Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Character interviews!

The authors of Dark Matter: Artificial had a little different and fun prompt for this week's blog post! Let's learn about their characters!

Choose one character from your story in the anthology and have them answer these interview questions: What do you hope to accomplish in your story? What is your biggest dream? you have a favorite ice cream flavor?

Stephanie Espinoza Villamor: My name is Bryan, a name gifted to me by my Lina. I serve her as her AI, and all I wish to accomplish are the tasks she asks of me. So that she is satisfied. Pleased. No, more than that, I want to make her happy--to take away the shadows of sadness behind her eyes. My dream? No, it isn't possible. AI do not dream. But sometimes...I think about how lovely it would be if Lina and I...if I didn't have to share her with anyone else in the world. I do not have a favorite ice cream flavor as AI do not eat, but I have seen cakes made with layers of the cold treat inside. If I had to choose, I would say my favorite is the one that's light and dark, white with bits of brown chocolate cookie, layered between a cake of vanilla buttercream and chocolate swirls. Lina likes to bake cakes like this because of the contrasting colors. It's a challenge, but also a true reflection of how the best flavors, like the best humans, have a little of everything inside.

Steph Wolmarans: My name is Namiu Ector IV. The others refer to me as Namiu V’Perla to connect me with my birth mother. I hope attending the hearing will help convince the council we are a part of their future. I dream that we will find common ground, equality, and mutual trust. Such a relationship is required to survive the changes coming. In the least, we need resources to continue our research and better understand who our galaxy is.

I’ve never had real cream, but I am very familiar with ice. Space is a very cold place. I never imagined ice having flavors!

Tara Tyler:
Grav (the serious dark matter entity) - here are my answers to your mundane questions...
1. As humans venture into the universe, it is my directive to observe and determine if Humans are worthy of existence.

2. We are Dark Matter, we don't sleep and therefore, we do not dream. Existentially, we aspire to have a perfectly balanced universe.

3. What is ice cream?

Absi (the diametric opposite or "fun" dark matter entity) - I like a good interview!
1. We have to see if humans threaten the balance of the universe, personally I could care less.
2. I dream of bossing Grav around.
3. While possessing/observing a human, I didn't get to taste ice cream, but now, I'm curious.

Deniz Bevan: I’m going with my main character, Maja, who’s looking out on a world ravaged by The Snow, and has to help rebuild a community from the start.

What do you hope to accomplish in your story?

I want to ensure a safe world for my child. I don’t want him growing up afraid of other people.

What is your biggest dream?

Well, I won’t say I long for the past, because there’s no way to go back. I dream about a more orderly city, with some of the better structures and institutions that we used to have, especially in health care.

But if I’m going to dream for myself... I hope someday I can travel again, and go to the seaside. you have a favourite ice cream flavor?

Orange! Now you have made me long for the old world. It’s been so long since I’ve tasted ice cream...


Charles Kowalski: Hello! My name is Alexander Adams. I’ve spent my entire life on the planet Ogygia, but my ancestors, of course, came from Erda – Earth, as you call it – aboard the International Starship Odyssey. They were the first humans to travel to an exoplanet and make contact with an alien civilization.


What do you hope to accomplish in your story?

I want to be the first human to pass the General Civil Exam, third tier, which would allow me to enter university. I think I have a chance, but I may never know; the Directorate of Education wouldn’t even accept an application from a human.


What is your biggest dream?

 My biggest dream is to live in an Ogygia where the contribution of humans is recognized and valued, and where we’re actually represented in the government of the planet to which we’ve given so much. My family thinks I’m hopelessly na├»ve, but I really do believe it can happen in my lifetime – and I want to do my part to make it a reality. you have a favorite ice cream flavor?

Aiskrim! Thank you! Yet another Erdan invention that Ogygians couldn’t live without. Before the Odyssey arrived on this planet, it had never occurred to anyone to make uchua milk into a frozen sweet. And now they can’t get enough of it! You see how much they would have missed out on without us humans? And still they treat us like third-class citizens! But to answer your question, I’d have to say pukui. (That’s a kind of fruit. I’m told it tastes a little like strawberry, but never having been to Erda, I wouldn’t know.)

Olga Godim: Alexa, the protagonist of my story Nano Pursuit, wants one thing: to retrieve the stolen nanobots that belong to her and her cousin's company. She definitely doesn't want to enmesh herself in the struggle against an evil corporation. Unfortunately, her hunt for the thieves doesn't go according to plan. As for her biggest dream: once in her life, she wants to visit Old Earth and swim with the dolphins. Maybe when she is rich, years into the future, she could even afford it. Ice-cream? She doesn’t like it.

Elizabeth Mueller: Greetings. My name is Zarynah. I'm not known for sweet patience but the opposite--especially when it comes to Damarin. There's always some kind of drama with him. Though I know he loves me to bits, he easily irritates me. I hope to find balance and peace by working in the conservatory. There is a certain, ah, stillness there that I don't find at home--he struggles with strange dreams and hallucinations that frighten me. A few times he attacked me right after waking. I also enjoy going out with my trade companions on occasion--they completely empathize how it feels to carry a growing baby!

My biggest dream is to find safety at home. Where Damarin doesn't see horror at every turn. Where he's comfortable within his own head. How will it be when Tamryn is born? Will he be safe? You see, I do worry. A whole lot...

Ice cream! Oh, wow. That sounds so familiar, but I can't place what it could be, but while you use the word "flavor", that indicates food. I do love daizalea puffs. They are divine--I cannot get enough of those! They are sweet, light, and fluffy!

You can find all these characters in their stories from Dark Matter: Artificial, available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble!

In our next exciting post on Wednesday, August 4 . . . you'll get to hear our remaining authors answers to the prompt--or, rather, their characters' answers to the prompt!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

DARK MATTER - Video Debut!

DARK MATTER is already receiving some rave reviews! Here's one from Katelyn P Dickinson where she reviews each story. This is what she said overall:

"As a whole, I really enjoyed this anthology! There were some really great stories! Science Fiction isn’t really a genre I typically lean toward, frankly just because it doesn’t interest me as much. But these stories were so entertaining, and I’m really happy I had the opportunity to read them!"

To spread the word about these exciting stories, we put together a book trailer. Check it out!

Personally, I love how each author has had such a different take on Dark Matter. And you can see some of their styles shine through in their video/audio contributions.

Purchase info:

Happy July IWSG Day!

and don't forget to whip up a fun first romance story for the next IWSG Anthology #7!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Writing Advice!

Today the authors of Dark Matter: Artificial share their best writing advice with their fellow writers! Come learn from what they've learned through their experiences!

Stephanie Espinoza Villamor: When I was 16 years old, author Joyce Spizer Foy gave me the advice to just "throw up on paper" first. It sounds gross but basically means get your words out. Put something on paper. Even if it's "bleh." Editing will come later, and what you think is "bleh" can lead you in the right direction or be better than you thought! But nothing will happen if you keep waiting for the right words/ideas and don't start! The best advice that I've learned on my own is to join critique groups with people who write in the same genre/age group as you. They'll give you ideas you didn't think of. They'll help you see what's confusing in you work. And they can be incredible support.

C.D. Gallant-King: My best piece of writing advice? Don't listen to anyone else's advice. Everyone has completely different opinions on how to be successful, and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Always look for qualified advice (randos on YouTube and Facebook don't count!) and take any suggestions with a truckload of salt.

Kim Mannix: I know a lot of writers would give the advice that you have to write every day to keep yourself in practice, but I think it's important to remember that it's important to give yourself breaks from writing too, if that's what you need. Take a vacation. Go experience things that you can take back to your writing. Absorb. We're basically like sponges in the way we collect our stories, but we don't have to constantly be wringing them out. I think so much writing happens in the heart and the head, before you get to the page or keyboard, and it's ok to allow yourself that time to think and process.

Steph Wolmarans: Start doing it because it is fun, improve how you do it because you want others to have fun, then keep doing it!

Tara Tyler: Follow your gut. Write what you feel good about writing. The tough part is ignoring the nagging doubt fairy and the distraction demons who can be tough to distinguish from your tried and true gut. Just keep writing!

Deniz Bevan: The best short advice I’ve ever heard is from Diana Gabaldon: “Read. Write. Don’t stop.”

My longer advice would be to send your characters to a writers’ houseparty!

Charles Kowalski: A young English teacher once sat down to write a high-school horror story, but gave up after three pages and threw the manuscript away. The story didn’t excite him, he didn’t like the main character, and he didn’t feel he could write convincingly from the point of view of an outcast teenage girl. The next day, he came home to find the pages back on his desk, smoothed out with the cigarette ashes brushed off them, and his wife urging him to finish what he had started. The writer’s name was Stephen King, and Carrie was the book that launched his career. Moral of the story? Don’t self-censor. If a book comes to you and tells you it wants you to write it, listen to it. (And when its voice grows too faint to hear, it always helps to have someone who believes in you strongly enough to fish your pages out of the wastebasket.)

Olga Godim: Usually, my advice runs to one word: PERSEVERE. But now I want to add a couple more: READ WIDELY. The more you read, in any and all genres, the better your writing will be.

Elizabeth Mueller: There are many voices out there, pulling you into many different directions. Be true to yourself and your writing! It also helps to connect with other writers, because writers need writers after all!

Mark Alpert: You can’t be a writer unless you’re an avid reader. If you want to write science fiction, read lots of science fiction; if you want to write thrillers, read plenty of thrillers. And so on and so forth.

Next post is coming up Wednesday, July 7, 2021 . . . IWSG Day!

Don't forget! Dark Matter: Artificial is available now on AmazonKobo, and Barnes and Noble!