Posted in Guest Post, New Release

Guest Post: Jim Robb on Space Force

Author Jim Robb takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Jim’s story is: Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates.  

 

I’m Jim Robb, and I wrote the story, “Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates”, which will appear in “Space Force: Building the Legacy”.

Back in my university days I accidentally found my way into the sport of fencing. One of the members of our club was a fellow student, a good friend — I was best man at his wedding — and one of the most challenging opponents I ever faced. His favourite tactic was the attack in second intention — he would make a false attack intended to draw an anticipated response which he would parry, and then proceed to win the hit with his counter-riposte. He had adopted this technique, he told me, after reading about it in a novel titled, “Scaramouche”. He in turn taught it to me, and it served me well.

This also served as my introduction to the works of Rafael Sabatini, the author of “Scaramouche”. Sabatini wrote some three dozen romance and adventure novels in the first half of the 20th century, several of which were made into swashbuckler films starring the likes of Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn. Once I started reading Sabatini’s stories I quickly became a fan. I was even lucky enough to find a first edition of his 1932 novel, “The Black Swan”, in a second-hand bookshop in Ottawa.

“Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates” is very much a tribute to Rafael Sabatini. As such, its title character shares her surname with a character in “The Black Swan”, and the leader of the asteroid pirates uses the name of that story’s hero as his nom de guerre. There had to be romance and, of course, a happy ending.

Most importantly, I had to find an excuse to make swordplay an integral part of a story set in the early part of the next century. My major break with the swashbuckler tradition came because I didn’t want Olivia to be a mere damsel in distress, so she became a combatant in her own right. I owed that much to my wife, my comrade-in-arms both with épée and C7 rifle.

The story is also my way of saying thanks to my friend Ken. You can be sure he’ll be getting an autographed copy of the book.

Future_USSF_SEAL_2
Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.
Posted in Writer's Life

Its METV: SciFi Scribe Style

Just turn on the camera, stick a microphone in front of me and get outta my way!

In the last 48+ hours I put in three appearances on various shows across the country. First, here in my new homestate of Nebraska, I was on Author Chat. The show is put on by the Nebraska Writers Guild, of which I am a proud member. You can catch the show here:

Author Chat

Then, 90 minutes later I was summoned from the bullpen to co-host The Writers Block with Bobbi Jean Bell on LA Talk Radio. Regular co-host Jim Christina was under the weather and opened the show to help celebrate its fifth anniversary. He then went back to bed so he can recover and get back to it next week. Get well soon, Jim! You can listen in here:

The Writer’s Block 5th Anniversary Show

I actually got to catch my breath on Friday, but Saturday evening I was back at it, this time on the Spilling Ink show. Both Jim Christina (guest) and co-host Jason LaVelle were out -of-action. But Katie and J.E. and I had a great time. And some of the questions and comments from the listeners were a hoot too. Watch it right here:

Spilling Ink

 

Not a bad 48 hours, eh?

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling: Chapter 12

THE CALLING 

A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli

© 2020 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. This is a work of fan fiction based in the universe of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is not intended to be sold, to be used to aid in any sale and is not to be copied or used in any other way by any other party.

 

CHAPTER 12

 

“It would appear that you arrived just in time for the celebrations, Captain,” Admiral Gibson remarked.

“So it would seem, Admiral,” Archer agreed. “We’d just entered orbit when the message from the Etalyian flagship arrived.”

“Have you been given any additional information from the Etalyian government regarding the withdrawal? Not that I am complaining that hostilities have ended mind you, but it strikes me as odd that they would let the Klingons off the hook for no reason.”

“You know as much as we do, sir,” Archer replied. “And until Prince Bari returns to make his full report, we won’t know the reason why he chose to spare Qo’noS.”

“I’m not sure I would have if I were in his place,” Gibson admitted. “But I’m damned glad he did. If Qo’noS had fallen the Klingons would have fought to the last man and the Romulans would have leapt in to take full advantage. Can you confirm how many Etalyian ships are returning from Klingon space?”

“We’re just now picking them up on long-range sensors and we’ve confirmed the initial reports from the Etalyians. The entire invasion fleet, save one ship that was destroyed in a Kamikaze run that destroyed the Klingon Shipyards near Q’an’taGh, is returning.”

“An incredible feat of military planning and execution,” Gibson remarked. “What I wouldn’t give to have someone like this Prince at Starfleet. We’ll be studying his tactics during this engagement for years at the Academy, Captain, mark my words.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Archer agreed. “Admiral, we’ve received very little information regarding the final battle at Qo’noS. How bad was it for the Klingons?”

“Archer, your Prince could have reduced the entire planet to its component atoms and there was nothing the Klingons could have done to stop him. I eagerly await your report detailing what stayed his hand. We can confirm he told the Chancellor not to send so much as a probe across the border again or he’d come back and finish what he’d started.

“The Klingons,” the Admiral continued, “appear to be taking him at his word on that account. What remains of their fleet has been ordered to steer well clear of their shared border. Any Commander who allowed his ship to get within ten kilometers of that line in space would be executed. I get the impression the Klingons want nothing more to do with the Etalyians and High Command is more worried about the Romulans right now anyway. There is a small faction that is screaming for revenge, but their numbers are too small to be of concern. The Vulcans are sending a diplomatic mission to Qo’noS to finalize a ‘peace treaty’ between the Etalyians and the Klingons.”

“I suppose ‘stay out of our space or else’ doesn’t leave the Klingons much in the way of negotiating room?” Archer asked.

“No, it doesn’t,” Gibson agreed. “And if the Klingons know what’s good for them, they won’t try to bargain for anything else than ‘you leave us be, we’ll leave you be’ for now. What is your impression of the Etalyian reaction? Will they honor Prince Bari’s decision?”

“The Prince is very popular here, Admiral. This campaign has done nothing but increase that popularity. The King seems pleased with his son’s decision. He’d ordered the Prince to make the Klingons pay for their crime and I think everyone can agree that he accomplished that in spades.”

“And then some,” Gibson agreed.

“But, like with the Klingons, there is a small faction that thinks the Prince should have finished off Qo’noS and kept going,” Archer added.

“How prominent is this faction?”

“Small, sir, but it is led by the younger Prince, Francesco. It could be the younger Prince actually feels they stopped too early or…”

“We have a bad case of sibling rivalry rearing its head and threatening to ignite this conflict all over again,” Gibson finished. “That’s the last thing we need right now, some young hothead with a chip on his shoulder kicking off a galactic shooting gallery.”

Archer nodded his head in agreement.

“Captain, we’re putting together a diplomatic mission to Etalya but it’ll be a few weeks before they can get there. We want to set up a diplomatic relationship with these people. You’re going to have to serve as an ‘Ambassador-at-large’ until the diplomats can get out there and formalize things.

“Throw every ounce of weight you have behind the King and the elder Prince,” Gibson continued. “Without ridiculing the younger Prince, make it clear that Earth’s government and Starfleet itself fully support the decisions made by Prince Bari during the Klingon campaign. Let’s keep the lid firmly on this powder keg. The longer we do, the less likely it will be that it’ll blow up in our faces. Good luck, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir,” Archer replied as the Admiral’s image faded from the Enterprise’s main view screen.

“Captain,” T’Pol reported after the call with the Admiral ended. “The lead Etalyian ships are expected to arrive in orbit within two hours. Prince Bari’s flagship is among them.”

“Very well, Commander,” Archer replied. “I’ll want the entire command staff ready to beam down to the surface in ninety minutes and in dress uniforms. We’ll be presenting ourselves as diplomats people, so everyone on their very best behavior planetside.”

Archer heard his crew acknowledge the order but kept his attention the forward screen showing the space near Etalya. He peered into the stars beyond as if he could see the returning fleet.

The Prince that led that fleet would be hailed as a conquering hero; this much Archer was certain of. But would he become known as more of a Julius Caesar or Genghis Kahn or would history place him in the role of a MacArthur or a Churchill?

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

 

 

 

Posted in Free Read Friday

FREE READ FRIDAY: A Modern Fairy Tale – Bokerah Brumley

It’s Friday and that means it is time for another Free Read Friday!!!! Since this is a holiday weekend, which means three days to read, I’ve scoured Amazon and found you a boxed set of three fairy tale fantasy stories sure to get you through the weekend. Better yet, the entire boxed set is absolutely free! Here’s the catch, it will only be available for free on Saturday May 23rd!!!!

(EDIT: This set is only free for one day, a fact I was just made aware of. My apologies for the confusion so make sure you download this tomorrow!)

A Modern Fairy Tale 1-3: Cindi/Ella: When Shoes Speak, The Source, and Sisters of the Keep by Bokerah Brumley.

A girl, a prince, and an evil pair of shoes.

Cindi Ella Lass didn’t have a career in Paris, Texas, in mind when she graduated with a 51OCXZJ99VLdegree in fashion, but her grandmother’s offer of a place to live (free rent!) entices her to the small town. When she arrives, she notices the most beautiful pair of crystal shoes in the shop next door… and she can’t get them out of her head.

Principe knows the crystal shoes have killed before, but he’s heartbroken when the shoes choose the lovely Cindi Ella as their next victim. With the help of Ainsworth, the talking mouse, Principe fashions a plan to defy his evil Uncle and keep Cindi from being the next victim.

Will Principe and Cindi Ella each find their happily ever after? Find out what happens when the shoes become the villain.

Read Cindi/Ella: When Shoes Speak for a new take on the traditional fairy tale.degree in fashion, but her grandmother’s offer of a place to live (free rent!) entices her to the small town. When she arrives, she notices the most beautiful pair of crystal shoes in the shop next door… and she can’t get them out of her head.

Principe knows the crystal shoes have killed before, but he’s heartbroken when the shoes choose the lovely Cindi Ella as their next victim. With the help of Ainsworth, the talking mouse, Principe fashions a plan to defy his evil Uncle and keep Cindi from being the next victim.

Will Principe and Cindi Ella each find their happily ever after? Find out what happens when the shoes become the villain.

Read Cindi/Ella: When Shoes Speak for a new take on the traditional fairy tale.

__________________________________________________________________

The Source of all magic has been kidnapped.

When Cindi Ella’s fairy grandmother falls ill, Cindi Ella learns the Source—a legendary mermaid and the origin of all magic—has been taken prisoner by an evil Cleric in another realm.

Cindi and Principe, Cindi’s fiancé, must travel to a different world to rescue the water-bound being… or Mémère will perish.
Using an enchanted looking glass, the duo steps through a water fountain portal and leaves the modern domain behind.
When they arrive in the KeeTow province, they meet Crimson, Indigo, and Daffodil, three primary magic wielders already determined to save the trapped mermaid.

The group bands together, avoiding capture by the soldiers of the green hand, battling a Sea Witch, and embarking on the “stupidest plan ever” to rescue the Source and save magic for all.
__________________________________________________________________

Cindi Ella Lass learns the origin of her magic mirror, a family heirloom handed down from two sisters…

Tulip and Tiger Lily are magic-wielding sisters in a realm where magic is outlawed. They’re wanted criminals with a reward for their heads and a bounty hunter hot on their tails.

After Tulip is kidnapped, Hugh is the only one with a clue about what happened. Tiger Lily is forced to trust the stranger. Her sister’s life hangs in the balance.

Together, Hugh and Tiger Lily storm the King’s castle to rescue Tulip and put an end to an evil plot to take over the realm.

Continue Cindi Ella’s fairy tale adventure in Paris, Texas.

Get your free copy of this boxed set – yes, the entire set is free on Kindle and you don’t have to have a Kindle Unlimited subscription either – right here:

A Modern Fairy Tale 1-3: Cindi/Ella: When Shoes Speak, The Source, and Sisters of the Keep

 

 

Posted in Guest Post, New Release

Guest Post: Brennen Hankins on Space Force

Author Brennen Hankins takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Brennen’s story is: One Time, One Night on Aldrin Station.  

 

On an otherwise normal weekday, I stumbled upon a unique opportunity, via my Facebook feed. I was in the middle of surfing through my notifications on my lunch break when I saw a call for submisssions to the “Space Force: Building A Legacy” anthology. The title struck me, and I immediately had a vision for a story.

You see, during my military career, I’ve heard it said multiple times that “Logistics win EBOOK_COVER copywars.” Off the top of my head, I can think of a few examples of this in action: logistics were a large factor in the reason why Texas ended up part of the United States instead of a Mexican one, why nobody has ever successfully invaded Russia from Europe, and why the Allies won over the Axis powers in World War II.

However, that’s only one part of the equation. In order to ensure a successful supply chain, not only do you have to be able to move goods and troops from one point to another, you have to move them to a secure point, where the resources in question can be utilized effectively. Troops need a place to sleep and eat. Planes, tanks and Humvees all need places to where they can take on fuel and have maintenance and repairs done. And you’re going to need spots to store all the food, cots and tools you need to accomplish this….

Thus, strategically located, fortified bases win logistics, which in turn, win wars.

These bases don’t spring up overnight, though. It’s a long road from a couple of tents set up under natural concealment to a fortified, heavily defended encampment, to an established base, complete with parade ground, Military Personnel & Finance Office, and bowling alley (Seriously). In the Air Force, such accomplishments are usually done via the backs and hands of Civil Engineering (CE) personnel/

It seemed only natural that the fledgling Space Force—which, upon venturing into unchartered space, would need to establish the same bases and supply chains as the American Armed Forces did when island hopping in the Pacific—would follow suit.

My entire military career has been within CE. This story pretty much wrote itself.

A few details needed to be established. Firstly, as America’s earliest migrants discovered along the Oregon Trail, there were bound to be indigenous folk around who didn’t take kindly to newcomers moving into their territory. Enter the Kalanuskanites, proud defenders of the frozen, vapor-shrouded moon of Titan. Second, rank protocols. My NCO buddies and I have been joking for awhile that those of us who got pulled from the Air Force to the Space Force, should it ever happen, would be reclassified as “Space Stargeants”, and I would be very remiss if I passed up the opportunity to use the joke in a meaningful way. Third, characters. Stargeant Grantham is an amalgam of every irritable, frazzled, ill-tempered Staff Sergeant I’ve ever met in my career, but Spaceman Padilla is partially based on a real person. (Specifically, an airman who had the unmitigated gall to play Wham’s “Last Christmas” within my presence last December, forcing me to experience “Whamaggeddon” for the first time, and to also write the single funniest (joke) Letter of Counseling in my career.) Throw in a few side characters, and the rest is history.

So, I had my characters, I had my setting, and I had my plot. But something else was missing.

Heart.

What makes a person do the things they do? Why do servicemen and women willingly sign their life and freedom (in part) away to serve their county. What motivates them to leave their families, get sent to far-off lands for extended periods of time, and put up with overbearing leadership, regulations that at times can seem impractical and nonsensical, and just the general drudgery of working in a massive organization?

Simple: These people love what they do.

I can speak on this one from experience. My job is awesome. I’ve traveled to places I never would have seen otherwise, made lifelong friends the world over I still keep in touch with today, and trained me in a skill that, if this writing thing doesn’t pan out, should help me make a good living once I finally separate from the military. Shoot, it’s because of the military that I’m even able to afford to sit down and write this blog post. Not exactly sure what I’d be doing otherwise. And I know I’m not the only person who has this mentality.

So, I wrote a story about people whose hearts are filled with dreams of space, who are just as eager to help get the rest of us off this mudball and into the stars.  Only difference is in the future, they have the means to lay the groundwork for us.

After all, heart (and logistics) wins wars.

 

Future_USSF_SEAL_2
Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.
Posted in Guest Post, New Release, Writer's Life

Guest Post: Doug Irvin on Space Force

Editor Doug Irvin takes over my blog today. He is the man who started it all, coming up with the idea for the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. 

Welcome to the opening of a new era, the era when space as an operating environment comes of age.

When I first heard the 45th President of the US call for a new branch of the military, my first reaction was excitement. Sure, several nations have ventured outside our atmosphere, and several vehicles have landed on the Moon, as well as Mars. But where

EBOOK_COVER copy

other branches of service have played a part in space activities, it was the primary focus for none of them. This announcement, however, set in motion a dedicated intent to go into space, and stay there.

My second reaction was the thought, what would their legacy over time be like. At this point, the Space Force had no legacy to lean on. Every other military of every nation on Earth has a legacy, a history, that helps define their members outlook. They all have their heroes, their screw-ups, their examples of how to behave – and how not to.

With that thought in mind I asked a few people I knew who were involved in either publishing or editing. The initial reaction wasn’t overwhelming. Hey, everyone has their own concerns, their own priorities. Developing a series of stories for a new concept wasn’t a pressing issue.

But several weeks later, one editor contacted me. If I were willing to undertake the receiving and editing of stories, he had a publishing imprint he had started a few years before, but never used. Would I take the challenge?

Would I! So with his guidance a call was put out for stories. And people responded.

The stories contained here are a sample of the ones I received. Some of the stories I couldn’t use. Understand that I did not have a theme I wanted the stories to follow (I won’t make that mistake again!), though I did have a few limiters. I decided that the Legacy would span a century of time – the first one hundred years of the Space Force. The stories had to project the Space Force in a positive light. A lot of very good stories don’t do that; but a negative slant wasn’t what I wanted.

And it had to be the United States Space Force. Several good stories fell out of the running because they presented more of a United Nations force. That was too wide a gap to span. A multi-national force has too great a swing in customs for a fledgling branch to handle. Too much dilution of ethos.

There was no restriction to the nationality of the writers – and in fact we have several foreign nationals represented here. But their stories maintained a USSF centered outlook.

In all, I’m impressed with the shared vision these people have presented. They aren’t identical, but they portray an identical wish for the stars. I hope you like them.

Many years ago I ran across a phrase that motivates me, and I think it does for these people.

Un rêve d’étoiles – A dream of stars.

That’s a fine focus.

Future_USSF_SEAL_2
Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.

 

Posted in Guest Post, News

Guest Post: Karl Gallagher on Space Force

Author Karl Gallagher takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Karl’s story is: Visitors.  

 

SF Grandmaster Lois Bujold says one of her sources of inspiration for stories is to find the “worst possible thing” to happen to a character. This provides plenty of conflict as the poor protagonist tries to evade the dread fate.
EBOOK_COVER copyFor a main character who is as arachnophobic as, say, I am, the worst possible thing would be trying to be diplomatic in an encounter with spider-like aliens. Big spiders. Van-sized spiders.
But a guy breaking down and gibbering just doesn’t make an entertaining story. So I turned the premise around: what if our very ugly aliens show up, and an arachnophile is recruited to negotiate with them. Someone who’s only qualification is that he’s an
arachnophile, and lacks all the other training for such high stakes talks.
That’s the situation for Space Force Captain Alan Micheletti. He’s switched from routine satellite operations to a first contact situation with no preparation.
Writing Micheletti let me draw on my experience in Air Force Space Command as a weather satellite operator. I commanded enlisted crews in executing real-time control. Later I programmed the satellites’ data acquisition. Fascinating work, but not a “people person” job.
For someone as nerdy as Micheletti–or me–getting through a conversation where a verbal blunder could seal the fate of the Earth is the Worst Possible Thing.
Karl K. Gallagher has designed launch vehicles, calculated orbits, simulated system performance, and evaluated profitability of a rocket start-up. That technical background went into his hard SF Torchship Trilogy, a finalist for the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel of 2018. Karl’s other writings include the portal fantasy The
Lost War and the upcoming space opera The Storm Between the Stars.
News about Karl’s new releases can be found at https://kelthavenpress.com/.
Future_USSF_SEAL_2
Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.