Tag Archives: scifi

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
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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: Nicole Luttrell

Author Nicole Luttrell is a speculative fiction writer. She writes about dragons, ghosts, and spaceships. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Nicole LuttrellI live in Western PA with my darling husband, a loyal dog, and a spoiled cat. When I’m not writing I’m reading. When I’m not doing one of those things, which is rare, I can be found working among my herb garden, haunting yarn stores or exploring the multitude of caves that surround my town.
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When and why did you begin writing?

I was telling stories as soon as I had words to tell them with. But I started writing when I was thirteen when I came to the dawning realization that this was something that could be done for a living. That people could make their lives all about telling stories.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Right away. As soon as I decided I wanted to be a writer I got a copy of The Writer’s Market at the library. I never considered this just a hobby, just a dream. This has always, right from the beginning, been my life’s goal. I’ve considered myself a writer from that moment.

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

Right now I’m publishing my most recent novella, Station Central, on my website. It’s about a detective and a food stand owner who both live on a space station. They keep finding themselves in increasingly terrifying situations as these creatures called the Hollow Suits wipe out mankind on Earth, then turn their sights on the stations that hold the last examples of humanity.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love Star Trek, and I wanted to write something in the same vein. I wanted to write a story about a detective in a space station. But I also wanted to talk about food, as that’s a big thing with me. So I wanted to tell the story of a farmer, a chef, who moved to the stations to bring honest food to the stars.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to think so. I tend to tell stories from at least two points of view. But writing style, I think, is not an intentional thing. I think a writing style comes out or it doesn’t.

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

The title of the series, Station 86, is actually a secret. I’m waiting for someone to guess why I chose the number 86. But the title for the most recent book is simple. The main characters, Sennett and Godfrey, are just trying to go on vacation in the original space station, called Station Central.

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

I talk about a lot of things. Gay rights, gender equality, religious freedom. But mostly, the point of my novels is not to give a message. It’s to tell a good story.

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

I loved reading Ann McCaffrey as a little girl, and I consider her the original science fantasy author.

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

Stephen King. I think I’ve read On Writing about a hundred times. Honestly, every writer should read it.

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

The first two covers were from an artist named Jeremy McCliams, who unfortunately isn’t in the business anymore. I designed the second two covers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read and write as much as you can. Consume stories, any stories that you can get. But don’t let the work consume you. You don’t want to look up from your desk to find yourself alone. Live and experience the world. Then bring those stories to the page.

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

Support indie writers. Not just me, not just anyone. There are some amazing stories out there, and not all of them are getting picked up by the Big Six.

51fxP9XGG+L._SY346_Nicole Luttrell
Butler, PA.

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Seeming: Station 86

Cover Artist: Jeremy McCliams

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Author Interview: Michael Prelee

Author Michael Prelee is a graduate of Youngstown State University and resides in Northeast Ohio with his family. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Micheal PreleeHello, my name is Michael Prelee and I write in two genres, science fiction and crime fiction. My first novel was the scifi crime story, Milky Way Repo, published in 2015 by EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy. I followed it up with the second book in the series, Bad Rock Beat Down in 2017. Also in 2017, my first contemporary crime novel, Murder in the Heart of It All, was published by Northstar Press. I live in Northeast Ohio with my family and that setting has influenced my work a great deal. The area I live in has a history of organized crime and corrupt government, both of which are seen as themes in my work.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been interested in writing as far back as I can remember. I remember reading Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and the Mad Scientist Club books in elementary school. In junior high I discovered Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and the true crime genre. Our school library had copies of the Bloodletters and Bad Men books and I read all of them in 6th or 7th grade. I like to think we had a really cool librarian. As I got older, I realized I had my own stories to tell and discovered that if I just stopped depending on regular sleep I could find the time to pursue writing.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I thought I accomplished something when I got the first letter of interest from EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy for Milky Way Repo. They were the first people, aside from my beautiful wife, to say they enjoyed my story about starship repo men and thought we could turn it into a successful book. Up to that point, I had been collecting rejection letters like baseball cards, but you know, even those have value. You can’t get a rejection letter until you’ve completed your work and have a finished manuscript to be evaluated. You’re successful once you accomplish the goal of finishing your story. Anyone who has ever done it knows the feeling of joy you get when you complete it and think you can’t make it any better.

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

My latest work is Murder in the Heart of It All. It’s a crime story set in the small town of Hogan, Ohio. The residents there are plagued by personalized, anonymous letters revealing dark secrets better left hidden. Tim Abernathy is a young reporter tasked with investigating who is sending them. As Tim closes in, the letter writer becomes desperate to protect his identity and murder ensues.

This book explores themes that impact so much of the country. Tim is a Millenial having trouble finding a job in his field, someone in the story is struggling with opioid addiction, others are older and have to deal with the hardships that follow plant closings and underfunded pensions. The story is an examination of the problems currently facing people in the Midwest, Appalachia and other parts of the country.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’d like to have a really deep and thoughtful answer to this question, but I’m going to be honest instead. I’m a true crime junkie and I really enjoyed the Unsolved Mysteries series. There was nothing scarier than Robert Stack telling you something terrible had happened and no one had been caught. One of the crimes profiled was that of the Circleville Letter Writer. In the 1970s and 1980s, this person sent crude, hand-written notes to people in Circleville, OH threatening to expose their secrets. No one was ever identified or convicted for sending those letters. This story percolated in my mind for a few years and then all the pieces began falling into place. I was able to take the area I live in for a setting and use this crime as a framework to build my story.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I enjoy writing in third person omniscient style. It allows me to present various points of view, including the antagonists. Elmore Leonard once said “the bad guys are the fun guys”, and he was right. Villains are fun to write and I need to write in a style that allows me to express the viewpoint of all the characters in the story who have something to say.

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

See, no one ever asks that so I’m glad you did. A while back the State of Ohio’s motto was “The Heart of it All”, so I swiped it and incorporated into the title.

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

I think so and it would be “Life is tough”. When you’re young, sometimes you think older people have it easier because they’ve beat down the problems you have. You think people in their fifties have their career established and they’re better off financially because they had time to earn and save. What you don’t know, and probably won’t understand until you get near retirement age, is how quickly all that security can be stolen from you because someone in management makes a decision that eliminates your job. Everything you’ve worked for your whole life can be yanked from under your feet and it has nothing to do with how hard you worked or how well you did your job. The economy is always good when you have a job and it’s terrible when you don’t, no matter how old you are. Our area is struggling through this again because General Motors just closed the GM Lordstown plant.

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

The setting in my book is an amalgamation of all the small towns I live in growing up in Ohio and Pennsylvania. My family is very blue collar and they shaped my view of the world growing up, so it’s their fears, anger, and victories I’m sharing with these characters.

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

Now this is a great question! Stephen King was the first writer who made me realize how important characters were to a story. It didn’t matter if it was a young girl starting fires with her mind, a young teacher who could glimpse the future at a touch, or a band of survivors walking across flu ravaged America, I wanted to know what happened to them next. That’s what kept me reading. Will Charlie McGhee make it? What will Johnny Smith do with this flash he’s seen? Will Fran and Stu make it to Las Vegas? I just couldn’t stop turning the page. I also love Elmore Leonard for the way he writes dialogue and the way he plots stories. There are times I read his novels and get so lost in the way the characters speak that the plot kind of sneaks up on me. I think I like their writing because they enjoyed putting words on paper. That mad joy of expressing themselves comes across in their writing

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

The covers for my books are made by the publishers, and they do a fantastic job. EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy has terrific people doing the covers for the Milky Way Repo series and North Star Press has similarly talented people putting forth a fantastic effort. I love the way that typewriter looks on the cover of Murder in the Heart of It All.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My only advice is that there are no shortcuts. Writers sit down and put words on the page. You can be an expert in literature, understand how to break a story, and daydream fantastic ideas, but until you put in the hours actually writing you haven’t accomplished anything. Next, read as many books by as many writers in as many genres as you can. You can’t write well if you don’t read. Finally, seek out sources on writing to see how others have done it. They’re willing to teach, so be willing to learn. I recommend the following:

* Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing
* On Writing by Stephen King
* Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

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

First, I’m still at the stage of my career where I get to meet many readers face to face as I try to sell them books at ComiCons, book fairs, and farmer’s markets, so let me just say, “Thank you!”. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for speaking with me, listening to my pitch, and buying my books. You can’t imagine the thrill of someone buying something you created. It means everything to go into a book store and see there are fewer copies on the shelves because someone took a chance on me. It feels great.

Second, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews are everything to writers. They help us with exposure, marketing, and selling more books. It doesn’t have to be anything long, just a simple rating or a few words saying you enjoyed the work. Honestly, a review is the best thing you can give an author.

mwrMichael Prelee
Near Youngstown, Ohio

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Milky Way Repo

Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Author Interview: Kumar L

Author Kumar L is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy – adventure, thrills & drama with a positive outlook on what the future may hold for humanity. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Kumar LHi. My name is Saurabh, but I write under the pen name Kumar L. If you want to discuss faster-than-light, time travel and black holes or new mobiles phones, then I am your person. I am a tech enthusiast and social media newbie. I enjoy travelling and am fluent in several languages. A mechanical engineer who loves pulling apart gadgets and exploring their innards; I write science fiction stories and try to bring technology alive in my books.

I live in Mumbai, India with my wife and two daughters who are both aspiring engineers as well.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started off by writing small articles on my professional LinkedIn page. I am a huge science fiction fan and religiously follow Star Trek and Star Wars. I had been toying with an idea for a story in my head, and just started penning it down. I completed it in 2017 and published it the same year in May. As I was finishing the first draft, I realised it could be made into a series and thus started my journey.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm. I think it was only after a year, once I had the second book published, and the translation of book 1 into Hindi completed. Three books look good on the Amazon Central profile!

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

I’ve just completed the draft for the third book in the Earth to Centauri series – Black Hole: Oblivion. The series has a female protagonist Captain Anara and covers a journey chasing alien signals to the Alpha Centauri star system. The current book covers their exploits when faced with the most formidable force of nature – a black hole.

What inspired you to write this book?

Again, the series is progressing as I write and I try to incorporate new ideas which may appeal to my readers. In each book, there is a specific situation the crew of the starship tries to resolve while the core story moves between three planets. I wanted to bring forth realistic science for readers using simple language everyone can understand.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not sure how my style would be identified, and I am not an expert at grammar. I use simple language and try to tell the story through conversations between the characters with a bit of imagery. Most reviews have said they like the lucid simple content.

How did you come up with the title of this book?
As I said, I wanted the events to be realistic and had read about the planet Proxima b, which is expected to be found near the star Proxima Centauri. That planet fit perfectly with the story of the novel. The book was to be based on the first journey from Earth into interstellar space and so it became ‘Earth to Centauri: The First Journey.’

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

A few messages, in fact, some may be cliched but relevant nevertheless:
We need to appreciate the differences between people and accept them.
Women will become more assertive as time goes by and gender differences will reduce substantially.

Humankind will transcend the issues of today, survive and thrive. The future is bright even if it is not utopian.,

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

Not really, but I have drawn on some of the lessons from my former bosses and tried to share some of their wisdom.

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

Jeffrey Archer, Amish, and JK Rowling. Mostly because they engage the reader into the story using simple relatable language and build a believable fantasy.

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

As a self-published person, I tried to make the cover myself at first. The result was really bad. I really did not know much about how this is done, so I found a designer on upwork.com. She did a decent design but had not done much work in the scifi genre. Anyway, I went ahead and published with her artwork. A little later I decided to change the cover and took advice from a few other self-published authors especially on FB groups, found another designer on Upwork who’d worked in this genre and got a great looking professional cover. For two of my short story collections, I designed the covers myself on Canva as I wanted to keep the costs really low, but for the third book of the series, I found another person who has done simply outstanding work.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Quite a bit. In fact, I wrote a small book – One Step at a Time – Your self-publishing masterplan, which is available for free download from my website.
But the most important piece is – self-published authors need to be good marketers as well. They must know the basics of FB, Insta and other modes of social advertising at the very least.

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

Thank you for buying my books, and leaving me great reviews. I improve my craft with every new book and I work hard to keep you engaged and entertained.

First JourneyKumar L
Mumbai, India

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Earth to Centauri – The First Journey

Cover Artist: Alex and Cathy Walker

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Author Interview: Jennifer Arntson

Author Jennifer Arntson is a dreamer first, a writer second, and a sworn enemy of Caillou forever. Please give her a warm welcome to No Wasted Ink.

Author Jennifer ArntsonA typical day for me starts like any other: I rush kids off to school, feed the dog, and the such, but what happens after that can be just as random to me as it is for anyone else. Sure, I’ve got a laundry list of tasks to be completed, but there are times that list goes untouched because of rain, feral pigs, or the local wandering domesticated dog pack we call ‘the puppy squad.’ Why? Well, I live on 160-acre ranch in southern Texas. Did I start here? Nope. This summer I moved from the Pacific Northwest (Go Hawks!) to follow my dreams. As such, I hunt pecans, pigs, invasive species vegetation, and shade in the triple digit weather.

When and why did you begin writing?

Like so many other authors, I had a dream I couldn’t shake. I never thought it would turn into anything, honestly. Because I’m a list person, I thought if I wrote my ideas down I’d be able to forget about them and go on with my day. As I did, the story flowed from my mind, down my fingers, and into page after page on my computer. My mom called me one afternoon and asked what I was doing, and when I told her, she asked to read it. It wasn’t done of course, but I sent it to her anyway. She called a few hours later and asked, “Where’s the rest of it?” There was no more, though. “Then I’m hanging up. Go write more.” So, I guess you can say my mother made me do it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Oh…the day I held my book in my hands. I still remember the smell of it. You know, that new book smell? It was like that only better. My name on the cover made my head spin. In fact, my husband recorded the moment I opened the proof copy (and posted it online, ergh) and I said, “It’s real.” That’s when I knew. Looking back on the whole experience, I realize I was a writer long before that. The moment I sat down at my computer was when I became a writer. Silly how we need proof.

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

My new release is the fourth book in the Scavenger Girl Series. Each of the novels follows a Scavenger named Una for a single season. She and her family have been convicted by the Authority and forced to live in the fringes of society, and as things change…so does she. When asked to describe the series I tell people it’s as if Twilight and Hunger Games had a baby delivered by Christian Grey, in a hospital run by Quentin Tarantino. While you won’t find vampires, shapeshifters, or child assassins, you will find a world that breaks the boundaries of traditional genres. Full of suspense and mystery, Una’s world is shrouded with classic dystopian elements and of course a bit of romance!

What inspired you to write this book?

At first, I wanted to get it out of my head. Now, it’s as if the characters themselves want their story told. They won’t let me be until I do.

Do you have a specific writing style?

No, not really. My writing style is thinking things up and writing them down. I know I should have something eloquent about which author has inspired me, but that’s like saying which dish made me like the taste of food. All of it, none of it. Honestly, I write what I like to read. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to stay within a single genre.

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

Here’s a secret: This wasn’t the original title! My initial beta readers kept referring to Una as ‘that Scavenger Girl’ and it stuck. Since each book is about a season, we added that. In an effort for people to know what order to read them in, we put roman numerals on the cover and the rest fell together easily.

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

Many people say a person’s future is what they make of it, but that’s not always true. It’s also not the most important thing. Family, honesty, friendships…these are the true treasures worth pursuing.

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

Much of what you’ll read from any author is an amalgamation of their experiences, worldview, and assessment of things happening around them. While Scavenger Girl isn’t about a specific person or place, it is about the spirit and strength that we all share, and the parts of us we try so desperately to hide. I believe what we see in others is a product of their experiences and we judge it through a filter we’ve spent our whole lives creating. Perspective and grace go a long way.

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

I’m a huge fan of fantasy, though I sometimes get bogged down in the details. In the last five years or so I’ve discovered some extremely talented indie authors that dance in multiple genres. They are the ones that gave me a long leash to explore. My love of reading flourished once I started writing. I started eating, breathing and sleeping books. I think the stories that took me out of my daily grind were best. Our world touched with a bit of magic…that’s what I like. Still, I’m looking for fairies (even though I’ve learned they are trouble!)

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

I consider everyone I read to be a mentor. It’s funny…when you’re a writer, you’re not reading only to be entertained or to find an avenue for escape. When I read, I’m actively learning. What do I devour? What makes me wince? Is a turn of phrase they use to provide an essence I find missing in my work? Oh, that word is perfect; I’m going to use it. It is said that art inspires art. I now understand what that means.

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

My husband and I did. We have backgrounds in graphic art and prefer simple statements in creative communication. The standalones that are coming out this year have a bit of a different look, though.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Don’t listen to your doubt. Pay for a good proofreader.
I’ve been lucky to have a huge on-line support group of highly talented people. That has been the best gift, really. Early on I realized there are a lot of people out there willing to take advantage of new writers and the seasoned professionals I met through Facebook groups and the like, made all the difference.

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

I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who has invested in my work. As an author I know I’m asking for two of your most valuable resources: your time and your hard earned money. Because of that, I promise I will always provide you with my very best, and I will never forget that it is because of you that Una lives. Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Season of Atchem Book CoverJennifer Arntson
San Antonio, TX

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Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

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