Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trapped in my house again

Once again I am trapped in my house. This time because two fierce felines are blocking my back door.

They are definitely too mean to tangle with.

Oh, that and it’s hot as hell out.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Science Fiction Markets C-D

What they want: Dark fiction under 4,000 words
What they pay: $0.07 per word
Currently closed to submissions

What they want: Science Fiction Adventure 2,000 to 12,000
What they pay: ½ cent per word

Darwin’s Evolution
What they want: Speculative Fiction (17,500 words)
What they pay: $25

Dreams and Nightmares
What they want: Poetry
What they pay: $12

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Hypersonic Aircraft

Yesterday the Air Force’s X51A Waverider flew for 3 minutes at 6 times the speed of sound. To quote Joe Biden, “This is a big fucking deal.”

I’ve written about Hypersonic Aircraft in the past in my “7 innovations that will change the decade.” Now that the Air Force has made it work it is a matter of incremental progress to bring it down to Earth, so to speak, and have it become available for all sorts of uses.

This really is the start of a new chapter in aviation much like the change from low performance propeller planes before WWII to the switch to jets after the war. Once Hypersonic Aircraft start regularly operating our current subsonic jets will look like antiques as the new aircraft will travel at the edge of space and are able to go any where in the world within a few hours.

With the Waverider moving beyond the proof of concept stage it will usher in a fantastic future.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Science Fiction Magazines B

A lot of people liked, or at least clicked on my list of Science Fiction Magazines Numbers through A. So here is my B section.

Bewildering Stories
What they want: Science Fiction (under 3,000 words)
What they pay: $0
They accepted my short story, “I killed the man that wasn’t there”, a while ago but I haven’t seen them publish it yet. They seem to have the very high standards for a non-paying magazine, and when they accepted my story Bill Bowler, the Coordinating Editor, gave me a lot of advice.

Big Pulp
What they want: Anything
What they pay: $0

Black Petals
What they want: Horror, Dark Science Fiction (under 3,000 words)
What they pay: $0

Brain Harvest
What they want: Weird Science Fiction (up to 750 words)
What they pay: $0.03 per word

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

A statement and a test

I'm testing some new layouts so bare with me.
I thought this would be an excellent time to comment on some of the criticisms of Obama's handling of the BP oil crisis.

The sad but true fact is in the oil industry the same people who cause the mess are the best ones to deal with the mess. They have the equipment and people closest to the scene. The most successful handling of a oil well blow out happens when the company uses all its resources to stop it and the government assists. Then the government gives them a bill afterward.

The tragedy in the Gulf was from a lot of things that happened before the drilling started.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Short Story Markets

I was googling myself (That always sounds so dirty) yesterday and I came across this: The Genie and The Breadsticks by Darrell B. Nelson.

I google myself for a couple reasons; first I’m an egomaniac who loves to see his name on the Internet, second it’s the first thing agents do if your query interests them.

I’m assuming agents do this in order to see how big of a market I’ve already carved out for myself. As a fiction writer I assume they would like to see I’ve got a few stories floating about to get people interested in my work.

The trouble is finding the right magazine to send my short stories to. I had a horrible method of selecting magazines that I will share. When I would finish a short story I would go to “Every Writers Resource’s list of Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines” and randomly click on links until found one that wanted the type of story I wrote.

This was a horrible way to market my work as it always seemed I would click on the wrong ones, if I wrote a 5,400 word story my first 10 clicks would be magazines looking for flash fiction (under 1,000) if I wrote flash fiction my first 10 clicks would be magazines looking for well developed stories of 5,000 to 7,500 words. I wished someone had organized the science fiction market with little notes on each magazine as to what they were looking for.

I looked around and couldn’t find any so I made one myself to save time in the future. After getting through the A’s I thought other writers might like a list like this so I’ll post it here.

For now I’ll just post them one letter at a time because of the limitations of blogger, but if it proves popular I’ll work on making it a functional list.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Markets
Brought to you by the letter A and the number 1 through infinity.

365 Tomorrows:
What they want: Flash Fiction (under 600 words) Science Fiction
What the pay: 0.00

Aberrant Dreams:
What they want: Science Fiction under 10,000 words
What they pay: $0.03 per word.
Currently closed to submissions

Absent Willow Review:
What they want: Science Fiction horror 2,000 to 8,000 words
What they pay: Contest: One person wins $50
Once you submit they will send a newsletter constantly.

Alien Skin Magazine:
What they want: Flash Fiction (under 1,000 words) micro fiction (150 words)
What they pay: $20
They published my “A home to die for”

What they want: Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy. No word length mentioned
What they pay: $15

Alternative Coordinates:
What they want: Science Fiction (under 5,000 words)
What they pay: $0.015 per word

What they want: Science Fiction (2,000 to 7,000 words)
What they pay: $0.06 per word
Professional level magazine

Another Realm:
What they want: Science Fiction (up to 5,000 words)
What they pay: $25

What they want: Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy (up to 7,500 words)
What they pay: $0.00

What they want: Science Fiction (up to 7,500 words)
What they pay: $0.06 per word
Professional level

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

On Sunday I ranted about progressives like myself backing off and taking half a loaf when there is no reason we can’t have the whole thing. No one issue shows this more than “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” the military compromise made in 1993 that basically gays and lesbians can serve in the military as long as they are pretty much celibate.

In the seventeen years since the law was enacted most of the worlds military have allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly and proud. These militaries have found that due to the rigid structure of the military the soldiers are told about the change and they say, “Sir, Yes Sir.” And in a few weeks they have totally adjusted to it.

The military has said that the law is damaging to troop morale when a soldier is discharged, only to be given their same duty as a consultant at 10 times the pay. Polls say 70 to 75% of Americans feel the law is stupid and discriminates against people who want to serve their country.

The votes are there for congress to repeal this stupid law and set up a timetable for the military to study it and get it done.

But instead we have a compromise. The law will be repealed, but it will stay in force until a study is completed, this study will have no timetable so it could never be finished.

I had thought that Obama was holding back on repealing DADT as a political strategy. Waiting until now just before the election so that Republicans would have oppose something 70% of the nation is in favor of, so they would look like idiots.

Instead he is compromising for no reason what so ever.

This might be tolerable if it didn’t have a real impact on people’s lives. It is discrimination plain and simple. Gays and Lesbians are people who have the same right to opportunity that everyone else has. Ending this discrimination by the Federal Government is one very small step towards giving them this right that every American citizen is entitled to.

This is one area that compromise is uncalled for.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Timid Progressives, like me

This weekend the GOP did something it hasn’t done in a year and a half. It won an election to congress giving it a 1-7 record. This is during a time that the MSM keeps saying over and over again that it’s a great year for the Republicans to win back the house. Winning 12.5% of the elections is not really a great sign for winning back the house, but the MSM will keep with their narrative all the way to November.

They will also keep reporting on the media creation of the “Tea Party”. The “Tea Party” is any fat, bald guy who can dress in stars and stripes and talk to the camera. They get highly rewarded for doing this and then the media pretends that that person has friends.

The most clear example of the “power” of the tea party was when over 75,000 gays and lesbians marched on Washington and Fox gave 3 times the air coverage to a “tea party” protest where no one showed up. 75,000 on one side 0 on the other.

This narrative on the Corporate News isn’t to try and make the Republicans win, in fact it has them running scared of the imaginary tea partiers with their 0-11 record of winning elections. Republicans (on the whole) tend to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones; they are driving the minorities and any one sane out of the party.

The idea behind Corporate News making this narrative is to put the uppity progressives (like me) in their place. The Democratic Party is made up of two fractions right now, Progressives and Blue Dogs, the Blue Dogs hold the saner views of the Republican party and in their core believe in the principle “Business over People”.

These Blue Dogs are currently running the country because the Progressives have to compromise with them in order to get anything done.

Normally they would be rooted out of the party in the mid-terms because if you have to choose between two Republicans you might as well pick the one that calls themselves a Republican.

But with the Corporate Media showing crazies on the news constantly, progressives will hold their nose and vote for the Blue Dog rather than the totally insane Republican.

The strategy has been working as Progressives like myself have spent time laughing at the Teabaggers rather than trying to move my blue dog congresscritter to the left.

So to myself and all other timid Progressives who have been listening to the corporate media spin of this election I say, “Shut-up Stupid, the 12.5% victory rate of the Republicans is a better indication of their status than the corporate news narrative, vote out the damn Blue Dogs so a Progressive can take their place. The howling mad tea partiers are no threat just a distraction.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul attacking me

Originally posted at "Lefty Loony Liberals"

It’s the favorite tactic of the right-wing, find a popular figure with progressive leaning and claim they are attacking you, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Thursday, Rand Paul used this tactic with me.

"I've never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act," Paul said. "They seem to have unleashed some of the loony left (liberals) on me." Laura Ingraham’s Radio Show.

Well, Rand I write for the blog “Lefty Loony Liberals” which you claim was unleashed on you. It’s true that I’ve written about the how the Rightwing has been taken over by crybabies and whiners so I can see how you would think that was about you, but get over yourself in the Kentucky Primaries you came in third as far the amount of votes received. You came in lower in vote count than Lt. Dan who in his attempt to explain the importance of family values told everyone that he and his 18-year-old girlfriend had been in a committed relationship “for years”.

Yes, Rand you lost in the vote count to an admitted pedophile. So I can see how you think you’re only shot at election is to claim that you are being oppressed by me and that I make you look stupid, but trust me I can claim no credit for that.

What makes you look stupid is your views on government. That a private company can do what ever the hell it feels like, Discriminate against people, poison their customers, release billions of tons of oil into the gulf, kill their employees all that is fine and the government should stay out of it.

After your dismal showing in the polls clearly showed you were out of touch with Kentucky voters, I was willing to stand aside and watch you crash and burn in your campaign. Quite frankly you weren’t worth my time. But when you go on a national radio show (that until the national media picked up on because you mentioned the site “Lefty Loony Liberals” most people thought had been canceled) and use the name of a site I write for to get airtime I have to get involved.

So since you have gone on the national media clearly asking for my opinion I will give it to you. When you first started running I thought you were a loon, but at least a loon with principles. I thought that at least you would stick to guns and not bow to pressure like every other politician. But instead when you said something bone-headed, not only did you bow to pressure you immediately blamed me for your caving in.

I can see if you are sent to Washington you will immediately abandon your principles and blame whatever person your paranoid fantasies come up with. This time it was me that you thought was to blame for your bone-head statements, who knows who it will be next.

Kentucky is looking replace the Senator that thinks that, “little green doctors” are after him. We don’t need to replace him with a Senator who will abandon any principle because in his paranoid fantasies he thinks a real person has been unleashed on him.

So say anything you want about me, my readers, unlike your 10 followers who try to disrupt demonstrations, know the difference between fantasy and reality.

Darrell B. Nelson proud contributor to “Lefty Loony Liberals”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writing Wednesday: The Pitch

Recently Nathan Bransford talked about the importance of having a minimum of three different pitches on his blog and my friend Stephanie has been practicing it with her books on her site.

It’s good advice and I’ll be more than happy to steal the idea and run with it using my latest book “The Pizza Diaries” as an example.

The one sentence pitch:

I found out the hard way this is the most important pitch after a book is published. When “Invasive Thoughts” was released the publisher sent my back cover summary to all the newspapers in town. For the next two weeks I searched in vain to find my press release. After some back and forth emails with an incredibly nice and patient editor over at Lexgo I found out that most newspapers want a two sentence Press Release about a book, one sentence about the author and one sentence about the book. He wrote up a pretty good one that I have been using for my press releases. On “The Pizza Diaries” I want to get a head of the game by writing my own one sentence release first. Here it is:

“A delivery driver’s life is thrown into disarray when Aliens, bent on taking over the world, open a rival pizza place and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is.”

Hopefully that contains enough information to get someone interested in learning more.

The one paragraph pitch:

The one paragraph pitch is something a writer needs about halfway through writing their book. Because every writer has faced this conversation:

Writer: I’m writing a book.

Other Person: What’s it about?

This is an excellent chance to get someone interested in your book, but when you’re juggling all the characters, plot lines, and themes its easy to lose sight of what the book is about and start babbling incoherently. So it’s great to summarize it into one paragragh:

“A delivery driver’s life is thrown into disarray when Aliens, bent on taking over the world, open a rival pizza place and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is. Now, he and his time-traveling girlfriend must get his regular customers made up of Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies to help him defeat this menace if he wants to keep his job.”

This gives the listener a chance to decide if it’s something they might be interested in and ask follow up questions that you can answer by babbling incoherently.

The 2-paragraph pitch:

There is a rumor in the publishing world that agents ask for queries not because they like to have their inbox’s filled with 100 to 300 emails a day and have a psychotic need to spend every morning filtering the spam from the queries, but because they actually read the queries in hopes of finding an author they would like to represent and earn money that way.

Now who knows if this rumor is true, but I have gotten quite a few personalized replies from my queries so even if this rumor is false at least I can look forward to some nice emails by using this system so I wrote a 2-paragraph query:

“Brian was just looking for contentment in his life, and thought he found it. He was perfectly happy delivering pizzas to Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies. His life got even better when that time traveling babe he rescued told him they would be lovers in the future.

But his happy carefree life is destroyed when Aliens bent on taking over the Earth open a rival pizza place in town and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is. Now he must use everything he knows about his hometown to stop them from taking over the Earth and more importantly, keep his job.

THE PIZZA DIARIES is my 70,000-word horror/comedy novel with extra toppings of love and destiny.”

That’s actually three paragraphs but the last one just has technical information.

Hopefully getting this head start will help.

Darrell B. Nelson author of “Invasive Thoughts”.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Perfect Timing

I’ve either got to rename my Tuesday post or move it to Thursday, because for the last couple of months Tuesday has been a great day for me.

This week I switched my Sunday shift with someone giving me three days off in a row, that’s nearly a vacation for me. The timing couldn’t be better as I had finished wrapping up the major plot lines in my book “The Pizza Diaries” and just needed to work on insuring good transitions and maintaining the same, “voice” throughout the novel.

Both of those things are a time consuming, but fun, part of writing. To do those I have to stop being the writer and read the book. It is time-consuming, as I have to read the book cover to cover, go back fix the awkward transitions and voice, read the book again and fix it again. I find it best to do each read in one sitting, something that would be impossible if I didn’t have the extra day off.

But now my book is done, and I added 10,000 words to it during the rewrites over the last couple days, the amount I expected. I even had time to get on my wife’s nerves. My time management skills are getting good.

So this has been a terrific Tuesday for me so far. The only thing that will make it better is if John T Kemper III gets trounced in the primary, but I’ll find that out at 7pm.

My only worry about changing the title of Tuesday’s post to terrific Tuesday is I might jinx myself into having horrible Tuesdays.

Darrell B. Nelson

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: John T Kemper III

I realize it’s tough for a politician to find a winning strategy to get voters to notice them. But one politician found a way to get my attention, but not in a good way. He locked me out of my house.

What happened was the concrete on my porch settled and rose between a quarter and a half inch this winter, just enough to keep the screen door from closing. It stayed open roughly three inches, enough to keep the rain off the front door until I got around to painting it.

Sometimes people would push it shut and the lip of the door would get stuck, but not clear the concrete. They would stop when they noticed that it would take a good amount of force at the bottom of the door to close it completely. I’d have to take a screwdriver and pry it back open. It was a pain but not too bad. I didn’t count on someone being very persistent in messing it up. That was how I found out about John T Kemper III.

When I came home from work Thursday the screen door had been pushed completely closed, with the bottom stuck behind the concrete. Someone had not only pushed at the handle to close it, but they would have needed to use their foot to apply pressure to the bottom of door to get it to close. Stuck in the door was the above pamphlet.

John T Kemper III had locked me out of my own house in his attempt to get my wife’s vote in the primary. Even worse my wife had been locked in.

Now I know that Campaign strategies embark on ways that don’t make sense at times, but locking the voters into their homes before the election is not the greatest way to get your message out. If successful that is one less voter in the election, but if the homeowner is successful in braking out of your trap they certainly won’t be voting for you.

After removing the stuck screen door (which took a while as the screws holding it are meant to be accessed when the door is open) I looked his pamphlet over and I got a glimpse at the mind that thought locking people in their houses was the way to win an election.

It was immediately clear what he thought of voters and why he thought locking them in their houses was a good idea. In his stance on the Electoral College he wrote, “Bring control back to the state. He would vote to keep in order to give each state equal voting power, not allow the states with the largest population to decide elections.”

Besides his being grammatically challenged, this shows what he thinks about voters. He doesn’t seem to believe that just because someone gets the most votes in an election that means they win. He is definitely against majority rule.

He also attacks Elvis, with this weird statement, “Make no mistake President Obama, his UNCONSTITUTIONAL Czars, Congress and our Ben ‘Vote & Hide’ Chandler are putting the reins of Socialism on America!”

I’m assuming he is talking about the republican talking point about how President Obama increased the number of Czars from Bush’s 36 positions to Obama’s 32. Earlier I covered how this is an attack on Elvis.

It is no surprise to me that John T Kemper III can’t do math, he believes locking people in their homes is a way to get them to vote for him.

One part of his pamphlet did sum up his views perfectly:

So to John “The Nutshell” Kemper III I say to you, “Shut-Up Stupid, you are grammatically and mathematically challenged and you hate Elvis. Your ideas are stupid, and you tried to lock the voter you were trying to reach in their home. I will never vote for you and I will tell everyone in the 6th district of Kentucky never to vote for you. I hope you lose the election so badly that you can’t leave your home, and then you will know what it is like to be trapped in your house, like you did to me. You’ve also got a stupid looking haircut.”

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Evil Minion Caturday: Spring Edition

We’ve recently had a record amount of rain here. The neat thing is that now plants are blooming like crazy. Even some I don’t remember planting, like I would have thought I’d remember planting some Evil Minions:
Evil Minions in Bloom

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My newest query and sample chapter

My latest novel is written. The major plot treads all come together, the minor ones need a little tweeking to fully integrate them, but I’m done with the major rewrites. Time to start thinking about the next step, getting it published.

So here is the rough draft of my query letter and sample first chapter. Any feedback at all would be appreciated.

Brian was just looking for contentment in his life, and he thought he found it. He was perfectly happy to deliver pizzas to Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies. His life got even better when a time traveling babe told him they would be lovers in the future.

But his happy carefree life is destroyed when Aliens bent on taking over the Earth open a rival pizza place in town and threaten his peaceful life. Now he must use everything he knows about his hometown to stop them from taking over the Earth and more importantly let him keep his job.

THE PIZZA DIARIES is my 70,000-word horror/comedy novel about love, destiny and pizza.

Chapter 1
Bad Time for Love

Brian was returning to the Pizza Joint after completing his delivery when he was distracted by the billboard that announced, “Coming Soon, Betelgeuse Pizza. Pizza that is out of this world.”

“What the…” Brian exclaimed as he looked back to the road and quickly swerved his little car to avoid hitting the naked figure that had appeared in the road in front of him.

He managed to bring his car to a stop, after it spun around in a semi-circle so it was facing the naked woman who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Brian peered out through the fog of smoke that had been created by his tires losing traction in his desperate maneuver to keep from killing an innocent life.

He sat frozen in his seat, his first thought about the situation was to flee the scene as it reminded him of the beginning of a bad horror film. His second thought was that the situation would also make for a great opening scene in a cheap porno.

Ultimately it was neither fear nor lust that dictated his actions, it was his concern for another human being that was obviously in need of help that drove his actions.

“Are you OK?” Brian yelled to the dazed and naked woman who was standing in the middle of the road staring at the headlights of Brian’s car like a frightened deer. Brian looked the woman over feeling a little dirty for blatantly staring at her naked body, but he wanted to make sure she wasn’t injured. Looking her over he figured she was roughly his age early 30’s maybe a little older.

Brian’s question made the woman instinctively look her self over, when she realized that she was standing naked in front of a complete stranger her modesty overcame her shock and she tried to cover herself, but with only her hands and arms she wasn’t very successful.

“Here.” Without thinking Brian took off his delivery driver jacket and offered it to her. As she accepted his help Brian briefly had second thoughts. The jacket belonged to the pizza joint and he would have to pay $150 if any thing happened to it.

“Thanks.” The dazed woman mumbled as she donned his driver jacket.

“No problem.” Brian lied. “What where you doing in the middle of the road at this hour?”

“There was an accident…” She mumbled. “Bright light… twisted images… bad time…yes, bad time!”

“Yes, I can see how a car crash would be a bad time.” Brian tried to humor her, he hoped her incoherent ramblings were from shock and not from any brain injury she had in the crash. “Do you need to go to the hospital?’

“Institute… need to get to the Institute… finding… assistance…” She said.

When she mentioned the Institute, Brian’s earlier fear about this being too similar to a bad horror film returned. His fear subsided when he looked over the woman who might be a deranged lunatic.

She was maybe 5’ 4” and Brian doubted she weighed over 110 lbs. His large delivery jacket which was a little tight on him, made her look like a child with the sleeves continuing 3” past her hands and the bottom which barely covered Brian’s belt was almost short skirt length on her.

To make Brian’s fear seem sillier, enough of the shock seemed to have worn off that she was now starting to shiver.

Brian looked over the poor woman and decided that even if she was an escaped mental patient he could probably keep her from harming him.

“OK.” Brian told her walking over to the passenger side of his car. “I’ll take you where you can get assistance.”

“Thanks.” The woman smiled as Brian held the door for her. “You are very kind.”

“It’s the least I can do.” Brian replied.

As Brian went around to his side of the car he hoped that her responding in a full sentence meant she was getting better and not just an automatic response.

“Where to?” Brian asked settling into the driver seat.

“Where are we?” She asked.

“Highway 2498.” Brian wished he knew more about medicine so he would know if her disorientation was normal.

“South to Planck Road.” She said then frowned. “When is this?”

“It’s a little after 10.” Brian humored her, he remembered reading or hearing that you should keep a shock victim talking to help them regain their mental awareness, he didn’t know if it was true but he couldn’t see how it would hurt.

“No… What year?” She asked.

“Uh, 2010.” Brian informed her as he turned the car around to continue on in same direction he was originally going.

“Good the road has been built.” She smiled.

“OK.” Was all Brian could think as a response.

“More heat?” She asked. “Time steals Energy.”

Brian turned up the heater and tried not to think about her explanation.

“Did your car crash up here?” Brian asked her. “Do I need to be on the look out for it?”

“I don’t have a car.” She said.

“Was it someone else’s car? Were there more people involved in the accident?”

“It was the accumulation of years of work.” She told him. “The tipping point of humanity.”

“OK.” Brian wondered if he was in the same conversation. He scanned the road looking for her car as he drove. “I’m Brian by the way.”

“Dr. Rayburn.” She responded. “I’m glad you take an interest in my work.”

“You’re a Doctor?” Brian asked. “Do you think you could be in shock, or is it worse?”

“Yes there was a shock and bright lights. It was a fold that transformed into a ripple.” Her voice was steady and authoritative even if Brian couldn’t make any sense out of the words.

“Is that so?’ Brian thought it best if he could keep her talking.

“Yes that could be the key, Space and Time unleash waves when disrupted.” She excluded Brian from the conversation as she got caught up in her thoughts. “A cosmic resonance that doesn’t like to be disturbed…It releases Bad Time… Need to find a source to counteract its influence…need Good Time!”

Brian had to slam on the brakes as he spotted a small road sign partially covered by a tree limb saying “Planck Road”. As he looked down to shift into reverse he couldn’t help notice his jacket had ridden up her thigh leaving her exposed from the waist down. The idea that this could be the opening scene from a cheap porno popped back into Brian’s mind.

“The Bad Time causes an angry resonance throughout the entire continuum straining the n-time superstring! That explains it. Good Time could tune the string.”

The image of a steamy sex scene with the female lead spouting out complete gibberish stopped any thoughts Brian had about the situation being like a porno, or if it was it would be the worst porno ever.

Brian ignored her gibberish as he drove down the narrow, twisty road. He was thinking this was looking like a horror film again until he saw the lights of what looked like a large military base. He was so intent on looking to see where he would need to check-in he didn’t even notice that his companion had grown silent.

“State your purpose!” The guard said as he stopped his car at the gate.

“I was bringing Dr Rayburn…” Brian gestured to his empty passenger seat. “Where’d she go?… She was right here!”

“Dr Rayburn you say?” The guard’s eyes grew wide. “Stay here and do not move. I’ll be back with you in a minute.”

The guard went back into his booth and made a quick phone call. Brian looked all around to see if he could find out where his passenger went. His first concern was that the delay in getting her treatment would permanently harm her, and then he had a thought that made him feel guilty about how selfish it was, he realized he would never see his delivery driver jacket again, and half his paycheck would go towards getting another one.

“Is your name Brian?” The guard said returning to his car window.

“That’s right,” Brian was shocked that they could track down who he was in just seconds. “How…”

“Proceed through this gate, to the first building on the right.” The guard instructed him. “Park your car immediately in front of the entrance in the area marked in yellow lines that says. ‘No Parking at anytime’. Leave the keys in your car and someone will move it for you.

“Proceed directly to the entrance and someone will buzz you in. Any deviation from this procedure will result in your arrest. Have I made myself clear?”

Brian thought briefly about protesting having his humanitarian deed turn into a threat of arrest, but looking at the stern face of the guard made him think twice.

“I understand.” He said and proceeded to follow the guard’s instructions. Driving to the building he had to nervously chuckle as he thought how stranger things had happened to him, but not much.

He approached the door and was shocked as an alarm went off, a yellow warning light started flashing and the door opened on its own.

He walked through the open door, scared of what might be waiting for him inside but even more scared of what would happen to him if he didn’t follow the guard’s instructions.

The door clanged shut behind him and he found himself in a 10’ x 10’ room with a gray door in front of him with a sliding tray sticking out into the room, next to it.

“Remove all items from your pockets and place them in the tray in front of you.” An authoritarian disembodied voice boomed.

Brian reluctantly emptied his pockets and glanced around the room, there were cameras in all four corners of the room. He almost protested when he pulled his tips out of his pocket, then he figured the large military base didn’t need to steal his $35 in tips.

The tray slid back into the wall and a second later the door in front of him clicked open a few inches.

Brian took a deep breath to prepare for the search that he knew would be coming and opened the door.

He was completely shocked to see a balding man in his 50’s with glasses and a lab coat waiting for him.

“Sorry for the formalities.” The man gave him a warm smile. “But the military people aren’t the most trusting of strangers.”

The uniformed guard that was putting Brian’s belongings into a manila envelope looked over to glare at him for a second, then continued to write down Brian’s belongings on a clipboard.

“I’m Dr Hyams,” The man told him. “If you will come with me I will let you know why you came here.”

Brian was speechless as he followed the man into another room.

The room was a small conference room with a large table, a 60” monitor at one end and a mirror taking up one wall. Brian knew that the mirror would be two-way and on the other side people would be observing them.

Then he saw something that made him forget about everything else. In the middle of the table was his delivery jacket.

He felt a little guilty that his first thought was that the jacket wasn’t lost forever. Then he realized what it must mean.

“You found Dr Rayburn.” Brian smiled. “Is she going to be alright?”

“No and Yes, thanks to you.” Dr Hyams told him. “But before I can go into details, the guys with guns out there want me to tell you that everything you see and hear at this Institute is absolutely Top Secret and if you tell anyone anything about what I’m about to reveal they will lock you up and throw away the key.

“I’m not worried about that, Dr Rayburn wouldn’t put her confidence in you if you couldn’t be trusted.”

“OK.” Brian wondered which confused him more, that they already had time to talk to the naked lady that he brought most of the way here, or that she vouched for him after a conversation that he wasn’t totally sure she knew he was a part of. “Scout’s honor I won’t tell a soul.”

“In order for you to understand why you came here I will have to let you know a little bit about what we are doing here.” Dr Hyams told him.

Brian was getting a little tired of the Doctor constantly saying that he didn’t know why he would come here but he just nodded and said. “OK”

“I’m sure you are familiar with Science Fiction shows, and how they travel the galaxy by ‘warping’ Space-Time around them or punch a hole through alternate dimensions.”

“I’ve seen different shows but never paid that much attention to their techno-babble.” Brian told him.

“That’s OK,” Dr Hyams assured him. “The warping of Space-Time on those shows is just a fantasy, the reality of what happens is of course much more interesting. A reality that we are making here.”

“Uh, OK.” Brian started wondering if his original thought that “The Institute” was an insane asylum was correct, only the inmates were running it.

“If you think of Space-Time as a elastic sheet we should be able to pull one part of the sheet over so that it touches the part we are on.”

Brian could only nod.

“Then you could simply step over from one point, say this room…”

“This Room.” Brian was so dazed from the events of the last half hour he just did as he was told, not thinking about if it made sense of not.

“Yes,” Dr Hyams continued. “This room would be one point and maybe a spot on a planet around Alpha Centauri would be the point that you pulled over, and it would be one small step, so to speak, to travel over 4 light years and walk from this room onto the surface of a planet circling Alpha Centauri.

“Of course, we knew before we started this project about some of the small problems we would run into, superstring resonance, ripples across the fabric of Space-Time, that sort of thing.”

“Of course.” Brian was wondering if this gibberish was supposed to make any more sense to him than what Dr Rayburn had been saying in the car.

“What we hadn’t been expecting was a new type of Time!” Dr Hyams paused for emphasis.

“We found that there are actually two types of time.” Dr Hyams continued after seeing Brian’s puzzled look. “Orderly Time that we are used to, where things move forward with a so called normal cause then effect relationship. Dr Rayburn liked to call this ‘Good’ time.

“The type of time we discovered was Chaotic Time or ‘Bad’ time as Dr Rayburn called it. In Chaotic Time Past, Present, and Future have no meaning a person caught in Chaotic Time will bounce around time and space like a ping-pong ball appearing briefly in our time only to be thrown out again to land at another point in Space and Time.”

“This is all very fascinating, but what does any of this have to do with me?” Brian asked.

“Dr Rayburn was researching this Chaotic Time when there was an accident, she was sent out of Orderly Time into Chaotic Time, leaving only her clothes behind.”

“Why weren’t her Clothes sent with her?” Brian had to ask.

“That is a very good question, Dr Cameron has some interesting theories on that, at first we thought it was a property of the living cells that made the transition into Chaotic time possible. But we’ve had a team of men investigating her panties for months and they don’t agree.”

“You’ve had men whose job was to examine her panties?” Brian was a little surprised at his anger. He was more than just being shocked at how causally Dr Hyams talked about something that sounded a little perverted, he was angry at them for violating privacy of a woman he knew, if only briefly.

“Yes, all in the name of science.” Dr Hyams defended his actions. “Her panties were made of cotton and if it was something to do with living tissue, her panties would go with her.

“We thought that it might be that dead tissue would be unaffected by the Chaotic time, but if that were the case she would leave a layer of dead skin behind. Of course a year and a half after the accident we knew it didn’t have anything to do with that when this jacket was delivered to the lab.” He pointed at Brian’s delivery driver jacket. “This traveled through Chaotic time with no ill effects.”

“But I was wearing that less than an hour ago.” Brian told him.

“Less than an hour ago in normal time, yes. But this jacket has been through Chaotic time.” Dr Hyams told him. “Would it surprise you to know that we have been studying it for the last six months?”

“At this point nothing could surprise me.” Brian sighed.

“Detailed Carbon dating of the stains on it have shown that it has dirt from the earliest parts of the Phanerozoic Era as well as dirt from thousands of years in the future. Your jacket has traveled though millions of years of Earth’s history.”

“Exactly, when did this accident occur?” Brian asked hoping to get the Doctor talking about something he could wrap his head around.

“A little over two years ago.”

“But I just saw Dr Rayburn an hour ago.” Brian told him.

“An hour ago in Orderly time, we believe in her time you saw her right after the accident.” Dr Hyams informed him.

“What makes you think that?” Brian asked.

“We have top mathematicians who have worked out how the ripples of Space-Time would have effected her.” Dr Hyams told him then pulled out an envelope. “Plus she left us a letter in the jacket saying how ‘Brian’ was the first person she saw after the accident.”

“OK I can see how you would want to find out what she told me so you can work on a way to rescue her, but I’m baffled as to what else you want from me.” Brian needed his long night to end.

“I think it would be easier if Dr Rayburn explained it.” Dr Hyams told him.

“She’s here and OK?” Brian smiled.

“No she left you a video in your jacket.” Dr Hyams handed clicked the remote to turn on the 60” monitor.

On the monitor an image of Dr Rayburn appeared, she looked gorgeous, with light make-up and clothes that were conservative yet still made her look even sexier than when he first saw her naked in the middle of the road. He was so captivated with her looks it took him a second to identify where the filming was taking place. He was shocked when he recognized his own apartment. He felt a vague feeling of relief when he saw that it had been cleaned up before the video was filmed.

She stared right at the camera and addressed him.

“Brian, it seems strange addressing you in the past, when you are standing here filming me, but there is a lot I need to tell you.

First off, I want to thank you in advance for the tireless work you will do in order to get me where I belong.

I know you’ve heard the expression showing a girl a good time, well in the coming months you will literally show this girl “Good Time” as you meet with me regularly to relay information from the guys at the institute to me and give my observations back to them.

I’d also like to thank you for being supportive of me as I bounce through Bad Time. I don’t know if I’d be able to withstand what I am going through without you. It is or will be only due to your strength and attitude that I don’t, I mean won’t go crazy. You have been… I mean, will be a dear friend.

We are going to go through a lot together and I want you to know that I deeply appreciate everything you will do for me.

Try to remember that on our third meeting I didn’t mean to skip out on you it was just n-space superstring resonance.

Dr Hyams is going to tell you that the reason I keep being drawn to the point in Space-Time where you are is that as the first person I saw after the accident and you have acquired a Bad Time harmonic frequency, but I know it is more than that.

The two of us have more than chemistry together, we have the entire fabric of Space-Time uniting us. What we have, I mean will have together could never be explained away as just random chance. It’s the universal fate, or n-string karma as I like to call it, that has bonded us together from long before we met.

And to answer your question; Yes, this does turn into something similar to the movies you're thinking of, and not the horror film.

I’m forever in your debt for what you will have done.

And remember I’m am forever, and always have been since the beginning of time, your girl.”

Brian looked up at Dr Hyams after watching Dr Rayburn’s video.

“I’m afraid none of us here have been able to decipher that reference about the movie.” Dr Hyans said.

“Oh don’t worry, I figured that out. And it definitely gives me encouragement to save our girl.” Brian smiled, if he was destined to save a damsel in distress he certainly could have done worse.

“We will need you to carry this with you at all times.” Dr Hyams told him handing him a suitcase, “It has the things that Dr. Rayburn will need to help her adjust to bouncing through time.

“I want to caution you according to our calculations she won’t appear to you in a normal sequence, she will sometimes come to you after you’ve met several times, then the next time you see her it will be before that for her and the things that happen in your previous meeting won’t have happened yet.

“No matter how confusing things get, remember to tell no one of your meetings with Dr Rayburn.”

“How am I going to explain what happened to my jacket?” Brian asked looking at the soiled and ripped up delivery jacket on the table.

“To investigate it we needed to compare it to several original jackets,” Dr Hyams said, “We will give you one the ones we haven’t used.”


“What took you so long?” Bernie, the night manager of the Pizza Joint, asked Brian when he returned to the Pizza Joint.

“Bad Time.” Brian told him truthfully, “That’s all I can say.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Tightly Woven Plots

I love a novel with lots and lots of plot threads that seem unrelated then come together at the end. So I decided to write one. It was fun writing it, but the revision is a different animal altogether.

The problem is I’ve got one major plot thread that is probably 99% consistent throughout the book and I’ve got to go through and revise the remaining 1%, which would be easy in a straightforward novel. But with all these different plotlines running like a spider web through the book when I change one thing it means I have to check that it doesn’t disturb the other ones. Doing this makes me really admire the writers who did this before word processors.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Invincible

This post is in response to a question Grant asked after my post “Technology is not God” "...if we are in peak oil then these giant oil companies (like BP) would be spending more than 4% of their take on expanding into other sources of energy. They are good business people they should know how to read the future.”

A trap that is the downfall of many business empires, is trying to corner the market relying on the “fact” that they are invincible. During the oil embargo the big three had a plan to continue their dominance over the car market. Kill off their competitors. They destroyed AMC and the few other American carmakers that dared make more fuel-efficient cars. This strategy was based on the fact that consumers wouldn’t buy the funny looking European and Japanese cars that were being brought over.

IBM responded to Apple coming out with the Personal Computer by slapping together an “off the shelf” personal computer and putting their name on it, because businesses would pay a little more for the IBM brand and they would retain their dominance. No one would buy stuff from the little electronics companies that could make an identical product.

The major oil companies are responding in the same way now.

BP is spending a small amount of their profits (4%) on big alternative energy projects, Wind Farms, Solar Energy Farms, and Biofuels; the other major oil firms spend slightly less. The idea behind these projects is to make them big and scalable so they can retain control of the energy market.

This makes good business sense if you figure consumers won’t want the hassle of installing solar shingles to power their homes and remember to plug in their cars every night.

Instead of investing in manufacturing the hardware to provide household energy production they are investing in the technology to maintain the existing power infrastructure at a much higher cost. They are basing alternative energy investments on a time when gasoline is consistently between $4 and $5 a gallon. So they are just laying out the groundwork so after more oil shocks the price stays up there they can start pushing these big project aggressively.

Luckily these companies aren’t invincible and smaller companies will come in and take over. Like the big three were “blindsided” by the Japanese carmakers, and IBM couldn’t foresee that having Microsoft make the most important part of their computers would take away their dominance of the computer market, the major oil companies will lose control of the energy market.

So to any business executive that thinks their business model is invincible to smaller companies, I say, “Shut-up Stupid history shows you’re wrong.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Technology is not God

In my Fantastic Future Friday series I’ve been talking about future technology that will make life wonderful. In this post I’m going to back off and talk about the limitations of technology.

The biggest engineering project so far this century is mankind’s oil drilling. Taken as an engineering project it is simply amazing. 6.4 billion dollars a day worth of oil is produced every day. Enough oil is pumped every day that if it were put in actual barrels it would circle the globe one and a half times. 80 billion pounds of CO2 is produced everyday by the burning of oil. It is truly an amazing feat of engineering. It also shows the limitation of technology.

Global oil production peaked between 2005 and 2007. New wells were drilled at a rate that matched the decline in the old wells. In order to keep up with demand drilling was pushed to its limits.

Drilling for oil is not and can’t be risk free. One of my earlier writing jobs was to “write” emergency plans for drilling disasters. That “writing” was to replace the well name and the road names on a standardized form. The scenarios were based on if we had a blow out the size of the Howard-White blowout that happened to a friend of our company Jim Pryor.

In reality if that happened to us we would fold the company and re-open under a new name.

The Howard-White blowout and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico shows the limitations of pushing a technology too far.

Jim Pryor complied with the oil drilling regulations of the time, and from what I’ve read so did BP. It isn’t a case of negligence just part of the risk of oil drilling.

In the BP case, even though BP fought stronger safety regulations, those regulations probably wouldn’t have prevented the disaster.

The disaster was caused by our needing more oil than the Earth can provide. Offshore drilling always posed a big risk to the environment because a spill can’t be contained. It wasn’t a matter of if a disaster would happen just when.

As the existing oil wells dry up drilling will continue in more and more risky places, and tougher safety regulations will be put in place but those regulations can’t stop all disasters.

If will continue to demand more oil than the Earth can provide we will have more disasters like this.

When you push an engineering project past its physical limitations you are setting yourself up for disaster. That’s what is happening with our oil drilling globally, we’ve put so much strain on the process that the weakest links are breaking and only by backing off of our oil use can we prevent more disasters from happening.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I has a Voice

One of the things agents and publishers look for in writing samples is the writer’s unique “voice” or style. It’s one of those things that can be summed up as, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

I just wrote the conclusion to my book, “The Pizza Diaries” which I was really a little worried wouldn’t work. I had my main character go through a lot of different genres, Horror, Fantasy, Quantum Physics Science Fiction, Time Travel Science Fiction, and Romance. When I combined them all at the end they merged with incredible ease, I was I little surprised.

It turns out I have developed my own distinctive voice that runs through my writing no matter what genre I’m writing in and that ties it all together. Even more surprising, for a few of the stories in the book I consciously tried to avoid writing in the style I had gotten used to and my “voice” was even stronger in that chapter.

It’s almost like writing several hours a day for the last couple years really improved my writing style and voice, go figure.

Darrell B Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Morning Silliness

Sen. Mitch McConnell on “Dancing with Stars”

Hundreds of Dead Sea Turtles have washed up on the shores of Texas, no word yet if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is among them.

Country Music Star Chely Wright has announced she’s a lesbian and the city of Nashville has been evacuated due to the rising floodwaters. How long will it take for some Evangelist to declare that the floods are god’s wrath for the Gayness of Country Music.

Charlie Crist is running as an independent, he didn’t seem to believe the GOP’s stance that all the nations problems can be solved by drawing Hitler Moustaches on pictures of Obama.

Finally, I’m reminded of Rodney Dangerfield’s cooking advice, “Fish should be cooked in their natural oils: Exxon and BP.”