Tag Archives: alternate history

Two Sci-Fi Audiobooks Giveaway

Want to win copies of two of my science fiction/alternate history/time travel novels? I’m giving away 15 coupons for each novel to download them from Audible, and the giveaway will be open until May 2, 2014. All you have to do is click on the rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the post to enter.

out of  time

In the 2150s, a scientist discovers time is actually fluid; past, present, and future all exist at the same time. What he doesn’t know, is if the current timeline can change when something is changed in the past. The U.S. government wants him to find out. The theme being to make right what once went wrong.

Narrated by actor Michael C. Gwynne, who had voiceovers in films such as Jaws…..

On Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Out-of-Time-Audiobook/B00F57TNFG

 

beyond the new frontier

In this combination of the novels New Frontier and Final Frontier, this is the story of alternate timelines, partial political thriller, and time travel, in which a United States President is kept from being assassinated, but there are other unintended consequences as a result.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan becomes President of the United States, declares the U.S. will plant a base on the moon by 1980 and a base on Mars by 1989. The Iranian Hostage Crisis occurs, but Reagan issues a stronger response, but as a result, Osama bin Laden rises to power earlier than he normally would have in the prime timeline.

Meanwhile, The Soviet Union decides to build a starship that will travel to the stars because they want to one-up the United States, but as is usually the case, nothing seems to go right.

In the early 1990s the U.S. and the Russians join forces, which leads the joint venture to the other side of the galaxy by means of a wormhole. When they attempt to return to Earth, they find themselves in the past, where they try to fix certain events in the past while they wait for history in general to catch up to where they launched the joint mission to begin with. Things go wrong as events do not play out as planned and numerous cases of unintended consequences result from the multiple attempts at fixing the timeline.

 On  Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Beyond-the-New-Frontier-Audiobook/B00GSX96KS/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Novel sales stats for 2012

First off, Happy New Year 2013 to everyone and a big thank you to all those out there who bought/downloaded a copy of one of my novels. I thought I’d blog again this year about how many sales/free downloads my novels had this year. My marketing/promoting consisted mostly of using Twitter, Facebook groups/pages, joining up with a couple Christian author groups to Tweet, and going to message boards. I did some giveaways for ebooks, like on Librarything, and sent some personal acquaintances/relatives paperback copies of Times of Trouble (which actually did help some with visibility), along with a little more than a handful of review copies to a couple of book bloggers, two of which actually gave me a review. I also tried blog interviews early in the year, along with the occasional paid post about my books, but overall, I’d say 99% of my sales would probably be from word-of-mouth. My sales on Barnes and Noble increased by a lot this year, up to 40-50 ebooks sold a month compared to 2 or 3 a month in 2011.  My number one seller is the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, Australia, and then everyone else, mostly Western/Northern Europe, but I did manage to get an Amazon Kindle sale from Japan, which was a borrow for Beyond the New Frontier, and 2 sales on Diesel from South Africa. This is without the updated numbers from Smashwords concerning Apple, Sony, or Diesel from December.

Here’s the numbers for each book in order of publication:

Out of Time
Kindle(ASIN B006GDO3BC): 1107
Barnes & Noble Nook: 37
Kobo, which includes WH Smith, Angus & Robertson, and Chapters Indigo: 42
Apple: 51
Sony: 4
Smashwords: 2 paid, 64 free
Paperback (ISBN:1453896961) : 8

Don’t Mess With Earth
Kindle(ASIN B005OOKZJI): 52
Nook: 39
Kobo: 2
Apple: 5
Diesel: 1
Smashwords: 2 paid, 47 free
Paperback(ISBN 978-1602643413): 2

The Usurper
Kindle(ASIN B007K9WDA4): 92 paid, 518 Select downloads (January – March)
Nook: 47
Kobo: 4
Apple: 14
Smashwords: 1 paid, 18 free
Paperback (ISBN 1453702725): 12

Shattered Earth
Kindle(ASIN B006M2U3O8) – 8 sales, unpublished it, but will bring it back this year
Nook: 48
Kobo: 20
Apple: 52
Smashwords: 1 sale, 61 free
Paperback (probably only available on Amazon, since I retired it on Createspace): 3

Dust Storm (western short story) – plagued by Smashwords’ meatgrinder, so it wasn’t published to Apple or Sony until later in the year. Sold on Kobo once I uploaded there myself.
Kindle(ASIN B006KH7H4E): 9
Nook: 7
Kobo: 1
Apple: 1
Sony: 1
Smashwords: 2 paid, 12 free

Voyager and the Aliens (sci-fi short story)
Kindle(ASIN B005NK19MU): 14
Nook: 2
Kobo: 5
Apple: 9
Diesel: 1
Smashwords: 1 paid, 27 free

New Frontier
Kindle(ASIN B006ONBPVU): 99
Nook: 58
Kobo: 2
Apple: 7
Sony: 1
Smashwords: 5 paid, 62 free
Baker & Taylor Blio: 1
Paperback (ISBN 1468119540): 18

Times of Trouble
Kindle(ASIN B0075CNFFI): 309
Nook: 343
Kobo: 1
Apple: 0
Sony: 0
Smashwords: 128 free
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1469964791) 43

Times of Trial
Kindle(ASIN B00824G5UA): 99
Nook: 120
Kobo: 3
Apple: 0
Sony (for some reason, not available on Sony): 0
Smashwords: 31 free
Paperback(ISBN-10 147745327X): 5

Final Frontier – published in October
Kindle(ASIN B009ORP5U0): 26
Nook: 22
Kobo: 0
Apple: 0
Sony: 0
Smashwords: 0
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1481192191): 0

Beyond the New Frontier – combo of New & Final Frontier, available on Amazon to borrow for free or buy for $3.99
Kindle paid(ASIN B009NVH76M): 28, KDP Select: 724, Borrows: 2
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1480185590): 1

The total equals 1694 free and 2858 paid sales. My goal for 2013 is to double the paid sales without having to rely on free giveaways as much. I’m also working on a prequel to Times of Trouble, most likely called “Times of Turmoil.” I also re-designed a whole new author website on weebly. I was using webs.com, but it was way too clunky, but Weebly seems to be pretty user-friendly. Please check it out http://cliffball-indieauthor.weebly.com when you have time (waiting for domain name transfer, so it night re-direct back to webs.com). Now, I just have to figure out how to transfer my domain name over to it.

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#SampleSunday – Final Frontier, alternate history

For Sample Sunday, here is a part of Chapter 7 of Final Frontier.

A couple of hours went by before anything started happening. As McMurphy and Elders were hiding behind some boxes on the floor where Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to have shot Kennedy from, both men heard a door open, with two men walking through. The man who came in first was definitely Oswald, and the second man behind him was shoving a pistol in Oswald’s back, and was carrying something large that was shaped like a rifle of some sort.

Oswald was saying, “Why me?”

“As I keep saying, we need someone who we can blame the assassination easily on. You’ve got a record of siding with the Soviets, so why not you? The federal government will blindly swallow this story hook, line, and sinker, while the Mob will get off scot-free,”

“Ruby, you know you won’t get away with this, don’t you?” Oswald nervously responded.

“Oh, stop with the bravado. We’ve got the Dallas PD in our back pocket and even some of the Secret Service, at least the ones who work for old Lyndon. This should be a piece ‘o cake. All I need from you are some fingerprints, you’ll go to a movie theater, and that’s where the police officers in our employ will pick you up. You take the fall, the Mob gets an enemy out of the way, and everyone’s happy,”

“That’s a bunch of bull. What makes you think I won’t rat you out?”

“You do and you’ll meet your maker with a couple of .38 slugs. Got it?” Ruby waved the handgun in Oswald’s face, who was clearly frightened.

“Yeah, sure. How long do we gotta wait?”

Ruby looked at his watch, and said, “Not very long. Old Lyndon had the motorcade diverted here, so it should be passing through Dealey Plaza momentarily. Once I begin shooting, you slip out of here, and go to that movie theater. No need to make it more complicated than that. Alright?” Oswald indicated he understood.

McMurphy whispered to Elders, “That’s Jack Ruby,”

“Who?”

“Oh, that’s right, you don’t know about what happened in the original timeline. Mr. Ruby there attacked Oswald at the police station after the assassination with that handgun he’s carrying. Oswald died and so did Ruby after the police took care of him. Ruby is a member of the Mob that the Kennedy’s were at odds with. Nobody really knew the whole story behind the assassination. Rumors indicated that Vice President Johnson had the Mob take Kennedy out, which is why the motorcade was diverted here and why Johnson managed to convince Kennedy to make a campaign stop in Dallas to begin with. It was supposed to be neatly wrapped up so Johnson could gain power without having to run for election. Everyone would feel sorry about Kennedy not getting a second term, so Johnson would ride the wave of sympathy to get his first full term without really trying,”

“That must’ve required a massive amount of planning. It’s a wonder that it was pulled off without anyone blowing the whistle,”

“Potential whistleblowers were taken care of, either through being paid off or through death. That was old school south Texas politics for Johnson. Now that won’t happen since we’re here. Now we wait.”

The crowd gathered around the route that President Kennedy’s motorcade was taking. Ruby set-up the sniper rifle and then told Oswald to leave, but before anything happened, McMurphy and Elders stepped out of the shadows, and McMurphy said, “Hold it right there, neither of you move,”

“What? Who are you? You’re not supposed to be here!” exclaimed a surprised Ruby.

“I give up,” Oswald responded with both hands in the air.

“Step away from the rifle, Mr. Ruby. We don’t want anyone to get hurt,”

Ruby responded by turning around, facing the window, and then ran towards it. He crashed through it, fell, and died instantly when he hit the ground. The men could hear members of the crowd reacting to seeing a man falling out of the building. Then the three heard the roar of the engines from the cars in the motorcade, which indicated they were getting the President out of there as fast as they could. McMurphy let loose a string of cuss words before saying, “Great, just great. Now we’ll have cops and Secret Service swarming this place.”

Where to buy:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, B&N Nook, Nook UK, Kobo, Apple

Or… Beyond the New Frontier, which is currently exclusive to Amazon is either free to borrow now for Prime Members or buy for $4.99. Also available in paperback currently on Amazon.

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New Release: Final Frontier

Final Frontier is the sequel to the novel I published last year, New Frontier. Currently available for $2.99 on Kindle(ASIN: B009ORP5U0), SmashwordsNook, and Kobo. Also, Times of Trouble is currently going for $.99 on Kindle (ASIN:B0075CNFFI) (but is available in paperback and on other e-book platforms), and Out of Time, my time travel novel is always $.99 (on all ebook platforms). Update: all of my ebooks, but Beyond the New Frontier, are $.99 for the month on Kindle.

What it’s about:

In this sequel to New Frontier, the USS Lewis & Clark begin their search for the Soviet starship Yuri Gagarin. They find the wormhole that the Gagarin went through twelve years earlier and decide to go through it. On the other side, the crew of the Lewis & Clark find a solar system that used to be populated by aliens known as Pictorians, but they’re no longer there. Neither is the crew of the Gagarin. So, the Lewis & Clark is flown back through the wormhole to report back to Earth.

Unfortunately, something is wrong, they find themselves 30 years in the past. As they struggle to wait for their future to catch up, the crew of the Lewis & Clark make changes to certain events, but they cause unintended consequences; including making another alien species mad enough to forbid humans from traveling beyond the Sol System. Find out what happens in this conclusion of the New Frontier series.

Also available is the combined versions of both novels, which is available to borrow for free for Amazon Prime Memebers, called Beyond the New Frontier (ASIN: B009NVH76M) and is currently free until the end of Thursday, the 11th of October. Tops out at 84,779 words.

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Sales for the year so far

Now that it’s June, here are my sales numbers for the year so far, from regular sales to when one of my novels was in KDP Select to free giveaways. These are all from mostly just promoting online on Twitter, Facebook, and a bunch of message boards. The novels are listed in order of publication, from 2008 to 2012.

Amazon US Kindle
Out of Time – 34
Don’t Mess With Earth – 13
The Usurper  – (regular sales) – 67
KDP Select numbers for The Usurper – 329
Shattered Earth (which I unpublished on Amazon) – 8
Voyager & The Aliens – 3
Dust Storm – 4
New Frontier – 50
Times of Trouble – 89
Times of Trial – 9

Amazon UK Kindle
Out of Time - 8
Don’t Mess With Earth – 4
The Usurper – 8
KDP Select for The Usurper – 176
Voyager & The Aliens – 1
Dust Storm – 0
Times of Trouble – 4
Times of Trial – 1

Amazon Germany
Out of Time – 1
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 4
New Frontier – 1

Amazon France
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 2

Amazon Italy
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 2

Amazon Spain
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 6

Barnes & Noble Nook, which is partially through PubIt, B&N’s publishing platform and through Smashwords
Out of Time – 17
Don’t Mess With Earth – 17
The Usurper – 15
Shattered Earth – 19
Voyager & The Aliens – 1
Dust Storm – 3
New Frontier – 12
Times of Trouble – 109
Times of Trial – 7

Apple iTunes
Out of Time – 29
Don’t Mess With Earth – 4
The Usurper – 5
Shattered Earth -25
Voyager & The Aliens – 4
New Frontier – 3
Times of Trouble (only available since May)
Times of Trial (not yet available)

Kobo
Out of Time – 10
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1
The Usurper (Kobo has yet to list it)
Shattered Earth - 8
Voyager & The Aliens – 0
New Frontier – 0
Times of Trouble (only available since May)
Times of Trial (not yet available)

Sony Reader
Out of Time – 1
Everything else – 0

Smashwords paid/giveaways
Out of Time – 1/39
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1/26
The Usurper – 0/9
Shattered Earth – 0/37
Voyager & The Aliens -0/14
Dust Storm (I unpublished it because I couldn’t get the formatting right) – 2/12
New Frontier – 5/41
Times of Trouble – 0/87
Times of Trial – 0/1

Createspace Paperbacks, all of which were sales from mostly Amazon
Out of Time – 2
The Usurper – 7
Shattered Earth – 3
New Frontier – 12
Times of Trouble – 30
Times of Trial – 0

Total between January & end of May: 1423

Overall total since 2008: 26381

I’m posting this because some writers get discouraged, but you just have to keep at it. While I don’t have the money or much in the way of resources to push my novels to greater visibility, I think I’m doing pretty well. I took The Usurper out of KDP Select because my sales were actually worse overall, and I had a grand total of 3 borrows, so I didn’t think that program was worth it. Stay tuned for the sequel to New Frontier, plus a short story anthology based on minor characters in the two End Times novels, and a novel about Michael Evans, the man-behind-the-scenes in both End Times novels.

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#SampleSunday: New Frontier

Since I finally have something new to share for Sample Sunday, here’s the Prologue to my newest novel, New Frontier, which is a alternate history speculative fiction novel. The Prologue will be expanded on in Book 2, when the starship that leaves at the end of the novel encounters problems while trying to find a missing starship that lead them back to the 1960′s….  Available on Apple, Nook, Kindle, and Smashwords for $2.99,and paperback for $9.99 (links at end of post).

Prologue

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency…”

President Kennedy stepped off of the stage after his “New Frontier” speech at Rice University, when he was asked by Texas Governor Daniel, “What did you mean about doing those other things after you said we would go to the moon?”

“That was a mistake. I was going to fill that in by saying that we would eventually explore the rest of our solar system after we take our first steps on the moon, but I forgot about it. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, who’s going to remember one little paragraph in a speech? All that matters is that I have a vision of what our future holds. The American voters will eat that up.”

“That’s why you’re the President, and not that yahoo, Richard Nixon.”

“I’m sure the American people are grateful for that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Washington.”

As Kennedy stepped off of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, he was met by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was never eager to converse with any of the Kennedy family, but this time he had to. “Mr. President, I need to speak with you in private.”

“What do you want?”

“Like I said, in private.”

“Oh, all right. Follow me to my car, we can speak there.” When they were situated in the back seat of the Presidential limo, Kennedy asked, “Ok, what’s so important that this has to be in private?”

“I’m sure you’re aware of the death of Marilyn Monroe last month…”

“What’s your point?” interrupted an impatient Kennedy.

“The point is that we have her killer in custody.”

“Didn’t the coroner rule it a suicide?”

“Well, someone told him to rule it that, but it really wasn’t…”

“Would you please get to the point already?” interrupted the President again.

“Fine. The FBI was informed that your brother, Bobby, was seen leaving Monroe’s house the day she died. After an exhaustively thorough investigation, it was concluded that Bobby was indeed the person responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. He’s now in custody, where he will be put on trial very soon.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Why? Because he’s a Kennedy? Your father may have gotten away with many a thing years ago, but he also had many friends in high places. With him retired, you and your brothers don’t have that luxury, since you are the people in high places. I’ve got so much stuff on you Kennedy’s, all I would have to do is go to the Press and give them everything available. You would be finished in no time. So, yes, I can have your brother put on trial for murder.”

“What can I offer you to withdraw the murder charge?”

“Bribery, eh? Are you sure you really want to try that with me?”

“What do you want from me?”

“Simple, really. You and your family stay out of my way, and I won’t air all of your dirty laundry. When it’s publicly announced that Bobby killed Marilyn, you will be shocked to hear it, and you’ll reluctantly announce that he will no longer be Attorney General of the United States. If you or your family sends your mob goons after me to silence me by killing me, my will has a provision in it that all the documents I have that are related to your family will be released to the Press. Either way, you’ll be ruined. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal.”

“Good.” Hoover stepped out of the car, leaving the President to his thoughts.

A year later, on a campaign stop in Dallas, with President Kenendy’s motorcade on its way to Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon, gunshots rang out while passing through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy heard the bullets whiz by him, but then he heard a sickening sound next to him. His wife had been shot in the head. In the front seat, Governor John Connally, who had just been elected Texas Governor, appeared to have also been shot by the assassin’s bullets. Kennedy started to panic, but really had nowhere to run if an assassin was still trying to shoot at him. The Secret Service rushed in to protect Kennedy, surrounded the car, and the motorcade rushed away to Parkland Hospital. Both Jacqueline Kennedy and John Connally were pronounced dead within an hour of arriving at the hospital. The FBI announced they would begin their investigation.

After the funeral, Kennedy summoned Hoover to his office. “Did you have anything to do with what happened in Dallas, Mr. Hoover?”

“No, but if I did, you can bet that you would be dead, not your wife or the Governor. Unfortunately, we have no suspects. Too many of the witnesses claim that they heard gunshots from one of the buildings or from the grassy knoll that the motorcade was passing, but no one saw a shooter. Whoever may have tried to assassinate you was professional enough to cover their tracks. The FBI and I have run into a brick wall, and have decided to close the investigation. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

“I’m sure you are. Thank you for coming.” Kennedy summarily dismissed the FBI Director from his office.

Five years later, after John F. Kennedy was no longer eligible to run for President again. He and the rest of the nation learned that Barry Goldwater won the Presidency of the United States in his second try after trying in 1964. Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic challenger since Lyndon Johnson decided to retire, had been assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan six months before the election, so the Democrats ran George McGovern, who was the Vice Presidential candidate, as the replacement. Goldwater soundly defeated McGovern.

While the world was waiting for Apollo 11 to land on the moon, John and Ted Kennedy were having a party on Chappaquiddick Island with their girlfriends the day before the scheduled moon landing to celebrate the fact that John had helped push NASA in that direction. Ted, and his girlfriend, Mary Jo Kopechne, decided to leave because Mary Jo needed to get home. “Teddy, you should stay here, you’re too drunk to be driving.” protested John.

“I know what I’m doing. Just because you’re my older brother doesn’t give you the right to act like dad.” slurred the drunken younger Kennedy.

“Ok, fine, but if you get into a car wreck, don’t blame me. I tried to warn you, you know.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Bye, bye Jack.” slurred the drunk Mary Joe, as she waved at him.

John waved goodbye to them as the two drunkenly got into Ted’s Oldsmobile and drove away. The next morning, Edgartown Police Chief James Arena knocked on the door of the house, John answered the door, and asked the Chief, “Can I help you?”

“Mr. Kennedy, I regret to inform you that your brother and his escort were found dead inside the Oldsmobile at Poucha Pond. It appears they didn’t see the end of the bridge and the car kept going. Due to how the car settled in the water, the two died from drowning. A pair of fisherman on a fishing boat noticed the car earlier this morning, informed us, and we managed to bring the car back up an hour ago. Unfortunately, I need you to come down the Station to ID them so we can officially record that the family knows about it. Can you come with me?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you. I knew he shouldn’t have left while he was drunk. I knew something would happen, but he refused to listen to me. Now look where it’s gotten him…”

Even though John was hung-over, he was in shock at the news of his brothers’ death, and he was increasingly getting depressed over it. Of the four boys in his family, he was the only one that was left, and he wasn’t sure how his father, Joseph, would handle having yet another son not on Earth. Joseph had ambitious dreams for all of his children, yet of the nine children, four were no longer living. John was beginning to wonder if his family was cursed.

He went with the Police Chief, identified the bodies, and spent the rest of the week organizing a funeral. John wondered why all of this tragedy was happening around him, but not to him. He decided he needed to focus his energies now on his two children, before anything else happened to anyone else in his family. So, he decided to withdraw from public life, because it seemed to him that his immediate family would live longer that way. Four months later, Joseph died at the age of 81 of natural causes.

Amazon US, Amazon UK Amazon DE, Amazon FR, Amazon IT, Amazon ES,   B&N Nook,  Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Google Play

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#SampleSunday-Shattered Earth excerpt

For Sample Sunday, this is an excerpt from Shattered Earth, one of my science fiction novels. Once you read the excerpt, buy links are at the end, or click on the picture to take you to Smashwords for all e-book formats.

Chapter Five

Around this period, two very rich Terran adventurers had decided to hitch a ride to Mars, after bribing a starship captain. The two wanted to see what it was like on Earth, after hearing news reports about how utterly barbaric and primitive the planet was. They were visiting Britannia just as the Roman legions were recalled to defend the city of Rome. After seeing what was going on with the local Brit tribes, the two decided that it might be fun to organize them, so that the tribes could defend themselves against the Vikings, Normans, and others who had conducted raids on the island. The two named their kingdom Camelot, led by the Terran whose name was Arthur, and his cohort, who was named Merlin. Merlin was considered an eccentric inventor; other Terrans thought he was more than a little insane, while the primitive humans around him thought that Merlin was a great and mighty powerful magician. After all, he looked the part. Merlin had long, straight hair, a long white beard, and wore very colorful robes. Arthur was tall, lean, but muscular, dark hair, and looked like a mighty warrior might look.

Merlin cooked up a scheme to get these primitive humans to accept Arthur as their leader, so he told Arthur of an idea he had, “I have a brainstorm, Arthur; tell me if you like it. These Brits have a legend about a sword in a stone and if a man of great virtue pulls it out of the stone, he will become the undisputed leader of the people. I propose to use our advanced technology to convince these people to believe you’re destined to be the king. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a good plan, Merlin. How do you plan on making it work?”

“I think I’ll build a sword with computer components that will recognize only your handprint. I will then stick the sword in what will appear to be a stone, except this stone will keep the sword in place with an elaborate computer aided locking system. Once you take hold of the sword, the system will recognize your handprint, then it will unlock, and the sword will be yours. You’ll have the masses begging you to be the leader,”

“Sounds like a very good idea, Merlin. Nothing like a little technology turned into sorcery to make one a good leader. Get to work.” ordered Arthur, who was looking forward to this new scheme of Merlin’s.

A few weeks later, Merlin, with the help of an experimental Terran transportation device, suddenly, and without any warning at all, appeared in the town square with the sword in his hand, and a very convincing looking stone placed next to him. He called for the townsfolk to gather, and then, he said, “Good citizens of Camelot. I have created a test for those who wish to lead us. This sword, I will put in the stone, and it can only be pulled out by a virtuous, and good man,”

Merlin then slid the shiny, intimidating looking, sword into the stone, “The challenge has been laid, all men throughout Camelot are welcome to try to pull out the sword, which I have named Excalibur.” with that, Merlin vanished into thin air the same way he had appeared.

Merlin and Arthur watched for little over a month, as man after man attempted to pull Excalibur from the stone. Everyone had a different way of trying to pull the sword out of the stone, which served only to amuse the two Terrans, and tick off the human men who tried to pull out Excalibur. As Merlin expected, not a single man could pull the sword from the stone, so Merlin again reappeared in a flash of light, and said, “Is there no one here who is virtuous enough to take the sword? Who among you is left that is willing to try?”

Having not convinced the people up to this point that he would make a good leader, Arthur boldly, and with tremendous confidence, walked into the town square to pull the sword from the stone. Everyone was whispering, and a few were taking bets seeing if Arthur could pull Excalibur from the stone. Arthur confidently walked up to the stone, put his hands on the swords’ hilt, which activated the computer lock system, and he slowly pulled Excalibur from the stone. The people were shocked at first, but, then began cheering. Arthur wielded Excalibur for a few minutes, going through swinging, hacking, and thrusting motions with the sword, and then motioned for the townsfolk to calm down. Then he spoke, “People of Camelot. I have pulled Excalibur from the stone, so I am now your leader. What say you?”

The people chanted, “Arthur” and “Long live the King.” Arthur was now the undisputed leader of Camelot. Merlin spoke again, “A king needs knights that he can lead into glorious battle against the forces of evil. Who here among you is willing to be a Knight of the Round Table?”

Arthur had not heard this scheme from Merlin, but thought this Knights of the Round Table thing might be a really good idea. According to Merlin, the knights in good standing would gather around a round table, so that there would be no man who thought they were better than the others. Many men came forward to join the ranks of the knights, more than Merlin had expected. So Merlin did something unusual in the eyes of these humans in this time period, he interviewed each applicant, and tested their sword fighting skills. After doing the interviews, Merlin also worked on Excalibur to make it appear more magical to these primitive humans, and when he was done, he showed Arthur the sword, “I did some more work to Excalibur. Press the green button on the hilt, and see what happens,”

Arthur took hold of the sword, and pressed the small green button on the hilt. The sword lit up in an almost blinding, white glow, so Arthur asked, “What is this, some sort of glow saber kind of thing?”

“I would have to say yes, and no, Arthur. It’s supposed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of your enemies. I’ll later add a sound effect to increase the fierceness of the sword. Anyway, I thought it was a cool idea.”

“You do realize you ripped-off a wretchedly bad movie idea from a hundred years ago, don’t you? Next thing you’ll tell me, you’re some sort of ascended being with powers you’re not supposed to use. Come back to reality, Merlin, this is not science fiction.”

“Oh, I know that, but the townsfolk already think I have great powers, so acting like I have telekinesis, or the ability to appear, and disappear at will, isn’t going to do any harm. They won’t know about that movie, who is ever going to see it on Earth? I know what I’m doing, believe it or not. The next thing on your agenda though, is to meet your Knights of the Round Table.”

Arthur was introduced to his new knights the next day; his impression of them was that they all seemed like good, honorable men, and fierce warriors. Merlin was right about the more powerful looking Excalibur scaring enemies. In battle, some retreated rather than fight Arthur. The knights, and Arthur, fought Vikings and Danes; Arthur himself killed a lot of the invaders, increasing his legendary status among Saxons living near, and in Camelot. Merlin set up great adventures for the knights and Arthur to go on, giving the knights legendary status for themselves too. Sir Lancelot was considered the best of the Knights of the Round Table, and he always had the ear of Arthur whenever he had some pithy thought about another great adventure they should all go on, or how Camelot should be run.

Several years later, some strangers appeared in Camelot, who turned out to be a Terran military contingent. They were looking for Arthur and Merlin; when they were found in the castle, the Terran commander said, “Arthur and Merlin, you are hereby arrested for crimes against humanity. You are herby ordered to come back with us to Terra, to explain what you have done. Now, come with us.”

“Crimes against humanity? Seriously? What crimes have we done, exactly?” asked Merlin.

“Take a look around you. Setting up your own little kingdom, and using technology in battles against the Vikings, which we heard about because the rumors made it to Rome, which, naturally, ended up being heard by a scientist there. He contacted the Mars Outpost, and that’s why we’re here, because Terra’s government is not pleased. Now, come with us.”

“Wait! Can I address my subjects, and the Knights of the Round Table, one last time?” asked Arthur.

The commander sighed, and said, “Very well.”

Arthur called together Camelot, and everyone gathered together, to listen to what Arthur had to say, “People of Camelot, and Knights of the Round Table, hear me this day. These men are from my home country, and they are seeking the Holy Grail. They wish for me to go on a long journey with them to search for it, which will take many, many years. So, for my last official duty as king, I place Sir Lancelot as the new king of Camelot; follow him as you have followed me. Fare thee well Camelot, I wish all of you good and long lives.”

Arthur and Merlin left Camelot with the Terrans. They boarded a shuttle that was hidden a few miles away, which took them to a ship in orbit, and the ship headed for Terra. Once on Terra, the two men were brought before the Oversight for Earth Committee, who seemed like a bunch of stuffy old fools to Arthur and Merlin. The chairman of the committee, Senator Tyranous, began to talk the second both men sat down, “Arthur Pendragon, and Merlin Ambrosius, you have both been called here to explain yourselves, and why you decided to interfere in human affairs. Now, what say you?”

Merlin and Arthur looked at each other, Merlin shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant kind of way, so Arthur said, “We didn’t see any harm in doing what we did. We didn’t give them any of our technology, and they’re still just as primitive as before we arrived.”

“While you may not think you did harm, you gave some ideas to some of those Brits, what were they called? The Knights of the Round Table? Those Knights could get it into their heads that they could invade Europe, on some misplaced idea of a grand adventure, and then plunge the whole continent into another series of wars. Also, we’ve had to go in, and clean up the technology you left when you were arrested. Do you realize that because of your so-called adventure, we’ve had problems with others who want to do the same thing?”

“Well, that really isn’t our problem, Senator.” Merlin sarcastically said.

“Oh, you don’t think so, huh? It has been decided, until further notice, that only our official representatives will be on Earth. All tourism to Earth is now hereby forbidden for the foreseeable future. Merlin Ambrosius, and Arthur Pendragon, you two are now hereby subject to house arrest. This means that you’ll never be able to leave Terra, and you will be watched for the rest of your natural lives, no matter how long that takes. This Committee will now recess for twenty minutes.”

Both men were escorted to their individual homes, injected in their arms with a tracking chip so that they would be tracked anywhere on the planet, and told that if they ever leave Terra, the punishment would be severe, especially if they tried to return to Earth.

e-book only
Amazon US
Amazon UK
(and all the Amazon sites. ASIN B006M2U308)
B&N Nook
Nook UK
Smashwords
Apple 
Sony
Kobo
WH Smith
Angus & Robertson
Ebook Mall
Book World

Diesel
Baker & Taylor Blio
Best Indie Bookstore
Google Play

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Moment With Mystee Interview

This is today’s post from the blog Moment With Mystee. It’s an interview I did with her:

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Baseball player, track star, or writer. I lack athletic skills, having had asthma, so I went with writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
One day when I was 15, during Spring Break I sat down at a typewriter and began to write a world war 3 kind of story. I never finished it, but something in me wanted to start writing a novel. So, I’m not sure what inspired it.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think I do.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I was raised in a Christian home, and I’m still a Christian, so I would say it has colored my writing.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
They just pop up as an idea, and I go with it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find writing realistic dialog to be challenging, and everyone comments to me about how my dialog needs to be more realistic.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I like Harry Turtledove, because I like alternate history. I first came across his work when I picked up Guns of the South, and I found it intriguing how he made the history seem real. From aliens invading during WW2 to a bunch of fishermen finding “Atlantis” in the Atlantic (which is the broken off eastern half of the US) before 1492, and then turning it into an alternate version of US history. I guess I’m a nerd, because I love to read that stuff.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nice thing about an Indie author, I can go back and change a few things that I might be unhappy with. If I get a review pointing out something that seems to pop up in other reviews, then I can also go back and fix it.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I don’t have a plan, I just figured I’ll go with the flow.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Make sure its something you really want to do, because it can take years for you to break through, or you could be lucky and be a bestselling author within months. Don’t quit your day job though.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I definitely suffer from writer’s block. Most of the time, if I can’t think of anything to write next, I set it aside until something pops up in my mind, and then I go from there.

How did you deal with rejection letters? I’m an indie author, I don’t do rejection letters. With Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Createspace, etc, you can completely bypass the old dinosaur media/publishers.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Grammar, punctuation, great dialog, and an engaging storyline.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I write down a plot, and try to flesh it out before I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I develop the characters as I’m writing the story.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Read anything you can on plot, structure, writing good characters, beginnings, middles, and endings, self-editing, and if you’re in a particular genre, read a book about the genre by a famous author of that genre. Orson Scott Card, for example, has a How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy book.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It really depends. My very first novella took me more than 5 years to get all my thoughts together, and that was only 30k words. My 2nd novel took 6 months, my 3rd took about 4 months.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on an alternate history where the US elects a different president in 1976, he continues with the moon landings, putting a base on the moon in 1979. Then he wants a Mars Base by 1989, but, he gets assassinated in 1981 by terrorists because he reacts completely differently to the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. In the meantime, the Russians want to one-up the US, so they build an interstellar starship, but that ends up with problems of its own. I try to have history follow a slightly similar path. Instead of the WTC in 1993 nearly getting blown up, a cargo ship to Mars gets blown up, as its going into space. In 2001, the space station is attacked and destroyed. Eventually, the Russians and the US team up to build an interstellar starship after taking care of the problem with the terrorists, and head out of the galaxy. They find something interesting when they’re 2 light years out.

What is the last book you read? I’m pursuing a 2nd BA, so probably a textbook.

If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be? Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s novels. He’s always put into these really interesting positions, from helping Rasmus defect with the Red October to being thrust into being the President of the United States after a plane destroys Congress during the State of the Union.

Tell us about one of your worst habit or quality?
I’m not focused enough, I get distracted easily.

How do you tackle stress and define stress?
When I’m stressed out, I get migraines. I try to de-stress out by playing a video game. I don’t know if I can define stress, but, I definitely know when I’m stressed out.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Coca-Cola, Ham for sandwiches, and a bunch of frozen microwavable food. (I’m a single guy, what do you expect? lol)

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
I like being me, I don’t want to trade places with anyone.

What was the last movie you went to see?
I think it was Iron Man 2, or Toy Story 3. I know it was one of those! ha ha Now, I’d change that to “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’d rather be the person who runs Watchtower in the DC universe, you can order the superheroes around.

Finally, you know there’s a HUGE work up on Vampires lately. So, Vampire Diaries, True Blood or Twilight and why?
Lame! How about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’d kick all those vampires butts, well slay them anyway, and say something sarcastic while doing it. I’d rather watch a 70+ year old black and white vampire movie starring Bela Lugosi than Twilight.

http://bloginterviewer.com/interviews/a-moment-with-mystee-author-interview-crescent-varrone

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Why I wrote Out of Time: a Time Travel Novel

So, you’re probably wondering how I came up with the story of Out of Time, at least that’s what I’m hoping you’re thinking ha ha.

I started out with thinking the whole US government-alien UFO landing conspiracy theories would make a good story. Then, I saw the movie Titanic in 1997 and thought it would be cool if I could include it, so it turned into a time travel story.  My villain, at first, was a guy who turned traitor and sold technology secrets to a terrorist organization. I had him hijack the timeship, but he thought he was going to 1941 to help Japan attack Pearl Harbor, instead he ends up in Roswell 1947. I didn’t think this character worked too well as the main antagonist, so I created a bigger bad guy, who pulled the strings from 50 years further in the future.

This antagonist ends up going back in time himself and impersonates J. Edgar Hoover. I have Hoover stay in control of the FBI because he knows where all the bodies are buried and what skeletons all the politicians have in their closets since he is from the future. He uses his knowledge to try and stop the time travelers, by sending teams of his own to where Hawking and the others are supposed to be. Eventually, it’s discovered that this Hoover had a hand in trying to assassinate JFK. At the end, you find out just why Hoover is determined to stop Hawking.

Other chapters deal with Anne Frank and the time travelers attempt to keep her from dying in the Concentration Camp she ends up in. I have my time travelers visit JFK because I was into the whole conspiracy about there being more than one shooter in Dallas that November day. I still think there is more to the whole assassination of the President than the government will ever let us know, but then again, maybe it was Oswald by himself who did it.

I have my time travelers even attempt to fix Apollo 13 and the Challenger shuttle. The only problem is, that when they return to their present, they discover changes they never imagined. I have them debate about whether they should fix the mistakes or just leave it alone. The message here being, should time travel ever be attempted and what about the grandfather paradox?

I’m really into American history, so that’s why I chose certain times in US history to start with. One of these days, when I’m a much better novelist, I will add more chapters or just add more to the chapters that are in the novella already, because I think it needs more meat to the story. Of course, I could just write a bunch of sequels, I don’t know yet. I just know that my next novel won’t take me ten plus years to finish, because I just nitpicked this one to death, and decided to publish it because I was just tired of looking at it and messing with it.  From the various people who have read it so far, who knew how I wrote in high school, have been pleasently surprised by how well the story flows and how interesting it is. Hopefully, that translates into a lot of people wanting to buy a copy.

I’m currently working on another novel that I once submitted to the Writer’s of the Future contest as a short story. Stay tuned for that, once I have it completely written, I will post what that novel is about.

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