Tag Archive for: science fiction

Galactic Dreams

 by Bethany Maines

Welcome to a brave new age – the future!  When my co-writers and I agreed to collaborate on Galactic Dreams – a series of sci-fi fairy tale adaptations – we had no idea that the project would stretch into three volumes. Galactic Dreams (from Blue Zephyr Press) is a unique shared universe that I, along with my co-writers, J.M. Phillippe and Karen Harris Tully, developed and set the rules for, and then set our own stories within that universe.  In Volume 3, we’ve adapted some classic fairy tales: Beauty & the Beast, Hansel & Gretel, and Jack & the Beanstalk.  

As you can imagine, agreeing on rules, let alone deciding what they are can be quite challenging.  Particularly, since sci-fi is not a genre I generally write in.  I enjoy sci-fi. I read a good deal of it when I was a teenager. And don’t get me wrong I have plenty of weird ideas, but I’m more in the Flash Gordon style of sci-fi—toss in some jet packs and some fantastic costumes and I’m all set. My more fact-adherent co-writers seem to prefer that gravity not take a vacation without an explanation. (So picky!) However, I have to admit that their insistence on basing my science in… you know… science has been beneficial to my stories. 
In this volume, all of our stories are intertwined through a time traveling villain, which added a whole new level of headache to keeping our stories and science straight. We also decided to do a phased release plan—releasing the individual stories first and then the collection.  My book, The Beast of Arsu, is out now. And the next two installments will be released by September, with the digital collection following shortly thereafter.  As with any group project it’s been hard to keep track of all the details.  But despite the very literal headaches, I have enjoyed the challenge of writing in this genre, and I hope other sci-fi fans will enjoy these stories as well.
Galactic Dreams Vol. 3 contains three novels  and each tale is a chapter in a connected tale of villainy, time travel, and the consequences of hate. Journey through these sci-fi fairy tales today!

The Beast of Arsu
(Beauty & the Beast)Bethany Maines – When Bella Glass is thrown a 140 years into the future she finds a world she doesn’t recognize and love in Kai Craig, a man fighting against the effects of a bomb that turns him into a rage-filled beast. But someone else has traveled into the past and Bella must choose between preventing a devastating alteration of the timeline and a love she was never meant to have. 
Read Chapter 1 >>https://bethanymaines.com/galactic-dreams/

A Trail of Stardust (Hansel & Gretel)J.M. Phillippe – When the Hexx siblings, Rax and Lex, are forced to flee into
space by their malevolent step-mother, Hila, they have no idea what is waiting
for them and a damaged space craft throws them from the frying pan into the
oven. Captured by pirates, Lex and Rax are facing certain death and the only
way out is to rely on each other, but what will be waiting for them at home?

Break the Sky (Jack & the Beanstalk) Karen Harris Tully – When Jakarta “Jak” Moon climbed up the giant elevator that leads to the low-orbiting space station above her irradiated planet, she has one goal—don’t die. But when she returns to the ground, she finds herself targeted by the winged-dictator known as the Godmother. Now Jak is on the hook to climb through the clouds and bring back the treasures the Godmother craves or she, and her planet, could face destruction.

Buy Beast of Arsu Now


Bethany Updates:

Blue Christmas received a Maincrest Media Award! It was also a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards and an award winning screenplay.

The Second Shot Audio Book is now available! 

Buy Now: https://www.audible.com/pd/B093C8MWYH/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-253261&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_253261_rh_us

The Moonlight & Misadventure Anthology: 20 Tales of Mystery & Suspense, featuring my story Tammy Loves Derek is now available! 

Buy Now: https://books2read.com/Moonlight-Misadventure


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae MysteriesSan Juan Islands MysteriesShark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Dickens, Aliens, and Me


My first ambition was to be an astronaut. My dream was to make first contact with aliens who could take me on a private tour of the galaxy. I
would check out the window every night to see if a UFO had landed in my back
yard. (Surely, they could sense that I was waiting for them. . . ! ) For various
reasons, it never did, and I didn’t get a chance to go looking for them, but
that has now changed.


You might know that most of Charles Dickens’ novels were
published in monthly or weekly installments. He pioneered the serial format of
narrative fiction, which became the dominant mode during the Victorian period for
novel publication and still exists in some magazine formats. 


The advent of print-on-demand technology in the 1960s turned
the publishing industry on its head. It spawned the giant, Amazon, but it also wrested
the ability to publish out of the hands of a few big publishing companies and into
the hands of indie (independent) presses or even the authors themselves. This
has had positive and negative side effects (a story for another day).


A couple of weeks ago, Amazon launched a new platform using
serialization called “Kindle Vella.” The author can publish an episode
(chapter) at a time and leave comments for the reader.  Readers can give a heads up for the chapters
they like.  In that sense, technology is bringing
the readers and authors closer together.


Also, it puts more power in the readers’ hands.  Instead of taking a chance on an entire book
that you might end up hating or bored with, you can read at least three episodes
for free. (As a special Amazon is now giving you 200 free tokens, which means
you can really read about 15 chapters first.) Then you purchase tokens (at a reasonable
price; the total book is about what a new release e-book would be) to “spend”
on chapter-episodes of books that you really like. You start at Amazon.com and
can read it there or (after you read your first episodes and purchase tokens)
it will also be available to download onto Apple devices (Kindle Reader app or Kindle device)
or you can keep reading right on Amazon.com.


Back to meeting aliens and venturing into a new space . . .


Motes (short for Mozart) is an extraordinary young girl born
on Mars. When a boy is found dead in her dorm room, the private Martian school
for gifted students expels her. Motes has nowhere to go besides the remote
planet of Veld where her estranged father is studying mmerl, the native
sentient species, some of whom are mysteriously disappearing.




This is a story close to my heart. I rewrote it during the Covid
pandemic, and I’m really excited to be able to share it directly with readers
this way!


You can check out SNOWDANCERS (the entire novel is uploaded)
at “Kindle Vella” on Amazon.com at  


Hope you enjoy Mote’s amazing adventure!


T.K. is a retired police captain who writes Books, which, like this blog, go wherever her interest and imagination take her.  More at TKThorne.com



By Genre!

By Bethany Maines
One of the best parts of the Stiletto Gang is hearing about
the spectrum of genres that our authors work in.  I work in several and I know that can get
confusing for readers, so here’s a primer of genres and how they apply to me.
Mystery – A detective either professional or amateur
must attempt to solve a mystery, usually a murder.
  In my San Juan Island Mystery series amateur
detectives Tish (an ex-actress) and her grandfather Tobias (an ex-CIA agent)
solve murders in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. 
Crime – The main plot revolves around some form of
crime. There can be elements of deduction and mystery, but the main elements
involve some sort of criminal behavior.
In my Shark Santoyo Series, Shark is attempting to navigate his way out
of the criminal life, but faces enemies on both sides of the law. 

Thriller – While a mystery detective finds a crime and
steps in to solve things, the thriller protagonist has the crime happen to them
and must fight their way out to simply get back to his or her ordinary
In my Deveraux Legacy Series,
the Deveraux family must face a series of antagonists who seek to bring them

Romance – A book where the relationship between the
two protagonists takes center stage.
The best part about Romance is that like a good wine, it pairs well with
anything.  Most of my novels contain an
element of romance, but not all of them push the romance to the forefront.  But in the Deveraux Legacy series, each of
the cousins will find love while battling the baddies, making the series genre “Romantic
Want a free romantic thriller from me?  Get Blue Christmas today: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/to271maetc

Science-Fiction –
Sci-fi explores the future of science and
humanity as they intertwine.
participate in an anthology series called Galactic Dreams that translates fairy
tales to science-fiction.  Each author in
the anthology assists in building the shared universe of Galactic Dreams,
meaning that each of our stories share the same background, timeline and rules.

Fantasy – Fantasy stories contain elements of magic
and wonder. 
My mother read us The
Hobbit when we were quite young and so I always assumed that fantasy was
something that everyone enjoyed. Then I grew up and realized that some people
think that it’s not “real” literature (what does that even mean?!) and
sometimes hate it for appearing to have no rules if magic can simply make
things happen.  So fantasy is my little
secret.  I don’t write a lot of it, but I
periodically dabble to make myself happy. 
Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel.
You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Science Fiction: A Bastion of Hope

by J.M. Phillippe

Social work, I tell people, is about holding hope for others when they are unable to hold it for themselves. More often than not, I meet people when they are in the midst of some sort of crisis. That crisis has painted their world pretty dark, and optimistic isn’t very high on the list of things they are feeling. And yet, the very act of going to therapy is an act of hope — it’s taking a chance that there may be another way to feel, another way to live life. They come with a spark, and it’s my job to help them nurture and grow that spark. I help them see the strengths they already have, and learn to accept that being human means having imperfection. When all else fails, I sit with them in their darkness until they can contemplate the existence of light again.

The world feels very scary to a great deal many people in my life right now. Here in the US, the electoral college just elected a man that the majority of the nation did not vote for, and he is pushing for policy most of us oppose. I have teenage clients being told by bullying classmates that they will be deported, Jewish clients being threatened with swastikas, trans clients terrified for their safety, and countless female clients terrified for their rights (including the right to not be sexually assaulted). Facts are being re-branded as opinions, and science dismissed as an elitist and biased view. People don’t know how to tell if the stories they are reading are real or fake — and too many people don’t even care. If it sounds like the truth (or rather, like what they already believe), that’s good enough.

It’s times like this that I hold on to one of my first and greatest loves: science fiction. Science fiction and fantasy have covered all this territory before. I think I have managed to read a story or see a movie about every kind of terrible thing that humanity can do to itself, or have done to them by some greater power. I have read every kind of ending as well, from the dark and nihilistic, to the fiercely optimistic. The most recent was the latest Star Wars movie, whose tag line is this:

While I can’t assume to know the motivation of every author out there, I can’t help but think that the reason why so many writers create such dark worlds is to show people a way through that darkness. However big the odds, there are always heroes willing to take them on. However hard the path, there are feet willing to walk it, and however horrible the consequences, there are people willing to risk it all. For hope.

Hope is one of the great themes of science fiction: where it lives, how it endures, what it can accomplish, what happens when it dies. You cannot tell a story about human beings without also talking about their hopes and dreams. My particular interest in science fiction and fantasy is the way it can take the human condition to the furthest stretch of “what if” and provide a possible answer to what humans would do then. And more often than not, what humans will do, whenever given even the tiniest chance, is hope.

Like many others, I found 2016 to be a very challenging year. I don’t know if we all just collectively only focused on the bad and missed the good (though a lot good happened as well), but it seemed like the year when a lot of people realized, as the great William Goldman (of The Princess Bride) said: “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” None of us are buying this year.

Still, it’s my job to hold hope. The only reason I have been able to is that I spent my childhood practicing this skill. I usually needed it about midway through a book when everything in the story started getting darker and darker. I definitely needed it right before the end, when it seemed like any sort of happy ending would be impossible. But I stuck with it (and didn’t skip ahead) and even if all the characters would not survive the story, one thing almost always did: hope.

So I’d pick up the next book, and the next, and the next, and get the same message again and again. However dark the world, there were good people in it. However horrible humanity could be, there were other humans willing to stand up for the weak, for the innocent, and for the best in all of us.

And that is why I can look at 2016 and understand — the story is not over yet. I don’t know if 2017 will be a dark chapter or not, but I do know that in the end, however long this series goes, the good will win. We just have to keep flipping the pages, and we’ll get there eventually.

* * *
J.M. Phillippe is the author of Perfect Likeness and the short story The Sight. She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a therapist in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free-time decorating her tiny apartment to her cat Oscar Wilde’s liking, drinking cider at her favorite British-style pub, and training to be the next Karate Kid, one wax-on at a time.