Timelines are Like a Box of Chocolates: Interview with Stefon Mears

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.–Albert Einstein

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because you’ll have…the time of your life!

Time is Like a Box of Chocolates: Interview with Stefon Mears

Stefon Mears writes magical tales that operate at 45 degrees off reality–and never quite the same way twice. He may or may not be a time-traveling, musically-inclined pool shark.

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

Twisted Timelines is a short story collection. Every story tweaks or messes with time in some way, and no two of them are quite the same in their approach, or their use of time.

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

I have so many that it’s hard to call one out. For example, one of my current favorite roleplaying games, Blades in the Dark, has a flashback mechanic that allows characters to solve a current problem retroactively, if the players can narrate it well. I have to say, though, that time travel plays a small but crucial role in one of my favorite television shows of all time, Babylon 5.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

I don’t really use theme songs or playlists for most of my writing, but my favorite time-related song is “Caught Somewhere in Time” by Iron Maiden.

ABOUT STEFON:

Stefon Mears earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from N.I.L.A., and his B.A. in Religious Studies (double emphasis in Ritual and Mythology) from U.C. Berkeley. Stefon’s short pieces have sold to magazines such as Fireside and Strange Horizons and anthologies edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kevin J. Anderson, Denise Little, Kerrie L. Hughes, and John Helfers. He has published more than thirty books to date, including the Rise of Magic series. Look for him online at http://www.stefonmears.com, on Facebook, or @stefonmears on Twitter. Sign up for his newsletter at  stefonmears.com/join

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

stefonmears.com

Nibble your way through Stefon’s short story collection Twisted Timelines and other tales at StoryBundle!

A Spacetime Mystery: Interview with Ryan M. Williams

Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
RickAnd what is that?
Evelyn: I… am a librarian.The Mummy (1999)

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because you don’t want to have to say…you lost track of time!

A Spacetime Mystery: Interview with Ryan M. Williams

Ryan M. Williams writes some of the most elegantly weird fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure of editing. He also works as a librarian! My hero 🙂

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

It’s a mystery in space. Brock’s lover and partner, Muriel, is lost in his past a hundred years ago with their alien intern. There’s a missing alien artifact, trying not to change the past, discover the reason behind all of this, and the fate of the whole galaxy is at stake. I think it’s a lot of fun!

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

One? That’s so hard, but really, it’d have to be Dorctor Who. If I could go back in time and pick another, I’d choose Connie Willis’s time-traveling historians.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

Out of Time” by the Divinyls.

ABOUT RYAN:

  • Librarian who writes
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Horror and Mystery

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

Investigate spacetime mysteries with Ryan M. Williams’s Past Lives and other tales at StoryBundle!

The Alternate Universe Tango: Interview with Michael W. Lucas

Time could bifurcate, like a pair of trousers. You could end up in the wrong leg, living a life that was actually happening in the other leg, talking to people who weren’t in your leg, walking into walls that weren’t there anymore. Life could be horrible in the wrong trouser of Time.–Terry Pratchett

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because this deal will come to an end…in a matter of time!

Alternate Universe Tango: Michael W Lucas's Hydrogen Sleets

Michael W. Lucas has adorable pet rats and has written one of my favorite business books for creative types, Cash Flow for Creators. These two facts may or may not be connected.

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

The Montague Portal tales are about a future where humanity hasn’t been able to colonize space, but has found a way to travel to alternate universes with different physical laws. Perhaps there’s no law of gravity, or you don’t age, or it looks like ours but genes are contagious. Hydrogen Sleets takes us to a universe that’s much like ours, but right after the Big Bang. Humanity has built a space station to study how the first stars were formed. It’s an empty universe, what could possibly go wrong?

The answer is, of course: everything.

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

Oh, that’s a hard question. There are so many good ones to choose from!

I’d have to go with Doctor Who. There’s a certain glee to saying “we’re going to have lunch in eighteenth-century Moscow, and then we’ll visit the Borgias!” The DW storytellers, both old and new, have a blissful fecklessness for any rules of time travel, twisting them to suit the current story, that I find delightful. You need it to work this way? Okay, that’s what we do this episode.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

I enjoy music that gives me a sense of far distant times. Blue Oyster Cult is really good at that, with songs like “Black Blade” and “Veteran of the Psychic Wars.”

ABOUT MICHAEL:

Michael W Lucas is the author of a few dozen books, and has more on the way. His most popular novels include the cozy mystery git commit murder and the thrillers Butterfly Stomp Waltz and Terrapin Sky Tango.

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

mwl.io

Take a dip into another universe with Michael W. Lucas’s Hydrogen Sleets and other tales at StoryBundle!

The Woman with the Time Travel Tattoo: Interview with Kim Antieau

Time is the longest distance between two places.–Tennesee Williams

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because time…waits for no reader!

The Woman with the Time Travel Tattoo: Kim Antieau's Her Frozen Wild

Kim Antieau always wanted to be a writer when she grew up, and here she is. She’s the author of The Jigsaw Woman, Coyote Cowgirl, and more.

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

When an American archaeologist discovers she shares DNA with an ancient tattooed mummy recently found in a grave in Siberia, she goes on a quest to Russia and through time to figure out what it all means. 

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.” 🙂

ABOUT KIM:

Kim Antieau currently lives in the Southwest of the United States with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

YOU CAN FIND HER AT:

www.kimantieau.com

Time travel to the past with Kim Antieau’s Her Frozen Wild and other tales at StoryBundle!

Time Travel to the Past: Interview with Dean Wesley Smith

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.–Douglas Adams

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because time…is running out!

Time travel to the past with Warm Springs: A Thunder Mountain Novel

Dean Wesley Smith is the author of seventy bajillion novels, even more short stories, teaches excellent classes at WMG Workshops, edits a magazine (Pulphouse), co-edits an anthology series (Fiction River), and a lot more.

I asked him a few questions about time. I would have asked him more, but I think he’s busy 🙂

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

My book is in my Thunder Mountain series, where time travel back to around 1900 is the core of every book. In this book they use the idea of alternate universes in time travel to change an event. It is by far my most ambitious time travel novel to date.

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

The Somewhere in Time movie is one of my favorites. Christopher Reeve was wonderful and I like the time period as well. 

ABOUT DEAN:

Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith published far over two hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction books. He has over twenty-three million copies of his books in print.

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

www.deanwesleysmith.com

Time travel to the past with Dean Wesley Smith’s Warm Springs and other tales at StoryBundle!

Time Travel Stories, No Spaceship Required

Covers from the Big Time Bundle

Welcome to the Big Time Storybundle, home of time travel stories and other wibbly wobbly timey wimey weirdness.

Throw down a minimum of $5 US (or your local equivalent) and take home four books, including mine (The House Without a Summer). Increase your pledge to $15 in order to abscond with all ten books.

These future sci fi and fantasy classics were written by as fine a collection of huge nerds as I have had the pleasure to encounter (in this timeline at least).

We may not be able to make it possible to travel through time (forward, backward, or sideways). We maaaay not be able to shift you into an alternate dimension where current events are a little easier on your blood pressure. And we certainly never promised you a time machine.

But any of these books can definitely help you escape from the present moment!

Click here to take off 🙂

P.S. My story is The Year Without a Summer, a gothic horror novel that isn’t quite part of the Cthulhu mythos, but was written in part to play with Lovecraftian tropes taken to some logical conclusions. Goodbye, ordinary space-time.

On Treating Money with Respect

My latest adventures have involved straightening out my business and personal finances. It’s something that I knew I needed to do, but found so overwhelming that I kept putting it off. So much to accomplish, no real understanding.

It turned out I only needed two things in order to get started:

  • A road map.
  • An attitude adjustment.

The road map turned out to be in a book I read this previous May, Cash Flow for Creators, by Michael W. Lucas. I’ve been friends with him on Facebook for a while, and I know him as a goofy smartass with rats. But, it turns out, he’s a financially responsible smartass as well, and is able to explain things clearly.

That addressed the first half of the problem.

The second half involved a bunch of random crap.

When I initially tried to write out this article in my journal pages, I went on a three-page-long, handwritten rant about the ways my parents had screwed me up about money, which were not insignificant, but not really relevant to the article I wanted to share. And, further, my education was the sort that separated art and money: if you make art, then why on earth would you expect to make money?

When you’re living your life with the attitude that money is scary and you’ll never make money doing what you love…well, that’s kind of terrible, and it sets you up for all kinds of failures. I may not have discovered all the ways it is possible to fail regarding money, but I think I found most of ’em.

Sadly, reading financial books wasn’t enough.

Most people who write financial books already respect money; they take for granted that it’s obvious that money should be treated in certain ways.

I had no idea that money was a thing that required respect.

I didn’t approach my attitude shift consciously; I didn’t even know there was an attitude that needed to be shifted. But here’s what ended up being important:

  • Studying tarot for an upcoming series of novels.
  • Starting on The Artist’s Way for the second time.
  • Starting on a huge cross-stitch project.

None of these things make sense, if you’re starting from a position of respect for money. Why would studying the occult lead to solid financial advice? Why would doing a twelve-week artistic recovery program have anything to say about money? What on earth do craft projects have to do with being fiscally responsible? We all know the kind of financial damage a crafter on Etsy can do.

But when you’re looking for a fundamental change in attitude, it’s difficult to make changes from a starting point that assumes you already have the desired attitude.

Consider:

  • Becoming a confident public speaker.
  • Facing a serious phobia, like agoraphobia.
  • Going to that dentist’s or doctor’s appointment that’s been put off for years now.
  • Drawing boundaries with an abusive family member.
  • Standing up to bullies on Facebook (as in last month’s newsletter article, ahem).

Most people who can competently do those things—or at least not feel anxiety when considering them—give positive-sounding but useless advice: all you have to do is get started! Just take it in small steps! Just don’t let it be so hard!

What most well-meaning advice givers miss is the attitude change that happens before those techniques can work.

So how do we change our attitudes?

  • Examining our assumptions.
  • Situations that are so desperately urgent that they’re more compelling than our attitudes.
  • Random crap.

The last item, random crap, is often known as “synchronicity,” “coincidence,” or “the universe providing a helping hand.” I’ve been trying to allow random crap more influence in my life. It’s a gentler way to change than the other two.

So here’s why those odd elements helped me change my attitude:

  • Tarot: More than a few of the cards are about money, craftsmanship, and material success that drives other accomplishments.
  • Artist’s Way: Every day, you have to journal about what’s bothering you, and right now what’s bothering me are money and finances…and creative blocks related to those things.
  • Cross-stitch: I am working on a project that focuses me on literal material, but more figuratively on being consistent in small details, solving organizational puzzles (how can I stitch the front so the back doesn’t look like a spiderweb?), and not letting myself get tangled up as I try to make an ideal image of something.

Gradually, I started putting together the idea that I didn’t respect money. I feared any situation involving a close look at my finances, because money was dangerous.

But anyone who’s ever handled anything dangerous—like a car—knows that people who are terrified of a dangerous thing usually screw it up. Fear of a thing can be just as bad as being arrogant about it. The terrified student driver is just as bad as the one who learned everything they know in Grand Theft Auto.

My tarot deck whispered to me that I was letting other people push me around about money. The Artist’s Way rolled its eyes and told me that I had to bring what was in my head out into the material world, which would cost money…and, hey, treat myself better while I was doing it. My cross-stitch project said, You know how to do this already. The hardest part is choosing the big picture. After that, do your best, assume that you’ll make mistakes, and adjust the pattern slightly as you go.

If you’re struggling with money, you, too, may be having issues of fear and/or disrespect. In addition, you may have serious external setbacks that you have no control of, but still have to find a way to cope with. I’m sorry. Things will be even harder for you.

My advice here:

  • Admit that you’re not where you want to be.
  • Let it be uncomfortable. Don’t force yourself to move forward…but don’t blow off your discomfort, either.
  • Listen to whatever coincidences come your way.

Coincidences, metaphors, inspirations, and other bootstrapping methods will come your way. Once you stop hiding from yourself the fact that you’re not where you want to be, they turn out to be all over the place. It’s called the “frequency illusion.” When you’re thinking about something, you’ll see it everywhere.

In other words: allow yourself some time for some random crap. Your subconscious is already shining a spotlight on what you need to see.

Here’s the cross-stitch pattern I picked, by the way:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/704131682/honeysuckle-and-primrose-floral-panel


(Artist’s Way: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/615570.The_Artist_s_Way)
(Cash Flow: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53402810-cash-flow-for-creators)

New Releases! A bunch!

Stories We Tell After Midnight

Stories We Tell After Midnight, Vol 2, the ghostly cover!

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

Revenge, hunger, and horror—all after midnight. 24 tales edited by Rachel Brune. Includes my short story, “The Thing These Relationships Have in Common Is You.”

The Wild Hunt

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

A fierce host rides across the winter sky at night, in wild pursuit of whoever crosses their path, when the nights are long and the winter winds howl, stay inside, lest you cross the path of the Hunt…and become their prey…

Thirteen tales of those who hunt, and those who are hunted! Contains my story, “The Last Private in the Gray Hoodie and Blue Jeans Brigade.” Click here to ride out!

Here Be Zombies

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

Brainsssss! The dead are walking, hungry and brains taste so good… !3 tales of eater and the eaten! Contains my short story “Zombie Girl Invasion” (as De Kenyon) and my novel Alice’s Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts.

New Release: Good Neighbors

New short story release, a horror/suspense tale in the vein of Twilight Zone

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

What makes the fae so terrifying is how subtle they are…

One foggy night, Lee Warnick waits for her dad to come home from the factory. Lately, more and more people have been disappearing from her small town, and she feels that her family might be next.

No one else will talk about it, but Lee knows the truth: the fae have been abducting people, on the nights when the fog rises up.

Haunted by nightmares and terrified for her family, Lee must find a way to keep the faeries from striking again…

A night full of primal dread…and horrifying illusions.

Good Neighbors

Lee Warnick leaned her head on her arms and watched out the window. Her mom said, “Come away from the window, Lee, why don’t you call your friend Jenny? Or watch some TV?” but Lee ignored her. Her dad was working late at Smithfield Parts Fabrication—the factory—that night, and she wanted to see him come home.

Her mom wasn’t fooling anybody. They were both nervous.

That day had been one of those fall days that are too beautiful, too perfect. The sky was a clear and artificial blue-green, and the leaves rattled as they tumbled along the streets and through the parks, picking up strays. Everything had come easy at school. For example, almost everyone had gotten an A on the math test from last week, and nobody had gotten lower than a C. The worst thing that had happened was that a couple of senior boys were smoking behind the building and had made rude comments to her, but their hearts weren’t in it. It was the kind of day where no elementary school kids were beaten up for their lunch money, no stray dogs were kicked, and no soufflés went flat.

Those days, those days. Those terrifying days.

About four o’clock the air turned damp and cool and wet. “It’ll be foggy tonight.” About a dozen people called her mom to tell her that, as if she didn’t know. With her husband working late at the factory tonight. Driving home in that fog.

“You never knew when something might happen.”

But that was it, wasn’t it? Nobody knew. Nobody knew why some people, on foggy nights in the town of East Smithville, just flat-out disappeared.

Or rather, everyone knew why. The fairies took people.

They would take one or two or three or six people a year. The records went back to 1875, and there were no years where no people were taken; the most was six, although one of them had looked more like a crib death than a taking, at least to Lee.

But it could have started before 1875. That’s just when the records started.

The question was: how did the fairies decide who to take?

Read more here!

(https://books2read.com/tenebrosities-good-neighbors)

New Release: Evil Twin

New short story release, a horror/suspense tale in the vein of Twilight Zone

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

A haunting tale of a monster who lived inside mirrors, and the ghost he left behind when he died…

What would you do to get rid of an abusive ghost?

When Michael’s father died, he left behind a grown-up family shattered by years of his broken, abusive, alcoholic behavior—and a legion of adoring fans who hung on every word of his stories.

They called him creative. But the truth was that Michael’s father had the ability to violate the boundary between one side of the mirror and the other, traveling between reflections and watching, and interfering, with other people’s private lives until there was little of the man left—only a monster.

Now the man is dead. But part of the monster has been left behind…

Evil Twin

One last time of cleaning up after you, Dad.

I’d slept downstairs on the couch, expecting him to get up and stumble downstairs, looking for beer or bourbon or something to piss in, but his body was still in the shower stall. His hip, covered with old blue jeans, lay against the glass door, pressed flat against the soap scum. His head lay against the fiberglass wall, curly white-gold hair surrounding his head like a halo. His pants bulged, filled but fortunately not overrunning with shit. I was tempted to turn the shower on and hose him down, one last time. You’re a drunk, you’ve always been a drunk, you died a drunk, you even haunted me drunk. He still wore his professorial corduroy jacket with leather patches at the elbows, real as the number on the scale after Thanksgiving. At least he hadn’t haunted me in the leisure suit Mom had him buried in.

I shoved the double-paned shower doors open so I could get at his legs. His right boot caught against the glass, then suddenly unstuck itself and lumped onto the rug. I grabbed him by the ankle and pulled until his head thumped onto the shower floor, then lifted his other leg and turned his hips around until he was an L-shape with his legs out on the tiles.

If he’d been alive, I would have worried about tearing the skin under his shirt, or on his face. A fact learned from my long history of cleaning up after my father: cheekbones get caught on the damnedest things. Ridges between rooms, uneven tiles, rubber floor mats. I used to always put a pillow under his head when I had to drag him out of places by myself, one of those u-shaped corduroy travel pillows. Kept it in a Ziploc bag under the passenger seat in the car, so the car wouldn’t smell like puke.

I pulled him out of the shower stall onto the rug, being careful not to look toward the medicine cabinet, and checked that he wasn’t leaving a trail. He was; the cup had runneth over. I rolled both Dad and the rug onto a fitted sheet from the closet that I couldn’t remember seeing lately on our bed. I closed my eyes as I passed the hall mirror, then covered it with a sheet on the way back.

Then I called Joanna and got serious about dragging him out of the house…

Read more here!

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