View From My Kitchen

END OF DAYS SERIES: View From My Kitchen

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Image by Ann Swanson

They said it would come, that it would start with a sunset of such unbelievable beauty it would bring tears to your eyes.  They were right. It was quiet. Eerily quiet.  No bird chirps or the whine of motorboats speeding across the lake. No one in their back yards, no joyous shrieks of children chasing fireflies, no smell of fire-pits and no sound of car tires rolling down the crushed stone roads, eager to get to their weekend camps.  Everyone was down in their last-minute shelters with not enough supplies to outlast what was about to unfold.

My children, grand children, friends and neighbors begged me to come with them into the town’s shelter.  But why miss the last sunset one would ever see.  Where was there to go?  Nowhere.  It would take ten-thousand years just for the fires to burn out, and the only reason they would extinguish would be due to the absence of oxygen left on Earth.
I know it might seem selfish–that I should spend the end of days surrounded by family and friends–but I just wanted to spend it in my kitchen, overlooking the lake where I can see the memories of my grandchildren out on the dock, their silhouettes with fishing poles matching the paintings in my home .  So here I stand, glass of Chardonnay in hand and raising it to the sky, thankful I was given this sliver of time to see and experience this magnificent world and hoping my next journey will be as spectacular. Cheers.

Author’s Note: This short was inspired by a friend’s profile picture update on Facebook (Ann).  Although my interpretation is a bit dark and not what she intended.  Thanks, Ann….  it is a beautiful image.  Then I thought about building a collection of shorts based upon the End Of Days told through the eyes of the people who wrote them.    Enjoy.


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Alien sound coming from Mariana Trench

trenchOriginally reported by The Sun, Researches picked up an alien sound while their hydrophone was over the Mariana Trench.  Although whale like in nature, it does not quite fit the patterns of what researchers already know. To listen to this sound,  Click here.  Initially, they thought it might be a mating call from whales, but they are thrown off by hearing this sound year round.

There was a follow-up piece on Wired,

The mystery of the ‘alien call’ deep in the Mariana Trench is solved

which seems to indicate it is a Baleen Whale…. but the article does end with… “more data needed….. ”

It does make for good Sci-Fi, especially now that I have been working on a treatment called HUM, which is about an alien life-form that was attracted to Earth by its sound.   Yes, yes, I know… sound does not travel through space… but other signals do and who is to say what wavelengths aliens can hear.

November Seed – Wait for it!

November ssed

Day day will look like this

It’s going to happen within the first two weeks in November, Phragmites will release their seeds on a day like this.  Look for blue skies, steel-bottomed clouds, high gusts and it will feel like it could snow.  But don’t be fooled,  they are not the first flurries of the season.  My prediction is November 15th.

November Seed

November Seed

For the first time in years, I will miss this spectacular event in the NE, US, so I need your eyes and camera phones on this one.  When you see them, take pictures and post them here.  Do not get any on you–you now know the consequence.


Good luck all  and stay safe…









Where Do Sci-Fi Writers Get Their Ideas? Part II

My guess is that every writer of sci-fi has his or her special picking fields for ideas.  One that I often go to is, ZME Science with their tag line: not exactly rocket science.  I love this site for the richness of articles that cover everything from social to biological to astronomical and every thing between.   There are so many great ideas out on the Internet to seed the mind of a sci-fi writer.


Here is an example and one that is quite interesting and quite resourceful on the part of the researchers; why make the machine that spins the thread, when it already exits.   My hat is off to Yingying Zhang and her colleagues at Tsinghua University on this one.

Silkworms spin super silk after eating carbon nanotubes and graphene


So it got me thinking.  I will use this concept in one of my works in progress titled, HUM

It’s about a former nuclear physicist who was fired from the Los Alamos Labs and is now on a federal watch list.  He appeases a local barfly by following him to a cave where the barfly claims to have discovered a new species of bat.  But what the barfly has discovered is not from Earth, setting the physicist on a crazy plan to save the planet from a hostile alien invasion, a plan no one is willing to listen to and one that will surely get him killed by the FBI, if he’s lucky….  for dying at the hands of the aliens would be ever lasting.

As hideous as I have already imagined my aliens, adding in the concept that they now have access to new materials has spurred my imagination to make my aliens even more horrifying.



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Photo by David Nadas

Geri!.. Don’t do that. It will be political suicide and end your career.  It’s not that bad—”

“NOT THAT BAD! Are you kidding me, Dave? You need to pull the plug on this!  We’re talking about the end of days here.  They have no clue what they are about to do… All the data… All the research I’ve conducted points to the fact that this experiment will be a run-away process–”

“Just listen to me, Geri. I’ve read the data and it’s….” he said coming to a halt.

“It’s what… Dave? Inconclusive? Is that what you want to say to me? I can understand these button pushers up here not taking me seriously…” she said with a snort, catching the irony of the situation. “But you Dave! You of all people…” and she stopped, a pointless end to it.

He could hear the sadness in her voice as much as the pain felt in his heart for what he was about to say to her.

“Yes… It’s inconclusive,” he said from the hammock in his backyard. There was silence on his connection to Geri who was orbiting 250 KM above him. His phone was resting along his shoulder as he looked up through the tree branches at the sky, so blue and crisp on this Indian summer day that he never wanted it to end.

“It’s inconclusive because no one has ever lived through the consequences to make the data conclusive. I’m sure this same scenario was played out on Mars eons ago…. There’s your conclusive evidence, Dave. All you need to do is look at Mars. It’s scorched.”

“Geri…. I promise… nothing is going to happen. I know you’re the smartest person on this project and everyone on the team up there has read your report and they feel the same way as I do. Trust us on this. I’m sure some folks on the Trinity Project in ’45, including Oppenheimer himself, must have had some worry in the back of their mind that what they were about to do could end the world. But it didn’t happen. They trusted their research.

“It’s not the same, Dave. They weren’t trying to open a wormhole with a so called controlled singularity.”  He could hear the mock in her voice.  “And it’s my research we’re talking about here!”

“You’re right, Geri. It’s not the same thing, but it is the same level of research and much more. We’re not calculating these models with slide rules; we’re using quantum computers on this, Geri. We’re about to make a gigantic leap for humanity and you will stand among history’s greatest scientists that has ever lived.”

There was more silence between them.

“Geri? You still there?”

“Yes, Dave.”

“Then we’re good on this?”

“Dave…”  she said ignoring his question.

“Yes, Geri.”

“I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me—”

“No need to thank—”

“Just hear me out, Dave,” she was running short on time.  “Don’t talk. I would never have had this opportunity without you in my life. I would never have had the chance for this opportunity had it not been for you on that cold morning, seeing me in the shadows outside, Alley Bakes, as you strolled by with that bag in your hands.” She let out a saddened laugh. “I don’t even know how you picked me out from under that cardboard box…. and now that I look out from the portal of my bay, I can see all of New England below without a cloud in the sky there. I bet you’re out on the hammock, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Good.” she said.

“I look forward to seeing you upon your return,”  and he held up his wrist to see the counter ticking down.  “T minus 1 minute, Geri. How come you’re not with the team?”

“No view there and I wanted to see Perkins Cove for the last time.  Dave, It should be beautiful. You’ll see a bright flash and although you won’t see the X-ray projecta, it will bore a silent hole through the atmosphere creating a brilliant circular rainbow… a halo around a spot of emptiness….  I’ll have been gone by then and you will have about a minute to reflect on the life this world has had. Nothing lasts forever.”

“Geri… come on.. don’t think that way,” he said with a chuckle in his voice. “I thought we were good on this one?”

“Bye Dave.”

“Geri….” but he stopped short when a flash blinded him from above and he turned his head to shield his eyes. When the overload on his retinas began to clear he looked up and could see the partial circular rainbow through the branches and got up from the hammock and moved out into the clearing of his patio along the cove. The sun was low in the sky behind him,  but above, at the center of the rainbow he could make out a black dot. He stood there, looking up until he felt the skin on his arms begin to crawl and the hairs on his forearms were curling into ash and drifting away. His eyes sparkled, but this time like melting Mylar, and everything went dark. His heartbeat was pounding in his chest and he could hear the blood boiling behind his ears as he dropped onto the pavers and pooled there as bird after bird thudded to the ground around him with the sound of flesh and earth sizzling before a shockwave of dark fire swept over.


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Are micro black holes the next-gen nuke, business opportunity or transport system?

Miniature_black_holes13.8 billion years ago, at the onset of the Bing-Bang, primordial micro black holes the size of the period at the end of this sentence, may have formed.  Assuming that is true, then they are like cosmic bullets boring a hole through the fabric of time, passing through anything and everything in their path.  It’s a game of Galactic Roulette.


The original article can be found here:  Miniature black holes may be hitting Earth once every 1,000 years

But stop, here.  This is where it turns into Science Fiction.  So as a writer of Sci-Fi, I look for articles like this and think about how to form a storyline from it and came up with a few possibilities.

  • DoomsDayNow or Never: The new doomsday weapon that no one has ever used and the protagonists/antagonists are locked in a political battle at a time when they actually need to use one. I will leave the outcome to you.
  • BTrainB train:  Luke Killian was on his way to work, traveling downtown on the B Train in NYC when a micro black hole rode the track, taking the car and his fellow passengers with him. Where they were dropped off I will leave it up to you.
  • whirlpoolWhirl: (Hands off everyone…. this one I’m keeping for my own) A stubborn, slow-moving micro-black hole gets lodged in the ocean, just off of Atlantic City.  A permanent whirlpool becomes an attraction and business opportunity for those with foresight that not even the Donald thought of.  Blinded by greed, the consequences were not taken into account… the whirlpool is moving slowly toward shore.
  • FlushFlush:  Escaping from a maximum security colony on Xylon, through a micro black hole, the alien was deposited on Earth.

Now get writing everyone…….

Are you an Aspiring Writer? Read This.

When I left Corporate America to become a writer, I had received some excellent advice from a partner at the firm I was employed by. He had shared with me his most guarded resource for good writing, one that he kept closely by his side, one that he often referred to while writing a legal brief – Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses, by Mark Twain.

Upon leaving his corner office that day, he warned me.  “Download it.  Read it on your commute,” he said with a thin smile.  “But be warned,” he added, “you will laugh out loud.”

He was right on both accounts.  This is a brilliant piece of writing. Not only is this laugh out loud reading, it delivers so many important rules for a writer to follow.   One of my favorite things to do is pump this piece through the persona of my IVONA text-to-speech engine, Amy–in her stoic British accent–who gets me to laugh while serving as my muse.

Below is an excerpt from Mark Twain’s observations of Fenimore Cooper’s work.

“There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction — some say twenty-two. In “Deerslayer,” Cooper violated eighteen of them. These eighteen require:”
Here is my favorite from that list:

10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the “Deerslayer” tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences, by Mark Twain

Seeded from space or fiction?


The never-before seen image shows a microscopic metal globe spewing out biological material feared to be an infectious agent.



artflow_201510152121As a writer of near SciFi, it’s always a great feeling to have written a work and then see a related article sometime after publication. This is what I had in mind when writing, November Seed, except my alien seed a little sexier.


Alien Seeds