Comic Logic’s Fourth Anniversary

Update 4/19/19: Unfortunately, a scheduling difficulty prevents me from participating in the event. I’m planning on joining Comic Logic on May 4th for Free Comic Book day.


On April 20th, I’ll be appearing at Comic Logic‘s fourth anniversary celebration. I’ll be signing my book, The Music of Mars, and talking about sci-fi in general. The fun starts at 11 a.m.

Here are a few pictures from last year.

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Professional Headshots

At the beginning of February, I sat for professional headshots to use on social media and in my books. I chose Scarlett Heart Photography after seeing incredible pictures a friend had taken.

Scarlett Heart photographs in natural light, so I couldn’t wear my glasses as they darken when outdoors. For an hour and a half, everything was blurry because I’m nearsighted, but it was worth it. I followed instructions (the key to getting a great result), changed outfits, and tried several expressions ranging from serious to outright laughing.

Did I feel slightly foolish laughing at nothing? Yes. But you do what you have to do. I kept in mind that the actors in the Marvel movies often were reacting to something that wasn’t physically there. And all I was doing was sitting, not getting clobbered by Cap’s shield or Thor’s hammer.

In the end, I received excellent photos from which to chose. For them, Angela Bennett-Zoellner at Scarlett Heart Photography did as I instructed: don’t erase the wrinkles and don’t get rid of the gray hair. I earned every one of them! Though, I didn’t realize I had such prominent Crow’s Feet–that was a bit of a wake-up call.

I included my favorite on this post. It will go in my book, too. I used another photo for all of my social media.

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Photo by Scarlett Heart Photography

If you’re in the market for professional photographs, I highly recommend Scarlett Heart Photography.

You can check out Scarlett Heart Photography:
Facebook: @ScarlettHeartPhotographybyAngela
Instagram: Scarlett_Heart_Photography_
Website: https://scarlettheartphotography.shootproof.com/

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The Music Of Mars is a Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist

FINALIST-medal2018-colourToday, I received an email announcing I was a finalist in The 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards in the Adult Fiction category.

The Music of Mars Book Photo

Here is the entire list for Adult Fiction.

Category 5 Books for Adults (fiction)
8 Seconds to Midnight, John Leifer
A Contrary Wind, Lona Manning
A Friend in Deed, G D Harper
A Gathering For Claudette, Robert Fortune
A Line Intersected, David Grant Urban
A Sparrow Falls, Vicki Olsen
All But What’s Left, Carrie Mumford
Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1), Sunshine Somerville
And If I Fall, Robin Reardon
Another Ocean to Cross, Ann Griffin
Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor 3, Matt Pike
Apotheosis, Joshua Edward Smith
AROON, THE DUNCULLEN SAGA, M. B. Gibson
Behind the Fan, Caroline Walken
Best of All Gifts, Sheila M. Cronin
Bocas, Thomas M. Barron
Broken Sea, Nigel Peace
Diamonds at Dawn, Catalina
Discussion of a Decent Dream, E Curtis
Fait, Christy & Sarah Newman
Fateful Decisions, Trevor D’Silva
Finding Amor, Allison K. Garcia
Five Fathoms Beneath, J.R. Alcyone
Fresh Off the Starship, Ann Crawford
God Makings I: The New Hubris, Dave Pryor
Happy as a Partridge: Life and Love in Madrid, Kate Boyle
Hostile Takeover, Cristelle Comby
I Have Demons, Christopher Adam
In Pain and Blood, Aldrea Alien
Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep’s Story, A. M. Watson
Life Without Shoes, Emma Cyrus
Lili, Shlomo Kalo
Love Everlasting: because love knows no boundaries, Chris Bakos
Maddy’s Wings, Jan Porter
Midwife of Normandy, Carole Penfield
Mira’s Way, Amy Maroney
Misfortune of Song, Christy Nicholas
Misfortune of Vision, Christy Nicholas
Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, B. Lynn Goodwin
Nico’s Warriors: Veterans’ Revenge, Mitchell Nevin
Of Half a Mind, Bruce M. Perrin
Orc Road Trip, Robbie Mahair
Pas De Deux: A Dance For Two, Lynn Turner
Payback, Chris Calder
Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin, Hannah Lynn
Pocketful of Bones, Julie Frayn
Radioactive Evolution, Richard Hummel
Reckless Obsession, Dai Henley
Resonance, Jennifer Greenhall
Sally, J Schlenker
Scout Pilot of the Free Union, Will Macmillan Jones
Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright World War II Mystery, Mary Adler
Smokescreen, Alan Reynolds
Still Breathing, E. A. Fournier
Straybeck Rising, Michael Lynch
Survivor’s Dawn, Ashley Warren
Tequila Rose Virginity Blues, Wendy Jayne
The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, Hannah Lynn
The Breaking of Liam Glass, Charles Harris
The Carlswick Mythology, SL Beaumont
The Cass of the Slain Soprano, Susan Moore Jordan
The Color of Cold and Ice, J Schlenker
The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride, Joe Siple
The Gift: a novella, Lolli Powell
The Gods Who Harvested Men (The Panagea Tales Book 2), McKenzie Austin
The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming: Book One: Theory, Sienna Tristen
The Labyrinthine Journey, Luciana Cavallaro
The Mage’s Tome: Cry of the Acere Duology: Book I, Arisawe Hampton
The Moving Blade, Michael Pronko
The Music of Mars, George G. Moore
The Shaman’s Apprentice, by B. Muze
The Sheriff’s Catch, James Vella-Bardon
The Spanish Indecision, Sarah-Jane Fraser
The Storyteller’s Throne, Jocelyn Bates
The Suicide Watcher, Gayle Curtis
The Tree That Grew Through Iron, McKenzie Austin
The Wight Thing, Elisabeth Marrion
Tinsel in a Tangle, Laurie Germaine
Touch Sensitive, Lee Isserow
Uncle Greg’s Treasure: A Novel Full of Riddles and Time Zones, Cédric H. Roserens
What? B. James
Writers of the Future volume 34, by L. Ron Hubbard and Brandon Sanderson

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A Christmas Thank You

christmas thank you

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York Book Expo

On November 3, 2018, I had a table at the York Book Expo. I met a lot of interesting people, talked sci-fi, and sold books.

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I also gave away a lot of leftover Halloween candy!

It was a good time, and I look forward to doing it again.

 

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Nature, Up Close

I took a guided sunset kayak cruise through the marshes of Fripp Island, SC. I expected to witness some nature,  watch the sun set, and maybe do a little paddling. What I got was really the coolest two hours I’ve spent in a long time!

Continue reading

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The Music of Mars-Gretchen’s Personal Journey

The Music of Mars Book PhotoIn The Music of Mars, Gretchen journeys to Mars to decipher strange symbols in a remote cave. I’ve written a lot about this outer journey, but her internal journey is just as fascinating.

She begins the story disagreeing with her project leader over the meaning of artifacts found in Antarctica. She believes the truth is most important and revealing it is her greatest desire. Further, if she does her work to the best of her ability, she’ll achieve her goals of understanding ancient peoples better and of advancing in the field, eventually leading her own expeditions.

Soon afterward, she discovers her project leader has blackballed her. No matter how right she may be or how hard she has worked, she can’t get archaeological work on Earth.

On Mars after hearing about the Marsee’s problems with Interplanetary and their spies embedded within MarsVantage, she concludes their issues don’t affect her. After all, she merely needs to decode the symbols and return home with her pay.

As events unfold, she assists Frank in finding a spy, though she feels that doing so will smooth the way in deciphering the symbols.

Toward the end, she pushes aside her original goal, foregoing the return-home pay, convincing MarsVantage to allow her to pursue a more significant discovery, which could change the course for MarsVantage, Frank, herself, and humanity. She further agrees to help Frank entrap another spy solely because it will help MarsVantage utilize the newest discovery.

Gretchen learns that considerations beyond her work can affect her work, and to be successful, she must handle them with as much care as ancient artifacts.

Get a free short story when you sign-up for my mailing list.

Every purchase of  The Music of Mars entitles the reader to download two free short stories. See the back of the book for details.

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The Music of Mars–Reviews

Already, several readers asked about a sequel to The Music of Mars. I will write another, and I’m actively considering events to challenge Frank, Gretchen, and the Earth archaeologists working in the Bvindu city named The Vault of Ages.

A GoodReads reader left this comment in part:

It was very accessible and didn’t have a lot of technical language that went over my head. The characters were likeable, and I really enjoyed the imagination of what it would take to build an entire city on Mars.

An Amazon reader commented in part:

It has everything you look for in sci-fi, adventure, betrayal, aliens, and so much more.

Another Amazon reader left this message in part:

…this book had me hooked from page 1.

One last Amazon review in part:

I’m so glad I came across this book and decided to take a chance on a new author.

The Music of Mars Book CoverAnd I’m pleased beyond words that people are enjoying the story. Thank you for taking a chance on a debut novel.

Every purchase includes instructions for downloading two more related short stories at no cost.

You can buy The Music of Mars at Amazon.com.

You can sign-up for my mailing list and download a free short story about the fateful event that caused MarsVantage and Interplanetary to go there separate ways.

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The Music of Mars-The Antagonists

Part of the fun in writing is the opportunity to create characters to interfere with the needs and desires of the main characters.

The trick is to give the antagonists an excellent reason to oppose the main characters.

In The Music of Mars, Peter Konklin, the CEO of Peter Konklin Interplanetary, lost control of MarsVantage twelve years earlier when the government split off MarsVantage after an airlock accident. In Peter’s mind, he built MarsVantage, and it belongs to him.

He wants it back, and he’s pulling strings with the government to tighten the screws, so when the company fails, he can swoop in and buy them on the cheap.

As MarsVantage goes after a prize at a price they can barely afford, Konklin reasons that their success could hinder his efforts. He directs his people, Heather and John, to stop Gretchen and Frank on the Martian plain. Each of them have their own desires and complying with Konklin’s orders will help achieve them.

I think the reader can identify with Konklin’s desire–his means, on the other hand, places him on the wrong side of the reader’s sympathies.

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReaderWant to learn more? Check out The Music of Mars page, or buy the paperback or Kindle edition.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came about.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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The Music of Mars, the Government, and Blackmarkets

In The Music of Mars, I looked at current government initiatives and extrapolated what the future would look like within the context of the overall story.

Seventy-five years ago, marriage was a till-death-do-us-part proposition. These days, it can be relatively temporary as it’s easy to divorce, and there’s no stigma in doing so.

I put a finite time (five years) on marriage with the contract auto-renewing. A written statement presented 30 days before the contract’s end is required to prevent the auto-renewal.

Far more interesting is the trend for the government (local, state, federal) to tax or outright forbid the consumption of items it deems unhealthy. Today, Seattle and Philadelphia tax sugary drinks. New York City disallows the purchase of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

What’s the next step? An outright ban. Nearly 100 years ago, Prohibition prevented the legal sale of alcohol. I see a new wave of prohibitions coming in the future. They’ll take out soda, chocolate (and other candy), tobacco, and even sushi. The government will use health as the reason.

People will fight back by going underground and creating black markets. If enough people want something, someone will provide it for a price. Prohibition demonstrates this fact perfectly. In the novel, black markets abound on Earth, some fixed in backrooms of aboveboard places while others move from one seedy venue to another.

Black markets add an extra dimension to The Music of Mars, one that is fun and affects the plot unexpectedly.

For more information about The Music of Mars, click here.

Starting on May 29, 2018 for a limited time, the Kindle edition of The Music of Mars is on sale. #kindledeals

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