Tag Archives: scifi

Scifaiku – Butterfly Effect

Scifaiku - Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect

stalking a T-Rex
hunter steps on butterfly
past shifts future forward

*poem published in Far Horizons Magazine – August 2015

A Scifaiku by Wendy Van Camp
Illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

Scifaiku poem is inspired from a famous time-travel story of science fiction literature.

You’re Writing What? by Katherine Sanger

College Students

I’m one of those people who feels like I can never learn enough or get enough education. Whenever I can, I attend any workshops or events that are local. I get to as many conventions as possible. And I have gone to school for far too long now.

My last degree was an MFA in Creative Writing.

I selected the program carefully, making sure that it didn’t have dismissive language or didn’t specify that it only wanted ‘literary’ fiction. From research, I knew that many programs looked down on genre writing, and I saw no reason to make myself suffer for two years by writing things I had no interest in.

I’d heard, many times over, that “good writing is good writing.” That genre shouldn’t count in determining if something is good or bad. Writing should stand on its own, regardless of what type of writing it is.

Yet still, during my MFA, when we had a presentation on genre work one day, the “literary” authors giving the talk trashed genre work and mocked it. But then, ten minutes later, they used examples from “Carrie” by Stephen King to show us how passive voice can be used successfully in fiction writing.

Something was clearly wrong.

Later that day, I was in a student-led workshop, and talk turned to the third-term papers that we had to write. They had to be serious research papers, ones that could potentially get published. I brought up the fact that I intended to write one about horror. Another student told me that I couldn’t possibly do that – horror was not “academic enough.” Apparently, the fact that I had actually taken classes in horror, science fiction, fantasy, and gothic fiction while working on a previous Master’s degree didn’t count. Clearly, to him, there was no value to anything that fell into a “genre.”

My frustration level was high during that residency period. High enough that I eventually talked to the director of the program. I asked him flat out if genre fiction was considered “not good enough” for the program, and I told him of the discouragement that I’d encountered so far. He was not happy. He assured me – and re-assured me – that what I had always heard was right: good writing was good writing. He saw no reason why my paper on the use of humor in horror would be rejected by a faculty member, and he wondered if I had misunderstood the presentation. I hadn’t, but it was encouraging that he thought that way.

Throughout my MFA, I ran into the same problem again and again. However, I finally figured it out. The biggest problem was that the people who felt that genre fiction was a lesser form were just not familiar with it. It sold well, and so, in their minds, it was “commercial” fiction and had no value from a literature standpoint. Of course, these same people were all trying to write the next great American novel which, as far as I could tell, would also have to sell well. Didn’t that count as a commercial writing project?

I got lucky during my final semester. My mentor, who happened to be completely unfamiliar with anything genre, was extremely open to learning. When I told her my intent was to write a short story collection of stories that centered around Cthulhu eating people who were staying in a basement apartment over time, she asked me to send her reading material so that she could learn about Lovecraft and Cthulhu. She may not be able to pronounce Cthulhu, but she could read it, and she happily (it seemed to me, anyway), critiqued my stories. She would note where she was unsure if something I had included would be known by my intended audience, but otherwise, she focused on writing. Because good writing is, after all, good writing.

Katherine SangerKatherine Sanger was a Jersey Girl before getting smart and moving to Texas. She’s been published in various e-zines and print, including Baen’s Universe, Black Chaos, Wandering Weeds, Spacesports & Spidersilk, Black Petals, Star*Line, Anotherealm, Lost in the Dark, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, and RevolutionSF, edited From the Asylum, an e-zine of fiction and poetry, and is the current editor of “Serial Flasher,” a flash fiction e-zine. She’s a member of HWA and SFWA. She taught English for over 10 years at various online and local community and technical colleges. You can check out links to her many, many blogs at or find her at Facebook or twitter.

Author Interview: Bryan O’Raighne

Bryan O’Raighne is an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal, but believes that elements of romance and mystery enhances his stories. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Brien O'RaighneMy name is Brien O’Raighne. I am a divorcee and have a son. I, also, have a daily job I go to until my books can make enough to supplement everything I need. I love to write and have been doing so for some time.

When and why did you begin writing?

I think that it is something that I have always been doing. I have always been writing and making up stories, which started with superhero stories. But I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of High School.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself that for a long time. Like I said before, I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of high school

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

My current book, Royal Pains, is really being relaunched since I was released by the publisher who originally published it. Anyways, it is about Douglas Harley and his adventures to rescue Querilla Opaaca and return her home. However, that is not easy. He learns more about his family and ties to her overall. Also, on the planet of Varia there is a resistance movement trying to break the occupation of the Coalition.

What inspired you to write this book?

How long of a list would you like…Well, it is inspired by many, many things. Hmm. Here goes: Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, X-Men, Superheroes in general, Dungeons & Dragons, Babylon 5, Firefly, etc. Heavily inspired by Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Superhero mash-up

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style specifically is what I call free flowing. When I write, I see the scenes flowing before me as I lay them down first onto the pad of paper or spiral notebook before going back to type them into the computer.

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

Wow. Never really thought about this. Most of my titles just come into my head. Not really any spectacular way that I came up with the book title. It’s a fairly common title too. Found out much later about that.

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

Message in my books? Not really. My characters tend to be rather complicated. I show both sides of the characters. I do not tend to lump them into strictly evil, strictly good categories. I try to show the grayness that they lie in.

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

Not by a long shot. I try to let my characters tell me who they are and what’s going on. I do go back sometimes to look over the book and my characters sometimes will hand me information they left out in the beginning.

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

Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Timothy Zahn, Roald Dahl, and JK Rowling. I find that they are able to tell great stories with concise details, including dialects and imagery.

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

Mark Twain is who I would consider a mentor. Not because he is a distant cousin, but because he could help in the mastery of the written word. I don’t pride myself on being an expert. I know I am not. But I expect myself to get better each and every day. They day my work is perfect is the day I stop writing.

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

I designed the book cover. I had no other choice on selecting myself as illustrator. This cover was initially started with my previous publisher, but the cover artist left before it could be completed. Thus, I took over and added the rest of the other elements to it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers. The obvious is to write. But what are you going to write. You need inspiration. So, take in everything that you can through books, movies, TV, life itself. You never know what you will use to be the writer you will be. Also, remember this simple fact, your first work WILL NEVER be your best it will be your worst, but that’s okay because it sets your bar for you to climb above and continually raise to beat.

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

I hope you enjoy this book. It is relaunched since being dropped by Ravenswood Publishing. It will arrive through Rising Dragons Publishing. There are new material and edits that were not there before.

Book Cover Royal PainsBrien O’Raighne
Houston, TX

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Guest Post: Why Reader Reviews Matter by Gail Z. Martin

Ereader and Book Reviews

When you add a review on Goodreads or Amazon or mark off the number of stars you deem a recently-read book worthy to receive, you may not realize how important your rating is to your favorite author. And likewise, if you hurry on to the next book without bothering to leave a comment or mark the stars on a book you’ve just finished, it may not occur to you that you’ve done a slight–but important–disservice to an author whose work you’ve enjoyed and want to see more of.

Once upon a time, people bought books in bookstores and depended on either newspaper/magazine reviewers or knowledgeable booksellers for recommendations, as well as their friends and families. In today’s world, a large percentage of books are purchased online, without the opportunity for readers to ask a friendly bookstore worker for advice, and many people live far away from the friends and family members who share their reading tastes. Newspapers and magazines have drastically cut ‘lifestyle’ sections like book reviews. And while it’s true that citizen journalist reviewers have rushed in to fill the void, their work is less accessible than the reviews that were delivered with the morning or evening daily newspaper.

That means readers looking for a new book or a new author make spur-of-the-moment decisions based on the free online excerpt available on sites like Amazon, or decide whether a book will be helpful or to their taste from the reader comments, ratings and reviews either on Amazon and other bookselling sites, or on Goodreads.

Even established bestselling authors like to hear from readers who have enjoyed their work. I’m not sure that any author outgrows wanting to be told that someone liked their book. And even famous authors wince when at negative reviews, particularly if the language is unkind. (Yes, authors read reviews, even though everyone tells us not to. We celebrate the good ones and despair over any that are less than glowing.

But beyond sending a message to your favorite author, book ratings, reviews and stars are increasingly important as bookselling becomes an online transaction instead of an in-person interaction. With the shrinking number of physical bookstores, it’s difficult for readers to wander the isles searching for a cover or title that strikes their fancy. And since many of the existing stores have cut back on inventory, they’re less likely to stock as many specialty and special-interest books as before. Small press books rarely make it onto bookstore shelves unless the author is local or the subject is of local interest.

Add to these trends the reality that the big publishing houses have cut back on new books from many established authors who are well-regarded but not quite mega-bestsellers. These authors then bring out their new books with smaller publishers, and may have difficulty getting shelf space in stores. Advancements in digital printing and ebooks have dramatically increased the number of self-published and small press titles. Readers looking for a new book face clutter, confusion and a fragmented marketplace.

Reader reviews, stars and ratings, as well as citizen journalist book bloggers are the beacons in the storm, helping baffled readers find the books best suited to their interests.

If you like a particular author or enjoy a certain series, the best thing you can do (in addition to buying a copy of the book and encouraging your friends and local library to do the same) is to rate and review the books you enjoy. By helping your favorite books and authors rise above the crowd, you’re helping to ensure that their sales sustain the publisher’s interest in more books in that series or by that author.

Likewise, please think twice before down-rating a book for anything other than poor writing. Slow shipping, damaged covers, and other production mishaps are out of the author’s control. I’ve seen authors given a one-star review because the reader didn’t like the package Amazon used to ship the book! Trust me when I say that the author was not the one doing the shipping.

I’d argue that “I wish the book had done X instead of Y” is also not a reason for a poor review. The author wrote the book in the way he/she saw the story going. It’s his/her story, and that’s the author’s right. If you feel strongly that a different story would be better, write that different story with your own characters and settings. Many a career has started this way!

Ratings on Amazon factor into how often a book is suggested in the ‘if you liked this, you might like that’ bar. Amazon’s algorithm to suggest books, as well as the visibility boost that comes from being paired to a similar bestseller, is one of the most valuable things that can happen to a book. Your comments help the books you like to get the attention they deserve.

So if you like an author or a series and want to see more, use the power of your voice to give the ratings/reviews that will help more people discover the book!

Iron Blood Book CoverCheck out my new Steampunk novel Iron and Blood, co-written with Larry N. Martin, set in an alternative history Pittsburgh in 1898. In stores July 7!

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series; The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Author Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin, Co-Author of Iron Blood
Author Larry N. Martin
Larry N. Martin, Co-Author of Iron Blood

Scifaiku – Drop

Scifaiku - Drop

Drop

shot from LaGrange Point
platinum package explodes sand
special delivery to Earth

*poem published in Far Horizons Magazine – June 2015

A Scifaiku by Wendy Van Camp
Illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

Scifaiku poem is based off the idea of mining the asteroids. It is science fiction now, but in the near future it will be science fact.