Discovery: The Toughest Beast on Earth is Tough Enough to Endure Space #science

The tardigrade, also known as waterbears and moss piglets, is the toughest creature known on Earth.

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Water bear (tardigrade), Hypsibius dujardini, scanning electron micrograph by Bob Goldstein and Vicky Madden, http://tardigrades.bio.unc.edu/

It’s a micro-animal (can only be seen with a microscope) and lives in the water. It can survive extreme environments: from near absolute zero to boiling; the extreme pressures of the deep sea; high doses of radiation; the vacuum of outer space; and they can go ten years without food or water. Learn more about the waterbear.

As Spock would say, fascinating. Have you learned anything interesting lately?

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A Woman Lost by TB Markinson

Check out this new release

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Historian Lizzie Petrie remains nothing more than a lesbian in her bitter mother’s eyes. The suppressed hurt of that superficial assessment means she still catches herself off guard when thinking of Sarah as her wife. The couple has endured the fallout of Lizzie’s insecurities and set-up house in Fort Collins, Colorado. Now their relationship is about to be tested again.

When her wife announces she wants to have a baby, Lizzie panics. A baby? The thought of sucking an egg from her ovary and implanting the resulting embryo into Sarah’s womb terrifies her. Lizzie constantly worries if she’ll make a good mother.

Just when she starts to make peace with the idea, Lizzie’s estranged family enters her life again. The news is anything but good, and she finds herself wondering how to make amends with her aloof mother, stranger of a father, and self-centered brother.

Deep down, Lizzie is more loving and caring than she ever gives herself credit. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to open a woman’s eyes to her full potential. But at what price?  

Buy Links: Amazon (US)  /   Amazon (UK)    /    Amazon (Canada)

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SpecFicChat

On Twitter this Friday: What happened to the future? It’s not Star Trek or 2001.

Fri. April 17th, Noon EDT. Hosted by Untethered Realms &  Ellie Garratt. Yeah, what did happen to our flying cars?

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Rumor Mill: New Star Trek TV Series #SciFi What do you Want to see? Plus, Blood and Sorrow by Christine Rains

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(photo by NASA)

Wow, new Star Trek on television! Don’t tease me CBS. I’ve been jonesing to see space opera back on the box. With the cost of CGI making a setting in space more cost effective, shows about the final frontier should be cropping up all over. Except they’re not (hear me weeping).

According to an article written by Eric Diaz for The Nerdist, there are two pitches to revamp Star Trek.

1) Rebooting the original Kirk/Spock/McCoy series.

2) Star Tek: Federation – the age of exploration is over and Star Fleet is a bloated empire.

According to i09, this rumor is false. Boo! I still want another Star Trek. What about you?

It’s fun to imagine what a new show might be like. What would you want to see in a new Star Trek?

What I like best about any show set off Earth is exploration and discovery. So however they go, I want to be on a ship exploring the galaxy. No prequels. I want to go where we haven’t been before.

 

Of Blood and Sorrow

Check out the latest release by Christine Rains. Christine always writes a fascinating and original story. Can’t wait to read this one!

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Erin Driscol works the perfect job consoling fellow demons by feeding off their grief at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home.

When fledgling vampire Nicolas Reese comes to Erin for help, she learns the truth behind the legends and hides him from his sire and the vampire hunters who seek him. But when the Putzkammers begin to die one by one, Erin is caught between her act of kindness and the need to save her adopted family. Only by facing her own personal demons can she stop the slaughter and still rescue Nicolas from his dark fate.

Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords

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Learn more about Precipice and Craze

Become part of my reader’s list by this weekend and receive a special interview with Craze. Lots of other fun tidbits are in my emails. Best of all new signups get a free M. Pax ebook. Get Craze’s Interview.

 

 

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Author Marketing: It’s in Your List. That’s Where it is. Plus, Path of Angels by Patricia Josephine

The most important thing we can do as authors for marketing is grow our mailing list. This is a group of people who like what we do and want more.

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Here are some resources you should check out: This is why I send a newsletter every month by Beth Revis, Your First 10K Readers free videos from Nick Stephenson (I also read both of his books), and this podcast with Nick on the Creative Penn.

1.  I was already giving out a free book. In fact, I have two permafree books. Yet I failed to fully capitalize on what I was doing. I added advertisements (with graphics and links) to the fronts and backs of my ebooks, promising new signups another free M. Pax read.

2.  I changed my signup page here on the site by ridding it of the sidebar. The only call for action on the page is to join my mailing list. No other distractions.

3.  I changed my signup button to be less threatening. ‘Join’ and ‘sign up’ may turn readers away. 

4.  I have started monthly newsletters (as of March), and will advertise them on Twitter and Facebook before and after the email is sent.

5.  I changed my welcome email when people join my list. It tells them how to get their free ebook.

Another useful tip: You have to include a real address in your newsletter. There’s a law about it. If you get caught, you could be fined $16K per email (to each person on your list). That’s pretty steep. THE LAW

If you don’t want to use your home address, get a PO Box. I just got me one, and you can reserve one online at a post office near you.

So how did it work? It took me two years to gather 130 readers I can talk to directly. In the last two months, I added 70+. I’m a long way from 10,000 readers, but I’m happy with the results. And thanks to a nice review of The Backworlds on Boing Boing last week, this number is rising. It’s nice to be poised to fully reap the benefits of a highly visible review.

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Originally I wrote this post about the recent tragedy in my life, but it depressed me. So I erased it. What’s there to say? I’m sad and my life sucks. There’s no point in depressing all of you with it. I’ll just say it makes everyday so much harder. It’s why I cut my workload to one project. I will get Precipice done to meet my deadline on April 13th. 

This is my April, no fooling, post for IWSG, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, happening the first Wednesday of every month.

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Meet Michael, star of Michael Path of Angels by Patricia Josephine

Do you have any hobbies, favorite TV shows, books? Anything you fangirl/boy over?

Michael: I suppose I’d sound like a religious fanatic if I said the Bible. It’s not my favorite book anyways. When I was younger I was a big fan of The Hobbit. Always imagined going on an adventure. Which I am on now. There’s no dragon at the end of this journey though and I’m not sure it will ever end.

What is one thing from your past you’re most proud of?

Michael: There isn’t one thing I can specify. My past is full of few regrets and lots of happy memories.

Pie or Cake?

Michael: Cake. Got some? (I wish)

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There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

Amazon

About Patricia Josephine:

PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who. Website

 

Worlds more Habitable than Earth?

Yup. Turns out we may be at the fringes of what is ‘habitable’ in the galaxy. I talk more about it on Untethered Realms today. Stop by and learn more about Superhabitable.

The AtoZ Challenge has started too. I’m participating with the other authors on Untethered Realms. Come say hello.

 

 

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Fantastic Travel: How Wizards Do It #fantasy and Defying Reason by Elizabeth Seckman

Last week we talked about traveling about in science fiction. This week, it’s getting from place to place in fantasy.

Of course, a wizard can twitch a magic wand and get to wherever wished. Abracadabra!

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Spells can keep you stuck or send you to someplace new. For instance, tapping your ruby slippers and chanting your destination. “There’s no place like home.”

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You can ride a broomstick. Stay away from water, though!

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(you can purchase this strange item at Amazon)

An encounter with citizens from London Below:

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Ride a dragon!

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Pixie dust!

Welcome to the Woodland Realm

(this image was purchased and licensed, please don’t copy)

A magic carpet ride.

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Viktor Vasnetsov. ”The Flying Carpet” (1880). {{PD-Russia}} Category:Wiktor Michajlowitsch Wassnezow

Mirrors. A strange and interesting way to travel in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell

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(“Jonathan strange and mr norrell cover” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

A phantom toll booth.

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(“Phantomtollbooth” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

Astral/god planes. The gods and goddesses can summon thee. 

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(“Prometheus and Hercules” by Christian Griepenkerl – found online [2], James Steakley. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

A wardrobe

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(“TheLionWitchWardrobe(1stEd)” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

Or maybe there’s a magical portal in your town or an object that takes you to other universes, like a ghost stone.

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What other ways can you think of for traveling to and about fantasy lands? I find myself drawn to that magic carpet.  And I’d like one of those magic hockey sticks.

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How about you?

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Meet Jo of Defying Reason by Elizabeth Seckman

What’s your favorite kind of party? 

Jo- Get some friends together, build a fire on the beach, and share some beers and laughs. 

Elizabeth- Must be nice. Last party I was invited to, I had to buy a spatula. And no one offered me a beer.

How would you spend the first day of spring weather?

Jo- Sounds like time to hit the beach!

Elizabeth- Did I write her to be so damned annoying, or am I just green? I’m in West Virginia…I may be shoveling snow the first day of spring. 

What kind of pet do you own? 

Elizabeth- hah! Jo had a dog, but someone (like Becca James- the anti-heroine in the story) stole it. I, on the other hand, still have my two dogs. 

Jo- Seriously? Too soon. I really miss my dog. I was going to invite you to the beach, but you had to go all Becca on me. 

Defying Reason

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.

Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.

Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.

Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

Amazon

 

Find Elizabeth at FacebookBlogWebsite

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A Change of Mind and Other Stories

Cover reveal…

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A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

Preorder Links: Amazon US Amazon UK / Add it on Goodreads

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Zooming Around the Universe. #SpecFic Plus This World Bites by Loni Townsend. Zombies and Mayhem.

Traveling from star to star. How is it done? How do sci-fi folks move from place to place?

The most obvious is by spaceship, but there are a lot of types – X wings, Enterprises, Fireflies, the Sequi, an Olvis Deluxe etc… Need to name a ship in your current work, here’s a spaceship name generator. Unless you enter a jump point (ala Babylon 5) or engage in warp speed (ala Star Trek), the distance you can travel is limited. You’ll note that Star Trek usually travels within one quadrant of our galaxy. 

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(this image was paid for and licensed by me, please don’t share)

Then there are wormholes and portals.

John Crichton was stranded in another part of the universe by a black hole in Farscape.

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Stargate gave us an awesome portal.

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MGM and the Stargate franchise; screenshot by Alfakim (talk · contribs) - Stargate SG-1

Dune folded space by use of ‘spice’ (farout)

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cover image of the collectible card game Dune (1997)

Inspired by dunes in Oregon (told you Oregon is full of fodder)

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The Oregon Dunes, near Florence, Oregon, served as an inspiration for the Dune saga.

 

 

What about travel via light beam? So far beaming requires a ship. What if there were beam points? Or what if you could travel by light? What if you could travel by audiowave? Slower, but it might be possible for some aliens. Why not?

Perhaps you could just don a cape and fly…

InvadersFromSpace (7)

How would you prefer to travel from planet to planet? Maybe you have a new idea.

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This World Bites World Tour

Written by the awesome and uber-talented Loni Townsend, let’s learn more about her, Cera, and This World Bites

1.  What is Cera’s favorite activity/ride at the amusement park?

Cera would like the Strong Man activities. She could lift the mallet in one hand and strike the pad with enough force to ring the bell every time. People would stand in awe of her, and she’d love every compliment on her strength. Unless someone insulted her, insinuating she was a freak. Then she might fry them with a fireball.

2.  What will Cera dress up as for Halloween?

A human. Unless of course it’s Halloween on a non-human populated world. If the world was populated by green slime blobs, then she’d craft an illusion to look like one of them. She spent her childhood hiding from a sovereign who wanted her dead, so she tries not to stand out.

3.  You versus your main character – what was your favorite childhood lunch?

Cera was raised by the best cook on her world, so she had all the recipes at her disposal. Her favorite was the Picala berry baked turnover. The berries were from her home province, before the Sovereign took control. They were a rare delicacy that she got on only special occasions.

Me? I liked cucumber sandwiches, made by my grandma. Other people’s sandwiches didn’t quite measure up to hers.

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It’s her first day on a new world and Cera’s already found trouble. Michael, her guardian, has been bitten by a zombie and will soon join the undead ranks.

Everyone tells her there’s no cure, but Cera isn’t one to be deterred. She’s willing to face off with zombie hordes, demon slavers, and black market informants if it means she’ll find a cure for Michael. But she’s not the only one hunting for something.

Something is hunting her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Build a Better Hero

TwitterChatASBAR

#SpecFicChat is this Friday on Twitter, March 20th, Noon EDT. Hosted by myself and Untethered Realms. Come talk about how you’d like to see heroes and heroines evolve. Just type #SpecFicChat in your tweet to join in the conversation. Get some new ideas, meet new friend, and have a few laughs. Laughs always welcome.

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