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Category: Science Fiction Books

Also called SF, Sci Fi, Scifi and sci-fi. A genre of speculative fiction with imaginative concepts, especially futuristic ones.

Mothers by CM Simpson @simpsoncolleen1 from The Expanding Universe #4 #SpaceOpera #SciFi

Mothers by CM Simpson @simpsoncolleen1 from The Expanding Universe #4 #SpaceOpera #SciFiWelcome, CM Simpson. I’m excited to have you here. Please tell us about your story in the The Expanding Universe Vol 4.

Mothers by CM Simpson

An alien ship, two lost daughters, and one grandmother on a quest. When Talie sneaks aboard an alien ship to rescue her daughter, she has no idea she’s walking into the middle of a pending diplomatic incident. With a world at stake, can one old woman even hope make a difference?

Three Things

I didn’t mean to write a story about mothers. I didn’t even intend to use the word, let alone poke every facet I could find. I wanted to explore the idea that older folk had histories and skills. And while I did that, I explored the idea that mothers had mothers, too—and that mothers were at their most dangerous and dedicated when it came to looking after their young, whether or not they were born to them or adopted, and no matter how old they were. This story has aliens, space pirates, and rebellious heroes, as well as politics and high stakes gambles—and I had an absolute blast writing it.

Mothers Excerpt

Talie watched the alien ship spin, a huge disk, looking continents wide, and she felt her heart sink. Somewhere, in that monstrosity, her little girl was hiding. Her little girl, who wouldn’t be anywhere near as afraid as she should be, and nowhere near as cautious as Talie would like. Her little girl, who would be quick to remind her that thirty-two wasn’t little, and that she had a child of her own—a bonafide ship-talker who had listened to her grandmother far too much, and, at ten, stowed away on an enemy troop carrier so she could make a difference where it mattered.
Dammit! Talie thought. It is all my fault.
It was her fault, too that the child’s mother had gone after her. It’s what mothers did—and now there were two little girls who needed rescuing.
Which was why Talie was here—because mothers had mothers, too.
“Take me in,” she said, although there was no need to say where.
The ship could feel her will; it knew where she wanted to go. Her words were just a trigger. Sasha wasn’t the only one who could talk to starships. Her mother, Anlin, could speak to them, too. They’d both inherited their gift from their parents and grandparents, and the men and women before them. There had always been ship-talkers in the family, ship-singers, too, although they were very rare.
“Take it quiet,” Talie said. “Ghost it in.”
For a second, power hummed to the weapons systems, and then the ship heard ‘in’, and read her intent anew. Talie breathed a sigh of relief as the weapons powered down, reminding herself to choose her words more carefully, kicking herself because she’d used the phrase ‘Ghost it’ too many times as a signal to kill—and ‘take it’ as a signal to attack.
At least the ship knew ‘quiet’ meant sneaky.
It was as much as a ship ‘knew’ anything. They weren’t sentient in the way dragons were; they just heard the intent and obeyed… mostly. Talie eyed the mother ship and scowled. Something that big? That was probably as sentient as anything that had gone before it—or it would be, if Sasha woke it up.
And now Talie regretted telling her granddaughter stories of the Capra conflict… or sharing her experiences in the Battle for Diomedes—the same stories she’d told her daughter, and her sons, and anyone who’d asked for them. She’d lost too many people in both wars for them to be forgotten.
Another war had come, this one flying in on a ship they’d recognized from Capra. The all hail had said the aliens wanted to talk, but the first contact had been a disaster. Someone on the human side had held a grudge.
Mothers by CM Simpson is in the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology The Expanding Universe Vol 4, edited by Craig Martelle.
https://amzn.to/2QxKBGB

CM Simpson

Mothers by CM Simpson @simpsoncolleen1 from The Expanding Universe #4 #SpaceOpera #SciFiCM Simpson grew up roaming around the top end of Australia, and didn’t really stop in more than one place for longer than four years, until after she’d left home. She grew up writing stories, sketching, and reading the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Douglas Hill, Nicholas Fisk, John Wyndam, Harry Harrison and John Christopher, and went on to discover authors like David Weber, Mike Shepherd, Elizabeth Moon, Alan Dean Foster, John Scalzi and Lois McMaster Bujold. More recently, she discovered the likes of Ann Aguirre, Michael Anderle, Scott Moon, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Craig Martelle, and enjoyed their works immensely. All of these authors have influenced the way she looks at the world, and strengthened her love for creating worlds of her own, and they all have her undying thanks for their stories and influence. If you’ve enjoyed her work, you might enjoy something of theirs.
Blog: https://cmsimpson.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/simpsoncolleen1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMSimpsonWriter/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/cmsimpsonauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6429401.C_M_Simpson
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C.M.-Simpson/e/B0086QFGFO/
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BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/c-m-simpson
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Character Flaws: Narcissism, Writing Pietas #amediting #scifi

Character Flaws: Narcissism, Writing Pietas #amediting #scifiOne way writers allow readers to connect with a hero is to give him serious character flaws. In  Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, Pietas begins as an arrogant narcissist with a superiority complex. He is sooo above puny humans… but in this book, his immortal life could end when he winds up at the mercy of one.

Character Flaws

In this scene between the immortal Pietas and his father, the two are arguing a familiar topic: humans. To establish the main character’s chief flaw, it’s important to reveal it as close to the opening as possible. This conversation begins on the first page, but we join it here a few pages later. Pietas is speaking.

“You want us to treat humans as equals. They never treated us as such. Even now, we’re hated and reviled. Putting them on the council will make them haughtier. I want nothing to do with humans.”

“Then you want nothing to do with me, Son. Humans are all I care about.”

And wasn’t that the naked truth of his father’s betrayal? He had turned his back on their people. He had turned his back on his son.

“You’re right, Father. I want nothing to do with you. I care nothing for mortals. They all die.”

“You were elected by the council and you serve at their pleasure.” He jabbed a finger at the ground. “They want this treaty. Remember that.”

“I never forsake duty.” Pietas twitched his fingers, dismissing him. He waited until Mahikos reached the door. “Did it never occur to you?”

His father faced him. “What?”

“The council elected me to head these talks and removed you. You want to bring in humans. I do not. Perhaps the council hates humans more than you think.”

A wave of aggravation emanated from Mahikos. Licks of emotional flame scorched Pietas’s skin. Accustomed to the pain, he did not flinch.

“Son, surely you realize they elected you to keep you close and control you.”

“To control–” Pietas broke into laughter. “Did they? How unenlightened.” He shrugged. “Well, they can try. I must say, your annoyance today is a refreshing change from your usual indifference. I’d begun wondering if you had any emotions regarding my takeover. It must nettle, knowing your lowly son succeeded your rule.”

“No one would consider you lowly.”

Pietas lifted his chin. “Except you.”

“I’m surprised you even bothered to show up, as much as you hate humans.”

“It’s nothing personal. I hate humans no more than a physician hates germs yet still takes time to eradicate them. Humans are dangerous.”

“Humans are the reason we exist.”

“Perhaps that was true in your reality. Humans have abused, misused, and betrayed their creations throughout their history. This peace everyone clamors for comes from concern about humans. I care less than nothing about them. As for their good graces? I have no faith they exist.”

“You know, Pietas, one day you’ll rely on the mercy of humans.”

“You think humans show mercy? How amusing.”

Head down, Mahikos rubbed a spot between his eyes. “I hope I’m there to see it. When you realize even humans have value, that will be a good day for all of us.”

“How well you preach love.” If only his father gave it half as well.

“Son, when the conference starts tomorrow, all your mother and I ask is that you try to be gracious.”

“I’m certain I already am.” He toyed with the circlet. “Just this morning when I knocked on your chamber door, I heard Mother say, ‘Oh gracious. That must be Pietas.'”

“Why can you not be serious about this?”

“I consider these talks of utmost importance. It is you I do not take seriously.”Character Flaws: Narcissism, Writing Pietas #amediting #scifi

Okay — now tell me, aren’t you irritated with Pietas right now? If I’ve done my job as a writer, you will be. However, as you walk in his shoes (or lack of them) through the rest of the story, you’ll gain an insight into his arrogance and his hate-love-hate relationship with his father. One reviewer wrote that by the end, she loved this man (Pietas) she had been driven to hate.

Writing a character with serious flaws is like buying a diamond in the rough. You know the gem is in there. It takes time to grind and polish down to the good part.

Writing a character with serious flaws is like buying a diamond in the rough. #amediting Click To Tweet

Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas is free on Kindle Unlimited.

The sequel to this book, Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire is almost complete! To learn when it will be released, join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group or follow me on Amazon. Joining the reader group provides immediate access to four free books, including one beautifully illustrated with quotes from Pietas.

When Your Villain isn’t a Villain #writerslife #amediting

Villain: wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately; principal bad character in a film or work of fiction (WordWeb). I’d like to add to that: character who refuses to cooperate with your plot.

When Your Villain isn't a Villain #writerslife #amediting @kayelleallenI started with the definition of villain so we both speak the same language. Mine was named Pietas and he was the bad guy in a book I’d written, edited, rewritten, re-edited, and restarted nine times since 2008.

I picked it back up, considered it, and set it aside again multiple more times before I realized my problem was not with the plot, the hero, or the concept. It was the villain.

My problem was with my immortal Ultra, Pietas.

He would not do any of the things I thought a bad guy should do. Seriously? A villain who doesn’t even swear? What kind of bad guy is that? Although he had used a “bad word” in a book no longer in print, that was me badly writing his character to fit my “vision” of who he was. It felt wrong at the time but I didn’t listen to my gut. I should have.

Like any proper scoundrel, Pietas was cold and inhuman and his followers obeyed him without question. But unlike the usual dastardly-deed-doer, the minions of Pietas followed him out of loyalty. I’d missed something in creating this villain of mine and I didn’t know what it was. I figured I had to either put the book away forever or find a way to make Pietas behave.

Those who know the Bringer of Chaos are laughing right now. Make Pietas do what? Right!

Talking to a writer friend, I lamented about this frustrating villain and how difficult it was to write about a narcissistic sociopath. She laughed in my face and informed me I couldn’t be more wrong. He was not a villain at all, but a passionate, honorable, and humble man who’d been put in a position of being the heavy.

To which I replied, “No, no. I’m talking about Pietas.” Turned out, so was she. Obviously, I had missed far more than I suspected. But what?

With her help, we set up an “interview” where she would ask me questions and I would answer as Pietas in a free association format. This is a thought process in which ideas, words or images suggest other ideas in a sequence. Using what I already knew about him, I would try to figure out how he’d answer. I’d role play. Why not? Pietas was not only the king of the immortals in my story, he was the Gamemaster in the role-playing game they all obsessed over: Peril.

We agreed to record it so I could go back and listen again. She would ask open-ended questions that couldn’t be answered “yes” or “no” which would elicit conversation. We talked for well over an hour. She asked “Pietas” about his father, how he felt about his mother, why he did not get along with his sister, and why he was so hung up on a previous lover. What had happened to him as a child that made him angry now? What did he hope to accomplish?

By the end, I had a far deeper understanding of the immortal king. I got to know the real person and not the superficial character I’d written. What showed up in other books was the person he presented to the world. In reality, the psychotic front he showed to others was not at all who he was.

That insight changed everything.

I got to work writing his story instead of the one I’d wanted. When I finished Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas and released it, one reviewer said “He’s painted as a complete psycho in other books. It’s really great to get some insight into who he truly is.” Readers told me they felt Pietas was a real person and I was channeling his energy. My heart sang. I’d accomplished my purpose and revealed the true person to the world. Although, now I had to deal with Pietas, who wasn’t all that happy about the big reveal! I’ve sweet-talked him into bringing his truth into the light, so we should see several more books in his series.

I’ve been busy writing the sequel to the Origin of Pietas. I’m on the last few pages now. Here’s the blurb for the new book, Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire. (updated cover on the way)

Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and wounds of the heart take forever.

When Pietas reunites with the immortal Ultra people he was born to lead, they reject his human friend, Six, a member of Ghost Corps. Ghosts, their most feared adversaries, are resurrected special ops soldiers who possess enough strength to perma-kill Ultras.

Six is taken hostage, and Pietas must free his friend, deal with the brutal father he’s detested since childhood, make amends with his sister, and rescue his ailing mother. Meanwhile, the tempestuous affair he rekindles with a beautiful, telepathic warrior he’s adored for centuries lays bare long-held and deadly secrets.

The gift of telepathy he’s always wished for activates at the worst possible time, but it gives him one huge advantage. He bonds with an ally who harbors every bit as much hatred for his father as Pietas does: a tribe of genetically enhanced panthers. As much as he loves these noble creatures, connecting with their feral bloodlust threatens to undermine his legendary self-control.

How can he even hope love will withstand the unstoppable berserker rage within the Bringer of Chaos? If it can’t, Ghost Corps will be the last thing Ultras need to fear.

To know when this book is released, join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group.
Pick up Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas

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