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Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

How We Write – The Cookie Conspiracy

The prompt was: The Cookie Conspiracy.

That immediately brought to mind children and fresh-baked cookies. But how do the kids get the cookies? And where are they?

Following those questions led Orion to a new ship and introduced a new cast of characters into her Farseeker Chronicles. The ship, Sun’s Glow, created for this story, would become the home of Kieran Thorgood, whom you met in last week’s short story, Eros Day.

We don’t know what adventures Kieran and the children and crew of Sun’s Glow will get into, but we do know they are (former and probably current) rebels. Kieran was a rebel hired to teach this brood of children. He’s also connected to Gayan Villson, of another covert rebel ship, the Tempest’s Kin.

In all probability, Sun’s Glow will turn up for the climactic space battle that Orion has been plotting for several years now. Stay tuned!


Photo by: Chocolate Monster Mel

THE COOKIE CONSPIRACY

“Do you smell it?” Ruby demanded, popping around the bulkhead at the top of the stairs. “Mom’s making cookies!”

Chase inhaled deeply. The scent of baking cookies filled him, borne on the ship’s currents of recycled air.

Such blessed change from the reek of oil, people, and machinery, Chase thought.

Chase nodded, dropping his pencil, homework forgotten. “As if I could miss it! I sure wish I could get one while they’re hot.” His mouth watered at the very thought. Chocolate chip, if his nose knew anything. His very favorite kind in the whole universe.

“Me too,” she said. “But you know Mom.” Her voice took on the tones of their mother in dictator mode: “No cookies until after supper. That’s the rule!” (more…)

How We Write – Eros Day

The prompt was: You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?

Orion knew immediately that her Farseeker character, Gayan Villson, had to be involved in this story, since he’s one of her favorite creations and he already had several past lovers. What’s one more? But who did he meet up with? Where did they know each other from?

And in marched Kieran Thorgood, complete with a new ship, Sun’s Glow, and several new characters (SEE next week’s story, The Cookie Conspiracy)! Given Gayan’s military background, it was a safe bet they’d been in the war together and had history. And the plot was off and running.

When we edited this, we knew we had to amp up the sexual tension between the two men, and move a lot of the expository information into our main character’s thoughts. We also added a couple of hundred words to the story, making it much stronger.


Photo by Jriphoto

EROS DAY

 

“Excuse me,” Gayan mumbled, as he shouldered through the cluster of people just inside the doorway of the crowded saloon.  

“Is that all I get?” A deep baritone called from behind him. “After all these years?”

That voice! (more…)

How We Write – The Green-Eyed Monster Goes to the Circus

The prompt for this little piece was, It’s Not Fair.

At the time she got this prompt, Orion was writing exclusively in her WIP (Work In Progress), the Farseeker Chronicles. She heard this line delivered by the character of Xander, a boy that Brigid Farseeker met when she joined a space-going circus many years after the events of last week’s story, Vitandus. This is the story that Xander and Brigid told Orion.

By the way, Xander’s real name is Alexander Maximilian Caesar. He was meant for greater things than just helping with the circus animals. Stay tuned for more stories of Xander and the Farseeker universe.


Photo by Mysticsartdesign

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER GOES TO THE CIRCUS

A Tale from the Farseeker Chronicles

 

“It’s not fair,” Xander muttered, grabbing a second piece of apple pie as the plate was handed to him. Around them, the sounds of cutlery and muted conversation filled the great dining hall on the Circus Ship Roustabout.

“What’s not fair?” asked his auntie, Brigid Farseeker, glancing up at him while she neatly laid out her throwing knives in precise rows. As Cougar’s Daughter, Mistress of the Knives, she was the star of every show.

“That isn’t.” He gestured down the long trestle table to where Marcos the Magician and little Greta the Flying Girl sat, heads bent over a checkered game board. An ebony tower-shaped piece rose, moved slightly, then settled gently upon a black square, all in silence and without any movement by Marcos. As her crowned alabaster piece levitated and took a position on a white square, Greta crowed, “Checkmate!” (more…)

How We Write – Vitandus

Orion was selling her jewelry at a small belly-dancing event in Tacoma, WA. While the dancing competition was going on, there wasn’t much to do, so she started writing. This story was the result.

The character of Brigid came out of nowhere and Orion just wrote down what she saw in her head. Bright, Brigid’s twin brother, coming out of the shadows was a complete surprise. Anyway, this is how and why the twins, around 14-15 years old, came to be living on their own in Port Town. When Orion first started working on this, it was sort of a Firefly fanfic, but as the stories kept coming and the characters took on lives of their own, with worlds and backstory that didn’t match up with Firefly, she realized her people and stories were in their very own universe.

Thus was born the Farseeker Chronicles. This work-in-progress, including stories, character sketches, and planetary system notes, now amounts to over 300,000 words!


Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcbeth/

VITANDUS

 

“Brigid! Come with me! Now!”

A shape like a great bear filled the tent’s opening. Bright, in the shadows, heard the man’s roar proceed him as he strode towards his sister. The crowd parted before him like startled birds.

Brigid, lost in the heavy beats of dumbeks and djembes, and the melodies of the flutes, electronic keyboards, and fiddles, continued dancing.

The man came to a halt at the edge of the dance circle. He glared at Brigid, taking in her small slender body, from her bare feet up across her blue work denims. His gaze ended on her red hair, bound at the nape of her neck where a few escaped curls swung about her freckled face like children freed from school.

*Brigid, it’s Father,* the familiar voice of her twin, Bright, spoke in her head, insinuating itself into her reverie. She slowed to a stop, facing her father where he stood arms crossed, anger clouding his face. (more…)

How We Write – The Backyard

Orion wrote this a long time ago, for the prompt: Children live in the real world. Adults are acting out the fantasy. She says she started it not knowing how it would end, just waiting for the story to tell her. Even she was surprised at where it went.

Then, when we got to revising it together for the blog, Kyros upped the ante and turned a little slightly disturbing story into a little piece of horror!

And it’s a much better story for our collaboration. That’s one of the perks of having a writing partner. We highly recommend co-authoring, if you can find someone whose skills, ideas, and level of writing match yours.


Photo by Caroline Hernandez

 

THE BACKYARD

“What’s everyone doing, Sammy?” asked five-year-old Kelsey, peering around the flowery bush. Her older brother Sam, all of eight years old, shook his head.

Beyond their hiding place, their parents were working furiously on the backyard. They had planted a small tree and were rolling grass over the newly turned dirt. Their father stood up, stretching his back. He wiped sweat off his forehead and took a drink of the beer sitting beside him. Their mother, kneeling beside the tree, glared up at him and pointed at the ground with the small shovel in her hand.

“Maybe it has to do with Aunt Katie coming next week,” Sammy answered.

“Why?” Kelsey asked. “Is she going to sleep under the tree?” (more…)

How We Write – Last Call

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

 

The prompts for this story were: dark star safari, last call, a moment of yearning.

As usual, the three prompts already suggested a story: Someone is loading for a trip. Dark star safari suggested outer space. Who was yearning? The story unspooled from there.

Oddly enough, given that Orion doesn’t usually enjoy first-person stories, this one demanded to be told from that point of view.

As with other stories lately, we are finding that moving some of the exposition into the narrator’s thoughts strengthens the impact of the story. See, we’re still growing and learning our craft as writers just like everyone else.


Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

 

LAST CALL

As usual, Johnny was up earlier than I was. Logically, my little brother should have made breakfast, but most of the time, I’d find him drinking kaffo, reading a space story, or perusing travel brochures. Today, he sat at a dining room table covered with pamphlets and reference books. His Note-Tab was propped up by a thick book he favored: Dr. Drummond’s All Things Space. Coming up behind him, I saw an info page for ‘Dark Star Safari – Experience the very best the universe has to offer!’

I pointed at the screen. “What’s this? I haven’t heard of them before.”

He turned a shining face up toward me. “They’re new! Sit down. I’ll show you.” (more…)

How We Write – On The Road Again

So, if you didn’t know already, Kyros and Orion have a short story collection out called Unidentified Love. It’s seven connected short stories about a human man and his alien husband. When we got the prompts, Gray, Outrunning 911, and Debating, Kyros immediately knew what the gray was: a gray alien. That put this story squarely in the Unidentified Love universe.

It’s unusual for either Kyros or Orion to write in the first person present tense, but this story pretty much demanded it. Most of our fiction is written in the third person past tense. First person point of view is a really good way to get to know a character and their thoughts.

Give it a try: pick a short story you’ve written or a piece of flash fiction or a scene from your WIP (work in progress). Rewrite it in first person and see if it turns into a stronger story. You might learn something new about your main character.

Let us know in the comments how it turns out for you.


Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

(An Unidentified Love Universe story)

 

“Hey, Terry, how was your weekend?” Franklyn asked as he slid onto the bar stool next to me.

Putting my head on my crossed arms, I sighed heavily before answering him. “I spent most of it debating with Janet, my oh-so-annoying mother-in-law. She swore she was going to have me arrested.”

“Arrested? For what?” (more…)

How We Write – Merry Spacemen

Orion has long had a fascination with Robin Hood and the Middle Ages. In fact, she got her bachelor’s degree in English, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance literature. (Ask her how that worked out!)

Later in life, she discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international group that spends its weekends recreating the Middle Ages complete with period garb and armor, but with toilets and without the Black Death. Concurrently, she was attending science fiction conventions! Things got confusing at times.

Presented with the prompt ‘between worlds’, Orion combined her two loves, outer space and Robin Hood, for a romp of a story.

Kyros created the picture that accompanies this story by photographing a model of the Liberator sitting on a starfield displayed on his iPad. (The Liberator is from the British TV show, Blake’s 7, from the 70s about a small band of outlaws fighting against the repressive, galaxy-wide Federation. Very like Robin Hood himself. Look it up. Though it featured cheesy sets and special effects similar to the original Star Trek, its ideas and values are worth your time.)

When we began editing this story for the blog, we found it required extensive work. It was originally written in 2013 and we’ve learned a lot about dialog and exposition, and show, don’t tell since then.

We think the story is much better now. Let us know what you think in the comments below.


MERRY SPACEMEN

 

“This is Alliance Frigate Notttingham.” The speakers crackled for a moment. “Lincoln Green, shut down your engines. Surrender and prepare to be boarded!”

Thumbing the comm button, I countered, “We do apologize, but that’s not going to be possible. Our engineer says we can’t shut down right now.”

“Now listen here…,” the Alliance Captain started. (more…)

How We Write – Flourishing Trumpets

Our prompts: Prompt attention, Flags, I’m late

This week, we celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. Those protests took place just two weeks after Kyros was born, so gay pride has had special meaning to him ever since he came out.

The events around Kyros getting kicked out of the military in 1989, before the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy went into effect, also shapes his view of how our country can treat gay people.

All of these experiences went into the writing of this cautionary tale in June 2016, right after the current president won his party’s nomination. Kyros knew from history and firsthand experience that discrimination is never fully eradicated. That even the smallest shift can undo years of hard-fought-for rights.

Happy Pride Week everyone!


FLOURISHING TRUMPETS

“It’s hard to believe it’s only been eight years,” Dennis said, shaking his head. “We never believed it could happen here.”

The two men paused, staring up at the flags waving in the breeze over the central plaza.

“I know. So much has changed….”

A flourish of trumpets rang out from the loudspeakers, cutting him off. (more…)

How We Write – Infected

After the 2016 election happened, Kyros knew that he wanted to write a story to process his feelings about the incoming president. This was a rare story that didn’t have any prompts (except maybe our fear for the future due to the outcome of the election). We wrote this over a couple days and decided that we would each publish it on our personal Facebook pages on January 20th, 2017, Inauguration Day, as a form of protest.


INFECTED

The guide stepped up to the podium. With a flick of his hand, he brought up a holomap of the planet spinning silently below. One area in the northern hemisphere glowed in a soft red.

“This section of the planet used to be called the United States of America. This nation contained two strains of a political virus, conservative and liberal. Neither was especially bad or good. They just caused the infected person to view the world in a slightly different manner.

“That changed when a mutated strain of the conservative virus began spreading through the populace. This new strain caused individuals affected by it to become ever-so-slightly fact-resistant. Few people of the time noticed because initially, only minor facts were rejected.” (more…)