Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

JANESKI: The story behind “Much Madness Is Divinest Sense” in Planetary Anthology Series: Luna

LORI JANESKI TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. LORI’S STORY, MUCH MADNESS IS DIVINEST SENSE, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN LUNA

 

Science fiction needs more cops.

That turns out to be the motto for everything I’ve been writing recently.  I was pretty much raised on Star Trek, sci-fi classics like The Day The Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet; and my mom got me started reading Isaac Asimov and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars at an early age.  As far as I can remember, the only sci-fi cop in everything I watched or read as a kid was Elijah Bailey, from Asimov’s Robot series.

I didn’t just love sci-fi; I loved mysteries.  I started reading a lot of Mary Higgins Clark in about fifth grade, and she is still one of my all-time favorite authors (may she rest in peace).  The Queen of Suspense, indeed.  I remember dreaming that I could write a book that someone would stay up until 2am on a school night to finish, just like I did with her books.

After college, I discovered the magic of crime shows when I started watching NCIS regularly, and I have devoured every cop show I could find since then, including classics like Perry Mason and Gunsmoke.

Eventually, I realized something, and had to wonder: why aren’t there more cops in space?  There has to be crime, right?  People are still fallible people, no matter what century they’re living in (unless you’re in the 80s paradise of Star Trek: TNG, of course).  So why is Elijah Bailey the only one I could think of?

At the time, I’d never seen Babylon 5, so I couldn’t include Garibaldi in my survey of space cops.  He is one of the best, but when I started writing my own stories, I’d never heard of him.  I hadn’t even binge-watched Deep Space Nine until well after college, so I couldn’t include Odo in my list of space cops, either.  Even with those two included, the profession is still sadly underrepresented in science fiction.

So, that’s where I got Special Agent David Forbes Carter, from the Interplanetary Police Forces, Division 7.  He and his story have been ten years in the making, and the story I wrote for the Luna anthology is another step in that long, long road from that fifth-grader who stayed up to read Mary Higgins Clark, to the author who finally managed to print an actual story.

The Luna anthology story is part of the same universe as The Carter Files, as well as the short story I wrote for the Freedom’s Light anthology several years ago.  David Carter doesn’t make an appearance in this one, but two other characters do.

“Much Madness Is Divinest Sense” is the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem that I found when the short story was finished.  I had poems at the beginning of my other books and short stories in this universe, so it was only appropriate to include one here, too.  It described the story’s main character perfectly.

Division 7 Director Jacques de Tournay is the scariest kind of madman–the kind that knows he’s crazy and doesn’t care anymore.  The kind who’s smart and cunning enough to turn his knowledge and experience to something that is terrifying.  In his case, it’s vengeance.

To him, his madness is divinest sense.  His reasons don’t just make sense to him, they’re completely justified.

One thing I always remember from taking philosophy in college is that the opposite of the best thing is, of necessity, the worst thing.  So, what happens when the best, most talented director of the most powerful law enforcement agency in the galaxy turns insane?

The other character here, Agent McClellan, is another madman, but he isn’t the same kind of crazy as Director de Tournay.  He isn’t worried about justifying himself or his actions to anyone; he loves the insanity because he has more fun with it.

I tried to make the motivations of the two madmen different, to show the stark contrast between the two.  It always irritates me when a perfectly good villain in a movie or TV show or book is suddenly presented as someone you have to feel sorry for.  It can be done well in some cases, but when you spend the whole movie hating the villain for his dastardly deeds, and then all of a sudden he reveals that he’s the injured party and has a good reason for being a psycho, it feels wrong.  That’s why I loved the depiction of the Joker in The Dark Knight.  You never find out anything about him–why he’s crazy, his background, any of his reasons (in fact, he lies about his history and his reasons throughout the show), and you never ever feel sorry for him.  He doesn’t even have a name, other than the one he uses to terrify Gotham.

Without giving too much away, I wanted to do that for my villains.  I wanted them both to have reasons for their actions–a good one for Director de Tournay, and a scary one for Agent McClellan–but in both cases, they’ve gone beyond pity.  They may be mad, but they’re still responsible for their actions.  Their reasons can’t excuse them.

JANESKI_PHOENIX_ebookAny more of their story, you’ll have to read in the Luna anthology, or my recently published book: The Carter Files: Phoenix.  They are available on Amazon in digital and print copies.

If you like the universe, there is another short story in the Freedom’s Light anthology. That one, “Backwater,” is about the farmers on Mars and their fight against the encroaching Interplanetary Parliament.

Don’t forget: Back the Blue . . . even in space.

You can find Lori’s blog at https://littlesquirrelbooks.wordpress.com/.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FABIAN: Noir in Spaaace! The Story Behind “Daddy Issues”

KARINA FABIAN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. KARINA’S STORY, DADDY ISSUES, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: JUPITER.  TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN JUPITER

 

In our next installment of Topic in Spaaace! It’s all about the noir, baby.

Actually, it’s about noir and baby.

I love writing a good mystery, and what’s better than a murder with a paternity case and a natural disaster tossed in.

Available September 29th

One of the fun things about noir is that you build this huge, operatic world, full of dirt and danger, and then see it through the lens of a single character. Jupiter is perfect, with the sweeping storms and hostile atmosphere. There’s no way a standard human could live in its hostile atmosphere, so I turned to genetic engineering:

They say that if man were meant to live on Jupiter, God would have given him thicker skin and hydrogen-processing gills. That same “they” also said if man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Of course, by 2867, we’d not only cracked our genetic code, but could stack the nucleotides like gods playing with toy blocks. We gave ourselves wings or fins and gills and skins to suit any environment we wanted, and to hell with what God wanted.

When the geneticists designed humans for Jupiter’s environment, they fell into two camps. One wanted to create super-dense molecular structures that could withstand the incredible atmospheric pressures – the heavies. The other decided a more elegant solution was an inflated barrier between dense skin and the more delicate internal organs – the guppies, because the amusing result was that they float instead of sink like us heavies would. But floating or walking, we were all just trying to get ahead in this gaseous soup we called home.

From this genetic mix in a gaseous soup, the characters crafted for me a tale of deceit and loss, as the privileged classes connive to keep their power and wealth and the rest of the schmoes try to get by. But what does that mean when the next Red Spot storm threatens to destroy a continent-sized swath of home for the next hundred years? How can a guppy carry the child of a heavy who’s been dead for over a year? How well can cynical PI who is entering heat (yep, animal gotta-mate heat) keep her wits enough to find a murderer and get justice for an orphan whose only chance at survival is for her father to take responsibility for the result of his own indiscretions?

Once again, I had a lot of fun with the details. Oxygen plays an interesting role, as does genetic engineering. No, I’m not going to tell you! Go get the book. There are so many great stories to enjoy in it. But when you finish Daddy Issues, I hope you’ll drop me a comment and let me know what you thought.

After all, it’s part of human nature to want feedback, and no matter how we mess with the genome, there’s no escaping human nature.

 

Karina writes both serious and seriously funny science fiction and fantasy. You can find her stuff at https://fabianspace.com

 

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FABIAN: Love in Spaaaace! The Story Behind “42 Years of Summer”

KARINA FABIAN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. KARINA’S STORY, 42 YEARS OF SUMMER, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: URANUS.  TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN URANUS

 

The third installment of the Topic in Spaaace! series is Love.

I’m generally not a romance writer, but when I learned that Uranus’s orbit means half the planet faces the sun for 42 years and is away from the sun 42 years, it seemed the perfect backdrop for a long-term commitment. I wanted something epic and romantic to match the beautiful planet. I also wanted to match what would be the harsh realities of marrying and raising a family.

The story begins with a wedding just as winter ends and summer begins and two lovers make their vows – the perfect symbol of hope. Lila and Hoagie would raise their family under the light of the sun and enjoy their waning years beneath black sky sparkling with stars. Their love guided them through bringing up the first generations of Uranusians, through company strikes, disease, and famine.

I told the story past tense, through the eyes of a woman still as in love as the day she made her vows, even though she tells her tale to her grandchildren on the night before the summer ends and the 42 years of winter begins. I hope very much to tell stories of my husband to our grandkids someday. And when I tell the serious ones, I know I’ll tell them in the same adoring voice.

I feel that this story is a plausible one, however, in that the kind of people it will take to make a long-term settlement in a dangerous new world are the kind who will commit, through good and bad. That commitment will carry into relationships as well as work. I also know from personal experience that such commitment can be rewarding and as natural as breathing.

The story is shorter than most I write, a little bittersweet, and still gets me misty-eyed to think about. If you don’t generally like romance, I promise there’s a lot of great stuff about mining Neptune and living on a station so far from rescue. I can write sappy, but in small quantities.

There are a lot of great stories in this anthology, looking at the planet and the god it’s named for in creative ways. I’m proud that my own sweet story was included.

 

Karina writes both serious and seriously funny science fiction and fantasy. You can find her stuff at https://fabianspace.com

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

KENNISON: Sunward

JEB KENNISON TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. JEB’S STORY, SUNWARD, IS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: JUPITER.  TODAY HE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN JUPITER WHICH IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FOR ITS SEPTEMBER 29TH RELEASE. THIS BLOG POST IS REPUBLISHED FROM JEB KENNISON’S WEBSITE WITH HIS PERMISSION: https://substratewars.com/2020/05/12/sunward-in-the-republished-planetary-jupiter-anthology-preorder-now/

 

My story “Sunward” is in the upcoming “Planetary: Jupiter” anthology.  It’s a tale of lost colonists in Europa’s ocean yearning to return to the fabled planet of the gods. Their imperious queen mounts a space program at great cost…

The anthology also features stories by well-known authors like Lou Antonelli, Arlan

Available September 29th

Andrews, Julie Frost, and Richard Paolinelli… all with a Jupiter connection, either set on and around Jupiter, featuring the god Jove himself, or on a more general theme of the weight of leadership.

The stories set near Jupiter itself take several different tacks. “Sunward” and Karina Fabian’s “Daddy Issues” postulate genengineered humans able to live in the environments of Jupiter’s midlevel atmosphere or the oceans of moons like Europa. “Encounter on Ganymede” by Coleen Drippé has characters whose consciousness has been moved into robotic bodies. Other stories have standard humans working in mining colonies around Jupiter. The stories which are only metaphorically connected to Jupiter are set in diverse locales: the sack of ancient Troy, 1950s America, a future moon shuttle.

My story, “Sunward,” explores what a genengineered human colony in Europa’s ocean might be like, and within the size limitations, explains how they might survive: spoiler, they use a hydrogen sulfide metabolism near undersea volcanic vents, where other genengineered organisms provide food. The humanoids are some vague combination of human brains, hands, and eyes with dolphin and manatee features, with communication via light and sonar abilities. Thus despite the alien environment, they conduct a society recognizably like ours with factional clan politics, love, and greed. Their geothermal vent power stations are starting to fail as the drill bits left by the original Earth colonists break down and can’t be replaced, since the Europans lack diamonds or other hard-rock cutting tools. The action begins when a radical new queen takes power and forces her people to mount an expedition to reach the Earth before the power stations fail and their civilization collapses.

Tuscany Bay’s Planetary Anthology Series Book 8, available for preorder for delivery Sept. 29th, 2020 on Amazon Kindle : Planetary: Jupiter

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FABIAN: Sports in Spaaaace! The Story Behind “Marathon to Mordor”

KARINA FABIAN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. KARINA’S STORY, MARATHON TO MORDOR, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: PLUTO.  TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN PLUTO

 

A few days ago, I wrote about Nuns in Space and the story behind “Moonboy” in the Planetary Anthologies: Luna. Today, we continue the theme with Sports in Spaaaaace!

It seems natural that sports will be a part of extra-terrestrial culture. Humans enjoy play and competition, and sports activities are a good way to keep in shape. red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spaceI’m not a team sports kind of person. But I have included microgravity sports in my science fiction worlds. In Discovery (A Rescue Sisters novel), I have a game called Splat, which is like a mad mash-up of soccer, handball, and Lacrosse, and is a lot of fun to write when your nuns play to win. However, it’s typical of most sci-fi sports: team, ball, microgravity.

For Pluto, I wanted to do something different. I also wanted something bigger. That’s when the idea of a race came to mind. I toyed with the idea of a race on Pluto, with a lot of landscape and dancers, but even with beautiful description, it’d be people or vehicles going from A to B.

I made it a long race to Mordor. Mordor Macula is the large red area near the north pole of Pluto’s moon, Charon. Mostly, because “Marathon to Mordor” sounded so cool in my head.

The idea of athletechs and the athgeeks, people or teams that are both athletically excellent and technologically proficient, came next. In space, we won’t be able to have just jocks or just braniacs, especially in the rough early days of interplanetary colonization. The athgeeks and support teams participating in Marathon to Mordor were more than competing on a physical level; they were proving new technologies.

But it was still a race – A to B, with some challenges to push the suits and players to their limits. How to make that a fun read? At the time, I was listening to ESPN while working as a cashier at Firehouse Subs, so I was immersed in sports commentary and wacky commercials. Anyone who knows me, knows I like wacky. So enter travel commercials for Pluto – We Have Atmosphere! and suit air fresheners Crisp – Leave the Stink at the Gym.

The Pluto anthology was the first one I got excited about, especially since Bokerah Brumley was talking about it and the chicken story she was writing. (“The Pluto Chronicles”). I had a great time imagining this story. I hope you enjoy it and the other wonderfully imaginative tales in this anthology.

   – Karina Fabian

 

Karina writes both serious and seriously funny science fiction and fantasy. You can find her stuff at https://fabianspace.com

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

ST. AUBIN: The Quirky Side of the Venus Anthology: or How Jude Lawe Gates Taught Himself Venusian Karate

MARGO ST. AUBIN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. MARGOT’S STORY, VENUS TIMES THREE, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: VENUS.  IN ADDITION, MARGOT ALSO HAS A STORY IN THE VENUS EDITION OF THE SERIES. TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN VENUS

 

After having written “How to Train Your Werewolf”, I really wanted to write something space-y for the next anthology. Writing about the Greek goddess of Love seemed like cheating.  Blending into this was my fondness for the short stories of Harry Harrison, in particular “ The Men from PIG and ROBOT”. I wanted something uplifting, quirky and with an emphasis on character.

Jude Gates ESQ was born in part thanks to the Baen Free Radio Hour. They talked about the  Liaden series, describing one of its offshoots as staring characters resembling Wooster and Jeeves as Men About Space. This tickled my funny bone

Available May 26th

and settled into my subconscious. Then I started rereading the complete short story anthology of Dorthy L. Sayers, starring primarily Lord Peter Wimsey. I particularly enjoyed the later stories, about Harriet and Lord Peter as parents, or working together.  I suppose Mr. & Mrs. North and Nick & Nora Charles in The Thin Man had their influences, too.

The lynchpin was while going through Amazon looking at books. Then on CSPAN I heard about a book called “ Who owns the Moon?”– and land ownership and mining rights were as complex, if not more so– than the law of the sea. Suddenly, clever lawyers in space-saving our world from excess litigation captured my imagination. It didn’t hurt that Tom Stranger had come out recently. Thank you Larry, I think I popped a rib laughing. While I did have this idea floating around before Tom Stranger came out, it did help me realize that this whole thing had to be a comedy.

While Jason evolved organically with the plot of his story, Jude was fully formed before the story was written. So he was not only on the search for more money, he was in search of a plot.

Because it was Venus, I knew Jude had to fall in love. A nebbishy awkward fellow with a gift for gab would require a very special lady to fall in love with. Thus Saudella was born. In order to see his charm, she’d have to be a mind reader. It’s space opera, of course that can happen!  I admit, I borrowed some of her character from the secretary on WKRP in Cincinnati.

Looking further for a flushed out plot, I borrowed some plot points from a Babylon 5 episode. That would be  A Voice in The Wilderness, season 1. The episode neglected to delve into how mining rights might be affected. Therefore I knew I had a new slant on Epsilon III. Then I looked up some stuff about mining rights– and fun facts about the planet Venus.  Writing a story is like making sausage. You are allowed to get parts from anywhere, but they better taste good together.

The last and final ingredient was actually Tinney. I borrowed his name from a friend’s last name on FaceBook. I wanted a contrast to Saudella’s unique AI experience. I also had a narrative voice that was certainly not  Jude, but it knew enough about Jude’s private thoughts it had to be an AI with neural net access. Not to mention, if his knowledge was as vast as it would have to be– he’d need help organizing it. Plus, he needs a lot more storage than a human brain has available. Last but not least, he’s a little reminder that it really is Space Opera.

He is a great boisterous foil for Jude, plus helped define what technology is like in this world.  He isn’t exactly Jude’s Bunter, lacking in any social graces. Yet he says all the things that Jude won’t say and more besides. I admit, no knowledge of how AIs work went into building him. This is space opera. I won’t besmirch “science” by calling this “science fantasy”. I tried to introduce some realistic concerns here and there, because Bujold taught me that even space opera has to feel real at some level to sell your world to the reader.

Knowing a little bit about computers, I decided to give him a portable body. Basically, a robot shell that he can inhabit, and do physical things for Jude now and then. It’s an idea that I partially borrowed from Fool’s War and When Gravity Fails. The idea is that The AI both lives in Jude’s head to help him with his law practice, and can also inhabit the robot body. As a complex piece of software, he can jump to one or both places. The only issue is that the part of him in the robot has a limit to how far it can transmit data privately.

The plot is as follows:

The esteemed head of an astronomically wealthy family dies, leaving several relatives conflicted over the will.  As the family lawyers to the deceased, Jude and his brother are asked to present the will and arbitrate the estate holdings. The megalithic conglomerate that spans the galaxy becomes the arena where powerful personalities clash over differing opinions on future direction for the company.

The strangest part of the conflict is over mineral rights for the Planet Venus. Who knew our galaxy’s white elephant was prone to causing such strife? Well, Venus is the goddess of love in Roman mythology, so maybe we should consider ourselves forewarned.

On the way to the reading of the will, he learns that another lawyer is joining the fray to reveal a secret codicil that will determine the future of planets.

To make matters worse, he’s falling in love with this beautiful and mysterious woman, whose motives and role are unknown. Rumor has it that her input will drastically change the will with a codicil. It is clear she has some unusual talents. It may even be possible that she would use his feelings against him.  All while he does his best to protect the family– against itself, and all other interests, business and personal.

When another family member is killed at the reading, and the wife of the original deceased disappears, who knows what will be the outcome for the family?  For the corporation? For the planet?

And all Jude has is a vast knowledge of interstellar property law, a wisecracking AI, and a brother who straightens his tie at awkward moments. His father and head of the law firm, who has known the family all of his life,  must correspond virtually because he is also dying from an intergalactic virus.

I suppose it is fitting that the reading of the will takes place on Mars, the planet of strife.

I think the hardest part of writing this story was actually finding a name for it. I stole Venus Times Three from a classic novel of science fiction.  It started out as a working title.  The editor liked it, so we kept it.

The most horrible thing about all this is that my search engine, plus AMAZON show me the name of my own short story, but not this classic work of Science Fiction! I hope I can encourage more people to read classic science fiction. But it’s okay if you read me, too.  I hope you have as much fun reading this story as I had writing it.

   – Margot St Aubin 

 

Margot St Aubin has tried everything from web designer for a law firm, security guard for a famous auto company (among other places), a clerk at the Borders home office,  to learning to code.  No one told her that pythoness had anything to do with well poisoning. If you ask nicely, she makes book covers. She loves to travel, which seems to mean getting stuck in foreign countries, being harassed by the secret police, and being shut out of famous landmarks by burly men with machine guns. Juggling words and harassing fictional characters is overall more satisfying.  For her sins, she is stranded in New York city for the duration. She is hopeful that messages in a bottle will lead to rescue soon.  She lives in a bunker with her family at an undisclosed location in Queens.

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. 

 

3D_COVERS copy

 

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FABIAN: Nuns In Space? The Story Behind ‘Moonboy’ in Planetary Anthology Series: Luna

KARINA FABIAN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. KARINA’S STORY, MOONBOY, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN LUNA

Hi. I’m Karina Fabian, and I write nuns in space.

Karina Fabian April 2020Go ahead, say it loud. Say it long. Nuns in Spaaaace! The stories are as much fun to write as the concept.

Why space nuns? It actually started on a date night. My husband and I used to come up with story ideas on dates, and this time, I was writing articles about different religious orders, and Rob was volunteering with Artemis Society. The ideas crossed.

It makes a kind of sense. The Church has always followed exploration and (arguments with Galileo aside), has a strong history of scientific research. Rob and I decided that to get our order of religious sisters off the Earth, they needed to provide some kind of service of value to the early spacers. Search and Rescue, medical, and engineering came to mind. The Rescue Sisters were born!

We’d written several stories and I wrote a novel starring some of these intrepid nuns. It was interesting to combine the grit and high-tech stakes of space life with the faith, practice, and moral stakes of spiritual life. The Rescue Sisters stories have taken place in the asteroid belt, in LEO, and even as far as Pluto. But I’d always thought there needed to be one on the moon.

So, when Declan Finn asked me to write for Luna, I had my chance.

First, I needed a setting. I was lucky, because thanks to a talented friend who wrote for one of my anthologies (Infinite Space, Infinite God), I already had a moon “world” to write in. “Brother Jubal and the Womb of Silence” by Tim Meyers is still one of my favorite stories. It takes place on a hermitage in the Aristarchus Crater and on the support station, Drake Lunar Station. He was kind enough to let me adopt his world into my Rescue Sisters Universe.

Next, I needed a rescue. After all, these are the Rescue Sisters. I’d been wanting to explore the idea of children in space and toyed with the idea of rescuing some spoiled brat who went off on his own, but it felt superficial. After all, if we’re involving nuns, we need a spiritual element. Besides, unless I’m doing humor, I try to assume people are generally smart. No kid is going to risk certain death in the cold of space just to go haring off by himself.

What would make a child risk everything?

What if he had nothing to lose.

Enter Cory, the first lunar-born boy just on the cusp of manhood, who has found out he won’t live to 20. Whose entire life is one of medical tests, over-protective parents, and shallow distractions. A boy who longs for adventure, like the hero in his favorite series of novels.

The story begins when Cory decides to take his fate in his own hands and head out to an adventure that will probably lead him to an early death – or worse, a life of abuse and desperation before he eventually dies. Fortunately, God had different plans for him, and he meets the Rescue Sisters.

I really appreciate Declan giving me the push to write this story. Otherwise, it would have sat in the back of my mind, as useless as Cory felt he was.

Nobody should feel worthless.

Karina Fabian writes both serious and seriously funny science fiction and fantasy. You can find her stuff at https://fabianspace.com 

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

ST. AUBIN: The Quirky Side Of The Luna Anthology

MARGO ST. AUBIN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. MARGOT’S STORY, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR WEREWOLF, WAS INCLUDED IN TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION, MARGOT ALSO HAS A STORY IN THE VENUS EDITION OF THE SERIES. TODAY SHE WILL TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER STORY IN LUNA

 

…or, Why “How to Train Your Werewolf” appeared in the pages of Luna

This is a round-about story involving a reluctant writer, too many unfinished novels, and an orphan werewolf.

Back in the sands of time, Superversive called out for submissions for the Luna Anthology. At that time, my most recent Work in Progress was an unfinished novel about a teenager who is put into a mental institution because he thinks he’s a werewolf.  The twist being that the kid is right, and most of the staff at the mental 636163941522787261institution are gravely mistaken. Then they find out just how wrong they are in the most violent way. But now, his foster home is at risk if they find out it’s true! So he has to fix that. At the same time, he also must figure out how to live with his condition. There has to be a way to live with it without risking his new to him family and lose the precious few friends he has…

 This was my way of getting something positive out of a harrowing experience.

The themes are perfect for this anthology. There’s too much introspection and character development to really make a good short story. While I do believe in madness, I also believe that “there is more between heaven and earth, Horatio, than exists in your philosophy.”  It also involves exploring the effect of what you want to see versus what is really there.

This book meant a lot to me, because I spent some time in a mental hospital as a teen. The reason primarily being that I was given Prozac after a trauma. I became suicidal while on the drug. They took me off the drug and were so astonished that I was no longer suicidal that they gave me every assessment and personality test they could think up. I even saw the top expert in Schizophrenia in the United States, and several world-class psychologists. They tried to find one diagnosis that fit me. They held me in-patient until my insurance ran out. They couldn’t find a diagnosis that fit. My shrink literally said she wanted to make my belief in God an entry for the DSM, and implied everyone who believed should be there, too. So out of this experience, the themes of madness, dreams, horror and illusion are fairly personal to me.

At any rate, I really wanted Jason (my orphan werewolf) to be in this anthology.   Because he’s more than just a murder floof with an attitude problem. He likes to think his way out of problems. Being a werewolf doesn’t respond well to overthinking. Instinct vs intellect is a part of his challenge. Then I realized this was a bit of flotsam left over from that novel that I really wanted to write.

It takes place after the rampage was over. Our teen realizes he was lucky to not be in jail or dead. He takes a long look at the aftermath and decides he needs help with self -control. Being a country boy, his best friend decides to take him hunting. So they go out to his grandmother’s house.  What better to soothe a city werewolf’s heart than lots of woods, plenty of game, and epic peace and quiet? They don’t count on the deadly criminal gang who wants to empty the isolated farmhouse so they can hide out off-grid… This doesn’t mix well with “Anger Management for Monsters 101.”

 I decided to turn it into a story for the Luna Anthology.

Being married to one of the editors didn’t mean I was a shoe-in. My work had to 1-Rachel-smaller-199x300pass muster for the second editor, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright. She has been an editor in mainstream publishing for over 25 years. Plus she’s a formidable writer in her own right, penning one of my favorite YA books in existence. With “The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin” series, she knocked Harry Potter off its perch in my estimation. She is the sweetest person in the world. But through experience, skill and discerning eye, she is still intimidating. I sent it in with my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.

To my shock, she enjoyed my work. She even helped edit it for me. I heard rumors that Luna sold in part because my story was in it. 

Then, tragedy struck: The Publisher went under! So most of my published work went under with them.  Fortunately for us writers, Tuscany Bay liked these anthologies well enough to pick them up.

They did this before I even started shopping around!  There is much happiness to go around. I hope you enjoy my take on the teenage werewolf goes to the woods– and finds trouble. Again?!

   – MARGOT ST. AUBIN

 

Margot St Aubin has tried everything from web designer for a law firm, security guard for a famous auto company (among other places), a clerk at the Borders home office,  to learning to code.  No one told her that pythoness had anything to do with well poisoning. If you ask nicely, she makes book covers. She loves to travel, which seems to mean getting stuck in foreign countries, being harassed by the secret police, and being shut out of famous landmarks by burly men with machine guns. Juggling words and harassing fictional characters is overall more satisfying.  For her sins, she is stranded in New York city for the duration. She is hopeful that messages in a bottle will lead to rescue soon.  She lives in a bunker with her family at an undisclosed location in Queens.

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

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 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.