Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Are we alone? By Michael E. Gonzales

Wow… what a week for science, eh? In addition to the other dozens of exoplanets discovered “out there”, seven new planets were discovered orbiting a relatively close star, TRAPPIST-1, only forty light years away!
Even more remarkable is the fact that three of the seven are located in what’s called the habitable zone, that ring around any given star where water can exist in its liquid form―liquid water is essential to the development of life―“as we know it.”  

These planets are roughly the same size as Earth, possibly older than Earth, so…this begs the question…is there life around TRAPPIST-1?

If so, is it just primordial, single-celled creatures in a soup of life, or mere microbes?
How deep does your imagination run?
Perhaps they are closer in development to Neanderthal man?
Could they be as advanced as we were in say, 1939, living in great cities, in command of electricity, dominating their seas, and flying through their atmosphere?
Or, just maybe, they are more advanced than we. Perhaps they already know about us, their instruments having detected our solar system a millennium ago. Who knows that they haven’t been listening to our transmissions, even visiting us since eons past―and are still?
Then why have they not contacted us? Sent us a signal of some kind?
What if a massive solar flare, or a collision with a comet, or―war, laid waste their once mighty civilization, and all that is to be found on their world is the skeleton of a once learned, cultured people, now lost for all time.
Were they advanced enough to hedge against such an eventuality? Had they outposts on one of the other worlds of TRAPPIST-1? Perhaps colonies far outside their own solar system? The nearest habitable world to theirs lay a mere forty light years away.
Did they come here in man’s distant past? Did they build the pyramids found around the world, were they the builders of Machu Pichu, Teotihuacan, and Angkor Wat? Are we the last vestige of their civilization?


Or maybe…they are on their way here now? A vast armada moving at near-light speed toward a technologically inferior species with the goal of conquest and genocide?


It may be possible that they launched an ark, a vessel containing the DNA of every life form on their world? And should we discover it, would it be wise to open that Pandora’s box?
Are the lines between science, science-fiction, and fantasy beginning to blur? No less a mind than Stephen Hawking warned mankind, “It is perfectly rational to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere. If aliens visit us, I believe the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in the Americas.” Which, as we all know, didn't turn out well for the Native Americans.
This is the dystopian view.
Another view is that the more advanced a civilization is the less violent, and the more curious. Aliens might very well turn out to be an altruistic race, come to learn and to share their knowledge.
If the decades-long rash of UFO sightings is any indicator, then they are more like Captain Kirk following his prime directive; observe, do not interfere. And like Captain Kirk, doing a lousy job of it.
Seven new worlds. But this is nothing compared to all we have thus far located in a patch of sky no larger than a postage stamp held at arm’s length. Weekly, it seems, dozens of planets from this “tiny” spot are added to the exoplanet database. At this writing, there are 3,453 confirmed planets, and another 4,696 Kepler candidates.
It is likely we will know the answers to the questions posed above sooner than we might suppose.

Watch the skies.
And pick up Books I and II of The Unborn Galaxy -- while there's still time.

Monday, February 20, 2017

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, UNLESS YOU’RE A WRITER. by Mollie Hunt






When I quit my job of 15 years, I vowed to my workplace friends I’d come back to visit. Over a year and I haven’t been back yet. 

My parents spent their final days in a lovely assisted living community where they, and I, made many friends. At their funerals, I promised I would see everyone again. I’ve not fulfilled that promise either. 

It’s not that I don’t mean it– I do. But life goes on. Things change. Time passes, and nothing is ever the same. Though the phrase, “You can’t go home again”, classically refers to one’s childhood, at 64, I have a whole compendium of things to which I can never return. 

Except, I can. 

In words and stories, I have visited those rooms of childhood, run through the spring-lit gardens of youth, dropped in and said hello to history, caressed the sounds and scents of days gone long ago. I have dwelt in dreams, righted wrongs, and even taken my share of revenge. (“Never wrong a writer. They get their revenge in print.”)  

In Placid River Runs Deep, I went back to my childhood summer place, got to visit with my grandmother, and watch the sun set over the hills once more. 

In Broken Roses, I killed the man who abused me. 

In L. E. Catts and the Seven of Swords, I courted a bad-boy old flame. 

In my cat mysteries, I see a better stronger different version of myself.


Through writing, there is no place I cannot go.





Happy Reading!

Be sure to visit my Website, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and More 
and my Facebook Writer’s Page at Mollie Hunt, Writer.
Check out Cat's Paw, my latest Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery on Amazon.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

NEW RELEASE--BEYOND THE FIRE BY CHERYL PIERSON-- AND GIVEAWAY

Two broken hearts find a second chance at love…if they can survive…

When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one stormy November night, she makes the only choice her heart will allow: she has to help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war.

Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear—until he falls for the beautiful woman who risks everything to save his life.

With his cover blown, Jackson knows he’s all that stands between Kendi and Benito Sanchez, a powerful drug cartel lord. Sanchez swears his vengeance, vowing to see Jackson and Kendi both dead.

Love comes fast when there may be only hours left…can it survive? Or will Jackson sacrifice his partner’s life—along with his own—in exchange for Kendi’s safety? Does a future exist for them BEYOND THE FIRE…


I'm so thrilled to have BEYOND THE FIRE "out there"--again. Yes, this is a re-release, but it's also been retitled. Published a few years back with another company as TEMPTATION'S TOUCH, it's now got a brand new title, cover, and edit--and it's ready to go! This story officially kicks off our MEN IN UNIFORM line with a sizzlin' hot undercover DEA agent and a beautiful divorcee who just happens to save his life!

Y'all know how I love my wounded heroes? Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite! What would you do if you found a strange man being murdered on your property? Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a FREE DIGITAL COPY OF BEYOND THE FIRE!

Kendi Morgan thinks she's witnessed a murder, but when she comes closer, she sees the "victim" still lives...barely! Can she get him back to her house? Well, let's see...

FROM BEYOND THE FIRE:

“Think you can make it?”

He nodded, putting his hand out to her. “I’ll make it.” There was no doubt in his tone. Kendi let him hold on to her as he stood up, then slipped under his shoulder. He was taller by a good six inches, and had to lean down for support. He favored his side, his fingers absently going to his ribs on the left. Kendi wondered if they were broken.

“This way,” she murmured, taking a step. She felt his solid weight pull at her with each step, knowing he was doing his best to keep up and not lag behind. They had made it up the slippery creek bank and across the small clearing, when she felt his steps flagging even more. She slowed to accommodate him. His breath was harsh and labored in her ear.

“I don’t even know your name,” she said. The least of my worries. She felt it was important, but didn’t know why. Come morning, she was going to see he got to the hospital—one way or another. He needed more care than she could give him.

“Jackson...Taylor.” He stopped, reaching out to support himself against the trunk of a nearby oak tree. He stood for a few moments, leaning heavily against it, trying to catch his breath. “You wonderin’ what to—to put on the tombstone?”

“No,” she responded, moving close as he reached to put an arm across her shoulders once more. “Wondering who to tell the ambulance driver they’re taking to the hospital—”

“Kendi, no.” He stopped, trying to look into her face. She was immediately sorry she’d said anything. “Don’t call...911.”

“But—”

“Promise me, Kendi.”

He was so adamant, so fierce in his demand, Kendi immediately nodded. “Okay. I won’t. I promise. If you’ll—”

As if he’d read her mind, he interrupted her quickly. “I will. I-I’ll explain—” He broke off, cursing under his breath, but Kendi knew it wasn’t aimed at her. His tone was raspy with pain.

“Just a little farther, Jackson.”

He smiled, and when he spoke, she heard the amusement in his tone, though she couldn’t see his face. “Call me Jack. And don’t be so scared.” After a moment, he added, “You’re actin’ like...a girl.”

“I am a girl, in case you hadn’t noticed,” she answered sharply, but there was a hint of mirth in her voice.

“Yeah...I noticed all right.”

Kendi wanted to remark she didn’t know how, seeing as how she was dressed—in a man’s flannel shirt and blue jeans. But she closed her mouth before she said anything, remembering once more that she didn’t have a bra on. The rain had soaked the cotton flannel, plastering it to every curve of her body.

The laughter in his voice was overridden by the pain, but it was there. Kendi was certain that, even as wounded and battered as he was, nothing escaped Jackson Taylor.

Available in digital and print editions--BUY LINKS BELOW:

         

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writing Time


Although the new year isn’t quite, well, new any more, I find myself focused on a particular new year’s resolution.  Maybe not a resolution, but more like a goal, to carve out more time in my life for writing.  It’s something I love to do, but is somehow the activity I probably spend the least amount of time on compared with all the other activities in my life.  So, how to do this?  I have heard quite a few writers say that they started their writing careers by working at a full-time job, as I do, and doing their writing on the side.  Many of them advise getting up extra early in the morning before the day job to accomplish writing goals.  If you’re not willing to sacrifice, maybe the writing life isn’t for you!  This sounds wonderful in theory, getting up before the dawn, sitting in your writer’s nook, maybe next to a roaring fire, sipping a hot mug of coffee or tea while gazing out the window at a beautiful sunrise, the house otherwise quiet and peaceful as the other inhabitants snooze away.  


But for someone who begins the work day at around 7:00 or 7:30 a.m., that’s awfully early!  Is it that I’m not serious enough about my writing if I don’t get up at 5:00 a.m. or, dare I even say it, 4:00 a.m., as some ambitious folks I’ve talked to make it a practice of doing?   

There’s also the option of writing at the end of each day after work.  I’m sure you know the excuses here - too tired, mind not fresh, need to run errands, need to make dinner, etc., etc.  Another plan might be to catch up on writing during the weekend.  

But what about those other things that sneak up on you and gum up the works, like family and friends,


weekend excursions,




sporting events,


cats can certainly be a distraction,


and I can’t think of how that trip to the Jelly Belly Factory could have been avoided.


But a trip to a mystery convention is an acceptable distraction, right?


Then there’s the daily minutia of cleaning the house, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, exercising, learning another language online, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, Tumbler, the list could go on forever, all lurking right there on your computer where you should be writing!  

I know the majority of writers face these very same issues daily, so this is not an original problem, although everyone finds different ways to work writing into their lives if they love it enough.  And after writing this post, I may have figured out a few things I’m willing to give up - it’s gonna have to be hours of sleep! 



Angela Crider Neary is an attorney by day and writer by night. She is an avid mystery reader and especially enjoys reading novels set in interesting locales. She was inspired to write her first mystery novella, Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, by one of her favorite areas in San Francisco, Telegraph Hill. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and Amazon.







Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Writing Science Fiction by Michael Gonzales

Writing Science Fiction demands something that many other genres do not. It demands that the author conceive a future technology for our planet, or invent an altogether alien technology. 

We’ve all seen the movies, and the TV shows depicting life thirty and a hundred years into the future. Everyone is wearing silver jumpers, living in skyscrapers that tickle the ionosphere, and the air is filled with flying buses and other public transportation.

For those long trips, say to Tokyo or Berlin, there are super-sonic trains in glass tubes moving at near super-luminal speeds, putting you at your destination in mere minutes.

It’s all so familiar to us—and that’s the problem. Trying to be new, fresh, original in this, the twenty-first century, is a real challenge.



On the other hand, an author these days does not have to spend a chapter and a half describing the Utopian citadel wherein characters reside; just a few key descriptors and the average reader can easily recognize the metropolis of the future—in their already-programmed minds.

Still, what writer of SciFi can resist trying to accomplish what Jules Verne did in 1863 in one of his earliest novels, “Paris in the Twentieth Century.” His descriptions of society and technology a hundred years in the future were frighteningly accurate.



A testament to this fact is the reaction he got from his publisher, Pierre-Jules Hetzer, who refused to release the book because he thought it too unbelievable.

The book's description of the technology of “1960” was in some ways remarkably close to actual 1960s technology. The book described in detail advances such as cars powered by internal combustion engines ("gas-cabs") together with the necessary supporting infrastructure, such as gas stations and paved asphalt roads, elevated and underground passenger train systems, and high-speed trains powered by magnetism and compressed air, skyscrapers, electric lights that illuminate entire cities at night, fax machines ("picture-telegraphs"), elevators, primitive computers which can send messages to each other as part of a network, resembling today’s Internet (described as sophisticated electrically powered mechanical calculators which can send information to each other across vast distances), the utilization of wind power, automated security systems, the electric chair, and remotely-controlled weapons systems, as well as weapons destructive enough to make war unthinkable.

The book also predicts the growth of suburbs and mass-produced higher education (the opening scene has Dufrénoy attending a mass graduation of 250,000 students), department stores, and massive hotels. A version of feminism has also arisen in society, with women moving into the workplace and a rise in illegitimate births. It also makes accurate predictions of twentieth century music, predicting the rise of electronic music, and describes a musical instrument similar to a synthesizer, and the replacement of classical music performances with a recorded music industry. In addition, it predicts that the entertainment industry would be dominated by lewd stage plays, often involving nudity and sexually explicit scenes.

With Hetzel’s refusal to publish, Verne locked the manuscript in a vault where it languished for 131 years before being discovered by his great-grandson in 1989. It was first published in 1994.



THAT, my friends, is forward thinking. He was able to describe things not in existence at that time because he stayed abreast of scientific advancement in his own time. Equipped with a knowledge of where science had come from, where it was, and what it was aiming for, Jules Verne extrapolated the future, accurately, a century in the future. Incredible!

As for alien tech, well, the sky’s the limit (no pun intended). We are a long way from the flying saucers of the 1950s. Today alien spacecraft have been described, in Science Fiction, as everything from massive cities in space to living biological creatures, harnessed to transport the aliens anywhere they care to travel. 

Alien space craft can be anything you can conceive, tiny ethereal objects of light with dimensional anomalies that allow them access to the multiverse, with limitless capacity to transport entire populations, or vast armies.
The aliens could even come to us with no spacecraft at all. Imagine a mind so powerful it can place itself anywhere it can comprehend in the blink of an eye. An alien life with no corporal form.

And if such a wraithlike life existed, what could they possibly see in us? What indeed?

I relish such questions and enjoy trying my best to answer them in a manner that my readers will find entertaining, or better yet…riveting.

Follow me then into worlds beyond our own. The next three stories in The Unborn Galaxy series will take us far from our tiny blue orb to worlds of SciFi adventure mixed with Fantasy and Romance.



I’ll not claim to be a Jules Verne, no one can, but I have called upon a power granted me by an other-worldly entity that allows me to tap into vast reservoirs of imagination; that, combined with the ability to spin a yarn, will provide you, dear reader, with an experience I hope will entertain and enlighten.   


Mike Gonzales

https://www.amazon.com/…/B01CB…/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top…
https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Broken-Moon-Un…/…/ref=asap_bc…
Follow me on Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010275572869