The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Sci Fi Themed Brothel Near Area 51

By Piper Bayard

Star Wars Princess Leia and Jobba the Hut

For those who have always dreamed of an out-of-this-world threesome.

Alien Cathouse? Wonder why they went with that instead of Area 69? Will this make Princess Leia the first Disney Princess to end up in a brothel? Will there soon be a Disney-themed brothel near Magic Mountain? Speculation is endless.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

So now let’s sweeten things up a bit with a recipe from author Amber Medina. Citrus Almond Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream

Terrific article from Bestselling Authors Jen Talty and Bob Mayer about The Relevance of Customer Reviews and Discoverability.

Where Children Sleep Page

image from Amazon.com

 

Christine Moore brings us a fascinating post by Sunny Skyz with some outstanding pictures from Where Children Sleep, a large format collection of photographs of children’s bedrooms from around the world by photographer James Mollison. 17 Children and Their Bedrooms from Around the World. I can’t encourage you enough to take a look at this.

The 50 Coolest Inventions from All 50 States via Bestselling Author Larry Enright.

Some outstanding perspective on the latest Ft. Hood shooting by Jenn Carpenter, who lived there. The Truth about Ft. Hood. Thanks to  Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell for pointing me to this.

Kudos to this Aquinas College class for The Best Classroom April Fool’s Prank Ever. Seriously. This was awesome!

Campaign Style Poll of the Week

All the best to all of you for a week of having fun with sci fi.

Join in comments at 

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . 

Sci Fi Themed Brothel Near Area 51

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Everything I Know About Writing Sci Fi I Learned from Star Trek

By Piper Bayard

There are dozens of books out there that will teach you to write, but I learned everything I need to know about writing Sci Fi from Star Trek: The Original Series. Star Trek has it all.

Star Trek Original Series

Great Structure

The typical episode starts with some kind of “normal world” setting. Spock is irritating Bones, or Kirk is settling into his bridge chair after a strenuous night seducing an alien. The ship or crew is attacked by a mysterious force that’s set on complete domination or destruction of the future world as we know it. The struggle ensues. The Starfleet crew responds by learning and growing in a way that makes them capable of being the heroes they were hired to act like. It all culminates in a grand battle and the enemy’s defeat, followed by a denouement consisting of a pensive thought or a humorous exchange. The hero’s journey in an hour, minus commercials.

Regardless of what kind of novels we are writing, they need structure. Look to Star Trek.

Cool Gadgets

Star Trek has the lock on cool gadgets. Warp engines, communicators, motion sensor doors, etc., and Bones McCoy always has some sort of scanner in his hand that makes surgery unnecessary. But as with all great Sci Fi, each of these enterprising gadgets is a logical extension of existing scientific theory.

Star Trek Kirk Pregnant Meme

Science fiction definitely needs some science in it, and it’s okay if we indulge our imaginations to the limit. But we need to stay rooted in reality so that people will quickly relate to our worlds without being distracted by objects that have no frame of reference.

When we pull pie in the sky technology out of the air, our stories become about the gadgets. Readers may get a kick out of gadgets, but they don’t relate to gadgets. We must always remember that the meat of our stories is our people. Transporter beams and food replicators are only side dishes.

BTW, Bones’ scanning instruments are mostly salt & pepper shakers acquired from garage sales and the like. And the motion sensor doors?  People standing behind the wall waiting for cues to pull them back when someone approaches. The Shat cracked his nose more than once when the “door men” weren’t paying attention. But today those and so many other Star Trek gadgets are part of our current reality because they were based on science in the first place.

Hot Babes

Spock Vulcan of Love Meme

James T. Kirk was Da Bomb back in the day. Always passionate, always taking the go-for-broke gamble and winning, and always getting either the girl or the alien. Even if we prefer the cool, emotionally unavailable guys, we girls have Spock and plenty of material for Pon Farr fantasies. And for the guys, there’s a limitless selection from the beautiful, competent Uhura, to pixie-like, mute empaths, to an occasional dominatrix.

Lesson to be learned? Every good Sci Fi story needs a babe to build a dream on.

Extra Crew Members

Somewhere between our third and fifth episodes of Star Trek, we all catch on that whenever there is an extra crew member present, someone is going to die a horrible death. This has both Do This and Don’t Do This lessons.

Most Interesting Man Star Trek Red Shirt

DO put in extra crew members (characters) to murder, mutilate, torture, blow up, starve, kidnap, feed to monsters, and take back to the pod for a slow blood drain, etc. But DON’T broadcast which characters those are by giving them all red shirts. Treat them with just as much attention as your regular crew so that we (the readers) are surprised when they die, and we mourn them.

High Concept Parable

The most important element of great writing, including Sci Fi, is an idealistic integrity. That can be anything from a halcyon future worth fighting for to a post-apocalyptic world where at least some humans retain their humanity. Star Trek: The Original Series is penultimate in this respect.

Star Trek takes on themes such as racism, class warfare, human rights, feminism, and the role of technology in society, but it never comes out and tells us that. Instead, it speaks to us in parables.

Let’s take racism, for example, which was a violently charged issue during the 1960s, as it has become once again. Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, makes the radical move of casting a racially diverse crew, and then making their racial diversity irrelevant. Instead, he uses alien races to teach his lessons about racism.

Star Trek Half Black Half White

Each of these alien races behaves in very human ways and represents some human race or culture. That allows us to relate to them, even if we do not consciously identify them. Klingons at the time represented the Soviets, our sworn enemies. Romulans were the Chinese behind their Bamboo Curtain. And Spock was the minority outsider within our own American society.

In Star Trek, these alien races and their interactions with humans reveal our fears and small-mindedness to us, as well as show us what is possible when we all work together with respect and good will to solve our problems. In doing so, it calls us to be better people.

The fascination of Science Fiction is its ability to show us dreamers and romantics what is possible. To remind us that there is reason for our struggles, and that no matter how grim our reality might be, there is always hope for a better day. When we write Sci Fi, that hope is the gift we give to our readers. The gift I received from Star Trek.

Write well and prosper. 🙂

The Nine Year Baby — FIRELANDS Cover Reveal

By Piper Bayard

Most babies take nine months. Some take nine years.

Nine years ago, a friend offered to get me into the insurance business. I had an inactive law license, and my kids had just started back to school. It made sense. They would pay for my licensing and get me set up in business. Money coming through the door on my schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for a recovering attorney/stay-at-home mom. . . . Except for one thing. If I poured my energy into starting an insurance business, I would never write a book. I could live and die happy without ever selling an insurance policy, but I couldn’t live and die happy if I never wrote a book. And so it began.

Writing in notebook Can Stock 2377066

The first draft took 5 1/2 years. Yes, really. I sat in the corner of the coffee shop, playing with my memories of all of the people I knew and wanted to know and telling whatever story they directed me in that day. Plot? Why have plot when you have 78 main characters? Tension? Who needs that? Books are where we go to escape tension, right? I took every night, weekend, and summer vacation off, along with an entire year to care for my mother. Eventually, though, I had what was sure to be the next #1 New York Times best selling novel, not to mention a blockbuster movie starring a younger Kiera Knightley and Ian Somerhalder. All of my family and friends loved it. It would produce the greatest bidding war in publishing history!

Then a few rejections started rolling in. What? Couldn’t they see my vision? I swallowed enough of my pride to hire an editor. Enter Kristen Lamb, best selling author, social media jedi, and editor. One of the teachers from my first Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Conference. When she quit laughing, she called me up and spent five hours telling me exactly what was wrong with my book. I scrapped my “baby” and started over. Page one.

Kristen taught me the difference between writing a novel and hanging out with my imaginary friends. Over the course of the next year and a half, I slaughtered 68 of my favorite 78 characters, introduced a wicked antagonist, wrote action that was connected to a plot, and actually had a few people disagreeing with each other along the way. At the same time, also with Kristen’s help, I built a social media platform which connected me with several best selling authors who I now call my friends and mentors.

After another, much more successful edit, it was time to polish and market. With all of the upheaval in New York among the Big However-Many-Are-Left-Standing-Today, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted an agent or the traditional model. After all, I had a brilliant publishing attorney, Susan Spann, in my corner. I focused on writing my next book–a spy thriller with my writing partner Jay Holmes. It was enough to let my dystopian thriller shake out as it would.

With time and recommendations from Kristen and other new friends, I met up with best selling author and publisher Aaron Patterson of Stonehouse Ink. He chatted with me a bit and decided I wouldn’t be too much of a pain to work with (I hope he still thinks that), so I sent him my manuscript. He welcomed me to the outstanding Stonehouse family of authors.

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

I’m proud to present FIRELANDS. My nine year dystopian thriller baby. She will be delivered by Stonehouse Ink on June 14 at Amazon, and later at other outlets. I hope she will come to mean as much to you as she has to me. I also hope the rest of my babies take nine months or less.

My profound thanks to Kristen Lamb for making me her social media guinea pig and writing student. Since we met in 2010, she founded WANA International, which is dedicated to providing instruction and support to help other authors on their paths. I can’t recommend her and WANA highly enough.

My thanks, also, to each and every one of you, our readers, for your support in helping me realize this dream. You are the reason.

Next week, I’m swimming back upstream to where it all started, the DFW Writers Conference. This time, I will be a teacher.

Holmes and I wish you an outstanding week of coming closer to your dreams.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Field on Fire Canstock

FIRELANDS

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

The Next Big Thing

By Piper Bayard

We usually avoid writing about writing on our blog, but it’s time for an update. Big things are happening for Holmes and I this year. Not only are we now featured bloggers at the Social N Network*, but we have been picked up by Stonehouse Ink Publishing. The first book due out is one of mine, SEEDS, a dystopian sci-fi that will be released this spring. Look for our Bayard & Holmes spy thriller, APEX PREDATOR, later this year.

When I mentioned our progress to our great friend and International Best Selling Author Vicki Hinze, Vicki immediately invited me to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

A Blog Hop is a way for readers to discover new authors. On this stop, I’ll tell you a bit about SEEDS by answering ten set questions, and then I’ll link you to other authors who answer the same questions.

My gratitude to Vicki Hinze for inviting me to participate in this event.  You can click the following links to learn more about Vicki and her books.

Website:  Vicki Hinze

Buy her books: http://www.amazon.com/Vicki-Hinze/e/B000AQ48S4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

The Next Big Thing

1: What is the working title of your book?

SEEDS

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The story I like to tell is how I was SCUBA diving one day when a handsome merman with a striking resemblance to Hugh Jackman gave me a magic abalone shell with the word “destiny” engraved on it. I asked him if he’d like to have dinner with me. You know. As friends. I mean, my husband wouldn’t mind. Not too much. Hugh Jackman Merman declined with some tale about needing to sort his mer-socks. So I surfaced and opened the shell. Inside were the words “apocalypse,” “famine,” and “prophet.” Then, I fell into a magical sleep and woke up with the book fully formed in my mind. . . . That’s the story I like to tell.

The truth is that I haven’t got a clue. I wake up at 4 a.m. with this stuff in my head and write it down. I don’t make it up. It moves through me.

Hugh Jackman US Navy wikimedia

Hugh Jackman Merman, image from US Navy

3: What genre does your book come under?

SEEDS is a dystopian sci-fi thriller.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My dearest hope is that one day Kristen Stewart will star . . . Just kidding. Really.

The main character, Archer, I envision as something of a Kiera Knightley. Her love interest, Quinn, could be played by Ian Somerhaulder, Chris Pine, Liam Hemsworth, or Hugh Jackman Merman. I’m not picky.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In a post-apocalyptic world where hunger is a weapon, a huntress must befriend her worst enemy to overthrow a theocratic dictator before he exterminates her people.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

SEEDS will be traditionally published by indie publisher, Stonehouse Ink. I didn’t put much effort into finding an agent, but Holmes and I do work closely with our publishing attorney and fellow author, Susan Spann.

Stonehouse Ink Logo

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

All my life. But for the purposes of this question, four months.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Parts of SEEDS have an unfortunate resemblance to THE HUNGER GAMES, which I never even heard of before writing my first draft. Apparently, almost every author who’s been in the business for long has suffered this unjust circumstance so I’m rolling with it. Taking it on the chin. Sucking it up. I don’t mind. Really. *stabs voodoo doll with pin*

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A friend offered me the opportunity to sell life insurance. It made sense and dovetailed nicely with my law degree. Thinking about it, I realized that if I accepted, I would die some day having never written a book. I declined her offer and got busy. So on all of those days when I’d rather watch the dog catch flies than work, I remember that I could be selling insurance and I clock in at the WIP.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

SEEDS, while it does not contain a Hugh Jackman Merman, is a story with many levels that can alter with every read. It can be a light action thriller, a future world escape, or an experience of the limitless change that is possible in one seemingly isolated act. Every reader will see something different in it.

This is what people are saying about SEEDS.

“With echoes of UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN and HUNGER GAMES, SEEDS is a sprawling adventure ranging across a world racked by post-apocalyptic want, denial, and prophetic dictum. Equal parts heroic quest and morality play, it races forward on a current of deftly woven characters and breakneck action, never failing to deliver what every reader wants—a helluva good story.” ~~ Ryne Douglas Pearson, screenwriter of KNOWING and bestselling author of SIMPLE SIMON and CONFESSIONS

“SEEDS envisions a terrifying and prescient future of a United States lost to the worst extremes.  Piper Bayard’s wonderfully relevant and beautifully realized fantasy tale would make George R.R. Martin proud as it combines the best of CHILDREN OF MEN with Stephen King’s seminal THE STAND. . . . The result is a major debut that is not to be missed.”~~ Jon Land, bestselling author of STRONG AT THE BREAK and BETRAYAL

“Piper Bayard explodes on the scene in SEEDS. Creative. Imaginative. Chilling and reassuring. A captivating tale well told.”~~ Vicki Hinze, bestselling author of DUPLICITY

These are the other authors on today’s Hop:

1.  Kathy Carmichael

2.  Kimberly Lyllewellyn

3.  Buzz Bernard

4.  Kellie Sharpe

Below are the authors who will join the Hop next Wednesday. I hope you will bookmark them and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases.

1.  Ellie Ann

2.  Jen L. Kirchner

3.  K.B. Owen

4.  Kerry Schafer

5.  Susan Spann

What is the Next Big Thing happening for you in 2013?

*The Social N Network is a network of news and events sites in over thirty cities across the US with a collective following upward of 500k. The flagship site is SocialInDC. Lonny Dunn of ProNetworkBuild is the brains and talent behind the business.

SocialIn Logo

Fun at Denver Comic Con

By Piper Bayard

DD and her friend, Livi, pulled me to my first Comic Con, and it was a hoot!

We arrived almost two hours late, and the lines to get in were still substantial.

DD and Livi dressed as UltraViolet and a bow-tied Dr. Who fan, respectively, on the first night.

DD went steampunk on Day Two.

Two of the first celebrities we saw were Han Solo and Princess Leia.

We also saw Star Gate Command . . .

Iconic cars . . .

And a number of people who once more proved that Spandex is a privilege, it is not a right. I spared myself (and you) those pictures.

We also found evidence that typos are not limited to my blogs or even to this plane of existence.

This isn’t a great picture of the poster. . . . Perhaps with another whetstone.

There were a number of outstanding costumes, but the best ones seemed to be on the guys.

But the biggest hit of the night? Had to be the Peeping Tom Bear outside the convention center. This bear had nothing to do with Comic Con, and everything to do with our taxpayer dollars at work. Oh, well. It gave me a laugh.

Have you ever been to a Comic Con or anything like it? 

Speaking of science and science fiction, my friend and New York Times best selling author of the Sigma Force series, James Rollins, will be holding a live chat session tomorrow, June 19, at 3 p.m. EST. A rare chance to hang out with this veterinarian turned world famous author and ask him any questions you like. See below for links and more specific time information.

All the best to all of you for maintaining appropriate use of Spandex.