SFR Brigade Showcase for April

SFR Brigade showcase

Welcome to the Science Fiction Romance Brigade’s showcase. Once a month, the brigade’s authors highlight snippets from new work, WIPs, cover reveals or other fun things. But let me start at the beginning.

Most stories begin with a grain of sand.

Not literal sand.

Mental sand.

When a rough grain of sand gets caught in an oyster’s shell, the oyster secretes a layer of mother-of-pearl around the grain, trying to make the sharp edges less annoying. Then another layer, and another. Out of a nasty little annoyance, a beautiful pearl is born.

Like sand trapped in an oyster’s shell, my stories starts with a tiny kernel. Mental sand, if you will. The kernel rubs against my imagination, reminding me of its presence. With little more conscious volition than an oyster, I add details and characters and incidents. If I’m lucky, I add enough layers that a story is born.

The kernel for The Trial of Tompa Lee came to me in a dream. But the dream (of someone being hunted on an alien planet) bears no more resemblance to the published book than a grain of sand does to a pearl. After being framed for mass murder, Tompa faces a trial by combat against 300 vengeful aliens.

The kernel for The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station was a character. In the wee hours during a bout of insomnia, I watched the French movie Amelie. The lead character is a shy woman who goes around doing anonymous good deeds. She’s such a good person — I had to write a character like her! She became  Sandrina, a mute young genius who spreads her good deeds throughout a city-sized space station. When the station is invaded, it’s darned lucky to have guardian angel like her.

The kernel for Alien Contact for Idiots was the image of an island mysteriously appearing overnight. What if Native Americans from the future of an alternate Earth moved their entire kingdom to our world? I’m a North American westerner, and there aren’t many suitable islands out here to choose from. Want to know which island I chose?

The kernel for Newborn was the idea of a clone who’s born fully grown, well-armed, and programmed to assassinate a particular person. Jo Beaverpaw is no infallible killing machine like the Terminator, though; her programming is quirkily flawed, which leads to romance with her target’s bodyguard. (Newborn is on sale for a short time at 67% off — so this is the perfect time to make Jo’s acquaintance.)


What about you? Where do your story ideas come from?

Newborn is now available at a drastically reduced price. Check out all the 99c books!



  1. Cailin Briste · · Reply

    I love the sand/pearl analogy. My hope is to turn out AAA Akoya pearls every time.

    1. My hope is to have a whole bloody necklace.

  2. Some of my key scenes come from dreams too.
    I see our books are next to each other in Patty’s promo.

    1. Our books are next to each other? It’s Kismet … but don’t tell my wife.

  3. I love the analogy. Most of my ideas tend to come from a character – who may or may not appear in a dream but sometimes just slides into my mind (like a grain of sand into an oyster:) )

    1. This sounds like me watching Amelie and getting my character Sandrina. That particular story leaped into my heart as soon as I had her character.

  4. KM Fawcett · · Reply

    Love the sand into a pearl analogy!! And how the pearl bears no resemblance to it! So true! I’ve dreamed a few story ideas, or had a character that needed a plot, but the idea for Captive came when watching mistreated horses on animal planet, I thought what if that was us? Bingo! A human pet story.

    Your quirky, flawed terminator sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. Dream ideas are fairly rare for me, but just last night … middle of the night, actually … I woke up with the solution to a roadblock in my WIP. I got up at 5:00 to write. Good thing it’s Saturday. 2800 words!

      1. KM Fawcett · ·

        Don’t you love it when that happens? Good for you Ed! Hope you went back to sleep after you got in your words.

  5. Great analogy. I daydream a lot, often at work. Don’t tell my boss. My book ideas usually come from a daydream I’ve had. Other times, from actual dreams that I wake up in the middle of the night to write down before I forget them. 🙂

    1. Ahem. Over the years, I wrote probably a novel and a half at work. Don’t tell my (former) employer.

      Also, I saw your name listed in the 10+ books section in the Member Honor Roll of the latest FF&P newsletter. A lot of hard work went into that simple notice!

  6. Always interesting to know the spark behind the stories!

    1. One of these days I’ll content myself with a simple excerpt — much less work — but every month it seems like I think of something to say to fellow writers.

  7. That is an amazing analogy, Ed. These little story grains that won’t leave us alone become jewels for the world. 🙂

    1. If we’re lucky, yes.

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