The Girl Who Flew to Mars (Flash Fiction)

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Dear Mama and Gil,
I’m writing this knowing one of you’ll find it stuck between the cushions of the old Ford—the “tank” as we kids nicknamed it. You weren’t talking to me, so what other choice did I have? I snuck past the fence in the dark of night, jimmied open the truck and stuffed it in the front seat.
The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: https://www.pexels.com/@olly

When you find this, I hope you’ll read it all the way through. Promise you’ll keep reading?

First, I’m sorry. Sorry for the pain I caused you. You said me leaving was like losing a child—as if I’d gone and died. It breaks my heart that you think that way. Mama, I’m going on an epic adventure! I hope you’ll come to see it as I do—someday.

Remember when Gil bought me my first telescope? I was eight if I recall. Well, he forever changed my life. You couldn’t get me to bed after that! My eyes literally grew sore from staring up into the heavens each night.

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

Is it any surprise that when Space Command called, I raised my hand? I know, I know. You think I’m certifiably nuts to take the voyage.

It wasn’t an easy decision! I hope you know that. A one-way ticket with no possible hope of return. Believe me, saying goodbye to everyone I know and love has been hell.

But you always taught me to forge my own path. I have you to thank, Mama, for teaching me how to live off the land, how to survive on my own. You made me the warrior I am today.

Imagine what I might find on Mars! I’ll be one of the first to colonize the planet. My dream is to make it livable for future generations. To be part of something bigger than you, me, and all the Rosemonts put together.

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: www.spacex.com

Who knows? Maybe our family name will go into the history books. You can damn well bet I’m going to leave an impression.

A few requests if you’re still reading this…

 

  1. Take care of Misty. Damn, I love that horse. I would’ve liked to have been here for her and my 25th birthday. Give her a big hug and kiss for me? Oh, and let her have a few bananas on her special day.

  2. Would you put a few wildflowers on papa’s grave every September 5th? That would mean the world to me.

  3. Tell Rik and Kurtis that just because I’m gone, they do not get my old room! You are to turn it into a library or a sitting room for you, Mama. Don’t let those boys railroad you into making everything about them.

  4. Please don’t cry about me. You’re not losing me. I’ll be up where I belong. I gazed up at the stars ever since my hands wrapped around that first scope. I never really felt earth-bound. You know what I mean?

By the time you read this, I’ll probably be prepping at Space Q in Palo Alto. Sorry it’s such a long haul from Kansas.

I hope you read this letter all the way through. Mama, I’m going to miss the hell out of you. Please try not to feel guilty or sad. I know this has been so hard on you and the gossips in town have been whispering behind our backs.

Whatever they’re saying—whatever stupid stories they make up—none of it’s true.

The truth is I’m just a farm girl from Clay Center, Kansas who got lucky. I’m heading into space with a one-way ticket to Mars.

I’ll think about you every day. The program head promised we can send a radio message once a month. It’ll take a few hours to arrive, and then I don’t know how fast space command will get it to you.

When you look up at night and see the stars scattered across the vast sky, know I’m out there, and I love you.

Your girl forever,

Charlee Rosemont

American Visionary Art Museum: You Don’t Need Formal Training to be an Artist

00:11 What’s an indie author?

01:10 Why it’s important to create–even if you don’t have formal training.

1:30 Recent visit to the American Visionary Art Museum

02:50 Art from the museum that will blow you away!

Have you ever felt like an outcast? Like maybe you don’t belong or felt like a fraud?

Have you ever tried to accomplish something outside the traditional establishment?

You’re not alone. I’m Cameron Coral, and I’m a sci-fi author who is proudly independent.

I don’t have a traditional publisher who paid me an advance. Nor do I want one. I’m an indie author meaning I dream up, write, produce, and market my books solely on my own.

I don’t have a literary degree. I’m self-taught. I’ve invested a ton of my personal time and energy and money into training and learning from other successful fiction authors.

Maybe some people out there frown upon this. But I believe in supporting local small businesses, helping the underdog like my main character Ida Sarek in my sci-fi series.

And not just authors, what about the art world?

When you go to a museum, typically you’re seeing people who went through traditional training – they went to art school for many years, got degrees and worked under mentors.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with working your way up. But I didn’t know at a young age what I wanted to do. And neither do a lot of people.

So to be able to start pursuing your creative passion at a later stage in life is part of our journey as humans.

Recently, I visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and was blown away by amazing art from people outside the established art community.

Packed with indoor and outdoor exhibits, the American Visionary Art Museum is like no other museum I’ve ever been to. The artists are intuitive, self-taught artists.

Some of the creators are homeless, disabled or mentally ill. Most used everyday objects to create remarkable works of art.

So, what you’ll find in this video are some of my favorite art pieces and sculptures from my visit.

I hope this video and the art will inspire you to have the courage to create. Because no matter what your background and whether or not you’ve had formal training, you have a unique story to tell.

And maybe that story comes out in words or in images or maybe one day you decide to build a statue out of toothpicks and buttons.

It all makes sense. You are a creator.

I highly recommend putting the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD on your list of places to visit on the east coast.

What did you think about the video? Add a comment to this page and let me know!

P.S? Have you signed up for my monthly newsletter? It’s a good one, I promise. I share news about my experience as a writer and creative, updates about my sci-fi and fantasy books, and much more. You’ll get to see cosplay pics and other fun & weird adventures.  Don’t miss it! Sign up below….

 

Ten Reasons Why Robots Are Awesome

robots are awesome

“Calm down,” my mother said as she stifled a laugh.

Panicked nearby shoppers in the suburban Maryland mall circa 1980s relaxed their shoulders when they saw my mother comfort me.

I had just encountered my first robot.

 

At age five, I was shy. My mom thought introducing me to the robot would be a good idea. A cute photo op.

But I had other ideas.

The robot was tall—a huge looming, lurching beast in my memory. In reality, it was a five-foot person dressed inside a plastic outfit doing a mall meet-and-greet outside of KB Toys.

All the other kids loved it. The robot guy probably figured it was an easy gig.

But then he met me.

Terrified, I screamed as though someone had hacked my arm off. The shriek pierced the eardrums of the passing holiday shoppers, causing them to halt and scan the scene for a deranged child abuser.

As I sprinted away from the robot in a panic, little did I realize how much I’d eventually grow to love robots. Later, when my mother explained there was a person inside, my older brother rolled on the floor laughing.

Was it really a human in the robot? Or was it a conspiracy? The beginning of an uprising of 1980s mall robots?

Maybe an army of mallbot warriors lies in wait underneath the rubble of America’s old malls. Future story idea?

Over the years, my fear of robots turned to fascination aided by a steady childhood viewing diet of The Jetsons, Buck Rogers, and Small Wonder.

As an ode to that lonely, well-meaning mall robot (dare I call him MALL-E?), here is a list of why robots are awesome and not scary.

 

1. The new Lost in Space robot.

You can’t help but adore the rebooted robot in LIS—the 2018 Netflix reboot. When young Will Robinson saved the alien robot’s life, he bonded with the young boy much to the surprise of the Robinson family.

Most of the characters would be dead already were it not for the strength and intelligence of the robot. While he may be socially awkward, the touching scene in the cave where the robot dipped his hand in paint signaling he wanted to be part of the family was endearing and unforgettable.

Let’s hope there’s much more of the robot in future seasons. Also, the robot is kind of hot. 

2. Robots make cool armor.

Somewhere in Japan right now,  companies are solving the problems of the future by designing gigantic metal robot suits. Check out this amazing (and alarming) video. 

KURATA, the world’s first robotic mech suit

Is this really happening? Are these the military uniforms of the future?

3. Robots make us consider our own humanity.

In his iconic book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick introduced the world to replicants—androids made of organic matter who were identical to humans. Only an array of bizarre, mundane questions administered through a test held the clue to their true identities.

robots are awesome
Source: Blade Runner | by abductit

Enter Rick Deckard, a cop fed up with his numbing day-to-day existence who hunted for a group of rogue, escaped replicants. We eventually learned the replicants yearned to survive and experienced deep emotions like love and attachment.

The book, and subsequent Bladerunner movies caused us to question what it means to be human, to have a soul, and why one species is “better” than another.

4. When all else fails, send in the robot.

The unsung hero of Aliens was the resident android, Bishop. Ripley hated him at first because an older model went berserk on her prior ship and murdered a bunch of the crew. No wonder she was suspicious.

But when the hungry aliens literally crawled through the walls and the last survivors were stranded far from the only capable ship, who else but Bishop would be fit for the task of wiggling through a long tunnel, programming the ship, and rescuing the humans?

robots are awesome
Lance Henricksen
Source: Wikimedia Commons

In short, Bishop rocked that movie and (spoiler alert) managed to save Newt with only half of his body.

5. Robots can take over the tasks you hate and improve your life.

One of my childhood fantasies was to one day own a machine that would automatically shampoo, dry, and fix my hair in seconds like this one from The Jetsons.

6. They do your housework.

One of my favorite purchases ever has been my robotic vacuum cleaner. My favorite kind of vacuum is the one I don’t have to push.

I turn it on and housecleaning is done in minutes. That is awesome.

7. They serve and protect.

Growing up, I had a crush on Peter Weller as Robocop. I mean, who wouldn’t?

robots are awesome
Source: ROBOCOP | by Wacko Photographer

Rumor has it Weller was hired for his strong jawline. The casting director hit the mark as he turned out to be the perfect actor for the cyborg title character.

8. They run cool hotels.

The Netflix original series, Altered Carbon, is fantastic for many reasons. One of my favorite characters on the show is Poe, the AI owner of The Raven Hotel.

He dresses as if he’s Edgar Allen Poe and will do anything to protect his guest. Takeshi Kovacs ignores warnings that nobody stays in AI hotels anymore and becomes Poe’s first guest in 50 years.

robots are awesome
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Will we stay in AI hotels someday? I hope so!

9. They redeem themselves.

No list about robots would be complete without mentioning The Terminator. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the role.

Of note is Arnold’s transformation from a relentless killing machine in the first movie to protective father-figure in Terminator 2.

Good news! Arnold and Linda Hamilton are coming back in 2019 for a Terminator reboot from James Cameron.

10. They might be our creators.

robots are awesome
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Red pill or blue pill? Here’s why we might actually be living in a Matrix-like computer simulation.

Adventures in Cosplay: Daenerys Targaryen for a day

In April 2018, I attended the Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) in Chicago. Since I live in the city, it’s a convenient con for me to attend; I’ve gone several times in the past few years. But my costumes were always weak, last-minute attempts.

I knew that cosplay was fun. Admittedly, I was envious of the myriad of costumes ranging from store-bought Star Wars Rei outfits to full-body Deadpool outfits to professional-looking anime get-ups to ridiculously realistic mechs that looked straight outta Japan.

This year, I went all in on cosplay. By planning several weeks earlier, I sourced an amazing Mother of Dragons costume complete with a long, blonde wig.

I studied online photos of Emilia Clarke to match her makeup (those eyebrows!). I even went so far as to purchase a small “dragon baby” that would perch atop my shoulder. [Sadly, dragon baby didn’t make it to the show because I couldn’t find a way to attach her and didn’t want to be faced with lugging a plastic dragon around for what was to be a long day roaming the con. Don’t worry, there’s still hope for dragon baby to appear at future fests and cons.]

Upon arriving at C2E2, I found a cosplay meet-up area for Game of Thrones. Imagine how thrilling it was to enter the gates of Mid-Westeros!

I met fellow GOT fans and had a blast talking to others who adore the epic book and HBO series. Later, there was a group photo shoot, and I emerged with phenomenal photos.

This being my first cosplay group event, I wasn’t sure whether to smile or look fierce in the photos. Often, I just ended up looking confused as evidenced below!

I met Jon Snow.

And Jon Snow White!

Spoiler alert: Littlefinger met his demise (again) by Arya Stark doppelgängers.

C2E2 is one of the best comic conventions in the country. It’s very reasonably priced with a ton of excellent panels and content.

Next year, I plan to attend both Friday and Saturday. We heard that Friday is smaller and attracts more die-hard fans (less family + kids FYI).

This was my first year attending night-time events. I bought tickets to Henry Rollin’s live event. I’ve been a fan of his since the early 1990s, and it was a treat to see the former punk rocker turned poet/speaker again.

My takeaways:

1. A big thumbs up on cosplay. I can see how it can become addictive because it’s an adventure to escape reality and transform into your favorite kick-ass heroine or hero for a day.

2. Plan your cosplay well in advance. I purchased my Danaerys outfit from Amazon which offers a ton of reasonable costumes. Be sure to allow enough time to try it on and exchange in case of a bad fit.

3. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll walk a ton at these events. Most superheroes wear boots so keep it simple.

4. Check out the night-time activities. My friend and I had a blast hanging out after all the crowds went home. Caution: the nearby bars were packed and service was poor so don’t count on getting a late-night full meal at the hotel bar.

5. Travel light, relax and enjoy the immersive experience that is cosplay.

6. Lastly, don’t be afraid to dance your ass off like Cousin It…

Imagine If You Had the Power to Save Someone From the Brink of Death…

Hi. Cameron Coral here.

This is the first time I’m writing you from the blogosphere (wherever that is).

I’m excited because my first novel, Brink is now available!

 Brink has been a WIP for two years. I suppose the idea started when I wondered what it would be like to be able to save someone’s life just from your touch. What would that be like? How would you use your power? What if people knew, and suddenly you were asked to save a ton of people? Would you hide your power and use it only on the ones you loved?

What about all the people whom you couldn’t save? Would that drive you crazy?

Octavia Butler’s book Parable of the Sower also influenced me. Her book is a post-apocalyptic story about an empath who is forced to run from her home after it is destroyed and her family killed. Her book is damn good, written in the 1990s,  and eerily prescient about our political situation today.

I took it a step farther and gave Ida, my main character, the power to heal with her touch, the antithesis of Rogue from X-Men who kills with her touch.

Brink has a lot going on. Here’s a line up of the main characters…

A soldier trying to start life over as a civilian…and hide her true ability.

A terminally ill mayor desperate for a cure, while building an army of machines.

A man’s life forever altered in a genetics lab.

A 17-year-old girl fighting to survive and protect her drug-addicted mother.

Coming soon…a blog post on each character: how I dreamed them up, pictures that inspired me, and more about their origins.

Meanwhile, here’s my kick-ass cover. I do love it so.

Click here to order Brink today