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Super Choice Adventure: Chapter 12

I got the chance to write Super Choice Adventure: Chapter 12.
My chapter mashes up Willow Wisp‘s world with my Starborne Academy.
I hope all of you will go and vote on what happens next! Voting happens on the Pen and Cape website. If you need to catch up you can read all the chapters here.

Chapter 12PenAndCapeSociety_logo

“Stop me, Jen,” Perry pleaded once more. “If things don’t work out, if you have no other choice than to kill me, don’t hesitate. Once the Doc Omniverse of your timeline makes the tenth connection, my timeline may not exist. I don’t know how many times I may have tried this same tactic or if I am the only incarnation of Perry that ever learns from my mistakes. You must stop me.”

“I will, Perry. I promise.”

“Remember I know you as well as you know me. Only the truly unexpected can work. By now this Doc Omniverse has a contingency plan for everything he thought you might try. You need to get out of our heads and find unconventional help.” Perry took a gasping breath that wracked his broken body.


“Jen, there isn’t time.” He slumped into the stasis unit. “I love you and all is forgiven. Remember that. Remember the good times. Now go! Please, Jen, go!”

Armed with the few things Perry brought from his timeline, Willow activated omnilocators. “I love you too, baby brother.” She pulled the emergency story of home from her boot cuff and dove back into her apartment. You just got to love future tense, it always works to get you where you want to be–One step ahead of your foes.

Willow laid out the few items that Perry had provided. There was a list of where Doc had opened the ten portals, a few books that Doc thought might help, but since he thought of them Willow tossed them on the couch. She needed new material. Willow pocketed the omnilocators, mind reading rings, and the durite handcuffs. The earpiece, which she promptly put back in its place, thankfully still had power. “Testing…testing, Dave? You there?”

The comm crackled, “Willow! I thought we lost you!”

“Well, I’m back and I have a plan. It’s mostly formed anyway. I am going to need to pick your techy brain, Dave.”

“I’m all yours Willow. What do you want to know?” He sounded like a kid in a candy shop.

Willow sighed; she needed cool heads not mundanes with ideas of grandeur. “To make a long story short, while I was offline, I met a future version of Doc Omni who warned and pleaded with me to stop him at all costs.”

“What?” Dave gasped.

“Don’t interrupt, Dave, its bad manners. Here is what I know so far. With each universe Doc Omni connects it gets harder for me to make the jump. Without the omnilocators Perry gave me the jumps can be fatal. Basically, I need to do something unexpected. He, the future Doc, said that our current Doc had contingency plans for everything he thought I might try. ”

“So we need to try something you wouldn’t think of?”

“Exactly, and that is where you come in Dave. I need some off the cuff, out of the box ideas.” Willow sat down at the table and started tapping her fingers. Let this work.

“I have an idea, it’s complicated, but it just might work.”

“Spit it out already!”

“Since we can assume that Doc Omni knows all the stories in your library, we need a new story that neither of you have heard before. Take out that list of portal connections and tell me if there are places you don’t recognize.”

Willow slid the list over the tabletop. Only one place didn’t immediately conjure an image of a storyline or visual–Starborne Academy. “Dave, what do you know about Starborne Academy?”

“Um. I don’t. Is it on the list?”

Willow wanted bang her head on the table. “Of course, Dave. Get with the program.”

A new voice crackled across the comm, “In case you two haven’t figured it out I’m still monitoring your comm lines.”

“Who is this?” Willow demanded.

“Nick, remember I located and tapped your communication channel.”

Dave gave a whoop. “Oh, wow man. That is great, but next time, if there is a next time, let us know.”

“I don’t like surprises.” Willow said with more calm than she felt.

“Well, Willow, you might like this one. I happen to read the webserial Starborne Academy, and I have the First Year in paperback.”

“That is a happy circumstance, not a surprise, but I’ll take it. Listen up you two.” Willow continued, “Nick, I’m coming to you to get the book and I need you to show me in the book where the location of the portal should be. Dave, I want you to read over this Starborne Academy. Find me some allies.”

Nick interrupted, “The allies you need are Liz Grissom, Gem Schirra, and Peep who are collectively known at Triad 3-G. They are what we call metahuman, genetically altered, but basically human. Liz’s is a tracker. She has acute sensory abilities that can locate anomalies undetectable by natural human perception. Gem is a technopath. She can intuit any type of machinery or technology human made or otherwise. Peep is omni-lingual and smarter than Einstein.”

 “All right, smarty-pants, transfer a copy of the story by data packet to Dave. I’ll be there shortly.”

Willow pulled out her copy of Legion of Nothing. Placing her hand on the same page as last time she glowed with power and dove into the book.

“Nice to see you again, Willow.” Nick said.

Willow gave him an annoyed look. “Yeah, moving on. Where is the book?”

“Right here.” Nick pushed a pile of nuts, bolts, and circuitry over to the left of his work bench and put the book down. “I am thinking the best spot to jump to, from your limited information is in this chapter. First Year: Sting Like A Bee.”

Dave’s voice came over the comm. “Willow, sorry to butt in, but I just started reading the story. You are definitely need to find this Gemini Schirra, well she goes by Gem. This girl can do anything with technology and the story is written about 800 years in the future, so the tech they have available is out of this world. In her timeline humans have mastered cold fusion, can create pin-point singularities, almost anything that you’ve ever read about in a science fiction novel. And this thirteen year old girl can make it all work for us.”

“So you two want to entrust the existence of our universe to a gaggle of thirteen year olds?” Willow couldn’t believe it. The plan was sure unexpected and definitely unconventional.

“I guess that’s right, Willow. But they have you too and you have me and Nick to back you up. We can do this. We have to.”

Dave sounded so confident. “We don’t really have a choice, do we?” Willow stated.

Nick clapped his hands, “No. So let’s get down to it. In this chapter the girls have just completed their weapons training, and a Starliner, basically a cruise ship in space, breaks down and the only Starbase around is the school. The Commandant, Jed Cannon, has offered assistance for the repairs. The cool bit is the Starliner is host to the millennial Comic Con!”

Willow huffed, “Why on Earth is that the cool bit?”

“Simple, you’ll fit in perfectly on the ship with your little purple boots.” Nick smiled like a Cheshire cat.

“That is genius! Woot!” Dave yelled. “Oh, yeah…I’m reading over that episode now…yes! That is perfect. What do you think, Nick, if Willow can get one of those black hole devices. Surely, even Doc Omniverse can’t escape the power of a quantum singularity on that level.”

“Dave that might just work.” Nick said, tapping away at his computer.

“Ok, you two lost me there. Are you saying that we are going to try to trap Doc Omni in a black hole? And those girls can help me do that?”

“That is exactly what we are saying, Willow.” Nick started typing again. “Dave I am sending you my calculations for Gem. You should have them any second.”

“Got them…Wow, Nick you really are a sharp cookie.”

“So you agree?”

“Absolutely, Willow this will work.” Dave said.

Nick printed out a complex set of equations and stapled them together. “Willow, you have to show this to Gem. She will totally know your story is valid when she read this.” He handed over the document.

Willow looked that the first page. It looked like some type of ancient Greek. “When I said I wanted something unexpected, this far exceeds what I had in mind.”

“And that is the whole point, Willow. Sometimes you have to trust. I know that is hard for you, but we are on your side.” Dave said softly.

“Ok, then. Let’s get this show on the road.”

Nick laid a hand on Willow’s arm. “Since there will be lots of costumed heroes you are going to fit right in. The girls are at the stern of the ship on the maintenance level. Once you get there ask for Cadet Gemini Schirra. Give her the papers and tell her your story. She will believe you.”

“What about the other girls?”

“You might have to convince them, but remember how I said, Liz is a tracker? Show her your omnilocator with her keen senses she will be able to see the time flux it creates. Once you get her and Gem onboard, Peep will go along with the plan. She trusts her team.”

Willow walked over the book, with one last glance and Nick, she jumped into the book. She appeared in the corner of the main ballroom of the Starliner Queen Elizabeth IV.

“Wow! How did you do that?” A man in blue tights and red cape looked Willow up and down. “Can you actually move through space time or is that a trade secret?”

Willow looked around the room, and as far as the eye could see were superheroes and aliens. “You could say that. It is a secret.”

The red caped man laughed, “We all have our secrets, Honey.”

“It’s Willow, not Honey.”

“Sorry.” He waved to a well-built man covered in green paint. “I’m off, good to meet you, Willow!” He lifted one arm in the air and jogged over to his green friend. I’m not in Kansas anymore.

Willow made her way through the throng of heroes to the hallway. She looked for a sign but there wasn’t one.

“You look lost, Ma’am.” A young man in a dark jumpsuit spoke to Willow.

“Do you work here?”

“No.” The young man said, “I go to Starborne Academy. We are here helping with repairs. My name is Cadet Mark Hatten. At your service, Ma’am.”

“Perfect. I am looking for a cadet, you might know her. Gem is her name.”

“Cadet Schirra, I do know her. Are you family or a friend?” The boy looked sideways at Willow’s outfit.

“Friends. I just wanted to say hello considering the serendipity of the occasion.”

Cadet Hatten held out his arm, “I know exactly where she is. If you allow me the pleasure I’ll show you the way, Ma’am.”

Mark took Willow to the stern of the ship and opened the portal to the engine room. He was just about to yell out a greeting when Willow grabbed his arm and put her hand over his mouth. “Shhhh, I want to surprise her.” Willow let the cadet go as quickly as she’d overpowered him.

“You’re fast.” Mark took a hard look at Willow. “Are you sure you aren’t really…”

“I just surprised you, Cadet. Now which way do I go?”

“Go left by the fusion generator, you can’t miss it.”

Willow must have looked puzzled.

“The tall blue dome. Then left.”

Willow gave Mark a jaunty salute, “Thank you for your assistance.” Without another thought for the cadet she headed into the belly of the Starliner.

Turning left she walked among the pipes and computer terminals until she could hear the sound of giggly chatter. It was now or never. Willow stepped up into another dome the inside looked like a geodesic dome. Each of the triangular elements came to a sharp point with the spikes all directed to a glowing orb at the center of the room.

“Ma’am, are you lost?” A blonde girl about five foot nine stopped Willow’s forward momentum.

Willow raised her left eyebrow. These children were going to save the known universe? Dear Lord, help us. “No. Actually I’m looking for a cadet. Goes by the name Gem.”

A girl with short black hair and piercing green eyes popped up out of the open maintenance hatch. “I’m Gem, do I know you?”

“No. You don’t know me. My name is Willow Wisp. I’m in big trouble and I heard that you and your team could help me. I have this tech schematic that explains what I need to do. Will you look at it?”

Gem hauled herself out of the hatch. “Is this some kind of Comic Con weirdness?”

Willow adjusted her purple mask, “No, I swear to you I’m on the level.”

“The level?” Gem looked skeptical, but motioned for Willow to hand her the papers.

After a few moments Gem was completely absorbed in the document. She would read a page, flip back to another then, back. She did this over and over. How she made head or tails out of the techy gobbledygook Willow had no idea. Finally she lifted her head and made eye contact.

“You’re serious?”

Willow gave her a sharp nod.

“Okay then. Liz we need Peep.”

The blonde girl tapped a series of buttons that were part of the sleeve on her forearm. A voice emanated from the sleeve. “Shepard here what you need, Liz?”

“Are you done with the repairs on your end?”

“Yeah the diagnostic has to run.”

Liz looked at Gem and they seemed to come to an understanding. Were these kids telepaths?

“Well we need you down in the fusion generator. Something big has come up and we need all hands on deck.”

“On my way.”

“Lady,” Liz spoke to Willow. “I don’t know what is going on, but there is something off about you. It’s like you’re literally hazy around the edges.”

“I heard you have acute sensory abilities.” Willow held out her omnilocator, “What you are seeing is the proof to the math Gem is looking over. I’m not from this timeline. I have the ability to move through other realities. Before Doc Omniverse started connecting the realities I could go from place to place without this device, but now I need it or the jumps could kill me.”

A thin girl with blazing red hair bounded into the room. “I’m here. Where’s the party!”

Willow turned to the girl. “You must be Peep.”

“Did you escape from the loony bin upstairs, or what?” Peep laughed, “That, my dear, is a lot of purple.”

“Peep, this here is Willow, and mercy we have a big problem to solve.”

The girls all looked at Willow. They were pretty intense for teens. Gem spoke first, “Here’s the deal. There is this bad guy who is not only trying to connect all the known and unknown realities together; he is actually succeeding in pulling it off. And some guys named Nick and Dave have come up with a plan to stop the guy, but they need our help and bit of 28th century tech to get the job done.”

Peep threw her hands up and waved Gem off. “Oh…whoa, whoa, whoa! Haven’t you ever read Star Trek, you aren’t supposed to mess with timelines and give tech to other cultures!”

Liz held up one hand. “Peep you read way too much sci-fi. If we let this guy run amuck and he manages to connect enough of these realities, then our reality is screwed.”

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” Peep said.

Gem cut in, “Ok, Willow. We are all onboard with your plan. Now the three of us can help you with your tech but you have some decisions that will determine how we adjust your omnilocator and how big a singularity you will need to contain Doc Omniverse.”

She reached down into her tool bag and pulled out a square metal box. “This is a pin point singularity generator. We can use this one to create anything from one that only affects electrons, or we can amp it up to remove dangerous nebulas. This one has three basic settings.”

Willow smirked, “Small, Medium, and Large? Like French fries?”

“Essentially. Now that you have what you need it’s time to decide where you want to go. Do you want to go to the fourth portal location and try to head him off in the Super Powereds universe, the fifth portal at Cape High, or the sixth portal where the Emergence is happening?”

Tree of Life by Lisa M. Collins–out this Fall!

4594671805_149x234In Issue #4, Diversity: Seeing Yourself in Speculative Fiction includes:

  1. The Tree of Life by Lisa M. Collins. A huge fleet of spaceships make their way across the galaxy, populated by the matriarchal descendants of east Asia. Three generations of the same family discuss the future of their crew.
  2. War and Peace by Joyce Chng. Captain Suky Hartono meets the OoioO living ships and their envoy. Captain Hartono has the responsibility of preventing war on her shoulders.
  3. An interview with author Stephanie Saulter, about her life, her books and thoughts on women, genetic engineering, race, and disability politics.

This is an anthology that I am so proud to be a part of, if you want to help with the print version or donate for awesome prizes, check out the Indiegogo campaign by Holdfast magazine

“All profits made will go directly to the writers and illustrators whose hard work and creativity fill the pages of holdfast, split equally for each contribution.”






Interview with Cheyanne Young — Overpowered

Cheyanne is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat that is plotting to take over the world, one scratched up welcome mat at a time.

She’s a cubicle dweller and all around sarcastic weirdo by day. But at night, Cheyanne can be found furiously typing on her computer, probably complaining on Twitter about how she should be writing. When she’s not honing her procrastination skills, she’s writing books for teenagers. She is the author of several books for teens and recently turned her love of superheroes and writing for teens into books about teenage superheroes.

Interview with Author Cheyanne Youngauthorphotoshoot 015 
author of Overpowered.


I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
Some of my ideas come from personal experience, some come from random daydreams and often, my ideas come to me from absolutely nowhere but my crazy, over caffeinated mind. I never know when inspiration will strike, but when it does, I better have a notebook to write it down. My cell phone is full of text messages to myself with half-baked sentence fragments that I might never actually turn into a story. Such is the life of a writer.
PoweredAllBlackEbookWhat is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m an inbetweener. I usually have a rough outline in my mind and sometimes I write it down, but usually I don’t. For more intense plots, like with the Powered Trilogy, I have it all written down to avoid plot holes but I use a lot of leeway in following the outline. Things change and my characters tend to do what they want to do, not what I want them to do, so in the end, it’s a mixture of half pants/half plots.
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
I just write. I’m terrible at research. Plus the greatest research is just using my own head to think up stuff. ;) Any real research, like for specific facts and places, is usually done in the editing process, while I whine and complain about how much I hate research…
What is your daily writing time like?
I have a full time day job and a family, so my writing time is hectic. I always wake up early on the weekends so I can hide out and get a few hours of writing time before anyone else wakes up. On weekdays, I write during my lunch break at work and then again before I go to bed. It’s hard, but I find the time.
91VwAwRzrtL._SL1500_Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
Wouldn’t that be the dream? Writing is my hobby and it’s something I’m passionate about, but with an ever growing market of indie published books, my little ol’ books will never earn enough to pay the bills and the health insurance and retirement, and let’s not forget my addiction to buying nail polish. It’s a sad and harsh truth, but I know I’ll be stuck at my day job until the day I die. And no, I’m not bitter about it… Not at all…
Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
After dealing with 2 agents I decided to self publish under a pen name “for fun”… it ended up being a lot more than just fun and I then chose to ditch the trad publishing game and strike out on my own. I don’t regret it one bit. I like being in control of everything and learning what works and what doesn’t work. I like knowing that if my books succeed, then it’s because they’re good books and not because they had big money spent on marketing to force them to succeed.
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
Book 2 in my YA superhero trilogy just came out and I’m excited about it! It’s called OVERPOWERED and it follows Hero Maci Might’s journeys to save someone who is a known villain from being put to death. There’s action and fighting and love and teenage angst. I love it.
Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
I have a backlog of YA romance books and a novella trilogy of NA romance, but I recently decided to become a full time superhero author, wherein I will combine my love of love and my love of superheroes into stories about heroes who might occasionally fall in love. I’m more than excited about what the future holds for my superhero book ideas. As for appearances, you can find me at the Sephora in Baybrook Mall more often than I should be, and I frequently make appearances at Taco Bell to get one of those amazing Dr. Pepper vanilla slushy things. Butttt in a bookish sense, I am trying my hardest to get into a book convention either in Texas or the surrounding states. If you know of any, let me know!
81yeVE88SrL._SL1500_As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
My biggest advice is more mental instead of technical… Focus on your own journey. Don’t worry about what other writers are doing or you’ll drive yourself crazy with envy and stress. Just keep your eyes focused on where you want to go and you’ll get there when it’s meant to be. And don’t give up if it’s what you truly want to do. That’s something I tell myself about once a week, because trust me, you’ll want to quit. You’ll want to quit more than you’ll want to not quit. But it’s worth it.
Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
Sorry in advance, but it is impossible for me to name one!
Sarah Dessen – Keeping the Moon
Nikki Godwin – Falling From the Sky
RJ Ross – The entire Cape High Series
John Green – Looking for Alaska
Rainbow Rowell – Eleanor & Park
If you would like more information about Cheyanne Young you can find information about her books at AmazonTwitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, and on her website.

Interview with Frank Byrns — Things to Come

Frank Byrns lives in suburban Maryland with his wife and children, where he writes about superheroes, criminals, and sometimes baseball. His stories have been published in a wide variety of markets, including Strange Horizons, Electric Velocipede, Everyday Fiction, Stymie, Powder Burn Flash, WW Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction, and as a member of the Pen and Cape Society

Byrns has chronicled the continuing adventures of classic pulp characters like Jim Anthony, Super-Detective and The Black Bat for Airship27, and shared his most popular original character, Adonis Morgan, through Pro Se Productions. His superhero fiction has been collected into three volumes: My Father’s Son (2004), Requiem (2006), and Things to Come (2009), all recently re-released for the Kindle. In a previous life, he was the publisher and editor-in-chief of A Thousand Faces, the Quarterly Journal of Superhuman Fiction, which ran for 14 issues between 2007 and 2010.


Interview with Frank Byrns  head
author of Things to Come


I was wondering where you get your story ideas?

Everywhere, really. I read a lot – not just books, but magazine articles, newspapers, all kinds of stuff. You never know where an idea will strike you, you just have to put yourself in position to recognize one when you see it. The story I wrote for the Pen & Cape anthology (available for FREE everywhere fine ebooks are sold!) came from one of my favorite music groups, The Civil Wars, who are no longer together. The story of their breakup got me to thinking about partnerships that end when priorities change after one partner has a kid, that sort of thing.


Things to ComeWhat is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little bit of both, but mostly a pantser. I like to start with one image, one line of dialogue, one idea, then just see where it goes. Once I get an idea of where the story is headed, I may slow down a bit and plot out the rest to make sure I end up with a good ending, but not always. Depends on the story. So is that enough of a non-answer? I guess I’m a pantser for interview questions….


reqOnce you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?

I just start writing. The world-building has to come organically for me, as a part of the story, or else it feels stiff and forced. I hate that as a reader, so I really try not to do that in my writing. Most of my stories take place in a world exactly like ours, anyway, with the key difference being that a few of us have some sort of extra ability or power.


What is your daily writing time like?

Inconsistent. I wish I could say it was daily. I grab a few minutes here and there, sometimes a few hours here and there. I have to work to find time to do the work. But it works out.


91PQ8XMK3jL._SL1500_Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?

I am not a full time writer. Sure, I would love to be, and will if it ever becomes financially feasible. But not right now.


71Mhi0kb9pLCan you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)

My new book, Adonis Morgan: Nobody Special, is due in late summer / early fall from Pro Se Press. Tommy Hancock and his group have been great to work with so far — I’ve done some editing for them in the past, but this is my first time publishing with them, and I’m looking forward to it. Previously, I self-published three collections of superhero short stories that had been earlier published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, so this is a bit different for me. But so far, so good.


GoodfightWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.

The new book is Adonis Morgan: Nobody Special, a collection of five stories featuring Adonis Morgan, who has proven to be one of my most popular characters. I’ve written several stories featuring or at least costarring him, and the reader response has always been pretty good. He’s a guy who used to be a superhero, but quit some time ago. Now he’s just trying to be an ordinary guy leading an ordinary life, but trouble has a way of finding him (of course). In this collection, you’ll read about his time as a Hollywood stuntman, a limo driver, a cab driver, and a politician’s bodyguard. Two of the stories are reprints, and three are brand-new. I think that the featured story in the book, “A Foregone Conclusion”, is one of the best I’ve ever written.


Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?

I’m mostly known for my superhero stories, but I also write a bit in other genres. I’ve been having some success in the crime genre of late — I’ve published stories at Shotgun Honey, Plan B, and Beat to a Pulp, among others. Hopefully I’ll have enough stuff in the near future to put out another collection of shorts. I’ve also published some ‘literary fiction’ — I hate the term, but there it is. Non-genre, I guess. I’ve had a few things in Everyday Fiction, the WW Norton Anthology of Hint FictionStymie. The Washington Post. I’ve also done some ghostwriting, but we can’t really talk about that, can we? I’m kidding. But don’t ask. Seriously.


91cOn8gGTUL._SL1500_As an author, what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

Just keep working. Keep writing. And keep reading. Write what you like — don’t write something that you think you can sell, or what you think the market will bear. Write something you’d like to read, and if it’s good enough, somebody else will want to read it, too. And if you find enough of those people, well, then you’re on to something. Then write some more.


81a7pNmNJZL._SL1500_Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?

Boy, so many. I don’t read a lot of superhero fiction, for one reason or another. I tend to gravitate towards crime fiction as a reader: George Pelecanos is probably my favorite (start with The Big Blowdown or King Suckerman). James Lee Burke. James Sallis. Greg Rucka. Elmore Leonard. Ace Atkins. Tom Franklin. Neil Gaiman. Stewart O’Nan. A lot of comics — Brubaker. Bendis. Astro City. I could go on.


If you would like more information about Frank Byrns you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Facebook Twitter, Goodreads, and on his website.


Announcing: Starborne Academy

Starborne Academy Series Cover

Name of Web-Serial: Starborne Academy
Posting Schedule:  Sunday
Post Minimum: 250-500 Words
Genres: Superhero, Space Marine, Sci-fi, YA
Graphic Elements: PG

Summary:  Starborne Academy — The elite officer training school for the United Starborne Corps.

Our story follows three female cadets–Elizabeth (Liz) Grissom, Gemini (Gem) Schirra, and Margaret (Peep) Shepard are assigned quarters as roommates on Level-3, Bunk-G.

Each of the girls, sired by genetically altered military families, display unique superpowers that will aide them in their quest to become ensigns in the Corps at graduation. Liz’s is a tracker. With her acute sensory abilities can observe an area and sense anomalies undetectable by natural human perception. Gem is a technopath. She can intuit any type of machinery or technology human made or otherwise. Peep is omni-lingual and that is just the tip of the iceberg of her quick mental abilities.
Starborne Academy is like Harry Potter meets Enders Game.


Starborne Academy: Never Say Die

Trudging along behind her parents, Elizabeth Grissom stepped off the Merino interstellar cruiser to join the new cadets for first muster. Starborne Academy’s welcome center smelled of ozone and afterburn. Looking around Liz noticed several family units from various military branches saying their goodbyes to raw cadets. Her father, Admiral Jace Grissom made sure all the mushy goodbyes happened aboard ship. Fondness was likened to weakness in the Grissom book, at least in public.

As per regulations, Liz had one grey carbon nanotube bag, standard issue, slung over her shoulder. Inside were the only objects from home that she would be allowed until the end of First Year. Starborne Academy rules were binding and strict. Any deviation from the rulebook and a cadet would find themselves on the next transport home,blacklisted from officer eligibility in the United Starborne Corps.

“Liz.” Her father halted their forward progress. “Your mother and I are proud of you and know that you will do your utmost.” The Admiral eyed Liz with his legendary unflinching gaze.

Her mother, Geraldine, wrapped her in one last quick hug that enveloped Liz in night blooming jasmine.“Listen to your father, Darling. But understand we are only a holocall away.”

“Of course, Mother. And I will, Father.”

“Admiral and Mrs. Geraldine!” A largish man in Marine fatigues reached out and slapped Liz’s father on the back.

“Colonel Schirra, It is good see you.” Jace’s voice boomed. “Is this your family?”

The Colonel motioned over a petite woman with long flowing black hair, green eyes and a mirroring girl, both about one and a half meters high. “Yes, Sir. This is my lovely wife Emma and my daughter Gemini. She is a First Year this cycle.”

The Admiral completed the introductions and the adults began a conversation over the state of the military buildup on Terran Prime.

Liz spoke first, “So you’re a First Year? Me too.”

“Good to meet you, Elizabeth. Do you prefer Liz? My friends call me Gem.”

“Liz is good, otherwise I keep looking around for my grandma.”

Attention Cadets and guests! Muster is now underway.
Guests must take all non-sanctioned belongings and return
to the Gallery Deck.

Gem ran to her parents and was enveloped in a round of hugs and kisses.

Liz squared her shoulders and turned to her parents.

“Alright Liz, we will see you at midcycle break.” The Admiral leaned in close and whispered the family motto, “Never say die.”

Next week. Starborn Academy: First Year: Pull The Wool Over Their Eyes

Every Sunday at 10am join the cadets from 3-G!

Interview with Scott Bachmann — To Thine Own Self Be True

Scott is the owner, author, publisher, web guru, social networker, and letterer for Scottcomics. During the day he manages software projects and teams, writes software, and tries to find uses for his degree in Human Factors Psychology. Scott has two grown boys and a wife he spoils because (he knows what is good for him) she has stuck around for 25+ years. They have two dogs and every Pokemon. Once in awhile he actually sleeps like a Snorlax.

Interview with Scott BachmannIMG_0160 
author of To Thine Own 
Self Be True

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
Ideas are everywhere, the problem is more what to do with the ideas. I take notes when I wake up in the morning if a dream struck me a certain way. When I hear an interesting bit of dialog, I jot it down. When something amuses me I put it on FB or twitter.

My problem tends to be more of an idea for a theme lacks a plot, or a plot lacks a character, or a character lacks a world. So I let the ideas float around and I occasionally try and fit them together like Legos, seeing if something sticks in a way I like.

I like to people watch, I like to get out in the world and explore, I love to travel. Every experience adds ideas for something else. I love oddities and patterns and what makes people laugh. For example, when I was in England I noted how the Irish, and the Brits, and the Scots loved rocks. They put them behind glass and tell stories about them. Stone masons are known by the way the cut rock facings and repaired rock walls have to be just so. The Romans are gone and so are their walls, the rocks stolen to make nearby homes and buildings. Queen Elizabeth had a stone hidden under her fancy chair when coroneted, the same stone that every monarch in Scotland and England has been, and the stone they’ve nearly gone to war over. The Blarney Stone is a huge attraction in a beautiful land of rock walls that hug the road. Stonehenge – more rock. What to do with those observations? I’m sure it’ll turn up in a story someday.

Sometimes the ideas and story hit all at once. Then I blitz to put it down. No thought to fixing or editing, just let it flow. Making it decent is for the second draft. If I stop to rewrite, I often lose the interest in continuing.

UntitledWhat is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I can’t start a long work until I know how it ends. Novels are exhausting marathons, and I need to know the destination is worth getting too. Then I find the most interesting or most logical starting point in the story that would lead to that ending. The middle bits, the main ones, fall into place. From that much of a roadmap I take the plunge and follow the characters.

When I know the characters well, I’m fine going seat of the pants with just an idea. The characters tell the story, I just write it down. I’ve also found that if I start typing, something will happen. Stuff flows out that I have no idea where it came from, but without a framework of a plot, those ideas are often filed away as unfinished bits of nothing.
So both.

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
Both? I’m always world building. Sticking ideas together. By the time I started working on my comics universe I had all of the rules and history in place. Bits of this and that all laid down so that the Legos become a house instead of a pile of bricks.

While in the story, if I don’t know something, or want more concrete details, I’ll jump on the internet and research. Or I’ll put a note in the margins to look it up on the second draft. I also know there are a lot of things I don’t know, and I avoid telling stories about things I have to research heavily. I won’t document police procedures, but I will wax rhapsodic about cubicles on a military base. I also naturally tend to use the odd things I learn with my boundless curiosity. I’ve never flown, but my son went to flight school, and I worked on projects that dealt with flight plans, and was involved in research on control tower chatter and NASA’s mission control. From those bits I came up with the hassles a flying human would have crossing the country. It being my world I could change what I wanted, but I put in what I knew. Some bits I double checked. Would I have bothered going into that aspect of the story if I knew nothing about flight? Likely no.

front coverWhat is your daily writing time like?
When I’m working on a Novel it tends to be every day at the same time I write for an hour or so. Usually in the evenings because I’m a night person. That routine means my brain is running story all day, and ready to run when I start. Often I’ll jot down notes or stuff to add or change at odd times of the day or night. Driving is great thinking time.

When I’m writing comics or other works I write in bursts. I write as much as I can until I’m burnt out. Then return to it as soon as I can. Comics go through a lot of rework, and I letter my own comics so I get another pass on writing them after the art is done. A comic can take a few months to a year before I get to letter them, and the artist has done a lot of the support storytelling, so I only have to worry about refining dialog.

In between works I’m always working, promoting, social media, doing conventions. Sell sell sell. Along the way I use things like Facebook and Twitter to focus how to tell the most with the least amount of words. How to refine and focus. I plan to work on longer pieces in the fall, refine in the spring, publish in the summer, then start all over again. Along the way smaller pieces fall into place as the need or the idea strikes. For example, and artist I met wanted to do an 8 page comic with me, so I kept sneaking in time to world build and then script it. There’s so much that goes into a story that never makes it to the page… but you can feel their shadows in what is on the page.

GoodfightAre you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
I decided to raise a family, have a career that could support them, and now that they are off on their own I’ve gone back to what I wanted to do, write. Not that I wasn’t sneaking in writing over the years, but nothing of use. I still have huge debts and bills to pay so I work full time. I publish full time. I promote full time. I write on occasion. How do I get it all done? Workaholic mostly. My goal is one new book of some kind for every year I have left of my life. So far I’m ahead of the curve.

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
Self-publishing is hard as hell. It’s easy to throw a word document onto the net, slightly harder to make it an eBook, and little bit of work to get it into print. Those aren’t books. Books have ISBN numbers on them. Books have to be sold. Books need covers that attract readers. Books need editing. Stories need draft after draft. Books have front matter, complex formatting, and every dang print and eBook publishing type is different. All that work just gets you a book. Selling it is hard. I do 10 conventions a year, have my books available in every digital media possible, and that’s still not enough. Comics are a hundred times harder because there are more people involved and color is a pain. I’d love to have a publisher come along and whisk me away to the land of Mojitos and book tours.

frontWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
My last novel was my most recent release, it came out spring of this year. It’s a sequel or sorts in that the characters are much the same as the previous book, but the style of the story is very different. The novel is ‘To Thine Own Self Be True’ and falls into the odd category of super hero rom-com. The elevator pitch is that it’s ‘Sex and the City’ with superheroes. The previous book, ‘The Paragon of Animals’ was the origin of my female superhero Paragon. Before and during Paragon came my ongoing comic ‘Our Super Mom’ which tells the stories about Liza after she retires from being Paragon to raise her family. Between the origin and retirement there was a lot of room for stories, and ‘Self’ is the story about how she met her non-powered husband and fell in love. Writing comic stories set in her future made for an interesting time telling stories in Liza’s past. It became holographic storytelling where one story influenced the other. ‘Self’ is intended for adults because the story doesn’t close the bedroom doors, while ‘Our Super Mom’ is all ages. The difference in formats allowed me to push ideas into both even though I know the audience is likely never to be the same.

‘Self’ was never planned to exist. It came about in a discussion on if I had ideas for another book. I said, “No, because I want to save the material for the comic. About the only part that doesn’t fit is how she – um – had her kids.” I was asked why that wasn’t a story and I replied, “There’s no villain. I want this to be a loving couple that stays together – a rarity in comics, so I don’t want either of them to be the antagonist in their relationship. It would color the comic.” But then I thought about it. I thought about what a celebrity couple has to endure. What it’s like to have the press and your job in your face every minute of every day, and I had my villain, us. For a structure I went with the three date rule, but made them the three worst dates ever. Liza is a nerd and shy, so I let her louder girlfriends free reign to speak their mind, and they became a plot all on their own.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
Aside from comics and novels, I’ve written a twisted little illustrated ‘Little Golden Book’, it’s called “Eat the Bunny Before the Bunny Eats You”. It’s about when the chocolate bunnies rise up for revenge. It’s hilarious and wrong. I’m also in the middle of working on a true children’s book. The story is scripted and the art is being done, and when it is done I’ll rewrite a good chunk of it. The conceit is that Unicorns can slice the air with their horns and cut holes between worlds and walk through them. The worlds are the multiverse of possibilities. Our hero is too young to travel, and has to eat grass every day. He decides he hates grass and refuses to eat anymore. After being sent to bed early, his brother comes home and before long has shown him how to leap – and off the little one goes. For the rest of the year I have shows close to home:

front (1)Yellow Springs Book Fair
Aug 16, 2014
Cincinnati Comic Expo
Sep 19-21, 2014
Rosewood Arts Center – Kettering OH
Oct 18, 2014
Champion City Comic Con – Springfield OH
Oct 11, 2014
Akron Comic Con
Nov 8-9, 2014

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Finish. Whatever it is, finish it. There’s so much to be learned in finishing a work that you won’t know until you do it. Further, if you keep restarting and don’t finish, it’s a cowardly thing. After all, if you never finish, you can never be judged.
Second? Don’t worry about the audience until you’re done. Then find your audience. If you’re going to write just for someone else? Become an actor. You’ll rarely meet your readers, and they’ll never be what you imagine. Write for yourself. Nothing else justifies spending years of your life on a single book.

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
I don’t have a favorite, but there are authors whose ideas stuck with me for many years after. The foremost that comes to mind is Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny. Niven is the master of world building, and has had more ideas than any of us can count. Pick up any of his short story collections and slowly discover they are all connected. The late Zelazny painted with words and concepts that are more experience than story. The Chronicles of Amber would be the best place to start. It was the inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, another person you should read and read again.

If you would like more information about Scott Bachmann you can find his books and updates about his writing on AmazonFacebook , Twitter, and on his website.



Interview with Jeffery Allen — Portal, Book One, The Enhanced Series

Jeffrey released his first serial novel in 2013. His love for comics started at an early age when his mom dumped hundreds of Marvel comic books on his bed after a weekend of garage sale shopping. After many attempts and a few years in the military (yay! G.I. Bill), Jeffrey finally completed a B.S. in Business Management and International Studies, much to the relief of his family. Why he double majored is still a mystery that even he cannot answer. 

By day, Jeffrey is a multimedia specialist, described by his wife as, ‘does something with computers.’ He has worked as a project manager, instructional designer, graphic artist, video editor, and game developer. When he is not working on his computer, he is playing with his kids or working in a room in his basement nicknamed The Lair.

Interview with Jeffrey Allen portal_book_cover_400
author of The Enhanced Series:
Portal, Book 1

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
I am enthralled by the stories from history and current events. We live in a very volatile time and our world is rapidly changing as technology brings us together and keeps us apart. Language barriers are breaking down but we are not any closer to understanding each other. I find this quandary fascinating and heartbreaking and that’s why I think it makes a good story.

The superhero genre fits well into this mold because metahumans are superior in every physical and mental measure, but they are a minority and must exist at the whims of the politicians and tyrants (who are usually non-metahuman) of the world who make the rules.  Portal is not only about how the Enhanced adjust, sometimes violently, to the increasing restrictions on the use of their powers, but also the reactions of normal people to the increasing threat Enhanced pose to the world.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m most definitely a plotter. Before I even wrote one word of Portal, I had four pages of notes and numerous sketches about characters, settings and book outline.  I added the character list and glossary on my website to help readers and also for me to reference (they were stored in my Google Drive as documents). I’m just not experienced enough to keep everything in my head. For The Forgotten, I’m trying something different and using software called Snowflake. It’s a simple XML database builder that begins with basic questions about plot points and expands over a dozen steps.

Lady-JusticeOnce you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
I thoroughly research ideas before I add them to the story. I also try to learn the basic lingo for equipment. Far too often, writers use the wrong terms, especially involving firearms. I wrote a few articles for the Pen and Cape Society and The Pen in the Stone explaining how weapons and body armor really work to help others. After I decided to move Portal from the thought cloud to paper, I did a lot of research on special relativity and theoretical physics, rereading A Brief History in Time and The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku’s Hyperspace for references. Since much of Portal was from Michael’s perspective, I needed to understand what he would see at the center of a massive object (himself). I also had to describe Vengeance (Michael’s psychotic alter-ego) warping space-time around a supervillian to keep him from teleporting away and then ripping him apart using a mini black hole.

ScimitarWhat is your daily writing time like?
I have small children so my life revolves around their schedule. As any parent knows, any time alone after a hard day is a luxury, but when I’m also writing, let’s just says it’s never enough. I can usually squeeze in 30-45 minutes a day when the kids are going to sleep and maybe an hour or two on Saturday and Sunday before they wake up.

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
I call myself a hobbyist writer. I never intended to get involved with the writing community, but that is exactly what happened. I was lucky to meet Drew Hayes early in my plunge to online fiction and through him, I have been introduced to many other wonderful people with a wide range of knowledge and experience. Although writing is not a natural talent for me, I have always been creative from digital media to metalworking. I love thinking of ideas and bringing them to life.

VengeanceCan you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
Self-publishing has been an interesting trip. When I decided to take the plunge, I visited several websites focused on hosting stories but they were too limiting. It took a couple of days but I designed and developed from the ground up. I chronicled some of the early decisions, including rewriting some of the WordPress plugins to work properly for serials, and in the end, I think it was the right decision. I received many compliments from readers on my first background image of the destroyed Los Angeles and my comic covers are very popular. I added the drone background a few months later after one of my chapters featured it in action.

For most people, I would suggest a serial website to start, such as Drew Hayes’s to get your feet wet. It is not easy keeping a website running smoothly, posting regularly, and creating new media unless you have experience as a web developer.

NetWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
The Enhanced Series is my look at what would happen in the real world if people had superpowers and it would be nothing like the comic books. I just wrapped up Portal, Book 1 of The Enhanced Series, in mid-July. In August, I am releasing a prequel short story titled Inheritance that focuses on a robbery many years before the beginning of the book. The story is based on a real event in 1997, but when you add in superpowers, things tend to go from bad to worse rather quickly. In October, the story continues with Paradox, Book 2 of The Enhanced Series.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
In between the two books, I have ventured into science-fiction with The Forgotten hosted by After a violent civil war that ends with the nuclear destruction of one side, the planet Cygnus is ready for peace. But after alien spaceships appear in the sky, the people face annihilation by the advanced visitors. A veteran of the civil war knows that aliens are not a new life form, but the descendants of the people the original settlers left behind on Earth.

JTF-AgentAs an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Don’t give up. There were many times I wondered if I was in way over my head (I still do), but I keep trying and I keep improving. Even I can see my writing has improved by leaps and bounds since I started writing Portal. I don’t believe a great author is just born, but great writing must be developed, just like any other thing worth achieving. Now, if a publisher wanted to pay me a lot of money, then priorities might change and I could refocus on writing, but for now, I’m a developer.  I do enjoy the creativity and exploring the what-ifs of my imagination. If you truly want to be a great author, you need to focus on achieving that goal and be prepared for the highs and lows.

Atomic_PowerWho is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
I could easily say Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin are favorites, and they are great writers, but I am not a big fan of long sagas that stretch decades to write.  Jordan’s Lord of Chaos is probably one of the best fantasy books ever written, especially the climactic battle. If I had to choose a current favorite that would be Andrzej Sapkowski, the Polish author who breathed life into one of my favorite characters ever, Geralt of Rivia, the witcher.

Since I write in the superhero genre, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Alan Moore, the creator of The Watchmen. If you consider yourself any type of comic fan, you should have read it already. The movie was a valiant effort but just didn’t capture the essence of the graphic novel.  And Alex Ross created one of the best comic series ever with Kingdom Come. Moore and Ross had a huge impact on my story development for The Enhanced Series.

TheForgotten_bookcoverIf you would like more information about Jeffery Allen you can find his books and updates about his writing on Facebook Twitter, and on his website.



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