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Posts Tagged ‘Tales of The Third War’

How We Write – Our World Fell Apart

Way back in January of 2016, we entered a writing contest. We blogged about it here.

Sadly, our story didn’t end up winning that contest.

However, when the winners were announced, we couldn’t wait to read the winning story and see what the judges had been looking for.

We read the winner’s story. We looked at each other over our FaceTime chat and said, “That won?”

Then, we read the second place story. Then, third place…it wasn’t till the sixth place story that we found something we thought was good and actually fit the parameters of the contest!

In our original blog post, we linked to our story on their website. But we thought it was high time that we published it here for our readers. We hope you enjoy this story more than the judges did!

Photo by Kevin Rheault



“See what I mean, Billy? They’re good. And this song? It’s like they pulled it straight out of all our talks about Xeres.”

I glanced over, watching my friend, Ryan Davis, struggle to get his considerable bulk into the executive chair he’d rolled up to the mixing board.

My hands flew across the board. Finally satisfied with the sound coming through the recording booth speakers, I turned back to Ryan. “I gotta admit,” I said, pointing a finger at him, “I thought you were kidding when you told me about these guys.” I glanced at the three musicians in the recording studio on the other side of the glass. “I get now why you want me to produce them.”

“Yeah….” (more…)

How We Write – Crossroads

This is a strange piece. Orion wrote it either before or while we were writing Dreaming of Xeres, creating the character of James Brendan Cavanagh. After that, James did a walk-on in Dreaming. Then he pushed his way into being a major character in that book!

That happens when a character becomes three-dimensional. We have extensive spreadsheets on information about all our major characters, as well as many of our minor characters. It helps to round out the characters and often gives us jumping off points for stories or actions in our novels and short stories. Those spreadsheets (in Google Docs) are a combination of arbitrary determinations, like, he/she likes the color purple or things the characters or stories tell us about the characters, such as, what things Alex’s college friends are into and what career choices they made after college (CITE STORY HERE).

When we need a minor character, we can dip into the spreadsheet of science fiction convention attendees from DOX (Dreaming of Xeres), pick a city or an occupation we need, and hit the ground running with a name and other information to personalize the story.

We highly recommend spreadsheets!

Photo by Duke Cullinan on Unsplash


Around him the airport swirled and muttered and clamored, but to Tin Man, all was quiet. The wall of ice he’d built about himself kept out any trace of the humanity around him. None of them mattered. Not to him. His heart did not beat for them. His mind shut out any attempted emotional contact from them.

The doors from the passenger tunnel opened, disgorging the latest airline passengers: harried parents with children, rumpled businessmen with slim briefcases, and young men and women with backpacks and ear buds that spilled out thin drifts of music as they passed.

A gaggle of Asian students eddied around him, chattering in high-pitched voices, the cadence of their language falling strangely on his ears. A reunion broke out at the front of the waiting crowd, all balloons, hugs, and tears. The prodigal son or daughter was wrapped in relatives and well-wishers like a Christmas present. (more…)

The Fabric of Lifetimes

Sometimes, even the villains get to tell a story.

The light in the viewing room was subdued today. On display behind and under glass were examples of some of the oldest surviving textiles and tapestries in the world.

Renata Abeille leaned over one special display case, absently stroking one perfectly manicured finger along its edge. My beauty! It’s been so long. Soon, soon, she promised.


We entered a writing contest!

Orion found a writing contest where you could get your story critiqued, then published. The theme for the contest was creatives. The story had to center around someone being creative: writing, singing, painting, etc. We spent a couple hours brainstorming about what we could write that would fit that theme and still tie into The Third War series.

Our idea involved a singing duo who wrote a song and were trying to get a record deal. We made them Xerians who were just waking up and realizing that something was missing in their life. Their third partner. In writing the story, we began by writing their song and then wrote the story around it.

Now that the contest is in the judging phase, we can proudly share this story with you. Head on over to Our World Fell Apart, read the story and then come back here and let us know what you think.  

Blown Away

Keir injects a little magic into Science Day at Great America. Enjoy! 

“Isn’t this cool?” Barry bubbled, dancing backward in front of Kier. They were heading to the Gold Striker Roller Coaster, the first stop on their quest.

Kier could only nod, too busy inventorying the stores and eateries and games on either side of them he wanted to check out later.

Around them, Great America hummed, a giant machine waiting to be activated. And it was just for them! He still couldn’t believe he was really there for the Physics-Science-Math day again. They had already picked up accelerometers to perform their tests while riding the coaster.

“I love that we get to ride roller coasters all day,” Barry said, excitement making his voice squeak.

“For science!” Kier shouted, punching the air with his fist.

“Science can be so awesome!”



We wondered what James and Diana were like before Bryce came along and drove them apart.
Here’s just one of their adventures. Enjoy!

“Hurry up, Jimmy B! We don’t want your folks or your brothers to catch us with these fireworks! Your ma’ll skin both of us!” Diana hissed as she passed into the woods bordering the picnic area.

“I’m coming, princess,” Jimmy said, catching up with her. “I thought I saw someone.”

The girl shrugged. “Probably just Rory. He’s always following us.”


Coats, Hats, Scarves, And Gloves

Even after he managed to drive James and Diana apart,
Bryce proves how possessive he is of Diana. Enjoy!

“What am I supposed to do with this cowboy hat?” Jimmy Cavanaugh asked his little brother, holding up the battered straw hat.

Making a face at Jimmy, Rory said, “Personally, I’d throw it away, but maybe some kid will love it.” He looked around at the mostly sorted sacks and bags, piled full of cold weather clothing that the high schoolers had donated. “Toss it here. I have room for it in the top of this grocery bag.”

Jimmy tossed the orphan hat at Rory, but he misjudged the throw. The hat sailed over Rory’s head, landing in the hallway beyond him.


The Cad

Evelyn mentions in Dreaming of Xeres that she and Cadwallader have a history of
antagonizing each other. We were curious how it all started. Now we know. Enjoy!

“The vendors room is just down the hallway,” the conference check-in clerk said, pointing to his left, “in the Fredericks Room.”

Evelyn thanked the man and began pushing her luggage cart past the easel sign reading, HypYesCon, Hypnotherapy Beyond No: Turning Skeptics into Clients.

Halfway to her goal, she heard a familiar voice calling her name.

“Good morning, Dr. Adams. Nice to see you again.” Evelyn smiled at the older man jogging to catch up to her.



Ever wonder why Alex didn’t get a job working with computers since
he’s so good with them? We did too. Enjoy!

“It’s not fair,” Alex said, slamming his open palm on the desk.

“I looked at your exams and honestly,” said Carl, his Psychology TA, “you should have gotten a B for the course. What’d you do to piss off Dr. McMahon and get a D?”

Alex stood and began pacing the TA’s small office. Running a hand through his shoulder-length hair, he asked, “Did you look at my friends’ exams, too? (more…)