GUYS, I’m proud to be a member of International Association of Science Fiction Authors. IASFA regularly offers bundles and interviews with indie authors through their newsletter to over 10,000 subscribers. And this month, I am pleased to have two novels be a part of their promotion. SIMON SAYS and SHORTCUT!

It’s an All Science Fiction Novel Bundle, with a bunch of great novels for 99 cents or free and it runs from Sept. 24 (today) through Sept. 28 (Thursday).

To get to the good stuff, click here: 99 CENT BOOKS

Here’s a brief interview I did with IAFSA about SHORTCUT:

Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of Shortcut

I write hard science fiction thrillers. I love the real world stuff and how it drives the story, from ride alongs with actual police to science and maths, even pop culture. For me, I love being able to learn new things and then use it to make the movie in my head come alive in words. At least that’s how I hope it works out.

The research is a lot of work but worth it. But I spent hours and even years on Shortcut. It’s nice to be able to build on that now beyond just the novel to do some other stories. With John Simon, I spent hours up all night riding through the most dangerous neighborhoods in Kansas City with the police doing real world research. I visit all the real settings and take notes. I love being able to use that to make things more vivid and real, even when I’m inventing new locations, people, and things.

If you like good adventure and suspense mixed with humor and fascinating characters, even a bit of real science and math, you should enjoy my stuff.

WriteTip: How NOT to Hire An Editor (5 Common Mistakes)

As a freelance editor, I’ve interacted with a lot of writers. And over time, you start to see patterns and develop instincts that form a kind of “red flag” system, if you will. I’ve already posted about how to hire an editor, so today I wanted to talk about how NOT to. What follows is a list of things not to do when seeking to hire an editor.

  1. Brag you’re the greatest. I have encountered clients who love to tell me how what they’re writing is “better than anything already out on the market” or “most of the stuff already out there.” Some even send me blurbs or reviews talking about how genius their writing is, either from past releases or random beta readers (for all I know). So what’s wrong with this, you ask? Two things. First, an editor is supposed to be objective, not subjective. So anything you do to try and prejudice your editor before they work on your book is unprofessional and unwise. Second, rarely in such cases has the resulting manuscript been terrific. 90 times out of 100, it is garbage filled with cliches, bad writing and plotting, copycat characters, and a total mess. It’s not just one or two experiences I am talking about. I used to be constantly needing editing work, so I’d take about anything that came along. But what I learned time and again is such bragging tends to mask a deep-seated insecurity. And deep-seated insecurity is a bad place to write from. Almost every time I overlooked the attitude, the writer’s work was not good and they could not handle honest criticism. Either way, the edit became an unpleasant experience and all too often wound up with someone who either wouldn’t work with me again or whom I would refuse to work with.

2. Insist you know what things should cost and you won’t be ripped off. This one is like accusing me of being a scammer the moment we meet. Look, of course there are bad editors out there and people willing to take advantage of writers or just woefully overconfident with their own abilities. You should absolutely look out for that, but the way to ensure you find good editors is to do due diligence. Check them out. Most of us do sample edits for free of a few pages. If a person won’t do a sample, consider that a red flag and walk away. Second, most of us will list past clients and even quote endorsements from them on our websites. Social media is your friend here. Go out and ask those clients what we were like to work with and if they’d recommend us. Lastly, you can ask others around the industry if we have a good reputation. In any case, if you do all that due diligence, you should come up with a list of professionals to approach, and if they are professionals, there’s no need to worry about being ripped off. Professionals may charge a bit more, but that’s because they know the work and time involved and they do a great job. They’re worth it. If you can’t afford to pay for good editing, don’t complain when you get a bad editor. 1-3 cents per word is fairly standard. Expect to pay that. If you want a bargain, take what you can get but be ready for subpar disappointing service.

3. Send a sloppy sample. Okay, this one should be obvious but oh my God, it so isn’t. I could list a lot of writers with pro credits who simply think the editor’s job is to fix their work and make them look good. They think nothing about impressing the editor. But I book up six months in advance and I know editors who book out even further. Editing is now my primary source of income, if I want it to be, and so I can pick and choose who I work with. I like helping take authors and books to the next level. I’ve found that working with clients who are passionate about getting it right. People too lazy to format manuscripts professionally and clean up grammar and punctuation and spelling as much as they possibly can are not people who care about getting it right. They are lazy. They are unprofessional. And they are burdensome. The more time I spend on basic clean up tasks, the less focus I can give to nuance and deeper issues like theme, voice, plot, etc. That means what you get back will take your novel to a new level, but not necessarily all the way. I only have so much time and concentration. And you would have to pay my highest rate for me to go back and do many, many passes to focus on all the things. So don’t intentionally create a minefield I have to navigate while trying to edit. If you do that, your own sabotage is to blame when you wind up hiring another editor for the next draft who finds stuff the first editor didn’t because they were too distracted by the nitty gritty you were too lazy to fix. And frankly, if I see that sloppiness in a sample, I walk away. It’s not worth my time.

4.  Insist on a call or letter to itemize everything that’s wrong and give all the backstory the editor needs to understand the story. It’s not wrong to want to feel comfortable with a collaborator, editors included. An introductory call or meeting is fine, but the editor has a job to do and it’s a job that requires him or her to be objective. They need to identify what they see as problems and they can’t do that until they’ve worked through the manuscript. One of those problems besides the obvious grammar, punctuation, plot, characterization, and so on is world building and part of world building is giving the necessary backstory for a reader to pick up the novel and understand it. Whether it’s book 2 in a series or not. Yep, that’s what I said. Including backstory to set up context is your job, so if you tell the editor what they “need to know” you are making them hard to identify what you’ve left out of your book that readers will need to know to read and enjoy it. You’re getting in your own way, and getting in your own way prevents the editor from doing their best work. You can always ask them questions later. Any editor unwilling to answer questions after an edit is someone to avoid, but let them view your work with fresh eyes. The experience for them and you both should be eye opening, so don’t ask them to wear blinders.

5. Tell the editor how to do their job. Look, we all have preferred ways of working. I’ve said before on this blog, as do many other writers across social media, that you have to find what works for you, and what works for you may not be the same as what works for someone else. The same is true of editors. If you have done due diligence and picked professional, recommended editors with good reputations, let them do their job the way they are comfortable. Insisting they use certain techniques or forms or approaches you prefer will just wind up with them walking away. If they don’t comment on something or you need more information, you can ask. Depending upon what it is, most editors are willing to elucidate or spell things out in more detail. But insisting they approach it the way you prefer is a big red flag. You’ll wind up turned down and starting your search over.

So there you have it, 5 common mistakes people make when trying to hire an editor. If you’re one of those writers, I hope you can understand why you need to change your approach. If you’ve never hired an editor before, now you know what to avoid. Either way, I wish you the best of success. And happy writing.

For what it’s worth…


What Kind of World Do You Want To Live in? Reflections on Equality and Recognition

In PATTAYA 24/7 the terrific 8th book in his internationally bestselling Vincent Calvino series of detective novels set in Southeast Asia, Christopher G. Moore writes: “The tolerance that acknowledged everyone was protected equally, including those with different skins, religions, and opinions, and that no one had the right to slaughter the ‘other,’ was a good tolerance. A country has grown up when its people have the ability to distinguish between the two.”

Tolerance is an interesting word and it’s something you hear a lot about in this day and age. It’s constantly mentioned in the media and on social media especially. I remember a time when the idea that everyone had the same rights no matter their skin color, religion, or opinions was something I took for granted. I grew up believing it because my parents demonstrated it daily. I never saw or heard either of them judge or look down on anyone for any of those reasons. I did hear them criticize people who acted like assholes, however. So I have always grown up believing in equality, and tried to treat everyone no matter who they sleep with, what their skin color, what they believe, or what opinions they hold with equality—the same way I want to be treated.

As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve time and again witnessed situations where people were treated differently because of all these things. In Africa and Southeast Asia, for example, the darker your skin, the lower your class. That is just assumed. People spend lots of money on products to whiten their skin. Women walk around under the sun with umbrellas to avoid tanning. The fact these attitudes were inherited from white colonial rulers who long ago were defeated and ejected from their countries isn’t something they think about. The attitudes are so engrained culturally now that it’s just how they think. No matter where it came from.

In Africa, there is still a great deal of attitude about homosexuality being unnatural and even a crime against society. You have an obligation to reproduce, to perpetuate the species. If you choose to “mate” with someone with whom you can’t fulfill the obligation, you are harming the community, not just yourselves. That’s an attitude I witnessed time and again. In the Philippines, much like the western world, Muslims are the enemy. Even though scattered numbers live amongst the larger population, you can find many people who fear them and regard them as violent and unstable because extremist Muslim groups have been fighting the government and killing, kidnapping, robbing, and harming foreigners and locals for 100 years. Since the Philippines is by and large Catholic, with a few Protestant denominations mixed in, Muslim are easily written off as having the wrong religion. I’ve never felt this way. I believe we worship the same God, myself, but I do see why under such circumstances, people come to hold that point of view.

Ironically, the other place I have found religious intolerance most common is in the U.S. amongst the arts community. Many times in the past people brought up my past religious activities and beliefs and used them to try and “cancel” or harm me, accusing me of all kinds of “-ists” and “-isms” that have never been part of my personal ideology or philosophy. My words were twisted, false meanings implied and spread around in attempts to silence me or write me off as irrelevant. I’ve seen others who are openly religious experiencing the same thing, and I know many others who keep their personal religion private for just that reason. To be honest, more and more of it is happening these days. It used to be white men in power who were the primary targets, but now people look to be offended and jump on the first opportunity to do so and make a stink. Ironically it is people who constantly talk about “tolerance” and demand it for themselves and their favored groups who seem to most practice such behavior. It doesn’t help that our leaders embrace extremists just to get elected. It doesn’t help that they empower people to say things which really are discriminatory and hateful about anyone who disagrees with them. The media loves it too, and they encourage it with their own rhetoric. But none of this represents tolerance by any definition I can find. It’s flat out discrimination and even verbal abuse or social media bullying. That it’s become common place is a result of people being more afraid of standing up against such awful behavior than they are of shutting down a bad behavioral pattern that hurts us all. In the last few years, thankfully, celebrities and others have spoken up about it. While some deny the existence of “cancel culture,” others fully recognize that it is a reality and one that does real damage.

Conflicts over differing opinions are leading to cultural divides in more and more places. Philippines, U.S., African nations like Ghana, Brazil, Venezuela—and many more. And to me, it’s sad to see. I find it really sad that neighbors and even family members are so adamant and angry that they’ve begun to regard each other as enemies and stopped talking. I’ve always believed what made “America” great was our ability to respect each other of differing views and seek compromises for a better way we all can live with. No, that has never been perfect, but it beats the hell out of the constant attacks and cancelling and name calling and other denigration and violent rhetoric that seem to bombard us daily nowadays. That kind of thing makes you want to retreat into a box, but how can one do that and still live?

To me, the answer is to practice true tolerance by a strict definition like Moore’s. Respect each other and agree to disagree, then learn to be comfortable with that. Ideological warfare has torn us apart with a “we must win it all or nothing” attitude. It’s truly less about tolerance and more about conformity. “You must agree with us to accept us” seems to be the mantra. But then how many parents agree with their kids’ attitudes and behaviors 100%? I can’t name a single one amongst my acquaintances, yet they’d still die for them because they love them so much. I have friends from all backgrounds and beliefs I love dearly. We have way more in common than we have different and we can enjoy each other and agree to disagree. As a society, we have forgotten our commonalities and focused on our differences, and in the process we have lost all sense of our common humanity. To me, until we get back to that, there will be no real tolerance, because real tolerance applies to everyone equally, not just those you agree with or deem “on the right side.”

In his amazing study of middle class-poor relations in Manila, THE PATCHWORK CITY, Marco Z. Garrido writes: “Understanding another person or group does not mean coming to see things their way; it does not entail agreement, but serves rather to clarify the basis of disagreement. Understanding means attempting to put ourselves in the place of others to ‘get behind’—to stand under or look up at—their perspective.” To do this requires empathy. And that is something many seem to find impossible today. They refuse to even attempt it. “No way those people can be empathetic,” some might say, “we are nothing alike.” And hence comes the core of the problem. As a travel aficionado and artist who likes to go out and meet readers, I run into people often who see the world very differently from myself, and yet there hasn’t been a single one I couldn’t find something in common with. In fact, more than one. To not see those commonalities is a conscious choice. Today, people choose to shut themselves off from “seeing” the other. And as Garrido clearly argues, recognition is part of accepting others. You can’t really tolerate another if you can’t recognize them as your equal. You cannot see someone as equal if you look down on them as less than you—less in intelligence, less entitled to their opinion, less capable of reasoning or deciding for themselves, less valuable, less human, etc.

I hear the term “on the right side of history” thrown around a lot by one side, but history is what we make it. History is happening around us twenty-four hours a day. So you can’t be on the “right side” of something that hasn’t finished happening yet. However, you can be actually tolerant as Moore defines it. You can choose to live with acceptance of people whether they are religious or not, whether they attend your church or not, whether their skin color matches yours or doesn’t, whether they sleep with men or women or both, whether they are rich or poor, whether they speak with an accent or not, whether they have your same first language or culture or not, or whether or not you share their opinions. You can choose to recognize their value as citizens, human beings, creations in the image of God, living beings, etc. That is something you can choose. And the world would be a better place if more of us did.

I’m not holding my breath. And I’m not going to say I have all the answers. I’m just saying this is how I choose to live. And whether people try and attack or persecute me or not that has not changed for thirty plus years. And it won’t. It’s who I am and who I want to be. The only people I choose to avoid or reject are assholes. People who consistently behave like assholes, that is. Everyone has off days, but people who show time and again their contempt and disrespect for others for any reason have no place in my world. What about you? What kind of world do you want to live in?

For what it’s worth…

WriteTip: The Proper Rules for Formatting Dialogue

It’s been a while since I put out a WriteTip. Frankly, I ran out of ideas. But now that my freelance editing career has become a full time gig, I am finding new inspiration. For example, I’m seeing a lot of clients lately who format dialogue in really awkward, amateurish, unusual ways. There are conventions for this that evolved because of readability. Writing, after all, is about communication and communication requires clarity.

So here are the general rules. (No, I don’t want to argue. Do this unless you are so big you can afford to break the rules). Trust me. It is the minimum expected from a professional. Doing anything else signals you don’t know what you’re doing.

For US, Use double quotes. For UK, single.

Single quotes go inside double quotes and inside punctuation within the double quotes (US).

Double quotes go inside single quotes and inside punctuation within single quotes (UK).

Speech tags belong after the first sentence or before the dialogue, always. Unless the dialogue is short (two sentences max).

EXAMPLE: “We gotta do this,” Adam said. “It’s not just the right thing, it’s the only choice.”

ALSO OK: “We gotta do this. We don’t have another choice,” Adam said.

Speech tags should always be simple and invisible. Said, asked, questioned, snapped, teased, joked, added, shouted, yelled, mused, stammered, replied, retorted, called, responded, and answered are common, but using fancier words like inserted, implied, etc. just breaks the third wall between author and readers and call attention to themselves. The reason simple tags work is they are invisible because readers are used to them. Getting fancy just pulls their attention off the story and onto you, the writer.

Bodily functions and actions cannot be speech tags. No coughed, laughed, smirked, etc. allowed. Practically, you can’t cough and talk at the same time. You can’t smirk or smile either. Same for most other such words.

Action tags often work just as well. Instead of saying “he said,” you write, dialogue followed by “(name) turned and ran for the door” or something similar. That identifies the speaker without using a tag.

EXAMPLE: “Look out!” Roger aimed the Glock and fired.

EXAMPLE: “Shit!” Indy ran as if his life depended on it, which seemed legit given the giant boulder thundering down toward him in his wake.

Related dialogue by the same character should be kept in the same paragraph. Unless there is a long speech. Long passages can be broken up by dropping the quote at the end of the paragraph and resuming in the next paragraph with a quote mark at the front. Put a quote mark at the end of the last paragraph of speech dialogue. Realistically, passages longer than two or three paragraphs should be broken up with internal monologues or action, or both, to avoid the pace coming to a halt or readers feeling lectured or bored.

Speech tags are separated from dialogue by a comma unless a question mark or exclamation point is required (rare rare rare, don’t overuse).

EXAMPLE: “Run”Indy said as he took Marion’s hand and raced across the field, dragging her behind him.

EXAMPLE:“Where are we going?” Marion demanded.

EXAMPLE:“Away from here,”Indy replied. “Assuming you want to live.”

And that’s it. That’s the conventions for formatting dialogue that have come into common use in Western literature and beyond. It’s what editors and readers expect to see, so using it shows you not only respect expectations but also conventions and are aiming to be professional. Presentation, after all, as any business school instructor or job hunt guru will tell you, does matter.

As always, I hope this is helpful. Feel free to share widely. In fact, please do. For what it’s worth…

Dear Reader Letter-The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie

Dear Reader,

Today is a big day. April 11, 2023 is the release of my latest anthology, THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE (Blackstone Publishing), co-edited by Henry L. Herz (buy here) and we debuted at #1 in hardcover. It’s been a real whirlwind the past few years with COVID, among other things—an odd time, in some ways, to create books, but The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie was born. Fittingly, it tells fictionalized stories of the youth of one of the world’s most famous scientists, Marie Curie, whose own life was filled with tragedy and struggles—not just as a female pioneer in STEM, but with deaths in her family, oppression of her people, and more. Unlike COVID, Marie has left the world a much better place, however, and she did so at great cost. It is widely believed she died due to the effect of radiation exposure from her great discovery of radium. Marie was not one to let obstacles stop her. She pushed and she worked and she fought and she conquered time and again. She’s an inspiring and fascinating woman, and we hope our stories are inspiring too.
These stories are fictional. Although they are based on real characters in real situations and real history, but none of these events actually happened. Instead we invited 18 of the top Young Adult and horror writers (line-up here) working today to collaborate on fun misadventures filled with mischief, mystery, monsters, and yes, science, as they imagined what life might have been like for young teenage Marie. Marie’s life was largely shaped by the tragic loss of her mother and sister at a young age and so are these stories, but Marie conquered adversity time and again, and she does here too.
THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE won’t change the world but it can entertain and inspired. We hope these stories inspire you to face any obstacles you encounter with courage, drive, and determination. Women can change the world in STEM or anywhere else. We celebrate possibilities and great futures and wish the same for you.
Thank you for reading. The book is now available on hardcover, audiobook and CD and ebook here.

ISBN: 9781665047036 (hardcover) / B0B9HNBW47 (Ebook) / B0B8M2D1CF (audio)

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Luckily for humanity, scientist Marie Curie applied her brilliant mind and indomitable spirit to expanding the frontiers of science, but what if she had instead drifted toward the darkness?

At the cusp of between child- and adulthood, at the crossroads between science and superstition, a teen Marie Curie faces the factual and the fantastic in this fabulous collection of stories that inspire, delight, and ask the question: What if she had used her talents for diabolical purposes?

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie
includes twenty short stories and poems by award-winning writers including New York Times bestselling authors Seanan McGuire, Scott Sigler, Jane Yolen, Alethea Kontis, and Jonathan Maberry, plus Sarah Beth Durst, Lissa Price, Christine Taylor-Butler, Mylo Carbia, Jo Whittemore, Dee Leone, Susanne L. Lambdin, Steve Pantazis, Emily McCosh, Henry Herz, Bryan Thomas Schmidt & GP Charles.

Coming June 21: PREDATOR-Eyes Of The Demon (Line-up)

Since the cover finally went live last night, I can finally reveal the author lineup of my latest endeavor in the film universe of PREDATOR. My third such book over all—after PREDATOR: IF IT BLEEDS (2017) and ALIENS VS. PREDATORS: ULTIMATE PREY (March 2022) also from Titan Books—EYES OF THE DEMON is filled with great authors and stories and I guarantee you will see Predators, both male and female, like you have never seen them before. We have some awesome stories with unique approaches and settings. It’s not just the usual shoot ém up. And we did not focus on the historical time travel angle either. There’s even a new story featuring Dutch Schaefer that ties together the first two movies like never before and fills in gaps in the universe. So, along with the cover, here’s the list of great writers participating:

Linda Addison Peter Briggs  Robert Greenberger – Ammar Habib Stephen Graham Jones Gini Koch Michael Kogge Tim Lebbon Jonathan Maberry Kim May Yvonne Navarro – Joshua Pruett –AR Redington – Bryan Thomas SchmidtScott Sigler

As some may notice, several of these authors have written in this universe before as with my last books: Tim Lebbon, Jonathan Maberry, Robert Greenberger, Yvonne Navarro, Scott Sigler, and myself. But also screenwriter Peter Briggs makes his fiction debut. He’s the guy who in the 1990s sold a spec screenplay for Aliens Vs. Predator that launched a franchise (even though his script was never actually used).

We’re talk 16 all new tales here, folks. And this will be one of three Predator books Titan releases this year. That’s a lot to look forward to! We can’t wait for you to see it. Preorder now here: https://amzn.to/3IEEcUg

Friday Writing Fodder

In today’s collection of links meant to inspire, amuse, and inform, we have the sad tale of failed polar bear mating, the humorous tale of confiscated bologna at the US-Mexico border, asteroids passing by Earth, footage from Mars, new astronaut requirements, new vertical planes from airlines, the furthest known object in our solar system confirmed, the strange appearances of two moons over Dubai, and the using Zoom error that has a lawyer appearing in court as a cat, among others. I hope you get some ideas.

Male polar bear kills female during mating attempt at zoo. Okay, very sad but nonetheless, could be story fodder. https://people.com/pets/polar-bear-killed-during-mating-attempt-detroit-zoo/

200 pounds of bologna confiscated by Border Patrol on border with Mexico. https://www.foxnews.com/us/border-patrol-agents-confiscate-nearly-200-pounds-of-bologna-found-in-car-at-new-mexico-border

Astronomers confirm orbit of most distant object ever observed in our solar system. https://phys.org/news/2021-02-astronomers-orbit-distant-solar.html

SpaceX just got a contract to launch two future pieces of a moon space station. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/10/tech/spacex-gateway-launch-contract-scn/index.html

Two moons appear in space over Dubai frightening citizens. https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-02-10-watch-two-moons-appear-in-sky-over-dubai-frightening-confused-residents/

NASA wants to set a new radiation limit for astronauts.  https://www.wired.com/story/nasa-wants-to-set-a-new-radiation-limit-for-astronauts/

Big Asteroid the size of the Washington Monument to zoom past Earth.  https://www.newsweek.com/big-asteroid-size-washington-monument-earth-1568308

NASA releases dramatic Mars video ahead of rover’s arrival  https://www.digitaltrends.com/news/watch-nasas-dramatic-mars-video-ahead-of-rovers-arrival/

Trio rescued after being trapped on an isolated Bermuda island for 33 days survived on this diet. https://www.foxnews.com/us/cuban-nationals-rescued-coast-guard-trapped-deserted-bahamas-island-diet

United Airlines orders 200 vertical takeoff aircraft to deliver passengers to airports. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/02/united-airlines-orders-200-vertical-takeoff-electric-airplanes/

Scientists think they found a portal to the 5th Dimension. https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a35471480/dark-matter-fermion-portal-fifth-dimension/?fbclid=IwAR2wPPjECVSUmyK4CK1IySE-VDSEn6vYv9wBOkO79lZFa7YzqW48U84C2Nc

Inside the Space Race to Mars: Mars set for visits from spacecraft from UAE, China, and U.S. https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/mars-set-visits-uae-china-u-s-spacecraft-n1257126

And last but not least, Zoom error has lawyer appearing on official court zoom as a cat.https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/mars-set-visits-uae-china-u-s-spacecraft-n1257126

Friday Writing Fodder[

In this week’s story fodder, two asteroid close encounters, awesome shots from space of six planets, an ancient crocodile-fish mashup, lost indigenous fort uncovered after 200 years, a mind blowing time theory, nuclear powered rockets, and missing galactic material discovered. Have a look. I hope they inspire your creativity.

Zero emissions in the U.S. is now pretty cheap https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/01/new-study-a-zero-emissions-us-is-now-pretty-cheap/

NASA mission will zoom by asteroid before returning sample to Earth https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/29/world/nasa-osiris-rex-asteroid-bennu-flyby-april-scn/index.html

The Mars Perseverance landing will be the most difficult ever https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-mars-perseverance-rover-most-difficult-landing-red-planet/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

NASA spacecraft bound for sun takes awesome shot of six planets  https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2021/01/31/nasa-spacecraft-bound-for-the-sun-takes-awesome-shot-of-six-planets/?sh=2fdcea316f2f

Ancient fish-crocodile mashup  https://www.popsci.com/story/animals/ancient-fish-water-land-evolution/

Lost Alaskan indigenous fort discovered after 200 years  https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/02/lost-alaskan-indigenous-fort-rediscovered-after-200-years/

Scientists are testing a mind blowing time theory in a nuclear reactor https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a35423435/scientists-testing-quantum-time-theory-inside-nuclear-reactor/

Nuclear-powered rockets may push humanity to new worlds  https://bgr.com/2021/02/04/nuclear-rocket-mars-trip/

Student astronomer finds missing galactic matter   https://phys.org/news/2021-02-student-astronomer-galactic.html

A massive asteroid is about to whiz past Earth   https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/asteroid-2001-fo32-flying-past-earth

WriteTips Schedule Change

Some of you may have noticed my WriteTip production has fallen off. I often struggle or fail to produce four new WriteTips a month as I used to every Wednesday. And sometimes I post old classics. The reasons for this have to do with many things but most responsible is the fact that after posting tips for eight years or so, I am running out of fresh ideas that seem worthy of them four times a month, so from now on I am designating the second and fourth Wednesday of each month WriteTips day. I will try and post them regularly those days, though I may do reruns of classics worth revisiting on occasion. I will continue my weekly Writing Fodder posts, as these are compiled throughout the week with links I find of interest and post that might serve as inspiration or education for writers. But the WriteTips have to slow down, at least for a while, and I hope you understand.

You can always revisit all the WriteTips by going to the WriteTips tab under the Blog menu on my site and scrolling through them back to the very beginning. Believe me, there’s plenty there. Hundreds of posts, and I doubt most of you have seen them all. They are probably the most complimented and signal boosted posts I make and many of them served as inspiration for my nonfiction book How To Write A Novel, portions of which I later turned into WriteTips of their own. In fact, I posted 85% of that book in segments as WriteTips. I appreciate your understanding and your interest. Happy and successful writing!

Friday Writing Fodder

This week’s inspiration is longer than past editions because there were more stories I found of interest this week including ancient nuclear fusion, a Concorde successor, a scientific mystery may be solved, a very cool look at the point of view of different pets, and some historical flashbacks involving atomic bombs falling on North Carolina and others falling into Mexico. Hopefully this gets the creative juices flowing for some of you as it did for me.

Jeff Bezos backs an ancient kind of nuclear fusion https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a35276502/magnetized-target-fusion-technology-jeff-bezos/

Concorde successor AS2 takes a giant leap forward  https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/as2-supersonic-jet-florida-hq/index.html

Remembering the night two atomic bombs fell on North Carolina https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2021/01/remembering-night-two-atomic-bombs-dropped-on-north-carolina/

Saturn’s moon Rhea has a mysterious material on its surface https://www.inverse.com/science/saturns-moon-rhea-has-mysterious-material

Study shows how different pets view their environment https://apple.news/AT8I7ce10R3eWvXLLh02Bnw

Chestburster looks like hair but turns insects to zombies https://dailycaller.com/2021/01/26/chestburster-parasite-hair-turns-insects-zombies-wildlife-experts/?fbclid=IwAR2Mmuuv8uHHcs9sN5U3kj03e5tvvizVKsiLbZeVOy5mH5-Q6mZ3cBj4NYQ

Space missions to watch in 2021 https://www-space-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.space.com/amp/space-missions-to-watch-in-2021?fbclid=IwAR2a0QGU7mdwpcTdaz0zVDtDJ10M2wxLdiHB03epRUa9hLj0jO6MkWNG2eg

Book of The Dead scroll found in Egyptian tomb https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/13-foot-long-book-of-the-dead-scroll-discovered-in-egyptian-tomb?utm_campaign=9yearoldboysearchingwalnut&utm_term=organic&__source=Blastr_Vayner_syfy_Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=link_ad&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3lNs8LX0FNyNmG4cUvTU3XQBRahrpUxACw7AcxlktylqO0-XXyavP2N_c

Missiles over Mexico  https://rumble.com/vdavet-missiles-over-mexico-a-cold-war-story.html

Are we living in a universe that looks like a black hole to outsiders?  https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/baby-universes-black-holes-dark-matter?fbclid=IwAR0LIcVDoxC4S7dv580zk49eSdyOZcP4gO-G0onJaK3wedAlHBvAPsAIVpo

Has science solved one of history’s mysteries?https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2021/01/has-science-solved-history-greatest-adventure-mystery-dyatlov/

The soccer ball that survived the Challenger disaster and went back into space  https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/30782213/nasa-astronaut-ellison-onizuka-soccer-ball-survived-challenger-explosion

How detectives outsmarted a killer to find a body hidden for 15 years  https://apple.news/ATlLtWWcZRxKQxVFPT0YpMg