Monthly Archives: December 2011

Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour #2: Priorities for Next Year

As we wind down this year, I have little interest in reviewing the last twelve months unless there were some notable mistakes and/or accomplishments. None come to mind at the moment, so I will move on to planning for the new year.

Last night I sat down and made a list of all the projects on my “To-Do” list. I have either started writing them or they are part of a series that has been published (the one exception is teaching myself to use GIMP for making book covers.) There are thirteen items on said list. I am not the only writer in this boat, I’m sure. We are a creative lot and when the juices get flowing, they can spill into all kinds of cool, new projects begging for our attention. Here’s how I sorted my list. It’s called a decision matrix. I listed all of my projects vertically (I used an Excel spreadsheet because I’m a big geek, but you can do this on paper.) Across the top I listed them again, left to right. Wherever a project intersects with itself, I colored the cell black (you can use an X on paper). I started at the top of the list and compared my first project with each of the others across the top. If the project along the side took priority over the one on the top, I put a one in the square. If not, I left it blank. When I finished, I counted the ones in each row (actually, the computer counted them) and sorted by the Rank column. The project with the highest score was put at the top of the list, second most came next until the project with the lowest score was at the bottom of the list. Now I have a way to prioritize my time.

This is a shot of my decision matrix before I sorted it using the rank numbers.

It doesn’t mean that every project must be completed before the one below it, but the higher the priority, the more time I will dedicate to it. Sometimes you just have a great thought on a future project and it just HAS to be written down. At least when I have a schedule, I know what I should be doing. It’s up to my muse to keep me on track.

CONTEST: In the spirit of the season and the blog tour, everyone who buys an ebook  copy of Chronicles of Alcamene Book One: Gunn Sight ( http://tinyurl.com/Gunn-Sight ) will be entered in the drawing for an autographed PAPERBACK! (wow! like, you know, paper and a cover and you can read it in the bathroom at work! Cool, huh?) copy of the book. Just email me a copy of your receipt and I will put your name in the hat. I will give away 1 copy for every 50 entries. Yes, you can enter more than once if you have more than one Amazon account. If you buy AND leave a review (good, bad or otherwise) I will enter your name AGAIN! Look, I’m an Indie author and I am not above bribing you to buy my book. BTW, I will autograph the book for someone else if you like and send it to them. Yes, too late for Christmas, but what a great gift to give the sci-fi fan in your life. They are certain to have a birthday in the next twelve months, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

We have fifty authors participating in this promotion, so be sure to hop over to their blogs as well and check out the cool things they are giving away. Of course, I  would ask you to check out Matthew Wood’s story “The Day the Sun Stopped Shining” (you didn’t think I was clever enough to think of that, did you?) http://sunstoppedshining.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/episode-1-terminator/ .

Here is the link to the Blog Tour Home page: http://www.sunstoppedshining.blogspot.com/   All of the authors are listed there (saving me the trouble of doing so here) so please check out their blogs, books and contests.

The Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour

As a resident of Southern California (where it was 80 degrees on Christmas) the title of this promotion strikes a chord. Life just about grinds to a halt here in the Southland when it rains… no sunshine? Forever? OMG, Lindsey and Brittney would pitch a fit and the tanning salons would be doing a banner business. Glow sticks and glow necklaces, heretofore used only as accessories at raves would become haute couture for the masses, while Foster Grant stock would take a nose dive. (This would, of course, prompt the Federal Government to invent dark glasses with backlighting for their agents… sadly, our tax dollars at work.)  The ‘Edward Cullen pasty white complexion’ would become all the rage (again) and L.A.’s nightlife would be a non-stop party, putting Mardi Gras to shame.

There is a downside (besides all of us freezing to death and suffocating when the plants can no long produce oxygen), the vampires known to inhabit Los Angeles would now infiltrate every part of society. No longer relegated to crummy night jobs like 7-11 clerks and school district security guards, they could get jobs at T-Mobile and Verizon, the cable company and the DMV. You think i’ts bad dealing with a customer service rep from a third world country, wait till you’ve had to put up with the attitude of a  vampire who’s been 22 for 400 years and  can’t sleep because the sun never rises. You’ll be begging for broken English and the endless dial tones of being disconnected. Gives a whole new meaning to “life sucks”. What, you didn’t think that would come up? Is this the first time you’ve read this blog? You should know better.

CONTEST: In the spirit of the season and the blog tour, everyone who buys an ebook  copy of Chronicles of Alcamene Book One: Gunn Sight ( http://tinyurl.com/Gunn-Sight ) will be entered in the drawing for an autographed PAPERBACK! (wow! like, you know, paper and a cover and you can read it in the bathroom at work! Cool, huh?) copy of the book. Just email me a copy of your receipt and I will put your name in the hat. I will give away 1 copy for every 50 entries. Yes, you can enter more than once if you have more than one Amazon account. If you buy AND leave a review (good, bad or otherwise) I will enter your name AGAIN! Look, I’m an Indie author and I am not above bribing you to buy my book. BTW, I will autograph the book for someone else if you like and send it to them. Yes, too late for Christmas, but what a great gift to give the sci-fi fan in your life. They are certain to have a birthday in the next twelve months, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

We have fifty authors participating in this promotion, so be sure to hop over to their blogs as well and check out the cool things they are giving away. Of course, I  would ask you to check out Matthew Wood’s story “The Day the Sun Stopped Shining” (you didn’t think I was clever enough to think of that, did you?) http://sunstoppedshining.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/episode-1-terminator/ .

Here is the link to the Blog Tour Home page: http://www.sunstoppedshining.blogspot.com/   All of the authors are listed there (saving me the trouble of doing so here) so please check out their blogs, books and contests.

Now then, the ghost of Christmas yesterday is still haunting the living room, so I am off.

email: edward (at) storiesbyedwardowen (dot) com

website: www.storiesbyedwardowen.com

Henry’s Gift: A Christmas (Sci-fi) Romance

If one were to stand on Earth on a clear night and look towards the bottom of the constellation of Orion, one would see a tiny speck of light. That particular speck is a star that is much larger than our own sun, but also older and in the final million years or so of its life. It is not nearly as hot or bright as our beloved Sol, and none of its five planets have the necessary requirements to support life as we know it. However, around one of these planets orbits a moon, which according the engineers that know such things, has the right density, rotation and several other factors that we humans need in order to survive. It is on this moon that our story takes place…

“Henry?!”

“Yes, my love?”

“Would you be a dear and check the well? I think the pump motor stalled. I hate to send you down there again, but I have an entire house to clean and no water.”

“Yes, dear, you know I don’t mind. You have plenty of time; the ship isn’t due for another two weeks. There’s a good chance the crew won’t have time to come in the house at any rate.”

“But that’s Christmas day. They absolutely must see our tree and share Christmas dinner. I feel bad that we don’t have gifts for them, but dinner is a gift, isn’t it, Henry?”

“Yes, Margaret, dinner is most certainly a gift. The wise men should have taken gold, frankincense and a pot of your vegetable soup to the manger.”

“Oh, you’re teasing me. But you will ask them to stay, won’t you Henry? I mean, really ask them? Tell them it’s Christmas. Who wants to eat crummy ship food on Christmas?”

“I will ask them. I have to wait until they land, there’s some sort of interference on the radio just now. Let me get to that pump. You’ll want a bath later and a warm one, too, I’m betting.”

“Thank you, dear. Henry, how long is till Christmas? How long, exactly?”

“Thirteen days, seven hours, thirty six minutes and twelve seconds, exactly.”

*****

“Are you sure? You checked the calculations?”

“I checked them three times, Henry. I may not have your brain, but I know how to calculate power loss ratios.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you, Margaret. I’m just being thorough. I can’t help it.”

“I know. Did you try the radio again?”

“Yes, still nothing. Whatever interference we’ve been getting is still there. I can’t reach the ship or any of the other outposts. It’s never been out this long.”

“Do you think they’ll be here in time?”

“I don’t know. I can’t imagine what would keep them from getting here, but I can’t imagine the radio not working for over a week, either.”

“What if they don’t make it, Henry? What then?”

“We have a contingency plan. The cradle would protect you …”

“NO! I’m not doing that. I told you before, that is not an option.”

“This is upsetting you. Let’s not talk about it right now. We still have almost a week.”

“I need a hug. I need you to tell me everything is going to be OK, Henry. I need to hear that, even if you have to lie to me.”

“You know I can’t lie to you, not even when you ask me to. But everything could be OK. Does that help?”

“Yes, that helps. How would I live without you, Henry? What would I do? I love you.”

“I love you too. It’s my job to see that does not happen, Margaret. We’ll discuss it again in a few days.”

*****

“Henry, are you awake?”

“You know I am.”

“Tomorrow’s Christmas and they aren’t coming, are they?”

“I don’t think so. There’s been nothing at all on the radio. They would be in our system by now. I should be able to pick up their signal.”

“How long can we wait?”

“You know the answer as well as I do, Margaret. If we don’t power up the cradle before the shield collapses… well, there’s no sense in dwelling on the outcome.”

“It’s Christmas. Maybe we’ll get a miracle.”

“Maybe, but you know I can’t wait for one. I have to keep you safe. I don’t have a choice.”

“I know, I know. First Law and all that nonsense. What if I refuse to let you do it?”

“It won’t matter. You can’t order me to let you die any more than you could order me to take another’s life. Why are we having this discussion? There really isn’t any other alternative.”

“You’re right, you’re always right. Can’t we wait another hour? I want you to hold me and kiss me till then.”

“Yes, we can wait another hour, but then we have to start.”

“OK, one more hour. I’m still hoping for a miracle.”

*****

“Margaret, it’s time to get started. Go ahead; you aren’t going to hurt me.”

“Sorry. I can never get used to the idea of cutting you open.”

“That’s perfect. You should be able to see the cover now.”

“I see it. It unscrews, just like a jar lid?”

“Only a quarter of a turn, then lift it straight up.”

“OK, I got it. It’s very beautiful. You have a beautiful heart, Henry.”

“Thank you, but it’s a trilennium crystal.”

“Oh, stop it. If I want to say this big red rock in the middle of your chest is your heart, then let me have my romantic moment.”

“OK, Margaret. I’m giving you my heart.”

“Henry, how long will you… you know… last?”

“My batteries will keep me aware for an hour and my memory circuits intact for several days. When the ship gets here, they can install another crystal and I’ll be as good as new. The cradle will keep you safe until then. My crystal is large enough to power it for a month.”

“Thank you, Henry. I’ll see you when the ship gets here. You know I love you.”

“You’re welcome, Margaret. I love you too. Oh, Merry Christmas. I’m sorry we won’t get to have our dinner together.”

“Me, too. Merry Christmas, Henry.”

*****

“Captain, we have a faint energy reading on the surface.”

“Is it natural?”

“Not likely. The energy signature matches trilennium crystal, but there’s no trilennium anywhere in this sector.”

“What ever is down there must be old. Trilennium hasn’t been used for fifty years. Send a scout team down to check it out.”

“Yes, sir. Bridge to Science Officer. Please have EVS team dispatched and check for survivors. Sending coordinates now.”

“Copy that. Will report when we get to the surface.”

** ***

“Captain, the scout team is calling in their report.”

“On the speaker, please.”

“Science Officer Wilkins, Captain. We found an old outpost down here.”

“Are there any signs of life, Mr. Wilkins?”

“There’s a woman’s body in a cryo-cradle and a robot lying next to her. Looks like she tried to use his trilennium cyrstal to power up the cradle. What I don’t understand is how the crystal got back into the robot. She left a recording on the cradle’s computer, but we’ll have to bring it back to the ship to play it.”

“Very well, I’ll meet you on the science deck.”

*****

“OK, that should do it. The circuits are very old, but the cold kept most of them intact.”

“This is… Margaret Hansen. The robot lying next to me is my husband, Henry…power has failed… our shield… in a matter of hours… ship has not arrived… may not make it. At his insistence … used Henry’s crystal to activate the cradle and I waited for him to power down. Minutes before… failed completely, I put the crystal back into Henry. I knew if he reactivated, he would try to save me. First Law requires…  His memory is better than mine. It’s… perfect. He will remember us. I cannot live without him. The cradle… on battery power, so I won’t feel anything. Thank you, Henry. That was the best Christmas gift anyone ever gave me…”

“Good work, Mr. Wilkins. Please forward a report to Command. They’ll  try to locate Ms. Hansen’s family.”

“Captain, there’s something I don’t understand.”

“What’s that?”

“She called him a robot, but according to our tests he was a cyborg. I thought they outlawed cybernetics.”

“They did, thirty years ago. He must have been one of the volunteers. Most of them had terminal diseases and cybernetics was their way to cheat death.”

“Why would he let her think he was a robot?”

“So he could protect her. He knew she couldn’t argue with the First Law. He let her think he had no choice but to sacrifice himself.  According to the log, they were waiting for a ship. If one had come within a month, they would have made it, but she changed everything when she put the crystal back. Too bad; a robot would have survived down there, but a cyborg didn’t have a chance.”