Tag Archives: science fiction

A Primer on Speculative Poetry by Kimberly Nugent

When Wendy approached me about writing an article for “No Wasted Ink,” I was thrilled and immediately began to waffle about which idea to put to digital paper. Despite a career in editing, I kept coming back to a topic about which both Wendy and I are passionate, speculative poetry. Genre poetry has a lovely community of poets, and a thriving market for both paid and unpaid submissions.

Like a lot of creators, I had a long break from poetry until editing an e-zine that featured speculative poetry. I was fascinated and thrilled! So, I began writing again. Whether you are returning to poetry, looking for a change in your existing poetry, or would like to write for the first time, I have a few tips for writing in general, and a few specific to speculative poetry.

Keep a notebook. This notebook can be a 99-cent special or something bound in leather, but whatever you pick, keep it with you. And keep your favorite writing implement in stock. Keep pencils in your car, pens in your purse, grab some markers, something that will make a mark. I previously kept notes digitally but have since switched back to physical writing. Not only do you not have to worry about backups or where you saved that file, you will find the thought required to put words on paper also puts contemplation into your ideas and word choices.

Write. Just write in that lovely notebook. It can be anything from words and phrases to outlines and perhaps even a rough draft. But don’t worry about form—yet. The goal here is just to create the words that will build your poetry. Feel free to be wordy. Write in the margins, make notes. The more words in your notebook, the easier to compose your verses. Also, I find inspiration in various media, especially scientific articles and lectures! Your muse can be anywhere, so be sure to jot down all your ideas.

Buy a good form reference book. Now that you have those lovely thoughts and phrases, combine them into the forms that feel natural to the ideas when writing your final poem. I suggest buying at least one (or more!) form reference books. Two of my favorites are “The Prosody Handbook: A Guide to Poetic Form” by Beum and Shapiro and “The Book of Forms” by Turco. The more you write and create, the more you should challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone. If you generally write a sonnet, try an epic poem or haiku! What specifically sets speculative poetry apart is the topic. The is sky is NOT the limit! Putting the fantastical, science fiction, and even mythological themes into form (and yes, you can include free verse) is what will set you apart from flash fiction and the short story.

After you write your poetry, always let it sit overnight before you make any changes. Like prose writing, a little distance between yourself and the words will make the editing process easier. Now is also the time to share your work with a trusted listener or reader. Your sounding board should give both praise and constructive feedback.

Your edits are complete, your trusted evaluator has appraised your efforts, and you are ready to submit your first poem! But, where? The largest poetry-only markets typically shy away from genre poetry, however, there are organization specifically for the speculative poet. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and Horror Writers Association are both excellent resources for a genre poet. Also, look for publications and journals that are focused on certain forms in addition to genre-specific publications.

When you have decided on a market, read the submission guidelines carefully. Always follow their directions and pay close attention to if the market accepts simultaneous submissions or those that have been previously published. I also highly recommend you keep a log of your submissions so you can keep track of where you place your poems, and which publications you should follow up with.

The most important thing after submitting your work is to congratulate yourself! Whether your first submission or your 100th is your first published poem, creating a work you can be proud to submit is an accomplishment in itself.


Kimberly Nugent lives near the beautiful Sandia Mountain range and edits speculative fiction and RPGs. She spends her free time with her family, cats, and various nerdy hobbies! You can find her on Twitter at @BlueTeaEditing

Quantum Visions Next launches at #LosCon46

Quantum Visions Next. Volume 8 of an annual science fiction short story and poetry anthology

For the last five years, I have participated in an anthology of science fiction short stories and poetry created by editor Jude-Marie Green. The writers all used to be part of a science fiction writing critique group in the Los Angeles area. While the critique group has dissolved, Jude-Marie continues to invite us to participate in the anthology. My fellow writers are WOTF award winners, clairon graduates, or people involved in the sciences. I’m honored to be included in the project.

In previous years, Quantum Visions was printed and stapled by hand chapbook style. Each year, the annual would be launched at LosCon in Los Angeles, CA.  Many of the attendees look forward to purchasing and having all the authors sign the book at the convention.

I have sold these chapbook issues at various book tables for the last few years.  This year, our editor has decided to place the anthology on Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback. It looks quite professional and the stories this year are the best we’ve offered to date.  At last Quantum Visions is available to all my readers.

This year’s edition features my flash fiction, We Can Rebuild Him, and five of my illustrated scifaiku poems.

You can find the book on AMAZON

Writers of Quantum Visions Next
Writers of Quantum Visions Next: Jamie Cassidy-Curtis, David R. Moore, Wendy Van Camp, Jude-Marie Green, Chrome Oxide.

Author Interview: Chris J. Breedlove

I asked Author Chris Breedlove what his motto for being a writer was.  He answered:

A Writer is…
A humble, receptive student and negotiator
But the heart that beats within his/her breast
Is a determined savage
Unfamiliar with surrender

Please welcome this savvy science fiction author to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Chris Harold Stevenson and I’m 67 years young. I go by the pen name Christy J. Breedlove for my YA books and stories. Yes, I changed gender entirely. That’s another story.

My early writing accomplishment were multiple hits within a few years: In my first year of writing back in 1987, I wrote three SF short stories that were accepted by major slick magazines which qualified me for the Science Fiction Writers of America, and at the same time achieved a Finalist award in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. This recognition garnered me a top gun SF agent at the time, Richard Curtis Associates. My first novel went to John Badham (Director) and the producers, the Cohen Brothers. Only an option, but an extreme honor. The writer who beat me out of contention for a feature movie was Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. My book was called Dinothon.

A year after that I published two best-selling non-fiction books and landed on radio, TV, in every library in the U.S. and in hundreds of newspapers.

I have been trying to catch that lightning in a bottle ever since. My YA dystopian novel, The Girl They Sold to the Moon won the grand prize in a publisher’s YA novel writing contest, went to a small auction and got tagged for a film option. So, My latest release is Sceamcatcher: Web World, and it’s showing some promise. I’m getting there, I hope!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer when I published the two shorts in Amazing Stories magazine. I actually considered myself an author after my first non-fiction book was published and hit the media. It seems I had to have legitimate credits in order to claim such status.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I can give you the basic summary, or the extended blurb:

When seventeen-year-old Jory Pike cannot shake the hellish nightmares of her parent’s deaths, she turns to an old family heirloom, a dream catcher. Even though she’s half-blood Chippewa, Jory thinks old Native American lore is so yesterday, but she’s willing to give it a try. However, the dream catcher has had its fill of nightmares from an ancient and violent past. After a sleepover party, and during one of Jory’s most horrific dream episodes, the dream catcher implodes, sucking Jory and her three friends into its own world of trapped nightmares. They’re in an alternate universe—locked inside of an insane web world filled with murders, beasts, and thieves. How can they find the center of the web where all good things are allowed to pass? Where is the light of salvation? Are they in hell?

What inspired you to write this book?

It all started with a dream catcher. This iconic item, which is rightfully ingrained in Indian lore, is a dream symbol respected by the culture that created it. It is mystifying, an enigma that that prods the imagination. Legends about the dream catcher are passed down from multiple tribes. There are variations, but the one fact that can be agreed upon is that it is a nightmare entrapment device, designed to sift through evil thoughts and images and only allow pleasant and peaceful dreams to enter into the consciousness of the sleeper.

I wondered what would happen to a very ancient dream catcher that was topped off with dreams and nightmares. What if the nightmares became too sick or deathly? What if the web strings could not hold any more visions? Would the dream catcher melt, burst, vanish, implode? I reasoned that something would have to give if too much evil was allowed to congregate inside of its structure. I found nothing on the Internet that offered a solution to this problem—I might have missed a relevant story, but nothing stood out to me. Stephen King had a story called Dream Catcher, but I found nothing in it that was similar to what I had in mind. So I took it upon myself to answer such a burning question. Like too much death on a battlefield could inundate the immediate location with lost and angry spirits, so could a dream catcher hold no more of its fill of sheer terror without morphing into something else, or opening up a lost and forbidden existence. What would it be like to be caught up in another world inside the webs of a dream catcher, and how would you get out? What would this world look like? How could it be navigated? What was the source of the exit, and what was inside of it that threatened your existence? Screamcatcher: Web World, the first in the series, was my answer. I can only hope that I have done it justice.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m a fruit salad of other known writer’s influences. Oh, like what I consider stylists: Poul Anderson, Virgin Planet, Peter Benchley, The Island and Jaws, Joseph Wambaugh, The Onion Field and Black Marble, Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, Alan Dean Foster, Icerigger trilogy, and some Stephen King. Anne Rice impresses with just about anything she has written. I think it’s the humor and irony that attracts me the most–and it’s all character-related

How did you come up with the title of this book?

After I had the idea/premise for the book, having researched similar works, if any, I found that I had something very unique. It dawned on me to name the book Screamcatcher since it was a play on words and it sounded impactful. Again, I researched that word and only found that it was used in a short story about a kid having a tooth extraction. I knew then that I was home free. I was continuously complimented by all of the publishers and editors who saw the title. It’s the first book in the series, and I have sub-titles for the other two as well, which are sold and just about ready for editing.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’m not very heavy-handed when it comes to delivering messages in my books. I want to avoid any preaching at all costs. I do include the basic/standard survival, loyalty, courage and persistence themes in my young characters, as well as emotional growth and cooperation. I did hide, or rather include, a very deep and subtle message in the story that I think most will gloss over or not recognize altogether. And that is my belief that sometimes the nice guy finishes first and gets the gal. I wanted something that swerved away from the controlling, domineering alpha male that is so often seen in other works of YA and romance. I wanted a slow burn sweet romance that was touching. Quite a few reviewers recognized this message and I got kudos for it. That was a RELIEF.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The main character Jorlene (Jory) is named after my sister. Although she does not resemble the FMC physically, she does so in an emotional sense. Her boyfriend, Choice Daniels, is named after my great-nephew. All of my books contain the names of my extended family members. And there are parts of them that show through in the personalities of the fictional characters.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Other than those stylists mentioned above, I had direct contact with members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Alan Dean Foster, Richard Curtis, Robert Bloch, Bob Heinlein, Clive Barker, and others. From their Youtube instruction videos and articles, JK Rowling, Anne Rice, and Stephen King have inspired me tremendously with their no-nonsense attitude about hammering those keys in spite of depression, lack of motivation or pure laziness.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

That honor would go to Poul Anderson who wrote back to me habitually and gave me guidance in the industry when I needed it the most. He took out his valuable time to befriend me and answer so many questions. Can you tell I’m a dinosaur yet?

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Carlone Andrus of Melange Books, Fire & Ice YA division rendered the cover after reading the book. I had a different idea in mind, but she absolutely nailed it. The compliments have never stopped coming. Most of the plot is revealed on the cover but you would have to search very hard to put it all together.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Watch your spending on ads–they can be grossly ineffective. Use social media and generously interact with fellow writers and readers. Don’t abuse FB and Twitter solely for the purpose of “Buy My Book.” Join writing groups and learn from the pros. Ask politely for reviews–don’t pressure, harass or intimidate. Be creative. Target your genre readers. Offer incentives and freebies. Craft a newsletter and send it out bi-monthly. Don’t take critiques as personal attacks–learn from honest opinions. Don’t despair. Never give up. Revenge query. I run a writer’s advocate blog and I pull no punches.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you think that you’ve had it tough, I recommend you watch Magic Beyond Words, the life story of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. Books just don’t happen. They are nurtured and raised from infancy, just like a budding writer is. This business might quit you, but you cannot quit the business. Stay active and attentively writing.

Chris J. Breedlove
Sylvania, Alabama

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Screamcatcher: Web World

Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC

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BARNES & NOBLE
KOBO

The Planets: a #scifaiku Poetry Collection Launches

THE PLANETS
a scifaiku poetry collection
written and illustrated by Wendy Van Camp
New Release #scifaiku #haiku #astropoetry
BUY THE EBOOK

The planets have fascinated humanity since the dawn of time. We’ve looked up into the heavens and wondered what these wandering stars are and why they are different from their more stationary cousins. In modern times, humans have sent probes to all the planets in our solar system, sending back tantalizing views from faraway worlds. The planets are woven into our culture and history. They are signposts of our journey ahead.

This collection of 108 science fiction haiku poems (scifaiku) will take you on a journey of exploration showcasing tiny moments of wonder with each of the planets of our solar system.

Come share in the adventure.


I’m pleased to announce the launch of my long-awaited poetry collection, “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection”.  Scifaiku has been a passion of mine for the past four or five years. Not only do I regularly publish the poems, but I also illustrate and sell them as art prints at the various science fiction conventions that I attend.  Some of the poems in this collection have previously published in magazines such as “Far Horizons”, “Quantum Visions”, or “Lit Up” on Medium. I’ve also performed a few sets of them at live open-mic readings.

Most of the 108 short poems in this collection were written for the book and are not seen elsewhere. Likewise, all the pen and ink line art was created by me for this volume.   I felt that I should do the art myself since I have a history of illustrating my poems in the past.

This is the ebook launch of “The Planets”, but a paperback is in the works and should be available shortly for all of you who prefer paper.

Author Interview: Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Author Madeleine Holly-Rosing has a husband that likes to call her mono-polar manic. Whether he is right or not, this is one author who can turn out a rousing thriller of supernatural steampunk fun. Please welcome Madeleine to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Madeleine Holly-Rosing and I’m the writer of the steampunk supernatural series, Boston Metaphysical Society. It began as a six-issue graphic novel mini-series, but it has expanded to two graphic novel sequels (and another one coming), an anthology of short stories and novellas, and a novel.

I have an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA where I won the Sloan Fellowship among other awards. I’ve had a few scripts optioned and done some work-for-hire, but nothing produced yet. However, while I was there, I wrote the TV pilot for Boston Metaphysical Society which I then adapted into a graphic novel after I graduated. I also wrote a PSA which was co-produced by Women In Film. (The PSA won a Gold Aurora and a Bronze Telly.) And I’ve run six successful Kickstarter campaigns for Boston Metaphysical Society and wrote the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

I recently retired as a Fitness Instructor for LA Fitness after 18 years, and I’m working on rebuilding my right shoulder after having it replaced. With a titanium shoulder joint, you could say I’m steampunk from the inside out! I also love to bake, especially if chocolate is involved, and I like to garden. And I love dogs. My current favorite authors are Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries) and Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone).

When and why did you begin writing?

I think I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write. However, when I was in my early twenties I decided to stop writing until I got more life experience under my belt. And that’s exactly what I did. About ten years later I started writing again. It definitely made my writing better.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I optioned my first screenplay. It was great to have someone pay me for my work.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

You bet. Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets is a prequel to the original six issue mini-series graphic novel. An alternate-history steampunk supernatural thriller, it dives into the lives of Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter, her ex-Pinkerton husband, and her father as they deal with political intrigue and her growing psychic abilities.

The book also won a silver medal in the Feathered Quill Books Awards in the scifi/fantasy category as well being chosen as the overall top pick for Adult, YA, and Children’s categories.

The original six-issue graphic novel mini-series is about an ex-Pinkerton detective, a spirit photographer, and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800s Boston. Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Houdini are also involved in the storyline.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter’s story. We only learn a bit about her in the graphic novel, so I wanted to give old fans (and new ones) a chance to get to know her.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I go pretty deep into world-building, but make sure everything is character-driven.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

That was fun. I knew the core theme of the book was about secrets, but a friend and I brainstormed it together through Facebook messaging.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A couple actually:

  1. Women have been saving the world forever and no one knows it.
  2. Secrets can kill.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Hahahaha. No. Since it’s set in the late 1800s and has paranormal elements, I can safely say it’s not based on someone I know or events in my life. However, I do use historical figures in the graphic novels and reference a few in the novel.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Lois McMaster Bujold. Her characters rock and her sentences are beautiful.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I’ve been fortunate to have had mentors for my comic book writing, but not really any for prose. However, I do have awesome beta readers that keep me honest.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The amazing cover art was done by Luisa Preissler and the title graphics were done by Anke Koopman. I saw a painting Luisa had done on Facebook for a steampunk novella which I loved so I tracked her down. My original thought was to have three characters on the cover, but that was outside of my budget, so I settled on having her depict Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter, one of the main characters. Turns out that was the best decision.

The cover won a silver medal in the Authorsdb.com cover contest.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Finish what you write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And find good beta readers.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Welcome to the word of Boston Metaphysical Society. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing
Los Angeles, CA

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Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets

Luisa Priessler – https://www.luisapreissler.de/

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