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. 
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 Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

HALLQUIST: Editing Mercury

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.

PAS_TWITTER_PROMOThe 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: Mercury contains tales of wonder strangeness of nearly every sort.

Award-winning author John C. Wright gives us an eerie time-traveling epic on Mercury Mercurywith 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?

SuperversiveFinally, 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.

Posted in News

Pre-Order Available For Planetary: Luna

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.

E-Book pre-order link: Planetary: Luna for $4.99

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.

 

Posted in News

Pluto Pre-Orders Go Live

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spacePluto, 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.

You can pre-order your copy right here: PLUTO

And check out the book trailer right here: PAS: PLUTO

Many thanks to the 21 authors who contributed these amazing stories to the collection:

Like So Many Paper Lanterns – B. Michael Stevens               

Time Out For Pluto – P. A. Piatt                                                

A Brush – J.D. Arguelles                                                           

The Pluto Chronicles – Bokerah Brumley                               

Bat Out Of Hellheim – Corey McCleery                                 

The Rainbow-Colored Rock Hopper – J. Manfred Weichsel          

The Heart Of Pluto – Christine Chase                                     

The Case For Pluto – A.M. Freeman                                       

Marathon To Mordor – Karina L. Fabian                                

Miss Nancy’s Garden – Jim Ryals                                           

On Eternal Patrol – L.A. Behm II                                            

Pluto Invictus – W.J. Hayes                                                     

Worst Contact – Arlan Andrews Sr.                                         

Ambit Of Charon – David Skinner                                          

Sunset Over Gunther – Frank B. Luke                                    

Adaptive Reasoning – John M. Olsen                                     

Judgment Of Anaq – Andy Pluto                                             

Life At The End – Jake Freivald                                              

A Clockwork Dragon – Allen Goodner                                    

The Collector – Declan Finn                                                   

Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet – Richard Paolinelli   

 

Now its on to working on getting Luna ready for her release date. As soon as we have that information, we will post it here. FOr now, check out her amazing cover: