You can read it in it’s entirety in My Short Stories section.
Welcome to author Carole Ann Moleti in this blog hopping post…
Name of publication, short story, etc.
The Ultimate Test
Where did it appear and when?
It first appeared in the Mocha Memoirs Press Toil, Trouble and Temptation Anthology, and I was thrilled when editor April Grey included it in the Hell’s Heart Anthology.
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Length: about 5000 wordsU
Any additional information you’d like to share? E.g., influences or experiences that shaped your writing this piece, other artists you admire, etc.
Life experiences are the major inspiration for my writing, and I always seem to be working on both fiction and nonfiction with similar themes at the same time. Thus, The Ultimate Test, is based on of real life events. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent–and the guilty. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what really happened and what didn’t.
Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.
Books One and Two in the Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach and The Widow’s Walk, and Storm Watch were published by Soulmate. Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured in Rayne Hall’s Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. She has two, ahem, work related pieces in April Grey’s Hell’s Kitties and Hell’s Heart anthologies.
Follow us around the web as we blog hop across various sites and share our experiences and work with readers of other author’s blogs:
Before buckling down to the final editing of Ultimate Wizard in preparation for its release this fall, I’ve been rereading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings hoping that it will inspire and clear my mind. It’s been a couple of decades since I first read them and it’s surprising what one doesn’t remember. In them I found two poems/songs that I really like.
The first is from the Fellowship of the Ring and performs a wonderful foreshadowing of the whole story;
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
The second is for anyone with a sense of adventure;
Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
I have a number of books first read eons ago that I will reread in the coming years.
More about my next book, The Search for the Sevenths, which is also my NaNoWriMo project for November. Instead of focusing on writing the required 50,000 words, I plan to do some writing but mostly to incorporate the research I have gathered for the book. Much of it I still have to read carefully and decide if and how it fits in the story.
If after reading the rest of this preview, anyone interested in what I’m researching and how I plan to use it can contact me through this web site.
The Search for the Sevenths will be a sequel to Saving Grace and A Biot’s Odyssey set about 30 years after the second book.
Ruth Donohue’s final request to the Biots and the Secund robots is to convince humans, Secunds, Dublos and Pozzens to emulate the Beings and accept creatures of artificial intelligence as partners, not a presence to be feared.
Gaopod, the Biot who discovered how to communicate with the creatures of Lavaworld through music, takes up her challenge now that he’s finished creating a 3-D model of the Milky Way that fits inside a specially-designed building the size of several football stadiums. It becomes the ultimate tourist destination. At the same time, he is among the Biots and robots organizing the search for the seventh species in the Milky Way as revealed by the Ancients when Genghis and the others visited the second Dome World.
Robots volunteer to crew the fleet of spacecraft captured during the battle against the mechanical insanity that threated the Secund and Dublo worlds to explore the regions of the galaxy where the Sevenths, as they have been dubbed, might exist. Information from this exploration is incorporated into Gaopod’s model of the Galaxy, making it a dynamic, constantly changing display.
With that search well underway, Gaopod and his team turn their attention to the AI issue only to be confronted by a mysterious virus that threatens the computer based information systems on Earth and Mandela. Trade, banking, transportation and other vital components of the economies of those planets as well as communications with the other worlds, are crippled by the virus. The Beings, Secunds and Dublos are restricting their links with the infected worlds to prevent the spread of the virus. There is a great debate about whether the virus was developed by groups opposed to contact with aliens or whether it was created spontaneously.
The Sevenths are aware of the other species in the galaxy but have avoided revealing their presence because they fear contamination of their planet (got to find a biological reason) from other organic species. When they detect the approach of the robots’ ship, the Sevenths shut everything down to make their world look abandoned. Intrigued by the presence of several seemingly-abandoned cities on the planet, the robots land anyway. They are confronted by the Sevenths whose hostility dissipates when they realize the visitors are mechanical beings and not organics loaded with bacteria that could wipe out the remnants of their once thriving population.
The Biots and robots organize a project to create a communications link with Sevenths and the other planets and undertake to restore much of the equipment left behind on the planet.
I’m planning to use this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November to create the next installment of my space stories. It would be asequel to A Biot’s Odyssey and the first book Humanity’s Saving Grace. Part of the process to me is making sure it is a plausible extension of thestory line from the first two books. So I would like to share some background with you and follow that later with a short outline for the next story, tentatively called The Search for the Sevenths.
The Universe is immense, really beyond our comprehension. When I was writing Humanity’s Saving Grace set in 2037, I read a most interesting scientific riposte to the old science fiction staple of a massive alien invasion of Earth to plunder its resources. You all remember Independence Day or the Day of the Triffids.
The article said the likelihood of such an alien armada descending on Earth was minimal at best. The writer noted that Earth’s place in the Orion Arm puts it beyond the outer boondocks of a small galaxy. Any resources available here could be found at far less cost closer to the heart of the Milky Way or in another Galaxy without any opposition from inhabitants.
Only a true alien explorer would likely find us, the writer said. He was undecided whether an alien would find much of interest about our species. In Humanity’s Saving Grace, Humbaw the Being found Earth by chance on a regular mission of exploring the Milky Way. His curiosity kept bringing him back every 25 years or so to see if we’d improved.
The Beings, who are reptilians living closer to the centre of the Milky Way, had developed biological robots called Biots as companions and helpers for their Confederation of nine planets. Biots accompanied Humbaw’s missions to Earth and saw some useful traits in humans that intrigued them. They also enjoyed our music and humor. In the end it was these visits that gave the Biots, which are the main characters of A Biot’s Odyssey, an opportunity to convince the Beings to give them a bigger role in the Confederation.
When the Beings’ technology couldn’t stop attacks on their Confederation, the Biots convinced the Beings that humans operating Being space craft could. The Biots wanted to see how the humans would do it so the Beings’ helpers could also be their defenders in the future.
Many Biots served as pilots and soldiers in the Nameless War and some like Genghis distinguished themselves. When the Being-human alliance prevailed, Biots like Genghis weren’t satisfied with returning to their traditional roles. The two alien societies they found needed the help of the Biots to recover including rebuilding the robots that were part of the Secund planets.
If you’re looking to give your brain a good workout, I heartily recommended Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. The author does a superb job of bringing together the history of humanity from the early days of Hominids and demonstrating how and why we ended up where we’re at today and where we might be headed. It makes the reader want to investigate all the topics Harari raises in more details.
Its big picture approach stands out in contrast to the far too often narrow minded analysis of humanity’s problems and accomplishments we see in the news media. I gave it 5 stars in my review of Goodreads. com out of respect for its thoroughness and readability even though I don’t agree with a few of his conclusions. And there’s nothing brief about the book. There are parts I look forward to rereading (when I get my copy of the book back) because I would like to reflect further on his arguments. I found reading a couple of chapters at a time and then thinking about the content before reading more was the best way to approach the book.
A tribute to the late Edgar Mitchell, the sixth American astronaut to walk on the moon whose accomplishments were overshadowed by his belief in UFOs and ESP. Of his time on the moon, Mitchell famously said, “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch. ‘”
Misque Press is including my story Woods beyond the Walls in its next issue of Hero and Heroine, an anthology of paranormal, fantasy and science fiction stories. It’s about a boy celebrating his 13th birthday who discovers his ability to perform some tricks is just the beginning of his gaining powerful magical abilities that will make him feared by many. Someday the story will be the opening of Consciousness Rising, still a novel in draft form.
What’s neat about this issue is fellow Ottawa writer Martin Bueno has a story in it as does Larry Pinaire, an American, and Heidi Kneale who lives in Australia. I know them electronically from on-line writer’s groups. A link to the issue will be posted when available.
So you’ve finished the first draft of your novel and are wondering what to do with the 70,000 to 90,000 words or more you have poured hours of time into. Well editing it is one important next step because there are bound to be spelling errors, typos, the always dreaded missing words and characters who appear where they’re not supposed to be.
However it’s just as important is to find people, often called Beta readers, who will read the draft with a critical eye. Not only will they point out the faux pas noted above, the good ones will have lots of questions and ideas that can make your story much better.
The last thing you need at this point are readers who will only tell you the story is wonderful and they loved it. Baloney. It’s just a first draft; it can be improved in many ways.
You’re really blessed if you have Beta readers who not only have the ability to spot the obvious mistakes but also the background to pick out your faulty assumptions and unlikely conclusions and tell you what’s wrong. Their comments and suggestions can generate plenty of ideas to enhance the plot of your story. This is an adult process that doesn’t require bruised egos.
Example. In one story, I have an artificial intelligence who has long wished to possess a sense of smell. It finally receives that ability while it is being rebuilt following a serious accident. In the original draft, the human who oversaw the rebuild takes deep breaths trying to convince the A.I. to mimic him and discover its new sense. A Beta reader pointed that sniffing was the way people and animals used their nose to check the world around them. The story was fixed making it more plausible in the process.
Other readers have pointed out technology errors or events that are unlikely to have occurred. Never reject those suggestions without thinking through how they could improve the story.
Sometimes a Beta reader will simply misunderstand part of your story. However, you should still consider rewording it because if that reader didn’t comprehend your sentence, paragraph or page, odds are good other readers won’t either. You don’t want the people who buy your book to be put off by sections that don’t make sense to them.
Remember that it will take the Beta readers time to review your work and make notes. It’s best to provide them with a paper copy that has plenty of room for jotting down ideas. While they’re doing that, work on another story so by the time you return to the draft that has been reviewed, it will be fresh in your mind.
When your book is published, make sure you give credit to your Beta readers. The big name authors do that because they know how much they depend on the close attention their Beta readers pay to making the story as good as it can be. There may be only one byline on the cover but a lot of people have contributed to make the book as interesting as it can be.
The news photos and television footage of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada brought back personal memories of another influx of people from a different war torn region of the world.
Back in 1980 my parents were part of a community effort in Brantford, Ont. to bring in families of Vietnamese boat people. They found homes, clothes and the other amenities of life for the newcomers who arrived with very little. In time, the newcomers became active members of the community. The son of one couple took engineering with my son at Western University. Others have done well in businesses they started in the city.
When the Brantford delegation picked up their families at Pearson Airport and drove them to Brantford, there weren’t any politicians present making it into a photo op. What they undertook was practically unheard of back then although I remember Hungarians coming to Canada and Brantford in the aftermath of the failed Hungarian revolution in the 1950s.
What my parents and thousands of Canadians across the country did enabled 100,000 Vietnamese to come to Canada. We’re a better country for it.
Years earlier, Mum and Dad brought a young man from Antigua and put him through two years of high school, university and teacher’s college. In the process Vernon became a member of the family and went on to become a school principal in Brantford.
When Dad was in his final years became at times despondent about the ravages of old age, my siblings and I looked for ways to cheer him up. One that worked was asking him how many people in the world had white, black and Asian kids who called them Grandpa. Dad thought about it briefly and with a big smile, decided he might be unique.
One of the Vietnamese who arrived later was a small man named Sun. The Vietnamese called my Dad Father. Pop would always greet Sun by saying his name in a loud voice to which Sun would reply Father. Dad loved to imagine people nearby trying to figure out how there could be a connection between the two.
I’m sure that Mum and Dad and other now mostly departed folks who worked to bring the Vietnamese to Brantford would have felt especially gratified when groups representing Vietnamese Canadians raised funds to help Syrian refugees settle in Canada.
My parents and their friends did what they did because it was the right thing to do. Just as bringing the Syrians to Canada and the other groups in the years since the arrival of Vietnamese was.