April - 04/01/2011 TO 04/30/2011
For all of the areas you can reach here (except for the main blog) the new schedule format will hopefully go this way - unless material is not available from the author. Each blog site features a different author each month!

Week 1 - Authors tell us how the events in their lives encouraged them to be writers!

Week 2 - Authors answer some fun questions about their lives - geared toward different aspects of each month!

Week 3 - Authors answer questions about their writing and the process

Week 4 - Authors present a blurb and excerpt of whatever book(s) they are promoting that month!

Sci-Fi Video of the Moment
Cosmic Castaway by Electrasy
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Featured Author - Michael Drakich! - Part 1

I’m a professional Realtor by trade, selling for over thirty years now. Divorced eight years, I have three children, a daughter, Brooke, 21 and two sons, Miles, 19 and Erik, 17. At the age of fifty-three, I’m probably a lot older than many writers when they enter the field. But I don’t consider that a hindrance. I’ve always been an avid reader, but it took my divorce to give me the impetus to begin writing. When those times came where my kids were absent, I decided to use the time to try my hand at writing. On Monday, February 20, 2006, at 4:23:53 PM, I sat down and began the process. Choosing science fiction and fantasy as the genres of choice was an easy one. When I was a kid, the local library was only a block from my house. I bet I read every sci-fi and fantasy on its shelves. I grew up at a time when the space race was real and when the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out [1969], science fiction went mainstream. It’s an easy genre to fall in love with because its level of escapism is unmatched by any other. I recall when Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope hit the theatres [1977], I saw it eleven times! Even today, I follow what’s up with NASA and all facets of exploring our universe. I find it simply romantic.

[Please Note: Science Fiction/Fantasy wasn’t just for the theaters at this time, either! There were a couple of groups - Arkham (1970-72), Black Sabbath (1970 – “Behind the Wall of Sleep”), Blue Oyster Cult (several songs from 1976 to 2001) - who wrote music based on science fiction authors, such as H.P. Lovecraft, who moved and inspired them. Bands like Led Zeppelin found inspiration for Led Zeppelin IV from J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and Iron Maiden based the song, “To Tame a Land” on Dune by Frank Herbert. Of course there are many other works of literature that proved inspiration for music, but that is for another time! :)
References: www.hplovecraft.com , www.examiner.com - in this article, though, the author shows the Piece of Mind album cover but mistakenly refers to the band as Metallica. These are definitely Iron Maiden’s works though!]
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Featured Author Robert G. Pielke - Part 4

A Birth of a New Freedom: The Visitor

BLURB: There is a niche of science-fiction readers who like alternate-history novels. Within this niche is another small niche of readers who like time-travel stories. And within this niche is yet a third small niche of readers who like first-contact fiction. Well, that’s where my book, A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor has its home.

It’s a rather small home perfectly suited for any and all visitors from these three niches...at one time.

EXCERPT: (the opening paragraphs)

(March 20, 1849)

The passengers boarding the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad coaches struggled to drag their luggage through the narrow passageways, puffing clouds of white breath in the chilly air. Screams of excitement came from a gaggle of children chasing one another around the piles of chests and satchels.

The chill in Washington City was unexpected, since it was, in fact, the exact day of the vernal equinox. Winter was supposed to be finished, yet it lingered. Edwin Blair, however, anticipated the chill. Having done the research, he gave it little notice.

Aside from surveying the antics of the overly rambunctious children, Blair also carefully observed a tall, gangly man with unruly black hair who looked to be about his age, signaling for help. No sooner had the man arched his brow, accompanied by a sweeping gesture toward several well-worn bags, than two of the non-company black men scattered about the platform leapt into action. How am I going to refer to them? Blair tried not to panic. I’m not going to use the slavers’ term! ‘African-American’ won’t work. He tried to reorient his thinking and adjust his speech patterns to the time. There was that 1844 newspaper article about a “colored” man stopping the runaway carriage of President Tyler. And eventually the War Department’s going to create the Bureau of Colored Troops. He shook his head in resignation. ‘Colored’s’ going to have to do.

Edwin Blair, sporting a newly grown blonde, well-trimmed beard, and carrying nothing but a shiny metallic valise that he held closely by his right side, boarded several moments after the tall traveler, catching the eye of virtually everyone he passed. The perfectly polished surface of the valise seemed more like mirrored glass than metal, and his black leather jacket flapped opened in the cool breeze, revealing a black cable-knit pullover sweater. This, together with his dark blue denim trousers, his shoes made of indeterminate material, and his gleaming valise, were the source of near universal curiosity. Several of the young children skipping along beside him pointed and laughed. Their parents offered barely-hushed admonitions: “Behave yourselves! You know you mustn’t stare at strangers. It simply is not polite.” Yet they, to a person, failed to follow their own advice.

Blair held nothing in his left hand, yet he clenched it so tight that his nails dug into his flesh, his teeth clenched every bit as tight as his hand. No one mentioned the word “LEVI’S” burnt into a small leather patch on the back of his trousers, but several men did wonder aloud about the word “NIKE” on the side of his black and white shoes.

For more information on Robert Pielke
and his other books, please check out
his website: www.robertgpielke.com
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Featured Author Robert G. Pielke - Part 3

This week, Robert tells a bit more about his writing.

MLM: Why SF? What was the draw for you?

ROBERT: Why SF, you ask?? Well, no other genre has a veritable wealth of subtypes…so many in fact that the label itself is pretty much worthless. I write alternate history…is this SF? [I don’t know…or care, really] I combine that with time travel and first contact elements. So the SF genre allows me freedom to play.

MLM: All of us are influenced and impacted by TV, movies, books and/or authors at different times in our lives. Who, what and which TV, movies, books and/or authors influenced you? When in your life did you discover them and why were they so influential for you? (Don’t be afraid to give us more than one of each kind!)

ROBERT: I’ve gone to the movies since I was a kid…and those early SF films got to me [The Day the Earth Stood Still being number one for me]. But so did historical epics [Spartacus, Longest Day, Cherokee Trail] and even some silents like The Gold Rush.

Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land – my first SF book – was really influential, but others like Bukowski’s Tales of Ordinary Madness, Ambrose Bierce’s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, Winston Churchill’s The Gathering Storm and Arthur C. Clarke’s portrayals of aliens in almost anything he did [They were almost always unknown and unknowable].

I read a lot during high school and college – not so much studying – I managed good solid C’s throughout….oh yeah were a few B’s and F’s too. Sure I flunked classes – usually took them over again – but those F’s were well deserved.

MLM: Considering the TV, movies, books and/or authors mentioned, is there one TV, movie, book and/or author in particular that you try to emulate in your writing? Which one(s) and why? Please be as specific as you can! J

ROBERT: Nope – as far as I can tell, I don’t’ write like anybody else. In fact, I do not read anything when I’m writing – I found that I started to be “sullied” by the writer or I wanted to edit his/her’s writing to make it better. So – no reading.

MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like mysterious, suspenseful, creative, unique etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

ROBERT: Well, I like what someone said, and I use it as a blurb: “a new kind of science fiction by a new writer with a new point of view.”
Or, “I don’t’ write like nobody” [sic – stolen from Elvis’s answer to the question “Who do you sound like?”]

MLM: In Part 2 we asked you about your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. Have you ever used that as a gift in one of your stories? If so, which one and what was the situation?

ROBERT: Only to the extend I don’t think I’ve ever used the “V-word” in any of my writing.

MLM: Also in Part 2 we asked you about where you’d put the hot tub and why. Does this show through in your writing? If so, give some examples how, please!

ROBERT: Nope…but I do have a few steamy love/sex scenes in two of my novels: The Mission and Hitler the Cat Goes West.

MLM: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over their actions and the plot, or is the muse always the one deciding who done it, where they done it and with what?

ROBERT: “The Story” decides – I let it tell itself to me, and I listen to it.

MLM: Of all the stories you’ve written please tell us:
a.)Which character/creature did you have the most fun creating and why? What about this character/creature makes it stand out above all the others?

ROBERT: I’ve had a lot of enjoyment placing actual historical personality into my alternate histories. I use Joseph Pierce in A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, for example, He was one of maybe three Chinese soldiers fighting for the Union at the Battle of Gettysburg – “bought” by a New England sea captain and given to his mother to raise in Connecticut.

b.)If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters/creatures in real life, who would it be and why?

ROBERT: Hmmm….This may sound odd, but if I were to meet them, it would destroy their reality! They’re fictional…that’s their reality. Nope, not a one of them…I want them to remain “alive” forever. To give them “life” would kill them.

c.)Which of your characters/creatures would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

ROBERT: See the above

d.)If you could choose to visit one setting/world you’ve created which one is it, where is it and why this destination over all the others? What makes it stand out over all the others?

ROBERT: Abraham Lincoln’s White House…it’s a key element in my SF trilogy . It’s always nice to place myself in the location I’m writing about. I went to Gettysburg many times before writing my trilogy, but Lincoln’s office obviously is not a possible option.

MLM: Thanks for joining us Robert and offering us a glimpse into your views as a writer! Don't forget to check out Part 4 for an excerpt!
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Featured Author Robert G. Pielke - Part 2

This week, he answers some questions about his life outside of writing.

MLM: Who is your Valentine this year? Why is this person so special?

ROBERT: You’ll no doubt think me a shameful lout, but I’m not big on celebrating anything. When I was a kid I used to run away from the birthday parties my parents threw for me. [I lived on a 10 acre nursery in a rural/suburban community, so all I had to do was hide out in the plants and trees until someone eventually found me.]
…and a detestable Scrooge, but Christmas, for me is the worst time of all. Yup, I can already hear the “bahs” and the “humbugs” floating through peoples’ minds.
…and miserable creep, but I hardly even notice Valentine’s Day.
…and selfish wastrel, but I can’t even think of another holiday not to participate in.

I do have and have had “special people” in my life – probably because they excuse my “anti-dayism.” :-)

MLM: Robert, you're not alone in your feelings. Many people feel that holidays (Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc.) are too commercialized and prefer to avoid them. So I guess that means you won't be doing anything special for Valentine’s Day, huh?>

ROBERT: Hahahah…I guess not. However, I already do weekly surprises for several special people…

MLM: Why should one day matter if you're doing nice things every other day of the year? Good for you! If you could choose your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift, what would it be? Have you ever received this as a gift?

ROBERT: I don’t recall ever getting a Valentine gift. [Oh, yeah, there was that time in elementary school when everybody had to get a card and gift to be randomly distributed so that no one was left behind. But I don’t remember what I got…or gave for that matter.] But I must confess – I’ll go out to dinner for any reason and that’s kind of what I do for weekly surprises.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.) What area of the country/world are you from?

ROBERT: Originally Baltimore, MD. Now I live in Claremont, CA

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

ROBERT: In Baltimore the summers are pure hell on earth…with humidity to compare with the rain forests of South American and Southeast Asia. In Claremont, it’s pretty mellow all the time.

c.) What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

ROBERT: In Baltimore, there is no fashion statement to be made. In Claremont, it’s a “hotsy-totsy” college town with all the latest gear being sported.

d.) What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

ROBERT: In Baltimore, drink beer – the local brew being National Bohemian. In Claremont, drink California wines.

MLM: Say you’re at a cabin in the mountains, it’s not exactly warm out and you had the option of where you wanted your hot tub to be. Would you have the hot tub inside or outside the cabin? Why? What is it that you like specifically about it being inside or outside the best?

ROBERT: Well, I ski and I like a hot tub outside where I can take in the scenery whilst drinking some of that wine mentioned above. [Oh, and by scenery I do mean the mountains…the literal mountains.]

MLM: If you could go anywhere in the world for Valentine’s Day, where would you choose to go? Why this destination over others? What’s its connection to you?

ROBERT: Some place where they’ve never heard of Valentine’s Day…say Vietnam or Thailand or India. I’d have a good time…I might even smile. :-)

MLM: thanks for joining us again this week and sharing a tiny bit of your life with us!

Please check out Part 3 when it's posted. Thanks!
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Featured Author - Robert G. Pielke! - Part 1

I'm so lucky I managed to dodge Cupid again!
He's taken over the main blog, so I'm hoping I can continue 
to operate on this end of the blog without him knowing.
However, I think he's getting suspicious! Yikes!
Anyway, today we welcome author Robert G. Pielke!

This week, he tells us what brought him to writing.

In the beginning (I know, that sounds a tad pretentious.) I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. My family was in the nursery business – not the kind that deals with children, the kind that deals with plants – not something I aspired to follow up with…ever. My interests always centered on ideas -- expressing them, clarifying them, thinking about them and, of course, writing about them. As it happened, many of the people in my family were in the arts, so it surprised no one that my educational choices promised no clear path to a job or to a self-sustaining career.

At the University of Maryland, I switched my major from history, to philosophy, to political science and back again several times – so much so that I’m not really sure what major I finally wound up with. During college, however, I took a few classes in creative writing. Yup! That pretty much did it for me. Although I would return to this many years later, my beginnings as a writer began in elementary school, with my first novel! (It was one paragraph, three pages long, single-spaced, and, although I didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.)

When the Viet Nam war intervened and forced me think more seriously about what I wanted to do after graduation. Along with every other student, ROTC was mandatory at that time, and I had a short stint in the Air Force in mind to fulfill my obligation. But there were many troubling questions about the legitimacy of that war, so I finally decided to continue my education first at the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg (not to become a minister, mind you, but to use it as a cheap way to study religious thought and ideas – and as a consequence get a deferment from the draft) and then second in a Ph.D. program in social ethics at Claremont Graduate School. I finally had career in mind – teaching college.

My teaching career began at George Mason University where I wrote my first book, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. When I was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor, I realized I was about to be stuck there for the rest of my life. Scary Scary! With the support of my family, I dumped GMU and moved back to California, taking part-time teaching jobs where I could find them (an academic bracero, if you will). I finally found a community college foolish enough to hire me full time, and that’s where I remained. I did all with the plan in mind that since I would no longer be forced to “publish academic stuff or perish” I could finally use my extra time to write what I wanted. Hah! Well, I did manage to do some free-lance movie and restaurant reviews and a few short stories, but nothing big…nothing like I wanted to do. Before retiring from teaching, I did stave off a really gigantic, mega burn-out by moving into teaching online for a few years.

Since then I’ve done three novels. The first was Hitler the Cat Goes West (a socio-political-religious satire of America’s near future), followed by The Mission (an alternate history novel with alien component) and now A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor (the first book of a time-travel/alternate-history/first-contact trilogy). The second book is well under way. I’ve also revised and updated my book on rock music in American culture, due out later this year.

I currently live in Claremont, California where I try to swim daily, dabble with skiing once or twice a year, cook as an avocation, watch innumerable movies, collect rock and roll concert films, and am an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and Ledo’s original Pizza in College Park, MD. My favorite film is the original Hairspray; my favorite song is “A Day in the Life;” and I’m a firm believer in the efficacy of "sex, drugs and rock and roll." Somehow my family and friends put up with me.

Have I left out anything?

Of course!! All the “juicy” stuff…the absurdities, tragedies, surprises, enigmas, failures, flaws, peccadilloes, foibles, idiosyncrasies, obsessions, and so on. I will add, however, that others have, on occasion, described me as having a “type A -- anal retentive – obsessive/compulsive personality.”

Who are these detractors, you might ask?

Well, one of them is that proverbial man-in-the-mirror.
Thanks for stopping by!
Tune in next week when we ask him questions about
his life in and outside of writing!
In the meantime, visit his website:
Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We're excited to announce that our first featured author on this blog will be Robert Pielke in February!!!

Stay tuned for his 4-part interview!