Go Deep, Young Writer, Go Deep

Go Deep, Young Writer, Go Deep Improving Depth of Character in Your Writing by C.D. Hersh Photo from Microsoft Clip Art Did you know that every year the month of April is celebrated as National Card and Letter Writing Month? We discovered this month, which is decreed official by USPS, while writing, Blood Brothers, the…

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Italian Cooking with Sloane Taylor: Easy Chicken & Pasta Dish to Try This Holiday Season

This scrumptious meal fills your home with a beautiful aroma that teases your taste buds. Sorry, no photos. My family polishes off this dish before I can snap the camera!

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The Steam Garden and the Haunted Tower: Japanese Steampunk Destination Travel

As 2015 winds to a close, we can look forward to all of the new travel and event opportunities available for 2016. Although there are many places and festivals anyone interested in steampunk can visit in North America, international interest in this style of speculative fiction/art is growing as well. One country that has developed…

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Alicia Joseph’s New Release: Loving Again

Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.

The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women. Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?

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Something Wicked(ly Cool) This Way Comes

“A theatre performance can now be disseminated worldwide with astonishing fidelity” Michael Billington (2014) writes, and I tend to agree. “You have to make the theater inclusive,” Catherine Tate (2015) argues, and “lure people by getting them excited about a theatrical experience.” The technology that allows the Digital Theatre to stream live performances to our phones, tablets, and computers has taken us one step closer to another immortal line from Shakespeare, which I paraphrase here: All the world can be a stage—as long as there is Wi-Fi available.

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What’s On the Menu in Speculative Fiction?

In elementary school children learn that the basic needs are air, water, food, and shelter in that order of importance. The need for other things, like love, security, and meaning, are lower on the level of significance. Anthropologists study the eating habits of a society in both basic forms and elaborate ritual purposes in order to gain cultural insights. The acts of obtaining, preparing, distribution, and eating of food are a fundamental part of a culture’s infrastructure. Is it any wonder, then, that food plays a principal role in the world-building of fiction realms and that some of the most famous and successful speculative fiction authors like Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Suzanne Collins devote a extraordinary amount of narrative time to the central questions of how, why, and where their characters eat?

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Research Can be a Fun Part of Writing Fiction

Most books require research to make them accurate, even if you are writing science fiction or fantasy; these story worlds still need to feel believable and logical to the readers. Most works include at least one or two aspects outside of the author’s personal experiences or knowledge. This information—these details—help to get the readers wrapped up in the story.

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Masks, Anonymity, and Excess

My new article for The Pandora Society: Geared Towards Speculative Fiction Masks were originally part of the regalia for religious rituals and early theater in Europe. The fashion of wearing masks as an accessory did not make its way to the Continent until the early 1570’s when Italian courtesans began wearing stylish face coverings in…

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In Salem Truth is Stranger than Fiction

The story of the witchcraft accusations, trials, and executions has captured the imagination of writers and artists in the centuries since the event took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Many of the literary interpretations have taken liberties with the facts of the historical episode in the name of literary and/or artistic license. Yet the facts of the events, and the investigations into the possible causes of the behavior of the girls who made the claims, are as compelling as any fictional narrative.

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Marci Boudreaux Wanders Down a Forgotten Path

This book really was a labor of love. A very long, painful labor…

Most of my books just flow. The stories are there and ready for the telling. Annie’s story was not like that. And it drove me freaking mad!

This story, much like the main character, was stubborn, impossible to move along when it wasn’t ready, but absolutely worth the trouble.

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The Last Witch Hunter is Good Speculative Fiction Fun

Why do professional film critics have a tendency to attack fans of genre films in their reviews? Whether it is steampunk, SciFi, or horror, snide comments from reviewers flow freely towards the movies, and toward people who enjoy them. Why should fans of any genre feel guilty for enjoying a movie?

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The Wild, Wild Life with Michael Weitz

Today author Michael Weitz shares memories of his life with Canadian Geese, Frogs, Mallard Ducks, and a Wild Heron named “Simon.” I hope that you all enjoy! Chris THE WILD LIFE by Michael Weitz Growing up in a small rural community has its charms though we rarely appreciate them until we’ve grown up. One of…

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Free For a Limited Time: Sloane Taylor’s French TartRomance

Although you may know Sloane Taylor for her wonderful recipes, she write equally wonderful novels. In French Tart, she manages to combine both her love of cooking and her love of romance. And it is free for a limited time. I hope that you all enjoy!

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Back to The Future: The Importance of DeLoreans & Time Travel

In the Back to the Future trilogy, the DeLorean time machine was Doctor Emmett Brown’s most successful invention. Comprised of a DeLorean DMC-12 sports car and a flux capacitor invented by Brown, the vehicle allowed Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and others to travel into the past and into the future. Today marks one of the most significant days in the trilogy—October 21st, 2015—the day that Marty and Doc Brown arrive in the future. In order to celebrate this occasion, we will take a look at the machine that made it all possible.* No—not the flux capacitor, but the iconic DeLorean automobile.

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Soul Solution By Kathryn McIntyre

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. Paranormal romance is not something I usually read, but I was intrigued by the author’s description of the characters. This did not feature vampires, werewolves, or zombies, but grim reapers: Romance with death incarnate is fascinating to say the least!

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Strandbeests, Hackbeasts, & Steamspiders

In 2007 Theo Jansen demonstrated his famous “strandbeest” invention at a TED Talks presentation. Strandbeests are wind driven creations that use no electronics and yet are able to wander the beaches. Each one is constructed of PVC electrical conduit, plastic tubing, and water bottles. They are able to count steps with a binary step counter, sense and flee from the edge of the water, and protect themselves from strong wind. The way they move is fascinating to watch.

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Steampunk and the French Connection

My new article for The Pandora Society: Geared Towards Speculative Fiction I hope that you all enjoy!

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Fried Chicken with a French Twist by Sloane Taylor

Please join Sloane Taylor as she makes some Down-Home Fried Chicken and talks about her new release, French Twist. This looks so good that I am planning to make it this weekend for my friends/family.  I hope it turns out as nice as Sloane’s recipe! Chris *********************** As American as Apple Pie By Sloane Taylor…

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Midwestern Travels–Broadhead, Wisconsin

I wanted to share just a few photos from my travels to Broadhead, Wisconsin. It is a wonderful town near where I live with a rich history and a very nice state trail. I think it is important to celebrate our own little corners of the world. There is beauty and history all around. We just have to look for it!

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Bursts of Creativity

One of my favorite stories about J.R.R. Tolkien centers around the first time he wrote the following line: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Tolkien scribbled this on an exam he was grading for one of his students at Oxford. These small notations can eventually develop into short stories, or into one of the most enduring fantasy epics of our time, which is why getting these ideas down on paper (or on the computer/tablet screen) remains important.

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Debating Books Versus E-Books? Carol Browne Offers a Compromise

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

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Celebrate #Peace Day

Today is designated by the UN as an International Day of Peace – an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Please join the loudest call for lasting peace the world has ever seen by marking the day in your homes and communities. Every act of kindness or forgiveness helps us all build peace one day…

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Review: The Caelimane Operation by Chris Pavesic

Another terrific review of The Caelimane Operation. Thank you to Ky Grabowski for taking the time to read and review my novel. This type of feedback is wonderful for all authors!

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Are Steam-Powered Cars in Our Future?

The horse was still the primary mode of transportation at the turn of the 20th Century in Europe and America, but that was poised to change. As people became more prosperous, they turned to the newly invented motor vehicle—available in steam, gasoline, or electric versions—for travel. Steam was already an established energy source for transportation, having proven reliable for powering trains, and by the 1850s it was viable to produce steam vehicles on a commercial basis. While initially more popular with the public than gasoline vehicles, steam cars were eventually a commercial failure. The current interest in alternative energy sources, however, has led to a renewed interest in developing a steam-powered vehicle for personal travel.

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Book Release: Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson

Death Before Daylight Release Day It’s here! The last book in The Timely Death Trilogy has released. What are readers saying about the finale?   Death Before Daylight is available everywhere, but the first book is free.   Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads Two eternities. One ending.   “Harmony would only come with destruction.” The…

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Steampunk Ghostbuster Proton Packs

I was watching a report on the new Ghostbusters movie today and remembered this wonderful post on Steampunk Ghostbusters. It would be interesting if the new movie went retro instead of futuristic and incorporated some of these ideas!

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The Crystal Palace: Victorian Era Science, Technology, & Industry at its Best

The Crystal Palace, a giant glass and iron exhibition hall built in Hyde Park, housed the 1851 Great Exhibition of The Works of Industry of All Nations. Many consider this remarkable structure to be one of the touchstones of Victorian England—an intrinsic part of the cultural system that both shaped and reflected the nation’s values. Sir Joseph Paxton’s design made such an impact in the field of architecture that replicas of the structure were built in Spain and the United States. Yet such were mainstream British attitudes toward foreign influence during the Victorian era that the construction of The Crystal Palace, and the Great Exhibition, almost didn’t occur.

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Garden Goodness

Although we have been enjoying many vegetables from the garden already this year–including lettuce, zucchini, radishes, and herbs–this is the time of year when the tomatoes and green peppers start ripening in massive amounts on a daily basis. This is also the time of year when I do a lot of cooking and preserving so…

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Where Fictional Gods Reside: The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is a real place about an hour west of Madison Wi, that I write about in American Gods, and I had to tone down my description of it and leave things out in the book in order to make it believable. – Neil Gaiman

If the author of the Sandman comics, Coraline, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere, and several other dark fantasy/horror works believes that a place needs to be “toned down” to be believable, the creator of that place must be doing something right.

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The Steampunk Capital of the World?

Fans of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk may find themselves asking—why does New Zealand have all the cool places to travel? First Peter Jackson chose New Zealand for the film locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies: now there is an entire tourist industry dedicated to taking travelers to all the stunning film locations. If this is not enough, tourists can visit Flock Hill, Purakaunui Bay, and Auckland City to see where The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was filmed. Of course, fans of the X-Men can visit Otago and feel like they are walking through scenes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But for the true immersive experience, steampunk fans can visit Oamaru, a town dedicated to the steampunk aesthetic: a town whose residents claim they are living in the Steampunk Capital of the World . . .

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