Wandering Among Various Worlds

The human mind is a curious thing.  It can be horrifically dark, or wonderfully light.  Our imagination can be immense, or it can focus like a magnifying glass, making one point in time incredibly intense.  We are only limited by what we can create for ourselves, and the world we currently occupy.  Everything else in between becomes possible in more ways than one.

Some people express it through art.  Painting, or digital media.  Other folks use words to create a mental image with the intent to bring it all to life.  There are a few of us on planet Earth who casually sit back, observing all while interacting with none.

Among all of that, there is you.  Nobody sees the world through your eyes the same way your own mind processes reality.  We all wander among various worlds, sometimes judging, sometimes loving, but always in some form or other, completely living.

When you look into somebody else’s eyes, an invisible bridge forms.  There is a measure of contact that we expect, but the deeper levels of communication between two distinct worlds go much deeper than we realize.  In sharing our reality with somebody we know and trust versus somebody we never met before, all kinds of expectations are added to the equation.

Thus begins my own journey.  I’ve wandered the worlds my own mind creates on many different levels.  Passing thoughts can have the same measurable substance as organized imagery, but not developed within the same manner.  It can be a curse to think in this way, but if regarded from a different angle, it can also be a valuable asset.

Imagine a living rose.  Now imagine it as an ivory statue.  Turn that statue into a gold pendant.  Now imagine that same rose as living once again.  In your mind, you used your force of imagination and creativity to change the essence of a living rose.  It’s something we don’t have the power to do within our own physical realm, but we can do inside the immaterial realm that only you can see.

One day, mankind may learn to connect those two realities, and when that happens, Science Fiction and Fantasy will no longer be a work of fiction, but an incredible way of life.

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A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Dollar General

I got up this morning, expecting a completely easy day, when the unimaginable happened.  Now I understand that what I consider as ‘unimaginable’ must be pretty epic, because I have this imagination that sucked in some explorer team once, and I never heard back from them again… but I digress.  Apologies!

A time portal opened up and sucked me far, far into the future.  Seriously.  I know a temporal displacement when I see one, and that sucker made a direct jump at me.  Well, I arrived at my destination, and I met two people who want to discuss the fate of the Earth with me.  Good thing I had my camera with me!

futuristic man and woman with globe hologram

I of course, asked why me?  I’m just some overweight, Science Fiction author from the twenty-first century!  They said I actually saved the galaxy before, and around a dozen planets, but that will be in another five years from when they grabbed me.  I nearly panicked.  They believed their hyperbole!

Anyways, I went ahead and asked what the problem was, and how in the world can a guy with no skills or physical powers save anyone, let alone Earth.  Well, you can color me surprised.  They whipped out a couple of gadgets we all know and use even today.  They warned me that they will turn people into ‘gadget zombies’ by 2017, who will walk around with blue glowing faces.  They will afflict other people with free gadgets, and they will become a gadget zombie too!

futuristic man and woman working with gadgets

Since I was actually standing in the future and not a victim to one of my own novels after licking an old LSD stamp by accident, I decided to help them.  I asked what, “What should I do?”

They told me that I must write a series of novels starting with Defenders of Valinthia.  That the trilogy will get people to laugh so hard, they’ll start breaking the gadget zombie infection, as it is easy dispelled by a good laugh or two.

I told them, and quite seriously, that I had already written the darned Valinthia Trilogy, and it’s on the internet for all kinds of gadgets to access!  That it’s time to go back to the drawing board!

They applauded me, saying that I saved the Earth, and they were right, I was the guy for the job.  Then they took me literally!  They electronically conjured a drawing board in a giant holographic demonstration, changed clothes with the snap of their digitally sparking fingers, and that is when I decided to get the hell out of there!

man and woman working with virtual screen

While they were starting to draw something, I went to the table and called up their time portal controls.  I set it, and don’t ask me how I knew what to do, because I didn’t, and I jumped into the temporal disturbance.

Now I said that I didn’t know how to use future technology.  I was easily six or seven hundred years ahead.  Because of my haste, I typed in the wrong digits, and viola, I ended up in some tavern in the distant past!

Serious Woman with Dagger

As you can see from my camera that I used with a touch of stealth by pretending it was a pocket tin of cigarettes that I ran out of, they weren’t too happy to see me.  They said something about my clothes and accent being funny, and they didn’t have any mead yet, which means they have no use for funny.

Before they could run me through, I asked if they wanted me to buy them some mead.  Well, that calmed a couple of them down, but the big guy didn’t trust my word for anything!

Intimidating Middle Ages Group

I got another picture off with him making a point about some huge fat guy with funny stuff not paying for mead, so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of coins.  Oops!  They don’t take my paper money in that century, where ever it was!

They said the silver and copper coins looked like quality stuff, so I used it to buy all three some mead.  They asked why I didn’t want any, and I told them I was allergic to it.  The guy with the hat got in my face, and told me that was a mighty big word coming out of the mouth of some weird man who popped out of nowhere.

Angry Swordsman Attacking

Even after the free drinks, I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this one.  I was a goner.  Going to be run through, and probably buried in some forgotten grave.

It’s a good thing the people from the future started looking for me, knowing I goofed up on the time settings.  So I vanished and popped back into the future!  I groaned because I wanted to go home… but it was the same woman.  But different clothes and the future tech was different too.  The man was gone, and she didn’t know who I was talking about. Because I bought three ruffians in the distant past some beer with twenty-first century coins, I was responsible for a robot invasion, because all the future robots didn’t get free quarts of oil anymore.  I altered the future, and she was pouring the proof at me through her holographic drawing board.

woman working with virtual touchscreens

So I was charged with stopping the robot invasion and to save Earth yet again.  Man, I was getting hungry too!  I mentioned it, she looked right at my big gut and told me I won’t starve.  The nerve!  But I understood her plight.  Robots were kicking the human’s butts and I needed to undo the damage.

She told me the best way to fix it was to write another trilogy starting with Darya Rising, with the final book ending with battle droids being used to fool a future bad guy into thinking a fleet of battleships was attacking, and he gets killed by a heroic anti-hero.  That would influence future designers away from using androids… but I told her I already wrote that series!  She gave a big sigh, took a look into the future one more time to see what became of the evil robots, and it worked.  My novels became popular enough for folks to write in proper safe-guards, and the future evil robots were far too lost to do anything to invade and take over Earth.

Robots Are Lost

The future girl, who actually broke down and told me she was my future grand-daughter by 32 generations, gave me a quick hug and asked me if I wanted anything before being sent back to my original time.

I said I want the future’s weight loss pill that cured obesity.  Done and swallowed.  Then I wanted a digital holographic drawing board of my own.  She warned me to hide it and finally destroy it after I start saving the Earth again in my own near future, or I’ll muck up the time stream again.

So I agreed.  Now I am back home, uploading all the pictures I took on my journey, and another one of me looking into my fancy new toy, contemplating all of the new books I am going to write starting the day after tomorrow.

Skinny Dan Playing With Future Big Screen

Yeah, at least my hair is still curly!  Playing with my future holographic drawing board starting the day after tomorrow will be kind of cool!  Why day after tomorrow, which is today by now?

It’s my 26th Wedding Anniversary.  Plus, it’s a fine day to win an award, not just for saving the Earth, but for tickling you pink with my adventures.  In case you don’t know, only one thing in my entire post is 100% true.  Now let’s see who can guess it correctly!

April Fool's Day

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Creating A Plot – Creativity 101

Time to create

It’s not too hard to run a Google or Yahoo search to find templates on how to create a good plot.  Most can be formulaic in nature, other plots can vary, so as to stand out on their own.  The basic premise of them all is even more simple.  You have a good character (Protagonist) and a bad character (Antagonist) and it’s the conflict between them that leads to an eventual resolution.

Breaking away from that pattern can be dangerous, because certain readers are expecting the story to end in a certain way.  An example is the Romance genre.  The story must have s happy ending, or it’s not considered a Romance at all.

Science Fiction and Fantasy has no such restrictive formula.  There are certain things that are required to make the genre Science Fiction and Fantasy.  One of course, is to have science as part of the /galaxy/solar system/world/plot/discussion within the story. Fantasy can have the same things, but have elements that use magic or have anything to do with fantastical creatures/character types.

Readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy are more forgiving when it comes to the format of the story.  It can have a bad ending where evil wins, or a good ending, where good wins. Thus we can further break down the plot of most books.  Good versus evil.

For a time, publishing houses in the mid-90s wanted to break away from the good versus evil cycle.  Plus if you wrote about unicorns, forget making any submissions.  They were being unicorn saturated, with the bulk of fantasy stories had something to do with a girl, child to teen, and a unicorn.  I’ve heard stories where some intake editors who got to page one and found it to be one of those types of novels would shred the book before returning it to the author who wrote it.

Today, it would be easy to stick with formula plots and make the book work out very well. However, I don’t want a good plot.  I want an exceptional, fantastic and well-rounded plot that will grab my readers by the seat of their pants and squeeze for extra thrills!  I want a plot that will cause shivers to go down a reader’s back, delivering a sense of wonder.

It’s what I strive for, and to do that properly, I can’t use the same-old regular stuff most people expect and merely get through to the last expected page.  I’ve developed a multiple-staged process to developing an exceptional plot, and this is how I generally start out.

I create the Antagonist and their back story first.  That very back story will have an attachment to the not-yet invented Protagonist.  What is important about my evil characters is they don’t see themselves as evil.  They see their goals as good, and ultimately important for survival not just for them, but other people they care about.

I invent the Protagonist and write their back story, and have it related to the Antagonist in some way.  Be they a sibling, or a neighbor, or a childhood sweetheart, some type of connection must be there.  It’s what draws them together, or keeps them apart, but it’s a key piece of the novel.  The Protagonist may see the actions of the Antagonist as evil, or they may sympathize at first, only to realize the true depth of the problem later on.

Next I invent the victims.  Be they unnamed people, soldiers, side characters, whoever they are, I have them predestined as a target of the Antagonist.  Some may die, others may live, but there they are, and I put down a mention as to their need to be in the novel.  Say a novel about a war, we need soldiers, some of which will die in combat.  That helps keep the common sense in, and the plot holes out.

It’s here that I invent the location the story takes place in.  It doesn’t have to be earth.  It can be anywhere in the universe.

Once that is done, I ask out loud, “Who benefits and who doesn’t gain anything in this kind of story?”

1d6Once I have that, I ask myself, does my Protagonist and Antagonist have a flaw I can exploit?  I roll a six-sided dice for that.  1 or a 2, no flaws.  3 or a 4, one flaw for the Antagonist.  5 or a 6,  one flaw for the Protagonist.

Next, I create a list of twenty flaws.  Then I roll a twenty sided dice and assign it.  Those flaws can be but not limited to:  Fear of falling.  Lactose intolerant.  Can’t stand the sight of blood.  (Can you imagine a vampire who faints at the sight of blood?)  Fear of clowns. Frequent nightmares.  Insecure around the opposite sex.  Clumsy.  Always getting lost in public places.  Stutters.  On and on I can go with these.  d20

What I roll up, I stick with and make it reasonable within the story.  Before I know it, the plot is no longer an expected map, and thus starts the immersion within the comedy, or the serious moments that make writing a novel so much darn fun.


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The Idea That Lives Under The Bed

I’m not trying to creep anybody out here.  Now that we have the intent clarified, please allow me to further explain so I can creep you out.

We all sleep in a bed.  It’s the comfort zone where dreams and nightmares circle the human mind, wrestling over who gets to have their way with your unconscious but highly fragile inner-child.

Some of us tend to dream up our ideas.  However, there is an idea that resides not over your mind when you sleep, but under your bed.  When you get up, it sees your ankles and chooses not to grab it.  When you walk away, the idea pays keen interest in when you’re going to return.  Make no doubt about it.  This idea isn’t mine.  It’s yours.  It’s looking for the right moment to grab you.

Thinking about your ideas from the ground up is harder than most people realize.  When you’re thinking, your eyes tend to wander slightly upwards.  Creativity, intelligence, experience and wisdom all conspire to drive your focus away from the floor.  That is why you haven’t discovered your best idea yet.  You’re looking in the wrong spot.

All ground floor ideas start with the basics.  A foundation to grow that idea on starts with a solid base.  A floor, if you can imagine it.  Floors serve only one function.  To support.  So now we have support for that undiscovered idea, and that floor can be assigned your years of experience as a start.

We live on a planet where everything is built from the ground up.  Plants grow from the ground up.  Yet, when we think and process information, we look upwards for inspiration, rather than downwards.

Okay, just where in the fruit-cake bent mind-scramble am I going with this?

I don’t need an idea.  I’ve got dozens of them crowding the front of my brain, looking for some kind of spoiled-brat type of attention.

If you need an idea, you know where to check for it.  Under the bed.  Where you sleep.  If you see it staring back at you with tiny glittering eyes, don’t yell.  Don’t scream.  Just calmly regard it, and with a small, crooked grin, own it.  Accept what you see and make use of that idea to change your role in the world.

I was only 9 when I told my mother that I have no idea what to do.  That I was bored.  She told me to go look under my bed for an idea.  So I did.  I found an old book, printed in 1905 of a story about King Arthur that was originally written in 1890.  How it got there, I don’t know.  I think it was left behind when my Uncle Ralph visited once.

I read it, got hooked, and read more books.

Not long after, I wanted to write books.  Look at where I am today.

Now go look under your bed.  If you find an interesting idea, come back here and tell me about it in the comments section.  It’ll be fun to talk about, I promise.  ^_^

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March 2, 2015 and it’s almost 3am

March has arrived at Mach 3, in my opinion, because February is always so blasted short.  I’m getting ready to process another novel, which I’m keeping on the low-down right now, because I’m not certain if I can finish it.

It’s one of those flashes a writer can get.  Like being hit by lightning.  Ka-Zap.

Those insights can either soar from beginning to end, or fizzle halfway through.  My previous lightning strike was a novel called Defenders of Valinthia, which I wrote carefully in the hopes of sharing a universe of fun-filled moments along with some serious stories tossed in.

I will know by the end of March if this is going to fly or not.  If the infusion fizzles and the drama dies, I’ll bury it in the back yard somewhere.  However, if this takes off from beginning to end, then it will be featured, right along with a call for beta readers.  As of right now, I’m not sure.

I still have The Muliebral Order and One Unlucky Knight to work on, as well as an actual screenplay I’ve been having fun with.  Right in the middle of a chapter for Muliebral Order, Ka-Zap!  So I started on that, and produced the first three chapters in the time it took me to write half of a chapter for the other story I am itching to tell and share.

Most writers have writer’s block.  I have a curse that’s just the opposite.  I’ve got all of these universes spinning around in my mental theater, they’re fighting each other to get told.  I must focus, I tell myself, and I go write something up that’s crazy fun and not even related to my current goals.  How’s that for a twist?  ^_^

Mr. Spock

By now everyone knows.  Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015) was a great influence in the world of Science Fiction.  Playing the part of Mr. Spock, he became the role and filled it with distinction.  As a Thespian, I applaud his performance, and I really can’t process the fact that he’s dead.  I don’t like to think in those terms.  I would like to say that Leonard Nimoy moved on to fight evil in a different dimension, and given time, the rest of us will catch up to help him out.

Spock, you’ll be missed.  I hope you and Scotty (James Doohan,  March 3, 1920 – July 20, 2005) are off somewhere in a space station, sharing memories while grinning at the entrance to see who comes through next.

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My Website Daniel-A-Roberts.com Is Back!

90 days ago, the access to my website has been restricted.  There was a reason for that.  Wix offered a very nice incentive to go with the annual plan.  If I paid for a year in advance, I would get a discount, plus up to $350 in advertising vouchers for major websites, like Bing, Facebook and Twitter.  That far exceeded the annual fee, so this pays for itself.

In order for me to have the plan go to work, I needed the site to take a 90 days rest while I saved the money.  Now that is done, paid for and working again, I now have vouchers to pay three times what I spent for an annual plan.  It will pay for itself in short order, and that is how being frugal minded can help my books become better known across the Internet.

My apologies for not spilling the beans sooner on this, but all of my website links works again, and better yet, not a single advertisement in place.  ^_^


See you all next week!

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Darya: Queen of the Galaxy is Released!

Darya Queen of the Galaxy Official CoverAs of the time of this post, Darya: Queen of the Galaxy is available on Smashwords in any ebook format used across the Internet.

This is the final book in the Darya Chronicles, and yes, this woman has come a long ways since she was introduced to the wider galaxy.

I’ve always enjoyed writing about a strong female lead character.  The idea of being dependent on some over-muscled guy to save the day is okay in some cases, but it’s much more fun to have that hero rescued by the woman he’s out to impress.

Let there be no mistake.  My novels aren’t written for kids.  People get hurt.  Some die.  Others are out to cause nothing but trouble, and then there are some quirky characters that can bring the house down with laughter.  If you’ve been reading this series, you’re going to be amused by the fact that Lisa the Fabrini Secretary returns, and her antics get stepped up a notch as she pretends to be human so she can understand them better.

I could talk about this novel all day, but one thing everyone should know, familiar to the story or not, is that I enjoy delivering one hell of an adventure.  With two Editors and a dedicated Beta Reader, this is a highly polished novel.

As time goes by and other retailers in the distribution hub pick up the title, I’ll share those links in a future post.  As for right this very second, Smashwords is the only location, soon to be followed by Amazon within the next 12 to 24 hours.

It was a blast to write!  I hope the citizens of a distant planet called Earth can come to enjoy the adventure!  ^_^

Update on 2/14/2015

As promised, here is the Amazon Link to the novel for Kindle.  It went live sometime this morning.  This finishes the Darya Chronicles, and now it’s time to start another series.  Information on that will be coming as soon as it’s nearly complete this time.  :)

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