History Now! Apollo 11

Latest release!



History Now! Apollo 11 is a sci-fi tale about a journalist who bounces around in time, chronicling some of the most dramatic events in human history. But with every trip through the timestream, there is a danger of tweaking some little something that causes a massive, sometimes disastrous change in the time line.

History Now! is available in ebook form, with an audible version coming soon.

 

Available now!

2016 and the Uncertain Future

2016 and the Uncertain Future

I think everyone can agree that 2016 was a terrible year. Terrible in so many ways that I’m not going to try and list them, but not many are talking about the good things from the past twelve months. No matter had bad things may be, there are always some bright points.

I did a little thinking about my own life, my own experiences, and the positive side of 2016. So if I can bore you for a moment, I’d like to list out some of the better things for me from this past year.

  • For starters, I had a serious health issue that’d been around for a long while but finally needed attention. Thanks to the support of my friends and many acquaintances, I was able to afford treatment and feel better than I have in years.

  • As the Literary Director at the Steampunk Expo & Gothic Con, I got to pick the guest authors. So, getting a weekend to dine and chat about writing with two of my favorite authors, Alex Bledsoe and David B. Coe, was freakin’ awesome.

  • Although my writing has slowed down drastically for a number of reasons this year, I did get a couple of short stories published, along with the anthology, Capes & Clockwork vol.2.

  • My children, my girlfriend, and friends are all healthy and doing well. Plus the Lewis household gained a member, a pup named Chewie.

  • I got good news from L.A. regarding the Snowflake television series and the option was renewed for another year.

  • I watched as several of my writing friends achieved their dream and got their first book/story published. Many were folks who I’d worked with over the years in the NWMG, so seeing their hard work end in success was wonderful.

 

Now we look to 2017 and the ascension of a reality TV star to the White House. Things are uncertain and there is a lot of fear in the nation. Still, we need to focus on what is important.

So here’s to 2016, so long and thanks for all the fish.

2017 Plans. Wait, I’m actually planning something?

2017 
Is it really almost 2017?

I mean seriously. It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating/hiding under the table as the 21st century began.

Anyway…

I recently read an article for writers about the importance of keeping your Amazon Author ratings up. For those who don’t know, the higher an author’s ratings, the more likely the author is have the Amazon Overlords (ALL HAIL THE OVERLORDS) promote the author through various means. This could mean including your books in the ‘Suggested Reading’ or the ‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’ sections. Which is actually a big deal as it promotes much needed book sales for us struggling writers.

So, the article went on to suggest that authors should plan on releasing a new novel every three months. Let me repeat that. A NEW NOVEL EVERY THREE MONTHS.

Needless to say, the comments section of the article was a rather fun read as authors from around the world were losing their freaking minds at the idea of churning out a new book every three months. But it got me to thinking. I can’t do a full length book that quick, but maybe something else would work.

With that in mind, I’ve set up a tentative schedule for 2017. The plan may be too ambitious, but let’s see what happens. My goal for 2017 is to release something new every month of the coming year. Some will be books that I’ve been working on during 2016 while others will be 99 cent ebooks/short stories. Some will be in print, or ebook formats and some will be in audio.

So, if you are reading this, I expect you to pester me and keep me on track. I’m not sure if I will post a schedule of the planned projects, but I might, just to keep myself on track.

Anyway,

Thanks and Happy Reading

Alan

Good days and better days

Good days and better days

So, there are days when being a writer sucks. I mean in my case, it sucks the life out of me, draining me of ideas, words, and hope. There seem to be a lot more of those days lately. But from time to time, something happens that shakes up the dreary routine and puts a spring back in my step. I recently had a Saturday that was one of the latter.

Some of you may know that my first novel, The Blood in Snowflake Garden, was optioned by a production company a couple of years ago. I’m not allowed to disclose much, but things are on track and it looks very promising that it’ll be picked up as a television series. If all goes to plan, next year is going to be big.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I met with Brian Buckner about the project and heard about how the TV series will look and feel. While there are certainly some big changes from the book, I’m exceedingly happy they are taking it in the direction he spoke about. The new direction will open up a world of possibilities.

Some characters will change a little, some minor folks will be bigger and while others didn’t make the cut. The timeline is different, but I love the new take on it.

I wish I could share all the detail, but I can’t for now. But when I can, trust me, I’m not going to shut up about it. J

For now, get a copy of the book and see what all the fuss is about.

 
Thanks for subscribing.
Alan

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Jeremy Hicks.

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Jeremy Hicks.

As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.

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Today, we talk with Jeremy Hicks.

 

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.

Born and raised in the country, books became a refuge from boredom early on in life. Writing followed soon after, and thanks to people like my Uncle Danny, I had a lot of encouragement. He used to pay me a quarter per page for short stories, which is the best money I’ve made writing professionally. My first publication came in 5th grade when a short story I’d written about a mummy and an archaeologist appeared in my school newspaper. In high school, I worked on the school newspaper and yearbook and submitted stories to our literary magazine. After high school, college dominated my life, so I didn’t write for pleasure for a number of years. Finally, as an archaeologist bouncing around on the road, I found myself writing cooperative Star Trek fanfiction with a number of people in our fleet. Fanfiction helped me sharpen my dialogue and learn to work with co-writers from around the globe, from active collaboration to back-end editing.

My career as a professional writer evolved from there. In 2008, when my job evaporated and our industry—heavily tied to infrastructure—collapsed, I talked my friend Barry Hayes into pairing his imagination with my own to produce faraway Faltyr and the Cycle of Ages Saga. We started a production company, wrote a few screenplays, shopped them unsuccessfully due to their budget requirements, and then tried to build a fan base for our property. The biggest blow happened when our attempt to have our franchise licensed as an official Dungeons & Dragons product failed because of our representation at the time. But we persevered. As a result, we wrote our first novel, the Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers, and Dark Oak Press published it in 2013. Since then, we’ve published a sequel novel, and I’ve had a number of short stories published in anthologies or through KDP.

 

  1. What genres do you prefer writing and why?

Professionally, I’ve written fantasy, horror, and steampunk. My space opera and science fiction tales have been limited to fanfiction for now, but I have a Star Trek novel I’d really like to pitch. Regardless of what I’m writing, I feel like I’m drawn to darker, horrific storylines with good imagery and lots of action. However, I find that my dark, twisted sense of humor works its way into whatever I write, but I doubt most people will ever find all of my weird Easter eggs, paraphrases of writers and works that have influenced us, and private jokes shared among geeks, nerds, or even my friends and family. Like musicians and artists, I tend to imbed my influences within my work works.

 

  1. What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?

I owe my involvement in Capes & Clockwork to one man, our tireless editor and friend, Alan Lewis. He has worked his ass off making sure that these two anthologies made it to publication despite all of the odds. Few people outside of the industry realize the challenges to publishing a single story, much less pulling together a pool of creative talent to submit enough stories appropriate for a themed anthology. It’s been said that herding writers is much like herding cats. Having arranged several dinners for us at conventions and literary events, I believe that to be true. Alan has displayed patience and determination in realizing these anthologies and helped me to grow as a writer in the process. Thanks to him, my catalog contains steampunk stories now. Without him, I may never have taken the plunge into this genre, or injected that element into our fantasy world of Faltyr. For those who have not read my story in the first Capes & Clockwork, it’s called “Deep Diving Death Defying Dwarves of the Deep.” I crafted that story after Alan asked me to submit a story for the first anthology. It really revolutionized my ideas for how to handle our world’s Underworld and Hollow World aspects.

 

  1. Give us a quick blurb about your story?

My story for Capes & Clockwork 2 is my first “proper” steampunk story, although it contains a fair bit of Teslapunk elements too. It’s called “The Fluff and the Fury”, and it’s a simple story about love, loyalty, and the lengths we go to for those we hold close to our heart. My tale takes place in the early 20th century, in the uncertain years before the U.S. is pulled into World War I. When unsavory agents want to lay hands on advanced technologies being squandered on a travelling circus, but they underestimate the determination of one of its smallest performers.

 

  1. Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?

I wrote this story as a tribute, to enshrine some of those I love in fiction, so the hero of my story is Ginger, a smart, savvy circus poodle based on our family dog. She is owned by Madame Technique, co-owner and operator of the Carnivale Fantastique, a woman who rescued her and trained her to participate in the extravaganza. The Madame and her primary technical assistant are based loosely on my parents too, though Dad is the mechanical whiz in the family. Mom, like Ginger, is the little spitfire, though. She engenders such love and loyalty from Ginger that the poodle does not hesitate to do whatever it can for her Madame, whether it involves suffering lightning bolts arcing over its fluffy head or hounding those who seek to ruin and steal from her.

 

  1. Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?

Enough that I cheated last time and used the closest thing to a superhero on Faltyr, the elven war-mage Yax’Kaqix (Blue Macaw) as a point-of-view character. I figured the story would have more impact if someone as badass as him recognized the courage and sacrifice of the dwarven submariners. For this story, I relied on a lot of research, mainly reading about canine senses, perception, and cognition. For inspiration, I drew primarily on the eccentric behaviors of our tiny dog. But I did rely on every canine hero and ally from fiction, from Benji and Lassie to Scooby-Doo and Krypto, too. Ultimately, I ignored the four-color comic aspect and embraced a more heartfelt, intimate hero whose primary strengths include keen senses and intellect, bravery, unconditional love, and unshakeable loyalty.

 

  1. Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.

For this story, it was all about the hero. Writing it became an emotional rollercoaster for me, so I hope that effect comes across in the story itself. In my other stories, though, I prefer darker, more flawed characters, whether they are anti-heroes, scoundrels, rogues, or outright villains. It is even more fun to write those character types once you realize most of those baddies or selfish types do not realize those truths about themselves. They tend to be the heroes of their own stories. I find it makes for complicated characters which I feel is much more realistic.

 

Check out Jeremy’s story, The Fluff and the Fury in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2

And his story, Deep Diving Death Defying Dwarves of the Deep in the original Capes & Clockwork.

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: David J. Fielding

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: David J. Fielding

As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.

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Today, we talk with David J. Fielding.

 

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.

 

My name is David J. Fielding, and I’m an actor and writer, most well known for playing the original Zordon on the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV show. I got my start writing in High School. And when I say my start, I mean I started copying the style and genres of the types of books I was reading at the time – pulps and Stephen King mostly. Action oriented and adventure stories. I was fascinated with heroes and fantasy and anything that had the smack of ‘magic’ about it – meaning anything that made the real world seem more tolerable.

 

  1. What genres do you prefer writing and why?

 

I prefer to write in those genres that fall under the speculative fiction banner – so pulp-themed stories, paranormal, superhero fiction, all the things I enjoy reading myself – anything that isn’t considered straight fiction really. Why do I like to write stories of that type? Because I find them exciting and enjoyable – it’s great fun exploring other realms and distant worlds or times, letting my imagination roam free and seeing what I find out there in the ether. And it’s a challenge to make it relevant to our real world experiences, and when the two meet up, it’s really a magical moment.

 

  1. What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?

 

The idea of a steampunk setting is exciting to me, it conjures up images of gaslight and fog, a Victorian age filled with airships and robots and contraptions fueled by steam and aether – rich with storytelling potential. Mix that with superheroes and it opens up even more. A Superman-type battling giant Steam-Mechs? Who wouldn’t want to read about that!?.

 

  1. Give us a quick blurb about your story?

 

My story, “Ten Thousand Several Doors” picks up some time after my story that was in C&C 1, and has the same main characters. The plot involves time travel, the question of whether a good deed is good if the consequences are evil and heroic sacrifice.

 

  1. Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?

 

My hero, Nate Vance – also known as the Harrier – is a man cut from the same cloth as John Wayne and Doc Savage. He is a man who was born to be a hero and fighter, someone who fights injustice and evil because it’s the right thing to do. He has no other drive or purpose, he’s just a four-color pulp hero. A square-jawed, two-fisted champion.

 

  1. Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?

 

I guess the only real challenge was keeping the setting consistent. As this story jumps back and forth through time – I had to make sure steampunk elements were represented in each sliver of the time periods we visit in the story.

 

  1. Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.

 

I like writing the villains, honestly. The heroes (especially in this type genre) are easy for me – they are black and white, their motivations pretty pure and straight forward. Well, at least mine are. Villains are more of a challenge – they need to be shaded, their motivations and methods need to be dark and twisted, yet also they have to make sense – or at least they need to seem plausible. It would be too easy to write a Max Fleischer type madman… what I wanted was someone whose objectives were for the most part good, but in the end cause more danger and mayhem than was intended.

 

Check out David’s story, Ten Thousand Several Doors in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2

And his story, AT the Quiet Limit of the World in the original Capes & Clockwork.

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Christopher Valin

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Christopher Valin

As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.Today, we talk with Christopher Valin.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.

My first stories came about when I was a kid and I started drawing my own comic books and comic strips. I really didn’t think all that much about the fact that I was writing so much as giving myself something to draw. By the time I was a teenager, I was enjoying writing stories for high school and college classes, including a couple of short plays for a theater class I took. Then I started writing comic book scripts for a company that I was working for as an inker, and realized how similar they were to TV scripts. So I started writing spec scripts for TV shows like Deep Space Nine (which used to accept scripts from viewers back then), and then other shows.

From there I moved on to writing feature scripts, and started winning and doing well in contests. I had a script optioned, but the only thing I’ve ever had produced were shorts. Several years ago, I got the bug to write short stories, and had some published in anthologies (including Capes & Clockwork). Finally, I worked my way up to full-length books, starting with the expansion of my masters thesis into a history book, and earlier this year publishing a YA superhero novel called Sidekick: The Red Raptor Files – Part 1.

  1. What genres do you prefer writing and why?

I tend to jump around a lot, but my favorite genres are sci-fi/space opera and superhero fantasy. I also enjoy steampunk, although I haven’t written quite as many stories in that genre.

  1. What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?

I’ve been a huge comic book/superhero fan my whole life, and I really enjoy steampunk, so when I saw a call for stories that were a mashup of those genres, I couldn’t resist. It seemed like such a great idea that I had never thought about before.

  1. Give us a quick blurb about your story?

“The Yellow Bird Mission” is an adventure in which Agent Eagle, a 19th Century government super-agent, is sent by President George Armstrong Custer to take out a Native American renegade who has escaped from federal custody. It’s a sequel to “Blastbucket,” the story that appeared in the first Capes & Clockwork.

  1. Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?

Agent Eagle is a superhero who reluctantly works for the government out of a sense of duty, but at the same time has problems with authority, especially when he disagrees with his mission. He always tries to do what’s right, even when it conflicts with his orders and could get him into trouble. But he stays on the job because he knows that if he doesn’t, someone else will be given the suit and equipment, and that person may not share his desire to work for the greater good.

  1. Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?

My main challenge was probably figuring out the alternate history of the world where my stories take place, and Custer survived the Last Stand and was elected president. But it was a fun challenge, considering I have a master’s degree in military history.

  1. Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.

That’s really a tough one. I guess it depends on the story. I generally write from the hero’s point of view, but one of my favorite things I’ve written was a script for a super-villain story (before Despicable Me and Megamind came out).

Check out Christopher’s story, Yellow Bird Mission in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: John A. McColley

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: John A. McColley

john mccolley

As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.

Today, we talk with John A. McColley.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.

While I started writing stories down in junior high during a short stories class, I’ve told myself stories for as long as I can remember. My first role models and friends were Transformers, G.I. Joe, and the Smurfs, as well as a host of other, mostly animated, characters. This may seem lamentable, but I’m certain I was making informed decisions about life seeing what was going on around me and contrasting it to the way people dealt with problems in the magic box in the living room. I’ve turned that play time of running alongside the Flash and Bumblebee to constructing my own worlds, my own characters

  1. What genres do you prefer writing and why?

I write across the speculative spectrum, but most enjoy the sense of wonder and freedom afforded by science fiction and fantasy, especially tales involving aliens and superheroes. I want to be more hopeful and writing stories in which good wins out help me, and I hope others, get there. I’ve dwelled enough.

  1. What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?

In addition to the aforementioned love of superheroes, steampunk had always intrigued me from afar. Once I did some research for the original Capes and Clockwork, it drew me in. The characters I built for that first story have gone onto a handful of other adventures and are charging through a novel-length tale even now.

  1. Give us a quick blurb about your story?

Revenge of the Gorgons is a direct follow up to Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa from C&C1. Aeolus is tracked down by other members of that first villain’s emergent race of snake-headed ladies and chaos ensues.

  1. Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?

Aeolus has led a sheltered, strictly directed, life. Early on, despite his interest in more creative pursuits, he was forced into being an accountant in 19th century alternate Rouen, France. He sat in his small third floor office scribbling numbers all day, but secretly dreamed that something would happen. Having gotten his wish with the appearance of wind-based powers, he falls back on his love of classical myths for inspiration and seeks to emulate the greats in service of his city and civilization.

  1. Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?

My main challenge with crossing genres was incorporating the steamy aspects solidly enough. Not only do I include airships and ray guns, but clockwork devices and pneumatic message delivery. Still, how to tie it into the story? Chiron is the answer, in a wounded soldier who has made himself a steam-powered horse body to get around. The machine also allows him the vaunted higher ground as well as superior reach with his mighty spear, improved running speed and endurance.

  1. Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.

This is a tough one. Both heroes and villains have their fun aspects. I suppose I’ve always identified with the underdog super hero more than I’ve allowed myself to accept the darkness in my life and let it twist me into the villain. They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. Characters are a writer’s company. You have to be careful to keep balance in your influences.

Check out John’s story, Revenge of the Gorgons in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2

And his story, Aeolus, Chiron, and Medusa in the original Capes & Clockwork.

Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Andrea Judy

 Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: Andrea Judy

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As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.Today, we talk with Andrea Judy.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.

I think like a lot of other writers, I started writing when I was very young. I told stories from the moment I could string together a sentence. There’s something so universal about storytelling and I latched onto that very early. I moved around a bit as a kid and had a turbulent home life so story telling was the constant in my life.

  1. What genres do you prefer writing and why?

I love reading and writing in a wide range of genres but my favorite genres are probably mysteries.  When I was a kid I watched so many true crime and cop shows that my parents would joke that I was either going to grow up to be a detective or a murderer. Instead, I became a writer so I could be both!

  1. What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?

I’ve loved superheroes for ages and having the opportunity to build a hero in the world of steam was too good an opportunity to pass by. I was thrilled for the chance to create a hero not shaped by the same world, who could have all kinds of amazing gadgets to help along the way.

  1. Give us a quick blurb about your story?

My story is called “Wishing Well” and it stars superhuman detective Rowan. In this case, Rowan has to figure out how someone could have been seen alive in the morning then be discovered as a badly decomposed corpse by dinner.

  1. Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?

Rowan wants to do the best she can. She’s out to prove herself to the world. She’s got a bit of an ego that keeps her moving forward, but the core of Rowan is her heart. She cares deeply for the world around her and wants to make a positive change.

  1. Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?

The biggest challenge was thinking with steam. Coming up with all the things that could be run on steam and how they would work was a big challenge but it was a lot of fun. I got to sketch out what I thought the devices would look like and that was a blast.

  1. Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.

I’m going to say, heroes because everyone is a hero. Even the villain thinks they are the hero of their own story.  I actually love villains and coming up with a wickedly devious villain is one of my favorite things in the world!

Check out Andrea’s story, Wishing Well in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2

And her story, Catching Steam in the original Capes & Clockwork.

Author, Editor, Part-time Werewolf