Tag Archives: scifi

Eccentric Orbits 3 Launches! An Anthology of SciFi Poetry

As editor of “Eccentric Orbits 3”, I am proud to announce that our anthology is now available for purchase! The book can be found in both ebook and paperback on Amazon.

AMAZON

The function of speculative poetry is to engage the mind to a new understanding, not rehearse the past or the ordinary. This anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry explores new concepts, folklore, myth, and the fantastic, by some of the most exciting, speculative poets of our time. Discover the insights of these contemporary wordsmiths that are surging from the pages of science fiction into the reality of our world.

This speculative poetry anthology is perfect as a gift for poetry lovers, readers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror literature or to complete your own book collections.

Speculative Poets represented in this anthology:
JANUARY BAIN * STEWART C BAKER * ROBERT BEVERIDGE * CATHERINE BROGDON * FARUK BUZHALA * DALE CHAMPLIN * LINDA M. CRATE * BILLIE DEE * KENDALL EVANS * GARY EVERY * MARK A. FISHER * JEAN-PAUL L. GARNIER * LEE GARRATT * KEN GOUDSWARD * FIN HALL * MICHAEL HOFFMAN * DEBORAH L. KELLY * DEBORAH P. KOLODJI * DAVID C. KOPASKA-MERKEL * BLAISE LANGLOIS * GERRI LEEN * RICHARD MAGAHIZ * JACK MASSA * ALLENE NICHOLS * MICHELLE OUCHAREK-DEO * RK RUGG * RYFKAH * JUSTIN SLOANE * JOSHUA ST. CLAIRE * SEAN STUBBLEFIELD * REX SWEENY * LISA TIMPF * LAMONT TURNER * WENDY VAN CAMP * MIKE VAN HORN * RUTH E. WALKER * TD WALKER * LYNN WHITE * JEFF YOUNG

Author Interview: Christian Warren Freed

Author Christian Warren Freed believes that life translates into our work, the good guys don’t always succeed, and some don’t survive. His goal is to provide an enjoyable ride readers will continue returning to throughout the years. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Christian Warren Freed. After deciding farm life in rural Pennsylvania was not my best option, I raised my right hand and joined the US Army. Ten days after high school, I was on a plane heading for Oklahoma and basic training. The next twenty years seemed to fly by and left me in a weird place- I was a retiree and looking for a new career. I enjoy fine cigars, better whiskey, and love spending time down in the woods with my Bernese Mountain Dogs. Oh yeah, I have also decided to make a go of being as close to a professional writer as possible. Last year I started my own company: Warfighter Books, and continue building my little empire.

When and why did you begin writing?

I suppose we can go with the cliché of starting young. I made goofy comic books back in the 80s as a kid, won an award for a very poorly written horror novel in 10th grade, fiddled with a few books in the 90s. It wasn’t until I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 that I wrote my first real book. After that the train picked up steam and I kept writing. I retired from the Army in 2011 and knew what I wanted to do.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I would say after putting The End on the last page of my first book. It runs in my blood though. My uncle is a historian who does a lot of work with Ken Burns and my aunt has a few books under her name aw well.

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

My newest novel is a throwback to the classic film noir/ detective movies of the 40s and 50s combined with the action of James Bond and set on a galactic backdrop. One of my favorite themes is having characters who live unassuming lives that are suddenly upended by raw chaos. You never know what you’re going to get.

What inspired you to write this book?

Oh, the Lazarus Men had been stewing in my mind after a weekend of watching classic detective films and the whole noir theme. I added my style and a few scifi elements to ramp it up. The beauty of creating is I seldom know the direction my mind wanders.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have been told to tell people I am direct to a fault. I prefer the in-your-face, straight down the throat approach. To life and writing. I enjoy writing epic battle scenes, whether it is with sword and horse or in a starship.

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

I probably got the general idea from an old Batman graphic novel where his villain uses the Lazarus Pit to rejuvenate. I figured hey, what if my bad guy has that ability and builds a quiet empire of influence around it over the centuries?

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

Nope, not even a little. I read a lot of books with deep philosophical messaging or questing for answers, but this is meant to be a good time, an escape from reality, and a thrill from start to finish.

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

I think we as authors always insert a little bit of ourselves in our characters. I haven’t been to space yet so there’s not much influence there, but I’m willing to try!

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

Steven Erikson wrote a very lengthy series filled with complexities beyond imagination, thousands of characters, and multiple storylines that seemingly don’t make sense through each book but are beautifully wrapped up in the final three. I wanted to do that with my opus series (the Forgotten Gods Tales). Aside from him, I use David Weber, Terry Brooks, of course Tolkien, and Dennis L. McKiernan for inspiration. They have a way with words and can draw my attention for books well over 800 pages.

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

The tag team duo of Erikson and Ian Esslemont. While I haven’t spoken with either, I get so much fire from reading their books and through the world they created that I want to be like that, but in my own way. Aside from that, my mentor runs a publishing company and I bounce everything off of her before going for it. Kinda….

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

I have a handful of artists on hand to execute different styles of cover work. For this particular design I used Warren Design. It conveys the message I am putting out and themes well with the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Study the business. There is so much bad advice circulating, from you should write what you want to ignoring what the major publishers do because it’s your journey. Well, yes and no. There is a reason for bestsellers and a reason why yours isn’t. Follow the trends, study the business, and don’t be afraid to take chances.

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

Since starting out a decade ago I have had the good fortune of discovering some really die hard superfans from around the world. They know how I feel, but for everyone else: thank you for being part of this ride with me. I can string the words together, but you are the ones who determine my failure or success. Here’s to you, and the far horizon we have yet to reach!


Christian Warren Freed
Raleigh, North Carolina

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
GOODREADS


The Lazarus Men

Cover Artist: Warren Design
Publisher: Hurn Publications

AMAZON

Author Interview: Jim Webster

When I asked Author Jim Webster to describe himself, he replied: “Modest, but I have much to be modest about.” Please welcome my fellow Sci-Fi Roundtable Knight to No Wasted Ink.

Farmer, adviser, writer, husband, father, churchwarden, Maverick. I’ve been a farmer for the vast majority of my life, a writer for not much less. I became a husband slightly later, and a father later still. As for adviser, I was never shy of giving people my opinion and with being a maverick, I may always have been one. Churchwarden just happened.

I farm in the south of Cumbria, between the sea and the English Lake District. Married, three adult daughters and still I have no dress sense.

When and why did you begin writing?

In simple terms with a small farm you need another source of income for a family to survive. Admittedly I didn’t have a family at the time, but this also meant I didn’t have a wife to go out to work. So I turned to writing as a form of diversification which took no capital (Unless you allow for the typewriter, and then a fax machine.) So I did freelance journalism, (almost all in trade publications) and then about 2010 people started pestering me to write fiction.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It’s not something I’m precious about to be honest. I’m Jim. I’m a farmer who writes rather than a writer who farms. Some have suggested I stick with ‘farmer’ because I can cope with the dress code. How I quantify it is that I would leave my writing to help a calving cow, but I wouldn’t leave the cow because I realised I had to put in another paragraph.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’ve just finished a series of Science Fiction four books, the Tsarina Sector. I was asked to do it by a small publisher back in 2013 and Justice 4.1, the first book, was published in 2014. I went to Loncon with it in 2014 and it sold well. But the publisher was fading, life was closing in on them (in the nicest possible way, an addition to the family) and so by the time the second book War 2.2, came out, they gently closed down. I was left with two manuscripts and half a third. Anyway I went on to write other stuff (a lot of fantasy) and in 2020 I thought I might have chance to finish the series. Whilst farming didn’t have a lockdown, (if anything we were busier) all sorts of government bodies and inspectorates went into hiding and left me alone. So I got the time that way, finished the third book and wrote the fourth. I pressed publish on them all on the same morning at the end of June.

Having had the series almost die because of ‘life’ I thought that I wasn’t risking having it happen again. Now people can buy the whole series at once.

It’s SF, set on the planet Tsarina, which is not particularly important, but isn’t a bad place to live and all sorts of people want to take it over, from Starmancers (space pirates) looking for a base, to genetic engineers who want to sterilise a continent, ‘just to be sure.’

What inspired you to write this book?

Actually I was asked. But I’ve always loved SF as well as Fantasy and I’d been mulling over the idea of a story set in the backwaters of a galaxy.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Because I’ve done so much freelance journalism I am not precious about my ‘voice.’ Indeed even now, I have a different voice when I write as ‘Tallis Steelyard’, the poet who narrates some of my fantasy, to when I write my ‘dog and quad’ tales about life farming in Cumbria. Ironically from the comments made by my proof reader, Tallis Steelyard has better grammar and sentence construction.

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

Ironically I didn’t. The publisher did and as he read it before suggesting it, I have stuck with it. I do think it fits.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think the question that hangs below the surface across all four books of the series is, ‘What is Justice’ and at what point do you have to compromise for the greater good? As one female character comments on the last page of the final book in the series, “I think it is fair enough to buy justice at the cost of your own life. But I don’t think anybody is entitled to spend the lives of others just so they get to feel a warm glow of smug satisfaction that justice, however you define it, has been done.”

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

All sorts of things I have been told by people, living or dead, have drifted into the books. A phrase of my grandfather’s is in there. When cake was cut too thin he would comment that, “It tastes of knife.”

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

Jack Vance. Because he was an amazing writer. His work straddled the fuzzy borderland between fantasy and science fiction and his powers of description, and his ability to invent and describe cultures and societies has always awed me.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Writing is like carpentry, the more you do, the better you get and the better you are at covering up your mistakes.

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

Don’t be precious, be prepared to laugh at yourself, write books you enjoy. A good book is a holiday you can take without all that nonsense of going through airports. When you turn the final page, you should experience the sensation of leaving one world and returning, perhaps regretfully, to another.



Jim Webster
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

BLOG
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

The Tsarina Sector: Justice

AMAZON

Author Interview: Stephen Hall

If Matthew Reilly (who writes all those fast-paced adventure novels) and Douglas Adams (who wrote The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) had a love-child… well, that’d be really weird. Not to mention impossible. But if they DID, that love-child might write a little bit like Stephen Hall. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hello, I’m Stephen Hall. I’m a writer and actor, a father to one daughter, a husband to one woman, and a meal ticket to one Staffordshire Terrier. I have one sister and no parents. For the past four decades or so, I’ve mostly been trying to make people laugh.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved entertaining people, telling stories. I suppose the first professional writing I did was writing my own standup comedy material, which I started performing a week before my 18th birthday.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was first officially employed as a writer in 1996 – with a contract and everything – when I got a gig writing gags and sketches for the Australian TV sketch comedy show Full Frontal.
FUN FACT: That’s where Eric Bana got his start!

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

I’d love to, Wendy! Symphony Under Siege is a rollicking sci-fi comedy adventure set 512 years in the future. On a Thursday morning. It tells the story of the 5-star luxury space cruise liner the Symphony of the Stars, as it’s raided by desperate space pirates in search of the secret fabulous treasure hidden somewhere on board. This playground for the ultra-rich now becomes a battleground for the two crews, as their two headstrong captains circle ever closer to their fateful showdown.

Did I mention one of the cruise ship’s crew is a serial killer? That’s just one more thing the cruise ship captain (highly-decorated ex-navy Captain Diana Singh) has to contend with.

The story’s fast pace is a product of its serialized beginnings, with chapter after chapter of cliffhangers, daring escapes, twists and turns and there’s-no-way-they-could-have-survived-that! moments…..
Oh, and I’ve tried to put in a lot of gags, too.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’d wanted to write a novel for ages. As my 50th birthday approached, I bit the bullet and vowed to finally DO IT before I turned 51. I told my wife and daughter, then I devised a framework to hold me accountable; releasing one chapter online every week, for 52 weeks. Those 52 mini-deadlines were exactly the motivation I needed to stick to it, and get that first draft done. I’m happy to report I met them all, and the original serialised version of the novel is still online, right here: http://www.thestephenhall.com/novel-chapters/

And I always knew that I’d be self-publishing it. I was confident I could do that part of the process, because I’d done it with my previous (non-fiction) book How To Win Game Shows.

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

When I started writing it, I didn’t have a title in mind; I just trusted that one would present itself to me… Then, as I neared the end of the writing process (and I knew what the story actually was) I came up with a shortlist of three potential titles, and ran a survey! I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers to vote for one of the three options, and Symphony Under Siege won hands down. So Symphony Under Siege it was.
And is.

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

I don’t know about a message, as such – this is just a rollicking, escapist adventure. It has virtually nothing to do with life on earth in 2021. There’s nothing in it to remind you
of our global pandemic,
of our seemingly endless lockdowns,
of the continuing harmful – and sadly, successful – spread of misinformation, ignorance, arrogance and fear,
of the continuing global climate emergency or
of all the petty things that divide humanity being exaggerated and incited by The Powers That Be to overwhelm all the beautiful things that unite us.

Not referencing any of that – or even hinting at any of it – in the book is all deliberate on my part… perhaps that’s as much of a message as anything.

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

I wish! No, this is all just invented adventure… probably born of being such a Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Star Trek fan, and all those old Saturday afternoon matinee serials I’ve watched as well.

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

Terry Pratchett, Ursula LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, Tim Winton, and Robert Louis Stevenson are some whose work I really enjoy. I tend to enjoy speculative, imaginative fiction with a sense of humour on the slightly dry side. And Dickens – how could I forget Charles Dickens?! When it comes to serialised novels, Charles Dickens wrote the book.
(In regular monthly instalments, you understand…)

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

Oh, I think Douglas Adams was pretty brilliant, wasn’t he? That mix of wacky, brilliant sci-fi concepts and laugh-out-loud (and very British) comedy gets me every time.

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

The cover was designed by a Venezuelan studio called The Kicke Studio. I found them on Fiverr, after commissioning concept sketches from 5 or 6 other artists. I knew I wanted the image to feature my luxury space cruise liner at the moment just before the pirate attack. Although I’d described the ships’ appearances in the novel, I’d only done a few rough sketches of what I thought they might look like. I hired a number of artists to design the two ships based on my descriptions and sketches, and I instantly fell in love with what The Kicke Studio submitted. I’m really happy with the cover they painted for me, and I look forward to teaming up with them again for the sequel!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

A writer writes. Don’t wait for the muse to strike – just write something, anything! The worst thing you did write is always better than the best thing you didn’t write. Remind yourself what fun writing can be – what fun writing should be!

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

Yes. Thank you for reading this far.


Stephen Hall
Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)

FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
TWITTER
WIKIPEDIA
IMDB

Symphony Under Siege

Cover Artist: The Kicke Studio

AMAZON
KOBO
Books2Read

The Planets – Finalist for Elgin Award

The Planets is a 2021 Finalist for the Elgin Award for Best Speculative Poetry Book of the Year.

The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection is a literary journey through our solar system featuring poems inspired by the nine planets. All the scifaiku and astropoetry is meant to inspire you to seek out and learn more about the history of human’s exploration and the physical characteristics of the these fascinating worlds.

The Elgin voting season is about to close. If you are a voting member of the SFPA, I hope you’ll consider The Planets when you are making your final considerations for the Elgin.

Currently, Wendy Van Camp is composing a new astropoetry scifaiku book called Time and Space. She hopes to have it published in Spring of 2022. Look for it and for The Planets on Amazon.