Sunday, September 29, 2013

Penny Ehrenkranz - Time Travels Via Scrying Mirror

Penny Ehrenkranz discusses scrying. I've read her short book, Mirror, Mirror, and recommend it to romance and historical fans. Now, here's Penny:

I wanted to talk today about the art of scrying. In Mirror, Mirror, a wise woman uses her special scrying mirror to local Lindsey Baker in the twenty-first century. Lindsey looks exactly like Prudence, a young girl who is in love with Master Graham. Unfortunately, Graham cannot marry Prudence because she is the baker’s daughter. Graham’s father insists he has to marry a young woman with more influence and money and thus has arranged a marriage for him with the burgher’s daughter.

Lindsey purchases a mirror which the shopkeeper jokingly tells her is a scrying mirror. Through this mirror, Lindsey is transported back to the fifteen century where she is given the task of convincing Graham that he must marry Prudence.

Scrying is the ancient art of divination achieved by a person of talent focusing on an object with a shiny surface until visions appear.

The term scrying comes from the English word “descry.” This is defined as “to see,” “to make out dimly” or “to reveal.” Scryers were sought by people who wanted to know about their future, or needed answers to questions, solutions to problems, or help in finding lost items or people. During the Middle Ages when scrying was popular, most scryers were wise women or wise men who were sometimes referred to as witches. These people were naturally gifted with second sight.

We usually think of scryers using crystal balls, but crystal balls were expensive, and not many scyers could afford them. Many of the early scryers used ponds or lakes on moonlit nights. They also used mirrors, polished stones or metal, or bowls of water.

Mirrors which are used are generally painted black on the concave side. Witches may make the magic mirrors themselves, painting and decorating them during the waxing moon and then consecrating them in traditional rituals used for other witches tools.

Traditionally, a witch uses a magic circle to work her scrying. The best results are obtained at night. The witch will concentrate upon her chosen tool and will be rewarded with visions either on the surface of the tool or by receiving mental images. To be able to scry, the witch needs to turn off all distractions and enter an altered state of consciousness. Some ancient grimoires indicate a great deal of preparation was necessary for the witch to perform a scrying. Some of the steps included fasting, prayers, and summoning various spirits. They would definitely have to do a psychic cleansing of both themselves and the area where they would be scrying.

First the person scrying will quiet her mind, relax and concentrate on the reflective surface. Keeping her mind blank, the witch will look within the glass, ignoring reflections or light on the surface. Sinking into the glass, the witch forms a question in her mind. The glass will appear to cloud over, become smoky, and a dark patch appears. At this point, pictures, signs or other symbols that the witch must interpret will appear in the glass.

Prudence approached the wise woman in Mirror, Mirror to learn what she could do to make Graham go against his father’s wishes. When Lindsey is brought through time, Prudence disappears. Mirror, Mirror doesn’t follow Prudence to see where she goes, but I’ll let you know that her spirit inhabits Lindsey’s body in the twenty-first century while Lindsey’s spirit is trapped in Prudence’s.

Please join me in this journey through time to see what happens to Lindsey in Mirror, Mirror.

Mirror, Mirror
by Penny Ehrenkranz
Lindsay Baker’s purchase of an antique mirror sends her back in time to salvage a love torn apart by class restrictions.

Lindsay Baker is intrigued by everything about the middle ages, but when she purchases an antique mirror and a costume to attend a Renaissance Faire, she suddenly finds herself transported back in time. There she finds she’s been called by a witch to right a terrible wrong.

Graham loves Prudence, but he can’t marry her because he’s landed gentry, and she is only the baker’s daughter. Before Lindsay can return to her own time, she must convince Graham to marry against his father’s wishes. Unfortunately, she also finds herself falling for the handsome gentleman.

Can she find her way back to her own time, or will she be stuck in a time when women had no rights?

Mirror, Mirror is published by MuseItUp Publishing. The bookstore buy link is:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pippa Jay - Time Traveling in Circles

Time Traveling in Circles
by Pippa Jay

Once upon a time I believed in fairies and elves. Stone circles were a place of magic and power that could transport you to another dimension. I devoured books by fantasy authors like Stephen Lawhead where his characters travelled to magical kingdoms, or TV series like Children of the Stones and Moonstallion. I dreamt of doing the same.

Then one Christmas a film changed everything. I saw Star Wars: A New Hope. No magic, but the Jedi had amazing telekinetic and telepathic powers, and lightsabres instead of swords. I was hooked!

But the circle power thing - the idea that you could cross time and space through one - stayed with me. So when I began my debut novel Keir, I knew how my characters were going to travel round, using an odd blend of psychic powers and a technological the shape of a circle. My heroine Quin can open a pathway through time and space with a wave of her hand from that circle, using the vast psionic power source that lies beneath it. She hops around the universe using these temporal gateways a bit like Doctor Who in his TARDIS, or the Stargate teams. But her control is somewhat erratic. Arriving at an exact point in time and space requires focus - a very definite vision of when and where she needs to be. Sometimes it may not take her to where she intended, but sometimes it takes her to where and when it really matters. In this excerpt, she’s taking Keir back through a gateway, and showing him some of the complexities involved in their creation.

Excerpt from Keir:

Quin stretched out a hand to the wall and opened her fist, palm outward. The vast psychic force she was using to create and open the gateway echoed through him. He felt a surge as though caught in a sudden tempest as she twisted the dimensions in order to forge a pathway through time and space. The hand gesture seemed so simple, yet it was only a pale symbolism of the powers she manipulated. Energy poured through her from an unknown source and, for a moment, he thought he glimpsed a spark of bright-blue flame in her eyes, before dismissing it as illusion.

She turned to smile at him, aware of his presence in her thoughts. “Do you feel that?”

He nodded, sharing the trace of euphoria. Her smile broadened and she opened her mind further, letting him feel the gateway through her, like gentle flames on his skin. He shivered as the sense of pressure built. Strands of fire shot across the surface of the wall in front of them and the gateway unlocked, easing the lines of tension that had bound him.

In Gethyon, my young hero starts off with the same problem of focus. He uses his abilities - powers he didn't even know he had - only when scared or angry. At one point in the story it takes him twenty years back in the past on another world where he meets a girl...only to be returned to his own time with the bitter knowledge she’d now be in her forties and possibly married. Unlike Quin, he doesn’t need the circle of power to travel, being half human and half something else – a human possessed by a powerful psychic. But it still requires the focus. And he soon learns the danger of flitting through time and space when a bounty hunter called Jinx with the same abilities is on his tail!

To find out more, you can check out both my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most online retailers.

Excerpt from Gethyon:

Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu—a dark entity that seeks his kind for their special abilities—to his existence, and sets a bounty hunter on his trail.

When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?

Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?

Available from:

Keir - a scifi romance novel.
All digital formats and the print format are available from:

A 2012 Readers Favorite Award Finalist, a 2013 Aspen Gold (RWA) finalist, and 2012 SFR Galaxy Award Winner.
Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?

For Keirlan de Corizi--the legendary ‘Blue Demon’ of Adalucien--death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She’s spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends’ counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius. 
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin’s home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?

About Pippa Jay:

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Steampunk Time Travel AND Alternate History

Timepiece is a steampunk time travel adventure about a girl, a pocket watch, Frankenstein's monster, the Battle of Waterloo, and giant clockwork robots taking over London.

Its sequel Timekeeper picks up where Timepiece left off, bringing to a conclusion the story of Elizabeth and William (though not of Maxwell – there will almost certainly be a third book at some point).

They are available from:

Timepiece was born when a friend of mine told me about a dream she’d had, in which a package arrived in the mail for her then-infant son. Inside the package addressed to him was a package addressed to me (how odd, she thought) and inside that was a velvet bag containing a pocket watch. Opening the pocket watch, my friend discovered that the period casing contained a futuristic-looking screen cycling through images of different historical times and places. “I think I had your dream, Heather.”

I tried to write a story about her son and the pocket watch and me, including a reason for the nested packages, but I couldn’t get it to gel. I sat staring at it and wondering if I could turn it into some other story instead.

A pocket watch seemed to belong to an older era anyway, I thought…so maybe this wanted to be a Victorian time travel story. Maybe steampunk, with huge mechanical monsters stomping down a gaslit street. Stomping after what? What would mechanical Victorian monsters hunt? Something natural run amuck, of course—the Victorians would totally build monstrous scientific artificial things to constrain monstrous natural things.

Okay, so where did the run-amuck natural things come from? And when? It would have to be long enough before the Victorian era—long enough before, say, 1885—for the run-amuck natural things to have become a problem, for the humans to generate a solution, and for the solution to have time enough to become its own problem. So something on the order of seventy or eighty years. What was going on in England seventy or eighty years before 1885?

Five seconds later, I was scrambling to look up the dates of the Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Five seconds after that, I knew exactly what the story was about.

The more I researched, the more awesome real-world (or established-myth, at least) details I found that fit neatly into place. The Battle of Waterloo was a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat—“the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life,” in the words of Wellington himself—a day that could have very easily gone very differently. Before that stretched the years of the Napoleonic Wars, a time of very real danger that might well have prompted the beleaguered British to take more desperate measures to defend themselves than they actually stooped to. And in Mary Shelley’s novel, Viktor Frankenstein does in fact set up a laboratory in the Orkneys in about 1790. With those anchor points, the rest of my alternate universe slipped into place with the neatness of falling dominos. At that point it became obvious to me who the protagonists had to be: youngsters from 1815 who would endorse any action taken to defeat Napoleon…at least until they see the consequences.


For a moment, Elizabeth thought she was in a thunderstorm, though no rain fell. Lightning lit up the sky in a flash of blue-white, then was gone. It was followed by a crash of thunder, deafening, just overhead. A sudden cold wind sprang up and rushed over her, tugging her breath along with it.

William—” she gasped.

Here—” The wind tore the word away from her ears, as it had torn the breath from her throat. But he was right beside her, a vague source of warmth, and then a definite one as he pulled her closer. “I’m right here.”

But where was “here?” Somehow, impossibly, they were no longer in the orchard. The lightning flash had shown her not trees, but high brick walls. The wind carried with it not leaves, but sheets of paper, tumbling against her skirt and plastering themselves there.

There was no second flash of lightning, but there was a second boom of thunder. It shook the ground under Elizabeth’s feet.

And it shook the ground again.

She couldn’t see, no matter how hard she tried, but she knew that there was something enormous coming toward her. It took another stomping, earsplitting step. For the first time in her life, Elizabeth was too frightened to move. Beside her, William drew a breath to say what she knew would be “Run!” and tensed to drag her with him—

Something grabbed her arm and tore her from William’s grasp.

Her shoes scrabbled for purchase, but found none on the slick surface beneath her, and she went down, hard, onto bruising cobblestone. She couldn’t catch her breath or find her footing. She couldn’t do anything except fumble in the slippery muck. There was someone above her, looming over her—someone she could sense but could not see. Farther away, William called her name in a tone of desperation, while the ground all around them shook, and shook again, as something immense passed them by. The jolts grew fainter and less frequent as the thing, whatever it was, moved away.

A light flared, dazzling in the darkness.

Get away from her!” William shouted, and flung himself forward. The flame went out. “Unhand her, sir, at once—”

I don’t want to hurt you!” a second voice snapped, but William did not wait for explanations. There was a brief scuffle that Elizabeth could feel and hear but could not see. She had just time enough to think again of gathering herself and struggling upright, and then the fracas before her ended in a “oof” of pain—from William, she thought with a jolt of sickness. The flame flared alight again, a blinding glare that set Elizabeth’s eyes tearing before it settled into a larger, duller gleam. A lantern.

I’m not trying to hurt her!” the voice behind the light repeated. It was an old man’s voice—it had the crotchety, creaking sound of an exasperated old man. “I’m trying to save you both, you young fool! What on earth possessed to go wandering about after curfew? And what the devil were you doing, standing in the middle of the street?” The voice and the lantern moved closer to Elizabeth, and the owner of the lantern crouched down beside her. “You could both have been killed!” he continued. “Don’t you know enough to get out of their—” The lantern shone full on her face then, and the words broke off.

. . . way,” he finished after a moment. “Well. Well, I imagine . . . I imagine you don’t, in that case. I . . . presume this is your first foray.”

What?” was all Elizabeth could manage.

I have one too,” the man said. He transferred the lantern to his left hand, and withdrew his right into the darkness beyond the spill of light. He motioned in a way Elizabeth thought was a fumble at his waistcoat—and then the right hand reappeared, holding for her inspection an overly large golden pocket watch. Lantern light gleamed softly in the crevices of etching and scratches.

From the darkness behind the old man, something screamed.

Elizabeth jerked and kicked and somehow got enough purchase against mud and cobblestones to lurch upright. Her outflung arm struck something warm and solid, and William seized hold of her and pulled her the rest of the way up. The swinging circle of lantern-light told her the old man was on his feet now too. He slammed down the lantern’s shutter, dropping inky blackness over them all, and then his hand met her shoulder with almost the same force.

The brick wall bruised her back and knocked the breath from her lungs for a second time, and between that and his hand over her mouth, she could not possibly scream. “Hush,” he commanded, his lips close to her ear. “Both of you.” Still pressing Elizabeth to the wall with his body, he took his hand off her mouth long enough to reach out and pull William to huddle with them. “It will come back this way, and it mustn’t find us.”

Bio: Heather Albano is a writer of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and interactive fiction (and works which combine one or more of the above). In addition to Timepiece and Timekeeper, her published works include short fiction appearing in Electric Velocipede, Aoife’s Kiss, the More Scary Kisses anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, and others. Her game design work includes five titles released by Choice of Games and one by Reactive Studios. Find out more at

Twitter: @heatheralbano
Google+: +Heather Albano

Monday, September 23, 2013

Penny Estelle's Wickware Time Travel Saga

I am so excited to be invited on Marva's blog today to talk about my series, The Wickware Sagas and … dum da dum dum...Time Travel!

The Wickware Sagas, in a nutshell, is about a 7th/8th grade history teacher, Miss Wickware, and the assignment of an oral report due on the historical subject or event that is drawn from a box.

Somehow...some way, a few of her students have found themselves back in time, up close and personal, meeting his/her drawn subject. The million dollar question is how do these kids go from 21st Century back to the 14th, 17th, or 18th Century? The students are pretty close-mouthed on the subject.

Story on the street points to Miss Wickware, herself. Lights flicker, her eyes flash, electricity runs down her arms, sparking at her finger nails. Nobody sees these strange phenomenons except the chosen student!

Does Miss Wickware possess magical powers? Is she a witch? From another planet? Maybe just a teacher who is passionate about history and has a few tricks up her sleeves. Who knows.... Maybe those students ate something that didn't agree with them and they all had nightmares. Doesn't sound too likely.

As I said before – nobody's talking!

* * * *

I am very thankful to MuseItUp Publishing for taking a chance with The Wickware Sagas. The first three books are out. Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare, Book 1 - Ride of a Lifetime, Book 2, and Flash to the Past, Book 3. Bumped Back In Time and Riches to Rags will be out soon and hopefully, by Christmas, all five stories will be combined in print form for Volume One of the Wickware Sagas.

I also have two other middle grade stories out and three adult stories. More about myself and my stories can be found....


The fourth book in the series is coming out this Friday. Be sure to check it out.

Miss Wickware is a 7/8th grade history teacher at Langdon Middle School whom, some say, can make unexplainable, weird, magical things happen.  Rumor has it that certain students have actually experienced time travel, finding themselves, nose to nose, with the subject they had drawn from a box during class.  They were expected to do research on said subject and then present an oral report.  There is no proof but there are stories of William Tell, Sybil Ludington, and Molly Pitcher, being a few of the historical heroes that have been involved in this, so-called, time travel.

Sammy Brown, winner of the first junior sailing regatta for kids, ages twelve to fourteen, is about to become a member of the above, elite group.  When she ends up in the nineteenth century, it's her expertise with a sailboat that enables her and one of the most famous poets in American history, to rescue a Doctor being held prisoner, and lands her square in the middle of a famous American battle.

Bumped Back In Time is Book 4 in the Wickware Sagas and is to be released on September 27.  If you preorder, there is a 20% discount.

I would love to offer one of my stories in the Wickware Sagas to somebody that leaves a comment. Your choice of story and format. Thanks so much for stopping!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bridges, Wormholes, and Tunnels in Space-Oh My!


When I wrote “First Duty” and, subsequently, enhanced the story into a racier version titled “Ultimate Duty,” I had to find a way for my characters to move around the galaxy without spending a few thousand years in transit.

I considered the Star Trek Warp Drive, but I felt I needed something a bit less familiar. In researching various wormhole theories, I found that Professor Albert Einstein came to my rescue with math I’d never hope to understand. However, I trusted Albert to not lead me astray.

A bit of background techno-talk courtesy of Krioma Net.
“In 1916 Einstein first introduced his general theory of relativity, a theory which to this day remains the standard model for gravitation. Twenty years later, he and his long-time collaborator Nathan Rosen published a paper showing that implicit in the general relativity formalism is a curved-space structure that can join two distant regions of space-time through a tunnel-like curved spatial shortcut...The Einstein-Rosen Bridge is based on generally relativity and work done by Schwarzschild in solving Einstein’s equations; one of the solutions to these equations was the prediction of black holes.”
Got that? Einstein and Rosen did not consider this bridge theory to allow faster than light travel, but can be a short cut across space using a tunnel or bridge on which some type of matter can get from here to there in no time at all.

This isn’t, strictly speaking, time travel, but it does save a heckuva lot of time in transit. I’ll settle for omitting the tedious time it takes to go from star to star by using a convenient short cut shaped like a tunnel or funnel or a warped space (thus the Warp Drive, I suspect).

Scientists, not letting well enough alone, determined there were two types of wormholes: Lorentzian and Euclidian. Forget Euclidian since it’s no fun at all. Lorentzian, however, gives us some possibilities. Again, from the Krioma Net website:

“Lorentzian wormholes are essentially short cuts through space and time but they instantaneously close unless some form of negative energy can hold them open. It is possible to produce small amounts of negative energy in the laboratory by a principle known as the Casimir effect. However this energy would not be enough to keep open a wormhole.
A by product of Lorentzian wormholes would be that objects passing through them would not only be moved spatially but also temporally (assuming parallel universes exist).
Lorentzian wormholes come in at least two varieties:
  1. Inter-universe wormholes, wormholes that connect ‘our’ universe with ‘another’ universe.
  2. Intra-universe wormholes, wormholes that connect two distant regions of our universe with each other.”
This second type is handier for science fiction writers. We’re allowed to stay within our own universe, but able to hop directly to other regions.

My assumption is that you can’t just make an intra-universe wormhole, but you can take advantage of those that already exist. Here I’ll remind you of “Farscape,” the TV series. The main character, John the Astronaut, is accidentally tossed through a wormhole, ending up on the bio-ship, Maia. Well, if you don’t know the series, then get to Netflix or Amazon and find it. Well worth your time to watch.

If we make the leap that the wormholes do exist and you just have to find them, then manage some way to keep them open while your ship travels through, you’ve got a good method of getting to point B from point A. However, wormholes don’t conveniently take you where you want to go. You might have to jump from one to another for the journey. Thus, some amount of ship time is spent going from one bridge to another until it gets where it wants to go.

This is what makes space opera possible: conjectures of a high-level mathematical model without any practical evidence. Just add a few centuries, and I’m sure somebody will figure out how to turn the theoretical into the practical. After all, that’s what happened with impossible flight, impossible communication across long distances, impossible everything. It all becomes real within the pages of a science fiction novel.

FIRST DUTY (the YA version of the story) and ULTIMATE DUTY (the adult version released by Eternal Press) have essentially the same plot, but I changed the character names to differentiate them. Apparently, that pissed off at least one reader who actually liked FIRST DUTY and bought ULTIMATE DUTY believing it to be a sequel (despite my note in the description on Amazon indicating they were the same story). Oh, well, can’t please everybody. Too bad, the reader might have liked the sex and enhanced space battles in the second version. I offered to give him a free copy of Ultimate Duty, but I haven't heard back.

You can buy either book in ebook or print format at fine on-line purveyors everywhere. Here are the links to the ebook/print editions of both books on Amazon.

Excerpt (from ULTIMATE DUTY)

Life at the Space Academy ran pretty much as Remy thought it would. Lots of very hard classes in astrophysics, other sciences, history—the usual. Military duty required filing reports whenever anything happened, so she had to take a course in report writing. 

She had excelled in normal school, so some of the classes seemed a boring waste of time. Military classes excited her, however.

Pilot training was just about the most fun she’d ever had. Excursions to satellite installations, working in free fall, and lessons in weaponry all kept her mind and time busy. What thrilled her most were the classes on navigating through Einstein-Rosen Bridge, ERB, jump points.

The ERB got around the rules of relativity, which mathematically disproved faster-than-light travel. The theoretical bridge had become a reality when SemCorp scientists figured out how to exploit the space curve theorized by Einstein in the twentieth century. 

Of course, it was a tightly held patent, so nobody outside the bureaucracy knew exactly how it worked. All most people knew was the jump to ERB required everything loose to be secured, including people. Once traveling across the bridge, one couldn’t tell if the ship was in motion, or even if it moved at all. People still complained about the time it took to travel they never heard about the sub-light travel which colonized the planets in the first place. The cryo-ships began leaving Earth in the twenty-second century, carrying their frozen colonists to their selected worlds. Although the ships traveled at near light speed, it took more than a hundred years to reach the nearest habitable planet. Acceleration, then deceleration when they neared their selected planet made up most of the journey. When the ERB was perfected in the twenty-sixth century, all twenty-three of SemCorp’s member planets swarmed with human inhabitants.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Richard Levesque Offers Travel Special: 99 Cents

Take Back Tomorrow
by Richard Levesque
What if all you had to do to make your dreams come true was violate the laws of the universe?
Special Price: Only 99 Cents on Amazon Today (9/19/13).

I’ve written before on the question of whether time travel fiction and alternate histories fit better under the heading of “science fiction” or “fantasy.” I suppose the debate would just dry up if we called it all “speculative fiction” and moved on.

Certainly, there are some time travel and alternate history narratives that fall more into the fantastic mode rather than the scientific: I’m thinking of older stories like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or others where “time travel” occurs because of a dream or a blow to the head or divine intervention. For the most part, though, authors who venture into time travel tend to have some scientific explanation—if it’s only a reference to a time machine or something else like the “net” in Connie Willis’ time travel books. American SF has tended toward a collective experience since the early pulp days, so if Writer A comes up with a plausible way to explain something like time travel, Writers B through Z tend to borrow the vocabulary and move on with their tales, assuming their readers are up on the latest trends. I think that’s been the case with much time travel fiction: the narrative focuses more on what the time traveler does, or the interesting paradoxes that can result, rather than get hung up on how the time traveler gets to his or her destination.

But what about alternate history? Surely, it’s more fantasy than science fiction to suggest that the South won the Civil War or that the Axis won WWII and write a “What if?” narrative around that idea. But that doesn’t take into account the ideas found in quantum physics, one of which is the theory that there are multiverses rather than a single universe, and that every decision made throughout history has yielded branchings off. You chose chocolate over vanilla? In another universe, you chose vanilla. Betty over Veronica? The same idea. In that sense, the alternate history text in all its variants could be just an expression of this “branching” theory of the multiverse and of time itself.

In my time travel novel, Take Back Tomorrow, I’ve blended time travel with alternate history and tried to keep the whole thing from dipping into fantasy. The book is set in 1940 Los Angeles, but it’s a 1940 where the great works of science fiction’s Golden Age weren’t written by people like Asimov and Heinlein. They were written by Chester Blackwood, a seemingly brilliant SF writer with a shady past and a seemingly shady daughter, Roxanne. When my protagonist, Eddie Royce, discovers that there exists a different time thread in which Blackwood didn’t write those books, he gets caught up in a web of intrigue and eventually has to set out on a time travel journey of his own—using naturally occurring “time bridges” that aren’t visible to people with normal perceptive abilities.

Here’s an excerpt from the book. Eddie has just tested out one of the time bridges to see if they work the way Blackwood claimed; now he’s crossed back to 1940 to get Roxanne, who’s waiting for him in a house where they’ve been held against their will. Traveling through time is the only way for them to get away from their captors.

* * *
Seconds later he was back over the bridge and with Roxanne again. He felt an odd sense of disorientation, something else Blackwood had mentioned about time travel and returning to his own time. It was as though his sense of time and space were slightly compromised for a few seconds. A broad smile spread across Roxanne’s face when he came through the opening, and she quickly stepped forward to hug him. “How long was I gone?” he asked, remembering to whisper again.

“Maybe a minute,” she replied, stepping back to look at him. “Does that sound right?”

He said it did. “What did it look like when I went through?”

She shook her head in confusion. “It was weird. It was like you stepped up onto a stool or something and then you just faded from sight. It wasn’t a now-you-see-it now-you-don’t sort of thing. You just . . . dematerialized. And when you came back, you just faded in as you stepped down.” She still looked apprehensive but not as intensely so. She nodded toward the time bridge. “What’s on the other side?”

“This room,” Eddie said. “I don’t know when, but I assume sometime in the future. You move in space as well as time. I came out about four feet away, and the bridge seemed to be about four feet long when I was walking on it.” He turned to look at the opening again and then glanced at his watch. “We need to get on with it. Make sure you bring your purse and your coat. It might be cold where we end up. The room felt comfortable enough on the other side, but we may not be staying in that time. It could be tomorrow for all I know, and I need to get us further into the future.”
* * *

If you’d like to read more, the book is on sale for 99 cents today on Amazon. Check it out here:

Bio:  Richard Levesque has spent most of his life in Southern California. For the last several years he has taught composition and literature, including science fiction, as part of the English Department at Fullerton College. His first book, Take Back Tomorrow, was published in 2012, and he has followed it with other science fiction and urban fantasy novels, novellas, and short stories. When not writing or grading papers, he works on his collection of old science fiction pulps and spends time with his wife and daughter.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sherry Antonetti - The Book of Helen

Is this Alternate History or an educated guess about the life of one of the most famous names in history?

Book of Helen
by Sherry Antonetti
MuseItUp Publishing (Discounted right now!)
Amazon Kindle

At 65, the famous Helen of Troy finds herself in a new role, that of having no title, husband or things to do as she faces exile on the island of Rhodes. Her hoarded wealth, fabulous stories of the past, and a newly acquired servant/scribe named Pythia , should allow Helen to establish her own legacy, but there are some who won’t be courted.

Helen begins to ply her legendary charm, wit and capacity to create beauty and spectacle in her new home to win the hearts of the people with great effect. But Helen rarely recognizes that as she ascends, others might resent her casual winning over of everyone. Queen Polyoxo has granted sanctuary to her childhood friend for reasons other than friendship, leaving Pythia caught in the wake of two very powerful women with very different means of conveying and maintaining authority.

Can Helen with all her treasures and stories and charisma win over everyone? Or will the need for revenge, threaten the life of the most beautiful woman in the world and those who serve her?  You may think you know what happened in the Trojan War and afterwards, but as Helen observed, "No one ever bothered to ask me."

What started this story?

Answer: Back in 2005 I started writing. I discovered the wonderful writer's forum, and began submitting pieces that amazingly enough, got published.

By 2007, I'd begun to think, I should try something more than articles. I should write a book...but about what? My daughter Regina was born and a month after, contracted RSV. When a baby is sick and
you're the mom stuck at the hospital, you can do three things...pester the doctors, watch bad television and worry.

 Having done all three, while she slept, I tried reading. My husband had bought the new translation by Fagles of the Odyssey. Reading it, the line about Helen slipping a drug (opium) into the wine to allow the men to think about the Trojan war without getting upset, jumped out at me. I wrote my first Helen story with the tag, "It started with an apple." The original idea had been to do a series of stories (sort of an Arabian Nights) based on the various trinkets and treasures Helen deemed sentimental. It turned into something more.

 Helen had to manipulate and charm and work the ancient world. I envisioned her as a CEO in a predatory world. Helen became a composite of multiple strong women I've known in my life plus a goodly dose of the mythic woman from all the literature. As I researched, I discovered Helen to be the original Fan Fiction woman, as she has been reinvented in almost every age of Western civilization.
 Writing this book, I sought to answer three basic questions that go unanswered in the original texts and many of the subsequent reinvisionings of the Helen/Paris/Menelaus Trojan war story.

1) What made Helen leave Sparta? (She's queen, she's in charge; she's the actual power of that world). Most of the time it's simply Paris being beautiful or the gods directly compelling the action or Menelaus bashing which oddly is designed in most cases to exonerate Helen for leaving.

2) What made the Trojans keep her? They could have ended the siege by sending her out or killing her. Her beauty alone would have been sufficient perhaps for Paris, but what made all of Troy decide to stick it out for her? If you read the Trojan women, you’ll find not all of Troy found her beguiling, but the Helen in that play is strong and defeats the seemingly justified wrath of Queen Hecuba. So Helen had to be more than a pretty face to warrant a ten year war that ended a civilization and hurt so many others.

3) What made Menelaus take her back after all of that? She’s the most famous adulterer of the Greek world. She’s shamed him. She’s forced Greece to empty its city states of grown men on her behalf to bring her back. She’s caused the deaths of countless people and suffering to those left behind. The line in the Aeneid, “She bared her breasts, he dropped his sword.” is all the explanation of their reconciliation we get. Yet in the Odyssey, it is clear that the two of them have a happy marriage later in life. So how do we get from running away and a 10 year bloody war to apparent tranquil domestic hearts in accord with one another?

The story became something about friendship, about women in power, and about the power of both beauty and forgiveness, and the darkness left behind when either beauty or forgiveness is denied.  I hope everyone who reads The Book of Helen has as much fun discovering her secrets, her flaws, her sins and her virtues as I did writing about her.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Frank Allan Rogers - Twice Upon a Time

Twice Upon a Time 
by Frank Allan Rogers
Can a man from the 21st century survive in 1847?

Murdered on his birthday, August Myles finds crossing over is nothing like he’d ever heard, read, or imagined, and learns he has not earned a ticket to Paradise. The Divine Council gave August another chance. Or did they?

With all the limitations of a mortal, he is sent back in time with an impossible mission filled with triumph and tragedy, courage and fear, sex and violence, happiness and heartbreak – a grueling journey on the Oregon Trail. With all the needs and passions of a mortal, August must also battle the advances of two gorgeous women during long months and close encounters. One woman just wants to seduce him. Another falls in love. But for August Myles, carnal knowledge is forbidden.

Is there no justice?

This story was inspired by a dream I had twice. Since my lead character gets a second chance to earn his ticket to Paradise, Twice Upon a Time seemed the perfect title for my tale. I spent more than two years developing the story, yet a surprising number of plot twists seem to tumble into place just where and when they were needed, and I found it a real treat to work with characters taken from various time periods. This book was a lot of fun to write, and the reviews have been terrific.

About Frank:

Writing is one of the great passions of my life, and I've been creating stories since I learned to talk. By age 15, I knew I had to write novels, but a few years went by before I got serious about it. Now I'm a full-time fiction writer on a mission. I want to create stories that matter, stories that sparkle with true-to-life characters whose dramatic lives leave a lasting impression on the readers.

My ambition is not to be a great writer, but a good storyteller, because readers deserve more than a story; they deserve a good story well told. So I was honored that Georgia Author of the Year Awards nominated Upon a Crazy Horse for Best First Novel.

I love to lose myself in the world of a novel, especially if I'm the one writing it. Maybe all of that proves I'm a bit crazy. But, in the words of a Waylon Jennings song, "I've always been crazy; it's kept me from going insane." Life is good.

Western Writers of America 
Southern Independent Bookstores Association
Carrollton Creative Writers Club


Friday, September 13, 2013

Excerpt from H.G. Wells' "The Chronic Argonauts"

H.G. Wells wrote more books about time travel than "The Time Machine." It appears Mr. Wells thought about the subject a lot. He also wrote a short story which pre-dates "The Time Machine" by seven years. "The Chronic Argonauts" seems to be Wells struggling with concepts of dimensionality. The language is somewhat dense, but Wells does suggest that our concept of three dimensions was somewhat limited. He describes the fourth dimension in this tale. The concept of time as the fourth dimension was mathematically examined in the 18th C. but is a more recent development in popular culture. It wasn't exactly common knowledge in the 19th C. until Mr. Wells gave us the low-down.

Download an ebook copy (EPUB, MOBI, PRDF) of "The Chronic Argonauts" by clicking this line. Other classic time travel stories are available in the same directory.


Dr. Nebogipfel paused, looked in sudden doubt at the clergyman's perplexed face. "You think that sounds mad," he said, "to travel through time?"

"It certainly jars with accepted opinions," said the clergyman, allowing the faintest suggestion of controversy to appear in his intonation, and speaking apparently to the Chronic Argo. Even a clergyman of the Church of England you see can have a suspicion of illusions at times.

"It certainly does jar with accepted opinions," agreed the philosopher cordially. "It does more than that — it defies accepted opinions to mortal combat. Opinions of all sorts, Mr. Cook — Scientific Theories, Laws, Articles of Belief, or, to come to elements, Logical Premises, Ideas, or whatever you like to call them — all are, from the infinite nature of things, so many diagrammatic caricatures of the ineffable — caricatures altogether to be avoided save where they are necessary in the shaping of results — as chalk outlines are necessary to the painter and plans and sections to the engineer. Men, from the exigencies of their being, find this hard to believe."

The Rev. Elijah Ulysses Cook nodded his head with the quiet smile of one whose opponent has unwittingly given a point.

"It is as easy to come to regard ideas as complete reproductions of entities as it is to roll off a log. Hence it is that almost all civilised men believe in the reality of the Greek geometrical conceptions."

"Oh! pardon me, sir," interrupted Cook. "Most men know that a geometrical point has no existence in matter, and the same with a geometrical line. I think you underrate … "

"Yes, yes, those things are recognised," said Nebogipfel calmly; "but now … a cube. Does that exist in the material universe?"


"An instantaneous cube?"

"I don't know what you intend by that expression."

"Without any other sort of extension; a body having length, breadth, and thickness, exists?"

"What other sort of extension can there be?" asked Cook, with raised eyebrows.

"Has it never occurred to you that no form can exist in the material universe that has no extension in time?… Has it never glimmered upon your consciousness that nothing stood between men and a geometry of four dimensions — length, breadth, thickness, and duration — but the inertia of opinion, the impulse from the Levantine philosophers of the bronze age?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nancy Bell - A Step Sideways

A Step Sideways
by Nancy M. Bell
Buy link at MuseItUp Publishing: Buy link:

I chose to use time travel in A Step Sideways because I needed the main character to have a chance to experience what it was like to be in control of his life and strong enough mentally and physically to protect himself and those he loves. By having Gort, the abused boy from Laurel's Miracle, go back in time in the company of the crystal stallion he bonded with at the end of Laurel's Miracle and find he is one of King Arthur's knights gave him that opportunity. It also gave him the chance to make a courageous decision near the end of the book as he hovers in the misty veil between the worlds. I believe in reincarnation and that the threads of our lives are intertwined with many of the same people from life to life. Each pattern or life being different but related in some way. The use of time travel lets me explore that as well.

About the Book
Legend says that land once stretched from Lands End in Cornwall as far as the Scillies Islands thirty miles out in the Atlantic. To this mythical land Gort Treliving escapes to avoid the pain inflicted by his abusive uncle. He steps away from his corporeal body and walks into the mist of oblivion, seeking only to find peace. To Gort’s surprise he finds he is one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Gawain. He is also the partner of a wonderful grey war stallion who can telepathically speak to him.

While he is caught up in a wild chase across the countryside to rescue King Arthur’s kidnapped queen and her lady, Gort as Gawain, tries to puzzle out the strange visions of another life that assail him at the most inopportune times.

There is intrigue, mystery, sword play and a dash of romance. A Step Sideways is a rollicking romp of an adventure that borrows inspiration from the Arthurian legends with a decidedly quirky cast of supporting characters.

After the last page the characters will linger in your mind and you’ll wonder what happened next.


Gort Treliving steps from his body into the mist of oblivion to escape the pain inflicted by his abusive uncle. He finds he is one of King Arthur’s knights.

While chasing Arthur’s kidnapped queen, Gort must puzzle out the visions of another life that assail him at the most inopportune times.


Gort lost count of the number times Uncle Daniel hit him in the face, his eyes refused to focus and his face felt numb from the hard slaps. Uncle Daniel threw him against the wall of the shed and then kneeled on Gort’s legs when he slid to the ground. Gort didn’t know how long Uncle Daniel beat on him, his body was one great pain and still Daniel continued to land blows on his head and his stomach and his back when Gort tried to curl up and protect his head.

“Set the law on me will you. Get some fancy lawyer to take away the money that’s rightfully mine and give it to that auld biddy Emily.” Uncle Daniel punctuated each accusation with another blow.

Gort finally just let himself slip into the comforting darkness where Uncle Daniel and the pain in his body couldn’t follow him. Safe in the encompassing darkness Gort reached up his searching hand and found his fingers entangled in the crystal strands of GogMagog’s mane.

“Thank the gods, you’re here Gog,” Gort’s voice trembled and he choked on his tears.

“I would have come sooner, but I was a long ways away,” Gog’s warm breath sent hope and strength coursing through Gort’s cold body.

“Come with me for awhile, leave what is for a time and travel with me to what was once,” GogMagog entreated Gort.

“Lead me to it.” Gort staggered to his feet and leaned on the warm crystalline shoulder of the great stallion. Without a backward glance Gort walked away from the pathetic heap of clothes and blood that Uncle Daniel was still beating on.

The farther Gort walked away from the dank little shed and Uncle Daniel’s rage the better he felt. The pain faded from his limbs and strength flowed outward from the warmth that grew in his chest. GogMagog, the great crystal stallion whose home was the caverns under the Glastonbury Tor, paced beside him. Rainbows of light flickered around the stallion and encompassed Gort in their radiance as well. Gort’s steps became firmer and steadier as a golden peace flowed through him. Gort felt his back straighten and a smile broke across his face when Gog curved his huge head back toward him and lipped his ear.

The darkness grew opaque and finally faded into a pearly grey, a diffuse nebulous light filled the sky above Gort. He tipped his head back and was startled to see the ghostly shape of gulls winging through the mist. The stallion stopped and shook the moisture from his sleek body, Gort laid his hand on the thick neck and then pulled his hand back quickly and held if in front of his eyes. Slowly, Gort waggled his fingers and looked in amazement as the large callused hand in front of him flexed its fingers. He turned and looked GogMagog in the eye and was further amazed that he could look him straight in the eye without looking up.

“What happened to me,” Gort’s voice sounded two tones deeper than he remembered.

“You are as you were once,” GogMagog said solemnly.

“Who am I supposed to be, though,” Gort fought down the panic rising in his throat.

“You are who you have always been,” Gog touched Gort gently with his muzzle.

About Nancy:

Nancy Marie Bell lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She enjoys writing poetry and fiction and non-fiction. Nancy is an editor with MuseItUp Publishing Inc.

Please visit her webpage

You can find her on Facebook at

Follow on twitter: @emilypikkasso  

Monday, September 09, 2013

Renee Duke - The Disappearing Rose

Want a free copy of The Disappearing Rose?  
 Renee will award one to a randomly selected commenter who reveals the title of the very first time travel/time cross-over book he/she ever read.  

Today's vict...interviewee, Renee Duke, talks about her writing experiences and introduces us to her new book, The Disappearing Rose, published by MuseItUp Publishing. Time Travel and Alternate History together. Travel with the characters back to the 15th C.


The two little Princes in the Tower disappeared five centuries ago – so what are they doing in our time?

As far as Dane and Paige are concerned, it’s an ordinary enough summer.  They’re in England to visit relatives and portray medieval kids in some historical documentary. Nothing strange about that.  Their father’s a filmmaker, and they’re used to that sort of thing.  What makes this project a bit different is the family heirloom, an ancient medallion capable of transporting them, and their English cousin, Jack, back to the fifteenth century.  Now, instead of recreating history, they’re living it – along with two young princes who disappeared from the Tower of London and were never seen again.  And unless they  can find a way to help them, they might share the same fate.

Qs and As:

(Q) Thank you for joining us today. Renee. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you and a little bit about yourself.

I can be found at my website ( and on Facebook, though both are quite basic at the moment and due to be revamped.

BIO: Renee Duke grew up in  both England and Canada and has dual nationality.  A former ECE teacher and Out-Of-School programmer, she has worked extensively with children in all age brackets.  She especially enjoys sharing her own love of history through interactive programmes designed to help kids recreate the past.   

(Q) Tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links.

The Disappearing Rose, is the first of five books in my Time Rose series. The series focuses on an ancient medallion that has the power to transport kids through Time and get them to help children who are in trouble. It seeks one particular child, but in order to help her, other children have to be helped, too. The medallion has been in the same family for generations, and generations of children have used it. The current travellers are Paige, aged 13, her brother Dane, 11, and their cousin Jack, 9. Paige and Dane are Canadian, and Jack is English. The Disappearing Rose of the title is England's boy king, Edward V, who, along with his younger brother, disappeared from the Tower of London back in the fifteenth century. The modern day kids have to make sure that disappearance isn't fatal.

Buy Links:

(Q) Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?

I love the Tower of London, and I've been interested in the mystery behind the disappearance of the little princes ever since I was a child. I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually write about them. I didn't necessarily think of doing it as a time travel story, but that's how it worked out, and ideas for succeeding books in the series came from doing this one.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

Over two years. There was a lot of historical data to go through, and since what happened to the princes, and who caused it to happen, is still quite a fairly controversial subject, there were a lot of theories to sift through. Besides that, I was still working as a teacher and raising my offspring when I started The Disappearing Rose and couldn't devote myself to it full time.

(Q) Which authors have most influenced your own writing?

I don't know if how much they’ve influenced my own writing, but my favourite historical fiction writers are Norah Lofts, Jean Plaidy, and Edward Rutherfurd, my favourite contemporary fiction writers are Elizabeth Peters, Leonard Wibberley, and Mary Stewart, and my favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers are Robert Heinlein and Patricia Wrede. I'm also a great admirer of P.G. Wodehouse whose humour I don't think anyone else is ever going to come close to.

(Q) What do you do for fun other than writing?

I read, watch TV, and go to the theatre. When younger, I also used to travel extensively and go horseback riding. I still travel (just not as much), but getting up on a horse is just a lot tougher than it used to be.

(Q) Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

My Muse drops in anywhere, anytime, in regards to initial ideas, but classical and easy listening music can sometimes spark creativity too.

(Q) In your ideal world, put in order those of most value to you: true love, family, success at writing, world peace, clean air and water, other.

Success in writing is important to me, but family and love come first. The others, in order, would be an end to hunger and oppression, world-wide clean air and water, a respect for all living things, and world peace. That's last because, if you achieve the others, it will come, too.

(Q) Plotter or pantser?

A combination. I always have a basic idea of where I want to go with a book, but let the characters and the story itself take me there after I get started.

(Q) Coffee or tea?

I'm allergic to coffee, and although this is sacrilege for someone who holds a British passport, I'm not that fond of tea. I prefer cocoa or hot chocolate.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they? 

My current project is Book Three of the Time Rose series, which is set in the Okanagan Valley of BC, where I now reside. The first two books are set in England and the last two will be in Europe.

(Q) What do you do to market your work? How did you start and where do you learn to market?

I really haven't learned how to market yet. This is all new to me. Other than mailing out notices to everyone who has ever supplied me with their e-mail address, and appearing on blogs the last couple of weeks, this is my first venture into marketing.

(Q) If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

I believe history should be fun as well as instructive. I've been doing interactive history units with 6-13-year-olds for several years now, and a Teacher's Guide for The Disappearing Rose should soon be available.

(Q) How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

Excerpt from The Disappearing Rose

While they were eating, Paige continued their earlier conversation. “If we do connect to the princes again, how are we going to explain that disappearing act you did last time? They must have wondered where you went—and why the people you claimed to be related to had never heard of you.”

Dane took a long suck of his ice-lolly before answering. “I’ve been wondering about that. It might be best to just go with the truth.”

“We can’t,” said Paige. “They’d freak. We already know Ned couldn’t handle anything too ‘abstruse’. The concept of time travel is about as abstruse as you can get. We don’t even understand it ourselves.”

“I know but—”

“But nothing,” said Paige. “You told me how they reacted to your flashlight. They thought it was magic—black magic. Back then, people thought anything they didn’t understand was black magic. They even used it to explain the king’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. Rumour had it that she and her mother were into sorcery and had put some kind of spell on him.”

“Ned and Dickon were both okay with the flashlight once I explained it to them,” Dane informed her. “And I seriously doubt that they thought their mother was a witch.”

“That doesn’t mean they didn’t believe such things existed,” said Paige. “And even if we convinced them we weren’t in league with the devil, we’d never convince anyone else. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about getting burned at the stake, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.”

“We won’t have to convince anyone else,” said Jack. “We can just make up answers to other people’s questions as we go along.”

“Oh, can we? Good at that sort of thing, are you?”

Jack smiled sweetly. “Teachers enter my stories in competitions. I’ve won several. Mummy says I have a vivid imagination.”