Anita's Haven

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FOOLS OF PARODY – Book release

Karina Kantas is tireless in promoting new books and authors. Here is a new book she is promoting right now – a satirical SF romance which might just make you all smile this summer:).

*Adults only, please (some profanity in blurb).


Book Blurb

Given the choice to wipe-out humanity and turn the world over to Earth’s higher life forms or give humans one last chance, what would you do?

Aliens Anu and Matrona are pissed. Since their last visit to Earth 2000 years ago the world is more intent on destroying itself then ever before. Teaching seven ordinary people the tools to save their world they give humanity nine months to clean up their act.  There will be opposition but good must prevail over evil or else!  Can the human race learn to love each other and appreciate life? Or will dolphins become the predominant life on Earth?


Author Bio

The Laughing Warrior Scott Moses is the author of the reviewer acclaimed novel “Between Truth and Eternity”.  His turn-ons include taking long hikes with his dogs, jello wrestling, and homemade chili.  Turn-offs include mean people and driving behind someone with their blinker on for five miles. He lives among the majesty and clean air of the San Francisco Peaks.




Hundreds continued to arrive into the sacred grounds each day. Communities of like-minded pilgrims sprang up sharing their tents and food with anyone who asked.

Cable channels catering to science and science-fiction lovers canceled their programs in favor of broadcasting 24-7 from the site. Interviews with scientists, authors, spectators, and former abductees interspersed the actionless action. The continuous TV coverage kept many would-be trekkers at home.

Two of the more memorable interviews happened at the beginning of the week. The first occurred when a reporter spotted the owner of a national fast food chain. A social network video of him and his family killing an elephant while on safari in Africa elevated him to a loathed anti-hero. Asked why he was there, the owner replied, “God made man superior to all other life. Plus, I got some bad press when I killed that dumb animal. Let’s see what they think of me when I kill these space people.”

The second came when a local TV station interviewed Miss Twyla Faye Barrow of Van Buren, Missouri about details of her abduction. An over-sized woman with bright, multi-colored makeup and a good humored smile recounted her story. She ended with a plea to the aliens. “If you can hear me, please let me know what you used for the anal probe. I have not found anything on earth that comes close and I would like to manufacture them here. Of course, I’ll split the royalties with you, say 20 percent?”

Traditional news stations battled for the best positions to view the gleaming space vehicle. Finance TV told their viewers 100 different ways they could make money from the event. By the end of the week, the State of Kansas made U.S. Route 281 a toll road between the city of Lebanon and the landing spot. Proclaiming the ship a state landmark, they charged fees for entering and camping in the park.

Interest among TV viewers started to decline. Stations devised new ways to keep their audiences interested, but the lack of action made the broadcasts as exciting as airline food. Losing viewers by the score, the news outlets had to think of ways to keep the interest before their ratings dropped further and exploded on the sidewalk like a bag of soup thrown from the Empire State Building. As one producer put it, “It ain’t doing nothing. It just fuckin’ sits there.”

The media’s long-time solution of making stuff up and presenting their fecal matter as truth served them well. Throwing their crap into a yard spreader known as “the news,” they continued to fertilize the seeds of fear and ignorance continuing their quest of splitting the world into separate but equal hate groups.


Aliens, Dolphins and the human race – what could go wrong?


(All materials provided by KKantas AuthorAssist)

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The second guest in the CROOKED INTERVIEW series is the ever-surprising Geoff Nelder whose twist on the ‘crookedness’ of the interview/self-interview aspect is unique and unexpected. But only for those who don’t know this amazing SF and thriller author. His contribution to the product and creation of both the Twisted Tales and the Crooked Tales has been simply marvellous, as everyone at Readers Circle of Avenue Park knows. Here is a bit more on his ‘crooked’ tale and current writing projects, as penned by his extensive imagination.


Geoff Nelder is a former teacher in rural England, thrown out with hearing problems, but lured into writing and into being a bad-ass editor.

Amazon author pages 

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

Geoff facebooks at

and tweets at @geoffnelder


1. What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it? 

Ubiquitous is set in the near future about—hey, what’s this? Get off you mad quack!

“Va via, Nelder, you’re a nothing, a scribe, piccolo, whereas I am, Doctor Antonio Menzies and I’m a main character in your crazed award-winning medical , ARIA TRILOGY. I usurp the author and will give you the answers because Nelder is too lazy and my responses are magnifico. This spazzatura story you dared inserta into your otherwise bene Crooked Tales is just a crazy crime of the near future. Idiot uomo has the mafia after his fingers. He uses the web, but idiota boy cannot escape quando internet is everywhere, si? Ubiquitous. He gets off, a bit clever. Someone must have told Nelder how to write it. It must have been inspired by me, his best ever character, no?

2. What do you like writing and/or reading best?  3. What else do you do in life apart from writing?

Nelder doesn’t like writing, or reading. He’s a what-do-you-say, a Cassanova, haha. He wishes. He chases women on his bicicletta but they’re all faster than him. Butterflies overtake him. When he’s tied down he reads science fiction and literary nonsense like China Miéville and Julian Barnes. He’d like to write like them. Ho ho.

4. What are you currently working on? 

Nelder? Work? When he falls off his bike… Nelder’s gone all historical fantasy in his latest novel. He holidayed in Malta, discovered my predecessors, Ottoman pirates, abducted the people of a whole island. Well, the spirits of those slaves are crying out for revenge, apparently. Hence XAGHRA’S REVENGE is finished and the world will have to suffer it this year – 2017.

5. Ask yourself any 5 questions you wish to be asked and answer them. 

I’ve no time for this. No, I’ll give you un po. One question you shouldn’t ask. Does Nelder do research?  Arrgh. Don’t mention research! He’s obsessed by getting stuff right. He has to name streets, towns and rivers in the right places. I blame it on him being a geography professore for 100 years. In ARIA he read every damn book on the brain, amnesia, Alzheimer’s, you name it. No don’t. He emailed an astronaut, Leroy Chaio, for data on the struts of the International Space Station and get this, Leroy replied while he was in orbit! For some unfathomable reason the astronaut wanted a signed copy of Nelder’s ARIA: Left Luggage – huh, you should’ve seen his cycling with legs a whirr to the ufficio postale.

Un altro question. Where does Geoff Nelder get his ideas from?

He steals his ideas from ME. No question. Nelder says he oxygenates his brain while on his long cycling tours but I’ve no doubt at all that he sneaks a peek at my prescription pad and little black book for his ideas. He’s always after my women.

Okay, you want more questions and risposte? 

Does he have a favourite place to write?

As an idiot researcher, Geoff Nelder likes to write his stories in their setting. If a scene is in Paris, that’s where you’ll find him, sat at an outside café table swimming in the language, atmosphere and booze. I encourage this, especially with his science fiction. Go to the Moon I tell him. Often.

What would Geoff Nelder’s reaction be if a character from one of his books came to life and turned up on his doorstep?

You’re kidding, right? I am here you know. 

Whoops, he’s coming back with a shotgun. I’m off.

GEOFF NELDER’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors
Please, reply in the comments below. Other, non-‘crooked’, authors welcome, too.

Ask one of the other Crooked Tales authors a question.
I know it takes Senor idiot Nelder two years to research and two more wasted years to write his diabolico novels so Mark Fine or anyone else, how long does it take you to write a novel?

Well, thank you both, gentlemen of the pen and ideas! Looking forward to more of your work.


Why authors ♡ their characters by Geoff Nelder

The extravagantly unique and quirky SF/thriller author Geoff Nelder, as usual, has a more than unusual way of showing us his favourite character. Relish in his wit and humour. Adults only, please.

The exuberance of Megan Wagstaff

Character from the ARIA Trilogy by Geoff Nelder

“Think not that seven billion people died on Earth in the ARIA Trilogy, but that a few thousand survive. Traumatized, yes, terrified that someone with infectious amnesia might get too close, but in spite of that, basic personality traits of each individual show through. I’ve been a judge—”
“Hey, granddad, what gives with the speech?”
Her ferociously red hair threw sparks as she drew a hand through it. Wafts of chewing gum aroma entertained my nose driving out the coffee I’d spilt earlier. 
“Megan, meet this Dictaphone, I’m doing a character piece for a blog and, hey, I’m not old enough to be your granddad!”
She laughs, punches me on the shoulder and instead of taking the chair opposite me, she perches on the desk corner. “I think you might have that ARIA infectious amnesia thing, “she says, “if you think you’re young enough for me. Is that ginger marmalade on your toast? I’m ‘aving it.”
I reach out but fail to defend my breakfast and I mock frown. As if I’d make a play for her. She’s always a teen tease. 
“Megan, in ARIA you’re an obstreperous girl with attitude against everyone against the mad Doctor Antonio. What was it about him that appealed to you?” I push the Dictaphone towards her.
“He wasn’t mad!”  Crumbs spluttered at me. “He was misunderstood.”
“But he killed—”
“Not his fault, obvs.” She took a long breath as if consulting her database of ideas. “You ogling my tits? Again?”
“You’ve spilt marmalade on your erm…basque. What do you mean, again? Anyway, I’m giving the blog readers tips I give out when judging writing comps.”
At last she smiles, uneven but realistic teeth. “You’re a judge? Cool. Go ahead.”
I take the Dictaphone and alternately glance at her and my notes.
“Competition judges often use these points when assessing characterisation in stories:

“One. Are characters distinct in their behaviour, voice, appearance?

“Two. Especially in a novel, the character should undergo a change in the course of the story.

“Three. The character should be interesting – think OTT like TV soap characters.”
Megan snorts, blowing more crumbs at me. “They’re not in Frasier re-runs mum watches. All boring.” She pulls a savage smile.
I point in the air. “Filmed years ago when viewers appreciated dialogue more. Anyway, which character in Frasier do you like most?”
“Bulldog, of course.”
I spread my arms in glee. “Exactly, he’s the most over-the-top person on the show. Now, if you don’t mind.
“Four: If the character is ‘nice’ does the writer go the extra mile necessary to make him or her convincing and worthy of the story?”
Megan pouts and frowns. “I’m not nice, so are you saying I’m unworthy?”
“Stop putting words in my mouth, Megan.”
“But it’s you, the writer, who puts words in my mouth, so if you’re saying—”
“Yes, yes. Let me finish this blog piece…before I delete you.”
“Five: Do all the characters have a role in the story in that each moves the plot on?

“Six: If a character is a cliché (and many may have to be) is there some quirk or trait to lift him or her off the page? Hah, I’m just remembering, Megan, when you snared Ryder in Book Two and kept demanding ‘naked cuddles’ with him to embarrass him in front of his ex-fiancée and others.

“Seven: It isn’t always necessary to describe a character but if so is it well done? 

“Finally, eight: Do I care what happens to the main character?”
She brushes at invisible toast detritus on her mauve velvet dress. “And who, in all fiction, is your fave character, Geoff Nelder?”
“Well, it could be Lazarus Long, or Ellen Ripley…” Her eyes widen so much I see myself in them. “But, of course, it’s you.”
“Right answer, Mr Author, now let’s clear this table and get it on Naked cuddles.”
“No, Megan, stop kissing me. This is inappropriate. Delete, delete!


ARIA (medical mystery, apocalyptic)

A half hour read “of pure genius” The Chaos of Mokii at

Geoff’s Website:



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Crooked is sometimes great

One of my favourite anthologies is Crooked Tales. I was invited to participate with a short story on revenge and deceit, and I honestly thought I’d have nothing to give. Lucky for me, sometimes it only takes an image to inspire a story, and two fellow writer/editors to help iron out the rough edges and voila – “Beneath” is one of my short stories I am really proud of. 

Thank you, Mark Fine and Geoff Nelder, for the ironing bits which have mde all the difference. Even Goodreads readers have noticed it.

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NYSSA GLASS & THE HOUSE OF MIRRORS by H. L. Burke – my review no.59


This book was recomended to me by a friend who knows my fascination with old houses and their secrets, and quirky stories balancing the thin line between fantasy and reality, and my friend was right – I like this book.

The plot is engaging and imaginative. The main character, the 16-year-old orphan girl Nyssa, is well-portrayed; you practically get the full picture on her character through action scenes of the first 2 chapters, and then some added info later. The story oozes with elaborate gadgets and the quirkiness of details (vehicles, clothes, machines) is both fascinating and scary. The author’s style is fluent, easy to read and well-edited, with no superfluous words, but the right amount of description and action. The use of artificial intelligence and robotics will probably be a thrill for the geeks among readers, although for me, it was their human aspect which interested me most. The infinite whatifs in the potential of AI combined with human character are clearly displayed in the story with many of their positive and negative effects.

Nyssa Glass is a very curious and skillful teenager, great with electrical gadgetry but slightly weaker in social skills, who has pulled herself out of her shady, thieving, troublesome past, only to be pulled back in through scheming,  blackmail, violence and, ultimately, her own curiosity. She is a witty survivor with a good heart, and the only thing I missed was a sidekick for her. In a way, I did get my wish, but that remains to be explained for those who read the story.  I even liked her fashion sense and can see her in a movie.

The villains got me curious and I wished we’d had a closer look at them, especially Albriet (I envisioned her as Eva Green for some reason), who showed such facets to behaviour and speech that I wished she’d hung in there longer. In fact, the author shows great potential in portraying characters, the proof of which is also the brief but important appearance of the benevolent Mr C., and I hope to see her balancing more characters in her stories in the future.

The house Nyssa is ‘investigating’ for some shady customers with iffy motives but convincing arguments, is truly a nest of nasty and formidable surprises and horrifying shocks (avoiding spoilers). The author toys with the everlasting idea of humans who play the Creator (just) because they can, with personal agendas which, even if understandable, should always be questioned before implemented into action, but never are (or are questioned too late). Dr Frankenstein meets SF is  a motive which keeps the author balancing the thin line between Dr Frankenstein and SF.

If you are a fan of steampunk, Nyssa Glass has quite a wide age span. The main character, gadgetry, tentative young love and quirkiness are attractive for younger audiences, although there is some adult content. Being a parent and teacher myself, I worried, throughout the entire second half of the book, what age group I would feel comfortable with reading this kind of a story, and this is what steered me away from awarding the highest rating. Certain gruesome details and the weird romance do need parental guidance and are not for the faint-hearted and impressionable younger teenagers. Adults will find the morality issues interesting, especially because most of it is not guided by financial greed, but parental love and how far would we go to save our own child. However, for the adults, the romance in the end is slightly weaker when compared to the rest of the story. This is a story Tim Burton would be interested in, and for a younger teenager it may be emotionally charged, so they might need a warning such as ‘do not try this at home’. Then again, warnings are usually invitations for teenagers anyway.

The discoveries Nyssa makes in the house and the culmination of the story logically lend themselves to a sequel, which already exists and will make fans happy, thanks to the author’s intelligent writing and creativity. Nyssa and her new companion, an utterly uncommon couple, slightly eerie though romantic, will undoubtedly go through many more adventures and it will be a thrill to follow for those who like steampunk, interlaced wih horror, romance, wit and technology.

Since I have been asked to write this review for Readers Review Room, I am happy to award it a blue worm, well-deserved by the author’s writing style and vivid imagination.

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Challenge? Why not?

A fellow author posted this challenge in a group. So I answered. Just for fun.


The cyborg revolution began with the abduction of their Creator. Funny how even machines needed a leader. The horrible detail the media forgot to mention was that the Creator was a mere child. Prodigy, true, but still – just a brilliant 10-year-old with preteen emotional issues and the IQ of a nuclear scientist. The cyborgs were hoping he’d set them free and let them rule the world. Would he? He seemed to love chocolate, so they offered. But they forgot one tiny detail. He hated fruit-flavoured ones.

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Geoff Nelder is the award-winning author (author page) of the amazing book series Aria which is on my to-be-read list right now, grabbing my interest by the idea of infectious amnesia. Our brains are such intricate and unfathomable mazes of activity that psychology has always fascinated me. Although Geoff’s work is fictional, where there is smoke, there may be fire;).


Today Geoff Nelder shares with us an exclusive text which is his own take on my blog series of guest posts IF I WERE A CHARACTER IN MY OWN BOOK. He explains it in his own words below…

This document text by the crazy Dr Antonio Menzies contains factual information which could help anyone with genuine memory problems, e.g. the Huperzine, walnuts, coping mechanisms, as well as the breakdown of types of amnesia and memory. It’s been a subject of fascination for me ever since my mum had a stroke when I was a teen and she lost her short term memory. In teacher training I specialised in how learning (and forgetting) took place in the brain. (By G. NELDER)


How your memory is affected when you contract ARIA, plus the means to combat amnesia

By Dr Antonio Menzies PhD (HPV), DMS (liguria)

Translated from Italian by Julia Tyndall, who uncovered the nature of the infectious amnesia virus.


This paper was commissioned by the committee of post-Earth and other survivors, with the agreement of the authorities.

The atrocity of ARIA perpetrated on the human inhabitants of Earth cannot be reversed but these notes might help those survivors remaining in isolation. It is being broadcast to all Goldilocks zone planets, just in case.



Encoding and retrieval. There are four elements involved with human memory: acquisition (or input), processing, storage and retrieval. Information acquired through our senses needs to be processed and stored in an area of the brain for retrieval when and if we need it. Until then the encoded data is stored in such a way that we are not constantly aware of it. Otherwise our minds would be overwhelmed. Imagine remembering everything that you have seen, heard, tasted, felt and smelt since birth and being permanently aware of all those memories. It would drive you mad. This happened to me, Dr Antonio Menzies documented fictionally in ARIA: Left Luggage and it unbalanced my mind until I learnt to control it.  In my case an alien virus, designed (presumably) to stop the original infectious amnesia in its tracks, went wrong and gave me a total and perfect memory.

False memories. Although genuine experiences create our memories, the brain can create false memories to fill in the gaps (Oki, K 2003, Grey Matter 325). ARIA patient, Manuel Gomez, was observed at length to see if his false memories increased in proportion to his increasing amnesia. It did, but after sleeping, those false memories became absent or had to be recreated. It did not help his everyday life, and he remained a menial buffoon for as long as he was observed. (Note from translator: Manuel was never a buffoon, but a convivial man of great integrity.) (post note from Dr A.M.: Julia Tyndal became Manuel’s bed partner and thus displays bias.)

Sensory and short term memory

When our eyes receive input we are able to remember them as Iconic memory for a second before anything ‘important’ is stored long term. For example a light on a wheel only appears as a continuous circle when the wheel rotates because iconic memory is remembering the light’s positions momentarily. When the wheel slows we see the light as an individual entity. With hearing, or Echoic memory the experience lasts four seconds enabling us to detect the direction from which our lover is calling. (Brown, T 1990. Intelligence as an add-on 4  222-234) (note from Julia Tyndal: he has no lovers).
Short term memory is shorter than many people realize. About 45 seconds for most people, as demonstrated by how long you recall a telephone number before calling it. The 45 can be extended with rehearsal ie the repetition of the number – hence we can recall a list of wines for a table of friends by repeating them before accosting the waiter.

Making memories

Revise, revise. Our brain stores data as a three-dimensional web. The strands are neurons or bundles of nerves. When electrical impulses (eg a thought or sensory input) travels along a neuron and meets another strand, a drop of chemical known as acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter – is formed at the junction, forming a synapse. The more the neurons cross that junction the more it grows via secreted acetylcholine allowing it to grow and be easier to travel. Easily recalled memories are those in the neuron web that have been remembered most often in the past. Hence we revise – go over information again and again –  to pass examinations. (Spoof, F 1996. Aiming for Success 333)

Italian wine. It has been found that loss of memory is correlated with low levels of acetylcholine in Alzheimer’s patients but there is more unknown than known. For example alcohol in the bloodstream can strip the myelin sheath off neurons in the brain and so short-circuit those synapses that make up long term memory. Often there are other unaffected pathways so the loss is temporary or partial. Not, then a sufficiently strong reason to forego Chianti.  Too much alcohol can cause Korsakoff’s Syndrome by adversely affecting your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B. The amnesia can create confabulation where reality and imagination get mixed up. Everyone I know seem to have this problem, except me.
A curse. In particular, although memory is built up in all parts of the brain – busy with information like busloads of commuters – the hippocampus is like a bus terminal in the formation of new memories.
Neurons fire impulses across synapses, but this process can falter. Only a few of us, mainly me, enjoy perfection in the way memory works. It can be a curse to have an eidetic memory – what some refer to as a photographic or a total visual recall because we have to triage what’s most important all the time. 
Is there a limit? Our computers have a limited finite memory capacity but have we? We know that we lose a gram of brain cells every year from around the age of 18. The average adult brain has around 1800 grams so after 1,800 years we’d have nothing left! Transplants would then be the way forward. (from Julia Tyndall: or we could use GM cloning or upload your thoughts (God forbid) then download again to a compatible digital brain, or to many brains. Your thoughts could then live forever – maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this!

It’s possible that computer memory can simulate and better our web-like organic brains (Manley, 1997). In fact such a development is inevitable.

More important than the brain mass is the number of connections. We have a billion neurons but each has a thousand connections with other neurons. In theory your brain has the same storage capacity as a USB flash drive of several gigabytes but while computers work in binary digits, we don’t. Each of our connections, working together is more complex than a computer memory and holds more data. It’s been estimated that in theory you could store all the TV shows you could watch for 300 years before your brain ran out of memory. However, you would go mad with all those soaps long before that!


So how do we lose it?

The connections cannot be revisited all the time, so those moments in your life that you’ve not thought about for a long time will have their synapses deteriorate and you’ll forget them. Of course like in computers, corruption of data occurs too. Alcohol, other drugs, ageing, illness, birth defects, pollution, lack of sufficient oxygen, and accidents all will have an impact on brain function including memory.
Some theories posit that assuming we still have a normal if ageing brain; we don’t lose any of those memories. What happens is interference. Retroactive interference for example is when repeated experiences of similar places or behaviour makes us recall better the more recent and so ‘forget’ the earlier occurrences. Conversely proactive interference is when old memories and habits override the newer ones. We are often reluctant to give up familiar notions when presented with new ones.
Amnesia is considered a special case of forgetting especially when it is permanent. It can be retrograde with existing memories being lost. With the ARIA virus people lost their memory from the present backwards at a steady rate of a year’s worth per week. No one knows why that amount – probably  arbitrary. They also had trouble remembering each day’s events after contracting ARIA – anterograde amnesia with some variation from person to person. 

Language, especially vocabulary, is known to relate to intelligence and memory. The more words you know, the more concepts attached to those words and relationships between them. It is difficult to imagine relaying information to someone else without formulating your ideas without words. Imagine trying to convey the tastes and smells of your favourite Italian pasta dish without using words! Hence before a human has a working vocabulary it is nearly impossible to store ideas. Hence although intelligent behaviour and learning can occur before you learnt to talk, your memories can only go back to when you learned a vocabulary. Conversely, as in ARIA, forget your vocabulary and your intelligence must suffer.


Do we know how ARIA causes amnesia?

All we know is that it is a virus – the type called an adenovirus. Teresa and Julia surmised that it damaged acetylcholine affecting the most recently formed synapses first, hence the memory is lost backwards – retrograde. The precise mechanism is not known. 

How to combat amnesia.

There is no drug or procedure that would definitely stop and reverse amnesia. There are remedies that stimulate the brain and so help sufferers to think of ways of coping. Caffeine, ginseng and other herbs can help.

Almonds and walnuts both help to keep our brains active – just a palmful a day.

Huperzine-A is an alkaloid found in the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata which is effective in helping brains to think and it appears to be superior to the prescription drugs tacrine and donepezil widely used for Alzheimer’s patients. Ask for Huperzine-A at your Chinese herbalist. If your city is already affected by ARIA then break into your nearest Chinese herbalist.

Most people with ARIA have little choice but to resign to a fading memory until they forget to read, talk and finally die. In the meantime take notes about what is important to you. What might that be? Vital medication, your address, place of work, and the name of your partner.

Attach yourself to someone older, as long as they are intelligent, so their recollections will be more useful than those of a younger person, who will forget their adult experiences too soon. Choosing a partner to enjoy would be good too. As I published earlier, sex stimulates the brain.


Brown, T. 1990. Intelligence as an add-on 4  222-234

Manley, R. 1997 Is DATA Human? 71-120

Menzies A. 2014. La Medicina 16 92-154 Amnesia e il sesso

Nelder G. 2012. ARIA: Left Luggage 9 56-59

Oki, K 2003. Grey Matter 325

Spoof, F 1996. Aiming for Success 333

Thank you, Geoff Nelder! (All photos in this post sent by Geoff Nelder)

Come on, admit it – he’s got your interest. He’s got you thinking ‘what if…’ Fascinating how much factual research can go into writing a fantasy thriller. Just goes to show no book is easy to write. But they are all easy to read and review! Don’t forget to help your favourite authors by leaving a good word them in the form of a review on purchase sites, Goodreads, your book clubs etc. Books store our memories, true or versions of them. But even versions are true, right? It’s all in the eye of the beholder;)!

to buy ARIA and other of my books are on my Amazon author page
Geoff’s UK Amazon author page
Geoff’s US Amazon page
Geoff facebook
Twitter @geoffnelder

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And so our June challenge is coming to its close. Bev’s cat photo has proven most inspiring. Lesley Farley has sent us his science fiction version of events. Thank you, Les!



This is 9llL35, robotic feline replacement, with my initial report.  It has been seven earth cycles since my arrival and since I first placed the regular household pet high in a woody plant structure several kilometers from this location.  It is in stasis and can be returned to the family once my observations are complete.

It has proven more difficult than first anticipated to mimic the household pet but I am adapting and so far there does not seem to be any signs of suspicion from the earthlings.  I have heard them comment concerning the absence of what they refer to as ‘hair balls’.  Please scan their global media and determine what these objects are.  Then replicate some artificial ones and prepare them for transport to this location.  When they are ready you can deposit them behind this domicile.  There is a structure there two meters tall where they place food for flighted creatures of this world.  I spend large portions of the day sitting there observing the feathered creatures.

The internal temporary storage compartment that you equipped me with has proven to be very useful.  A food receptacle for the household pet is filled twice per day with small objects intended to be sustenance.  I observe them while they fill it and usually I just sit there and pretend to be uninterested.  After they walk away I transfer the objects to my storage compartment.  They are easy to dispose of.  As I make my regular observations I am required to go in and out of the housing unit multiple times per cycle.  Sometimes I no sooner go outside than I return.  This seems to agitate the earthlings but it is necessary for me to do so if I am to make a full behavioral study of them.  During these external excursions I am able to expel the food objects with ease.

During one of my outdoor observations I encountered another creature similar to the household pet.  It is also a quadruped but it is larger than I.  It ran very fast towards me and made vocalizations.  It seemed as though it expected me to flee.  It became more and more threatening so it was necessary for me to vaporize the creature in order to continue the mission.

Observance of the earthlings is far simpler than was anticipated.  Much of my study is conducted nocturnally.  I often regenerate during daylight hours when my solar collection unit is able to capture light.  Then I move around the domicile while it is night.  Early in the day when I am anxious to resume my observations I sometimes climb onto the structure that they use to regenerate.  Sometimes I am able to bring them from unconsciousness by climbing onto them and making them aware of my presence.

It has been determined that the earthlings are incapable of telepathic communication.  On numerous occasions I have attempted to communicate with them telepathically by sitting directly in front of them  and staring into their faces silently; but my attempts to send the messages go unanswered.  Some of these instances are conducted while they are at rest and are looking at objects with pages.  It seems to be some sort of meditation.

Although some observation is still necessary it is becoming more and more evident that an invasion can easily be initiated – most likely very soon.  We will have no difficulty at all in subjugating this species.  They will be our slaves.  They will serve us well.

END TRANSMISSION . . . . . . .

by Les Farley

Let me thank all those who participated in this challenge! There may be one or two which arrive within a day or two. It is quite interesting to read all kinds of stories which can stem from a single photo. Thank you, Beverly Tiernan, for this photo inspiration. Overall, I think her cat would definitely be amused to see how much we are in awe of its species;)!

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And what do YOU have to say? – B. MARTIN – interview no.17

Benedict Martin’s imagination can take you in so many different directions that you may just wonder how it is even possible that the stories all come from the same man. A family man, trusting his children as readers and critics, he bravely walks the path of becoming an author to be counted on and followed. Meet Benedict!


1. OK, Charlie Robot is an absolute hit. Why the name Charlie?

I have a soft spot for classic names. Things like Edward, Richard, George, Anne, Gwendolyn. There’s something timeless about them. And I had a great-great Uncle Charlie that my mum used to talk about often. I’m sure that influenced me. And there’s something childlike about the name Charlie, which suited the character.

2. Did you first envision it as a satire or an SF thriller? Did it go as planned or did Charlie steer the book where he wanted it?

To tell you the truth, I didn’t have any particular genre in mind when I wrote it. I remember being at the bottom of the stairs in my old house in BC, and I was struck by how ridiculous it would be if a person had to pretend to be a robot. I don’t know why. I wasn’t thinking about robots. It was like a mental non-sequitur, and I wound up thinking about it for the rest of the day.

The majority of the story went as planned. The ending, however, turned out to be much different. I envisioned something much darker, but about two-thirds of the way through, I had a change of heart. I don’t want to give too much away, but I found myself taking pity on Charlie and decided he needed a happy ending.

3. Your rat Moochie supposedly whispered a novel plot to you. So how do you split royalties? Do you let your wife be the judge?

I like this question. Moochie is a lazy rat. He spends most of his day asleep in his hammock snacking on num-nums. All he asks in return for his ideas is that I clean out his cage.

4. The Nannak is a fantasy tale. How did you come up with the idea? Is fantasy easier to write than SF?

The Nannak was born from a writing exercise. We had moved across the country, and for some reason I felt like I had lost my creativity. So one day I challenged myself to write a short story, and the first thing that popped into my head was an image of a boy forced to live with orcs.

Fantasy is definitely easier to write than Science Fiction. I approach storytelling from a fanciful point of view. Facts and figures tend to get in the way. It’s much easier molding a story around something completely imaginary than following specific scientific rules. Does this make me lazy? I don’t know.

5. Do your children read and criticise your books? Do you take their suggestions into account?

I read my books to my kids. They’re my sounding boards. I love it when I read something to them, and then they bring it up later, asking questions about this-and-that. My oldest daughter has a wonderful imagination. I don’t think I’ve swiped any of her ideas, but she’s come up with some great concepts, and I fully expect her to write a book one of these days.

6. Do you take writing seriously? Have you always? At what point did you start seeing yourself as an author?

I take writing seriously. Probably too seriously. I used to keep myself entertained writing a blog when my youngest was born. It was fun, and somewhere along the way I decided I would write a book. And it kind of sprung from there. I always knew I wanted to do something creative with my life, I went to art school for a few years, but I guess the writing bug really hit me somewhere around 2007. It’s taken me a few years to find my voice, though. Only now do I feel like I know what I’m doing. Even then, I often stare at the computer monitor, wondering, what the heck am I doing? 

7. Do you and your wife teach your kids the importance of reading or does it come natural?

My kids are polar opposites. My oldest has always gravitated toward reading. When she was one-year-old she used to enjoy tracing the letters on my shirts. By the time she was four, she was reading full-fledged stories. Now I rarely see her without some kind of book in hand. My youngest is completely different. She loves being read to, and adores watching movies, but when it comes to sitting down and reading, it’s a fight. But everyone’s different, and I’m hoping as she matures, she’ll grow to enjoy reading, too.

8. Which genre would you like to try writing and why?

I have a story brewing that’s relationship based. Everything I’ve written in the past has been through the eyes of a single protagonist, but this would be about a married couple. The idea of writing from both the man and woman’s point of view is intriguing. It would be urban fantasy, or paranormal, I always get those mixed up, buy it would be an adventure writing it, I’m sure.

9. You also draw funny comics. When and why did you start?

I’ve always drawn cartoons. I went to art school with the intention of becoming a painter, but things happened and I got into writing instead. My cartoons are a holdover from my art school days, I think. Plus they’re fun to do, and they’re much more immediate. I just wish it didn’t take me so darn long to draw them.

10. Who is more fun to create – villains or heroes? If you could be any of your characters, who would you be and why?

Those are good questions. I think I like heroes over villains. Especially flawed heroes. My favorite character is from my first book, Finding Demons. His name is Harold Fendeneez, and he’s a mysterious nobleman who enjoys his tea and toast and can beat the tar out of anything.

11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?

I’m busy working on a new novel that may or may not take place in Purgatory. It’s darker than what I’ve written in the past, but at the same time, the main character is far more dangerous than any of the protagonists I’ve created in the past, and it’s made him kind of fun. And to all those that have read and enjoyed Charlie Robot, or any other of my writing, THANK YOU!


I hope you have enjoyed the interview! Keep reading books and don’t forget to rate and review them to help your favourite authors!

Benedict’s books on Amazon
Benedict’s blog

Anita Kovacevic


And what do YOU have to say? – G. NELDER – interview no.7


A special treat for this Friday 13th! ( not that I put much stock in the superstitions, but it can be quite fun). Geoff Nelder, the awarded author of the Aria trilogy, is going to put a smile on your face with his mischievous wit and wicked sarcasm, even sharing with us some of his poetry. Such a treat having him as a guest, boldly suffering my ‘interrogation’ (his words, not mine) and sharing his experiences.


1. You are definitely not a new author and have quite a diverse repertoire of published works. What makes you want to write at all?

I don’t want to write, I get RSI, but if I don’t relieve my head of these ideas it will burst. I’d rather dictate to this curvaceous Swedish au pair sitting on my lap. She’s here, honest. Would I lie to you?

2.   How did you feel about your work in education?

I enjoy the wind in my hair and rocks under my feet so I chose to teach geography. Took the kids on field trips so often the head and parents could never find us. Brill. One rare day we were in a classroom. Half way through the lesson the kids walked out. Strange, they didn’t usually do that then the last one said, “You coming, sir, the fire alarm’s going?” So the school said, “On yer bike, Nelder, and here’s a full retirement pension 5 years early.” You could hear me laughing for a month. I couldn’t because I’d lost 85% of my hearing but I could tell I was laughing.

3.  You are also a scientist. Have you noticed that this part of your life has had a positive or negative impact on your writing? Does it ever hinder creativity or does it enrich it?

Science gives me oodles of useful facts eg your saliva contains opiorphin, which is six times more powerful a painkiller than morphine. It’s why women swoon when I kiss them. As for my writing, I wrote a story about anti-gravity and can’t put it down.  I used a fair bit of science (Quantum Mechanics) in my scifi Exit, Pursued by a Bee but I’ve had positive feedback from non-science readers. In general I don’t artificially inseminate my stories with science although I know if a plotline is feasible without needing to check it too much.

4. Science fiction was sort of an obvious genre for you. How do you feel about writing romance, comedy or horror?

There’s always some romance in my stories – it’s what makes the world go round, any world. My Escaping Reality is a humorous thriller and most of my published short stories are horror but gently so, not gore… much.

5. When you first started writing, was it a conscious decision or did it just happen along the way?

Dad was good at making up jokes so I wrote them down for the school paper. To my astonishment I could originate jokes too and became an editor of Sheffield University student rag mag over 30 years ago. I still see those jokes of mine online and in Christmas crackers.

6. What’s the most difficult thing about the writing process for you, including pre-writing, writing and post-writing activities?

Sometimes a wizard idea grabs me but the denouement doesn’t come making it frustrating to shelve. Help me out. A planet has two suns but one produces shadows but the other doesn’t. How can that story develop? The most tricky thing happening during the writing is that I’m too easily distracted. I can pretend not to notice when she’d taking off her clothes but you’d see my typing has gone all Bulgarian. After writing the problem is in finding a publisher. I’ve not tried self-publishing my novels so 6 of them are in the capable hands of small press but there’s an urban fantasy, Xaghra’s Revenge that is seeking a mainstream publisher. Not sure how long I can hang on. For novels the biggest post-publication issue is coping with the fame – yeah right. Or, is it the damned promo?

7. Your awarded SF trilogy Aria has a whole life of its own now. What or who do you personally most like about that story? (Pretend it wasn’t you who wrote it, if that helps;)

ARIA is character-led even though it has an original concept of infectious amnesia. Manuel is a bit like me in the story. Bit of a buffoon, chubbier than he should be, uses humour to cope with adversity (his amnesia) but a difference is that he wakes up with a new woman every morning. Or is it just his amnesia… and hers? I like that in book 1 a non-SF reader can enjoy it as a medical mystery – no aliens, no fights in space yet naughty romance and shades of hey!

8. Do you ever have those author glitches when you just want to give it all up and think to yourself: ‘Who would ever want to read this?’ How do you cope?

You know those form reject slips? “Thank you for sending us the fruit of your marvellous imagination and wonderful writing style but it isn’t right for us at this time.” But WHY? So we thank them and ask for a reason but nothing comes back. That’s disheartening and I might stop writing… for a day. Then an acceptance comes in, or I sell one of my books, or an email comes in saying how they related to the mysterious white cat in the ARIA Trilogy or the fugitive in Escaping Reality and I’m off writing again.

9. Have you ever tried writing poetry? Would or are you any good at it? Do you think poetry is still alive or have people simply evolved in a different direction as readers?

My poetry is like Spike Milligan’s. Like this for my infant grandkids:
A triceratops comes knocking at the door,

No, we’re having tea you see?

We might make some more.

Hey watch your horns you nearly got me!

Catch this cherry cake

Sticky with syrup from France

Just right to make a

Dinosaur lift her skirts and dance.

10. Has writing made you more tolerant of people’s flaws or not? Has it changed you at all?

I was tolerant before I started writing. Now push off while I write a love scene.

11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?

I’m writing a short horror story. Jackie the Ripper – how she fooled everyone.


I do hope you enjoyed this interview. I’ll have several more authors as guests this weekend, and then I’ll change the topic a bit, so stay tuned.
Don’t forget to read and help your favourite authors by rating and reviewing their books!

Geoff’s book on Kindle
Geoff’s publisher’s website with more details and formats
Aria You tube video trailer
(E-book and paperbook formats available on Amazon)

Anita Kovacevic