A Triumph Over Tragedy Story Preview: Duncan Derring

Recently, I had a first,  when my humorous Science Fiction story, Duncan Derring & The Call Of The Lady Luck, was picked up by Triumph Over Tragedy, R.T. Kaelin’s brilliant project to raise funds for the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy. Featuring stories from the likes of Robert Silverberg, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Michael Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Elizabeth Bear and many more, it’s an honor to have my name included. The e-anthology will release near the end of 2012 and be available for a limited time. All stories are donated and so is editing time by Kaelin, Sarah Chorn, Rob Bedford and myself. The goal is to raise $10,000 for the Red Cross. You can participate and get a copy of this fine anthology for just $7 here.  For a full list of contributors, see the Goodreads listing here. While some writers offered reprints, many of the stories are brand new. I highly recommend getting a copy. You can learn more on Science Fiction &  Fantasy Writer’s Chat Wednesday, December 27th at 9 p.m. ET, when Kaelin, Chorn and others come on to talk about the project.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d give you a preview of my story. This tale also appeared in print in Wandering Weeds: Tales Of Rabid Vegetation edited by Frances Pauli & Jaleta Clegg. You can read about that on Goodreads here. Besides it being the first time I’ve shared a Table Of Contents with my favorite writer of all time, Silverberg, and had a story in a charity anthology, it’s also the first time one of my stories has been published twice, and I’m glad Duncan gets a chance to reach a wider audience, as I’m hoping this is the first in a series of adventures for him.

I hope you enjoy this snippet of Duncan’s first adventure. Inspired by love of pulp characters and Mike Resnick’s Catostrophe Baker and Lucifer Jones tales. And please support Triumph Over Tragedy.

 

DUNCAN DERRING AND THE CALL OF THE LADY LUCK
by

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

T

 he mission sounded simple: head out to the edge of the solar system and save the Princess Line’s Lady Luck from the Andromedan tumbleweeds. It was the sort of mission I was made for, and I fully expected to wrap her up in less than a day and be on my way. For once, my expectations were wildly out of synch with reality. Happens to everyone sometime, I suppose.

Duncan Derring, weapons and demolitions expert—what do you mean you never heard of me? Where have you been? It wasn’t exactly the kind of profession you’d expect tourism ventures to call upon, I know, but the galaxy held all kinds of odd dangers for these passenger ships. They weren’t outfitted with any weapons and only the barest sorts of shields. In fact, if I’d been the one hired to approve the design, they never would have made it out of concept. But no one asked me.

The Lady Luck was one of the newer liners, “a five star resort amongst the stars,” the brochures said, and they weren’t talking about the kind of stars you see in movies. She could carry a load of up to five thousand passengers, not counting certain odd-sized alien species, and provided all the dining and entertainment options anyone could imagine. She contained twenty-seven restaurants, eighteen bars, ten nightclubs, eight ballrooms, thirty-five shops, fifteen cinemas, and any number of other recreational and entertainment facilities. If I hadn’t been aboard a liner once myself, I’d have thought it absurd, but Princess Ltd. specialized in making absurdities reality.

I’d never seen the Andromedan Tumbleweeds, although I’d heard a lot about them, of course. Kinda goes without saying that, in my profession, you stay abreast of the latest developments. Floating in deep space between Neptune and Uranus, the tumbleweeds were freshly arrived from Andromeda, where the locals tired of the toll they took on ships and planets and used a fleet’s worth of force fields to drag them to the edge of their solar system and push them off on us. How nice of them, you might think, and you’d be right, but then you don’t know the Andromedans. No one ever called the Andromedans nice.

It took about two days at full on ultra-light engines to make the journey from my previous assignment, Ganymede Colony just off Jupiter. Why anyone had wanted to build resort towns in the Galileans was beyond me, but some people like looking at cool, gaseous masses, I guess. I certainly prefer them to some warm gaseous masses I’ve known. I was able to set the nav computer to auto for much of the route and catch some much-needed sleep. Despite my distaste for the location, the Ganymede Colony was a busy place and sleep had been more of a rarity than I’m used to. The custom-made feather mattress I’d installed in my quarters molded itself to the contours of my body as I slept. It took three tries and its sexiest feminine voice for the nav computer to awaken me. I warmed quickly as the heaters in my sleep pod brought my body temperature to normal and the blood raced through my veins again.

Yawning, I sat up, rubbing at the aches in my neck as I put my feet on the cold deck. The sensation got me moving faster as I slid out of my sleep jumpsuit and began strapping on my demolitions gear. At least as much of it as I could and still move around with speed and conduct ship’s business. You have to be ready to jump at a moment’s notice in this business, for both economic and literal survival, and the better prepared you were, the more successful you’d be.

As the Trini, short for Trinitrotoluene—aka TNT—slipped out of hyperspace, I found myself immediately at the heart of the problem. Until I’d encountered her, I would have never thought a nav computer could be programmed with a sense of humor. I figured a jealous woman of some sort must be behind her, because she was always pulling this sort of thing on me, and for once, I wasn’t in the mood. As accustomed as I am to dangerous situations, the sight of three tumbleweeds rotating seeming inches from my cockpit view screen stopped my heart.

I requested a location on the Lady Luck herself and found her frozen in space just inside the edge of the field. The report said she’d come upon the tumbleweeds unexpectedly and figured staying put and keeping pace was her only chance. Given the tumbleweeds’ propensity for random changes in direction with the slightest shift in gravitation, I’d say the Lady Luck lived up to her name. The readings my computer took upon arrival showed little influence from planetary gravitation at that particular moment. It was enough to make me relax again, which would turn out to be a regrettable mistake.

As I rotated the Trini and took in the view, I noted damages on the Lady Luck’s hull from unlucky encounters with a few of the surrounding tumbleweeds. The fact the liner was still functional and in one piece indicated the impacts had deflected the offending tumbleweeds away without disturbing any others. Such a disturbance would probably have caused a sizable enough chain reaction that my mission would have been pointless.

The Lady Luck hailed me as soon as I arrived. “Lady Luck Liner calling craft Trini,” the comm officer said in that annoying formal style they have.

“Yeah, I’m here,” I responded. “Just checking out the damages.”

“None necessitating more than a change of five thousand shorts so far,” she said. The Lady Luck had full on laundry facilities, too, so I figured that didn’t pose them much of a problem.

“How is it you came to be inside the field?” I asked, thinking only an idiot could have made such a colossal blunder.

“We were at full stop, under night crew. The weeds came upon us faster than we could bring her up to full and take evasives,” the Captain answered. “Our nav computer malfunctioned and the scanners read them as small debris.”

Given my own experience with nav computers, I didn’t bother to delve any further. When they weren’t in motion, the tumbleweeds always appeared smaller than their actual size to scanners. Pilots relied on nav charts and computers to pinpoint their location when they travelled this part of the system. But they always verified their presence with human eyes.

“Can you back her out the way you came in?”

“It’s not so easy to move a one hundred thousand ton liner,” the Captain said. “It’s a bit like backing Saturn through one of her rings. We don’t have the maneuverability. Backing up’s rarely called for.”

I checked my computer’s readings again. “For the moment, it appears you got lucky, but when the field reaches the influence of Neptune’s gravity, it could change in a hurry.”

“Can you try and have us out before then?” the Captain replied, as if I needed some amateur questioning my competence for the mission. But the thought of four thousand five hundred passengers suffering for the ignorance of their crew wasn’t something I could live with, so I set about my calculations for clearing them a path.

As I flew along the field’s edge, it became obvious I’d have to go in manually and set the explosives. My jetpack was quicker and I a far smaller target than my ship. The odds I would avoid entanglements with any of the weeds would greatly increase if I went alone. The catch was that I hadn’t used my pack in over a year and never in a situation rife with the risks I’d face here. All it would take is one wrong move, one wrong placement of an explosive, or one disturbance of the field to send the weeds into chaos, haphazardly spinning like their Earthen namesakes across space, colliding with each other or anything else in their way.

To complicate things further, Neptune’s gravitation was coming into range. Planetary gravity started influencing objects millions of kilometers out. On paper, the figures looked ridiculous but this wasn’t on paper. Even a slight gravitational pull could send the tumbleweeds into chaotic motion, which would be the end of the Lady Luck, the Trini, and me.

Finishing my calculations with due speed but proper care, I slipped into my suit and jetted out the Trini’s passenger airlock, making my way into the field. The tumbleweeds were even more intimidating up close than they had been through the Trini’s ports. The temperature inside my suit rose as adrenaline coursed through my veins. Spying my first target, I used the suit’s jets to swing left and approach, taking care not to lose control or come in too fast.

I reversed my jets’ thrust, slowing my momentum as I reached each tumbleweed’s surface. Then I could set each charge and use my boots to push free before jetting off to the next target. Firing the jets too close might start the weeds spinning. The Trini’s calculations determined it would take twenty-two charges to both clear a path for the liner and deflect nearby tumbleweeds away from the Lady Luck. My plan included setting five more just in case something went wrong.

Thanks to my experience and skill, the execution came off without a hitch. As I released the last charge and clicked the activation button, ready to push off and head back to my ship, a motion over my right shoulder drew my attention. A door was opening on the Lady Luck. It appeared to be a garbage chute.

I punched the button on my radio. “Captain, don’t jettison anything, until you’ve cleared the field!”

But I was too late.

Continued in Triumph Over Tragedy.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the editor of Blue Shift Magazine and an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exoduswill appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends(forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press (July 2013), headlined by Robert Silverberg, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress, and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for Every Day Publishing (November 2013). He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

10 Self-Help Seminars Few Would Attend

I was talking with my friend Julia the other day after she put up a post on Facebook about “The Hutchinson Kennel Club is hosting an ATT (American Temperament Test) and we need more dogs or the test will be cancelled.” I’ve seen Best Of Show, so I commented: “Maybe they should also test some of the owners’ temperaments…wouldn’t that be interesting?” She fired back a whole list of seminars people in the dog show world really need and I came up with number 1 here as another joke. This list was born. These are amusing, well-meaning concepts that would flop like a fish stuck on land, don’t you think?

1) How To Know When To Stop Blaming Because You’re The Problem — We all know who needs to take this one, right? It’s not us. It’s that other guy. And therein lies the problem that defeated this seminar before it even began.

2) How To Debate Politics Without Slinging Insults About The Opponents’ Morals or Heritage — The present political climate pretty much rules this one out. I don’t think it would even interest most people. And it would totally destroy the fun political pundits and the press are having manipulating public opinion. In fact, there’d likely be exposees tearing into the character and scandalizing the background of any instructor who dared to offer this one.

3) How To Let Your Siblings Be Favorites Without Complaining — Yeah, I don’t know about your house, but wouldn’t happen in ours. Uh uh. Fair is fair. And if they go theirs, I want mine. It irritates me my sister and brother refuse to admit how slighted I’ve been, dammit.

4) How To Admit That Sometimes Your Husband’s Right — Husbands might love to drag their wives to this one, but except for a few who came for the laughs, this one would sink like a stone. Keep trying though guys. I admire your fortitude.

5) How To Be An American Tourist Without Being Obnoxious — This one’s for my foreign friends and dear God is it badly needed. American tourists are the most obnoxious visitors on Earth. Too bad we’re also the wealthiest and most common and the ones on which so many economies have come to depend.  And the Hawaiian shirt and straw hat folks are far from the worst. The insidious “I dress local, I read nonfiction and literature and I understand the foreign mindset” people deserve a firing squad.

6) How To Be The Best For You Whether Anyone Else Notices Or Not — These next two go almost hand-in-hand. People don’t like to just be good in isolation. They want recognition for it. We crave praise. That instinct always seems to win out no matter how many times we tell ourselves that what others think doesn’t matter. This one has the best of intentions but goes down due to the power of flawed human nature, I think.

7) How To Donate To Charity Without Needing Praise Or Recognition — I founded and run a non-profit. While donors often want their amounts private, they don’t often seem to want to give without some recognition. They may not want their name on the national news but they want a personal note of thanks or some kind of reward level tiers package or something. The art of charitable giving just because it’s a good thing and right is practiced by few in my experience, again, due to flawed human nature and our root need for approval.

8 ) How To Get Over The Delusion That Obama Has No Flaws — Not a political statement but an observation. I’ve voted for Republicans and for Democrats, and none of them turned out to be perfect. Yet I don’t think I’ve seen a more “cult adored” president since Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. This guy can do no wrong. This despite so many broken promises, an economy many would call worse, and one of the most incredibly divisive presidencies in history from a guy who promised to bring us together. But those who love him, don’t do it halfway. And love covers all wrongs so the people who need it would pay this no mind.

9) How To  Shun Popularity And Revel In Mockery aka How To Survive High School — Yeah a few goth rebels might revel here but for most of us, while it would have been helpful, it would have been near impossible to live this way. It’s too bad. A good number of our High School memories might be more pleasant and positive if we’d had this.

10) How To Cherish The Gift Of Lifelong Virginity — I don’t even need to explain this one, do I? It wouldn’t even be popular with nuns or priests anymore, if you pay attention to the news. That might not have been true a few decades ago, but these days we can live without a lot of things but sex isn’t one of them.

I’ll bet all of you can think of plenty of others. But I hope those gave you a good laugh to start your week this Monday. For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on Beyond The Sun,forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

My First Print Zine Short Story Sale Is Out

It took several attempts and some polishing but I finally found a home for one of my more unique, non-space opera science fiction shorts, the third ever short story I wrote. It’s in the latest issue of Tales Of The Talismanbought actually last summer but too big for that summer issue, David Lee Summers held it for this year’s issue with my consent. It’s great to not only have it out but have made the cover list. Here’s the full TOC:

Table of Contents for Tales of the Talisman Volume 8, Issue 1

    • Sol Crystalis Miracalis
      Story by Quincy Allen
      Illustration by Teresa Tunaley

 

    • Silicon Searchers
      Poem by Richard H. Fay

 

    • Dear Cthulhu
      Article by Patrick Thomas

 

    • Through a Lens Brightly
      Story by Brock Marie Moore
      Illustration by Tom Kelly

 

    • Frontier Adventure
      Poem by L.B. Sedlacek

 

    • Touch of Silence
      Story by Simon Bleaken
      Illustration by Jim Collins

 

    • The Day That the Screens All Died
      Poem by Ann K. Schwader

 

    • Steam-Truckin’
      Story by C.J. Killmer
      Illustration by Teresa Tunaley

 

    • What Voids Are These
      Poem by Anna Sykora

 

    • End Run
      Story by Robert Collins
      Illustration by Russell Morgan

 

    • How to Construct a Human
      Poem by Lauren McBride

 

    • La Migra
      Story by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
      Illustration by Paul Niemiec

 

    • Shooting Star
      Poem by Louise Webster

 

    • Listening
      Poem by Larry Hammer

 

    • The Devil You Know
      Story by M.E. Brines
      Illustration by Jag Lall

 

    • Tempest
      Story by Neil Leckman
      Illustration by Paul Niemiec

 

    • Mission Stardust
      Poem by Ann K. Schwader

 

    • The Elemental Just Can’t Explain Himself
      Poem by CEE

 

    • The Ultimate Astronaut
      Story by K.S. Hardy
      Illustration by Laura Givens

 

    • A Conflicted Soul
      Poem by Lauren McBride

 

    • Streaming Light
      Story by Kelly Dillon
      Illustration by Morland Gonsoulin

 

    • Obolusless
      Poem by Neal Wilgus
      Illustration by Filo Martinez

 

    • The Reaper’s Scythe
      Story by Bruce Markuson
      Illustration by Jag Lall

 

    • Misdirection
      Story by Scott Allen Abfalter
      Illustration by Erika McGinnis

 

    • Power Of Littleness
      Poem by Alessio Zanelli

 

    • The Forbidden
      Poem by W.C. Roberts

 

    • Portal
      Story by Glynn Barrass
      Illustration by Tom Kelly

 

    • Book Reviews
      Reviews by David Lee Summers and Shawn Oetzel

 

    • About the Contributors

 

Top 20 Scientific Answers to Why The Chicken Crossed The Road

I’ve been asked to write a Science Fiction and Fantasy Joke Ebook by Delabarre Publishing, after the success of my 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids released August 1st. And in doing research, I came across this and thought I’d share it. Here are Top 20 Scientist Answers to Why The Chicken Crossed The Road:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Archimedes: Because it had the inclination.

Aristotle:  It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Andre Ampere:  To keep up with current events.

Alexander Graham Bell:  To get to the nearest phone.

Marie Curie:  She was radiating with enthusiasm as she crossed the road.

Nicolaus Copernicus: Despite the evidence of your senses I can show that it is mathematically simpler to describe it as the road passing under the chicken.

C. J. Doppler:  For its effect on passer-bys.

Thomas Edison:  She thought it would be an illuminating experience.

Richard Feynman: It didn’t cross the road to the other side. It actually came back to where it started but was momentarily moving backward in time.

Jean Foucault:  It didn’t. The rotation of the earth made it appear to cross.

Galileo:  To get a better look at the stars.

Karl Gauss:  Because of the magnetic personality of the rooster on the other side.

Stephen Hawking: The first seconds made the universe in such a way that chickens cross the road.

Werner Heisenberg: It was uncertain if it could make it, but wanted to try on general principles.

Newton: Because an apple fell on its head.

Ohm: There was more resistance on this side.

Pascal: It was pressured to cross the road.

Wolfgang Pauli:  There already was a chicken on this side of the road.

Volta: The other side had more potential.

James Watt:  It thought it would be a good way to let off steam.

I do realize that some of these are funnier the greater your understanding of the various scientists’ views and work, but I hope they gave you a chuckle as they did me. And yes, I’d love to hear in comments if you know of other approaches not listed.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011  Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines.  He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. A freelance editor, he’s edited novels and nonfiction and also hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

Cover Reveal: 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids

Well, here it is at long last, the cover for my upcoming debut children’s book 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Rutherford, publisher/editor of Delabarre Publishing sent it over today and I’m quite excited because the illustration samples he’s been sending for a while are really cool. The second in a series of joke book ebooks–Delabarre publishes many of these–I wrote it in February and it’s been in artwork and planning for a while. Expect to see release this Fall. I don’t know Even Peter, the artist, but I think he’s done a great job.

To give you an idea, here’s a couple of sample jokes:

What do you call it when you’re hit by a dinosaur? Dino-sore.

 

What do you call a dinosaur with stripes? Zebrasaurus

 

What do you call a singing dinosaur? A RAPtor.

 

(Yes, this is the cover image, note the gold chains.)

 

What do you call a dinosaur who sings opera? Divasaurus

 

What kind of ghost terrifies dinosaurs? Scare-o-saurus. 

Silly? Yeah. But they’re for kids and hopefully they’re a combination of simple and clever that will keep them entertained. Most of them I made up although I did research a few more popular ones from the web that hadn’t been used in the prior book.

Thanks to the parents and kids who beta read the book and gave feedback and to Jeff and Evan as well.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines.  He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited novels and nonfiction.  He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA. Bryan is currently at work on the Abe Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter series of chapter book for Delabarre.

Cover Reveal: My first print magazine sale is finally coming out

Here’s the cover to the next issue of Tales Of The Talisman, and I got a mention. This is the third short story I ever wrote. Quite excited about it. Very much influenced by my time in El Paso. Editor David Lee Summers is a close friend and I’m excited and honored that he liked it enough to publish it. He as rejected stories from me before and since. “La Migra” is about two cousins from deep in Mexico who cross the U.S. Border at El Paso and get abducted by what they think are border patrol. But then they start to have questions about things going on. And it turns out, they were taken by aliens. It’s a humorous culture clash tale. Written with input from friends on both sides of the border, including Mexicans and an actual Border Patrol agent. Lots of local color in descriptions. Anyway, excited about it and wanted to reveal the cover. Really looking forward to it. Tales has published some great stuff by some great people, including friends like Jaleta Clegg, Jennifer Brozek, and more. Proud to be a part of that family.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured  in anthologies and magazines.  He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction.  He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

Guest Post: Your Punctuation Personality Type by Leah Petersen

Since I am doing a guest Write Tip at Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Mystery Writing Is Murder Blog today, I didn’t want to post another Write Tip here. I’ll have a new one Thursday instead. But I did invite Leah Petersen to guest with a funny post on Punctuations and Personality!  Her follow up post to this on Grammatical Error Personality Types can be found at her blog here.

Your Punctuation Personality Type

 by Leah Petersen

A recent (totally made up) scientific study analyzed what your favorite punctuation mark means about you. Every writer, every person, over-uses and abuses at least one punctuation mark. Here’s what your particular weakness means about you:

Period (.): Type A personality. You are decisive and clear. You have no difficulty with setting limits. Often a stodgy person that no one else thinks is any fun to hang out with. You tend to be good with technology and have the latest gadgets.

Comma (,): The peacemaker. You like to help others, and you get along with everyone. You like to make sure people understand each other. You like clarity as much as the Period type, but, unlike him, you don’t subscribe to the “less is more” theory. You believe more information is better than not enough. For this reason you sometimes confuse others and can become tiresome. But, in general, you’re fun, or at least tolerable, to be around. If not, you can make people think you are.

Exclamation point (!): You are excitable and anxious. You don’t self-censor well and think that your opinion always matters. You use italics a lot in written communication. You get nervous easily and are often too loud. You’re either an overly-affectionate or a mean drunk. You’re fun at parties.

Question mark (?): Indecisive and uncertain. You over-analyze. You may be shy and have low self-esteem. People usually have no idea you’re there.

Colon (:): You like things to be well-delineated. Much like the Period type, you like order. You make lists. People always know where they stand with you. You usually get asked to organize the office parties and school functions.

Semi-colon (;): You’re well-read and urbane. You knew where this was on the keyboard before it became part of the winky emoticon. You’re more easy-going than Colon or Period types, but you’re still put together and usually organized. People are comfortable around you and tend to like you, though they may not be able to say exactly why.

Hyphen (-): You like having fun. You are often creative and are very social. You like throwing parties, though you may call on your Colon type friends to organize them. You’re more likely to be impulsive and throw unlikely things together. No one would be surprised that your decor is shabby-modern or artsy-classic.

En-dash (–): If you knew this was a different mark than the hyphen, you are way too into punctuation. You’re either an editor or a schoolteacher, or else no one likes you. At all.

Em-dash (—): You’re stuck up and pretentious. You correct people’s grammar and complain about how stupid kids are these days. You like to show off. You made good grades in school and perform well at work. Your boss loves you, even if your co-workers don’t.

Parentheses ( () ): You’re scatterbrained. You throw things together at the last minute. You’re often hopping back and forth between different tasks and think you’re multi-tasking. You tend to bore people with your stories because you think every detail is important and you repeat yourself. You are often sarcastic but are good at making other people laugh, often at someone’s expense. (Including your own.)

Ellipses (…): An indecisive and flighty person. You lose your train of thought easily. You are a follower and like to let other people take the risks. You often misplace your keys or spend ten minutes looking for the glasses you’re already wearing.

Apostrophe (‘): You’re casual and carefree. You’re always the one who has random things in your purse or glove compartment that no one else would think to carry around but somehow you end up in situations where it’s a good thing you had that thumb-tack on you. You have lots of friends, usually without really trying. People just like you.

Quotation Mark (“): You aren’t very original. You tweet famous quotes a lot. You are nosy and like to gossip; mostly because you don’t have anything of substance to add of your own. People like to hang out with you for a coffee break but don’t really consider you a friend.

Slash (/): You’re a complicated and complex person. You can be secretive and have a hard time trusting people. You like to keep your options open. You’re the respectable housewife your friends will be shocked to see coming out of the S&M club.

Brackets ([ ]): You are snobbish and self-important. You are likely to use these to add “[sic]” to other people’s comments. You have no friends and probably have a “kick me” post-it on your back right now.

Asterisk (*): Nothing is ever final with you. You can justify anything and have an excuse for everything. You would make a good lawyer. People either find you entertaining, or really boring, because you know lots of random trivia.

Ampersand (&): You like stuff. You collect things and are a packrat. You’re friends with everyone, whether they know it or not.

At symbol (@): You’re very social, sometimes overly. You’re the one who always takes a phone call in the middle of a conversation. You also spend way too much time online. Go get some fresh air. Taking your iPhone out on the porch doesn’t count.

Hash/pound (#): Much like the @ type, you’re online too much, but, unlike @ types, in real life you have few friends and are reclusive. Before the internet, you called customer service lines just to have someone to talk to.

Bullets (•): You have OCD.


Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing. Her first novel, Fighting Gravity, a science fiction romance with same sex themes is available now from Dragon Moon Press.  The story of Jacob Dawes and his relocation from the ghetto to the Imperial Intellectual Complex, where he is expected to benefit the Empire with his genius, the book examines social structure and personal improvement as much as the unpredictable human heart. You can read the YA Report review at SFWRTCHT here and an SFFWRTCT interview with Leah here. She’ll be the live chat guest at SFFWRTCHT on 6/27/12. She can be found on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LeahPetersen, via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LeahPetersenAuthor, on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/leahpetersen, via Google+ at http://profiles.google.com/leahpetersen or at www.leahpetersen.com.

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My latest project:

 

Vlog: Writing Update to Call FM–Novelization Of My Novel (Humor)

Had a great interview on the radio with Call FM’s Ben & Guillermo. At one point, Guillermo and Ben asked about which actor might play characters if my book were made into a movie. Afterwards, Guillermo asked me if there’d be a novelization (of the movie of the novel). He was obviously tired, but well, I couldn’t resist calling back in and ribbing him about it this week as they rerun my interview. And so here’s the call.

Untitled from Bryan Schmidt on Vimeo.

For Immediate Release: Author Bryan Thomas Schmidt Joins Madonna In No Nipples Policy

Ottawa, KS, January 31, 2012–Author Bryan Thomas Schmidt today announced there would be no revealing of his or other nipples at his book signing at Hastings Books in Lawrence, Kansas this coming Saturday or any other public appearances on his agenda.

“I just wanted to join Madonna right now in refuting any accusations of public nudity,” Schmidt said. “Just as with Madonna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, absolutely no nipple sightings will occur either now or in the future at my author events and I believe that’s a policy we’ll plan to continue well into the future.”

MAPN (Mothers Against Public Nipples) put out this statement upon hearing the news: “We are relieved to know that family values still means something in this day and age. Exposure to nipples is something every parent should be able to mediate for their children in the comfort of their own timing. Respect for parents’ rights is too often absent in this day and age.”

From Bryan’s publisher: Diminished Media Group co-Director Randy Streu says, “We’re committed to our values as a family business and a family-friendly market, and while male nipples don’t come with the controversy of their female counterparts, we believe it’s best avoided altogether.”

“I might add that I call on authors of all genres to join me in this important movement,” Schmidt said, “especially in the face of recent revealing photos posted by authors like Jim C. Hines at their websites. There are just some things our readers don’t need to know about us.”

Mothers everywhere, surveyed by the reporter, express great relief. Some even expressed renewed hope and faith in a Higher Being.

Recent press coverage of Bryan, The Worker Prince, and the free signing from 1-4 pm on Saturday, February 4th, 2012 being held at Hastings, 1900 W. 23RD, Lawrence, KS 66046, can be found at lawrence.com. For directions to Hastings on Google Maps, click here.

For press and media inquiries including interviews and guest blogging requests, you can contact Bryan at: bryan at bryanthomasschmidt.net.

Links to recent interviews can be found here. Information on Bryan and his books can be found at his author website www.bryanthomasschmidt.net. Bryan’s books can be purchased online at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other retailers.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SF Signal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.‎ Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

4 5-star & 13 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $4.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

An Interview With Lord Xalivar

This interview originally ran at Nicole Peeler’s blog as part of my first blog tour. Thanks to Nicole for the invite to visit her blog on my tour. I wanted to rerun it again here because it was a fun post to write and because I wanted to share it with you. This is a fictional interview with the antagonist of my debut novel. I wanted to sit down with one of my characters, the deposed High Lord Counselor of the Boralian Alliance, Lord Xalivar, for a chat.

Xalivar: Deposed? I was not desposed! I was violated!

BTS: Sorry. So Mr., Xalivar should I call you?

X: I prefer, my Lord.

BTS: Uh, ok, my Lord…that’s weird for me.

X: Yes, that’s what my enemies said and now they’ve written that scandalous tome of lies about me.

BTS: Well, I wrote it, actually, just as they told it to me.

X: So you’re a co-conspirator! Why should I trust you?

BTS: Well, I really did want to get it right, so if there’s something you’d like to set the record straight about, I’m listening.

X: (clears throat) It didn’t happen like that.

BTS: It didn’t happen like what?

X: I thought you said you were listening.

BTS: I am.

X: No, you’re not. You’re interrupting. It’s not the same thing. I am the High Lord Councilor of the Borali Alliance. Interrupting me is tantamount to treason!

BTS: Actually, you were deposed…

X: Shhhhhhh! LISTEN!

BTS: OK, sorry.

X: My family served the Alliance for generations. With honor! We have always done what was best for the Alliance and her people.

BTS: Some would argue with that.

X: Because they’re fools! Fools who don’t know what’s best for them. That’s why they need leadership. Wise leadership, like I have always provided.

BTS: I see.

X: Stop interrupting or my LSP men will arrest you.

BTS: Oh, well, I don’t want that.

X: (laughs) No, you don’t. Anyway,  as I was saying, the accusations made against me were made of ignorance, from a total lack of perspective.

BTS: Allegations of abuse of slaves? Enslaving fellow humans? Trying to usurp the Council?

X: Lies! Why are you spreading them? I already told you these were lies.

BTS: But the existence of slavery is documented—

X: Yes, but I did not enslave them. My grandfather did. I merely preserved the system. It was working just fine for both of our peoples.

BTS: The slaves might beg to differ.

X: Slaves always do, but they are not intellectually capable of making such statements with any accuracy.

BTS: They’re human beings.

X: That’s your opinion. Not a fact.

BTS: But they came from Earth to colonize the stars just as your ancestors did.

X: Earth has many species.

BTS: But only one species of humanoids—humans themselves.

X: Evolved from apes. Some of us evolved longer and more advanced than others.

BTS: So there are levels of evolution?

X: There are levels to everything. It’s the natural order of things.

BTS: The Vertullians don’t believe in Evolutionary theory. They believe in creation by their God.

X: See? They haven’t intellectually evolved enough to understand Evolution. And here you and everyone else go writing their story as if it’s history, as if it’s truth. It’s a total sham! Slander! I should sue you all!

BTS: They just wanted the same rights as your own people. Is that so bad?

X: You have to earn rights. They are not inherent.

BTS: Well, the workers believe differently.

X: Because they’re inferior.

BTS: I see. Anything else?

X: I did not betray the Council. The Council listened to lies told them by my sister.

BTS: I heard you two were very close.

X: (laughs) I thought so once. I was wrong. It’s clear our family had some weak genes which she was victim of.

BTS: So she’s not evolved?

X: She’s lesser evolved than I am, yes.

BTS: Wow. Ok. And Davi Rhii? He was raised as your nephew and heir, yet you betrayed him.

X: I did not. He betrayed himself. He set out to destroy our superior Alliance and was revealed in his ignorance.

BTS: You didn’t send men to kill him?

X: I did not. And I never abused the slaves. They were treated as slaves deserve—like property, herded and directed, incapable of making proper decisions on their own and born to serve their masters. It’s natural, not abuse.

BTS: I see.

X: It’s a matter of perspective. Creatures of their level of low intellectual ability are prone to exaggerating because they don’t fully grasp reality.

BTS: But the Council and many of your citizens agreed with them?

X: Low intellects all.

BTS: So anyone who disagrees with you is less intellectually developed?

X: Isn’t that obvious? They replaced me with one of their own, tried to arrest me. They criminalized me by slandering my reputation. It’s all a manipulation and distortion by inferior minds.

BTS: Some might regard your attitude as arrogance.

X: Only intellectually underdeveloped persons would think so.

BTS: I think we’re done here.

X: I have not even begun to give you the correct story.

BTS: You believe I’m too intellectually inferior to understand it.

X: Ah ha! You’re on their side, despite your earlier denials.

BTS: I tried to be a neutral third party but they seem more credible.

X: Credible? Ha! Barely more than apes!

BTS: I have a headache.

X: I’ve worn out your inferior brain. Told you!

BTS: Thank you very much for your time.

X: It’s really sad you can’t handle the truth.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, the collection The North Star Serial, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.

‎3 5-star & 8 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $3.99 Kindlehttp://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

Xalivar Rhii, once the High Lord Counselor of the Boralian Alliance, the continuation of an honorable line of fine leadership, now spends his days fighting to redress the injustice done to him by others. An innocent victim, he and his minions hang at their favorite secret hideaway preparing to enact revenge with great vengeance and restore balance to the Universe.