New Sequel To Sci-Fi Romance, Syphons is Coming In 2020

Photo of Jellyfish by Mathieu Turle via Unsplash

Solstice Bellatrix and her friends are returning in 2020 with a brand new story in the sequel to Syphons (2019).

The story is currently in the Oh-My-God-There’s-So-Much-To-Revise stage and will be released sometime in mid-to-late 2020.

As I get closer to releasing book two, I will be sending updates through my email newsletter, and of course here on my blog, don’t forget to follow!

In the meantime, there’s currently a Giveaway under way. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win either a Starbucks gift card or your copy of Syphons.

More amazing updates will be shared in the coming weeks. And, I can’t wait to present the cover designs in the future. (Maybe, I’ll turn that into an artist’s contest.)

Oh well, we’ll see.

Thanks for reading!

1st Annual Bloggiversary Giveaway!

Winners Will Be Chosen on Friday, November 8th, 2019.

Hiya Literary Fans,

It’s been a few months since I had a Giveaway of this magnitude. Life is treating me good. So, I want to share the positive vibes with some freebies, gift cards, and other goodies.

Here’s how to enter to win:

1) Follow this blog (if you’re already a loyal follower, then move on to the next step.)

2) Like this post.

3) Sign up for my blog’s newsletters here!

Easy Right!?

Who can enter:

1) Open to International literary fans who can win a free copy of Syphons (e-book only).

2) U.S. literary fans can choose free copy of Syphons (paperback or e-book) or 1 winner receives the Starbucks gift card.

Don’t worry, you get something out of this even if you don’t win. Many will enter. But…., everyone will get a free copy of my short story Stolen By The Ash, A Fox-Shifter’s Story just for signing up for my blog newsletter.

This contest is not sponsored or affiliated with any other businesses or social media outlets.

Follow ALL 3 steps and you’re entered to win. Miss one, and well, you know what happens.

Thanks for reading!

A New Adult Sci-Fi Novel by D. A. Smith ***Syphons: There’s No Denying Their Existence***

Click Here For Your Excerpt

They took my best friend as prey.

But, now they’re coming for me.

Only problem is… I’m one of them, too.

Waking up in the luxurious penthouse suite of a tantalizing telepath is not how Solstice Bellatrix expected to end her girls’ night out. After being saved by said, stranger Solstice soon discovers that the “monsters” in her nightmares are very real. When she discovers her best friend was taken hostage by a colony of ravenous brain-devouring parasites known as Mindstalkers, who better to ask for help than one of their kind?

Alexander “AJ” Ward has devoured a brain or two, but this “reformed” brain-devourer knows his overwhelming cravings for Solstice is more than just skin deep. After letting her into his mind, AJ is Entangled and bound to keep his Queen safe from the onslaught of attacks from voracious predators and old enemies.

Thankfully, he’s got connections in the form of powerful Guardians and a team of alien hunters that’d put the Men In Black to shame, not to mention some gifts of his own.

Solstice and AJ must survive their battles within while figuring out how to protect the ones they care for.

If Solstice can keep him grounded and AJ willing to trust her, then they might just have a chance against their most powerful threat yet.

Will Solstice & AJ succeed in saving her best friend?

Or will they lose everything, including each other (and their sanity), in the process?

Want To Discover The World of the Mindstalkers?

Grab Your Free Preview Here!

Or

Buy The Paperback or Kindle Edition On Amazon Now!

3 Signs You’re An Obsessive-Compulsive Writer

http://Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

Do you wake up in the middle of the night, startling your cat and significant other, searching blindly in the dark for your pen, Moleskine notebook, or your smartphone? 

Have you ever dreamt of quitting your job just so that you can make a few nickels and dimes posting articles non-stop every day on various blogs and writing platforms? 

Are you currently plotting your NaNoWriMo novel right now, while reading this article? 

If your answer to any of these questions is Yassss! 

Then good news, you’re an obsessive-compulsive writer. 

But really though, what are the signs of an OCW? Based on my experience here are three things all writers with OCW deal with daily: 

You Eavesdrop On Strangers Conversations For Dialogue Ideas: 

Writers, you know that when some juicy details are being shared between colleagues or even your friends while you’re hanging out, you’re trying to craft in your writer’s brain how to transform their gossip into your dialogue. 

Writers with OCW can’t wait to put pen-to-paper to record what they hear. Everything from a domestic dispute between your next-door neighbors who don’t speak a lick of English to the little kids that pop-off with profanity while their parents are pushing them around the grocery store basket. 

Wherever you go the voices follow and no, you’re not crazy. You’re just trying to put together a great conversation, but only with the imaginary characters on the pages of your book will be having the conversation. 

You Loathe Anything That Doesn’t Involve Working On Your Writing: 

If you’re reading this article you fall into one of two categories: a full-time writer or a full-time writer with a day job. Either way, nothing makes you hate another human being, task, or day job like NOT working on your Work-In-Progress. 

When the clock strikes 5 p.m you’re rushing through traffic, racing to eat dinner, and making sure every last head hits a pillow, just to get some writing time. 

You’ve Lost Track of Time Thanks To Your Writing:

True story: In high school, I attended a dry General Chemistry I college lecture with an Australian professor that looked like a short, pink, and balding kangaroo. 

I spent the entire lecture writing in my journal. I spent the entire class writing. By the time the class ended, I had two chapters fleshed out and no knowledge of electron configurations. Later, that story became my first self-published sci-fi romance novel, and I flunked that chemistry class.

So, when you go through marathons of endless writing, and you get so involved in your work, that day becomes night. And, eventually, you’re missing out on showers. 

Then, you forget to feed yourself (and your pissed-off cat), and then your hubby is asking you when you’re planning on doing laundry. 

Just know that when you look up from your work, you’ll know time’s up and you’ll wonder where’d it go. 

It’s okay if you’re an Obsessive Compulsive Writer, just learn to be balanced.

Finally A Rick & Morty Release Date!!!

Hiya Literary Fans,

I’m a fan of sci-fi, so obviously Rick & Morty Season 4 has been on my watch list since forever.

I just watched the new trailer which aired on Adult Swim on October 7th at Midnight.

Apparently, there’s going to be five new episodes aired on November 10th of 2019.

Hopefully, the trailer will be available online by the time this blog post is shared. I don’t want to spoil any of you guys with what the trailer held, but let me tell you, new season looks pretty promising.

I’m excited, how about you?

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub!!

Updates! Hey There D. A. Smith, Where Are You?

D. A. Smith Write’s Logo!

Where have I been?

Funny you should ask. Well, I’ve been suffering from “fiction writer’s block” and have been procrastinating and stalling creating new work. So, I decided to switch things up and hang out on Medium.com, working on stories themed on humorous or stressful moments in my life.

Here’s a tidbit:

I also managed to survive at the day job 90 days. And, I’m starting to make plans to attend more local literary events. I’ll try to give more updates in the future. But, for now you can always check out my Medium stories in the meantime.

One final thing, back in 2016, I had this blog called “The Life Major” and I found all of my old blog posts and stories that focused on majoring in life when attending college is out of the picture.

Follow me here or on my socials and stay on the look out for future blog posts featuring my time spent taking a permanent gap year from higher education and what I’ve learned about life in the last 6 years since graduating from high school.

What I Learned About My Divorced Parents While Watching The Infinity Train Miniseries on Cartoon Network

Train Tracks Photo by Derek Story on Unsplash

Cartoon Network has been lit when it comes to producing fantastic entertaining shows that not only draws in kids, but drew me in as a 20-something. 

Since the Regular Show ended, I stayed optimistic that CN would produce even more great shows. When the Infinity Train minisodes aired a few weeks ago, I was hooked. 

If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry I won’t be getting into the spoilers because I need you to watch this show like, yesterday

Infinity Train takes place in the mid-west and it follows a young girl named Tulip who’s dealing with the divorce of her parents by suppressing her feelings and redirecting her energy towards coding. 

Fast forward to a verbal fight with her mother about who’s taking her to code camp when her parents drop the ball, and she ends up running away from home and getting sucked into a mysterious train in the middle of her neighborhood (never been there before). She discovers secrets on each car, including mystical creatures, maddening moments, and plenty of light humor. Like most cartoons of this genre, she had a furry companion and a sadistic, yet funny robotic sidekick.

What I thought was going to be a “tired” Adventure Time spin-off ended up being a deeper thought piece, which deals with life as the child of newly divorced parents. 

Let me tell you, I had all the feels. My parents didn’t divorce until I was eighteen, all my life, I’d wished they’d done it sooner. Not because I didn’t want a nuclear family, but because my parents were radioactive when together. They needed to be apart, separate as the East is from the West. 

Like Tulip, I lived with my single mother, and I too used things such as web developing and even writing to fill the emotional sadness of dealing with my parent’s separation. However, unlike Tulip, I wanted nothing to do with my other parent (an article for another day). 

The reason why Infinity Train hit me so hard was because of the depiction of a divorce from two perspectives: one from the child experiencing their parent telling them bad news, and one from the enlightened child looking into the situation as an outsider after gaining some new light on the situation. 

In reality, the show taught me that I need to stay in the past and relive the rough and tough times leading up to my parent’s split. While divorce does change everything, it doesn’t define who you are as a person. I also learned that parents shouldn’t be given a hard time when they decide to get a divorce. Finding love is tough. Keeping love is tougher. Divorce is hard for everyone, but their separation(even if necessary) should not make you hate your parents, it should just help you to realize that they have been through a lot and are ready for a change.

Anyway, that’s my 10-cents on Infinity Train. Did you see it? What do you think about Infinity Train?

Did You Grab This Freebie? *Kindle Story Excerpt*

Stolen By The Ash, A Fox Shifters Short Story – Synopsis:

Zoe’s in trouble thanks to the local Ash Wolf Pack. The Pack has taken the fox-shifter hostage, and adds her to the menu for their full moon hunt. She’s not about to let the pack sink their fangs into her without snapping right back at them. 

Zoe must run for her life or risk losing it. But, she’s not about to suffer alone. Galvin is the disgraced lone wolf of the Ash Pack. He goes rogue after setting his gaze on the tender vixen in the red fur.

Will Zoe survive? And, can she really trust Galvin?

Excerpt:

Raw meat, drained of nutrients, bathed in chemicals, and served on a ceramic plate slid under the door of my prison cell. The only source of sunlight to flow into the room came from that crack under the door, and now a set of shadows blocked the glow on the other side.

It’s been days since I’ve eaten a hearty meal. And, hunger nipped at my sides. If it weren’t for the occasional field mouse, sneaking into my cell to steal materials for bedding, I’d be forced to consume the odd-scented meat.

I stared at the raw meat on the plate. Store bought meat. What an insult to a fellow shifter. They should’ve let me starve.

But, the vixen wasn’t having it. She wanted us to feed.

“Eat Zoe.” Her voice hissed in my mind.

I crawled towards the plate.

“Feed. We need strength. Moonrise is near.”

My inner voice was right, I needed to eat. We needed to survive tonight.

I picked up the plate of meat. And I lifted it to my nostrils. Before I dug in, that acrid scent of the meat made my nostrils twitch. Again, the scent of chemicals overpowered my instinct to feed.

I ran my fingers over the meat. It felt slick, true enough, but when I touched my thumb to my tongue. Bile rose in my belly. No, I refuse to eat it.

I added it to the pile of excrement in the shadowy corner of the shed. Now, no matter how badly I wanted to gobble it down. It’ll remain grotesque and out of reach.

Poison. The meat is poisonous. My vixen reluctantly agreed, and its anger eased a bit, though hunger remained…

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to review my e-book on Amazon or grab your freebie now and share this free article with your friends. Don’t forget to comment.

*Limited Time Only* Free Urban Fantasy Short Story For Amazon Kindle!

It’s that time of year again. Stolen By The Ash, A Fox Shifters Short Story is absolutely free for a limited time only on Amazon!

If this is your first time checking me out as an author, you’ll get a free taste of my urban fantasy short story.

Here’s a quick Q&A about the story:

What’s The Short Story About?

A young fox-shifter is kidnapped and held hostage by a fierce pack of hungry wolven. The Ash Wolf Pack captures and hunts down a variety of shifters on the night of the full moon. And Zoe is on the menu. If she can escape to town before the pack dig their fangs into her, she’s safe. But, if the furtive fox fails, she’s as good as dinner.

Why Did You Write This Story?

I love wolves, they’re my favorite animals of all times. But, the market is saturated with stories about wolves and wolf-shifters. So, I wanted to create a story that featured a fox-shifter, and break outside of the “must-turn-during-full-moon” mold most urban fantasy stories feed on.

Who Should Read This Book?

I invite everyone to read. But, if you love shapeshifters, fast paced action, a bit of twists and turns, and a touch of romance. You’ll enjoy it.

I’m Intrigued, Where Can I Get My Copy?

Typically the story is on sale for .99-cents on Amazon, but today until August 1st you can grab your kindle copy absolutely FREE!

I Don’t Care for Fantasy Do You Write Anything Else?

I sure do! If you’re into science fiction, I have a novel just for you!

What Should I Do If I Loved or Absolutely Barfed In My Mouth After Reading Your Short Story?

Funny you should ask, Amazon allows readers like you with opinions to share them. I’ll appreciate it. And, if you liked my short story, I’ll shower you with thanks. And, if you hated my short story, I appreciate your opinion, and try better next time!

Rant: Never Stay In A Toxic Workplace


Photo by Egor Padalka on Unsplash

I don’t understand how I keep finding myself on this end of the corporate ladder. I’m at the bottom, no longer near the rungs, I’ve done everything I assume imaginable to keep a job. But of course, I get chopped like a pile of iceberg lettuce leaves for a salad.

I hate writing about losing my job. It infuriates me. I tried to suppress the urge to write about being fired, but it keeps coming back. This post may sound like a rant, and dammit, I’m trying hard not to make it come off like that. But, I have to get it off my chest, otherwise it’s going to prevent me from being an honest and productive writer. I hate bearing this same stupid weight.

In 2016, I was hired by an insurance company that promised me the world. At least in my head they did. I went through two interviews, took a test but never received the scores, why would they matter?

I was hired after the second interview and sent to the training department.

Immediately, I fell in love with the atmosphere, it was like a college campus, and my colleagues were classmates. The trainers taught us everything we needed to know in order to do our jobs. But, I had an advantage, most of my colleagues were new to insurance, I had worked in insurance since I was 16, so I expected to move quickly up the company.

A job posting opened up for me in the claims department. (I promise to spend another post talking about how claims drove me insane.) But, long story short, I was promoted within 3 months after getting hired.

I was paid well. I was also fed free food. I think they use food as a golden handcuff since they got the good restaurants on speed dial. My work-life balance seemed to be more reasonable than my previous occupation.

And, then Hurricane Irma and then Matthew hit.

My workload in the claims department became unbearable, at this time, I was in the department for over a year. I kept up with the demands of my clients. But, I couldn’t help them, I could only make phone calls and hoped they were covered. I felt guilty whenever the insurance company denied a claim. But, I had other individuals to help all at the same time.

While claims became chaotic, I managed to cope, but life threw me a curve ball. I became violently ill during the late winter of 2017, and I feared that I might lose my job.

So, I asked my manager if I could work from home on the days I didn’t feel well. He gave me permission, but never followed through with getting the paperwork done.

I was afraid.

Fear always gets me in trouble at work. I’m afraid of stepping on toes. Rocking the boat. Standing up for myself. All of these stupid fears is what’s led to my current dilemma.

Out of fear, I started to look for work in another state. Maybe, if I got away from my environment, including claims, I could strive in the real world. My plan to move to North Carolina for work fell through the cracks.

So, I remained quiet at work.

Suffering inside. I couldn’t understand why I hated a place that I had grown to love. I knew the work was tough. I knew I couldn’t please everyone. But, why did I see red when I entered those security doors? I blamed myself, and worked on changing my attitude, but even then I failed.

My work-life balance became non-existent as my mother’s own disability crept into my life. I ceased having a social life. I was done with living at all.

I just worked, took care of my mother, and prayed I didn’t die due to my own mysterious illnesses. The middle management started behaving coldly towards me.

Could they tell that I was sick? Were they planning on firing me for taking one day off work to care for my disabled mother? What will I do if I lose my job?

All these worries ate at me, until a bright ray of sunshine helped me out of my darkened pit. My old manager asked me to rejoin her department and I did.

Everything got back on track, I was training to do new work. No longer stagnant. Sure, I was still sick, and I still had family issues, but I saw renewed joy in work.

A year after being rehired in the customer support department, I started training with a new department. The manager training me made me nervous. I was cautious around her. Something about her didn’t seem right. She was aloof, but cunning if that makes any sense. I assumed, I was being paranoid. After four months of training and learning the ropes. I applied for a position in that department, anyway (idiot!).

I was given positive feedback by the hiring manager, but not the manager who trained me. I had a sinking feeling, I didn’t get the position.

The following day, I received an email from the hiring manager stating that she had to go with two other employees, instead of hiring internally. She said it was because they had 10 years of insurance experience. I had less than them.

I understood.

It didn’t bother me.

Besides, I enjoyed my current team. But, the following day my boss pulled me into her office. She brought to my attention that the manager for the department I trained for not only believed my communication skills were lacking, but she said I had poor work ethic. And, that they overlooked me because I never asked her for more work in her department. Pretty much, I was lazy.

I was taken aback. The other manager rarely went to work and she didn’t train me. Her employees trained me and taught me everything I needed to know. Between her daughter’s girl scout meetings and her children’s Christmas presents shopping, she never mentioned I wasn’t doing my job.

I didn’t stand up for myself. I let my own boss rip me a new one. Again, I was afraid of being fired, so I remained church mouse quiet.

From that day forward, I kept my eyes focused on the keyboard. I worked through lunch. I avoided water breaks with my colleagues to keep working on projects. The situation with the manager from the other department blew over. I was removed from all of her team’s tasks, and I gladly obliged.

Still, in the pit of my stomach, I knew that my job was going to end.

In early 2019, we had a client service award meeting, fifty colleagues of mine received rewards, I knew I wasn’t getting anything. I wasn’t even envious, I just knew that I needed to work harder.

At that same meeting, it was announced that my company was sold, after the CEO stated in October 2018 and I quote: “We will never, ever, ever, ever, sell the company!” Yes, he used that many evers.

The air changed in my workplace and everyone started to quit or be fired for mysterious reasons. All of the firings never occurred because of the merger, at least that’s what the multiple emails a day said.

I had a gut feeling I was about to be gutted.

In the meantime, I trained with a new department, and I made sure to keep track of all my work in the form of spreadsheets. I followed up with the manager and asked for more work whenever I had a period of respite. She respected me, and I had respect for her. And, things were going great.

Her team had gotten behind in their work due to a heavy sales month. So I hopped in to assist. I was barely in her department for a month before one of her sales agents told her that she needed me to do more tasks and faster. I promised them I could, because I knew I would, and I did.

At the end of the month of February, a position opened up in the department. I applied for it, but never received a response from the manager or the hiring manager. I knew at that moment, I was done, but why?

My boss who hired me in 2016 and rehired me in her department back in 2018 pulled me into the office. I gave her a thick packet of all of my assignments that I’ve completed in the last four weeks in that other department, as well as communication between the teams and myself. I asked her to share it with the other manager. She said she would.

Then she told me the reason why I would never be hired in ANY of the departments and why I should QUIT sending my resume to ANY of the managers, it was because back in 2016, I took a test on my hiring week and my scores showed that I lacked initiative, thoroughness, and urgency.

I just frowned, and a small tear touched the corner of my eye. I was pissed at myself for showing any emotions. My boss gave me an ultimatum, leave the company or be under surveillance by her personally until I do my job better, and maybe then I might be able to find a better job outside of the agency.

I took the hint. I thanked her for being my manager and she fired me. My last day was March 1st.

The following day, I was given a request by the other manager who denied my resume. She wanted me to do additional work for her colleagues. I simply responded to the email that I wasn’t qualified to do their work.

It’s been a month since I got booted. I’m still jobless. But, happy AF. I’ve gotten healthier. I smile more. And, I know what it means to be in a toxic workplace. From this experience, I learned to trust no one but myself. I also used the experience to remind myself that corporate America is made up of people who don’t really know what they are doing, but are cool with stepping on nobodies to get ahead. I guess, I should’ve wore thicker shoes.

I did have one final message for my boss and my colleagues after getting the boot. I looked everyone in their eyes and said, “Remember the person you look down on while you’re going up is the same person that looks down on you when you fall to the ground.”

So, I got this off my chest, I’ll go back to writing about my new book and anime tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

An Open Letter Of Condolence To Japan & Kyoto Animation <3

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

As a self-proclaimed Anime Enthusiast and a viewer of the anime K-On, I would be remiss as to not include my condolences in a genuine letter to the Kyoto Animation Studio where young animators between the ages of 20-34 lost their life in a violent arson attack. This letter is my way of sharing my feelings about the event and how important it is to live life creating and to the full! I hope I don’t offend anyone.

Dear Kyoto Animation,

I have no other words to say but I am sorry. I apologize for the lost of 34 brilliant individuals just starting out in their dream careers as animators, writers, and creators.

As a fellow creator, one of the reasons why I wanted to be a writer is to leave something behind for my family in case I lose my own life.

I am sending sincere love and warm hugs to each and every parent and the family member that belonged to those group of young creators.

They are loved.

They are looked up to.

And, they are appreciated for their hard work.

I’m an American and I do not know much about the Japanese culture. And I mean no disrespect if my letter comes off as disingenuous or rude. But, no one deserves to suffer by any means. And, all artists around the world extends extreme love to Japan and Kyoto Animation during this sad event in history.

I hope to see your company and surviving team members grow and thrive considering these sad times.

We Love You Japan & Kyoto Animation!

Kindly,

D. A. Smith Write

An Anime Enthusiast

The Best Ways To Prevent Writer’s Fatigue

lisa simpson writing GIF

Your regular writing routine falters. Ideas no longer flow from your skull like a junior high student’s volcano project. You know your content needs to be king, but you feel more like an indentured servant to it. Then, the worse thing possible happens; writing stops feeling entertaining. Your “I ❤ The Writer’s Life” smartphone’s lock screen window starts to mock you. And, next thing you know, you’re binge watching Real Housewives instead of getting some well-meaning writing done.

Is this a sign that you will never pick up a pen, pencil, keyboard, or typewriter again?

No, you’re probably just suffering from writer’s fatigue.

First, here’s the definition of fatigue as paraphrased from the Mayo Clinic: “Unrelenting exhaustion that lasts longer or is more profound and isn’t relieved by rest [alone]…”

In other words, your writing makes you feel weary over a long period of time and that can effect every aspect of your life.

writing GIF

So, what are the typical side effects of writer’s fatigue?

  • Losing your joy and creative spark when it comes to your writing assignments.
  • Focusing on the negative such as poor sales, low ratings, and of course “destructive” criticism from reviews.
  • Writer’s doubt rears its ugly head along with writer’s block.
  • Internal self-criticism starts to sound more like a high school bully’s taunts.
  • You’re re-working the same parts in a story without making any real progress.

If you feel like the above points describes your current mood on a weekly, if not monthly basis, don’t fret!

Just try adding these things in your life to counteract the “blahs” that come with writer’s fatigue:

office win GIF by think!
Get Plenty of Rest

Night owls remember that the brain needs to recoup from editing/revising and dealing with a soul-sapping day job. Making time for sleep or a regularly scheduled cat nap will help ease the torture that follows pulling multiple all-nighters just to complete your manuscript.

You Are Not Alone

Check any social media outlet and you will find other writers who are dealing with the same things as you. Some may have gone so far as to take a break from writing, in order to focus on their own mental, physical or emotional health.

And, guess what? That’s good. Don’t be afraid to reach out to experienced writers, who may have suffered from and survived fatigue. They may have tips that can give you great advice on how to keep keeping on.

Invest In Ergonomic Equipment

Writing on your stomach while laying in bed or hunching over in an uncomfortable arm chair while writing can cause aches and pains over time. Consider buying a comfy desk chair, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse set, or just remember to move around once in a while (and blink once in a while).

Get Your Own Space

Speaking of getting your own comfy desk chair. You man need a change of scenery. No, you might not be able to afford that gorgeous beach-side cabana in an exotic island rainforest with plenty of fruity drinks and free WiFi. But, you can find your own space to return the good writing vibes. Just check out these 100 famous authors and their work spaces to get inspired.

Finally, whether you take writing seriously or just enjoying it as a hobby remember that the symptoms of writer’s fatigue can sneak up on you and hopefully these tips will help you stay clear of letting writer’s fatigue ruin your life.

In the comments below, let me know how you deal with writer’s fatigue? What’s your go to method to prevent fatigue of any kind?

instagram GIF by Fran Solo
Don’t forget to like, share, and comment!!

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D. A. Smith Writes Update: Starting A New Job is… Tiresome!

Yep.

I knew this was going to happen.

Last month, I started a new insurance desk job. My last insurance job dumped me two months before I released my first sci-fi novel. The extra time being laid-off gave me opportunities to write more and market. However, after three whole months with no leads on a new desk job (and one insurance agency giving me the runaround for 6 weeks), I had no choice but to drain my savings and funds I put aside for marketing my novel just to cover my rent and to buy medication for my disabled mom. UGH!

But…

I’m thankful my new job pays me way more money, and theoretically the workload should be less than my old job, since it is a smaller insurance agency. But, let me tell you worrying about rent while getting a hang of a new position… S. U. C. K. S!

All I can say is: Thank you God, and I hate Adulting!!

Anyway…

Things are starting to click for me at work. I feel a lot more comfortable with my colleagues, and while it’s not a dream job it’s a practical step that allows me to dream bigger and keep writing again.

So…

Since, I’m not rushing home to face-plant in bed, after a long day behind the dual monitors. I’m using my time away from work to follow-up with blogging, my next novel, and growing my audience.

In the past, I’ve made the goal of posting at least twice a week. And, I hope to make that a reality.

Thank you to all of my followers and readers who checked out my blog and kept my view counts so high while I was MIA. You all are amazing!

Thanks for reading!

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5 Sci-fi Movies That Inspired My Debut Novel

As a 90s kid, the only movies I remembered watching besides animated flicks like The Lion King or the occasional live-action comedy such as Dr. Doolittle was sci-fi movies.

Today, movies from my past and present helped me create the fantastic world of Syphons, my debut sci-fi novel.

Here are the 5 movies that inspired me to write Syphons.

Men In Black 1

Just Look Right Here!

What is cooler than discovering that your world is surrounded by aliens? Learning that there’s a top secret government organization assigned to protect the world from said aliens.

MIB is one of my favorite movies because of the idea of having a complete novice like Agent J be introduced to races of aliens superior to his own intelligence. The movie made me feel small, in a way that humans aren’t the only ones living on this tiny planet.

MIB inspired my creation of Edge Labs in Syphons. Edge is the secret organization that seeks to gain more knowledge about the Mindstalkers by dealing with them one-on-one. I wanted to create an organization that not only tackled big-bad alien parasites, but also respected the fact that Mindstalkers are here to stay.

Dreamcatchers

I Am Not Surprised…

Originally, a book written by Stephen King, Dreamcatchers is the next movie on my list. When I first watched the movie on the SyFy Network, I was equally disgusted and enthralled by the premise of the story.

Evil alien parasites that infiltrated host bodies and lived in their digestive tract until it was time to move onto a next host was so gross! This movie felt more like horror than sci-fi (as to be expected of King), but it managed to hold my attention until the end.

Parasites in most science fiction flicks and movies always seemed to be the mind-controlling kind. I loved the idea of people being controlled by something as insignificant as a lowly parasite. Mindstalkers not only manipulate their host’s bodies and thoughts, but they can influence others without even infecting them!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

They Coming for You Bruh!

There are many remakes of this particular movie. The trope is also a very common one used in most sci-fi flicks. Aliens invade the Earth, snatch the minds of human beings, and force them to do their bidding.

One thing that stood out in this movie for me was their hive-mind mentality. By forming a single entity using numerous individuals and host bodies, the aliens are able to form a powerful resistance against humanity.

When you think about it, what’s worse than having your best friend turn against you and become a total monster? That scenario is one of the things I explored with the relationship of Solstice and her bestie, Carmen, in Syphons.

Cocoon

Eternal Youth At Its Finest in Florida

If you live in Florida, you’ve probably heard of or watched the movie Cocoon. It was filmed in Saint Petersburg, FL.

Here’s the gist, elderly people are given youth and longevity by aliens that are pretty much semi-aquatic pod people living in a swimming pool.

In Syphons, the Mindstalkers are able to breathe underwater. And, yes, the location of the novel takes place in the Tampa Bay Area, which is about twenty minutes away from Saint Petersburg.

Species

All in the name of science.

One day, a group of scientists create a gorgeous humanoid using the genetic information sent to them by aliens from another world. The next day, a violent alien breaks out of their lab, and wreaks havoc on their town searching for some poor sap to be her baby-daddy.

It’s not cinematic gold, but the monster design is pretty legit. It kind of reminds me of the chestburster-type alien queen from the 70s-80s classic Alien.

I wanted my human hosts in the novel to share some physical characteristics that mirrored that of the aliens in Species.

For instance, syphons are shaped like tentacles. Each host and gender have a different amount and function for their syphons. The host’s spine contains the syphons. And, they can “siphon” the brains of their victims through the hollow tubes of a syphon, like a straw (hence the name).

So there you have it, my inspirations for different parts of my novel, Syphons came from those movies, and the rest from my twisted imagination.

Do you have a go-to movie that inspired you to write a novel? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading.

“Invisible Boundaries” – A Flash Fiction Sci-Fi

Photo by Kym on Unsplash

Last month, I attended the SunLit Literary Festival here in Florida and entered their annual writing contest. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the writing contest with my sci-fi flash fiction story “Invisible Boundaries”. However, I wanted to share the story on my blog with you to read and critique, if you so choose. Here’s the story for your reading pleasure!

Invisible Boundaries by D. A. Smith

When I opened my eyes, light the color of cerulean filled the room. The placid blue light glowed against the surrounding walls and equipment of the lab. Faint humming came from the center of the room, where an enemy spy captured by the intergalactic federation hovered on his gurney. His eyelids twitched as the REM projection in his mind stimulated brain activity and immobilized him.

I sighed deeply, rubbing exhaustion from my heavy eyelids. I returned my attention back to my holo-screen and read the kill order from my superiors for the hundredth time. My patient’s Earthling name was Commander Reid Spruce, but I knew him as Marok-ta. I never expected to be in the center of a conspiracy to take out my home Andromeda out of orbit. The federation’s guards found Spruce tampering with our oxygen stores and even attempting to create mechanical failures throughout the shuttle. Marok-ta can’t be capable of something so heinous. Can he? But, what could I expect from someone who wasn’t a Martian? The Earth-borne alien lied about his identity to me, even after I gave him my hearts.

At this point, I had a duty to end his life. Reid never belonged here. As the final Earthling on the surface of the Red Stone, he needed to be taken out. The demise of the final threat to the Cleansing of Mars meant peace for my species. We are the true heirs of this Stone. Our land belongs to us, not the thieves from the Cerulean Stone planet Earth.  No more foreigners would claim what always belonged to us.

The intergalactic federation’s plan to force Earthlings into an invisible boundary meant that humanity will no longer be allowed to misuse space travel in order to conquer other worlds. Earthlings belonged on Earth. They became pests the minute they set foot on Mars. My father’s death during the Red Stone War would’ve been in vain had he learned I spent time with the foreigner.

My hand waved the holo-screen’s translucent image aside and a miniature gun-filled with a special vial of neurotoxins that liquifies the human brain came into view on my desktop. I reached into the silver case and drew the weapon out. I held the gun, between my two feelers, and glanced over my shoulder back at Spruce. The Liar. I turned at a ninety-degree angle and closed the distance between us. My feelers danced across the holo-screen monitoring his REM sleep, and I forced him awake.  

The machine hissed as glasses rose off Spruce’s face. His eyes flew open immediately. As his dark-green pupils adjusted to the light in the room, he turned his attention to me. Surprise was written all over his dark red face. He squirmed, and craned his head towards me, when he realized he’d been pinned by the anti-gravity gun, he quit struggling.

“It’s you, Iba-la. I’m so happy to see you!” He spoke in my native tongue. He used the informal -la ending, which translated into “my dear” in Earthspeak.

“You lied to me, Marok-ta,” I jeered. “Nothing that leaves your mouth I will believe. You are an imposter. A threat to my land’s safety and people!”

Terror struck him. He knew that I knew. Now, what would he say or do? Will he cower and beg for me to free him? The superiors promised me that his species were cunning negotiators. No Earthling that set foot on Mars should ever be trusted, they only wanted to steal our resources.

“Iba-la, don’t be upset,” he said and closed his eyes and added, “you deserve the truth.”

“Then, why didn’t you tell me the truth from the beginning? My family brought you to our home. My mother treated you as a son. I–I cared for you.” I managed to choke out.

Marok-ta looked at me distressed.

“I had to do this for Earth. The pollution of that world is much too great for our scientists to handle. Our ancestors damned us with pollution since the beginning of space travel. We had to escape the pestilence of our own making. We needed Mars as badly as I needed you.”

I gritted my teeth, a click of frustration reverberated along my second air-hole just under my throat and first set of lips.

“You didn’t care about me,” I said. “You used me.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t use you. Iba-la, we share the same blood,” he said, calmly.

“We do not!”  

“We both came from the Red Stone,” he said. “Yes, I’m human. But I was born here. Sending the humans of the Red Stone back to Earth is like forcing one of the Native Martians to live on an ice-cold comet. We are all one in the same!”

I grabbed his dark red arm, darker than mine. I held the three-needle points of the syringe just a feeler’s width away from his bicep.

“You have no right to be here. You should’ve never came,” I snapped.

“I can’t control where my mother decided to birth me. Neither could she control her mother. We came to Mars for sanctuary. We needed this planet. Your species should know what it’s like to be alone in this galaxy. You judge me. But your species didn’t populate this planet until survivors from the comet that crashed into its surface first appeared. Do you know what that makes you?” he asked.

“That’s ancient history,” I returned. “It means nothing, now.”

“It makes you a hypocrite,” he continued. “Your entire species consists of aliens that immigrated to a barren rock and turned it into their home. If you must kill me, make it quick. I thought you were different. I was wrong to think that the daughter of a warrior would be anything other than an empty-minded autocrat.”

My feelers loosened their grip on his arm, though the needle pricked his skin firmly. My feeler hovered just above the trigger. Commander Reid, no, Marok-ta kept his eyes focused on a spot on the ceiling. My hearts fluttered as memories of us spending time staring up at the moons, talking, and touching one another stirred tendered emotions within me like a violent solar storm surging across the crimson desert.

I retrieved the weapon and slammed the gun down. I shut the anti-gravity gun down.

He sat up, rubbed his forearm and looked into my eyes. 

“You’re letting me go?”

“I never wanted to imprison you to begin with.” I looked away. “I’ll tell the superiors that your body was purged from the ship. I never want to see you again.”

“Thank you Iba-la. You are a true friend. And, I’ve always cared for you.”

“Promise me that when you return to Earth,” I said. “You will tell them that a hypocrite saved you.”

“No, you aren’t one. I knew I could trust you with my life. I promise all Earthlings will know what you’ve done for us,” he said.

“What will you do about the forcefield the intergalactic foundation plans to activate?” I asked in a concerned tone.

“I plan to alert the governments of Earth of their plan. If there is a species that knows anything about walls, it’s the ones on Earth.” He said.

Let me know what you liked or didn’t like about my short story in the comments.