Take-A-Break SHORTS!

Yippee! I got all the current batch of Take-A-Break Shorts! uploaded to Kindle and they’re coming LIVE as we speak! They’re a great variety, why not try one?

Soon I think I’ll put some together in a print book too; I love print books.

Next will be more in the Otto & Sock series about the Mennonite guy and his mod girlfriend and how they manage staying together on spaceships roaming the solar system!

 

Oh, I have bee mulling ideas about historical fiction featuring Ma as she was growing up in the South Carolina barrier islands. She used to tell me wild stories about her and her brother Joe! I’m sure she would not mind me embellishing…lots. We’ll see, there’s so much to do!

Wow, if you get any of the Elise t’Hoot series be sure to start with The Might of Defiance about how Elise gets from Earth to communing with weird aliens far our into the galaxy.

Shameless promotion I know, but gee whiz I’m so proud of them all!

News Flash! Cool New Series on Kindle!

Just a quick Happy New Year note:

My Science Fiction Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series is now out on Kindle! First week or two of the year I’ll have the print versions out too. I’m giddy with relief as I’ve worked on this series for three years. Check them out , they’re not much. Remember, the whole series will live only with the sustenance of reviews. Please review if you can!

What, A New Elise t’Hoot Sci-fi Book? MEOW!

And The Winner is!

An Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure – Where Do You Stand?

  • Tolerance toward strangers versus Kill’em!
  • ‘Love your Neighbor’ no matter how distant versus ‘Hate the Sumbitches!’
  • Do you prefer characters who behave like real people? Like when there’s a crisis with plans and solutions being bandied and they turn to you for your erudite opinion…and you’re thinking of which color of M&Ms you like best?
  • Nearly all reputable scientists agree that human-caused Climate Change is a real danger with Big Oil pulling the strings. Think of the situation 100 years from now:
    • As Greenland and the Arctic melt, sea levels will rise to the point the mega-cities on the coasts of every continent will be underwater, no more Bangladesh…or Bronx.
    • In the US it is easy to imagine the millions of coastal HAVES will push out the Midwestern HAVE NOTS. So where will the Have Nots go? Rafts on the high seas?
    • Is it not reasonable to think the US government would go authoritarian to combat the chaos and maintain order? And extend borders from Pole to Pole for more natural resources national security?
    • If NASA stays on track, we sure could have colony planets light years away. Where better to send the poor, the displaced and the ‘malcontents’? “Out of sight…”
  • Finally, Elise t’Hoot is an illegal refugee going to college in Kentucky. Her scholarships are pulled so she needs cash for tuition. One thing leads to another. Such a girl CAN save not only this world, but others way out there as well. Perseverance, smarts, tolerance, faith in the power of love, and the gut feeling that her terrifying experiences like gang rape, family deaths and mass starvation need not be perpetuated because of caste or color, or what planet, they’re from – these are what make her strong.

Forget the label “Sci-Fi”, this series is about looking around without denial. The Earth is in dire straits with fossil fuels as the main cause and will get worse in the coming decades. Nobody you see or hear news about is worth more or less than you. Some people are capable of amazing generosity and love while some are capable of monstrous evil and outright depravity. A skinny illegal girl with pain and flaws CAN make a heap big difference to the ‘system’.

Disclaimer: The Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure is a true adventure with a wide variety of characters with wildly differing viewpoints. The winding and intertwining stories move fast and offer lots of surprises. There is technical wonder, winning and losing, suspense, violence and pity, even some well spaced-out romance (pun intended). Elise believes much as the author does, but she’s not so pedantic and most of the characters disagree a little or lots, sometimes with gunshots. They have their own problems and beliefs, you know? The environment of the colony planet of Tenembras is harsh enough to polarize the population with regard to aliens. That would be non-Humans, not just those considered to be sub-Humans. Couldn’t happen on Earth…

The Might of Defiance, Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure Book One by Mary Ellen Wall

Available quite soon at Amazon and other outlets for not much $$$ at all.

Only nine more volumes to go! If you’ve read this far you really must give the books a try J.

Help Me Choose?

I’m getting my dear Science Fiction series back on track and want to make sure I have a good cover.

It’s the next century. A Dutch illegal girl who needs college money signs on a military ship to colony planets where climate refugees and dissenters are sent. Book One is where they stop over to clean-up an old Dutch exploration ship’s mess. Little do they know the Dutch ship crashed into an alien’s ship…

The following books of the Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series tell how she and the tree-like aliens transform the ragged, neglected colonies – and much, much more. Especially after they make friends with an alien AI.

Might of Defiance Fractal Cover

The rest of the series for the TOP choice has all the same background and different colors on the title parts.

For the BOTTOM cover, each book had a different NASA starry background.

The Might of Defiance print.jpeg

SO WHICH COVER DO YOU LIKE BETTER?

Just leave a comment either way! And THANK YOU!

Cozy Up With A Book Weather

Tree Against StormOh yes, isn’t is getting cold in the evenings! I’ve had to dig around for my sweaters, coats and long johns and all…cheapskate that I am, I keep the thermostat at 50 degrees F and pile on the warmth. That’s better than 40 degrees like I did 2006 though 2014. Getting soft? The cats seem to like me much better now.

I got an armload of fake fur and thick fleece to make toasty stuff with, and I committed to brings several kinds of cookies to the holiday potluck at work next week. Should I make the Irish Stout next or the Hard Cider? When I’m not sewing or painting or baking or brewing or reading, I could be writing. Here’s the 3rd in the series. They cost a lot less than dry roasted peanuts; why not give them a try?

Frog Flag Woods very Close

 

When An Alien Says It’s Party Time…

“No, I don’t have an appointment. All I need to do is check the seismometers; there are twenty two here and it won’t take but a few minutes for each.”

Tape sized the guy up. He did look like the wiry volcano guy, chocolate dark with very large eyes and a stubby nose, and that superlative girl with the blonde burr had been with him in the net interview. He keyed his comm, “Artemis, wherefore art thou, Artemis?”

“Cut it out, Cusak. What’s up?”

“Got volcano people out here wanting to check their shake-o-meters.”

“In the middle of the night? Where do they need to go?”

Tape turned back to the visitors. “Where are they?”

Mort tapped on the legend on the map Tape showed him. “See these red dots and triangles?”

“Arty, they need the whole perimeter and some central.”

“Nope, sorry. The research in Dome 5 shall not be disturbed by order of the Grand Poobah, nothing in central admin, otherwise looks okay.” She cut the comm.

Tape reacted to Kathy’s discontent; he had a thing for blue-eyed blonde Amazons. “Guys, how about we start checking here and work around to 20, the farthest one? We’ll see how much we can get done in a day. Or a night as it were? Perchance the central area will be available in dawn’s early light?”

Mort and Kathy shrugged at each other and shouldered their satchels. Mort said, “Lead on! We’ll knock out what we can and straight on through ’til morning!”

“Mort, I will donate my lunch money every day if I can get our satellite link-up fixed for Christmas.” Kathy reiterated the common grad student complaint, knowing full well Mort lobbied for it monthly. A new sat was promised on the last bus, but of course nothing came of that.

Tape walked back over to the guard shack and tapped the window, waking Birko. “Can you handle the grueling task before you alone? Can you threaten the impudent scoundrels that may creepeth up?”

The portly Slavic woman scowled at him. “Beat it, and bring back a fresh jug of water. Somebody slobbered in this one.”

After checking the first nearby box, Tape led them to a buggy and they all climbed in. He took the long way around to avoid the area around the proscribed Dome 5, though he knew the tree-people retired at night and wouldn’t be noticeable.

Kathy asked, “Scenic route?”

“Yes ma’am, Tape Tours, at your service; do note the amazing star field, featuring the despicable Blackie with Misha on his heels to save us all. So why are you here so late?”

“We didn’t get up until afternoon and gotta get it done,” she replied. “There are over 400 seismometers and we’re one of four teams checking them. Stop here!” She jumped out with Mort and they trotted to the fence. He went one way and she the other with their case keys at the ready. Case open, scan data, case close and lock.

They stopped eight more times checking two multiple-instrument stations at a time until they neared the last dome of the big circle.

Mort said, “We have two big old-style units inside this one, if you don’t mind, originals.”

Tape slammed on the brakes and swung the rear end around so the headlights shone on the outside door of the huge Dome 20. “Here we are!”

“I see that,” she told him flatly, clearly not appreciating his driving skills. “Can you let us in?”

strawberries weededStrawberries rampant

Inside they saw a vast field of soybeans and one tree. Tape hit the switch that turned on every third light.

“What an odd tree! Mort, look at this, I’ve never seen anything like it!”

They walked over to it. “Kath, I haven’t either.” He slid his hand up the smooth, glossy truck. “It’s tall for the diameter, and the bark is extraordinary, about my tone but shiny.”

“LeeLaa is not a tree.”

Mort and Kathy jumped back to Tape who stood stock still, glued in place from consternation. Tape knew there were alien things in Dome 5, but this one had escaped. He trotted back to the entry and switched on the rest of the lights. He looked around the rest of the dome once more to verify there were no other ‘trees’.

“Not worry. LeeLaa good. LeeLaa go walk and think about maybes.”

Kathy came timidly nearer. “You are called LeeLaa?”

“Yes. Your name is?”

“K-Kathy.”

“Kakathy.”

“No, sorry, plain old Kathy. Ka-thy. And that’s Mort.”

Mort waved and moved up with Kathy.

“Hi Kathy Hi Mort. Hey Tape why worry?”

He gulped. “No reason at all.” Pleased she knew his name, he smiled and decided to stay put. A vestibule door banged open, making all the humans jump and gawk at the old man racing in from 30 or 40 meters away.

“What are you people doing in my dome! LeeLaa! We’ve been looking all over for you! Do you have any idea how big this dome complex is? Tape, what in blazes is going on here?”

“Dr. Cartier, come on, don’t yell. The little one there took a stroll about the premises.”

Cabin June 2015 059
Kreeek, TaaTaa and LeeLaa,  acrylic on canvas  by Mary Ellen Wall

 

Tape thought fast about ways to explain letting strangers in the Dome at night without asking him first. “Dr. Cartier, sir, it was urgent these volcanologists access their seismographs in here as soon as possible. I asked Artemis and she said to avoid Dome 5 and points central, so we checked the perimeter stations and came here for the last ones, except central.”

 

Alain turn to Kathy and Mort tersely asking, “Hello, Volcanologists One and Two. Do you have names?”

“Aalen, names Kathy and Mort,” LeeLaa piped.

“Dr. Alain Cartier, I take it.” Mort stuck his hand out to Alain, who belatedly accepted it. “I hate breaking in like this; Sarjani gave us permission for come in and check our stuff at any time.”

“Forgive me Dr. Abernathy, I did not mean to be rude. The situation has changed and you have inadvertently discovered the reason why.” Alain remembered the newscasts of the great eruption that featured these two experts, and shook Kathy’s hand more readily. “Miss Abramowitz. College kids have been sneaking up.”

“Grand to meet you and your other guest,” she said jokingly, “things have changed!” She whipped around as the vestibule door banged open again, hanging on to Alain’s hand and pulling him so briskly he fell onto her. They righted themselves as LeeLaa whizzed by to embrace the newest arrival.

Tape saw another guy come in from the vestibule behind Elise. She outpaced the man because he caught sight of the point-blank alien and skidded to a stop, statue-like, maybe striving to blend into the bushy greenery in his white suit, staring at LeeLaa who called, “Martaa!” Tape judged that although it looked like the girl he knew as Elise was being engulfed by tentacles, she seemed to be enjoying it. Curiouser and curiouser.

The girl, Elise and/or Marta, stepped back and stood like the subject of an interrogation, facing the assembled humans. “Hi, y’all. LeeLaa, everybody, meet Ricky.” In her higher voice she looked aside to LeeLaa and said, “Many people like this say ‘party'”

LeeLaa said, “Martaa, Alain, Mort, Kathy, Tape, Ricky party! New friends! Make tea!”

Alain pinched at his forehead and went over to pat the still gaping Ricky on the shoulder. He slid his hand down to Ricky’s arm and tugged him around the stars of the show to where Mort and Kathy stood close to each other.

Tape, having overcome his immediate alarm, decided this could be educational, especially since the alien’s guardian angel was now present. He announced, “I can make the tea, but we ought to go to the lunchroom, don’t you think, sir?”

 

An Uncivil War E CoverAn excerpt from An Uncivil War, the Lastest and Greatst Sci-Fi novel with Elise and the tree-like aliens. Launching this month – watch for it!

The Netherlands, Happy Memories

We have lots of Dutch genes in our family and I always wanted to go to Holland. My Sci-Fi series stars Elise t’Hoot, a Dutch girl escaping from calamity that destroyed her family, then winds up with a relative in rural Kentucky. Frustrated with college problems, she signs onto a military colony ship…headed to check on colony planets. Memories of her Dutch home sustain her through many tribulations and razor-close calls. So you see, I’ve had the Netherlands on my mind for quite a while.

Elise’s Mother was a renowned horticulturist:

Holland Ke canal garden Holland Ke Keukenhof ticket Holland Ke parrot tulips on water Holland Ke tulip pot wall

Holland 406 Holland 419

Elise’s Father worked at the huge sea gates that protected lowland Holland from the wrath of the stormy ocean:

Holland Nelltje JansHolland NJ sea wall Holland NJ great sea wall    Holland NJ seawall detail

We had a wonderful trip, three glorious weeks! One cannot go there without visiting the iconic windmills…they don’t figure in my stories but how can I show Dutch photos without them?

Holland 107 Holland 110 Holland 112 Holland 117

Since I Don’t Have Enough To Do…

I had heard about Citizen Science for a long while, but equated it with birdwatchers getting eaten up with ticks out in some snaky woodland. That can be great fun, including the monkey-like tick-picking afterwards, however it is time consuming and risks horrid diseases. Then I found Citizen Science for couch taters and cubical residents:

ZOONIVERSE! People-Powered Research

The Zooniverse provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology. Welcome to the largest online platform for collaborative volunteer research.

They have lots of projects from wildlife in Gorongosa to old sailing ship logs to weather patterns – you select a project and they tell you the way to count and identify what you see. They show you pictures. You count or circle or describe. If you like, you can join a chat on the subject.

I have indicated the illustrations in old horticultural journals. I have compared one storm track against another to discern the stronger. I have counted wildebeests and indicated what direction they ran. I have categorized Mediterranean plankton (least favorite). The newest one is spotting and identifying Wisconsin wildlife, looks very interesting. For all y’all that have jam-packed days already (as I do) yet wish to contribute in a meaningful way, give it a try as you can do as many counts as you have time for. It’s fun!

Painting pre-crackle runsPainting crackle detailOooh, update on the painting project – CRACKLE. Check out the before and after; neat effect after drying a couple days. I propped the canvas up at various angles until I got the drip rate I wanted.  I have tons left to do on this. I love the ‘fractured sky’ look and the way it dripped down, but not so much the solid brown right below the crackle. There are plenty of ways to fix that. All I have to do is tear myself away from my laptop and the SF new series…I have more ideas for that too. How long before the weekend starts?

Inspiration Strikes!

Church Trip 039

Maybe it was the relief of Christmas obligations being over. Perhaps it was the end of the frantic push to get things done before the end of the year. I got the hood, tire and headlights fixed on the Subaru, that had to help. It could also have been getting a second four-day weekend so close upon the heels of the last that it felt freer, like a holiday. I had river of inspiration in full spate coursing through my noggin, much like the Wild Branch out front that overflowed its banks and chewed on the gravel road.

 

As I have not sent my 6th t’Hoot Sci-Fi book to the Editor yet, I took the opportunity to tweak it a bit and augment the ending. That book is now the last of the Elise t’Hoot series, the end of an age. I still love Elise, Ricky, stalwart Bartolommeo, that rascal Alvin Wing and the others; they feel like family. The new series will Tenembras World of Our Own Neighbors Distant Trees be different!

We remain in the paradigm of 100 years into the future, Earth in climate turmoil, governments holding tight reigns on the weary population and efficient space travel a reality. In the new series, we drop in on an asteroid mining operation out past Mars. Otto is a new Mechanic. Socks is a Chemist. I drafted the first book in which they both are nearly killed. Otto’s stepmother ET almost met her demise there doing the same job a few years before. Had ET not self-published some smashingly fine science fiction that sparked popular movies, Otto and Socks wouldn’t have had a chance. Except the main contributor to the danger was a guy who literally lived the movies.

I sat back dazed after drafting that story out.  Something NEW! I hit “save” over and over. I backed it up on two different thumb drives. Then I wrote up eight more storylines with those characters and put them in three categories at around one in the morning. I’m excited that I like the characters, I like the story and it feels so durned good to have released that dammed up imagination. The words of the draft poured out in a steady stream, clear water from a crystal ewer. Laptop with Ale

It seems these books will be much shorter than the intertwined storylined grand t’Hoot books. I will indeed use my new templates for the cover and interior. I will start with e-books only and print maybe two or three to a book later. Might I also create my own publishing imprint? The pearl in the big gooey oyster really seems within my grasp. Wow!

Otto Socks blue

Here’s my first stab at the cover art for the new book. If I don’t get excited about all of  it, who would ?

Trying To Get Ready

I have a full almost 400 page sci-fi adventure that I thought was ready to go to the editor. Since the editor won’t be able to get to it until book note 001Spring, I figured I had time to give it one more read-through, look for story flow, detect any silly things I missed all the previous times I went through it. It’s well known that a writer has a miserable time finding fault with something she’s written.

Stemmery QC 027
Leaf it alone?

First and foremost is the fact the author knows the story and automatically fills in the holes anyone else might see in the plot, the motivations, the backstory. ‘I know what I meant to say.’ Another issue is that I’ve seen it all so many times now, it’s tough to read each word carefully. The good thing is that it’s been eight months since I finished the last draft of this one and it’s not nearly so familiar now.

So I get through the first dozen chapters, happy, and hit an idiot passage. The crew on the alien planet splits up for no good reason, in fact it’s dumb for them to do it. Okay, I put them back together. I rewrote the entire chapter. Read it. Tweaked it. Read it. Vowed to look it over again later. Moved on.

Next was a glaring style difference. I do my first drafts quickly, just writing down the gist of the story, to establish the story structure. Then I go back and record what the characters had to say and do to get each part done. The result is that dialog and action carries most of the story and takes up most every page. So here goes little Aroun, in a dangerous situation, performing an important part of the story arc. And he didn’t have one thought. The entire chapter was ‘he did this’ and ‘he did that’. True, if you’re sneaking you might not talk to yourself. You would feel nervous, maybe afraid, you’d get hungry, you might worry about surveillance catching your breathing. Poor Aroun’s ordeal chapter came across very different than any other chapter and he was severely short-changed emotionally. Okay, fixed that. Read it. Tweaked it. You know the rest.Keyboard 001

This reminded me of this year’s ale batches. They all seemed fine when I capped each bottle and smiled. It’s much later when I discovered I didn’t do it quite right. Comparatively speaking, I do believe the book is much better written than the ales were carbonated.