Free time travel short—new release!

Co-Author, Chess Desalls’ brief blog post about our “Three Authors / One World” short story project.

Chess Desalls

Calla and Valcas are making an appearance in another author’s story world. Download a free copy of the time travel mashup, A Friend in Need, for Kindle and iBooks!

A Friend in Need time travel mashup coverA Friend in Need is a short story collaboration between three different YA authors who combine their talents to create an intersection in an apocalyptic world populated with characters from their respective novels. LX and Jane (from Lynam’s Time Will Tell series) time-crash into Tim Hemlin’s The Wastelanders. Their only hope of returning to their own world requires help from Bear, Caballito, and the time-witch. Enter Calla and Valcas, (time-travelers from Chess Desalls’ Call to Search Everywhen series,) who land in the wastelands while conducting a time-search of their own. Will the travelers be able to return, or are they stuck in the wastelands forever?

Les Lynam ~ Tim Hemlin ~ Chess Desalls

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The B2B Story Hop – April 8-10, 2016


This Story Hop is in conjunction with the 2016 Brain to Books Cyber Convention.  You probably landed here because of a link from that very convention, but if not, you can bounce straight into the Fairgrounds Story Hop Booth by clicking this link:

But you don’t want to go there just yet.  First, you’ll want to read this portion of the Story Hop.  And it’s a little different from most of the others.  A few months back, I floated the idea to Chess Desalls and Tim Hemlin about using the Story Hop to do a cross-over using characters from our published books.  The portion you are about to read is the beginning of that cross-over (do you prefer the term Mash-up?).

Funny story… (well, not laugh out loud funny).  Chess is the one who invited me to last year’s Cyber Convention, and that was also where I first talked to Tim Hemlin.  Now here we are at this year’s Cyber Convention and we’ve each told a portion of a story and weaves some of out characters together.  My characters, LX and Jane, could have fallen into this story from the point in their timeline where my second book (…Saves Nine) ends.  And this begins our three part story.  Well, maybe you should just read it:

A Friend in Need: Part One

…Want Not

As LX initiated the dimensional shift away from his recently depleted secret storage facility high in the Sierra Madras, Jane Carmichael sighs.

“I will offer in barter one penny in exchange for the revelation of your current contemplation,” he offered his companion.

The pretty blonde teenager gave him a brief blank stare. “Do you mean ‘penny for your thoughts’?”

“I believe that is essentially what I have stated.”

“Simplify, Lex, simplify. But OK, I was still thinking about the end of the world and how it doesn’t bother you to let it happen.”

“The world has not ended within my lifetime, and even if humankind manages to become extinct, the planet will continue to exist for several billion years. It is highly unlikely that any event prior to Sol’s nova phase would constitute the energy required to decimate the planet.”

“Don’t be so literal, Lex, it gets annoying. You just told me that in 2059, China and India throw a nukefest and two billion people are vaporized in minutes. And then another five billion croak during…” She lifted her hands to mark quotes in the air. “The Dark Decades.”

“From my perspective, it is a historical fact.”

“We just now take off from the Lair in early 2059 heading into the future. So right now we’re jumping over a time when billions of people are dying and it doesn’t effect you in the least.”

“Depending upon whose estimate you choose to accept, there were 20 to 75 billion humans who were born and died prior to your own genesis in 1952. Do you feel remorse for the termination of their existence?”

“That is not the same thing. They lived their lives. No one nuked two billion of them at once.”

“Given the history of the violent actions humans have taken against each other throughout the existence of the species, I am certain a high percentage did not live their full potential lifetimes. Though it is extrapolated data, I feel confident in stating that several billion were terminated by the act of warfare.”

“You can be a complete downer, man. Remember, you plucked me from a time when people my age were protesting the Vietnam War. I just don’t get how you guys from the future can know two-thirds of the people on the planet get snuffed in a few short decades and you don’t want to try to stop it.”

“We have had this discussion. I have explained the dangers of attempting to alter any historic event. While the outcome has potential for improvement, there is also the possibility that a greater calamity would replace the one that was averted by intervention.”

“You could at least show a little sympathy for…” Before Jane could finish her statement, the Space/Time Explorer lurched, slamming her head against the door with LX crushed against her. “What the hell, Lex! Did you hit something?”

“That is not possible.”

The forward display screen filled with lines of unintelligible white text rapidly scrolling on over a background that pulsed between dark red and bright orange. The S.T.E. shifted the opposite direction sending LX against the wall with Jane crashing into him.

“This is not possible,” he repeated. “The inertia dampeners keep the cabin stable even if there is an external…” They found themselves suddenly pressed against the ceiling.

“What is going on, Lex?” Jane shrieked as they tumbled to their left and again slammed Jane against the door.

“I do not know. This is not possible.” They slammed to the right.

“I wish you’d stop saying that. It obviously is possible.”

“My neural net connection to the computer is severed. I can get no data.”

Jane pointed to the gibberish on the forward screen. “That doesn’t look too good either.” The final lurch slapped them against that very same screen and the cabin went dark. “Lex?” Jane squeaked.

“There is no precedence for this,” he replied. “No Chrono-Historian has ever reported any incident that remotely resembles what we have experienced.”

“Where are we?”

“I have no relevant data to base a response to your query.”

“Well what’s your best guess? I mean are we back in the real world or did we crash in the Twilight Zone?”

“I have no data nor prior experience to prompt reasonable speculation.” A light sprung up between them as LX activated his illuminator. “Based upon what we experienced, I would suggest that an unknown powerful external force struck the S.T.E. at or near the moment we rematerialized in our home dimension. It is my hope that the computer will reboot and begin any needed repairs.”

“Thank you! Geez, why was that so hard to say?”

“It is merely conjecture. I have no access to data to affirm or refute my hypothesis. Wait! I just felt a flash on my neural net connection. Perhaps communication is about to be re-established.”

“Cool,” Jane nodded. “By the way, nice flashlight. Can I see it?”

“Referring to the illuminator as a flashlight is the equivalent of calling a flashlight from your era a candle.”

“Well excuse me Mister We’ve-renamed-all-the-cool-toys-in-the-future,” Jane sneered. “May I please see your illuminator?”

LX handed her the tiny device. “Sliding a digit along the flat edge will alter the percentage of lumens generated.”

Jane rolled the small cylinder in her palm until she found the barely detectable flat edge. “This is even smaller than a AA battery.” She moved her thumb along the edge and the cabin again plunged into darkness. She reversed the motion and squeezed her eyes closed against the unbearable glare. Finding a setting similar to what it was when she received it, she handed it back to LX. “That is far out, man.”

“I have,” LX paused to scowl and rock his eyes from left to right. “Partial access to the computer. I have requested our location, but there is no response. Wait. It was merely delayed. Our location is… That is odd. Though we should be in the mid-twenty-second century, the computer cannot connect to the omni-net. Calculations based on the magnetic poles puts us somewhere in the vicinity of what you call the state of Texas. It appears the DNA homing function is still offline, I cannot determine an exact date.”

“Maybe we can ask someone. Can you open the door?”

“I believe so.” The door slid open and sweltering dry heat rushed in. “That seems excessive. This has the appearance of a desert. Texas is a lush, well-irrigated crop producing area in the twenty-second century.”

Jane pointed to a figure rapidly approaching them on foot. “Maybe this guy will know. He seems to be headed our way.”

“Perhaps we should retreat to the safety of our ship until we can ascertain the intentions of this stranger.”

“Come on, Lex. He doesn’t have any guns, and we’re all out here in the middle of nowhere. Why would some lone guy want to hurt us? And anyway, he seems kind of small.”

Hola, amigos,” the man shouted as he drew nearer. “I thought Si-Ting was loco when she sent me out here to meet you. She didn’t say you would appear from nowhere. How did you do that?”

“You were directed to meet us here?” LX asked.

Si,” the small figure replied. “Si-Ting saw a vision. She said it was the most powerful she ever had.” He sidled up next to them and put out a caramel colored hand. “My name is Caballito.”

LX stared blankly at the proffered gesture of friendship. Jane glanced at her companion, rolled her eyes and reached out to shake Caballito’s hand. “Hi, I’m Jane Carmichael, and this is Lex.”

“Where are we?” LX asked.

Caballito spread his arms wide. “Welcome to the Wasteland, mis amigos! But we should hurry. Si-Ting said there is little time.”

“So this isn’t Texas?” Jane asked.

Si, amiga. Once upon a time. Or so they say.”

“That is not possible,” LX argued. “Texas is a fertile productive land in this century.”

“Perhaps the sun has already started to hurt your brain, amigo, this has been a Wasteland for more than a hundred years.”

LX’s face paled. “Jane Carmichael, I believe whatever disrupted our journey has dropped us into an alternate time-line.”

Amigos, please. We must hurry. We must meet the Bear and those he has gone to collect, then we must hurry to Si-Ting. She said there would be little time to fix the terrible thing that has happened.”


What?!?!!? A cliff-hanger? What the <bleep>? No, you just need to follow this link to the next hop. Tim Hemlin will continue this tale.  You’ll find the link after this brief commercial message:





And now… off you go to Part Two: Waste Not:






Author Interview: Les Lynam

I had a great time doing my first blog interview with GrandmaPeachy! Get your own Peachy feed here:


I would like to welcome author Les Lynam to Peachy’s Insights today. Les is the author of the Time Will Tell series, a delightful series about time travel. Welcome Les!

Les Lynam profile picLL: Thank you, Gram! (Is it OK if I call you Gram? We’re probably close to the same age.) I appreciate you asking me to stop by.

GP: I believe we were born in the same year, so yes, you can call me Gram. Les, I’m sure that readers want to know more about you as a person outside of being an author, would you tell us a bit about yourself, your hobbies, favorite things to do and anything else you feel like sharing with readers.

LL: I’m a retired librarian… which makes people think all ‘bookish’ thoughts right up front, but I was the computer geek librarian. Much of my career, I was the Systems Librarian at the University…

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Go Ask Alice

Halloween StoryHop

Julie knew something was wrong the minute she entered the kitchen.  Alice, her oldest, sat at the table staring out at the few leaves that had held on longer than most but now drifted to the ground.

“You seem troubled,” she said, trying to sound as cheery about it as she could.

“I don’t know what I want to be,” Alice complained.

“Well, you’re only thirteen, dear, you’ve got lots of time to choose a career.”


“I’m sorry, sweetie, just trying to cheer you up.  That blue frock you wore two years ago was pretty big on you.  I’ll bet it would still fit.  And the white apron to go over it…”

Alice rolled her eyes at her mother as she turned away from the window.  “I’m not going as Alice in Wonderland again.  How lame would that be?”

“Well if you hadn’t waited until the last minute, I could have put together some kind of Katniss costume.  Your little brother has that bow and arrow set.”

Alice repeated her eye roll but added a little sneer to her lips.

“Some tucking and sleeve ripping of that blue frock and a little glitter?  I’ve got an old long blonde wig we could put into a braid…”

Alice’s jaw dropped.  “Elsa?  That is beyond lame.”

“I’ve got some red yarn we could tangle into a curly wig.  With your brother’s bow and arrow, you could be Merida.”

Alice’s dad came into the kitchen and started rummaging through the cabinets.  “Where’s that big bowl we always use?”

Julie gently pushed him aside and pulled out a huge green Tupperware bowl and placed it in her husband’s outstretched paws.

“Thanks, honey,” he said over his shoulder as he started to leave.  He caught himself at the door and turned back.  “Candy.  That’s probably stashed in here, too, isn’t it?”

Julie got down on her knees and reached into the very back of a lower cupboard and pulled out five bags of miniature candy bars.  Her husband helped her back to her feet and she plopped the bags of candy into the plastic bowl.

“Why do you always hide these in a different place every year?” he asked as he tore open the first bag

“Because, Larry, if you knew where they were, there wouldn’t still be five bags.”

“Jules.  How can you say that?” Larry teased after opening a Snickers and popping it into his mouth.

Alice’s younger brother charged into the room.  “Is it OK to put fake blood all over my shirt?”

Alice’s lips curled into a sneer as she assessed the pale face and bloody fangs.  “Gross!  What are you supposed to be?”

“A vampire, you dimwit,” he snarled.

“Good choice, Stevie,” she shot back.  “Now everyone will know that you suck!

“And everyone will know that you’re too stupid to think of a costume,” Stevie snarled.

“Still undecided about a costume?” Alice’s dad asked as he unwrapped another Snickers.

“I just…”

“Can I smear fake blood on my shirt or not?” Stevie interrupted.

“Yes!” Larry exclaimed, “Go take a bath in blood!”

“Awesome,” Stevie shouted as he ran from the room.

“Larry!” Julie protested.

“What?  If it doesn’t wash out, I’ll buy him a new shirt.  Let’s figure something out for Alice.”

“My favorite was when she was Snow White, four years ago,” Julie reminisced with a faraway look in her eyes.

Muh-thur!!!” Alice turned pleading eyes to her father.  “Dad?”

Larry shrugged.  “Why not go as yourself?”

“Larry!” Julie protested.

“What?  She’s thirteen, Jules, she doesn’t want to be a Disney Princess anymore.  This might be her last year to Trick-or-Treat.”

“Really, Daddy?” Alice said, smiling for the first time.  “Just be myself?”

“Sure.  Run upstairs and change.”

Beaming, Alice sprinted from the kitchen.

“Larry, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

“Something wrong with her being herself?” Larry growled.

Julie shrunk back and turned her gaze to the floor.  “No, of course not.”  She glanced back up.  “But she’s going to be out with a bunch of her friends.”

“She’ll be fine,” he said as he dumped the last bag of candy into the bowl and mixed the different brands.  He pulled out one more Snickers for himself.

The doorbell rang.

“I’m on!” he said with glee.

“Are you going to try to scare the kids at the door?”

“It’s Halloween, Jules.  Kids like being scared.  Besides, all the kids in this neighborhood know what to expect.”

He left the kitchen and crossed the living room to the front door.  Slowly, he opened the door just enough to slip the bowl out and then he closed it back against his arm.  He listened carefully and waited for just the right moment.  The third time the candy rustled in the bowl he flung the door wide open.  “RHAAARRRR!”

A cacophony of screams, shrieks, and yelps rushed away from the house, each kid trying to push ahead of the others.

“Larry!” Julie said as she came up behind her husband.  “I thought you said you weren’t going to scare them!”

Larry closed the door and shrugged.  “I guess they weren’t from this neighborhood.  Serves ‘em right for trying to get candy from someone else’s neighborhood.”

“What if they tell their parents?”

“Tell them what?  Come on, by now they’ve started laughing about it and kidding each other about who was the most scared.  It’s Halloween, Jules.  Scary stuff happens.  Part of the gig.”

The doorbell rang again.

“Let me get it this time, Larry.”

Larry pulled back the edge of a curtain to look out to the porch area.  “It’s OK.  We know these girls.”  He slammed the door open.  “RHAAAARRRR!”  The four girls stood stock still.

“Hi, Mr. Talbot,” one of the girls said.  “Is Alice ready to go?”

Larry examined the quartet on his doorstep.  One wore a yellow sweatshirt under blue overalls and a yellow ski mask with oversized goggles over the eyeholes.  “Are you supposed to be a banana?”

The girls all laughed.  “Come on, Mr. Talbot.  I’m a minion.”

“OK.  And by the voice, and since I can see the other 3 girls faces, you must be Jasmine.”


“Let me see if I can figure out the rest of you.  Kaitlyn, you’re a convict.  The black and white stripes are a giveaway.”

“Put your mask on with it, Kaitlyn,” Jasmine insisted with a giggle.

Kaitlyn slapped a mask over her face, then pulled it quickly back down.  “I’m not wearing it.  This was my dad’s idea.  I’m not going to miss out on candy at any Democrats’ houses.”

“Was that a Hillary mask?” Larry asked.

“Isn’t it a scream,” a third girl dressed in a men’s business suit laughed.

“Well, Hailey, judging by that guinea pig sitting on your head, I guess you Trump Kaitlyn’s Hillary.  Grace, I can see that you’re supposed to be Supergirl, but I’m surprised your parents let you buy that particular version of the costume.”

“No duh, Mr. T,” Grace replied.  “My dad would crap a brick if he knew I was wearing this.  I changed at my older sister’s apartment.

Julie assessed Grace from head to toe, tsking at the extremely short skirt over the thigh-high red stockings and low cut blue top.  “Looks more like Super-tramp to me,” she mumbled.

Alice came trotting down the stairs.  She wore tennis shoes, blue jeans, and a purple hoodie.  Julie immediately pulled Alice’s hood up over her head.  “You’ll want to keep your ears covered.”


Larry locked eyes with his daughter.  “Call me if you have any problems,” he said solemnly.

“Be careful, Alice.  Really careful,” Julie said with a slight tremor in her voice.

Alice slipped past her mother and rolled her eyes for her friends’ benefit.  Larry closed the door as the girls headed down the sidewalk.

“Let me touch,” Grace said as she lifted her hand to Alice’s face.

Alice grabbed Grace’s hand before she could connect.  “No,” she growled.

Grace’s attention shifted to Alice’s hand.  “Claws, too.  Cool.  Your dad help you?”

“No,” Alice replied, “I did it all by myself.”  She paused then added, “Well, I guess I couldn’t have done it without my dad.”

“How many years has he been rockin’ that werewolf look?” Grace commented.  “I mean, it’s getting kind of lame to be the same thing every year.  No one thinks it’s scary anymore.”

In an instant of fury, Alice pictured herself ripping Grace’s throat open, and was surprised how exciting the thought felt.  She closed her eyes.  My dad thinks I can handle this, she thought.  He believes in me.  I can do this.

“Not that it’s lame for you to go all wolfie,” Grace added.  “I mean it’s an improvement over the Alice in Wonderland number, for sure.”

Alice looked at Grace’s neck.  Her low-cut top left so much flesh exposed.  She bit her lip to try to concentrate but discovered that the taste of her own blood only spurred her instincts.  She would have to kill them all.  There could be no witnesses.

The clouds parted to taunt her with a nearly round moon, waning only 4 days from full.  She tilted her head back and howled.


Now head back to the Halloween Story Hop and see what the other 13 authors have for you!

And now for something completely different: Booktour – Chess Desalls

I’m stepping aside for this post to make room for a fellow indie author who’s out on tour… well, virtually. Chess Desalls writes a fantasy time-travel series. I’ve read the first one and have got the second one tucked into my Kindle, moving up my ‘to read’ list. Perhaps if everyone sits quietly, the author will pop in here with a comment. And don’t miss out on the rafflecopter giveaway!

     Title: Insight Kindling

     Series: The Call to Search Everywhen #2
     Publication Date: January 13, 2015
     Publisher: Czidor Lore, LLC
     Book Links: Goodreads
     Purchase: Amazon || iTunes || Barnes & Nobles

Calla faces charges against her for changing the past. Her use of the Travel Glasses resulted in the creation of two writings that affected the lives of Edgar, the inventor of the Travel Glasses, and Valcas, their prior owner. Now Calla must explain her actions before the Time and Space Travel Agency.
The hearing does not end well. The travel commissioner finds Calla guilty as charged and forces her to choose between two harsh penalties.Despite the risk of becoming lost herself, Calla accepts a dangerous travel mission that may help her find her father. She teams up with a group of talented travelers. While working with them, she soon discovers that she has a special travel talent of her own.
Pursued by the sentient being of white light that’s been tracking her father’s bloodline, Calla fears her newfound talents may not be enough to protect her and her teammates before they complete their mission.

Insight Kindling is the second installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series.

Chess Desalls Bio PicAuthor Bio:

Chess Desalls recently authored the first two installments of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She’s a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly young adult fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

Author Links:


TG and IK Swag Pack
This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

Ready for a sample? The following is from Insight Kindling:

I WATCHED two more hearings before the speaker crackled and I heard the announcement I’d been dreading: “Miss Calidora Winston. Miss Winston, please step forward.”

I felt nowhere near as brave as Ivory had looked. I was sure that wouldn’t work in my favor. To make things worse, the blond with the red earring caught my eye as I stumbled over Mom and walked up to the podium. I drew in a shaky breath and looked up at Commissioner Reese.“Hi, I’m Calla Winston. Traveling is pretty new to me, so I’m afraid I don’t know all the rules. I mean, I’m still learning, and I don’t feel that I’m responsible for two infractions.” I couldn’t believe how stupid the words sounded coming out of my mouth.

The Commissioner raised his eyebrows. “Did you bring your evidence with you?”

“Yes.” I pulled out the letter I’d written to Edgar and set it on the podium.

“Did you write on that piece of paper and leave it in the past?”

“Yes, sir, I did.”

“Why did you do it?”

My lips trembled, but not because I was frightened by the Commissioner or distracted by my own guilt. It was because of Edgar. “I was afraid that my friend would die. He was sick, dying, and it was the only way I could think of to make him give me the ingredients for his medicine—to save him.”

The Commissioner frowned. “Miss Winston, do you believe that you are in charge of preventing death?”

“No, sir, I don’t. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I just wanted to help.”

A glint of compassion and understanding passed over Commissioner Reese’s face. “Did you know that you would be creating a daily reminder and leaving it in the past?”

“Yes, sir.”

Commissioner Reese sighed. “Is this all of the evidence that you brought with you today?”

“I—well, I have the travel glasses and a second daily reminder, but I didn’t take the picture. A silhouette took it, actually—”

“So then you know about silhouettes too?” Commissioner Reese frowned. “I am having trouble believing that you are ‘pretty new’ to traveling, Miss Winston.”
“I had to learn a lot in a short period of time, sir.”

My cheeks flushed as I pulled the photograph out of my pocket—the one Shirlyn took, and the past version of Valcas had written on after I’d left the White Tower. This was the photograph that led to fake engagement number two.

A Question of Balance

A very small number of you who are reading this know me well enough to have ever heard me talk about the ‘Radio Station In My Head’. Now more of you will.This week I’ve been working on writing (at least 1/2 maybe 5/8 done with Act 2 of …In One Basket), marketing, cover design for Bk 3, correspondence with fellow authors, correspondence with friends, etc. Suddenly I got this niggling feeling that I should work on my blog. The niggle increased when I looked and found it has been more than 3 weeks since I last posted. Somewhere about then, the Moody Blues started up in my head: ♪♫♪Why do we never get an answer / when we’re knocking at the door…♪♫♪That kind of thing actually happens nearly all day. Sure, sometimes it’s one of those annoying earworms that got placed their by a ‘friend’ or simply by hearing an ad jingle or song… but for me, most of the time, it’s a subconscious reaction to something I’m thinking about. So, what dredged up a 1970s Moody Blues song that was nowhere nearly as popular as Nights in White Satin? I was wondering about how I was going to balance all the things I needed to do. Boom. Moody Blues.

I remembered the album was called A Question of Balance and the opening track is Question (sample lyric above). With a little more searching of the murky gray matter, it seemed to me that the final song (on side 2) was The Balance. The murky gray matter refused to regurgitate any lyrics from that song, so I had to rely on my ‘other’ brain… Google. A quick perusal of AZ Lyrics rebooted the sounds of that song in my mind. I think the reason I couldn’t come up with it was because most of the song is simply spoken. Only the chorus is sung. Annnnnnd… it’s kind of a hippie-dippy, Desiderata, peace love & understanding kind of thing. Sample: ‘And he saw magnificent perfection / Whereon he thought of himself in balance / And he knew he was’.

So before I got into the ‘explain the Radio Station In My Head’ thing, I was thinking about the Question of Balance. As an Indie Author with no publisher support, I have to do several tasks that take away from writing. There are several sources out there that ‘claim’ to do all the marketing support for you if you toss them some cash… and maybe that has some merit… but I have some Scottish blood (from my paternal grandmother), so I don’t like to throw money around. However, the strongest thing that holds me back is that annoying little inner voice that reminds me that I’m delusional about my writing… that NO ONE would ever consider me an author.

Which got me thinking about another Balance; that perfect zone between doubt and diva. When someone DOES gain a degree of success at their art (with their craft?), how do they manage to hang onto that little bit of self-doubt that keeps one humble?

“And he thought of those he angered,
For he was not a violent man,
And he thought of those he hurt
For he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened
For he was not an evil man,
And he understood.
He understood himself.” –The Balance

Whoa. Sage advice. Mind Blown (says the 17 year old still trapped somewhere inside). Unfortunately, the 44 years of experience since then tends to say, “it’s just not that easy, kid.”

So I continue to search, and be frustrated when I feel like I’m out of balance… but now maybe I feel just a little better, because at least I DID get a blog post written.

Oh… and I have to apologize in advance for what I’m about to do. You see, I realize MOST of you don’t have ‘Radio Station In The Head’ syndrome and usually only get the tunes running in your head when it’s an earworm.

♪♫♪Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale / A tale of a fateful trip / That started from this tropic port / Aboard this tiny ship♪♫♪

Two Future Earth Days

People seemed to like the tale I spun for Story Hop. Here are a couple of Earth Days that may or may not come to pass:
April 22, 2059
Mingxia was on edge. Her eyes darted from her console to the door and then to the chronograph app open on her wrist unit.
“You seem tense, Mingxia,” Jian-Min prompted as he sipped his tea.
“You are mistaken, Jian-Min, I am straining to contain my excitement.”
“It is almost time. The sun has set. Soon the last of daylight will pass.”
Mingxia wished she had been able to see that sunset… her last sunset. “Soon all will be brighter,” she said stoically.
“Very much so. I imagine our people in Australia will be amazed by our display,” Jian-Min said with a smile. “It will be difficult for many years, but we have many leaders in places that will allow them to take charge and reshape what remains. Gaea will heal herself and be better for the cleansing.”
Mingxia shuddered, then quickly gathered her nerves, hoping Jian-Min did not see. “I am envious of those who remain to assist with Gaea’s new birth,” she sighed.
“Mingxia! Our names will forever be on the lips of our people. We have made it all possible!”
“Yes, of course,” Mingxia replied. She reflexively dipped a brief bow to the console she faced.
‘It is time,” Jian-Min declared as he set his empty cup on the pedestal that held his family’s ceremonial tea service. “Initiate the program.”
Mingxia typed in the code-word. Her finger briefly hovered over the enter key. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and pressed the key. She stared at her console in shock. She had helped write the program. It would take less than a second to link to all of the radar stations on the military net. At the same time, jammers would cause all of the radar stations that were not on the net to crash.
“I have contacted our family in Zhanjiang harbor. They have begun the countdown on their bomb.”
“At least it will end quickly for them,” Mingxia lamented.
“Do you know the significance of this day, Mingxia?” Jian-Min asked, then continued when she didn’t reply, “It is the 99th Anniversary of the farce the American’s call ‘Earth Day’. A day when they pretend they care about our planet.”
“Jian-Min!” Mingxia interrupted. “Look at the screen! It is beginning!”
Excited chatter filled the radio waves all across China as the simulated missiles moved into radar screens all along the military net.
“It is beginning,” she whispered, but her thoughts said, “It is the end.”

April 22, 2061

She quietly slipped into the room behind her husband. “Jon? What are you looking for?”
“Call me a sentimental fool, Quin,” he said as he turned to her. “But today is Earth Day. I think it’s the 101st Earth Day, if I remember my history correctly.”
“So why are you out here?” Quin asked.
“It’s just a couple of weeks past opposition. About 98 million kilometers and running away from us. Closest we’ve been since 2054.”
“Jon, hydroponics 57 has given up all hope. They’re going to open their bubble in hopes that the blight won’t spread.”
“I know, Quin. I heard.” He turned back to his telescope.
“I don’t see how you can sit here so calmly stargazing,” Quin shouted.
“I guess it’s the symbolism,” he replied wearily. “Earth Day. Wanted to see if the old girl is getting any better.”
“Better?” Quin snarled.
“I think the dust has settled another few degrees of longitude in the northern hemisphere. Nothing to see but ice, though.”
“With all of our problems here on Mars, why do you care what happens there?”
“Still seems like the old hometown, Quin. I guess I’m pulling for her. Wish I could see how it turns out.”
Quin threw her arms around her husband and dropped tears onto his shoulder.
Jon turned and pulled his wife’s head against his chest. “Can’t say your old Granddad didn’t warn you.” He shook his head slowly. “I wonder how he knew?”
“Oh, Jon!” Quin sobbed.
“Shhhh… there’s nothing we can do. This potato blight just makes the food supply that much shorter. I’m 49, Quin. I just wanted to say goodbye to the old homestead on my Last Earth Day.”

# # # # # # #

In case you haven’t read my OTHER posts, this is a sneaky way to get you to go back. There are some linking clues in my first blog as well as this last one from the Story Hop. Also, these stories contain some hints about what’s to come in Time Will Tell books 4 and 5.

I’d appreciate it if you take a minute to comment. If you enjoy the short stories, let me know. If not. Let me know. Thanks!

Story Hop: “Look at those cavemen go. It’s the freakiest show…”

Story Hop
The young man cracked open the door to the dim room and slid quietly inside.
“Grandad, are you awake?”
“Hmmm? Of course I’m awake. I try to stay awake as many hours of the day as I can. Not that many left.”
The room fell silent.
“Grandad, would it be all right if I opened the blinds a little more?”
“Suit yourself.”
The young man touched his wrist band and a holographic screen popped open inches above his wrist. He pushed several screens aside, then selected an icon on one of them. “Fifty percent,” he said. The glass adjusted its transparency.
“How are you feeling today, Grandad?”
“Still breathing. In and out. In and out. Kind of monotonous if you ask me.”
The old man pushed a tiny baton on the arm of his chair and the chair swiveled to face the doorway of the compact room. He squinted at the form standing by the door.
“So… Alex… What brings you by?”
“August, Grandad. Alex is a character in your books.”
“August? Are you sure?”
“Ever since I was born… in 2012.”
“Twenty-twelve, twenty-twelve, twenty-twelve,” the old man muttered.
“Grandad, have you been taking your medicine?”
The young man’s sigh was the only sound in the room.
“Dad said you wanted to see me about something important.”
“Yes. Yes, Alex. Very important. Yes. But you were supposed to bring your sister, Jane.”
The young man took a deep breath. “August,” he said through clenched teeth. “My sister’s name is Quin. We are not characters in your books.”
The old man stared at the corner of the room. He blinked a few times, then turned back to his grandson. “How old are you now, Alex?”
August turned his face to the floor and blew out a breath. “I need to go, Grandad. You’re not having a very good day today.” He turned and jerked the door open.
“Wait, Alex,” the old man said desperately, “Don’t go! I’ll call you August, if that’s what you want. Don’t go. It’s too important! Please. How old are you now?”
August turned back and let the door slide closed. “I’m 27, Grandad,” he sighed.
“Twenty-seven… twenty-twelve, twenty-seven, twenty-twelve,” the old man chanted. “That doesn’t seem possible. That would make it… 2039. Twenty-thirty-nine… twenty-fifty-nine. Only twenty more years. You should sell everything you have in fifteen years and buy land in Belize… or maybe Ecuador. What type of governments do they have now?” He waved a hand as if erasing a chalkboard. “Doesn’t matter. Someplace safe and south of the Yucatan. And north of Argentina.”
August nodded as if he finally understood. “Because of the Dark Decades?”
The old man looked to his left then right with suspicious eyes. He whispered, “Who told you about the Dark Decades?”
“You did, Grandad,” August replied, “I’ve read all your books. I like the fourth one best. Dark Decades. That dystopian stuff was pretty good.”
“Did I?” The old man was confused. “Books. Books. Oh! Those books. I wrote them to try to help me make sense of the dreams. Then I found…” He stopped speaking as he suddenly propelled his chair over to his nightstand and opened the top drawer. He reached in, then swiveled his chair to face his grandson. The gnarled fingers of his clenched fist unfurled. “This.” He pushed on the baton and his chair crossed to August.
August lifted the object for a closer look. Most of the black paint had chipped off the ears and nose. “Some kind of dog?”
“Snoopy. Pull his head. Pull his head.”
August pulled the head and body apart. “OK… his head comes off.”
“Look at it boy! It’s a jump drive!”
August slid the head back over the shiny metal tab. “What’s a jump drive?”
“For computers! It stores data and you can carry it around easily.”
“This contains data?” August touched his wrist pad and his holo-screen reappeared. He passed the object through the screen. Nothing happened. He passed it through again. “There’s no data in here.”
“You have to plug it into a computer! Never mind. Where’s your sister? I need to tell both of you. Did you bring… I’m sorry… what is it you want me to call Jane?”
“Quin. My little sister’s name is Quin. My older sister’s name is Marta. How come you don’t need to talk to her?”
The old man waved his hand as if waving away a fly. “Marta’s married and has children. She’s not going to Mars.”
“Mars?” August questioned.
“Your father told me that Ja…” He paused. He closed his eyes shut tightly. His entire face wrinkled. “Quin. He said Quin wants to go to Mars.”
“She’s thinking about it. But not for at least another ten years. Once they get a little more established.”
“The second Mars colony is a failure!” the old man shrieked. “Not as bad as the first, and it probably would have worked well if it wasn’t for being cut off from Earth for more than thirty years. They killed the oldest for food. No one over fifty.” He made a slashing motion across his throat.
“Grandad, you’re confused. You’re getting reality mixed up with your stories.”
“I’m not,” he shouted. “I was born on Mars! In 2185! A time-traveler kidnapped me as a toddler and dropped me off in rural Iowa in the 1950s! To her dying day, my sister wouldn’t admit that I was adopted. But I’ve got proof! Ask your dad to show you old family photos from when I was little. There’s a picture of me holding that Snoopy. Jump drives weren’t invented until… I don’t remember… sometime around the turn of the century. It’s all in there! Read it!”
“I gotta go, Grandad.” August slipped out through the door.
“Don’t let her go!” the old man screamed. “Don’t let Jane go to Mars! They’ll eat her!”
A nurse stepped into the room. “Mr. Lynam? Your Grandson thought you might need a sedative.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
August slid into the car. “Quin’s apartment.” The car pulled away from the curb and started down the street.
“How was he?” Quin asked her brother.
“A little cray.” He handed her the Snoopy.
“A little?”
“Mega-cray,” August sighed.
“Poor Grandad.”*********************************
Back to Story Hop:…

Topic: The Moon. Harsh Mistress or Way, Way Out? Discuss

If you follow my author Facebook page, you may have noticed a Candorville cartoon I posted on 3/25.  And here it is again:
Pay particular attention to panel three where Lemont says, “Why don’t we have cities on the moon by now? We can do it.”Much to my chagrin, I’m resigned to the fact there will not be a moon base during my lifetime… and there should have been! (I suppose I still have an outside chance if: 1. The Chinese do it. 2. Some billionaire who thinks they can make some big bucks by building a moon hotel does it. or 3. Medical science has some breakthroughs that extend life expectancy well beyond 100 years.)So… who out there picked up the references from this blog title? (I’ll wait while you go back to read it.) Did I hear someone shout out “Robert Heinlein”? Very good. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, written by Heinlein in 1966 (his 4th and final Hugo Award winner, 1967) took place on a very extensive moon colony in roughly 2075. Heinlein’s earlier works hinted at a moonbase in the 1980s. We missed that one, and I’m pretCricketBlakety sure that even if there is some kind of ‘base’ on the moon by 2075, it won’t be nearly as extensive as the one Heinlein imagined.Second reference? Anyone? Any guesses? (sound of crickets chirping) No? Probably a little too obscure. The only thing in common is the moonbase and the year 1966. The second reference is to a Jerry Lewis movie I saw as a kid: Way, Way Out. I’m sure if I ever see it again that I’d dismiss it as cheesy. (you’re following these moon references and asides aren’t you?) As a preteen, I was pretty impressed. What’s not to love? Rockets, spacesuits, moonbases, Russians (cold war… look it up if you’re too young to know what that is), and {sigh} Connie Stevens ! I had a major kid-crush on Cricket Blake.

(Something else for you to look up. Hint. Hawaiian Eye on Of course there was that titillating bit about sex-on-the-moon! (Off camera, of course, but I seem to remember Ms. Stevens and co-star Anita Ekberg in some racy lingerie… you know, I’ll bet it wasn’t that racy… I was a kid!).So, there we are. The moon. Serious sci-fi and silly sit-com. And I loved it! Maybe that’s why I featured a bit about Apollo 11 in my first book, and mentioned it again in the second one. But more likely, it’s because I grew up in a decade when it seemed real, seemed possible.

Take a look/listen to this youtube clip:

If you didn’t get a chill at the 1:45 mark, then you can’t possibly understand what I’m ranting about.

♪♫♪Press your space face close to mine, love♪♫♪
♪♫♪Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah♪♫♪