Welcome to the Spec Fic Writers Spring Newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more. Get to know our writers and our works. We also share our favorites in the speculative fiction genre and more…
A Word with Spec Fic Writer Kayelle Allen
Genre-hopping, super-productive author, publisher, and marketer Kayelle Allen joins us this issue to give us insight and inspiration from her creative journey.
Why did you join SpecFic Writers?
I’ve been a member of an online or local critique group since 2003. Feedback is a staple of my writing regimen and makes me a stronger, more prolific author. As a new author, I found an online group that provided honest feedback and resulted in lifelong friends. When the group disbanded, I looked for another, and found a local group. I ended up leading it for six years. During the pandemic, the group could no longer meet, and after the second year, I moved from the area. The isolation led me to look for an online critique group. Finding a group that met on Zoom and was geared specifically toward speculative fiction was perfect.
What does speculative fiction provide to our society and to individuals?
Speculative fiction shows society how the future could look, and serves as both an
encouragement and a warning. From the noble-minded world of Star Trek with the Federation’s lofty ideals, to the dire warnings of overconsumption in Avatar, science fiction runs the gamut of societal views. Sci-fi allows authors to hold up a mirror for society and say, “This is us” or “This could be us.” I once took a business course about thinking outside the box, and the professor told us on day one that if we were serious about changing the way we think, we should be reading science fiction. He held up an old favorite of mine — The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin, and then said to really get outside the box, we should read The Far Side comic strip by Gary Larson. How right he was.
What is your writing routine?
I roll out of bed, make coffee, grab a protein bar, and sit in front of my computer. I’m usually up before the sun and ready to go the minute my eyes open. I can’t imagine a more boring life than sleeping in or watching game shows and reruns all day. One friend says I should join Workaholics R Us, but the truth is, as I age, what I see is less and less time remaining to write. I have too many ideas to sit around doing nothing. I’m retired and have no boss but myself, yet the day never seems long enough to get everything done that I want to do.
Where do you get your ideas?
I swear, they fly through the air and land on me. I have trouble limiting ideas. I’ve learned to jot down anything that occurs to me and set it aside; otherwise, I’ll run down bunny trails all day. As a result, I have stacks and stacks of 3×5 cards full of ideas, plans, and notes about completed projects. I scribble on the back once I’ve finished whatever task is on the front, and rarely throw away a card until there’s no more space to write. When back-to-school sales hit every fall, I stock up on cards and pens. I’m almost always out by the following year.
What are your writing credentials?
I’ve been published since 2004 and have written 12 books, 5 novellas, 5 guide books, 2 quote books, 4 behind-the-scenes booklets, and have 2 box sets with a third out this fall. I’ve also written and published multiple short stories and I’m currently in 6 anthologies, with 2 more planned for this year. In addition, I blog 3-4 times a week on my own site and publish a daily blog on “Romance Lives Forever,” my book blog.
About Kayelle Allen
Kayelle Allen did a tour in the US Navy, where she climbed around airplanes (on the ground, thankfully), fixing black boxes that helped pilots find their way home. She wrote her first science fiction novel at 18 and to this day, it’s hidden under the bed, where
she vows it will remain. Gems from it, however, launched several series in her galaxy-wide universe of stories. From childhood, Kayelle was the victim of an overactive imagination and inherited the Irish gift of gab from her mother. From her father, she got a healthy respect for mechanical things. No wonder she writes science fiction and fantasy peopled with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role-playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s been married so long she’s tenured.
Kayelle is a member of RomVets, a group of military and former military women who write romance. In 2014, she was awarded an honorary lifetime membership to the OutlantaCon Science Fiction Convention for support of the convention since its debut. In 2006, she founded Marketing for Romance Writers, and today it has over 9000 members on Facebook and a dedicated IO Group (Groups.io is an email groups service that enables users to find and start groups, sync members, and archive conversations. The system integrates services such as Dropbox, Email, Github, Feeds, Google Hangouts, Facebook, and Instagram.) that supports members with promotional opportunities, plus weekly events such as blog hops and retweet days. For the past twelve years, she’s managed the “Romance Lives Forever” blog, which features a daily dose of authors and books.
Concepts in her writing include conspiracies, diverse and unconventional families, duty, forgotten or lost technologies, gender identity, genetics, honor, humor, immortality, interspecies and multicultural relationships, love, non-humans, respect, role-playing games, sentience, transhumanism, and war.
New from Kayelle Allen
- Complete Set Antonello Brothers Series – Snuggle up with the Antonello Brothers. This boxed set contains one novella and four exciting books in the science fiction romance series, plus links to three bonus stories. Available June 8, 2022.
- Package Deal – An anthology of stories about single fathers who find love in unexpected places. Multiple authors and story types. BBB Publishings, out June 19, 2022
- Bringer of Chaos Bundle – If you’re fighting immortals who always get back up, you’d better have a way to do the same thing. Otherwise, it’s lights out. But what if the enemy you hate is the salvation you need? Read the first two books in the ongoing Bringer of Chaos saga plus nab a bonus short story. Available Aug 15, 2022.
Stay in Touch
- Become a Tarthian Empire citizen (or an immortal) and help Kayelle rule the Empire at KayelleAllen.com/immortality
- Homeworld kayelleallen.com
- Instagram www.instagram.com/kayelleallenbooks
- Twitter twitter.com/kayelleallen
- Kayelle’s Keepers facebook.com/groups/KayellesKeepers
- Bookbub www.bookbub.com/authors/kayelle-allen
- Amazon www.amazon.com/Kayelle-Allen/e/B003ZRXVN8
- For a full list of her books and bio, including downloadables, see kayelleallen.com/misbehaving-robots
First Encounters Anthology
First encounters with the unknown call forth exciting stories full of magic, horror, humor, and suspense. What happens when aliens, fantastical creatures, or strange objects in the sky interrupt ordinary life? This collection offers ten original stories full of mysterious happenings including: an alien attempts to save earth, a voodoo clarinet grants wishes, time travel for human sperm collection, a love-obsessed scientist creates his own reality, the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa offers sage advice, an alien visits the supermarket, a cruel merchant faces feral vampires, an aspiring writer encounters an invading triangle, dragons capture an ancient couple, and a colony ark crashes on a hostile planet.
Second Law Anthology
Laws, framed by unscrupulous leaders, diminish freedom. They can also be just, superfluous, or downright wrong. Second laws are (by design) less important than primary decrees. But depending on how regulations are ordered, the second law might be imperative for social stability, morality, or survival.
This collection offers ten original stories with diverse themes and bodies of law. They include these topics: corporate espionage remains rampant in the future, humans and robots swap identities, space pirates exact frontier justice at their own peril, greed and lust remain ingrained in humanity, teenagers fight robots for their freedom. To review or purchase Second Law, use this link.
Announcing Third Wave
Our third anthology is underway and is titled Third Wave. This one should be an interesting mix with a number of topics available to our writers this time.
The anthology will publish in November, so stay tuned for additional news about coming events.
Why We Create Monsters
Who doesn’t love a dragon, one of the fiercest of monsters we’ve created across world cultures? How did they become such a universal threat in the minds of man? I particularly love David E. Jones’s take on how this monster came to be in his book, An Instinct for Dragons. Jones says that our primate ancestors combined a fear of large cats, birds and snakes in our evolving minds to construct an image of the worst predator. Take a look at a dragon and tell me you don’t see a little of each animal.
Whether or not Jones’s controversial claims are true, the fact that our ancestors struggled to survive against the worst of circumstances was an everyday reality. Hell, we’re still struggling to survive in our own ways. The monsters we battle are both fictitious and genuine, and they have evolved throughout time based on our creative and terrified psyches.
Down through history, humans have invented numerous monsters to provoke fear in the name of controlling others. Take child-rearing for example. ‘Big Bad Wolf’ stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs are still told today. We tell children these terrifying stories to teach them about the dangers of life or to ensure they stay out of mischief. And we twist our need to control in some of the most warped of ways. Santa Claus, a jolly old elf, is meant to bring happiness with his annual gift drop off. However, many children would argue he’s a sadistic monster whose lap is capable of eating countless babes alive.
Today’s monsters are more real and have evolved due to our lack of control of evil corporations and school shootings. Terrorists are today’s ‘Big Bad Wolf.’ It’s unfortunate that we take protection against some monsters to the extreme, and if that means labeling certain cultures as monsters, so be it. While once we used sticks to protect each other against teeth and claws, countries now band together to combat our greatest fears with some of the worst weapons imaginable, making us equal to the monsters we fear.
What beasts are lurking in our future as technology progresses? Drones and artificial intelligence and cyber attacks, Oh my! These are not things to worry about for another day. We’re already venturing into this territory with self-driving cars, job loss to robots, election tampering, drone bombings and more. And as speculative fiction authors, we’re in the business of making sure our monsters timeless. The best part of our profession.
Live Well and Prosper: SpecFic in the News
Paul Martz – 2022 Roswell Award Second Place
Paul Martz is administering self-defibrillation after finding out that his story, “Dr. Harriet Hartfeld’s Home for Aging AIs,” won second place in the 2022 Roswell Awards.
The Omega Sci-Fi Awards seek to empower emerging writers to contribute their unique voices and diverse perspectives to the art of science fiction story writing while tapping into the power of science fiction to examine the greatest challenges and moral dilemmas humanity faces.
More about Paul at paulmartz.com
AOLO BACIGALUPI GETS TIME RECOGNITION: TIME Magazine has named this Coloradan’s SHIP BREAKER as one of the Top 100 Young Adult Novels of all time. A resident of western Colorado, he says, “I loved writing this book, and I’m honored that the panel of judges considered it worthy of recognition.” More at windupstories.com.
The Official Alien Cookbook SCI-FI’S UP YOUR NEXT MEAL: Author Chris-Rachael Oseland transforms something absolutely terrifying and more than a little repulsive from other sources into delicious-looking dishes. Open up the airlock, grab your lucky ginger cat, and hold onto your chest. Take a peek at Alien: The Official Cookbook. See www.amazon.com/Alien-Cookbook-Chris-Rachael-Oseland
Well-Loved Books and Videos:
White Trash Warlock
Speculative fiction that delivers humor along with its creativity and insights is unusual, but WHITE TRASH WARLOCK, by David R. Slayton, hits the target. This urban fantasy manages to include biting observations on American poverty, classism, homophobia, mental health and their impacts on family relationships, as well as comedy and satire. Protagonist Adam Binder has the Sight, a power that runs in his bloodline, although his is mediocre. Still, he can see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits. For much of Adam’s life, that ability has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.
Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is and live his life on his terms. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver from his hometown of Guthrie, Oklahoma, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife. Bobby’s forced to ask for help from his little brother, and Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to best Bobby.
Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he has to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid. The Binder brothers don’t realize they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam has to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings
The author grew up in Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters, such as gayness, was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver, Colorado, and writes the books he always wanted to read. This book was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. In 2015, David founded Trick or Read, an annual initiative to give out books along with candy to children on Halloween, as well as uplift lesser-known authors or those from marginalized backgrounds. He’s now published two more novels in this line. Find him online at davidrslayton.com.
Historical Dictionary of Sci Fi
Outworld, (n),.a planet that is remote from the homeworld; a planet far from a solar system’s star. Find more at sfdictionary.com.
Newsletter editor Bonnie McCune, [email protected], BonnieMcCune.com
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Tenacity is responsible for the successes in my life. Since fifth grade, I’ve been determined to be a writer, when I submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). Thousands of rejections along with some acceptances taught me the craft, and after decades, I decided to follow my passion, fiction writing. My recent novels are proof of my persistence.
My interest in writing led to my career in nonprofits focusing on public and community relations and marketing. I’ve worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. My civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers’ and arts’ groups, and children’s literacy.
Simultaneously, I’ve been a free lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. A secret love—live theater, and had I been seven inches taller and 30 pounds lighter, I might have been an actress. For years, I entered recipe contests and was once a finalist in the Pillsbury Cook Off.