I’m thrilled that my short story “The Three Billion Year Love” was accepted into the Tuscany Bay Books Planetary Anthology Mars. I wrote an earlier version of the story on my blog shortly after the death of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher (the protagonist’s wife is named after her). This was at a point in my life that, for a variety of reasons, I was wanting to be able to retreat from humanity.
I wrote “Billion,” in part, as wish fulfillment, since the character Juan Villanueva, ends up living on the planet Mars totally alone (or so he thinks) three billion years in the past. Of course, like a lot of my stories, as various anthologies posted open submissions, I thought this one would be a terrific addition to someone’s collection. The publishers I presented it to, up until Tuscany Bay, disagreed.
I was a little surprised, in fact, when Richard Paolinelli emailed me, saying it had been accepted. This happened only a few days after I sent it in, and it was a real shot in the arm. I’m also excited, because of the two stories (so far) that have been accepted into the Planetary Anthology (the other tale will be published in Sol), this one will be featured in the second edition of Mars, and, to the best of my understanding, is only one of two short stories that has been added to that edition.
Ever since I first heard of Superversive Press,” I’ve wanted to have at least one of my missives published by them, so this is something of a milestone for me. I know that the planet Mars is probably one of the most popular destinations in the history of science fiction, so writing a truly unique tale about the Red Planet is difficult. I hope that my digging into the distant past of Mars, and framing it against the grief of a widowed genius and innovator captures the hearts and imaginations of the readers.
My thanks to Richard, and to the anthology editor Lucca DeJardins, for kindly accepting my short story “The Three Billion Year Love.” The book comes out August 18, 2020, and is available for pre-order at Amazon now.
– JAMES PYLES
James is a published Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Technical Writer. He currently has several short stories published in anthologies and is working on his first full-length novel. You can find out more about him on his blog: Powered By Robots.
Pre-order your copies of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Mars & Sol right here: Mars & Sol and check out the rest of the 11-book series here: Planetary Anthology Series.
David Hallquist takes over the blog today. David was the editor for Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Mercury. In addition to editing the anthology, he also wrote a story for it as well as having stories included in Venus, Mars and Sol. He will share his experience as an editor and tell us a little bit about the stories within.
Planetary Fiction Anthology was a lot of fun to work on and the whole thing started as an idea bounced around by an online community of writers, both amateur and professional. What was the next big thing to work on? I thought that a massive anthology, with one book in each dedicated to a planet in the solar system might be big enough. We’d need a separate editor for each one of course.
The idea had a lot of enthusiastic support, much of it along the lines of “You go do that, then.”
Thus, I found out I’d just volunteered myself to edit the first book in the series: Mercury.
At first I was thinking: how am I going to get stories in for Mercury? This little planet seems to get overlooked in science fiction, with Mars getting the bulk of sci-fi attention and even the asteroids or other dwarf planets and moons seeming to get more focus. More, what would I write to contribute?
One thing that helped was broadening the concept from just science fiction into fantasy as well. Had I not done that then we all would have missed out on some of the truly fantastic and strange tales in the anthology series. On top of that, each planet had a mythic significance associated to it. Thus, Mercury would also be about tricksters and messengers, Venus about love and Mars about war, etc. Then, finally there are all the strange phenomena about each planet to write about, and bizarre little Mercury is as strange a world as any with its unusual composition and odd orbit.
Still, I was worried. What would anyone have to say about little Mercury? Would that tiny cinder near the sun be forgotten and ignored after all? Then, when the tales rolled in I was overjoyed. Planetary Fiction: Mercurycontains tales of wonder strangeness of nearly every sort.
Award-winning author John C. Wright gives us an eerie time-traveling epic on Mercury with In the Palace of Promised Immortality. Ben Wheeler treats us to a wild motorcycle race across the planet in Schubert to Rachmaninoff. We get a chilling tale of underground Mercury in Joshua Young’s The Haunted Mines of Mercury. J.D. Beckwith gives us the first faster than light ship near Mercury in Quicksilver.
In Last Call Lou Antonelli gives us a view of a Mercury of the far future, near the end of its life as a mining planet, and about to be forgotten. Declan Finn treats us to the schemes of criminal elements under the domes of Mercury in Deceptive Appearances. A.M. Freeman shows us another Mercury of the far future in The Star of Mercury. In Curcurbita Mercurias has a murder mystery on the innermost planet.
Still, only some of the tales took place on the planet itself. Had we not invited tales of the fantastic, then we would not have had tales like L. Jagi Lamplighter’s The Element of Transmutation where we meet the mythical Mercury himself, or Cory McCleery’s mind-bending trip of the fantastic in Tower of the Luminous Sages. Other tales deal with the concept of travel itself, such as Bokerah Brumley’s Ancestor’s Answer where time travel is used to resolve family honor, or Misha Burnett’s mDNA where a genetic messenger travels the wasteland to save the human race.
What about my story? I set out to craft a tale that would fit the concept of messengers and travel, while set on the planet itself. Mercury is a planet with a lot of mysteries: a strange orbit, a strange composition, and odd magnetic field readings. I love mysteries. So, I put together all of the mysteries along with questions on the Fermi Paradox when crafting The Wanderer. Explorers arrive on Mercury and find a strange structure as old as the solar system deep underground that could be the key for understanding what happened back in the beginning of the solar system and answering questions of life between the stars.
I’ve sent in submissions to the other books Planetary Anthology as ideas came to me. In The Morning and Evening Star, a man gifts the planet Venus to his true love, only to have his life fall apart in a disaster that threatens their marriage. In Rusted Fortress, explorers on Mars discover that the solar system was one the site of a terrible battle at its very beginning. Finally, in the upcoming Sundown and Out (Planetary Series: Sol) , a private detective must solve his biggest case yet: who murdered the Sun?
Finally, the whole Planetary Fiction project would never have been possible without the many creative gems from the contributing authors, and the tireless patience of Jason Rennie, our “Interplanetary Editor” (at Superversive Press) keeping the whole thing on the rails. I was overjoyed when I heard that Tuscany Bay Books was going to imprint the whole series. Thanks again to Richard Paolinelli for making this treasure chest of wonders available to everyone.
– DAVID HALLQUIST
David Hallquist graduated from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in 2004, where he learned much of business but little of smithing. He has had a long history of customer service positions including banking, call center service and sales, all of which have served as a fascinating study of the human species. He lives in Rockville, Maryland, and is still waiting for the flying cars. A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy turned author with several published short stories, has turned his pen and keyboard to tales of the fantastic.
Get your copy of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Mercury right here: Mercury and check out the rest of the 11-book series here: Planetary Anthology Series.
Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology series continues with the second edition of the series – Planetary: Luna. The e-book will be released on Thursday, January 30th and you can pre-order it right now using the link below.
The book, edited by Dragon Award finalist, Declan Finn, features many of sci-fi/fantasy’s best authors: Finn, Jody Lynn Nye, Louis Antonelli, Mark Wandrey, Richard Paolinelli and the legendary John C. Wright and his wife, L. Jagi Lamplighter.
You will also be introduced to many up and coming authors that you will want to read for many years to come.
A print edition will be available for purchase, $18.95, soon.
The first book in the series, Planetary: Pluto, edited by Dawn Witzke and Richard Paolinelli, is available for purchase here in both e-book and print form.
The next release will be Planetary: Uranus, edited by Chris Wilson, and should be out sometime next month. Following this release, the re-releases of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter (previously released by Superversive Press) will soon follow. The series will conclude later this year with Sol, Neptune and Saturn.
Pluto, Tuscany Bay Books’ first release in the Planetary Anthology Series, is now live on Amazon for pre-ordering. The book will upload into your Kindle devices on Dec. 5th. It will also be available for free to all KU subscribers.
The 2019 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards have been officially posted and The Timeless, the first book of the Timeless novella series co-written by Richard Paolinelli and Gibson Buffa, was awarded Official Selection in this category:
It is the second time Tuscany Bay Books has collected an award for one of its books from New Apple. In 2017, Paolinelli’s acclaimed sci-fi novel, Escaping Infinity, was named Official Selection in this category:
It has been an incredibly busy year for both Jim and I here at Tuscany Bay Books. I moved out to Nebraska in 2018 and Jim pulled up stakes and meandered out to Idaho a few months back.
In addition to settling in, Jim has continued his show on LA Talk Radio, The Writer’s Block, and I started my own podcast, A Scribe’s Journey, which you can watch on YouTube or listen to on iHeartRadio.
We’ve also been busy on the writing front. Jim released his latest western novel, Jefferson’s Chance, and I have been writing a ton of short stories that are being published in several anthologies. I’ve also been releasing the Timeless series, with Secret of the Sphinx being the second of the six-book novella series to be out.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep two (allegedly) retired writers busy, we decided to tackle a major new undertaking – an 11-book sci-fi anthology series.
Superversive Press announced earlier this year that they were abandoning their planned 12-book Planetary Anthology Series after releasing just five of the books. So, we decided we would keep the series alive.
In addition to re-releasing the first five novels in February (an Amazon issue is keeping us from an earlier release date) we will start releasing the rest of the series, starting with Pluto on Dec. 5th. Keep an eye out for more news on that front very soon.
We’ve also revamped the website a little and I will try to be a little more regular with my blog posting here as well as over on my own site – http://www.scifiscribe.com.
We’ve also just signed a new author to the ranks, and we’ll have a post about her in the next day or so too.
In the meantime, please look around and check out our ever-growing catalog of books and novels for any reader.
Book #1 of the Timeless series, The Timeless, is now available on Kindle ($0.99), Kindle Unlimited (Free) and in print ($5.99) on Amazon. The series, created by Tuscany Bay Books author, Richard Paolinelli, and his grandson, Gibson Buffa, will be a six-book novella series.
In the far distant future, with the galaxy locked in an area of dark space where electronics will not work, Little John Singapore sits in a prison cell on Pluto awaiting execution. Singapore is the First Mate of the pirate ship, the Timeless. As he awaits his fate he agrees to tell a young author one story each day about his ship and his Captain, Rock Congo.
Singapore tells how the Governor of the Sol system Garabaldi enlisted the ship and her crew to pursue Duchess Moran. Moran is an infamous interstellar thief tired of her plans being interfered with by the Earth-led Alliance. She has stolen the Amulet of Geraint, allowing her to travel through time at will. Her target is ancient Greece, where she plans to prevent democracy from ever taking hold by stopping King Leonidas from reaching the famed Battle of Thermopylae. By changing Earth’s past she hopes to prevent the Alliance from ever forming.
The Timeless, a ship that can sail through space, air and water with equal ease, is the only ship capable of time travel, and Earth’s only hope to save its past, present and future. Despite being crewed by pirates, Garabaldi sends them through time in pursuit of Moran.
When the Timeless arrives in ancient Sparta, the find Moran has already been there and has kidnapped Leonidas and his Queen. Now they have just a matter of days to find her and the King to keep his appointment with King Xerxes of Persia and preserve Earth’s history.
The first book of the Timeless series, a middle grade/YA science fiction/steampunk hybrid, is sure to be a hit with readers of all ages. As well as fans of historical fiction as the Timeless and her crew will be very busy in Earth’s storied past in future books in the series.
Tuscany Bay Books/Black Dog Publishing was well represented on April 21-22, 2018 at the Santa Clarita (CA) Cowboy Festival. Here is a copy of Richard Paolinelli’s blog post (from his website blog at http://www.scifiscribe.com) on the two days he and Jim were there:
Sorry for the delay but this has been one of those weeks and I am now just catching up on things I should have done on Tuesday.
Last weekend I attended the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival just north of Los Angeles. It was my second straight year going as an author and setting up shop in the Buckaroo Bookshop. As with last year, sales were near non-existent for me and little better from what I could tell for the others. In fact, I bought as many books as I sold – one – and that one was a book on the civil war that caught my eye as I was talking to KNX reporter Bob Brill at his table.
But book sales really aren’t the reason for going. If you have a nice run – my partner at Tuscany Bay Books, Jim Christina, got Sunday started with a bang with three books sold to the first person that walked into the tent – that’s a bonus. The people you meet, the other authors and the vistors who stop by your table, are the real reason to go.
Last year I went for just the first day only and that Saturday someone decided to turn the broilers on over Southern California. It was hot and miserable. This year the weather cooperated over both days. It was still warm, more so on Sunday, but not nearly as bad as 2017.
As Black Dog Publishing / Tuscany Bay Books was the primary sponsor of the bookshop this year Jim and I headed over to the park to set up the tent on Friday. The shell of thetent was already up and all we needed to do was help David Veal set up tables, chairs and the metal grates hanging behind the tables for authors to hang banners and other items off of. We also had brought over our own books and other items to set up the next morning. Some of the others also showed up on Friday (after the heavy labor was finished of course). J.R. Sanders, Eric Heisner and Al Bringas I’d met last year. But Courtney Joyner was someone I hadn’t met before.
Joyner not only writes westerns, he also writes sci-fi/fantasy and his new book Nemo
Rising is on my to-read list. So he was definitely someone I wanted to meet, which I did on Friday. I was surprised he wasn’t going to be at DragonCon this year. It would have been funtouching base with him again in a sci-fi/fantasy setting. Maybe next year, Court.
Setting up on Saturday was a breeze and the rest of the authors arrived to set up. One of our one-day-only authors was Peter Sherayko. You might recall him as Texas Jack in the movie Tombstone. Peter set up his table and then hung out at our table for about 30 minutes.
It was the highlight of the day and would have been even without Peter signing a movie still from Tombstone for me. (Yes, it is hanging on my office wall.) Especially when Peter, working on a huge cigar, and another gentleman decked out as an Old West U.S. Marshal
smoking a cigarillo were chastised for smoking in a “non-smoking” area. One smoke was put out, the other was not. Since no one in the bookshop minded, the matter was quickly dropped.
The rest of the day passed as expected. Lots of folks came by. I sold a book. Civil War reenactors marched back and forth several times. A cosplayer portraying Lincoln passed by a couple of times. We kept telling him to skip the play. I don’t think he did. The cosplayer who last year had a magnificent hand-made Lone Ranger costume right off of Clayton Moore’s dressing room rack decided to do Zorro this year. He did that even better than the Lone Ranger.
Next door, Johnny Crawford, who played Chuck Connors’ son in The Rifleman, set up shop. Jim had met him when Jim was just 11 years old and went over to say hello again.
Sunday morning got off to a great start. Someone, no ratting out friends here, had procured tequila made from almonds in Mexico and we toasted the final day of the festival with a tequila shot. I’m not much of a drinker, certainly not at 9:30 in the morning on a Sunday, but that was some mighty smooth tequila.
Johnny Boggs, one of our authors, arrived in time for the libations and relayed an
adventure he had and he and Joyner had gone out to dinner the night before. After parting company, Boggs was on his way to his car when he was approached by a man in the parking lot.
“I know who you are,” the man exclaimed. “You’re Stephen F***-ing King! You should be home writing your F***-ing books, you’re Stephen F***-ing King!”
Despite his many protestations to the contrary, Johnny could not convince the man he wasn’t Stephen F***-ing King and quickly retreated to his car and left. The only mistake Johnny made was telling the rest of us what had happened. Especially with Jim and I around.
Because while Johnny was engaged in conversation with a visitor to his table, I grabbed Sheryako’s name placard, flipped it over to the blank side and wrote: “I am NOT Stephen F***-ing King!!!!” on it while Jim rounded up a young man of about 12 and paid him $10 to walk up to Johnny’s table and ask him” Sir, are you, Stephen King?”
Bob Brill, like a champion newshound that he is, videoed the whole thing, including
Johnny’s good-natured reaction and me walking up to replace his name placard with the new sign. Johnny snapped a picture of it, left it up on the wall all day behind him and took it home with him. I have the video but for some reason, I can’t get it to post here. It’s a shame because it was amazing.
Jim sold three books to a woman visiting from San Diego County. I had stolen Bob Brill’s idea of having a drawing for a free signed book in exchange for people signing up for my newsletter. I got a dozen entries and as fate would have it, Al Bringas drew the winner that afternoon. It was the same woman who had bought Jim’s books.
In addition to being from San Diego, she told us she had been born and raised in Odessa, Texas. The same Odessa where I lived for over four years and got started as a freelance writer back in the 1980s. So when her name was drawn I couldn’t have been more pleased.
The rest of the day passed slowly, not too many people made it out to our section of the
park and it was finally time to pack up our belonging and break down the tent.
Like I said, sales-wise I don’t think you could call it a success. But people-wise? Hell yes, it was a smash hit. We got to hang out with some amazingly creative people, got to chat with some folks for the first time and just enjoyed the weekend. I’ve had much worse weekends, but fewer better.
So, the next big trip is Atlanta for Labor Day weekend and DragonCon. If you are planning on attending, I hope to see you there. And if you see me about, come on up and say hello. I’ll have copies of my new book, When The Gods Fell, with me. It is due to be released on September 4th but I’ll have a few on hand with me in case you want to get the jump on everyone else.
Escaping Infinity, the epic sci-fi novel written by Richard Paolinelli, was named as a finalist for the 2017 Dragon Awards Best Sci-Fi Novel on Thursday, August 3rd.
The awards are in their second year and are run by DragonCon, an annual event in Atlanta, Georgia that sees over 70,000 visitors, a number exceeded only by San Diego’s ComicCon. Voting has begun – and is open to anyone who wishes to participate – and runs through August 28th with the winners announced on September 3rd. Here is the complete list of finalists.
To register to vote – it is free of charge and you do not need to attend the Con to vote – click this link: Vote Registration
And a ballot will be e-mailed to you to fill out. You may only vote once.
For the entire month of August, the e-book version of Escaping Infinity will be available on Amazon for $0.99. Click here: Escaping Infinity to purchase.