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

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 Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: A Series Within The Series

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

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

 

PAS_TWITTER_PROMO

Posted in Guest Blogger, Planetary Anthology Series

FINN: Editing Luna

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

 

I generally hate short stories. I hate anthologies.

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

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

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

Yes, I get paid to do this.

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

Or worse, for “exposure”?

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

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

And then there are the heavy hitters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops.

   – DECLAN FINN

 

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

FURLONG: From Luna to Uranus and Beyond

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– CAROLINE FURLONG

 

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

 

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

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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.