Friday, April 11, 2014

Dandelions





















Dandelions
James M M Baldwin

Mother sent us out
Into the front yard
My brother and me
One cent she offer'd
For yellow flowers
A price on the head
Of dandelions
She Obviously
Did not realize
clearly had not thought
Ten-year-olds could have
certain ambitions
with money involv'd
An hour and a half
A full plastic pail
Mother asked us
How many we had
We had not kept track
I quickly offered
Sixty-one thousand
Seven hundred two
Mother's arms crossed
Foot tapping the floor
I stuck out my hand
Smiling innocent
That must be at least
A hundred dollars
She gave us each five
Waving our money
We both ran smiling
Hoping there would be
More dandelions
Tomorrow

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What is Speculative Fiction?


People often ask me, "What is speculative fiction?" Like all fiction, I like to tell them, it answers the question, "what if?" In speculative fiction, the question is, "What if anything imaginable were possible?" In my stories I've asked questions such as; What if a percentage of light speed travel is possible. What if time travel is possible? What if supernatural monsters are real? What if someone could physically enter the dreams of another person? What if hatred could manifest itself in a biological presence? What if a man discovered a portal between heaven and hell? These are only a few of the questions that have made it into my stories. I have hundreds of questions such as these that have the potential to become future stories and novels.

I know this concept seems like it could be infinitely wide-ranging, but I believe that is what speculative fiction should be. No restraints. Technically, speculative fiction encompasses the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. But even among these three, there are many subgenres. Wikipedia defines it as, " an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, weird fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

According to Google, to speculate means to form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence. They define speculative as engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge. Those are fancy ways to say, "making stuff up." That's what we do when we write speculative fiction. I know some "hard science fiction" fans and writers that might disagree with that, but it's still taking what is known or possible and filling in the blanks. Some relevant synonyms might be conjectural, theoretical, hypothetical, or abstract. Put the word fiction after any one of those and it could probably be considered a subgenre of speculative fiction.

GreenTentacles.com attributes the creation of the term "speculative fiction" to Robert Heinlein (one of the big three science fiction writer of all time along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark) in 1941. DictionaryReferance.com gives a precise definition, "a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements. That makes it easy. Right?

Well, I'd better get busy writing. If you want to know more about my speculative writing, stop by my website. In the meantime, what's your favorite speculative genre. Or, if you want to be more specific, who is one of your favorite speculative fiction authors or what is one of your favorite speculative works?



Thursday, March 13, 2014

In Memory of Your Name

In Memory of Your Name
by James M M Baldwin


I got your mail again today
I don't know you
Never met you

You must've lived here before me
This must've been your house
Where did you go?

Did you find a better place?
A warmer climate?
Are you even still alive?

Maybe your ghost is still here
With me
In this house


I haven't seen you
I heard a creek in the hall
Last night

Most of the mail comes
From someone you never met
From some place you'd never been

Today was different
A hand written letter
With a real postage stamp

I wanted to open it
Maybe then, I would know
Who you are or who you were

I'll keep putting it back
In the mailbox
With the red flag up

The mailman will take it back
Tomorrow
I don't know where

For now, I'll remember you
Not your face
Only your name

Your name will live
In my memory
My mailbox will remind me

Of your name



What do you think? Do you ever get someone else's mail. Let me know. Or tell me about something else on your mind.
Thanks
Jim

Friday, January 31, 2014

Exciting News From Author Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Cover Reveal from Author Jenelle Leanne Schmidt's Second Son















In an attempt to manipulate the future, a family and a nation are forced to
decide between two brothers. Guided by a prophecy spoken hundreds of years
before, the King and Queen of Llycaelon have set their course. Their goal: to
fulfill the prophecy and save their nation from a dire fate.

Rhoyan has always understood and accepted his own role as second born and
perpetual prince. He looks forward to the day when he will be a warrior in his
older brother’s guard. When Rhoyan is sent on a quest filled with unimaginable
danger, nobody anticipates the greater repercussions.

As Rhoyan journeys far across the seas on his appointed trial, he will battle
creatures of legend, suffer shipwreck, endure captivity, and lay claim to a
fallen star. When tragedy strikes, Rhoyan must struggle to return home believing
his quest has failed. However, the home he left no longer awaits him and the
true test of his strength and character has only just begun.

Long before Aom-igh needed a champion, Llycaelon had a Second Son.

AUTHOR BIO:

Jenelle grew up the oldest of four. Every night before bedtime her father read
to her and her siblings, and it was during these times that her love for
adventure and fantasy were forged. While she adored the stories of the Lord of
the Rings, the Chronicles of Prydain, the Wheel of Time, and the Chronicles of
Narnia; it wasn’t long before her imagination led her to the creation of a world
and story all her own.

In 2001, Jenelle completed King’s Warrior, originally titled The Dragon’s Eye,
as a project for her father who wanted something new and fun to read to the
family at night. This first endeavor gave way to the completion of a four book
series that is full of the same adventure that Jenelle grew to love in
literature as a little girl. Jenelle graduated from Taylor University in Indiana
in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in English Education.

Jenelle has written numerous short stories and many poems, as well as some full
length work within the realm of science fiction. King’s Warrior is her first
published work and she is currently working on bringing the rest of the series
to public availability. Jenelle lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her
husband Derek and two little girls Leiana Arwen and Nathalie Eowyn.

Peace
Jim

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014

Happy New year to one and all. I wish everyone the best and hope that your dreams and desires are fulfilled in 2014. I'll be back. Stay tuned. The best is yet to come. Jim

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In My Car

In my car
James M M Baldwin

In my car
The world is mine
In my car
The sounds of my kingdom are at my fingertips
In my car
I control the climate with the twist of a knob
In my car
the world rolls by at a speed determined by my right foot.
In my car
My future unfolds though a clear glass shield
In my car
History recedes in the rearview mirror
Stuffy inside?
Automatic window
Rain on the windshield?
Intermittent wipers
Getting dark outside?
Automatic halogen headlights
Uncomfortable?
Six-way power controlled seat.
Frosty rear window?
Electric defogger
Lost?
GPS
Low fuel
Traffic Jam
Detour
Red traffic light
Brake pads squealing
Check engine light stuck on
Check oil
Overheating
Flashing red and blue lights
License plates overdue
Insurance card missing
Driver's license expired
(I never liked that picture anyway)
Now what?
Flat tire
Tomorrow
I think I'll walk

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor"

This weekend is the official launch of "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor." In James M M Baldwin's first full length novel a devoted husband and father risks his family’s security to prevent a powerful doctor from controlling a mystic portal initiating a global storm threatening humanity. Spencer Murdoch unearths a supernatural portal beneath his home and discovers an ancient being guarding a gateway between heaven and hell. Spencer must find the person predestined to enter the portal before the mysterious doctor can use it for his own power.
You can participate in the book launch by getting your copy at the following locations.
Amazon, paperback and Kindle edition
CreateSpace, paperback
iTunes
Barnes and Noble/Nook
Smashwords
Kobo
Diesel
Sony

Don't forget to visit me at Facebook or you can send me an email at jamesmmbaldwinauthor@aol.com

Thanks
Jim

Friday, August 30, 2013

An interview with James M M Baldwin

Recently, Smashwords offered all of its authors the chance to participate in an interview on the Smashwords website. Here is what James had to say.

Q- What's the story behind your latest book?
A- "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor" was inspired by the emotional state brought on by a post 9-11 environment, the spirit of a world changed by a single act. This is the story of a family working to retain their happiness and security despite obstacles beyond their control.

Q- What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
A- When I'm writing, and the story is flowing, I really become immersed in the characters and their plight. It's almost like I become that character and I'm living through them. I know it sounds a bit psychotic or schizophrenic, but I think that feeling is the experience of any creative person while they're writing, or painting, or composing, or whatever. Being a fantasy writer means that I experience things I could never live through in a million lifetimes. I hope the reader feels the same.

Q- What do your fans mean to you?
A- Naturally, the fan is what makes the world go 'round for a writer. The reader is the most important aspect of creating. I want them to come away from my stories with a
"Wow. That was different… or original." I'm not sure if I have any fans in the true sense of the word. Not like J K Rowling or something. I'm sure I have some vaguely interested people. I guess they would be my fans. Hey. If you're out there somewhere, drop me a note at jamesmmbaldwinauthor@aol.com

Q- What do you read for pleasure?
A- I often enjoy reading classics, especially science fiction classics. I also enjoy reading speculative short stories. There's just something exciting to me about entering another world every time you sit down to read.

Q- Who are your favorite authors?
A- My favorite author is probably Ray Bradbury. Not only do I enjoy his stories but I think he is a good role model for an author. In his work ethic or approach I mean. Another along those same lines is C S Lewis. His space trilogy, specifically "Out of the Silent Planet" is what made me decide I wanted to be a writer. Also, Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" quadrilogy is one of my all-time favorites. Her imagination is unrivaled. I recently discovered that she wrote a fifth book in that series. I need to get my hands on that and read it. The Jenkins and LaHaye "Left Behind" series is entertaining and inspirational, especially for anyone who has read the bible. My favorite modern writer would have to be Ted Dekker. His circle trilogy is A-plus.

Q- What is your writing process?
A- Most of the trained writers I workshop with at the Nebraska Writers Workshop will probably scoff at me for saying this, but I'm a seat of the pants writer. Most successful writers have everything planned out before they begin. My planning is all in my head. So it's not like I don't know where I'm going, but there's always room for exploration and new direction. Albeit, a lot of what I write gets cut out later.

Q- Describe your desk.
A- Uh… messy.

Q- What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
W- Because I have a day job, I don't have any choice. My writing takes place in the dark of night. I think that fact is reflected in the subject matter and tone in my writing. Of course family also plays an important part in my life. So, if you're getting the drift here; I don't sleep much.

Q- When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
A- As I mentioned before, family is an important part in my life. So I like to take them to do free things like hiking or to the beach at a local lake. My son is interested in paranormal investigation, and I'm his sidekick. I'm also a bicycling addict. Whenever I can, I take off and ride somewhere between 10 to fifty miles at a time. I keep trying to push the distance a little further each time. Maybe someday when the kids are grown, I'll ride my bike across the country. Years ago I wrote and recorded several rock albums, but it's been a while since I've forayed in that direction. It would be a joy to have the time to get back into that again. I studied art in college and enjoy pencil drawing. I'm also an avid painter and sculptor. Wanna buy a painting? Hahaha

Q- Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A- I wrote a story about a young man that finds himself alone. The phone rings and he picks it up to find no one there. Then the doorbell rings. He runs to answer it and no one is there. He runs up and down the street searching for someone, anyone. He finds no one. Scared and dejected, he returns home. He passes a mirror and looks in. And… you guessed it… no one is there. I thought it was brilliant at the time.

Q- What are you working on next?
A- I think, like most authors, there's always a plethora of projects running through my mind. Sometimes that can be a distraction to progress. But, as for projects actually in the writing stage; I have two short stories I need to finish. One's has a working title of Sch├Ątzchen Drachen, which is German for baby dragon. It's the story of a young boy in the Black Forrest of Germany that finds a Dragon egg. The other is a darker tale that was actually the result of a bad dream. I'm not exactly sure how far to take that one. The dream was pretty extreme. After I finish those two, I need to get to a new round of editing on the completed second novel in my Spencer Murdoch series. It has a working title of "The Island of Sora Sesha." I'm really excited to get back to that and publishing it sometime in 2014.

You can get books by James M M Baldwin at the following locations
Paperback edition of "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor" at CreateSpace here.
Paperback edition of his science fiction short story collection at CreateSpace here.
Paperbacks and Kindle editions at Amazon here.
Also available in Amazon stores worldwide.
Ebook editions for any ereader in the Smashwords store here.
IBooks for iPhone, iPod, or iPad at iTunes here.
Nook editions from Barnes and Noble here.
Also available at Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and can be requested as an ebook checkout at libraries worldwide.





Monday, July 15, 2013

Journey’s Tears

Journey’s Tears
James M M Baldwin


Earthen mother’s cold winds blowing
Over valleys season’s snowing
Disappointed hearts are growing
Coal black eyes humility
Into darken’d depth’s despairing
On broad shoulders burdens bearing
among the tribe sorrow sharing
Longing for tranquility

Entire people’s nation suff’ring
Open wounds without a cov’ring
Disembodied spirits hov’ring
Changes in earth’s energy
Along solemn red road trav’ling
Hopes of multitudes unrav’ling
Ev’ry child’s dreams abandoning
Farewell to the elderly

Across a vacant valley guarding
Ghostly apparitions parting
Ancient sorrows place of starting
Generations sacrifice
Tragedy goes on unending
Face of happiness pretending
Predecessors’ souls ascending
To the afterworld enticed

Luminescent life-force beaming
Flying flitting floating gleaming
Agonizing voices screaming
Far off hungry babies cry
Seeking honor noble beings
Far from their oppressors fleeing
Future generations freeing
Brave men falling down to die

Ev’ry step humiliating
Stolen breath suffocating
Cold forgotten end awaiting
Men and women one last breath
Feet upon their last march shuffling
Frozen winter winds blustering
A once proud people suffering
Meet their destination; Death

Written in the form of H P Lovecraft's "Despair"
Inspired by the book "Crying for a Vision: A Rosebud Sioux Trilogy, 1886-1976" by Don Doll (Editor), Jim Alinder (Editor), John A. Anderson (Photographer), Eugene Buechel (Photographer), Herman Viola (Introduction), Ben Black Bear Jr. (Foreword)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Light Speed Travel, Part III; Time Travel













As promised, here is the discussion of light speed travel and time disruption. In my story “Son of Thunder," an experimental propulsion system pushes a ship towards Mars at a percentage of light speed, creating a time anomaly for its crew. First of all, Einstein came up with this convoluted theory of time dilation where the closer you approach to light speed, the slower time moves. So, using Einstein’s “twin paradox,” if a twin traveled at 99.99% of light speed for six months, when he returned his twin would be fifty years older than him. Really? Prove it Einstein. As mentioned in previous discussions, without referring to wormholes or time wrinkles, limitations of light speed travel are based on increasing mass and the need for an infinite energy source. So how can we test it? Well, the first experiment was conducted in 1971 with atomic clocks and an airplane traveling around the world at 600 miles-per-hour. After the trip, the moving clock was a few billionths of a second behind the stationary clock on the ground. A few billionths? Really? Whoop-dee-do-dah. In more recent years, the same experiment with atomic clocks was conducted using the International space station. This time, after six months orbiting the Earth at around five-miles-per-second, the difference was about seven one-thousandths of a second. WOW? (sarcasm). Maybe Einstein was right. Well, these types of miniscule time differences don’t make for good science fiction. And no matter how much we slow time we can never make it go backwards. The time dilation theory is much different then a theory I used in my story “Kronos Methodios” where a machine freezes its occupant in time or perhaps propels them through a wrinkle and deposits them at a point in the future. So, for my story, my time incursions caused a possible leap between alternate time lines or maybe just delusions to the travelers themselves. Anyway, the time anomalies in “Son of Thunder” wreak havoc with the timeline, threatening the safety of the courageous astronauts conducting the experiment. Can they straighten out their problems or will it cost them their lives. What are your theories on time travel or light speed travel? Anything I failed to mention?
Jim