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
Six-way power controlled seat.
Frosty rear window?
Electric defogger
Low fuel
Traffic Jam
Red traffic light
Brake pads squealing
Check engine light stuck on
Check oil
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
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
Barnes and Noble/Nook

Don't forget to visit me at Facebook or you can send me an email at


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

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 Schätzchen 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?

See also:
Light Speed Travel, Part I
Light Speed Travel, Part II; Nuclear Propulsion

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Field of Purple Dreams

Around the corner
Near the top of the hill,
Is an eye catching sight
that’ll make you look twice,
maybe thrice.
If you’re not in a hurry,
you might want to stop,
get out of your car
and wonder.
After months of brown earth and dreary skies,
As the ground is born with newfound strains of green,
A field of purple clover turns heads
And imaginations of passers by.
If the rush of life affords you,
leave your car behind,
stand at the edge of an alien landscape
in awe and spectacle.
Drink in the color,
the sweet smell of the bumble bee’s delight.
Take the time,
observe the marvel,
sensory jubilation.
For next week
the plow will turn the field to brown again.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Light Speed Travel, Part II; Nuclear Propulsion

Tell me what you think about this. Firstly, what do you know about the nuclear prohibition in space. Obviously, with the laws of inertia, you don’t want radioactive material flying about the universe. But what do you think would happen with a nuclear explosion in outer space. Secondly, in my story “Son of Thunder,” I proposed a nuclear propulsion device that would harness the expanding energy of an atomic explosion against a blast-plate attached to a ship. Since a nuclear blast’s initial detonation expands at high percentage of the speed of light, I used ten decreasing proximity explosions to propel my ship faster and faster as the reactions get closer to the ship’s blast plate. In the story, my ship achieves a velocity of four percent of the speed of light, exceeding twenty-five million miles per hour. At that speed a ship could travel to mars, depending on orbital conditions, in less than a day.

In researching the story, I discovered that there have been studies on nuclear pulse propulsion, not the least of which was “Project Orion.” Also, there are numerous science fiction forays using such a device. And of course, when you talk about light speed travel, you also have to think about time anomalies. And that’s where the true focus of “Son of Thunder” resides. But that sounds like the subject for another future post. I can sense a “Light Speed Travel, Part III; Time Travel” in the offing.

I wanted to bring this up because I think about it often and would love to hear your opinion.


See also:
Light Speed Travel, Part I
Light Speed Travel, Part III; Time Travel

Monday, May 6, 2013

Seagulls at the Walmart

Seagulls at the Walmart
James M M Baldwin

A screeching gull o’er
Rolling tides of ocean waves
Surfers bob in a salty sea
Sandy shores burning the souls of feet

Graceful flight
my heart is longing
days of sun and drifting blue
warm winds kiss my rosy cheeks

But alas, it is Nebraska
At Walmart no less
Nay an ocean a thousand miles
No fishing allowed
in the frozen food section

What brings this majestic bird?
Scavenger though he is
To my corner of the planet
To brighten my day?
To sprinkle morning cheer?

Across fields of wind-blown plastic bags
Beyond corrals of wobbly wheeled carts
Past the puddles of oil stained blacktop
He has come to dine
In the trash bin at the fast food shop


Monday, April 22, 2013

Light Speed Travel, Part I

While making calculations for my short story “Son of Thunder,” a story about a round trip voyage to Mars at a percentage of light speed, I came up with some interesting data to share with you.

We know light travels 186,282.397 MPS (miles-per-second), which translates to more than 670 million MPH. Current theory does not allow an “object” to move at the speed of light because of the restraint that increased acceleration as it approaches light speed would require an infinite amount of energy.

However, here are some examples of how long it would take to travel to specified locations in a ship capable of traveling at the speed of light. Our light speed ship could travel the roughly 250,000 miles (varies depending on its orbital distance) from Earth to the moon in 1.3 seconds. The 93 million miles from Earth to the sun would take 8.3 minutes. (However, if you’re traveling to the sun you’d better go at night so don’t you burn up ;) ) The time to traverse the 25 billion miles to Alpha Centauri would be 4.4 years. And a trip in our speed-of-light-ship to the edge of the Milky Way galaxy would take a mere 100,000 years.

Seem like a long time? How about this? Using current technology, most of a vehicle’s fuel is used reaching Low Earth Orbit with little fuel left for an interplanetary or interstellar mission. But presuming we could fuel a ship beyond orbit, its speed is around 17,000 miles per hour (408,000 miles per day, 148,920,000 miles per year). Therefore, our space ship travels at 0.0025 percent of the speed of light. Considering our light speed ship took roughly 4 and a half years to reach the nearest star Alpha Centauri (4.3 light years at 5,865,696,000,000 miles per light year equaling more than 25 trillion miles), it would take our ship 170,000 years to travel that distance. Now here’s the real kicker: The center of the Milky Way galaxy--our galaxy--is approximately 30,000 light years. To reach it using our current technology spacecraft would take approximately 1,186,046,511 years, that’s more than a billion years; almost unfathomable, not to mention what it would take to reach another galaxy.

In “Son of Thunder” I proposed a controversial propulsion system that I discuss in Light Speed Travel, Part II; Nuclear Propulsion. Check it out here. But these are plenty of numbers to wrap your brain around for now. Have you ever contemplated space travel and the speed necessary to achieve a deep space program? What are your thoughts? You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.


See also:
Light Speed Travel, Part II; Nuclear Propulsion
Light Speed Travel, Part III; Time Travel

Monday, April 1, 2013

Swords and Dragons

Swords and Dragons
James M M Baldwin

Dragons deal death upon the land
Raised swords split the sky
Dreams of destiny dance in the dark
Serpents soar above singing sorrowful songs
Demons draw their daggers in deception
Snakes serve a sour justice in a sunless season
Dogs growl, drums direct a stampede
Scarred soldiers draw silver sabers from crimson scabbards
A dance of danger drowns a kingdom in demise
Scarlet sands recite somber stories
Darkness drapes the dead in a desolate shroud
A single sword rises in success
Death defeated
Sovereignty saved

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Frayed Knot

In response to a recent query, an agent wrote that she was afraid not. Aside from the old joke about a rope that’s refused service in a bar, goes outside, has its friend tie it in a loop and unravel its end. It goes back in and the bartender says, “Aren’t you that rope I threw out of here. The rope says, “I’m a frayed knot.” But back to the agent: It seemed an odd thing to say. An agent never admitted to being scared from my query. She was probably just being flippant in her use of an idiom. What she should have said was, “I believe, regrettably, that the answer is no, or “Unfortunately, no; I regret that that is not so.” Technically, the way she phrased it, it means she is not afraid. But no; I’m afraid not. So it’s a “no?” I’m afraid so. The full sentence should have read, “I’m afraid I can not,” something she probably did not want to admit. I had hoped she would be not afraid, but ‘fraid not. In the words of a John Michael Talbot song, I’d offer my dear agent this advice, “Be not afraid.” However, since much of my writing has taken a dark turn lately, maybe it was a subconscious compliment. My words may have actually scared her. Maybe I had written my query too well. But, then again, maybe knot.

What do you think about this fearful word play?
Have you ever been scared by a book?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Similarity of Differences

The Similarity of Differences
by James M M Baldwin

There is a difference between the swimmer and the dancer,
the football team and the chess team,
the hockey team and the math team,
the softball player and the spelling bee champ.

There’s a difference between the teacher and the student,
the coach and the athlete,
the mentor and the protégé,
the priest and the parishioner.

There’s a difference between the Buddhist and the Scientologist,
the Taoist and the Wiccan ,
the Hindu and the Jew,
the Christian and the Muslim.

There is a difference between the boy and the girl,
the man and the woman,
the mother and the father,
the husband and the wife.

However, within these differences, there is similarity.

There is a similarity between the Down syndrome child and the Rhodes Scholar,
the graduate and the dropout,
the acclaimed and the unknown,
the distinguished and the despised.

There’s a similarity between the prisoner and the free man,
the doctor and the patient,
the beggar and business man,
the lawyer and the criminal.

There’s a similarity between the author and the illiterate,
the artist and the scientist,
the musician and the mathematician,
the poet and the politician.

There is a similarity between the dependent and the self-sufficient,
the child and the parent,
the young and the old,
the unborn and the dying.

We are all the same.
We are human.
We have life.
We live.

So let us live.
Let us live for life itself,

Whether in happiness or misery, poverty or prosperity,
Whether in health or sickness, youth or infirmed,
Whether in joy or sorrow, loved or lonely.

Let us live for life itself,
For we are all the same.
We are human.
We are one.

Original reduction print
We Are Harmony
by Summer Skye Baldwin

Monday, February 4, 2013

Odd Odds

In a recent article concerning the 1 to 175 million odds of winning a Powerball jackpot, they also listed the odds of other somewhat unusual occurrences. I realize that Powerball odds are easily mathematically verifiable, but some of the listed probabilities seemed a bit… off; such as: Your odds of dying in an asteroid apocalypse of 1 in 12,500 are better than being murdered, with odds of 1 in 18,000. REALLY?! I mean, you can adjust your odds of being murdered by adjusting where you live and what you do, but that asteroid thing seems a bit… askew. Where did they get the statistics for an asteroid apocalypse anyway? But aside from that, what caught my attention was the stated chance of becoming a New York Times Bestselling Author at 220 to 1. They do add the caveat, “If you’re an Author.” But again: Really?! From a separate article I noticed that those odds are about the same as dating a millionaire. Huh? Surely you jest. But I am married so for me, the odds against that are infinite. However, I do know quite a few authors, but I don’t know any from the best sellers list. I’d really like to hear the facts behind that projected likelihood. If anyone can enlighten me; please, fill me in. I must be missing something. I suppose if your last name is Rowling and your first initials are J. and K. the probabilities are pretty much 1 to 1 of making the list. But then again, maybe all you need is initials for your first name, like C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. But alas, they are both dead, so I’d say their chances of writing another bestseller are fairly low. Perhaps they died in the asteroid Apocalypse.

Articles used in this post;
Powerball Odds from the Huffington Post
What Are the Odds? by: Natalie Josef at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Future Fortune

Future Fortune
by James M M Baldwin

Went out in the world, my future to seek
Broke open a cookie, my fortune to peek
Great expectation my hope did withstand
An entrance I made and Oh it was grand

My stature the press quoted as fine
Till I tripped on my feet, fell on my behind
Oh yes I wanted to be a big superstar
But instead here I am living in my car

Monday, January 7, 2013


So, you're a writer? Undoubtedly you've received a rejection letter. (unless you're some type of wonder-child) Maybe if your writing exhibits some hint of promise, you've been lucky enough to receive a personal rejection, and if you're real close, you might have even received some type of constructive criticism or a short note of advice. However, most rejections are the standard "form letter." Believe me, I've had my share. Before the end of 2012, I received my 145th rejection letter, 99th on this particular project.

I've studied how to write a query, with its various required parts. Less than a page including genre, word count, hook, pitch, and author bio. It takes some work to put one together. But no, this is not about the parts of a query. This is about the parts to a form rejection letter.

Part 1- "Thanks for offering us your project." This is the part where they subliminally tell you how great "they" are and how smart you were to try and get them to represent you. It's the "We know we are soooo great" part of the rejection.

Part 2- Right after letting you know how wonderful they are, comes the "No thanks. You Stink." Some subtle, others not so much. They say things like;
"I cannot take on projects unless I feel strongly about them. I'm sorry to say that it didn't happen with this one."
"I am afraid I must pass."
And the most common. "It's not quite the right fit for our Agency."

Part 3- "This is subjective. Now, please go bother someone else with your dreams of becoming published." Typically, they say, "This, of course, is just my opinion and others may feel differently." Duh! Thanks a lot.

Part 4- The final part is usually the, "Good luck when you find someone else to bother." There are variations on this too. There's " We wish you every success." or "I hope you find a great agent who will represent you with the enthusiasm that you deserve." If wishing me good luck actually gave me any luck, I'd be published a dozen times by now.

Finally. If you have received any of these common form rejections, take some solace in the fact that the dear agent at least had the courtesy to copy and paste. One recent rejection I received consisted of a mere three words. "Not for me." Wow! That took some thought. I should feel lucky they took three seconds to trash my hopes and dreams.

Have you ever received a form rejection? Did it contain all four parts? Did it contain anything unusual? Anything funny? Let me know. I'd love to hear from you.