Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free reads - sci fi & fantasy & humor

PHOENIX, by Alice M. Roelke

This sensitive fantasy short story is about a young girl whose life is saved by a man that can never die.  Or can he?  Set during Halloween, thoughtful, sad and sweet--this is one of my favorite pieces.  Published at "Mindflights" magazine and still available there to read.

A Wizard at War, by A. M. Roelke

This dark short story is a fantasy piece set during WWI.  It was published at Daily Science Fiction and can still be read there.

Blood and Brothers, by Alice M. Roelke

An emotional story about two brothers and a dragon hunt, with not everything being as it appears.  Published at ResAliens, and still available to be read there.


A Gentlewoman's Guide to Time Travel, by Alice M. Roelke

This short and silly piece was first published at Daily Science Fiction, and can still be read there.

Piggot Porkins, by Alice M. Roelke

A goofy sci-fi poem, published at Digital Dragon Magazine, and still available there.

The Literary Hollow, by Alice M. Roelke

A short, goofy piece that was my ode to Mr. Bradbury.  First published in Ethereal Tales in April 2009 and currently available here.

image licensed through Shutterstock.com

He Gave Me Coal (short romance - repost)

It was Christmas Eve, and we closed late. We’d had a few late customers wanting something special and fresh for tomorrow’s meal. Every sale helped; it had been a hard year for our bread store.
We were barely making it, my business partner and I. Jack, who’s more than my business partner now.
With the economy so poor, I didn’t know if we would make it another month, much less till next Christmas. These days, people had less to spend on artisan breads, handmade whole wheat rolls, and gluten-free feta-and-spinach loaves.
I turned the sign around. Jack hung up his apron. Then he turned to me, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a lump of coal. His hands still looked clown-white with flour dust. The coal left black streaks.
“This is for you.” He smiled at me.
My heart thumped, the way it always does at that dimpled smile, so unexpected, so pure in a face I had once thought ordinary.
“Coal?” I picked it up, making my own hand dusty, but no darker. I looked up at him with a questioning smile. I wasn’t offended yet, but I felt confused. Was he teasing, or what?
“Coal,” he repeated, smiling into my eyes with his blue ones. “Diamonds are made from coal, and pressure, and time — all the time in the world.”
I closed my fingers over it. For a second, I couldn’t breathe.
He enveloped my hand in both his own. Jack had such warm hands, always had. The coal was a dry lump, pressure against my palm. I stared at him.
“I don’t have a diamond for you yet, Moni. But I love you, and I have all the time in the world, the rest of my life — for you. We can make something beautiful with our lives. We’ll make it through all the pressure, together. So will you — ?”
He couldn’t finish. I’d already flung my arms around him and said yes.
He gave me coal.
It was the best present ever.

Previously published at Everyday Fiction.
c) Alice M. Roelke - do not repost without permission - thank you! :)
Image licensed through Shutterstock.com

Thursday, September 5, 2013

8 Hour Ebook Challenge - results

I took part in this challenge from Joe Konrath: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/08/8-hour-ebook-challenge-winners.html  Basically, if you haven't seen it, you write, edit, format, create cover art, and publish a story all in the space of eight hours.

I created this:

The Sword, the Dragon, and the Lie, by Alice M. Roelke

I felt it was a big success, because it gave me the courage to write a story I wanted to.  I spent time writing and editing, not just second-guessing myself, the story turned out well.  At least, I was happy with it.  :)

I set free promotion for five days, and 219 people downloaded copies.  One of them has now reviewed it (4 stars!!).  :) 

I probably would never have written this without the challenge to give me a little push, even though it was an idea I wanted to play with.  I enjoyed myself, and the story kept surprising me.

Someone has started a regular, off-shoot challenge:
I'd love to participate again, but to be honest, I don't know when I will!  Probably not this week.  :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Three August ebook releases~!

Ellie's Advice, by Alice M. Roelke

All her life, Ellie's poor health has held her back. But not anymore. She's going for the job she longs to have, as an advice columnist for a local paper.

Shel Silverberg is a widower who's promised himself he'll never marry again. His arranged marriage was a kind of torture, and he'll never sign up for another. Then he meets the beautiful and sweet-natured Ellie. As her editor, he has to remain professional—but he can't stop thinking about the gorgeous redhead. 

She can't stop thinking about him, either. When they accidentally meet in the park and end up rescuing some puppies together, their lives will never be the same. 

A sweet, gentle romance set in the 1950s. - Approximately 32,000 words 

From the author: 
This is a gentle romance that I wrote for a cover from http://www.goonwrite.com that I really liked.  It's a sweet, slow-paced romance with gentle characters that I really had fun writing.  The main characters are Jewish.  I think there should be more Jewish characters in fiction.  We have lots of romance with Christian characters, why not some with Jewish characters?  Of course, since I'm not Jewish myself I didn't try to focus heavily on religion, mostly stuck with the romance angle. 


The Sword, the Dragon, and the Lie, by Alice M. Roelke

All her life, Lisbet's red hair has held her back. Unlucky red hair was enough to keep any man from wanting to marry her. Now it's enough to make the people in the next village try to throw her to a dragon. But Lisbet isn't about to go without a fight--and she may just learn something about herself and her heritage along the way. Including that she had a relative she never knew about.

14,000 + words - Fantasy - dragons

Free on Amazon from August 30 - Sept. 3, 2013

From the author:This story was written and published in eight hours for Joe Konrath's ebook writing challenge. Boy, did I have fun with it!  It was amazing to see just how much I could write in a limited time, and to see a story come together from just an image I liked and a vague idea.  I actually really love this story, too.  I may go back and re-edit it or tweak some of it at a later date, but I do love the idea of the purity and speed of this challenge, and may leave it untouched.  


The Contestant, by Alice M. Roelke

Luckiest kid in the world? 

Tim wins a chance to be on Kids' World, his favorite virtual reality TV show. Then he learns he's replacing a boy who disappeared mysteriously inside the game. Tim makes friends and enemies and participates in challenges that mix sports, fantasy, and video games. It's the most fun he's ever had. But if he can't solve the mystery of Kids' World, he just might be the next to disappear…

Genres: Children's / science fiction / mystery / adventure - Length: 50,000 words

From the author:
This is a story I wrote several years ago.  I was happy with how it turned out, but never managed to sell it.  However, I decided this year to work on it some more and self-publish it.  I sprang for a cover from Charlotte Volnek, who did one of my covers at MuseItUp that I particularly liked.  I don't know if there is a market for this story, but I'm very pleased to have it 'out there.'  I think when an author really believes in her story, she should just go ahead and 'do it!'  Maybe other people will like it, but either way I have the satisfaction of following through on a dream.  :)

Haha, I just noticed that two of my blurbs start with "All her life!"  That's funny!

Monday, August 12, 2013

coming soon

Ellie's Advice, my new romance, will be available as an ebook from Amazon.com soon!  I had a lot of fun writing this one.  I'm even enjoying the editing!  This is a sweet retro romance with a gentle hero and kindhearted heroine.  I'll post more about it soon.  :)

Also, from August 18th to the 31st, my sweet Regency romance Laurie's Painter will be on sale for 99 cents.

And I'm pleased to report that edits are moving forward with Watch Over Me, so it should be out shortly from MuseItUp as well!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How wrong can we get? Gay "vs" Christian attitudes

I am not going to lie.  This post is difficult for me to write.  1) I hate controversy.  Like, I really really find it stressful.  I hate arguing with people and debating, etc.  It's just not who I was made to be.  I also hate sticking my neck out.  2) I know it could impinge on my writing career.  I have, after all, written Christian fiction and may write more in the future.

But, I've learned some things in the last few years that I need to talk about openly and honestly somewhere.  Like, standing up about it, not just privately realizing I was wrong about some things in life.

Something I was wrong about?  How the Church and Christianity believes and acts toward gay people.  How I believed about gay people.

Basically, I grew up with an assumption that gay = all about sex and scary and evil.  And yes, we love the sinner and hate the sin, but really?  We were just creeped out and disgusted by the whole topic.  Because it was wrong, and of the devil, etc.

Here's a good link to read more on this topic, by the way:

But, what I've been learning and what God has been slowly teaching me... it's not OK to hate anybody.  To be disgusted by people.  To SAY we love the sinner but really just want to stay away from them because they're creepy and gross.

Jesus doesn't find people creepy and gross.  He just doesn't.

One book I found very helpful to understand some of these issues is Torn, by Justin Lee.  I love the way he talks, not so much about theology and who is right and wrong, but about how we treat each other.  Do we see each other as human beings and honestly love, or just want to preach and win arguments?

Guess what Christianity isn't?  A debate team.  A war game.  Something where you get points for proving the other side wrong.  And then saying you'll pray for them.

Truly following Jesus is about loving your enemies...not beating them into the ground with scripture.  That's when people truly ARE enemies...not saying we have to make people who disagree with us our enemies.

The older I get, the more I realize I've been wrong about lots of things, and had very little understanding at all about the grace of God.  It's been about rules.  And that's not what Jesus is about.  To be a real Christian, we really have to get to know Jesus and live as he lived (not the sandals but loving people) and follow his teachings about loving our enemies, loving each other, and loving God.

And... we are supposed to be able to disagree about theological issues without attacking each other and hating each other and degenerating into prideful and sneering creatures.  In the Bible, Paul talks about how the people who disagree about whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols need to handle it.  The one thing he never says it that they should beat each other up until the other side submits.  While that doesn't seem like an important issue to us anymore, it's a good template to handle theological debate.

There are areas where you can legitimately question things and have different theological beliefs.  I think we need to be open enough to say, "Well, if they're wrong, I can trust that God will show them that someday."  Instead of saying we have to be the ones to prove everyone wrong or else despise them forever.

I think we're all wrong about something.  I think I'm wrong about some things, and I may never know it as long as I live!  Scary!

But the thing the church needs to deal with is, Are we going to really follow Jesus and love people?  Even if we think they're wrong, or they're outside our experience and scary?

And you know what I see?  I have very, very rarely seen the church be open and loving towards gay people.  I've seen jokes and jabs and sermons and debates.  I've seen the assumption that being gay is the worst sin in the world.  That being gay is all about one certain sex act, which is the grossest thing ever, without any acknowledgement that 1) not all gay people have this or any sex, and 2) some straight people do.  I've seen little if any acknowledgement that some people identify as same-sex attracted but believe in following their church's teaching and being celibate.

A glimpse of what it's like to be a Christian who is gay or same-sex attracted but celibate:

I have some issues I need to work on.  But I don't hate, fear, despise, or "love the sinner but hate the sin" anymore toward gay people.  (Also, I now say "gay people" the same as I say "straight people."  I don't go around calling anyone "straights" so why would I call anyone "gays?")

I just wonder what took so long.  I've loved God for most of my life and tried to follow Him.  I've worked so hard to become a loving person, and I know I have a lot further to go.  But...how was this blind spot there?  How could I not see how damaging it is to be disgusted by certain people or think you have to convince people they're wrong?

It seems like the main Christian response sometime about gay people and Christianity is, well, you can't be gay and go to heaven.  So change and then maybe Jesus will have time for you.  (Because obviously you picked it, right?  Even though gay people are more likely to commit suicide, they must've wanted to become gay at some point, right?)  And if you can't change yourself?  If you don't pray hard enough or believe enough (just like some people feel about healing), well, sucks to be you!

That's not good enough anymore.  It's time to love people for real.  That means people who disagree with you about politics.  People who cut in front of you in traffic.  People who are gay.  People who disagree with you about theology.

It means following Jesus for real this time.

If anyone wants to see more about the debate thing, feel free to check out Justin Lee for some views.

Or this video, which shares some of the discussions and issues and sides going on, from a well researched young man:  http://youtu.be/ezQjNJUSraY  or here: http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript Even if you don't agree with his conclusions, you'll learn something.  (I did.)

I also highly recommend Justin Lee's book, wherever you stand on the issues, because he does such a good job of reminding us that it's not all about issues: it's about people, and how we treat others, and if we even see them as human.  It's about God and how he treats people and wants us to treat each other--with respect, dignity, and love.

You know, I didn't used to understand the part of the Bible where Jesus talks about separating the sheep from the goats.  You know, the people who think they did God's work but he says, "You never knew me?"  It sounds so harsh.  And the other people, who did His work, seemed sort of surprised, like they'd just been going about their lives, not thinking they were wonderful or anything, just trying to do the right thing and help people in need.

I sort of get it now.  If we fill our lives with correcting people and arguing about stuff and putting boxes around who is worthy of love and compassion and who isn't, well, we really don't know Jesus very well on a personal level.  If we actually help people in need and love others, then we're following Jesus.

I have so far to go, I know.  You don't need to tell me.  I really do know.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Laurie's Painter - free on Amazon

Briefly, my Regency romance is free on Amazon:


I also fiddled with the cover a bit.  (Yes, I broke down and used Amazon's cover creator!)

That's all, really.  Have a great weekend! :)