B Cubed Press Offers Alternatives

B Cubed Press

Since the days of the ancient Greek playwrights, writers have used humor to cut would-be tyrants down to size.  “The pen is mightier than the sword,” but the feather of the quill can be used to tickle.

B Cubed Press was developed to create books that hold a mirror up to the oaf in the White House and his neo-fascist henchmen.  Admittedly, sometimes it’s a funhouse mirror.  In an era of “Fake News,” censorship, and clumsy propaganda, B Cubed Press invites readers to think and laugh.

Alternative Truths, the first anthology in the series, has 94 positive reviews on Amazon.  It’s a five-star book that contains my Darrell Award-nominated contemporary fantasy “As Prophesied of Old.”

Alternative Truths anthology was formed, when on February 23, 2017, I, and many of my friends, asked what we could do. We could write, we could join that noble tradition of using the pen, to poke the powerful.  So was born, Alternative Truths. And our pens became word processors and our ideas became stories.  Bob Brown”  As my colleague K. G. Anderson said, “Twenty-four science fiction writers had one hundred days to think about Trump.  The result is Alternative Truths.” The book was published just before Trump’s 100th day in office.

More Alternative Truths was more of the same, but with poetry added.  (It contains a filk song I co-wrote with Nebula winner Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.)

Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern Age took a religious bent.  Some thieves took exception to the notion that there might be alternative interpretations to their theology and stole every copy of the book from MisCon in Montana.

Alternative Truths: Endgames is the fourth and final book of the Alternatives quartet.  It offers fictional possibilities of what might be the result of this interruption into the experiment of American democracy.

After the Orange explores long-term possibilities of what the current regime could do to us and our descendants.

Digging Up My Bones  is an anthology of feminist poetry.

It’s nearly time for summer reading.  Check out these B Cubed Press offerings at your local library or bookstore.  Also available on-line through Amazon.com.

B Cubed Press

Buy a book, then leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews are love.  Even if it’s just a tweet saying “I liked this book.  You might, too.”

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the official opinions of Krypton Radio, Kelly Educational Services, nor the County of San Diego.

Mirrored: a book review

Alex Flinn‘s Mirrored, like Mercedes Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Mirrored is a contemporary YA novel.  Most of the characters are appallingly shallow, because most of them are teenagers.  Ms Flinn has written several YA novel retelling classic fairy tales.

The book starts with Violet in the 80s.  Homely, weird, cruelly teased, she foolishly thinks physical beauty will solve all her problems.  She has a crush on Greg, a boy who seems to appreciate her weirdness and her intellect, but who falls for the prettiest of Violet’s tormentors,  Volet meets Kendra who claims to be a witch and centuries old.  Kendra tells Violet she has magical powers, too, and begins instructing her in these gifts.

Part 2 of the book is told from the POV of Greg’s daughter by Jennifer, Celine.  Celine becomes Violet’s stepdaughter (oops! spoiler) as Violet’s goals haven’t advanced since high school.  Be beautiful, get Greg, get back at Jennifer.  Where Violet actively desired beauty and schemed to get it, Celine hates the fact that A, she is beautiful, and B, most people judge her only by her beauty.  (Not a problem I’ve ever had, but I can see where it would be annoying.)Celine befriends Mauricio “Goose” Guzman, a short but sensitive boy in the school theater program.  Celine is a mega-fan of singer Jonah Prince, a One Direction-type performer, as is her BFF Laurel.  Celine and Goose co-star in the school play, getting better acquainted.  They meet Kendra and learn Violet is not just a bitch, but an actual witch.

When (spoiler warning again!) Greg dies, we learn Violet’s goals and dreams have not matured since her teenage years. She’s one of those women who can’t cope without their man.  (I did mention most of the characters are shallow, didn’t I?)  When Violet decides Celine is a complication she no longer needs in her life, Goose’s family takes her in.  Part 3 of the book is told from Goose’s POV.  He decides that Jonah Prince can awaken Celine from Violet’s spell.  It’s not easy for a teenage boy to get access to a rock star heartthrob in another city, but for Celine’s sake, he’ll try.

I’d give this a 7/10. I might have liked it better if I were a teenage girl instead of the mother of one.  I much preferred Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow, where the characters are older and have more depth.  That’s part of her Elemental Masters series, set in Edwardian London.

ALA Booklist said, “Plenty of action to enhance the traditional tale, and a completely satisfying ending will leave readers with a big smile.”  I don’t disagree with them.

Digging Up My Bones

A book review

Sorry I haven’t committed bloggery in a while, but I had a minor stroke in September, and I’ve been concentrating on recovery.

Digging Up My Bones is a poetry anthology by Gwyndyn Alexander.  It’s a marvelous collection of powerefully poignant poems, on subjects as diverse as dysfunctional families, romance, sealioning, Greek mythology and feminism.  I seriously believe my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read some of these poems in their high school English classes.  If you’re planning to have smart descendents, invest in this book so they’ll have the original at home.  It will impress their teacher.

“Gwyndyn Alexander, is one of the essential poets of our generation. Her poems strike deeply into the heart of the pain and joy of being a woman in a patriarchal society, her work speak truth to power in a way that only her heartfelt and stunningly crafted poems can do”

My favorite thus far is “Seasons of You (For Jonathan),” which is a love poem Ms. Alexander wrote for her husband.

You’re walking through the storm,

laughing,
cloaked in rain.
Droplets bead on your hair
crowning you with diamonds.
Late night conversation,
and your words
fall in my mind like seeds.
Ideas bloom amid strange growth,
and I am wrapped in your
verdant intellect.
Air moves across your skin,
raising the shivers.
Even the wind
wants to caress you.
You lounge by the hearth,
moving shadows painting your face.
You stretch like a sated cat,
your eyes full of fire.

Because this book is published by B Cubed Press, naturally there are some political poems.  Everything feminist is at least slightly political, when written by a woman of intellect, but “A Consevative Prayer,” (excerpt below), “Democracy Dies in Silence,” and “The Alt Right to Bear Arms are overtly political.

Republican Jesus,
save us from liberals,
bless our sacred guns,
protect us from regulations
we pray.
Republican Mary,
Lady of Gerrymandering,
hear our prayers.
Give us this day
our daily kickback
from the NRA.

Disclaimer: I am not entirely a disinterested party.  I have had one story, the Darrell-nominated “As Prophesied of Old, and one song “Donald, Where’s Your Taxes?” published by B Cubed Press, and I used to proofread for them when my brain synapses synapted better.

At any rate, if you like poetry or feminist thought, I recommend this book.  You don’t need a Ph. D. in literature to understand or appreciate these poems.

Writing with Spirituality

A guest blog by Phyllis Irene Radford

Writing with Spirituality

Alternative Theologies, parables for a modern world

Phyllis Irene Radford

Reading a book imbued with spirituality and later trying to write those qualities
into my own work has fascinated me for a long time. Spirituality is more than religion. To me it is a spiritual character, someone who lives their faith and has a personal
relationship with their beliefs. Their faith guides every decision they make even when
they question the advisability of the decision.  For them there is no division between the divine and reality.I played with these ideas in Guardian of the Vision, Merlin’s Descendants #3.

 

Griffin Kirkwood is a Roman Catholic priest who must wrestle with the strict
teaching of his religion, weighing those truths against the truth of Magical talents in
himself and his family. “A spell is nothing more than a prayer.”

 
I started to see that faith is more than emotion, but it needs to invoke and
emotional response from the reader. That is hard to do but begins on a character level.
The writer, and the reader needs to bond closely to the character and understand what
they believe and why.

 
Then came the Confederated of Star System series by C.F. Bentley.  Sissy dove head first into my life and would not go away until I told her story. An undereducated factory worker, our heroine found herself dragged into the Temple Caste and made High Priestess because the powers that be thought she’d be malleable and do as she was told. They learned otherwise. But finally given the right and the means to read the history of Harmony, both goddess and planet, she has questions that she cannot reconcile with her very direct and magical connection to her home and her faith.  No one messes with the avatar of a goddess, even when she is forced into exile on a space station.

 
That series exhausted me, and I went back to more mundane topics. Until…
My best friend and co-writer, Bob Brown, came up with a new anthology idea.
We’d already co-edited and written for Alternative Truths, which hit several Amazon
bestseller lists, and More Alternative Truths. He published a couple of other books
without me while I wrote a couple books on my own. But then I got a phone call. “Want
to edit Alternative Theologies?”  How could I say no?

 
We racked up almost 150 submissions. In every open call anthologies there a
few inappropriate pieces. Some in the “What were you thinking?” category that make
me head for the hand sanitizers. There are a few that are beautifully written pieces that
don’t quite fit theme. We bought two of those for the next anthology Alternative
Apocalypses.  And then there is the good stuff. The really good stuff that made us cry when we had to choose one from among four with similar themes.

 

In reading the stories I had to sit up and take notice, then I had to think. Think
about my own beliefs, think about how the authors presented themes, think about the
readers who would also think, even if they ended up throwing the entire collection
against the wall. I thought about the stories when they made me laugh, or made me cry,
or made my heart swell with new faith and affirmation.

 
This collection does not bash or denounce religion. It does rail against those who
pervert the teaching of their faith. It examines why we believe, crave believing in
something bigger and grander than ourselves. And it gives me new foundations for my
own beliefs.

 
Believe what you will, in the deity who speaks to you. And I hope you can read
these stories and think.

 


I am not in this volume myself.  I came up with two or three ideas, but none that I was able to transmogrify from story ideas to actual stories.  SMM

Win a Book!

More Alternative Truths was released on Veterans Day in the USA and Remembrance Day in the UK and the British Commonwealth.  That was Saturday.  Today is Monday, and already the Amazon statistics on sales are amazing.

I confess I am in shock and awe at these statistics after only a few days.
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, food
Author Debora Godfrey with a cake to celebrate the release of More Alternative Truths.
Would you like to win a copy of More Alternative Truths?  Here’s how:
Click on this link to enter the contest.
Here’s the Table of Contents, so you can get an idea what you’d be winning (if you’re the lucky winner).

Foreword David Gerrold 9
Orangemandias Adam-Troy Castro 19
The Right Man for the Job K.G. Anderson 20
I Am A Woman Jane Yolen 34
How Dangerous is Republican manic-depressive disease? Both bipolar phases are destructive, but the manic ones kill? David Brin 36
Drafting the President Lou J Berger 44
Dr. Republican’s Monster Jim Wright 54
A Letter from the Federal Women’s Prison Stephanie L. Weippert 57
One of the Lucky Ones Wondra Vanian 64
A Beautiful Industry Stuart Hardy 72
Queens Crossing Lou Antonelli 83
Small Courages Eric M. Witchey 93
The Nompers Rebecca Mix
The Ten Commandments Renegotiated Jim Wright and Bobby Lee Featherston 104
Illegal Citizens Irene Radford 113
During the Lockdown, After the Lockdown Michael Haynes 126
A Sonnet on Truth Philip Brian Hall 136
The Diplomatic Thing Esther Friesner 137
The Politicians Mike Resnick 154
A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature Vonda N. McIntyre 176
Conspiracy of Silence Philip Brian Hall 180
HMO Karen L. Frank 189
Being Donald Trump Bruno Lombardi 202
America Once Beautiful Brad Cozzens 220
America First Tais Teng 221
Final Delivery Kerri-Leigh Grady 237
No Tanks Jane Yolen 253
Treasures Rebecca McFarland Kyle 254
Remembering the Bowling Green Massacre Steve Weddle 272
Tweetstorm Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg 274
The Tinker’s Damn Edward Ahern 283
Wishcraft.com Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 286
A Woman Walks Into a Bar Jill Zeller 302
America Year Zero Gwyndyn T. Alexander 312
Future Perfect V. E. Mitchell 314
How to Recognize a Shapeshifting Lizardman (Or Woman) Who Has Been Appointed to a High-Ranking Government Cabinet Position Kurt Newton 321
I Didn’t Say That Jane Yolen 323
Non-White in America Debora Godfrey 324
Desperate Resolve John A Pitts 332
You are Weighed in the Balance Rivka Jacobs 341
Priorities C. A Chesse 352
The Healer Melinda LaFevers 354
Triple R Presents Colin Patrick Ennen 365
Donald, Where’s Your Taxes? Susan Murrie Macdonald and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 368
A Spider Queen in Every Home Mike Morgan 370
Trickster Times Jane Yolen 397

Or watch this video by Stuart Hardy.  That’ll give you a good idea what the book’s about, too.

If you’re not the lucky winner, go to Amazon or your local bookstore to buy a copy.  It’s roughly $9 for the e-book or $17 for the paperback in the US, or £13 in the UK.

Ghosts, aliens, robots, silly, sad, serious, scary — More Alternative Truths is over 400 pages of political satire, science fiction, and fantasy from some of the best SF/F authors in the USA, the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.  (Oh, and I’m in there, too.)

A Review of “Alternative Truths,” a Guest Blog by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is a Nebula winning science fiction/fantasy writer and editor  She recently read and reviewed Alternative Truths, the political satire anthology from B Cubed Press, and was kind enough to give me permission to reprint her review as a guest blog.

E. A. Scarborough

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

In The Wind Between the Worlds, Robert Ford, an RAF radio operator unfortunate enough to be helping the Tibetan government set up radio links between the settlements when the Chinese invaded described his treatment as a prisoner. His captors softened him up with sleep deprivation and starvation, and with sessions of yelling at him that what he believed was lies and what he thought was wrong was true. They kept repeating the lies they wanted him to believe, substituting them for any real news until he was confused about what was true and what was not. By the end of his stay, following his “confession,” he was convinced that his enemies were his friends and vice versa. He said that it took him years after his release to sort out his own concept of reality. Everything he was told was counter to his own opinions and experience, but isolated and bombarded by his captor’s “alternative truths,” he was forced to accept their version of reality.

More recently, June Weinstock, woman from Fairbanks, Alaska, in Guatemala on an archaeological expedition, was waiting for a bus when a mob of villagers attacked her, beating and stabbing her until rescuers told them she was dead. The government had been spreading the story that American tourists were kidnapping Guatemalan kids and cutting them up for their organs. When one of the villagers couldn’t find her child, people set upon Ms. Weinstock, who later died from her injuries. The child was later found rehearsing for an Easter pageant. The disinformation that led to the death of the woman was a Guatemalan “alternative truth.”

“Alternative truths” can have truly deadly consequences, and although the stories in the anthology of the same name are fiction and don’t pretend to be otherwise, they illustrate 24 reasons why it’s not a good way to run a country. The current administration should leave the story-telling to the professionals.
POTUS’s rambling oratory style is so well portrayed by Adam-Troy Castro in “Q&A” and Jim Wright’s “President Trump, Gettysburg, Nov. 19, 1863” mimic POTUS’S rambling oratory style that I almost couldn’t laugh for cringing.

My favorites were the more allegorical tales. Diana Hauer’s “The Trumperor and the Nightingale” gives a Trump/Midas twist to the Chinese fairytale about a real versus a fake songbird. The story is kind to “the royal family” but not as forgiving of the advisors and is one of very few in the book with a happy ending.

Louise Marley’s “Relics, a Fable” is a poignant tale of what life might be like for the old and poor in the shadow of the humongous wall that is supposed to keep Mexicans from immigrating to the US.

“Patti 309” by K.G. Anderson is also about older people, but the once-affluent and even celebrities in their–er–golden years, when age and ill-health have deprived them of not only their money, but also much of their identities.

“Melanoma Americana” is a thrilling uniquely Capitalist tale of where the money goes when big business meets medicine.

I particularly enjoyed the British humor in Parliament’s take on an a familiar-sounding American head of state in Susan Murrie Macdonald’s “As Prophesied of Old.”

I also found “Letters from the Heartland” by Janka Hobbs to have a more home-grown gallows humor.

Joel Ewy’s “about_the_change.wav” is a love story. It reminded me of a couple I know who almost split up over the election, though it has a bit of a Stepford Wives meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers twist to it. “Frozen” is also a love story, kind of, but this one doesn’t have any cute reindeer or princesses in it.

Particularly chilling were three stories about ordinary citizens caught up in the changes that come to pass when alternative truths become real. “Raid at 817 Maple Street” by Ken Staley, “Good Citizens” by Paula Hammond, “We’re Still Here,” by Rebecca McFarland Kyle and “The History Book” by Voss Foster show the horrific consequences of innocent behavior when monitored by a well-armed witch hunt in a time when paranoia substitutes for imagination and alternative truths trump (pardon the pun) reality.

“Altered to Truth” by the anthology’s co-editor (with Bob Brown) Irene Radford, “Alt Right for the President’s End” by Gregg Chamberlain, “Rage Against the Donald” by Bruno Lombardi, “It’s All Your Fault” by Daniel M. Kimmel, “Monkey Cage Rules” by Larry Hodges, “Duck, Donald: A Trump Exorcism” by Marleen S. Barr, and “Pinwheel Party” by Victor D. Phillips all feature different takes on what happens when the Wicked Witch of the West is also in charge of the West Wing.

“Walks Home Alone at Night” by Wondra Vanian is unfortunately non-futuristic, since it seems to be occurring right now.  The kind of mentality that threatens the protagonist in this story happens too often, particularly to minorities upon whom certain people currently in the Cabinet and Congress have declared “open season.”

In this versatile anthology, there’s even a story the NRA could love–a good old-fashioned-though-modern shoot-’em-up Western called “The Last Ranger (ANPS-1, CE 2053)” by Blaze Ward. An iron-jawed legendary hero, a young man earning his spurs, overwhelming odds, headin’ ’em off at the pass, and lots of things exploding!

This book doesn’t cure any of the evils that people do, but it does provide a feast of food for thought.

If this sounds like something you’d like to read and review, please do. It’s available at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Altern…/dp/B0718YNJ97/ref=sr_1_1… Please share!

white house snowflakes

Mahalo to Elizabeth Ann Scarborough for her kind words on my story, our book, and her permission to reprint this book review on my blog. And merci beaucoup to the 70 readers who have reviewed Alternative Truths on Amazon thus far.