Appearances.
Remember writers: it’s not cheating to recycle.
While editing Deceptive Appearances, I dug through some research on Mercury and decided, yeah, it’s going to need some habitat domes. And we’re going to be in a poorer, more rundown dome, so it’s going to be hot. Overly hot. The sort of dry heat that starts bar fights over nothing, and a wife feels the edge of a kitchen knife while eyeing her husband’s throat….
And for the record, I may have just quoted Raymond Chandler, both here and in the short story.
Another writing tip: Good writers borrow, great writers steal. But always call it “research.”
And I was fairly surprised. Our editor David Hallquist …. did nothing to it. Nothing memorable, anyway. That’s probably what happens when you polish the same bloody twenty pages for two decades.
Final tip: edit … but not too much. Otherwise you’re going to hold on to the same book you first wrote when you were 16, and don’t release it until you’ve edited it to death by 38.
 – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 
Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

OLSEN: Adaptive Reasoning

JOHN M. OLSEN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. JOHN HAS A STORY IN PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: PLUTO. TODAY HE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN THIS SERIES. 

 

Pluto, the Roman god of death and wealth, drove the theme for the Pluto Planetary Anthology. It gave me a great opportunity to merge interesting themes into a new red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spacestory. My story, Adaptive Reasoning, let me explore how to anticipate and welcome death without fear, as well as how to come to terms with not being fully human or alien. I also integrated ideas on how thought patterns can block understanding. Just as an up-front point, I’m not going to spoil anything in the story here, so don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet.

About half my stories seem to be written for a specific market or anthology. Some have been steampunk themes, others science fiction in a shared universe, and one anthology wanted stories with chickens. For me, having some constraining rules for a story helps me to put together an idea and outline faster. I read about a study once where people who were given barely enough tools to complete a job succeeded faster than people who had extra tools because the second group spent time trying to figure out how to use all the tools. Telling me to write 5,000-10,000 words within the limits of a particular Planetary Anthology is easier for me than starting from scratch with no idea at all where the story will go.

Adaptive Reasoning is science fiction, which ties into my engineering background. I’ve been a software engineer since shortly after dirt was invented, so technical details are my forte. One of the interesting things with my story is that it is set chronologically before the name Pluto was assigned. This is the sort of thing you discover when you do technical research for a story. I had to work out what to do about that to properly restrict usage of the planet’s name until it was named.

1193_pluto_natural_color_20150714_detailYes, I still think of Pluto as a planet, as is proper. There’s a nice thing about standards and naming conventions. There are often enough to choose from that you can pick your favorite standard. Science is never settled because of how science works, and that’s where it’s fun to play with ideas by mixing what could be real with a touch of pure imagination like aliens or faster than light travel.

I enjoy working with hard science in stories. There are a lot of cases where a story has to bend the rules of reality, whether for plot points, or to make certain impossible things possible. For instance, I make use of how tech equipment decays over time in Adaptive Reasoning, yet in another story called Learning to Run with Scissors in an unrelated science fiction anthology, I’ve set up equipment that runs properly after being turned off for a million years. That survivability is pretty unlikely, but people can forgive such things in the name of a good story if you give them a reason to believe. It’s all about entertainment.

If you know much about stories, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve talked about scene, setting, science, and even theme, but I haven’t really mentioned characters. Without characters encountering and solving problems, you don’t have a real story. Rest assured that problems occur and emergencies loom in Adaptive Reasoning. I’m a fan of action-adventure pulp stories. I toned down the adventure this time and ramped up the emotional tension instead since I wanted more of a thinking story with a more sedate but satisfying ending that met the themes I’d been given. You be the judge, of course.

– JOHN M. OLSEN

 

John edits and writes speculative fiction across multiple genres, and loves stories about ordinary people stepping up to do extraordinary things. He hopes to entertain and inspire others with his award-winning stories as he passes his passion on to the next generation of avid readers.

He loves to create and fix things, whether editing or writing novels or short stories or working in his secret lair equipped with dangerous power tools. In all cases, he applies engineering principles and processes to the task at hand, often in unpredictable ways.

He lives in Utah with his lovely wife and a variable number of mostly grown children and a constantly changing subset of extended family.

Check out his ramblings on his blog at https://johnmolsen.blogspot.com/ or visit his Amazon Author page here to see his recent publications including his Riland Throne fantasy trilogy: https://amazon.com/author/johnmolsen/

 

You can get your copy of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Pluto right here: Pluto and check out the rest of the 11-book series here: Planetary Anthology Series.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

LEHMAN: Lunacy

WILLIAM LEHMAN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. WILLIAM HAS A STORY IN PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA. TODAY HE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN THIS SERIES. 

Welcome to a special edition of “the Scuttlebutt”

My normal Blog “the Scuttlebutt” is published by a different outfit, but I was kindly invited to submit a post to the folks from Tuscany Bay Books because I have a story in Luna… So, pull up a chair, the bar is behind you, grab something, and let’s talk.

An online friend of mine reached out to me about a year and a half ago, or maybe it was two and a half, I would have to look it up, and frankly, I’m too lazy to do so right now.

Declan said that he was asked to be the editor for one of the planetary anthologies, specifically the one on the moon, and would like me to submit something.  Now since the series I’ve been writing is Urban (or more accurately Rural) Fantasy, I expect that he figured I would do a John Fisher story.

Well, I hate to be predictable, and at the time I had recently seen some things about NASA’s thoughts on going back to the moon as a jumping-off point for the rest of the system… So, I decided to do a straight-up Sci-Fi story instead.

Robert-Heinlein
ROBERT HEINLEIN

One of the writers I most admire is Robert Heinlein, and one of the many reasons I admire him is his ability to let you run with your assumptions, and then challenge them.  So, I wanted to do this, in the story.  How effective I was is left to the reader to determine.

I thought when I was writing it, that I was writing a stand-alone… However, upon completion, I realized that I had instead written the background story for a space opera series I had been thinking about for most of a decade.  I’m currently working on the first one of that series, and no, I have no idea when it’s going to be done, or published… My 9-5 job has taken a massive chunk of my life lately, and with the world events, by the time I get home, I’m afraid I’m too wiped to write.

Anyway, I had never written a short story at the time I put this one out, and I warned Declan that while I would give it a shot, I wasn’t sure how it would work… I’m used to having 100,000 words to cover a story, not 2,000-10,000.  Well, I sat down to write Vulcan III while we were away to Ocean Shores for a long weekend and finished it over two days.  Everything just jelled.  Shorts are still not my first love, but they no longer hold the trepidation that I originally had for them, and I’ll probably do more if invited.  When I wrote it, I also had no idea that we would be seeing anything like the current societal isolation thing we’re currently seeing.  I don’t think this changes the story at all, but it does further underline the need for social contact discussed in the story.

Hope you enjoy it, stay safe, stay sane.

Yours in service.

– WILLIAM LEHMAN

William’s “The Scuttlebutt” blog posts can be found here: The Scuttlebutt. At 17 he joined the US Navy as a Submarine Sonar Technician, serving in that capacity on various Fast Attack and Ballistic missile subs for the next 20 years, with a couple of shore duty breaks. he retired as the Work Programs Director for the Naval Regional Brig at Bangor Submarine Base, and spent some overlapping time as a Reserve Police Officer for the City of Bremerton WA, a job he continued until the ankles gave out, and running was no longer an option. On weekends, he dresses up in 70 pounds of armor to bash people with sticks, as a member of a Medieval Recreation group. You can find more of William’s works on his Amazon Author page.

You can get your copy of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Luna right here: Luna and check out the rest of the 11-book series here: Planetary Anthology Series.

3D_COVERS copy

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FURLONG: From Luna to Uranus and Beyond

CAROLINE FURLONG TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. CAROLINE HAS STORIES THAT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA AND PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: URANUS. TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER JOURNEY TO THE SERIES AND HER STORIES THAT APPEAR IN THIS SERIES. 

 

I have been fascinated by the nine planets of Earth’s solar system since childhood. Already a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, learning more about Terra’s eight neighbors and sun was electrifying, though it did not lead to in-depth study. (And yes, as this PAS_TWITTER_PROMOstatement implies, I still count Pluto as a planet.) The moon landings received roughly the same amount of attention, flavored with a great deal of national pride.

            So the open calls for submission to the Planetary Anthologies immediately caught this author’s eye. A series where sci-fi/fantasy writers could explore the nine planets in the solar system, plus the sun and the moon?! Sign me up!

            Unfortunately, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto had already reached their acceptance quotas by the time I discovered the open calls. Of those that remained available, several had possibilities but no catalyst – no item or event that would form coherent stories. While it hurt to let the door close on these opportunities, the lack of a cohesive element left this author little choice but to allow them to pass her by.

            Among those collections that generated viable ideas, Luna presented several intriguing possibilities. Being a fan of the Greek deity Artemis, wolves, and sci-fi/fantsy, it wasn’t hard to know what kind of story I wanted to write to fulfill the requirements for that submission. Werewolves and their association with the moon have appeared in a variety of stories, however, which left this writer wondering how to make her first submission to Luna stand out from the crowd.

            It did not take long to figure out the unique spin which would make that tale noticeable, and it was a joy to write up. Unfortunately, this twist did its job a little too well. And this author knew it. Though proud of the first story I submitted to Luna, I had a feeling it was a bit too wild and obscure to be accepted. Since I really wanted to be part of this anthology, it meant this writer had to dig around for another idea, write it up, and send in a second submission as insurance.

The only problem was that my muse seemed to have run out of feasible fantasies. In an effort to get it going again, this author asked a close friend for an opinion on the themes related to the moon. This led to a repeat of the old joke that “Hitler and his top officers live on the dark side of the moon,” which served the purpose of rekindling my inspiration. Just like that, I had a story I could use.

It needed some tinkering, of course; there was no way this author was going to write a story about the real Hitler living with his top officers on the dark side of the moon. That notion would take an entire novel to explore. Instead she threw in some Kenny Rogers, a few ghost tales involving mines and miners from the Old West, not to mention a belief that there are “more things in heaven and earth” than we know (or want to know) of, and voíla, “Despot Hold ‘Em” was born.

Finding the story idea for Uranus, which I also desperately wished to be accepted into, was a little easier. The required themes were fewer, but that meant the milieu was wide open. Having read about the discovery of diamond rain in the atmosphere of the gas giants in our solar system not long beforehand, it didn’t take much time to find out more about the titular planet of the anthology. I was especially fascinated by the fact that any material, even the strongest metal, would be crushed and reduced to atoms if it sank too far into Uranus’ atmosphere.

This instantly called to mind the sad losses of several submarines which somehow exceeded their depth threshold, imploding due to the abrupt increase in pressure. There is little difference, from what scientists have observed, between that unfortunate phenomena and the fate of any satellite – or ship – which may delve too deeply into Uranus. A prospective space-faring vessel would suffer the same catastrophic demise as a submarine diving into the Terran abyss.

A number of other influences combined to make the mystery more enticing. The man-out-of-time trope has not lost its appeal, and through her voracious reading of Andre Norton’s works, this author has a vested interest in parapsychology (the study of psychic phenomena, not witchcraft). Japanese media had a strong effect on the tale as well, a fact best exemplified by the story’s leading lady. Add in a little Cold War-style intrigue and some national pride, and you have “The Long Dream.”

Though writers aren’t supposed to play favorites any more than parents, this author would be lying if she said “The Long Dream” wasn’t one of the pieces she had the most fun working on and seeing published. Had Tuscany Bay Books not picked up the Planetary series, that story – along with “Despot Hold ‘Em” – may have seen publication at a much later date and outside the desired venue. I am sincerely grateful to Richard Paolinelli and Jim Christina for taking on this monumental project and bringing it to readers the world over.

It has been an honor and a dream come true to be published in the Planetary Anthology series, and I cannot wait to see what comes next. If you haven’t picked up any of the anthologies yet, then grab one today. You won’t regret it!

– CAROLINE FURLONG

 

Stories have captivated Caroline from early childhood, but without her family’s encouragement that fascination might have foundered long ago. She considers it a minor miracle that as a child no one ever tripped over the toys she scattered while she set up queens and sent out heroes on quests. Reading meant that the toys got taken out less, and when it came to writing at thirteen or fourteen they had been surrendered to another. But she continues to dream up realms and heroes, monsters and androids almost every waking moment. They are her toys now, parading across paper rather than a carpet. The slightest suggestion – a word, a movie, a flower, or a ship – can bring a new story to mind. So, where there are dragons that talk and spaceships to fly, that’s where she will be. You can find out more about Caroline at her website: A Song Of Joy.

 

You can get your copies of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Luna and Uranus right here: Luna & Uranus and check out the rest of the 11-book series here: Planetary Anthology Series.