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Friday, June 30, 2017

Will we find love...out there? Michael E. Gonzales

Recent research for another story, led me to consider the infinite. I first considered our own ‘universe’, containing many billions of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions of stars, the vast majority of those the stars with planets orbiting them, with the clear and high possibility that advanced life resides there. 

The question then follows … how many trillions upon trillions of sentient beings, within our own galaxy, are out there pondering the same question…right now?

And if string theory is correct, and there does exist the multiverse, an infinite number of universes floating in the endless ether, like soap bubbles, then what is the mathematical equation to estimate advanced life in that endless sea?


What, I wondered, are some common denominators that might run through those other beings? Of course, Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes to mind, they are:

1. Biological and Physiological needs - food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

2. Safety needs - protection from the elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

3. Love and belongingness needs - friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).

4. Esteem needs - achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, and respect from others.

5. Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

Number three, I think, is a commonality that will transcend time and space. If a creature is indeed sentient, having the capacity to feel, perceive, and experience subjectively. Possessing that metaphysical quality that requires a close, interpersonal relationship. Beyond the basic needs of number one, above, the sentient entity will long for the knowledge that he, or she, is loved.

I feel certain that wherever one might travel, in this or in any universe, love will be there.

A thousand years from now, if mankind does not destroy itself, humanity may likely be living on worlds far, far from the home planet. Generations will come with no recollection of Earth at all, only knowing it from legends, and bedtime stories.

Humans will encounter life alien to us. However, I think a lot of what we find, on Earth like planets, will look much as we do. 

The engineering for the human being, residing on Earth, is perfect. Given conditions here, like our atmosphere, gravity, and the other creatures we share the planet with, our mental capacity, and how all these acted upon us during our evolution, well, there is little else we could have become.

We are still evolving, of course, and will likely look different a thousand years in the future, but I feel certain our physiology will remain the same.

We will share worlds with ‘people’ who, though not ‘Earthlings’ will nevertheless be advanced, intelligent, and desirous of friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance. They will possess the ability to receive and give affection. They will be quite capable of love, as are we.

As our authors and poets have written for centuries; love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is never envious nor arrogant nor prideful. Nor is love conceited.  

Doubtless, the bloodline of humanity will mix with other races and spawn entirely new beings, with increased capacity, and hopefully, greater intelligence. 

I have ventured to hazard the possibility in my soon to be available third book in The Unborn Galaxy series, Across a Sea of Stars.

Visit my page, Michael Gonzales, fictionist:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A FATHER’S DAY ALTERNATIVE, by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer

Everyone loves Father’s Day, at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. All those fathers out there, be they young or old, new or great grandfathers, deserve their day in the sun. So go a little nuts; give the dad in your life something to show your appreciation; take him to a barbeque; take him fishing; take him to see Wonder Woman; whatever he likes best. 

But for some of us, Father’s Day can be a little tough. Maybe we’ve lost our daddies; maybe they have lost us. Maybe it’s just not such a good time for yet another Hallmark-Greeting-Card-Spend-Your-Money-On-A-Senseless-Gift holiday. 

For cat people, here is another alternative: Celebrate a Cat Holiday instead!

There is no cat holiday that falls directly on June 18th, but this month is filled with cat-centric celebrations. Unfortunately we have missed two great ones: Hug Your Cat Day was June 4th, and just a few days ago, June 16th was Lap Day. I can think of several fun and furry ways to enjoy those holidays with my clowder. 

The first full week of June is Animal Rights Awareness Week, a more serious tribute to all animals and not just cats. The pursuit of animal rights is still a work in progress, but I’m happy to report it’s heading in a positive direction, with more laws protecting animals from abuse and neglect, and more advocates who will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Tomorrow, June 19th, is one I had never heard of but will not be likely to forget: International Box Day. We all know how much cats of all shapes, sizes, and species love a good box! 

June 19th is also National Garfield Day for those who follow the comic strip feline. Baking a lasagna would be a fitting way to commemorate the famous orange tabby and all the laughter he has given us over the years. 

You may or may not like June 24 – Wake Up Your Human Day. It will probably be no different than any other morning when kitty rises with the birds, lands on your chest, licks your face, bites your nose, and sings the song of her people to let you know the day has begun.

June 24 is also Take Your Cat to Work Day, though it’s a Saturday so I’m not sure what to make of that. Maybe it was planned that way; maybe my source got the date wrong. Either way, I can just imagine Little napping on my computer while Tyler runs up and down the aisles, breaking everyone’s concentration with his irresistible cuteness.

The entire month of June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month (the ASPCA). I have done my part, adopting Tyler from the Oregon Humane Society on June 1st.  Hey, maybe that’s something you could do for Father’s Day: Take your dad, granddad, son, brother, or ??? to your local shelter and adopt a cat today!

Check out more by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer at:
Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Case of the New Year Dragon

I’m thrilled to announce that the second book in the Li’l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau series, The Case of the New Year Dragon, has been accepted for publication by Tornado Alley Publications (a sister imprint of Fire Star Press)!  

And speaking of new year dragons, one of the inspirations for this story was Gum Lung (pronounced "Goom Loong"), a dragon who stars in San Francisco’s New Year Parade each year.  

Gum Lung is approximately 268 feet long and takes over 100 people to carry her down the parade route.  She is lit up inside by thousands of tiny lights, making for quite an entrancing spectacle.  The pearl of wisdom is usually carried before Gum Lung to encourage her as she winds her way through the San Francisco streets.  Those observing the traditional ways believe she has magical powers and brings lucky energy.

Click here for a great YouTube video I found showing Gum Lung in all her magnificent glory:  See also this SFGate article for more about Gum Lung:

In doing research for The Case of the New Year Dragon, I attempted to find out where Gum Lung spends the rest of the year when not on display for the new year festivities.  I never found out where the dragon is currently housed, but came upon an interesting story:  Lawrence Ferlinghetti, writer, artist, and co-founder of City Lights independent bookstore and publishing house, discovered Gum Lung’s lair in the cellar of City Lights Bookstore in North Beach (sometime in the late 1950s).  Ferlinghetti penned a poem, "The Great Chinese Dragon,” telling the tale of the dragon "creeping out of an Adler Alley cellar like a worm out of a hole sometime during the second week in February every year.”  

When I lived in San Francisco, my husband, Tom, and I would always make a day of meandering through North Beach and Chinatown, which were always jam-packed with revelers, on the day of the Chinese New Year Parade.  

We would, of course, finish the day by watching the famed parade, said to be the oldest and largest event of its kind outside of Asia.

Since Tom was born in the Year of the Dragon, we couldn’t miss the Year of the Dragon parade.  Although the parade always features Gum Lung and other dragon representatives, this specific parade seemed to be more chock full of the colorful serpent than ever.  

It was during this parade, way back while I was writing The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, that the idea struck me that Li’l Tom’s next case would be The Case of the New Year Dragon.  I had no idea at the time what the story would be about, but have since worked that out.  Stay tuned for The Case of the New Year Dragon in the coming year! 

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, June 7, 2017

Magpie Syndrome

I admit it. I love anything that glitters or sparkles. My husband calls it "Magpie Syndrome." (I haven't had the heart to tell him that recent studies have shown that magpies are NOT attracted to shiny objects.) However, this attraction to the new and shiny extends beyond just jewelry and clothing - it permeates my writing as well. A new story idea is so exciting and holds so much promise - what will it be when it grows up ? A short story? A novella? A novel?

I'm not a plotter, I don't outline. It has just never worked for me. Even in high school and college, I never wrote the outline until after I was done with the paper and then only because it was required. I mean, how could I know what I was going to write until I wrote it? When I begin developing a story I know who the main characters are, I know how the story begins, how it ends, and have a few miscellaneous scenes that go somewhere in the middle. The rest evolves as I write.

Oooh, shiny!

When writing was something I only dreamed of doing I often worried that I wouldn't be able to come up with enough story ideas. Ha! I have so many ideas I can't keep up with them. At this point my primary focus is on Dances with Werewolves, the second novel in my Kudzu Korners sweet paranormal romance series. (You can read about the first novel, Dial V for Vampire, here.) But, at the same time I have ideas for at least 15 other stories percolating in my head. Heck, I even have covers for books that I haven't written yet.

It would be easy to let all of these ideas distract me because of their freshness - so many unknowns waiting to be discovered! However, if I flit from story to story like a hummingbird nothing will ever get finished. I am (mostly) able to focus on my work in progress (WIP) but I have learned that when an idea won't quit going "Mom, mom, mom, mom! Pay attention to me, Mom" it's best to put the WIP aside for an evening or so and pay attention to it. This normally consists of just making notes to get some of the ideas out of my head. On occasion, "notes" become chapters. But, this means that when those other stories have their day in the sun, I'll already have a good start.

I know I'm not alone. This cartoon was recently shared on the Writing About Writing Facebook page. It's perfect! :-)

Distractions are a part of life, not just writing. How do you stay focused?

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Monday, June 5, 2017

New Release -- The Great Chili Kill-Off by Livia J. Washburn

The chili in Texas is red-hot . . . and so is murder!

Phyllis, Sam, Carolyn, and Eve head for West Texas to compete in a Fourth of July chili cookoff. Thousands of people have descended on a sleepy little ghost town, turning it into a boomtown for chili mavens, gamblers, musicians, and media. Raucous excitement fills the air, but so does chili when a sabotaged propane cooker explodes, killing the much-hated current champion. The victim leaves behind a tangled trail of sleeping with other men’s wives, cheating at cards – and maybe at chili cooking – and deadly anger.  With Sam a possible suspect in the murder, emotions run hot as a bowl of Texas red as Phyllis has to untangle these threads in order to put her finger on the killer!

Livia J. Washburn's beloved Fresh Baked Mystery series is back with another novel full of tasty recipes, dastardly doings, and brilliant sleuthing by Phyllis Newsom and her friends. THE GREAT CHILI KILL-OFF is a delicious dish of murder and detection.


     “Are you sure this is the right way?” Carolyn asked. “This road doesn’t look like it leads anywhere.”
     “Isn’t this the way a lot of horror movies start out?” Eve added.
     “This is the way the GPS said to go,” Sam told them.
     “Yes,” Carolyn replied, “but you said you didn’t trust the thing!”
     Sam smiled and said, “Don’t worry, we’re headin’ the right way. I studied the map real good before we ever started. At least this road’s paved . . . sort of. There are plenty out here that aren’t.”
     The smaller road wound through low, rocky hills. In places the route was cut through bluffs and ridges, so that rough walls loomed on both sides of the vehicle. They rattled over a couple of old plank bridges spanning deep, dry washes. Phyllis thought the landscape looked a lot like that in the Western movies Sam loved so much.
     The sun was still hanging just above the mountains to the west when the pickup went through a saddle in some rolling hills and the road dropped down a long slope into a broad valley.
     “There it is,” Sam said. “Cactus Bluff.”
     “Oh, my,” Phyllis said.