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.



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



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:










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…



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

OLSEN: Adaptive Reasoning



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Check out his ramblings on his blog at or visit his Amazon Author page here to see his recent publications including his Riland Throne fantasy trilogy:


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

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: